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Dear Chump Lady, Please kill my hope

i-view-each-and-every-one-of-your-glaring-iqnDear Chump Lady,

Three years ago, I found out that my husband had had a three-year affair. When I found out, he told me I was the “love of his life” and he’d made “the worst mistake of his life” and he wanted to stay married. At that time, we’d been married 15 years and had two children ages 8 and 6.

We went to counseling for a little bit. I thought he had stopped seeing her immediately. We stayed married.

Last summer, I found out that he had had an Ashley Madison and accounts during his 3-year affair—neither one had activity on it because, I think, men have to pay but he had set up his profiles (what a fun read). When I questioned him on why he had these accounts, he told me, “He wanted to see what else was out there.” Nice.

Last Sunday, I found out that he had been seeing the same woman for the past 6 months (Did it ever stop from 3 years ago? I’m not sure). They’ve been meeting at an Embassy Suites near his office (that she pays for) because he thought I might have hired a private investigator (paranoid much?). When I asked why he had re-started the affair, he told me it was because I “never got over the affair from three years ago.” He said I never gave him the forgiveness he needed. He said that he felt our marriage was doomed and that I would eventually leave him. I thought we were moving forward.

Admittedly, I was not perfect and was still hurt by his 3-year affair and then finding out during the Ashley Madison hack last summer that he’d been on that too — maybe I’m slow to heal (maybe I need some bloodwork done to see why I don’t heal faster from being repeatedly stabbed in the back…)

He’s never going to change is he? No matter how much I want to believe that and continue to drink the Koolaid, he’s never going to be different.

But, it is so hard to give up hope in the face of all his promises.

Please talk some sense to me and take away my hope.


Dear Missed,

Let’s just make a list, okay?

  1. A three-year affair. Which is really a SIX-year affair because it never ended.
  2. An Ashley Madison account.
  3. A account.
  4. Openly admits to wanting to date while married “to see what else is out there.”
  5. When busted, he blameshifts this mess on to YOU for not “forgiving him.”

Let’s take this point by point.

1.) A three-year six-year affair is not a “mistake” singular. It’s thousands upon thousands of willful decisions to deceive you. It’s sociopathic. Normal people don’t have double lives nor can they maintain them. To do that you either have to have zero empathy (as in your synapses don’t fire), huge reserves of entitlement, and super powers of manipulation.

Try to imagine being him for a DAY, doing the shit he’s been doing behind your back. You’d break out in stress rashes, wouldn’t you? You’d be dying to have a heartfelt conversation and spill your guts. You’d grind your teeth and suffer constant anxiety and second guessing. You would not CONTINUE UNBOTHERED FOR SIX YEARS.

To behave as he has behaved is deeply fucked up. And it’s who he is. He’s got a lousy character and he’s really okay with being a total fraud. Not much to work with here.

2.) Ashley Madison? Oh great, he wants to hang out with other fuckwits like himself.

3.) Oh great, he wants to deceive single people into thinking he’s single.

4.) He wants to see what else is out there? Oh, and he’d also like to stay married to you? That’s known as CAKE. He’s openly telling you he has absolutely no interest in fidelity. He’d prefer to shop. Indefinitely. (By the way, that’s your cue to do the Pick Me Dance and compete for the awesomeness of his indecision.)

5.) This is all YOUR fault? Really, you couldn’t forgive him? What does he think staying married to his sorry ass and raising his two kids is? A death sentence?

You never GAVE him forgiveness? What exactly did he do to earn it?

And let’s say that’s true. He believes you’ll never get past it. Then the honorable, sensible thing to do is END IT honestly and divorce you with a fair settlement. He didn’t do that. Because the point is CAKE.

Now, let’s look at his promises.

When I found out, he told me I was the “love of his life” and he’d made “the worst mistake of his life” and he wanted to stay married. 

Apparently being the love of his life entails tolerating his constant quests for other loves of his life. Is that okay with you?

He made the worst mistake (singular) of his life? So… what? Is he going for the gold here on catastrophic, clusterfucky, super mistakes? He just thought he’d compound those mistakes? Mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake… Until the whole mistake collapses in on itself like a black hole, sucking everything into its gravitation pull? And we’re all pulled into his wormhole of fuckupedness and spit out into an alternative mistake universe?

Worst mistake? No. The only mistake here is staying with him.

And now you’re writing to me to kill your hope. To stop believing his lame promises. Listen, Missed, you better kill your hope before your hope kills you. Think of it as a showdown at the Not-Okay Corral. Only one of us is getting out of here alive, Hope! 

Let that someone be you. If you stay with him, you stay with the knowledge of exactly who he is — a serial cheater. You’ll have a marriage with a man who looks elsewhere and blames you for it. Who subverts “forgiveness” as “free pass to do whatever the fuck I want to.” And if you object? You’re not being forgiving enough.

That’s soul death. Don’t choose it. Call a lawyer instead.

This column ran previously.

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  • I see this ran previously- Missed, I really hope you walked away and never looked back. And that having to co-parent hasn’t been too much of a nightmare. ?

    • Three words of freedom, right there Mandie. I used to say “hope dies a hard, howling death” but I like yours better. Chumplady ought to sell mallets, specially coated with meh, with which we may swiftly dispatch our hopium pipes.

  • When I learned that my husbands betrayal had left him “in love with” another (although what happened between them remained fuzzy because trickle truth, lies, avoidance, disreapect) I still wanted to wreckoncile…I was willing to do anything to fix the marriage at that point.

    but it hurt like a motherfucker…pain like I never knew. It would have hurt less if a band of thugs had beath me bloody and left me in a pile to die

    so I PROMISED myself, if he could see me in THAT much pain and ever do this again, I would leave for sure, so other chances, no matter what…it was set in stone.

    but dammit…what I had NO IDEA about was what I thought was the first and only affair was likely the last there was more BEFORE, not after.

    So I never left. and I stayed in a marriage that was perpetuated by thousands of lies….only partially uncovered after he died.

    Yes, I hope she ran like Hell

    • I hope she ran like hell too. I’m sure there were even more women, websites, etc. than just what she knew about….that’s how these sleazy cheating guttersnipes operate. I hope she finally realized it wasn’t worth it for her or her kids to live in that toxic, loveless environment.

      I love how CL refers to it as the “Not Ok Corral”
      Thant made my day!

  • Meh. Send her to – they’ll delude her into dropping her pride and staying with this selfish pig. And when she catches him yet again they’ll just pat her on the back once more, tell her to drink water, give her more of their special Kool-Aid, and delude her again into staying with him.

    Or, she could face REALITY and realize he’s a lying pig whose staying with her because he doesn’t want to lose half his assets.

    • and is useful as a childcare, property management and housekeeping appliance.

      This is a very deeply painful realisation: that you are not connected to you are kept on because you are Of Use.

      • Totally, my ex still tries to make small talk with me and rope me in on stuff in her life. I mean, WTH – go away. You chose this and now you have to adult. I would say put the big girl pants on, but we know she struggled with that – literally.

        • Big Girl Pants made me think of Mickeyblueeyes nickname for his cheater wife “YoYo Knickers.”

    • Yes, exactly this… every single time I hear a wife who has been the victim of a serial cheater say “but he loves ME…he married ME” I want to scream. The height of projection. Normal people marry for love and stay married for the same. Sociopaths marry and remain so because you are of use. They never intend to commit to anyone. You are of use, period. It isn’t worth leaving to them. They would lose half of their assets as well as their carefully crafted image, not to mention their babysitter and house cleaner. Many are able to travel for work and enjoy a completely double life with women who interest them. I could never imagine selling my life and soul to a partner in order to preserve my 401K..and yet it is done every single day. What would seem to us as a stunningly high price in remaining with someone we don’t love or respect, the serial cheater sees as just the cost of doing business. It’s disgusting, pure and simple.

      • And yet, when we leave them, or they leave us, an astounding amount of us find ourselves financially better off.
        Narkles the Clown traveled for work, lead the double life, while I took care of our child, worked full time and handled the house. I made one third of his salary.
        Now I have a better job with more flexibility. I am back to saving for my retirement. Without stress from Narkles the Clown I am healthier so I spend less on doctors and medication. I kept the house and my car and my retirement savings and I receive no spousal support or child support as part of the settlement. After years of traveling and working for himself (while I handle the kids and the house) I’m told he is now applying for jobs around town, that pay half what he made while we were together, which he can’t get because he has no verifiable work experience.

        • I’d love to say I am better off financially, but the truth is I am in a far worse position. I earn literally half of what El Fuckwitto earns and even when I return to close to full time work, I’ll still earn less than him. We had no house to split and the only thing I am set to get in settlement is half of his super- if he agrees to it. I can’t afford a lawyer so will need to battle it out with him. I live in a shitty little apartment and have just had to draw on my super to clear bills and buy some furniture and a washing machine. I am in the process of declaring bankruptcy. Every single dollar which comes into my account is already spent on rent, clothing for the kids etc. El Fuckwitto cleared me out financially, mentally and spiritually and it is taking me a long time to recover and rebuild.
          That said, it is far better to be in this stressful, hard position because I am my own boss and none of my precious energy is spent being the Marriage Police or giver of kibbles. El Fuckwitto may have brought me to my knees but I know now I have more than enough strength to rise above his toxic, abusive ways and flourish.

          • Over and over the special cases need to make sure they devastate us in every area. Financial comes up all the time . I think its part of their mentality that they cant share and its like they won cos we come away with nothing. Then they have the control as they usually earn more. The planning and scheming he must have needed to go through while simultaneously screwing me physically keeps me from sitting there hoping it was all a giant misunderstanding.

        • My actual housework has become so much more manageable since he’s been gone- all the stuff he complained about…it was him.
          Hindsight is an amazing thing. I’ve come to realise I was always a single parent too…I just didn’t know it at the time.
          We have all felt hurt beyond understanding but we are so much better off without these leeches.

      • “I could never imagine selling my life and soul to a partner in order to preserve my 401K..and yet it is done every single day.”

        Well QB I’ll raise my hand believing he loved ME. It’s a very slow boil for some of us. After 41 years of living with a covert narcissist he had me CONvinced. I was shocked when my therapist said he never respected me. I could spend my time beating myself up; I chose to forgive myself.

        There are many reasons chumps stay. Staying for a 401k? I’m not sure what the circumstances were. Who knowingly sells their soul?

        • DoingMe, sorry if you misunderstood what I meant. I wasn’t referring to the reason Chumps stay, I was referring to the reason that a cheater stays…As much as it hurts to wrap your head around it, I absolutely agree with your therapist, and have for a very long time…. you don’t treat someone in the way that a cheater does, and then claim to love and respect them. Though I realize all of our circumstances can be wildly different in so many ways, there is one way that they VERY much the same… and it would be the lack of love and respect.. and there is no surprise there. The 401K comment was made because it never ceases to amaze me that so many serial cheaters remain in their marriages to preserve their standard of living. They clearly are not interested in a monogamous relationship based on love and respect, but they ARE very interested in maintaining their comfy little life. And if they can travel regularly for business and have a double life, they are good with that… I never realized how many of these folks are able to operate without a soul…UGH

  • For anyone out there who is making this mistake (as I did) JUST.DON’T. Give it up. Pay attention to what Chump Lady says:

    A six-year affair is not a “mistake” singular. It’s thousands upon thousands of willful decisions to deceive you. It’s sociopathic. Normal people don’t have double lives nor can they maintain them. To do that you either have to have zero empathy (as in your synapses don’t fire), huge reserves of entitlement, and super powers of manipulation.

    Try to imagine being him for a DAY, doing the shit he’s been doing behind your back. You’d break out in stress rashes, wouldn’t you? You’d be dying to have a heartfelt conversation and spill your guts. You’d grind your teeth and suffer constant anxiety and second guessing. You would not CONTINUE UNBOTHERED FOR SIX YEARS.

    This was really hard for me and took a long time for me to grasp. He sucks. As a person, a son, a father, a husband, a brother. He just takes from everyone, smiles a stupid grin, and says “Hey – that’s me”. And he’s right – it is just him. He will never change or act differently because he ENJOYS taking from others, preferably at their greatest expense, and then revels in it. Truly a sick MOFO and I am glad he is out of my life. BE MIGHTY Chumps – and run, walk, or crawl away! No one deserves this kind of crap in their lives. NO ONE!

    • WHY in Gods name do we chumps keep believing that maybe if I try to love the cheating narcs more, dance, understand their malady (fucking other whores) & trying to keep the marriage together..
      Why don’t we immediately throw them out-lawyer up & free ourselves from being poisoned by these “men” who promised to love us ’til death do us part?

      Chumps like us love deeply & the hopium continues to let us believe we can fix it. Nothing can change them for the are eternally selfish & don’t give a damn for anyone but themselves. Such a shame for one day they will die alone & have nothing to leave behind.

      • Trust he sucks- rationally I know this is true to the core but that damn hopium addiction is so unbelievably powerful. Chump lady is great out patient treatment but I feel like I need more.

        It looks like I am going to be forced to endure two court ordered mediation sessions on custody which means me, cheater and a court appointed lawyer who they claim to be neutral (which unless he is a robot or a narc, how can anyone really remain neutral in such an emotionally charged situation? ). My lawyer says he will coach me on what to say and that our custody won’t be settled in mediation but I am still unbelievably anxious.

        I fear being in a room with this liar. It gulls me that he could sit down one year ago and tell me that he was a cheater and has been for years with multiple women and say all sorts of horrible mean things about me yet now he is pleading the fifth amendment on the charge of adultery. In other words he is still lying.

        WhoamInow, you got it right that I would have a rash and all sorts of other symptoms if I continued to behave this way. There is no way that I would be able to sleep at night. I know he was drinking a ton before he left so maybe there was some conscience involved and he needed numbing but still, I just wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I have lost a lot of sleep over a lot less. I just don’t get it and don’t want to believe it I guess.

        Meanwhile I take to heart all the horrible things he said about me and question my self daily on my character. Again, I know rationally this is not right but I guess it’s how I have been programmed and deprogramming is not easy.

        He tells me he doesn’t lie and is a habitual truth teller and somehow the cheating and betrayal don’t fall into the lying category. I guess I am not good with semantics. Last night my 17-year-old came home and told me that he was not allowed to work in his dad’s office this summer until the divorce was settled. He said that he did not want to put son in the middle. He then offered him a job working for him on a job site in another state four hours away. He told him that it would be good for him and he would make a lot of money. My son wants to spend the summer here and see his friends and do his normal activities. My translation is: I do not want you working at my office as you will see my lying snakey business practices and I do not want you to report them back to your mother. I cannot risk you seeing how much money I am trying to hide so that she ends up with nothing.

        This crap does intimidate me even though I should be strong and trust that he sucks.

        • Feelingit, I hope your son can find a job close to home outside his father’s company. Sounds like he could use some experience with working for an honest boss. So sorry for what you’re going through.

        • Separate rooms for court required mediation is standard now in my state. Insist upon it.

        • Kathleen,

          Why? Because…
          1. We are shell shocked. The rug of what we thought we knew was completely pulled out from under us
          2. We project our values onto them (we literally can’t imagine making their choices or lying the way they have)
          3. It is hard to let go of what you thought you had and accept the new reality
          4. These cheaters are master manipulators. They are very good at using the right words to either make you believe that they are sincere or to guilt you into believing that it is something you are doing or not doing.

          • ^^^^^^^
            shell shocked, projecting my values onto X, I was naive, didn’t realize anyone could be this cruel and callous, a master manipulator, had me convinced everything was my fault. I believed X was “a man of integrity,” which is what X brainwashed me into believing.
            Everything out of X’s mouth were lies and used to manipulate, pure evil.

        • Feelingit-
          It’s hard not to take to heart the things the person we trust (ed) with all our being, says to define us.
          We can only be told we’re shit so many times before we start to believe we are an angry, unhinged, steaming piles of hot shit.
          It is still so difficult to not fall for the bait. Please remember, as I try to every time I’m told who I am; Only my own actions can define me. Not another person, no matter how much they think they know me. Do not manifest into their definition of who you are.
          They define us because it’s easier for them to tell us who we are, than it is to actually get to know who we really are. As long as we are shit, it’s okay for them to be shitty to us. We could be Mother Theresa and they’d only see shit.
          They can’t shamefully abuse shit. They can’t wrongfully cheat on shit. They can’t abandon shit and feel any feelings of guilt for it. After all, who thinks twice about a pile of shit?
          If we were people with real feelings worthy of their attention; then that would mean their actions mattered on a level that was relevant to their “moral compass”. They can’t have that. As long as we’re shit, they’re safe from any accountability for being shit themselves.
          Just remember- he is shit. You’ve been granted the freedom to redefine yourself and be the goddess that you truly are… Congratulations on freeing yourself from your shit husband. I am also going through a process of “lining ducks” before I can leave my cheater and know I can do it alone, and with two children and two large dogs in tow. I’ve been a sahm for three years and getting back into the market is tough. I need to go back to school too, and learn a trade. I worked so cheater could get his bs then eventually his ma in economics… When it became my time to finish school, I ended up getting pregnant. The rest is history.
          You are strong and give me encouragement through your progress (and opening up to struggles) and I thank you for it.

          • Fed up chump, so I am reading your post thinking yes, wow oh this is just what I need wonderful shot in the arm advice all the while thinking this is from a seasoned veteran on the other side of hell- someone with such amazing wisdom, and then I read you are still preparing to leave. I am in shock and disbelief and now I think you must be sent by an angel. You are that amazing friend I need today. I have two that I take turns dumping on and they are more than great but both are unavailable today and maybe because they haven’t lived it , I don’t think they could give me such an inspiring eloquent speech.

            I hope I can help you because these kind of straight up pep talks make me stronger and realize I don’t need to be a coward, I have truth and character on my side, he is the lying, cheating coward!

            I feel like I have an a lot of amazing friends here.

            • Thank you, FeelingIt. Thank you for your insight and encouragement. It is you, and so many others in this forum that will finally break me free. I’ll get there, I just need to do it right and as the sane parent.

          • THIS IS IT!

            “They define us because it’s easier for them to tell us who we are, than it is to actually get to know who we really are. As long as we are shit, it’s okay for them to be shitty to us. We could be Mother Theresa and they’d only see shit.
            They can’t shamefully abuse shit. They can’t wrongfully cheat on shit. They can’t abandon shit and feel any feelings of guilt for it. After all, who thinks twice about a pile of shit?”

            We cease to be real to them because we are no longer an effective kibble source. The discard is never far afterward.

        • Feelingit, I understand what you are going through. At our last settlement conference, I never even saw STBX. We were in separate rooms. I think that it lengthens the divorce process but if I had to hear the lies he was telling, I may have struggled to keep my cool.

          My STBX is also playing games with his business and has made 112% of his normal business income disappear in 2016. It is beyond frustrating and scary when you just don’t know how the court system will react or judge this behavior.

          The amount of money, time, and effort it takes to simply get an order that is fair is ridiculous but honesty and doing what is right is beyond them.

          I keep going on faith that God will not let me fail or lose when I have 3 kids to take care of. I don’t need to take him for all he is worth. I just want what is right, reasonable, and fair.

          • Getmefree I know we have a lot of similarities in our situations and I appreciate that you are ahead of me and sharing your story. I always look for your posts. Your last line: I just want what is right, reasonable and fair. I need to keep that in mind because sometimes I want justice which turns into punishment and I know that is really not in my power or for me to determine.

            My attorneys, financial advisor etc all tell me I will be fine and not out begging on the street . I have faith in God but people like you are a great help when my faith falls short. You give me a lot of good information.


            Btw begging on the street is more honorable than being a lying, cheating fill in the blank.

            • Feelingit – there are definitely times I want to take him for everything, but that is not realistic. I probably wouldn’t succeed and it would cost me a ton. Other times, I would love to ruin him. I know enough to probably get him fired, but where would that leave my kids financially? Just try to continue to separate the legal process from the emotional. It is hard, but keep the end goal in mind. And yes, begging on the street is more honorable than what they are doing.

              The thing that has helped me most is to come up with the different possible outcomes. I then figured out what is the minimum the court could decide. That is not likely to happen, but I guess it helps prepare me for dealing with it if that is what happens. I REFUSE to let STBX or the outcome of this divorce determine my joy in this life.

              You are catching me on a “I am mighty” day;)

              • Good for you! I curious , is mediation or a settlement possible in your case. The lawyer always talks about trial but settlement is certainly preferable but I don’t know because he seems to be taking the narcissistic win at all costs path. Still early though.

              • I tried for dissolution for 8 months and didn’t get anywhere. I did all the legal legwork and put together proposals and he just flat out rejected everything. Half the time, he didn’t even read them.

                Bottom line is that he has a business in addition to his salaried job. He does not want to share the value of this business nor does he want the income to be part of the support calculation. And the only way he will even consider a settlement is if I exclude those things.

                I have the past 6 years of tax returns that show he reported income each year. Hard to argue that there is none. Yet, he spent 2016 moving things around on his books and hiring his girlfriend to hide that income. He is now claiming that he lost money in 2016. First time since 1999 he hasn’t had income from his business.

                Reaching a settlement would require honesty on both sides. He is not capable of that. He will do anything and everything he thinks he can get away with. Maybe if he did not have a business it would be possible, but he is expecting me to just overlook 27% of his income and pretend that there are no assets there.

      • I am going through this exact question right now. I’ve seen who he really is. Had many mighty times where I’ve accepted it and stopped dancing.

        But then last night, I tried to engage him in a relationship discussion. Why? WHY? I already know how that will end. And it did.

        Obviously, parts of me still Believe In Him. Ugh. My next step is to search inside every little nook and cranny of my brain and GET THEM OUT. Banished, forevermore.

        Second thought here: Why can’t I ignore him and go about my business? He is 100% happy sitting on the couch, letting me do all the work. I want to be able to look past him like the piece of furniture he is.

        Methinks it is habit. Yes, I have legit criticisms of his hurtful behavior. Yes, they are good and healthy and serve to protect me. But I need to turn them off at the moment because they are not serving me well.

        Perhaps the environment is serving as a cue in this situation? Much like whenever I go into the bathroom I have to pee, just because my brain associates bathroom with going. So the physical need to go is triggered.

        Maybe when I pass him by on the couch, the physiological anger response is triggered. I will change my traffic patterns in the house. See if it works.

    • “A six-year affair is not a “mistake” singular. It’s thousands upon thousands of willful decisions to deceive you.”

      Yes. Cheater dismissed YEARS of betrayal as “a bad moment”. MOMENT ! I wish I had a moment to tell him what I thought about his bad moment.

      • Agreed, unicornomore. And I seriously doubt cheaters have one long term affair and that’s the end of it. Leading a double life and being a serial cheater is about opportunity. The biggest red flag? He was always looking; met her while he was with me. I had to stop myself from peeling away any more layers. Those ‘moments’ and ‘mistakes’ belong to someone else now.

        I’m all for POST ASSHOLE RESPONSES now that clarity has sunk in.

        Limited: It was always about the thrill of the chase.
        Doingme: No, was always about being a disordered malignant narcissist.

        • They give themselves permission. If you were doing it, they’d be furious.
          Life is too precious to spend it in servitude to a selfish asshole! Spend your one precious life feeling joy and freedom, we’ve all earned it. We did our time in the prison of lies they created. I always felt like he was laughing at me, as he pulled the wool over my eyes and smiled-Who me? I would never….
          Peace is bliss
          The simple things matter most- a sunny day, a text from my son, coming home when I want with zero drama – all courtesy of his finally getting caught for real. Thanks, Dummy!

          • A “bad MOMENT?”

            How appropriate: A BM. Apparently his AP was a heaping helping of prunes. Or were they named “Fleet” or “Go Litely?”

            A “bad moment” is something you can laugh about-eventually, not pay for-indefinitely.

          • I asked mine once how he would feel if the tables were turned. He just sort of looked at me blankly … he was honestly unable to imagine it. He literally lacks empathy. What a strange, empty way to go through life.

            • Wow. I asked my XW the exact same thing (as she was having an affair in my face as I pleaded with her to stop) and got the exact same reaction: blank. She was not capable of empathy. Another piece of me died in that moment. Was this the person I’d married? It was.

    • That’s sort of the problem that kept me around for too long after D-day, and why I never believed the rumors about my wife leading up to D-day. I just couldn’t imagine living that life. I just couldn’t. I’d hear of people here and there that had done similar things, but I just couldn’t fathom it. And I would have never guessed my wife would be one of those people. She seemed to act normal.

      But my mistake was that I projected my feelings and values onto her because, like CL said, I’d have a nervous breakdown if I were doing the things she was rumored to be doing. Heck, she used to bring the guy around me and our kids all the time. If I were fooling around on my wife, and the girl I was with was even withing seeing distance of us, I’d probably pass out right then and there. Not her though, she did it with ease.

      Once I found out that what she was doing was true, it became awfully difficult to understand not only the “why did she do this” (she said it was the result of my mistakes, of course), but the “how” (never have – or will – get an answer to that one). We just need to accept that these people are deeply flawed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just a shame that they don’t come with warning signs like a cigarette box.

      • All the ladies in the neighborhood knew of my ex’s fooling around – even the so-called Christian ones (the ones that go to church all the time and post their stuff on FB). I didn’t learn about it until a neighbor called and asked “what does your wife do when you are at work?”

        Mine had the warning signs of a flawed person and I had thought about calling it quits, but just couldn’t bring myself to hurt her. What a joke.

        • The behaviors of cheaters (which if chumps tried, we’d be too anxious to continue) the cheaters get off on. They get a thrill from the risk-taking and deceit. They feel smug about what they do & how we feel in response. Power. Control. Entitlement. Game Over.

          • Totally. The entitlement: “I deserve to be happy too.” The hurt: “I am sorry you got hurt,” not I hurt you. The deceit: texting with the BF next to me. My anger: “You need to treat me like a human.”

            No, I don’t need to treat you like a human. You hurt me. I don’t have to take the abuse. You are not entitled to conversations with me. I do not want to talk to you. Period.

            • Oh yeah, I got the “I just want to be happy” and “you made me unhappy” excuse from my wife (among others). It was news to me that “being unhappy” was a green light to hide money, stick me with her student loans, and running around for years with other people’s husbands.

              In the end, my sendoff was “I hope someday you will be happy too.”

              Yeah, turning over half my retirement, all of my savings, paying her money every month, watching my kids have to live out of a suitcase and only seeing them every other week for the rest of their childhoods is a one way ticket to happiness. Yeah she’s right, it’s all sheer happiness…..

              • I swear they are all related… I got the “I hope someday you will be happy too” line as well.

                Best one was “you’d really like him if you met him another time; he’s really like you.”

                I hope happy bites her in the ass.

              • They are never ever happy. Whether there are 6 or 60 APs, they are never happy, never feel loved enough. They want us fighting over them but nothing fills the hole inside them. They are unable to find lasting love or happiness. You get to Meh when you accept this & move on. It is worth the money to move on. They are stuck on empty; we have what it takes to love, be loved, and be happy.

              • See, things like family, commitment and honour MAKE chumps happy.

                I know my cheater has never been happy for more than a month or two in his life. He blames me for his current unhappiness, but I know that’s just who he is. There’s always something pissing him off …

              • “They are never ever happy. Whether there are 6 or 60 APs, they are never happy, never feel loved enough. They want us fighting over them but nothing fills the hole inside them. They are unable to find lasting love or happiness. You get to Meh when you accept this & move on. It is worth the money to move on. They are stuck on empty; we have what it takes to love, be loved, and be happy.”

                Meg,this is it exactly. The hole inside them is so fucking deep. I think it required validation to see how far he sucked me down into the pit to see his emptiness. The illusion unmasked was pure evil.

              • The following is A copy of a text stbx sent to our daughter this evening:

                Word of the day is happy.

                Happy people don’t cheat
                Happy people don’t lie
                They don’t judge, or hold a grudge, don’t criticize
                Happy people don’t hate
                Happy people don’t steal
                ‘Cause all the hurt sure ain’t worth all the guilt they feel

                The second part is song lyrics which in my oppinion should say people with character in place of happy people. The song goes on to say basically if it feels good, do it. One of the many problems with our current society mindset.

                Daughter did not respond but considered sending a text saying I guess you aren’t happy.

                She is right and he never will be.

    • I feel like either way I got screwed. I stayed for 4 years after I “knew” and he never had any remorse and went about his life. Didn’t help me with any financial stuff, paid for everything myself. Didn’t get anything from the divorce.
      So I left and moved to where my family was and I’m still paying! And now paying for him to see his child! Because it was my fault for leaving. How is that fair? And I should have just stayed.
      He’s already moved on and has a baby with this new girl and we just got divorced last November
      He doesn’t seem to have to be accountable for anything! Wth?

      • Trust me Alicia – you won. You got out.

        You can rebuild a new life for you and your child… the kind of life YOU want. You can show your child what a kind and loving and sane parent is, and what your X isn’t.

        Let the new girl and baby be the sparkles that keep his attention away from you.

        You’ve got this. Keep coming back here.

  • Dear MissedRedFlags

    I know you are hurting. None of it makes sense … like that award winning science fiction movie… where there is a dream with in a dream and to understand it all , one has to read the alphabet upside down!
    You are hurt and wounded beyond measure. The visceral pain will drive you nuts.
    Please get out of there!

    The road to recovery is long.
    The longer you stay with the poisonous bastard…. the harder it is to get to meh.
    I sincerely wish that you will raise your mighty sword, cut that idiot out of your life and set yourself free.
    The only person you need to be nice to is YOU! You have done nothing wrong.

  • I sincerely hope she took the kids and ran. She does not deserve to be treated like that. This is what I have done – come to realise that I am worth more than this, that I deserve better and that staying is setting a bad example to my kids.
    This guy is a total lying, entitled fuckwit and will never change. While leaving I’ve made certain all his friends and family know what he has been up to and what a complete dick he is. He cant sue me for slander because its all true ?
    Hope she got out and kicked his sorry ass to the kerb.

  • Everything Chumplady says here is the truth, but boy does it hurt like a mother to live it……at first.
    The most important thing I’ve learned here is that no contact is the path to peace. You must rid yourself of the cheater as much as your co parenting arrangement will allow. I have grown kids that have chosen to be NC with him l, so I’m lucky. My conversations with him now are regarding finances and are few and far between. It’s given me amazing clarity about him. I don’t know how I was married to him for all those years.
    I have learned a million valuable lessons here. I will read here daily no matter where my new life takes me because it keeps me strong and helps me to not let the trauma of that life creep into my new one. I also love that we can be here for the newly chumped. This place saved me.
    I’m shocked that I was a person that forgave a 4 year affair, several others before and after, lie after lie….found several dating profiles. Ugh!
    Don’t kick yourself, we all want to believe we aren’t being chumped.
    Just get out and don’t look back. As chumplady says, nothing to work with there.

    • Yes, this is perfectly written and exactly what I feel, too. Thanks, Paintwindow. NC and CL saved me. I loved him and was loyal and committed, but my repeated forgiveness was treated like a free pass. Chumps must get out and away from cheaters.

      • I feel this way as well, nwhi.
        I spend the better part of a year after he left me for the ow thinking I had to have some part in that. If he was happy, it wouldn’t of happened. He claimed as well that our undoing was that I couldn’t let go of his cheating…..even though he was still cheating.
        I’m the fucked up one.
        I killed myselfvto be a good wife to him and when he would comment that he still wasn’t happy ( over the marriage, or what I cooked for dinner, or how I folded the towels, or that I couldn’t understand why he would want to take so many vacations without his family) I would kill myself somemore,
        I know who I was in that marriage, I don’t care who else does. I was a loving, committed wife. Period.
        You have to get away from it to see how fucked up it is. Marriage to a sociopath gives us Stockholm syndrome.
        Many hugs to you, glad we found the way out.

        • Paintwidow, thank you for this reminder! Even though I know better, I still have this tiny nagging feeling that my cheating, lying husband left me because I wasn’t a good enough wife. That’s what sociopaths do to you. Stockholm syndrome is right.

          • champchump, I too had that nagging doubt after X left that I had failed, wasn’t good enough etc. It wasn’t until I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation, reading other Chumps stories before I woke up and realized how badly I was brainwashed.
            Today I have erased all doubt that his behavior and wicked treatment of me was somehow my fault and I deserved to be treated like shit.
            I didn’t deserve any of it, even if I was guilty of the faults he claimed I had.
            His treatment of me is unforgivable.

        • Your comment struck a note with me. “I know who I was in that marriage, I don’t care who else does” – I don’t know why I have/had this strong desire to feel justified, to have others know I was victimized, to have others know I put tremendous effort into my marriage, to let others know what a horrible person she was to me.

          I too know who I was in that marriage and at the end of the day, that has to suffice. I need to move on and not care what other people think.

          Still, I want to stand on the mountain and tell my story to the world.

          But I live in a small town, and not sure how that would benefit my kids.

          So yeah, the pain is, was, mine, and it not only hurt(s) like a *******, the overall mind-fuckery was just too much to bear.

          CL: by the way, this is a brilliant, succinct, enlightening article, worthy of pinning to the front page.

          • Buddy, this is me for sure. I still want to out him. I want to send him that long letter and tell him all the things I know. I want his family to know, and I want it’s thousands of fans to know as well.

            It’s very hard. Almost daily I have the urge to post something online or on social media or write him that letter. I stopped myself but I’m still obsessing. I don’t know has anybody else Done this? Does it make you feel better to tell them off just for your own peace of mind?

            I feel like if I went online and caused a ruckus by saying what he did to me, it would just make me look like an ass. Just coincidentally his ex-girlfriend had been doing for years well we were together, saying all this horrible stuff about him publicly. I had helped him take a screw to the next level and she was furious that he suddenly become successful. Of course when I met him he had claimed that she was the bad one had done all this awful stuff and you know she was just a selfish actress who only thought of herself. I bought it. But when the fans started noticing her crazy statements about him being a narcissist, liar, Sociopath… he just played the victim and told everyone she was stalking him. But he broke her I suspect -all while telling me she was this evil troll who just couldn’t get over him or let him go after he dumped her.

            What a fool I am! I stood by him and felt sorry for him and did all I could to get all the stuff removed publicly. It was a cluster fuck. And it makes me feel even more chumpy… at the end she really was stalking him.

            I wonder if he drove her to it with all the lies and manipulation and cheating he must have done to her before I met him. I now feel like that bitter person that can’t move on .

            I still want to write him that letter. I still want the public to know. But I’m just frozen. Won’t I just come across as that bitter ex who went off about him cheating on me during cancer and abusing me. It won’t look good for me probably? But I still want to write him to tell him off. Has anybody done this and felt better? I keep thinking I’ll feel so much better…

            • By all means, go ahead and write that letter. Get it all out. Just don’t send it. Put it away and take it out to review at some point in the future if you must, but remember it is for YOUR benefit to speak your mind and clear out that excess noise, NOT the cheater’s. Cheaters don’t care if the chump was wronged, and disordered cheaters may feel downright glee.

              • I agree Survivor. Write that letter chump but don’t send it. It just gives the narc cheater kibbles and it does make the chump look bad.

                As CL & CN have taught me, the best revenge is a life well lived.

                My ex and I both work for the same company but different departments. We have a lot of overlap in colleagues. It’s tempting to want to tell others what he is. But I do think it just makes me look bad. Come here often to learn, vent, and ultimately heal.

            • I did write that letter to stbxh all 12 pages of A4 where I poured my heart out about the hurt and upset and mind playing his affairs dalliances had done to me, I then gave him the letter and made him read it in front of me…the only bit of the whole of that letter that upset him was when I said that his deceased dad would be proud of what a success we had made of the family business since we took it over!!! three days later I found the letter just thrown in the back of the work van covered in oil and grease for anyone to pick up and read. So my advice would be don’t waste your time writing it because it wont mean anything to him.
              Someone once told me if you really really need to do it, write the letter as though you are going to send it but instead of giving it to them….burn it and at the same time the desire to send it will burn with it.

  • It’s disgusting on the RIC blogs cause basically they further the same ideas that this guy does. You know, make the marriage a safe place for the poor little Wayward forest creatures. Don’t upset them by making them accountable, or not “trusting” them, or not forgiving them, or asking them questions, blah blah blah.

    In my personal opinion, if someone has cheated, they should bow down before the person they wronged and try to make it up to them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! No defensiveness, no yapping about privacy, or opposite sex “friends”, or hostilities, or none of the shit they want to do, EVER!!!

    • If anyone remembers the Rolling Stones song, Under My Thumb, that’s how these fuckers should act.

      But nobody really wants that, especially Chumps, so the best thing to do really is to end any relationship at the first sign of cheating, or even attempted cheating. One and done.

      • Yes! Because you cannot unring that bell. The damage done is profound and impacts many facets of your relationship. Plus, cheaters are repeat offenders because they lack character and will cross that boundary again.

  • For me, the hope and the marriage, ended the moment that I realized that there was NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING the ex, or I, or anyone on the whole planet could ever say or do or thick or feel that could ever undo one single bit of the shit he did (not me, HIM) and that it was all a gigantic colossal waste of time. There are no DoOvers. That whore can’t be unfucked. It can never be made right.

  • I need my hope killed at least once if not twice a day. Looking forward to at least a whole day without anger, depression, and hope that this is all a terrible nightmare. Wait, even my sleep is filled with nightmares about my H going to a ball with me but getting lost somewhere and I keep saving his seat so no one takes it.

    • StaryEye, so sorry you pulled your question in the forum.

      You aren’t gas lighting yourself, you ARE BEING gaslighted. Of course its physical. Sorry to tell you this.

      As Chump Lady says, adults don’t get together to hold hands and read bible verses. Adults get together to fuck.
      I wasn’t brave enough, but if you put a voice activated recorder in his car, or a GPS tracker, or hired a PI, you would get your physical evidence quite quickly.

      The pain is overwhelming. To this day (10 years later) if God said to me ‘you can be stabbed so that you lie in ICU close to death, or it was revealed the person you thought loved you and had your back betrayed and didn’t care about you, whats your choice?’ I would say, where is the knife. My mother stayed and they did end up friends. Even though she said to me ‘they always come back to their families’ her resentment/pain never, ever left her. That is a life sentence of over 30 years.

      But you know what goes when you face the reality? The 24/7 anxiety and uncertainty. And you get through the pain and realise, hey, this peace is better. He doesn’t define me. I do deserve people who treat me kindly and with respect.

      So good luck StaryEye, and keep talking to fellow Chumps.

      • My thoughts on the physical/not physical thing. I went thru that shit with the ex. Neither one is acceptable! Ever.

        Next time you are tempted to call cheating an “emotional affair”, drop the ” emotional ” and there you have your answer. A person’s spouse should not be doing anything that raises suspicion they are fucking someone else (ie, texting, calling, meeting someone, in a secretive manner) and if they are doing that you do not have to prove they are screwing, what they are doing is wrong enough in and of itself.

        • My comment to my daughters, which I got from a CN comment is that “cheating is transferring your emotions to someone else without telling your spouse”. No sex necessary. 95% of an affair is the emotional betrayal. The sex is only 5%. It’s just the last nail in the coffin.

    • If you are dreaming that he is leaving you behind, that’s your subconscious mind sending you a powerful message. You keep saving his seat, he keeps leaving you to “go to a ball.” You KNOW there is no hope he will change. You KNOW this is not just a “nightmare.” He’s cheating.

      The pain you are experiencing now will never go away if you don’t get away from a person who is willing to lie to you, deceive you, gaslight you over and over. What you can hope for is that you can find a better way to live.

    • StaryEye, I’m with you! Each day it’s a roller coaster of ” I hate him”, ” I hope he comes back”, “how could he value me so little to do this and then leave his family”, “I hate him”, I” I miss him.”
      I know I have to leave…I’ve gotten an attorney…but I still have hope… that hope is just killing me slowly…
      Will he will ever know the damage he’s caused?
      To make it worse, I think he is now seeing someone else…not the skank he cheated on me with…I HOPE she shreds his heart and life ….karma. But still, there is hope. Someone mentioned above that hope dies last….well..fuck.

    • I always had these dreams of traveling with my cheater, and I would always lose her in the dream. We’d be at a hotel or motel at the beach, and she was never to be found. I’d be alone, wondering where she was, but I knew was having some sort of fun or interesting experience without me. These dreams preceded her cheating by many years.

      I also have this vivid recollection of our wedding reception (not a dream, this actually happened). We were both sober (although many were partying hard). She was next to a good fried, about 30 feet from me and walking toward me with a huge smile, and I was walking toward her, on top of the world. As we approached each other, looking deeply into each others eyes, I opened my arms, and she walked right by me and kept walking, never even noticing I was right in front of her. She had been looking right through me, and my existence didn’t even register in her narcissistic brain.

      That really stung, but I thought I was being silly at the time, but the experience was telling. She cared far more about her public image than about me.

      Then on our 8-day honeymoon to the tropics staying in a 5 star resort, we had sex just once, even though every day and night I was ready to go.

      I had a moment on the island, running errands to get her something, knowing I’d made a huge mistake.

      • You know, Buddy, I remember thinking I had made a mistake in marrying the ex as well, many times. I tried to ignore those thoughts, though, and focus on my marriage vows and making a good family life for my child. Cheating never entered my mind. But with a full time job and a preschooler and doing everything to make ex’s life easier I wouldn’t have had the time anyway.

        I do believe if ex had the decency to sit down and say “Hey Anita this isn’t working out, we need to consider a divorce ” or need to make some changes or whatever, I would have been very agreeable to it. I honestly think a lot of chumps here were not that thrilled with their marriages to these creeps and would have liked an escape hatch. At least at that point I would have thought he was a decent person and would do right by our family, not exposing our child to whorez, etc.

        • I guess that’s what shows the true character flaws of the cheater. Instead of being honest and saying “I want out” (which obviously he didn’t, because he never went willingly) he decided to contact a whore from the past, and date her slimy ass behind my back, and then proceed to act like one of the slimiest creeps I’d ever met. He wanted CAKE, and that wasn’t found between the whore’s legs, it was found in treating his wife and child like crap and getting away with it. I think adultery alters the thought processes of the chump and throws you into a state of False Love. It’s twisted but I think it’s some sort of biological or chemical reaction. Ex told me once, You only want me because you think someone else wants me. Now, looking back, damn I think he was right.

          • Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with guys like that, this one just hid it better than most.

        • Yeah, in retrospect, her having the courage to divorce me would have been just fine. So so so much better than the mind-fuck, but that would have meant that she’d have to get a job, parent, do chores (at least until she found a richer replacement to provide for her).

  • Like so many others on here. I forgave, and forgave, and forgave that fool and all it brought me was continuing and escalatingly bad treatment from the ex. Forgiveness is just a tool to these disordered freaks to use against you. Don’t waste your time.

    One day I just had it and was done. It was priceless seeing the look if shock on his formerly smug ugly face.

    • Believe it isn’t just the Men that are cheating slim. My wife’s affair was she was just looking for someone to show her affection. Yeah right, it was to have sex with the guy at work because he would, fully knowing she was married 19+ years. They are both dirt bags. It is like why even bother getting married, if one party decides what they said in the past doesn’t matter today. Sickness and in health, rich or poor, till death do us apart-what a joke. How about till she decides that the guy who gave her everything, as her family says I’m a saint. Look up the definition of Gaslighting. She distorts everything. My faith in people has been for ever damaged.

      The best is in my state doesn’t matter what she does who she sleeps with, her infidelity, nothing she still gets half of everything. I told her to leave and she won’t.

      • Italian, I agree. When I go to weddings and hear the couple recite their vows I always wonder how my ex could have so blatantly disregarded them.

        • I laugh when I hear them recite the vows and everyone sitting there saying it is so beautiful. I’m like half of you are cheaters and there is a 40% chance she will cheat on him and higher if she works in an office and the odds of him cheating probably through the roof. I just hate liars, cheaters, betrayers they all are no good.

          • Mine left by taking a quarter million dollars from me and gets child support that’s higher than most people’s mortgages… At least my older kids know why I refuse to talk to her and try to do as little contact as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to do with 4 kids under 9.

            Infidelity is soul rape and no one should be subjected to this abuse.

            • So true on soul rape! Why don’t people get that? I don’t have to lose a leg to feel for someone who has.

              • The way i see it is they have an actual brain injury that blocks them from feeling empathy and causes them to lie to protect their image no matter WHO they are dealing with. Now i have heard him communicate with lies to his own daughter i can understand it is his antisocial tendancies no matter who he is dealing with. As long as it is a criticism the person on the receiving end is getting the same bullshit. To keep reminding yourself its not something wrong with you it stops you absorbing the toxic projections. The fact that my daughter came away from the conversation with the familiar level of confusion and anger that nothing said said was validated confirmed to me that i actually must be made of kryptonite to have put with that shit for 25 years and survived.

      • “my faith in people has been for ever damaged”. Yup. I hear that loud and clear.
        I figure it’ thing to leave your pregnant wife of 10 years to shack up with slutbag but for slutbag to willingly provide pussy to a married man who abandoned his pregnant wife and 1 and 1/2 y/o toddler… that’s foul. THAT is completely lost on me. I can’t even…

  • Dear Missed

    Hope with a cheater is hoping you don’t get food poisoning from Sketchy Cafe that has an awesome laminated picture menu and the dishes are numbered and you get to fill in your own order.

    Hope with a cheater is like a b-movie and your car breaks down in the middle of the night and the only motel within walking distance is next to a graveyard but you check in and of course go investigate the moaning and sound of chains clanking in the boiler room.

    Hope with a cheater is like hoping that chicken of the sea is not tuna.

  • Ahhh hope. The ultimate enemy.

    I remember my cheaterturd crying his eyes out when caught each time. And each time I bought the act wanting to believe that ultimately my FORGIVENESS of him would buy me some good will and he would realize how wonderful I was. Did it pay off? NOPE. He only saw my foregivness as weakness and the treatment of me got worse. It wasn’t my until after cheater died (now known as deadcheater) did I find the true depths of his depravity. I had no idea there Were so many sex hook up sites, he was on a dozen of them, trolling for strange, He also had the last affair partner on the hook (after telling me many times he had cut her out of his life) and me on the hook because he “wanted to grow old with only me”. Blech! What he wanted was my usefulness and cake, that’s it, the whole list.

    If only I had known CL back then my hope might have been killed a decade earlier at Dday1 and I would be so far ahead of the game right now. These guys never change, and as bad as you think it is – ITS WORSE. Kill your hope, dump the cheater like a bag of rocks and run for your life.

  • Hi Everyone—It’s me–Missed Red Flags. I read ChumpLady everyone morning and what a coincidence to see this run again. It’s been almost a year. I haven’t had the sustaining courage to leave.

    We went to marriage counseling again after finding out about the affair last summer. He made promises. I asked the counselor, “Why would he stop seeing her?” she replied, “He has more honor than that.” So, when I found out that he was still seeing her—he was downloading and deleting Facebook Messenger on his phone several times a day and when I confronted him ( this was a month after discovering his continued affair and while we were in marriage counseling) he denied contact and told me he was just accessing my Messenger account to see what I was saying to my mom and sister. I didn’t buy that though…..that was on a Friday right before his birthday. All weekend, he repeatedly told me he was not in contact with her, that he loved me and wanted to stay married. But I still doubted his excuse and on the following Monday I was able to download an activity report from Facebook that listed what devices had been used to access my account…and you guessed it….his phone was not listed. I confronted him again and he then admits he was still seeing her and that, in fact, after I confronted him that previous Friday, they had had lunch together where she thoughtfully brought him a birthday cake to the restaurant.

    I was able to gather my strength then and filed for divorce…but he talked me out of it with more promises.

    I’m actually going to a counselor today to talk about how to gather strength to leave, to demand better for myself. So, seeing this column run again today is a good omen.

    Thank you all for your support, kind words and advice. The funny thing is–I’m professionally a competent person, and if this situation was described to me as happening to someone else I’d reply, “Run.” but when it’s happening to myself….I’m stuck in fear of losing my kids 50% of the time, of being alone ( we’ve been married now for 19 years and together 24) or just plan thinking this is the best I can get.
    Anyway…getting to mighty is hard but I haven’t given up hope that I can get there.

    • You can do this. Your story is so similar to mine except instead of confessing this last time, I actually caught him. Seeing my husband with another woman did it for me. I filed right away then. Because I realized all those words he said meant nothing. He was never going to be the faithful husband I needed because he liked cake.

      It’s hard to believe, but it’s true so get out.

      Just take the first step and then another. I was afraid of everything you mentioned in your last bit. But, you must face these fears, and any others. For me, he didn’t end up wanted the kids, being alone is actually a relief, and my self-worth had been so beaten down that of course I thought he was the best I could do, but No Contact showed me I couldn’t have been more wrong in my thinking. I was just devoted to my husband and my family and it took the divorce and my heart to disconnect from my toxic situation to realize what a manipulator he is and how trapped I was.

      Be mighty. Don’t lose another year of your life.

    • MissedRedFlags,

      You CAN do this. This dude does not deserve one more minute of your time, much less another year. At this point, he probably figures he has a free pass to do as he likes, while you hold it all together for him. Tear that pass up. When you are given the crocodile tears, remember that they are crocodile tears. And remember that “wanting to stay married” is different than wanting to honor and respect you. It’s all of the benefits without any of the investment. Have a good chat with that counselor. If they don’t understand the situation, have a chat with another. Trust that he sucks, and trust that it will get better when he’s in the rearview mirror. Good luck to you.

      • Dear MRF,

        Get a lawyer, a counsellor and some family support (your parents, siblings or a badass aunt) ASAP. Figure out your options without giving him a heads up (he NEVER gave you any info why should you). Start telling somebody what he has and is still doing; tell somebody who actually cares like your own sister or a counsellor. Please jack up your self esteem. You are a worthy human being.
        His actions speak volumes. His words are meaningless.
        He will likely dump your ass as soon as your youngest becomes an adult and after squirrelling away marital assets. For now you are nothing more than a maid, nanny and ATM. He has no respect for you. He probably jokes about you with his other cheater friends and with his whore. Would you bald face lie to somebody every day? Would you fuck another man and then return to your house and sleep with your unknowing spouse? So why is this miserable excuse of a man allowed to do this? to you?
        Chumps need to face reality and hiding from the facts is just prolonging pain. Stop babying this spoiled asshole. Please start taking care of yourself!

    • Missedredflags I’m not going to tell you you can do this I think you know that. It is the toughest thing you’ll ever do. I’m going to urge you to get your ducks in a row. Get money out as much and as fast as you can. You can be sure he will if he suspects you are getting ready to leave. My stbxh of (now) 36 years spent our wreckonciliation stealing our family’s money ($400000 by the end of the 5 years), then when he left for his final AP said at least I was good for making money(we have 2 grown kids, no mention of them) he also stopped earning a living. A user through and through. But hey a parasite needs a host so the AP gets her karma. Anyhoo get ready protect yourself you deserve that and do not make the mistake of thinking a long marriage means he wouldn’t do that to you.

    • Dear Missed Red Flags,

      You are already alone. You are on Jupiter alone. Worse, you are alone and the butt of the joke. On top of that, you have a second, full time shit job playing Marriage Police. It is demeaning, exhausting and a precious waste of your very limited time here on earth.

      He does not love you. He does not care about you. You are a joke to him. You are a burden to be “managed” and kept in the dark and fed shit, like a mushroom patch.

      You need to get infuriated. Like, rip apart phone books infuriated. This motherfucker is a hog at the trough, and you are simply the caretaker that slops the hog.

      I had the terrible sense to actually eavesdrop on the Walking Piece of Shit that cheated on me. With spy equipment. Missed, if you could of heard the things he was saying about me to this Whore.

      Me- the one who stood on my feet and made him endless grilled cheeses, who babied him and fought his battles.

      When they are/were in the Embassy Suites, you are the “joke” after the sex. You are the person that he ridicules with her, and who knows how many other whores. She brought him a birthday cake. How sweet. Like cyanide.

      They are a couple. You get it? They are a couple who are invested in each other’s lives. Stop getting in the weeds with the details of what they do. It is the path to insanity.

      When you call, he probably rolls his eyes and says, There’s the stupid bitch again. My God- why won’t she leave us alone so I can eat your pussy and fuck you for hours?

      I am not being cruel. I am trying to make you see that you are missing IT. You are wasting your juice , your energy, your meat. You are casting your best years in the dumpster with someone who would probably shrug if you died, (after showing the world crocodile tears) and then run to the filing cabinet, eyes lit, to see how much your life insurance policy is worth.

      Stop with the counseling focusing on decoding him. He does not love you. Full Stop. These people are wired different. He will never change. He will be 87 in the assisted living, chasing strange pussy while you sort out the meds and make sure there is cold Ensure in the Frig.

      Is that good enough for you? Is that what you what your children to believe love and life have to offer? Where is your outrage? You deserve to be loved. Right?

      Missed- kick that scum licker out. Hire the best lawyer money can buy and get steel in your spine. No one can do it for you. This is one of the those big girl pants moments.

      Here is the good news- You have already weathered the worst part. Being married to a Demon. It’s all down hill from here. You just have to get up, and start taking action. Once you pay people, they will start things for you and momentum will carry you.

      *You can, you must and you will.*

      • Alice, I just LOOOOOOOOVE your post! No nonsense, no bullshit, black and white, razor-sharp cutting into the the heart. Truth! Once you accept that pain, the rest is easy. I think you just killed hope! Mighty!

      • Alice is absolutely correct! These weasels will use you till the day they die (ask me how I KNOW)! Get out and run as fast as you can to a shark lawyer who will deal with your cheater. The lawyer is best suited for this because they have absolutely NO emotional baggage to deal with when it comes to your cheater. They are aware of the FACT that your cheater is just a squirrelly asshat blowhard who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Trust me, I had one of those types, but there is nothing better than watching them walk out of the final settlement holding what is left of thier ass in one hand! PRICELESS! You are going to feel fear and anxiety, but that’s nothing compared to the daily attack on your mental and physical well-being that a cheater dishes out. Stop the madness and run, don’t walk to the best lawyer in town. Kick the cheater out, change your locks, passwords etc, and go totally NC! Get the divorce, the great settlement and then pop some popcorn and watch the weasel fall to shit! It doesn’t take too long, I promise!

        • I can’t believe your ex actually died, Roberta. It’s really a shame he had to make such an ass of himself before going. You are a good strong person and I admire you a lot. He’s an example of what not to do. I’m not sure what these men expect when they hook up with these road whores. Ninety percent of the time, they would not give the skanks a second look if they were single, you know.

          • That’s the truth Anita! Schmoopie was such a transparent piece of trash, but he thought she hung the moon and was so smart! His whole brain was fried and between her legs! He did die on May 8. I gave him a grand send off, I had taken care of him his last days. The toll that his affair took on him was visible. He knew he was getting better than he deserved.
            It all worked out for me because in the end he left me everything. Guess that was all he could do to make up for his failure. Schmoopie doesn’t know he’s dead and is still trying to sue for money. She should start making noise around July, but that’s what my lawyer is for. She can go pound sand!

            • Roberta
              I remember your story. Well done for doing the right thing toward the end. It probably gave him some peace, but more importantly, allowed you the chance to play that trump card on Schmoopie. You have been through so much, I hope the rest of your days are happy and carefree.

              • Marci, he had no one else. I actually promised his father I would take care of him if need be just before he died. I keep my promises! I’m not sure it gave him much peace because he was very remorseful about his affair towards the end. He ended up with huge amounts of guilt and told me he wished he had been home instead of wasting his time with Schmoopie. I do pray for his soul for sure. I will not regret taking care of him and giving him a great send off though! I truly did love him and I believe he loved me in his own twisted way. Kind of sad that he probably never did know what true love is.

              • I echo everything Marci said, Roberta. You’re one of the folks on here who have helped the most to restore my faith in humanity. You deserve every possible blessing to come your way. Big hugs to you.

      • Alice – WOW -your post was ON POINT and exactly what I need to hear to knock that hope right down. He said awful things about me to his coworkers and her….
        This hope needs to die already.

      • So true Alice. Missed, you are being abused. Think of all the strength it takes to make it through the day knowing you are living with a pathological liar. The guy has no feeling for you. Focus on custody instead of what the stupid jerk is doing next. Focusing on stupid makes one a voice for stupid. See how you can get full custody, or 60/40, or what it would be for you and your kids if you don’t. Being away from cheaters brings great relief. No contact him and don’t look back.

      • Alice this is harsh but 100% on the money every freaking word truth!!!!!! Just when I thought the pain of betrayal with his final OW was more than I could bear, what really stung was finding out all the horrible awful things he said about me. That I was the cheater, that I was old and dried up, that I never supported his dreams, that he would mock me and how much I loved him, that I was pathetic. The ugly things he said about me hurt more than his physical betrayal. I had been faithful, loving, supoerted him financially, defended him to his lousy family, forgave his every indiscretion in the name of love and honoring my vows, got him out of trouble again and again AND THIS WAS MY REWARD. Total utter disrespect for me and my good name – all in the name of chasing strange.

        And he said every word of it without one single second of remorse or bad feelings. He was a monster. You are not exaggerating Alice, bravo!!!!!

    • MissedRedflags, best of luck to you on your appointment today. I will tell you that being alone is not as bad as being lonely in your marriage. My kids were grown when we split, but it is still hard for me to not see them as much during holidays. My ex bought a big resort home and they seem to enjoy staying with him there, my house is pretty small. That is the hardest part for me. Still, I would take the peace of living an authentic life over trying to hide a dysfunctional relationship and act like everything is normal. The stress of that was killing me. If you are lucky enough to have a supportive family and friends you will be fine. That’s what saved me.

    • Dear Missed,

      My phone just froze as I was posting it, so here it is again. I have been with mine for 12 years (14 together) – so half years than you. However, looking at the timeline:

      1. A year and a half ago I discovered what I thought was an EA with his ex gf. It turned out to be a full blown affair for all the 12 years of our marriage, and more, considering he knew her 4 years before me. I had no idea she existed. He even at some point was going to leave us and go live with whore and her daughter (I found a lovely email from him saying he was ready go live on the moon with her and support her career, etc – nice!) I reconciled. I learned later she chose her high-visibility career and her marriage to her chump husband.

      2. A few months later I discovered a Tinder account and dates. I was still reconciling. I did not even bring it up to him at the time because I convinced myself it was all “before DDay”, although many conversations were dated after he got busted and supposedly convincing me to get back with him and keep the family going. I did not want to intimidate the forest creature and at the time was totally bought in by RIC.

      3. During my pick me dance while reconciling, I set boundaries (ha-ha-ha!) and told him I would not tolerate this again. He in turn told me (in all honesty) that he could not guarantee fidelity and till-death-sets-us-apart (and who can?!) so he promised instead to be honest going forward. That meant that if he had an urge to go “fuck somebody because I like discovering different personalities this way” then he would tell me beforehand. Good enough for me. Why do we not value ourselves, chumps?

      4. When he got busted with a new twuwuv a few months later, while I was diligently building up a new relationship with the cheater, he blameshifted: I did not forgive him, I always wanted to divorce him and all this reconciliation was pretense – he never felt trusted, poor sad sausage, and he could not live like this chained to me. He also likes freedom and noone can tell him what to do!

      Sounds familiar? And although I had already discovered the CL by the last DDay, my hope was still alive. But…but…but…he would not want to leave our beautiful family, right? He would not want to lose this relationship, right? He can change, right? WRONG. He wanted cake.

      It took me consistent daily intravenous doses of CL every morning as I opened my eyes, had my morning coffee, got to subway, and then back in the subway, and before bed. Six months after the 2nd DDay I lawyer-ed up. He tried to influence me through his mom, my mom, family members, his friends, offering an open marriage, promising that he will never leave me but I had to accept him as he was, then trying to convince me to leave everything on paper as is and have two separate lives, you name it.

      When he figured out I was serious, he became ugly. His words and behavior now is full of threats, blameshift and accusations. His mask is off. And you know what? I like seeing him that way. The person I thought I loved and who loved me back and we had a family together and a future – he never existed. What always existed behind the mask is what I see now. Ugliness. And this is what has killed my hope. Slowly but surely.

      I hope you will get your strength and that “a-ha!” moment will come soon. I discovered it was all about little steps. One foot in front of the other. If you think too long and try to organize everything in your head you get paralyzed – it’s too much. Take little steps. Take care of yourself as Tempest suggests. I discovered the love of planting. As I dig my hands in soil my mind shuts down totally. Find something that will give your thoughts a break.

      We have your back here.

      • Well done Longtimechump. An eloquent desciption of the sort of slow-drip feed they give us that keeps the hopium candle flickering.

    • 50% of quality time is better than 100% of paralysis. File for divorce, get your self-confidence, go no-contact, and tell your kids. I know it feels horrible right now, but you will feel happier once everything is done.

    • You don’t need strength. You need to LOVE YOURSELF enough to leave. You are worth so much more.

      And STAY AWAY from counselors and therapists who talk about his “honor.” Please. Hold this new therapist to a very high standard. Is he or she supporting you–your best interest, your happiness?

      You’re worried about losing time with your kids. Fight for full custody. He will want 50% for the money end but where will he get the time to do that and carry on his affairs? If you’ve been married 24 years, you are probably under 50 and the kids are likely teenagers or nearly so. They will get a choice about what they want at that age. FIGHT. FIGHT for your chance to have a great life.

      I was nearly 60 when I ended a marriage to an alcohol and substance abuser. I tool up with Jackass (an old friend whom I trusted completely) and within a year he discarded me for a married woman with 3 kids. Because that is the kind of jackass that he is. So here I am 4 years later–and never happier. Learning to manage on my own has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. You will find that there is nothing more attractive to all sorts of people than happiness and confidence and a grateful spirit. There are all sorts of great people you can share a life with. I started seeing a Very Kind Man a couple of years ago but if I hadn’t done that, at 65 I could date any number of nice men in my own basic age range. Lots of men get chumped, too. So the issue for you is whether this marriage is good enough for you, whether you want to live without love, respect, trust, and kindness. Because it’s a life sentence. He won’t change. But you can. Good luck. And fire the therapist if she isn’t 100% behind helping you get your confidence and self-respect back.

    • MissedRedFlags so glad you’re here! It is definitely not a coincidence that the column ran again today. It is a sign.

      When I was in a puddle after finding out I started watching movies with badass female leads. I’m not sure what genre you are into, or if you like movies really, but seeing those women kick ass gave me some mettle to keep going. Anything with a strong, preferably vengeful, female lead who takes no shit. There are lots of books on point, too, if that’s more your thing.

      We all have that person inside us. You sound like a very thoughtful, decent sort of person who has been living with a cheating, gaslighting narc for YEARS. That shit will take its toll on anyone. The anger will propel you out of this. We are all on your side. You have a backbone of steel.

      I understand the fear. The fear of the unknown, of upsetting someone those you love, of confronting your deepest feelings of inadequacy. But I get the sense that you could be the quiet, methodical killer type. I’m thinking Kill Bill. You can see that lawyer quietly, get everything in place, and then end it swiftly, go no contact, kick HIM out and protect yourself. That’s the fantasy – I think a lot of us 1 year or so after no contact wish that we had gone about it that way. He is a poison, you CAN do better, you will do better 100%. Your kids will have an adjustment but when they are older, my god, will they respect the hell out of you.

      My parents stayed together for the reasons you mention – my mom’s fear of breaking the family apart, fear of not being able to do better, being still “in love” with my dad despite years of emotional abuse and cheating. I love both of them but it is maddening to see the black hole of despair at the core of their relationship. Their minds have become so twisted living around this thing. My mom drinks a bottle and a half of wine most nights and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. And for us, their children, we have all unknowingly blundered our way into abusive relationships with cheaters.

      It is possible to do better for your children. It it possible to be their badass action hero who will stand up for what is right.

      Lots of love.

      • I did the badass movies (and music and books), too. I let my inner geek back out to enjoy superhero stories again. …turned out to be a great way to change my environment…surrounding myself with intelligent badasses who value honor. 😉 (Anyone else want to be Alice from Resident Evil when we “grow up?” 😉 )

      • Rockette, looking for those female role models is a great idea, whether on TV, in films or in books.

    • I read that an abused woman needs to leave an average of seven times. SEVEN. Because we are good people. Because all of your fears are warranted; you will be negotiating your family arrangements with someone who lacks decency. Because dreams die hard. Because you never wanted this. You will find the strength, I know it.

    • Sending Jedi hugs, MissedRedFlags. I know it is tough. I was with my ex 23 yrs, married for 18.
      My ex wanted to simply walk away from the marriage since he was unhappy, and it took months of “trickle truth” before the cheating came out.i actually know very little about his affair_s_. But they happened. He risked my life with unprotected sex, etc. I was horrified to realize that my daughter could have been more with birth defects if I had been exposed to STDs when I got pregnant with her (just after the first affair ended,at least what he admitted to…). He only thought of himself and not wanting to admit to it.
      ultimately we divorced because he did not want to try anymore…after 3 months of (I now know) false reconciliation. I was in so much pain.. How could he throw away all our years together without even TRYING. I felt betrayed not being given the possibility of fighting for my marriage. In those days I had not found CL. Today, I am grateful that the false reconciliation only lasted 3 months. He continues to show his true colors as he hides finances and attempts to shirk his responsibility for his kids (using family #2 as an excuse).

      If you cannot be strong for yourself, do it to be the sane parent for your kids.
      I KNOW not having the kids all the time is painful… That was for me the most difficult part. Often the cheaters pull back on kid related stuff. In my case my STBX basically ignored the kids when they stayed with him since he had to constantly text, video chat, etc the MOW across the country. Less than six months post divorce he moved away, got married and started family #2.
      Be the strong role model for your kids, and show them what the unconditional love looks likes.

      Hope the meeting went well, and you have taken the first steps to a new life.

    • Nineteen years is better than nineteen years and one day. I wish you the courage to leave and find the life you deserve. You already know that’s the right decision.

    • Oh, dear MissedRedFlags!

      I was reading this column and thinking if only I had paid attention to all the red flags. If only I had Chump Lady and Chump Nation in those days. And then my jaw dropped when I came across your update!

      Missed, honey, I am 65, was married for 39 years before undeniable D-Day. I then did the reflexive surfing on Amazon at 2:00 AM, was almost buying a RIC book when I read a comment that took me to Chump Lady and saved my $. And saved my sanity, all the more precious at my age. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.

      I took a hard look at myself (with a lot of insight from this community) and divorce is almost, almost finalized.

      Of course this shit is not what we signed up for, but it is certainly not what we deserved.

      “… Normal people don’t have double lives nor can they maintain them. To do that you either have to have zero empathy (as in your synapses don’t fire), huge reserves of entitlement, and super powers of manipulation.”
      Chump Nation repeats this to you 1,000,000,000 times.

      Believe us, your cheater WILL. NOT. CHANGE.…EVER. He will just get worse. Ask me how I and everyone else here know this. He will give you a disease. He IS hurting your finances.

      So you are stuck in fear of losing your kids 50% of the time, of being alone?
      You ARE alone!
      Your kids are receiving a very bad example. I bet your cheater disqualifies you day in, day out in front of them. The 50/50 split of time at least will create a divider that will organize their ideas to black and white, no matter how a great imposter their dad is.

      Bad without him? Far worse with him! You are young.

      You owe your youth and your children this change.

      You know, Missed, my worst feeling now is not that I am 65 and have to start so many things over again. It is what I robbed my children of because I “missed” all those red flags.

      Be brave and good luck!

    • MissedRedFlags – I’m so sorry you are going through this. I understand where you are – I was there too. I was so desperate to save my marriage of 16 years, not to give up my kids 50% of the time, all of it. I wish I could say I had the strength to kick him to the curb, but I didn’t. In the end the decision to divorce was his. In the nearly 2 years since that has happened, there has been a lot of pain, a lot of time feeling like I’m in limbo, and lonely days and nights just trying to fill up the empty hours without my kids. But what I’ve found is, I don’t miss him. I don’t. He was not the person I thought he was. He presented himself as an loving, committed partner, but in truth slept with 8 other women over the course of our marriage, culminating in a 2 year affair with his coworker. He is a complete fraud. Or as my best friend from high school put it, my knight in shining armor turned out to be an asshole in tinfoil! And I am actually thankful that he made the decision that he did. If we had continued with our wreckonciliation, where would I be now? Desperately doing the pick me dance. Having sex on demand because if I didn’t, he would feel “undesirable” and “unappreciated” and go find someone who made him feel how he “deserves” to feel. Living in constant paranoia that I wasn’t doing everything “right,” and if I didn’t, he would go back to the howorker who did such a good job of making him feel “loved” and “special.” Showing my boys that the way to keep a marriage together was to totally focus on meeting their father’s needs, while mine were just an afterthought.
      That’s not how I want to live the next 30 – 40 years of my life.
      I won’t lie – not having the kids with me is a shit sandwich made shittier by the fact that the OW moved in with them in January, and as of tomorrow will be their stepmother. Having to share them with their dad is one thing, but knowing that when they are not with me they are also with her… that is a knife that continues to twist. But I would rather deal with that than completely lose myself trying to keep a person who lied to me, put my sexual health in danger, and decided that my emotional devastation was acceptable collateral damage for him getting his “needs” met.

      I am worth more than that. And so are you.

      • You finally saw the light of who your ex husband was. Be thankful you didn’t waste any more of your youth on an undeserving man. I was one of the other woman to a married man and if the wives only knew how they go about manipulating these other women and how they talk bad about their marriage, it would make you sick. The movie “The Other Women” does a very good job of portraying what goes on. The cheating husbands always have more than one woman on the side. If we’d all team up against these men instead of turning on each other, the men wouldn’t be able to continue playing us against each other. My ex MM loved being fought over and he started this in college, where he would date one girl and then sleep with her best friend. Then he’d laugh about how the girls would get into fights because of it. He loved the control he had.

  • The essay of Chump Lady that finally sunk through to me was:

    THAT essay got through. I read it out to Dr IC and he loved it, especially Harlows monkeys. He said, ‘Now, what are you going to do with your insight?’

    Which I think translated from therapist speech means ‘Too Fucking right he is an asshole, and you are keeping yourself stuck. Now when are you going to act on your self respect??’

    Reader, it took me over two more years. Said Dr IC had to lose his temper and shout HE IS A NARCISSIST! HE IS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE!

    That took another 9 months, gazing in astonishment at a narcissist and learning to BELIEVE what I was looking at, and finding him with OW#1 again.


  • I’ve been mostly no contact (except for kids) with STBX for almost 2 years now. It’s hard for me to think back and remember the twisted thinkinging that led me to want to make my marriage work.

    I was also married to a serial cheating, hook-up site frequenting, strip club visiting, entitled, religion spouting hypocrite. 2 weeks before d-day one I walked into a therapists office and told her I thought I was crazy. 4 years post d-day, d-day 2 rolls around. I also heard, he did it again because I never forgave him for the first time. This time I was done, but still needed help working through the divorce. So I found a new counselor who had the presence of mind to see how messed up my mind was. She told me to go no contact immediately (even though he was still living here). Here is the distinct moment I realized it wasn’t me!

    STBX was walked in the kitchen and started a conversation accusing me of in the future keeping the kids from his family, because we were working out custody. He was going out of town and expected me to alter my schedule to work around his parents travel schedule. My response was, “so if my family comes into town you are going go out if your way to make sure they see them during your parenting time?” He flipped out saying, “No, you are twisting this!” (Projection) and went on to monologue about how the two were not equivalent, blah, blah, blah!
    But in my mind (at the time) it wasn’t that clear, I questioned myself for days (was I twisting it)? I ran it by my therapist, friends and family and they of course validated for me that it was in fact his thinking that was skewed.

    That is a really simple example but it stands out in my mind as the moment that I started looking out for my own best interest and stopped catering to him out of fear. Looking at that closely, here’s what was happening.
    1) He started the conversation by putting me on the defensive “I was going to keep our kids from his family”. My MO used to be to prove to him I was a “good person”, so naturally starting with an accusation put me in a position to prove myself.
    2) When I didn’t give him the answer he wanted, he primed me to question myself by accusing me of irrational thinking. That was built upon 18 years of being told something was wrong with me. Was it me?
    3) He tried to create an unbalanced view between two things that were equivalent, thus trying to grasp that confusion was confusing.
    4) He used anger as an intimidation tool.

    In my own experience living with this kind of constant irrational reasoning left me paralyzed to using my own faculties. This is what I’ve come to realize… once I stopped trying to make him love me and put my own self-worth first, (and of course no contact) that’s when the tide started to turn. I no longer constantly second guess myself, I can see the rediculousness (selfishness) in his reasoning, and most importantly no longer believe it is my fault he behaves the way he does.

    I hope you’ve found your self worth and have left that jerk!

      • Projection is a horrible thing these people do. I was told that I was “emotionally unavailable, abusive, not supportive enough, etc. etc.” All her friends believe this crap as well. I was starting to think that I was that person too. Limiting contact brought me some sense and I realized that I wasn’t any of this. I would work my tail off and then take care of the older 3 kids. I was called unsupportive. I would go to her with issues and come out thinking how selfish I am. What BS. Limiting contact helps you get over that quickly.

        • Yes. STBX also accused me of being emotionally unavailable in MC. I was shocked because I had thought he was the emotionally unavailable one. Same for most of his more serious accusations. I was afraid that perhaps I was projecting my faults onto him. Now, with time, I have come to realize it was the other way around.

  • You ask if they ever change. No, no, no. It is the functional equivalent of an incurable disease, and is rooted in a fundamental personality disorder. Cheaters do not believe the rules apply to them, first and foremost. But there is another thing that cheaters do very, very well and that is compartmentalize their lives. Fuck whore, go home and put the kids to bed. Fuck whore and take the wife to dinner. Fuck whore and go to church. They just don’t think like the rest of us and can move from one experience to the next without a thought. That is one reason they are so shocked once the shit hits the fan. While you are writhing in pain on the floor, they are trying to convince you that “nothing really happened.” Because for them, it didn’t.

  • Missed Red Flag s.

    I’m sorry you are still with this guy, but I understand your feelings cause mine were exactly the same. Especially regarding the children, cause that was my main hangup, as well.

    I have hope for you, though. I have been in many bad relationships with creeps of all varieties. I don’t know about other people, but I always have what I call a “snap” moment. I will put up with shit, and put up with it some more, and then one day they will be doing something, like calling me a name, or defending sneaking around with OWhore, or whatever. Suddenly, my emotions for them just shut off, I look at them and think What the fuck did I ever see in this person, and I am done with them forever. It’s very strange, maybe I’m a sociopath. But it is great, maybe it will happen for you as well.

    • Anita I think that’s pretty normal.At least it is for me.I think we all get to our Enough Moment, when we think,right,that’s it,I am done with this person.
      And I agree with Violet.The personality disordered can compartmentalise their lives and present a mask of normalcy whilst all sorts of sordid,squalid shit goes on behind the scenes.When I asked Arseface how/ why he felt the need to have a harem of women on the go,all running concurrently ( no protection btw AND he’s an obs/ gynae consultant)
      he told me it meant nothing,it was like blowing his nose and five minutes after he left them,he had forgotten the event.
      Total fucking sociopath.

  • To me, the single most harmful piece of RIC advice is to chumps tob”own their part” in the adultery. This is what gives people false hope and what keeps you stuck with these losers. Cause no one is perfect, and there will be a grain of truth in some of the stuff they say. I am fat. I am a poor housekeeper. Whatever. It’s not an excuse for adultery. Nothing is. Eva.

    If you buy into the “owning your part” in the cheating, you will be forever wondering about every move you make. Should I eat that donut? Don’t want to get fat. He may cheat. Should I take the kids to the park? Don’t want to pay too much attention to the kids. He may cheat. It’s ymidnight. I’d Better wash those dishes in the sink right away. He may cheat. Can I refuse that request for anal sex while wearing a Swiss milkmaid costume while watching animal porn? No he may cheat. Ughhhh, please do not play that game.

    • Yes, this was one of my realizations. Assholio said that one reason he cheated was because he didn’t get enough sex. I finally realized that I didn’t want to be with someone who had a quota, and if I didn’t meet it, he would either act like an asshole or cheat. Yep, sign me up for 30 more years of that…?

  • Well, all of you who had hope and spouses begging forgiveness and claiming they wouldn’t stray again are way ahead of me. He never really gave me much hope at all but I tried to have hope anyway. Oh, he gave me the occasional kibble and I would make those kibbles bigger and more meaningful than they were. Marriage counseling was his idea so that means he does care about the marriage right? Never mind the fact that he was making it clear that he didn’t expect it to work. He said “it’s not you it’s me”. That means he recognizes his fault in all of this and will do something about it right? Wrong, easier to just start over with somebody new. The night before he moved out he kissed me and said he hoped it wouldn’t be the last time we kissed so there is hope for the future right? A week after he moved out he said he missed me so he will be coming back soon right? Never mind that after that he seemed to be actively trying to get over me so he would be able to move on with Schmoopie without those pesky feelings for me getting in the way. He said “Your optimism is the only thing giving us a chance” so that means I should remain optimistic right? I continued to smoke the hopium for 6 months after D-Day. Even his asking for an open marriage gave me hope. I said no, but the fact that he asked means he doesn’t really want to divorce me right? I kept up hope even after he basically included a break up letter (redundant because it didn’t say anything he hadn’t already told me face to face) along with the book he gave me for Christmas. I still wanted to have hope because he hadn’t actually filed for divorce yet. Eventually, I realized that hope was just preventing me from moving on and getting over it. I initiated the divorce as ending our marriage was the only thing I could control. It was so hard to give up that hopium.

    • Chumpirecovery – You just wrote my story…he never would say that he wanted to come back but he would give me kibbles just like your X. He knew I wanted to work things out and exploited that for 6 months. Pulling away and then dropping an “I love you” or telling me he missed us time as a family and asking if he could join our son and I for hikes. I had given up when I found out about the affair on Christmas Day 2016 but he kibbled his ass back into my life….never really committing…but not letting go either. The final conversation we had he told me that although he could see the value in our marriage and the strength in our partnership, he had to focus on his own happiness… Then WTF have you been squirming yourself back into my life for the past few months???? He fueled my hope only to turn around and rip my heart again…

      • I think we are on a similar timeline too except that by Christmas he was making it clear that he had no interest in reconciling (although he still wasn’t doing anything about divorce either). Thank goodness I never got an “I love you” post “ILYBJNILWY” or I probably would have smoked the hopium for another six months.

        • Same here. Mine would say “It’s not you, it’s me. I am not made for conventional family.” But then he would add “but I want you guys in my life!” And hopium I would smoke. He would say “yes, I had to go through that long term affair, I could not resist it. But I am done now!” Hopium. Then he would share that at some point he was contemplating to spend 6 months a year with Shmoopie. And us? “Well, the other 6 months with you! I was not going to leave you entirely or marry her. But I wanted to split my time” Hopium! He wants us too!
          Then he told my mom he didn’t want to divorce because he still liked me! Hopium! Maybe he can change???
          I, like you, lawyered up because this is the only thing i can control. To a point of course, with the disordered. And I realised he is not who I thought he was. It robbed me of my history but I don’t want to become a shadow which I was turning into with him.

  • Now I am dealing with a different more sinister kind of hopium. I can’t imagine us reconciling at this point. I don’t see how that could be possible. Yet I still desperately want his relationship with Schmoopie to tank. I am hoping for it. I know that shouldn’t matter. I am free of him and I need to focus on moving forward and living a better life myself, and yet I can’t shake my disgust at the very existence of his relationship with her. If our marriage was “already over” and he wanted out so bad, why did he need to date and find my replacement before he did that? He could have just divorced me. Their relationship is hard for me to swallow because it represents the general devalue and lack of respect I received from him. Logically I know that the odds of them living happily ever after are slim, but I so want to see it fail now. I don’t want their relationship to last long enough to be accepted by anybody outside of their little two person world. I don’t want the kids to accept it and I don’t want his family to accept it, but I don’t want it to be because of anything I say or do. I want it to be not accepted because it is just wrong. How do I get over that and stop caring about what he does or doesn’t have with Schmoopie or who does or does not accept it? I need to get that cancer out of my head so that I can focus on my own life, but it is so hard. My logical side and my emotional side just aren’t in tune.

    • Oh, Chumpinrecovery, I had the same “hope,” that Jackass would leave MOW. He did. And now I go “meh” about that. All his leaving did was show me that he treats everyone that way. The new one will eventually be discarded, unless he’s looking for a nurse and a purse this time. But I don’t care either way. He’s a jackass. End of story–or at least, end of my interest in any story that features him.

      The best ways to stop thinking about Cheater/Schmoopie are:
      1. Keep reading about character disorder until you trust that these people don’t change. They just look for fresh kibbles from someone who doesn’t suspect what’s wrong with them. Read and study.
      2. Get busy doing things you love. You have to focus on your life FIRST. Your life will crowd out those thoughts. As long as you are waiting till you evict them from your head to live, you’ll stay stuck. Find something that makes you REALLY happy–join a sports league, take dancing lessons, run a marathon, take a course, rehab your house. Whatever will make you full of life, love and purpose. When your focus is on you, eventually you stop thinking about THEM.
      3. You don’t have to accept THEM. You have to accept that you don’t control what other people do.That, for me, was a prime lesson I learned by being chumped. I couldn’t stop my XH from drinking. I couldn’t stop Jackass from discarding me. I couldn’t control what other people think about my life. But I could leave. I could accept the great things I have in my life. Your kids may or may not “accept” what your X is doing, but you can let go of the need to control how they feel about it–for your OWN sake, for the sake of your relationship to them, and for their sake.

      I think this is a stage many of us go through. I had fantasies about writing to MOW Schmoopie to tell her he is a liar and a cheat. Blah blah. Lots of crazy thinking on my part. But by the end of the first year, I was done with that. A friend talked me into playing on a sports team (at 60+) and that changed my life. I started to see how much of myself I had killed off in order to stay with disordered people (trying all the while to control everything around me). I put the focus on my life and learned that I don’t need a Jackass to be happy. You don’t either. Let him go and trust that his mask will slip. Smart people will see through him, given enough contact. Trust that he sucks.

        • Even if Karma came along and pulled his dick out by the roots, he’d not learn a thing. Somehow, it would be someone else’s fault and he’d find a way to use the circumstances to get cake from someone else. Maybe cake of a different flavor…but cake nonetheless. THEY DON’T LEARN.

          Don’t bother holding your breath waiting for or fantasizing about Karma making a direct hit…you will only succeed in turning blue, passing out and cracking your own head open.

        • Karma will take care of him. He is what he is. That’s what karma is–not a truck falling on his head, but how the things we do now create the life we have and the person we are in the future. We want the “karma” to be something bad happening–living in a crappy house, alone, or with a Schmoopie who smells of stale beer and cat pee. We want the cheater broke and in disgrace. But that’s thinking on their level, on the outside stuff. The real pain for narcissists is getting older, losing their sparkle and magic, being unable to grow old graciously and with the beauty of wisdom, rattling around in a nice house that has no love in it. They don’t love. They don’t feel joy. They don’t grow. They don’t learn. That’s their karma.

      • LAJ – this is great “You have to accept that you don’t control what other people do” and so hard to accept.

    • THIS!!!^^^
      I am struggling with this as well – my ex is marrying his howorker tomorrow. My 10 year old son will be the ring bearer. The idea of people gathering to celebrate and sanctify a relationship that caused me and my children so much pain makes me want to barf. I try to take consolation in the fact that they deserve each other. He is a cheating asshole, and she is amoral and stupid enough to believe that she is “special,” and therefore he will be the husband of her dreams. The fact that he cheated on me totally had to do with the fact that he was married to me, not that he is a character disordered asshole.
      Good luck with that.

    • Oh they’ll split up eventually but more than likely you just won’t care when it finally happens. I know you want them to split up right now but here is another thought. Your ex is a defect to do what he did and she is a pathetic loser to date a married man. I don’t care what line of crap he gave her, loser, period. Right now she is bonded to him for dear life because she wants to win over you. He’s lapping up the attention. However, if you totally extricate yourself from the dynamic and become apathetic (fake it till you are) that just leaves the two of them. Without the drama of sneaking around and divorcing his terrible wife life becomes a little dull. They’ll turn on one another because one of them will want out and the other one will hang on desperately. As for the kids, yeah they’ll have to put up with her and may be friendly to her but I can guarantee that they won’t forget she took part in breaking up their family unit. No matter how many years she is a part of their lives they won’t give her a second thought when she is dumped or dumps your ex and departs from the “family”. If your ex dumps her for another woman, no one will care and there will be smug satisfaction by many, maybe even her friends that were aware she was running around with a married man. Same goes for your ex if he is the one dumped. So you should actually wish them many, many years together.

      • Oh, indeed, yes! Stepping out of the triangle takes the fun out of it, takes the kibbles away, ends the CAKE.

        Kids have to walk their own walk and work out the same twisted dynamics we struggle with. But if you lead the way and demonstrate self-respect, self-efficacy and sanity, they will figure it out in the end.

  • It feels like being killed yet remaining alive.
    How can an ugly coward serial cheater do so much harm?
    I was trying full time to do the best for my family. I worked hard, never refused love, care, playfulness, I payed all the bills, food, clothes, furniture private schools for our three children, trips and also gave him money for his business.
    Now he’s telling everybody it was just one little mistake while there’s undeniable evidence of at least 20 OW since I met him and that I’m incapable of forgiving his one little mistake. He’s crying fake tears and telling a pity story about me packing his stuff out of my house (he never payed mortgage, he never had money for the family only for his prostitutes and his weed).
    I wish I never met him.

    • Of course you can forgive, because you are a decent person who does not want to live with bitterness. Of course you can. But forget? Trust? Never. Because you are a decent person who knows what trust and respect are. And he took advantage of that. You are a GREAT wife and mother, and you don’t deserve the lying, cheating, blaming. One of the hardest things for me to learn is that my husband does not think like I do. Flexibility of mind. I think of fairness, kindness, being a better person, so think others might as well. Oh, if only he sees how much this hurts me. Yeah, no. Have a wonderful, wonderful day, know that you are a delightful, devoted person. That is independent of his brokenness, even though it slops over in your direction.

      • Thank you, That is not a thing. Thank you dear friend. You’re sending me waves of strength here in Italy.
        So true that they don’t think as we do.
        They don’t even recognize love when they see it. Carelessly they start chaos in our lives, they don’t see all our effort to build a good life yet, after the damage, they want us only to fix things!
        They expect forgiveness because they know we are sound and reliable people.
        They don’t care for our lives. I can feel it’s only a way to restart the abuse and the financial exploitation worse than ever.
        I do forgive, I just prefer to stay miles away from him. He doesn’t really want forgiveness, he wants submission.

        • Merrychump, stay far, far away. The most difficult thing is realizing that they do not love you. In fact, they do not love at all. They are incapable of it–and you are right (because they do not love), they do not recognize love. Restarting the abuse and financial exploitation is all he really wants.

          • Thank you, Jojobee for your encouraging words. We must stay strong. It was difficult to realize that they did it on purpose, we weren’t aware that we were dealing with evil in our homes all along.

        • Hey Merry!! You’re in Italy? 🙂 me too! So happy to find another chump nearby!
          I left Rome/province to be back in Florence (hometown). Maybe I’ll see you on the Meetup forum?

  • No doubt, he brings nothing to the table.
    Strong, financially independant woman, he is a liability and you will grow stronger without his parasitic influence.

  • Thank you Lady b for your kind words. I have few friends left because of the isolation I ended up in. I was so busy working. And now I’m a little ashamed of how I was duped for so many years, I was so naive I didn’t see the evil, I couldn’t imagine how he enjoyed deceiving me til I found evidence. I don’t bother telling anybody my story: it hurts too much. I need kind words though, thank you again.

  • Even after I lost hope that the marriage would work (that died a slow, months-long death, bludgeoned with repeated deceptive behavior that did not match the words he had said to me of wanting to fix things, fix himself), I still held onto hope that maybe he would be remorseful (that was met with truth doctoring about what he did and things I said to make me look bad), and/or fix himself for his own sake (after being separate for about a month or so, I was in what used to be a joint financial management account and saw he was still taking out his “usual” amounts — i.e. prostitute payment). They say so much and mean so little. As Chump Lady said, it’s sociopathic behavior. You have to remind yourself of that constantly though — just as soon as it starts to die, hope can grow back very quickly. I like to think of it as reapplying weed control for the bad, persistent stuff (like poison ivy). Sad to have to kill something like hope, but in these cases it’s being misapplied — latching onto the wrong situations and wrong people, which can become poisonous if left unchecked. It will mess us up later, like when we attempt to “fix our pickers”. If we can’t see these people for what they are, everything will be out of focus. Probably some mixed metaphors here. This kind of stuff just makes my brain malfunction…ugh.

  • Big sigh. Looking back over the months after dday, I see that his usual rationalization, blameshifting, lies, gaslighting, and manipulation crept right back in almost from moment one, but even though I was clear on divorce from the start, I absolutely clung to the hope that this would change him. He would stick with his individual therapy. He would stop living a lie. He would follow through on his promises to me and to the children. He would live a genuine life at last. Oh, but I was even more deluded than that. Maybe, years hence, we would be true friends again. Maybe he would be the father the kids yearn for. Maybe–who knows–we would even date someday. Maybe true love would triumph in some misty, far-flung future.

    Nopes all around, of course, and it’s painful to admit my idiocy. The affair continued without a hiccup, every last thing was a lie, I was to blame for all, and the scary rages not only returned but intensified. My stupid hope just gave him plenty of time to work things out to his best advantage. Nothing more. I have always been nothing to him. Less than nothing. Awful to face, but good to know.

    • Hopium as you describe it is why I stuck it out after DDAY #1. We went to therapy. He made attempts at amends. I sort of healed. Sort of. I never completed trusted again. And worst of all, I sold off the bits of me that were to protect my heart and soul. I betrayed myself. But I wanted that future I dreamed we would have. I read all of the RIC books while attempting to bandage my broken heart.

      7 years later and DDAY #2 hits like a stray bullet, and I broke. My dad is in the hospital dying of cancer. My sister was just released from the hospital from a life-and-death scare. It was all too much. Thank God for a couple of good friends or honestly I don’t think I would have made it through. And I’ve always been so so strong. But this. This nearly killed me. But I hadn’t been protecting my heart. I wasn’t taking good care of me. I was taking care of everyone else BUT me. Now I’m learning to listen to that inner voice growing stronger that says “no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO…”. It seems I still have a few protective bits of me left.

      • Exactly. Trusting our instincts is hard when we are so wired to be givers, caretakers, full of compassion. But there’s a core of steel, there, once we truly recognize the level of disorder we were working with. Quite something. Painful as hell. Life changing in what I think will ultimately be a good way, but OMFG in the meantime. Trial by fire.

  • It is overwhelming to take in the reality of being betrayed and deceived so greatly! To be married to someone who has so little regard for your life and health as their partner and mother to their children while engaging in risky unprotected sex with anyone, emotionally betrayal and stealing from their own family while breaking their neck to keep this facade of a good man to their affair partners. The man I wanted is who he is for the true love and he wanted out so badly he did not care about the devastating consequences on our children. We have a daughter GC and 2 scapegoat sons and he has discarded the boys and randomly sees my daughter when he pops into her work. I stuggle with letting go of hope as the truth is so hard to face!

  • My hero of the day is … Alice B. Toklas. BRAVO <3

    I couldn't have said it better myself! Every single word is true and it took me 32 years to find my way out of the Vortex of HELL. My head doesn't spin like it used to and although the divorce was painful (they enjoy seeing you suffer) I did survive. The longer you stay the longer it takes to unwind the skien of unfuckupedness! I would advise ANYONE to leave the first D-Day. Secrets make you sick and holding in what you know and hoping it will change, just fucks you up even more. Get the hell away from them ASAP, run to the hills. TRUST ME ….. It will NEVER change, only gets worse and the lies and deceit will be taken to levels you would never imagine.

    Peace and Happiness is out there waiting for you …. don't waste another minute.

  • Trickle Truth is real and a default setting amongst cheaters.

    If you continue with this guy, it will only get worse, and worse, and worse……

    A standard cheater doesn’t stop until they have crushed everything in your life.

    Stop all efforts to wreck-concile, go no contact, deadly silent, ninja-like. With your hired assasin (lawyer) get everything ready without your best STBX knowing anything, and the Nubes the fucker out of existence!

  • Today I’m sad. Today I miss my ex partner. The golden moments. The backpacking trips, my hand on his back while sleeping, his laugh. Date night Mondays. Someone with whom to share life’s joys and burdens. Dreaming about the future when we could retire and begin our travels. Growing old together. Having someone with whom to grow old. Today I miss so many things.

    And today I’m angry. Today is 2 years and 6 months since DDAY #2 when I refused to believe his lies. When he dumped me for Boy Schmoopie 23 years his junior. In a week we will complete our financial separation. It’s been 2 years and 6 months of switching lawyers and threatening lawsuits. 2 years and 6 months of more lies, betrayal, and painful glimpses into his new life. More trauma and PTSD symptoms. “I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love Boy Schmoopie. I was only with you for your earning potential as an engineer. I’ve never had better sex than with Boy Schmoopie.” It’s as if 20 years of my life were taken out back and shot in the head. Fuck the golden moments. I hate how they haunt me.

    Today I’m feeling it all.

    • ChumpDude, that good stuff? It was all you. It was you who valued the trips, who cherished Date Night Mondays, who thought of commitment and growing old together. Fix your picker. We don’t end up with these jackasses by accident. But once you do that work, you’ll find someone great to make that life with.

      • LovedaJackass – It sure seemed like he did, but you know what, other than the backpacking (which I know he loved and would have been just as happy going without me), all of that other good stuff was my idea for bolstering our relationship.

        I now see that, at 26 when we met, my picker was for shit. There were red flags a flyin’. 20 years later, and I get to work on fixing it. Would rather do a trade-in for a new, not broken one, but alas… On the other hand, it’s about the journey, and I’ve not been one to shy away from a tough climb.

        Thanks again.

    • ChumpDude, taunting you is not acceptable behavior. It is disordered. I get that you miss those sweet memories, but they aren’t 100% real. I have photos of backpacking the Grand Canyon in August with the Fucktard ex. The views are beautiful on that 4 x 5 inch glossy print. But the reality was something more. It was 120 effing degrees Fahrenheight. I was sweating like a pig for days while climbing down and up some 2,000 feet in elevation. The dust was nasty. The freeze dried food sucked. The Fucktard suffered from heat exhaustion after showing off his physical superiority, then whined like a baby to be cared for. If you can reach for the big picture instead of the pretty snapshot, you will see that it wasn’t anything you want to do again. Good luck, my friend.

      • Survivor – thank you. He truly loved backpacking, and I did too. And we seemed to deeply connect during those times both reveling in the beauty of our surroundings. But now that I’m thinking more about this, knowing him, he would have connected that way with anyone he was with. I wasn’t that special to him, he was just in his element. I’ve since gone backpacking with a great friend, and while those first trips were tough because of memories, all-in-all I felt much more connection than I ever did with my ex.

        And I have to say your trip sounds painful as hell. That heat, your Fucktard ex being an ass and getting himself sick and whining to be cared for. Outdoor adventures don’t need to be so shitty. But yes the photos make it look like relationship bliss. This is why Facebook annoys me as it does — one never knows how real any of it is.

        Best wishes to you.

        • Thanks, ChumpDude. Just keep it real. If someone wants you to suffer, they are not your one and only. Forget the photos they post online. Someone will always carry more for them or find better food or do whatever, until they get the drift that they were used and will be left.

          Thanks for noticing, that was the vacation from Hell. Turned out he planned it with the one that came before me who bailed rather than do that a couple of years earlier. But I have nothing against nature, and you should not either. Forget FB. Everyone showing their happy moments gives the idea that life is all about happy 24/7. I don’t believe that. Live your own life, your own truth, and you will not only survive, you will thrive.

  • I wanted my cheater back because the pain of the betrayal and the discard was so damn intense. His presence back in my life would eliminate that pain (or so I thought). I would have done anything to eliminate that pain, even overlook serial cheating, an illegitimate child, and years of secret child-support payments.

    And I didn’t want HIM back, I wanted the person I had thought he was for the 31 years we were together. When I was in my delusional, hopium stage of the betrayal/discard aftermath, I imagined he was capable of going back to being the person I thought he was.

    But the mask had fallen, with me at least. (When he runs into casual acquaintances, he is as charming as ever.) He was never going back to the “good guy/family man” charade he’d conducted for so long. He needed to get away from me because it was too difficult to continue pretending to be the person I thought he was while also conducting the secret life that was his true self.

    It took me a long time, and much therapy to realize that I am far better off without this malignant, morally bankrupt, emotional black hole of a presence in my life. Did I really want someone who was playing a part? Of course not! We all want a life of honesty and moral decency and respect and consideration. I had never gotten that in the past from my cheater, and there never was any hope for it in the future either.

    My pain was eased not by my cheater returning to me, but by me returning to myself. I wish the same for you, MissedRedFlags.

    Love, and hugs.

    • ChampChump, I love your mantra “My pain was eased not by my cheater returning to me, but by me returning to myself.”.

    • champchump,

      This is great. Thank you. I just posted about missing the golden moments over the 20 years we spent together. I so want him back. But as you say, not the him he actually is, but the him I thought he was.

      He is a charming extrovert with a big laugh and warm smile. Will do almost anything for anyone. People are drawn to him. But they don’t know what lay behind the mask. At the end he admitted to having an alter ego he called The Sneak, and he meekly apologized for his existence. I was stunned both because he admitted to anything at all and because this The Sneak business was just too weird.

      The betrayal easily has us abandoning ourselves believing we are unworthy of the truth, dignity and respect. I’m happy to see you have found a way back. That’s a gift.

      • He named an alter ego to blame his cheating on?! This is so disordered. Like compartmentalizing but to a whole new level, like mental illness level.

        My first husband/cheater told me he felt temporarily possessed by evil. It was as if he had taken leave of his senses, sounded completely insane. Beyond irrational.

        • Yeah, he muttered “I’m sorry for The Sneak” and looked at me like a puppy that just piddled on the carpet. I was like “The what?” And he elaborated that The Sneak does things behind people’s back, but he doesn’t like him at all. I about fell over again because this was the first he admitted to having any character weakness (so much blameshifting!) but also because he really did look mentally ill in that moment. The next day he dumped me for the OM.

          Temporarily possessed by evil? No. Just entitled, narcissistic, poor decision making and cruelty.

          • Naming his bad character and thinking it should not affect his perfect life is a first in my experience. Let’s call him Sybil, because he has more than one personality. But that phenomenon, turned out to be a lie:

            The Sneak is an asshole, but the ex was The Sneak too. Let that sociopath go. Get a puppy who can piddle the carpet. You don’t need a grown man who behaves that way. At least a puppy will care if you clean up after his accident and will try not to do it again. Hugs to you.

      • ChumpDude, for years before my cheater left me I had observed that he had a split personality, which I thought of as “The Good Dave” and “The Bad Dave.” Little did I know that Good Dave was the facade and Bad Dave was the real thing! I thought it was the other way around, and devised all kinds of rationalizations for Bad Dave. (These days my therapist tells me I’m a world-class-level rationalizer, which allowed me to stay with a disordered person for so long.)

        A huge part of my recovery was learning about narcissistic personality disorder (which I had never previously known existed), which explained EVERYTHING.

        If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, you should. Another chump posted it on CL a while ago and I bookmarked it and listen to it periodically just to remind myself of reality.

        • Thanks champchump! I do know about NPD, and I was super grateful when I found out about it as it explained so much. I haven’t listened to that particular podcast, but I will. I too re-listen to stuff that been helpful. I wish ChumpLady had a podcast! Wouldn’t that be great?

      • ChumpDude, so sorry you are being haunted by the good times, today. That whole The Sneak thing is just too creepy, it seems like a splitting mechanism to be able to allow himself to justify his selfish, childish and evil behaviour toward you. That sounds like some seriously disordered shit right there…He discarded gold for something shiny but cheap and trashy. His lack of gratitude stands out, and predicts that he will never truly be happy with what he has, because he doesn’t recognise its value in the first place. (((hugs)))

        • Recovery is never a straight line Chumpdude. Some days will be better than others. Then… day we will all reach the Land of “Meh”- and not give a rat’s ass about these amoral slime balls! Hang tough fellow chump!

        • I was sitting on a beach on a gorgeous summer day (yesterday). I saw a lovely older couple……slathering sun block on each other……laughing…..splashing around together in the surf. They had their dog and grandchildren with them- and they all looked like they were having a wonderful time together. I had to turn away….because I felt like I was going to cry.

          My pervert STBX stole my right to grow old with my marriage intact. If I were on that beach with Pervy Pants (STBXH) …..he’d be hiding behind a trash can….whacking his 60 year old penis off at teenage girls in bikinis. Getting rid of him was the best thing I ever did for myself.

  • I know I can see hope finally dying because I can see that Mr. Sparkles WAS NEVER FAITHFUL to me. Not while dating, not while “falling in love”, not while married. And, it isn’t just me he was/is unfaithful to – it is his PATTERN.

    Remember this: People lie. Actions can be lies. PATTERNS DO NOT LIE.

    I wish I had left instead of being left. I’ll always regret that decision. I doubt I would have ever left. Glad I don’t have to find that out.

  • I will tell any chump that taking them back or “in” like some homeless creature is very unsettling. This is someone who has so thoroughly fucked you over, yet comes back to the “safe” place. You always know, in your heart of hearts, that they care only for themselves! It’s awful. I did what I had to do for my Ex before he died only because it made me feel as if no one could ever say I didn’t truly love him and give him the best another human could give to another sick person.
    Did I feel bad that he died? Absolutely! It was heartbreaking having him die while holding my hand. He could barely speak and tried one last time to say “I love you!” Maybe he did in his own screwed up way. Turns out what little he did have he left to me. He had written a new Will, a POA naming me and a DNR so I wouldn’t have to make that call.
    I still stand by my original advice to the newly chomped, just file and get out! Don’t be fearful. Look at it as a new adventure. It WILL be fine. I am 61 years old, divorced just before my 60th birthday. Married for 41 years. Didn’t matter if I was old or sick, the sun was going to rise everyday regardless and it was going to be up to me whether it was a great day or if I was going to wallow in misery. Let them go, let whatever is going to happen to them happen. You have NO control over that, but you do have control over YOUR life. Go make it great! Life is fragile and fleeting, don’t waste it on someone who is proven to be unworthy of your company and love.

    • Roberta, there are some major compensations for being over 60. We know this: “You have NO control over that, but you do have control over YOUR life. Go make it great! Life is fragile and fleeting, don’t waste it on someone who is proven to be unworthy of your company and love.”

  • ChumpDude, I hope it inspires you to move on and pursue a much better relationship. I read your earlier posts and I was struck by the shear hateful statements your STBX made! Trust me, you will be far better off, it just feels like Hell right now! Your STBX comes off as pretty shallow IMHO. I wish you the best going through the shit storm, but you sound level headed and I have no doubt you will come out of this a better, happier person. Just be careful though, these creeps tend to rebound back! Don’t fall for it!

    • Roberta, thank you! Yeah, the discard was extremely hurtful especially to a deep-feeler like myself. Two and a half years later, and I’m still not completely past it, although we’re only wrapping up the splitting of assets piece now so it’s not like I’ve been free of his abuse for all that time. But I’m busting my butt working on my healing. Otherwise, dating sucks, but I’m identifying the creeps earlier and earlier. In my case, I think my ex won’t get better kibbles than this guy half his age; so as long as the new guy puts up with him, I think they will be together for a very long time.

    • Roberta, If I could crawl through the internet you would be getting the biggest hug from me. I know your story from beginning and now to the end. I pray I would have done the same thing in your circumstances. What incredible fortitude.

      Peace to you now and always. I think I heard a bell ring.

      61 is a wonderful time in life to start anew. I am doing more at this age than I ever imagined by myself!

      • Thanks Calamity. I just wish the younger healthier chumps would look their fear in the face and leave the Cheater ASAP! I did what I thought was right for me when I decided to take care of him and I don’t regret it, but I would hate to see anyone waste their precious life taking care of such selfish people with no return on investment. They just don’t realize these folks will wring you dry to the very end in some way or another. At least I know I can sleep well at night knowing I did my best. Sure doesn’t hurt that I get the last laugh on Schmoopie when she starts her legal maneuvering to be “paid back” for the money she feels is owed her from the affair. I’m going to enjoy that. I can’t lie. She has no clue that he’s dead!

        • Roberta, there is no shame in doing “the right thing” for a shitbag so long as it is what you agree to. Having a clear and clean conscience is worth a lot. I didn’t know until after the Fucktard died that he was asking for me, and I doubt I would have shown up in any event, but it was nice for me not to have to make that choice. You are stronger than most, our friend.

        • Oh Roberta, if I could be a fly on the wall when schmoopie finds out!

          I want to respond to your comment that your husband may not have ever known what true love was.

          He did, Roberta. You showed it to him as his time on earth was ending. That is why he was crying. In the end, he saw it in your eyes.

  • Knowledge without proper dissemination and application is useless. That is really the beauty of this space – the clear, concise and useful application of acquired knowledge. This is what I have learned from here, from reading other materials, from therapy and, amazingly, from watching crime shows from my perspective as a betrayed spouse.

    1. One of the most important things I read about entitled/narcissistic people is that it isn’t personal. They don’t care about you personally – never did, never will. You are of use, no use or a threat. Internalize that.
    2. Their problem is with their thinking and it won’t change. You may be able to achieve some behavior modification if you apply strong boundaries to the relationship, but the back and forth may end up exhausting you and not be worth the effort because they will constantly be slipping back to their baseline.
    3. The Drew Peterson You Can’t Change Him Model. If you date or marry someone who sees murder as a legitimate problem resolution tool, you are dating or married to someone who sees murder as a legitimate problem resolution tool. Ergo, lying, cheating and duplicity.
    4. Family history of rationalizing, normalizing and/or tolerating cheating. Run. People learn what they live. They either cheat or are uncomfortable holding cheaters accountable.
    5. We are not socialized or encouraged to think about relationships logically. In fact, we are socialized and taught to suspend logic where relationships are concerned. Husband/Wife lying to you and cheating on you? You should try to understand what drove them to it. They’re sorry. You’re not perfect. Those same people, however, if your husband/wife hit you over the head with a baseball bat would excoriate you for applying that same reasoning.
    6. You’re a better parent without all the stress dealing with the disordered brings to your life.

    Missed Red Flags, I understand how difficult this is for you. I loved my Ex-Hole’s footsteps and the thought of his breath. Leaving him and having him divorce me was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My only regret now is me not divorcing him the first time I even suspected he might be cheating on me. It took me awhile to get here, but once my head cleared and I regained some clarity I knew it was not a curse but a blessing. Whatever man he is or isn’t for the last OW (whom he married) is irrelevant. I deserved better than how he treated me and he was never going to treat me any better. The strongest emotions he exhibited most consistently to me were indifference and contempt. You should never have to compete with anyone for the love and devotion of your spouse. Whatever you believe you’re losing isn’t even what you believe you have. You’re afraid of losing the illusion of a relationship. Let the illusion go and find something real, even if it’s only reclaiming all the love you have to give you and your children.

    • This is the most astute thing I have ever read about cheaters. I think it is the reason my brother never tried to find or reconcile with his wife. He was just done. He recognized that someone who could abandon a family as easily as she did was not worth his time.

    • This! “One of the most important things I read about entitled/narcissistic people is that it isn’t personal. They don’t care about you personally – never did, never will. You are of use, no use or a threat”
      So helpful. I think those 3 options link to their cycle of charm, self-pity, rage.
      Letting that illusion of a relationship go is hard and so is rage and unkindness in response to being seen as a ‘threat’. As much no contact as possible helps. So does keeping going (as you do) so it gets better – drama free, harmony, peaceful living with integrity, and getting to the state of meh are worthy goals.

  • Missed —

    The XXX and I were togethere for seven years, married for three when I found out about his proclivity towards infidelity. It started when I stumbled across the love letter he had written our mutual best friend (who did not return his feelings, cussed him out, and never spoke a word to him again) and it ended when, after being separated with me in strict no contact for 8 months, he sobbed into the table during our divorce settlement meeting and begged me to come back.

    It’s been two years since I found the letter and he stomped out of our apartment, refusing to speak to me, instantly joining dating sites and making it clear that I needed to move on. But he would always come back every five months or so, begging me to be in his life again. I was raised religious, abused as a child, hopelessly addicted to the sparkle as the answer to my emotional issues — I took him back. Every time. I did the proper reconciliation every time, and when I broke down or became angry he would accuse me of pushing him away. I weaned him off of drugs, cussed out his detractors, kept us afloat to support his music career, initiated sex nonstop (the second time around. I had sexual problems before and worked on them with a therapist). I was the Good Wife.

    But he always became enchanted with someone else. He always left. He always came back. He always left again. He kept finding his new great loves who were, by his own admission, just much better people who felt better inside his soul.

    I was miserable. I lost weight on my already anorexic frame, my friends distanced themselves, my family pitied me, I broke down weekly. I felt like a failure. He brought me to the lowest place in my life.

    My parents have been married for almost 30 years. I always envied my father’s ability to withstand my mother, who is a good person with a whole shit ton of issues. He is a stable man. A great dad. He knows about commitment. He has never abandoned anyone. He is one of the people I admire most.

    He sat me down at their kitchen table and told me he was proud of me because I always tried so hard. But that XXX couldn’t be saved or helped, and that the most loving thing I could do for him and myself was to not fight against the divorce.

    It’s not about you, hun. You’re not a weakling for wanting to save your commitment. But it can’t be done. Not really. I don’t know if you have someone in your life that you really admire, but if you do, I encourage you to share your story. If they’re good people, they will tell you to go.

    Cheaters will always be full of shit. But if you leave, you will be full of victory.

    • That is horrible how they make you the fall back and probably treating you the worst out of all the people they have been with!

    • Miss Decaf- Chumps are NEVER the failures in the relationship! The self centered, narcissistic cheater is always the failure! Chumps do not have the power to make another human being cheat, lie, sneak or play mind games. Chumps are cool and talented…..but we don’t have that kind of power!

  • I have been divorced for two years today. Narcissists are users, and I know I was used for my money, and as someone to abuse and for image management. In my ongoing study of narcissism, I realized another way I was used. Narcissists increase their self-esteem by decreasing self-esteem in others. Narcissists know that infidelity causes pain. When they are hunting for an affair partner or cheating with one, they know that they are disrespecting their primary, deceived partner. They are actually psychologically annhilating their partner. This annhilation of the current partner gives the narcissist pleasure and actually fuels the eroticism and passion in the illicit relationship with the affair partner. The betrayal of the primary partner serves an aphrodisiac for the cheating narcissist and the affair partner. An affair partner who knows of the primary partner is just as guilty as the cheating narcissist in the betrayal and psychological annhilation of the narcissist’s current primary partner. Two years ago today my heart was broken and smashed into a million pieces. Today, I am happy to not be the aphrodisiac that drives the eroticism and passion in an affair between the man who was supposed to be my faithful husband and the whore he chose to “love.”

    • Thank you, Chumptacular, for this helpful information. You really studied narcissism very well. That’s a crucial point in understanding what narcs do: they’re always trying to annihilate the primary partner and enjoying the fact of deceiving successfully. Destroying another person’s self esteem gives them power. They extract sex drive only when they take risk in illegitimate encounters and in the thrill of being busted. Maybe as teenagers they were “trained” to feel guilty for sex. Their pleasure is mainly in causing damage and pain.

  • Interestingly enough, I am sure the last mother fucker I threw out got off mainly for your reasons, Chumptacular. He cannot get it up unless there is danger and deception. Fucker is walking around holding a limp dick now days because I am gone. Kills the desire instantly.

    Number one reason chumps should let go of the tug of war rope. Cheaters drop to the ground and you are still standing.

  • I see no sign of that. He goes from strength to strength. Good job, wealthy girlfriend, lots of money, does not pay child maintenance, lots of holidays, endless sports fixtures, no societal condemnation at all.Stingy beyond reason.

  • Pervy Pants (STBXH) murdered “hope.” He took a steely knife and slashed hope’s throat. The lies, deceit, and games- left hope lying in a pool of blood.

    Or did hope commit suicide because of all of the screwy, sick head games? Either way….hope is dead in my marriage to a lying, deceitful pervert/porn pig. Going to put on some sack cloth and ash for “hope.”

    As for me……gimme “Meh”- and lots of it!

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