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Dear Chump Lady, I can’t get over being replaced

Dear Chump Lady,

I was chumped big time. My once sweet, loving husband left me for a girl at work. Problem is, it was a total lateral move. She is about my age, has the same number of kids just like we do, is a full-time-working professional, like me. We even have very similar interests. There are a few things about her that fill in some “gaps” I had or correct some “deficiencies,” like she’s Catholic and I am not (he is), she likes golf and I don’t (he does), and she dotes on him and I didn’t (he loves it).

I loved him and tried to meet his needs, but it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t always understand what he needed (he’s not the best communicator).

When we were married, I dragged us to counseling, to couples programs at church where they try to help you communicate and understand each other better… I was always trying to help strengthen our marriage. And admittedly, we didn’t make enough progress for him. He wanted to be happy, and I guess ultimately he wasn’t happy enough.

Turns out, the girl at work knew how to make him happy, and he left me for her.

They got married and are very happy together. Her kids and my kids now get along great, and to everyone else this is all water under the bridge. My kids even love her (they don’t know she was the OW)!

On my side of things, I have been blessed with a wonderful new man in my life, and we’re now engaged. He once asked me if there was anything that would make it difficult to give my whole self to him. And the truth is, it’s this. I can’t seem to get OVER it. I can’t seem to get over the betrayal, and the total and complete REPLACEMENT of me with her. She now lives MY life! She has my husband, takes my trips, goes to MY country club, she hangs out with MY kids, etc. She is me 2.0, only with the earlier enhancements I mentioned. Oh, and she even goes without make-up and wears flats — more things he wanted me to do that I didn’t do.

Here’s the thing — she’s not a horrible person. In fact, she’s apparently really sweet, and her family is too. I think what we’re dealing with is a good person who did a really bad thing. In fact, they’re both that way. He was not a serial cheater. He is not a horrible scoundrel like so many of the guys I read about. They are both generally good people. They are church-going, family-oriented people. Selfish, sure, entitled, ok, and they did a crappy thing. But they’re not “bad” people.

I don’t think either one of them has a clue how much they devastated me. My guess is he told her that “we” weren’t happy, and she wanted to believe him and did. She wasn’t happy in her marriage, so I think they just rationalized the whole thing — leave the one you’re not happy with, and run off with the one who makes you happy. All pretty sparkly and fun. And I was so chumpy that I pretzeled and did everything possible to bring him back after he walked out on me. So, I don’t think he ever really saw the fallout of what he did. I tried to put on the brave face and betray my feelings to show him I could be a better wife to him. But the truth was I was traumatized by what he did. And I don’t know how to get past it.

Apologies would help, but we’re way past that now. If they weren’t going to give them years ago, I certainly don’t expect them now. They have moved on, my kids have moved on… why can’t I? How does a person get over being discarded and replaced by someone a whole lot like her?

Replaced

Dear Replaced,

So, let me get this straight. The OW won the Pick Me Dance and gets to golf at the country club, wear sensible shoes, and eschew lipstick. She spends the rest of her days doting on an uncommunicative cheater, but it’s okay because they’re both Catholic — …. and you think you LOST?

I don’t even know where to begin with this letter.

Oh hang on, I do. DON’T GET MARRIED to Mr. Blessed Wonderful. He deserves a partner who is wholly into him and isn’t lost in untangling her ex-husband’s skein of fuckupedness. Replaced, you don’t sound ready to DATE let alone get engaged. You have a serious Trust That They Suck failure about your ex and the OW — you think you’ve been “replaced” instead of liberated.

Listen to me — it’s not okay to self-medicate with other people. It’s not okay to pledge your life to an innocent man’s because it would prove to everyone (ARE YOU WATCHING OW? ARE YOU? HUH? HUH?) that you’ve Moved On.

You’re still Pick Me Dancing, only now you’ve pulled a new chump into the dance. He’s not some fucking consolation prize. He doesn’t deserve to be measured (and found wanting) against the trappings of your Old Life. If you don’t like the OW being wife 2.0? I’m sure your fiancé doesn’t want to be husband 2.0 either. He wants to be loved for HIM, his values, his goodness, and what he brings to the table. It’s not his job to shore you up from the rejection of infidelity — that’s YOUR job. And you cannot commit to someone until you’ve done that work.

So, let’s do that work, Replaced. You can begin by challenging the ridiculous narrative that your ex and the OW are just Good People who made a Mistake and they Did It All For Happiness! Oh, and also throw out the notion that she’s someone “a whole lot like” you. Yeah, you both have two kids and work a job. Are you someone who would break up two families to fuck some strange? Do you share those values? Are you the kind of person who, if unhappy in your marriage, works to fix it, or gets out honestly? Or do you cheat?

Sounds like you worked to fix your marriage. Your husband didn’t. He cheated. OW didn’t, she cheated. You don’t share the same values. This marriage was not sustainable because you cannot work with a saboteur. You need an honest broker. You didn’t have that. That’s on HIM, not your failure to golf.

Next, what the hell do you know of their happiness? And why do you give a flip? She’s a good person, she’s happy, she’s sweet? Is this self-reported? Are you inferring this from Facebook? Or your children’s reports of Happy Good Times at OW’s house? You have NO IDEA of the OW’s inner life. You’re either buying into her impression management or you’re projecting your insecurities at the House of Schmoopie.

But, but she seems so happy! So what? What’s happiness when you’re a shallow pool of piss? She’s a person capable of cheating on her husband and breaking up her children’s home to fuck another woman’s husband. Her character isn’t changing because she takes a yoga class you used to take.

And who CARES if she’s “happy”? What are YOUR values? Could you EVER be happy with a sullen, uncommunicative man who has to be dragged to marriage retreats? Who likes GOLF?

What exactly do you MISS about this life? Are you longing for your own version of impression management happiness? The Intact Family? Why are you casting yourself (yes YOU! YOU are doing this!) as some sort of loser here?

Replaced, I just celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary yesterday to a Good Man who brought me PIE. Let me tell you — I could care LESS what my two ex-husbands are up to. I don’t care if they replaced me with cardboard cut-outs or a taxidermied ferret under glass. I’m certainly not asking myself years after those relationships’ demise what I’m missing out on.

I never went to junkyards with him to find old car parts. I bet she does! I bet she shares his love of rusty carburetors!

She gets to live with his lacy doily collection and his double life! God I wish it was me! 

These thoughts never enter my head.

Stop giving your ex mental real estate. Evict him from your mind TODAY. Stop waiting for karma on the Schmoopies and realize their karma is being THEM — people who suck. You can also stop tiptoeing around their narrative. Tell the kids Dad had an affair with OW. They probably sensed it, or knew, and would appreciate not being gaslighted any more. Then let it go. That’s their relationship to figure out.

Don’t rush into any commitments with Mr. Blessed Wonderful until you get your head straight. I hope he understands. It’s okay to grieve your lost marriage, but it’s not okay to let it consume the rest of your life. Why would you give those horrible people that much centrality? Drop the skein, embrace your new life.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I should say for the record that I have an irrational hatred of country clubs and golf. Childhood hang up. Doesn’t change my advice tho. You may have noticed a certain disgust in my tone around golf. Apologies to any golfers. No apologies if you’re part of a country club. (Don’t you have better things to do with your money?)

    • My ex was an avid golfer and was always trying to get me into it. I HATE golf with a passion. I honestly don’t see the enjoyment in it.

      • Right on!!! Please replaced read this this over and over. Print CL response out hang it on your refrigerator!!!

        She is so right on!! Listen to her!!! She knows her stuff!!!

    • My STBX is a golf pro at a country club. I definitely understand the loathing. The drinking, partying, gambling, and cheating that takes place out there is unreal. There are good, honest, and faithful people there, too. But the ones that fall in the first category dominate the space.

    • Chump Lady, yes another reason to love you! I loathe golf and country clubs too. Why? Well, my ex-in-laws and ex LOVE golfing. I never had a problem with the endless chatter about golf until AFTER we got married. My ex-MIL said to me just after we got back from our honeymoon, “In order to be a part of this family, you need to learn how to play golf!” Gosh, I already thought I was a part of the family when I married their son.

      Fast forward to the following Spring and I’m out there hitting a bucket of balls with in-laws and husband. Yep! Trying to work harder to please the in-laws (played out a 1,000 times in different forms that next 20 years. A week after this ball hitting with in the in-laws, I said to my husband, “Do you want to go hit some balls?” He angrily said to me, “GO HIT BALLS BY YOURSELF!” You see, ex didn’t want to golf with me. Golf was his thing he did with his friends. He didn’t want to golf with his wife. He never ever asked me to golf our entire marriage and after he snapped my head off, I never asked him again. But then for the next 20 years I had to listen to his family talk about golf, but I was never included, because of course I wasn’t a golfer! And my ex would say how relaxing it was, yada yada. He’s lucky I didn’t whack him like Tiger Woods’ ex-wife clubbed Tiger.

    • And by the way, may all new chumps read this and stop untangling the skein. Stop comparing themselves to the OW. Stop imagining that the shiny new cheater life is all that. Money, nice house, country club, vacations–those can’t be our measure of a good life.

    • I seriously love you!!! You are keeping me clear headed in the midst of the fog rising off his glittered covered crap. He has married the AP just this past month and moving her into an expensive house nearby. I have the compulsion to get upset but you all have reminded me no matter how shiny their shit seems, it still REEKS!!!!💩😧😮😵

    • Your reply was priceless. So good. So true! How did you get to be so wise CL 😉 Really though, how long after your break up did it take to find this very cool you?

  • Oh my gosh, thank you for telling her not to get married. I cannot imagine how her fiancé might feel. He is in ‘competition’ with someone that doesn’t even want to win the ‘prize’. Being a chump is hard, it is devastating, but we have to find healing on our own. It is not okay to use another person as part of the healing process.
    Instead of focusing on developing a new life, one in which she is loved and appreciated, she is mad about not being able to go to the country club. Apparently, her new guy isn’t a country club guy. That is fine – he isn’t the guy for you.
    Replaced, you are already dissatisfied in the new relationship, because he isn’t your Cheater. You talk about the Cheater and the OW as if they are descent people – they aren’t! Your picker is still broken, leave this new guy, please. Give him a chance the find true love and go forward in your own healing. You have proven that you can find love again, just find it at the right time and with the right person.

    • Cool breeze, I couldn’t agree more! Her picker is broken. Should work on that before getting into any relationship.

    • Also, if I were the fiancé, I would see it as red flag that she was essentially condoning cheating, and thinking that there might be circumstances (like the fact that she doesn’t golf!) that makes cheating acceptable.

    • Dear Replaced
      Ugh. Do u hear yourself? How can the OW and your ex be good people?!!! OW can NEVER be good. Don’t u get it? Cheating and the deception and lies needed to cheat IS INHERENTLY bad. Some might say evil. Good Catholics or Christians don’t break the commandments! These behaviors are immoral in the eyes of the church. These behaviors are cruel to you and your family. These actions reveal and show u just who your ex and the other whore really are! They are lying, cheating, manipulating people who happen to keep up appearances (masks) by going to church and the country club.
      Honey I’m sorry this happened. And I know how you feel. However, you are focusing too much on the material things that you lost. The country club, yoga etc. Who gives a damn about that shit!!!
      Open your eyes, for the love of God – he cheated and threw out your marriage! He’s not good, she’s not good, period!!!!
      It sounds like he brainwashed u into thinking it was a divine thing, a happy accident – his dick falling into this pos woman. Make no mistake, it’s wrong what they did! Soooo damn wrong. If u honestly believe that they’re really good, then u are condoning cheating. Do u really condone cheating? Would u do that to your loved one?

      And u need to be honest with your fiancé. This is cruel. Don’t lead him on! You didn’t deserve it, neither does he!
      Please look in the mirror and face reality. Stop making excuses and justifying their hideous behavior. Face it.

      • Atheist here. You don’t have to be religious to recognize lies and infidelity as betrayals and immoral.

        • +1 atheist here, too. Although STBX was a Dawkins-loving atheist who owned a t-shirt that said ‘good without god’ on it when we met. Not sure what his moral compass is anchored on these days.. :/

      • Devastated,
        Are you related to Chump Lady? 😊
        Wow, say it like it is.
        I needed someone with your and Chump Lady’s constitution in my day.
        Everyone is supporting CL’s advice to you Replaced.
        I hope this all helps you. Hopefully you can find good counselling as your heart is so heavy with pain.
        You loved, married and had children with this man.
        I am so sorry for all your pain and I hope in time perhaps you can find it in your heart and in your mind to find true love, maybe even to this man who already loves you and wants to marry you.
        At this time, though, as everyone says, NOT now. Not fair to him.
        It is a good thing that you came to CL, CN, you know things aern’t right, aern’t good and you are searching for answers.
        They are your’s to read, today, Replaced.

        (((You need a hug and I send you many)))

      • “What’s happiness when you’re a shallow pool of piss? ”

        I remember once telling X that he and his skank were perfect for each other. He replied, “Thank you, I think so, too.” I dropped mic with, “Only you think that is a compliment.”

        I also once told him to just assume that every nice, BIFF email I send about anything will always have the unspoken – but deliberate – ending, “You fucking loser of all time, you.”

        • 👏❤️ this! Yes, that line, “What’s happiness when you’re a shallow pool of piss?” just about says it all. Fucktard ex and schmoopie AP will never be decent people. I also love your unspoken ending, “You fucking loser of all time, you,” because it Is the truth. Who the fuck walks away from a good woman (family) for some strange?

        • I am reading and laughing out loud at the “unspoken ending”! That is so true.
          I totally understand where the original post is coming from. My ex walked out on me and his mistress is living the financial life we built. I was snowed by the devastation of the blindsided betrayal and divorce, not to mention a shitty lawyer, that I agreed to a shitty settlement. I can’t get over it and move past it. I hate him and don’t mourn him anymore. But I do mourn the loss of my lifestyle! Just being honest here! It is hard to watch them build their new house, travel, go to sporting events that I loved to do as a family so much….and yes the country club. But, I hated golf too. He loved to tell the story to everyone that the one piece of advice he got from a family member is if you want to keep a happy marriage, you never let your wife play golf! You know what “balls” and “club” I would love to take to the driving range!!?

          Anyway, I have always coveted my financial security. But, what keeps me in a state of bitterness is that he gets to continue on the gravy train and he is the one that caused all of this!! I have been out of the workforce so long I am scared to death to move forward. I am bitter that I have to forfeit my freedom to the corporate world again!
          I am just pissed and it gets stronger as the days turn to night. I am on the bitterness wheel and having trouble getting off.

          • You are not alone.

            I am still in RAGE that he leveraged my success — apparently one of the motivators for a sociopath. And used my daughter and me to protect an I mage of a successful man. (Image management is another motivator.)

            I’ve changed lawyers midstream and feel much more confident of a reasonable settlement now. Like you, I’ve been out of the workplace for many years now. And he is making me take a vocational assessment. My lawyer isn’t that worried about it. We’ll see.

            Question for you — is your settlement non-negotiable? You are supposed to have equilivant lifestyle unless his financial position is a result of the additional income from an inheritance or his new whore.

    • Ok, I’d like to clarify a few things here… I am NOT a shallow person. This is not about the stupid country club or any THING. This is about feeling REPLACED, discarded, replaceable. I am just still nursing hurt feelings over being so EASILY replaced by someone seemingly very similar to me. I couldn’t care less about the things. Those were just examples of how SHE now lives MY life. And yes, it was my OLD life. But it is difficult to adjust for a brand-new life when that’s not what you wanted to planned.

      Another correction — my fiance is awesome and i adore him for HIM. I do not miss my ex. I do not pine for him, nor would i take him back if he BEGGED. This is about feeling replaced. NOT missing my cheater ex.

      I want to have a whole, open, loving heart for my fiance. He is amazing, and i want to be fully available to him. I just sometimes still get bluesy over how i was treated. I am still smarting. Thing is, it’s been too long. I nursed these wounds years ago, and i’m frustrated with myself that this pain still lingers. That’s why i wrote CL, and i got the lashing i think i needed! It’s time to FULLY and completely let go of the past and be 100% in this wonderful present and future life of MINE. That’s what i needed to hear, and that’s what i need to do.

      • It’s about your values — I said your ex and the OW are shallow as puddle of piss. By thinking they’re okay, or “like you”, or your ex is some prize to miss, means at some level you identify with their warped values.

        Time to get straight about who YOU are, what YOU value, and what YOU want in your new life and not be defined by old, false narratives of your former marriage.

        You can’t control what happened to you. You can control how you go forward. Best to put your energies there. You’ve got a great fiancee and he deserves to not have to pick me dance to the memory of your past life.

        • Or Replaced is projecting. Maybe without identifying with her exS values, she identifying with making a “mistake” and believing people can change. If Replaced made an awful mistake she’d want people to forgive her and give her a second chance. The affair was not a single mistake, it was a series of deliberate choices, consequences for other people be damned. It was entirely selfish and hurt dozens of people in two families.

          Replaced is nothing like OW. If OW was decent she’d repent and get herself to a nunnery. Replaced would be begging for forgiveness, OW is perfectly ok. Replaced worked hard to try to keep an intact family, OW threw her family away., OW didn’t value her family. OW is a convincing step ford wife, Replaced is too genuine or too emotive to pretend to feel fine,
          Replaced: you are nothing like your exes current wife. You value and prioritize completely differently, churches be damned. Plus you have no idea if everypne thinks the affair is just water over the bridge. Ask her ex husband how he feels.

          You have nothing to envy because you have little in common. Even your ex is someone you don’t have in common: he lied to you, he showed his true face to her.

          • This comment “The affair was not a single mistake, it was a series of deliberate choices, consequences for other people be damned. It was entirely selfish and hurt dozens of people in two families.” is PERFECT. How many times I have heard, I am sorry, can I come back… it’s because of this… deliberate choices, more than one lie and that fucking “starry eye” he would have when he was going to her.

            Your sentence hit a chord with me (obviously). Thank you.

        • Well said CL, today’s response is one of my absolute favorites.
          Your X is not the person you thought you were married to. They’re newlyweds /honeymooners, and they’re out to prove to everyone how much in love they are.
          Working hard to prove to outsiders, their love is romantic, like uh, the Dog bounty hunter and his wife.
          It’s not what you think, it wasn’t built from a cheap, torrid affair, sneaking around betraying their spouses and children.
          I’m not sure either one of them have a true face to show, let alone tell the truth to anyone, even themselves.

      • I get you Replaced. I feel the same way. How can they do this? How?

        I bitterly joke that I was an outdated product on a shelf in the house so I got set out on the pavement for recycling.

        In fact, I laughed when I read you about high versus low heels, ’cause latest schmoopie wears tons of makeup and ultra high heels and I wear flats only and very little make-up.

        So, it’s them, not us. They are BAD. THAT is the HOW for you. That is how they can replace us.

        What really hurts is to know that we gave so much to a BAD person. But that is exactly what a chump does. So De-chump and count your blessings, I ENVY you that you have a good person at your side. Wow! Life2.0 for you Replaced!

        • Thanks, CW! I imagine the “how” is complex. But ultimately, it’s wrong and it’s a terrible way to treat another human being. I’m sorry this happened to you! I was a huge chump through all of this, and still struggle to de-chump! It is my nature to linger over the bad stuff and indulge it too much. It will be an important challenge for me to reprogram myself to linger over the good and indulge thoughts of an amazing future! That’s where my head and my heart need to be — full steam ahead!

          • They can never replace you as an individual loving feeling human being. Can you replace your grandmothers antique diamond ring? No, you can bring in a new and shiny one but it will never be the same.

          • Replaced, it’s difficult be replaced so easily and smoothly (at least from the cheaters POV) and recover the ability to give yourself fully to someone else after this trauma. I get it. I’m not sure I agree with the other posters so far that this is about your values. Your still gaslighted, you believe the clever image management the 2 cheaters are so good at. I get that you tried to handle the divorce amicably and preserve Daddy’s good image for your kids etc. But as a result you’ve become part of this deception and you’ve bought into it. According to this narrative, you’ve been replaced with a slightly better model and all is well that ends well. So of course, this could happen to you again with Mr Wonderful and you can’t give yourself fully.
            Not true. You’ve bought into the cheaters lies, you’ve let the kids believe them too.
            You weren’t replaced, you were betrayed. Calling yourself replaced doesn’t help you.
            You’re not replaceable, you’re a unique person, the mother of your children, who was a loyal and committed spouse, and remained so loyal when she was betrayed that she didn’t even tell the kids their dad is a cheater.
            I agree with the others that you still need to work on that before marrying Mr Wonderful because he deserves a woman who feels better about herself than you do, someone who has healed from this trauma.
            Start by telling the truth to your kids about their dad cheating and about Schmoopie. A good lesson for them: appearances can be deceptive…Look under the surface before you dive.
            The fear of betrayal will probably remain with you and will be stronger in you than in others who’ve never been betrayed. It’s not such a bad thing either because betrayal is all too common. So I’ll never again be the one to advocate giving yourself fully to anyone except yourself. But you must give a strong woman who looks forward to the future, not the past, to your future husband.

            • I completely agree that the children, in an age appropriate way, should be told the truth. Don’t lie by omission because that makes you an accessory to your ex’s and OW’s blatant lies.

            • I told my kids too, as soon as he shacked up with Ol’ Roy. Had no choice really.
              I promised I would never lie to them, (which to me means no omissions and no exaggerations as well) just might hold back a little until they were older and tell them the truth kindly as possible, but for their benefit, not Mr. T’s or Alpo’s.

              (I’m trying new names for her although I do like Ms.Twatwaffles, its a lot to type on my phone, so I’m vacillating between Alpo and Ol’Roy….because Mr. Twatwaffles threw out Prime Rib for a meat by-product and like a dog, he’s lapping up that fake crap.)

            • Not replaced but betrayed. Wow, kiwichump, thank you! You’re so right! I was terribly betrayed. I believed my husband loved me and was on “our” side. Turns out he was mainly loyal to himself and his own selfish needs. I do believe the reasons he betrayed me are very complex. I know CL would say it’s entitlement, and that’s true too.

              At the end of the day, all of that needs to be boxed up and labeled “past.” My fiancé is a truly good man. He would not cheat, and I’m able to trust him. He represents my future, and I have so much to look forward to with him! Yes, I do have lingering fears of abandonment as a result of this. How could I not?! But I can trust him, and that is a huge blessing.

              Thanks for your kind words!

          • Replaced Chump, I do understand that you can’t get over the betrayal. But think of it this way, he left because he wasn’t that invested in you to begin with. The bond that he shared with you was very shallow, convenient even. And that’s why he betrayed you so easily and went off his merry way and replaced you so quickly. He was never deeply connected to you from the start. Your ex may have a personality disorder, as people like him, never really bond or forge deep connections. It’s a very shallow interaction that is often had with a spouse, whereas, mentally healthy people can’t disconnect so easily from their partner. The bond was never there to begin with and was likely very very superficial.

            • Kellia,

              You are so right. I have been listening to blog radio – sandra brown on attachment versus bonding. Personality disordered people form attachments – like they do to a recliner chair. That is why we are so easily replaced. Normal people form bonds. I could never understand why my husband could just walk away after 27 years of marriage and never even care about the destruction that was left behind. If I had been hit by a bus, he wouldn’t have cared.

              • Hi – blogtalkradio.com. Once there – search for Sandra Brown. The specific one I talked about was called “Attachment and Bonding in a Pathological Love Relationship”. There are many others by her as well. They have helped me to understand what happened in my 27 year marriage. Good luck!

              • I’ve been reading a ton since I kicked my husband out 9 weeks ago on DDay 2. Filing for divorce. We’ve been married 16 years and together 20. We got married when I was 22 and he was 23. He seemingly kept it together all these years playing the role of good husband/father. His ability to play halo family man and completely compartmentalize his relationship w his AP for a year is crazy!!! My psychologist who has known him for years and knows what happened thinks he is a high functioning BPD. His AP is a severe BPD crazy person! Great combo lol. Any other articles or books you liked that may help me? Thank you!!!!

      • Dear Replaced,

        This is the first time I’ve come here and read a CL reply that made me cringe. It was a little rough, well intentioned of course, but rough. I can completely relate, and am worried about the bashing I’ll take for saying this, but my exNarc left me in February 2007, my divorce was final in July 2009 (and he married OWife 50 days later), I was remarried in 2013 to the love of my life, and here we are in August 2017 and I’m about to re-enter therapy because I am STILL hurting over this. It is possible to be completely in love, and even happy with a new person, and still grieve what you once believed was your forever life. Grieve your children’s family and the fact that you now share your children with another woman. Grieve that you gave so much to someone who could completely and utterly break you heart and shatter your dreams. My ex is definitely a narc/sociopath and has continued to drag me to court, alienate my kids, etc. and I think this is a large part of why I still have pain over this. But I think it’s possible that, like losing a loved one to death is difficult forever, sometimes the loss of a marriage feels that way. Even when we learn the person we married is a disordered jackass. Because WE believed in it, WE gave it our all, WE were faithful, and loyal, and committed. It really has nothing to do with the ex-spouse, it’s more about how something like that can happen to us when we don’t really deserve it. Some of us can take that knowledge and say, “Fuck that!” and get over it because they know they deserve better. Some of us have a more difficult time with that. But what I will say is that you are wrong in thinking that your ex and the OW are ultimately good people. They aren’t. This speaks to the core of who they are. Don’t let society’s disregard for infidelity make you question the seriousness of it, or the evil it takes to accomplish it. Infidelity takes two people (at least) who make a conscious decision to indulge their own selfishness regardless of the consequences to anyone, including their own innocent children. It took me a long time to realize that sometimes, it does not “take two to tango” in a marriage. Sometimes, it’s all one person, and if there is infidelity, you’ve got your answer on who. Hang in there, you’ll be okay. I hope that your new man is much like mine, and loves you so completely that he can see who you are and love you through anything, even the leftover parts of your old life. You deserve to be loved that way, believe that! And again, it is completely possible to be wonderfully in love with someone and even be married to them, and still suffer from the pain of the past. Don’t give up on your new relationship, it’s a blessing for a reason! xoxo

        • I am a new chump filing for divorce and I love what you wrote. I am having so many issues not being able to get it all out of my head- only 8 weeks from DDay, but I am looking forward to a better future that I know I deserve and a time when it will no longer bother me as much. Meh can’t come soon enough!!!! Thank you for this post!

            • Just a warning–trying to rush ‘meh’ is a futile (and counterproductive) endeavor.

              You’ll need at least 2 years. That’s right, a full two years to process what just happened to you. There will be some days of full detachment that feel like ‘meh’ but 2-3 years after infidelity is standard. You can’t sprint a marathon.

              • Thank you Tempest! I figured as much! Just in so much pain and ups and downs! Usually a very positive/strong person. It’s really tough as everyone here can relate! I’ve been reading a lot, going to therapy, coming to CN and working on what my son and I need. I also signed up to play adult kickball in a league. I was always an athlete and it sounded like fun! 😃

              • Good to know. I’m almost a year post D-D1…and still feel like shit most of the time….but it’s not all of the time now.

              • 100% agree. Healing takes time and it cannot be rushed. Three years is a start, but it is important to understand that a traumatic experience stays with you for a lifetime. You get better, I promise but, especially for those of us in very long term marriage, the scar always remains. One day, though, it becomes of symbol of courage, not defeat.

              • Absolutely, it’s coming upon 2 years since divorce and the deadline to my 2 year no dating commitment, and I’m just now coming out of the fog and heartbreak hangover. This time last year he was still appearing to reconcile while carrying on with his a.p., and now they are expecting a child. While I don’t envy her position in the least bit, I still have so much leftover baggage from being replaced; and insecurity thinking that my son will do the same. Its like they’re all family now, just cut me out and paste her. (Golly I need to change my married name-thought I wanted to keep it for my son, now I wanna throw up every time I say it because I share it with them and it’s weird.)
                I’m still beating myself up over how meditation went as he has our kid 4 week days, (after 3 years of our son never leaving my side while his father went on epic vacations w/o us) I had a weekly radio show at the time, one of the things that made me “cool,” so he tried to take that from me and used it as a reason to take the kid mid week. I had a lawyer who passively represented me (if at all-they spent 30 minutes talking about their hair, charged me for it and then hurried me out of mediation;) and I was entirely too emotional and defeated through the whole thing to stand up for what I thought was best. My ex had me convinced it was best that he be custodial parent since my son spent the first half of his life w me, and now it was his turn. Atleast the mediator saw how entitled he was and actually told me that directly.
                Yes, chump I was. Manipulated, treated like a stupid child and an inconvenience. He told the mediator he was moving to the next major city, 50 miles away, only for me to find out later he lied and moved 25 miles even further to a tiny town still part of the county. When I asked my lawyer if she thought 50 miles in the middle of the school week was too much for a 5 yr old to travel, her response was that she drove that many miles to work everyday. She also did not have biological children. My son now travels 75 one-way on a Wednesday and then back on Thursday and then back for the wknd. My ex also used his free step- brother lawyer-people I used to sit around the dinner table with; and the motion they wrote up tried to paint me up as some alienating unstable selfish mother who pawned her kid off on other people, so they could intimidate me. I never withheld visitations or phone calls. I’d meet him halfway for kid switches and gave him first right of refusal if I had other commitments. The only thing I told my son when he asked why it didn’t work out was that his dad wanted to be with the o.w. and he decided that while we were still together; and that that was wrong. Lots of child psychologists and divorce counselors suggest this is wrong or not to be too honest w your kids, so I feel shame me for that. I can’t really afford a new lawyer. I really do love my new single life but I’m just so tired of feeling the way I do. Some days I’m over it and the next I’m at square one again. I’ve tried marinading in the feelings, I’ve tried pouring myself into something else. I’ve tried picking up new hobbies, exercise, enrolling in classes, yoga, meditation, church, witchcraft, raising chickens, painting w friends, lol, you name it, but I am still having problems shaking the triggers that send me down the rabbit hole, when I see families in tact. I know it’s past wounding from being raised by a single mom, who remained alone. I have no desire to have any more children or even date even if my commitment is up- I’m too busy. I have no desire to go back to a man who would manipulate, control and belittle me with a smile on his face. I have no desire to be the naive, angry and toxic person I was in that relationship. I have no desire to ever be legally attached to another human being again. I’m working hard to break from my chump-hood, my victim mentality, and understood what choices are more healthy for me, from the mistakes that I made. Learning hardcore about boundaries and righting wrongs of my childhood and attachment theory. It just hurts that he’s so quickly moved on and Im still processing spending a third of my life w this man and the one shot I had at having an in tact family, since more kids is not an option for me. My friends think I should be moved on by now, but they have no clue and I hope they never have to. Idk, everyone moves on or manages their grief differently I suppose.

        • You have found a bloke who loves you and wants to be with you? I think you need to change your moniker from ‘replaced’ to ‘improved’.

        • GG, you are awesome! Thank you for that reply. I hope therapy is helpful to you. You’re right, you can still hurt from the pain of the past, yet move forward toward a happy, new life. I think the trick is to be more focused on what’s ahead than what’s behind. And with time that gets easier to do. I’m so glad you have someone wonderful in YOUR life who loves YOU for you!

          • For the record, Replaced Chump… I know just what it is to be really healing well, in a new, wonderful relationship and STILL have pangs of pain for the HORRID stuff done to oneself.

            I was engaged and meeting with the Deacon who was to do our wedding when he and I got to discussing deadhusband and he made reference to the “first affairs” gulp…what first affairs? It was that day I learned that Susan of Seattle was not his first affair, although she may have been his last.

            Planning my wedding…8 weeks from the ceremony…right in the middle of building my romance bathroom for me and newhub…hell of a time to learn that I had been cheated on much/most of my first marriage. There wont likely be a time when Im NOT pissed about that.

          • I think most of it is this: You never let yourself get angry over what happened to you. There are stages to grief, and anger is one of them. Speak up about what happened to you, it’s okay to be pissed that you were lied to, and it’s okay to be enraged because he cheated on you, then he and his whore fed you a bullshit story that you swallowed hook, line and sinker because you are more interested in being a good person than a piece of shit like he was. You haven’t let that anger blossom. It needs to come out, and the first step is speaking your truth. They are not good people. Fuck ’em, because they sure as shit didn’t give a fuck about you.

        • GG–It is possible to still be traumatized by your divorce when your Cluster B X keeps taking you to court to modify custody, support, etc. That’s horrible, and utmost sympathy to you.

          But I do not think it is possible to be “completely in love, and even happy with a new person” when you are still grieving the loss of the former marriage. It’s wonderful if your current spouse is able to support you despite your lingering grief, but I would strongly recommend no other chumps get into serious relationships until the grief is gone, and you have a sense of relief that you get to write your own ending. It’s not fair to the other person.

          • Thanks Tempest for your thoughts. I agree with you. I would never be okay with entering into a relationship with someone in the emotional state I am in (8 months from DDay and days until what would have been 18 year anniversary). We all know how it feels being with someone who isn’t invested and thinking about someone else. I screamed “don’t get married” several times when reading this letter. CL wasn’t harsh, she was honest. Sounds like Replaced has some work to do. This is complicated shit we are wading through, eh?

            • It is complicated, and there are many layers to it (some of them subconscious). Talk therapy alone is not going to ‘cure’ us of having been betrayed. Recovery involves interacting with positive people over time who treat us with kindness, compassion, and fairness (and tossing anyone out of our orbit who does not meet those criteria).

              A recent example: I had a date set for 7:15. My daughter called just before I was to leave and asked me to pick her up from a social event because she didn’t feel good. Now, cognitively I knew my date would say that my daughter should be top priority, and be fine with delaying our getting together by an hour. But I had several moments of anxiety preparing for an angry or disgruntled response (because that is what I’d have had in my marriage*.) It took discussing it before I could overrule my automated emotional response. Thus, even though I have been at ‘meh’ for a long time, vestiges of the toxic relationship to Hannibal still arise at an implicit level.

              *and yes, you read that right–a man unrelated to my daughter was more sympathetic about her illness than her own father would have been.

              • Wow, good for you for being honest and open about your needs!! I get how this could cause anxiety. I agree with your point that talk therapy isn’t enough. I worked with social worker for the first few months and now I have been doing my own research. My goal to understand me and fix my picker. There is no way I want to jump back in the frying pan so to speak. I read “Attached” awhile ago and the researcher talked about how important it is for people with anxious attachments to use effective communication to make their needs known. The author talked about how the person response will help you figure out if they have a secure or avoidant attachment style (anxious should avoid avoidant at all costs) and it sounds like your date’s response was bang on! I am terrified to date (not nearly ready).
                I think you mentioned it taking approx. 2 years to heal from betrayal, so I have lots of time and permission to be gentle with myself.

              • Dear Tempest,
                I am sorry that you did feel that period of anxiety, but I am happy that you did not need to feel that anxiety.
                Chumps know it is a part of the scar cheaters inflict on our mind and our heart, how we expect to feel and to be treated for certain happenings.
                Tempest, there is always hope that even this initial feeling of anxiety will lessen and even get lost in the debris of cheater effect.
                I so want this for you Tempest. You are an awesome person!

                (((((Mega hugs to you)))))

        • GG1431 what you’ve written is so helpful. I do trust that my ex sucks, but it is still so painful. I have not moved on with anyone new.

          It sounds like PTSD in alot of ways to me. I read somewhere how your mind tries to make sense of it and see the warning signs so it knows what to look for incase it happens again. Like you’re sitting in your home watching TV, it’s storming, and then a tornado hits and destroys everything around you. You are never the same again. Your mind tries to process what those missed warning signs are so it doesn’t happen out of the blue and unprepared again.

          For me my ex was not and never was reciprocal. I had 2 separate Ddays with 2 different schmoopies. This time I was hypersensistive to the warning signs: took off wedding ring, stand-offish, treating me poorly, hypercritical of me and the kids. He is not a good person that just found the twu wuvs with schmoopie and no one meant for it to happen.

          He is a selfish, entitled fuckwit. Now sad sausage (my ex). Your ex and his schmoopie are still all sparkly. You knew the warning signs of him being a bad person (you were trying marriage counseling for communication issues). Cheating was a real dealbreaker (either you threw him out or he knew you’d never get over it because you have morals). She didn’t replace anything-as CL states, he may be salting the mines to keep her happy for now. But you know the real him, he will get tired of that soon enough.

          Are you afraid of making another mistake? Of missing the warning signs? Because it’s all flashy and fun and happy over in cheaterville, your doesn’t add up? Are you waiting for justice? It may takes years to see it although they may be living the karma misery now.

          Best of luck to you Replaced. You are actual a vintage masterpiece that asshat discarded for trash not knowing it’s value. He got the cheap, sparkly shit that will soon break instead of polishing up the gold.

      • Replaced Chump- I understand what you are saying. Even though you have moved on there are moments when you still can’t believe someone you trusted betrayed you. It’s not about wanting what you had, but processing the hurt of betrayal and feeling like you were not “enough”. I think what is contributing to having these thoughts and feelings is that you are not speaking your truth. You did the pick me dance and then let your exhusband shape the narrative. We just grew apart, etc. You didn’t even tell your kids about what actually happened or who their father and stepmother really are- liars and cheaters. I would encourage you to take back your power! Start by being honest with yourself and your children. I think you are still eating a shit sandwich because you have accepted the lies your exhusband and the OW are selling as truth. “She likes golf and doesn’t wear make-up so he found a better match”- which you have processed as a better person. That is bullshit! Of course, you would feel replaced if this was the truth. That you just weren’t good enough. But that is a LIE! They are really bad people with no values. A shift in your narrative and telling your children who they really are and what they did would help. Right now you are trying to manage your children’s feelings by hiding what happened. Kids are resilient and would appreciate in the long run being told the truth. It would break the façade everyone has bought including you about your exhusband and his flat shoe wearing, country club whore! Take back your power and start speaking your truth!!

        • NTG, yes, that’s it. I have moved on — in so many ways! I have a completely different life now! And no, i do not want to go back. I still just get stuck. I still feel so much of the pain of this. And yes, maybe it hits a part of me that worried that i wasn’t “enough” for him. And that is just me being insecure. That’s me allowing him to determine my worth and adequacy. That’s a lot of where i struggle. And just the discarding. Our marriage and everything we built just meant so much more to me than it did to him. That’s been a very difficult thing to process. Marriage MEANS something to me. People are NOT replaceable to me. To CL’s point, our values must have been way off…

          • And how he feels about marriage isn’t going to change with 2.0. They won’t be faithful to one another. Shit gets real and stale eventually for these clowns. It’s who they are.

            And tell the kids

          • It’s not that you weren’t “enough” for him, water finds its own level.

            In my case, I wasn’t shallow enough for my X, and I’m okay with that.

              • My former MIL used to always say this to justify their family’s snobbery. Now her son left me, a truly decent, loyal, loving wife and good DIL, for a gold-digger 22 years my junior. They used to joke that my IVY was not as good as the one their son went to. New DIL went to community college. Not a dig on community colleges, but the saying “water finds its level is true.” It just did not get them where they thought it would.

            • I love this, Tempest. I’m going to start thinking this way, I feel so much better already:
              “I wasn’t shallow enough for my X, and I’m okay with that.”

            • “In my case, I wasn’t shallow enough for my X, and I’m okay with that.” – – Okay, that has to be one of my favorite, composite explanations ever for why being away from these people rocks!

            • It’s funny, he always said I was “too deep” – now I know exactly what he meant, and why he’s with Dimbo! 😂

              • I believe that too. I am realizing I was too authentic and that made him feel uncomfortable. As he got to be more and more pompous, I just couldn’t hide the eye rolling inside my head.🙄

            • Love this….In my case I don’t think it was that I wasn’t shallow enough for him I think I wasn’t weak enough. The POSH said I “FORCED” him to do everything. I forced him to move to the city where I had gotten a job after college, forced him to move out of my parents house into an apartment, forced him to marry me, forced him to build a house, and forced him to have a baby. Let’s be clear these were decisions we agreed to. I told him when we started dating that I wanted a family. That was not negotiable. If he didn’t want kids we shouldn’t get married. 9 years later I’m pregnant and oh “I wasn’t ready for a baby you forced me to make all these decisions”. Well I’m sorry I was strong in my voice in what I wanted and you were too weak to speak your mind. You should have been a man and broke up with me a long time ago if you knew you were the type of man that didn’t want a family. The much younger OW, who works for him, I’m sure is much more flexible in her wants and needs. I think she is letting him run the show and he needs a weak little girl to dictate too. sorry i’m not sorry for being strong. Hopefully my daughter you abandoned at two weeks old will be just as strong.

              • I forced my husband to move interstate, and have a child, not once, but twice, apparently!My mindpowers were that strong!I thought they were much discussed, joint decisions that required, for example in the case of the children, not using condoms ( so not exactly secretive)- but no! he was just a helpless victim!
                Strangely my mindpowers have never been able to force him to jump off a bridge. Go figure.
                To Replaced- i think you have a fear of being” replaced” again, and I would recommend talking to your new guy about it, and get him to read CL so that he can understand how much PTSD we are all left with, and how the damn thing flares just when you think you’re over it.
                I am very unlikely to ever have a romantic relationship again. I spent nearly twenty years with someone I adored. absolutely adored, and all the time he was a pod person, and I couldn’t tell, and my friends and family couldn’t tell. I am not taking that risk again.

              • POSH!! I love it. I haven’t even made it to the end of your post, but had to respond.

          • Replaced, yes, you and your cheater do not have the same values. But so far you’ve been hiding this fact by not telling what really happened in your marriage. Speak to your values, I think it will help you move on. And of course it shows that you have not been replaced. Your cheater downgraded.

          • Replaced Chump, I get it! I have a loving boyfriend, a supportive network, a good job, and excellent therapy. Yet, the pain of loss still comes back sometimes. My Mom told me one night when I was crying and frustrated that I hadn’t healed yet that grief is not a straight line. It has ups and downs- some days your great and other days are hard. It’s a process…The good news is that it does get better with time, but that only happens when you switch that narrative to the truth- that you didn’t lose a wonderful husband, you lost someone who cheated- he decided to blow up everything you worked for and here is the ultimate truth IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! He had many choices besides cheating and he didn’t betray you because of your lack of common interests- he cheated because he is a lacking a morality chip, you guys aren’t made from the same stuff. Youre loyal he is not!! The list could go on. Once you fully realize your grieving the hologram of who you believed your exhusband to be and not the man he is the amount of time you spend thinking about him will change.

          • I was always too much, and found that I had to be less in order for him to be happier… and in the end, that was still too much.

      • ReplacedChump–I’m glad you responded. Believe me, we all understand the pain of being replaced, whether for a short period of time, or (like you) for a subsequent marriage of our cheaters to the OW/OM.

        This is the critical piece–once you enjoy your own current life enough, and see its value, you will be GLAD you were replaced. If you have a wonderful fiance, lovely children, and are filling your time with activities & people you love, relief should ensue. That’s what I hope for you–tomorrow (or some day soon) you can wake up and say “Allelluia!! I am free of that fuckwit and have a fabulous life on my own terms. Clear my way, world!”

        • Thanks, Tempest! Good stuff. I have felt like one of my hands was still clinched, holding on to the past. I’m not sure why — just change-averse, maybe. Or maybe out of fear… For whatever reason, a part of me is still holding on. I need to open that hand, release the past, and embrace the future.

          • I notice, Replaced Chump, that you are studiously avoiding expressing your ANGER here.

            Probably about time to start letting it out, because that’s what we call it – that feeling when we have been treated REALLY BADLY.

            You are perfectly allowed to say:

            “Actually, you guys are right. I was married to a cheater; a man who thought he was entitled to fuck a married woman in secret, behind my back. Mr Hot Shot Catholic who thought it was OK to break the Sixth Commandment because he was Special and it was twu wuv. With Mrs Hot Shot Catholic who is such a good Catholic that she wears flats and no makeup, but cheats on her husband and deceives him and lies to him.”

            I think you might find that the dull pain you experience is because you are ANGRY, and you need to start naming that, and letting it out.

            Your ex and his new wife are shitheels, pure and simple. You can dress it up and spackle it any way you like, but no one here is fooled. Those people did a really shabby, low, thing, and have behaved like utter hypocrites to everyone around them. Worse, they appear to have been REWARDED by the world and everyone you know. While you get discarded.

            You WERE discarded, and you are right to be ANGRY about that. If you would stop stuffing the anger down and trying to be Ms Nice Guy, you would probably be able to heal.

          • Replaced,

            despite the many pearls of wisdom here, your remarks still resonate. I think when you move forward and accept it all and are happy in your new life,

            maybe you fear that when you clearly move forward and learn to thrive after surviving a tremendous wrong,

            the world will say “See? It ALL worked out in the end.”

            Thing is, it did not work out BECAUSE he left, it worked out DESPITE his leaving. Kudos to YOU for moving forward & taking another risk with love.

            Fuck your ex and his Schmoopie. He did you a favor.

      • Dear Replaced
        I’m sorry if I was harsh with you. You have a right to all your feelings! They are normal and I feel the same about my situation. I was just extremely saddened when I read that you think they’re good when they aren’t. I want to validate your pain. I know though, that if you truly believe they’re decent people, that won’t help you to heal. Please. Get pissed at the sob! It sucks what he’s done to you. And of course, of course it’s normal to still hurt and anguish over that lost dream. Again, I’m sorry if I was harsh. I just hope you can look at those wretched people for what they are!
        You may never get over it. And that’s fine, But please give yourself some loving kindness. You deserved better.
        And when you see them going to church, feigning to be devout Catholics, remember that other people know exactly who they are and what they’ve done to you. Things may not be as they seem. People wear masks.
        Peace
        Devastated.

      • I understand the feeling. My STBX was here with me one moment, in the home we’d built up together, and gone in an evening to move in with his side piece.

        The weekend after he left, I texted him because I still wanted to go to an event that we’d planned to go to together and didn’t want to bump into him with her. I was basically feeling him out, hoping to get a response indicating he wasn’t going to take his OW to something we planned to go to. But nope – without missing a beat, he just says ‘what time are you going to be there?’

        I know it’s a small example, but I have had so many thoughts of ‘she’s just another version of me’, wtf? We have similar hobbies (painting, nature walks). We have some similar style. We both have the same stupid crazy plan b dream that has nothing to do with our actual jobs (opening a cafe/pub). She was ‘looking for’ someone to do all the things that we already did together (food, travel etc.). But then I realised she’s nothing like me. She has cheated on everyone she’s ever been with (first husband and then current partner of 10 years). She felt so entitled to get what she wanted she lied and manipulated her way to get it. I am nothing like that. That kind of character is rotten and I don’t think a one-off incident that doesn’t infect everything else about her and her life with him now.

        I think it’s scary to live through this because it makes you think even more about how much you ever really know a person. You think this person cares about you and then ‘poof’ they just discard you, put someone else in the role you previously thought was filled and you’re left with a body-shaped hole where they were just standing. There’s a lovely little quote from one of Marilyn Monroe’s journals that I’ve been mulling over where she jotted down: “Only parts of us will ever touch only parts of others.” I worry that when I am ready to move on, I’ll struggle to know what is real and what I can trust. But I’ve already realised, two months out, that I’d rather live to my values of honesty and openness than let this treatment of me destroy my ability to have what I know is worthwhile.

        At the root of this questioning of replacement is still the simple question: “why?”. We want to understand it and untangle that goddamn skein. But the “love” this man is capable of really is as shallow as a puddle and it’s not worth another thought about the life they are living. x

        • 1142,
          Marilyn Monroe’s quote is so sad.
          That beautiful woman and how her life ended and all the unknowns.
          So sad.

          But, you, 1142, it is early in your time of suffering from betrayal and you ” have such a good head on your shoulders”.
          When I read your posts I think this girl is going to do ok, more than ok. She has courage and she has integrity and all good stuff.😊
          Besides, his new tru wuv, she can do his dirty laundry. I have great doubts she lasts, once the shit stains settle she’ll be toast and gondi!

          Keep strong sweet lady, you rock!

      • Dear Replaced
        Like everyone else I want put on record how sorry I am for all your pain. The betrayal of trust, the feelings of rejection and so on. We’ve all been there, right?
        I hope however that you can soon get to a place where you feel glad that you were replaced. Not glad for all the pain but glad for the fact you can live cheater free.
        Allow me to make two observations- The fact that schmoopie has some superficial similarities to you is of zero relevance in my opinion. His betrayal would not be any more justifiable or rational if Schmoopie was a super model.
        Secondly, as a Catholic I’m frankly ashamed by their conduct. It seems to me that the thing they have in common with each other is their disregard for Catholic teaching on honesty, sex, and marriage.
        Replaced, however much their relationship looks great and wholesome on the outside we all know it is a whitened sepulchre. The most fundamental fact they know about each other is their capacity for deceit and betrayal. It’s a relationship built on mutual distrust. Consider for a moment the awkwardness the two of them must feel when others ask “So how did you guys meet?”
        Thank God or karma or your lucky stars that you were replaced, Replaced. Be grateful too that you replaced a hypocritical liar and adulterer with a decent guy. I hope you instil in your children decent values about honesty and loyalty in their choice of partner and spouse. I hope your children will join the dots.

        • Yeah, as a Catholic I feel the same way. They must have both missed the whole memo on marriage as a sacramental act. If they lied to get an annulment to marry in the church double shame on them. If they did and are lining up for communion, God have mercy on their souls. Their happy, happy show is just that. Calling this affairage a marriage is just a euphemism–and a euphemism is just a piece of perfumed silk used to wrap the rotting corpse of a stinking moral truth.

        • Limey Chump,

          “So how did you guys meet.”

          My favourite line in all posts!

          Required reading for all cheaters!

          A Chump’s Dream to get an answer to that one.

          Some projected responses:
          1. It’s a small small world-Disney
          2. At Grace Land
          3. Space World-Disney
          4. Visitation with the Pope in Rome
          5. At the Olympics, ( both came in last)
          6. Community Picnic
          7. Office Party
          Chumps, please continue the list if you desire.
          Also all of the above could be number 1

          I vote Limey Chump for the win today for the best quote:
          ” SO HOW DID YOU GUYS MEET?”
          🖕💥👌👏👺👏🙌📣

          Priceless

        • I’m Catholic & embarrassed by your husband and his adulterous “wife”. They are NOT Practicing Catholics or they’d be in their original marriages. The hypocrisy and chutzpah it takes to present as Catholics while in second marriages, is stunning. SMH.

          Hold your head high.

          This is NOT your fault. As for the OW, I smh. Yeah, go back to Mass, get absolution and just start fresh.
          NO, IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.

          I’m disgusted with them. Wishing you well!

      • Hey Replaced,

        I understand the devastating feeling of being so easily replaced. I felt the same way after an old boyfriend discarded me and hooked up with a woman who – in his words – “is so much like you!”. I remember crying to him, “why would you want another version of me when you can have the real thing?!” Ugh, my pick-me dancing was just shameful.

        The idea of being so easily replaced actually sent me to therapy for more than a year. My therapist kept telling me that my EGO was preventing me from moving on. Yes, that was her repeated 2X4 to my head — telling me that it was just a bruised ego keeping me stuck in despair, and not the actual loss of the guy himself. She had a point.

        Bottom line is – you wouldn’t want your ex back anyway … even if he came back and grovelled on his knees for another chance with you. That would feed your ego, but it wouldn’t change your current life. So, let it go, Replaced Chump, and fully embrace your new man. Put 100% of yourself into him because he does want you and love you.

      • My last several years with my cheater were spent trying to live up to what to what he wanted me to be. He wanted me to be highly organized, a linear thinker and a perfect housekeeper, while handling every detail of our everyday lives without his help. I kept thinking that if I tried harder I could do it all. When he left there was an incredible relief of pressure. You see, I am a creative thinker who tends to sidetrack from one thing to another. I accomplish a lot, but there are unfinished projects. The finished ones sometimes weren’t noticed. That left a supply of things he could complain out.
        I will never fit the mold that he tried to put me in. I can’t do that successfully because that is not who I am. I am very good at being me. It was total misery to be pressured to be someone different. Your cheater is doing that to his partner. I became like a line drawing of who I was with him. Now I can be a thriving three-dimensional successful me. Sucks to be her….😘

      • I get what you are saying, and your feelings are valid. What I am saying is, look at your words. Your words indicate your are pining for that old life. You were not replaced – that woman took a spot that you are unwilling, thankfully, to fulfill. He didn’t want a wife, he wanted a toy. He wanted someone just as shallow as he is. You are too good for him.

        There is NOTHING that your ex can provide that you want and cannot get from someone who loves you. The old life the OW got was a daily dose of shit sandwiches and false narratives. That is it, nothing more.

        You get the amazing opportunity to write your own narrative, to build the life you always wanted.

        It sounds like you are still in the grieving phase. That is fine, take as long as you need to grieve. But, I don’t think it is fair to have a fiancé while you are grieving the loss of the old relationship. That is where my response is based.

        I would personally be devastated if I was getting married to someone that was still upset about the old life another woman is living. You talk about feeling like you could not live up to your exes expectations. How does your fiancé feel? You are still mourning the loss of another man. Deal with that first, fully and completely. You already know how it feels to be giving the feeling that you are not good enough, but that is the vibes you are putting out about your fiancé.

        Deal with your hurt and your pain. Because right now, you are talking about your cheater ex as if he is a great guy and talking about his cheater now play thing as if she is a wonderful woman. They aren’t. You are romanticizing them. Deal with that stuff before you jump into this relationship. If not, you could turn your marriage into nothing but a game to try to ‘one up’ them on the happiness scale, and your new husband will feel it.

        • THIS. And I would add that by pining for your old life, and staying stuck in comparing “happiness” you are goading your fiancee into a Pick Me Dance with your rejection. Can He Get You Over It?

          That’s SO not okay. As I said in my original response, this is YOUR grief work to do. Anyone who comes into your life, should be HONORED with your FULL attention.

          I’m not saying we don’t have scars, or things don’t bubble up, especially with children. I’m talking about buying into the ridiculous narrative of the cheaters, that they are “good” people who made a singular “mistake” and there is some life (worth spit) that was “replaced.”

          No. There’s you. And shit that happened to you. And how you decide to go forward.

          And if you’re blessed with someone’s love and commitment? You don’t compare them to what you “missed” out on.

      • You were a broken toaster but he liked the model so he just got a new one. She will wear down after a few years too and then he’ll replace that one.

        You have to recognize that these people (your narc ex) don’t have an emotional investment in you or her, it’s just your output they are attached to. When you stop making toast and they know you can’t be fixed it’s time to move on to a new toaster. This very simple concept is what is so difficult to get over because you are not accepting the fact that he did not care for you on a personal level. He doesn’t care for her on a personal level either, he’s incapable of it.

        The irony is that they are the broken toasters. Always have been and always will be no matter who they latch onto next. You on the other hand are not even a toaster. You’re a wonderful person full of love and depth and compassion and so much more than just an appliance.

        You are not a toaster.

        Towanda!

        • Towanda Iwant this on a tee shirt “I am not a toaster”. Discarded I winced at CL’s words. I am 9 months out after a total discard for same age divorced, 3 kids (but all grown up) professional cook who allowed him to move in after only knowing him for a couple of months. They are harsh but true. I am lucky because they are a long way away and I am NC/grey rock so can pretend they don’t exist until access weekends when it feels like I have swallowed acid all over again. The hardest thing to accept is that we really weren’t that important. It is something I sensed early on in my marriage and tried to change me and him because we had children. The OW will have been well versed in all our faults and they will be doing their own dances to avoid discard too.

      • You weren’t replaced… because your life was a lie.

        That’s a harsh truth all of us chumps have to accept.

        You’re new life is already better than your old one, because you are not getting our soul sucked out of you by a nice guy golfer.

        You need to BELIEVE your new life is better than your old one.

        Harbouring feelings that you were REPLACED as you say… implies that you lost something of value. Maybe the mirage of it, but not actually something real.

        I’m not upset about being replaced. I’m upset about having my fertile years stolen from me. Could literally not give a flying fuck about being replaced. In that sense, I FEEL LIBERATED.

    • Dear replaced,
      If you can’t get over it, you’re NOT READY to make a commitment to another person. PLEASE set your new guy free, and work on yourself. Entering into a marriage when you’re still not over being replaced shows that you’re not ready to be in a committed relationship with anyone. PLEASE heed the advice given here! Don’t do this to another person. You’re not ready.

  • Two cheaters are now bound to each other and live with each other. That right there is the sweet smell of justice! Go let them enjoy the long nights of wondering if the other is cheating on them. Go let them enjoy being the marriage police. Go let them spend countless hours trying to figure out the best way to make their lives seem wonderful on social media so that everyone else will buy into the impression management you have bought into.

    You say they have so much in common. Go back and read about mirroring. You say she is a good person, a Catholic. Allow me to quote my friend’s Pinterest Wall here: God will never send you someone else’s husband. It’s a sparkly turd and you’re failing to see the turd. Beyond that only worry how your kids are doing. You left the cheater. You gained a life. Now go live it.

    • Yes, and by the way, what do you mean she is Catholic or him, by birth, like a nationality or race? No true Catholic would be OK with adultery, divorce, remarriage.
      My stbx says he is an orthodox christian. Yes he was baptised and confirmed but that is where it ends. When I found out about the adultery and asked him to talk to a priest, he told me they are all crazy.
      Later he told our daughter in a text Jesus forgives us all, we are all sinners. He doesn’t seem to understand that is true but we must repent and follow Jesus first.
      You need to stop calling them catholic, they have abandoned the practice.

    • Great reply! Thank you! And i agree — God will never send you someone else’s husband! Brilliant and totally true! I am sure those two convinced themselves that they were just “meant to be.” And who knows what he told her?! I’m sure he made me out to be a hag, and she thought she was rescuing him from a horrible marriage! Either way, it was terribly wrong. And you’re so right — i gained a life. My counselor calls it the “odd gift.” Not the none i wanted, not the one i planned on. But it is a gift nonetheless, and it’s time to fully EMBRACE it!

      • Replaced,

        In regards to your statement about not knowing what your ex told the OW:
        I am a mother of 3 young children. My soon to be exhusband admits to SEVEN affairs in our 5 year marriage. I wonder how many more there really are. Yes, I was tested for every STD/ HIV etc. All were negative. Praise God.
        Anyway, he told the newest OW and some of the others that I cheated, abused him and kicked him out. He told one woman (who found me on the internet when she became suspicious that he was married) that he said he had no wife or children.
        I had to sue him for child support, take him to court for custody when he threatened to kidnap the children and call the police 2x when he assaulted me. Both times he lied to the police and walked away with no charges. My point is, these are NOT good people. I am so sorry your ex destroyed your family. I truly am because I know the bitter sting of pain and how horrible this feels. Counseling sounds like it would be very helpful for you at this point.

  • Yup. Your ex was sullen, uncommunicative, and unfaithful. Why are you trying to hold on to that? He and shmoopie can have each other and it’s no skin off your back. Let him go and move on with your life. Also, don’t bother being anything but baseline polite to ex and schmoopie, and tell the kids the truth. “Ex cheated on me with schmoopie and that’s why your father I got divorced. You can have your relationship with them, but I don’t like her or him, and don’t feel like being around them.”

    I’m willing to bet if you’d stop trying to smile through the shit sandwich of pretending you’re Great Pals with them both, you’d get over that resentment a lot quicker.

  • Be very careful with the BS that the OW is allegedly a good person who “just made a mistake.” That sounds a lot like the excuse I made for my cheating EW.

    All of us must be judged by the entirety of our actions. Too often in our society, we excuse shitty behavior and come up with rationalizations to excuse the terrible actions of otherwise fine people.

    But that’s the whole point!! I can’t think of anyone in my day-to-day life who fits the cliche of a movie villain. Instead, I gradually understood that shitty people are the ones that generally seem great…until they aren’t. Their flaws are life-changing and obnoxiously selfish and destructive…while the rest of us have minor flaws that don’t blow up lives.

    The OW sucks. That’s what sucking looks like.

    • This, times one billion.

      Actions define the person; it really is that simple.

      Societally, we seem overly concerned with “yeah, but…” excuses. E.g., “they’re lying cheaters… Yeah, but they also go to church!” It’s ridiculous. The only Yeah, but that matters is what people do to make things right after they fuck things up. Cheaters NEVER do this, ever.

      • That last line says it all right there. We all make mistakes. It’s what you do about it that shows who you really are.

    • My thoughts exactly. The OW is a wonderful person? Bullshit. She is a liar and a thief, notwithstanding the fact that she is a “good Catholic”. No matter what she does, no matter who she fools, she is still the person who thought it was okay to destroy a marriage. That makes her a bad person. Period.

      You need to work on you. Please do not commit to another relationship until you have healed yourself. Yes, it may take time, but once you acknowledge the anger and the pain, and take affirmative steps to understand the reasons for your feelings, you will be ready to bring someone into your life. You’re just not there yet.

      • So true, I know plenty of good Catholics–my mother, my grandmother. They were compassionate people whose piety made them kinder, loyal, and resilient. They didn’t screw married men while they themselves were married, or deceive other people. To call the OW in this case a “good Catholic” is insulting to people who actually are.

        • This. If anything, his Catholicism should have driven him to work harder in therapy to become a better communicator. Clearly he wasn’t interested if Replaced had to do all the therapy appointments.

      • If they were honest people, let alone good Catholics, they would have left their marriages prior to getting involved with each other. No one is forcing anyone to stay in a marriage they don’t want to be in. It’s not the Middle Ages. If you want a divorce, you can have one. If couples therapy fails, normal people just get divorced. Replaced, yes it sucks, but I think your issue is just one of needing to re-focus on what’s important to you. Perhaps your engagement is making you feel vulnerable and kicking up your old fears and those things that you haven’t fully processed or let go of. She’s not living YOUR life, it’s a completely different one, though some of the parts look the same. YOU are living your life. Your kids are still yours, albeit shared. Probably time to stop focusing on their side of the fence and on the awesomeness that you have. Don’t let them keep spoiling your happiness.

        • Thanks, K. I have thought about that too. I think the engagement has kicked up some emotional dust. Might be a good time to revisit counseling to talk through it.

        • Yeah it feels like you have grass is greener syndrome. Very dangerous territory and not fair to your fiance.

    • “The OW sucks. That’s what sucking looks like.”
      perfect….ding ding ding, we have a winner

      It has been 16 years since my new husband and his XW split. We have been married now for 2 yrs, his XW (and new guy who seems like a decent fellow) for about 5.

      Hubby’s XW was SO NOT MEH at stepdaughters HS graduation, if I were her new husband, I would have felt REALLY awkward.

      She seems very very concerned, preoccupied and wrapped up in what we do. She is also mean and selfish, so just to amuse myself I throw in little torments just for fun (which is childish and petty, I know but she is a pain in my ass, so there).

      She was grossly inappropriate towards me (who had ZERO to do with their breakup) and I almost said to her hub “doesnt it bother you that she is so preoccupied with us instead of living her life with you?” but I didnt because (if truth be known) Im simply not THAT mean. (he has never hurt me so it would be wrong).

      So this is what my version of “not meh xw looks bitter and odd, not a good look for anyone” and I wish better for the OP

    • Right? That’s why I keep coming back to read CL every day, haha! For a daily dose of 2×4 therapy and some no-BS real talk. CL rocks 🤘🏼

    • YES!! Just what I was thinking. I know of a few cheaters who blew up both families to be together, and they are regular church-goers. It disgusts me.

  • I realised on the weekend that I actually, finally, truly hit meh. It feels wonderful. I hope all the chumps reading get there too. It is a place of peace and kindness to yourself.

    Replaced, you can’t be, there is only one you. Live YOUR life. My dad always said to run your own race, that way you are only trying to better yourself. Good luck.

    • Thanks for the advice and support, Kimhopes. I am truly working on embracing this NEW life of mine. I don’t do change all that well, so it’s been hard to accept something i didn’t want. But i am working toward being more excited about what’s to come than anything i may have HAD and lost. Hard but important transition!

      • If you haven’t already, read as much as you can about narcissism and other personality disorders, both here and on links in the Resources section. Your X sounds like a textbook case and if you haven’t come to both an intellectual and an emotional, gut-level understanding of his disorder, it’s going to be much harder to heal. At least it was for me. Once I truly understood the depth of my X’s narcissism, I was gradually able to stop taking it personally and begin letting go. You were not replaced. You were devalued and discarded and are still being gaslighted into believing your X’s narrative.

  • I am also embarrassed to say that I am stuck.
    7 years past DDay and 3 years post divorce.
    I live in a beautiful home, have amazing adult kids who thing I’m the best mom in earth and I have the greatest, loyal friends anyone could ask for.
    I’m sad that the other family walked away and that my ex never admitted anything or ever looked back. He has no relationship with one kid and barely a relationship with the other – they know the full truth and the OW.
    I don’t want to be him or her. I know they suck and that they’re miserable people.
    BUT I cannot seem to get him out of my head.
    I’m down to this last piece and am doing the hard work to eradicate him from my brain.
    It is something that needs to be done constantly…every time the thoughts come back, I have to feel them, reject them and then force them out of my brain…over and over again.
    It isn’t easy but neither is living with this poison inside me.
    One day, one moment at a time until I’m free. This blog gives me the strength and determination to finally get to a life worth living.

    • I don’t know if this will help you, but I allowed myself a certain amount of time each day to think about what had happened to me, wallow in it even. When that set time was over, I put those thoughts into a mental box and went on with my day. As I was progressing, I gave myself less and less time eat day to “stew.” After a time, I began to think about them less and less.

      I did not come up with this concept. One of my friends, who is a therapist, uses this technique with her clients. It helps to acknowledge the hurt, but not let it take over your life. It also helps you feel like you are moving forward, which is so important to the healing process.

      There are times when I don’t always stick to this process, but it does help. Recently, an acquaintance tried to engage me in a discussion about how “great” OW was doing and I shut that shit down. I am not interested. She could become the equivalent of Mother Teresa and she will still be a bad person to me.”There are some things that only God can forgive.”

      Still, I make it clear to all that I have no interest in what X or OW are doing with their lives. They are no longer together and that makes it easier to put what they did to me out of my mind. I believe, though, that the path to peace includes keeping bad people away from my life and my thoughts.

      • Love Love Love this idea of giving yourself a set amount of time to ‘stew’. Really gonna try that daily to get the cheating prick out of my head!

      • Thanks for that advice! I’ve heard that too and will give it a try. I can get bluesy if i’m not careful. I am a somewhat serious person by nature, and when i think about this stuff i can get down. I will try to schedule the time i think about it, then be done with it. Thanks for the advice!

        • Great advice violet! Thanks!
          I try to listen to guided meditation videos on youtube every morning before I start my day. I find them very helpful.

          I put out good positive vibes, am caring, polite, and kind to others and I find that I get that back. I feel important in this world, just by being a good person.

          Dr. Dyer and Abraham Hicks are helpful for me. I’ll be checking out the link Beowulf posted, too.

    • Rebecca – I am right there with you. The constant ruminations have created a neural pathway (more like a neural highway) in my brain and when I am on a walk or quiet the thoughts come. Always. And yes, it’s a constant struggle because I do not want to be thinking about that – I want to be thinking about my new life! I do like the Power of Now by Tolle to quiet the inner voice and thoughts. And there’s always playing WordWarp on my phone.
      Keep fighting the good fight – you are not alone.

        • Excellent video that I will start on right after this post!!!!!
          Uses a bit of EMDR, too.
          Thank you for this link 💕

      • EMDR helped me after DDay #1. The doc asked me if I belived the treatments would work and I admitted that no, I was skeptical. She said it didn’t matter. She was right, I felt much, much better after the scarred neural path was fuzzed out a bit. I went to about 3 sessions and it really gave me the physical correction I needed to get off that high dive of panic that occurred every time I would think about him admitting to the affair. Too bad I couldn’t set that phaser to “no duh” and avoid DDay #2 nine years later….but I am not PTSD’d this time. Just disgusted with my abandoner-liar-hider-coward POS STBXH. I don’t think the Wizard has anything in his black bag for me on that. Still working on it.

        • EMDR was my first thought after I saw 7 years.
          I have a friend who used is successfully. I was not a candidate, but I’ve heard a lot of great Hingis about it.

    • My situation isn’t the same as poor Replaced is but I feel her pain. Mine never had any intention of leaving and has been fighting very hard to win me back. All of that is still a work in progress (even 3 yrs later) but I cannot get her out of my mind. I can’t get over it, can’t get past it. The pain that you feel is so deep it takes a looooong ass time to get past, if you ever really do. It changes who you are – your image of the world and of the people in your life. As time has gone by, I have since been reminded of my value and worth and how fucking AWESOME I am but still – there’s that lingering thing in the back of my mind where I just can’t let go of it. As time goes on, those twinges are happening more infrequently but it’s still there, nagging me.

      The OW in my case was soooo far beneath me that it’s shocking to me that with all his hauty high-class standards that he would stoop so low. Just being WILLING shouldn’t have been enough for Mr. I’m The Best At Everything. She’s an insult to everything he had, everything that I am. My brain is fully aware. My heart, however, is slow to catch up. Once agn – tx for the advice, Chump Lady! You’re right on the $$ as usual.

    • Rebecca, the big difference between you and the OP is that you’re not holding another person hostage to your own process through this. That’s huge. You’ll get through this last bit in your own time and in your own way.

      I love the idea of scheduling time to wallow and then putting it all back in a box. Violet, please thank your therapist friend for this!

    • Rebecca
      Thank you for this. Wow FMT you posted too!
      I love CN and bow down to the excellent snark of Chumplady!
      strong and real

    • My good therapist said the same thing. Set yourself a 15 minute time each day to feel said and don’t guilt trip yourself about that time. Let yourself feel those real emotions then put them aside for a day to be the real you. Great advice. That therapist got me through my divorce.

  • …”you think you’ve been ‘replaced’ instead of liberated”, THIS!! Stop thinking you were ‘replaced’, because CL is spot on – you weren’t replaced, you were handed a get-out-of-jail-free opportunity!! You didn’t lose anything. You gained your freedom!! Run wild with it 🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️

    And I second the motion that you come clean with your kids 🙋🏼

  • I do know that it’s hard to get out of this mindset- to not feel like the main character in your own life anymore. When Rhys and I first got together, I mentally compared us to Claire and Jamie from Outlander- I was sure we’d be a love for the ages. After I dumped him, I wondered if I was actually the pathetic side character who loves Jamie too, but he would never love her back.

    Breaking myself out of the comparison and realizing I can still be central in my own life was tough.

  • As I read Replaced’s letter, I was falling into the same trap she has about losing a life (I KNOW schmoopie doesn’t reach my toes except being 30 years younger. And cheater, oh well…). I kept thinking as I read: How is Tracy going to handle this one?

    Replaced, Chump Lady has nailed it once again. You have not lost anything except a BAD person in your life. I was married to one (and his Crazy family) for 40 years. I am left with ME (a stable job and thanks to my lawyers, some resources to start over). I trust myself.

    Be brave, Replaced, and forget those BAD people and take care of what you have.

  • After 34 years married 2 years dating, my narcissistic ex left me for a widow who knew he was married. After being in denial for years.. I finally threw him out & divorced him.

    They are now living together supposedly happy, traveling the world while I am just getting by. I was replaced before I knew what was going on.

    I now realize he is a lying, selfish narc who is NO prize.
    Eventually he will replace her.. These men never change, and for now she’s of use to him.

    Yes, I was replaced with a down graded skank.. but he now has someone who will suck the life out of him.
    She’s possessive controlling and desperate.

    That is his Karma. I try to live my life now every day
    being happy I’m free of the toxic triangle they created.

    I’m getting stronger every day … trying not to think of them but moving towards “meh”.

  • Replaced-
    I say this with love and understanding (think – pot calling the kettle black),,,,,,,

    I think are struggling because you are still trying to control something that is beyond your control. Your marriage/family did not work out the way you pictured it and you are still trying to figure out how that happened/ what you could have done differently/ why? why? why? How dare he? How dare she? How can the kids be happy? How can people accept this betrayal? Why is the world still spinning on its axis after the chaos of being mindfucked?

    This is all part of the “bargaining” stage of grief, because if you can figure out a concrete reason why it all happened – you can fix it – even if the fix for you is making everyone see that you are “better than her.” But guess what, you can’t control anything other than yourself. You can’t make family/friends/neighbors/kids think anything about anyone else. You can only be the best you possible. And guess what, by being the best you possible, your kids and friends and community will love you – and only then wonder how the heck your first husband “let you go.” And by then, you will be so happy being you, you won’t even care what anyone else thinks.

    CL’s advice is spot on – you need to ACCEPT that ExpectedLife 1.0 is over and create a picture for FUTURE LIFE 2.0 that makes you happy.

    ((hugs)))

    • Wow. Tired Chump. You must be tired because you can think and say things like this. Big brains use lots of energy. You so nailed it. Perfect. I have nothing to add! 👏👏

      • “And guess what, by being the best you possible, your kids and friends and community will love you – and only then wonder how the heck your first husband “let you go.” And by then, you will be so happy being you, you won’t even care what anyone else thinks.”

        Nailed it right there TiredChump!

    • Right on tired chump. In your letter “replaced” the recurring theme is what you should have done to be better and how she is better at those things. It is very one sided. What about how could he have been better to you and changed for you- two people are involved.

      I feel like my cheater has treated our entire family like employees and we are replaceable. My 15 year old was the first to say right after he left, she felt like she had been fired. I relayed this to him and he even said “business is all I know, what do you expect?” In a love relationship, you can’t just be replaced because you are thought of in a deeper way and you are more than just the tasks you perform. But they are narcs no deeper than a puddle in a swimming pool that never fills. You need to stop seeing yourself as the problem and see him as disordered!

      • “feel like my cheater has treated our entire family like employees and we are replaceable.” Kaa went to shake my hand when I said we should try to work things out for the children.

    • Life 2.0. I like that. We have that option.

      In fact, I lost some sleep over changing my name after the divorce: removing cheater’s and going back to my maiden name or keeping my name of the last 40 years, over two thirds of it to be exact.

      I decided to keep my married name for the following reasons: it’s my professional name, there is a hell of a lot of red tape involved, it is my children’s name and …. they deserve name xxxx.2.0, which I am now giving them.

    • Wow, TiredChump, thank you! I think you’re 100% spot-on. 1.0 didn’t go as expected. I am not great at adjusting to unexpected change. But yes, that’s it. Time to embrace 2.0, because it’s really good and so full of promise!!!! Thanks for your wise words!

  • Replaced

    It’s all to common to do a comparative analysis complete with checklists on the OW. Raising my hand as I believed she(they) must have something I lacked

    . That landed my self esteem in a deep pit. And yer I had an Olympian staying power, determined to be good enough.

    You get to create the story. Yet you justify his and her behavior and accept responsibility for their actions. What I believe you are looking for is validation.

    Infidelity isn’t a mistake; cheating requires repeatedly deceiving a spouse. Make your story factual and tell it. Two asshole lying married adults with children duped their spouses because they lack morals.

    Trust they both suck. Focus on your life. Stop pretending you’re part of the jolly happy team stuffing down the wonderfulness of the disordered. Don’t work around their needs. Take care of your own.

    Set up boundaries with your children. Make yourself central. You escaped the bliss of doing all the work.

  • Replaced you’re still struggling with your he Trauma Bond your ex left you with. Please please please get to a Trauma Specific counselor asap. At least 18 months of counseling. THEN a new relationship

    It WILL pass if you work on it

  • My stbx and his AP were a couple 25 years ago in college. An abortion and him working too much ended their relationship. It was a magical NYE 2017 for them. They settled their past, AP reunited with her ‘one true love’, and stbx told his daughter and I more or less to be happy for him because ‘AP really gets him’.

    They have picked up where they left off 25 years ago. AP buys him clothes with logos, an expensive watch, huge screen tv, etc. Right after affair was exposed, stbx told our teen daughter, he shared a text between the 2 of them with AP so she can analyze their relationship- ‘ since AP has seen many therapists and was once a teenage girl’.

    The text was about a visit to see grandma my stbx was telling our daughter she didn’t deserve to take with him since she didn’t call grandma very often and because she expressed little interest in visiting grandma in the past.

    Later found out from a note, this was a planned 2 day visit with AP. Having daughter come along would have messed that up. Many of these visits to ‘take care of grandma’ were to see AP.

    They also have the same interests (He’s smoking cigarettes just like in college) and she’s always got sports tickets available. She even sold our daughters and my cell phones on her FB page for him when he wanted us off the family plan. Easy peasy. He doesn’t even have to try. He never tried with our relationship.
    AP gives him compliments and pumps up that ego.
    AP tells him what to wear, what to think, what to say (according to the 5000 texts and 40 hours of phone calls between them in a month). All he has to do is show up.

    AP has a special needs child. AP is very well off and church going. In the eyes of many, she’s a single mom who’s got it tough taking care of her son.

    When my stbx was treating me like $hit from Jan til I found out about the affair in Mar, I asked him what is it that he wanted, why wasn’t he happy, why didn’t he want to work on our marriage- he told me he wanted to ‘volunteer’. I wanted to roll my eyes because this guy never spent any time at home with his family and now he wants to volunteer?!

    He’s got a built in ‘feel good’ altruistic endeavor with AP and her child’s special needs group. He didn’t have to go out on his own and find a cause to devote his time to. I even helped pay for the special needs group with a donation he made through our joint checking acct. STBX had a gift for AP’s son sent to our house, our daughter opened it.

    STBX didn’t buy our daughter a Christmas or birthday present… But look at him!! He looks nice in his new clothes and shows up at the special needs events all provided by AP.

    I stuck by my stbx through his years of drinking, his dui, him working long hours, never taking me out (I never got flowers, a date, romance, etc. during our 18 year marriage), him losing his job because of drinking- and now he’s mentioned he drank and worked a lot because his home life was unhappy.
    He was boss and able to drink at work, and had a bunch of 20 year olds feeding his ego, telling him what a great boss he is before his business partner fired him.
    Blameshifting. Before I met him he worked long hours, so I guess he never liked his home life. It’s really too bad because he had a sweet wife and daughter at home this whole time.

    Entitlement. He’s a coward and a shell of a man. I’m very unattracted to him and am happy I don’t have to deal with disappointment, his selfish behavior, and being taken for granted every day. Meh.

    • I felt my own situation resonate with yours, Happy. It’s all about EGO – theirs, never OURS, obviously. She got dinners and outings and closeness and caring. I got colonscopies, broken water heaters, parent-teacher conferences and hernia surgeries! While I was tethering him to his life, being both mother and father, homeowner, employee, getting 2 degrees – she was getting gold heart necklaces (that’s MY money too!!)! Now the “excuse” is “I was in a bad place.” No – you were in a place of entitlement, with a bruised ego and narcissism because you never got called out on your bullshit (never even got a PARKING ticket), all sprinkled with way too much alcohol (causing 2 trips to the ER with alcohol related pancreatitis, for which I had to deal, not HER). His total lack of insight and entitlement led him to what he did. She was another indulgence to fan his very precious and thin-skinned ego. Smoking a $20 cigar, bragging about the trips abroad we took, his $65,000 car, his Rolex watch and fucking some white trash piece of garbage. All indulgences for an ego driven narcissist with zero insight into his own behaviors. Right…”bad place.” But I’m feelin’ ya, Happy! Tx for the input!

    • Wow. What a jackass. I am sorry for your daughter having to see what having a narc dad is like close up. I am glad he is your STBX, you are really dodging a bullet and your daughter is getting an education in what she doesn’t want in her future. Take care of you – and you can definitely TRUST THAT HE SUCKS and soon he will suck just as much with OW –

      • Thanks guys! I know my comment went on about me, instead of focusing on supporting and helping OP “Replaced” in her situation. Here I go again, I guess, because we are not alone…

        So many absurd things have happened to us- we have to remember this behavior should never be normalized.

        I should have protected my daughter and left my stbx years ago. I went back to school after his dui, then he lost his job and quit drinking- so I stayed. Nothing changed, he was a dry drunk. But hey- he’s such a good person because he quit drinking!

        I kicked him out of the house the night I found out about the affair, no pick me dance. My daughter and I were suspicious before. I told my stbx he needed to tell our daughter what he did and why he was leaving the house. She told him she overheard the confrontation and didn’t need to talk to him. I met with a lawyer exactly one week after, took half from our joint acct, opened my own, and had my paychecks deposited into my new acct.

        My daughter knows how to deal with him better than I do. He’s got a pattern… If one tiny comment is made- he takes it as criticism. He instantly follows normal conversation he perceives as criticism by interrogating with questions like ‘have you done this?’ ‘have you spoken to or emailed this person?’ Etc.
        There’s so many instances to point out what a hypocrite he is, how he backtracks and contradicts himself. It’s comical.

        My daughter remembers how he used to call her swear words and had no patience with her and now he tells her to move on because he can’t change the past. He’s trying to get involved with her life so he can gain control, take credit, and put her in a place where she will owe him.

        It’s all for him to feel better about himself, about what he did, to justify what he did. He’s told her “someday you will understand why I did this.” Her response to him was “I understand you weren’t happy, but I know right from wrong. The way you went about it was wrong.”
        Her response falls on deaf ears. He believes I’m influencing her and someday she will see his behavior as a normal solution to an unhappy relationship.

        My daughter is very little to no contact with him. She doesn’t allow people who don’t make her feel good to get too close to her. It feels great to live an authentic life where we aren’t lying and covering up for his bad behavior anymore.
        My daughter will turn 18 in less than 5 months. I feel for all you who have little ones.

    • Happy and LeeLee: Boy I hear you both! It sucks to be married to an alcoholic narc, to whom kids and family are only replaceable accessories to be “traded in” when they get to be too much trouble. Mine has decided I don’t deserve to receive even half of the assets (not even counting the ones he’s hiding) because I “never paid for anything” despite spending all my emergency reserve savings on his alcohol rehab 10 years ago, negotiated the purchase of our present home after said rehab, etc., etc. (And of course he’s back to drinking, and has added a new addiction: high ticket, $1000/hr prostitutes, which I assume he’s paying with his hidden cash stash). They suck indeed. All you can do is jump off that moving train before it crashes: no matter how much it hurts, you will at least still be alive.

    • I never got flowers, cards, or romantic dinners either. However my stbx would tell me how he was such a romantic person that I couldn’t appreciate it. On our first date he gave me flowers which made me embarrassed (I was 18, never dated). This was his example of me not liking romance for the last 16 years. If he isn’t romantic with me, exactly who is he romantic with if not his wife? Kind of creepy to think about now.

      After 4 months since Dd2, I still wonder if I will ever get over the betrayal. To what extent is healthy protection vs getting stuck in anger and hurt? I don’t want to be Ailey dependent on a man financially or emotionally. Isn’t that just good sense? Do people really recover and expect the best from future relationships without feeling paranoid of a new relationship?

  • I have to admit, I cracked up at the Catholic, church-going part. Did your ex and his mistress flip over the sections of the Bible that condemn adultery as a grievous sin? Did they sleep through that part of the teachings when they went to pre-cana?

    Also, unless they got an annulment from the Church (who won’t give it to them because THEY cheated) they should know that, in the eyes of the Church, they’re STILL committing adultery.

  • Replaced, it sounds like you’re stuck on the trauma treadmill. When that happens, it doesn’t matter how much you intellectually process CL’s clearly reasonable advice if your emotions are stuck in the fight-or-flight cyclone of the amygdala. Trauma hijacks the brain.

    I am wholly rational and intelligent, but I couldn’t get out of the trauma loop on my own. I found a trauma therapist who specializes in EMDR therapy, and it finally helped me to detach my intense emotions from what happened to me and get back control of my brain. This stuff is traumatic, and I can’t tell you how much better I feel after working with a trauma therapist. It might be worth looking into for you, too.

  • The other thing that comes to mind … that feeling of how intolerable it feels to lose to lesser people…. who are in the wrong…. who have grievously hurt us…… and they seeming get all the goodies while we are still schlepping along in pain.

    It’s an illusion. You lost a turd to a turd….period. You are actually the winner here, not them. They are stuck with each other, lying cheating cheaters. Some prize. They will generate their own karma, unaided.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee. Time to let go of the crazy and take your hands and your eyes off of their illusion and put them on your own life. The reality of now, what your life is now, is what matters, not someone’s else’s myth spun for image management. Step out of the triangulation and find yourself and your own true happiness. Tell your kids the truth. Then get on with your own life.

    You deserve it, your kids deserve it, and certainly Mr. Wonderful deserves it. Sending you hugs.

  • My idiot died. I got the life insurance and everything else. I found all the evidence after he died. I knew he was lousy human but he died before I could divorce. I have found myself having mental arguments about why, telling him how it could have been etc. He’s dead a year and I let him have a lot of time in my head, my new exercise is to notice each time he comes to mind, think NO, then replace it with a happy thought. Ican’t tell you how hard that has been. It’s work but I don’t want to give him one more minute of my time. Mentally you have to kick his ass to the curb. Trust that he sucks, she sucks. Bye, Bye

    • I wish mine was dead. Yeah, I know, not nice. But there are little kids with cancer in this world, why must the assholes be allowed to run free? It really is like a death to me already.

  • For me, CL nailed it when she said that it’s time to do the WORK. Getting to meh may just spontaneously occur for some people. My short glimpses of meh have only been after working hard to “trust that they suck,” even when I didn’t want to.

    I thought my STBX and I had “manifest destiny” and would be together forever. When he blew up our marriage 5 months ago, I was devastated. But, someone pointed me to this blog and recommended CL’s book. When I started to focus on, and really listen to, what CL and CN said, I stopped blaming myself and started recognizing the truth about what had happened.

    Through CL/CN I was also pointed to other resources, like Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” Doing the reading was work. Taking time to find parallels in my marriage was actually not work – and it was astonishing to realize that. But, I was graced with the seeds of belief that it wasn’t me, it was him. For 16 years the default setting on our marriage was that everything was my fault. Now, it’s time for STBX to be accountable.

    One thing that’s also been helpful in figuring out the REALITY of my marriage is talking in the Forums. That is real-time 2 x 4 application, when necessary. CN is much better at seeing “what’s really going on” than I am, so I use CN to check things out, on a daily basis, if necessary. The Chumps here are wise and compassionate… and bone-honest.

    I wasn’t a perfect wife. But my reaction to difficult times in our marriage was not to seek out another relationship. Here’s a partial list of what I finally came to realize was not acceptable to me. Hopefully, you’ll recognize one or two things and begin to do the work of discovering what the reality of your marriage was:

    1. Never calling or texting to let me know if he’d be home late or miss dinner. He just did what he wanted when he wanted. Not acceptable.

    2. Raging at me/kids/dog if we did not do what he wanted us to do. Not acceptable.

    3. Consistently manipulating me to a position between a rock and a hard place; I could never be right. Not acceptable.

    4. Taking it out on me/kids/dog when he had a bad day at work. Not acceptable.

    5. Never saying “I’m sorry” when something was clearly his fault. Not acceptable.

    6. Putting his needs before anyone else’s in the family, including a hospitalized child and dying parents. Not acceptable.

    7. Consistently coming home drunk, and then starting a huge and irrational fight. Not acceptable.

    This is just a short list. Over the course of five months the list has grown quite long. CL/CN have helped me open up my eyes and smell the coffee.

    Letting go of the fantasy of manifest destiny has been hard. But, in order to move forward it must be done. And yes, I also finally realized that the hell I lived in is now what the OW has to deal with. Good luck with that. I am free!

    • Good Lord, I think we were married to the same eejit! Particularly the bit about coming home drunk all the time, or even better “I’m just gonna have a fast drink with the guys” then rolling in around 4 a.m.!

    • Making these lists is incredibly cathartic in my opinion. I knew that when I decided to divorce X I should write down the daily craziness that my world had become. I wrote down as many unjust and unloving behaviors that X had as I could think of. Writing these things down jogged a lot of memories that I had forgotten – red flags that happened before I found out about the affair. I started writing these down too. Now when I have those days where I’m missing my marriage and X, I read those lists. Then I write him a letter that I don’t send and all the rage I feel for everything I went through comes out. That rage actually feels good! It feels good to remind myself that it wasn’t me. I was doing everything I possibly could to make the marriage work, but as CL so eloquently puts it, infidelity shines a bright light on how terribly lopsided our marital relationship is.

    • Meh or Bust

      Yes the OW lives in that hell I called my life. Interestingly enough regardless of how blissful their meeting, she has to face living the life I had. It fuckimg sucked.

      I feel somewhat sorry for her as she can never measure up to all the good qualities I brought into my marriage that he couldn’t appreciate. By now she has to realize she was duped. Just one in a very long line of AP’s. She knows she’s momentarily ‘the one’; never to be the one and only.

  • For those chumps struggling with the illusion of how happy and fabulous things are with your ex and their affair partner:

    I have been to the puppet show, and I have seen the strings.

    My now ex-husband’s secret affair partner worked really hard to track me down, while I was 6 months pregnant, in an effort to reveal their 10 month affair (yes, check out that math). She basically “screenshot” all of their text conversations, discovered my cell number, Facebook, you name it, and sent me a copy of Every. Single. Message.

    Now, granted she did prove to me that my ex-husband was certainly having a lot of sex with her in our family owned car, in parking lots. She wanted to hurt me with graphic evidence of their sodomy in public places, oops I mean “tru luv”.

    But fellow chumps, the significant, constant undertone of all those “sexy” text messages OW screenshot to me is OW desperately pick me dancing, begging for scraps of his time, always waiting for him to show up, continually stating how unhappy she is, her admitting to putting my then husband’s needs above her own teenage daughter, and her use of narcotics to help her cope with the stress of pursuing a married man with three small children and a pregnant wife.

    So, while this woman may have gone out of her way to hurt me by sending me SO MANY unwanted pornograpic text messages, she also did me a favor by unintentionally revealing how unhappy and untrusting their relationship is behind closed doors.

    And friends, so it goes with you as well. Behind Oz’s curtain is just a big mess of hidden unhappiness.

    Please follow CL’s advice and “leave a cheater, gain a life”!!!!!!

    • It’s amazing that APs and Xs think by flashing this stuff in our faces that we will feel jealous, sad, etc. All I have to say is: please, keep giving me reasons to be glad I got out!

    • Stalked, I fervently hope that you live in a fault state and that you can use those screen shots as evidence of adultery. Save. Every. Single. One.

      • Meh, I do live in a fault state! (I filed for an at-fault-divorce at 6 months pregnant with my 4th child and $9 in my bank account. A few weeks later I discovered CL and CN and the rest is history.) But I didn’t even need to use the screenshots to prove adultery (although I did save then) because the OW, who is a divorce attorney 15 years my senior, named herself as the “paramour” in our divorce case, hired her own attorney to represent her, and participated by inserting herself at every opportunity.

        How did my now ex-husband respond to all this you ask? Well it was really romantic (heavy sarcasm). My ex-husband claimed to know nothing about the OW (with whom he was now living, but still lying to me about). He threatened several times (in writing) to murder her – a fact of which she is well aware. And he called her (in writing) every derogatory name a woman can be called, including the “C” word. OW knows all of this, yet still for some reason permits the man who threatened to kill her to hang around her teenage daughter. I can only deduce that OW has a pathological need to be in a “relationship” and can’t stand to be alone. Yet, as I’ve read here, not my circus and not my monkeys.

        Thank heavens for CL and CN. I am still haunted by my experiences and still have further litigation for the post-divorce stalking and physical and sexual assaults I endured, but thanks to all of you I feel so much less alone.

        As we have learned the hard way, “behind the curtain” cheaters are hiding very ugly truths.

        • (((Stalked))), I hope you keep that monster away from you and your kids for good.
          Whatever happens to her, she knew what she was in for.

        • Damn, those are some pretty messed up monkeys!
          So glad you’re not the ringmaster of that circus anymore.

  • I was such a chump. My either unemployed or under employed ex left because I wasn’t enough….
    I was working so hard raising 3 kids, running a house and running my business I didn’t notice…. his meandering eyes… he slept with 1/2 our town after he left the first time… and the other half when he moved back in. He is a horrid parent – well he makes them dinner a few nights a month…
    I need to work on MEH…
    Meh and Me…
    I’m single and shy. But on the whole strong and happy.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Hug. Yes. You are not ready yet. For a relationship. To be engaged. You are still reeling. We all process differently.
    Take a long view. What do you want out of life long term? Is thinking about him and her helping you achieve this? Do you think they even spend two seconds of their day thinking about you?
    I don’t know a single happy ending story for these betrayers. Not one.
    You are wasting time. Living well is the best revenge.

    • Yes, please take the time to figure yourself out, to try to live your life focused on you and your needs and happiness. My X revealed that he has been seeing someone for “a couple of months” (we got divorced in May). Do I think Mr. I-Have-Lingering-Chilhood-Issues-So-I-Slept-With-Hookers-Practically-The-Whole-Marriage has done any of the work he claimed to be doing on fixing himself and is now ready to date? No. No, I do not. Do not do what these horrible people do and use someone else to try to fill a hole. I get it — the relationship to end all relationships came to abrupt end (not your choice) and now you’re trying to start again. And, yes, sometimes it really does suck to alone (in the romantic sense). You do deserve to reclaim a life for yourself and love again. But please do it the right way and do right by yourself first.

  • From reading This letter, I do agree that maybe Replaced shouldn’t get married right now. There is so much about that letter that just screams ” IF I HAD ONLY BEEN BETTER….” that would make any union unfair to her new partner.
    That being said, I don’t think being broken by what was done to us disqualifies us from being a good mate.
    There is something about the sheer audacity of another woman walking in and hijacking your life that is just a brand of fucked up that you never make your peace with, even if you come to learn that life was a fucked up, dysfunctional one…..it was yours, and some bitch just swooped in and emotionally mugged you.
    Replaced, I don’t think your husband or his mistress are good people that made a bad choice. I think they are selfish, self absorbed, narcissistic people, I think you are far better off without him, I think the answer to why did he cheat? Is because he could. I think realizing these things is the road to meh, and I don’t think that meh means that you have to be okay with your ex being a cheater or his wife being his mistress….I think it means you don’t care. I think even if you don’t care, when karma hits them it’s okay to get a little joy out of that…..poetic justice. That’s my meh anyway…
    Elizabeth Edwards( now deceased wife of adulterer and past presidential candidate John Edwards ) was quoted when speaking of her husbands affair as saying ” women should have more respect for other women” I agree.
    Sometimes when I think of my ex husbands mistress it blows my mind that as a wife and a mother herself at the time, that she could be a participant in that.
    I bet we will find her here when it happens to her.

    • So well put Paintwidow.

      Additionally, with that “these are good people who made a bad choice” argument – Replaced, you are not remembering or considering what went into that choice. So many lies, trickle truths, thinking about themselves and never considering their spouse’s happiness or hurt, the blameshifting, the gaslighting, the entire fallout of craziness that happens when you find out about the affair, etc., etc. This isn’t just a “choice” this is a LIFESTYLE. These kinds of people are a special kind of fuckedupness and having an affair takes a lot of planning and deceit and then to marry the person after they divorce? There is so much wrong with that entire picture! All of these elements combined, a good marriage nor good people do these things make.

      • I agree Marriage Detective. CL, in her book, talks about the web of lies and time away from family that is required to have an affair – lies of omission too (my STBX’s speciality). This really helped me to see it differently and start to stand up for myself in MC and all of the times he was saying that it was me, not him.

      • I agree with the lifestyle bit. X cheated most of our marriage and only told me when he couldn’t bear the brunt of living the torn life anymore (nothing to do with what he did having an effect on me). A mistake is doing something, regretting it instantly, and coming cleaning, being unimaginably repentant, and never doing it again and/or facing the consequences. I think the actions of most cheaters as described here nullify that whole “good people who made a bad choice” argument.

        In this case, Replaced has to deal with someone who basically just jumped ships and she’s not seeing anything faulty with the new vessel in which her ex husband is now sailing around. I understand how hard this is to watch. Don’t be fooled…he and his AP still didn’t do the right thing and continue to not do the right thing by forming a permanent attachment with their APs and pretending all is okay. They are cowards — neither of them respectful enough to wait for one marriage to end before another could begin. None of this is illustrative of what good people do.

    • In my case Schmoopie was cheated on by her husband too. She knows darn well how much pain I am going through but she just doesn’t care. She wants to build happiness on top of other people’s pain. Not a good person no matter how STBX tries to spin it.

  • Stalked, I think you might be right about the “happy couple”. My son got married here in France a couple of weeks ago and ex and schmoopie came over from the States. Now she is younger than me (4 years I think), prettier and slimmer so I was feeling a bit intimidated but ….. while everyone was polite to both of them, the overall impression is that she is a narc and a nutter! My youngest son let a few gems out when he came over to see me the other day and then when I took him and his gf out to dinner the other night a few more came out. Obviously he got all this info from his dad who just “couldn’t believe her behaviour as ‘she’s not like this in the States”! Yeah right. Pussywhipped I think is the expression. Turns out she felt threatened by me!!! Ha, ha what a joke. She walked around like she had a poker up her arse and was sucking on lemons. I, on the other hand, had the time of my life and spent the entire day laughing with the guests and my family. Ex wasn’t allowed to laugh – the only energy he was allowed to expend was on her – she’s one of these with a million selfies on FB just so that people can write back and say how beautiful she is. Enjoy that now ex! You are well and truly trapped this time!

    • This is the karma many of us wait for here at CN! If you hadn’t been forced to be with them at the same event, you may have never known. We just assume they leave us because they found something better, it was something we did because those are the excuses they give, but ultimately it’s two turds left to float in the same potty. You did the work Attie and realized this was bullcrap. You held your head high and headed into the land of ‘meh’ to that authentic, cheater free life. Sometimes we never get to see the karma, but so glad you get to relish in it!!!

    • Attie, I remember reading about the upcoming wedding and how you were nervous. You handled it like a PRO. I am so proud of you!!! You had a great time celebrating your son’s wedding while your ex had to deal with his awful OW. Karma indeed. You are the WINNER!

  • Replaced it feels like such a kick to the gut. You had a life and a family with that cheater. He was a turd and you tried to get him to not be one by dragging him to counseling to no avail. Along comes schmoopie who you say is alot like you, except she’s a cheater and a turd too. Your ex turd thinks she sparkles and she doesn’t even have to try that hard why with no makeup and flipflops. You got some crap reasons why she’s better though, like she’s Catholic and plays golf. Surely you realize these are crap reasons because neither can be practicing the faith and behaving as they have. More surface sprinkles to cover up the turds that they are.

    CL & CN get it even though it seems black and white, no grey. If the turds hadn’t been able to fool us into thinking they were normal, caring, decent people in the first place then none of us would be here trying to get our heads straight. I spent alot of time trying to spackle him normal to friends, family, myself, and the kids. I will no longer be doing that and the kids see him for the arse that he is now.

    I initially had an urge to date. To show him I was lovable. I realize now I’m just not ready. I don’t want him back. I do feel like I got a ‘get out of jail free card’. But I’m not quite at ‘meh’. Not quite ready to bring someone else into the mess. Sounds like you need a little more time to go through the process before you bring anyone into your life too.

  • I honestly feel like anger would be a good stage for you Replaced. It almost sounds, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you never got angry over your husband’s affair. An exercise that has been so beneficial to me is writing each of the perpetrators – X and OW – letters that you never plan to send. It helps me drag up old memories that are really hurtful and looking at those memories now with a lens that has time, distance and the ability to step away from it makes me really angry. The things I did for my X, the things I didn’t do to MOW, the absolutely ridiculous, crazy things that X said to me, the jerk that he was to me, his cruelty and his dysfunction. They help me remember and ultimately realize, “Yeah, these two people really suck.” And there isn’t a whole lot that redeems that in my opinion. Like most here, having lived through infidelity, I find the people who commit that act deplorable and completely lacking any sort of moral compass.

    I would definitely say that you are not ready for another marriage right now. Do not triangulate this mess. Being stuck in a triangle is awful, as you well know. As hard as it is, do the crummy work of trusting that they suck. Get angry at what he and she did to you! Righteous fury can propel you to days where you know that you would never do what he did and that you are great person, worthy of someone who treats you with dignity and grace everyday – or worthy to be single and awesome for the rest of your days. Don’t let X dictate to you, however covertly, what your life SHOULD look like.

    • marriagedetective, you’re right that i have not been angry enough. A little righteous fury would do wonders!

  • I get a lot of people who disagree with me on this, but red flags go up whenever I hear someone start to talk about not meeting their partner’s needs or not making them happy. Seems to me I hear this language mostly in this kind of setting. Either it’s the chump blaming him/herself for their own rejection, or else the cheater justifying his own shitty behavior. Of course he HAD to fuck around outside of his marriage because he has NEEDS. See? He didn’t have a choice .

    But I feel like there’s an industry fueling this kind of talk. You find it among a lot of therapists and I imagine they throw it out there even when there’s not infidelity involved.

    I have to admit, it never occurred to me once to ever think about my relationship in these terms, and it never occurred to me that my wife might be thinking about them in these terms until she threw her “unfulfilled needs” at me as an excuse for her infidelity. And after years of thinking through this, it still makes no sense to me.

    I didn’t get married to get someone in my life who would fulfill my needs, whatever the hell those are. I’m not a child. I didn’t get married because I thought that the person I was marrying would make me happy. I was happy to marry her, and I believed that I would be happy with her, but the idea that she was supposed to “make me happy” was and still is completely foreign to me. When people talk like this, I have no idea what the hell they are talking about.

    • Bravo, MikeB! Well said. I wish there were more people in this world with that mentality about relationships/marriage.

    • Agreed. And if you’re an adult, if your needs aren’t being met, you can simply TALK to your partner about this, see if you can come to an agreement, and if not, leave! I did that myself in my first marriage, and though it wasn’t easy, it spared me and my ex-husband being stuck in a marriage where we weren’t happy co-existing. No one cheated. It’s just not so difficult as these timid forest creatures make it out to be.

      • You are 100% right!!!!! He never talked to me at all. Just pretended everything was great/acted happy and played the part of good husband/father. These people are such cowards and so disgusting!!!!

    • Add me to the list of people who agree. We all had needs that weren’t being met too, but we didn’t cheat. I for one never even contemplated it because I wasn’t stupid enough to imagine that such a move would solve all of my problems. Cheaters aren’t just selfish jerks, they’re stupid.

    • Well said Mike! When I got married I thought I chose a life partner to work with & to fulfill our obligations & dreams. I chose to work hard and was consistent in my love for him.For me there was never any temptation for infidelity. I feel sorry for him for not being able to deal with his unhappiness in his work, family life & friends. I am glad I chose the path I am on now. No more drama, lying and insecurities
      that drained the life out of me. I can only deal with me. He had everything, a beautiful hard working wife, a son that loved & adored him a home filled with toys of his liking and friends that cared for him. Most men would cut their leg off from envy. Well said Mike…….. your words bring inner peace to me.

  • Once again Tracy is dead on. If he can be “stealable” despite all your best efforts and genuine desire to self-improve for a better mutual relationship, this stealable price was never solid gold guy material in the first place. Look, it doesn’t matter who you are, a complete mini-him ( very effective with narcissists), drop dead gorgeous, crazy rich…if the married co-worker/neighbour/friend is some solid gold material you want for yourself, he is NEVER going to destroy his family, screw his kids’ home happiness, break his spouse’s heart for you. Even the selfish cheats who embark in affairs won’t do this. Pop the popcorn, google ” will he leave his wife for me?” and enjoy the read. If he chooses to leave you thus creating all the heartbreak above described, he was not a sweet loving guy anymore at all. From the description he might have never been, except in the infatuation/idealization period. And these periods always end.

    As a catholic myself I understand that they would not have been able to re-marry after a divorce in the catholic church. It will no marry divorced people especially if involved in an affair together. That church used to be very sticky on that point unless it has lifted this very ban ( I could be very mistaken on this but it used to be that you would have to remarry either in a different church or the city hall. Heck, my sister was left by her husband, so not her choice but when she married her second husband she could not do so at the Catholic church ) . So if you think that for her being a catholic mattered to your ex- husband, right then and there this would have created problems for them. I am guessing therefore that religion was not that big of an issue for them or if so this would be a sore point. In either case there might be less personal happiness than you imagine.

    HOWEVER, let’s take a look at the very accurate cartoonTracy chose to illustrate today’s post with. Very clever choice. Her message is clear. First, please don’t string along a good man because you might still have feelings unresolved for the one who left. Secondly, even if they were the happiest catholic couple in the world, why still torturing yourself over their happiness and your absence from your ex-husband’s life? Please, you are only hurting yourself. How often is this man thinking about you in his everyday life? As an ex-lover and not as the other parent to drop/ pick up the kids from? Believe me, let’s the one who doesn’t ruminate about her/his destroyed marriage and her/his ex’s remarriage throw the first stone. It is very hard to let go, so very hard. But as it stands, you are engaged to be remarried. This is a great ending to your own movie.

    This letter actually brought forth a point which has puzzled me a bit. Many quote the failure of affair remarriages and appalling statistics on their future prospects but from what I have been observing in the last two years, the vast majority appear to have stayed together, most until death. Of the 17-18 I have seen/heard of in extended circles of friends, colleagues and their family ( as in my ex- in laws) only two did not make it, and of these one had 23 years gap in age difference. Once sugar daddy ran out of money, wifey ran out as well.

    We all would love a good end to our drama movie whereas the baddies get their comeuppance and the deserving get served with the sweet honey of karma revenge BUT we live in a society who does not condemn spousal abandonment anymore. True love found itself, aint’ it sweet, these love birds really deserved each other, let’s invite them over and attend their parties in turn. That sucks but it is the hollywood crap we now base our life on. So the social checks and balances are not in place anymore. Affair marriages might endure whereas before they would have broken under the social pressure. This fact has to radically accepted otherwise we become the skeleton waiting for the bus in turn.

    As shitty as it is, keep in mind Replaced that uncommunicative, silent types are boring as fuck! ( like most of us will remember : )

  • I can relate to this on many levels (except that I am not dating yet and I don’t think Schmoopie is a good person – that’s the narrative he is trying to spin). STBX was also once “sweet and loving”. He was also a poor communicator although he tried to blame that one on me. Once “sweet and loving” wore off he was sullen and cross and never satisfied with anything in his life. I couldn’t please him no matter how hard I tried. Evidently she meets needs I just couldn’t. I too was traumatized by the discard and am having a hard time getting over being replaced after having tried so hard to be the perfect wife. In my case, however, Schmoopie is different. I am the working professional, she was the SAHM with 5 kids. That was one of the things that made her superior to me in his mind. Also, I am the one who wears comfortable shoes, she is the one who is the snappy dresser. It really doesn’t matter which way you are, they will leave anyway because they have serious flaws in their character that can’t be fixed by the way you dress or what sports you like to play.

    Replaced – your Ex and his Schmoopie, they are not good people who made a mistake. She is not a sweet kind person. Sweet kind people don’t fuck other people’s husbands while still married themselves and then pressure them to tear their families apart (I don’t’ care what he told you, she did pressure him). Good people don’t create broken homes. That’s four kids who now come from broken homes, homes that they broke. It’s nice that your kids get along with her kids, but it isn’t the same as “happy family”. Maybe the kids get along because they all have something to commiserate about. They all have to deal with broken families and a fuckwit parent. If your ex and Schmoopie are catholic, then aren’t they both living in sin? I am not catholic, but I have always understood that divorce was not allowed. Even if they somehow both managed to pull annulments (which would seem odd given that there are children involved on both sides) it’s still a lie. They are not good people, get over that one. He left you because he is a selfish, self-centered, homewrecking, cowardly slut and so is the whore he rode off on.

    Ah, that feels good. That last line is what I long to say to my STBX.

    • This!!!

      “They are not good people, get over that one. He left you because he is a selfish, self-centered, homewrecking, cowardly slut and so is the whore he rode off on.”

      They are a match made in heaven (probably not a Catholic version of it though!).

    • That feeling of replacement, I get it! Loved what you said on this Chumpinrecovery. It really doesn’t matter. I was the exact opposite of MOW. She was religious – I had abandoned the same religion that she espoused because X hated “those kind of people.” She had kids. I had none. She didn’t wear makeup. I do. She didn’t use hairspray. I do. She was a SAHM. I was the breadwinner. She was “extraordinary” according to X. I was chopped liver.

      It all boils down to one thing that I’ve come to realize. He never wanted/loved me. Sure, he told me he loved me, but for all that “loving” he didn’t like one thing about me. He hated where I was from, hated my parents, hated my religious background. If I’m honest, there didn’t seem to be anything he liked about me. Odd as it sounds, I’m glad now. I’ve been in great relationships and piss poor relationships – my marriage being the latter. Feels good to know the difference between love and dissatisfaction. Also feels good to know the difference between words and actions.

    • Marriage detective, I so agree. As a Catholic I have to say if either of these scumbags sought an annullment the op would have known about it. The marriage tribunal would have contacted the op for her side of the story. Her side would have blown an annullment out of the water I think. My guess is they did not remarry in the Church

    • The Traitor was sweet and loving most of the first 2 years. Then he was less and less and got downright nasty, but to an outside observer he would still have appeared sweet and loving, until the discard post DDay. So when we see cheaters and AP who seem happy and sweet together, that doesn’t mean much…

  • Ouch! Thanks for these words of wisdom today, Chump Lady. I occasionally fall into this trap, too. Generally I can work my way out by just telling myself they are the sticky stuff on the bottom of my shoes. Other times, my therapist kicks my rear for me. But still, ouch, having it pointed out this bluntly points out that I should never have done the pick me dance.

    • Don’t feel bad bepositive. None of us “should” have done the pick me dance but most of us did. Getting chumped is not for sissies. It is hard to know how to handle it at first and none us should feel bad because we tried to keep our marriage/family from falling apart. I would do things differently if I could do them all over but when I look back on the traumatized soul that I was, I feel compassion for her and don’t hold it against myself that I pick-me danced for far too long. That’s how I feel right now about it – other times I cringe with inner embarrassment before asking my self-compassion to kick in. Go easy on yourself.

      • I don’t feel bad for having pick me danced and none of us should. It is frustrating because it made no difference at all and wasn’t even noticed or appreciated, but it proves that we really did love our spouses and weren’t just willing to let them go because we never really loved them anyway. Some do kick their cheaters to the curb right away after DDay, but usually even that is after years of doing the pick me dance before DDay and they just realized sooner than some of us that love or no love, you can’t save your marriage all by yourself. I had to try, however, and I don’t feel bad about that.

        What I do feel bad about (or rather angry about) is that STBX now says I didn’t “fight” hard enough for him. I only stopped when he gave me nothing left worth fighting for. That’s on him, not me. It doesn’t prove that he was right to stray or leave me in the first place.

        • You are right – you gave it your all! Nothing to feel bad or guilty about! He’s an ass and you deserve so much better!!!!

        • Chumpinrecovery–they will ALWAYS make it about our deficiencies–we didn’t cook their favorite meal on their birthday, we paid more attention to a new infant than to them, we didn’t fight hard enough for them against the OW.

          Such statements are indicative of their need to triumph no matter what the evidence. All signs point to the cheater having a deficient character, lacking in honest communication, and being willing to bury a hatchet in their partner’s or family’s back. And yet somehow it’s always our fault. Nonsense, and good riddance.

          • Its like he detonated a bomb in our marriage, told me to clean up the mess and then if I did a good enough job he might condescend to stay as a favor to me as long as he was allowed to pursue strange when he felt like it (he proposed open marriage). I said no to that deal so now he’s telling daughter that the demise of our marriage was partially my fault because I didn’t fight hard enough for him. I am not sure exactly what he thought I had that was worth fighting for. Of course he might just have been saying that to get daughter to back off on her criticism of him.

            • “Its like he detonated a bomb in our marriage, told me to clean up the mess and then if I did a good enough job he might condescend to stay as a favor to me…”

              A-flipping-men!!

              Mine said to me when it was clear how furious I was, “Why would I want to come back when you are like that?”

              Thank God I wasn’t good enough for him to grace me with his re-entrance when I was weak.

              • After I found out about the affair, I asked my now ex-husband if he felt guilty. “Yes, but when you get angry at me, then I don’t feel guilty.” WTH? So apparently, yeah, he felt guilty when I was crying my heart out, but when I raged at him for cheating on me? Oh, then no, he didn’t feel guilty at all.

                Disordered JACKASS.

  • There have been times that I have thought about the life I lost. Her comments about the OW is living “her life”hit home. I missed “my life” as well; the family unit, the house, the trips, the STUFF..but I didn’t miss HIM. You were spot on CL with your advice. These good people were cheaters, it was no mistake! They deliberately cheated, lied and betrayed their spouses. My ex was a good person too, people love him and he prays at church . He just was playing the part, because a good person does not actively and knowingly hurt another person as he did.

  • Thank you for this timely post, – I needed the bludgeon across the head today! 😀 I’ve been ruminating all day why he preferred someone to me simply because she is football mad and 6 years younger than me. She’s also ugly and thick as shit (and I’m not being bitchy – she is).

    This post has reminded me, why do I care? They’re both selfish, entitled idiots, and I’m so much better off without him (and he didn’t leave me for her – I threw him at her when I booted him out of MY house).

    Thank you CL for brightening my day! Plus, the OW LOVES golf and he HATES it. 😂

    Replaced – allow yourself the same whack across the head and move on with the next chapter of your life.

    • Budgie

      I too threw dirtbag X out of house when I bought him out of our home. He had no where to go, whore was so happy! She immediately took him in her house acting like she was the “winner”. He slept in basement 8 months until closing., then legally he had to leave.
      All that time he spoke to her on the phone slandering me , saying filthy sexual things about me, etc.

      He said he wanted to be single & be with whore.. so why was he so angry???

      He’s living with skank now 2 years traveling the world while I’m on food stamps. I will get half of his pension but he won’t retire now for spite.

      How in God’s name did I give him 34 years? Their two low class evil people who deserve each other.
      Maybe he’ll regret it one day.. hopefully by then I won’t care.

      Hugs to you ☺️

      • She’s 34 – he’s 56. And he is now living with her in HER PARENTS house. Bet that’s awkward…

        I bought him out of the house (and the furniture), and got him to agree that we each kept our own salary, pensions, savings and debts (no children). Which worked out WAY better for me than him, but I doubt he took the time to think this through, as all he wanted was the quick pay out from the house equity. Ok, my finances are tight, but I’ll manage.

        I hate the fact that they can turn our lives completely upside down and leave us picking up the pieces, while they swan off into the sunset with their “new toy”. Like you said though, they deserve each other, and we deserve so much better.

        And you never know – he might be murdered by pirates while on his travels with the skank, so you might get that pension sooner than you think! 😀 All the best.

      • I think we all need a whack at times. I’m lucky to have a wonderful mother wielding a 2 x 4 whenever I need it! 😀

        I KNOW my life is so much better without the turd, so why the ruminating? I wonder if this is linked to past trauma? I was badly bullied in high school, so maybe this situation has dredged up past feelings of low self worth. Maybe this is true for a lot of us?

        All the best for the future.

        • Budgie – I think this rings true. I was also bullied in high school and it is definitely bringing up past feelings of low self-worth. I also wonder if those feelings were there all along and that’s why we end up with these cheaters.

  • It’s like you knew exactly what I needed to read today!

    My STBX is not still with schmoopie, but she still takes up space in my mind. As do future schmoopies. As a swiped through Bumble this morning, I wondered why I am even on it? It feels as though I am using it to find someone to help me through all the emotional pain I carry around with me and that doesn’t seem fair to anyone. A part of me is desperate to prove to him that I am a person worth wanting. Not someone to be discarded. But maybe in this state I am someone to be discarded?

    Everytime I think I am moving on, I stumble across some piece of information that reveals even more lies from my previous life and it cuts me to the core all over again. When will this stop?

    I have the same self-talk every week. I talk myself back from the ledge–telling myself to trust that he sucks and even though it seems like he now has the life we wanted, he is probably just as unhappy as he was with me. Even though I know all of this, I still want to cry every damn day. I’m still recovering from chemo–my eyelashes just fell out again, I feel like some shell of the person I used to be (physically & mentally) and I have to be on meds that put me into medically induced menopause. I was tossed aside and now I find myself readjusting to life without him and life after chemo and it all seems to be too much. As much as I want to, I do not know how to move on.

    • I am a new chump and filing for divorce. I do not have cancer but my STBX actually admitted to discarding me because I got sick with Lupus. I knew this painful truth, but can’t believe he admitted to it. I had a complication of my Lupus and a medical procedure that prevented me from having sex with him for 4 weeks. He started seeing his AP again during this time (we were in wreckonciliation after DDay 1). He said he is sorry that sex is so important to him, and he was unsure I would ever be able to satisfy him the way he needed again. Meanwhile now I am fine in that area not that that matters. What scumbags these men are who leave their sick wives who were good to them!!!! It’s appalling!!!! I know I am better off w/o him as are you but the discard is horrible!!!!! Hang in there – sending you hugs and hope that you are feeling well!!!!

      • Four whole weeks. Oh the poor sad sausage. Wow! He couldn’t wait four weeks? What an ass. What is it with these guys who choose their dicks over honest love and family.

        STBX and I were still having regular sex, but it just wasn’t exciting and crazy enough for him. His “needs” weren’t being met so that justified adultery and tearing families apart when he realized he just would not be able to stand being stuck with boring old me as a sex partner anymore.

        • Yup!!!! Disgusting!!!!! We were having regular sex before and after as he continued to sleep with both me and his AP. She is supposedly a “reformed” drug addicted escort who still has a current ad online w half naked pics of herself! I guess she does a lot of exciting sexual stuff w him being an escort and all. Just so gross
          that he would leave his family for this!!!! Actually I kicked him out. He wanted both and perfectly compartmentalized and played the part of family man/good husband.

          He affaired way way down! She was arrested 9 months ago for drug posession (Ketamine-the date rape drug – relly awful stuff) and pled guilty to a lesser charge. She is also dumb, broke into his phone to send me harassing messages, lying that she’s pregnant with his baby bc she is jealous of me- she’s psychotic!!!! He admitted in a written email that she got drunk, broke into his phone and lied. He had to tell her to stop contacting me! He is so so fucked up!!!!! I think these creeps deserve each other, but I really pray that he gets help, dumps her and finds someone better for our 8 yo son!!!! I do not want him, but I do not want this horrible/dangerous person in our son’s life!!!!!

          I want to be alone and focus on my son and I for a while, but I know when I am ready I will find someone so much better! We all deserve so much better than these creeps!!!!

          Thanks for your response. Sending hugs 😃

          • Mil23 – omg your ex’s AP is fucked up!! That’s psycho to the max. He really really really downgraded to scraping the bottom of the barrel. I can understand when you’re a 16 year old male and go after a pathetic loser like her, but to do this as grown ass married man, leads me to believe that this guy is not functioning on all cylinders. So not normal. BIG hugs to you. You deserve soooo much better.

            • I also forgot to add, that as a 16 year old, you may not know better and you’re terribly immature. But to do this as a grown man who is married, I can’t even…

              • Thanks Kellia!!!! Yup I agree with you that to do this and be with her he is totally messed up!!!! He was seemingly ok/normal. I have been doing a lot of reading on narcissists. I don’t think he’s a narcissist but he’s definitely an entitled asshole having an extreme mental problem!!!! Maybe he has NPD. I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t really matter what crazy mental problem he has. He’s just gross and wrong!!!! Thank you for your support!!!

      • Oh man…he couldn’t wait 4 weeks? JACKASS.

        After I had a hysterectomy, my ex wanted to have sex at 6 weeks post-op even BEFORE I got the all-clear from my doctor. He said, “Oh, it’s fine. All your stitches are healed.” I was livid. No, I did not let him have sex and he pouted just like a toddler.

        These guys are souless cretins.

        • OMG Keepin Calm – what a jackass your STBX is too!!!! They are such assholes!!!!! I seriously do not know who this stranger is but he is not who I married! Ugh!!!!

        • Ok, I understand that a good sex life is important, but it shouldn’t take priority over the health and well being of your partner. These guys who want you to go against a doctor’s orders are just incredibly selfish. Even if it’s just because you are tired that night or you are sick or in physical pain for whatever reason, they should be understanding of those issues if they truly love you. If you were never ever interested in sex, I could see where maybe there would be a reason to end the marriage (without cheating first), but these guys act like they are being abused if you aren’t interested every moment of every day no matter the circumstances.

          Even just the whole fuss about condoms. Ok, condoms may be uncomfortable, but so is being pregnant and so are STDs. Some guys (STBX included) seem to think that condom discomfort is equivalent to being pregnant. Insensitive, inconsiderate jerks. That was always a pet peeve of mine when previous partners were like that, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that red flag with STBX. Maybe I was just used to it by then and figured all guys were like that.

          I told my daughter that if a guy ever tries to complain about the condom with her, tell him to “just shut up and put on the damn thingy already”

          • I have rheumatoid arthritis so a lot of the time I wasn’t in the mood. But I would make an effort even when I wasn’t to please him and then he’d get MAD at me. “I don’t want to make you do it if you’re not into it.” Ok, so then I have to endure you saying, “We never have sex anymore” and “Guess I’m not getting laid again” and all the other crap? I couldn’t win either way. Oh, and he always wanted me to climax first and if I didn’t, he would get upset and sometimes would say, “Well, if you’re not going to, I’m not going to, either” which made me feel guilty.

            Sex shouldn’t be about feeling guilty! I actually had lost a lot of my libido because there was such pressure involved with him. I had to use estrogen cream. Now I don’t need to. Hmmm…coincidence? I think not.

            And to be honest? I look back on it now and realize that no, the sex wasn’t as great as I thought. A lot of the time I felt like I was going to pass out and I would always think, “Hurry up!” Ha!

          • Or better yet, “Get the hell out of my bed!” Any guy who complains about a condom should be a red flag.

            • KeepingCalm – ‘Well, if you’re not going to, I’m not going to, either” which made me feel guilty.’

              Wow – that’s NOT pressure! pffft. Did he fancy himself as such a great lover that you should orgasm the same time as he pumps? wth? If that’s why he’d throw a tantrum, it sounds like a big ego trip to him. What – did he want you to scream and moan and beg like they do in porno movies? Or, even the famous scene with Meg Ryan – who we could swear was having an orgasm right there and then – was not a real scene. At least to me. Obviously, she was playing into what the guy wanted to hear. Who moans like that with excitement and sexuality and whatever, every time you have sex. Your man sounds like a spoiled kid wanting you to call him the King in Bed. (sorry, if I’m the only one who relates to an orgasm as more of a quiet display)

    • Cancer Chump

      I am a cancer survivor & my cruel X treated me horribly during chemo then recovering. He was most likely cheating then too.

      Just remember this.. your fighting cancer to rid yourself of this disease now he’s another form of cancer you got rid of! I have been where you are.. it feels like the pain will never end but ( I’m 2 years divorced) it will.
      Stay strong, think positive thoughts.. put yourself FIRST. You are not alone.

      Hugs to you 😊

    • ChumpinRecovery,

      I too am fighting cancer, healing from surgeries, chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments.

      It’s ok to allow yourself to feel bad, sad, mad…Especially while getting through the physical and mental healing from cancer treatments. It’s a lot just to survive infidelity and betrayal. Fighting cancer on top of that; can test survival instinct of our human spirit.

      Just don’t allow yourself to stay in that place long. Do the best you possibly can each day no matter your circumstances, fight to keep moving forward and be kind and loving to yourself.

      I understand your feeling like a shell of your former self and feeling you’ve had so much taken from you. I have taught myself to flip my thinking. I now tell myself the old shell 🐚 was a home that needed shredding in order for me to grow into a new one.

      I am taking my beat up and healing self to a new shell that doesn’t allow liars and cheaters. It is a cancer free shell filled with self love, self care, authentic, nurturing family and friends.

      While I’m transitioning from the old shell to the new, I allow myself to rest, cry, get angry and just be. I’m detaching the old shell with each step forward toward my new shell. Some days the steps are small and other days more like strides. Moving forward toward the new shell and leaving the old is the thing.

      I am along side of you, as is CN, cheering you on! You are a warrior goddess deserving of a mighty and beautiful new shell. The old shell isn’t your future or mine. I see some celebration of not only surviving but thriving in both our lives.

      Sending you healing and mightiness hugs; keep going!!!

    • Cancer Chump,
      YOU are a wonderful person.
      So much has happened in your life at the same time you are fighting a horrible disease.
      Come to CN, you are loved and respected here for your true self.
      It is not who you are but who cheater isn’t.
      His loss of a beautiful caring lady.
      You are too good for him, Cancer Chump, always remember that!
      Often great strengths prevail in your posts, but sometimes I think you forget your strengths.
      CN remembers, always.

      Xxxxxx

  • I’ve been alone for over 4 years for that exact reason.
    I continue to wonder why he decided to change for her, but cheated on me the whole time were we’re together and while married. That now he tells me he doesn’t condone such immoral behavior and that he needs to do what’s right (knocked her up while we were still married and we have a child of our own) but couldn’t do that for our family!
    So at least I’m doing something right by not using someone as a crutch. It’s just me and it’s been the hardest but most rewarding thing.
    I’ve been blessed in many other ways.
    And I know what he “says” and what he does are two different things. So I take his words with a grain of salt, but it still hurts if it were really true.

    • He needs to do what’s right? This guy has no idea what’s “right”! Right? — Never ceases to amaze me how they’ll play both sides of the same argument as it suits their needs.

  • WOW; the Chump Lady really let you have it, Replaced! Listen to her though; she’s brilliant.

    I do understand how you feel though. You are trying to make sense of all this. Don’t. They cheat because they want to and they justify it later.

    I still struggle myself and we are still married! You’d think I’d just tell myself to be happy. No, I torture myself with trying to make sense of it.

    The OW in your story you have decided is you 2.0. The OW in my story isn’t even a .0! Yet my H had a l o n g term affair with her. Go figure.
    Stop characterizing her that way. She is a liar and a cheat. You are so much better than that.

    I think you have been given some great advice here. Your ex-husband and his wife have each other – can’t you see the justice?

    I do agree that your children need to know the truth, so tell them. I finally wised up and started telling people about my H’s A. That was one of the smartest things I did! That and telling the OW’s husband.

    Good luck to you. You are going to be fine, you have great teachers here.

  • I’m only 4 (almost 5 months) into my separation and definitely relate to this. My STBX started an affair (sexting) with a co-worker who knew he was married (she flirted with him for a year or so and then he finally made the decision to pursue her). She is 17 years younger.

    I’m trying to piece my life back together and get off this fucking roller coaster THEY put me on. Some days are better than others but some days are just down right fucking hard!

    I was the LOYAL wife who met all of his needs until he decided to believe that he was unhappy and stick to some bullshit idea that we had been over for a long time (no doubt enforced by her).

    Karma is a bitch and SHE is the bad Karma they both deserve. I love the fact that he has to tell people ‘she’ is a NICE person and blah blah blah….Guess he forgets that if someone is truly a NICE person, their actions will show it and nobody has to be told that!

  • Here’s the thing, if everything about them was bad, there’s no way any chump would pick me dance, spackle or smoke hopium. We’d say “buzz off” as fast as a fly on sh*t! Having the ability to see things from the perspective of how it affects your children … great! That’s awesome!

    …… But no one else’s perspective changes your reality!

    The point here is, who in this equation is WORTH perspective taking? Certainly not Mr. Turd and the woman who helped break-up your marriage! They have their narrative, that does not mean it’s the truth, nor does it HAVE to be yours! People who are in “RELATIONSHIPS” co-create narratives, why do you think you have to subscribe to theirs? Does adhearing to their narrative change the reality of yours? NO! It puts you in a position of justifying cheating because you are f*cking human, have your own preferences “gasp, the horror” (read thick with sarcasm). This is about owning your pain, owning your perspective and SELF-worth… then moving to MEH. Who cares what their narrative is! Who cares if they each won a turd! Who cares… NOT you!

    I’m still working on it too! It takes time! So what you don’t like golf… own that sh*t and don’t blame his cheating on something you lacked. It was his lack of being honest about his values and commitment that lead to his cheating, not your lack of enthusiasm for golf! His narrative does not change your reality; which I’m assuming was you “thought” you both believed in monogamy, communication, truth and respect!

    • Ah! so true..a year after abandoning his family, the turd I had been married with described that his had not been an affair, it had been a RELATIONSHIP all along ( i would have thought that relations was socially disclosed when affairs were not. The other spouse and I never got the email I am guessing until the “NOt an affair mind you but a pure beautiful relationship” was accidentely disclosed via text sent to wrong phone … what a mistake). Turd left, attempted to embezzle family funds, committed perjury again and again on legal papers, abandonned his adult children. Kids are ashamed of him.
      Same turd described affair on the phone a year late as “worst screw-up of my life”. Healthy-husband-fund-embezzelling golddigger OW ( her rich ex common-law being in last stages of Parkinson’s ) got herself a real price. Welcome to the world of water getting hotter every year little frog. When this turd turns against you you will have to dance as fast as you can in the hot bath. Don’t think the “bond” will protect little princess.

  • Replaced–I’m sure you feel a bit beaten up on. Everyone here can sympathize with the chagrin of realizing that our Xs preferred someone else to us, even for a while.

    But, consider this–what are your VALUES? That is the key, both to putting your Ex-marriage in perspective, and to advancing from this point. You lament that you did not like golf, nor attend church with your X, and perhaps if you had, the marriage would have been saved. These are superficial things; instead you should be concentrating on your X not being communicative or honest. Your thoughts should be about his (and OW’s) lack of integrity, and whether you really wanted to be with someone shallow as a puddle.

    Presumably, your fiance is open and honest and caring. Is that not preferable to a cheater? What you are indicating by being stuck in the ‘What ifs’ of your former marriage is that your values are not up to snuff. A person who cheats on and then leaves his wife, and the mother of his children because he found someone to GOLF with–that is who you’re pining for?? You’re still attracted to the superficiality and sparkles of a Facebook-perfect life.

    Right after separation or divorce, it’s normal to lament the loss of the relationship and feel sad the X may be happy with someone else. But 3 years out? You have not convinced yourself that an authentic life is better than a glossy one. I’m closing in on 3 years post D-day. My X is living in a mansion straight out of a house design magazine, with a view of a lake, jetting around the world to exotic locations & posh hotels, and making money hand over fist, showing off his 20-year younger girlfriend (his last AP). I.don’t.care. My life? Complete bedlam with an obstreperous 16-year old daughter & 4 demanding dogs; $25,000 in plumbing bills the past 18 months (buh bye savings) & thus no vacation this year. But I wake up happy every single morning, because my life is filled with love and connections to other people who share my values. The OW/GF? I feel sorry for her. Her Facebook page is probably filled with photos of safari trips, and fancy meals, and exotic beaches, but I know the life she is living.

    Decide what is important to you.

    • Obstreperous. Good word.

      I think the irony, too, is the reason we are so bothered is precisely BECAUSE of our values (the U-Penn core values survey is helpful, google “VIA survey of character strengths”) like authenticity, kindness, hard work. OTOH, the cheaters skate off because their values are on a whole other planet. Venn diagrams with no overlap.

      Sorry about your plumbing, BTW. But — hey, here’s an analogy — I’ll be you don’t sit around wondering why the plumbing did this to you, and how if you would have done things differently, it wouldn’t have happened and you’d’ve still had happy healthy plumbing, right? It’s just a shitty thing that happened, you accept it, deal with it, move on and try not to look back.

      • Fabulous VIA Survey! Thanks for recommending it. Some of the results were expected (Forgiveness at the bottom of my values, wonder why??), others unexpected. Here’s the link if anyone wants to take it:
        http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey.

        It would have been fun to have a pre-betrayal and post-betrayal set of results to compare (I doubt Bravery would have been my top value before D-day, beating out even Curiosity).

        Good analogy about the plumbing.

        • After a long bout of him acting like an asshole (at least 2 really bad rages) we went to a marriage retreat for troubled marriages and they told asked us to say one nice thing about our spouse. I said he was “brave” because he fought in war. I later learned that he was willing to hurt be DEEPLY in order to get away with horrible behavior…which is the most cowardly thing I could have ever imagined. I never called him a “coward” because to him, those would be bridge-burning words. I wish I had though

          • My ex was all about being a man and doing manly things. He was also a US Army vet. But you know what? He was an absolute COWARD in so many ways. He always told me, “If I was cheating on you, I’d have the balls to tell you.” Nope, he didn’t. I confronted him point blank several times and he always said no. Yep. Total coward. I never have said those words to him because I’ve gone no contact, but I also wish I had told him that.

            • Yes, mine was in the USMC. I think he really did want to leave me for OW…he was SO MEAN during that time…tried everything to get me to “throw him out” so that they could later feign a new relationship. I got so stubborn, I just REFUSED to do that. I think I finally outwaited OW…she had a pesky biological clock that was alarming and I had my 3 kids, so she was the one with more to lose by waiting. Imagine how mad she must have been at him “just a little while longer, Im sure she is going to file for divorce soon !”

            • Mine was in the USAF (Chair Force) he deployed to Iraq six weeks after we got married.
              He too, was hoping I’d kick him out. I didn’t. I INSISTED he decide if he was staying or going, but if he was staying, we would be working hard at wreckonciliation. That was before I found CL and CN.

              He did decide to leave. Told me on my birthday.

              In hindsight, I should have told him to pack his bags and get the hell out a few years ago when he looked me in the eye and threatened to start looking somewhere else if I didn’t put out more. During the “pick me dance” I took full responsibility for his “stray dog rutting.” He’d “warned” me, after all.

              I took responsibility for his making that threat a few years before too, because I was really struggling with sex and issues of abuse from my first marriage and it was “my problem.” If he’d have given a shit about me, it would have been “our problem,” affecting “us” and not just “me.”

              At that time, I started thinking that I’d better get in a better position to support myself and my kids if he left. It wasn’t a fully conscious, take charge decision, more of a subconscious move with a lot of hopium to make it go down better.

  • Ah, the feeling of being “replaced.”

    Replaced, it’s never a “lateral move;” it’s always a downward trade. Why? Because your Cheater married a woman who thinks it’s okay to cheat. That’s a character flaw.

    I agree that you should probably put the brakes on your upcoming wedding. You sound as if you have a really nice guy there, and he deserves to have a woman who’s not looking back longingly at the life she had with her Cheater. Tell Mr. Nice Guy that you have some therapy things to work through. Likely he senses that you have unresolved issues with your past, otherwise he’d not have asked you if you had any reasons that you might not commit fully. Then go work with that trauma therapist.

    It looks as if you’ve never gone beyond trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness. You’re imposing your own narrative on their lives. When you use language like “My guess is that” he told her he wasn’t happy, and lo! she was unhappy in her own marriage. Kismet!

    What you’ve done is explained away their individual agency. What you have there is classic workplace affair. That’s what my CheaterX had. Work is the most common source for APs. What you’re doing is fantasizing about what might have happened, and giving it the most positive spin you could ever do. At the heart of that is the desire to cling to the belief that your XH was a “good” man.

    I get you; I was there. I was devastated when I learned that CheaterX was cheating with Schmoopie. I mean, Schmoopie was a twice-divorced woman who had a history of bad financial decisions and bad choice in men. I knew that my XH was still reeling from the loss of his (cheater) father and had some unresolved FOO issues, and that work was stressful, etc. I thought that Schmoopie, who is a needy person, was drawn to XH because he was the first decent man who’d been nice to her.

    Wrong.

    She was drawn to XH because he was exactly on her level. Her radar was set to loser, and I had to learn to accept this.

    I discovered one day, when XH was begging me to massage his aching feet, that he was texting Schmoopie at the exact same time about how awful I was. Say what?

    Needless to say, no more foot massages for CheaterX.

    I realized that he was a willing participant in this deception. It wasn’t him being all Sad and Lonely and Depressed. It was him being Cold, Calculated, and Cunning.

    CheaterX and I had been married for 15 years at that point, but our relationship went back farther. For a quarter of a century, he was at every single family gathering. That’s a lot of sunk costs and it’s hard to believe that the man you knew that long could be so awful.

    What made him cheat? I have no idea. That’s untangling the skein of his fuckedupness. I’m not going there. All I know is that it’s HIS fuckedupness.

    Replaced, let him go. You deserve someone who isn’t dealing with such fuckedupness. Right now, you’re still trapped in the past. Go get some therapy while you put your wedding on hold, and then come back and marry that nice man who wants you, your FOO and all.

    • And I just now read the update that you wrote, Replaced.

      It sounds as if you just have some emotional moments before going into the wedding. I think it’s fair to go to some therapy. I still think someone experienced with trauma bonding would be useful. You sound as if you’re not always thinking about the X. It’s just that sometimes you catch yourself being nostalgic.

      Again, it’s looking at the past through those rose-colored glasses. It’s thinking that he couldn’t be so bad, or that OW isn’t all bad. You try to figure out how and why they do this sort of stuff and it doesn’t seem fair that they seem to have a good life.

      But the key is to put yourself front and center. Not in a selfish way, but more as in a “know your own worth” way. Know your values, your boundaries. Be open and honest in your communication and expect the same in return.

      Best of luck!

  • Would it be better if he had ‘traded up’ instead of laterally? Many Chumps here have spouses that have actually ‘traded down’. (I would make the argument that even an apparent ‘trade up’ or ‘lateral trade’ is actually a ‘trade down’ when the AP knows that Cheater is married because a faithful person is being swapped for a homewrecker). My case was an apparent ‘trade down’.

    At the time, I thought: Why couldn’t he at least have picked somebody truly better than me to cheat with? Better looking? More successful? More money? Better educated? etc. etc. etc. At the time, it felt to me like that would have made some sense. It would have been less about how awful I was than how great the other person was. That may have softened the rejection blow somewhat—it wasn’t that I was so awful, but that the AP was so fabulous. But a trade down? I was so awful that he felt this person was ‘better’? That I even felt this way indicated to me that I had bought into the narrative on some level that ‘trading up’ was okay, even though I personally wouldn’t do it (otherwise, why would it “soften the blow” or “make sense”?).

    I don’t think this way anymore. I think that Cheating is about Cheater. Not the betrayed spouse and not even the AP. Consider that AP doesn’t have to be ‘better’, just ‘different’. It’s about kibbles, the High of Strange, and the lack of integrity of Cheater. Although getting Chumped seems to be a very tough personal rejection, the crazy part is that it really isn’t anything personal about the Chump. It’s about the Cheater. The only relevance of the Chump’s faults or deficiencies are that they are used to try to justify the cheating. Kibbles and Strange without guilt.

    • They trade for a person willing to provide them more narcissistic supply. Period. Up, down, lateral by ‘objective’ criteria? It’s always down because the person is willing to screw a married man/woman. The OW/OM is themselves married? That’s a Double down.

      • Agree with Tempest. They sink to their own level of dysfunction, because that’s who they feel comfortable with. If they were a good person, they would stay with their quality wife. But they feel right at home with a lower level person, because that’s who they are. So of course they will downgrade, that’s who they feel comfortable with.

        • Kellia-Yes, I think we have some Chumps on here with Cheaters who complained that Chump was “too perfect”. Other Cheaters seem to grasp a straws, anything to move the goalposts justify the affair(s). With regard to the latter, perhaps the most amusing are Offenses Related to Cheese (wrong type of cheddar, placement in refrigerator, etc.).

    • Mine traded down in just about every way and I will never understand it. I’ve had to learn that wunderbread was an easy supply and my wife knew the outcome before she made the call. We all have to learn to not compare, but I have struggled with this and will for awhile, I’ll never understand outside of what I stated above.

      • Same. My ex traded down in every way possible. Education, looks, morals, integrity, income level, etc. Here’s the thing: I think my ex always felt like I was ‘above’ him because of my 1) morals; 2) faith; 3) commitment to do the right thing; 4) two college degrees; 5) a good family.

        But he didn’t have good morals, had no problem lying and manipulating people, was jealous of my successes, was jealous of my family. So I think now he is COMFORTABLE with his whore because she is everything I am not – she is the very epitome of white trash. And I think he feels he now has the POWER in the relationship. He’s 13 years older than her and she has daddy issues (plus 3 kids!) and now he feels like he is the superior one.

        I never wanted to be superior in the marriage. I was me. That’s who I was. I wanted to get two college degrees, wanted to write and publish books and articles, wanted to do the right thing, and I think he resented me for it. Now he can live in the muck with his whore and they can be happy as two pigs in shit. Because honestly? That’s what they are.

        • I believe my ex thought this way too about my morals and values. The OW also had family money, which he was interested in. Now he is stuck. His family says when she says ‘jump’ he asks ‘how high’. He has even said he would leave except she has good insurance (he has had several major health issues). He used to have the upper hand because she was terrified he would leave her. Now she has the upper hand because he can’t leave and she knows it. That’s their karma. I just sit back and smile.

  • “Good people” don’t intentionally hurt others and force apart families, which is exactly what these two did. Please don’t give them your power by defending their virtue. It was replaced long ago by selfishness and apathy for those affected by their true character.
    This attempt at altruism is going to destroy your self esteem and delay the chance for anyone to love you fully, as a piece of you will always be with them.
    They stole from you then and they continue to steal from you now.
    Most assuredly, they are stealing your deserved future of happiness.
    Take back some of your power and tell your children about the true nature of their relationship.
    And empower yourself with the anger you deserve. Understand that raw anger is a way for us to extinguish the fear and anxiety that stunts our inner growth.
    And lastly-
    Write a letter.
    Write it to him. Write it to her. Write it to your children or your mother or your father. Write it to the pope. Purge all of your feelings -no holds barred- onto a piece of paper (or computer) and read it to yourself when you find it difficult to see through the fuckupedness.
    When the sun is shining, sometimes we forget the importance of rain.

  • For me, what helps is to know I’m being rational with people & circumstances that are irrational. I might as well speak Swahili to my Cajon neighbor. Also, OW & the ex can spend their time waiting for the other shoe to drop. So much fun! Eventually they will both replace each other.

  • It also helped me when it dawned on me that I wasn’t replaced, I was liberated. I don’t have a cool guy in my life, but what I do have is freedom. It’s like someone turned the key on my prison cell door & let me walk out. As my codependency & adult child issues heal, I feel my freedom grow. My health replaced him!

    • Yes! I am slowly realizing this. Some days I feel it more than others, but s ometimes I’m like, I am FREE! I no longer have to deal with his abuse!

  • Replaced:
    I totally get where you are coming from here. I felt similar and struggled with this very thing for a while. What I can tell you is that I realized that the OW and I may have some similar “likes”, we may even look alike, wear the same perfume, etc. but the ONE thing we differ on is character!!!! And……this is a huge difference. Not once would I ever think of cheating. If your husband was unhappy and if his OW was unhappy in their marriages there are several options available to fix that. None of those options are cheating!

    I no longer wonder why or how it happened. I no longer think for one hot minute that his poor choices had anything to do with me and what I offered in our marriage. I don’t believe there is or will ever be a reason that makes sense to me. He just did it. He lost out on ME! I can now live my happy life. He is married to his OW now. Maybe they are happy. I really don’t care. They both have to live with the knowledge of what they are capable of. I don’t know about you, but I know I couldn’t be happy with that!

    Embrace your NEW life. Live your best life. Stay beautiful and be grateful! I wish you the very best! You deserve it!

  • Replaced, I could have written your letter, as could many of the other chumps here, regardless of our current circumstance, whether we’re in another relationship or not, whether we’re living large or scraping by, regardless of time elapsed.

    I know it’s our job to lift each other up, but my own version of that is to say, “I hear ya, sister!” Those of us with Runaway Husbands, who just walked out of our door and into hers, mind already 100% decided, have a different sort of burden (no more or less shitty than others’) than those who had their cheaters plead and beg. We are told in no uncertain terms that we have been judged and found wanting, “there’s something better, and I’m going to live with her/him now.” Immediately.

    It’s a continuous effort to retrain your brain not to think about it, but that is what you must do. It’s a terrible thing that happened to you, that you paired up with someone so deceptive that you didn’t see it happening right in front of you. I get that. But sometimes I think some of us chumps (raises hand) because we try too hard, settle too much for things that are unsatisfactory in our marriage — maybe we learned that as children (raises hand), to settle too much instead of seeking a better path. I also learned to work really really hard at things. Our family resoled shoes, fixed broken toasters, replaced carburetors — we didn’t throw things out and buy new ones, like XH’s family did.

    I don’t want XH back, not at all, but I still struggle to let go of the event, “how it all went down.” — XH married OW a couple weeks ago. Sure they look happy, but then so did I. And maybe they are happy. And maybe XH did get lucky and marry yet another professional woman who will probably support his lifestyle. But: 1) I have no way of really knowing what’s in their hearts (cobwebs, maybe?); 2) I don’t really care; and 3) I can’t do anything about it anyway.

    Whether she is better or worse or same as you? Doesn’t matter. Whether they’re happy? Doesn’t matter. What other people think? Doesn’t matter. — This terrible thing happened and your job is to heal and move past it somehow into a meaningful life. Continuing to pick through the rubble of “what happened” doesn’t do that, it just keeps you stuck. I know. I do.

    What others have said here is true. You can only control yourself. So try really hard to give yourself a shake and tear your eyes (and heart and mind) away from staring at that car wreck, and think “Huh. I sorta can’t believe that happened to me. Really sucks. …. Oh, well. Moving on.” I just think of XH as a human meteorite who crashed through my life, no reason for it at all. But I know I’ll never again settle for so little, for someone unwilling to work as hard for me as I am for them.

    • Also, I was thinking this morning (see how good I am at taking my own advice?) about XH’s dad, also a cheater. His OW-now-wife is a crazy weirdo, but he continued to defend his choice to his kids over the years. But whenever I’ve seen them together at family reunions, he looks like he just wishes she would crawl under a rock somewhere, but always (always!) with a smile on his face! Everything is JUST RIGHT, all the time!! in that family. — So even if XH ends up truly miserable with his own OW-now-wife, he’ll just play it off with a big ol’ smile on his face!

      (Funny enough, the song playing on the radio right now is “Things are Not Always What They Seem” by Imogen Heap….)

    • Really well said. I sometimes get caught up in thinking they’re super happy and that he’s found his “twu luv” but seeing as how this is his pattern (love bombing, proposing marriage immediately, etc.), I really doubt that he knows what love IS. Then I think about the hell that was my marriage. Sure, we had some really good times together. But overall? It was a nightmare.

      I’m glad to be out of it. I just have to get my heart in sync with my head.

      • In case you’re still reading: Yes, me, too. — When I make a list of what was real, when I look back at the frustration, neglect and pain I wrote into journals, I can’t really defend that it was a good marriage. But it was a “good enough” marriage, so I kept fighting. Sometimes I don’t think I know how to DO anything else, even if it’s to my own detriment. — My head knows. But the heart? Well, it has a mind of its own sometimes….

        • I did the same in my journals. So, so many entries of despair and wondering how much longer I could keep going in the same abusive cycle – although I didn’t realize at the time that it WAS abuse. I kept fighting, too. Hell, I would STILL be fighting if he hadn’t cheated on me. Those journals really opened my eyes – I kept them from the begining of our marriage (though I can’t find the first two years). I can’t believe the stuff I forgot, how I spackled, how I rationalized. I saw all the traits of a narcissist in several of my entries about him – but I didn’t know that’s what he was at the time. When I have bad days and I’m missing him or looking at the past with rose-colored glasses, I go back to those journals and read those entries where I’m in total despair and agony. It helps to re-center myself.

          Both of us will get there where our heads and our hearts will be in sync. We must always remember that we are SO much better off without them. Hugs to you!

  • I think its more about abonnement issues. Something in your past you are tying these two together is why you cant move forward. I face these issues also. I came from a dysfunctional home. I had to deal with both these issues after the divorce. I was so scared growing up living at home that I would not have a home if something happened. When I was divorced I wondered if I could afford a home. Panic attacks and depression. The women he picked out were college educated and I was not.
    But the woman he sees drinks heavily. I don’t drink. I think he replaced me with drinking buddy. Education makes him look better. Ignores his kids and doesn’t take them on one of his many vacations. As a girlfriend I wouldn’t like that he doesn’t treat his kids well. If I were dating a man who was this way to his children it would be a deal breaker for me.
    I don’t date and its been 3 years from a 26 year marriage, 30 years together. I want to clean myself up and I still feel the slime of the divorce. So I know that I need to put my life in gear and move on. Plans for me.
    I hope you will see this is black and white and no grey areas. If you were to hear about your situation as gossip you would say, “well, he will probably dump her too”. And you would be right. This has an expiration date on it. So don’t dwell. And stop comparing yourself to them or her. He is what he is and she will have to face it at sometime.

  • Hey hon,

    Lots of helpful 2x4s here. Regardless of whether they trade ‘up’ or ‘down’ Tempest is right, they aren’t good people.

    Hopium is really hard to kick but one helpful realization I had was that narcs relationships are a lot like how everyone feels about their cell phone
    . Complete reliance until the next model comes along. Such people have no values: there is a reason ‘wife appliance’ is a term here at CN.

    Values, values, values….figure out what they are, then cleave to them! Mine are Integrity, Sovereignty, Curiosity, Gentility and Candor. These help with boundaries. Anyone who shows me less get the heave-ho.

    Stop comparing yourself to a woman who changes husbands like you or I would change a battery. She may sparkle but there is a turd under that glitter.

  • “There are a few things about her that fill in some “gaps” I had or correct some “deficiencies,” like she’s Catholic and I am not (he is), she likes golf and I don’t (he does), and she dotes on him and I didn’t (he loves it).”

    So being Catholic, which is your religion, is a deficiency? And not liking golf is a deficiency? Why are you making your ex into this Godlike person, and his word is gold.? What is surprising to me, is how unworthy and flawed you perceive yourself, and how high value you perceive your ex and his new wife. Your ex knew you were Catholic and didn’t like golf, yet he chose to propose to you, marry you and have a child with you. So at the time it was fine for him. I really think you could benefit from therapy, to work on your self-esteem. You seem to define yourself by the worth your ex-husband attributed to you, which is unhealthy. I’m wondering if you were very young when you married and therefore, get your sense of self worth by the person you married, rather than valuing yourself for being yourself, with all your wonderful traits and religion.

  • Good people don’t hurt other people. Mistakes are unintentional– accidents. Engaging in an extramarital affair takes intention and effort. They may very well be unaware of your pain because frankly they don’t care. They are just “nice.”

    You mention that they may be selfish and entitled, but they aren’t “bad.” You don’t have to kick puppies to be a total asshole.

    They may be nice. But “nice is a mask angry people wear to hide their inner assholes.”

    Perhaps you are comparing yourself and determining you were replaced, because if you can figure out the problem and the problem is something wrong with you, then you at least have some perception of control. But the problem is not you.

    I also think it is entirely natural to feel rejected and replaced. I did.

    Then I realized I got to wake up every day and go on being me. They just get to go on and be assholes.

  • When making rationalizations or excuses for people in your own life (“they’re not bad people” etc.) I think an effective tool is to ask yourself if you do that in other aspects of your life, or only when you’re making justifications for the behaviors of your ex and their AP? Would you look into the eyes of your child and say this very thing that you say to yourself to your daughter/son if their husband/wife did to them what yours did to you? Would you say this to a friend who confided in you about their own spouse’s infidelity? Would you say this to someone who stole from you/your family business? etc. Things to ponder…and then ultimately try to figure out what the reward for you is in keeping up this narrative – what do you get out of telling yourself that?

  • Excellent letter, response, and conversation today. Good reference article for the blog. Lots to go over and digest.

    The wounds of infidelity are deep, but that depth presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

    We all know that spending our valuable seconds on a cheater and on being rejected is a huge waste of time, but not doing it is often easier said than done, but we all know we must move on and heal.

    If ChumpNation is being tough on Replaced, that’s just because we are all too familiar with her predicament and we want the best for her.

    Replaced, you are You v.2.0 – you get to recreate yourself. You get to be v. 2.0 of You!

  • Replaced, I think many of us have had that replaced feeling. I loathed the OW for the first couple of years because I felt replaced, in my case by a younger woman. but I would never write: “They are both generally good people. They are church-going, family-oriented people.”

    “Family oriented people” don’t break up their kids’ homes by cheating. They don’t leave devastated spouses behind.
    That they go to church and behave as they do means that they are hypocrites into impression management and/or under the delusion that going to church makes them “good.”
    And of course the kids like OW because you didn’t tell them the truth about what happened, which is a way of condoning it on your end.

    What helped me get over feeling “replaced” was learning that he is not capable of the deep attachment to another person that I am. He is at the bad end of the narcissist scale. Once I stopped telling myself he was a good person (as I thought for 30 years of “friendship”) I was able to see in perspective the terrible patterns in his life. You note the selfishness and entitlement. That’s not a “good” person. The man I date now? Not selfish. Not entitled. Kind. Thoughtful. Honest to a fault. Responsible. That’s a good person.

    Both of these cheaters sound a lot like narcissists who just wear out a kibble source and replace it. You were not a woman or a “wife” in his eyes. You were a wife appliance, there to “dote on him.” That’s one of the big clues in your letter. It’s not that you failed to dote on him; it’s that after a while for some reason, they cease to see what we do and give as having value to them and they look for someone who can fill the voracious black hole in them. You “didn’t understand what he needed” because what he needed was for you to be a wife appliance and not a person. He’s happy for now because that wife appliance is new to him. He may not live long enough to switch out another one, but my grandfather abandoned 3 wives, 7 kids and 2 step kids. So even the old ones are capable of the discard.

    Good people don’t trade out a spouse like a car with 50,000 miles on it.
    Good people don’t lie repeatedly, sneak around, and put you at risk for STDs.
    Good people don’t lie by omission and let their kids think the divorce was just one of those things. They are accountable and take responsibility.
    And “sweet” people don’t break up the someone else’s hom.
    You don’t have to drag a good person to therapy to fix the marriage. And a good person shuts his pie hole about the kind of makeup you wear and the shoes you prefer.

    Part of fixing your picker is having high standards for people’s behavior, including your own. It’s a common thing to go through a stage where you feel “less than” and “replaced.” That’s the devastating impact of infidelity. But you are normalizing what they did, normalizing his inability to be satisfied or to work on the marriage. And by normalizing your XH’s behavior, you trap yourself into feeling replaced. If you see him as the slug that he is, you’ll get what CL is trying to say to you.

    • Anyone can get married, but staying together and the reasons why is another matter. Part of me wants to believe that they are better matched and they have found true love, (truth, because -she lied and cheated herself, and my ex never loved me for who I was, but only a role I could fill. This is actually encouraging to know that that wasn’t the real thing!) Part of me wants to believe that people can change and it was the combination of us two that was the real problem. Part of me hopes that my ex really found someone who loves him for him, ( I hard a hard time loving being emotionally manipulated and dismissed,) and part of me wants to believe they married for the right reasons and that they deserve a 2nd chance and really did find God; because I deserve those things as well. But the other part of me feels it’s just a sham, fueled by libido and obligation and the new found church-going is a way to appear and feel atoned for past sins. Yes God forgives. And humans do make mistakes, and not doting on the fact that he will pull all the same assholery w her that he did with me does help me to move on; but deep down, I think I know the truth and I’m happy there’s no going back to that. Even though my son has a good relationship w his A.P. turned wife, (we’ll see how that goes once her new biological child arrives,) my relationship with my son has grown exponentially since I don’t have his father around to undermine and belittle me in front of him. I pray that my ex has grown as a parent as well, but I doubt it.

      • Another thing: putting her so high up on the pedestal…she is probably equally manipulative and insecure despite the new title. A good friend had mentioned that there’s something wrong with a woman who has no problem being the OW, and that when my ex told her he missed his family, she offered him a child….
        Having a child to save a bad relationship was what my ex and I did the first time, (after I found out about his first affair.) When I mentioned this to him after the 2nd affair, he got so angry and proceeded to yell at me that he wants a 2nd child still…smh-my point exactly. He wanted to have a 2nd child to fix our relationship after his 2 affair, lol!!!
        I wouldn’t give him that, so she’s now pregnant…same fuckin bullshit…

  • And I forgot this: the OW is not “living your life.” Put your hands in front of your face. There you are. Your life is your life. It might be fair to say that the OW slipped into the “wife appliance” spot of the your marriage. That makes sense. But that is not your LIFE.

    Your life is a sacred thing. As long as you breathe, you can a chance to create a life that makes you happy.

    • LAJ –

      “But you are normalizing what they did, normalizing his inability to be satisfied or to work on the marriage. And by normalizing your XH’s behavior, you trap yourself into feeling replaced. If you see him as the slug that he is, you’ll get what CL is trying to say to you.”

      God bless you for this.

  • In honor of all this…
    I’m taking tri colored rolled cookie dough, marbling it loosely together, then coiling it into a poop shape. Then a liberal sprinkle of large crushed multi colored sugar crystals… viola. Actual unicorn sparkly turd cookies.
    I can overnight a big, fat one to any Cheater or his gal or guy. Even a fellow chump who just needs a reminder that “it may look pretty on the outside, but a turd is still a turd no matter how you gussy it up.

    Keep on trucking.

  • I haven’t read all the responses, but my take is that it seems like “you” were not exactly replaced but instead you were “stepford wived,” that is you were “replaced” with someone who looks like you but who is, in fact, open to lying and cheating.

    This suits your ex better because he is a liar and a cheater. And you’re better suited to an honest person. You’re cheese. She’s cheese product. Win-win actually.

    And don’t judge their outsides by your insides. TRUST that they suck. You will never fully know the details of how they are not who you’ve imagined them to be but fully believing they suck will help you realize it was not about you. They did not win your life. This hurt will heal.

    Right after D-day I felt jealous of a teenage webcam whore from Manila. I was incredulous that he preferred her. Why couldn’t I be sex-trafficked? Living in abject poverty? Denied dignity? It was so unfair.

    Of course that nonsense dissipated quickly. Yours is harder ‘cuz you can’t yet see the yawning crevasse that exists between you and the OW. But it exists. She is not better. She did not win. Your ex is not good.

    Thanks for reaching out here. Rejection SUCKS because it’s about who we are. That’s why the best advice is to trust they suck. Depend on it like it’s gravity. No one understands that magic but we take it for granted every day and do amazing things.

    • OMG…..This…THIS.

      “You’re cheese. She’s cheese product. Win-win actually.”

      The best comment I’ve read here to date.

      Wow.

      Thanks

        • I may just start calling her ALPO rather than Ms. Twatwaffles..

          Mr.Twatwaffles has a weird preference for the cheap cans of “potted meat” that I could never stomach.

          I think ALPO is perfect.

  • Dear Replaced, They’re not good people: they’re lying to the kids.
    Not only they cheated, they’re letting the children live in a lie.
    Their narrative may be certainly tailored in order to make them look good. The truth is she stole a husband and destroyed two families and he didn’t care enough to respect the family.
    They’re both hypocrites. They’re dishonest within their own family. When the kids will find out I think they’ll hate them for being manipulated
    The kids will know the truth one day. If you have undeniable evidence of their affair you should tell them asap. You could also try to convince the cheaters to speak honestly to the children. If they will ever do it, if they will ever tell the truth to the children, their procrastination in telling the truth is your atout anyway because every single day they have lied to their family, while happily having Christmas dinners, vacations, birthday parties they actually deceived their own children.
    They can even justify being unfaithful because they couldn’t help themselves, but everyday they are lying to the children they love or at least they say so. It was not one crappy thing, they’re still hiding they’re still cheating on the kids.
    Good people tell the truth spontaneously, why are they so reluctant? Are they afraid of losing their balance, will she still dote on him? And above all will he still enjoy being doted on?

  • I agree with CL and all the CN comments. I am guessing that you are looking at the cheaters life and marriage and the very limited “image” they project to your kids and social media. Don’t buy into that crap! My Ex told me how happy his Schmoopie made him a million times before our divorce. Then less than one month after the divorce he was telling his siblings he had made a terrible mistake and he wasn’t happy! It didn’t keep him from quitting his job and moving in with her! I guess he had to make it look as if they were blissfully happy or he would have to admit (gasp) that he threw away his wonderful long term marriage for a skank. I bought into the narrative that she “stole” my life too, but then I realized how my Ex had mirrored this Schmoopie so much and he couldn’t keep that mask on for long. He lasted exactly four months before he ran from her and she never pursued him after he left! The exciting life I had imagined they had NEVER existed. Apparently all they did was fight until the neighbors complained. They never went anywhere s he was then unemployed and had to pay me alimony out of his dwindling savings. His fantasy world came to a screeching halt and his life was shit! Then he got sick (cancer) and he found out that his “little darling” wasn’t the Florence Nightengale type. Even though she a CNA, which she hates doing!
    Point is, don’t build a narrative around the limited information you get from other sources. You are mindfucking yourself! Nobody has a perfect life or marriage, but especially cheaters!

  • I don’t miss X at ALL, but I desperately miss “The Intact Family”. I don’t want to go back in time and bury my head in the sand. But I still miss what I thought I had, I know I never really had it now.

    I will always miss it I guess, like the death of someone you loved dearly. I have to learn to live with the grief, just as I would if “The Intact Family” was an actual person that died that I’ll never ever see again.

  • Once I divorced I will admit that I missed what I thought I had and what my future into our Golden years should have been. But I slowly realized that I projected a lot of good where in reality it would always be half assed. I realized that my Ex was never going to live up to my fantasy of the happy retired couple who adored each other. I’ll be darned if he didn’t prove it to me once he returned sick and dying. It was all about him! Selfish to the end of his life. Trust me, we chumps have lost absolutely nothing! It would be a rare (extremely rare) thing to see if a cheater really changed and became the man/woman you always thought you married. It just doesn’t happen, sorry to burst anyone’s bubble!

  • Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

    I think we float around sometimes wondering what we did wrong to deserve being utterly, unceremoniously discarded. We even think (I do, though I know it’s not true), “Ah! I get it! (S)he’s a better match. (S)he’s better looking/more relaxed/funnier/sexier [fill in whichever blank]. But we know that’s not a reason to dump your partner–gosh, the mother/father of your CHILDREN! The one you have so much history with! Everything was ok-ish, wasn’t it? Then…how….

    WE would never do that to someone else. And yet we try to make sense of it. Over and over and over. Our egos were bashed. We were doing pretty well–we’re good people, we chumps–and then we were dumped. That’s not how it’s supposed to work AT ALL. It doesn’t make sense. How could (s)he?

    Where is the justice? They seem so content, so happy! How do you eviscerate your partner and go on your merry way? And sleep at night?

    Recycle loop.

    Yeah, well, I had an epiphany a few months ago. Either The Coward (and he’s a COWARD) suffers every day knowing he’s a coward, and is mentally exhausted running from the truth, ashamed, OR, he really is a total fucking lizard with nothing but a reptilian brain. And there’s your fucking justice right there. He knows I know what he is.

    I think you give yourself permission to never “get over it.” To never “forgive” (whatever that means.) But you MUST move on and be grateful for a second chance at life without a coward. You will always have to look back over your shoulder at the father of your kids to make sure your kids are ok, but think of it like driving. Be aware of your surroundings, stay in your lane (live your own life) and go ahead and pass when it’s safe. If you keep your head turned backward, you’re going to crash, and you’re going to miss the road you’re on and the road ahead. I say be gentle on yourself.

    You get ONE LIFE. Live it well. Appreciate being in love with someone who loves you back. Stop talking about the coward you were married to, especially to the guy who never hurt you. Make a new life with him. Make new memories and traditions. Stop thinking that you were evicted from your life, and start thinking like you were liberated from a disaster. Because you were married to the type of person who would up-end his family. If you think he knows from love? Think again. (I’m talking REAL love. Deep, abiding, responsible, protective, nurturing love.) In my case, The Coward didn’t know how to have that, didn’t trust himself to be the man of the home, so he bailed. What is love? How does a real man show love the way you need to be loved? What is it that you love about your man now? How can you reciprocate?

    You really aren’t that unique. I’ll be honest–I’ve NEVER met a woman who was ever 100% “meh” about being dumped by the father of her children. EVER. And yet I’ve known plenty of women who have gone on to be loved the way they deserve to be loved, and they loved back, in spite of having been wounded and scarred. I wear my scar like a battle wound. I earned it. It has made me a better person. A bad thing happened to me, and I made good from it.

    I have MAJOR contempt for The Coward. This has really made me love and appreciate my new love.

    Meh. I could go on and on. Sometimes we need a pep talk. For me, it’s generally when I’m stressed out (about money, responsibility, etc.) and so I self-medicate by imagining The Coward has a carefree, AMAZING life of abandon. But he doesn’t. He’s a coward. The mask is off. He has paid with with shreds of his reputation, and he hides the truth from those who don’t yet know. I know, the kids know, our friends know, many in this town know. HE KNOWS. And maybe he thinks it was worth it. That’s on him. Are you self-medicating? Are you stressed or worried? Are you avoiding something in your future or present by clinging to the past? Is there something you need to do but are too afraid to do it? Is your gut telling you something that you shouldn’t ignore? Or, are you just unnecessarily/unfairly consumed with self-doubt? Could you make a change in your life that would give you more self-confidence? How could you change your life to make it more interesting and enjoyable than his life?

    Take care. I feel you.

    BIG HUGS!

  • I have to first laugh at your response, spot on!!!! So damn right!!!

    I posted a comment not long after I found out about Schmoopie, over two years ago, went something like this:

    I will probably think and feel a lot of things about her, but one thing I will NEVER think or feel is, “oh, I wish I was her!”

    Still damn true today, even more so. Now she has the title of Mrs. Dumb-Ass. ‘Nuff said.

    Replaced,
    Please listen to Chump Lady. Do not get married unless you are wholly free of feeling the way you do right now. I was a replacement for a brief second, it sucked. I was sadly nothing compared to wife 1.0, and I realized really quick and cut ties. Don’t do that to him.

  • This topic came at a much needed time. I feel completely replaced and my pain and feelings of worthlessness are further compounded by the fact that my husband moved OW in with him the very same day I moved out. He has shown zero remorse and ghosted me via his NC stance and 100% discarding of me and every aspect of our quarter century relationship. OW is 16 years younger than I am and is the sterotypical epitome of the “upgrade” STBX indicated that he wanted and in his own words, “deserves”. I read CL’s posts and comments on a regular basis and have scoured the archives to gain more insight on all aspects of chumpification which has resulted in moments of clarity where I realize that OWs and OMs are truly downgrades as no decent quality moral human beings would purposely insert themselves into another couple’s relationship. Last week, someone I need to remove from my life who can’t truly be a friend sent me a Facebook screenshot to show me that OW had posted a pic of herself and MY HUSBAND canoodling at a bar. My husband commented “Lucky Guy” (about himself) and some married FB “friend” of OW chimed in, “For Sure!” Within an hour of the post, several dozen “likes” had already been accumulated. I don’t have any social media accounts, but it took all of my self control (and self respect) not to create a profile just to have the ability to comment back to my husband on the post as well with something such as “Lucky you don’t have STDs yet” or “Lucky you found someone who doesn’t mind that you’re STILL MARRIED!” and I also wanted to chastise anyone who “liked” this blatant public promotion of adultery. Fortunately, by channeling the collective strength of CN, I resisted the urge, realizing that even slightly dipping my pinkie toe into their shallow pool of piss (love that descriptor CL!) is counterproductive to my ultimate goal of meh. I have since heard that the post has been taken down so I am going to take that to indicate that the karma bus may have made a brief stop in their world, maybe just in the form of someone who gave OW a redlight or yield sign regarding her foolishness of posting something like that (especially being that my husband’s FB still indicates that he is married and his wedding ring is clearly visible in his profile pic! He also still has pics of us on there so it’s evident to every “friend” that OW is not the same “wife”!)

    • yeah, dump that friend pronto

      the pain sucks, but you will get over it and then be relieved that ex-husband asshole is out of your life.

      having the band-aid ripped off all at once has many advantages over being intertwined with an asshole cheater for many years, slowly trying to resolve the painful situation. for you, you are instantly free, although it doesn’t feel like it yet.

  • I think it’s easy to get confused and twisted up in the skein for longer when so many people DO just accept the shitty narrative about how mistakes were made and/or people weren’t happy blah blah blah.

    It seems especially difficult to get past being discarded and fucked over when the people around you shrug and talk about how “happy” and “nice” things are and wtfever. 😠 So, you being discarded/replaced didn’t matter? Bc everyone else around you seems A-ok w how things turned out? And worse, YOU are viewed as the damaged/bitter/can’t get over it bitch? I mean “even the kids love her” – so wtf is YOUR problem cuz everyone else seems to think she’s just as sweet as 5 hoes in a handbag! Seriously?! She. Is. Still. A. Fucking. Ho.

    I’m sure it’s easier not to feel as hurt and not to think about it and be so pissed when the kids DON’T buy into that new happy family shit and when they’re also pissed at Fuckwit Cheaterass and hate JustPlain Flatz. Or at least your friends or family are supportive! When they’re on your side and can see Asswipe cheater for who he is and the greasy twat whore, JP FlatZ, for who she is too? Easier. But if they go all Switzerland on you it’s another mindfuck, and especially maddening coming from people who should get it. It’s more betrayal to deal with and it’s hard not to question yourself when it seems everyone else thinks this horseshit is dandy fine. Those Switzerland people will keep you stuck and gaslighted bc of THEIR narrative on your life and cheaterAss and HoWife’s new life. You need the air to be clearer around you. Be done with those people. Read back in the archives re Switzerland friends, ways to talk to your kids and others about how you feel and see if any of that might help or at least discuss w counselor or therapist. Best of luck and a big hug too! You will be 👌 it’s so late, I hope my post makes sense!

  • I prayed mine would find a replacement quickly. I had confirmed he’d always be a dick and I just wanted one of the other women to distract him enough so he’d not attempt Contact with me. Unfortunately from time to time he seems to loose touch with his other supplies and tries to engage me… Error!

  • Change “golf” to “fishing”…that’s me. Ick. The OW LOVED fishing, just like my exh. In fact, on the year anniversary of her death, she’d set it up for her ashes to be spread at his favorite fishing spot. His whole family approved (behind my back). The whole lot of them are fucked up! I’m so glad I’m out of that nightmare!

  • I think it is interesting that narcs do seem to try to pull out partners like used batteries and insert new ones in to the same slot. My narc moved the OW into our home just days after I was gone. Apparently as soon as my moving van pulled away, she pulled up 10 minutes later and he greeted her with a bouquet of cheap grocery store flowers at the front gate of the house that I made a home for 4 years – like she was some sort of savior. Before I had been able to move out even, friends were warning me that he was taking her to all the same places we used to go together. So toxic, so sick…. they think that the partner is the problem and that if they find their *perfect, magical, princess* everything will fall into place.

    • ugh. Just as I posted this, I got an “unknown” phone call. Pretty sure it was Narc #2 (Secundus Turd, as I call him).

    • Ugh what a dick… I was 8 months pregnant and I could see pics OW posted of her sitting with a coffee mug on what was our beloved special place for birdwatching in our home… I was ovetseas for medical reasons. There were so many other examples of how he just mafe her replace me… I saw pics of her on MY surfboard etc. all while I wss preggers.

      So disturbing.

  • Hey, Chump Lady? Can you please do two things?

    1) Make a drawing of a gross cheater, marrying a taxidermied ferret under glass.
    2) Tell us if one of your X’s was REALLY a lacy doily collector.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Yes, my serial cheater second husband was a lace doily collector. Excuse me, they were *crocheted*. His grandmother made them. He liked them draped over chairs. Which complimented his collection of crossbows and ceramic duck figurines.

      WTF was I thinking marrying that person…

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