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Dear Chump Lady, I can’t seem to do No Contact

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Dear Chump Lady,

What do you do when your head knows the things you should do, but your heart keeps pulling you another way? Where do you get the strength?

My ex cheated on me on Ashley Madison, so who knows how many, and with a local whore. They are actually on vacation right now. We divorced a month ago. And I am secretly hoping he comes back!

I know in my head it is absolutely the best thing for me that we divorce and that things will get better. He was stalling around not wanting to make it official until I just said I was done. Got a new job, changed my name — but how do I get over this?

I need to talk to him about finances/house stuff since we still own the home together until my son finishes college in 3 years. But I do crazy ass stuff. Text him that I’m still not over things, tell him again how much he hurt me, ask about where he is, drive by his apartment, look at her Facebook page (I changed my name so I dont think she know I can see public posts.) He of course is being “polite” since he most likely loves the attention, but I end up feeling like an ass!

Why do I care? Why do I text him? Why am I abusing myself? Why am I being such a chump?? All it does is bring me down into a pit of emotion. I’ll tell myself “ok, no more texting him about random ass stuff today” Then a few hours later, I’m asking him about the weather or something else irrelevant just to have contact.

Help.

Dial-a-chump

Dear Dial-a-chump,

Another day, another bargaining stage of grief letter.

Listen Dial, grief can make you do stupid things — set table settings for dead family members, call psychics, taxidermy your mother and keep her locked in your basement… (Okay, that was just Norman Bates). Point is, you’re deeply stuck in stupid and you need to put some chains on those tires and pull yourself out.

No contact is a mental discipline. Master it, because it is the quickest way to healing. So long as you’re interacting with your ex (or trying to), you’re keeping him central in your mind — and that real estate is precious. You need to be focusing on rebuilding your new life, and not looking backwards for fuckwit validation.

Anything you “need” to say to him about the house and financing can be done through your lawyer. Yes, that costs money. Your sanity is worth it. Your son is in college. His relationship with his father is HIS business. You don’t need to manage that relationship. If your ex pays expenses towards college and there is something to discuss, again, leave this communication to your lawyer (if it’s serious), or to your son (if it isn’t).

Which leaves us with the weather and what highway exit he’s at presently…

Why do I care?

Because you’re in the habit of caring. Break that. Get angry. I’m not saying go lurch through life as a bitter harridan, muttering curses — I mean, get righteously ANGRY over the way he devalued you. You have value! HOW DARE HE blow up your family and waste years of your precious life! How DARE he expose you to diseases. Who the FUCK DOES HE THINK HE IS cheating on you! Extracting value from you, deceiving you, for some pathetic fem-bot he meets on Ashley Madison!

Get out of the bargaining stage of grief (maybe he’ll come home! Prepare the table mats!) to ANGER. (He SUCKS. I am not safe around this person. DANGER!)

Why do I text him?

You want attention. You expect validation from the one person on this earth who refuses to validate you. As a result, you place huge value on his precious kibbles. OMG HE EXCHANGED A PLEASANTRY WITH ME!

Meanwhile, you’ll shovel a grossly disproportionate amount of kibbles to him. Which debases you, and makes you sad.

How’s that working out for you?

Why am I abusing myself? Why am I being such a chump??

Because you’ve been caught up in this mindfuck for awhile. And I imagine for years you thought if you made your needs really small (see disproportionate kibble exchange above) he would stick around and be husband and father material. So you’re used to this really shitty bargain. And you think that failed strategy might work if you employ it with more vigor. (Also known as the Pick Me Dance).

I suspect you didn’t divorce him because you felt done with him, but because at some level you thought it might get his attention. But he didn’t “snap out of it” — because he was never under a spell, Dial. He’s a shitty person. He just found an easier kibble source. And bonus! You’re still there being auxiliary kibbles. This works for him.

You’ve failed to internalize the CL maxim: Trust That He Sucks. Know your worth. Don’t skip over that sentence — tattoo it on your forearm if you have to — KNOW. YOUR. WORTH. People who know their worth don’t pester the unworthy for their thoughts on the weather. He’s not powerful — you’re giving him your power.

This is fixable. STOP IT. Next time you want to text him, chew through a leather strap instead. Dial a friend. Bake some cookies. Do most anything other than contact him. The longer you maintain NC, the easier it gets. (It’s hard at first. You’re kicking a bad habit.)

But! But! Then I’ll be alone! ALOooOOONE!!!!

Yep. You’re going to have to learn to sit with that.

Pretty soon, birds will alight, the sun will shine, and you’ll realize — wow, it’s kind of peaceful on the other side of crazy. Six months to a year? You’ll wonder what you ever saw in the fuckwit. Hang in there.

Artwork is copyrighted, Tracy Schorn, from “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.” (Hachette, 2016)

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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.
  • People here talk about writing themselves lists of why the cheater sucks and how much better life is without that crap in it and reading the lists each time they feel compelled to contact the cheater. You might benefit from this sort of habit-busting technique.

    • Yes, thank you. I forgot about that one. Having a shitty day, feeling I’d just as well never trust people anymore since in the end they’re all out there for self-gratification nowadays. Time to journal some reasons why I should trust that she sucks!

      I’m not texting my stbxw the way Dial is doing, but I’m giving it all headspace.

      • Removing the assholes from headspace is very hard. Be kind to yourself. You actually bonded with a live bi-ped. They aren’t human and are too base to be considered Dogs, which is offensive to dogs, loyal trustworthy companions.

      • Me too, I am doing very well on NC, but keep thinking about her. It is very frustrating that I do that. She doesn’t deserve any space in my head.

        • it just takes time to break that habit. a little over 2 years out and i rarely think on the X these days. When i do, it’s anger over the way she treats her kids now. For me, she’s dead and i could care less. The day will come for you too. It’s a process and you work to take control of your thoughts. The work is well worth the reward.

          • lostntx

            I was married 35years so I know my addiction to THE DOCTOR is powerful. I want to evict him from my head. I really loved him.

            And now I have to unlove him. How do you do it? Also, he seems not to care much about seeing our kids. That baffles me. I recall clearly how good a dad he once was. That was then, this is now.

            I want not to care. And to be happy. And why do I eat more? I want to lose weight but find myself eating late at night. It’s like I am sabotaging my already fragile self esteem.

            Shit.

            • Trust that he sucks.

              Younare going through a rough patch right now – do you have a therapist or counsellor who can support you?

              I do recommend journalling if you can stand it – and especially if you can’t. Instead of eating, journal. Journal about why you want to eat late at night. Write down the patterns of the eating. It will all help.

            • Hey, let me suggest that if my husband “seem[ed] not to care much about the kids,” I could learn to unloved his dark heart pretty quickly.

              Focus on his behavior. Not the past. Not your hopes and dreams. Not “how good a dad he once was.” Either he changed or he was hiding his true nature. It doesn’t matter. What he is now is a garden slug masquerading as a doctor.

            • Instead of eating late at night, do something else to “feed” you. Try Pinterest. I have like 80 boards, most of which I created before I got to Meh. Pinterest helped me redesign my life. It helped me remember what I loved as a kid and what I love now. It allowed me to express my grief and my hopes. It’s like collecting stuff but there’s no clutter. You can spend a LOT of time on Pinterest. I couldn’t even read for the first few months and could only tolerate certain TV shows, but I could do Pinterest all day. You might also try simple FB games or jigsaw puzzles. But for me, Pinterest was the thing. It kept me thinking about myself and my new life instead of Jackass.

              • Pinterest can be a great distraction (for better or worse, LOL). Remember that you can make “private” boards, so you have space to redefine yourself without worrying about what others might think or say. Just after D-Day, I started a board called “Road Ahead” which I used for Pinning quotes about a new life, getting over pain, fear, hope, etc. It was a safe place for me to explore those feelings without my family staging an intervention.

                Another word of warning, if you are trying to curb late-night eating, stay away from the food and recipe stuff! Nothing like starting a workout inspiration board and then falling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest chocolate cakes! (Ask me how I know…).

            • And try walking 1/2 hour to 1 hour every day. That might help you turn yourself around in terms of the eating.

            • Alanon helps me tremendously. And he isn’t even a drinker. I still haven’t figured out how that works out lol.

          • I do believe I am working toward that. But it is hard when you have 27 years and a son together. The support from CN definitely helps.

            • Dave K,

              yes it is hard when there’s a long marriage and a “life” you created and built. I left a 35 year marriage with 3 kids (and 9 moves for THE DOCTOR). And it is a hell of a lot to disconnect from. Thing is, I just don’t see a viable alternative.

              Do you? I’m all ears

              • I am in the same boat – 35 years!! Oh how awful!! I am at 25 and feel as if I am crushed to ashes and have almost nothing to rebuild from. The betrayal is too profound and too deeply wounding. My Dday was 4 months ago and only knew the truth 2 months ago. I know this much- I am going to push myself a little tiny bit every day and I am NOT going back. ever. No contact is the key. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. And, I now expect nothing but shit from him and no longer primary my honesty and decency on him. He is a big stinking pile of shit and I expect nothing but maggots from him. Period. So- arm yourself. Ephesians 6:10 got me through the darkest days. Gray rock and No contact!

              • I’m almost 66–was 62 at D-Day and hear to tell you that you can make a new life that won’t have someone in it who disrespects you and abuses you emotionally.

        • Same as lostntx (hope you and yours as safentx by the way)!

          I am three years out (divorce finalized almost two years ago). Do I think of my X as the person I was married to? Rarely. Will I be there for him or care about what he does? Nope, the person I was married to never existed anywhere but in my head. Now I have good boundaries and my only interactions with my X are through a parenting software. His disorder comes out loud and clear when the only allowed communications in via email.

          Do I get angry when his disorder impact our kiddo’s well being or messes up our parallel parenting plan? Yes, and my triggers are getting lower in intensity and length as my post-cheater life moves forward.

          Keep building your own life Dave K and Dial-a-chump, the more you fill your life with other people to connect with, new horizons you explore, the less real estate your stxb/x will take up… Move one day at a time, and as many chumps mentioned, try journaling your way out of this… And use a dammit doll too, they’ve worked wonders for me :)…

          • Chumptitude, AND whoever

            I do not (cannot?) accept that my cheater fucktard, aka THE DOCTOR, was a shithead from the start. That feels like invalidating a 35 year marriage and – invalidating my life, really.

            Am I wrong to believe that he was – once upon a time – better able to hide his fuckwit status, AND OR really was a better person – who changed?

            MUST I believe he has always sucked? IF SO, the sheer size ands multiple dimension of the illusion I maintained all those years would feel like a massive fraud. That is an experience that an intelligent, self aware woman would not have endured.

            See the problem?

            • I don’t think mine always sucked. For my situation I use a seed analogy. He was mostly a good person but the seeds of suckiness were there (glimpses of selfishness with money, time, shared activities etc.). Over time as I tolerated the behavior the seeds sprouted and began to grow. Like an ivy that chokes out everything around it his disorder did the same. It finally choked out everything pure and good in his life and he moved on like kudzu to another lot to infect. Now, some suck from the beginning but some go from prince charming to a toad. Ok, I mixed my analogies but you get just…

              • Yes. This analogy helps me, too. To think of the behavior or disorder as a weed that just keeps taking over everything.

                To push the metaphor further if I may: I have been trying to spray herbicide on it for years. I have exhausted myself, walking atound under the noonday sun with the heavy tank of weed killer on my back.
                Perhaps it is actually fertilizer all along but I never knew it.

            • I’m not sure it matters. You can’t ever really know what went on in his head. Lots of these cheaters marry and have a lovely family and play out that scenario until it no longer serves them. The kids are grown and gone. There are no more kibbles to get from their prowess at football or their good grades or Susie’s stellar singing voice. Think about it. There’s a man or woman who is missing something you have in abundance: the capacity for deep love and connection. But that person follows the traditional life blueprint, meets a lovely person, marries, buys a house, has the kids, rises in the career. The family is a huge asset that makes the hollow person seem normal. And then, when the career has peaked and the kids are grown–he or she cuts it all loose in favor of newness. It may be that these people don’t even know they not the same as other people. Who knows?

              But live in the present moment. What is he like NOW? How does he treat you NOW? How does he treat the kids NOW? Even if he’s been metaphorically taken over by an alien, like poor Edgar in “Men in Black,” the man you knew or thought you knew is gone. Deal with the alien. Focus on how best to recover from the trauma and protect yourself financially. Thinking about the past or the future (other than to plan for it) is not your friend right now.

              • LovedaJackass- well said. I saw seeds- tiny seeds during our college days- of being super into himself, but that included at the time being very into me, his girlfriend who he wanted to be with because I made him feel great about himself ( he loved who he was from my loving eyes). The seeds grew and he covered the “bad fruit” well.

                I admit I played this game, Doctore’s1stwifeandkids, of going back and trying to construct where I failed. You said “MUST I believe he has always sucked? IF SO, the sheer size ands multiple dimension of the illusion I maintained all those years would feel like a massive fraud. That is an experience that an intelligent, self-aware woman would not have endured.”

                Yes, he became a massive fraud. When I was shocked at what mine had done, my wise brother said, “This did not happen last Wednesday at 3:00.” There is a character flaw in any cheater- a deep character flaw. They do “wrong” by that first look, text, flirt, date,…..and it’s off to the races. No guilt, no empathy, just entitlement, deception and lack of integrity. Mine was a strip club magnet, the more women the better and I hate to say “sex addict” in every way. Yes, for 3 years of our life he even worked from home and we had dinner as a family EVERY NIGHT. But there were occasional golf trips…and run out to meet a “client” The shock was discovering even in those days he was doing porn ( I have to get up at 4:30 to see the report that comes in he would day) I never suspected anything other than he was a hard worker. So if it could happen when I saw him 22 hours a day- imagine what he could do across the country for 10 days at a time “working for our family”

                I am not dumb or stupid, and my innocence came from a good place. I trusted my husband, father of our 4 children, who professed his love to me.
                I could never have done it and I assumed he could not either! I trusted- as I should have and I hope to trust again- someone trustworthy.

                Once you know, and you see they rewrite your joint history, you have to do some counter history rewriting. Tell yourself, you thought this, he clearly did not. This was Christmas 1998, I know what I thought, sucks for him if he had other secret thoughts. That “lie” is his not yours. You were real and be happy for that. It is all you have, all you can control and really, try to make peace with Mr. Cheaterpants in every picture was ???- a mystery sometimes. Again, that is on him, and not you. It does not invalidate you or your kids. FUCK Him- for being a con. It sucks and is not fair and you are rightly heartbroken. Then, get mad that he did this to innocent people and use that righteous anger to make you want to write a new story for today and going forward. The history is behind you. You can’t change a day of it and your lying ex can’t either! He was not miserable for 30+ years, and if he was, he is a fool. But, don’t let your mind go there. I pictured a broom and would literally say sweep, sweep, to those unhealthy thoughts. Anything that is not about YOU or YOUR KIDS health, joy, and future related needs to be swept out.

                Listen to TD Jakes “Let them Go” message and find Chump Lady’s article on betrayal by Anna Fells.

                In the meantime, walk and listen to music or podcast or nature, but don’t let your walks become times to sift through the story of your life with him Trust me, I took too many walk and never heard the birds!!! It is a battle to quiet the mind from that after a long marriage especially.

                Ultimately, you are asking WHY??? It is a valid question, but you will not get that answer. CL says Trust that they SUCK. then there are no questions except the good ones…how will I build my new cheater free life, what do I want to do with the peace that I have (or that is coming) and know your worth in everything.

                For me now, 4 years out even the thoughts that occasionally pop into my head when the kids visit and plan to see him, or text him or discuss him telling stories about childhood… or I hear his voice through the phone when talking to one of them, it can make me squirm a little. I admit it, and then try move on in a better direction. It takes time and you are human!! Be good and patient with yourself!! I feel your pain and CN is here for you.

            • DOCTOR’s1stWife&Kids

              I don’t believe it’s all good or bad, but there are definitely ego hairline fractures in our Xs that grew over time… So what might have started out as indicators of selfishness at a younger age evolve into full blown devalue/discard at a later stage of life.

              I spent about 2 years digging after a decade with a cluster b, trying to figure out what I’d missed, and trying to get wisdom so I won’t get fooled again. Given that your marriage was >30 years, it might take you more time to come to terms with his psychological make-up as well as gain your own unique discerning wisdom about how to build and enforce your newly found boundaries in your life.

              Finding CL/CN was a game changer for me. Through reading other chumps’ comments, CL’s book as well as the gems from CN’s resource section, I started getting a clearer picture of who my X is, what red flags I had spackled over, and what I can do next to distance myself from his influence on my life (we’ll share custody for a number of years):
              Sandra Brown (women who love psychopaths) along with her radio show, especially the relationship cycles of cluster Bs – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/relational-harm-reduction/2014/10/24/after-a-pathological-love-relationship-hes-moved-on-and-is-with-someone-new
              Dr. George Simon’s work on character disorders – https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/
              Lundy Bancroft “Why does he do that?”
              Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed
              by Wendy T. Behary

              There is a fine line between untangling the skein of fuckedupness in our Xs and researching character disorders so we can understand our past, to inform our present and forge on towards a cheater-free life. Feed your brain with evidence, look back at things you interpreted one way and can now interpret in a new way. The more I looked back with these new lenses, the more I could see that when he left an interpretative door open, I would fill in with my projections of goodness and well-meaning interpretations of his nature. Now that I’ve stopped doing this, I have witnessed his selfishness, his deep dysfunction when it comes to empathy, and his immaturity when it comes to post-divorce custody.

              I have had enough evidence put in front of me in the past 3 years to conclude that he sucks, that he was never the person who I thought he was. Was he charming? Yes. Is he successful and respected in his field? Absolutely! Has he shown the depth of attachement and maturity that comes with a decade long marriage forged to fit around his demanding career? Nope.

              I thought I had married a diamond in the rough, full of potential and a few quirky edges… Experiences in life that add depth to diamonds only added edges to his personality. Finding out about his affair crushed my heart, the long and tortuous path to divorcing him crushed my soul, and parallel parenting with him regularly reminds me that divorcing him was not a choice, it was the only choice our kiddo and I had to build a peaceful future for ourselves.

            • I’m a chump doctor who married a cheating fucktard doctor. 2 kids and 10 years was hard enough. You have all of my sympathy, having to look back on 35 years (BIG hugs). “It gets easier someday” likely seems cold comfort at this stage. I remember reading that (on Chump Lady), and feeling like it was of little help at that time. Right now, the world as you know it probably feels like it’s ending and tomorrow (let alone “someday”) is difficult enough to imagine. My advice is to try to recognize that you’re in the “just got hit with a frying pan” stage. It’s very disorienting, and to try to do A-bomb detonation reconstruction while you feel this way is probably a tail-chasing endeavor. You need to try to change your focus to yourself, your children, and the other things in your life that you do get to salvage (especially a good divorce settlement). Your life wasn’t a lie… HE lied to you. The what, when’s, how’s and why’s will eventually come to you on the other side. Or, they won’t. You might just have to settle for “I did nothing wrong, there were no signs, and I got screwed by a psychopath”. I promise, once you’re in a better place 2 things will happen… 1) you’ll realize things about your marriage that you were/are too close to at the time to see, and 2) it won’t matter as much to you anymore. Either way, time is on your side. Please be kind to yourself and realize that you don’t have to figure EVERYTHING out this second. YOU matter. YOU invested. You CAN get to walk away from this with that investment and everything that comes with it, sans the cheating scumbag. Best of luck and stay strong!

            • I think they probably always had narcissistic traits, and that the status for men in the medical profession allows this to flourish into something worse over the years. I clearly remember a few years into our marriage my ex being disgusted by his senior surgeon who had an affair with a young physiotherapist. His wife left him & my ex was thrilled that she got a great settlement and moved away. I’m sure he was genuinely disapproving at the time, but yet somehow along the way he became the very person he despised.

        • I still think about him too. It would be impossible not to because they are such a large part of our timelines to date. What I notice though is that the emotion attached to the thinking when it happens has gradually changed. So now I think about him and is usually accompanied with the feeling equivalent of an eye roll or shudder. Then the thought goes.

          Brains are complicated as are the bonds we form. Hostages forge strong connections with captors, abuse survivors their abusers and so on.

          You can’t eradicate them from your mind, history or experience because the imprint is there, but you CAN completely change the way you feel about them when the thought arrives.

          • Nicely put Zhuchi. I still think of mine most days, over 4 years since DDay (no doubt coparenting perpetuates it) and it’s still a temptation for me to go down my well-worn rumination path. But with time I can now just say to myself “there are those unpleasant divorce thoughts again” and let it go.

    • I had actually written a list like this before finding out he had an affair. I did it so I could see if there were commonalities or irrational things that I was “hating” him for. I wanted to see if it was fixable. Then deleted it or thought I did. I found it in my drafts and I was mortified that it still existed. I would never want him to see that. But then I found out and now I’ve been avoiding recreating the list.

    • No contact when done properly works a treat. It gives you time to focus on you…. don’t use it to get back at your ex,because in most cases he won’t give a shit. I started NC pretty much immediately…and god was it hard,but as the days went by I realised I needed to do it to get perspective and start healing. I’d known for 2 years I wanted out, but wasn’t strong enough to brooch the subject till he asked me why we weren’t connecting. To me that was a door opening. We split and naively I thought we would co parent in harmony…wrong! I subsequently found out he’d been messing with the local bike! Told our daughter he was in love…bla,bla,bla. I got angry,and went NC. I also decided to get what I was owed. I know so much about his job/business,took photocopies,and set my demands…and yes I got exactly what I asked for. Told him I wouldn’t be Selling the house,and he would be paying half the mortgage…..I threw everything of his out…designer clothing,shoes,everything that was his….I became very clever at keeping my cards close to my chest…I’d gone back to work several months before he found out…brought a car and handed him the lease car he’d sorted for me…oh dear, left him with a big bill,to get out the contract…..all done with a concerned look on my face! I became a much better version of me, loosing weight,taking care of me ,and getting back to the woman I was. At 50 i scrub up quite nicely. I’ve dropped mutual friends whom I distrust,blocked him off all phones and he hates it. During the last six months he’s rang my friends husbands to ask what I’m doing,if I’m seeing anyone,had one of his friends try and follow me,come to the house demanding I don’t see anyone, tried manipulation,asked my son (not his) if he will let him know if any man comes to the house, turned up for pathetic reasons,told our daughter he still loves me ( ughhh), had his sister spy on my FB ( she was removed but not before I told her what I thought of her)…. he has behaved like the twat he is, however I see a sad,pathetic man who is stuck with a woman that looks cheap ,and has a reputation ….he’s put even more weight on, looks like shit,and tries talking at every opportunity when he picks our daughter up…infact he’s sat outside ours more than he is at hers….it’s quite sad really.i just see a very unhappy person who is hanging by the skin of his teeth….his world is very different…and he only has himself to blame. I would have loved to have remained friends….and I’m very careful what I say around our daughter,but he deserves all the shit he’s going through. I don’t need a man like that in my life. When I wobble,I go back to the list of shit he’s done,and I’m back to getting on with my life without him in it. Yes it’s scary at hell, but it’s soooooo worth it.

  • Great advice CL! I was emailing and texting my ex occasionally, mainly regarding practical issues but once in a while about my feelings. He usually responded to rhe practical ones but never the emotional ones. I realised I was just maintaining contact and that it wasn’t doing me any good. I have tried to be strong and now can go weeks with no contact. It does get easier and is so worth it for your peace of mind and self esteem. You can do it. Take back your power.

    • The emotional thing is really hard. Up front I had a lot of “why”s and feelings to air, and I found the same to be true — no response, or now it’s all about making himself the victim and self-pity. It’s almost as if he wants me to admit that I made him cheat or it was my fault the marriage ended, which I will never do (it is said here a lot that the infidelity is a result of a character flaw/entitlement, and that they have a choice in how to end a relationship if they so desire and they go the hurtful, selfish, secretive, cake-eating route…and it’s true — they are soul-sucking, self-important cowards!). If you’re not there yet, you will realize in time that they will never give you the answers you’re looking for…better to sort that stuff out with friends/family/therapy. I stick to the practical stuff now — i.e. my daughter, the only reason I have any contact at all. When I think about how horrible, selfish, hurtful, and utterly soul-crushing what he did was, it makes it so much easier to go as no contact as I can.

    • Great insight, Georgie!

      Going No Contact really is taking back your power.

      Here’s the thing. Cheating is a form of abuse, and abuse rarely happens in a vacuum. The Chump learns to make his or her needs small to avoid drama. If you’ve ever felt as if you had to walk on eggshells, then you’ve been a target of abuse.

      No Contact gives you permission to do things your own way. You learn how to manage your time in a way that works for you and at your convenience, not for your Cheater’s convenience. You learn how to have a conversation without fear of an argument. You learn what it sounds like to have peacefulness in your house.

      So yes, No Contact helps you regain what you lost.

      • KB,

        You said it so well! 30 years with my husband were eggshells. I was just learning to fully appreciate the peace and then my husband called to tell me he is having surgery tomorrow. Why do I immediately feel like I should be taking care of him?? I hate that! But old habits are really hard to break, especially after a 30 year marriage.

  • There’s a book called Don’t Call That Man! which is quite helpful. It really does take lying on the floor and clutching the carpet, minute by minute sometimes. But you will get there.

    You just have to WANT to do it, more than anything else, and that’s the biggest battle you will fight.

    Make it a game, or a contest with yourself, if it helps. Get yourself rewards for staying No Contact for certain periods.

    It really is the path to the truth and the light. Please believe us when we say this. We’ve all lived it. I have never been so beautifully and cleanly healed as I was when I was able to go full No Contact with someone, and stick to it.

    • DBT techniques:
      Hold an ice cube and don’t let go*
      Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it hard
      Vacuum the house first
      Go for a walk first

      *ice cube is guaranteed!!!

      There are more but it’s all about changing the thought.

    • I used to have 30 rocks in a jar, every day of no contact I moved the rock. Many times I had to start over. Every time I had to start over it seriously pissed me off. Eventually I got there. I rewarded myself with each increase of time of no contact. Narcissists hate to be ignored…. all the more reason.

      • “Narcissists hate to be ignored…. all the more reason.”

        This.

        On my most difficult days of NC, this is what kept me strong. I knew this was the only way I could tell x to fuck off, and let him know he couldn’t hurt me any more.

        Stay strong. You can do this.

        • I am going strong – 3 months no phone conversation – a few gray rock emails.

          Here is what I WANT to say though – so you all get to read today, because I am so annoyed at this discard of me and his kids.

          “You, cheater pants, are a real shitty person. You not only discarded me but your amazing adult children and you adorable grand daughter. You have not seen your OWN son in over a year!. Who does that to their kids? And yet you moved in with your trash whore girlfriend, AND her kids. She is a total downgrade. She lost custody of two of her kids and YOU PAID for her attorney to get them back – and you YOU WILL NOT CONTACT YOUR OWN KIDS? What the ever living F*** is wrong with you? YOU CANNOT GET BACK TIME! Your trash whore GF other daughter had a drug overdose because mommy dearest has 4 kids from three men and now threw her daughters into living with you, your whore also lied to her son, the sperm donor and the guy who paid child support for 20 years about who his dad was! A 20 year lie! And that poor kid tried to commit suicide twice. And yet you say she is a “simple girl”. Yea right. Oh yea and she voluntarily gave up custody of her youngest daughter to be with you.

          You truly do suck. I am way proud I am NC with you. But you discarded your kids. That is just plain wrong. Who the hell does that?

          Your girlfriend is trash. You suck”

          Rant over.

          And yea, thinking about how they both tried to manipulate me, and ALL THE LIES he told me reminds me yes he truly sucks.

          Thanks CN.

          • Wow. Just. Wow. He really does suck. The pain of this discard is just hard to fathom. I’m so glad I have someplace to come vent. I’m glad you have found a home here too, in the club nobody wants to be in.

            I hope you find joy and peace in your life. I am glad you are the sane parent for your children and grandchild. Please accept my deepest sympathies in your loss of what you thought was a husband, father, and human being.

          • Ah. This is such a good place to vent where people get it and agree with you.

            I am so glad your children and grandchild have you. It sounds like they know they are lucky to have you too.

          • Livefortoday – wow they are such trash! And I thought my STBX’s AP was trash! Hugs to you! So glad he is out of your life!!!!

    • Agreed-make it a contest with yourself. At 6 months I was still texting my ex for validation, until I turned it into a contest. If I kept him blocked and didn’t contact him I marked it off on my calendar. After I made it a whole week, I realized I would have to start all over if I contacted him. The more time that passed the easier it was. When I was tempted to contact him I thought about how shitty he made me feel.

      No contact is hard. Don’t feel bad about yourself. Just keep practicing, and eventually you’ll get there. Its the only way to heal.

  • I have also included shithead on group texts with my adult sons until I realized that was violating the no contact rule of CL. I have also stopped asking him the status of stuff he is supposed to do and when he is going to get it done to sell the house. Now I just say if this does not get done by x date, I will hire someone and charge it to your proceeds. Somehow that gets his attention and amazingly, it gets done. It getting easier. He does suck and he has never been a good communicator anyway so his responses aren’t meaningful anyway.

    • That’s a good technique I’ve found, always have a plan for when they stall on things.

      So instead of a message saying “you need to do this” and then you wait in suspense.

      You send this sort of message. “Please get this done by xxxx or I will do xxx” so you’re not even inviting a reply.

      Taking it a step further would be “im going to do xxxx on date xxxx unless you’ve done xxxx beforehand.” There – even less need to reply.

        • Amiisfree, made it through yesterday’s court hearing with fuckwit. Your imagery kept me in good humor and made me feel more relaxed. I shared it with lawyers who are totally supportive and reassuring of the fact that he won’t change.

          To dial a chump, this is right that there is no negotiation and you can’t negotiate with a narc anyway. Yesterday we negotiated a temporary support agreement through lawyers and I thought it was fair despite the fact I did not get everything I wanted. It is enough for me to get by in the interim so I was pleased and relieved. It was very apparent, though that stbx was angry and pouty. He wouldn’t even stand for the part where he had to acknowledge to the judge that he understood the agreement and he wasn’t coerced. His lawyer stood while he sat pouting! (I want all the toys! Lol) As my lawyer said, he is playing to win at all costs. You have to walk away.

          Thanks for all your good wishes yesterday. I can toot my own horn and take a step from chumpdom- I looked strong and relaxed. Stbx- he still presented as a nervous, angry, narcissistic asshole!

          • P.S. By the way, work on your self talk to get x and ap out of your head. Yesterday, that was really easy for me. I actually had a feeling of pity for him when I walked in and he looked like a scared little kid who smiled when he saw my familiar face, but then I just looked away. I wondered if schmoopie would find him so attractive if she saw him acting the way he was. Probably because she would spackle and say it was just because I abused him, but that is her problem and I can just shake my head and say what a pathetic pair. Focus on the crap and realize they don’t change and you are above that!

          • Good for you, Feelingit! I have found that even when you don’t get everything you want to focus on what you did get. And most importantly, you are one step closer to the ultimate prize…a divorce.

          • Cheater
            Playing to win at all costs=angry and pouty

            Feelingit
            Good humour, strong and relaxed.

            Yep, YOU, my dear, are mighty!

            I am so proud of YOU!
            Stay strong,

            truth=victory!

      • I sent my ex a thirty day “drop dead” letter in July to remove his belongings or they will be deemed abandoned. Divorced in November and he started with a three page list including statements like “entire contents of garage”. Well, he did not respond to letter and gets nothing. Imagine, the first sixty years of his life are gone!

        Regarding any other contact with him? There is none. Yes, I find myself actually MISSING the person that I thought he was. I now know that I was sadly mistaken/ mislead about the person that he actually is. (And deep down, I know that without me, he is even less of a person!)

        • “And deep down, I know that without me, he is even less of a person!”

          NMF, I agree—without us they are definitely diminished people. When I was married, for more than 30 years I managed my x’s relationships with our kids, with our couple friends, and even with his own family. When I was around, he was able to simulate being a normal person who has normal relationships.

          When you think about it, that’s part of why they picked us. Their narc spidey sense told them we would be good candidates to make them look better to the whole world.

          Without us, they sink to their own level. Even though I am strictly NC with my x and have been for quite some time, the bits and pieces I hear from kids and friends indicate that he is an isolated, unhappy, emotionally sick man. Same as he always was, except without me he can’t hide it.

          • Yes this is exactly what I went through! Spackled without knowing it and kept him and his relationships intact. W/O me he is a mess and no one will talk to him except his AP (and our son). I made him a better person. He is lost now!!!! I am better off w/o him!!!

        • I should probably add that I also miss the person I thought he was. But it’s hard to sustain feelings for someone who never existed. My therapist helps by referring to him as “your imaginary friend.”

            • lostntx

              I was married 35years so I know my addiction to THE DOCTOR is powerful. I want to evict him from my head. I really loved him.

              And now I have to unlove him. How do you do it? Also, he seems not to care much about seeing our kids. That baffles me. I recall clearly how good a dad he once was. That was then, this is now.

              I want not to care. And to be happy. And why do I eat more? I want to lose weight but find myself eating late at night. It’s like I am sabotaging my already fragile self esteem.

              Shit.

            • This. Lived that lie for 38 years. No more. I still grieve. For my adult children and grandkids, mostly. They belived the lie also.

        • ‘NotMyFault’, woman……it sounds like time for a good old fashioned Craigslist Curb Alert. If you have fulfilled any legal obligation of allowing him access to get his belongs, dump all that shite at the curb and post a Craigslist ad: “Free”. It will all be gone in in mere minutes. Problem solved! lol!

      • The “if… then” method has been working very well for me too…

        I started applying it along with the BIFF method from Bill Eddie (http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/biff-responses/78-hci-articles/published-articles/87-responding-to-hostile-email), and this has been life altering post-divorce in both my personal and professional life.

        For chumps that have kids and therefore will have to navigate custody issues, start using BIFF and well constructed “If…then” written statements today… They are like kryptonite to the disordered… If you are still divorcing, try and get as much custody time as possible, and look for parallel parenting custody agreements, I’ve spent considerable time crafting mine, my lawyer thought it was way too detailed, but guess what, the two issues I’ve left out are the only ones that lead to continued conflict…

        For new chumps with grown children, go NC and find a pitbull lawyer and get as much as you can from your divorce… Please remember that to the entitled fairness feels like oppression… And cheaters are among the most entitled people on earth… Chumps tend to be too “reasonable” in their divorce proceedings, get all you can and run!

        • I think I used to know about the BIFF method, but thanks for the reminder. The examples are great. Thanks for the link.

  • Of all the people the world, the cheater was the one whose company I craved. I was nodding in empathy reading your letter, Dial. I used to WAIL over my cheater. I put my cell phone in my safety deposit box at the bank so I could not call him and I would not know he was not contacting me.

    Several things will help tremendously in terms of visualization. Imagine him with this AM skank and them rolling their eyes when you call. Imagine him greedily devouring another woman’s naked body. Imagine that you are the butt of their jokes. Imagine him viewing you as a clown.

    And, I should not tell you this- because you never want to get back with a cheater. But, you are an open book right now. No mystery. Rejection breeds obsession. Flip the script. Reject him! Imagine him scratching his empty head when you just stop. No contact. You become the mystery.

    Sadly, I tried that with the cheater in my life and he was just done. He ghosted me, and large part of it was that I would not do illegal drugs with him. I was not going to pick me dance into prison.

    Buckle down and direct that energy of focusing on him on you. He is not your friend. He is your enemy. Who calls their enemy?

      • And if not the butt of their jokes, you provided them with MORE reasons to bond.

        One of the main topics of conversation between CheaterX and Schmoopie was that I sucked at cooking, at cleaning, etc. The fact that two years previously CheaterX was incredibly grateful that I could cook well and that I cleaned made no difference. Apparently those were the things that I’ve “always” been bad at. 😛

        Many an electron died in the texts that they used to send each other, talking about my lack of skills and my general horribleness.

        The point is that a lot of their relationship was defined by my presence. They could complain about me. They could sneak around me. They could unite against me. They couldn’t wait until I was out of the house, and when I left, Schmoopie moved in that same day and they got married 2 months later.

        Once I was out of the picture, they had nothing. And divorced within a year.

        • Nothing bonds two clueless morons like a mutual hatred of a manufactured villain. Sadly, that villain was me. Like you, I was unaware of how much my presence was needed to give them something to talk about and to rally against.
          Good for you for realizing it wa earlier than I did

          • So TRUE!! I’m sure they totally get off on making me crazy.

            Fortunately, that isn’t going to work for much longer.

            • Because now that they’ve got a bun in da oven, I’m quickly getting to the point of really not giving a shit anymore.

              Although I do feel sorry for the kid who has two fuckwits as parents.

              It’s one thing to breed with a fuckwit. It’s an entirely different thing when 2 fuckwits breed.

    • And know, too, that it was the person you wanted the cheater to be that you miss, not the person that the cheater actually was. Once someone likes like that, every other thing they say is suspect. You miss the illusion, not the reality.

    • “I was not going to pick me dance into prison.” Smart move LoveDay! But as I continued reading it occurred to me that EVERY pick-me dance leads to prison – the emotional, abusive sort rather than a physical one but every bit as traumatic.

    • Imagining the man I married screwing prostitutes (young, old, trans…you name it) was one of the reasons why I called it quits — I couldn’t get these images out of my head during wreckonciliation. And now it’s one of the things that keeps me away from ever entertaining any possibility of even being friends in the future. What they’ve done to lead us to where we are now is just utterly revolting. Good riddance to bad people.

      • I know. Would you actually entertain a friend who was porking prostitutes, trannies and engaging in promiscuous sex. Hell no! I wouldn’t even tough this person with a ten foot pole, let alone want them in my circle of friends. I’m sorry you were married to walking STD. Good for you for getting rid of the trash!

  • Dear Help – You are not alone. And, what you are feeling is very normal… but it is a feeling, and in time, your feelings WILL CHANGE.

    I was bonded to Mr. Sparkles. I loved truly and deeply and wanted to be married to him forever. He didn’t. That fact still sends me reeling some days, and it has been 3 years since he left and 9 months since the divorce was final.

    In the beginning, here are some things I did to establish No Contact, maybe they will help:

    – Change his name in your Contacts – I started with Mr. Sparkles… then changed it to Ted Bundy (because he exposed me to STDs)… then changed it to the current one: Bisexual Lying Whore. For me, this keeps me immediately reminded that he is not my friend. He is someone who put me in the line of a bullet and he is someone who destroyed my children’s home and stability.

    – Journal. Everytime I wanted to contact him and tell him about my “feelings”, I wrote them in the journal. Then I would Google phrases from the journal writings (abandonment, narcissism, gaslighting, etc.)… and I would journal about what I was learning. I was changing the wiring in my brain to understand my feelings versus facts.

    – Build a network of friends who will always accept your text, call or visit. Rotate them so no one feels that your survival solely rests on them – but DO use them for contact vs. your X. Stop trying to communicate with someone who’s only interest is to cause you harm. STOP.

    – Give yourself time. Be gentle with yourself. It sounds like you’ve taken some amazing strides already… the divorce is moving along, you’ve got a new job, your child is in high school… focus on that. .. because that is MIGHTY.

    – Lastly, STOP all text and phone communication. Email only. And, before you click send, go through and remove any and all content that reveals anything you are feeling. JUST THE FACTS and any ACTION you need your fuckwit to take. Close the door to your soul on this monster.

    You’ll get there, Help, you will. Take it an hour at a time if you have to… before you know it, you’ll have years under your belt and you’ll have a new freedom away from the shitshow of his future.

    • Id love to rename him Mr Twatwaffles in my contacts, but my girls use my phone to call him and I don’t want them to see that. So he remains in my contacts as the name his mother gave him.

      • The thought that someday when your daughters no longer use your phone he will become Mr. Twatwaffles in your contacts makes me smile. My kids are grown so my ex is Edgar Suit in my contacts.

          • My phone knows ex (finally ex!) as DH.

            Of course that means dickhead (which doesn’t even earn capital letters) but my kid thinks it means Dad’s House.

            This petty act of resistance has made me smile/giggle in the midst of some huge emotional shitstorms.

            • I love that Mehsmerized! What a clever way to tell it like it is without hurting your kid. That’s not a petty act of resistance, it’s a MIGHTY one! *high five*

      • This makes me smile too. I will say that changing the name in contacts seems so minute, but it is so helpful. I changed my ex to [daughter’s name]’s father. It keeps her front and center in any contact that has to occur with that asshat.

      • Mine is Hemorrhoid in my phone and the affair partner is Whore. The hemorrhoid and the whore roll off the tongue so well! And describes them both to a tee.

      • My phone calls him hemorrhoid and her whore. The hemorrhoid and the Whore roll off the tongue so well and is so accurate in its description!

        • Lol!! That really did make me
          Laugh out loud! Mine was named, Jackass Liar”! I just recently changed it to the name he lived under for more than two years. This keeps me from feeling sorry for him or projecting my good character on that him or thinking about the person he once was. The person he no longer is. He’s a fuckturd now. I don’t really even know what that is….I am now a total trashmouth…thanks this whole
          Trauma!

      • My 11 year old daughter changed his name to “person” in her phone. I do not wish her this pain, but I nearly fainted at the way this young person voided him with one word. I wish I had her strength. I so struggle with validating her very good instincts and encouraging her relationship with her father…but that is another post. Still, I think person might be the coldest nickname I have ever heard.

    • Hey that reminds me. I need some advice. If all goes well, STBX will graduate to Ex on September 22. I need to come up with a good nickname to use on CL, my phone and wherever. I have been working on not loving him anymore. I don’t hate him either, however and I don’t really want to hate him. I think the best I can say is that I am disappointed in him and have come to realize that he will always disappoint me. I am also starting to realize that he is a fake for whom image is paramount. I need something that conveys subtle contempt but not hatred because he isn’t worth that.

      Any ideas? I would love to see what you all could come up with.

      • You could try Empty Promises, the Let Down, Mr. Poof! (refers to his fake image).

        Others will doubtless have creative ideas.

      • I am thinking LetMeDown, ManChild, Clueless, or OffChasingRainbows.

        The first one reminds me what he did, the last one tells me what he is doing now, and the middle two describe who he is.

      • How about Faux______ (whatever his first name is)? Or Mr. Disappointment? Or just Mr. D – could be Dad but you will know…

          • I just checked and Haggar the Whoreable is still in my phone. WTF is wrong with me? DELETE, DELETE…..DELETE. There will never be a reason for this spineless coward shitbag to ever contact me. He wanted me dead so he could take everything I worked for and go on with Ankles. He almost won.

            As for No Contact. He ghosted upon discovery. I can only imagine the lies he has told himself and everyone else. The only people that I care about in his family knew the truth and that is all that matters. Death is too good for him.

            Maybe not MEH today.

            • I wish mine would ghost, but he likes to pretend he’s a good dad to our 2 girls… and ignore the fact that he discarded our family for ALPO’s 3 kids and now bun in da oven.

              I think she thinks having a kid will keep him.

              NOPE…

      • “Plastic Bacon.” I once a long time ago watched a 60 Minutes segment on art forgeries and questionable attributions, and the commentator asked the art authenticator whether it made any difference if something were fake if you couldn’t tell the difference. The authenticator drew up his British face and asked, in a veddy British cultured accent: “Do you like plastic bacon?” I’ve used this ever since to designate fakes.

        • I like that.

          Actually I am leaning towards just going with Fuckwit. It might be a little harsher than I was aiming for, but that’s how I think of him in my head most of the time.

          I just remembered, however, that I can’t put it in my phone just yet as my youngest won’t get his phone for another year. In the meantime he texts using his I-pad which is currently linked to my phone. Somehow I doubt “Fuckwit” would be willing to switch that link to his phone.

      • My STBX’s nickname is Woody, after Woody Allen, because he got wood for my niece when she came to live with us so we could help her with college. Despite their 30-year age difference, the two of them fell in wuv and couldn’t stop themselves from playing house when Auntie was out, poor things.

        The name Woody also fits him because inside he’s as empty as a hollow log, even though he puts on a good act of being a solid oak.

        Our friends are shocked to learn that we’re separated because the last they knew, we were obviously devoted to each other and still in love after thirteen years of marriage. That’s what I thought, too, until my detective work about the uncle-fucking also turned up evidence of his secret life of emotional affairs with married women dating back to at least 2011. A sly covert narc, he is.

        This is my first post after lurking in Chump Nation for several months of trickle truth and wreckonciliation with a sparkly unicorn. I left him one month ago tomorrow for a long cross-country road trip to deliver me from temptation and heal my broken heart with the love of family and friends.

        I am still very far from Meh, but that’s the address in my GPS.

  • Like CL said, this is an addiction. Think of it as kicking cigarettes or alcohol or sugar. Don’t let the Cheater rent real estate in your head, this is what they want! The absolute IRONY of NC is that once you break the addiction (you’re addicted to Cheater), YOUR head comes of the fog (unlike RIC that espouses the cheater is in a fog, CHUMPS are the true ones in a fog), and really employ NC, The Cheater WILL notice and either start hoovering, raging, and/or try to come back. Because you’ve cut off a supply of kibbles and cake for them. But after employing NC, because you’re out of the fog and away from their stench of abuse that radiates outward, you’ll be repulsed that they try to come back, and you’ll want him far, far away. NC breaks their evil spell.

    • So true Chris W. After Dday #2 for me, yes I didn’t trust that he sucked the first time around and found another schmoopie years later.

      The first time (that I know of) with schmoopie 1.0 he left the kids and I for when they were toddlers, the only info out there was midlife crisis. Yes that must be it, I thought and searched everything I could find to attribute his shittiness to this. We were in our early 30’s.

      The second time (that I know of) with schmoopie 2.0 that he left his teenage kids and I for, the info I found on RIC sites was ‘affair fog/bubble’. Yes that must be it! My poor husband is on a ho high.

      At least I got mighty this time and lawyered up. Truthfully I initially thought he was going to set us back about thirty grande trying to find himself. I think I was doing the ‘180’. I went as no contact as I could. When the 90 day waiting period was up, I filed.

      It’s been a year since divorce was final. I’ve blocked that shit of hoovering and him texting me. Initially I was waiting for him to come to his senses, meanwhile I came to mine.

        • “Initially I was waiting for him to come to his senses, meanwhile I came to mine.”

          This is the miracle that takes place with “no contact”.

        • I second that!

          I took (or tried to take) my space during the months following the revelation of his prostitution use. The more time passed, the less I wanted to do with him, including his overtures into the space I was trying to take for myself in order to get it all sorted in my head/heart. That was part of the repulsion. He wouldn’t let me be angry/grieve. His passive aggressive and self-pitying behavior shows me that he never would have. He just wants all bad feelings to be over now. Ha — no dice, buddy.

  • Total 100% true, been there done that.

    Look at some of the benefits of the No Contact thing over the next 6 months till you re-wire your brain.

    – You will probably loose weight
    – You will find old friends that he/she scared away come back to support you
    – You will rediscover who you are and things you always wanted to do but could not and you are now doing

    One thing I did was for a period of 2 months I signed up for some MeetUp groups and tried to make new friends. I made a rule for myself to say YES to any new experience they offered me that was not illegal and not sexual just to experience it and wake me up.

    IT WORKED 🙂

    You have good times coming, you just do not realize it yet.

  • I agree with CL’s description that it is a habit that you just need to break. It’s very hard to make your heart disconnect from someone when you’ve been part of a couple for so long. I was so used to knowing what my ex was doing during the day (well – obviously I didn’t know EVERYTHING he was doing, now did I??!! – but I digress…). Going from being a partner with someone and sharing your day-to-day thoughts, or just funny observations with them regularly, to no contact at all is jarring and difficult to process. I had to keep telling myself “he doesn’t care, Eyesopennow, so don’t text him!!” It takes time and willpower, but it can be done. Once I had a few days, then a few weeks of limited contact (about our minor son) under my belt, it started to become a new habit and my emotional separation from him could really begin. You can do this Dial-a-chump, and soon you’ll be too busy building your new life to think about him anymore!

  • Hoooo boy. I’ve been there. Feels like a million years ago but I’ve been there. My best advice about implementing NC is to fake it ’til you make it. Yes, you will be feeling an awful pull to break NC, and you should allow yourself to feel *all* the feelings that come up. But this is a time when you need to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, until finally the forcing is not hard anymore, and is more like dancing. Here’s a poem that helped me “ignore the howling” in my blood.

    When he says
    He doesn’t love you anymore,
    Roll your shoulders back
    And look him in the eye
    Even when it feels like your ribs
    Are breaking inward, like spider legs.
    When he digs up old aches
    That he swore he forgave you for,
    Smile
    And ask him why he didn’t leave you sooner.
    Ignore the way the words feel like sandpaper
    Running all the way up your throat to your mouth.
    When he blames you
    For mistakes that wear his face,
    Do not scream.
    Do not cry.
    Tell him that there are boys
    Who would be proud to say they’d loved you.
    Tell him that in two years
    You won’t even remember his name
    And don’t let him see the way you can taste your own lie.
    When he leaves
    Ignore the howling in your blood
    And do not get up after him.
    Not even to lock the door.
    Do not, do not
    Do not.
    Smell his shirts when you box them up
    To give them back.
    Not one.
    Swear off dating when you realize
    You’re chasing ghosts that wear his smile.
    It’s okay to cry over him.
    It’s even okay to forgive him.
    But do not go back to him.
    If he did not know how to love you the first time,
    He won’t know how to do it the next.

    –How To Pretend It Doesn’t Hurt, by Ashe Vernon

    • That is a wonderful poem. So many important things to consciously do to break free of the hold X has on you (especially if it’s only self-imposed — this can be harder to tame).

  • You know what you are? The laugh around the beer cooler after the softball game….the “Crazy Ex-Wife” who won’t leave him alone because he is so awesome and wonderful. He gets off on that shit…he enjoys the thrill. It’s his drug. Quit contacting him and feeding his drug habit. That stupid fuck will start contacting you trying to get his drugs. Take your power back…..don’t reply. Not even to say “Fuck Off.”

    • YES! Do not make his narrative true. They have to be spewing this stuff to anyone who will listen in order to make their own poor choices and general shittiness as human beings be okay and presentable to others (and most often times themselves).

  • I went through a bit of this. Both my lawyer and my counsellors( yes plural) encouraged me to go completely no contact. I was trying to negotiate with him( I know I know), he loved in and just about drove me crazy. Agreed to a separation agreement four times( yes four!) then after I paid thousands of dollars to have it all set up ( he wouldn’t pay a lawyer), he would refuse to sign it. I also looked at his AP facebook page twice( felt physically ill for about 2 days both times–that put a stop to it). Your sanity is not worth doing it believe me I know. Most of us have been there. I went strict no contact as soon as the separation agreement was signed in December. He sent me a mothers day message which I answered with Thank you, just so he couldn’t say I was being rude. My birthday is next week, and if he texts me I won’t answer, my new found peace of mind is too precious. Hugs and know that no contact is the way and the light.

  • I can only imagine the narrative he has come up with because of this… “She’s so pathetic and can’t let go. I speak to her only out of pity hoping one day she’ll accept I don’t love her” ______________insert any other narrative that makes him the selfless giver and you the pathetic downcast. Why would you want him to believe he is anything more to you than a selfish self-centered ass? Equitable relationships are based on equal value, he’s already shown you he does not value you, yet your actions tell him he is valuable to you. It took me a long time to get this, but I finally realized I was giving my ex asshat permission to devalue me by continuing the same behavior. As the old saying goes “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity!” Are you waiting for him to write your happy ending? The one where he changes, sees the error of his ways and becomes the character you want him to be? (Those are probably the lies he spouted about who he was, and you are still waiting for that person to show up). Let go of that cherished idea and find a new dream- the one where you are respected, valued and loved by you.
    I also co-parent (well more like parallel parent) with a fuckwit, but there is NEVER any emotion in my communications, just the facts. He lost the right to know anything about my inner world. That is reserved for people who actually care about how I feel.

    • My X has done sort of the opposite where he is the pathetic one (i.e. victim) and I am the big meanie. But the rest rings true…he will paint the story any way that suits the explanation for his poor choices. Co/parallel parenting here too, and that’s exactly what I told the sad sack when I unfriended him on FB and he was frowny about it — he doesn’t get access to my personal world anymore. Straight up business is the only way to go “no” contact, and it is more or less working (albeit much slower than if I could just never see or speak to him again).

    • Got a brain I like that. ‘He lost the right to know anything about my inner world. That is reserved for people who actually care about how I feel ‘ I must remember that.

  • You need to ask yourself “exactly WHO are you missing” ?

    Are you really missing the man who casually betrayed you and his marriage vows for a tramp ? A man who didn’t care if you got an std or if he destroyed his marriage for some sex on the side ?
    No, you miss YOUR image of who he was — your loving partner, husband, lover and friend. The problem is that that person never really existed. One of the hardest things to get over after I divorced was to realize that she was never the person that I thought she was.

    Do what you have to and do not under any circumstances contact him. Block him on the phone and but his email address in the spam filter and move on with your life, he obviously has !

  • The poet Rupi Kaur reminds us, “do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you.” By going back to these losers again and again we are looking for something they simply can’t give us: peace. Not gonna happen, we will only find abuse even in the simple exchange of pleasantries. “Why did he throw me away! When is he going to admit he was wrong and he wants his family back?!” a hit off the hopium pipe, but only arrogance and abuse is delivered. No peace to be had from the disordered, at best it is snake oil promises and head games. He and the skank probably share the texts and enjoy a good belly laugh watching you crawl to pick up a few little crumbs. Make no mistake, you are being mocked.

    I keep Rupi’s saying with her associated drawing of the sad figure crumpled at the feet of some larger, faceless person on my fridge and a copy on my bulletin board at work. Her Milk and Honey collection of poems made me cry as a Chump seeing myself over and over again in her writing, and the poems in that book that relate to self-worth are really good. My adult daughter gave that book to me in the throes of this horror.

    And I did make a list, 6 pages of things I put up with in the last three decades. That was a huge help in the darkest hours. I never have to deal with those things again and I refuse to put up with them in anyone new in my life. From gross bathroom habits to awful treatment of me, I wrote it all down and it was cathartic. Those crumpled pages have been carried by me every day now for 5 months– I still look at them a couple times a week and will put them away with my final divorce papers coming at the end of September.

    And finally, Chump Lady. I have a sort of electronic journal with pages of screen shots of the very best quotes and comments from the archives and from Chump Nation, peppered in with my own free form narratives when I have some clarity or memory I want to write down, or the ‘Unsent Letters’ to him I have thrashed out in a fit of anger. It is a place to collect all my thoughts and I has kept me from reaching out to him at my lowest points.

    Hang in there, D-a-C.

    • Now I.C.-

      The quote you like — “do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you.” — reminds me of one of my favs: Do not seek comfort from the source of your pain.

      Mighty on!

  • PS: You need to journal.

    Write it all out. Doesn’t matter how stupid – use bullet points if you have to.

    Write it for YOURSELF, not them. Unsent letter stuff is better when you are stronger – there are phases or stages in No Contact.

  • It took me awhile, but no contact really is the way to healing and freedom. Now I get irritated if the ex texts me (lately, it’s “how are things going? everything going well?” which I ignore). We just had an email exchange over the weekend about finances which he, of course, turned around on me like it’s my fault he got fired and can’t pay his bills and child support (hello? You have a two-income household since you’re living with the whore! Oh, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea since she’s horrible with money, too?). Last week, I wasn’t feeling mighty enough to tell him to stop contacting me (I’ve done this before). But on Sunday, I’d had enough. I told him to stop texting me or emailing me, that we are NOT FRIENDS.

    Dial-A-Chump, this is what you must learn: you are NOT FRIENDS with your ex. It is one of the toughest habits to break. Even a few months after D-Day, I was still talking to my ex like he was my friend. It took him to pretty much betray me again (he said he wasn’t dating anyone, and I was really wanting to have goodbye sex, but found out he was still with the whore, so he lied to me again – thank God I didn’t sleep with him!) to really get it through my thick skull that this man is TOXIC, he is NOT my friend, he does NOT have my best interests at heart. You have to break the bond you have with him, both as a husband and as a friend. It’s HARD. I won’t pretend it’s not. But you will never heal if you don’t do this.

    My ex no longer takes up as much real estate in my head. Now he’s sort of in a tiny attic room with no windows, and only a few times a day will he shout for attention. I keep the door firmly shut, though.

    You CAN do this. Stay the course.

    • “My ex no longer takes up as much real estate in my head. Now he’s sort of in a tiny attic room with no windows, and only a few times a day will he shout for attention. I keep the door firmly shut, though.”

      Ha, this is a great image! As much as I’d like him out of my head entirely, the attic is probably the best I’ll be able to do. Oh well, I can just keep that door shut. 😉

      I straight up told my ex that we are not and will not be friends, that I didn’t want to make small chat with him, and he threw a hissy fit — spewed something about seeing someone for the last few months (totally irrelevant to what I said), and when I told him I wasn’t the least bit surprised, he victimized himself/made me the bad guy/aggressor and feigned feeling threatened/stomped around and demanded his apartment key (kept only for emergency involving my daughter/dog) back.

      They just flounder around when you try to make it clear that they can’t get to you — either for the kibbles they used to get from you or to continue the charade of them being stand up people (mostly trying to fool themselves). It’s toxic, but it’s a toxicity that’s been removed! It’s up to us to harness our strength and keep it that way.

      • Yes, you’re so right. I’m actually pretty amazed that I haven’t heard a word from my ex since I told him to stop contacting me. But it’s only been four days, so I’m betting he’ll strike again at some point.

        • Fingers crossed for you that the streak continues. The not-a-peep days are the best days for me (sort of a unicorn when you have kids involved).

          • Yes! I love not having to deal with him! My life is incredibly peaceful. Makes me realize now how chaotic and horrible my life was before this all happened.

      • I’d like to have his head. On a platter.

        Guess that’s not very “meh,” but I am getting better: I’d hire out now rather than having the satisfaction of DIY. 😏

  • Dial, I was wondering.. do you get a jolt of energy when you hear the ping on your phone and see that he has answered ( or hear a ping and crazily hope it will be an answer from him and not a random/unrelated text from a friend or another member of your family?) Do you quickly stop whatever you were doing to see that text right then and there?

    Now I have to get to work and can’t look it up but in fact IF you are getting that jolt and feel oddly energized by it, you are addicted to the immediate brain drug release you get from the situation.. I believe the major two are serotonin and dopamine, they are very very powerful and withdrawal from them make you do crazy shit…

    A problem understood is more than half way solved as we say in my culture, please read about these two and how they affect behaviour…

    Best of luck…No contact is weirdly and incredibly effective. Like that ” fake it till you make it ” motto. You first feel like you are standing all alone in your heels and party dress holding a glass of champagne and plate of cake, trying to convince yourself that you are every little bit as happy as the people celebrating together in this gathering you were not invited to. But as CL promised you, pain is finite and one day which hasn’t come yet, you will be able to look at the red flags you had ignored all these years and genuinely wonder what you ever saw in this man and what was wrong with you to ever want to be invited to this party. Your heart will catch up with your head. This’ a fact.

    Loneliness is painful, this true. But the healthy sandwich eaten alone comes to taste a million times better than a fancy meal eaten in the company of the selfish destructive ( to you) narcissist. I recall reading CL that meh would eventually happen some day and thinking that no, I would never pull out of the pain. You will, guaranteed..

    • Meh, your first paragraph describes me to a tee. I hate my ex and have finally told him to stop contacting me telling me that he loves me and he can change (note that it’s not he ‘has’ changed; clearly I would have to be responsible for him even attempting this) but now there’s radio silence I am missing the familiar ping of the texts, and keep rereading what we have recently sent to each other. I’m suffering from some kind of withdrawal from contact, it’s so bad this evening (UK) that I’m having to sit on my hands to avoid sending him a message. This article from CL is timely and your post has given me something to do, look up serotonin addiction, other than drive myself crazy constantly checking my phone. Thank you CL and CN.

  • No Contact is the greatest, most valuable tool ever. I couldn’t wait to enforce NC once the conditions were favourable, and our lives became sufficiently un-entwined. I remember feeling so powerful and mighty by simply not engaging with him. And although I’m sure he couldn’t care less that he can’t speak to me anymore, I’m also sure that the sudden loss of centrality irked him.

    Best part for me: knowing that part of the fun for him was the triangulation. He secretly loved lying to me about his whore – the two of them pretending that nothing was going on. I believe he got off on “pulling one over me” right under my nose. I took all the fun out of it by going NC. Now it’s just the two of them having to deal with each other – hahaha.

    No Contact does double duty. It allows you to take back your power and control, and it allows your wounds to heal without constantly ripping the scabs off (by having contact). I highly recommend it!

  • Hi Dial, I know is hard. I went through it. Like everybody here. But CL is right. It’s like an addiction that needs to be kicked out of your system. I started like a 24 hours focus goal. Like AA for chumps… “Do not text him for 24 hours”. Then I repeat the game the next day. I imagined him having sex with the OW. I imagined the process. Taking the car to go and see her. I visualized every single time he could have stopped himself but he didn’t. When he opened the door, when he turned the engine on, before taking the phone to text her. After calling me, asking for some time for himself (we were supposed to get married in three months when D-Day happened). And again when he took off his pants, when he took off the shoes. I went on, and on. Every day. Like a sort of meditation. I held a funeral. I bury the idea I had of him. On my balcony, one evening of November, I poured myself a glass of wine, took an ashtray and burned all the letters I could find and the pictures of us. It took me a while (we were together for more than 10 years), more than a cigarette and more than a glass of red juice for sure. I changed the the bed clothes. Everything. Took the old ones, cut them into pieces. I found his favorite t-shirt in my drawer and I start using it to clean the toilet. Every time I wanted to hear his voice, I was going for a walk, writing something, playing a video game. It was hard. The first month, terrible. But, it was not as hard as staying in contact with him. Killing the hope, the kind of hope he may come back one day, the hope he may be a nice person, that if I could change something in myself maybe he would reconsider… THAT kind of hope, well it was what really helped me to move on. And you know what happened after? I became a bad ass! For real! Me, the one with no self esteem and no strong will… I start running, and boxing. I cut partying and booze (not hard at all). Went on a diet (pfffff… after no contact was easy, almost enjoy it). I was scared of dentists (sorry guys… nothing personal… just some bad experienced when I was a kid), pathologically scared… but I went to see a dentist and now I am going through dental therapy to fix some problems I have. And yeah, I am alone. But I am not lonely. I was so much more lonely, when I was with him. I wasn’t just realizing it! I shed 20 plus kilos and went back of the size I was wearing when I was 25! I started courses and classes… and I promised myself that I would build the life I always wanted. No matter what it would cost. And you can do the same. This blog (that really helped me, like seriously) is full of examples of people that made it up to “Meh”. As CL said. You matter Dial.
    Your dreams, your feelings, your passions, your time. You are precious. You really are. And he does not deserve your attention. He does not care. He did non care while kissing her. He did not care while fucking her. He still did not care while he was hurting you. Do not feed the monster. Feed yourself, instead. Gives you all the love that was meant for him. Go for a mani and pedi, go to have a new haircut. Go for a walk or for a run! Stay in the nature and… whatever problem he may have, whatever issues he may go through… just remember. None of your business. Karma is a bitch, you are gorgeous, and trust me. One day, soon Dial, you will shine like a brand new penny. He? Pfffffff… No need to waste time. He did you a favor. You have not realized it yet. With all my love.
    Emm@

    • Emm@, You are seriously Mighty! I especially love that you began running and boxing! Exercise is one of the best ways to heal! 👏 That, “Get busy living”, and No Contact are all essential to moving forward. Infidelity is abuse, and life is way too short to deal with assholes. On Dday it was like the guy I knew “died” and I could no longer lie to myself that he had anything worth loving. Cheaters have patterns and mine had his. The minute I realized who he was I went about exorcising his crap existence from my life. I threw his belongings into big black trash bags and tossed them into the garage, hauled his recliner out into the yard (where it sat for the two years he dragged out the divorce 😂), communicated only by email to address pertinent financial matters (and even though we have children together, did not deign to play the relationship parent, nor did I communicate with him about their needs/daily lives either), deleted ALL his contact numbers from my phone, and focused my new life on those who really mattered.

    • Emma – you are a rock star!!!! New to all of this – threw him out/divorce finalized soon!!!! Forging ahead towards mighty but need time. Hope to be as mighty as you one day!!!

  • No contact is hard. It is difficult to break a connection that was there for so long. You were used to having that person to connect with and rely on. He isn’t reliable, however and he isn’t there for you. He betrayed you in the worst possible way. You might as well try to make contact with a brick wall. He isn’t worth it. Don’t let him think he is. Just realize that every time you initiate contact with him, he is going to get more out of it than you will. You contact him, he wins, you lose. You’ve lost a few battles, but you can still win the war. Go no contact. Find other ways to spend your time. Make contact with other people instead. Ask those other people about their day. Show an interest in them. As others have suggested, go to meet ups or find other ways to be in a situation that requires socializing (take a class, volunteer, etc.). Socializing with people who haven’t betrayed you will make you feel better.

    Meanwhile, when you stop initiating contact, he may start. That’s when you have to figure out how to not respond. This is extremely difficult and if you figure out how to do that let me know because I haven’t been able to manage that one yet. Not initiating contact is one thing, ignoring contact (that doesn’t involve kids or divorce business when there is an actual need to respond) is still hard for me because I have just never been one to blow people off, especially not him. If he is telling me his problems, I still want to be sympathetic. If he is asking about whether or not I have solved some problem I am having it is tempting to tell him all of my woes. I am still working on that side of things, but even just getting over making the initial contacts myself (except for business that really does need a response) has made me feel better about myself and less of a pining chump. It is worth it.

    • Chumpinrecovery: I fully understand the “I have just never been one to blow people off” feeling when he contacts you. When my STBX started hoovering, my visceral brain wanted to respond. Like you, I was prone to being kind — even with him. What fixed it for me was looking at my situation–and, particularly, at the hurt my kids have endured through this. The devastation he’s wrought is extensive.

      The person who hurt me and my kids more than any other person on this planet ever has … no, he does NOT deserve my sympathy. He does NOT deserve to be my friend.

      When he calls looking for sympathy, I know it is simply a reiteration of how little he gives a shit that he’s devastated our family. It’s an extra middle finger to me and the kids. Keeping this firmly in my mind has beautifully shut down the visceral (and likely habitual) “kind” response I would have given him previously.

      • I too can not entertain any relationship/communication with Fucktard ex. Our past reminds me not to make the same mistake twice. It would be about as likely as Harry Potter inviting Voldemort to dinner.

  • “And I imagine for years you thought if you made your needs really small (see disproportionate kibble exchange above) he would stick around and be husband and father material.”

    THIS. THIS. THIS.

    I still have those moments that creep in, where I doubt myself. I think about the ways I could have handled things differently and maybe it would have made him act differently. Then after some agonizing self blame, I remember that he was lying to me the entire relationship. I had trust issues with him and I had every right to have those trust issues because he was actually lying to me at the time (although I didn’t know it). And some days I’m actually reminded of what he was like, like this morning when he was 15 minutes late picking up our daughter for school without so much as a text that he was late. Then of course it was my reaction to this that was inappropriate, not his behavior.

    My therapist says when I have moments like this, when I doubt myself and think we can still work it out, I am not feeling resilient. In those moments, she told me I need to recognize that I am not feeling resilient, I am feeling overwhelmed and I need to pratice self-care to counteract it.

    • Yes! I remember a moment when he was screaming that me that the end of the marriage was my fault because I was Controlling and Judgmental and that I was an Angry Person, and he was giving the most ridiculous examples that made zero sense. I was in full shock and super Chumpy mode and actually said to myself, “OK, I can fix this, from now on I will make sure to just not talk so much. Clearly he is completely misunderstanding everything I say and do to come to the conclusion that I am so awful. It must be my fault. I will make sure to never, ever complain about anything ever again.” Even in my shock I knew how wrong that thinking was but I was really considering how I could make sure to completely sanitize the poor sausage’s life from ever having to deal with my needs or opinions. I just needed to figure out how to be invisible so he would stay. Let me get out my knee pads and deliver a thrice-daily blowjob while I am at it. Let me get on Amazon to find the perfect fix-your-martiage handbook and some duct tape for my stupid fucking mouth. I am so horrible, let me dance for you my prince.

      So grateful I woke the hell up. Chump Lady and Chump Nation have helped so much.

      • Now I.C. I was also contantly told how I was controlling, judgmental and angry. He would tell me how I was going to react to a situtation before the sittation even happened! He even used it as an excuse to not change his behavior…”Even if I did XYZ, you would still be mad at me so why bother”.

        I really placed a lot of blame on myself. It was part of the reason why I did not leave him a long time ago. And it’s hard to get past feeling like you are the person who is at fault. I had 8 years of him placing blame on me, while he took no accountability for anything. Seven years of being manipulated and gaslighted. It has taken Gray Rock (I can’t go NC because of our child) for me to see that I am not an angry person. I am not unreasonable. My feelings matter.

        But you can’t have that beaten into your subconcious for 8 years and just flip a switch and be over it. Even though Chump Lady and my therapist helped me to wake up, it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part to heal those wounds.

        • When I was trying to deal with the fallout, mine told me I was too rational – where was the passion? So I got mad and yelled at him and told him to get out. He just smiled that smug smile and went to bed.
          Fuckwit!

    • My therapist has recommended similar ways to handle the self-doubt. I have been practicing it — and it really is helping. It’s strange how naming something (a non-resilient moment, for example) can take a lot of the steam out of the negative wave.

      When I have a really bad trigger — I name it (“Okay, you were just triggered. The negative wave is here. Just ride it out”). Then I do everything I can to practice self-care until the wave is gone.

      I highly recommend the process for anyone experiencing similar self-doubt episodes.

  • Dial,
    Although I have only been separated for about 3 weeks, I am convinced that No Contact is the key to healing. I had no contact with my STBX for about 10 days, and I experienced more peace during those 10 days than I’ve known in years. Then, two nights ago, I had a conversation with him, and I was once again drawn into his lies, gaslighting, blame shifting, and double talk. After just 1 conversation, I found myself once again questioning my reality and my sanity.

    My strategy for maintaining No Contact has included the following: (1) I keep reminding myself (sometimes hourly) that he is toxic; (2) I keep rereading excerpts from CL’s book and visiting this blog; (3) I keep rereading my journals from the last 6 years which are filled with evidence of his toxicity; (4) I call / text friends; (5) I listen to music; (6) I have instituted a text-only policy for communicating with him regarding parenting logistics. As others on this site have previously noted, I do not think that I miss my actual STBX; I just miss who I thought he was.

    I am, of course, only in the very early days of this madness, and I have had to will myself through some days during the past few weeks, but I really want and hope to get to a much better place in the coming months. And I think No Contact is the way to go.

    Good luck.

    • You can also use family scheduling software so that your communication with each other is documented. People who cheat feel entitled to break commitments under the “right” circumstances. Often, early in the divorce, the Cheating parent tries to win the affection of the children by being the Disney parent. After a bit, they discover that parenting is work, and they’d rather spend time doing what they want to do instead of being responsible. They start to ask if you’ll pick the kid up early, if you could hold the child for an extra day, etc. Pretty soon that 50/50 custody looks as if you’re doing 70%. Time to go to court to adjust that child support!

      • Onwards,
        Thank you! I don’t always feel mighty, but when I think about all the steps I’ve taken in the last few weeks, I am proud of myself.

        • So Done taking steps even when you don’t always feel mighty is what makes it so very mighty. You’ve made a great list of things to help NC above. After NC and CL, journalling has helped heaps. Mine has a reminder list why I am NC and moving on, and also several pages of inspiring quotes (CL and CN bits of wisdom that resonated) for when it’s needed. Gems like “Keep walking Tuesday is coming”.

  • Dial-a-chump,

    Another strategy to deal with the cheater cravings is to dial a friend instead. Choose someone you trust, who has the time to talk you down, and is willing to hear from you 3-5 times a day or more (at first). Ask them if you can call them instead of cheater. Then, when you want to ask him about the weather, call your friend instead, and tell him or her about how you want to talk to cheater. She’ll (hopefully) listen, remind you what he did to you, and help the craving pass.

    Or, you could just imagine cheater having sex with OW. Whenever you want to call, well, he’s probably having sex with her. If you call, the two of them will laugh together at how pathetic you are to be constantly calling him.

    But all of those are treating the symptoms. What you need to do is to treat the disease. Start living your life for yourself. Do something you always wanted to do, but didn’t do because you were with him. Binge watch a show he hates. Volunteer. Exercise (preferably hard, and preferably outside). Take up a new hobby – you have plenty of free time now that you’re not pick-me dancing for him anymore (you aren’t, right?). Read. Learn a new language or new instrument.

    You’re also only one month post divorce. That’s not a lot of time. Time is one of the key components in healing. As I’ve said before many times here, read Rarity’s guest blog post (archives, March 21, 2017: You get over it – a chump story.) She states you need three things to heal. Time. No contact. And doing something you love. If you follow that advice, keep working on the no contact, find something you’re passionate about (aside from calling your ex), and let time do it’s healing work.

    You can do this. You deserve better than him. Know your worth!

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • Actually you might not want to imagine him having sex with her because that will make you hurt more and it might make you tempted to call at that moment to interrupt. At least for me, that kind of thinking never helped me move on. I prefer to ignore her existence as much as STBX will let me.

      In the early months after DDAy when he was still living at home but would go off to see her now and again I once sent him about twenty texts one after another when I knew he was with her (Supposedly to help her with her resume). I was imagining the constant ping interrupting whatever they were doing. When he got home he told me “My phone doesn’t ping when I get a text so next time you should call”.

      I thought this meant he still had some feelings for me if he was basically giving me advice and perhaps permission to interrupt him when he was with her. The next time I knew he was with her I did call. He acted very indignant over the phone while I was raging at him on the other end. Now I realize that when he told me to call next time he was triangulating. He wanted me to call when he was with her so she would know the wife still cared and was still trying to win him back and how annoying that was to him that the wife just wouldn’t leave him alone. It was a signal to Schmoopie that he’s desirable so keep dancing. I was set up.

      Don’t give your ex that satisfaction or that tool to keep Schmoopie in line.

  • D-a-C,

    Some great advice in these comments! Here’s one more thing that helped me: I did extensive research on personality disorders. Read Hare, Simon, and other authors that CL recommends. I worried that I was spending too much time untangling the skein, but this research really drove home the points that: 1) His mind does not work the way mine does; and 2) He is not going to change. I don’t know if my ex meets the diagnostic criteria for one of these disorders, but the behaviors and traits described resonated with me. Once I really understood what I was dealing with, I didn’t need to resist temptation to contact him; I no longer WANTED to contact him. And the knowledge I gained gave me strength to resist the hoovering when it came. CL’s book helped a lot too!

    • Absolutely. Read, read, read. Learn about personality and character disorder. That is the foundation for “trust that they suck.”

    • Learning everything I could about narcissistic/codependent relationships really helped me. It is true that we project our values onto them. It’s shocking to finally take off our rose colored glasses and witness the truth.

  • Oh Dial! I know – we all know – exactly how you feel. Here’s a few suggestions that worked for me:

    Once separated and ultimately divorced, I immediately set to the task of doing anything and everything but thinking or sitting around thinking about contacting X in some way. Cleaning makes me forget things. I cleaned things out, I helped my mom clean her house, I did laundry for everyone, I scrubbed floors, walls, banisters, etc. Then I did some shopping for myself because I hadn’t purchased an item of clothing for me in a really long time. I’ll admit that I probably went overboard, but it felt really good to purchase myself some new things, look in the mirror and begin to like what I see again. Then I started reading books from the library – which sometimes doesn’t work because sometimes there are awful triggers and I have to put the book down and start a new one. Then I started sewing again – I love sewing – and have recently decided to take up quilting too because the process is long.

    Write down what you want to contact him about and play out the conversation in writing before contacting. It’s an interesting exercise. Somehow seeing what you ask/say on paper makes it harder to actually ask about the stupid things, in my opinion. It also helps me gauge my emotional temperature at the moment. I’m honest about how he is going to answer me too. That never ends well and always makes me feel deflated.

    Leave your phone in your purse or something and get busy doing something else. Try to forget the phone exists. Clean the kitchen. Make dinner or watch a cooking show and cook along. Anything to forget that you can access your X by your phone.

    This is not an easy process, but like CL say it gets easier the more you practice. Hugs!

  • I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to try and drain your emotions completely away. Then take the time to look at the situation and his actions towards you in a dispassionate manner. It gives you a completely different view on things – and a much clearer view.

    Then think to yourself, is this how I want to be treated? Would I suggest to a friend that they yearn to be with someone who treated them the same way that your husband treated you? And do you want to be with somebody going forward that you can never trust ever again?

    Once you get there, the right course of action becomes abundantly clear, and then no contact is something you’ll look forward to rather than as something that requires effort.

  • I don’t know if CL or any of CN would agree with me but here is what I did to finally kick the habit and go No Contact. If fact I did it unintentionally. I spent 2 months after he filed for divorce continuing to argue with him to see my side. “How could you leave me and our 2.5 month old daughter. I want you to come home. (he claimed he didn’t want to get divorced) I just need you to tell me the truth. Why don’t i deserve at least that.” I begged. I tried to guilt him. I TRIED EVERYTHING. One day we got into an email war bc he said his truck was in the shop and wouldn’t be able to come visit our daughter but then proceeded to tell me he was going to a wedding that weekend. KIBBLES. I bit. I must have written a 3 page email about how shitty of a father he is that he can find a ride (obviously the OW) to the wedding (which was another low blow to me becuase it was always pulling teeth to get him to go to a wedding as my date) but not see his daughter. I went off EVERYTHING! His response “Feel better?”. Right then and there I was done. FUCK YOU.

    But it felt good to say a lot of the things I have always wanted to. Perhaps you should do a FINAL contact where you tell him how you really feel. THEN CLOSE THE BOOK. Yes it was kibbles for him but it made me feel better. And I have never wanted to communicate with him again. And I think that is the point. To do what makes you feel good. Finally! Do something for you!

    No contact isn’t to punish them or make them show that they should miss you. Its for you!

    • “Perhaps you should do a FINAL contact where you tell him how you really feel.”

      This is what worked for me. I blew it up scorched-earth style because I knew in the past that pick-me dancing for me including not saying anything hurtful, not being “mean” or letting them know how angry I was – basically burying all of that in hopes they’d come back. I figured that in order to really, truly end it, I had to blow it up bad enough that it was irreparable and that meant telling them exactly how I felt and not mincing words.

      • Bad advice at this stage – it just turns into a series of final emails.

        The only safe path is No Contact. You heal, they don’t matter.

        There is no closure. Not the kind you are looking for.

      • Many people advise writing a letter “telling it like it is,” but not sending it. Supposed to be cathartic. There really is no reason to try getting the person who crushed you to feel your pain. They are either too shallow to care, or so full of guilt that they’ve shut down their emotions and are blaming you for everything instead.

  • Being stuck with these animals temporarily alters our perception. Essentially we become disordered too. We think and feel like them because of the experience. When you start dealing with others, it’ll click back eventually. Knowing this helped me start to acclimate to normalcy though I’m a long way off.

    For example-when I didnt hear from her, I assumed (correctly): 1) she was fucking someone else 2) planning some attack on me 3) waiting for me to show some value to her and earn contact. 4) all of the above
    I noticed that when I didn’t hear from people I got anxious. Here’s the thing, most people get busy. They are not always available. Only fucking animals torture others with silence. I had to calm my way through it.

    It’s ok. He just fucked up your ability to process shit temporarily. Think of it like an emotional/psychological cold. It’ll pass.

  • TRUST THAT HE SUCKS! We here at CN knows he does, now you need to……….

    Get angry and stay that way when you want to break No Contact. If you feel the urge, remind yourself of what he did and what he is still doing. Make a mental list or write them down and refer to them every time you want to break No Contact. You mentioned that you secretly hope he comes back. WHY?? He is not the prize. You are!

    Stay strong.

    • This is one of those times that anger is your best friend. If you can find your righteous anger and harness it, you won’t want validation from the asswipe who harmed you. Then NC is easier. Soon, your mind will clear and you’ll wonder whatever possessed you to think contact with that asswipe was a good idea in the first place.

  • No contact is indeed a mental discipline, but you can make the discipline part easier. Just like you don’t keep M&Ms in the house if they are a trigger food that busts your good nutrition habits, you don’t have STBXs phone # in your phone. You write it on a small piece of paper and put it somewhere in case of emergency. You don’t have it at the tip of your finger in case you want to troll for his attention. YOU DELETE HIS NUMBER FROM YOUR PHONE. Or BLOCK IT. You give the number to your neighbor or tape it to the bottom of the cable modem or hide it in the garage, in case of real emergency. Life and death stuff. And you block HIS number because you don’t want him interrupting your happy moments with his kibble hunting.

  • ” NEW TO No Contact?
    by “Light”

    C’mere, I wanna tell ya somethin’…

    I’ve been No Contact for over 3 years now. Something that goes through my mind a lot is about the women just starting out No Contact, and how they, like me, have no clue how much more than they ever dreamed is about to happen for them, because they’re focused (appropriately) on the losses they’re adjusting to.

    When I started No Contact, it was all about the adjustment to it. There was a hole – an emptiness, like when people die. At the time, the losses loomed large – my mother, both sisters, my best friend and my partner all took off – or were cast from – my life at around the same time. MY WHOLE WORLD. Every single one of them was not good for me. Nevertheless, losing every person significant to you at once is no small loss. It was as if they’d all gone down in a plane crash together, each having sent cutting last-minute cell phone messages in unanimous agreement that I was the only one to blame for the accident and should fry for it. Not for the faint of heart.

    I just figured, okay, I have to adjust, and that’s all this is about. No-one can hurt me like that again, and starting now, that’s my reward for refusing to initiate, reconnect, etc. Well, that really wasn’t my real reward for no contact. That was just a little thing, actually. I thought, “Well, my Narcissist can never use me again”, for instance. And that was true, but that wasn’t why I was going through this painful process. In time, I saw it was WAY, WAY beyond that.

    If you’re just starting No Contact, you should know that not only does it get easier, but if you stick with it, you will begin awakening to a whole new world – one where you will be more than you ever thought you could be. It’s like a kind of Alice-In-Wonderland backwards world, that Narcissist’s world. Most of the rest of the world is frontwards. It takes time for your psyche to adjust. Be patient. There are HUGE, HUGE benefits that take a little time to grow.

    It’s kind of like being raised in a dark attic, where Narcissist is the only source of something is, he does – way too much. And when you’re the target, he points at your eyes and blinds you. So instead of being in the dark attic and turning on a nice general overhead light so everyone can see everything and look at whatever they choose, all anyone can see is what’s important in HIS world, and HIS choices and his world are warped by NPD. There’s a lot of guessing and fear, mistakes and confusion. No-one can ever see properly for themselves.

    You should have been able to see the world around you. You should have been able to see – really well – who you were. You should have been able to see the unfairness, the lies, the tricks, etc – but the flashlight never pointed on those things. It only pointed at mistakes and grudges and manipulations and lack of choices and your supposed inferiority, and…and…

    Going No Contact is like leaving the attic and allowing other sources of light to reach your eyes. At first, it will hurt, because it’s so weird to be seeing everything, and the light is so bright. It’s disorienting. It will take time for your eyes to adjust, and it will feel foreign – even lonely. Your old framework is falling apart, and other people, other things, other perspectives will start to filter in.

    Yes, it will feel for a while like there’s a void. ACCEPT the void. It’s the first stepping stone to the life you always dreamed of. It’s temporary. That void is like the void that’s created when a piece of land with a condemned old house is on it, and you buy it. First, wreckers come in and knock down the old house. You’re so used to that old house being there that every day when you pull up, it will look funny – empty and strange. Really foreign.

    But over time, your new house will emerge. A new foundation will be dug by your psyche’s internal diggers. Then the concrete truck – your faith – will appear. Framers (your new thoughts) will show up and build the walls. Those will be sheathed and insulated by your new commitment to nurture yourself. You keep going, and the roofing and siding start. Those are your new healthy boundaries. Then the doors and windows go in – big bright ones that keep the cold out and the warmth in. This is your new discernment about who is worthy of your time and your gifts. Electricians (your new ability to make things easier for yourself) arrive and rough in all the wiring. Plumbers – self-care – appear and set the drains and supply lines so you can keep yourself and your home free of the dirt that swirls around you. Sheetrockers come in and turn the studs into walls and ceilings, affirming your decision to have a true home, and healthy boundaries with those you let in. Flooring is laid – you are supporting yourself. Plumbing and electrical fixtures are finally put in place so you can see and take care of yourself. Locks and knobs are installed, preventing people with the wrong intentions from disrupting your serenity.

    There does come a day when it stops feeling like an empty lot. Then it starts to feel like the shell of something. Then there comes a day when it looks like a wooden box. Then a house, but unfinished. Then finally a home.

    It takes time for these things to happen, but they’re impossible to achieve without NC. There’s something about that break that opens the gates.

    I have been No Contact for over 3 years. I would not trade the gifts I’ve received in just that 3 years gifts for 20 years of life. Not only do things keep growing and growing, there are unbelievable changes I could only have dreamed about. And they keep coming!!! My life is changing so dramatically, I can’t begin to tell you. I’ve had HUGE breakthroughs personally, one after the other, and many in places I never ever would have expected. To anyone considering or beginning No Contact – all I can say is, IT IS BEYOND WORTH IT. Wade through the rough patches and stick with it. The benefits are unfathomable. Things I’d long been banging my head against the wall about have vaporized. It’s been a stunning three years. And it happens gradually, with big chunks of insanely effortless progress thrown in now and again. I feel like all my life’s mysteries are getting solved. I am MUCH stronger.

    I knew No Contact would be a relief, but I didn’t know it would turn me into a whole different person, and one I like TONS better than I ever liked the pushover I used to be – I’m rapidly becoming the REAL me – the ORIGINAL me. This is going to sound weird, but it’s kind of like in a lot of ways, people’s thoughts can’t hurt me anymore. That’s the best I can describe it. I do what I want and what I feel is right, and I no longer value externals like approval and criticism very much. Following my heart is first, and everything and everyone else is second.

    For me, No Contact has felt like biting the bullet to get a little relief from one thing and getting that, AND the entire moon and stars handed to me on a silver platter.

    The pain got easier every day. But honestly, even if it hadn’t, I think I’d still be No Contact – the benefits – ones we can’t even imagine – are astounding. So if right now, you’re wading through the pain of it – just remember – you’re going to get much more than you’re thinking you will.

    MUCH, MUCH more…

    It’s much much more than just breaking free of your Narcissist. It’s about releasing all the stuff she put in your head, too, and all the fear and inhibitions that have been holding us back. I could never “get at” those things until No Contact. “

  • Remember too, that if you’ve lived with lying, manipulation, blameshifting, and gaslighting, you need to detox your mind and emotions. You can’t do that while you are mainlining hopium and spackling his disordered and dysfunctional behavior, which is requirement #1 for continuing to hope for reconciliation. The only way to detox is to stop taking in the poison–which if you are the one pursuing contact, you are now feeding yourself. He doesn’t need to engage in mindfuckery. You’ve take over the job.

    It took me 6 months to understand on a cell level (that is, in the very cells of my body) that contact with Jackass was both something I craved and something that would destroy me.

    • I’m so glad I read this because here’s the really weird thing: I feel like if I remove his number from my phone, it’s too drastic of a measure. Isn’t that ridiculous? There are times I actually WANT him to contact me so then I can have the satisfaction of knowing that he still thinks about me somewhere in his disordered mine, that maybe things aren’t going so well with the whore…

      Do I want him back? HELL NO. But I totally get your point about contact with him being something I crave and something that will destroy me. Wow. Good thing I haven an appointment with my therapist this afternoon! I’m still messed up in a lot of ways. Doing much better, but yeah…still messed up.

      • Here’s something really weird. My phone keep sending me messages from him that weren’t real. It was like the phone was telling me that I was connected on my end—to nothing. Neither Verizon nor Apple ever explained it. I deleted his number and never had another problem.

        • You have great advice!!!! I am 3 months from DDay and divorce will be finalized soon. I am having trouble on and off w no contact. I do not want him back at all and know I am better off w/o him but after 20 years it’s hard to go no contact! Getting stronger every day though!!!! Thank you!!!

    • Abandonment causes physiological changes in our brains that make us long for what we’ve lost. Susan Anderson has written a lot about what your body goes through. It helps to understand why we have such longing to reconnect with someone who so clearly rejects us.

      http://www.abandonment.net

  • I honestly think the more you maintain contact with him the longer it will take to find a decent replacement. Being chomped hurts like hell, Dial. We seek affection from wherever we can find it I think this is why we turn to our ex because it seems like a good place to start because they liked as once and if they saw sense they’d like us again. I’d suggest you go on a (respectable) dating website – it can be fun. It can be a far more productive use of your time and energy than on somebody who has already betrayed you on multiple occasions.

  • Funny how posts on CL can come at the very moment you need them. The original post and the comments are invaluable to me right now, as I prepare to embark on my own NC journey. Thanks. — HeChump

    • You guys afforded the luxury (and you’ll see it really is a luxury) of going NC are in enviable positions. Good luck.

      • DunChumpin–It took me about 2 years to line up my ducks before filing, and I was stuck in the same house as CheaterX all that time. Then he dragged his heels on the divorce paperwork, so what should have been a 60 day process took nearly 18 months. Living under the same roof was awful.

        I practiced Gray Rock. Google this. It’s used for dealing with sociopaths and is predicated on making yourself seem too boring to engage with. Once I truly understood that CheaterX’s idea of a conversation was an echo chamber, it was pretty easy. My responses went a bit beyond, “cool, bummer, wow!” I had “well, there you are,” “It is what it is,” “who can tell?” etc.

        Gray Rock is absolutely not as good as No Contact, but for Chumps who have to stay in some sort of contact with their Cheaters, it’s not bad.

        • Thank you. My situation, under legal advice, requires me to put up with an enormous amount of shit. I keep reminding myself that what I’m doing is in my best interest but it’s like playing fucking chess. All the time. Every minute of every day. I truly couldn’t give a shit about her anymore and my pride demands I tell her to gtfo, but that would be stupid. So it’s hell. Knowing others survived it is comforting.

          • I was there. It is like a game of chess. I played nice to get what I wanted from divorce, get paperwork signed, get stuff divided. But as soon as it was signed and sealed – NC all the way.

            You can do it too.

            I never did get the satisfaction of “telling him off” – not that would matter to him.

      • Dun, sadly, I don’t have that luxury. We have a daughter. I’m committed to staying only as connected as I need to be to make this experience OK for my kid. Beyond that, NC. Call it grey rock, maybe, but I like to think it’ll be even less engaged than that. I’m making this up as I go. This thread helps. — HeChump

        • Yeah. That’s the suck because they have a zero sum game mentality. Kids, property whatever-just ways to fuck with you so they win. I will never be ok with the fact they can do this. They’re subhuman animals. Meh for me is not caring about her, however, when I think about what she did/does, I think what an evil piece of shit she is. I won’t be that weak again.

          Sorry you gotta go through this too.

  • I think most, if not all of us, struggled with this at some point or another.
    If you don’t have kids together under the age of 18 — and those of you who are in that boat don’t know how lucky you are — do what the CL suggests and just leave all communication with lawyers. It is probably ok to simply delete his number out of your contact list. You’d be surprised how little you actually NEED to communicate with him, especially with the legal stuff done.
    But most of all, unfriend/detach/unplug yourself from any contact with him or Shmoopie on social media. Just do it! You don’t need to know what they’re doing, and it will just drive you batty.

  • After I was left I had a hard time dealing with these episodes of incredibly strong emotion, anger mostly, sadness, despair. My therapist told me that it is measured scientifically that those surges of emotion last from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, then dissipate. You can go that long without texting your Ex. Let the urge pass no matter how much you want to at at the end you will have something much better than the non-result you would get if you texted him: self respect!

  • NC is SO HEALING.
    Journal instead. What you would have said. Then your own compassionate reflections on how to support yourself. You can do this! It works.

  • Dial,
    You are experiencing what the rest of us chumps have experienced, and why we need to read the Chump Lady blog every day. It takes time for us chumpy chumps to stop acting like chumps. We are so good at being chumps and have done it for so long.

    I have saved my post D-day emails to my ex and re-reading them I am horrified how I begged him to “change,” and be an honorable husband and father. I bargained with him, bribed him, offered to lose massive amount of weight, and sent him photos of the troll insisting he tell him why he was fucking someone so ugly, stupid, and diseased.

    I mean, really. Why would I give a crap about such a loser? Do I even want to know why he was screwing the fugly? It has been tough facing the fact that I was married to a complete jerk. How did I miss this? For 30 years? WTF?

    It takes time, Dial. No contact is the answer. It will get easier.
    SuzyQ

  • I wrote a detailed post but lost it ! So I shall be brief.

    I went NC instantly in 2015 after spotting a former Switzerland friend (now one of the OWs) 9 mths pregnant all glammed up standing in front of MY SOFA that I paid for (and former marital furniture).

    Prior to that I had contact from 2012 to late 2014 due to property and lengthy divorce proceedings.

    That sofa saved me!!! It was like everything clicked into place and with one last scathing ‘one line email’ I was done for good.

    Never ever been tempted since and never will. I was cured 🙂 thanks to my sofa.

    • Digbert–what an awful story. But you’re right–the worst things cheaters do are the things that end up propelling us most strongly away from them.

      • Best reality check/ kick up the arse I needed Tempest, found the photo on FB by chance, even funnier the baby was not his 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Yes, I still want to contact my now ex husband, and yes, I sometimes hope he changes and comes back. I remember all the times after I broke no-contact, and was feeling good, and then contact him and felt horrible. I think it’s his evil getting inside of me, but whatever, I felt rage (on my own, I don’t have rage. Anger, yes, but not rage).

    I would break something, or slam something down to the floor. My doctor told me to avoid the strong, negative feelings, that I was harming myself. That’s what happened when I would contact him.

    So yah, I’ve been no contact for a good long while now. Yes, I still want to contact him. I still want him to contact me, tell me he has changed, and ask how can he show his love. But I have gone no-contact, and feel so much better.

    I feel so much better, I don’t want it to go away. The only way I can prevent it from going away is to maintain no contact.

  • My cheater moved out, suddenly and without warning, 4 weeks ago. For the first week or two I texted and emailed constantly, doing every single part of the “pick me dance”. When I verified he had cheated (he won’t admit it, but I have pretty damning proof) I went NC. It’s only been 4 days, and it’s been hard, but I’m so glad I’ve held out. I still have some very sad, distraught, emotional times, but I’m trying to remember my anger and stay strong. He’s trying to manipulate the situation – he got angry when I packed up some of his stuff and asked him to come take it to his new apartment, got annoyed when I said I was going to hire a financial consultant to help me figure out what my future is going to look like, turns it on me if I ask about his screwing around and says I shouldn’t worry about ‘her’ but I should worry about the kids. What a jackass.

    I’m so sorry that so may of us are going through similar things. Who are these people?

    • Early days, sleepless. Practice extreme self care and stay busy doing things you love. Keep being the sane parent but do protect yourself (and your children) financially. There is so much great information on line re divorcing (even with a Narc) but do your homework. Ask questions of every lawyer you interview on what you can expect. IMHO, a divorce financial analyst is needed in every dissolution, so don’t allow your stbx’s threats to influence your better judgement.

      • I know. I think that he thought he could just sail through this telling me what we have financially and what everything is worth (I was the trusting wife who didn’t pay attention) and how we should split it fairly. And although he “doesn’t want to fight”, he’s already acting weird when I question him on anything. I have to remember that if he deceived me on screwing around in our marriage, why should I trust him to not screw me in our divorce. But it’s hard. I’m sad. I miss him. Or at least my idea of what he was…. It’s crazy when I read all these blogs and support groups how many of us have been through the exact same things. They say the same things, they do the same things. Cheaters SUCK!

  • Remember the obnoxious cell phone commercials from 10 years ago where the guy went all over the country in all kinds of situations repeating “Can you hear me now?” That’s pretty much what I did when I was in contact with my now ex after D-day. “Hey cheater! I’m mad and I’m hurt! Can you hear me now? Huh? Can you? I’m still here, can you hear me now?” I wanted relevancy, validation, and for him to care. I got none of those things. I finally gave up when I realized how completely futile it was. Everything about me was irrelevant to him, there was no hope of validation because he thinks he was totally justified in what he did, and he Just. Didn’t. Give. A. Shit. So why was I walking around verbally asking “Can you hear me now?” to a deaf person?

    Next time, before you fire off a text, ask yourself what kind of response from him would make you feel good, and if you anticipate that you’ll get it. When you realize that nothing either of you will say will make any difference, then put down the phone and find something constructive to do with your hands or your body.

  • Dial-a-chump, It can be so hard to break off contact. I also felt compelled to try to communicate with my ex long after he’d cut me off. The deal is they left you long ago but you didn’t realize it. You are still trying understand what happened and searching for resolution. It’s hard to break the strong bonds that developed after so many years together! What helped me was having a girlfriend who told me to call her whenever I got the urge to call him. Another thing that helped was asking myself every time I picked up the phone, “is this going to help me or hurt me?” Every time the answer was, “hurt me.” I decided to stop hurting myself.

    The longer I went with no contact the better I felt. However, I still wrote one last letter to him after the divorce was final, in attempt to find resolution. There was no response from him, although I poured my heart out.

    It’s brutal having your voice cut off and no resolution. No talking through things, no voice in the decisions they make. It will get better, though, I promise. As long as you have compassion for yourself and keep working to stay no contact. It’s like breaking a terrible addiction.

    Another thing I realized was that obsessing over him was distracting from the profound fear I had of living alone and creating a new life after 36 years together. Once you start making progress in your new life, you’ll have less urge to connect with him. You’ll feel more connected to yourself.

  • No contact is the way to go. You don’t need lying a-holes in your life.

    The person you were married to for 20 years or 35 years remembers they have f*ckd up many times during all those years, he/she knows you and your kids see him/her as an imperfect, deeply flawed unloyal, and weak liar. He/she knows their kids will never aspire to be like them and will chose a mate opposite from them.

    Your stbx has a huge ego and is more than happy to start a new life, a fresh start, a clean slate, where they are put upon a pedestal, seen as wonderful and perfect, with someone they never hurt (at least, not yet) that is why they don’t bother to call or see their kids. Trust that they suck.

    You and your kids are better off no contact.

  • Also, remind yourself that he/she is NOT a good person. I feel that the affair and what has happened to me and my sweet daughter is just absurd. When this thought pops into my mind- I counter it with “Good people don’t do this to someone else”

    The cheater is NOT a good person!

    You can forever think about how unfair this is, what you put up with and be a martyr as long as you associate his /her name with what’s happened.
    Once I left his name out of all that has happened in the past, I can concentrate on me and how I move forward in my future.
    Instead of thinking “stbx never bothered to take me out during our marriage”- I think “I allowed myself to be put second, third, and fourth” that mental note is a lesson I learn and won’t repeat again when I enter a new relationship.

    Make the stbx less important in your past. This is your life and your future now. Don’t bring the cheater along in your new adventure.
    You’re still here, breathing, living …You have power and control over how you want to live your life!
    Hugs to you all!

  • God I needed this today. NC for me has been difficult. The f*ckbirds lived just down the street from me in the SHITTIEST apartment building in the entire city. It always brought me some pleasure seeing them there, knowing they were living in 500 ft of shit. But, today, I discovered they have moved. I’m losing my mind, wondering where they are, feeling like I’ve lost control, going crazy wondering if he bought her a house. Another part of me is so anxious because it made me feel like, this isn’t just something he’s filling his time with if they’ve left the shitty place… I can’t quite rationalize it, but I’m hoping one of you can hit me with a 2×4 and get me out of this funk!

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