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Dear Chump Lady, Are affairs addictions?

addictDear Chump Lady,

Is an affair an addiction?

I realize the futility of trying to explain my STBX’s behavior, but still would like to know your opinion about the claims that all this cake eating is some kind of addiction. Although new to CN, (D-Day Memorial Day), I have lived with people suffering from addiction most of my life. With that said, I do have some opinions of my own on the matter.

For me, there are some similarities. The compulsive, wreckless behaviors can feel the same. The secrecy, frequent dissapearances, missing money, excuses, and broken promises all remind me of the using and relapses I’ve witnessed.

I suppose there was even the possibilty of cheating during some of his week long cocaine binges, but it was lost on me back then. We both spent 10 years in 12 step recovery programs and I honestly felt we had worked hard on overcoming our own issues. I do think of addiction as an illness and see many of those behaviors as consequences of the illness. Much of it even seemed unintentional, since it went away during sobriety.

What is different, for me about his cheating is the whole devaluation process. It is so intentional and targeted. He is directly out to cause me harm (so far just emotional and financial). The look on his face as he detaches from me and the kids and the incessant complaing about how awful everything is here, it’s like he’s removed from reality. It’s like he becomes a totally different person. It’s totally creepy and seems nothing like his using behavior. So I have trouble referring to this new abhorent behavior as an addiction.

What I’m really disturbed and apalled by is that he is using his years in recovery to pick up women who are new to recovery at meetings. I suspect he is masquerading as some enlightened hero willing to help with sobriety (in exchange for sex). Hopefully someone catches on and does something to keep people at their meetings safe from him.

In the end, even if this question nags on my conscience, I have decided I am not willing to live with someone who behaves like this. If this is a new addiction, it is not one I’m willing to live with. I filed for divorce and am doing my best to stay sane while I decide if I want to battle over the house or leave.



Dear Scharklady,

This is an untangling the skein of fuckupedness question. You’re trying to make sense of his self-destruction, selfishness, and downright cruelty. Been there, done that, give me the chip.

As someone who’s has had substance abuse problems yourself, the addiction lens is understandable. And there is a lot of language around infidelity that likens affairs to addictions. Cheaters are in the “fog.” They need to grieve their affairs partners, it’s like detox, etc.

I absolutely do not doubt that there are neurotransmitter issues in play — that affairs are highs, that thrill seeking feels manic and wonderful, and that once you’ve brain-wired manipulative behaviors, they come quite naturally.

But I also believe in moral agency — that you know who you are hurting, but you just don’t care.

Addicts and cheaters do a cost benefit analysis — what they want (drugs, money, sex) versus your well-being. Their wants win out every time. Addicts are completely cognizant of this cost-benefit analysis, thus the secrecy, thus the lying, thus the anger and indignation when you confront and and try to take away their opiate.

IMO, what cheaters and addicts have in common is narcissism. MY pleasure is more important. MY pain needs medicating (who gives a fuck about your pain? Did I create more pain? Let’s not dwell on that, give me another hit!) And cheaters and addicts shove all the responsibility on to the chumps who love them. Hey, cheater/addict is checked out. Guess who gets to pay the bills, show up for the school concert, and watch the children? Chumps.

Scharklady — I don’t know if cheaters are addicts. That’s a question for the professionals. Who knows what the Venn diagram is between addiction, personality disorder, and mental illness. What I do know from personal, painful experience with both, is that they are NOT available for relationships. And the healthy thing to do in these situations is DETACH. Detach with love, or without love, but SAVE yourself. Which is exactly what you’re doing. Good for you.

A couple more thoughts on this. First, the language around addiction and affairs bothers me because when we label things a syndrome, like “sex addiction” it gives chumps a framework of illness. Which seems to absolve cheaters of moral responsibility for their choices. Oh, they’re just sick. I need to stick this out! In sickness and in health! I can save this! We’ll just find the right doctor! They can’t help it! 

In my opinion, yes, they can help it. They choose not to help it. I think the addiction model can keep chumps stuck in their codependent helper mode.

If you think in terms of addiction, how do you explain the devaluing? Oh, they just get ugly when you threaten their kibbles? It’s not Bob who is insulting me, it’s his addicted brain! He doesn’t mean it! And if he were sober, he’d be nice again! (Or maybe Bob is an entitled asshole who will treat you like shit, sober or drunk? Faithful or unfaithful? Because Bob values Bob most highly.)

Second, if anyone is an addict here, IMO, it’s chumps.

Kicking a cheater out is like kicking a drug. I don’t know how it is for cheaters quitting affair partners. Maybe we share some neurotransmitters there, but I know that when I was going through it, even as I was doing the most INSANE things — taking him back, having sex with him, spackling over or just outright denying his ridiculous lies — I KNEW I WAS DOING IT. I knew intellectually it was wrong. It hurt like a motherfucker. And I did it anyway. I needed a hit from that hopium pipe. I needed that validation from the person who was devaluing me. I needed the tiny, precious, kibble scrap he was throwing at me.

And when I got that tiny, precious, kibble scrap? It was HUGE. The high was so very high.

And the lows were so devastatingly low.

How did I break the cycle? With sheer mental fortitude and a lot of online and real life support. The big breakthrough, however, was no contact. I had to kick the drug. The person I was devaluing as an addict was myself.

You’ve filed for divorce. You’re kicking the cheater habit. I applaud you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • P.S., Your husband sounds predatory to me. The whole picking up people at recovery? Look into personality disorders. I think you’ve got more than addiction on your hands.

    • That’s exactly what came to my mind after I read the article. The guy has a personality disorder, due to his predatory traits, picking up vulnerable women, wanting to deliberately harm the chump. Snorting cocaine, spending years in recovery. This guy doesn’t have an addiction, he has a serious mental disorder. If we were to ask the chump, I’m pretty sure she’d describe other abhorrent behavior this guy has been displaying from Day 1… His shitty behavior is nothing new, it’s just manifesting itself in different ways, same asshole, different day.

      • Agree! “Emotional detachment” from you arnd your kids….its NOT normal peoole behavior….only narcissists and the like have that utter lack of conscience!

      • I’ve know a few guys who are alcoholics and flat out told me a lot of AA meetings were easy pickings when it came to hooking up. Sad but true. One of those was Saddam, in fact his last GF before me, he met her at AA. One thing I found when i was trying to untangle is that the actions of addicts have a lot in common with narcissism traits.

    • I agree. Cocaine is the drug of choice for NPDs because it alleviates theit perpetual boredom and feeds their need for stimulation when their favorite drug (attention/admiration/newness) isn’t forthcoming.

    • Both Schark & Chump Ladies captured my experience perfectly. And what literally saved my life was the nagging disconnect between the addiction therapy model, what I was doing with Dr. Crazy and MY CHARACTER & VALUES, which no one cared about but me. Add by dropping CSAT therapists, breaking the silence, and 5 months of TOTAL NO CONTACT am I on the path to a new life. Beaten but not broken.

      The highs can be high but they come fewer and far between while the lows continue to sink to unimaginable depths.

      I bought that my “sick” husband could be helped and our marriage “could be better than ever.” It only got worse. Much worse.

      • Sunrise, I just Googled CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist). Just horrible, what you went through. I’m sorry, and I’m SO glad you trusted your instincts and got out… it sounds like you have more character in your pinkie then he and the therapist combined! Still, it’s brutal to have to live through cheating, therapy, utter inattention to YOUR devastation, and being asked to “support” the cheating, lying, maipulator who now believes he has professionally-authorized license to get, as you obliquely mentioned, “much worse.” (Which, I admit, scares me a little for you. Can he do you physical harm?)

        I’m thinking that maybe Google is having an off day. Maybe CSAT really stands for Certifiable Sociopaths’ Apologist Trainer.

        • Thanks ClaireS. It’s truly a horrible experience. I’m so greatful for Joanne, Diane, Tania and others at the Sisterhood of Support site who tirelessly help women navigate this particular form of chumping.

          And I just love your definition of CSAT. Sadly, so true.

    • Tracy, you really really nailed it this time. (you always do but more so this time) 🙂 This guy definitely sounds like a narcissist/psychopath to me, especially when I got to the part about hunting for victims at 12 step meetings. That is SO typical of their predatory MO, knowing women would be vulnerable, needing something to fill that void, oh such juicy kibbles!
      No contact is definitely the key to recovery!
      I also agree with you on the label “addict”, it keeps co-dependents hooked, can’t walk out at his time of need, if I still this out he will see how much I love him and appreciate me for it.
      Many narcissists have issues with addiction, drugs, porn, extreme sports, gambling………….its all part of not having boundaries, seeking immediate gratification at any cost to others. If they quit one addiction, they always have half a dozen others to fall back on.

      • Carrie, ur comment above is so true. My married neighbor targets on women who are vulnerable. He is married for 17 years but with his wife 23 years. They don’t have children but stay for what, I don’t know. I was his victim over 2 years ago. Like many of us we have our problems but I have my fair share then others. I thought he was a friend but little did I know he was plotting, setting me up , playing me until the right moment to take advantage of me. Then he disappears. I kept quiet to protect his family because I know his family for the past 30 years. But then he threaten me, which I told his wife. To make the story short, they went to police to file charges on me for harassment, but later dismissed. He try to use a letter that I sent to him but it back fire on him. He was force to tell his wife and the police of his affairs and what he did to me. His wife knows but stay….That’s a million dollar answer I would like to know but its none of my business… People in my building knows for years he a cheater…He has several women on the side…but one woman named Cecilia who he supports. Cecilia is also married but separate from her husband. Like ur comment above he prey on vulnerable women just like the police told me. Instead a friend to support, he sleeps with them…I do pity his wife… she hurting right now but also in denied. Once she realized other people in the building knew and bringing other women into the home and making fool of her…he be dead. But again they been together over 23 years, if she can not figure it by now..she will never…

    • Hi Sharklady, that is well known at AA and is called ‘the 13th step’. Which is approaching vulnerable newbies in the guise of ‘helping them’ and hooking up instead. []

  • The question assumes true addiction earns a moral pass for the pain caused. “They couldn’t help it.” I don’t buy that. Addiction always starts with a series of choices. Some fall off a cliff sooner than others, but they all walk up to that cliff knowingly. Also, people can change–quit drugs, stop gambling– WTFever. Many do. The fact that most don’t quit doesn’t prove they can’t quit, anymore than the fact that most people don’t leave Paris in the middle of a week long vacation doesnt mean they can’t. They just choose not to. Ultimately, it’s mostly a matter of want-to.

    I have addiction issues in my family. Some kick they demons and some establish a cozy workable relationship. That choice is theirs. The relationships I have with those folks is all I control.

    • Nomar, I concur.

      My two cents… I am a mental health counselor and continue to struggle with the theory of addiction as a disease. I cannot intellectually agree that “disease” is an accurate “qualifier.”

      While it can certainly lead to disease, such as lung cancer for smokers, cirrhosis of the liver for drinkers and hepatitis and HIV for drug users, I can’t get on board that addiction is specifically a disease in and of itself.

      The best I can do is categorize addiction as a dangerous, mental illness. Although self inflicted, without treatment, it will cause irreparable harm to the individual; much in the same pervasive, damaging ways as those with mental illness. Guaranteed.

      So, is the “sex addict” causing irreparable harm to themselves? Or just you as the chump spouse? The only harm I see is that discovery will cut off a cake supply.

      That’s not an illness or disease. That’s just justice.

      • Chutes, wow. That is the ‘bam!’ question right there.
        “So, is the “sex addict” causing irreparable harm to themselves? Or just you as the chump spouse? The only harm I see is that discovery will cut off a cake supply.”

  • OP sorry you’re going through this, my ex wife acted the same way, the home life was all of a sudden “so horrible” a life we built over 24 years. Better to not even try to wrap your head around their choices, I wasted so many months in that tar trap. Tracy is so right, No Contact has been my absolute salvation. I mean ZERO contact. Thankfully our kids are adults now so total NC is doable. Hang in there, this site has been such a blessing.

    • Until my kids are adults what is the best way I can do no contact?
      With 3 young children it’s brutal. I know no contact is the path to getting the heck outta “crazy town”.
      I was married 20 years. D day was 2.5 years ago.

      • Any contact should be through your attorney only, with an exception via text (if available to you) regarding children’s health emergencies.

        School plays, visitation, etc., in none of that is a direct verbal contact essential. Arrangements for pick-up or drop-off can be done the same way. Don’t let him into your house. If you have conflicts make transfers at a neutral place.

        You’ll be amazed at how much more peaceful your life will be.

        • Grey Rock it when you communicate with X, in a recordable way. You cannot coparent with a narc-parallel parenting is the only way to go.

          • Google “grey rock” and “psychopath” or “narcissist” and you’ll get some useful hits in explaining what this is. Narcs will generally try to manipulate you into engaging with them. They push a lot of your buttons in hopes of getting a reaction. Your reaction–positive or negative–gives them kibbles. You refuse to engage with them, and any engagement is so boring that they stop trying to stir the pot with you.

          • Yes, I wish I had heard the term parallel parenting before, Mehphista. You’re statement is so true, and I am doing this now.

            I have recent increased my no contact by making transfers at a neutral place like suggested above because I don’t want him at my home anymore.

            I have been brutally honest on the site and feel it is a safe place to say I am increasing NC for my personal benefit to kick my chumpy addiction to my STBX.

            He seems to care less about us now that it’s been about 10 weeks. He’s seemingly moved on, but I haven’t. And I don’t trust him. First, he wanted yet another chance and love-bombed. Then he wanted to play pretend family which is delusional. Also, I was afraid of being his interim when inbetween APs.

            Now, he acts like I’m crazy because I’m so livid about him two-timing me behind my back that I am the raging one when he’s around. Just seeing him calls to mind all of the lies and manipulation not to mention the horrible consequences (STD testing, divorce lawyers, trauma therapy, etc). I do not wish to put myself in a situation where I may act unstable because I cannot control my anger.

            Lastly, there are still moments I feel weepy and nostalgic and I wish we could turn back time and be together. I don’t want to call him when I am weak and vulnerable.

            I need to focus on my personal recovery. This is a painful process, takes a while, and requires NC at all costs. I will not let this define me.

      • I’m not a fan of texting with narcissists and cheaters except in an emergency. That’s an open pipeline into your brain, and many people get easily hooked into “text-fighting” because it is at the same time immediate and distant. Email allows more distance and reflection. Simply forward documents like report cards, etc. Ignore any email that isn’t all business. Practice “gray rock writing”: “I got your request to pick the kids up an hour early. That fits our schedules. Please make the change on the scheduling calendar.” f the kids are old enough, let them share the report card (etc.) with the non-custodial parent.

        There are internet scheduling calendars that you can both use. It’s a way to keep track of custody exchange, kids’s events, doctor’s appointments for the kids, school breaks, etc. I would use that technology as my main form of “communication.” Practice “gray rock writing”: “I got your request to pick the kids up an hour early. That fits our schedules. Please make the change on the scheduling calendar.” If the kids are old enough, let them share the report card (etc.) with the non-custodial parent.

        The big thing is be consistent and maintain your boundaries once you establish them. If you cave in and engage with nonsense after 12 attempts to get you to engage, you just teach the cheater it takes at least 12 times to get you to cave.

          • I’ll send good thoughts your way. The double paste wasn’t a fail for some of us just learning this terrain. To hear and to heed good advice, to learn anything unfamiliar, requires repetition. 😉

      • Hi Katie

        I’m so sorry you are going through this. I was lucky in that my son’s cheater father ghosted on us before my son was a year old. My sister, however, is going through a high conflict divorce and her children are 6 and 4. The court required her to set up an account with Our Family Wizard. It does cost like $100 per year, but she says it really helps with going “grey rock” with her soon to be ex. Hope this helps. Hang in there and the kids will be 18 before you can blink.

      • Katie, I share your pain, communicating with a cluster B about parenting issues is an ongoing shit sandwich buffet of many flavors… CN has given you great insights that I second!

        Using an online parenting interface is a life-saver as this minimizes the need for direct interactions.

        When you have to interact use email instead of texting, and wait a while before you reply to triggering emails.

        Be the most boring and drama-free wall you can be. My X is a master on passive aggressive cheap shot and would use any open questions I would ask as an opening to stall the issue and have me wait for his decision just to make my life difficult. I found out on CN about Bill Eddy’s BIFF emails and this really helped me. Use short declarative statements to communicate what you expect of your X and what will happen if no reply is received. That stopped his non-sense and has helped me manage kid exchanges and parallel parenting better.


  • I don’t see the question of moral agency as a useful one, either in addiction or cheating. Why people do hurtful things doesn’t matter in the end — all that matters is what you do about it.

    • Well said, Linden. The why’s are irrelevant. That’s definitely going in my inspirational words journal!

    • Don’t conflate moral agency with the “whys” behind hurtful actions. They aren’t the same. The “question of moral agency” asks (or answers) are you accountable? Of course the addict and the cheater are accountable. They plan, they decide, they manipulate toward a purposeful end, they consciously act, with full possession of their faculties, they hide from the known consequences, and they can and do stop. Settling the fact of agency sets the table for all other decisions by those harmed. The cheater is not a feather in the wind, they are a horse fly buzzing toward a pile of shit. Leaving agency un-asked or ambiguous contributes to the chump’s fog over what to do about the domestic abuse of infidelity. The “whys” are more academic questions. Why does a cheater feel better in deceit, destruction of meaning, dual existences etc as opposed to the joy of personal honor, deep union, and a single character-driven identity? Those answers are potentially less important, certainly less immediate to the question of what to do. For the cheater/addict though, should they actually seek to change what they are, the whys are actually central to, as you say, “what you do about it”. But for the victim and what they do about it, getting to trusting that they suck is an important first step.

      • I would say that getting mired in questions about agency leads to untangling the skein of fuckedupness. It’s easy to spend too much time there and not move forward.

        As to whether the cheater and the addict “plan, decide, manipulate toward a purposeful end, consciously act, with full possession of their faculties, hide from the known consequences, and can and do stop,” that’s open to argument. I’ve worked with people who are disabled by their personality disorders and addictions, and I’ve found that they have little to no insight regarding their actions. They do dysfunctional things because they are compelled to fulfill their needs in ways that damage themselves and others. They don’t understand why other people have a problem with them, even as they lose relationships, money, jobs, families, freedom. They’re like missiles with the guidance system turned off. Better just to get out of the way.

        Sure, they could change, but they would have to first understand they have a problem, then complete a lengthy process of competent treatment. Some people do seem to just grow out of drug addiction, but personality disorders are formed in childhood and reinforced by the habits of a lifetime.

        • Yes, I had the sense that you probably absolved them of agency and hence your recommendation that “the question of moral agency” was not “useful”. Its actually a very simple question, if a question at all, and establishing that abusers know fully what they are doing, hard as it is to accept, is one of the first and most important steps in just getting out of the way. To say they are like missiles with guidance turned off is actually precisely wrong. They hit their intended target of self aggrandizement every time. And along the way they even learn to employ stealth technology to further improve their hit percentage.

          The victims actually benefit from the very quick exercise of settling this and facing the fact that this is not a person who actually loves them but simply can’t resist cheating, it is a person who literally prefers and chooses their cheating high over all else.

          Which of the steps/examples of agency which I listed are open to argument? The overwhelming majority of cheaters do each of these things regularly. They do not lack insight – they know they do these things because it gets them what they like. Such patients are extremely well known for not even caring enough to engage in therapy – what’s in it for them? -they’d rather resist or bamboozle the therapist. Not a lack of insight. Just dismissiveness. I assure you, if expressed insight got them a hallpass for a night on the town they’d knock your socks off with their insight. They are remarkably quick thinkers toward their own ends. They are not “compelled” to fulfill their needs – they just do so without the simplest meaningful care for who it harms. Self uber alles. They lose all kinds of things in life, yes. That doesn’t mean they’re the hapless victims of forces beyond their control or understanding. They simply chose what they want right now above those things.

          I am not saying that they single-handedly created themselves, their priorities or the conscious and subconscious parts of the disorders that motivate their behaviors. I agree with you where such things originate. I’m saying they know what they are doing and know that it is wrong and harmful and make conscious decisions to do it nonetheless (aka moral agency).

          If you are a therapist, you should know or come to know that establishing the moral agency, apart from being accurate, is key to healing the victim and a firm basis from which they can be confident in deciding to “get out of the way” of these people. The risk of becoming mired in the process is far greater when the victim is prevented from such clarity.

          • What you are both saying is: put down the spackle and get out of the way.

            • No. We both say get away from the cheater, but one seems to say do so because the cheater can’t control themselves, isn’t morally accountable, and so on – a position which may engender misguided pity and other responses which should be reserved only for the truly remorseful. My position, conversely, is get away because cheaters CAN control themselves and ARE morally accountable and as such have clearly shown you the victim how little remorse they have, how little you and your rights mean to them and how in utter disdain of the social contract they are beneath whatever they portray. IMO all forms of avoiding full accountability, either by a therapist on behalf of the cheater, or by the cheater themselves, deny truth and are harmful evasions. They represent a secondary form of abuse for the victim who having been traumatized by the betrayal is then handed some form of “it does no good to assign blame” nonsense. It does do good. It’s truth after all. Its accountability. It affirms the victim’s sense of reality and justice and places them firmly where they deserve to be to begin dealing with the harm. It even serves the cheater. A drop in the empty bucket of adult accountability skills they need to fill up, but a drop nonetheless.

              • I’ve really enjoyed this discussion, because I am both a) a firm believer in the reasons for Tracy’s instructions to put down the skein and walk away, and b) a firm believer that for me personally, I couldn’t even think about moving on until I untangled it anyway. Tracy’s argument is two-fold: trying to untangle the skein takes valuable mental real estate away from the process of moving forward without that person, and can elicit a desire to want to help/heal/empathize with or otherwise pity them. I’m on board with her undeniable logic.

                But for me, I felt I had nothing to move on TO unless I could get my head around what was specifically wrong with/motivated my cheater (how his character formed, how his dad played a part, if he is a sociopath or a narc or neither or both). In getting (most of) this answered for myself, I finally DO feel like I can put it down and walk away. I’m too curious to have left it alone. And no, the curious cat with a ball of yarn imagery did not escape me there.

                Information is power. Untangling it helped me understand how I missed the signs, how I could watch for those signs in others, and how to forgive myself. Without a real, in-depth look at him, I felt like I couldn’t understand what it was in me that fell for all of it. He stole my dignity when he left like a coward fleeing a crime scene. I feel like I’ve gotten my dignity back through blogging about it and forming cogent conclusions about why MY values are what they are. His lack of character and shitty decision making make for an excellent comparative analysis and a superb cautionary tale, if nothing else.

                Thanks for being such a giant douche-canoe, Honey…it’s really helped me to pour the concrete into the foundation of who I do (and do not) want to be!

  • Addiction and NPD cases can be treated…or at least managed.

    But we can’t blame every anti-social behavior on a disorder or a disease. Doing so (1) is disingenuous, in that it reduces the severity of pain experienced by those who are “actually” sick, and (2) provides a medical/psychological excuse for some people who are simply manipulative jerks (or have some other flaw).

    It is difficult sometimes, and my skepticism can come off as callousness, but being a chump taught me two things:

    First, my ex wife wasn’t an affair-high dopamine “addict.” She was just a selfish person who didn’t care about my emotional health and was comfortable manipulating me to get what she wanted.

    Second, I was too patient and understanding of her faults, which was not a “disease” or “disorder.” It was my own weak character that grew stronger through the experience.

    Addiction is real. So is assholery.

  • “Kicking a cheater out is like kicking a drug. I don’t know how it is for cheaters quitting affair partners. Maybe we share some neurotransmitters there, but I know that when I was going through it, even as I was doing the most INSANE things — taking him back, having sex with him, spackling over or just outright denying his ridiculous lies — I KNEW I WAS DOING IT. I knew intellectually it was wrong. It hurt like a motherfucker. And I did it anyway”

    ^^^^^^ This is so true, thank you for putting this into words! In addition to me doing all those things too, I remember one time, I called him 7 times straight, because I wanted closure from him, later I looked at my recent calls to him – and I was like “I’m the one that’s insane”. The only way to kick that addiction, was NO CONTACT.

    • I agree, MightyAgain. I knew instinctively that I had to go NC for my sanity (when I didn’t even know what NC was). It was like there was a protective mechanism inside me that that said “get the hell away” from him. Oh, but how I longed to see him, talk to him, have him make everything alright. I kept hoping he’d tell me it was all just a bad dream. Going through that was truly hell. One of my friends told me to call her whenever I had the urge to call him, which was a huge help. I now have a lot more sympathy for people going through detox. And I agree with CL that “The person I was devaluing as an addict was myself.”

      • My whole divorce was a protective mechanism. Limbic system took over and told me “Must escape, must escape.” From the D-day moment when I left the note on the bed with his condoms & sexual harassment-appointment notes (found in his computer bag) that said, “We are over, go to a hotel” until I filed, until I divorced him, part of me felt propelled. I could not do anything except back away from then-H week by week until I was finally free. It was purely self-preservation, as I felt nothing but a low-level but persistent sense of danger when in his presence.

        • Me too! The last two years of marriage were pure hell as he was high on a new AP and big time devaluing me. I didn’t have a clue I was pick me dancing. When he moved out I was in fight/flight mode for the two years it took our inept court to push the dissolution through. Looking back I can say everything he did was about choices, and I have no idea how much of our life together was a great big lie. I truly believe my life is better without him in it.

          • I have this clear memory of a moment about 3 months after he died. I was sitting in my bedroom contemplating a problem needing my attention and I realized that unlike before when I could fully expect him to burst into the room with a string of accusations blaming me for this problem existing in the first place, I could now focus on the problem and not his incessant criticisms and hostility.

            and suddenly I realized that my life had become so much easier

        • Same here, Dday came with a clear “must escape” signal that, thanks to shared custody, has yet to subside…

        • Tempest, your description:
          “as I felt nothing but a low-level but persistent sense of danger when in his presence”

          made me jump up from my chair when I was reading.

          That is the best description I have ever read about being around my X. You should teach sociopath awareness.

    • I had to fall down that rabbit hole myself. I’d text him trying to get some understanding. Some closure. That would engage him and give him the opportunity to blame shift which would work me up even more. Eventually I thought, he’s deliberately blowing up our lives, blaming everything and everyone for being miserable. For the whores. The lies. He’s a sick, twisted narcissist. That’s his deal. What’s my excuse? So I just stopped engaging. It was difficult at first though. Can’t do full NC because of our daughter but not trying to figure him out anymore has saved my sanity. I was dangerously close to the edge today at our daughter’s school registration and his typical indifference to my schedule, but I managed to rope in my emotions and be just as indifferent to his button pushing. It’s a practiced skill.

    • “Second, if anyone is an addict here, IMO, it’s chumps.”

      This might be the single most revealing, insightful truth I’ve learned during this process of self-discovery.

    • It’s ironic how they will hate you for choosing to love yourself and walk away from there bullshit …. Yet their argument to try and make you stay is they love you , If such things were true you wouldn’t find yourself questioning anything , you wouldn’t be doubting your own self love. And you dam sure wouldn’t be torn apart because you have to leave someone who you saw a future with, it’s a shame people can’t live up to expectations they create for themselves , then blame us when we expecedt to much. When in retrospect we never really asked for much at all,just reciprocation of the love we have to give…. Joe Brock

      Joe sums it up well, I do remember at the time telling one of my exs friends that it’s like she is on a drug and she is addicted. I called my ex the alien because she changed into Someone I didn’t recognise or know. Pretty much over night , 2 years later she has the audacity to tell me I have changed. Well no shit , funny what changes you. #infidelity

      • Yes all i ever wanted was love, and to be faithful and if he couldnt then be honest man up and tell me. Not much to ask.

      • You’re right. It’s like vets returning from war and their friends and family tell them they’re not the same as before they left. Of course not. They were smack dab in the middle of death, pain and destruction on a level they have never experienced before. It is coming from every direction with no feeling of safety and little to no respite.

  • I think even an addict can still have a heart and compassion. It is what is in your heart that makes you make the choices you make. We can all say we have done hurtful, selfish things to people, but some of us feel remorse and some of us do not. I felt bad when I have hurt those I love and I chose to stop that behavior. My X only thinks of himself and chose not to change his behavior. You can treat addiction, but it is hard to change a heart.

    • I agree. My gut tells my that maybe 30-60% of addicts struggle with daily healthy guilt and have actual remorse for those they are hurting, but perhaps less than 5% of cheaters have actual guilt and remorse.

  • Asswipe buried, suppressed, ignored deep rooted wants for serious bondage sex where he can be master of multiple women. Have the main slave home presenting a pretty package and multiples he could master at will. He would never shell out cash for us to go anywhere or do anything yet now he shells out thousands of dollars in subscriptions, sex toys and out times with these women. But me nothing. I wouldnt say he has an addiction i would say hes sick in the head. Very sick, he needs to be in control of them even in every day normal life just to shoot your wad cause its completely and totally in control of them then there is something seriously wrong. And beat them black and blue and take pictures with your phone to beat off to the damage later well i shudder. I never knew the extent, i knew he was kinky but not like this. He hid it well and then those total control and sex and anger demons came out like gang busters. Turns out asswipe is a complete stranger to me. Yet he appears normal and such a good man. I bet he wants to beat everyone who doesnt listen to him and do what he says. Now i know why he never ever even spanked the kids he was afraid he would lose control. Thank the heavens there was some logic in his convaluted brain. And apparently there are millions of people into this bondage shit. They are sick to delve that deeply. Bruises, pain i dont get it and i never will. The kids keep their distance, im going no contact soon and him he will die of his meds and recreational deugs habit or by a sex disease cause he rides bareback and nothing can kill or hurt the master. Hes superman. 60 years old what an asshole.

    • That’s unbelievable how cheap he was with his own family, but lavishly spends money to satisfy his penis. Shaking my head… And He’ll be in for a rude awakening when you go no contact soon. Good for you!

      • Yep only faithful to his dick. He was a good provider i will give him that and when the kids were little we got what we needed and some of what they wanted. But me, no. Im romantic hes not. He would yell these candles stink, i cant taste my food! But ow he loved the romance she provided. Candles, soft jazz he hates jazz. He showed his true self to her quickly. I used to get presents out of the blue occassionally but they werer expensive ones. Now i know why. Guilt another bondage bitch on the side. I could kick myself for not seeing this but i forgive me never will forgive him ever. Never! Going no contact is something im really looking forward to hes enjoying the hell out of telling people he and i are still gonna be best friends. Ive had people tell me thank god you will still be friends with him he would be completely fucked if you wouldnt talk to him any more he needs you to be okay with this hes such a nice guy please dont hurt him he still needs you, yeah right, for image management. WTF! Spoken by true and complete idoits. Day after closing bu bye motherfucker he is dead to me.

        • Wow Kar Marie. I’m so sorry. Your x sounds so scary. And gross. And disguised as a “nice” guy. I’m so sorry you and your children have had to go through this.

          • He gives the appearance of a nice guy, he can be and he was to a degree. Those who dont know him well would and do think that. But live with him they would know better and over the years he has only grown worse and the bad guy comes out often. The kids dont know the extent but they will as he descends into madness it shows. Hes shown that side to the kids many times the sex part the girl knows i hope the boy never finds out hes like his dad. Asswipe claims to adore women and then does what he does, no sir only they are there only for his pleasure to be used and abused as he sees fit and trained as a slave his way or so his many bondage site profiles say. And all the lies he wrote. Sheesh. Disgusting pod asshole. With me hours away the kids wont interact with him much he ignores them mostly now because they dont obey and is dissapointed in them as they dont do what he tells them to do. But hear him brag again disgusting. Brags on the kids to others and then tells me what he really thinks of them and the last line is always at least they are pretty the “master” cant have no ugly kids. Who says this shit! And i damn well better take care of myself and stay good looking, his exwife has to look gorgous after all he had an image to maintain to the world. Unbelievable asshole! I will never forgive him ever but what he said about our own children is beyond the pale. And he never said a word against them until he started fucking whore juice then nothing was ever goid enough, he was unhappy forever, blah, blah, blah. Same cheater bullshit. The kids got his number my daughter barely talks to him now his fault not mine. Im leaving two letters when i leave the first one should embarress him enough to keep him from contacting me and the second one might give him a stroke either way i will be hours away from the fallout. He thinks he will still have some control over me and i can be one of the harum. Gee arent i lucky. He a sick fuck who needs professional help and i hope my kids stay away from him forever. Hes not a father hes a collector of pretty things he can brag on. Fucking asshole.

          • And for the first time in 30 years i became afraid of him he loves to beat women in sex. He beat his first wife when she pissed him off mostly when she endangered the kids. He beat his mistress twice. Knocked her out cold once. He has never laid a hand on me he will go to jail if he does believe me. I steer clear of him time is winding down closing soon and i will truly be free and staying single for the rest of my life!

            • Kar Marie, you are brave, and have endured so much. Stay strong til you get away! I hope you have some documented ‘dirt’ on him, I would never trust this user, even if you’re divorced, and many miles away. Make sure he knows not to reach out and fuck with you, because you could embarrass and expose him, and your lawyer has copies ready to open if needed. Always protect yourself, these crazy pod people think they ‘own’ us, even after divorce!

              • Unbeknownst to him i have photos and video tape from his bondage sites dressed up in bondage gear and him beating the shit out of women. Which i will threaten to release if he bothers me in anyway. I AM DONE!

        • Kar Marie, what you describe is/was living hell. “Yet he appears normal and such a good man.” And friends telling you “he needs you to be okay with this he’s such a nice guy.” I hope Kellia is right, ’cause I’m shaking my head too. I hope he will be in for a rude awakening. You deserve better than that creep and people bamboozled by a raging prick, pun not intended, phrase-fits-all intended.

          The candles didn’t stink. HE did.

          • He was a fairly decent guy except for the tantrums and anger but he was fairly decent, now looking back i see more of what he lacked and i stupidly covered up for. He gave presents but only obigatory ones or he fucked up and gave forgive me presents looking back he never gave of himself, except when neccsary got mad if we cried happy or sad, gave no support or comforting words except for get over it. No shoulder to cry on, no listening to the kids but would anger if they ran by him to come to me, hey i listened i comforted, i was supportive. His dad died, shed not one tear the rest of us were in hysterics. Got angry caused we cried helped his sibling not one iota in settling fathers affairs just didnt care. I really didnt realize how fucked up his thinking is. He has grandbabies, we do didnt give a shit about them but the whores grandbabies he got attached to girls of course he cried when she threw him out cause hed never see them again but his own flesh and blood grandbabies nothing and he blames the kids and me for it. He could have stepped up he didnt. After we split up he said to me, you do it ive no time for nonsense and i have a busy life you reestablish contact with them so i can see them with whore juice. He said he was the one who delagates all and i better do it. Are you fucking kidding me! I have to mend the fences and make him look like a good guy! Fuck him told him have your whore do it! She didnt. Probably got a beating for that. I reestablished contact for me only so i get to see them now and again. He doesnt know that. Im completely off social media, i had him blocked anyway but whore juice had someone who could see my stuff to report me then tell me then i would get why didnt you tell me such and such, mad look, anger, popped eyes teeth and fist clenched. He found out just like i did his dozens of sex subscriptions. He doesnt know i know that either. But the decent part of him ran dry long ago the pod keeps up that appearance.

            • Yes this. He and his family are not close (they had too many kids and he is a twin so I think he was neglected and his father is a raging narcissist).now he wants to shoe of new ap to them. His sister blabs all to me. Says I’m still her sister after 34 years of marriage. He was never physically abusive until I refused to continue to be manipulated amd I suspect a bisexual relationship as well with a guy that put massive amounts of money in his business with no legal agreement plus his AP (female) who has the good job pension plan and house despite having a 10 year old he has to put up with. He will suck her dry and take his time aboit it I’m sure as he has other action including, I’m ashamed to say, cheating with me (it was a real wakeup call since he asked me for a sizable loan from my settlement right after–he is despicable). O could go on and on. It reads like a horror movie….

            • KM

              Whore contacted my daughters to manipulate my children saying he missed them. Didn’t work out very well. The triangulation is never ending. There is a difference between being trusting and stupid. We were trusting. They are the dumb asses. Who the fuck are they to have expectations from us anyway?

              • Well put doing me, every time he looks at me knows what a shithead he is. Not so with new sparkly ones. No mirrors but then hes such a soul sucker probably couldnt see his reflection anyway for he has no soul just a bottomless pit.

            • Kar Marie,
              You have to some way get a photo of him in his full S&M costume and regalia. Like, with his whip and leather bareback chaps, beating a submissive with a ball gag in her mouth and her nipple clamps.

              If there is anyway you could get this photo, any words that came out of his mouth, if he tried to disparage you, lie, gaslight in court….when that picture was thrown down on the table….game over.

              No one would be able to move past it. They would see him like the freak show sadists in the pawn shop basement scene of Pulp Fiction.

              • Not to worry i have pictures and video. If he bothers me in the future i will threaten to release them.

        • Wow kar Marie it’s amazing how close our stories are . It’s all image management. Mine bought me bling too. I thought he loved me..ha!!!

          • Kar Marie hit the nail on the head when she said her ex gave expensive gifts because he couldn’t give of himself, and that he couldn’t feel empathy, or sadness!!
            This x thousands with my scumbag stbx!!!!
            I can’t tell you how many times stbx would give me gaudy expensive jewelry, designer purses, or nice cars etc. to make himself look like a great loving husband to everyone else. He was a completely different person in front of other people.
            I used to have other women tell me how lucky I was to have him & that they wished their husbands were more like him. It was surreal. If they only knew the truth.
            The truth was when no one else was around, my life was hell, it was like being locked in a tower surrounded by beautiful material things except for the one thing that I really wanted & that was love.
            Love is yet another emotion he can’t feel and will never be able to feel or give anyone else. I see him struggle to relate to our son for the short time that he is around. I’m convinced the only real emotion he can feel or feels is anger.

            • Current chump what you wrote is asswipe to the letter! Me and you gotta go celebrate one day for getting free! Your story is my story.

              • Oh Kar-I shudder to think what you escaped with your ex-BIG GIANT HUGS! I was so afraid for you & your kids when I was reading your stories.
                I hate to think that I was lucky that stbx was into the incessant porn, massage parlor hookers, underage girls and craigslist hookups….(and he is nearing 50 already on blood pressure meds)…..UGH-YUCK
                but alas the truth of it all is that it all sucks!

                You are right though-they are PODS and not even human.

                I have one piece left before I am finally free of stbx for good…..Kar when that happens, we will need to have a HUGE celebration party!!!!

              • My kids are grown and moved away thankfully. The last three years only was when i became fearful i sincerely doubt he would ever lay his hands on me but you never know. I have his number the kids have his number so they will not see him much or talk to him they dont obey. Ha! After you are free and i are free we need to party down! Im gonna sing twisted sisters were not gonna take it as loud as i can hope i dont embarress you!

              • Ok Kar-
                Then I will sing Twisted Sister’s song “I Wanna Rock” HA HA!!

          • Yes its sad but i wont count it a total loss ive got the kids love and devotion he doesnt he fucked it up with them and a couple of his family members still love and support and want to talk to me but we have to keep it low key cause i guess they are suppose to hate me and if they talk to me they took my side. He is such an asshole and a big giant pod!

            • I agree about the kids Kar-
              I did get a beautiful, smart & loving boy for my time spent in purgatory with that assclown.
              And even at his young age, my son can see that is dad sucks!!

              Stbx’s family will continue to be nice (even if it’s fake) because they don’t want to lose their grandson

              Oh well, life goes on & I’m on my way to meh on Tuesday with my boy

            • Just to be clear there is no way I will ever be intimate with the pod again. One setback was enough and it was last November. I consider him out of my life except to settle financial stuff. Looking forward to filing for final divorce!

  • The WHAT/WHY questions haunted me for a long time. Cheaters much prefer smoke screens like addictions, or “we grew apart” or “our marriage was already over” to hide their duplicitous nature.

    Thanks to NC, as well as a daily dose of CL/CN wisdom, clarity has emerged in the form of declarative factual statements (aka cheaters’ kryptonite):

    WHAT did he do? Instead of filing for divorce, he decided to lie, cheat, and live a double life behind my back.

    WHY? Because he is a lying cheating coward.

    WHAT did I do? I divorced him immediately post-DDay #1.

    WHY? Because I did not wish to be married to a proven lying cheating coward.

    My X of course does not like any of this, he finds me unforgiving. Emailing him that I prefer to be remembered as unforgiving than unfaithful crossed my mind, but… meh.

    • “My X of course does not like any of this, he finds me unforgiving. Emailing him that I prefer to be remembered as unforgiving than unfaithful crossed my mind, but… meh.”

      This is beautiful. We could start a new post, of
      I’d Rather be this than that, maybe for a Friday challenge?

      I’d rather be unforgiving than unfaithful
      I’d rather be shy than slutty
      I’d rather be honest than horse faced (who the heck called the ho horse faced, I can’t remember)
      I’d rather be witty than whory

      Well, you get the idea.

        • I’d rather be torchered than together. No wait! Never mind. That’s the same thing.

      • Great idea Annie… Things like

        Unlike my X
        I’d rather divorce than cheat.

        I’d rather communicate with my spouse about my needs than use grad whores to service me.

        I’d rather spend time with my family than mislead my spouse into thinking I am working while I’m in fact having sex with my latest mistress.

        I’d rather start IC than telling our first post DDay MC we were here to deal with my betrayed spouse’s trust issues…

        Just writing these makes me grateful all over again to live in a country where divorce is a legal option to get rid of a shitty spouse.

  • “I prefer to be remembered as unforgiving than unfaithful.” I am SOOO going to use this.

  • “Addiction is real. So is assholery.” Yes.

    I spent the first three plus years of my “recovery” from being a chump as a member of SOS, the Sisterhood of Support, an online support group for partners of “sex addicts”. It is a wonderful group and they literally saved my life. But the general consensus there, which I share, is that there is no such thing as a sex addict. SOS continues to use that term because it’s what someone needing help and support will search under when they are desperate for answers. IMO if serial cheating is linked to anything, it’s personality disorders which could be anywhere on the spectrum from a mild case of narcissism to outright sociopathy depending on the individual cheater. And even it there is some addictive behaviors involved, as Nomar so aptly put it, “Addiction always starts with a series of choices”. My ex husband’s dick didn’t accidentally fall into a series of stripper pussy nor was that behavior caused by a brain chemical imbalance. That was a choice. As was his porn use and his visits to strip clubs. As was the thousands of dollars he spent on strange instead of his wife and kids. As one of my dear friends is fond of saying, if you can Google “local massage parlors”, “sex” or “hooker” you can Google “help”. The bottom line for me is that there is no cure for assholery. Whether it’s a disease, a disorder or an addiction doesn’t really matter is there’s no cure and there isn’t.

    • Addiction, as the term has been used until recently, also has a physical component. Opiate addicts have a physical dependence on that drug and withdrawing from it without medical supervision has serious consequences. The same is true with alcohol, cocaine and other intoxicants. There is no physical withdrawal from sex, so there can be no “addiction” to it. What has happened is that certain terms have been hijacked by professionals who (I think) use these terms incorrectly. It is so much easier to have an “addiction” than to have a moral failure. You’re not a bad person, you’re an “addict”, who needs “help”. In this way, people can shift responsibility for their bad behavior and avoid the consequences of their deliberate choices. While taking drugs is a choice, for some people their genetics are such that they simply are unable to avoid addiction the first time they ingest an opiate. Cheaters are not addicts, no matter how many partners they seek or how low their morals fall. Each time they chose to cheat, they are making a conscience decision to do so. Using such terminology serves only to assist them in avoiding the consequences of their behavior!

      • I agree Violet and what is more, I think it is a deliberate fraud on the part of all those “sex addict recovery clinics” to prey on the partners of so-called sex addicts by holding out hope that their very expensive treatment will fix the problem. I know many, many women who fell for that, sent their partner off to be “treated” to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars only to be told, in many cases, that the addiction is their fault due to their co-dependency and/or failure to maintain their appearance, etc. Same ol’ shit the RIC industry uses just packaged under another label. Most CSATs (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists) are themselves “sex addicts” which absolutely horrifies me. No wonder they are prone to blaming the innocent spouse.

  • Another similar angle: if a person I love is struggling with a thing that causes the person to harm me, it is actually critically important for that person to be able to change that thing without depending on me, or the change will never be effective. That might mean that as long as I am around “helping” I am actually interrupting the process. Old cycles creep in to relationships with long existing habits already in place.

    We really aren’t doing anyone any good by staying in situations that harm us. We are being harmed, which makes us broken and unable to be stable for anyone, and the harmer is more likely to stay stuck in the status quo.

    You’ve given it your best try, but this isn’t something you can change, so it’s time to go. You are doing that, and it really is best for everyone. This dude may stay stuck in his patterns or he may not. Doesn’t really matter. The point is, he won’t be keeping you stuck in them, too. Your kids need one solid, stable role model, and you are fulfilling that need. Good for you.

    Cheating and predatory grooming are addictive behaviors, sure, and so is waiting for potential change, but they are distractions. Like most addictions. The core issue is what the addict is avoiding/escaping and why the addict doesn’t value the self enough to make different choices and care about others, and you can’t help another person figure that out. Sometimes the best support you can offer is to go away and let the chips fall.

    Take care of you, Friend. Much support to you.

    • “Cheating and predatory grooming are addictive behaviors, sure, and so is waiting for potential change, but they are distractions. Like most addictions. The core issue is what the addict is avoiding/escaping and why the addict doesn’t value the self enough to make different choices and care about others, and you can’t help another person figure that out. Sometimes the best support you can offer is to go away and let the chips fall.”

      THIS x 1 bazillion. Hardest thing to learn and do. It requires you to give up the part of yourself that wants- no, desperately craves- validation and explanation. Until you are able to let go of the darkness that comes from feeling like a hurt, rejected, victim, you will never be able to recognize the light of truth where YOU are the master of your own fate.

      Still working on this BTW. Knowing it doesn’t make it happen, or make the transition any easier. :-/

  • I can relate to a lot of this – I’m AA and met my XH there. He had a couple of years more sobriety when we met. And I was warned at the time he was what is called 13 stepping me i.e. using recovery as a smokescreen for seduction. Of course I ignored the warnings and married him. Looking back I can see he was shopping for a sucker (chump).

    Well those on the sidelines were right. During the course of our relationship he used porn, prostitutes and then the ‘affair’- said he was a ‘sex addict’ and went to a few of those meetings. He started drinking again (which I’m sure he blames on me!) and of course he lied, stole etc. He told me the OW was because he was tired of recovery relationships which was really a check out from being responsible and healthy.

    In the end I did what was suggested and detached my co-dependent self from him and am now divorced and strict no contact. It wasn’t easy as CL says but my recovery discipline and CL were great strengths.

    After licking my wounds, I have come to see what this episode (7 years from meeting to divorce) has taught me – about myself and of course recovery. I can’t speak for him (untangle that skein) but throughout the relationship, I stayed sober, went to meetings, tried to do the right thing and oh was faithful. Goodness knows the provocation was to do otherwise but the whole point about recovery from addictions of any kind is that it gives you choices. A mantra I had at the end about leaving was ‘ He made a choice, I made a decision.’ Scharklady, you’ve made your decision, so leave him to his probably bad choices.

    • I am sorry for your pain Mikky, you are amazingly mighty to have overcome addiction and divorcing a manipulative 13 stepper!

      • Thanks Chumptitude. As a general PS- I’m watching the Olympics and of course Michael Phelps’ win. A man who accepted he had a substance problem, made choices to deal with it, made amends to family and became stronger through it. That’s recovery!

      • I had never heard of “13th stepping” before today, but I worked with a guy who was a recovering alcoholic active in AA. He was married, but he kept coming on to me. Weirdly, he thought I needed to be in AA, although I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Now a codependence group, maybe. But could be he wanted me in AA for this predatory reason.

    • Durtbag used AA to troll for his harem. I think over time he had to stop going because there would be a pretty good chance he would run into an ex-harem member. Of course, he also used his recovery to blame me for the problems in our relationship, I.e. Even though he said it was ok for me to have a glass of wine, he claimed to everyone in the smear campaign that I was a drunk and he blamed my (occassional) drinking for the end of our relationship because it “threatened his sobriety.” Let’s forget about the scores of women he was sending pix of his dick too, the many he invited over to our home to screw (while his mom was living in our basement), the bjs he got in the attic (thanks Bambi for sending me that picture, nice….and she was mad at me because I was his wife and she didn’t know), the women he kept on the side, his constant harem and the non-stop lies, manipulation, gaslighting, and abuse. Finally, the 26 year old music “partner” that he went “on tour” with (who is a drug addict), was the coup de gras. Now he is homeless but not without a home (he is quite a charmer), and he and his mom and the slut puppet are living off of someone else’s good graces. In the mean time, he continues the same behaviors with slut puppet, but she is clueless. She won the booby prize. It has now been almost a month of no contact and slightly longer since the divorce. I still have my crazy moments of wanting to turn back time, but quickly remember that turning back time will only cause me to relive the horror, again.

      • What an asshole he is. I worked two years in a bar while sober after I went back to school. Nothing and nobody is a threat to my sobriety. It’s on me.

  • What an interesting article today – and Scharklady and CL – you’ve nailed it… whether it is an “addiction” or not – it is, at a very base level, a purposeful choice to do harm to another person.

    My father was an alcoholic who got sober when I was 16. We lived in middle class suburbia where no one talked about such things. There were years of mom threatening selling the house and taking the kids and moving away. Never did. Dad got sober when he wanted to (when his Higher Power kicked in)… but you know what, the drinking was only one manifestation of bigger, unresolved internal conflicts. And, sadly, the only thing that really changed about him was he put down the booze. He wasn’t anymore emotionally or spiritually available to his family with our without.

    I think Mr. Sparkles is very much like him – not shocking, I suppose. His “drug of choice” is sex – multiple affair partners. BUT – his choice is to LIE TO HIS WIFE and DESTROY HIS FAMILY. He could live as a single person and screw whomever he chooses whenever he chooses, openly and honestly. He doesn’t. He chooses “relationships” and they always overlap. He devalues and discards because it gives him as much a high as “falling in love” or sex. As CL says over and over again… AGENCY is at the heart of the cruelty.

    So, call your ex an addict… Sharon can call Ozzy an addict… but it doesn’t change the fact that these actions are choices to cause harm… and you need to keep you and your children out of harm’s way.

    God Bless.

    • You raise a good point about sobriety. While an addict can’t change or improve while they are using, going sober in itself provides no meaningful change or improvement. The hard work still needs to be done.

      • So true. See my post above. Just because you take the alcohol out of the picture does not mean you get a character transplant, you just have less to blame your behavior on, so you blame the chump. I hope #4 enjoys the pain. I secretly hope it is the slut puppet and he ruins her life too. It is what he is best at…..

  • I believe that an addiction can be a real physical/mental experience due to the behaviors that can be caused if the drug/alcohol/behavior is introduced to the system — it can be used to extract information, torture, and/or control a person — even against their will. I believe some people can inherit weaknesses or vulnerabilities with regard to some “addictions” — like alcoholism. If my dad is an alcoholic and his dad was an alcoholic and I marry an alcoholic — chances are my children will run a high chance of becoming alcoholics. This is indeed the case in my genetic structure. I am not an alcoholic, in fact I have very poor tolerance for alcohol, and I choose not to drink much or often because it puts me to sleep, or makes me very ill if I drink too much. I have chosen to educate my children about alcoholism, so at least they will have valuable information to combat the disease that I did not have. But I cannot make the choice for them — they have to choose to drink, or not.

    I also believe that some humans are missing an essential component in their personality — you can call it whatever you want to — but they just don’t care about anyone but themselves. If they “act” like they care, they are doing so for some purpose that will benefit them in some way. I also believe that you can be trained to react to these people by social expectations — because my mother was an enabler, and she raised me to be an enabler. I heard “you are strong, and you must take care of, clean up, be quiet about, etc etc, etc, the problems of other people in the family. I was trained to do this. I train well. It has taken a lifetime for me to be able to say NO, and to take responsibility only for my actions and the things I can control for myself.

    I believe it is possible to love someone, and that love makes it very hard not to help them when you believe you may be able to do so. But I also believe you have to restrain these impulses some times so that the person will find the ability to help themselves, and will do so. Sometimes, you have to walk away, because you realize they will never help themselves, and they will always find someone to do things for them. Sometimes you have to walk or run away so that these leeches will not suck all the life out of you and leave you a dried out husk, discarded to die, while they slither off in search of a new chump to attach to.

    Addiction, or lack of character, or moral apathy — whatever you want to call it — is a devastating flaw for a human to have. No amount of love, or care can change these people from the outside. There are a few people who may have the fortitude to overcome an addiction to a substance/situation themselves — but these folks are rare. As CL says, if you call it moral agency, and you decide to act upon your moral choice — even recognize that you have one — it is hard. It can be done, but it is difficult. It was very hard for me to understand that helping someone was actually hurting them, and that I was also hurting myself by doing so. It was very hard to accept that vows I had made (for instance in sickness or health) were not applicable if the person I had entered into that vow with WAS NEVER REALLY COMMITTED. On his side, it was just words said to get things he wanted. So I was duped into a contract that was fraudulent from the beginning. A contract that could never be upheld, because the misrepresentation made it unenforceable.

    Labels are shortcuts that may or may not be helpful, but real life is hard. It doesn’t matter what you call something — what matters is what you do, and what you observe others do when they don’t know you are watching. People who have no morals think that morality is a big joke. People that believe in morals cannot understand living a life without them. I don’t know if there is any compromise between these two positions — I cannot think of one. I just know which camp I must live in.

  • As a society, we hold alcoholics responsible for getting behind a wheel and driving. This is especially so if a drunk causes an accident. I don’t see all that different here when it comes to cheaters. Their behavior is destructive–maybe even more so than a drunk driver. They are responsible for not dealing with their demons, and they are responsible for the destruction they cause for not facing down the temptation to cheat.

    • There’s an “A-HA” for me in what Buddy & Portia & Divorce Minister just said above. My stbx wryly commented in a therapy session that… post-his-3-yr-affair… Even with his apparent remorse & his doing a lot of repair, at best, he’d still be treated like a “dry drunk”. There’s so many red flags about his not wanting to do the tough reflective work on his own agency & his own moral compass in that statement, that I pretty much quit couples therapy right after that.

    • DivorceMinister-
      Love that analogy. I’ll add that I consider AP’s that knowingly enter into relationships with a married person as analogous to someone who knowingly serves an already intoxicated person a drink when they know they are going to drive.

  • Hi Scharklady,

    Your question ties into the oft-spouted “Affair Fog” myth and the false theory that cheaters are addicted to the hormone dopamine. I recommend you read this article:, which thoroughly debunks the pseudoscientific notion that cheating is clinical addiction (in the same way as drugs or alcohol).

    Second, as you probably already know, what your husband is doing is referred to by people in the recovery community as “13th stepping”, which is when older or long-standing members of a recovery group (like AA) romantically/sexually pursue young or new members in the early stages of their recovery.

    13th Stepping is, unequivocally, predatory and abusive behavior. Your husband is taking advantage of women who are extremely damaged and vulnerable and, perhaps most cruelly, sabotaging their efforts to make better life choices and crawl up from the pit of rock bottom. I’m sure at least some of these women joined these programs with the intent of saving their marriages, and instead, your husband facilitated the final destruction.

    Do not doubt for one second your decision to divorce. Judging by your husband’s behavior, he’s not addict so much as he is remorseless head-case who uses substance abuse as an excuse to do whatever the fuck he feels like. By walking out, you’re teaching your children a valuable lesson about self-respect and morality.

    I wish you the best of luck in the future!

    • “13th Stepping is, unequivocally, predatory and abusive behavior. Your husband is taking advantage of women who are extremely damaged and vulnerable and, perhaps most cruelly, sabotaging their efforts to make better life choices and crawl up from the pit of rock bottom.”

      Lulu, this alone should tell scharklady that it doesn’t matter what constellation of problems this abusive man has. She needs to get away from him.

    • I think the Affair Fog is just the feeling of being in love during the “honeymoon” phase and we all know how powerful and real those feelings can be, and they probably help ensure we continue to reproduce.

      But there is a big difference between being single and searching for a partner vs. already having a partner and kids.

      If you choose to have affairs to recreate those honeymoon feeling and you already have a spouse and family, then you are a selfish sociopath who lacks empathy and courage.

      In many cases, the “Affair Fog” quickly evolves into a “rational” plan to upgrade one’s situation in some way, even if said plan is irrational. Cheaters know what they are doing, even if it makes no sense, even if they are hurting you, even if the AP is just another narcissist.

      So yeah, I don’t believe in the Affair Fog. Affairs are simply selfish people searching for “better” or lacking courage to deal with problems in their marriage, with no regard for your suffering or their kids suffering.

      • “Affair Fog” is a way to conveniently forget what you don’t want to have to admit to.

        • Yup, denial, compartmentalization, avoidance, duplicity, living in a entitled fantasy, pretending you aren’t doing what you are doing.

          That is selfish cowardice, not fog.

          and the during “reconciliation”, wash rinse and repeat

  • In my experience the affair (The one that i know of) isn’t or wasn’t the addiction for my STBXW. It’s the attention, adoration = Cake they get from the affair, triangulation, watching someone do the ‘Pick Me’ Dance? Otherwise know as ‘Narcissistic Supply’?

    As Sam Vaknin explains “It is important to understand that attention of any kind – positive or negative is a form or narcissistic supply” He also describes this supply as a drug.

  • Unfortunately, I do believe in addictions, I haven’t really decided whether they are a disease, per se. I don’t believe adultery/cheating/lying about it is an addiction. It is a bad habit and a moral flaw.

    For me, an addiction has to change something about you physically and for the most part, permanently. My first husband was an alcoholic, and basically died from complications of severe alcohol abuse. Due to the sudden death, an autopsy was required by law. Under cause of death, there were a couple of “alcoholic” related diagnosis. I remember thinking, “how did the doctor doing the autopsy know he was an alcoholic?”. It is in your cells after a point. Measurable, identifiable, physiological changes.

  • For the record, I prefer the term “substance abuser” to “addict” or “alcoholic” because it doesn’t require me to make a diagnosis. If someone is taking hydrocodone that was prescribed for someone else or is drunk from Friday at 5 to Monday at 9 am is a substance abuser and not available for a relationship. It doesn’t matter to me what a psychologist or addiction specialist would say. If someone’s “twu wuv” is Jack Daniels, there’s no room there for me.

    Every word of this post resonates with me, as someone who has lived with 1) substance abusers and alcoholics; 2) narcissists; 3) and at least two cheaters. The common denominator is me. That doesn’t mean I blame myself for the childhood experiences that set me up to make poor choices, but that I had to fix the picker that was set to “substance abuser” and “narcissistic tendencies”–which guaranteed that I was typically all in with someone who was not available for any relationship other than Canadian whiskey. wine. opiod pills, whatever was available.

    It was hard to leave my XH the substance abuser. I had been madly in love with him since I was 21. I had been over the moon when he (finally) wanted to get married. But life with him started out hard and got to be dangerously so–a man with deteriorating memory who slept with a loaded gun in the nightstand. It didn’t matter that I told him I was scared he would shoot me if I fell asleep on the couch at night and then wandered into the bedroom after midnight or that I needed him to be a financial partner rather than a roommate paying 1/4 of the housing costs and nothing else.

    Substance abusers can be casually cruel. They have muddled, distorted thinking, and the focus on themselves and their substance renders other people somewhat irrelevant. I remember listening to XH talking to his sister at a family funeral. She and her kids were staying at his house after an 8-hour drive and he wondered how early she planned to leave the next morning because he wanted to meet his buddy at 9 am for their “workout,” which was a prelude to a morning and afternoon at the bar. It was shocking, though it shouldn’t have been. He’d pushed me aside every weekend for that same trip to the bar, no matter what was going on in my life. Scharklady writes, “He is directly out to cause me harm (so far just emotional and financial).” Before we get to the stage where someone is obviously “directly out to cause [us] harm.” we have moved through a lot of devaluation, in which drinking or drug use or affairs have demonstrated over and over that we simply do not matter.

    That won’t change. A substance abuser has tremendous work to do to get his or her own life on the right track. It’s certainly possible. One of my great friends was an addict who got cleaned and become a wonderful counselor for young people, a fine life partner, and a sound parent. But that work needs to be done before the substance abuser gets into a relationship. And I’d say the same thing for a cheater. These people need to show over a substantial period of time that they are capable of empathy, reciprocity, and respect for others before we can give them a second look or a first date, let alone a key to the house and a spot next to us in bed.

    • LovedaJackass:
      Substance abusers can be casually cruel. They have muddled, distorted thinking, and the focus on themselves and their substance renders other people somewhat irrelevant.

      That was BRILLIANT!

  • Sorry for the typos–I’m in a car dealer waiting room listening to a guy trying to pick up a woman whose body language has her halfway out the door…distracted….

  • Also, I saw the physical effects alcohol and drinking/not drinking had on my late husband. Very nasty stuff, plus the fact that even if they stop drinking , if they take even one drink they will immediately be back where they started. I think a lot of people get classified as alcoholics that really aren’t. It’s a fine line between bad habit and addiction, but to me it’s that physical component. Your body is dependent as well as your mind. Sex, lying, cheating, etc are not addictions, they are bad habits and character flaws.

  • I meant to say you will be back where you left off, not where you started. You don’t revert back to casual drinker.

  • This was EXACTLY what I needed today. I’ve been backsliding with NC. Things have been getting friendlier as the horrible pain subsides, the divorce decree gets closer to being finalized, etc. We’ve been texting about our daughter more, I share pictures of her and then WHAM! he goes postal about some small detail related to our divorce, he rages with entitlement about a divorce I am paying for and today I’m back to square one, realizing he is and always will be a Narcissitic Dickhead.

    I know NC is the way. I know I AM THE ADDICT and I always have been. He’s my drug. So much of what CL wrote above resonated with me. I decided on D-day, January 2, 2016 that enough was enough and I’ve just kept moving forward left foot, right foot, left foot. Putting an end to 17 years of entitlement, selfishness and cluster B bullshit. NO CONTACT is the only way. It’s very difficult with a small child but I am going to have to do this to get this asshole in my rear view mirror.

    Any suggestions about how to be as low contact as possible when sharing a 4 year old?


    • I share an interest in this question: if you are the one with more time with the kids, especially younger kids, how much of their lives should you share with the X?

      I do think it makes sense to share things related to education and health, but what about everyday experiences: learning to ride a bike? birthday parties? camping at a pretty lake? new clothes?

      And what about facebook? Friend? De-friend? Even if you defriend, the X will probably still occasionally see your posts via a mutual friend.

      What is healthiest for the kids?
      Does it depend on the emotional health of each parent and the dynamics between those parents?

    • Chump bunny,

      Look at this software program:

      I found this independent review:

      * If used properly, OFW is one of the most effective tools a parent sharing custody with a high-conflict person (HCP) and/or an abusive personality-disordered individual (APDI, e.g., Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, etc.) can have at his or her disposal.*

      You could just use this software as your “intermediary”. Go on the website and look around.

      I think it could be a huge help in going NC or bare minimum so you can heal and think clearly.

    • Change his name in your phone to “Narcissistic Dickhead” in the contacts on your phone. If you need more of a visual reminder, place a picture of a floating dick where his picture belongs.

      • I did this with Jackass. His name was “Jackass Do Not Talk or Text”

          • Mine remains Wackjob…first call in about 2 months the other day…I thought he was blocked. He was civil just telling me he got the lawn tractor running and to turn it off when I got home—hmmm. The rage came later by email. Blocking again on my cell….

    • I have had to struggle with myself to NOT send amusing anecdotes and observations and general information about our child’s day. It was my habit to share these things daily, but I have decided that he is perfectly capable of involving himself if he wants to know these things. He can volunteer at school or extracurriculars, call his child (he has done so only twice in 3.5 months), read the school facebook page, etc. He used to use the info I provided to fake being a good dad to child and others. What kind of dad doesnt know his kid’s best friends names, what days he has piano practice, who his favorite authors are, what color pants are allowed at school, what dosage and kind of medicine he takes, and on and on? So for my own need for NC sanity and to quit propping up his image, I choose to leave him in the dark. And he is so busy with his own selfish pursuits … alcohol, drugs, sex with men and married women … I doubt he notices. As for my child, he needs to gradually learn who truly cares about him and who is using him as an image-enhancer. I dont think it helps the child to believe the artificial dad image.

      • Right. When you did all that charming sharing, you were enabling. Now you are requiring him to make his choices and live with them. Good for you.

  • Nowdeadserialcheaterwife was totally an addict. She had a collection/hoarding compulsion that was active from before I even met her – she owned probably over a thousand dollars of infant baby clothing before we were even married, let alone trying to conceive, let alone pregnant. [The hilarious part was that they were all summer clothes for 6 month olds, and our daughter was born mid summer, so by the time any of them fit, it was mid-winter and they were all too cold! 🙂 ]. She was continuously equipping herself to start expensive new hobbies, then never doing anything with them. Her chat logs show a distinct pattern of seduction addiction [12 partners in 2 years? WTF.] Not sex addiction, mind you – comments made by her last real boyfriend show that wasn’t into sex with him any more than she was with me – it was a means to an end for her – a weapon in the seduction toolbox. And when the boyfriends dried up and the reality of being a mother reared it’s occasionally ugly head, the addiction turned to opioids.

    • Wow, talk about being baby obsessed! That would have raised tons of red flags for me if I dated someone like that, as I would fear they were just looking for a sperm donor to have a child with, rather than an actual father for their child. Scary.

  • Look, all human behaviors can be reduced to bare materialism; everything is biology: we pursue something pleasurable because complex neurology, evolved over vast stretches of time, is doing something “behind the curtain.” There is even compelling scientific argument that free will, on a purely biological level, is an illusion. We come into this world hard-wired, we are animals, etc. This I even acknowledge. (I am also an atheist so anything spiritual/religion is irrelevant to me).

    I say, so what? By this reasoning everything is an addiction. Therefore all human actions are beyond our control. So release everyone from prison and from psychiatric hospitals. After all, it’s beyond their control; it’s not their fault.

    I choose to believe we do possess free will and that kindness matters and that actions have consequences. My XW absolutely is textbook BPD and she absolutely had a hellish childhood. I feel sad for her–as a child. But she was a 40-year old woman when she committed her emotional atrocities. She is intelligent. She makes other choices in life that are logical and kind. She chose, over and over, to continue doing that which brought pain to me and our family–knowing it–and she chose again, and again.

    I was the one who made the enormous effort to break out of MY “addiction” to her. To stand up and say “No more,” to divorce her. And yes, what I went through was an excruciating form of withdrawal, a process of detachment that was absolutely primal and biological. But I did it because I had the free will to do so, and the human dignity that perhaps transcends biology. Or even if it doesn’t, I still did it.

    Enough with the “I can’t help myself, it’s an addiction” nonsense. Grow up, be nice to others. Some things in this life are simple.

    • David, nice post. I commend you for breaking out and love that last line “Grow up, be nice to others. Some things in this life are simple”

      Also my cheater, imho is BPD/NPD of the covert or waif-ish variety. You said “She makes other choices in life that are logical and kind. She chose, over and over, to continue doing that which brought pain to me…”

      I’ve read on other sites a litmus test of BPD/NPD as being “does he/she treat others in the same way? Does he/she have problems at their job” etc. The idea being that if she treats others logically and nicely and is a good employee, then she is not BPD. But I completely disagree with this. BPD/NPD are incredibly smart and manipulative. They can be amazing employees if it suits their M.O. and promotes their image and reputation. But at home, if they have power over you, the pure BPD/NPD is on full display. (It might take the chump-addict years to realize this, but eventually it all makes sense: BPD)

      • Buddy,

        “I’ve read on other sites a litmus test of BPD/NPD as being “does he/she treat others in the same way? Does he/she have problems at their job” etc. The idea being that if she treats others logically and nicely and is a good employee, then she is not BPD.”

        In my XW’s case, after I divorced her, she was fired from six (six) jobs, one of her three attorneys sued her, another refused to represent her, two psychiatrists refused to treat her, two pediatric psychiatrists refused to treat our kids due to her behavior, she gets into fights with co-workers, employers, our kids’ teachers, service people, everyone. Anyone who dares challenge or criticize her. She is a toxic child-woman and the definition of BPD.

        • Wow.

          Maybe my cheater isn’t BPD. But she still sucks.

          Of course, I always enabled her to not have to really have a real job, the kind where you have to be at work from 8 to 5 everyday. Instead, she did freelance work. She would work hours and hours on a project, perfecting the delivery, then only bill a few hours of her time, so her bosses thought she was amazing. If I tried to talk to her about billing more, then the fireworks and emotional manipulation tactics would rear their ugly head

    • “…she was a 40-year old woman when she committed her emotional atrocities. She is intelligent. She makes other choices in life that are logical and kind. She chose, over and over, to continue doing that which brought pain to me and our family – knowing it – and she chose again, and again.”

      I am committing this to memory.

      This is exactly why we chumps get so far into the skein of fuckedupedness — other areas of life are met with kindness and consideration, we torture ourselves trying to understand why those closest to them are subjected to their worst inclinations, and what possible explanation they would have for choosing to do so.

      From what I have been able to see regarding the Kunty Kibbler, she is seriously fucking with the heads of those in her new ‘circle’, about things that shouldn’t be big deals. So while the cheater’s tendency towards dishonesty may not manifest into discernable ‘problems at work’ or the like, they are likely there nonetheless.

    • As I read your post, David, I thought of that news story some years ago about Scarlet, a mother cat who risked her life over and over going back to drag her kittens out of the fire. However strong maternal instinct is, even as what we call an “animal” she chose to risk herself to save the helpless. And when we see humans who chose to deeply wound others who trust them, we need to see it as a choice.

      • I love that you remember this cat. I remember her, too. When my X was sleeping a woman who abandoned her children, I said to him, Even a snake cares for their young.

        But Scarlet was a much better example! I hope she found a good home and had a lovely life.

    • David,

      This is a great post and you made sense of why we cannot balance the actions of their behavior toward us and decisions effecting us with the behavior they give to others and the otherwise reasonable decisions they make.

      This made me remember sitting in MC and hearing Fucktard explain that things started going downhill since his best friend died. I actually felt sorry for him and empathized with how tragic that was. Now mind you, my mother was a drug addicted alcoholic thief who sometimes (I 99% suspect) sold herself. I was raised by my father and went NC with my mother when I was 18. I got pregnant and was a single mother at 20. The baby died of SIDS two months later. I was stationed in a foreign country at the time and was so sexually harassed by my commander that they weren’t going to tell me that I could get a hardship transfer to the closest base near my dad. Then I met him. I actually considered it fate intervening that my son died so I could move meet this man and have two more sons. The only tragedy there was my MIL. Total manipulative bitch who had a son that could do no wrong, unless it was to her and all she gave up for him. Anyway, a short while before he began cheating, my sister died.

      He grew up in a middle class, two parent household with one older sister. His only crisis was the ones he made for himself. The number of times I cheated? Zero. The number of times he cheated? Well, who the fuck cares, once was enough.

      Yes, free will is becoming the person you want to be and treating others as you please, either with kindness and respect or with apathy and disdain.

        • How right you are. It makes me smile when others think so too. I’ve been smiling a lot lately.

      • Once again, David’s comment seems to be so insightful. I am amazed by the intelligent comments consistently made on these posts over and over again. Nothing short of inspiring, CL nation is!

  • Narcissistic cheaters present like addicts because their behaviour aligns with that of an addict. Using what ever they please to fill their need.

    My Ex claimed all sorts of spiritual validation for his cheating, including possession and subsiquent deliverance of an unclean sexual spirit as many of you know. But despite his claimed freedom and redemption his behaviour towards me declined.
    His disassociation skyrocketed, he did not have any comprehension of the consequences of his action including my right to a divorce because he never considered me as a person, I was merely an extension of him, I had no right to decide for myself what I wanted. When ever I stood up for myself against him or voiced my anguish over his lies and cheating he switched into victim mode. And he began to accuse me of abusing him when ever he felt he had an empathetic audience. In his mind I was abusing him, I was creating a dynamic he was not willing/able to accept. I was cutting off supply.

    So external views on my Ex’s cheating brought a great deal of relief.

    He is not an addict, he is a user, there is a vast difference.

    Cheaters use people to fill any need they have at the given time. Sex, social standing, empathy, in mental health terms they call it narcissistic supply, which is why they need to surround themselves with strong networks of overly willing kibble dispensers and when you as the primary dispenser decide to call it a day you become enemy number one. Society likes to label it as addiction as addiction is now seen as a disease and if your Cheater can blame their behaviour on a disease then they is not responsible but if you divorce them you have chosen to break the “through sickness and in health” clause of your vows, and as people like to remind us two wrongs do not make a right.

  • -My Ex claimed all sorts of spiritual validation for his cheating,-

    I just heard that Hugh Grant says affairs are good for a marriage! So I guess we’re all overreacting, right?

  • “How did I break the cycle? With sheer mental fortitude and a lot of online and real life support. The big breakthrough, however, was no contact. I had to kick the drug. The person I was devaluing as an addict was myself.”

    Tracy, thank you for this! To go from being broken down to the level of being totally erased to surviving required mental fortitude at my weakest point. Given my history I have an addictive personality. I developed ways to cope with years of abuse.

    While I was putting the pieces together I recently realized he knowingly USED my admitting I had a problem with addiction. I saw a therapist for two and a half years. I was asked by my therapist to speak at conferences to help others and he asked for permission to use things I wrote on his website. I made gains and was proud of my success. I had to fill the void left by focusing on my interests. I started knitting scarfs and they were beautiful. I wanted to pick out new places to go and made a list of positive things to do together. He sabotaged every plan I made and used my addiction to blame me further. He played me. He never wanted me to get better. He continuously attempted to derail me by making negative comments. This was over ten years ago.

    The loser used my strength to seek out help against me to family, friends, and the needy pigs he hooked up with. I prevailed regardless.

    This realization was made this month and it hit me hard.

    What I know as my truth is that I owned my shit, worked on myself and cheaters use every excuse in the cheater handbook to avoid consequences.

    • There’s another part of the dynamic: the abuser who doesn’t want the partner to get better–to stop drinking or lose weight or recover from depression. They like the asymmetrical relationship.

      • Yes LAJ. He was afraid I would walk and instead of providing compassion and love which would have been a normal response to my success he was threatened by it. Fuck Him.

  • I am going to get into this debate. Addiction vs PDs. We know a young man who developed an extremely painful illness. He got addicted to opioids and went to rehab three times and finally kicked the addiction BUT the painful illness was still there. He found heroin. Went to rehab and kicked that. The intense pain was still there. In my opinion he should have been allowed to stay on th opioids and be monitored by a doctor. Instead the pain drove him back to heroin which killed him. This was not a manipulative person. He was between two hells.
    I will take the word of someone being a sex addict if they truly believe it and are actively working to overcome it. The success rate appears to be very low. The problem is we have a sex drive. I watched a TED talk and the speaker said this is an epidemic because damaged kids have access to porn so early in life they become addicts at puberty. Whatever the cause the outcome is the human debris left behind. Spouses/so, children, extended families, friends who are left heartbroken that someone chose “that” over loyalty and honesty.

  • In my area it’s called “13th Stepping.” Drug dealers sit outside NA meetings selling. Predators.

  • I would like to know when will women wake up and smell the coffee. I live in a building where half of my neighbors know this married man cheats on his wife for years. I didn’t. I just thought he was friendly or out going…. beside i know his sis-in-law…Little did i know he was setting me up, plotting, playing me…I wanted a friend but he wanted more. To make the story short i told his wife…7 weeks later the police called and wanted to “talk” to me. 2 question later i was arrested for agravant harassment but later dismissed. u c i written a letter, he and his wife thought they use that letter to press charges on me. But it backfires, he was forces to tell his wife and the police his cheating way throughout his marriage…i had the last words like i told i would. His wife walk around as if she married a wonderful man,,,little she knows. She hurting because what her husband did to me,,,its going to kill her when she finds out other people in the building knew and he bring other women in and out of his apartment while she at work….To realized her husband been making a fool of her all this time but then again they been together over 23 years and married 17 years. If she cant figure that out now she will never…

      • She didnt cause this woman pain. Her lying cheater of a husband did. She did the wife a favor…something others were unwilling to do…Would you want your husbands infidelity to be a poorly kept secret…something known by everyone except you? Lost, I applaud you for informing his wife. Maybe she will get checked for sti’s now before its too late.

        • Yo, thanks for ur comment. I would like to think someone knows how i feel…again thanks

      • LOvedajackass,
        I have a tough life as we all do. But I have my fair share then others. I trusted him. I lost a fiancé 14 years ago. I never been with any one but my fiance. My parents and sister passed away. I was assaulted twice in my life time which my married neighbor knew about. But do he care, NO. I would never wish that on any one….I needed a friend and only a friend. Little did I know he was plotting, setting, playing on me. Until he took advantage of me. He didn’t think I would say anything because I come from a different race. But I did, just to hurt him as much as he hurt me. I wanted to put him and every “man” like him in his place. And if that means going through his wife I will….!!! Do i regret telling his wife,,,,NO!!! I kept my mouth shut, until he threatened me…I found out through my other neighbors its cheats for years. He is a sorry ass of a man/husband who cannot keep his 1inch penis to himself….Cheater dont care about anyone even his wife. Not only he hurt me but most of all he hurts his wife. ANd he still continue to cheat today. His wife doesnt know he has other women on the side to this day. He still cheats…with a woman named Cecilia…he’s been with her over 9 years…i wonder how his wife feels about her….i sorry im yelling…im angry, hurt. Maybe this is not the place to voice my opinion….

  • Not sure if my XH has an addiction or obsession but anyway I know that he also uses the need to find his soulmate since he was two years old and has been looking his whole life for her. He admits that he frequently since a child falls in love and obsess over women, well, until another one gains his interests. I of course didn’t know all this as he hid very well that he had an addiction to “falling in love” and thus after 23yrs together I got the ILYBINILWY. In fact he was NEVER IN LOVE with me, so isn’t it obvious that he must go find that special spiritual connection that he never had with me!

    All of his actions, lies, betrayals of me don’t matter because this is what GOD wants for him to be happy and be with his soulmate so GOD has already forgiven him. Uhm, I haven’t and it has taken me 3yrs since BD and 2yrs D to believe that he is an addict obsessed with being IN LOVE, but cannot nor ever will be able to treasure mature love. He said I was “his best friend, great wife and we have wonderful relationship” and he was right. He is looking for something he will never find, and yet has lost something he will never have again.

    So, is it addiction, Foo issues, mental paralysis, fantasy, I don’t know but it is a choice, and it is destructive, and it is cruel, and it is pitiful.

    • “the need to find his soulmate since he was two years old and has been looking his whole life for her.”

      This is bizarre. Looking for his soul mate since he was 2 years old and is still looking after 23 years of marriage together. I’m sorry, but this is really weird thinking. And it makes me so angry that he married you when he was never in love with you. Then why court you? Why propose? Why buy you an engagement ring? Why get married? Why did he decide to go through with all these choices every step of the way. He could have ended things with you, which would have opened the door for you to find a guy that would have adored and cherished you. I just don’t get it. If you don’t love someone, you don’t marry them. Isn’t this a basic concept???

    • When i smell a troll. I will shout
      “Holy crap this pod has no peas! Cause trolls are pods too!

  • I have some issues with NC. My story while I thought it was rare looks like it is not. I met my ex wife at the bus stop in 7th grade. She was literally the love of my life. Fast forward 25 years and we had been married for 10 and moved to a new city where neither of us knew anyone on top of her finding out that she could not have kids. We had a great marriage I thought; we were best friends and knew each other inside and out. Then I came home from a work trip one weekend to literally a letter that she had drained our bank account taken my dog and was moving back to Denver because our relationship was “broken” turns out that she had been having an affair with a married man that was 10 years my senior and has an 8 year old daughter. This has become the narrative of my life, this man makes much more money then I do (we are both in financial services, actually all 4 of the people involved are in the same industry myself, my ex, the other dude, and his wife). To say that this has destroyed me is an understatement, my family literally grew up with this girl my parents, brothers, sisters, etc. So I went through the ”crazy phase” I ended up telling dude’s wife what was going on and now she is in the process of divorcing him (turns out it was not the first time). My major issue is that I still really love my ex wife and the few times I have tried to reach out to her I get nothing back. I have been devalued and thrown aside, as have all of the people that loved her over the years, she came from a broken and terrible family and mine took her in. I have become great friends with dude’s ex-wife and we even took a vacation together (just friends). However I cannot get my ex out of my mind, I divorced her and it was nasty but I really do miss the life I had with her despite the things she did to me. I have since moved to a new city and I am dating a great girl but my ex seems to always be there in the background of my mind it has been 18 months since she left me and 16 months since D-day. If anyone can help please do I am so unhappy, drinking every day, my ex is now living with the dude she cheated on me with and they are always traveling together and taking vacations, I am just so broken.

    • Matthew, your story is my brother’s story. Almost exactly…the only difference is there were children involved but she did the same thing. She abandoned him and those children while they fell completely apart. The hardest thing to get over is a relationship that started so young you are almost imprinted on her. If her family life was that horrible she has so many issues that there is no way this new fella is going to fix her any more than you did. My ex sister-in-law was a bubbly cute adorable girl until she wasn’t. I do not keep up with her anymore since my brother went on to marry again and have more children but I know that she has issues that will never be resolved. How you let go of her is probably from reading here and writing here and letting this group help you heal.

      • Thanks yeah just a really tough day. I guess I have good days and bad. Looking back on who I was 2 years ago is crazy I literally begged her to stay and to come back even after the cheating… that seems like a much weaker man.

        • Mathew, you say you look back 2 years ago and that seems like a much weaker man. It means that even though you feel the way you do, you are making PROGRESS. It takes time to heal and come to some difficult realizations when you loved someone who did not love you the same. It’s a tough road, but you are taking all the right steps to get better including being part of CN. One piece of advice I can give you is mourn the loss, because the death of a relationship deserves a funeral of sorts. Believe me, I’ve had to force myself to cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. When you have no more tears left to cry, you are almost there… Try it and every time you want her back, keep repeating to yourself “She doesn’t love you”. It worked for me when I had to break out of one of my relationships…. Best of luck and it will get better…

          • What i do is get out my list of what he did to me and look at that. If asswipe really loved me what he did would not have happened. If i begin to miss him and i occasionally do i tell myself km he did not love you enough to respect you enough to tell you the truth way more fun to lie and decieve you cause its fun for him to torment you and he is incapable of love. Think of the horrid statements he made about his family your children and you. Aint easy matt slowly it gets better. Fuck her you deserve better. Big hugs!!!!

          • Matthew, I hope that you take care of yourself… Try not picking up that bottle or can… It means she’s winning. Don’t let her win….

        • Matthew,

          Brother man. Your post really rings a lot of bells for me. STBXW was my bestie, and we have no kids. One thing in particular stood out in your post though – “weaker man.” Like others have said you weren’t weak. But as a dude, I can relate. Nothing is worse for a guy than to show weakness, especially to a woman who wronged you. But, I so relate. While I went no-contact after three months, and I haven’t seen her since November, I wanted to kill her and him so badly. That’s is just the animal rage. I didn’t give in, but I just had to get past it. Nightmares, puking, chest-ache – you know the drill.

          You aren’t weak. She fucked you over man. You loved. You fought for what you believed in. You believed in her and y’all because she put one over on you. She fooled you. You had a good faith agreement with her and she hoodwinked you. That’s not weak. You were a victim. I know victim is a loaded word. But that’s what happened. You made yourself vulnerable to someone and she took advantage of you.

          I have no idea what your new relationship is like because even at nine months out, I have not started dating. I fear I’ll find another narcissist or hurt someone. Have you told your new girl all this stuff you told us?

    • Mathewyellot,
      You were not weak. You loved her. When we love someone, and they violently jerk the rug out from under us, we do become crazy.

      I am not an expert, and people on here are, but I would like offer somethings that have helped me. I deeply love/d my X as well, and I have known him since I was a child, so I understand this raw hole in your heart.

      Therapy truly helps (a sane therapist). It helps you process the feelings and it makes you feel lighter. Because you are actually in deep grief, denial and shock.

      An antidepressant can help tremendously with the obsessive and intrusive thoughts. Think of a record skipping. Your brain might need a push, to help get over that hump of the past. That is why you are drinking- you are self medicating as you know something is “off” in your brain.

      Here is the worst part. You are going to have to forcibly MAKE yourself stop thinking of her. When you are with this great girl, and you start to drift back to your cheater, say STOP! You are indulging in a type of sadistic hurt to yourself. I know it is not intentional, but you are going to have to force yourself to stop thinking of her. An ACTIVE effort of banishing “woulda coulda shoulda” thoughts away. When you keep dwelling on it, you are ruining the No Contact, because you are mentally back with her.

      Another thing that has helped me is to truly grasp that some people are just bad news. We will never “untangle that skein” of why they cheated. It is accepting that you were betrayed, you did not deserve it and you have to break out of the mental prison she has created.

      If you could just see….there is nothing special about the person that broke your heart. It is as common as dirt (Hence this site). There are women out there who WILL NOT cheat on you, and have double lives as a pathological liar.

      I hope some other people post with some more tips to help you.

      Others I have found:
      *get massages
      *take trips to rewire synapses in your brain that have no association with her (I know you moved)
      * appreciate what you do have, be grateful- try not to focus on LOSS but what you HAVE
      *have great sex with your new great girl
      *get a lot sleep to help your brain heal
      *eat foods that make you happy but also nourish your brain
      *spoil yourself…want the new iPhone? Go get it.
      *Do not be so hard on yourself.

          • That is so kind to say! I am truly not. I just want to help people on this site because I came very close to losing my mind. And people here understand it, and though they did not know it, I was reading everyday, hanging on by a thread. I did not want to live.

            I felt in Matthew’s post he feels frantic and despair stricken.

            I *think* I am over the worst part. Boy, I hope so. I do not wail for him anymore. I do not corner strangers to vent. (Mortifying). I see him now..for how rotten he was. I see how lost I was.

            I will feel tiny bits of hope. That is why I told Matthew to spoil himself. I went crazy on Amazon and spent $200 and bought make up, lotions, things for my pets, and just things I did not need. I never spend money except on bills. It did make me feel a bit better….like OK….I will try this living thing again. I made a fried bean taco with guacamole. I swiffered my floors. I want to make it.

            I go over and over what I did wrong. I know there are two sides to a pancake, but in this instance, the only thing I did wrong was stay too long.

            The first Christmas Eve he told me he would be late because he was taking an ex girlfriend’s children (FROM ANOTHER MAN) bicycles, I broke up with him. I had his gift wrapped exquisitely, all kinds of snacks and treats, the tree, my outfit, you get the message. But I gave in when he begged for my forgiveness.

            It would have saved me if I had stuck to it.

            Woulda Shoulda Coulda….we can’t fix it. But this pain, this pain…I would have given anything to be spared it.

            A shared burden is a burden lessened. That is what this community of people are.

            • Sylvia we are here fir you 24/7. You did nothing to deserve this. Tell yourself over and over YOU DIDNT NOTHING WRONG!

    • Matthew – It’s normal to feel the way you do. She was your family, since you did grow up with her and met her in 7th grade. So it’s like you lost a family member. Also, you are living in a new city, probably don’t have many ties to it yet probably away from your direct family, so you probably feel alone and you want to revert back to your secure landing pad, which was being a family with her. You should do therapy to get over the loss and you need to do grief work. I found myself in my 40s facing a similar situation, except that I wasn’t married. But I was living in another country, without any direct family and no family of my own. It was brutal and I had to do grief work, as I felt I was an orphan and I was. If you’re drinking, it means you’re trying to cope with the pain using alcohol, but it’s not really fixing the problem. But I think you need therapy, and today, more than ever, there are tons of resources and tools, where you don’t need to be stuck where you are. There is help out there, if you choose to help yourself.

    • Matthew–18 months and 16 months–that is a blink when getting over a betrayal of this magnitude. You need therapy. Not that there is anything wrong with you other than you’ve been run over by a train. And like a train-accident victim, you need a professional to help you process and heal. I am very serious about this. You are dating a nice woman who will get badly hurt if you don’t slow down and get yourself on course. It is absolutely normal to feel what you are feeling–anger, depression, sadness, grief. But like most people, you’ve picked up some alcohol and started dating and then noticed that medicating yourself with that stuff didn’t fix anything.

      So prioritize your recovery. Start thinking about who you want to be. What kind of man you want to be. What you want to give back to the world. There’s a commercial about Tiny House shows on HGTV that says something like, “We are redefining what success is” or something like that.

      Read up on the three stages of narcissist’s relationships. Learn about the damage done by being discarded. Educate your brain. Take yourself to therapy to work with an expert on recovery. Put dating on hold for 6 months and rediscover yourself. And it goes without saying to put down the alcohol. The last thing you want is her to hear someone say, years from now, “Good thing you left him…he drank himself to death…”

      When I was betrayed by a friend of 35 years turned lover, I had put mourning for a close friend, a parents, and a marriage on the shelf. Betrayals opened an almost bottomless pit of grief. But my therapist helped me process all of it, or at least as much as I can see of it now. If you broke your leg, you’d think nothing of doing therapy for 6 months to rehab it for a sport. Do the same for your broken heart.

      • I have an enlightened nurse practioneer who said that exactly, LAJ. She gave me a note for two weeks off from work after DDay. She said, Well, I would not send you back with a broken ankle, would I?
        It did not go over too well at my job, but I had the note. They can go jump in a lake! 🙂

    • Matthew,

      Go ready CL from June 2, 2016, “Trust that they suck refresher course.” Then start picking out every blog that seems to fit. Keep reading. We are here for you.

  • OMG. I wished I had found this site 2.5 years ago.
    Thank you for bringing laughter and truth to my situation.

  • I think most cheaters are addicted to themselves… Affairs are simply one of their many “drugs” of choice to feed their incessant need for attention and admiration.

    • Over and Out, That is the perfect summary! They are addicted to THEMSELVES. The reason they cheat is because one person’s love plus the love of the rest of their family is not enough. They need MORE… Selfish

  • What a timely, well written, fascinating post.

    If I have brain cancer, I cannot decide to “stop” my metastasis. It is not a choice. Addicts or alcoholics can make the decision to stop. There is no other “disease” that I can just change my mind not to have anymore.

    With the exception of alcohol and opiates, coming down on cocaine, meth, molly is not too bad. A couple of Xanax or Valium and they are ready to rock it out again. Coming off alcohol and opiates without medical assistance can result in death. However, coming off prednisone can be a nightmare, as well. This does not make prednisone use a “disease”.

    My X loves to party and do all kinds of drugs and alcohol. He would think Charlie Sheen is a tiger blood brother. However, when he needs to attend to matters that affect his well being, miraculously, he stops for a few days. He is irritable and salivates at partying again, but he CAN stop. And he could continue to stop. But he chooses not to. Why? Because he likes to get high.

    Certain drugs (meth, smoking crack) are so powerful they hijack the mind, while using them. The cravings for that huge tidal wave of dopamine are strong, especially for people who are huge walking Ids. (My pleasure, now, more, now, more, now, more)

    At the end of the day, however, I still believe it is a choice. Is it a hard choice, once you have made getting high your lifestyle. But still a choice and a display of rotten character to place your base need to be fucked up or fucking strangers as paramount, above all other’s welfare and happiness.

    Imagine you have children, and you know they are hungry, dehydrated, full diaper, the works. And you ignore them to go get do heroin. This happens everyday. I believe all of us posting on here would crawl with a gun shot wound to care for our children or pets when they needed us.

    Another point to remember when “untangling” the skein, is not only are they not untangling any skein about you…they are high! This means they are feeling no pain, as CL said: They are checked out.

    So, every stab of agony you feel over the cheating and the end of your family life, they are blissed out, zoning and do not feel that pain. The addict/alcohol is not in this with you. They are in a chemically induced state of happiness, while we cry and feel like death.

    The 12 step language is that addiction is a “cunning disease”. Sadly, I think just drop disease and focus on cunning.

    To apply the disease model to sex addiction makes me cringe. Yes, we have sex drives. But to take away the accountability to not fuck strangers is a green light to corner of Hell and Shit Street.

    Cheaters are like the Ebola virus, and an active addict is a soul sucking parasite. To have the nightmare synergy of both in your life- you are doomed.

  • Chump Lady,

    Thanks for your response. I have mighty moments and times when I’m a heap of sadness. Some where in between I lose track of myself and obsess over the STBX. Judging by the number of chumps who have tried to untangle this particular issue, I am not alone.

    Accepting addiction and working on recovering never absolved anyone of their misdeeds, but may help people get in the right place to eventually deal with their actions. I guess that’s partly why this has been so hard. Up until a certain point, it felt like we were both headed in that direction.

    The time has come to untangle myself once again. It’s extremely hard because he is living with me right now. Waking up next to someone who looks just like that person I fell in love with can be so hard. But the truth is he is not that person any more.

    He is certainly not working on himself and it doesn’t matter how I describe it, I need to detach. NC seems like a far off dream for now, but I can imagine how much it would help.

    Thanks everyone,

    • Thanks to those of you who referred to the biological aspects of addiction. Being a science minded person, I can certainly use that kind of thinking to help detach.

      Of course it is even more complicated because I am pregnant. I think focusing on how much of a health hazard he has become is also helping a great deal. I have two people to protect from STD’s and stress, which makes it more extreme.

      I feel more threatened and brave at the same time.

      • I’m remembering now a lot of the sick twisted jokes about dating someone in recovery.

        13th stepping is like shooting fish in a barrel.

        And the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

        Finally, and this is only about Match Girl – if she had as many dicks sticking out of her as she had stuck in her she’d look like a fucking porcupine.

        Good times.

    • One thing you can do is now wake up in another part of the house. Even if you meant that metaphorically…

    • scharklady, I’m able to commiserate with you because I know how disappointing it is to start with someone on the same path (of recovery or healing of any sort) to later see the reality that we do this in our own individual way and at a personal pace. I think people rarely resolve issues and make progress at the same rate together.

      You are at a different place than him now, and he remains destructive or is becoming more so. While I can feel compassion for the addict or wounded child inside, I know I must respond appropriately when someone is hurting me and doing harm, especially if nothing changes after all has been pointed out and discussed. The only thing left to do is to leave, as soon as it is possible to do so.

      Please take good care of yourself. Have your own separate life starting right now – go out with friends, make new ones, and do activities separate from him (including finding a different support group).

      • Another important reason for leaving someone still very deep in their addiction and destructive behaviors is because it threatens YOUR recovery and all the progress you’ve worked so hard for.

        Speaking for myself, I have to be vigilant about avoiding people who bring me drama and chaos because it will trigger all my old destructive coping mechanisms (including suicidal thoughts). I can’t afford to be with someone who won’t do the work and who hasn’t gained enough healing to BE in a sane relationship. I’m not sure I could survive going back to where I was before .. since I realize I was lucky to have to survived my past in the first place.

        I remember a gal in my support group who was dipping her toes into the dating waters again. She spoke of meeting a man from another 12-step meeting but she saw he was a “dry drunk” who had not worked on his issues. She said, “I don’t want to be with someone who threatens my own recovery.” Indeed.

        Save yourself .. because it makes no sense for both of you (and your unborn child) to go down with him.

  • Howdy, Scharklady:

    I’m sorry you are going through such a shit-storm.

    First the advice part. Get the fuck away from that monster. Go to a friends. Go to your family’s. Get away. Run. Run. Run. People can and do die from these crazy bastards. Secondly, I have been in recovery for over 15 years and I went to innumerable 12-step meetings. It is incumbent on you that you find a trusted friend or friends to let the vulnerable women in his homegroup know he is a predator. Financially it’s unwise to out a cheater pre-divorce, but if there are no custody or financial consequences, sing like a canary to the fellowship.

    I am about nine months out from D-Day. The addiction question was so difficult for me at first. Now, it’s settled in my mind. No. No, cheating is not an addiction. If anything, drugs and alcohol mimic the effects of intoxicants. So he’s chasing a high for sure, but his consequences are all his own.

    I met Match Girl (my STBXW) in an AA meeting over a decade ago. Neither of us have any kids, so I defer to others on that issue. But we grew and changed and my recovery used to be so much about her. (I was sober three years before she got there, and I waited for her to get some time before we dated.)

    Anyways, I have quit everything intoxicating I used to do. Cigarettes were the most difficult, and I can tell you from years of mind-bending sober sex. It’s not the same. He’s a fucking coward. He’s using you. He’s a liar. Don’t believe a word that comes out of that lying-ass liar’s lie-hole. You are in a vulnerable position while pregnant, and he should be put in the Hunger Games arena and killed for sport.

    Getting chumped is THE HARDEST AND MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. There are combat veterans on this board who will attest to the fact that getting chumped knocked them out at the knees. You got this.

      • I obviously have a lot to say on this topic because that was not the most coherent post. This topic brings up a lot of emotions for me. Thanks for your letter, Scharklady and Chump Lady’s response.

        • Ian, I was thrilled by your post. It helped me tremendously. You have lived it. I have never been a drug or alcohol addict, so your brutal assessment of their motivations is valid and earned. I like the urgency you conveyed about the danger she could be in when staying with an active addict.

          • Yep. I don’t sugar-coat it. These addicts are some of the most awful and dangerous people I’ve ever met. Except the ones who aren’t. There are a wide range. Seeing people come-and-go through the revolving door and realize that they may not come back puts it in a different light. Watching people I loved and spend endless time with get high again and die makes me grateful for every day that I’m not taking a dirt nap. Bumping uglies with another crazy person has lost its appeal. Besides, the Olympics are on TV. I live for the summer Olympics. Outside of F1 I can’t stand sports. Olympics are my jam!

        • Ian!

          I was so happy to see your post. I was afraid to send a shout out to you because I didn’t want to add pressure to a situation where that’s all there seems to be. Please just know that you were missed. Your post was perfectly coherent and passionate with the naked truth as always.

          Big Hugs!!!!!

          • Gracias mis amigas, Annie y Kar marie.

            I am still awaiting my court date with the MG. She’s still with Match Stick as far as I know.

            I am really struck by the difference that I felt after writing my post earlier this afternoon. That is to say that physically I don’t feel overwhelming sadness and nausea. It’s remarkable. Things do get better. I don’t miss her anymore, and NC is a breeze. In fact, we are dealing with a legal issue not related to the divorce. MG is a super-control lawyer so she is all up in our counsel’s biddness. I have a relationship with the woman representing us, but MG doesn’t every couple days MG will send her an email and cc me on it. Something like: “haven’t heard from you. how is everything? any news?” The lady simply doesn’t respond. When I email both of them the lawyer responds to me within the hour. Feels pretty good. MG is a fucking bitch and even through email people can tell.

            The one component I haven’t seen discussed on addiction is the brain chemistry after a certain point. That is to say that after a certain intoxication level, there is no longer agency. This does not absolve the person of liability, but it’s a medical fact that for all intents and purposes they are high enough to be a walking bomb. And then there is the “wet-brain” problem. Once a person has used enough, their brain is beyond hope and they have to be locked-up. Finally, some people (and some research says the number is increasing) are simply born hard-wired to be addicts. It may be the first Oxy or the 100th bong hit, but at some point they are going to do whatever it takes to get hight. Unless or until consequences catch up with them or they make a choice to quit, nothing can get through to them. It’s a personal choice. If you wanna be sober, you’ll be sober. If you wanna get high, you’ll get high.

            Finally, after having my heart destroyed by my best friend, I have radically changed my world view. Again. The higher power just doesn’t hold my interest anymore. There’s too much randomness. I can and do stay clean with my own free-will, counseling, and doing esteemable acts. And I never, ever (NEVER) cheated. So, in reference to the original POS cheater. He’s likely waving the God/Higher Power thing in your face, Scharklady. Chump Lady has a word for him – “Jesus Cheater.” They have taken leave of logic and are the worst.

            • Ian, thanks for your thoughtful responses. I’m not always able to log on to CL, because the fuckwit is still around and I’d rather not have him discover this source of support.
              Do you have any suggestions about possibly warning people at other meetings? We never went to the same ones, but I think it’s just sick that he’s become some kind of 13 stepping predator. I imagine myself posting predator alert signs (not that I’m actually going to). Do people catch on to these assholes at meetings generally?

  • Thanks to all for the kind words. Funny that we are all going through the same thing. What shocked me was the total anger that I felt when I found out. I am a normal nice guy, but the thoughts that went through my head about this other guy still scare me when I look back on them. I am grateful for all you fine folks.

  • Ah, the old 13th Step. Reading today’s post brought me back to The Troubles….we all deserve better than living life with a lying, cheating addict. It does not matter if cheating is an addiction. What matters is whether you are willing to continue to tolerate all that in your atmosphere. Here’s to getting out of that burning building!

    Life is so much better out here where the air is clear!

  • Scharklady,
    I’m sorry about what you are going through and I can totally relate to you wanting an answer. In my search to figure out why my STBXH cheated on me multiple times, I tortured myself with this same question. I came to the conclusion that he is an addict “to himself”. Everything was about his happiness, his fulfillment, his needs and his wants.
    Before he moved out both OW and I was doing pick me dances. He literally wanted me to beg him to stay with me. I am so glad that I had a little self-respect and didn’t beg him to stay with me. What I found out later is OW did beg him to choose her and gave him the vision of how wonderful their lives will be together. Yep! You guessed it he chose her. He is a miserable man these days. He is depressed and she is making his life a living hell. He has sent me several messages through different sources asking if I would be willing to sit down with him and talk about him coming back home and us reconciling (we have been there done that THREE times already. NO THANK YOU!). My MIL told me the other day “he realizes that he made a mistake because she is nothing like you. He realizes that you are the one he loves and want to spend the rest of his life with”. I guess the high is not so great without the third person of his triangle. He doesn’t give two cents about me he just wants what I have to offer him (his addiction).
    I apologize for ranting…… I send huge ((Hugs)) your way.

  • Good for you, Noelblessed. Three strikes and he’s out! And three chances were three more than he deserved. Yes, they are addicted to themselves, just like the original Narcissus. We just need more pools for them to drown in while they examine their perfect pores.

  • Yay! Wait a minute. Icky imagery.

    Beaned with his own balls
    Head so far up his own ass
    What else could I do?

  • I stayed with a serial cheater far too long, and I rationalized his behavior since he was “depressed”. Looking back, what was I thinking? There are a million depressed people out there who don’t cheat. Now that I’m at meh, I truly don’t care why the ex cheated. All I know is that he cheated because he wanted to in the same manner I’ll binge on Netflix because I want to. It’s.a.choice.

    • He wasn’t too depressed to put his dick in someone else. So he can’t be that depressed if he’s seeking pleasure with someone else. That takes effort, premeditation, thought, manipulation, concealment. Way to much effort and definitely not the actions of someone how is depressed.

      • That’s exactly what I thought when my EXMIL said he was depressed. I wish I had said it instead of just thought it.

        • Absolutely. The problem with these cheaters is that they come up with a million excuses to cheat other than the truth – they simply want to fuck other people.

  • My ex and I were together for 12 almost 13 years and I found out 2 weeks ago he was cheating. He moved in a few months after we started dating and we both agreed a few years into the relationship that we didn’t want kids or to marry. Everything was fine for the first 8 years but he changed after. He stopped taking me out, he was protective of his phone and would stay out all hours of the night. I can honestly say now that I ignored some of what he did. Last year I found pictures of him and an ex co-worker on his phone. He denied anything going on between them. I would ask every now and then if he was cheating and he would deny it. To cut to the chase, he told me he had been cheating on me for 5 years with 2 different women and was currently talking to another woman. He said the current one convinced him to live his truth. He was involved with the ex co-worker for a year and I don’t know how long he was involved with the others. He said he did it because of temptation, the women were persistent and they didn’t care that he had a girlfriend. The crazy thing is I ask him if we can work through this. He just tells me he can’t do it anymore, he misses our home but he doesn’t belong there and he has to move on from me. I was okay at first but I guess the realization of coming into an empty home hit me. I’ve cried almost everyday since I found out, I can’t eat, I can hardly sleep and I will admit that I have cut my family/friends off. Most of the time I don’t want to be bothered. I called my dad for the first time today and cried. MightyAgain, I have called/texted my ex incessantly since we broke up. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind. He is like my drug and I don’t know how to “kick the habit” yet.

    • Aww…DreamerPisces,
      I so know how you feel. I was just in your shoes two and a half months ago. My husband of 28 years moved out and in with OW. I thought my whole world had crumbled down on me. My children are grown and out of the house, so that feeling of coming into an empty house I know that lonely trail too. I could not eat, sleep and cried like a baby for about three weeks. Everyone on this site and my friends & family were telling me that the pain would not last always. I truly did not believe that but two and a half months later it all feels like a distant memory. I went no contact and started working on my healing immediately. I can not begin to tell you how no contact helped my progress. It helped me to start to see things clearly without his mind games or manipulation. I read through the archives of this site (strongly recommended). I still have a moment here and there but nothing like the beginning. I have filed for divorce and I am looking forward to the future ahead. Trust me you are at the hardest stage, it does get better and you are going to make it through this. We are here to support and encourage you. Sending huge ((Hugs)) your way.

  • Hi Pisces,

    I hardly feel like I can give advice. Most days I just read the comments here, and don’t feel like I could add anything of value.

    But please remember that you are really grieving who you truly thought your ex was. But he wasn’t that guy. It is mind boggling to believe you’ve been so duped, but you have. He never was the great guy you thought he was – it was all an act. So grieve what you thought he was, what your future should be – but know that he never was that guy, and your future never would’ve come to fruition. Instead, you need to remind yourself that you DO deserve more. If nothing else, you deserve the honesty and kind life you thought you were living. And it’s pretty empowering to remind yourself that you can be by yourself and accomplish all of that on your own. You are mighty, you can do this, and you will! Hugs…

  • A bit late to the party, but I have always admired this journalist-Johann Hari.

    Excerpt from Chasing the Scream (a good read):

    “Human beings only become addicted when they cannot find anything better to live for and when they desperately need to fill the emptiness that threatens to destroy them. The need to fill an inner void is not limited to people who become drug addicts, but afflicts the vast majority of people of the late modern era, to a greater or lesser degree.

    A sense of dislocation has been spreading through our societies like a bone cancer throughout the 20th century. We all feel it: we have become richer, but less connected to one another. Countless studies prove this is more than a hunch, but here’s just one: the average number of close friends a person has has been steadily falling. We are increasingly alone, so we are increasingly addicted.

    The modern world has many incredible benefits, but it also brings with it a source of deep stress that is unique: dislocation. And then there is another kicker. At the same time that our bonds with one another have been withering, we are told – incessantly, all day, every day, by a vast advertising shopping machine – to invest our hopes and dreams in a very different direction: buying and consuming objects.

    Gabor tells me: ‘The whole economy is based around appealing to and heightening every false need and desire, for the purpose of selling products. So people are always trying to find satisfaction and fulfillment in products.’ This is a key reason why, he says, ‘we live in a highly addicted society.’ We have separated from one another and turned instead to things for happiness–but things can only ever offer us the thinnest of satisfactions.”

  • DreamerPisces,

    I read your post.

    I was right where you are. Here is the first important step: Stop calling, texting and begging him. You have to stop. It only makes you feel worse and then it takes on a life of it’s own.

    You call, and he acts like an ass. Or doesn’t. He might throw out some kibble. And it brings up all those unresolved feelings and grief and you want more. You want to talk to him again. Only, the next time you call, a woman can/could answer his phone.
    This is NOT a fun day.

    If there is ever one thing for you to believe, with all your heart, and know 1000% believe this: No Contact is the key to you making it. It is the only way out.

    Your brain is scrambling frantically for closure-

    *We don’t get closure from pathological liars.* He could not be honest IN the relationship…he is not going to turn honest now that the gig is up. He might get more arrogant and cruel. Mine did.

    Remember: there is nothing he can say that is going to change the fact he pathologically betrayed you and is a DANGEROUS and rotten person.

    You are experiencing a mental emergency. Some shows and songs and pop culture frame heartbreak as almost “cutesy” but we know it is life threatening.

    Start reading all of the foundation posts on here by CL.If you have the time, read all of them.

    Can you go see a doctor and get some help to calm your adrenal glands, nerves and cortisol? You referenced physical symptoms (you cannot eat, you cry, you cannot sleep). I lost 18 lbs in one month, and was sicker than hell. I barely had the strength to brush my hair. Then go see a therapist….asap.

    Don’t disconnect from your family (isolation is your enemy!) but know this: Your family can give you the wrong advice and send back into worse hell. Some old school thinkers will even say things like: Were you pleasing your man? (Homicidial thoughts arise) Family mean well at times but they can send you back to crazy town. Be careful who you take counsel from. This is your life and mental health at stake.

    To make you feel better, I once called my ex over 100 times in row. Yes, I did. Crazy much? I was obsessed.

    Think of calling him like eating a big bowl of toxic sewage from a drain that has corpses floating in it. You would never do it. That is how serious you need to equate calling and begging him.

    These are the beginning steps. Baby steps will walk you out of this. Did you see the post above where Ian wrote “being chumped was the hardest thing that ever happened to me?” That is a man writing that who struggled with addiction.

    That is why you feel so panicked. Your sense of self and life has been jerked violently away from you…and the person who did it is like…YAWN. Or some fake empathy from time to time. Yours sound like: Yeah, this happened, so sorry. Now, let me go get my freak on.

    This person caused the pain. He is not going to fix it.

    Just hang on. Time is your friend. I am sorry you are in such pain. If you can believe me, believe me that it will get better. But you have to stop contacting him.

    Take a deep breath. This is no reflection on your worth.


    • Dear sylvia,
      Your replies havealways resonated with me. This one is no exception.

      Do you mind detailing what might be medically available to “calm adrenal glands, nerves, and cortisol”? I am leery of antidepressants (on a personal level, with no judgement toward those who get help with them!) and am curious what else may be available.

      Thank you.

      • I can think of something, but its availability varies wildly from state to state, and the federal government disapproves. 😉

    • Thank you Sylvia and everyone for the advice and encouragement. I did finally speak with my dad and my sister has been checking on me since it happened. They have all given great advice. Even my ex’s sister in law’s have given great advice to me. I’ve been eating a little better and I have been talking with a therapist. The no contact thing is the hardest part for me. Once I get over that hurdle, things will get better. I’m taking it one day at a time.

  • IMO the equation is wrong. Being a cheater, being an addict have the common denominator; a sense of entitlement.

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