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Living with Uncertainty After Infidelity

I remember once upon a time when my life was going to Hell, a friend wrote me a cheer up email and ended it with a quote from Bob Dylan — “I embrace the chaos.”

I laughed. When you’re in a free fall, you’re going to go splat on the pavement whether you “embrace” it or not. Really, when life is shit, it feels more like chaos is trying to embrace YOU than the other way around. But I loved the quote. The lunacy and the hubris of it — Hey Chaos! I not only accept you — I EMBRACE you! Bring it on!

There is a real peace that comes from understanding that you can’t control everything. As we say a lot here at Chump Lady — you only get to control you. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t even very good at that.

I’m a big believer in acceptance. Manage what you can, let go of the rest, and the wisdom to know the difference. So, I get rather puzzled when people criticize this site for being “black and white” or intolerant of “uncertainty.

Sure, I believe there are some moral absolutes, I’ll cop to that. But I’m neither tolerant or intolerant of uncertainty. You may as well say I’m intolerant of gravity. Chaos is a force of nature. To live is to be uncertain — unless you’re that Long Island psychic.

Chaos has an element of creativity as well (which is probably what Dylan meant). From the mess comes reinvention, recreation. I believe my life is a testament to that.

So to make living with “uncertainty” some sort of virtue, and to speak of it in New Age terms (to be Zenner than thou?) strikes me as weird. No, it strikes me as spackle. I think the argument goes something like this:

My spouse cheated on me. I can’t know for certain if he will ever cheat on me again. So I accept that uncertainty. You angry, bitter folks over there — you think you have this figured out. That by leaving a cheater, you’re CERTAIN it will never happen again. You’re certain it’s wrong. You’re certain you know what to do if you’re cheated on. And you’re certain you can prevent it from happening again.

(To which, I wonder — hey, if we’re so certain about everything, why are we so “angry”? I mean, we control all outcomes, what is there to be pissed about?)

It seems nutty to me — I can’t be certain if he’ll cheat on me again, so I accept all uncertainty.

I’ve discussed these mental gymnastics before — to reconcile you have to live with the knowledge that the person you’re intimate with has betrayed you. That’s the shit sandwich and there is no avoiding it. So you tell yourself, okay, well I can’t control everything. Any number of things might happen if I reconcile — life is uncertainty! Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty!

Let me tell you, Unicorns, there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty in divorce and single parenthood. We embrace the chaos over here.

The difference is we have a choice — not to live without uncertainty — but to live without a cheater. THAT cheater. The one who cheated on us — not some abstract cheater in our futures. Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

The point is, we have confidence in our self-knowledge — what we did that was chumpy, what was spackle, and what was bad luck. We have faith in ourselves. We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives. We understand chaos and we’re not looking to manufacture it or invite people into our lives who embrace the fuckupedness.

We have deal breakers. We refuse to live amorphously without them. (Maybe I have a boundary, maybe I don’t… it’s a work in progress… it’s “uncertain.”)

We understand that we don’t control everything or anyone. We only control ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fuckwit” and spinning the wheel. Yes, life is risk, but we manage risk. We weigh our investments. It’s okay to walk away from the casino. Sure, sometimes you pull the slots and hit Unicorns. But usually the house wins.

This column ran previously. I’ll be back with new columns June 4th! Still on the road.


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  • My MC made the comment that I couldn’t be sure my next partner wouldn’t cheat….

    Minimised and gaslighted by a MC, it took me a few weeks of “wtf” to “accept” that I was “certain” my fuckwit-ex had cheated, and that’s all that matters, not some uncertain theoretical future cheater….

    • Wow the MC said that to you? Incredible, obviously by saying that the MC thinks that cheating has become normal and that you should stay in the marriage and eat that sandwich and go with what you know.

      • I was told by a female therapist that I should stay in the marriage and make “public appearances” with him but just live my life. I translated that to just continue to be the doormat, let him do as he please as long as the marriage stays intact. Pastor told me the same thing. I never went back to church when I discovered he was also a cheater. It started with lipstick on cheaters shirt and ended with hicky and abuse. Police had to get involved. I’m 11 months cheater free and I love my life without all the chaos. What a feeling of PEACE!
        And I would do it all over again giving him all the chances that I did simply because I loved him dearly. Now he can just die cause I no longer care. Approaching MEH…

        • I too give two chances after two separate DDays. I thought for sure things could be fixed. I would work extra hard to be the best wife ever. Little did I know I was fighting alone while he continued eating cake. By the third DDay, I said to hell with this. I was fighting alone with a POS husband who cared only for himself. He left January 18th and went straight to her. We signed the divorce settlement May 1st. Broken for now.

          • Broken for now maybe – but only temporarily. It WILL get better I promise!

            • Hope so. I just want my two boys and I to be happy and find peace. No more hateful!!!

          • Sorry, Better Off. You deserve WAY better than the spouse, in name only, you had!

            • Thxs rockstarwife. It has been excruciatingly painful but for the best. He turned into an alien. He blame-shift, gaslight, you name it. Everthing was my fault. Still to this day. He is being very mean, starts fights over nothing, still trying to control me and every situation. Pure hell… I too will be better off one day I know as all of us will be.

          • @betteroff1day I’m so sorry. A lot has happened in such a short time! You are awesome! Now that your D is final you are absolutely on the road to “meh.” It’s a wonderous place and we can’t wait for you to join us. NC will speed your journey here. We’ll keep the light on????

            • Thxs MC99. I am definitely following NC as much as possible considering I have two kiddos. My ex not only broke my heart but started hanging with my best friend and her husband with his girlfriend. Never mind the fact that his best friend set him up because he was cheating with the aunt. Well, his BF chose his wife. My ex chose the niece and now my best friend decided its ok to replace me for the girlfriend knowing her husband was screwing her aunt at one time. My heart is double broken. They were parting together before I signed on May 1st. How sick and twisted is that?

              • I’ll bet your best friend (former I hope) wouldn’t dare throw down the gauntlet and say there is no way I’ll hang out with OW (former niece of her cheater’s OW) & cheater because she is afraid HER cheater hubby will go hang out with them on his own and possibly hook up with OW Auntie yet again. I’m not making excuses for her just pointing out how pathetic she is acting. In any case you are well rid of the lot of them. All the best to you and your children.

              • Wow! My sister and a few besties said almost the same thing. She is doing whatever she can to keep a thumb on him cause that’s gonna work. NO!! This isn’t his first time nor the last. I feel she will forever play whatever role he wants her to in the meantime ruining any friendship to do so. This hurt me deeply. Not only did my husband choose his girlfriend, my friend went along with it. WTH!!!

              • Isn’t it interesting how twisted the life of a cheater can be. Not that there’s a competition but I think when the other party (aka… skank) happens to be someone you know, a relative, friend, best friend it is a double, triple even, betrayal.

                As if you haven’t got enough to deal with!

                But sadly drama follows the life of a cheater and their choices often multiply the problem.. one thing though I learnt to expect the unexpected and nothing at all surprises me now (for life in general as well) and I now am in control of at least me, which I wasn’t before Dday.

              • disgusting pigs all of them!

                It is still heartbreaking though.

                Sending love and hugs your way!

            • I’m at 80% meh! I never thought I’d ever feel like this at the start of it all but to all fresh to this it does get ‘better’. Meh fast approaching and the chaos is truely embraced and hugged so tight that it can’t do me any damage anymore.

    • So many snarky replies come to mind for your MC but the bottom line is MC was preaching the formula for status quo. If I don’t try, I can never fail and if I don’t try I can never succeed.

    • I am certain that I will never live with a cheater. If a future partner cheats, they will no longer by my partner. That much I know. Deal breaker.

    • Getting rid of the bird that is actively pecking at your hand is worth the possibility of maybe someday getting pecked by the birds in the bush if you let them.

  • We’re certain that we don’t want cheaters in our life.
    It looks like the cheaters want to be back in our lives though.
    Now we can be certain about this too: the worst cheaters are actually those who want to come back blameless and with impunity while we spackle and drain our energy in their chaos once again.

    • Look at the politicians, who thought they could cheat with impunity. It looks like karma is saying: “You’re out! Hit the road Jack! And don’t ya come back no more!”

  • You can choose how to behave yourself, but you cant make other people make acceptable choices. The cheaters in their arrogance probably blamed you or thought you wouldn’t find out. They choose other people other you, it hurts, they didn’t have to make those choices but they did.

  • I used to love this:
    “Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos to the fly.”

    Now I just remind myself that the spiders we see are single females. Getting the job done. Build home. Get food. Have babies. Who needs their deadbeat dad? Be the spider.

    • Susan
      True. My cruel ex tormented me along with the owhore
      But Karma stepped in.. she died months ago & he quickly found another to live with.

      35 years married & destroyed my life. I’m slowly getting to meh.????

      ❤️ To U

        • We knew their false self, not their real self. It was an illusion.
          Never never never again!

          • I feel like I am forever changed by what my cheating ex-husband did to me and for that alone I will hold onto some hate for him. If you can’t trust the person who you swore your life to, then who can you trust? Cheating is soul rape.

  • I don’t know how this, if this goes along with today’s post but I had a moment of clarity as I read this post and the part about :
    “Chaos has an element of creativity as well (which is probably what Dylan meant). From the mess comes reinvention, recreation. I believe my life is a testament to that.”

    I have a friend that I talk to once every few months as she lives about 6 hours away. I have confided in her and she has put her few master’s level courses in counseling to good use with me. One of the things she has said to me many times over the last 2 years is “Aren’t you sort of excited. You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself.” I am always left sort of confused and thinking when she says this. I truly think she is well intended and trying to guide me to a path of a brighter future but it hasn’t left me feeling that way. Today’s post finally made me think, I never wanted to reinvent myself because I thought I knew who I was. I thought I was a fine as a wife and a mom homeschooling and filling my role in the family. Why would I need to reinvent myself? It is the fuckwit who needs to reinvent himself because he was not who I thought he was.

    But, as CL points out, I can’t control that so I must be the one to change. I don’t think I need change in terms of my values and expectations of others, but I need change how I present myself and deal with others. I don’t think that constitutes a reinvention but rather an enhancement. So I will take the road of not being offended that she says I should reinvent and thinking she means I am flawed but rather think she means I can become a better version of who I am .

    • Well said. I AM angry at the fact that I am forced to “reinvent” myself because of his actions. I did think that I was fine as a wife, mother and intelligent woman. But, the best take away from all of this trauma is my newfound determination to never allow such emotional abuse to occur again. My actual horoscope today says “Nevertheless, you must stand strong or you could lose the progress you’ve already gained. Author Laurie Buchanan wrote, “A boundary is effective only if it’s maintained.”

      I will now insist on boundaries! I will control how I allow myself to be treated.

    • I think it’s a matter of being anything you want to be. It could be classed as reinventing, or even a returning to what you were prior to X. Regardless, it’s change and that can be exciting as it’s your creative expression. Even if it’s a few steps forward and a few steps back. It’s yours to explore. I have to admit, pain aside, the journey has been nothing but amazing.

      • I agree, Arlo. I felt like I was let out of prison and the possibilities open to me went from nil to endless. I could live my life as I want. The shackles fell away. I finally was the owner of my own life. My mistakes were mine, my triumphs were mine. No fuckwit around to chain me around the neck. I was free to be me! It is glorious.

        • Agreed Tessie I told the snake don’t ever come crawling back for any reason

    • Feelingit,

      I don’t feel that yet, but maybe I will on Tuesday (or before?). Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts here.

    • 3 years ago, Cheater took one of my best friends (that also happens to be his coworker) to a mentor lunch.

      At that lunch he told her “got-a-brain doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.” Part of my “reinvention” is being okay with being mean. Some should say that’s a negative reinvention, but I disagree. My worth is something that deserves a little defense now and then. Turning the other cheek just doesn’t always get the job done.

      I had to let go of striving to a societal expectation that “women should be nice.”

      Reinvention is painful, ugly and long. Trust that you are worth all of that!

      • My neighbors lament that “I used to be so NICE.” No, I was a doormat, and I’m not anymore.

      • I used to want to be seen as nice, but I realized it meant I had no boundaries.

        • I’m so over being “nice”, “helpful” whatever… Experience has taught that people use that to their advantage and it was draining.

          • In my experience, the only people who label me as “nice” either don’t know me that well and have nothing else to say or else they’re taking advantage of me (using the label to subtly pressure me into remaining in a lopsided taker relationship with them). While I think lots of people value kindness, thoughtfulness, etc., the average person doesn’t call this “niceness” because they, too, believe in reciprocity, see these traits as basic human values they embody themselves, and therefore don’t find someone’s “niceness” as noteworthy or particularly defining. And only abusers/cheaters label a lack of boundaries as “niceness”.

            • My mom’s cheater, who speaks with a tone much like that of Mr. Rogers, told me my mom was ‘a gentle spirit’ when I confronted him about cheating on her. No, you mean she is easy to push around and manipulate for your sordid reasons. I saw that comment exactly for what it was. Still makes me ill, especially since my mom hasn’t left him. I pray she does. She’s a CL reader now, but every time I ask her if she saw the most recent article which totally applies to her situation, she says yes that she read it but it was just ‘too painful’ to keep reading. The spackle is thick and the marriage has been 25 years long. She’s 70 and can’t fathom ‘reinventing’ anything. It’s all a loss in her eyes. I struggle with convincing her there’s a better life possible after divorce, because she would be left with almost nothing and couldn’t even afford to live off her retirement. For outing him, I have been banned from her house. The whole thing is a nightmare.

      • After dday, ex told me: “I’m glad I taught you not to be such a pushover, I just wish it didn’t have to be in such a harsh way”. I still don’t know what to think about that one

        • It’s just a cheater taking credit for the good changes you have made for yourself. They take credit for everything good and blame us for everything bad no matter who it happens to. Plus they also got a little dig in there too. All cheater n narcissist 101.

          • Those of you have read many of my posts know that I often present as a sullen, lethargic, hopeless, depressed chump. In one of the rare moments I wasn’t in the last nine months, my ex-husband and I got together to talk about a joint asset, a college savings account for the kids I started over a decade ago. I was pleased that the value of the portfolio had risen as much as it had. Although my ex-husband tells me that I have no self-esteem and no self-love, when I humbly expressed any happiness and satisfaction and gratitude over having financially chosen well (partly out of careful research and partly out of sheer good luck) for our kids, who couldn’t stand it. He had to bash me for purportedly criticizing him for his investment ‘style’ (gambling? not reading, not even considering what your wife, who has an advanced degree in finance and works in the field suggests as an approach to investing) while we were married. (I didn’t bash him–just as I didn’t commit crimes as he told the Court I had.)

            • rockstarwife-to him, “yeah, your investment prowess is not quite as good as your cheating skills”. When it looks like a jerk, mouth spews like a jerk, behaves like a jerk, it is a jerk. The best revenge is living well-make yourself a fortune and never help him one iota-and maybe he will live to be broke and broken. And I hope you get to meh ASAP, and that, for me, is where, you feel nothing for him-not pain, not anger, not love, just nada. But me obviously not there yet, or I wouldn’t be reading every written morsel on CL.

    • Feelingit,
      I think I get the ” aern’t you sort of excited” as a result of getting away from fuckwit physically, not having him in your presence and all that was a package deal with him, the verbal abuse in that nothing was ever good enough for him, he needed more toys, stuff, things, Etc.(I understand the nothingness you can feel with that).
      As for ” You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself” I don’t see that as that YOU have to change yourself, heck, you are one fine woman, you home schooled five children, you were, you remain, you always will be, the present, sane, loving parent in all the years ahead with your children no matter where life takes them. YOU will always be HOME to them.
      I see it more that with fickwit gone there is chance, there is hope, that you will be able to rejoice, and celebrate, in the character that you are, and that you have always been. I see no need for you to change.
      I do see that you need to accept the fact that YOU are a good, decent, moral person, with strength and integrity all wrapped up into one human heart, your’s.
      What fuckwit has always done with you and the children, putting you down, putting you in his step over pile, well that is on him. You were never at fault, nor, most certainly, were, the innocent children.
      I know that with children, you will always have to deal with him and you are doing that the best way possible with as little contact as possible.
      I see more strength in each of your posts.
      The children’s strength, their sense of humour shines thru also.
      Together you got this, you and the children, true family.
      I am pulling for you all the way.


    • This really resonates with me, FeelingIt. For me it’s not simply change or a dramatic reinvention; it’s about me growing into a stronger, more compassionate, more empathetic, wiser human.

      I read somewhere in my internet-fueled search for answers, it’s usually the person who is betrayed who grows. The cheater creates the chaos, but moves forward into their new relationships with the same failed strategies, the same lack of self-awareness, the saee thought and behavior patterns. The betrayed spouse examines all the patterns, reflects at length, searches for new strategies and grows.

      This seemed like a truth to me. Especially when the cheater goes straight from the marriage to a full-time relationship with the OW/OM. I’m 2 years out from KAOS (Kicked his Ass Out on the Street) Day and even though I work so hard on rebuilding my life, I’m still sad, lonely, bored, scared, failing in my career, etc.

      But dammit, I WILL grow from this.

      • Chumplanta, I agree with you 1000%.

        My ex narcopath has been in two relationships since our final Dday and their pattern and timeline match the relationshit I had with him are identical. It’s like he’s trying to relicate our relationshit but with different substitute women. The newest supply could be my twin sister in looks, and even drives the same make and model as my old car. I used to go to high school with her. We go to the same waxer. She lives 2 blocks away from me. Has 2 children. Works in healthcare. The list could on. Our similarities are identical.
        It is eerie and creepy to observe and now I am turning away from it and towards meh on the horizon.

        I have done and am doing the work. Feeling the grief and anger and anguish. Sitting with it. Reading about it. Having friends and family support me through it. Therapy.

        I am having a lot of coworkers suggest that I think about dating again. They believe I have a lot to offer someone and have a kind heart and that I should keep looking for love.

        I went on the date-the-hell one month ago and realized that I am exhausted by the thought of dating. When people ask me if I’ve met someone, I say “I sure have, I’m dating me and I’m amazing!”

        I’m 10 months from dday. I’m still a work in progress. A new relationship right now wouldn’t help me. I am enjoying me and learning what I like and am setting boundaries in my life. I am finally smiling again and starting new hobbies.

        I can finally look at this most horrible time in my life and ask: what lessons have I learned and how can I grow?

        Does cheater ex ask these questions? Nope. He just tries to replace me and I get the last laugh because guess What? I am uniquely me and he will never have me again.

        I will come out of this a better, changed person.

        • RELATIONSHIT! I love this! Don’t recall seeing it used before. I am an academic and a Scrabble player, and I genuinely enjoy words the way engineers like to do math. Thanks for the smile, Chumpincanada. Hang in there. Maybe you will date, maybe you won’t. You have YOUR life back, and that’s what matters.

        • ChumpinCanada,
          I love what you said about, ‘I’m dating me, and I’m amazing!’ I’ll have what you’re having!

        • Yes! Sometimes I feel like the kid in Home Alone when he says “I made my family disappear!” Except for me it’s ” I made my asshole disappear!” And then I proceed to enjoy my life which may or may not involve eating ice cream for supper….

      • Chumplanta. I’m 8yrs out from DDay. Most things now sorted even my ability to manage the loneliness that creeps in when alone, especially at night.But the rewards of being free to be me outweigh the passing issues. At least my loneliness is real. Loneliness in a marriage sucks.

    • I think she meant that you can reinvent your life more than who you are. You have the opportunity to follow your dreams, or just generally do what you want without having to please someone else. Anything you put on the back burner to please him can now be accomplished. You could even choose a new partner if you feel like it although you may prefer not to. The possibilities are endless. You have freedom that you didn’t have before. You are no longer defined as fuckwit’s wife, you are your own person now an define yourself in any way you wish that fits with your core values.

    • Feelingit, I’m about four years out from dday, and I felt forced to reinvent too and didn’t want it. But I framed it as re-inventing my life, not reinventing myself. I liked myself really well, so I didn’t feel a need to change too much (except to take on a no-a-hole policy). But my life no longer existed as I knew it, so I just considered it my Life Part II. And, looking back, as I rebuilt my life, discovered a new hobby that has taken a prominent role and changed my path, etc., I have also changed myself too. But that’s just the way we change when faced with new things; we’re always changing when we encounter new people, new ideas, new activities, etc. But my goal was certainly not to change or reinvent myself! I just wanted to rebuild and one day be happy again. And, turns out, what my ex did, surviving that, and then building a new life changed me. But I’m still me and who I was before wasn’t bad. Maybe when your friend asks if you are excited to reinvent yourself, you could translate it to reinventing your life. And maybe you could even talk with your friend and say that you’ve been thinking about her idea and that you have a way that it works for you (if you feel it does, of course!) and then say you prefer to think of it as building your life. Maybe she would adapt her way of encouraging you once she knew that it wasn’t working for you?

      (Also her comment might say more about her than it does about you. Maybe she’s feeling a bit bored in a too-settled life or something?)

      And I also like your thinking of enhancing yourself in the ways you know you do want to change. I knew I did not want to deal with people who couldn’t handle adult tasks and who worked to erode my confidence in myself, etc., but I didn’t want a complete “makeover” in personality, so “enhancements” is a great way to think of it!

    • Feelingit:

      Just looking in from the outside, I understand where your friend is coming from! Although I don’t know her, I’m confident that she never meant to imply that you’re in some way “flawed” and that’s why you need to reinvent yourself… that somehow, you weren’t “good enough” just like you were and that you could “do better”. Rather, I believe she was observing that you now have a golden opportunity to push the Reset Button and get a fresh start.

      Every single time we go through a change in life -matriculating from high school to college, moving to a new city, switching jobs, going to a different church, leaving a relationship – we have the chance to push the Golden Buzzer… to become someone new, to change our behavior, to adjust our social habits, to make a fresh impression, to put a new skip in our step, to learn new skills… to reinvent ourselves! It’s kind of like stepping outside your front door after a thunderstorm and smelling that fresh clean air. Who isn’t tempted to take a deep breath in and savor that purity?

      Personally, I’ve never taken the phrase “It’s time to reinvent yourself“ as anything other than a supremely positive opportunity to switch things up as I see fit! To wipe the slate clean when and how I decide! I’ve been in this position many times in my 63 years; it always excites me and in the end, I am always grateful for the reboot, whether I chose it or someone else chose it for me.

      I do hope you’re able to reframe your friend’s sincere wish for you, as “reinvention” can bring refreshment, redemption and recalibration to those needing it.

      • I recently read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”. The best time in ones life to change a habit is when there is a major change in your life–new job, new home, divorce, etc. During these time periods, when we are in the midst of changing routines, is when the brain is most open to forming a new habit.

        With that in mind, when we rid ourselves of the cheater we have the rare opportunity to maybe change something about ourselves for the better. Maybe we wished we worked out more, ate healthier, took better care of ourselves…whatever it is, now is the time to make that change.

      • Here’s how I think about ‘reinvention,’ which I HAD to do when my husband filed for divorce and took me, unemployed middle-aged mother of young kids at the time, to court to take the kids from me, all in the same day: my ‘reinvention’ is uncovering the great things in me that have lain dormant in me for decades, perhaps my whole life. These great traits and skills, like some plant seeds, were just waiting for the best time, the most needed time, to emerge.

    • Mine said something similar but in a less personal way. “Aren’t you curious about what the future now holds for you? Aren’t you excited that you get to reshape it?”

      I wasn’t thrilled about not having the future I had already “shaped” but I realized it really wasn’t what I wanted anyway. Yes, I did want to be wife and mother and have a close knit family but my idea was to have a husband that wanted that too. So I didn’t have what I actually wanted, just the outward appearance of it. And eventually, after I accepted I was getting divorced, I did get curious about what was next and how I was going to influence what I could. I went for a long walk one day and thought about different possibilities that felt attractive with the kids I already had. It was empowering to know what I wanted.

      In the end, I wanted what I had originally chosen. And then I went out and found it – new career, new man, new not so traditional family, but a family none the same.

    • @FeelingIt I sure do love your posts!

      I never wanted these drastic changes either. I loved my X and our family and our lives. Even after Ddays I begged him to stop the destruction of all that was good and sacred to me (our kids’ sense of security and well being paramount among what was worth fighting to preserve). Ok then, nothing to work with, trust he sucks, focus instead on rebuilding out of the ashes. What choices do we have? I choose life and love and goodness. X has no place in that trinity. His loss.

      • Yes, MotherChumper, building form the ashes is a useful image. Young plants, and trees, and eventually a whole forest abuzz with colorful flora and fauna grow from the scorched earth that once held an ancient forest. The new forest will very likely look different, but it may still be beautiful and life-sustaining.

    • Feeling it, I would rather your friend would ask you, ‘ARE you excited etc.’ rather than ‘Aren’t you excited?’. Sounds like there is pressure to be excited…maybe you are not there yet..or ever? Just my humble opinion, to take or leave.

      • I like this! I would add that in addition to highlighting the opportunities of the new future, it’s equally important (if not more so) to acknowledge the grief from the dashing of planned dreams and the future together you had imagined. I feel our (U.S.) society puts far too much pressure on making the best out of everything and putting a positive spin on it, at the expense of supporting people in processing very valid and necessary negative emotions.

        • Agreed!

          I like the idea of ying and yang, the idea that we can feel opposing emotions, happy and sad, unafraid and scared, hopeful and despairing, at the same time. We are a combination of things, even opposing things, and that ‘opposition’ deserves to be acknowledged and honored.

    • I’m a homeschooling mom chump too. I have looked at this phase not so much as reinvention, but uncovering and rediscovering more of who I am without the oppressive, soul sucking pain of the marriage. Much, much more energy is freed up as I heal so I can remember who I am at the core. I am practicing relaxing into not knowing exactly how my life will turn out. We can never know anyway. I just couldn’t stand any more of the marriage so the creative unknown is preferable. I’m nearly three years divorced. It has taken time.

  • There’s always the assumption Chumps want to partner up. That too is a choice. And unless we fix our pickers the odds are we will attract yet another cheater.

    Being single has its benefits and there’s nothing wrong with embracing those as peace is better than chaos.

    Cheaters need centrality. I’m amazed at how small my needs became from the start. Doingme has many more benefits. Chose yourself instead of the crap shoot. The payoff is gaining a life.

    Insecurity will be replaced with strength over time. The devil you know, IS the devil.

  • This post brings to my mind a line from the movie The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

    The chaos and uncertainty that ensued after I learned what was really going on behind my back but right under my nose opened my eyes enough to see that not only does the devil exist, but that he was sleeping in my bed right next to me.

    • They are evil. No doubt about it. The coldness, the cruelty – it’s not human. I love that movie, the Usual Suspects! Yep, the devil was sleeping right next to me – while I was checking the locks to make sure evil couldn’t get in our house at night – the evil was right next to me!

      • Yep.

        Pure evil.

        You said it… the coldness, the cruelty – it’s not human.

        No way, no how.

        • Add to that the blank shark eyes….. and you have described X.

          • I still have flashbacks of those blank shark eyes. The contempt they have for you is frightening. I honestly felt I was in a horror movie. I would feel those eyes burning a hole in me from behind, would turn around and immediately turn away and think and I have to do is ignore him and he will go away.

            • I remember the look on my estranged husband’s face, the face of the father of my children and the abusive, adulterous man who insisted on trying to permanently take our children from me the day he filed for divorce and the weekend he had the cops search me in our home, as he pretended (?) he was trying to run over me with his car in the parking lot between our apartments because I had the audacity to ask him (in a congenial way) where he was taking our kids for a birthday party. Yeah, the shark eyes. Now, a few years and much bizarre drama later, this human being wants me to let him move into my little home…Um, judges, without being asked, create restraining orders for a reason.

          • Mother Chumper99

            Yes, the cold black eyes. Night I confronted the two of them I said to him in front of the owhore.. “did you tell her we just got back from vacationing in Niagra Falls” ( I was trying to let the whore know that we were still
            together as a married desperate)

            He looked at me with cold shark eyes & said
            ( I didn’t go with you- you must’ve gone with someone else”) then smirked.

            Still makes me feel the ice cold in my body ????


      YOUR post just describes my life x10 , as the evil would show its self ,oozing off the filth and evil of his behavior , i could not believe my eyes or my mind , those are the words i used to “spackle” , ‘i don’t believe it ,no one could do that’ . oh yes they can and do …..

  • I’m astounded by anyone who basically says someone “should” or worse, “must” stay married to a KNOWN cheater. To NOT take the risk of being solo because you must forgive & continue to fuck & be mind-fucked by someone who has already lied & cheated. How ARROGANT. Why “should” a chump stick with a cheater? A chump may choose to do so, but it’s not mandatory. Screw that noise. I think a lot of counselors should lose their licenses for advising anyone that they “should” give a cheater another chance.

    A nice big sampler for chumps. Or maybe on a calendar!

    “The difference is we have a choice — not to live without uncertainty — but to live without a cheater. THAT cheater. The one who cheated on us — not some abstract cheater in our futures. Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.”

  • The only “certainty” in my life before was the constant, constant chaos created by him! I could never believe that one person could be responsible for so much chaos but really it was just his bad choices. His choice to drink and drive, his choice to cheat, his choice to spend more than we had coming in, his choice to lash out with his fists and give full rein to his temper. I suppose another word for “choice” here could be his “sense of entitlement” to do all those things. And I don’t mind reinventing myself at all. Or rather I can call it just moving forward and having a better life, because that’s what it is. I don’t “do” chaos any more but I do (and will always do) boundaries from now on in. They can take their chaos and the karma that will presumably follow!

  • “…going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fuckwit” and spinning the wheel…”

    LMFAO 😀

    Not anymore…!

    Almost 3 years out, not including the 1.5 of separation. Yes, at first, I felt like a part of me had been torn out through my chest. But that was then.

    Sunny 2.0 has a peaceful, joyful, fun-filled life. Do I know what the future has in store for me? Yes, and no. No, who knows what comes next? But yes… my future includes all my healthy, non-Switzerland, non-cheater, non-toxic family & friends… and NO CHEATER EX.

    You’re the architect of your life. The choice is up to you. I choose peace, love, joy, and serenity. And a little bit of adventure. 😀

    • Sunny.

      Hahaha… I chose lots of adventure. Makes me so happy. ????

  • I wish it was just an affair. I wish i didn’t see pure undiluted evil in him.
    I can’t live with the uncertainty of whatever it is that he has become.
    I am thankful for seeing that horrible monster though.
    Anything else and i might have been willing to gamble on uncertainty.
    I’m certain he is evil though. I don’t even know how i would begin to be “ok” with that. He is a terrifying black hole of uncertainty.

    • Leave alyingloser

      I am wondering if your journey is fairly fresh? I had that same thought re: evil X for the first few years. I just couldn’t understand his behaviour as it was contrary to all that he would say about himself. Things like: “I’m a fine upstanding citizen” & of course others didn’t stack up when compared to him…. bullshit, bullshit. Bullshit that at the time I believed. As time passed I see him now as less evil & more pathetic but that’s my X.

      • Well, I am many years out and I think “evil” is still a fair assessment of my exes.

        • Oh Tessie, you stand as a beacon. Thank you for those gentle words that relay such a powerful truth.

  • Someone who is now on my stbx’s “witness list” said to me “Well what if whoever you end up with does the same thing? There’s no guarantee it won’t happen again.” That’s right, but there is a guarantee I will not put up with it.

    I do not have to explain my deal breakers to anyone. Choosing to leave isn’t a fear based decision, based on “what if it happens again?”

    Choosing to leave is a worth based decision, “I deserve better than lying, deception, insinuating my intuitions are crazy” …. “I’m not cheating, you are just insecure!” Uh, no! Your rubbing your genitals on someone else isn’t a figment of an insecure imagination. Yet another way to twist fact and feeling. Did my feelings make me feel it was a fact, or was it the other way around? Maybe it really didn’t happen and I’m making it all up in my mind. Those profiles on hook-up sites, probably just a result of my insecurities, right ? I guess the order could be uncertain. My insecurities came first and that drove a cheater to create that profile. Stop untangling the skein!

    Those who spackle rationalize, “there are no certains in life, might as well accept that and stay with a cheater.” How is accepting the uncertainty of a cheater a better choice than accepting the uncertainty of moving on?” Sounds a little judgement based to me.

    Listen, I’m not judging anyone who wants to stay with a cheater, though I do feel sorry for them. I did the pick me dance with a side of spackle, so I’m not one to judge.

    The interesting thing about this blog is, breaking the standard protocol of the RIC (silence, spackle, shit sandwich… wash/ rinse/ repeat) has shown that hopium doesn’t work. Generally (not always) cheaters are repeaters. If the experience of the thousands of chumps isn’t scientific enough for you, there’s UPDATED research to support that statement.

    Listen, we used to “bleed the sickness out” of sick people, because it “sometimes” worked on some patients, but the effect was temporary. As the underlying issues returned, that same patient that was miraculously “saved” often died.

    Bloodletting (or blood-letting) is the withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent or cure illness and disease. Bloodletting was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as “humours” that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. It is claimed to have been the most common medical practice performed by surgeons from antiquity until the late 19th century, a span of almost 2,000 years.[1] In Europe the practice continued to be relatively common until the end of the 18th century.[2] The practice has now been abandoned by modern style medicine for all except a few very specific conditions.[3] It is conceivable that historically, in the absence of other treatments for hypertension, bloodletting sometimes had a beneficial effect in temporarily reducing blood pressure by reducing blood volume.[4] However, since hypertension is very often asymptomatic and thus undiagnosable without modern methods, this effect was unintentional. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the historical use of bloodletting was harmful to patients.[5]

    How much long term data do we actually have about “saved” marriages? The RIC is temporarily bloodletting; there’s no follow up after the patient walks out the door. They check a box on a piece of paper at discharge ✔️ “Saved” and call hopium a strategy.

    Sorry, I prefer something more than Medieval medicine to base my life upon.

    Keep changing the narrative chumps!

    • Got-a-brain, I think your thoughts above, are fantastic.

      I gave my ex narcopath 5 chances.
      5 Ddays.
      I learn the hard way.

      After the 5th and final Dday, I was full-on detective mode and found all the evidence he squirrled away for months of his infidelity. His excuse was always: it happened during a breakup therefore it doesn’t count. My response was always: he cried and begged and pleaded to take him back, during these breakups, because he just loooooved me sooooo much and meanwhile he quietly screwed around. If he loved me then he wouldn’t be able to touch another woman without feeling sick and like he was betraying me. Queue his word salad and blameshifting, etc.

      I’m glad I got off the RIC carousel.

      In my case I have watched him perform the same sickening behaviours with his last supply. He even cheated on her with the same woman he cheated on me with, during their breakup, too. In talking with his ex wife, I have no doubt that this is a life-long pattern for him.

      When I think about it (i try not to except to write this here), it makes me sad to think that I could still be there, stuck with him and his abusive cheating ways. If he had his way, I would be. That’s no way to live.

      I was speaking with a friend this morning, a fellow chump, and said to her “a taste of freedom from an oppressor is a delish and leaves you wanting more…”

      • I’m with Chumpedincanada–fantastic thoughts!

        You definitely get to control what you put up with. And you also can learn red flag behavior and how not to spackle, etc. And decent, mature human beings take responsibility for themselves and don’t cheat, period–so if you do choose to partner up again and are careful and take it slow and confirm you chose well, the relationship may not go how you want it to, but at least you won’t be living with the manufactured chaos of a cheater.

        One big shock for me was learning that only 10% of abusers change, and even then only if they receive consistent pressure to do so from the whole support system around them (and it’s a looong, gradual, bumpy, far-from-guaranteed road). That truth was an incredibly hard pill to swallow, but liberating to know. Sadly, some people just choose to be shitty. I can’t change that. But I *can* choose not to take responsibility for anyone else’s shit.

    • “I do not have to explain my deal breakers to anyone.” This is one of the most fundamental and critical things that chumps have to learn to heal and recover. If you feel the need to explain yourself (like I did most of my life), it’s because you need external approval and validation because you have learned that your own thoughts, feelings, needs, and core self are not legitimate. Get a great therapist and do the work to help yourself — not so you can date again (although you can if you want to), not so you can please your mother/sister/friend/children, but because you deserve to be healthy and enjoy your days on this earth.

  • I’m 18 months into reconciliation and I my mind is in a constant state of anxiety. Will that ever end? I keep replaying the horror of the 12 months of in your face infidelity I experienced. In my quest for the truth I made a fake profile of a hunky fitness dude on myfitnesspal where my cheater was meeting her men and friended my wife and within 24hrs she was sexting with my fake hunky fitness dude. She doesn’t know I did that, but her infidelity drove me to do something like that. I can’t shake how quickly and ready she was to do that with the fake avatar. Not only that I put a nanny cam in our bedroom to catch her taking nudes while I was with our son and soccer practice but what I got was her having live Skype sex, again she doesn’t know about that either. Staying with a cheater is hard, really hard, getting over it is hard, really hard, I feel like I’m in a constant state of anxiety.

    • TX Dude,

      First, I’m sorry. Keep reading here.

      Second, I understand your “need to know” but I caution you to not do anything that would end up putting you in legal trouble. I don’t know the laws of your state, but I think a nanny cam in a bedroom is a violation of privacy law. This is part of the chump shit sandwich. Our legal system doesn’t give 2 shits about morality, they do however take laws very seriously! I guarantee if you disclose this information in a divorce proceeding it will be used against you! Please DO NOT DISCLOSE HOW YOU FOUND THIS OUT to your cheater. And remove the nanny cam. Check the laws in your state first, but relocating it to shared living space without an expectation of privacy should be legal.

    • TaxDude,

      Yes the anxiety will fade as you gradually begin to understand and accept the nature of what it is that you are dealing with. The “wife” you married is a construct not an actual person. She presented enough for you to believe in this facade, and you projected the rest from within your own decency and belief in human behavior. In truth, someone this driven to random sexual acting out is likely personality disordered. That disorder is the true self of your wife. It has nothing to do with you (even though it has exploded your life). It is who she has been her entire life.

      You are still you. Everything you have given is and was entirely real and valuable. But like masterful works of art hung in what you thought was a museum of fine art (your relationship, where she too honored, valued and contributed) was for her a rusty self-storage unit next to a strip club casino which better suits her capacity for meaning and value. She literally has no mental ability to value things that don’t titilate. But she has lived a lifetime socialized for and honing the necessary skills for appearing as though she does.

      It’s hard to accept that this condition of camouflaged human developmental defect actually exists and that this is essentially all she really is, but it’s true. Read here and elsewhere and the characteristics are only different in degree not so much in fundamental type.

      I am so sorry for you having to join this brotherhood and sisterhood of wisdom about the FULL nature of human condition. While you are now saddled with this knowledge, you are still the same fully developed, truly human, decent, honorable and giving person you always have been.

      The anxiety will pass as you rediscover that fact and reclaim and separate the portion of your self worth and identity that you lovingly placed within her and your relationship.

    • TxDude… you’re not 18 months into reconciliation… you’re 18 months into a hostage situation. (I know because I’ve been there… and all that “discovery” just continues to destroy you… your health… your life… if you don’t take action.)

      Your son needs you to be the sane parent and get him out of this burning house. Please. See a lawyer today – find out what your options are and what you can do with the evidence you have. If she has even once sent inappropriate photos or video to a fitness pal or anyone who isn’t of legal age… you’ll get full custody

      Learn your rights. Stop being a victim – your son is watching.

      We are here for you. You can do this.

    • Please leave. You are being mentally tortured. During some of my darkest days, I relied on a line from one of Dylan’s songs,”I have made it through. You can make it, too.” I did and so will you.

      I don’t know what the future holds for me or for you. None of us do. What I do know is that you are worth more than being blatantly lied to, cheated on, and disrespected. Once you leave, you will look back on these days and wonder why you ever stayed another minute with this sociopath .

    • TxDude-

      Yes, you are 18 months into your hostage situation. I spent three years post dday in that same hostage situation. This doesn’t get better. You already know this. You tricked your wife into hitting on someone she didn’t know was you. What more do you need? Catching her in the act? Well you sort of did. She had skype sex with someone. My guess it was skype because that person was geographically inconvenient otherwise she might have invited a stranger to your marital bed.

      I know you think you’re doing the right thing….keeping it together for your son but he’s watching this. You don’t want that do you? It’s better for children to be from a broken home than to actually live in one. He’s living in a broken home right now.

      Some people feel comfort in living with the devil they know but if you examine what the devil you know already did, there’s not a lot to work with here. You could probably swing a cat by the tail in a crowd of people and hit a better person than your wife. That person hasn’t cheated on you….your wife has.

      Take it from someone who has lived with a cheater for 3 years after dday. It doesn’t get better. My life did however get a whole lot better when I left. Granted my kids were adults so I didn’t need to share custody but there are tons of people who do that; a lot of them are on this site.

      It’s tough to take that first step into the scary abyss that is divorce but once you’re there you see that the abyss isn’t so scary and it’s where the possibilities live. There are no possibilities where you live now; only more heartache and disrespect. Give this some thought.

      • I thought i wanted to know all the gory details. But they made me anxious and sick and got stuck in my head.

        At some point I had to stop myself. For my own sanity, I had to turn away and not know the exact details.

        Please, txdude, turn away. You know enough. Please don’t torture yourself anymore than this.

    • TxDude, you no doubt are holding out and holding on to your dying marriage for your son’s sake. You are enduring a ton of pain and suffering perhaps with the thought that you are sparing him from pain and suffering. We get that. Most of us have done it for years. But it just may make you snap. Please see a lawyer and start taking care of you. Your son is going to need you in his life with such a disordered mother as he’s got.

      I’m so sorry you are in this situation. Welcome to the club that no one wants to be in. Please recognize your worth and know that you deserve honesty and respect in an intimate relationship.

      Sending hugs.

    • Your killing yourself with this. I did about two months of reconciliation and it was literally killing me inside.
      1. you need to realize that your children will be better off seeing a stable and happy you.
      2. she isn’t sorry. She will never be sorry. She’s just using you.
      3. she is a falling tree. You can’t stop her. You can’t save her. All you can do is step out of the way.
      4. You will feel much better about yourself once you get a lawyer and file. It’s still a long road (I’m still on it) but you will save yourself from this slow death you are currently subjecting yourself to.

    • Dude–this way lies madness and the Greybar Hotel.

      Get an attorney, separate your funds, kick her ass to the curb, make sure your beneficiary is changed to your mother as a guardian for your children, find all the accounts you can with a credit check, and file. You know all you need to know.

  • Just because someone might serve me undercooked chicken in the future doesn’t mean I’m going to take a ride on the trichinosis train tonight and dig in when I just watched the cook set questionable chicken in front of me with a big smile of reassurance. Hey, it *looks* cooked, and who can really tell with chicken anyway? Don’t be bitter about the last time you ate undercooked chicken and wound up on the toilet in a miserable heap for an entire day! Just accept the risk and don’t be so controlling about what you eat. /s/

    Life is full of uncertainty but we get to choose whether or not to eat the pink chicken. (Pass, thanks.)

  • Fear is a liar.

    Once I discovered that Mr. Sparkles was a cheater, I assumed some of the blame because of our Marriage Counselor. BUT… all the other times that followed… nope. Not. My. Fault.

    I’ve been divorced since December of 2017, but my first day of freedom was October 1, 2014. It has been a slog, I’m not going to lie. But my fear of being a single parent… my fear of being “alone”… my fear of my kid being “damaged” permanently… all of it almost kept me paralyzed in that toxic, abusive, marriage. And I’m here to tell you today… I was wrong to believe fear. I should’ve left after D-day #1 in 2009… they do not change and I can make it on my own.

    My life now is amazing. It is simple and joyful and except for the normal chaos of life, it is absent of gaslighting and missing money and sexlessness and manipulation and abuse… and that is priceless. I’ve made sacrifices, I’ve written off sunk costs (almost $100k), and I’ve moved forward. You can too.

    My only “anxiety” now comes from knowing that he’s doing the same thing to a new woman. He’s got her underwriting a mortgage, paying off debts, thinking “she’s the special snowflake”… and I just found out he’s on Ashley Madison. BUT – not my monkey, not my circus.

    So if you fear you can’t do it… trust me you can. Fear is a liar… and the cheater does not change.

    • I Can See the Meh,
      I’m glad that you’ve bounced back very mightily! 10 months past last discard, I am still quite depressed, angry, ‘afraid’ and feeling down-and-out–I earn little enough at my full-time job for my kids to get free lunch, I share a bedroom with two pre-teens in my rented apartment (so no house as asset), my support amount will likely be reduced by half in approximately a year, if not sooner, I have a degenerative back condition which, cross my fingers, I hope won’t prevent me from working for at least another 25 years!, and I have a sexless life (NOT by choice) while most of my exes have ridden off into the sunset with my appealing replacements. As a woman in my 50s, I don’t feel as though my professional, athletic, dating prospects are decent. I feel despair.

      • RSW… a “woman in her 50’s” is just getting started at life… trust me… you’ve got this. You have a home. You have a job. You have kids who need a sane, strong parent (so you can change your legacy). And, you have ever day ahead of you minus one fuckwit. The canvas is blank… paint your own dream for a change. Despair is a real feeling, I get it… but it is also a choice. Choose hope… choose faith… take action.

    • Fear IS a liar. And while incredibly motivating, it is generally a terrible reason for taking (or is more often the case NOT taking) action. Thanks for a great post, ICanSeeTheMehComing!

  • It’s really tough to admit, “I’m totally wrong about my my ex. He has a bad character.” This is especially true if you’ve also thought, “I’m a good judge of character.” I found it very hard to accept that I was wrong for a quarter century and I was a failure at discerning. It’s humiliating and humbling.

    My individual therapist said all kinds of shit that amaze me now. A few gems- “all men cheat.” “Relationships should end when they’re no longer fun.” “I like your ex, he seems nice.” “You’ll probably never find someone your own age for a relationship because men only like much younger women.” He said many, many other provoking things like these until one day something clicked. I realized he was saying these things to provoke me. I needed to question all my beliefs, my perceptions and my boundaries because the only certainty I could have was the certainty of my own beliefs. Those beliefs create my reality. This is ancient wisdom – your thoughts becoming your destiny.

    I admire so many of you telling your stories here. So many of you are mighty. Encouraging. Telling the brutal truth. Owing your power. Deciding that in the face of abuse, while you may have been victimized, you are not those bad things that have happened to you. You affirm me and what I choose to believe about people in spite of what I fear. We can’t control others or the world, but we can control ourselves and how we choose to move forward. This is where I find my certainty – in a place where other people like me decide how it’s going to be for them come hell or high water. The future is always uncertain and we can’t know how things will be, but we can choose to love and support each other here today and reaffirm that the things we value like respect and loyality are always available for us because they are inside us.

    • It is clearly true that we can’t control others. This concept is applied correctly on this site. Here it means essentially that you can’t fix a screwed up fuckwit. But the thing that bothers me about the “can’t control others” concept is how the RIC absconds with and uses it. For them it is like a rallying cry against principles, boundaries and standards. You assert a moral absolute, and they chasten you not to attempt to “control” the Timid Forest Creatures.

      Kissing cousin to their perversion of this control concept is their twisting of the “you are in charge of your own feelings” concept. This is true when serving the purpose of empowering someone to regulate was was heretofore unregulated, or to extract themselves from being mired in emotions that have prevented personal progress. But they use this one to evade accountability and blameshift any normal healthy human emotional response to abuse. ”You aren’t responsible for (the chump’s) anger, only they are responsible for their feelings”. But such emotions are productive and appropriate, alerting the victim and the perpetrator to the fact of abuse. They are as primal and natural as a zebra kicking a hyena in the face. It is the denial and repression of them which is counterproductive. But context means nothing to someone wed to self-justification as a means of getting through life.

      I know of a former drug addict now counselor who takes this tack in his teaching. A pied piper of self justifying contortions of the true underlying concept of emotion management. It must have been offered to him in his own recovery and he saw the exculpatory potential of it for himself. All his harm of others as he lied, cheated, risked, and stole from them while obtaining his preferred mood state – poof! “Not my problem” if they feel hurt by any of this. They are responsible for their feelings!

      I hope it’s clear I’m not lumping all recoveries into this category. Some are real. But I believe you either self-medicate, self-justify, or deal with truth and change. Or some combination. They each “work” but only the third works for others as well as yourself. And the self-justifiers love to take these accurate concepts like “can only control yourself” and “you are responsible for your feelings” and pervert them to their ends.

      • Here’s what you should control after finding your spouse cheating:
        1-Whether you go to the office supply store with 8 cents per copy or 10 cents per copy to Xerox financial documents.
        2-How many divorce lawyers to go interview in your town so that your spouse can’t use them.
        3-Ultimate choice of divorce lawyer.
        4-In some states, whether to file for-cause or not.
        5-Whether to tell other people why you are getting divorced (I’d advocate telling).

        Here’s what you don’t control:
        1-your cheating spouse
        2-your emotions, which are evolutionarily programmed to respond to danger (you can, however, control some of your behaviors connected to the pain and anger–don’t pick up sharp objects when you confront your cheater).

      • p.s. I agree with you completely, TKO. “your feelings are your problem” is the rationalization for people who treat others badly and don’t want to have to apologize nor stop their harmful behaviors.

    • “I realized he was saying these things to provoke me…”

      This got me thinking about the best teachers in our life. Whether they be certain people or lessons.

      I remember when I was training to become a paramedic. We had a day where we were strapping students to stretchers and going up and down stairs.

      One student, 250lbs, was strapped on and the instructors asked me to lift and go backwards up 4 steps. (I’m 5″6 and 150lbs). I was uncomfortable and said I didn’t think I could do it. The instructors cajoled me and kept telling me to “just do it you’ll be fine”. I protested once more, and then just shrugged my shoulders and agreed to do it.

      I started, made it 2 steps, and the stretcher started going sideways. We had spotters so the stretcher was easily corrected and no one was hurt. We all stepped back and the instructors asked me what could I have done differently.

      At first, I said maybe I should have changed positions with my partner and had him (taller and stronger go backwards), etc. And they said no. That’s not the answer. I made a few other suggestions. Again, they said no.

      Finally, the head instructor asked me: Him: What did you say to us at the very beginning?
      Me: That I didn’t feel comfortable doing the lift.
      Him: Yes. So, why did you change your stance?
      Me: because I felt peer pressure.
      Him: yes. Don’t do that.
      Me: ?
      Him: Listen to your gut. If you can’t do it, call for backup. There is no shame in asking for help. If you hurt yourself doing a lift you can’t do, how can you help the patient? LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

      This was a powerful lesson. The instructors purposely provoked us to teach us a lesson.

      This is a lesson I think of often.

    • When I complained about the situation, my X called the cops and said I had been abusing HIM. I spent a night in jail, crying nonstop. The police would not arrest me, so the X executed a “citizen’s arrest.” My dad could not afford bail, so he slept on the bench in the police station. My husband at the time walked in smugly the next morning and said I should have learned my lesson, and should be released to him. The answer was no. My sister flew in and posted bail and took me to a lawyer who called in an off duty cop to get me into my house to get my stuff, which I threw into garbage bags. I didn’t see my home or pets again for six months. He moved his slut student in. I bled for six months, every day. The doctors could not find a cause, but I was seriously anemic as a result. He begged me to come back. I did, and it was worse, and worse, and worse. Then he started hitting me again, and I called the cops. Got a restraining order. HE was out of the house, and I made sure it was a full six months while I sorted and packed, and he whined about how he loved and missed me (while still fucking his student). But he had given his whore some of my clothes, stolen my jewelry (none of which came from him) and taken things himself that I found secreted around the house. The same things he claimed I had misremembered or lost. I had a really good therapist recommended by the domestic violence center, and she was amazing at explaining how I’d been used for my good nature by a Cluster B. Sometimes it takes a village to get to freedom. So for those of you on that road, know you are not alone. Ever. Cry, shout, scream to the mountaintops, then look toward what is best for YOU. It is hard to transition from an accommodating person to focus on yourself, but that is your first mission going forward. I love you all.

      • Survivor,
        Reaching out to others after all you have been through, and, YOU did survive a hell of a lot.
        Your name suits you to a T!
        Thank you for encouraging others!
        YOU are Mighty!

    • Cleopatra,
      Regarding your therapist’s comment that ‘you’ll probably never find a partner your own age because men want much younger women,’ I feel that, sadly, there’s a lot of truth to that! And it burns me to no end! However, I think of a situation in an art (ceramics) class I took as a kid. I wanted to make a parrot’s head, but what I created looked like a pig’s head no matter what I did. I decided to quit swimming upstream and make the best pig’s head I could! I don’t have it anymore, but I’m still proud of me adapting and owning who I was and what I created. I could you more of that pride in self nowadays! So instead of crying about the fact that I haven’t been able to get a decent semi-compatible date in the last year and dating usually doesn’t get easier for women as they get older (from middle age on) no matter how much they ‘rock’ and I’m not willing to settle for sleazy, incompatible con artists, I’m going to use my money and my energy to make the best ‘alternate’ celibate life I can. I might never be able to make the parrot head (a happy, financially secure married life with lots of emotional and physical intimacy), but I might be able to make one heck of a pig’s head of a life! One thing I know about my life, as chaotic and unpredictable as it has been and will probably continue to be, is it was not a boring one–it was an adventurous one, both good and bad, mostly fortunate!

  • The question is not: Are you certain they will NOT cheat again? That is not possible to know.

    The question is: Are you certain they WILL cheat again? The day you know the answer to this question is the real DDay.

    The real DDay is when you realize that the only thing important to them is their holy trinity, Self-Gratification, Self-Justification and Self-Protection. You are not important. Your kids are not important. Your marriage is not important. Neither is their integrity. Heck, the AP is not even really that important to them.

    It’s not that we can’t live with uncertainty; it’s that we are absolutely certain.

    • Chumplanta, this is soooooo true–especially their unholy trinity. It is very difficult to accept that you or your kids don’t mean much to them. That’s the hardest thing of all. But once you do see that, you can take the appropriate and necessary actions.

      • ^THIS^ Jojobee. I spent an eternity in denial, but I can no longer ‘unknow’ the truth of my relationships, that they were extremely lopsided and my partners didn’t give a d–n about me, even though they love-bombed me for a few months and sometimes muttered, ‘I love you,’ even when dumping me (having found my replacement)!

  • Dr. Cheaterpants ditched me and the kids 5 years into our marriage and ran off into the twu wuv sunset with howorker, twice divorced with a history of cheating on both her husbands crazy schmoopie. The only sense I could make of it was he was stressed and naive to these dumsel in distress women. I stumbled across midlife crisis although we were in our early 30’s. We sold the house (I had to make him wait until after the Christmas/New Years holiday), the kids and I moved into a smaller home and starting getting on with our lives. Right before the final signing of divorce, he came begging back. I was nervous about it, but told myself it was best for my kids.

    Twelve more so-so years with a high maintenance, needy, never satisfied with anything man. Two suspicious secretaries with gift giving and expensive lunches so they would know he ‘valued’ them. Then he runs off again into the twu wuv sunset with DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school. I google again and stumble across the affair fog theory and think ‘my poor husband’s on a ho high’.

    Did I convince myself after the first time I had a unicorn? I did. I should have Popeye’s muscles from the bucket of spackle I carried around. Whatever mechanisms they have within them to cheat are there. Whether it’s FOO, whether you weren’t a perfect spouse (spoiler alert–no one is perfect), depression, etc… This is in them. The ability to rationalize, justify, and act on screwing around and lying to you about it.

    I think back to my early days of reading CL. I now tell people to scroll to the very bottom of the site and read the primers. It really does come down to kibbles and entitlement (attention seeking and self centeredness). You can not change that in them, I don’t think they can change that in them. Can you live your life always waiting for the other shoe to drop?

    I have said often that while I was waiting for him to come to his senses, I came to mine.

    • Twice a Chump,
      Thanks for sharing your story in a poignant and snarky way. It sounds a lot like mine. For many months, I was quite upset about my husband and my post-separation boyfriend living the ‘high life,’ being believed and revered by many, while disrespecting and lying to me. I notice that I am gradually caring less and less what these people, even our mutual friends and my relatives think/believe. I’m starting to more often trust my gut. My exes may have some strengths (and nice veneer), but at the core in many ways, they are turds–and turds tun me off. When I see my ex-husband with my kids, I sometimes feel vomit-inducing repulsion. He is UGLY to me. I almost hope to see my ex-boyfriend again fairly soon so that I can realize, ‘What did I ever see in this guy? For months, I thought about committing suicide over him?’

  • There was a story on the local news last week about a police dog attacking a man who was on the ground and handcuffed. A bystander filmed the incident with her phone. His horrible screams filled the air. I immediately thought of me last November, .sitting on the deck the night I found out about my husband’s affair (I’m sure there were more than one) and I screamed and screamed and screamed, into a pillow, like I was being murdered. My perspective changed after I saw the news story. My daughter and I became the handcuffed man, the dog mauling us is the affair partner, and my husband, WHOSE JOB WAS TO PROTECT US, is the police officer who set the dog on us and then stood by while we were screaming and being mauled (and then called the dog the next day to tell it he loved it and missed it). I trust ME, I will protect my daughter and me, I will be just fine. No more bad cops in my life ever again. When the father bear becomes the hunter who kills the mother bear and traumatizes the cub, there is no more relationship. No trust no safety, game over.

    • Or maybe Schmoopie was the one who turned your own dog against you because she gave more kibbles. Her turn will come when the kibbles run out.

    • What a horrible story. Poor handcuffed man, even if he committed a crime, I can’t imagine what would justify letting him be mauled while handcuffed. For some reason your story reminds me of my husband trying to frame me for crimes I didn’t commit and calling the cops more than once to get them to search me in our home (he had accused me of theft of some of his papers (why would I steal his business license, passport, etc. if these documents helped us stay fed?) and to protect six-feet tall him against barely over five feet me while I was wielding silverware to feed our kids breakfast–watch out for that jam-filled spoon!) It’s appalling that hostile disordered people waste policemen/women’s time with this fraudulent, malevolent claims.

  • I think living with a cheater is living with uncertainty. You are never sure they will be faithful, you are never certain if they are sincere, if they aren’t porking anyone else, if they aren’t squandering marital assets, if they’re going to give you an STD. It’s so much uncertainty that I don’t know how anyone can live with such a person and not get violently ill.

    What is certain when we leave a cheater, is that we do gain a life. We can take care of ourselves, love ourselves, open ourselves up for genuine and real love, make room for something healthy, while leaving the toxicity behind. So many opportunities for blessings to show up and to welcome real love into our lives!! Ask anyone who left a cheater and gained a life. They will tell you that staying with a cheater is the most toxic and uncertain thing you will ever do in your entire life!

  • In my situation it was so much bigger than the cheating. That was just the tip of the gigantic iceburg that is his devious true self.
    I discovered that he was not who i thought. There is no way he could be.
    And that left me with the huge unanswered question of just who exactly is this freak?
    Talk about uncertainty.

    • Good question, Leavingaloser? Who are these freaks we thought were our partners.

  • I just love this one: Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

    You make my day! And my decisions to let Mr special wreck his havoc elsewhere always the right one. Cheers!

  • Living with uncertainty after infadelity

    I was just speaking with my young neighbour. He just seems such a sweet guy, melt your heart eyes and beautiful smile. I see him often with his young wife and two tiny children. I think that he would never do to his partner what my cheater did to me, proclaim his new tru wuv for OW when I was pregnant and caring for our little child.BUT, if he did, would she just give up, throw him out, if he didn’t leave that is.
    No, I am sure she would try to help hold her families together. She loves him, she wants what is best for her children.
    In my case, that is what a I did, in the form of a pick me dance. Cheater changed jobs, we moved away. I honestly did not dwell on it, being so busy with children, the house, a career. Life went on. I guess I was busy spackling, because that is what you have to do living with a narc type personality. It is never easy.
    So, is it best, the very first DDay to go one’s separate way?
    YES, I believe it is, YES.
    Not so much lately, as struggling with too many issues, ( not cheating), but that is why I summoned the courage to first post on CL, CN to encourage new Chumps to go forth, with the help and support of CN and their other supports, to leave a cheater, gain a life.
    Anyone who does the initial act of cheating when he/she has a loving partner to come home to doesn’t really deserve another chance. Now do they!

    I see so much heartbreak, yet so much courage in posting Chumps of CN.
    I am so thankful that there is a CL, CN with hearts as big as the ocean, ready 24/7, to reach out and help new Chumps, ( and old ones too)!

    • “I see so much heartbreak, yet so much courage in posting Chumps of CN.
      I am so thankful that there is a CL, CN with hearts as big as the ocean, ready 24/7, to reach out and help new Chumps, ( and old ones too)!” Perfectly stated. I can’t agree more.

  • This is one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with. But it’s gotten easier over time. Wishing as hard as possible that things were not as they are, that there was something to do to reverse it all, closing my eyes as hard as I could and thinking when I opened them, it would be different, etc. All that just made it hurt more. It keeps you in the pain longer.

    What drove me crazy was people telling me to “just accept it, you’ll be happier.” That’s too simple. It implies that you have to be okay with it. No, you don’t have to be ok with it, you don’t have to like it, and dear god you do NOT have to be happy about it (that’s some bullshit.)


    When you look at your situation. Say “Yes, this has happened. This IS reality. No, there is not anything I can do to reverse time/change what they did/make them get it, it f*cking hurts, so…what do I do to help myself get away from this hurt?”

    That’s when you can actually start making a plan for your new life. And it doesn’t have to be all at once. Sometimes it’s just “Ok…what am I going to do, what can I do, just to get through another godddamn day?” Creating a new routine, even a micro routine, for YOU, not involving them, makes a massive difference. Sometimes it’s just “I am going to get through the day by filing this paperwork. Then, I am going to get lunch for myself.” Then after you do those two things, you think “Okay, how am I going to get through tomorrow?” Literally a step. At. A. Time.

    You literally start building a new reality for yourself, without a toxic fuckknuckle dragging along.

    • THIS. One of the first things I did was bought a mug with this quote: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” It was just a small thing, but sometimes looking at that mug was the only thing that kept me taking baby steps forward in the midst of seemingly unbearable pain.

    • Kara,
      Beautifully said! For nearly forever, I denied the truth, the world’s largest elephant in the room, stepping on my head–until my skull cracked.I was like toddlers who believes that if they can’t see you, then you can’t see them or who keep closing their eyes, hoping that when they open their eyes the bogeyman will be gone. I keep reminding myself that the boyfriend that I loved so dearly, who I would have died for, didn’t give two f–ks about me and never will as I, even after 30 years of purported friendship, was just a convenience item to him. He gives ‘love’ and ‘friendship’ bad names. So as he doesn’t love me and never did and lies and disrespects me, he will never be the man I wish that he would be, the one I humbly say I deserve because I am a living being worthy of the respect that all living things deserve, even if they aren’t our partner.

  • “Better the devil you know then the devil you don’t know” is a maxim that gets a lot of play in these circumstances. A better maxim is, “No fucking devils in my life.”

    No one needs shitty people around them, and not everyone is shitty. Sending chumps back to cheaters is like advising diners to have another helping of the rotten seafood salad that gave them explosive food poisoning. Because, you know, there are worse illnesses. #blech #urp #pass

    • It says Chumps deserve to be cheated on too and it tars every potential partner as a Cheater too. The whole premise is to beat Chumps down still further so they will continue to perform the “Pick Me Dance” & spackle. Hey, if more Chumps hold Cheaters accountable there may be a dearth of RIC clients in the future.

      I hope more RIC “therapists” get challenged on those two points by Chumps. Preferably while Cheaters foot the bill.

  • I was mulling this over, wondering what precisely pissed me off the most about this RIC thing about somehow being obligated to give the cheater a second chance. Here is my answer: the RIC industry absolutely positively never really wants Chumps to bet exclusively on themselves. They WANT Chumps to spackle, to settle, to continue to bleed love, trust, sex, Kibbles & Cake, fidelity and money on the Cheater because they can’t view kicking a Cheater to the curb as a win.

    No matter if a Chump decides it’s the best thing they did, eventually. Even if it’s best for the duped it isn’t the sort of thing a MC or RIC-complex therapist can accept. Tough shit for them too.

    Cheating is a deal-breaker for many, for a lot of good reasons.

    Keeping the RIC machine lined with oil (money) is NOT the responsibility of the Chump.

    • This eloquently expressed thoughts I’ve had but hadn’t organized yet. Beautifully said!

      The RIC re-victimizes chumps by playing off of the very traits that helped them be chumps in the first place! And all for its own profit and to reward cheaters with kibbles, NOT because it actually helps chumps. Sure, it may give them what they want to HEAR, but that’s like praising a doctor for telling you you’re miraculously cured when in fact you have stage four cancer and two weeks to live.

  • Yes!! To all of this! Best fucking advice I ever received!! You can have deal breakers and boundaries. Refusing to lead a life of fear and wondering what the cheating prick was going to do next! God Bless Chumplady!! We all deserve better!

  • Then you have the famous “mile marker” affairs/bomb drops. I’m talking about the well documented phenomena of planned or unplanned marital problems.

    When the youngest reaches 18 years old.
    Age of retirement.
    “Mile marker” birthdays like 40, 50, 60.

    My perfect, total creep adamantly his devotion and love up to the graduation party/ 18th birthday of our youngest. Made that poor kids birthday, prom, graduation and cancellation of her open house ALL ABOUT HIM.
    The absolute sweetest, most unassuming hard working kid on the planet. That would be our youngest.

    Shit for brains completely blew up her life her senior year, abandoned, stole from, threw her over for OW – then ignored her except for his offer of an “adult terms” of relationship, ie: do not question him or OW relationship, do not call him out on his actions.

    He told her to “get a job and help out” before her 18th birthday. Had his attorney insult her, (“lazy, unhelpful around house”) and my parenting of her. (“What kid of mother would raise a child to not help???)

    He sends nasty memes (and example of my favorite – the hand holding a pen over a blank page of lined paper; “This is a complete list of everything you are entitled to” – he sent this to my daughters when they complained they get no help from him for school.)

    He sent {OW custom bad grammar written} “cease and desist” letters to all of us (including his children) afraid of exposure of the affair at work.

    2.5 years post divorce he is STUNNED that neither girl will have a relationship with him (but only on his terms, though.) Waiting for the day he asks me to help straighten this out.

    Insane. He is insane.

    Forget the stuff he did to me. May the M*ther&&&&& rot.

    • ^^ This was spell corrected on phone. Apologies. Too many to fix.

    • I could have written this. X turned 60, retired from the military (to earn big bucks in Alaska, his obsession) and the youngest went off to college.

      All within 60 days. And I got very sick and that is when I realized there was someone else.

      And he’s been a real shit to the kids and of all the crap he has pulled, THAT is the stupidest and craziest piece.

      Too much to say now.

      Magneto your post and the similarities really makes me think there’s a fucking syndrome going on here.

  • I find that during the discovery phase and shortly thereafter our natural inclination is to believe that people suck and that our chances of finding someone else after a divorce will result in the same outcome. So we stay and try to reconcile. Unfortunately, we just can’t see past the depressing betrayal and consider the fact that we could go it alone and or that one day we may find a good person out there.

    The only reason I finally threw in the towel was because I could no longer stand myself!!!! Hearing my husband (I bugged his car) tell his OW how much he loved her and missed her (dday #5) was so hurtful and I asked myself just how much more of this bullshit was I willing to go thru. I looked at myself in the mirror and hated to see myself as a person who would accept FAR less than I deserved.

    Amazingly……..getting out of my marriage opened up an entire new world for me and I discovered that there are so many GOOD people out there.

    • Oh ((((((Kimmy)))))
      My heart goes out to you and your children.
      I am so happy you are away from this magnified cheater.
      You have gone through hell and deserve every happiness!

    • Kimmy,
      Thank you for reminding me of something I had forgotten about my relationship with my last boyfriend! I was starting to dislike not only my boyfriend (and my husband who had left a few years earlier) for their repeated abuse of me but also ME! The subconscious/conscious thoughts turned my stomach inside down.

  • What gives me strength everyday is the simplicity of these two poems by Rupi Kaur:

    “how you love yourself is
    how you teach others
    to love you”

    As painful and chaotic and a complete and utter mind-fuck my breakup/discard has been with a sociopath, I often wonder how my head is still perched on my shoulders. And then I lean on her next poem,

    “you have to stop
    searching for why at some point
    you have to leave it alone”

    • “you have to stop
      searching for why at some point
      you have to leave it alone”

      I like this^^^. Caroline Myss has a prayer that says

      “Help me let go of the need to know why. I will never know why. And Endless questioning is endless suffering.”

      I used to say this almost hourly, then daily. Now it’s a few times a week. I accept that x is NOT the man I thought he was, that I projected MY OWN values onto him. Our marriage and family were NOT priorities to him and now when I look back on our marriage – even 20 years ago (we were married for 35 years)

      I find it blindingly obvious we were not a priority for the DOCTOR…

      My goal now is letting go of the need to know why (though I think it’s simple; x is a nasty narc lunatic) and to forgive myself for staying in the blender for so long, and to hone in & toss out my spackling skills so that I will never project MY emotions and values onto someone else, again.

      Experience is the best, but most brutal of teachers.

      • A psychologist in my family made a ‘Don’t Know’ recording. It is one of the most comforting ever created. Some people think that not knowing is scary and deal with it by saying ‘God has a plan’ (I don’t know whether God exists, and if he/she does, I don’t know what that plan is and if it’s a good one) or ‘Everything happens for a reason’ (how do we know things aren’t just a matter of dumb luck/randomness or if they happen for a reason, e.g., little kids get raped because they fell into the hands of cruel, disordered people who could overpower them, so what? it’s not a ‘good’ reason). I have finally given up trying to figure out why my exes think and behave the way they do.

  • Fuck the devil you know ❤❤❤❤❤ This gave me goosebumps, so true!

  • Hi I’m new to this blog and the realisation I am a chump. My cheaters OW sent me a message telling me about the affair. I was shocked in that I thought our marriage was pretty good we were the most devoted and “in love” couple around. But I also had my suspicions over our 30 year marriage. I found weird things over the years but he would always explain it away and make me feel I was crazy. I kept the OW’s revelation quiet and got organised. I gave him one opportunity before D day I told him I would forgive him everything if he was honest with me. He denied any affair and I didn’t give him any details of what I knew. So with that I worked out a date and hatched a plan. I was scared though and he knew something was up so I used a different phone. I knew he was tracking my phone. I met with friends to work it out. There had been an episode of DV years earlier so I was scared of what he may do. Let’s face it I realised I was living with a stranger who knew what he was capable of. When we felt we had a plan that would protect the kids and me we were ready. Leading up to that I found letters revealing more affairs. D day came and he denied everything the lying bastard. I asked him to leave and he did. The shock to our children, my family and friend was off the charts they had absolutely no idea there was a problem. Neither had I.
    One year earlier I had breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Three months after D day I had to have the other breast removed. The operation had complications and I was in intensive care with no husband my life in pieces. While in hospital my closest aunty died. When I got home my beautiful little dog died. My neighbor cut down my favourite tree. The loss was piling up on me. I continued to find out about many affairs. Serious allegations in the work place. I was suicidal and went to hospital for depression and alcohol abuse (I had rarly drank before).
    When I finally got back to work a work friend said “now you can start a new life” there are no words for how I felt towards her. The only person who has a right to possibly say that is someone who has walked in your shoes. So I’m breastless, soon to loose my home, my whole life was a farce, my kids although older are traumatised. I haven’t reached meh. Reading chump ladies book has been a game changer for me. I’ve finally stopped drinking and am allowing myself to feel and guess what the first emotion is? ANGER
    When I finally returned to work

    • Chumpdownunder,

      So sorry you are here, but so glad you found CL!! You have gone through so much. You seem to be doing things to help yourself and have support. Keep pushing forward. You will feel so many emotions and anger is sometimes the one that propels us the most.

      There is a lot of support here, but it seems like a lot of people don’t read this late. So you might want to join the forums. There are super people who have wonderful advice all times of the day and night.

      (((Hugs))) to you for all you have been through and super strength for the days to come.

    • Hugs to you. Sweetie! You need the support you can get here. And boy can CN do that!

    • I always think I had a bad experience (DDay at 8 months preggo, I can share feelings of heartbroken and lost while in hospital with you), but reading stories like yours I know there is worse 🙁 thats all seriously awful 🙁

      ANGER is great… and i found after the anger phase there is no way back ever… be prepared, its a long way to indifference and rebuilding a life.

      wishing you health and support an stength.

  • I don’t want to re-invent myself. I like myself. I knew what I wanted when I was a teenager, and I set out to create it. I have worked very hard my whole life to fulfill my dreams, and I’ve had two partners who fucked me over. I had to start over because they destroyed what I built. I know how to get up off the floor, and I do. I remember seeing a woman interviewed on TV who had a house that was devastated by a hurricane in Florida, and she rebuilt it. Then it got hit again, and she was planning to rebuild it. I tried to empathize with her — that was her home and I understood why she wanted to stay there — but, damn, who goes back a third time? Yeah, well, I did, because no matter where I lived, I thought of my partner as my HOME. But my home and my family are in my heart, and I may not control everything, but I can decide not to build in another known disaster zone.

    • CurlyChump,

      I remember telling my last boyfriend (after years of abuse by my husband) that I had finally found my ‘home,’ which was not a physical place but an emotional one, in my boyfriend. How wrong I was!

      I hope to find my home in my own spirit someday.

      • Rock… it takes forever and it’s not what girls are being direct into….instead of learning how to be their own BFF we look for validation elsewhere.
        After years of abuse I started enjoying selfies- make up or no, good or bad hair day… I started liking what I see in the mirror ( as oppose to thinking bad stuff about my body- thanks to my H ongoing disapproving comments)

        My body started looking better the moment I started being appreciative for all the amazing stuff it does….

        Same goes for my mind…. instead of focusing on mistakes I make- I look at everything I’m able to accomplish and try to find a way to improve the issues.
        It feels good.
        Not looking for approval and not feeling like a ???? begging for a treat or a good word from someone who supposed to be my partner and lover, the biggest supporter ( as I was to him)
        Anyway…. it sucks most of the time, but the rare moments when the fog clears up give me hope, that at some I will feel as a whole person.

  • Having made the poor choice of being the OW, I learned that if a husband is willing to cheat on his wife once, he will do it again. I’m still friends with the man I had an affair with and he has now has other women since me and I also knew I wasn’t his first affair. When I spoke with his wife, she doesn’t believe he has had others, blames me, and is now working hard on reconciliation while unbeknownst to her, he’s sleeping with yet another woman. I’m very thankful to be out of his circus but I feel completely broken. Those of you who walk away on the first dday are smart. You all deserve someone better.

  • I have a question for you all…

    I’m reading about the whole awfulness of cheaters- partners or husbands and particularly about the COLD CRUEL look ???? we all were getting at one point in another. I remember the feeling of complete shock to see his eyes on me—- sobbing, pregnant mess on the floor— completely cold, telling me to stop being hysterical and move from the floor.
    When I asked “ is protecting yourself more important to you than telling me the truth?” He coldly said “ yes” after which he went to bed.

    Now, my question : do you have any recollection of the same person being completely loving, sweet, open and warm? Creating impression of being a safe space to land, soft, sweet, attentive.

    DrJeckyl & Mr.Hide

    It still bugs me…

    • Hugs. Sadly, you are far from alone in your confusion and dismay. It is Abuser 101 to construct an elaborate, charming exterior, particularly at the beginning of a relationship. It is all a lie. (After all, if they showed who they clearly are from the beginning we all would run away screaming.) It is hard to realize that who your partner REALLY is is not at all who you THOUGHT (and they manipulated you to think) they were. [Not so] fun fact about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – did you know that character is not cursed to switch between the two personas, but actually chooses to repeatedly morph into Mr. Hyde?

      • Kibble- good to know; thank you:)
        It’s a mess… remembering the inhumane coldness and cruelty keeps me grounded.
        I also realized one more thing… after 2 miscarriages and not finding a cause – I started thinking… infection could cause it… we never ( me& my OB) thought of that, not knowing that my H was fucking whoever was willing right and left…. ????I will never know…
        I had a nasty exchange with him about it… ( but only in my head, since I’m keeping a grey rock attitude – in order to stay sane )

        Ugh… the gift keeps giving…

        • Yes, it is horrible. I am sorry you are going through that. Good for you with grey rock, and keep it up! I know once I was finally able to establish–and keep–NC with my ex it made a massive difference in my ability to see the BS and feel sane again.

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