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Why Is No Contact So Hard?

gingerA lot of chumps falter when it comes to no contact (NC). It’s the most maddening thing — your brain will be very clear on the “dump the cheater” message, but the heart is emotionally sloppy and dimwitted. Much like my Australian Shepherd who flings herself daily at the mailman in a love/hate frenzy. Every noon she flails against the glass door, barking crucial missives that the mailman tragically ignores. How dare you step on my porch! Open this door and pet me! Can’t you see how PRETTY I am? Watch me do my pretty dance! I have a frisbee! Do you like frisbees? I LOVE frisbees! Wait! Do not walk away from me! (I am, however, pleased that you have stepped off my porch.) COME BACK!!! GO AWAY!!!

And then as the mailman retreats, she pees on the carpet, heartbroken. Unlike the schnauzer who is just full of contempt for mail carriers. And cats. And the dog next door. If someone has a treat for him, however, he’ll shelf his withering disdain for a moment. Schnauzers are mercenaries. The shepherd is a chump. She never learns that mail carriers are just there to deliver mail and really don’t give a flip about her pathos.

“Come back!”, “go away”, and also “explain yourself!” comprise the mental tape loop of limbo — that state where you’re not really in, and not really out, because you’re still engaging with the idiot. Like my shepherd, you can’t decide if this person is your enemy or your love object.

Why is it so hard to go no contact? Why the flailing? Why the drama? Chump Lady has some thoughts on this:

1. This shit is addictive. Very few people just walk away and quit someone cold turkey. Even someone they know is very, very bad for them. Humans are wired to bond with each other, and un-bonding is extremely painful. Science says so — romantic love lights up the same centers of the brain as addiction. And loss of romantic love makes us temporarily deranged. They say there is an evolutionary basis to this — loss of a mate has bad consequences for reproduction of the species.

Now, combine your hard wiring to bond, with your hard-wiring to feel great distress at losing a mate, and throw in the addictive nature of unpredictable rewards on your brain. (Lots of science on that too.) What do you get? A real biological disincentive to go no contact. Kicking a cheater to the curb can feel like kicking a drug. You’ll have to sweat it out and suffer withdrawal. You’ll feel distress that is at odds with your rational brain, much like an addict who is trying to quit a bad substance. “Shit. I know cigarettes are bad for me… I just want one last smoke! Arrgh!”

2. Cheaters hoover. Just as you may have to fight off strong urges to stay no contact, the cheater often knows how to play your weakened state for ego kibbles. As mentioned above, the irregular rewards of an inconsistent love can keep you hooked. You will give those kibbles greater importance (she called! he texted to wish me happy birthday!) because they are so infrequent and unpredictable. It’s classic that just as you’re 30 days clean on the no contact, the cheater will come fishing. They’ll flatter, or cajole, act like nothing ever happened. Or they’ll do the fake remorse-ishness. Beware. You’re of use to them. They want something. (Kibbles probably, or for you to screw yourself over in the divorce). Cheaters suffer withdrawal too — withdrawal of kibbles. NOT YOU. Pay attention to the distinction. You were a good source, then you went away! Maybe they can mine that vein again…

Chumps confuse kibbles sourcing for love all the time. You don’t have to scratch very deep to realize that it’s still all about them.

3. There’s something in you that needs to keep hope alive. This goes beyond not trusting that they suck. You may have abandonment issues. Something about this drama may feel familiar to some old family or relationship drama from your past that you feel is unresolved. Okay! I’ll just try harder THIS time with THIS person and I’ll get a different outcome! (i.e., they won’t leave me.) You’re consciously, or unconsciously reliving that hurt. Fucked up and unrequited feels normal for you at some level. You’re used to trying really, really hard for very little reward.

I’ll save you the shrinkage costs on your FOO issues. You’re not that kid anymore. You don’t have to put up with shit. You have choices. You are not powerless. You can be choosey about the people you have in your life. Learn to draw boundaries. Learn to holler NO! Learn to prioritize people who treat you right, give them your time and energy — yeah, even if it feels weird and unnatural at first. Step away from the jerk with sparkles.

4. Flubbing NC is a re-enforcing cycle. The more you stay in contact, the harder it is to go no contact. On the flip side — the longer you go no contact, the easier it gets, bit by bit, day by day. Have faith that it’s going to get easier. I promise you, you are going to get to MEH (on a Tuesday, of course). You just need to stay consistent.

So that’s four reasons why it’s so hard. Now then, why is NC so important?

Because the only way you can heal from the mindfuck is to get away from the mindfuck. The single most important thing you can do to heal from infidelity is free yourself from mental slavery. (Thank you, Bob Marley.)  It’s very hard to clear your head when your abuser is right in front of you pretending to be normal for entire minutes at a time. Or worse, arguing with you about how this is All Your Fault. The cognitive dissonance between the person you love, the mindfuck, and your common sense can make your head explode. No contact mutes the mindfuck radio and lets you think for yourself again. You will start to feel like yourself again (remember that person?)

Manipulative people cannot manipulate you if you shut them down. They need something to work with, so if you deny them access to the inside of your head, it makes it much harder for them to manipulate you. No contact is your best defense against mindfuckers and it makes you stronger. Chumps, you need every ounce of fight you’ve got. Don’t give cheaters your head and your heart.

This column ran previously.

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  • This article is right on time. A base to fly to the land of Meh.

    However- “Very few people just walk away and quit someone cold turkey.” I agree.

    But, they do. Are they biological mutants? I am asking a serious question. The ability of my XH to leave and never contact me is one of the hardest issues I have ever tried to understand. When I read about hoovering, I feel ashamed that I am jealous. (Pathetic.)

    • To walk away and quit cold turkey — I think it’s one of two things — either a) you’re a stone, cold sociopath and were never attached to begin with — or b) you’ve been detaching for quite some time and something pushed you over the edge and you walked.

      • I disagree to a certain extent. I went cold turkey No Contact, the path to the truth and the light, as soon as Narkles the Clown left my house. Not sure if the 5 months he refused to leave the family home until a court order made him counts as “quite some time” but the anonymous email containing a photo of him and the Flying Whore mid act in a hotel room certainly pushed me over the edge. I may no longer have the email but that picture can’t be erased from my mind. Anytime I thought about making contact that pictured popped up in my head. Anytime he reaches out it pops up in my head. I’ve read enough here to know I’ll never get a real apology or any understanding of the pain and distress he caused so there is nothing left to say.

        • I think you’re making my point. You had 5 months to get good and sick of his shit.

        • Wow, AOOK, first of all my condolences for having to suffer through such a shitty thing. But secondly, I guess it can in a way be seen as a mixed blessing, right, because it has certainly kept you on the path to the Truth and the Light. Not that I would EVER want that to happen to anyone. God that sucks. NC, NC, NC!

          Also, I was thinking CL was referring to the cheater when she said they were detaching and then something pushed them over, as opposed to the Chump who nobly succeeds in achieving NC in difficult circumstances. Maybe it’s a universal explanation for Cold Turkey, idk.

        • i think that is what happened with my exhusband.. .. .. i think he got good and tired of my shit and then something happened to push him over the edge.. .. .. .. the problem is i have NO IDEA what it was.. .. i was grieving the lost of my 25 yr old daughter, my first born to natural causes (aorta aneurysm ), i wasnt treating anyone good really. i was in a great big fog and working on auto pilot.. .. and the last year he was spending more and more time out drinking and god know what.. .. i did try talking to him but maybe not as hard as i should had.. .. the last 6 months of that last year, he was gone more then he was home, even when he was home he was outside hiding out in his garage. he stopped giving me and the boys his time and attention. he stopped paying the bills and helping feed/clothe the boys. he stopped talking to me and the boys. he went out all night every weekend and then came home acting like nothing happened. ironically thou he also fixed the front door and initiated the repair of the roof too.. .. i know we were not well, and were having trouble but i honestly thought it was all over at christmas time. i believed we got thru a horrendous year. unbeknownst to me he was working on his escape plan.. ..

          i had already failed the test and he had already decided to leave me for the neighborhood sewer rat troll whore. she “understands” him (and his drinking). even thou she is still married and abandoned her own kids. he believes she will love him better then i did… .. (3 years has proven that wrong, she beats him, throws bottles at his face, leaves him stranded and destroys his trucks but he is still with her and too stupid to see it)

          it is mind boggling to me but my mantra is “It Doesnt Matter”.. .. i repeat that to myself 100 times a day.. .. he hasnt tried to hoover once in those 3 years either although he is finally coming around to visit the boys…. .. .. of course he is complaining because he wants to be able to take the boys where ever his troll is and i refuse to let him. my boys do not like her and do not like to have to share the 2 hours they see dad with her.. .. . but i am thinking i will start letting him that way he is not in my house anymore.. .. he has never apologized to me (he did apologize to the kids thou) he has never said it wasnt my fault or that i was the best thing that happened to him. .. .. if he does talk to me it is to blame me for something. or to ask if he can take the kids.. .. i refuse to talk to him about anything else. i refuse to talk to his troll even thou she wants me to call her to talk to i dont talk to either of them. .. visitations are scheduled every other sunday. his request since he worked on sat. and even thou he is now jobless he has not requested to change it or get more time. i have sole custody and zero visitation so i dont have to do anything. .. .. but ya sometimes it hurts that i was so easily replaced (by trailor trash) and forgotten.. .

          *shrugs* It Doesnt Matter.. … Life goes on.

          • MrsVain, you are not to blame! You were grieving your daughter and your husband was not there for you. Even if he was grieving too and if he felt you were too engrossed in your own pain, it is no excuse for betraying you. He is still showing you his lack of character, no apology, no interest in how you are doing. I am sorry for your terrible loss, none of this is your fault. Big hugs.

            • thank you kiwichump.. .. .. for understanding.. .

              i have to remind myself that he was not there when i needed him.. .. and that i did not want to live that way anymore.. ..

              we have peace in our house now.. .. just me and the boys. even thou i am struggling financially. we are doing good.

              • Mrs. Vain,
                I think that you are holding up amazingly well, considering the trauma you have endured.

              • Hugs to you MrsVain, not your fault. That’s the funny thing about these assholes they were NEVER there when we needed them but at the time we couldn’t see it but living it was hell. It must be a theme and it’s always our fault and never theirs. I also love how they downgrade to a skank and then to abandon the children to come out of nowhere years later and except to be accepted with opened arms by the abandoned AND bring the disgusting piece of trash which was the cause of the abandonment around is a complete mindfuck. I would love to explain to exhole that isn’t how parenting works – you don’t get to “abandon, party, destroy every relationship” and then act like the wounded POS that your life has become. You are MIGHTY and your kids are so lucky to have you ❤️

              • Thank you RockStarWife and heissobroken.. ..

                it was the hardest thing i have ever gone thru and i will admit to thinking of suicide a few times. (i never could do that to my kids, they already lost a sister and their dad)

                but now 3 years later to be exact, i am doing good. i found my peace. on focus on what makes ME happy… .. what do I want out of life… and working on getting there… i love to travel, see the world but right now my paychecks are not covering the bills.. .. he doesnt pay child support so i have the child support enforcement people on him.. .. in fact he should be getting the first letter today or tomorrow (*giggles*) .. .. he has until the 17 to respond or they start garnishment.. … in 3 months they will go after his drivers license.. .. he is about to have a very bad year….

                my life is getting better and better.. .. .. now that i am on the outside looking in… i see how he is treating his hood rat badly also. .. i see how THAT is how he wants to live, with someone who beats him and throws bottles at his face and then he can turn around and abuse her, yell at her and belittle her with a clear conscious (because it is never his fault).. .. i see my daughter fighting with her baby daddy.. .. i see my son’s girl friend fighting her baby daddy. (they are divorced and her ex is threatening my son to stay away from his kids).. ..

                it is just so crazy.. … but i have peace. .. .. i am blessed that i do not have to live that way anymore. and even thou i am financially struggling. i will be ok..

                i hop you find your peace too

            • Mrs Vail, hugs to you. That POS that you were married to is the one at fault, not you. I know firsthand that the loss of a child is the worst loss a parent can go through. Of course you couldn’t dance pretty, you had your hands full just trying to survive that loss. The fact that you could still take care of business at all is a testament to your inner strength and resilience.

              He is an evil twit. Time to put away the baseball bat and quit beating yourself up, my friend. You ARE mighty. Ex h…..Has no idea of the value of the woman he threw away.

        • When I was a kid, my parents divorced and I chose to live with my dad. My mom told me that she came back to him because of me, and that the subsequent series of affairs she had while unhappily married to him were also my fault. I never got HER to admit she was at fault, or that it was inappropriate to sleep with my friends. Ain’t no way my ex will ever admit the affairs were his choices.

          It helps. But I am still angry that he is blame-shifting.

          • Your friends? Holy cow, you had a hard row to hoe growing up. A lot of chumps marry facsimiles of their disordered parent, so you are not alone in choosing poorly (or more likely being chosen) because you’d been preconditioned to accept some unacceptable behavior as a child.

      • Agreed. Stone cold abandonment cheaters do walk out without even a glance back. This was the case with my ex and I’m 100% positive he is a true undiagnosed sociopath. But I like what CL says about the cheater differences: it’s not the pain Olympics and the abandonment cheaters are easier to heal from than the serial cheaters that circle back. IMHO.

        • My counselor told me my ex could walk away more easily than I could let go because he was already attached to someone else. Unfortunately, I was still attached to him. I couldn’t cut my bonds fast enough to get away from him. It seemed more like the bonds had to dissolve. That’s cruelest part of being a chump.

          • i like that explanation. .. .. and i do agree.. .. my ex had no problem forgetting me and moving on because he was already attached to someone else..

            it took me longer because i was still attached to him.. ..

            hardest thing to ever have to go thru in my life.

            • Ditto to everyone above here. The ex was already attached to his stripper girlfriend before I ever knew anything for certain. He walked away and has never looked back.
              For me this is infuriating….still, 3.5 years later…..because I never got my say. I was muted and muffled and that grinds at me more that I can even believe.
              I HATE the fact that we have to keep quiet just because it makes us look crazy, stalkish, and ‘scorned’ his fave word.
              I can’t seem to fully get to meh because my voice is muted. I know I can let it out here but it’s different.
              Any advice, beside journaling, counselors, friends (I’ve worn them out and they’re not the culprit), exercise?

              • IHaveHate, he is a coward. None of them can take blame…they are bullies.

                One day you won’t care…I promise. …likely, right about that time, he’ll contact you or show up. You will laugh your ass off as you walk away!

                You got this!

              • Thank you Jeep. I really don’t care anymore.
                I’m truly bothered that I feel stifled from shouting it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen. It’s so wrong.
                He’s such a piece of garbage and got away with it. Ugggh!!!

              • IHaveHate, 🙂

                I am groping for the words to tell you the truth that I believe about them…I want to convey it to you in words that will soothe your hurting heart and soothe your broken soul…

                …these monsters don’t ‘get away with it’…they just…basically, ‘step into another role’…cause, in their minds, they are stars in the movie that is their lives…does that make sense? …we are but bit players in their ‘larger than life’ movies…we ‘support’ and ‘make them look good’ in their ‘role’… Sadly…in their minds anyway, it really is only ‘all about them’…we are ‘props’…as are their subsequent AP’s…so…yeah. They don’t ‘get away with it’…they just have to perpetuate the ‘role’ of themselves as the star of the show…how sad is that? Yeah…sayin…

                We, on the other hand, get to, yes, slog through the weeping/floor kissing/toilet hugging/job losing/wrapping our underwear over our shoulders to keep em up cause WTF where did my ass go/OMG what do you mean it’s morning again and I’m still alive/are you speaking, WTF I thought I was deaf/you want me to what/those are my feet/shit it’s cold in here/etc…

                …and then, one day, cause we are empathic, we are flippin over thinkers, we are compassionate, we are SURVIVORS, we are care takers, we are there when the chips are down, we are MIGHTY…we stand up…and we start putting one foot in front of another and we start rebuilding and learning and closing our ears to them and their lies and their fucking crap…cause we FINALLY stop buying into the lies they are selling…we finally see that they are really nothing but lies.

                …we are not haters…we are nurturers…but we no longer nurture haters or liars…we got this. 🙂

              • IHaveHate – ‘I’m truly bothered that I feel stifled from shouting it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen. It’s so wrong.’

                The same thing happened to me in that he met a woman (a good friend of ours) and fucked her for over 3 yrs before I caught them and tried to comprehend how this could have been going on for so long without my knowledge. I still have hate for their deceit.
                Cruel, mean, disrespectful, abusive behavior that I did not deserve.
                He just left without much of an excuse – other than he wanted his ‘freedom’.
                Didn’t blame me for anything – just left when I kicked him out.

                So, when it came time to pay it back – I did it in spades.
                Let’s just say he knows I never want to see him again and I wished I’d never met him.
                I said I wanted my 36 years back! Called him every name in the book.

                However, they have now moved in together and, looking back, I’m so glad I cut the kibbles off from the start. I couldn’t have done it without HATE and anger.

                I have also been zippered at the mouth shut now with family and friends, now that it’s going on 3 yrs. Nobody wants to hear a word about it. FINE.
                You are right, this site is great but it’s still not like a close friend listening. And, not that I have a lot to talk about like I used to. But, when something triggers me, it’s nice to have somebody understand. They just don’t, so I keep it to myself.

              • IHaveHate – ‘Any advice, beside journaling, counselors, friends (I’ve worn them out and they’re not the culprit), exercise?’

                Well, exercise is obviously a given.
                Just do it. 🙂

                My advice is to immerse yourself into….animals.
                They have unconditional love and trust you like no other.
                It is excellent therapy, especially if you’re missing a warm body in bed.
                And, dogs are always very happy to see you.
                Plus – like cats, they listen to every word you have to say.
                And, they don’t talk back.

                I’m not trying to be funny.
                Just practical on what helped me about the missing body.

          • I don’t know as the cheater attachment is the same as the attachment chumps feel. As CL says, cheater are attached to kibble sources, not people. So for them, people are interchangeable. We are attached socially, emotionally and sometimes psychologically. Religious chumps may believe that the chump and cheater are “one body,” and so detaching has spiritual implications. For a cheater, it’s just a lateral move to a newer source of ego kibbles, with the option to hoover back.

            • This is so well put, I must remember this, because somehow, although it’s awful, it makes things easier: Don’t take it so personally, because the cheater doesn’t – you were supply and the new person is not better or more wonderful than you, they’re just a new source. Thank you.

          • Yep makes sense. I can’t even think about adding someone else to my life right now. It probably does help though I’m sure.

          • Good points all! He was gone and NC was easy really, I have grown children, so no need to contact him after the papers were filed and signed. I often wonder if he ever thinks of me, but my guess is no because like you said he was already attached to someone else. They moved in together and are living the same life he had with me, but she is an older more of a road hard put away wet look……

        • I had an abandoner. The pain is enormous – you feel like your entire life was a lie. It is horrific when you realize the years wasted that were spent on someone that is disordered and inauthentic (18 in my case). IC said that my XH was a “social sociopath”. It helps if I think of a comparison to Scott Peterson: The guy-next-door image. On the surface, he looked normal, but there wasn’t any depth to him. No close friends, no real enemies. No bonds with anyone.

          XH picked up and married his whore. Replicated “our” life with her including same vacations and home around the corner from where we had lived.

          • oh my giddy aunt.. .. why do they do that? my ex and his troll were living a block away from me. .. i am still in the house we purchased together..

            it is super mind boggling that he would live so close to me and his sons. but not have anything to do with us (this is before his suicide attempt and my feeling sorry for him and scheduling visitations again)

            for me it was super painful, knowing he was that close and living with the troll he replaced me with.. acting like life is just grand and nothing is wrong.. .. the temptation to drive by or walk over in the middle of the night to look in their windows was strong for me but i never did it.. .. .. apparently he has no temptations like that because i meant absolutely nothing to him. I was so super grateful when he moved out because he couldnt pay the rent.. .. now he is homeless and jobless. living with her aunt and off her paycheck.. .. . i guess that is how he wanted to live.. .

            • Ms. Vain

              Have you ever considered selling your home and moving? You have full custody and it would give you peace.

              The Limited erased his life and I had panic attacks early on thinking I might not have been strong enough if he did want to come back.

              This is no longer the case as I’ve fully detached and there is no wanting the sociopath back ever. Distance would be a great way to get him out of your proximity.

              • oh .. .. he doesnt live there anymore.. .. he doesnt seem to be able to stay in a house or apartment for longer then a few months.. .. last year he moved 4 times .. ..

                right now he is homeless and living off the kindness of others.. .. 42 years old and sponging off the hard work of other people.. .. but at least he is across town now and i never run into him because we do not hang around in the same circles.. .. his is in the gutter, with crackheads and alcoholics and mine is people who work and do not expect handouts.

                i worked too hard to sell this house. i fixed all the 30 windows, repainted, redid the floors, built a half wall, recarpeted the bedroom, plumbing. retiled the bathrooms, etc etc .. .. i am also close to family.. .. my nephews come help me whenever i need them. i see my grandson everyday. my boys have their cousins to play with. my parents are fairly close to visit frequently.. .. .

                i no longer want the sociopath back either. now that i am on the outside looking in. i see how badly he is treating her now.. .. and i am grateful that i do not have to live that way anymore… .. besides i suspect he will be moving again. .. hopefully he will move out of town again… consistency is not his strong point.

          • For me, abandonment and total silent discard were a horror show. At this point, I am grateful that he refused contact because it was not a struggle to be no contact. But in the first months, the agony of not know what happened or why was nearly unbearable.

            • Yes, this is exactly what happened with my Ex-husband. No contact was easy for me. I had lived in limbo for just a few horrible months with him manipulating me and lying until I discovered the married other woman. I knew then it was 100% over for the simple fact I would never be able to respect this man again. Once he heard I filed for divorce he moved out while I was at work one day. We saw each other a few times to get the house sold and then I went 100% no contact. So many people warned me that he would circle back around but it’s been 7 months and I haven’t heard a peep from him since. It’s a different kind of mindfuck when they just abandon and never give you a backward glance or any answers. ChumpLady even wrote about it and it was brilliant: “The Ones Who Just Leave”

              • Chumps…this was my total experience as well. I am coming to the 3 year anniversary of Dday….he walked out the door when I said “Get Out,” and only called once when Mom died and left me a voice mail. This was 50 years together. As I told my son, “If that doesn’t make your head spin, I don’t know what will!” I hate it for all of us, and total abandonment is a special kind of torture. I would never take/want him back but I just do not understand WHY he held me captive when it meant so little.

              • Thank you for this link. This is my cheater, totally. So powerful to see it in words.

      • CL, (Good morning and thank you)

        My mind is your Schnauzer, but my heart is your Shepherd.

        When I look back over it, it makes more sense with that insight. He was already setting up a landing place with an OW, and detaching.
        One small and awful truth I have learned is that when someone starts treating you with sudden cruelty, just out of the blue nastiness-
        they are usually already cheating. It is almost textbook. Some sort of moronic justification or part of the detachment?

        Red Flag Alert!!!


        • My old husband used the safety and comfort of our (what appeared to be great) marriage to set up a new life with his ukulele playing lady friend.
          If it happened- great!
          If it didn’t? He could just just keep on trucking with the original family just fine!

          No contact was the key to keeping my sanity somewhat intact- even if I do feel the need to take a flamethrower to the occasional ukulele . (Sorry, I know it’s an adorable, twee instrument- my bad) . The initial whiplash caused by the back and forth of my heart and head warring ferociously over I love him/I hate him, hurt like hell.

          Now his lady Tiny Tim is suffering the painful repercussions of pairing off with a man who can’t commit, who uses the specter of his long gone ex wife to keep *her* off balance, while trying to manipulate everyone in his weird circle jerk .

          The go/stay dog analogy is perfect.

          • Ugh, my X is also really into the ukulele scene. . . I know it’s not funny, but your reference to “his lady Tiny Tim” made me LOL.

      • I had been mentally and emotionally detaching long before I ended the relationship and went total no contact.

        And I took drastic steps to make sure that I stuck with total no contact. I changed my phone number, deleted every trace of my ex from my phone and computer, removed myself from social media, changed my email address, threw away every thing he ever gave me, and stopped going anywhere he, his family, or friends were known to go. And when my lease is up, I’ll be moving to another town.

        I never want to see or speak to him again.

      • Agree, Tracy. After divorcing the ex I wound up on a four year rollercoaster w/ Mr Right Now. This is about the 5th time I’ve walked away, & been stone cold NC now going on 3 mos despite his attempts to contact.
        Previous attempts have lasted a few days to several wks. It has taken me this long to sufficiently detach from all the hard wired feels you mention above.
        This time I was helped along by finding a couple of cheater red flags . Rather than confront & open the door for a flood of bullshit, I quietly gathered my shit from his house & drove off into the sunset without a single word or look backward.
        How’s that for a mindfuck, Asshole?

        My only words to him since were in reply to a text. I said “We’re done. Please leave me alone”.

        I still get the bio-pangs but staying NC has gotten easier & the further out I get, less argument my brain will tolerate from my heart.

        • That is so true CD….the arguments lessen..and the brain trumps the ❤️!! Hugs to us all.

      • Your 100% correct CL. After 34 years married I quess the OW (she knew he was married) pushed him & he chose B. Never looked back, still hurts. Hoping “meh” comes quickly

    • Clara, mine has done exactly that. We had maybe a month of semi-contact but only due to money he owed me. He has never faced me, nor talked to me since I walked out. He’s gone cold turkey and not looking back AT ALL. This XH will NOT be hoovering I guareentee. I too struggle with the discard aspect of it all.

      • ChumpNoMore – I can only relate something from a very long time ago. Not sure you can relate to it.
        I had been dating a fellow while in my early 20’s and I know he was about to ask me to marry him.
        Being a restless kid and a huge amount of freedom with my own apartment, I had no interest in marrying him.
        I hope I didn’t lead him on, but I did go to his wonderful mom’s house where she served us Liver and Onions (my favorite, and obviously son and Mothers as well).

        Not sure if I got spooked as it was moving too fast. But, I broke up with him for no good reason.
        I couldn’t even tell him why so, I refused to say anything at all. Immaturity on my part.
        I felt horrible hurting his feelings. There was nothing at all wrong with him.
        (the timing was wrong for me)
        But, I didn’t know how to say I was breaking up…so I just sort of left him with no explanation.

        I have felt guilty for that ever since – it was a long time ago.
        Hey, wonder where he is now that I’m single again, 35 yrs later. . . .

        We had Olympic Sex!!

        • My Karma was. The X dumped me the exact same way I dumped that boyfriend.
          Not a look back.

    • My stbxh is husband is the same and I know exactly how you feel. That’s been one of the hardest things to digest through this. He just never gave a shit!

      • Clara, ChumpNoMore, Marisa: I had a malignant narcissist hoover back into my life after 10 years of no contact – like the past had never happened. A cheery email that was all about him, disgustingly so. Final comment – “perhaps we could get together, sometime soon?” Don’t think so. So there you go, just because your ex’s have exited cold turkey now, when their sources of narcissistic supply become depleted, they’re baaaccckkkkk.

        • I think Hoovering is the rule rather than the exception when it comes to the seriously disordered. The Fucktard circled back around when he was divorcing my replacement part. It took some effort to find me. I’d moved to another city and gone no contact with his family and all mutual friends and acquaintances. But one day a sappy love letter showed up at my office, proclaiming that I was “always the only one” for him. I did not reply to the liar.

          Hoovering isn’t about any late realization of what they’ve lost. It’s not about remorse. It’s just easier than grooming a new chump from scratch.

          • Same situation with me, Survivor. I had also moved, also no contact with family and friends. I think he made contact with a mutual casual acquaintance, who mentioned my present place of employment because he contacted me through my work email. He mentioned his mother had just died from a protracted illness and how hard it was on him. He thought it was most important that I be informed of this event because his mother really liked me. (Which is a lie, because she despised me). Sad sausage, he just wanted to chat about poor mom, with someone who knew her. Blah, blah, blah. That was the hook to try and reel me back into his fucked up life.

            • I got the “you’d really like my new pets” approach. Anything to get the old chump talking to them again so they can slip their foot back in that door. Mystifying, yes. Original, no.

          • The Hoovering initially played out with the SlunT’s attempts to triangulate. She couldn’t get it through her well used vagina that I had willingly and deliberately passed the torch. Her anger increased when I told her I filed. Guess the Limited omitted that little tidbit.

            What he had conditioned me to do was to FIGHT for him. He was so entitled he expected it. I battled him in court instead.

            He was stuck with that prized classless bar whore.

            Last report was he cried all the time and he then hoovered over the children he discarded. Basement shopping is no longer an option as my children have moved past being supply.

            We’ve all moved on with our lives and Mr. I.Hate.Aging has her siblings (all in their mid to late 70’s) as his peer group.

    • Clara – my STBX did the same thing. About a week after he left I had the presence of mind to look at phone records and texts. One phone number showed up over and over. He had another woman lined up and he didn’t need me anymore. I’m not wasting my time trying to figure him out. He’s a cheater and he sucks!

    • You are not pathetic. My close friend is also a chump. Her cheater did the discard thing – walked without looking back, except to get the kids and enfold them into his “new family.” It has been so painful for her.
      My cheater was back and forth, wreckonciliation attempts, hovering, mindfucks, etc.
      We have concluded that both circumstances suck. There are no positives to either one.
      I am not giving either of our cheaters credit for thinking about either of us when choosing their particular methods of cruelty. But we both feel that they couldn’t have done a better job of hurting us – both methods feel tailor made to cause us optimum pain.

      • I want to be tough and not care. Oh, but I care. I wait for the apology email and card that never arrives. Mine too had someone set up to comfort him. He was already in another life. But, I think, I am a human being. I bonded and loved. He didn’t. He is a freak. CL uses the word “invests.” I like this idea. I invested.
        Just in the wrong person. That he does not contact me is absurd. I did not know people like this existed.
        What can I do about him and the past? What can we do, as group? Nothing about the past. But I can learn from CL and CN. Here is a small victory.

        I was casually dating a man. I never call him. I let him initiate. One day, I wanted to talk. I texted: Can I call you?I need to talk. It will not take long.

        Response: The playoffs are on. Then nothing for 14 hours.

        I never talked to him again. This was the beginning of the relationship, when we have our best dating game face on. I would have taken his call if I was having outpatient surgery.
        We teach people how to treat us. Small things turn into big things.
        I thought, this is someone who has the capacity to treat me with immense cruelty.
        Bye Felicia.

        • That is mighty! Fuck off Mr. Playoffs!!
          And as for the apology – if it did come, would it mean anything given who it was from? Can you think of anything he could say that would make you feel better or that you could believe?
          Do something nice for yourself every time you feel that pang. ❤

        • I read somewhere, probably CL, something about the apology that really helped me.

          Write out the apology that your head and heart desire. Write out the long version, the one that would really have you empathize that lying to you and your kids was his only option. That apology that when you read it, you weep for his predicament, not the one you are in because of him.

          Make sure it has real apology language. No blaming you. What the appropriate restitution should be and your cheater agreeing to every word.

          Now do you think
          1. Did you actually come up with a justifiable reason to treat you in such a cruel way? No?
          2. Is there really any restitution… I do you fill the void without sparkle?
          3. Is there anyway in Hades, he would ever be able to come even close to writing it? No, he is a soulless, entitles twit.
          Now, forgive yourself for loving that kind of monster and move on towards meh.

        • Ugh, I’m feeling that same way right now with someone I’m dating. He is a chump too but boy it seems like he’s always “going thru” something. I’m started to realize that MY needs and wants are not being met. I mean I think I am, am I seeing red flags or creating them because of my own insecurities?

          • NMES – a red flag is a red flag. If you’re creating them – then you still have work to do on you (and probably won’t do it if you’re in a relationship). If they are from him, then you need to get away. SO – either way, this probably isn’t the right relationship for you. IMHO.

          • NoMoreEggShells,

            ICanSeetheMeh has a good point, and I’ll make another. Not everyone who claims to be a chump is a chump. You could in fact have a Narc playing Sad Sausage and “aren’t we the same” while you wonder why your kindness and thoughtfulness isn’t generating any reciprocation. If you are feeling like a second class citizen while dating, you don’t need to go any farther down that garden path to see how the fellow behaves when he’s not on his best behavior. A guy who neglects your feelings, needs and wants on a regular basis because he’s always “going through something” is asserting his priority. If you want a partner who will treat you as equally important, you might want to look elsewhere.

            • Thanks. I know for sure his EXW cheated on him (we have mutual friends). I do think we both may have rushed into a relationship but wanted the company of someone. I guess I have trust issues still and just do not want to waste any more of life on someone ( I wasted 22 yrs already). Maybe I just need to relax and just enjoy his company- IE: I was/am co-dependent/my ex was a flaming narc. So I am very afraid to get into that again! Thanks for the advice, sometimes you just need to vent. I just want to find the love of my life, as I’m sure many of us here do. I wasted my 20’s and 30’s on an ASSHOLE who never loved me ( I stayed for the kids)… Life shouldn’t be this fucking hard. Self-pity trip over now, thanks again! HUGS to all

              • The “love of your life” should be you (not in a narcissistic kind of way, but if you love yourself enough to know your own worth, and craft your own life accordingly, the absence of a romance is not lonely at all).

              • I know you are right! I was working on me before I met him, and then got lost in “having a relationship”… It’s time to do me again! Whatever happens happens but I need to love me and work on me more than ever. I thought I had gotten there, now I realize it’s something I have to work on daily… I so glad I found CL and everyone’s support. Time to do me 🙂

              • I actually think I am stronger – because I don’t want to put up with someone else’s bullshit any longer, hence the wish washy feeling I have currently with this new relationship. I do miss the independent me I was over the summer, do what I want, when I want it!!!

        • Clara…WOW. Mighty and powerful you are. I sincerely doubt there will be anyone in my life going forward, but if I would start down that path I would hope that I would be as you…0 tolerance for 0 consideration. I made him my priority my entire life and our children and I were at the bottom of his list. EVERYONE, and I do mean everyone was more important. DONE.

      • Thank you @louisvilleflower for this. I agree completely that both scenarios suck and afford their own special pain and betrayal.

        • And there are some people who have experienced both with the same cheater! Back and forth of Wreckonciliation and THEN discarded. There is not enough karma to even things out in a single lifetime for those cheaters.

          • @louisvilleflower this was me, it was back and forth for the wreckonciliation and then when I finally threw him out, not once single word to me. NC for three moths until my sons wedding, then all we talked about was that I owed him money for half the cost of rehearsal dinner and the alcohol at the wedding. Not anything from him again until my grandson was born. It is hard both ways you want NC but you also want them to tell you why you were not important to them after 32 years together and his new whore comes before everything.

    • Clara mine was exactly the same. He came clean about the cheating so he could have me kick him out and he wouldn’t have to do the dirty work. When I told him I wanted to work on it he bolted and moved in with OW. Everyone in my life was like be prepared for him to come back! And I had to tell them to stop because it just made me even sadder that he wasn’t. I’ve come to the realization the abandoners are real cowards. Just being in my presence while we still were dealing with selling the house and the divorce made him squirm because I reminded him of what a bad person he was. Meanwhile the OW told him he wasn’t a bad person, just doing a bad thing and she was willing to forgive him.

      • It is one of the strangest things. Someone who was the focus of your life can just leave. And never look back. I agree. Big time cowards. The glitter is gone. You see him as he is. The mask is off.

        What an excellent point-it makes me sadder, too. I have ruthlessly cut out anyone in my life who knows him or wants to gossip about him. It is a misery fest. Pass.

        But, remember time. Time will reveal his character to the OW, and hers too. How many adults do you know whose character changes, adult with no insight or moral stop signs? None? Me neither.
        We are better off, Claire. That is our life boat. We must trust this fact, like we trust that our car brakes will work.

        • I’ve cut out all those people too – it helped sooo much! Anyone who can support what he did by inviting him and OW into their lives is not someone who has the same values as I do and I don’t need that in my life. You’re right we’re so much better off in the long run

          • What if the person allowing Satan and His Mistress in their life and the lives of their children is your own daughter? Do I cut off contact with her and my grandchildren because she allows this? I want and need to be the only positive influence on my grandsons. I don’t want to abandon them and hand them over to Satan and His Trailer Trash Whore Mistress to devour and influence.

            • No, I don’t think you cut off your daughter, because that is her father unfortunately. She has to accept that trashy whore to be with him and let her kids see the grandkids. I am sure she does not like it and of course wishes it were you. My kids accepted the stupid nasty whore right off. I hated that, but he is their dad and they wanted to see him. I kinda wish I had the type of kids some on here and elsewhere have that say fuck you to them both for what they did. But I don’t. And it sucks but I accept it.

              • Adult children don’t HAVE to accept unsavory cheaters into their life, but it is their choice to do so. My father walked out on my mom – never saw him again and it made life for me so simple, so easy to maintain with the person who acted honorably. Because I could trust her, because she had been honest.

                My ex abandoned me after 36 years-circled back around to his married college girlfriend when he started to make $$$ in his own business. She left her husband. Each lied to the spouse and kids about how there was no one else, they just weren’t happy, needed space, blah, blah, blah. In the meantime, they had reservations to jet off to Paris. Five years later, they are as happy as can be living in high cotton, vacationing, building new house, etc.

                My children? Each of the three were really angry with him for a while. That’s subsided now. They state he’s “their father”. Yeah, so what? He’s not a good person.

                But I’m with the grandkiddos all the time – will never give up on my relationship with them or their parents. Love them to pieces. Just have to take the longest view possible and weigh all the consequences. I just wish they knew how often their father badmouthed them to me, how he wrote one out of his will at one point, how much he disrespects them and family. He’s a bum – a rich one, but a bum nonetheless.

            • Lori I’m so sorry about your situation. I’m lucky and don’t have kids with my ex but I’ve been on the daughter side before (my dad did a very similar thing to my mom that my ex did to me). Definitely don’t cut her off. There’s a very good chance she’ll come back around at some point. For me I felt like a bad person if I cut my dad out of my life entirely but now I’m finally learning to set boundaries with him and am closer to my mom than ever.

              But if it’s super painful to hear about him I would tell her how you’re feeling and ask if she could not mention her dad to you. I cringe looking back when I think of how often I was keeping my mom updated on my dads life and she was too nice to say anything.

      • So, so, so the same! STBX did the same thing. He told me because she was pregnant and it was “his” (explain how you can know you’re pregnant 8 days after the act if it was “accidental” ?) and I told him to fuck off. Then she miscarried and I said I still loved him and wanted to work on it. He was all for the false wreckonciliation for about five seconds before he was right back to telling her about how “the wifey” (OMFG seeing that text literally almost made me stab him) was going to shortly realize it was over so they could “be together and lay in each other’s arms and talk about their feelings”. Then he moved in with her. He’s come by a few times and he cries and cries and cries and tells me what a piece of shit he is. And it’s literally like looking at me and seeing what a disgusting and evil thing he did makes him just want to stay away. It’s fucking awful. Everyday I wish I’d go to sleep and never wake up. Or that the whoremat’s house will just burn down so they both go to hell like they deserve and I can have the life insurance money. Fuck them.

        • Seriously. I just try not to think about them together. I saw a few pictures on Instagram early on and then I blocked everything because once I see it it just replays over and over and they’re really good at pretending they’re oh so happy. But if he was so happy with her he wouldn’t need validation from you that he’s not a shitty person! Mine tried to get me to go to MC not to reconcile but to “help me through the divorce” because he’s such a good kind person you know! Even though he “didn’t know I was supposed to say sorry.” They’re so messed up. I just wish karma would hurry itself up in a really obvious way sometimes!

          • Cheaters are Oscars-level masters of the “happy life.” They would look like complete idiots to break up one marriage/relationship only to leap into one that was worse. Instead, they pretend the relationship with the OW/OM is !better!

            I saw pictures of my X at the “coming out” party for his new GF (an AP, but no one realizes that). His smile was so wide it almost fell off his face. His look for her was so delightful that he was like a puppy in love. He has invited even tangential friends to his house for dinner to show off his new mansion with her. Last I heard? He was complaining she wasn’t intellectually interesting enough, and she was about to go on antidepressants. Reality bites.

            • Tempest, while looking at a fb page for a local health food store. Pictures were posted of a going away dinner for someone who was associated with the store. X and his GF were in two of the photos. Everyone in the photos had casual smiles except for X, his smile was so wide it looked like his face was about to explode.
              A little too happy, unless he’s either lost his mind or on medication.

          • I don’t have a Facebook and he is set to friends only viewing so I can’t really stalk him. And when he has contacted me he’s told me it sucks there. He’s taking care of her child by rape of an ex fiancé and there are bugs and he lives on an air mattress because maybe he ISN’T actually in love with her. Too bad he didn’t figure out she’s a user and a loser and a poacher BEFORE he fucked her. Stupid fuck! He’s also going to therapy to figure himself out. And the therapist kinda said he’s fucked until he can figure out what to do with himself because he had spent SO MUCH TIME convincing himself that I didn’t love him anymore because I didn’t initiate sex in the way he thought I should (really? Everything else I did for you wasn’t love?!) So at least I have that. Even if he’s jus saying it to get something out of me more kibbles or whatever it gives me a perverse pleasure to know that I am awesome and she sucks. But it makes me so angry and hurt that he would throw away a life for some stupid slut’s open legs and “I love you” because THAT was the real love but my devotion for a decade was all a trick to keep him paying his rent and keep me company until I could find something better?! Uh projection much?!

            • Yup, they`ll trade out a loving spouse of decades for someone they met a few weeks prior, who they barely know (except for their ability to suck a golf ball through a garden hose). Then they’re so surprised when it doesn’t work out that well!

              It`s actually really, really stupid on their part, even if we only think about their own self-interest. Buy hey, they suck, so what can you do?

              • That’s what I don’t get either. They are all about themselves. So why do they put themselves in that situation? I guess they see how good they have it in this relationship and then figure well the next one will be just as good but More Exciting! Because some brand new whore is infinitely more exciting than some used up chump. They don’t realize the reason the relationship is so good has NOTHING to do with them and everything to do with the devoted chump. Then when you affair down somehow it’s just not quite as shiny and nice as the original relationship. I wonder why when the marriage involved fillet mignon and lobster cooked with love and the affair involves a ground chuck patty and cooked frozen shrimp from McDonalds. ?

              • Sad Shelby, love, love, love your analogy:
                I wonder why when the marriage involved fillet mignon and lobster cooked with love and the affair involves a ground chuck patty and cooked frozen shrimp from McDonalds.

            • And the man is whining about his bugridden sad sorry illegitimate-baby-of-assault filled life why? He’s firing up the Hoover to see if and when you’ll take him back. Be strong. The correct answer (if you feel compelled to give one) is no.


          Surely, dear sweet Shelby, surely you know you deserve so much more.

          Keep coming back here and reading and sharing. And in the meanwhile, change your locks and block his number.

          She “won” a turd with sparkles. You won the luggage (read CL’s book to understand!).

    • I have plenty of contact with XW #2, as the kids are still young. I pick them up for school each day. I coordinate medical appointments with XW. I cooperate on medical bills and logistics of getting them to their functions. I act no differently than I would had this been a normal,no infidelity divorce. It does not bother me a bit. I am grateful to be away from her except for the kids.
      Pretty much the same with cheating XW number 1. Our oldest had Down Syndrome and Autism and our other son has been a heroin addict for ten years, in and out of rehabs and still fighting it. So, we have lots of interaction. Same deal. I could care less about seeing her and am just reminded how fortunate I am to be out.
      Both XWs are chatty. I cut them off, politely for the most part. I do not like to engage as if they were friends of mine, as they would like.
      Basically, I just treat them like normal people that I have nothing in common with except we do have to communicate about the kids.
      The only thing I do have some trouble with is refraining from just telling them what assholes they are, but I manage to keep my mouth shut.
      It makes it easier for me to act polite, normal etc and not engage in any talk about the cheating because I know, with certainty, that neither will ever accept responsibility, never tell the truth, and will never, ever apologize. So, why bother. It ain’t happening and I am just grateful I am away from a Cluster B.

      • “It makes it easier for me to act polite, normal etc and not engage in any talk about the cheating because I know, with certainty, that neither will ever accept responsibility, never tell the truth, and will never, ever apologize. So, why bother. It ain’t happening and I am just grateful I am away from a Cluster B.” – THIS!!!

        Had to mediate yesterday w/ex about some financial issues. He took advantage to start haranguing me about how I’ve alienated the kids from him (suuuuuurrrrreeee I have, that’s what happened, of course!). I didn’t have much to say about that (see perfect explanation above), so shut it all down unless we stick to the financial issues.

      • Arnold you Inspire me.
        Every interaction with my ex u try to be just like you, indifferent. I don’t know what happens, I have NO ability to refrain from telling him what assholes he and his AP are.
        I’ll try harder to channel my inner Arnold.

      • Arnold…you just articulated what I too know to be facts. I went total NC, but he abandoned so it was a wash out. The children are adults, so there is no interaction in that universe. Trying to close the door on my entire life is really, really hard. I hurt for all of us….

  • b) you’ve been detaching for quite some time and something pushed you over the edge and you walked.

    This is what I think happened to my stbx. I don’t know what it was that pushed her over the edge -I think it was opportunity. She got a new job that paid her a lot more, right before she started contacting her old college bf again. Now, why she had been detaching is also difficult for me to explain; I have come to the conclusion that she was able to do that because she didn’t have the same kind of commitment to marriage, specifically our marriage, that I did. OK, enough unraveling.,I’m going back to trying to gain a life.

    • She did it because she may have felt that the extra income (“a lot more”) was enough to finance a move to a new kibble source. Marriage for them is about resources, impression management and kibbles. If that’s what you mean by “she didn’t have the same kind of commitment to marriage,” I agree.

      • “Marriage for them is about resources, impression management and kibbles.”

        That’s one of the most profound statements I’ve ever seen. GREAT point.

        • My XH’s resources are low, but boy is he working hard on that impression management! Happy, happy with his new little 45y/o to his 71 years. I am certain she is kibbling up a storm enjoying “living the dream!” as her friend posted on social media. Yes, right now I am furious.

  • Sometimes the urge to reply to a text/email, fightback and argue with them is overwhelming, I guess thats the withdrawal process. These days I just put turn my phone off and do something else when she communicates about anything other than the kids welfare, drop off’s and pickups. I think YoYo Knickers is slowly getting the concept that I won’t and don’t react to her provocation anymore, likewise her charm/friendly comms go ignored.

    I have kids so NC is more difficult, but fortunately with modern technology and the age of my kids I can do a lot of communication through them rather than speaking to their mother.

    • I think for some of us who were raised in a high-conflict house ruled by a narcissist, the urge to engage intensely ( defending ourselves, demanding explanations, arguing) is our “normal.” In that situation, “no contact” is not just about breaking the attachment and dependency on a disordered person; it’s about changing that PATTERN of dependency in our larger lives.

      • I’m one of those raised in a household you describe, and agree with your observation. I have a strict NC rule, except for texts about the kids, and then I try and limit it to a few words. I never answer or return a call, nor a text if it is just a subterfuge to elicit a response.

        That I initially clung so desperately to a serial cheater after D-day, one who brought lovers to our home, arranged to have my young children meet at least one AP, and exploited me unmercifully over 20 years, now makes me shake my head. NC keeps me safe and had helps avoid negative triggering.

      • Yes, me. Drama and craziness was a way of life. I thought I worked hard to eliminate that in my adult life and marriage. Nope, I just chose a covert narc and learned a new kind of pain by his constant passive aggressive tactics. NC restored my peace of mind and began my healing. I have since re- examined abandonment issues and made progress. His love bombing filled the hole in me where my self-esteem and intrinsic value should have been.

        • Even after being here a while, I am still astonished at times at the similarities of our life experiences. Only material difference is that my covert narc was a “her.”

  • Because, yeah, she’s not hoovering. She has absolutely no contact with me other than that necessary to take care f the kids. She DETACHED a while ago, and I haven’t been able to 16 months after DDay.

    • Oaktree–you’re not even fully divorced yet. It’s very tough to detach sufficiently until things are official. Sharing custody just adds another layer of difficulty because the creature to which you were attached keeps being waved in front of you. Hugs!

      • And hoovering may not commence for years. Some years ago, I had been in friendship-level contact with Jackass that was frequent and somewhat intense. Then–poof. He was gone for years, no explanation. Later I found out that he had indeed “hoovered” back but I had sold my house and moved. A few years later, I got a letter at my work that I did not open because I was married and I didn’t want an intense friendship with a man not my husband. I didn’t know until after the discard that he was ‘hoovering” back for kibbles. Now, because I’ve seen behind the mask, he may be done with me altogether. I hope.

        • LAJ, Don’t count on a narc being done with Hoovering. They love the idea that they can bring a trained seal back into the arena in a pinch. By now, you can dispatch that vermin with ease. Never forget that.

  • What I found most distressing (besides going through all this disabled, hairless, with chemo brain and frightened out of my mind) was that we had been detaching for some time, but once I left – he pulled out the Love Bombs and laid waste to my psyche. Talk about beating a weaker opponent. And it has taken me time to recover, both mentally and physically from the onslaught. My thyroid finally gave out from all the treatment, distress and cheater trauma. Even now, when my Meh is wrapped around me like a warm blanket, he keeps coming back with little missives here and there – poke,poke,poke, are you still there? Still care? No, my GAF is busted. But I have scars from his crap.

    • The scars remain for me, but mostly as a reminder of what a strong woman I have. See this scar? I means I survived that shit and lived to start a better life. So, I view these scars as battle wounds, in a battle I “won.” Do I wish the battle had never happened? Absolutely. But it did, and it did not kill me. It has been six years since I first discovered X’s betrayal and, for the first three years, I was either a zombie or a wreck. But I am here now and my life is so much better. It’s as if the world was black and white. Now I see all the colors of the rainbow.

      NC is not completely possible for me due to the very unique circumstances of my life (children, a terminally ill X), but I keep a very strong barrier up at all times when dealing with anything related to X. He is, after a very long term marriage, just someone I used to know.

      • Hey Violet:I am also 6 years out. First two years I was so shattered and dazed that I listened to what he said and it just kept hurting me more. Then, one day, I don’t know what the trigger was, but I got really angry. That led me to NC. Once I was NC, I started to get the perspective that led to my healing. I still have those scars, but also feel I am mighty. I have a better life. This week, I had to communicate with x because of the illness of one of our children. I was so pleased that I felt nothing passing on the information. That told me a lot about where I am now. No connection, someone I used to know.

    • Merry, block the bastard. He still has you on his mental Rolodex. Healing from cancer is a big job, even a year or two after properly killing that beast. You don’t need someone testing your doors and windows to see if they can burglarize your soul, again.

      • Thank you, Survivor. I’m shoring up my defenses, and I am a strong woman, but the cancer treatment alone took a lot out of me. The day I finally decided to close the door on him, mentally, was when I realized I was about to go out with the tide from his bs, after safely making it to shore after the fight of my life. And I had to ask myself one question – was he worth it? Worth living through all that just to stress out and keel over? Oh, hell NO. Thank you for your support, encouragement and understanding! We are Mighty!

  • Oh ya the no contact that I absolutely know is the way to the truth and the light. I remember being just so confused about that.. and he hoovered, coming “home” from his AP to kiss hug and fondle me–my counsellor shit that sh#t down, informing me it was sexual abuse.. that woke me up somewhat (I love her❤️). That still didn’t stop me from allowing him home for Christmas where he pulled his olive man stunt(a jar of olives for Christmas for the daughter who expressed disapproval over his behaviour). Sometimes the lessons take time.
    These days it is minimal contact by email only for the final business with the separation agreement since he is a toddler unable to behave like an adult. Meh, and complete no contact are around the corner(on a Tuesday CL!)

  • Do you remember the rat experiment. Three rats were put in separate cages. Each cage had a button a rat could push and a pellet of food would come out. The first rat found the button pushed it and got a food pellet every time. The second rat found the button pushed it got and a food pellet and continued to push without ever getting another reward. At some point it gave up and just stopped. The third rat got a pellet of food and then tapped the button several times without any food and then finally get another one. That rat never knew when it was going to get food so it never stopped tapping until it went crazy.
    A five year old boy waits every day for his father to come home. They have a fun ritual where the dad sits in his chair, the boy brings out,and plays with, his Legos. This sweet time is balm for them both until…..the father has a major problem at work and comes home in a bad mood. When his son brings out the Legos the man yells at him to take that noisy shit out of the room. The child cries and the mother yells at the father. By the next day Dad is back to normal. He sits down and wonders where his son is and where are the Legos. The boy gingerly comes back and starts playing but he keeps his eye on his father. Several more time over the course of time the father has a melt down until the boy no longer waits for him and no longer wants to play with his Legos. To the dad that is just a stage of childhood but to the child it is the beginning of lose of innocence, in believing that the person you love, and who has so much power over you is not who you think he is. Years later the father won’t remember the Legos except as a good memory of when his son greeted him at the end of the day. The son will have an affair entirely different memory.
    We are wired to hold onto insults. They might mean danger ahead. If we love the person insulting us we are like the rat and the boy. Whatever we do has consequences but removing that crazy making situation takes that person’s power away from them and gives it back to us no mattered how frayed.

    • Let go,

      So, so true. And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon……. My kids were tapping but understood and stopped the tapping before me. I was the rat holding on to the wire monkey. Isn’t that a picture. Now, after the years of abuse before he left, the 3-4 intervening years of the separation/divorce and not seeing the kids during that time, he thinks there is a future for them. Too bad the system does not allow children to go no contact with abusers unless maybe “he punched them in the face” per GAL’s statement.

    • This just makes me so sad. My STBX is the dad you describe, but he thinks there is something wrong with the kids because they are not forgiving him quickly enough for his liking, or completely enough. Apparently he has set an arbitrary expiration date on his accountability for their suffering, and he is now entitled to feel resentment and self pity because of their shortcomings. If I were him I would be heart broken, but he has his own special set of rules that apply only to him and change on a whim. I wish there was a vaccine for “asshole father.”

      • You are so right. They really don’t get why the kids don’t just adore him. He prioritized the OE before them in so many ways and he’s not involved in their day to day life and he cheated and lied so they are ashamed and wary of him. He really thought their relationship would remain relatively unchanged. Really?! And what about all the time these past couple of years that you’ve been late or distracted or unavailable all because of the OW? Did you not think this would erode the bond with your children?

    • Perfect description of my interactions with my alcoholic father. I never knew who would show up, the guy who brought me to Yankee and Knick games, or the guy who would backhand me and criticize me until I cried. Tapes stay with a person forever, but he was too drunk to even remember doing this shit.
      It is eerily similar to being married to a Cluster B.

  • So many thoughts….
    My ex….same thing. I would read the comments on here from people who were being hovered on and I would too feel jealous. I’ve even commented on it in previous posts that my ex would never try to have anything to do with me again and that shit hurts even though you know in your head he’s a colossal fuck up. It’s kinda that thing where ur like ” you are dumping ME???? Really?????”
    I think it has to do with a couple things.
    Obviously who left who.
    My ex left me, even though like all of you I should of left him. He left and then he got the bonus of watching me unravel and pick me dance for a second. I tried to sparkle brighter than the affair partner. Ugh!! That shit is humiliating.
    Then he got to watch me figure out what was really going on and lawyer up and take a bunch of OUR stuff.
    Affair partner and a soft place to land OR mean ex wife who finally sees who you are and stops playing the game……hmmmm, tough decision.
    My divorce because of health insurance issues was settled but then not finalized for a year. I got GREAT at NC and then the divorce got stamped by the judge and suddenly there are all these things we need to discuss to settle things.
    I thought I was reasy for this but he knows how to talk about the “business” and then bait me into other stuff…..our kids, his awesome new life and how he’s sooooo happy and hopes I am too…..puke. We end up eight streets over from the original business and when I hang up it’s like I was just in a hypnotist show and the dude just snapped his fingers to wake me up. There has not been one time that I’ve hung up and not said to myself ” wtf was that??”

    • You need to shut that shit down. You’re divorced. If he needs to contact you, by email only and then you can decide whether to respond or not. Seeing or hearing my ex was painful to me..just my opinion of course..(((hugs)))

    • Paintwidow.
      No advice as I’m miles behind you even but I love the things you post and just want to send you hugs and strength.
      You are amazing and have come so far.

    • Ugh yes that hypnotized feeling I can so relate to. I remember a conversation early on where I ended up telling him maybe we could be friends and then after he left how was like how the hell did he get me to say that??? It’s so confusing and the easiest way for me to break it was to keep a list of all the ways HE is actually the one that sucks and why the OW must have issues herself to want a cheater who was using a fake name and let him move in after knowing him a month. She is not magically better. Once I got stronger in that belief it got a lot easier to realize the bullshit he was spewing and make it about the business at hand of getting divorced. Granted I don’t have kids so it was a cleaner break but you can do it!

      • I know there is no “friends” I had to explain to STBXMIL that I can’t be friends with someone that betrayed me and now has a relationship with the person that co-conspired to destroy my life, then steal the dregs and tell themselves it was all okay because the marriage was basically over anyway. That’s why we went on an anniversary trip the week before everything in my life got blown up. So at least that part is clear. But it’s the other him. The not an utter fucking piece of shit that gets me. I guess it’s just hoovering. And I’ll get stronger but it’s so fucking hard. And I hate it. I also know it’s all his fault. And he does own that which helps. I also know that she is NOT better than me. She’s literally a doormat she’s been used and abused and seems to like it. PLUS she’s a fucking mate poacher and a disordered piece of shit. Not that my moral high ground gives me anything other than a sense of superiority that I’m not a dirty fucking whore. It doesn’t keep me warm at night, or make me laugh, or wipe away my tears, it doesn’t help pay the rent or do the dishes or hold my hand or hug me when my mom was sick. I tell myself at least I’m not her. But she seems pretty fucking smug and happy with the outcome.

        • the troll loves to throw it in my face that HE IS HERS NOW.. .. .. every chance she gets.. .. she knowingly went after a married man, she knew i loved him, she knew i wanted him and was trying to save our marriage, she knew his children loved and needed him.. .. … she just did not care. she saw my husband and decided she wanted him.. .. ..

          when i let him go, she felt on top of the world. SHE WON!!! she has a man.. .. he left his wife and kids for HER!!! mate poacher for sure.. .. but still that wasnt enough. she has to rub it in every chance she gets.. .. .

          i know now from my boys that she does not treat him right and he does not treat her all that nice either. .. .. they are toxic and dysfunctional.. .and i also try to tell myself that at least i am not her. at least he is not lying to me. at least i am not the one he is yelling at and playing mind games with. .. but it doesnt make me any happier. like you it doesnt help pay the bills, or talk to me, or help me with the boys, or keep me warm or hug me… .. . and she might be trailor trash hood rat troll whore but he is still with her and she is pretty damn happy with that. .. .. while me and the boys suffer…

          • A mate who can be POACHED is like a politician who can be BOUGHT…worthless! Now the smug troll will have to look over her shoulder and worry about female coworkers and neighbors. Ha! Get the popcorn ready.

          • It SUCKS! I totally feel you. At least you know neither of them are happy. And I tell myself that even if he thinks he’s happy he isn’t. There’s something fundamentally wrong inside him that won’t let him be happy. That’s why the great life you had together wasn’t enough. And if he needed something else to be happy it was within him. Your job isn’t to MAKE him happy. His job is to BE HAPPY within himself. Your relationship is an extension of his life and he needed to work on him. He could have done more fun things with you and your kids. He could have found a new hobby that didn’t involve sticking it in some whore. He could have just been fucking NICER to you and that would have enriched both of your lives. That’s at least what I tell myself. I’m a good loyal person. I love deeply and truly and he is a shallow fucktard. Hopefully one day someone will see that and I’ll be happy living in my mansion with Zac Efron and he’ll still be in a bug infested whore house watching me walking down red carpets ??? (that’s how the fantasy plays out in my head) It sucks. I have my fingers crossed for your happily ever after. A new love that treats you right and loves your kids too. Or even just inner strength to get you into the land of meh. Or maybe your own Hollywood ending (just keep your hands off Zac ?) It will get better! At least it can’t be worse right?!

      • I wrote down a list of all the crap he did and stuff he said. Mean cruel vindictive stuff and all the lies. Five pages single spaced typed. And that was after 5 months of playing pick me.

        Yes. He sucks.

    • Paintwindow, mine left me too after everything. I was convinced we could work through it and be ok, and yes, all of this spackle everyone talks about…I sure was great at that!! I knew he really loved me and not her! Ha!!!! Goddamn was I an uninformed idiot. I didn’t have the balls to get rid of him…I loved him. Or thought I did. He cheated, he asked for the divorce. He was never trying…was fucking her through our whole “wreckonciliation”. And he never hoovered, either. Just cut me off and ghosted me. The fucker was laughing and joking with his buddy as he packed up his stuff to move out of our house. I was crying in the empty dining room. Nothing from him. No reaction. Just drove away. Looking back, and certainly now, I think that’s probably better. Going no contact wasn’t a problem. I was SO confused by it though-still am to be honest…I did not understand how he could just leave me and cut me me off…we were best friends (no we weren’t!!), how could he just do this? Same thoughts as you…WTF just happened? WTF is he doing? Sat right next to me during the closing of the sale of our home, and wouldn’t even look at me. We sat across the table from the young, cute, newly married couple that was purchasing our home to star their new life in, as ours was falling apart and ending. Signed the papers, took his check, walked out….not a peep. No I’m sorry, no hug, nothing…and that was 14 months ago. I mean, let’s be honest, what would that have done anyway. And at this point, I realize he wouldn’t have meant it. Have I sent shitty text messages and emails in fits of rage and pain? Yep. Nothing in return. I’m probably blocked on his phone anyway, as he’s living in bliss with his AP. And the last shitty text I sent was last May (the death of a very close mutual person in our lives set me off). And I know that’s the last one I’ll ever send. Progress!?

      • and…..if we’re keeping it real here, we wait for the implosion of the affair partner.
        We can kinda get okay because we’re like “that shit won’t last. He’s a cheater and so is she. They are doomed and when that blows up that’s the day it’s all gonna be worth it. Karma!!”
        Then it’s two years down the road and she’s still there. You don’t want him back but you sure as hell have moments where you say ” 2 years and he’s happy as a clam?? Two years in with me he was on his second AP already.W. T. F????”
        It’s just another thing in this that fucks with your head.
        I don’t want that dickhead back EVER, but sometimes I wonder if I keep slivers of communication open just so I won’t miss it when Karma comes a calling.
        I know….not very meh.
        Capricorn, IntegrityIntact,ClaireM, I’m hugging you all, this shit is hard.
        Sadlady15, you are correct. I should make your comment the screen shot when he calls instead of my chicken pot pie meme.

        • Don’t want mine back either, but yeah, wish they would implode….I have the feeling they’re going to be together forever, though, to be honest. Hopefully in semi-misery at least…they are the same kind of person, so if they do end up together, makes more sense than him being with me…or any of our cheaters being with any of us. We’re not even remotely close to being like them…and they are NOTHING like us…

          Yep…hardest shit EVER. Big hugs to you, too…thank you! We’ll get there…thanks for sharing and listening…makes me feel like I’m not crazy 🙂

          • This is what I know of “her” and why I think this will last as well.
            She’s a decade younger than him. She knew he was married and she was as well and got involved knowing she would be a mistress. They blew up 2 families and she was just as cold in how she left her ex as mine was when he left me.She gave him the ultimatum so he left me ( thank god….but still shitty). He moved into her place and lives with her young kids and is the bonus dad there. Our grown kids have not spoken to him since Oct 2015. They can’t accept his choices and can’t make peace with what he’s done.
            It’s my understanding that her thoughts on this are that it’s unfortunate that our kids have chosen to discard him ( can you call it that when HE walked out on us?) and he needs to move on and focus on what he has now. If our kids ever come around to accepting his new life…then great. If not, it’s their loss.
            I don’t think I could be with my boyfriend if my presence was so offensive to his kids that they refused to have anything to do with him because of me.i couldn’t be okay with that.
            I knew when their happiness trumped my kids that she was the same as him.
            Match made in heaven, I’m certain they will marry.

            • Your story paint is mine almost exactly. He flipped out me and kids. AP is 12 years younger with teens. Our kids are in their 20’s. They want nothing to do with cheater. And I’m sure he will marry her. She makes him “happy”. Gag.

              Grateful I got a decent settlement.

              • I went off on mine yesterday in a text. Damn! I told him what I thought of Whore and all the crap she masterminded to try to get me to go crazy and give up. I very rarely stoop do his level. I did so yesterday! UGH! Called her a cunt –

        • Paint Window, your story is so similar to mine in so many ways. I too, will not take him back, however, I want their “thing” to explode – I want KARMA, but it’s been since Oct 2015 that the two love birds begin their nasty affair (DD was Nov 2015) and they are still together (they’ve split only when he supposedly was going to try to put our marriage back together but he ran back to her when he realized he had to work at putting back the marriage and the second time he split with her I refused to try again and he ran back again). Appears he would rather be with the devil women then to be alone and work on himself.
          She is 10 years younger then him and has 4 kids (ranging from 8 – 14), our two daughters were grown and we were at a point in our lives were we were starting to do all the things we had put on hold while raising our daughters. I still can not understand how he threw wife of 32 years and his adult children away to be with a women that is cold hearted, has herpes, has had multi affairs with married men and has four kids?? WTF? WHY? They destroyed two families (she was married as well).
          I try my hardest to have no contact, however, like an addict some days I fall off the wagon and reach out. I just miss the life we had, the man he was and miss just talking and laughing with him. However, I know that life is gone, the man I loved with all my heart is gone and I’m slowly moving on with my life.

          • Blindsided,
            It’s like you are writing my story.
            When my ex (who swears he will never marry again) finally marries her ( I’m sure the “put a ring on it” conversation is already in play now that our divorce is final) my ex will be husband #4…..she’s 35. I don’t get it.
            I was like you, marriage isn’t easy, but I was working it. I was working past the previous D days and looking forward to one kid graduating college and six months later the younger would graduate high school. We too were going to do all the things we always talked about.
            Then BAM!! when people ask me what happened I say ” He never stopped dating after he married”

            • Paint window, my ex claims he will never get married. Also, a direct quote from him “I’m still very much in love with you. I can never be in love with another woman. Maybe that is why I will never date”??????? WTF? Yum, okay… That makes perfect sense, you love me so much so you stay with the one and only person on this planet that I truly hate, that your daughters hate??? What the hell happened to the man I married???
              Everything him and I loved doing together, camping, riding motorcycles, going on vacations is exactly what the two of these two love birds do. It’s like watching my life without me in it???

              • To me he’s one of those 20%ers. They say that marriages have an 80/20 proportion where 80% is good and 20% is missing. So these idiots/monsters/Satan’s minions go lookin for the missing 20% to “make them happy” (it could be something like more sex or just that endless chasm inside them where there soul should be!) and they find whatever it was in the AP (an endless supply of golden kibbles?!). You and your life was his 80% so now that he’s with the AP that can only make him 20% happy he’s trying to fit her into the 80% that was you and your life together! But the idiot knows that the 80% happiness was you and that’s why he says he still loves you and no one can measure up. Of course that cheap dirty whore can’t be your 100% you idiot! Because 20% will never measure up! No matter what wrapping you try to put it in! That must be so painful for you to see that skank steal your life. I’m sorry that happened to you. What a dick and a fool he is!

              • Sad Shelby, thank you for your great words of wisdom. It pretty much sums up what I couldn’t put into words. I really appreciate your kind words. All of us have gone through such betrayal and disrespect. We certainly our warriors <3 All of us, in our own ways!!!

          • 32 years here too. AP has 4 kids from 3 different guys. Blew up two families. They don’t care!!!

          • I think part of the hardest thing to understand for the chump is that if WE did something to break up our own marriage we would be CONSUMED by guilt and want to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING possible to make amends and fix it. They just aren’t like that. I’m not sure if they’ve always been that way or became like that. But I know that it part of my problem. The husband I had would NEVER do that. But then he did. And I have this urge to reach out to him because he was my problem solving helper. When shit went wrong in life I turned to him to help me figure out what to do. Not that I couldn’t make my own decisions or that I was unable to handle the problem but why shoulder the burden yourself when you have someone to help you through? I just feel SO miserable and the one person that made me laugh the most and said “good job! I’m proud of you” the most and said “well that went wrong but fuck it! We can do this!” the most was him. So when the cause of the problem is your normal solution or at least someone you previously relied on it’s so hard to figure out WTF else to do instead.

            • You nailed it with this one sentence “The husband I had would NEVER do that. But then he did”. YUP, and then he did. That’s the part I still struggle with. He was my biggest cheerleader/support/defender. Sometimes I just miss laughing with him or talking to him – just to have that guy back to laugh/talk with… but then reality slaps me in the face and I realize that man is no longer there.

        • I m a lot further down the track
          …and can tell you from experience that nothing is as it appears. …. my dday was 2011…..I am at meh long ago…..but due to circumstance….karma has decided that I know exactly how bad it is now for him….though he pretends everything is wonderful.
          He married her despite her having a drinking problem …..and she has told family members that she is diagnosed with both OCD and bipolar. ….thrown in multiple marriages (on her 3rd) …..she sure is a catch! Unfortunately he works for the same company as I do. (different location) and he has been caught in an affair again since marriage to her….and now sexual harassment rumors are rife …..him hitting on a woman 20 years his junior….This young woman told me this herself….I told her to put in a complaint or if not tell him to stop….he is a coward. I have front row seats for a train wreck I never wanted to see. He tries to pretend with everyone how happy he is…..The only person who may believe it is himself ….However I don’t think even he could believe his own lies.

    • For me, seeing his words in print rather than hearing them come out of his mouth was the thing that broke the spell. I can no longer abide the sound of his voice. And I no longer have to. Email is the best if you have to communicate, but text is still much better than talking.

      • I agree wholeheartedly; just hearing his voice is beyond fingers-on-a-chalkboard annoying, grating, irritating!! So glad I have very few more times I have to hear his voice.

  • and
    “the irregular rewards of an inconsistent love can keep you hooked. You will give those kibbles greater importance (she called! he texted to wish me happy birthday!) because they are so infrequent and unpredictable. ”

    I was reading an online post by some guys that cheated and their responses to d-day. Some were relieved when caught but all agreed when they cheat-its done. Nothing there, nothing left.

    I’m divorced and my x has a tendancy to try and hover. He wants to be my friend, so that I can watch him go off and live his life with ow and be there to offer him advice-financial and love. Bullshit! Block them and legal issues should go directly through your attorney. For me that also includes family funerals, mutual friends etc. After more than 40 years family etc, I have no contact with his family or our mutual friends. They didn’t like me anyway.

    • My x was a horrible husband and a baby to boot. I refuse to let this warped marriage be the only love of my life. X doesn’t deserve the “I screwed her over so she’s sworn off men for good tribute.” I thought I had given up on guys but at 8 months post divorce I’m starting to rediscover men. What a wonderful creatures!

        • Yes, there are men out there who give compliments, and listen to your concerns and then change how they do things to make you feel comfortable. How amazing!

  • I’m so no contact right now. He’s here until end of Feb. Too late to change it but it’s a heavier toll than I or the boys imagined.
    I’m rubbish at NC on my own account I can confess. It was better when he went away to work and I could control how many texts I responded to.
    I am still messed up about who he is and what he did and I know it’s ridiculous to even think about any of it while he is here.
    Decree nisi Feb 9th, then six weeks to decree absolute and that’s it.
    I plan to ratchet up the no contact as I go, as I get stronger. Change locks and never back in the house. One email weekly about boys. But I have anxiety and fear, definite FOO issues of abandonment (as I was an am!)
    I’m just going to keep working at it until I get it.
    And working at growing my life bigger and in my way.
    It is just so hard to do.
    Thanks CL for saying again about NC. It is the way so I will do it but I’m not looking forward to the process.
    Thanks for all the contributions today too. I will take notes!

    • Capricorn this is just my opinion as someone who analyzes everything but this actually might be the perfect time to figure out who he really is and get some more info that will make it so you really want to go NC when he leaves. For instance, how does it feel when you talk to him? Is it a feeling you want to keep feeling? Have you seen him “turn on” the nice and now you know it’s an act? Are you seeing the little red flags in his behavior that you never noticed before? Are you realizing he has the capability to be two completely different people and that scares you? Does he act like another child and you’d rather take care of your actual children?

      • ClaireM
        You are actually brilliant. I have been watching but not thinking. I do need to do what you suggest.
        I have been turning inward.
        Thank you. ❤

        • Absolutely! At the beginning I kept a running list of all the awful things he did and after awhile it kind of dawned on me that he just sucked and I didn’t want that in my life.

    • Capricorn, I too had to live on that cliff of uncertainty with a cheater who was impervious to the pain he splattered liberally all over our lives while I got our finances in order and sold the house. It was excruciating and lasted thirteen months. He would park on the couch in the middle of everything and the kids and I would find any excuse to not be in the room. My kids are pretty much grown, but they would come in my room to watch TV with me to make sure I was okay and to not have to interact with him. Picture a king size bed with two six foot boys sprawled across it, me smooshed at the top, and my daughter fitting in like a tetris piece. It was safe, and the only time we ever felt free enough to laugh together. We bonded like a lioness and her cubs in that room, and discovered that we were forming a new pride together, pun intended. The day stbx and I went our separate ways it felt like I was exhaling for the first time in years. I knew I had been anxious and stressed living with him, but I sort of didn’t acknowledge that I was also a little afraid to be trapped under the same roof with a stranger with a hidden agenda whom I didn’t trust or even like anymore. The sense of relief was palpable. My kids love my new apartment and tell me all the time how cozy it is. They are relaxed again, making great strides toward healing and so am I. It has been like waking up from a coma where your dreams were all nightmares and taking the first sip of water or seeing sunlight again for the first time. Once that threat is gone your head clears and you can actually think clearly. For me, this resulted in about a month of volcanic rage at the monstrous carnage that asshole had unleashed in our lives. But it was great to indulge in it and let it wash over me. Hulk Smash! Daydreams of disemboweling. Stealth attacks in dark allies. Pistols at twenty paces. Waterboarding. Then I cried for about a week straight and spent every moment that I could in my stretchy pants, power-eating strawberry twizzlers and chips and dip. I’m talking schlumpped in a comfy chair, spilling blobs of french onion on my shirt and just slurping it off instead of getting up for a napkin. It was delicious to be all about me for once, but it also helped me realize that he got to feel that way All. The. Time! And it still wasn’t enough, he had to have more! And I was giving it to him! Exclamation Overload!!!! SMH!!!

      Once you get free you get clarity, Capricorn. It’s a journey for sure, but you will find that you are the cowardly lion, the tin man and the scarecrow all wrapped into one mighty woman. Remember they had their gifts with them the whole time, just like you do.

      • You Deplete Me
        Thank you. EXACTLY what the doctor ordered today.
        I have copied that out, printed it and stuck it on the side of my night table next to my bed.
        Thank you! ❤❤

  • I find it tremendously useful when the cheaters themselves try to contact you and, in doing so, say something that makes the point of why NC was invented to begin with — something absurd like:

    I never told you that I was cheating on you, but that doesn’t mean I lied
    This may not be a good time to bring this up because you father just died today, but you may have taken some of my books when packing
    I can’t be held to a rule that I myself agreed to respect. I can violate it any time, because if I do it, it’s not a violation.

    Every bit of bullshit is a gift. Mine keeps on giving, making NC veeery easy.

    • Wow the fact that they are all the same doesn’t make these statements any less ridiculous…SMH!

    • Omg…..this.
      Me: do you know or even care how our kids feel???? Do you know you ruined our daughters senior year of high school? Those kids went to bed and woke up the next day and their family was blown up!!! Do you get the gravity of this?????? ( insert sobbing, hysterics, and hyperventilating)
      My Ex: Paintwidow , I’ve told you I’m sorry for how it all went down. What do you want here?
      I will make myself available if the kids ever decide they want to speak to me.
      Btw…I know it wasn’t in the MSA but I was wondering if I could have the craftsman toolbox in the garage.

      • Paintwidow — Hey, giving him the toolbox is a gift you give to yourself! Good riddance.

        • Right? I kept the tool box and smile whenever I use something in it.
          Small victories feel awesome.

  • Yes agree it’s like the cheater is an alien, someone you have known or thought you knew , just roles over one day and they are a different person , like hey darling I’m an alien didn’t you know. That’s what it was like for me , I referred to her as the alien , it helped a lot , as when I had to think of this lying sack of shit that I once called my wife who I loved and adored beyond any doubt, changed overnight , it was like she was reincarnated as an alien ,still looked the same , but this person was different and heartless, and showed zero remorse. Don’t trust your aliens peeps, believe zero of what they say , their actions are true. Oh and trust that they suck…….

  • Huzzah for No Contact. I’ve been happily living in the Land of Meh for years (Courage, Chump Newbies, it will come!), but first I had to shut down Self-Involved Crybaby’s attempts to “reach out” and wonder if we couldn’t be friends. Over time I realized that even that was more self-involvement, more about making himself feel better about himself and telling friends a nicer story (“Oh, yes, we’re still friends” rather than “She won’t speak to me or answer my emails”) than any concern about me.

    I was utterly flabbergasted that I heard from him over the summer–as I said it’s been years. “Something Something made me think of you.” GAH! NOT replying to that email was the hardest thing I’ve done in a while, but I held out. I seethed for a couple of days, composing elegant, furious, sarcastic remarks in my head, but managed to stay away from the keyboard. Because I knew that nothing I could say, no contempt I could muster into words, could have the same impact as sweet, sweet silence. You are not worth my notice or attention. I cannot even be bothered to respond.

    And after a couple of days I got over it.

    Cosmic kisses, heroes of Chump Nation! Y’all rock.

  • Part of my problem is I have not yet got hold of the thought that we are no longer a couple in the future. I’m so used to thinking of us as a unit it’s so hard to think ‘ok, I may only see this person a handful of times for the rest of my life’. All the weddings, graduations, christenings but no Christmas, New Year holidays, summer holidays, trips, retirement etc.
    I was wondering yesterday what to do with all the photographs, albums, recordings etc. Do I keep everything? Give him anything? Pack it all away?
    I have not come to terms with the magnitude of the change yet. I’m still vested I guess or enmeshed.
    How did others deal with this stuff? Is it purely no contact and it all gradually becomes clear and settles?

    • I left the Family home, so I don’t have to deal with the “Stuff” but i know the day will come when it needs sorting if she ever moves out. I do get a slow drip feed of things that are mine that I left behind in the family home, one of them ironically was this week when I was handed a suit in a bag, turned out to be the suit I got married in…18 months ago that would have affected me quite badly, today I’m a little bit more Meh. I tried the jacket on a it looked like a “Sack of Shit’ on me, I’ve lost 24lb’s since we married 25 years ago…stuck it in my wardrobe and shut the door.

      At my old family home I have a loft full of love letters, notes, cards that me and YoYo knickers exchanged in the first year we met, wedding photos etc…I will simply ask my son who is 15 if he wants to keep them he can do as for me they mean nothing anymore, and that is a little bit sad. If my son doesn’t want them I don’t think I’ll ever throw them away, but will just put them somewhere out of the way.

      In answer to your question, for me it’s getting clearer…but I still have some progress to make to get to ‘Clear/Meh’

      • MBE,
        Consider letting all that stuff go. Before I moved out of the home to start over, I found a day when Pinhead was away, and threw away 30 years of romantic valentines day cards, and notes, all of which I had kept meticulously in a box. Then I did a giant donation of clothes from different memorable events, including my wedding dress. I also spent 40 minutes painfully removing my too-tight wedding band. 2 years later the dent is still in my finger. I wept the entire time. Not sniffles, mind you, but gut wrenching sobs.
        The important bit is, I have not ever regretted getting rid of that stuff. Not for a second. It was really, really painful for that couple of hours it took me to go through it and trash or donate it, but when it was done, I felt like a giant weight had been lifted. And I am glad to know I don’t ever have to look at it, ever again. I don’t think my children would ever want any of it either considering how confusing it would be.
        I highly, highly recommend letting it all go.

    • I’m in a similar boat. NC for about 3 months and been apart for a year but still miss the dream. I think similar to NC getting rid of his things helps. It’s not as if we’re not constantly thinking about him and what he did anyways. Don’t need reminders to confuse us even more. Donate it. Burn it, like I did somethings, or just trash it. But get rid of it. Like getting rid of termites.

    • Cap, that was hard for me too…that after a decade of living together, only seeing sporadically, if ever, for the rest of my life. Such a strange feeling when they literally become a stranger who knows EVERYTHING about you…but…I’d rather not see him at this point…another positive step, I’m hoping…

      I think deciding what to do with your things is an incredibly personal decision-that’s really something I think you need to do at your own pace…but…getting rid of things that have memories/reminders, for me, has been tremendously helpful in making progress. Very cathartic. Even if it is tiny bits at a time.

      To be honest…everything I still find that reminds me of “US” together (still unpacking boxes from my move a year ago)…I get rid of. Cards, notes, wedding gifts, things we bought together…some things I have neutral feelings towards, or view them as mine. But anything that reminds me of us together…GONE. I have packed things, taken things to Goodwill/thrift stores…I have smashed things, I have burned things/wedding photos (including photos of his family!! Ha, that’s a great feeling because they’re all as fucked up as he is!). Burning photos is one of my favorite things! And…since this year was the first year since 2013 I had an xmas tree, I found his one, little tin of “his” xmas ornaments that were forgotten about…smashed them all!!!! Felt great 🙂

      So…maybe see how you feel getting rid of small things a little bit at a time…as always, many hugs to you….

      • Thanks integrity. It’s hard isn’t it? I have boxes full of our stuff. I documented our family life so well as it was my life’s work. Now to get rid of our ‘story’ feels tricky.
        I’m going to have to just feel my way along. I still have stuff from an old boyfriend lol.

    • Capricorn–2 years out and these are exactly the issues I’m struggling with, but in a more academic way than you. Once D-day hit, I was set to action mode–detach, detach, get him out of the house, divorce. Then I let the fury take over me, and it was a wonderful motivating factor to craft a new life, new friends while letting the rage devalue him to the point I no longer cared about him.

      All that has ebbed, and now I am left with the prospect of being alone to celebrate my oldest daughter’s college graduation in a year, daughters’ weddings, and all the wonderful “family” things that will be in the future. I envision the ideal of having a husband by my side for all those things who takes equal joy in the accomplishments & transitions of the children we both brought into this world. But….let’s face it; we may have had our cheaters by our side for those events, but they would never have taken equal joy in a ‘family’ milestone, nor been as invested as us. In fact, they probably would have behaved in ways that detracted from our joy. We miss an ideal that was never going to come to fruition.

      As for the photos, etc., I know many members of CN have had glorious bonfires to celebrate the transition to a cheater-free life. And I have felt the horror at knowing virtually all my memories of the marriage are toxically tainted because (a) he was probably cheating since the beginning; and (b) my memories are of events with the person I thought he was not who he is. But…do nothing with those photos now. Put them in a closet to pull out in 2-3 years time. They can either be burned, culled to bare essentials, or kept. I myself am tending toward keeping them. Everything about my life got me to the point I am now, and I am content with that. I don’t believe in regrets; there is nothing we can do to change the past, and changing one aspect of the past would change many other things (like our children) in a catastrophic domino effect. My X being a duplicitous ass during the times I enjoyed in our marriage can’t alter the joy backwards, either. It is mine to own, the pain he caused is mine to own, and without it I wouldn’t have ‘met’ all of you wonderful people here. Without my X, I wouldn’t have moved to a city I adore, had two children I love more than anything.

      We sometimes wish we could have avoided tragedy but still have gotten to the same place of strength, but that’s not possible. I have chosen to embrace the tragedy, keep the photos with memories that are now sanitized by detaching from X and knowing he is is, and who he was during those photos. It’s my past, I get to own it.

      • Excellent points. I’ve had the fantasy replaying in my mind of “what if I’d just … ” but you’re right. That road leads nowhere and our lives are the cumulative effects of everything we do an experience. It’s a bitter lesson but I am a stronger person now for learning it.

      • Tempest – excellent post. A lot of us try to be strong but not always easy to do what we say and what we know is best for us. Stories like yours are inspiring.

        • ImAphool
          Great point. Not only do I try too hard to be strong. I try to appear strong and often think I am strong. Only to find I am really not!! Especially when it comes to a major thing like NC.
          Accepting that in myself especially here really helps.

          • Cap – Here we can be honest with ourselves and with each other. It gives us strength because We have each other to help pick us up. I’m fortunate that I have a great family for support. But no matter what they can’t begin to understand how this feels . As I’m sure I can’t truly understand their problems. We all have them. We all have a story. Thanks CL for Giving us a forum to share it.

      • Thanks Tempest.
        I think I will have to have a very large ‘pending’ box where I put all this stuff for now. I don’t appear it but I am highly sentimental which is why I’m struggling so hard. I bought in to the fairy tale story of our lives. Well that was crap. So I will let my heart decide when it’s ready.
        Thanks for always being so giving btw. It is much appreciated believe me. ❤

        • Mine are still in the closet – one of these days I’ll get the urge to go through them but until then I’ll be No Contact with them too!

    • Yes it does. I have the photos but he has asked for nothing except the baby furniture his dad made for our children)he simply took everything he wanted and there was nothing sentimental). I said no by the way that stuff is our kids not his pseudo daughter/granddaughter’s. I will keep photos but won’t look at them..for my kids sake and because it was mainly him in them since I was the only one that would take photos. What you will want to do will take time to figure out.

    • Embrace your inner Scarlett O’Hara. “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.” Baby steps moving in the right direction will work until you feel strong enough to make great strides.

    • Cap, I put all the photos and cards into my storage unit without telling him, the few things we tried to separate together left me reeling from his rages. I went through and divided the photos a few months after the divorce was final, during the week between Christmas and New Year. I was so relieved to not be family with that asshole anymore, it was a different kind of celebration. I copied the digital photos onto a back up memory stick for x, made copies of the few photos I thought I’d miss, and battled with myself whether to keep the wedding album. Decided to give it to him at that time because I was still having waves of fear of him and knew I’d obsess about it maybe pissing him off if I kept it, a decision compassionate to where I was at the time.

      • Validated.
        Thanks for sharing that. It’s so amazing isn’t it that it’s the chumps who are left to puzzle over what to do with the photos and momentoes. In all honesty I don’t think it will cross his mind at all what to do with them. He will just ‘forget’ all this stuff exists or he will assume he can ask for it on demand. Or get me to divvy it up.
        If I never mention it – it will just not occur to him.
        Another thing that is telling me who he is.

    • I removed pictures of myself and my family from the wedding album. The result was pretty metaphorical, actually … a ripped apart wedding album with big gaps and only pictures of him and his family. I kept it as I wanted time to decide whether to give it to him or leave it for my child later in life. I tossed it in the trash on the first wedding anniversary to occur after the divorce being final. It was cathartic. Will I someday wish I had kept it intact … I seriously doubt it. Tossing out wedding stuff, old love letters and valentines, meaningless gifts from him … it really helped me accept that the marriage was truly done and was never what I thought it was anyway. Clearing away cobwebs in the mind.

      • Dixie.
        I’m nowhere near that point yet but I think it is an excellent place to aim for. Just reading your words I could see the value of discarding all the reminders that would otherwise hold me back.
        That life is gone, they are gone. Getting rid of all reminders of them is a step forward indeed. I’ll be a while yet.
        But maybe not. Thinking about all this – the weight of all the emotion that goes hand in hand with love notes etc. a bonfire sounds mighty appealing.
        De cluttering is so very ‘in’ right now.

      • When I and my boys left, I deliberately left everything he and his family had ever given me. I did take the photos and albums. I gave cheater ex a few copies of some photos. After my youngest son’s funeral, my eldest son and I got together every solo photo of cheater ex. It made a nice pile out on our backyard walk way. I handed my son a full can of lighter fluid and a box of matches and he burned those suckers to ashes.
        A few months later I went through all the remaining photos that had cheater ex in them and I cut him out of every one. Again, cue the matches and lighter fluid. Then finally, I scanned all the cut up pics into my computer, and with a great photoshop program, I reconstructed each photo without shithead cheater ex.

        It was very satisfying to erase him from our lives in every way possible. Take THAT asshole! Don’t regret it one little bit.

  • The dog’s mind analogy is so perfect to describe limbo. Back and forth, up and down, in and out – nonstop.

    I went through limbo for a long time and I understand. That’s probably part of why I enjoy dogs so much. I like to imagine what they are thinking about…………not to mention the unconditional love you get back from them no matter how your day’s gone. My dog’s happy to see me every time I come home, and I’m happy to see her too.

  • Getting rid of all that stuff will help you make the transition. It’s so hard. I refer to those days of my chump-hood as “when I was staggering around the house in my nightie for days and brushing my teeth with tequila.” Do you have trusted friends, a sibling or cousin, who will come over with boxes and help you pack up that stuff? Do it in an afternoon–maybe store things you can’t bear to part with yet, but take anything that’s truly his (assuming pronoun?) out to the trash.

    So sorry for your pain. Meh will come!

  • “Cheaters suffer withdrawal too — withdrawal of kibbles”

    Funny how YoYo Knickers attempts to communicate with me escalate when her BF is working a 5 day shift and she doesn’t get her positive kibbles from him, I usually get the following:-

    1) Some sort of text to provoke a reaction and get some kibbles (negative ones) from me
    2) Calls me – I don’t answer
    3) As a result of me not answering get a text about what she wanted…99 times out of a hundred is something that didn’t warrant either a call or a text.

    The thing is I know i don’t need/crave attention or kibbles, sometimes I actually feel sorry for her for needing kibbles in order to simply get by day to day.

    • Ironically as I pressed the ‘Post Comment’ button YoYo knickers has just emailed me to ask if I am picking son up at XX time tomorrow. I’ve already text my son (15) to say I am picking him up at XX time, cutting out the need to message YoYo Knickers!

      My initial reaction is to reply to her and say ‘yes’, but then mighty me just says ‘Take your time, the world won’t end if I don’t reply to her straight away..or even if I don’t reply at all, it’s already sorted with my son, YoYo knickers can piss off”

      • I give myself similar pep talks all the time. It is getting easier to break my previous conditioning that STBX is a Priority and Must Be Answered Immediately.
        Hoping it will soon be second nature to move it to the “deal with this shit later, if at all” file in my mind.?

  • NC for about 3 months now. Tough as hell but necessary and it does help.

    But Why do I still think about him and what he’s done everyday? He may or may not think about it. I know I shouldn’t care but here, in this forum, I’ll admit that I do care. I want him to think of me. I want him to miss me. Then I’ll feel like atleast some of it was real. And it won’t hurt less. Truth it it’ll prob hurt more. Still waiting for Meh.

    • IamAPhool
      Me too. I wonder if it’s a slow gradual thing or one day everything clicks?

      So how have you done three months!? That seems incredibly mighty to me! You have all these thoughts but are still NC.

      • NC for 3 months, but DDay was just about a year ago. Officially divorced in Oct – so NC since. And yes I’m prob an overthinker. Constantly thinking about what happened. Not afraid of being alone and I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family support system and live in a beautiful city full of energy. And I exercise regularly which is great for the mind body and soul. So no way am I at home crying my eyes out over him – not anymore. Some days sure, I’ll breakdown and cry but pull myself together, because you have to. You just have to. A billion men out there in the world, ONE asshole is not going to ruin things for me forever.

        But still its on my mind all the time. Time heals all – I hope 🙂

    • IamAphool, you are not a fool! You are a person with an honest heart, that really loved and attached. Attachment takes a long time to die, that’s normal and healthy.

      You may also be an over-thinker. I have just had to accept that I am, I think about EVERYTHING, all the time! I thought obsessively about him and what happened for a long time, then less obsessively, and with fewer upset feelings. Now I think occasionally (well, anybody else would think it is really often, but for me it’s occasional!), and w/out upset.

      Wanting him to think of you and miss you is also normal; it would mean he saw some value in you as a person. You need that because the cheating and discard showed he didn’t value you. But the reality is, he DOESN’T, not because you don’t have value, of course you do! But because that’s NOT how he sees people. Even if he does miss you, it’s the kibbles you provided, or your usefulness to him, that he will miss, not you as your full precious self.

      I know there are ‘thought stopping’ techniques that can help overthinking or ruminating. Maybe some will help you?

    • I feel the same. I think about him all the time. But I also think that’s because that’s how I was before this shit all happened. I LOVED him with everything I had and so he was always on my mind. Now he still is but it’s the bad shit. How could he? Why did he? How can he just leave? For me it’s the hardest to get over that this is All So Unfair and He Got Off So Easy (that’s what she said). It makes me so angry that he fucking obliterated our life, our marriage, our future and my sense of self. And that somehow he’s come out of it with no worries. Got a place to live some stupid fucking whore to listen to his problems and get him through the day and some sense of future and I have our cat and living in someone’s second bedroom alone with less than what I had ten years ago when we married. Great. I have a broken fucking heart and psychological scars to show for the decade I spent loving him. Go me.

      • Seems so unfair. Thats why I think adultery should be a crime. Even thought about fighting to get a legislation. In the mean time, you know your heart is pure and you have a lot of love to give. Doesn’t mean it has to be to another man. Maybe it will one day. But you can channel that love to so many other things. Meh will come, but in the mean time, gotta keep doing things to make yourself feel good. Is exercise for me. And a glass of wine, or two or 8. LOL – whatever it takes to get through it. Hang in there. Read posts here because no one will understand unless they’ve been through it. And unfortunately here, we all have a story.

        • A crime…..I know you’re devastated and you’d like to bash them in the head to say the least…but crime….nothing guaranteed in life except as we all know death and taxes…if they’re a narc or not….if someone doesn’t want to be somewhere any longer….that unfortunately cant be helped………..yes I know….the deception …..yes the pain of deception puts it on another level …but…I’m sure many people would still be traumatized if the person they want doesn’t want them any longer…..and would still feel a form of being duped …

          • Absolutely a crime. A thief unwanted enters your home and takes something is a criminal. A contractor you hire runsnoff with your money is a crime. Someone who abandons their child is a criminal. Then how is A person you live with, have a contract with, perhaps have kids with, decides by choice to use your joint money on other women, possibly brings home stds, abandon their kids, renig on their contract, all While married? Hell yeah it should be a crime.

            • I agree! It should be a crime! They’ve stolen a part of your life you can never have back. They’ve committed fraud by presenting themselves as someone they aren’t. And if people can get emotional damages for shit like that guy who locked himself in the garage of the people he was attempting to burgle and then had to eat dog food for the weekend I should be entitled to financial compensation for the psychological damage he inflicted on me from d-day. I spend a lot of time crying every single day and I have panick attacks still 4 months later. Plus this whole thing has basically set me back 10 years. That was wasted time. I’m worse off now than I was ten years ago because I am ten years older and have nothing of my own (I can’t afford our condo on my own) and will have to live in the second bedroom of a family memeber. I could have STAYED in a second bedroom for ten years and saved ALL my money for ten years and been better off financially than I am now. So yes. Infidelity IS a crime!

    • Oh yes the mind movies. I HATED them. I would wake up after dreaming about him and have a good cry because i didn’t want to dream about him. He still appears in my dreams sometimes but I’m much more meh about it. It takes time time wonderful precious time..,(((hugs)))

      • It’s so strange. The whole time we were together I rarely ever dreamed about STBX. Maybe because he was always by my side? But since he moved out I dream about him multiple times weekly. Sometimes he doesn’t look like himself and he’s other people but I know it’s him beneath the outside appearance. Last night he was not himself and he had come back to the house to tell me he and the whore had broken up and that he thought this new girl was pretty but he was too messed up still to go forward with a relationship with her. And I was SO ANGRY at him! He got a big telling off for that one.

        A few weeks ago in my dream he took me and our cat to the movies but he left the theater and forgot our cat inside and he was flirting with the candy counter girl when I got back from the bathroom. And I was so angry because he let our cat get lost at the movies and then he offered the movie skank a ride home in our car. Clearly my unconscious mind is trying to tell me something.

        • Dreams, oh yes. Awful. I used to have dreams about XH and his slunt shortly after I moved out. I would wake up sobbing. Most of the dreams had subsided, however, about 2 weeks ago I had two nights of dreams about him. Didn’t wake up sobbing but took the whole day to shake off the sadness that took over from the dreams 🙁

  • It’s very hard to clear your head when your abuser is right in front of you pretending to be normal for entire minutes at a time. Or worse, arguing with you about how this is All Your Fault.

    This was me today, my daughter had a hospital visit following chemo, she is in full remission and this was just a routine check up. Last visit cheater showed up an hour late and then left before we were seen by the doctor because he had to go play hero at work. Today shows up and while in with the doctor begins arranging the next visit. He forgets daughter is in my care. Refuses to abide by our parenting orders that states any time with the kids outside of his visitation needs to be by agreement. So I remind him and question why he is even at the clinic. Didn’t give a rats ass while she was being treated. He went from fuck you to victim in 30 seconds flat. And the blaming started, I stopped him from coming to the hospital. I would prefer that he was dead, i’m a controlling bitch. And the ultimate- that he has taken responsibility for the wrong he did in our marriage but I haven’t which was evident to him by my loosing my cool with him then and there. I hate it that I can be calm, rational, all together, but two minutes with him and especially if he opens his mouth, I default into a crazy person. What is more infuriating is those who only spend brief amounts of time with him do not get it and I am tired of trying to explain what he is triggering is anxiety and my default is to stand and fight rather than flee. This is the response to years of abuse, I’m not trying to control him I just don’t want him in my personal space where he pretends that he is normal, or worse “the victim”

    • This is me right at this minute!!! The ‘I admit my role in the destruction of the family -now admit yours!’ What the hell??!! Also ‘your continued anger shows you are mentally unstable – get help or I’ll go to court to take the children!’ WHAT!!! It’s been SIX months!!! I’m supposed to not be a angry after you cheated and lied and manipulated your whole family for 8 years??!!

      The hardest part of NC initially was trying to get him to understand what he’s done and the depth of damage he has caused our family. Trying to make him realize the nothing justified his cheating. I have just had to keep reminding myself that he is so self involved that he will NEVER understand the full extent of what he did because he is incapable of it.

      NC is so hard but so necessary! It is the only way forward. Don’t keep sipping the poison, even just the occasional sip. It’s just a sure fire way of slowly killing yourself.

      • I, too, got the “admit your role in the demise of the marriage.” Blah, blah, blah–cheaterspeak in an attempt to avoid responsibility for their toxic nature. Staying in contact with the dumbasses just exposes you to that kind of mindfuckery. You can’t be reasonable with a cheater. Treat them like Kittum Cave (the source of the ebola virus) and stay away, physically, cognitively, and emotionally.

      • The “mentally unstable” line must be universal. I got that one frequently as well.

        • Or “erratic behavior” What? I am calm, honest, reliable, and committed to my kids. But the betrayal and mindfuckery would make me livid. NC was the only way to maintain my sanity.

      • He has no clue the destruction he has brought.
        He will never be sorry.
        He blames me for everything.
        Newest email claims we had a marriage of convenience. 32 years and I thought we had a marriage of comfort and mutual shared family and activities. Too many blow jobs from schmoopie I guess. He tried sad sausage – my fault of course.

        • I know it’s difficult to tell yourself but you have to try to not take it personally. I know. It sounds like BS but it’s not you. It’s him. You did what you were supposed to do. You were the best wife you could be with what you had to work with. It was him. He is the broken, screwed up one. A real, decent person couldn’t do what your cheater did. Real people either speak their mind and eventually have to leave or speak their mind and fix the issues or shut up and suck it up and accept the situation. He didn’t do any of those things. He blamed you for his unhappiness (which is 100% an internal thing) and then used that as an excuse to do whatever he wanted. A normal person couldn’t fuck someone over after 32 years. He was supposed to LOVE you, be there for you, back you up and take care of you. You shared a life for 32 YEARS! The things he did to you a real human being couldn’t do to an acquaintance, or even a stranger let alone their chosen life partner. Don’t listen to his shit! This is HIS FAULT. You are in this situation because of HIS actions. He has to say that shit because if he had to look at what he did to you and admit how EVIL and INHUMANLY he treated you he couldn’t pretend to be the good guy anymore. His perfect self image would blow up and that’s all he has to grasp onto. He has no substance as a person so he has to cling to his perception of himself. It is NOT you! Put this ALL back on him. It’s very freeing. It was ALL HIM.

        • LiveforToday–Nothing a cheater says after they’ve been caught, left, or booted should be taken at face value. They minimize, blameshift, and re-write history to have some smidgeon of rationale for their poor decisions and immoral acts. He loved you (to the extent the disordered are capable of love) until he didn’t because someone else was yanking his chain. Cheaters are simple-minded creatures, and only tell the truth when it makes them look good (and sometimes, not even then).

    • Thankful–you’ll get there. You will reach a point of contempt for him that is so deep, that the charm/pity/rage channels simply evoke a clinical curiosity and a “What did I see in this jerk?” It will be hard not to roll your eyes out of your head as he talks.

      Best wishes for your daughter’s recovery.

    • Thankful. Practice silence. It is so hard because we are verbal animals but silence is POWER. Keep your power. Don’t give it to him. You need to look at him like he is radiation poison and stay far away and very quiet.
      My brother let go of any hope his ex would change her mind. His anger took him to a lawyer’s office where he got full custody and quickly moved on. He knew he had been a good, loving husband and she could stay the fuck away. Anger got him out of pain and silence kept him sane. He never told me how long it was before she sufaced but by the time she did the whole family had moved on.

  • I would be embarrassed and ashamed to say how long I stuggled to maintain NC.As I’ve said here before,it was like battling an addiction.I would be NC for a few weeks,a couple of months and then be overwhelmed by an urge to text or email him.I hated myself for what I saw as weakness.He was already living with OW.
    Two books helped a lot .One by H.G. Tudor called’ Exorcism ‘which gives good advice on how to remove this person from your life and consciousness.He also has another entitled ‘No Contact’.
    The other is by Shahida Arabi ,’Your Brain on Love,Sex and the Narcissist’ which explains the physiological,emotional and psychological things going on which make NC so difficult.
    Arseface kept hoovering for years and it took me so long to finally disengage and detach but I have. They absolutely hate it when you do that and lose their kibble supply.
    It’s so freeing when you finally get there.

  • I find that over time I forget WHAT AN ASSHOLE HE IS, I start to default to unconsciously thinking of him as capable of some level of reasonableness, he’ll seem quite reasonable for a while in the very little contact we do have (because of kids and $). So I allow some slight increase in contact, and within a short while, he turns back into that completely unreasonable, and now very angry person, who you can’t communicate with at all, and …..

    At least I recover much more quickly now – almost 5 years out!

    • For me personally, those thoughts of “maybe he can be reasonable/isn’t totally evil/can become a better person” led to 3 wreckonciliation attempts, and disaster. Whenever I think about him, I consciously remind myself of what a total irredeemable asshole he is. Maybe someday when the kids are grown and I can go completely NC I won’t have to, but for now that is the drill. Also, he is such a truly awful person and parent that any positive thoughts of him are few and far between.

  • “It’s very hard to clear your head when your abuser is right in front of you pretending to be normal for entire minutes at a time. ” CL wrote it & she is so correct. Mr. C is still @ my house waiting for the” divorce “, no money for lawyers according to him. He said good morning, good night. Goes on business travels where howorker works. Mr. C just asked : “Can you iron a shirt for me?” No asshole…

  • Chump Lady, you are a GENIUS.

    It is actually heartening to have my crazy behaviour described in the actions of a dog. So true! I am at ‘meh’ finally, and Tuesday is just around the corner – but that was me.

    What a complete waste of time, anguish and living my addiction was. How he enjoyed all the attention. No, it was not reciprocated in honesty or fairness once. Cold Turkey No Contact is the ONLY way.

    This is what ‘meh’ feels like. I had to go to his house (we are English) for a pick up. Behind his door was an expensive tailored $$$$ dressing gown, and an expensive $$$$ panama hat. Englishmen go and watch cricket in panama hats.

    I looked at these $$$$ items and thought, you spend a lot of money on your image, but you have no friends. (That panama hat will never go to a cricket match, because he has no friends to go with. Those two items were just a perfect symbol of his emptiness and I don’t miss him a bit. Life is better without him in it).

    How I wondered if I would ever enter the State of ‘Meh’. Years of anguish! Describing the above lets me know I have arrived.

  • I am really struggling with No Contact–partly because we are in our third year in Family Court (have not even gone to trial yet) with a judge who I think is illogical, biased, easily charmed by my STBX (is she in love with him?), and offensive, partly because we have young children together, partly because I don’t want to believe the ship (seemingly secure lifestyle with a shot at achieving my dreams for me and the kids) has gone down, and partly because I feel the need to defend myself when he makes false allegations against me. Even 30 months after separation, I still have not conditioned myself not to consistently refrain from responding to his false allegations and insults. STBX refusing to split expenses for things our kids’ need, or even letting me take our kids to practitioners for basic, much needed medical care (we have joint legal custody) makes my blood boil–and makes me want to respond to his verbal attacks on me (done through email and text message as we rarely talk to each other face to face or on the phone). Sadly, the stress of dealing with my abuser to address issues related to our children, division of assets, and payment for support makes me want to eat sugar as a reaction to his inflammatory behavior. I have gained 20 unneeded and unwanted pounds in the last seven months. I am also tempted to complain to my lovely partner, something I don’t want to do because I don’t want my partner driven away by my complaining. How can I kill the urge to respond to his inflammatory remarks and behavior?

    I also feel a lot of stress because I have not found a decent-paying full-time job since I became unemployed three months ago, I have spent over $100k (and still counting) in court to defend myself, several people in my family will likely die in the next few months, I am injured and sick (pneumonia?), cannot get medical coverage due to mixed up paperwork, a slow-moving, disorganized health care system, and an uncooperative STBX, and one of my kids is failing school, partly due to an untreated learning disability.

    I don’t know why for three years (from D-Day #1 until now) I never yearned for my STBX to apologize for his abuse of me but now I feel a strong desire for him to say, ‘I’m sorry.’

    All of that being said, I have much for which to be grateful. If I can keep the good in the forefront of my mind and think of ways to use it to launch positive movement (which will result in positive outcomes), then the unpleasant stuff will probably fade into the background. I don’t want to be an irritable, lethargic, worried person as I don’t want to drag others down. Any thoughts on how to feel OK?

    • Youtube a guy called Mark Smith from Family Tree Counselling.
      He gives great advice on the aftermath of narcissistic abuse and how to recover in the aftermath.There are videos specifically on how to heal and feel better.He talks of it in terms of treating your recovery as if you were training as an Olympic athlete and gives
      lists of practical ,concrete things you can do to feel better.
      I found his videos very helpful as he has had personal experience of being abused by a narcissist.It’s like a free conselling session.

      • I love Mark Smith. His videos have greatly contributed to my healing. Those, along with this website, have been a life saver.

    • RSW, you have come a long way, congratulations on all your mighty in the face of unrelenting abuse and crazy. Sounds like you are feeling very sick right now. Getting checked for bronchitis or pneumonia is so important, it’s just an office visit and some antibiotics, with lots of rest and liquids. I hope someone has your back with the house and kids.

      The hardest hooks for me to let go of with xh were the false accusations and his legal threats. He used them because they worked to get me upset and to engage with him, kibbles for him. I had to stop my circling defensive conversations in my own head AND responding to his threats. For my mind talk I used a positive assertion that I trusted myself to deal with the conversation when it came up, and after a few weeks and experiences I found I believed it. I stopped talking with x other than severe grey rock.

      I hope you feel better soon.

      • Validated,
        I really appreciate what you said about monitoring what is going on in one’s head. I will try the strategies you suggested.

    • RSW–You can only tackle one problem at a time. Some of the things you face are not under your control–the relatives who may die, the current state of your health care, the BS your STBX throws at you. Figure out what you can and cannot control–you can’t change the paperwork in the health care system, but can keep making calls to get your account through asap. You can’t control your STBX (or ETBX–eventually to be X, given how he is dragging it out), but can control your behavioral reactions to his accusations. Don’t engage. Grey rock him all the way. Even your emotional reactions to his nonsense can be tamped down by thinking of his behavior clinically (“Hm, that is predictable given his narcissism…”).

      What things can you change? Getting yourself healthy, pushing for a diagnosis for your child to help his schoolwork, losing the weight you’ve gained. But few of these can be finished in a day or two, so be patient with yourself and just take one, two, three small steps everyday. There’s no way you can avoid the finish line eventually, even with small steps. Hugs!

      • Tempest,
        I like your action-oriented and gentle approach to dealing with challenges.
        To add to what you said, I sometimes think about what a business professor once said to my class about success–he defined success as ‘a series of small wins.’

        • ‘a series of small wins.’ Great way to put it RSW!

          I instated NC as soon as I initiated the divorce, I was moved out 3 weeks post-DDay, and I had paid the deposit to a lawyer by week 5. One week 6, my then-husband asked if we could meet to discuss things, it was a public place, and I thought “what would be the harm?”

          That 1:1 conversation was when I truly saw who he was, a mindfucking self-serving asshole trying to play the poor victim channel because I had decided to secure a lawyer. I left that conversation destroyed by his duplicity and demented attempts at making me feel back for leaving him for his adultery and my telling people about the reason my initiating the divorce. I felt like I had just been mentally beaten up to a pulp all day.

          The next day, my lawyer called me telling me that he reported we had a good conversation the day before… That is when I went NC on my own.

          It hurt like hell, because I wanted him to be human, I wanted him to behave in what both of our lawyers and other professionals recommended would be the best interest. I wanted him to be acting as a decent and fair human being we could go through this and have the cheapest possible divorce.

          None of this happened. No validation came from him, but him and his mistress were dumb enough to both send me their respective confessions of their affair timeline and extent over email. These emails felt at the time like poor substitutes for truth of the types of disgusting individuals they are. Now I cherish these emails as I have found through CN that few chumps have any proof from APs and ex-spouses.

          Is it still hard to stay NC despite the divorce being final and rebuilding my life? Yes, because my X still does things that are infuriating through the only way he has to get to me: our kiddo. It is difficult to move on from rage when our kiddo is put in the middle all the time by a disordered fucker of a dad. But there is no way to have a conversation with him, not way to talk him, cajole him into doing the right thing for our kiddo. So I keep all our communications via email or text, and do not engage beyond logistics of pick up and drop offs.

          It is getting easier, but I can’t wait for our kiddo to reach adulthood so I can truly be NC.

    • Rockstarwife you need an extreme dose of self care(and care of your kids). What worked for me was counselling, a Stephen minister and divorce care(if you are a Christian), I joined meetups(lots of stuff to do and lots that’s free or low cost). Research research research to get over the need for validation from him.. you won’t get it even if says those magic words he won’t mean it because he’s not capable of being sorry. Spend time with the people who love you to get your validation.
      You just need time and to not be afraid to ask for help. There are many here for you. Validation here….((hugs))my friend

      • Sad Lady,
        I like your approach of surrounding yourself and doing things with people who exude positive energy. I am trying to remind myself that any time I spend on interacting with my STBX, no matter how often people tell me to try to ‘work with’ him, is wasted time, time that I cannot spend on people, animals, things that deserve and would appreciate my attention. I need to ignore the well-meaning but misguided advice of people who tell me to try to collaborate with abusive, disordered STBX. They do not know him and how he ticks.

    • Rock star.
      I’m not doing so well myself lately but wanted to send you hugs and positive vibes.
      I’m an anxious over thinker who also has a neat sideline in thinking the next catastrophe is right around the corner. Since coming to this site I try not to mind the low feeling times. To accept them and know they will move though.
      Good job we have this site! Life saver.

      • Cap. How long has it been for you? If you’d like to chat outside this feel free to message me. I’ll provide my email if I hear back

      • Capricorn,
        You sound very mindful (‘non-judging’ of situations and tranquil). Wish you progress toward comfort and happiness.,

  • Talk about detaching and NC brings bitter memories back into my mind. I was NC because I was trying to survive MRSA after a lung cancer surgery. I was alone and very ill. The nurses and doctors at the hospital were very concerned and there was always a nurse at my bedside till I had surgery again. After my surgery I was so incredibly depressed that the staff had meetings concerning my depression! All I knew was that my then husband never once called the hospital, and yes, he knew I was extremely ill! I had my iPhone with me and I could see by our bank account that he never missed a weekend to go four hours away to see his whore! I was hospitalized for a long time and I got crickets from this turd! Leap forward to after our divorce and his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Schmoopie dumps him. He wants to come home to “talk” to me. He has the balls to tell me he never stopped loving me, he’s soooo sick and broke, running down his Schmoopie (she’s a bitch. She’s a gold digger and yards, yadda) He apparently needs me to take care of him! “Why are you so cold blooded when you know I’m so sick?” SERIOUSLY DUDE!????
    Sorry for your bad health, I for sure know it sucks to have cancer and be alone, been there, done that! My give a damn is permanently busted! Bite Me Fuckboy!

    • you are MIGHTY.. .. .. i am so sorry to hear you had to deal with this and lung cancer.. .. i can only imagine how hard that was.. .. i had to deal with being thrown out and replaced while grieving my daughters death.. .. it is just mind boggling..

      i hope you are not still talking to him. .. .. or if you are tell him to go to his schmoopie because that is who he went to when you were sick.. .. but better just ignore him. the way he ignored you. .. .

      i hope you are doing well now.

    • That is beyond appalling, Roberta. LOVE that your give a damn is permanently busted because your ex has no limits to his sense of entitlement.

    • If my STBX came and told me he was dying I’d laugh in his face! And the worst part is I still love the fucker! I just don’t think I’m a good enough person to not dance around and tell him the karma bus has come! Maybe it would feel different. But especially not after he abandoned you in your time of need! So sick! And evil!

      • Trust me, it was hard not to rub it in his face, but I took the high road. After all was said and done I held all the cards. I had the satisfaction of knowing (and he confirmed it) that every damn thing that happened to him in his fairy tale love affair would quickly fall apart and it did! He nearly choked having to verbalize it. It’s quite sad to know, though,that all the years o invested and trusted in my marriage were wasted. I’m sure he is only sad for himself because he is alone and I assure you that his new Grandpa look and walk can’t attract flies! He will never escape from the mess he alone created. Schmoopie flew the coop just like I thought she would and left him high and dry! He alone has to live with the ugly reality he created on his own through a series of many bad decisions. I hope he replays all the taunting he and Princess Schmoopie would serve up to make me miserable. I hope he feels lonely, depressed, unloved and deserted! I know I did and it didn’t bother him at all! And Schmoopie? I hope she ends up with a flaming STD and homeless! That may be harsh, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the pain they gave me!

        • Good for you, Roberta. That shitstain doesn’t deserve you, and you are no longer obligated in any way to fix it for him. Bummer for him that you have his take on the Golden Rule to guide you.

        • It sucks for us because my STBX is already in that boat. It’s only been 4 months since d-day and he had already realized the whoremat is not who/what he thought he was getting. And that maybe the marriage was better and worth a damn. It’s SO frustrating that they blow up our lives for what literally turns out to be NOTHING. All because they followed their dicks. ?

  • NC was made easy for me because X ghosted me from the day he left a year ago. What also helped was that I began a long process of detaching from him each time I caught him in his cheating and financial disasters. Over the ten years we were married, he just kept ramping up his game until I was praying he would just GO and be done with it (while I got my ducks in a row).

    He finally did.

    I detached emotionally each time I saw behind his mask during the marriage…and when he finally left, I felt a huge relief. He never hoovered…and neither did I. Our kids were all grown and gone by then, and he had demonized me behind the scenes to his kids to create his support system (since he no longer had an AP by the time he left). The only person on his side that I remember fondly from time to time is his 25yr old son. His son is nothing like him…but I imagine that over time X will slowly corrupt him since they run a business together and are sharing a rental together.

    So yeah…what Tracy says about being “pushed over the edge” is true in my case. He did push me over the edge…but I was finally able to fly and not look back.

  • I feel like this message is for me! Y’all, I need strength! He knows I’m done – I’ve said it in every language except Farsi. For a while he left me alone, and then he hoovered, we’re in a down period of “acceptance” now, but he keeps asking to meet for dinner and I keep coming up with excuses as to why I can’t (except I don’t use the best one – that I just want him to leave me the fuck alone). We do have a child, so complete no contact is not possible for another 8 years, 6 months (not that I’m counting). He’s noticed that I’ve pulled back on communication, “I know you have your cell on you all the time, why won’t you text me back?” My struggle is with always wanting to be the “nice guy” – I feel bad for being “rude” – how sick is that?!? I think my subconscious knows that he will do his best to make me, and by extension, my daughter, miserable if I go complete grey rock on him and after the six months I’ve had, with finding out what he’s been up to, kicking his ass out, having 99% custody and no break, and now slowly starting to tell our friends that we’re divorcing, I wonder how much more I can take before I break. I’m trying to be mighty, I swear I am, and my sister keeps telling me that I need to “go South Side on his ass one good time” (she lives in Chicago!) and he’ll leave me alone – but almost nine years more of him potentially being an asshole to me fills me with angst and anxiety…

    • PAFIM,
      You are dealing with a hugh number of challenges–99% custody is a tremendous demand. I get the angst of having to deal with a monstrous ex for X number of years after separation. I think of the time (’til kids reach majority) a bit like a prison sentence, which is given for a crime you did not commit. I have read some articles from innocent people who have been imprisoned and listened to brief stories by some of my relatives who were imprisoned in political prison for a decade and their dependents. I draw strength from their resilience. As bad as being abandoned by one’s spouse is, I sometimes wish that my STBX had completely disappeared as I think that his malignant presence in the lives of our kids and me drags me (and indirectly our kids) down–a bit like it being better to ‘just’ be pushed of a bridge than be pushed off a bridge with hands tied behind one’s back and an anvil tied to one’s ankle. I sometimes dream that I am struggling to tread water to hold up my kids (keep my children’s heads above water)–I was a lifeguard for several years.

    • PutAFork

      My struggle is with always wanting to be the “nice guy” – I feel bad for being “rude” – how sick is that?!?

      This is sooooooo me!! Exactly!! I’m living this! You want humiliation and embarrassment and ‘how chumpy can you be’ then look no further.
      He is back in the house because I said he could be FOR A MONTH. I WAS INSANE – well if I wasn’t then I soon will be. All because I don’t want to be RUDE!!! I get this, I get how bonkers I am, how chumpy and I can draw a straight line from my parents to this but oh my god. What am I doing.
      Want to laugh? I have been pulling faces behind his back and sticking my tongue out when he isn’t looking, and saying sarcastic things under my breath. I’m acting like a child! But it’s something I know I have to give myself time to work on.
      CL would so kick my butt for this. ‘Man up Capricorn for fucks sake’.

      • I too pride myself on my manners, civility, pragmatism, strength and calm under pressure. But I did let loose and let him have a full and complete explanation of my views on his human failings just the one time. It was one hell of an ass chewing, and because it was 20 years in the making … it took a while. I must have said “and one more thing” about 15 times!!! Let yourself go there … you won’t feel rude, I promise!!!

        • I am NEVER rude. I am a sucker upper of any unpleasant thoughts and I HATE to rock the boat. But I figured fuck that noise! If he can’t even give me the decency to not FUCK A WHORE while he’s MARRIED TO ME after devoting my time and energy to our relationship and building our life for a decade then I’m DONE being nice. He wasn’t NICE to you when he was screwing around on you. You have NO REASON not to let him have it. I have screamed right in my STBX’s face more times since d-day than I’ve ever confronted anyone over anything ever in my life until now. And he deserved it! He is an asshole! Cheaters are ASSHOLES! And not saying it won’t roll back time. Or unfuck that whore. Or make you whole again. Or fix your life. If you want to say it then just say it. If he really wanted to be with you and reconcile or whatever, no matter what you say he will accept it as truth because he will have done the reflection and realized what a terrible human being he is and that everything you’ve said is true. But he probably doesn’t care and has in his head whatever he thinks about you so saying what you want to him isn’t going to hurt that image of you in his head. I’m not saying you HAVE to. But don’t hold back so some ASSHOLE thinks you are a nice person. Even after all the screaming and accusing and fighting and going “crazy” I’ve done since d-day my STBX still said I’m a good person, I was a good wife and I didn’t deserve any of this. I’m not sure if it’s all just placating lies but it made me feel better than keeping it all to myself. And that a-hole deserves any terrible thing you have to say to him! He doesn’t deserve you or your niceness!

  • I kept in contact for 10 months with my piece of shit. For me, it was, simply just not believing it all. I was completely in shock. (still am sometimes). Somehow, he was to fix it. To make the nightmare not have happened… I chased in denial. It really had nothing to do with him. But I got hurt even more. In that contact time, he had the ability to confuse me. Make me take the blame for not being good enough. To here details of the affair and to learn of more. To be abandoned over and over and over again.

    While I am no contact now and it is going on three years from the date of horror, I still have a sense of it being so unjust. He stole 23 years from me. yada yada yada. It is the most horrifying thing anyone can experience on all levels imaginable.

    Today, I know that I wasted my 23 years. He didn’t. I spackled sooo much it became a huge part of me. Was I addicted to him or having something to spackle. I feel shamed that I could have put myself and leave myself with such a man I could not see as being the devil he truly is and was.

    As they project onto you, you do them too. I projected all my character, loyalty, determination, strength onto him and he owned it. He projected his demons onto me and I owned them. Three years out I still get into funks of trying to put an answer and sense to it all. Closure. In those moments I want to contact him load my hurt onto him. So whatever that is in me is still there. I guess may always be. But now that I get my on projections of him back and onto me, I am strong enough to continue NC and have a chance to have a life outside of fiction, neglect and abuse.

    • Jackiesdone, this times 100! Totally insightful, I projected onto my cheater all the good and he did to me all the bad. I’ve never been able to put it into words so well!!!!

  • Yesterday was awful. I panicked, began shaking and cried because I thought that we had mediated and signed, period. So I went to look for a new place to live and was so thrilled to find what I wanted in my budget only to discover that because I don’t have a monthly income after February despite two lump payments that would pay for the place in cash and a good retirement. Plus I would need to find a job. Only to discover that I have to provide information again of what is in the house and what he already has since November 2015. I was able to stay no contact and refused any attempts to come to the farm. I shut down. I went back to the dark cave. My attorney told me that he would submit what I updated and provided. I told him to explain to me how I am supposed to do all this, pack to move no where because I won’t have a home or job until I can get a place to live and begin to establish myself at 58 years of age. Just because it’s on paper doesn’t make it happen. And I come from the family who abused and abandoned you. I tried to allow reconnection with my sister and all she did was steal from me like when we were children. My entire family is dysfunctional. I had to raise myself. I don’t allow my sister here anymore nor mother because of the dysfunction and mistrust. My father disowned me because I don’t know him and he wanted me to be his baby girl at 50 years of age. I can do relationships anymore. I have a few close friends and that is it. There were two tornadoes that hit this area . They should have hit the farm instead of the poor people with no homes to go to. I am sick and tired of this whiny *sshole. I am exhausted in this never ending battle.

    • saw, you are almost there. Your new life is in sight. Keep your eyes on the prize. You can do this. You are Mighty!!

    • Saw,
      I think that I may have had similar moments of ‘shut down’ when I felt overwhelmed. Approximately three years after D-Day #1, I am starting to get comfortable entrenched in ‘chaos.’ It was hard for me to get to this point as I have always liked and, for the most part, maintained an orderly life. Now I realize that a lot, if not all, of the time things might not be as organized and I might not have as much control over my own life as I would like, but making one little step in a positive direction is something upon which to pride myself. Regarding the practical garbage that befalls one when disaster strikes, I don’t enjoy the fallout, but I think of it as material to use in a book I eventually write, a project I make, etc. and a chance to acquire knowledge regarding what it is like to experience hardship and develop empathy for others who have endured that type of hardship. I try to approach hardship with an observant and curious mind. For example, in addition to thinking, ‘It sucks not to have money!’ (emotion) I think, ‘How can I budget money (decide which things to pay for first) so that I can save enough money to pay for transportation to work?’ (inquisitive mind, which is related to beginner’s mind in mindfulness meditation). Thinking this way significantly calms me and I think makes me a smarter, more resourceful, and possibly happier person who I hope is a better role model for my kids, students, and others.

    • Saw, sounds like you and I could have been neighbors. I just moved from the area that was hit by tornadoes. So sad that we could have made a connection. But don’t be upset about what is happening in your divorce. It will all work out, you’ll see. You will still be far better off away from your cheater. Hugs to you and keep moving. You are almost to the border of Meh!

      • Thank you for the lift and suggestions. I finally found where I presented everything 29 months ago and snapped a photo of it and updated the information and sent it to my attorney.

        Roberta, we could have crossed paths if you lived in my area. My STBXH is a retired, once well-respected orthopedic surgeon. Forced retirement makes one angry narcissist come home. They don’t handle rejection well. He left me and tried to buy into life with his children. They took his money kibbles and told him that they don’t have room for him. So he is circling back to me and the almost over divorce to try to restart things. My attorney said it won’t happen. We shall see when the dust settles. I am concerned that with the lack of his children that he will kill himself before allowing the divorce to be over. I try not to think about that and look forward. It’s been a living hell.

  • Great post! But how to do NC when you have kids? I need help! My EH is a sociopathic narcissist who left me for his AP once his affair was discovered. We have 2 kids, one with autism, so we still have to communicate practically daily. Sometimes long phone conversations are even necessary. It’s 4 months post-divorce, almost 2 years since D-day, and I’m still so messed up in my head over everything. He frightens me with his coldness and indifference. He treats me like dirt, like I’m the one who cheated on him, not the other way around! And I’d swear he takes pleasure in causing me more pain…moving into my neighborhood with his girlfriend, so now her child goes to my son’s school, planning a trip to Disney World with AF and all of the kids, knowing it was something we dreamed of doing someday when our special needs child was old enough to handle it. I talk to, or see both of them way too much, dropping off kids’ stuff, at school, at kids’ activities. They cuddle and kiss in front of me, and if I didn’t know better, are purposefully trying to hurt me, knowing I’m right behind them. I don’t have a significant other, and frankly, don’t know if I ever want another man in my life after this. So I deal with all of this alone, for the most part. It’s like a constant kick in the face.

    Help! Does anyone have suggestions for things I could do to reduce contact? Is there any sort of thing I could do through the courts? I swear, if there was a way I could sue them for emotional distress, I would, but I’m sure I’d get laughed out of court. His infidelity and double life screwed me up enough, but now I feel like I live in a world of mental torture, with constant contact, cruel treatment, reminders of how evil he is, and what he got away with. He’s living his dream life now, as a part-time dad with his younger woman, traveling, adventures, romance. Where’s the justice in this whole situation?

    • Blindsided Chump, I’m so sorry you are forced into having to deal with those two fuckwits so often. Two things that might be of help;
      – a parenting coordinator. They do all the ‘in-between’ stuff, and it keeps things peaceful with very little contact.
      – at least co-parenting software like OurFamilyWizard. Everything goes on there, you both have to check it regularly, but it greatly reduces the interactions.

      And as much as possible, try to deal with stuff on your own, when it’s on your custody time. You can provide him info afterwards, by e-mail or the software.

      Maybe if you have some examples to post in the General Forum, about things you would like to avoid discussing with him or situations that are hard, people would have good suggestions!

    • What I believe is that your cheater is not the one time, caught up in the moment or the moral kind who made a divorce before having an affair-rather this is the serial cheater. I have been intensely studying narcissists, the different manifestations, those specific behaviors and patterns. A special needs child or even ones own physical or mental illness will place a strain on a marriage, but so does simply the activity of daily life. I guarantee this man will cheat on his current woman du jour. That is my term for the women in this man’s life, woman du jour. Think he thinks she is special? Nope, she is just the du jour. Of course the public displays of affection are intended to hurt you. He is the narcissist, too long to describe his reasons, suffice to say that if he thinks it hurts you, it is because that means you still care and that’s what he needs-there is never enough care and attention for the narcissist. Perhaps someday you become part of a group of woman scorned by John M. Sullivan as I did. At his ripe old 6+ decades, there are many. We have moved into the arena of hysterical laughing over his antics and our revenge-yes revenge. Destruction of his life is going quite well as he continues to live unhappily as the gigolo with the most recent woman he has taken financially, cheated with, who was cheating on her hubby, and who he then cheated on and the unwitting affair partner gave this woman cheater and AP the full information. She, the affair partne,r had used all her assets to provide housing for him and his wood hobby. Now she stuck with him as she has a mortgage on a house that is way under water by about $62,000. And this serial cheater chose this woman as he thought she had assets and yet because of him she now has losses, financial, emotional and many years of her life. She can’t sell because of the loss and she can’t get rid of him because she needs the little financial help she can eke out from him as he deceives her with his true income. Plus when he should be working to contribute to the household he is out cavorting with some woman. I am certain in your state you cannot imagine this karma will occur in your ex’s life nor that his AP will ever suffer, but I promise you, it will. And then that heavy cloak of constant emotional turmoil for you will end. Suddenly the air will feel light. Suddenly you will feel that accustomed to tightness in your chest, release. It may not be soon, but I promise. And when it happens you will see his life go
      into a downward spiral that will escalate the harder he tries to stop the spin-like quicksand, I promise.

  • I work with addicts. One of the things I have noticed is that when they get sober (D Day for us chumps) they have to deal with the biggest shit storm when they are most vulnerable. You turn around and your life is in the shitter. Then you have to be mighty on top of that when you feel the weakest. So I think thats another reason NC is hard. You want to go back to what is familiar. However my best advice is one foot in front of the other. Listen to your head and what others post and do it. Do not act on the emotions and one day you will find yourself in a place of unimaginable strength. I did just that with help from this site a divorce support group and trusted friends and family. What you are buying for is time and distance. What you are doing in the meantime is building your own life. Thats it…. the answer. You will not be happy until you build your own life and I think that is what a lot of us chumps are afraid of.

  • I found a book called “How To Do No Contact Like A Boss” by Kim Saeed. It’s about narcissism and hopefully can help some others on this sight. I just started it, and I like very much what I’ve read so far. Good Luck to all on this site. I think of you often, and although I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, I’m glad I’m not alone. xxxooo

  • OMG, this came at the right time…almost!!! I had been no contact for a month. Then on one of the unfortunate weekends that my daughter has to stay with said cheater, he texted me because he was upset. He thought I was seeing someone. He couldn’t stand it, although he is still flaunting his idiotic affair partner around town. And I was mindfucked again!!! 27 years of marriage to a man who could never keep his dick in his pants and ALWAYS blamed me for his infidelity. And I took it. To me, his behavior was “normal.”

    • I have to say it doesn’t make me any tougher or stronger or really help but I really wish I could just go out there and get it on with someone. It wouldn’t make me really feel better. It wouldn’t change the situation but I know it would bug my STBX. I got ILYBINILWY after d-day and then I said to him so if I go fuck some random dude that says he LOVES ME, that’s just okay because you don’t care anymore? Well of course not! And tears. Really?! WTF is with this idea they can do anything they want and then you are supposed to be ever in love with him while he’s flaunting that whore all around?! ? Assholes!

  • I think CL hit three of my big buttons today. The problems I had with ending the relationship(s) centered around the same things she identified so well today!
    1) He was the Devil I knew — there was something familiar about him from the beginning, we had shared history, we had a good thing once, what went wrong? Could I fix it? Would another man be more of the same? Fear of changing, and a bigger fear of things not changing, ever.
    2) I am so good at being useful, and he really, really, misses my usefulness. Can I pretend to believe he is a changed man, and will live up to my expectations of what he could have, should have been?
    3) Ah, FOO issues! I could never please good old Dad, maybe I can fix this one and get a different, more satisfying outcome? Maybe this one will finally appreciate me/love me?

    As Pogo said “I have met the enemy, and he is us.” I was trying to hold on to shifting sand, collect tears in a waterfall, live in a fantasy world that would never exist. Once I stopped believing the lies, once I didn’t even have to hear them anymore, I started getting better. NC is hard, but living with a disordered one is harder.

    I never believed the OW were getting anything worth having — that was not my issue. I always felt that two knowing liars and cheaters would always get what they deserved, eventually. If there was no trust going in, how could they ever overcome that obstacle. Liar’s lie, and that is all they have. Disordered people are always on to the next, and the next, and . . . .

  • Why it is so hard? Because of peptides. Please read about them, read about epigenetics. This stuff is real! This stuff is ancient and we’ll pass it on to our children. Unless we fix it.

    “Very few people just walk away and quit someone cold turkey”. Those are not people. Those are a different species, who’s brains are wired differently. They don’t have a connection brain – soul. Those are predators.
    Tune in to your gut feelings, what do they tell you? What and why are you feeling that way? Set boundaries. Read those red flags.

  • My cheater is dead but I still have to deal with NC in my head. When I find myself spending too much time and energy hating him, or even when I start to minimize what he did to me and start getting sad, or letting him take up time in my head when I should be living my life I have to remind myself what an evil, manipulative, abusive ass he was up until the second he died and redirect my energy onto me and my new life. It’s been harder than I thought it would be but every day it gets better by a few seconds and I know the seconds will add up to minutes, then hours, then days, and someday my Tuesday will arrive!!!

    • Beachgirl – So much of what you said hits home, and I’m sorry. Mine’s not dead, but I have had a hard time for several years with some of the same issues. I’ve grown tired of slogging around like this, back and forth, good days and bad – bitter, angry, sad, resentful – but it’s a hamster wheel at times isn’t it? The losses and injustice of it all real and unchangeable, and thinking about them can be debilitating if you let your mind go there and build up some steam. These days, when I get myself in one of those frenzies, I actually tell myself out loud, “JK, you’re on the hamster wheel again, step off.” Strangely, it works for me most of the time.

      I hope your Tuesday comes soon. Hopefully, in 2017. I’m FORCING myself to change my behavior, and hopefully my thinking will follow, because I want this to be the year I stop these maddening patterns of thinking. I don’t want this for me anymore, but I’m sure fucking stubborn at times.

      I made myself get to the gym and start running, even when I hated it. Couldn’t run half a lap without being gassed when I started, but I ran back-to-back 5k’s New Years Eve and New Years Day, at 57 years old. Still can’t believe it. That change in my behavior gave me back some confidence in myself that I was afraid was gone forever. Going to build on that. I’m learning Spanish now, for no particular reason, and am signed up for two more races.

      I don’t know where I read it, but I read something to the effect that a caterpillar does not become a butterfly because it wants so badly to become a butterfly, but because it wants so badly to stop being a caterpillar. That’s me. I don’t want to be what I’ve been anymore. I’ve decided this sucks. She’s gotten all of me she’s going to get. I dont care what I become, but it can’t be this anymore. Maybe that’s the secret. Not trying to BE anything in particular, just being determined not to be this anymore. Let’s both find Tuesday in 2017:)

      • Thanks JK! I hope my Tuesday comes soon too. The common theme here seems to be once they are gone, by death or desertion, the battle in our heads becomes the thing we must overcome. I don’t want to spend my life feeling victimized. I see glimmers of joy and hold onto those. True no contact is when they aren’t in our lives OR or heads anymore!

        • For a long time, when I’m tempted to obsess over cheater ex, my mantra has been……Fuck you cheater ex! You get not one more second of my time in my head or anywhere else, and not one more little iota of my energy! Then I turn my attention to something else. Works most of the time.

    • Precisely!
      We need to rewire our brains, to create new neuronal pathways, so that we’ll overcome our addiction to bad feelings.
      Good job, ladies!

  • Like Sweetz commented earlier, when the Twat buggered off I was THRILLED. So thrilled to get rid of him I could have cried. But then the anger set in and lasted a very long time. I have been divorced 5 years and it has only recently abated. It was easy for me to go no contact because I can’t stand him and am just so glad someone else now has the privilege of living with a scrawny runt who will make her life hell. I resented so much the trauma of the cheating, the beatings, the lack of sleep, the financial devastation – you name it – and the Twat thinks we are still friends!!! Someone mentioned that that is their way of doing image control, but I seriously think the Twat thinks we are friends, or even genuinely wants to be friends because the latest victim (like the others) won’t stick around forever and he just can’t live on his own.

    Anyway, it was easy for me to ignore his calls etc, until he called me at work last week from a number I didn’t recognize and I picked up of course. The Twat is on a disability pension for bipolar and it is being reviewed this year. I worked for 20 years in HR dealt with all this kind of stuff and the Twat was crapping himself (as usual) about what would happen if it was not renewed (it will be renewed). But I couldn’t resist! I said, well you will really be screwed if that happens because you don’t have a job to go back to do you! Panic level rising as we speak. So then I pointed out that as he will soon be 55 he could take early retirement if the worst comes to the worst! His panic level got even worse because that might mean living for a couple of months with no income and “how was he supposed to do that”? I told him I could manage with no income for a couple of months and he made more money than I did and hey, wasn’t the skank working? I couldn’t help myself really. Thought since I didn’t actually chose to talk to him I might as well twist the knife a bit. I know he will be ok and everything will be renewed but I have to say I enjoyed giving him something to worry about. And from now on I won’t pick up the phone at work to any number originating in the US. Back to no contact!

    • Yes! Brilliant response.
      I think if you are mean to these types, they surely won’t bother you. Because they want kibbles.

  • “You will start to feel like yourself again (remember that person?)”

  • On a completely random note – Celebrity News update:

    1) Kylie Minogue dumps fiancee after cheating rumours. Headlines: Poor Kylie. Unlucky In Love. etc

    2) Beyonce announces marriage-saver pregnancy, presumably to dubious-behaviour husband with multiple cheating accusations. Headlines: Gorgeous. Wonderful. Beautiful. Adorable.

    With this kind of narrative in the mainstream media, no wonder so many of us feel like we are rowing against a very strong tide.

  • This article was so helpful for me when I first discovered it in the archives two years ago. I have a child with my now X and full on No Contact isn’t possible – but believe me, you really can get pretty close to it if you try… and you will need to try every day because these fuckwits hate boundaries.

    When Mr. Sparkles first left me for the OW, I had no idea what No Contact was or how important it would become to me as part of regaining control of my life and my sanity. Living with a mentally disordered person (aka narcissist) is so damaging to your own personal self-esteem… and of course, I was still “pick me dancing”.

    When he first moved out, with my two teenage stepchildren, he and the kids would still come to the house for dinner a couple nights a week (you know, the nights the OW had her own kids to care for!) and we would often go the movies on the weekend. It even got to a point where he would come to dinner with me and the kids and then leave us to go see his OW (on the nights she didn’t have her kids).

    It took me almost a year – and a loss of about 80lbs – to realize by maintaining contact – and this charade that we “could be friends” I was continuing to erode my self esteem and more importantly, I was modeling to my children that their Dad’s behavior was “ok”. And it wasn’t ok… it wasn’t normal. It. Was. Abuse.

    So, I started with baby steps. I stopped having “family dinners”… I stopped going to the movies. I turned down the invitations. I didn’t make any big announcements, I just changed my actions – what I could control. It was noticed but my X, but he had no argument against it.

    Also, when he first moved out, I said NO to his request to start the every other weekend “visitation”… there was no court order, so it was up to us. Upside, I used Mr. Sparkles own ego against him… I supported him spending time with his OW and leaving our son with me… I suggested if he wanted our son to love him, he should let him set the pace for how much time he wanted to spend with his Dad. To be fair, my was 9 at the time and pretty good at expressing himself… but it was also teaching him how to set boundaries and interact with his Dad. So we actually started with one weeknight 6-9pm and every other weekend but only 1 overnight. Can’t say it will work this way for everyone, but since we didn’t have the divorce set yet – we were both “playing nice”.

    Now, the divorce is final. Mr. Sparkles has two week night visits (not overnight) and every other weekend. I had it written into the divorce agreement that our son would be included in any/all discussions regarding changes to any future custody change (my X still wants 50/50 because he wants lower child support amount – my son, wants less time.)

    I communicate by text when it is a casual request or information exchange and email when I know I need back up documentation (usually around time or money). He tries to tweak me now and again with a text here and there.. I have to actively ignore them. I have his name listed as TED BUNDY in my phone so I am constantly reminded that he is a monster.

    It is a conscious choice each day to be “gray rock” with my X. Someday, it will become as natural as breathing.

  • It’s so damned difficult with two young children with special needs. Really just impossible, as we share 50/50 custody. It’s one thing after another that breaks NC. It’s been almost five years and the worst of the dust has settled after a very acrimonious divorce and a nightmarish first two years of parallel parenting. I am able to tolerate her in small doses as long as we keep the communication focused on the children, so things have gotten better. I guess I should be glad: I don’t trigger any more, even when she hoovers me: I still love you, blah blah. But I envy those with no kids (I’m not saying I wish I didn’t have my kids; you know what I mean). I would never have any contact whatsoever with her and my life would be much happier.

    • David2016, I totally get it. I have two children, one with autism, and limiting contact is hard. As parents of special needs children, we have more to talk about, coordinate, discuss, than typical parents…and tougher decisions to make. I would love more than anything to never speak to him again, as he is a selfish, rude, cruel, controlling jerk. But I will suffer through and do the best for my children, getting tougher (I hope) along the way.

  • I have made choices that make NC very difficult- I still own and operate a business with my XH, for a number of reasons-I can’t afford to set another similar business up, (we have joint responsibilities for, and are still paying off, the loans for setting up this one), I would find working for someone else difficult due to chronic health problems and child careresponsibilities AND our business was close to being our third child- it would break my heart a little to shut it down , which is what will happen if I pull out. But I am aware that continued contact with him is like working near a black hole, it causes reality to bend a little near its orbit. I should clarify that he is very good at what he does professionally and that we have financial overseers so I am protected from business fraud. I am going to do a business management course this year with the idea of buying him out as soon as possible. He probably thinks we are friends, i don’t know. I aim to keep things pleasant enough not to stress our staff, so I’m being false to a large degree, but I’ve worked with people I couldn’t stand before and kept it professional. But whenever I slip, and actually treat him as if he is human and not a pod person, it usually comes back to bite me in some way. And that’s ina situation where a truce has been holding for some time. As soon as I can afford it, and my youngest is eighteen- I plan to NC the shit out of him.He is a middle aged narcissist and getting very boring….

  • He has started emailing the kids 11 and 9 with I love you soo much and ask your Mum stuff.
    I locked that shit down with parental controls and no reply.
    NC needs to be my middle finger, I have been so f,,ed over by this disordered excuse for a man. 2 days NC from kick out day Saturday, everyday is a victory and a step towards “having a great life is the best revenge”

  • NC three days.
    I contacted German whores husband today fuck that felt good. I think he had been bullshitted as to the extent of the affair and now has the truth. Like I was.
    Asshat blow up my landline saying I was causing unnecessary stress and it wasn’t my business! Oh and that I needed to be mature and civil about it, LMAO Disordered much, wtf do they think I’m going to do go cry in a corner and keep their secrets in the closet, hell no, partners of cheaters need to know what their insignificant others have been up to,
    Oh the tangled web we weave when we choose to deceive, f..ckers
    That’s me done back to ninja NC

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