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5 Things That Keep You Stuck with a Cheater

Are you on the fence about leaving a cheater? Is this not their first rodeo? Here are some common traps that keep you stuck with a cheater and prevent you from moving on.

1. Hope. Codependency has been described as the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. Are you hooked on a cheater’s potential? Wow, she could be a great partner… if only? Or — I want the guy I thought I married back? Do you grasp at the smallest indication that this person gives a shit about you? You’ve got hope sickness.

It’s hard to be down on hope. It’s hard to fault people who have hope. It seems virtuous. But in cases of infidelity, it can keep you STUCK. Listen to me, chumps — hope is not your friend. You need to bludgeon hope with a fencepost and begin to operate with total lucidity.

Because hope is so strong, cheaters know exactly what a powerful manipulation tool this is. The goal of a cheater is cake. Your goal is to get them to come to their senses and be that sparkly person you fell in love with and commit to you. So they will use hope to keep you on the hook. They will feign remorse, cry, say they miss you. They may go to counseling. Admit, hey, they aren’t perfect or Mistakes Were Made. They may crack open a book (usually something like “When Splendid People Cheat.”) And you, desperate to save this mess — take it as a sign.

The only antidote to hope sickness is self knowledge. Know what you will and will not tolerate. What your values are. Where your boundaries are. Be unswerving in your loyalty to yourself, to your well-being and what sort of relationship YOU want. Hold out for that. Cheaters lie and they lie artfully. So it is essential to watch what your cheater DOES and pay zero attention to what they say.

This is very hard to do. Hope is like that siren song in Ulysses. You’re going to have to tie yourself to the mast and stuff cotton in your ears. But stay strong, because crazy hope that this person is going to fix this and stop hurting you — in the face of evidence to the contrary — is the number one reason why people stay stuck with cheaters.

2. Fear. It’s scary to leave someone. We humans are programmed to bond. There’s that famous study about baby monkeys — have you heard it? Some baby monkeys are put in a cage with real monkey mommies and some in a cage with barbed wire mommies, wrapped in a thin veneer of terry cloth. A pale mommy monkey substitute. But the babies with the barbed wire mommies try to bond with that thing. Even though they get pricked and are bleeding and the entire experience sucks. Inside their little baby monkey brains, they must be thinking… something better than this exists. But they haven’t experienced it. So they cling hard to the barbed wire monkey. Of course, the babies with the REAL mommies are thriving.

Moral of the story? Step out of the cage and go find some REAL monkeys to bond with. It’s scary to leave the barbed wire monkey — but if you find the courage to do it, you’ll experience true monkeys. You don’t know what you’ve been missing.

3. Denial. As coping mechanisms go, denial is pretty effective. When hope fails, there is denial. Just be oblivious about your situation and your feelings about it. Poof! It never happened! We spackle over our life messes, because we’re invested. It’s hard to walk away from an investment, even a bad one. In fact (there’s some law in economics about it), the MORE you invest, the harder it is to walk away, even when you know you’re losing! So, naturally you just pretend the investment isn’t really that bad. (See “Hope” above). If you want to get unstuck, you have to take a hard, unvarnished look at your reality.

4. Pride. It’s hard to admit to yourself and the world that you fucked up something as important as choosing a life partner. Being cheated on is humiliating. It’s natural to want to control the outcome, and put lipstick on that pig and reconcile. Either you don’t tell anyone (and suffer alone or on online forums or in your therapists office), or you tell people and spend the rest of your marriage either avoiding everyone who hates your cheating spouse or convincing them that your Marriage Is Stronger For It.

Remember — infidelity is not your failure to own. Do not borrow shame. It takes a lot of strength and character to navigate this shit. If you loved a lousy partner, okay, so what? You’re human. You picked from the barbed wire monkey pile. Explore that, fix it, and choose better next time.

5. Inertia. Infidelity is exhausting. Did you know the universe is conspiring to keep you stuck? Inertia is a basic law of physics —  “the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion.” Change is HARD. But staying stuck is PAINFUL. When the pain gets too great, you’ll make a plan and get unstuck. The problem is, a lot of us are endurance athletes when it comes to pain. We think it’s our lot, what we deserve. Expect better for yourself — and move toward it. Better is out there.

The barbed wire monkey analogy needed to come out of retirement. This column lives on the home page for newbies. What kept you stuck? Did I miss anything?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • With Rhys, it was the future that kept me stuck – he said he imagined me as possibly being the future mother of his kids, and for those theoretical children, I put up with a lot of bullshit. Realizing they would never exist because of his nonsense was a blow.

      • Wow. That just blew my mind. Been there, done that, didn’t know it was another standard move.

      • OMG. That happened to me. I WAS one of those who fell in love with “potential”. But, admittedly, I met this goon who did the future faking AFTER my DDay and before I was really ready to date. My picker was not calibrated properly. Dang it.

        • Whoa, future faking just shed a whole new light on my relationship with my ex. From Natalie Lue at Baggage Reclaim: future faking “is when someone gives you the impression of a future so that they can get what they want in the present.” He totally did this!!! I remember being blown away by his “commitment” when we first started dating. He had a house, he wanted kids, he said he would never cheat because he had been cheated on and knew how it felt, he wanted the real real thing baby, he wanted me to meet his parents and meet mine and hang out with all his friends sooo quickly, he asked me to move in in the cutest way less than half a year after we met. A few months after we started dated was Christmas time and we were shopping together and he wanted to check out a Tiffany’s store and then even urged me to try on rings! I didn’t, because I was like what is going on, it’s been 3 months. I wasn’t even thinking about marriage and he put it all in my head as something HE wanted. I spend the next few years believing we were one of those couples who were just so in love they would get married and people would be like, whoa, that was fast. 4 years in I was pregnant and we were not engaged and whenever I brought it up there were all these excuses.

          So… yea. Future faking. What a mind fuck! The “what he wanted” part I worked out since d-day when he told me his biggest fear was being alone forever. So happy to be a warm body stand in. Oh, and also he wanted a girl who was younger, hotter, and more successful than his most recent ex to parade around.

          I was also future faked with this sparkly guy I’m currently obsessed with. On the first couple dates he managed to talk extensively about his bright future at his career, tell me he’s been single for a while and it was so nice to have someone sleep over that he “could do it again” (it being a relationship), and also say he’s been studying up on how people have successful long term relationships, so he knows the secret to it… the implication being that he wanted a close, long term, intimate relationship. I also had that little voice saying, whoa, this is fast but ….. ugggh the hopium and possibilities. These future fakers are just so good at what they do and I’m still chumpy for it apparently.

          • I just had a reality check with one of these… I didn’t know the term but it perfectly describes what they do. I normally do not fall for the big proclamations. I’m not falling for “we should move in together” after 3 dates or “we should plan to go to Hawaii together this summer”. That is just crazy and I will easily identify it as “love-bombing” or I guess future faking. Recently I dated a guy who did this in a much more subtle way. I was telling about how my friend and I like to lay by her pool and drink and he said “we should do that when it gets warm.” I mentioned hitting golf balls at the driving range and I got “I would love to go to the driving range sometime.” 3 dates later he ghosted and I haven’t heard from him since. This was definitely more subtle… because it could be future faking, or it could be just expressing that we should do fun things together.

            I have taken to calling it creating the “boyfriend experience”. Some guys are very obviously about just trying to get laid, but some go through the motions acting like they want to actually date and get to know you. Of course this is the first of many dates. Of course I want you to meet my friends. Of course we will make plans for “next time”. Until they decide to move on to the next conquest and just replay the script again.

            The more I think about it… the key seems to be keying in to when they guy/girl seems to have made up their mind about the future before they have even really gotten to know you. If you are 60 minutes into first date drinks in April and your date starts talking about what you are going to do for Memorial day…this person is not looking at you as a person, but rather as a prop for their life, which they will discard when you no longer fit into their ever changing version of the future.

            • I know a woman who future fakes men, and has several going at once to make sure she doesn’t get burned! Strange and cruel. She is in my family by marriage. Sheer entitlement, stage one or quality one of cheaterdom.
              I have called her out on it and she denies doing it.

        • Future faking ties right in with a narcissists ability to further a chumps hopium, calming those fears,and convincing us to hang on to the investment. The predator feeds off knowing our vulnerabilities. What is it you want most out of your relationship? There is a great deal of power and control in dangling the carrot while making you wait. Or going through the motions and making promises that can never be filled. The ground shifts until the earthquake, and you fall through the giant hole.

          This is one of the huge red flags I overlooked and it was never ending. What do you value;let me fuck that up for you.
          These are the most malignant narcissists of all in my opinion. The ones who withhold what you want the most. Or when you have the gift you wanted and are pregnant they cheat. Wipe that smile off your face; I’m in control. Man I hate these evil fuckers.

          • Here, here Doingme! A thousand times “This^”! Nailed it.

            My Ex is the malignant type.

            Super fun.

            You explained it so perfectly, I couldn’t ever quite find the words to describe it until reading your post.

            My carrot was a perfect family life for my kids. So JUST when we finished renovating our dream home, and the kids were 5 and 8..wham!! Mr. Malignant put us all through the ringer when I found out. Going through the public humiliation 2 weeks after DDay of sitting in the back of a cop car to the mental ward for an “evaluation” because he told the judge his wife was going crazy. You can legally do that to your spouse in the state we lived in.

            Yep. That happened. My GS Troop co-leaders came to the hospital to console me after they released me within the hour because obviously it was bullshit. So unbelievably embarrassing.

            He and Schmoopie still think that was hysterical to do to me. I’m sure they are still laughing about it now.

            That was his revenge, to try and make me look like a fool in front of the whole town. A town I was very active in the children’s programs and community service. He did his level best to destroy my reputation in every way imaginable. 4 years out and they haven’t stopped being horrible.

            I’m pretty sure karma only happens to people with a conscience.

            • The Chump Struggle: I just about threw up reading your post. My god, what horrible people, who does that to their children’s mother? It’s just so sick. I am so sorry you had to endure such a nightmare. I am so glad you had such wonderful women in your life who came through for you and held you up. My jaw is still hanging, the psych ward? huggs.

            • I have a similar experience. Four months after DDay and three months after I threw him out, X and schmoopsie conspired to have me banned from my son’s elementary school (and where her 3 daughters attend). They separately sent email messages to the Vice-Principal – X said he is “concerned about my behaviour in and around the school” and that she is “unstable”. Then a few days later, Schmoopsie said I said some “inappropriate things to her daughters”.

              It was all lies, and I could see it all playing out as I was good friends with my son’s teacher. She showed me the letters.

              I’m so glad I got my ducks in a row and retained a good lawyer before confronting. Because of this I kept my cool through the entire, horrific ordeal. And in the end, the truth slowly trickled in and his character is revealed.

              • Canadian: Good for you for having the strength and sense of the future to know in your heart that to keep quiet was the best course. You retained your grace and dignity in a complete shit storm and like I always say, you knew the truth, and it always comes to light, no matter how much the evil ones try to cover it with shit. I had a similar experience at school and ended up with a restraining order against him where in he could not be on school grounds. I ended up with full physical/legal custody, which is nearly impossible to get in California. The judge saw through the sociopath and told him, in court, “I see you, I know who you are”. It was creepy but awesome! He then called her “sir”. She was pissed. He still likes to try to control things, but I just laugh, he forgets he has no say in anything.

          • “What do you value, let me Fuck that up for you.” OMG this! So true. Valued our marriage. Valued our family. Valued our kids. Valued building our dream home. Valued our past, present, and future. When you do this you don’t fuck it over. The disordered will.

          • “What do you value, here let me fuck that up for you.” Spot on and it continues in the divorce. Even my kids say- tell him the opposite of what you want and maybe you will get it!

          • “What do you value, let me fuck it up for you,” that’s what X is.
            Hard to believe it’s the same person I married who couldn’t schedule an oil change, make a phone call to schedule a repair man or make vacation plans is the same person who is so devious and cunning in his crusade to destroy my life.
            Evidently he’s feels more motivation when the goal is to torment and humiliate me.
            It’s actually frightening to think someone could gain this much pleasure from hurting another human being. Especially when I supported him over the years, helped him reach his goals while sacrificing mine, the mother of his son.
            All those years I put all my effort into our family, creating what I thought were happy memories, celebrations hard to make our life special and happy have no value to X.
            It was me who put in all the effort, as I spackled thinking he valued our family as much as I did. Meanwhile he was carefully planning his exit while creating the most heartache and devastation,

            • They are passive-aggressive and don’t have the stones to be truthful or let you know straight on who they are.

      • I had no idea that Future Faking was even term. That was a very enlightening read. My cheater is still doing this. The man can’t get a job to save his life, but he can do everything else instead. So many promises that one day he would strike it rich and get the job that he deserves and we would finally be able to afford the life we want! Ha ha! 12 years in at this point and he barely has a part-time job.

        Without him in my life, I’ll be able to finally own a home, get a new car, advance my career, etc. Time to take my dreams into my own hands.

      • Traitor did it all the time. From 3 months into dating, just before he moved himself in without asking (or even telling his landlord as it turned out): “You’re a wonderful woman, I want to grow old in your arms” to the final discard combined with legal attack which he ended with “I want to be alone and have financial independence, later on, who knows?…” hinting he might, just might, circle back…and moved straight in with Whore…

    • Thank the universe that you didn’t have children together.

      Your pain in finite and you can make a clean break.

      Please believe everyone here that there is no end to the pain of breeding with a cheater…you hurt, your children hurt and you hurt even more for your children.

      Fly away and get free – then build a wonderful new life!

      • Becca, I got away a long time ago 🙂 I’ve just celebrated 1 year with the man I am going to marry.

        • To VC…What a LYING ass hole, watching your precious time tick by while he played around with no thought except maybe his anatomical down south?
          You obviously have poor sociopath skills, a goodatenna for BS
          What a weasel, .in little while you will be filled with joy that you dodged co- parenting with him.
          You n my dear Rock 😉

  • Trying to ‘win’ the prize of the dirtbag kept me stuck. I couldn’t let the AP win, and she wouldn’t let me either.

    Urgh, I’m glad to be out of that circus. Humiliating.

    • This is why marriage is between TWO people only. A wife should never need to compete for her rightful place in her husband’s heart. Sorry he put you in that situation.

      • Exactly, NWHI. We should not have had to keep auditioning for the spousal role we won.

        • Or earned, would be a better way to put it (although then we earned a manure pile, so perhaps we didn’t ‘earn’ that since we didn’t deserve that).

      • This is what I realized, too. He wanted competition between me, and AP. Me, and random ‘friends’ who were female ?. I grew a backbone, it took me til my 50’s! I was no longer the timid pushover he wanted, I was finally realizing who I really could be, just as he pulled his biggest shitfest ever. Big mistake, buddy! Plus, finding CL.
        No, I will not tie myself in knots to ‘win’ my own spouse. I’ll fly away, and do my thing somewhere else!

      • “We should not have had to keep auditioning for the spousal role we won.”

        I get that concept but i think it’s not even winning. That assumes WE controlled that. Its worse. Our spouses made us believe they simply put us there of their own accord. At least that’s how it was for me. I didn’t “win” that place. He chose me and pursued me to be in his heart. It was all him. And then I chose him back.

  • It totally is like listening to that siren song! My attempts at blocking the song looked like email blocks, phone blocks, social media blocks etc. I couldn’t block his drivebys unfortunately – although I did consider moving. Ultimately the police became the final block once I had collected enough evidence against him.

    It is true though that he knew. HE KNEW, that if he couldn’t get to me verbally – couldn’t tell me all this sad sausage bullshit – that I would escape from his grasp. Which is why (I think) he turned up the heat so much in trying to communicate with me.

    This is why No Contact (NC) is so important.

    • He knew that if he couldn’t get to me verbally that I would escape from his grasp. YES to this! x also tried to force communication untl the law had to be involved. it was straight up stalking and harassment.

  • Hope was my downfall. Hoping for a kind, honest trustworthy husband caused me years of misery. Now that he’s all over internet dating sites (showing off his half limp pecker)- maybe some other idiot find him- and “hope” he becomes a decent man.

    • Remember ‘hope spings eternal’ my teacher said this all the time. I know what it means now.

    • Half Limp Pecker, it should be a blog for those assholes. hilarious. :):)

  • Been reading about future fakers, when we get hooked on their potential.
    They BS us with all the things that are going to happen down the road and we fall for it. I hadn’t come across it before but I fell for this crap big style.
    His latest that I almost wet my pants over, part of his 5 year plan, he is going to build a mud brick house, he has never built anything in his life and barely knows how to use a hammer. I think schmoops is going to help, but maybe not as she is feeble, fine boned and small don’t you know can’t lift heavy things that why she can’t become a proper nurse!
    Yeah ok dream on.
    When he told me it crossed my mind that he may be heading for a break down as this is such a pipe dream.
    My Mum told me about my uncle who cheated on my aunt, she took him back into the house when he hit the skids because you know she’s a nice person, then he kept going on about building a hovercraft and she said ‘right get the fuck out’ we laugh about this story..

    • Lady B, “hovercraft”??? OMG! That was exactly the straw that broke the camel’s back with me and all of ex-hubby’s half-done, never done projects! We had a driveway and basement full of junk and broken-down appliances, machines, etc., that were “parts” for the someday future hovercraft. So glad to have that all gone. But, hovercraft? What is with these people?

      • Yeah, he is still a crap artist 30 years later, settled down with someone and has a bit of money but the same old creep who was cheating on my aunty with the neighbour while my aunty was pregnant.
        Me and my Mum have a good laugh at the hovercraft story.

        • I can’t stop laughing at the idea of driving the hovercraft to and from the handcrafted mud hut. More ideas gleaned from the half baked peyote tent social. Jesus, the stuff they come up with.

          • Mine collects vacuums. And guitars. He spends thousands on recording music in fancy studios but gives me shit for not buying the cheapest eggs. Literally. Character shamed me for it. I prefer eggs from chickens that aren’t packed in a space the size of a shoe box. That makes me “the type of person who doesn’t have a a concept of saving money… Spend it while you got it!” Because I’m a terrible person for spending $3.99 on a dozen eggs rather than $2.99. Asshole.
            Funny thing is- he can’t sing or play guitar worth a shit, yet if I were to tell him this, as kindly as possible even, he’d accuse me of stifling his dream and call me resentful and mean.
            I told him he was singing off key once and I lived a nightmare for days, being told I don’t care about his dreams, I don’t believe in him, I’m trying to sabotage him and if I interrogate him over the affair (ie ask questions because he’s told me nothing, not even ow name), it’ll interrupt his creative flow and if it affects his ability to create a masterpiece in the studio, he’ll hate me forever.
            He has at least 7 guitars and is talking about spending $1,500 for yet another one. He’d probably be able to fork over at least $2k if I would just buy the cheap eggs.

            • Are you still with this guy? I am familiar with this particular syndrome. It’s not my place to say whether you should go, BUT, you may look back someday and realize the many thousands they spent selfishly. I felt used. I was working two and three jobs, to put simple food on the table, and pay the mortgage, while he bought speakers, an English taxi, expensive amps, and tons of booze and cigarettes, etc. I feel like I was made a fool. The amount of money wasted was staggering! At least I got my new career in healthcare going, and I will be fine now. These users do so much damage! I would say get out sooner, rather than later.

              • Free woman-like
                I am still with this guy but just on co-parenting terms until I can afford to get out ony own. I’ve separated myself from his madness and from a new perspective of objectivity; he comes off as totally insane. Today, I admitted that I’ve forgotten to give our daughter her liquid vitamin D a couple of times last week. He took the liquid D-sol out of the medicine cabinet, set it on my coffee machine and said “if you see it when you make your coffee, maybe you’ll think of her before you think of yourself”. I tried to explain to him how unacceptable it was to speak to me in such a way, and demanded an apology. I got “I’m sorry you misinterpreted what I said”. Yeah, go fuck yourself, you psychologically abusive pos.

              • I meant to address you as Free Woman- not Free Woman- like. Darn auto correct… I apologize.

              • A Marshall stack and being drowned in a vat of auto tune can’t save these “musicians” from themselves. My ex and his online musical partner (woman he left me for) now spend hours perpetrating musical crimes against humanity. Best thing about it is that her father is actually somewhat famous (ex husband probably saw that as an avenue to fame and fortune) but neither she nor my old husband can sing and she can barely strum two cords on any one instrument. I suggested they both take up the triangle. *ding*

            • Oh geez mine was a drummer and not a very good one, his last kit was worth $8.000 seriously I think he thought playing on something really expensive would compensate for being technically ordinary.
              As for food he would go crazy gourmet often and bring home so much food that I had trouble fitting it in the fridge. He was an all or nothing kind, moderation was not really possible.

              • Lady B
                OMG “all or nothing” with no concept of moderation. I finally figured out the ClusterFuck B Sociopath is/was a braggart, his “image” of having money was so important.
                At my expense of course, or he would rage and whine until he got his way.

              • Ug, once again, belly laugh today “musical crimes against humanity”!

            • Can he at least vacuum? Or let me guess, he just collects them.

            • Fed Up Chump: Keep coming here, I do. I didn’t have CL when I went through hell in 2010, but unfortunately, I am here now, and it is helping me understand what happened to me and how I wasn’t crazy. Now, love yourself, don’t beat yourself up for being where you are. His only weapon now is to try to demean you and talk to you like you are stupid. You are leaving and he knows it, its the desperate attempt of the drowning to grab onto you and pull you down with him.

            • FedupCbump
              My stbx spent money on boats, rc cars and trucks, cameras and equipment, motorcycle, quad – which was all tricked out, toy hauler (ok me and the our child got quads, too – motorcycle gear – very expensive and fun for a while – I gave my gear away and looking forward to selling my quad now)…. oh yeah, the boat racing – supported him in that – he did great – several trophies…
              And then complained I didn’t use coupons at the store. He complained I spent too much money, while his mom and my friends told me to treat mtself to new clothes instead of always providing for husband and child.
              In divorce expenses I put down $100.00 a month clothes for me and our child…he countered in his statement that that was ridiculous as I never bought new clothes.
              While he put down he spent $600 on entertainment a month.
              I guess when you live with OW half your age you better fork out for entertainment while wife and kid spend nothing on clothes.
              You can’t make this stuff up with these disordered people.
              My heart goes out to everyone here.

          • Ug no, hilarious! I laughed out loud…omg, belly laugh! thanks!

    • Lady B,

      Building a hovercraft ? What does he wear for this project ? A tin foil hat ? What a nutter…

  • For me a huge part of it was “The backfire effect.” Google it. It also explains the physical symptoms discussed on yesterday’s thread. Our bodies respond in the same way to a psychological threat as a physical one. Flight or flight response for years – ugh.

      • I have felt that fight or flight response for years. I just couldn’t place the source and cheater was constantly telling me it was just me- that I was just crazy. Of course, he convinced me.

        Even when cheater announced he was leaving last June, and I was stupidly begging him to stay and doing the pick me dance, I told him I would not be able to stay in the family home without him. Since he has been gone, though, I have developed a peace about being here with my kids. Now, I only seem to have the flight response when I have contact with him- odd? While I don’t see myself staying here forever,as I will probably want to downsize, I don’t think the move will have the need to escape feelings attached.

        Another thing that came up in my brief therapy stint, was that I always felt this strong identity with the abused wives in movies like Sleeping with the enemy, Blood vows: story of a mafia wife, and Lies of the heart: the Julie Kellogg story but again I thought that is silly because cheater never hit me. I always found myself thinking in those movies, if they could just please their husbands, it would be OK. Later, I would have fantasies of running away to start a new life and completely cutting off the old like a witness protection situation.

        I realize now, I want to escape cheater, and I have good reason because he is a lying, controlling, manipulating, narcissistic sack of shit. He is still trying to control things like my lawyer choice and I see him raging when he can’t. He stopped contributing to our joint checking in January and was steadily draining the account until I closed it in March. I am living off my savings account. Well, he had to get a lawyer when I filed for divorce and suddenly he tells me he is opening a joint checking and putting his paycheck it. Wtf, we are divorcing, I am not opening a joint account now. Lawyer says hold tight and wait on a hearing-I am. Taking control feels awesome (still a little scary)

        I love the monkey analogy, thanks for bringing it out of retirement! I have left the cage, now to find the real monkeys and not return to the barbed ones!

        I will stay tuned here to keep from going back in!

        • Feelingit: I still have that anxiety knot bubble up when I sense something off. I learned the hard way to trust it. But, it still happens and yes, it does feel like PTSD.

        • Lying, controlling, manipulative, pos. That sums it up.

          My stbx lies and deceives and bullies and tries to intimidate never ends!!

          Reasoning and negotiating? They can’t. All they know is force. Bulldozing to get their way no matter who gets in the way.

          And then he gets rageful when I don’t “consider” him.

          They are not to be trusted – ever.

          Stay strong. They are really big cowards. Paper tigers.

          My stbx texted me that I don’t want our daughter living with him because I think he’s stupid.

          I did not even react to that.

          But, if you dump your family to live with 22 y.o. and try to kick wife and child out of their home while spending outrageous amounts of money on new home and toys and pregnant gf – claiming you can’t afford to pay support as you will live under a bridge you will be so broke…. yeah – you are a stupid.

          STUPID. Ugh. They make me sick.

  • My daughter kept me stuck.

    Granted I had one of those stone cold cheaters who ended our relationship with divorce papers on D-Day when I had no idea anything was wrong. But I still stayed in denial and hoped he would “come to his senses.”

    Given the option I would have stayed no question, because I didn’t want my daughter to hurt for one second. And I so didn’t want to share her with OW.

    Ex-douchecanoe didn’t care and our sweet 2 year old daughter was introduced to OW within weeks of D-Day. They even went on an out if state vacation together that summer.

    In my case I had no choice, but if I had I can’t imagine myself being strong enough to do something that could hurt my daughter. I used to say “I want to be able to look her in the eye and tell her I did everything to keep her family together.”

    • I think a lot of people stay in bad marriages for the children. I know my kids were a major factor in my staying with X for so long. He didn’t cheat (that I know of) until they were almost grown, but I still tolerated other selfish behavior by him. After the cheating “scandal”, I realized I was teaching my girls what to accept (or not) in a marriage. I didn’t want them to think they were supposed to look the other way if their future partners cheated. It was important for me to model good behavior and I knew they were watching.They have both told me that infidelity is a deal breaker for them, in large part because of what they saw me go through with their dad.

    • SJF… I understand the way you feel. My son was 3 the first time I caught Mr. Sparkles cheating and lying. And I sucked it up, forced him to go to MC, and “reconciled”. I wasn’t going to give up my son 50% of the time because I married a whore.

      It lasted 6 more years… and I gave every bit of my soul to that selfish fucker. But there was a part of me that was growing stronger. Mr. Sparkles didn’t want to see the Grand Canyon and visit our friends, too bad… I took my son and went. Over those 6 years of abuse, I built an amazing bond with my son.

      When the final D-day came and Mr. Sparkles left us for the OW, I like to think was son was well-prepared for the separation and the 50/50 (sort of) that followed.

      BUT – having discovered CL and CN, I can clearly see that “staying for the sake of the children” is the worst thing you can do. A family doesn’t consist of a cheater, a chump and a kid(s). A family is where there is love, safety, honesty, protection. My son and I have an amazing family. And, I’m raising him to understand that lying is wrong… cheating is wrong… and love is a VERB.

      Hang in there… you can do this… build your new family with your daughter. Show her that a woman can stand on her own two feet in this world and THRIVE.

      • I love this so much!!!! Me too…me and my son are a family and it’s wonderful.

        My ex didn’t really want to stay. When I found out everything and confronted him, i think he was ready to leave and did just that when i kicked him out. Abandoner that didn’t play all the games with me. Maybe he would have stayed had I rolled over but I couldn’t accept the lie…

      • I agree with this completely…Though the desire to be able to look into your childs eyes and know that you did everything possible to maintain an intact family is understandable, I believe the logic is flawed. Our job as parents is not to provide a “picture perfect” family exactly like “everyone else” has, it is to provide a loving, healthy environment for our children to grow up in, in whatever form that looks like. Our children learn and model their relationships from what they grow up with. A couple that is not in love, but remains married to provide a facade to their children, is modeling a toxic, dysfunctional relationship and parading that as normal and desirable. Even if that relationship is low conflict, it is doing the child or children no favors to continue to live a lie. It is my belief that one of our greatest responsibilities as parents is to provide our children the life skills to cope with adversity and the ability to rebound from bad decisions. For every divorce filled with drama, there are many that are amicable and civil, and eventually bring both partners to a much greater happiness and subsequent partners that are much better suited to them. Happy relationships and marriages are wonderful environments for children to grow up in. In an ideal world, nobody would ever divorce, but that is neither realistic or achievable. It is, in my opinion, not in anyone’s best interest to perpetuate a lie.

        • This is the conclusion I reached, too, after DDay #2. I could not give my kids the example of a relationship where one partner is consistently disrespected inso many ways, and keeps bending over backwards for the other, any longer.

          And about a year after kicking the cheater out, I realized the kids were so much happier in our calmer, more predictable life! There have been lots of ‘normals’ family issues, and lots of drama w/their dad, but I now really wish I had left years earlier.

          At some point, we shouldn’t be staying for the kids. We should be leaving for them.

    • YES! I divorce my X after DDay#1, and the most important factor in my decision was my kiddo. I knew as soon as I stumbled over evidence of his affair that I had no good choices:

      Divorcing and therefore making our kiddo a kid of divorce for life
      Staying and hurting my own self-respect until kiddo turned 18

      Then 48H later, I knew my X used lying as his go-to problem solving strategy. And I knew I would not model that kind of “acceptance” for our kiddo.

      He could abuse my trust (and did) but there was no way I was going to let him disrespect my intellect. As our kiddo grows older, she can see more and more clearly that there are things that she can expect from her dad, and other things that are not feasible with him.

      I validate that her dad’s reactions to things are lacking in empathy and his choices are more often than not plain selfish. It is rough to have not choice but to allow our flesh and blood to be harmed psychologically, but I hang on to the hope that through therapy and my consistent parenting, these early wounds will turn into better discernment and wisdom when time comes for her to make her own life choices (and yes, there will be a iron-clad pre-nup drafted if she chooses to marry or have kids with anyone!!)

  • Hope, denial, and pride were my big 3. I still get caught up in hope at times. Not for me (that is done forever) but for my kids. I am at a point of wanting him completely gone from our lives, and I think that the only way I can support and encourage my kids to have a relationship with him is by convincing myself that he won’t manipulate and discard them as well. I’m “hoping” that he will step up and do right by them. Shit sandwich for sure. And sucks because it makes no contact impossible.

    • Getmefree

      It’s ok to want him to do the right thing. It’s important to pull away from the role of spackling him in order to keep his image in tact.

      Keeping your involvement to a minimum is necessary as is setting up firm boundaries. Otherwise, you will teach your children to overlook his inadequacies. My therapist said it best, “Stand back and let him hang himself.”

      What many cheaters want is to have the universe revolve around their needs. Set up a schedule and stick to it. Make it fit your needs. You have NO control over his actions. Be honest with the kids. They will soon realize he’s not dependable. That’s ok. Let it be.

  • I keep this column saved in a window on my phone. Much much wisdom. Thanks for running it again!

  • Nail, meet head. Chump Lady, thank you. I’m going to use this article to explain to my baffled bewildered friends why I stayed with, first, my drug-addicted mentally and physically abusive husband for 7 years and, more recently, my cheating lying boyfriend for 12 years. For so long I couldn’t even explain to myself why. It was a force stronger than me. I’m convinced Hope sickness is a real disease and I’m now only just recovering from it. In the midst of leaving my cheater, going through the pain of boxing up the memories good and bad, moments where I can’t stop crying at the loss of everything I was dreaming for, worrying how this is affecting my teenage son, dealing with my pathological fear of change — your daily morning blog has been keeping me holding on. ((Hugs))

    • For me it was the hope that my ex would eventually have time to spend with me once our kids were grown and his work schedule wasn’t so hectic. Little did I know why his work schedule was so hectic, but I digress. Anyway, I didn’t know definitively about the cheating but had suspicions throughout our long marriage. Nothing I could ever prove. So I stuffed my emotions because no amount of telling him how his relationships with his female coworkers bothered me ever made a difference. I’d have laid down in the road and let a truck run over me to keep our family together after seeing what had happened in my mom’s family. That’s the reason I couldn’t let go.

      The strange thing is we never fought. He never told me he was unhappy, never suggested he was thinking about leaving. I keep telling myself you just can’t work out a relationship with a person who won’t open up about their feelings, or someone who won’t listen and acknowledge your feelings except to make you feel ashamed for having them.

      • Lyn.
        Snap. Snap. Snap. That’s eerie. We actually used to joke that one day we would actually be able get to know each other because we met, married, had the first baby really fast and then he worked long hours and then abroad.
        Always friends with the female coworkers but that just seemed ok to me as he was ‘nice’. I used to think it was sweet he liked ‘women’s talk’ and not going out with the guys.
        My dad abandoned my family when I was 10 and we went from relatively well off to grinding poverty almost overnight. So I was determined that I would be ‘safe’ financially which is how he talked about his need to work abroad.
        And we didn’t fight. I knew he was often unsatisfied by his career progress even though he just kept going up and up, earning more and more but he had to move every two years as he was fed up with colleagues ‘sidelining’ him. I kept trying to make him feel good about himself and keep day to day stresses off his back.
        When I was blindsided by his affairs it hit me so hard. Nothing kept me in the relationship then as it just snapped. No surviving finding out your husband led a double life with a girlfriend in each country he had worked in.

        It’s almost funny that all the things I was proud of were actually red flags. Felt flattered he wanted to marry me so quickly, flattered he wanted kids and thought I would be a great mom, felt privileged to be a SAHM, felt flattered he was always saying how capable and organised I was so that he didn’t have to do anything, felt comfortable that he was a ‘woman’s man’ (don’t worry I’m shocked at myself) felt that all his work abroad was for me and the boys to have a better life. To read CL and suddenly realise that all this lovely bunting that you could see in your life was actually strings of flapping red flags…….

        • Your story reads like mine.lot of female friends at work…..flirty…. arrogant & confident in outside environment but lacking any self esteem beneath. Carried him uphill for years whilst he was philandering & cheating. Never happy with job , life , but funnily never put in 100% to his career or marriage. Took but never gave . No effort to do special / nice things for me in our 25 yrs together… about red flags flapping everywhere…… Took me finally finding proof of latest affair with co- worker to shake the whole balance up in the air and for me to scream f##king loudly at him….You lied you lied you lied…… He no longer controls our relationship. Manipulates me or gaslights me. Wish I had listened to my gut years ago and dig deeper at the time but 2 children stuck 20 miles from his places of work…..difficult to go and observe what was going on when he phoned to say ” have to work late”…
          Anyway……he was always a ” dreamer” always half finished projects. Could never apply himself properly to anything – including our marriage
          Red flags . It exhausted me emotionally & mentally and led to me living a life of low level anxiety….. Bastard.
          Best rid. X

          • This is my story too. All those female work friends over the years. He was keeping me off balance…I was doing the pick me dance all the time without even realizing it. He was always searching but never finding happiness. He didn’t know how to be content. I’m 3.5 years out from d day now and life is so much more peaceful. On sassy days I think he did me a favor when he left. Yup. OW won a sparkly sad sack turd. Good luck with that.

        • Capricorn every time I read snippets of your story it’s like reading about my own life.

          The career, the working abroad, it’s exactly my story too.

          I also felt incredibly proud of him for “sacrificing” the opportunity to live full time with us, his family in order to provide for us and I bent over backwards to support him.

          I thought it must have been so difficult for him to be away from us for years on end and cheered him on endlessly despite my crushing loneliness. *facepalm*

        • Capricorn, your story reminds me of Anne Lindhberg, who discovered after her husband’s death that he had other wives and children all over the globe. His explanation? “I got lonely while I was traveling.”

          As for me, my ex traveled with his female coworkers. He would come home when our children were little and announce that he’d “practiced a presentation” in his coworkers room at the hotel. He would come home and tell me, “I wish I’d married someone more like my coworker.” One of his coworkers called him her “work husband” and said their relationship was like a marriage. This woman would call our house in the evenings to discuss her dating/sex life with my husband and ask his advice. That was the less of the egregious behavior he had with two of the women who worked in his office.

    • Paddington, thank you for saying you had a rotten boyfriend after the cheater. I have done the same thing and am reading here everyday to detatch. I read the list and wanted to cry, “hopelessly devoted” was a song I loved when the movie Grease came out, now I understand why. It’s my wiring. But, that’s why they have electricians, right?

  • I love the razor blade monkeys! I’ve talked a little about it here and in the forums, but I was unlucky enough to have one of those barbed wire monkey moms. You know the ones…

    My therapist says she is the worst case of borderline personality disorder he has ever seen, based on the emails she has sent me that I’ve brought him to decode for me.

    It’s funny. No one but my biomom can go from inviting me and my girls to an Easter Egg hunt at her church–she’s a Jesus cheater–to telling me that she feels like I am the personification of punishment for an abortion she had at 17, since I’m such a bad person and all, in a three-email chain.

    She wonders why I say no when she invites me to see her…

    Anyway, my point is that my shrink has told me that one of the contributing factors of me picking Uncle Dad, Cluster B wingnut, is because of BioMom the Bunny Boiler.

    But, the good news is that you are never stuck. I divorced my cheating husband with no job and no money. Literally. My bank account was overdrawn and my house was going into foreclosure. I saved my house. I got a job. And I am much better off today, almost two years out from my official date of divorce, than I was when I filed over 3 years ago.

    You can do it, and the amazing friends of Chump Nation are here to encourage you every day.

    Big hugs!

    • High five from the Do Better Than Your Disordered Family club.
      Keep being mighty!

    • Yes to those barbed wire monkey moms. Lots of I wish you were never born. Resolve that. Mine passed away when I was young, but it continued to impact my life in ways I did not expect. Stay mighty!

    • I was raised by one too, a milder version than you. And yes, I accepted less because of her. Because why would your mother tell you you were shit if you weren’t? And my wh was raised by a toxic narc teen mother who thinks he’s her life partner. He was a golden child. So here were 2 intelligent teenagers in a very good uni who met and connected instantly. We start our lives and succeed well until after 25 years, he starts being flattered and stroked in business, by men who he thinks are gems. They weren’t, they were white collar criminals. Right behind those creeps were women telling him the same. One in particular was basically a younger version of his mother and everything she told him landed, spot on, where he wanted it to. And blow jobs on speed dial.

      So I was told I was shit growing up, and it was baseless. He was told everything he did growing up was amazing, he was special, he was amazing – also baseless. So he didn’t care where the flattery came from. If people praise him, they’re always right. The source and the content are irrelevant. And if I’m treated like shit, it’s because I am, so why stick up for myself? Quite a pair, indeed.

      I tease my kids about what they’ll be telling their shrinks about me 15 yrs down the road.

      • Kelly & Hollow Bunny: OMG, my therapist had to tell me why I had NO SELF ESTEEM. I grew up hearing, “you are just like your father, never going to amount to anything” and “you miserable rotten lousy selfish little bitch”…it started when I was about 10. Fucked up my head. No wonder I felt worthless. Still fight it to this day, and I am 53.

      • After looking at all of the options, chapter 13 was the best one for me. My payment is affordable for me. I paid all of the bills when I was married. Uncle Dad was my third (and most expensive) child–and my oldest daughter was born 14 weeks premature, spend 84 days in the NICU, and had over $1 million in medical bills in the first year of her life.

        I digress…

        Uncle Dad and I had a combined income of around $110,000. Not too shabby for a young couple in their early 30s in the deep south. Deeeeeeep south. I’m 5 hours from the Gulf of Mexico. We bought our house in July, 2013, through the USDA Rural Development program. My house is less than 0.25 of a mile outside of the city limits. So, we had 100% financing. I loved my house, and when I got the notice that he stopped paying the mortgage when we separated in January, 2014, I was inexplicably mad. The house went into foreclosure in May.

        My house was financed through Chase. By the time I found a job (I was laid off right after we closed on the house in July 2013, and took a year off to spend time with our then 1 and 2 year old daughters), 4 mortgage payments had been missed, and Chase refused to accept partial payments. They wanted the full past due amount. Which totaled approximately $6,000.

        I could easily make the monthly payments–and make an additional $500 payment toward the past due each month–but Chase wouldn’t allow that. So, I tried a mortgage modification to try to get the past due payments put at the end of the loan term.

        I wasted a year applying and getting denied. Chase was saying that my mortgage was affordable (DUH!), so they wouldn’t approve the modification. You have to have a “hardship” to get approved, and my “hardship” had passed.

        But, they wouldn’t accept a partial payment for my mortgage. It was the total past due or nothing. So each month, the $6,000 grew by another $1,500. When I got the notice for a sheriff sale, I realized that I had to do something, and I filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy. I literally have no other debt. No credit cards. No other loans. Just my house. They were able to put the past due amount on a 60 month payment plan, and stop the foreclosure.

        Is it perfect? No. I have to pay an attorney and a trustee a large fee to be able to pay a mortgage that the damn mortgage company should have been able to figure the fuck out. If they only had a brain… But, I have a house. I had lived in my house right at a year when all of the divorce proceedings started, and absolutely no equity.

        Luckily for me, Uncle Dad signed a notarized letter admitting that he had not contributed to the household income or expenses since January 2014, no did he claim any rights to the future equity in the house. Since his name is still on the mortgage, and I can’t get the house refinanced in my own name until after the bankruptcy, he could try to come after the over $100,000 I’ll have in equity when I get out of bankruptcy (our property values increase at about 6-8% in my area).

        So, no, it is not ideal. Yes, it does suck. I really resent paying a trustee a 10% fee just to pay my mortgage payment for me. But, I knew I wanted to keep my house. My credit was pretty screwed anyway with the foreclosure and all that. I chalk it all up to lessons learned.

        I hope that helps.

        • Kelli, Thank you. Was in the same situation. Ex stopped paying mortgage and could easily afford it ($100k+/yr and perks) but I could not as I only made 30k/yr, roughly a fourth of what he was bringing home. Bank was uncooperative re modification and ex wasn’t about to “give” me the house. He walked out on our entire life, bills and all. I documented creative financing and kept my eye on the retirement account. Lawyer was worthless. POS pulled equity out about the same time he started dissipating our assets (savings, 527, retirement, and made big expensive purchases), about two years before Dday. Caught some of it but couldn’t save the house. Chose to support my three young adults (two finishing HS and headed to four year colleges , and my eldest almost through undergrad) and make good on my promise to get them through college. Currently living “poor” –that foreclosure affected my ability to get jobs, even entry level ones, but now working a part time dream job and another to make ends meet. I do however have 1/2 “our” pension. IMHO, financial infidelity is a big issue in most divorces. Although there is a printed notice on Ca paperwork there is no enforcement/follow through for those cheating. We need a revolution here too.

    • Kelli, you are amazing! Keep posting these hopeful messages.

      I too had alcoholic boiler-bunny mom and cheating Disney Day. Both horribly abused and neglected me and my 4 siblings.

      No wonder I picked 2 cheater husbands. Ugh!
      Now I know — I hope that prevents a 3d!

      • Thanks! I really appreciate that. Y’all have no idea how much it helps me to have a place to come every day to know that I’m not the bad person. Having been told that I was a horrible person all my life, it takes a long time to re-program yourself. Here is the email exchange:

        BioMom the Bunny Boiler: I acknowledge I have not behaved in a normal “mother” role at all times in the last few years, numerous times, but I also know you have been extremely abusive to me and have not acted not even one time since your divorce in any capacity of a “daughter” role towards me, with absolutely no acknowledgement from you.

        Me: You control you. I may suck as a daughter, but that is on me. You control what you do. I thought you had been in therapy. This is like what you learn on day 1. You are in control of you. You have agency. You can’t blame your actions on other people. You have a whole decision tree of actions you could choose from when someone says mean things to you. You can stop talking to them, you can leave the vicinity, you can say mean things back, or you can punch them in the face. You made the choices you made. That is not on me. That is on you. So, you can’t blame me for what you have done.

        Also, if I suck so badly, why in the hell won’t you just leave me alone, like I ask? Do you think I am kidding? I don’t mean it? With a message as consistent as I have been, do you think I am just testing you? Putting you through the mom Olympics to make sure you really, really, really mean your apologies this time? Um…. No. I really just want you out of my life.

        BioMom: I know as your mom, you have always had a very, very, difficult time admitting any fault or wrong choices or lies told or bad behavior of your own since you were a very small child, since you were 3 or 4 years old.

        Me: Really?! You’re asking a 4 year old to….? I just can’t even… Seriously? You fucking suck as a mom. That is all. Do not message me again.


        BioMom actually thought she would get a little revenge on me after she and I argued early on in my divorce by teaming up with my ex-husband against me. She has paid for his attorney fees and expert witnesses. Once she pulled that crap, I stopped seeing her and allowing my children to see her. Every now and then I respond to her emails for the fun of it, mostly because I know it makes her have a bad day.

        That Borderline Personality makes rejection the absolute worst thing for her, so when she emails me an 18 page (front and back!) letter pouring her heart out begging for forgiveness, I respond with sarcasm just to torture her.

        Maybe Cashmere was right. This is why you should send your kids to therapy and not to college… Oh well, at least my memoirs will be well written and funny…

        • She. Paid. His. Attorney…that lovely topping on your shit sundae just made my eyes practically pop out of my head.

          Kelli, I’m so sorry, nobody deserves this (should be obvious, but it takes a lot of CL to stop making excuses for other people’s crap sometimes). With family like that who needs enemies? My dad isn’t nearly that horrific, but was, ahem, less than supportive of my decision to divorce. Shortly after that he just stopped contacting me, which honestly is one of the BEST side effects of this whole mess. I hope for the sake of your sanity one day she just wanders off into the ether (though it sounds like you’re doing great in the sanity department!)

          I am so impressed with how well you are doing your life. You are mighty!!

        • Wow. If my ex wasn’t an only child, I would suspect that your bioMom and my evil ex-MIL were one and the same. Kelli, you are not just “not a bad person” you are incredibly, overwhelmingly mighty!! Seriously girl, you are one of the mightiest and we have a lot of mighty here. I am proud to know you.

        • Kelli –
          Your story is so shocking and appalling.
          And your mightiness is inspiring!! 🙂

    • Kelli
      Yes. In the best tradition of Monty Python I can say that I would have been happy to be raised by a wire monkey mom, that would have been warm and cuddly compared to the one I had. Five years ago I went complete NC with her. Best decision I ever made. If she ever finds out about the divorce we will be able to hear the street party from space but I’m absolutely ‘meh’ about her. Can’t go NC with cheater STBX because of kids but will be able to go as close as possible. Getting psychological distance from her has been life affirming and I trust that the same will happen with cheat. Not my circus anymore.

  • Yup, I picked from the barbed wire monkey pile.
    For all you new chumps, take a good look at this list and see where you fall.
    Then take the advice “Explore that, fix it me choose better next time.”
    It will cost you some time, money and tears but it IS worth it!!!
    I know you can’t see it right now but this can change your life for the better.

  • Financial fear.

    I left my career to support asshat’s all over the world because you know, there was to be reciprocity. That never happened. Sure, he has a good job. The reality is if you are out of the job market for a looooong time, you need services and experiences to get back in. You will never make up your lost earning potential in retirement savings and you need to understand all of the ins and outs of your state’s divorce laws for support, maintenance and asset division.

    I’m a pragmatic person who was put into the role of beard mom-wife for years. Since I was raising the man child along with my biological children, getting the ducks together because I was the key contact of the retirement and savings accounts was easy. Understanding the outcomes of each post division scenario has been a very important process for me. Understanding how to use the joint assets in preparation for a huge change was also key.

    It all sucks. Most important of all is giving up on the future dreams your used car grifter sold to you. Those were beautiful, saccharine-coated lies intended to keep you in place and always running towards the carrot they dangled infront of you.

    Do NOT let these idiots try to rope you back in with their claims of change even if they go to therapy. What I have observed is that they are still turds covered with a different shade of glitter. (Try explaining to your kids why their parent would rather go to a foreign country to see an aged rock group that this parent doesn’t even like vs celebrating a milestone birthday with their own children….)

  • “You need to bludgeon hope with a fencepost and begin to operate with total lucidity.”

    Best CL line, ever. (and newbies–that should be your mantra).

    This was one of 5 CL columns I carried around for a month and read 5-10 times every day to disengage from Hannibal Lecher, and not succumb to his lies & false remorse.

    And those babies who bonded with the wire mothers? Not a happy ending.

  • I believe marriage is sacred and wanted to stay forever true to those vows I made. So I took him back over and over and suffered the humiliation of adultery and the pain of intimate betrayal along with fear for my family’s safety. Fight or flight for years like mentioned above.

    He kept saying he was sorry and loved me so yes he deceived me and fanned the flames of hope. I could not conceive of cake. Then, I stopped listening to his words and started paying attention to his actions like CL says.

    We tried pastoral counseling, a marriage therapist, and an affair repair program. Finally, a Christian counselor told me divorce was not the worst thing ever and gave me Scriptures that applied to my situation and I filed.

    Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:9

    He cried and begged, but I wasn’t listening anymore and went completely NC before the divorce was completed. His family said I did not wait long enough and that he would have come to his senses, but now they say he has found tru wuv with OW and she’s just great. Whatever. I am NC with them too. I am free from the mindfuck.

    Divorce was hard, but there was no other real choice if I wanted to live a moral life of honor and integrity.

    • Neverwouldhaveimagined: loved your post: so relatable- now my hopium is following in the footsteps of people like you who have seen the light.

      • You should never have to choose between your spouse and your self respect. You are stronger than you know! CN supports you, and you are mighty.

    • Neverwould- well said friend! I can say the same- exactly. I honored my marriage and viewed it as a sacred commitment. I don’t have any other choice except divorce either. Pervy pants is in denial. I cannot live with a 60 year old man who fishes around on the internet for sex with strangers (the younger the better). It completely disgusts me and I have no respect for him at all.

      • Yep, Cheater x is 60, and the 29 year old homewrecker is soon to be his wife. He is older than her dad. They are both perverts!

    • “Divorce was hard, but there was no other real choice if I wanted to live a moral life of honor and integrity.”

      Just thought it needed to be repeated. To stay with the cheaters, we sacrifice our values as well. We compromise and do things that are against what we believe is right as part of the pick me dance. I am more of who I want to be without him in my life.

      • Good point. When I filed, and was filled with both relief and sorrow, one of my wisest friends told me that it is always right to disconnect yourself purposefully from evil things. Yup, he said “evil,” and he is not wrong. Stark way to put it, but true.

        • Spot on. Just yesterday, I was re-hit with the evil that exists in STBX. We have a settlement conference on
          Friday. He just turned over his 2016 tax info. He has a salary and a side business. The net income he reported for the business was $2,800. Average over the last 5 years is over 10x that amount. All done for the sole purpose of trying to reduce his support payments. Who does that to their kids? Evil and without a conscience.

    • Yes. Same here. Those vows were so meaningful to me. I tried to live up to them in impossible circumstances. Not sorry I did that, but even less sorry that I finally got friendly with the hope shattering fencepost of reality.

    • I love the notion that GOD would want me to wait around while my husband fucks his way back into loving me and honoring me.

      WTF… have they read the 10 Commandments much?

      My pastor was GENIUS… he said, “As Christians, we want to believe that God brings things/people to us. BUT… God will also push things/people away from us to protect us.”

    • Chumps do think of marriage as sacred. Most of us think of children as sacred. But a marriage with cheating is akin to the young Linda Blair in the Exorcist; neither one is sacred.

  • I was largely stuck because I had no conscious awareness that my willingness to accept abuse had existed from before my marriage (Family of Origin stuff) … and that it was infinitely magnified during the marriage.

    I accepted diminishing returns on my increasing investment into the relationship because I was certain the fault was mine. He said he loved me, so when he treated me poorly, I knew there must be a very good reason.

    Yep. There will be lots of therapy, introspection, and self-care before I ever remotely consider another romantic relationship. 😉

      • Yep me too. Family of origin stuff. Abusive father. Subservient mother who never left him. Therapist said as as result I was raised with low expectations and high tolerance. Will never forget those words. Never again.

  • I say no matter how rocky the road be true to yourself. It’s you, your life, you matter more. The best self love you can give yourself is to be free and living a clean life and not some screwed up version of marriage.
    Almost three years out from divorce and I see daily how I made the right choice when I found his text and called him out on it. Then I truly saw what I’ve never seen. How deep his deception was. It was all about him and his newly inhertiated money that he said we are both unhappy so let’s just divorce. Yes, I was unhappy. Seen his texts. Unbelievable that he would throw our family and marriage away so he could screw around with these broke nobodies on the prowl.
    Even worse is how he used our daughters and discarded them, broke young girls in first year of college. Won’t pay for their college books or even give them gas or food money but has plenty of money to go on cruises with these women he picks up.
    Another strange thing he does is write out checks in his dead mothers name. Wrote out a check to his girlfriend and signed it in his dead mothers name for her to go on a cruise. Is he still collecting her #ss checks or what? Even this check, the woman who is in a financial job, She has to know his mother is dead. I’d run for the hills if someone gave me a creepy check like that.

    • Sounds like the Karma Bus can just pull up and park on his cheating a&&. Call the SSA and tell them that someone may be accessing a deceased person’s account. They’ll make his life a misery.

      • I tried. I just leave things alone now. All his evil ways and he’s not stopping to mend anything. I think Krama will get him one day. I think one of these women will turn on him.

        • They’re all the same!

          My STBXW was claiming money from welfare claiming she was a ‘carer’ for he sick elderly father. He was pretty ill for 3 months and she did do quite a lot to look after him, eventually he made pretty much a full recovery but she was still claiming the welfare money $100+ per month, straight into her bank account. No shame or morals!

          I have no idea if she’s still claiming this money, but her dad now does loads around her house in terms of cutting the grass for her, fixing stuff, picking up the kids from school, feeding her cat whilst she’s away at her BF’s.

    • Report him to the Social Security Administration. The gangster Al Capone got away with murders but was finally taken down by his financial shenanigans.

  • I love the wire monkey example I have to come to chump lady for confirmation as my cheater has an epiphany every few months after his dickcations become boring and he wants me to scrape his sorry ass off the ground. Fix me mommy this time I’ll be good .

  • I’m going to go with gas-lighting. I literally walked into a therapists office 2 weeks before D-day and told her I thought I might be crazy. Of course at the time I had no idea what the problem was… hindsight is 20/20

    After D-day it was the thought that there must be something wrong with me.

    • Right there with you, thought I was crazy too. Felt so much shame about what I suspected was going on in my relationship that I was afraid to tell anyone else. Since it was my only serious relationship I had nothing to compare it to. It wasn’t until I started asking girlfriends after we separated if they’d be upset if their husband did A, B, or C and hearing them say ABSOLUTELY that I started to feel like I wasn’t crazy.

  • Great message here, again. I’ve learned over the last year that my story is nothing special. Sooooo many others have experienced the same behavior from a cheater and also were chumps, like me…doing the same things I’ve read. What CL says today, I did it all. I think the biggest thing that got me through is looking at actions, no more listening to words. I realized how co-dependent me fed off the words I thought I needed. Looking at actions alone was a shocker at first. I tried to justify everything he did and still turn it into what I thought I needed. A year later, it’s so much easier to see actions for what they are. I don’t believe anything he says. But I do believe what he does now, which after all turns out to be unimpressive.
    Thank you for the lessons!

  • Its amazing that Chump Lady dug up Harry Harlow’s monkeys to illuminate what it’s like to love a barbed wire cheating fuckwad/pervert. Over the course of my marriage I have often thought that loving my husband was like trying to love broken glass stuck in my foot or wearing fiberglass underwear. It sucked and it always hurt. This chump did not know when to throw in the towel. Too much of anything is no good- that includes “hope.”

    • Mine is pushing shit up hill in a wheelbarrow with a flat tyre! Sums it up.

  • The only thing I would add to this absolutely wonderful description is that those of us who grew up with those barbed wire monkey’s as a parent, (and some were lucky enough to have them as grandparents, too, ) become programed with all of the things we use again as chumps. I have even become convinced that the Dysfunctional Ones have developed a strong sensory system to detect that we are the Children of Barbed Wire Parents. Just as children of alcoholics or abusers have even more demons to fight off, and even less of a sense of what “normal” would be. I think that our desire to be secure and cared for is even more poignant because we had either so little of that, or none of that, when we were young. Sometimes I wonder if the damage is so extensive that the babies never have a real fighting chance. Maybe this is one area where having hope for a better life is a saving grace?

      Soooo many things, but those 5 words are a B I N G O!

      Portia, I love your posts.
      You always hit the nail on the head with the hammer.
      You are mighty!
      (Thank you for sharing and helping me and all chumps!)

      • Portia, Thank you for raising some interesting questions and observations. You might want to look at the ACEs Study, a longitudinal study of Adverse Childhood Events and sequel. Abuse/neglect/trauma in childhood goes right through the skin, the muscle, the bone to the celllar level: Epigenetics in action. Anyone who wants to argue with science, go for it. And the earth is flat too.

        I also had a barbed wire “mommy.” She was the walking definition of a Cluster B Personality Disorder with features of all 4, Borderline (“Border-lions”as I call them,) Histrionic (aka, “Her-moronic,”) Narcissistic (aka “Nasty-Bitch-Tic,”) and Antisocial (aka Anti-Pro-Social Behavior) PDs. They’re also referred to as “The Dramatic Personality Disorders.” How quaint. How sanitized. How understated. I believe I mentioned before some years back I stumbled on a study in a professional journal involving Cluster B mothers and their interactions with their small children. The abstract concluded these mother’s consistent pattern of interactions with their Littles were characterized as “Cold, Highly Rejecting and Extremely Critical.” Yeah, like skin peeling, relentlessly critical. Like Sub-Zero Arctic Cold. Like a consistent pattern of shoving, pushing, slapping the child away physically, verbally and psychologically/emotionally rejecting. I wish I could remember where I found that but no luck. In any event, if I were to characterize my experience, those three descriptors were disturbingly accurate.

        We carry those experiences forward not only overtly, but within our very cells. I sit on my hands every time “sticking together for the sake of the kids” comes up. How convenient to have Meat Shields to hide behind while raising them in a War Zone. I don’t pretend to be objective in this matter. There are vestiges of growing up and into adult life with this “mother” that will remain with me to my death.

        And if I were a betting person, betcha the majority of the people here learned to tolerate the intolerable, to chose partners whom we intuitively knew so well from somewhere and hoped not necessarily consciously we could “fix.” It’s not just that we repeat our childhoods in our adult lives but that we choose to continue to subject our Littles to the same that breaks my heart. We weren’t protected. We weren’t loved. We weren’t even “seen.” We were Tools whose sole purpose was to be Tooled. Dehumanizing doesn’t begin to cover never being acknowledged as a unique sentinent being in our own right. As another poster stated, “If your mother (or Dad) can’t love you, who can?”
        Abusers never see themselves as abusers: They are the perennially put upon “victims.”
        If you haven’t come across it already google “Harpy’s Child.” Most of the adult children I’ve come across have multiple examples of every one of those points. This is not a matter of “a few mistakes were made” or “I know I wasn’t perfect;” it’s a total parenting failure and a total jihad of terror and sorrow for the children that continues into their adult lives.

        • Tundra Woman, usually your posts make me laugh out loud with their sarcasm and wit. Today, you made me cry, especially this part:

          these mother’s consistent pattern of interactions with their Littles were characterized as “Cold, Highly Rejecting and Extremely Critical.” Yeah, like skin peeling, relentlessly critical. Like Sub-Zero Arctic Cold. Like a consistent pattern of shoving, pushing, slapping the child away physically, verbally and psychologically/emotionally rejecting.

          You just brought back my entire childhood. All of my life relationships have been negatively impacted by the fact that I never had a good role model of a normal, loving relationship. I know that I’m still trying to correct BPD self centeredness one relationship at a time. Yep, I’m the very definition of insantity: doing the same thing over and over while hoping for a different outcome.

          My disordered mother actually had a moment of insight (rare for a BPD) once when I was going through my divorce with Cheater #1. She said, “You know, some people really just shouldn’t be married.” Looking back, I think she was referring not only to herself, or the fact that my marriage had crashed and burned, but that the three kids she totally fucked up with her neglect could not form decent adult relationships. All we learned from her example was triangulation and vying, in vain, to be her favorite. This was her offhand, self centered way of absolving herself of any culpability in how her kids were emotionally messed up. Yeppers, I was pick me dancing before I could walk, it seems.

        • My BW monkey was (and is) my dad. In an odd way, the thing that probably saved me from more exposure and rejection was the traditional role models for mother and dad behavior. My Dad was out of the house, working, and didn’t have time for minute to minute dominance over my life. Also, my parents were both educators, so we were allowed books, and relatively uncensored trips to the library. My concept of the world was never as narrow as his point of view, because I could open a book and be rocked in the arms of great storytellers. Having a window into another world literally saved my life, and made me determined to break the cycle of abuse. I could see it clearly, even before I had words for it, because I observed my grandparents lives. Both grandfathers were dominant and sometimes violent men. I knew I did not want that in my life, and would not raise children that way.
          What I did not know was the pervasive nature of the imprinting — what was “normal”, or how many varieties of fucked up there could be. I thought I picked different types of husbands, I just picked a variant of abuser. I was taught to enable. I actually had to revolt against my own cultural programing. To shift a paradigm, you need an awfully awesome lever. Fortunately for me, feminism was rearing its head and society was changing. Women could have worth beyond the confines of the home front and kitchen, and bedroom. Women could have an education and could work. Women could earn and keep their own money. Welcome to the new order. Thank all the powers that be!

          I believe my sons would tell you I was a fierce mother. I protected them from what I could, and expected them to treat their friends, both male and female, as they wished to be treated themselves. I had high expectations, but they were obtainable, and I never let them wonder if they were good enough or loved. They knew they were loved. They didn’t have to suckle at the breast of a barbed wire mother. Hopefully there will be a different outcome this cyle, and the next. We’ll see.


      really struck me as well. Security is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. I thought my ex was secure because he had steady emotions and wasn’t volatile like my parents were. I was so tired of living in the roller coaster. Then my ex came along and was like a cool, steady stream. It was wonderful. I just had no idea there was no depth under the surface.

      • Lyn
        Snap again.
        Also mine was spontaneous and impulsive which attracted me as I felt controlling and anxious because I needed to feel safe. I was always envious of his ability never to plan ahead and just ‘wing it’ while I planned for every single eventuality that might happen. I was known for enjoying everything only after it was over when I could relax again.
        If only I had known he had no fear and no nerves as he is not wired right, he just doesn’t feel things at all.

      • Yes, Lyn, exactly. He was so calm, chill, no drama…what a complete farce.

    • You are right that abusers pick up on we “Children of Barbed-Wire Parents” but it’s likely that they have some aspect of that in their own makeup, too. In them, they’ve flipped the script from “abused” to “abuser” whereas with some of us, we went from “abused” into “halping” slang for dysfunctional helping. It can go as far as what one book I read termed, “Pathological Altrusism.” What they said, was what Mother Theresa exhibited.

      What happens is we feel familiar to each other. I am far enough away from my previous abusers now and sober, so that when a 50-something man, a total stranger, recently tried to run the script on me after I sat near him at a park, I was able to sit back and watch it unfold; watch him trot out his toolbox and try to hook me. It was hugely entertaining. Here’s his spiel.

      First he told me he had recently gotten a DUI. This while he was drinking one of two 40-oz beers from a bag, in the park. In our state, that’s mandatory jail time, license revoked, heavy fines- on a first offense. I’m pretty sure he’s on probation, I thought to myself. Bet if a cop comes by and sees the Open Container, he’d be packed back off to jail. But. I let this go unchallenged and silently filed it as information. Then he told me how he has been “kinda mean” to women in his past. Oh, he had the most mournful face for this part, CN! So. Much. Sadness! (Or was it -Contempt? Hint: I was definitely hearing his contempt of them.)
      Next he told me that he “really could use a friend” as he was back living at home, taking care of both parents whose health was critically failing. One is bedridden. -This is his childhood home. He’s even back in his old room. (So, where is his longtime support network?)

      He was clearly thinking he was roping me in at this point. While I was mulling over what the phrase “‘use’ a friend” was telling me.

      Next he did some light “negging” of me, by making some self-admiring statements about his own health and strength that I, obviously disabled, don’t match.
      After this he mentioned that he used pot -but only to fall asleep at night. But soon after (midday, in a park) he went to use the restroom at a nearby restaurant. When he came back, he reeked of pot.
      How nice, I thought sarcastically, that one of the restaurant’s real customers was going to walk into a cloud of pot smoke. Maybe someone with asthma, or someone with a young son. But this guy was oblivious to his footprint.

      My mistake was that I’m on a thyroid med and was never told that coffee aggravates and intensifies the buzz. I was in fact moderately tipsy from this. He noticed that he was being successful with me when I gave him my number before I left. -Even though I was seeing his game!
      Over the next couple weeks, he went on trying to text and phone me, trying to pull me into his drama that I don’t know if was 2% or 90% true. Called one night near 11PM saying he was walking around (no car, DUI) but would like to come over to my house. After a couple calls where he sounded annoyingly whiny and helpless, I’d had my epiphany on the coffee, looked up “caffeine intoxication” and promptly dumped it, going back myself to some AA meetings. I muted his contact but he was still phoning me, it just went to a folder I hadn’t known about. But he was texting me, which I wasn’t seeing, while he was getting read notifications. Annoying.

      When I happened on his voicemails, they were old but he said he’d been hit by a car while walking, had gone over the hood. ! Ironically, it was in the same area he’d wanted me to meet him at once, but I felt it was unsafe area for me. He got snotty with me and said sarcastically that he didn’t see why my suggestion was better than his. Sarcasm! I thought. Really, shouldn’t you still be trying to charm me? I mentally compared this to what a man would likely normally say to someone he was preparing to be invested in.

      I thought, here’s this over 50 year old guy. He got arrested for driving while under the influence, with all its jail time, court-ordered appearances and AA attendance, and he’s on park property with two beers in a bag. Hmm, above the law, much? He loathes women, but expects them to do his emotional labor while he’s checked out of everything with his drugs and alcohol. He’s jobless and broke, but wants to “do something great” and clearly, at midlife he never has. He’s telling me stories right out of the box, that may or may not be true. And he’s called me “sweetheart” in a phone message, when he doesn’t know my last name or anything about me.
      He was so mad that I ghosted him!
      Once, CN, this guy would’ve been ~catnip~ for me. Irresistible! Now, he’s hilarious and tragic. Oprah quoted someone when she said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” In his book “The Gift of Fear” survivor Gavin de Becker teaches about “forced teaming” and that’s what this guy tried, and failed, to do to me.
      -You don’t get to know me!- Didn’t know I was going to write all this, hope it’s useful.

      • The takeaway from this is: ran into a troubled dude, did not see it as my job to fix him or tell him what was wrong. Removed the victim (me.)
        He was a campground. I left him as I found him, leaving no footprint of my own.

  • His cheating was my deal breaker. I never wanted him back and couldn’t wait to be divorced after I discovered the depth of his lies and the deliberate abuse of our family’s financial health.

    Finding out about his secret life was the hard slap in the face I needed to finally call the time of death on our miserable marriage.

    What I have struggled with since DDay is his continued, calculated revenge tactics. His actions continue to be cruel and designed to intentionally hurt our kids and me. All because I dared to defy the great Oz.

    • I struggle with the never ending revenge tactics also. I foolishly thought divorce was the end, that he would happily run off into his new life. I had no idea how much defying him by refusing to reconcile would piss him off. Two years out and he is still a very destructive presence in our lives. Always looking for a way to punish us. Can’t wrap my head around hurting your own kids like that.

      • This too. Financially ruined me but “let’s co-parent our kids” (the innocents he continues to mindfuck). Every time I see him I want to throw up.

        • I have 4 kids — I block him thereby preventing his access to me. My kids have phones — they can deal with him directly. I hire a babysitter/teenager to drive them to their visitations with X and wait (the 60 minutes max) for their visits at a restaurant to be over. No need to ever see or talk to him again. That’s what lawyers are for.

        • Ditto. I said to his mother I’ve never seen someone more upset to get what they said they wanted.

          His behavior since he left has been worse than when he was living with us.

        • I feel the exact same way. Quite simply, who I have discovered he is and what he is capable of doing, especially to his kids, makes my skin crawl.

  • I basically stayed because of fear. I feared how bad the divorce would be and it was worse than I had imagined.

    Now I am dealing with the fallout. He and AP now wife, has lied and manipulated the kids to the point I have hardly no relationship with them.

    I often wonder if I just tolerated it for a few more years, I would at least see my kids raised to potentially healthy adults. Now they are 18 and 16 and act just like them. I grieve daily for the loss of my children and what they have become.

    • Gonegirl, I’m sorry for what you’re dealing with right now. You might also wonder if you had tolerated his abuse for ‘fewer’ years, your kids would be better off. I spent plenty of time punishing myself between the extremes of ‘I should have left earlier’ versus ‘I should have stayed longer and tried harder.’ I came to realize that I did what I could with what I knew at the time. Just because you know differently now doesn’t mean you should have known differently back then. You got away from a destructive force in your life, and that is a huge accomplishment.

      I think the only way you can be absolutely sure that your children don’t follow the path of a disordered parent is to never have a child in the first place. That’s not realistic. Again, I’m sorry for your pain, but you’ve only tried to make things the best for your family. This outcome is not your fault.

    • Gone girl,
      I am so sorry about your children.
      One day they will come around. They will.
      They will awaken to the truth and will realize that you are the sane parent.
      You truly are the sane parent.

  • I am sorry but all I can think now is “what a horrible thing to have done to those poor baby monkeys”.

    • Whatever you do, do NOT go read up on that researcher (Harlow) and his studies. He was a sick fuck, and would never get ethics approval nowadays for what he did.

      The knowledge gained can never justify the things he did.

  • Ok, so this post really sunk in with me a few years ago. I was married to the barbed wire monkey, am nearly rid of her and am now happily swinging through the jungle with. Real Monkey

    Happily I have found Real Monkey Love and what a difference!

    Thanks CL

  • Fear kept me stuck. For years I was threatened … “you’ll never get this house, and you’ll never get these kids!” … “You’re damaged goods; no one will ever want you.” … “You’re lazy, dumb, and stupid.” You name it, I heard it.

    Well guess what? All my fears came true, but four years later I’m a much better person for it. My boys are 24, 21 and 19, and want nothing to do with me, but that’s because they live in fear too. They see what their father did to me, and are terrified of it themselves. At the same time, however, they are very much like their father, and that scares me for them and their future relationships with women. It’s a vicious cycle that I hope they can one day break free from.

    I wouldn’t have survived much of the last four years without the wonderful circle of friends I have, my church family, my faith, Chump Lady, and all you here in Chump Nation. Thank you!

    • I’m sorry that all of your sons have stayed on the dark side, JamLady. That is a tough cross to bear for anyone. Breaking free from a life of fear is its own reward, but sometimes the bittersweet aspects are awful. Hugs.

  • The first thing I did when Mr. Sparkles moved out was CLEAN HOUSE. I started in the attic and worked my way down – blared 70’s disco music – and got busy.

    I came across a keepsake box filled with cards he had given me through the years… the lovebombings (yes, plural)… the post D-day fake remorse… birthdays… an occasional Mother’s Day… all of them filled with EMPTY PROMISES.

    Wow – what an eye opener… I was staring right at the glaring truth that I wasn’t willing to see before that moment. Mr. Sparkles SAID all the right things… “I’m going to be a better friend… I’m going to be a better husband… You deserve so much more… I want our family… I want you.” And, lest I forget to acknowledge the blameshifting thrown in for good measure… “WE need to fix US.”

    Yet, all the while, his ACTIONS were… refusing marriage counseling, running multiple personal ads on sites looking for women, couples, groups for sex while he withheld affection and sex from me. He cruised Craigslist looking at T4M and W4M personals (interestinly, more T4M). He left dirty hand towels in the laundry from his jerking off to porn every night. He failed to parent his teenage son who has living with us. And don’t even get me started on just being PRESENT in our daily living and activities.

    I can remember one night we were out to dinner with our son who had just completed his karate belt test. Mr. Sparkles was public with his OW by that time and had moved out. Yet – he introduced me AS HIS WIFE to a Customer of his that we ran in to at dinner. It was the first time in our entire marriage that he ever did that. I was stupefied.

    Mr. Sparkles is a barbed-wire monkey. Of this, I am certain. I still struggle to trust that he sucks when I seeing him being a good Dad to our son (because to me, a truly good Dad doesn’t fuck around and lie to Mom and then abandon the family for the OW)… but you know what I mean.

    It is a daily struggle to remind myself that he is pure evil incarnate and I dodged a major bullet when he walked out for the OW. That’s why I keep coming back here and reading these columns and everyone’s sharing. It’s been 2.5 years since the final D-day… I’m getting closer to Meh.

      • Trans for Man — this is an abbreviation that a transsexual or transvestite would use in a Craigslist ad, to attract the attention of men who are interested in that sort of thing.

        W4M stands for “Woman for Men” (“I’m a woman looking for a man”), MW4W stands for “Man & woman for Women” (“We’re a couple looking for a woman”), etc.

      • Not naive, Lady B… apparently just lucky that your cheater wasn’t quite as slutty as mine 🙂

    • I canseethe meh coming please Do trust he sucks, you are an inspiration to those of us on the road behind you!

      • Thank you FI… you just keep moving forward too 🙂

    • I got a lot of the same: were we all married to the same asshole?

      I cleaned out everything too after X left to “see OW openly.” I found dozens of extremely intimate, loving, cards with seemingly heartfelt sentiments — some written and given to me when I now know he was actively fucking other women. Books of love poetry that he inscribed with messages such as: You are my best friend and love of my life — I’m such a lucky man to have you for my wife these past 20+ years. . . blah blah blah……. Then when the mask was off he turned on me viciously and said he hated every minute of our life and I was so horrible in so many ways that I MADE him fuck others and destroy me and our family. . . .WTF???!!!!

      Then, months after I kicked his ass to the curb and he “openly” moved OW/whore into his studio bachelor pad I saw him with a client at a coffee shop. He introduced me as his wife. WTF???!!!

      When he said he was getting his shit together and was so sorry and had made the biggest mistake of his life in leaving and “the marriage is not over” and he hadn’t “seen that woman in months” (the OW) come to find out he’d been living with her for months, he took her to Europe on a romantic vacation, to Mexico, blah blah blah…..WTF???!!!!! The mindfucking and gaslighting nearly made me crazy.

      X did get some justice for this mindfucking and lying: in my state, a married couple is legally separated when the abandoned spouse gives up hope that the marriage is viable. Until that point, all assets are community property and subject to fair allocation. X got a $400,000 bonus the day before he told me “the marriage isn’t over” — 7 months after deciding to “see OW openly” and I kicked his ass out of the home. The court said that because he said that to me, the bonus came in our marriage property. X cried sad sausage but the Court said “Nope, you told Wife the marriage wasn’t over — pay up.” Too bad so sad motherfucker!

      That was 3 months ago. X is in a rage by how he lost everything in the divorce trial but I’m completely NC. Another mindfuckery: my GF told me she stalked his FB and it looks like we are still married — there is not one picture of OW, whom he has lived with for 2.5 years, and there are pictures everywhere of our intact family pre Dday and pictures of our wedding 25 years ago and our anniversaries. Even one of us on a tropical island and me in a bikini holding his hand during fake wreconciliation (while he was paying for OW’s apartment! WTF???!!!! Shows how low she is that she would stand for that crap!).

      Evil, evil, evil….. he’s dead to me.

      • These assholes just aren’t right in the head. Truly disordered.

      • MC99… YOU ARE MIGHTY! I want to move to your state 🙂

        What these fuckwits want is CAKE… they want IMAGE… they want IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT… sadly, it is never us or our kids that they want… hell they don’t even want the OW/OM necessarily… they just want to LOOK like they’re “normal” because afterall, they can get right into another relationship. Sad thing is… normal people don’t do that. Normal people would be too mortified and would take time for self reflection. I doubt Mr. Sparkles even washed the sheets 🙂

        Thanks to CL and CN… we can drop mic and go NC like bosses.

  • This post could not have come at a better time for me. Today is the big Court Day, for a divorce that should have come years ago, but all of the above, coupled with two kids I love more than anything kept me a catatonic passenger on a roller coaster ride through the same deja vu. Before I knew it 10 years of my life were gone, and the good guy husband who believed that the first affair was just a mistake, sat through the same ride through two more, complete with all belittling and blatant disrespect from a woman who had never worked a day, but never failed to tell me over and over how I could always be doing more, and how much more she deserved.

    I found this site 7 months ago, when yet more evidence and gut feelings of further chaos was amok, and read every article it had over and over, and this chump finally woke up to the Hell Ride he was a witting passenger on. I can’t thank this site, and everyones experiences enough. It was especially refreshing to find that men like me who love their kids, and truly want to be good husbands, have this happen to them as well. I really thought I was alone.

    Its funny though, I tossed and turned all night again wondering if I am doing the right thing by finally turning my ticket in for no more rides on Hell’s Roller Coaster, and low and behold, click onto Chump Lady today, as I do every morning, and here is the Universe letting me know that my ride is now about to become permanetly closed, as the rider is finally throwing the power switch and getting off.

    • Good for you getting off of the roller coaster! Good luck in court!

    • Knight Chump–you are absolutely doing the right thing divorcing the entitled creature who inhabited your life for too long.

      The wound is still fresh for you, but trust me, one day you will wake with a sense of relief each morning that you are free and that your life is filled with integrity instead of lies.

    • Good luck today. For me being the sane parent meant questioning if I was doing the right thing (and actually being the sane parent). If I was giving up to soon. My first dday happened when my kids were little. Dday #2 they are teenagers. He left for my teen daughter’s 20 something assistant high school soccer coach. The shit sandwich for the kids at their school and their mom sitting with other parents on the sidelines now humiliated. My cheater has no limits apparently. What would be next? My son’s one day wife? My daughter’s one day college roommate?

      You just have to realize you are on the crazy train and get off. I’ve realized now I have not helped my kids by staying with a cheater. CL and CN have helped me see this is really on him and this is who he is. He won’t change. I can only choose me or should I say ‘meh’.

    • One guy Chump to another — you are definitely not alone. Each time I see one moving forward without an infantile, cowardly, entitled woman weighing him down, I rejoice. Hope today brings you everything you deserve.

    • Knight Chump – change is scary… but staying with a disordered cheater is masochism.

      My divorce was only final 4 months ago, but I can tell you, it was as necessary as amputating a gangrene leg.

      Keep coming back – we’ll be here.

    • Knight Chump…how did it go yesterday? I hope you are ok, hugs.

  • I took him back after the first Dday because of the kids. They were 2 and 4 y.o. at the time he left for Schmoopie. He moved in with a family member and I never really knew exactly what was going on. He wanted to sell our new home immediately but I convinced him to wait until after the holidays to put it on the market. He was at our home EVERY SINGLE EVENING sitting there waiting for us after work/daycare. I would cook dinner and not say a word to him while he played with the kids like nothing was happening. When he would leave, my 4 y.o. son would cry and ask why his daddy didn’t love him anymore. Heartwrenching. Once we sold the house and the kids and I moved into our own home, cheaterpants couldn’t sit there waiting on us anymore. We started living our own lives. I researched all I could at the time and settled on midlife crisis and stress. Didn’t know I had a cake eater on my hands. Once he begged to come back, I let him for my kids. It was definitely eating the shit sandwich.

    When Dday #2 hit a year ago, I knew exactly how this would play out–again. I went to a lawyer within a week. Changed the locks when he moved out. Kids are teens now so no proximity to me to try to lure me back in now that Schmoopie 2.0 didn’t pan out like he thought. No contact is key to moving on. Not quite a ‘meh’ yet. Not planning to date until my kiddos go to college. I now have a peaceful life without walking on eggshells with a high maintenance, self centered ass.

    • You are mighty! Cheaters don’t change, and they suck. Yes to NC.

  • I had an amazing childhood with awesome and loving parents and yet I still ended up with a husband with serious character deficiencies. In my case it took years for those deficiencies to come to the surface. Perhaps I was just too naïve because I did not have enough experience to recognize the signs. I assumed he was a decent person and that his poor behavior and attitudes were just him being grumpy because life is stressful sometimes.

    • Mine was grumpy too. Grumpy about work and how no one appreciated him. Grumpy about friends not seeing his point of view. Grumpy about his hobby and no one listened and took his imput. Grumpy about kids not being perfect. Now I know — Grumpy about me (saw an email to Schmoopie telling her he wanted to tell her how it all started 5 years ago). I would listen to him endlessly and give him validation of how smart, great, etc… he was. When I needed to vent, he would tell me it was my fault whatever problem was occuring. And I would have to beg him to let me vent about something because he never wanted to hear my issues. I realized about a year before Dday #2 I was the giver and he wasn’t reciprocating at all. I felt both devastated and relieved with the realization he was leaving for twu wuv.

      • I do not miss the grumpiness and the cold shoulders. It is as if a weight has lifted from my shoulders, and I surround myself with cheerful people (snarky, but cheerful).

        • Oh yes! X was grumpy 24/7 and complained about everything. Always whining and carrying on about how hard he had it (NOT!) I do not miss it one bit! One of the broken records I must have heard 10,000 times: X complaining bitterly that he had to WORK! OMG, the audacity of the universe to make working a thing. . . what a king baby!

        • I used to make excuses for his grumpiness and mean behavior because of the macho environment he grew up in. Sometimes I felt that other people just didn’t understand him like I did when they made comments about it.

    • I was going to point out that family background does not always indicate that you will marry a disordered cheater. I know several people from strong, healthy families- who were fucked over by a cheating dirt bag.

      The so called “codependent” theory is not necessarily true. Cheaters/disordered freaks are good at hiding who they are at first.

      • We were deceived. What protection is there from someone determined to deceive another? None really.

      • Yeah – my family is pretty amazing. My parents are loving, rational, kind people. They had the occasional fight, but quite rare. I was loved and treated with kindness and respect. I could quite literally talk to my folks about anything and they would support me. Sure we suffer a bit from the Midwest tendency to not get too emotional, and we could probably do a bit better about communicating about things that are difficult to talk about, but that is common.

        We were all deceived by my ExH. When I really started telling my parents what was going on, they were shocked (I live very far away, so we didn’t see them often). As I was telling everyone about the divorce I said that I could divide people into two groups: those that knew him “before” and that those that knew him “after”. Those that knew him “before” – when I told them everything that had happened they were shocked. They said “how is this possible, this is not the person I knew” or “It seriously sounds like he just went crazy because the things you are telling me make no sense for the person I knew”. Those that knew him “after”, they said “thank god, I never got why you two were together.” Or “Oh honey. I’m so glad you are getting away, that guy seems crazy. I was worried about you.”

        I guess the after is the mask slipped. He couldn’t keep up normal nice guy any more and cluster B sociopath won out. I was absolutely deceived by his desire to have wife appliance and appear normal. Looking back, it started right after the wedding. Subtle, controlling, punishing for doing things he didn’t like… and he just kept ramping up the abuse until he was in a full on affair and basically daring me to do something about it.

  • Five years later, hope and denial, which are inextricably intertwined, still are the enemies that lurk at my gate. XW still is living with OM but I’m generally ok.

    Once every few months XW will hoover: I miss you, I still love you, I’ve been reading articles about couples reconciling after remorse, boo-hoo, etc. Never any expression of remorse. None. I smile and nod as I would to an insane person uttering gibberish. Engaging, telling her off, etc. is futile and will just cause me stress. For me this works; it’s easier.

    Yet and still…if I am honest with myself, I confess that a distant hope flickers back to life. Just a flicker. And it is fanned by denial: denial of what a loathsome person she is, what cruelty she inflicted upon me and our innocent children.

    The difference now–as opposed to years ago when I pick-me-danced my heart out–is that I recognize the patterns of my responses. I recognize the enemies, hope and denial, at my gate. I let them do their thing and then I take a breath and unleash my well-trained guard dogs named Logic and Reason to destroy them. And then, once the disruption has subsided, I continue moving into my new house in the Land of Meh.

    Oh, and I also think, “That OM has NO fucking clue what a chump he is…”

    • ” I take a breath and unleash my well-trained guard dogs named Logic and Reason…”

      great metaphor!

    • David2016… you are spot on.. the OM has NO IDEA what’s going on!

      I recently received an apology email from the OW after she dumped Mr. Sparkles (funny thing, she found out he had an ad on Adult Friend Finder throughout their “LOVE” relationship). And she shared with me what he was telling her:

      LIE: we were taking separate vacations with the kids
      TRUTH: he, me and my son went on both vacations, big kids stayed home

      LIE: we were filing for divorce in September
      TRUTH: on our anniversary in July he gave me a bronze sculpture of a couple and told me he wanted us to be like that sculpture
      TRUTH: I finally did file… a YEAR later

      LIE: we stopped having sex
      TRUTH: we stopped having sex because she caught me cheating and I wouldn’t get a blood test

      LIE: the kids understand and they like you
      TRUTH: the kids were destroyed… stepson’s freshman year of college shot to hell, stepdaughter’s senior year of high school shot to hell… my son (9) needed counseling

      These “Others” have no fucking clue.

      Mr. Sparkles latest… well, I just tell myself, I cannot pull anymore girls from Ted Bundy’s car. Time to move on.

  • All five factors may have kept me stuck, especially denial and pride (these two go hand in hand) and unconscious fear of change. But the hindsight acquired on my undeniable, unspackable D-Day has made me look things over and I now realize that I was being abused, but did not consider it abuse. So “not recognizing abuse” would be a sixth fact for getting stuck with a cheater.

    Not recognizing abuse is not exactly the same as denial. My stbxh was a bully. Over a phone call he could make me believe I was the one being selfish, the one with a limitation in my personality, and make me pay for something I did not want to pay for (for example, the funeral of my BIL’s MIL; being that BIL and his wife were always incredibly rude to me; BIL, probably because I caught him red-handed with his “extra-numerary” family; BIL’s wife because I was not Catholic enough).

    As has been pointed out in this blog, blameshifting and gaslighting are a form of abuse.

    • “not recognizing abuse” is an excellent point. I remember feeling like I was being blamed by him for causing him to be cruel to me, but I couldn’t put the word “abuse” to it. Wasn’t until I found Chumplady that I recognized what emotional abuse is. Even my counselor never called it abuse. I really wish more counselors were up on the dynamics of relationships with cheaters.

  • Minimising as a kind of denial and hope and believing the gas lighting, oh it was only…. ACTIONS NOT WORDS And mindfucking that I was not capable and it would be too hard alone.. Oh to have known all this at DD1 or even DD0.1 etc that waved its red flag but I did not see it for what is was at the time. Ah the sense of peace from being on the other side of split. still legal hurdles to sort but now I’m Singing in the rain.

  • Seconding Tempest´s post here:

    “You need to bludgeon hope with a fencepost and begin to operate with total lucidity.”

    Best CL line, ever. (and newbies–that should be your mantra).

    For us that are two or more years out, this becomes your every day. I no longer have any flicker of hope for any future with Disordered STBX nor would I give it a second thought anymore.

    It is strange, looking back, that I even had hope in the wake of the destruction he caused for me and my kids. That I even “pick me danced”…..
    For all the newbies out there, salvation is reachable. Just face the ugliness, the betrayal, the lies and the monster completely. As CL says, “The pain is finite”. Once you´re over that hump, you´re home free.
    I have just recently started communication with Disordered STBX for the kids. They have their own phones, and they speak to each other. I communicate only by text or e-mail. About the kids ONLY.
    Document EVERYTHING.
    I have let go of the last emotion I had regarding him, ANGER. I am no longer angry and I no longer care one iota about him or what he´s up to.
    If he can manage to be a good dad for the few hours he´s with them, fine for me.
    But, one thing is for sure. I am operating from a place of TOTAL lucidity.
    That, my friends, is MY meh 🙂

    • I am finally giving up on the reconciliation hopium but I still have a long way to go as I am still hung up on the wanting things to blow up with Schmoopie hopium. I still have the want him to suffer some consequences for his actions hopium. Maybe when the divorce is final and I don’t need my anger to carry me through the process I will be able to give up on those hopes for justice and concentrate on meh. How easy that will be may depend a lot on how the legal side shakes out. In the meantime the mediators insistence that I should encourage my kids to have a relationship with Schmoopie is not helping.

    • TakingAStand, I agree that I often look back and remember the person I was and am amazed that I’ve come so far. I’m so much stronger now. Not nearly as anxious and afraid. It feels really good.

  • Thank you for this post. I am definitely having reason number 1. All my exes cheated on me. I must really fix my picker. I did not know that self-knowledge is the cure. Thank you for this. Very helpful article indeed.

    • I dated 4 narcissists in a row, married the last one, so don’t feel too badly. We are now armed with knowledge we didn’t have before.

  • Pride – It’s what kept me in my marriage for 2 1/2 years beyond D-day. Pride could have been my downfall if friends and my therapist hadn’t pointed out that it wasn’t my choices that ended the relationship. I’m successfully at Meh (at least today) and, seriously, pride is no longer an issue for me. Take me or leave me, I am who I am.

  • I was one of those Chumps that fall into the ‘Frozen’ category after DD#1.

    I didn’t understand my reasons for staying until post divorce. Here is my list:

    1 Fear – Financial

    2 Fear – Emotional. I incorrectly believed that was too old and who would want me? Face palm, I was 34!

    3 Fear – The Unknown = my EX. My EX is the kind of person that would ‘cut off his nose, despite his face’. Consciously and subconsciously I was afraid of what he might do – if getting a divorce mean that he looked bad. It needed to be his idea. So see, #4.

    4 Mistakenly thinking that my EX would start the motion for the divorce after DD#1 & that it was his decision (because of 1, 2 & 3). I honestly thought that he would do it (after all he had discarded me years before). Fast forward 7 years to DD#2 and I ended it. I was also the one to start the divorce. In retrospect, I was always the one to do all of the ‘adult’ stuff.

    5 This seems odd to say, but I didn’t understand that I could make the decision to end a bad and unhealthy relationship. It never occurred to me!

    This list shows how flawed my decision making was at the time. Living with a person who gradually devalues and mindf*cks you takes a significant toll. I made my EX’s life easy and look good — but now I can see how unhealthy it was for me.

    • “I was also the one to start the divorce. In retrospect, I was always the one to do all of the ‘adult’ stuff.”

      Yep…my XH told me 3 times (each time was a different DDay) that he wanted a divorce, yet he never went and filed. Third time was a charm with me…I did it for him.

    • I was fearful too, but it all had to do with ex’s growing erratic behavior. It was seriously evil for two years up til Dday and continued that way for the two years it took us to divorce. During those days I began to investigate things I questioned, those little red flags I had ignored…. Followed the financial trail. Remembered odd things. Questioned his decisions and memories I had of our life together. Thought about things he had said that were a little creepy. I chose not to file because I was afraid. I even sent him an email stating that I hoped in all his hurry and newly found bliss that he would not harm me. I wanted it on record. (He had never laid a hand on me in all our years together but I paid attention to my gut, it was screaming…). Too, I was isolated in our community, far away from family, he’s a peace officer, and was way ahead of me on the narrative. So I waited. He filed but showed up to serve me. Not okay in CA. Found out all sorts of things later, discovered an old hidden HIV test, then came home one day to a vandalized house. Scary. I moved hundreds of miles away as soon as I could (my children aren’t aware of all that occurred) with the belief that if he could have eliminated me and gotten away with it he would have. To this day he sends me all kinds of emails re co-parenting our young adults, professes to care for them while doing nothing. SOS. His new schmoopie is fooled though. I believe he is a great actor. I am NC, the sane one, and happy to be free.

      • Oh Drew,
        I am so sorry for all you have been through. Alone, you tackled so many obstacles!
        You are a strong, brave woman!
        You, Drew, are mighty!

        • Thank You. It was a puzzle to be sure, my body’s response every time we met was fight or flight. I paid attention, even when others did not believe me. Called the cops on him though when he vandalized our home. This two years after he had moved out. I truly believe people who can go to such lengths to deceive, belittle, rob, and discard others are the ones sane people need to look out for, especially when leaving. It’s always the disordered who have their stories, or narrative, down too and this is suspect as well. Hard to fathom living a lie.

  • I wanted to protect my son. I would have done so much to keep our little family together to spare him any hurt.
    It then dawned on me that I was unable to spare him the hurt she was going to go with the AP the only question was when – according to her timetable or at a time which factored in my son’s feelings. It was a no brainer.

    • Yes. Wanting to spare the children pain we chumps hang on. Cheaters deny themselves nothing and will put their ‘ happiness’ over that of their children every time.

  • I think what kept me stuck and BEFORE Dday is that if I faced all the shit head on, I would end up right where I am today. In a place all my own on my own. Yup, that was likely it is a nutshell for me. I wanted it to work. So I projected onto him all my good and he owned it. He projected onto me his mess of crap and I owned it. We were the perfect mess. We both placed house is about all. Until, until he found better. See, I was looking to make us better while he searched for better. I did not see better beyond him. Now, all I say here now I had no awareness or insight of it as I lived it.

    So I held on to avoid where I am at now and all I have to say is WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG? This is better here alone and really investing in me for the first time ever. I was alone all along. I blame him for neglect but it was me first that neglected me, had I not I would not be here discussing him.

  • This post came on a day I really needed it. Tomorrow is my court day to close the chapter on 7 years of wreckonciliation with 3 D-Days and a love child born in the midst of it all.

    I hung on for all the reasons CL listed. Yes he had fathered a child, but he dumped Schmoopie for that betrayal (what happened to the IUD? no one seems to know) and she moved hundreds of miles away. I thought I was scott-free and ready to rebuild. But Schmoopies don’t go away quietly, now do they?

    It seems twu luv wouldn’t die. They pined and ached through the long distance between them. Secrets texts and phone calls from work. More D-Days.

    I finally got the courage to let go of my barbed wire monkey, kicked him out, and filed. I’m 49 but I know it’s not too late for Real Monkey Love.

    Thank you CL and CN for being here every day to give me courage and solace through this shitstorm. You guys rock!

    • “But Schmoopies don’t go away quietly, now do they?” So true. I know that we are not supposed to blame the Schmoopies because it is really our disordered spouses that are to blame, but darn it the Schmooipes are not innocent bystanders either. They are active accomplices. Yes if it weren’t them it would be somebody else, yadda, yadda, yadda, but it wasn’t somebody else and only a disordered person would sleep with another person’s spouse and then fight to claw said spouse away from his/her family. 🙁

  • I stayed for my kid … but in a selfish way, I’m afraid. I was terrified of having to endure 50/50 custody. The thought of giving up 50 percent of the time with my most beloved child just because my husband couldn’t keep his dick in his pants seemed too unfair. So I made the effort to hang in there until high school graduation. At the point I made that decision, I would have had 6.5 years to go. I lasted two years. Two long, miserable years. UGH. Then we started the process of divorce and I learned that his lies were much worse than I could ever have imagined. I used that information to leverage 80 percent custody. And you know what? I still regret giving up the 20 percent. I suffer every single visitation. But I definitely couldn’t go on the way I was. My heart felt sympathy for those who DO get stuck with 50/50, and even more so for those who have to pay child support to their cheater. It is just not right.

  • I am currently in negotiations regarding custody and it is causing me some anxiety. All along he said he wanted to keep me in the house with primary placement of the kids and he would continue to see them frequently during the week so that they know they still have a Dad who cares about them. Now the mediators are trying to shame him into an agreement that would be a 50/50 placement arrangement. I have completely selfish reasons for not wanting that, at least not anytime soon. I believe that it is taking care of the kids that has helped me keep it together these last 9 months since D-Day because they need me and I can’t afford to lose it. If I have to give them up, I might fall apart. My only hope is that he has a studio apartment. The lease is up in October but he said he would probably renew. As a result we are discussing a temporary placement schedule (more or less what we have now) and permanent placement schedule which would kick in if certain conditions are met (such as getting a larger place that can accommodate the kids). That way there is a mechanism in place if he truly wants 50/50 in another year and a half, but he has an out if he doesn’t. Meanwhile, I hope to be well on the way to recovery by then and maybe willing to give up the kids every other week if he truly wants to be all in as a Dad. I am not going to encourage the kids to have a relationship with Schmoopie, however. I draw the line there. 🙁 He is lucky I am still encouraging the kids to have a relationship with him.

    I am also stressed about the house because I don’t know if I could afford to keep it with 50/50 placement. In that case child support goes away and I currently make about the same amount of money as him so maintenance is not an option either. Even if he was willing, he might not be able to afford a bigger place and pay child support to keep me in the house. I don’t relish the idea of having to sell a house and move again. I don’t want to spend the time or the money. This was supposed to be our last move. I guess that was part of the “future faking” everybody was talking about above. Come to think of it, he also said he would be happy if we moved back to his home state. Nope! He still wasn’t happy. Is it wrong of me to be comforted by the fact that Schmoopie is unlikely to make him happy in the long run either?

    • Honey, I so understand what you are going through. I am a year out from the final D-day and 6 months from the divorce being final. I also do not work. Being a mom and keeping the house and yard and pets … it has kept my sanity. I have a very hard time when my child is with his dad … I still have those feelings of being left out while they are off having fun. And I worry about the potential harm to my child from exposure to bad morals, alcohol, drugs, and schmoopies. It all just totally sucks. I hope you can hang on to more custody than 50/50, especially in the beginning. And honestly? I don’t try real hard to maintain good relations between them … not my job anymore. My child knows I despise him despite my efforts at neutrality. Schmoopies are definitely on their own. Good luck with your custody negotiations … they are far more important than the money.

      • If it’s any consolation the disordered pretend to care, just like they did in our marriages. To the disordered, the kids will become less and less important (although FB photos and holidays are kibble time), and your time with them will grow. Document. And Consider relocating. We aren’t bound to stay near those who aren’t worthy.

  • From memory I believe in the monkey study referred to here the baby monkey study was conducted with a plain wire facsimile that provided milk and a fur covered facsimile that had no milk. The image if barbed wire is too horrible and cruel for my brain to process, so I didn’t even want to Google it. (A wire mommy is quite cruel enough.)

  • I didn’t have the opportunity to stay stuck as my cheater bailed immediately after discovery/confrontation.

    However prior to discovering exactly why douchebag became douchier every month, I was stuck being married to a douchebag.

    Main reason – children. I wouldn’t have dissolved the family unit for any reason that didn’t involve obvious abuse. In fact, if cheater hadn’t left of his own accord I am ashamed to admit I would have stayed, with conditions, until our daughter turned 18. For her. There isn’t any pain I wouldn’t suffer for her.

    But I was wrong. I can see now that ending the marriage truly was the best thing, for my daughter as well. She knew her dad was a douchebag too, all that time, and she hated the way he treated me. I should have left him when I FIRST got that feeling that I wanted a life without him. Which was 6 months after we married and I realized I had married a man-child by mistake. I thought I married a man. I was wrong.

    • So I wasted 14 years when it could have been only 6 months wasted. Stupid stupid stupid.

  • Far better off. I did the same thing. Stupid stupid stupid.
    Oh well, at least it was 15 years not 35.
    Those are the poor people I feel so sorry for. Some from teenagers.
    Thank god I was 32 when I married him. You would think I should have been more aware at that age.
    No, I had no idea these fuckers existed, or how prevalent they are. I have learnt soooo much about human nature in the last 4 years and cannot believe how naive I was.

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