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Dear Chump Lady, How do I know when I’m done?

Hi Chump Lady,

I feel like I’m asking a stupid question, but at the same time, it’s like I don’t understand my own mind.

Some background — my asshole had an affair last year. I did not dump him on D-Day. I did stop sharing my life with him, full 180, but I am still in the same house. I will leave him soon (I have to move for a new job), and divorce him too, but for us that’s just paperwork.

I’m not accepting what he did, CL. I love him and I would dream of reconciliation, but this shit is not for me and that is why I am leaving. However, I wonder how will I know I am done? He sent me horrible emails two days ago, when I told him I was going to expose him and the whore to his family, when it’s time to say goodbye.

He went ballistic. That’s when he told me I pushed him to have an affair because he was so desperately feeling not wanted, that his low self-esteem feelings were my fault because I made him feel he was disgusting and a bad lover, that he needed to feel desired. (My sin? I never started sex, because of issues I have worked out now with my therapist. But I did all the crap he wanted, anytime he wanted it,) He thought I was going to be okay with his affair because our relationship was “beyond that” and that reaction was a matter of being constricted by my Catholic education. (Not that it matters, but I am not Catholic anymore). Before that, his tune was that I did nothing wrong. Oh, boy, in his nasty emails he tells me we are doing what’s “expected from us”, and that he stopped doing that a few months ago, and he is now a better person, he has learned so much about himself and life.

After some thought, I can see what he is saying. Monogamy is not something he wants, it’s something expected of him. He went ballistic with me because he claims I will be slut shaming the whore by exposing her to their family. (However, as someone at Chump Nation said, I am not shaming her for her sexuality, but for her lack of humanity.) But he can slut shame me?!

Rationally, fuck that shit. I keep thinking that this is a chasm absolutely impossible to bridge. Actually, it’s not even the fact that he fucked someone else that’s keeping me obsessed. It’s this kind of behavior. Who the hell is this asshole I’ve been living with? For the record, I haven’t been able yet to see his entitlement or mistreatment of me before D-Day. But I do not subscribe to any fog theory. If anything, it’s smog: man made.

But I am not done, CL. Or I don’t think so. I just don’t know. How does it feel done? I am leaving. I am divorcing. I am planning my life without him. Probably I’ll never come back to this city. How will I know I’m done?

Bon Voyage Chump

Dear BVC,

It’s totally normal to not feel “done” in the beginning. After all, this guy is still your husband, you live with him, and you haven’t launched yourself into a new life yet. The important thing is to ACT done — the feelings will follow. It’s a classic case of listening to your head (which is rational and self-preserving) over your heart (a stupid bastard). With some time and no contact, your dimwitted heart will catch up with your head.

Leaving a cheater is a matter of deprogramming yourself. In fact, I could argue this entire blog is Chump Re-education Camp. The deprogramming process is why chumps need so much support, especially from fellow chumps — you’re rewiring your brain from caring to not caring, from believing the bullshit, to calling bullshit out as BULLSHIT, from focusing wholly on your cheater’s drama, to focusing wholly on your new life, from believing you’re a horrible failure, to believing you are MIGHTY and will survive this.

And Chump Lady is your friendly cult leader. Breaking the hard-wired bonds of love is hard work. Unless, of course, you’re disordered, in which case it’s a big shrug. Swapping out a partner is like swapping out an air filter… Whatevers… But for chumpy hearts? It takes a lot to un-bond. For me it took four D-Days. Another kick in the teeth? Sure, don’t mind if I do!

The deprogramming process is also why people on the outside looking in don’t get it. She treats you like SHIT, why don’t you LEAVE?! Good question, except those outsiders aren’t bonded to the fuckwit. They didn’t have five children with the fuckwit, or pay off her student loans, or nurse her mother through gout. Those people have zero sunk costs. It’s easy to judge.

Same goes for the Unicorn brigade who demand reconciliation. They aren’t the ones getting their teeth kicked in. No, they’re on the sidelines snorting hopium and rebranding a kick in the teeth as Unconditional Love.

The point is, BVC, don’t expect to feel done. You haven’t mastered the deprogramming work yet. You get to decide what is and is not acceptable in your relationship — no one else.

Here’s the other reason you don’t feel “done” — he’s mindfucking you and part of you is falling for it. That smog is messing with your head. Let’s UBT some of this shit.

I will leave him soon (I have to move for a new job), and divorce him too, but for us that’s just paperwork.

Uh, whose line is “just paperwork”? Sounds like the sort of cake-y thing a cheater would say. Hey, it’s just paperwork, you’re still my favorite source of auxiliary kibbles, let’s stay friends! Friends let friends keep their 401Ks!

It’s not just paperwork. It’s a new life. Without him. See a lawyer and be highly suspicious of his “paperwork.”

I told him I was going to expose him and the whore to his family, when it’s time to say goodbye.

Rookie chump mistake. Don’t tell him ANYTHING you’re “going to” do. Not about the divorce. Not about exposure. Nada. You do you, and let him suffer his well-earned consequences. There is no achieving consensus with a cheater about their cheating. This is a stupid thing chumps do. “We’ll tell everyone this is your fault, okay?!” Expect that he’s already got his narrative out there (you’re batshit crazy, sexless, and deserved to be cheated on). Tell your truth to whoever you want to. (Although I’m in favor of pithy brevity to those who ask, over 4000-word email blasts to all of Christendom).

Oh, boy, in his nasty emails he tells me we are doing what’s “expected from us”, and that he stopped doing that a few months ago, and he is now a better person, he has learned so much about himself and life.

How nice that betraying you was a personal growth experience for him.

Monogamy is not something he wants, it’s something expected of him.

No, monogamy is something he AGREED to, and a rule he let you play by, but then he unilaterally changed the terms of the relationship agreement. That’s a character problem, not a monogamy problem.

BVC, you’re going to be just fine without this creep in your life. Focus on getting a fair divorce settlement, enjoying that new job, and getting far, far away from the mindfuckery. Your heart will catch up in time, I promise.

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.
  • You never really are ready to do it. You just come to a point where you know you have to. And you have to get your ducks in a row and take care of yourself first. Once the legal stuff is over you can truly have NC, esp if you don’t have kids and can work on a new life without that cancer in your life. There are many steps ahead and leaving him is a big part of the journey towards peace and happiness. I wish you all the best

    • It’s true; leaving is like leaping into the cold ocean on vacation. You know it’s going to be painful, definitely bracing, but swimming requires that you take that leap.

    • Yes, and one day you will be going through your life and no matter how hard it is the thought “This is so much better than being with him” will pop into your brain. I remember the day. I had two kids,8 and 5, I had moved across the country where I knew no one. I was going to grad school full time, teaching full time, moonlighting for more money, taking care of my kids by myself, and doing it with no child support. One day I was helping my older dyslexic daughter with homework, stirring a pot on the stove, and trying to read a book for class at the same time. My youngest was literally tugging on my skirt saying “Mom.
      Mom. Mom. I want some juice. I want some juice…”And I thought, “This is hard, but it is so much better than being with him.”

      It will happen. It takes a while to be “done,” but it gets better. Even when some aspects are worse. It’s better.

      • Absolutely, YES!!!! Don’t underestimate how much that uncomfortable feeling from pick me dancing causes stress in your life and robs your peace and joy. Once you stop, life gets better.

        • One day you look around and go “where the fuck did all the drama go?”
          Oh I remember, right out the door with Douchebag47.
          And the sound of that is like Heavan.

      • JoJoBee, your movie is coming up soon… it’s call Wonder Woman! You Rock! I salute your bravery, commitment to your children and even more importantly, the commitment you show to yourself! He didn’t drag you down! You are soaring in spite of him even having two babies on top of your wings! Wow! You should be applauded!

      • OMG THIS!

        And I thought, “This is hard, but it is so much better than being with him.”
        It will happen. It takes a while to be “done,” but it gets better. Even when some aspects are worse. It’s better.

        Someone wise had said to me “Only YOU will know when you have had enough. When that day comes you will be completely done, walk away & never look back.” Fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful feelings that many chumps suffer from. I think I was the poster child for that but I had finally reached the point where I had had enough and I knew it with every fiber of my being!

        Yes, it is hard with small children-I have one-but it is so worth it! My house is so peaceful-no yelling, screaming, or walking on eggshells AND I can be the kind of mom I want to be without being criticized. No more marriage police. I no longer have to worry about him hiding his phone, where he goes and with who he is with or what massage parlor/hooker he is currently frequenting AND IT FEELS GREAT.

        It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders……..My life is my own again

        Interestingly enough, the Karma bus came early for my ex Mr. Runswithhookers as he died recently. Of course my son is taking it so hard which is tough but it still is no where as tough as staying with a lowdown dirty cheater.

        I recently reconnected with someone I knew from high school and he has been amazing. He is patient, kind, and loving.
        I feel like I am alive again-worthy-and a woman….not a hideous bridge troll that my ex tried to make me feel like. New guy cooks for me & actually listens to me. He likes museums, reading AND amusement parks. In 20 years, Mr. Runswithhookers never even once cooked for me-I had to do everything! New guy makes me realize that in 20 years with my ex that I had settled for so little with my ex & made my needs so small for so long & that my ex really didn’t have any love for me.

        I just can’t believe how much better it feels to be away from the cheater & wish I would have left him years before…………

        • Currentchump – so very happy for you. It took 20 years but you finally have someone who treats you as you deserve. Sometimes maybe it’s the road that was chosen for you. To go through the mountain of pain to get to the other side where it’s peace and happiness and you recognize it so easily because of everything you experienced.

        • I was recently reading through some things I wrote right after we separated and one of them was, “What if I confronted my fear of being alone instead of clinging to a person who doesn’t want me?” I agree with Current Chump that the fear of the unknown, of being alone and functioning without support is a very scary prospect (especially after 36 years together). Why do guards use isolation as punishment in prison? Because humans fear it so much! It is normal to feel afraid of being alone. But sometimes the person we’re with is causing too much damage to be justify staying to evade our fear of striking out on our own.

          • I know you are right Lyn-
            In my case I was so terrified of being alone & with a small child. I had irrational fear of being a bag lady under a freeway over-pass & losing my son. Mr. Runswithhookers had devastated my self-esteem and made me feel worthless & incapable of doing anything. Losing my job prior to DDay didn’t help either.

            It wasn’t until I found CL/CN, got a therapist, and started fighting back that the fear started to subside. I found me again, I found my strength and I found my voice. And you know what else that I found out? I was no longer afraid to be alone with my son….I was afraid of not leaving!! I knew without a doubt that I had to leave to save me & my son from the trainwreck that was his dad………..

            It’s odd at first to be on your own after being shackled with a fuckwit for so long but when it finally sinks in you will see that there really wasn’t anything to be afraid of…….You lost 200+ pounds of misery, put away your pick-me-dance shoes and feel great.
            It’s like getting a second chance at life & its amazing. There might be other things that are tough yet workable but the relaxed, feeling of pure joy of being away from an assclown cheater is like heaven.

            Imagine your favorite place where you could be with a great glass of wine, a book, music etc. and nary a cheating piece of crap in sight to interrupt it.


    • I agree that there comes a point where you realize that if you stay it will destroy you, and you have to save yourself. Even though my ex walked out on me, I had to come to that realization to let go. Staying connected to a person who was dragging me through life instead of being my partner in my life was killing me. Seriously.

  • Just so needed this post today….anyone need a spare vaccum…..think I’m getting Hoover’d by dropknickers since her visit to my dying mum in hospital…thankfully she is such a good person….she visits old people just like her Narc mom. Would like to burn them in hell but thankfully my occasional Catholic belief system tells me karma will take care of that for me…. please let there be a god !!!

    • Mines trying to Hoover me and his Mum is apparently dying, which she is not. He never sees her but now wants to. Call me jaded but I’m pretty sure he’s going to hit her up for money, which she has none of and then scope her out for what the will is looking like, needs narc supply from somewhere.

    • Turn away from the vaccuum. They only do things that LOOK empathetic and human. It isn’t real.

    • Hang in there Bannerman! Sorry to hear your mum is dying – made all the worse by your ex being back on the scene to visit (typical narc impression management ?).
      You probably can’t stop her visits but you could try to avoid her as much ask possible and be ‘grey rock’ if you happen to bump into her.
      Just a thought

  • Deprogramming does take time. I had damn good reasons to have left nowdeadcheater YEARS before he died, but I was in the Unicorn Brigade snorting Hopium.

    What I want to highlight is this : “After some thought, I can see what he is saying. Monogamy is not something he wants, it’s something expected of him.”

    I wonder what pert of the population really has naturally poly inclinations and feigns monogamy out of social pressure. I think my deadcheater is one of them. I dont think he ever wanted a real mono marriage, he SURELY wanted a fabulous image and the cake of a supportive wife, but Im relatively certain that he really never did want the Catholic marriage he claimed to have signed up for.

    We married in 1986 when polyamory wasnt a word and military couples were held to a very narrow spectrum of acceptable behaviors. I think he pretended out of social pressure much bigger that anything I ever pushed on him.

    When I was suddenly single again and could have done whatever I wanted (I already had a career and had given birth to my kids) like a moth to a flame I naturally gravitated to monogamy.

    At the same time I also acknowledge that often people wanting to exit relationships by claiming non monogamy when the truth is that they want out there…they often pair up with a Schmoopie right out of the block.

    • What is hard for me is that STBX does want monogamy, he just didn’t want it with the same person (ie. me) for the rest of his life. Now he wants to give Schmoopie his monogamy. Although I never wanted to share, it was still hard after DDay when he didn’t want me at all because he had her. It bothers me that the only thing that will make me feel better now is if/when he moves on from Schmoopie to go be monogamous with the next one. Serial monogamy.

      • CIR– what you’ve seen is likely the tip of the iceberg: the chances that a cheater can even contemplate let alone execute monogamy are zero by definition.

        They always have whatever they want whenever they feel like it with no regards for anyone else — this is not monogamy.

        They do not and cannot change who they are for you, for the current sluts of the day, for their kids, for anyone or anything…..

        I find comfort in that thought. There really was nothing that I did to cause this and nothing I could have done to prevent or change his character.

        • Amen. The thought of a cheater being monogamous with a whore he cheated with are practically non existent. Statistics prove this. There’s no way one of the cheater couple won’t cheat. It’s just a matter of WHEN.

        • Well maybe he just thinks he does. During reconciliation the MC gave us an article to read. We both agreed the article had no substance as it was mostly just a history of the guy who developed the marriage counseling procedure we were going to use. During our next session, however, STBX said that what he got out of it was that the author was on his second marriage and it was working out just fine. Believe me, that statement did not make me feel good nor did it give me much confidence that STBX was really invested in trying to save our marriage even though the counseling was originally his idea.

      • I’m in a similar spot. I confronted him about 3 minutes after discovering second ridiculous and his immediate response (over the phone) was “this is ridiculous, we have to get a divorce.” And off he went with his new AP who “can’t wait to share a life together.” Teenage daughter will have nothing to do with her. Oh, and his first comment was “I deserve to be happy.”

        I now know he’s been having affairs for 20 years, while I out-earned him, had a child, and gave up my career. Basically my entire adult life wasted on a narcissist. Me? I bought into the vows; that we made decisions based on what’s best for us a couple/family. Total Chump!

        • spelling autocorrect typo — “after discovering second DDay.”

          • Actually, I believe ‘ridiculous’ was the perfect description!!
            Sometimes ‘auto-correct’ gets it right!

            {{{HUGS}}} to you, Giddy…..You ARE mighty indeed!

        • I think the hardest thing to deal with is all the sacrifices we chumps make to stay with someone who doesn’t want us. That’s the party I still struggle with.

            • It is truly difficult to come to terms with the magnitude of sunk costs. Two things helped me: One was accepting that these things were really sunk costs and there is no way to recover them. Two, I accepted that I am but a mere human and allowed myself to make mistakes. I am no saint! It’s an honest mistake to fall for a cheater and I forgive myself. Now that I know better (thanks to CL and the mighty folks here at CN!) I’m able to move on without ever looking back.

      • I thought that was the case too…it was years before I learned there were plenty before Susan of Seattle who he was ostensibly pledging his troth to. The chances he was going to get a personality transplant to be with her was zero.

        • Same here. I started to forgive him as he explained he just fell in love with Schmoopie because she was pursuing so devoutly and I ad allegedly ignored him for years while supporting his underemployed ass. The night of dday I kicked him out. Still felt sad for months till I stumbled on old emails proving he’d had a previous affair 5 years earlier. That changed everything for me.

          • Yup, found out later that he had cheated on me when we were engaged. For three yrs of reconciliation I ate a shit sandwich that included pick me dancing and taking the blame for D-day 1, which took place after two kids and 7 years of marriage. I wasn’t attentive enough, I wasn’t sexual enough, I had grown old and fat, “so what did I expect?” So it was freeing and galling to learn later that he had cheated on me when I was young and beautiful; when we were the most passionate and in love we had ever been. Oh, I get it now, this had nothing to do with me. He was always just a lying, selfish douchebag, incapable of cherishing me. While I am sad about how all this turned out, I am excited too. Now I get to steer the ship for me and my kids without having to argue and compromise with and please that overgrown underearning poor excuse for a husband.

  • BVC,

    Don’t confuse being “done” with “getting over it.” Sounds like you’re already done, which means resolving to leave and following through, *regardless* of how you feel about it. Getting over it is something that never happens for most of us chumps, especially this of us who were married for decades or had children with our cheaters. For us, our infidelity experience is a scar we may carry forever. But with a little perspective (a function largely of TIME), we come to value our scars as badges of honor, Purple Hearts in the battle to live an authentic life.

    As someone once told me when I was where you now stand, “some things we never get over, we only get past.”

    Wishing you strength for the journey.

    • Yes, if my memory serves, Nomar and I were both chumped a good while back and are both happily remarried. I come here to encourage but I also come here to process…there are few safe places to openly discuss abusive adultery.

      I have giant scars from my first marriage but the shit I learned sure did teach me a lot about people and what I really needed in a partner. I now appreciate my new H even though if we had married young, his quirks might have driven me batty…now I work with his quirks and deeply treasure his virtues.

    • “some things we never get over, we only get past.”

      Well said nomar. Its exactly how i look at it. I will bear those scars with honor and those scars help carry me forward. Ive always been a strong person this shit taught me im stronger than i ever imagined i could be. Us chumps escape their lives, the cheaters do not.

    • This is exactly on point. I spent most of my adult life with X, raised a family, shared a profession, buried parents and other loved ones, and spent virtually every waking hour with X. We were of the verge of retirement, looking forward to the “golden years.” Because of that, he will never just be “someone that I used to know.” Our lives together formed the fabric of who I am today.

      That being said, I know it is possible to create a new life, one that is true to who I am and the values I believe in. Leaving my marriage was not without pain, and the scars are always there. But those scars are also part of who I am; I am damn proud of them because they mean I survived! I did not give up, I persevered, and I now have the life I want, warts and all. I do not run from the memories of my marriage. I embrace them as part of who I am.

      How do you know when you can no longer tolerate your particular situation? A friend of mine said, “When the pain of staying is greater than the fear of leaving, that’s when you know you are ready to leave.” It was some of the best advice I received and certainly proved true for me. When I looked ahead, I saw misery and more misery, lie upon lie. All the apologies in the world were not going to change who X was. Was it easy to leave? Fuck no! Was it the best thing I ever did for myself? Hell to the yes!

      • Violet, yes. “When the pain of staying is greater than the fear of leaving” is so true!
        After being the marriage police, ignoring red flags, dancing & getting physically ill from it all.. I just couldn’t do it any longer. My health was mentally & physically was at stake. Husband of 34 years, won out & I allowed him to have ow by divorcing him.
        Hopefully my heart will catch up to my brain- I wish them some day they will pay for what they did.,
        I was humiliated & discarded in such a Cruel manner.
        Hugs to all chumps…

        • Violet and Kathleen,
          I’m right there with you both. After 34 years, I find out via FB Messaging that he’s been talking, flirting, seeing, and screwing a “friend” on FB… married woman of 3 children! What woman does that? married with children go for another man then go home and sleep with your own husband! After forgiving his infidelity and betrayal, doing all I could do to “save our marriage” including therapy he does it again! Same woman. My red flags were going off, then his cell phone died, thought it was odd that he didn’t want the thousands of pictures in his phone to be transferred… a month later, I had an opportunity to download what I could unto a laptop because that voice in my head kept telling me to check the phone…. found about 10 images… him sending his private parts from our shower to her… her sending hers to him…. dirty jokes, flirtations, meeting for lunch… and all during the exact timing of when we were trying to reconcile. During the time that I had BEGGED HIM … “Please, don’t make me your fool!”… he did. my second discover day was much more painful than the first. It’s been 3 months since the second discover and 17-24 months of his total cheating cycle.. that I know of… I’m still living with him under one roof, I’ve been in my daughters’ old room since the second DD, but I’ve been busy… closing on a house in June! packing, buying new items, learning how to be stronger, he’s tried everything to change my mind, telling me there is noone else for him, etc. etc.. nope. I’m leaving and that is what I focus on! Everyday I read this blog which has provided me so much strength when I felt weak! I had two big health scares due to the stress while being here… but I keep my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything happens for a reason…I’m supposed to do, and be something different.. a new chapter is around the corner… A better me, improved, whole, and happy. I will survive and I will soar!

          • Oh CC, you are me six years ago! I was in a very long term marriage, kids were on their way to being adults and boom, I was blinded when X’s affair was very publicly exposed. There was no way he could deny what he had done, but he swore it was an isolated incident. Of course, he begged and begged me to stay, promised the OW meant absolutely nothing to him. I believed him. How could I not? We were “soulmates”.

            Like you, I did everything I knew to get our marriage back on track and I believed he was 100% committed to repairing the damage he had done. No, he just took everything underground. I kept catching him in small lies and once discovered a throw away phone in his car. Another big blow out, another string of promises ensued.

            Marriage counseling, individual counseling, trips to “reconnect”, I tried it all, because I believed he was sincerely trying to be faithful. Of course, he had no intention of ever giving up his side fuck. The final blow came when I walked into our shared office (in the middle of the day) and there he was, on the phone with OW! He had a million excuses, but I was done.

            So much has happened since I finally walked away. I was able to negotiate an excellent settlement, but I also carry a great deal of financial responsibilities. My kids are in various stages of college and post-college. X is terminally ill and, while I do not have to interact much with him, I do administer the trust that pays for his care. I also help my children make decisions about him. I am not completely NC, but it is definitely on my terms.

            The karma bus hit both X and OW going 100 mph, backed up, and ran over them again. But you know what? I don’t even care anymore. I am so busy living my life that what happens to them is not my concern. I am single by choice and do not have any desire to ever remarry.

            Each day I wake up, grateful to be alive and excited about what the day may bring. I work at what I love, I garden, read, spend time with my family and friends and do whatever in the hell I please. After years of tending to everyone else, I am taking care of myself. I promise that one day in the not so distant future, you will feel the same way. You are on the way to creating the future of your choosing. I wish you all the best on your new journey!

      • Yes, Violet, nomar & the rest…. Exactly! Describes my experience, as well.

        These comments will go in my ‘Keepers’ file….Those of us with genuine, authentic hearts do not turn off our bonds of love & life like a light-switch (thank goodness)

        Wise words here, BVC. Please take them to heart!

        Love all ‘ya all as we continue to ForgeOn!!!

      • Violet, your married life sounds like mine, thirty-nine years of marriage. Both of us were young and immature. I overlooked many things in our marriage, but this I cannot overlook. With social media, everything is in your face, to the point it can’t be ignored. My marriage helped make the person I am today, but also helped make me not trust another relationship. I think I would rather be alone and at peace. No more lies or betrayal.

      • I spent most of my adult life with my x as well, 31 years together, two children, a business, a comfortable home. Our lives together might once have formed, as Violet said, “the fabric of who I am today,” but I am now engaged in the absorbing and exciting process of reweaving that fabric. I am becoming my own person again—the person whose growth was cut short and stunted when I met the narcissistic asshole who decided I was the perfect victim and an essential prop in his stage-managed facade of a life.

        Being with my x necessitated that I be someone who I am not. Someone who put him on a pedestal, who went along with his “my way or the highway” attitude, who prioritized his needs above our childrens’. Slowly, steadily, over the three decades we were together, he effected my transformation from the lively, curious, independent, trusting young woman I used to be into an agoraphobic, anxiety-ridden, frigid, fearful old hag. It happened so slowly I didn’t even realize it was happening.

        I am NOT the person he wanted to make of me. Much to my regret, I spent way too much time (unsuccessfully) trying to be. It took a long time to come around to this realization, but I was LUCKY he discarded me when he did. At 61, I still have time to rediscover who I really am and live an honest life going forward. Having been married so long to an abusive narcissist, I hardly even know, but the exciting part is finding out and having the freedom to do so.

        So yes, for me my x is definitely on the way to being “somebody I used to know,” and nothing more.

        • While my X was an ass, I never endured some of the very horrendous things I read about here. I know that makes me very fortunate. Oddly, when we were first married , X strongly encouraged me to obtain advanced degrees and aggressively compete in what was then a man’s world. He never, ever stunted me professionally and in fact, was really proud of my accomplishments.

          It wasn’t until he got older and was no longer the shining star in his own field that he began to change. He just couldn’t accept it when he slipped from the saddle. Now, X definitely was always narcissistic, but he was never abusive (even during the very worst of it). So for me, I will always appreciate the support X gave me early on, even though I hate what he became at the end of our marriage.

      • “Being with my x necessitated that I be someone who I am not. Someone who put him on a pedestal, who went along with his “my way or the highway” attitude, who prioritized his needs above our children’.”

        Champ chump, that statement really resonates with me. I also “grew up” with my husband, having met him at age 16. It’s not like he was just a part of my life, our relationship spanned most of my life’s history. It’s so hard to watch him now semi-retired and spending lots of time with our grown children when he was constantly working and traveling with his coworker Schmoopie when we were married. For over 30 years I was often alone and isolated. I hate that he now has time for family he didn’t before, and that I’ve lost so much time with my kids and grandkids because of his decisions. However, I do feel better living my own life and not having to pretend to outsiders that everything is okay. It feels good to take care of myself instead of everyone else.

    • Done versus getting over it. Thanks Nomar. So true. 32 years. I am done. He was horrid. Getting over it? Gonna take a lot of time. And no one gets it except those who have travelled this road.

    • So well said Nomar. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it. I still try to understand it (untangle that skein). I just can’t imagine leaving the life you’ve built with your wife of 18 years and teens.

      On Dday # 2 when I discovered him chasing after his young Schmoopie, burning up the emails and texts, planning an expensive trip, I knew I was done. He is a bottomless pit of need and there’s just nothing to fill that void. He texted me he was sorry and had made a huge mistake. I texted him back and said “I’m done. Amicable” then turned off my phone. My brain knew the right thing to do in that sucker punch to the stomach moment.

      It really does take a while for the ole’ heart to catch up with the brain. I’m one year out and now sleeping and unfortunately eating well again. My life feels easier since I’m no longer walking on egg shells.

      As for the ole geezer and Schmoopie? I’m not sure. I listened to CL & CN and didn’t try to investigate the twu wuvs. I don’t know if it’s still an ongoing ‘thang’ or if it fizzled quickly. It really makes no difference in what I have to do for me–the only person I can control in all of this.

      I have 2 beautiful children who have to deal with him now. It’s always about what he wants or thinks he needs. They are just walk on’s in his drama show titled ‘Entitelment and All About Me’.

      Hold strong and know you are on the right path. Ignore any signs that tell you to take a detour from the path to ‘meh’.

      • Thank you. Needed to hear all of that today. Bottomless pit of need that can never be satisfied is exactly right.

    • “As someone once told me when I was where you now stand, “some things we never get over, we only get past.” …

      Thanks for this, Nomar.

      I’ll remember it because its how I feel now. I’ll never get over it … but I will get past it.

    • Agreed. It took me 5 years post d-day of internal hand-wringing before I finally built up the courage to get out. We had 3 children, a beautiful home and I was a respected figure in the community. Outwardly –
      The perfect family. So much was at stake and I knew the statistics of children of divorce which scared me.

      My belly knew it was over for awhile and I was hoping upon hoping that I’d change my mind. In those quiet moments, I would often pray “God! Please! Change my mind!” However, once you learn who your spouse really is, you can never unlearn it; it’s gut knowledge. You may stuff it down and pretend for awhile but the truth always seeps out. You become shackled in your own mind of truth and it’s downright crazy-making.

      My plan was to wait it out 5 more years for the kids to be almost gone. However, when I could barely get off the couch or would go for runs and start sobbing inexplicably, I knew I had to get out sooner rather than later. Stress is somatic and can’t be hidden, it always comes out in one form or another. Anyway, I could no longer stay for the kids, but I had to leave for the kids.

      3 years out, my only regret is that I didn’t do it years earlier. It took me two years post divorce to see him for who he really is with clarity. I also learned in this time that he is a much worse person than I thought and a total conman…I just couldn’t see clearly with all the mindfuckery.

      Get out. A new chapter awaits!


  • Thank you so much, ChumpLady!!

    Laughs and wisdom. I’m smiling and can start the day.

    Being Mighty is the gift chumps have to look forward to.

    Thank you so much for sharing your hard-won wisdom with us.

  • Thanks, CL! Well, I can see my mistake: wanting this to end yesterday. Patience is not my strong suit. So I’ll keep going and I’ll get to done.

    The “just paperwork” is for both of us. I never wanted to get married, as in “sign a contract”, but we had to do it 10 years ago, when he moved to another country and the only way I could be with him was to marry and get a visa. The date when we got married has never been important to me. The important date was the day we started living together.

    • But that “paperwork” is also your bank accounts, your house, car, retirement accounts, and spousal support (which he very well might demand from you). Seriously. See a lawyer.

      • Yes! And you will be surprised how that thing he “didn’t want” and felt “pressured” into will be what he will very willingly use against you. Regardless of whether or not it meant something to either of you–that paperwork means something culturally and legally, especially economically. Listen to Traffic Spiral–lawyer up.

      • I already did see a lawyer, Traffic_Spiral. We only have money and cars, and I moved half of that to be under my control already. He can’t ask for support, though, because I’ve left several jobs to move with him, and I always earned less. Right now, I am unemployed, as a matter of fact.

        I guess I explained myself badly with the paperwork thing. I meant that divorcing him is not hard at all, because the _legal contract_ that tie us is just a piece of paper. My “marriage” does not exist anymore even if I am still married, and I saw that almost immediately: I found a lawyer the first week after DDay. Divorce is just something I need to do to cut my ties to him, and doing it is very easy. In a couple of hours I’ll go to my lawyer to start it.

        • BVC you are mighty! It’s devastating. It’s hard to react and not freeze in the moment.

          Do you have children or can you make a clean break?

  • Like Phool says, there can be a gap between intellectually knowing you’re done and feeling it in every fiber of your being. BVC, you seem like a smart person, It’s okay to fake it till you make it if your actions now will result in the future you want, and someone who would slutshame you for wanting him to honor monogamous vows he made of his own free will just doesn’t seem like a good investment.

    There is also a gap between done and meh, too. I find that three years out any semblance of the Taint brushing up against my life has very little impact. The point where you have a safe and separate life requires a series of tough decisions now. One of the changes I’ve mad in my life is I pay for large purchases with cash now. That includes paying a large home and car insurance premium once a year. It’s not fun, exactly, I don’t look forward to it, but it saves money overall and removes worry from my life. No Contact was Sanity Insurance Policy. I immediately removed as many reasons as I could for any sort of Contact. I refused to allow him back to pick over belongings he left behind. I refused to listen to Stories of the Baby Mama Struggle.

    Now it’s been said by certain parties that because I comment here I’m “Not Over It.” Meh. I comment because I am. I’m amazed how little that episode of my life affects me now. I like to get the word out that you can’t control the Whorenado, but you can survive it. With a cure dress and some Margaritas!

    • Luz, you pay it forward in your inimitable style, and we’re all glad you do. You’re one of the mightiest examples of Meh out there. (“Pie, bitches!”)

      • And some misspellings! I’m blaming it on the knee scope dilaudid. I can share my misspelled wisdom, but not my dilaudid!

        • Well I love “cure” dress. A cute dress is a kind of cure. I know my self esteem was in the toilet because cheater made me feel so unattractive. Putting on a cute dress, going to the salon, finally growing out my red hair long the way I liked it and not keeping it short bobbed and blond the way cheater said “was the only way it looked kind of decent” has been a cure.

          • I have long redish hair too. It’s also curly and somewhat unruly. STBX used to complain that it was too poufy and I looked like I had an afro. That is why it means so much to me whenever I get a compliment on may hair from other people which actually happens a lot.

            • Redheads are 2% of the population. Our cheaters had actual majestic unicorns and they were too stupid to know it.

              P.S. I LOVE curls!

              • And I absolutely LOVE red hair! ALL shades of red! Special stuff, that……

                So glad to hear my two fellow chumps have learned how to rock that gorgeous red hair once again!

  • Love this. Finally, I can put into words WHY it took 12 years and several D-Days to leave. Have been asked by so many why I stayed — even asked myself. When I bond to someone it’s deep. Can’t explain it. That’s just my heart. And also why I need to take sufficient time to fix my picker before getting out there again. Kudos to BVC for avoiding wreckonciliation. Keep moving towards Tuesday!

    • Don’t be hard on yourself. You loved him truly. Hats what’s you expected from
      him. That’s normal when you commit to life with someone. Making the decision to leave isn’t easy. It takes strength.

  • Brilliant and funny at the same time.

    Thank you for all that you do for us chumps, CL.

  • Just block his ass, you are done. You have to look at them objectively and it takes space to do that.

  • Hi BVC,

    I used to be a huge fan of the scorch the earth goodbyes. I think I get it from my grandmother. When she separated from my grandfather, he was failing out of LSU, and she decided to bring that information to the attention of the Draft Board. He got an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam.

    When Uncle Dad left, I found a huge box of propriety files he had been collecting on his previous employer. He had planned to take them to his new employer (competitor of his old company) and attempt to put the previous employer out of business.

    So I gave the previous employer copies of his files. And he got sued and had to surrender all of his licenses. And can never work in the medical field again.

    Now, sure, it felt great! But do you know what Uncle Dad does now? He is in pharmaceuticals. And not the legal kind. And he hasn’t seen his kids in so long. His house is unsafe to go to. He has supervised visitation that he never utilizes.

    So did I do the right thing?

    I don’t know.

    We make choices. Some are obviously good, like eating vegetables instead of ice cream for dinner. Some are obviously bad. Robbing little old ladies at gun point is bad.

    Everything else? I don’t know.

    Should you tell her family? It might make you feel better. If she’s not married, though, what else are you getting out of it? Her family is going to stick by her, unless she has a wire mesh monkey mother like mine who pays her ex husband’s attorney’s bills (long story best told in therapy).

    You best best is focusing ON YOU. what will get you through this easier. What will help your transition? What’s going to help your attorney fight for you easily? Taking out billboards calling out your husband and his mistress is NOT going to do that.

    Now, you don’t see that. You don’t see the wisdom in not kicking a hornets nest, but trust me, it will prevent the inevitable stings down the road.

    Big, strong, hugs! You’re a superhero for living with this cockhole while deatwith all of this! But I believe in you!!!?

    • The takeaway from this is don’t fuck with Kelli, or any of the women in her family. I kind of love the draft board story, but I’m evil that way.

      • I didn’t find out about that until I was 21 or so. And it was thanksgiving of all days. They divorced, obviously. But I think that was the most delicious part of the day!

    • Also, I think you know you’re done when you’re talking about divorce as being “just paperwork.”

      I think you know you’re done when you are willing to find a job, move, and do all of that without him.

      I think you know you’re done when you stop sharing your life with your partner.

      I knew I was done when Uncle Dad texted me at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, our daughter’s 2nd birthday, saying he couldn’t make the small family dinner with cake and ice cream that we had planned for her. We planned such a small party because she had chicken pox at the time so it was just us and my parents and his mom.

      He came up with some bullshit story about a conference in a city 3 hours away that he was already halfway to. He had gone to this same conference like 2 weeks before.

      8 weeks later, he was increasingly distant, so late one night I went through his phone and found a sonogram picture from a baby he conceived that night at a concert in a town 3 hours away. That’s the night I kicked him out. He also attacked me and I ended up with superglue stitched in my scalp. He was arrested.

      I filed a restraining order the next business day. I filed for divorce a week later.

      That’s how I knew I was done.

      But it’s different for everyone. I had a 2 and 3 year old. I had been married 4 years. I wasn’t going to let my daughters see me treated like that and think it’s ok.

      • Kelli,
        When I think of mighty, I think of YOU!
        Your daughters have a solid rock Mom.
        You have been through so much,
        which you have handled with an amazing strength and determination!

        As for cheaters, I just read a great quote:
        “You can’t put a flower in an asshole and call it a vase.”

          • Kelli, I put up with so many beatings and so much walking on eggshells because I was afraid that he would get kicked out of France, and while I would have loved it (put him on a space ship and shoot him to the moon as far as I was concerned) I was worried about my kids. But one day he pinned me to the bed and threatened me with a broken whiskey bottle. I called my counsellor sobbing that I didn’t know what to do because he needed a permit to live in France. Counsellor said for God’s sake do it, so I dashed off to the hospital to get examined in order to take that report to the police. The doctor said “what are you waiting for, for him to put you in a coffin”. That’s when I knew I was done. Both my kids and I are EU citizens and could stay in France – ex is American so I wasn’t sure what would happen to him, but in the he would have to face the consequences. I couldn’t do it any more, I was done! The good news is that when French schmoopie cheated on him he hooked up with an old HS friend so he ended up moving back to the US. Then he was too lazy to regularize his paperwork over here so of course the French were still making him pay taxes over here as he hadn’t handed back his residence permit. Eventually the Twat had to give it up of pay taxes and now me and the kids ARE FREEEEEEEE and loving it. We’re all done.

  • “Don’t tell him ANYTHING you’re “going to” do. Not about the divorce. Not about exposure. Nada. You do you, and let him suffer his well-earned consequences.”


    Fuck him! That’s where you’re going, but you’re not there yet. Fuck him.

    Did he warn you that he was going to start cheating on you? Did he give you ample enough preparation time for that? Did he let you know ahead of time that he’d be out there giving a false narrative of your marriage to anyone who would listen?

    No, he didn’t.

    So now, follow the standard divorce protocol. Take each step that would be totally expected of anyone leaving a cheating loser. He doesn’t require any “warning” of the obvious outcomes of his actions. He knows the outcomes; he’s just blaming you for them.

    • I had that light bulb moment recently. Realised I don’t need to tell him shit all, everything gets used against me anyways including my feelings. Gee I could even lie to him if I wanted. I find that hard to do but I don’t tell him much now, just the minimum. Play your cards close to your chest.

    • THIS!! stop playing by the rules of “fair play” that obviously do not govern him. Knowledge is power. Forewarned is forearmed. Stop arming him.

  • There was part of this letter that really spoke to me today. The part where the AP is exposed. I really wanted that too.
    I was like ” you are gonna leave me?? Blow up my world??? Think I’m not gonna tell EVERYBODY about you and that whore??”
    There is something just over the top awful about getting cheated on, discarded, and then humiliated with the ” she sucked as a wife, I had to get outta there……y’all don’t even know…” that they spin to everybody.
    It takes a loooong time to achieve meh, and anybody that reads here with any regularity knows I’m just salivating like a rabid dog for the karma bus to get my ex. I will say this, you don’t need to say anything about him or her. They are both morally bankrupt people and anybody that really cares about you will know that, any body who is on the fence can just go.
    Your ex is going to do a ton of shit now to show he was justified in blowing up your life. Mine moved in with her, fathers her children from previous relationships, has found religion ( I know….that’s rich, right??) anything to legitimize what he had done and not just be viewed as a cliche.
    Anybody that knows me or knew us and buys this is not for me and can vacate my life with no hard feelings, and anybody on the fence ( Switzerland) can just go. I do not care what is said about me by him anymore. I was not a shitty wife, he was a shitty husband.
    I still pray for Karma, whatever form that comes in. But, I am at peace with who I was in the marriage, you need to be too. If you trash him, he’ll just spin it into you being a bitter ex.
    Don’t take the bait, just be thankful you got out and focus on your new life. It’s a much better way to spend your time.

    • Thanks PW – I did tell his family and our close friends and family what he did – but I am done with that. I did control the narrative. When he sees people we both know – he acts like nothing changed. His FB(my friend tells me – he is no longer my friend) still has our family photos, says he is married. Image management? Who knows?

      I can’t even imagine his family accepting her – she gave up custody of her young daughter to be with Cheater X – she lied about the paternity of her son to collect child support from the wrong man. They were evil and awful to me. How can anyone accept them? But they probably will. They are both somewhat charming. But they are morally bankrupt like you say. Truly.

      I need to work on me. Still have trouble processing 32 years married and looking forward to retirement together and I get cheater?
      I feel so stupid sometimes.

      I want to see Karma too – I hear things at his job are not going well – this is where he met AP. I will keep you posted on that one!

    • Ditto to all of this, 100% @Paintwidow. I didn’t actively blow up anybody’s world with NEWS or anything but I espouse CL’s philosophy of “pithy brevity to those who ask” (plus 4000-word email blasts to *close* people who ask for more). You’re so right that you need to see past the smog and anger and really remember what you were like during the marriage. What were your actions? I’m 100% okay with mine and I back all of them. Except for the extra-chumpiness in my soul that made me not stand up for myself and ask to be treated with basic common decency for several years. Haha. Still, it’s good to look back and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I did everything I could for him, and for us. What he chose to do with my good-faith investment in him? Not on me.

    • I openly tell anyone who wants to know we broke up because he had an affair. Mums at school, my kids teacher, anyone. After I through his ass out I rang his mother and emailed his sisters, wasn’t going to waste time and let him say we grow apart or I was a control freak which is what he said.
      Redirected his mail to his work,, crossing his name off and writing ‘cheater’
      Emailed whore and told her what I thought of her and said she could have him, then emailed her husband and finally wrote his local side bitch a letter, which was politish, she claims I invaded her privacy, oh the hypocrisy. If I see her in town she better run as I will publicly call her out and don’t give a rats if I come off as cra.
      Fuck them. Im stronger and faster and fitter thanks to being free of the mindfuck, good stuff is coming my way as Im being bolder out of necessity. 5 months out and the hurt is going and the bad dreams are slowing, replaced by a calm and resolution.

    • In regards to “outing the AP”. It bothers me that STBX and Schmoopie don’t get that their relationship has no validity. They think it is a positive thing and if others don’t accept it that will be my fault for not accepting it myself and for letting people know how their relationship started. They did wrong, but somehow I am the bad guy. This is why it makes me so mad that our divorce mediator was telling me in front of STBX that I should encourage the kids to have a relationship with Shmoopie. Now STBX thinks his relationship is valid and he is setting me up to take the fall if/when his relationship with his kids is strained because of her. It will be all my fault for not accepting her. He also says things like “someday when the kids meet her and realize that she isn’t so bad and they don’t mind being around her, I am afraid you will try to keep me from spending time with the kids”. Ok, first of all, once we have the marriage agreement in place I won’t be able to keep him away from his kids during his allotted time. It just means I will be spending less time with the kids myself if I choose to avoid family events on his side because she is there. Second of all, she is that bad. She knowingly developed a relationship with somebody else’s husband and actively and deliberately took action to ensure that reconciliation was not going to happen. Any good traits she has do not change the demonstrated fact that she is a selfish, self-absorbed person, but then so is STBX, so maybe they really are soul mates. That doesn’t make their relationship ok though, and there is no reason why I should ever have to validate it by acting like I accept it “for the sake of the children”.

      It also bothers me that although he told the boys that he had been unfaithful and that is why we are divorcing, he didn’t tell them that the relationship is still going on or who it is. I don’t have to out him, however, because my daughter knows all about it and already didn’t like the woman before she knew, so if he tries to palm her off as a brand new girlfriend after the divorce, daughter will rat them out for me.

      • You don’t have to listen or act on anyone else’s advise except your own. If you can keep the kids away avoid that stuff altogether. I have no court order because he’s to lazy to organise it and I would rather have the power to determine when he can sees the kids. Don’t give your power away or try to be nice to these fuckers, they don’t get it. Stall long enough and they will crash and burn but don’t try and nice the situation in the hope it will be reciprociated. Cheaters will dud over kids feelings like they did yours, probably think it all makes life more interesting, blended families and whatever. Keep reading and play harder.

        • Blended families. Oh yes. She has five children, four still living at home. We had dinner at their house with her family before us spouses knew anything was going on. The kids did not hit it off. They weren’t meant to each other or anything, but they just ignored each other. Her youngest two eve blew off my youngest when he tried to be friendly and he is usually able to make friends with anybody. Her second oldest still at home just hid in her room the whole time with the exception of dinner itself. Her oldest still at home was the only one who made any attempt to be hospitable and my oldest tried to be nice back but it was awkward as they really had nothing in common. If STBX is thinking Brady Bunch, he is in for a rude awakening. That rude awakening will, of course, be all my fault just like everything in his life that goes wrong is my fault.

          • You should not call her names, talk negatively about her, or make your kids feel guilty if they do spend time with her. However, it is NOT your responsibility to create a bridge between your kids and the OW. Leave that to cheater to navigate. As long as you are not standing in the way or preventing them from spending time with their dad, you should be good legally.

      • Chump in recovery- right there with you on this!

        I am currently in the midst of the court ordered online parenting class for how to be a good divorced parents. Don’t get me started on how ridiculous it is even though I am trying to keep an open mind. The majority of it so far doesn’t even apply to our situation. It is the government treating us like widgets. The parts that do apply fail to consider that my stbx is a cluster b narc socio or psychopath something and all this all business respectful shared parenting is just never going to happen. If that was possible, he wouldn’t have been a cheater for years who singlehandedly planned his departure with no discussion and then dropped the bomb and left.

        This same jerk who left without ever extending so much as a dinner invitation to his children the first six months and barely a few more in the last 6 months is now requesting joint custody since he is realizing the cost savings. I have no doubt he will come to mediation like the snake charmer he is, his mask in place. Now I have to learn how to play the game so I don’t look crazy for wanting to deny this loving father (gag) his children. It is that world where I feel guilty until proven innocent even though he is the adulterer who auditioned schmoopies he met drunk in bars by sleeping with them until he found the perfect one! Isn’t that who we all want raising our children?

        • Feelingit – make sure you have his lack of parenting time documented. I have been keeping a calendar for 18 months. My STBX isn’t going for any custody but I wouldn’t put it past him to change his tune. Key is to show the reality of the time he actually spends with the kids. Especially when it comes to things like parent/teacher conferences, doctor appointments, etc.

          • Thanks, I definitely document his lack of time but I have only more recently realized I need to document all I do. I have started.

  • Hi BVC. Regarding you not yet seeing the entitlement before D Day, it was there thus the cheating. You won’t be able to see it until you have no contact. I was amazed at the things I remembered later that I just had put out of my mind in order to function. Things other people can confirm so I know I am not making it up in my head. Things like not being able to get a hold of him at all to pick up the kids or support me when my dad was being resuscitated from a major heart attack. Later when my dad was still in a coma ex was irrationally mad at me and yelling instead of supportive since I was upset I could not get a hold of him. He was with a difficult customer you know. I put that out of my head. After Dday and I found the phone records of where he really was when I and the kids needed him then it all came back to me. You will see that your cheater sucked before dday too after you get time away from him. You will get through this too!

    • My ex husbands Dad fell playing a game called wiffle ball at a campground about 3 hours from our home. The ex and I were scheduled to take 115 high school marching band kids( including our daughter) to their state competition the following morning, this would be Saturday.I was the band parent president and these kids had worked day, night, rain, mosquitos….you name it, on this marching show, for MONTHS.
      The dad in law was hospitalized on Fri night with the idea that the hip needed to be operated on to place a screw but since the dad in law was diabetic the surgery wouldn’t be done till Monday to get his sugar regulated first. I suggested that the ex go with me to take the band kids since the dad in law was stable and resting, and that afternoon we would go together to be with his parents till the situation resolved. The dad in law didn’t have a heart attack or stroke, he displaced a hip.
      The ex said I was heartless and that was the moment he decided he couldn’t be with me anymore….because I’m such an awful person who didn’t care about his parents. He left to go that morning and dropped me on the band competition, stayed for 4 days with his mom who was telling him to leave me the whole time, came home and got the worst atty money can buy and asked me for a divorce 2 months later after he had what he thought were ” his ducks in a row”.
      In fact, and I’m grateful for it, all he had done was made sure he had a soft place to land with the schmoopie.
      All those pesky affairs had nothing to do with it, it was my lack of concern over his dads wiffle ball injury that sealed my fate.
      You can’t make this shit up.

    • This is soo true, they dassle us and confuse us to keep us in a state of self doubt. Mine left me at work without a car, he needed it to go surfing aka meet shag a bag in secret. There was a bush fire a few kms from my work and I would have to ride share home if anything happened. I do not trust peoples judgements in these situations and hated not having my car to leave when I thought it was getting too close. I used to joke he didn’t have a masculine protective instinct, yes not so funny!

      • Oh yeah, you just reminded me of the fight we had about locking our back door. He said the odds of someone breaking in were very low, and if someone really wanted to break in, they would find a way. So I went into detail trying to describe to him what it feels like to be a woman, the first-time mother of a young child, who feels fearful about someone breaking in and harming her and the baby. I told him how my own mother had been the near-victim of two convicted murderers in her lifetime. “Ok, I get that, you have fears that I don’t” he said, “but it’s so much more convenient to leave it unlocked. What if I forget my keys?”

        It would take 8 more years and 3 Ddays to finally understand how little he cherished me.

    • I so agree, Chumpedbutgood, about realizing things after you go NC. I am now 6 years out and 1.5 divorced. I still occasionally, usually when I am waking, remember some incident that I had blocked from my memory many years ago. Then I see it with new eyes and realize that was another time he cheated. I think these things are coming up so that I can refile them in my memory and let things go. It’s like my mind is gradually cleaning up things so that they won’t bother me anymore. I really was good at ignoring all the signs of cheating for 33 years. Now, I am much more aware in all my relationships. It is so much healthier. Every day I am freer.

  • When one plans to scorch the earth (tell his family about what he has been doing) why tell him of your plans? I would be afraid. You never know what triggers these horrible people. Bide your time and get out. There is no reasoning with this man.

  • (Un)fortunately for me, I never had to worry about threatening to expose my wife’s affair since many people knew about it long before I did. It took much longer to become obvious to me because she would deny it, and I loved her and trusted her.

    I tried to work with her for a long time to see if she would change, but she wouldn’t. And during that time, I just looked at her actions (that were ongoing through “limbo”) and finally reached the point where I was sick of being so completely disrespected. I had just had enough. And so I filed.

    That’s where you need to get to in order to file for divorce. It’s the point where you see your spouse’s actions for what they are and have had enough of the disrespect. Some reach that point off the bat, some (like me) don’t. But once you get there and you file, you know that you’re doing the right thing.

    • It stuns me how many people knew and either condoned through inaction or actively supported. Yikes!

  • “The deprogramming process is also why people on the outside looking in don’t get it. She treats you like SHIT, why don’t you LEAVE?! ”

    This is so true. Even as a fellow chump it is hard to get this. For everyone else who posts my thought is “thank god he/she is rid of him/her”. In my own situation, however, it is hard to feel grateful to be losing STBX. I even recognize now that he hasn’t treated me very well for years. In spite of it all, however, he does have his good qualities too and it is hard not to focus on the fact that I am losing that along with all of the bad stuff. And those sunk costs, I did so much for him, put so much into this relationship, how could it not have paid off? It is especially hard knowing that Shmoopie is getting all of the good stuff and none of the bad right now. That used to be my situation and now it’s not and I miss it. My brain knows that eventually she will encounter the bad too, but my heart fears that won’t happen and they will live happily ever after while I am left alone. I need to get beyond that thinking and start seeing it as I am gaining my freedom and she will be stuck with him. It is so hard, however, and I just don’t know how long it will take to get there.

    • Another thing that is hard is that he is putting effort into reconciling with his kids and being a better Dad. For their sake I want that and have been encouraging it, but at the same time I am jealous. I wish he had felt that I was worth putting the effort into reconciling our marriage too. Instead he chose to take the easy way out by starting over with somebody new.

      • CIL, I’m sorry for how sad you are right now. It truly isn’t fair what we’ve had to deal with. But trust that he will show his true character in time – right now it’s just image management, but the mask will slip again eventually. My ex also has many good qualities, and for a long time I was just so hurt and angry that he chose to leave rather than make our marriage work. It’s extremely hurtful to be discarded like that and then try to feel any sense of self-worth. If the one person we thought loved us most in the world doesn’t, what kind of person must I be? Will I have to spend the rest of my life alone while he sails off happily into the sunset with schmoopie? This thinking assumes that something you did caused his betrayal, and you aren’t worthy of a relationship. THIS ISN’T TRUE! Only time, and maybe some counseling, will help you see that you truly are better off without him. Keep focusing on building your new awesome life – regardless of what he’s doing with his – and you’ll start to see how much better off you are without him. Big hugs to you and know that it will get better, I promise!!

      • Oh yes chump in recovery. You still want what you thought you had or could have had. I feel that all the time. You are jealous that he appears to have that with scmoopie but keep reminding yourself he doesn’t. He is not a good person. Good people do not cheat or at the very least if they do, they realize they screwed up and are remorseful. No good person tries to justify the unjustifiable.

        Believe me, acceptance of this is another story. I keep repeating it to myself and every once in awhile I catch a tiny glimpse of what I think might be meh but I have a long way to go.

        Simple good advice from chump lady: Trust he sucks! (No matter who he is with or what you think you see!)

    • I have the same thoughts. People keep telling me to just pay no attention to what he and she are doing. It’s really hard to ignore. I think it’s because of working so hard and long (30 years for me) to make their lives as pleasant as possible. Tough to admit it was seemingly all for nothing. I spent a lot of time in Psalms, praying for revenge,justice,truth and light and that the Lord remembers how X treated the “wife of his youth”.
      No, God has not struck him dead ? but I have been given some grace. It is only my perception of what is happening and not what really is happening. Maybe this is the beginning of healing and seeing with clear eyes what really is and not what I think is. I never knew what was truly happening in my marriage so how is it that I am grieving what I think is going on now? I don’t have a clue how to explain what he is doing now. None of it makes sense. So I think my brain tries to make up a fantastical scenario where X is still the winner and I am but a chump. It is not true but my perception keeps the narrative alive. For now.

  • Yesterday, as I was helping a contractor friend put a new window in my new house, while my new husband looked on with encouraging words (he has a very physical job, is a hard worker, but threw his back out and ended up in emergency just prior to the long weekend where we were putting some new windows in), I thought how distant this new life is, compared to the old pick-me life with my ex narc.

    My second and final D-Day was back in mid 2013, the first, a year before that.

    In that time, I moved back overseas from Australia to the US. Divorced, financially separated, got a new job, a new house, fell in love with someone so opposite of ex-narc.

    Up until about a year ago, I was done, but not over it. My old life of 20 years and what I THOUGHT it was supposed to have been continued to haunt me, despite being in a much better place with support of family and friends, and NC with the ex.

    The past year has brought me fully in my head to a new place. My life is so busy and full with new experiences and responsibilities and good situations that I no longer have time to lament the old life.

    In the old life I had more money and more free time, but it was like it had no depth and I was lonely and sad and empty.

    In my new life, I’m poorer, but ok financially, and all the experiences I have make me feel rich and loved and happy, and not empty at all.

    I still sometimes talk about my old life, but in a much more matter-of-fact, productive way, sharing stories and experiences that benefit those around me, rather than sharing things I’m not over in that life yet.

    I am present in today, and love today, and can’t believe how much my perspective has shifted. Tuesday comes, and suddenly you wonder how you got there, and are very glad you did.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your happy ending.. It gives me hope.

    • So happy for you DWM. Thank you for sharing this. It really does just take a lot of time and NC. No way around it, just through it.

  • Cheaters are so unoriginal “monogamy was forced upon me”… yep I think plenty of us have heard that one. As if we chumps lured them into a trap on our wedding day because they didn’t know what monogomy was all about, but we are so clever we tricked them. I’m pretty sure I have 200 witnesses that would say he recited what he was getting into at the alter. Oh, but I’m sure those 200 people just misunderstood what he meant when he was saying his vows … poor misunderstood victim (barf)!

    As for telling his family, been there, done that. I did it so they would know the truth because I was tired of putting on the fake conscious uncoupling smile to make everyone else around me comfortable. What I found is his family was perfectly happy to be supportive when I was upholding their perception of their golden child, and as soon as I broke that, those fake “oh we love you like our own daughter” lies came to an abrupt end; being replaced by back stabbing false rumors. In the end I see I just made things harder for myself by being honest, but that’s a call I chose to make because I was no longer willing to protect his integrity… that’s not my job! Cheaters love to control the flow of information, and by not speaking up I was letting him paint the narrative he wanted everyone to see… the one where it just wasn’t working out and we were BOTH concerned about the interests of our children. Not the one where he was a cheater and responsible for the ending of our marriage.

    • The truth really does set you free. Telling the truth not only exposed the ex, it exposed his family as hypocrites. That is important info too!

  • I knew when I looked at him one day and just felt tired. He wasn’t even being a shit that day. I just wanted to be anywhere he wasn’t. Up til around that point I had loved him and gave him my best, and he stomped all over it, repeatedly. I remember feeling…. I just. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore. As Violet said, looking ahead to all those years of lies and abuse. The first feeling was weary to the Bone. The second was OH, HELL NO! NO MORE!

    Leaving his lying, cheating, controlling, conniving ass, felt like shrugging out of a too tight girdle I had worn way too long. I was done, done and more done!

  • “He sent me horrible emails two days ago.” Someone who loved you doesn’t do this.

    Blaming your religion in ANY way is not the behavior of someone who loves you.

    Telling you that he’s better without you, are not words of someone who loves you.

    Hard consequences for his affair and his reaction to those consequences are how you will tell definitively that you are done. At least, that’s what had to happen with me.

    Here’s a great piece of advice. Nothing you do, with the exception of dying and some medical procedures (like a lobotomy), cannot be undone.

    You are already seeing his rage attacks for very soft consequences. If you gave him one hard consequence–i.e. kicking him out and making him pay his own way, along with some spousal support and maybe child support? WATCH what happens to this “good guy”.

    He’s relatively tolerable right now, because you are still of use to him. Watch what happens if you hold him truly accountable in any way. Want to see entitlement in action?

    If he is a “good guy” and this all happened because he wasn’t loved enough–he would be fair and honest in a settlement, not trash you to your family or friends (and your threat to do that was immature–and unnecessary. people know. it’s what they CHOOSE to acknowledge that’s frustrating you.), and walk away hoping that maybe—just maybe—he can, through ACTIONS, prove to you and everyone he’s harmed that he can change and be a good guy.

    YOU don’t have to tip toe around and choose how not to negatively effect him. HE has to prove, through actions, that he’s not a bad person.

    I walked into a courtroom, scared out of my wits—I had to bring a friend and I told her, “Please don’t let me look at him. I’m still ridiculously attracted to him (physically) and I know if we make eye contact, I’ll fall apart.” It was true. All of the feelings I had to shove down so that I could put one foot in front of the other to get to the courthouse—I was terrified.

    My lawyer sat himself in the line of sight between me and Ex–because I was shaking like a leaf. I knew that if Ex would just give me “that look”—the itty bit of attention with those piercing eyes and that husky “I’ve never loved anybody like I love you” type comment—I would call the whole thing off.

    Then he got up and told the most vicious, horrible and despicable lies I have ever heard. About me. Never looked at me while telling his tales.

    He claimed I am dangerous. He claimed that I abandoned our kids for my work (I was the only employed one in the fucking house for 10 years!) He claimed that he “knew” that I had been having an affair for years with my boss.

    And on it went.

    My friend said, “I would never have been able to sit through that had my husband said those things about me without wanting to murder him.”

    Boy did my spine stiffen during that testimony. My fear melted away. My “attraction” for him was gone in the span of one hour–less if you want to count the very first lie out of the gate, which was minutes into the hearing.

    I got up there and told the truth. Calmly. No drama. No crying. I spoke DIRECTLY to him and his lawyer–which I was told not to do, because I would falter. BOTH of them wouldn’t look at me. He had his head down and in his elbow by the end of my testimony. His lawyer was slouched down in her seat with her tight hooker skirt (funny how they all choose female lawyers?) and her hands on her temples. I’m sure her head was about to explode.

    See, he lied to his lawyer too. This is what they do.

    This was the nice guy, the good guy, the Godly Man and Great Dad–our Protector…..the mask was off but the truth prevailed.

    Watch what he DOES and not what he SAYS, BV. You’ll see the entitlement. But here’s a question for you. Do you need to know MORE than the fact that he had an affair and is blaming it all on you? What else do you need to know this person is a horrible human being with no remorse or caring for you and your family?

    Hold him accountable and you’ll see how fast you’re done with his bullshit.

    • GlassHalfFull,

      Your glass is “FULL” of MIGHTY!

      Your story paints a vivid picture.
      I can just imagine your ex and his lawyer in the courtroom. Then when you get up, look him and her in the eye, and tell the truth!
      Love it, you deserve a TV crime show!
      You would win every case!
      ( and have a great following!)

    • GlassHalfFull, I love your post.

      I, too was moony over my X. I was so wildly attracted to him, old fashioned love and lust. My mother did not help by constantly exclaiming: Why he looks like a young Paul Newman! (Not by a long shot.)

      So, one day, I called him and was missing him like a tooth ache. Sobbing and hysterical. After D Day. And he referenced a $3,000 check I had written myself on his account because he removed and destroyed an HVAC unit from my property. (Long story).

      And then, I heard his Putrid Whore in the car, and to impress her, please her…he said that he had called the D.A. on me and was going to have me prosecuted for writing the check.

      Wow. Just Wow. Talk about cold water. Talk about vomiting, shock, horror. The TREASON of this motherfucker. He said it to make her happy. To “get me”…as I grieved the loss of him.

      And it was just like “your” EX telling outrageous lies about you in Court. On the record. It snapped me out my love and lust so fast. Of course, he never did it. But he threatened me.

      It is an exquisite misery…when the person you loved is your enemy. Thinking about it still makes me queasy. But I am still standing.

      • {{{CTTL}}} I am so sorry he did that to you. That is….pure evil. I never believed in evil before I went through what I did with my Ex, but going thru it also made it so I can recognize it when I see it.

        I’m so, so sorry. I’m reading lately here on CN and the stories just make me ill and afraid for my loved ones. There’s a lot of dark humor that we all use to cope, but sometimes it just knocks the wind out of me.

        The most horrible part of it is when they use that charm and attractiveness as a weapon. My big mistake was telling my Ex anything good I thought of him. He kept asking me what attracted me to him. I stupidly explained why I loved him.

        And he used it. Again and again. It’s the most hateful, evil, despicable thing one human can do to another. Use their innermost desires and wants against them.

        He would routinely design his words for maximum devastation, but then turn right around and say something so loving–push exactly the right button, because I TOLD HIM all about that button.

        No contact. No Contact. No Contact. Time and distance. Kind of like a nuclear explosion. The only thing that can save you from the initial blast and fallout? TIME AND DISTANCE.

        Oh. And a wall of great friends and family supporting you as shields.

        This will get better. It will. Don’t let anything that asshole did damage your faith in humanity. There are good people out here. Know yourself and believe that you, on your worst day–are lightyears better than he is on his best.

      • Come to the light, your post gives me chills. It reminds me of this past Christmas. I was confronted by the raging lunatic that my husband has been having a long term affair with. Long story short, in front of our 6 children, my inlaws, her children and other family members she tried to hit me with a bat, a hammer and a pipe. She also tried to run me over in her car. She later pled guilty and was sentenced to probation. I also have a 2 year restraining order. But in the middle of it, I turned to my husband and told him to tell her to leave. Instead, he yells at me that he doesn’t need either one of us. Like I am in some type of competition for my own husband! Like I was the one bringing chaos and confusion into his life. All this for a woman with a history of violence and an arrest record that reads like a fast food menu. Then to top it off, he hit me in my face. She is trying to harm me, and my own husband does the job for her right in front of our children. I can barely look him in the eyes since that day. He has done some awful things to me, but the way he betrayed me to make her happy is one of the worst. It was an awful thing to go through but in case I need any reminders to trust that he truly sucks, I think of that day.

        • I sure hope this loser is out of your life for good. Kick him out, find a good lawyer. No contact. He knows she’s bat shit crazy and dangerous for you and your kids. He doesn’t care.

        • I know it sounds nuts but to have a physical crazy showdown with witnesses is an ending. In no way to compete but explain the emotional abuse as just as painful is when out of the blue you get told there was NO feelings he had for you the whole marriage (21yrs) and sex was just sex – meaningless To find out he’d been character assisinating me for a few years prior to friend s and work colleagues plus the mandatory financial abuse (ie leaving with minus to the family ) then you have a mental health nightmare. And of course hes good guy and dad of the year to the outside world. NO ONE believes u except v close family and your kids are somewhat confused it is torture. 18 months out and there is a fog lifting but wow i can totally understand people killing themselves. Trouble is ex fucktard is now claiming to his own kids he was going to commit suicide if he hadnt we know he was deep into an affair at the time and moved in with her soon after . There is no therapy for this kind of fucked up. You just get told to move on and don’t look at what hes doing ….like that dodnt occur to me…

      • When I went to court for my domestic violence accusation (I actually didn’t have to be present but chose to be), he told the judge the most amazing lies about me and could not/would not look at me. So I just stared at him, and started at him and the veins in his neck nearly burst – you know how someone knows you are looking at them but they daren’t look at you. Then my lawyer handed his lawyer two attestations of the bruises on my body and photos. Man, I thought his jugular was going to burst. Oh well, maybe next time.

    • YES – they lie to their lawyer too!


      Mine didn’t show up for court on the day our divorce was to be final. The judge called him and his lawyer and told them to get their asses to the courtoom. Lawyer arrived first and boy did she forget about her oath… she badmouthed him left and right… all the lies he told her… how could she represent him when he lied (NOTE: not that he was a fucking pathological liar and cheater)… when she got the subpoena for his online activities, I think she finally “got it”.

      Fun times now – he hasn’t paid her. Karma.

    • Glass half full your post sends chills up my spine- you are a gripping writer! I imagine your narc cheater was drawn to your amazing ability to be so real and honest- something he couldn’t do.

      Thanks for being so honest here- it helps me!

  • CL…I love you! Or rather I love the way you cut through BS like a hot knife through butter.

  • Yes, Bon Voyage, you are not done. But once you get out and are able to focus on yourself and not him or what he has done to you it will become clearer every day how much better you are without him. I just finished reading Dr. George Simon’s books-along with my daily CL and a great therapist I am getting there 4 months after the divorce and 10 months out from DDay. I highly recommend reading his books and watching a few videos of him. In the end he says, the why really doesn’t matter. It’s all about the behavior and how his behavior was and continues to be unacceptable for you. You have the ability to move on and your STBX really doesn’t. He is most likely on a loop with his behavior but for you the sky is the limit as they say. All my best wishes for continued strength and mightiness!!

    • A “loop” with his behavior now there’s a truth…..but I must say ….boy a lot of them are soooooo dumb….it’s really …boggles my mind the friggin empty space between there ears….startling…..I know someone like this….a real beauty he’s going through a divorce now….NOOOOO …I wasnt the AP….but he would have liked it… I said let’s call you wife maybe she’s like to come out with us….lol…………married men dont hit on me…..they can sniff my nasty side….but…again….these people who are so self absorbed are dumb as dirt….so easy to mentally play with ….lol…if one chooses to…stupid bastards…….they can’t see past there noses assholes…

    • Yeah the why is irrelevant. My own son told me soon after dday …’after what hes done to you mum you don’t want him back’ i remind myself of that phrase every its obvious to everyone else and solution is simple. We over complicate the rationale and forget the behaviour is the deal breaker. I suppose its because we were spackling the whole time and now we have to admit to ourselves that we got them wrong and we were eating shit sandwich s the whole time .

  • If you did expose the OW to her family, you wouldn’t be slut shaming, you would be stating a fact. If, as your husband says, they didn’t do anything wrong, why should she be ashamed?

    Nonetheless, I don’t advise you to go ballistic and broadcast their dirty laundry to all and sundry. The reason is these two trashy losers will get off on the drama and portraying you as the crazy ex. Also, it will only hurt you more if her family defends her or doesn’t take you seriously. After all, these are the people who instilled in her the shitty values that she has today.

    • Yes if people want to be treated respectfully, maybe they should start acting respectable.

  • I don’t know if ex cheated on anyone before me, because he was very secretive like that, but I think it’s a Public Service Announcement to expose these people. I don’t want to get involved with a cheater and if it’s kept secret they are free to do the same shit repeatedly, while maintaining that Good Guy/Great Catch persona.

    Also, I didn’t want to be involved with keeping the fact that the ex was an adulterer secret because I would have to become a liar, as well. You don’t have to be detailed, something as simple as “He thinks it’s OK to date (whores) while married ” is very effective.

  • Hmmm. I struggle with telling people about what happened. I tend to overshare and if asked I will tell anyone my business especially about happened to me with my XH. It helped me because I am not ashamed to admit that I was married to someone who lied to me about who he was and his behavior from day one. That’s 10 years of believing a narrative that has turned out to be false. Completely false. Like, conman false.
    I would like everyone in his family to know the truth, but I decided that it won’t help me feel better. They may not know the details but they know he is “unbalanced” (both of his sister have used this to describe him).
    I am hoping I will stop having the fantasies of THE WORLD knowing what he did. I chose to trust that time and the eventual Meh that it will bring will change that. It’s a tough call-like anything, I think it depends on the person and the circumstances…

  • I’m not done either. I can’t bridge the gap between head and heart. Despite what he did to me, I care for him deeply because I am an empathetic and caring person. I don’t want to, but I can’t shake it. I see him smile and something in me lights up. Not an easy place to be in.

  • I think the thing that scares me most, is I fantized of leaving but I didn’t want to. I know he groomed me, found out what I needed and seduced me with it. But by time I loved him- it was to the end. That’s what it meant to me. I can’t wrap my head around his dark evil. It still hurts that stood by him in so many ways, after so many betrayals. Even taking most the blame when he convinced me it was always my fault.

    I’m most scared of how much I laid down to stay…and even in the end I didn’t want to accept who he was. I am not moved on. I am traumatized.

    I knew it was like we were at opposite sides of a bridge and he set it on ? fire. There is no going there but I still miss so many things. Trying to live, to move out of the area, and start over, it’s hard. I’m still fighting for my health and to be cancer free. But I live there everyday.

    As many of you have moved on – I haven’t made new friends or dated or anything. My life seems without a compass… perhaps it’s the depression, but I can’t get up, I just crawl.., hope one day things will work out, I’ll get a better job, not have the cancer return, stop wishing he’d die in a skydiving snafoo. But for now, it’s hard to see a better life.

    • Find a therapist if you don’t already have one. Then focus on finding some new girl friends with whom you can safely hang out. Look for activities or volunteer opportunities you might enjoy where you might meet said people and force yourself to go even if you don’t feel like it.

      • Thank you! don’t feel like it is the problem. I don’t think it’s fair to bring as much baggage as I have currently into any situation. New friends or otherwise. I would feel very bad about what a pitiful drag I am.

        What I miss the most was the security of my life. Now I get a job, then they lose part of their staff and cut me part time, I find a place to live to be told the owner now wants to sell it, I get another part time job at 1/2 of what I need to make, then find out my new health care covers none of my post cancer check up tests.

        I fight, I get up, I try, yet it seems like I’m in the place- everything continually off track and hard…

        Meanwhile ex is living it up with his brand new luxury car, trips with s different ho bag every weekend, and living happy and free. Maybe that is what drew me to him in the first place- his ability to take me out of my seriousness to fun.

        I just plain don’t like people right now. I don’t like myself. I feel ok some days – then the panic of my reality sets in. Life sucks and he ruined me and it was nothing to him. I couldn’t trust myself less to chose people to have in my life. Chumpy lady is as much talking to others I do about my pain.

        when does it stop being so hard? Hoping asap. I still have a lot of his belongings. Do I return all this shit to him? Do I not? Who knows ….

        • I understand that it can be difficult to want to go out among other people. If the person you thought loved you more than anyone else betrays you it is hard to trust anyone else. I have been amazed, however, to discover that when I do put myself out there people actually like me and that helps. That means I am not just relying on STBX to determine my sense of self worth.

          If you are not comfortable around people do you like animals? Perhaps you could volunteer at an animal shelter. If you like animals they can be very comforting.

          In the meantime, hang in there. It is hard that you are going through so much right now. It is bound to get better, however. Look at it as getting all of the difficult stuff over with all at once so you don’t have to deal with it later. Not much comfort now I know, but hang in there anyway and look towards a brighter future. The fact that you have survived, that you haven’t succumbed to cancer and you are supporting yourself makes you mighty.

          Meanwhile your ex is a fuckwit who is still stuck with himself. He only seems happy because he has no soul and you can’t truly live a good life without one.

  • I knew that I was done when I read about “hysterical bonding” after the discovery of affairs, and neither of us had any urge for engaging in that shit on our radar. He got terribly sick a few months after Dday and I had no urge to do anything beyond serving him his basic meals…no fussing over him, no encouraging speeches, no back rubs ect. I felt as emotionally flattened as road kill is on the highway. I stopped sharing my feelings, my daily plans, my thoughts, my body, and just spoke as little to him as was politely necessary. No recriminations, no questions…nothing. Flat lined. It surprised me on one level…but given the years of Porn, devaluation of me, and EA’s he did, I realized that I was already checked out.

    Instead, I spent my time getting my ducks in a row and envisioning what I wanted my life to look like in the future…while he probably spent his time thinking about all the pussy he’d freely get to chase as a newly freed man. The day he left, the air around me felt clean and washed like it is after a Spring rain, and I felt totally unshackled from dealing with his many demons. I felt rescued by God and liberated to live an authentic life on my own terms without being trapped in the unpaid roll of being the Marriage Police. Now, I focus my time on friends, family, and my home and business. I have my sights on reconnecting with God…the relationship of which became collaterally damaged from the years of dealing with the Cheater instead.

    I cannot imagine going back to living the life I had with him or anyone else remotely like him. For what?! Anything he ever gave to me I can get for myself w/o the price of all the heartache and drama…or I am happy to do without. This is no exaggeration, I NEVER had peace of mind/heart being with him…now, with him out of my life and fully NC, I do. Priceless.

  • I wanted to add to Chump Lady’s always brilliant advice with a quick observation of my own:

    CL mentioned the two types of people who are “outside looking in” that, even with best intentions, don’t “get it”. She mentioned the ones who think your clear path is to leave the cheater, and she mentioned the ones who think your clear path is to stay with him and reconcile.

    When I went though the early days, I had both of the above mentioned types of friends, and I listened to them all, appreciated their input and made my own decision.

    I found, and you unfortunately might also find, the third – and in my mind WORST “outside looking in” group, the ones who, after you leave and begin your new journey, think you should GET OVER IT before you’re over it. Those are the people who I feel really, really, really, really don’t get it.

    I was with my husband for about 20 years before I found out he’d spent the last 5 years regularly fucking prostitutes during his lunch breaks at work. It took me about a year to go though the whole D-Day nuclear explosion, the fall out, the divorce and the move across country, and still there were people that within the first year of my new life, thought I should be “over it” and fully moved on to meh.

    You’ll do what you need to do – and get past what’s been done to you – in your own time. Listen to the people you love and trust, take it all with a grain of salt – and remember to put yourself FIRST for a change. You’re mighty and you deserve all the good things that will be coming your way once the sun starts to peek though.

    • Yes! Kind of snapped at a friend who gave me the “that marriage meant zip, so just carry on” line this weekend. I mean, 29 years. It meant something to me, and I am taking my own sweet time processing it. No flipping out at family or OW. No drinking or otherwise numbing. Just the daily facing of things, which is difficult, necessary, and–for me, at least–not fast.

      Claiming our lives means also sticking to the pace that works for us. This is a journey, not a race. I need to learn what there is to learn along the way.

    • I keep getting people saying things like “you will find somebody new who will adore you”. Sorry, but after 25 years with the same man and not thinking of other men romantically during that time, it isn’t going to be so easy for me to just swap out life partners the way STBX easily did. And it doesn’t help knowing that STBX used to adore me too and see how that turned out. bleah

      • True! Hate the whole “true live awaits you” deal, because a) maybe not, and b) not even sure that would be best.

          • My goal is to truly live with our without true love. 🙂

            • I have been getting the ‘oh, you’ll meet someone and then your life will be great’ line quite a bit lately. I think people say it because they don’t really know what else to say and they’re trying to instil hope. HOWEVER. I spent 14 years in a toxic relationship, had to live with the fucker for another 18 months while we were seperated, and have then spent the last 18 months or so trying to rebuild my life. I was a shell of a person when he finally left. The process of recovering is happening, but it is so slow and at times so painful that I could scream with frustration. I don’t believe in knights in shining armour anymore and I’ve finally, finally realised that I need to be my own saviour. I have zero desire to meet someone new- I still have so much work to do on myself, I don’t trust my picker and dammit, after losing so much of my time and soul to a cheater narc, I WANT to be alone, to discover who I really am.

  • Dear Bon Voyage,

    In addition to all the good and important advice given here, I would add that the since most things in life boil down to habits and changing bad habits to good ones demands effort, sometimes huge efforts, that is what we chumps who find ourselves in your situation have to do.

    There is a very interesting and well-written and researched book for the general public called “The Brain That Changes Itself” that I find useful for our situation. The author, Norman Doidge, dedicates a lot of information and reasoning towards the CHANGING of habits, which have a neurological basis (as Chump Lady has pointed out in several posts on why we get stuck, etc.).

    According to Doidge, it seems our chump brains have created neuro-cowpaths to what you describe and we all know so well: a dead end, a poisoned water hole, a cliff. No matter what, the cows keep on that path. So we have to forcefully drive our cows in another direction.

    I can just see a scientific study titled “The neuroanatomical basis of Meh: imaging analysis reveals synaptic pruning and rewiring in cases of total cure of chump disorder”.

    I am down to swearing at cheater about every two weeks and I am doing everything that cheater used to do for me: from income tax to washing my car. Although the time has come to put his crap in boxes to be removed and I admit I let the cats pee on his sweaters.

    • OMG,
      I just changed my cat’s litter box!
      Great idea!

  • “I felt unloved…” How many chumps have heard this stupid sh*t before? Seriously, my ex felt she was unloved because I only took care of the 3 older kids after working 60-70 hour work weeks when she stayed at home. You just call them out on their BS and then go no contact.

    • Oh yes I got that too. He felt unloved and lonely so had to cheat. I spent too much time raising his kids and having a career. He never considered the fact that I tried to give him my attention as well, but it was hard to do when he was never there. He was too busy with his career (which he eventually abandoned), and his flying hobby (which lead to his EA), and volunteering for scouts (how he met PA #1) and school events (which is where he met current Schmoopie). Of course none of that had anything to do with me not giving him the attention he deserved.

      • Yep, El Fucktardo gave me that same line. I felt unloved! You didn’t spend enough time with me, making feel special! Well, dude, guess what? Fucking a prostitute while I was pregnant with our first child and then screwing a patient from your work while I was at home looking after our newborn second child, in addition to the first child, made ME feel unloved and not special. God, how I wish I’d left after that first definite dday (I know he’d been cheating before these occasions, but never had any concrete proof).

        • Same here. Same cheater, different name. “I thought you didn’t love me any more”

  • I think we all mourn what could have been, but it’s really wishful thinking on our part. My Ex was not going to suddenly turn into “super husband”! But I hung on to that dream for so long it was so very hard to let go. I worried that Schmoopie was getting better than I got, but turns out she was getting the shell of an already bankrupt human.
    Point is don’t worry about the cheater and Schmoopie. They have already built their own special Hell! They designed it, let them live it. They will, of course, put on a great facade of happiness and bliss but we all know how that turns out. My cheater lasted exactly four months living with his dream woman before he ran like his hair was on fire out of his dream relationship! Get to building a life for yourself that is true and authentic!

    • So true Roberta. The Limited is three years in, made her get therapy, and moved her out of her comfort zone. Hysterically, he is a clone of ‘one’ of he previous boyfriends. When I saw his picture it was as as if it was his twin. Twisted fucks.

    • “Shell of an already banktrupt human.” I think that is the best description of these loser cheaters that I have ever heard! So true!

      Any time I feel bad about wanting this creep after I knew he was acheating louse, I know I’m still better than these twit ow who know they are lying cheating twits from the get go. They are the insecure ones, to accept that. Losers, both sides of the cheater “couple”. Back when I was single I ran from turds like that, no questions asked.

  • Please, please, please may I borrow your ‘snorting hopium’ remark.
    God know I snorted a lot in my 37 year marriage – now 3 years on the other side.
    The answer to when are you done is when you look in the mirror and deep in your soul you can see the pain and futility. When you are being destroyed not enhanced by a relationship with them.

    • “The deprogramming process is also why people on the outside looking in don’t get it. She treats you like SHIT, why don’t you LEAVE?! Good question, except those outsiders aren’t bonded to the fuckwit. They didn’t have five children with the fuckwit, or pay off her student loans, or nurse her mother through gout. Those people have zero sunk costs. It’s easy to judge.”

      I just love this CL.

  • You are never quite done even divorcing. It takes a while for the emotional fog to clear. 26 years married and I find his text with a neighbors wife. I was angry about the affair but looking back my real anger was being in one of those marriages I never wanted. I was angry but more embarrassed than anything being married to a man who was a fuck around. Is anything lower than that and you are the spotlight of unwanted placement.
    3 years out almost from divorce. Yesterday I looked at my daughters FB and she had a video she had taken at XH house. I watched it and saw a cookout and the AP with her husband. The “friends ” who threw a divorce party for him knowing we had two young daughters. I saw his gf. She had nothing to do with divorce. I was just watching and amazed I didn’t feel anything except thankfulness that I didn’t have fake friends and stuck with a lying husband
    My daughter taped XH and all I could see was nothing. Just seeing how cold he actually was. Glad I wasn’t still married to him. Your peace will come and you will also see yourself in new ways of becoming the best version of yourself. Just get rid of him, NC and begin to heal. Don’t bother with telling everyone about his affairs. I felt double nasty after I told people. Now I don’t feel slimy anymore.

    • Another phrase that stuck with me was a time when he cryptically said ‘ im not who you think i am ‘ i make myself remember that line because thats the only truth im going to get.

  • Personally, I ‘was done’ 5 minutes after meeting with OW#2 in my living room to talk things over (this was 1 week post DD#2). This was the straw that broke the camel’s back type of moment. My anger fueled me to make the important changes to take control over my life. ‘Being done’ is sort of like a sliding scale from 0 to 10. For me, when the chaos reached 11 — I was done. (This was before CL, so possibly ‘being done’ would have happened 5 years earlier at DD#1.)

    Like CL says, once you change your thinking you can untangle your life, grieve properly and heal your heart.

    Post DD#2, I started to ask myself :
    1) is this healthy/ will this get me to healthy?
    2) does this benefit ME now & tomorrow (i.e., in other words stop being nice to accommodate other people)

    And, Honey, keep repeating “there’s nothing wrong with me” — until that voice of doubt in your head dissipates.

    • I also think I was done when I had the meeting with the OW, STBX was so pathetic and he barely said 2 words during the whole thing. I could see then why he had picked a 19 year old schmoopie and i was at that point embarrassed to be married to this person. He had already left to be with her and I just knew at that moment that I didn’t want to be with this person anymore. When I see him now I have no positive feelings towards him. It will take me a long time to get to meh about what he did to me and why. I just know that he isn’t who I thought he was and he is not someone who I would want to share my life with,

  • This is a really tough one. I know that I still think more about Mr. Sparkles on any given day than he thinks about me, but I take solace in knowing that I need to do what I’m doing to heal so that when I put the chapter of my life that included him up on the shelf, it won’t fall down later and hit me on the head.

    I loved Mr. Sparkles with my whole heart. I gave everything I had to my marriage, my son, and my stepchildren. I worked full-time. I ran the house budget and the house. I gave so much I had anxiety and a sleep disorder. I gave so much I had heart palpitations and panic attacks. I even once said to my husband, “I am drowning. Please don’t add more to my plate.” He didn’t even blink. Instead, he got yet another OW and left me.

    I know that the part of my grieving the loss of the marriage I wanted and the family I wanted are done. The divorce was final in December and I left court without looking back because I had a parent-teacher meeting to get to. I sleep a full night. I don’t cry in the shower anymore. I’ve detached as best I can from my stepkids (I’m their sane parent, sadly). And, I’m raising a beautiful young man. I’m grey rock very consistently.

    But, I’m not ready to date and yet I’m jealous that after the OW dumped him, he picked up a new girlfriend without skipping a beat. (I know, I know – she’s not getting anything I haven’t already had.)

    But if I look back to when I knew I was DONE with the marriage… well, it wasn’t until almost a year after he discarded me for the OW but was still hoovering for almost a year. We had yet to file for the divorce, but he was ready to introduce our son and take the “new happy blended family” on a camping trip and something in me flipped a switch.

    I had been reading CL’s new book and coming to this blog for almost a whole year. And, it that moment of clarity, I said HELL. TO. THE. NO. I hired a lawyer, I filed first, I named the OW as an adultery partner, and I went for the jugular. I did not “inform” Mr. Sparkles of a fucking thing. Every time he got served new papers, he’d try to charm me by giving me wine from his new monthly collection. Or, he’d rage and tell me I was going to be sued for libel. Or, he’d cry – so helpless and pitiful saying, “I’m so fucked up.” He’d send me texts “are you ready to discuss the divorce with me or should we continue with the courts”… I’d reply “I’m good with the courts.”

    I knew I was done when his words no longer scared me… he no longer scared. Truly, the worst had already happened – he napalmed my world. I had nothing to lose. And, frankly, because I knew he was a lazy, parasitic fuckwit who would never take action, I called his bluff every time… and won.

    Someday, I know he won’t be in my thoughts. But every time he pops in – I just tell myself… good for you, ICSTMC, you know how to love. Now get out of the way of karma.

  • I disagree CL. You are not a cult leader. You are an anti-cult leader standing in front of us hollering:

    Do NOT drink the kool-aid!
    Do NOT snort the hopium!
    Do NOT give up all your worldly possessions!
    Do NOT isolate yourself from friends and family!
    Do NOT give over your authority to false prophets, parasites, and partners!

    Be MIGHTY!

  • I’m right there with you. I just saw an attorney two weeks ago for the first time. D-day was 6 months ago… I know I have to do this but I haven’t even looked at the paperwork from the attorney, it just makes this nightmare more real. I still have hope in my heart that we can save our 11 year marriage but my head KNOWS that is a mistake. He cheated, he used and played me and then gave me false hopes of reconciliation only to tell me recently that he needs to focus on himself and his own happiness.
    To top it off we had agreed in the past that he would get our toddler every other weekend but when I told him I went to an attorney and needed some financial information from him he told me not to expect any money because he would be demanding 50/50 custody… He currently “lives” on his friends couch but is going to make this divorce harder so he can get out of child support? I am so tired and in the worst fog. I was a damn good wife… I just don’t get it…
    It’s hard to let go of who he was and see the monster I have now…. I need a damn back bone….

    • MM- stay strong. He is just trying to intimidate you. Don’t listen and go no contact as much as possible. Follow your lawyer’s advice, they have your best interest.

      It’s tough- I am there now too but it will be ok!


    • Madam.Mango … yup, my cheater SAID he wanted 50/50… all through the mandatory 2 hours of parent mediation (state required)… we got to the end and I said nope… take me to court. He backed down and signed off on every other weekend and two weeknights 6pm – 9pm. A toddler is a major crimp in a cheaters lifestyle – many times, they just want the reduced child support calculation.

      Also – if you serve him, he’ll have to either lawyer-up or go pro-se. Doubt he’ll want to spend the $$ on a custody fight if he is living on a friend’s couch. DO IT – FEEL THE FEAR – BUT DO IT. It is LIBERATING! (And, you don’t know that he isn’t getting ready to do the same thing!)

      As someone who reconciled after the first D-day… know this… THEY DO NOT CHANGE. They just get better at lying and the mental and emotional abuse ramps up. I stayed for 8 more years… and he still left me.

      Follow through with the lawyer… your child is watching you. (And, if you reconcile, demand a POST NUPTIAL agreement).

    • MadamMango-

      50/50 does not always mean no child support. In most states it’s a formula which they factor the earning of each person. Talk to your lawyer and find out what the laws are in your state.

      I know this sucks but try not to be surprised by his ridiculous behavior. Someone who is willing to cheat on marriage vows is way more than capable of cheating you in every conceivable way possible. Expect this!

      “It’s hard to let go of who he was and see the monster I have now.” Believe it or not, he’s always been that monster. The spackling of Chumps is strong! Once you get some distance and go no contact or grey rock, you will gain a whole lot of clarity. It’s amazing and almost a little scary.

      Finally, don’t lose any sleep over him not reconciling. It rarely, if ever works out except for the cheater. They get zero consequences; they often just learn to lie better and you’ll most certainly wind up with another dday for your troubles. Just not worth the effort.

      Jedi hugs!

    • Start documenting right now all that you are doing in regard to childcare and costs. If you don’t need it, no big deal. If you need to prove that you are the reliable parent and that your suggested custody schedule should be adopted, it will be a lot easier when you can go beyond he said/she said.

      Finally, as you make financial plans, expect that you will end up with nearly 100% custody and 110% of the costs after the joys of co-parenting wear off and regardless of what the court order says. How can you end up with 110%, of costs–well, because every time the toddler goes to negli-parent, he or she will return sans shoes, sans coat, and sans underwear, so you’ll have to repurchase things (Goodwill is your friend!) Maybe negli-parent will surprise you and use the custody time or pay the support, but let that be a pleasant development and not something you need in order to keep the lights on. If you have to depend on negli-parent, you’ll be stressed. If you plan your life so that a weekend alone is a nice surprise and a support check means name brand cereal and a bit of cushion in the bank, then you won’t go nuts all the weeks negli-parent doesn’t show up and the check is “late.”

    •, many hugs to you. Just push through the divorce! Divorce doesn’t have to mean the end for your relationship, if that’s what you want someday and the fucktard change. Think of it as clearing the air between you, defining boundaries, allowing you to recover your space and force him to behave like a fucking adult with your children. Look at this as an opportunity to get more “intel” about him, allowing you to really see him. Hugs and good luck!

      (My divorce is on its way now. My lawyer has everything he needs and as soon as he writes the letter, he is going to contact my STBX).

  • I learned about compartmentalization from a pro – my X. Ha ha! This is what helped me get the divorce filed, this is what keeps me going everyday – I learned the I can love someone who isn’t good for me. I learned the I can have fun and a good time with someone who isn’t a good life partner for me. I think that speaks to who I am – I can get a long with most people, X could barely get along with anyone. Just because I can get a long with someone, marry them, fall in love with them and then do everything to keep the marriage intact does not mean that I’m having any of my needs met or that they are looking out for my well being. Being monogamous is a need for me. Being cherished is a need for me. Being respected is a need for me. Showing effort and the ability to take care of me is a need for me. These are needs that my X could never wrap his brain around, nor did he care to try.

    I spent 3 years getting to the “done” point of which you speak. After DDay I worked harder than I ever have to pick me dance and reconcile and get my marriage back on track. I was willing to forgive the affair. Except I had NO IDEA that the behaviors of entitlement and selfishness would not only continue with fervor but get worse! The man I married was the same man who had the affair. The affair just woke me up to the GIANT red flags that were there all along. After DDay and the awful behaviors that followed for 3 very long years, I had had enough. The straw that broke the camel’s back in my situation was that my X was going to school on my dime for the 3rd time and once he was finished he was planning to leave me anyway. Something inside me just snapped after that and I could no longer continue to be blind to what he was doing to me. Even if he was no longer engaged in an affair his actions were positively insufferable. The only real consequence to any of what he did in the marriage, including the affair, was divorce and more than ever my X needed some real life consequences for what he did and continued to do.

    Like everyone here is saying, ACT like you’re done and the rest will follow. Additionally, for what it is worth, compartmentalize. You can still love someone who isn’t good for you. Let that part of you love him if it helps. But let another part of you let him go. And then let another part of you file for divorce, leave town and go live a new and better life.

  • I still live my cheater too. He cheated on me a year ago but I’m six months out from D-Day.
    Fuck heads must read from the same playbook. Which just validates the idea that their problem is a character one, not a marital one.
    Every attempt I’ve made to get the identity of OW, I am met with cruelty and contempt. I was just told that I come from a family of belligerence and it’s “bred” into me. I’m an Angy asshole​, full of rage and it’s just “who I am”. I was standing there while he pointed his finger in my face, losing his shit.
    I smoke on occasion; every once in awhile when I’m with a friend who smokes and I’ve imbibed. He accused me of not caring for our children because smokers are “selfish by nature”.
    I know he’s just projecting his own insecurities onto me but after his rant, I felt squashed like a bug.
    He is an alcoholic. He gets mean when he drinks. The really messed up thing is that later that night he hit me up for sex. I don’t sleep with him and he accuses me of “withholding” sex and using it as a weapon. I don’t sleep with him because the last time I did I got an STI.
    We took our children to the beach and he went to get a beer. Ten minutes later, children in tow, I had to retrieve him. He was bellied up to the bar, sharing a video of HIMSELF playing the piano. (Which he can’t) With the attractive barkeep. I’m talking about the most basic chords, read from a beginners laminated chord chart.
    His need to be special and adored supercedes any commitment he’s made to me or our children. Pure narcissism.
    He also got angry at me because I sent him a photo of himself which I took, and he couldn’t share it with fb or other social media sites. I was laughing inside. The guy’s got problems. I’m just patiently waiting for my opportunity to break the children and myself free from this little man with a huge ego and no soul.

  • In my observation “polygamous” people come in two flavors. Either they are incapable of actual bonding and are only looking for sex. But they don’t want to look bad by hiring prostitutes so they try to put some kind of pretty label on our behavior. Or… they think that the polygamy only applies to themselves, not to the partner. “What, that means YOU get to have other partners too? Horrors.”

  • The part I have a hard time with is that cheaters get to walk around pretending to be normal people. They neither feel shame nor suffer consequences. They even get to raise my children. We have laws against rape, theft, murder. But not cheating. Today I encountered OW at daycare, and her utter shamelessness was infuriating. She even smiled at me. We invented laws and justice systems for a reason. Why don’t we apply them to cheaters and betrayers?

    • I subscribe to that.
      What would be a proper way to respond to these people?
      I know we must stand up to them. They are cowards and won’t try again. But how?

  • How do you know when you’re done? You literally just wake up one morning and the longing is gone. For them to realize what they’ve done, for them to love you, etc. Most of us do some iteration of what you’re doing, and our feelings really do catch up with our actions. You only know with time. Do you for a while, and it will just sneak up on you, mostly because you’re busy having a life without them. That only really starts when you leave, because attachments take time, distance, and preferably NC to extinguish. What you do to get back at him is up to you, I’m sure most of us have done a thing or two, I know I have, mostly because the injustice burned me up so badly, I lashed out. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of that, I just know I want to keep people out of my life that evoke that kind of response in me, because it just isn’t healthy for me.

  • In my opinion, one can never be done after years in a relationship. Unless you’re a psycho or a narc who faked the whole thing. Normal people commit themselves and invest themselves into meaningful relationships. It becomes part of their history. How can that be overwritten?
    It takes work and it takes time to be over something like that. But done?
    I’m at peace with myself knowing that 10 years of my life I’ve been blessed with what I had: a beautiful relationship, marriage, I built a home and gave birth to our son. This will always be part of my past, my history.
    I can choose to stop mourning the past, stop thinking of the humiliation I’ve been subjected to. I can make wiser choices from now on. But I can’t be done. I feel at peace with that.
    How about you?

    • I love your comment Enraged. I hate what X did to me by cheating for the last 4 years of our 14 year relationship but realised I don’t want to negate the first 10 years which were wonderful. I still hate him for throwing our great life away and treating me with such disrespect, but sort of also feel sorry for him. I know I am capable of deep love and commitment and he isn’t. Recovery is a long, up and down process because of the deep attachment but I can be proud of the way I have conducted my life. I am also dignified in my limited interactions with him via
      Email re practical matters only. I no longer want an explanation from him as I know he would just lie anyway. I still obsess at times about what he did and still (4 mnths from D day) and cry nearly every night but I know I have to go through the storm to get to the other side on a Tuesday. Best wishes to you all going through this awful,awful time.

  • I knew I was done when I found a text message on El Fucktardo’s phone which made it clear he was having a relationship with a patient from the adolescent mental health unit he worked on at the time. Of course, he tried to deny it, but his world came crashing down very quickly afterwards when he lost his job and they investigated the ‘inappropriate relationship’. The final nail in the coffin was finding the letter from his work, outlining, in explicit details, the nature of the relationship- the amount of times he’d texted her, the hours spent talking to her on his phone, details on some of the conversations they had about me and our sex life, plans to meet up while I was away on holiday, the nude pics she sent him. It was all there, in black and white, He had slept with a vulnerable, young person, who was in hospital with mental health issues. It was, and still is, stunning to me, That he could be so low, such a predator. And had all the while been coming home to me and our kids, acting like everything was normal. It was then that I truly reaslised, just how fucked up he was and how morally, I could no longer have anything to do with him. Once those blinkers were off, it was horrifying to realise how much he lied, manipulated, gaslighted. It was all suddenly so visible. I saw that he was a mean, unkind bully who used people for his own gain. Disloyal, entitled and abusive. It was shocking. I had spackled for so long but suddenly, I just couldn’t do it anymore. There were no more reasons or justifications or ‘maybes’. the light had been shed on his nasty, pathetic personality and there was turning that light off. Done.

    • Well, at least you’ll never have doubts about whether leaving that loser was the right choice. You can’t run fast enough from that kind of manipulative abuse!.

  • I haven’t made it through all of the comments, but I wanted to add a thought.

    I think one of the more challenging things to wrap your brain around is the “yes, he/she is really that horrible” behavior that comes once you call them out and stop accepting the bullshit. I’m sure for many of us, there is a little glimmer of hope that once we declared that we were done, and we made our position clear, these cheaters would take some pity on us and just be civilized for once in their life and go away quietly. Like in theory, we are giving them what they want – freedom to go be with Schmoopie, so logically, this should be easy. Even if they want to do a little image management, all the more reason to strike a deal and say “look, just take this, this and this and leave our families out of it OK.”

    But once again.. they are massive assholes who crave kibbles and drama and angst and cake. Instead of just being civilized for once, they amp up the abuse, they show no remorse, they blame shift and do hurtful, damaging things.

    I think it can be tempting to think that once it’s done, it’s actually done and we can both move on. It can be jarring and upsetting to not only deal with the shock of the cheating and trauma of the lies, but then on top of they just keep trying to punish you, for no reason. Like I’m on my way out, let me go, let’s just get this settled. that can be really challenging to wrap your brain around.

    • You would think they want out. If they wanted out, they would have laid the cards on the table and say so. But no, they don’t want out or someone new. They want this shit sandwich in which they squeeze everyone in: the spouse, the affair partner and anyone willing to listen. They want the drama and the “complicated” things. It’s really easy to live with integrity, when you know your moral values. For them, there is no such thing as rules or moral. They think they can twist reality into whatever story that suits them at a given time. That’s why they don’t make much sense. Today they are one thing, tomorrow they are something else and expect ppl to take their crappy stories as the truth.

  • Ca girl you hit the nail on the head how do you wrap your head around the fact that the person you chose as your life partner and the father of your children really is that horrible. I remember thinking nobody is perfect, everyone has faults but now to see his true lack of character, all I can think is how did I not know better?

  • Smog because it’s manmade. I LOVE that so much better than calling it fog, like it’s something that just rolled in randomly and you have to wait for it to dissipate. Smog is manmade, and it doesn’t go away on its own, it needs deliberate change.

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