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Dear Chump Lady, Did she leave because I’m not good enough?

Dear Chump Lady,

Here I am, devastated again, and looking for insight and, well, quite frankly, a firm wake up.

I married my dream girl 8 years ago and was married for a short year. I noticed her distancing and withdrawing from me during that time. As a last resort (after repeatedly asking if something were wrong, etc) I looked at her phone. I found emails she placed from our honeymoon to another man. LONG LONG story short, I discovered a long affair that had been going on. Tons of emails, calls, texts, and secret trips. Signing into hotels with fake alias’s. The works. All through out engagement, wedding planning and short marriage. The guy has been married for 25 years, has two grown children and lives in another State. When I discovered all this, my “wife” basically ran off and gave me the silent treatment and moved to another state. And, she filed for divorce. This was a work relationship filled with hotel rendezvous and a lot of presents being sent. And of course, sex.

After she left, I tried to heal and date again. Low and behold, about 6 months later, she contacts me. Claims she misses me and never stopped loving me (HAHA). Another LONG story short, but we reconciled through counseling and she pushed hard to remarry. Which I did eventually. (I know, I know). She promised me she had changed and understood her actions. And that she had cut ties with the married man.

Well, after remarrying she was good to go for awhile. I had access to cell phone and all business travel itineraries. But, again, after a year or so after remarrying, I noticed the distancing again. Yes, affair back on. This thing had been going on since 2011. We met in 2008. Once I found out again, the same pattern occurred. She ran off, moved, and silent treatment only to file divorce. We never spoke again after D Day.

His wife has been in contact with me and she is trying everything to stop it. I’ve also seen a therapist that says its “crystal clear” there is a personality disorder at play. But honestly, aside the lying and cheating, she didn’t rage or anything. So I struggle with beating myself up in that I wasn’t good enough.

I need a wake up call please.

Taylor

Dear Taylor,

I always tell chumps to pay attention to actions over words. Your actions — taking her back time and again — tell me you don’t believe you’re good enough.

I’m not surprised you struggle with this. I could tell you Taylor, this has NOTHING to do with you, and EVERYTHING to do with what a disordered fuckwit she is. Your therapist can tell you. Chump Nation can tell you. I hope to God all the validation sinks in. Because the fact of the matter is, as long as you believe deep down that you don’t really deserve better than a lying, abandoning piece of shit woman — and she’s not all bad because she doesn’t rage (bitch cookie!), that picker isn’t fixed, sir. You’re going to be catnip to the next disordered nut job. Or worse, HER, when Schmoopie-fest #417 crashes and burns.

Abandonment is a terrible mindfuck. There’s no explanation, just absence. It’s totally natural to infer from this that you didn’t even deserve a goodbye. That you’re so horrible, this person simply can’t bear your presence. What’s going on here is a sane person’s natural inclination to self-reflect, and then bludgeoning yourself with recriminations. Add to that all the conventional false equivalencies  — It Takes Two People to make a marriage, we never really knows what goes on, we both brought issues, etc. — and you’re looking to own SOMETHING about this cheater’s absence. It was YOU. You suck.

No, Taylor. Trust that SHE sucks. Cheating and abandonment are not victimless crimes. There is a right and a wrong way to end a relationship. You didn’t make her leave you or cheat on you. We do not compel people to abuse us. That’s on her, 100 percent.

Listen to your shrink. Read up on personality disorders. Understand that there are people who simply do. not. care. They aren’t that deep. Her “love” for you is about as deep as her “hate” of you. You were simply of use. Until you weren’t.

It really has nothing to do with you, I promise. If it weren’t you, it would be some other stand-in. That doesn’t mean you don’t matter — it means NO ONE MATTERS to a disordered person. Not you, and not the OMs either. They’ll enjoy some sparkles, like you did, and then it will probably end. The goal here is to be the sane person who walks away from the crazy.

To walk, you need to know your worth. Even if you don’t feel it right now, ACT like you know your worth. The self-respect will follow. That means, stay no contact. Don’t beg. Don’t ask her for explanations. Don’t fantasize about “closure.” Just ACCEPT that she sucks, and you deserve better than someone who sucks.

Surround yourself with those people who recognize your worth, who laugh at your jokes, who appreciate your efforts. VALUE those people. Don’t chase after hard-to-win sparkly people who may deign to cast a few kibbles your way. Expect MORE.

She doesn’t rage? The absence of a fault is not a virtue, Taylor. Fact is, a lot of sociopaths don’t rage. (Unless they think they can control you with it — and then their “anger” is about as deep as their “love”.) Sociopaths don’t have what shrinks call “adaptive anxiety” — they’re pretty chill about everything. Including shattering your heart.

Stick with the therapy, Taylor. Only you can set a price on your worth. We don’t have super powers. We can’t make people (especially disordered people) love us by being worthy enough. All we can do is know what we will and will not tolerate, and enforce our boundaries. Resist the mindfuck that says “You didn’t matter.”

You matter.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Taylor, stay away from this woman. Forever!

    You appear to have a long way to go, given you’re still calling her your “dream girl.” I understand–for the first year after I left my wife, I still thought she was the “love of my life.” Time healed me of that delusion.

    Love is work. Marriage is work. But having to deal with a serial cheater thought marriage counseling is not work. It’s punishment. Without reward.

    You’d be more fulfilled, and have a better chance of success, by volunteering to clean hospital toilets.

  • As an extension of no contact, steer clear of OM’s wife. Let her do what she wants to “stop it,” but have her leave you out of it.

  • Taylor

    Sadly, too many of us here have been down your road. Sorry you’re joining us.

    I have to say… before you even brought up the comment by your therapist about PD, I was thinking she sounds like she has Borderline Personality Disorder (the dream girl who then distances then bails when confronted with what they did – I had an ex girlfriend who did exactly this… there is no way they have the capability to actual grow and make themselves a better person without YEARS of therapy). Not all of the rage – not openly, anyway – but many of them lie and cheat. I can assure you… this has nothing to do with you and it’s all about her mental disorder.

    Chump Lady often says don’t try and untangle their fuckupedness… and she is right. But if you want to understand BPD (and see common stories) there is a lot of stuff out there on the internet about it and you have your therapist to help.

    In the mean time, Chump Lady is here to help in the same way she has helped

    • Me too FSTL. I dated a guy after my ex ran off. He was my dream guy initially. Loving, kind and then gradually he started to distance himself. I discovered he was meeting another girl behind my back just for “coffee”. I confronted him about it. His response, picked up his keys and left.No I’m sorry, no explanations. Nothing.

  • When accepting divorce is always unacceptable, this is the sort of cycle that is produced. Deal-breakers are needed. And I recommend writing them down. That way you have a mental script every time the lie comes up that you are divorced because you weren’t enough. “NO, I am divorced because she is a serial cheater and chose to end our marriages TWICE!”

    • Yes! I save encouraging emails and cut and pasted chump nation comments on my phone so I can remind myself of what is important and true. I looked at them constantly at first. It takes a while to internationalize it.

      • I do the same thing! I use a Google Keep — it lets you make posts from notes/lists/links/etc. and organizes them in a visual way. I can color code, label, etc. to my Type-A heart’s content. 🙂

        I think about have my notes and either from CL or CN. Seriously, this community is the best.

      • I keep mine on Evernote – CN/CL truths, plus my own AHA moments. I realized after thinking back, that the devalue/triangulation phase had actually taken place even before we started to date officially (STBX had a crush on me, confessed that to me, and then all of a sudden openly flirts with my other girl classmates).

        Hah. I was too young to see that as a red flag.

    • I love this. I too often go down that road. Ending a 33 year marriage was devastating. and some days it still hits me like a ton of bricks. It usually ends up with me wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Your comment is just perfect for me.I am divorced because he was a serial cheater.

  • This is going to be brutal. She got engaged in hopes it would make the OM leave his wife. Since it didn’t happen she went ahead and married you. You were a patsy from the beginning. Those two people deserve each other. You don!t deserve any of the shit given to you. She must be charming for you to fall for her crap again. Ted Bundy was charming. You will find someone else. Go read Chump Lady’s story. Her ex and your ex are probably cousins. I am so sorry this happened to you. I don’t think anyone can be prepared for this kind of hell. No one willingly begin their lives with a disordered person. They get sucked in and then are overwhelmed. Marriage, friendships, bosses can make our lives miserable. Let go. You have a good life ahead of you. Leave that crappy marriage in the dust.

  • My cheater ex-wife did the same thing: she cheated with someone she had a history with, then she bailed. When my mind cleared up I started putting two and two together from the stories she use to tell me about past relationships. This was a pattern for her, including the circling back. We tried counseling but I could tell it was like what JC said: punishment without reward. To put it bluntly, this was a person who was super fucked in the head. It’s actually quite creepy.

    I made it brutally clear that the door was shut on her forever. I changed all my email address, blocked her from the ones I couldn’t change, and I changed my phone number. And that’s what you need to do here. Shut that door and never open it. The only way my ex could contact me is if she came to my door at which point it will remain shut. It’s been 2 years of NC. So far so good.

    • Right on, Michael. “Super fucked in the head.”

      My ex was outwardly so kind and loving, right up until she started cheating. Then I saw who she really was: the total lack of regard for anyone but herself, no empathy, almost-sociopathic abilities to focus only on her short-term pleasure, and nothing else. It would have been fascinating if it weren’t my fucking life she was destroying.

      • “It would have been fascinating if it weren’t my fucking life she was destroying.”

        Agree on that on JC…it’s like living in your very own soap opera sometimes.

      • Exactly JC. Mine was outwardly pleasant and kind. But behind closed doors she would rip up everyone she had a close relationship with. Mother, best-friend, brother, father, you name it. I’m sure I’m no exception. And she was definitely focused on pleasure and would implode or explode if she didn’t get it.

        • This is so true! My ex talked badky about all her family members and friends when we were married….everybody did her wrong in some ways! I actually sympathized with her and tried to see things her way. Toward the end of our relationship, I pointed this out to her and of course she raged at this suggestion.

          • Snap, same. Taken me a ling time to find this site, but it is helping so much!!! Thank you.

    • I found out my XH cheated on me with the same girl he cheated on his GF before me with. They NEVER change…

      • That I just don’t understand. Then just freaking go be together! Leave regular human beings out of your shit show you selfish a-holes! ? (I’ve really given up on the world today! I’d like to just hybernate until Tuesday!)

        • Shelby, I just didn’t understand it either! Definitely selfish a-holes. And we just never understand why. I really believe people like that need to have secrets. And they can’t just be stupid ones, they have to be major catastrophic secrets. Eyeroll…

        • “That I just don’t understand. Then just freaking go be together!”

          But then they both wouldn’t be able to also keep their respective chumps who put up with all their shit.

  • Taylor, it has nothing to do about whether you’re “good enough” or what you did or didn’t do. This is clearly somebody with real issues who doesn’t seem to care if she messes up her life, your life, or her OM’s (or his wife’s) life. She’s like a dog out in the backyard chasing squirrels. Even if she caught one, she’d leave it to go chase another one.

    I know it’s hard to let go when you love somebody, but once you drain your emotions from the situation (which will take time), you’ll look back on it and wonder why you wasted so much time on somebody so selfish. And then you’ll look forward and move on.

  • Taylor,

    The first thing you must do is take the “dream girl” that you think you married 8 years ago and kick her ass off of the pedestal you have place her on. Would your “dream girl” do this type of shit to you? . . . And twice nevertheless? I highly doubt it.

    It sounds like this has been going on the entire time you’ve known her or thought of her as your dream girl . . . She is no dream girl -she sounds like a highly organized sociopath that was methodically and was premeditated in deceiving you from the start. She lived two lives and every time you called her on she was the run away bride and would break contact with you – just one more way for her to punish you.

    You have devalued yourself and need to see a therapist STAT to figure out why you accept being treated like this over and over again and need to find a way to break the cycle. This is certainly not your fault but only you can fix yourself. Time to put yourself on a pedestal and go from there.

  • What really helped me was when I finally realized that not only was there nothing I could have said or done that would have made any difference in how our marriage ended, I could have been a whole different person and it would not have made a difference. He could have married anyone 22+ years ago and he still would have ended up devaluing his wife, cheating on her, and discarding her. In my case I was with him long enough to have witnessed that this was his pattern, to find something shiny and new, love it, then start to see the faults in it, then eventually see only the faults and eventually despise it. I saw this happen with other people, places, and things. His devalue and discard of me was just his pattern. Your ex has patterns too that have nothing to do with you, you just had not yet had time to observe them. She will do the same or similar to other people and possibly other things in her life as well. It really is all about them, we are just collateral damage. It sucks but we are the lucky ones because we will get away and we will survive. They are stuck with themselves.

    • Seeing the patterns was so helpful to me too. Mine had never cheated before me that I’m aware of but he had a history of drug abuse before we met. The stories were remarkably similar. He withdrew from his family and friends, was secretive about his behavior, lied when questioned, and then blew everything up at once and left the situation so he didn’t have to do the mental work to own up to his decisions. And in both cases his parents swept right in and helped him get out in hopes that would be the magic fix (they actually told him to leave me and stay with them because in their marriage when they have problems they need space). Once I realized it was a pattern I very quickly realized I needed to get out and stop wishing he would change his mind and come back.

      • Yes those patterns can really take over but they will never admit to them. Perhaps they just aren’t aware of them.

    • Accurate description of their cycle, from shiny and new, love it, finding faults, seeing only faults, then despise it. All their relationships will go through the same cycle.
      They will go through the motions of what is expected in a relationship but they’re not capable of genuinely falling in love and valuing another human being.

  • Very similar to my own experience with my former wife. Mostly the silent treatment but a few rages as well. Hard to keep up with her infidelities. But at the same time she was fearful of abandonment. A spectacular case of Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • She sucks, anything is up from there, read and read more watch videos and you will understand these types and it will make you sure of you descision to go NC and be rid of her,

  • I appreciate everyone’s comments, and especially the response from ChumpLady. This site is a Godsend.

    CL hit the nail on the head with her words regarding the abandonment. After marriage(s), family gatherings, holidays, vacations, etc. etc., I’m THAT expendable to just run off? I’m soooo undesirable that I can be tossed aside like trash? It is indeed a mindfuck. I think the real reason it happens is due to two things: 1. embarrassment into being discovered for who the truly are, and 2. Lack of caring.

    The real, true mindfuck comes when you sit and analyze the relationship. Was I affectionate enough? Did I make her feel special? Was I giving my 50% of the marriage? All this just eats away at one. In reality, the cheater probably wasn’t giving even close to their share.

    My therapist keeps pounding into my head that I need to just focus on accepting that THIS is who she is. That who I THOUGHT she was never existed. I think when someone may be suspected of having a PD, the other partner tends not to believe it (without diagnosis). They rationalize the bad behavior and self blame. But when things are sooo heinous… so against the grain of what’s normal, one must suspect a faulty thought process emotionally. My therapist believes narcissistic personality disorder/antisocial personality disorder. Ex is diagnosed ADHD, which is comorbid with the Cluster Bs.

    Sincerely, thank you all for the support.

    • My ex-GF would lie, think she got away with it, keep seeing me… and then as soon as I showed her what I knew, she would rage at me and then run away, rather than try and fix her shit.

      As many have said, the first port of call is often self blame and it’s hard to see this is really who they are. But with NC and time, you finally accept it and start to feel better.

      The other (positive) thing to take away from this is… you know what to look out for next time. I have met or (briefly) dated girls who may or may not have been PD, but I saw enough of the signs early on that I knew I didn’t want to find out – and that is actually a real gift I appreciate.

      • Once people feel they can/should lie to you, it’s a wrap right there. Not being honest with your partner is definitely a red flag. Knowing what to look out for is probably one of the only gifts to appreciate after being drug thru hell and back… What stunk for me was after my divorce from one of my several serial cheaters, I waited several years to have a BF and realized I had SO much more to learn. That really stunk, but here I am to get my head on right. Thanks CL & CN

    • Taylor, I read somewhere that marriage isn’t two people giving 50%, sharing. It’s two people, all in, giving 100% of their best selves. It’s clear you did that, and that you have a deep and beautiful capacity to love and care for someone. Mourn the life you built in your head, grieve who you thought she was, and then turn your wonderful self to finding a person who can be all those things — and more — for you. *Hugs.*

    • Taylor, I’m so sorry! The hardest thing is really to try to understand why someone you really thought you knew and loved, who you really thought knew and loved you- could just be so selfish. That’s what it is! Pure Selfish and screws up!! When they live like this, it makes them crazy!!

      You are not crazy although it might feel like it at times!

      After 10 months of trying to convince me there was no affair, I found my husband of 33 years hiding our savings! All of it! I asked him later how he slept at night. He said he had no problem!! They are so messed up with no conscience!! You are not alone!

    • I think your therapist sounds really helpful. Only thing I can add is that you need to forgive yourself for believing in your ex for so long. You trusted, you projected your own goodness on to here. Their betrayal is so unimaginable it can take a long time to wrap your head around – but don’t beat yourself up for it, just do your best to move on. Chump lady is spot on.

    • Taylor, I understand what you mean about feeling so worthless after being callously abandoned. After you’re out of the relationship for awhile you’ll discover that you ARE a person of worth and value. You’ll stop looking to someone else for your validation. You’ll start validating yourself. When you do, you’ll really start moving forward.

      Susan Anderson has done a lot of research into the emotional and physiological effects of abandonment. You might find her articles helpful: http://www.abandonment.net/media_room_frame

    • I’ll save you the details to my story because there not important. Your story is my story. These stories are our story. Only the details cary. The hurt and devastation remains the same.

      You need to do three things and I promise you everything will be OK. One, have no more contact with the other man’s wife. Send her your prayers but do not ever see or speak to her again. Two, you must have no contact with your ex-wife. Absolutely none. Three, let time do it’s work. Continue going to therapy and be sure to take good care of yourself. Time will provide you with the clarity you need.

    • In those moments, you were exactly what she wanted and needed AND fit into her plan. See where I am going with this?

      Its like playing a board game and the rules keep changing. She likely has a very complex set of plans always in motion. Like the person who cultivates ‘back-up relationships’ so they won’t have to be alone – EVER. The psychology is both scary and fascinating. Don’t waste time trying to unravel it. You’ll never be able to understand how their minds work.

      • So true. And I just wanted to add — thank goodness we will never be able to understand how their minds work. If we were able to understand, we’d be messed up ourselves (or highly trained specialists.) It’s like another language entirely, and I don’t speak crazy.

    • Jedi hugs Taylor. In the beginning the fucked up cheater is very good at getting you to “own” your part, it,gets clear real fast they think you own it all. Once you realize it’s all a blame game to them you get some clarity. And trust me, it has nothing to do with how,” good” you were in the relationship

    • Speaking from experience, acceptance is huge in recovery, like you I made excuses and fought it.
      Once I accepted that he isn’t the person I thought I married and everything he did was his choice.
      I had to quit blaming myself and making excuses for X. I was wrapped up in thoughts of if only I had done this and not said that, I went so far as to think my tone of voice was to blame.
      Reading CL’s book and nightly reading the posts on CL and CN brought me to my senses and out of the fog of BS. I can’t thank CL and CN enough.

    • The important thing to remember is that she was never who you thought she was. She was an illusion, a chameleon, who showed you only what she wanted you to see.

  • She’s a stone cold whore, and will never change.

    It’s not that you aren’t good enough for her. She is not good enough for you. Or good enough for anyone, for that matter, except a fellow whore (ie, her married man).

    She is using you. There is nothing there, and never was. Don’t take that personally, it’s just how these sub humans operate.

  • Taylor, I think you already know what the answer is in your situation. I’m so sorry about what you have been through. Your “wife” is not a good person; she doesn’t love you and she feels no remorse in using you, just like she would have used anybody else. You could have been George Clooney and you still would not be good enough.

    Just cut your losses and detach. No contact and detox. You’ll get stronger and soon she’ll be a bad memory. And don’t blame yourself….you’re the aggrieved party here!

    • You go Dan! I remember your story and helping Taylor with his is awesome. We are a mighty chump nation. Dump her. Yes, no contact. I just spent the entire day with people in and out of my home of 17 years of a 20 year fake marriage empty rooms of all the furniture. As things went by me , I told each piece, “Bye”! The guys laughed and I helped the estate appraiser wrap my China for a bye-bye send off. It’s freeing. Good luck and you, Taylor, are worthy!

  • You are the awesome one Taylor! You survived like us, you walked away!
    Now go fix that picker, I’m still working on mine!
    As hard as it is to believe, sometimes rejection is a gift!
    When The Worm and Pookie hooked up, it hurt like hell, but it was the beginning of the end in a bad relationship. It lit a fire under my ass that slowly got hotter and each time I discovered a new lie, it moved me forward. Took two years of crap and more abuse, but I inched my way to the lawyer and the divorce, which slowly moving forward…….You’re already there, so you rock!
    We are so much better than we believe!
    Still working on the self worth thing too…..?❤

  • Hey Taylor

    Been there done that, my cheating wife early in our marriage begged to reconcile, we had two young children and she was the snot crying poster child for reconciliation. She convinced me that a move out of state and fresh start was the answer. Turns out that it was bullshit.

    For awhile she had my balls in her pocket book. I took back my balls, a man without balls is a ball less chump.

    Hey man take your balls back, a man without balls is a eunuch.

  • Well the last time we spoke was back in April when I called her at work to tell her I knew she was back in the affair. I got “I’ll call you on my lunch break”.. and I never heard from her again. Only emailed to set up times to move out and divorce stuff.

    Now you’re all probably thinking what were the relationship dynamics? Honestly, I was a gentlemen. I cooked just about daily for her (something I loved). I cared for her. Never raised my voice. We rarely argued, if at all. I am a lawyer and have a decent income. I’m fit as well, and deemed quite attractive by the opposite sex. I got along great with her family and love them very much. They haven’t a CLUE as to what’s been the real issues in our relationship. My family knows everything though.

    • Your second paragraph will resonate with many on here…those are the sole reasons she chose you. Your qualities made her look good, the good wife, the status. She never cared about you, but about how you made her look. She has no “True Self” she took that from you, you reflected your good qualities onto her and she probably sucked the life out of you. She revealed her true self the day you confronted her and she vanished, her mask fell off.

      Her true self is a dark horrible, selfish, entitled place, and as you mentioned in an earlier post..she’s embarrassed and ashamed that you and perhaps others who know what she’s done and she’s run away because it’s easier than accepting who she really is..and that my friend is simply someone who “Sucks”

      You got this!

      • Taylor it sounds like you’re letting go of a lead balloon. I think once you got back on your feet, your life will be much better for it without the emotional and financial drain! I’m in the same situation as you, and I think that in some perverse way the fact that your “wife” targeted you speaks volume about how good of a catch you are! Chin up my friend ? We are rooting for you!

    • Taylor

      You’re selling yourself about what a great guy you are and you don’t get it that she cheated because she’s not great. Yup… you’re a great guy who got a lousy wife. She’s no dream girl, she’s a fucking liar who fucks around on a great guy.

      Most cheaters cheat on great people and fuck around with losers…. plain and simple.

      Your dream girl is a loser….repeat….your dream girl is a loser

      • Yes tell the family and everyone else… 🙂 as long as it doesn’t hurt you in other ways, (divorce-wise, etc) of course…

      • Yes, Taylor, I would tell her family, too. Just to say, “I love you, I’m really sad our marriage is over. You know I tried. What happened is that she cheated on me.” Then say, “that’s all I’m going to say.”

    • Taylor we don’t wonder what the dynamic was in your relationship because we have seen it so many times before. You were awesome and she sucked. She is not capable of appreciating you because she can’t appreciate anything in her life. She is incapable of counting her blessings or even recognizing that they exist. She sure noticed once she was gone, however, which is why she came back. She will likely try to come back again but don’t let her. You are awesome and there are plenty of women our there who will appreciate you and be awesome back. You can do so much better. Don’t sell yourself short. Her loss will be another woman’s gain. Just make sure the next one is worthy of you (ok, I am still working on how to determine that but maybe your therapist can help).

      • Ditto this. No one was questioning what you did to make her leave because there is absolutely nothing you could have done that would excuse what she did. Nothing.

        My ex told me several reasons why he felt the need to cheat and they were all so ridiculous that even me at my chumpiest called him on it. For instance, I talked about running to much and he felt used because I asked him to give me back rubs and get me candy from the gas station on the way home from work. Are these reasons to cheat? I’m thinking no.

        She will never give you a satisfying answer to the why question. You sound like you were a great husband and she just up and left because she knows there’s no reason and can’t deal.

        • Mine said we had issues going way back and I was unwilling to address them. I guess he addressed them by fucking someone else. No point even telling them this their disordered minds just cant handle it, they
          Make an excuse
          Go off on a nonsense rant
          Change the subject
          Insist on the point and blame you further
          Dont try an untangke their heads I did it for years hasnt made lick of difference to his thinking.
          I think also they get worse with age. Sometimes when I read the emails I think he exists in a parallel universe, their heads are fucked.

      • Yep, that’s what I was going to say, as well. When you got to the point about the relationship dynamic, I thought, “Nope, not me.” or, in a more jovial fashion, “Lemme guess! Lemme guess!! — You did all the work and she did virtually nothing, right? Am I right? Do I get the prize??”

        Ask yourself this: Is there ANYthing she could have done that would have made you treat her the way she has treated you? No? Didn’t think so. There are right and wrong ways to end a relationship, and this one has wrong/selfish/entitled/cowardly/disordered written all over it!

        You need only glance over some of the posts here at CL to realize chumps are some of the best people around. We have doctors and teachers and psychologists and stay-at-home moms and … shit, one guy who posted recently is a physicist. A fucking physicist, can you believe that? Who would cheat on a physicist??

        Furthermore, there are stories here that span 20, 30, 40 years. I personally consider myself lucky I only wasted 16 years of my life with a guy who never had my back. Try to be grateful you don’t have kids with her so you can move on with no ties to her.

        I don’t care how “awful” you think you were (and we chumps are our own worst enemies, self-esteem-wise), NOBODY deserves the shit she put you through.

        I’m sorry, but you’re better off.

    • Dude, none of this has meaning to a malignant narcissist or a sociopath. My own thoughts are that a certain superstar married couple now divorcing includes at least one world-class Cluster B disordered person. The spouse there was a one-time movie star heart throb. It isn’t about whether you cooked or not. Or whether you have a career and decent income. Or whether you are handsome or fit. YOU SAW BEHIND THE MASK AND SO SHE DISCARDED YOU. BECAUSE TO HER, OTHER PEOPLE ARE JUST THINGS.

      And yes, I’m shouting. To be sure you hear me. 🙂

  • Hi Taylor,

    My asshole not soon enough to be ex-husband completely shit on me for over 2 years while I tried everything to fix our marriage. I think he may have had more than the 1 affair I caught wind of.

    After years of verbal abuse (which through therapy, I am learning I am a victim of), I am finally starting to realize that hey – I’m not ugly. I’m not dumb. I’m not a whore. I’m not a piece of shit. People don’t hate me. My kids aren’t going to hate me one day either. I didn’t force him to make bad decisions. I am not responsible for his misery. Being a teacher isn’t beneath me. I am not, in fact, “an expensive sports car going 25 mph” (his way of saying, I have wasted my potential).

    I made mistakes in my marriage, don’t get me wrong. I apologized, accepted responsibility, got help, read books, you name it. I humbled myself to him, to my family, and to his. I unicorned big time. None of it mattered to him. As he said…too little too late. His family has no idea he is an adulterer. They just think I am a piece of shit. I don’t really care what they think.

    I am still trying to find my value and worth. It seems everyone else can see it but me, but I am starting to see shreds of it again. You will too. I am so unused to kindness that when I receive it, I get emotional. Normal, right?

    Be happy that you don’t have children to drag into this. Mine are so fucked up right now and afraid to speak their own truths.

    You sound like an amazing man. You won’t be single for long (I’m not saying to rush it). You have a lot to offer.

    Keep reading what is on here, and then have a Chump Nation dinner party…you can cook for us all.

    Stay strong, feel the feelings. This too shall pass.

    • SBW, the number of times homework leaves my children (and me) in tears has me convinced teachers are superior beings.

          • My awful name reminds me that I, too, made mistakes and that I have to take responsibility for my part in things, even though I have made a 180.

            Not that it matters because the fuck has taken zero responsibility.

            I still feel guilty for my wrong doings, even though I have changed. Yes…unicorn fo’ shizzle.

            • Same SBW I tried to become the unicorn and then got chumped in the end for my efforts. Karma bus got me, somehow it doesn’t feel like the punishment fit the crime but apparently God/the universe/the all knowing divine felt I deserved what was coming to me ?

            • You know SBW, (I refuse to call you that spelled out, you don’t deserve it!) There comes a time when it’s good to stop beating ourselves up. Our cheating shit heads do that enough, don’t you think? Give yourself a break girl, you have suffered enough!

  • Your second paragraph will resonate with many on here…those are the sole reasons she chose you. Your qualities made her look good, the good wife, the status. She never cared about you, but about how you made her look. She has no “True Self” she took that from you, you reflected your good qualities onto her and she probably sucked the life out of you. She revealed her true self the day you confronted her and she vanished, her mask fell off.

    Her true self is a dark horrible, selfish, entitled place, and as you mentioned in an earlier post..she’s embarrassed and ashamed that you and perhaps others who know what she’s done and she’s run away because it’s easier than accepting who she really is..and that my friend is simply someone who “Sucks”

    You got this!

  • Taylor: EVERYone is “inadequate” for a cheater (eyeroll). It’s very hard to understand their mindset, but this sums up their motivation in one word: POWER. They like the art of manipulation, getting other people to do what they want (especially if it is against the other person’s wishes).

    Know the best way to have power over someone who is a people-pleaser (i.e., most chumps)? Criticize them. Tell them they don’t measure up. Hell, just hint at an inadequacy and the chump will jump through hoops to improve themselves for you, to be worthy of the spouse. In addition, subtle criticism or hints that the chump is inadequate are delicious because it also involves MINDFUCKERY!! The delight of the disordered! Not only can the cheater get the chump to change his/her behavior, the cheater can change how the chump THINKS. Yeeha!

    And when you finally cotton on to the fact that the problem is them, they find another susceptible victim. And that victim, too, will morph into “imperfect.” Before me, my X was married to a beautiful, gentle, compassionate, patient, intelligent, and tidy (this is relevant) woman. But she wasn’t intellectual, nor her personality vibrant enough for him. He serially cheated on and emotionally abused her until she just picked up and left one day. He met me and claimed I was “special” because I was all the things she wasn’t. But, I did have one flaw–I was not as tidy as he wanted. So he picked at me and picked at me. Even though our downstairs always looked straight out of a magazine, that wasn’t enough–the kids’ playroom had to be immaculate, too. And the spare room we hardly every used. But that was not to be, and became the basis of why he cheated on me. His resentment caused him to seduce other women.

    See? It’s always something. The disordered will always find your weak spot, capitalize on your ability for self-reflection, and then go for the jugular. Why? Power.

    • OMG, yes. God forbid that the playroom might actually look as though anyone ever played in it. Play is messy.

      And a memory: cheater boy would come home from long stints with the slut, and regard the shiny stainless steel sink in our kitchen with approval. He would come right out and *say* that her sink polishing skills were entirely inferior. Truly can’t make this shit up.

      It’s a good reminder that someone else getting to serve as the eternally inadequate one, now, is a in fact a huge relief.

      Remembering insane moments like that one–very near the end–helps maintain sanity and focus now.

      • Kudos to you, ChumpionSAHM on your impeccable stainless steel surfaces! Lol–your STBX’s compliment is a metaphor for their attraction to the sparkly, without ever paying attention to your substance. Also love the “eternally inadequate one.” I might embroider that on a pillowcase so I can laugh before I fall asleep each night.

        Know what else is messy? When everyone knows that your X-wife hates you, and your youngest daughter won’t even return your birthday texts. Bwahaha. It may be the only karma I see, given how smooth my sociopathic X is, so I revel in the hit to his impression management.

        • Snort. I do like a shiny sink, but the absolute madness of moments like that truly keeps me going. So. Utterly. Bizarre.

          Karmic payback fantasies not needed. She has to live with him, now. That’s plenty.

        • Yup cheater ex was casting around to find something to criticize so he could get under my skin. He settled on my house keeping which wasn’t up to his or his mommie’s standards. I keep a clean house, but it isn’t magazine layout worthy. Hey, real people live here.

          I looked him straight in the eye and told I cleaned up to my standards. If it didn’t suit him he could go right ahead and clean up to HIS standards. Didn’t hear another word about my housekeeping.

          Bwaaahahaha!!!

      • “The eternally inadequate one”. I like that. It pretty well sums up how I felt through most of my marriage. Our kids were inadequate too by his standards. He is a perfectionist (among other things). At one point I tried to point out that if he set his standards unrealistically high than he would always be disappointed. He said “so then anything that doesn’t meet my standards becomes sub-standard”. I think he was trying to understand but wasn’t really getting it. I wonder how many schmoopies he will go through before he realizes that everyone is substandard to his standards. This includes him but he already knows that.

        • So entitled. This is a theme with all cheaters….nothing we do (or who we are) is good enough. They are disordered people who live in fantasy world where they are king/queen and we are there to serve.

          Our only logical option is to leave.

          • And, the real truth is – we’re better than them! At least, I know for certain my X married up with me. Then he spent 32 years trying to tear me down, what a nutjob! All of it is an exercise in futility. All I wanted was love and equal partnership, but no, his energy went to destruction, it’s a waste.

        • OMG! I’ve heard something along those lines from my STBX too. I would tell him everyone is human. Give them a break. That’s life. Shit happens. But then they go and do what they did?! It’s okay to cheat but it’s not okay to make a mistake at work?! You FUCKED UP at least two LIVES! Including YOUR OWN! It’s so ridiculous. ?

        • My Ex actually said our daughter was lazy and not willing to work for the things she wants. That was so ridiculous I was thinking: you have met our daughter, right? You know, the girl who was working 50-60 hours a week before she started going to school full-time, then kept working part time? And still found time for hobbies and creative pursuits? And hanging out with friends? And helping out around the house? She’s one of those high-energy, always on the go people who can’t stand sitting around doing nothing, she got a job practically the very minute she was old enough to get a job, so the whole idea of her being lazy and not willing to work is just totally made up crap. But that’s how it goes. Can’t find anything to pick at, invent something.

  • “Resist the mindfuck that says “You didn’t matter.”

    You matter.”

    This is what I need to keep reminding myself of on those days when I’m feeling down. It sucks when the person you thought was the love of your life and your soulmate just discarded you like you didn’t matter. And doesn’t suffer any consequences.

    But it’s ok. It’s a huge learning experience for me. Now I’m learning my value and building my boundaries.

  • Chump Lady hit the most important points. I’d like to expound a little bit on the “she never raged” comment. Friend, that is not always a good thing and can belie a deep-seated inability to process anger. This is exactly my ex’s biggest problem: he cannot handle anger and channels it through passive aggressive actions (including cheating). Passive aggressive individuals who cannot express their anger tend to drawn to people who CAN express anger. Then they passive aggressively torment their partner into expressing the anger that they feel but cannot express themself. I’m really good at expressing anger, and my ex used that as a personal tool to vent his own anger.

    Before I understood this dynamic, my ex would act like a complete dick until he escalated things to the point that I couldn’t spackle, reasonable conversation failed, and the pick-me dance resulted in nothing. Eventually I raged at his flagrantly horrible behavior, and he would stare blankly at me and accuse me of having an anger problem. (Shocking that D-day #3 weeks after I moved across the country with him might make one angry.) I wish that he had raged, because at least he would have been processing his anger. But no, he shoved it so far down that his only tool to manage his own anger was to provoke it on others. I don’t know the OW who he now lives (and reproduced) with, but I suspect that she’s probably also good at expressing anger, though I expect she does so differently than me.

    The take-away message here is that you may have incorrectly identified her lack of anger as a virtue when it could actually be a major adaptive disorder. I’d say the cheating points to the latter. That has exactly 0% to do with you or your worth.

    • His OW was surprisingly passive-aggressive, but in a different way.

      You see, she seems to always convince herself that her partner is perfect and above reproach. It’s part of her “our love is better than others’ live because we’re perfect for one another” lie. She told it to me, and I can only assume they tell it to one another to rationalize what they’ve done.

      And so even if i did something for her to be angry about, she wouldn’t get angry with me. Instead, she’d vent frustrations about other pointless shit.

      It was only when I started disagreeing with her about, say, cheating, that she began to argue directly with me. And that was the CL-diagnosed mix of rage, flattery, and deception.

      Solid relationship advice, whether you’re with a cheater or otherwise: your partner is not perfect. You are doing both of you a disservice if you pretend otherwise.

      • Wow, really interesting. Two passive aggressives together in a relationship sounds….absolutely fucking awful. He told me at one point that things were better with her because they “communicate.” (One has to be willing to communicate to engage in communication. Details…) I bet that’s going exceptionally poorly by now, given that neither of them are willing to talk about what is actually on their mind.

        • Holy crap I got I can communicate with her she understans me, mind you the year apart from their fuck fest has been thru skype, losers.

          • The basis of the communication for the AP and the cheater is literally “cool, bummer, wow”. That’s what they have in common. Talking about themselves and the other person supplying either cool, bummer, wow OR same. That’s why she “understands” him in ways you can’t. Because instead of having an opinion or actually speaking about anything important they supply one of those responses and of course they are soul mates! Anyone that says cool bummer wow same can magically “understand” the cheater. My STBX and the whoremat bonded over their TERRIBLE spouses. Because apparently I’m on par with an alcoholic that hits and cheats on his wife and then steals her 401k. Because I was “boring” and we never went out (because STBX would throw a FIT if I asked him to do something fun or eat somewhere new or spend a freaking dollar on going out). Worst wife EVER!

            • Same thing here on not going out. Are we supposed to hogtie them and drag them along, then use a crowbar to pry the money out of their wallet to pay for whatever thing we drag them to? Whatever. It’s all nonsense.

              • Because begging and forcing someone out of the house makes for a super fun time. And then I’m trying to make sure he’s enjoying himself the whole time so I wouldn’t get locked down in the house for another 1,000 years. And then he had the nerve to tell me I was boring and holding him back from fun. And THEN when he wanted to go out with some married guy friends from work I encouraged his making friends and he picks up the whoremat on a night out I URGED him to go on! Seriously FML.

    • Agreed. XH was always uncomfortable with any sort of anger. Sometimes I think that was part of his motivation to leave when he did. We were going through a rough patch — after sixteen years, there are bound to a few here & there — and I was agitated, pissed off about having to be a nagging wife which I do not ever want to be. And rather than sticking around and sorting it out (was I justified in being a nagging harpy shrew bitch? or was I overreacting? were there things he or I could have done differently to compromise? — I know, let’s work it out with a counselor. Wait, where’d he go? Oh, he’s under that waitress over there in the broom closet), he chose to find someone who was his “soulmate.” In other words, easy. No problems or baggage whatsoever. New and shiny, with that new car smell and everything!

      If we could have hashed things out, it might have lasted. But he was never never never ever going to be that guy. Never. — So, lack of anger? Not always a good thing.

      • NWB–it may be easy to confuse the timeline here. What caused your then-H to check out of his responsibilities about which you were nagging him may have been a flirtation with a waitress (even if nothing had happened yet). While examining my marital history of my X’s claims “we grew apart,” I realized he had been in an affair each time, which caused him to devalue me and led to my withdrawing from him emotionally. A PI confirmed this. Sometimes we nag or pull back because they’ve already introduced a 3rd person into the mix, but we’re clueless.

        • OMG this………….. When my gut knew something just wasn’t right, my actions followed, although I could not verbalize to him what was really bothering me. It really makes you become the person you never thought you would be in a relationship.

          I was always one of those snuggly, jump on you to say hi, joke around, do nice things for you just because type GF. My ex really liked that about me, but that all changed once I realized that he was a HUGE liar. Then my smiles turned to dagger stares and an attitude of disgust. They then act surprised when you act that way. Then it goes to trying to break down what gaslighting and passive aggressive mindf-ckery means, while they give you more blank stares. Amazing…

      • So this! If he had actually SAID WTF he WANTED I would have understood and done it. “I want more sex” REALLY meant “when you don’t initiate sex it makes me feel like you don’t want me anymore and have sex out of obligation. Do you still love me and want me in that way?” but I can’t read minds. ?

        If he had said “If our relationship doesn’t “get better” by __/__/2016 I am going to go fuck a whore I already have all lined up” then maybe I could have done something about “our issues” ? but when he just says “I want more sex” and then acts all fucking happy after he starts getting more of what he SPECIFICALLY said he wanted, I’m sorry I didn’t get the memo that the countdown clock was already running on his fidelity timer.

        I guess it just has to do with those moving goal posts. The chump is the real life version of Charlie Brown kicking that stupid football.

        • Shelby, mine acted unhappy after he got what he specifically said he wanted (more sex) and refused to have sex. That was it, never touched me again. But the problem was he wanted more sex and I was asexual! NO! The problem was I wasn’t the whore.

          • Yeah. I was told I was asexual too. I was asexual and had no desire for sex and I was a loveless roommate or like his guy friend but with a vagina or like his elderly great aunt or something. I don’t know. The problem wasn’t me! If he wasn’t withholding affection and sitting around seething because I wasn’t all over him all the time I probably WOULD have been all over him all the time. He doesn’t understand that I could feel his resentment in the bedroom. Once we had a clear the air talk and I was still pick me dancing my sex drive came roaring back after he put in the MINIMAL amount of effort. That was all it took. When he couldn’t be bothered to look at me or speak to me without rolling his eyes or huffing for LITERALLY the 30 seconds I needed his attention then why would he think that’s going to spark my everlasting desire for him? It wasn’t that I was consciously withholding sex or that I didn’t like and love and want him but when they aren’t very nice to you it’s hard to spontaneously get turned on for them. ??? He was the architect of his own demise! “But whoremat ACTUALLY loves me! Because she wants to have sex with me. And because she said “I love you so much!” Because having sex with someone proves love? And spending a decade together building a life is me just settling for a placeholder until something better comes along?! MF-er PLEASE! Try another one on me!

            • Before DDay 1 we were still having sex, but I wasn’t all over him. Getting yelled at isn’t much of a turn on. He’d yell at me on the farm and turn all lovey-dovey when he wanted sex usually the same day. I would agree and at least half the reason I agreed was that I thought it would stop him yelling at me for a few days, and it did. So I guess the sex wasn’t great for him either, he probably sensed I wasn’t that hot for it.
              A bit like you when I pick-me danced and my sex drive came roaring back, because he stopped point blank yelling at me when I confronted him in MC about it, he then accused me of treating him like a gimp or a sex object. It’s like the bloody goalposts were always on wheels…
              I always called him the love of my life, so in that respect, he knew how I felt.

            • Wow! I got very similar. I obviously did not desire him because I never came right out and said “I love sex”. I wasn’t faking anything and it should have been obvious that I enjoyed it, but evidently not because I did not make enough noise. I also had a hard time getting aroused at 3:00 in the morning when being awakened from a deep sleep. And I did not respond by jumping his bones when he tried to get cozy 5 minutes before I had to get up in the morning to get the kids fed and off to school. I guess if I wasn’t willing to let the kids be late for school or go unfed then I did not really want him. I was also boring because I refused butt sex and wasn’t particularly fond of oral sex. I guess that makes me a terrible lover and that is reason enough to go find somebody spicier. And yes, it was hard to be all amorous and feel like seducing someone who does nothing but complain about me and the kids and the rest of the world and who never comes to bed anyway. For years I felt like it was a test whenever we made love for me to prove how much I loved it which made it harder to love it and I guess I failed that test in the end. It was just one of many ways I always felt under pressure to be perfect.

              After D-day he told me so many times about how we were just “sexually incompatible” and then when I said something to him about how I wished he had asked his married friends about their sex lives to see if theirs really were any more exciting than ours, he said “I hope you don’t think this is all about sex.”

              • Chumpinrecovery–it is a lose-lose situation being married to a disordered human. Their lack of fairness, willingness to see anything from other people’s perspective, and their constantly shifting sands of what will make them “fulfilled” guarantees you will always be wrongfooted. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Only way to ‘win?’ Avoid them in the first place, or walk.

    • Wow this is our dynamic always followed with ‘ why are you so angry and aggressive’ because you are crazy making bullshit that is why.
      I dont mind a little passionate argument im red blooded

    • Oh my goodness, Free Vixen — you are so right!!! About chumps / cheaters can have this dynamic where the chump expresses the cheater’s anger !!

    • Omg Free Vixen! THIS! ? I had no idea about this anger dynamic thing. I’ve got a fantastically passive aggressive fuckwit who avoids confrontation at about any cost. But not really if I get what you’re saying– he’s avoiding the emotions or anger himself by picking at me and driving me insane going in ridiculous illogical circles among other tactics…..until I totally lose my chiclets? Wow. And after I lose hold of that last thread of sanity in the moment, he throws his hands up in exasperation declaring that he can’t even have a civil discussion with me, because I’m SO angry. WTF? It’s totally fucked up but is EXACTLY what he’s doing. He’s madder than hell on the inside, but manages to suppress it by pushing ME to the edge of the cliff and then I jump off it screaming because I’ve got nowhere else to go. GAH! Stupidass moFo. Thanks for the info – very enlightening

      • Chumpedupchik, mine does the exact same thing. He made it part of his pick-me dance: “prove you’re not crazy.” Instead of working on things or you know, actually caring about what I was am going through, he avoids any real work on his deep-seated anger and does things he know will push me past my tipping point. And then he feels justified in calling me an “angry person” — someone who makes him fearful. Justifies his cheating and abandonment. Stupidass mofo is right.

        • PV- I can see it coming, I’m aware it’s happening and sometimes in can’t get away from it or maybe think “this time I can refute what he’s saying/doing….” and then of course I can’t and I never will, because I’m always going to be living on the corner of OMG and WTF forever with him. I’m stuck for now, but cobbling together a plan to get out helps me cope and hope. I don’t know any tricks to avoiding ths emotional pitfall, except NC/gray rock. But I find even then if he’s in my space making comments or doing things to piss me off, I have to just leave the room or sometimes take a lap (around the block). Of course he’s been doing this for years, picking and picking and saving the final push for when we’re with friends or family so they could see me “lose my chiclets” for themselves over what APPEARS to be minor/nothing (to them). Obviously his agenda early on was to make certain everyone saw me as the difficult bitchy wife and him this very easy going, nice, henpecked guy. Makes me sick

          • Exactly! Impression management at it’s finest. He has the exact same agenda — poor victim living with such a bitter, nagging, angry person.

            Grr. I’m happy and easy going, thank you, and I’ve had several former roommates confirm that for me. So … if it’s not me, who could possibly be causing this? 😉

  • Instead of wondering why she left, why not wonder why she picked you? She chose you because your are kind and thoughtful, loving, and give the benefit of the doubt. These narcissistic types look for this type of people because they can manipulate them, and take advantage of their good nature. Most people would have kicked her to the curb, but you were kind and gave her another chance. They depend on this, and screen you for it when you are dating. The cruel part is that to get rid of her, you have to go against your own nature, which is going against yourself, which is their creepy way to invade your boundaries. Don’t be mean, but fade away, and spend more time looking for kind people. good luck

    • Yes, yes, yes. That’s the question: why do these disordered people pick us? And a partial answer: we are either too familiar with such people and think they are normal or we have never seen one and all we see are the sparkles and the glitter and the “amazingness.” We lack the ability to discern the difference between healthy and not healthy. Fix that and you fix the picker (because we pick, too).

      Another shout-out for the Gavin de Becker book, “The Gift of Fear,” which explains how psychopaths and others on the Cluster B spectrum test peoples’ boundaries to see whom they can ensnare.

      • Pretty sure my cheater chose me because I have “sucker” tattooed on my forehead (but only the disordered can see it).

    • Yes, my therapist told me that the narcisists are attracted to religious people, where they can drain all of their faith and hope and humanity and love, and get away with murder / infidelity.

      They look for good, kind authentic people. They don’t want to marry another cheater/liar-gaslighter.

  • Taylor,

    The tricky thing we all face here at CN is that we are good people who believe in the good in other people… without proof. We assume because we are kind, generous, loving and honest that the people we chose to marry shared those sames qualities and values. First. Mistake.

    Take heart knowing your worth – she chose you because you are all those wonderful things. You are special and deserving of someone that is nothing like her.

    Fix your picker. Look at actions, not words. Trust your gut. Live your life. Stop looking backward because you’re not going in that direction.

    My first two years after D-day #4, I had the daily wonders of his “new love that he didn’t know he could feel again” thrown in my face. His evidence that is was my fault that he left me. It was me who was the BITCH, the one who was flawed. But guess what, that relationship ended… because he doesn’t change… he is evil and he will wash, rinse and repeat his behavior with every person he gets involved with until the end of time.

    Do I get lonely sometimes? Yup. Do I wish I had someone to love and be loved by? Yup. Do I pray that God has plan for me that will bring me joy? Yup.

    In the meanwhile, I raise my son with love and rules. I pay my bills on time and have savings. I own my home (well in 15 years). I’m healthy. I’m surrounded by amazing friends and family. SO – am I really going to waste my life PINING for the “dream” guy. My picker is fixed. I know my boundaries. Given that, it is going to take a while. And, I’m working on that being ok.

    You’ve got this… set your sights on a dream girl that doesn’t lie and cheat. And be grateful you didn’t breed with her. No contact.

  • Have you ever wondered how much damage we do to ourselves when we believe in mythology?

    How long did you search for the “love of your life?” Was he/she the “one that got away?” How much time did you waste dreaming about what “could have/should have been?” Was he/she really “perfect?” Really? Does anyone live happily ever after? Did you ever spend time torturing yourself about whether you should move, change careers, start a new relationship, etc, etc, because your “dream love” may come back in your life and want you/ have time for you/ have circumstances which are different now, so you can be together? Is there such a being as “the one?”

    When I was a freshman in college I fell in love with a young man who was a year ahead of me. He transferred to another school the next year. We still saw each other on occasion. I did not stop loving him, but I forced myself to “move on.” His ghost haunted me thru other relationships. I thought of him whenever I was unhappy with whatever situation I was in. He became even more perfect to me and for me, in my mind. Because he wasn’t there, because he wasn’t real. I did all that damage to myself, because the world I could create in my mind was so much better than the real world I lived in. I thought so, anyway. But I can see now that the ghost relationship I created, and the dream I stubbornly held onto, in spite of logic, in spite of seeming to “move on” was like an anchor in my emotional life journey. It held me fixed to someone unobtainable, and taught me how to love someone who was not really there.

    Later, when I married, I think I took this same yearning and put it into the image of my husband. I know I was not seeing my husband clearly, for who he was, but for who I wanted him to be. How else could I have missed the red flags, how else could I have spackled over all the problems, how could I have put up with what I put up with for so long? I was chasing the dream, following the ghost trail, wanting someone who was never really there. Yes — my husband lied, and cheated and actively tried to make me believe he was someone he was not — and all of that is clearly on him. But, I had to stop believing in the mythological creature and life I had held onto so tightly. I had to do the hard thing, and realize that “the one” did not exist, and life was not about “living happily ever after.” I had to stop thinking I needed someone to “complete me.” I was complete by myself, and I could take care of myself, and I could be happy by myself.

    It is not wrong to want to share your life with another person — to seek comfort in the arms of another. You just have to find a genuine human who has good character and who honestly portrays himself or herself as the flawed human he or she is. You can live with flaws, you can live very well without happily ever after. You just cannot succeed with the ghost who is never really there. You have to learn to believe in yourself, not the hollow promises of our cultural dogma about love. Real relationships are hard, they have good times and bad times. Real commitment takes a lot of work. Anyone who thinks these things should be easy is only fooling himself or herself. Say goodbye to your dream lover — he/she was never really there anyway. There is no eternal honeymoon. What we have is a short life — we have to learn to make it as real and as sweet as it can really be. Dreams are fine for our unconscious mind, but we cannot live within a dream. We wake up to what is, not what we wish it would be.

    • In case you’re still reading, Portia, thank you for this. Nearly three years since Dday, I rarely have a new thought, so your post kind of “woke me up” a little bit. — I remember, some years ago, helping lead a girl scout camp in Alaska where there were a bunch of Tlingit (native) girls who came to the sleepover. They all brought Barbie sleeping bags and suitcases, and I couldn’t help but think, “Why do these beautiful olive-skinned and raven-haired beauties in remote Alaska STILL idolize Bimbo Barbie????” Because we tell them to. Because Hollywood leads us to believe things are magical and easy, and so when reality diverges from that, it causes distress.

      Looking back at my life, I see that I have allowed myself to fall prey to this line of thinking, and your post was a wake-up call to get back on track to the true magic in the depth and work of a good life. Thank you.

  • This struck a chord with me… “Abandonment is a terrible mindfuck. There’s no explanation, just absence. It’s totally natural to infer from this that you didn’t even deserve a goodbye”.

    Exactly what happened to me….abandonment. I’ve always struggled with that fear. In fact, years ago when first in the glorious event of what most call a relationship, I told him of this fear and he said he would never go out like that because he’s such a straight, up front man that would be honest and tell me he wanted out. Absolutely, NOT how it ended. HE sucks. Taylor, SHE sucks. CN, they ALL suck!
    This we trust!

    This realization has taken a long time. The hatred though for all the mindfuck he so happily inflicted still remains.

  • As usual, CL nails it. You deserve better, Taylor. Don’t settle for her, because she’s not so bad. She’s not so good, either. I lived with the disordered for so long, it seemed ‘normal’ to me. It wasn’t.
    What finally helped me to set MY worth – surviving cancer. I will no longer settle for less. I’m to Precious, to me and to those who REALLY love me. As for Mr. Disordered – who cares what he thinks now? Only he. Not me, not ever again.

  • Taylor, I had to weigh in here because I swear this is the same woman that landed me on sites like this one. The behavior is identical. It took me years to figure out that the problem was not me but was instead this “perfect woman.” It is just incredibly difficult to get your mind around how someone could say they love you and do all the things with you that a normal couple would do, and at the same time have another secret life going on with another man or men who you have no idea about. Then, when they get caught, go into silent treatment so that you are left picking yourself apart. I damn near did not make it back. Be better than me.

    The comments on this site are very reaffirming and they are so true. This is not you, Taylor. You deserve so much better than this piece of shit. Take the time you need to recover, but be faster about it than I was with the knowledge that come from the fine men and women posting on this site. Then, go find the woman out there that really deserves you. She is out there looking for you. I was finally able to do that, and it is wonderful. You will too, and then this woman will be nothing to you except a very bad memory.

  • The tendency to attribute our cheater’s behavior to family of origin issues or a mental illness diagnosis is something we (as chumps) often do to rationalize their abhorrent behavior. Without a formal assessment by a qualified professional, us diagnosing them is just a guess. In a twisted way (“skein,” anyone?), diagnosing gives their behavior toward us – and our lack of an appropriate response – some perverted legitimacy and reason to keep them in our orbit.

    One of the gravest mistakes I made was dismissing my husband’s uncaring and unkind behavior toward me by attributing it to his parent’s modeling of marriage. Who was I to judge when my own parents had a similar, unbalanced dynamic?

    I rationalized staying married to him because he wasn’t “as bad” as his explosive, selfish father, or my unpredictable, moody father. And of course, I wasn’t his put upon, martyr of a mother, or my mother who spent her life disappointed that her husband could never be counted on to follow through with plans because he didn’t feel like it.

    In my chumpy head, because my husband didn’t scream at me, I concluded that he would never treat me like shit. It wasn’t until a few years after we divorced that I was able to recognize my role in re-creating a version of both our parents’ dynamic. We definitely learn what we live.

    All FOO issues aside, the fact remained that my husband was cold, uncaring and deliberately mean. And I allowed myself to be treated poorly. It never once felt comfortable to me, just very, very familiar.

    X may indeed have mental illness. But unless he wants to make changes to deal with it, who am I to think he’s anything other than a seething, conniving, lying asshole who pushed me to my limit and is now furious that I am thriving without him?

    That felt good to say; thanks!

    • I don’t know, Chutes. Agree that we can’t run around diagnosing people willy-nilly. On the other hand, it’s very telling that so many of those of us who have lived intimately (or, more precisely, not intimately at all, despite long relationships or marriage) with cheaters can pick up any decent book about narcissism in relationships and immediately recognize the characteristics and patterns described therein. For me, at least, it has been tremendously useful and healing, albeit more than a bit frightening, since the legalities have yet to be sorted out, to get professional takes on what was going on, excellent advice on how to handle it during exit and beyond, and compassionate reassurance that this was not unique, not prompted by any deficit in me, and not terminal.

      I’m perfectly comfortable operating on the theory that cheater boy is a narcissist. The evidence fits, and it’s a useful framework for exit and healing. Both/and also works: he’s somewhere on the narcissism scale, and he’s a jerk. Whether or not there’s ever any formal diagnosis is ultimately immaterial. It’s not a personality type, whatever its origins might be, that is amenable to change, or would be at all willing to stick around to get a diagnosis in the first place, much less to follow through with the work of therapy. Whether we call it narcissistic supply or kibbles, and whether we say that narcissists don’t evolve or remind each other to trust that they suck, it all boils down to the same thing: here is the web we got entangled in, and here’s how not only to get out, but to get out smarter, to stay out, and to emerge from the experience whole and healthy, in time.

      I guess I don’t think it matters much whether we call the pattern a diagnosis, a personality type, or a metaphor. It has practical application. And, unlike so much of the “save your marriage” and “be a better partner” stuff, it actually works, and without causing further damage.

      “Asshole” also has its uses, and is beautifully straightforward and concise. Plus, true.

      • I think for some of us trying to diagnose them with some mental health disorder just continues to make us feel guilty for leaving during the “for worse” part of your marriage vows. If he was sick how could I justify leaving? I still felt that guilt for awhile even though he was the one that did the leaving because I knew he had an addiction history going in. Like I was a bad person because I left this sick person who needed help. I’m no longer in that place thank god, but it kept me stuck for longer than I would’ve liked.

        • Interesting. I see what you are saying–poor baby is ill and I need to nurse him–but that’s not the nature of this at all. I guess I think of it more as a permanent, um, state of affairs, let’s say, and not as anything akin to diabetes, or a broken leg, or even cancer. The first rule of narcissists’ club is that you can’t cure narcissism. It would be like trying to cure a wild coyote of eating rabbits, and for the one doing that to BE a rabbit.

          Can’t be done. So, for me, at least, it’s an extremely useful model with no drawbacks.

          • Even that kept me stuck, because if it is an incurable faulty state, that’s like a disability of sorts. I worked in the disability sector, physical and intellectual disability. So I looked at all his flaws and wondered if he’d had an undiagnosed brain injury when he had his almost fatal bike accident at 18. I still think that’s a possiblity because all his siblings had the FOO issues and he’s the only one who’s turned out this bad. So I stuck it out after DDay1 and 2. Only when I was confronted with evidence of his manipulative cruelty in cahoots with the whore and her family against me did I have to accept that I must defent myself no matter what instead of putting his well being and his future ahead of mine. I would still be spackling otherwise, but reading CL’s site and seeing how typical his actions are, I had to admit I am dealing with a very ordinary traitor and an ordinary pack of hyenas (the whore’s family).
            When you are the prey, it doesn’t matter anymore that it’s in the predators’ nature to do what they do, you need to run or fight back.

  • Taylor,
    I am curious. Now that you know her true character, do you still think you were right to define her as your Dream Girl? Could it be you were dazzled by her charm, looks, charisma…whatever it is she has, into imagining that she was something wonderful? Yet, like a lot of sociopaths, her charm was only skin-deep, and was really a knarly attention ho underneath that pretty pink icing.

    I once had the opportunity to interview a mass-murderer, while writing a magazine article. That guy was handsome and charming too. A true sociopath too, just like your ex. He was even calling after me as I left the meeting room, trying to get my phone number. If I hadn’t known his past, I might have gone on a date with him too.

    Now that you know from her behaviour that she was really your Nightmare Girl, can you see how like many victims, you got reeled in? Yes, there are indeed many people lime your ex wandering this earth, preying on the good and innocent among us. You got stung, but you still have a life ahead. Just kick her knarly arse aside and move on with confidence. Take a chance with a good woman.

  • Even if you “weren’t good enough,” you still deserve to be treated better than abandoned twice.

    You have to get to a point when you realize this is this is circus bullshit. You don’t want to be a circus. Nobody wants to be in a circus. There is a Polish proverb: Not my circus, bot my monkeys.

    You really need to cut off all contact with her. Change your number. Block her on social media. Don’t look. Trust me, with enough time, you’ll be disgusted by her.

    For what it’s worth, my husband abandoned me and even while cognitively understanding it had nothing to do with me, I still quietly questioned what I did wrong. I was a good wife. I mean, I wake up with bad breath, get hangry, and sometimes make lousy puns, but nothing that warranted the treatment I received. Looking back now, I see a disordered person who runs a freak show and glad I’m not associated with it anymore.

  • “She doesn’t rage? The absence of a fault is not a virtue, Taylor. Fact is, a lot of sociopaths don’t rage. (Unless they think they can control you with it — and then their “anger” is about as deep as their “love”.) ”
    CL, you are a gem!
    Taylor, print this out and stick it on your fridge if you’re inclined to think that she is ok, just confused, because she doesn’t rage.
    I was terrified of the traitor’s rages, and I thought they were uncontrollable and that I provoked them with my ineptitude…Discovery no. 1, he was completely in control of the rages, he can switch them on and off at will, just an intimidation tactic. No.2 I did not provoke them, my ineptitude didn’t trigger anything, I’m very capable!
    Of course you’re good enough. Friends will have already told you that you are too good for her, she doesn’t deserve you. Platitudes you don’t want to hear because you just feel so bad… Believe them!
    I’d say you are every good woman’s Dream Man

  • Taylor,
    The one thing I have learnt from all the awful stuff my ex has done is this:
    You cannot put the genie back in the bottle, however much you may want to.
    Once a cheat, always a cheat.
    Selfish to the core.
    You sound like you have a lot going for you. Please do not ever look back with nostalgia about a truly awful woman. A mirage, a fake.
    Get yourself away from her family as well. The more distance the better, however nice they are.
    You can always re-connect at a future time when you have yourself emotionally sorted.

  • There is nothing wrong with you.

    Taylor, it took me many, many, many years before I really saw my EX for who he is. Honestly, I am still unsure if he is a sociopath or a narcissist. The bottom line – it was not a healthy relationship.

    Do you believe she has the capacity for empathy? I mean real empathy.

    Anyone who truly loves and cares for you will not manipulate you to their benefit. These people thrive on drama and crisis and chaos. Read up on cluster Bs and keep going to therapy.

    In the mean time, you must go Grey Rock and No-contact.

  • Taylor, there is nothing wrong with you.
    It’s never about you. There are always better solutions to anything other than cheating.

    Remember this with the next woman you see. You deserve to be treated with respect.

  • A HUGE thank you to everyone taking the time to share information or their story/experience.

    At this point, I think the only thing I’d like is a true apology. I know it probably won’t come though. Just some sort of acknowledgment of screwing me over. And the pain caused.

    Some day I’ll find another. Some day I’ll be over what happened, albeit the scars will never fully heal, I’m sure. I just hope to check in years down the road, and see that her life turned out not as planned. Maybe at that point i’ll get a little redemption. Maybe I just won’t care then.

    Amazing site. So glad I stumbled into it.

    • You are doing great. But my friend, please give up the hope of an apology – because she doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. I know it sucks.

    • Even if you get an apology, how will you know it is sincere? She has proven that she is capable of lying to you for years. What makes you think she will mean it and she is not just using it as a tool to get something from you?

      Unless she can articulate exactly what she is sorry for and the explanation centers on you and your feelings and she is willing to make reparations without getting anything in return, then the apology means nothing except she is sorry for herself and the consequences she is dealing with.

      Let go of the idea of wanting an apology. It is not in their character.

    • Any apology you get will not be the sort you want. XH apologized, sort of, but then couched the apology in a bunch of excuses and dreamy-eyed poetry about OW’s virtues that I’d just as soon never have heard. “I’m sorry… but….” (As Pee-Wee Herman said, “Everyone I know has a big ‘but’!”)

      So I’ll apologize to you, Taylor:

      Taylor, I am truly so very sorry to be a human being on this planet where other human beings can so be so casually cruel to their “loved ones,” that they can walk away without guilt or remorse or even judgment by our “friends.” There is nothing I can do to help avert the suffering you’re going through, but take some comfort in knowing you are already making a better life for yourself without her. In spite of what I am certain will be an absolutely better outcome for you, I am genuinely sorry for the pain this person has caused in your life. (And, unlike your STBX? I actually mean it.)

    • I got yeah it was wrong but we had problems you didn’t address, zero personal responsibility. Im three weeks out and am doing NC and only communicating when necessary about the kids, but its all fishing for information head fuck games, they get a cheap thrill out of fucking you around because they are bottom feeders who don’t aspire to anything nobel or truthful, they can’t grasp it because unless it satisfies their needs at that point in time they don’t care.
      As my Dad says in regards to him ‘Don’t feed the beast’

  • She’s a dirty little skank.
    You’re worth much more than her and I hope you find a woman who shows you how much value you actually have.

  • Taylor, I think you’ve run into a very special dangerous disordered person. She has you in her kibble directory and hoovers back to you when kibble is scarce. You were conned. And that is a deliberate action. She knew when she met you that this other affair was going on. So you can’t see this as anything but a callous and calculated decision to use you, abuse you and abandon you.

    Network TV has those Dateline or 20/20 shows that follow con artists and their victims, some of whom are preyed upon for money and some for sport. The show will dig into the past life of the con artist and reveal the other cons run in the past and show how the “mark,” the person being conned, is essentially a decent and naive victim. Your marriages to this deviant could be a Dateline story–except that you got out alive.

    That’s the 2×4. You will need to fix your picker in therapy. You’ve been through a sort of double trauma so it will take a while to unpack it all, understand at gut level that you were conned, and recognize that what you need to know is how to recognize the difference between a predator and someone to date (and perhaps marry). But I would send the married man’s chumped wife here, for help if she choses, and then cut communication with her. Because while you aren’t talking to your disordered XW, you also don’t want any ties or connections to her and her victims. Make sure XW is blocked on phone, text, email and all social media. Then dig in and learn about these hyenas (shout out to @Rumblekitty). Learn about overvaluation, devaluation, and the discard. You’ll learn that what she did had nothing to do with you, but you were missing a line of defense that made you vulnerable to a predator.

  • Taylor,

    I’m very sorry to hear what happened to you at the hands of a truly awful excuse for a human being.

    I want to comment on your wanting an apology. CL has an old post about wanting an apology from one of these freaks. I suggest reading it and internalizing it. An apology from one of these people is just another mindfuck. My EX intermittently apologized to me throughout the entire divorce while royally screwing me over. If I believed he was sorry, I wouldn’t pay attention to what he was actually doing to me. It’s a slight of hand. It means nothing. My EX stood in the hallway on the day of our pre-hearing, grabbed me, hugged me and told me how sorry he was and how he would always love me, while still planning and plotting to screw me over financially in the divorce.

    I have a penchant for crime shows. I watch a lot of Law & Order and things like that. I also watch a lot of Investigation: Discovery. The one thing I’ve learned from watching those shows, being a part of CN and reading CL’s clear and incisive advice is that you should always respect the nature of a thing. You can call a tomato a kumquat, but it still retains the essence of a tomato. You can call a snake a dog, but it is never going to bark and given the chance, it will poison you. People who are comfortable with duplicity, hypocrisy, mendacity and abuse do not think like people who are not comfortable with those things. They are constantly in a state of “I Want, I Need, I Desire” without then considering anything other than acting to satisfy that state. Every relationship in which they are involved is in service to that state ALL THE TIME. Any apology you would get would be in the hope of keeping you malleable and available should they ever need to make use of you again. Let her miss you with that bullshit.

    You will rationally understand this long before you internalize and accept it. It is a process. That’s why everyone is telling you it is important to go completely no contact. That is the true path to sanity and healing. Hopefully, you won’t ever confuse a “dream woman” with a “nightmare woman” again.

    • so much yes. the “i love you” while he’s trying to take a percentage of MY house that he’s not even on title. “I care about you”, well, who believes that crap. If he cared, he wouldn’t have had an affair and discarded me like trash and watched me cry and vomit my way to ending up at 90lbs while I watched him text/email/call his sociopathic homewrecking whore as I rolled around on the floor trying to get out of my own skin and the nightmare I got lost in. And if he felt remotely remorseful, he would conjure up a shred of integrity and walk away, not fighting for what he thinks he “deserves” financially after 25 years of marriage. He had NOTHING when he met me. I had the big house near the beach and unlimited LOVE. No contact opened my eyes wide.

    • The traitor hugged me and said whatever happens I will never hate you (?? Thanks I didn’t know that was even an option at that stage?!?!) before leaving for town. He also sort of apologised for destroying my faith in humanity. I found out months later he was on his way to the lawyer he and the whore had picked. 3 months before telling me he wanted to leave, we still went to MC for those 3 months. The lawyer was to attack me and try and take the farm away from me when he never paid a cent towards it.

  • Also, I would like to thank CL & Taylor for posting today, because my indignation on his behalf was a nice reminder to me, myself, as I’ve recently been re-struggling with some of these issues again, even after all this time. And in responding to Taylor, I am reminded I am too hard on my own self, as well.

  • “Adaptive anxiety.” Very interesting! Perhaps my ex- and I matched with each other because he completely lacked this (hence the multiple cheatings and other nonsense), while I have an anxiety disorder. Somehow I feel it’s better to start from having TOO much anxiety and roll it back than start with none at all. At least, that’s what I’ve seen from the standpoint of me being able to work on my issues while he doesn’t seem to care very much about his (and, thus, hasn’t changed/grown).

  • Taylor,

    Let’s put this all in perspective.

    1) You might have thought she was your ‘dream girl’, but really, she’s your ‘nightmare girl’.

    2) In one, somewhat limited sense, you weren’t good enough. But understand that no one else on the planet would have been good enough either. Her requirements for a person that she’d remain faithful to were so high that no one could meet them. You shouldn’t feel bad for not being superhuman. If anything, you should feel good that you tried to make it work, even if she didn’t. Be glad that she didn’t drag the divorce out either time.

    3) It is good that you haven’t spoken since she left the second time. Do everything in your power to keep it that way. With no kids, there is no reason to have any contact with her. It will only resume the nightmare.

    4) Finally, understand that you’re ‘good enough’ for plenty of nice women out there. When you’re ready, and have a better sense of who people are, go out there and find your real dream girl.

    Hugs. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • My EX told me ” I have never cheated before”- found out after I kicked him out there were lots.
    He had ” just” got together with the one he is now with. Found out the 2 of them had been to our holiday home the year before and pretended to the local council that she was me in order to get information about the planning options on our land.
    My divorce had been planned by them years before I knew anything. Devious plotting. No respect for me at all.
    Taylor, accept that this is weird. People like this exist. Your EX is one of them. Thank god every day you did not have children with her.
    They do not co-parent and are so damaging to their children. Watching my boys pain and confusion is hideous.
    You dodged a bullet. Move away from her mentally and on with your life.

    Whenever you think about her in any sort of positive way think of her in bed with the other man discussing you. Nice huh? Not likely to maintain much nostalgia when you think about the reality of their behaviour.
    Do you think she gave you glowing references. Nope. You will have been ridiculed, laughed about, and generally insulted. Personal information has been shared WITH HIM. Painful but important to remember. She did not love or respect you. She used you. So sorry, it’s awful, but now you know the truth. Don’t sugar coat it in your head. Don’t just think of the good times. Face the pain and stop expecting an apology from someone who is laughing at you. Why would she apologise? For what?

    In her world if you were idiot enough not to notice her reality and so easy to manipulate, that is all on you. They have no conscience, which you kind of need in order to apologise surely?

    • Your story is like mine. “Planning your divorce for years”. Mine had a secret twitter page in her maiden name where you could see her twittering back and forth with her married man. The whole twitter page was set up so that it looked like she wasn’t happy in her marriage. No where did I should up in a picture or anything on that page. It was a total scam because we were fine! Total double life.

  • Here’s what it would take to be “good enough” for a cheater:

    – When it’s 3:00 A.M. and they should’ve been home by 9:00, don’t call or text to ask where they are. Once they get home, if they don’t offer an explanation, be cool with that. If they do offer one and it’s obviously bullshit, don’t question it. And make sure the house is spotless and there’s a gourmet dinner waiting for them. Don’t get upset when they still find something to bitch about in regard to the state of the house, and they don’t appreciate the food.

    – When you know for a fact they’re lying about whatever they might be lying about, just accept it. Don’t challenge them. Matter of fact, don’t ever challenge them about anything.

    – When you’re certain they’re screwing around, don’t bring it up. Keep treating them like a king or queen. Don’t worry about STD’s, your shattered feelings, your self-respect, boundaries…none of that’s important.

    – When they spit in your face, smile as you wipe it off and get right back to kissing their ass.

    – When they stomp all over you, smile as you wipe off the dirt from their shoes and get back to kissing their ass.

    – No matter what they do and how fucked up it is, just keep smiling and kissing their ass.

    Note that it still won’t be matter in the end. They’ll always move on to someone who’ll kiss their ass even more.

    Be glad that you aren’t “good enough.” That kind of “good” isn’t something any of us need to be.

  • I was doing so well with a no contact / grey rock combo with asshole. We have to live together for now, and it sucks because when he was out of the house, my daughters and I were much happier. I’m sure the OW advised him to come home, because he hadn’t lawyered up when yet when he first got back. I

    Long story short, I have relapses, and I fall for his bait. Last night we had a decent talk with our daughters, which ended in bickering, which escalated into fighting, which crescendo-ed in him pushing past me and waving an empty garbage bag in my face. Did I mention him being in my face and the spittle I had to wipe away? And the bugger he so sweetly told me was hanging out of my nose? Yep. What a giver he is.

    And then the climax of him trying to be playful and poke me, then grab me to hug me, and then try to go in for the kiss. Uh – no. I haven’t done a back-bend like the one I did to avoid his face coming into mine in years.

    The denouement – well, we had to go right back to blame and rage. It’s all my fault. He’s innocent. I pushed him into the affair.

    The piece-de-resistance? He told me he felt threatened and he was going to call the police because I wouldn’t leave him alone.

    Lots of action sprinkled with him telling me I’m fat, my ass is fat, my stomach is fat, and I look weathered. Hmm…I can barely eat, my clothes are hanging off of me, and so sorry if the lack of sleep, destruction of my family, full-time job, and well-being of my daughters is taking its toll on me. I said that I was sorry I’m not a gym rat like the OW (which caused him to chuckle, because, well, she’s perfection).

    After he told me I was fat, he had the nerve to say that I was a gym rat also. Can you say WTF? He has no clue what he is saying and contradicts himself like it’s a full time job. Mind you, I haven’t been anywhere near a gym in weeks.

    The mindfuckery and stupidity is so frustrating. I do so well and then…BAM. I fall for it again.

    Then this morning – he’s crying before he left for work.

    I sent him an e-mail this morning saying that I hoped we both learned last night that we have to be better for our kids’ sakes, and that no contact was clearly better for both of us, oh, and it’s also TOXIC AND UNHEALTHY FOR HIM TO BE IN THE HOUSE.

    Love this rage, blame, crying cycle. My nerves are shot.

    NO MORE RELAPSES. NO MORE RELAPSES. NO MORE RELAPSES. NO MORE RELAPSES.

    • Find a way to get shut of him. For me there was no way I was going to let him stay it would have destroyed me and the fights would have been epic.
      Before d day i would sleep in spare room and he would come in the night and hug me and try and have sex. He didn’t take no very easily and would hound me then rage. So glad he’s out of here.

  • Taylor, it may not be a double life. It may be a multiple life. Why stop at one other man?
    The thrill of cheating is the fix they crave, the manipulation, the power.
    It is truly sick.
    They think very differently, they think we are the fools. The minions, the pawns in their game.

  • For so many of us, D-Day makes us look at how we acted in the marriage and the things we could have done better and we tend to accept more than our fair share of the blame, especially if we’re dealing with cheaters who are more than happy to shift the blame onto us (while ignoring the ways that they were failing the marriage before they stepped out on it).

    When I looked at the time leading up to my own D-Day, I could see that (like every other person on earth) I had my faults and there were things I could have done better in terms of working on or strengthening my marriage. But none of those things would have made any difference.

    I was cheated on because of who my STBX is, not because of who I am.

    If looking back makes you realize that there are things you want to change about yourself, do that – but do that for YOU. No matter what flaws you may have, you did not deserve what happened to you, and you are worth more than that.

  • I am not sure my Ex actually really “stepped” IN to the marriage. That is the point.
    He just thought having a family was like buying a new toy.
    Then it got old and he needed a new one.
    It’s that simple.
    In some ways although a successful businessman, I think he is mentally retarded.
    Its very very childish the behaviour. Rages, lies, selfishness..Does not want to do the hard work of family life (the homework-literally), he just wants his fun, and everything to revolve around him.
    He was the baby of his family and boy does it show.
    Spoilt toddler?

  • When someone leaves you, I learned over the past 26 years, they leave you emotionally at some point and physically at another. At what points and why and when is all about them. I just got caught in the loop of chasing and trying to fix and I am responsible for that, not him.

    When someone leaves you, it is about them, not you.

    If you are one of the fortunate one’s that escaped before being abandoned. The reason you left is about you. NOT them.

    They leave because something “better” has presented itself. You leave because nothing better has presented itself.

    I know this. A healthy relationship (don’t know, imagine it actually), no one leaves… they come closer and closer together. Even in bad times, they are close. Even in ruts, they are close. They are a team and there is no abandon.

    • “They leave because something “better” has presented itself. You leave because nothing better has presented itself.”

      AWESOME quote, JackiesDone.

  • I see lots of good advice and a bit on the psychology side, which is good.
    Regarding that rage comment, I think this video explains it perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hOs5JTFlM0
    What worries me though is how you framed this woman: “dream girl”. Please take a step back and try to see what made you think so high of her.
    Other than this, you’re lucky that she left. Keep working at yourself and build a great life!

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