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What Got You Unstuck?

For today’s Friday challenge, I’m wondering about the long-suffering chumps out there and your hopium habits — what got you unstuck?

I have some sympathy for the emotionally paralyzed. (I had four D-Days. I wear the chump crown.)  I’ve written what keeps you stuck with a cheater. And I totally understand the limbo when you have Naugahyde remorse and you think you’re really in reconciliation. You ride that unicorn carousel for awhile. I get it.

However, (to my credit) I did lawyer up pretty quickly — which I encourage everyone to do.

I realize that not everyone leaves cheaters. Not everyone gets a choice — they’re left. And sadly, in some cases, many stay years longer than they should, even when it’s obviously hopeless. The cheater has checked out for the affair partner, they’ve admitted they’re gay, they’ve destroyed you financially, they’re threatening to run with the kids to another state.

What made you finally act in your best interest?

What got you unstuck? Was it a bad ass sister driving down from another state to drag you by the ear to a lawyer? Was it some final indignity that pushed you over the edge? An epiphany?

Or did you watch it all unfold like a bad dream and didn’t put up much of a fight? Could anyone have gotten through to you?

The point of this blog and this community is to UN-stick the newbie chumps. Maybe we can figure out the pressure points together and save some folks a lot of unnecessary pain.

TGIF!

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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.
  • Also — an announcement — to anyone in the forums experience glitches — it’s a WordPress update issue. Hope to have it sorted out shortly. Thanks.

    Also — Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life is OUT ON AUDIO BOOK! And it’s FREE if you try Audible.com — more info on Amazon here. https://www.amazon.com/Leave-Cheater-Gain-Life-Survival/dp/B075KG561V/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=&dpID=51chlTDGxxL&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

    • First time commenter here. I had four D-Days and probably would have left after the first one if this site were around when it first happened. The first thing to do is to tell the people who are closest to you. They are the ones who will give you strength along with the awesome Chump lady and every single person on this site! I failed to do this and kept everything inside which made me feel horrible and worse yet… STUCK! I have two kids who were 3 and 5 when the first D-Day occurred. It took me five years to leave. What tipped me over the edge was when I spoke to a good friend who went through the exact same thing as me 25 years ago and ended up happily married to his second wife and saying getting a divorce was the best thing he ever did. The other big tipping point was when I realized that I didn’t want my kids to be negatively effected by the bad relationship I had with their mom. I also had a vision that someday down the road I would create a much better life, be a better parent & person, and find the love of my life. This got me to workout ferociously, work hard on my business, and really firm up the realtionship I have with my kids. Fast forward three years after the divorce and I am in the best shape of my life, have amazing realtionships with my two teenage kids (who would have thought!?!), have doubled my business, and best yet am engaged to the absolutely most beatuiful woman in the world (a super kind hearted, ultra successful, super fit Muay Thai fighter). Funny how karma has a way of working, my ex is now broke, unhappy, unemployed, and has gotten really fat.

      • Oh goodness – just love it when a cheater hits the dirt. More power to you, amazing things happen when you have good self esteem.

        • In hindsight, there were many things that should have gotten me “unstuck”. So many red flags I overlooked (I guess I thought I was at the UN??).

          But 11 months ago, I flew back east for a family wedding. There, I had sudden onset grand mal seizures (you know, the sexy kind). I went into respiratory arrest and though I don’t remember that (thank God), the experience was massively confusing, & terrifying. The only people I knew to have adult onset seizures, were dead.

          My husband of 35 years, aka THE DOCTOR, was curiously busy out west and “monitoring from afar”. He did not fly out or retrieve me until a week later, after I had been discharged from the hospital.

          We separated a week later when he ran off from CA to the tundra in Alaska. I filed for divorce 72 ours after.

          What made me pull the trigger was his absence. Such a metaphor. I could not believe he did not have my back. I was embarrassed & surprised that he did not fly out asap. Even in my fog, I knew a fatal blow to the marriage had occurred.

          I am certain I’d never do such a thing to Dr. Narkles. He is the father of my children, though they have not seen him in a year. But even now, if he became ill or injured and our kids wanted me near, I’d be on the next plane.

          I am a loyal woman. That trait has always been vital to me. Unfortunately, I mistook THE DOCTOR’s intelligence & hard work, for character.

          Lesson learned.

          • Super painful to realize you mean nothing to them. And the family doesn’t either. They are hollow grams or mirages. My ex is a doctor also and ditched us for daughter’s 20-something high school coach. She thinks she hit the jackpot. She actually hit a shit pot but doesn’t know it yet.

            • Twiceachump how long did it take for your pain to go? I’m new to this site but getting such support hearing how everyone got through it.

              I’m sat in car park right now in floods of tears. I gravitate between feeling sick and violated to have shared my life with such a psycho and wishing he would return with cast iron proof he’d really changed.

              We were together 8 years married for 6 (second for me first for him). Four years ago was D-day seems he had secret life with multiple others from day 1 of our relationship. Seems he gets total buzz from duping us all. He’s really messed up in head and found out later he’s done it all his life. Although I threw him out 4 years ago I carried on and remained loyal to him waiting for him to make effort. What a trauma bonded chump I truly was. One year ago I found out he hadn’t stopped for a day after I found out. Just gave all OW another phone number. Seems he told them all (many confirmed it) how much he loved me WTF and made it clear they were just fun. I spoilt him silly, we had great sex life. When I asked why he said it was just a buzz.

              Even after second D-day and we lived separately I still saw him for meals out etc though no sex. Feel so disgusted with myself for being so weak. Its 4 months since I said couldn’t do it anymore. We’ve both sobbed on phone, I’ve insulted him now we’re finally NC.

              CN where’s my self respect? The trauma, mental anguish, mind games and cruelty have really taken it out of me. I was such a strong woman before I met him. Raised my son alone, travelled, put myself through university and qualified professionally after painful childhood.

              Just want amnesia so it all stops going around in my head 😢.

              • Natalia,

                It is still early days for you and all that I can say is “Be Strong” and that after a long painful and dark night, the dawn comes and a new wonderful life for you begins.
                It’s tough, I’ve been there–after 15 years of marriage and then D day and during and after the divorce I was so broke that I had to eat PBJ sandwiches and sold my stuff to pay the lawyers. But after I went no contact, I realized that that horrible negative force that had been in my life was absent. That my ex had been beating me down for years and that was gone. Slowly I built my life back up, dated and 5 years later met the true love of my life and we were married a year later. I have never been more happy and I wouldn’t trade what I have now for my old life with my ex for a Billion dollars. Be strong, listen to your lawyer, DON’T LET HIM MANIPULATE YOU and have as little contact with him as possible. Work on yourself, make yourself feel good and you’ll get through it !!

              • Hi Laughing Gator,

                Thanks so much. Will certainly follow your advice. He’s a very cruel and empty shell of a man. I’m so sorry to hear you spent many years being beat down by your cheater. That’s what so weird about mine. Certainly in the last few years when things have got difficult, he’s never resorted to insults or devaluing me with words in fact he’s always very supportive and complimentary. Course that’s all false as he looks me in the face and lies, lies, lies about what he’s been doing. I think its part of the fun for him. Part of his duping technique.

                Its lovely to read about your happy new life now. That’s wonderful and such an inspiration. Its good to remember there are good, mentally balanced men out there 😊 xx

              • You poor, poor thing! You are in SO much pain! Do not even BEGIN to judge yourself, you are just broken and hurting and it’s totally ok and understandable. Just protect yourself, as much as you can. When you are ready, you will cut off contact. It WILL happen. In the meantime, protect yourself, love yourself, get some support. It will be ok.

              • You’re so kind 💐 CL and everyone at CN are amazing!

                Its such a comfort to know you can turn to support of this Blog when feeling low ❤

              • Natalia it really takes NO CONTACT. Even very limited contact keeps you embroiled in their drama and centrality. The longer you go no contact, the easier it gets. I so remember hearing that in the early days and not quite realizing the importance of it.

                You are in a haze or some say a fog. It’s so hard to wrap your head around how and why they do this, especially when they are telling you that you’re the only one they really love. But what they have to give is not actually love, not like you and me feel. They only feel consequences and miss what they have. You are setting yourself up for more of this, over and over and over again. At some point you reach your limit and know you have to cut the cord.

                After a while, you start realizing the cheating was the dealbreaker or the straw the broke the camel’s back. I am a giver and feel at my best by doing for others. And boy did he let me do that. When I needed something or needed him, he couldn’t really come through for me. Not really.

                You have to make the decision you can’t live with this imbalance in a relationship. That no relationship is a better outcome than how you’re living. And then know you have to go through the pain. It’s intense. You are strong. But the rest of us are in varying stages of healing and many are telling us it’s better on the other side. You have to believe and make the committment to yourself that you are worth more. This is your one life you have been given. Do you really want to give that up to someone not worthy of your love and giving nature?

              • T-A-C

                So helpful to hear that. Thank you 🌷.
                You really know what is needed to heal and you’ve made me so determined to face the awful pain. Just like everyone here.

                Sounds like you’ve been through absolute hell too. Reading through all the comments on here you realise just how much raw pain there is out there. All caused by selfish entitlement as CL says. People who breach your trust and can look you in eye and lie over and over without the slightest remorse.

                A clinical psychologist told me people like my husband are sociopaths/narcs who don’t bond with anyone in true sense of word. The amount of OW he was texting, phoning and meeting threw me at first as it was obvious no-one was special. Wasn’t like an affair with just one OW. The psychologist thinks he’s addicted to rush of endorphins he gets from duping as many as possible which makes him feel superior. One of OW knew he was married but after I found out she was in rage after realising she wasn’t only one. She mounted a campaign of abuse – not at him, but against me (!). Think it all added to his fun.

                I keep reading CL’s posts about how we must remember that yes they really are that bad. Stop thinking of good bits! That’s my downfall. Man I thought he was never existed but was a part in his deception play.

                Sending love and hugs to you and everyone going through this. You’re all amazing! Xx

      • First time here so lots to dump. How do you mark DDays? Is it by each discovery of truth, which restaurant, which trip, which holiday? Or is it by how many affairs? I had 2 major DDays, first one when I found Valentines card of the 3 year affair and then the second a year later when he finally admitted about #2,3 &4 brief affairs. Before 2nd DDay I did the marriage retreat, counseling, begging, meeting his needs, left my kids to the care of my father who left my ailing mother in her nursing home to go sailing (his passion) and one week later he was banging the 4th woman with our brother in law (his sister’s husband) in the bcabin next door with his newest, yep he let his sister’s husband set him up with an affair not once but twice, the second after I knew of the long term affair. I’ve stayed home raising our now 16 yr old twins while he got to fulfill every dream he had, start his own company, get his MBA (2 states away), travel every week and do his sports. He’s chosen every house we’ve lived in (a lot as he always moves us when he’s not happy). Now I’ll be going back to start a career at 50+ (26 years of a very controlling marriage) because I’m just tired of his selfish sorry ass. He actually had the nerve the other day to cry and clutch his chest and say I feel like I’m having a heart attack because I don’t know where I’m living in 5 days (I kicked him out again a month ago-that was his excuse for first affair when our therapist 4 years ago said he needs to move out there is way too much conflict in front of the kids, excuse for also going back to her last year after my gut told me something was wrong and I kicked him out- the 4th affair) Where was he for months when I was depressed, almost suicidal (of course he told the counselor that), he was calling his affair partner. My kids don’t even want him around anymore, they’re old enough to know the hell he’s put me and them through. I think the lowest point was when my mother died (I spent 18 months trying to save our marriage instead of visiting her, she fought a brain tumor) and after the funeral he said I need to leave for awhile, where I asked, to get a massage beacause my back hurts- his 3 year affair was with his massage therapist!! Blows me away how self gratifying they are.

    • For me it was pretty simple, he is a self admitted asshole. After years of trying to fix things between us, one simple conversation where he said “yeah I’m an asshole, you can’t change who I am. But I am YOUR asshole”. Something finally clicked, nope, nope, nope not my asshole anymore!

    • I discovered this blog, last Saturday. I read your posts and comments for 3 hours straight. I could not stop reading. It was perfect for my mood. I have had 2 D-days. One in January the most devastating one and one in June, one that made me have the guts to kick him out.
      I have never felt so much pain, fear uncertainty in my whole entire life. I have blamed my self (how could I not see there were issues in our marriage?). I have begged, cried, played the role of the perfect wife, I have dragged him to therapy… Everything possible, you name it, I even went to those websites that promise you it does not take 2 to tango if you follow their steps to safe a marriage. I would lie to you If I told you that even today I don’t dream with the idea of overcoming his infidelity and start over. I would be lying to you If I told you that I don’t dream with the idea of a miracle, a mind shift or something that makes him realize his mistake and that his decision to terminate our marriage is the effect of his confusion and possible depression or midlife crisis. He admits to the infidelities although he says that the first woman was just a friend and that the second one hid did have sex with, was just to prove himself that he did not really love me. “I did something so wrong, I cant even forgive myself” he said.
      I can’s even tell people what he did, it is so humiliating, only few people know. and yet he gets to treat me like crap every time we see each other (we have kids together) in order to justify his decision. If he fins a pretext to be mad at me, he does not need to feel guilty because, he took the right decision. So, in his head I’m the worst mother, don’t clean the house enough and many more unbelievable stuff. Reading my self is infuriating, so why do I feel there is hope in our marriage?, why do I cling to this imaginary hope like it is the best thing and most validating thing that could happen to me?. Why his rejection affects me so much, why do I want him to regret it in my face?

      Thank for your book, got it in audio book today. Can wait to go back home today and start listening to it.

      • I feel exactly the same way. Half the time I’m ready to file, and then I see him, and it all goes out the window. He’s hurt me so much, so deeply, that I feel I must be mad to stay in this relationship. I feel weak when I want to be strong. I’m in therapy, which is really helping. He’s done such a number on my self esteem over 25 years, especially the last few years.

  • Smoked the hopium pipe, spent every dime on marriage counseling, and completely gave away my dignity…..until she basically tried to kill me. Death has a unique way of changing your perspective on life.

    • Same here SuperDuperChump. Except in my case, cheater ex included myself and my boys. He looked me straight in the eye, and said “When I feel depressed I feel like getting a gun and killing you and the kids and then killing myself.” Ahhh……..Game over. He had been emotionally abusive for a couple years before that, and I had been pulling away emotionally from him because he was just mean. But that was the final straw. No one threatens my kids!

      At that point I was only a few months away from graduating nursing school. I was going to nursing school, working full-time nights. I also had a small part time job on top of everything else. I was also managing the household and two teenage boys.

      There was very little money to be had at that point because cheater ex had been spending it on schmoopie. Course I didn’t realize that at the time. I just knew we were struggling. So I told him, that I was going to work a few extra hours and the money was going to go into a Christmas fund. And that’s what I did until I had enough money to rent a small apartment. Once I had that apartment rented my friends came in one afternoon when cheater X was at work and the kids and I moved.

      Boy was he pissed. He had told me that he was planning on killing me and my children and he had the gall to be upset that I took my children and left. Well, I was so damned uppity he was just going to have to divorce me. He wanted to know if I would pay for it. I told him, to go right on ahead. With the help of the local domestic abuse resource, I was able to get a temporary restraining order. When we went to court to see if I could get the restraining order for year cheater ex showed up with an attorney. He proceeded to shoot himself in the foot. And I got my year-long restraining order.

      I wish I could say it all worked out great for me and my children. Unfortunately it did not. Cheater X was the vengeful sort. 5 months after our divorce was final, he kidnapped my youngest son and murdered him. Cheater X then drove to another state with a buddy of his, and they both killed themselves there. It was almost two weeks before I knew what happened to my boy.

      I’m a few years down the road now from that mess. My eldest son and I are healing. My message to anyone dealing with a cheater narcissist is to be very careful when you’re getting ready to leave. With a personality disordered person, you never know what they’re capable of. So be discreet when lining up your ducks and getting yourselves away from them. They are capable of just about anything in their evil little hearts. Many of then will do absolutely anything to win. Above all stay safe. Keep your kids safe.

      • Tessie, thank you for sharing your story with another crop of newbies. It never fails to send a chill down my spine. You are so generous to share and it is an importance message no one wants to hear but we all need to hear. I admire your strength and am glad to hear you and you older son are healing.

        • Tessie,
          It was reading about your experience that made me aware of how vigilant I must remain that the ex (and OW) who tried to poison me, are kept at a distance by legal restraint. Actually, they did poison me, they just didn’t succeed in killing me.

          Your loss has been the most tragic I’ve read on CN, and I admire your resolve in making sure your surviving son has a decent life.

          • I’m still living with my STBX while I’m lining up ducks, and these responses are chilling. I’m trying to find evidence of money sent to other women, cell phone top ups, etc, so I’ve been reviewing his browser history. A couple of weeks ago, I found searches for “poison” and “can mouse poison kill you?” That stopped me cold. Reading these posts is a reminder to be hypervigilant, line up my ducks and get away from him as quickly as possible.

      • Why is it that domestic violence organizations so often fail to acknowledge the connections and overlaps between cheating and domestic violence?! When there are stories like this and so many more that are similar!

        Whenever I’ve tried to talk to domestic violence crisis counselors about the cheating and emotional abuse/gaslighting that would bleed into verbal and sexual abuse, the domestic violence crisis counselors wouldn’t believe that that counts as domestic violence!!! Uhhhh… Clearly there is a massive hole in their field that needs to be addressed ASAP. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Tessie.

        Tessie, I’m so deeply sorry for what you went through. I can’t even imagine! I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. I have no words for how horrible… I’m just glad that you and your other children are finally safe!

        • I agree!
          I’ve read a brief article about Ms Diane Bently. As the governor’s wife, she worked hard to help those dealing with domestic violence. After her DDay she felt violated & abused as well. I’ve been hoping that perhaps she would have enough exposure to encourage these counselors to understand that adultery is domestic violence!
          She’d have a lot of support here!

          Tessie,
          I am so sorry.
          Thanks for sharing & helping others with your message.

      • I am in tears, I am so terribly sorry for the senseless loss of your child. Nothing will ever completely heal that loss but you are honoring your child’s life and memory by sharing this story and possibly saving countless others. Thank you for your strength and sharing with us.

      • >>”My message to anyone dealing with a cheater narcissist is to be very careful when you’re getting ready to leave.”

        Tessie, your story has been with me since I first read it … it was with me through my decision to divorce; through my STBX going unhinged; and through the hellish experience of him being flagged by police and mental health pros for “homicidality.”

        Thank you for sharing your story. Heavens, did it leave its mark with me. And, without question, it has helped to keep me and my girls safe through the insanity. I am vigilant — and will remain so.

        Sending a big (((hug))).

      • Oh my goodness. Bless you and your sweet boys; both of them. My heart goes out to you.

        Whenever I think my struggles are high, someone always has it worse.

      • Tessie, I’m so very sorry. I’m crying as I write this to you. I can’t imagine that kind of pain. Take care of you and your son. You will both be in my prayers. ❤

      • That sent chills down my spine. I’m so sorry for what happened you are really brave for sharing and thank you for doing so x

      • Tessie, your strength in telling your story has helped more people leave their abusers than you will ever know. This past month has been been a blur of loss for me, and my strength has been wavering (not related to X). Thank you so much for reminding me that, even in the face of overwhelming sorrow, we have the choice to continue on. It will carry me forward in the coming days.

        • Tessie, I echo everything Violet said. You have helped more chumps than you will ever know. I wish every possible blessing to you and your son.

          Violet, the same can be said for you. I’m very sorry to hear that the past month has been so tough for you, and I hope you know that you have the gratitude and good wishes of CN holding you up.

      • Tessie,
        I am so sorry about all you have endured, and for the loss of your precious son. Thank you for reminding us that it is imperitive to expect the unexpected when leaving a cheater. They are often dangerous, disordered people.

      • I am so unbelievably sad for your incredible loss! He killed your baby – your son! I cannot fathom your heart break. I will never be the same after hearing of your deep and painful loss.
        I understand the evil “within them”, but I cannot understand the depth of your grief. I cry with you all same.

  • I had 4 d-days as well. Through each d-day I had my college friends on my side, to cheer and get mad with me. After the 4th discovery I called my friends to cry and vent. As the days went on and I wanted to leave but was scared, one of my friends told me something her husband said. He said , ” You know nothing will ever change at that house. She will never leave him.” WELL, I decided to show him!! I moved out , got a lawyer and divorced him. So this friend’s lack of faith and disappointment in me, forced me to look at the picture and get moving.

    • DeAun,
      If that’s what it took, good for you! Does that friend’s husband ever find out all the good that came out of his blunt criticism?

    • People are afraid to say these things to your face. Just like what you might hear afterward…the whole “I never liked him” spiel. It’s like, um…thanks? I know it’s two-sided…people don’t want to tell you a blunt truth/opinion because they assume you won’t listen (and, yes, why would we accept that stuff being said about our SO at the time?), but it is also annoying to hear it days/months/years too late. Glad you caught wind of it and it made you mad enough to do something and/or made it all click in your head. Unfortunately, I think the timing of these kinds of comments need to be just right to be useful/processed.

      • My friends and family fell for her, too. Everybody got sucked in cause she was just that good at lying and manipulating. But when the truth came out, my family and real friends stuck by me. They helped me not feel so damn stupid for getting chumped again. (Like chump lady, I have been through this twice.)

    • DeAun-not with regard to cheating-but the life-changing criticism/insult from many years ago: friends, the hubby was your typical pompous ass attorney, but not earning a good living-they eventually divorced-so the hub says to me, “You couldn’t pass the GMAT”. That’s the required entrance exam for graduate school. It spurred me and I immediately took the 4 hour exam, obtained the 5 letters of recommendation (not from this lawyer guy) completed school with a 4.5 GPA and the President of my company, Brunswick Corp. came to my graduation. I gave myself a little party and invited the pompous ass atty. I was a young female with an MBA in General Management in the days when very few women had or were getting MBA’S. My career exploded thanks to this offhanded, actually cruel assessment that I was dumb. That one sentence, those few words completely changed everything in my life and it’s direction.

  • I was at the lawyer’s and I realized if I left without writing him a check for his retainer that I would never take the next step. I wanted to get a divorce but I was still very scared to take the next step. Terrified. I realized that I had to put the wheels in motion. So I wrote the check.

    • Same for me. After I worked up the courage to see the attorney, I wrote her the retainer check immediately. I knew I had to do it or I never would.

  • Discovered the Other Man. He wasn’t the first emotional affair partner but the one confirmed, later, physical one. Read Love Must Be Tough. Not a perfect book bit it did help me draw a line.

    • Love Must be Tough was my guiding light. My pastor – who barely knew me because I had just moved into town – gave it to me the day after my D day.

    • Love must be tough worked for me too. But wasn’t it supposed to win your spouse back? If anything it showed me what an enormous disrespect cheating actually is

      • Love Must Be Tough started my journey. Kind of funny- I picked it up thinking it was a book on disciplining children. Little did I know the kids were not my main problem.

        Midlife Blast- I don’t think the purpose of the book is reconciliation. However, given the context (very conservative Christians in the nineties) perhaps the author had to mention it. Otherwise the book may have been outright rejected by the intended audience. Only the author knows his intent.

        It was a pioneering book in it’s time. For decades the church’s stance was “pray to God and submit to your husband”.Then here comes a well established author stating it is not just OK, but necessary for the faithful spouse to put their foot down.

        Twenty years later we have books like Redemptive Divorce. This book acknowledges the desire for reconciliation but emphasizes it is VERY rare and don’t count on it. We Christians are heading in the right direction, although very slowly.

        FWIW, when I told my pastor about the abuse he affirmed me and asked how the church could help. What a relief! He said each person is made in the image of God, and when we abuse another we abuse the image of God in them. And yes, God wants you to get out of your marriage if you are in danger!

        That helped so much. There ARE good churches out there, however few and far-between.

  • I thought we were in the midst of reconciliation after DDay #3 (sigh, I know) when I caught him unblocking and chatting with more women.

    A guy friend who’d been advocating for him got so angry when he heard that, it finally clicked how stupid I’d be if I kept trying to forgive this crap. He was out a couple of weeks later.

    • Me, too, Foggy Days. Was attending intensive, last ditch effort MC when I got a text that was intended for the OW. The “Oh baby, I can’t wait to do to you what my pathetic loser wife won’t allow because it’s so disgusting.” I forwarded it on to everyone he was lying to. (He was telling them that *I* was the reason our marriage was falling apart.) I even forwarded it to slunty OW and relished the thought of her opening it and realizing it was sent to: pastor, counselor, good friends, school principal, etc. Vindicated. Plus I loved the thought of everyone getting sick over what he wanted to do to her. You think you know what it is but trust me, it’s even worse.

  • For me, I had to be done tolerating bullshit. It took a lot, sadly.

    2 years after D-Day #1, my brother died quite traumatically from cancer. 2 weeks later, the cowardly liar (who I already suspected was back to his old tricks) told me he wanted to separate and live alone because he needed time to think.

    I turned the corner emotionally, sitting there, raw with grief and slammed by post traumatic stress. I said “people don’t move out to think, they move out so it’s easier to fuck other people.” He stared at me, speechless. I said “OK, you move out, the sooner the better. In fact, why don’t you find someone to stay with while you look for a place.” He didn’t find someone to stay with (of course, because drama), but he did take a “vacation” that ended up resulting in a phone call (pre mobile tech) from a woman with a 2-year old son who thought the ex was her soulmate and was worried about him because she suddenly couldn’t reach him. Imagine her surprise when the wife she didn’t know existed answered the phone.

    The day he brought the moving truck, he walked in crying and I walked past him and started loading. He stood there acting victimized. I continued loading. I made him help me with the biggest pieces, and otherwise I ignored him.

    When I was done, I said “ok, there it is, now you can leave.” He asked me why I hated him so much. I told him it’s not about hate, it’s that I needed to grieve my brother and I can’t take care of him, too, and I can’t deal with his lies and cruelty while I process this death, and that it was time to end it all, and asked him to please leave. So, he did.

    I had been working up to the break of the camel’s back for a long time. Losing my brother clinched it. I was finally done with bullshit and I was unmoved by crocodile tears. I just wanted his lyng ass gone.

    • What is it about pulling shit like this after a death in the family? Rhys told me he hadn’t missed me at all after I was away to mourn my uncle- he was on a trip with his other inamorata…

        • Same thought as to why they pull this when women are pregnant. They know the baby is about to have to be priority instead of them.

          • Yep! After our son was born (firstborn), my ex acted really weird. I won’t get into the stories, but I remember thinking to myself — he’s acting like he’s jealous of our son. Is he feeling left out, because I’m breastfeeding? One day I purposely pumped milk so that my ex could give him a bottle. What was the first thing ex said? “Take my picture.” Yep! He couldn’t just enjoy giving him a bottle. He had to have a picture of him giving the bottle. And when I was pregnant with our second born, that’s when he had an affair with a co-worker (can’t prove it, but I know it in my heart that he did because all the signs were there). I sure wish I would have left him at the time, but I was so devastated and scared. Narcs need ALL the attention and are even jealous of their own children. They are truly sick and disgusting people.

          • Absolutely. Discovered at the end that he had cheated during each and every pregnancy …. (and in-between, of course). Asshole.

        • Mine told me, while very intoxicated, he wanted a divorce five days after my mom’s death (I’m an only child and dad died a few years before, so no family to lean on). Then when I said okay, the next day he changed his mind and said he was messed up emotionally over mom’s death… a year later, he admits affair and I throw him out.

          I think Chump Lady should be required reading before any girl gets married. There were so many red flags, but I was so naive…

      • My husband started his exit affair right around the time my father went under hospice care. I was at my father’s side when he passed away. The only form of condolence I got from my husband was a text message: “Sorry Hon.” Then he turned around and texted the OW: “My father in law died today.” She texted him back, “I am so sorry. Thinking of you.” So glad they were able to console each other over MY loss.

        Two months later, he left me.

        When my mother died a couple of years later, we were still separated but not divorced. His message that time? Silence.

        He had known my parents for over 30 years.

        The only thing that got me unstuck from the grief and the rumination and the longing for my marriage was time. I did EVERYTHING else—made new friends, moved to a new house, got a new dog, volunteered, took up new hobbies, therapy, therapy, therapy, exercise, got another new dog, travel, journaling, dating—but I really feel it has only been the passage of time that has allowed me to get past the cruelty and the anguish and the heartache and the general bereavement for all my losses. That, and learning all I can about narcissistic personality disorder. Oh yes, and CN, for sure!

        • >>” So glad they were able to console each other over MY loss.”

          Their behavior was utterly vile. Heck, I’m furious FOR you.

        • champchump – your post make me SO damn angry all over again. What a fucking asshole – there are just no other words. My X was a lot like that. After 9/11 he had the audacity to say, ‘we should not have been invading other countries’, and it didn’t seem to affect him at all. I’ll never get over that particular instance. He never attended either of my parents funerals. otoh – we drove all night just to go to his Uncle’s funeral.

        • X left while my Mother was in remission after being diagnosed with Kidney cancer and had a kidney removed. A couple months after X left my Mother’s cancer returned with a vengeance .She passed away three months after the second diagnosis, during that time X would call and text my Mother. He thought it was important to tell her that ” leaving your daughter is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,”
          He continued to call her with nonsense similar to this even after she told him she wasn’t well, and asking X to please not to call her .
          When my Mom passed, he didn’t send any condolences, to anyone in our family including my Dad. My parents loved him like one of their own. There’s no level too low for them to stoop to. When I start missing having someone around or thinking of something I miss, all I need to do is think of this and other disturbing things he’s done. Brings me back to reality.
          Keeping a list in a journal is nice to have for quick reference, during those times when I miss what I thought I had.

          • Champchump and Brit, your stories make my blood run cold. I’m so sorry. Brit you called it: “There’s no level too low for them to stoop to.”

    • I am so sorry for your loss Amiisfree. You were so unbelievably strong all while grieving for your brother-you are mighty!

      My ex wouldn’t get our son off to school, so I had to miss the funeral for my friend (see my post on this thread). Then two days later ex was wondering why I was “still” so upset and unsettled by her sudden passing.

      Narc a**holes.

      • O. M. G.

        I just pictured Hermione going off on Malfoy when I read that.

        YOU, my friend, are mighty. I’ll pop down and read your other post. Thanks for the support! (I’m well over ten years out and remarried, so I have processed a lot of pain since those dark days.)

    • If it’s not for the attention, it’s because of the empathy and/or capability to deal with difficult emotions that they don’t have. You’re sad. Sad feels bad. I can’t deal. I need a hooker. …Something like that (at least in my experience).

      • “If it’s not for the attention, it’s because of the empathy and/or capability to deal with difficult emotions that they don’t have. You’re sad. Sad feels bad. I can’t deal. I need a hooker.”

        Spot on.

  • For me it was my 15 year old son catching his father for the first time, face timing a hopeless whore while was out with a girl friend. I received a very heart felt text from my son on my way home from a fun night out and it started out like this… “ Mom, I love you too much to not tell you that I caught Dad face timing another woman…” The following week I filed for divorce. When you expose our children to your dirty disgusting behavior , it’s time to go!

    • Catching them together at whores house st 1;00 am outside sitting together on a swinging lawn chair. When I confronted them they started laughing, her saying sexual things they do together, he telling me “This who I want to be with.. I love her”.

      I knew I was DONE…served him divorce papers week later. 34 years married gone. Pain was unbearable but 2 years later I’m free!

        • LiveForToday

          Yes, evil & cold. But Karma hit them just recently. The whore died in a car accident 2 weeks ago.

          The Narc had no where to live now. Sleeping on his brothers couch. I pray Karma hits him too for all the pain & destruction he caused.

          Hugs to you too ❤️

          • Y’know every day I pick up the paper and scan the obits and police report hoping to see….her. And I know I should feel bad about it, karma and all….but..well….

            I’d never admit that out loud to anyone. But tell me, how did you feel? Satisfied? Scared? Indifferent?

            • @Beans, I read a post by Kathleen the other day where she wrote about the car accident. My first reaction made me feel bad about myself because I felt what I would describe as a moment of “glee” – not because of a person’s death but because the karma bus took the form of a car accident and a CHEATER experienced loss. PAYBACK.

              I generally think revenge fantasies are helpful – even empowering – because nobody gets hurt but you feel oh so much better for picturing a cheater experiencing problems or loss.

              But I felt guilty for my glee because someone has actually died. I shouldn’t feel anything remotely related to happy when death by auto accident is part of the story. But I DID.

              But after thinking and worrying about it I’ve come to accept that as a flawed human being who strives to be compassionate but isn’t at Buddhist monk level, I don’t have to feel lovingkindness toward everyone. I was CHUMPED. I experienced terrible pain and loss, and I empathize better with other chumps. I want CHUMPS to be the winners in the story, and I really, really want CHEATERS to be the LOSERS.

              I’m cutting myself some slack for reacting the way I did. I hope you will cut yourself some slack too. After what was done to us, it’s normal to yearn for some kind of justice.

              • I think the same. I don’t have to rent a billboard to say it, but I hope all the bad things in life happen to her and nobody else.

                And before anyone asks, yes WaitressFucker was the REAL problem here, but he got his and I was there to see it. I just want assurance that she got hers as well. I’d settle for a terminal illness, public humiliation or beat down. 😂

            • Beans,

              Answering your question.. I honestly felt justice was served. Karma hit them which I prayed for..was satisfying. But a very small piece of me felt sad that she died.

              I’m making no excuses for sounding cold
              But the humiliation, destruction of my marriage & how the man I loved for so long deceived me allows me to feel this way.

              Hopefully all of us Chumps… get to a peaceful place where we can move on with a better life.

              Bless us all ♥️

              • “But the humiliation, destruction of my marriage & how the man I loved for so long deceived me allows me to feel this way.”

                Amen to that, @Kathleen!

                To paraphrase Superman – Truth, Justice, and the Karmic Way.

              • Kathleen

                The idea a woman would gloat about having sex with your then husband shined a light on the deep darkness of their souls. I had a similar experience with skank Nanthony who took such joy in taunting me with her win.

                The only path we have control over is our own. If she died there’s no doubt he’d find another victim. And he might land on his feet perfecting the pity play to the next. And he’ll set his sights on someone with assets who will support him.

                The joy and remorse we might feel when the OW dies isn’t shared by the cheater. It’s simply supply interrupted.

                And they rebound like changing their shirt. The debth isn’t there. Just as the love wasn’t.

              • I went through a period of terrible guilt, afraid my soul had been poisoned and I would suffer for all eternity when I was wishing karma would kick her ass. I’m not actually mad at her AP because I know she got chumped, too. LadyLiar literally replaced me (though the new model makes more money and doesn’t have kids to cramp her adventurous style). I don’t want LadyLiar to die — that would be too easy. I want her to live through the hell she put ME through. But that assumes she’d actually develop empathy and feel remorse for what she did to me and my daughters, and I highly doubt she’s capable of that.

          • If he comes crawling back to you begging for another chance, I will be glad to personally teleport to your location and dump an enormous bucket of ice water on his head followed by a huge bag of flour.

            • Please, Amiisfree, could you teleport to the east coast and slap the keyboard out of Homewrecker’s hand? Perhaps douse her in something sticky, and then dump a bag of those obnoxious neon craft store feathers on her? She had the balls to post a go fund me claiming victimhood at the hands of the child support courts, who are cruelly requiring Honey pay a huge, unfair amount of money each month to support the kids he physically abandoned and moved 2,000 miles away from. Awww, what’s wrong, sweety? Knowingly homewrecking my family while I had 2 babies in diapers isn’t working out quire like you thought it would? That’s a shame.

              • HandH, I’ve started reading your blog (you’re a terrific writer), and I hope you’ll post some more updates. The OW in your case is one of the creepiest and most disordered I’ve ever heard of–a perfect match for your slimeball ex. The contrast between you building amazing play structures for your abandoned kids while OW is Go Funding Me over child support payments is quite something.

              • I only just now saw this, so I don’t know if you’ll see my response, but it would be my honor, my friend. 🙂

                Also, this is why I am extremely dubious about crowdfunding. While I realize some crowdfunding is legit, I feel fairly sure most of it isn’t. I could get out my violin and write a convincing ditty about why I should have other people’s money, too. Doesn’t mean I am in need in real life, yo.

            • DoingMe – ‘I had a similar experience with skank Nanthony who took such joy in taunting me with her win.’

              I have a need-to-know question please.
              How is it your didn’t run straight at her with your arms swinging and screaming at the top of your lungs that she was in ~~big trouble~~ which I did once to a woman who could run faster than me. It was funny. And, it worked.
              I would have made her think if you caught her, you’d strangle her for such immature words. She’s a POS and needs to be treated like one.

              • SheChump

                I saw the man behind the mask. Then I met the grotesque fuck he called a dream girl. I approached them sitting at a bar and introduced myself. As she turned around I.LAUGHED.MY.ASS.OFf

                Ugly classless and grotesque whore looked me In the eye and after I laughed hysterically I said, THIS is what you left me for? Good luck introducing that to your children what an embarrassment.

                When she approached me in public I was anresdy aware of her arrest records. I work in a profession and wasn’t about to fight for a man that wanted a cunt. I notified the local and state police numerous times. They did nothing until she ran me off the road. I filed a report in an affluent town where they took it seriously.

                It’s not over. I’m planning on dumping the Limited from my health insurance. Timing, my friend is everything. Rock, scissors;paper. I’m patient and it’s all legal. Just waiting until his three year tax loan is paid up in the spring; he dumps his business and moves to Florida with the whore. Then I can live my life without any ties to the asshole.

          • It’s weird when Karma comes-
            My ex-Mr. Runswithhookers died unexpectedly earlier this year & I’m still not sure how to feel. I didn’t want to party but I was relieved in a way. I didn’t wish for his death although what he put my son & I through was beyond awful. I just wanted him out of our lives. His death made a lot of things easier for me except how it is now affecting my young son. That is what is killing me-he cries for his dad & misses him………..ugh! It makes me so angry-that POS isn’t worth even one of my precious baby’s tears!!!! He wasn’t really there for us (or him) except for a few months before he died. I’m hoping & praying that after a lot of therapy & some time passes that my son will be ok.

            • I hope that your son has other male mentors to look up to. Boys need someone to admire and learn from, especially if their father was a big let-down. Do you have brothers? I hope your son can heal, it’s not easy. I have three sons, who are grown, but they seemed to gravitate to role models because the X was so childish.

              • I’m worried about this because I don’t have a lot of good, strong, positive role models for my son. My dad would have been the best but sadly he is in heaven. I have a brother & ex my brother in law that we don’t see much of & wouldn’t consider either one a role model. My ex Father in law is awful so I can’t count him. We do have a couple of families we know that we play sports with that have great dads. I have Mr. Nice Guy who is amazing, smart & strong but we are in early stages of relationship……..I don’t want my son to be too involved unless I know for sure it is going to be a really substantial relationship.

            • If you’re in the US, you might look up Big Brothers. I know there are a shortage of Big Brothers (women tend to get involved as Big Sisters), but it’s a great organization. I also think that Scouting is a good organization, and I like it more now that (again in the US), it’s more inclusive. One of my best friends in high school was a scout. He was also gay in an age when coming out was very difficult. Regardless, scouting made a huge impact on his life.

            • I mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and they do a lot with kids who need role models. Maybe try talking to your local folks? My Little’s mother recently died due to cancer, and the family is really grateful that she still has me to talk to about stuff.

          • You know up until now I loved coming to this page for strength. However, even though I was cheated on multiple times, I would never be happy nor wish for karma to that extreme. I may dislike the women my husband cheated on me with, but they were weak and believed his bs about having a shitty marriage. Remember that HE was the one that deceived you. Being happy or “gleeful” for the death of someone in such a tragic way is horrible. Karma would have been him cheating on her, or leaving her for another woman. Not death. I understand that now he has to feel pain — the type of pain you probably felt when he left. Maybe I am to Christian —

            • Head, please go back and read what her ex and his lover did. They humiliated her while she stood there in the middle of the night. The ow sounded like a vicious sociopath and he sounded like an idiot.

            • Firstly HIS, I’d like to think you’re not trolling. Secondly, the cheater and his OW took vicious pleasure in hurting and humiliating Kathleen, with not even the good grace to feel slightly ashamed that they had been caught. The OW heaped it on with a spoon in her mocking of Kathleen with the sexual details of their affair. It’s only human to feel slightly satisfied that someone that obviously got off on decimating your life has a bad (in this case, the worst) turn of events in their life.

              • HeadInSand. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this site, we’ve all had very different experiences – although, very similar. And, we are all at different stages of recovery. I know I felt like killing my then X, but only because I think he was plotting to kill me. We eventually both settled down after 4 years now and, although my anger is still apparent, I do know that his karma already hit him. I got 1/2 his money and nothing was more important to him than that. As far as schmoopie? She doesn’t even register in my mind as a person, so, I wouldn’t have an interest in her death in the least. Even though she was a good g/f at one time. She’s useless brain matter and her karma is living with that.

              • StigofTheChump

                Thank you for understanding. Headsinsand obviously doesn’t realize I wished them Karma but certainly not death! I too am Christian but after being so cruelly mistreated..it’s normal to feel wanting
                justice if some sort. I will NOT feel guilty for how I feel now.

                Wraith of God….is what ensued.

            • There’s no point in lying about how she feels. She can’t heal and move on if she isn’t honest with herself about even the seemingly ugliest feelings. And lots of people have these feelings, they wish their ex a miserable death or torture. They never act on it (God-willing), but you can’t cope with something you ignore. Even more importantly, these feelings aren’t rare, and it’s important to know that so you don’t feel isolated ans freakish. So you don’t try to hide what you’re feeling and let it fester.

              Plus, even if she prayed every single day in church for the death of the OW and it happens, is she responsible? I think not. Wanting something to happen isn’t causing it to happen.

              Even sadistic feelings have their lace and need to be dealt with.

              • I get it, totally. I have wanted some pretty bad things to happen to my ex and his can of Alp-ho. I have dreamed some pretty shitty, horribly dehumanizing events out of dreaming for revenge.

                Thing is that if my ex were to truly be sorry and repentant and apologetic and change into a decent human being towards me, all of that would go away and I would probably forgive him. I don’t want him back at all, ever, but if that happened, I could come to peace with it sooner.

                But it’s not going to. I am never going to get an apology or any kind of repentant accountability or responsibility from him. He has no desire to make peace over it, to be truly remorseful or repentant. And so, my heart aches for justice that I will likely never see, let alone get, and while it does, I get to wish terrible things on both of those assholes.

                Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. There’s a reason why divorce is allowable in scripture for adultery…and we’re living that reason. Cheaters are never sorry and a marriage broken by infidelity is no marriage in the first place.

      • Caught my pos of an ex in a hotel room with her new man, well boy, he’s 8 yrs younger then she is. We both had counselling 3 days later then I moved out. 12 yrs down the drain, homeless, financially struggling. I’m sooooo fucking glad I left that pos, looking back I’d just been I meal ticket. Good luck to her new manboy Im sure one day we will bump into each other on the street.

      • Kathleen

        I feel for you. My marriage was 35 years long and THE DOCTOR (have to put it all in caps b/c it’s so important and impressive and entitled…) left me for the tundra and the Alaskan Schmoopie. I did not know of her but I had to file for divorce when I realized he had blocked my access to joint accounts. I had literally gotten out of the hospital a week earlier, from grand mal seizures of sudden onset & respiratory arrest. Thought I was dying or had a stroke and he did not come retrieve me on the east coast until I had already been released. He was “Monitoring from afar.”

        Just a few weeks later I got a text from my husband -intended from Schmoopie/bad face lift- saying he was “thinking of —” with her so that was fun to read.

        AND then he posted on Facebook that she was “the love of his life.” And posted that he was “in a relationship” but we were/are still married. I had no idea until then…

        Several people reached out to me in horror. That included Dr. Narkles’ bff and a groomsman from our wedding. And my family and our children.

        Yes Yes it was very cruel and socially weird. He’s 60.

        But I STILL find myself baffled as to what he expected from people. Yes his new fan base was cheering him on, and none of them know me or our 3 children.

        But WTF DID HE THINK OUR CHILDREN WOULD THINK????

        That ^^ is what baffles me. And how did he think I’d react, in terms of our divorce finances? Why rub my face in it?

        I want what I deserve in the divorce – but I’ll take what I need. OMG I’m shaking my head again.

        WTF?

    • Whitney – It was my 17 year old son who found his father’s fuck phone. My son was put in a mental hospital for 15 days and nobody could figure out why he flipped out. When I picked him up from the hospital – he told me about finding the phone. Then it all made sense as to why my kid was in a mental hospital and Xhole knew all along what the cause was, yet didn’t say a thing. I’m thinking Asswipe was hoping it would stay a secret between the two of them. But it wasn’t until my son told me about his loser asswipe pisshead murderous father, did he himself start to heal.

  • Sadly, my epiphany happened as the result of a true tragedy. A friend from high school got a headache on Easter Sunday night and died the following Friday-she had a massive, previously undetected brain tumor.

    At her wake, I just couldn’t shake the thought “What are you doing with your life? What are you doing?” I’d been through Dday two years earlier, and been busy pick me dancing through our wreckonciliation.

    So I knew I had to change-I could not waste my life any longer.

    I started pressing my narc ex to get real help for his depression/anxiety, and very slowly started to move away from the destructive patterns we’d been living. He responded by getting very angry and secretly drawing up a divorce settlement agreement. When I found the document on our shared (duh!) laptop, I was able to do a complete data transfer (bought my own laptop) and start getting the financial ducks in a row. And I hadn’t yet found Chump Lady though I wish I had!

    At couples therapy weeks later, I asked him if he was planning a divorce and after he spluttered on about how I’d invaded his privacy, he stuttered out yes, he wanted a divorce. And I was able to reply, “Okay.”

  • This, right here, blog is what got me unstuck. And from this blog learning about narcissism from outofthefog.net. Until then, I couldn’t put hopium pipe down. And the sex addiction recovery industry contributed to the staying stuck.

    Until finding this blog, I truly did not realize people like this existed, let alone, the person I had given all my love to for over 30 years.

    Three D-days for me. But, when I found this site. I moved quickly finding a lawyer and filing. I couldn’t stay another minute of another day. It was like everything flipped on a dime.

    Divorce was final Feb ’17. Settlement execution just recently completed. Life is peaceful now and I am healing.

    “Thank you” seems woefully inadequate, Tracy. You rock. And the fact that I could even laugh reading your columns (including the archives) throughout the searing pain was an added bonus.

    • Same for me. I found Chump Lady after D-3. She made me laugh and gave me a new perspective on life. I hadn’t laughed nor smiled in 2 years.

      • I talked to 3 lawyers who basically said as long as he is providing money, wait it out because longer marriage means bigger settlement. I was fine with it because I was smoking the Hopium. When the money stopped, I went back to the first lawyer and she still said wait it out, live off the savings. This was around the time I had finally found my way to chump lady through divorce minister and was going cold turkey on hopium. Best decision ever- no withdrawal just anger for having smoked it in the first place.

        A relative who is a lawyer also disagreed with the first lawyer’s advice and said he can’t just stop paying so I went to 2 more lawyers who both said you need to file! One, however, said I will talk to his lawyer over lunch and get him to tell deadbeat to start paying. The other said, cheater is reactionary, surprise him by filing. He understood the narc and when cheater blew up after I filed, he calmly told me “You are in the driver’s seat now. “ Music to this chump’s ears. Thinking about it still makes me smile.

      • Same for me, too. Chump Lady helped me to realize who my ex was, that he and the OW were terrible, disordered people, and that I needed to let go and find ME again. I’m working on it and the support I’ve found at Chump Nation has been absolutely invaluable. THANK YOU, TRACY!

        • Hear, hear! The blog helped me let go of wasted sympathy/empathy/kindness for someone who would hurt me so badly. Thank you CL & CN!

    • Me too! Chump lady was my lifeline when I first found out. When I was feeling weak and wanted to contact him or just had questions about my feelings I went to this site. It made me realize I’m not alone and my feelings are normal. It also gave me hope. Tracy was like an old friend telling me to draw boundaries and reminding me of my worth.

  • I think it was a mix of my gut not sitting right with her reaction and her seeing it as the way out from the relationship.

    The weekend of D-day, I wasn’t thinking of ending things. I mean we were in a rough patch, we’re struggling financially and still getting the hang of parenting now that our child hit the toddler years. I get why she did it blah blah typical chump think. When she said lets try one more time, (she tried to break things off a year earlier but came back talking about how im the only one for her. Stupid me shouldve suspected somethings then), i hesitated. When she saw this, her demeanor suddenly changed to how I deserve better and she’s not good for me. That didn’t seem normal to me. It didn’t seem normal how I was barely eating and sleeping but she was fine. It didnt seem normal there was no begging for forgiveness and wanting to fix things together. So i went to my mother’s the end of the weekend.

  • I have an appointment with the lawyer in an hour and a half. What finally propelled me was one final move right out of the narcissist’s playbook. My spouse has the habit of shifting the attention onto himself whenever it isn’t there, and accusing me of not understanding him. I had driven a thousand miles to be with my mother after she had a stroke, and the day I arrived he sent a self serving self pitying email dressing me down for complaining about an expensive vacation he wanted to take, “to do something special on our 35th anniversary,” although for months now he has refused to discuss with me his behavior. That he would do this when he knew I was preoccupied and focused on my ailing mother was the last straw. I called a lawyer the next day.

    • Good decision trying for mighty! My mother had a stroke and lived across the country as well. I wwent to be with her and she passed 10 days later. Stbx was supportive until he had to fly out with the kids for the funeral. I booked the flights and due to a mechanical issue, they had to stay overnight in the connecting city. He called me and threatened not to come because of this issue as if it were my fault. I remember telling my sister “he is so mean!” Spackled for 3 more years because I didn’t get who he was.

      • My Xhole didn’t attend my brother’s wedding with me and the kids. It was Morel mushroom season and there’s only a 10-day window on finding them little sponges ya know. Bad timing on my brother’s part I guess – what was he thinking planning a wedding during that time of year?

  • After a year of having a bad gut feeling plus many broken promises over various day to day life things, when DDay came, my very first thought was of my mum who’d died of cancer 7 years before that day (she’d never know my ex husband).
    Two things: how incredibly furious she’d have been with me if I’d stayed, and how there was no fucking way as long as I was alive, that I would allow my mum’s time raising me to be confident, happy, and self-reliant, to be wasted time.
    So really, I took action to honour my dead mother. Sounds weird 👀

    • “and how there was no fucking way as long as I was alive, that I would allow my mum’s time raising me to be confident, happy, and self-reliant, to be wasted time.
      So really, I took action to honour my dead mother. Sounds weird ” Weird? NO!!!! Not at all! You put her good teachings to good use. In my book that is not weird , IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!! And your children are going to be very lucky having you pass down to them your mother”s teaching. What a wise and loving mother you had!!
      If I was into ,Situational Heros(September 20th post Situational Truth), you would be my hero today, lol. My mother is my hero, will never be replaced, or share that spaces in my life with a co-hero, miss her so much, gone for 17 years now.

      • Thank you Mama duck. Your mum sounds pretty special too. I don’t think we ever stop missing absent heroes but boy are we grateful to have had them in the first place.

    • I’m leaving because of my dead mother, too, but for the opposite reason. She stayed with my malignant narc of a father, and I’m fairly certain that if she were still alive, she would tell me some variation of, “You picked him, so you owe it to your kids to make it work.”

      But it didn’t work for her. She died at 62 from cancer, having never had a healthy relationship, having never really lived for herself. And all three of her kids ended up in shitty, lopsided marriage’s with narcs.

      So, I’m leaving to do what she didn’t, to try and stop the cycle here. To give her grandchildren a chance at something better.

      • You are a true inspiration, NotToday. It’s not easy breaking free from what’s been the norm all your life regarding your mother.

      • Not Today – Your post totally resonated with me. I want to tell you that my father chose a Malignant Narcissist to marry. She is my mother and he died at 66 yrs old from cancer. I am certain that being married to my mother is what killed my father. She was the worst wife, the worst mother and he kept all of his emotions bottled inside, until he got really sick and died.

        My father never had a healthy relationship, never lived for himself, and he had a miserable existence because of her. I cut off contact with my mother for a while, to save myself. I was the family champion to break the chain of abuse, and you are too!! I am SO proud you did what you did. Because staying with severely disordered people like this, will cause our lives to end prematurely. You are one Mighty Chump!!

  • I think it helped that I had two adult daughters from my first marriage. When I discovered that my psychotherapist second husband had a secret liking for visiting dominatrixes at lunch, I was gone. When he started whining about his ” addiction” and about how “I didn’t have the courage to stay with him during his recovery” I thought about my daughters. I wanted to show them that you can leave something bad, that you don’t have to tolerate abusive treatment. I was out of there lickety split. And frankly, his long term deception (4 years) and inability to tell me about who he really was before I married him hurts more than what he actually did.

    • you hit the nail on the head there. It’s the deception that is really the nail in the coffin. I was done the second my Ex lied to my face when he came home the night of D-Day. I’d just logged into Verizon to see what phone numbers he’d been calling since he was really, really late and his story that morning of where he’d be going that night just sounded weird. I asked him had he been “out on a date?” and he laughed in my face, rolled his eyes and said, “NoooO! you are so ridiculous!” Game Over. Kicked him out that night when he continued to lie for two more hours and deny the proven, obvious, blatant truth.

  • The defining moment that got me “unstuck” was the best man in our wedding calling me & telling me I needed to immediately go get tested for HIV & other STDs because my husband had been having sex up with lots of random women he was soliciting on the internet from Craigslist & Ashley Madison. Apparently my ex had a giant hole in his heart that only hundreds of strange, dirty internet pussies could fill. Best man said my ex had “problems like this” his entire life, even as a young child, & he had secretly been soliciting sex from strangers (married women, because what got him off wasn’t the sex as much as it was the power of “stealing” these women from their husbands and deceiving me & everyone we knew). He & I were married 10+ years, and I, my family, and friends saw a doting husband. I didn’t see ANY signs this was going on–not a single one. My friends all thought I had the best marriage of any of us. My now ex was so brazen that he would have sex with me and other women on the same days, at both our home and our office. He would have these women in our home if he knew I’d be gone for even an hour or 2 (I volunteered for 2 local nonprofits twice a month for 2 hours at a time).

    I explained what I discovered to a psychiatrist, because upon hearing this I legitimately thought he must have a brain tumor. She assured me it wasn’t a brain tumor, but rather she told me my STBX was a textbook sociopath and a sexual predator. Thank God, thank God, thank God that we didn’t have any children!

    I cut all contact from that point on–every type of communication had to come through my lawyer–and I have never once looked back. I spend every single day joyful, celebrating and grateful that I’m not married to a depraved sexual predator.

    • WOW, SaraSen – turns out the best man at your wedding was actually YOUR best man. What a true friend. Glad you’re free of that freak!

  • There’s this wonderful book called: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. Maybe you’ve heard about it.

    Joking aside, CN and Tracy’s book was my bitch slap!

    THANK YOU!!! A thousand times, THANK YOU!!!

    • Yes, this blog is a life saver. Thank you Tracy for having the courage to take this subject on, and all thank you to all the CN posters !

    • Right there with you all, “leave a cheater, gain a life” has been a constant companion to my recovery, as have the insights from fellow chumps at CN, thank you CL for creating this amazing community!

  • My first un-stuck moment was a 6.00 a.m phone call followed by a text message on a Sunday from Schmoopie who wanted to “hear ex’s voice one last time”. That day I told him I wanted him out of the house.

    From there my road went: stuck-paralysis-divorce-stuck-paralysis-depression-midlife crisis excuse-stuck-paralysis-Switzerland friends “you need to forgive him” bullshit talk-deeper depression-finding Chump Lady-hmmm, something that finally made sense-unstuck-what do I have to lose if I listen to this Lady who seems to have lived something similar and has come out at the other end-lawyer up-getting “fuck you bastard” angry-getting a new job-going no contact-taking it from there one step at a time.

    I am not going to lie, it was a fucking hard and excruciatingly painful process. I still have days which are filled with anxiety and sadness, and I am two years post divorce and completely disentangled financially from ex. I found out it was all about baby steps, resilience, patience, weeding toxic people, focusing on my hobbies, spending quality time with my kids, being grateful for the little things, breathing in and breathing out.

    So, once again, thank you ChumpLady for doing what you are doing. It worked for me.

  • First my sister who was cheated on twice before a divorce told me that my wife was really working to save the marriage. Then my therapist told me that my wife was acting like someone who wanted to stay. Then she went off the grid for an hour went I was away studying for a really inportant certification test for work. That’s went I scheduled the appointment with my lawyer. If she couldn’t be there, show me nothing was going on, give me piece of mind the day before a huge day in my career she really didn’t care about anyone but herself. The day before I filed her own dad told me “she doesn’t love you anymore. It’s time you moved on. You need to find a woman who will love you” That’s her dad, who is a cheater himself, that eliminated all doubt. Only four months after d-day, not so bad considering the first month was between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That said, this is still so hard. I wish she had given us a chance. I wonder when she is going to realize that leaving me for an illegal alien who is a car detailer and lives with his parents isn’t a good idea, trading our 2,100 SF home for a 900 SF apartment isn’t a great idea and destrying a good marriage and making our two young kids go through this because she needs validation is selfish and immature. Pride come before the fall, she’s going to fall pretty far.

    • They do the stupidest things, because they want what they want at that moment, and it doesn’t even cross their minds that there will be consequences, because they are WAY too special for that.

      Then later they’re pissed AT US about the consequences they created. Cheater narc ex actually said to me much later ‘I lost a lot more than you did’, and was FURIOUS when I said ‘you didn’t lose those things, you threw them away’. Yup, time with our kids, their love and trust, our very comfortable life, my love and caring, lots of $$$, all our friends and most family (including many of his own family members)….. I don’t think he thought about ANY of this when he responded to Schmoopie’s flirting, when he fucked her, or when he gladly accepted my kicking him out. Later, he appeared to be convinced I’d take him back (this was cheating episode #2), and was very angry that I wouldn’t.

      The guy has a Ph.D. in physics, an MBA, and very demanding work. He’s not actually stupid, just extremely entitled.

      • Wow – a Ph.D. in physics, but doensn’t grasp the concept of action/consequence. Hmmm.

        How about just the third rule of motion: For every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

        That one on its own should have caused the ‘ol “dr” to pause and consider.

        Douchebag. Glad you’re rid of his dumbass. IQ may be high, but EQ is -1M.

    • Mine left for schmoopie 1.0-a howorker (twice married and history of cheating on her husbands) when our kids were little. He begged to come back 8 months later. Now has left for our teenage daughter’s 20-something assistant high school coach. They may “come to their senses’ in that what you have to offer is better than what they are screwing right now, but they are always on the prowl for something else.

      Please don’t be duped by the ‘I made a mistake’ bullcrap. Do not let your guard down. Whatever mechanism they have (entitlement, narcissm or other cluster b, FOO), they still have and will continue to do this. Please protect yourself and your kids.

  • I am 6 months out from dday#2 when I left him. Divorce will be final this month. No kids. Still selling assets.

    Affair was a multiple year one. I still struggle in accepting that he did that because he played his role well for those years. He did all the right things after dday1 10 years ago. We got closer. He was my best friend.

    My heart just hasnt caught up to my head. I know that he sucks but my heart still loves the guy I thought he was and misses that guy terribly.

    I keep doing things I want to do. I went on a family vacation (my extended family) the first time without him in 15 years this week. It has been sooooo hard. I missed him. There have been a lot of tears. My family were of no real support. They think I should just be over it now??

    Im thankful for this post. Im one of those newbies that are stuck 🙁

    • Hang in there!! I have been in your shoes. I am happier now than I have ever been. You don’t realize it now because you are still in the grieving stage…but, there will come a time…it’s right before Meh…that the thought of him will just make you want to puke.

      Go do something this weekend that is totally out of character for you….skydive, bundgy jump, an AC/DC concert, watch “Witness”….just anything different. It will throw a nuclear bomb on your grieving.

      Hang in there!! Good things are coming!!!

      • Thank you for reminding me Im smack in the middle of grief! It sucks. Its assuring to know there is light on the other end even if Im not seeing it right now.
        I am on this vacation until Saturday trying to make the most of it … going to sit on the beach today. Been trying to think of something unme to do after that. 🙂

            • When you have to face the fact that you were treated like a piece of toilet paper, your dignity and soul are stolen. It hurts. Others don’t understand unless they have experienced it. When Tuesday arrived, you will also have a new mindset boundary for those who told you to just get over it. Best of wishes to you on your new journey.

            • You’re at the beach. Run naked through somewhere! I have not done it but I imagine the adrenaline high is great. 🙂

        • Out of ashes…my ex left me with our 1 and 2 year old babies and moved across the country for his AP. He hasn’t visited in 3 years. Last year, after I found a rental house for us with a big yard, I decided to buy a skill saw and lumber and teach myself to make the kids a play structure with a slide, climbing wall, tower, and sandbox underneath. I had help from a couple of male family members with pouring the concrete and the getting the 4 by 4 posts in the ground for safety, but other than that, I did it all. It took weeks in the hot summer sun, but it came out AMAZING. I cut all my own lumber, drilled and screwed bolted all the parts, assembled the whole thing from an amalgam of plans I’d seen on Pinterest…it was this all consuming need to show my kids how much I love them, to show them to tackle things you’ve never done before and not be afraid, and as a big EFF YOU (in my mind) to the man who should have been here doing things like this for them. He called on Skype the other day and I held the camera (gag) while the kids were playing outside. He saw the structure and said “Wow, that’s the coolest play structure I’ve ever seen! Is that a climbing wall?! Whoa!” And as he said this, my 6 year old son nonchalantly said “yah, mom built it for us with her big saw.” There was a pronounced moment of silence and then “oh, cool.” Douchebag. Point is, use the excess of rage fuel that’s floating around inside to do something you don’t know how to do or have believed you couldn’t do. Every time I look in my yard I see the tangible expression of my love as a mom, and I feel pride. Pride can be a scarcity when you’ve been so deeply disrespected, so it really, really helps. Best to you! Take the class!

    • This sounds a bit like how I feel. I miss who I thought he was and who he was to me many times. I cry constantly and miss him though why should I miss a lying cheating narcissist? What you said about your heart not catching up with your head is SO where I am at and I hate being sad all the time. Any tips??

      • All I know is it has to do with the grief of it all because it runs in cycles and I dont feel like this every single day. Maybe it is the denial phase of grief?? We just can believe that guy who was so great to us did those horrible things!

        • Outofashes,
          Yes, I think you are right to grieve your loss of what you thought you had. You have to keep reminding yourself that you were with a sociopath and smart people are fooled by them all the time. You are just fortunate to come away with your life. You can now sympathize with victims of sociopaths, an unfortunate group to which we all belong.
          I believe that while sex with stbx was consensual, it was still the soul rape because I wouldn’t have consented if I knew what he was doing and who he was underneath. Who would argue that rape doesn’t leave scars? It is a dispicable act which devastates.
          Go easy on yourself. Emotions can be deceiving. You may think you love him or want him back when you really want the true love that he can’t offer but had deceived you into believing he could.
          I see healing with time but I am not healed and think it could be a very long time. Coming here and reading these stories helps me see that I am not alone and gives me pointers. It scares me too though because I see people much farther out still dealing with pain.

          Overall though, I am hopeful because the alternative is not an option.

          Hugs!

          • So correct. They are distructive and you know what…no one deserves to be treated so. I am indeed mourning the loss of what I thought had. The heart is tough one to convince for sure!
            Hugs to you as well.

          • Feelingit there are people a long way ahead of you still dealing with the pain but there are also legions of us who have reached meh and don’t feel the need to post any more. I read the forum occasionally because it’s a great resource that reinforces an important message – but I’m no longer broken by what happened to me and I have a great life now with my new partner who I love and trust. You’ll get there it just takes time and space.

      • Hugs to you and out of ashes. Betrayal is so painful because it violates everything sacred I. A marriage. We promised to care for each other and to be safe harbor for each other. I have been able to spend several hours feeling ok now and there are still times the sadness takes over and I cry. But it is shorter time now. You are grieving a loss and will go through the normal stages. It is ok to feel sad and angry and whatever the emotion of the moment is. Be with it. My girlfriends who I call my angels were the best help. They listened to me and let me sputter on. I also went to a hypnotherapist after trying traditional therapy. I just couldn’t sit there and talk about my marriage etc. it is a traumatic event and treatment for me had to be in the form of PTSD. My break was watching my grown sons crying because their dad had hurt their mom and was a lying cheating jerk. He had taught them their whole life to be men if integrity and now this. I couldn’t put them through that and I wanted to be the role model of integrity and strength. Even if someone dear does something as vile as this, I had to walk a principled life to show them the way. We need role models and caving into begging for him to make us work wasn’t what I want them to do if they face the same trial. It helped me to want to be principled even though I was dying inside. Hugs

        • Ive told family, that want me to be super ugly, that I will be the proverbial bigger person.
          In my mind doing anything but being principled and graceful will only validate any crazy story the x might come up with down the road.
          I know what you mean about the dying inside. Sometimes do want to cut loose and do to his truck like that crazy country song talks about. … keys .. puncture tires..destory leather seats lol

    • Outofashes, huge hugs honey. Those “firsts” are the hardest. I was like a zombie on the inside acting “as-if” 24/7. I took my girls to our annual lake vacation weeks after X left. 25 years there and then poof, gone. I was still in full pick-me mode and hadn’t caught on the the value of NC yet.

      That first year almost killed me.

      Year 2 was much better but a battle with the divorce. Very few “firsts.” I’m
      So much more at peace – night and day. I can go anywhere and do anything now and I hardly ever miss the person I thought he was. My heart finally believes my head: I trust he sucks and it was all an elaborate con.

      Hang on and just walk through this as best you can and I guarantee you will get to meh, on a Tuesday.

      • Thank you!! I cant get over the lonliness in it and the fact that those around you dont get it. Thus is why I am so thankful I found all of you on Chump Nation

        • Sadly, outofashes, people either get tired of hearing us talk about it or they just don’t understand and they tell us to “just get over it” or “he’s not worth your tears” or “you’ll find someone new”, etc. I rarely talk about him to anyone anymore. If I do, it’s about present day stuff which there is much to talk about anymore (only talk to him about the kids via email). That’s why Chump Lady was a godsend to me. I don’t write much anymore and some days I don’t either have time or don’t feel the “need” to read all the comments. But for probably a good year I came here and read everything and probably posted on every post she made. I’m not really into journaling, but writing her on CL and CN almost every day was like journaling to me. It felt good to get my stories out of my head and written out on this blog and then I’d felt validated when people would respond to what I wrote. It was like free therapy. 🙂 I’m sorry you are feeling lonely. I completely understand, but hopefully you feel less lonely when you are here at CN. 🙂 The three year anniversary of my D-day is coming up in a few weeks. I didn’t think the pain would ever stop, but it will. I can’t say I’m at meh yet, but I’m getting there and you will too. Eventually your heart will catch up with you head. (((HUGS))) to you.

          • Martha,

            I’ve come to understand that people who respond with “Just get over it” probably can’t handle emotional vulnerability in others, or themselves for that matter. In my mind, they’re not available for an intimate relationship (friendship or more) and I keep that in mind moving forward.

            Thank you for mentioning this.

          • Aw thank you!!! Three years out. Amazing. Thank you for sharing. I check in with the daily blog every day. Im so glad I found all of you! All of the mightiness(sp?) Inspires me. Ive decided my family just isnt going to get it so I shouldnt have such high expectations. They have never went through it and just arent going to understand. I try not to talk about my ex at all. It just makes them all uncomfortable..which then makes me feel bad 🙁

        • Outofashes,
          I know that loneliness is deeply disturbing and so so sad. But I started to realize I had BEEN very lonely for years INSIDE the sham of a marriage, to be completely honest. So, the loneliness with “IT” finally gone is just a triggering of all those lonely moments w a lying sociopath by my side. Now I see it as an amplified echo: the original pain couldn’t be acknowledged or expressed bc I didn’t understand why I felt it. NOW I see I was abandoned long ago, so I try to embrace the loneliness and honor my spirit that knew something was wrong long before my brain found evidence. This makes it easier to release the present loneliness and look forward to better days and honest relationships. I am feeling better & better & better since prescribing myself NC. NOT lonely, but content that I am with someone I can trust: myself. I will never cheat on me! Longing for the black hole of STBX will never relieve my loneliness.
          CL & CN have given me the voice, paradigm, language, roadmap and MIGHTY to stay committed to dumping my cheater and gaining MY LIFE.

          • Thank you. It is great encouragement just knowing you arent the only one thinking these things. It has crossed my mind that the past few years was a sham and I was alone then.. now I am as well in the physical sense. Makes it a little better.

            • OutofAshes,
              I’m so glad we can relate. You are NOT alone and you will NOT always feel like you do right now. Let Cn support, guide and educate you.
              This place is a magic oasis in a world of Switzerland friends & RIC/religious forgiveness dogma. I’ve done those two and had to have Dday3 before I could start to find my mighty. I am just past 3.5 months out from Dday3, but I am feeling a new energy and beginning to trust myself again as I walk through that awful grief. When the reality hit me, I cried like a mortally wounded safari animal (come to think of it, an animal might have had a little more dignity than I did). I wailed, I keened. Then there was crying and inability to focus at work. Insomnia (don’t read my timestamp). Then the ridiculous texting w Capt CheaterPants, trying to unravel his skein of fuckedupness (which included telling me his AP was “like a sister” to him. Sure – a sister you sext & buy a thong for & she sends you the selfie…and the Christmas vibrator for the married dear, 20 yrs younger, who is working out her daddy issues or something), while I was truly trying to find a clue that he had returned my love and adoration for him. In the name of full disclosure to “rebuild trust” I learned things I didn’t want to know about his seduction process & attraction to this skanky, screeching slut.. But the biggest, MOST important thing I took away from all of that hand-wringing angst was this: HE DIDN’T REALLY GIVE ME MUCH THOUGHT AT ALL. At any point in the 3-year affair. How he imagined I would want to stay with him after learning about it baffles the heck out of me! He has moved up the road, leaving a ton of things, expecting to move back in after his “probation” is over, I suppose. Nope. I’ve found ME. I’m not lonely when I appreciate what a loving, generous, kind, devoted and loyal person I am. I am making new friends, strengthening old relationships, beginning to plan for new ventures and envisioning my new life. This is getting exciting. I may be emboldened by having my first weekend alone while Capt CheaterPants tries to re-enact our old family tradition of apple-picking in the mountains with the kids.
              I’m just sitting here …lining up some ducks. Never mind me. This is not the wife you were looking for. I hear Jedi mind tricks work well with the weak-minded. Thought I had Obi-wan, but it looks like I’m stuck with a JarJar/Jabba hybrid.
              On to other galaxies…

              • Thank you for sharing. I have crazy dreams… thats what keeps me from sleeping sometimes.
                I have felt like that wounded animal this week. My family got in a big fight over something stupid on our vacation and since my emotions are so frayed it sent me into a spiral of tears and exhaustion 🙁 Made me feel like a crazy woman. Also ticked me off because they all knew this was a “first” without him and I was looking forward to seeing all of them. I almost left the trip and went back home…who wants to stressed AND spend time with a bunch of hateful people. I ended up staying because I refused to have my vacation stolen from me…but basically told them to leave me alone. 🙂

      • Mother

        It’s literally killing me slowly. It’s been 5 months since dday. Im completely and utterly destroyed. To make matters worse, im alone in a strange state with absolutely no support system, raising our one yr old.
        I lay here on the floor and watch him play. I don’t eat, don’t shower, don’t bother taking care of myself. It’s hard enuf taking care of a baby on my own. I don’t even get child support. Afraid to file. Afraid of him.
        He destroyed me. I am suicidal every day. The only reason I’m alive is for my son. I have no one to take him. 😭 I don’t have family or friends.
        Monster moved me across country to have him. Then was violent as soon as we got there. My whole pregnancy was terror. I can’t seem to get over it. Never confronted him, just got him arrested and ran.
        I don’t see how others are meh. I think about him every minute. I still love this maniac. I feel it’s my fault. If only I hadn’t asked so many ?s and confronted him. He wouldn’t have snapped. I would be in my home. Not alone.
        Now he’s with a 20 yr old in my home. (While I’m in a ghetto roach infested apt, unsafe) Living it up while I’m a washed up 42 yr old. Aging and sick. I keep wondering if he’s good to her. Is he? I think he lived double triple lives only with me. And maybe he’s changed cuz she’s so young and hot, and doesn’t ask ?s. Maybe it’s my fault.
        All he ever did was lie and juggle multiple women. Young old. Ugly pretty. It’s as if he hated me. Why did he move me across country to do that?
        I see the OW so happy in pics. That has made me much worse. Can he be good for/to her? Please tell me.
        I’m dying inside. No desire to live. He hasn’t even reached out about our baby. Neither has his mom. I don’t understand why???? His sister turned on me after I showed her his violent videos. She was so scared for us. Crying etc. SIL and MIL said run away from him. They were afraid for us. They saw the violent videos/audio. Then 2 days later, SIL made false reports on me. She was trying to get my baby taken from me!!!😭
        They just forgot about my baby. I dont understand why? Please anyone tell me. Please.
        I’m wanting to call him and his. mom. Feeling desperate.
        I’m in hiding tho. I thought he’d want my baby. But no, he hasn’t even bothered to reach out. What about my baby?!?!?

        This is hard enuf without a soul to care. But the fact that they all abandoned my baby is too much to bear.

        • Devastated, there must be some resources out there for you. Use the Forum section of this site to contact other Chumps live. Tell them where you are and they might know how to get you local help. Please don’t give up.

        • Devastated…
          Oh how my heart broke for you as I read this. I had some similar things happen, and I’m much farther down the road than you are. I can tell you a few things that may not seem true now, but please believe me, they are. First, this intense agony you’re in the middle of right now WILL END. Pain is finite. It calms down once your mind has had a chance to get used to the truth of your circumstances. For me, that happened around 1 year out. Healing can be accelerated through counseling, writing, throwing yourself into exercise, or seeking community support, such as through church or meetups with other people who understand what you’re going through. Force yourself to shower and drive where you can be with others who understand this brand of pain.

          When I was in my first year and people would tell me that I would feel better, I kind of wanted to punch them in the face. NO, this will not get better. I will feel this way forever. My life is ruined. I have been thrown away like a piece of trash for a younger model, a classless homewrecking stripper with 2 kids of her own, and abandoned/stranded in a state where I don’t have any support with our 1 and 2 year old babies while he moved 2,000 miles away for his new ‘insta-family’. My kids will be scarred for life…this worry was worse than any of the other things I was going through. It kept me up nights. I’d stare out the window at the black night as it turned to blue morning, a mountain of Kleenex at my feet, knowing I’d have to start cooking and changing diapers soon with no sleep. Again.

          It almost killed me. I didn’t know you could be in pain that intense day in and day out and still go on living. The babies needing me saved my life. I was spiraling, not showering, not eating, and every diaper change felt like climbing Mt. Everest. I had no energy, no will to go on…I was humiliated and confused and enraged and could not even lash out at him, because he just took off and never looked back. Every angry text was laughed off, ignored, or just made me look bad. It was all this insane no-win. What had I done to deserve this? Nothing. I was a great wife. Not perfect, but a trustworthy, fun, reliable, respectable, kick-ass and get things done wife. I slowly began to realize, as the salve of time began to do its magic on the intensity of the pain, that his was not sane, fair, or normal behavior. That the problem lay with him, and I can’t fix him nor do I want to try. I can only control me.

          Why do they do this? Because they are disordered. They lack the proper synapses to connect to other humans in the way that we do. We project our normalcy onto them in our heads for so long that this ‘new’ behavior seems so out of left field that we think it must be a brain tumor. No, as Tracy says, it’s just that their mask has finally fallen off, revealing who they have hidden from you from the beginning. And now you are in shock/hell/ptsd because it goes against the false narrative you constructed in your head about who they actually were. I mourned a figment of my imagination for far too long. That all stopped when I found this blog and Chump Nation.

          And the family members that enable and support his horrific behavior? I experienced that too. Please know, narcissistic sociopaths don’t usually spring into this world from healthy, normal families. They can, but it’s much more likely were born with the propensity to be disordered, and then their disordered family environment did the rest. They LIKE to inflict pain. It makes them feel good. They are a kin-unit. They will act in accordance with the lies he’s told and you will be on the outside. Do not try to fight it. Accept it for what it is, and keep away from those people at all costs.

          I’m 3 1/2 years out from my d-day, Devastated, and I can tell you that everything has changed. I avoid dating for now, and I’m very ok with that. For the last 2 years, I’ve been taking classes online at night when the kids go down, and I’ll finally have my bachelor’s degree this April in Criminal Justice. I facilitate a class at my church called DivorceCare one night a week, helping others who are exactly where you are through by telling them my story and giving them hope in a time when hope seems like a cruel joke.

          I moved back to my home state. Got a rental house. Enrolled my kids in school and in karate. Took them to swim lessons this summer. Take them to the farm to pick berries. There is joy in this new life, it just looks different than I’d envisioned. I’ve had to adjust to my new ‘normal’. This includes therapy for my son who remains wounded by his dad’s departure. But he will be ok too. We all will. I struggle with bouts of sadness and anxiety returning now and again. But I am, in many ways, wiser and more emotionally healthy than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

          And that starts with this one decision: stop asking why. Accept that this is jacked up, unfair, and awful, and that people really CAN betray you and abandon kids. Grandmas and aunts included. Do not attempt to figure them out. They are sucky people and you need to go find a life among people that don’t suck. That’s really the long and short of it.

          If you search in your area for a church offering DivorceCare, I highly recommend it. It’s once a week for 14 weeks. It’s not Reconciliation Industrial Complex (RIC), and it’s not Chump Lady, either. Surprisingly, it falls somewhere in between. If the church offers child care, you can spend 2-3 hours among people who understand exactly what you’re going through. DivorceCare saved my life, and now I volunteer in that program. Chump Lady saved my life and altered my paradigm forever…and now I want to tell people just like you that you will survive this, you will be ok, and your baby will too.

          I hope and pray that you will be able to rise up, brush off the dust, and begin your journey towards your new normal. This community is here for you!!

          • Honeyandthehomewrecker-

            I️ know this is an old post but thank you for the advice about Divorce Care. I️ googled it and wouldntcha know. A new class starts tomorrow night. 2 minutes to register and I’m in!

            I️ am so grateful.

            Gtendel

        • Devastated, what you’re describing sounds like a mixture of grief and what could be the start of depression. Hardly surprising after what you’ve been through. I can relate to just some of your experience – I had also moved far from home, and had no support around me when it happened. The important thing is not to feel so alone – if you reach out on the chump lady forums and start talking, everyone is lovely and so supportive you won’t feel so alone. That will start to help you stop the feeling of isolation that’s so crippling, and help to start building your strength back up. This will be a process, you may not feel this is true, but you sound like you’re a strong person, still looking after your baby despite everything. Your experience has knocked the legs from under you, that’s all. One thing I do know, hurtful as it is now, once you come out the other side of this horrible, emotional earthquake – and you will – you will be so glad that that horrible family didn’t fight for a relationship with your child. Your child’s life will be so much better without the input of people who behave like that. In time, when you get your strength back, you will be able to build a life around your child that is filled with good people, who will be positive influences. It takes a while lovely, but you will get there I promise. First steps – Chumplady forums and a doc’s appointment to see if depression treatment will help. Pls keep posting so we can all look after you. Big hugs xx

        • Devastated, with a one year old and Dday not far off you should be struggling. My advice? Find your local resources. If you are suicidal, please reach out to those in your community who can help. Women’s shelters, your doctor, a counselor; there are hotlines which you can call that an hook you up to services like housing, food, and medical. You could be chemically out of balance (those new baby hormones) in addition to experiencing PTSD because of Cheater’s behavior. Here is something to keep in mind. His fuckupness and actions are in no way a reflection of you or your baby’s worth. His capacity to love has just never been hard wired into him. And if he’s violent, you need to get away. Move. Surround yourself with people who care about you and your dear little one. Address the issues that most concern you. There is free legal help available in most communities and child services will help you with financial support for your little one. With a little time, it all does get better, but you need to act. Be kind to yourself too. Practice extreme self care. Just recognize and celebrate the time you have with a child who depends on you to be his/her one sane mighty parent…. You both deserve better.

        • Devastated

          The courage it took to leave your abuser is amazing. Right now you need to find a safe place for yourself and your child. You deserve to live free from abuse.

          The next step is to find that support system, friends, family or a woman’s shelter. That one year old needs his mom. It’s the weekend. Make a call today.

          You can do this because few take that first step to escape. Take the next step and then another. There is hope.

        • Devastated,
          I’m so glad you reached out to Chump Nation. You did the right thing. You are not alone. Yes, some of this journey you must walk alone. But remember you have CN pulling for you the whole way.
          First, kudos to you for getting you and your baby out of immediate danger and away from your abusive X. You were SO MIGHTY to do that. AND you had his ass arrested for abusing you!!! I know you are still scared and alone and overwhelmed, but I want you to take just a moment to stop and think about what you did and how courageous you were to do it. I spent several years working for an organization that helps abused women (and their children) escape from their abusers. Did you know that nationally, it takes an average of seven attempts over a period of YEARS for a victim to finally leave her abuser for good????? Look at you, getting out of this situation so soon. I just can’t express enough to you how PROUD I am of you!!!!!!! My organization is the YWCA, and many local offices have emergency shelters for women fleeing domestic violence and their children.
          — I encourage you to find the closest YWCA and call on them for advice and help. Even if you don’t need emergency shelter, they can connect you with important resources like legal aid and court advocacy for help with processing domestic violence charges, initiation of divorce proceedings and other matters. Many YWCA’s also provide trauma counseling, job training and affordable childcare. To find the YWCA nearest you, visit http://www.ywca.org/site/c.cuIRJ7NTKrLaG/b.7527667/k.C931/Local_Associations/apps/kb/cs/contactsearch.asp
          If you don’t have a nearby YWCA, see if there is another women’s shelter offered in your area.
          — Another valuable resource for women in your situation is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. http://www.thehotline.org.
          You can call 24/7 with questions, and their website is chock full of good info. They can help you develop a safety plan for different scenarios and help you keep yourself and your little one out of harm’s way.
          — Next, if you do have family and friends back in your previous city or, even better, in another location unknown to your cheater, consider how you could possibly make your way back there incognito. You will likely need to consider the legality of such a move since you share a child with X. But if neither he nor his family have shown any interest in the child, you could make the case of needing to return to your support system/employment/etc. Get legal advise before you do it though so you don’t set yourself up for a kidnapping charge or something.
          — Whether you decide to stay or leave, start building a network of contacts through your (good) neighbors, and community. Consider visiting or joining a place of worship, become a regular at the library especially their free events for children, go to local (safe) parks and meet other moms. Do force yourself to take a shower first and brush your teeth before you go. Hahahaha. Your baby doesn’t care about that stuff right now but it will be easier to meet other moms and community members if you are projecting the image of taking care of yourself even if you don’t feel like it right now. Plus, you’ll start to feel better about yourself.
          — Start visiting the local food pantry to help feed yourself and your baby and stay strong and healthy.
          — Thank your lucky stars X seems to want out of the picture. I know it’s hard with no support. But in my experience, it’s very hard to collect if they don’t want to pay. They blatantly ignore court orders or just disappear. They quit their jobs, hide their assets, or take a lower paying job. Trust me. It’s not worth it with a dangerous abuser like him. When someone is lucky enough to enforce a court order for them to pay, many of these abusive goons will suddenly take an “avid interest” in spending time with their child. Then they take you to court and demand a 50/50 custody split because they will cite fathers rights and shit and then you get STILL get zero child support or close to it but now you have to share child with the abuser. During their parenting time they often dump the kids off with grandma or their new slunt du jour or worse, actually spend time around the kid and abuse them. Abusers don’t stop abusing just because you aren’t in their life any more. They find new targets.
          — Please get legal counsel and find out what you can do to protect your child from this guy ever coming back into your little one’s life. Design your life so that you will never have to depend on x financially or otherwise. Resolve now to start taking steps to get your shit together emotionally, physically and professionally so that you can be everything that your child needs you to be, now and moving forward. If you do this for your child and for yourself, you will never regret it. You don’t need your fucking X and his effed up family, and neither does your child.
          You. Are. Enough.
          Sending you great big bear hugs and best wishes on your journey. Keep us posted here at ChumpNation here and esp. in the forums. We are rooting for you.

        • Devastated.

          Hugs! Know that You are not alone. Your pain is not eternal.

          I relate to your internal dilemma.

          The “but what IF I am “THE” Problem? What if THE DOCTOR is good to HER?? What if he totally changed into the man I HOPED he was? The man I was waiting for and sacrificing for for 35 years?? Did I waste my life?

          Did I MAKE him mean and dishonest?? Is he all better NOW with Schmoopie???

          (BTW I use all capital letters when i write my husband’s title b/c it is so important and impressive and Entitled.)

          Back to You and your fear that your husband is all better NOW…

          2 possibilities exist –

          1) the much more realistic possibility – which says that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

          In this scenario, your husband is a deeply disturbed man who abused you.

          Even if you were/are the nuttiest meanest woman in the world (and you are Not), he was a violent man who chose to terrorize his own wife And while she carried his child.

          THAT is some serious fuckedupness. So, if He could not treat You better, even THEN, he never would have treated you better.

          Let that^^^ sink in.

          OR

          2) he has miraculously gotten a character and personality transplant. Suddenly, he has become unabashedly attentive and doting to his young new Schmoopie and he won’t cheat on HER.

          NOW he is pleasant and kind, and he’s a good listener, too. He empathizes and has NO temper, he comforts and hugs and asks about her day – and – and and and..and????

          Um, no. This^^ “data” is not real.

          *BUT IF such a series of miracles all happened and if he is all of these^^^^ things (AND IF they will all last!)

          well if all that happens

          then it would be because he learned painful valuable lessons from how he mistreated you.

          So your real choices were not between divorcing a shithead OR staying married to a great man. (No one can be both at once).

          Nope, Your real choice was to live in fear for your life AND your son’s, or to venture out in the great very scary unknown,

          trusting that it has to be better than the alternative. And you are right.

          Whatever he is doing with young schmoopie (God, could he be more cliched??) is irrelevant if it does not directly affect you.

          Just as his gaining weight does not make you lose it, and just as his car breaking down does not make your car work better, there is no see saw of balance here. He is not THE factor in YOUR happiness. You are.

          There will come a time when you see this.^^ It is too early now. Plus, having an infant is always exhausting – for every parent. And at 42 it’s not easier.

          You will someday see that your shitty husband is not in your life equation. It takes MORE TIME to know this, and believe me when I say, it sucks and we know it. But it’s not eternal.

          You do you, and care for your son and treasure the fact that you are in peace, physically and soon, emotionally.

          Also, periodically I succumb to the “But What if HE is happy?? That means I lose, right?”

          And to that, ^^ my God sent therapist suggests the following reality based question.

          “why not imagine something more realistic? Like how passive aggressiveness he is being with her, or his assuming she is cheating – (and maybe she is) or maybe he is cheating, (again, or will eventually).

          What about his “passion” – temper? (Devastated, be real. His temper did not magically go away.)

          So If Schmoopie ever makes a mistake WHAT?? or disagrees with him…yeah, enjoy that view.

          IF she does not want children, too bad for him b/c he knows he has one. And he will miss NOT the baby maybe, but the potential for feeling good about himself as a dad and proud of the child achieving or opening presents on Christmas and thanking his “daddy” and all the happy delusions (not diapers and 3 am nightmares, those are for YOU to handle if they even make his radar).

          I speak from experience when i say that I too, wondered when my fucktard DOCTOR husband would miss me or the kids. It has been a year since he saw any of us.

          He reached out to my brother the other day (to settle the finances, and as far as I know, nothing more). Fucktard is “hurt the kids don’t talk to him”!! The worst part is that I began to feel sorry for him. (Co-dependent, much?)

          What slapped my face with reality, was that THE DOCTOR did not express remorse for Causing pain in the 4 people who loved him most. No, he expressed self pity for HIS loss.

          And that hurt me, even now. But then it clarified for me why I filed for divorce. (“Oh yeah, he’s a real bastard. Thank God I don’t have to keep seeing that in my face.”)

          2 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW/REMEMBER:

          ***PLEASE*** Trust us when we say that we have been where you are.

          I was so sad and utterly bewildered by My DOCTOR’s behavior, that I actually thought my DOCTOR husband was sick. I could not believe he’d lie and cheat and take all our money and then rub it in my face. HIS anger with me left me breathlessly confused. And oh the fears….I wondered if I’d be on the streets, or have to live in the basement of a sibling and unable to pay for our last child’s college, since her dad cut her off. What kind of job would I get after being out of the work force for decades? My resume had huge gaps for me staying at home and HIS resume was pristine, so did I waste all my life and career for someone who never cared for me anyhow??

          All that mistreatment batters our self esteem. All that fear keeps us up at night, makes us sick, drives us crazy.

          So I saw again, WE HAVE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE.

          AND

          the second thing you must know and remember is that it gets better. We don’t lie around here. It really does.

          Avail yourself of the resources and if you can move near family DO IT.

          If you had stayed with your abusive terrifying husband, you & the baby might be dead right away, or suffer death by a thousand cuts over the second half of your life.

          Let this second half be your second act, and star in the story of your life. How do you want this story to go?

          • Finally. You have managed to put into words every thing I have been obsessing over since the break up 2 years ago. So much of our experiences are identical. I just want to thank you for the clarity and strength of your convictions. Even tho I’ve come so far,(went back to school and got my medical assistant certificate at age 50 so that I could get a job to support myself with insurance benefits. My other choice was going to work minimum wage for the rest of my life. You can’t live on that but he doesn’t give a shit about me or that or how this effects the kids. He’s a selfish bastard.) I still on occasion tend to backside and question my reality and choices. I too, abandoned my ambitions to be a nurse in order to put him thru school, and raise a family. I too, worried that I would end up homeless after a 30 year marriage. (He actually threatened that he would keep the kids and dogs and throw me out into the streets as this was His house and HE worked to make the mortgage payments not me. Never mind that he was able to work all that *wink* overtime because I handled virtually everything else. Never mind that without me he would have never finished school or climbed the ladder as high as he has. I encouraged and supported, I sacrificed over and over…and for what??? Now he takes trollface on vacations and buys her the jewelry and presents I never got??) I was devastated..and my family believes he’s such a nice guy. He is all over fb smiling with his new life and whore who he promptly replaced me with. He’s claiming he met her after the kids and I left but within a month of us leaving he was introducing her to my kids. They are still together. Omg. The lies. I know he knew her 6 months before the breakup..a fact he now denies. My family members are still friends with him on fb and cordial. It hurts like hell but I say Fuck Them and Fuck Him. He had threatened to cut off our daughters medical insurance be she won’t “play nice” ie..meet trollface and pretend all is wonderful. I wish my nieces, nephews, my sister would unfriend him but they won’t. I made the decision to go back on fb (I missed my friends) but unfriended everyone who is still friends with him. I just don’t want him seeing my stuff. I just don’t know how many times I can explain to my family how staying friends with him hurts me. My mom passed away and I refused to have him at the services as she hated him for what he did. Also, he made it clear to me over the years just what he thought of my parents. Not good thoughts. So…what does he do??? He sends a handwritten letter to each of my siblings expressing his remorse over her passing and sorrow that I blocked him from attending. Omfg. The balls. AND!!!! It was only bc my one sister told me that I found out!!!! When I confronted the others they were shocked and upset I knew. He went behind my back and I don’t know how far this piece of shit has gone to ruin my reputation. My new dil told me to my face that I “sat on my ass and spent all his money for 30 years” omg. We got married at 19. Broke as shit raising 4 kids throughout the entire marriage. I’m sorry for the rant. I just wanted to say thank you I feel like you understand me.

            • DEN,

              Your story resonates with me, obviously (obviously – b/c you replied to my post and now I’m replying to your reply!)

              Here are a few things that helped me with the social aspects of interacting AND the Social Media dilemmas AND feelings of more betrayal by mutual friends and family of the cheating bastard.

              You already know there is massive character assassination/martial revisions and the only thing YOU can do about that, is respond with integrity when told or asked a crazy question. And make sure you project being a woman of grace and dignity, even in the face of betrayal. It is powerful and it is you taking back your power and you writing the story of your life.

              It’s a powerful image to (at least pretend) to counter your lying husband’s comments. Your lying husband’s feedback is as worthless as the homeless man hear the subway, who screams at me as if he & I have personal history. I call him the “Street Screamer” or SS for short.

              SS really does target me for weird ass comments that, at first, offended me. I’m embarrassed to admit that but it’s true.

              I wondered if I was wearing a sleazy outfit or projected anger, or whatever. Then it occurred to me that the Screamer does not know anything about me and is simply blurting out what his defective brain is “thinking”. His “Data” about me is not real.

              Since I don’t let a mentally ill homeless man affect my self image or self esteem, I must do the same with a disordered DOCTOR’s feedback is as well.

              If your loved ones ask you any questions about the marriage, you can say something generic but real, like “Looks as if We were in 2 different marriages, obviously.”

              If they probe for causation more, (= source of gossip you do not want to participate in )

              you can say something like “turns out, I think my husband had a lot of secrets, and for sure cognitive dissonance.” Which is a gracious way of calling him a liar.

              Being calm and holding your head high, really is the single most powerful thing you can do to counter his crap. If someone brings up a specific false accusation against you, try saying “Wow, that’s just Not true. I’m sorry he’s involving you in spreading that. How are YOU doing, friend?”

              Take the focus off yourself and turn it around as calmly as you can.

              I learned the hardest way of how intimate the DOCTOR and Schmoopie were when he sent ME a text meant for her. UGH, still gross.

              I disclosed this to a friend of mine who asked how I “knew” he had cheated

              I described the discovery as “such unfortunate proof.” I sure felt NO “glee” at the discovery, which adds to the credibility of it. Do you get what I mean? I was not hunting for it, not triumphant when I found it, just sadly resigned to the new reality (or the reality that had always been but to which I was blind).

              Enough said.

              First, the DOCTOR rarely posted on FB any photos, except a handful of kids at graduations, or of himself with his tuned up body, showing. I was too chumpy to realize he wasn’t just vain. I was the one who added “married” to his relationship STATUS (no pun intended) years ago.

              Suddenly he announced our “parting ways” on Facebook before we had, and as if it was mutual. I knew that he was saying he was SINGLE & FREE! Never mind that thing called FAMILY or LONG MARRIAGE

              I knew then that I needed to block him and I did so. Thank God, b/c what came next would have thrown me over the edge at the time.

              Within weeks, he was posting photos of himself with Schmoopie – whom he announced was the “love of his life” & that he was “in a relationship”, making no mention of our 35 year marriage or our 3 children.

              ((You know, I could have sworn we loved each other. *Insert exuberant laughter*

              “Oh yeah, I still laugh about those years of apparently fake happiness. What a great prankster the DOCTOR is, am I right??” )))

              Until just a few days before then, I did not know there was anyone else.
              Before that, all I knew was that the DOCTOR expected me to “come running up to Alaska within a year…”

              SO AFTER THE BIG REVEAL

              I was contacted by family members and some mutual friends. They were horrified & I was ashamed, frankly. What a discard I was. They blocked him and unfriended him, & they let me know.

              But I suggested they STOP and stay friends. I needed the intel, but God knows I did not want to have to see it myself.

              AND GUESS WHAT? The DOCTOR said he could not pay me ANY spousal support b/c he “retired” in early April, which no one believes. (NO ONE).

              Oddly, he warned the kids he would “rather retire than pay support/rather be a pauper than pay support” which undermines his claim to a good faith retirement.

              But wait, it gets better!. The DOCTOR was tagged on Facebook by one of his fans (a patient of his). There it was, a photo of him in his scrubs, INSIDE the surgery center he “retired from” with his staff, AND the date of the FB post was recent.

              In other words, social media proves he is working and that he lied under oath.
              Oops.

              In your situation, infuriatingly you feel betrayed by your loser Xhole, and unsupported by your own family.
              And that just hurts. When I faced the things I did screw up, at first I was devastated b/c I started to take ALL the responsibility for the divorce. And HIS cheating and HIS long distance from the family choices and HIS secret trips to the tundra…

              Look, if you think there is ANY validity to his crap, you own it and move on. That takes the thunder away from him.

              So if he says you were X & Y, you say you are “in treatment/therapy for that”, and move on. Like “problem solved”

              Because we all know we are all flawed, and we did not deserve abandonment or infidelity. When you work on or eliminate the problem or flaw you may actually have, it reveals that things COULD have been solved if your spouse had been honest.

              I was about to bitch about the career sacrifices I made for THE DOCTOR’s career and contrasting how pristine HIS resume is, versus the gaping holes in mine.

              But then I did not want to feel like I wasted my life, let alone for someone very ungrateful to say the least.

              So I REFRAMED IT .

              when someone expects me to give my litany of grievances about my life, INSTEAD – I say something like this:

              “the DOCTOR had a lot of secrets, and those discoveries are still painful. Even so, I was able to stay at home with the kids in a nice home with good schools, for years.
              I got to tuck them in & comfort them in the middle of the night when they were sick or had bad dreams. I got to drive them around and hear about their days and goals and dreams. Not every mother gets to do that. I may feel very betrayed now, but I am still grateful for the years with the kids.”

              By framing it as^^^ something to be grateful for, we say the same things we might have said in a complaining way, but we take back our power.

              Hope this^^ helps in some way.

              Keep posting.

              • Doctor’s 1st . Thank you for your response. So much to address here. I wanted to start by saying after the split, and I told everyone about what he did…he then told everyone he was going to counseling (damage control..how convenient). Prior to this, the bastard was lying to my face, gaslighting, withholding AND to top it all off…when I couldn’t deal..told me I should get therapy. I had NO idea about the Craiglist hookups, Ashley Madison etc etc. I just knew I was extremely sad and neglected. The mind games he played on me were unending and I spackled..and thought I was losing my mind. I asked him on many many occasions…are you cheating? Seeing someone else? Want to break up? The answer was always the same…a dead eye stare down and a resounding NO! Well, why should he break up with me..cake is good. He knew when I accidentally found the evidence there was no chance of reconciliation. And after discovery…my insomnia and health issues disappeared. Its amazing what a good nights sleep will do for your body. My family cannot seem to wrap their tiny brains around the fact that this “great guy” was leading a double life. 3 of his own kids refuse to have anything to do with him and yet I am vilified. I only wish I found this site sooner. I made the mistake of telling the truth. Now, I’m told…I’m bitter. It takes two to tango. I’m told..I’m sure he misses his kids (he abandoned them while out chasing whores and god knows what..partying after we moved out. His choice! He now..2 years later cannot understand why his 2 youngest think he’s a scumbag. He has retaliated by further threats of cutting off their insurance and support bc they won’t meet gf or accept him on his terms. He states he wants to hang out and be friends. Seriously. My kids say they want a dad not another friend. Its sick.) My fault in all this is that after having 4 kids (cseactions) I had a hysterectomy at age 29..then at 35 an oopherectomy..so vaginal atrophy 10 years later..cannot just have sex on demand without foreplay or warm up. Not his style. Wham bam thank you maam is what he wants when and if he’s not off masturbating with himself and his porn. I apologize for being vulgar but this is the reality. I told him, doctor says we have to have sex 3 times a week at least..work out that muscle or lose it. His response??? More withholding. I only wish his fans could understand how used and disgarded he made me feel. Wife appliance for sure..and here I thought that I was building a future with this asshat. Dealing with his shitty grumpy moods raging and detachment…not to mention the sacrifice of a shitty sex life. I honestly thought he would get better in bed. He only got worse…more selfish and more demanding. Only wanted to f#$! In the shower and only just before an event. So…hurry up..no time to do anything other than the part he likes best. I hope his old fat whore likes it that way. Barrrffff
                And yes…I’ve gotten help. I got a $2000 vaginal rejuvenation treatments and….wait for it…I billed it to him.

          • Thank you for this, DOCFW. That is my dilemma- what if he really is a good guy and I am imagining things, and/or I am super mean and he is just reacting to what I’m doing wrong. (FYI my situation is not exactly like Devestateds. No arrests or outright physical abuse).

            But like you said:

            “So your real choices were not between divorcing a shithead OR staying married to a great man. (No one can be both at once).

            Nope, Your real choice was to live in fear for your life AND your son’s, or to venture out in the great very scary unknown,

            trusting that it has to be better than the alternative. And you are right.”

            Because even if I am the evil queen bitch of all bitches, the fact is, I am still being abused and am afraid of how he treats my children. They are in danger and so am I and that is not right.

            But what if the danger is all in my head and I am blowing things out of proportion? How will I know? What if I really am queen bitch of all bitches and deserve the treatment I get?

            I know this isn’t right. It’s like I have climbed up the diving board and am ready to plunge into the pool of leaving. But my toes keep gripping the edge of the diving board. I want someone to just shove me in already! But it doesn’t work like that. I have to choose to jump.

            • He is absolutely not really a good guy, go with your gut and jump! It will be the hardest thing you ever do but after the fact you will be so empowered and life will get better with time.

              This site is full of supposed candidates for queen evil bitch (my Stbx nominated me) and the truth is if you are here and questioning yourself, you should not even be in the running. Rather, you are without a doubt a victim of gaslighting. Read “the gaslight effect” and I bet you see yourself.

              Hugs to you, I hope you get out. I was lucky in a way because mine left but taking control and filing for divorce has empowered me.

              Good luck!

              • Feelingit,

                Thank you for your response and confidence in me.
                I’ve read quite a few articles on gaslighting since I found CL. Problem is how can I know I am being gaslighted? That’s the nature of gaslighting.
                Like a movie I saw once called Memento. The guy woke up every morning with no memory (or something to that effect). He tattooed words on his legs so he could keep facts straight. But when he woke up the next morning he could never be sure it was him or someone else that tatooed the words.
                This is how I feel. I’m a baby deer on ice trying to catch a greased pig.

    • Outofashes

      You’re not alone. It does feel that way until you gather up a support system. And here you are in the best place ever because we know exactly how you feel.

      Grieving is a long process and the pain and loneliness are a part of it. I used postits to list all the thing that sucked about him and tried to think of one thing that was awesome. That list earned him the name The Limited. It took a long time to gain clarity.

      The pain passes over time. Tuesday will come. Meh will feel out of reach. Slowly but surely you’ll detach. You’ll no longer think in terms of WE. There’s no we in three. He was a lying cheating asshole.

      Freedom. It’s sweet.

      • Oh my gosh! That is some of the root. I am still thinking as a “we” 🙁 He is the one that brought that other creature into the we! Not me! Thank you. I had not thought of the “we” factor.
        Im so thankful for chump nation!

        • Something that helps catapult you is doing something to help others. It creates a mindset of you being appreciated. Take some snacks to a fire department, cat food to an animal shelter, help serve a meal at a domestic violence shelter. On Christmas Day, a police officer was behind me at a convenience store and I paid for his coffee. A simple dollar just made his day.

          • Yes, this, SuperDuperChump! I have two things to add to this excellent advice.

            First, for the friends you heavily relied on in the days of your personal hell: We have all had to go to friends for support after d-day, and let’s face it. We’re probably not BEING the best friend during that time. And that’s fine, no one should expect you to be. Let your friends pour into you, to bless you, to feel needed and important in coming to your aid. But once the personal hell period passes and you can function and life looks a bit more ‘normal’, take my advice…go invest in them. Bring them a lasagna for no reason. Call and ask about their week with no expectation to talk about your own. Repay it in spades, and you’ll have a friendship built on reciprocity that will likely last a lifetime. Keep being the emotional vaccuum without bringing anything else to the party, and that friend might just tire of the lopsided equation and walk away. That’s the last thing you want when trying to build a new life. Take care of those who have taken care of you. Very simple, but often overlooked, and critically important.

            Second, giving back in the general sense: In your ‘new normal’, there will be all sorts of questions swirling around in your head about who you are, what you’re all about, what value your life has. This is the time to figure that out. Who are you? Do you isolate, or do you volunteer? It’s hard at first, but get out there and jump into a cause you care about. If you’re a stuck single mom who has no time, just do the small things that matter to individuals you encounter, like SuperDuperChump described. It will make you see yourself through a lens of value, one that was probably severely damaged by the ex’s actions. You have value, and when others start to appreciate that in you, you may start to believe it again too. Hugs, Nation!!

            • My little sister took snacks to a fire department on Thanksgiving….and all she could talk about was the appreciation from all those “hot firemen.” She couldn’t wait for Christmas Eve to arrive.

  • While I thought we were trying to work it out, I saw him with my own eyes with another woman on the street – holding hands. Almost lost my mind. But it also woke me up. And I got off the rollercoaster. For good. It’s been almost a year now and I don’t regret the decision. Still pisses me off when I think about it. But I think about it less each day.

  • After the driveway confrontation (https://www.chumplady.com/2016/10/the-stranger/) KK sat in the counselor’s office and promised to remove all of her profiles and stop contacts with an new “friends.” 5 days later, I caught her texting with “Garv,” laying groundwork for “possibly meeting up sometime to see if there’s a connection.” Her only comment: “I like the attention.”

    At that moment, I finally accepted what I’d suppressed for so long: I had absolutely nothing to work with. I was married to an emotional and psychological child whose only true joy in life was found in getting validation from others based on appearance and implied sexual conquest.

    And everything she’s done since then only confirms that epiphany.

  • I think the thing that really kept me stuck was thinking that the behavior was a one off. Every time. I don’t mean the cheating because he kept that a secret until I found out about it after he had left.
    Behavior that disordered people cannot seem to help themselves doing…getting angry about something that rolls off a normal person’s back and then not talking to anyone in the house for days, the constant working late or overnight even, screaming at his child when she acted like a child, screaming at me because I dare ask about something that he doesn’t want to be confronted with, no accountability when he got in trouble or made a huge mistake…the list goes on and on. I lived with that for 10 years. I just kept telling myself that I can handle it, he will change, he is depressed….
    I knew that his behavior was unacceptable and bad for me and for our child, but I thought I was doing an admirable thing by sticking with him and trying to help him and trying to understand his pain…blah, blah, blah.
    Once I stopped believinh his values were like mine I was able to see that the behavior was unacceptable.
    I think that is the hardest thing in the beginning…

    • “screaming at his child when she acted like a child, screaming at me because I dare ask about something that he doesn’t want to be confronted with, no accountability when he got in trouble or made a huge mistake…the list goes on and on. I lived with that for 10 years. I just kept telling myself that I can handle it, he will change, he is depressed….
      I knew that his behavior was unacceptable and bad for me and for our child, but I thought I was doing an admirable thing by sticking with him and trying to help him and trying to understand his pain…blah, blah, blah.”

      THIS is where I am stuck. Pretty much this exactly, and also I am afraid to leave.
      Did something specific happen that made you finally see his values aren’t yours? Or did you just decide one day after a lot of reflection?

      I keep having these “a ha” moments, but I am still here. Any advice or insight?

      • LadyLiar was on her third emotional affair of our 9 year relationship. I knew the signs, I found the evidence, I played pick me while she continued to deny everything and call me “paranoid” and blame me for “violating her privacy,” etc. It was the same old game and I was just tired of playing. I forgot my lunch one day and came home without telling her. Found her on our couch skype fucking her “friend from work” and she lost it, yelling at me, telling me I “had no right to come home without telling her!” What changed was ME. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I was willing to tolerate almost anything from her and saw it as my job to just try harder to save her from her addiction and to save our relationship. But there really was no relationship to save, and in order to stop living like that, I had to believe I wasn’t a failure because I couldn’t do something that was impossible. I grieved HARD. My daughters were really angry at me for “throwing her out.” I had health problems and we had to move and I had to borrow money and I had to work hard to re-establish my relationship with my kids. It’s been almost 2 years since we finally split. I’m not at meh yet. I still hurt, and I get so damn lonely. But being told that I can’t go to MY OWN HOME without her permission and knowing that it could have been my daughters who walked in on their other mom that day was just the final straw for me. I wish I had been strong enough to leave her years earlier, but I felt weirdly proud of “proving my love” by standing by her no matter what she did in the name of putting our family first. I didn’t want to model that type of relationship for my daughters.

        • I live that dream as well with my so-called sex addict. I wanted to save the marriage and I was the one doing all of the work now that I look back on it. The really crazy thing is is a lot of the people around us tell us we should be doing that when it is the most unhealthy thing for the most innocent person in the relationship. You hang in there and know that you did the right thing you did the healthy thing for you and your kids in the long run.

        • CurlyChump:

          “I had to believe I wasn’t a failure because I couldn’t do something that was impossible.”

          and

          “What changed was ME. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I was willing to tolerate almost anything from her and saw it as my job to just try harder. . .”

          Thank you for these.

      • For me, my “deal breakers” were always physical abuse, drug use or cheating.
        I did not recognize emotional or verbal abuse because as a chump, I was only focused on how I can fix things, help him or be a better wife so he is happy. “Why does he do that?” Is a great book for you to read by Lindy Bancroft.
        I did not leave him. On a night almost 15 months ago he just started screaming at me and my daughter that “he deserves to be fucking happy”. He was crazed. My daughter was sobbing in my arms and this awful monster kept screaming in our faces that he deserved to “fucking happy” and left.
        And STILL I was worried about him!!!! Hurt, angry, scared and grief stricken but primarily worried about him. Wow. After all that has happened that sentence seems so foreign to me, but it’s my truth.
        Once I accidentally found out about the cheating and drug use, all the other behavior over the years made sense. I simply was of use and he was done with me. And then I got angry. And then I got educated. And then I got an ok attorney (I did most of the work and research which I highly recommend even when you think you have a good one). And after filing I got a great therapist who I still see after 14 months.
        You see, We are not ourselves when we are in this dance with these disordered types. I was lucky in that the behavior was already bad. So when my boundaries got crossed it was easier to start to let go. BUT, I wish I would have left many years ago.
        Maybe start by watching a George Simon video on you tube or get the Lindy book. These people are not right in the head. There is a better life out there without them.
        You should never have to walk around on eggshells in your own fucking house and with your own fucking husband! He does not have your best interest at heart if that is how your life is. Please keep reading here because we have all been there and if we all did it, so can you!!!

        • I knew that and I thank you so much. No apologies necessary.
          You sound like me in that no matter what kinds of crazy things he does, I still worry about his sanity and well-being. Thinking if I could just be a better wife and make him happy, he wouldn’t do this or that thing etc.
          Today I said “I can’t make you care that you hurt me.” He said “you make me not WANT to care if I hurt you.” I said “I can’t make you do anything.” Then the kids yelled downstairs so he went to see what was wrong.
          That exchange does not seem right to me. I can’t quite pinpoint why though. In fact, this is the general feeling I have around him. Not quite right but I can’t pinpoint exactly why.

          • To me, this sounds like a weird blame game:
            1) “I can’t make you care that you hurt me.” True. If he doesn’t care, then he does not care. I mean, if he loves you, he would care, right?

            2)He said “you make me not WANT to care if I hurt you.” I think this translates to “it is your fault that I don’t care” OR “You are demanding I care and I resent it.” Either way, this is not a good sign.

            • Agreed. Thank you for pointing that out. I guess it’s my fault he doesn’t care!?!?

              Gross. I have stopped trying to figure out what he is saying. Visited a DV advocate today. Made a plan to leave and to file.

              I have the worst stomachache in the universe. At the same time I felt a distantly familiar sense of peace right after the meeting.

  • I am unable to pinpoint a precipitating event that got me away from the cheater.

    I had always been on edge during our relationship, during pregnancy he was never around. I kept finding Viagra hidden all over the place.

    So I learned to start taking care of myself, which made me a little sad because I was in a relationship.

    Then home with a newborn baby I learned he was seeing prostitutes while traveling for work. It clicked. It finally fell into place all of the credit card charges, all of the odd behavior… Then I found dating sites as well.

    So less than two years into the marriage, I’ve distanced myself emotionally and started documenting things. Of course his abuse still took it’s toll, part of the way these people abuse us is by leaving us with childcare and other responsibilities so we are too tired to look out for ourselves and defend ourselves. I did not have the energy to leave at that time. Again, this is one of their many abusive tactics.

    So at that 2 year mark I blocked him from all social media, even though we were still married. That was a great help. I also stop socializing with him aa a Family and as a couple. I told him straight up I would never socialize with him again in a public setting nor would I be a host for his guests in the home.

    At that 2 year married mark we had been in couples counseling for several months and of course he was abusive in their sessions and everything turned back on me and my reaction. Nothing about his infidelity.

    So I detached emotionally, as I was also looking for work, had a majority of house responsibilities and all of the childcare.

    Fast forward from that two-year mark in December 2014… I trudged along Best I could. He ruined our finances I had no money and could not fill out, plus I had a very small child. I started working on a bilateral separation agreement as part of my strategy to get distance from this, and to set him up. I knew that he would not agree to anything and would demonstrate that he is disagreeable which I knew I needed as evidence. I knew that we would end up having to go to court and I would have to do an emergency separation.

    I would have to say that Tracy’s book is what got me to lawyer up. I read it in the fall of 2016, after finding many more prostitutes, hiding of assets, more Viagra, tons of dating sites and lots of porn purchased.

    Once I read her book, I started copying financial records, getting my strategy in place, getting documentation lined up and found an attorney. By this point I had been documenting abuses, child neglect, financial abuse, for almost 4 years.

    Can I tell you getting prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself before dropping the separation bomb. This summer I did the unilateral emergency court order separation and he started hiding assets and pissing money away left right and center. Having the paperwork in order in advance is what will save my ass with divorce.

    I also can say after reading Tracy’s book I looked more into narcissistic personalities. George Simon work and HG Tudor very eye-opening and helpful. I now view my abusive narcissistic soon to be ex-husband is a very sick individual, which is helped me stay out of the emotional vortex and remain as a gray rock- no response- no contact as possible.

      • Yes to that!!! I cannot image how hard that was and is for you, but you deserve a standing ovation for that! I hope that you have people in your life who tell you how awesome you are!

    • Bouncing Back, that is mighty. May I follow your trail? I have been documenting for a few months now. Slowly getting papers in order, bank statements etc. I know that stuff makes fir a solid foundation.
      How did you stay around for so long? I’ve emotionally detached but I keep inadvertently reattaching.

  • Post-Dday I was immobilized by grief. His lies and minffucking escalated and I knew, as I’d known all along, that I had to leave. But I’d had a lifetime of loneliness, a childhood in which I was very seriously and traumatically abused and exploited, and then such a long line of narc exes…. so by the time the latest narc pulled out his bag o’ shit I was simply worn out. What changed was that a stranger offered me free rent and a safe home for a few months. She literally saved me. After her kindness I had the strength to leave the country and really go for a new life. I’m now three years out and healing. The pattern of being used and abused is, I believe, broken.

    • Trying2–You need to change your name because you’re not just TRYING to cope, you have demonstrated Mighty! How wonderful that you were offered safe haven and shelter when you most needed it, and how courageous that you were able to use that as a springboard for a new and healthier pattern!

  • Daughter found sex pics on the cheater’s phone, and was of course completely devastated. She told son, also devestated, who confronted Dad

    That was really the main thing. Protecting them came first. Then came the trek toward freedom and healing for me, as well.

    I always say they gave Dobby a sock.

    That was not their job–and knowing the cheater put them in that spot steeled me–but I am forever grateful to my bold and bravery Gryffindors.

    • My daughter found naked pics of the whore on her iPad which was somehow still synced to her dad’s iPhone. That’s how I found out about the affair. I’m not sure I ever would have if she hadn’t found those. But it was horrible for her, and her relationship with her dad has never been the same. They’re estranged right now and it’s 100% his fault. I don’t even feel sorry for him.

      • Yup. The finding of the sex pics is killer. Over a year of therapy, now, and she has gone no contact of her own accord. I see the health gradually returning, but it has been a hell of a long road.

        • I’ve had my daughter in therapy, too. Last night her dad texted her and said, “Am I still invited to your graduation?”, completely ignoring my daughter’s request that she didn’t want to talk to him for awhile. That’s what he does, though, is cross boundaries. I told my daughter she didn’t have to reply if she didn’t want to – it was completely up to her. She didn’t respond. Her dad said some pretty hurtful things to her last weekend and she is kind of done with him.

          • Strange, isn’t it? They inflict so much deep damage, then think they can claim some sort of right of ownership.

            But of course a young person who is returning to health and gaining awareness will choose to keep the source of damage–an ongoing source with no ability or desire to change–at a distance.

            That’s the consequence.

          • Keepin calm had to double take your post. ..”pestering to come to daughters graduation even after hurful texts” !!its like it is happening like that right now. One minute hes sucking up to be invited to her school graduation. ..next minute he sends texts admonishing her for making such a big deal about money….even though he left the 4 of us with $0 and he only pays state child support. ..they are truely all the same entitled bastards

      • ✋🏻Sexting here …. our daughter found those and tried to kill herself three times after he blameshifted and gaslit all of us in the devalue and discard phase.

        😫😫😫😫😫😫😫
        I loathe the evil POS for stealing our children’s innocence.

  • It was actually a slow process that started with me walking into a therapists office 2 weeks before d-day #1, believing I must be crazy. After d-day #1 I poured myself into finding out what was “wrong with me” and what I learned is that mentality was precisely what was wrong with me – I took the blame for all of his behavior. At 1 year into reconciliation I started a web page and wrote down all the things I was learning, updating it as I went. It took me about a year to complete and was actually the point I realized I was in an emotionally abusive marriage. Of course I shared it with fuckface and he cried and apologized, but ultimately used it to his benifit; parroting everything I said to justify his cheating by claim it was actually him who was being emotionally abused- this all came out in year four of reconciliation after d-day #2 when I found out he was sleeping with prostitutes. I had logged on to his computer (which I had long given up policing) because I needed the specs sheet for a project we were having done at the house. I’d felt he had been acting OFF so I decided to hit his iMessage, and as the messages were populating and I was looking through his email for the document I needed, there was a message between him and an escort, negotiating price for her to meet him at his hotel (he was out of town for “work” during that time period) for an hour. I remember looking at it and thinking “he’s fucking hookers! In a flash it brought me back to D-day 1 (when he had a 2 week affair with a stripper) and all of the memories of the mental gymnastics I did back then. Thinking, I must be mistaken, there must be another explanation, it couldn’t be true, I was overreacting” etc. The racing heart and feeling of panic, I remembered it all, but in that moment I was completely calm. That’s when it hit me… this IS who he is! He is never going to change! I Printed out 2 copies of the message, sealed them in 2 different envelopes, dropped 1 with the receptionist at his work with his name on it. In hindsight I shouldn’t have done that, but you live and you learn 🙏🏻. I took the other copy to my attorney and told her to reinstate the previous divorce after d-day 1 that I had retracted (which in hindsight I really didn’t intend on following through with).

    So I guess it was a single moment of realizing who he was that ended the puck me dance.

    • *pick-me-dance

      PS… I remember being on reconciliation websites and having women tell me based on his behaviors the whole thing was a sham. I didn’t believe them. I thought he was different, there was no way he would do that! Same thing goes for everything people say they will do during the divorce process. I thought “no way, he has SOME integrity!” Oops wrong again! He is currently pulling the “starve out the other spouse” move.

      If I had one single piece of advice it would be, listen to others that have walked your road. Heed their advise,and do not for a second believe your shithead spouse is not capable of those things! They ARE capable, and likely will do everything those who have been through it say to be careful of.

    • After years of RIC bs, I went to my church’s minister upon discovering yet another girlfriend. He sent me to a counselor who made no excuses for my husband, said my only choice was to divorce him, and gave me the term “narcissist.” I had never seen him as a narc, but I started getting my affairs in order, secretly saving money, got a PO box, etc., and slowly built up the nerve to divorce him. Another D-Day, and I was done. Gathered information, secretly hired an attorney, and filed. At that point, I was reading all the books about divorcing a narc, which reinforced my decision, since I was still weak. He never thought I would leave, but that last D-day, something flipped a switch for me, and I was done.
      Newbies, if you don’t think you have the courage/will to divorce, but you know it’s probably the right thing, start getting your ducks in a row. Save a few dollars a month or whatever. Be ready, because one day you will know it’s time, and it is so much better if you are prepared.
      <>

  • Besides heart palpitations and not being able to swallow, sitting in my living room with my dad and kids watching Foty tucked in a corner the computer screen where only he could see. I just knew being marriage police would never end. He had enough gumption to disrespect me, my kids and my father by texting pink cow 2.0 in front of us whilst pretending to spend time with and be the family man/good dad. Straw broken, camels back fractured..

  • Technically I was left ( he told me he couldn’t and wouldn’t stop seeing the OW) so I told him I wouldn’t beg and took that as him choosing her. I still continued to try and make him understand the pain he was causing. I gave this up after I had both him and OW in my living room. He was so pathetic and she asked some questions that just pissed me off that I just realised I had nothing to work with and they deserved each other and I deserved better. I still went through months of crying etc but I never again tried to get validation or anything from the POS cheater.

  • He got married. Thank god. I’m afraid we may have danced around getting back together forever.

    Even though it would be amazing to watch karma smash and burn their marriage (they’re both nuts), please lord, let them stay married.

    • Exactly! I kind of want them together for absolutely ever. May slut enjoy the fullness of his emptiness, as it were. Plus, it keeps them far, far away from me, which rocks. Never again to have to cope with pretense will be amazing. Relative freedom from it now is already wonderful.

      • I really want to believe as you guys do, that they should stay together forever. Ex and his whore are living together and engaged, but I HATE the thought of them being together. It is the worst part of this whole thing. How can I make myself see that them being together is a GOOD thing???

        • I don’t know. I think there is just a point at which it all clicks: they are disordered and will never change, they don’t give one flip about deeply damaging children, everyone you love feels and is demonstrably healthier in their absence, you thrive when free of all of their relentlessly dark muck.

          Even in my darkest hours–and there were many–there was always a strong vein of relief. That was even stronger than pain, frustration, or anger. There was a deep down, “Oh, thank God that I do not have to cope with this evil crap forever.” Understanding, insofar as a person with a moral compass ever can, that this complete lack of character and heart really was deliberate and permanent ultimately freed and saved me. No jealousy at all. I know what he is, and am really pretty blessed to freed of that dark presence.

          Would love them to be geographically distant, but they are a million miles away from my heart and soul, and still receding, and that will do for now.

          • Cashmere, I, too, have had that deep sense of relief, and there have been times I’ve even got this burst of joy because I realize I don’t have to deal with being married to the ex EVER again! It’s SUCH a relief.

            I really want to get where you are, to understand that what he did was deliberate, that he is a disordered sociopath who crushed my heart and our marriage. I don’t want to feel jealous. I wonder if that’s what it is…I’ve always had a streak of jealousy when it comes to him because he was always flirting with other women in front of me and I never felt safe in our relationship. I just need to get it through my thick head that SHE CAN HAVE HIM and put up with all his crap.

        • Keepin Calm, have you ever tried writing down on paper everything bad he has ever done to you? Like in bullet point form. And you can also make a list of what you know about the OW. I got this idea from a Youtuber that I follow. She calls it “For When You Miss Him List.” There’s something about seeing “who they are and what they did” down on paper that helps. My ex and his whore deserve each other! She has NO CLUE what type of man she is with. She probably thinks he’s Prince Charming. I don’t even know everything he did behind my back for 24 years, but if she knew just what I know, she’d run for her life if she was smart. And she is a woman who saw my husband behind her husband back for before work coffee dates. I’m sure there was a lot of flirting or whatever going on between them two all those years. And when she got divorced, she accepted my ex-predator of vulnerable women husband offer to go out late at night for a drinks date. And they were out together until close to 1:30 in the morning, no doubt “talking” in one of their cars as they closed the bar at midnight. She also started dating and I’m sure sleeping with my husband just after I moved out with the kids (we were still married while they were dating, so that is adultery). I highly doubt that she she is the sparkly woman my ex thought she was. Only time will tell. So, they know what each other is capable of (seeing people behind their spouses backs), so they are each others karma and I’m happy they are together (never thought I’d ever say that!). If my ex left me for a nice person like me (yes, I’m very nice, kind and very giving — I’m a chump!), I wouldn’t be happy about that. But he left me for a whore and that’s what he deserves to be with! He doesn’t deserve a decent woman at all. Keepin Calm, one day you heart will catch up to your head and both will just *know* that they BOTH suck! (((HUGS))) to you. 🙂

          • Martha, that’s a good idea, to write down everything. I even asked my therapist this question and she said, “Is it your ego?” and I was like, “well, yeah, I suppose – he chose someone who is my exact opposite – someone who has no moral values, lacks integrity, cheats and lies and sends her kids away. I would never do that.” And she said, “How would you feel if he chose someone beautiful and successful and intelligent?” That sort of stopped me in my tracks. The fact is, my ex couldn’t HANDLE someone successful and intelligent (I am not bragging, but I have two college degrees, have published a lot of material, and feel fairly successful in my life) because he was actually jealous of my success. He didn’t even bother coming to my first book signing.

            But I *know* they are not equals in that relationship. He is the one with the power. Heck, she sent her kids away because she was having a hard time discipining them (they went to their fathers) and I also *know* that he had something to do with that because he doesn’t handle little kids well at all.

            So my head understands that she is awful, that he is awful, but my heart is still hurting. I think it will get better in time. I hope so, anyway!

            • You’ll get there, Keepin Calm. He’s showing you who he is. He’s a man he wants a woman who is awful, so that makes him awful too. Birds of a feather….

              In 1991 my ex started his first big job out of college. He went from being a very nice and loving boyfriend and turned into a cold, mean jerk when he went away for a couple of weeks to training for his new job. He was with a bunch of other new employees. These new executives were partying up big time every night. He came back into town the first weekend and he said to me, “I finally met my people.” I thought he met that he was finally with accountants like himself and they had a lot in common because of their new jobs. What he meant was that he was with people that are just like him. I thought my ex was like me and we shared the same values. We do not. He is the partying guy. The smoker. The lover of these very rude and vulgar people (I met them quite a few times). He wants people to believe he’s this really nice Christian guy. He’s not. He’s just the opposite. And now he’s finally with someone who has the same values as he does. But he still pretends to be this holy Christian guy. It’s not going to end well for him.

              • Martha, I can so relate to this. My ex has always hung out with “those people” – the liars, the cheats, the law breakers, the drinkers. Why I put up with it, I don’t know because those are NOT “my people.” When my ex started going to auto body school, I noticed a change in him. He became rougher, coarser, meaner. He is highly influenced by the people he’s around. I know he feels comfortable around those types of people because he doesn’t have to worry about what he says or does. And the whore is exactly like that. No morals, no values, no sense of decency. She drinks and smokes and does the same crap he does. They have no integrity. I hope it doesn’t end well for them. I’m not sure how it can. My stepson even told me it can’t last, but my goal is not to CARE if it lasts or not.

              • Sounds like my STBX. For 25years, he pushed me to be “trashy” and I would NOT! I wanted to have a nice family and stay out of the bars and shit. Go to church, volunteer, hang with family and our kids. He wanted a motor cycle while we had three kids under the age of 6…..uh…how’s that supposed to work? I kept leading us to church and a wholesome family life. What I didn’t know was that he had his hidden “trashy” life all along behind our backs. Hooker, whores, the nastiest of nasty. He’s gross and now quite simply I hate him. If I ever get the chance, I will spit right in his face for the sexual and emotional abuse I have endured from him. If his face were on fire – I would put it out with a hatchet. ….definitely not at meh.

        • I try to think about how everything he was capable of doing to abuse me, when I am the mother of his children and his loyal and loving wife for 25 years and completely innocent of any real harm to him, he will do to OW and more because she was complicit in the cheating. Also, knowing how he was capable of blame shifting to me when I did nothing makes me wonder what kind of blame will he keep up on her because she actively destroyed his family, his appliance, his image, and in the divorce he lost everything. And she encouraged all of that. So knowing him he has got to be making her life a living hell…if not today then when she ceases to be of use to him and he replaces her with the next. It’s just a matter of time.
          But not my monkey not my circus.

          • You’re right. They both actively destroyed my family and the whore was just as complicit as my ex. I know he’s not exactly happy. My stepson has told me my ex is “lost” and not himself. He needs to be in a relationship because that is his security blanket. He simply cannot be by himself.

            But me? I’m doing SO much better without him. So I really need to let him go. After 18 years, it’s not easy. I’m getting there, though.

            And you’re so right – no my monkeys, not my circus!!!

      • By staying together, they are too busy to bother me much. For that I am grateful. But for my kids, it totally sucks. They are teenagers and have absolutely refused to ever spend time with her. That means that they barely see their dad. I get that it is his choice to put her first, but it still sucks for them.

        I sort of wish that it will blow up for them and he will move onto the next victim. My kids may not have as much disdain for a woman who wasn’t part of the shit storm that ended their parent’s marriage.

        • Exactly the same here! My teens and young adults will have NOTHING To do with whore. But the next woman he preys in will be a fresh start for me and the kids.

          I’ve wondered about when X moves on to another woman, how that will go for him. Of course I will seek to be cordial to her because she will be in my children’s lives. But I will not help but try to warn her as to what she’s dealing with. But I can imagine that no decent woman would ever stay with him knowing what he did to me
          So that means he will never be able to hold onto a decent woman. And that is sad for my kids. The whole thing is totally fucked up.

          • Same here. My daughter will have NOTHING to do with the whore. And I know it would be a lot easier for me to handle if he was with someone else, someone he did not cheat on me with.

        • “I sort of wish that it will blow up for them and he will move onto the next victim. My kids may not have as much disdain for a woman who wasn’t part of the shit storm that ended their parent’s marriage.”

          ^^^^THIS exactly! My kids wouldn’t care as much if he was with someone who didn’t cause the destruction of my marriage.

        • In deposition, my lawyer asked fuckwit point blank if schmoopie was worth losing his relationship with his children. He looked confused so lawyer said: maybe your children don’t like that you left their mother and went immediately with someone new while they are hurting. Is she worth losing them? Douchebag blurts out there is more to it than that. I had to make a change. Translation, I don’t give a fuck about the kids, it is all about me and what I want.

  • Was almost ready to leave on the basis of the emotional abuse, but finding the 6 condoms & notes preparing Hannibal Lecher for his sexual harassment case for an affair with a student did me in. The end.

    • Sadly and astonishingly, I STAYED through the period of sexual harassment allegations. Oh, yeah. The good wife all the way. But was he kind and grateful for my support? Not so much. I look back on the paperwork around that now, and am stunned. Of course, the kids were very small, and I had just stepped away from tenure since we were doing so well. The very day before the charges surfaced, I remember being out doing mom stuff with the youngest and thinking about how fortunate and happy I was. Yup.

      The one line about me in the flurry of communications around this (I copied it all), was something like, “And of course this is difficult and embarrassing for Mrs. Cheater Boy.” Hah. Ya think? Sheesh.

        • You, too? I was an inadequate wife who “wasn’t listening to him,” so he found nubile students who would listen to him endlessly pontificate about his academic subject in coffee shops, and then invite him back to have sex on their graduate student twin beds. Good times.

  • After reconciliation for a year and finding him again trolling the whores I decided to call it quits. Unfortunately I had to wait until my parents 60th wedding anniversary was over which is 2 days after Christmas so between Thanksgiving and New Year’s when he announced to me that he wanted a legal separation so he could stay on my insurance. I started to put together an exit plan with my dear sweet sister who encouraged me on.

  • MRSA. No kidding. The bullshit of a manipulative, deceitful sociopath seriously compromised my immune system.

    I am a strong healthy person. The continued crap physically wore me down. Who the fuck simply gets MRSA??? !

    My health is no -negotiable and that fucker had to go. My kids need me to be the healthy, sane parent.

    • I got mono three years ago! Who the hell gets the “kissing disease” at 40 years old after being married to the same guy for 15 years? At the time, I jokingly asked him, “Who have you been kissing?” But now? I wonder if he WAS kissing someone and that’s how I got it. I was SO sick. I had to go to the ER because I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me.

    • Always healthy as could be, after D-1, I was constantly in the clinic with the flu, strep, etc. That crap will totally destroy your immune system due to being mentally and physically exhausted.

  • There were so many little things over the course of our 6-month wreckoncilition, but the clincher was what my counselor called “profoundly disturbing.”

    As I unraveled the affair, I discovered that not only was the OW one of my friends, but that someone else very close to me was feeding her information about me, my family, and my husband after the affair ended. When I was out of town, what the mood was like between me and him, if I looked good or tired, that kind of thing.

    I was devastated all over again, and my brain started telling me that if this many people I loved hated me this much, it had to be something wrong with me. I started to think my kids would be better off without me in their lives. I started to think about how I could kill myself without anyone knowing it was suicide.

    I knew these thoughts were disordered, and went to my counselor. She encouraged me to check into the hospital for a few days. When I got out, I saw the discharge paperwork said they had spoken to my husband and he told them all the weapons were secured somewhere I didn’t have access.

    When I got home, life went back to normal. I got up the next day, made everyone breakfast, cleaned house. I was folding laundry and noticed that the guns were exactly where they had been, ammo next to them.

    I knew in that moment I would never be able to rely on him, that I would always be the wife/mother appliance there to take care of him, but that wasn’t something he could reciprocate. I have had chump moments since then, but I have been steadily moving away from the marriage since then.

    • Wow. Just wow. Highly, highly disturbing. Message heard loud and clear. Though if anyone ever called him on it he’d say “I thought I had secured them. I must have forgotten.”
      Scary psychopath bastard.

      • It’s almost worse than that. When I confronted him, he said that he told the authorities they were locked up because he knew they wouldn’t let me come home unless he did.

        When I asked him why he didn’t actually lock them up?

        “You said you weren’t suicidal anymore. I trusted your judgement. But I guess I shouldn’t have, since you’re upset about it now.” (all said in the “poor little me, I guess I can’t do anything right” tone of voice).

        • Oh, I know that tone well.

          How dare you expect him to follow the doc’s (simple yet lifesaving) instructions while you are in the hospital fighting for your life?
          Gosh, NotToday. You are soooo demanding and picky.

          That was meant to be VERY sarcastic btw. (You probably caught that but I just wanted to make sure you knew).

          Isn’t it downright baffling? No matter the situation, be it trivial or life-and-death, their ego eclipses everything?

          • So true their egos trump every situation . Years ago (should have left back then) we were cleaning a fush tank and just as i was pucking up the end with the strip light attached i asked if he had unpluged it from the socket. At that second i got the most almighty electric shock that sent me flat on the floor. As i lay they literally twitching and speechless (partly through shock) he yelled “i suppose you’re going to blame me for that “! Not even any attempt to help me off the floor. No words necessary after that total give away of complete lack of giving a shit. I have no idea why i didn’t pay more attention to that red flag because we hadn’t even been arguing or even in a bad mood it was obviously his default position to any apparent wrong doing on his part. Moral of the story….pay close attention to situations where they are required to react for your best interest (unless there is an audience then expect a sickly over reaction) TBH i dont know how i survived 25 years in that relationshit .

    • Please get out now. Right now. Take your kids and run for your lives. The house is on fire. Live in a box if u have to. God bless. You r stronger than u think.

  • Eventually it was our kids who said – no nope nada hes never coming back – hes a control freak and a liar. I desperately still wanted the man I adored and my life back – but you cant when the kids say no. Im so bloody grateful to those kids for being stronger than me – for seeing the REAL shithead when I could not. They were able to spot what he was – accept it and cut him out like a cancer. Even though he was their dad! I was so blind when with him – so busy pick me dancing, working, taking care of the home plus him and the kids – that I could not see what he was. Cheated twice with strangers (bridesmaid at a wedding and whore he met on a lads weekend) had caught him on swinging sites – and that’s only what I know about. When I chucked him out he was happy to leave – until he wanted back. I SOOOO wanted him back – but our 11 year old daughter saying she was frightened of him and never wanted him back stopped me in my tracks. My kids kept me strong but ultimately my STBX shitty crappy worm like morals and values – the fact that a stranger has more value than his wife kids life – got me unstuck

  • After D-Day, my ex was still texting me every morning and me, being the chump I was, still wanted to hear from him. I didn’t want him back, but I wasn’t ready to let go. The text messages continued and then escalated; he wanted to come over and have sex, he invited me to lunch, etc. No, he said, he wasn’t dating anyone. As far as I knew, the OW was out of the picture. On the day of our daughter’s prom, we arrived separately at the venue and waited for our daughter to show up. Once she did, we took pictures and then we decided to go grab a beer at a local bar. I was trying to make up my mind as to whether or not I should sleep with him one last time. At the bar, everything was fine – we talked like it was old times. I didn’t go home with him, and as I drove home to my place, I felt empty and bereft. I’d wanted to be with him but it didn’t feel right.

    When I got home, I checked out Facebook and checked his page (he’d blocked me, but I found a way around it). My blood froze. He was tagged in a photo of red roses by the OW that said, “Thanks for the roses, hon!”

    Yes, he’d been lying to me again. He wanted to sleep with me, have lunch, continue our relationship, and the ENTIRE time he was with the OW. I called him up and told him what I’d discovered. He was absolutely flummoxed. “HOW did you find out???” He thought he would get away with it again. Nope. THANK GOD I didn’t sleep with him.

    THAT, my dear chumps, was what got me unstuck. I realized that he would NEVER change, and I was DONE doing the pick-me dance. He and the OW are now engaged, the OW sent her three kids away to live with their fathers because she couldn’t handle them and was getting irritated over their discipline problems (I doubt she would have done this if my ex and her weren’t living together because my ex cannot handle small children), and my ex is working a job not in his field, has bill collectors after him, is estranged from our daughter, and his two sons are very unhappy with what he’s done.

    Me? My life is calm and peaceful now and the ONLY time that peace gets interrupted is when the ex pops up with his drama. I’m not at meh yet, but I’m getting there.

    • I’ve got a good one for you keepin calm. Mine stayed in our house for a few weeks after the separation (took him some time to convince schmoopie to let him move in–11 year old daughter and all…) we had sex one day ( I fell off the wagon so to speak). He waited about 15 mintues before asking me to lend him $60000 out of my settlement that we were working on. That was not just a 2×4 to the head–it was a 2×10!. I just said “oh is that why?” Hindsight being 20/20 I should have said you wouldn’t be worth that much like EVER… I could have hired Fabio to service me for less(or whoever you fantisize about). I was so shocked I couldn’t form a thought–just so damn chumpy. He got really ugly about the divorce after that… wow, just wow.

        • They sure are keepin calm but in a weird way its good as it finally woke me up to reality–that he is a POS and always will be and the cheater and the cheating slut who sleeps with married men really do deserve each other and I deserve so so much better. Its good on the other side and I am largely at meh. Some days I still wage an internal battle but mostly I have peace. ((Hugs))

  • I was madly in love with Woody and very happy for the first 11 out of 13 years when he wore his Devoted Husband mask. Over the past two years, after 6DDays escalating from accidentally discovering suspicious texts to becoming a detective uncovering years of emotional affairs with married women culminating in fucking my niece when she came to live with us for college, I agreed to attempt reconciliation rather than the separation I asked for — because he claimed he loved me more than anyone ever in his whole life and wanted to fix the bugs in his program and make me happy in Marriage 2.0 and he’d go to counseling for the rest of his life to do that.

    He went to counseling for months without making any progress in figuring out what was wrong with him or why he did it, until one day near the end of July he couldn’t get it up for hysterical bonding and finally admitted, “I think I might have had the affairs because I didn’t want to be married anymore, and I have lost my motivation to be a good husband because you always invalidate me and make me feel bad about myself.”

    I started planning my Road Trip to Meh that day, and he moved my niece in with him a month after I left. So, I could be on the cover of Chump Lady’s book. Every mistake chumps make, I made bigly; every shitty thing the flaming dog turds do, my cheater made biglyer.

    • OMG. Your NIECE??? That is unbelievable!!! I am so damn sorry you had to deal with this. I can’t imagine how it has affected your family.

    • Meth, your story is truly horrendous it is unbelievable that these disordered people continue I ally betray us and we keep thinking they are salvagale. This man is truly scum. I am glad to hear you are on a road trip to Meh. You will get there, be brave. Hugs!

            • Amen! Correct answer, Mehta! I love it.

              Man, what a terribly distrubing situation. It just shocks the conscience entirely. Can I just tell you this awful thing also happened in my extended family? My aunt’s hubby pulled this same type of pervy disgusting behavior on my other, much younger, then-teenaged aunt (one of the wife/aunt’s 4 younger sisters). It caused such a rift in the family and about killed my poor Grandmother, who could not believe the younger aunt would be corrupted by her oldest sister’s husband. Younger sister estranged herself from the family (he was abusing her and told her to go no contact with her family) and she soon went away to live with her sister’s husband shortly after her 18th birthday. Horrible. I am so sorry this happened to you. You definitely did not deserve to get conned by a damn child predator.

  • It was a mirror. I know that sounds strange, but it was a mirror. I wanted to fix up the entryway in our townhouse, to make it welcoming. I had resigned myself to never having friends over or a party (him: this house is too small for that. Me: the neighbors have people over all the time in the same sized house. Him: no. Me: ok, well can we think about moving to a bigger house? Him: what the hell is wrong with you? You’re never satisfied, there’s NOTHING wrong with this house! Rinse and repeat), even though I love having people around. So I thought I’d do up the entryway. He was notoriously cheap, despite the fact that we both made six figures, making me feel so small and greedy when I wanted furniture or a vacation, or ANYTHING, that I had just resigned myself to finding furniture at Target (on sale) to get him off my back. So I went to Home Goods and pieced together quite a nice entryway for about $100. A small console table with knock knacks and a beautiful mirror I got for $50. He bitched and complained “you don’t need this” but I felt so removed from him that I no longer gave a shit about what HE thought I did and didn’t need. I had two DDays under my belt, the first when I swiped left instead of right when he was showing me pics and saw that he was at a park taking pics of other women. He called me a “pussy” for getting upset about it because “it’s something that ALL men do”… The second was when I looked at his phone and saw text messages from Monica, the Tumblr porn star and escort who he lied and said was a fellow lobbyist who had not been to the house but when I asked why she needed our address the story changed to he was just getting her weed, not fucking her. Of course, because people in the sex industry don’t come to a house to fuck you after exchanging endearments via text (“baby” and “love”), they just come grab the drugs and go. Sigh. So back to the mirror, since I was already giving him the side eye on a daily, I didn’t really care if I didn’t “need” to have an entryway – there was a shit ton of stuff happening that didn’t “need” to (sleeping in the basement, speaking to me like I was a whore, checking out of the marriage and all parental responsibilities), so I ignored him. I set up my entryway, but the mirror was so big I didn’t think I could hang it by myself. So I asked him to help me. This was early August – he said I needed to go to Home Depot to get the right stuff to hang it, so I did. He said the stuff I bought wasn’t the right stuff, so I went back and got more. Still didn’t hang it. My mother had a brain aneurysm burst at the end of August, no compassion from him whatsoever, no assistance with daughter as I scrambled to get a flight to get to her bedside the next day because they were talking about giving her last rites, no coming up to bed to hold me as I was out of my mind thinking she was gonna die, nothing except a text message while I was sitting in the ICU asking me to order daughter a pizza from Papa John’s “cuz she’s hungry.” Got back home and the mirror is still leaned against the wall by the front door. Mid-September I told my sister “if I have to hang that mirror myself I’m divorcing his trifling ass.” She laughed but for some reason I was deadly serious. Got home one day and the mirror was gone. He had moved it to the basement because he was tired of it “being in the way.” I went downstairs and got my damn mirror and put it up…he didn’t notice for two days. Anyhoo, I started lining my ducks up after that – rebuilding my credit because he had just stopped paying bills. Then I got downsized so I had to wait and find a new job, one whose base salary afforded me the ability to be independent, one that he was completely against me taking until, of course, he saw how much $ I was bringing in (I had a utility as a cash cow – he sat on his ass for a year not working and drained my 401K). The following June I sat him down and told him if things didn’t change I wanted a divorce so he did me a “favor” and started coming up to bed – thanks. August he called me in a panic because he couldn’t find his phone and I thought here we go again! I came home early to find the phone before he could and it was full of not only hardcore porn, but videos of him stalking women on the street, shoving his phone up their skirts on escalators, following women around daughter’s school, just tons of shit. Ducks got together and I told him to get out October 1. Every time I walked past that mirror I’d say “you’re doing this because at some point YOU need to be able to look yourself in the face and know who you are and what you’re worth.” I file for divorce in two weeks. I love that fucking mirror, it now has a prominent position on the fireplace mantle of my new house.

    • PutAFokInMe,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Mother and for how difficult it was for you to finally get to her side in ICU.
      I understand the feeling of how, at very difficult times, a simple hug from a partner would mean so much if it had happened. That always leaves a sad void. A longing at the time, that passes, although the want and need of it lingers.
      All you did to get out! You are a very strong lady!
      Your post paints a picture of your entry way and mirror.
      That mirror is a window to your soul.
      I hope you still have it and that when you look in it you see a confident, lovely lady smiling back at YOU.
      You are MIGHTY.
      (I love happy endings)!
      😊

      • Thank you peacekeeper -thankfully my Mom made it through. She was in a coma for ten days and that first night the doctors told my dad that she wasn’t going to make it through the night and asked if he wanted last rites performed. I was absolutely out of my mind with worry – and STBX was in the basement playing video games. Sigh.

    • I love your story!!!!!!!!! What symbolism! Hope you kept his “lost” phone for evidence. 😆😆😆😆😆

    • I’m so sorry. I too lived with a man who would make me feel bad about wanting something and we too made six figures each. The irony? He bought for himself all the time. Amazon shopping galore. I realized how much he didn’t consider himself married whe during divorce he called all his items “his stuff”. Not ours. Even though we built everything we had together. But it was his stuff. Thankfully I’m in a 50/50 state. So he kept his “stuff” but had to pay me the value of half. Also, I live where the SF giants play and every year I wanted to go to a game. JUST ONE GAME. He would give me such shit. The tickets cost too much, then parking, then food, then a beer. The kicker? He took Schmoopie to a Giants game. The fucker. I will hate him for even that.

      • What is it with giving schmoopies the thing they withheld? I desperately wanted a beach vacation with my ex, and not only did he shrug me off over and over, but at the same time he started planning a “guy’s” beach vacation with his college buddies to the exact place I told him I wanted to go. The guy’s trip ended up at another destination, and I asked again if we could go there. He blew me off again. Then where do you think he and the OW went together after we separated? Jerk.

  • The moment that pushed me over the edge was the “discovery” of the phone records about 6 months after Dday 1. It took some questionable skills to obtain the records, but when I saw that he was still in contact with howorker, the damn broke. All those uneasy feelings and “strange events” while being the marriage police now came into laser focus. I found the phone records on Monday and filed the divorce papers on Friday. The days between were a blur of unearthing records, bank statements, and other important information. The xhole was mad that he was blind-sided when he was served…no thought about me being blind-sided by the affair.

    • After 8 months of trying to work out a dissolution, I finally filed. He never turned things in on time. There were always missing documents. And his last response to my settlement proposal was insulting. He wanted me to use about 60% of his income in the calculations, refused to help pay for anything extra for the kids (college, sports, term life insurance), and claimed his business was in debt and there was no value (complete bullshit).

      I was done playing nice, but after I filed, he accused me of blindsiding him too. His words were something along the line of “You obviously had an entire exit strategy planned.” Still makes my head hurt trying to even comprehend how he came to that line of thinking.

      • “Still makes my head hurt trying to even comprehend how he came to that kind of thinking.”
        Of course it does, because you are an honest, rational person of integrity.
        But when you look your X’s poor character, you can begin to make sense of it. It’s simple, really.
        It’s called projection.
        Whatever no-good stuff they are considering and/or actually committing, they accuse YOU of doing!!!!
        He’s the manipulative one thinking of exit strategies, and has likely already thought of several possible “soft landing” scenarios, several of which would be financed by you. So when you suddenly unchump yourself, he naturally assumes you are trying to play him. Which, by the way, by this point in the proceedings, you have every right to. Hahahaha!
        And I think there is some merit in “thinking like them,” especially during the divorce process and even afterwards when carrying out the parenting plan as you never know when custody challenges could be made by the more sinister Cheater exes. Think of it like a chess match, or like a combat battle, where you have to consider your opponent’s next possible moves and protect yourself from them.
        When I finally did get unstuck, I became so strategic that I was able to make a lot of things happen in my favor. Not everything, mind you, because family court doesn’t work that way. But quite a bit. The attorney can only do so much. They have to have something to work with. My stealth “deviousness” served me – and my children – well. Both during the long, drawn-out (1.5 years) divorce process and afterward, when custody/child support issues came up time and again. By thinking “strategically — like what would X do” the way I did – which was exhausting, by the way, I was able to stay three steps ahead of X at all times and it helped protect us.

        • Talking of exit strategies mine even accused me of having the ‘reason and ability ‘ to poison our pet rabbits before walking out . That told me he had more ti hide than i ever imagined. ( his motive was to get the 4 of us out of the house and sell up to go to a rental …not 5 rabbit friendly) there are no rules with these lunatics.

  • For me it was over a few weeks, yet over a long time.
    First two DDays, spread over 11 years, I was gaslighted into believing nothing happened (ex always had a knight in shining armor thing, always helping our female friends, etc).

    Third DDay, ex came home from working out of state and wanted to end the marriage, but could not use the word divorce, did not file, etc. so passive. So, marriage counseling, three consecutive weeks in May, admitted to different things– first DDay, it was an emotional affair, he met someone in new state– but not having an affair,… That emotional affair from a decade ago, physicals, but only once, etc.

    Now, you’d think that last bit would have set things in motion– it did not, but the pot was starting to boil.
    He’d given me the name of the women in other state– I started looking at her FB page. First, what kind of person has 842 ‘friends?’ A shallow one!
    Anyway, then H went out of town for work, said she was not on it… But FB confirmed she did go, and she even posted a few quoted that’s a friend said about her– it had my ex written all over them.

    It still took three weeks after that, but the FB incident was the first time I had PROOF of his lying,

  • I stayed in the hopium void for 3 years thinking the man I loved and married was hiding inside the angry, depressed, cheating asshole that occupied my heart. Balloon busted!! Seeing as he informed me that he wasn’t in love with me anymore and wanted a divorce, I said then you pay for it. I found him a lawyer. His guilt gave me an equitable settlement and I moved out on my own. The controlling husband that he was wanted to move me and set up my finances so he can feel better about his affair. He even offered to help me out whenever I would need rides to the airport, doctor or whatever. How wonderful can you be?

    The man hasn’t been alone in 30 years and needed a much younger and newly divorced woman to help his ego out. They will soon be together in the same state and city so good luck to both of them. I find myself healthier, happier and at peace. I still think of him but I not sure if it’s pity for him or for her. I can’t and would never go back to the controlling, self-centered man that he became.

    I now go to see my kids and grandchildren when and whenever I want, drive the car I want and visit my father and sister and brother when I want. Love it

    • Txmmw and Gonegirl,
      Your posts make me do a happy dance.
      Not for what you went through, but for your courage and your determination.
      For your victory.
      Ladies, YOU are MIGHTY!!

    • I like how you thought the Man U loved existed inside this nasty withdrawn angry person. I project all kinds of good qualities onto the leech even tho I see him for who he is. It’s taking a while to get from my head to my heart

  • I picked me danced for 3 years! Three. Years.

    What got me unstuck was he made fun of me in front of schmoopie. When I started crying, he laughed at me and “shot me the bird”. I looked at him and pointed my finger at him and said, “I am done with you.” and pointed my finger at her and said, “And I am done with you too.” I got in my car and left.

    The next morning while I was getting ready to go to work, he started yelling at me for MY behavior. I said to him. “I am
    sick of living like this, you need to choose between your family or your girlfriend.” And I went to work. I was the breadwinner and he hated it.

  • “UN-stick the newbie chumps”

    ⬆️🙏⬆️

    THIS

    My goal, my prayer!

    (So happy to communicate with CL, CN, reaching out together to help fellow Chumps, especially the newbies! A true, caring FAMILY)!
    We are Blessed!
    💞

  • He stayed in the house for 6 weeks post d-day. I found his hidden email account and read the emails to the other women where he called them my queen and they called him my king. I was still willing to just let him walk, then he lawyered up. So I lawyered up and said no to his ridiculous demands and made very reasonable ones. I am forever grateful he lawyered up first. His pettiness, arrogance and entitlement really made me look at the situation. Am still trying to reach settlement, but I’ve happily reached meh. Also, I was out last week, am 48 years old, and a 22 year old wanted to take me home – I’m telling everybody.

  • After multiple d-days, IRS fraud, unemployment fraud, lies, constant texting other women, alcoholism, silent treatments, and the beginning of the discard… he flipped me off while I was sleeping in his truck while he was driving us home, I literally awoke to his middle finger touching my face while he blared heavy metal. He did it four times and laughed. When we got home I told him to get the fuck out I was filing for divorce. He said “I was just kidding” you know like how people do because I always flip people off to kid with them. Trust that they suck. Don’t waste anymore time with these dickholes.

  • The first 180 degree personality shift was 9 years after wedding, when his father died, and xh completely turned into his father, raging and compulsive gestures and lurching walk. I was frightened, but spackled that it was due to intense grief.

    The second 180 degree personality shift was the clincher, more than 4 years later, after my deep spackling that the poor man was mentally ill and couldn’t help himself and I was married for sickness and worse through that time. So he turned into “new husband” overnight, able to have coherent conversation with me, no obsessive gestures, improved grooming, cooperative with household tasks. He did this for a week or so, then asked me to sign off on a home equity loan for the 10th time, and I said no, and he simply reverted to his usual monster maskless self. But I realized that he had choice, agency in how he treated me, was legally competent, and I had to divorce him.

    Four years later, my life is whole and sweet again. Not sure I’ll ever trust anyone else to let them close enough to partner up, but who knows what life will bring.

    • I got the love bombing months before. He wanted me to finance a duplex. I said no. I swear he is so evil I can’t imagine what his next step would have been had I purchased that home. They were plotting my demise.

      • Can I respectfully request a few details? It is all too common for cheaters to deliberately harm their S.O.’s, and I think object lessons would be helpful to those who are hovering about whether or not to get out for their own safety.

    • Validated, boy…your story struck a chord with me. He tried to get me to sign a home equity loan 3 times during the marriage. The first time he had his business banker ‘talk’ to me and explain that he could give him a business loan at a better interest rate if I would co-sign on the loan etc. I said ‘NO’. My parents financed our home and they would be the losers as well as I would. Oh he was mad…Tried again a second time years later after he had been so nice to my on our annual California vacation. He was always playing Good cop and then bad cop. After a wonderful vacation where he was oh so nice to me, I discovered he was trying to get an equity loan behind my back. I just contacted the broker directly in writing and said “Sorry, I will NOT sign off on a home equity loan. The good cop/’bad cop routine is wearisome BUT it cued me into paying attention and to be extra careful.

    • Funny. .. i got the ‘sign off on the house equity’ 18 mths before d day . All very civilised until the moment of clarity when i realised he had engineered the end spending up to limit to use up the remaining equity in the house to leave me and the kids penniless and homeless when he went off with a v young asian girl . Couldnt make it up

  • I would say I mostly watched it unfold like a bad dream (or rather denied the reality of what he did for months post-DDay). What got me unstuck was seeing myself developing this pattern snapping at everyone, and my anxiety going through the roof over simple things. I was also having more and more days where when I went to bed, I didn’t want to be touching him at all while I was sleeping, and in the mornings, I didn’t really want to say good morning or talk to him much at all during the day. Finally, he said something outloud about me not talking to him and I snapped. I was playing music in the kitchen and singing/dancing with my daughter while preparing a meal and otherwise having a grand time and he ruined it. Couldn’t he just let me have my space and enjoy my time while I dealt with processing the whole shitty situation? It was then that I realized that it was no good, I was not going to stay married like that — just waiting to feel good about him again and being able to forgive him (if I ever even could). At that point I realized we could only get a divorce. Then the part of me that hated him and didn’t want to speak to him slowly took over everything. It’s where I am today, except I am working on letting the hate go. It’s being replaced by expected disappointment and “as necessary” communication. Waiting for the “meh” of just feeling nothing. I’m getting there, but it’s slow. It takes a while to realize that the whys don’t matter and this is just my life now.

  • I think I’ve put something on this here before, but it’s worth repeating.
    My ex bailed right after D-day, but then put out feelers to see if I was open to reconciliation before she was even completely out of the house. I was struggling with what to do, swinging back and forth emotionally between “throw the b****’s skanky stuff out today” and “maybe she really will change and we can fix this.” (I know, pass the hopium pipe). I couldn’t sleep a wink, so I stayed home from work that day and read one of those “how to save your really eff’ed up marriage” reconciliation books that morning. It described a letter I could write, telling my cheater that I would be willing to work on our marriage, but not until she gave up the cheating. At first, it seemed like an improvement over the other wreck-onciliation books (what I’d call “just bend over and take it until she gets bored of the AP…if ever”). I wrote most of the letter, like the book said, then I took a look at what I read, and was aghast. “This is ridiculous,” I thought, “Why on earth am *I* the one to bend over backwards, when *she’s* the one who cheated? To hell with this!”
    Said letter was trashed (didn’t burn this one, though I probably should have). Said b***** and her skanky stuff were all out within a week.

    • Good for you!!! There was never any hopes of reconciliation for me – cheating was my absolute red line and he crossed it. Lord knows I stayed for far too long with that narcissistic sociopath anyway, so in a way, it was a relief that it happened. Now if I could just get my heart in line with my head and not worry about what he and his whore are doing, I’d be good to go.

      • I feel the exact same way, Keepin Calm. Same situation too…I’m 14 months out and have filled my life with lots of projects…I let the hatred be felt but then I have to literally tell myself to think of something else…it helps when I think how much he would love that I am thinking about how awful he was/is. It snaps me right out of it.

  • Spent 7 months trying to reconcile after D day… marriage counseling weekly, nightly 1-on-1 time.

    I then learned that throughout all of that torture, X had *not* cut off contact with AP… which had been my clearly but compassionately (chumpily) stated, non-negotiable deal-breaker.

    That was it. I knew at that moment that there was no other option. Through my tears, I said (among other things), “There will be no reconciliation,” and from that moment, I never looked back. I just carefully and deliberately proceeded to follow through on the ultimatum I had issued 6 months earlier, and my divorce was final less than 12 months later.

  • In my case it just finally hurt too much. Every new rejection hurt like a knife and I wanted it to end. It had been two steps away one step back for months after DDAy. Then at Christmas he gave me a book with a note hidden in the middle for me to discover as I was reading it. The note included such gems as “I hope we both find happiness in 2017” and “I have fond memories of time spent with family that I will always carry with me”. At that point I knew my marriage was over but I was still going to wait for him to file thinking “let him do the work”. Then, in early January his birthday was on Saturday. He asked if he could have the kids that day. I said yes, but was still hurt that he didn’t want me to be a part of it. It was the first real holiday we hadn’t been together since we got married (22.5years at that point). Then it got worse when he made plans to visit his family with the kids that day. That was a crushing blow. Now it’s a party and Chumpinrecovery isn’t invited. I went to visit a friend. This was the wife of a high school friend of his and we had been couples friends for years. She is very religious and pro marriage/family etc. She is the one who told me that he was messed up in the head and I really needed get the divorced. The next day I told him that I didn’t want a marriage that was just on paper and we needed to end it. So somehow, I ended up doing all of the work while he just went along for the ride. At least he gave me everything I asked for in the settlement. I should have asked for more. Oh well. Too late now. My final divorce hearing is in a couple of hours. Wish me luck.

    • Sending you love and hugs on this bittersweet day, ChumpInRecovery. Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions emerge. Give yourself permission to mourn the marriage you thought you were going to have. And remember, tomorrow, the healing truly begins. Wishing you all things wonderful in your new life of freedom.

  • The thing that got me unstuck was rage. The RIC and a previous couple’s therapist wagged their finger at my anger, and I continually stuffed it down in an attempt to achieve peace with my ex. I swallowed my anger over and over again (along with a boatload of red flags and disrespect), and as a result stayed attached to a shitty person. The thing that got me unstuck from that was pure rage. This blog and Chump Nation gave me permission to get mad, and boy did I. My pure, seething, white-hot rage propelled me out of being stuck. It took longer than I might have liked, but in the end I got there. So new chumps, let that anger you’ve been stuffing down finally bubble to the surface. You deserve to be mad. You’re right to be mad. BE MAD. This shit ISN’T right. Harness that frothy red steed of rage and let it pull you out of the deep end into which your cheater gave you a hearty (and heartless) shove.

  • It’s really important for newbie chumps to read and here this. It’s crazy to see 1 previous discard,dating methzilla while we were “taking a break” reconciling, catching him text another girl lies while he is with me, finding out all this information, being gas lighted, blame shifted “how I have jealousy issues, or am not social,spiritual, (whatever descriptive word) enough” his best like was “this isn’t a healthy relationship bc he can’t be himself with me” isn’t enough to walk away, instead I’m being discarded. Im still reeling so Sorry if I’m posting like there is no end on this forum but somehow talking about it with people who understand, trying to understand my truth, reinforcing my reality through over posting is helping feel some twinges of the person I used to be.

    • Crushedfifi,
      Thank you for sharing your pain on chumpnation. We have all been in that desolate place. I, too, was blindsided and I probably would never have left my ex. Thank goodness he did discard me and leave or I would still be in that mess!!!!! Instead, 12 years out I have a new life, a life that I have actually enjoyed being in for better than 10 years. It is hard at first but you will get the hang of it. I would like to suggest that you start by changing your screen name here. Yes you are feeling crushed now, but that is not Who You Are. Help your brain and heart move along by giving it a positive boost when you see that strong, positive moniker about yourself every time you post here, even if it something you are still striving for now. I don’t know, FightingFiFi or Don’tEffWithFiFi or something mighty. Only you know what that is for you. If you don’t know, consider “faking it til you make it.” Please come here regularly. Buy and read CLs book if you haven’t already. Read the resource websites posted in CLs resource link. And take advantage of the private forums (must log in) here for near 24/7 support from like-minded people. And know that you are loved and supported by all of us at ChumpNation.

      • Changing screen names is wonderful idea MissDeltaGirl!!

        I changed mine from ExWife New Life because that was still too cheater centric to me.

        Why should I be “known” here first and foremost by my defunct marriage??

        Obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t already suffered through the same war we all drafted into — but that isn’t all of who I am.
        I was mighty to get out of the marriage. Today, I’m struggling with getting to know and become “me”. It’s very tough to consolidate the chump-me, the ex-wife me with the solo-me today.

        Changing my handle was a small way to reframe my journey.

        Crushedfifi – you are mightier than being “crushed”!!!

  • Some how in a 34 year marriage filled with affairs I managed to bring up one hell of a strong daughter with high morals. She is also an attorney! He managed to have an affair 3 times in one year, he confessed the first time, I caught him the next two! She helped me leave the madness! I thank God for her everyday! To you newbies I should have left a long time ago! A lot of wasted years.. don’t let them stunt your growth and kill your spirit. I am on my own now not near as scary as I thought it would be. I actually feel alive again!

    • What’s strange is how cheaters tend to use wanting to feel “alive” again as justification for affair. What’s even stranger is how so many of use Chumps feel alive after we’re done with them. I didn’t even realize I was missing that. Sometimes I do think it’s a good thing he cheated. I would have remained stuck in the same old life. Now I’m crafting it to be exactly what I want. Cheers to you!

      • They “need to feel alive”, but that requires that they project their opposite feeling (I don’t know…dead…?) onto chumps.
        “I feel sadz. It must be my wife/husband! I need a new person to feel alive!” …Inauthentic self as the cluster b books say.
        When we go, their shallow version of “alive” always has an endpoint whereas we feel free forever!

  • I realized that in the end, I didn’t owe him anything. I laid out the list of demands for reconciliation, and he was following them. But the more time passed, the less I cared, and the more I wanted to be done with him for good.

    But I’d made this stupid promise to give him a chance and not dump him as long as he was meeting my demands, and I was raised to give people a chance to right a wrong and to never go back on a promise or break an agreement. So I waited until he gave me something I could use as an out and dumped him and immediately went total no contact.

    I’d never have dragged it out so long if I hadn’t felt that I would be in the wrong for breaking my word to give him a chance. In the end, I was already emotionally detached and waiting for an out. I knew it’d only be a matter of time before he fucked up and gave it to me.

    I’m good with myself over it. I don’t know if I’d be okay with myself if I’d told him good for you for playing the game, but the deal’s off, it’s over and I’m out.

    • I’m right here right now. Gave a chance and now I realize I don’t really care. Not waiting for the fuck up. Just decided not to wait.

      Still hurts.

  • There were many friends and family members… and CL and CN that helped me get unstuck. BUT, when it became obvious that I had to file… it was what a certain friend said that became my kick in the ass.

    I was still being “chumpy” about the divorce. Even though I had a pre-nup that gave me everything that was in my name (and let’s face it folks, everything was in my name!)… I felt that Mr. Sparkles did deserve some equity in the house we shared. As such, I offered him draft divorce papers that included a small financial settlement. HE BALKED. He wanted 50% of my 401K and any other “assets”. This from a man who skimmed about $10K a year from the family by hiding his bonus checks each month to fund his extracurricular activities.

    So, I was sitting on the fence as to what to do… and she said to me: “He left you. He walked out on you and the kids after years of fucking around. THIS. IS. YOUR. ONE. CHANCE. This is your moment to put your flag in the ground and say FUCK YOU. But, I know you… you want to make nice and get along… but you asked for my opinion and there it is.”

    And I realized with absolute clarity, she was right. I filed… asking for the pre-nup to be upheld. I only got mightier from there. It is amazing how much a difference taking that first step can be. I still can’t believe I did it. I was so scared of him (and still pick me dancing, probably). Looking back, I know it was my first step to reclaiming myself, my soul… and protecting my kids.

  • For me, it was walking into another hour of weekly marriage counseling, fully prepared to discuss my completed homework, and hoping this session would be “the one” to finally get our 40-year relationship on the path to reconciliation. Unbeknownst to my XH, I’d already scheduled an appointment to see a highly-recommended divorce attorney the very next day, but I was praying real progress would be made and I could cancel that meeting.

    Just as our counselor said, “Are you two ready to review your homework?”, XH says, “No. This is no longer a safe place for me, so this will be my last session. I have prepared a statement”.

    The counselor and I looked at each other, not quite understanding what was about to happen. XH whips out his iPhone, scrolls through a couple of pages, and then vomits out the following:

    “I have made my decision. I want to divorce. You have been a wonderful mother to our sons and a good provider. I lay no blame for this on you; this is entirely my decision. When others ask me about you, I will speak well of you. I am confident we will both flourish as we go our separate paths and we will remain good friends.”

    With a look of total satisfaction on his face, he said, “That is all I have. I am happy to stay to the end of the session”.

    So I said, “I would be happier if you would leave right now”.

    As soon as his ass left the room and the door closed behind him, our counselor and I looked to each other, and at the very same time said “What the hell was that?” and burst out laughing.

    Then the counselor said, “You know, I make it a rule to never share my true feelings about the people I counsel because it would prevent me from providing unbiased psychological help. But I’ll make an exception today. Your husband is so full of shit, I didn’t think I could go on much longer. Thank goodness he’s gone!”

    I said, “I had no idea you felt that way!”

    He said “I knew from the moment you two walked in here that he was building a bridge to nowhere and this wouldn’t end well for you. Your husband is a master at rewriting history. He holds himself blameless for your situation but thinks it’s fine to sleep with someone else’s wife. He clearly has no regard for you, your health, your family or your financial well-being. And it’s especially annoying that he uses ‘psychological recovery language’ to place himself above others. You’re such a fine person, you don’t deserve any of that. And that makes me angry.”

    Then he said when a couple comes to him for marriage counseling and they are not able to reconcile, it was his practice to offer individual counseling to the spouse who was left behind. Was I interested in continuing on with him? Of course, I jumped at the chance and I spent the next 2 1/2 years working with him. He was so instrumental in my recovery, I will always be grateful.

    That day was a total revelation! It was exactly what I needed to recalibrate and get me “unstuck”. I promptly went home, took off my wedding rings, and kept my appointment with the divorce attorney. He turned out to be a godsend. Worth every penny!

    • That is so brutal, Birdie. Not to be able to confront him about what you learned must have made grieving so difficult. Glad you’re doing better now.

    • Oh gosh, that post was supposed to go under Birdie’s below.

      Anyway, MyRedSandals, I almost got tears in my eyes reading about your counselor’s response. What a sense of relief it must have been for you to have him validate you like that. I’m so glad he told you what he really thought about your ex.

      • Lyn:

        Yes, it was extremely validating! Of course, with exes like ours, we’ve always got a target on our backs, and those continued assaults can make you feel subhuman.

        Another wonderful thing my counselor said to me as we were winding up our 3 years together (6 months in marital, 2 1/2 years in individual) was:

        “When you first walked into my office, I saw a sad, shutdown, 1-dimensional cardboard cutout of someone who used to be you. You’d almost disappeared and you didn’t even know it. But look at you now! You’re multi-dimensional and so very interesting! You’re independent, incredibly smart, creative, quick to learn new things, hilariously funny, and wise beyond your years. Spending time with you is a joy! I suspect you’re much like the young woman you were at 19, before you met XH. Don’t ever lose her again”.

        • MyRedSandals, I loved your post. And they truly are full of shit and have devalued us for far too long. Glad to hear that you fully recovered.

          • GetMeFree:

            Well, thank you, but “fully recovered” is a bit generous. I’ve actually been struggling lately, ever since I found out that XH is marrying AP #14 on October 7. Just the thought of them legitimizing their despicable affair makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

            And what really frosts my cookies is that they’re telling all of her family (my family/my kids all know the truth) that they began their romantic relationship only AFTER the divorce from her own chump was finalized a couple months ago. But now, her kids are worried that she’s “rushing into things” by marrying my XH “on the rebound”. They have no idea that The Village Idiot and Debbie Does Dallas have been f*cking like rabbits for 5 1/2 YEARS, not 5 1/2 weeks.

            Ahh, wouldn’t it be fun to be at their wedding when the officiant says, “If anyone knows of a reason that these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace”. It would be awesome to clang the cymbals or set off an air horn or better yet, throw a Molotov cocktail at the happy couple. Just kidding. Or maybe not.

            Seriously, as a person of faith, I totally believe that God is in control and this clusterf*ck is all part of His master plan. Some who read this might question my sanity; “Why would God allow this pain and chaos into your life? What could possibly be learned from going through that”? But if you read my previous post, in which I relayed my counselor’s dramatic “before” and “after” impressions of me, there’s already been a 180° change from the pathetic chump I was when I was with XH, to the strong, resilient and independent woman I am today. I was feeling so beaten down, so worthless, so unlovable and so vulnerable, I simply didn’t have the strength to make those changes on my own… the power came from my Creator. I am certain that if XH and I were still together, I would be a dead spirit now; it is God who saved me from that fate. So I am simply sitting back, trusting His process, and waiting on Him to serve His perfect brand of judgment.

            • MyRedSandals: We may never get to see them get justice, but I believe that it will come (even if it doesn’t hit until the end of their lives when they are standing before God).

            • I don’t think you are crazy, I am with you. Who knows God’s plan but I look at it as he saved you from spending the rest of your life with a fuckwit. I look back now and realize I was trying so hard to make the marriage work, I was giving up myself and my values. I was thinking I will just have to give up wanting to be part of a church for the sake of the marriage- thinking God would want me to save the marriage at all costs. I was praying all the while and then bam, he left. But God was still with me, and I hope this will not only be a lesson for me, but for my children. We are still in the storm but Seeing who really has our backs.

        • What a beautiful story. How blessed you were to have such a great counselor from the get-go. So many of them are detrimental.

          • MissDeltaGirl:

            I’m so fortunate that I got to work with him. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d had 30 years of experience working with disordered people like my XH. He was a perfect fit for my situation.

        • Oh wow, what a great counselor you had! I loved my counselor too, but yours sounds like he was very experienced with what chumps need to hear. When I told my counselor I didn’t understand what ILBNILY meant she just repeated it to me again. It just didn’t make sense to me because I’d lost those “thrilling feelings” when I was in my 20’s, but I felt like real love is a decision to stay with a person no matter how you feel at the time. In my mind, feelings came and went depending on the circumstances. It seemed so juvenile to me for my ex to give that as his excuse. I’ve pretty much come to learn that ILBNILY means “I’m having an affair with someone else.”

    • I’m glad your therapist was finally open about his observations and helped you through your recovery. But I do wonder why he didn’t feel compelled to share his clinical observations before then, and why he didn’t call your ex out on his “bridge to nowhere” when the two of you were attempting reconciliation. I think this is probably extremely common. I understand that it must be a thin ethical line between helping clients achieve their objective and steering them in a new direction, but geeze, what a terrible way to be a third party gaslighter!

      • Free Vix:

        Actually, I did ask my counselor why he didn’t share his feelings earlier. He said “Because I knew what would happen, your husband would simply have bolted sooner. And if there was any chance for a change of heart or a true reconciliation, I didn’t want to stand in the way of that”. Class act.

  • It took my leaving the state, relocating to a new place for work, post-college. Still, he tried. But, I started telling him not to come visit me anymore; I eventually quit drunken calling him, and both our lives got busy and we just faded away.

    He once told me that he expected I’d make myself available to him for sex whenever he decided to visit my area, or whenever I was home visiting my parents. I laughed. It was so pompous, entitled, and self-important, just like he generally tends to be, only crystallized in that moment. I’m still not really sure if he’s a sociopath or just a garden variety malignant narcissist. Our daughter is this genuine, open-hearted, passionate young woman, who got the best of me *and* the best parts of her dad. And, to his credit, he’s mellowed a bit over the years and is slightly more aware of the fact that he shares the planet with 7 billion or so other folks. He’s also a very esteemed doctor who saves lives every day, so, not beyond redemption. He just can’t keep his pee-pee in his pants, where it belongs.

    • Glad to know I wasn’t the only one whose X expected sex anytime he was in the general vicinity. Even after the divorce. Sigh. These creatures. Have. No. Moral. Backbone.

  • I wasn’t given a choice to confront him or leave him or make any practical decisions about being together or not because my husband died (and then three days later I learned about his secret life – what a rabbit hole of crazy feelings that discovery was), but I had a moment of clarity when I had the thought, “He was not my ally in life. He did not have my back.” This was the thing that gave me the most mental detachment from someone I had previously loved to the moon and back.

    • That is so brutal, Birdie. Not to be able to confront him about what you learned must have made grieving so difficult. Glad you’re doing better now.

      • Thank you – Its early days Lyn, Its only been about 8 weeks since he died. And tomorrow would have been our anniversary (!). I am still experiencing all of the intense feelings that ebb and flow after a trauma…but I was never one to take shit from a man (it took me a long time to thoroughly trust and give myself over selflessly which I did) (and this is the source of much of my pain now – feeling violated and not having had the opportunity to protest his treatment of me or demand respect since I didn’t know I was being dishonored.) He was treating me with utter disrespect for years and I happily was by his side giving him love. This makes me nauseous to think about.

        • Birdie, I believe our memories are ours. If you were happy in the moments it’s not so horrible a thing. If I invalidate every good time I’ve had where I discovered the other person was deceiving me and such, what would my memories look like? I felt how I felt at that time. It took a while for me to reach that opinion but for me it works. I hope that it might help you.

          FWIW: Exasshole pulled a gun, that was my unsticking point. Nothing like recognizing your own mortality to kill the love and move you to action. Still, there are good memories from back in the day. Took me a few years to be OK with that. At the same time, I would be very relieved if he died. I just renewed my protective order in May, they only last 2 years in my state.

          Jedi Hugs!

    • Birdie: As a person of faith, I believe that “moment of clarity” you referred to was a God thing. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this double tragedy.

    • I’m so sorry. What a terrible way to be robbed of your authentic grief and instead be flung upside down into sorting through illusions. I’m sorry you never had the chance to confront him.

  • Ex used to knock me around on a regular basis. He would come home stinking drunk and then start beating the shit out of me because – oh, I don’t know, – he didn’t like the way I was sleeping. My oldest son used to charge downstairs and drag him off me. Eventually, the older one would be out with his girlfriend and the first time my youngest tried to drag his dad off me I thought “no, that’s it”. There is no way my kids should be doing this. And I filed immediately after!

  • I couldn’t take the mind fuck anymore and I was self medicating with alcohol. That caused a lot of problems with my near adult children that took a long time to sort out. After the divorce I didn’t drink as much but it was still a problem on occasion. On a high note I totally quit drinking this year and I am 100% happy and healthy. I read somewhere that I should not apologize for whatever method I used to get through hell but chumps alcohol is not a good option.

  • Throughout our long marriage my ex always seemed to have “too close” relationships with female coworkers. It always made me uncomfortable, but telling him about my feelings never changed anything. Mostly I think it just caused us to stop discussing the subject because it never seemed to resolve.

    However, because I hadn’t found CL or knew anything about emotional affairs, I just felt bad for being so jealous of his “friends.” I kept thinking that there was no evidence of a physical affair so why was I so upset? If I’d have walked in on him with someone else, I’d have left. That’s where I drew the line.

    My husband had been distant for quite a while but he was always a workaholic so I kept thinking he was under a lot of pressure at work. After celebrating our 31st anniversary, he went on a long business trip. I was happy for him to come home and asked if he’d like to do something together like go to the movies? He waved me off and went outside to work in the yard, which he seemed to do more and more those days. Anyway, that’s when I started crying really hard and asking why he never wanted to do anything with me any more.

    He gave me the ILBNILY speech and said he wanted out of our marriage. This was really shocking to me because he’d never said he was unhappy or that he was thinking anything like that. As many of you know, I later found his journal where he told me he was keeping notes for work. Turns out he was actually writing about me as I walked around the house and how much he couldn’t stand me, how he was in love with his married coworker, and how he wanted to break up her marriage so they could be together.

    Well, I thought that was pretty sick since he was supposedly “good friends” with her husband too. I remember looking at him and thinking, WE DO NOT have the same life values. No matter how much I was attracted to someone else’s spouse, I would NEVER break up a family. (My mother’s father was a womanizer and abandoned her family and I’d watched how that affected GENERATIONS of people. No way would I ever do that to someone’s kids — this woman had two young children, btw). I told him how despicable I thought it was to try to break up someone else’s family. I told him that no matter how he felt about me, what he was doing was just wrong. While I was talking he just stared at me like he wanted to kill me.

    For awhile I believed my husband had a brain tumor or some kind of psychiatric issue because he was acting so out of character. No matter how I tried to convince him, though, he wouldn’t go to a doctor. It wasn’t until much later after finding CL that I started to understand what happened. I had no idea about narcissistic personalities. I couldn’t imagine thinking that way. But I’d say the moment that I looked at him and realized he had no qualms about breaking up this woman’s family while pretending to be her husband’s friend, that’s when I realized it was time to get out.

    • Lyn:

      I’m convinced that all cheaters have a secret monthly meeting in which they discuss the jargon they’re going to use with their chumps. Seems way too many of us get the same BS lines…

      I love you but I’m not in love with you.
      I need space to consider what I want.
      You made me do (fill in the blank).
      I’ve never been happy.
      We don’t have anything in common.
      I want to be with someone more like me.
      Why did you (fill in the blank)?

      Blah blah blah. I’ve read all of those crap excuses (and more) on this discussion board.

      Can’t these cheaters come up with something new for a change? Perhaps something like:

      I’m truly sorry.
      I’ve exercised horrible judgment.
      I know I’ve hurt you terribly.
      I take full responsibility for my actions.
      What can I do to make this up to you?
      This will never happen again.
      I need help.
      I start my counseling tomorrow at 9 am.
      I was wrong. Please forgive me.
      I’ve acted like a boy instead of a man.
      You trusted me and I betrayed you.
      I disrespected you and I am ashamed.
      I am so afraid of losing you.
      I am a better person when I am with you.

      • Mine said to me about 6 weeks after He imploded my life by telling me he’d fucked someone else, and having to deal with my anger and hurt and tears and the pick me dance…. he had the audacity to tell ME that HE was trying “really hard” to not hate me.

        He was trying not to hate me. After moving the goal posts, changing the rules, FUCKING his co worker, who was also married and directly damaging the lives of at least 7 people between the two families, HE was trying VERY HARD to NOT HATE ME.

        I still shake my head over that comment.

        • Ugh, Sunflower. Isn’t it amazing? Mine told me, “You probably hate me, but I don’t hate YOU,” as if he was a better person. I wanted to scream, “What do you have to hate me for? Did I lie, plot, and blow up YOUR life, forever changing the course o then blame you for making me do it?”

          • Oops, that last line was supposed to say:

            “…forever changing the course of a lifetime of relationships, then blame you for making me do it?”

        • I always remember my professor in social psychology saying the principles of social psychology used in marketing, behavior analysis, etc are science not art because even though we understand them, we are not immune to them.