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I Haven’t Been Happy for a Long Time

crushThe other week someone asked me to decode, “I haven’t been happy for a long time.” (Also sometimes expressed as “WE haven’t been happy for a long time.”)

It’s trotted out when the chump is looking for an explanation as to why their family life just blew up.

Well DUH. “I haven’t been happy for a long time!”

This statement presupposes a number of things:

A) That the cheater’s happiness is the most important thing (and is a valid answer to the Why Did You Commit This Dreadful Betrayal?)

B) That they’ve silently suffered for a long time and gee whiz, isn’t it time AT LAST! that they experience some true happiness?


C) How could you be so dumb that you never noticed how unhappy they were? Heck, how could you not notice how unhappy YOU were until they pointed it out? (WE haven’t been happy for a long time.)

This sends the chump into apoplexies of self reflection. Well, yes, I am sometimes unhappy, but it passes. Or… hang on, how could I have missed my spouse’s cosmic misery? Apparently it was long and went on for EONS. Am I just that insensitive?

Of course you have no way of challenging this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” statement because you are not in their heads. You have no idea what they feel. So if you say, “BUT YOU LOOKED HAPPY. You had kids with me! We went snorkeling in Barbados! You drank the coffee I brought to you every morning! You said you LOVED your birthday slippers!” the cheater can just say, “Nope. I wasn’t happy.”

But you looked happy. Happy enough anyway.

“No, I was full of sorrow. Every minute. My life was a burden of grief and misery. At night I used to gnaw at the invisible chains that kept me tethered to you.”


So chumps, how are you supposed to interpret this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” crap? Here’s a few ways to look at it:

1.) Take them at their word. Okay, you’ve been a miserable sod for decades. You, cheater, are responsible for addressing the things that make you unhappy and adjusting your life accordingly. While as a loving spouse I want to support you, if your needs are not communicated to me, there is jack shit I can do to help you.

2) Don’t accept responsibility. If the cheater was so unhappy in the marriage, they had ethical ways to go about ending their marriage — beginning with trying to save it first. Or getting out honestly before they told all their “troubles” to a sympathetic fuckbuddy.

3) They’re bullshitting you. Cake is delicious. They were probably perfectly happy with you and the services you provided — paycheck, child-rearing, air of respectability. It wasn’t until they were busted at D-Day that their Great Unhappiness was revealed. Blameshifting their “unhappiness” on to you is an invitation to do the pick me dance. Oh, you’re unhappy? How can I make you happy? I can control that! I can WIN your happiness! Let me TRY HARDER!

And guess what, they’re probably pulling the same shit on the affair partner. Oh, my marriage makes me so unhappy, but I must stay for the children! I am a noble slave to convention! Woe! And the affair partner goes, I will PROVE to you that I can make you happy! I can control your destiny! I can WIN!

Cake, cake, wonderful cake.

This column ran previously… rerun because I must go to the DMV at an ungodly early hour and wait in line to get the car inspected. But this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” is still a really bullshit thing to say.

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This is spot on! Every time I hear this from Satan’s family or pathetic supporters. Thank u!

    • Thank you, CL! I needed this SO much today. I continue to struggle with this. 2 weeks before DD we were discussing our future lives together and what we were going to do once our twins graduated high school (they are now just 11). We discussed taking a cross country camping trip with them next summer. I had NO idea he was unhappy in our 14 year marriage.

      Then, Bam! Out-of-the-blue he tells me he wants a divorce. And that he, “hasn’t been happy for a long time.” I was devastated, and a friend encouraged me to check the phone records….

      Lo and behold, I discovered months of hour long conversations and 25 texts per day with a younger co-worker (we are both 45, she is 34, married and has 2 and 4yo boys). He told me that “she listened to him,” and what a horrible person I was for “not even realizing he was unhappy.” He said I was too busy working, taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, exercising, and had no time for him.

      Well, it’s not like I was exactly happy either, and I just accepted it as the stage of life we are in. And, it’s not like he ever cooked dinner or planned a romantic night out if he was feeling that way.

      He admitted to the affair, and said it didn’t matter that he had it because he had “checked out” of the marriage a long time ago. Well, that was news to me.

      I begged him to cut it off with her and go to marriage counseling. I also made her husband aware of the affair. He went, but did not participate in ANY of the homework or strategies the counselor suggested. After the 12 sessions, he said he wasn’t going back anymore, but had cut it off with the AP. He just didn’t love me anymore.

      Well, then I discovered he was still communicating with her via email, but not via text/phone cause I could track that. Plus, they work together and I obviously can’t police what happens on their lunch hour.

      I asked if she was still in the picture and he replied, “possibly.” I went and filed for divorce the next day. Served his ass at work so everyone could see it!

      He has always had a thing for this younger co-worker and it hurts me so much that my long time suspicions were spot on. Turns out they confided with each other about their marriage problems (instead of telling me) and one thing led to another. I asked why he didn’t tell me so that we could work on our communication, etc., and he said, “cause I didn’t want to.”

      So, it seems as though Schmoopie is leaving her husband to be with mine. He has already started telling our kids about her and her 2 and 4yo boys. Wtf! Our divorce isn’t even final yet!

      He still lives in the house and will not leave. He has his own bedroom and I was always kissing his ass hoping he would see the error of his ways and consider reconciliation.

      That was until I read CL’s book! I am a new woman and though admit I am still suffering from PTSD 9 months later, i no longer believe in the RIC and do not want to live my life wondering who he is texting. I have no idea how long the affair was going on for prior to DD, and if he could hide it that long, plus they still work together (he wears his wedding ring to work so no one catches on…yeah right).

      It is just so difficult right now as he won’t leave until the divorce is final saying it’s bc he doesn’t want to leave the kids. So, I have to see his lying face everyday. I am no longer nice to him. He doesn’t deserve it. I only speak to him when I have to – about the kids/household management.

      I’m still waiting for Tuesday, and hoping there is happiness after this shitstotm. I’m almost to meh, though I admit I hope Schmoopie dumps him and goes back to her husband. I also dream about him sitting alone in an apartment regretting all that he has lost. I know I have to get over that desire.

      Any advice to get me over the hump?

      Thank u!

      • Almosttomeh you are mighty! He doesn’t want to leave because of the kids? Right. He wants a big ass serving of cake. I bet it’ll be the twu wuvs in heaven living with her and her 2 small kids. Please be prepared that he may change his mind at some point. I don’t tell you this for hopium. I tell you this so you can be prepared and not be talking to him. Grey Rock.

        I dealt with this thinking my poor husband isn’t a nasty ole cheater, he’s on a ho high, once that wears off he’ll come to his senses and recommit to me and the family. He’ll see what he’s missing. And he did and came begging back the first time. Only to leave for yet another schmoopie years later. He is a serial cheater. And he’s as bad if not worse than other cheaters.

        Stay strong. Get that divorce. Move on with your life. I’m going to guess your kids will be forced to interact with his ho and her kids. But they won’t want to go with him. It will suck to be him. But once you realize how shallow his ‘love’ is, you’ll be so grateful to have him out of your life!

        • Thank u twiceachump!!!

          I needed to hear that!

          He says, “Its not like I am a serial cheater, she is my soulmate and our marriage died a long time ago.”

          I will stay strong should that happen! I think i am strong enough now to not take him back, but that is only after reading CL’s book and learning to reject the blameshifting which was eating me alive as I was blaming myself.

          Thank u again!!!!!

          • He may not be a serial cheater but who is to say Schmoopie is not? That could be fun to watch implode. Too bad it just equals more trauma for children.

            • Almosttomeh- wow… cheater ex said pretty much everything your asshole said to you! Stay strong. You know what you need to do to leave this ass. Do not let him back in your life. Even though you live together still, do your best to stay away from him. Every rope has an end…. you will get out of this situation and be rid of him. Stay strong!!!

            • Thank u!
              Never thought about how it might be fun to sit back and watch them implode!
              I’m just gonna let that train wreck happen.
              He can have fun potty training someone else’s kids
              Love it!!!

              • If he’s there for the kids- I suggest making him live it. Make sure he’s doing his half. Three nights a week, take your dinner into your room or go out with friends, and make it his night. He does half the baths, half their suppers and half their prepping. Half the laundry half the drop offs and pick ups. He does not get to just be around for the bed snuggles and the games.

            • Even if he is not, he cheated, and that is the ugly awful fact. Once is enough to kill the marriage. Like being fatally stabbed once versus multiple stabs. Why do people give the ‘only once’ so much leverage? Especially us chumps?
              Peace and be strong!

      • Ugh, I am getting little PTSD chills reading your story. My X fuckwit had this sort of entanglement 10 years ago with a younger ho-worker. I pick me danced, confronted the nitwit and she dumped him. He then proceeded it sit there in his dirty little diaper and pretend to commit to the marriage. 9 years later he abandoned me for another ho-worker half his age. He stole the time from me, he sat there and lied and lied and lied, every day he stayed was a lie.

        In the end he blamed me for it all and declared he never EVER loved me. How I wish he and OW#1 had gone off together back then. I know for sure they would not be together now because they are both cheaters who have exactly zero problem trampling the lives of little kids in the pursuit of their devine happiness and a path out of their middle age boredom. Twu Wuv would not have helped those characterless assholes navigate life when they lack basic bonding skills.

        You were right. The middle of life with elementary school aged kids IS a grind. You have an obligation to keep going through it for the sake of the family and your duty to it even when (especially when) it is tough. Entitled people don’t think they have to play by those rules.

        My advice is to follow through on the divorce. No matter if he comes back with hearts and roses and a big sad sausage tale. That just means he got dumped by her and needs a change of his poopy pants from his #1 mommy, you. If you fall for that routine he will just waste more of your life while he looks for a new shoulder to cry on, and then will blame you as he crushes you under his heel. I got that future-faking planning talk and declarations right up to the day he moved out and sent me an e-mail FU. They lie.

        Cheaters gonna cheat.


        • Exactly! the years of having school aged children can be a grind, from weekly homework, school projects, activities especially mundane for those parents who enjoy being the center of attention and aren’t very interested in their children’s lives.

          Our children don’t ask to be here and as parents we make a commitment to give them a solid foundation in which to develop.
          It’s sad that our children’s lives are shattered, the security of having both parents together and available is destroyed. Their standard of living a lot of times goes down.
          Spending time with both parents together will never happen again.
          Holidays are split, meeting strangers they now call step parents. Traditions destroyed and split holidays for the rest of their lives, and their children’s lives visiting grandparents divided is another huge mess. Their future relationships will be effected. They certainly can’t learn from example when their father or mother is a cheater.
          Our children pay a huge price for the Cheaters selfishness.

          • Thank u, Brit.
            That was why I wanted to reconcile. I still can’t believe while I was bending over backwards to make him happy, he was still carrying on with her!
            I cant ever trust him and must move on.

          • Long time lurker but first time comment.

            This is the thing I can’t understand… How can they actually think they love their children when they put them through this just for some kicks and stranger sex? I mean, the deliberate (in my case) months of sneaking around, planning to meet up (whilst I was looking after the kids, of course), and then 18 months of lukewarm “reconciliation” after DDay (the affair continued for at least 6 months based on phone records I got after the fact etc, including the entire time we went to counselling).

            This destruction is simply horrendous and wanton. Yet she still has the gall to get offended when I called her a “bad mother” one time!

        • So sorry this has happened to u. Thank u for sharing your experience so others can learn as well. I so appreciate u taking the time to help a fellow chump out!

          • I did that too almosttomeh. I bent over backwards to make it work. The harder I worked, the more time he spent with schmoopie. Its almost like at the end he was leaning on me to make the transition to life with the OW. Like I was his comfort food during this time. I kept dutifully playing pick me and working hard at our marriage and he was gearing up to go. I should have just cut everything off and went No Contact right away but I didn’t know what i was doing.

            • Thank u, wonder woman. Just curious, is ex still with Schmoopie? I just can’t believe his Schmoopie is leaving her family too to be with him. Evil monsters.

              • I just got divorced for the same exact reason as you Almost. He called me an ” obligation” and needed ” me ” time and move out to fid himself. I opened his phone and found texts to a howorker meeting up at a Supermarket in his brand new mustang with dark tint. Now it’s exactly a year later and after long night’s alone and reclaiming my life I realized that he never deserved me. Someday he might see what he lost or not, but for me I see that I lost a farce of a man. Someone who stepped on my kids a d my hurt to find his fake happiness. I know I am the real thing! I will always be kind and loving and he will always be a failure and a liar. No contact after he moves out and fi d yourself again. I guarantee there will be moments of sorrow but there will be more moments of pure bliss the further away you are from him. Xoxo sweet

      • He still stays at the house because he can’t go live alone. He won’t leave until he and she can move in together so he won’t be on his own. And/Or he won’t leave the house just in case she changes her mind and he won’t be left out in the cold as he will try to hoover you back in. They are just so pathetic.

          • The irony is that they use you as a safe backstop as long as possible because they have doubts that the relationship with Schmoopie will work out, and they’re right! But, thank goodness, they eventually leave and yes, the relationship with the Schmoopie sucks because they suck. Shame they get away with using the Chump longer.
            So I hope he leaves very soon or you’re able to get out. The sooner you don’t live together, the sooner he’s left alone to deal with his AP who’s at least as selfish and entitled as he is. Let them look after each other. It won’t work anyway but he doesn’t deserve to have you doing anything for him.

      • My cheater wife was telling me about our future retirement plans- how we would sell the house and move to a different city when daughter graduated. She was jazzed about it. Turns out she was in a full fledged affair during those conversations with me. Crazy.

        Cheaters can’t handle normal mundane life. Everything has to be super exciting all the time or otherwise you are a bad person making them unhappy. They don’t do peaceful responsible content love and loyalty.

        • Funny how that happened to u, too. They do all have the same playbook!
          Thank u for your reply

          • There are so many similarities in these stories. Mine too was planning a future with me right up until the day he wasn’t. How are they so convincing? I suppose years of practise. And being married to a chump who believes their words and forgets that only actions really matter.

            I feel like I could have written your post Almosttomeh I’m so sorry you and everyone is going through this.

            Zell, yes – new and shiny things. The excitement. It just apparently doesn’t compare to real, mundane, responsible life.

            Mine wasn’t happy. Poor man. I hope he never is. I hope he regrets his choices everyday. Why do I feel like the worst person on earth for wishing that? Oh yes, because I am kind and decent.

        • Dr. Devil was complaining to a colleague about how much pain he still felt DAILY because of his first wifey cheating on him over 10 years ago. No kids between them. This colleague, after consoling the poor guy, came to find out he did this pity play WHILE he was having an affair with married mother of 3 ethics professor. (I just have to throw in the ethics professor thing every time. Irony is lost on these people.)

          They are all buffoons. Some days I really can chuckle at his idiocy. Those are good days.

        • THIS —> “Cheaters can’t handle normal mundane life. Everything has to be super exciting all the time or otherwise you are a bad person making them unhappy. They don’t do peaceful responsible content love and loyalty.”

        • Zell – spot on with the mundane life comment.

          STXH walked out on 5 year old DD and I last year. I suspect the thought of going through the next 10 years of the same routines – school, homework, making lunches, extracurricular activities – yawned out in front of him and he lost his mind.

          Plus, after blowing up our lives, he made a comment to me that he felt like he was competing for my attention with our 5 year old child.


          • North – I also got the “I was competing for your attention with our 10 year old.” Morons.

            • OMG.. that’s so my XH.
              He literally was jealous of the kids from moment they were born.
              Pouted, sulked and gave me silent treatment for up to ten days at a time if dinner wasn’t ready on time even though I was working full time and dealing with a 1 year old and a 4 year old. Never thought to help out with kids or cook the fucking dinner himself. Once even declared, when dinner was a mere 5minutes late, that he didn’t want that particular dinner and proceeded to slam the door on his way out in a temper only to return 20 minutes later with a take away for just himself. So fucking selfish.
              If kids woke up in next room during us having sex he would totally begrudge the fact that I left him and his sausage and went to settle the children. On my return he would either completely sulk and ignore me or coerce me into sex acts he knew I disliked to punish me. No kidding. I am still trying to recover from not standing up more to him over this. I only found out a few months ago that coercion in sex is technically actual sexual abuse. I’ve now added that to the list of emotional, mental and financial abuse I’ve suffered over the last 24 years being married to this creep. And the whole time it turns out he was repeatedly cheating on me with over 250 people and made sex tapes of this which I found.
              So glad to be out of that marriage and this nasty entitled fuckwit is out of mine and kids lives.

              • Ally – I could have written much of what you said… I cannot imagine the horror of finding out the number of people and sex tapes on top of everything else. I’m glad you are free of the abuse.

          • My XH always said he hated drama and kaos but looking back he wasn’t happy unless he was buying something big or doing something major. Sometimes on Friday nights I would say something like “I think ill just make grilled cheese and soup for dinner. We have an unexpected bill and we’re broke this week”. He would act all sad and hurt like it was my fault we couldn’t go out to dinner and instead have to stay home. His biggest thing was making large purchases. He didn’t want to worry about how to pay for them, just how to initially acquire them

          • Yep, my ex man-baby complained he felt like our kids were “his competition” for my attention, as well. “I’ve always been fourth in a family of four, when I was growing up, and now in this family!”
            When I pointed out that if he knew anything about his mother or me, he was at MOST third, NEVER fourth, he got mad at me, lol.
            That’s right motherfucker, chump parents are ALWAYS last in the family, because they put themselves there because they think of everyone else’s needs first, before their own!
            Truth stings, especially when it effectively erases cheater’s attempt at a victim mentality. Hah.

            • When my ex left it was as if I had been raising him for the last 10 years and now that he had turned 18 he didn’t want to follow the house rules. So he moved out on his own. YOLO! But with his low paying job he couldn’t afford a place, so he had to move into his (real) parents’ basement. Bwahahaha! Now that it’s only me and the 2 kids, we have more space, more money, less cleanup, and less drama. YOLO!

            • What these Narcs don’t think about, is their future! Like when they’re older, and who is so important to us? The fine young people we raised! Even when you’re middle aged, a normal parent treasures visits from their children, they matter the most.
              Preaching to the choir, because WE all know this.

          • I know this thread is super old now, but I just wanted to chime in and say that I also got the “I was competing for your attention with your 10 year old NIECE.” Sorry we went to her school play once a year and saw her once every two months and sometimes talked to her on the phone.

        • It’s mindblowing! We had a “10 year plan” in mind, including moving overseas for a lucrative career (relatively speaking) for me in my dream job, which would let my now ex-wife have worked part time and enjoy her passion as a personal trainer to women on the side. During the 18 months post D-Day “reconciling”, we went on a family holiday to the country and visited places I could work to network. I also went back myself a few months later and landed 2 interviews which went very well and I was offered two positions once a few things slid into place.

          Up until the day in mid-Jan when I said “enough of the BS. You have made no progress in regards to repairing our marriage” and she literally said that all I was to her was a “flatmate babysitter”, we were planning suburbs to live in, schools for our kids to go to, how to rent out our place whilst we live overseas, how we will pay off our mortgage and then invest etc etc. It’s absolutely crazy!

        • One week ago my cheater was making plans for a special date night at the hotel where we spent our first night together. A day or two after that, he was giving his phone number to some random lady who showed up at his best buddy’s place of business. It doesn’t help that he’s got two buddies who egg him on and validate that he deserves to be happy.

          His main issue with me has been my ongoing weight loss, it’s taking too long for him. We are long distance (temporarily). He hates being alone half the time, and lately has wondered “why am I waiting for someone I’m no longer attracted to?”

          • I should add that he used the line yesterday that he hasn’t been happy for a long time, even though he just isn’t happy at the slow pace of my weight loss. Everything else in our relationship “seemed” to be moving along well.

      • Almosttomeh

        I feel for you but why is your cheating husband still in the house?

        After 34 years married when I decided to divorce him.. I threw him in the basement for 9 months..until I bought him out & legally he HAD to leave!

        Get a better lawyer & have him try to find away to remove him from your home. He doesn’t deserve to have any comfort living in the home he’s leaving for a whore.

        You have to get really angry & put yourself first.
        He is a disgusting piece of crap!

        Good luck ..????

        • Oh I’ve tried! Here in NY, I cant get him out unless there is domestic violence. They don’t care about mental abuse.
          So, I cant get him out until the divorce is final. Sigh. He has not even started looking for a place to live that I know about anyway, and our custody hearing is may 21st!
          Thank u for your reply and pep talk!

          • Don’t worry about where he is going to live, just get him out as soon as you can. You don’t want him in your home even one day past the first deadline. Otherwise he will be there until he feels like leaving, which could be when the OW’s divorce is final. If he won’t leave after that, then get your attorney involved and/or the police. He made the decision that he wanted out of your marriage, now he needs to get out of your home. He can’t have it both ways.

          • Almosttomeh

            I live in New York too. Your right about the law. No fault divorce is another punch in the gut to us innocent spouses.

            I hope you stay strong & let the whore have him. I did… & 2 years after moving in with
            her.. she died in a car accident!
            Karma stepped in ???????? Now the 70’year old ex narc is living with another “victim” only months after she died.

            Your soon to be ex will eventually crash & burn while you & your children will be fine.


            • Omg wow…
              Thank u, Kathleen.
              Yes, it doesn’t matter in NY about cheating. I now get my twins part time, after I went through years of infertility treatment to have them.

              I hope he does crash and burn!

              • Almosttomeh, that is the hardest part. The kids, and thrusting them into the confusion of being an object; required to live two distinct lives. He wanted them to be there at his beck and call…. when it suited him.
                My daughter developed an eating disorder and my son was sooooo angry and aggressive. Guess who dealt with these issues! I was the parent… through thick and thin.
                He was gallivanting off showing the Low Life a good time and couldn’t have cared less until she dumped him. Then he was sad…. like some child who wanted scooped up and reassured. Pathetic.

      • Living in the same house is torture. I did it for 10 months. He would not leave and my attorney told me not to leave. I finally had to. I am only in my second week out of the house and feel a huge weight is lifted off of me. Don’t have kids so I can only imagine how much stress that adds to things. Cheater has the guts to cheat but not the guts to leave the house. How lame is that?

        • Yep it’s pure torture. He is constantly on his phone and every time he gets a text i cringe. I know it’s Schmoopie and brings back my PTSD. I’m sure his lawyer told him not to leave. It’s such a toxic environment for the kids.

          • My take on this is that the court is trying to save us financially. Most of us combine our incomes to afford mortgages, children, food, clothing, gas, etc. and we really can not afford two separate residences until finances have been addressed. Even then, financial entanglements are not always dealt with in a timely manner. My lawyer had no idea Fucktard was a Narc. In the six month waiting period (CA), he spent all his money commuting to Oregon. He missed mortgage payments, stopped supporting our children, all that mattered to him was lining up and lovebombing his new appliance. I was reeling from that for two years, angered by his crap choices, infidelity, and poor character (who the fuck walks out on their kids financially?!?!), worried about mine and my children’s future so by the time I figured out what Fucktard intended (dissipation of assets probably began when he began sleeping with others) it was too late to save the house, our second biggest asset. IMHO, those who work in family law understand why most of us divorce and they know infidelity just opens up a bigger can of worms. They see this all the time. Assigning fault is not going to help us Chumps out financially, and as hard as it may be, finances are all we should be focused on. We should grieve, yes, but our focus should not be on the Cheater and that crap fairy tale but on our future. We need to protect ourselves financially.

      • Are you at all angry? I was. Livid. think my anger was actually what got me through those dreadful first few months. It propelled me forward and stopped me from giving him any chance to fool me ever again.

        It might sound strange but that’s my wish for all newly minted chumps. Anger can be a very useful tool when used properly. And along with that a little dose of your own brand of narcissism. That can be healthy too.

        It won’t make you like them, you never ever have to worry about that, it’s not even fighting fire with fire. It’s you getting in the mindset to take charge and take care of yourself.

        I was exactly where you are two years ago and my life now is so sweet!! Life is waiting for you on the other side. Know that. Start visualizing how it will be and it will happen. You’re gonna make it happen. You’re done with the abuse and ready to hit heights you never thought you could.

        • I am FINALLY after 9 months at the anger stage. I can tell he doesn’t know how to handle it as he is so used to me and the pick me dance.
          It is propelling me forward. My friends say they have been waiting for me here at the anger stage.
          Thank u, NoMo!

      • If it’s ANY consolation, his coworkers (at least some of them) already know about the affair. People who mess around on their spouses seem to always think they are being SO DISCREET when in reality, their behavior is as clear as day. Trust me: they know. And if one of his managers has caught on, your soon to be ex may be woefully surprised that he’s passed over for that promotion he was promised. People are funny about infidelity. I’ve actually seen this happen more than once to a cheating guy. (Although the guys should be grateful they still had a job. For the women, they either lost their jobs or got encouraged to find work elsewhere.)

        • Yeah, I find it hard to believe they will be allowed to work together when it’s “official” and he stops wearing his wedding ring which he only wears to work so people don’t catch on. I want to tell hiss boss, but I was told not to cause I need his paycheck for child support!
          Thank u!

          • Almosttomeh – At least in my state, child support still has to be paid if an ex voluntarily leaves a job or is fired. Check it out in your state.

      • So sorry you’re going through this. I know how you feel on suspecting the howorker from the beginning. I knew the moment I met her something was off, but didn’t trust my instincts for years. My advice is what my therapist told me. Figure out what makes YOU happy and go do it more often bc this is gonna suck for a while. Until she said that I didn’t even realize how much I’d wrapped my life around my family and forgotten what I like to do sans kid or husband. Especially when pick me dance time came. When I got more comfy with me, his BS repulsed me so much it was way easier to gray rock him.

      • I love it Almosttomeh, you and me both WTH fuck we hadn’t even signed divorce papers either. I respect myself and I’m sooooo NOOOTTTT playing the pick me dance!????

      • What an ass! Whether it works out with OW or not make sure you follow thru with the divorce. If not her there will be others. Nothing to save here but yourself and your kids. What a scumbag.

      • I think it will be a lot easier for you to get over the hump once he is gone from your house.

        My guess is either he doesn’t have another place to stay with MOW or the other options aren’t as nice as your house. He might also be doing it for legal reasons – you could ask your lawyer if having him in the house affects his ability to get the home or custody of your kids.

      • Does anyone care about these workplace affairs? I suspect no, for the most part. It’s a nudge, nudge, wink, wink scenario. But wouldn’t you at least question the ethics and integrity of the two married co-workers carrying on? Not to mention the lost productivity and the hygiene factor of all the sex in the office? Has anyone seen these things revealed and then just completely swept under the rug? Or are there real world career consequences?

    • Omg!!!!! Me too x10,000. Evil X even told the kids he was unhappy and that’s why he had to fuck others and abandon them! Cue the abusive invitation to “pick me dance,” which nearly killed them….. certainly crushed their innocence and security. X in law grandparents perpetuated this abuse on the grandkids, who now literally DESPISE their grandparents. Un-fucking-believable.
      They all suck.

      • MotheChumper99 you are 1000 times ABOVE those losers, lol. My ex in laws also at first they were grossed out and now, they asked me if I could just “SWALLOW”, not! I would swallow anything off his cheating, filthy, lying body again!????

    • Omg spit on again Chump Lady this is exactly what my ex husband said to me when he was caught in the first affair in our marital bed!????????????????

  • The truth is, STBX will never be happy. He just doesn’t have the ability to see all the wonderful things in life. I wouldn’t want to live like that. Even in my darkest hours, I feel hope and love.

    He traded EVERYTHING in for… Really? Sex is great but it’s not something to base your happiness on!

    • Mine gave up his only child for his 401K. I wanted to move out of state to be closer to my parents and he would only give me permission to take her if I promised not to touch his 401K. Now, does that sound like a “person” who can ever know happiness? How do you walk away from your only child and still be happy? I’ve maintained that he will have moments of “happiness” like at the ballgame, beer festivals, bars and vacations with his mistress…. but be truly happy? Never… but if you ask him, there’s no problem. He’s doing the best he can. One/two phone calls a week lasting 2 minutes… dream parenting. Oh and it’s my fault because daughter takes her cue from me…what’s a cheater to do? After all, he wasn’t happy for a really long time!

      • How does he walk away from his only child?
        Because he doesn’t think like you.
        My ex chose his affair partner over his son and daughter.
        He told my kids they had to make peace with his choice…..they didn’t.
        Now he’s 50 with an affair partner over a decade younger (who is also a cheater) living in a shitty rental house, gave up half his stuff in the divorce, raising her elementary school age children instead of enjoying his accomplished young adult children ( D21 and S26) who have walked out of his life because he’s toxic and because they were issued the order that to be good they needed to “accept” his affair partner.
        My kids had him figured out looong before I did. I respect their choice. They will sell their kids out for a 401k, no alimony…….the boat. They will sell their families for anything because they don’t attach to people.
        There is only one good thing about cake. If you play your cards right you can negotiate a great settlement if they are trying to keep their cake intact. Mine signed off on some crazy shit because he wanted to maintain his good guy image, and if it blew up with her we weren’t so estranged that he couldn’t circle back. But 3 years out he’s probably scratching his head that he gave up so much to somebody he doesn’t even talk to anymore, but at the time he wanted to dump us…..but not too much.
        Worked out for me. He’s gone, I got a great settlement, he’s with her which is fine (they deserve each other) and I have the love and respect of my kids.
        He made his bed, now he can lay in it.
        I’m sorry he sold out your daughter for the 401k….super shitty. You have an amazing new life with your child away from that toxic asshole……money well spent.

        • You are so right Paintwidow. My ex told me on dday that he wanted to do what he wanted. He did not touch my assets (way more than his) so he could sell our home and buy a business with his fuckbuddy. My youngest who was a daddy’s girl is seeing what a pos he really us. I sparkled for years. That is what breaks my heart. I would never give up the love and respect of my children.

        • So much like my XH.
          When he found out we were getting divorced he spent 3 hours going on about how he couldn’t bear to lose the house. Took him 3 days to remember our dependent daughter and ask what about her? Then he declared she was totally my responsibility now. Whilst we still lived in the same house our daughter suffered 2 grand seizures as she is epileptic and he just ignored her and left me to deal with these. Un fucking believable.
          Daughter and I left last summer. He hasn’t bothered to contact her except for one text message which she chose to ignore. He hasn’t seen our son (22 and independent) in over 2 years – son is more than fine with this as he saw through his dads bullshit years ago.
          XH plays victim card to friends claiming he doesn’t get to see his kids when it’s him that makes no effort to contact them. I made an attempt to explain that he needed to take that initiative as he was the parent but he literally couldn’t understand this and said it was up to his kids to contact him! These narcs really are that fucking entitled. He has given up his kids. Luckily both our kids are fine and neither are interested in seeing him.

          But he’s ok because he got the precious house! I’m fine with that because it turned out he was bringing home strangers and having sex with them in our family home whilst me and kids were at work/school. Once I discovered this I didn’t want the damn house.

          It’s true that these narcs cannot legitimately love or respect anyone else.
          I’ve come to accept that the only thing my XH did respect about me was my salary.

        • Agreed these pieces of filth could care less mine sold off his gold wedding band I found out to help but “DRUGS” for his first tramp and lied right to my face!????

          • I realised mine removed his wedding room within 24 hours of discovering I’d filed for divorce. At no point did he make any effort to talk things through, fight for me and the kids or anything. He just wanted the house. And his stream of swinger fuckbuddies it turned out he’d amassed over half our marriage.
            Took me 9 weeks to remove my wedding ring – damn thing wouldn’t come off! It’s been 16 months since I removed it but there’s still a slight indent in my finger – i wish it would go as I don’t want to be reminded I was ever married to that bastard.

            • Thinking back, my STBXW “lost” her wedding ring about January 2015 after a day trip up the coast with our 2 kids, her sister and her 4 kids, to visit who became the AP (sister’s neighbour), his wife and 4 kids who were on holiday at a resort.

              Yes, alarm bells didn’t ring at that stage, no idea why.

              That’s a good 6 months before I thought the affair started. She made show of being concerned and everyone looking for it etc but in the end wore a replacement ring (one I’d given over the years) as it was gone.

              6 months later she “lost” that whilst training at the gym with AP hitting pads. My 3 year old “found” it 5 months later when his ball knocked over mummy’s gym bag and he was “helping” to pick up the contents and put them back in. I left it sitting on the table after sending here a picture of it.

              Her delusion was such that around Christmas 2016 she had the gall to say that the AP bought her earrings”because he lost my ring”. Even though we found the ring a month before.

              Thank you for reminding me of this, it makes me wonder when this triangle (STBXW, AP, STBXW’s sister – don’t ask) actually began.

        • It continues to be worth it. I can go full No Contact and I don’t have to co-parent… it’s a win win for me.

          • Absolutely Pret, win win for you and you daughter. I only wish mine had gone no contact.

    • Aussie, I think mine would trade everything for sex. Apparently there have been studies ( on rats hooked up to a “pleasure” button that indicate rats would push the button over and over and over to the exclusion of even food. Scientists had to remove the rats from the button or they would starve to death. Cheater has a LOT in common with those rats.

      With my cheater, though, sex wasn’t enough – because he was getting that with me. No, it had to be “mind-blowing” whatever that is. With me I guess it was just maintenance until his next “mind-blowing” experience from whatever OW he was boinking at the time.

      • I realized from the get-go that I can’t compete with affair sex, nor should I.

        I was ready, willing, and able. However, I was also available because–doh–married! Sex with the AP, though, that’s much, much harder. It involves delayed gratification. It involves planning. It involves deception. It involves the deliciousness of possibly getting caught. All those combine to create an edgy experience that straight-up marital sex just doesn’t get (unless you start having sex in public places while trying to avoid being seen).

        This is why 3 minutes of sex in the back of the minivan in the Walmart parking lot is more “mind-blowing” than the romantic interlude at home with the candles, bath salts, sexy lingerie, etc.

        • Yeah, it fires off the same pleasure sensors as cocaine. (And although mine never developed Into a serious habit, he was an addict all the same,)

          Sex with the ex was ho-hum. He never matured sexually. Somewhere along the line of his series of affairs, he stopped having sex with me. Used every excuse he had at his disposal — stress, fatigue, drinking, even feigned herpes breakout.

          I now realize he was being “faithful” to his AP’s. Ewwwww. What kind of mindfuck is that?

          • Omg Herpes break, lol! That’s what mine is going to have he never protects himself

    • So correct. Sociopaths miss out on the nuances of life. They are incapable of seeing the beauty in a baby’s face, a brilliant sunset or any of the myriad of wonderful parts of life. Mine never told me he was not happy, but actually asked ME if I was happy. I thought it was such an odd question. I guess I just did not possess the selfishness necessary to consider MY happiness. My life was spent thinking about the rest of them.

      • My boyfriend used to ask me questions like ‘Are you happy?’ ‘Do you love me?’ and ‘Don’t you want to date other people?’ when he discarded me. I think that he might have been projecting onto me and trying to assuage his guilt and possibly trying to get some kibble (ego boost) out of my responses. I don’t think that I will ever be able to figure it all out. I think that he was a strange, psychologically messed up guy, professional achievements notwithstanding.

      • Agreed me too I’m a classic Empath and in the end it bit me in the arse but at least like I said to my mom, I kept my vows 24 years and I’m proud of myself!????

    • Yes I know exactly and put me at risk for an STD as he never protected himself. I got a divorce within s year!

  • When I asked my STBX what he told his parents about the end of our marriage (not only did he cheat but he flew into a narcissistic rage in front of the children [including three girls over to our house for a play date] when I asked him one evening to not text his girlfriend in front of me. That rage ended up in a physical altercation between he and my 14 year old son so I kicked him out that night), he told me that “no, he hadn’t told him the circumstances under which he left but they knew that ultimately he could never find his happiness with me”. (Note: I was trying to understand what they knew since my 14 year old son refused to see his father at that point. They confronted my son about his behaviour saying [wirh some assumptions that he was just being a petulant teen] – “your father is miserable” and “family forgives so you need to forgive”. Needless to say, them not knowing also fed the STBX’s commentary that “I was poisoning my son against him”.)

    With how much I contorted myself to please, the pick-me dance that I attempted for three months previous (I had found out about the AP on his birthday) as well as the blame I constantly shouldered every time he stated “we have never been connected” (the insinuation being that I was too much of a cold fish who couldn’t connect), this explanation was one more kick in the face (they continue to come), about how he viewed the dissolution of our marriage in this last year. Moreover, it reinforced that none of this was ever about my happiness (nor the children’s who he always claimed were his number one priority – real father of the year material here) – it was all about my inability to “make him happy”.

    Sorry for the long-winded message – today’s post just was a harsh reminder of what I have synthesized in the last few months about my 17 year marriage to a narcissist. I never understood what I was doing wrong but I certainly now understand that he was never going to grant me any concessions that I might have done right by him. And my happiness? Well it never was about that silly girl!

    • “Family forgives”… ya, that seems to be the mantra the Exnarc has for the kids. He can do horribly hurtful shit to the kids over and over, but they have no RIGHT to feel angry with him!! He’s their father & can do what he wants & they just have to deal with it. Funny that they are starting to deal with it by not talking to him or wanting him around. Which is totally unacceptable in his eyes. I cannot wait until the boys are old enough to make their own decisions & these forced visitations can end.

      • Very similar to my situation. My son has let his father back into his life but they see each other for about three to four hours per week total (and he is wise to his father with comments like “dad is really laying it on thick in his need for me as his supply” – he has had to accelerate his understanding of narcissism in order to manage his relationship). My younger girls (12 and 9) vassilate between being accommodating (they say “you know how dad is” to just staying home or arranging play dates when it’s “his time”). He’s not raging any longer in their presence (at least for now) but he can’t seem to figure out what it means to work to their happiness instead of his own (it’s strange that spending a morning at the auto parts store might not be their definition of fun).

        For me, I’m putting faith in CL’s reminder that these kids do figure it out. They know who “home” is and they just gradually grow away from defining themselves in contrast to what daddy “needs from them” (because it’s not about what daddy “gives to them”). I have to work with that reassurance in my own head because most days I want to strangle him over how he laid waste to our lives.

      • “Family forgives?” Family builds up equity in the “love and trust” bank, doesn’t continually run a negative balance. Family mutually respects one another, doesn’t treat each other like hired hands, props in a play, a paycheck, or blow-up dolls. Family admits when they have done something wrong, and, because they love you, feel genuine remorse, make amends, try not to do it again. Family doesn’t tell you to just get over it.

        This “family” business needs to go both ways, or else it’s just window dressing for abuse. Or else it’s a really shitty family I want no part of.

        • Preach! And this family considers themselves pillars of the community. I have no disrespect for my in-laws (save their constant enablement of his shitty behaviour) but they need some visibility to what is going on before making any judgements on how our nuclear family reacts to their son. While I have appreciated all they have brought to our lives, their desire to not be “real” about how our family functions (or dysfunctions) means that there is not much to miss on my part. My kids just know that going to their house means everyone wears their “happy mask”.

      • Yup and here in Canada it is such a joke our laws that I was told by a judge in Calgary Canada that” Yes it’s filthy Mrs. Dudeck but it’s not illegal! Even with two schoolage children under the roof that judge didn’t give a rats ass!????????????

    • Kibbled Again
      Are you suggesting that your 14 yo son stood up for you and the family ?
      My goodness – what a brave young man knowing right from wrong and standing up to your cheaters behaviour.

      Your ex is a wuss of a ‘man’ to physically assault a 14 yo, knowing who was wrong and who was right.

      Kudos to you for raising a young man with such strong values and a positive moral compass.

      • Blee, exactly what I was thinking. The kid was a bigger man than his dad.

        • Thank you Mehta for your kind comments.

          Kibbled Again – please let your son know that the guys (and girls) of Chump Nation have got his back and will morally support him in any way we can.

          This sort of bullying by KA’s ex is NOT APPROPRIATE and should not be tolerated.
          (Yes – I am a bit pissed with what was said and done)

          • @Blee and @Mehtamorphosis – my 14 year old did get physical and swear like a trucker himself during the incident. While I do accord him some guilt of how it played it out (and we have reviewed it in therapy) – he shouldn’t have been put in that position anyways (he was defending me while his father railed on about “how he loved cheating on me and it was so easy to do” while at the same time insisting that I was having an affair [not to explain the obvious but I wasn’t]). My son lashed out at him and shouted expletives (all within earshot of the five girls in our household at the time). When I got my son settled down and on his way out the door, my STBX reached around me and hit him which re-initiated the fight anew. Since they were both bigger than me, I threatened to call the cops on my husband unless he backed off. We got in the car and drove away while my ex insisted that “your mom needs to know my side of the story”. I told him to get out that night and that I was done with his behaviour since he scared me and my son.

      • Agreed my kids didn’t protect me at all I was to blame for the divorce and that’s ok but I stand my ground. I told my 16 year old daughter that when she was mature enough to call me I would be here. I refuse to be made a fool of and I will not tolerate my husband slutting around!

    • Family may forgive but they should also be the ones who hold you to the right standard of conduct even if you cannot do it for yourself.

  • I’m sure everyone on this site would say everyday wasn’t full of joyousness but we’re just happy to be married, kids, a house and comfortable living. Things were in the usual routine of kids, work, school, vacations…you all know the script.

    Sure we all had bad days, arguments etc.. but our lives that we had created were more important than cake and kibbles. Till death do us part and all that, we took the rough with the smooth, and accepted it.

    Looking back I guess I wasn’t happy, but still valued what we had, and would have fought tooth and nail to keep it..her cheating took that choice away from me and my kids.

    Never give up people, never give up.

    • Well said, Mickey. The cure for frustration or disappointment is gratitude. Chumps are capable of that, in spades. Cheaters are not.

      • “The cure for frustration or disappointment is gratitude.”

        I love that comment Owlbaby. I’m going to keep that one in my back pocket. ????

      • Agreed cheaters want it all, the Conservative wife at home with the kids and the delicious cake on the side. Sorry I didn’t sign on for an “OPEN” marriage

    • Indeed and I remember trying to explain this to him: That I valued US and OUR happiness and our FAMILY’s happiness. I indeed was grateful for my family, my marriage, my past and future. He wasn’t a great husband or father and I wasn’t super happy. I was frequently… disappointed… I think that’s the best word. But I was very “glass half full” about it. I have a beautiful life. I have a life many many people can only dream of. I appreciate my life, my marriage, my family. Him? Man oh man, what a shock it came to me how much he cared about his Own Personal Happiness. I literally said to him, “you are obsessed with your own happiness” and his response was literally, “well duh!”. I also remember him asking me, “How are you happy? Why are you happy? What is it you’re doing to be happy?” Like he wanted to know my secret. I told him, “Well, I don’t sit around thinking about how unhappy I am all the time” He replied “I can’t help it”. He also had the balls to say to me “I was happy until I met her and realized how unhappy I was….” I was like sooooo….. you’ve been unhappy ever since you met her? You don’t care to make a connection there? Moron. Anyway, it’s very clear to me now that we have always had a fundamnetal difference in values: I value lifelong marriage and partnership, family, roots, traditions, stability, home. He values his own personal happiness for the next five minutes. I wish I had seen that about him when I was young, looking back it’s obvious to me now. But at the time, I didn’t have the wisdom to see it…

      • Struggling, you’ve accurately described my marriage as well. I think the difference between us and our husbands is narcissistic personality disorder. They have it; we don’t. Like you, I wish I’d realised this at the beginning of the relationship instead of the end. If I had, it would have given me a better chance of finding the lifelong marriage my parents had and that I assumed I would too.

      • Yeah, that describes my dynamic with ex pretty well too. The thing is I went along with it. I bent over backwards to accommodate his happiness because I thought his being happy was the key to the family being happy. I was so wrong. I totally lost sight of what was right for the family as a whole by focusing so much on him. I went along with decisions that benefitted him but not necessarily the family. In the end he still wasn’t happy and he chose to blow up his family. Our happiness was certainly never on his mind.

        • struggling, champchump & chumpinrecovery – For a long time I had something gnawing at me that this was my marriage/our family as well. Then 6-9 months ago I came to the horrible realization that this WAS my marriage/our family. My attorney is in the process of drafting a settlement. It will be very interesting to see what he will negotiate so the kids and I can be free to move the next state over to have the long overdue family support nearby. He did not like it when I told him it was his turn to make it work for the kids and I.

      • I had gotten to the point where I saw him and his constant self centered, entitledness as a strain on my happiness too. I even told him ‘as long as you get what you want, you’re good’ when he told me no to ordering an appetizer I enjoyed. I always knew he was high maintenance and needy. He was exhausting, trying to walk on eggshells around him. But alas, I thought marriage was hard and I needed to give more.

        When I found out about yet another schmoopie in our 20 years together, it felt like a double edged sword. I was devastated about how my kids’ lives would change forever and giddy about how I didn’t have to tolerate a chronically miserable, middle aged man.

        • Twiceachump, that is an excellent description! My ex, too, was a “chronically miserable, middle-age man.”

          • Narcs don’t get better with age. Or marriage. Once they’ve put a ring on it and taken their chump off the market, they have a captive audience and slowly but surely their best behavior dissipates. In their minds “happiness” is what they want, when they want it Not always achievable in real life.

            • So true, Survivor. I would venture to say that most Cheaters here had a good life (loving supportive spouses, beautiful children) but were like that character in Sandler’s movie CLICK and in making crap choices, threw it all away. I’m not talking about the material stuff either. I just don’t believe they will ever be truly happy.

      • Excellent you and me both struggling I didn’t see it either until he hooked up with his latest tramp!

    • I agree, well said ~ Mickey.

      Even after what my cheating asshole did to us, I still wanted to work on the marriage.

      His solution? Abandon me and file for divorce to be with the Circus Clown.

      I took our marriage vows seriously ~ him? I don’t think he ever heard them.

      • I feel your pain Jodi – I spent 18 months after DDay #2 trying to reconcile and keep my family intact. Still wanted to work on it and work through it, even though it hurt like hell. In the end, after that 18 months I was only a “flatmate babysitter” (of our kids) to her, and nothing else. So in the end I had to end it. Didn’t want to do it, and resent her for it immensely. She can now tell our kids that I was the one who divorced her and ended the marriage. Not that her cheating on me for at least 9 months (6+ after I confronted her, 2+ after I called the AP up directly).

    • Exactly. I wasn’t happy every moment of every day but I didn’t expect to be. I looked at the big picture and felt that overall I was better off with him than without him. It never occurred to me to go see if I could find somebody else who could make me happier than I already was. I said vows and I was done looking. I would not have left him unless he made me miserable enough to feel that I would be better off alone. I guess pretty good wasn’t enough for him though. He must have felt that he was happier with me than alone, but wanted to see if he could be even happier with somebody else. As soon as he found that somebody who made him ecstatic, mostly happy became unhappy and he “hadn’t felt like my husband in years” and “we were just parents” and “nothing good ever came out of our marriage other than the kids” I guess happiness is all relative.

      • I don’t think they have the ability to be alone. They need constant attention, and too long on their own and their attention starts to focus on the dark void that is their soul.

        • Constant attention – yes! But those further along on the narcissism spectrum need even more than that: admiration. When we no longer admire them (because we end up doing most of the adulting and it’s hard to admire a big baby in a grown man’s body), they look for someone else.

          They’re “happy” as long as a relationship has a narc plus someone who thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips.

    • Exactly Mickey – it’s just part of what you sign up for in marriage or a LTR, especially with kids involved. It’s about teamwork and working together to get through the rough times and take it on the chin when things get hard so that you and your family can get to a better place.

      Sneaking around whilst the other parent is looking after the kids (in my case I was the babysitter), definitely doesn’t make me feel any happier – though seems to have done the trick for my ex!

  • When I look at Chuckles’ actions over the previous 8 months prior to DD#2, because he said naff all about being unhappy.

    He wanted to re-mortgage with a four not two year fixed rate tied in with penalty mortgage, he purchased a £30k truck even though I wanted a cheaper one but thought he works hard so I’ll work out a way to afford it (yes finances were solely my responsibility), he insisted, and I mean really insisted, on a romantic city breaks in Europe…

    Struggling to find the “I’ve been unhappy for a long time now” as he rushed off to plunge his genitals into my previously a friend.

    Truth is they are not ‘unhappy’ per se until they are offered snatch on a plate, so they rewrite history.

    • It’s like CL says- look at actions before words. He was perfectly happy to live a cakey existence before discovery.

    • Chumpy chump, exactly!!! They are not unhappy!!! They rewrite history!!!

  • I just have not been happy for along time. That is what my stbx said to me when I found out about him screwing my cousin. He seemed happy when he was going out 4 to 5 nights a week. He seemed happy that I paid all the bills while he kept most of his pay check. He seemed happy when I kept the house cleaned, cooked and did all the shopping. Yes, he was perfectly happy until he got caught. When in fact I was the unhappy one. It is very hard taking on all that responsibility with no support from your spouse. But, things do get better.

    • Exactly. I made my needs smaller and smaller. I gave up more and more things. I bit my tongue when years went by without opportunities to visit friends far away while I held down the fort and he ran up bills doing things that he enjoyed with people he enjoyed over long weekends away or during the evenings. Yet, in the end he complained about how unhappy he was.

      And he should of been. On a simple mechanical level, he lost cooking, cleaning, administrative assistance, a task Rabbit errand girl, childcare, and access to my paycheck.

      Oddly enough, the 30-years-younger “soul mate” did not appear interested in jumping in to fill all these “happiness” gaps once that job opening was legally available.

      The best thing I ever did was finally take him at his word that I was a “terrible” wife. Abandoning his definition of a wife made me much happier.

      • Oh my goodness, yes. Made my needs smaller and smaller to try to accommodate. That’s why the end can be so scary-you really don’t have much of the “self” you brought to the marriage/relationship left.

        One of the hardest (but most rewarding) things in “getting a life” is that rebuild. Rediscovering who I am, discovering what I am capable of and realizing that the gaslighting is all about disordered X.

        And hey, it’s Tuesday!

        • Yep! And then NEVER invalidate our own needs again. Needs are things we need. We can’t minimize them and be healthy. People who love us in a healthy way don’t want us to. Feeling like we have to do that to get along with a person is it’s own red flag.

          • Amiisfree – Yes! This this this!! I am just starting to get into this mindset.

          • So needed that right now – you expressed that so clearly. I have no idea what a “healthy love” actually is, after 13.5 years of being with a dysfunctional narc as my only real relationship. But I look forward to it and hope I can find it soon!

            • Sydneychump – hang in there. I know what you mean about not being able to imagine true, reciprocal love. After a decade of abuse, it takes a long time to recover.

              • Hopefully I’ll get there… After callimg it quits almost 3 months ago after 18 months trying to reconcile and keep my family together, I know I deserve better and hope to find it.

                The waves of random feelings and wishing my STBXW would see the error of her ways and want me back are crushing sometimes, though. Especially when my 5 and 3 year olds ask why we can’t all live in the house together again.

                Can’t believe she destroyed their family for douchebag dick.

            • SydneyChump – they are all idiot fools and every cheater I’ve known or heard of has DOWNGRADED. Big time. I know your heart is breaking for your kids, but they have one strong, stable parent, and will get through this. Have you all worked out the custody?

              Sending peace and positivity your way.

              • Thank you so much for your reply and positivity – it means a lot! Reading from others who have come out the other side (or are at least further along) is invaluable to me.

                The AP was my STBXW’s sister’s neighbour. Married with 4 kids and had a thing going with my STBXW, her sister (don’t ask), and at least 1 or 2 other women (I’ve got evidence of all that). Total douchebag that I met in person a few times before all of this mess.

                I have the kids 4 nights per week, and am so glad of that. I wish it was more as even though they’re chaos, they’re my life and ground me. It’s a definite adjustment period for both them and me. I sonetimes wish I’d stayed in the house but I couldn’t handle the shattered dreams or memories so a fresh start is probably best.

                I hope everything is going well for you there; so glad I stumbled across this site!

        • I was happy as long as he was happy. I’m not being sarcastic, it’s true. Made his life so much easier in so many ways. Never thought about if I was happy or not. I’m not ashamed of that but I see now how misguided it was. He had a 2 year affair and it almost killed me. Working my way back now. I always thought so much of him but he turned out to be such a selfish bastard. After 27 years. Feels like I wasted the best part of my life.

        • This exactly.
          So now rediscovering the real me after being lost in the last 24 years of a marriage which I now know was a total lie.
          Spent so many years pandering to his every whim to keep him happy and keep the peace. Kids and I walked on eggshells around that selfish fuckwit all those years.
          I too put any remnant of my own happiness to the bottom of the list.
          So reversing that behaviour now I’m divorced from Mr Cockwomble narc.

    • After DDay1, my ex said that he was happy 95% of the time, and had been happier with me for a longer time than he had ever been with anyone in his life. After 5 more DDays that escalated in detail from ambiguous emotional betrayal to lots of fucking — and the subsequent failed wreckonciliation — he claimed that he had been unhappy for the entire 13 years of our marriage and could never be himself with me because I constantly invalidated him. He claimed that our marriage was toxic to him, and he could only be the person he wanted to be with my niece. She is 30 years younger than him.

      Toxic to HIM? I had to laugh at that after all the gaslighting, silent treatment, blameshifting, projection and yaddayaddayadda he subjected me to. Turned out all the pick-me dancing was with my own shadow. He was never really there. And if the person he wants to be is 19, well good riddance mister. I’ll find me a real man.

      • Oh my goodness – so sorry to hear that! But go you!

        But I totally understand that whole thing. I got the same treatment when I stupidly bought a Valentine’s Day card and gift as part of our “reconciliation” time (18 months wasted – I should have stayed moved out and would already be legally divorced). She told me to my face that she had never loved me for the entire time we had married, and simply married me to get away from her toxic family. That I was nice/gentle/etc. so was “safe” but that she was never attracted to me in any way and could never be intimate with me again.

    • Yeah totally been there (minus the cousin bit – so sorry! 🙁 ). STBXW was going out 4-5 nights a week whilst I gladly looked after our 2 kids and dealt with their tantrums, bathed them, put them to bed etc. Guess she just wasn’t happy *with me* though, and couldn’t tell me straight to my face so cheated on me for over 6+ months with her sister’s neighbour who is an absolute douchebag.

  • I think he was happy with me doing all the adulting until AP separated from her husband then he was all, “I’m so unhappy.” Bullshit! He just wanted out of the obligation of our marriage so he could devote his time to jumping his fuckbuddy before she found someone else.

  • I go this too. Cheater said he hadn’t been happy for 7 years, no 10 years… we were married for 14… I was stunned. I would be lying if I said it felt like a slap in the face. Then I discovered CL and CN and realized this is just Cheaterspeak straight out of the Cheater handbook. An excuse to fuck someone else and blame it on me…. fast forward 9 months later, divorced, he no longer has me, his daughter, my family, his family or any friends to speak of… oh but he has his “soulmate” whom things are “effortless” with….. hope you’re happy now asshole.

      • After I discovered the affair my X claimed he was unhappy for the last year, no make that two years – nope at the end he was telling me he was unhappy for five years.

        I had NO IDEA. Like Mickey Blue Eyes, for me it was for better or worse – and life is a routine after 30 plus years. I thought a good routine. Nope, his “happiness” reigns supreme.

        Marriage counseling would have helped us. Never had the chance. I am working on me now and see the red flags that were there all along.

        While he for sure has shown narc tendencies – I am not sure. Definitely rage at times and a lack of empathy. I cannot untangle. I will never understand why he destroyed our family. He of course blames me because “I filed and left HIM” but he did not stop cheating and never showed any remorse!

        Rambling. Anyway – this post hit home. Hugs CN.

        • We went to MC once. He lied to the counselor and said the affair was over. The next day I caught the two of them together. The day after that they both took the day off to screw each other at a motel ( which was obviously planned in advance)… why continue to lie? Thank god we’re now over.

          • Oh and when I confronted him about the “planned” day off he took to screw her- his answer-
            “Did it ever occur to you that she was comforting me?” Yeah… you were having a year and a half affair but YOU needed comforting? How much more fucking delusional can you be?

            • Yes, whenever my friends and I are sad, my friends and I get a hotel room so we can “comfort” one another. We can’t **really** talk in parks or restaurants or cars. Comfort clearly requires a bed, a mini bar, and probably some skeevy TV.

              Whatever, Dude.

            • Poor whittle baby, he needs comforting. Did she bring his binky and soft blankey to the motel??
              My X said he and OW went to a hotel room near the airport to ‘talk’ – HAHAHAHA

              • Is that what they call banging a whore, nowadays? “TALK?” Shoot, then I must be banging every person I say hello to every day. I’m friggin’ exhausted!

        • Livefoetoday2, I got the same blameshift from my ex. When I finally pulled the plug and left him (5th dd) because he lied about messaging a woman from POF, he turned it all around to “I ran out on him and ruined him….he wanted to make it work….”

          And now he is the victim.

          Why can’t they just act right the first Time? Why does it take some big dramatic confrontation and leaving them for them to promise to be better? I have concluded ex just never loved me the way I loved him. You just don’t treat people you love that way. He swears up and down that he loved me….ugh.

          • Impression management for their own disordered mind, is why they become the “victim”.

          • Yeah, even though mine had made sex tapes of himself with over 250 other people he still had the nerve to claim that he had been loyal and committed to our relationship!
            Delusional twat.

  • Yup. This. I got the “ I’ve been unhappy for 20 years”, at the first dday. In those 20 years we bought and sold properties, travelled every year including a grand tour of Italy he always wanted, bought cars trucks, motorcycles, cottages etc all that he wanted. He spent large amounts of money on his bad habits. Cue the 4 year pick me dance where I mostly supported us and went on to also buy a house in Florida. We were 3 home owners on a beer budget. Crazy pick me dancing. Oh and I was not allowed to (ever) say no to sex because “ sex is very important to me”. By the way we were very active in that regard before he said that. Cut the massive financial abuse—him working part time and then not at all while stealing 500k of our retirement money. That’s showing his family( wife and two kids) the love isn’t it? Followed up by leaving for schmoopie after using our line of credit to wine and dine and gift her up like he had never done for me in 34 yestsy( at the time) marriage. Monster.

      • Jeebus. Yes “sex is very important to me – it’s my love language”. Barf! Especially when that love language meant a porn and masturbation addiction too so that he couldn’t perform any longer without support.

        My one slice of karma thus far is that he told me that he had to buy a “device” to help him get aroused (you know, since he bought that three weeks out from leaving with our joint credit card knowing that a sex shop purchase would aggravate chumpy me when I reconciled the bills that month).

        Monsters indeed. All around.

        • You reminded me of something. When ex was still living in the house and running to see schmoopie( while we were already separated but trying to figure out the next steps including him trying to convince me to leave), he complained loudly to me about not being able to “get it up”, I just said funny you never had that problem with me.. asshole

        • Well, my love language is a bullshit free life, and you clearly can’t meet my needs there, Cheater. So, sayonara.

          • You don’t get to pick crap out of the sky and call it your love language. For example:

            “Punching kids in the face is my love language, Officer. I need to do that to be happy, and my happiness is really important!”

  • They’re incapable of being genuinely happy. They enjoy the sparkles of the new relationship, shiny, new, and special, fresh. It inevitable, in time, the honeymoon phase fades, everyday routines of life takes over. No longer considered the newly weds, or cute couple, AP’s habits Cheater once thought were adorable become annoying. Cheaters then focus on these annoyances and disagreements which they use as justification to find happiness elsewhere.

    I heard the “I haven’t been happy in a long time,” “you never loved me,” “you’re never happy,” (news to me), all bullshit, lame excuses for his unhappiness with himself.

    • Yes, Brit. Cheater told me that with the mistress, it is “effortless”… this was/is proof of exactly what a child he is. Marriage takes effort and work but let’s not spoil their fun… let time unravel the soulmates. Me? I’ll take my sweet, smart beautiful daughter… he can have “effortless”

  • Well then, I must be grateful for your ungodly circumstance, and remind myself to go relish and benefit from articles you’ve posted that I have not yet read. Bam, each time your insight really Cns me out of the mindfuckery. Thankyou!!!!

  • I heard so many versions of this from my STBX.

    “I haven’t been happy for a long time.”

    “I’ve known for years that I have no connection to you, but I soldiered on for the kids.”

    “I’ve been very selfless by pretending to feel what I don’t feel.”

    “I don’t feel for you what I’m supposed to feel.”

    To our kids after I kicked him out: “Mom and I haven’t been happy for a long time.” And, “Mom and I have had intimacy issues for years.” [Yes, he actually said that to my 16 year old.]

    And on and on and on. Notwithstanding all of the foregoing, I had to kick him out of my house and out of our marriage. Given his misery, you would think he would have left on his own.

    • He was such a saint to have sacrificed his “happiness” for the sake of his loser family… quick, somebody give this asshole a medal… call The NY Times, the Washington Post… we have spotted a saint among us… ????

    • That was a truth there, “intimacy issues” exist when one of you is fucking around.

  • I will PROVE to you that I can make you happy! I can control your destiny! I can WIN!

    The Limited landed right where he belongs with an ugly controlling cunt. That bus sealed his fate.

    On the happiness scale I’m pretty sure he lost on all accounts. He’s finally with his equal.

    Having enough and divorcing him gave me a life! Thank God as I’m nearing retirement age in five or six years I’ve had time to plan.

    The OW got shabby seconds. Her life was lived in chaos and regardless of what she believes she got the booby prize.

    For anyone on the fence age matters. Protect yourself.

  • I spent 16 years doing everything humanly possible to make sure my cheater had the best, most stress free life possible. I’ve been the main breadwinner, taken care of the kids (I don’t think he’s ever been to one single parent-teacher conference or a doctor’s appointment in 14 years), made home-cooked meals every day, kept a spotless house and supported him in taking a 2-month sabbatical every year to travel to his home country (under the guise of seeing his family) while I stayed behind and kept it all together. His only responsibility was to go to work for 8 hours every day. I found out 3 years ago that his trips were just cheating sprees with another man (talk about mindfuckery at its best). I did the pick me dance until I realized that me and the kids would never be his priority. We are just his cover, his opportunity to be gay (and well taken care of) without having to admit it to anyone (not even himself). When I decided I was done and stopped making things easy for him (i.e., I stopped letting him walk all over me and started protesting about his lifestyle), he actually looked me in the eyes and said “you just don’t want to be happy.” What an ungrateful miserable chump I am…..why can’t I just go with the flow and let him keep fucking me over??

    • Hey! Me, too, with the secretly gay husband, who used me as his beard and baby maker for 15 years, while he went on many long, romantic vacations with his former coworker, Mr. Schmoopie. When I found his text saying “I love you” to the OM, and dragged my feet on agreeing to move across the country to be closer to the closeted OM and his family, then I was discarded. Divorcing in a fault state for adultery was the reason I had to hire a PI and get the awful proof of what my gut was screaming at me ever since seeing the infamous I love you text. He still tells everyone we divorced because he was unhappy for years and I had postpartum depression, etc. They tell the same stupid lies.

      • Me too! Only mine turned out to be bisexual and was/is advertising himself as a bisexual rent boy on a swingers website. He even had bloody feedback reviews,
        Turned out he liked to bring young guys into our family home whilst me and kids out at work/school and tie them to our stairway whilst wanking them off. He secretly taped loads of these encounters. Was also running swingers parties at local hotel and streaming action live to internet with a pay to view set up. And he had £400 a month hooker habit – female hookers- as well as a large collection of women’s shoes and panties which I found in the garage and later discovered he was wearing.
        I genuinely have no idea who the fuck I married.

      • Omg, os was traumatic for you.
        Sorry you had to go through this BS
        Get far away and work on YOU

  • It is a lie, lie, lie said by a lying liar. Notice how the times of their supposed unhappiness changes. One year then five years then (random number) eight years.
    It is much like every other lie they tell in that it is constantly changing. Because it is a lie. What a bunch of robotic freaks.

    • Yes, their default mode is lie. They even lie about general stuff that they don’t need to lie about.

  • I got all that projected onto me. He told me that **I** was clearly not happy and that he was trying SO hard to do everything to make me happy, but I just wouldn’t be.

    It was one of those conversations that seemed so out of place and context. If my first husband had tried to tell me how I felt, I would have told him to stuff it, but this one did and I spent time trying to figure out why I was unhappy when overall, I really wasn’t.

    I couldn’t see the deflection or projection at the time because I simply didn’t realize he was doing it.

    • Sunflower, I heard similar lines from X, “I was never happy” “I could never be happy,” he was also “trying” so hard to make me happy but it was impossible because “no matter what he did I would never be happy,” I never understood why he’d say I wasn’t happy, I felt perfectly happy and content at the time.

      Our conversations about my unhappiness went around in circles, “doesn’t matter what I do you’re never happy,” “I’m happy,” “no, you’re never happy.” on the same level as the argument, “I know you are, but what am I?”

      It had to be something I did to make him think I was unhappy, was it my tone of voice? the expression on my face? It never occurred to me that he was projecting. I happily accepted his assessment and went to work trying to prove that I was happy.
      I wouldn’t ask X to do anything because that meant I was “bitching again.” “see you’re unhappy, there you go again Brit, you’re never happy.”
      A lose, lose situation.

      • For me, it was that I “always argued.”
        I thought we were “discussing.” If I didn’t agree with what he was saying, I was arguing and he didn’t like that.

        He even admitted to purposely saying things he knew I’d disagree with just to see if I would.

        Why to that? To what purpose?

        • X got to where almost anything I said, he claimed I was starting an argument. One morning I came downstairs and asked if he had made coffee, a simple yes or no question…
          he snapped back at me, here you go bitching again.., you’re never happy.

          They create these ideas in their heads as a justification for cheating. Then they can say well
          she was never happy, I couldn’t make her happy…, so here I am cheating, because she’s never happy.

          It’s up there with “well, we weren’t getting along.” Cheating is justifiable because we weren’t getting along??
          If he thought we weren’t getting along why didn’t he let me know?
          Did it occur to him that their are other more logical ways to work on problems in our marriage.

          • Mine would reflexively disagree with me, no matter what I said. It got so bad I used to think if I said the sky was blue he’d say it was green! I’m pretty sure this was about the time his smell changed and he would spend a half hour in the bathroom in the morning with his phone. All of a piece, and I was so naive I didn’t know how to read the signs.

            • It amazes me how many chimps say the smell of their cheater changed when they started cheating. It’s amazing.

              Same with mine

            • “Mine would reflexively disagree with me, no matter what I said.”

              How many chumps have had this done to them ?
              You make a simple statement and the ex without any thought, completely disagrees or disputes what you have said.

              It’s all about manipulation, to keep you off balance, to degrade and put you down. Simple as that.

              Would you tolerate that sort of behaviour from a friend or acquaintance ?
              Probably not, so why tolerate it from your partner / STBX / ex ?

    • I got that kind of thing a lot too. I ball my fists when I place them on the table in a restaurant because it is more comfortable and there is more room on the table that way. Evidently that is a sign that I am tense and unhappy. After ex pointed that out I tried to always keep my hands flat on the table, but it wasn’t natural for me so I would inevitably end up balling them again, he would complain that I was tense, and then I would become tense because I was tense about him thinking I was tense. I had a similar problem with folding my arms. I always fold my arms when I am cold, but even if I am not cold sometimes it is just more comfortable. What else am I supposed to do with my arms? It was clearly a sign that I was angry all of the time, even if I was completely unaware of it. I would also get the random “you seem unhappy” when I was completely unaware of having been unhappy. Then I would be left to wonder what I was so unhappy about. According to him, I also didn’t like having sex, didn’t really want him and sex with him was such a burden. I put a lot of effort into proving to him that I was happy, calm and satisfied with my sex life. I worked so hard at proving my happiness to no avail that it probably did make me tense and unhappy in the end.

      • Get this. Douchebag Cheater STBX would tell our daughter, “Mommy’s stressed.” Like I was some kind of b*tch that they had to unite against as a team. Maybe I was stressed, between being the sole child-rearer and taking care of the house solo while working 60 hr weeks and with DB rarely blessing us with his presence. Because he was so important you know and had such an important job. But there is no really good answer to a comment like that.

  • Cheater claimed to have been unhappy for two years (only married for 5 including 6 months separated) when he left for schmoopie. We had a 2 1/2 yr old and I was 18 weeks pregnant. It wasn’t his fault poor sad sausage he just couldn’t communicate with me, to tell me about this supposed unhappiness.

    He acted happy enough when announcing to all our family and friends that we were having another baby. He has now announced that he only had another baby with me to give DS a sibling and because he thought it was what he was should do.

    Normal people would say
    Hey wife I’m feeling unwanted/unhappy since we had our 1st child, I don’t think we should have any more right now as that will make matters worse. Let’s try and spend more time together.

    Cheater couldn’t communicate this because you know it’s the truth, he could communicate hundreds of untruths (lies) over at least a year prior to d-day but I suspect it was across the whole of our relationship.

  • My ex gave me that crap too. He either 1)wanted cake, 2)wanted to watch me pick-me dance or 3)wanted both.

    When he told me “I haven’t been happy for years.” my response was, “Well, I haven’t been happy with your girlfriend for years.”

    Shut. Him. Right. Up.

    • Trust me, it’s number 3. Cake and dancing are corollaries to each other.

  • When I found out about Douche McGee’s affair with homeslice, he said all the things we all have heard before, including what CL posted. When I was deep in wreckonciliation, my ex told me several things I won’t forget. He told me that I was the better choice because I was more responsible (who says that? The same guy that says sex with her is fun and energetic, but I cannot finish because I am thinking about you). He also told me that I made him happy. In that moment I remember being overjoyed that I made him happy, not her. I WON!

    Months later when I had given up the hopium pipe, I told my therapist about how he said I made him happy. She told me that that is a lot of responsibility for a person and by you being the one that makes him happy, you also get to be responsible for making him sad, making him angry, making him lonely…..all of it. Don’t take responsibility for that, he gets to own how HE feels.

    That was just one of many little a-ha moments I had with her. He was so empty that he needed someone else and that person would take sole responsibility for making him happy. That’s a lot of pressure; I don’t want that kind of pressure. I don’t want to take that ownership of being the clown so the person I am with is in a good space. How exhausting. And when I date now, if the guy says “you make me happy” I always ask him to clarify if he meant he is happy when he is with me. Such a small thing, but such a big thing. I am no longer going to be responsible for how another person feels, they can own that themselves. And as adults, we should be able to ask direct questions and tell direct answers and be honest. Unfortunately, that is not something our exes are good at. They are stunted that way. AND I STILL WON!

    • You probably already know this, but after getting bitten by the mirroring bug, I’m paranoid. When asking someone to clarify, definitely don’t suggest what you think and/or hope they meant, because that gives them the opportunity to basically pull a “yeah, that’s the ticket!”. In my past life I took that as “hey, we’re on the same page!” Now I realize I heard what I wanted to hear.

      • Absolutely! My UBT is really good now. There are certain things I am not willing to compromise.

        • Cheater made it a point of letting me know that his mistress made him happy. Guess what?
          My daughter makes me happy. The same daughter he traded in for his “soulmate”… let’s see how long his happiness lasts.
          My guess is not too long since he was trying to follow my niece on Instagram a few weeks ago… I guess the happiness is turning to loneliness… oh well… we can’t all be happy.

  • During an argument post-DDay my XH said “I’m not happy and I haven’t been happy in a long time. Don’t I deserve happiness FOR ONCE?” He framed it in such a way that if I was to object, I was an asshole. Who would deny poor, long suffering XH his one bit of happiness? Not I.

    So I divorced him. He’s still not happy.

    • Yep. When I found out I heard all of this BS, we all have
      He quickly dropped her and came back to me wanting to “move on”
      I said “but you weren’t happy“. He just stared at me like
      Oh that’s right, I said that didn’t I
      Dumb shit
      You can’t treat someone like this, using these ridiculous comments, to justify your activities, devalue them and expect them to be the same
      Changed me forever
      He is history

    • OMG same same!

      I also got. I’m dying! Or I’ll be dead in two weeks if I stay!

      Really ? Been to a doctor buddy?

      Didn’t I deserve to have a conversation bout how you were unhappy for sooo long with us before you took up with the downgrade? Aargh

  • I took offense to the use of the word “we”

    Narkles the Clown: we haven’t been happy for years.

    AllOutofKibble: really? We? Who is this we? How can possibly know about my happiness when you’re gone all the time?

    Narkles the Clown: we’ve been more like roommates

    AllOutofKibble: You’re not seriously going that direction. Try again?

    Narkles the Clown: if you can’t have a civilized conversation there’s no use talking to you

    Translation…if you can’t be a good chump and take the blame I won’t talk to you

    Had I only known at the time what a gift that was.

    • I took offense to the use of the word ‘we’ too.

      He once told me ‘we’ didn’t have a relationship. Excuse me? I said. We are married ~ if that isn’t a relationship, I don’t know what is. LOL

      Then I told him, ‘you’ may not think you are in a relationship, but I certainly am. Idiot.

  • When the red flag was shown to me he said he thought I needed a husband who wants to be with me 24/7
    I ignored it. What a mistake-/

    He said he’s not that happy lately at home & if he was. He’d stay home more. I was so frightened being I just fought cancer & I was trying to keep us together.

    Little did I know he was already starting the affair with

    I wish I would’ve thrown him out then but I tried to make him happy. Would hav saved me irritable Bowel Syndrome & years of therapy. Mad at myself.. ????

  • My ex said, because we weren’t married, he doesn’t have to answer to me. He had been divorced twice, so really didn’t think much of marriage. Incidentally his girlfriend of 3 months, is cheating on him! You could call it karma!

  • “Don’t accept responsibility”–and that means nor just for their cheating but also for their unhappiness! It’s not in the realm of possibility for one person to MAKE another person happy or into a happy person. If I’m not happy, the onus is on me; it’s not on my partner to present me with a series of gifts or experiences in hopes one of these will make me happy. That’s appeasement and self-serving entitlement. My happiness is my responsibility. And if I find that my marriage isn’t providing the conditions I need for my happiness, then I have the choice to leave it. And as I wasn’t finding the conditions conducive to my happiness in being married to a husband who rather than committing himself to me and to our partnership saw me as a wife appliance while going outside to “explore his sexuality” with a former student I told him I wanted a divorce.

  • OMG so predictable are these cheaters. So glad I’m not alone, feeling crazy and duped.

    My cheater started reading positive psychology/happiness books 6 months before D-Day. I asked him what was going on and he said “work is so stressful”. So chump that I am, I supported him to go part time, helped pay for his expensive hobbies, paid off the mortgage on our dream home and took two luxury international holidays a year. If I talked about work stress, i was “contaminating the home environment” and being “filled with negativity” which also made him unhappy. So, no support for me, because my real happiness was not relevant to him, I realise in retrospect, despite his own filling both our horizons.

    Then my STBXH told me “my love for you and my happiness have been decreasing since we got married [3 years ago]”. I was unaware of the OW until later. But it’s ok, his emotions mean it’s justified to cause as much damage as possible to those around you, coz, well, MEMEMEME.

    I’ve recently dumped some Switzerland friends. When cheater left and the truth came out they said to me “we’ve told your X this is only ok with us if he thinks he can be truly happy as a result. We’re not condoning what’s been done to you, of course”. I’ve just realised they’re a bunch of f**king cake eaters too, they continued to socialise with both of us separately and enjoyed the dramas vicariously.

    • Canyoufeelthemeh–good move, dumping the Switzerland friends. One Switzerland couple has caused me years of anguish before I finally decided to distance myself except for civil hellos. As Elie Wiesel wrote, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”

  • I believe this is a close cousin to “Our marriage has been over for years.” This was news to me seeing that you know, we were still married and all. Plus we still had sex, still told one another “I love you” and continued to travel together at least a couple times a year. As a matter of fact, a mere month before dday we went to the Caribbean. Call me a touch confused but it seemed like we were still married.

    Apparently that statement was to goad me into the pick me dance, which I did quite beautifully for about 3 years. Then I demonstrated how one really ends a marriage and told him we were getting a divorce.

  • Had Chump Lady stayed in Texas, she wouldn’t be dealing with the DMV hassle today.

    At her convenience, she could have zipped right in to just about any automotive joint, got her inspection done in 5 minutes, and had some handsome, young lad named Jim Bob say “Thank you, Ma’am! We sure appreciate you coming in to see us today!”

    • Valiant effort SuperDuperChump, but sadly we aren’t ever getting CL back.

      (Ha! you have apparently never been to an Austin DMV to pick up registration stickers. Bring a book.)

    • Texas had its advantages. That said it’s 50 degrees here right now and I’m not dying of heat stroke. There is only ONE DMV inspection station in the entire city of 700K+ people — and it’s in the most inconvenient quadrant of the whole city.

      Still, I’m back now. It wasn’t that awful. No Jim Bobs, and no tacos though. 🙁

  • This is all a perfect example of revisionist history. Marriage is for better or worse. Were there days when chumps were unhappy? Hell yes! Cheaters have had time to rewrite the history before chumps find out, and we are all in such a state of shock we believe them. I was happy in my marriage because I chose to look past her flaws. Now, with the benefit of time, I can look back at a lot of things I didn’t like. Therefore, I must have been unhappy. The problem is that a cheaters projection at this point proves them right. If I had a dime for every time ex asked why I was unhappy, to which my response was always “I’m very happy”, I’d be rich.
    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell

  • This one apparently really hit home with me today, because here I am with another comment, about whose responsibility is whose and for what:

    “[I]f your needs are not communicated to me, there is jack shit I can do to help you.”

    Just as our happiness is ultimately our own responsibility, communicating is, too.

    My stbx said to me, “Our problem was communication.” Which he then followed up on with the declaration “I didn’t feel I could talk to you,” which was nothing more than a neat way for him to make “our problem”–which was really HIS problem–into MY problem.

    He would never talk to me about anything, and I was always trying to get him to open up, saying things like “You look unhappy, what’s bothering you?” I realize now that he offloaded onto me, and I took upon myself, the responsibility for his happiness, his emotional state, and his communication, too. (As if I didn’t have enough, what with the same job as he had, plus all the responsibility for house, garden and yard care and maintenance.) So to be told, after many years of my trying to get him to talk to me, that I made it impossible for him to feel he could talk to me, was jaw-dropping. At least by then I knew enough not to accept that blame.

    It’s all part of the same blame-shifting complex. Right out of the playbook.

    • Lol. My ex told MC that we always communicated so well. Followed by, “I just didn’t think I could tell him someone was coming on to me.”

    • To justify his affair from years prior, Hannibal Lecher had another variant,

      “I felt that you weren’t listening to me.”

      Leaving aside that I was running myself ragged doing 90% of the parenting, with a full-time job, and managing a large remodel so that he had plenty of time to sit in coffee shops chatting up gradwhore and engaging in multiple Kama Sutra positions with her, “you weren’t listening to me,” meant “you weren’t obeying me about catering to my every whim.”

    • Over our 40-year relationship, my XH told me HUNDREDS of times that “Our communication sucks”, which really meant that I was the problem and it was MY communication that sucked.

      I always found this to be so interesting, as the one thing my friends, family, colleagues and clients have consistently complimented me on is my ability to “wordsmith”… to quickly slice and dice through the bullshit, to clearly and concisely communicate even the most convoluted and complex concepts, and to provide the answer even before the question could be thought of or asked.

      His comment always felt like a punch in the gut. It was just another way of him sending me the message that I wasn’t good enough.

      • ”I always found this to be so interesting, as the one thing my friends, family, colleagues and clients have consistently complimented me on is my ability to “wordsmith”… to quickly slice and dice through the bullshit, to clearly and concisely communicate even the most convoluted and complex concepts, and to provide the answer even before the question could be thought of or asked.”

        And that, redsandals, is precisely what the fucktard hated ! 🙂

    • I was also told that we didn’t communicate well. True, he neglected to tell me that he was fucking strange and that’s why he had been so moody and why he was being such a dick to me and the kids.

    • Werd. He couldn’t talk to me. He couldn’t tell me things. What a convenient way to avoid responsibility.

      Take the word, “intimidate.” It is something we assign to things or people. Someone/thing is so powerful, so big, so whatever, that we feel small and shy and scared. As we approach that person or thing and TRY interaction we usually find that our fears were out of place. That person or thing is no longer intimidating because we got exposed to it more and our comfort grew. But that person or thing did not change, did it? Our definition changed.

      That is what this is. They decide that they can’t talk to us, but it is not about us. They have assigned that descriptor to us but it only is because they didn’t even half-assed TRY. So convenient to pin that shit on you when it was 100% their choice to not try. So much easier to just blame.

      • That is so true. It is not about us. It’s a decision they make even when they’re blaming us for making it so hard to communicate. In between bouts of blaming me for his not feeling as if he could talk to me, mine would tell me “I know I need to communicate better.” But he never made the effort–unless he was dropping demands on me, most of them to do with what he must have in order to be happy. So he could communicated when he wanted; he just didn’t want to most of the time.

    • I heard the exact same thing!! Our problem was communication. Bullshit. Our problem was that he was the devils hand puppet.

  • Let’s not forget unhappiness as another instance of context dropping. It’s funny how when they drop the origin of whatever issue they are pointing to, it changes the entire context of the unhappiness.

    “I know you didn’t have a white picket fence childhood and I’m unhappy because you have trust issues”

    The context of the trust issue: My spouse was signing up for adult friend finder, lonely housewife’s and any other website with a potential fuck buddy. Funny how that little piece of information changes where he placed the Origin of “my trust issues”

    “I’m unhappy you seem to have low self esteem and don’t want to be adventurous in the bedroom”

    Context of my low self esteem: A spouse who spent an excess of 4 to 5 hours a day watching porn, and all the perky plastic parts my 3 baby body didn’t have. Well sure, let me break out the video camera and record how sexy it makes me feel to have my spouse wanking off to other women a quarter of every day.

    “I’m unhappy because you are angry”

    Context dropped: Well sure, I’m angry, I’ve told you that repeatedly. Staying late at the office to watch porn and almost losing your job, while I take care of 3 children, a house, and your mountains of boarderline hoarding things. Taking off on the weekends and leaving me to take care of it all. I’d like a little time to myself, maybe go to the grocery store by myself once in a while, “hire a babysitter, I have plans”. So yeah, I was unhappy, and I tried to address that unhappiness. Maybe if I ran out and fucked the local stripper population that would make me less unhappy. But wait, that apparently didn’t work for him, because “he wasn’t happy”

    • I would swear we were married to the same “unhappy” porn wanking cheater. 😉

      • Beth, they all seem to be cut from the same cloth. People who haven’t lived with someone who devotes so much energy to porn just don’t get it. They say, “eh, who cares, my spouse watches porn now and again.”

        • On no, that rancid shit completely changes sex and their view of women. I think it’s one of the greatest threats to women’s safety and that’s saying something given the world we live in. It’s a progression. They have to watch more and more and weirder and kinkier stuff to get off. My ex kept a spread sheet (yes, I see the irony) of porn stars – their personal stats – birthdates, measurements, etc. that was over a thousand lines long and SO creepy. He’d swap them in and out like baseball cards based on who his current favorites were. He spent HOURS on this and why??? Ugh. It still makes my skin crawl. There is absolutely nothing benign about men who enjoy watching hours and hours of the violent degradation of fellow human beings. It destroys their souls (if they have one to begin with).

    • I just ’bout fell off my seat listening to a lovely, bi-polar woman share in a CoDA meeting how her blame shifting couples therapist explained away her boyfriend’s cheating as her trust issues. No, I disagree ! Who wouldn’t feel abandoned if one’s bf/gf cheated on them ?

      I hope this young woman gets better counseling. She is moving back in with her parents to get her debt cleared and they are building a house on their property to house her and her bf.

      Blame shifting…

  • I remember that my then in-laws, with whom I thought I had an excellent relationship, supported my cheater in his new relationship ‘because it’s made him so happy.’ My MIL said, ‘We’ve got our son back again!’ as if I were to blame for his grumpy moods etc. My SIL said, ‘We feel he’s made the right choice for himself’ (leaving me for the OW).

    • Cheater parents! I felt even more betrayed by my now ex MIL than by my ex when she took his side and pulled out all the stops to smooth over his running off with OW. And this after she spent twenty years in abject misery after her own husband ran off with an OW! Parents’ love is truly blind.

  • My XH reported having “No connection for years, decades really” just a few weeks before letting me know about his meticulously hidden “friendship” with high school girlfriend. Turns out he had to turn to her for years because no one, me especially, understood him. Evidently, all our problems stemmed from my insecurities. (And he “didn’t deal well with insecure people”). It is hard to feel secure in a world where your partner of 28 years routinely messed with your head: lied, obfuscated the facts and withheld communication for weeks at a time.
    So, my insecurities now? Mostly gone after standing up for my rights during mediation, creating a successful business in spite of that creep, and finding a world full of good, decent, loving friends and family. Hey, look, it’s Tuesday!

  • My XW gave me the “I haven’t been happy” and “We haven’t been happy” and “Don’t you want to be happy” lines. Sure we had our moments in our marriage, but we always talked out our issues and agreed to do this or that going forward.

    Like CL says though, if you’re that unhappy, then just divorce your spouse. Be fair and honest, and then divorce them. Sure it sucks getting divorced, but at least we could somewhat understand the rationale.

    But being “unhappy” doesn’t mean you get to sleep with the married guy at work. Being “unhappy” doesn’t mean you should bring that guy (and his wife) around your husband and kids constantly during your affair. Being “unhappy” doesn’t mean you should hide money. Being “unhappy” doesn’t mean you should con your spouse into buying you a bunch of new stuff after you’ve already made plans to run off with your AP.

    I mean, I was in the same marriage as she was, so if “we” were so “unhappy”, then why didn’t I think to do any of this crap to her?

  • My ex went back to events back in 1989 to demonstrate how unhappy I made her.
    And, the chump that I am, I asked her about the messages of undying love and happiness written in all the Valentines, Anniversary and Birthday cards over 20 years that I had faithfully kept.

    She replied that she wrote in those cards, what she HOPED she would feel. Nothing like that to undermine your sense of reality and history.

    DDay 2 came swiftly — I filed for divorce and burned those cards.

    • I get how you feel NC
      But I put that box of cards and letters in his drawer when we divorced
      Maybe he can use a few of those lines on the next girl
      Felt good????

      • X had saved a card he wrote to a woman I think he’d dated before me, used the same lines. Guess it didn’t work as well on her. Helped me take another step into my new reality and also know that his lies and abuse weren’t personal.

    • My ex did the same!
      I supported his leave from work and taking a new job across the U.S. because he was unhappy at work.
      We texted and video chatted daily, and wrote letters 2-3 times per week. He even gave me new nice paper so we could write like we did when we were in our long distance relationship 20 yrs before.
      He cheated with the MOW, now OWife, probably the entire year away. When I asked about all the I love yous, etc, in all the letters ,texts, and chats that he sent me… he wanted it to be true.
      Now I know it was cake– he was living the new single life with the 10 yr younger woman, and I was home alone taking care of the kids.

  • Good lord!! I feel like all of you were flys on the wall of my house.
    I heard all of it but he was I happy because “you are a miserable human being and make everyone around you miserable”
    Ummmm wait…. so for over 20 years I worked full time, coached, raised 5 kids, kept House all on the meager $100 a week you doled out while you go out every night after work, take vacations with the “boys” and spent copious amount of money on yourself. We had not taken a family vacation and I drove a 14 year old car…. but I did run/workout daily and was told I have such a sunny personality by others. I parented 5 teens and held them accountable for their behavior as well as taking them to all sports and appointments as well as never missing a P/T conference (and when asked by a judge…. you didn’t know the names of their teachers or pediatrician) while you are at “work” Yet I am the miserable one.
    I saw a glimpse of the “old me” a few days ago at an even for one of the kids. He Was Introduced to a coach he had not met in 3 years and his GF was standing at his side. He ignored her….. it was like she was not there. She stood in silence as he spoke to the coach. And I saw myself years ago in his shadow. I felt a moment of pity for her. Then that feeling went away. Good luck, sister!!

  • I may be untangling the skein too much here but have recently found the Enneagram- a personality typing system. My cheater hubs is a 4. Look it up if interested. 4’ s when unhealthy are consumed by thoughts that something is always missing in their lives, everyone else has it better, a longing to be special, unique and above the rules, biggest struggle is relationships and tend to have a standard of perfection when it comes to other people. This explains why I will receive compliments from others on things like my singing voice but have only been criticized and found inadequate by him in that area (and so many others). I suspect many of our cheaters may be 4’s. It doesn’t excuse them at all but shows how deeply it’s ingrained in them. Also there’s a healthy way to be a 4 but one would need to seek to grow to get there. I’m pretty sure I’m a 9. Sets me up for chumpiness for sure. And yes it’s my responsibility to grow into a healthy version of 9 which includes not allowing myself to be abused by a 4 in the name of keeping the peace.

    • Yup! I guess mine is a 4 too because you just described him pretty well.

  • Great comments! So glad I found CL again after many months of chasing unicorns

    Yep, I’ve heard all the “unhappy” BS and so did my mother-in-law, who told me following:

    “I never really loved him” — so why did you marry him? — no answer

    “I’ve been unhappy for all our 20 years” — so why didn’t you leave? — no answer — so why did you have children with him? no answer

    “I’d been thinking of divorcing him for 2-3 years before the affair started” — so why didn’t you say anything to him? Or try therapy? — no answer

    When I found out about my wife’s affair, I remembered we both had an app that monitored all that we did on our laptops and that it had been running for several years (including the ‘private’ web pages). Well I noticed that in all those years prior to her affair not once did she ever look at anything to do with divorce or relationship problems or anything like that.

    I guess the opportunity for the affair just presented itself and her lack of morals allowed her to just go for it; though I do wonder what else had happened in the past as I had my suspicions of something 10+ years ago. Then when I exposed her affair, she did the cliche’d blame-shifting, etc. that we all drearily know so well

  • I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels every day, and I didn’t cheat. My ex has bipolar II and everything that goes along with that, particularly when he decided to go off his medication right after our son was born. I didn’t like it, but I was as supportive as I could be. When he was so sick he could barely take care of himself, I certainly didn’t express my unhappiness at feeling lonely and neglected, because I would’ve felt like an ass. Lots of people have sick spouses, and you pick up the slack when the spouse can’t hoping things get better someday. When he started getting nasty to me, threatening to commit suicide to manipulate me, making threats of physical harm and on top of that I found out he was able to pull himself together enough for dating others, I still stuck around for 3 more years. I was miserable, but never, never once did it cross my mind to cheat. That’s the difference between I’m unhappy, but committed to this marriage and my spouse, and I’m unhappy and I don’t give a flying flip about my spouse.

    • Thank you for not using disparaging remarks about mental illness. I have major depression, which sucks ass. It took a longer time than it should have, but I learned years ago that this illness doesn’t give me license to treat other people with disrespect or cruelty. I hoped like hell to have a partner like you, someone who would stand by me as I actively worked on improving my (and our!) situation, but I wasn’t so lucky. I’m sorry that you were punished for your loyalty and compassion.

  • My daughters are furious with their father and barely speak. When they do have any contact he still tries to blame everything on me. He has the gall to say nothing is going on with the 25YO co-worker that he moved permanently to Europe to be with, despite the mountain of evidence that this is the person he blew up the marriage for. She is our oldest daughter’s age. Our girls can’t handle the unending lies and his treatment of me. They also don’t trust men themselves and have a lot of healing to do.

    In a text exchange with the younger daughter where she was challenging him about this stupidity and throwing his life and family away, he said, “Yes, I have torn some things down to pursue a happier place for myself.”

    Thing is, this ‘happier place’ doesn’t include his daughters. It doesn’t include his country even. He will miss both daughters’ college and masters degree graduations this summer and won’t be at either event.

    We look at his life and simply see shit that is torn down. The things that really matter and the people that really should matter have been trampled and declared to be inadequate to fill his great need for happiness.

    What a useless life.

  • OMG I was laughing out loud reading this.
    It’s Friday evening, yay Friday, a nice glass of wine, a beer for him on the balcony, we just returned from a trip to Montreal the previous Monday, and here it comes: Baby, do we think we have a good marriage? Me: What’s your point? What are your plans? Him ” I haven’t got any plans, I have been unhappy for a long time, I love you but I don’t see you as a woman anymore” I pick up the phone calling some friends to ask if I can stay in their place, during the phone call he ups and literally runs out. Next thing he is living with OW.
    Oh please give me a fucking break, what a loser, a coward and a giant manipulator. Whatever he is, at the end of the day, I no longer have to suppress the realization that he doesn’t do jackshit for the relationship, and maybe I could be better of by myself. I know that I am better of without him. Good riddance of a toxic loser. After almost two years, he still cannot admit that he is with the Poet/Yogateacher/scientist and activist to top of the long list of accomplishments. In the meantime FB posts documenting the happiness of OW with her “boyfriend” . Seriously a 63 year old “boyfriend”. On second thought, that is exactly who he is a 63 year old “boy” who never outgrew the temper tantrums or short attention span of a 5 year old. Huge eyeroll.

    • He no longer saw you as a woman? What did he see you as? An elm tree? A zebra? A skyscraper? Shaking my head at the stupid of these cheaters.

  • “I have been increasingly unhappy in the marriage” was what I was told on DDay#1. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I also got a very specific list of things I needed to do to keep him in the marriage which id ncluded dropping what I was doing (usually fixing dinner) and greeting him at the door when he came home from work, NEVER mentioning the affair or how I was hurt by it, not bothering him with or expecting him to help parent our kids when he was tired from work (and watching porn), etc. It astonishes me today that it didn’t occur to me at the time that I was the wronged spouse and I should have been giving HIM a list of what to he needed to do if I was going to let him stay. That went on until DDay#2 which happened 6 weeks before we were supposed to leave for the trip he planned for us to celebrate my 50th birthday and 23rd wedding anniversary. When confronted on DDay#2 he started with the exact same phrase: “I have been increasingly unhappy in the marriage” only this time, all of the shit I had done over the last four years to try to make him happy, all of the times I put his happiness over what I wanted or my kids needed, flashed in front of me and I stuck my hand up in his face in the “stop” gesture and said “NO. Not this time. You don’t get to say that to me now.” And when he said “Do you want me to leave?” I said yes.

    That time I did give him a list of what it would take to keep me in the marriage. I waited two years to see any significant growth or change. It never happened. I spent another year extricating myself from the marriage. I’ve been cheater free for the past two years and couldn’t be happier. I gained a life. And it turns out, it wasn’t “the marriage” that kept my ex from being happy or, for that matter, what made me happy. Turns out that you have to find your happiness within yourself. And when you have a fetid oozing hole in place of your conscience, inner happiness is elusive.

    • Thank you, Beth. Spot on. Sometimes “I haven’t been happy in a long time” predates the great reveal of infidelity. His unhappiness comes with great flair and drama, along with long list becauseof our faults that must be changed. Infidelity reveal comes with minimizing of the affair and the reminder that he hadn’t been happy in a long time. Which justified his wander WHICH IS OVER NOW AND HE ENDED IT ALL BY HIMSELF. Not.

      My mightiness is slow in growing because I’m still with him but CL hits it right on the head. All 3 responses are correct. Never try to talk them out of a feeling they have expressed. If they say they are sad and lonely, they are. BUT THAT IS NO REFLECTION ON THE SPOUSE. If they have unmet needs, it is there responsibility to convey them. We do not have ESP and we have busy lives which makes it difficult to constantly gauge how they are feeling throughout every day. Not only that, IT DOESNT MATTER.

      I get sad, lonely, and unhappy, too. I get anxious and depressed. Guess what I do when those feelings come – lots of things! I engage in self care, connect with a same sex friend, hang out with my sisters, journal, start a hobby, garden, work out, take a walk, meditate, do yoga, find a baby and hug it, go for a drive in the mountains, get out and cry, scream, or just think. One year I got chickens. I advise against that one. It’s been 6 years and they are still pooping all over the place. Right now I’m refinishing my dining set and showing my children how moms can do carpentry (I cut out wood seats and dug out butt molds). I refinished a side table. I watch Ellen and fold clothes. I pray. I serve someone.

      Check out the previous paragraph. None of those activities are related to engaging in some sort of sexual behavior that will negatively impact my marriage and family. No affairs. No emotional connections to opposite sex. No porn or other paraphillias. This result of my coping mechanisms leave me with stronger relationships, beautiful furniture I already owned, eggs, fresh vegetables, stronger muscles and balance, etc.

      I’ve been unhappy with my marriage for a long time. Sometimes I’m sad and lonely. I’m owning all of that. Because I have the power to make changes in my life. His actions do not dictate what I can or can’t do. I recognize my irrational reasons for staying but I own them. I listen to his feelings when he shares them and I let him sit with them. They belong to him, not me. They are based on his experiences, his formative years, his belief system. We don’t have to agree but I insist on him treating me with the respect I deserve. He’s had one affair. I have learned a lot. It was a miserable experience. I grew a lot in the process and I am grateful for my growth. I am not grateful for the experience.

      Chump Lady has validated me in so many ways. I will never be anybody’s emotional punching bag again. If he’s not happy and hasn’t been for a long time – first I check if he’s being unfaithful. How? Haven’t figured that one out because I’m not going to police him. But if he’s unhappy in the marriage – that’s not my problem. That’s his. We still have plenty of furniture he can refinish. I’ll even show him how.

      • OneMoreDay, I’m very glad you are so good at taking care of yourself and meeting your own needs AND have learned not to take responsibility for your husband’s happiness. That is incredibly mighty considering you’re still with him. I hope, however, you will take the ultimate step into mightiness and leave his sorry ass in the dust without a backward glance in your rearview mirror. I have said before, and believe with all my heart, that you don’t realize how much the psychic chaos surrounding these cheaters drains your energy until it is gone. The question isn’t whether he’s being unfaithful. The question is, will he ever be a real partner in your marriage? We both know the answer to that. Don’t give him one more day. Keep all of those beautiful days for you and your kids. You’re worth it.

        • Amen @Beth! “you don’t realize how much the psychic chaos surrounding these cheaters drains your energy until it is gone. The question isn’t whether he’s being unfaithful. The question is, will he ever be a real partner in your marriage? We both know the answer to that. Don’t give him one more day”

          You will never be a healthy person while still married to an abusive cheater. Healing cannot start until the toxicity is well and truly gone.

  • I had this thrown at me a month before I found out about the affair as his reason for wanting to leave me, which came out of nowhere after 16 years together, 7 and a half years of marriage and 2 kids. He worked away 2 weeeks out of 3 and had been increasingly strange for months but I always found a reason to explain, or excuse it. Then he came home in January and barely spoke to me for nearly a week. When I finally challenged him on it (note that it was me that started the conversation) he hit me with a barrage of how we’d been growing apart for years (we had a 2 and a half year old ????) and he’d been unhappy and feeling alone for so long. In 18 months (when he first started showing signs of distance and weirdness) we’d had 2 other conversations about him feeling lonely and me apparently not showing him enough attention. The first one was September 2016 and the second was October 2017. Both times I asked him what was wrong because he was being distant. Both times, as with January, he had apparently been feeling unhappy for a while, had been feeling lonely because I apparently didn’t ask him enough questions on the phone when he was away and only spoke about myself and the children. Both times he let me think things hadn’t been resolved. We then spent all of last year going on lots of trips as a family, countless date nights and nights away as a couple, made lots of plan for this next year, he wrote lovely messages about me on Facebook in anniversaries, Mother’s Day, etc. But in January he announced that he had only been ‘trying’ to be happy all that time, and looking back maybe we were never right for each other. It seemed to have taken him 16 years to discover this. Then in February I discovered he had in fact been having an affair in and off for 18 months (which started just over a month before his first spell of distant behaviour in 2016 and the first time I had to ask HIM what was wrong), and which became serious to the point of him living with her when he was away working from September (1 month before the second time I asked HIM what was wrong again). So for weeks before I found out (I snapped and checked credit card statements and emails) he had been going around telling friends and family that he had been so unhappy for long and enough was now enough and he couldn’t take any more in his awful marriage where his wife kept his house running, looked after his children alone and was regularly the only one there for milestones, illnesses and sore deprivation, juggled a business with childcare, stopped her life when he was at home and revolved all her time and energy around making his time special, got all his favourite food in when he was home and took him out for family days with his children and date nights for delicious meals and to see his choice of films, sent him a constant stream of videos and pictures of his children so he never felt like he was missing out on their lives, and lived off peanuts to save to pay off (mostly his) debt. And made me feel like the most neglectful, self involved cold hearted bitch going who had killed the love of a wonderful man through not being attentive enough and had ruined my children’s family. Yeah. He hadn’t been happy for so long though ????

    • yup. The usual story. They really are so much alike (alas, so are us chumps, but we are better people to be like).

    • He’s a complete ass. Self centered, entitled, taker in life. The thing with takers, there’s just not enough to give or throw into that bottomless pit of need. Have at it schmoopie. Dance Bitch. Dance.

      I’m sorry you are going through this. You see that this is on him and not you! YOU are everything. He’s a shit.

    • Once I’d found out and all of his family knew, he then came out with, I’m not leaving because I’ve had an affair, I’m leaving because I’ve been unhappy in the marriage. And then promptly moved 320 miles away to live with her. Ok then.

    • I’m so sorry.

      Also, I’m sorry to break this to you, but chances are about 100% you have the timeline wrong. He may have slept with her a month after you talked about his unhappiness, but he was already in the affair. His unhappiness did not cause him to wander. His wandering caused him to suddenly realize he’s unhappy and then he had a backward thinking – revising history to justify.

  • Okay, you’ve been a miserable sod for decades. You, cheater, are responsible for addressing the things that make you unhappy and adjusting your life accordingly. While as a loving spouse I want to support you, if your needs are not communicated to me, there is jack shit I can do to help you.

    I was a
    ✓insurance provider
    ✓laundry mistress (is that a thing?)
    ✓sex on demand provider
    ✓his only friend, supporter, encourager

    And he still fucking left with those words of “I’m not happy” (with me, implied, but never spoken)

    He’s been with Schmoopie/Mrs. Dumbass for three years now, I see cracks showing, but don’t give a shit. I’m free of his stupid ass and only have to see him every other weekend, she has to deal with him 24-7. Ha!!!!

    • @NMSB – trust you to cut through the BS! Will definitely cross Alligator Alley for the next chump meeting. Those SW FL chumps are a riot!

  • After my now-ex ran off with OW, ex’s brother told me “well now at least you’re not arguing in front of the kids all the time.” I was speechless. We argued in front of the kids? When did that happen? Why does he think that. Oh. Realization. My ex was telling stories to the family. Apparently I also wanted him gone and told him I no longer loved him. Then ex changed his mind and came back and we wreckonciled — for a week until he ran off again. Now his story no longer worked. He had to make up a new one, which was that I really only wanted to stay married so I’d look good at work. Wtf? I can’t even parse that one.

  • How about the phrase “We just don’t get along.” This was what asshat said after leaving me and my boys two months into our marriage. I’m a young widow who apparently didn’t play along very well with him trying to have access to my financials and wasn’t going to stop asking him to be transparent and wanting to know where he was going and who he was with. Projection at its finest. I could go on and on. Sad thing is, I’m a suicide widow so I was in the process of trying to untangle being a chump for 18 years that culminated in my LH shooting himself in front of me. This man swept in, at my most vulnerable, grief-fog state and love-bombed me like No other….only to leave me and my still grieving boys. I’m now untangling, x2 how abused I’ve been for decades, and never realized it. I played the “pick me dance” for so long and never realized it. Thank God for CN as, only through reading her book and coming to read y’all’s comments, did I finally have A-HA moments and started to forgive myself.

    • Holy grief, Batman. I’m so sorry. I have no words. Consider yourself mighty for getting out of bed each day to face this kind of difficulty. I wish I could bring you a casserole, and play board games with your boys and insist you to go take a hot bath, with wine and candles. Your courage is stunning.

    • Hugs to you, WidowChump. You’ve survived a lot. Keep coming here for support and learning. You are mighty.

    • Hugs, Widow Chump. That is a tough thing to try to heal from. You are in the right place though. There is a mountain of compassion, understanding and wisdom here. Welcome.

      • Thank you! Yes, I’ve been “lurking” and gleaning strength from y’all since Oct., 2016
        Y’all are mighty!!!!!

    • Wow. Just “Wow”. You’re an amazing woman. And I give you massive props for seeing how much of a sleaze this second guy was. He’d focused on a grief-stricken widow, seeing only an opportunity for financial profit for himself.

      You are amazing.

      • Thank you for that #Soldiering On; it’s taken me a while but I am getting there ????

    • Sound like he was a complete predator. Thankfully he is out of your life and hopefully you are financially solvent. Please check to see if he has any credit cards or loans out in your name. Do a credit check asap if you haven’t already. So sorry you had to go thru this mess.

    • Oh my God, widowchump ! Snap !

      Except mine beat me up first, got arrested, was released, and then gassed himself in his car.

      I told the cheating lying fucktard I’m divorcing, the whole story. The piece of dogshit pretended to be sympathetic at first, then gradually he started using it as a stick to beat me with, as in ” you pushed him to the point that he killed himself”, ”you murdered him”, etc, etc. Bastard.

      Yes, mine left ( the one I’m divorcing) 🙂 , in his fishing van, saying, ”I need to be by myself for a while”. Turned out he actually needed the fishing van so he could fuck his rat faced whore.

  • I love reruns. You know why? Because the dynamic doesn’t change, and so neither should the guidance, comfort and advice.

    I love reruns. You know why? Because it reminds me that there is a human person who, every blessed day, gets up and spares a thought for me and my suffering. Someone I will never meet, who still pauses to locate and post some previous wisdom.

    Because I tell you what, it is a tremendous challenge to get dressed and go to work, much less go in search of balm. I just type in “ch” and my browser autofills an act of kindness, new every morning. Even if the text is the same as it was eleven months ago.

    You know how in the Velveteen Rabbit, the boy’s love makes the toy “real”? Traci, your reposts are as valuable as your fresh snark. It is actually, in this case, the thought that counts. Oh, hey, some baby chumps probably need to know there is a living, breathing person who is carving out time in their busy, whole, post-Chump DMV day to acknowledge their struggle.

    We can all read articles; it’s community and care and presence that heals.

    Thanks for showing up for us.

  • My Cheater actually took this a different direction. “We” were happy, according to him. “We” were both enjoying the cheating, porn addiction, spending “our” way into bankruptcy and foreclosure, stealing… He found it unfathomable that if HE was happy doing those things, it was possible I might not be. I asked him why he lied to me if he believed I knew about it and was totally on board. He just stared blankly at me.

    The only time he wailed unhappiness was when I was trying to curb his behavior. I told him to stop stealing or I’d call the police on him. I told him he couldn’t buy a new car when we had no money in our account and the old one was working fine. I’m such a buzzkill. Without that car, he’d be so unhappy, you know. He DESERVED it. Because he worked so hard. For me. For the kids. Waaaaaaaa!

  • I have troves of birthday cards, anniversary cards, Christmas cards and valentine’s day cards telling me what a wonderful wife I was, how grateful he was to have me for a wife, how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Some of them were even kind of sappy “I don’t know if there is life after death but being with you is like a little slice of heaven here on earth” Most also had positive references to our sex life. Some of these were not that long ago. The most recent confirmed date for one of these cards was from just a few months before his first physical affair that I know of. Now how am I supposed to reconcile that with post DDay “I haven’t felt like your husband in years”, “I can’t remember anything good coming out of our relationship other than the kids”, “we don’t communicate”, “we don’t have the same priorities”, “I love you but I am not passionate about you”, “I wish I hadn’t been so nice to you because then maybe I would have gotten better out of you” etc. etc.?

    • My ex wrote a post on Facebook end of August last year sharing pictures of our first camping trip with our boys, how much he enjoyed it and couldn’t wait for the next one. Clearly so miserable. Less than 2 weeks later he’d got back in touch with OW and restarted their affair that led them down the road to where we are now. When he first met he and started it all up, he was 3 weeks back from a lovely family holiday with us all in lanzarote where we were totally blissful, and he posted a picture of me and the boys outside our holiday apartment saying how the worst part of holidays was having to say goodbye to us when it was over and he had to go back to work. I just don’t know how he lived such a miserable life with us ????

  • This is spot on.

    My ex told me he started talking to her because he HATED me, my family and everything about his life. He used to say before meeting her that he hated his life and that his life was shit and I would call him on it, cause HE was the ONLY thing making his life bad. He had parents and in-laws who supported him, he had a wonderful brother-in-law, two beautiful and amazing children, and me who stuck by him even when I shouldn’t have.

    I’m suddenly just to excuse the fact that he screwed someone else because he was mad at me and my family over seemingly nothing, that truly had been festering for years, but he could not and would not effectively communicate with me unless I agreed with him 100%, which I rarely did, but I wasn’t rude about trying to understand his point of view. I would offer alternate view points and explanations, but his mind was already made up and there was nothing that would alter his view.

    All I had asked in the beginning was that if he didn’t want to be with me for whatever reason to be man enough and tell me that, but instead he hid his fucking relationship for a year and never confessed (he only told me about one night) and I found the truth out on my daughter’s tablet!!!! Now I’m dealing with an narcissistic asshole who’s refusing to list the house so I can move on because it’s “not fair to him.” Fuck that noise, not fair to him, I don’t give a shit about what’s fair to him. He has ZERO regard for me or his children when he put his fucking dick first and watered the grass somewhere other than his own home!

  • Skankboy NEVER said he was unhappy. Why would he be unhappy when “he had everything.” I guess he was sooooooo happy that his relationship sundae would be even better with a cherry on top.

    I heard through the grapevine he is not happy now. He ate that sundae (cake) and now it is gone. Too sad, too bad.

    As I posted in the forums, skankboy AKA Summer’s Eve, text me the other day, “Hi, how are doing?” I hadn’t heard from him since the fall when we had that hurricane down here in Florida. (crickets)

    • I should have replied, “much better now that your skanky ass isn’t in my life anymore!” But I was too busy to reply because I’m living my happy cheater free life, thankyouverymuch!

  • The thing that makes me laugh is that the owhore dances perty while the affair is going on. Once their twu wuv leaves the spouse/SO, the owhore stops dancing. Then reality sets in, oooppppsss, “I’m unhappy again.” (eye roll)

  • My ex told our daughter we had been thinking about divorce for a long time. Well he blew her wonderful childhood memories that we were a happy and loving family out of the water in one quick sentence. Incredible. I never considered divorce. His first affair was with the architect of our 30 year dream house. So we design the house, she is coming to my home , accepting my hospitality and money and having an affair with my husband. We start building the custom designed house and finally he tells me about his affair with her three months after we started building. Are you kidding me???!!!! The first floor is on , what am I supposed to do now, bulldoze it into a hole or burn it?? We kept building, he kept having the affair and we moved into the house 9 months later and he left me three weeks after that. He finally ended the affair after a four month separation and came back home. Three years later affair number two happened with another woman I helped out. He was doing whatever he wanted and ” he wasn’t happy” and he tells everyone “we” decided to divorce. He is now married to the second OW. She can have him and deal with his” unhappiness”. The man had everything he wanted and he trashed it all to find his “happiness” and to hell with mine or our children’s.

    • I truly hate these bastards. My x had no problem killing happy childhood memories. If there is a hell…

      • Absolutely. Their hate filled existence has to poison everyone around them . Not content with dropping d day on the kids the same night he walked out (making them pack his bags into the car for added effect) he declared to dd that he would have committed suicide if he hadnt left the family. Then to top it off famous last words …”hadn’t been happy since first son was born” so that makes 20 years of mental torment he had endured – managing not to let on to anyone . DD pitifully joined the dots and worked out…thats my whole life dad …. these bastards know exactly what they are doing when they throw these mental handgrenades into their families. I continue to marvel at so many of the descriptions and scripts being so utterly interchangeable.

        • Snap. Mine is exactly the same.right down to the suicide and the years of unhappiness…right from the birth of the first child. Dickhead.

  • When my ex told me he hadn’t been happy for awhile, I asked him why he didn’t try to talk to me about it. His response was, “How was I supposed to tell you I was attracted to other women, didn’t find you attractive after you gained weight, and that I wanted out? You just don’t talk to your wife about that stuff.”

    Apparently you talk to any woman with a sympathetic ear about how awful your marriage is.

    I wish I had known about Chumplady at the time. I might not have felt 100% responsible for the demise of the marriage.

    His other gem about the state of our marriage was,
    “I got married too young. I had no business making that kind of decision at that age.”

    Hello, I was young too. I still didn’t want to cheat.

    Ah, well. He’s on his 15th shmoopie (give or take a few) and still thinks he’s all that. Ha!

    Me, I’m much happier not having to guess what is up with him anymore.

    • RE: “I got married too young. I had no business making that kind of decision at that age.”

      KK’s “Letter that she just had to write” (sent to me a mere 5 days after the divorce was final) began with this gem:

      “First, I am sorry. I am sorry that we promised ‘forever’ to each other when we had no concept of what ‘forever’ meant. If there is fault in that promise, we both have that burden—how can we blame each other for what we could never have possibly understood then? We were naive, we were clueless, we were still growing when we made our vows. We did not know that we would grow apart.”

      She was 28 fucking years old when we married. I was 36.

      Note how she speaks on my behalf, insisting that I share equal responsibility for whatever unhappiness drove her to give the “come ahead!” wave to the Carrot Singer after my daughters got on the school bus?

      This more than anything keeps me from any attempt to untangle the skein of fuckedupedness. I’d have a better chance of success attempting time travel.

      • Thanks for your reply. It’s funny how cheaters seem to be following a ‘script,’ since they all say similar things.

        Mine had told me at some point in our marriage that it was up to me to make myself happy, that one decides to be happy or not happy.

        When I reminded him that he had told me he wasn’t responsible for my happiness, and that I thought he shouldn’t think I was responsible for his, he said, “Darn right, that’s why I’m leaving, so make myself happy.”

        Boggles me mind.

      • There’s that “we” thing again. Most of the time it’s I, I, I with these people but when it comes to blame it’s “we”.

      • Wow… That’s special.

        “I am sorry that we promised ‘forever’ to each other when we had no concept of what ‘forever’ meant.”


        “If there is fault in that promise…”

        Fault in the promise – not in me breaking it – it’s the promise that’s at fault.

        “…we both have that burden—how can we blame each other for what we could never have possibly understood then?”

        1. It’s not that complicated a thing to understand, and 2.) we BOTH don’t have the burden of committing adultery.

        “We were naive, we were clueless, we were still growing when we made our vows.”

        One of you was a shithead who didn’t think she was a shithead because she’s too egotistical to self-reflect, and one of you didn’t know the other was a shithead. These are not equivalent types of naive.

        “We did not know that we would grow apart.”

        ‘We’ didn’t know YOU would start cheating, you mean?

  • It’s funny, after experiencing this phenomenon a few times, both personally and professionally, I realize how ABNORMAL it is to suddenly up and say, I haven’t been happy for years. To me it’s a red flag for entitlement. If this ever happened to me again, I would fucking run.

  • Narcissists are never happy, never to blame, and never wrong. (As quoted on CL)

    Here’s what I now know about narcissists: they have no idea what feelings/emotions are. They have a black hole inside. They don’t know how it feels to be happy, or remorseful. They are emotion-stunted.

    Sadly, they don’t know how to feel love and they don’t even know it. We need to disregard any statements of their feelings; it’s bad enough that they have no understanding of ours. I believe that a lot of their “How I feel” statements must come from the APs. They aren’t genuinely able to tap into their own hearts.

  • I got, ‘I just want to be happy! And ‘I want to run away from you!’ twice (at both discards. During our one-year-long wreckonciliation, I asked him if he was happy, everything was OK, and for a few months while I was unemployed last summer, how would he feel if I moved farther away to find a permanent full/time job. He acted as though he was fine, told me that there was nobody else but got mad at me for asking how he felt instead of opening up about his feelings and thoughts on our relationship. After he realized that his work subordinate would get into bed with him, I was history.

  • And anyway, one can not look to another person to make them happy! Happy is a fleeting emotion one can not base a relationship on! Mine started the same crap. “I’m not happy”…. “I deserve to be happy”. My response was well for one, you need to fix yourself and be good within your own skin. Two, no one deserves shit! One has to work for things! Funny part is I never saw her become a happy person screwing around on me. In fact she became more and more bitter over the years! Maybe I was right?

  • Ah yes. The “I haven’t been happy for a long time” crap. After D-Day, ex told me and our daughter that he left to “be happy.” That man doesn’t know HOW to be happy. He just found a whore willing to shack up with him and help pay the bills while sending her kids off to live with their dads even though she’s had custody of them ever since they were born. Ex likes this and said to me, “It’s nice. We have the place to ourselves.”

    Pure selfishness. If that is how they define happiness, by blowing up people’s lives and their children’s lives, they are looking at consequences far above what I could ever dish out. The only thing is, I don’t think they even care about what they’ve done because they “deserve to be happy.”

    Honestly? I feel sorry for them. How awful to live life constantly leaving a trail of destruction behind you.

  • Dday 2017 Me sobbing: “Why did you do this ?”
    Her (no emotion like a serial killer): “I haven’t been happy for six years” (since Dday 2011. I swear I think in her warped brain she was bitter that I broke up her last affair before she could consummate it….. I think). I’ve been the unhappy one since then having to wonder each day if my wife cheated with the guy that lives down the street. I thought that she would learn, but they don’t learn. Their brain is different.

    Wisdom for the newbies: Divorce after Dday 1. If you don’t there will be later Ddays, guaranteed.

    • That no emotion serial killer thing is truly terrifying. I dont know if i will ever get past that.

  • Like all fellow chimps I got the I/we haven’t been happy for a long time mantra (thanks for letting me know how I feel bitch) but I got another variation. “We were always on the same page” (yea before Mr Sparkly Dick came along) quickly followed by “what happened to you?”

    Not such a subtle blame shift.

    9 months earlier I busted my gut to decorate our converted garage for her. I wrote graffiti on the wall and fb’d It to her before painting it properly. She loved it.

    But that seems to be another pattern of the cheater. Why invest so much money in projects if they are so unhappy and have one foot out of the door?

  • I got the “I want to be happy JUST ONCE before i Die” . I was so baffled by that. Combine it with the constantly moving goalpost of the things i “should have been” doing and it is indeed one mindfuck that is incredibly hard to overcome with self esteem intact ( mine was non-existent)

    Funny how he had never been happy ONCE. and I guess that included the time when he dated the OW before we were married. RIGHT.

  • CL, you wrote: “No, I was full of sorrow. Every minute. My life was a burden of grief and misery. At night I used to gnaw at the invisible chains that kept me tethered to you. ” Followed simply by: “Oh.”

    Just that. Just two little letters that form such a simple word that just speaks volumes. “Oh.”

    It’s a sucker punch right to the gut. And it’s all you really can say, because anything else is pointless.

    But if I could have, I just might have said:
    You know what, asshole? I was just as unhappy. Because while I lay in bed at night, I wondered if you were with her? Was she walking her dog past the house again, where you’re conveniently outside waiting? Were you meeting at the (community) pool? Sometimes I’d sneak down to try to “catch you.” But you were always two steps ahead.

    I’d also say:
    And when the hour grew closer to you coming home, I wondered if you’d be on time or were you going to call an hour or two later to say you “stopped at the store?” Then make me doubt my sanity, because apparently “you’d told me you were stopping.” But I’m just not attentive enough to have heard you. I really should listen better.

    So then I’d be left worrying what kind of mood you’re coming home in. Angry? Because I’m standing between you and her? Because I suspect…just don’t have proof. Again, because you’re always two steps ahead. Asshole! But the day will come(and did!) when I’d have my proof.

    And the me now would have said to the me then: YOU DON’T NEED PROOF!!! Just up and go! Lawyer up!! Do it! GO!!!

    Who needs that insanity? Who needs to live a life walking on eggshells? Not me…that’s for sure! None of us do. If you are with someone who makes you walk on eggshells, he’s an asshole who doesn’t deserve you.

    So much happier without him around. Wish I felt better though. I do most of the time, but I just have moments where I’m just sad. I just imagine them being so “happy” together. And it hurts. I know I can’t think about it. And I do really good most of the time pushing thoughts of them away. Just sometimes you can’t help what pops into your head.

  • My now XH, at the time of BD and I was a crying mess, came over held my gingerly and caringly rubbed my shoulder, said “if you really love me you’d want me to be happy.” Never mind that his BD was tearing my heart and soul apart. I stopped and said I could ask him the same thing. Got this blank stare and then I said I guess it proves he doesn’t love me.

    I believe no one is happy all the time, but I was happy most the time. I think it’s a sad day when you get old and all you’re looking for is happiness. My old friend who recently died, said we shouldn’t be looking for happiness but accept finding contentment. Now that is when you know you have had a real lifetime of experience, contentment.

    • Wow. I got something similar. When I started suspecting OW was the reason of now xh’s “unhappiness with the marriage”, first 30, then 20 then 10 years, I asked; “Do you think the girls will accept your current behavior?”
      “They will be happy… … … that I FINALLY found SOMEONE to love!”

      — He tells his faithful wife of THIRTY years. He finally FOUND someone to love. With not only a straight face, but a sorry for himself wistful far off look in his eyes. OF ALL the ignorant, entitled thoughtless things he said during the affair, that was about one of the most painful.

      But mine was intentionally trying to hurt me, passively, while looking like a victim.

      • I can envision stbxh playing the same wistful song if he had the chance which he won’t.

    • That blank stare. That shit is not normal!!! I will be haunted by that blank stare forever. Ewwww!!!

  • The “I’m not happy” train is never late. This is my ex’s official story to The Masses. “We” weren’t happy…things weren’t good with “us,” “we” both knew the marriage was over and “we” both contributed to that. For emphasis, he likes to highlight how we weren’t even having sex! No acknowledgment of his refusal to go to counseling, treat me better, or do any substantive personal work to make “us” happier again. No clarification that we still had regular sex except for 6 months at the end when his emotional abuse became too great for me to bare. And on and on and on. Some of his friends have reiterated this message to me…like, “I’m sorry to hear things couldn’t work out between you and [Ex], that happens sometimes.” My response is usually something like “Sure, let’s go with that” while I roll my eyes.

    Although, despite this rant, I am grateful that his unhappiness reached such epic proportions that he had to forcibly end our marriage. I may have never done it myself as I’m a chump who’s hard wired to fix things and make it alright. But, being divorced and on my own is a revelation. Oh the sweet freedom of having actual happiness.

    • Although life is harder in some ways, I am grateful that my adulterous abuser divorced me. Freedom from fear of him abusing me and harassing me every day just because I breathe (quietly). Should never have married this monster. Live and learn.

  • My ex told me he’d been unhappy. I thought it was happy. Perfect kids great home, friends.
    Except he couldn’t wait to get rid of me. Never looked back, ever.
    It hurts.,

  • Wish I could post more. Often. Got fat fingers and a cell phone. Frustrating!! Gotta comment on this, though. In the spirit of their inevitable 3 step relationship agenda, (even if it isn’t completely conscience) they idealize…love bomb…”you’re the perfect woman” (huge. Red flag), All this translates to, is you’r new, and sparkly! When they have to live real life, deal with the baby, paying bills, your sweat. Pants, and runny nose, not so much! Then they devalue…this is also when they are actively searching for soul mate schmoopie, because they continue to have use for the wife appliance,they keep their affairs to themselves. When they’re called out, they’ve. Been unhappy for a long time! That’s the discard. Mean while fuckwit is idealizing perfect schmoopie! Rince and repeat

  • Chump Lady – quick question re the ads ( Until you reach this goal: “If we can Patreon-enlist 1500+ (so doable!) we can kill the ads and make this site much nicer and faster loading.” is CLICKING on the ads (not purchasing) enough to continue supporting the site?

    I am a Patron already ( but I know you haven’t reached target yet so I want to continue to help by clicking ads as well.

    Chumps – for those who can afford to, please support Chump Lady and allow her to be a full-time Chump Lady by becoming a Patron. Imagine the glorious Esther Perel takedowns…..

  • The “I wasn’t happy for a long time” (“for many years” is what my XW said) was one of the worst mind-fucks of all. It was so patently false. In fact during her double-life she was telling me (as she frequently did before her betrayal) how happy I made her, what a wonderful husband and father I was….

    All this stopped once she was busted. It was so insane and so profoundly hurtful. One of the many, most personal lies I don’t think I will ever quite recover from.

    In the past year or so she finally “took it back”—in attempt to hoover me back in now that she realizes that the grass isn’t greener with the AP. It gave me some satisfaction and vindication but after that rush faded all that remained was sadness.

    • David2016 – You will recover. These robots are all the same and they target GOOD people. The unfairness of it all can seem overwhelming and maddening to me some days, but I’ve learned a lot and am stronger than he will ever know. We all are.

      He/she/all of these cheaters are not worth our energy. Hang in there.

      • Thanks Tuesdayiscoming. I have also been Overwhelmed by the unfairness. Your worads are encouraging

  • It took chump lady to finally open my “eyes”(pun intended) to the statements he made:

    I wasn’t happy.
    I lost the last 10 years of my life.
    I decided I was done.
    I decided I would not initiate sex.
    I couldn’t take it anymore.

    Well feelingit always thought there were two people who had a say in this marriage, feelingit was wrong.

  • I got “I would like to have some of our wedding photos and photos of happier times of our marriage” (after 34 years). Needless to say all photos with him in went into the bin because I was wrong thinking all this time I had the perfect loyal husband. Including our wedding photos and any other reference to his achievements through our lives. Plus his prize miniature armies which too him 4 years to paint and a sledgehammer 5 minutes to ‘reduce to rubble’!

    I did NOT pretzel after BD August 17. I just left him to it and went NC. Best thing I ever did! He can have his new (male) boyfriend, I won’t stand in the way of twu luv! Makes me sick! Entitled, narcissistic twat!

  • I got ” I felt like our marriage was going in the wrong direction” which apparently could only be corrected by having a drunken 3 way with my best friend and her husband … which took him another 10 years to admit to.. I of course was never made aware of any problems… so ewww grossed out by all of them.. I am working on me and why I have allowed so many energy leaches into my life.

  • I have posted before here how i would not accept that shit. I knew he had been happy. I knew it was bullshit and finally he admitted it to me. He said he had been happy but realized really he was unhappy. Its all such bullshit people. Dont internalize it. Oh and hes unhappy now. Of fucking course he is. Tell these bastards to go to hell. Dont buy into their bullshit for one second!

    • I always thought after this happened to me, that it might be fun to just agree to it, when they say it. “ I’m not happy”

      Then sit down and say “you got 30 minutes to tell me what’s going on with you because I won’t listen after that”

      Then you wouldn’t have got trickle truth, for the next in my case, six months

      Fucking torture

      • That’s such a great idea! I still haven’t got the whole admitted truth my gathered evidence shows.

        My STBXW’s reasons for being unhappy are so damned funny:

        – I’m not “Alpha”.
        – I never organise things for us to do.
        – I’m bitter and grumpy (her cheating on me for over 6 months doesn’t have anything to do with that, of course)
        – I never take her out for coffees (really – this was her main reason!)

        If I wasn’t having palpatations on the ground the time she rattled these off at me – before she went to make microwave popcorn and went back to watching Netflix like nothing had happened – I might have laughed.

        I have actual crappy love poetry written by her to me from a couple of weeks before the affair began. Admittedly she says “best friend/like you a lot” in it, and not “love” (should have noticed that earlier), but also mentioned how happy I made her.

        It’s seriously messed up.

  • Words of advice taken from this thread:
    Chumps, prepare yeaself.

    Rewriting is a powerful tool cheaters use to justify and garner control from a chump. If you just had bomb drop, and have not heard this line yet, expect that you probably will.

    Mental/emotional chump insurance to help insulate your sanity.

  • Thanks CL and everyone, wow, this website is great! I am a widow. My husband, father of my children, was a very good man, and passed from cancer, after a long, brave fight with his illness. He died fourteen years ago. A few months after he died, I met a younger man, C. C was so good to me and my children, at first, then broke it off after a year, and moved to another city. OK, one year after he broke it off, C started visiting us again, and restarted the relationship. This went on for ten more years. He popped in and out of our lives, when he felt like it. The kids grew up, moved out, and were attached to him. About 2 years ago, he broke it off again. But this time, he was really mean about it. He told me I had changed, asked “what happened to you?”, said I never appreciated him and everything he did for us, that he would never marry me, and had “no romantic feelings for (me)”. He said he “could not handle (my) moods and emotions.” He complained I had never visited him in his town. Oh, yes, his own mother was a widow, and he told me he had moved back to his hometown to be near her. But he never invited me there, or made me think I would be welcome, in his hometown; the children and I were, I think, a secret from his mother, and whomever else. So chump me, I finally went to his hometown, and his mother was supposed to come to dinner with us, and she blew me off, or he didn’t tell her, because she just didn’t show up, after I had traveled all that way to his hometown. He refused to apologize for his mother, maybe she didn’t know; blamed me for making a big deal out of it. Yeah, I still loved him and wanted to work it out. But he dumped me. His birthday is coming, it will be the first year in over 10 years, I’ll do nothing for it. I almost had a complete breakdown, and fortunately for therapy, and the love of my children, family and friends, I soldier on. You are right CL, I am working to get to that “meh” moment, see him for what he is, still single, as far as I know, and in his late 40s, having lost a precious relationship with people he loved, who loved him, (me and my children). I feel so guilty about putting my children in this mess, but they are adults now, and are letting him fade out of their lives, though they are nice to him when he visits them, where they now live. He is still living near his mother (she is now about 80 years old). Yes, his mother was the OW, no one will ever be be good enough for her precious son, and there may be others, he works around mostly younger women

    • Wow Jedknight – how horrible it must be to have gone through all that over the years. 🙁 It is something I simply can’t understand: why not be open, honest, and dare I say it, proud of your relationship? Why do these people think that they can be dishonest, sneak around behind our backs and that there will be no consequences? My STBXW seems to have thought that after having an affair which continued a good 6 months (potentially ongoing) after I confronted her 18 months ago, that I would stay married to her, as a “flatmate babysitter”, with no emotional or physical intimacy from her at all. That somehow that was a reasonable decision to make whilst she continued to sneak around to fulfil her lustful needs or whatever the heck it was going on, after me remaining for 13.5 years in a dead bedroom marriage (not from my end, might i add).

      These cheaters are just crazy!

      I am so glad that you have the support of your kids and family, as well as friends. My kids are only 5 and 3, and are my world, and I now only get to see them 4 days per week for the rest of their youth due to my STBXW’s infidelity. 13.5 years of marriage and supporting her through some tough shit that she conveniently refers to as only 12 (when the affair started) when she has discussed our issues with friends.

      I wish you and your family all the very best! 🙂

      • Thank you Sydneychump; it is hard to see our kids, who are innocent, not have the happy childhood we dreamed of for them, because of things beyond our control, like death, or a partner’s selfishness. Kids figure it out as they get older. My mother dumped my father, a loyal, hardworking husband, not because there was any adultery, but because she claimed he “abused” her. Yeah, they fought, like any other couple sometimes does, but I never saw any “abuse”. It was her BS and both her kids, me included, saw through it, and had very low expectations of her. The key is your children’s expectations, if they are low, the children don’t get hurt. While my dad never criticized my mother to us, he was always transparent about how she had treated him (we saw it ourselves) and definitely made sure we have very low expectations of her! My advice is don’t criticize your ex- to your kids, but don’t tell your kids pretty lies about her either. Stick to the truth about her, as appropriate to their ages, let them see it themselves, and by the time they are adults, make sure they know ALL the facts, including the adultery. PS: if you have a daughter, heck even a boy, be very vigilant and protect them from your XW’s bfs and future husbands; there are plenty of abusers and molesters, who go after women with young children, sadly, I have seen it again and again, and these same women, and their partners, when confronted, will go into denial about the children being abused. I have a daughter, and when she was young, I never left her alone with any grown man, but my husband, even C, which made him furious. The therapist criticized me for leaving my boys alone with C! Nothing ever happened, but if it had, I could never forgive myself