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Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over the unfairness?

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Dear Chump Lady,

How do I get past this righteous thought of “it’s not fair!”?

I found out my ex was cheating on me with my best friend (ex best friend now) about a year ago. Of course just when I was getting over my girlfriend, about 6 months later, she came back to me and asked for my forgiveness. By then I was in a better place and did, and before I knew it we were back at it again. This time with her saying she wanted to move in together, to marry me, the whole nine. I told her I needed time before I could fully trust again, and what do you know but one month from when it started, I found out she was doing it again, and yes, it all ended in fire and brimstone.

But what’s really nagging at me 6 months later, is that she is still with the girl she cheated on me with. Apparently, they have moved in together and are leading seemingly quite a happy life. It is makes me so mad that she can do me so wrong and move onto a happy life with someone else without suffering any consequences. What she did to me was careless and abhorrent and it really wrecked me, and still eats at me to this day. It’s clear to me that she really didn’t care about me at all, and it doesn’t seem fair that she should get to be happy.

These thoughts, I know, are useless and unhealthy for me. Logically, I know I shouldn’t think about how she’s doing and I shouldn’t be comparing my life to hers and getting upset that she’s found love with someone else while I try to piece my life together. When I reflect on what the thoughts I’m having, I am reminding myself of a child stomping around yelling “it’s not fair” on the playground.

How do I right this ship of mine, get my mind right, and stop stomping around on the playground throwing a mental tantrum about this chick, Chump Lady?

Sincerely,

Fooled Twice Chump

Dear FTC,

You’ve got a classic case of Trust That She Sucks. She sucks. You’ve not internalized it. When you really know she sucks, you won’t care what she does.

I know she sucks! BUT SHE’S HAPPY! 

So what? So a fuckwit got two scoops of ice cream. So idiots roam the world delirious with joy. So Real Housewives of Hooterville got renewed for another season. Meh. Who wants to waste mental real estate on fuckwits?

The Real Housewives of Hooterville did not fuck me over, Tracy, SHE DID!

Fuckwits are NOT your tribe, FTC. Stop caring what they do in Fuckwit World. Live in FTC World. Let me break this injustice thing down for you.

1.) Don’t long for crappy people. You aren’t compatible. I really think the world divides into two kinds of people — bonders and shallow people. And the two sorts really don’t get each other. Some people don’t go that deep. We imagine that they do (bonders are great at projecting our connection on to others), and shallow people can fake connection (for awhile anyway, just keep the kibbles coming) — but it’s really two opposing world views.

When cheaters say “Get over it” I think they’re projecting their world view on to chumps. They’d get over it because they don’t bond deeply. They swap people out like used air filters. What’s all the fuss about? I mean, if you want to fuss over them, great. They won’t say no to kibbles, and your sentiments mean you may still be of use — but WHY if you’re a person who is capable of deep intimacy and fidelity would you miss someone who is NOT? Crappy shallow is NOT YOUR TRIBE. Go invest in people who BOND and reciprocate. The difference is like oxygen compared with sarin gas.

2.) As injustices go, there’s much worse. Is your situation unfair? Yes. Mine was worse. I mean, not that we’re the pain Olympics here. (I encourage chump solidarity, not misery one-ups-manship.) But you didn’t marry the creep. You didn’t move, or hurt children, or lose untold thousands of dollars. I ate a bigger shit sandwich, my friend. But then compared to Mr. Chump Lady? I got off easy. I didn’t invest 22 years in a fuckwit.

Now look at some of the other stories on this blog. OMG, right? Now look at the news cycle. We have/had broken hearts but no one is a refugee. No one spent 27 years on an island doing hard labor or was tortured for their political views. The world is FULL of unspeakable injustice.

I’m not trying to minimize your pain. I know what she did was humiliating and cruel and rocked the foundation of your being. (We know cruel people exist. We never expected to bond with them.) I’m saying, suffering is universal. (Especially if you bond, because you’re a feeling human). Keep it in perspective. Let injustice teach you empathy for others who experience injustice.

3.) Figure out what kind of person you want to be, and direct your energies there. You can’t control all the sucky people in the world. Sucky people gotta suck. It’s what they do. Accept you were chumped, now ask yourself WHAT NEXT? You control what next. You control who YOU are. Sucky people? Not so much.

I think we’re put on this planet to make it easier for the next unfortunate person. Be kind. Use that empathy this shit storm gave you. Go call out injustice. Shame it into a corner and laugh at it. Draw some snarky cartoons. Whatever your gifts are, FTC, USE THEM.

While she’s flitting from shallow nectar slut to shallow nectar slut, you go build a life of substance. While your ex best friend goes and poaches someone else’s girlfriend, you go adopt an orphan or something, okay? Wear the white hat. Be a good person. The better you are, and the busier your are with that new life, the smaller the fuckwit becomes.

Until…

*poof*

(It’s a Tuesday.)

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • At the very least, she’s a liar. Then add what you know of the deception, triangulation, betrayal, and lack of basic decency – We don’t want to live like that.

    • Always remember- sometimes life gifts you an opportunity to realise a dream that lay waiting. You are better than this situation and you deserve so much more. Go shine your light on opportunity!

  • I understand unfairness. Lived and breathed it. Even ended up in a hospital and almost died.

    Unfairness, especially with cheating, is like bad debt hanging over your head building compound interest of more unfairness.

    I decided that I am not in the credit business. I wrote that shit off and started completely over.

    I have never been happier.

    Tuesday is the Jackpot in the casino of life.

    • SDC, I love this! Thank you!

      And to FTC, the thing with your ex girlfriend, cheaters, parasites, narcissistists – they don’t change or get better. You’re seeing an illusion.
      So pull your thoughts back to your awesome self and life. It’s waiting for you. And btw: She is so not worth a damn.

      • Why do people stuff like that? That people never change? I sadly know a few people who cheated on their spouses and were faithful to the person they cheated with. People do shitty things and sometimes there are no consequences.

        But yeah. she isn’t worth it and getting over this kind of thing is really, really hard. I am sorry. It really does get easier with time.

        • You really think the cheaters stayed faithful to the affair partners? And are truly happy? That makes me feel like shit. That’s the exact opposite of what CL stated in the post. I reeeeeaaally hope that is a falacy.

            • I know way too many people who aren’t cheating on the second spouse/aka the person they cheated with.

              I think if we tell ourselves that cheaters always cheat, and thenthry don’t cheat on the next person, where does that leave us? For me, I was right back on square one. I think people who cheat are not moral people and they are cowards, always. And plenty of people who cheat just always will, and I think that when out spouse/SO is one of those people, it’s easier, because you know that the person who caused you pain is gonna feel the same pain you feel. But plenty of people who cheat are people who are cowards and don’t know how to exist a relationship when it makes them unhappy. So they cheat. And with that next person, they are a better match, and they don’t cheat. That happens a lot.

              I think the more times someone cheated, the more likely they are to cheat again. But sometimes people do shitty things and it all works out for them. I WAITED for my ex to betray his wife like he had me. it is not happening. I wish it did, as it would make me feel better. Instead, Ijust remember he is a jerk, and the farther I am away from him, the easier it is.

              • How do you know all of these people? And how do you know for sure they aren’t cheating? Most of us chumps didn’t know we were being chumped for years.

              • Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass if my ex-wife of 21 years continues to be a cheater or not. I really don’t care. The thought never enters my mind.

                All I care about is that I survived long enough to get the fuck out of there. Cheater, non-cheater….who cares.

              • That’s been my experience, KK. I have learned that my ex was a serial cheater on his first wife. He never planned to be with her – she got pregnant just after they finished college. When I see them together, it is inconceivable that they were ever married – there is no connection. I met him a few years after they broke up. With us, there always was a bond; my stepdaughter says she had never seen him happier than when we first married.

                He did not seem to cheat on me for the first several years of our marriage. But neither of us knew how to deal with unhappiness in marriage. We came from different parts of the culture and had different values. Before marriage, he put on a mask to make us appear compatible. God knows why. I had a grad degree and a career. He thinks of women as desperate characters who are subservient to men and can’t survive without marriage. When the mask fell after marriage, we went on the long slide down. He eventually told me that he didn’t have “the guts or the reasoning” to end our marriage. So he cheated.

                The OW is nothing like me. She doesn’t appear to be his physical type, but she does appear to remind him of his mother, both in her looks and in her troubled financial circumstances and grifter behavior. He has refined his approach; they have a long distance relationship. He’s introduced her to his adult children and they have traveled with OW. I helped raise those kids and helped put them through college, and they always told me I was a wonderful stepmother to them. Now they basically reject me as the loser in the pick me dance, so this is very painful. But I recall his utter inability to break it off with OW, so I can’t deny that she seems to be a better match for him. I haven’t heard of anyone else. Except that when he sees me – always for some excuse like moving his things or picking up an ATM card – he starts to cry and then tries to get me to hook up with him. It won’t happen again because I won’t ever let him in the house again. So he’s still sneaky, but it is consistent with being attracted to me but more compatible with OW.

                KK’s view may sound painful to accept, but it has helped me. Once revealed, our different values and beliefs grated on us and became an increasing obstacle. We lacked the unspoken understanding that I share with people with whom I grew up and went to school. So either OW inherently “fits” with X’s patriarchal values, or she has sentenced herself to putting on an act in exchange for some plane tickets. Either way, I have to remember how sad and lonely I felt BEFORE I knew of the cheating. I am better off now.

              • There’s no way you could possibly know what he’s doing on his computer or his phone, late at night, or in a different city, etc. the list goes on. If the person living with them has such a hard time finding the truth (and that was us), how could a person from the outside? Accomplices are the only ones that might, but the secret ends with them.

              • “Sometimes people do shitty things and it all works out for them”.

                Yes – the scales do seem to to in their favour sometimes. But we win in the end because we have escaped living in their shitty world.

                Unfair – I helped support him while he did 7 years of university to get his new shiny career. He graduated – got the big job and imploded the marriage 6 weeks later because I was no longer of use and he had replaced me with Miss Piggy.

                Ok – I went back to school with 0 support from him, did an apprenticeship and got my license in a trade I love ALL BY MYSELF, without screwing anyone else over.

                He makes more money than me, is still running around with the OW and appears to be happy.

                Who cares -he is not a good person. My life is Cheater free!!!

          • I definitely know a few who are not cheating. I think it really depends. Like, some people are serial cheaters and will always cheat. Other people are immature and when they are unhappy they cheat.

            For myself, the thought that my ex would always be a cheater made me feel better. And then I found out that with her, the one he cheated on me with, he wasn’t cheating. And it was back to square one. And I know so many people like that. So the way I’ve gotten over it is not talking to him at all and letting myself feel angry. And it is slowly getting easier.

            • From my own experience my ex cheating wife had a whole load of crappy personality traits that made her a pretty awful person to be married to, full stop. I don’t care whether she cheats on the next guy or not, she was a lousy spouse and certainly not a friend and I’m glad I’m not with her anymore. Cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it’s an outgrowth of a crappy character. Whether or not they cheat again, they have crappy characters.

              • The DOCTOR may not cheat on his tundra Schmoopie, as she is from there, & craves being MRS DOCTOR.

                That may last for a long time or not, or she may dump him. He’s not easy to “get” but we grew up together and I accepted his eccentricities as just that, not all character flaws or annoying habits.

                Although I’ve heard they “are not a match made in heaven, and have nothing in common.” I try not to listen much.

                I did enjoy hearing “They are the opposites. She’s not very smart and she’s sure not funny like you are.”

                I know for a fact the DOCTOR considers me “brilliant” and except for being a chump, I am. I made him laugh his ass of a few times a week and we cried laughing, often. I literally perform stand up comedy so I KNOW he’s lost a loyal, smart and fucking hilarious woman, to whom he’d been married 35 years. Hell, we grew up together and raised 3 kids and buried 3 parents.. If he doesn’t miss ANY of that, then he’s the biggest loser in the world and for sure not a bonder.

                Supposedly He’s finally making the big bucks that he said he was working for all these years, for the big pay off FOR THE FAMILY SAKE.

                It’s just not our family.

                But whether he cheats on her too, I have seen too much dark cruelty in him and discovered layers of deception for years, that it’s a wonder he could practice medicine as well as he does. But he’s great with blinders on.

                So she can have him, regardless of whether he screws another woman, he is simply a man who does a shit load of bad selfish things to the 4 people who loved him the most. I cannot yet fathom the PI reports I’m getting. So much deception for so long.

                As for Schmoopie, she knows I exist and knows he’s not seen or spoken to our 3 adult children in over a year.

                Maybe that’s a goal, b/c then HER child will have more of our wealth. (What a lovely choice the DOCTOR & Schmoopie made there). Or maybe he lies to her about me and brainwashing our adult children quite effectively, which is a whole other side of karma.

                After months of claiming he had “retired” and could not pay for our daughter’s college, OR pay me spousal support for just 5 years, I hired a PI and proved the DOCTOR’s working just fine, and (his name in on the building!!).

                So Schmoopie knows this and now the DOCTOR knows I know it, as do our children. His defense? He actually claims he was “volunteering” his services for free, and for some insane reason, thinks THAT makes it better.!?..

                “Dear daughter, I WOULD work to pay for your college but instead, I retired…- NO wait, I’m gonna work for free instead doing the exact same job but earning nothing!! Everyone here thinks I’m great – You’ll learn a lot from being on your own earlier in life. Oh and try to get your mom to pay her share out of the spousal support I’m NOT paying her…
                Love Dad, aka, DOCTOR VOLUNTEER HERO.”

                Literally everything he wrote to our child in the “no more college tuition” was a lie. And now she knows that. How horrifying for her.

                After hiring the PI (wish I’d done it sooner) we just signed a settlement. He’s buying me out of the support he denied me all year, but I have yet to see the check).

                So, Does it matter if he sexually cheats on his schmoopie to know he’s a piece of shit? Not much to me. She was an exit affair I think. I refused to join him on the tundra, again, and she lay in waiting.

                I don’t want him in MY life again unless he’s seen Jesus Christ, gotten baptized and literally begged me for forgiveness. And that would get me to allow conversations related to our children, not in my bed. I miss the laughter, I admit (I’m dating a smart attentive man but he’s just not funny. Very serious and I hope that changes). And sure, I miss a lover who knows what you know after 35 years…

                But mostly the DOCTOR is the “darkness once known as my J-.”

                I am not sure he will ever have a relationship with some, possibly any of our children. He’s 61 now, so maybe when he’s 70??

                Will 9 years be long enough for our scars to heal? For him to see what/who he lost? I hope he’s not at our son’s wedding or the births of our grandchildren OR maybe he ought be just so I can kick ass in the looks and success department.

                Bottom line is IF the “darkness once known as J” can inflict this much pain on the 4 people who loved him the most and emerge unscathed, not haunted, then he’s missing an empathy gene. Truly, he would have to be so fucked up then.
                To put us all through this amount of crap for so long, LYING (OMG the deception) normal healthy people cannot lie like this for long.

                But he could. Nope, while I guess I prefer that he cheats on Schmoopie – that’s more to punish her and prove he’s fucked up in that way too, but I KNOW he’s fucked up. So I don’t care much.

                I’m just looking forward as best I can so the Darkness once known as J- Or the DOCTOR, can fade away and I can rebuild my life at age 58, which I fully intend to do asap.

                (God help my youngest please, she’s awfully rejected and has been for a long time. He did her wrong, and it’ll come out and not from me. But life is unfair and we already knew that.

                Maybe reframe it. We are the winners and the unfair thing is that they are them.

            • I agree, KK. It made me feel better to believe that my cheater would always cheat, but I do not think he does. It’s not even that his new partner is more “compatible” with him: he and I had better conversations, more fun and he has told me that I am his soulmate. However, I am a financially independent, educated person with a generally happy disposition and can-do attitude. As much as I needed him to be my loving partner and best friend, I never made him feel needed like his manipulative, whiny, financially poor, “helpless” OW does. She is “unable” to pay her bills, but a plane ticket, pick a dress without his aid, and this makes him feel oh-so-important which, apparently, I never did, in spite of the fact I constantly told him that he was my rock, my partner in crime, my One. Oh, well *shrug*

        • Cheaters never change. They will cheat the new girl just like they cheated you. They betray whoever they are with. Maybe not in the same way as they did you. Which is why you think they can be faithful to the next.. ..

          In my case, I was so destroyed. I was completely and utterly broken while he skipped off with the neighborhood party girl meth head. .. .. that first year was the hardest for me. I cried everyday. Him on the other hand was living life large. He was happy. Out having fun, eating out, going visiting, going to bars, camping, hotels, carnivals. Buying cars, trucks, fancy rims, shoes, clothes. . While I was picking up the pieces of my broken life, holding my 2 sad and confused children, all 3 of us wondering WTF just happened.. ..

          Fast forward 2 more years and he is attempting suicide. Homeless. Can’t keep a job or an apartment. Has lost all the new vehicles with rims and stereo systems. Probably lost all the clothes and shit too.. living off the kindness of others until they get tired of him/her. His thing beats up, hits him, throws bottles at his face, slashes his tires, steals his car, leaves him stranded, belittles him and yells or fights with him daily. They have broken up 6 times last year and are making each other completely miserable..

          Fast forward another year, he is looking at jail time for yet another d wi. His boys want nothing to do with him and have not seen him for a year. The child support people are after him. Collections are after him. Repo is after him. He is kicked out of her 88 year old grandma’s house. His thing is still hitting and beating and fight with him. As for me .. .. I have peace. I have my kids and my grand littles. I have my house. My job. My truck. My happiness.

        • One thing I DO know about those who cheat on their SOs, whether it’s once or a million times, they cheat in other areas of their lives.

          It’s a character deficit. So what if they are faithful to their OSpouse. You are on the outside looking at something and if they are telling you this, know you are speaking with a liar who lies. Their public image is more important than possessing integrity.

          Truman never appointed wandering dudes to his cabinet. He stated if a person can cheat on their spouse, they can cheat in other areas too, like public service.

          • They cheat in other areas of their lives.

            Yep.

            That’s their character. I remember when my stbx and his new young coworker (that he now lives with and has a baby with) found a way to get extra money out of customers at work – he said they found a secret way to manipulate the system. Lol Story of his life.

    • SDC, I love this! Thank you.

      And to FTC, the thing with your ex girlfriend, cheaters, parasites, narcissistists – they don’t change or get better. You’re seeing an illusion.
      So pull your thoughts back to your awesome self and life. It’s waiting for you. And btw: She is so not worth a damn.

  • “When cheaters say “Get over it” I think they’re projecting their world view on to chumps. They’d get over it because they don’t bond deeply.”

    Holy hell, I wish I’d read this tidbit and learned this lesson years ago. (It will be lesson number one when coaching my daughters into adulthood.)

    “Oh, get over yourself!” was KK’s absolute favorite phrase when addressing anyone who she felt was making “too much” of challenging her or feeling slighted by her. Sometimes I agreed with her; sometimes I kept my mouth shut but thought, “OMG — if this was you, you’d be stomping and sweating and hyperventilating about how you’ve been wronged over the years.”

    Now I know — it indicates a severe empathy deficiency.

    • … and then, an hour or so later, she’d wax poetic about how she’s “over it” and so capable about moving on and not holding grudges,

      Back to yesterday’s “head in a blender” cartoon.

      • Yes, it’s as though we’re each given a mental telescope with which to view misdeeds in the world. Chumps were taught as children how to use the telescope. They hold the small end up to their eye and use the telescope to look at their own actions. They see them magnified, see every detail of what they may have done and from this detail know how it feels. More likely, they use the telescope to see things up ahead, before they act, and so knowing fully what they mean, avoid them. To their detriment they almost never look this closely at the deeds of others – until it’s too late.

        If forced to look at their own deeds, disordereds hold the fat end of the telescope up to their mind’s eye. The mountains of their mis-behavior appear tiny and far far off if they can make them out at all. But when they look at anything done by others they spin the telescope around right quick. Those tiny things appear enormous, inescapable and grotesque. They fill their entire field of view.

        Disordereds believe this is the proper functioning of this mental capacity. It “works” in presenting “reality” and so even if you can momentarily get them to spin the telescope around properly, they think that is the laughable misapplication of the tool, perhaps briefly interesting for its weird effect, but producing only a worthless contortion of reality. It will never feel real to them, only disorienting, false and contrived.

    • Yes! They “get over it” because they can’t bond deeply. My stbx told me, AND our daughter to “Get over it.” He told me his parents cheated, it hurt him, but he got over it – his daughter can “Get over it.” Besides, he texted that he was sorry – what’s wrong?

      Well, now his daughter wants nothing to do with him since she came to the realization he cares for no one but himself and is selfish to the core – and he cries about how she has thrown him away!! She won’t answer his texts? Fine! He’s not paying for her phone anymore!! He is mad and super vindictive that he is not having his way. (Stomping and sweating and hyperventilating about how he’s been wronged – Lol!!)

      But to tell HIM to “Get over it?” Oh my goodness – that would be inviting more revenge and abuse from him.

      Funny how they work.

      • P.S. Over the holidays on camping trip our daughter told the tosser of used air filters (Lol) that it was wrong the way he left us for his girlfriend and had a baby (we are still married – tho divorce is almost final) and she doesn’t like his girlfriend!

        Well, the old tosser brought our daughter home to me at 2 a.m. from their camping trip without her clothes I packed her because – get this – She hurt his feelings.

        Our kid ‘hurt his feelings’ so he drove her all the home in the middle of the night from a camping trip to dump her off and go back to the desert. But he can hurt others and they have to “get over it.”

        And then he told me they didn’t go back to the desert! Oh? Then what are these pictures on Instagram our daughter showed me this other people posted?

        We are so much better without these liars and users. Trust they are not happy. My stbx goes for the rushes of racing and going fast and shallow infatuations because that is the only way he can feel. Unless someone is “hurting his feelings,” of course.

        • Nomorecamping, OMG, I have the same ex. Punishing the children for not supporting his new life with OW. They hurt his feelings by not throwing him a ticker tape parade for turning the Family inside out. He’s waiting for them to apologize. He completely ruined Christmas/NewYears the year we were fake reconciling, the kids saw through it and never looked back. Yup, trust that they suck!

        • And after he drives his daughter home when he has his hissy fit of spite, he expects her to like him because why?

          Yep, that’s entitled delusion right there.

        • Yep, that’s my STBX as well. Using his feelings as justification for being a turd! He told our children “ I can’t be a good parent if I’m not happy, and smoopsie makes me happy.” Just WOW! Are you f*ing kidding me? So basically, “accept this relationship or I’m not going to be a good parent.”

          Talk about stomping on the playground!

        • NoMoreCamping your daughter is mighty, wow. It must have been hard to be at the campsite and then in that car with her dad, but she didn’t cave. That a girl!

      • WAIT A SEC, HERE-HE TOSSED YOU AWAY and he cavalierly says, “get over it”.. I would simply say to him, very calmly with zero emotion, “Hey sweet guy, no problem when you tossed me away like a used tampon, and your daughter DOES have half your genes-she just threw you away, no deep feelings in her, just like you, get over it”. Of course, between us, she does have deep feelings-which is exactly why she wants nothing to do with her father-but I would never pass up this opportunity to play with his mind in a game he loses and will never, ever, be able to stop that brief conversation from merry-go-rounding in his head-never. His head will forever be, ‘was that sarcastic comment or a true and honest one and if my daughter is like me and I don’t like what she did, then what does that make me”.. HAHA-I love thinking about his potential karmic encounter.

      • How is your daughter with that?
        Both my kids cut ties with their dad after the shit hit the fan ( 17&23 at the time) neither has spoken a word to him in 3 years,
        He texts them from his mistress house where he’s raising her kids (9&12) about how sad he is….heartbroken without them. They know it’s bullshit. They only hear from him on the major holidays….Christmas, Thanksgiving, their birthdays…..HIS birthday( yep…not kidding) and they make it a game to see if they can guess which one of them crafted the message (him or his schmoopie)
        I’m not sad that he’s out of their lives or mine anymore. I’m sad that he is the example I gave my kids of what a husband and father should be.
        We all know better now.
        I spent a long time heartbroken that my failures cost them their dad. I’m not anymore. They have peace in their lives and they have me. He blames me for the estrangement….it’s whatever.
        I was just curious how others who’s kids went n/c are handling that.
        It’s not easy.

        • Paintwidow, our four kids were 19, 17, 15, and 14 when their father chose the “Christian” life coach OW over me and them. They immediately set up boundaries, and told him if he chooses her, there will b no relationship with them. Fuckwit didn’t believe them, and when he was talking on the phone with my mom a few days later, the idiot didn’t realize he was on speakerphone and our kids were listening to the conversation. When my mom tried to point out the fact that he is basically saying he’s fine with having no contact with the children he professes to love so much, his response was (with an arrogant and smug chuckle, no less), “Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts.” Fuckwit thinks his awesomeness is just too strong to resist, especially for his own offspring! Well, that comment caused our kids to dig in their heels and SHOW him exactly how long they can hold out. It’s been three years, and he’s been playing the victim of parental alienation sob story the entire time. Our kids are not mean to him. If he texts them, they will usually reply gray-rock like, which drives him crazy since they won’t share any details about their life which, their argument is, if you were where you are SUPPOSED to be, you would KNOW what’s going on and we are not going to enable you to keep doing what you shouldn’t be doing by making it easier for you to do it and feel fine about it! I’m a proud momma, can ya tell? I draw so much strength from them daily! Tell your daughter she rocks and is mighty, Paintwidow!

        • Paintwindow – Our daughter seems to be doing pretty good. A friend told me she would wake up one day and see her dad for what he is. And that day came. She is mature and strong, but suffering from anxiety. She’s seeing a counselor. She seems so disgusted with him. It’s nice not having to take her to his house for visitation! He’s more out of sight, out of mind. It’s wonderful. I have documentation in case he tries to take me to court. I doubt he will, though. My lawyer said I can take him back to court for more support. But, no. Not worth it. I like the peace and quiet. Money can’t buy that.

          I am sad also that he is the example I gave my daughter – a poor example of a father and husband. Yes, the heartbreak of my choice and the effect on her life. But I had to stop beating myself up. A therapist said I needed to stop – I was going to give myself PTSD. Someone stated below – about stopping the self flagellation. I was blamed, too! Like our daughter told me – it’s always someone else’s fault – never his.

          My heart goes out to everyone here and the pain put on our kids. Punishing the children for not being happy with their family blown apart is a special kind of evil.

          Here’s to living a life of substance and reaching “poof” , Tuesday!

          I hope our kids become stronger and stronger, and able to see through people’s B.S. easier because of what they have had to endure. I pray they don’t end up repeating the pattern.

          Everyone here is awesome. Thank you. And thank you, CL!

    • Yeah this sentence really struck me. My ex said several times he didn’t understand what the big deal was. Projecting his view onto me as I was assigning him a humanity he doesn’t have.

    • During the early days when I was trying to convince cheater that our marriage is worth saving (stupid me). The conversation soon turned into a heated argument (which he enjoyed… now I know) at the end of it he said “personally I will take this conversation as a blip”. Wtf? I spent hours trying to tell him having a mistress is damaging to our relationship and he takes it as a “blip”. Dagger to the heart.

    • LadyLiar definitely suffered from the condition “severe empathy deficiency.” In fact, when I look back, I realize it was one of the few things she couldn’t fake. If you meet someone who really can’t take “the role of the other,” a core, basic developmental task usually achieved during childhood (Mead), RUN LIKE HELL.

  • “Sucky people gotta suck” FTW. It is who they are and who they always will be. It is why reconciliation is a fool’s errand.

  • The unfairness really, really does stick in your gut. However, trying to move forward on your own terms and focusing on rebuilding the life you want to have makes the injustice smaller and smaller. When you get a life in the end eventually you’ll just look back at is that something that happened. I agree with CL that much worse things happen in the world and as hard as it is it helps to get some perspective. When you get to Tuesday you won’t care. I only got there about 2 weeks ago after 2 long years of breakup followed by divorce shenanigans. Trust that they suck, they really do. Life is much better when you have a twat free existence😁

    • Congratulations on reaching your Tuesday, Real Monkey Love 🍸.
      Hope you go from strength to strength and never look back 🌹

  • When you are married or living together you have a more immediate focus of the righteous anger…divorce, finances, new home, etc. I was so good at this part-the extraction of the cheater and then fixing the immediate issues that occur in life with that cheater. The hard part is then continuing to focus on what kind of person I am and being the sane parent for my kid. I can imagine that it must be difficult for people in a similar situation as Fooled Twice-not as much to focus on other than the pain of being conned. I keep telling myself that if I can accomplish what I accomplished in the past two years, I can accomplish anything. And righteous anger has a way of turning itself into self flagellation…beating ourselves up over not seeing or knowing who these people really were that we allowed into our lives…totally unproductive and another focus that keeps us from just getting on with it.

    • Well said! I am finding my self very, very stuck in that “self flagellation” stage. It’s as if that is another mountain of healing all together. Or., perhaps that part never goes away…? I’m not meh yet, so perhaps that will help.

      • My deepest regret in life as that I picked such poor material as a father for my kids. I live in deathly fear that they may someday repeat his pattern of using, or, mine of being used in relationships. I have a deep unfathomable, guilt about this.

  • FTC,
    Everyday I read Chump Lady. Everyday I think “Wow, that was the best post ever” and/or “Wow, that was the worst chump-story ever”.

    But Tracy’s reply today really is THE best advice ever.

    This kind of advice is what gets me through my own lot of a shit pile of unfairness: 40 years of marriage; humiliation; plain cruelty.

    My material standard of living has been drastically reduced. I downsized to a 70 square meter house from a 450 square meter one (sparkledick is full of debts, but I hear he is moving to a BIGGER house….). I had a housekeeper from Monday to Friday! BUT “as injustices go, there IS much worse.” And I now find that living in a tiny house is actually great! I smack my forehead at ever wanting to stay in a big one! (I do miss my garden, but I am planting a new one.)

    In the time after my divorce I became free docent at the university where I teach, I have a product being developed by a well-known company and I bought a small farm and competent people are helping me set it up to produce sustainably things people need. Small is beautiful.

    “I think we’re put on this planet to make it easier for the next unfortunate person”. Maybe being cheated on gets us on this path.

    By doing my job the best I can and with love, I am slowly, but surely forgetting the XH. I have my sons’ respect and love.

    “Don’t long for crappy people.” It makes you waste time being mighty and helping others. You are actually lucky, believe me and everyone here at CN.
    Hugs.

    • Haha, my ex would have taken credit for such a journey. “Why, if I hadn’t knocked her out of her comfort zone, she would never have achieved such greatness.”

      Congratulations on your new life! It sounds spectacular. 🙌🏻

    • I think the same thing every day — “That was the BEST post ever”. CL has literally given me insight and perspective into reality and SANITY.

      • What are woofers Mephista? Dogs? I’m not American so some things are lost on me. I have a fox terrier, he is getting old.

    • I’m so impressed with what you have accomplished Clear Waters! And worthwhile stuff too. I have a strong sense of justice, I really get where you are coming from, and still feel the injustice of him getting “everything “ . Of course he doesn’t really get it all, his children’s respect, a loyal wife, a lifetime of memories to share with anyone. I am also still very shocked for not seeing this shallow, adolescent and calculating side of him before. I have been thinking about how hard I have worked to get past these feelings of outrage. I’m not there yet but I have grown , become closer to the kids, developed bonds in some friendships etc I met with a friend today. She went through infidelity several years ago. She talked about doing a lot of self work. She has grown into feeling very certain of who she is. She commented on feeling even happier than when she had kids at this self realisation. Whenever she feels ‘off’, she can go back to that centeredness, to her value and belief system to guide her. She wouldn’t have done that work without the infidelity. That aspect of her life sounds pretty appealing to me. After all, how many of peopke ever get to that point? I’m sure there are plenty of us in this group that can relate to that. Knowing who we are, what we really want, what we look for in other people.

  • When cheaters say “Get over it” I think they’re projecting their world view on to chumps.

    This snippet just changed my perception of the world, thank you, it really helps.

    I try to think of negative ex-husband things that grab my attention as “if this were money, would I be spending it here in this way or would I find a different way to use this resource?” and decide from there.

    • He pawned my jewelry. “Get over it. I can get it back.” Ummm, no. That pawn ticket expired months ago.

      He spent the kids’ coin collection. “Get over it. I’ll get them more.” Ummm, no. Those were uncirculated coins collected the day the were released.

      He broke something I use often. “Get over it. I’ll replace it. Tomorrow… on Friday… Next week when I get paid… Get off my back, I’ll do it!” A month later: “I thought you weren’t interested any more. I forgot all about it.”

      He was always moving the goalposts to make it easier for him to win. Because, for him, it was always just a big gaslighting mindfuck game, and he enjoyed it.

  • I have spent so much time longing for crappy people – the ones who just swap you out like an air filter. But I think I am a bonder, and I’m proud.

    Twice Fooled, you are worth so much more than this.

    And – amazing discovey – so am I.

    • “But I think I am a bonder, and I’m proud.”

      I hands-down agree with this. I am a bonder, and the fact that my sad sausage ex could hurt me so deeply (as FTC’s ex hurt her) only goes to show the depth of my emotion, and the lack of depth AND emotion from him. Be proud of being someone that can truly care for another, FTC, and realize how shitty your ex is. Her loss…

      • I couldn’t agree more. I would rather love deeply and get burned than not know how to love. I guess I just didn’t realize that something that felt so real simply wasn’t. But another thing I hadn’t even thought of is that “bonders are great at projecting our connection on to others”. Looking back on a lot of my relationships, I think I have a tendency to do this.

        <3 FTC

        • Me – totally – all the time. I do project my ability to bond deeply on to others; I think there’s really something there, and often there is, but not always.

          I am still smarting over the loss of my friendship recently (described in the comments in a previous thread) – but now I have to face that he didn’t actually change; I just got to know him better.

          We were just friends, nothing else, and had known each other about four years, I thought quite well. But it was like he was a different person when I saw him recently after a break of a few months, and not a very likeable one. He’d been through some big stuff in that time, admittedly, but I wasn’t prepared for a totally different person.

          But then a mutual friend told me she’d seen him do this several times in his life before – you just have to wait for the next incarnation to come round. This was helpful and made me feel less crazy.

          I miss my old friend, and he may still be in there somewhere, but I just don’t know this new guy at all. I don’t especially like him, and he seems to find me tiresome and less-than his new friends.

          So … I will leave him to his new friends. I will stick with my stupid old, boring, faithful and supportive, non-crazy-making, reasonably consistent friends.

          Because I don’t intend to partner up in the foreseeable future, friendship is really important to me. I put time and energy into my friendships, which is difficult because I’m an introvert, but I think it’s well worth the effort. That’s why things like this tend to smart, and I have to keep working on self-soothing, and forgiveness, and also NO CONTACT.

  • Somehow CL seems to know what i need to hear. 🙂 I thought I was so close to Tuesday, but with a 2nd round of meditation & coparenting therapy recently I’m not quite there yet.

    I’m so thankful to the stranger on YouTube the pointed me to this site last summer! This blog is absolutely life changing!

  • She may appear to be happy, how do you know its true. You will be in pain, but at least you know what she’s really like. You are worthy of more. You can only make yourself happy, I don’t think cheaters are ever content, always looking for the next high, ie sex, drugs, alcohol.

    • This. Things frequently look happy from the outside when they are not. Cheaters are the royalty of image management. It can be infuriating if your focus continues to be stuck there.

      I hope I don’t overstep here – but if I read it right, it sounds like our writer got into, and out of, another relationship pretty fast. If you’re fixated on a feeling of having to have a partner at all times, you may be struggling with the disempowerment of the illusion that you need to be in a relationship to be whole. It follows, then, that you will remain overinvested in what happens to every person with whom you break up. Ask me and my many therapists how we know. 🙂

      Speaking of therapists, the great ones specialize in helping us get empowered and fully self-reliant. Saved my damn life, no joking.

      So, I echo Susan’s message here. It’s a lot harder to let go of something than it is to embrace something. What would happen if you fully embraced your own heart? I keep growing in this arena years later, and the better I get at it, the less people can chump me. I will never be perfect at it, but life is a lot better now.

      • I LOVE your comments, Amiisfree. So true.

        FTC,
        My initial looking back (understandable bc of hurt & 30-year marriage) slipped into morbid “pain-shopping” – a valuable term I learned here & taught to my therapist. (I, too, am a therapist, but if you introduce me to one who doesn’t use one when they need one, that is a therapist I wouldn’t see or recommend)
        Struggling to look forward and trying to make sense of myself and fruitlessly seeking particles of his caring for me in any way, I was rehashing the painful images I found when evidence led to Dday(#3, for the record). I stalked MOW’s social media a little (then blocked her completely about a week in, since she was monitoring mine as well), did a thorough financial records sweep (found lots more evidence – which I am using for divorce), found enough evidence to sink a battleship, discovered he was searching untraceable poisons (WTAF?) (then reported this to police, my attorney & therapist & “team me” – my support network), discovered he was searching ways to use medicine to kill (himself or me? who knows?)…in short, I was MAKING MYSELF CRAZIER! After the smoke screens of him searching the Hemlock society, I reported him to HIS therapist and STOPPED monitoring his browsing. Literally disconnected the technology and resigned from the pain shopping network. HE is HIS OWN problem now. I quit. Was fired, but hung on like a wacko leech.
        Some of the fixation was valuable (financial data, affair evidence), MOST of it was a waste of time and energy and my valuable life. I took the focus off of him and placed it back where it counts – me, my DD, my adult DS. I have relationships with these fantastic people that fuckwit will never have. I am STILL part of a loving family – moreso without the pouty barnacle I was married to.
        I am feeling freer every day. I look forward with hope since I am learning about disordered people, my penchant for attraction to them & how to recover from that so that future relationships might prove more balanced and equally loving. I have put blinders up on my rearview and side mirrors so that i can focus forward. Grief is different for all of us, but I don’t want to get stuck in the ditch re-harming myself when I an be building a foundation for the life that I have missed after 30 years with a serial cheater.
        FTC – they only APPEAR to be happier because APPEARANCES are ALL that matter. If they could have meaningful relationships, none of us would be here.
        Listen to Tracy and your CN tribe – as Ami says, Ask me how I know. You can ge over this and WILL – one day at a time.

  • Thanks for the comments on bonding. That’s been on my mind. I was with my wife for 18 years, married 13 before D-day and knew her 25 years. When she was younger she used to drive by my house to see if I was there. She called to tell me she got a boyfriend in high school, she followed me to college. All this I thought was proof of our connection, that we were soulmates. But then D-day and the best she could say is she’s confussed, doesn’t know who she wants, is a maybe or best if things could be like they were, if I wouldn’t judge her or ever ask about the affair again and start doing even more things for her she would want our marriage. After I filed she flew back to him, or at least stop hiding it as well but never admitted it lol. Anyway, not one word or regret, remorse not one moment of pause to think maybe I want my marriage and husband. That’s what makes me realize she wasn’t bonded to me. We faced a few major challenges in our marriage, external crisis, I thought we came together not just to overcome but always came out better. Now I realize she didn’t feel them same way. It was all still red ink in her ledger. Not a lesson, not a triumph just red ink, just “remember when things weren’t perfect” I demand perfect. Well I hope she finds it but being with a car detailer here illegally from El Salvador who still lives with his parents and school aged siblings and if Trump has anything to say will be deported I don’t think perfect is in the horizon. Maybe a perfect disaster

  • Two big takeaways from today:
    1. Sucky people gotta suck. Yes!!! It’s who they are at their core, which makes them unsuitable members of your tribe. Shun immediately.

    2. The world has two types of people: bonders and shallow people. Yes!!! So true. Looking back, I can now see that ex was shallow in so many ways, not just on the commitment side. It’s a key concept that I’ll be applying as I head back out into the dating world. I’ve already applied it to my friendship circle. The shallow are also unsuitable members of your tribe.

    • The shallow connections are impressive, eh? My ex totally disappeared from the lives of everyone we knew once I kicked him out following Affair #2. I figured that was perhaps a mix of shame and knowing our family friends wouldn’t want to see his disgusting face. But several years later, his ONLY long-term personal friend (ding ding, red flag!!!) appeared for a visit from his home country, the friend had not rejected or condemned the ex, and had reached out several times over the years, including just before coming here on his trip. The ex agreed to have the friend to his home (now in another city), but then ghosted this friend entirely. Simply didn’t answer any more e-mails. 15 years they had supposedly been friends!!! The friend was so hurt! Ex clearly didn’t give a fuck. This is who he is.

      • Yep KarenE, you can totally see it when you step back!

        Another concrete example of shallow: Schmoopie was a friend of our family, well- known to my kids. When our marriage ended after their two year affair, ex had Schmoopie over for the ‘first time’ (haha), only a few days after I moved out.

        My kids were utterly shocked when Schmoopie came in without knocking, bearing a ‘peace offering’: homemade cinnamon buns. She didn’t say a word about the affair. Didn’t apologize for blowing up their family. Didn’t ask how they were feeling. She acted like nothing was wrong. My oldest daughter (15 at the time) thought WTF?!? Who does that???? Shallow people who suck, that’s who.

        So that’s the last time my daughter has actually seen Schmoopie. She decided to live with me full time. Her relationship with ex is very strained, and she refuses to spend time with her father in Schmoopie’s presence. She hasn’t seen Schmoopie in close to three years now.

  • I remember during our “wreckoncilation”, the X would get frustrated with me and say, “Omg, KathleenK,
    if you did this I would forgive you like this.” Followed by a loud finger snap. I felt horrified because I knew in that instant that he really felt nothing for me – really, you’d get over it just like that? And he would’ve too. Because he wanted to carry on with life just the way it was – with him doing whatever the hell he wanted.

    But I do struggle with the fairness thing. Everyone has a last hurdle and that is mine!

  • “What’s all the fuss about? I mean, if you want to fuss over them, great. They won’t say no to kibbles, and your sentiments mean you may still be of use — but WHY if you’re a person who is capable of deep intimacy and fidelity would you miss someone who is NOT?”

    WOW! I needed to hear this today. I am too nice of a person and always answer when my STBXH calls. I’m a sucker like that. I have been conditioned over the years by him to not miss his phone call, so its hard to see the phone ring and not answer it. But honestly he has moved on. He is only keeping me around as Plan B and is only the doing the bare minimum of check ins to see how I am doing. Why should I care about him in any sort of way when I know deep down in my heart that he doesn’t love me he just likes the convenience I bring him? I am printing this out and sticking on the fridge so I always remember this. Thank you CL!

    • Replace his name on your phone with ‘Do NOT pick up!’ and that will help! If it’s an emergency, he can leave a message.

      • I replaced STBX’s name with “Capt Cheaterpants” and his picture in my contacts w the teeniebopper instagram photo w him & Schmoopie covered in flowers that she took on his birthday last year. Yeah, when my car bluetooth offers me the chance to “Read” or “Ignore’ messages or calls, baby I LOVE hitting that IGNOrE button! BWA HAHAHAHAHA!
        Little empowerments count big.

  • We always tend to think that their so much happier over there in that new place but after awhile reality sets in.
    They don’t really invest in anyone so eventually she will do the same to the other.

    Just stay focused on you & your life. No contact will help you heal. We’ve all been there.

    (((HUGS)))

  • You *never* get over the injustice of what cheaters did to us, you get distracted–by new friends with integrity, by engaging in those hobbies you didn’t have time for because you had been catering to a soul-sucking fuckwit, by crafting a fabulous new life ALL of your own creation. No time for more than a passing thought about the injustice, and it becomes devoid of strong emotion over time.

    • Thank you for this comment, Tempest! It’s the truth. I won’t forget the wrong but I can somehow move on with my life despite the injury and injustice. It requires imagining the possibilities at any point with which we are left: older age, poor financial state, etc. There’s possibility with creativity, self-love, action and determination.

      So thankful for CL and the wonderful CN contributors.

    • Tempest and CN, What to do when out of the blue during the course of a (text) conversation about kid logistics ex says “It’s amazing how time can erase everything. . .” I respond, “What does this have to do with kids and logistics” He says “I was thinking about things last nite which felt like the last 20 years never happened”. WTF do you do with that? I just said “Oh, me too”. So dysfunctional

      • Ignore, ignore! Don’t even let him know you actually read any words not related to kid logistics.
        And that’s another reason to limit those conversations to e-mail (unless kid is w/him and there’s a hospital-level emergency). Gives you time to sift out the bullcrap and only reply to what YOU choose.

        • Thank you. We had to coordinate today as well and I didn’t respond to anything after we had finalized today’s plan.

      • Ignore; no pellets for the rat. If you respond, you’ve just given him intermittent reinforcement for engaging you, and he will be more likely to continue texting and emailing to get a response.

      • Rachel, please listen to what these wise ex-chumps are advising. If you can afford it, install parenting software and use it all the time, except in case of a hospital emergency as KarenE says. Many times just seeing their names on the phone screen triggers stuff. Since NC is impossible when you have kids, the point is to limit it to a bare minimum.
        Believe me, ten years after kicking Two-Legged Rat out, I still get something in my stomach when I see his name in my incoming e-mail list.

      • I would’ve responded… “great, I’ll let the kids know and you needn’t bother to pick them up.”

      • That is cruel. These people like to shit stir just to get off on the reaction, mine tries to engage and extend the conversation so he can manipulate me and push my buttons. He hates that there is nothing to talk about and gets angry saying ” yeah only kids and money, you don’t care about anything else” no kibbles for you!

    • Tempest,
      I love your posts – so clear and true. THANK YOU, Love!

      I am 7 1/2 months post Dday.
      7 months since I booted barnacle out the door.
      Filed in November (after 29.5 year marriage).
      First hearing down – custody & temporary support in my favor (so far).

      NOW, present- & forward-focused me:
      – Being invited to parties and gatherings with friends who have been at arm’s length for years. reconnecting and loving that!
      – Bellydancing classes – hell, yeah! Fun core work. And FUN.
      – Grocery shopping without pouty barnacle complaints/eye-rolling/snark
      – Quiet time at home without pouty barnacle.
      – Second closet is on my horizon!
      – Socializing with people and enjoying myself (did I already list that? I must like that a lot)
      – Attending events/activities/etc. and staying as long as *I* want to – or not!
      – Reinventing my self-image to match who I REALLY am more authentically.
      – Deepening my relationships with my kids – not judging their choices but exploring them and being available IF they want my advice (oddly, they ask for it more, now that judgy-barnacle isn’t opposing every idea they suggest)
      – Feeling more empowered every day that I not only CAN survive without judgy barnacle (he used to tell the kids that I couldn’t survive without him), but will THRIVE BECAUSE of its ABSENCE!
      There is a LOT more, but I need to go DO some of that & pull myself away from the keyboard togo DO it. LOL!

      It gets better! Cheater-free life is the ANSWER! Thanks, CL & CN. Another successful day!

      • Oh my goodness, Longing! Great list!

        And you just reminded me of all the instances where I was dragged away early from a gathering/event that I was really enjoying because HE wanted to leave; nevermind what I wanted. I’d forgotten about that.

        They’re just all assholes like this, aren’t they?

      • Long for Meh,

        Amazing how much you have embraced life since you separated! I wish that I could meet you and observe your joie de vivre!

  • Fooled Twice Chump: It *sometimes* really helps me recognize the pathetic hollowness in my ex and end every interaction with him (which is only in writing and only about my daughter) with, “you idiot.” Of course I don’t write those words because that would send him into a Trumpian tantrum that I don’t want to spend energy on. In fact, I’m sure he would welcome some sparring. It makes him flail in fury when I don’t give him attention. I’m hoping he will see the kibble is gone and move away.

    Yes, he cheated on me for over a year with his married ethics professor-Sunday school teacher-mother of three. Yes he swindled, wait for it…………. over $200K from me for various things including all their secret trips to go see musicals (which I think is hilarious now). He’s a scum liar and thankfully everyone knows it due to his own crappy public behavior so we good people are all on the same page here.

    I consider myself lucky even though he squirmed out of paying what he promised in child support and college assistance to the tune of 12K per year (this doesn’t include the 200K mentioned above). And that was directly AFTER he got an annual 12K raise. Funny. The unfairness of it for my daughter can make my blood boil. Yes, I work so many side gigs I’m starting to lose count but you know what, he has money and I have my daughter and the respect of people I care about. I won, you dipshit.

    So what they’re “happy” now. (I actually don’t think these aliens can feel true happiness) You think for one minute they will be true to each other? Two cheaters? No freakin way. Those assholes deserve each other.

    My ex was STILL furious at his first wife for cheating on him FIFTEEN years after their divorce. Did he care about her? Not a lick. But he really didn’t like that she did that to HIM, it should have been the other way around you see. He will be burned again by this whore I have no doubt. And he will for sure burn her. They seem happy now, but just wait.

    Remember, these clowns are excellent actors, or so they think. They will always put on the face they think will look good to others, including the “I’m blissfully happy” look that fools most but not you any more. Case in point: those Facebook posts “to the love of my life, schmoopie doopie, saccharin syrup, blah, blah.” I always think in my head “thou doest protest too much.”

    You are a human being who feels and is able to connect on a genuine level with another human being. Your ex will never ever know what that’s like. They will spend the rest of their lives looking at other human beings as mysteries and never being satisfied with what they have. The grass will always be greener for them, they will never get the full admiration they think they deserve, and on and on.

    Laugh at the MFers. We are the lucky ones.

    • I really connected with this post because of severe financial unfairness. I am finding that particular injustice cycling back to the emotional part and making it so hard to get to meh. I was so scared to get a lawyer after being threatened and tracked on my phone, etc… that I agreed to mediation. He wouldn’t leave the house and I couldn’t afford to, so a year I dealt with rages, severe threats, IE he screamed at me- in my face- while I backed away until I came to a door. Then he punched to door a mere inch from my head and then freaked out because I made him break his hand. I was terrified to have a restraining order that it would embarrass my kids and make him even more angry. I struggled with all the rhetoric that it was my fault. (A 25 year double life unraveling made him come unglued.) So, I signed a horrendous settlement because I just needed out (which was probably calculated by him I now realize.) I was afraid of him, my health was so bad I actually thought I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t get the D done immediately.

      I am so financially screwed now. DS20 has limited contact with him and will not stay there for more than a couple hours. DD16 never bonded with him ever and he always treated her badly so she has even less contact. He pays 60% of the child support than the formula came to, spousal support is ridiculous also. I was so scared of him getting a DUI or being sued for sexual harassment and losing his job that I traded away thousands for just 6 years of minimal support that was non-modifiable by the court. Then, just prayed that I could get back on my feet in 6 years. My married life was upper-middle class but I grew up poor and never cared or needed any of that. I guess that’s why I underestimated what I’d need financially to live. I don’t need, and never wanted, the big house we had or any minimal luxury; I just want to pay bills and not cry at the tire store when I’m told I need new tires. 1 year since divorse final and the financial part is still horrible. Family home was sold (He wanted to buy me out at a value that was really low-balled but gave up after the refi company insisted that an appraisal had to be done. I still smirk at that…) I can’t qualify for a mortgage because my income is low and my job history is short. Rent in my city is astronomical and keeps be in a horrible cycle; my down payment from home sale will be gone before I can buy a place.

      I am college educated; put my self through working full-time for 6 years, a hard worker, and I had an amazing career that I stopped 3 years into marriage (his will) as I made more money and outranked him at the same company and I am younger than him. I also now realize that me working there really put a damper on screwing co-workers, colleagues, assistants, clients, and even the strangers in hotel lobbies that he apparently loves to bag on business trips.) I am now doing entry level (kind of demeaning for a degree holder) work. Not that I have any pride, or even slight confidence anymore…

      I don’t miss him or the crap, fake, abusive marriage one tiny bit. The kids are emotionally good (I did all the parenting anyway with him gone all the time.) But the financial stress is unreal. I have 2 jobs, plus do 1099 work on the side. I have not worked less than 80 hours per week in nearly 2 years now, I work 7 days a week, and it’s taking a toll. He makes over150k now I hear, company car & insurance, company lunches 5 days a week, unreal benefits. DS20 is living like a mouse at college taking on loans like crazy, I send money to help with rent, but it’s not enough, DD and I struggle and literally cannot pare down anymore. No TV, drive trash to work instead of curbside account, coupons galore for food, nothing else can give! AND, I know its my fault for giving in and not fighting; I was so scared and sick, and now so mad at myself. Thank goodness the kids and I are good emotionally. They see Asshole for what he is; it will be more difficult for him to hurt and disappoint them with low expectations.

      If I could heal financially, I think I could heal more emotionally and confidence-wise. I hate that I am a poor provider to my kids. I know it takes time and I so proud that my kids are happy and healthy, but I still feel like I’m struggling more than I should be at this point. How do you cope with this part?

      • Beenchumped,

        I know exactly how you feel. I went from upper-middle class to poverty when I left my cheater. I gave him everything (the house, cars, every item worth everything, and all the financial assets) in return for being able to move across the country with my kids. He never paid child support or kept them on his insurance as court ordered. I went back to grad school and we lived in student housing with no car on $11,500 a year. The poverty was very real and very difficult. I survived only by remembering that I had my children and I had gotten them completely away from him. It took about six years exactly for me to finish graduate school, do another temporary low-paying academic gig, and finally get the entry level academic job that would allow us to have luxuries like rented housing in a safe part of town and a used car. You can do it. You have your kids. There is no “bad deal” if you managed that. And they will have more character, grit, and resilience from having seen your mighty example and gone through the harder times with you. Be proud. You survived, you made sure they survived, and you are all free. Material poverty is difficult but makes you strong, however,spiritual poverty is crippling. You are strong and he is crippled.

      • Hi Jojobee 🙂

        I hate that you and your kids are suffering…been there myself and know how hard it is 🙁 …not to mention debilitating and demeaning.

        …realizing that ‘our’ children did not matter, even less than I did, was probably the deepest wound 🙁 …how could he ignore them…?

        …I don’t know where you are…and don’t know if this will help, but want to try…here is a link to google search for help in such a situation as yours. I hope you find something here.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=government+support+services+for+singles+mothers&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&oq=government+support+services+for+singles+mothers&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.56744j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        Much love and concern to you and your kids!

        I hope you keep us informed!

        Tess

        • Tess,
          Thank you so much for your very kind words. Things were very hard for a long time, but they are better now. There are much harder stories right here on this blog. Your suffering, foremost. I don’t regret my choices because we got far,far, away from him. Beenchumped is in a difficult, difficult time now. I just wanted to let her know that sometimes ‘mighty’ looks like our lives as much as it looks like the stories of the women and men who destroy their cheaters in court, or, gain fabulous new careers. Sometimes ‘mighty’ is a grind…but it is always freedom.

          • Jojobee, JeepTess, Rock Star W,
            Thank you for your thoughtful replies. I cried and smiled both (like a crazy person) while reading them… hearing your survival and kindred spirits & stories does put a little hope in my heart. The “fake it til you make it” is doable, but only if there is an expiration date on that phase at some point. I can’t do this forever, or even much longer. I am so exhausted, and even more exhausted from pretending I’m not exhausted if that even makes sense. The success stories and and stories of survivors who are now content or happy keep me going. CL is the only “me time” literally in my life. It’s funny how much I miss it on the weekends, so I look up old posts on the days I need a little chump therapy. Thank you to all. XO

      • Beenchumped,

        I understand the feeling of wishing that I had handled the divorce differently. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum–I fought my husband in court for three years, spending $100k in large part to defend my right to see my young children. (My abisive, cheating husband falsely accused me of child molestatiom, among other crimes, when he filed for divorce.) so please don’5 beat yourself up–divorce is a huge crap shoot. Things might have turned out, including financially, worse for your kids and you.

        You have an amazing work ethic–you inspire me to work harder!

  • Boy does this one hit home. I still feel like I’m “wallowing” some days and just can’t let go… and CL is spot on… I have yet to truly internalize and “trust that he sucks”.

    He’s moved in with a new GF (the OW dumped him cuz she found out he was cheating on her) and now they are house shopping together (I guess the one she owns isn’t big enough for Mr. Sparkles).

    Meanwhile, I busy raising our son and even being the sane parent to my “x” step-daughter (who has chosen to live with me vs. joining Mr. Sparkles in Crazy Town). BUT – I haven’t been on a date in 6 years (counting the last two of my marriage in that number!). I’m lonely, I’m still healing and arguably not emotionally ready to date – but I want it… I want a healthy relationship. I want to love and bond deeply and reciprocally.

    But for today, I have to accept that shallow people shack up quick because they aren’t that deep. These two moved in together after dating for less than a year and now they’re going to buy a house together. Trainwreck ahead, folks.

    FTC – another mantra around here is GIVE. IT. TIME. Stay no contact. You do you. I choosing to believe with each day away from my nightmare, I’m a day closer to Meh! You’ll get there too.

    • I Can See,

      I get the loneliness and desire to want to date after a long dry spell and much self-sacrifice (sounds as though you have given much of yourself). I want to share my experience eeience with you in the hopes that it will make you feel better. (It will make me feel better to knowing that my pain was not all in vain if I can prevent someone from making the mistakes I have.) I decided just five months after my husband left to get into an intimate relationships with an old friend I wanted to marry. I didn’t want what I perceived as a once in a lifetime fantastic opportunity to ‘do a love relative nship right’ for a change to slip through my fingers. So I prematurely threw myself intro a relationship that turned into a disaster. I’ve spent several thousand dollars to prevent me from m killing myself over this relationship and its end–twice. And I’m still deeply traumatized nearly half a year later. although I love companionship of a good partner, I wish that I had stayed single!

  • The unfairness of infidelity (and now divorce) is one of the hardest things for me to get over. I’ve come to the conclusion that because we are raised in a culture that promotes The Just World hypothesis; do the right thing and you are rewarded, do the wrong thing and you are punished, we have been conditioned to believe the world should be fair. Anyone on the receiving end of infidelity knows this is not true.

    We are often taught that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to those who make mistakes. The belief in a just world is crucially important for people to maintain their own well-being and to believe in their own invulnerability. This approach allows others to calm their own fears; by diminishing the perceived threat of infidelity to their own marriages, by turning infidelity into something that can be controlled. Onlookers tell themselves the betrayed spouse must have done something to justify the unfaithful spouses infidelity. “That spouse must have done x,y or z, but I will not behave that way, so my spouse will never cheat”. These societal views compound the trauma a betrayed spouse goes through. Not only has their spouse betrayed them, but they are slighted by a broad “blame the victim” attitude that exists. Outside sources invalidate the extreme emotional trauma to the betrayed as an overreaction, not that bad, incapable of being traumatic, and discredit the real emotional damage done to the betrayed spouse. These views result in an intense sense of humiliation for the betrayed spouse.

    Our society calls our legal system a system of justice, but there is no justice if you can not regain that which has been lost. Personally I stayed stuck in the “It’s not fair stomping tantrum” until I stopped fighting the reality of the world we live in. The world IS NOT A FAIR PLACE, and wanting it to be when it isn’t will only keep you stomping.

    Use this hard earned lessons to give some meaning to all that you’ve been through. Transforming undeserved hurts and suffering into something that you went through -not in the name of nothing, but to turn the senselessness of it all into something that you can think of as “useful knowledge”. Whether that knowledge benefits you or someone else. You need to feel that you have gained something from this experience, to balance out that which you have lost. Sure, it sucks that the world isn’t fair, but accepting that reality is much more useful to you than stomping around on the playground yelling “BUT ITS NOT FAIR!” This doesn’t happen over night; it’s a process of deconstructing everything you have been taught about the world… and it is F*ucking painful!

    I really did enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of believing the world was fair, and to get fairness all I had to do was “the right thing”. This worked for me until reality was punching me in the face! I resisted eating the shit sandwich of reality for a long time… “I will not be broken like a wild horse”, I would fight against the reality and never give up fighting – “the world SHOULD be fair!” … and there you have your foot stopping tantrum.

    That shit sandwich is a lesson. You can resist it, but it will keep getting served. In my experience I had to take a little nibble each time (because I’m stubborn and hard headed) but I eventually finished eating it, and now when it’s served up, I have an easier time stomaching it! Oh yeah, shit sandwiches will always suck, but believing they shouldn’t exist and having them shoved in your face is worse! At least I know what’s coming.

    • This is a really great comment. You’re right – we do live in a world where, if you do the right thing, you’ll be rewarded. And there is definitely NO justice for what we go through, not really. I live in a no-fault divorce state and it infuriated me that I could not put it out there in a legal document for all the world to see that HE WAS AN ADULTERER. I craved that sort of justice. I’m slowly learning to let that go.

      • Heck! I couldn’t even get justice for my husband being a CRIMINAL–even with irrefutable evidence provided in court–the last judge (a female, by the way, just did not care!

        • That being said, I still thought no that I am luckier than a Lo of my relatives (and others) who have been the victims of war crimes, tragic accidents, etc.

          The rain falls on the just and unjust alike.

    • This info is so useful! But people should keep in mind that the Just World Hypothesis is also called the Just World FALLACY. It is a distorted way of thinking that is unhealthy in many ways. It is a huge contributor to anxiety (including perfectionism) and depression, and makes life’s inherent unfairness much harder to manage. We need to stop raising our kids to believe that integrity and being a good person will automatically be rewarded, or that people who are having difficulties must have done something to deserve that.

      Because then will the world not only be easier for the chumped, and everybody else who is undeservedly struggling, it will be a little more fair!

        • I think the concept of karma is similar. If you’ve ever visited third world countries, where Karma is close to religious practice; I think karma is the justification people use to overlook the immense suffering of other human beings. They are eating from the garbage dump… must have done something in another life to deserve that fate. In those situations, I don’t know how else you could go about your day seeing such suffering without developing some mental coping mechanism to block it out (I’m certainly not saying that is right).

          I know I wish for the karma bus to roll over my ex, but that’s just a variation of hoping some sort of cosmic justice exists…. The hope that people pay for their sins. I think the difference between Karma and a Just world is the sense of control connected to it. In a Just world, we assume we are in control of that fate, with karma we assign that control to a non-material entity.

    • Got-a-brain, You’re really spot on. Though I think I was processing this subconsciously, somehow I think coming to terms with this reality of an unjust world was contributing to my depression. Yet I was pinning everything on my ex and the way she treated me. Sure, a lot of my pain was b/c she really did a number on me, and it was compounded by losing someone who I had been close friends with for 15 years, but it really felt like there was just something else that had really shaken me to the core. But you’re all helping me become aware of this. I think I need to just put on my bib and take a big bite of this shit sandwich and get it over with.

    • This reminds me of the Bible story of Job. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. That is a scary thought cause it means we are powerless yo affect the outcome of our lives 100 percent. But I’ve learned that acceptance/resignation to this life truth can help balance your thinking on this plane.

  • Remember that it only appears TODAY that the cheater Ex is having a grand time.
    Check back in 10 years after you have recovered and then see.

    My Ex left me for the OM who she then married and they bought a gorgeous new house with MY money while I was reduced to living in my RV still working the same high paying job but most of my money going to her in child support (that the kids never saw except for food), alimony, etc.
    The injustice seemed insurmountable. But I took the high road, did right by my kids and slowly dug my way out of the hole I was in.

    Now 6+ years later, I’ve recovered financially, am remarried to a fabulous woman who makes me so happy and I am building a new house.
    My Ex –she is in the same house, OM now her husband made her lazy butt get a job when the alimony ended and she works now more than ever as the child support ends as the kids all hit 18 and leave.
    The kids say that she and the OM fight all of the time, so in the end who is happier now ?

  • Ironically, my now XH left me because he had the insight that he had NEVER been in love with me. We weren’t “spiritually connected” and it took him 20 years to realize that , well, until he found his soulmate. In just two weeks of only knowing her on internet, she couldn’t barely speak English even, he decided that she was the one meant by GOD for him.

    Now you’d think since he told me I was his best friend, great wife and we have a wonderful relationship that over 20 years we would have bonded. However, you’d be WRONG, in fact he left me because of his lifelong search for the ultimate bond. With all our history together, I was replaced in a universal nanosecond when he fell IN LOVE with someone he’d never met in person.

  • Oh boy, another trigger. Mine, at discovery, told me, wistfully looking into the distance, that HIS daughters were going to be HAPPY for him, because “he finally found someone to love.”

    He said to his wife of 30 years, just a few weeks after discovery.

    • Gosh, Magneto, I am flabbergasted! Just remember his words reflect only who HE is, not you or your worth.

      I can relate, as SirLiesALot told me after 22 years together that he never loved me and that I will never be wanted by anyone because I don’t know how to have a strong adult relationship. I thought that’s what I was doing, being faithful, loving, working hard to make his dreams come true, completely investing in our marriage emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. Turns out he decided unilaterally and secretly that the “marriage was over a long time ago,” but he allowed me to keep investing while he was not. So he got ALL the benefits of being married (child caregiver, built-in laundry servant, household manager, financial manager, cook, sex anytime, etc.) while simultaneously sabotaging the marital relationship with a parade of extramarital relationships with so-called friends of mine that typically were the mothers of our children’s friends. So, somehow MY approach to building a strong adult relationship is inferior to HIS, freakin’ man-child!

      Just remember, YOU are the one capable of love, not him. 😉

      • Owl Baby,

        I am royally ticked off for you! Your incredibly immature, unfaithful husband seems to project a lot!
        I can relate to the being p–sed off that one’s partner has secretly emotionally left the official relationship but let the loyal partner continue to invest and sometimes even feel bad that he/she Chump wasn’t trying harder/being sensitive enough/whatever. because selfish liar mistreated (acted hostile toward) Chump. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that, to some extent, I’ve been played by the man I trusted the most. Trying hard not to become cynical after more than 50 years of hanging on the belief in the good in people in general.

    • Yes, they all think that their happiness is paramount in this world! Nothing else matters. One of my favorite quotes is by Ghandi “Happiness is when what you say, what you do and what you think are in harmony.” So, these Sociopaths are incapable of happiness. That helps me get through my day.

  • I’m still coming to grips with this. The last time I saw ex, I aired grievances and told him flat out that he abandoned his family and his responsibilities. I remember thinking, ‘I want him to STEW in the juices of shame and remorse.’ Did he feel shame and remorse? Maybe for a few minutes. But he was the type of man where I had to literally tell him how to act like an adult because he didn’t have the first damn clue.

    For a long time, I wanted justice. That feeling has faded somewhat as I’m trying to focus on me and my life and my future. Why stay stuck thinking about him and his whore? Yes, he might be happier with her (that’s his narrative anyway); but I also know that man better than anyone else in this world. He’s doing the same crap to her, she’s apparently reading his text messages, and when I told him I felt sorry for both of them because they couldn’t trust each other since they’re both cheaters, he went through the ROOF and turned incredibly nasty. Gee, did I hit a nerve?

    My therapist gave me some very useful advice. I write fiction and she told me, “If you were writing this story, knowing what you know, how would it go?” Well, it wouldn’t end happily, that’s for sure. When you have that much dysfunction and dishonesty, how could it? All the problems he has that I dealt with for YEARS have not gone away – he still has them. All her issues that she has – they’re not going away, either. No matter how long they’re together, they have to deal with each other’s issues, and oh boy, is she in for a ride. I guess if she wants to live with a narcissist sociopath who loves to gaslight, lie, hide his true self, manipulate, throw money away, and drink, and who has alienated his daughter so badly that she doesn’t even want to talk to him…well. That’s her lot in life. I dealt with it for 18 years.

    The justice is going to be that they end up making each other miserable. And me? I GOT OUT. I got a second chance at life, and wow, am I ever excited by that! Ex? He’s almost 46 years old and has *nothing* to show for his life. Me on the other hand? I have so, so much.

  • Two things really helped me with the unfairness;
    – thinking of my ex as like a tornado in our lives. Uprooted everything and made a huge mess, takes a long time to recover from and things will never be quite the same again. But it’s not actually personal. He is who he is, and I don’t think he can help himself from doing the things he does. Also helps to remember that a LOT of people who don’t deserve it have it worse, including many chumps!
    – remembering that there are a LOT of people in the world who are doing great, at least financially, image-wise, etc, who don’t deserve that. He now has way more money, both from that career that I did everything to support (so he could continue to study, do certifications, work plenty of overtime, while I took up all the slack at home and with the kids, and worked my 1 and 1/2 jobs, and tided us over during his MANY periods of unemployment), and because his current girlfriend (not OW) has family money. He lives a great life in many ways, and maybe his girlfriend is even a great, caring, sexy, smart, amazing person. But his life is irrelevant to me; I am no more resentful of his travels and fancy condo than I am of Bill Gates’.

  • Spirit woman, THIS! They “fall in love” so easily with someone they communicate with on the internet! It’s all a fantasy! Mine told me his Schmoopie “made him happy!” Yeah, they were happy until the real world crashed their party. Then he was more than willing to leave Miss Funbags and she had no problem sacking his belongings up in trash bags. He landed squarely on my doorstep. He knew it was all BS and fantasy in the end and his stock wouldn’t trade very high. After all who wants an unemployed PhD with pancreatic cancer in his 60’s?? Happiness is elusive if not fleeting for these assholes! Don’t torture yourselves over their perceived “happiness” but just set a timer for about 18 to 24 months before they throw in the towel and call their “love of a lifetime” officially over! Just make sure you DON’T answer the front door like I did! They are most certainly on the other side wanting you to take them back! Big mistake! Ask me how I know! Just distract yourself with your own life goals. You will find peace and happiness in that! They won’t matter to you!

    • Roberta, you are SO right! My ex ‘fell in love’ and was perfectly willing to trash our marriage, his kids’ family, and the whole structure of our lives, for someone he’d known for … a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, and even that in a very limited way (fucking around while out of town 4 days a week for work).

      He started looking worried w/in 2 months. Came back for a huge hoover attempt within 6 months. Spent 2 years periodically trying to get me to take him back, usually behind her back.

      In the end, Shmoopie dumped him. For another man. Twice.

      So my current assumption is that, despite the Ph.D. and the MBA, the man is stupid.

      • KarenE, education and fancy certificates DO NOT make these cheaters smart! My cheater was unable to manage any small task that involved running a household. He insisted on handling our finances for years and the result was disastrous! We were constantly in debt and had no real assets until I took over. It really didn’t bother him because he found day to day business tedious. You know, because he was so Special! But when I filed for divorce it was in my favor because I knew every little financial thing we had. He had no clue! Sometimes I wonder just what I thought was so wonderful about him. From what I read here he was just your Ho him run of the mill cheater. And, yes, I worried that he and Schmoopie were dilerously happy, but I now know they weren’t. Once the betrayed spouse quits being a part of their triangle and the dust settles it is just those two crappy people with no morals or boundaries playing each other. What fun is that? Want to ruin their day? Just ignore the shit out of them!

  • Great post! I’m at meh and have been for awhile. I was married 25 years, blindsided 12/27/14, false wreconciliation 18 weeks, kicked X to curb when he wouldn’t pick me and our 4 kids over the latest golddigging young whore, more cheating came to light going back 20 years (he really conned me!), I filed for D 1/3/16, and had my weeklong divorce trial one year ago where I got everything we owned (70% of all hard assets) and full custody. I have been completely NC for months.

    How did I get to meh? Here are a few tips:
    I decided I could not live with the lying, cheating, blaming, self-pitying monster that I discovered X to be;
    Even though I had the worst case of hopeium ever (there are still a lot of days when I wish he’d get diagnosed with a brain tumor, have brain surgery, and be restored to the man I loved so deeply for 26 years) I acted as if that would never happen — I got a lawyer, filed, did all the tasks, showed up….;
    I started investing in myself — took a new licensing test, got a new job in a new field, renewed some activities and found new ones;
    I read everything here and on other sites about narcissist abuse. I educated myself about how futile it would be to think I could ever be with him.
    And, I let time pass in as close to no contact as I can. My perspective changed. I KNOW he sucks now That the mindfuckery is over.

  • I recommend reading Vikki Stark’s Runaway Husbands for a description of sociopathic, narcissistic spouses who dramatically, very cruelly throw away their spouses without warning, usually for an affair partner. I found the stories sadly comforting in that, although I wish that the chumps hadn’t suffered I realized that other people go through this H–l and survive and possibly even thrive. The only thing I am not convinced of in this book so far is the idea that these seemingly upstanding, loving cheating runaway husbands rather abruptly changed during the marriage to decide to cheat and run. I tend to believe Chump Lady, Natalie Lue of Baggage Reclaim, George Stout and other researchers of personality disorders in that ‘They didn’t change; you just got to know them.’

    • ‘They didn’t change; you just got to know them.’
      THIS. The disorder is always there, it’s just sometimes you get to see underneath the mask.

    • “..these seemingly upstanding, loving cheating runaway husbands rather abruptly change during marriage..”
      (Runaway husband view)
      vs.
      “They don’t change you just get to know them.” (Everybody else, pretty much)

      Now that they have arrived in St. Schmuckville, however they traveled – well, there they are. Does it matter if they got there in an X Wing fighter, plane, train, bus, car or spent years on foot hitchhiking?

      They are now a green card holding resident. Here the molasses tar puddle moors will stick on their feet and make tracks on their relationships moving forward. I really don’t care to see how he or OW live, I’m sure he’d LOVE to rub it or an illusion of happiness in my face, however. He. will. never. get. the. chance. Guys like him do not get girls like me.

      Affair partners can pretend they are soul mates or true love heroes. Build your future with a known cheater, liar – see what happens, or as granny so eloquently put it:
      — You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.

    • “They didn’t change. You just got to know them.” What CL calls spackling, and we want to believe so bad that we become expert spacklers plus those a**wipes feed us so much misinformation about who they truly are, it takes us a while to get it and trust that that just suck.

  • While our teenage daughter was in the hospital after a very close call at an attempted suicide, Cheater STBX hopped on a plane for an “important business trip,” leaving me to help her recover alone. Knowing what I know now, I still wonder – was it really a business trip or not? But does it matter? Reading this site today, I understand that it does not. Why should I continue to let it eat at me – which trips were really business and which trips weren’t, and how unfair the whole situation was? What matters is, what he did illustrates pretty starkly just how empathy-deficient he is. Definitely not in the “bonder” category. Thank you CL and CN for really bringing this home for me today.

    • Our stories are all so horrifyingly similar. While my 15 year old daughter was in the ER after her suicide attempt post DDay and discord and blameshifting, her father, X, was playing golf and refused to leave the golf course until his round was over. Our daughter was in the emergency room having gashed her wrists all the way up to the forearm.
      Evil ….pure, unadulterated evil.

  • I’m not sure I will ever get over the unfairness of my ex. He screwed me over in every way possible — is still screwing me over financially — and not only did he suffer zero repercussions from any of it, but his life has worked out quite well, at least from his perspective.

    Does it sometimes make me angry? Yes, absolutely. Is there anything I can do about it? No. Would I still want to be with him? Fuck no. Is he a good person, an honest person, a normal person? Nope.

    So I deal with the unfairness by going on with my life. On the occasions he pops into my head, or I start to think about how unfair all of the nightmare was, I remind myself that I no longer have to dwell on him, that he is no longer my problem, that he is disordered and never going to change, and that life is unfair but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, have a good life of my own, or succeed on my own merits.

    • ^^^^THIS^^^^

      GladIt’sOver – thanks for posting your truth. Your summary fits my situation as well. I just want to end this chapter of my life and move on. Life is not fair, and there is a good amount of suffering we all have to endure.

      C.S. Lewis has written that “the gates of hell are locked from the inside” – I think about this quote often. The ability to live a life of freedom and joy is my heaven, and I am working hard to get there. But I know I am the only one that can make that happen – with help from those who really love and support me. Thanks CN!

  • Sorry you’ve gone through this, TFC.

    You don’t get over the unfairness; you get through it. Tracy’s response to your letter really nailed a few things. First, trust that they suck. This is hard. We want to believe that deep down, they can feel remorse. They can’t. Maybe down the road, they’ll realize their lack of empathy presents problems, but for the most part, they feel entitled to do what they do for Reasons.

    Second, they can’t bond. They’re more into shallow connections. Bonders commit. They see the years ahead as opportunities to know and to grow with their partners. Shallow suckers want to hop from plant to plant. They’re happy until they’re not, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the plant. Plants are interchangeable. As are people, to the Shallow Sucker.

    In that sense, it’s absolutely fair and just that your Cheater is now with your XBF. Your Cheater apparently likes cheating on people with whom she pretends to have a monogamous relationship. Your XBF apparently likes fucking people who are already in relationships, bonus if they’re people she has befriended. Sure they’re happy. At least for now. But then they won’t be. It’s not in their nature to bond, only to suck.

    What’s fair and just is that you have come out the winner. You’re now free to find someone who is also a bonder, who’ll want to grow old with you. You’ll be that cute older couple who always hold hands.

    Embrace that freedom by investing in YOU. What’s not fair is that your Cheater is taking up so much mental real estate. Evict her! Take a look at your bucket list. Start striking things off. Take up clogging. Join a wine-tasting club. Go volunteer for an organization whose cause you support. All of these things will, as Tempest said, start to distract you from thinking about her and put more focus on what’s important to you as a human being. You’ll connect with similar people, and maybe you’ll find one with whom you can share your life.

    As you focus more on your own life and making a difference there, you’ll find that you have less and less room in your head for your Cheater.

    Good luck!

  • My “fairness” came in the form of a divorce when I got 80% of our assets, the house, car and he had to keep his life insurance policies that named me as beneficiary! It made Schmoopie go crazy when she realized he had zero! It made me feel a whole lot better! Bwaha ha ha! You add that to the karma bus that came to their door shortly after the divorce and that also made me feel better! After all the Hell I was put through by him and his over confident, loud mouthed Schmoopie I had a very hard time feeling anything for him much less sorry!

  • I can see meh on the horizon, but like FTC and so many of us here I still struggle with the injustice. How does a man who cheats on his wife for 11 of the 15 years they were married get to ride off into the sunset with his howorker? They still live about a mile away from me in the bigger, fancier, house we bought less than a year before discovery (aside – if you’re so in love with you soulmate and have been carrying on an affair for over a year with her, why are you pushing your wife to buy a new, much more expensive house? WTF!), and I regularly hear from my younger son about where they stay on vacation. “We stayed in the nicest hotel in Mexico! Our room was $1200 a night!” “The house we rented over xmas break was $2500 a night!” Well kid, when you’re with Mom, we’re taking one big trip a year, and get used to flying coach and staying at the Best Western. Howorker’s FB page is plastered with posts about their romantic weekends at 5 star hotels and how their awesome “Fairy Tale” will never end. Gag. I know I’ll be at meh when I spend no time at all wishing and waiting for the karma bus to splatter them all over the pavement. Not there yet.

    • Also another member of the now financially disadvantaged club, once I saw a comment on here that some money costs too much. Your kids will learn from you that you can have great holidays because of the company and experiences not the rooms and that that is not the only way to value something,
      Having totally accepted the trust that he sucks and seeing disordered X for what he is (shallow, empathy lacking entitled narc) mostly I it revel in being out from the temper tantrums and general loneliness of caring for someone so uncaring for others. The fact that his first replacement wife appliance live in crashed and burned did give me a small guilty schadenfreude and a cynical thoughts upon hearing he’d promptly sourced another.
      Love CLs perspective and reminder here about the need to find people who bond and reciprocate. and to direct energy positively forward on where you want to be. Sounds like a great way to move along to gain a life…

      • Just their relationship crashed and burnt. replacement wife appliance1 was not howorker or OW#n . Whatever. She only took a few months to figure X out and exit stage left.

      • Yep – I’m fortunate that I can still afford to travel and show my kids fun experiences. Just because our memories aren’t made at the Four Seasons doesn’t make them any less special!

    • ChumpInTraining, I’ve read your comments on here a lot and I know you’re near Meh. When we’re struggling, seeing others spending lavishly stings. That howorker sounds like a piece of work. She can sleep in all the nice places she wants to, vacationing at resorts, but she is still traveling with a ass, and your ex is traveling with a ho. Someone told me recently that karma works like science. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, sort of like a rubber band. The further you pull it back, the longer it takes to pull, and the harsher the sting when it finally ricochets back. I equate that with karma a little, if it’s taking longer for it to happen then they’re still piling on the karmic debt they’ll have to pay later in the ricochet. The truth won’t and can’t hide forever. And people don’t change, especially ones who incur debt with the spouses their cheating on. And also people who don’t have enough shame to keep quiet after breaking up a family and instead plaster Facebook with their perceived “success”.

      But God is the ultimate judge. Our lives are important, and we’re here for a reason. I’m pretty sure the reason is not to hurt our loved ones and lie for our personal gain. You know this, you got this. ((((hugs)))

      • Thank you CreativeLifer – I love the idea of the karmic rubberband! Yes, it is still stretching…
        And I know people don’t change – as many of us do, I wondered and worried about exhole working on himself and evolving into this great man and partner for HER. But there have been a couple of incidents lately that have reminded me that nope, he’s still the selfish entitled ass with an astounding ability to lie and rewrite history to make himself look good. And she’s still the idiot who thinks she won “prince charming.”

    • I’d like to reply to your post. My sociopath narcissist husband was getting climbed on by his coworker and schoompie the howorker got her karma when he died. She was the one that called him on the honeymoon, she was the one that set up shop in her beachhouse *or as I like to call it her brothel by the sea) in order to screw my husband 5 months after we got married. This carried on for 15 of our 17 years married. And Slurpie, as I like to refer to her, ends up with a w/ a 1/2 million dollar brothel by the sea while she’s f-ing my husband in their big secret affair while she has a 2 year old (nobody single buys a beachhouse with a 2 yr. old) but her boyfriend was my husband. SO what happens, slurpie clings onto my husband, occupys his cellphone with constant calling (I knew none of this) benefits by dating him because she goes on all his “business” trips with him, gets diamond jewelry and money from him, all the while pretending shes some sort of consultant at his job. She’s more like an escort or call girl. She knew full well he was married and chose to remain his Fck buddy during our whole marriage. So not only did I get chumped for years, but the big HO made a video on youtube wearing the big diamond necklace (one of many he bought her) and bragging about all her ‘clients’…she was awfully happy. So during his illness, he did not want anyone at his job to know that he was on his deathbed…and the family all knew about slurpie…so I got double chumped and the results were devastating…I found out a lot after he died. He even laughed at me when a text came over his phone saying I thought we would tell each other everything. It was slurpie, but of course slurpie’s name was aptly called a man’s name to hide the fact that it was her (in socipaths’ contact list) …I shuddered and felt pure evil when I read the text and was panicked saying this sounds like a woman…he laughed because even though he was dying he thought I was so stupid that I did not know about her and he had the sinister evil laugh…even when he was dying he was actually happy that he got one over on me. I have cried for a year that I was so duped. I am devastated more at the duping. I cannot mourn him, I am mourning my own loss of my life wasted ! Slurpie gets to keep her job and be the HO that she is while I pick up the pieces of my life. Meanwhile Slurpie closed down her PO box cuz her gravy train is 6 feet under. But I’m sure he left her his trust fund. I was double and triple duped because I am sure his family knew all about the big HO because there was something in it for them too, the brothel by the sea that loverboy probably brought them over to so that they could partake in brothel by the sea spa getaway complete with lookout towers. I’m sure HO HO and Prince Cheating were having a grand old time at her brothel while I worked my ass off the whole time I was married to Prince Cheating. So what is hooker going to do now that her gravy train closed down? I guess she’s off to climb onto the next married executive.

      • But you still have the remainder of your life to be happy again. You’re still the genuine, authentic person who knows that this kind of behavior is wrong. You may think they may have had the last laugh, but honestly they’re leading and have led a sad, pitiful existence. The Ho has to survive off of bagging others’ husbands in some shoddy way of making a living; your late sh!t of a husband died happy making you miserable, when really, he probably just earned himself a one-way ticket to eternal suffering beyond the afterlife. His family will be the same.

        So really, who has the last laugh here? You. And while it may not feel like it now, you’ve gotten away from the toxic mess.

  • I just read this quote this morning and thought it was relevant.

    “Ask yourself what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answer.”

    Much love.

    • Truth, Wool. Three years before Fucktard walked out, our son was in a horrific accident. Two weeks after that, our girls slid off an icy embankment in a new car. A few years before this our 25 year old nephew died in a car accident. And long before this, my beautiful brother died when he was fourteen. I was 27, pregnant with my last child, and we had just spent two weeks of that summer together. So you can bet I have priorities. Hurts to be cheated on, but I can live, happily, without an X whose priorities were “work” and “fitness” and kibbles. I guess it all does boil down to what you value.

  • Like others have said today, I read CL every day and almost without fail think, “how did Tracy know to post that letter, those comments today?” How is it possible that she knows what to say in such a way to just “cut” to the heart of a matter in a clear, concise way. She is a like a surgeon. A surgeon that’s gifted with removing cancerous tumors (cause by our cheaters) out of our chumpy hearts – using WORDS as her scalpel. Up until recently I would’ve said – I wish I Was As Smart As Tracy And Then Maybe I Wouldn’t Be A Chump – except for the fact, that she IS that smart and is still a chump. I say until recently… I guess a year of counseling from a kick-ass therapist and reading CL daily is helping.

    A~HA! (Slowly but surely I see….) It’s not US, it’s THEM. The disordered people we love, married, brought children into the world with. They can be narcissists, borderlines, bi-polar, or just plain asses – the facts are they are selfish, shallow and feel entitled. Some of them are worse than others – in addition to cheating and breaking our hearts, they blame shift and gaslight us into believing it was out fault that Their Needs Weren’t Being Met And They Had To Reach Out To Someone For Love And Support. (How many of us have heard that line?)

    Tracy says today that it can always be worse. True. In my case (and although the details may be slightly different, the story is the same for most of us) my husband of 21 years cheated on me for 18 months with my good friend, my daughter’s BFF’s mother, my son’s high school mentor. For one full year of pick-me dancing – losing 52 pounds (my chubbiness made him cheat), throwing marathon sex at him (not enough intimacy made him cheat), killing myself running my business (not making enough money as an entrepreneur and money stressed him out so he had to cheat), yada yada – I still forgave him through 3 more ddays because I just couldn’t believed that he sucked. And now that he’s left for her, and she’s divorced her husband for mine, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about their happiness, whether they’ll be successful as a couple, whether our friends and his family will accept her, how do I accept this rejection knowing he’d implode our family for her?

    I’ve also romanticized their relationship, believing his crap that they are more compatible, couldn’t help it, the heart wants what it wants. The last year has literally torn me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Running a business, taking of our house alone, handling the anger and emotions of two teenagers plus my own abandonment issues has made me “not myself.” Reading this blog is like breathing oxygen. And then today’s is especially poignant, and clear.

    The bottom line for me in viewing the injustice of this thing… is that if my husband would rather be with a woman that’s capable of the sheer lying and betrayal that she committed towards her own husband and children, then I can’t compete with that, and don’t want to. And if she would rather be with a man like my husband who’s capable of the same things, then he’s a stranger to me and she gets what she deserves. They can hide the truth from themselves, maybe even from the public, friends and some family. But not me, our kids, or God.

    And in the meantime, as Tracy says *poof* – it’s getting closer to Tuesday all the time and Life. Is. Good.

    • During mediation, he was really nasty to me at one session, vile, untruthful and selfish. Well, he was at most of them but at one he had an epic toddler temper tantrum. He had obviously suddenly realised that I wasn’t just going to disappear in a puff of smoke, I wasn’t going to back down, this was facing the consequences, he was going to lose out on things – house, pension, etc. I didn’t lower myself to his level at any of the sessions, some righteous anger at times but one of the things I said at some point something along the lines of ‘well you’ve now found someone who shares your values’ he couldn’t argue with that, cos it was true.

  • I believe that the universe will settle the score and cheater ex will get what he deserves, whether it is dying without having made real loving connection with another person, picking up a nasty std or being cheated upon himself. I take comfort that the unfairness over time will right itself.

  • FTC here! Thanks, Chump Lady, and everyone else for the comments. When I read “I really think the world divides into two kinds of people — bonders and shallow people. And the two sorts really don’t get each other. Some people don’t go that deep.” I think I audibly heard myself sigh when I read this. I think that’s another part I really haven’t internalized and the fact I haven’t internalized it has kept me fussing all this time.

    I’m actually not someone who’s always in a relationship. Quite the opposite. But with this one, I thought I found a special connection, a deep bond, and I let myself fall into the abyss of what I thought was love with her. And what’s been difficult for me to process, was that was all fake. She was faking that connection – I was alone in that love. And that it wasn’t that it happened so quickly the 2nd time around, it’s just that it was in some way, shape or form, it was always happening – I just got better at catching her.

    I also have thought, well so many have it so much worse than me. People get cheated on after 20 years of marriage and have to go through ugly divorces and share kids with this person. And this kind of thing happens all the time.

    So I guess it’s these 2 realizations that gave me the double-decker shit sandwich I needed to eat to snap into reality.

    Perhaps it is all fair. The bottom feeders get can bottom feed together, while I try to focus on healing and embracing my own life. Tuesday feels far away right now, but I’m going to take all this great advice here and it give my best shot to invest in MY life and not in her shallow, fake, shell of an existence.

    <3 FTC

      • Thanks, CL! You’re so right. Seems they did me a favor by outing themselves for the people they are and creating a situation that removed them both from my life. 2 birds with 1 stone.

        And I have to say, that reading your post on all these comments has been such a gift. Today I felt positive and empowered – I can’t remember the last time I felt that way b/c not only have I been dealing with the fallout for the past year, but the entire relationship with this narcissist was a traumatizing experience. I thought I had lost a piece of myself, but I today I felt like I could kind of remember who I really am. So even if it’s just starting now, I think it’s a really encouraging baby step.

        Hugs and <3 to all,
        FTC

  • Detaching from a loved one after discovering their well-hidden, true narcissistic persona is an emotionally debilitating suffer fest.

    Get away from them as if you’ve discovered they’re a brain-eating zombie. Stay away at all costs. They cannot be changed. Then be kind to yourself.

    Forgive yourself. Give yourself the love and care you once reserved for the narc. Exercise. Move every day, even if it’s just a short walk. Eat better. Maintain a forward focus. Then be grateful you survived. Surviving is winning! Survivors are MIGHTY!

  • “I really think the world divides into two kinds of people — bonders and shallow people.” THIS so much!!!! It took me a long time to realize this and accept that THIS is why cheater ex has been able to move on (remarried to ho-worker, with whom he had his most recent – but probably not last – affair) so quickly and seamlessly. They don’t bond like we chumps do! And this is why it takes us chumps years to recover and move forward….we DO bond, and we believed we shared something meaningful and extraordinary with cheater exes. It’s a huge blow when we discover the illusion we were under….causes us to question everything we believe and thought we knew….really does a number on one’s self-confidence as it relates to discernment/good judgment.

  • I know it’s hard to get over the trauma. Five months past discard by me ex-boyfriend, I still frequently dream about finding tons of condoms in his nightstand, learning that my replacement has moved in, and then I wake up and realize that he is screwing my replacement and refuses to communicate in any way, shape, or form, even to provide a potentially life-saving medical referral for my relative. Ironically, while clearing my stuff out of my boyfriend’/ house, in his nightstand I found a bunch of condoms next to a book on relationships opened to a page in which he had highlighted a section on getting the deep abiding live that one wants. (He didn’t need condoms with me. He was lusting after someone else and seeking the life of a playboy dog in heat. He had said to me st first discard the year before, ‘Don’t you want to date other people?’ (Projection much?) although I regularly told him I loved him, which I did very deeply.) These liars are heartless!

    One thing I am trying to do to feel better and be better is noticing things going ‘right’ (being fair) in my life and others’ lives. Every day, through my paid and unpaid (volunteer) work, I fight for justice for people and animals. Doing so helps others and gives me a bit of a mental/emotional ‘vacation’ from my rumination over my ex-boyfriend and raises my self-esteem/pride a bit.

    Please do whatever legal healthy thing you can in terms of self-care. Not much time has passed since you were traumatized.

    • RockStarWife, I used to count all my blessings no matter how small and recall any good things that happened during my day before I would go to bed at night. It helped me tremendously to know that there certainly were good things in my life. At first my list was small, but day by day it grew. Although my new life wasn’t perfect I realized it wasn’t all crap! I guess that was my version of what was right and fair in my life. Between that and CL it helped me stay sane! And there are no better folks on earth than CN! Thank heaven for all of them!

  • beenchumped: You are mighty. You are. I’m not just trying to make you feel better here. You have done something extraordinary to put food on the table and raise happy, healthy children despite all this madness. They respect YOU. You have taught them that even though life is unfair, and unbelievably so sometimes, you keep going. They will remember that you worked your ass off to get through this. What an amazing role model you are for picking yourself off the ground. I have to think this will help them be wiser, more resilient people in the end. They will get thrown from a horse later on in life and think of you and get back up. Kudos to you.

    It is NOT your fault for the financial stuff. You were being abused and had your world turned upside-down. You were dealing with a situation none of us were prepared for. I made HUGE mistakes financially (took on all the marital debt, and on and on) but I wasn’t dealing with a normal person or a normal situation. I wasn’t in a clear and healthy state of mind. I would save to forgive yourself but that would imply that you had done something wrong. You didn’t. You got out, your kids are safe and happy, and that’s remarkable.

    Take a deep breath and hold your head high, even though you’re exhausted.

    Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes sound like I have it together but I have a long way to go.

    I try to let go of the “if X, then things would be better,” that I can fall into. (If I had a true partner, if I were financially stable, if the asshole would just move away, etc.) Even if none of that happens, I am better. I have to use that as my mantra when I get down. You are better because you are not in an abusive relationship with someone who squandered your love and didn’t care about your children. You are better. What you have now is better. It’s not ideal or fair or even good maybe, but it IS better. No amount of money is worth going back to that former life.

    You can rebuild and rebuilding will make you even mightier and stronger than you already are.

    I am 1.5 years out and know it’s going to take a long time to dig out from this credit card debt. (I never carried debt in my life but had not other choice just to get the bills paid – actually was ridiculed often from the narc because I was so frugal.) You will make it and I will too.

    Sending you so much support and love.

    • Thank you for this. Internet chumps have been more kind to me than my “husband” or his family of over 20 years.. it so awesome, confusing, and strange all at the same time. I printed this out for my secret folder that I get out when I’m really losing it. XO

  • @FooledTwiceChump:

    My advice would be to take it easy on yourself. That scolding self talk about how you’re throwing a temper tantrum? Nix that.

    I had a year separation from Matchstick Girl and then she came back like yours. Six weeks later it was really and truly over. I was really unable to forgive her, and I was a raging asshole a couple times to her. Meh. She hit the fucking road and it’s all rainbows and puppies up in here now. 🌈 🐶

  • The injustice for me has been the most difficult thing to overcome. It’s been almost 5 years and there is still no Karma bus for them. They live in a better house, in a better area. They married each other 18 months after our divorce, less than 2 years after he left. They take the vacations XH and I had planned to take or had already taken. I’m stuck with online dating as my only hope for a future relationship since I work from home.

    It just sucks to be the Chump, but I don’t believe the cheaters win the long-game. I manage to have a fine house on my own, earn a good living, and have taken some (albeit fewer) awesome trips with fabulous friends. I go to bed with my adorable rescue mutt gazing into my eyes and wake up to those same eyes. My life is authentic. The cheaters are what they are – sloppy seconds and thirds. Actors pretending to be things they are certainly not (loyal and honest). The chump road is a rocky one, but its real, and hopefully, leads to a better life.

    • I feel your pain and struggle NoKibble4U. It has been five years since my ex and I split and four years since the divorce was final. I little over a year ago he married his AP and they too enjoy, what seems to be, a better life than me. They too have a better house, better cars, take nice vacations, a hot tub….etc. And although it is very hard to watch I am so glad I don’t have to put up with his shit anymore! That part of my life was HORRIBLE and I am so glad it is over.

      They lost the respect of their children, mutual friends and some family members and that carries more value than ANY vacation they could take or fancy item they can buy! That will have to help ease the pain for me until I reach a Tuesday when this shit doesn’t get to me anymore!

    • The karma bus made its stop; Schmoops has a cheater for a husband. He has a wife willing to devastate his family. They suck. Real karma is what these people are inside.

      • Thanks LAJ. That’s true. My IC told me the same: “People that do miserable things tend to be miserable people.” I told IC that I was hoping karma to be something more epic and instant. He said to give it time, and it will be epic. I don’t really want to give them any more of my time waiting for that…but if I were to hear it, I might pop open a bottle of Cristal and celebrate!

  • I just found out that my X posted on his Facebook page a “marriage proposal” to his gf. He never ever uses Facebook.

    Get this – he posted this on the >> 3 year anniversary of our break-up.

    If he’s actually proposed to her … I feel awful. Feels like he’s trying for kibbles from me. I hope he truly cares for her. She was not a AP.

    They’re so insensitive to real people!!!

    • Argh – who told you? Make sure all your friends are briefed on not sharing stuff like this with you.

      Kids are harder, because they always share this stuff…

      • No one told me… there is a thread on the forum page about social media and I was inspired to unblock and looked at his page. He does not use his FB page – ever. I mean there was one political post 4 yrs ago.

        But today Viola! There was his post from last month announcing his “marriage proposal”. It was very oddly worded. The date was exactly 3 yrs. from our break up.

        It was intended for me.
        I hope he actually cares for this woman. They are FB friends but neither posts on there. No reply to him on her page or comments on either of their pages.

    • BornFree, imagine being the woman he proposed to on the anniversary of your breakup. That must be one special connection they have .

      Don’t give him the centrality of hoping he cares for her or not. He sucks.

  • This is just what I needed today.

    Yesterday I met with the STBX and the OW to discuss telling my daughter that they are having a baby. I walked away from that meeting SO ANGRY. It’s been 1 year since he left me during cancer and he’s having a baby with someone else. My whole life was overturned and he is just moving on like nothing happened. He was on his best behavior yesterday and I got stuck into a “Why does she get a better version of him?” “Why do they get to live their lives as a happy family and now get to play family with my daughter?” cycle.

    But if I think about it, I saw cracks yesterday. I saw hints of the old him. His mask is on for her. I just need to trust that he sucks, move on and never look back.

  • Getting over the unfairness is really hard, but doesn’t it apply to all the unfairness in life? Innocent children suffer and die of dreadful illnesses. Life is unfair. Rather than pining for karma and justice, as CL says, our best shot is to be kind and compassionate, and to learn not to waste these virtues on those words are incapable of compassion and kindness.
    It’s tough but that’s the best we can do and I still think the journey is worth the effort.

  • Rachel, please listen to what these wise ex-chumps are advising. If you can afford it, install parenting software and use it all the time, except in case of a hospital emergency as KarenE says. Many times just seeing their names on the phone screen triggers stuff. Since NC is impossible when you have kids, the point is to limit it to a bare minimum.
    Believe me, ten years after kicking Two-Legged Rat out, I still get something in my stomach when I see his name in my incoming e-mail list.

  • This excellent advice is similar to the advice given by psychologist Jordan B Peterson. Set your house in order and aim yourself correctly the best you are able to each day. Peterson, a profoundly deep thinker, has a youtube channel where he post his college lectures and interviews. He also does a lecture where he talks about Dante’s Inferno and how the betrayer is located in the deepest depths of hell because to intentionally betray a person that is brave enough trust you relationally is a profoundly life/soul harming violation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8Xc2_FtpHI&t=16s

    • I really like his approach also – a very intelligent man, who wants men to man up and get their act together.

      • He’s a much-misunderstood man – he’s a clin psych, and his premises are all based on hard evidence. As such, he’s totally opposed to arguments based on ideology or identity politics.

        You have to take this on board when you listen to him – he’s deeply opposed to ideologies that hinder freedom of speech, and which have also fuelled mass murder in the twentieth century.

        He has been accused of being transphobic, but he isn’t – he is, however, vigorously opposed to hate-speech legislation. So he’s a complex character, but a highly intelligent one. Many of his views are actually really liberal: he is totally gay-friendly, trans-friendly, equal opportunity-friendly, but won’t accept the premise that men and women are ‘the same’. He argues from biology and hard science that men and women are very different, but both deserve equality of opportunity, fairness, and all the other things that make for a civilised society.

        I like what he has to say to young men, in particular, about growing up: not being such man-babies, and taking responsibility and becoming competent so that they can take pride in themselves and their achievements.

  • CL, this post is classic. Epic. Crucial. “Crappy shallow is NOT YOUR TRIBE. Go invest in people who BOND and reciprocate.”

    The very essence of CHEATING is unfairness. They deliberately tilt the relationship or marriage playing field in their direction. They keep us in the dark about the affair, their whereabouts, money, the potential for STDs, and their future intentions. They fight like starving weasels to take food out of the mouths of their kids. They stick Chumps with all the heavy lifting and then whine about it. They’ll steal your Mama’s family Bible. They’ll give your panties to Schmoops. Infidelity is by definition unfair.

    The Crappy Shallow Tribe relationship may look good from the outside, but that is just a Chump projection. Yes, they have a Schmoopie. And you don’t. That’s a good thing. Yes, they will spend money on a trip to Vegas when you need the downpayment for Junior’s braces and the child support is late, again. Is it “unfair” that they get to go on a trip while you scrape together $$ for braces. Sure it is. But what do you expect from a Cheater? He or she will go for immediate gratification and responsibility shirking every time. CL is right–what gets us past this “unfair” obsessions working on our own lives. I don’t know or care what Jackass is up to, but tomorrow I have a gym workout and hot yoga and maybe a movie. Or maybe just a nice fire to curl up in front of with the cats and anyone else who shows up.

    • And I’ll point out that anyone of us could have a relationship tomorrow if we were willing to step on that picker, crush it, and use it to scrape the bottom of the barrel. And we could fly to some exotic location with Bottom of Barrel if we didn’t care about paying the bills and putting shoes on Kiddo’s feet. The real issue is that we need to live by our own values and realize that if D-Day proved nothing else, we don’t share those values with the Cheaters and the Schmoops.

  • LAJ…I can buy my own shoes, pay for an exotic vacation (with tons of over time with a wing and a prayer.) BUT, I have things that money cannot buy…..and that is ME!

  • LAJ, Great post! Chumps need to understand that although the cheater and Schmoopie may look like they are happy and living a wonderful life it’s all smoke and mirrors really! Do I really want to do what Schmoopie does to get that lifestyle? Oh Hell no! I’m with you. I traded many evenings alone with my rescue dog that were far more satisfying than the life the cheaters were living! I just cannot imagine stretching the boundaries of morality and decency to attain some “fancy” vacation or jewelry etc. from some slimy cheater!

    • Exactly, we are worthy of the good rescue dogs and they are worthy of us. The cheaters are not our tribe.
      I don’t really believe in karma. But every day I look into my dogs honest eyes… Well, that’s my reward. I don’t have to look at the liars’ faces. That’s good enough for me. No longer stalked by the hyena pack!

      • Kiwi
        I didn’t believe in karma either until my ex’s whore was killed by a car few months ago. He left me for her after 35 years married. They were both cruel & happy to humiliate me for years .
        Being the narc he is, he now has a new woman to lie & cheat on.
        But your so right knowing your beloved dogs are true & love you unconditionally. Getting rid of the “garbage “ in our lives helps us believe we deserve so much more. Stay strong.
        (((HUGS)))

  • As someone who is not very materialistic at all, it doesn’t bother me much that my husband and boyfriend have a much more lavish lifestyle than I do. What I emvy thrm is time and the companionship, love, sex, etc. of a good partner. (Ex-husband’s current partner did not break up my marriage. I don’t know if my ex-boyfriend’s partner has a sexual relationship with my ex-boyfriend before he discarded me. The ‘affair’ between my boyfriend and my replacement, his work subordinate, might have been just emotional–I’ll never know. I can’t necessarily blame my replacement for the demise of my relationship with my boyfriend as my boyfriend seemed to try to ‘hide’ me, preventing her from finding out I was his partner–such a slap in the face!).

    Life seems a lot to aspire when one has a decent partner, especially if you are a parent of minors. Life seemed easier when my boyfriend was in my life (and to some extent, my kids’ lives), even though I usually saw him just a couple of days or nights/week.

    As I cannot seem to attract a decent, compatible intimate partner, I am trying to think of ways to make my life and my kids’ lives easier. Wonder if I could create some type of single women’s ‘collaborative’ in which the women would help fill, in a practical sense, the role of a decent husband/long-term boyfriend. Wouldn’t get the sex of a loyal male partner, but could get a helping hand sometimes and someone to ‘watch each other’s back.’

    I don’t miss my criminal-minded abusive, adulterous ex-husband, but I tremendously miss my ex-boyfriend, in spite of his flaws, even his character flaws. Every day, although my life is not all bad (I have lovely clients and collleagues, a modest lifestyle in a first-world country, and handsome loving children, feels like something just to be endured, sometimes even like H–l. Realizing that my ex-boyfriend will very likely never even say ‘Hello’ to me again feels excruciating. I”m worn out by the bad/sad dreams. I”m lonely. How do others deal with the loneliness, especially in bed at night? (My landlord does not allow pets.)

    • Loneliness sucks. What we can do is to KEEP BUSY. And then you’ll be tired at night and you’ll sleep well as you will have had a satisfying day. Also, when you’re busy you won’t have time to think about shitface.

      Get out of the house, go for a walk, register on pawshake.com to walk people’s dogs and make some money, volunteer at the foodbank or with homeless people or refugees (really brings things into perspective). Spend time with friends and family, try a new hobby, try a new sport, start running, learn to play an instrument, go do nightclasses, go see a movie, try a new restaurant, join Meetup.com.

      I’m not saying it’s easy, but getting out there, and keeping busy is in my opinion the best thing to move on. Get so busy you won’t have time missing him, and you’ll get better at it! It’s when we’re bored and lonely our mind starts to wander. We don’t want to waste years of our life ‘missing’ someone, and then look back and look at all that time we have wasted. All this time we could have spent making our life better and finding someone better (or let someone better find us). All you can do is move on FAST, if he misses you he will find you (and you can dump him then) but don’t wait for him to come back. He can always catch up to you and find you if he really cares about you. Your job is to get busy and move on fast and create the best life for yourself.

      • Thanks, Dilla.

        I like your sense of agency–taking responsibility for making your life the best it can be.

        I am going to try not to run from loneliness. If I have many days and nights alone, then I will learn what it is like to be alone. I’m sure I’ll learn something from this experience.

    • Always remember- sometimes life gifts you an opportunity to realise a dream that lay waiting. You are better than this situation and you deserve so much more. Go shine your light on opportunity!

    • RockStarWife — No Contact helps more and more each day. Each day without him is better. The loneliness subsides.

  • A person’s character doesn’t really change. (Can you imagine treating someone the way all these narcs have treated us? I doubt it. We wouldn’t do it because it’s not who we are.) So maybe he’s not cheating. At this particular moment. He’s still a self-absorbed narc and if crap hits the fan, or if something better comes along, he’ll be out of there in a hot minute. It’s fleeting. There is no way they can have a deep and trusting relationship. At least that’s how I feel. They can go through the motions and all, but you can’t teach a cow to fly.

      • And yeah, my boyfriend’s character hasn’t changed much over the last twenty some years. I discovered after we got together that he had done some quite hurtful, deceitful things to previous partners. Not wanting to face the music after having an ill-advised one night stand with a neighbor he’d just met, he decided to make up an excuse not to see the separated neighbor. He told her the day after the encounter, when they both were sober again, that the UCMJ forbade him, my fellow military officer, from having sex with someone who was married (including separated). Nobody in the military in the last several decades has cared if single military personnel have sex with someone who is separated. He was just digging for an excuse as he didn’t want to tell his neighbor that he just wasn’t interested in pursuing something beyond a one night stand. Dishonest and cowardly. Had sex with an ex-girlfriend while she was engaged to her future husband. Saw ex-girlfriend and he husband and kids at a sporting event years later and tried to hide! Kicked a later formerly long-distance girlfriend, a psychologist, to the curb two years into the relationship and just one month after she moved in. He knew that he was getting out of the military within a few months and she would have difficulty following him across U.S. They lived together for another few months, NEVER saying a word to each other. His sux-year relationship with his ex-wife was a disaster almost from the get go. He wasn’t all bad, but maybe I dodged a bullet by not marrying him, even if the break up from him, either time, was not my choice.

  • Yes, it’s good to keep things in perspective. We are broken hearted but we are not refugees, homeless, being tortured, all alone in the world, etc. etc. Find things to be thankful for. Be grateful for what we do have, and it all falls in to place (we deserve better – don’t waste time on a fuckwit). The more time wasted on a fuckwit the less time we have to experience a really great relationship – and great people are out there waiting for someone just like us!

    • Dilla,

      Yes, life is short. Why waste it on a F–Kwit? I have already lost previous time with my loving children mourning their father and my last boyfriend, who doesn’t seem to have a clue that his abandonment of me, 30 years after we met, might affect my kids, who, like their mother loved him.

  • My Mom was an AP and yes she did become a wife eventually, she had the worst life I can imagine, she had to work her a** off just to support us coz crappy husband spends all the money chasing skirts all over town, growing up starting from when I was barely a year old until I turned 40 yrs. old, my Dad constantly had 1 to 2 AP’s every year, I would remember my Mom crying and confronting the AP’s twice a year and my Dad would never admit it, and she would eat all the crappy and lame excuses he would give out. It came to a point that my brother and me had to convince her to divorce but she would never do it giving us a lot of excuses until we just gave up. She’s still with him…I grew up thinking I love my Mom and appreciate all the sacrifices she made but I never want to be like her…

  • A socially-phobic friend of mine recently paid me a huge compliment, although it made me a bit uncomfortable.

    She said she’d been holding back on becoming closer friends with me because she’d seen me cut two people in our mutual friendship circle (quite a big one) absolutely dead this year, eg. going no contact, unfriending on Facebook, blocking on Facebook. And she was scared she’d eventually ‘fail’ me and be treated in the same way.

    This gave me pause for thought. But then I realised – and explained to her –

    Friend No 1 had tried to persuade me to continue in a very new relationship with a man who I had already spotted as emotionally abusive, so that she would feel better about having introduced me to him, and because she wanted company in her own dating adventures.

    I ended contact with her (and the guy!), only to discover that she had burned a substantial number of other people with similar meddlings in the past, and with other dodgy abusive behaviours of her own as well. I hadn’t been good friends with her for very long, but I did like her, and I was really hurt and let down by her behaviour. But I was (and am) glad I’d gone no contact with her.

    Friend No 2, I described above – a metamorphosis into someone I didn’t recognise or like, and who didn’t have much time for me any more, and was distancing himself from his boring old friends. I don’t have any hard feelings really, because it’s good to know what people are like. It hurt, but it’s no biggie. Eventually we may be back in touch again, but maybe not.

    I, folks, have BOUNDARIES. Pretty frickin awesome ones, as it turns out.

    My scared friend has social phobia and poor boundaries, so she tends to avoid closeness rather than risk getting hurt, or of having to say no to people when she really hasn’t the strength to.

    I, on the other hand, am learning to overcome introversion, try new things, make friends, and when I have to, put those BOUNDARIES in place really firmly.

    It’s hard when you start enforcing boundaries, because people really do start to see you as a bitch – it’s like you’re not allowed to separate yourself cleanly from abusive or dodgy people, because then you’re this dogmatic mafia mistress with a machete who cuts off people’s index fingers when they cross her.

    Well, I’m OK with that, because the old Lola – the School of Perpetual Openness to All; Come On In and Just Wipe Your Feet All Over Me Because I’m Desperate – wasn’t terribly happy with her ‘friendships’.

  • 🙂 Amen Jojo 🙂

    The freedom from abuse is worth the costs we all paid! Peaceful and drama free lives are so much happier 🙂

  • (((((((beenchumped)))))))

    It does and will get better 🙂 I promise! The sun is gonna shine in your life again 🙂

    Leaving satan was the best thing I ever did for myself 🙂 And Beau! Even Beau is happier and healthier! 🙂

    CL and CN and FN are always in my prayers 🙂

  • This has to be the best blog post, with the best advice the Chump Lady has done. Her three points are the basics you need to a better life. Thanks Chump Lady!

  • Until…

    *poof*

    (It’s a Tuesday.)

    I’m still extremely far away from Tuesday (I’m probably months or years away), but I absolutely LOVED this ending. Brought a smile to my face. There is hope.

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