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Dear Chump Lady, Do I miss the mindfuck?

Hey Chump Lady,

I’ve been separated from my lying, cheating mindfuck for 5 months and 18 days. (But who’s counting?)

This is not the first time said mindfuck and I have been separated, however it is the longest separation. My issue isn’t about what to do with the mindfuck. I left his ass. My issue is what to do about me missing the mindfuck.

What to do about the sinking I feel constantly? What to do about the sometimes debilitating ache inside my chest? What to do about all the stupid good memories that I keep replaying over and over? What to do about me assigning him emotions because it’s what I feel?

It’s so frustrating to me that I know exactly what he is, but won’t let myself accept that I wasn’t an exception for him. Does that make sense? I mean, without getting into to much detail, I’ll give you an example. When I left I tried to be civil and say goodbye nicely, but he called me a cunt and told me to hurry the fuck up. And when I actually physically left, he was nowhere to be found, so I didn’t say goodbye. Just the other day I was in the midst of a anxiety attack and feeling all fucked off, so I broke down and texted the asshole and said something along the lines of I just really needed to hear his voice.

Fucking lame. I know. His response was, “You didn’t care about me enough to even say goodbye and now you want to hear my voice? You can call me if you want to talk.” Okay and rewind back to where I left. The day after or maybe it was a couple days after, I’m not sure, but I downloaded Facebook messenger for my phone and when I synced it, it sent a message to friends of mine. Him included that said something like you are now connected to Annie on messenger. Totallly generic. I had nothing to do with it and he sends me back this mean-ass, name-calling, leave-him-alone-I’m-a-piece-of-shit message. Which I never responded to. Damn this bullshit. I don’t even know where I was headed with that blah blah. The fuckery is real. Kill it!!

Thats all I got right now. Thanks for letting me share.


Dear Imustenjoythis,

No, you don’t enjoy this. You just want “this” to validate you, which is equally fucked up.

Think about it. What if you were at the store and the guy who was bagging your groceries called you a cunt? You’d be completely incensed, right? You’d be righteously pissed off. Who are YOU Mr. Grocery Bagger to call ME a cunt? A person you are supposed to help and be courteous to! I came here for bagged groceries, not verbal abuse!

You’d think the guy was off his rocker. You’d think he was piss poor at customer service. And after the insult faded, you would NOT take it personally. Because it’s outside the bounds of normalcy to insult a person you’re supposed to help. And even if the grocery bagger was having a bad day and doesn’t want to be nice to you, there are consequences for insulting customers — he could lose his job! Someone might punch him in the face. That guy is a LOON for behaving that way!

How stupid would it be if we chased the guy down afterwards and asked him to tell us more? No, how do you REALLY feel about me? How absurd would it be if we assigned blame to ourselves for his outburst? Was it my sweater? Do you hate Argyle? How insane would it be if we manufactured some excuses for the grocery guy for calling us a cunt? Well, this isn’t the totality of him. I need to look into his heart.

I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking, but Tracy, that guy is a STRANGER. Of course what he says doesn’t matter. My guy KNEW me. We were intimate. We had good times. That’s why it hurts.

Bullshit. He cheated on you. He lied to you. He called you a cunt. The fact that he was your intimate puts a GREATER weight of responsibility on him, not less. It should be outside the bounds of normalcy to insult a person you’re supposed to love. And there are consequences for hurting you — he could lose you! That guy is a LOON for behaving that way!

The problem of “missing” the mindfuck is YOU. Your ex’s mindfuck works because you do not know your worth. Because insults and abuse are NOT outside the bounds of your normalcy. Because somewhere, somehow you think that Assface who got that close to you, and professed to love you, rejected you because of something lacking in YOU — not HIM.

Fix that.

Either what he did was acceptable to you, or unacceptable. As you left, I assume it’s unacceptable. So STOP behaving in ways that communicate “acceptable.” You can begin by unfriending him on all social media and blocking his number. You can forgive yourself for setting such a low price of admission on your love. And you can do better now and raise that price. Know your worth.

People with great self-worth don’t look to lowly foul-mouthed cheaters to validate them. He’s not all that. YOU’RE all that.

Internalize it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This proves exactly why “Trust that they suck” is such critical doctrine. Realizing/convincing myself that Rhys didn’t care about me and maybe never had helped me move on.

  • Greatest song ever…by Jimmy Buffett: “If The Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me”

    • Randy Travis sang, “sing the phone still ain’t ringin’, I assume it still ain’t you” in “Is It Still Over”. I love that line.

    • Oh yes!!!! I remember that song! !! Exactly appropriate for no contact! !!

  • I knew I would miss my ex, even as I was kicking him out following DDay #2. But I also knew that missing him, caring about him, wishing we could be OK, those were long habits that would take time to die. I also knew that I’m a ridiculously optimization person, who can’t hold a grudge for the life of me, so my knowledge of why this guy didn’t deserve me would fade quickly.

    So I made a list. A list of all the crap things he’d done over the years. I added to the list as I remembered stuff, and as he did more (because of course he did more…).

    When I missed him, I’d look at that list. Helped a ton !! And with time, the missing him passed, and the great relief of living in peace rolled in.

    But I did cry and long, a lot, in the beginning. Chumps do love, sometimes stupidly, but we do love …

    • I have the same list, called “Because” and another one called “I should have known when”. The first one refers to the more general reasons I filed for divorce, the second refers to the actual reasons I was right to do it, like his behaviors and comments over the years together. Highly recommended!

      • I wrote a journal called The story of my bullshit life aka it’s all smoke and mirrors. Writing it all down validates me and empowers me. And there’s nothing like seeing his actions on the written page, without his bullshit logic, to reinforce what I know and can’t deny. He sucks. He is an evil, manipulative, soulless piece of shit. And I thank God and the whore for getting him out of my life. I deserve so much more. He deserves exactly what he got.

        • NDD, I’ve also found writing to be very cathartic. Sometimes angry conversations bounce around in my head, and I think, “I should have said this….” Writing it down allows me to release it. Will ex ever see what I’ve written? Doesn’t matter. He’s disordered and wouldn’t get it anyway. But putting it on paper validates my truth. And that’s what is important.

    • New Day Dawning, thank you for sharing. I need to follow your lead and make myself a list. Help remind me of all the reasons I left (lying, betraying, disrespect) instead of all the good memories that always seem to prevail in my heart and mind.

    • I did this when I first learned that CheaterX was a cheater. Actually, I went further. Since I never confronted him directly until I filed for divorce, I instead took pictures of all the texts, all the photos, etc. I had those in a special folder in the cloud. When I’d start to think that maybe this was all a bad dream, I’d look at what he was truly like.

      Imustenjoy this–It’s not that you enjoy the mindfuck; it’s more that you still long for the fairy tale support that you wished you’d had but he never gave.

      Trust that they suck.

      • THIS!
        “I instead took pictures of all the texts, all the photos, etc. I had those in a special folder in the cloud”
        This worked like a champ for me when I would start to feel sad. And for that extra special dose of stbx repellant, I had saved all the copies of the skanky backpage ads for that Asian hooker palace I caught him at on the last D-Day.

        There is no way back for his sleazy ass-EVER!
        He chose that way of life over a loving wife and son.
        Now he is just a spec in my rearview mirror.

    • My list is called “Disordered Statements”. Every time he says something to justify his actions or choices and I think, “You have got to be kidding”, I add it to my list and then write out the truth so I can see why he sucks. Every time I start to question anything, I re-read the list and remember that yes, what he has done and continues to do is really THAT awful.

    • I made this same list. I wrote down every horrible thing he did or said to me that should have been a deal breaker. It was 9 pages long. There are still things I sometimes remember, but I’ve gotten past needing to write it all down. Making all those abuses tangible, made it real. It got easier and easier to remain no contact as the list got longer and longer. I’ve been at Meh for some time now. That list got me there much faster!

      • That’s a lot of pages. Mine would probably be equally long. We sure do put up with a lot of shit, we chumps.

        • Yes, it was long. It just goes to show you that once you start actively writing down everything, you can finally start seeing the pattern of their behaviours versus everything being just a one time event. Though, nine pages really isn’t that long when you’ve been in someone’s life for two and a half decades. That’s plenty of time for a disordered person to rack up emotional abuses. I’ll forever now watch for patterns, in everyone in my life. Once I saw my X’ pattern, I started noticing other patterns, like my mother and some of my siblings. Turns out, I’d married my mother. I’ve systematically set the bar much much higher, now, for the people I allow to be a part of my life. I has to clean shop, but the remainder of my tribe is true blue now.

    • This me… I burned my journal after 15 months. Though she was gone for good. Wouldn’t you know, shes trying to come back. Yes, a mid fuck.

      Wish I kept that journal!

      • Yes, I made the list in case he comes back. I was such a sucker for him and the charm channel. I feel safer knowing my head and my heart are prepared.

    • Me, too. To this day I have in my purse the printout of the texts between us on the cruelest night of my life with the X, when he refused to tell me gradwhore’s name, and told me that some good friends of ours had told him he shouldn’t tell me her name because she had “privacy” rights. I served him that night, and knew it was over for good.

      Anytime I feel sentimental, I just read his cruel texts and poof! sentimentality gone.

    • The List –>EXACTLY!. We want to envelope ourselves with the good memories because it makes us feel less shitty. Well, shitty is part of this journey.
      So list the “Not Okays” & run thru them EVERY time you get the sentimental fuzzies.
      I do it probably every day. It helps tremendously to reinforce my decision to leave immediately & without a word when I discovered evidence of cheating.
      Hell no, I won’t go thru all the bullshit again. Cheating is a dealbreaker. End of discussion. End of everything. Done. ✔

      • “shitty is part of this journey”

        So true ChumptyDumpty and you’re absolutely right – the list really does help when the memories of the “Not Okays” fade and you start to second guess the decisions that you made. Best thing I ever did after D-Day was to start The List and keep adding to it.

    • Long live the list!

      My STBXH cheated on me throughout our relationship and my pregnancy–although that was a hard pill to swallow it became really easy to emotionally detach myself because I was so disgusted with his behavior. I wrote a list anyway, since there were a myriad of problems beyond the cheating, and every time I stumble upon an old picture of us looking happy, I just read the damn list and it’s case closed. Highly recommend this for anyone who is still struggling.

  • Dear IMET,

    You don’t enjoy it but you have accepted his treatment as the “normal” way to be treated by someone who claims they love you. Ask me how I know. The only remedy for getting rid of the mind fuck is complete no contact or grey rock if you have to co-parent. Don’t just unfriend the jerk from Facebook, block him and all of the pod people in his orbit. This way you don’t exist to him and he doesn’t exist to you. Do the same with any other social media.

    If you have minor children with him, block him on your phone when they’re in your care. Only allow emails (which can be saved). If you don’t have children with him or they’re grown, block him from every electronic venue. Any type of contact (and I do mean any) sets you way back. You need this time to get strong and the only way to do this is to effectively erase him from your life as much as possible.

    It is not easy in the beginning so celebrate your successes every time you go x amount of days without having any contact. I promise you that after a while it will become as easy as breathing. My children were adults when we got divorced so I went the complete no contact route. It wasn’t easy at the beginning because I thought I missed him so there was occasional contact and it would always set me back.

    I’m pretty meh about the ex’s existence these days but he’s still blocked everywhere. I have really come to enjoy the peace that comes along with no longer having the mind fuck ruin my day and I figure there is no point in messing with that. You will get to that point too.


  • And I would add this is a normal part of grieving what was lost. It does not always make cognitive sense why we do what we do. But I do agree with CL to engage the brain and remind yourself that such treatment is completely unacceptable plus take steps (like cutting him from your social media) to avoid any future verbal attacks.

  • KarenE has the right idea. I have my list in my head because every single awful thing was so major( ie him blowing half my retirement savings). I think when we kiss the mindfuck it is our codependency rearing its ugly head. I still get emails because I’m trying to get him to finish the last of his requirements so I can tell the lawyer to complete the divorce (YES!) and he shows how disordered he is EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I really do trust that he sucks…

      • Actually, I think ‘kiss the mindfuck’ is a great way to look at it: as in, “Don’t kiss the mindfuck!”

        So when chumps are in the throes of missing the mental manipulations, we can now say to ourselves,

        “Don’t kiss the mindfuck!”

        Another chump rallying cry born!

  • I needed this so much. H is just continually cruel to me and it upsets the children. It’s never fun obviously; but when you have an audience of impressionable littles, it’s pretty just unpleasant. I’m a blessed chump though because my dad is amazing to my mom. I’m telling the girls to watch my dad. I hate that my girls have to see this. I don’t want to bad mouth H to the girls, but his behavior makes junior high look mature. (But believe me he could be so much worse!!) I really struggle with knowing my worth. So that’s what I’m working on a lot. Thanks again,this is a great post.

  • It is so often not the actual person that we miss, but the person we thought/wanted/hoped/dreamed the person was, the person they pretended they were who we wish would “come back”.

    But that person was a lie, just like all the other lies. That person was bait, wearing a mask of false kindness.

    Yet we still grieve the loss of what we once dreamed was true.

    That is it’s own mindfuck.

    • It’s true that we miss the lie. But reality has a way of interfering with the Lie. Unchumping is really just a process of trusting reality.

      The Lie is what they say, the sparkle, the interludes of charms. The reality is the shitty everyday existence with these people. What’s not done. What’s neglected. The chaos. And the outright abuse.

      No amount of sparkle is worth being cheated on and verbally abused.

      To me anyway. Everyone has to set their own price of admission. I’m “Chump Lady” because I learned the painful lessons of setting mine way too low for too long.

      • “The reality is the shitty everyday existence with these people.”

        This is the tree to tie your mind to with strong zip ties. I have a friend who is the 2×4 kind of friend but in a quiet way. I was sobbing the other day over missing my XH. My friend said with no judgement, just calm,
        What part do you miss the most? When he would come home drunk? When other women were calling him all hours of the night? When he would pass out for days after a binge?

        Boom up side the head.

      • Ms. Chump Lady my hero.. how do I get there? I posted a few weeks ago my STBX was in a car accident with the OW(a friend he knew before me) according to him. The OW had here ambulance bill sent to my home, this is how I learned of the accident. Turns out my STBX was hurt really bad crushed bones I’m back, numbness, nerve damage etc. all this occurred while my STBX was being a Good Samaritan ” only helping her move”. Why do I feel so sad for him? The need to take care of him? Although we have been separated for 3 months it saddens me to see him weak, only 3 months ago the strongest man I knew ( aside from my dad RIP) I’ve asked him to come home after putting him out prior to the accident. Now he’s rejecting me, still not home???? Is this further mindfuckery?

    • I agree 100%, it’s missing the person we THOUGHT they were, not the person it turns out they always were. It just takes time and distance to finally accept that this person isn’t going to “change” and we deserve better.

      • It’s also the person that they tried to convince us that they were. H used to say in my marriage that I was trying to make him into something that he wasn’t. I never understood. Now I know, I was expecting him to be who he said he was.

        • A similar thing with my XH, Karen. Toward the end, he was always saying the he has not been able to be himself with me and feels like he can’t be. Well, he created that situation when he wore a mask in the beginning and played the role of a good, honest, loving person to suck me in. I never asked him to be fake, but if he had shown his true evil nature of course I wouldn’t have married him. It was the good ‘ol “bait and switch” scenario. But then, because he is tired of trying to keep the mask on it is suddenly MY fault because he can’t be his “true self” with me. Now, that’s another ridiculous attempt at a major mindfuck!

        • Mine said something that amounts to the same thing. That I put him on a pedestal, trying to use that as an excuse, like I set my expectations too high so of course he couldn’t meet them.

          So…expecting him to mean what he said, keep promises, show me the same respect and decency I showed him, not cheat…that equates to putting someone on a pedestal? Sure. Just another attempt at blame-shifting.

          Expecting those things from him was equivalent to asking for the moon and stars, though, so even though in one way it was total bullshit, in another way it was totally true, showing who he really is. “No, you can’t expect those things from me.” I was already aware of that, but thanks for the confirmation.

          • OMG Jonquil, I got the “you put me on this pedestal” bullshit too! I am beginning to believe there REALLY is some sort of fucked up handbook that cheaters have to justify screwing around. I realized in time that anything that came out of his mouth was a lie or just BS! I just couldn’t listen to the crap anymore. It’s so disrespectful and they honestly believe we are idiots! How insulting is that? I just had to give him the gate. Schmoopie truly deserved that shot more than I did!

          • The last song my ex sent me before his final nail to be with OW was Boston’s “Man I’ll Never Be” a.k.a. The Sad Sausage National Anthem…

            A Man I’ll Never Be
            Buy for $0.99
            SubscribeStart Free Radio
            Subscribe to Google Play Music and listen to this song and millions of other songs. First month free.
            If I said what’s on my mind
            You’d turn and walk away
            Disappearing way back in your dreams
            It’s so hard to be unkind
            So easy just to say
            That everything is just the way it seems

            You look up at me
            And somewhere in your mind you see
            A man I’ll never be

            If only I could find a way
            I’d feel like I’m the man you believe I am
            And it’s getting harder every day for me
            To hide behind this dream you see
            A man I’ll never be

            I can’t get any stronger
            I can’t climb any higher
            You’ll never know just how hard I’ve tried
            Cry a little longer
            And hold a little tighter
            Emotions can’t be satisfied

            You look up at me
            And somewhere in your mind you still see
            A man I’ll never be

            If only I could find a way
            I’d feel like I’m the man you believe I am
            And it’s getting harder every day for me
            To hide behind this dream you see
            A man I’ll never be

        • All these years later and I still learn new things from y’all. I have always been confused about how I could have been trying to make him into something he wasn’t. It never occurred to me that holding him accountable to be the person he claimed to be was me doing just that. Damn. As always, he was brilliant at setting me up to fail him. I just missed that nuance. Thanks for that.

    • To me, that’s what Meh is. When you reach the place where you don’t even miss or grieve the lie anymore. When you’re happy and grateful to be living in your own truth every single day. Which isn’t to say life is perfect or blissful every single moment, but at least it’s all real and true.

      • So true. For me, I don’t grieve him anymore, but I do still mourn the simplicity and sweetness of real trust. I feel pretty sure I will never trust that openly again. I know that is ultimately a good thing, because that was part of being a chump, but it was really pleasant to feel happy about healthy relationships without any negativity creeping in.

        It was nice when I didn’t feel jaded before I felt anything else. It was nice to feel misty and inspired at weddings. It was nice to see two people who seemed deeply in love with no part of me thinking “yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts.”

        I guess I will always miss that.

        • I too miss my innocence, and the fact of trusting somebody carelessly, Amiisfree…I hate my X for this more than anything else

          • So true, Amiisfree and Loulotte02. I find myself wondering about my now adult children and their partners: “How long will the relationship last?” It IS such a loss of innocence. The reality for me is that their cheater father left them, when they were so young – the youngest barely out if diapers. How can I think anything else?

          • Yesterday, as the pharmacist was going over some medication discharge instructions, I thought, He’s kinda cute and nice, I wonder if he’s available? But right on the heels of that I thought, “And would you look me in the eye while lying to me, too?” Couldn’t help it. Just popped in there. (sigh)

        • SAME, SAME, SAME! That more than anything else makes me sad. I feel broken. I feel like I had a happy innocence, a pure joy at living and being with someone I loved so much and trusted 100%. And now I’m just bitter and empty. I feel like everything I see that’s happy I just feel like ?? All these Valentine’s Day jewelry commercials. Give these giant double diamond rings to the one woman that is your TRUE LOVE and BEST FRIEND! I see the guy and I’m like out of the four couples at least two are cheaters. Who is it? The guy or the girl? It’s awful. I was never one to believe in the goodness of humanity and now it’s even worse. I like to imagine one day I might not hate all people and be able to move on but it feels very doubtful right now.

          • Sad Shelby, I do this all the time. I’ll be in a social situation and wonder how many man/women are actively cheating on their spouses and/or have in the past. Before my world was blown apart, I would have never played that twisted game.

  • IMET,
    I think what you’re experiencing is cognitive dissonance.You need to literally inhale all the information you can about this and how to counter it.You are also most likely trauma bonded/experiencing a kind of Stockholm syndrome.Ask me how I know.
    For me,information was power.And of course,strict no contact.

    • I would also add in “sunk cost fallacy”. Losing everything we invested in building a life with this other person is a tough thing to let happen. We look for any little bone that they throw us to reinforce our decision to stay based on sunk costs. Aka… see it’s not so bad. If someone like IMET is still coming around to accepting the fact that it just sucks, and it is unfair, and I can’t have thrown my lot in with someone so horrible, it is natural to keep casting about for some little glimmer of humanity. It’s not that we chumps miss the mind fuck, I think that we are still going through the process of accepting that there really are people this horrible in the world. And it really does come back to strict no contact. Because every time we have any contact, it will take us into that place of hoping our Cheater is not really that bad. (No… he’s really that bad).

  • Thank you Chump Lady. I have responded to a couple of posts lately along these lines: don’t miss the lie.

    I missed the lie for a long time till someone articulated it for me.

  • For me I feel it’s a little different. My STBX is not mean (outside of the cheating if you see what I mean) he does not call me names or rage around. The mindfuck was the cheating which continued for four years, ample time to rubbish any helpful excuse to excuse it.
    He seems to accept his responsibility for causing our family to implode and is talking about working on himself because the boys need a decent role model which he admits he is not. He also agreed to respect his financial obligations to me.
    But his cheating was unacceptable to me. I could not get past it, any of it. I still have this hard lump of indigestible ‘stuff’ that I think I will have to live with but will probably notice less.
    I thought he was the kindest, sweetest man. I loved that he loved me so much. I loved that he found me quirky and funny when I just feel tightly wound and watchful a lot of the time.
    I think a lot of my identity came from the way he saw me, not from how I saw myself. And that now has to change.
    Because he is not obviously rude or mean or worse (his exterior does not match his interior as it were) it is slightly harder to trust that he sucks.
    There isn’t the chaos or the abuse. In fact you have sad and sorry.
    But the cheating was abuse enough for me. I will miss who he thought I was let alone who I thought he was.
    Good opportunity though I suppose to live a more authentic and cheater free life.

    • “There isn’t the chaos or the abuse.”


      “I just feel tightly wound and watchful a lot of the time.”

      Yes there is. And you internalized it.

      Presenting a fake reality of security and acceptance to you, while betraying you is, IMO, chaotic and abusive.

      And you sensed it. And you internalized it. And really, Cap, fuck him.

      • Thanks CL.
        Moved me to tears. It’s hard when someone shows you how hard its been for your own self. I’m so used to being strong and grinding forward it’s tricky to stop and consider and the respond to yourself and your own needs with as much enthusiasm as those of others.
        Took me years to admit I was a battered girlfriend. I’m finding it just as hard to accept this. Battling yourself as well as the psychological and emotional strain of being cheated on is hard. As everyone here knows.
        Thank heavens for you. I often still can’t spot this stuff.

        • Also you’re not divorced yet, correct? He’s just SAYING he’s going to be fair, right? Get that shit in writing, notarized, then tell me how he is.

          Forgive my skepticism in his “nice” divorce. I hope so, for your sake. I really do.

          • Yeah my STBXW said the same 2 years ago

            “I’ll never take the kids out of school” – She’s now trying to take 2 of my 3 kids away 80 miles to a new school!

            “We’ll sell the house, split the equity” – now stating she’s entitled to live their till my youngest is 18 (11 year)

            “We don’t need Lawyers” – Yes we do, your a cheat and a liar, I can’t trust you.

            Cover your back Cap.

            • Oh, man. One of the hardest truths to confront is that we, the chumptastic, are kibble eaters, too. Cheater boys dribble them out very, very sparingly–what a great mom you are, how pretty, how bright–and we, the starved for affection and approval, do gobble that addictive poison down. At least I did, and that is an incredibly useful but not very fun thing to know about myself. A mere 48 hours before d-day, my former cheater boy stopped, looked me right in the face for a long moment, and called me beautiful. I was nonplussed, for sure, but the traitor heart did a stupid little flip, anyway. So humiliating to acknowledge the learned helplessness of that. Mine also promised the fair to generous parting, but I sought out a very good lawyer who knows the score and gave him as much documentation as I could get my hands on, because I’m determined to do my darnedest to starve that pathetic puppy in me right to death. Playful, smart, loving puppy can hang around for the duration, but pathetic puppy is a danger. Best to put that one out of its terminal misery. Sigh. It is all very rough. Glad I found this space and can commune with others who truly get that.

              • Mine told me one day that he was so happy he was going to get to grow old with me, and the next day he wanted to “move out on his own to think.” That started the second separation, which was automatically divorce for me.

            • Guilt has a short shelf life. When they first blow up our world, they know they have done something shitty and they often agree to act fairly or “nice” on their way out to make themselves feel better. As time passes, so does the guilt. The entitlement takes over as they view themselves as the victims again. Whenever possible, chumps, act fast in the beginning to get what you want in the settlement.

              • Good advice. Very true, in my case. He promised the world, but what he actually did was keep right on living with the latest affair chick. So!

              • Heed this advice! I did not. I was in a fog for the first 4 months after he left. To be fair, I did not know about OW#2 yet and I was 6 months pregnant when he walked out. He wanted to use his attorney and throw together an agreement. 3 weeks after DDay#2, I put down a retainer on my own attorney. Then I spent 6 more months trying for a dissolution.

                Even though I didn’t trust him anymore, I was still in denial that he would screw over his kids. He did. The only plus to those 6 months is the HUGE pile of documentation I have complied to reveal all of the secretive and shitty financial things he has done.

              • Yes, promises! First, he promised to be faithful, then promised to make it up to me, then promised he’d always be a good dad to the kids. None of that happened. I don’t even recognize him now. Moving quickly to get a good settlement improves your chances. Cheaters move on quick (because they are way ahead of you) and the AP becomes their main focus, financially and otherwise, once they’ve lost you.

                Child support is direct deposit! Because he promised he’d keep his financial obligation to his kids, but I could see him getting tired of that and not paying. What will keep him from being a deadbeat? His sense of honor??? Haha. No, my lawyer.

              • Dixie you are soooo right.
                “Act fast at the beginning.” Let me add, go for the “soft underbelly, as soon as possible.” ?

            • Cap

              Expect the worst. Four years (that you know of) of living a double life tells me he’s good at gaming.

              Those promices are to maintain the status quo and maintain his image. Start making a “What’s best for ME list.” Cut him right out of the planning as he lost that privililige. Decide what you want and need as if he doesn’t exist. Then use those words repeatedly.

        • Cap says “I’m finding it just as hard to accept this” (of being battered and accepting this treatment).
          So do I. So do I.
          I no longer miss the lie that my STBXH was/is, being alone so much, but I suffer over my stupidity and blindness (= cowardness?). I feel terrible for having been such a spackling idiot for almost 40 years.

          • ClearWaters
            I have been thinking about what CL said all day. And what also struck me in relation to what you said is that – if we find it hard to accept what we have endured, one of the ways we do this is by minimising what happened to us, again lessening our value and helping them escape the depths of their abuse.
            If I don’t think of myself as abused then hey presto he isn’t an abuser.
            When CL wrote above that what he did was abusive I realised that I had described it as abuse but didn’t fully ‘feel’ it. I felt traumatised and shocked but in my mind I minimise the impact of what happened to better recover but that’s why I suffer from dreadful setbacks as I get panicked about going back to feeling that way.
            Probably if I tried to accept more the reality of what happened and what it meant and didn’t try to short circuit the recovery process I would be better in the long run.

            • Cap – CL is right (again!)… our mutual friends were “shocked” to hear that we were divorcing… we seemed so “happy”. The kind of abuse you’re experiencing is more insidious because it is happening on the inside. Mr. Sparkles excelled at the silent treatment and withholding sex at home, but out in public, he’d want to make-out in front of my family. The lies are exhausting. The mindfuck is exhausting. The loss of trust – the biggest abuse of all. By the time he left me for the OW, I had a sleep disorder, anxiety and concentration issues, had lost two really good jobs, and was in debt up to my eyeballs. Oh, and pay no attention to the empty wine bottles in the recycling bin.

              Now, two years from D-day #4 and the divorce final this past December both me and my son are thriving. I have a savings account again. I’m doing well professionally. I sleep. I pray. I laugh. OH – and all that chaos that came with his “love”… it’s all his now.

              Reality is a 2×4, but it is honest.

            • Capricorn, thank you for this: “if we find it hard to accept what we have endured, one of the ways we do this is by minimising what happened to us, again lessening our value and helping them escape the depths of their abuse.”

              I have to find a lawyer and file and he also promised to maintain his monthly payments in return for a joint custody with our son living with me and visiting his dad over christmas. Summer holidays will also be split up I guess. This is something we talked about a month ago and I am proceeding on the premises he will maintain his promise. Yet, I find all kinds of excuses to go find a lawyer and set up an appointment so I am done with the separation agreement by his scheduled visit in March. I procrastinate because I don’t want to tell the lawyer about the cheating. About possible issues over international custody because I am afraid the lawyer will push me onto the offensive route and persuade to fight for the sole custody. I do this because I also minimise what he did to me. I catch myself thinking that he is really not that bad but just different with a higher sex drive. I focus on good memories instead of his total mindfuck behavior over the past years. I am lost. I know I don’t want him back but I also miss the potential of him or our “could be life”. I know it’s wrong. And this is why I religiously follow CL and CN daily.

              • That could be life couldn’t be though. Remember that. You have completely different values. You value trust and integrity. He values being able to get away with whatever he can.

                Don’t trust his word. Lawyer up. Be ready with those ducks.

      • Bingo Chump Lady! Capricorn, I felt very much like you did for a long long time. Gaslighter acted like he adored me, was sweet, good-natured, loved to cook dinner most nights, he was so much fun, we had a lifetime of adventures together nearly 4 decadest. Well he turned out to be a serial cheater. Was cheating and conning in business as well. Got entangled in serious lawsuits. Hid 2 of them from me and greatly minimized them when I found out. Racked up credit cards and debt. Try to be the big shot but he wasn’t. He was not who he pretended to be. I had this quiet deep sad icky feeling deep down. I didn’t know what it was. I slowly put on 20-25 pounds over the years and later learned from my therapist the weight was unconscious protection on my part. Oh they look very pretty from the outside but the gaslighting and covert manipulation is beyond abusive. I was two years out before I knew about pathology. He is pure EVIL hiding in plain sight and still fooling many, but not all. The damage they due to us loving partners should be illegal and punishable by law.

    • Capicorn I can so relate. My XH did not physically abuse me, does not rage at me, was/is not verbally abusive to me. However, the disrespect, the lying, betrayl he showed me and our family by having an affair was not acceptable to me either. The fact that he could watch our family fall apart and not fight for us and our marriage of 32 years was totally heartbreaking but it was who he had become. It all comes down to what is acceptable to you. Hugs to you.

    • Capricorn, part of finding your self worth is getting to the point where you can say: it was bad and I left him. Because I deserve better. It seems to me that you count yourself lucky that he “only” cheated on you. Cheaters who “only” cheat are still cheaters. And the mind-fucking is perhaps even worse.

    • Sometimes I think these covert, image management narcs are more deeply fucked up and physiologically abusive than the more stereotypical narc types. They say all the right things, but their actions speak SO much louder than their words. GOOD RIDDANCE!

      • Agreed. I am able to look back and say “wow, things were fucked up for a long time.” To have to look back and not see that would be worse. I think it makes you feel impotent (and not in the viagara sense…). Manipulated. Vulnerable.

      • I agree; my X is a classic narcissist, but his “rage” usually took the form of subtle, petty criticisms, or contemptuous silent treatment. It has thus been easy for him to convince other people that, while he made a “mistake” having an affair with a graduate student, the fault of the marriage failing was 50/50. After all, listen to all the wonderful things he said about me after we separated–surely someone that complimentary about their STBXspouse couldn’t have engaged in the emotional abuse that I told people about?

        • This is the part that sucks. “Things just didn’t work out” is his mantra. The decent people out there recognize that what he did was shitty. There are just soooooo many people who don’t want to judge and try to remain Switzerland.

          Pisses me off but I guess that means I am not at Meh…still hoping the karma bus runs him over…still working on it.

          • or the “we grew apart.” Well YES because you had a parade of 3rd people in between us. I’m working on indifference about the Karma bus, too, GetMeFree. I’ll settle for my X being taken down a peg or two.

            • I would settle for him just disappearing. Nothing really bad needs to happen to him, just go away. Having children makes that impossible though. That is when I start hoping for the karma bus.

            • I hate the “grew apart” thing. Mostly because that was the reason his dad gave for cheating on HIS wife: “She used to like to hike and go out and…” So I thought, No way is that going to happen to US! I stayed fit. He hikes, I hike, he bikes, I bike, etc. — he still left. I guess we do differ in that *I* do not admittedly enjoy fucking twenty-five year old waitresses.

            • My ex told people I was a good mother, but I wouldn’t let him be who he really was. My answer to that is, “yeah, I wouldn’t let him be a cheater.”

      • I have been doing a great deal of work on “actions speak louder than words” in terms of my thinking. I have been very casually seeing a guy who SAYS things that imply that he sees us as a couple. But his actions do not say that. I am not bothered by this (I do not see him as boyfriend material), but part of what has made it so easy to move on is that I wasn’t confused by “But he says XYZ”, or “Maybe I just need to talk to him about ABC.”

        …. no. No I don’t. His actions clearly show that he considers this a very casual fling. The outcome of such a conversation would either be lies to try and keep the kibble supply (because who doesn’t like to get laid on the semi-regular), or confirmation of what I already know (i.e. very casual fling, not looking to have a real relationship, at least with me).

        My ExH’s actions clearly told me he was cheating. But I listened to his words, that was a mistake I will never make again.

    • I’m in exactly the same boat. My STBX was great until he wasn’t. He of course blame shifted once the cheating was all out in the open but even after the first few weeks all the bravado and it was all your fault because ________ he deflated and basically just became the sad lame version of who he was before it happened. He always made me feel good about me even when I didn’t. And that’s the hardest part for me too. He wasn’t the abusive evil person so many other people had. I know. He sucks. But it would be easier if he had called me names or any of the other terrible things abusive cheaters had done. Or maybe I’d just be trauma bonded instead

      • Sad Shelby

        “Or maybe I’d just be trauma bonded instead”.
        What you say is so true and this statement above made me smile. We are people who imagine ourselves naturally getting the shitty end of the stick!

    • “I loved that he loved me so much. I loved that he found me quirky and funny when I just feel tightly wound and watchful a lot of the time.”
      Oh, Capricorn, thank you for perfectly articulating this.

    • This is pretty close to my situation. He’s sad and guilty and ashamed but not taking any steps towards real remorse or reconciliation. While our interactions were kind and calm, I am not going to be cheated on and then wait for you to decide if you want to be with me. I waver between sadness, disappoinment and anger often. (Read: daily.)

      • PuraVida
        we are in the SAME boat – no contact is helping, but I still slip up with some unwarranted hits on the hopium pipe.

        But for CN I would still be desperately hoping for Wreconciliation – I am taking positive steps in moving forward, even trying the whole dating thing.

        It has been gone more than a year, but there is still a dent in my finger where my wedding ring used to be (a couple of decades will do that) I wonder if the dent in my heart will be gone before the dent in my finger?

  • “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”.

    I do wonder if this is bullshit. Imusyenjoythis you miss being with him, the good and the bad. No one enjoys the abuse. But atleast you had him in your life. The price to pay seems worth it. You know it’s not. I know it. We all here know it. As many have said you miss what could’ve been or what you thought he was. You miss the dream which is over now. It’s one dream. You’ll have others.

    Hang in there. Time heals all and your memory will fade and the pain won’t be as bad.

    • It’s bullshit. That would apply to a death or a love that just didn’t work because of distance or incompatibility. Not fucking cheating. I would give my pinkie finger to have never said hello to my XH. The amount of misery and gut wrenching pain he has caused me has changed my entire world view, for the worst. Changed me, change my life, changed my finances, changed my sex drive, changed my mental health.

      I don’t want to be deep into middle aged and having to worry about finding a life partner. It’s fucking bull shit.

      • Well when you put it that way Clara…lol

        I lost my entire 30s, which i feel are the best years. So yeah, I regret meeting him and falling in love and spending an entire fucking down payment on a house on our wedding. Regrets? Hell yeah – but now we’re here. Our feelings were real. Can’t deny it. And maybe his was or wasn’t, we’ll never really know. One thing I do know is I will be damned if I let one person out of billions in this world, make me change my outlook on life, guys, marriage, and people in general – its going to take time to get over him, but its not going to ruin me. No Way!

      • I agree–better to have remained single and had a sperm donor for my children than have suffered 2 decades of emotional abuse and mindfuckery. And the damage goes much deeper than we realize. I have not missed X since I threw him out after D-day. I have not once longed to talk to him; his visage repelled me as soon as I found out he had cheated on me. I have done as much to craft a new life as it is possible to do while remaining in the same city. I am sassy, and resilient, and have used humor to get over much of the trauma from betrayal.

        But….2 years out, I considered whether I was ready to date or be in a relationship. Thought through it logically, and then had a mini-panic-attack. For me, relationships are now associated with never being good enough, with someone sniping at minor things, like which shoes I wear with an outfit, to the amount of comments I write on student papers, to whether I snap pasta in halves or in thirds. Am I really ready to open myself up to allowing someone to know me, faults and all? And that panic attack was my answer. I have surrounded myself with positive, warm people, but I still don’t know how many years it will take where being around caring people will finally override 24 years with Hannibal and the subtle damage he caused me. No matter how badass I feel, beneath the surface is the inadequate-daughter and inadequate-wife messages I have been fed my whole life by a narc father and a narc husband.

        But objectively, NONE of us were that bad, and given the wit and wisdom and compassion on CL pages, chumps are fabulous people with myriad talents. I think convincing ourselves of our own worth, at a deep level, is a long, slow march.

        • Tempest.
          I always love your posts because you are so honest. I sometimes read what you say to others and think ‘bloody hell shes just got it going on! I’ll never get there’ but then you were like this and I realise it’s ok to struggle for ages. It’s normal.

          I have to ask about a strange thing going on with me. I’m absolutely 100% not wanting another relationship. In fact I often feel uncomfortable around men now. I am looking forward (almost) to learning about me. I don’t want another relationship for the boys to stress over.
          ….and yet. I find myself daydreaming about how good it would be to find someone genuine and kind and ‘effortful’ as it were. Being in such a lopsided relationship for so long I’m imagining what it must be like to find a male version of myself (?) in some ways.
          But then I meet actual men and want to run a mile.
          Is this normal??

          • Tempest and Cap – I cannot imagine if I had kids with my asshole, how we would handle it. Kudos to both of you for hangin in there and keep moving forward. As they say, even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.

            Its a bit discouraging that for some, even years later, they’re not over the pain and can’t trust to be in another relationship. I wish for all of us to find someone with a good heart, who truly cares and loves us, even enough to just be a good companion and friend for the rest of our days. But we do have to pretty much rediscover and redefine ourselves first. The goal in life isn’t to find a significant other, but to be honest, we all want it and it would be nice to have. Cap – there really isn’t a normal when you’re meeting men. Just be yourself, if you’re not ready, wait and try again. You won’t know until you try. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

            • IAmaPhool–“even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”

              Thanks, that made me laugh out loud (and feel immensely better about all the times I did fall on my face). I’m to the point where *I* feel good about me—yes, I have my quirks, but have become the person I wanted to be. Because of my history with narcs, I’m just not confident that a romantic partner would like the person I am (though I am confident I would kick them to the curb at the first sign of unfairness or criticism). It’s a process.

              • I’m sure there’s someone out there who wants a badass, no nonsense, tells it like it is kind of girl, with a big heart who has a lot of love to give.


          • Capricorn–LOL! You still have fucktard in the house; of course you’re scared of men. And, unlike me (I knew I married an asshole), you married the mask of a “nice guy” who treated you well on the surface (I’m with Tracy, above, that your “tension” was your gut screaming something was not right with him.)

            You are only 6 months out; I was still crying if someone was kind to me at 6 months out. It’s hardly a time to be contemplating rest-of-life plans. Surround yourself with supportive people, men included, as friends who see you for the fabulous person you are. You need it; I need it, and and I realize it is my only chance to alter those critical tapes I’ve been hearing my whole life.

            And…surrounding yourself with positive friends is a key (the key?) component to that “get a life” thing. While the ideal of meeting someone you can connect with emotionally, intellectually, physically sounds wonderful, I’m also fine with the notion of not ever having a relationship because my life is full. Overly full, tbh–I went in search of fabulous friends and found them (many of the closest ones–what LAJ referred to as “hide the body” friends, are from CN itself). I have a new project or two that I am excited about. I adopted some dogs. I started reading again. While you’re still in the emotional morass, you may not feel like taking many chances, but at least set up the opportunities now. If you can set up a chump meetup in your area, that is a great place to start. The warmth from other people who can finish your sentences about your distress cannot be underestimated. Hugs!

            • Tempest
              “I’m also fine with the notion of not ever having a relationship”
              This is how I knew I was done with STBX forever and I did not need or want to salvage anything. The possibility of never being in another romantic relationship was preferable to having a relationship with him. I, too, would like to think that someday I will be open enough to the possibility, but right now I can’t even fathom it. And that is OKAY. Except for having to deal with STBX and all the divorce crap, I am already happier than I have been in years.

        • Tempest – you badass – you know in your heart, the most important relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself. And you are a Rock Star at that 🙂

    • I would rather never have loved mine. Wish I had never married him. Wish I had never gone on a date with him, for that matter…I’d take all of it back if I could

        • ^^^
          All of it. I don’t if it is me, but a dull apathy can settle on your heart about dating. I have an older divorced physician pursing me like a madman. I just now saw him calling , ignored it and went back to eating peanut butter of the jar and taking big swigs of milk.

          We have talked a few times, whatever. Because I can’t get out of my head, what happened in your divorce? Why are you pursing someone 20 years younger than you? Does your first wife hate you? When I asked him, he said that was personal and private. I wanted to say, well fuck you then. Not exactly good dating response from me.

          Something was stolen from me. A belief in love, a belief that people can not be snakes. And then shit gifts were left for me, a hyper vigilance about lies, a withdrawnness, doubt about my appearance.
          I love what was said, I’ll be damned if one person is going to ruin the rest of my life for me. I love that. But so far, he has done bang up job. My heart is dead to men and he is living with someone 25 years younger than me who is as mean as snake.
          He is not sad. He is not reflecting. He was a bull in a china shop, destroyed all the priceless items that were our life, and left like a fucking coward.
          Never looked back. I have looked back too much.
          I bought poster board and a marker.

          Drop it. Leave it. Let it go.

          • Like so many have said Fuck him. Do you. Live your life. I say that I’ll be damned if one out of a billion people will ruin life for me. I believe it and try to remember that. But it’s not always easy. Just gotta keep chugging along.

            Clara you’re still in pain and angry and disappointed. I say it’s ok. Be sad and angry and pissed. It’s ok if it brings you down. Just Don’t let it keep you down. It may sound cheesy but I listen to motivational speeches and videos all the time. It doesn’t make me go conquer the world. But sure makes me think about it 🙂

          • I’m so scared that will be me. I’m an emotional wimp. Before this happened literally ANYTHING could make me cry. Happy cry, sad cry, angry cry. If I talk about animal abuse not even about a real animal but imagining an animal being abused, I cry. I have to try to shut my feelings down because if I don’t I just fall apart. I kept myself closed down to the world to try to protect my gooey center of wimpy softness but I trusted my STBX SO MUCH that I never protected myself from him. I believed him when he said he wanted to protect me and take care of me and love me for life. And now I’m so scared that I’ll never recover. I can’t imagine ever wanting to be with someone again like that but I can’t stand the idea of never having someone know me in that deep intimate way ever again either. It’s traumatizing to think of either way. I’ll be batting my eyelashes and then running as far and as fast as possible in the other direction after shoving the poor guy away. I’m a mess and I wish this nightmare was over.

            • You are not an “emotional wimp” you are a “Highly Sensitive Person” – yes that is a real thing – I read a book about it and everything 🙂
              Seriously, google HSP and you will learn some people are just uber sensitive. It does not make you weak or pathetic. It makes you YOU.

  • “professed to love you, rejected you because of something lacking in YOU — not HIM.

    Fix that!”

    ^^^^^THIS ^^^^^

    I think because most chumps work hard to be good people we search for our “reconciliation machines” share of the blame. We use generalities like “nothing is black and white”, “own your contribution”, etc. to portion out blame to ourselves for a cheaters behavior. It’s time to redefine what “being a good person” means. Accepting abusive behavior does not make you a good person, nor does saving someone else from the consequences of their own behavior. Yep, maybe deep down they have something about them that is lovable, or some hurt that propelled them to act like a Dick, but that’s their problem to deal with, not a chumps.

    “When someoneone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!” ~

    • Funny that’s what my cheater wife said a few weeks after she moved out ….I was still filled with hopium for a wreakconsiliation at the time but it keeps resonating from time to time (and see Trump enact a new executive order). Sometimes you need to listen …Part of my new ‘red flag picking app’ …If hey say shitty things believe them…They believe them!

    • Yes! The “trying to be good people” thing is way too easy for cheaters to take advantage of. The challenge now is to keep being good people–I really do not want to have a bitterly twisted soul–but to be smarter. We can love and do the right thing without annihilating ourselves.

  • Imustenjoy, have you heard of traumatic bonding?

    Go cold turkey. Act like he is an addiction. NO CONTACT. Whenever you get an urge to reach out to him, don’t give in to the temptation. He will NEVER give you what you want. Never. In fact, he gets off on NOT giving it to you.

    Slowly it fades (don’t even think in months) and when you see that everyone else in the world even strangers treat you better than he ever treated you,

    you cease to mind about him, what drives him, what could get through to him, what would ‘make him see’ and all the other codependent nonsense that traps us and makes US touch the hot stove the whole time.

  • Why is “cunt” their fave word when attacking? I’ll never forget one of the pick-me-up memes that i saw on an anti-narc Facebook page, the first line: “no one ever called me a cunt in my life, til you came along”. And that’s the absolute truth. When the asshole on my end would fly into his rages he’d get an inch from my face and frothing spit at me he’d say I’m a fucking cunt, he’ll kill me. It was usually after he got caught doing something or escalated something minor because he was bored and self-professedly “i love a good fight!” Or when his gaslighting and crazy-making didn’t work he brought out the big guns of “if you weren’t such a CUNT, you’d get it!” after he “innocently” initiated what i thought was a normal conversation (little did i know!).

    IhTET, listen to what he’s said to you. That word is the most degrading, ever, when it’s used in the confines of what’s supposed to be a loving relationship. There are ways to argue and sort through things without resorting to name calling.
    After a while i would time him and see how many times he used derogatory terms in regards to me within a 5 min time frame. I always called him out on it. It shows utter lack of respect. I even told him, i can argue with you without degrading you because i respect you. Crickets on his end to that.
    Look at what he’s DONE to you. I vulgar language: he fucked someone else while doing you, too.
    No love, but what’s worse, no respect from them. That’s what you should be thinking about. Remind yourself of all the “good times”. Were they really good? There’s ALWAYS something going on in the background to degrade you. Trust that they suck!

    • Wow, I’ve never seen that anti-narc meme about the c-nt word, but it’s so true. I never in a million years thought anyone, let alone my own husband who is supposed to love, respect, and cherish me more than anyone would start calling my a fucking bitch and a C-NT and say it with so much emotion and rage. I was so shocked that to this day, I can’t believe I allowed it. I noticed he would call his ex wife the same names. He would also actually tell me to, “Fuck off!” when he was mad. In what universe should any husband ever talk to their wives like this (or wives to their husbands) ???!!!! Never again will I allow this….NEVER AGAIN.

    • Oh my God, I had forgotten about the frothing spit – and getting literally inches away from my face while looking like a rabid dog. I have been out a long time (5 years divorced and 7 when he left) and I don’t miss a single thing about that pock-marked spittle machine. And to the people who say he gave me nice kids – screw them – I would have had nice kids with anybody. I think what I resent the most though is that I don’t feel I will ever let someone get that close to me again. I am so defensive and that’s what I hate about him (well that and the physical abuse AND destroying me financially so I had to start all over again at 53). Do I miss him, hell no, but I miss the old me. I choose to spend a lot of time alone and I don’t think that’s such a healthy thing for me. I think it was Tempest that said to surround yourself with good people even if you’re not looking for a relationship. I think she’s on to something there. Ha ha, I will never have to be on the receiving end of that frothing spit ever again — look out Pennsylvania!

  • To have someone call me a cunt would be extremely hurtful. Extremely. I would not wish to be called many things, but the c-word is somehow the worst. The fact that you can still wish any communication with someone who has so addressed you says that he called you that enough times that you are now somewhat desensitized to it. That is a shame. Try to take yourself back to how you felt the first time he said it and remember that emotion … it will give you strength to discard who you wish he was and see him as he actually is.

    Being separated 5 months and 18 days is not as freeing as being no contact for that same length of time. The separation indicates being physically free of him, but the mental freedom of no contact is far more healing. So start your time clock for No Contact. Good luck.

  • My cheater ex-wife is on her third marriage. Her second marriage lasted almost two years and six months later she bagged a third chump. Odds are the third marriage will not last for two years and I’ve got my popcorn ready for her fourth marriage.

    Cheaters, which most are character challenged, they love bomb and play the part of who you want them to be to get you and it’s a total mindfuck. Cheaters are always out a hunting for chumps, they love your house or your good paying job, or the lifestyle they crave, but it’s always what in in for them and when the chase is over and they’re not the center of the universe they move on to a new chump.

    Chumps got to get past what could have been, the mindfuck paralysis takes time to unravel.

    Best thing to not get chumped again is to see actions versus words.

    • PF – this describes YoYo knickers perfectly..

      “Cheaters are always out a hunting for chumps, they love your house or your good paying job, or the lifestyle they crave,”

      She described him as “Being good for her” when they first met (He’s not the AP)..the poor fucker!

      • I just gotta say that I LOVE the name “YoYo Knickers,” it is such a great visual!!! I applaud your creativity in the face of massive betrayal.

  • After 30 years of not ever being called a name, after BD, when I would not sign over my home, run up to the church to “help” him get an annulment and basically rejected all Cheaters pre conceived plans about how our divorce would go, I went from “Sweetie” to “You Fucking Bitch!”.
    When I refused ANY of his post BD ideas, “Fucking Bitch!”.

    In 30 years, this is the first time I ever remember him doing this. That hurt quite a bit – but I buried it in my memory. Another reason why he will never apologize, ever. This man can not admit he did anything his wrong.

    I just remembered that, just now.

    • My X did the same thing–he never cursed as a general point of pride, and when we had arguments, even though he would apply his circular reasoning that would end with him not acknowledging my point of view or changing his behavior, our arguments were always free of yelling and verbal abuse.

      But the day I confronted him about being gay, the gloves came off and I was subject to a torrent of verbal abuse unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, from anyone. All of a sudden the F-bombs were dropping on my head, peppered with “crazy,” “bitch,” and “pathetic.” Spit flying everywhere. I just stood there, stunned. When I called him on it the next day and told him he needed to apologize, he replied with, “we both owe each other a thousand apologies.”

      Like many of you here, my X is also a covert narc who has so many people convinced he’s such a nice guy that only my closest circle of friends know what he’s capable of.

    • Magneto.
      You remembering that reminded me of the time I realised that it wasn’t normal for your mom to call you a ‘parasite’ and a ‘guttersnipe’ (I had to look that up) and to basically roll out the adult big guns against a 12 year old.
      Funnily enough she would hit me if I ever swore! I remember sitting in the car and I said ‘poxy’ about something meaning stupid in my mind but she went nuts saying it was referring to a sexual thing (the original meaning was from syphilis) and was just beyond anger.

  • Thank you, CL Nation, As always, this is exactly what I needed to read today. My lawyer filed on Friday, and this morning my STBX wanted to walk down memory lane and rehash all the positive memories of the last 22 years. And there were a lot. But there were also a lot of negative ones.
    So now I’m re-reading the communications I copied between him and his first affair partner, and plan to re-read the journal entries I’ve made over the last year.
    His memories may be selective but that doesn’t mean mine should be.

  • Truth is we all live in hope that the person we loved and cared for actually really needed us, appreciated everything we did for them, wants us to be in their lives and care enough about the family and the kids to try. Truth is the hard bit of accepting if they wanted to really to come back, on any terms they would. Reviewing all the shitty things they did, knocking of us and others, condensation and general laziness that they tend to all drag around them needs to be written down and reviewed daily. Learning about BPD, Narc’s and Cluster B’s thought me she was a disordered person and the vitreol, nastiness and talionic thinking is an intrigal part of who they are….(I spackled and filled with hopium daily). This (CL) and ‘what’s wrong with Kris and Steve’ on YouTube snapped me out of it and is my daily fallback to see what these horrible people can do if allowed. I’m about to lose everything I did financially for the last 15 years and ten years forward but have two great and smart small kids to show for it at least. They’re not going to see the disfunction I grew up with and thought normal enough to bind and bond with an emotionally disfunctional, actually lazy ass today as well 9 to get everything donend opinionated fuckwit in a midlife crisis. They’re going to see a kick ass dad who can and does do everything their mom did but done better, (irony of ‘mum of the year who dissed me regularly) with good friends and support when I need it pushing forward. Slowly I am learning about valuing oneself, learning I am bettering than good enough and deserve to be treated well. I’m coming from up on a year from D-Day in a few weeks and the more I review fuckwit and our relationship, the more I see all the flaws, hopium I smoked and spackled for her potential. Do I miss the family stuff (my reason for living), oh ya; miss her good bits, sure yes but does my head feel clearer, feel more centered and less unbalanced, hell ya! Further out you go the better you feel for a reason. Best question I got asked in therapy (and when I was on my knees) “if you met her now would you marry her?” And found myself saying “no”…”so kids aside, why are you so desperate to have her back after everything she said and did to you?”. Unless they really recognise and care for what they did to another supposidly significant person in their life, they really don’t give a shit about you…They may care, they just don’t care enough about you and your kids. Is that good enough to eat a shit sandwich for years, to feel scared of another abandonment, to see your kids hurting and to face financial ruin. Remember what you have been through, write down all the crap over the years, remember what they said (and what you said and did too honesty) and see how you feel after and are hey good enough to be in your life. The first few people

    • Damn..Hit and accidentally before I finished it.. apols for any typos..

      Should have finished with…’the first few people I told couldn’t believe that we were splitting and she had cheated and wanted to leave but then when they started to think about it and how she treated me (she was a grumpy teenager over the recent years with her demands and critical jibs), the more they told me hibgs that made me cop on that I wasn’t the bad person here, I was being Gaslighted and she was happy to let me do most of the efforts to make our family life better. No matter what you did or didn’t do they’d blame you anyway, feel so sorry for themselves and focus all their energy on themselves and someone else while keeping you in the background on hopium…No contact /grey rock works for a reason…Don’t breath the air and you don’t smell the poisonous stench looking to choke you

      • I love that and have often remarked that I wouldn’t even be attracted to him if I met him as a stranger today. He is a grown man acting like a fool.

    • That is a very centering question. Would not marry knowing what I know now, but very grateful for kids. So!

      • “Would not marry knowing what I know now, but very grateful for kids.” And there’s some collateral mindfuckery right there! Someone asked me the same question recently and I had to admit that, while I should never have married X, I probably would do it again because I can’t imagine life without my children. And I’m not sure I have enough faith in anything to believe they would have come into my life any other way. Water under the bridge . . .

        • True. It’s a hard thing. Would not erase kids. Would erase him. So it goes.

  • It’s been a year today since he left and we both mutually ghosted each other. Whenever I do have a thought of him, there is ZERO desire to see or speak to him. No “good” memories intrude my thinking at all…probably because I spent the entire ten year marriage seeing that I would never measure up to his ever changing standards, and I could plainly see by the way he interacted with women that he would never bond to me. I was just an appliance and became well aware of it early during the first year we were married. I suppose that I am lucky in that regard, since I have no grief for what could never become a reality. In all my 62yrs, I have never been so appalled at the kaleidoscope of poor character as I am with him. I would expect better from a crocodile.

    The only time thinking about him creates a flash of inner tension is when I see a beautiful sexy woman. I still see women “through his eyes”, and every one of them are a reminder to me of why I will never want him back. I am looking forward to the day when I can appreciate another woman’s beauty for what it is without comparing myself to her just because of him. I also learned during this whole time that my value had nothing to do with the kind of person that HE was…any other man could have easily cherished me…just not the one I had.

    This is my ONLY lingering memory of him…well, that and once in a while wishing that I still could still have access to his bank account lol!

  • Yup, get all that!

    Three years and still this looming feeling I miss him. My logical mind knows I do not and there is nothing to miss. And those good times you remember? Were they? Or is it your projection when you were happy placed onto him?

    Self Worth. Having low self worth when you feel good looking enough, smart, sassy, organized, strong is a hard hard thing to face.

    Those feelings of “missing him” for me is not him or even good memories… It is emotional states, emotional flashbacks they are called and you can get lost in one for days. As time goes on you realize that that validation you seek from him (and you do) is the unjustness of it all. You will self shame and blame and you will actually feel bad for him. How the hell did you let that happen to you? Is he disordered? Is it your fault. OMG, the emotional brain, the logical one and the what normal is really clash for so long.

    You will grieve, but do not confuse that with missing him. You will miss him when you want validation. Validation you must learn to give yourself.

    Be patient with you. You deserve your patience and kindness. All that good you project onto him flip it onto you know. Listen, long and short of it is even if you gave you the validation you need, you can never validate abuse and you will not solve that feeling externally.

    Step back. Be about you now. Be alone. Be free. Get to know you. Be strong, face your demons and teach yourself what it is about you that landed you him to begin with so you don’t have to repeat these horrors.

    Validation. You have it right here. You are validated by us. You are strong, you are a perfect mate taken prey by a demon that looked like a soulmate. You have to face that this person you loved is NOT that person. For him to do this to you, he never was. You could not have loved him like you feel you do and may always defend you do, because for it to get so far for us to be here, the one person we did not love was us.

    I am still fucked up by it all. The bizarreness of it stops my breath.

    I say to myself… the only thing he and I had in common was we both loved him and neither us of loved me.

    As time goes on, you will face more horror when you begin to see what role you played in your own demise. Know what that is? You were there. Yup. You were there, that is all you did wrong.

    Now, why were you there and why did you stay? That is your journey now.

    • This is very true. I made so many excuses for him, so many exceptions. Was unwilling to face the reality of who he was and what he was doing for far too long. On the other hand, even though I’m happy to be less naive, now, and know that staying too long was a grievous error, I’m actually kind of happy not to have the capacity to truly grasp what drives him or how a person does that and lives with himself. Some things, it’s better not to know. I don’t want to live in that dark, cobwebby place. I don’t want it to be normal.

      • “I say to myself… the only thing he and I had in common was we both loved him and neither us of loved me.”

        Wow, just summed up my whole marriage in that statement!!!

    • Well put. Sad thing is that I loved me until, over time, his actions and my continuing to try to live with them caused me to not love me anymore. Married 33 years, divorced 2 1/2 and still working on loving me again.

  • I found that it really pays off to just simply get busy with other things in one’s life, then you realise you haven’t thought about the Cheater in a while. I took off on some adventures, welcomed new acquaintances into my life, took a very busy job, and looked in the mirror each day and said “i love you,,,” and smiled. When I wake up, I ask myself, what do I want today? It all sounds so selfish, but making yourself (and your kids) number one in your day really works,well to crowd out the attention whore that was a cheating partner.

    It also really helps to make a list of his/her annoying habits like their stinky farts, their ugly body parts, their stupid relatives, their dumbass sayings, their friends, hearing about their job…….yay, no more of that! I look at the list whenever my reslove gets weak, and it’ oh yeah…soooo glad that’s history. Get a little hate on in place of the lurve.

    • Mines opaque keeps me in the dark amap about her job, trips for work, etc…so I can’t put the 2 and 2 math together or catch her in a lie. I like to think I’m smart but she’s outsmarted me there with a no access work phone and assurances I can check her phones at any time but obviously that’s a dead end cause all would be deleted if questionable content at all so? Thanks but no thanks on that. False assurances. Deny X 3 is her fallback and even in the face of what I consider good evidence and lots of red flags flying it’s a 360 denial and I can’t prove it and then I’m being ridiculous for questioning or even thinking that she’s not like that and would never do that. LOL. OK. Sure. So? What reasonable partner when confronted with insecurity on the part of their partner tells their partner that they’re ridiculous? How about an “OMG… tell me why you’re concerned let’s clear it up I’m so in love with you and don’t want you feeling that way or being suspicious heh…I’m an open book where do you want to start?” . Maybe it’s just me……

      • Michael, I lived for 12 years like that until I found out. They become sloppy…or careless…i never knew how much money he made, where and how ling hus business trips were, where he was off after work hours before coming home around 10. All the while being reassured that I needn’t really need to know, it’s work related and he was oh so tired of doing those multiple trips let alone talking about them after work hours. Could I just please stop asking him about work!? He was working his ass off trying to support our family and here I was so unthankful and unappreciative of his overtime work and driven by my unfounded insecurites and jealousy. All in my head!

        And I believed him because my husband was a man of integrity. He would never do THAT! Hahaha!

      • “I like to think I’m smart but she’s outsmarted me there with a no access work phone and assurances I can check her phones at any time but obviously that’s a dead end cause all would be deleted if questionable content at all so? Thanks but no thanks on that. False assurances.”

        After D-Day 1, you’d think my ex would have gone underground and been more careful. But no. When I finally quit playing marriage police after a year of doing so, and let him go to Italy with a male friend of his, and his family, without me, curiosity got the better of me and I ransacked his desk.

        I found EVERYTHING. Every receipt, every love letter, everything. I then “backed up” his computer and used some password stripping software to review the contents of the backup. he was SO confident that he had me snowed into thinking nothing was wrong, that he didn’t even bother to get rid of the evidence.

        Trust me, these narcs think you are THE BIGGEST CHUMP EVER. They also think their shit don’t stink and they are clever enough to get away with anything, no matter how obvious. That they can wave the evidence right in front of your face and you will never notice. In fact, mine used to parade me around restaurants a few days after he’d take his sluts to them, confident in the fact that all the people there would keep their mouths shut and I wouldn’t notice anything strange (I found that out from some e-mails also).

        Go on a hunting expedition. See what you find. You’ve really got nothing to lose, but you have a LIFE to gain, if you do find something that convinces you to finally dump their ass!

        Don’t take the obvious channels. What she offered up she has either cleaned out for any suspect content or, more likely, she knows she has you under her thumb enough that you would never disrespect her like that by actually asking to see the content (hah! disrespect! Hah!)

        If I were you, though, I would not test the water by asking her to see the content to see if she falters and makes excuses why she needs some time to let you see that info (then she will know she has to cover things better because you are getting some balls). Instead, while she is out of the house, go on a hunting expedition. If she is really brazen about it, you will find hardcopy. If she has an office or desk at home, start with that. Even if it has a lock, they aren’t that hard to pick. Find a way to pick it If you have any high-tech friends you can trust, ask their advice on how to best break in to her mobile and other devices. Sure, it may be illegal for court, but if you keep it to yourself and just use it for your own knowledge to know what you’re dealing with, it will serve you well.

        I ended up backing up my ex’s computer quite legally: It was owned by the business, and I was a director of the business. My lawyer told me it would be imprudent of me not to do such a thing. I happened to bump into an old acquaintance who had always liked me better than my ex (despite knowing my ex first) who just happens to spend his career trying to break into websites like Google and Amazon, to let them know where there holes are. He told me what software to use, and how best to do it. It’s funny how The Universe brings you exactly the support you need at exactly the right time when you are going through a crisis like this!

        Dig dig dig. You will HATE what you find, but you will be better for it in the long run. I had to be inundated with irrefutable evidence for a year before I finally said enough. Had I never gone hunting for and found that evidence, I would still be there today, instead of free and happily engaged to someone the total opposite of that ass.

        Just be sure not to let them know when you DO find evidence. You will want to yell at them “How could you do that?” You will not be able to believe it. You need to be ready to cover all that up and use that energy to lawyer up and serve divorce papers.

        I’m telling you, if you are hesitating to find proof and making excuses not to go searching, it’s because finding that evidence will mean you can no longer justify staying in the marriage and that scares you. Do it. Don’t contemplate on it. Just figure out how, and do it.

  • After reading through the replies, I’m going to make a list of things that, in retrospect, were signs over the years of his pulling away, disrespect, and lies. I do have a recording of him having phone sex with his “just-a-friend”, which I’ll keep forever. But I need a list of those little signs that weren’t so obvious.

    I feel like I’m doing pretty well, about 6-7 months separated. The divorce is in process now, and I tell myself that I will feel more free when I’m truly free of him.

    I try to focus on the positives of my new life. I’ve made lots of small changes around the house to weed out things that remind me of him and to make it more about me and the kids. It’s such a wonderful place now. I remind myself of the many ways in which my life is better now, and I’m grateful for those changes. I feel so much like myself now. I don’t have to alter myself to please him or to try to make him “happy”. I can just be me, and it’s liberating. I see a difference in the kids, too. There’s simply more life to be lived now. Even as my dog climbs into bed with me, I think to myself how lovely it is to share my bed now with someone (okay, a dog, but still) so pure of heart.

    Yes, there are still times when I miss him. Usually, it’s late at night when I’m tired. Because I’m tired, I don’t let myself focus on it, and by morning, I’m clearheaded and positive again.

    Reading this book helped me a TON. Before, I felt like I was carrying a dark cloud of resentment in the pit of my stomach. But now that I realize how much my STBX’s story comes straight out of the cheater playbook and I’m part of this community, I no longer feel alone. I’m not to “meh” yet, but I’ll get there. I feel like there are milestones to cross first. Taking it day by day, each one easier than the one before. 🙂

  • I try to envision the following scenario: a person was born ‘normal.’ Sometime during early adulthood, a third arm started growing out of one of her shoulders. The extra arm felt useful for awhile. Then it started looking gangrenous. Eventually it got so bad that it fell off or she cut it off. At first, she hurt like mad and wanted to re-attach the gangrenous arm, even though she knew that if she did, the gangrene would spread to the rest of her body, eventually killing her. Finally, she realized that she was better off without the gangrenous arm and realized the benefits of a life without toxic appendages.This is how I think of life with and without an abusive partner.

    • Wow – I will use this for sure! Thanks for the visual which really puts this into perspective!

  • I think I’m at or close to meh. I definitely miss the person I THOUGHT the SpinDoctor was. I absolutely DO NOT MISS the person he is.
    I also took screenshots of abusive texts, because I want them so that I can remind myself to NEVER let anyone treat me that way again. It is remarkable what he showed me that I spackled over. Hugs to CN.

  • For the first year after D-day, I was an emotional pressure cooker on a seesaw. It would tip to one side (“I miss him!”) and POW! It would explode at the bottom and the shrapnel of my emotional stew would o everywhere. The lid would go back on and the pressure would immediately build up again. The seesaw ripped to the other side (“I hate him!”) and POW! It would explode again and emotional stew dripped off of everything. The lid went back on, pressure built up again, and the process of tipping from one side to the other commences and the lid blew off over and over and over again.

    Over time, the seesaw stopped tipping as much and settled somewhere in the middle, which stopped banging the pressure cooker around, and allowed the pressure to slowly dissipate. And I do mean SLOWLY. So slowly it wasn’t perceptible day to day or week to week. Maybe quarterly I could sense the gradual reduction in pressure.

    It’s been nearly 3 years since D-day for me, and my seesaw occasionally tips a little, usually in response to something stupid he does (like knocking up the OW or not visiting our son on the agreed schedule). The only thing that worked for me was time and distance. There was no getting around the misery and pain and anger while the pressure slowly released. There was only going through it. You just have to accept this process, and recognize that the thing that will tip your seesaw the most is the cheater. Don’t let him near your seesaw, and you’ll find that the pressure can escape faster.

    • Great comparison. Keep the cheater as far away as possible.

      I always imagine myself trying to cross a bridge. Every time, the cheater slips onto the bridge, I either get knocked down or off. Then it takes time to get back to where I was. Hoping 2017 is the year that I can make it to the other side.

  • Like a lot of you, when I start to get weepy or rewrite history, I reread my journal and am reminded of the daily mindfuck that was my life. When I’m home and starting to feel alone I remind myself what an unpleasant place he made our home. Walking on eggshells, accommodating his moods and his wants and his needs was exhausting. Also how I was expected to uphold any promise that I made to him but he always had an excuse why he never had to be held to his. It was maddening. I was never going to make him happy because he was never going to be happy. I didn’t fully realize it until I kicked him out, thinking schmoopie was the love of his life, only to find out he then began cheating on even her! It was that moment that I realized it didn’t matter who he was with, no matter how beautiful, sweet, accommodating, loving a partner he had he was ALWAYS going to be looking for the next person to fill the empty void in his soul. He was an evil empty vessel of a man.

  • Imustenjoythis:

    I couldn’t agree more with CL’s comments. You’ve got to spin what’s happened on a different kind of meter for this to make any sense.

    I was with Asshat for 40 YEARS before he left me for Tinkerbell, his married coworker. When all the sewage from his 4 decades’ worth of extramarital escapades finally came up through the basement drain and into the light, it smelled to high heaven. I learned that Tinkerbell was actually #14 in a long line of mannequins he’d groomed and then fucked or had emotional affairs with… including but not limited to our trusted babysitter, the mom who brought treats for our boys’ soccer team (which Asshat coached), the woman at work (yep, several of those), the wife of the married couple we vacationed with, the woman we took into our home because her deadbeat alcoholic husband was beating her, and the list goes on. Obviously, sparkling opportunities were everywhere!

    How was this possible? I know this man! He is the father of my 3 kids! He holds himself to a higher standard! He has integrity! blah blah blah.

    And then sadly, reality set in and that conversation morphed into… OMG, did he ever tell me the truth about anything? Did he ever love me, even a little bit?

    It took a LOT of therapy, oceans of tears, wailing and gnashing of teeth and finally, going Zero Contact for me to wrap my pea brain around the fact that he cheated, he lied, he spent marital money on other women, he exposed me to serious diseases again and again without any regard for my health, and he and his concubines most likely fucked in our marital bed while I was out of town on business. Bottom line: I was always last, never first.

    God bless my therapist who, when I was at my lowest, had to tell me at least 10 times, “This is not about you”, before I finally believed that Asshat sucked, plain and simple. He sucked from the day we met in college right down to the day we stood in divorce court… and he still does suck, except now, Tinkerbell (still married, but is now divorcing her poor chump of a husband of 40+ years) took my place in lapping up his righteous vomit.

    • Red Sandals.
      I am speechless. I absolutely hate him.
      You sound so strong and positive.
      I don’t know how to say what your post made me feel.
      Hugs and kudos to you. ❤

      • Capricorn,

        Thank you, and hugs right back to you!

        But before I take all the kudos, I must say that I was in emotional train wreck mode for quite a while. I am now 4+ years into the journey (D-Day was 10/2012 and divorce was 07/2015), and am getting stronger and more mighty with each passing day.

        I’m about to turn 62, and all of the lovely plans we made for enjoying a relaxed retirement and cruising down the Danube in a riverboat have evaporated; that bucket list is for someone else now and unless I win the lottery, I’ll be working well into my 70’s.

        There is nowhere to go but forward! None of us can turn back time and make a different choice based on what we know now vs. what we knew then. It’s true, I spent 40 years loving and being loyal to a severely disordered man; I chose the wrong fork in the road and that can’t be undone. But to spend the rest of my life focusing on and regretting that choice will rob me of the joy just waiting for me in the future.

        Quite to the contrary, I have proactively embraced the old adage of “The best revenge is a life well lived” with gusto! Since being replaced with Tinkerbell, I have fashioned a rich life for myself, much to the surprise of Asshat who thought I was simply melt into the earth and disappear forever, never to be heard from again (well, he was right about the last part; I did go Zero Contact 2 1/2 years ago and he hasn’t heard from me again)! 😉

        And the best part of all is that I’m back to being ME… funny, compassionate, optimistic, generous, open and amazingly, I still believe in love and am getting closer to trusting again.

        And despite being emotionally abused, coerced and bamboozled for longer than some of CL’s readers have been alive, I know I am worthy and valuable, and allowing one severely disordered man to hold me captive from afar and continue to rob me of my true essence is nothing short of ridiculous.

        • Red
          Is is ok to be HUGELY in love with you?!!
          You are amazing, inspirational and generous. And your post has gone up beside a few others next to my bed.
          You bloody go girl. I wish you happiness and peace as you spread joy wherever you go.

          • Cap, thanks for your affirmation! But I’m just a regular gal who’s been dragged through the city sewer system, just like all of the other mighty people on this site. I’m spreading joy in your direction!

        • My RedSandals, you are an inspiration to all of us Chumps. Sending warm hugs!

  • The road to Meh is long and takes time, a lot more time than most of us hope for. Humans are wired to bond with mates and live in a tribe. When you leave your mate (because he’s an abusive, lying cheating mother fucker), your biology makes you feel like you’re an outcast from society, alone in the woods and you’ll never find another one of your species. Fortunately we aren’t cave women. 6 months out, you will still have a lot of questions and your brain knows all the reasons but your heart is still torn up. Most of us get stuck on the why for a while. Why did you tell me you love me and then call me a cunt? (Your ex is the real cunt.) I’m at 10 months today. I’m still on that road to Meh, but it’s almost nearly in sight. Whenever I think about my ex, I look at this one horrible picture of him looking like a giant fat idiot and it refreshes my memory that I’m on to better things.

  • One of my children has a shirt that says, “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow.” Also, CL had a post where she stated (and I may be paraphrasing) “The only way to heal from the mindfuck is to get away from the mindfuck.” I wrote that down and it is to this day posted on my computer. Every time I sit at the computer at home, I see it. I feel that my mental and emotional escape from the EX was similar to the physical escape endured on the Underground Railroad to get to freedom, with the familiarity and the perceived safety calling out to my fear. Sometimes it was necessary for Harriet Tubman to pull out her gun (my friends, CL and CN) to force me to keep going, but keep going I did.

    I read a book about how confidence people operate and the best way to avoid being conned is to ignore the narrative and pay attention to the details. Cheaters keep us distracted with their narrative (nice guy/girl, loving spouse, good dad/mom – what we call impression management) and being invested in the narrative (relationship) distracts you from the details. The Ex Cheater recently told one of the adult children that he had “decided in his head” that the marriage was over so technically the OWife wasn’t a “homewrecker.” When I was still enmeshed in the narrative, that would have hurt my feelings because I would have heard that I wasn’t good enough so he no longer wanted to be married to me. By being far enough out and only focused on the details, my reply to said adult child was, “That’s how robbers, con men and murderers think. That’s some fucked up shit right there.” No contact, clarity, objectivity, relinquishing any attempt to control the Cheater and attention to the details of what is actually being said significantly reduces or eliminates the power of the mindfuck.

    Imustenjoythis, give yourself time and distance – that’s the only way to gain some perspective. When you are tempted to have contact with the cheater begin to ask yourself and perhaps make a list of your desired outcome and, based on your actual experience, what is the most likely outcome. Then phone a friend, or turn on a crime show and see how much the mentality of your cheater and the mentality of the criminal on the crime show mesh. As CL so often says, you’ll discover that you and he just don’t share the same values.

    • “You’ll discover that you and he just don’t share the same values.” Amen to that!

      Also-I’m dying to know which page in the cheater handbook instructs these wingnuts to say “The marriage was technically over” or “the marriage was over anyway”

      To me that’s akin to saying someone is a “little pregnant.” WTF? There is one sure fire way to make sure that the marriage is “technically over” and that’s by procuring a hasty divorce. A fun factoid that seems to escape their very limited attention spans.

      • Mine has said that ever since d-day! Never heard it once before that. Guess it is what he told them, plus one of those justification moves. Sigh.

      • Mine has alternately said the marriage was over and then that he never planned on leaving the marriage. He never considered divorce. So wait it was OVER but you were going to stay with a sinking boat because I didn’t LOVE you THAT way anymore? I had FRIEND ZONED you? We were FRIENDS not spouses anymore? My sexual rejection of you hurt SO MUCH it drove you into the whoremat’s open legs?!

        How can they always have it both ways?

        It was over. No it wasn’t. Yes it was. You didn’t love me. I don’t love you. Yes I do. But not like that. FUCK. THAT. NOISE.

        • SadShelby, same, same, same! Mind blowing how they can say one thing, then turn around and say the opposite only to deny they said the first thing at all and twist the whole thing to make you feel guilty and unable to understand them! Their swinging between the two opposites gives them high. I could never make sense where I stood in between “there is no love and chemistry between us and I am looking for love elsewhere” and “I was never going to leave you, you just need to accept me the way I am!”

          Why do we chumps swing in this uncertainty and hang on to this rollercoaster for such a long time? I think the short answer to that is our self-worth. We give so little value to it that we allow this pieces of shit to manipulate and gaslight us all they want.

  • Mine left a v mail yesterday after I contacted slut faces husband, saying he thought we would break up eventually anyway!
    Yeah ok so having an affair for over a year and disconnecting from your kids, treating me like shit but still telling me you love me to bits and having great sex.
    He is a coward who doesn’t know who he is or what he wants.

  • Reading all these posts is triggering many painful memories of the mind f*****ry that I went through over many years. I think we don’t want to believe what we are being told. Just so you can get a small glimpse into my world a very few examples:
    1. On vacation with our baby daughter in her crib next to our bed, out of the blue my ex tells me she wished that she had married someone who had the personalities of her two brothers;
    2. Out of the blue she shoves her cell phone in my face and shows me the FB page of one of her exs. She then tells me she is mad at him because he has kids, and the reason she left him was because he told her he did not want kids;
    3. She told two counselors, and our religious leader (all in my presence) that she never did love me, and in fact she couldn’t think of one good thing to say about me to her brother when her brother first asked her what was it about me that she liked;
    4. Told me that I am an empty vessel, a good looking vessel but empty. Then proceeds to tell me over the course of many years that the only reason she married me was because of my looks.
    Who says this kind of shit, and who stays in a marriage with someone who is saying this to them. As many have said before me, that is one of the greatest mind f*****. Why did we accept this? When clarity finally hit me, and it took her hooking up via FB with her HS boyfriend after over a decade of marriage for clarity to hit me. I finally began to accept things as they really were and accept that my marriage was a sham. Extremely painful and although I am 10 months out from Dday, and 5 months out from divorce being final, I still hurt. Not as bad as I once did, but I still hurt. Those things (and many more) she said to me over the years bounce around in my head and I would love to erase all memory of them. Needless to say I am looking forward to Tuesday.

  • So sorry. The crushing things these folks are willing to say are just stunning, aren’t they? I’m glad you got out. Good job! Bah to heart day. Who cares? Buy yourself something uplifting, or give something sweet to a friend, a child, or a neighbor who will appreciate it. She is gone, and good riddance, but there is still plenty of love in the world worth celebrating. Just not that empty junk that is strictly for show. Or just ignore the silliness entirely and do something completely unrelated just because you dig it.

  • Once these cheaters start spouting stupid justifications for cheating then you know it’s over. My cheater had a million reasons he gave me AFTER the fact, but I don’t ever remember him EVER telling me our marriage was technically over and he was unhappy! I look back in retrospect at the worst days of my life after he left and I realize that some fantastic coincidences and situations helped me recover. I was NC due to hospitalizations, recovery, family business etc. it was a blessing in disguise. In that 18 months I met so many women who had been cheated on and they were thriving and happy. These beautiful women shared thier stories with me to try to bring me out of deep depression. I had two nurses who had been cheated on. One nurse told me she arrived home from her shift at the hospital and her house was totally empty! His family didn’t even leave her a plastic fork or toilet paper. She had no idea he was having an affair with thier neighbor!! But she divorced him and is now very happily remarried. Life went on. My financial advisor told me her Ex impregnated her hairdresser/neighbor who was single and already had three kids by three different men. The neighbor came to her to ask her if she thought she should have this baby or get an abortion. Mind you, she did NOT tell her it was her cheater husbands baby! My advisor told her that given her financial situation that entertaining an abortion was a viable option if she felt she could live with that. A few days passed and my advisors husband comes home and physically attacks her because “she told his GF to abort his baby!” She was gobsmacked! She called the cops, packed his trash and divorced him. Today she is successful and just got married to the man of her dreams!
    These people helped me realize that life goes on and it might be better than you ever imagined. Of course we miss what could have been, but let’s not lose sight of what can be! When we are up to our ears in the divorce it’s rough. When we first go NC it’s awful. I get it, but once the drama is over and the pain dissipates it WILL get better!

  • You know, it’s been 3 1/2 years for me since D-Day.

    The first year and a half was hell. I spent all my time looking at hundreds of e-mails and texts that proved he sucked, and although it was FACT and undeniable, and kept me set on getting free from that mess, there was still the lingering question of WHY someone could or would act this way.

    The answer to that question was very simple. Some people have no morals, scruples, emotion, nor empathy. No matter how good a show they may put on that makes them look like they do. They just don’t. There really is no reason. Except that they simply suck. Trust that they suck. You will get there. It takes time.

    After the first 1.5 years, I moved back to the states after reconnecting with an old acquaintance from high school. Facts and reality prove that this one doesn’t suck. We’ve been inseparable since then.

    I spent the first 6 months back in the states finalizing the divorce. That was stressful. I spent the next year finding and getting used to having a job in the US after 20 years absent, and buying myself a house and getting that all set up.

    That brings us to today and the past 6 months or so. I literally have not had time to process all the shit that happened with my ex, for the past 1.5 years, because I’ve been busy setting up my new life.

    While the first 1.5 years were spent largely in shock/survival mode, now that things have calmed down and I’m situated in my new life, I feel it’s time to sit down and process how I got to where I am now, in a broader sense.

    I’m other words, the first 1.5 years was micro processing of all the shit. Then a break to get myself back on track. Now, I need to process all that shit in the longer term. Not by contacting the ex or anything, oh no! Just with reflection and looking back from some distance now almost like a stranger at what transpired.

    I feel like there are some good lessons to be had by doing so, but I’m also not sure I want to subject myself to remembering that pain again… but if I don’t, I feel like I would be simply closing a door, rather than seeking full closure in my head.

    Has anyone else experienced this need to understand how you got from here to there over a broader span of time? I’m curious how you handled it.

    • Dances, I was screaming you are my hero for the first part of your post. For accepting the facts and having a clear mind on getting out rather than wasting years on wreckonciliation. For getting back in the work environment in the states. For buying your own house. And most importantly, for fixing your picker and finding someone that proves to be right. You are a Hero!

      Now moving to the second part….I wonder what brings you back here with the desire to understand your ex and his motives in order to find closure. From all the CL reading and advice, it’s the “trust that they suck” message that is repeated throughout. Will understanding of their motives really bring you closer to closure? I am asking all this as I am in the early days. Well..a year from DDay 1 but I technically started noticing stuff (and shoving it away) about 6 years ago. Still have not filed although we live in different countries and see each other a few weeks twice a year. I am determined to get out and everybody knows by now including our 9 year old son. He also knows why. So there is no question for me ending it. The real question is…after years after getting out, and thriving, why would one still want to dig further? I do this digging on an hourly basis and was really hoping to get rid of this bad habit. I feel like I was given a math problem at a school competition and I have to solve it!

      • Longtimechump, I don’t actually want to dig back to try and reconcile why he sucked. It has nothing to do with that.I know he sucked. I trust he sucked. I don’t want to relive any of that, per se. But when I got out, I just left, and feel like I didn’t actually grieve properly leaving the place and the whole of the life I’d built there, aside from just the concept of him.

        I think part of it is the distance, which is something you might feel too. I moved to Australia to start my life with him (I’m sure that was to separate me from my support peeps so he could start gaslighting me), and lived there for 20 years. We never had kids, and I became rather independent as he was always overseas “on business” so I got quite used to leading a separate life while he was screwing his Thai whores… not that I knew that was what was happening at the time.

        When I first found out, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to move back to the states. We didn’t have kids together, so I had the option, nothing was holding me there. But after all those years looking from the outside, the US quite frankly didn’t look so appealing (It still doesn’t now that I’m back, as a whole, but my individual life is good).

        So I spent much of that time in shock and trying to work out what I would do. I also had a friend there who I became more close to during this time. She was originally from Oregon and had moved out to Sydney to be with her now ex. When they split, she went back to Oregon, but it just didn’t work for her anymore. So she moved back to Sydney.

        About 6 months after my D-Day, she died. It wasn’t suicide, but it was from using alcohol excessively, due to depression. I didn’t want to end up like her, but here I was facing the same choice: Go back where my support group of family and friends was, or stay and stand proud, alone.

        My new love in the states, and also realizing that my real support network: Family and people I had known all my life, were in the US, finally made me move back.

        I came back with 3 suitcases of stuff. I left almost everything behind, because it was just stuff afterall. I had all my photos on a couple external computer disks, and any other important documentation on there too. So I came back with clothes, shoes, and a couple small items that were precious to me, that’s it.

        I spent from the time I was 24 until I was 45 in Australia: Most of my adult life. I really hadn’t seriously “adulted” in the US, so Australia was what I had always known in effect. But when I left, it was sudden… I actually got a better flight a day earlier than planned, so I was rushing to get out a day early… and I had planned to probably come back during the financial settlement, which I finally decided once I was back in the US not to do, because I realized that being physically there was a bad thing and worse for my head when trying to negotiate.

        So I spent my whole adult life there, and didn’t really properly say good bye to the place or to my friends there (who were few… just some people from my dog park, who were a big support to me when going through this).

        Once I got here, I spoke with my people there from time to time, but they were busy with their daily lives, and I was ridiculously busy setting my new life up here.

        I have heard people, including my new beau, say that the time with the partner you’re divorcing becomes almost like another life… it doesn’t even seem like it really happened to you after awhile. I think I am getting to that point now, and that is why I am feeling this way.

        I don’t feel like I said a proper goodbye to my old life, my friends, my daily routine there, nor reconciled that my daily adult life was no longer in that country, one I had grown very fond of.

        I want to look back, and look at how I got from there to here, and remember the good parts and the whole chain of events that I managed to execute to survive while there and to finally get out… but I know with it will probably come the bad memories, and I’m not sure it’s worth it for those!

        I had some close friends visit just before Christmas from Sydney, and it was so odd seeing them. I felt like I was miles and light years away from their culture and who they are and that I didn’t recognize that world anymore, and it was weird.

        So yeah… I don’t know how many out there will feel like this… like after awhile you are looking back at something that seems like a dream… that didn’t actually happen to you.

        I’m not sure if this is the point where i start writing things down about it, because I was told to do that in the early days but it never worked for me. I’m wondering if I need to go through that whole memory process to grieve the loss of my actual life as a citizen of Australia, or if I should just let sleeping dogs lie.

        • Wow. Thank you for sharing your story and feelings. I can relate to many things: I also moved (at 30) to be with him. I never felt like home there. Aside from different culture, I also made only few friends but these were not like earlier and stronger friendships. He also was away almost monthly. Part of it was business. Another part was his meetings with his ex GF- a married cheater on her husband chump. Another part was sex hookups- as he explained later, casual encounters that meant nothing. Since 2011 I am in Canada with our son. He visits once a year. We go see him once a year. That’s it. Technically, I was always alone. His prolonged “business” absences. Then, after our son was born, he made me move to another city where they had a family home because he could not handle baby crying. 3 years of weekend life. I was always by myself. I don’t even know how it feels having a husband that can share some of household or child rearing responsibilities. So when I start missing him I then snap out of the mood quickly. What is it that I miss? Great sex? Yeah…really only recently since we started living across the ocean. Before it was more like once a quarter and I was always the initiator. I always felt he did me a favor. Ask me why. What else? Great fun and adventure travels? Again…only in the last 3 summers. Again with me feeling that I had to beg him for that. Oh how he loves being begged. Loves being on the pedestal.
          I can’t come to terms with myself now. How did I take that shitty treatment for all these years? Why was his horrible behavoir never enough to raise a red flag?
          I don”t want any closure or any goodbye with him. I want him to die. I will cry and mourn. But I am now faced with 9 more years of coparenting and always a potential hanging threat over international custody.

          It’s a different journey for all of us and yet it’s exactly the same in its difference.

          • Yes, there are marked similarities in our stories. Mine traveled “for business”, we owned a Travel Agency, he had a bad back the whole time I knew him, and he went to Thailand 4 times a year because the warm weather made his back feel better. Except in reality it was the blow jobs from his Thai Hookers that made him feel better.

            But when he was home, we would go out to nice meals and shopping together, which was pleasant. Oh, except that he made it a habit to take his Australian hookers to the same restaurants and shops he took me to, so that he could look like some sort of stud that he could keep a wife and hookers too. So deluded. People who knew of this said it actually made him look mean and pathetic. Although none of them bothered to let me know about it!

            So you are still living in family house house, and he stays with you when he’s there? If I read that right, you need to start divorce proceedings and remove yourself from that situation. If he wants to see his kid, he can do it on his own time through custody rules and by himself.

            You will feel better no contact except for discussions on the children. It is so very true. Even if you are entirely alone up there in Canada… the days after my D-Day and before I moved back to the states were some of the best in my life because I was under nobody’s thumb, and I wasn’t living where people knew me well, so there were no expectations and I was able to really get ME back. You will think it is hell when going through it, but will look back fondly on that time. The sooner it starts, the sooner you get there!

            I know it has to be significantly harder with kids, but even more necessary, and worth it! ❤️

            • Hi Dances, I moved to the middle east after we got married. The family house was in one city. We lived and worked in another. I also became pretty independent right away. Learned the language. Found a job. Made my own circle of friends. My job was a “Mikki mouse” for him, he wanted a more ambitious wife. My friends were too simple. My language was never good enough to pursue a better career. He kicked me out to the family house and frankly I did not mind because the three years before our child was born were hell with his constant contempt and critique. So I relaxed and focused on my baby. He relaxed (with no wife around most of the week) and became better and I actually thought the birth og our child mellowed him down. It was just that he had only 2 days a week to spend with us so he made an effort.

              Canada came after 2011 uprising when the middle east became messy and unsafe. He moved my sonand I here because his whole family (MIL with her second husband and exrended family) lived here. They all (including him) immigrated long time ago and settled in Canada. Except my cheater H. He went back after his university graduation.

              Canada is a blessing. I hated it the first 5 years because I thought it was Canada and the world situation that were breaking my family apart. I stayed with MIL the first 4 years. He promised to come visit every 3 months, then wrap up his business and move here with us. I believed him and was frustrated every time he cut short or postponed his visit, or better yet, during one of his visits after 6 months of absence he came for 20 days and took the 10 of those to go to mexico alone to unwind. That’s when I discovered a hotel booking for two. He gaslighted me by saying all bookings have double beds or say two persons. Standard. Hahaha! It was easier to believe that than question and suspect my dear husband whom I only saw 40 days a year. So I shut up. He made sure we spent the ither 10 days in high quality restaurants and outings. I thought he needed to unwind. Anyway…he finally confessed that he had no plans to move here and that we’ll continue living like this and see each other twice a year. Why is this bad? Look at our relationship. It has improved! You have my mothetmr, she helps you with our son. We spend quality time together. What is quantity? I anyway am not made for family routine..blah blah blah.

              Canada…once I got my work permit I found a job. Mikki mouse again. For him of course. After 5 years and receiving my citizebship I got promoted. I travel for business. Meet with interesting people. I love what I do. I moved out of my MIL’s place about 2 years ago. Rented an apt closeby. Bought all new furniture. I have made friends. All the while struggling to see why all these friends and colleague like me and my husband is so remote.

              No I know. So to your question. I have lived across the ocean from him for 6 years. This apt in Canada is all my baby. He did not even help me move. My friends came for a week or so after work to help put together the new furniture, etc. I am used to handling everything by myself. My pain is more emotional. I mean physically he was never of any help.

              So now…we were over at his place for christmas. Lots of conversations happened then. We told our son about the upcoming D. He is expected to come here in march. I have not even found a lawyer yet. He’ll be back in the summer. His usual schedule. The only difference is that he’ll stay with his mom. She is 2 min away. And I have my mom visiting with me now so hopefully win’t be alone when he comes over.

              I know I am moving in this direction. There is no way back. Quite frankly I am disgusted by him. Just the logistics of this additional chorus between my son’s homework, activities and my work and travel. But I will do it. Determined.

              • Oh! Thanks for explaining.

                More similarities for you and I, yet very different situations!

                My ex’s family is Hungarian. And as I found out, his mother and her generation knew their husbands all had mistresses but, I am told, “It’s the European way.” Well, let me see: a) We are living in Australia, not Europe. b) I am American, it is not my way and will not be accepted by me, c) If your parents’ wives all knew, why was it kept a secret from me?

                I once challenged my mother-in-law on it. I said to her: “You know, you’ve never seemed particularly unhappy that your husband is dead. Now I know why.” She smiled knowingly. I’m glad her narc of a husband died early so she could have some peace and freedom, that’s what he deserved. She was a lovely woman, chump like me. I took care of her when she broke her ankle because the ex, an only child, was of course overseas and did not rush back, but left me to pick up the pieces.

                His mom and I got along great, right up until we broke up and she picked sides. She used to call me the daughter she never had. But when push comes to shove, blood is blood, chumps are chumps, and I know she’s also somewhat afraid of him.

                I have actually needed to touch base recently about a couple outstanding items, and have had e-mails with both of them. For both, their health is failing. Ex is having sinus surgey, his mother has had nothing but ill health since about the time I left and probably only has a couple more years. There was a time when I would have felt bad about that. Now I feel like it’s just karma. Pretty indifferent, or perhaps just a little feeling of “revenge is sweet”, although I try it to go there, it achieves nothing.

                Anyway, back to my original point: You and I were the victims of different cultures and what is acceptable in them, but not for us.

                When you were talking about finding that hotel booking for 2 people and how he said all hotel bookings are for two? Yeah, I had that conversation too. And I tried to believe it too. Right up until I found an accompanying flight ticket for a young girl on the same flight in the same booking to that same destination. And then started digging and found probably 50 other examples.

                It is actually advice I like to give to others now, because without exception it seems to be true. If your partner travels a lot, whether for work or otherwise, they are cheating. I always hear the defense, “Well, it’s their job, they have to.” Well, no, if someone is invested in their relationship, they will make it a point to find a way or a position to limit their travel and will seem genuinely upset when they do have to be away. If they travel a lot it’s because they want to. They have another agenda. And I don’t care how wonderful and sincere they seem, they are getting busy in other places.

                Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you have already gotten out, and are living your own life. Just remember there is a difference to being on your own and being on your own but still under the thumb of the family. My guess is that you feel very independent because you’ve always had to be, but you are still somewhat under their thumbs. I hope that changes for you with the divorce!

              • Notice I didn’t answer a question from your original post.

                For me, it was the digging and looking at all the horrible things he did that made sure I set myself free.

                We were running a company together, so I had a right as a director of that company to backup his computer and make sure there was nothing strange going on. Although he was livid of course and busy threatening legal action when he found out I had the full. Intents of his computer.

                I found flight tickets and all sorts of stuff. Receipts for expensive gifts he’d bought them.

                The more troubling things I found were conversations with his buddies about his escapades, many examples of treating these girls as property… no respect for them as human beings, just as objects… but at the same time lots of delusion, bragging to his buddies how his Australian 19 year old girlfriend couldn’t bear to say goodbye to him one night and didn’t want to leave.

                The reality was she was of course playing him for what she could get out of this morbidly obese, naive, bad smelling 53 year old blob…

                As witnessed by an e-mail from this 19 year old to her bodybuilder boyfriend, that my husband must have found when spying on her…

                It was basically a letter to her real boyfriend saying she was sorry that she couldn’t talk to him right now, but she really needed a car and this guy (my ex) was close to buying her one so she needed more time. At the time I was too upset to see the humor in that, but in hindsight, I want to roll on the floor laughing. I wasn’t the only chump, and I wonder how a narc reconciles so obviously being played in his head so he can keep believing he’s the center of her universe, and not just some chump to buy her a car.

                There was another e-mail where he was building his 16 year old Thai girlfriend’s parents a house in Thailand, with money he stole from our bank accounts to the tune of $125k. He only spent $35k on the house, the rest was used for designer handbags and other gifts, and straight out cash for prostitutes’ fees.

                Sadly I lived in a no fault state, and even when I provided the courts evidence that he had been slowly taking money out of ATMs over time and putting it into bank accounts overseas… bank accounts for which I found the passbooks, and the amounts matched, they just stared at me blankly.. how did they know I wasn’t aware of this and consented to it? Well, the 50 e-mails I have where he brags to his friends about it prove it.. yeah, but it’s a no fault state, they told me. No fault just means you can cheat with no consequences.

                But the very best one I found (or worst, depending on how you look at it), was a long letter to one of his creepy best friends about sitting in a huge outdoor nightclub in Bangkok, negotiating with a Japanese pimp to screw a Japanese virgin (probably against her will) for a large sum of money, while his Australian girlfriend stripped down and got on stage at said nightclub to dance with all the other whores in the place.

                I was so disgusted. The things he was doing were actually illegal in Australia, which had pretty strict travel prostitution laws which are enforceable in other countries. I considered taking this evidence to the Australian Federal Police after the divorce financials were settled. But I had no actual names in the e-mail to verify the story, and ex was very careful to make sure his young girls were JUST of-age for the countries they came from.

                So I decided karma would get him, and just get far away and leave that all behind.

                My point is, for me, I needed facts that proved just how despicable he was, so that there was no way I would nor could go back.

                But there came a point when all that evidence was just too much to hear and I quit looking.

                So my advice to you is that unless you need more hard facts to keep you pressing forward with the divorce, or you are not in a no fault state and can use proof to get more money out of him, don’t bother digging. I’m sure by now he’s buried most of his evidence anyway.

                P.S.-When I just proof read what I wrote, I had to laugh. That stuff he did sounds SO absurd and DESPICABLE that it doesn’t sound real! And the fact I had no inkling of any of this is even more absurd. But I’m telling you,truth is stranger than fiction. You can’t make this shit up! And why would you want to?

              • Dances. More common stuff I find.
                Both my husband and I come from a very traditional christian culture. He was born in the middle east where muslims can have up to 4 wives. Legally. It does not apply to him of course because he is not muslim (and atheist by beliefs) but he was pumped with this air by watching his cheater father and others around. His 14 to 24 year of age spent in Canada did not leave any mark. This cheating justification is a big BS. His mother also made many comments as to why it’s normal and common. Her ex (my husband’s dad) did the same and she divorced his cheating ass 10 years after and then he rotted in a wheelchair and died from alzheimer’s last year. He lived like a veggie for 15 years. Waiting for the same karma for mine.

                My MIL also called me the daughter she did not have. Mine is also the only son. Ans she is also afraid of him. She now helps out a lot with my son; driving him to and from school, feeding etc until I get home from work. He stays with her when I travel. But the attitude has changed a lot although she keeps it civilized. Now that my mom is visiting and they are going out for coffee together she keeps bringing it up. She genuinely does not understand why i decided to divorce now after having lived with him for 12 years. Hello!!! Because I did not know he was doing that! She does not believe it. One of her latest comments was that Sure I had enough brains to understand that men can’t live without sex for extended periods and we were apart for the past 6 years. I should have known! And it’s normal! I am tired ofscreaming to her that his infidelities started in the 2nd year of our marriage…something I discovered recently. But I try to save my breath. She is his blood.

              • What you described is despicable. All of these stories are. I have no intention to run after him in the pursuit of money. All I want is for him to stay away from me. I never knew how much he made, he was always secretive, and now I understand why. At the time I used to brush it off with lame explanations which always served his purpose. As long as I stayed away. Otherwise I was labeled as controlling when I asked questions. So I gave up. We don’t own a property together. I don’t know how much money he spent on wining and dining and traveling with his whores and will never find out. I don’t care now.

                When I was over there last month, he actually generously offered to take anything I wanted with me to Canada. Like what? A bedroom? Or a dinner table from the art gallery? Pack it up in my suitcase? I just tool the album of photos I made for our son when he was born. I told him to enjoy it all. I want no reminder of him or my life with him.

                I put up with horrible degrading and humiliating treatment for 12 years. He never used bad words. He was not physically abusive. But the way he talked to me, the amount of contempt, the most degrading statements he made how not good enough I was in terms of our sex life, not smart enough, not good looking enough, not thin enough, etc etc. – I ate all those shit sandwiches. His continues word-twisting, never keeping his promises, never really being there for us – all of that raised tons of red flags with my friends but I used to find endless justifications. Until I found the courage to go into his phone and snoop. And aside from the conversations with the AP, I also found tons of his chats with his close friend that exposed much more than that one affair. And I found more with time. And he kept changing his passwords and I kept uncovering them. Until I stopped. I don’t care anymore. What I know now is enough for me to say I quit. I quit.

                I still have moments of feelings but I quite frankly am not even sure that it’s love. How can one love such a cruel person? It’s the person that I thought he was that I loved. The person whose artificial facade he showed. The person he wanted to be in my eyes. But not the real him. And the real him is despicable.

              • It’s not love. It’s the need for acceptance and approval.

                Like my ex did with me, he treats you like dog or a possession, not a person.

                I just want you to remember that you are entitled to HALF. HALF of anything made during the marriage.

                Just because his family owned homes that you guys could maybe live in free or whatever doesn’t mean you guys had no assets and that he doesn’t have to split those with you.

                You put in 12 hard years of degradation. Please do not sell yourself short and let him just throw you (and your son, for heaven’s sake) out like trash. Insist on half, and then negotiate from there.

                I don’t know how many business ventures (I’m thinking pimp in Thailand, etc., so probably not trackable anyway) my ex had aside from the ones I knew about and was involved in, but I’d imagine the “half” I ended up was a pittance of what actually existed.

                We always go for half, but statistically women usually end up with between 40% to 48% of the whole pie. I ended up with about 42% in the end, and it was enough to start a new life, so it was enough. But it would have been wrong not to fight for what was owed me.

                Please consider trying to get your half. Even if it’s only half of the “public” stuff, like his normal job and bank accounts. I don’t know, maybe you’ve already spoken with lawyers regarding this? Lawyers are absolute bottom feeders, and they cost money, but it’s worth it. It gives you back your pride, and sets you up with the lifestyle you deserve for dealing with all those bad years.

                You’re not expecting anything anyway, so you’ve got nothing to lose!

              • He was out of the professional job market since 2008. But his family owns some properties back there. Since all of them are in Canada he is the one that takes care and runs them and lives off of rent. He was smart enough to never put anything on his name. He just rips the benefits of the work his grandparents did. He also does a bit of internet writing online but whatever he gets there (his official income of peanuts) is then transferred to my account as his family support. So technically, if the tax statements are reviewed then he makes far less than me (oficially) and I maybe required to pay him alimony. His de facto income is not visible anywhere. Plus…this is going to be an international fight. I really can’t afford it. And most importantly, I am dependent on my MIL for my son. For another 4-5 years if I want to keep my job I will need her. I just want him out of my life. 9 years of co-parenting….but at least most of it will be long distance.

  • Well, My X called me a cunt too. oh I am sorry I mean he called me a fucking cunt. Nice…..

  • Wow. When I wrote the above I was in the throws of the dysfunction and needed to vomit a bit. I didn’t actually expect a response….wow I’m floored at the moment. You guys have no idea how much youve helped me. I seriously went from pathetic needy settler to empowered independent boss lady within a matter of minutes. Chump lady your response couldn’t have been more perfect. Exactly what I needed to hear and something I can reread if I find myself in the throws again. Fucking nailed it!!! Thank you thank you!!!

  • Feeling like my universe is imploding, work is piling up and my boss rang me and wants to go through how we can turn things around in the next few weeks, friggin great cheaters fucked up my family now by job is potentially on the line. Through all the shit of the last 3 months I have not taken one day off work.
    Yes I’m making some errors I work in accounts, need serious focus as of Monday to keep my shit locked down. Any advise? Please
    I work in a small group and some people know my situation and it seems some get it and can empathise and some clearly do not care. How strong do I have to be, it’s been a huge struggle some days getting kids to school and going to work and choking back the tears.
    I’m a strong person but this shit is really testing me.

    • Lady B. You go to work on Monday as a new person. A new Lady. Put on your makeup. Some nice jewlery. Nailpolish. Feel good about yourself. Who are these cheaters that they can control our mood, our work, our life?! Don’t let people at work know much. Most will not understand the suffering and believe me, while many love gossiping, they would get tired and bored with you complaining.

      My DDay was Jan 2015. I was at a very vulnerable spot at work with two organizations merging and we knew that some people will be out of work. I didn’t care. My universe was breaking and I was crying all nights, having horrible headaches at work. I spent hours on the phone with friends trying to understand the “why” and devising plans how to bring my cheater’s interest back. Pick me dancing. I spent hours on the email diarrhea to my cheater husband. I was all day on infidelity sites and reading about narcs. I did not know of the CL then. Until one day I realized I might be kicked out of this job and I have to pull myself together. And I did. And not only stayed with the company while others were let go but was also nicely promoted.

      The good part with you is you have found the CL. I was talking to a friend yesterday saying that had I found CL and CN early on I would not probably allow the cheater back to my life in the summer for a false wreckonciliation and a double betrayal later in the fall. Once I gound the CL, from the very first post I tead, from my email to Tracey answered almost immediately, things started changing. My perspectove, my attitude, my feelings, my determination.

      You can give yourself 15 min at your coffee hour to indulge into CL reading. Post. It hugely helps. Spend your lunch with us too. It helped me a lot! Tell yourself you will focus on your job for the 15 min of CL. Your reward.

      It will get better. It has gotten for me. I wish I did not waste the past year on the reconciliation and trying to get him understand that he was wrong. Futile. But it was my path. I love CL. She saved my life. The CN saved my life. I have to pull myself together to start the divorce procedure and get it done with.

      Hope you have a great Monday, Lady B. Have a productive talk with your boss. I am sure you can guess what he wants to talk about. Maybe prepare for the conversation and go proactively with some ideas of your own. Don’t talk about your personal life. My boss (who knows) keeps asking me how I am doing et al but I keep it short and sweet. I tell him I am great. I welcome being busy and I am feeling much better. They only care about the quality of work. They may try to be polite and understanding and some are but to an extent.

      Get this power away from the cheater! You have it and you keep it!

  • Thanks long time.
    I haven’t shared much at work but the last week has been hard as new info came to light ie hundreds of photos so my mind was not so on the job and mistakes were made. Last Saturday was d day 2 after 3 weeks of what would be described as the best weeks in 7 years, at this point silly me thought it was only an EA.
    I can say now 7 days NC, v mails deleted without listening, emails same although you usually see the first line.
    I have sent txt saying pick up your belongs by x time or it goes to charity, then block.
    I have refrained from asking when he plans on seeing the kids, he hasn’t even rang them but did try and email them, I shut that down.
    I’m calling the shots and have no expectations from him.
    Still miss him like hell but probably in the way someone would miss crack!
    I wake up with questions, this morning why would he show her around our town, we live in a small town and school mums are always out and about, did they come here? but they will go unanswered as I don’t want to converse with him until he is set up in a flat and ready to see the kids.
    D day 1 I did all the long emails, why can’t you see what you have done blah blah, and pretty much got ‘ you need to work on your issues and realise your part in this’ looking back with what I now know, the audacity is astounding and the lack of contrition and gratitude when the miracle of me taking him back was given, pearls before swine. He rolled the dice and lost at the casino. He was so close to as he said ‘ taking it to the grave’ but didn’t quite do a good enough job of ending it with her and was the master of his on downfall.
    Anyways back to work, yes chin up, honest conversation with the boss and I will suggest a weekly check in for the next month to see how I’m going. I love that job and my life depends on it, my house needs paying and the thought of losing it would crush me. I need to dig deep and gather up my strength to make a new life and not be drawn into the sess pit were ex is so comfortable dwelling.

    I pity the prize idiot who likely has lost whatever he had with hoebag who lives OS guess he will start trawling dating sites soon, not my bag and I won’t be knowing.
    I need grey rock as I think the crazy train has probably just stopped to refuel but will be screaming around the corner soon.
    Firm boundaries and getting my shit together is what is needed and looking after my beautiful boys.
    Will check in tomorrow, love CN which I had this years ago with our first break up, I was so clueless.
    I have the power and need to hold tight to it.

    • They play by the same playbook. Mine also showed me the best part of himself in the 2 months of wreckonciliation. I was in the heavens. I thought we were through! Mind you after DDay 1 he also lied and gaslighted and also led me to believe that it was an EA. I also was in the email diarrhea mode especially that we were apart between DDay and the summer. He turned it on to me that I was not this enough and that enough and did not love him and all that. And i danced…but digged also. Until he confessed to so much shit that surpassed all I discovered and more. 12 years of love affair with lits of sex and multiple sex flings with others. And even tgen, when he came as a sad sausage and begged to keep the family intact, I agreed. He showed me the best he can be….but that he’ll never be. Because it takes huge efforts to be a responsible husband and dad. And 3 weeks after those 2months of honemoon….he gets back to his real self.

      Your pain is raw. Good that you have him out of sight. I also miss mine. And i think i still love him. But then I correct myself…it’s not him…it’s who I thought he was…the guy in the summer…the guy I met 14 years ago…that’s the facade. The real him is the guy that lived with me and treated with contempt and hypercriticized me and withrew affection and sex. That one I don’t miss. Human brain somehow focuses on tge best and deletes bad memories. It’s on the autopilot. We need to take the steering if our brain into our own hands and focus on the bad…fuel the anger…get out of this shit.

      I hope you have an understanding boss.

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