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Dear Chump Lady, He’s not a bad person, he’s just a sex addict

dickaddictDear Chump Lady,

I fell in love with a serial cheater and closed my eyes completely in the beginning to the signs. I’m struggling with how stupid and blind I was.

I won’t bother with all the details, it’s all the same story. What I want to know is how to heal.

It’s been 8 months since I left and I am still haunted. Every time I see a hotel I cringe. So many triggers everywhere of all the lies. I ruminate over what the truth really was – where was he really on X night when he told me Y, etc. Everytime I see a pretty woman I imagine him cheating on me with her, or being with her now. On and on, it’s torture and I can’t seem to control the memories.

The worst is that I think about what he is doing now, how many girls he has (he had a “harem” he called it, when we met), did he find a girl he can do swinging with and give him everything I couldn’t? Is he happy and feeling free, while I am suffering? Open relationships exist and they can work, and he told me that was what he needed. And I am stuck in the past, feeling sorry for myself, and angry at sex because it took love away from me, angry at men that sex is so important, while he is out having all this great sex. I hate this part of me that wants him to be miserable, and wanting him to be miserable is keeping me in misery. I am jealous of him, because he has found what has made him happy, and I seem almost to revel in pain and this victim identity. He has found an answer to his life, and I can’t seem to create mine.

There’s anger on this site, and it does give me some relief from feeling bad about myself. But I don’t feel like judging and hatred is what will free me, it’s forgiveness I need. He is not a bad person. Yes selfish and extremely emotionally immature, but this doesn’t make him evil. Many people love him. He has many activities and is a people magnet, full of charm and positive energy. I wish he would wake up and say his life is empty and he wants to change, that he would do anything for me to come back. The truth is almost certain that he is happy sleeping around and feeding his ego, and felt relief when I left that he could be free of the burdens of a traditional relationship. He admitted he is a sex addict and he loves it, and it is the best addiction to have. He loves his identity of this sex god, he feels admired and in control. He says life should be fun, free and fluid. He said, I know you feel betrayed, but it had nothing to do with respect and my love for you, this is who I am. He seems to have come to terms with ‘who he is’, and runs free with it instead of beating himself up over it, which seems pretty smart to me.

I hate that I am doing this to myself. I’ve spent the last 8 months working on serious self actualization. I’m dating, but can’t seem to develop feelings for the men. Feeling good with someone else actually hurts because it makes me imagine him feeling good with someone else, and how good he was feeling with other women while we were together. I can’t forget him because I don’t want him to forget me, and he probably already has with all his new women. It’s really stupid and totally self debilitating.

How do I stop all these triggers of memories, asking all the questions that have no answers, being jealous of his life and other women, wondering what he is doing now, if he is happy, if he met a woman that gives him what he needs, blaming him for my inability to create the life I want, blaming myself, missing what seemed so real, allow myself to meet someone new and have fun again?

I’m doing all the right things and I’m on the right path, working on myself and especially my thinking, it’s getting better. But I feel, conceptually, there is something big I am missing.


Dear Lettingitgo,

I’m not clear that you’re a chump. Those “details” you don’t want to mention seem to leave a lot out of the story. How exactly did this guy lie to you? He told you he wanted an open relationship and that he had a “harem.” That’s pretty super, abundantly clear that he’s not into monogamy. You didn’t divorce him, so it doesn’t look like you had a formal commitment from him, or a mortgage, or children.

Instead, it sounds like you fell for someone sparkly and are really upset — at yourself — for not being able to tame Mr. Sparkles into an exclusive relationship.

That’s disappointing. It’s something of a time suck. It’s a life lesson. But it is NOT being a chump. Those people on this site whom you dismiss as angry and judgmental? They had REAL losses. They got that thing you so badly wanted — “commitment” from Mr./Ms. Sparkles — and it blew up in their faces. After they had years invested and children. They didn’t get a memo upfront that their partner wasn’t into monogamy — they got defrauded. The cheater extracted value from them, let them keep on investing deeper into the relationship, and mindfucked them for cake.

You on the other hand, appear to have gotten exactly what was advertised — a self-identifying “sex god.” Who doesn’t want to be “burdened with a traditional relationship.”

I seem almost to revel in pain and this victim identity. 

Well, that’s nice to try on new identities, victim or otherwise. From my read of your letter, however, your victimhood was a choice. Actual victims (people who aren’t just “identifying”) didn’t get a choice. They did not consent to abuse. Now, that’s not an argument to stay stuck in self pity. We don’t control the things that happen to us — but we do control how we react. IMO, sticking around for more abuse is staying a victim. This site encourages mightiness and gaining a life. But to do that, you have to know what kind of situation you’re escaping and call a spade a spade. Cheating is abuse. Chumps ARE victims. They aren’t playing at it.

I’m calling you out on this because if you want to heal, you need to realize you have agency. And tangling with a cheater should give you some empathy for others, and not dismiss them as unforgiving. Now then, let’s put your spackle through the Universal Bullshit Translator.

He is not a bad person.

Bad people do bad things. Is he a liar or isn’t he? Doesn’t sound like you know yourself. He told you he wasn’t into traditional relationships, had a harem, likes things open. But then you’re triggered with lies? If the guy is sending you mixed signals? That’s one big signal to RUN. He’s not available for a relationship. He’s a mindfuck.

People who mindfuck tend to be Bad People.

Yes selfish and extremely emotionally immature, but this doesn’t make him evil.

Okay, do you WANT a selfish and extremely emotionally immature boyfriend? Does that sound like boyfriend material to you? He doesn’t have to cross over into arch Evilness to be a bad match.

Many people love him. He has many activities and is a people magnet, full of charm and positive energy.

Sparkles are nice. And… then let’s factor in “selfish” and “emotionally immature.” Now sprinkle “harem” and “open relationship” on top. Still want this guy? I mean, go to Toast Masters, swing a cat and find some other active, positive person.

I wish he would wake up and say his life is empty and he wants to change, that he would do anything for me to come back.

His life isn’t empty. It might be .0002 inches deep, but empty? No. See “harem.”

I wish unicorns were real. I wish the path to weight loss was carbohydrates and clotted cream. I wish a certain presidential candidate would fall down a well.

You can waste time wishing, or you can deal with the reality you were dealt. He’s not available for the kind of relationship you want.

The truth is almost certain that he is happy sleeping around and feeding his ego, and felt relief when I left that he could be free of the burdens of a traditional relationship.

Okay, you want a traditional relationship, so why again are you with this fuckwit?

He admitted he is a sex addict and he loves it, and it is the best addiction to have. He loves his identity of this sex god, he feels admired and in control.

How nice for him. Do you admire him for this? Is this someone you wish to be closer to? Addiction implies he doesn’t have control over his impulses. But he feels “in control”? That says to me he enjoys mindfucking people. His “addiction” is just another manipulation.

Again, nothing to miss here. Carry on.

He says life should be fun, free and fluid.

Good luck with that, Sex Addict. Guess he needs a nice chump then to do all the adult things like pay bills, and work the straight job.

He said, I know you feel betrayed, but it had nothing to do with respect and my love for you, this is who I am.

A guy who betrays people. #feeltherespect

He seems to have come to terms with ‘who he is’, and runs free with it instead of beating himself up over it, which seems pretty smart to me.

He has zero empathy and that seems “smart” to you? Okay. Is that the crowd you want to run with? Are those your values?

Until you figure that out — who you want to be and what your values are — yeah, you shouldn’t be dating other guys. They’ll fail to be Mr. Sparkles. Dear God, they might even treat you nicely and not require a never-ending pick me dance. But you won’t know, or appreciate this until you get your head screwed on straight. So stop self-medicating with those other guys and spend sometime alone untangling your own skein. Figure out why you think Mr. Sparkles is some kind of catch. Or why competing with the harem seems at all appealing. Or why sex makes you angry. Not all men are like Mr. Sparkles.

Know your worth. When you know it? He can sprinkle magic stardust all over his harem and you won’t care.

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.
  • Really, this says it all: “But you won’t know, or appreciate this until you get your head screwed on straight. So stop self-medicating with those other guys and spend sometime alone untangling your own skein. Figure out why you think Mr. Sparkles is some kind of catch. Or why competing with the harem seems at all appealing. Or why sex makes you angry. Not all men are like Mr. Sparkles.

    Know your worth.”

    • Most definitely spend some time alone untangling your own skein. Yes, I know, that’s not fun or exciting or filled with drama. It’s hard work. It will make you cry. It will make you question. It will wake you up in the middle of the night with some unexpected reality that is is very uncomfortable for you to hear, see and realize. You might learn that you did some bad things and that you aren’t the the best person you can be. Then you have to decide to be a better person for you, not for anyone else, and go about the difficult work of taking action to change yourself.

      Or you can wallow in misery and look for validation from even more men who will never fill the void that you need to first fill in yourself. This site may be filled with anger at times. If you look around it’s also filled with laughter, self-realization and the amazing moments where people who have been victimized (here’s a clue, we don’t like it) work through the pain and tears to move their lives forward and find joy again.

      • I’m soooo with you AOoK,

        Reminds me of a Wilde quote, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

        Simply translated; “Leave a cheater and gain a life.”

        • SureChumpedaLot–Thank you for that quote! Both X and I are huge Oscar Wilde fans (both daughters named from “The Importance of Being Earnest,”–yes, the irony…). I only wish I’d heard the quote before I went NC with X so that I could have spouted it to him before the divorce ; ).

  • CL, I could have written this letter about Rhys. Thanks for the knock upside the head.

  • It sounds like Lettingitgo dodged a lethal bullet here. Falling in love with a sex machine is probably not for the faint of heart- although I wouldn’t know. My ex was a dud in that department..

    • Yeah, so was mine. But I did meet one lady that truly made up for 30 yrs of near celibacy. But we’re not together be I’ve learned so much about all the red flags. Sex itself is not the important thing for me, it’s sex with the right person that would make it great.

      • Creativerational, This! My sign says, “you fucking ROCK, girl!” I didn’t feel this after but “fake it till you make it,” right? I deserved better. As for Mr. Awesome (fucktard ex), well, he’s married to his OW, Karma right there! Lol.
        LIG, Why pursue someone who will never give you what you want/need? FOO issues may be present as Sparkley and disengaged may be what you know. It’s comfortable, but not healthy. We do not have the power to fix others. Not our family, not our past, and not the guy who sees no value in a monogamous, committed relationship with you. He doesn’t want the fairy tale. He doesn’t want the wedding, the house, the kids. He’s that self absorbed empty Narc in Frozen and you are focused on the wrong Prince.
        As to ex’s infidelity? It blew up my life (and our children’s); we are still, seven years out, working on, and reinventing, our new dreams. (Ex stole our savings to run off with Schmoops. And failed to pay the mortgage (1/5th his pay) on the dream home which left us, his family, homeless. Three young adults, seven cats, a dog he brought home with son. And twenty plus years of stuff.) ANGRY doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings in the two years following Dday. Anger propelled me forward. I don’t know how others got over the betrayal, but I focused hard on myself. Weeded crap out, prioritized the good, did what I wanted, scrambled to make good things happen. (My kids do this too.)
        Letitgo, So much of what we do when we are young is that we look for what will make us happy. Don’t settle. The flags are there. Pay close attention to feedback here. I wish you the best. I hope you find real love.

  • This letter writer is just plain strange. And I don’t say that because she accused me of being angry and unforgiving. I am. She seems to envy the person who betrayed her. Almost wishes she could trot around using and discarding others at will all while being admired for her charm and “active” lifestyle. So why doesn’t she just go out and do that? My hunch is because she knows many more people would condemn such a person rather than find it admirable. So maybe she needs to figure out why SHE finds him still so charming. When someone shits on me, I feel dirty, used, and repulsed. I don’t want to grow up and be like that person or be anywhere near him either. Strange.

    • I got the impression the writer is young and has been reading too much Esther Perel, and thinks she should be edgy and sophisticated and into swinging and NSA sex. Look, some people are. And if they’re upfront about that, okay. That’s different than being a “sex addict” while implies you conduct your fucking around in secret and lie to people about it. And that’s different than being a cheater. I can’t really tell what this guy is, only that he’s not exclusive, monogamous relationship material.

      If you aren’t into what’s being offered? NEXT.

      Yes, it’s weird to wish to be shallow, superficial, and “fun.” Pain doesn’t sparkle much.

      • I detected young also. I don’t think she has the emotional maturity or life experiences like most of us here to really grasp CL as a blog. Nor does she really want to at her stage. She thinks she can control someone else’s behavior with her own. She mistakes longing and obsession for love. She’s trying to achieve “forgiveness” for someone who didn’t ask for nor care to be forgiven – and in doing so demonstrate a moral superiority that could put hell on ice. And she’s looking to change a self-described slut into boyfriend, possibly husband material. Hopefully CL’s tough love helps her grow out of this and she never has to return here again.

      • I also got the general idea that she thought it would be cool to be NSA, but once she got into it, she found she didn’t actually like it. What she wants is a committed thing with this guy. — So, the swinging orgy thing isn’t for her, OK. But regardless of what this guy is, he isn’t going to change his spots for her.

    • I really don’t detect any genuine pain in her letter. The words “cringe” and “haunted” and “torture” are in there, but without any real agony expressed. Having known anguish, I sort of feel like I can recognize it in others and pretty much always do here at CN. Not so with this particular writer. She does seem very young and exploring how she MIGHT be feeling. Trying things on for size.

      • I’m with you Dixie. I couldn’t finish that letter – I read the first bit, skimmed some and then skipped directly to CL’s response. The emotions she expressed felt … wrong or contrived or something. Like she was, as you said, “trying them on for size.” Weird. And um, don’t come here calling us bitter bunnies and then want sympathy for your semi-sad story. Maybe she is just young. IDK.

        • Beth I did the same. After 2 paragraphs of the letter and I skipped to CL response. Reading the letter was agonizing as it felt like I was reading a Dear Abby letter. And I agree she must be young… having a household, finances, lifestyle, memories, commitments and children’s visions of an intact family blown apart by pussy seeking fuckwits is another ballgame. Angry? Yes. Bitter? Uh, no.

    • But if he’s fabulous then she can accept that she didn’t do enough, that her faults caused it- which means she didn’t pick wrong, he’s still amazing… She’s been mind fucked to the point of delusion. Him being terrible is worse than him being awesome and not wanting her, because she can control “her” and it makes it something she can “fix”… And it doesn’t shatter her perception of reality.

      Being angry comes later, once she realizes she’s the fool. She’s just not ready for that yet. Admitting that he was a colossal asshat mistake means that she and all the others are duped. Big pill. Hard medicine.

      She just woke up – and down is up, purple is actually green and gravity doesn’t desist for 6 hours a day the way it did in the cozy pillow shack of love. Blaming herself is the norm. And doing so allows herself to maintain that this is the dream, he’s still the bees fucking knees.

      Here’s the thing- bees don’t have knees and whether he’s perfect or not, and whether she tells the story or not, her mind and heart are a bit squished.

      I have no clue what reality is right now. I feel like I live in a world where I constantly walk through jello. Until I figure out if that’s the norm, I was wrong all along and it wasn’t molasses or cotton candy or (why so much food I’m obviously starving and in need of candy)… I’m not doing anything. I have to figure out if down really is up. I have no real centre.

      Lots of people on here are angry. Because they have to be to heal. Many when they have Moved past and found meh have moved on, stopped reading, or only comment a little. She will also find her angry. When she decides to acknowledge that she has value. The fact that he was happy with semi permanent or dry erase relationships makes him a shadow of a person and a vampire of people with genuine soul- because he doesn’t have one of his own, and needs the warmth to keep his veneer. She will see it.

      We don’t know the details, but the love bombs and the psychological mindfuck did their damage. You should put aside your “maybe he’s awesome” and pull out a big sign you read everyday that says “I’m fucking amazing” and realize that happy or not, he’s tinfoil. You’re worth someone who wants to invest, but until you get away from the mind suck, you’ll never be able to invest deeper in someone who’s worth it. Until you let yourself hate him a bit, you’re nothing but a weapon of his design. The irony of us wasting our energy on people with the emotional IQ of a teaspoon and it turning us into potential havoc wreakers of our own – while we desperately try to prove we must be worth something to someone even if it is empty for us- it’s the cherry on top of the shit sandwich. Maybe it’s terrible because you got exactly what he said. Or maybe all that came out after you invested and the mask fell and he just owned that he was a skeeze- I don’t know. Realistically, no one goes home to their mom and says “look ma, I’m a sex addict with no depth” and puts their sketchy STD results on the fridge. His sheen? It will fade. His glorious ego which seems to have destroyed your own self concept? It’s all preening narc garbage. Go talk to someone. There’s a lot of stuff in your head. And if CL isn’t the place, find someone who can help you figure out why you’re looking for a ruby in a turd pile, and trying to convince yourself that the turd is a ruby, and that you lost big.

      • Bravo, creativerational! And this is hands-down the best thing I’ve read in a long time:

        “You should put aside your ‘maybe he’s awesome’ and pull out a big sign you read everyday that says ‘I’m fucking amazing’.”

        Woot! I’m pulling out my sign now.

      • CreativeRational of the awesome name, excellent post! Thoughtful and incisive.

        “…gravity doesn’t desist for 6 hours a day…” Beautifully stated.

        “Blaming herself is the norm. [That allows her to] maintain … the dream, he’s still the bees fucking knees. Here’s the thing- bees don’t have knees [I love this!] and whether he’s perfect or not, and whether she tells the story or not, her mind and heart are a bit squished.”

        I’m glad you allowed for this possibility. I’m having a really hard time. Is she a crypto-troll? Or is she a brainwashed victim of, maybe a cloaked spokesperson for, the navel-gazing vogue on steroids, which has hijacked the REAL imperative to help trauma victims’ brutally damaged self-esteem? That vogue has turned self-repair into “self-actualization” for what usually turn out to be egomaniacal frauds on the take looking to romanticize orgies of self-indulgence. I hope you’re right, that she’s genuine.

        “I have no clue what reality is right now.” My heart goes out to you. You deserve better. For me, this part makes the spikes of betrayal bore even deeper into me. What feels like blood trickles into places I did not know existed. I weep, terrified at my own ignorance. I have no reference point for this one. Zero. I have always had a grasp on my history, my narrative. At times that narrative was ugly, even violent. But I knew what it was. I fought my gaslighter’s 10-year assault on my reality, but I didn’t realize that’s what I was really up against until D-Day five months ago. That assault battle is not winnable, even if you do fight back, a little or a lot.

        “Until you let yourself hate him a bit, you’re nothing but a weapon of his design.” Yep. He likes to be WORSHIPPED? Appalling. Human beings who like to be worshipped require prostrated lesser-thans to pay homage to a mere mortal. Who died and made him God?

        • Thanks for totally understanding what I wrote. I felt it might be garbled, but you totally got it. And my heart goes out to you. To everyone. This walk is dumb and nuts and unfair. That’s why I’m always going to take the potential fake for genuine because this letter isn’t like my cheater- feeling empathy and responding to her pain doesn’t have the chance to hurt me. Nothing bad will come of me trusting that she’s just lost like me.

          • And I hadn’t made it to this comment yet, but you spoke to something I started to address: We’re all suffering from trusting someone we shouldn’t have, of assuming goodness from someone. So it’s natural to not automatically assume the best, but in this particular case, how can being wrong hurt us?

      • All around excellent. You addressed the possible issues without calling her genuineness into question. Well done.

      • Mostly agree but I think the sign on the fridge should read ‘I will be awesome when I stop envying the fuckwit’ s lifestyle and focus on me and improving myself ‘. I think she is young but she absolutely needs to change her perspective or she will waste her life like this. Hope she keeps reading here. I don’t mind her calling me angry and bitter. I am. I hope she doesn’t end up being a chump but I fear she will it she goes on bending over backwards to admire and envy a lifestyle which wasn’t for her. Walk away, don’t look back, at least he told you who he was. Learn to listen.

        • Thanks for this everyone. What I should have said was – I feel angry, hateful and bitter a lot of the time, it’s a painful way to live, I want to feel better, and wouldn’t forgiveness be the answer? To stop feeling angry because it’s been let go and doesn’t matter anymore? I want to be free of this and the anger seems to hold me in it. I understand we have to move through the anger to get to that, ok. But I get angry at anger, I hate myself for being hateful. I don’t want to be that person. How do I ‘accept’ the anger then and let it empower me, when it feels like a step down rather than up?

          • First, give yourself the gift of time. Realize that you’re angry, and use the anger toward positive action. Take your life back. Did you sacrifice something you enjoyed in order to make life easier for your ex-BF? Take that back. Or do something different that you’ve wanted to do. Pick a bucket list item.

            Second, therapy. Therapy will help you get in touch with your anger, work through it, and then toward healing. Your sense of self-worth has been damaged because you settled for less. Learn your worth, and then move forward with better boundaries.

            Lots of us here were chumped in our 40s, 50s, 60s. We get angry. We use that to get motivated. We ditch our cheaters, and then we work on gaining a life.

            It’s possible.

    • To me she sounded an awful lot like the MOW I never directly met. I did read her drivel and it sounded a lot like this letter….and the MOW is Over 50 yrs old.

      I agree the writer is emotionally immature. There are a lot of holes in her story. And why would you worship a walking hazmat bag o’skin?

      Too much for me to read. I would suggest therapy for the writer.

    • Hm, you might be on to something.
      I sensed admiration for the cheater. And I also felt the sting for the “hatred and judging” bit against Chump Nation.
      There is also this phrase that doesn’t fit with a normal mindset, but always fits with a cheater’s mindset – jealousy:
      “Everytime I see a pretty woman I imagine him cheating on me with her, or being with her now”
      Who knows?

  • To the letter writer:

    Don’t concern yourself with this guy’s happiness. If he needs to sleep with tons of women to be happy, then he’ll never truly be happy. Further, it’s unlikely he’ll ever change. These folks are the all the same, forever and always. But at least he’s advertising it up front so you should have a good idea of where a relationship with this guy will lead to.

    As for you personally, I think I would suggest some counseling. Find out why you are attracted to that type of guy. Try to fix yourself (and your picker) now before you end up in a committed relationship with one of these a-holes. Consider this your chance to get things right before you end up in one of these slow-motion car (life) accidents in which the rest of us have found ourselves. Believe me, I wish I could go back in time and warn myself.

    • “I wish I could go back in time and warn myself.”
      I believe we do that…
      There were always signs, weird signs that, metaphorically, could have warned me about what was about to come.
      Like waking up early morning because I felt the bed was shaking under me. There was no earthquake, I live in a earth quake free country. I woke up freaked out and could not sit in the same bed.
      Or a toy phone, in the toy box, started playing by itself late in the evening. “danger from the toys”.

      The babysitter has been shaking my husband, in my bed. How would I go back and warn myself about it?

      • This post gave me the chills. And then I was outraged. For you. I know the details are almost always gory. It’s just that I pictured you in that moment where you put two and two together — and the one you produced should be way outside your ability to imagine. Ouch doesn’t begin to describe that point. I’m so sorry.

  • Is this from a troll? There is way too much info missing to get a clear idea of the writer. Did they have “the” conversation about what their future would be? Did he say he would forsake others? He sounds like a creep. A seriously disordered creep. Ted Bundy was charming. So what if this guy is. My ex-s-i-l was charming. It didn’t stop her from abandoning her family.
    You, the writer, have fallen in love with a hologram of your own making.

    • My first thought was Ted Bundy! So charming on the surface and yet, a true psychopath, who preyed on the goodness of others to entice them to his car, often by wearing a fake leg cast. At first, many people thought he was this “charming rogue”, until his true nature was revealed. This obviously young letter writer should thank her lucky stars that she escaped this situation. What she saw as probably the tip of a very large iceberg. I bet she only knows what he permitted her to know and that she would be shocked if she knew the extent of his “addiction”.

    • My take on it is that Lettingitgo was keen on a high-status mate. He is sparkly, and charming, and women flock to him. I had the same lure, but on the intellectual side (X is an academic superstar). And despite his appeal, the doubts that her sparkly X is good relationship material persist.

      I understand the draw, Lettingitgo, but trust me–the sparkles are not worth it in the end. Nothing but heartache can come your way.

        • X certainly spent years driving me mad! (but who died in the end, eh? I should send that DVD to Hannibal Lecher as a morality tale.)

  • Sounds like the letter writer is young. She appears to have latched on to someone edgy, cool, sexy and hip -in her mind of course.

    She is fishing in the shallows, when the true catch is always in the deep.

    • Beard oil and shined shoes and perfectly rolled cuffs of raw denim are the sheeps clothing of today’s wolves.

      • You’ve just described my drifter Hipster Ex so perfectly! A forty-three year-old longing for his lost youth. Maintaining the image of “coolness” was always his priority. Nothing cooler like throwing your wife and two small kids under the bus for some 20-year-old snatch.

    • ‘She is fishing in the shallows, when the true catch is always in the deep.’

      Beautiful I love this!

  • Letting It Go – I’m two years out since my final D-day. The relationship he left our marriage and destroyed our family my son’s childhood – it’s already over. But me, two years later:

    – Still trying to divorce this fuckwit, the disordered don’t divorce easily, even when they have an OW.

    – Seeing my therapist bi-weekly to figure out why I STAYED after the first day – and arguably, why I even married a man with so many red flags – SO, untangling my own skein is a daily effort.

    – I haven’t had a single day – because I’m not emotionally, physically, or spiritually available to another a man. So, add that to the last two years of my marriage that we sexless (ah, the mindfuck)… it’s been FOUR YEARS since I’ve been intimately involved with a man.

    – I’m the sane parent (and arguably the sane step parent). I have to “adult” every day. I don’t get harem breaks.

    I have to agree with CL, I validate the pain you’re feeling as real, but what exactly did this guy do to you that you didn’t see coming? And, why would you knowingly torture yourself about the comings and goings of a sex addict? You don’t build lives with these people. Ever.

    Know your worth – that’s what we here at CN are doing every day and supporting each other to do every day.

    Life isn’t lived looking backward, especially when it’s a narcissist in the rear view mirror running at you with scissors.

    • You’ve pretty much bullet pointed my life right down to the early red flags, the sexless marriage and harem-free existence. I’m trying to divorce him now which is proving more difficult than I anticipated. It’s what he wanted all this time so why the resistance? He can’t even make this process stress-free.

      • Hang in there D4G… I share your frustration with the divorce process. I even have to suggest motions, etc to my lawyer. EXHAUSTING.

        It’s just more centrality/”Look at me” behavior for our STBXs. And, I think they try to wear us down so we’ll settle for less (again!). Stick to your plan… don’t waiver from getting what you need from the divorce. It will only make the freedom all the more sweet when it comes – and it will come!

        • I have been following this blog and comments for several months and have yet to comment. Finally have something to offer. I had a 33 marriage that I thought was great. Five years ago found out that there was an OW and then when I investigated further and started to ask questions learned that there had been hundreds of OW’s. Some were one night stands, some two nights and the longest was someone for 3 years. So, with anguish I had never experienced before, we separated. The first three years I cried every night and quite a bit of the time felt like I was often wading through a thick soup. Nothing felt real. Then things started to improve, I started to have my moments of joy back. My H at the time refused to divorce when I sent him emails asking for this. He had all sorts of reasons why we should stay married, even though by year 3 he had lived with 3 different women. Then we met at a family wedding and in conversation, he bragged that he was sleeping with 3 women at the same time. It was like something finally went off in my head and I realized he was the most disgusting human being ever. The next week I filed for divorce. Then started almost a year of daily emails from him that were cajoling, insulting, begging, hoovering, etc. I did not respond to a single one. Then he had his lawyer send requests to my lawyer. I instructed her that we were not responding (we already had a separation agreement that was more than fair to him). Finally, one day, when I thought he would drag this on forever, I got a call from my lawyer’s office that he agreed to the divorce. That was last January. Now I am free!!!! No contact truly works. I think narcissists (which I now feel my XH is) want any kind of attention and will do whatever they can to get it. When it doesn’t work, they finally give up. I can truly say that I am my old happy self again. I have amazing children, my first grandchild is on its way and I have meaningful things to do every day. Hang in there chumps, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

          • Congratulations and kudos to you for breaking away from this horrible partner, FinallyFree. I was with my ex for 36 years so I know how difficult it can be to separate the life you thought you had from reality. Sounds like you’re doing great! I’m expecting my first grandchild too.

          • So glad you made it through that ordeal. That first grandchild will be your most joyous reward!

          • So glad to hear a happy ending. Being married to a narcissist was no picnic. Divorcing one is a tiptoe through a thousand miles of hidden land mines.

          • Finallyfree, I am so glad for you! And … it’s your call, obviously, but your experience, struggle (more than 100? bragging?) tenacity, and fresh start? I’d say you have plenty to contribute –just about any time. Thanks for posting. Hope can be hard to come by.

          • Congratulations, the last three years must have been so hard! You are mighty and so composed. True character, thank you for joining the conversation and posting your story.

      • Yup. Now that I’ve filed he’s trying to back down (guess the ho isn’t cracking up to be what he thought). The same guy who told people how horrible I am, the same guy who kept asking when I was going to leave, the same guy who f*@ked around, now it’s “what if I don’t want a divorce?” right after returning from a 10 vacation with his honey (and I didn’t give a rat’s ass – meh is on the way).

        They mess with you coming and going, spineless children who want mommy to take care of them.

        • “They mess with you coming and going, spineless children who want mommy to take care of them.” **THIS**

      • Same here Done4Good… sexless marriage for the last 3 yrs we were together, and I’ve been trying to divorce the “sex addict” for the last year and a half. It’s all about control with these wingnuts… I wanted intimacy, but withholding it gave him more pleasure. I wanted trust and honesty… he got pleasure from deceit, secrets, lies and fucking around. I want the divorce over with… he gets pleasure by dragging it out for as long as possible.

        To the letter writer – Do I sound angry and unforgiving? That would be putting it mildly.

        • Maybe you should institute some reverse psychology? BEG him to come back to you–you’ll massage his feet, make his favorite dishes, won’t bother him about his ED. You can’t live without him; divorcing him would be the worst mistake of your life….See if that makes him settle, pronto (then, of course, laugh in his face once the divorce is final).

          • I would so love to laugh in his face, but I’m afraid my urge to smash it would win 😉

          • Reverse psychology only works with people who have a soul, and livestock. Don’t think it works with these vampires!

    • Sexless marriage – this has always bothered me. My ex always said “he was ready at any time”, but he rarely initiated it. Just after we got married, our marriage turned almost sexless. I bought quite a few beautiful Victoria Secret negligee’s and I would wear them to bed and he’d see me with them on, but just go to bed. I cried myself to bed lots of times. And eventually I got rid of the negligees and put on jammies that were comfortable. Less than a year after we got married, I was on anti-depressants. Gosh, why did I put up with this treatment from him? It makes me so made at myself. Years wasted on someone who didn’t deserve me. And now I’m 50 and I’m afraid I’ll be alone the rest of my life.

      I will never understand this. This was just one of the way he made me feel invisible and not wanted. But of course he had a large harem of ho-workers that he talked about all the time. I tried to not let it bother me, but when he was pretty much ignoring me but then dropping the names of his ho-workers, it made me feel jealous.

      • I am angry at myself too. I gave him 17 years. Supporting him. Loving him. The last three were pretty much sexless and without affection. I let him put others (mostly women) ahead of me as far attention went and whenever I said anything about it he would get angry and tell me it wasn’t his fault I had low self esteem. At the end, right before he left, I was so depressed I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I realize he did me a great favor by leaving me but I should have done better by myself and left him much sooner. I’ve also wasted years on someone that never loved me, yet somehow he’s angry at me because somewhere in his screwed up brain that makes sense to him.

      • The opposite is pretty creepy, too, though–my X continued to have sex with me multiple times per week through his numerous affairs (because he knew I’d suspect something if he didn’t). If bleach didn’t burn, I’d douse myself in it.

      • Mine actually demanded some type of sex a staggeringly high number of times a week.

        I don’t know if it matters, but as I gather info, every once in awhile he forgets to clear his browser. He’s always watched porn – even with 5-year OW and me, though in the last two years I responded rarely. His rage had gotten to me.

        The first couple months after D-Day, the porn was not violent in story line. (I think porn is violent, period. Not a prude. I can’t stomach its depiction of women.) Now what he’s watching is extra violent. Gang rape. Authority figures (cops, doctors) forcing captive women to have sex. He claims always to have had a higher than normal sex drive.

        Between the escalation of his porn’s violence and my remembering what must have been HUNDREDS of times he kissed me after sex with her, I’m beyond Clorox. I need one of those post-HASMAT decontamination thingies.

        I think they’re like showers. And someone ELSE scrubs you off, washes your hair. Yep, I want decontamination experts to make sure I’m left with not a physical trace, because I am literally queasy.

        • I believe they self medicate the howling black abyss where their soul should be with bodies and holes. Any ole body or hole will do.
          It is a type of numbing, like drugs or drink, or gambling.

          That was good…HAZMAT suit! I am sorry you feel that way. Just get tested and then loofah the hell out of your skin with sea salt and olive oil (if you don’t have sensitive skin.)

          Go to an InfraRed Sauna or an old school one and sweat it out. This feels purifying. Or, if you live in a city that has one…a Turkish bath. I go in Istanbul and you will never feel cleaner. Watch it on You Tube. They SCRUB the hell out of you…it is cathartic.

          • I loofa-ed my neck so much on D-Day that it alone was crimson, and etched with angry scratch marks that looked like the scribblings of an acid tripper . Got a little carried away. Worse, I couldn’t bear to put even a silk scarf on it, let alone camouflage.

            I have a theory that I “forgot” what I was doing to my neck because it’s one of my prettiest bodily features, and I still feel like I’m choking.

            I’m SO going to a Turkish bath! I didn’t think about that. Perfect!

            • Do it! Just be sure and cover your eyes when they pour soap on your head. It can burn.
              If the attendants are Turkish…say SU!!!
              (Like sue…lawyer!)

              This is the Turkish word for water, and they will know to rinse your eyes.
              Get the massage, get the works.

              At some, they have these sort of cabanas or rooms, and you can lie around afterward and drink fresh juice and rest. It is bliss! You deserve it.

  • Yea, Im with CL on this. There was a time in our society when adults were virtually forced to marry heterosexually…if they were gay, bi, trans, or poly they were almost forced by social expectation to lie. (It was still very shitty for the person being lied to but you can almost see how very stern expectations influenced them.

    I know a kid whogrew up in a family where the dad was a military Colonel having entered the military when expectations were narrow. Upom retirement from the military, he said “Im now leaving this marriage to be with my gay lover”. His family was gutted.

    Those days are over…people can choose thier lifestyle and this guy chose his. You thought you could either change him or adapt and you did neither. Move alone, lesson learned. I dated a guy for a month and I asked him “If we begin a sexual relationship, would you stop having sex with other people?” and he said “no”. I stuck around for another couple of weeks trying to convince him of my awesomeness but I realized that was stupid and I actually wrote him a really nice “Im not seeing you any more” letter and then I married a monogamist.

    My first husband claimed to be a monogamist but he was actual a cheating liar…I think I could almost get over the sex, but what really sticks with me is how fucking mean he was to me because his conscience was forever burdened..he had to convince himself that I deserved such treatment, so he was an unsufferable ass but always gave me smoke-and-mirror excuses accusing me of not being good enough…sending me off on wild goose chases of personal improvement while he fucked coworkers. For YEARS.

    Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, consider your lesson and your goals and find a better partner…one who might be MUCH less sparkily.

    • “what really sticks with me is how fucking mean he was to me because his conscience was forever burdened..he had to convince himself that I deserved such treatment, so he was an unsufferable ass but always gave me smoke-and-mirror excuses accusing me of not being good enough…sending me off on wild goose chases of personal improvement while he fucked coworkers. For YEARS.”

      You just put into words what I have been struggling to figure out. Why my STBX has been so cruel at times. Thank you. When a moment of clarity comes, it brings such relief, even if there is still more crap to shift through.

      • This >>”sending me off on wild goose chases of personal improvement….” He made me feel like there was something terribly wrong with me. He never had to say it. He just made me feel so insecure with his harem of ho-workers. Me doing the forever Pick Me Dance. Me trying to improve myself or fix myself. I can’t tell you how many Self Help books I’ve read over the years.

        • His go-to wild goose chases were to encourage me to work on my relationship with my very disordered parents (that could keep me spinning for months) and the he wanted me to cook better (which he would sabotage the first chance he got).

          He once set up a series of distractions and roadblocks on Thanksgiving that prevented me from cooking dinner (not helped by the fact that I am a nurse and normally work part of any holiday) once he very actively prevented me from cooking, he drove the kids to McDonalds, bought them dinner and said “Im going to tell everyone that you left us eating McDonalds on Thanksgiving”. He must have had some reason to have hated himself that week and had to take it out on me.

          • You ladies are a whole lot nicer than me. Personally, I think they fuck with us and everyone else just because they can and can get away with it. It’s a power rush. “Hmmm, let’s see, how many hoops can I get wifey/hubby to jump through now? Wow! I’m so amazing! They don’t appreciate me properly, I will just have to up the ante!” “Gee, this is fun!”

            They are assholes because they are assholes.

            • Tessie- I agree.

              Yes…they are evil. Some times, the mask would slip, and I would stare into the eyes of someone pitiless and with a blank gaze.

              I remember those moments with vivid clarity and I think : Oh! That was YOU. Not the sparkles and sexy penetrating stares….not the Paul Newman eyes…that deviant, sly glance…that was the REAL you.

  • Yeah I feel like way too much information is missing. I know we’ve heard it all before but if she met him while he was courting a harem, it’s kind of important to know whether or not he pledged monogamy to her. If he told her right up front he wanted a smorgasbord of strange, that just makes him a potential carrier of sti’s and someone you probably shouldn’t invest your time in if you want monogamy.

    The only hint that he may have pledged to be faithful was his “sorry, not sorry” routine with the bit about him being sorry he betrayed her but without context I’m skeptical.

    Oh and super creepy that she wants to grow up and be just like him. I need more information but from where I’m standing, she dodged a major bullet, should see a shrink and move on. She seems way too attracted to sparkles and I get that-we all have been at sometime in our lives or we wouldn’t be here. Hopefully she’s young and she’ll grow out of it.

    • “Oh and super creepy that she wants to grow up and be just like him”

      Did they let Charles Manson out of jail?

  • She believes in sex addicts. Probably also had a good run believing in Santa clause.

    Yes. Her self worth is low. She seems to think she was the lucky one being with him. She seems to think that she was favoured to have been able to bask in his awesomeness. She needs to find a new benchmark for measuring her worth. It is not measured by other people.
    I’m sure she is in pain and confusion trying to rationalize these events with what tools she has. Unfortunately she is not processing the main point of her situation and that is ‘ he sucks’.
    I can’t bring myself to feel loss for my ass. Self worth.

    • Mandie,
      What do you mean: “I can’t bring myself to feel loss for my ass. Self worth.”

      You know you deserve to feel loss, don’t you? Is it too much too unpack?

      Just know- You do.

  • Don’t forget that he was with you for a reason. Us Chumps tend to idealize their lives once they have left us but he was with you for a reason. While it’s probably true that he’s having loads of sex right now (I’m sorry) I bet he’s all fucked up over losing his favorite chump. The question for you is do you want to be someone’s chump? Nope. Hold out for better. You can find it.

    • When I saw the ads for some of the folks Dr. Crazy was having sex with I wasn’t envious – I threw up. And then I felt immediately better about myself.

    • Thanks for acknowledging that we tend to idealize their lives once they’ve left. It’s one aspect of my recovery that still baffles me. When cheater-ex (a “sex addict” that has spent over $100k on treatment) sends emails to the kids with pictures of himself in the ocean – tan, fit and smiling on a paddle board, I feel like he’s on permanent vacation. I get angry that I’m the one still here handling family life, starting over financially, back in grad school and recovering from PTSD from the trauma induced by his sparkly life. The truth, however, is that he may be sexing it up in Costa Rica with a 20 something, with all the money, frolicking in the ocean, but he has nothing real. His own kids won’t talk to him or even return a text or email. Sex addicts are never truly happy, despite what the above letter says. They wake up every day having to face themselves in the mirror. During cheater-ex’s “recovery” he said that in his “addiction” he never feels joy. They have no real connection. I’ll take my life any day over his, even though it’s hard.

    • The jealousy comes from this oscillation between idolizing his life and happiness because he has found what works for him and I haven’t and I am no longer a part of because I wasn’t good enough (=my inferiority), and anger/hatred/judgement bit (moral superiority) for which I feel guilty about. You guys are right, he’s not as happy as I fantasize, and I’m wasting all this energy on fantasies, and get so mad at myself for that. I just don’t know how to stop, it seems so much bigger than me and as Sylvia Is Sad said, has a life of it’s own. The thoughts come, they are triggered or appear out of nowhere, and the truth – that I am so much more than this – is washed away by them. I’ve done tons of cognitive work, I just wish it would work already. How much longer til I get it. It’s exactly like the cheating – a part of us knows, and a part of us doesn’t know. That’s how I feel about self worth, I know it and I don’t know it. The mind is incredible.

  • This may be unpopular, so I hope you all will give me grace.

    I am reading many assumptions about the pieces of Lettingitgo’s letter that are missing, and I think we have to remember that we don’t know what we don’t know. She states right up front that there was a lot of dishonesty, so it isn’t that he was totally honest from the beginning. And, she does describe her feelings in a way that is congruent with a person who is spinning with layered anxieties. I recognize that from my own early days after D-Day.

    And I, personally, didn’t read in her words that she *wants* to become like him as much as I see her considering whether her life might be less painful if she *could* become like him because he seems so happy. This is another thing I remember feeling after my D-Day (my ex is also a “swinger”.)

    It doesn’t matter how old she is, and we don’t really need to evaluate the validity of her choices or her pain to understand that she, if her letter is honest, got screwed over by a liar and she’s struggling with how to come to terms with it. (And even if the letter isn’t honest it works as a case study to explore the topic.)

    So, to/about Lettingitgo, I would say, if you aren’t authentically wired for non-monogamy, then it isn’t your way, and a change in perspective won’t change that. If you don’t like tacos because they taste like crap to you, you aren’t going to suddenly become ecstatic every time you eat tacos via a change in perspective.

    You sound like a person who is hurting and wants any balm for the pain, and it looks to you like the shortest distance to pain relief is to have part of this guy some of the time. Just a little more of the drug to ease the sting of the worst of it sounds appealing. That, however, is the road back to misery. I have been there as have many of us. There is no shortcut through grief. It does get better, but there is no substitute for time, and the time doesn’t really start until you go no contact and focus your energy back on you.

    It doesn’t matter whether he is a good person or not, or happy or not, or loved by others or not, or whether he meant to hurt you. He’s bad for you. His very nature is that he IS things that harm you. That can NOT work. The time you waste trying to put a small band aid on a gaping wound is stalling your healing.

    Focus on making your own anxiety. I think you will find that long term improvement can only come through long term work. He is not your road to happiness not is any man. A worthy man will join you on your road to happiness, eventually, but first you need to define the road so you can differentiate between fellow travelers and bad gnomes. 🙂

    Grieve and rebuild. These are your mantras.

    • I don’t know how “making your own anxiety” happened, but it should say “working on your own anxiety”. Sheesh.

      • I like “making your own anxiety” because I think of all the time I spent babysitting his neuroses – making sure there was nothing that could possibly upset him. Taking care of my own anxieties is so self-affirming, it doesn’t bother me to check the coffee pot twice, and no-one is nagging me for doing so, either.

    • Biggest +1. Not everyone who wasn’t married or doesn’t have kids or isn’t concise is a troll. And if she is…? Who cares, good topic.

      • I am sorry I brought up the troll idea. It is so easy to forget how someone who has a PhD in gaslighting can con the smartest of us. If she has ignored red flags so have all of us. How many smart people gave money to Bernie Madoff?

    • Totally agree, Amiisfree.

      Maybe because I identify with a lot of this letter, I don’t agree with a lot of the assumptions being made. Hopefully the letter writer will chime in, although that may not feel safe for her.

      I fell for Cheese Fries when I was very young — eighteen — and I knew he had cheated many times on his previous girlfriend. I rationalized that away, believing he’d grow out of that and the other juvenile crap he pulled. Because he swore he’d never cheat on ME. I was special, I was different, I was his true love. And the swiftness and intensity with which I fell for him is stunning. I bonded to him with everything I had and if the relationship had ended back in college — before marriage, kids, shared lives, everything — I would have been a blubbering puddle of pain and confusion for a very long time. And plenty of my friends could have told me “I told you so” because most of them tried to warn me away from him but I was in LOVE and that could only mean HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

      Yeah, I had a lot of issues. Good advice, CL, on being alone for awhile and untangling your own skein instead of self-medicating with other people. Singleness is not very popular, especially when you’re young, but knowing you can live just fine — really, really well in fact — on your own will keep you out of a lot of bad relationships.

      • Oh and Lettingitgo, if you’re still reading this, I highly recommend the book “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love.” I’ve recommended it many times here because it clearly captures how we can bond so strongly with people who aren’t good for us — and how to break that bond.

        • A friend just recommended this book to me and it’s out in my car as we speak. Sounds like I need to get on it.

        • I’m personally re-reading a book a friend gave me in college, “How to Avoid Love and Marriage.”

          • I haven’t laughed out loud in days. DAMN that’s funny. Dry, deadpan, gallows humor at its best. *collapses into another fit of laughter*

    • Amiisfree great response , thank you for posting! I loved when you wrote, “His very nature is that he IS things that harm you”. I completely connected with that myself. It is so important to remind ourselves that these cheaters are toxic. Their very existence and dysfunction are a threat to our mental well-being and hope for a peaceful and loving future. Plus, great advice about healing and carving out our own path . You put it so well, “A worthy man will join you on your road to happiness, eventually, but first you need to define the road so you can differentiate between fellow travelers and bad gnomes”. Amen sista!! ??

    • Thank you for this Amiisfree, I felt really understood ;-). As much as I know he isn’t good for me, I’m stuck in this, but now he is going to be good for someone else, when he finds the right person for him. God it’s so ridicuous, it’s probably not even true. This big lie tears me up inside. I’m just believing a bunch of lies, and I see it and still do it! Are you free Amiisfree and how long did it take you to get there?

  • Personally, if you are into meaningless fucking with random strangers, and want to make that the center of your life, have at it. It seems like a sad pathetic waste of your life, but that’s just me. It’s not anything to be jealous of or wish for.

    I did a minor amount of “casual sex” back in college and it’s not an experience I enjoyed or ever want to repeat. It’s a waste of time I could better spend doing something else.

    • And just a reminder of some of the red flags of personality disorders (from a handful of sources):

      PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR — A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

      Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated

      Lack of the ability to give or receive genuine affection or love. Relates sexual behavior to feelings of acceptance or closeness

      Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a “glow” about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction. They often appear to be sexy or have a strong sexual attraction. Not all sexy people are sociopaths, obviously, but watch out for over-the-top sexual appetites and weird fetishes.

    • Yes Anita. If you are into such meaningless fu—- with random strangers don’t take vows of fidelity and use a woman and her children to save your reputation.

    • Geez no kidding, when did I start glorifying this lifestyle? What the heck, where did I go?? Sam Malone lol! Who WOULD want to be with this kind of manchild? Sex can’t possibly be a fulfilling center of life, I mean can it? When I find mine, I bet I will look back at this and see it all so clearly. Just like I finally saw the truth of him and this incredible ‘partnership’ hologram I thought we had.. I’m filling up my life with him because I don’t know what else I have. There’s the answer. Now how to do this? Whew another layer is peeled.

      • Looking back on how I was, I think this is a symptom of loneliness. I felt rejected in favor of this lifestyle. So there I was, alone, watching people who wanted that kind of activity ‘enjoying’ each other’s company. Therefore, it looked appealing, in a “you aren’t invited” kind of way. It’s simply human nature to want to be part of the group, and when someone feels ostracized, sometimes bad circumstances can appear ideal.

  • Every time I hear the term “sex addict” I think of the slimy Sam Malone character on Cheers. Eeeeew, so gross. Who would want to be in a relationship with that?

  • Lettingitgo: you are trying to skip over that critically necessary part of the breakup process where you lower your opinion of him until you count your blessings that you are rid of him. He is not better than you – he is missing the part of the brain that creates commitment, reciprocity and respect, and he will miss out on all the joy that comes with a commited relationship. He self medicates with one night stands like a drug addict. He didn’t leave you for these other women because they are better than you. He left because of his brain problem, and he will leave those women for yet more women. If he finally does settle down it won’t be because he’s found the perfect woman, but because he fixed himself. (And pigs can fly.)
    You say you want forgiveness. Forgiveness requires placing yourself above him and pitying him for the character flaws that lead to his actions.It is easy to forgive a child for bad behavior because you are above them.

    • I remember lamenting to someone after D-day that “I wasn’t good enough for him (sob)” The person I was talking to responded, “No, he wasn’t good enough for YOU.” Her response was eye-opening to me.

      Lettingitgo is in the process of discovering that truth for herself. It takes time, but it starts with asking herself these questions.

    • Chomping chump-
      Brilliant, I say!
      Just fantastic.
      What a perfect insight…your first sentence is golden. And I think what trips many a chump up.

    • I feel like I’m playing some kind of superiority game when I do this, so it doesn’t feel genuine. Yet ironically, when I play the inferiority game, that feels super genuine. This is why I want to skip the anger/hatred phase because it all feels like mind lies. I have this idealistic idea that forgiveness is the only real peace. Lyn a friend of mine said to me the same thing, no he wasnt able to give you what YOU need, and she held me in the street while I sobbed. I thought man after that beautiful healing moment, surely I am on my way to letting go and being free, That was 6 months ago.

  • LettingItGo, the impression I’m getting from your letter is that you’re either (A) really young and naive (and believe that with enough love and passion, you can completely change someone’s fundamental character or personality)…

    Or (B) you have intimacy issues that (either consciously or subconsciously) draw you to men who you KNOW aren’t able to commit to you.

    If the case is A (you’re really young and naive), then the lesson you need to take from this is to accept people as they are, not who you want them to be. It doesn’t make you less exciting, desirable or worthy of a person if you’re not interested in swinging, polyamory or turning a blind eye to a romantic partner’s infidelities. Similarly, don’t fall into the habit of making excuses for a man. Just so you know, the term “sex addict” is NOT a widely-accepted mental disorder, and there’s a lot of debate within the mental health community over whether such a condition actually exists, or if it’s a convenient excuse for men who don’t want to take responsibility for their own sexual behavior.

    If the case is B, you should probably explore the reasons you were drawn to Mr. Sparkles (as Chump Lady calls him) in the first place, ideally with the health of an individual counselor. It’s very likely that in even if Mr. Sparkles, became the devoted monogamist that you wanted, he probably would have been much less shiny and intriguing to you, hence why you probably find the “normal” dudes your encountering in the dating world to be so uninspiring. But because he DIDN’T morph into Mr. Loyal, you’re free to long for him and attribute the failure of the relationship to his being a “sex addict” rather than take responsibility for your own poor choices.

    Really, the power to fix the situation is in your hands. Stop putting this guy on a pedestal and put yourself up on their instead.

      • When I was in college, I fell in love with a guy who later waned other people and only wanted me when HE didn’t have anybody else. I mourned this guys behavior and tried to tell myself (off and on) that we had a chance. Then it hit me. I was ADDICTED to him. I really didn’t love him. I realized this when I thought of him falling down the stairs and I liked it. I knew then that I didn’t love him any more. I was on my way to being cured. I can’t say how you feel- but maybe you are addicted to him and you need to see him as that – something your mind likes to think about (good and bad). I hope this helps.

        • This is what the French call: “la douceur exquise ”


          It is an addiction to a love that wounds you, and yet you crawl back for more, worshipping at the feet of your torturer.

          It is hell. And I like your use of the word “cured”….because it is a soul sickness.

  • Regarding Chumps:

    “The cheater extracted value from them, let them keep on investing deeper into the relationship, and mindfucked them for cake.”

    B-I-N-G-O was his name, oh.

  • I was with Cheater for two years before I realised he was not the fun, light-hearted, faithful puppy he seemed. These addicts can act, and they suck the best of us into our vortex. Once I had his email password, and had kicked him out, I researched his websites and hookups with fascination. He had, in the two years, approached over 300 callgirls with a view to booking “encounters”… most of which didn’t materialise because he had no money except what he scarfed from me. He was clearly addicted to the charming and chatting, the lure of the “chase”. Problem was, he didn’t seem to realise you don’t need to chase a prostitute.

    This is why I now, by habit, casually spot-check and verify if my man is where he says he was, or if the slightest thing seems out of sync, I quietly put the monitoring into action. I realise this is my own addiction of sorts, but I will never again be duped by these weasels. My man has got to be in the normal range, or I don’t need him around.

    • Marci-
      This is pure genius:

      * Problem was, he didn’t seem to realise you don’t need to chase a prostitute.*

      Wow, that is so good. What a fucking moron.

      I don’t think that is an addiction- checking. I think it is smart. It something does not add up- something IS off.

      • Sylvia,
        Thank you for calling him a moron. He has continued to prove himself in the ensuing years with OW. They produced three children, despite being penniless and on benefits here in the UK. She is a huge Cluster B mommy blogger, and they put photographs of their very young children all over social media, several times a day. They post photos of every single meal, playtime, day out, and even the kiddies toilet training. IMagine posting a photo of your 2yr old sitting on the toilet with nothing on.

        I think a lot of these self-described sex addicts are just cretins with no impulse control. Oh, and I still have his unchanged email password and know for a fact he is STILL chasing callgirls despite having OW and the kids at home.

        • I wonder if you should alert Child Protection about posting nude photos of two year old? Not to be spiteful (well, maybe a bit) but because that is what pediophiles live for…those kinds of photos.

          Marci, they both sound deranged. Needing the validation of strangers by documenting their lives on FB/a blog every moment. This is my biggest fear…that the X will get someone pregnant. I don’t know why. But it stops me in my tracks.

          I am sorry you have to see all that. Maybe stop looking.I know it is so hard to stop looking. I had my X’s google password and I actually deleted his account so I would not see anymore. (This did not go over too well) It was worth it.

          I could not stop checking and looking. It is pain shopping. I was obsessed with tracking him.

          It is a cold comfort, but the fact that he is still “chasing” (all he needs is a working credit card….a rocket scientist, he is not) ….hookers shows you had nothing to work with at all. You could not make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

          You are free of a freak. They can live in their freak show. Maybe stop watching it. I think it would make you feel better. ?

          • “This is my biggest fear…that the X will get someone pregnant. I don’t know why. But it stops me in my tracks.”

            Sylvia, is it possible that you think making a baby equals love? It doesn’t. I promise. If I were to reveal how I know for sure, I’d give away the one detail by which he or OW could ID me. But I promise you, hon, making a baby does NOT equal love.

            Plus, HE’S NOT CAPABLE OF LOVE. It’s not about you. YOU are beyond lovable. You just can’t imagine, as I can’t imagine, that part of his soul is missing.

            I know, I know, everyone still says that my monster has always adored me. Abuse is not love.

            This will sound so harsh, so please, please, know I’m purposely going back into lawyer mode to help: if he gets someone pregnant, it will mean exactly one thing, and nothing more: he had unprotected sex, the condom broke, or something went wrong with birth control. The end. Full stop.

            And no, that wingnut won’t magically feel some special kind of love for a child or its mother. Just ask me. My brilliant, handsome, edgy, interesting, one-of-kind father? A cheating, lying, hypersexed, young girl-seeking narcissist/psychopath whom I KNEW, from a very young age, did not love me, my feelings, or my mother.

            I can understand how that would be a huge fear. Hug your animal babies. Remember you wouldn’t let them go with him. Hug them tightly. I can tell from your posts: THAT’S love. That’s real. That, you know for sure. {{♡}}

            • **my siblings, not my feelings. (Though N father didn’t love those, either.)

            • Claire,
              I copied your post and printed it, and put it on my bulletin board. You have NO IDEA how you zeroed in on my fear. I can’t have children and one of the reasons I did stop researching him is the fear he would have a baby with one of these hos. And I would see it. And go insane.

              Your words are like a cool compress on a fevered brow. Thank you so much. You just saved me hundreds of dollars in more therapy. (Not joking).

              • I’m so glad. Save those dollars and meet me for a Turkish bath in Istanbul someday?

              • Girl- YOU GOT IT!

                I have so many sky miles we can use!

                And I love Turkish men (another post, another time)

          • Addicted to pain, pain shopping! How do we get like this, how does this happen in people?? Why does the darkness cover up the truth so easily that we have to fight and fight and fight our way out, why did life get this way? So fascinating what we are going through.

    • Damn, that’s approaching roughly 1 call girl every 2-3 days. WOW WOW WOW…. I don’t blame you for spot-checking. We now know that seemingly “normal” people are capable of HUGE lies and deceit. Why wait for Hiroshima to hit a second time when you can save yourself?

    • I just met a nice guy and I’m already analyzing everything he says and does. Poor guy is probably trustworthy but I thought the same thing of my ex. It’s so hard to not play detective when you’ve been hurt so badly.

    • Marci, you nailed it: “Problem was, he didn’t seem to realise you don’t need to chase a prostitute.”

      How was I married to such a dumbass?

      x actually believed the sex trafficked teen he chatted with – the only woman who’s ever understood him – fell deeply in love with him because of his erect penis.

      It’s mortifying realizing I spent twenty years with this idiot. Even ten minutes is too long. Arghh. The fact that I picked him in the first place will definitely be a red flag to any future prospects. And I don’t blame them.

      • Because he actively, willfully and intentionally deceived you regarding his true nature.

        If, on your first meeting of the minds, he had said, You know….just so all of our cards are on the table, I have a thing for jacking my dick off for strange women and I like wasting thousands of dollars on hookers. This internet thing I hear is coming is going to be a blast!!!
        Can you imagine?

        The ones of us who are “dating” now…the first whiff of something stupid and it is so over for me, we need a new word for over. Nothing has even gotten started yet, because of my radar. Is it too “high strung”?

        Maybe.(So many of them are MARRIED and lying about it. More than you would believe). But I can’t go through this again, like Crickets said.

        I was just outside, and thinking about all the misery and pain my X has brought me, like a battle shit sized shit sandwich, and looking at the leaves falling. (Cue maudlin music). But seriously, I was. And I know I have to forgive myself for loving a monster. Loved a Jackass 🙂

        You have to forgive yourself for 20 years wasted. But, TRULY FORGIVE yourself . I deeply, madly, truly loved my X. There is no amount of therapy that will erase that. And anyone who saw us together says the same thing: We all thought that boy was a goner over you. (Thanks!)

        He is sick. Like ChompingCHump said. Yours is sick. They cannot be fixed.

        Sexuality is so sticky. And it is the worst type of hurt, because it hits at our attractiveness and desirability, no matter how much we tell ourselves it does not. Something is wrong with people who are only happy when they frantically seeking underground secret sexual thrills ….doing nasty things with nasty people behind our backs, and then show up to breakfast with a smirk.

        There is only one thing to do. Move forward. Accept that we loved someone who was incapable or choose not to love us back. It is shatteringly sad. But the bigger tragedy is to stay in the moment of it, and lose anymore time to it…it is such a time suck.

        I am exhausted by this fight that he threw in my lap. And I hate him for it. I forgive nothing.

        • “Something is wrong with people who are only happy when they frantically seeking underground secret sexual thrills ….doing nasty things with nasty people behind our backs, and then show up to breakfast with a smirk.”

          My Chump brain keeps forgetting that x is really a creep. It wants me to minimize the reality of the creepiness. Thanks for the reminder. I need to make a really gross token of him so I remember not to be so “tolerant” and nonjudgmental that I overlook the essential creepiness of who he’s chosen to be.

        • “and then show up to breakfast with a smirk.” I will never forget the smirk. It will forever be a red flag flying high for any future mates.

          My ex came to the family dinner table with the smirk. It was written all over his face. I noticed it right away and after dinner, the family talked a bit more. He had that smirk and “dreamy” thing going on. We had a bottle of hot sauce on the table and he just shook that sauce back and forth, mixing it up. No reason to do it, just slowly shaking that sauce up with the smirk on his face. I have no doubt in my mind that was the day he found out Tim Whore-ton Coffee Snatch was getting a divorce. The timing was right for when I read the emails between them.

          I’m sure there were other smirks and acting differently in the past, but I failed to see them as I never caught him out with anyone until this time.

          • Oh boy. Don’t you wish you could have just busted that hot sauce bottle over his fool head, like a thug in a bar room brawl?

            There is something there with that smugness, that smirk that relates to their superiority in “getting it over” on the naive partner.

            One of my most painful memories was the last “normal” day I had with the X. We were mowing my yard. Me on the riding mower and him weed eating. And then he got a text.

            He said it was business, and he had to go. Like, right then. I did not want him to go.

            He lead me in the house, by the hand and become extremely affectionate and he said, Look at you. You are so pretty. He even played with my hair, piling it on my head, kissing me, hugging me. And he took a photo of us with his phone, right then. He has that smirk, a type of weird excitement….. it kills me (I have the photo). I look like I am in shock.

            He left. I imagine (it is hard to write) he went to party with some whore? That is who texted. I don’t care to know. He left his overnight bag, and clothes. My Shih Tzu dragged everything out of his bag, and I found a condom. The beginning of the end.

            Such sad memories. What a victory, huh? Duping someone who worshipped you?
            I guess it makes them feel superior. Try and get in the mindset of getting a thrill out of hurting someone who deeply loves you. I can’t do it.

            • lol, that’s funny about busting the hot sauce over his head. Truly, while he was doing it, it was really annoying me. He just seemed so fake to me at the time and now I realized he was actually showing me a part of who truly is!

              That is such a sad memory for you, Sylvia. What a horrible man. Hopefully you have deleted or gotten rid of that photo of you and him. My ex and I went to Sandals for the first (and only) time for our 20th in April of 2014, four months before the hot sauce bottle night. We had the best time. All the photos from the trip were on our home computer. When I still lived in our home with him, I looked at them one more time, cried and then deleted the whole file. No regrets about doing so.

              Of course you can’t get in the mindset of getting a thrill out of hurting someone who loves you. You are not selfish and entitled person. I can honestly say that in the 25 years we were together, I never *purposely* did anything to hurt him. I have no doubt that I did hurt him once in awhile over the years, but it was never intentional. And I can honestly say I had no secrets that he didn’t know about. He knew me warts and all. I thought I knew him really well, but I no longer know what was truth and what was fake. And like CL tells us not to do — don’t unravel the skein of fuckupedness! I’m done trying to figure out what’s wrong with him. I gave him my best (not perfect) and it wasn’t enough. I know I’m capable of real love and real caring for another human being. (((HUGS))) to you, Sylvia. 🙂

            • I felt like I was living this moment with you as I read this. I know that smirk, I know that man who did that to you, my memories are yours. How are you now Sylvia? When will you change your name?

  • Lettingitgo, I was taken aback by this phrase: “it’s forgiveness I need.” I don’t want to debate the merits of forgiving him or not.

    What bothers me deeply is that this need seems really premature. Maybe it’s just I, but I get the sense that chumps who pursue forgiveness don’t do it from moment one, or while in the midst of what sounds like an unabating tornado of pain.

    You wrote,”He has many activities and is a people magnet, full of charm and positive energy.”

    George Simon writes, “covert-aggressives can be deceptively civil, charming, and seductive.”*

    Lundy Bancroft writes, “How come everyone else thinks he’s wonderful? Most abusive men put on a charming face for their communities, creating a sharp split between their public image and their private treatment of women…”**

    Maybe you should take a look at those books. I don’t think you realize that you probably have a predator on your hands.

    Maybe he’s not a predator.

    Either way, I’m just wondering what drives this need of yours, right now, to forgive? Something about your timing seems … off?


    *See Private Resources on this site. Simon,”In Sheep’s Clothing,” p.45. **Bancroft, “Why Does He Do That?”, p. 68.

    • I’m waiting for Tempest to come in with some research on how anger is actually good for the soul. forgiveness is not the same thing as peace.

      • Ha! I always rise to a challenge! Anger evolved for a reason (or multiple reasons).

        Here it is from

        We tend to think of anger as a wild, negative emotion, but research finds that anger also has its positive side….

        … civilised people do their best to suppress, redirect and mask their anger. Most of us treat our anger as though it’s unreasonable, unshowable and unmentionable.

        But like all emotions anger has its purposes, which can be used to good effect.

        1. Anger is a motivating force
        You sometimes hear people talking about using anger as a motivating force by ‘turning anger into positive energy’. In fact anger itself is a kind of positive energy and a powerful motivating force. Research has shown that anger can make us push on towards our goals in the face of problems and barriers.

        In one study participants were shown objects they associated with a reward. Some, though, were first exposed to angry faces. Those shown the angry faces were more likely to want objects they were subsequently exposed to (Aarts et al., 2010).

        When we see something as beneficial, we want it more when we’re angry. So, when used right, constructive anger can make you feel strong and powerful and help push you on to get what you want.

        2. Angry people are more optimistic
        It may sound like an odd thing to say, but angry people have something in common with happy people. That’s because both tend to be more optimistic.

        Take one study of fear of terrorism carried out in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In this study those experiencing anger expected fewer attacks in the future (Lerner et al., 2003). In contrast those experiencing more fear were more pessimistic about the future and expected further attacks.

        3. Anger can benefit relationships
        Anger is a natural reaction to being wronged by someone else and it’s a way of communicating that sense of injustice. But society tells us anger is dangerous and we should hide it. What does this do to our personal relationships?

        Oddly enough research has shown that hiding anger in intimate relationships can be detrimental (Baumeister et al., 1990). The problem is that when you hide your anger, your partner doesn’t know they’ve done something wrong. And so they keep doing it. And that doesn’t do your relationship any good.

        The expression of anger, if justifiable and aimed at finding a solution rather than just venting, can actually benefit and strengthen relationships.

        4. Anger provides self-insight
        Anger can also provide insight into ourselves, if we allow it.

        A sample of Americans and Russians were asked about how recent outbursts of anger had affected them (Kassinove et al., 1997). 55% claimed that getting angry had let to a positive outcome. One top of this one-third said that anger provided an insight into their own faults.

        If we can notice when we get angry and why, then we can learn what to do to improve our lives. Anger can motivate self-change.

        5. Anger reduces violence
        Although anger often precedes physical violence, it can also be a way of reducing violence. That’s because it’s a very strong social signal that a situation needs to be resolved. When others see the signal they are more motivated to try and placate the angry party.

        If you’re still not convinced that anger might reduce violence, imagine a world without anger where people had no method for showing how they felt about injustice. Might they jump straight to violence?

        6. Anger as negotiation strategy
        Anger can be a legitimate way to get what you want. In one study of negotiation participants made larger concessions and fewer demands of an angry person than one who was happy (Van Kleef et al., 2002).

        So there’s some evidence that anger can be used as a negotiation strategy, but it’s more complicated than that. You can’t just lose your rag and expect to win everything you want.

        Anger is likely to work best when it’s justified, if you appear powerful and when the other side’s options are limited (Sinaceur & Tiedens, 2006; Van Kleef et al., 2007).

        In the right circumstances, then, it’s possible to both get mad and get even.

        Deadly sin or constructive emotion?
        I say anger can reduce violence, benefit relationships, promote optimism and be a useful motivating force, but it can just as easily be destructive.

        That’s the wonder of human emotions: happy isn’t always good and angry isn’t always bad (although it may feel that way). An unhappy person is also more likely to spot mistakes and an angry person is highly motivated to act. We need reminding that even scary and dangerous emotions have their upsides, as long as they are used for the correct purpose.

        The likely features of constructive anger are:

        that the person who caused the anger is present,
        that it is justified and proportionate to the wrongdoing,
        and it is expressed as the first step in trying to solve a problem rather than just venting bad feeling.
        People seem to unconsciously understand the benefits of anger. One study found participants who were about to play a game requiring them to be confrontational were more likely to listen to angry music beforehand or think back to things that have made them angry (Tamir et al, 2008). They then went on to perform better in the task because they felt more angry.

        Used right, anger can be a handy tool. But use with caution as people find anger the most difficult of all the emotions to control.

          • Wow. Just wow. Your post hadn’t shown up while I wrote. Glad you got there first.

            My thanks run deep. I do much better armed with information. I know I’m supposed to stop trying to make sense out of all of this. But if I can get SOME understanding of some of it, especially with research, I’ll take it.

        • All of this information is so well needed.

          I find when I lose that *anger*…I start to slip and want to call the X. If I start feeling happy, I minimize his horror. I want to talk to him.

          That anger is needed to keep me out of the gutter with him. Not a crazed anger…but a low steady thrum to power me along to move and change. And forget him. Like a motor.

          • +100 Yes, this is how I’ve survived and this is how I’m getting stronger everyday.

        • Great read. I agree with every word. Here’s how I shoot myself in the foot – I feel a kind of brief empowerment like as described when anger sets in, but inevitably a huge sense of helplessness and powerlessness, because it’s throwing in my face things I can’t change, that’s why I’m angry in the first place.Then I feel stupid about being angry because all it did was make me feel horrible, and why would I want to do that to myself? So I’m not getting the benefits and not allowing the healing properties, even though I know anger is not an enemy, knowing is not enough! What can I do?

      • I think there is no doubt that anger at being betrayed and abused is therapeutic. (Though there’s a difference between healthy embrace of your anger and whether or not you should express it to him or her. The latter is contraindicated with ClusterBs, for example, almost all the time.)

        “THERE IS POWER IN YOUR ANGER. If you have space to feel and express your rage, you will be better able to hold on to your identity and to resist his suffocation of you.” Bancroft, p.60. He’s explaining the entitled mindset, and what it does to you.

        He runs workshops for abusive men, cheaters included. He requires 13 steps. Tellingly, many of his clients get stuck on step 4, which “demands that the abusive man accept his partner’s right to be angry. He actually has to take seriously the furious things that she says and think about them rather than using her emotional pitch as an excuse to stuff her opinions back down her throat as he has normally done.

        Client: “I should do what?? When she is yelling at me, I’m supposed to just sit there and TAKE IT??”

        Bancroft: “To which I reply, ‘More than that, actually. You should reflect on the points she is making and respond to them in a thoughtful way.’… And then we begin practicing exactly that and the group.” pp. 342-343

        In other words, extrapolating, abuse does terrible things to people. Anger is protection. Abusers don’t allow much or any of it. So if they really want not to be abusive, really want to make amends for their damage, they have to listen to and demonstrate empathy for their victim’s natural and healthy response of fury. (Yeah, good luck with that.)

        Over the years, Cerebrus varied between dizzying displays of “love” (which made me uncomfortable), stretches of ordinary, and what I can only call guerrilla warfare. I have said to this oh-so-publicly-lauded wretch:

        You take up all the rage space.

        I am no match for you when you rage.

        When you rage, don’t be surprised to hear me tell you to back the fuck up.

        Get off the Hypocrite Victim Train: don’t tell me that my attachment style is to withdraw when angry, and that such withdrawal is your biggest wound. I’m not interested in your theories. And even if I were, you have it exactly backwards. I withdraw AFTER you rage.

        Post D-Day, as awareness began to dawn: You are the angriest person I have ever known.

        None of it made a real dent, though he promised to work on his anger issues, and is proud of how he’s in more control. (I’m not holding my hand on my ass, waiting.) Latest outburst? I won’t go to MC with him. I am FURIOUS. He senses it. Is now suggesting that “we” work on the anger dynamic. Oh.Hell.No.

        Now I’m not surprised. Because “[t]he privilege of rage is reserved for him alone.” p. 60

        Yep. And that’s because rage might protect a target. I wish I could say that I weren’t afraid of him emotionally and psychologically. But I am.

        Slowly I dig my way out in my stealth exit. Two things help fortify my quaking insides. One: it’s not about me. None of it. Two, MUCH harder to be consistent about, which I “know,” and which therapist mandates: “Seize anger over depression every time you can. It keeps you safe and sane.”

        Okay, so that’s one expert on abusive men and anecdotal “evidence,” which hardly constitutes a consensus.

        I’m glad you connected my question to the issue of anger. I now see that what really gave me pause in the letter was not just the rush to forgive, but the seeming underlying absence of anger. Like you, others today caught it more clearly.

        Finally, I don’t think that her working on herself is mutually exclusive with her being angry.

        • Claire, this is enlightening. Since D-day, x and his family have focused on my anger as an inappropriate response to his betrayal, and, in fact, just cause for it in the first place. WTF?

          In the last year, I’ve yelled at x three times. I’ve only seen him about six times. I’ve successfully stayed NC. I tend to be depressed rather than aggressive.

          Yet this characterization of me as a rageaholic has irritates me so much. My anger has been a problem for all the narcs in my life (mom, dad, exes) – I can see a little more objectively that abusers fear anger.

          • Roaring, “an inappropriate response”? NO. Exactly backwards. Good hell. Narcs’ ability to replicate one-hundred-and-eighty-degrees’ crazy still boggles.

            “My anger has been a problem for all the narcs in my life (mom, dad, exes) … ” YES. As it should be. Same here. I held off all but one. Bancroft’s book was like having a dirty (“irritating”) windshield cleaned off. Clear sight, finally, for miles.

            Can’t resist: Roaring, roar!

            • Claire,
              You are exactly right and citing the book: Abusive men LOSE THEIR MINDS when their target becomes angry.

              When I was with the Suitcase thrower, if I became mad….this is when I was really in trouble. He could not handle it. It was surreal.

              Only he had the privilege of ranting and raging like a madman. But, if you bucked up to him, LOOK OUT.

              This is another huge red flag. I wish there were not so many. 🙁

          • A very smart therapist told me that ANGER is our built in “danger Will Robinson” alert system that we are being treated badly. I still need to read all the things Tempest posted, but that is a simple take on it.

            Not road rage (although that can signal your commute is too long) or getting mad over the small stuff-
            but when a partner or their family makes me/you mad- pay attention. You are probably being mistreated.

            They are trying to minimize and control you by acting like you are a rager. When a woman is angry, she is a scary, out of control bitch. When a man is angry, he is an assertive alpha male, showing rightful dominance and outrage.

            They think you are angry? Oh well. You have every right to be. What is your response SUPPOSED to be to something blowing your life? A basket of kittens and Moon pies? We know not.

            You said you tend to be more depressed than angry. Depression is anger toward inward.
            Be angry if you feel it. Just your moniker ROARING…shows you need to express your rightful anger.

          • Roaring–you’re almost there. A day will come when you don’t CARE what X’s family think. Devil spawn comes from devil family.

  • Hi LettingItGo–

    I don’t know if you thought you had an exclusive arrangement with ImaSexGod, but it does sound as if you wanted one and then discovered that this was not to be. I’m sorry. It sounds as if you are struggling with having “wasted” a chunk of your life in a relationship that you had hoped would be more than what it was. Now you know that you can’t have the relationship you wanted, you’re gutted, and you’re also trying to tell yourself that you couldn’t have fallen for someone like your ex unless he’s “good” underneath it all.

    I’m here to tell you that all of us had to struggle with the fact that we fell in love with–and married (and had children with)–someone who fundamentally deceived us. Not only do we reel from the betrayal, but we have to face the fact that we loved someone who was not merely Not A Good Person, but actually A Bad Person. Cheaters are liars, and lying is Bad.

    Is your ex a bad person? I don’t know. I don’t think that’s the right question to ask. The right question is “Is this the kind of man I want to spend my life with?” It sounds as if the answer is no.

    This is where the agency comes in. From this moment forward, you need to develop better boundaries. In Chump Nation terms, we call this “fix your picker.” A good therapist can help you with this. Learn your self-worth. Don’t settle for a boyfriend just because you think you need a boyfriend and a warm bed. Don’t settle for people who treat you less than your worth.

    So therapy. Do it.

    Therapy can also help you to stop triggering. EMDR might help. It’s helped some of my colleagues who’ve had major issues stop triggering.

    I do wish you all the best, but right now that means you need to look at your future and take the steps you need to have the future you want. You are MIGHTY!

  • Hi LettingitGo,

    I hope you read this. I did not read your letter as you going in eyes wide open with a cheater. You said you “closed your eyes” and “were blind”. And, you simply said you felt forgiveness was a better path for you, although you did see anger on this site. I have enough anger to fuel a small Alaskan town in full dark, deep winter…but you know why. Being lied to and tricked about love is as bad as it gets.

    LIG, your letter is a huge bite to swallow! There are so many issues. I want to book you a therapy appointment myself right now. And I am not sure if you will ever see this, and I hate to waste the time, but I completely understand your pain. Maybe I can help you and someone else who is reading.

    Fuck forgivness. Get angry. This is what I have learned. These men who believe the world is a cake buffet and their utter fabulousness translates into: My dick is too special to share with one gal? They will accept your forgiveness, gracious like the Dali Lama, and then go right on to fuck even more.

    Burn this into your bruised brain: HE DOES NOT CARE. He does not give a shit about your forgiveness. He does not believe he is wrong. Even you wrote at length that he is “happy, free, fluid.”

    LIG, this is not someone wearing a hair shirt, on their knees, wallowing in the pain he caused you in a prayer close, flagellating with a riding crop. Can you see how ridiculous it is to contemplate to forgive someone who is running through a field naked with daisies in their hair, getting and giving head?

    For whatever, you are in intense psychological pain. Why would you forgive him for causing that? If, in fact, he deceived you, get pissed off! Fuck him! Forgiveness is the wrong road, LIG. It brings up too many sappy images of love and light and false ideas of someone being “human” and that dusty idea of “reciprocity”.

    You are too off in crazy town right now to worry about forgiving a ruthless cheater. That is for when we are 85, having our third martini at 2pm and our life lies behind us, with all its tattered beauty, like an old quilt. Not now, LIG.

    You are deep, drowning right now….in Obsession. You are obsessed with him: his happiness, the women, are they pretty, he gets to have great sex, you resent sex, you are spinning.

    LIG, this is a guaranteed, prove path to insanity. You are wasting precious moments of your life obsessed over someone who does not love you. You said he was probably relieved to be rid of you.

    This is the polar opposite of someone caring about you. Relieved to be rid of you. I want you to mediate on what YOU wrote.

    But, I think you have fallen so deep down he rabbit hole, I am not sure if you hear our voices. Tangling with someone who is pathological changes you brain chemistry. It makes you sort of wonder if brushing your teeth and hair is mandatory to do item.

    Do you remember record players (you may have to google it) and the needle would get stuck? You are profoundly and dangerously stuck on this man. You have to get unstuck. I don’t think you are capable of self analysis right now, because you have been so properly mind fucked, and I sense real despondency.

    LIG, the path out of this is baby steps. First, go to a medical doctor and get unstuck. Then run to to the therapist and start talking; let the words fall out like splashes of water.

    I think you have a lot to say, and I don’t think it has a hill of beans to do with Pussy Manic Peter Pan (who does sound like he starts off each day with a big ole plate of crazy).

    Those intrusive, obsessive thoughts about him and what his dick is up to now…if you can just remember, as you get your feet under you: HE DOES NOT CARE. Water your own grass. He is not worried about you. Stop! Stop thinking about him. Get self righteous pissed off if you were deceived about his true nature.

    *You have to get worried about yourself*. This type of thinking is dangerous, because you can end up non functional. Mental illness is not a joke. I am not being cruel- I think you need IMMEDIATE help to jerk yourself out of this obsession. Obsession takes on a life of its own. And then, it is like Godzilla- so hard to stop. I think you are halfway to Tokyo, LIG. Stop!

    Now, move that booty and get dialing to make your appointments.

  • Everyone here pretty much said what I wanted to say, I just wanted to give props to the LW and folks who are dating. I, along with many chumps here (probably all of them), gave so much of me into my marriage that I forgot what my needs were, and dating sounds daunting and a colossal pain in the ass. It’s been 4 years since DDay and almost 2 since the divorce was final, and now I’m getting the “you need to put yourself out there” talks from friends, but I just don’t want to find someone. I really like being single and I’m not afraid to be alone for the rest of my life.

    Anyway, cheers to moving on! 🙂

    • “but I just don’t want to find someone. I really like being single and I’m not afraid to be alone for the rest of my life”.
      <<<>>> +1000%
      I am done. However, I do wish every chump who seeks another partner all the very, very best.

      • Maree,
        Females friends can be one of the best sources of joy.
        And four legged friends…a witness to our life with no judgment and utter joy in our presence.

        I have thought about being done at 40, but it does seem like a shame. I am bursting with love to give someone. BURSTING. But I am so hesitate.

        I had picked my person, he was all I wanted and it was a horrible mistake. It seems like so much emotional chow chow to go through all this again.

        *And, even when someone is in bed beside us, we are always alone. We are all alone, in the end.

        • Dear Syliva, you are so young and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I will be 65 years old in January and my ex is all I have ever known. I placed all my eggs in the one basket and ended up with egg on my face, so to speak.

          You will meet someone worthy of you, of that I have no doubt and someone who deserves you and will partake in your loyalty, kindness and love and not to mention intelligence and return it back to you without abusing you. You have it in spades Sylvia so don’t be in a hurry, just look after yourself first and foremost. Heal from the inside out dear girl because you have so much going for you, you truly do.

          • If you can like someone over the Internet, Maree, I like you.

            You just made me smile and take a deep breath. I have some big things to tackle this week, and I have to do it alone. I am overwhelmed and tired. Sad. You know.

            Thank you for always being supportive of me.

            *And 65 is NOT old. My mother is 74 and she can work circles around me.

            • I read it! It is great writing and has lovely images. Everyone who is alone should read this post. It is powerful, poignant.

              I love her quote:

              “What fresh hell is this?”
              – Dorothy Parker

    • Lunachick, here, here! I just turned 59. “I just don’t want to find someone. I really like being single and I’m not afraid to be alone the rest of my life.” I am in the same place. I was married for 20 years, (was with exhusband since 17 years old.) Met skankboy while I was divorcing (I know now what a stupid idea that was now) and was with him for 16 years (never married). My father was a raging alcoholic narc, mother cluster B. Raised my brothers and sisters, went on to be a nurse. All my life I took care of others always neglecting my own needs. I think men are lovely, just don’t want to be in a romatic relationship. Do I trust? Not sure, don’t care at this point. Slyvia, you are still young, I hope you heal quickly and live the life of your dreams! HUGS!

      • Thank you so much.
        I always laugh when I read NoMoreSkankBoy. SKANK BOY.

        Are you still in nursing? Because I know Martha is going back to school for that!

        When my father had a stroke, his Neuro ICU nurses…they were like God to me. Stomachs of steel, patient and unfailingly kind. My father fell in the mud because he lived on a river and he tried to claw his way back to his deck, when he had his stroke. He laid for hours and hours outside by the water.

        Black mud had become imbedded down in his fingernails. This nurse, her name was Tracy….she took a fingernail brush and soapy water and worked for hours getting that dirt out from my father’s nails.

        Where does that kindness to a stranger come from? So opposite of what we read about on this site.

        *I hope you are now taking care of your needs! Go for the deluxe everytime*

  • Lettingitgo, I love your name. It represents your process. And you are to be commended for being mighty and being the one to leave. That takes tremendous courage, especially when you were in a fog. Many here can attest to the fact that defining the unacceptability of the situation is the pivotal point at which you begin to reclaim your power. So, kudos to you for having boundaries.

    It is very difficult to explain a relationship in one letter to Chump Lady. If we misinterpret, do not take it personally. We are, through our responses, just trying to use examples to explore the puddle we are flailing in. Because of your name, I know that you will have the wisdom to let it go!

    Whether you are young or old, you are hurting. And we know a great deal about that department. 8 months is early on in adjusting to a huge bend in the road. If ‘self actualization’ means therapy, I highly recommend that you persist. And the excellent questions that you ask regarding how to manage the agonizing questions, obsessing, and the self blame indicate that you are a thought-full person. Allow a little time for the answers to arrive. It does take time, And they will come. Perhaps in a portion of a movie, something a friend says, in a conversation you overhear on the bus, in song lyrics. Even on a billboard. The delivery system is complex and unexpected. But it exists. Go out every day knowing that the answers are out there waiting for you to find them ~~ like a scavenger hunt.

    I believe in you, Lettingitgo, because your letter reflects your mightiness and your wisdom. Harness those. They will serve you well. Hugs from Chump Nation. And thanks for helping me by stimulating discussion.

    • * The delivery system is complex and unexpected. But it exists. Go out every day knowing that the answers are out there waiting for you to find them ~~ like a scavenger hunt.*

      Wow, Virago!!! That is so perfect, wonderful, hopeful. Poetic, beautiful.

      Thank you. That helped me and inspired me.

      • Good to hear, Sylvia is Sad.

        One day your name will change, kiddo, and the world better get ready for the fun!

        You are a force!

        • THANKS!!! ?
          I sent you a flower through the internet. I hope it came through.

          I sure do hope so. I am ready for this to be over and to not be sad anymore.

          For the month of October, I am doing a STRICT no joke- no researching him. Nothing. Not a drop. Nothing. Zip. Nada. His whores, nothing.

          I hope this will speed up my healing. I don’t want to be a wounded person forever.

          *He had taken enough.*

          • Ahhh, pain sopping is really the shits. I should make the same resolution.
            You may have inspired me.

            Yes, S is S, they took enough. Let’s reclaim some of it. We’re going sane!!

          • Hi Sylvia, I have read that No Contact also means no looking them or anyone associated with them up on the Internet. It’s part of the path to healing. Every time you look him or whoever up, you are just hurting yourself and keeping him in your life. He doesn’t deserve you or to be in your life anymore. Resist the urge! You can do it, Sylvia. 🙂

  • I am in a similar place in that I believe that I am working on myself and healing, and I don’t doubt that you are too, but at the same time, reading your letter, it is clear that you are avoiding yourself by continuing to focus on him and his abuse and his life.

    I would recommend action and experience. Be kind to yourself by doing things that are kind to you. Take care of yourself and improve all aspects of your life: your house, your job, your finances, your health, your fitness, your vacations, your (non-romantic) social life, your community. Invest in you with concrete actions. Think less. Do More. Feel more. Feel the anger. Feel the burn. Feel the fear and all that, but then take action improving your life.

    I think at some point, obsessing about infidelity, about our toxic x-partners simply becomes a defense and avoidance mechanism – avoiding facing being alone with our selves, enjoying just being who we are.

    (I am good at writing the above, but not all that good at implementing it)

    • Well said, Buddy. I like you are great at knowing what to do, but it’s hard to implement. Baby steps for me.

    • Although I will add that I am not in a similar place with respect to how my cheater behaved: I was very explicit about monogamy and she was in agreement (to my face anyways).

    • And (hanging head in shame) I was always strangely attracted to him. Before he started marrying porn stars. The Bad Boy.

      And…remember his knock out wife Denise Richards? He cheated on her like a mad man with….


      • I remember the news of Denise Richards kicking him out of their home while she was pregnant. The journalist asked: what could he have done so wrong that a pregnant woman kicks him out?
        Now we know.

        • Exactly.

          If you want an easy beach read, her autobio- it has several chapters about being chumped with Charlie. She holds back a lot, but you can read about the love bombing and then him disappearing….with hookers and cocaine and random weirdos.

          She writes about having to fight him tooth and nail for money for baby supplies when he is blowing millions on partying and whores.

          A sad familiar tale.

        • The love bombing…today I had a revelation.
          The first and biggest red flag is a guy always available.
          You just met a handsome, charming guy and he’s all over you? Ask yourself: was he the same yesterday? With some other girl?
          These guys are always available, but never truly emotionally available. Thus unavailable for a real relationship.

    • Here’s a picture Alex Jones posted today on Twitter. (The same Alex Jones who cheated on his wife and is besties with Charlie Sheen. (And Valdimir Putin tbf))

      They all end up caricatures if you wait just one hot second.

      • OMG,
        I am laughing so hard, Ian.
        That poor horse. People don’t realize, but horses have real weight limits. He needs to be a a Belgian Workhorse or a much stouter horse.

        I love the way he is sucking in his gut so hard.

        So hot…not.

        What did he say…Wait! I want to take my shirt off BEFORE you take the picture.

  • Way to cut through the BS, Tracy! I guess I am still a chump through and through and my sympathy started flowing for the poor thing, but then I read your reply and slapped myself in the forehead. Damn, Tracy! You’re pretty damned intuitive. I didn’t see what you saw, but now that you point it out, there it is. The letter writer isn’t a chump at all.

    Maybe this is narc vs narc? PD vs narc? Very interesting.

    • Ok, maybe not. Just thinking out loud, which can be offensive. I don’t mean to be hurtful and I’m probably wrong. I already want to apologize, yikes. I think maybe the letter writer is young, and though I am not, I can say that I’ve had similar feelings/thoughts but didn’t get too upset over other blonde women and Motel 6’s, just tended to wonder about them. Maybe we’re not so different. I also ignored HUGE red flags.

      • We all did. That’s why we are here. No one gets a pass. But lots of love and support and teachings are the reason’s we stay. Thanks CL for all that you do!

    • Ha, more like judgmental and not intuitive at all. The OP replied at the bottom and said she will respond more later.

  • They don’t change. If they ‘settle’ down, they have made damn sure that the new fool is the last fool. I’ve seen cheaters years later in lengthy relationships and they are abusive. They may not cheat. Time slows some but they carry on the same verbal emotional and psychological abuse

  • Brilliant response, CL! Your thoughtful analysis never disappoints, and I always look forward to what you have to say.

  • Sex addict is such a huge cop out. Leave it to eggheads and their psycho-babble to figure out how to tell a cheater that their cheating is not their fault. It’s 100% bullshit.

    • +1. And from a GUY? I don’t care if it’s politically incorrect to give extra points to the opposite sex for getting it right on an issue that probably disproportionately affects the other. Edit: +10. 😀

  • Maybe LettingGo is a chump like the rest of us. Maybe she’s not. But I for one remember that feeling so well, of believing that Mr. Sparkles was off having a party, and I was having to deal with real life, pain, and consequences. I felt like a VW bus who crashed into a Hummer; I was dented like an accordion, and he seemed to barely have a scratch on him. I remember envying that ability; sometimes, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I still do. Honestly, I think it’s normal. It’s what happens when a neurologically normal person collides with a personality disordered person. There’s all this cognitive dissonance. But when you emerge from the rubble, LettingGo, you will realize that, as CL says, this person is NOT so awesome. Their ability to bounce so quickly is freakish, not admirable. Normal human beings bleed, mourn, grieve, and take time to heal. Focus on you, and have a symbolic bonfire of all those memories. He can’t offer you what you want and need. Find someone who can, but first, find yourself.

    • I have felt the same way. I wished I could just turn my feelings off and on just like my ex is an expert at doing. I haven’t read it in a long while, but in the Divorce Letter he said that he had spent a lot of time “grieving the loss of our marriage.” Something like that. Not sure when that could have taken place. Probably at work with the ho-workers? Maybe they saw all his grieving. I did not. His feelings went from hot to cold for me in the blink of and eye. He did that to me quite a few times over the course of 25 years. I know in my heart this is not normal behavior.

    • K-

      ” It’s what happens when a neurologically normal person collides with a personality disordered person.”


      “Their ability to bounce so quickly is freakish, not admirable. Normal human beings bleed, mourn, grieve, and take time to heal.”

      This is spot on.

      Would you say this is why any urge to write them a letter or “make them see” is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? Or sticking my hand in the sink pig? (garbage disposal).

      One thing that eats at me is similar to your thoughts- I know my X is okay….perhaps some version of happy, in his limited way. The one time he called, he said he wasn’t, but he is still very careful with his WORDS (not actions) and tries not upset me. If he is not high, he always tries to pretend like he is devastated, he only got blow jobs (!!!) he wishes he had never messed up.

      Making them see the damage they did…pointless act….yes? I have to really fight it. I am a communicator and I want him to KNOW the damage he did.

      • Sylvia, I’ve read over and over again that writing a letter to them is breaking No Contact. It’s also giving the narc attention. They like attention even if it’s negative attention. I myself wrote quite a few emails to him. I started connecting the dots and remembering things that happened, but brought into a new light, it showed he was cheating or something else. I also had an inside friend who told me lots of things about my ex and that in turn help me figure more things out. I just wanted to let him know that I KNEW a lot of the things he was hiding from me. I know he doesn’t give a rats ass what he did to me or our children. He was stone cold while the kids and I cried our eyes out. He’s incapable of feeling anything for anyone but himself. So my intent was never to make him wake up and realize the destruction he caused. I just wanted to let him know I was 100% onto him.

        Once again, I think most people here at CN will tell you not to write him anything as you already know he sucks. Also it sounds like you left him, so you opening that door via communication might not be good idea. Just my two cents. 🙂 You could always just write out an email to him and get it all off your chest, but not send it to him.

        • Thank you, Martha, for reaching out to me!
          You are right. I just have to fight this urge.
          You are johnny on the spot!

  • Dear Lettingitgo, please stop with these self destructive thoughts! They are not healthy. And most importantly, they don’t make sense!
    Please analyse his actions.

    You think “he’s happy with other women”? Wrong. He was happy with you for a moment, then he moved on to other girls. Why couldn’t he stay happy with you? Because he can’t. He can’t be happy. Period.
    Now it’s fun, but once he’ll get old or sick or in some crisis, it won’t be so fun anymore. It will suck. And that’s his problem, not yours.

    “with other women”. With other women he will just repeat what he did to you.

    “other women”. How many women do you actually know who are happy with some sex and no commitment?
    How many women do you think he approached and told them directly: “I want to have sex with you”?
    ZERO. He used with other women the same tactics he used with you: made them believe that they are in an exclusive relationship. Until they fell in love, until they found out they were not exclusive, doesn’t matter. He got what he wanted: sex and then moved on.

    This is a predator, think of him as a hyena.
    Why are you still thinking of the hyena?

    • Enraged- That is brilliant:
      “Why are you still thinking of the hyena?”

      Stealing it! But I will give you credit for your writing wow!

  • I’m going to offer another perspective from my own experience which *may* be what this woman experienced, since many people are saying she may not be a chump… So, my ex was very similar to what she is describing. “Sparkly,” outgoing, handsome, intelligent, funny yada yada. The difference in my case is that my ex and I broke up 3 times (the first 2 were supposedly monogamous, lol right); the 3rd time (red flag in itself, I know) we got back together, he asked me for an open relationship & made a case for it. I said no & explained why not, then told him to think about it more; I said if it was a deal breaker for him, then we couldn’t get back together. He decided after awhile that it wasn’t, and agreed to a monogamous relationship with me because he said I was more important, even though he said he believes open relationships are better for “growth” (lol!). He said to forget he even brought up the open relationship (why did I listen??). Anyway, the 3rd round lasted 6 months (he ended up deciding he an open relationship was best for him after all), then 2 months after the breakup I found out he had been cheating the whole time. Shocking to my system, horribly traumatic and to this day I have nightmares.. but looking back I could’ve known right away when he asked for an open relationship at all. Among a million other red my ex trying to get me to sleep with other people for his arousal, or learning he considers himself a sex addict, etc
    So, my point overall is that perhaps this lady, like myself, actually is a chump, and maybe CL just didn’t understand her story. To be fair, I am just making a somewhat educated guess based on my experience, as the writer should’ve been a lot clearer. But so much of what she wrote is what I struggle with after many months. I know for a fact that he’s in an open relationship now, which makes it so much worse. And yes, I am young, if that wasn’t obvious. Be gentle please if you do reply to this, lol.

    • Alix – you cannot blame yourself for not knowing about things that your ex took great efforts to conceal from you. He is a filthy cheat. Liars have a significant advantage over the victims who have trusted them. Let’s see how that open relationship business works for him when he begins to age and young, naive women are no longer interested in experimenting with him or tire of him. The pool will dry up and he ill go back to pretending to be monogamous to some future victim. All you need to know is that you “know for sure” that he is in an open relationship which, in itself is a misnomer. There is no “relationship” where there is no emotional intimacy and there is no intimacy when the relationship is meaningless. This guy is a dirtbag. Don’t look back.

      • Thank you for the response, I agree. My ex is a narcissistic, selfish and emotionally unintelligent person. That in itself will destroy any relationship, whether it’s an open one or not. It’ll only get worse as he ages, you’re right. I just struggle with huge jealousy issues still, the unfairness that he’s surrounded by people who seemingly adore him, while I am alone and hurting. But I’m lucky to be free from someone so toxic, I woke up. Anyway, thanks for not judging me by my youth lol. I was thinking about writing in here before with a similar question, but people here haven’t proven to be too kind to those with less “experience,” whatever that means. Luckily I have a great therapist, and hopefully the OP here does too

  • Lettingitgo found herself a dime-a-dozen dude who has been gaming the system with his insider knowledge and skills honed as a card-carrying member of patriarchy ruling class; he’s simply cashing in on his straight cis-male privilege. It’s the norm these days just like it’s always been. Hopefully lettingitgo takes this opportunity to become a feminist and also arm herself with the skills she will need to avoid getting chumped in the future. Best of luck to you, letttingitgo. Smash the patriarchy, chumps!

  • As I finally realized about my ex, it does matter whether he’s a bad person, or a narcissist, or just incredibly immature and fucked up and perpetually unhappy. What matters is only; he’s ‘poor relationship material’ (some Chump’s therapist used that term, I love it!), he’s not going to change enough to become even semi-decent relationship material,it’s really really dumb to keep trying to make him into something he isn’t, and I deserve better. And yes, living alone with peace of mind is WAY better than living with him! If I had realized how much better, I’d have left years ago, cheating or no

      • And if course there I meant ‘oh god’. Don’t even have the excuse that I’m typing on my phone. A) I’m not, I’m on my laptop, and B) I have Blackberry, it has a hard keyboard, which I still love (I know, I know, the last of a dying breed …)

    • Yes, KarenE. I’ve been watching YouTube videos by “Dana” and she has said over and over again not to get hung-up on labeling them a narc, sociopath, jerk, whatever! They are ‘poor relationship material’ like you said. The fact that my ex has lied to my face since pretty much the beginning — that’s poor relationship material. That’s on him. To this day it’s still shocking to me that he’s not the person that I thought he was. It’s traumatizing thinking about it, because he had me so fooled. So thankful for CL and CN to help me not feel so alone in this world.

      • But can you see it now? Can you see what was so obvious, what you explained away, or figured wasn’t that bad, or was “normal”?

        • Yes, I can totally see it now. The first devalue before we were even engaged. My gut was telling me something was terribly wrong and that I deserved to be treated better. And I know deep in my heart that his treatment had nothing to do with me, but he was treating me emotionally abusive because of WHO HE IS. And my instinct was to run and move back to WI. But I talked with his mom and she talked me out of it. That was me not listening and trusting myself and what my intuition was telling me.

          And yes. All the abnormal behavior that I thought was normal. And all the lies that he told me and I knew he was lying, but how can one come up against someone who is gaslighting you? And all the spackling I did over the years. Yes, I can see it now. I don’t think I’ll ever completely understand everything, but I’m trying to do the hard work of untangling my own skein instead of trying to figure him out and why does the stuff that he does. I just trust that he sucks. Just based on the amount of lying he’s done to me, that’s enough evidence that he sucks as a human being. I’m realizing I put up with the emotional abuse because of my FOO issues. Now the hard work of deprograming my brain. All the tapes that run thru it — You are not smart. You are fat. You are ugly. You are not worth attention. Your needs don’t matter. In order to get people to like or love you, you need to work hard meeting their needs and being nice to them. You are not good enough. There is someone wrong with you. Etc. THIS is what I need to be concentrating on. Not the narc! And as someone else wrote a few days or weeks ago — I would have been involved with another narc if it wasn’t this one and the same story would have played out. I have not dated much, but all my boyfriends were self-centered and withholding within a few months after the love bombing months. The table turned and I was all give, give, give. And they were all take, take, take. And then I got discarded like garbage even though I thought I was being a really good girlfriend/wife. They just needed a new source of sparkly supply. My eyes are wide open to the fact that there is pure evil in this world and lots of times it’s masked by a person who is only pretending to be good and truthful. Monsters do exist.

  • “There’s anger on this site, and it does give me some relief from feeling bad about myself. But I don’t feel like judging and hatred is what will free me, it’s forgiveness I need. He is not a bad person. Yes selfish and extremely emotionally immature, but this doesn’t make him evil. ”


    Cheaters don’t detach with love or kindness. My chump anger was necessary to detach from a toxic serial cheater sociopath who led a double life exposing me to STD’s while he fucked multiple sleazy women he met at bars.

    Judging and hatred you say? Phone records, emails, texts, and hotel receipts are not judgements. These support deliberate actions taken by the disordered and provide evidence of lying and planning HO hookups.

    Personally, I doubt your sincerity in this post where you have the balls to lay down criticism of chumps and suggest forgiving a serial cheater instead.

    You aren’t a chump.

    • That is sort of odd…it doesn’t make him “evil.” That is a good point.
      If he willfully deceived her, it does make him evil.

      She never responded to any of our GREAT advice (if I do say so myself) and I don’t mean this ugly..but I don’t think her thinking is clear, for whatever reason. Riding the crazy train.

      Doing me, my anger is like a motor, that pushes me along, a low steady thrum.
      I think without that anger, I would sink to the bottom of the ocean.
      That anger is what powers up through all the misery that was dumped in our laps.

      I hear you.

      • Sylvia

        That motor will serve you well. I recall the day my therapist asked,”Where’s your anger?” I was so defeated I had none.

        And I feel the labels are necessary. Sociopath
        Covert Narcissist
        Serial Cheater
        Pathological Liar

        We have to look at their actions and seek out answers. I couldn’t believe however, he meets the criteria. Enough said.

        • Doing Me-
          Yes…that’s it.
          When I lose that anger…I lose sight of his utter rottenness.
          Thank you for responding. It keeps me on the path.

  • Thank you for ALL the wonderful, thoughtful replies, with so many gems, especially the ever so blunt ones, especially the empathetic ones from the insightfuls who pieced together the missing chunk I left out because I knew how crazy I already sounded, was afraid of being judged, and have a hard time admitting the naked truth of how ridiculously stupid I/the situation was. I’m still afraid to tell the whole story because of the shame of having been so delusional. Someone said ‘drivel’, and that’s exactly how I feel I sound.

    I’m going answer individually because you took the time to help me, and I really want to consider all that was put into these replies, which mean a lot to me. But want to clear up I trusted this man like I had never trusted before, because he told me the truth about enjoying sex with more than one woman, something many men only think and would never dare to say, I’m 42, divorced from a non cheater, have a Masters in psychology and was a therapist in my 20’s, live in France and my ex is French and let me tell you this country is a whole other planet when it comes to sex, which is a great discussion in itself, cheating and culture.

    • Sounds like you thought the lifestyle would work for you then found yourself wanting to be exclusive. Some people can only do monogamy even if they don’t realize it until they find themselves trying not to do it. Good Luck! Jedi Hugs!

  • Letting it Go,
    Don’t you worry about sounding crazy. I am the mayor of crazy town.

    As I said, I sensed a real despondency…you reminded me of myself. I was in a medical emergency of obsession. I cannot stress this enough. It takes on a life of its own.

    He is French. That does explain somethings. They ARE different. Having a mistress is very accepted, as in Turkey, and Italy. (And now China).

    Responding to everyone might exhaust you. I hope you feel better, and I hope SEE…. TRULY SEE…that this man…he is the not worth your precious breath and time.

    ((( Sending HUGS AND KISSES))) across the Atlantic….?

  • “He loves his identity of this sex god, he feels admired and in control….” And then suddenly he is old, washed up and as lonely as hell.

  • LettingItGo, a lot of chumps today, myself included, assumed you were a lot younger. This may have to do with you living in a foreign culture. Your years of experience are much shorter than your actual age. So watch out for that.
    I don’t think you sound ridiculous but I do think you are wasting your time trying to emulate a lifestyle that just isn’t for you. Yes I understand you felt you could trust him because he told you what he was like, but now you know you can’t so forget about trusting him or admiring his openness. He was just bragging about how irresistible he is and all his conquests. Part of that is to intimidate you and make you want to compete and it worked. Be glad you are away from him, this isn’t a lifestyle that suits you. End of story. Don’t feel you are missing out on anything because you can’t adapt or you’re not flexible or open minded enough. We are talking about fundamental values and needs, and yours are different. Stick to your guns. Not all French men are like him anyway. It’s a myth that they are. French law recognised crimes of passion as a mitigating circumstance if you caught your spouse in flagrante and killed someone. That means adultery was clearly not considered acceptable or normal by everyone. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something…

  • By the way, France still has fault divorce which can be adultery, desertion, and cruelty. So not so liberal after all.

  • For those trying to “get over” an Narc, google Lisa E. Scott as she had a site dedicated to this topic.

    This isn’t necessarily a recommendation, just an FYI.

    • thx, Buddy 🙂 I’m always looking for new people to help me get over this.

  • From someone who has road the crazy train. I hated reading what was really the only thing that helps you heal: It really, really does take “time” and “no contact.” I hung on to my anger and if it began to subside I would read more entries from others that had road the “crazy train” ahead of me to remind myself why the real “him” was not someone I would chose to spend the rest of my life with. I was justified in my anger and looking back it was a tool to keep me strong on those many nights when I so wanted to contact him.

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