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Don’t Need It THAT Bad

paralysisI get a lot of mail and many of my questions boil down to — How will I ever manage? How can I be alone? Surely it’s a cesspool out there and All The Good People Are Gone!

Generally, these people are telling me this to make rationalizations to stay. On the one hand, they’ll outline chapter and verse about how completely untenable their situation is, but then they’ll tell me how the future is so scary, so they stay paralyzed with indecision. As if these things were commensurate and could be weighed — the dreadful existence you are currently living versus the nightmare you imagine you’re going to.

Did anyone ever hesitate to run out of a burning building because they were afraid of fresh air?

Sure, you could imagine future calamities, but does that justify staying in a burning building?

But it’s hard out there! I won’t have a house. I’ll have to rebuild one, stay with relatives, and be the sad object of pity because my house burned down.

Okay. But you survived the fire.

And uh, duh… your house was burning, what did you think you should do?

These discussions usually come down to — I hate that my choices suck.

Yes, they do. I’m sorry folks, often choices suck. But when choices suck, I think the best thing to do figure out where you have the most agency, the most control over a given set of circumstances, and move in that direction. (Remember, you only control yourself.)

That’s why my advice here is — go save yourself, you’ll figure out the what next.

And I know it’s hard. I lived it. But it’s also full of rewards and surprises, and it’s a hell of a lot better than being married to an arsonist.

But how do you get into that mindset? How do you become someone who acts with self-protection? I think you have to let go of whatever you’re holding on to and realize it’s going down with that burning house. Your ego. That intact family. Your sex life with that person. You need to tell yourself that whatever it is you’re clinging to — you don’t need it that bad. Seriously, you can do without. Let it GO. The shit you never, ever thought you could let go of — let it GO.

I need to stay married so I don’t feel like a two-time divorcee and middle-aged failure.

Nope, don’t need it that bad.

I need the constancy of an intact family for my children.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at this price. No sir-ee.

I need this person’s financial support.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at the cost of my dignity and self-respect. Nope, think I’d rather flip burgers and live in a box.

I need to be coupled, because no one will ever love me again. There’s no one left.

Don’t need it that bad. Living in a bunker alone with cats until the end of your days is preferable to this cheater.

See how that works? You have to be prepared to run into the arms of “I’ll figure it out.” I know it sucks, but I have every confidence in you that you WILL figure it out. Seriously, I do. I know there are huge, scary challenges out there — serious shit like supporting your children, like facing 337 lonely Saturdays, or figuring out how to reinvent your remaining years. But you’re a chump and you’re mighty. You have deep reserves of faith, misplaced until now, but directed to yourself? You’re going to be okay. And then fine. And then better than fine.

When you “need it that bad,” you’ll do anything for it. You drive down the price of your self worth. Demand a higher price. Know your worth. I promise you, whatever it is? You don’t need it that bad.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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  • There was a moment just a few weeks after Dday when I caught my thenhusband talking to OW. I became brave because I realized “At this minute there is no marriage to save, be fearless”. I did but when I got MONOR concessions from him (fake remorse) I returned to the mindset that we had a marriage to save.

    I was wrong. I would have done much better if I had stayed in the “there is nothing here to save” mode.

    When I think of the rare and nasty little crumbs he handed out to me to keep me hopeful, Im now horrified.

    • Rare and nasty crumbs to keep me hopeful….

      My cheater played the same cruel trick on me, Unicornomore.

      He abandoned me once and for all when I turned to him one day and said “hey, who do you think you are? I’m NOT afraid of you, you know…”

      The look on his face..

      • I found CL because I Googled ‘dead eyed husband . Tracy, you and your amazing virtual warriors saved me. People come to me now for boundry work. And it all started with, ‘you know, you would have had to have worked anyway…I appreciate your grind, but it also life’the look I got back reflected no love, from the *man of my dreams, I knew my marriage was over. I just didn’t k ow how to be unmarried… #stillinprogress

  • Whatever it is you think you had, you didn’t really have anyway. And you cannot fix this. Cannot.

    What’s tough is ending it is often the loyal, committed chumps responsibility. Not really our wheelhouse. Many cheaters would eat cake forever so it’s up to us to shut that shit down.

    It comes down to a choice: your cheating spouse or your self respect. Be mighty!

    • It does come down to that essential truth. Whatever you thought you had was an illusion. That was the most difficult truth for me to accept. For my entire adult life, my identity was tied to my marriage, my family, and the work X and I did together. And we did some amazing things, helping many people. I thought (important word being thought) we had the same goals and values. I was wrong.

      Rebuilding isn’t easy, especially when unexpected challenges arise. What I have come to realize, though, is that most of the work I thought X and I were doing together, I was doing alone. It was more comfortable for me to believe X was somehow helping. Looking back, it becomes clear I was rolling the rock up the hill alone, with X on the sidelines offering suggestions, At least now I know I am alone. At least now I know my accomplishments and successes (and failures) are truly of my making.

      I am not going to sugarcoat divorce. It is painful and at times, overwhelming. For those of us who are older, the likelihood of marrying again isn’t great. At the same time, I can now be my authentic self. No more trying to make myself in to something I’m not. No more denying who I truly am, or pretending that my life is “perfect”. It is far from perfection, but it is real and honest, and that is more than enough for me.

      • Oh Violet…

        I loved your post so much, but especially the last paragraph: I am not going to sugarcoat divorce. It is painful and at times, overwhelming. For those of us who are older, the likelihood of marrying again isn’t great. At the same time, I can now be my authentic self. No more trying to make myself in to something I’m not. No more denying who I truly am, or pretending that my life is “perfect”. It is far from perfection, but it is real and honest, and that is more than enough for me.” YES!!!!

        I’m almost 56, a total introvert, and I live with 5 big dogs (a lifestyle not for the OCD or faint hearted) so my chances of finding love are slim to nil. I’m lonely much of the time. BUT I wouldn’t trade my life now for my married life. The loneliness of actually being ALONE is nothing compared to the loneliness of loving someone who lacked the capacity to love me (or anyone) back.

        • Hi Beth,
          I’ve read so many of your comments over the past few weeks!! After reading the above comment, I just had to reach out to let you know you are such an inspiration!!

          I’m 59, it will take me a long time to ever even contemplate dating. Last thing on my mind right now.
          I know the over 60 choices will be limited. The refreshing realization for me is , I don’t care!! Even though I am married, currently going through DV from hell from a textbook Narc/Sociopath- I’ve basically been living my life as a single person for years and am not afraid to be alone, with my furry guy, been doing it for years. However, I won’t be an unmarried 60 yr old, isolated, withdrawn, shell of a person.

          Instead, I will be a happy to be alive 60 yr old, social, not suffering in silence, strong woman walking my furry guy, stopping to smell the flowers and take in a deep breath of fresh air!!!!

          • Seeing clearly, same for me. I’m 59 and happy as hell to be alone. The odd thing is, I have never had so many men ask me out – probably because I found my smile again – and the fact that I don’t care just makes that all the better.

            • I left Dr. Demento over abuse because as far as I know he cheated in the first part of our marriage, yeah right, but that is what I can prove. There were so many things that tipped me over the edge to divorce. Here is something that you wouldn’t even imagine. I have two girlfriends whose 1950’s June Clever mothers died. Their dads were both assholes, cheaters, Madmen, who knows, but assholes for sure. Do you know how the end of their life came? The women checked into the care facility, and their last coherent instructions were, to the effect, “Never let him in my room.” It was only as they approached death, did they finally find the courage to speak their truth. I could see that fate being mine. Here is another story of how it ends for these people. My asshole stepdad died a year ago. He had verbally assaulted me. He had demeaned and verbally abused my mother and cheated on her too. As he was laying on his death bed, my 86 year old mother was chirping away, “Now that I have you all here to move stuff, would you please take his bed to the curb, and his greasy old recliner to the curb. Does anyone want any of his stuff? Pausing for 5 seconds…Well then, will you call Salvation Army to take all of his clothes with the exception of his cremation clothes. He was not dead and she had erased every single item, momento etc from the house. Not a thing remained. His body was barely out the door when she was looking at paint chips to paint his room My mum lives by herself now, close to me but by herself. I ask her if she is lonely. She says no I have been alone since you kids grew up. It is true, she was and she was alone in her marriage too. I did not want to die with my husband doing what I now know is image management acting like the loving devoted husband he was not during our marriage. And this week she turned 88 in Cancun, traipsing around the Yucatan with my sister. It takes these 1950 women a while but one way or another they get a life. We are smarter, we don’t need it that much. Lastly, I read somewhere the biggest determining factor on how long a man lives, is if he has a wife. Guess what the determining factor in how long a woman lives? If she has girlfriends. So live your truth, surround yourself with people who love you as much as you love them back.

            • My mom was widowed at age 59, and was alone for 10 years before she met my stepdad. The point is, most women WILL be alone if they outlive their husband. And most widows I know have had vibrant spouse-less lives. In fact, my grandfather in-law used to complain about the women at his retirement home who weren’t interested in his advances. Why would any woman want to saddle herself with another person who is going to expect her to cook his food, wash his clothes, clean up after him, and be his personal sex toy….at age 80?

              Being alone DOES sound scary. I’m still with my cheater, and trying to dig down to find out why. God knows enough people have asked me that very question. It is easy to say, “because I still love him”, which, while being true, is simply a pat response to a far more complicated answer. I loved him more deeply than I have loved anybody, and the pain of his betrayal is every bit as visceral, and worse, than childbirth. So far, though, the pain of remaining in the relationship isn’t, yet, greater than the pain of leaving it would be. That day may come to pass, and he will be out the door with the locks changed immediately.

              You all are giving me the strength to be mighty. I have shocked him recently with some of my responses, letting him know I am not going to take ANY more sh!t from him EVER again. He has just started getting a glimpse of the mighty woman hidden inside the introverted girl he married.

              • Hey IvyLeague, make sure your cheater isn’t padding his nest with money that is yours too. There are several things you can do at this stage, while wanting to stay, but also not wanting to be taken advantage of:

                — get a post-up
                — tell someone he respects what he has done
                — ask him to pay off all of your credit cards
                — ask him to pay (or pay you back) for any medical expenses
                — protect yourself emotionally, hold baclk on effusive expressions of love, for example, and let him initiate affection

              • Ivyleague,
                Keep coming back to CL/CN on a daily basis. I, too, spent wasted years! I know and understand the feeling!
                If I had found CN, even 10 yrs ago, would have changed my narrative immediately.
                It’s hard when you realize your life has been an illusion, but once you truly see that, there’s no going back and you will get up one morning and change the locks!!!

              • You are me! Their is a point you start standing up for yourself- 2 years later and another affair I filed for Divorce- My Baby was old enough to start school! He has since tried to make my life a living hell- He may be putting cracks in my cup with his N rage- but their is glue and I am gluing as fast as I can. Him on the other hand is “****” in a toilet going around. Be brave timing is everything ! Changing the locks does nothing!

          • Wow, thank you Seeing! Your new life/self sound amazing and it’ll happen. Divorce seems like an endless hell when you’re going through it but eventually it will end and life will be just as good as you imagine. {{{hugs}}}

            • Hi Beth,
              Finally found the courage last week to start looking for a new attorney-my current attorney-let’s just say, needs to go, per several legal resources and woman’s advocacy center in the county I live in.
              Consulted with one on Friday, one today – now working on obtaining new retainer fee, however, felt empowered to finally realize I need a better damn attorney- no fault state bs

              Emailed my current attorney and requested an itemized, detailed billing statement and reminded him I requested one a month ago and did not receive and the last one I received was nov 2016!!

              • Wow, there’s clearly a problem there. An attorney who doesn’t send out an itemized bill on a regular basis? Unheard of! 🙂 I hope you find yourself a new and much better attorney who gets after this for you. Freedom from a cheater is everything it’s cracked up to be.

              • Hi Beth,
                This morning, I received a phone call from the attorney I Consulted with on Monday. She called to tell me she had not stopped thinking about me and my case since our consult on Monday and that she and her best friend, (the other attorney I consulted with last Friday) had spoken frequently about my case. She called to tell me she thought I was probably having issues with obtaining retainer fee – which I am , and wanted me to know that she will waive all but $2k and be paid on the back end. Attorney told me because of the volatility, DV, and multiple layers – married AP formed an S-corporation- that is also being used to assist Stbx to dissipate and hide marital assets, that she thought that my case had so many sinister, unethical, possible criminal aspects, that she felt it was the right thing to do because her gut is telling her I desperately need help with my case. She told me up front, “I have no idea what type of settlement can be negotiated until a complete discovery, subpoenas of Stbx, married AP and AP’s husband financials are reviewed by forensic accountant she uses, but reassured me she would fight every step of the way for me” to get me the best possible settlement. She told me she has never waived retainer fee for a client, is going with her gut, feels strongly, that it’s the right thing to.
                She knows and understands how skeptical and afraid I am , based on current attorney’s past actions.

                I’m praying this is the right decision.

                Seeing clearly

              • Seeing, I hope you see this, there’s no “reply” button under your latest post. OMG!!!! I’m so happy for you. That is the best news re the new attorney and the waived retainer. You must have made one heck of an impression. I’m praying too that this is the beginning of something really great for you. I’m going to go over to the Forums right now and leave a message for you with my email. If you feel comfortable, I hope you will stay in touch. I want to know how things go for you. Big Hugs and a *high five*.

        • Beth!
          I loved your post.
          I actually found myself today thinking about my life as follows ‘28 when I met fuckwit, now 52 (just!), 24 years married (6 months divorced). But he was abroad from 2010 so I really only lived with him for fifteen years. I have been without him in my life for thirty seven years in total. So it’s not so bad really.
          And not only that but I’m doing ok. I have my moments but I’m actually ok. I’m finding out what I’m made of and it isn’t sugar and spice and all things nice- it’s much more along the lines of feisty and brave and having a go. That’s the thing about having one of the worst things happen to you – you cope and everything suddenly becomes a lot less scary. And you learn to treasure fun and the good bits.
          And at least I know this is all real.
          What might happen in the future I don’t know. Right now I puke at the thought of another relationship but that’s because I’m having such a good time with myself!
          I’m a bit smug when I see couples all compromising and stuff when right now I am captain of my own ship. I’m determined to squeeze the drops out of this phase of my life.
          Has this damaged my trust for good I don’t know, it feels that way but maybe I’ll be blindsided in a good way one day.
          All I know is despite the trauma of the past couple of years, I am in a much better place even than before. So much of my unhappiness then was rooted in stuff I was unaware of. Now when I am unhappy I usually know why. That’s a positive thing. My life is now much more in my control and my understanding.
          Hard blessings…..

          • “All I know is despite the trauma of the past couple of years, I am in a much better place even than before. So much of my unhappiness then was rooted in stuff I was unaware of. Now when I am unhappy I usually know why. That’s a positive thing. My life is now much more in my control and my understanding.”

            ^^This.^^

            I, too, was unhappy and figured out many years before divorce that I couldn’t change, control, or hope for better. I unknowingly became Grey Rock and X had to find ego kibbles elsewhere.
            I much prefer now knowing when I’m unhappy, I know why. I am in charge.
            I believe it’s an important fact to face in healing.
            No where near “meh”, but feel glimpses once in a blue moon.

          • Capricorn,
            I have not even read the post topic or replies, but quickly surfing I saw your name.
            I miss you!
            Just now, I quickly read your post and Beth’s posts.
            Both of you ladies are an inspiration to me and all Chumps.
            You, sweet ladies, are the BEST!
            I look up to both of you,
            You have been through hell, but you dug yourself out, fought tooth and nail,
            Now you are,Mighty Beth, and Mighty Capricorn in my books! ❤️❤️

            • Peacekeeper ❤️
              I mainly lurk in the background now (if that doesn’t sound too creepy) but I noticed you mentioned me in a recent post so have been sending positive vibes your way!
              I am mostly at meh these days and maybe have already had my Tuesday but this place remains special.
              Often wish I could help more but this gaining a life thing is taking most of my effort these days. Still available for emailing though!
              Many Hugs to you. 😁

            • Peacekeeper, thank you for your sweet words. Kind of a rough day for me today so reading this was like getting a hug. 💕

          • Great to hear from you Capricorn!! I’m so glad you’re doing well. I hear you on both the trust issue and the control thing. I too really enjoy not having to compromise and making my own decisions. As much as I would like to have some companionship (other than my dogs), I don’t know that I will ever get to a place where I would willing surrender control over my destiny to another person again. That’s my journey right now. Enjoying my life just as it is, loneliness and all. I try to appreciate what is, without looking back at what was or looking too far ahead at what may or not be.

          • This being abroad/workaholic/shift work/on an oil rig somewhere/in the military thing, is often a huge marker to attachment issues. With attachment issues come cheater issues.

        • Beth you’re so right. Needed to hear this today. Leaving the burning wreck behind and facing the future was never the problem for me. My issue is the soul tearing, low appetite, constant lump in the throat grief that just wont seem to go away.

          Many years ago I spoke to a male work colleague who was getting over a painful break up. He said he longed for the day he could really read a book. I thought I understood him well enough back then but there’s nothing like your own experience to truly see where someone is coming from.

          Love to your dogs, Beth. My two are a constant joy and comfort too.

          • Natalia, I’ve been there girl, and it’s really scary because it feels unending. But it does really end, and it takes as long as it takes (always longer than we want it to). And you need a lot of support and encouragement to keep going. Having gotten to the other side of it (it took me about 2 years to really stop feeling bad), I can say that for me, the reason for that pain was probably that it it was so awful that it really forced me to make different kinds of choices. I never wanted to feel that again, and it seems similar–or so I am told–to the pain of withdrawal from drug addiction. Knowing how hard it was to heal, I became determined to really care better for myself. Hard-won lessons, to be sure. AND being able to be there for my friends, family, and perfect strangers who have been chumped! That feels really good. Hugs!

            • Thank you K 🌹.
              So happy to hear you’re in a much better place now. You’ve obviously had a very painful journey and its so encouraging to hear there is an end to this horrible emptiness.

          • Thanks Natalia! The grief will pass, I promise. It still comes in brief flashes on occasion, but for me it’s grief for the life I *thought* I had, not grief for my ex or marriage. As Violet said, I love being able to live as my authentic self without the darkness all the lies and cheating brought into my life before I was even aware of them.

        • Being alone is better than wishing you were alone…

          And at 58, I have to say I’m finding nice men out there. Not all as smart or well built as my husband (such a narc, working out all the time and telling me HIS weight and about HIS work out, etc etc etc lots of selfies too).

          So yes I miss the attraction factor with SOME of the men I meet, but not all. I’m also funny and we laughed A LOT, so it’s hard for me to see how he can be happier (schmoopie has money, however).

          But I’m so done with trying to understand why or how he can be happy without a warm loyal wife, and loving intact original family, b/c I CANNOT understand it.

          Turns out I DO NOT WANT TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HIS DARKNESS.

          Who wants to relate to evil choices and say “oh I see, yeah that shitty thing makes sense now.”

          • “Turns out I DO NOT WANT TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HIS DARKNESS. ” I am with you there. It is something that does not make sense and we will never understand. Better to focus on ourselves and making the best possible future (once we get to meh)!

          • Doctor’s1stwife&kids thank you . Just had an “aha” moment . Am 40 with 3 under 7 . Am a doctor failing exams who’s future career evaporated based on the choices I made for our family on his insistence . Cheater attending ran off with slutty secretaty a year ago . Lately I have been obsessing on “ how can he actually live in his 10k a month house and have the kids and I living off scraps . He stopped paying family garbage disposal bills this week hoping we will have to live in our own poopy diaper filth . I cannot wrap my head around his need to punish us for his sick and twisted ways and lack of character and humanity . I need to get to not wanting to understanding his darkness . The spackling chump in me wants to find out why ? How can I fix this ? I even texted today to appeal to his sense of decency . To the person he once was ( my bad – I once thought he was ) Am trying so hard to replace the narrative in my head . All that keeps cropping up are two phrases – not my circus and just keep swimming . Over and over . Right now I just need to keep studying

            • He wants you to be vulnerable. It gives him a sense of power, and the only way to take the power away way from him is to put yourself in the best professional position possible. I had spent many years developing my career and reputation, and never dreamed I would be required to reprove my competence after 30 years in the business. But I did. I refused to allow anyone to take from me what I earned.

              Our culture has many changes to make: we still have such far way to go. We are supposed to sacrifice all for our children, and at the same time, maintain excuriating professional schedules. I often used to ask,”Where’s my wife?”

              But I did not give up, I did not back down. I persisted. I still encounter (mostly) men who wanted to diminish my work, but they could never diminish me. I can’t wait for you to finish your studies and kick ass. Swim toward the light, always!

            • Awwww Chopper,
              I am catching up on posts tonight and your’s just leaves me speechless……

              I have to find words to describe my admiration for YOU. Let’s see, YOU are the present, sane, loving parent of three tiny children. YOU are studying to become a Doctor. All this time dealing with a dirt bag, cheater who fails to provide the bare necessities of life to his innoent precious children. How in the world can a cheater like that sleep at night, let alone exist in this world. What a puke face delight his secretary has snagged! Those two deserve each other.
              Meanwhile, YOU Chopper, hold your head high, just do your best at acquiring your goal of becoming a Doctor.
              YOU already are a wonderful, lovng, caring MOTHER to your children.
              In CN’s eyes YOU are Mighty and a shinning example to all!
              ( go to the forums here, post and ask questions, other young experienced Chumps will help with advice to get that bastardized to fulfil his financial, etc.duties to his real family). Grrrrr, he is a despicable piece of manure!

              ((((((((((Chopper))))))))))

            • I will tell you now chopper these thought mess with your head…not his guilt complex …non existent. I was the SAME 3 kids (olderbut still need feeding) while he partied and holidayed we lived like welfare rejects. (No offense) he did not CARE . I really thought…for about 2 years …i could drive the inequality and craziness through to him but even after his own KIDS wrote to him to ask for help he threw them under the bus. That changed my perception of the disorder being targeted to me only. They have a fucked up attitude to everyone (except when it suits them to look like the hero- ehat do you know he was “saving ” the AP from an abusive ex!!…hence he could not tell his own KIDS where he was living. We are talking about a 47 year old male who is in a high paid job no responsibilities . Thats the way they like it. Chopper my advice is to get past the disbelief by thinking about him like he has no comprehension of empathy as if he physically cannot see or hear you ( good metaphor). Also EMDR therapy helps to get over the trauma if realising you were fucked over. Google it .

          • “Turns out I DO NOT WANT TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HIS DARKNESS.”
            YES!!! THIS!!! ^^ I may have to get a tattoo of that phrase, it’s so true. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as I watch his life spiral downwards. He had it all and he gave it up to screw strippers and watch porn. I’ll never understand why and it turns out I don’t want to know. Thanks for articulating it so well.

            • Beth it looks like you and I are surviving the same cluster. My man and I had a wonderful, intense, loving relationship (or at least that’s what I had, no telling how far his lies extended) and six weeks ago I found out he had left our relationship and taken up with a stripper 17 years younger than him. Without telling me. Not a word. No indication of problems, tension, dissatisfaction. Nothing at all. Just ghosted away on a sea of “rough week” and “extremely busy.” He had it all and gave it up for a someone a few years older than his daughter that he scraped off a pole one night. With dollar bills.

              Now she is living with him. I know I am better off and should be sending her thank-you notes. I know that one day the gulping hollowness in my throat and heart will subside. One day I won’t even care which part (if any) was real and which were lies.

              One day my heart will come back to life.

              • My heart hurts for you Lemonbirch. Your confusion and pain must be so raw. I’m also a work in progress as far as the day coming when I don’t care about making sense of it all or the hollow emptiness subsides. People posting on this blog are such a source of strength as they’ve been there too and come through the other side. We will too.
                Sending warm hugs of strength 🌹

              • It hurts so much and we just have to accept that we mourn because we can feel.

                My x is on to his fourth girlfriend. I have accepted, but it makes me sad how easily and quickly he moves on, whereas I have spent so long in grief at the loss of my family and intact life, and the good times we had.

                I know I meant as much to him as he is able, and I forgive him and allow him to be who he really is, not what I want him to be. It is an exercise that sucks, but I still have to do it.

              • Oh Lemonbirch, I am so sorry! That’s so awful and painful. In my situation, it wasn’t one stripper, it was a long series of them going back who knows how far. The current fiance/stripper is at least the second one since we separated. Ex and I were together for some 35 years counting dating and marriage and at this point, I’m not sure if he was ever faithful. And at this point, I no longer care one way or the other. You’ll get there too. My second and final DDay was over 5 years ago. It’s a process. It takes time. But meh, when it arrives, is a beautiful and peaceful place to be. Sending you a warm hug {{{}}}.

        • For those of you worried about finding love at an older age, there is no need to go looking for it, but don’t assume it is impossible. My coworker divorced at 60 (her ex did not cheat physically but he was a porn addict which destroyed her marriage). A couple of years after divorce, she decided it was time to start dating again, went on a dating site and had more dates than she knew what to do with. She eventually settled on one and has been very happy. It may not work that way for everybody, but there are men out there who are interested in 60+ women. It does help to generally have a good attitude. In the meantime, there is something to be said for making girlfriends and hanging with them. I have made some good women friends lately and enjoy their company. It seems they are generally more adventuresome than the men I have recently met.

          • ^^^Yes to making girlfriends and hanging with an adventuresome group of good women. I have a large group of girlfriends now, some old acquaintances I now have time to invest in and some new friends, and it’s wonderful. I was joking the other day that I have no need for a boyfriend because I get all my emotional support from my women friends now. It’s not a joke though! I have some male buddies too, but for me at this stage in my life, my women friends are everything.

            • Yes to girlfriends. Mighty mavens, my chump gfs are the absolute best!! Such a sense of sisterhood!

        • Beth,
          There’a a Megan Mayhew Bergman story in her collection “Birds of a Lesser Paradise” about a woman whose partner leaves because of her many dogs, a departure she’s pretty philosophical about. You might like it. I’m sorry I can’t remember the title of the story (I’m at home; it’s in my office at the university). But I think the first sentence in the story has something like “He left when….” so if you pick up a copy of the book you could find it. All the stories, by the way, are about women and animals/the natural world, and it’s a great read.

          • Ohhhhhh….be still my heart!!! I love a good story recommendation. I’m a book nerd, what can I say. Thanks Trying, I’m going to look that up right now.

      • Violet, I couldn’t agree more!

        Our divorce was finalized 2 1/2 years ago, when I was 60. After reading your post, I realized that during much of our 40 years together, I was rolling the boulder uphill alone. I thought I was at the bottom, pushing, and he was at the top, pulling, but that was a mirage. So, why not keep rolling that hunk of limestone by myself and do so with authenticity, sincerity and peace of mind?

        The odds that I’ll find love again (I’ll turn 63 in March) seem very long, but that’s OK, I now live with daily truth, joy and a high degree of emotional safety. I sleep well at night, never having to worry that the other shoe will drop and completely shatter my world.

        Besides, I’ve already had a discussion with God about my future love life; if there is going to be a Chapter 2, He is going to have to orchestrate it.

        • Oh Red… your last paragraph made me chuckle! My marriage ended after 4 plus decades. My friends say aren’t you even interested in finding someone??? My response is as yours….I have no interest unless God literally drops him in my lap!!

      • Violet – You and I wore the same shoes. Two-years post divorce, I’m still realizing that I was doing damage control for him while he was employed at various locations (at a job that both of us had to be front and center for). He blissfully did whatever he wanted both at work and at home, while I got to clean up his messes and suffer the consequences of his decisions. Yes, I’m an older chump too. Frankly, I can’t even imagine sharing my life with anyone at this point. I like being responsible for only me and my choices. We were married for 34 years.

        • “while I got to clean up his messes and suffer the consequences of his decisions.” Were we married to the same person? Thirty five years for me. Fourteen months post divorce. Find that living alone is not so difficult when we were in charge of everything during the marriage. I love living alone (and all the extra closet space)!

      • This is so so true! This is my story! 12 months yesterday from DD. I doubt I will recouple but I am fine with that. Could not imagine the despair of descending into my old age with the workaholic limp dicked never present pathetic oxygen thief. Save me from myself!!!

      • Once I accepted that my marriage was an illusion, everything became easier. If I started to miss him or my intact family or financial stability, or my respectability, etc. I just reminded myself that I never REALLY had those things.
        I am going to turn 52 in March, so I don’t hold out much hope for a second marriage. But I am myself now, the self I had to suppress for him. I wasn’t allowed to be funny, I wasn’t allowed to read when he was around, I wasn’t allowed to crochet. Now I do what I want, when I want to do it, including cracking-up my kids and co-workers regularly.
        It took a few years (Saturday was my 2nd divorce-a-versary), but I am happy now, and am contemplating returning to school for a Master’s degree. Live not only goes on, it gets better!

      • This is my truth too. Found out nearly 3 years ago he had a 26 year affair with best friends wife. I don’t think either of them wanted to leave but her husband found a text. I got up in the morning and at lunch I found a three line note saying he had left me. Too cowardly to tell me to my face. He was, I now realise, a complete narcissist. I didn’t put him on a pedestal like he wanted. I was married to a man that I wanted him to be not who he really was.

    • This is great perspective, DM. Being raised Catholic, divorce was something I never considered. I always believed anything could be worked on and fixed. But then again, being cheated on was something I never thought my wife could and would do. Now that I was cheated on, divorce is a real possibility.

  • I would totally agree with this. I mourned the loss of my intact family and Home and future dreams but realised that anything was better than staying for more abuse by ex Mrs Cheaterpants.

    Several years later and all is good, life back on track, happier than I’ve ever been and even met someone new and just bought a house with them.

    Anything is better than staying with someone who lies to you, disrespects you and does not appreciate you. You deserve better!

  • During reconcilliation, I knew she started to contact the old piece of shit again. Nonetheless we are lying in bed and she says to me, “I am as good a wife as you’ll ever get” and at that moment, I grabbed my balls. I said, “no, I don’t believe that any more.” So began the journey.

    • Good For You!

      The hardest part, for me any way, was getting through my own bullshit rationalizations about the cheater. It was very much like Charlie Brown going after the football and freaking Lucy snatching it away Every Time!

      Liars lie, even when they are feeding your busted ego to keep you in place and Shut The Fuck Up. Realize every single word out of their mouth has a motive and it is NOT to benefit you or your kids. If we were to apply baseball rules to these creeps, they already struck out 3times. It was very very hard to get to that point for me because….Hopium.

    • DunChumpin, Oh my, they have a nerve these cheaters don’t they. She needs to look up the definition of ‘bad wife’. My STBX who continues to ask me to reconsider reconciliation after I found he had affairs with 6 other women in our 7 year relationship, has advised me more than once that it would be hard for me to find another man as good as him. Ha! I’ll give it a shot, shall I?

      • As CL says ‘you could swing a cat blindfolded and hit someone better, just because of the fact that that person hasn’t cheated on you! ‘. These idiots think they are so wonderful they are obtuse!

        • That’s funny cause I used to tell my cheater that I could swing a dead cat in a bar at closing time and find someone who cared more for me than he ever could!

      • I once said during a fight after D-day, ” I could walk down the street and trip over a bum and he’s make a better husband than you. But I don’t like to make the same mistake twice.”

        I met my husband when he was homeless (what was my first clue, right?)

      • My narc X said within a narc rage: “You’ll never find anyone as good as me!” I chuckled and retorted “That would be the point. Who wants a liar, cheater and thief? Oh, yeah, your fuckbuddy who thinks that Jesus brought her someone else’s husband to get her claws in, she thinks you’re the man for her.”

        No fool like an old fool applies here.

        Dumbass.

      • Yep, Dickhead told me that I couldn’t make it without him. So, he wanted to stay here and pay “rent”, continue helping with chores in the morning and continue to get his kibble while dipping Shmoopie a few properties away.

        Let me tell you…I have been scared as hell financially. But, I would have lost my mind and it was more important to me to keep my sanity…even if that means losing everything I have worked so hard for. So far, I’m still staying afloat 11 weeks out.
        I don’t regret kicking him out one bit.

        • I kind of got the opposite from ex. On the day he decided to move out he said “you won’t have any trouble finding a boyfriend”. It may have sounded like a compliment or encouragement but it was disturbing to me in many ways. First, it sounded like he was telling himself that not me, so he was trying to ease his own guilt “oh, she’ll be ok”. Second, it implied that I would have the desire to go out and do that right away which would mean that our marriage didn’t really mean anymore to me than it did to him and he would be justified in having thought that I didn’t really love him. It also just diminished the overall harm he was doing to me by discarding me for a slut.

          It just so happens that I have started dating a guy who doesn’t suck in the past couple of weeks. I don’t know how long it will last, but I am not in a hurry to let ex know about it. He wouldn’t have the decency to be jealous. He’d be happy because it would mean he was right and also because he would think that meant he didn’t have to feel guilty anymore. I am not ready to let him give up his guilt just yet.

          • Mine and his father told me “you are young, smart and beautiful you will have no trouble finding another person” shortly after Dday#2. I was so confused at the time I said “but I already found my person… the OW is even younger she can find someone for herself”. Nope. I was so devastated but I was told he “can’t live everyone’s emotion” and if I ever decided to kill myself he’s not responsible for causing it because it’s “a choice” that I make. That sentence nearly killed me… but I guess the saying “what can’t kill you makes you stronger” is true.

    • That’s a common comment from abusers–that we can’t get anything and don’t deserve anything better than their lying, cheating, uncommitted jackass selves.

    • DunChumpin,
      After DD#2 but before I confronted my wife (I got proof without her knowing), she said something similar to me, like “Aren’t I a great wife?” Since I was trying to keep my knowledge of it a secret, it took ALL of my strength not to blow up on her. How can someone who has lied, cheated, and betrayed for months and months and two affairs even think she is a great wife? I don’t know how they sleep at night…I know I still have trouble sleeping, and I’m the devoted and faithful one!

  • It’s uncanny how often you run a column just when I need to hear it. On Friday I finally, three years post-disclosure, told my husband we’re through. This column names exactly the fears about and the objections I had to leaving. I’m 64 years old, 35 years married. And my house was smoking and smoldering long before the fire flared up in an undeniable way. And still it took me almost three years; I very nearly allowed myself to be smothered and burned.
    Invaluable advice moving forward.
    Thank you so much, Chump Lady and Chump Nation, for showing me the exit, making me see the fresh, green world beyond my burning house, shoving me toward the door, and helping me see I could make my way out and into my new mighty life.

    • Well done!!! It will probably be tough but you will come out the other side with the biggest smile ever because you will finally have a life!

    • 66 here, 4 years free from a jackass, 5 from a substance abuser. Life is so much better. What an adventure, to set out at our age and figure out who we are and how we want to spend the rest of our lives.

      • Lyndaloo
        Here pushing 70 married 35 years…still waiting for “meh”.
        Financially strapped, lonely but cheater free!
        (By the way.. OWHORE he left me for died few months ago). Karma 👍🏻

    • Trying for Mighty, you are more mighty than me!

      Know what “Hopium4years” means? D-Day #1 happened 4 years before D-Day #2, which is when I finally got it: the marriage had been long dead. It took me 4 years before I told him I wanted a divorce.

      I’m near your age; I know age figured into my trying to hang on. Hanging on to a sparkly turd! Blech!

      We will be fine. Onward!

    • You are mighty because you realize there is nothing to save. It took me even longer than you and he left before I had my ducks in a row. My divorce was final one month after our 36th anniversary. It’s very hard but believe me it’s better on the other side.

    • Oh, Precious Trying! Time to change the name, as you have SUCCEEDED! You ARE Mighty!

      I know, right?! Tracy’s timing is impeccable. The topic she chooses is always just the one someone really needs NOW.

      When I very first discovered ChumpLady (via the amazing George Simon) the topic was this and the cartoon was the one of the ‘Inert Chump’. Even though I had already separated from cheaterpants, I still had a severe case of paralysis. I would have even considered reconciling if he had been open to it and this article https://www.chumplady.com/2014/01/dear-chump-lady-please-explain-the-paralysis/ helped me beyond belief! (….. later that year he did suggest reconciliation but I was Mighty by then) Thus began my citizenship in this Nation of kind, loving, genuine souls.

      So very glad Tracy had just the topic for YOU!

      Stay Mighty as you ForgeOn! past your fears and objections, on to your cheater free real life!

    • 68 here, married 44 years, separated for 3 1/2 years, you will be fine, but it takes time. CN is here for you, good for you, the first step is hard.

  • I know a couple that have been in play-nice divorce stalemate for more than two years now (she cheated, stopped, and now wants a divorce). They don’t agree on a settlement, and they refuse a mediator or lawyers.

    He was a stay-at-home father for 10 years, and (to his discredit) wasn’t regularly employed prior to that, and he doesn’t have a college degree.

    So now, everyone says, “Where will he live? What will he do? He can’t just get a job bagging groceries. He’s 43 years old!”

    And to that, I reply, “In fact, that’s EXACTLY what he has to do. He will get spousal support, but he has to get a job, and he has to work. Getting divorced involves changing your life. All of us who’ve been through it had (have) a period of adjustment, when life is about getting by and starting over. It’s hard. But you HAVE to start somewhere.”

    And if not–if you claim that you can’t handle that discomfort, then stay with your current situation and shut he fuck up about it. You’ve made your choice–to grovel before a woman who doesn’t love you and cheated on you, hoping to change her mind–because you refuse to accept the responsibilities and discomfort that are inherent in ending your marriage.

    • “You’ve made your choice–to grovel before a woman who doesn’t love you and cheated on you, hoping to change her mind–because you refuse to accept the responsibilities and discomfort that are inherent in ending your marriage.”

      JC, many of us did grovel, hence the pick me dance. Like in any con, the victim gets it in hindsight. And truthfully I didn’t want to end my marriage of 36 years. And I believe it’s the cheater who refuses the responsibility and discomfort in ending the marriage.

      And its not really as simplistic as being described as ‘discomfort’. Many women in this situation have no self esteem, no resources, and come from families where chaos and narcissistic abuse was the norm. So for me the “shut the fuck up” in essences says you deserve it.

      Stand the fuck up and first know it’s abuse and your house is burning. Get a support system, know you deserve better and make a plan.

      As a victim I bonded with my abuser. I was literally surprised when my therapist said he never respected me, that he was a narcisdist, sociopath. Long after I didn’t need him financially Whst Chumps need is to educate themselves about Cluster B’s to see and believe. Once that realization sinks in so does self preservation.

      • Yes to self-preservation. Everything you listed can be overcome, Doingme.

        And some people just don’t want to change and do need to find their self- respect and dare to move forward. Divorce is difficult, and change is often challenging as well as necessary.

        • Neverwouldhaveinagined, yes it can be overcome. Finding a good therapist gave me the nudge I needed to file and CN gave me the support I needed once I filed.

          Divorce finalized going on three years in May. Abuse is paralyzing; facing the fear and pain is the way out. My life is my own and it was worth the hard work.

    • My ex used to complain about his first wife, about how he begged her to get a job, that he was always pushing the boulder alone, and how how he just felt like a paycheck. Told me that they mutually opened up their marriage, but he hated how empty and unfulfilling it was. He was soo happy with me, with my career, and my mommy-maid codependency that magically took care of everything for him. I went through a bout of depression dealing with my narc mom, and his solution was for me to quit my job and become financially dependent on him. I thought about it for a while, and then found out that we had an open marriage but he hadn’t told me.

      So I wonder, do they sometimes encourage their spouses to be stay-at-homes, to clip their wings so they are financially dependent and can’t fly?

      • Yes! Mine loved that I was a SAHM for years, and he was such a great provider. Image management bullshit.

        When my kids were teens and I discovered his extensive infidelity, I was making exactly 10% of what he made. I filed not knowing if I’d be able to pay the bills or feed the kids.

        Guess what? My employer promoted me to full time with benefits, my finances are stable without his crazy spending, and wage garnishment works perfectly.

        He loved that I was dependent on him and scared. Not anymore.

      • Yes I think the more controlling narcs do. Mine just put me to work like a pack mule. I did pretty much everything including the stuff you would consider man stuff, cleaning gutters, fixing stuff as he’s metrosexual and useless. Want a man who can work things out and do things next time around instead of the little boy who used to fade into the background and expect me to handle everything.

  • I was just so relieved when the Twat left me so that was never a problem. BUT I love where I live, have lived here for almost 30 years, all my kids’ friends are here, most of my friends are here and I have the most beautiful view of the mountains and a farm behind me so no-one can build on it. I wanted to buy him out of the house and just assumed I would. When I started looking at the maths and then when Twat started saying him and his whore would buy me out and move in I was FURIOUS!! They were not getting my friends, my neighbours, my mountains ….. and they were not taking my kids’ home. So I fought tooth and nail to make it happen that I bought him out. I was nervous because of course from here on in it was all on me. A close friend told me to make my mortgage conditions (length of mortgage etc.) as easy as possible on myself just in case the sh*t hit the proverbial fan for some reason. So I did and it was good advice, because I have been overpaying the mortgage and should have a 17 year mortgage paid off in 8 years (in about 2 years time). Here was me worried about losing his salary (though that was never going to be a reason to stay with him when he wanted to come back) but I ended up with more money in the bank than ever because I wasn’t paying for his toys, repairing his or other people’s cars after yet another DUI and I wasn’t paying for rounds of booze at the local bar. I’m so glad I took that leap, and as someone else said, my kids and I have never been happier.

    • Attie –

      TOTALLY!!! I was afraid that I would be financially struggling, but it is funny – I seem to have more money now than I did when married to Judas! And same here…. I’m not paying for his toys and ROUNDS of drinks at the bar every weekend – nor the 14+ cases of beer he went through every week or his constant fuck ups (running into the garage door…. hitting bank posts, driving into the ditch…)

      I have money to travel, which I do often. I love being single and pet free cuz I can take off and head to Texas for the weekend if I feel like it. And I can do that anytime I want. I have money and time to do DIY projects around my house and I too will be paying my house off early.

      We rock. Shut that shit down. Leave a cheating POS and get a better life!

      • Wow, Ladystrange. If your cheater was in France I would swear the Twat was a bigamist – our stories are THAT alike! And yeah, we rock!

    • This, all of this.
      Sure it gets worse before it gets better but what anyone stuck in paralysis needs to know is:

      IT’S BETTER ON THE OTHER SIDE

      It’s so much better.
      I am better off financially than when married to someone who made three times my salary. I’m not even sure how that works but it does. I no longer pay bills while clutching a bottle of antacids. I have confidence I am within my budget. I am in control….and I have learned to trust myself.

      I also sleep in peace and wake up rested. My health improved without the daily stress. I can parent my child and I don’t have to parent a husband. I see progress as my child grows, Narkles the Clown, not so much.

      I enjoy my life and feel like I am in control of it for the first time ever. I’m 40-something years old and I am making my own decisions without someone manipulating me for the first time ever. If I was capable of crying, tears of joy would flow daily.

      Come to the other side. Life is better on the other side.

      • Love this post. Yes, come to the other side. I’m pretty sure we have the best pie on this side. And margaritas.

        Celebrating an abuser/loser free 2018!

      • Exactky, AllOutofKibble!
        Everything you said is so true for me too.
        Life is so much better for me post-The Evil One.
        I can breathe easy.
        I can sleep at night.
        I can pay my bills without fear of what TEO has done to our joint account.
        I can raise my daughter without worry of “what he’ll say (or do)”
        “…you go through hell before you get to Heaven…”

        I’ll turn 47 soon and have been single almost 3 years. Its not always fun or satisfying 😉 but its better than the life I had with TEO

  • Today is the 3-year anniversary of my d-day and I was just saying last night that while I would not want to go on this journey again, l am happy right now. At the time, I didn’t know what I would do, so I just did the next thing that needed to be done. And then figured out the next thing after that.

    And this morning, I was thinking of the texts I had found on my ex’s phone that night. In one, he tells OW that he wants to go ring shopping with her on Tuesday. In another, he tells the OOW that he’s never going to leave me. And I realized that it doesn’t ever matter that I won’t know which one he was lying to (or both), but that I couldn’t still be married to him after I knew.

    Every time I come to CL and CL Nation, I am fortified and find something that I want to screenshot and post on FB with an”Yes, this!” Thank you to everyone; I couldn’t have done it without you.

  • This post is so timely.

    I was all angsty today to the point of feeling nauseous and on the verge of an anxiety attack (and I thought I should be ok now, with almost 2 months of NC after he has moved out. Damn those trauma bonds – I am still pining for, missing and crying for him!)

    I need him to be in my life, I need him to take away these pain, I need him to tell me that I don’t have to worry about buying him out of the house, I need him to still love and care for me ….. (thanks to the enlightenment by CL and CN) nope, don’t need it that bad.

        • Badly Hurt,
          You are truly in the very early days!
          Be kind to yourself, please.

          Get tough and focus on the divorce if you’re married or the dismantling if you’re not.

          I hate to tell you you have just started your journey but the great news is you’re doing great by insisting on no contact.

          Hang in there and keep reading every day. One day it WILL be way behind you. We promise.

    • The more I read about trauma bonds, the more I am convinced in the importance of physical exercise (walking, other cardio, cycling) and mindful exercise (yoga, martial arts) are important tools in breaking those bonds, which have become part of the body’s biochemical response. These bonds are not just in our thoughts. You can reset body and mind.

      • Yes, this! The long periods of two summers I spent away from my husband and by the shore, walking 3 to 5 miles a day with some kick-ass local women while I processed the fallout and my own mind and my options, were crucial!
        In fact, I partially retire in just one more year, and my plan is to use my “half time” to get a massage certification so I can donate my services to the traumatized: rape and domestic violence victims, those with cancer, and maybe victims of torture (I know of a place and program).
        It’s how I want to create for myself new meaning and a new network of good people doing good things.

      • LAJ, you’re so wise. I do believe in this. I ran mile after mile to “get him out of my system” and so that for a little while my brain could shut off.

        The physical activity helped me sleep. Priceless!

        Today I run with complete peace of mind.

      • Same LAJ! Lifting weights abut 4-5 times a week helped just as much as therapy, sometimes more. There’s this comprehensive rewiring that has to happen. Every lift, every step on the treadmill became a move away from my cheater and toward myself. And the endorphins REALLY helped in those early days of feeling so shattered.

    • It will get better. I cried buckets of tears over cheater wife for months. Now I look at a photo of her and just shake my head and say- “stupid”.

    • Badly Hurt,

      I’m there with you. If you haven’t already, you might try guided meditation on YouTube (Michael Sealey). I have been somewhat comforted by doing so and wrapping myself when I get ‘panic attack chills, hand tingling, and ‘general body shakes.’

  • I used to work in a bookstore, and one title that always stood out for me (even though I never read the book) is Susan Jeffers’ “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” I made that my mantra in the immediate aftermath of DDay#2 and still remind myself of it when I need a push outside of my comfort zone in my amazing cheater-free life.

    Leaving a Cheater and Gaining a Life is a leap of faith, and many of us have been convinced that we just aren’t (whatever) enough to survive, much less thrive, on our own. Do it anyway. Show yourself how amazing you truly are.

    Once I kicked CheaterEx out, I started tackling small projects around the house and the yard. I’m not handy, I don’t have a lot of money, and I am a little scared of power tools, but I am stubborn, hard working, and determined. I’ve removed fallen trees, dug up giant stumps, and am now disassembling a big wooden deck all by myself. It takes me forever to finish a project, because I’m the sane parent and don’t have a lot of “free” time. But I do it anyway. It is so empowering to just roll up your sleeves and get shit done.

    • I’m hearing ya, fixed my oven the other day, took it out the wall and fixed it with a lot of ‘fuck this’ and about three hours. Douche is trying to come back but I know it will kill my spirit which is a fighting one. Currently still unemployed but studying and every fortnight that mortgage is paid with child support, welfare and things I can flip on eBay I breath a sigh of relief. One day at a time, it’s in my hands. Not taking the path of least resistance. No pain no gain.

    • You sound like you must be pretty damn handy! Rock on and get your shit done! I know that I’m not perfect, and I might not do everything the way my STBXW does or would even like, but I, sure as shit, get it done. It’s also always done with care and consideration for other people too.

      • You rock, CanadianDad!

        LadyB, I’m beyond impressed. I’m not a fixer, but I’ve discovered that I really enjoy demolition!

        TryingforMighty, that’s a great mantra, too. You’re already mighty!

  • Thanks for rerunning this one CL. I have to admit that the choice to separate wasn’t mine. I was dancing the dance, and would have gone for reconciliation if I could have. I loved my STBXW and family with everything I had. I still have feelings for her, and it is making moving forward difficult.

    I hate that my choices suck.

    I think a big part of the problem for me, and for a lot of other chumps, I bet, is that our Xs ran us down, and we believed it. I was discarded, and the excuse for the discard was that I just wasn’t good enough for my STBXW. There were a whole list of ways in which I just wasn’t measuring up. Objectively I know these were rationalizations (at least now after a bit of distance). I was a devoted husband, loving father, and definitely pulled my weight around the house and at work. The problem for me is that I took these evaluations to heart, and started to believe a lot of the BS. I had been with my STBXW for almost 30 years. There has been a lot of time to have them sink in.

    I had a moment of clarity during all the drama of the reveal of her affair, and her discarding me. I asked, “we’ve been together for almost 30 years, and NOW I’m not good enough?” There was no answer, she actually had no response to that. That being said, the comments of a loved one actually matter to me. I am someone who always wants to do the best he can. Her comments stuck.

    Now that I am on my own I can see how many of the things she said really were BS rationalizations. I have a new home which I manage just fine on my own. I am a good father to my kids, and manage all of their needs when they are with me without difficulty. I continue to function at work and in the community. Turns out that wasn’t a problem.

    Chumps, you can do it. One day at a time, one step at a time. It gets easier every day.

    I haven’t approached the idea of any romantic connections yet. It’s easy to see if you are competent enough in terms of running a house, but it’s a bit tougher when it comes to romantic connections. Being vulnerable to someone else is tough when you are still raw and sensitive. I am also very concerned that I won’t be a good partner, and let someone else down. I just need to convince myself that I didn’t let anyone down. She dropped the ball when she went outside our marriage.

    • You are describing psychological abuse, not just “BS rationalizations.” Abusers break down their victims to keep them compliant. You didn’t “let her down.” She attacked you in the most vicious way. So glad you are making progress, but the next step is learning that men can be abused, and that abuse is not just taking a physical beating. It’s been manipulated, gaslighted, and undermined emotionally and psychologically. If you are in counseling and your counselor hasn’t addressed this, change therapists. She was feeding you poison. You don’t have to take it in.

      None of us are perfect. “You aren’t good enough” is abuse. “You are an active alcoholic” or “You are cheating,” “I caught you in bed with the AP,” “You missed DD’s recital” or “You kicked the cat” are factual statements. That statement, “You aren’t good enough,” is a statement about HER. It’s her arrogance or sense of superiority showing. It’s the verbalization of the second stage of a disordered person’s relationship, the “devaluation,” which may have gone on for years. And it’s the prelude to the move to the discard, once they are open about the devaluation.

      • Here’s a quotation from an article in Business Insider, of all places, on psychological abuse. There’s a lot of other stuff out there, but I like how simple this explanation is:

        “This is because we are conditioned to believe abuse is always physical. On TV and in films, we see characters who are obviously evil. They are violent to their partners, shout at them aggressively, or even murder them in a fit of rage. While this does happen, it’s not a true representation of the abuse many others experience.

        According to therapist Shannon Thomas, author of ‘Healing from Hidden Abuse,’ psychological abuse is insidious, and it occurs over time like an IV drip of poison entering your veins.”

        • Thanks so much for this. I do appreciate your post. I am starting to realize a lot of things now that I have some distance. It’s tough because we grew up together, and you start to have patterns that develop. On the way to getting better while still being a good parent.

        • I think being worn down with the psychological bull shit and then discarded is the most soul crushing thing to experience. It took me a year to stand up straight. The grief was paralyzing. I am amazed at the Chumps who move forward so fast after deciding to pull the plug. I concentrated on therapy and limping through my job. I tried to think about it as going through withdrawal. I was so worn down by all his chaos and drama. 31 years married.
          But now I have good days, a few bad. I’m seeing lawyers and making decisions for my life moving forward. When I get angry at the unfairness of it all I stop myself and say “It is what it is.” For some reason that phrase helps me not dwell on what I can’t change and put my head down and move toward what I can.

          The last text I had from my STBX and what seems to be his new mantra “I’m living into a new future that is not determined by past failures.” The dude is seriously disordered.

            • After Judas realized the word had gotten out about his ‘indiscretions,’ He sent out a mass text explaining to everyone how I HAVE APOLOGIZED for being the bad guy. Cuz it was MY fault you know that HE cheated. He needed to justify his actions by turning the shit around and putting it on me.
              But – He has forgiven me……POS

          • Oh god sounds like something mine would say, apparently its all in the past and he is transparent and trust worthy now. I need to get over the anger and hurt as its in the past! Dumb as a basket of rocks and deep as a puddle, its astounding that I ever thought he had any substance…

            • Lady B

              I struggle with anger and frustration with how easy this seems for him. He truly seems puzzled when I remind him of something during the 30+years. Like he comes out of a daze for a split second. But been NC for a while. Had to meet Sunday for divorce. So a little off balance but surprisingly not bad.

    • Canadian Dad…
      They do run us down. Have us second guessing ourselves. Others have commented on how their Cheater spouse told them that they could never do better, never find another and have planted seeds of doubt to keep them rooted in place for years.

      I stayed and did the crazy pick me dance for 10 years. I believed that he was having a mid life crisis. Helped him through 7 years of school and put my life, needs and desires on the back burner.

      Yes, we loved them and that’s not a bad thing.

      Now I am learning to love myself. It has taken some time, but Meh is lovely and there is a beach and great neighbours and wine.

      Best of all I learned that I don’t need somebody else to complete me. I kick ass all on my own!!!

      • Thanks! Yes, I think I do need to learn to love myself, and not in relation to my marriage and family. That’s been destructive for me, especially since I had no control over whether the marriage ended or not. I am proud of how I am carrying forward, both in how I am managing myself, and in my relationship with my kids and ex.

    • You didn’t let anyone down, she betrayed you and your family. You sound like a decent husband and father and there are plenty of women who would be happy to share your life. Stop letting her define you! She has no character and never will. Her legacy to her children is that she an “adulteress ” she can’t ever change that. You are a good faithful husband and father! Chin up!

    • Yes C-Dad, that dragging you down and crushing you under their heel as justification hurts so bad. My fuckwit had answers to the “hey, it has been three decades, what the hell?” moment. He simply said he never ever had loved me. Just waved away our shared experiences like swatting away a gnat. This was 6 weeks after him declaring that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me while we were on a short vacation and planning to buy a second/retirement home in AZ. Nope, he piled on with the Never Ever Loved You thing as he had the 25YO sparkletwat waiting in the wings.

      We should be able to take comfort in knowing that the nightmare is over– that a person who can be so up-and-down and this-way-and-that and never truly commit to anyone– is now gone. He forever reserved the right to wipe away his love and withdraw from evidence any statements of commitment so any reconciliation would just be a reboot of that cycle. (He did the ILYBNILWY speech and the I Never Loved You thing when he was caught with OW#1 nine years earlier, so been there, done that). He is a fool and will be a fool with the next woman and the one after that, never committing fully and blaming them for every decision in his life.

      But it hurts still. I am glad to be free of that nightmare but I am missing what I thought I had. I am missing that dream that started when I was 16 years old and should have ended with great-grandbabies and going off an ice floe together to die. It is not to be, he was never going to do that, he is a leaky bucket that will never be satisfied with his life and will panic from one thing to the next instead of reap a golden harvest with a woman who has put up with his shit and declining health and diminishing physical attractiveness for so many decades.

      Still waiting for my Tuesday.

    • Canadian Dad,
      You are an inspiration! Your children have an amazing, strong father as their role model!

      I salute you!!

      • Canadian Dad,

        I, too, was discarded–by both my husband and then my boyfriend after that–both with a hefty dose of some version of ‘You’re not good enough.’ Boyfriend stated something around time of discard about me not having enough vacation (14 weeks/year wasn’t enough? WTH?) and my career not being as good (profitable?) as his (‘My career’s at it’s zenith; yours is re-starting.’) Husband often told me that I wasn’t good enough with the notable exception of times he appeared in divorce court when he wanted to convince the judge that I was a high earner (grad student/mother? really?) I should pay HIM (husband), who could easily earn $250K/year, alimony. Hope that you won’t let statements and behaviors of disloyal, unloving ex get you down!

        • Thanks to everyone, I appreciate a smack upside the head sometimes to get thinking straight. CN is fantastic!!

    • CanadianDad–I have a male friend who was severely psychologically abused by his XW, for about 2 decades. It took him 4 calls to a domestic abuse hotline, talking to 4 different people, before he was convinced that he was a victim of emotional abuse.

      On the day he escaped, he did so with the shirt on his back. One year out, he felt so much better that he assumed he did not need much more in the way of healing except for his weekly therapy session. He was wrong, and his past trauma would influence his behavior in unexpected ways.

      Men who are the victims of emotional abusers have a much more difficult time than women–they are not as encouraged to tell their stories (a critical part of healing, IMHO), there are fewer societal resources to help them (my friend had to search long & hard for a male support group in our large city), and society, sadly, looks on men who were abused more harshly than they do women.

      Find a male support group if at all possible. It helps to say out loud what happened to you (or write it) until you can tell your tale without being emotional about the telling. Think of what happens to rough wood with fine sandpaper–you can wear down the rough edges a little bit each time, until smooth wood remains. It also helps to normalize your experience (to the extent that any of us can)–to hear that other men were similarly abused, even though they are seemingly normal and admirable human beings, helps you generalize, “Hmm, perhaps I am normal and admirable, too, despite having endured the emotional assault of my XW.”

      While much of the domestic abuse literature cites a 10%/90% of men/women as survivors, this is a reporting error. Wikipedia has a brief synopsis of sex differences literature, and women are just as likely (in some studies, more likely) to use psychological aggression:

      “A 2005 study by Hamel reports that, “men and women physically and emotionally abuse each other at equal rates.”[13] Basile found that psychological aggression was effectively bidirectional in cases where heterosexual and homosexual couples went to court for domestic disturbances.[14] A 2007 study of Spanish college students aged 18–27 found that psychological aggression (as measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale) is so pervasive in dating relationships that it can be regarded as a normalized element of dating, and that women are substantially more likely to exhibit psychological aggression.[15] Similar findings have been reported in other studies.[16]…”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse

      • Thanks for this. It was something that really hadn’t thought of before, or I spackled over while we were married.

    • I agree. First time I have added. I had the husband who was OCD about cleaning and yelled at my kids throughout their lives. I am happier now with my three dogs. I am 53 and he is 58 (left me for 17 yrs younger 2 kids under age 8). I put up with lots of his shit for years. Gave up my career in law enforcement because he was in same job and his was more important than mine and I could stay home with kids. I was his second marriage and he left his wife for me and left me the same way. I could go on. He lost his family, and job for this bitch hope she is worth that and half his retirement. I went out and got a puppy to add to my other two and didn’t need his approval. Learning I am good without him and doing OK. I could not have survived without my longtime friends who have helped me. You really see who your friends are during this hard time.

  • I was discarded by Jackass so leaving wasn’t an issue. But I stayed married to XH the substance abuser because I couldn’t end another marriage in divorce, I still “loved” him, I didn’t want to be in my 60s trying to live on one income….

    And I ended up “alone” with two cats, who are in fact great company. But “alone” just means I have a quiet peaceful home to come to at the end of a busy, productive day filled with all sorts of interesting people and activity. “Needing” another person is not the same as loving that person. And it isn’t “love” if we are enabling their self-destructive behavior out of our own fear or because we spend our energy “fixing” others instead of growing ourselves.

  • After the betrayal, after a lifetime together, self preservation smacked me upside the head and screamed “get the fuck out, don’t play this game.” 10 months later and I’m doing ‘better than fine.’ I’m grateful to have found this site with all its wisdom. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that it’s my decisions that will drive it. I started a post on forums for Senior Chumps. I though being a Senior Chump our issues were different than our younger counterparts. It is quite inspirational, senior women who have reinvented their lives and are also “doing better then fine” I’m not saying it’s easy, just that it’s within our power to live a good life, we just have to ‘need IT that bad’. 😉

  • A friend of mine once told me that life is all about perspective. No one has a guaranty about anything, we can only make educated guesses about what happens next.

    Everyday I go to work, and come home, by driving my car. I live in a somewhat rural area. Still, I think many of my neighbors must be carrying secret race car driver genes, own some type of pass for having to obey any driving protocol laws, or perhaps have a death wish. I don’t have any of these things, and am grateful when I arrive alive. Seriously. The danger reminds me that every day could be my last. Some days I think about where I should be now in my life, or what I wanted to accomplish by now, but my close view of my own mortality snaps me back to reality.

    I enjoy material things, and having money, and having companionship. I don’t enjoy paying for other people’s mistakes, or being lied to, or cheated on. All in all, the material world interferes with my appreciation of what is really important. By living an authentic life, I can enjoy the day I am currently living in, and hope for the same authenticity tomorrow. If I don’t make it, my children have a much smaller mess to clear up after I am gone. None of those material things are going to matter a whit, but my contentment and the peace in my life has made whatever time I have more wonderful. That is my perspective, my best educated guess. I hope that chain of reasoning helps someone else to enjoy the life they gain when they leave a cheater.

  • I was the queen of sunk costs and not wanting to admit defeat. After the final DDay I knew I couldn’t keep going, he was NEVER going to change. As afraid as I was of the unknown what I’ve found is my life is quite pleasant now. My days have a hopeful peacefulness to them. Yes sometimes I miss having someone to hold hands with, or have a nice night out with but I don’t miss it enough to ever go back to a relationship where I was routinely humiliated, disregarded, abused, cheated on and used. I’ve learned I was trading my stock way too cheap and any man I get involved with in the future will have to not only understand my worth but treat me in a way that shows it. I no longer actively seek my own destruction and it’s an amazing place to be.

    • I’ve got a good joke:

      A woman went to the doctor and came home and told her husband, “The doctor says I have the heart and eyes of a thirty year old”. The husband says, “What did he say about your 60 year-old ass?”. “You never came up” his wife answered.

      • Canadian Dad,
        My Stbx had a heart attack a month after I filed for DV with a TDVRO. He had to undergo open heart surgery a few months later.

        I remember after the surgery-he made a statement that 10 yrs prior to heart attack , after he had a Cardiac Stress Test, and cardiologist tech stated –
        “You are 50 yrs old, but have a heart of someone over 80 yrs old”!

        Over the last year, because Stbx has been desperately searching for someone in the medical community to blame for his heart attack/open heart surgery and has repeated the comment cardiac tech made about “being 50 with a heart of an 80 yr old, I’ve often wanted to say, “ dear god,
        You sick freak, the fact that if the technician had the ability to see inside your worn out heart – she would have found just a beating rock, because your “heart is as empty as your soul”!

        Stbx still can’t understand that taking on line viagra by the hundreds on a monthly basis for his married AP, could have contributed to the fact, at 60, he was 2 yrs away from needing a heart transplant and was a walking time bomb – but did not have symptoms until heart attack!!

        If he were normal, he would be incredibly grateful that he survived a near death, instead is probably more evil now and with a new heart valve that will keep him living for years to come, leaving trails of destruction in his path!!!

        Tuesday can’t come soon enough!!

  • Chump Lady,
    Using a burning house as an analogy of life with a narc/cheater is spot on!! Another reason joining CL/CN weeks ago, opened my eyes, and forced me to accept the fact that my “paralysis and the fear of the unknown “ in spite of the escalation of Stbx verbal/emotional/financial abuse-And his deteriorating mental health over the past few months – was in fact me, choosing to stay in “burning house” hoping the firemen would make it in time, remove the arsonist, and rescue me to safety from the burning house.
    I now know, I have to break a window, jump out of the burning house, even if I break a leg jumping to safety, and get as far away from the burning house, before I die from the smoke and flames!!!
    I love and admire your straightforward-in your face “truth” to us chumps – tough love do to speak.
    Today, by consulting and hopefully hiring a new attorney, will result in letting the house burn down with the arsonist, while I run to safety -breathing fresh air – my safe spot =Tuesday!!

    Thank you again Tracy.

  • Hard to walk the line between things I do not need that bad (him, his disorder, any aspect of that drama) and things I actually am willing to fight for: my home, a rightful share of assets. Could walk away from everything just to be free, but would much prefer to walk away from him without being financially decimated, to boot.

    • Cashmere,
      In the same spot you are!! Not giving Stbx the power to control my future financial stability. Hopefully, with all the extensive documentation-some approaching criminal-I can control the narrative in dv settlement.

  • Nope, don’t need it that bad.

    I’m going to remember that sentence. I’m going to remember it when I miss what I thought I had. I’m going to remember it when I imagine him living the life I thought I had with his circus clown. I’m going to remember it when I get angry that he is a contractor and the home we lived in was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey and he hasn’t even offered to lend a hand and help me restore it.

    Yep, I’m going to remember that one. Don’t need it that bad.

  • A sense of helplessness is the biggest cause of depression and anxiety disorders; a sense of agency that YOU are in control of your own life is the best predictor of good mental health.

    A person who stays with a cheater is ALWAYS helpless–no matter how much you play marriage police, cater to their every whim, you cannot control the cheater’s tendency toward selfishness & poor impulse control. While divorce is painful, and the transition to the single life hard, it is the only choice after D-day that guarantees a sense of agency.

    Not a difficult decision once phrased that way. Leave a cheater, gain a life filled with YOUR choices.

    • Tempest,
      Yes to all!!! You are so right – once I discovered CL and joined the club of chumps -unmasked the narc, seeing the real monster behind the mask- epiphany- like a sledgehammer- made me open my eyes and own the fact the choice to stay helpless, powerless was the fear of the unknown.

      The woman I was before Stbx – was confident, strong , not isolated and withdrawn. I’m slowly finding that woman again, mainly due to CN.

      I can’t say this enough, Tracy/Tempest and everyone on CN – you will never know how many lives you’ve saved with your honesty, wisdom, support, advice, etc. I do know – I’m one of those lives you helped save!!

      • To born free,
        You have been a such an inspiration to me with all your insight and support!

        You – have also helped me in ways you will never know – and helped me to have the courage to stop feeling and start thinking with regards to never ending divorce from hell from Stbx Narc/sociopath = saved my life!!

        Big hug

  • I filed for divorce only four months after the first d-day. I did it because she didn’t want to do anything to face what she did or save our marriage. She was a maybe. She kept saying she wanted things to be normal, for her, she didn’t care about my normal. Looking back she wanted me to stop looking and stop asking so she could continue her affair. Once I filed she went straight to him, if she ever left.
    That said, I’m still holding on, my heart his, my head left a long time ago. I’m making progress but slow. I still expect her to act loving to me which she hasn’t done since d-day. I keep thinking she come to a realization and come back, but I wouldn’t take her back, I just want her to know she messed up the best thing in her life.
    I know there are other fish in the sea. I know I will be happier with someone who doesn’t have her many issues (she’s extremely high maintenance before all this). I know I need to work on me.
    That said, if I could push a button and make this all go away I still would. Maybe when I realize I’m better off without her I’ll know I’ve reached meh.

    • One day at a time, Betrayed and Confused. You’ve been gutted by her cheating and lying and you need time to heal from the trauma. Of course you wish it would all go away. It hurts like nothing you’ve ever endured before. But that proves you had the heart that loved, and with time you will realize you deserved so much better, and your love was wasted on your cheater. I’m so sorry for your pain.

      It will get better. The love that she turned her back on will find a more worthy place to dwell. Start by loving yourself more. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Be sure to speak words of affirmation out loud to yourself. Keep coming here.

      Sending virtual hugs.

  • Some of us chumps ended up not only having our cheaters leave us, but then they died. We ended up having to face the future without them anyways. When you are faced with the fact that they are NEVER coming back you realize that life goes on and you can manage. Hate to say this, but maybe if you just tell yourself that the cheater is “dead” then you must move forward! For all purposes the person you married is NOT the same person you are dealing with when it comes to a cheater. That person you fell in love with has done a 180 or never really existed at all!

  • It was pretty cut and dried here. Stay and my boys and I are statistics on some murder/suicide list somewhere, or take my kids and get gone. When cheater ex told me that he was thinking of killing us and then himself, it was game over. I did everything I could think of to keep us safe while I gathered enough resources to leave. There was an eventual price for freedom, a horrible price, but we were able to leave safely.

    It is a process, getting to that place in our head and heart where leaving the marriage/relationship becomes the best choice. It is about letting go of enough of the dream to begin to see what really is, not what we want. Once we see, we can act. Once we act, we are on our way to sanity and freedom.

    • Tessie,
      Coming from a physically abusive marriage, your story resonates with me. I will always admire you for your resilience and appreciate your sharing your wisdom.

    • I’m with Tessie on this.

      I had already gotten to a place where I knew there was “nothing to work with” (after he cried to the older kids about being sorry for lying and hurting the family … then I caught him in a lie a week later). BUT, I was the definition of “paralyzed” mostly because I had such a hard time thinking about how I would survive (after years of abuse, I was starting from isolation, financial depletion, etc.) and take care of the little one.

      Then it got dangerous. I sucked so bad at protecting myself, but the second I realized my kids were in danger was when I knew it didn’t matter … nothing mattered (the finances, the hard battle to dig myself out the the hole he intentionally created for me …) — the ONLY thing that mattered was getting the fuck out of dodge. Needing to protect the kids was my awakening.

      Oh, hindsight. Such a kick in the ass. Now I see I had done my kids NO favors staying, by trying to make it work, by being so hurt and so paralyzed. The thing about these disordered assholes is that the abuse is NOT just the cheating. As I see now, the cheating was just a small expression of the shitty asshole he is.

      But, he was so subtle, so deliberate, that I just couldn’t SEE it while I was in it. I completely bought his narrative that I was the fault and the blame for everything negative in our lives. My kids were hurt by him creating this bullshit narrative, but they were also hurt by me TRUSTING his narrative. I hate him for that …. (I’m far from “meh” at 1 year out).

      That is one heck of a rabbit hole to be stuck in. What’s up is down, what’s down is up. Until you realize the entire rabbit hole is on fire …. I wish I would have realized that the fire was already there, smoldering, long before he became dangerous. That’s largely why I continue to post as much as I can. I hope to be a lesson for others who felt paralyzed. Please heed the advice of the loving wisdom on this site. Don’t wait.

  • Also keep in mind that when you find out you have been betrayed by the person you were supposed to be able to count on the most you are completely mindf#cked… for months. It’s hard to think rationally in that state of mind. It takes time to fully comprehend the new universe you are in.

      • I’ve been out for a year and I still feel very “holy shit, I just woke up in the Matrix.” The years — and even decades — of lies and gaslighting creates phenomenal cognitive dissonance. At this point, I try to heed CL’s advice not to untangle his bullshit (or bullshit narrative).

        Instead, I try to accept the two decades of marriage as a life that is completely disconnected from my current life. What I believed and what IS are two very different things. At least with “what IS” (my current life), I am in control of that. No more worries about being thrust into another Matrix.

        • I agree with you totally.

          What I believed and what IS are definitely two different things.

          And I also took CL’s advice and I don’t try to untangle his bullshit anymore either. But I have to admit, I will never comprehend it. Never. So I don’t even try.

      • Add me to this list!

        Constantly have to remind myself not to touch the skein. I swear it is a haunted house, I know things are going to be jumping out but somehow they still scare me!

        • That’s why I try to stay as busy as possible. The moment I’m not busy my mind goes THERE trying to figure her out.

    • That was and still can be the biggest issue for me. How do you betray so completely? All the awful things he said and did as if the infidelity/unprotected sex wasn’t enough why be so cruel? I used to think about it a lot – now not as much. I’m on the road to letting it go. But that does not mean I will ever forgive that behavior.

      • Spoonriver,
        How did you let go of the painful thoughts? I still
        Struggle with the thought of my ex-boyfriend curling up with another woman at night and during his lunch break while I am alone. I feel as though I he dropped me in the middle of a desert or the middle of the ocean with no survival equipment and not a fleeting thought from him the moment after.

  • I appreciate this post. Yesterday, 3 1/2 months after I went NC following a Discard-by-email after 15 years together, I encountered a Facebook photo showing my X and the OW snuggling and cuddling at his parent’s house (in his home country.) Hit me hard to see it. Reminded me that their cheating had been going on long before the Discard. Reminded me how much I lost: his family, the fun trips abroad, among many other things.

    I unfriended the friend who posted it. I took a long walk and went to a yoga class. I couldn’t sleep last night, though, and can’t seem to eat today. I guess I was still in some stage of denial, and that FB post was a slap of reality: HE DOESN’T CARE, likely never did, and has completely moved on.

    And reading CL today, I am reminded that I need to move on too. My choices did suck, but my life right now doesn’t, even though sometimes I hurt so much I can’t breathe. Despite the hurt, I see that I am spending my time with kind people, in a new job that I enjoy, trying hard to become mighty. I don’t spend my time policing, snooping, panicking, wondering when the next betrayal will occur, being gaslighted, and discovering that I am again being financially, professionally, and sexually betrayed. I am exploring new hobbies and new activities. I am getting a puppy next month. I believe in love, and someday when I am more healed, I will get that too.

    • These assholes are the kick in the teeth that keep kicking. I hate those moments … the “going along, getting a life, trying to build my strength” moments and out of the blue … bam! another kick in the teeth.

      I’m so sorry for the picture — but, I have to say, you did everything so well after that! You unfriended the person who posted it and then moved into self-care mode. Excellent first steps.

      When something hits me particularly hard, I try to consciously tell myself, “Ok, I’m falling down the rabbit hole, but it is only temporary.” Then self-care, with self-reminders that it is temporary. By doing this, the recovery time after a bout like this has lessened with time (I’m 1 year out).

      So, keep doing what you are doing! I know it doesn’t always feel like progress, but I promise — you are headed in the right direction. (Also, I really love the “new hobbies and new activities … getting a puppy next month” … all healthy, all helpful.)

      • Thanks JM, I like that quote “I’m falling…it is only temporary.” Just added it to my “things to look at when things get tough.”

    • My bf didn’t even give me the discard. I had to question the sudden silence after the continuing daily 12hrs leadership workshop excuses. Turned out he had already been schtupping his real state agent for 2 months and her insta show theyve been cool for even longer. Left me high and dry at 37, after 5 years. My dreams of a family of my own dashed cruelly and handed to someone a dollar store replica of me down to the age. Im still sleepless with anger and disgust. This website has helped since and Ive been lurking but decided to comment cos your story seems so similar to mine.

  • As I was abandoned by both my husband and my boyfriend, the decision to end the relationships was made for me. (Wish that I, not them, had ended these relationships that were so, so bad for me.)

    Five months since boyfriend left, I am finally starting to think of goals that I might try to pursue (resuming my tour of six continents of the world, going back to school to finally finish my doctorate, learning how to do a lot of things, e.g., home improvement, software applications and programming, that I thought I was bad at). The vast majority of people tell me that I cannot attain these goals, they are long shots, and I agree, but these goals give me something to live for, which is good as I have been feeling suicidal and experiencing something akin to panic attacks for much of the last five months.

    It seems as though my middle-aged boyfriend, based on what he’s told me and what I have seen on social media, is actively seeking ego-stroking, is being chased by beautiful women (high school classmates), is energetically chasing women, and like a dog in heat, humping whatever he can. While polishing his sparkly Mr. Nice Guy image, he won’t send me, the woman who loved him and treated him as a friend for 30 years, even the name of a physician who might be able to save her relative’s life from a brain tumor. (He had a great, very experienced surgeon remove his brain tumor, saving his, boyfriend’s, life.) I feel horrendous, despising my boyfriend, false friend, for devaluing and lying to me. I feel humiliated and really foolish for letting him mistreat me so often in such obvious ways. (Why didn’t I heed red flags which started appearing early on.) All these months later, I am still shaking with rage, nauseated, feeling as though he won–he’s out having a wonderful, life of wine, women, and song, building a very financially comfortable life while maintaining Mr. Nice Guy image, and I am struggling to help my kids and me survive.

    One thought that struck me when my boyfriend discarded me (for his work subordinate) for the last time was, ‘He’s rebounding. He feels compelled to prevent the bed from getting cold for even a minute as he would have to face himself and the single life.’ He says that he misses being married (but out of the blue yells that he will never marry me on what happened to be our anniversary, which he never acknowledged) but also acts as though he wants to run around. Present/future cake eater?

    Although I am upset that my now ex-boyfriend and now ex-husband seem to always be dripping in partners (women throw themselves at both of them, although neither is a billionaire or has ‘celebrity good looks’) and I’m alone, I have decided not to settle for whichever male will have (hump?) me. Unfortunately, it seems as though the only men I meet/ask me out these days are those seeking casual sex only, which would make me feel used, yet again, con artists (approx. 30% of guys I have seen online are con artists!), or homeless guys fighting substance abuse. I feel shaky, but I plan to embrace the eternally single (mother) life. I plan to be the protagonist, physical, emotional, cognitive weaknesses and strengths, in my own life story from now on!

    To new chumps who are trying to decide whether to stay in or leave, I share with you my experience of staying after each discard from each discarding partner–the abuse/mistreatment grew worse and worse as my partners realized how much of a doormat I was. The increasing abuse led my self-esteem and the balance in my bank account to take a nose dives during the devaluation and discard phases, which lasted a very long time. I could never trust my partners again after I realized that they repeatedly, without shame, lied to me. If I had to do life over again, I would have exited these relationship no later than the second time these ‘partners’ (users/backstabbers) showed me WHO THEY WERE/ARE!

    • I’m sorry you are feeling so depressed and suicidal. That can’t be an option-nothing is worth that! Remember Facebook is all about showing your life’s highlights while we compare to our every day. It is image management to the max and these people are narcissists so they need to get as many likes as they can. Unfriend them and don’t look. take care of you and your child. Be well and safe!

      • Thank you for reminding me, Thrive. I need to keep reminding myself to keep my eyes on MY life, not ex-boyfriend’s, as I now realize that I must completely manage my life and my kids’ lives and ex-boyfriend probably NEVER thought of me as more than a passing fancy and a disposable toy. I spent over 30 years living my life through intimate partners. What a shame!

        • SO true about Facebook (& basically all other forms of social media) Thrive! Did anyone see the Black Mirror series “Nosedive” episode? It really does a great job at showcasing the “like” collecting obsession many people (such as my husband and the slutty sidepiece) have while exposing how it may lead to one’s downfall.

          RockStarWife, the physical, psychological, & financial aftermath which you describe following the heinous discard your exes thrust upon you is so similar to what I have encountered. I too get caught up in feeling like my cheater and his howorker are “winning”. In fact, mine actually posted a FB comment about himself which stated, “All I do is win, win, win!” which gained him a deluge of likes (He plagiarized this line from a rap song BTW). I later determined that the very same day he posted that comment was just one day after his car got impounded due to driving without a license (as he had lost his due to a DUI). This goes to show you that these highlight reels our narc exes and others are posting are not only enhanced reality with filtered images and exaggerated self-promoting commentary, but are more likely complete fabrications! I also noticed that your world tour includes only six continents, so I’m just suspecting that you’re omitting Antarctica. That’s actually at the top of my bucket list of destinations as I’m sure it cannot possibly be as cold as the cavernous void where the hearts of cheaters should exist.

          • Still I Rise,
            I coukdn’t help but laugh at the won, win, win DUI story. Karma is catching up to your ex-loser. (Just hope that nobody got hurt as a consequence of his drunk driving.) It is interesting to discover what people will ‘like’ on social media. I’m tired of the self-promotion of some people on it. (It’s odd–my father looks at my ex-husband’s FB page on a regular frequent basis. I think that I have seen it once in the last three years.)

            In terms of traveling, you are right about Antarctica not being in my list, but if someone offered me the trip, I wouldn’t say no!

            I agree with you about cavernous void and these liars’ hearts.

  • It is impossible to compare known amounts of current suffering with unknown amounts of future hardship. I think that’s what makes leaving so hard. Familiar shit is better than unknown shit — but it’s still SHIT.

    I finally had to get to the point where the cost of staying got so high that I was willing to trade it for ANYTHING, no matter how hard my new circumstances might be. I distinctly remember thinking, “I would rather eat toasted cheese sandwiches and ketchup soup every day for the rest of my life than continue living this way.”

    No one else can convince you of this, no matter how horrible your situation and how much they love you. You have to get there on your own.

  • What you don’t see when you’re so afraid of what the future holds is not what you’ll miss, but what you will HAVE that you didn’t before. Sure, you might have less money, or partial custody, or a smaller house, or the lack of a partner, but there are so many better things that await you that you can’t have when you’re strapped to a f*ckwit. I lost lots of friends (of the Switzerland variety and those who decided to board the U.S.S. F*ckwit), but I made new ones that were loyal and had good character. I had to give up a lot of money, but I have far greater control over what is left now that I don’t have a Narc blowing it all on herself. I have picked up hobbies that the selfish, self-absorbed f*ckwit would have never gone along with.
    Most of all, I have all this extra mental energy that isn’t being spent wondering what she’s doing, or playing marriage police. My sanity is worth more than everything I’ve lost.

  • I stayed for FAR too long in a marriage that was chipping away at me bit by bit because of these reasons. I was just reminded of this the other day when a post I made to my STBX popped up in the Facebook memories. I can’t remember the exact wording but it talked about how I had not had sex with my husband in 3 years, how he rejected all advances from me in favor of watching TV, but somehow still wanted another child. That post was made 5 years ago. Nothing changed in those 5 years except that the constant rejection turned me into an angry, bitter shell of myself.

    I wish I had gotten out then because 5 years later I was discarded during cancer and now my STBX is expecting a child with another woman. I stayed because financially I didn’t think I could make it on my own, but it turns out that wasn’t true. I stayed because of my child, but I am a better parent now that he is gone. I stayed because I didn’t want to be alone, but I already was alone. The only thing I am ashamed of now is that I let him treat me badly for far too long.

    • Me too! I was married to Dancing Dick for 31 years. I am ashamed to tell people that! I did keep my “end of the bargain” ….by being a loyal, faithful wife. Don’t think that’s worth much…..but it’s the truth.

      • Same here, been with him almost 34 years now. I am ashamed it’s taken me this long to figure out who he really is, and mostly that it’s taken me this long to realize I deserve better. I’m ashamed that this is the relationship I modeled for my kids. I can be loyal to a fault, and optimistic to the point of stupidity. But at least we can say we didn’t give up easily. We were loyal, faithful and patient. But there comes a point that no longer serves us, at least not in that relationship. Those are good qualities, we just have to learn to not waste them on the wrong people.

  • I get this and agree that it is better without than with the cheater. But how long is this recovery period? How long does it take to not have a flood of tears pop up with no notice and have to scramble for a tissue and a place to hide until they disappear? It is so frustrating to be so out of control. I am 9 months out from day and 2 months from divorce.

    • Sorry for your pain, Thrive. There’s no magic number of days, nor a formula for healing. It just happens over time. We all know the searing pain, the all-consuming thoughts, the fear, guilt, worry. But above all, the grief. Tidal waves. All I can say from where I am now is that it passes, then passes some more, and one day you’re proud you made it a whole hour without thinking about it or him or crying. Then a day. Then a whole week. Now, when I think of ex, it’s a brief passing thought, usually a mix of pity and relief. Then I just carry on with my new life. It’s not a life I would have envisioned a few years ago, but it’s lovely and free.

      Hugs to you. You deserve so much more.

  • Also, you don’t really have those things anymore.

    “I need to stay married so I don’t feel like a two-time divorcee and middle-aged failure.”

    Not sure whatever qualifies as a “winner” but I’m pretty sure it’s not being a cuckold who stays with a cheater.

    “I need the constancy of an intact family for my children.”

    The constancy of one unfaithful parent and one parent spackling like crazy while being kicked in the guts isn’t exactly a healthy version of “an intact family.”

    “I need this person’s financial support.”

    There’s a pretty good chance that they’ll spend all the cash on toys for them or for more cheating, and might still dump you later, so you don’t really have guaranteed financial support if you stay either.

    “I need to be coupled, because no one will ever love me again. There’s no one left.”

    You don’t have a partner that loves you now. If you did, s/he wouldn’t cheat. Yes, they may tell you they still love you, but that wouldn’t be the first lie they’ve told you, would it?

  • My STBX was walking out the door, on his way to his new life, and told me “I never loved you”. I looked him dead in the eye and said “You told me you loved me the last time we made love (three weeks ago, fyi) and now you say you never loved me. You’re either lying now or you were lying then. Either way, you’re a liar. Go live with that.”

    Yeah, losing the man I loved was hard, but not as hard as living with someone who was a malicious fool.

    • Yes to this ^^ – I daily told my STBXW that I loved her. I would ask her it I had told it to her that day. She gave me the ILYBINILWY line, and said she hasn’t loved me the way she should for years. Never mind all the times we said it to each other, wrote it down in cards. I was told it was just something you put in a card. That makes is a lie. I wasn’t lying.

    • I also challenged my fuckwit on why he had just declared his love not long before the e-mail FU and abandonment, but logic simply doesn’t work. In his mind he lied because I made him lie. He is responsible for not one bit of his deceit, it was all required because I am so Controlling and Judgmental and an Angry Person. He lies and he won’t ever take responsibility for himself.

      It is so mind-boggling to we Normals that they can do whatever is necessary in the moment to shift blame and it is the thing we battle with longest as we doubt ourselves and endlessly wonder what we did to ruin everything. I trust that he sucks and will suck with every other woman and yet that pain and self-doubt lingers.

      • Now I.C.

        My boyfriend told me that he loved me half an hour after he told me that he ‘didn’t see me in his future’ after the last discard. Messed up? Mindf–kery? Why does my brain feel as though it’s always in a blender? Like your f–kwit, he wasn’t keen on taking responsibility for his lies. He lied to cover up his lies, but I wasn’t stupid enough to believe his lies to cover up lies. When I told him I knew what was up, he told me that lying was ‘a mistake.’ I think of ‘mistake’ as ‘something done unintentionally, like hitting the ‘b’ key instead of the ‘v’ key on the keyboard, not ‘The woman left my house at 10 p.m. on Friday’ (the lie) vs. ‘The woman stayed the night, because she got drunk and couldn’t safely drive home, and left at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Nothing happened!’ (I’m still disgusted months later.) Reminds me of a certain very prominent politician several years ago saying, ‘I did not have sex with that woman!’

        I get the pain and self-doubt in spite of thinking that our former partners suck.

        • Skankboy told me 22 hours before I kicked his ass out that he loved me. Idiot! I hope he goes bald and impotent. Nothing but the best for that cheating liar!

      • Yes, it is truly mind-boggling how their brains work (or don’t). My STBX & I got into a huge argument one day on our way to the airport. I was dropping him off to go back to work, he works out of state. I discovered just prior to leaving for the airport that he had packed sex fetish items (which he had promised me he had stopped doing…again), so I asked him about it. I was very calm when I asked him about it, but he blew a gasket! Just went off, screaming at me that he’s tired of all my bullshit, and he wants a divorce! As he was saying this, getting out of the car, I’m still in the driver seat, he bends over to kiss me goodbye! The words “I want a divorce” were literally still leaving his mouth as he was bending over to kiss me. WTF? Who does that? I just looked at him, astonished, and said “You’re joking, right? You want me to kiss you right now?” I just shook my head & drove off. I pondered that all the way home.

        • My ex-boyfriend, during ‘pseudo-reconciliation (?)’ shortly after the last announcement of discard (last August) asked me why I didn’t want to stay and talk and kiss him when he hugged me after a weekday dinner, which I thought that he had invited me to to discuss our relationship. I told him, ‘You were the one who didn’t want to stay to talk to me!’ SO. MUCH. PROJECTION! (And why would I feel comfortable kissing him after he had repeatedly hurt me a few days before with statements like, ‘You can stay in this relationship, but no lovey dovey,’ (as if I were willing to serve as an unpaid prostitute to him). These liars are incredibly entitled!

      • Now I.C.,
        A narc is never happy, blames everyone and everything for their “pitiful lives”. Just imagine that your ex’s life will be ground hog day every day for the rest of his life! Pretty miserable, IMO, the best part, you don’t have to be there watching and allowing him to blame you for all his “misfortune”, you can smile and know his life will always suck!!

  • Thank you again for this CL. I do need to be reminded that I need to have enough self-respect and confidence to deal with whatever uncertainty life will bring. We never know what is around the corner anyway, might as well be in control of your own life and work to feel proud of yourself.

    I told my STBXW that us separating was terrible. She asked, “well what if I had died?” She had difficulty seeing how losing a loving spouse was different than being discarded. I guess you really don’t have too much to work with when your partner can’t tell the difference between cherished memories and poisoned ones.

    “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” – Dory

    • I get this, Canadian Dad! I often wonder which, if any of my once fondly remembered experiences with my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend, were ‘real,’ as in mutually enjoyed by two people who loved each other. Were my relationships just ‘lies’–and I just didn’t realize until they ended? I now feel as though I was ’emotionally alone’ in theses experiences, especially after the two discards by my ex-boyfriend in which he abruptly said, ‘I just want to be happy! I want to run away from you!’ I still feel awful when I remember those events–traumatized and shocked that my partner tossed me aside without warning and guilty/sad that, in spite of me bending myself into a pretzel to make him happy, he still wanted to run away. I’ve thought, ‘I must be a terrible person, a consistent sourpuss, royal pain in the rear for my partner to despise me this much.’ I wonder why I didn’t/couldn’t figure out how to fix our relationship in the 1.5 years between the first and the second discard by him. (Four months elapsed between first discard and reconciliation. He probably came back just because none of the women he dated then wanted to hook up with him, short-or long-term.) Sadly, I seem to have a knack for, without trying, making some people, especially recent partners, despise me.

      • Sounds to me that the problem is with your picker. Dont beat yourself or self degrade because two entitled self absorbed fuckwits treated you badly. It is not your fault they cheated on you. It is more likely you were accepting and caring and made them feel great about themselves until they looked for the next person who made them feel the same way. Forget about it! Take care of you. Treat yourself how you want to be treated and figure out why you pick such mean men to partner with. That is what I am doing!!

    • That’s how I saw it too Ms Sherlock. Don’t know what was going to happen to me after I booted the liar/pervert/cheater. There came a point…..that the fear of the unknown became less scary than staying with a liar/cheater/pervert. Out I went!

      Looking back…it was so bad, I actually thought about suicide. Imagine killing yourself over a worthless, lying piece of shit! Silly me!

      • Leaving Crap,
        Thank you for sharing this sentiment. I might print it and put the piece of paper on my bathroom mirror.

  • Yes! I’ve been paralyzed by this pseudo-conundrum for almost 6 years now. I’ve been trying to “make the decision”, should I stay or should I go. But the truth is the decision was made a long time ago, I was just too scared to act on it. Yes, all the choices suck. I’d often think of all the things I stood to lose if I divorced, financial security, companionship, intact home for my kids, etc. And what would I gain? For years I literally didn’t know what I stood to gain. My self-respect and sense of self-worth had been slowly eroded away over the years to the point that I forgot how valuable it was. I forgot what it felt like to stand up for myself, to enforce boundaries. Then one day I did. We got into an argument just before bedtime. He was so contemptuous, I just couldn’t bring myself to sleep in the same room with him that night. So I slept on the couch. That was two months ago & I haven’t gone back. Something happened that night I slept on the couch. I remembered what it felt like to stand up for myself, to say “this is not okay”, and “I matter”. If felt GOOD. It felt RIGHT. It awakened the smoldering spark of self-respect and self-worth in me. It’s not yet burning in full glory, but it’s burning brighter than it has in years. And it’s reminded me of WHY I do need to divorce this man. I deserve better, I am worth it. I am terrified, but I am also mighty!

    • You are finding your mighty!! (Of course HE should be on the couch. Not you. Or better yet, kick his cheating ass out!) Jeannie, better days and an authentic future with possibilities are out there! You deserve them.

      • Yes, he should be the one on the couch, and at first it pissed me off that I’ve put up with all his bullshit all these years, and I’m the one sleeping on the couch! Life isn’t fair, if it were I’d have a loving husband that cherished me and our family. But instead, I’ve got a selfish asshole. But I got over being pissed off about sleeping on the couch. It’s not that bad, I’m in the basement so I’ve got my own room down there. I know that if I told him to sleep on the couch there’d be endless pissing & moaning about it. Not worth it. I have a plan, and it’s going to take time. I can’t move until June because I’m moving back to our old house, which we rented when we bought our current house last May. Once the tenants’ lease is up in June I’ll move back. My husband works out of state, he’s gone for 3 weeks, then home for a 3 week R&R, so I’m only on the couch for 3 weeks when he’s home, then 3 glorious weeks that I don’t have to put up with him at all! In the meantime, I’m working my plan, and I’ll be divorced & back in my old house within 5 months, which is only 3 more 3-week R&R’s.

        • Work that plan! I see your spark of self-respect. Your mighty is on its way. CN is here for you!

        • Jeannie,

          I wish you peace and freedom very soon.

          Talking about sleeeping on the couch made me think of what my ex-boyfriend said about his ex-wife, who he indicated was adulterous and sbusive. According to him, she kicked him out of their house for no reason other than being mean, so he stayed out a couple of nights while they were still married. I still don’t get how a man who has been chumped (wife had affairs with at least two men) and abused by his (undeservedly) beloved wife can turn around a few years later and repeatedly disrespect and lie to his loving girlfriend/friend. Transference of aggression from someone he loved, respected, and feared (his wife) to someone he felt no real love, disrespected, and felt only contempt for someone who pursued him (his girlfriend, me)? Something else?

          • Yeah, my money’s on something else. He lied. Most likely he was the abuser, and she kicked him out for cheating on her.

            • I get the feeling now that I did not know all the true details of ex-boyfriend’s marriage as I heard things from only his perspective. I have heard stories from him that indicate that she felt physically unloved (and thus unappreciated) by him, which is odd considering how crazy he seemed about her and unwilling to divorce her. Sounds as though their relationship, virtually all six years of it, was unhappy/dysfunctional. As I have met his wife (she even called me at work one day recently, I have been tempted to ask her to tell me her side of the story. I don’t know if she knows that her ex-husband became my boyfriend 1.5 years after they split. (I didn’t try to keep my relationship a secret, but now I realize that my boyfriend tried to keep it a secret from some people.) He used to tell me that she had contacted him and asked him out to dinner. Being very NOT territorial and trusting him, I never tried to stop him from communicating with her or even meeting her for dinner, with or without me. He told me that he had declined the invitation to dinner, I thought that doing so was the best choice at that time, for him, as he still seeemed a bit (understandably) angry at his ex-wife. I would not have stopped him from staying in touch with his ex-wife, though, as I want to be compassionate toward others and want tyou honor people’s past relationships. Also, I figure that if you have to police your partner, then your relationship is already doomed.

              • Wonder if my ex-boyfriend likes to see his past and current partners compete for him, or at least feel some threat from a real or perceived past, present, or future partner–the way a Roman emperor might enjoy gladiators fighting to the death for his entertainment? I used to think that in telling me about his ex-wife contacting him or him doing really ‘jerky’ things to other people in intimate relationships that he was just being transparent with me. (I thought, ‘I appreciate his honesty.’) He might have been just trying to be transparent to be an honest person, but now I’m not so sure. He also told me the last time we ‘got together,’ approx. one week after the announcement of the last discard, that some of his ex-girlfriends had called him an a–hole or a jerk. Wonder if he was trying to tell me that he wa a scorpion, a scorpion stings, and ‘proceed at your own risk–if you get fatally stung, then it’s your own d–n fault!’ to let himself off the hook and maintain his Good Guy image. I get the ‘You’ve been warned’ philosophy, but I wouldn’t use it as a ‘get out of jail free card’ as I don’t like to hurt others, especially partners, even if it’s legal to do so.

    • Jeannie, please start planning for your future. It’s scary at first. The unknown soon becomes possibilities you’d long forgotten to dream about.

      Anticipation is much of the joy in life. I know what it feels like to have nothing to look forward to as the empty promices wereever present. Take that step. Don’t waste your life.

    • Yes you are mighty! It took many years to get the strength I needed to leave Dancing Dick (ex cheater/liar/pervert). It was always on my mind. Like you, I had a lot to lose- security, nice home in the suburbs, a small business and even my rescue dog (had to rehome her because I didn’t know where I was going to live).

      I was so beaten down with depression and low self esteem…….it seemed impossible for me to leave. This last d-day made the decision to leave for me. I did lose everything material. I now live in a tiny condo…..3 miles from the beach. I look better than I have in decades…..I feel better than I have in decades. I know it sounds backward….but I had to lose everything…..to find peace, mental stability, self respect, and some measure of happiness. The only things I really miss are my dog and his wallet.

      • We always lose when we divorce a cheater and or pervert. There’s just no escaping it. The best thing we can do is plan……stash money where the cheater/pervert can’t find it. Then….strike while the iron is hot (when you are ready to roll out the door……slap the cheater/pervert with divorce papers- with evidence!

        No fault states don’t care about “evidence” of infidelity in divorce. But bosses care about it, family members care about it…….the community cares about it. In other words…..alluding that you will “spill the beans” on the cheater//pervert……can be used as leverage to get the cheater/perv to “play nice” and sign the divorce papers- with the terms YOU want.

      • Yes, it is ALWAYS on my mind too! I think I’ve got to the point that’s the main reason I want to leave, so I can just stop thinking about it all and start living my life. It all just sucks up so much of your physical and mental energy that you just don’t have the bandwidth left to do anything more than just exist from day to day.

        • Jeannie…I used to daydream about escaping from Dancing Dick for years! I would spend hours searching Zillow for a cute little, affordable place to live- without the liar/pervert/cheater! It helped me cope with his abuse/cheating/lying.

          It gets better ….once you rid yourself of the cheater. Your mental energy gets restored! I didn’t believe it when a counselor told me that. After d-day……a counselor told me that I looked like “a shell of a woman” (and I did). Since I left Dancing Dick …….lots of people tell me how pretty I am……and how nice I am. At first, I didn’t believe them because I was so beaten down.

          • PS….I call the cheater/liar/pervert “Dancing Dick”- because his screen names on all of his web cam hoe sites, porn sites, and hook up sites implied “dancing,”: Hot Daddy Dancer, Big Dancing Daddy, Dancing Rich, Rich Dancer etc.

            The man NEVER danced a step in the 31 years I knew him!

            • Reading your comment about why you gave Dancing Dick that nickname- laughed so hard, choked on my coffee!

  • How I wish I had found CL and CN sooner. D-day was March or May of 2013. I literally can’t believe it has been 5 years. I believed him when he told me he was a ‘sex addict’ and went into treatment. I attended therapy with him and went to S-anon meetings (how humiliating.) I drove through the night to be there for him when he self-admitted to the psych ward telling them he was ‘going to blow his brains out.’
    I jumped through hoops giving him the ‘support and understanding’ he begged me for to save our family. I endured trickle-truth and all manner of horrendous abuse including physical, in front of my children.
    Finally he ended up smashing our 8-yr old daughter in the face and giving her a bloody nose (I did not witness this – only the aftermath.) After that he left to ‘get help’ and when I wouldn’t let him back without proof, he nose-dived and broke off all contact.
    He was a high-earner with great benefits for our entire marriage and I’d been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years.
    When he served me with papers from another state, I was in the middle of demolishing and rebuilding our home from Superstorm Sandy (he left us in a house with no heat and a 20-yr old secondary vehicle. I was forced to file in my home state and it has been nothing but a nuclear shit-show beyond.
    I have rebuilt our home, procured rentals, moved me and my 2 daughters 3 times in a year, administrated a complex disaster recovery, served as my own attorney for a year, and I now may lose the house too. I have been put through the ringer, raked over the coals, tortures by the family court system, and am about to be forced into a divorce trial (with a lawyer who truly is the supreme victor of the Fuckwit Thunderdome – thank you CL!) where I am told the judge will likely force the sale of the home. No one believes me about the abuse, the cheating ‘doesn’t matter’, he’s accusing me of ‘parental alienation’ (after not taking calls from our daughters for 9 months), and he’s lost his job and his top secret security clearance after 37 years. The money spent on the divorce is enough to make me vomit.
    Never in a million years could I have imagined the depths to which this cretin would stoop. I honestly believed he adored us, our family, and that he was an honorable man. Mindfuck is an understatement. I’ve put on a mighty front, but I do not feel relief 5 years out and meh is a concept I struggle to reconcile with hating every fiber of his being.

    • Jersey Chump,

      I know what it is like to go through the wringer in and out of court. If you want to privately talk to someone who’s lived some of your ‘adventure,’ then you might contact Tempest to connect us.

        • Thank you for the link!!

          I wish I’d found CN years ago, wouldn’t have taken me so long to “stop feeling and start thinking “ regarding divorcing Stbx Narc!!

          Thankful that I did, and not being 80 and finally seeing the light. Because I’m approaching 60 and have an illness, the fear of the unknown and everything associated with it, “froze” me for so long!

          Now, trying to take the approach that I won’t allow myself ever again, to give up my years! We only have one life, time goes by quickly enough as it is! Grateful I woke up while I still have years full of life yet to live – on my own, on my terms, with my remaining furry child 🙂

      • RockStarWife – I would love to! But I can’t see how to do that? Are you on the forums?
        Tempest – if you read this, please feel free to pass my email along to RSW!

    • Therapy, marriage counseling with a cheater and or pervert is futile. Sex addiction does not exist……only personality disorders.

      I refused to go another round with marriage counselors or the 12 step “sex addict” mentality. Once was enough! It doesn’t work out well for the betrayed spouse. It just gives the cheater/pervert more ammo and excuses to continue on with the lies, deception and cheating. NO THANKS!

      It angers me that the 12-step “so called sex addiction” professionals do not tell sexually betrayed spouses the truth. The truth= you are screwed…….you are married to a self centered loser who will not change and cannot change- RUN!

      • You are so right about the futility of counseling with a so-called ‘sex-addict’! They only use it for ammo to further manipulate. I don’t think they can change. Whenever I’d express frustration to our marriage counselor she would always say “change is possible”. Yeah, so is winning the lottery, but pretty unlikely and I’m not betting the farm on it. Rather than keep buying lottery tickets and hoping for the best with terrible odds , I’d rather just go out and get a job.

      • Leavingthecrapbehind,
        You are absolutely correct! Sex addiction is a bs excuse, it’s personality disorders.

        That is why many therapists won’t treat NPD, because it’s almost always impossible to “treat” them. A good psychiatrist or therapist will catch on to their lying very quickly. The psychiatrist that my Stbx was seeing, prescribed varying anti-depressant’s for 2 months, then changed him to mood stabilizers-Stbx quit seeing him, why? I’m sure it’s because the psychiatrist let him know he wasn’t buying what Narc Stbx was selling. Next step, Stbx got an online therapist!!
        You can’t make there craziness shit up 🙂

        • LOL! An online therapist for a sex addict, that’s just perfect. He can troll porn while he’s in therapy, get his ‘fix’ simultaneously while getting ‘fixed’.

          • Jeannie,
            Yes, this freak is out there online searching porn and texting his on line therapist at the same time!! LOL!!

            You just can’t make this shit up!! I’m sure he’s telling his therapist his version of why I’m divorcing his perverted ass!!

            Dear god, I just want this divorce to end before he has another heart attack or has a stroke this time!!

            I will not take care of his sick ass again!! The thought makes me physically ill!

            Seeing clearly

            • It’s straight out of the cheater’s play book to use marriage counseling to further degrade and abuse you.

              Stay away from “CSAT” therapists. They model themselves after Patrick Carnes and his bullshit 12-step “sex addiction” nonsense. They enable the cheater/pervert…….as they abuse the betrayed spouse. It’s called “Therapy abuse.”

              • Leavingthecrapbehind,
                I didn’t really understand “therapy abuse” and the enabling RIC, Tracy writes about, until finding this site.

                Reading so many comments and “other’s stories “ on this site has shown me how so many therapists, RIC, pastors, priests, churches, etc. contribute to enabling the “narc-cheater-abuser”!

                Joining CN/CL has made me see the world in such a different light!!

  • The worst loneliness is when you’re lying in bed next to the person you love, and you feel lonely.

    His affair and the subsequent divorce was awful. But since then (2001) I have changed careers and I’ve travelled (I’m child-free). I’ve been all over the world (including North Korea!). I’ve discovered I’m a quite good amateur photographer, and I’m busily writing and publishing fantasy books.

    I’m actively NOT looking for someone else. My life as a single person is full of friends and great experiences.

    Don’t worry about being alone. You might actually like the freedom!

    My photography website: http://www.stalkingthelight.com. There’s also a link to my travel blog.

  • I didn’t have the choice to run out of the burning building because he ran. Then one sunny winter morning shortly after (possibly a Tuesday) I was out walking when it suddenly hit me that I , too, had been pushing that boulder on my own. It was an illusion that he was there helping. Eight years later I still miss parts of him but know that any idea of him is simply a mirage. There is nothing of substance there.
    I worried about how to cope with two adult dependent kids and his income but took him to the cleaners. I am still doing what I always did but now I know it is just me. At 75 and with people to care for I realised it was unlikely that I would find someone else but that is ok. There are still good things in life to enjoy.

  • I do live in a box and work a crappy job…..but I’m happier now than I ever was with the cheater/liar/pervert (Dancing Dick). The relentless depression and debilitating anxiety I felt in my marriage all those years……..is gone!

    Don’t know if I will ever date or find a new love. I do know that life is no longer full of ugly surprises, anxiety and depression. That’s a good thing!

    • Not going to miss that sinking feeling of disappointment when you find out they just did something shady or blow a stack of money on something stupid or left out a small detail that crushes you. Yep not going to miss that feeling of …why am I allowing this… then the following self doubt they make you feel with the manipulations.

  • I stayed for all the those reasons and more. I kept hoping against hope that as my ex/pervert/liar aged….he would stop sneaking, lying, using porn and cheating. WRONG! They get worse as they get older. Now the old geezers have Viagra………..so it never stops. Get out while you can. Don’t waste years of life on these freaks.

  • I was taught this by the military; A bad decision is better than no decision at all. If we stop making decisions, we can become paralyzed in inaction.

    • MightyChris…..after d-day many of us are thrown into a state of shock (almost like being paralyzed). After feeling physically sick for a few weeks- I was able to make the decision to divorce Dancing Dick- while I was in the “Zombie-shock-funk” that d-day brings. This is my second d-day……..so I was already knew that if it “happened again”- I’m out of here!

      It happened again…..so out I went!

  • This was such an amazing post! I needed this today. I have to be in contact with my STBX 3x per week so he can visit our 7 week old son. I hate having to see his face so much that it makes me feel like I don’t get to move forward. I feel stuck and he’s living carefree and always seeing his homewrecker. Sometimes I get stuck thinking of what I could have had or the “happy memories” but I deserve better. I need to get out and let the house burn.

    • Its a lot easier said than done. I’m in the same situation, its really difficult oscillating between hate and hope and fear and jealousy.

  • “You’re going to be okay. And then fine. And then better than fine.“ – yes.

    After the waves of anguish began to subside, I was left with Me, A Better Me. And that is enough for me.

      • Chiming in here. We are all different but for me to get over that gut wrenching sadness, weakness and heartbreak took about 6 months. I’m a year out now. I lost weight from grief, eating was a struggle for the first 4 months. I consider myself highly sensitive and a year out I am still struggling but feel a lot better than I did six months ago and am focusing my energies on loving myself. I want to add that a huge help in me not caving into a heap was taking up yoga. I was never very physically active but really believe connecting with and loving our bodies for the amazing things they do and are capable of is a great way to deal with trauma and release pent up stress. Some people run or do boxing. For me it has too much adrenaline and I find it exhausting. Flow yoga has helped me regain strength and I look pretty damn good if I don’t mind saying so. Two years ago I looked like a burnt out Mum, because I was.

      • Rock star wife,
        I’ve been reading your posts. Just wanted to let you know, my heart aches for you and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all of this!!

        As FarBetter mentioned, you will get through this and it does start feeling better.

        You might not feel that way at this very moment, but you will get there!

        You are strong, kind and loving -that already sets you apart from both shitty ex’s.

        Hang in there!! You can do this and make it to the other side!

        Seeing clearly

      • FarBetterOff,
        Can’t wait for my countdown to begin.

        Getting a new attorney will at least start the countdown.

  • Even if I am forever alone, I am enough. I bought a body pillow and a jar opener, which replaced 100% of his contributions to the marriage.

  • Tomorrow is my 51st birthday and the second one completely without LadyLiar, though she was fully engaged in the last affair on the one before that, so it was miserable. I REALLY enjoyed this post. I am finally completely past the crawling on the floor phase, and I NEVER have a day where I wish we were still together. She damaged everything and everyone she touched while she was in my life, and I still loved her deeply. But once she started lying to the children we raised together, and throwing me under the bus to them in order to save her own ass, there was just no going back. I think I still have a lot to offer, but I’m in no hurry to give it away so readily. Me and my dog are doing just fine. I definitely don’t need ANYTHING that bad. Cheers, Chump Lady and CN!

    • CurlyChump,
      Thank God for our fur buddies!! I had to put my 15 yr old senior fur baby down last Sunday and am still heartbroken, but I still have his 8 yr old fur brother to love and hold on to. Dogs offer unconditional love – I’ll take that any day now!!

      • ((Seeing Clearly)) I’m sorry for your loss. 🙁 I know the pain well. I had to put down my Border Terrier the summer before last. It just about destroyed me. I adopted another one this summer. While they’re not replaceable, I love this one just as much. They’re special in their own way. Hugs to you.

        • NoKibble4U,
          It’s only been a week so I still find it hard to believe he’s gone. He lived a full 15 yr old dog life. His 8 yr old brother is still looking for him. I will miss him forever.

          I remember last Sunday as I held my senior buddy and lovingly petting him, telling him how much he was loved and would be missed, as he was drifting off, and thinking “now you won’t ever have to wag your tail again at Narc stbx, and have him walk by you like you are invisible “ when all you wanted was a pat on the head!

          Stbx is doing the same thing with the 8 yr old furry guy, ignoring a dog who just wants to get a pat on the head! I noticed last night, the little guy didn’t race up the stairs when Stbx got home!! Even that little dog can smell evilness!!

          Narc Stbx is truly soulless -once Stbx realized I was done for good-he quickly discarded both dogs, 15 and 8 yr old!!

      • I am sorry for your loss, Seeing Clearly. Saying goodbye to our fur friends is heart wrenching, but I can’t image never having that kind of pure, honest love and loyalty in my life.

  • There once was a lady who always said maybe, she could never say yes or no.
    Her indecision left her quite smitten
    With a man she couldn’t let go.

    I wrote this long ago when I was a waitress at a fancy cafe.
    My inspiration came from a beautiful woman, kind and sweet sitting across from a chubby bald man (no offense to chubby bald men) whose behavior was so appalling I couldn’t even look at him when taking their order. I felt embarrassed for her as his bullying escalated to public berating- (Calling her stupid, and telling her to shut up repeatedly).
    I remember that he got up to leave immediately after he finished eating while she was only part way finished with her meal. He paid at the register, and before I could ask her if she wanted a box for her food, she was anxiously apologizing as she was jogging out the door to keep up. I watched her run after him. He didn’t wait or even slow down for her to catch up.
    Little did I know that I would be that woman 15 years later…

  • If you think the fear of your future is bad without your cheating spouse. Reliving the pain you are feeling right now over and over again is much worse. I caught my wife many times in the past 15 years of our 20 year marriage. After each d day I had to restart the pain and restart building my life all over again. Only for my wife to restart her cheating cycle all over again. I have been through a lot of challenges in life. But infidelity was definitely the worse.

    • Dd61999,
      I am so sorry for the pain you’ve endured!! I hate your wife for you!!

      Narc’s do cycle – once I could see Narc Stbx cycles as a sign of how truly mentally ill he is, it helped me to put it into perspective! They are soulless, empty, vessels that can never, ever be fixed!

      I hope peace soon replaces the hurt you’ve gone through!

      Seeing clearly

      • Thanks Seeing Clearly……the pain is definitely fading and I’m already seeing benefits to a new life without her.

  • I had to end a friendship recently that was doing me harm. I had to follow the same principles here – DON’T NEED IT THAT BAD.

    Find other friends who do me good, find other people and things that help me, and not harm me.

    Put distance.

    Break off ties that are dragging me down, and probably not helping that other person either.

    Don’t pain-shop; stay off Facebook.

    It was really hard, because I was – yet again – drifting into a dodgy situation with blurry boundaries and a lot of heartbreak happening on my side. But at least I recognised it and ended it.

    I was let down by this person really personally and in a hurtful way. I have to remember this (I just had to have some contact with them about a business matter, but it’s over now and I won’t ever have to have contact again).

    This site has taught me so much about how to manage my friendships – in fact, all my relationships – a lot better.

    • Pain-shopping. That makes sense. I cant stop following my wife’s ‘omg im having an affair’ thread on another website, or following her on facebook. I wish I could turn off that side of my mind.

  • Oh, and LinkedIn – wonderful site – you can remove people as contacts there as well! Just figured this out.

  • Really needed to read this today!

    Wife moved out today after having an emotional affair with another married man. we have one daughter, he has 2. She wouldn’t hear of anything but full divorce because she is so in love with him, so we are going through all of that. Apparently he’s now left his wife for her as well and will move in with her eventually. I need to not care but it seems so incredibly unfair that I have to face all of this while she sails happily off. I cant believe 9 years together get thrown away for someone who gives her warm fuzzies. I feel used and spat out.

    • I totally understand where you’re coming from. Yes 9 years together thrown away, but then it makes you wonder if you really were “together” the entire time. Meaning is the person really invested in the marriage, the spouse, the family? For someone to throw away such a sacred institution, is indicative that the person may not have been fully invested to begin with. So it’s 9 years physically together, but is it really together with all your heart, mind and soul? I doubt these people are capable of it.

      • You’re probably right. It was never perfect, but long ago I decided perfection was a myth and valued all the good stuff we did have. She clearly didn’t and preferred what a a new lover offered. It’s that being so easily replaced that strikes right at the core of my self-worth though. Am I so forgettable, that I can easily be swapped out. It’s horrible and I fear for my daughter for the 50% of the time she is with her/them.

        Gah, i hate being bitter and upset about it. The truth is Id probably take her back immediately if she wanted it. She knows this too.

        • Chumpedupcharges,
          Thanks to CN and all the wisdom on this site, I came to understand “it’s the false illusion of the person we fell in love with” that makes it so hard to let go!! Once I was able to see that the person I fell in love with, was fake and never truly existed to begin with.
          I had an epiphany, realization smacked me like a sledgehammer over the head – “the man I fell in love with was a fake – true Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde – I’d been waiting for the “fake “ person to reappear. Narcs use their ability to allow the “fake person” to reappear periodically, just long enough to make us Chumps have hope, then “bam” once you get ensnared again, their true Narc self comes right back!

          I remember telling myself a few years ago, the definition of insanity is repeating the same things over and over, expecting a different result! It just took a few more years for the sledgehammer to hit me on the head – and me telling myself , “wake, the hell up, a tiger never changes its stripes!! Once a cheater always a cheater.”

          Narcs don’t ever change, nor do they care or see the roadkill left in their path!

          Keep coming back to CN and you will get the strength you need to get through this never ending pain!!

          I never heard the term “Tuesday” before I found CL/CN – I now have a goal – my Tuesday!!

          You will have your Tuesday-hang on to that for dear life.

          Hugs to you!

    • She doesn’t “sail happily off.” She (a cheater) is running off to another cheater. And they both, under all the denial and the “oh, but it’s different and special this time” know that they’re with a cheater. And they both have an inclination to run to someone else for new attention in a marriage. They might manage to stay together and project a good image, but that’s not going to be a healthy relationship.

      • Traffic_Spiral
        Yes to everything you said.

        Anything that appears to look “happy, fulfilling, with a narc cheater is an illusion. They will never be happy, will always be looking for perfection, bouncing from one empty relationship to another!! Ground hog day for them as long as they live!

        We Chumps, get to have a peaceful existence without the never ending drama, stress that is life with a narc!!

        Waiting for my Tuesday-that happens once I’m finally divorced and free to live as I want, the way I want!!!

  • I was scared, frightened and unclear how I would get by, and the divorce took a hotly contested 4.5 years and it was all hard.
    But what wasn’t hard was counting my blessings every day for self-determination, dignity, freedom, happiness, contentment and courage.
    It was worth everything I gave up to have this life I have now.
    I am still skint, I’m still a bit worried over money, we have just enough to get by monthly if things round here would stop breaking, and I have an ambitious teen who is eyeing great universities that we have to fund.
    But we have fearless freedom.
    It is utterly priceless.
    Nothing could make me go back to how we were living before.

    • Cheryl,
      Yes to everything you wrote!!

      I walked into this marriage 18 yrs ago with my head held high, unknowingly marrying a narc/sociopath, am determined to end it with my head held high. Through all the years of Narc abuse, I kept my moral compass -and that means more to me now that I’ve truly opened my eyes!!

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