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Dear Chump Lady, I have nightmares

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Dear Chump Lady,

I’m a chump of the highest order. My ex left out of the blue in January. I thought we had a great marriage and his pulling away the last month before he cut and run was just stress at work. He handed me separation papers in front of our two preschool aged kids and packed up and left within ten minutes(after clearing out the savings account. On a holiday weekend. Right before a family birthday party.) He denied having any involvement with anyone else at the time.

Now, ten months later, I’m pretty positive he has but I don’t have any evidence because I haven’t looked for it. It won’t help me legally in my state and I don’t think it’ll help my mental state either. I’ve tried my best to trust he sucks, and generally I’m okay with that being enough. The problem lies with my subconscious.

I have nightmares nearly every night about who he is with. Is it a neighbor? A man? A coworker? I wake up sweaty and shaking. Sometimes in the nightmares he tells me he’s sorry and shows real empathy. Sometimes he’s cold and calculating the way he was during the discard. I’m being haunted every night by the ghosts of the unknown. It’s like my subconscious is SCREAMING to know what in the hell is going on. I feel like my waking self and sleeping self are on totally different planets, and it’s exhausting.

Will finding out the truth (if that’s even possible) help me? Or am I right to trust he sucks? I don’t want him back, I just want to move forward in peace.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

NightmarebeforeChumpmas

Dear NBC,

This Unknown is an untangling the skein no-win. If you find out who it is, if it’s a one of of them, or a bunch of them, if it’s Twu Wuv or if it’s pay-by-the-hour — you will still have nightmares. Only now, your subconscious can riff on all the appalling details. Is that a disembodied walrus on a sex swing?  Why does he love her when there’s a tornado coming and a math test we didn’t study for?

You’ve suffered TRAUMA, and your brain is going to chew on it and try to process this nightmare with… well, nightmares.

It takes time. The nightmares will lessen and you’ll get your sanity back eventually. The hard work now is protecting yourself in a divorce and focusing on your power, to counteract the powerless you feel.

So, I wouldn’t blame you if you want to expend energy finding out who the Other Woman or Man or Large Gathering is. Finding out what was hidden from you is one way to take your power back. Knowledge is power, and he withheld that from you.

Beware with fact-finding missions, however, that you don’t confuse Who with Why. Who might be another mother at the preschool. Or his co-worker. Or a second cousin. The Why is still the same — because he’s an asshole. A stone-cold-sociopath abandoner. The affair partners didn’t make him a stone-cold-sociopath abandoner, they’re just of use to him. Dim and available. He has a hole in his soul, and you didn’t put it there. A man who can walk out on two vulnerable preschool children at the holidays, and take all the money, and ruin a birthday party — (my God, he’s like a Hollywood villain! Something should explode in his wake!) — is a TERRIBLE person.

Why? Who? Is giving him more depth than he deserves. TERRIBLE. I wonder what.… TERRIBLE. Whenever your mind wanders, just stamp TERRIBLE there. Nothing to pick apart…. TERRIBLE. But he had this nice quality and bought me a trinket once… TERRIBLE.

What matters here are you and the kids. Mystery Who matters if he was stealing marital resources to conduct his affairs. I’d think a lawyer would want to ask for that recovery. Who matters if it was a workplace affair and he could be canned and you’d lose child support. I could think of tactical reasons for trying to learn of who this person is, but I can’t think of a good emotional reason.

The important thing is rebuilding your life and rewiring your brain. They say when you have a nightmare, you should try to work with your sleepy conscious to introduce a hero. So when things get scary, you can command the dolphins and swim away from the tornado. You slay the sex-swing walrus and use its tusks for toothpicks.

In short, you become the hero.

Do it sleeping and do it waking. With a kick ass lawyer and some support — better dreams ahead.

 

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    • I know how you feel, too.

      I felt like I had to know ~ I would awaken from dreams crying and sobbing and repeating to myself over and over, this just isn’t right. It isn’t right!

      I never have found out all the why’s … if I learn one thing, then there are a gazillion other questions so I finally accepted, it just doesn’t matter. He sucks ~ he is a monster who uses people for his own goals. A monster who concealed his ugliness from me for 30 years! 30 years! Wow.

      I was married to him for 17 of those 30 years and now when I look back at those years minus the rose colored glasses I used to wear, I see that from year one of our marriage he began to devalue me and finally discarded me when he had used me all up, or so he thought.

      My life is so much better now. Am I lonely? At times, yes. Most times, no. There is no monster sleeping next to me, no monster I cook for believe has my back. I have my own back now.

      The dreams will get better once you realize you really don’t need to know anything other than what CL has told you. He is terrible and he is an asshole.

      • Me too Jodi. We were married for 34 years. I was such good supply—all he had to do was pretend he loved me and throw me a bauble once in a while to keep up the illusion and I worked my a## off to keep him happy and in toys trips and properties. All fake it just blows the mind doesn’t it? I am living my genuine life now. It’s tough at times but I have some boundaries hard learned and hard won.

      • Me too Jodie and Newlady. We were together for 34 years married for 24.5 years. Two kids 22 and 19. It helps to read about other chumps who were fooled as long as me, our extended families and our friends were. He lead a double life with the OW for 13 years until he was caught out.
        He’s told the kids he’s not sorry, he stayed for them (really? No one is buying that) and that he’d do it again. I didn’t realise how much he’d worn down my self worth, manipulated and isolated me until after l through him out. The children have disowned him and are changing their names. He was an absent parent – half the week spent with her – he told us lies about working etc. I know l m free and l now know what was at the root of depression l suffered for two years. He truly is a cold callous and cunning evil person. He used to boast that he had no empathy ( according to a personality test at work).
        It just really helps to hear of others who’ve had the same awful experience/treatment. For years l was told all his unhappiness was my fault. Its not me who has the problem – its him.

        • The X used to joke about his “one” feeling getting hurt. I’m just shocked that he even has a whole feeling. Over the last couple of years, his mask was slipping. I just didn’t know enough to give it context. He’s a POS.

        • @J Loudon – Mine took that test too! And same–he scored like one step above a psycho or sociopath, I can’t remember which. I though it was funny at the time because he was the best husband and father I knew. Lesson learned….

        • J Loudon it’s a big club of very strong women ( we had to be right?) one none of us wanted to join. The damage they leave is huge. My kids try to maintain a relationship with fuckwit I stay out of other than warning them to be very self protective. They both get it ( they are 29 and 26). It’s sad really. (( Hugs)) my friend

        • Kudos to your kids for disowning this motherfucker and erasing his name from theirs. That one really stands a chance of hitting a narc where it hurts — in his ego.

      • yep-with you ladies. 30 yrs here then d-day. i am so sorry NBC. it is still early days for you and you have little ones to care for. get your posse (lawyer, forensic accountant, therapist) together to manage the tsunami and go get that asshole! he clearly has no conscious so you wont have his guilt to help. it is war while you lick your wounds. there will be more time to recover later. right now, you have to fight while the trail is fresh. good luck! we are rooting for you! and dont worry, he will get his. these rotten deeds do not go unpunished! even during the worst days i knew i would rather be me then that sorry bastard. i can look in the mirror and be proud even though sad. sad heals. abusive treatment of your family does not. it will always be there and slowly eat away at him like maggots on a dead rotting corpse. (whew-i am morbid today. i need to go shower!) hugs!

        • Yeah mine got his ..he died. He left a dauble in his aftermath now that I am left to deal with. Still being controlled by his flying monkey enabler sister who is still pulling the pursestrings in probate. What he did not hide in assets and spend on the whore at his job for 17 years — which was kept a locked hidden secret by his co workers and most importantly — his family, well now whatever was supposed to be willed to me his wretched sibling and her lawyer (crook) has spent — yes, they made sure they dwindled my beneficiary money down — this is all the evil sinister spiteful aftermath the narcissist left behind. And I am sure on top of this the actual hidden assets were set aside for the big whore golddigger that was with him (his ho worker) that had it all in the bag. They were just biding their time. Everyday I learn more and more and more and it’s shocking! I could write a screen play or a book. I don’t know how I am surviving. But most importantly my advice to all of you is to look after yourselves. There is no end to the visciousness and the aftermath that you WILL experience from these sinister individuals. His family wanted to destroy me. The sibling that was close to him has tried her damnest to destroy me to this day. She was put in charge and she made sure I would end up with nothing after he died. The whore that lives up the street got all his assets (marital money) as did his family. This was all because of a piece of ass that he worked with and them enabling him. And all the flying monkeys and henchmen that were involved. I have endured a nightmare. But I am smart now and I am wise ! They thought I would never catch on. Oh I did. and all trails lead back to a big whore that walked away with all my marital assets. She’s sitting pretty but she’s still a whore. I am sure that she is engaged to an urn that is buried six feet under. Ta Ta. SHE yes, the mistress, got what she deserved ! She was most likely engaged to my husband so now she can wallow in her adulterous misery.

      • Oh Jodi, Newlady, J Loudon, thrive I know what you mean about being fooled for decades. 32 years for me. The long con is SO hard to wrap your head around. I’ve been in therapy since the discard 4 1/2 years, and while I’m so much happier and content now, I’m not sure I’ll ever get over being used for that long a time.

        When he left, mine said he hadn’t been happy for 10 years—no, 20! He also stayed for the kids. But we know better, don’t we? They never do anything for anyone else but themselves.

        In the end, good riddance. But it’s mind boggling to realized you slept next to that pod person for so long, isn’t it?

        ((((((((Hugs to you all))))))))

        • 27 years here. In his quest toward “becoming a better person” and wanted to give ME some closure, I was just informed that he believes he married the wrong person and I was never enough. Gee, I just thought it was he was in love with his married coworker… It “just happened”. Back to NC for me. Fucking cowards.

      • Me too – together 33 years, married for 27 before the discard. Family and friends still say they can’t believe it because he is such an amazing guy and was such a great husband and dad (or appeared to be). Three years later, I am still reeling from the ongoing revelations of evidence of earlier and earlier affairs as I sort through all the stuff he left behind. But my life is better now. I just have to keep reminding myself not to fall back into the habit of making excuses for him and trust that he sucks.

      • Jodi, I wrote a FB post once, that the really scary monster isn’t the one in your dreams, it’s the one that sat across from you at the dinner table and slept in your bed while hiding who he really was from you and everyone else. After I posted that, ex’s felon former stripper fiance called me and wanted to know if I really meant it when I said he was a monster. Yes. Yes, I did. And when I think I’m too lonely to stand it another minute, I think about that monster and ask myself if I’m really ready to take a chance on facing it again. The answer, so far, has been no. I KNOW there are good men out there. It’s just hard to believe (for me) that at my age (56) I have enough time or energy left to find one.

        • I’m with you Beth. I like my friends’ husbands because they are safe, and I love my son’s friends (29-30ish) because I watched them grow up, but I’m repelled by any man who looks at me as in any way desirable, probably because I can’t trust them to be who they say they are.

          When I’m curled up on the couch at night with a glass of pinot, my two dogs next to me, the fire going, and a good Netflix series on TV, I ask myself, “Would I be happier if there were a man here next to me?” So far, the answer is always a resounding no.

          You’re welcome to come over and join me any time ;^)

          • I miss male company. I like men. But would I live with someone ever again? NEVER. I will NEVER give up my freedom again. I will NEVER let anyone take me to the cleaners financially again. I will ALWAYS be able to create my own happiness. If I have a lovely male friend then great (there have been a few since DD) but I don’t need that or them. It’s kinda sad in a way though as I’m sure many male chumps here feel the same. They robbed us of that ability to love unreservedly.

            • I agree completely, Attie. Especially to the never living with someone again. I’m getting ready to add on a new master bathroom (should that be mistress bathroom?) and since it’s on a slab foundation I’m having them run plumbing for two sinks through the slab but the vanity and countertops, etc. will only be for one person – me.

              I do wish I had a close male friend who lived in my area. It’d be nice to have someone besides my dogs to snuggle up on the couch with to watch TV or talk. The dogs are great company but not too good at conversation. 🙂

              • How about calling it “The Queen’s Bath” after the famous natural feature in Hawaii….!

              • I think it’s really important to give yourself priority after losing a cheater, particularly if they are personality disordered. Make your life whatever you envision. Do things your way. As chumps, we’re accustomed to putting others first, so it can take a while to get comfortable with that.

                But never say never again to a relationship. It may not happen, you may not have any want or need for it to happen. But there is something super-attractive about a confidently mighty former chump, and a lot of us who were adamantly against the notion of ever partnering again have. On our own terms, and hopefully with our assets protected beforehand. And nothing is a more gratifying experience for a former chump than being adored by another adorable former chump. You might think that would be too much cooperation and thoughtfulness to endure, but you’d be wrong. It’s easy, and what a happy way to live.

        • Yes you can my dear never give up I turned 50 this past Feb. 2018 I joined a dating site it’s been so much FUN and I realize that I am loved by real people that are caring.

      • I had the same but the devaluing started right after we had kids, 7 years into the 24 year marriage. The last year was like walking on Eggshells it was HELL! Then the texts coming through at 2:00 AM work nights and his secret passwords on his phone. I had no clue until my son caught him with the neighbour!

    • No way around the nightmares, just through. You have give time time. Daytime is its own nightmare of the illusion of half my life (27 years) being shattered. Nighttime brings its own terrors
      whether I am asleep or awake. I use the UPray app by Unity….I text people as many are awake at that hour…you can text me!!!….ask Tempest for my email….breathing, meditation….Unisom if I don’t fall back asleep in 20 minutes if it’s earlier than 2am….going out in my front yard and sitting under my tree and talking to Higher Power…reading simple children’s books before bed; they are happy stories with beautiful art and easy to read….I have a pit crew of 10 people who I can call and call daily at least 5….I record Joel Osteen and watch in the middle of the night….Wayne Dyer CD’s…any audio that to you is comforting wisdom….that keeps the mind movies and crazy intrusive thinking shut down…
      and don’t listen to anything your mind tells you after bed and before 6am!!…sometimes I leave the Comcast Spa Music channel on low during the night….

      The pain this causes is proof of the evil of infidelity; shattering lives and people on all levels…spiritual, physical, emotional, mental. My house feels like a crime scene instead of a home…trying to transform that somehow as we cannot move.

      Read this blog when you feel weak and scared and paralyzed. This is Chumps Anonymous available 24/7.

      • This post is great because it shows that recovery takes effort, planning and work. It may take multiple strategies.

  • Trust he sucks. In my experience, I had to find out every detail. Big mistake. I should have just left it at HE SUCKS! Don’t even waste your time. It’s just more to replay in your mind. Don’t even look back. You can never make any sense of it because there is no sense to make. Empower yourself and heal. Good luck to you and sorry you and your kids were subjected to this asshole.

    • Agreed I wanted also to know everything but it’s better that you don’t just move forward in a positive manner!

  • If you find out, you will never know the full truth, because unfortunately cheaters don’t think we deserve the truth. That’s the hardest I had to realize. Only selfish people think you don’t deserve or their version of it.
    I never found out the truth, or his version, I live for myself and kids, if he cared would he have emptied the account, what has he spent it on?.

    • It’s not just that they think you don’t deserve the truth. It’s that they think they deserve to be able to lie; they deserve the justification, etc etc

  • I know two people who did this and both were women. One was from a toxic childhood and the other was adopted. Our town was small enough that they might have heard of each other but I doubt it. They left husbands and children without a backward glance. One was my sister-in-law. The other lived in my neighborhood and had what looked like a storybook childhood. I write all this to show you that you will never know why people can abandon spouses and children so easily. What you saw was a facade of a complete person. He was put together with bits of humanity but he was never a whole adult.

    • “What you saw was a facade of a complete person. He was put together with bits of humanity but he was never a whole adult.”

      Great description, Let go.

      I think the way you put it is helpful in that we get confused by some nice things they did – wasn’t that love? No, it was a good imitation. Like a chameleon, they learn how to alter their appearance, their “image.” (As in, image management.) And it can be very effective and fool most people.

      • Hopium, my s-I-l told my brother she was leaving and left. Period. I am blown away by people who abandon their children. I am so bonded to mine that when they were little my nightmares were of something happening to them and I couldn’t save them. There is something inherently wrong with people who ghost those that love them. I have to assume they are sociopaths. There really can’t be any other reason.

      • The ultimate love test, the ultimate nice thing, would be a partner who professed love and backed it up with being the one to initiate sticky problem-solving with a therapist. Mine NEVER did. I drove the self-improvement problem-solving bus without realizing when he had gotten off….

  • Holy shit. I’m reeling at the thought of someone leaving in that manner. I’d have nightmares too, if only because I would be terrified that same person had plans on murdering me for the life insurance money and was smart enough to get away with it too.

    ‘Tis the season. Think of him as Michael Myers from the “Halloween” horror movies. At least they seem like horror movies to me. I’ve never viewed them because I don’t like horror movies.

    It will probably take a year or more for those nightmares to abate. There’s something about getting past the one year mark. No longer can you think, “One year ago today we were talking about plans to take the kids to ______” and not feel light-headed and ill.

    I hope you have lots of people who are helping support you and the kids through this nightmare. I’d look for someone who specializes in trauma.

    • I hope what you say is true. October was the anniversary month of my best friend dying, my father dying, and getting into recovery for addiction/alcoholism (1985). Now every week of October packs a wallop…
      Week 1:
      Last year I found out he had the Craigslist ho in a hotel a block from our business the entire week of his birthday which is in the first week of Oct.
      Week 2:
      My first solo trip for a week, in decades. I had a weird actual physical sensation of being a single person and was wondering WTF was going on. I actually texted him in the middle of the night after waking up from a nightmare that he left, telling him I felt like he was glad I was gone and that I wondered if he loved someone else. DEAD ON AND HE DENIED IT.
      Week 3:
      Weird horrible non-event 20th wedding anniversary…more WTF is going on?!!
      Week 4:
      Anniversary of “I’ve been thinking the past few months about moving out by myself for a while”
      blindside by a Mack truck. Are you involved with someone? No. (Mindfuck)
      Week 5:
      Find out post November DDay that he was at Craigslist ho’s house on Halloween while my daughter and I were carving pumpkins and getting ready for trick or treating.

      October has been a paralyzing trigger minefield.
      I hope what you say about the one year mark is true….

  • 5 long years since discard and still the nightmares.
    I have tried therapy and psych meds, they did not help me.
    It took almost 3 years for them to lessen.
    They are like a sine wave and increase when the monster starts another round of expensive legal abuse.
    I try not to beat myself up over my subconscious driving itself.

    What does help me is an old fashioned antihistamine Periactin with a one off effect of lessening night terrors. Magnesium in the evening has also helped a little. As tired as I am from everything, I try not to go to bed until I am so tired I could drop.

    I am not a doctor or a therapist, but in my humble opinion, the greater the trauma, the longer the recovery. Sometimes the more you fight the thoughts, the longer it takes for them to abate.

    I am sending you peaceful healing vibes.

    • This may seem like a weird comment but I found Eckhart Tolle’s talk on pain bodies very helpful to me. You can check that out on YouTube. He actually gives a simple in the “now” approach to noticing acknowledging and accepting pain. I have been practicing his techniques everytime I get triggered and I honestly feel It speeds up the process of healing for me.

  • NBC, it will get better. Yesterday was Nietzsche’s birthday, so let’s pull out the ‘what does not kill me makes me stronger’.

    Yes, you have have small ones and a zeroed savings account, but you are young! And wise enough to write to Chump Lady. Yesterday we older chumps were talking about growing old alone.

    Be patient with your nightmares and in no time you will be dissecting them with curiosity and a normal heartbeat. You got rid of one the most cruelest assholes to be covered in this blog since I started following it. Just in time for your children’s sake.

    Big hug, take care and get that divorce going for your kids.

    • He IS cruel. 2 beautiful little ones, and he cleans out the bank account? What a low life skunk turd. Apologies to skunks. I don’t believe a judge will look at that kindly.

      I’m so sorry this happened to you, I truly would not wish the unique pain of infidelity on anyone. It sounds so cliched, but time will heal you; you can’t get over it, you must go through it. But what a grand life you will have when you gain a new life.

  • Ugh…the nightmares…thank goodness they DO stop! They seem to stop on their own timetable so please be patient and kind to yourself.
    When you wake up with that sick feeling or anger or rage, remind yourself it is part of the process. Perhaps learn some meditation techniques to peacefully get back to sleep or at least calm yourself down.
    There are many apps for your phone for guided meditation that will replace the nightmare with soothing thoughts.

    Know you are not alone in having these nightmares.

    My nightmares all took place underwater. I couldn’t punch him or hurt him because of the water resistance. Drove me crazy until it just stopped happening. I’m grateful that it did stop.

    I would suggest discussing the who and what details with your lawyer before assuming they don’t matter.

    Affairs do not have legal implications in my state also. However, the who and why DID impact the process and my settlement. The facts made a huge difference with how both lawyers and the judge viewed him.

    You have many big expenses ahead of you (college tuition and braces comes faster than you can imagine with preschool aged kids).

    Put your leftover rage from the nightmares into digging. Credit checks, credit card statements, bank statements and even Googling his name, both “first name last name” and “last name, first name” may open up paths to follow.

    Don’t forget you’re fighting for things that will impact the next 15 years of your life!

    • I’m with Rebecca. I had nightmares for many, many years after he left. Always, always about chaos, being trapped in a maze and trying to find my way out of it, picking up babies (protecting my kids obviously) that no-one else seemed to notice crawling along the road or caught in a mud slide in a mine. It was always about struggling to get away with my kids or getting away from the chaos he created. While they did last for years (and I now realize it was PTSD) they eventually abated although didn’t go away completely. I had one last night as a matter of fact, but it is nowhere near as bad as it was. It is your body/mind trying to process the horror of what just happened. I don’t know the answer (except get yourself a pitbull lawyer and make that fucker pay) but I’m sending love and hugs to you and your babies.

      • I used to wake up in the middle of the night and I would be in the middle of crying. Literally crying so hard in my sleep I would wake myself up.

        I have days now where I cry and some sleepless nights. But not as often and I no longer wake up in tears. That’s progress. Right?

  • I finally did EMDR (I am 5 years out of the big explosion, 4 from the divorce). Wow, it has made such a helpful difference in my life. I almost feel like… my old self! I also had serious family narc infestation, so it has been an opportunity to get that crap out of my brain.

    Try to find an experienced and sell trained practitioner. Also–it is a time limited therapy. best of luck.

    • Not Mean, I also did EMDR. I had so many triggers I thought I was crazy (that’s what He said). I couldn’t function; lost jobs, sleep, friends, … The nightmares still hit me 11 years later, but it’s not as bad. I hope you do heal and find yourself. I used to liken living with a liar as twisting myself to fit a bent person. It takes awhile to straighten myself out. Best

        • Mine was covered by my BC/BS, so $30/session. But I have a major depression Dx, in addition to the PTSD. Fun city, eh?

          (But so much better. My dog agrees)

  • NBC,
    I feel for you and am sending you one gigantic hug.
    I was you two years ago. A mum with two kids under four who in the wake of the trauma was having the worse mind movies ever. They were relentless. Knowing the identity of his affair partner only put a descriptive face to my nightmare.
    Each morning I was a zombie from lack of sleep. I could barely make breakfast for the kids. I seldom ate.
    But it seems the more agency I showed to pick up my life and take action to rebuild it quieted those dreams. They became less frequent because my daytimes were spent less in crippling paralysis and more in action mode. I think that signalled to my brain that there were greater, far more important thoughts and concerns to think about then my fuckwit and his affair partner. Survival will do that.
    Those dreams will dissipate.

  • My ex tried to cover his tracks but I found out The Who what and where. Made me feel sick and I couldn’t help comparing myself. Had bad dreams and/or sleeplessness for a year. So I kept a rambling diary which I’ve never gone back to read. And read a lot of Oprah magazine. For me, every article seemed to speak to me. Ok so fast forward a few years. Now I sometimes look at pictures of him and OW when I’m feeling like yeah maybe we could be friends and it’s like cognitive therapy. It rips the band aid off and reminds me that he’s trouble and I don’t need him in my life to muck it up. I’m so happy with my world now. Once the excruciating pain passed I found I didn’t miss him and was happy and at peace. Good luck, LW. It really will be alright. Believe me.

  • I used to have nightmares daily, now sporatically. I’m 5 years out. I had a similar situation.

    You can’t find out the truth, what is the truth? Does he even know? A chameleon of a person.

    Trust that you’re better off. Trust that it’s better that it happened now rather than later.

    Your mind is trying to work this out, I think this is normal, and trying to make heads or tails out of it.

    I have good news for you, you will eventually move on and find peace, put the pieces together and back together, but that leopard, will never change his spots.

    I wish you all the best, it’s a crazy place to be with your life ripped out from underneath you. I literally felt like I was freefalling.

  • Sending hope too. My nightmares while I sleep went away. The intrusive thoughts during the day and grief are still in my waking mind. DDay for me was 12/27/14. I was completely blindsided. 18 weeks of post DDay blameshifting and mindfuckery. X screamed at me and kids (10-19) that he “HATED every minute of the past ten years of (our) family.” Devastation ensued. My daughter almost succeeded in killing herself. Other two also have serious trauma symptoms. X left right before son’s major abdominal surgery— disappeared for weeks. He was setting up his new love nest with whore de jur. I was crazed with desire to learn details — I even hired a PI. A few months later other former APs contacted me. Friends fessed up that they knew of affairs going back 20 years! My entire 25 year married life was apparently never what I thought it was — that is traumatic too. X almost broke my arm trying to get his cheater phone away from me….X convinced me to sell our dream home and move into a really small place — I pick-me danced and did so – x never even showed up to move his own stuff. TRAUMA doesn’t begin to describe what happened — depositions, false allegations, continued manipulation of kids, alienation of extended family, financial abuse, failed mediations, incessant promises to “come back” and change, week long divorce trial.

    After the post divorce dust settled (18 months) I’m finally able to get some EMDR trauma therapy. It seems like it might be helping.

    I’m completely no contact and that really helps more than everything.

    Sending love and support. You’re not alone.

  • Whether or not there is an AP could impact your settlement. The judge won’t care about emotional trauma, but he/she will care about dissipation of funds. If he took the money but it isn’t yet spent, you need to know where it is because it’s still half yours. The law may not care about the AP, but it will care about those missing funds. Talk to a lawyer to find out what will help you most. Do you expend energy on finding out about the AP, tracking down funds or both? Maybe a forensic accountant is in order. Talk to a lawyer ASAP if you haven’t already.

    Oh yes, and if it makes you feel better (although it likely won’t), he certainly does have an AP. It would be unusual for someone to up and leave all of a sudden, especially without making an effort to take the kids along, if there wasn’t one. He is selfish and cowardly. More than that he’s stupid for throwing away the most important things in his life.

  • I have a concealed carry permit, not that I carry all the time but I had the option if I felt like I would be working in a bad neighborhood that week.
    During this phase of nightmares post discard though I sold the gun. The dreams were to vivid with me imagining I caught him in flagrante and shot him and the faceless woman. I felt and experienced in detail in my dreams the texture of the grip in my hand, the weight of the trigger pull, the recoil, the sound and then the silence.
    I am not a naturally violent person so this scared the ever living shit out of me. So much so I sold the gun and hand delivered the cash to my lawyer to help pay fees.
    In my mind that was still using the weapon to rid myself of him albeit in a more legal manner. I wouldn’t even trust myself to keep it in the safe.

    One year post divorce and I’ve bought a new gun and my healed psyche never goes there and I’m happy to go to the range rage free.

    • I’m glad you got to that place. I have no bullets for the gun my Mom left me. I considered buying a gun after exasshole nearly killed me. The problem is that I know I would shoot him before he could get close to me. I don’t want to end up in jail. I still don’t trust myself to carry a gun. My protective order will likely not be renewed next spring because he’s actually stayed away since the last renewal. It’s possible as the date nears I will end up getting a gun.

      • Oh wow, how sad is that. I remember one time he came home drunk as usual as I was preparing dinner. Cutting veggies and so on, and he started pushing and shoving me and I thought “I have the knife in my hand, that’s all it would take and we wouldn’t have to take this any more”. It was a horrific thought and I instantly knew I couldn’t do it because I knew I would go to prison and have to leave my kids behind. But that thought – the thought that he had pushed me to even THINKING that way – scared the hell out of me.

        • I had moments before the divorce was final I thought to myself, if only I had shot him one of those nights he stumbled in drunk at 2 AM.
          I lived far far from town. A woman home alone with a newborn in a rural county of a southern state… the sheriffs deputies wouldn’t haven’t even taken me in.
          The fact both of our minds went there just proves how deep the mental and emotional abuse of a cheater goes. Thankfully parenthood subdued both of our impulses for now we are cheater free!

  • Here’s the good news.
    He showed himself.
    He showed who is behind the mask that he’s been wearing.
    No reasonable loving conscionable human being treats another human being who is his spouse and who are his family like he is treating you and your children.

    Now you don’t have to wonder who he is or what happened.
    Trust he sucks means that you can tell by his actions who he is.

    You are free from the illusion.
    Accept it embrace it move forward with your mighty self.

    Spend your waking energy and regrouping and putting your life in order for yourself. Get the best lawyer you can and get your legal protections in line.

  • Even in a No Fault state, You might be entitled to….
    – 1/2 of the savings account right before he abandoned you because of ‘wasting of marital assets’
    – interim spousal and child support during the separation/pendancy of divorce (especially if you have full time care of the kids and/or he makes more). Can help you pay your bills and your divorce attorney.
    – possibly getting his current phone records and bank accounts to prove he has money to pay for the above (because he will likely claim “I’m broke…”)
    -his abandonment and your daily care-taking of the children would/could swing to your child custody and/or total custody depending on how many day(s)/month(s) abandoning. Child custody percentages usually determine child support payments….
    – yes, do this all before he loses his job. Because he’s not making good decisions now and he’s more likely to lose his job. Even with/without ho-worker being involved.
    – Meet with a kick ass divorce lawyer. Go to http://www.martindale.com and find a Board Certified Divorce Attorney Sometimes, even the best attorneys give a half hour free consultation.

    You are young, and at a great advantage for finding a man without psycho-babble and penis issues.

    • Yes MeowMix, do all of the above! Your attorney can make the request for records.
      For me it helped to have solid evidence. Covert narcissist dirtbag hid his filthy activities for 20 years. This made it clear to me. There is some untangling to do, but it provides clarity that he sucks. Take care of yourself. It will get better.

      • Very good advice. If there is any digging to be done, your attorney may do it for you. Or may instruct you to look at specific records (phone, bank). Do check with your attorney – hope you have already got a fierce one!

        If you decide on your own to do some digging, be aware that these sneaky people are very good at covering their tracks. But they often have some blind spots, so you might actually be able to find something. If he kept all his passwords from you, or if he changed them all, it will be harder.

        One record that the Python forgot about was his tollway electronic payment gadget – he never went into that account but I knew the password. I was able to see that he was going to the same exit repeatedly (not the exit for his job) and the time of day he would go there – very revealing!

        I did a lot of digging, and I did find that knowledge was power. For me. Let me emphasize that there is a fine line between empowering yourself and “pain shopping.” What you find could possibly increase your distress.

        In my case, I was separated in the same house so knowing things he THOUGHT I didn’t know helped me to reverse the power dynamic: HE thought he always knew more than I did, that he was still keeping secrets from me (they get off on that!). But in reality I knew things HE didn’t know I knew, and it kept me one step ahead of him. It empowered me to know I had a lot of info that he thought I didn’t.

        I think it may be possible for a person to walk out on a marriage without an affair partner. But that’s a VERY remote possibility. These disordered people thrive on being admired/adored, and he most likely was getting that from someone else. (Kibbles!) So if I were you, I would assume his denial was just another lie – one of probably thousands he told you.

        Also – do you have some people you can talk to about this? Friends, family, counselor, clergy? I have found that the more I “process” my pain during the day, the less my brain needs to “work through it” at night. Don’t know if that will help you, but it’s worth a try. A burden shared is a burden halved.

        NBC, sending you many chumpy hugs. So sorry you are going through this. Time heals. It DOES get better.

    • Yes. Find out! It probably won’t help the nightmares but it might help your bank account or custody case. Let me explain. My first cheater left me with two small kids. I dug up all the dirt. All. The. Dirt. I used it as leverage to get him to agree to me having primary physical custody and being able to move across the country for grad school. Worth the psychological/emotional effort. My second cheater was a high ranking military officer who cheated with high-end fetish prostitutes (to the tune of $800/hr–that’s a LOT of dissipated marital assets). He didn’t want THAT coming out and the settlement phase went very smoothly. Your ex might not be having a run of the mill affair. The state might not care who he screws for grounds purposes, but his employer might, or his family might, or the guardian ad litem might, or the public might. And he might be having that “affair” with prostitutes, or his drug dealer, or any number of situations where the knowledge might be very financially or custodially advantageous for you. A man with a drug or hooker issue can dissipate a lot of marital assets. Plus, even if she is a run of the mill schmoopie that doesn’t mean he is allowed to spend marital funds that belong to you on her. Track it down. Get it back. He may have been stealing for years. His parting move clearing out the bank account proves he is a financial cheater too.

      • I also think it’s important to find out who the AP is, and certainly there is one. First, you need to know if it’s someone you know. It could even be a family member. They might still be in your life, acting like nothing is going on because you’re blind to the truth. Second, the person might be a professional that your husband works with and it might prove a big threat if the affair became public. That’s a lot of leverage for you in the power dynamic. Third, you’ll want to know if this person is an alcoholic, or prostitute, etc. Your children might eventually be in contact with this woman and you want to be able to protect them.

        Finally, knowing if there was an affair and letting others know might help expand your support system. My own STBXHs family now knows about the affair and they know that he’s lying up a storm about the nature of the relationship. Because they are very moral people, they have made it very clear that they can never support this affair relationship and have all reached out to me tremendously. It has been very helpful and validating for me, but it also has been great for my kids to see me continue to interact with my in-laws in a positive way when their own dad has pretty much ditched his family too.

        Just determine in advanced how much truth is enough and stick to it. For example, is it enough to simply know that there was an affair and who? Then, stop when you find out. Don’t let it spiral you into obsessively overturning every rock to determine how many women, how long, and all the 5Ws – that’s just crazy town beckoning to you. I ended up finding out that there have been three women – one emotional affair “friendship” that he screwed up the courage to make physical but she rejected him at that point because she was married and carried the flirtation too far, his current OW went on for about the last year and a half of our marriage, and a one night stand in the few days before leaving me and returning to the OW (so much for true love). Most of this information fell into my lap by people reporting things to me. I eventually asked people to stop telling me things when I noted that each time I learned something (even small details), my anxiety would spike and I’d have trouble sleeping again.

        Know when you know enough to feel validated in your choices to kick his ass. Forget the rest…it’s just not worth it.

  • I sure know how you feel. My STBX had me served with divorce papers on my birthday. When I found out about him screwing around with my cousin. He denied and said they were only friends. Then he stopped the divorce and went no contact with Skankella. I was hopeful we could work things out. Only to find out he was secretly texting other women. And when I called him out on it. He would act innocent and tell me I was over reacting. So I showed him the door. These fuckwits only care about themselves and their satisfaction. I am so much better off with out him in my life.

    • I also had nightmares that my cousin was laughing at me. Mocking me that she got my house and money. I would wake up crying. These fuckwits do not understand what their cheating does to the loyal spouse. Put yourself first. You deserve to be happy.

      • My nightmares also involved a woman with long black hair laughing at me. I’ve never met her in person, but turns out the OW has long black hair.

        I never forget that laugh.

  • Be kind to yourself. The nightmares are normal. If you’re not working with a therapist, someone who specializes in trauma, then this is the time to start. There’s not an instant cure to them, but believe it or not, there are techniques to lessen them. As a mom of two preschool children, you owe it to yourself to see about lessening this one stressor.

    The other way to be kind to yourself is to take back your power. You got separation papers? Hit that sucker back with DIVORCE papers. Rather than let him know ahead of time, go around and interview some of the experienced family practice attorneys in town. Not all lawyers are equal when it comes to family law. You want someone who is board certified in family law and who can fight for you and your children.

    One of the very first things you can get your lawyer to do is place a court order to protect the financial assets. Your STBX may have an investment portfolio. You want to stop him from liquidating that portfolio. Basically, you want to freeze his ability to liquidate any of the marital assets.

    Start documenting how often he contacts you regarding the children. If he’s basically abandoned you and the kids, then that’s important to know for custody. Most states are 50/50 joint custody. People who walk out on the kids are people who do not want to take care of those children. Hit him up for college tuition, too.

    You can do this!

    Hugs and support to you!

    • This! Document everything you do for your children. Document every time he tries to contact children, etc. Since he abandoned, I’m sure it will be very little. Young children aren’t conducive to sweeping an idiot OW off her feet. If you get custody, more $$ he has to spend on child support.

  • I had similar abandonment and nightmares. I was awake journaling countless nights at 2 am. I finally went to a counselor and also had EMDR therapy. Both seemed to help a lot. Your post brought back my trauma/ptsd in vivid horrible detail. Remember that “this too shall pass” and try to process through it. You WILL HEAL, hold on to that in the worst of fears and nightmares. And know you are not alone. Sending healing thoughts.

  • And as kB said, force yourself to take back your power. When I counterfiled (mine went straight to divorce with no warning or discussion) it was the first time I didn’t feel helpless. First baby steps on wobbly legs. All of kb’s advice is spot on. Claim back your power and dignity. Listen to wise words here. You will be glad you did in the future.

    • I agree— counter-filing for divorce, and having him served with my complaint, was extremely motivating for me. Once I took that decisive, strategic action, it put me on the path to safety, recovery, and a far healthier life.

      @Rebecca’s comment upthread is spot on about making sure your live, local family lawyer advises you about the affair(s) and the kinds of financial evidence you should be collecting in your jurisdiction. Even in no fault states, this is still an area where often cheaters lie under oath, and having this evidence against them can get them to perjure themselves in a deposition, leading to a speedier settlement.

  • I wish we were all there with you. The X is also a sociopath/narcissist. He never gave me any good reasons or explanations, 18 years of marriage meant nothing. This is not going to be easy. You might try some research on character disorders, sociopaths and narcissists. It’s not going to be pleasant but it might help you understand and move past the hurt and bewilderment.

    If you haven’t, get a kick-ass lawyer. Being proactive and taking charge will empower you and move you forward. It could help lessen the nightmares. Please consider counseling if you haven’t already. I take a nightly Unisom. Look for the ones with doxylamine succinate, not the one with diphenhydramine (that’s the Benadryl-type which can dry you out). The Unisom helps me get to sleep and stay asleep.

    Please know – you did nothing wrong. I went through the whole what if I had done this or done that or more of this. It wouldn’t have mattered. My marriage might have lasted a bit a longer but at what cost to me? These people are shells. There’s nothing of value or substance. It’s all what they can fake until they either don’t want to or need to put the loving husband face.

    We know its’s not easy. The mask your husband took off revealed the true person underneath. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s the real one. This is one that I had a hell of time reconciling and still do sometimes. But if I’m honest and look back at my marriage, I see the holes where there should have been respect, friendship and trust.

    Keep coming back to CL. She will help you down this road.

    • “But if I’m honest and look back at my marriage, I see the holes where there should have been respect, friendship and trust.

      Exactly. My marriage was very one-sided, I just didn’t realize it at the time.

  • I had to know if cheating was part of it or not. Once I did, I dug a little further and found out enough to know it had been going on a long time. I then only dug to build my case (he was funneling money through her).

    It was enough to push me into the “trust he sucks” side and allowed me to see our past with eyes wide open instead of the years of spackle I had applied.

    Finding out the what helped me recover and go no contact. I didn’t search for details but knowing what he was capable of got me to stop trying to fix his depression and sto trying to save our marriage.

  • I still think that one of the most (emotionally) damaging aspect of affairs is that they corrupt our memories and destabilize our reality. Gaslighting is damaging to the psyche and I think we long to know the truth because it helps us to have a true map of our past and present, so we can anticipate the future. We can survive without the truth, but there is a reason nations take great pains to repatriate remains of soldiers and law enforcement to recover the bodies of victims: it matters. What happened to us when our families were blown up by our spouses really matters, that is what the dreams mean to me.

  • “Finding out what was hidden from you is one way to take your power back. Knowledge is power, and he withheld that from you.”

    ^^^^^This^^^^^

    An adequate grasp on reality is essential for psychological health and stability, and after months, years or decades of having ones reality denied, you are left with the overwhelming impression of defenselessness.
    As a consequence of having your reality denied or withheld, your inability to identify a truthful reality adequately, causes a deep sense of confusion and impending danger. Did your spouse really have a flat tire the time they were two hours late? What about all those “business” trips?

    In my case my spouse was a serial cheater, and I pick me danced… until I didn’t. The divorce discovery process was enlightening, and I realize now that his “let’s split amicably” was really a cover for his behind the scenes deception. He was lying (imagine that) the whole time he was financially setting up his new life.

    Here are a few truths I’ve learned along the way.

    1. Anyone who would abandon you feels no sense of moral or other obligation to you. Don’t expect them to “do the right thing” by telling you the truth, or to play “fair.”
    2. Your current reality doesn’t hinge on what happened in the past. Whether he cheated or not, your reality is, he took off. Wanting to know why is human, but it doesn’t change what is – he’s a douche bag!
    3. Relationships exist when the participants create a mental view of it. Without the relational conception of both people, there is no way to know what type of relationship exists. Your desire to know is an attempt to define what your relationship “really was” vs. what you thought it was. That is something SANE people do. “In pathological relationships we see a constant sabotaging or refusing of the other’s attempts to define the relationship.” Stop giving him the power to define what the relationship was. Take comfort in knowing you were the sane, loving and honest participant in the relationship, and HE is the loser here! What you lost was an illusion, what he lost was a genuine relationship.
    4. Learn to stop judging situations through intent. Intent never changes the outcome, it only changes our perception. With the exception of a brain tumor, there’s no explanation that would change my perception of abandoning your family. It doesn’t really matter why, or what the intent was. What matters is your reality today. He disadvantaged you by withholding truths about your shared life. You want to understand that life because you valued it. He didn’t.

    • That comment on “sabatoging the relationship” is so true. When I felt that, I would address it. X, of course, would deny. When I finally recognized that there was nothing to work with, I let him go. You truly can not make the disordered normal.

  • Mine did something very similar-left just after Christmas. We had our three kiddos as well as four foster kiddos at the time. All because he’s ‘in love’ with his Craigslist whore. Still with her but I’m way better off. I have my kiddos and he hasn’t seen them since he left. Too much ‘responsibility’ is what he claimed. Tough being a 40 year old man with people expecting things of him. All she expects is 24/7 sex – much easier! They all suck in the end – we have to stand taller and be the proud women we are. In the end my kids have a mom who has busted her butt to keep life moving and they see it and are better for it too.

    • My first asshole left us Christmas day, without a word. The next day was my birthday when I found him in a hotel with his whore. What is it with these evil fucks that they have to ruin a holiday about peace and love by abandoning their family. It is like they must throw a molotov cocktail over their soldier to see if they can absolutely destroy you and make sure there isn’t a shred of joy left for you and the kids.

    • Any flea bitten skank who peddles herself on craigsist for guys is almost definatly still doing that. Or soon will. That board is for nasty gross losers. My ex put me up on there for revenge (how dare I find out about the hookers and MAKE him run away w my questions!), and the guys who responded- just ew.

  • The not knowing for sure is really really hard. Someone once compared it to having a child go missing versus losing a child through an illness (i am not comparing losing a child to losing a cheating spouse. Good riddance to the cheating spouse… only the not knowing what happened part)

    Not knowing, makes it hard to know exactly what you are grieving. How do you heal when your not sure exactly what the injury is? It makes it hard to move on. It takes away your ability to choose based on objective evidence. Its the ultimate mind fuck.

    I am not a psychologist, but maybe the secrecy is linked to a deep deep rooted shame. These mother fuckers know at some level how shitty they have been. Its a sick form of denial. And like chump lady said, it shows how little they respect us. We dont even deserve the truth in their minds.

    My ex left us in 2015. I never received proof of an affair. He never dated or moved in with anyone. Only superficially has my son meet other woman and that was not until we were separated for a while… but the signs were all there.

    I used to say, “if i just knew. If i just knew for sure i will hire a ruthless SOB lawyer and move on and date “. For some reason all the other crappy things werent enough to show me that he sucks.

    Turns out he was hiding alcoholism and some type of habit that cost him at least 700 a week, cc debt, and a depleted IRA. We negotiated his refusal of drug testing for supervised night time visits.

    I still dont have proof there was an other woman. (Although it would make sense except for his erectile dysfunction) That would make me eternally hate him. The rest would not as much for some reason.

    But “trust that they suck” is just the best advice out there. It really is. Abandonment, financial rape and stone walling is enough OP.

    • At the risk of making it worse: He may have had erectile dysfunction with you because he was fucking hookers and/or the OW and/or chronically masturbating to porn.

      This can and does happen – the husband loses his mojo at home because he’s unable to function sexually outside of his fetishes. There are a lot of case studies on this blog.

      • That happened in my marriage. He already had some erectile issues when I first met him.

        I’m convinced that he takes some pills sometimes with the other woman.

  • Dear NBC,

    You will get through this. It will just take TIME… motherfucking TIME. It’s only been 10 months, and sadly, that isn’t nearly enough time yet. In my first 10 months post discard, I lost 70 lbs and had my gallbladder removed. A blink against what was ahead in divorcing a disordered person.

    What you are feeling is NORMAL. But, I agree with CL in that you cannot let it paralyze you right now. You need a pitbull lawyer… go interview some while the kids are in school. You may live in a no-fault state, but he cannot take joint assets and spend at will without your consent… this could come in handy if you are going to try to keep the marital house.

    I think what you CAN do is this:

    – get that lawyer and start getting child support and financial support immediately… nothing say fuck you quite like a subpoena
    – love those babies, keep life as normal as possible for them, cry in the shower
    – DO NOT TAKE ANY BLAME FOR THIS… tell anyone who is less than 100% in your corner to leave you alone

    You are now training for the divorce Olympics and you need your energy and your focus. And, I will tell you from experience… every step I took toward getting my divorce and building my new fuckwit free life was a step toward sleeping through the night and getting clear in my head that the “who” truly doesn’t matter… his actions are all that matter.

    You can do this.

  • To NBC and to all:
    These are some of the things that helped me with the nightmares / bad dreams / racing thoughts / anxiety / and so on.
    First and foremost: Prayer! Prayer! and more Prayer! Feed your spiritual hunger and the need to depend on someone higher than yourself.
    Emotional Freedom Technique: You can learn to do this on yourself, but I went to trained professional. It helped tremendously! Read about how it works to understand…..
    Acupuncture: Most all chumps end up with some degree of PTSD. I did several different things to help with mine, but acupuncture was a major key in getting over it.
    Clean up your diet: When people go through traumas, many end up eating lots of junk and dead food., lots of chemical additives. This affects us far more than most conventional doctors or counselors understand.
    Stay away from meds of ALL kinds: Prescription drugs and even OTC stuff of all types damage the body and brain in so many ways! The research of how poisonous meds are is there, but it is often buried by those with vested $$ interests.
    Reduce WiFi and EMF exposure: These things, in themselves, can trigger bad dreams and so on. Do some research and do what you can to reduce your exposure or at least how to help your body mitigate the damage.
    Avoid negative books / movies / etc.: Doing things that nourish our souls is so important! It doesn’t have to be time consuming, as I realize many chumps have little ones, in addition to full-time work and so on. Something as simple as having “Wholetones” (Michael Tyrell) playing in your home will have great positive effect.
    And keep reading here!: As all of us know first-hand, having suppo from those who have BTDT is key to surviving this poop storm. This Nation of genuine, authentic souls is so very precious.
    There are other things I do and have done, but these are the main things

    Love to all as we ForgeOn!

    • Good advice ForgeOn! I had an acupuncture session one time (for torn achilles tendon) and some strange stuff happened to me. I panicked as I was not prepared but now I know that some internal crap was being released. I plan on finding another acupuncture facility near my home and going back even though my torn achilles tendon issue is resolved as I went on the Whole30 as well. Highly recommend the Whole30 by the way. If a person is not into prayer they should say aloud what an abusive, terrible asswipe their cheater is (use whatever description applies) and how the cheater will no longer affect their lives. Another exercise is visualizing the cheater in a perfect bubble that there is no escape and they are floating away. I use another visualization (quite gross) technique that I will keep to myself but basically shuts a door where the abusers cannot harm you. I swear it works.

      • Most excellent, KB22!

        My way of describing / envisioning how acupuncture works: Draining a blood blister, abcess or other infected tissue. Draining relieves the pressure and allows the area to heal and function properly again. I do know there is more involved than mere ‘drainging’; however, I am sure I would not be able to give a proper explanation of how it all works! I just know it does…..

        Negative energy does literally get pooled in our body and acupuncture, EFT & other modalities facilitates the ‘draining’.

        Thank you for adding your personal experience. Please find a practitioner near you soon!

        {{{HUGS!}}}

    • Agreed!!! His abrupt move straight to divorce floored me. My brain told me it had to be someone else, but he denied, denied, denied. In person, in text, on email, etc. The worst form of gas lighting. I think that they are not only fooling you, but fooling themselves. Suddenly he was not happy after 25 years! The truth finally came out, but not from him. And it was a relief to know that I wasn’t crazy. And explained his cold detachment. I will say it did not make me feel any better to find out, but knowledge CAN be power in a divorce.

      • It amazes how much alike these soulless shits really are. The X denied as well until after the divorce was final and the house was sold. As then, his answer was “what happened after the divorce was filed is of no concern” The time from his telling me he wanted out to the filing was 3 days! He doesn’t get to determine if it’s of no concern to me. Just thinking about it really pisses me off.

        But yes, the X like yours was a master at gaslighting and deflection. It’s like there’s a class where they all got A’s.

  • I see dreams and reoccurring thoughts as ways our subconscious niggles our brain with information we actually DO need to know…. and probably do know on a subconscious level that is basically screaming to be seen and acknowledged. When this has happens with me, and I have an aha moment, those niggling thoughts go away.

    We can spend a lot of time untangling the skein, but the skein also provides pertinent information that confirms to us that we are not crazy and that they are simply assholes.

    It’s been 2 years since I was discarded and I STILL had another “aha” moment in August that had been niggling me… and now that it makes sense as to why my brain wouldn’t let it go, it’s let it go.

    The nightmares will lessen with time and distance and as healing comes to you. It’s a symptom of PTSD and I believe must be worked through to a point in order to untangle our own skeins, which for a time are unavoidably tangled with theirs. These things are simply the mind working to untangle ourselves from them and their bullshit.

  • I agree with CL, you have experienced a Trauma. It will take a long time to heal from that trauma. I too suffered from trauma of a blindsided divorce. Divorce PTSD is real. I suffered from nightmares, severe anxiety, replays, flashbacks and depression. I can also tell you that knowing all the little details, will only make the wound worse. My ex told me things I didnt need to know just so he could justify his own actions to himself because he wanted feel better. The things he said will never leave my mind and eclisped our whole realtionship. Even now I dont know if anything he said was actually true. So what was the point? It boils down to the same sad ending either way, he left.
    I know its hard to see when you are blindsided by who you thought was your best friend, your partner, your forever but this is the real person he hid from you. Someone who has even a fraction of a heart would never destroy someones entire world with no warning, regardless of why. That is not love, that is war.
    Even if you do find out the “real” reason, it will not bring you the closure you seek. You will never have closure as almost noone in this situation ever does. If you get the real story, it brings up more questions involving self blame. If you get a lie, which it likely will be, it will make you question what else was a lie.
    The only way to move forward is to accept the things you know are facts. He left, you will never have closure and now you are free to make your life for you and your kids the best it can be without a snake hiding in your best friends clothing. Take a chance to do things for you, not for him. Will it be hard, yes. Will some days be better then others, yes. Will you go through the rollar coaster of emotion that will have you at your weakest and strongest in the same moment, yes. Will it be worth it, absolutely! He doesnt deserve you, or your thoughts. Regardless of why you are here, you are here. The only thing you can do is move forward. Good luck and take care of yourself.

  • I have to say, YouTube became my go to place for comfort and knowledge during the dark time. I went to bed with it and discovered many things I never would have found but for the discard. It put me to sleep many times and was there if I awoke before the alarm. It was my counselor and cheerleader and gave me knowledge of my own strength.

    NBC you have strength too, all chumps do. You buried it but now you’re going to unearth it and use the hole to bury the corpse of a false partnership.

    The best way to use your newfound strength is not to focus on what is now dead to you. I didn’t get a great attorney I got a cheap one because all I wanted was to sever the tie as fast as I possibly could.

    Focus on getting the gangrenous tumor removed and going forward with your healing. Now.

    Figure out how and why you settled for so much less in life. Details about the ghoul be damned, he’s a ghoul. What else do you need to know? Stop giving it oxygen. It’s dead and buried.

    Accept responsibility for the choices you made, focus on, fix and love YOU. You’re going to get through this and there will be, always, new challenges ahead. Focus on getting ready to meet them as the fabulous, strong and wise woman you are!

  • Dear NBC,
    Our stories are almost identical, even right down to the month he walked out. I did find proof in April that he was a cheater with an ex-howorker in form of bank statements. I understand your need to know, as I felt the same. Just be warned that it does open a whole can of worms and now I have so many triggers pop up because I know details of where they vacationed (behind my back of course), where they ate, presents that were purchased ect ect. So it is a double edged sword. I would have search until I knew the truth, it just sucks and he and the OW suck. I am slowly working through it all and it has gotten a little better. Yesterday I got the divorce decree in the mail so we are divorced, what a sad relief. I am pretty sure he doesn’t know yet, and this brings me a little glee (I have my own secret too now), eventually he will check his P.O. Box though and I am sure I will hear that he is planning to marry the slut in short order (good they will make each other miserable eventually😄). Anyhow, lean on C.N. and supportive people whatever you do. Hugs to you.

  • I frequently dream about my ex and the OW. Sometimes it’s that he wants to come back, sometimes it’s that he hid money, did something else horrible that I didn’t know about….all kinds of variations. The night before I found out they got married, I dreamed I had been invited to their wedding and spent the entire time trying to figure out how to beat up the bride.

    The worst for me are the ones where he actually repents and wants to come back. I wake up with a sad heart after those. I can’t help but reflect on the reality that that isn’t going to happen, and that so many years passed where I wasted away, treading water with a man I didn’t truly know. I still wish he had turned out to be a better man than he is.

    Now, when I wake up from this garbage I am able to look forward these days. I’m not done hurting…probably won’t happen for a while…but at least I can remember not to dwell on the antics of my psyche.

    • I used to have nightmares before DDay that usually involved him being callous towards me in some way and I would wake up thinking how realistic those dreams were. After DDay I would have dreams about him saying cruel things to me which is pretty much what he was doing when I was awake too, so again, realistic dreams. Now I don’t have those kinds of dreams anymore. Sometimes I do have dreams about him wanting to reconcile (or at least sleep with me) and yes they are the scary ones. What scares me is wondering why I am having those dreams. In my waking hours I don’t want him to ask to come back but if I am dreaming about it does that mean I subconsciously do? That is what scares me. They are getting better, however. In my early reconciliation dreams I would take him back. In the more recent ones I have refused him. Progress? It is a moot point, however, as he would never humiliate himself by trying to win me back. That would mean admitting to having fucked up in the first place.

      • Yes, having dreams that someone is being callous or indifferent to you while you are agonizing are very common. It is an indicator that something is very wrong with the relationship. I am sure most of the chumps on here had that sort of dream before D-Day occurred.

        • Callous and indifferent?

          I don’t need a nightmare to experience that. It’s the reality in how he continue to treat me.

          You would think I was the one that cheated on him.

          • Yup. To this day he treats me like I did something horrible to him…not the other way around! Any time I was near him, he stared daggers at me. Now, post divorce, there is mutual “no contact” and he has completely stopped seeing couples friends that we used to share (I moved out of state after the divorce, so it’s not like we could accidentally run into each other).

            Pretty much as soon as I refused to be chumped any longer–hired my lawyer, insisted on my 50%, and told his parents and OW’s parents exactly what was going on–he threw a toddler tantrum that is still occurring. It’s insane. He’s like a completely different person.

  • Ah, nightmares. The gift that keeps on giving. I’m theee years out, happy, and don’t spend waking hours dwelling on him and what happened to me. But I have nightmares all the time. I had one this morning, and woke up to read this post.

    I HATE that my unconscious mind continues to dwell. That tells me I’m not as over it as I think or would like to be. I think that having to raise kids with him is part of it. I can’t really get him out of my life, which super sucks.

    • Continued trauma.

      I was recently saying to someone that the worse part of a marriage betrayal with kids is that you have to keep seeing the fuckwit who betrayed you and you have to figure out how to parent with them. It’s continued trauma again and again. If we didn’t have kids, I would never ever want to see him again.

      Just like all the RIC literature encourages you to “stand” for your marriage and be understanding/forgiving, etc. So much literature about “co-parenting” is about being friends for the sake of the kids.

      I’m sorry, I cannot be “friends” with someone who continues to see the OW he was running around with for the last year and a half of our marriage. The one that he told me is really a good person who’s just made some mistakes in her life, while nailing me to the cross for everything he deemed wrong with me (like not going to amusement parks…yep, he complained about that for real). Why should I endure the continued insult to my dignity?

      • That’s funny, mine complained that I DID like amusement parks. Petty shit they come up with. Anyway, I’m with you completely, I can’t be friends with him for the sake of the kids or for any other reason. I can’t do it any more than I could be friends with someone who burned down my house or robbed me at gun point. Not now, not in a million years will we be “friends”. I explain it to people this way: it’s like I was poisoned, and I nearly died. I was in the hospitals recovering for weeks. For months. And it turns out that the people who poisoned me are the only person I trusted in the world, and a stranger who conspired with him against me. And these people are going to be at my daughter’s graduation, taking my children away from me on a regular basis. And I’m supposed to be friendly? Yeah, um, fuck you

  • The first Dday I found out who she was and drove myself CRAZY, stalking her (facebook only!) and comparing myself continually. I joked/not-joked that he had broken my brain.
    Second Dday I never looked and I never found out. I never even had a stitch of proof. He refused to unlock his phone for me and that was enough and I told him to leave.
    I was much happier not knowing, but we all work differently.

    • Yet more argument against wreckonciliation – they just go further underground next time.

      Wreckonciliation is humiliating for cheaters, but the entitlement never goes away. Solution? Next time, make sure you don’t get caught.

  • Married 34 years, dating 2 yrs. It’s such a horrible thing to realize that I was disposable just for a Whore.
    After catching them together I knew I marriage was over . But now I know he was over it for years. I’m so sorry I didn’t find out sooner but I ignored the red flags because I was terrified of losing him.
    D Day was almost 3 years now but I still dream of him & wake up crying. I pray that it’ll end so I can finally have peace.

    He got what he wanted.. but lost what he needed.

    • same only mine was 15.5 years.. .. it never ceases to amaze me how men leave a good woman. the only one who held them down and put up with all their shit for a comman basic street whore.

      wasband left saying that i “got boring”.. .. apparently she was super fun being as she drunk as much as he did and got him hooked on meth.. ..(you know because a woman who bailed on her own husband and abandoned her own 4 children knows so much about how to love a man) ya, so much fun.. … .. now 4 years later (well really after the first year) she beats the shit out of him, fights with him every day and belittles him in front of her friends. she doesnt do a forth of the shit i did for him. and yet he stays with her and gave up everything for her.

      i recently talked to a boyfriend i had before wasband, and found out that he also hooked up and married a crack whore. .. .. and as he is talking to me he tells me something like he has never been this torn up over a female before.. .. HUH? what was i chop liver. OHHHhh right, he cheated on me so i did not mean shit to him. but this skank who only cares about herself and her drugs .. . he is so torn up apart and suicidal.. .. haha

      i just cant figure it out. i was recently telling my mom that men do not want a good woman like me. i am normal, steady and reliable.. .. .. nope men want that half dressed, desperately thristy for attention, insecure and messed up in the head, turning tricks and whatever else gutter rat that wears 6 inch high heals, thongs and have her face made up and hair done.. .. . well, sorry. i dont have hours to get ready to party in the evenings because i have a job during the day, and when i get home i need to take care of my kids instead of stand in front of a mirror putting on make up, fake eye lashes and curling my hair. . .. .i mean someone needs to feed these kids and make sure they have their homework done and take a bath before bed.. .. by the time all that is done, i am ready for bed myself,no way do i feel like getting shiny and shacking my exposed ass on the dance floor or grinding with some stranger…

      give me my boring life anyday. i did not want to live that way and no way could i abuse him the way he apparently wants to be treated. .. . i got too much pride and sense for that shit.. . i have peace now.

  • NBC, honey, so sorry to hear you are living this nightmare, but sadly you are in good company.

    Speaking for myself, it was extremely helpful to do some detective work and find out, well, undoubtedly not everything, but enough.

    I thought I was married to the most faithful, hardworking, devoted husband and father in the world. When he left me after 32 years together, he made me think it was all my fault. I was devastated and traumatized, and completely in the dark.

    It took me several months to gather and analyze phone records, snoop into our company files, search his car and condo, plant a GPS on his car and track him, and do extensive online research, and after I filed for divorce I obtained and analyzed his credit card and bank records. I am SO glad I did all that work.

    I discovered 1) my then-husband was having an ongoing affair with a local woman, 2) he had had at least one prior affair that produced a child who was by then 13, 3) he had secretly been paying child support for that child by stealing it from our family business, 4) he was hiding cash, and above all 5) he was NOT AT ALL the person I had thought he was for so long.

    This was extremely valuable information to have. Not only did it give me leverage in the divorce, but knowledge of his actions helped me to stop blaming myself. I also learned about narcissistic personality disorder, which I had never heard of before. Doing research into NPD was a key component of my emotional recovery.

    So for me, the detective work and the knowledge paid off. My ex capitulated on the divorce, which had initially shaped up to be quite a protracted battle but in the end was super fast and easy. I was able to share the truth of the matter with my loved ones and friends, rather than wonder and accept blame. Today I feel I was able to regain my identity as a whole, healthy, strong, independent woman faster and more completely than I would have had I chosen to stay in the dark.

    • I agree, it is better to know. I did not find out through detective work. I had my suspicions in the month or two leading up to DDay but I was afraid to find out so I stalled. When I found out anyway (told by Schmoopie’s husband) I was glad I knew. Painful as it was, everything made more sense that way. Ex said he hadn’t told me because he didn’t want me to get hurt. More like he didn’t want me to know that he was the bad guy and our marriage blowing up wasn’t the result of my mistreatment/neglect of him. I was already hurting plenty before I found out about Schmoopie I just didn’t have all of the facts behind that hurt.

      • It’s all about image management. He didn’t want me to find about OW or his whore habit. Not once did he concern himself with how I would feel or what I needed.

      • as long as your KNOWING is as far as it goes.

        it can go either way, some people find out and KNOW but then try to fix it or work harder to make him understand or whatever. they get sucked into the cycle of abuse, trying to understand and love someone who is beyond damaged and purposely using you…

        or you can stay stuck in either hatred or saddness.. .. angry at him and what he did to you OR super depressed and hurt at what he did (or did not do) that you stay stuck in self depreciation.

        or try to use that KNOWLEDGE against him to get revenge.

        i had to find out just so that i could accept the truth. i had to see him kissing her and being with her to make it sink into my brain. Some people can not handle that kind of pain shopping. it hurt like hell but it is what I needed. .. . i finally got the last piece to the puzzle this past summer when i finally found out what HIS side of the story as to WHY we got divorced was. .. . of course it is nothing near the actual truth but at least NOW I KNOW what he thinks. his story is that we just grew apart, we both stopped loving each other . it was neither his fault or my fault we just were having problems. .. .. . it used to bother me NOT KNOWING what his reason was. i mean i knew his reason was completely different then mine but my wondering and thinking what it was actually hurt me more then finding out the truth.. ..

        • MrsVain
          I too had to see for myself. I confronted them together at her home 1:00 a m. They were sitting on a porch swing-I walked up on them. They laughed at me saying sexual things they did together He told me he loved her while she was tormenting me verbally. I finally walked away in shock.. he said “ I’ve been cheating on you for 20 years & you can forget about tomorrow (was my birthday ) & have a nice life”, I was crying & in pain but I had to drive home.
          I will never forget his cold shark eyes as he lied to her in front of me denying anything we did in our 34 year marriage.
          Divorced now 3 years but that night I realized I was matti a monster. Trying to get to meh..🙁

            • Kathleen, honey, I so feel for you. Your ex and his slut deserve the torments of the ninth circle of hell. Had you encountered each of them on their own, they undoubtedly would not have had the courage to confront you in such an evil way.

              But fundamentally I doubt they were any worse than any of our cheaters, in that moment they just had the courage to show they were the basest of the base. Most of the time these cheaters are pretending to be more upstanding. Yours didn’t bother.

              You WERE married to a monster. As were so many of us. At this point we can just be grateful to be shed of them and free to live our lives in honesty and integrity. As painful as this aftermath might be.

              For me it has been almost five years. I expected to be much farther along by now. But better here than still entangled with evil incarnate.

              Sending you hugs tonight ((((((Kathleen))))))

              • ChampChump
                Just a nite.. the whore died last year while walking into a store- hit by a car. 5 weeks after she was buried he moved into another woman’s house. What does that tell you about the “love” he had with the whore? Told my son he doesn’t to be alone. 71 year old cruel narcissist living on Viagra.
                Your correct, monsters walk among us😈
                ((Hugs)) 💕

  • If your subconscious is fighting you this hard, please seek out a decent therapist to help you through this. Just the validation of “it really IS him” combined with learning about the minds of sociopaths (which are difficult to relate to when you’re not one) is helpful to put down that baggage and let him go.

  • you can try to find out who.. .. or several whos… .. but it will not help. the only thing that will help is if you accept what he truely is and remind yourself repeatedly that you do not want to be with a man who can carelessly walk out on you and your kids. … . The rest of it really does NOT matter.

    did he leave for a neighbor? a teenager? an older lady with money? a younger lady with a nice body? is he secretly gay? does he swing both ways? is he fucking dogs and cats? (i hope not, poor dog/cat) .. .. .. honestly it doesnt matter. Because the only thing that really matters is that he bailed on YOU. he treated YOU like shit after all that you did for him and walked out. he left YOU and your kids without a second thought or glance back. THEREFORE, he is not right for YOU. you deserve better.

    good luck

    • a good way to remind yourself what a piece of poop he is would be to write down all the bad things he did to you. i started doing this because i noticed that for every story, every article and post on this site and a few others i am on, it seemed like i had a similar story. so i started writing those stories down.. .. .. and i ended up with 3 whole notebooks of horrible and shitty things wasband did during the 15.5 years i was with him. ALL of the things that i forgave and forgot, or i made excuses for, or that i did not take offense to because my mind doesnt work that way.. ..

      what i learned was that

      — my good marriage really was not as good as i thought it was

      — i did much more then my fair share of the work, raising children, cleaning and keeping the house, planning vacations, making sure the vehicles, house, kids, yard, all ran smoothly, making doctor appointments and visiting the school. making all the real and hard decisions. i carried all that on my back every day.

      — i actually was much better off without his drama, his toxic behavior, his insecurities, his neediness, his issues, his bad days, his silent treatments, his passive aggressive sabotaging of everything important to me. his lying, his gaslighting, his half and trickle truth stories/explanations, his stealing, his rage, his resentment that i was better then he was, his whatever.. .. i have peace and happiness now

      • Love this, MrsVain. Journaling was helpful in those early years because it reminded me of all the shitty behavior. I especially liked your last paragraph. I was so busy trying to make “our” marriage work that I didn’t see that X was trying just as hard to blow it all up. It took Dday for me to finally understand I had nothing there to work with.

        • same. i always say i was so busy putting out the little fires that i did not see that the whole house was an inferno thanks to wasband. .. .

          By the end of 15.5 years i was a mess. i actually started writing down ever conversation because he was so good at making me think i was crazy. he would either say he already told me that, or never said that.. .. so i knew my head was in a bad place so i started writing down our conversations because i was so worried about figuring out HOW to fix “our” marriage.. .. only to find out that i was right all along. he was NOT already telling me and he actually DID say that.. .. imagine how surprised and shocked i was to find out he was lying.. .. ugh

          it gets better. 4 years now since my divorce. i was crying as i signed the divorce papers but now i have peace. my head is clear and i am starting to do all the things i used to do before i got so busy trying to fix him. i had forgot how much i enjoyed these things. plus i enjoy my stressfree and cheerly boring little life i have with my children and now my grand children. he is still a toxic miserable mess but at least he is not my problem anymore.

          I AM FREE

  • I am sorry you are struggling. I too have nightmares, but they are decreasing in frequency and severity. Here are things that I have found helpful or not helpful:

    Helpful:
    Exercising in late afternoon/early evening, maybe one to two hours before bed.
    Eating a small, light meal for dinner.
    Reviewing in my head good things that happened during the day as soon as I get into bed.
    Finding three things to be grateful for as I get into bed.
    Guided meditation for sleep.
    Making the bedroom comfortable with regard to temperature, darkness, nice smells, a good mattress, etc.
    Regular therapy with a good therapist.

    Not helpful:
    Looking at the internet in bed or just before getting into bed.
    Having a long, complex, conversation with someone just before bed.
    Reading something distressing before bed.
    Reading the newspaper or listening to the news on TV (often very grim/sad/upsetting).

    I tried a lot of things. I couldn’t find EMDR anywhere near where I was living, but I tried hypnosis, Reiki, yoga, massage, and acupuncture. Some helped a bit, some didn’t help at all. I was so exhausted from either not being able to get to sleep or finally falling asleep, and then having nightmares, that I tried to take it apart like a science experiment, changing one variable at a time.

    It does get better with time.

  • I get to divorce my monster today. I’m waiting for an excited or relieved feeling but I am just numb. I never thought I would end up here, life sure is unpredictable.

    • Yes, Bluewren, life is unpredictable. When I received my divorce decree in the mail, my first thought was to celebrate. But then I thought…wait a minute, this is actually sad. I never did celebrate it. But gaining a life is the best thing ever.

    • Big hugs Bluewren! I never thought I would end up here either. I was looking toward the second half of our marriage as that what he kept telling me.

      We can do this. I still tell people that it’s one day and one step at a time. Do what you can. Take a step each day toward a new you and a step away from someone who didn’t value you. Breath in and breath out. Try to find little joys that bring a smile. Wake up and find something to be thankful for. When you go to bed, give yourself a little praise for getting through the day. And believe me, nothing will change them. They were monsters before we met them and they will be monsters long after today. We, thank goodness, can feel all these great emotions and even the bad ones. We are alive!

  • Hang in there my dear you will survive I’m at nearly two years since D-Day it’s brutal but you will survive trust me just stay strong. My ex was a full on NARC and I also had no idea until he came home one day after work and said I’m leaving with our neighbour a METH addict!😩

  • Sleep hygiene is great. Mild exercise will help you feel better anyway, as well as help you sleep.

    Lay off the caffeine.

    Journalling – document the nightmare. Writing it out each time it happens makes it less scary, and will also start to throw up clues as to what’s really going on inside you.

    Don’t be ashamed to use valerian supplements, or even to use precription meds to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep when you are really tired.

    Good sleep will give you more energy to go after that fucker properly. God speed.

  • I’m not sure where to post this….my D Day was 8/8, discard date 8/10….I kept my knowledge to myself for awhile.

    Separation on 8/24….and my divorce is final today.

    This came out of the blue, I am thankful this phase is over.

    Still have to coparent —- that said he moved 1,000 miles away.

    Sad and hopeful all at the same time.

    • Oh, SA, hugs to you. My discard to divorce was just as quick. There’s hardly any time to process that you are no longer married and not much time to comprehend just what the hell happened.

      You realize that you are the PARENT? That far away, he will gradually fade into the distance. Build a life for you and your son – one that makes you two happy.

      • Thanks, it was really fast. A few weeks ago I realized he wasn’t going to change his mind. Then it starts to be real. He only left the house 10 days ago. It was amazingly hard to live in the same house pretending that things were fine (no fighting, still making dinner and eating together etc)….especially when he spent his nights texting her all night five feet away from me. Was a relief in a way when he went.

    • I parent. I do the daily heavy lifting. X does what ever the fuck he wants, as he always has. It’s no surprise many cheaters move miles away, they are incapable of putting others needs before their own. A good example of disordered is showing up to your daughter’s graduation from college (X only attends the “important” occasions, what he calls “life experiences”) after having left his family homeless and stealing DD’s hard earned money (college fund) on his way out. He did finally pay her back, years after…Lol. But it is no longer my job to parent with Fucktard. I did enough when married to that POS. As my kids are older it is on them and their father to build a relationship. Or not. I don’t believe it’s healthy to model and coparent with someone who consistently chose to fuck us over (infidelity and financial infidelity go hand in hand). Faking “friends” is not setting a good example for our children. Healthy means no more spackling, X hasn’t any value to me, and I have no more room in my life for crap, toxic, people. Healthy boundaries, Chumps.

      • That said, allow your ex to carve out the time (and money) needed to support the child you share. A good parent will pursue needed information, access to school calendars, sports schedules, lists of needed supplies for extracurricular activities, etc. Good parents are engaged. Selfish people fail at this, it is too much work, and will do less and less each year.

        • I am trying to make a life, he’s just left us in a bit of a mess. Will get through it…a bit overwhelmed at times. He has full access to our son — he needs to do the work. Was surprised that I was not going to provide them his address— said I was just making it hard for him. My response was I wasn’t his wife anymore so it was no longer my job. I don’t think he’s provided anything, starting to keep records.

          No child support but I don’t have to pay alimony, so I’m ahead. Once I get all the repairs made to the house and refinance I’m free of him.

          Half the repair costs come out of his equity.

          Elisa

  • I read on here that someone changed their exhusband’s picture in their phone to a scene from The Picture of Dorian Gray (she has to keep his number due to shared children). I realized my cheater is exactly like that. It gave me several nightmares that week. Woke up screaming even one night.

  • My nightmares gradually tapered off about one year after I made her leave our home. I found out who (work colleague – so original). I also learned that AP was just like me (only better, cause higher salary and no kids). It helped me stop beating myself up for not being attractive or successful enough. But then I decided to stop getting more info. even though I had access to it. I know my ex sucks. She has always sucked. I partnered with her anyway, and I tried to save her, and I made the biggest fucking mistake of my life. I had previous traumas, and I needed help, and I got it. I finally said NO. It was NOT easy, and I lost A LOT, but I got better. I am 2 1/2 years out, and there are still some very hard days — feelings that sneak up from behind and wallop me, but the nightmares subsided, as did a myriad of physical health problems, once the toxin (LadyLiar) was out of my life and could no longer poison me.

  • Dear NBC,

    I’m sorry for what you are going through. CL is right. You are going through trauma. It is time for a good therapist and some radical self care! I agree with CL – you have to just take your power back. Start working out and be a badass! Only think of yourself and what you and your kids want!

    I know it’s hard. I kind of wish that my STBX just up and left. I have wasted years and years of trying to figure out who/what and why? I can’t unsee the video of him Fucking an escort a few doors down from me and the kids, I can’t unsee all the text messages and Facebook messages – I can’t unsee him and his latest stupid girlfriends love poetry on Instagram. And that is just scratching the surface! It’s all such a complete waste of time! Just forget him! It is All terrible! All of it! Good luck and you’ll get through it!

  • Dear NBC (and Chumps in the same situation),
    I just want to let you know – it gets better. The nightmares eventually stop. I lost a parent in a traumatic way at the same time as the cheating happened and would be unable to sleep from the pain, the nightmares and the crying. I took sleeping pills to simply get enough sleep and started journaling. Writing at night, and doing conscious streaming writing in the morning to get the nightmares out of my head. And meditating a bit. No time for all the long videos on youtube, just a simple 3-5 minute breathing/prayer exercise.

    Eventually the nightmares lessened. One day I woke up and realised, hey, I actually had a full night’s sleep! And then a few months later, I realised I hadn’t had a nightmare in ages!

    Trust me, it’ll get better. Like the others say, focus on YOU. On feeling better. On the divorce and the kids. It gets better. It really does.

    Good luck xx

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