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Infidelity… It’s So Much More

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Yesterday, AllOutOfKibble inadvertently gave us a Friday challenge when she wrote that infidelity is not a singular thing. It’s beyond extracurricular boinking. (I am reminded of Esther Perel tweeting at me that my case was “so much more” than cheating. So, like, King’s X I suppose.)

AllOutOfKibble writes:

The first thing I notice is that you speak of infidelity as a singular thing, as if it is not attached to anything else. It’s attached to so many other things. Here are three because I am late for work. I am sure there are more.

Financials. Who pays for the things involved in an affair? The hotel room? Little gifts? Meals? Vacations? The apartment for the mistress? If two people are married n the US then half the money spent on a schmoopie belongs to the chump.

Respect. People frequently confuse cheating with an open marriage. In an open marriage there are rules and guidelines, parameters where everyone knows what is going on. With cheating at least one spouse is kept in the dark and does not know what is going on. The chump is disrespected by the cheater. The chump can’t make an informed decision about their own life and what they want because, many times, what the cheater enjoys about the whole set up, is deceit. They like the whole I know something you don’t know. That’s not equitable or fair. If someone vows in front of others to fore sake all others and they don’t how can you trust them again after they have shown that they are a liar?

Health. Here in the US spouses get to make all sorts of decisions for each other, including when to remove someone from life support. Do you want the your spouse sitting there ready to pull the plug because you are such a drag on his and schmoopie’s relationship? There is also the issue of sexually transmitted infections. I have an aquaintance who found out she was HIV positive while pregnant. She was infected by her cheating husband. I am proud to say they are no longer married.

Anyone want to add to my list?

So what do you say, CN? What are all the gifts that keep on giving?

And don’t be distressed by this list. I think I will follow it up with How Does Your Life Improve When You Leave a Cheater? Tell me, how should we be reframing the infidelity narrative beyond The Great Schmoopie Love That Cannot Be Denied?

TGIF!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Cheating is attached to depriving the children of two full-parents. This is not what I signed up for when I got married, not what I wanted for my children. Their father was off with schmoopie and missed birthday parties. proms, performances, games etc. Now that we’re divorced, time sharing and separate vacations have been inflicted on the kids permanently.

    The Gaining a Life part here? Modeling to my children not to let anyone treat you like shit. Seeing pride in their eyes that I’m happy and strong. Having a closer bond with my kids in our time alone together than I otherwise would have

    • I feel the same. My child is currently struggling and I wonder how much is b/c of the back and forth between houses. I never wanted this for my child.

      You are right about modeling. I’m glad my child won’t continue to see my ex yell at me. Though now it’s more covert, his disrespectful treatment of me. I’d be a sh*t parent to tell my child about any of it, so I have to just deal on my own. I want to, at some point, model a healthy romantic relationship for my child (as my ex is incapable of it), but then I get tangled up in my own skein of f’dupness. That maybe I’m also incapable of having a healthy relationship, especially after all I’ve been through.

      • middlefingersup,
        I hope so much that one day you “will be able to model a healthy romantic relationship”, for your child.
        “I’m glad my child won’t continue to hear my ex yell at me.”
        So much in this one little sentence.
        You ✋️STOPed this from happening, again and again!
        YOU are mighty!
        Many hugs to you!

        • I’m not crying, you’re crying.

          Seriously, thank you. Its been so long since an adult has said nice things about me it feels. I do get some applause from my child when I parallel park, but that’s not quite the same ;p

          • Parallel parking takes skill. You are allowed to be proud of that too. 🙂

            An no matter how hard our cheaters tried to convince us we were losers, at least we can take pride in the fact that we are better than they are because we have a moral compass and our integrity is still in tact.

            • Listen, if the people on this website are any indication, CHUMPS ARE FABULOUS. And THAT is why they got their hooks into us in the first place. Kind, respected, caring, witty, reasonable, people (who can fucking parallel park like champs!). Cheers to CN and now finally understanding how our big hearts can get us into big trouble.

              Narcs don’t go looking for crappy people to con. YOU MUST BE PRETTY AWESOME CHUMPINRECOVERY!

              I echo what several people have brought up before. We chumps need to have a national party and celebrate each other and our survival through unfathomable shit. I vote Vegas. (There’s a private forum thread about this somewhere.)

              • Forget the national party – let’s have an international one! Come to Australia in May for CL’s “Leave a Cheater Gain A Life: A Day with Tracy Schorn” event on 25 May in Newcastle!! I’m going 🙋🏼‍♀️

                I’ve never been to the States. But if y’all are gonna have a meet up, and if I could get the time off work, I would come! 👍🏼

              • Narcs and selfish jerks rarely pursue (initially anyway) their own kind so yeah the chumps on this board should know they are a special kind of wonderful which is why the defects pursued them in the first place. The defects then try to tear them down……don’t let them.

      • Yes, the modeling was the first thing that came to mind for me.

        When my ex was having his emotional affair (I never caught him in the physical part – if there was one) – he treated me like shit. At the time, my son was about 4-5.

        The one example I remember well: I found a patch of baby rabbits in our yard. My ex insisted I get ahold of them and raise them with our son so that he would learn about how to raise animals, and watch a live being grow from birth. This was a suggestion that was very much out of left-field from him. He was NOT into this kind of thing at all. He liked animals – especially dogs – but didn’t like them to THIS extent. I was very taken-back.

        I had a LOT of misgivings about the prospect of doing this in my gut – and I AM an experienced animal lover. He just started yelling at me – part of which was “how hard is this!” Well,,,, I called the local wildlife center, and they suggested that I NOT do this – that hand-raising wild rabbits is extremely hard and they don’t often make it. My gut feeling was right.

        So, I got the courage up to tell my ex what the center had said; and, he did nothing but scream at me. “What could possibly bring (me) to the decision to call a wildlife center? (You) can’t just do something I suggest ONCE without questioning it?” And so on,,,,,,,,,,,

        When I looked back on that – I was set up.

        Of course, I RARELY questioned him – Over years of treatment like this, I was afraid to. It’s years upon years of treatment like this that truly made me a Varsity player on the Boiled Frog squad. 🙁

        • It was really to keep you busy and distracted from what he was doing. My ex bought a $1500 full bred choc lab hunting dog puppy, one more thing for me to take care of when he was busy with the howorker. When we split, he suggested that the puppy stay with me and my older dog. I said no f—night way, that was his dog.

      • Congrats to you for being able to keep it together. I didn’t — actually I couldn’t — and I’m paying for it now. My 16yo daughter was initially compassionate, but grew angry as the months rolled on, felt I was weak and playing the victim. We had a spousal support battle going on for a year and she was furious with me for my rage and anger. She can’t understand why I can’t just magically revive my career after 16 years out of the work force. She’s now reunited with her father and I am now the bad guy. Sigh.

        • Giddy Eaglr – Sorry to hear you are going through that. Our daughter was never compassionate towards me. Stbx left and convinced her he had to go move in with girl 25 years younger who saved him from me as I was such a horrible person (behind closed doors). Two months after he left, stbx wanted to take our daughter camping – so he came and got the camper and our daughter. After he brought the camper back, I realized he also had his girlfriend on the trip, too. In the camper that I was making the payments on and paying the insurance for. After he brought the camper back, I went inside and felt furious. I picked up a motorcycle helmet and threw it a few times, bending some blinds on the kitchen window. Later, stbx and daughter were in the camper talking about what a bitch I was for doing that. That really hurt to see my daughter text her friend that I was a bitch who bent the blinds in the camper. (Instead of her dad being a heel for throwing away his family, I was the bad one for bending blinds). After I was the one who was involved in all of her school work, went to school awards, plays, helped with homework…. Two years later now she doesn’t want to see him as he puts his gf and baby before her and she sees the lies, etc. But she’s still not compassionate towards me.

          I would ask stbx what was going on before he left and he would claim nothing! Everything was fine! I was so insecure, blah blah blah. It’s just like others have said here – he tried to juggle two lives but turned meaner and meaner towards me.

          After he left and I stood up for myself changing locks, getting a lawyer, etc., then he really got angry. His doormat was not being compliant. His continued threats of what he was going to make me lose and accusations got wilder and wilder as I did not give in to him.

          Here’s a funny one: When we met we both had next to nothing as we were both starting over in life. Well, he told me how I had this all planned 17 years ago – I snagged him knowing that in 17 years he’d be making six figures and then I’d take him for it! Oh yeah, dummy, I’m going to pay a lawyer 30k to get some of your assets and be a single mom dragging an innocent kid through hell. What a totally awesome plan!

          They always project – he was the one who snagged me knowing I had job skills and would help him get back on his feet. Then I was no longer of use, so into the garbage I go.

          Garbage is a lot more pleasant to be around than him. Lol

          • My stbx told me he married me for my earning potential..(I was in nursing school at the time..) he had treated me like garbage since becoming a sahm because I was no longer contributing financially to HIS retirement dream…so on top of him cheating, lying, stealing money from me I now get to hope I escape with half his “dream” a shred of dignity and none of my future certain and at least 10 years knocked off my life expectancy from the stress…

          • nomorecamping,

            Hats off to you! I would have broken a lot more than bend blinds.

            I feel bad for your daughter not treating you well.

    • A positive: the new traditions that the kids and I have formed really mean a lot to me. (Sunday morning cinnamon rolls, putting up the Christmas tree that day after Thanksgiving, hot cocoa every single time it snows, etc.)

      …and a lot of the “fun” things we did together (when cheater stbxh would grace us with his presence) are actually fun now without his adult temper tantrums and fits of yelling in the car.

      • I love this, although if we had hot chocolate whenever it snows where I live I’d gain 15 lbs over the winter from drinking it alone 😀

      • Oh my goodness, yes. I would beg and beg for him to be involved; then on the few occasions he would join us for a family event, he would be MISERABLE and make me wonder, “Why did I even want him around in the first place?!”

        So glad that’s over!

        Sometimes now he will ask me to do things together “as a family” (we’re NOT a family. Your choice.)

        Oh HELL No!

    • Yes, the separate vacations. I’m just 3 months from Dday and far from resolving this situation but nothing makes me cry faster than picturing myself at the biannual extended family beach trip with my sisters and their husbands playing on the beach with their kids, and my son and daughter being the only 2 out of 9 with no Dad there. What kind of sexy fling is worth doing this to your family, Esther Perel? Another thing I’ll add is that treatment of the spouse rarely stays kind. My cheater told me he thought he could keep that life separate and it would make him a better husband but he just resented me more and more because I became a barrier/reminder of guilt which put a damper on all the fun he was having. He has treated me progressively more poorly Year after year.

      • Oh yes, fuckwit wanted me to jump up and run off on romantic getaways with him, which I did many times but with 5 children, it wasn’t easy. I would worry about arranging for their activities while I was away while he would just pawn everything off on his parents. Yes, they could stay there and they were “safe” but it was hardly ideal. I remember one trip when I came back and 8 year old had not bathed or brushed his teeth in 5 days. I said “didn’t Grammy have you do these things before bed? No, she just lay on the couch watching t.v. and we put ourselves to bed. Not the end of the world, but don’t most 8 year olds require some reminders and assistance?

        I am sure I have said this before but fuckwit created a travel log for discovery that shows 70 nights away with schmoopie in just the first 9 months since he left. On Valentine’s Day he sent 15yo and 13 yo identical email happy Valentine’s Day. I love you. I miss you. I hope to see you soon.(hasn’t seen either in over a year). So yesterday, I was talking to someone and she told me she had seen fuckwit at the airport on Valentine’s Day. Going out on a limb and guessing he was off on a romantic getaway with schmoopie. Point is Schmoopie comes ahead of the kids. Why isn’t this an obvious atrocity to the courts? Lawyer keeps saying the judges are about father’s rights. What right? The right to mindfuck your kid?

        Ok, I need to cool down.

        • No, you are exactly right to be hot about this. Pretty much the same here. Except they procreated. Because he wanted a mini-me. Guess how much the new baby comes before the two teenagers? They are so hurt and confused. They had never met the homewrecker and therefore did not even know she was expecting until… Bam. Today you have a half-brother. You’ll be great at babysitting. Yikes.

        • Do not, under any circumstances, think the courts are interested in social justice. The courts are like bots–they follow simple rules like 50/50 custody, kids need 2 parents, just because a person has cheated and run off with marital funds doesn’t make them a bad parent.

          Think the courts will take into account domestic abuse in custody decisions? Probably not.

          If you are relieved that your X runs off with Schmoopie and doesn’t see the kids for 3 years, because you think custody is now free and clear, think again. The fuckwit can (and may) resurface to seek 50/50 (or 100%) custody of those children you have been raising. Will the courts encourage wayward fuckwit to get custody? Most probably.

          The best any parent can do is document, document, document (a) ANY incident of domestic abuse (even verbal or emotional), and (b) missed visitation appointments or long absences from the children.

            • I’ve been reading his book this week. A must for anyone who had a controlling abusuve partner. I wish I’d read this before I married again. I found both my controlling first husband and my abusive second husband in the first 50 pages. While it might be difficult reading for young people, a few sections can be pulled out and used to start a dialogue. I’m doing that with my teens.

        • I hear you. My ex puts his AP in front of the kids and their feelings all the time. Our son needed a MRI and it was scheduled on Valentines Day evening. Ex didn’t bother showing up. He said why should he just drive there and back. I’m sure he had plans with his ho. Sad that he says he wants the kids in his life but he fails to bend over backwards displaying this.

      • “he thought he could keep that life separate and it would make him a better husband but he just resented me more and more because I became a barrier/reminder of guilt which put a damper on all the fun he was having. He has treated me progressively more poorly Year after year.”

        I believe this is what happened to me. He may have thought he could balance his evil duality and not abuse me, but it didnt work. He likely felt some guilt and to overcome that, he discerned reasons why I deserved his behavior. His anger and hostility was a mystery to me for years but when I learned of the serial cheating, it was as if all the pieces suddenly fit together.

        The idea that he would cheat (for years and years) then be mean to me over his cheating is such a giant shit sandwich, it overwhelms me. I will forever wonder how much of his work travel schedule (which really made life hard) was worsened to accommodate side-fucks.

        The time when he was way up Susans ass, he forgot he had kids and during that time, my mom was in a bad car crash (helicopter to trauma center->ICU, vent, coma) and he never went to the hospital with me…he stayed home and chatted with Schmoops. He failed me terribly.

        • Unicornomore, I relate to your ordeal.
          Almost 3 years since finding out my husband was leading a double life of visiting sex workers (including hid ‘favourite’) I still marvel every now and then at the escalation of callousness he was exhibiting.
          I didn’t really think of it the way you described. You are spot on, the resentment was building and the kids and I were increasingly becoming an obstacle to his escapades.
          The coldness of his heart was becoming more and more evident.
          He abandoned us when a cyclone was blowing in. My family and even his family, were concerned about me driving on the highway to get him to the airport so he could get to a conference (which I now know included an escort he would have had lined up). I begged him to turn around and come home as it was a 5 hour drive to the city. He feigned caring then said ‘Oh you really think so??? You guys will be alright.
          Usually I’d be fine, we often get summer cyclone warnings, but this time I genuinely wanted him home for the kids and I.
          Even his sister on the other side of the country said to him ‘oh nice, just leave your family while a cyclone is blowing in’! It was obvious to her the level of ‘I could care less’ and she was miles away.
          He was starting to make more and more reasons to withhold money from me, he was getting more and more critical of me but on the sly, I would catch him screwing his nose up at me behind my back, at my breasts, my skin, (I’m white) and so is he, but seems he was into much younger and exotic. The list go’s on.
          Thing is, now that we are working towards separating/divorcing, he keeps saying what an arsehole he was, he is having trouble dealing with losing me, he loves me, he now works just to take care of the kids and I, it’s the only reason he gets up in the morning, then slips in the old guilt card every now and then ‘with I’m working so hard I could just have a heart attack tomorrow’ (He is 44).
          I figure it’s the impression management going on as he runs a business in a regional town.
          Anyway, yiu get the picture.
          He still confuses the shit out of me with some actions of remorse, yet he will not express any sincere remorse. If pushed into a corner he will come out saying he loved every minute of it, he only lines 25 and under, or some other cruel comment, then deny or explain it away.,
          I have been a Chump with a capital C trying to reconcile the two men I married within the same man, doing the pick me dance and trying to understand why Inmet someone disrespect me for so long.
          Therein lyes part of the answer, the attempt at compartmentalising, so every time I called him on his behaviour, the gaslighting and denying made me question my truth. Until I didn’t know what to trust and so badly wanted to believe that it was the good husband that was real after 17 years of marriage and 3 kids. Ugghhh.

          • Let his remorse be expressed with money. Have him sign over everything in your name. Then get a post-nup, outlining your spousal support and so on. Have him give you a full disclosure of everything. Say “Faithful and True.” Meanwhile, make sure that you are taking care of yourself in everyway. His remorse might be to distract you while he does unthinkable, despicable things with your money.

            I really believe that the cheater grows exponentially worse with every extramarital sexual experience. They lose their taste for normal and only want rotten. It seems like that is what happened with your cheater.

            • Sin changes people…incrementally. When they start they likely have boundaries they are sure they will never cross…until the day they do. He is as awful as the worst thing he has done to you. He chose his actions and he liked them (I realize that mine seemed to have a preference for women who had never birthed babies) this monster is who he is

              • Unicornnomore
                We had no kids either, specifically because he ‘did not want kid” why, because he already had an agenda from day one. I suspect that he had it all planned to be with his golddigger from the moment she was willing to rent a beach house near our house, then obtain a huge mansion on the water all the while she would have had a 2 year old…who buys a 5 bedroom house as a single mom with a 2 year old? Red Flag. And her son coincides with the years of our marriage? Red flag, And all the deceit going on all these years and the perfect opportunities to hide the whore because he worked in an industry that he was on all kinds of great trips, allowing him to travel and all the conferences, etc etc. So him and his whore had the perfect love/romantic getaways on his dime and most definitely could show her a great lifestyle, and hide her in hotel rooms when it was ‘business’ trips, etc etc. I am being tortured by the fallout in finding it all out. All the while the fraud and con handed out by him, wasting my precious years of having a family. He had a great great life. And the whore shared in that great life. I believe she came in to a lot of his money that I believe he hid with her. All part of the deceit and fraud to be able to be with her in the end. In the years preceding the end of his life, he was very distant and was always thinking. He was nearing retirement. Whorepants was waiting it out and in collusion with him. I know she wanted him to leave me, of course she did…she was laying him secretly all these years, now she wanted a commitment. But then he died. I suffer now deciphering everything that went on and knowing I was being completely fooled and deceived and knowing I am the laughing stock probably. The aftermath is ugly. I dropped everyone and cleared the slate. Nobody is your friend when this is going on. But It plagues my mind that this could have been so good, so wonderful. He was a ‘great guy” but he chose to deceive me for no reason.

              • Duped I am with you exactly. It was the best relationship I ever had — truly a beautiful thing. How he could have just said Nah — don’t want this anymore — has plagued me incessantly. There are only two possibilities: He was lying the whole way through and it didn’t really mean anything to him; or he is twisted and destructive in ways I never knew existed.

                Pick one. Pick both. It still sucks.

              • I cannot get my head around it either. It’s sad. I was reading someone else’s comments when she mentioned she has to go out there now and date and there are such unattractive and gross (my words) men out there and then you have to wonder what their motives are…are they liars, players, predators…etc (my thoughts) I guess the ho bags our husbands went with (all though I don’t have absolute concrete proof) were truly getting ‘a good guy’ good enough to try to lure him from their wives. But it takes two to tango..

    • One more vote for (well against, really) the invisible parent phenomenon. While he was still there and cheating (and drinking and drugging), my ex could not be bothered with any day to day parenting and did not choose to attend parent-teacher conferences, chess tournaments, school plays and presentations, and on and on. And now that he is off being the swinging bachelor again, well, you can guess just how often he shows up for meaningful events in my child’s life. Never. Emphasis on MY CHILD, because BAM (BrokeAss Mountain) was merely a sperm donor. His focus was and remains on himself and his secret intrigues and his own adult life. Whereas my child has been my number one concern and love since the moment I knew he was to be.

      Slightly off topic, but the notion that the devoted parent must give any visitation time at all to the unfaithful and shitty parent is the biggest crime. The legal system means well, but I cannot agree that joint custody (particularly full 50/50) is in a child’s best interest given what a low priority that child was shown to be over and over. Makes me so mad … It is one final theft from the chump, added on to a long list of wrongs.

      • Exactly on part two… Who in the hell came up with that study and why is it used? A cheating Judge?
        Each situation needs to be based on what that other parent is really like… Disinterested and spiteful or just taking kids for monetary gain is a crime in its self never mind the ongoing emotional toll placing kids with the person who wants little to nothing to do with them.
        Judges need to be slapped awake sometimes.

        • Guardian ad Litems are quite likely to have been lawyers in a former life, and have very little training in either child development, parenting, or domestic abuse. Their recommendations are based on erroneous stereotypes and “findings” that children raised by single parents will end up heroin addicts, high school dropouts, and teenage parents. Judges will typically follow the recommendations of GALs because they have even less training in child development.

          Some states, like NH, actually have laws that state a child needs 2 parents.

          This should be round 2 of the Chump Revolution–insisting courts make more informed decisions about custody in the best interest of the children.

      • My ex was basically an invisible parent during our marriage. He also could not be bothered with day to day parenting, I could not count on him for after school pick ups if it was not his scheduled night (because on those nights he headed straight to the bar after work), he never attended school conferences, never went to school parties…but unlike yours, suddenly he goes to parties and every other Friday has lunch at school with our daughter.

        It pisses me off!! Where was this during the marriage?!

        Then I calm down and look closer…he still doesn’t do any day to day parenting, other than driving her to and from school. On the one school night he has her he does the bare minimum of homework. He doesn’t encourage her in her school work, only sports. She knows she can’t talk to him about feelings. She even told me once she never wants to tell him if she is upset with his actions for fear that he will feel bad.

        He has argued with me over who should carry her insurance because he wants to save money, even though him saving money means she loses her therapist.

        All he is doing now is impression management for the pregnant OW. “Look at me! I’m a good dad! I have linch with my daughter! I play with her every other weekend!” Right now everyone buys it, including my daughter. I can only hope that some day soon they all see through it.

        • Yes … my little boy is not so little anymore, but guess who he shares his deepest teenage concerns and private sex-related questions with … not his dad. They know deeply which parent truly has their back, understands and cares for them, … they know.

          • Yes. They do know. Even if you wonder sometimes and it seems like cheater has fooled them into thinking he is a good parent, the kids know. Mine are now college aged and have over the years expressed their appreciation of me and their clarity around the sperm donor.

            Stay focused on your children, when his new one arrives his mask will slip and his truth will show. Keep things sane under your watch, your kids will need the stability you have created for them.

            • For elementary and middle school I took our daughter to and from school, attended all of her plays, awards ceremonies, etc. Stbx attended a handful of these events and occasionally took her to school if I was sick. (Her school was by my work in another city). I helped her with all of her homework. He never helped.

              He left us when she’s in 2nd half of 8th grade and then he comes to her piano recital at school – with his 22 y.o. girlfriend. Twice. No shame whatsoever.

              He also wanted me to stay on car insurance etc., with him to get discounts. He wanted me to file married and jointly to reap monetary benefits – while he’s living with someone else.

              Uh, no. Let’s get this crap separated – I don’t care if I have to pay more. He was so upset. Unbelievable. Then when I filed married separately – oh man was he furious! Duh – we have been separate for a year, I’m filing separate.

              Just like a selfish narc – destroy family and expect destroyed family to cater to him while he’s in a new life, new home, new gf, new baby…..

              Cancer chump – it took almost two years for our daughter to really see through it and be thoroughly disgusted – but horribly hurt. She still struggles with his narrative, though, that I was so ‘mean’ he had to move in with schmoopie who “saved” him. She wants to believe her dad. He was the world to her. She says she tries not to hate him. I told her don’t hate him, but hate what he’s done. Hating people is never good.

              • We have very similar stories. I’m going through the filing jointly thing right now. Does it benefit me to file separately? He still pays for everything.

              • Oh yes, the financials are the consequences cheaters seem to think don’t apply to them. It’s quite conveinant to be “Married Filing Jointly” and/or “letting them pay for everything” while living separately. It’s a trap that benefits ONLY the cheater. I agree to get shit separated as soon as you can, otherwise you’re simply helping fund their other lifestyle. The one that you’re not supposed to know about – that does not include the day to day stuff of running YOUR household or being available to you or the kids for stuff like homework, ballet recitals, soccer games, honor awards and all the stuff a spouse/parent should do. They can’t have it both ways, unless chumps let them and that’s the part we all learn here on this site – how to show up fully, how to recognize that we have been taken advantage of and it’s OK to get pissed and put a stop to it.

                This site is an invaluable tool box. The stories are all slightly different but at the core we are all here for the same reason and by educating ourselves and connecting the dots in our own lives that show us cheaters all act similar, we can use others experiences and pain to avoid going down a path that will inevitably end in pain for us. Is it really worth suffering one more minute just to keep the cheater happy? Trust they suck. They wouldn’t even know if happy kicked them in the ass (if you’re like me I know you’ve been happy ass kicking for years) so go ahead and reach deep into this tool box of chump nation and pull out your mighty.

                Try mighty ass kicking out, they won’t even know what kicked them. It’s even better than gray rocking 😉

              • I would say, ‘don’t hate him, but see him clearly and know what to expect from him’.

                Living in reality always works out better, in the end, despite what the delusional cheaters think!

        • CancerChump – mine is very similar. Never did any day to day parenting, never came to doctors/therapist/school appointments (there have been many for both my girls), rarely attended performances, hadn’t been on holiday with us for more than 3 years when he left, and spent his time at home in his office, away from us all (and he worked pretty long hours). Initially when he left and he was so intoxicated with his new life this continued – then he realised it made him look shit to OWife and her cronies, so started to come to appointments which was really just very annoying as he had nothing to contribute, not knowing my children, except image management for himself. My elder daughter already had issues with him prior to his leaving for his lack of being present – and now has no relationship with him and has requested he doesn’t come to her medical appointments.
          Younger daughter sounds very like yours though – he has her every other Weds night and every other weekend. She refuses to take her homework to his for him to help her and when I offered for him to be able to take her to her riding lesson (his wife has started riding where my daughter’s pony is kept – long story) she said no. She knows it isn’t deep, or really safe, and I know is just playing along at being the good prop now as she doesn’t want to disappoint him. She is reluctant to say much to me about him as she knows I am angry with him, even though I don’t badmouth him (although talks about everything else to me) but she did say to me a while ago that she was worried he was going to love OWife’s sons more than her (he got married 5 months after leaving as we weren’t married). I don’t know how much he really loves anyone – certainly no one anywhere near as much as himself, not even his children. I think she is still craving his approval more than she is expecting anything from him. It makes me sad to see, and I can see her becoming a little more uncomfortable with it as time goes on, but whilst she is still willing to go along with it I feel it is her journey. I know that I am where trust and safety intimacy are for her and am glad that she can feel that somewhere. Seems it is similar for many of us.

    • This. I am still in the midst of my separation and what kills me the most is the Christmas tradition I was hoping to keep my family that I truly valued in mine growing up. Just my parents and brother at home on Christmas Day. Now I don’t get to do that for my children because the it’s not fair parent HAS to see the children on Christmas Day, so Christmas Day for the rest of my life will be split. I’m still very SMAD about this.

      Their father ruins every special family moment we try to have together. The kids are only 3 & 5 so there’s a lot of contact between us. Just last night instead of talking up our older ones great progress report at school he screamed and yelled at him until he cried and then NEVER apologizes. This then makes my routine chaos – I do 90% of everything and always have.

      The fact that he expects me to give up 50% of my time with my children that I have cared for on my own for almost their entire lives is asinine, but the legal system requires me to do what is in the best interest of my children – it would only be seeing him when absolutely necessary IMO.

      The final kick in the ass is that I have to deal with my ex for the entirety of my life because of choosing to have children with someone who is different than they led me to believe.

      • woolwasovermyeyes~family traditions, especially Christmas I hoped to keep with my own family. As well as a tradition of an intact loving family. I looked forward to us as a couple, reminiscing and sharing our adventures to our children/grandchildren.
        I hate that our son’s foundation has been destroyed. Our children’s lives have been imploded with splitting time, cheater’s lies and lack of integrity. The stress of splitting time will be something they will have to live with forever. Life is difficult enough without Cheater making it more difficult for everyone. I feel guilty for breeding with such a poor role model and father figure.

        Cheater also led me to believe he would be a good husband, father and family man. He’s an imposter.

      • WWOME – you have to document ALL of the verbal and emotional abuse that he’s inflicting on your children. Screaming at a 5 year old means he doesn’t have the emotional capacity to parent effectively, and it can have long-term repercussions on your baby. You might even record a short video of your son coloring or playing with toys and you ask him off-camera what happened and how it makes him feel. Let him say it in his own words what happens when he’s at that asswipe’s house. Start taking him to an individual counselor who specializes in childhood trauma and divorce (mine is fantastic with my almost 18 yo daughter and has seen her since she was 14) and then you’ll have a professional record of how this moron is emotionally and verbally abusing your kids. Want at least a fighting chance to keep your kids from being exposed to his abuse? Document.

        Because I kept my daughter in counseling each month and developed a bulletproof record of what his behavior an emotional abuse does to her psychologically and emotionally, my daughter has had zero contact with her dbag sperm donor in almost three years now and has THRIVED because of it. I found an amazing counselor who has a $65 flat fee, and doesn’t hassle or bother with insurance. Just $65 per visit. As a single parent this was worth the investment. We’re at the very end (final 1.5 months) of our BS journey with the court & child custody system, but you’re just at the beginning of a L O N G 13 and 15 more years. Make him have to jump through hoops. We all know they’re QUITTERS.

        My lawyer and I made it harder for the dbag to see my daughter in that, he refused to pay and go to psychotherapy for his violent nature and background, it means that we’re free of him. In my “addendum to the child custody agreement” it states that a $150/session with a specific-named counselor is the only environment in which he can possibly see her. He’s a quitter. He won’t do it when there’s money to be spent on anything else, so we’re free of him. Document, individual counseling for your child, and show that pattern of verbal and emotional abuse to a minor. In the US, age 5 is still considered a “toddler” when buying clothing. Really? Abusing a toddler? Stop him.

        I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, but use that anger to find a way to move forward and protect your kids from him now, before his abuse takes hold of their idea of what “normal” relationships are. (((Hugs)))

        • “Make him have to jump through hoops. We all know they’re quitters.” One of the best pieces of advice I have ever seen regarding these image-management centered shallow narc ‘dads’. My ex was confronted by me on some strange behavior, spilled his guts like a taun-taun about an affair he’d been having while working out of town, and moved to the opposite coast all in 20 hours. Left me with our 1 and 2 year old babies with no money and no plan. This was 4 years ago, almost to the day.

          I have no co-parent. It’s all on me. At first, this enraged me to no end. But the more time I spend here and in therapy, the more I realize how lucky this makes me and my children. He is false. A hologram. A promise of a real person, but you take a closer look and realize he’s just a cardboard cutout. A FAKE. So while heartbreaking, yes, my kids are better off that he is as far away as possible.

          He took me to court for custody last year out of the blue. It was to try to get child support reduced, not because he suddenly had some epiphany about his failures as a father. So my lawyer and I set up a series of hoops. Reunification therapy, here. Short duration trips that could turn into long ones, here. Then, if he did those things which were in the best interest of the mental health of his children, he could fly them out during summers and some holidays to spend time with him and his sparkly new family on the opposite coast. He was shocked I would require that of him. He thought he could just drop in 3 years after walking out on them, and just grab his kids like they were nothing more than some terriers he could toss in a crate. Entitlement off the freakin charts.

          In my head, I knew he would never do hoops. In my heart, I thought maybe I’ve built this guy up to be such a monster that I haven’t considered the possibility that he actually might surprise me and step up for a relationship with these children. Maybe I was wrong. These are our CHILDREN. He might…

          Nope. No hoops. It was the final test run of ‘when they show you that they suck, believe them.’ I am finally a true believer. He SUCKS.

  • I want to add to financials. Unpaid child support – the double/triple whammy it is on your pocketbook. During child support arrears means no money now (immediate effect in everyone) which in turn, means no money to invest in your own financial future (read retirement – long term effect for you) and outlay of cash to “chase” deadbeat (immediate and long term effects for both you and your kids).

    Mental health – as a single parent, you are both disciplinarian and comforter. It’s a difficult role

    Time Robber – custody arrangements mean you have to miss out time with your beloved children and the kicker, hand them over to dysfunctional Foty and his newest whimsy. Dual edge sword because foty’s Only concern is himself and will drop responsibility to visitation for any and all pursuits that satisfy him.

    • Hang in there, woolwasovermyeyes.

      I cannot promise you things will get better. My own experience is that they remain hard–though the way they are “hard” changes from year to year and from child to child.

      The odds that your EX will grow less interested in maintaining his share of the custody are, however, in your favor. I think on some level we will have to deal with our EXs for decades, but 6 years ago when I left and my EX was insisting on 50/50 custody, I’d have never guessed where we’d be today (I have 100 percent legal custody).

      Taking care of kids is hard–and people prone to cheating are not likely to sustain the level of responsibility required to get kids to school with two shoes and a lunch and homework and all their innoculations up to date and a signed permission slip for the field trip and cleats for the after school sport and a water bottle, etc. etc. etc. Some of these cheaters will leave their kids entirely and others will slowly use less and less of their time.

      Unfortunately, the most common pattern may be the refusal to maintain a pattern. In February they use all their custodial time, and in March they miss half their time, and in April they miss 2 days, and in June they suddenly aren’t available but want all of July, etc. Don’t budge, though. Follow the custody agreement yourself and let your EX make a hash of his responsibilities all by himself.

      So, again, hang in there. Be the sane parent. Take pride in all that you are doing even though he doesn’t deserve the benefits of your love and dedication.

      • Thanks Eilonwy your words mean a lot. Today is a hard day because of last night. Just after 2 nights ago when he was apologizing for not walking away and instead ruining everything. This constant roller coaster and barrier of not selling the house is killing me.

      • Exactly what has happened to us as well. In December (9 months after divorce and 3 years after DDay) X chose to see our youngest child, 13, for 2 hours — a single meal the first week of the month. He didn’t see the oldest 2 at all and he saw our middle daughter who is grown a few times when she went to get $ for school fees. X was apparently in Europe for the Christmas holiday with young golddigging OW— heard they are “on again off again” from another woman X is preying on — bet OW doesn’t know that! Karma bus.

    • Financials was a huge, huge part of my chump recovery.

      Dave Ramsey states that money is THE thread that is interwoven in EVERY aspect of our lives. Finances created a domino effect for every aspect of my life until I lost EVERYTHING. Health insurance, truck, business, work tools, retirement, etc. I couldn’t stop the mudslide of devastation.

  • Let’s add to the health list as it’s not only you physical health that they violate but emotional, mental and spiritual health are also abused.

    • YES. So much this. I really think that I developed rheumatoid arthritis because of the immense amount of stress I was under being married to my ex. He was a selfish narc, an arrogant bully, and made my life hell so much of the time…but being the chump I was, I spackled and made excuses for him and excuses for me to stay. I am SO GLAD he is gone.

  • “Co-parenting”
    Shuffling the kids back and forth. Duffle bags packed with clothes, diapers, medicine that is or is not given as prescribed by the pediatrician, special bedtime toys that on a regular basis are not returned with the children. Splitting up holidays. Unpaid child support. Sending small children with untreated mentally ill and neglectful parent because the court orders supersede your parenting common sense. I could keep going on…

    • Not to mention the good clothes I buy never get sent back with my kid. Sometimes weeks will go by and he comes back in an outfit I sent him in and I realize “Oh, wow, I forgot about that shirt”. Meanwhile, somehow I’ve been collecting the jeans that are too short and the shirts that are worn and faded….

      • #12Years: How about he never even buys clothes in the first place? Kidlet is 15 now and growing like a weed! All those jeans that fit last week that don’t fit this week? My problem. Winter jackets? Hiking boots and outdoor gear for scout trips? I paaaaaayyyyyyy chiiiiiiild suuuppppport. Yeah, asswipe because the state garnishes your wages otherwise I wouldn’t see one.fucking.red.fucking.cent.

      • RE: missing clothing.
        If I recall parenting young ones, they will likely outgrow many items given how long/if they are returned. OY

  • The ptsd, the intrusive thoughts, worrying about being financially secure, worrying about our children’s emotional and mental states.

    Losing the life you thought you had and every memory is tainted by infidelity.

    Trying to shake off the flying monkey family members that your future ex has lied too just to isolate you even further.

    When I look at lists of things psychopaths do to their partners – mine checked off everyone.
    The blameshifting and gaslighting was horrific.

    I escaped all that craziness and now I’m trying to divorce him and get a fair settlement. My life is so much better but some days I feel like I’m spinning in circles. Can’t wait to be rid of him and get on with my life.

    I’m looking forward to the “how did your life improve when you left a cheater”. My list of improvements will be much longer! Trust that they suck.

    • At 66, all plans for stopping work and leisurely enjoying walks, grandkids, boating, sunsets, friends etc turned upside down. Now building new life, working, finding new home, selling old stuff, finding new single friends, new activities I can do without a partner to share like boating. learning new ways to be with grandkids without help of granddad. All topsy turvy.

      • Yes, Thrive, I agree. I was only 50 when it all happened, but the impact is the same: All those future plans, POOF, gone. Suddenly I have to recalculate everything and, as you said, new friends, new activities…. Challenging and exhausting when I was already exhausted!

        • This! Combined with above:
          We’ve lost BOTH the past – “when did the cheating really start?” review of all history together and the future – hopes, plans, dreams. Granted it was with a mirage of a human being, but it shakes the terra firma beneath us dramatically. Takes some MIGHTY chump strength to overcome this earthquake and rebuild. (But – we’re awesome like that – looking forward to next week!)

        • Thrive, Biblio, all our Silver Queens and Senior Chumps…
          I threw him out when I was 68 years old…married 46 Years. Even though I called “Out” immediately, it did not matter. He simply ghosted me. He has not contacted me once in four years. Blessing or Curse?? The journey forward has been such a struggle. My life…past, present and future was over and was a lie. I am four years now into creating a new life. It is exhausting…I feel like I am slashing my way through a jungle. I am living in a new city, making new friends and I try to keep putting new pieces in place in this life. I just bought a new puppy on Saturday…my latest piece. It is everything you both said. Some days I just feel crushed.

          • Aww Blown Away–thanks for sharing. I love the description, “I feel like I am slashing my way through a jungle.” I Imagine after 46 years it’s been incredibly challenging. I admire your fresh start. A new puppy! So sweet and a best pal to love you unconditionally.

          • I realize these posts have a limited time that people read them, so perhaps no one will even see this response, but sometimes it takes me a while to think, ponder, process…. And I’ve been thinking about BlownAway’s post.

            Two years after Dday, I gave up trying to fight my feelings and moved out of state (XH was still here then), to Oregon where I continued to be unhappy. I thought it was the job I was working at, so I came back to Alaska (XH & OW have since married & left), and this isn’t working either (for reasons both inside and outside myself), so I’m planning to leave the country (an idea which pre-dates Dday). — I’m sure people looking at me from the outside think I’m a big bold adventurer, just doing whatever I want, but instead I feel like I’m … just as you said … slashing away, looking for something that feels … better than this. (And, yes, I know some of this is just who I am, depression, what-not, but at least I’ve learned to stop that thought from spiralling into a “maybe this is why he left me” death-spiral….)

            • I totally understand the feeling. It is like the earth keeps moving underneath you. I have also felt like moving might help but am staying out put for now. I need to let me emotions settle. I’m 10 months out from day and 3 months from divorce. It is a tidal wave of change. I was at 30 yrs marriage. Blown away: hugs!

      • I can relate…age 65 and what I thought I would be doing has all been changed with the OW in the picture and cheater deciding 41 years of marriage is not what he signed up for. Lots of changes ahead.

    • This^^^

      The Ester Perel types don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to these costs.

      I’d like to deliver them up to an approximation of the experience, but on their limited level…

      What if Ester Perel had to wake up one day to a world in which her priorities were sacrificed against her will? What if one day she learned every one of her audience members, those whom she thought agreed and were so impressed by her defense of infidelity, actually were only acting that way just to enjoy making a joke out of her? What if she had a D-day where it turned out her “fans” loved the power of their secret mockery of her. There existed even a kind of a time-honored shared experience among these strangers built solely upon their feigned adoration of her while in reality leading her on and hating her. They actually had gatherings where they laughed about her latest idiotic comment. She walked in on one and was utterly stunned and in disbelief. She found more signs but began thinking that this mockery was the actual joke and it would all end soon and go back to normal. But her literary agent and the TED talk producers it turns out had been working in secret (she found their emails) to put on “this idiot show”. It was even bigger than they had ever expected, and they’d been able to keep it going for years and years. They had embezzled most of the proceeds. And everywhere she went, the store, a restaurant, a gas station, they all now smirked. She was a joke. Her life had been fodder for other people’s usage. But she didn’t just give up. She’d try to make her case for infidelity again, you know, sticking to her guns, but wherever she did this it was like opponents came out of the woodwork and the one person she was talking to turned into a dozen who were ridiculing and attacking her and her beliefs. She couldn’t believe it. What had happened to her beautiful fame and honored status as “more evolved and enlightened”? All the beautiful people were spitting at her. She lost all bearings on reality as she reeled through memory after memory. This mockery had gone on for as long as she could recall. She remembered being recruited by her agent with all kinds of praise. That was decades ago. People she depended upon, people she had sacrificed for, had been the very ones most involved in keeping the charade going. In a fog, she isolated herself in a shivering dark depression. She needed help to get a grasp of reality again, but professional counseling was all that was left to her. Others either were against her or had no idea what she was facing and kept telling her she needed to forgive and change. But what had she done wrong? Counselors would have to be supportive regardless of their beliefs about her because, well, she knew that ethics mattered in that part of life (she thought to herself you can cheat at the very center of your life, but once per week therapy must be absolutely sacrosanct). But damn if the psychotherapist didn’t blame her for the mockery and betrayals. The therapist even put their sessions on YouTube.

      I could go on. But wouldn’t it be great to hit these shallow creatures where their “meaning” and importance lives? And then tell them something like “Get over it, it just about some entertainment. Are you against entertainment?!”

      • Yes, TKO…when you take a betrayal as bad as what he suffered and superimpose that over a different context, it looks truly horrid.

        My daughter adored her father, yet, what if he had betrayed their relationship the way he did mine?

        “Ive decided that I dont want you as a child anymore because you are a terrible child” (cue 2 hour list of all of her faults) but there is no one else, I am just sick of being your dad (later to learn he found a different kid to devote himself to and he was lying) and all the tons more shit they do…

      • Brilliant, just brilliant!
        Reminds me of that Jim Carey movie where he lived in a fake world that was created for entertainment of those watching…. terrifying but exactly how I feel.

      • TKO , MADE ME CRY .remembering all the horrible things he has said about me .the liberty’s they take to trash you to other people . i had a bug on the phone and got a whole conversation with his slutbag and him talking . he said horrible things , my blood pressure went up and my chest started hurting , the pain was excruciating , i was so shocked and crushed , then found out the affair had been going on 2 years , he was f*cking her at the firehouse , on the golf course , going to her house everyday that i was at work . i was killing my self , trying to parent 4 kids , work a full time job , do all the household chores , we went to therapy , a Christian counselor, of course ,he ask me what i did to make my husband cheat . NOTHING YOU F*CK ! do you not see that he is a liar , disrespectful, dishonest , untrustworthy and lacks integrity ……..some people never get it , but i went back , BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE . the youngest was a toddler , then i had MAN toddler to take care of too . you all know he went uderground with the cheating , never stopped , only turned pro ,at cheating and lying and stealing ……..i just got sicker and sicker from the cognitive dissonance ………..

      • Omg this is the most powerful explaination of what it feels like to go through this shit show of narc abuse… i cant tell hiw this hits home for me i think i might frame it for future reference. Thanks for going to the trouble it is priceless when someone can articulate the living nightmare of decades of your life.

  • Like the two commentators above, for me it’s all about the children.

    -the impact that cheating has on their emotions and their lives as adults (bigger chance of depression;troubled relationships)
    -the fact that they feel betrayed as well
    -the shame in the community if the cheating is known by others
    -what it does to their sense of trust.

    For me it’s all about the kids.

    • The kids are the big one for me. It’s about the role-modeling they get. This is why you HAVE to get out early.

      Dad gaslights mom and openly disrespects her? Kids won’t have any respect for mom either.

      Mom values going to church, but dad turns his back on it because all that moralizing bothers him? Kids will take the easy route and reject church too.

      Dad deals with life stresses by finding a new girlfriend for kibbles? Son learns to do the same.

      Mom is the un-fun person because she’s cleaning up financial garbage, and all the other garbage strewn around by cheating dad? Kids will gravitate towards the fun person (dad) and reject whatever mean ol’ mom says.

      I’m not saying this happens in all cheating relationships; your mileage may vary; but it’s what happened in mine. It took a long time for the kids to realize that not-so-fun mom was actually the parent modeling ethical behavior and integrity, and that ethics and integrity shoule be valued at all.

      • After my Dday, on C-Day (confrontation of cheater), I made cheaterpants tell the kids what he had done. He didn’t tell DD15 what he had “done wrong”, but did tell DS21. DS told me his own response was, “THAT’s where I get it from!” I about fell out. He was living with his gf of a year, whose mother had just died 2 months prior, but was texting another girl. He straightened up his shit, as far as I know (we’re pretty open about things), but I couldn’t believe it at first. Also, schmoopie had come on to DS also.
        TRUST that they suck.
        Add the MANY ways our kids are put at risk, directly and indirectly, from these selfish trainwrecks of humanity. WTAF, right?

        • My oldest stepson is exactly like his father. I just talked to his mother yesterday (the first ex-wife) and she told me that at one point, he had THREE girlfriends at once. He’s had two pregnancy scares, an STD, and God knows what else. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree here. And it’s really sad. I tried my best to give him a good home and be a good stepmom, but I know I failed in spectacular ways, but still, I TRIED. His dad smokes and drinks and when my stepson was little, he knew it was wrong and hated to see his dad drunk. But guess what he started doing when he was a teenager? Drinking like a fish. Still does it. It makes me sad. Their entire family has a history of alcoholism, and unfortunately, neither of them had the determination to stop the cycle.

    • I probably would be closer to meh if I didn’t have three heartbroken sons who watched their father skip off on all of us to fuck a bimbo and then financially abuse us out of spite.

      The damage done is irreparable, as evident with my 23 year old addicted son, my twenty one year old son who struggles with rage when anxious and has lost his girlfriend because of it, and my seventeen year old son who has spent the past five years since the abandonment trying to make his needs as small as possible.

      Their father modeled how to treat me as an appliance, and now his bimbo as a live-in side piece.

      I can model respect for the rest of my life for them, but it will never undo their experience.

      I will never forgive X for what he did to our kids. I hate him for it.

      • Oh, Chutes, your post is so sad. I’ll never know how much damage Two-Legged Rat did to our three sons, but our oldest died by suicide at 20, our middle son is just starting to like me and respect me, and our youngest, at 24, is striving in therapy to learn how to set boundaries and make his needs heard. You are the sane parent, you will be there for them and they know it (when my middle son came out of the closet five years ago, he chose me to tell first). There is hope!

        • I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your son. That is a torture no parent should ever have to endure. My oldest has attempted suicide since he was very young. Now he self medicates and plays Russian roulette with alcohol and drugs. I wait for “the call.”

          I’m sending hugs and strength right back.

          • Hi Chumpiest/Chutes and Ladders:

            I can’t stop crying. Thank you both for your posts. My boys are still young. Sometimes in the thick of the chaos I can’t even see things a week out, let alone years. Printed and posted these in my “why i will never go back” journal. I’m sorry and my heart breaks for you.
            Thank you for modeling “mighty”. XoxoxO

            • My biggest regret was buying into the “staying together for the children” excuse. Essentially, I gave X more time to ingrain the notion into three more future men that women are only useful when they shut up and serve.

              I don’t know if I can ever undo that.

          • Chumpiest and ChutesandLadders,
            Sending many many hugs and love to you both!!
            (((((((((((((((((❤️)))))))))))))))))

            Sometimes there are just no words,
            Except to send love and say I am so sorry for all you and your family’s pain.

        • Chumpiest,
          I feel sad for you and your sons for the death of one of your sons and the other struggles you have borne. Sending you a virtual hug.

      • Chutes,……… truth! It is the same with my eldest and remaining son. My heart breaks for him because he is such good man, with a kind and loving heart, and he is deep into alcoholism. He has lost his marriage, his home, and job. Still he drinks.

        I love him with all my heart, and there is nothing I can do to help him. All I can do is bless him and release him, and refuse to enable him. Knowing that he is putting alcohol before food, that he is on the verge of becoming homeless, that he is in danger of losing joint custody of his children, makes me so sad.

        I really believe that if cheater ex had not been in the picture, things might have been different. My eldest son has never dealt with cheater ex murdering his little brother. I don’t know if he ever will. He won’t have a chance to unless he puts the plug in the jug.

        I pray for him, and pray he reaches his bottom before he dies from his addiction. Thank goodness for Alanon, it is saving my sanity.

        I was at meh, but at the moment, I hate cheater ex with the heat of a million suns. He was a walking pestilence, and is still causing harm. It may very well be be that he will succeed in killing both my sons. Just years apart.

        Hugs Chutes and Chumpiest. I wish I had more comfort to give.

        • All you might mom’s of boys! I have three. My stbx mother cheated
          And stayed with her affair partner. It makes me so angry that this is the legacy his family has created for my boys. All I can hope is they have seen firsthand the deviation he has caused me. I want them to be happy and healthy….

        • (((((((((Tessie))))))))
          Oh dear Tessie,
          This morning I am reading recent archives and I am so very sad to see your post regarding your Son.
          All you and he have been through, and still so much more pain. Always the pain.
          My good friend who lost her Son at 18 years of age, always tells me ” Where there is life, there is hope.” She knows I am struggling with worry over my young grandson with serious cardiac health concerns.
          I hope and pray that somehow your Son’s addiction can be helped.
          Tessie, you model strength and fortitude like no other living person, but man, that load must get so hard to carry at times.
          I wish I could help more than with just words but I sure mean it when I say, “Tessie you are in CN’s heart, heck, YOU are the heart and souls of CN!”

          Xxxxxxxxxxx
          peacekeeper

      • Ditto. Clearing up after kid mental health issues post discard for the younger model is another level of fuck you.

    • My daughter says she doesn’t ever want to get married because she is afraid of commitment. It isn’t that she is afraid of being betrayed, it is that she fears she is too much like her dad and wouldn’t be able to sustain her level of commitment. That it would be too much of a burden for her. So sad.

      • This is so sad! I hope you have some opportunities to talk to your daughter about at least being very honest in her relationships. If she’s not sure she can sustain commitment, she needs to tell partners and potential partners that. If she prefers a non-monogamous relationship at any point, she needs to talk with her partner(s) openly. She needs to avoid having children until she knows she can follow through on that biggest of all commitments. And she may find that with time and maturity (which is created through self-reflection), she is quite able to be a loyal, long-term partner and parent.

        Because it’s not the fact divorce that is the hardest for Chumps, it’s the dishonesty, and the abandonment of their children.

    • MJO every thing you said is true . my 4 ,now adults , although functional , are epic fails , each one , is unhappy and suffering in some way .i did the best i could ,with lying cheating thief modeling bad behavior ,day and night , and constantly belittling every one , it takes its toll , they never felt valued and loved by him .my youngest will hardly speak to me , because ,her opinion , i allowed him to mistreat me and the kids by staying .they were all aware that there was something wrong with him .

      • RAB,
        Your family’s situation sounds rough. I have not met your family, but did you ever consider that your kids might be successful just for being functional in a chronically challenging situation?

    • For me the gift (of pain) that keeps on giving is the loss time time I have with my grandchildren. That, plus the holidays I now don’t get to see my children or grandchildren at all. It’s hard enough to share with the in-laws, but to have to share with my ex too really stinks. The time I’d hoped to spend with my kids and grandkids is cut to about 1/4 of what it would have been. This is made more difficult by the fact that their dad bought a huge resort home and all the kids/grandkids are much more comfortable staying there than in my small house that doesn’t have enough bedrooms and bathrooms. Nothing I can do about it. Just sucks. In order to see my kids as much as possible I have to save money to go visit them, which I do gladly, but it’s expensive. It doesn’t cost my ex to see the kids like it does me.

  • An STD definitely makes it almost impossible to date and move on. Dating is no fun when you know you will have to have “the talk” at some point.

      • Hurt and Anonymous, I met a lovely man, got to know him as a friend, and we both wanted more. I DREADED the talk (HSV) and thought I’d rather break it off. I took a leap of faith because I figured what’s to lose if I’m going to break up anyway and turns out he had it too — from a cheating fiancé 25 years ago! We’ve been happily together ever since.

        I know how hard it is but it’s likely you’ll find many who do too or simply don’t care.

        • Please don’t be ashamed. It’s almost more likely that a sexually active adult has one than not these days, so just lay it out there after you know there is sexual interest, but before clothes come off. I wish that we would stop stigmatizing them. Having one is not a moral failing.

  • My cheating ex-wife took from me, and sacrificed at the alter of her side-fucks, the truthful story of my life. She duped me into living a lie, her lie. The college romance I thought I had, the sacramental marriage, the decades of building a home and a family and businesses together—none of it was true. Every anniversary, every holiday, every intimate embrace was a fraud inflicted on me. Taken together, they almost deprived me of an identity altogether. Who are you if you are not the person you thought you were since 1984?

    It would have been far less shattering to discover that I was born with a prehensile tail and webbed feet, or had been abducted as an infant by circus freaks, or was the secret rape-child of Strom Thurmond. Identity theft at this existential level is an inhuman cost to impose on anyone. No one should be deprived of the true story of their life.

        • Yep. At one point I asked Mr Fan what he wanted-he said I want something I can never have-respect. 🤣 I said I want what I thought I had. And I still do. Chump Nation was instrumental in helping me realize that whatever he did, I acted in good faith. That can’t be taken from me. I raised our kid into an adult with integrity who has her mom as a proper constant in her life and who has drawn her own conclusions about her donor’s behavior. That can’t be taken from her.

          I still want what I thought I had, and I will get it.

          ❤️ To all Chump Nation.

    • Hell yes, nomar!
      It re-writes your entire life together.
      Sours happy memories.
      Casts shadows of doubt.
      Shatters self worth.
      Degrades, irradicates, demeans the love you gave.

    • Yes, nomar, fraud is exactly the correct term. And having it perpetrated over such a long period of time with such malice is what makes the 50/50 No Fault divorce yet another crime against the chump.

    • Yes. I’m 4 years post divorce from CheaterX, and mostly at meh. But I’m left wondering: in my 26 year marriage, was ANY of it real? The only satisfying answer is that I was real, and that’s all that matters in the end.

      • Agreed completely with Nomar and others. Fraud. Deceit. Discarded. PTSD for myself and kids. How can we rewrite history so fluidly as the cheater and their flying money posse and schmoopies do??

      • Yes, me too…26 years married…29 together and came to learn that he likely cheated all along and he is dead, so I will never learn the truth…just SO MANY questions…memories I thought were solid now have to be completely reconsidered knowing that he was fucking around.

        My identity as his wife was so central to who I perceived myself to be. Im really fortunate now to have good things in my life worth pursuing so that I can create my identity without any of him in it at all.

        • Unicorn
          I understand and empathasize with you. It sucks big time that I have to ponder every day wtf was this all about. Why was I a pawn in his game without even realizing it. Keeping me hanging around while he fucked around. I wonder everyday (can’t help it) what was real??? Was any of it real ? Then the icing on the cake was his family stealing my photo albums, sort of like saying, your marriage never really existed…and we are going to make sure that you don’t have the memories either….Real sociopaths at work to destroy my existence. Sort of like taking an eraser or white out and just blotting me out of the picture like I never existed…now that he’s dead. Well, didn’t I already experience that while he was alive, now I have to be subjected to the fucktard family memories further erasing me? Wtf !

          • You are the gal who was disinherited when her husband died, right? I know you are fighting an uphill battle, but in many places, there is a minimum of what a lawful spouse gets from an estate…they cant legally take everything from you…but Im sure enforcing that would be hard. Im sorry you are suffering this

            • unicornnomore
              No, I was definitely not disinherited. My husband was a creep with his coworker but of course I was in his will. It was His family that came here and stole from me because they felt everything was for them. But only what was left to them was for them, not the stuff they stole from my house, that was not for them.
              His family was just jealous and as it turned out they must be sociopaths
              also my last reply was for shechump..not to you…sorry

    • Nomar – You are so insightful.

      ‘Who are you if you are not the person you thought you were’
      for me.
      It’s like a storefront shingle ‘Chumped…’

      and

      ‘Identity theft at this existential level is an inhuman cost to impose on anyone.’

      Using Chutes & Ladders as a visual, infidelity opened up all the chutes leading to psychological damage to me and to our children, along with the financial devastation, the deprivation of education opportunities, the loss of an entire set of family members, and long-term health risks.

      • AndImDone, you’ve perfectly summed up why I chose my moniker. I thought we were so close to winning the game, only to be tossed down the long chute to the bottom.

      • It is, isn’t it? (Hi, LAJ) — I was just thinking last night, had a flash memory of something with XH and then having to (now auto-)correct, “Nope. He was never there. That was all you.” Very Matrix-like. I doubt I’d be any more surprised to wake up and find a big plug in the back of my head….

    • Exactly this, Nomar. Without the anchor of who you thought you were, you are adrift and looking for direction on how to gain a life.

    • I completely agree with you, Nomar. The effects of being tricked into a marriage that really wasn’t are long-lasting.

      But…my rebellious nature refuses to give up either my memories or my identity from those times. *I* was a sincere participant in a marriage, *I* was a caring mother to my two daughters (albeit not the best mother I could have been because of constantly being undermined by their father), *I* have wonderful memories of vacations with those daughters and even my in-laws. FWIW, I even have fond memories of shared events and conversations with Hannibal Lecher.

      I am determined to keep those memories by simply relegating him to a role as a bit player. Just as my focus is now more on myself than it used to be, my memories of the past are now more self-focused than they would normally be. Yes, during our last 2 major vacations together–to Italy and to the beach, Hannibal was (a) fielding emails from the sexual harassment officer about his years-prior affair with gradwhore, and (b) texting his latest AP from the beach while engaging in a brutal devalue of me. But knowing what he was doing at those times does not detract from having enjoyed touring the Uffizi, nor of imaging my Westie riding the waves in Galveston. I will not allow my asshole X to re-define my past.

      • I was fixing to reply when Tempest said what is in my heart. I know we’re inventorying costs – and the toll is so high Esther Perel could never wrap her “enlivened” little mind around it, even if TKO’s scenario played out as written. But I affirm that *I* was the sane, present wife and parent. Not perfect, not always at my best, but I brought MY 100% to the table, whatever the circumstances. I acted in good faith, from my heart. I tried to reach out through the brick wall of his idiocy and got…a cheating brick wall. MY worth will not be defined by that disordered POS and his behavior & crappy choices. the farther from Dday I venture, the better I feel about myself in this mess. I am getting MIGHTIER by the day and my real friends see it & validate what a gargantuan task it is. (I really AM looking forward to next week, chumps. There IS a pony underneath this pile of horseshit, I just keep digging).

    • The one person that you loved and trusted with your life turns out to be the only one destroying your life insidiously with all their might. The cruelty, abuse, relentless insanity and manipulation. It’s paralyzing, shattering, changes your character forever. What I would give to turn back time.

      • Bea, this is exactly how I feel~I trusted X with my life.
        The cruelty and manipulation is relentless and beyond my comprehension.
        I was a devoted wife and Mother, sacrificing my career for his or as he would say “our” career.
        Paralyzing.

      • Bea, I agree with all of the above. And for all those very injustices I’m thankful we are not alone and no longer have to suffer in silence.

        Staying with an abuser was one of the worst choices my mother made. Yet I too devoted my life to a lying slimy covert narcissist for 41 years.

        Yes, the pain of being duped and used is horrific.

        The other outcome of infidelity is taking our power back. Divorcing the assholes with our dignity, walking away with our very LIFE.

        That previous game was rigged. We were believers who loved, tolerated, and inevitably saw.

        My mother was stuck in ‘I can’t believe’ for her entire marriage. She died in my arms months before Dday.

        I get to embrace living, something that she never had.

        Chosing yourself is a mighty outcome of infidelity we overlooked until Tracy with her wisdom showed us the way out.

        Stay strong, you’ll get through the pain to clarity. Believe in yourself.

    • Nomar
      This is the biggest trauma for me. I went through a bereavement for the identity I thought I had. The marriage I thought I had, the place in his affections I thought I had, the reality I thought I had.
      It’s such a weird feeling like no other and it makes you think that nothing is what it seems. What else is a lie ? You pinch yourself imagining you’re dreaming but when you wake up you realise that this new reality is forever and you can never go back.
      Until you’ve experienced it yourself, you can’t possibly know how traumatising it is.

      • Yep, exactly. All those things he said…did he ever really mean them? Did he ever really love me? He always told me that I was the only one he’d ever felt this way about. But if that were true, then why did he do this? So, so, SO many lies.

        • Yeah, like the framed pic he bought for our bathroom that still hangs on the wall, says something to the effect, I never thought I’d love this way again…meanwhile It was all a lie and he let on he was in love with me, while he pursued the big whore from work because she had material possessions that he was so impressed with. Little did he know the whore orchestrated and positioned herself to appear more appealing to get the gullible narc to help her raise her brats and get her love starved pathetic ass some money out of someone else’s husband…when is her Karma coming. I have the popcorn

      • I literally asked my boyfriend, ‘What else have you lied to me about,’ when the house of cards came tumbling down.

        Being betrayed/loed to before, during, and sometimes after in a divorce/break up, especially after much time with ones partner feels like disenfranchisement.

    • Me too. Who was I if I wasn’t the person I thought I was since 1991? The disorientation was debilitating.

    • This is so well said! I feel like that is the hardest part….you have this idea of who you are, and in 2.2 seconds, that just crashes. Then, you sit there trying to figure out WTH? You made this life…made big decisions and did all these things without the information necessary to make those choices. For me: I switched jobs, took a significant paycut, etc. without the knowledge that the entire time my husband was off screwing a spreadsheet full of people. It is freaking robbery!

    • Nomar it seems to me that your stock would trade high — that you’re a good man, and a good woman would love to be your wife!

  • Family and Friends. Many of those relationships are also destroyed by the infidelity once the chump stops dancing and spackling. Cheaters would rather have their schmoops than enjoy the familiar traditions and rituals of a long-shared life. I miss my in-laws, and I’m sure they miss me. They probably miss him, too, since I was the one who used to drag his ass to see them. No doubt they are devastated by his actions and humiliated by what he has done, taking up with my niece (if he has even told them). I’ve considered contacting them, but regretfully decided nah — they’re his, and I’m NC with him for my own sanity.

    As for friends, I did get those in the divorce (all except for one flying monkey close friend who turned out to be one of his APs), but the infidelity has changed how we socialize. I miss the old patterns of karaoke parties, playing board games, going places as couples, etc. Many things that used to be a blast are now triggery and best avoided. I’m rebuilding my ways of relating with old friends while also making new friends, and it’s very fun, but I still miss certain activities that just can’t ever be the same again because of the cheating rat bastard.

    • Yeah. Agreed. The families break up too. And not everyone has terrible in-laws. I got along with mine as well. And yeah he only saw them because i dragged him. I used to miss that. But With time everyone’s moved on. Now I just focus on my family and the friends who supported me and didn’t judge. Don’t need a whole lot of them. the handful of good ones is plenty.

  • The gifts that keep on giving – how about total insecurity for your children? A lifetime of therapy for them? It’s bad enough to lie and cheat to your spouse, but to include children in the mindfuck that is an affair is incomprehensible. To discard your own children for the OW and her kids is something I can never wrap my head around – and I can’t imagine how the kids can come to terms with that.
    Std’s – the OW gave him herpes, which he told the kids. So they are terrified that they will get it. They take disinfecting wipes to visits so they can wipe down the toilet seat (recommended by the pediatrician) and won’t kiss him. He takes drinks from their beverages and licks their ice cream cones … which they then either trade out with new drinks or throw away. Any slight bump in their mouth sends them into a tail spin of thinking they have contracted it. They have developed anxiety from the affair, the discard, and all the bs that has followed. They have been subjected to assault at the hands of the OW’s kids, which took 4 years to resolve & they are court ordered to stay apart now. But the kids had 4 years of uncertainty & fear when with him, and he never defended or protected his own children. It’s just absurd … total annihilation on every possible level.

    • Your pediatrician is adding to your kids stress with misinformation about herpes. It is not spread on toilet seats!!

      • I think it had more to do with giving them a sense of control over the situation and validating their feelings. I had to be tested & went through the fear of thinking that I had contracted it (which I did not), so just another thing that kids can’t wrap their minds around. Nor should they have to!!

    • How truly horrifying! Your kids likely have PTSD.

      Just when I think I have heard it all😫😫😫

      I’m so very very sorry.

  • In addition to all that was mentioned above, I believe the negative impact on the kids individually is bad, but their relationships with others suffer too. At this point, I have a strained relationship with DD18 who frankly is still in denial about what her dad did and has a strong sense to be “fair” to both of us. DD16 knows what he did (found out on her own) and is very supportive of me, but I still have to filter everything to both of them because at this point they still share too much. AND, I have to witness the deterioration of the relationship between the two of them – because one wants to talk to him and one doesn’t. How totally f@ucked up is that? They have been so close, and now he’s destroyed that too.

    • Exactly. Dd2 and DD3 are completely estranged bc of what X did in devaluing and discarding and then during the D he had a complete love bombing strategy for image management but only to Dd2. He literally treated her like a wife — then triangulated between OW and Dd2 (I was NC and no longer part of their sick triangle). X also routinely triangulates with dd2 (18) and DD3– for instance, tells DD3 (who is only 13) that Dd2 is a “good” daughter because she always returns his (stalking-like) multiple calls and texts an hour when he’s hoovering for kibbles. Dd3 is at school when he does this and cannot use her phone.

      The sisters, formerly very close, hate eachother now. Dd3’s therapist tells me I must protect DD3 from Dd2’s and X’s emotional abuse and manipulation.

      Breeding with a cheater is the shit sandwich buffet you have to eat from every single day.

      • MC99,

        Your description is exactly where our destroyed family is heading too. Same love bombing for DD18 for image management purposes, almost like she is his wife now, and DD16 is out – they guilt her into answering texts when she is at school, etc. I am trying my hardest to keep DD’s relationship positive, but if he keeps interfering between the two, he will destroy it. So very sad. And I’m angry and sad that my DD18 has fallen prey to the games, but I just have to sit tight and keep quiet until we get our divorce done. I’m hoping his lies will catch up with him again soon.

      • MotherChump

        The damage they do to the ‘favored’ child is unthinkable. Truth is they will continuously engage all of their children to breach their boundaries for their own gain.

        The Limited zoned in on the adult child he belittled for years when she moved away. He offered no support whatsoever and rallied his other children in a smear campaign while I was always in contact and offering support.

        She was the one he took to multiple OW houses while he was cheating.

        He enlisted his adult son to take things from my home after I was awarded the contents.

        There is no end to the entitlement and use of children regardless of age.

        Dad is toxic. I suspect he’s coming to my home while I’m away at work to see my son as the slut is driving by my home. I’m checking into installing a camera I can access from a remote location while I’m away at work during the week.

        There’s no end to the sickness.

        • My ex was the ‘favoured child’ of his covert narc mother. (Took me a long time to see her narcissism, as she seems very caring and is a major sad sausage.) The result of that was his arrogance and selfishness. He was well on his way to making our daughter the Golden Child, and our son the Scapegoat. I’m SO GLAD I got out when I did (the kids were 11 and 12), and am still working to repair the damage he had already done to them.

          I used to be glad I had reconciled after Affair #1. I felt I had given him every chance, and knew I had done everything I could to preserve my kids’ family. I now so regret giving that chance, as so much more damage was done to our kids by my staying. Three different ways; by the way he treated them, by their watching our very non-reciprocal relationship, and by my being a far less good mom to them, because of the constant drama I was wrapped up in, in my relationship with him. This all would have been so much better, had I not waited for Affair #2 to free me.

  • Sleep – it robs you of sleep – DDay 2011, only nowadays 2018 getting solid 5-6 hrs sleep maybe 3-4 nights a week, really dread to think how much damage it’s done to my body, PTSD is very taxing……..and no, I’ve never been partial to meds to assist, never will.

    • Take care of your own health. Don’t let this one Asshole have that much power of your life to let them cause anymore pain than they already have.

      Sweet dreams

      • I found I aged about 5 years in one year. The sleep thing was brutal as well. Your adrenaline just keeps popping you awake. It’s like a PTSD-fog.

        I also found it challenging to bond with my newborn daughter. She was my first and I found out he was cheating when I was 8 months pregnant. At that moment I didn’t want the baby anymore. (It passed, of course I love and want her). Then I told my midwife what had happened and how I felt like I didn’t want the baby anymore. Then she shamed me a lot about it and told me she hadn’t seen anything “so selfish” in all of her years of practice.

        I didn’t even get to have the joy of being a family for five minutes before it was ruined by his infidelity.

        • Alexandra how mighty are you dealing with all this and a newborn first baby. Sad that your midwife was not more understanding or supportive. Their job is to understand and support you through the challenges whatever they may be. I hope you are able to access better community support now as your daughter grows. May you and your daughter go from strength to strength together.

          • My daughter is 8 now. I wasnt aware of the full breadth and depth of the infidelity duringthe pregnancy until LAST YEAR. Because hey, its so much easier to gaslight your spouse for 8 years, right?

            The midwife was a jerk because that same visit she also told me that she would not attend the birth as it was going to be “too far away” because it had to happen At the local hospital because my pregnancy became high-risk. At 8 months pregnant she tells me this. So after months of being on a waiting list for a midwife, she tells me that crap and cans me as a client. And no, I wasn’t “crazy/aggressive/passive-aggressive/abusive/demanding” client. I was a scared 20 something about to have my first kid just having found out about being betrayed. I’m glad she didn’t attend the birth now though. It ended up taking 3.5 DAYS. Not a typo. My daughter ended up stick at one point due to an air bubble they had to go in and pop etc. There’s lots more but let’s just say it was awful. I can’t imagine having to hang out with cowy midwife judging me through 3.5 DAYS of labour.

            I will say this: if I knew how bad it actually was I would have called a lawyer instead of marital counselors the next day.

            I just want to state that aside from telling the midwife and my husband how I felt about having his baby after that I NEVER in any way rejected my baby. I felt very rejected as a kid and even though I felt very low after the birth I cuddled her, sang to her etc etc etc. Did every Mom thing because even if I didn’t feel like it at the time I never wanted her to feel like I did growing up.

            Luckily the feeling passed and I just really really live and adore her. She was just the cutest little thing! But the time that should have been so happy and bonding was some of the darkest days in my life.

            • I’m so sorry you were so abused by your then husband and by the midwife when you were a vulnerable 8 months pregnant 20 something. I can’t even imagine. Anyone would have felt completely shell shocked by the betrayal at that stage of pregnancy. I’m sure you love your daughter with all of your heart and I do hope things are better now…

    • the distress of it takes its toll. I have lost weight and have trouble sleeping. I wake in the night thinking of how I was fucked over. Mentally fucked over. My whole body hurts because it’s now killing me on a physical level. I think about all the ways that whore should pay for helping to destroy my life just by pursuing my husband and agreeing to enter into a ‘relationship’ with him just to f me over and take over my husband like he was hers. She’s a skank and she’s still playing like she is some professional entrepreneur. Still fooling everyone. I struggle day to day just to function. I am definitely not functioning at an optimal level from all the mindfuckery. . It’s debilitating And I’m so humiliated, I feel like the laughing stock. I’m embarrassed that somebody as intelligent as I am could be gotten over on!

  • Behavior of cheater X:
    Stopped paying the mortgage (the “deal” was, C paid for mortgage and his expensive vehicle but I paid for everything else) around the time of meeting Shmoop and got really protective of HIS mail. Rerouted creditors so I wouldn’t find out, all the while treating me with contempt when I asked about anything financial.
    Always had to “work overnights” for extra money…wink, wink…but then would sleep for days and miss his regular job…reasoning with him about that cycle was met with pity channel and, in the end, rage channel.
    Told me I needed to pay for his citizenship attorney, DUI attorney, any trip we ever took, or anything “extra” because he was always financially short (he made much more money than I did) although he always had time for dinners with his buddies, golf trips, tanning salons (“for his psoriasis”), etc. Whenever I brought up the imbalance he turned to the 3 channels…charm, rage and pity, in that order.
    His cheating, once I found out, affected every aspect of mine and my daughter’s life (and has adultified a 7 year old), every relationship either of us had and our peace of mind. X ALWAYS knew he could get us with the pity channel…”I’m so sorry…. It’s my depression…I would kill myself if I wasn’t with you…
    BUT, in an awful way, his cheating and the subsequent realization that I was married to a pathological liar freed me from feeling the responsibility that I took very seriously to love and to cherish this…thing….that was incapable of reciprocity in the marriage. It also wiped the Love I had for him completely from my brain and just made me pissed off….that on some level I knew he was a bad person and stayed with him regardless.

    • THIS^^^

      The Cluster B disordered narcissist in him spent years making his “needs” the focus and openly despising any needs I had. Like the need for him to pay the car insurance bill. Or the needs for him to clean up the glass from the broken wind bottle in the kitchen before the glass got embedded in my feet. Or the needs to go to bed at a reasonable hour so that I could get up for work, instead of entertaining whatever irrational mindfuck he wanted to talk about until 4:30 AM.

      Yes, he spent years treating me with unsupportive disdain, making sure that I knew his needs were the only needs. If there was something I needed or wanted, I was on my own. Too bad, so sad. Well…. Karma. In a very real since our marriage was already dead long before it legally ended. He didn’t want to have any concern for my needs? Fine. I started building a life without him, I got the legal and financial matters in line, and I got to to pick the day it was all over

      • Just wondering since you mention car insurance bill…the first few years it was, “ I’ll try to “give” you money to contribute” to me not even asking years after that. Did you experience that. Ugh. Way to make our needs small huh. It was almost like the fact that I was asking him to help contribute (when the premium was high because of HIS behavior) meant I ONLY cared about money. I just cannot believe I had such crap boundaries. Thank GOD for my therapist! I will never be that person again.

        • Yup this. I got that I only cared about money when he was the one that was constantly overspending ( including on schmoopie), and he ended up stealing our life savings( to the tune of 400k) to dump into his failing business. Then when he left I got” you we’re good for making money”. Thanks a lot a##hole.

        • Yes, I did get “I’ll contribute” or “Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it when the bill arrives.” All empty promises. For him the mere promise itself was everything. Once he got the positive reaction from me, and enjoyed the goodies purchased, paying the bill was unimportant.

          In my case we had already separated the finances. Long story; he had a small business. He had the fancy car used for the business, so when we decided who’d pay which bills he took the car insurance bill. And he did pay it. Until he stopped paying it, and didn’t tell me.

          I found out when I got the notice that the car insurance policy was cancelled because it was paid late too many times, and it was unpaid again. I got the policy reinstated, but only because I took over the payments and had them auto-drafted from my checking account.

    • Discovery of the cheating becomes the final proof that the cheater really is a selfish jerk who doesn’t care about the feelings of the faithful spouse. It should be clear before that based on the devalue and poor treatment, but we are so good at spackling. “We all have bad days sometimes. He’s just under a lot of stress, that’s why he is being grumpy” etc.

      Alas, for many of us chumps, it takes us a while to process that “proof” and recognize the truth it represents.

      • ^^^^^THIS^^^^^^

        We didn’t have children, so I guess I’m “lucky” that I am the only collateral damage to his selfishness. But, like @Nomar and others have said, the theft and destruction of the life, self, partner, memories, and reality you thought you had is unbelievable.

        We were long-distance for many years (never married, but committed–or so I thought). He checked out during a very rough patch of my (our?) life to live an almost 2-year long (that I know of) secret life with a skanky high school girlfriend. She was, apparently, going through a bad divorce (concurrent with my mother’s death and resulting family and financial responsibilities) and their “friendship” rekindled with him “being there for her.” Sure.

        So, while I was drowning, he chose to enjoy fun, and affection, and relaxation, and companionship, and sex with someone else for almost two years, without having the decency to set me free to find the same for myself. And I needed all those things just as much as he did. Tt the time, maybe more. Not to mention that since he was representing his distance as a life/financial/career crisis of his own, I had the added worry about his emotional state.

        Once you see that as not a single situation, but part of a larger pattern, it eats away at everything. I imagine an old reel-to-reel film getting stuck and the image just melting away on the screen, while the broken end of the film flaps pointlessly until you turn off the projector.

  • The deceit surrounding a purportedly shared vision of how we would bring up our kids, the sacrifice of a career path. I stayed home for over a decade by choice while kids were young, then worked half time in a boring job for another decade. Ex and I both have doctorates, his career flourished–so many opportunities to travel overseas, attend conferences for weeks at a time (and conduct clandestine affairs with his colleagues on every continent), garner accolades, field job offers. I did the grunt work at home. We can’t change the past, but we can damn well change the future, and I am doing it every day.

    • What excellent advice to all starting out on this journey none of us ever wanted to take. Infidelity robs us of so much. I cannot begin to list all the things that were taken from because of X’s infidelity. The biggest loss was the destruction of my trust of others. For my own self-preservation, I am much more cautious and even perhaps, suspicious of other people’s motives. My belief in the fundamental goodness of others has been severely damaged by X’s conduct.

      At the same time, I’ll be damned if X’s cheating is going to define me or the rest of my life. It is up to me to make my own future, whatever that future may be. I refuse to allow anyone to rob me of who I am. Yes, my view of my past is colored by knowing that his claimed devotion to our family was a lie. It wasn’t my lie, though, it was his. It is now up to me to live my life as authentically as I am able.

      I recently saw a short video clip by Will Smith about the difference between fault and responsibility. Essentially, he said that even when others are at fault for what has happened to us, it is our responsibility to repair the damage done. No one is going to do that for us. X blew my world apart by cheating, but I must create, as best I can, what I want my life to be from this point forward. I believe this is what we owe ourselves. So I applaud you, Sionara, for taking your life back. Leave a cheater, gain a life, indeed!

      • Violet — I also believe in the fundamental goodness inside of everybody. But whether or not they act in accordance with that aspect is the key. Loving and respecting the good inside of somebody while suffering through the bullshit caused by their poor choices day after day is like trying to get a good night’s sleep in a room where somebody is operating a jackhammer.

      • Alexandra — after your cheater was out of your life, do you feel like your youthfulness returned, and some of that aging was undone?

    • Yes…I sacrificed my career options and made my needs very small while he had the primary career. For me, though…I can now see that God used all the awkward, ill-fitting, random jobs from my career to give me just the right puzzle pieces I needed so that when my family was destroyed, I had exactly what I needed to create the perfect mix of education and experience to pursue my biggest goals. For that Im quite thankful.

    • Yes! “We can’t change the past, but we can damn well change the future, and I am doing it every day.”
      So many years supporting, and doing the heavy lifting, planning ahead, and giving. Now he has lost that. It will benefit the teens and I going forward…

  • Wasting the last decade of my life and the real possibility that once I’m recovered and ready to date I might not be able to have the children and family that I’ve wanted so badly.
    No settlement or money can ever compensate for that loss.
    Also apparently self esteem is very important. How cruel it is to destroy another person’s identity and self. The struggle to remain strong assertive and successful at work while hiding that you are an unsure shaky and lost is scary and exhausting.
    The positive from marrying Satan would be realizing that I’m still here and just how powerful I am. He didn’t succeed. I got a promotion during the worst year of my life. And realization that I am a successful woman all on my own brings a little smile to my face. He was wrong. I’m not a loser. I never needed a puppeteer to function properly. I am not stupid and I’m not disgusting.

    • Yes. Self esteem definitely takes a hit before and after discovery because they devalue us so much and as they are the ones we live with and interact with the most, we start to believe it. Before DDay my ex had the gall to tell me that I needed to have more “self confidence”. This after years of his cutting me down and never acknowledging the improvements I made in order to please him. At the time I said “you have a role to play in that you know”, but I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. After DDay the self esteem takes another hit because cheater prefers some slutty selfish loser over you.

      The good news is that self esteem can be regained again once the one dragging it down is out of the picture and you are able to notice and receive accolades from others who do appreciate you. Congratulations on your job promotion WROHIT. I am glad your employer recognized your worth even if your loser ex didn’t. You are awesome and you know it and he was never worthy of you so he can go to hell.

      Interestingly, in my case, it was when my marriage fell apart that I discovered how much I was loved and valued by other people. My family, his family and mutual friends all gave me a lot of support and all let me know that I mean a lot to them and they think he is an idiot for letting me go. His family still loves and supports him too, but they are clearly disappointed in him. He was always the golden child before, now he is the broken child.

      • Same. There was a substantial age difference and I stayed with my Ex for way too long because I felt like such a heel for leaving a man just before he turned 80. When I finally left a couple of HIS friends came up to me and said: “He’s a bully. Everything is fine as long as he gets his way. I can’t believe you lasted as long as you did.”

        Wow.

        • I read a story about a woman in her nineties that divorced her husband in his nineties because he was a miserable SOB and she didn’t want to waste another day with him.

    • whatringofhellisthis
      I totally understand. I wasted all this time being stable Plan B appliance “the wife”; while narc man kept me in limbo; all the while pursuing schoompie #1 locally (a 20 min drive from home) and probably the endless opportunities at kibbles on the road…because he traveled frequently. Not to mention his numerous hobbies…and the few and far between fun things he’d throw at me. Never once did he really settle down and be a husband and want to have a true commitment and family….Red flag on his disordered brain. Yes, it was all about him and who was fair game/target /scoring/winning. or whatever was running through his mind…My point is, wasting of my time and now I am too old to have children or make a go of it with someone new…Case in point, I am sitting here alone on a Friday night. Thinking they are ALL creeps out there, not really being excited about starting over. I tried the Match thing and believe me they are all creeps on there. So, my Narc wasted my time…he had a good life and I was just somebody on stand by while he and His HO were out having fun and using marital assets, while I worked my ass off making way less than he made..but he was so “entitled” to get as much Ass on the side as he could. WOW that deceit and that double life must have been exhausting !

  • It’s soul sucking in so many ways.
    1. Disappointment:
    Despite all your efforts you are stuck in a riptide with a goal in sight yet you never reach the shore.
    2. Birth and death
    When you are at your highest high or lowest low they suck the joy out of the blessings or add to the pain.
    3. The Con
    I’ll own the fact that I stayed. The con is multilayered and carried out masterfully. Power and control are all important. And the final performance when they are finally revealed they take a bow. They take pride in the roll.
    4. The Victim
    Playing the victim begins the day you meet. Their narrative is one of the abuses they’ve suffered. Winning is equal to the suffering and pain they’ve caused.

    • I wish someone had told me about the red flag of victim playing. I’d say one of the earliest parts of the con is testing your sympathy. It is the first thing I watch for in potential relationships.

      I think one huge thing infidelity unleashes in chumps is the destructive feeling of doubt. You doubt your past, your future, your self and your ability to judge other people- especially potential partners. Now that I’m a few years out, I can see an enormous amount of my mental energy has been directed towards overcoming doubt.

          • His playing the victim kept me worrying about him even after he left me. I remember crying to his cousin that I was afraid he would get sick and would have no one to take care of him because he had insisted for years that his siblings and everyone in his family had always ignored him. I didn’t even realize that I was STILL falling for his remembered sad sausage tales even after he had betrayed me, blamed me for everything, abandoned me, and ghosted me after moving in with – you guessed it – his uncaring family, until someone on CN mentioned the phenomenon and the light bulb finally clicked on – more than 2 years after he left! How chumpy is that?

      • Cleopatra

        Yes, the victim role is everlasting. Every perception had to be re-examined through the lens of how deep the malignancy ran through decades of tolerating his abuse.

      • I discovered the website “Lovefraud” before Tracy’s blog and the key for me was people who use the pity play. Now I know when somebody is appealing to my empathetic nature it’s time to pause and pay attention.

    • 2. Birth and death
      When you are at your highest high or lowest low they suck the joy out of the blessings or add to the pain.

      This. Left me on the way home from a trip to scatter my beloved mother’s cremains and have a funeral for her in Hawaii, 10 months after she suddenly and unexpectedly died at age 64. I will forever despise the fucker and his whore for ruining what was my mother’s funeral. My mother deserved my grief. He did not.

        • Sorry for the loss of your Mom. Yes, totally understanding about the smirking and harassment. My XH and his whore enjoyed filing R/Os and Injunctions against me afterward. Serving me with divorce papers the day before my birthday. I believe whore is a Borderline – my X is her 2nd affairage now. It was almost more than I could handle. Heartless and souls describes them perfectly. I hope God shows them the same amount (none) of mercy they showed us.

    • Mine also played the victim role. I can recall our first date and he laid it on pretty thick about some family and that was given to a cousin but it should have gone to him as the eldest grandchild, blah blah blah. I completely fell for it.

      Sadly, I hear around town that he is playing the victim of our relationship. Telling everyone that I “ran out” on him.
      Please. Someone. Pass him a tissue.

  • It’s just one more thing he is entitled to–his happiness–over everything else. It really is all about what brings him the most kibbles at any time point in his life: his job while he was trying to climb the ladder, his hobbies always ever changing and a money suck, his friends until the narc cycle of idealize, devalue, discard eventually won out, his kids with each intermittently being the golden child and the other being invisible, and the schmoopies who adore him and think he’s so awesome with a MD at the end of his name.

    It was always exhausting watching him hunt for the next kibble, trying to juggle his kibble, and his sad sausage when his kibble load wasn’t coming in. I never knew what the hell was going on, for 20 years of my life, I didn’t know why he behaved the way he did. It really is all about him and his wants and needs and never ending quest for kibble supply. My wants and needs NEVER mattered and they were never going to matter. Once I accepted that I was his stable Plan B in life and there is always another schmoopie around the corner, I could step out of that life and off the crazy train. And I never have to look discarded people who were once high demand kibble sources in the eye after the discard and all that ackwardness and spackle.

    I’m still working on gaining a life and looking forward to ‘meh’. The cheater is taking my kids, his young schmoopie, and DD’s best friend and family skiing for the week. Should I be jealous? Maybe, but I know where all that is headed. It’s all fun and exciting until it’s not and he is nothing but miserable. No thanks. I’ll keep my even keel self out of that mix.

    • This parallels my story and brought me flashbacks (so much I repressed) of running into old kibbles at the kids’ school when I would volunteer or go to parent-teacher interviews. Jeez – I wish I hadn’t had this memory pop back in my head.

  • Let me throw in the biggest “gift” Dr. Clueless left behind: my daughter’s pain. Her confusion, sadness, and anger. To me, this outweighs all the money he swindled, all the arrogance he flaunted, all the lies lies lies. She is hurting deeply because of his selfishness. I hate that she is saddled with this horrible person.

    She is strong and resilient and will be okay but that she has to be a toddler handler at the age of 12 makes my blood boil.

  • Safety… The home is no longer safe. The person you trusted is no longer trustworthy. The feeling that you are not in control. You become scared at every turn, hoping that he/she will not continue cheating.

  • Time!

    Adding to everyone’s input and As Whatringofhellisthis above said. Time you’ll never get back. At 31, I was in a great place in my life when i met assface. Fell in love, got married 2 years later and spent most of my 30s building this life i thought was supposed to be forever. But it was filled with years of lies, deceit, and then ultimate betrayal. All that time wasted. My 30s gone down the drain. Ofcourse life isn’t over. And i will move on from him but i feel like he wasted so much of my life.

  • It’s also bringing a potentially unstable person into your life. My ex was stupid enough to stick his dick in crazy.

    She came to his workplace, physically assaulted him, flipped an information table over, and kicked a door half off its hinges on her way out. She stalked him online and sent out a mass message to his friends, family, and coworkers saying that he was a pedophile and woman beater. She filed false criminal charges against him that he had to address before they were dropped. She started hanging around places he liked to go, waiting to confront him. His car was keyed and tires slashed while he was working one day. He ended up having to get a protective order against her.

      • Yeah but before I dumped him I was a potential target too. I just kept a very low profile on and offline. And even a year after I dumped him she (or somebody using her photo) kept visiting my profile on a social media site before I blocked them. He brought an unstable person into my life.

        • I think in order to be an OW, you are already a few sammies short of a picnic. I think many are narcs, borderlines, histrionics, and possibly sociopaths. My IC said that mentally stable women don’t want to be involved with married men. I think there’s sort of a spectrum of crazy for them. You (and me to a lesser extent) have the crazier types. But, make no mistake, all are train-wrecks.

  • The kids, the kids, the kids. The financial impact is also obviously huge – my ex really has no idea how many tens of thousands of dollars she’s cost us (as a family). Not just with her exorbitant spending during the A, but now having two houses with two 30 year loans (we were less than 10 from paying off ours), basically doubling our cost of living day to day. We weren’t exactly rich to begin with.

    And this impacts the kids yet again – how much do we have individually now to take them on vacations, buy them clothing, special gifts, cars for them when they’re older…..money to help them with college.

    I’m still just trying to get my life back together. How I’m also going to also pay for these things for the kids in the future is still something I’m trying to figure out. I don’t anticipate any help from her because I didn’t get much of it during the marriage.

    But those are the 2 biggies for me: the impact on the kids mentally and emotionally, and the impact on our financial ability to provide for our kids in the same way we could when we were still married.

    • How much he spends so the other person can see her lovely new face lift, or the expensive clothes she buys so she can go to work where he lover is and show him what a great dresser she is. With of course the money we earned together and share. Now the youngest is in college and of course I can’t wait to tell her we can’t afford the place she loves for school because her mother thinks co-parenting won’t change anything financially. As I work 2 jobs to afford the trips back home during school break. Oh and by the way mom wants 1/2 of my money so she can quite her job. And get my life back together forget it. The kids are ruined. My oldest, which is my ex’s from her first marriage, won’t be able to afford her college debt because her Mom and I must have two mortgages/rents. I was able to help her with 1/2 the payment each month now that isn’t possible. Maybe my wife and her dead beat new lover can help since he has been through 2 wifes and 2 kids already and I’m sure he can afford her $200 hair cuts, YOGA trips to Costa Rica, her personal trainer, her twice a week manicure to name a few.
      Good luck to them as they have now taken their selfless ways and hurt my 2 beautiful daughters. I hope this KARMA thing is right, but who cares.

      Cheaters suck and they should end up with financial burdens that will make them appreciate their acts.

      • My wife had the plastic surgeries, the multiple gym memberships and a personal trainer too – all during the last few years of our marriage (and during the A). And she had to get a new wardrobe to fit her newly installed chest. And then there were the monthly visits to the bikini waxer. She was basically a walking red-flagged cliche. And of course, I let it all go on because it’s what made her “happy.”

        I assume she was looking pretty good during all that – but I’d never know because she was always too tired from “working out” to be with me. God I hate re-living that ridiculousness, what an idiot I was!

        • Disgusted in CT and Blindside,

          You both sound like great guys and were not idiots. It was a con job that they were working and we (and our kids) are the victims. We spackled so well we actually started to believe how special they thought they were. They are empty cups with holes at the bottom – nothing in there no matter how much you pour in. They suck and the Karma bus will come eventually.

        • I fell for that bullshit too while my husband curled up in a ball to save himself for his big HO ! and I was the nice wife never having my husband pay for any of my manicures, haircuts etc. because I had my own job and was not trying to be a golddigger from my own husband…yet the big HOworker was getting laden down with diamond jewelry and everything else even though she was a bow wow, she knew how to play the game to get the bank vault to open. She worked with him so she knew how much $ he made. So, that was a great incentive to climb onto him every chance she got to get that bank vault opened. WHat an asshole he was. I am so much better and I know it

  • What about attraction?

    Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not a guy who gets off on thinking of his wife fucking another man. I’m not the open marriage type.

    So, when the MC said that we needed to “be more romantic” and “have more sex,” it felt absolutely repulsive. I found my wife to be disgusting.

    And I didn’t feel at all sexy, either, knowing that I was basically getting “duty sex” so she could keep me in my place.

    In short, when an affair starts, it is almost impossible for the chump to feel sexual desire and be alluring. And yet that is EXACTLY what MCs recommend as a course correction.

    • Exactly JC. And the Limited was always looking. He said all men look. Fuck MC as they further assist in the cheaters narrative. Finding your own therapist who gets Cluster B’s helps cut through the blame shifting.

    • I also got the MC advise about sex and making sure he was happy. After all if I was prettier he would not have had the affairs. What they do not tell you is that the sex strengthens the trauma bond also so the pain of divorce after 7 months of pick me dance was huge. It allowed him to devalue me in a whole new way, I was almost completely broke when it was over. I would have been better off detaching and observing for those 7 months. I would have left with more dignity and probably not had my ribs broken in the end.

    • True. After D-day, I told Hannibal Lecher that I now found him physically repulsive. A real blow to his ego (as he fancies himself both good-looking and sexually appealing).

    • My therapist told me I should wait around and this would pass. I looked at him and said,”Fuck that shit”, paid my $30- co pay and never went back.

    • Oh, this. My cheater wants me to be “enthusiastic”, to “crave” him…when I can barely handle seeing him naked, wondering how many other women have seen that. That’s right. I am supposed to crave my abuser.

  • Seeing my kid go on vacation with her mom and new boyfreind.knowing that those vacations i wanted for us will never happen. Having to drop.them off knowing it wont be days until i see tgem again. Not why i got married and had kids
    The trauma of having to see someone i loved so much become not only a stranger but someone i would not want to be around in general. And THEY just not seeming to care. Knowing we’d have to have contact due to the kids but doing everything to make it as cold and awkward as possible.
    Family and friends i miss dearly . Memories tainted by the bullshit.
    Hard financial times. Struggling to support two kids on my own .
    The loss of the life you looked forward to with your best friend and children.
    Just everything…..

    • The vacation comment really triggered me. Ex and I had planned a trip to a kids water park resort. But since he always claimed to be broke and liked to suck my money dry, we never went.

      When we broke up the final time, he replaced me in 1 week with a total copy of me but she just looked different (not the AP) But she homeschools, only works a few days a week, and did all his errands and took care of his sons and dog while he worked. I was furious, but also really scared for her. I was in an immense amount of pain and knew what was coming for her. So I wrote her a letter. It was pretty long, but I included that he would future fake her with a trip to the water park.

      He took her and she went with his kids and her kids and HE delighted in rubbing my face in it. He’s a vindictive prick. I cried for days envisioning them all there with her in my place.

      But then my friends and family smacked me in to reality by verbally painting a picture of what a nightmare the trip would have been with his two horribly behaved sons and ex ignoring it all while drinking his damn beer. I would have been run ragged.

      A few months later I said fuck it and took my mom and both kids to said water park and we had a blast.

      I’m tired of crying over him. It’s time to make new memories.

  • Kindness Lies:
    One month after DDay his mum had a stroke. He hadn’t told his family we had split. He finally told one sister who told the other two. We never told his mother. She went back to the nursing home and he refused to visit her together. I worked near her nursing home, so every Friday I would visit her. I told her I was coming during the week as she had so many visitors on the weekend and it gave me a chance to spend quality alone time with her. She would ask how her boy was going and I would say he was great, just busy and working away a lot. It killed me inside but was the greatest gift I could give her. I last saw her one week before she died, and one of her daughters said that she didn’t recognise her son-in-law, but she always remembered me.

    A few months after his mother’s death, I had one of his sister’s ring concerned because no-one had heard from him. (That’s right, he went on holidays soon after his mum had died, didn’t tell his sisters, and they thought he might have killed himself due to the marriage break-up & his mum’s death). I let her know he was on holidays and stated I only knew because of the lawyers. What I didn’t tell her was he was in the Ukraine visiting the women he had been talking to on Anastasiadate. They didn’t need my anger so soon after the loss of their mum.

    So my need to move on, grieve, be angry, and tell my truth, was tempered by my compassion. It still meant that my honesty and integrity was compromised.

  • Memories. All memories are now tainted. There are years of great memories that now are looked at through a very different lens.

    Retirement. The age and look of retirement definitely changes. The plans have to change when one person makes decisions affecting the rest of your life without your knowledge.

    Trust. Will I ever trust again? Who can I trust? Why would I trust when the person I trusted the most in the world deceived me in the most intimate way.

    Children. Now my children know they have a lying cheat for a father. What a gut punch for kids who loved and admired him.

    • Retirement. Bingo. That’s a big one. Have gone from planning to retire from the day job at 60 to … will I ever???

    • 200% AGREE!!
      Infidelity is attached to past, present and future.

      The most regrettable of all; screws with your children’s heads (no matter their age).

    • I had to rewrite my future three times in five years due to ex. First when he quit his high paying job, next when he moved us half way across the country, and then again when we divorced. I don’t know yet when or if I will ever be able to retire, but at least I will no longer have to rewrite my future because of him so at least there’s that. 🙂

    • Totally agree. We have to sell the house – the house that we were supposed to have our children grow up in. Then because of the area that I live in the only places I could afford to rent (because I am unable to buy) are only 1 bedroom and that doesn’t work a boy and a girl, plus me. So we will be moving in with my parents both who have now retired. It stretches so far, it doesn’t just affect me, but now my children and my parents. I’m 33 and moving back with my parents because I don’t make enough money to provide a home for my children. I cannot work more because of already working full time and needing to be available for my children.

      • Wool,
        I am nearly 20 years older than you, and my kids (plural) and I share a bedroom. I also work full-time and try to live quite frugally. Thankfully, I have always had a frugal, nonmaterialistic outlook so loss of luxuries doesn’t hurt me as much as it might some people. Since my high earning, nice house and car owning, childless boyfriend left me for my high earning childless younger replacement, I also no longer feel the need to impress anyone with my (lack of) wealth

    • I second the one about retirement. The loss of my life savings to the fuckwit means I can’t retire when everyone else does. 8 years is not enough time to make up a hard lifetime of saving.

      • …and then, in my case, they marry a Schmoopie who may have her/his own retirement income. They’re back to living the double-income life you once had, and you’re having to make ends meet and plans for a future on one income (albeit, I do out-earn them both individually). Off the table are yearly vacations, new clothes, shoes etc. I see the whore delights in getting: photo facials, eyelash extensions, stiletto acrylic nails done in slut red, pedis, eyebrow threading, ematrix, hair color, reflexology. She did none of this prior to him leaving me for her. Trips to Cabo, France, Costa Rica, Hawaii etc. and a home down the street from where our former marital home was. I’m forced to live in a more modest area.

        H sprinted off (with smirk) telling me he wanted to live a “single” life. I’m the one stuck living that life. Background checking people from dating websites. Going on endless dates with people that, although they pass a background check are pervs: I’m 47. I don’t want to hear how some loser, upon meeting me, wanted to pull up my dress, and down my panties. This is NOT my fantasy life!

        • Yep, the xhole married OWife. They now have 2 incomes and 2 retirements (if it lasts) to do with as they choose. If it lasts 10 years she will even get part of his social security. Yes, she got a good deal…except for the part about being a whore and marrying a cheater.

        • Yeah while that c sucking leech schoompie is not relegated to have to find her boyfriend from Match, because the whore has so conveniently taken our husbands away from us…the whore does not have to suffer, work hard or worry about her retirement and while the HO worker gets to still enjoy the wonderful job she had with my husband and does not have to suffer not one day of shame at having a big fuck fest with my husband for years, while not one person at the place of business gives a damn that she was screwing him, so The bitch does not even have to suffer not one day of slut shaming. She gets to go right back to her nice life with all my marital assets that he hid with her, and her big dog face and her big house and can go on now as a rich woman ! The skanky whore. And as his wife I get to pick up my shattered life and piece it back together knowing I was betrayed on multiple levels for no reason whatsoever. I did not deserve this. I was just the victim of narcissistic sociopath that’s all.

          • Duped,
            I get this. Sorry that you’re in club that nobody wants to join. Several of us here are keeping you company!

  • Learning and Education – I didn’t know anything about Lizard people before Infidelity even though my father was an adulterer ( I got to watch the ensuing shit show growing up). I refer to the movie THEY LIVE! starring Roddy Piper (wrestler) and Keith David as a reference work for serial cheaters. It’s a B-grade SciFi film about aliens walking amongst us. Complete with Discovery day theme.

    A new Vocabulary! I thought Tracy’s use of Kings X was like a foreign language reference like ‘ménage-a-twois’. I looked it up. Definition: used as a cry in children’s games to claim exemption from being tagged or caught or to call for a time out. Cheater handbook behavior. And no wonder I was confused. It’s also one of my favorite bands!
    Not to mention all the abbreviations… WW,DD, A,D, RIC, ILYBINILWY,…that I didn’t want to know.

    Hey. After my heart was ripped out, my future dreams were stolen, my family was scattered, my past destroyed, my confidence shaken, etc.,etc., and et cetera, I have to have a sense of humor about this Greek Fucking Tragedy I find myself ‘navigating’.

    For everyone involved in our highly efficient court system here’s a term know amongst vets…BOHICA! (Bend Over! Here It Comes, Again!)

    • I like Greek Fucking Tragedy as a descriptor. I always refer to my life as devolving into an episode of the Jerry Springer show. Ugh.

    • Marcus,
      You made me laugh–a very rare thing these days! I getwhat you’re saying–three years, 15 hearings, and $100k in legal fees later.

  • I can definitely relate. I gave him the best years of my life..from 17 to 48..4 kids, gave up my career ambitions..etc. Starting over hasn’t been easy. I will never forgive him for telling me with such glee..(a month after the kids and I left) I just cannot wait to start MY new life!!! Ugh. I could barely hold it together most days..and to hear this put it all into perspective. It has set the tone for the last 2 years. These are selfish Bastards who are only concerned with their own happiness. For the past 2 years, I’ve worked on getting my education and I’ve been the one to pick up the pieces of our shattered family. I’ve been the one guiding our 2 youngest thru this mess and helped them to establish jobs to support our family and move forward. He has been much to busy enjoying himself with trollface and her family to be bothered with his own children. Oh, now he sends the occasional obligatory text on holidays..”hey, let me know if you want to get together..I will treat for dinner”. Both my kids just ignore him. Nobody wants his company or free dinner. Even with his fancy education, I don’t think he will ever realize what he lost. Schmuck.

    • Yes…I was with him from 18-47 and made my career small to accommodate his career.

      My starting over hasn’t been as bad as most because I got everything when he died, but I had devoted 100% of my being to my marriage and family and learning that I was in it alone was soul-breaking.

  • Grandchildren get to see their grandparents get divorced. “Nana” crying all the time. It’s a special kind of fucked up.

    • I agree. I see grandchildren in the near future from my son and DIL. I was so looking forward to being grandparents together, sharing stories from the past, and passing on a lasting marriage legacy. I don’t even talk about the xhole anymore, and I know it will be hard dealing with grand kid questions. But what chaps me the most is that OWife will get to be (somewhat sparingly) in my grandchild’s life. I have already ran this scenario over in my head a million times and I don’t even have grandchildren yet. WTF!!!

  • The biggest thing is that it takes away your self esteem. When you love someone and the realize that you will never be enough it is devastating and it’s made worse by the fact that you want a monogamous relationship and your spouse doesn’t but will not let you go.
    You suppress your needs and eventually they become completely nonexistant.

    • They groom you to ask less and less of them. It is so subtle it happens over time and then one day you look up and you need something, like maybe you are sick and need a tea or medicine and you contemplate asking them to help you, and you realize: nah, I’ll just get it myself cause it’s easier than arguing with them about something so simple .

      I’m starting to get mad at myself again for how little I started to accept from him.

      • This right here!!! Two years ago I had an accident. Broken arm in two places, three fractured ribs. Blow-up-Boy was overseas on a job. His response (with absolute disgust and sarcasm in his voice) “Well, do you WANT me to come home? You know I’m working.” No, it’s not necessary I say. When actually what I wanted to say was YES ASSHOLE… I need some help. For once in your sorry life would you put me first instead of last! (His priority list according to him is Job, kid, grandkid, dog and wife) But here I am alone again.

  • My biggest regret in the whole thing is the effect it had on my daughter, who was 18 at the time and saw a lot of it unfold first hand, right in front of her (she was not exempt from his gaslighting and mindfuckery). She went from a damn near perfect child hood, to “it was all a lie” in the blink of an eye. She has so many trust issues now, it breaks my heart.

    So many reasons why I want to throat punch McPornypants, but this holds the top spot.

  • Future faking. A supposedly shared retirement dream that involved a place, a lifestyle, and a time of shared memories and contentment. I spent 30 years spending carefully and denying us (actually only myself … just didn’t know it) many purchases and comforts in order to put money aside bit by bit for a happy future goal. And then … POOF! … gone in a flash at a point in life where the possibility of repairing the financial damage is limited. And heading off to do it alone changes everything about the dream. Of course, a happy future is still totally possible and a happy today living a cheater-free life is sublime, but it is hard to imagine all will be okay when one first has their entire life explode into painful fragments.

  • So, in my case, it’s an autistic teenage son who is acutely depressed and suicidal now.
    A grown daughter who has cut off all communication with me because I initially was a chump, dancing the pick-me dance as I tried to prove that I was worth enough to be chosen.
    Genital herpes, a gift that I certainly did not want, and managed to avoid getting by all of my previous “sexual partners” – each and every one of whom raped me. Raped and no STDs, STDs from being cheated on by the first person that I ever trusted in bed.
    Probable HSV, if the genital warts that sprouted from the Cheating Bastard’s sad sausage during affair are any indication.
    A feeling of shame for not picking up on the signs sooner.
    PTSD from the ongoing fallout.
    A loss of dignity and respect in my community and workplace because I have been having a hard time continuing to drive on and fuction.
    A loss of his family – not that his mother is any prize, mind you – but I had been close to his brothers and father, as I had married into the family when I was very young, and had been married for 21 years. No longer. I am apparently to blame for *all* of his unhappiness.
    An unrepentant and nihilistic STBX who still blames me for all of his unhappiness, and who had expected me to change post-affair to be able to be worth his “choice” (more like lie) to leave the “best thing that ever happened to [him, his] soul-mate and the person who showed [him] what love really was.”
    All because of his choice to fall head over heels with and then have multiple boinking sessions with a married (on her 3rd hubby) and very unattractive woman 15 years his senior (“Unplanned! I didn’t plan on doing it! So therefore it’s not as bad as it could be….”).
    Despite being raped and whatnot, I used to have a shred of faith in my fellow humans. I obviously was mistaken…

  • Starting life over again in your retirement years. Feeling humiliated everytime you have to tell someone your marital status. Worrying about finances and your security. Feeling like you are now a burden to your adult kids. Hoping you will remain healthy enough to continue to live on your own. Looking at your beautiful grandchildren and wondering how he could walk out of their lives without a thought. 40 years of working hard to get to a comfortable retirement only to have it blown apart along with all the memories, vacations, relationships with inlaws and joint friends you loved and now have no contact. Trying to find reliable workmen for chores you aren’t physically capable to do. Realizing that this person you shared your most intimate feelings with and deeply cared for for a lifetime was a fraud.

    • I choose to say I am Single rather than Divorced. Because I am Single by choice and feel no need to recognize that he was ever legally or emotionally attached to me. It is a small difference but semantics matter.

      • Yes semantics do matter most recently I have been saying “I’m on my own. ” It works but often I get a questioning look. No big deal but it bugs me somehow. I can file for divorce in April and I’ll change back to my maiden name at the same time. I think the closure of divorce will help get me closer to meh, I hope!

      • I describe myself as “happily divorced “ and a surprising number of people will say “ I know just what you mean!”

  • The sex outside the marriage was frankly the SMALLEST part of the screw job that my Ex put me through. Let’s see:

    Financial: She secretly ran up $50,000 on my credit card right before Dday that I had to pay ASAP. I later found that that money went for the affair and bailing OM out of the financial mess he was in.
    She was “conveniently” not working at the time, so I got stuck with all legal bills.
    Her betrayal forced us to have to short sell our house which cost both of us a fortune (this was 2011/2012 and we bought in 2005 at the height of the boom). If we could have stayed just a few more years we would have MADE money when we sold.
    She took half of my 401K savings which were substantial (We’re both in our 40s) and cashed her half in and bought a nice house, went on fancy trips, bought OM a $45,000 brand new truck (he was living in a trailer when she met him). This delayed my being able to retire for at least 10 years.
    Between paying the Ex Alimony and Child Support I was reduced to living in my RV and living like I made minimum wage. PBJ sandwiches were my main diet staple for 2 years.

    Kids: My Ex being a Narc discarded me like trash and did everything to have OM “replace” me as Dad in the kids life including to never speak about me and demanding that they call OM “Daddy”. She made and makes visitation as difficult as possible, takes their cell phones (that I pay for) away as punishment for BS reasons so they can’t talk to me, etc.
    As they were living 500 miles away from me, she mostly succeeded in damaging my relationship with my kids… we love each other and do the best we can but she definitely has done great damage.

    Emotional: Realizing that my life for 16 years was all a lie and between the mind games, gas lighting, emotional abuse, etc she really did a number on my emotions and head. It took 5 years of as little contact as possible, therapy and the love of a good woman to get over the damage done.

    Misc: I also found out the true meaning of what the sin “Bearing False Witness” REALLY means after she told lies and stories that most people in our church and mutual friends initially believed. It was horrible for people that you thought were friends and family to say rotten things about you, look at you with disgust and hatred and then turn their back on you– it was horrible !!

    My Dday was Christmas 2011 and I have healed, married a fellow Chump and we both are extremely happy. I recovered from what the Ex did and the only sore spot is the situation with the kids. Luckily the oldest is in college and the other 2 are in High School so they no longer buy her BS and realize the truth. They are all placating her until they are out of the house.

    I wouldn’t wish what I (and most of you) have/had to go through on my worst enemy. During my divorce I got so low I even thought of committing suicide. Luckily my family and a good therapist helped me but when morons like Esther Perel spout their BS that affairs are just “harmless sex” I’d like her to go through what I went through and then say that BS !!

    • You just ruined my day with that story LG. Condolences, pal. But you know what? Your X is setting herself up for the biggest bitch of a Karma ever. Little or no money, her OM has no money or ambition. Her OM WILL cheat on her eventually (or her on him) and the inevitable will take place. Then guess who will be shuffling around the streets of San Francisco (or worse) begging food and taking dumps on the sidewalk. I’d consider myself fortunate for having made the break when you did.

  • I lost my status as an adult.

    When my fuckwit abandoned me and escaped from his life to go 300 miles away I was left to fix up and sell the enormous house and liquidate 30 years of accumulation. Last summer I moved into an apartment for 6 months and now have my own home (paid for in cash) and have furnished it the way I like. Despite these unwanted moves and my skillful navigation of them I was hit with a weird phenomenon. An unexpected loss was of my status as an adult.

    I am 48 years old but suddenly the horrific events made me a teenager once again in my parents’ eyes. Moving back to an apartment for the first time in nearly 3 decades was bad enough but my folks treated me like I was 18 and didn’t know how to manage my life or my money. Constantly on the phone to check in. Offering unsolicited advice on things I have managed myself quite well for years. My 70 YO father even came down with the strong fatherly advice several times and the, “Listen, Kid, you need to .” Yep, despite having substantial wealth, a technical career leading teams of people for years, and having raised 2 adult daughters who are doing very well themselves and are quite squared-away young ladies, I became “Kid.” I shit you not.

    Of course at 48 I have the skills to navigate that stupid and see it as their deep concern for me. They were going through the same shocks I was and having what they imagined as the story of their extended family change so terribly. Still, it was another thing I had to deal with that was just really fucking inconvenient to constantly cope with and lent another layer of bullshit to my life. They tried to dictate the kind of home I bought and weighed in on things that are simply none of their business. So I stopped including them in my journey and just did my life. That now causes some snarky comments when I do see them but I think it may eventually subside.

    Now almost 11 months post-abandonment and 5 months post-divorce they are calming down a bit and not hovering over me as much. I know they love me.

    • My younger sister assumed the parenting role in my case. Bless her, I really needed her when the shit hit the fan, but boy oh boy, it was a struggled to get her to back off. After almost 11 months she is now a lot better and only insists I text her when I leave her house to drive home (it’s a 3 minute drive).! LOL I keep reminding myself that she loves me and it’s good to know she is there!

    • Same experience here – I am just starting my divorce, I’m 50 years old married for 20, 2 well-adjusted daughters and my parents now act like I am 18 and don’t know anything. Maddening. I know they love me, but it is crazy. I try not to talk to them much and thankfully live 2 hrs away.

  • The insanity of all the “let’s fix our marriage” conversations that are actually “asshole is gonna skewer you alive right now so that you start to believe all the things are your fault”.

  • Here’s a financial FML/the universe hates me example:

    As the sole breadwinner of our family during our 16 years of marriage, the fact that my ex-wife got very nicely financially compensated as a result of her cheating (with at least two men) and subsequently moving in with her latest AP with our two kids during her half of the parenting time before the divorce was even final is an every day financial “eff you” on top of everything else.

    I obviously also pay child support which I don’t have a problem with but I know that she’s using the majority of that on herself since she chooses to at this point work part time and I still pay for everything the kids need (clothing/school activities/etc). Still though it hurts because I feel like I’m being punished – I fought for this marriage but she didn’t give a shit because in the end she benefited very nicely by not fighting for it.

    And now I get to be a part time dad. Ugh

    • That they walk away being “rewarded” financially for being a disgusting shell of a human is beyond repulsive. Same here, although my daughter is with me the majority of the time and I had it written into our settlement that OW “Dr. Dingy preacher ethics professor married mom of three” has ZERO contact with my daughter. So very glad for that one blessing.

    • saddad, I know exactly how you feel.

      Even though SHE was cheating and SHE destroyed the marriage and family, the courts and judges don’t care. Instead YOU get to pay, pay and pay some more. Oh and if you miss 1 payment of 1 cent, you are going to jail. Then you watch as your kids wear rags while she and OM are living high on the hog on your hard earned money, so you take money you don’t really have and buy your kid’s clothes.
      She’ll get hers eventually and just do the best that you can for your kids.

  • I can relate to virtually everything that has already been mentioned.
    The trauma of infidelity, abuse, use, and betrayal by not just one but several partners has made me a less productive, pleasant mother, partner, friend, student worker, with broad, long-term ramifications.

    After half a century, my spirit is finally broken. I am now cynical, pessimistic, and depressed and with it, extremely lethargic. I have lost the desire to live–so different than I was just six months ago.

    I lost trust in monst people, lost faith in humanity for the most part.

    I am staying alive to prevent my kids from suffering more than they already have, try to support my colleagues and. clients, help make the end of a bunch of animals’ lives more comfortable and enjoyable, and waiter for the Karma bus to hit my dishonest, cruel exes–or hit me. Looking forward to the final over dose of morphine.

    I hope my Kindred Spirits soon feel bette than I do. You deserve happiness!

    • RockStarWife,

      During my divorce it just hit me that I had lost everything (so I thought) and I didn’t know if I could go on and everyone might be better off if I “checked out”. Luckily my family and therapist got me through it.
      My therapist had me list most of the horrible things that my Ex had done. Then she asked “Now what would you call the type of person who would do these things” ?? My response — “a total asshole”… So she said “are you going to end your life over what a total asshole did to you” ??

      That shook me up and as CL says “trust that they suck”. The 2 guys who betrayed you are assholes and don’t let them break your spirit. Take every day 1 at a time and in the morning say “I’m going to have a good day today” and then live that day the best that you can. After awhile the days (and your life) will get better and better and you won’t think of the “assholes” any more. Good luck !!

      • Thanks for sharing, Laughing Gator.

        I have thought a few times since I realized that my ex-boyfriend repeatedly lied to me, ‘Are you going to end your life over a total a–hole?’ Need to remind myself that although he was ‘nice’ to a lot of people and ‘nice’ to me in some ways, underneath he was really awful to me and he had some long-standing major character flaws.

        I like the idea of saying, ‘I’m going to have a good day today.’

    • You are going to get your heart back. I know it. You are so full of love for others. Hang in there!

      And remember February is always a tough month.

  • Infidelity as a singular thing does not account for being discarded as if you never existed and the impact it has on the one who loved unconditionally.

    Walking away without a care or remorse is one of the most selfish acts imaginable. A very kind man I knew decided to take his own life after his greedy wife dumped him and left with his daughter.

    I recall her bragging that her affair partner had money and bought her an expensive sweater. I’m forever thankful newbies have support and know they aren’t alone.

    Children look up to their parents and often times the cheaters actions when found out by children cause them great suffering. They too are duped.

    A sweet young girl in college with an abusive boyfriend was pregnant and her father told her she had to marry him and forbid her to abort the child. Her life was hell and she had more children.

    Good old dad was caught living a whole second life with two other children while married to her mom.

    She was found dead with her youngest child and her abusive husband killed himself and his own mother recently.

    This cycle of abuse trickles down to our children. My mother was a battered woman who had Stockholm syndrome. I was going to be different, resilient, and independent.

    At fifty seven I was shocked to hear I had Stockholm syndrome and that I too was a battered woman.

    Infidelity is the tip of the iceberg. Save yourself. Save your children. Staying for children models both tolerance and acceptance of abuse. Stop that! Having a healthy environment half the time is better than exposing children to toxic pain.

    • Doing Me,

      I can relate to the being discarded as if you never existed. I realized that that is what was happening when my boyfriend told me that he didn’t want to have a group photo taken of us because he was afraid that the photo might appear in someone’s social media account–two years after we started dating, and 30 years after we met! The guy I wanted to marry and I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread and ‘God-sent’ treated me (and probably viewed me) as an escort, who at the end didn’t deserve to be paid. I am disgusted by him and his treatment of me (and some of his past partners). I will from now on watch out for wolves (F–ktards) in Mr. Nice Guy Clothing. My husband probably never thought of me as his wife as he is extremely psychologically disordered. Glad he does not live with me at all anymore.

      • The photo avoidance also happened to me while away for the Dday weekend. He wouldn’t allow me to take a picture of us with my granddaughter.

        You have value RSW and so do I. We loved and were more than enough. When I was going through all the pictures of us he never had his arm around me. I burned them.

        I was stuck for a long time believing I wasn’t good enough. Never let an asshole define you RSW. You’re awesome.

  • Being a breast cancer survivor my immune system isn’t
    the same. I got an blood infection ( not serious) from
    ex monster.

    You would think wearing protection while he was cheating would be a wise thing to do ! Not only for himself.. but my safety!

    While he was having “fun with the whore” I got Irritable Bowel Syndrome from all the stress.

    2 years divorced after 34 year marriage.. I’m not close to “meh”. Hoping my Tuesday comes soon.

  • Grief.

    I never really got to fairly grieve what I felt I lost. My memories were all tarnished and most of them fake (at least on his end), the future we talked about and were living out was never real, my marriage was an act, the photos I cherished were suddenly nauseating, the things I had a sentimental attachment to were trash, and no one felt that I’d lost anything of value in him (which was true). Sure, my family and friends were filled with rage on my behalf, but sadness never got to percolate through. I didn’t feel like it was ok to be sad when there was too much to be angry about, too many broken pieces to put back together, too many next steps to figure out. So unlike when someone dies, and everyone circles the wagons to grieve, and the surviving spouse gets to cherish the memory of their marriage and speak of their love and loss, getting chumped is a great big middle finger where grief would ordinarily exist.

    • Your post resonates with me. I was so terribly angry after DDay that I used that anger to propell me into getting on with sorting out the logistics of my life. I didn’t take the time to grieve what I had lost mostly I didn’t want to. I just felt I couldn’t grieve. Recently I have had bouts of sadness that were unexplained and I believe that these are my grieving moments. I feel stronger and more peaceful afterwards so I’m hoping that this prosess will lead me eventually to meh! You are completely right if he had just dropped dead it would have been so much easier.

    • Yes, my chumpy friends and I frequently say “Why couldn’t he have just DIED??” Then you can have a ceremony and put it behind you, you don’t lose your friends or in-laws… I know there are those on CL who have been chumped AND have had their cheaters die, and they strongly disagree. But for me, it would have been better had he just been smeared across the pavement by the crosstown bus.

        • Haha, Love this Tempest.

          NW I envision him impaled on a white pointy picket fence post. And as I come upon him Nanthony’s asking if she should pull it out. But a bus works too.

      • I sometimes think it would have been easier on me if he had died, but then I remind myself that it would have been harder on the kids. In our case he is still making some effort to be a decent Dad. If I didn’t love my kids, however I would definitely have been wishing he had just died. Then I could have grieved him and moved on and not felt so used and discarded.

        • THIS!
          I sometimes think it would have been easier on me if he had died, but then I remind myself that it would have been harder on the kids”

          My cheater died before the divorce was final. A relief for me yes-but a lifetime of grief for my young son. He has been in weekly therapy since last summer. He cries & misses that POS who was his dad
          I worry everyday my beautiful son will never be ok or truly happy ever again.
          My heart is broken for my son

    • what happens when you get chumped AND he dies? You don’t get to grieve In the normal way AND you get PTSD. Thanks to the asshole narcissist….

  • I really resent being a single parent of two young children (7 and 9) at 50. I raised 5 kids as a single parent and married my second husband and had 3 more kids with him because I wanted to experience raising a family WITH their father. I was born to be a mom. I love being a mom.

    I can’t be the kind of mom I want to be now. I have to work a full time job in a town that delivers a 70 mile daily commute. I wanted to homeschool and spend my days making quilts and sweaters and baking cookies and working a part time job to make ends meet 3 blocks from my house. I can’t even be the grandma I want to be, watching my grandkids when my kids are ina bit of a pinch, or helping them with a little financial boost here and there.

    He took that away from me and now some other woman is doing that mom thing that I wanted, and waiting to have his baby any day. (I hope to God it’s not born on our deceased sons birthday, Date of death, funeral anniversary…. just another way to twist the knife even deeper.) not that I want to have any more of his kids, but really…. what the fuck?

  • To begin with infidelity destroys that bond of marriage, crushes the chump and knocks her flat not to mention what it does to innocent children. Not only does the cheater leave the spouse broken it crushes the kids. The boys are in their early 20’s and I can see how hurtful it was to them, my daughter is 16 and lost 14lbs, had to go on anxiety/depression medicine, started failing school and is now in weekly counseling.
    I will never understand how 2 people (the OW was married with a 3 yr old) can selfishly do what they did, destroy 2 marriages, 2 spouse and 4 innocent children all for sex and the fun of it.

    March 1 will be 7 months post D Day… he won’t leave the house and now wants to reconcile. The positive right now is that I am no longer curled up in a ball numb with pain. I have started to hold my head up, find myself and be able to take care of my life and my kids now. Thanks to CL I am starting to see him as the sparkly turd that he is!

  • I don’t have anything insightful to add about kids (though that’s my big one). So, not to seem shallow, but I’ll go with money and finances. There’s nothing like having to work your ass off at a place you can’t stand, sell your car, and move to a tiny apartment so you can make your court-mandated child support payments for years on end. And all because you had the bad judgement to marry and reproduce with a serial cheating, lying, lazy sack of crap.

  • What I Lost:
    The complete and absolute total mindfuck of my body, heart, and soul. The destruction of my trust, faith, mental balance. The erasure of joy from past memories, the contentment of the present, and the hope for the future. The best friend, life partner, and lover.

    What I Gained:
    Understanding of true friendship. Deeper empathy for others. Became realist, not optimist nor pessimist. Realized I am nothing in the this world but may be the world to someone. It’s actually okay to not succeed and just be. Hold firm in my beliefs and values. Learn that I don’t deserve …. and I am in fact better than ….

  • What does infidelity touch? Infidelity is so much more than a stranger touching their parts with your spouses.

    Human rights:
    Infidelity deprives you of your human right to dignity and respect. All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political; the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others. Human rights entail both rights and obligations; the obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. A cheaters right to cheat, should stop where my right to dignity and respect begins, as stated through the civil contract of marriage before a group of peers, and recognized by the state and federal governments. By decriminalizing infidelity, states have granted one party the right from interfering with freedom, and realeased themselves from the obligation to protect the recieiving party from violations.

    Child rearing
    Indidelity affects children. Being forced into meeting affair partners, a blatant reminder that their freedom of choice doesn’t actually exist. Shuffled around like property, their control deligated half the time to an adult who’s selfishness is so pervasive they would choose sexual excitement over commitment and responsibility. Creating coping mechanism to deal with the dissonance of a parent who is no longer seen as role model.

    Health
    Health risks don’t just come in the form of the threat of STD’s, (some incurable); the risk of stress related disease significantly increases – cancer, ulcers, semantic pain, mental and emotional health, and the secondary casualties of these … the effect of an ill parent on children.

    Financial …
    Speaking of which, I have to run to my attorneys office… so I’m going to have to finish this up later

  • Forcing our children to have to grow up and deal with adult stuff real fast and then compounding matters by lying about everything so that she could avoid taking responsibility.

    I doubt that our children (then 11, 16 and 18) will forget the day that they found out – by virtue of her mother’s iPhone being synched to her iPad – that she was hooking up with an ex-boyfriend. They handled it like troopers, although it took me a further 6 months to get my now ex-wife to leave the house and a further 18 months to divorce her. That she spent 18 months demanding a settlement way beyond what she’d have been entitled to had she taken the children with her – and then told the children that I’d screwed her over when the Court didn’t award her it – was par for the course.

    The 3 children and I are now doing OK and we all know that we are much better off without her. Ex-wife, on the other hand, still feels that she did nothing wrong, maintains that she is the victim in all of this and can’t understand why the children have issues with her and her boyfriend.

    • Ah! The old “iPhone and iPad syncing!” This is how I found out about my ex’s affair. My daughter was looking on her iPad one day (she was 16 at the time) and found naked photos of the OW because ex’s iPhone was still synced to the iPad. I still see red whenever I think about it. Our cheaters were obviously too stupid to realize how technology works.

      • Stupid doesn’t come close to describing it.

        Thankfully my eldest daughter had the presence of mind to take photographs of the incriminating texts and email them to me, as she knew that her mother would deny everything.

        As well as not synching the iPad, my now ex-wife would also have been well advised to have cleared her browser history; why would anyone who has nothing to hide be Googling “How to get away with having an affair?”

        I appear to have bred with an uttter moron. 🙁

        • Fellow Future Tuesday Friend,

          “I appear to have bred with an utter moron.”

          Ditto.

          A PhD doesn’t mean you’re smart. Dr. Clueless is so stupid it’s embarrassing. How did I ever live with that guy? Turns my stomach.

          I found out about the affair because he asked me to put him on my Amazon Prime account. Idiot. Gifts sent to a married mother of 3 in the history. Then when I confronted him and went nuclear (which I think scared the shit out of him since I rarely raise my voice) he handed me his phone. I forwarded myself loads of their emails about travel plans and her secret credit card and their “date” pictures, and then called the bitch. She was a tad surprised it wasn’t her twue wuv on the other end.

          She “erased” her name from his phone record as I was holding it. It was bizarre. Under a fucking minute after she knew that I knew. WTF?

          So, she may have a technological edge on him, but dear OW Sunday school teacher, ethics professor, lecturer on truth and how to be “wholly holy” (can’t make this up) was a bit too arrogant for her sake as well.

          They are ALL morons. I swear. Comically dumb.

          • Tuesday is Coming, just … thanks. Your phrase “Comically Dumb” resonates so perfectly, and bears deconstruction too.

            “Comically.”

            Ex-wife revealed herself to be the 21st Century’s undiscovered comedy genius when she said – in the same breath that she denied having an affair – “I did think about suggesting that we agree to an open marriage and that we see other people, but you are just not emotionally mature enough to make a relationship like that work.”

            “Dumb.”

            Ex-wife wasn’t just a techno-moron; she was a regular old fashioned analogue one as well. On D Day I found that she had kept a 2 month old printed out email from his work email account to her work email account outlining his “availability” over the coming 6 months so that they could make plans. And signed off with multiple kisses – barf.

            Like you said, they are all morons. Thankfully, my ex-wife now has to go and park her stupid somewhere else. 🙂

            Look after yourself.

    • Dr. Clueless is playing the victim card now too, and I believe he truly feels it. He’s incapable of caring for another, so even if there is a slight inconvenience or if say, the entire Division III scientists refuse to sit with him at lunch because he’s such a shitbag, he throws a wee toddler tantrum. Didn’t help that he got a public $12K raise and THEN took me to court to reduce child support in half. WOE IS HIM. So sad. I ruined his life by….. wait. Can’t think of anything. He’s pathetic.

      The sight of him makes me involuntarily roll my eyes and contort my face in disgust. We work at the same place. I tried ghosting him and just looking through him but most of the time my body won’t have it. I hate him and gladly wear the highest heels I can now. He’s a short motherfucker and my height has always made him feel inferior.

  • The erosion of confidence. The belief in our self-worth and self-efficacy.

    Before D-Day, cheaters use gaslighting to make us doubt our perceptions and perhaps our sanity. Cheaters blame shift and chumps who want to please or to see the marriage going often accept responsibility. Cheaters can be controlling, as they work to hide affairs, financial shenanigans, and other actions from the chump. And cheaters often dump a lot of responsibility on chumps, who then have less time to grow and explore as individuals.

    And then D-Day shatters the chumps’ confidence in their attractiveness, their personalities, their efforts, their commitment, their sexuality, and their general worth as people. “You aren’t enough” is the message of the cheater after getting caught, which is the ultimate blame shift.

    Important things for chumps to rebuild: the sense of intrinsic worth; an accurate view of their talents, efforts, and abilities; confidence in their ability to survive and thrive, even when facing obstacles; self-efficacy.

    • “Important things for chumps to rebuild: the sense of intrinsic worth; an accurate view of their talents, efforts, and abilities; confidence in their ability to survive and thrive, even when facing obstacles; self-efficacy.”

      Lovdajackass ^^^^^this exactly

    • Yes, LAJ,
      My cheater masterfully got me into a pattern where he would point out any and all small issues and then send me off on wild goose chases to improve my ability to do everything and I was so committed to doing it (thinking it would make him happy and our life together would be better) that I worked tirelessly and would swing around only to have him raise the bar and send me back to the drawing board.
      He used my people pleasing traits to keep me busy while he did whatever he liked.

      • Oh yes to this one too. Always trying to meet the moving standard. Humbly knowing I was not perfect.

        Lost time. And ability to choose otherwise – lacking information as to his actions and motives. Better late than never is a new motto.

    • I agree with this so much!

      Many problems can be easily fixed… or at least don’t feel personal. But LovedAJackass hits the nail on the head in terms of the mindfuck that cheaters create. These are the things that are harder to fix.

      “You aren’t enough”

      Even with therapy, time, distance, and meh, this is the one that still creeps into my thoughts sometimes. I never used to have self-esteem issues, but there will always be a lingering doubt about my self-worth now. Yes, I know the lessons of CN. I know not to take my cheater’s words personally. But I’ll still feel a tiny sting of rejection, even if it was from a soulless loser.

  • Infidelity, It’s so much more….Infidelity is a photograph album of your beautiful newborn daughter, and in every single photograph for the first 10 days of her life she is hooked up to various IV medications of anti-virals to treat a potentially life threatening, extremely rare, case of Neonatal Herpes Virus. How do you explain these circumstances to your child as she grows up and asks about the story of her birth? I am filled with gratitude every precious day of my daughter’s life that she ended up with a clean bill of health, however this traumatic experience was entirely preventable. Infidelity is the selfish, deceptive spouse who secretly has indiscriminate unprotected sex and then comes home and demands sex from his pregnant wife (without even bothering to bathe in between sex partners). Infidelity is abuse.

  • It’s so much more…..

    It’s the long term psychological damage the chump carries for the rest of their life. Will I ever be able to trust someone again? Will I always feel less than? Can I fall in love again?

  • The idea of the cheater running off to have sex with a low life cheating OW isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. It’s when the OW sends you e-mails telling you that she is the ONE who is making decisions about your everyday life! My cheaters OW informed me that SHE allowed my husband to take me on a destination vacation on our anniversary and it was her idea. Apparently he had told her everything about me and my dreams and aspirations. I knew very little about her. She informed me that she had “approved” the purchase of a new washer and dryer for our home! The idea that my “private” life was no more than a mirage left me so nervous and uptight that I had to be measured in anything i said or did in the privacy of my own home was unbearable. I felt naked to the world. It was such an awful feeling and was no way to live. Cheater told her everything and she was making all the decisions in my life! I felt like a caged animal on display at a zoo! The only way to deal with that was to kick his ass out and tell him nothing. There were times during my divorce when I desperately needed him to be there, but she wouldn’t allow it and he didn’t care enough. It would have meant she was calling the shots. If I had been sicker in the hospital she would probably had him pull the plug!

    • Horrifying. The deception is incredible, and it is such a terrible mindfuck to see that your cheater apparently prefers her and her disgusting lack of shame over you. They leave not for our betters, but for their equals. It still hurts. I am so sorry for you.

      The walking around naked thing hit me the other day. Fuckwit can’t adult and hired a tax accountant (I always did our taxes, but now, #nomorewifing). I always over-withheld to pay our big tax bill every year and make my take-home pay smaller than his so his wittle feewungs wouldn’t be hurt since I out-earned him by 30%. Now he thinks he gets to benefit from nearly half of that huge withholding I have accumulated because our divorce was final in the fall.

      Um, no, Fuckwit, you only get a fraction of it because you poofed on me in the spring and our state is one that says the “community” part of community property ends when the spouse leaves the domicile and shows intent to never return. Since the fuckwit sent me an e-mail toodle-loo on abandonment day I have my proof. Unfortunately I had to produce that e-mail for the accountant to establish the date, and it was humiliating. Where it should feel like proof of his massive cowardice now shared with the world it instead feels like I am the one parading around in my skivvies.

  • When my son was 6-10 he had a very best friend called Alex that he adored. They went everywhere together, played together every day after school, and they met because I was best friend with Alex’s mum. Alex was one year older than my son and went up to the big school a year early. That year everything changed. Alex suddenly went cold on my son, and was unkind to him and began to avoid him. His mother did the same to me. It was inexplicable. I was upset – but my son was completely devastated. The friend of his heart had not only vanished, but had become an enemy. And this happened, of course, because my husband and my best friend cheated on me. She was deeply hurt when he broke it off, and trying to avoid all of us, punished me and my son. I only found this out 6 years later when my husband left me for a different woman and I discovered multiple other infidelities. But this is how infidelity – even secret infidelity – can savagely hurt children. Esther Perel doesn’t know the half of it.

    • That’s just sick. Cheaters are selfish in every way. They don’t think about or care about consequences or who gets hurt and why. It’s all about me, me, me. It galls me that OWs can be so concerned about their own hurt and not care about the spouse. APs lose their right to not get hurt the moment they decide that fucking somebody else’s spouse is a good idea. So selfish.

  • The sad thing is that despite no desire to ever see or here from him again I get the lovely leftovers of;The cost of therapy (trauma/PTSD). The work of therapy. The hours spent looking for my self esteem. Sucking at work and making excuses because for months just standing upright was a struggle. The unrelenting anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. Never retiring or having the time to make up the loss (I’m 60). Selling the house.

    The sex could not have been that good. What a thing he wasted his and others life on. Fucking strange as a legacy is so sad. If he dies before the divorce is final I’ll put this on his tombstone “Here lies XXX he fucked strange.”

    • When I think of how he trashed his life for such an unworthy pursuit, it almost takes my breath away.

      Yes, he got to fuck strange, but he destroyed everything – his spiritual life (our faith strictly forbids this), his marriage, his relationship with his kids, his career, his legacy, his family (who adores and idolizes him) formed many of their attitudes about him based on lies – so even that isn’t real.

      I probably knew him better than anyone and I think he is an asshole…that is a staggering thought when you consider the breadth of a lifetime.

      He was smart, handsome, witty and had opportunities and gave it all up to fuck strange.

      I tried with him thousands of times, I forgave his harshness and tried harder thousands of times, I loved him deeply and was devoted fully….and now he is in Purgatory where he can’t change any of it.

      Its all so fucking tragic. And when people who know the truth want me to be gleeful over his death, Im like “no, his death didnt make it less tragic, it made it more tragic”. Huge, colossal, profound waste.

      His gravestone is standard military so not a lot of options for editorializing on it, but in my fantasies, I have considered:

      Loving Son
      Good Brother
      Loyal Warrior
      Unpredictable Father
      Terrible Husband

      • Unicornnomore, THIS! I also found the “list” of descriptions for his headstone lacking at the National cemetery. Isn’t it awful to think these things because we didn’t ruin their reputations, they did it to themselves! Unbelievable!

  • Lies, lies, and more lies.

    LIES OF OMISSION. These are those times the cheater failed to mention she didn’t have a night with JUST the girls. It was a mixed gender affair.

    LIES OF COMMISSION. These are those lies where the cheater is actively invalidating what you know is true. They tell family and friends you are crazy to think or say she is cheating. This is done with full knowledge that you are right; the adulterous affair is on-going.

    LIES ATTACKING CHARACTER. These are the lies spoken to get you to question your own character as well as to weaponize others against you. It is hard to dislodge these lies since you trusted your spouse and assumed they wouldn’t engage in such deceitful, abusive practices.

  • Abuse changes you. No matter how we try we will never be who we we’re. I’m pissed cause I really really liked me before . Now I don’t. Not in a self loathing way. I just know that now I can’t unring the bell. I’m alot less tolerant , less patient, less cheerful, more skeptical, more cynical, more indifferent, more distrustful and generally disgusted with humans. I feel that instead of getting better post d day, I have gotten worse. I care about my children and that is it. I am even distrustful of my family. I see the selfishness is everyone. And I am aware of what is going on but am indifferent to change it. It is self preservation in overdrive. I now prefer solitude.

    My daughter is in denial. My son is very confused between loving his father and being disgusted by his behavior.

    I don’t care about the money. We are doing okay.

    I don’t care about future relationships…I don’t want any.

    I don’t care bout his family that is gone. Or the friends who are gone. I don’t care.

    • “I’m pissed cause I really really liked me before”

      In the midst of the worst, I felt myself changing in order to survive and I hated it because I liked me how I was. After a while I came to like the new me, but I resent the me that was left so far behind.

      Im many years out and my general optimism has returned and I hope that for you too. Im enjoying life and have re-equilibrated into a balanced, optimistic person.

    • Yeah I used to like myself too.

      Now, not so much. I’m a ball of fat just just keeps growing. I just figure I’ll hit the grave in my mid-40s. I’ve tried for years to change it. It’s even harder knowing that no one anywhere would want to be physically close to me. Every now and then I get a serving of pity or duty sex. But I’ve even gone off of that now.

      My libido used to be insanely high. Now I have doubts that I’ll ever even have sex again. The thought of it gives me anxiety whereas I used to want to have fun. Fun is a thing that hasn’t made much if an appearance in years. It’s like a fleeting mist. I start to enjoy something fun, like a festival or an event or outing with my kids and there’s just this sense that comes up whenever I’m in public that I just don’t belong. Like I don’t even belong out in public.

      So I went from extroverted to having social anxiety that I am just sllloooowly coming out of now.

      A lot of it is linked with my appearance. My mother always assured me that I was pretty (which wasn’t true) but she also told me that everyone has different tastes etc and that one perfectly good guy would be attracted to me whereas another perfectly good guy wouldn’t because maybe he would think I’m too tall (or whatever, her point was that people are attracted to different things because reasons and not to take any rejection of things like that personally. Good advice really.)

      So I found my husband who made me feel like the prettiest woman in the world. It was all a lie.

      I don’t think he was ever physically attracted to me. I think he saw someone he figured would “make a good mother” and he was ready to settle down. Someone he could reasonably present to his critical mother.

      So here I am with two kids and feeling like dog shit.

      The lying didn’t start with the infidelity. It was just a symptom of it. The infidelity is long-over. Who cares? I’ve tossed my youth and I look like shit now. Worse than I did when I look at our wedding pictures and see I looked like shit then too. The only difference being I thought I had something to offer. I never had a hope in Hell.

      • Okay, I think I might be PMSing today. I don’t think I’ve been that self-depricating since my teens.
        Take the above with a huge grain of salt. After a couple of tears I feel a lot better.

        • Well that puts it in perspective! I’m PMS ing too. Note to self…don’t post on a horomone spike.

          Buy seriously…there is still alot of me that I miss! I know she’s never coming back. And well you know how we chumps have a hard time letting go. Will i like the new me? Will she flake on me? Will other people like her? Fck it…I’m.back yo not caring.
          I need a few days to level off.

          • There there. Vent away and get it off your chest. Your mum is right though beauty is subjective.
            Narcs are pretty shallow and only see the surface so in that regard he would have had a physical attraction to you. Of course knowing that you were hot stuff in his eyes…a trophy as it were doesn’t help a whole lot.
            Mine saw me today in a new dress I bought. Although we don’t communicate, he couldn’t resist sending me a text commenting on how I looked in the dress. They are just that shallow.

      • I have been so angry at ex for so long over blowing up our family and future.

        But I am feeling more settled lately and I even made a list in my head the other day: name 3 things ex brought to my life that I did not have before I met him.
        Cause my life before I met him was pretty awesome.

        1. He was fun. Everything was “more” when it was with him. Camping was more fun. Atv ing was exhilarating. A simple outdoor fire was more because he was there. I can’t articulate exactly why, but I felt such contentment in his prescence. (Until I didn’t).

        2. He was a dynamite kisser. We kissed for hours. I really miss kissing him.

        3. I felt beautiful in his prescence. My loved ones would tell me that I am cute all the time. But with him it was deeper and he thought everything I did was sexy. And the parts of my body I was insecure about were what he loved the most. He used to tell me that he loved my laugh lines at the corner of my eyes because he knows I love to laugh and am a happy person.

        Even considering making this list is huge for me. I hate him. Because he is an evil monster that was emotionally and financially abusive. Horrible father and step father.

        I am only 37 and I don’t want to date. I am still scared my picker is broken.

        • I hear you about this so much:
          “But with him it was deeper and he thought everything I did was sexy. And the parts of my body I was insecure about were what he loved the most. He used to tell me that he loved my laugh lines at the corner of my eyes because he knows I love to laugh and am a happy person.”

          I had some scarring on my torso and he was so accepting of it and me like it didn’t matter in the least and he was so loving toward me. I also get how much more fun everything was in his presence. Now it feels like there’s this completely different invasive person there.

          I have no idea how I will ever dig myself out of this mess.

  • In addition to adding to what others have posted, the worst thing for me is the loss of innocence. It was so hard to believe that XH (“Nice Guy”) could do what he did to me and during the difficult time following the loss of my mother. I remember when I found out he had a whore, I ran to my therapist crying and wanting to know: “How will I ever trust again??!!” The IC looked at me with pity, and said: “You won’t. Not to the same extent again.” That killed me then, still does.

  • Things my cheating ex robbed me and my children of during the affair, during fake reconciliation, and ongoing after separation and divorce:

    Time – All those absences explained with lies, all the time devoted to his selfish pursuits instead of building the family, all the distracted behaviour even when we were together.

    Money – Who knows how much family money was spent on his affair? and now I don’t get CS because he’s self-employed and mostly supported by the AP.

    Health – STDs aside, the trauma has forever prematurely aged me and affected my health.

    Friends and family – I lost so many friends during this process, friends who sided with my ex out of ‘neutrality’ or even just apathy, as I was too busy single parenting to maintain friendships, and I miss my wonderful former in-laws terribly as I had become closer to them than my own family in many ways. Making new friends in middle age turns out to be extremely challenging.

    Sense of Self – Finding out the person you loved and trusted most married you under false pretenses and was manipulating you all along is a huge blow to the self-esteem, and now I doubt my ability to properly judge or ever trust anyone again. And how do the children feel, wondering why their dad didn’t care about their family? They have developed a lot of issues, that either wouldn’t have happened with a proper, present, father, or could be better managed with one.

    Intimacy – I have been unable/unwilling to try dating much again – too busy being a single parent on a single income to devote any time to it. Not to mention, when many people find out you were cheated on, they think there must have been something wrong with you! If you find a new wonderful partner, I’m sure that helps a lot to make it feel like life is better now, but when you don’t, it still weighs on you no matter how content you are alone.

    Parenting – When I had children I was going to be there for them 100%. Now, I can’t. There is just no substitute for a child than to have two, simultaneously present and caring, members of the parenting team, divvying up the work. I do what I can, when I can, but I can’t be in two places at once, and some things can’t be multitasked, so the children have missed out on many opportunities and much support. It’s sad when it happens due to the death of a parent, it’s a mutually considered decision when it’s due to one parent’s employment, but it’s unforgivable when one parent does it on purpose merely to satisfy their libido.

    Future – This is not where I thought I would be in life, that’s for sure. Even before the cheating, I was sacrificing a lot of personal ambitions for the marriage, a red flag I didn’t recognize at the time. What life could I have had instead with a proper supportive partner? Yes, I’ve left a cheater and gained a life, but think of the life I could have had, if my spouse had actually been the person I thought he was.

    • Oh, I was going to add that thankfully I escaped a spousal support obligation, despite being the higher earner. That’s got to be a kick in the teeth, having the cheater KEEP draining your life long after the relationship is over.

    • I’m facing all of this too and fully relate. So so sorry you’re going through this. My wife believes she may have found a better love with whom she shares a deep “connection” and is willing to give up our marriage, full time with our one-year-old, the life we built over eight years, the comfort of it all, etc., all of which she says she still loves, just to “explore” the other relationship. She asked me to give her more time because she’s not ready to divorce and doesn’t want to regret things if/when her romantic emotions for the AP settle. She returned from a snowboarding trip with her AP just last night and requested an open relationship rather than divorce, which I know well enough from my time on CL is just her wanting cake/ plan b/ a safety net. Never mind my feelings, needs, dreams. It’s all so mind-boggling.

        • Yes, I’m finally realizing divorce is my only real option at this point and I’ve begun the process, which deeply upset and surprised my wife. I kept hoping she’d emerge from the “affair fog”, especially since she has so much to lose, but it’s been 8 months and she hasn’t given an ounce to our relationship since beginning the affair. She’s shown very little remorse. She says “I just can’t stop” seeing the affair partner even though “in an ideal world you and I would stay together.” Maybe the divorce settlement agreement and all the detail of what she will lose will shake her out of it, but I’m not counting on it. I’m doing this for me. It’s time.

          • Oh sure, in her ideal world, she would have her lover whenever she wanted for fun, and keep you to play the nanny/housekeeper/cook/income role in her life. I’m guessing that’s not what your ideal world looks like? You don’t have a wife/partner, you have an entitled teenager.

            And no, you can’t count on anything shaking her out of it. If your wife does see the settlement terms and claim to have come out of the ‘fog’ you still can’t trust her. She won’t be valuing YOU, she would only be too afraid to lose the material things you provide for her. As CL says, she’s showing you who she is. Her lover could die tomorrow, and this would still be who your wife is. Just because the competition is gone doesn’t mean the prize is any good.

            I’ve noticed too, personally and through so many anecdotes on here, that the cheater is frequently surprised at how upset the chump is. After all, if you love them, don’t you want them to be happy? You vowed you would do anything for them, so why aren’t you going along with this lover thing too? You ought to be happy for them, that they are happy, that they are demanding less time from you so you can focus on the house and kids. They live in their own little world of entitlement, where they are #1 in everybody’s lives. You seemed okay with the affair BEFORE you found out, so why should things change AFTER you find out?

            The possibility of cheater epiphany and lasting change is so minute as to not be considered a valid option. Proceed with your divorce and build your new life with integrity.

      • Asking for more time to ‘decide’ is just the cheater’s way of keeping you on the hook because what they’ve really decided is to have both relationships.

        But I’m not still going through it; I’m out the other side and just fine, and I did it with a one-year-old too. I predate Chump Lady in fact, and discovered her only because I was still trying to untangle the skein. My life may not be what I thought I would have and believed I did, but it’s still waaaaaay better than being cheated on and hurt by the person who was supposed to protect me the most. Nobody who loves and respects you wants to ‘explore’ anything else in secret. Open marriages only work if there is trust and the openness is mutually established before any extra partners come on the scene. That is not what you have and you never will. Don’t believe the words – watch the actions. The words are lies and the actions speak truth. She is not 100% in the marriage, therefore there is no marriage.

        • This is the sad truth. There is no marriage, at least not the one we vowed to have, with friends and family as our witnesses. But it appears I’m still of use to her so she won’t leave me. She loves the life and home we’ve built together, she loves me, loves parenting with me, I cook, handle home repairs, earn 2x income, have more available time to parent, and provide her with comfort.

          I will be able to get over my spouse with time – she’s shown her true colors. But my son, now that’s a different story altogether. I don’t know how I’ll manage not seeing him every day. The logistical nightmare. The coparenting w affair partner, assuming that relationship turns into something legitimate. I did not sign up for this!

    • I am grateful to have full custody of my kids again, but I remain bitter about the kinds of parenting compromises I have to make. Just as you pointed out–I cannot be two (or more) places at once. At least once a week it seems like one kid has to miss out on something he or she should get to enjoy because I have to be somewhere else with another kid. Family, friends, and carpools might help, but it is always a struggle, and it is a problem they will simply have to grow up with.

      Absences from my job are saved for really important things, like trips to the pediatrician. I’ve never “spent” one going on a field trip as a chaperone. I simply do not have any “disposable time” to use toward these kinds of parenting opportunities. (And don’t get me started on the snarky bullshit I’ve heard come out of the mouths of some of the stay-at-home-married-parents as they denigrate the limited contributions of single parents. If nothing else, divorce has taught me a lot about empathy for other people and the invisibility of so many forms of struggle.)

  • As others have said, cheating is more than just one thing. It permeates all aspects of our lives. And it mostly causes CORE TRAUMA, that takes years to heal, if ever. It’s like discovering a family member that you thought loved you with all their heart but was planning to kill you. I don’t think we could ever recover from that kind of betrayal. Cheaters don’t try to kill you physically, but they do kill our spirit.

    They break us to the core, shatter every fiber of our being and it is an emotional death in every way. And a part of us does die if you think about it, just like children who’s parents hurt them to the core, there will always be a part of us that is no longer the same, perhaps it’s our innocence that’s taken away or our joie de vivre, but from the abuse books I’ve read, we carry those scars forever with us. Just like a tree forever carrying all of its scars on its trunk.

    • Complete emotional disconnection from self.

      My MIL walking in on one of his rages. This time finally he’s describing our death by his hands in detail. Providing a timeline. Internally pissed that she won’t stop screaming, crying and pleading with him to stop. Dispassionately yet respectfully asking her to please be quiet.

      He was only about 11 minutes in and all the sobbing was going to distort my recording.

      For those in the CN who sufffered from Narc abuse as well as infidelity…thank you for having the courage to post. There is a higher hob of hell for abusers.

      There has to be.

  • My husband has an addictive behavior & I stayed with him for 4 years while he was on all kinds of pain meds & sleeping pills. He fell asleep while driving & luckily pulled off the road & the Highway Patrol found him. Car was still running & he was sound asleep. He would have hallucinations & talk to himself. I couldn’t take him to family events. At night he would have to go to the bathroom but would soil himself before he got there because he didn’t wake up in time. I cleaned that up numerous times not to mention spilled food & drinks. He finally got himself straight. But if he has ice cream or candy, he will eat it all at once & and ask for more. So when he was cheating, he texted, e-mailed, and slept with her, and kept asking for more pictures of her when not with her. After D-Day, I told him to choose. He wanted to work our marriage out, then 2 months later, it started again. Then he became ill & “needed” me to take care of him. But very little remorse came from him after having the affair. It’s been 5 yrs since he cheated & I’m still reeling. I just found CN & it’s given me the courage & motivation to get my ducks in a row. Time for me now!

  • Tried to post a comment, but it isn’t here so I will try again.
    It wasn’t just the idea that my cheater ran off to have sex with a MOW he hooked up with on Facebook. My cheater was the type who apparently told his Schmoopie all my dreams and aspirations in life. I wanted a trip to a city for years and during one of our anniversaries during a reconciliation I finally got that trip. Trouble was the OW constantly texted him during the trip. Then she sent me one of her “sword of truth” e-mails telling me to get a large glass of water because it was going to be a large bitter pill to swallow. She informed me that ANYTHING my cheater did for me or our household had been “approved” by her first! I felt as if she had a constant “window” into my daily life. I felt as if every minute of my private life was on display like an animal in a zoo. She even informed me that she had “approved” the purchase of a new washer and dryer for my home! As long as cheater ass was in my home then she knew and controlled every aspect of my life. I lost my personal privacy to this twit and she was calling the shots!

  • It is the parent who was ghosted and has no time to grieve because he has young children falling apart. He has to work, find daycare, clean, talk to schools, daycare providers about why his little ones have started wetting on themselves again. He has to find therapists and not one family member lives close by so all of this is done on his own. Reverse this and then look at the SAHM who scrambles to find a job because she might lose the house and you get why the term “collateral damage” used by the military is right on target.

  • Co-parenting with cheater and affair partner. Since my little guy is only 14-months old, I’m looking at a 17-year sentence. To not see my son every day, make him breakfast every morning and read to him every night, is terrible enough. But to add on top of that the involvement in my son’s life of the outsider complicit in blowing up my marriage and my son’s intact home is enraging and deeply painful to a level I never imagined.

  • He killed me. That’s what I lost.

    Now, all the Esther Perels out there would argue I should just be able to pick myself up and dust myself off and start all over again, but they clearly either didn’t live through years of investment and trust only to be laughingly told, “Ha ha! Just kidding!!” by someone who tearfully proposed, told me every day he loved me, then in the end said, “…but not ‘that way.’ I never loved you ‘that way’…”

    He took decades of a woman’s life in a culture that tends to regard older people (especially women) as invisible and past our prime. So though I still feel vibrant and sexy, it’s .. well, as if I’m invisible (except to men twenty years older than I am).

    The world is no longer what I thought it was. Like the movie The Matrix, I used to see fancy restaurants and steak dinners, and now I see battery farms and ugly post-apocalyptic machinery. Not only friends who took his side, but also ALL the older celebrities leaving their wives for younger women — how did I never notice this before?

    So, in the nearly four years since Dday, I have rebuilt a single life with women friends. I have a book club. I travel. I do what I want. — But the world is not the same. And I am not the same in it. That’s what infidelity took from me.

    • (sorry, that first paragraph has an “either”, and I forgot the “or”:

      … OR they were never that invested in their life together themselves.)

    • Yes, I feel this too. Also, the fear that my stock trades lower every. single. day. that I stay single. I’ve been alone now for almost 5 years. I have a tough time finding people attractive. I have a tough time knowing that many of these guys are as sick as my XH.

      • Most days, I’m so busy, the invisibility doesn’t bother me, so I am grateful for that. However, there are definitely times when I wonder if I will ever meet someone whom I will want to share my life with, and I feel as though the answer is no. Except for two unsuccessful first dates during the brief time that I was on a dating site, I have not dated at all in the almost five years since my divorce was final.

        I have built a life that I am proud of, and I enjoy the time that I spend with family and friends. Still, there is this little part of me that longs for the affection and companionship of a romantic relationship. It is very disappointing to realize that my age and stage in life has apparently made me unappealing to men my age.

  • NWBiblico, AGREE! Infidelity colors and shades every aspect of your life it seems. I find myself wondering constantly what “secret” agenda someone has for saying or doing what they are doing! I question the motives and ideas of everyone and everything. I take NOTHING at face value. It saps all the joy and spontaneity from your life. I’m NOT paranoid, but I deal from a position of suspicion with just about everyone! I just hate that this is what I have become, but thanks to infidelity it’s my MO now!

  • Basic human touch and physical affection.

    While X wasn’t exactly a thoughtful lover, until I discovered the cheating, I genuinely loved being touched by him.

    Last night, I was out with dear, old friends, two men who have been in my life for over 35 years and both happily married to their respective husbands. One put his hand on my neck and caressed it in a really lovely, innocent, “I’m so happy to see you” kinda way. He was shocked that I flinched, and then at how tight I was. When I confessed that I as thrown because it has been six years since I’ve been affectionately touched by a man, his eyes welled with tears for me.

    Sometimes, I forget how horrific my past six years have been until I see it reflected on someone else’s face.

    I brushed it off with a “I’m fine!” and made a joke as is our way of glossing over “uncomfortable.” We got past it.

    I waited to cry until I was alone on the drive home.

    • I spent a lot of time crying in the car. Collapsing in the back seat with my head on one daughter’s lap while other daughter drove us to the hotel (when visiting them at college and hearing about XH’s horrible behaviors all last summer, he lives near them now). Driving an hour away to give most of my spare freezer worth of food to my parents, and to tell them I was abandoned by the son in law they knew for 31 years. Driving home after seeing bunco friends and finally telling them all what happened, months after the abandonment. Driving 7 loads of trash to the dump inside that old luxury vehicle, with a blue tarp spread thoughout to protect the leather. Driving away from the marital home for the last time. So much car-crying.

      I owned that car for 9 years and last month I traded it in for a newer one I like and that the fuckwit has zero say about. As I was sitting with the salesman doing paperwork I texted my daughters and told them I bought a car. I told them its best feature is that I haven’t cried in it. I don’t ever want to cry about that asshat in my new car and I will continue to wash away all those associations from my old life.

      • I hate that chumps are always left to deal with the trash. I just had a full roll-off dumpster hauled off this week. I spent a month filling the damn thing up with the junk he left me with. I was lucky that two of my kids flew in to town help me clean up. I hate him! This is the second long term relationship where I’ve been screwed and had to clean up the mess. I’m officially done with relationships! @Now I.C. congratulations on the new-to-you car!

  • I feel like a failure as a mother! All I ever wanted was to be a SAHM to my three kids. For 18 years, I was involved in every aspect of their lives. Then, somehow, we were out of money and I needed to work. So, I sucked it up and got a full-time job. During those two years, he “worked from home” (was on Craig’s List all day) and did not do one thing to help with the house or children. Then, he left us.

    Now my young adult children have no father and no money for college. They do have lots of pain, though! And this is the father I chose for them? This is the relationship I modeled for them? I had one job and I screwed it up. I will never forgive myself.

    • Madam Pince,

      There is NO WAY you are a failure as a mother. You were an SAHM who gave it all to your children. Then when needed, you rocked it at got a full time job for your family. No children could ask for more…a mom who loves them and provides for them.

      The failure in this situation is the cheater. He failed you and his children. He failed the most important job he would ever have…being a father.

      Your children are in pain. Be there for them and continue to love them. There are different avenues to obtain college. Explore all the options with them.

      YOU did not screw this up!!! Let me repeat…YOU did not screw this up!!! Please go easy on yourself. We all know your pain and we all question our picker. But we chose the best we could with the information presented to us.

      You can find wonderful support in the forums. Please post there and bask in the glow of understanding chumps!!

      ((((HUGS))))

    • You had one job: be a human being of integrity and decency. That is what you modeled to your children. That’s what’s going to matter in the long run.

  • NWB, friend, it’s good to see your words here again, but for the sorrow in them. I had imagined you striding happily and confidently through life by now, so much better than me at “getting over” what happened to us.

    I have to respectfully disagree—you weren’t killed by betrayal. You were reborn through it. As were we all. In so many ways, our lives as married women offered false security that we were being protected from life’s vicissitudes by our partnerships, when in reality it was the opposite and we just didn’t know it yet.

    By living with liars, or with those capable of that degree of deception even if they haven’t yet cheated, we were in fantasies partially of our own construction. Once that curtain is ripped away, we see things for what they are, as ugly and unpleasant as that may be. But have we actually lost anything, besides what we THOUGHT we had, but never did? If we had the power, would we choose to be restored to that pre-betrayal state, where we were fooling ourselves as to whom we were REALLY in bed with, now that we know the truth?

    We have endured cheating, betrayal, and abandonment; and it feels as if the process has stripped us down to our viscera. But there is opportunity in that abjectness—to develop self efficacy and to define our own lives for our own selves. And this is exactly what you have done during the past four years, as hella hard as it has been. You are strong, you are powerful, smart, and beautiful. You know that, and you don’t need external validation.

    This is real life, and when you’re really honest with yourself, NWB, you gotta admit, you’re killing it! Without that asshole. He didn’t kill you, he set you free.

  • I haven’t had time to read all of the responses yet… but *even after a divorce* a personality disordered, abusive cheater can continue to “gift” their former spouse with many ugly consequences even decades after divorce…such as:

    Parental alienation of children whether young or adults, brainwashing the kids with their twisted narrative, buying them off with money, domineering all future holidays, vacations, special events, encouraging an attitude of contempt and even hatred for the betrayed parent, rewarding children for cruelty to betrayed parent

    Ongoing threat of violence or confrontation, cheater makes sure abused ex-spouse finds out they are at a gun training range or have started collecting knives, etc.

    Stalking, taking over favorite places, parks, restaurants, vacation spots, church, even the new neighborhood where the betrayed ex-spouse lives etc. Bringing other women (men) to these places, making sure betrayed ex-spouse sees it or finds out

    Ongoing horrendous slander in community and beyond to everyone and anybody who will listen… they will accuse betrayed spouse of being mentally ill or having committed crimes to complete strangers, also not off limits is contacting the new significant other of betrayed ex-spouse to try and destroy that new relationship and sow seeds of doubt

    Breaking into betrayed ex-spouses house and destroying personal property, photographs, or sending a proxy friend or child into the home to do it instead

    Frivolous lawsuits

  • Privacy

    It makes me sick to think about things that Asshole™ has shared with his whores. His family. His friends. Private feelings and thoughts that I shared with him. Things that I have never told anyone else.

    He could be sharing our tax returns with his whore/now gf. She’ll know how much I made, what I donated to charity.

    I worked out that one of the whores had cloned a friend’s facebook and had been following me for months, seeing things I only shared with, what I thought, were my friends.

    I’m not ashamed of anything I do or who I am. But it feels like such a violation to have myself on display and some sort of trial without my knowledge.