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Who’s Hoovering Who?

Dear Chump Lady

I am no contact with my ex-boyfriend, and have been since August. He “wanted a break” in January, but I didn’t know that he already had his vastly inferior-to-me girlfriend already waiting in the wings.

At this time, he would hoover me in once a month using some pretense (documents he could throw away, trinkets and gifts he wanted to give me/give back, you know what’s coming next). Have sex with me for a day/weekend, then not hear from him a whole month.

D-Day was in April, and I broke up with him two days later. He continued to hoover and I was high on hopium. He would find some excuse to meet up, we would, then have sex, and I would not hear from him. April to July’s excuse was he wanted to “work things out”.

He wanted me to do the pick-me-dance and asked me to arrange for counseling. I told him there was no reason to since he was with her, why even bother, etc. He said that he didn’t love her, and please book us a session. Chump that I was, I did.

He left 10 minutes after the second session. Anyway, the last time I was chumped again after a successful hoovering was in August. He “missed us.” We (he, my child and I) went swimming/had a picnic, and I ended sleeping with him again. This was a Monday. On Friday, My child and I bumped into him with his girlfriend at the supermarket the same week.

It felt like a sucker punch to the gut and I cut off all contact/blocked him. I sent him a letter declaring my no contact, and that was all the closure I needed. He had been trying to hoover me again and I have been holding strong so far. He finally stopped bugging me two weeks ago. I decided to stop stalking his and his girlfriend’s Facebook and social media last week, things are looking good.

My question:

My Masters degree graduation from University is coming up in October. My ex was my rock and pillar of strength at that time. He helped me financially when things got tight, he took care of my son/babysat when I had the late or night shift at work, edited my papers, etc. So I feel that I owe him a debt of gratitude for the two years he was there for us. I obviously did not invite him to the ceremony or to the after-party. I was planning to send him a message on Whatsapp with a picture of my diploma with a caption saying “thank you”. However, I feel uneasy about this because I don’t want to open another avenue for him to try to hoover me back. I just want to thank him. I just want to do the right thing.

Thanks for listening,

Graduate

Dear Graduate,

I have a Ph.D. in bullshit. You absolutely want to open another avenue for him to hoover you back. You could open a Dyson dealership with all that hoovering.

Let me be clear about the chump condition and what it is to be chumped.

He “wanted a break” in January, but I didn’t know that he already had his vastly inferior-to-me girlfriend already waiting in the wings.

That’s being chumped. You were unaware he was cheating on you.

Now you have KNOWLEDGE that he is a cheater. What comes next?

he would hoover me in once a month using some pretense

Volunteer.

Have sex with me for a day/weekend, then not hear from him a whole month.

Volunteer.

I was chumped again after a successful hoovering

No, you were not chumped. You know he’s cheated on you and OW is still around, but he doesn’t “love” her. Volunteer.

I ended sleeping with him

Volunteer.

YOU HAVE AGENCY. 

What you’re describing is a willful obliviousness to who he is. People who ghost you for a MONTH are demonstrably NOT trying to “work things out.” They’re booty calling you.

I get wishing, hoping, praying that it’s something more. I understand the hallucinogenic qualities of hopium. But at no moment after D-Day did this asswipe give you one sparkle-toss of his mane suggesting he might be a unicorn. He kept his girlfriend, demanded that YOU fix “us” and book the shrink appointment, and used you for sex.

Now you want to invite this guy to your GRADUATION?

Who’s hoovering who here? Stop stalking his social media. Stop allowing him into your life. STOP giving him YOUR power.

I sent him a letter declaring my no contact,

You know what says “no contact”?

NO CONTACT.

You know what says “Hi, I’m available for boundary trampling and recreational dick sucking”?

INVITING HIM TO YOUR GRADUATION.

He babysat your child? Great. So will 100K people on care.com — for a price far less than your self-esteem. Heck, they’ll probably edit your papers too.

YOU set the price on your worth. NOT him. YOU decide who is worthy of sharing your accomplishments and your time.

A guy who cheats on you, fucks you and doesn’t call you for a month?  NOT WORTHY.

Of course, that’s my opinion. Doesn’t matter what I think. I don’t set the price on your self-worth, you do.

But since you asked, I say matriculate into a new life. Without him.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • No!!! Just No.
    You owe him nothing.
    He was and is poking a new bird on the side.
    You owe him nothing and this is just reinjuring yourself.
    Knock it off.
    Get used to it being you and the little kiddo.
    You determine your worth and owe this stir the porridge guy nothing.
    Stop it.

        • @ Stig: He proposed the break in January/early February, in the middle of exam season in my last term. They had been seeing each other since December, which I found out when OW/GF posted an FB album of their “happy times” when I was still FB stalking them. I found out about her in early April.

          I would like to say that I cut him cold turkey, but I was too afraid of being alone in a foreign country/blinded by the sex. I needed to see them in the flesh, I guess, to stop the pick-me dancing.

          • You owe him exactly zero thanks. He merely did what is expected in a relationship- that you do things for each other. He “thanked” you for all you’ve done by treating you like a whore. Fuck him, and by that I also mean don’t fuck him. Ever again. If he even finds out your grad and shows up there, pouring on the oily charm, you’ll end up having a few celebratory drinks after it and….you know the rest. Unfortunately, I know whereof I speak. I was so lonely, traumatized and depressed that I had sex with my jerk a few times after dday (about 3 months ago). That is, before I found out he had planned to divorce me and before I found out he had given me HPV. Remember where that dick has been, Graduate. That dick is your personal kryptonite. Treat it accordingly.

    • So that is an interesting question. If I were to sleep with my ex (hypothetically as it is never going to happen as neither one of us would pursue that at this point), would I then become the OW? I was there first and Schmoopie was the OW when I was married and trying to save my marriage. In my case, I guess I would have to say that yes, I would be an OW as we are now divorced and he is now in a known committed relationship with Slutface. Her OWness would not prevent me from being one too under those circumstances. I have fully acknowledged that I am no longer married to my ex and that he is in a relationship with Bitch so if I slept with him I would be an OW even if I still consider their relationship to be illegitimate. Of course that scenario wouldn’t absolve her of her OWness. On the other hand, in a situation where the cheater initiated the divorce without the consent of the spouse who had no say in the matter and then later hoovered and got the now ex spouse to sleep with him/her that ex spouse would not be an AP because that ex spouse never recognized the end of the marriage or the actuality of the new relationship (which is never really going to be legitimate) and is still trying, however vainly or stupidly to save his/her relationship. In his/her mind they are still married so not an AP, although the original AP may see it differently. In the case of this letter writer, she was there first and she never really stopped fighting to save her relationship so the OW was always the interloper. I think that makes her not an AP. Of course this whole discussion has nothing to do with whether or not it is actually a good idea for the letter writer or any other chump to sleep with their cheaters regardless of the presence of an AP. Clearly it isn’t, and no contact is the answer. If my ex were to cheat on Schmoopie I admit I would be quite gleeful over it although I still might not have much respect for the new AP.

      • I think one crucial point we sometimes miss in the whole business of “defining” who is the chump vs the OW (in cases where none of the involved parties are married) is that this definition is usually based solely on what the lying fuckwit cheater said!

        And as we can see from some persons’ experience what the cheater told them is not always the truth. (Raises hand) ✋

        Case in point, Graduate said she found out about the OW in April but they were seeing each other since December unbeknownst to her.

        Because she was unaware of this woman’s existence and she just found out about her, naturally she would think that this is the OW because she “came” into her relationship.

        But what if (plot twist) OW existed long before Graduate’s relationship even started but cheater told her he was single at the start?

  • So….you think you owe gratitude to this piece of Dogshit for your education?

    Sadly….you are simply the laugh around the beer cooler after the softball game.

  • Graduate, I am sure you thanked him as he was assisting you at the time. These are things partners do for each other. You’ve done your job. Hopium is a powerful drug. I agree with CL, it is now you contemplating a hoover maneuver. Please don’t do it…..it will only hurt you and feed the monster!

  • You are allowing him to use you, and you are also using him. The graduation is just an excuse to get back him into your life. Be honest with yourself.

    My mom would say to me, keep doing what you’re doing and you will keep getting what you’re getting. Do something different! Shut that door! Look for quality people! You shouldn’t settle for sloppy seconds. And for pity’s sake, stop being the OW! Be better than that.

    • I agree. He cheated on you with her and is cheating on her with you. The is no hope for this scumbag. Pick up your toys and leave the playground!

  • Here’s the thing: you think he might be moved by your thank you? You think suddenly the scales might fall from his eyes/reptile heart and he will suddenly realise what a beautiful soul you are, and he’ll remember just how much he loved you when he was minding your son, editing your papers etc? And he’ll think “my god, what have I done?” And then remorse, regret, knashing of teeth etc and you get to reject him from your Chump High Ground?

    No, Graduate, none of these things will happen. Stop projecting your Genuine Human Being-ness on him. He was also lining up the OW while he was doing all of that. Most likely because you were so busy he wasn’t getting enough centrality. Whatever you think he was doing out of the goodness of his heart, he was doing because you were useful to him for a period. Which ended.

    You skip into your new dawn with your Masters and don’t look back. Not thank you, but fuck you very much asshole, signalled to him by your COMPLETE absence. And big congratulations.

  • See above for where we all fire you from your volunteer post. But also please remember that wanting to acknowledge his contribution indicates that you are not a selfish, greedy asshole who happily uses other people. You, on the other hand, are a good and decent person who understands reciprocity, gratitude, investment. The chance to celebrate together, even via an ephemeral snap, is a casualty of his faithlessness. One of the many losses you will feel, mourn, and heal from. Promise.

    • I agree. I don’t think her desire to send a thank you is necessarily motivated by a subconscious desire to hoover. She may in fact be truly grateful for what he did however upset she is by his subsequent betrayal and discard. She doesn’t want to appear ungrateful for or blind to the little bit of good she did get out of the relationship. That being said, no contact is still the right answer. Sending the thank you would just end up opening a new can of worms. He is no longer the person who helped her out and he walked away from the right to any thanks or acknowledgement for his efforts. He chose that. His loss. She needs to protect herself and her dignity by remaining no contact.

      • I agree, also. I’m one of these people who regularly wants to tell my Ex of good things he did for me, still having good impact in my life. Not because I want him back in my life or think I’m going to change him, but because gratitude and saying thank you to those who’ve done god things is integral to who I am, no matter how icky the recipient. It’s not about him, or us… it’s about the person I am proud to be.

        That stated, I also whole-heartedly agree that no contact (and no thank you) is the way for our letter writer and for me. I have told myself in a decade or three, I might possibly thank the Ex for the good he did. But I’m currently only a few years out from the divorce and while I’m generally “meh,” there are still reverberations when I least expect them. So, you don’t have to tell yourself that you’ll never let him know that his help was appreciated, but just that now (or next month, or next year) is not the time… there’s no deadline on saying thank you so maybe in 40 years you’ll do it.

        • This is why I don’t like it when ex does favors for me. It makes me feel as if I should thank him (as I would any other person who does nice things for me), but I don’t want to have to thank him for one thing when I still feel he is a jerk for blowing up our marriage in the way he did. It’s too much of a contradiction in feelings. Gratitude and resentment don’t mix well.

        • If she hadn’t have fallen off the no contact wagon a bunch of times, slept with him, wasn’t social media stalking his and OW’s pages, I might go with the Higher Purpose Thank You — but I read this letter as someone very high on hopium who just wants another hit.

      • If someone did ordinary decent things for you for 5 years (say) and then killed your pet and burned down the garage, you wouldn’t thank him for helping you edit some school papers. It’s OK to acknowledge that he had decent moments as a partner, but getting into an affair as she finishes a degree seems to me like undermining her work at the same time he “helped.”

        • Isn’t doing ‘ nice ‘ things in an abusive relationship part of the cycle? We all had cheaters do nice things for us….then to cycle around to an abusive episode.
          I’m not sure why she feels a need to thank him for what was in effect intermittent reinforcement.
          I think the writer is lying to herself and trying to over rationalize what has transpired. He’s a dick . He’s using your vulnerability. You think you got things under control. He’s a dick.

      • @Chump in recovery: The entire reason I took the Masters in the first place was because of his encouragement. Basically, he altered the course of my life. I would have never done it if I did not have anyone behind me because I was juggling work, school, and my son, plus several legal issues with my ex-husband (since settled). So yeah, I am grateful.

        The reason I wrote Chump Lady is because I wasn’t sure thanking him would be the right decision. I pride myself for being honorable and principled (and funnily enough, so does my Cheater ex), and it really chapped his ass that I did not greet him a happy birthday and complained to me about it, which is why I wrote the No Contact letter. After the no contact letter, his response was to post a 69-page album with stalker photos of me and my kid.

        Anyway, thank you for replying.

        • Hello Graduate. He was angry that you didn’t acknowledge his birthday because he is selfish. It always has to be about him. Why would a man complain about not getting a fuss on his birthday? What is he, 10 years old? If he is stalking you, that’s a whole other issue, and you might be able to get a restraining order based on that. 69 pages? With your minor child in them? That is crazy sick. There is at least one woman here whose son was murdered by her ex husband. Be careful.

        • …his response was to post a 69-page album with stalker photos of me and my kid…!!!!!!!!

          I am so sorry that happened! This guy is a sicko.

          I hope you are feeling the “love” behind of all of the tough here, Graduate. Congratulations, and (I hope) welcome to your new fuckwit-free life.

        • Please contact the police about him publicly posting stalking photos of you and your child. Especially if the child is not his, he may have no right to publicly post photos without parental permission. Nip this type of behaviour in the bud at the start. It’s threatening behaviour – he needs to know that he’s not in control, and knowing the police are aware may stop him bullying you like this. I know it’s hard to hear, but this is not the sort of man you want any contact with. He has no respect for others and is a bully. Who else do you know who would actually tell you off for not wishing them happy birthday after they’d treated you really badly? Things only started to change for me when I started to compare my ex’s behaviour with that of decent, honourable people in my life. When I started to do that the rose coloured specs soon disintegrated and I was shocked at who he actually was – totally freaked out at how blind I had been, but it changed everything. Please talk to the police about the photos. If the child is not his he’s bound to be violating something

  • Don’t ever talk to this jerk ever again. You owe him nothing!!! Forget him, he is a horrible human being. You deserve more than this. Delete everything about him and don’t look back.

    • Building on the comment thread above: you may want to thank the decent person who helped you, but the person who will receive that thanks is the jerk who got off on your pick-me dancing.

  • “My ex was my rock and pillar of strength at that time. He helped me financially when things got tight, he took care of my son/babysat when I had the late or night shift at work, edited my papers, etc.”

    Did you say ‘thank you’ at the time? Probably many times? Did you mean it? Then he knows it. Sending him anything is Pick-Me-Dancing and he and Sparkles are laughing at you. So are all his friends. Your friends are rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. Your family may be gritting their teeth.

    Don’t do it. Be done with peckerheads.

    • ^^This^^

      Grateful SAID thank-you at the time. I have a former friend who did me a favor once, at my request. I thanked her again and again. And then screwed me over again and again BIG TIME. She insisted that since she helped me out when I asked, that I should be grateful for the rest of my life despite the other crap she pulled.

      Grateful is doing this to HERSELF: If someone does something good (even if they are otherwise a total asshole), then yes, it’s a good thing and should be acknowledged. ONCE. AT THE TIME. MAYbe twice. It may be that all the assholery they pull doesn’t negate the goodness of the good things they did (I’m still mulling this over). But FOR SURE one or two good things do not make up for devastatingly bad things. (“But I took out the trash!! and I hugged your Mom when she visited last, even though you know I don’t like her! So that totally makes up for screwing around and giving you gonorrhea, right?”)

      Assholes try to work this the other way as well: “Yes, you received the Nobel Peace Prize, but THAT ONE TIME you threw out my pizza crust before I was done with it, you evil MONSTER!”

      I think Grateful might want to consider the proportionate value of things!

  • Dear Chumplady,

    You do such incredible work in helping us chumps navigate the land mines of escaping from cheaters. I’m calling you back a little with this note. Do you think you were a bit unkind to Letter Writer? You’ve been in happy land for some time now, and the horrible past is on the other side of the horizon in your rear view mirror. Maybe deep down you even feel it a little bit indelicate to fixate so on your past with an asshole. I get it, you escaped Sodom and Gomorra, if you continue to look backwards, you’re going to turn into a pillar of salt. Personally, I’d like to see you focus your razor-wit on those entitled assholes in the public, but they’re mainly politicians, with unlimited and increasing power, so I don’t blame you at all if you choose not to.

    Back to Letter Writer: could you pose a more compassionate response? After all, she is not the disordered one. She is only a few months out. Yes, sex with a cheater is an absolute recipe for distress and inner chaos. I just wonder though, if a more supportive response might be more helpful? One that skewers the asshole, the OW, and focuses on her accomplishment, her son, and how to best move forward in her life.

    • You are criticizing Tracy on her own blog? That she does out of the goodness of her heart? For our benefit? The blog she gives countless hours to when she could be doing virtually ANYTHING else since she’s living in “happy land”? And you drop a load of psycho-babble about Tracy feeling indelicate about “fixating” on her past? Which, you might recall, she does FOR OUR BENEFIT!! Are you kidding? Wow… I don’t generally criticize my fellow Chumps but then again, my fellow Chumps generally don’t come here and tell Tracy how to respond on her own blog. You really crossed a line with that one. I don’t think Tracy is the one who needs to rethink her response.

      • Well said, Beth.

        QM… I suggest you revisit the concept of this blog. We aren’t here as a community of enablers and co-dependents that support fuck-buddy status with a disordered/lying/cheating X.

        We are a community, that through mutual storytelling, sharing of common experiences, and respecting another person’s struggle enough to want to “tough love” them in to some sanity, come together BECAUSE Tracy was courageous enough to be here first.

        Please try to keep that in mind for the future.

      • Hey now, we’re not a hive mind, a cult, or a circle jerk. We can have different opinions on things. I mean, QM’s wrong, but she’s wrong about LW needing a pat on the head rather than an upside smack – not just plain wrong for daring to question El Grande Supremo.

        • All are welcome to challenge all thoughts here in an open forum. What I took offense to was her personal snarky comments directed to all of the personal strides that ChumpLady has achieved in her post-cheater life. Those judgements and assumptions were flat out uncalled for here in our community which would not exist if CL didn’t continue to look back to see all of us needing this place.

          • Yeah…that. I didn’t get the snark. Stick to the issues. Not personal attacks. Even the comment about the grande whatever. Please, Leave that to the cheaters. We are overall mature enough to disagree with respect.

            Letter writer wanted validation of her thoughts on inviting cheater. She didn’t get it.

            Like some of us who might have competed with the OW/OM, she is knowingly pick me dancing. For that I would not exclude her as a chump. ( I didn’t coin the word so my interpretation is suspect) I don’t gather that being a chump requires that you are being Hoodwinked. There are some pick me dancer chumps.

            However, The key word for me in what CL said was ‘ agency’. This lady has knowledge of her circumstances and she has alternatives. She keeps making choices that are damaging to herself. She is not valuing her self. Her over sentimentality is blinding her to the reality of the situation.

            What most of us learned here ( other than cheaters are some fcucked up shits) is that we have a choice as to whether or not we take their shit.
            I told my cheater that I owned my part in the hell…my part was that I didn’t leave him the first time.
            Agency.
            I don’t think that CL was off base at all. It’s an easy cop out to stay she is beyond it and happy ( do you begrudge her this?) , But here is a woman who has gotten. It right 99.9percent of the time , even after having been out of the experience for years.
            Bring on the 2x4s. Mincing words never helped anyone.

            • “However, The key word for me in what CL said was ‘ agency’. This lady has knowledge of her circumstances and she has alternatives. She keeps making choices that are damaging to herself. She is not valuing her self. Her over sentimentality is blinding her to the reality of the situation.”

              So true Mandie. Yet, the knowledge has much competition with denial.

              Personally, I find being called a volunteer offensive on many levels. Perhaps, coming from CL it’s exactly what G needs to see herself as a graduate who doesn’t have to give that power to her cheater with a thank you.

              She gets it QM.

              • What part of volunteer is offensive? This is a DATING relationship. It is voluntary. All betrayal is crushing but there are different sunk costs. There is zero reason to be in contact with this person — except for emotional reasons.

                Being cheated on — yes, you have been victimized. I preach that from the rooftops — no one compels another to cheat on them. Cheaters have agency.

                But so do chumps. Going forward we are responsible for how we respond to abuse. How we value ourselves. The boundaries we set.

                I can give you chapter and verse of all the reasons, the societal pressures, the bullshit reconciliation messages that conspire against chumps — but at the end of the day, we are still responsible for our actions.

                I created Chump Lady to be a place that gave the kind of advice I WISH I had been given — and the support I wish I’d been given. I share, not as Omnipotent Lady, but as CHUMP Lady — I did the stupid stuff. I did the humiliating stuff. I toked the hopium pipe. And just as if you were sitting in an AA meeting and smelled like malt liquor — I know self-delusion when I read it. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.

                When you go back to someone who is DEMONSTRABLY treating you appallingly — you must own that choice. I may understand the choice, but I’m not going to condone the choice — I’m going to yell STOP DOING THAT!

                As for “Happy Days” now — yep, I’m happier. And all that’s done is solidify my conviction that you shouldn’t spend one more second of your life with an abusive fuckwit. That you shouldn’t debase yourself for someone so wholly unworthy of you.

        • “El Grande Supremo” aka Chump Lady owns this blog and graciously opens up her own life experiences for the benefit of the rest of us Chumps. It’s not that I think it’s wrong to “dare to question” her. I think it was both rude and mean, to say that Chump Lady is living in some lala land of happiness and because of that is unkind and ashamed of her former chump status. Disagreeing with CL is one thing, and we Chumps often do. However we don’t have to resort to putting CL down when we do so. Disagreeing is one thing; disparaging Tracy and the efforts she makes for all of us is something else altogether.

          • Tracy

            “Personally, I find being called a volunteer offensive on many levels. Perhaps, coming from CL it’s exactly what G needs to see herself as a graduate who doesn’t have to give that power to her cheater with a thank you.”

            Thanking an abuser is typical in Stockholm Syndrome. This is why
            the use of ‘volunteers’ offends me personally. It’s a huge trigger.

            My response was given within the context of my personal experience and in agreement that this is what is often needed, a direct 2×4.

      • I doubt she’d mind if it had been ~constructive~ criticism. She’s obviously no trembling snowflake collapsing onto her fainting couch just because somebody disagrees. But that, otoh, was some bullshit. The “pillar of salt” comment particularly gave me the skeeves.

    • “After all, she is not the disordered one.”

      If she’s going back for seconds, she has issues. She needs to stop herself, figure out why she does it, stop herself from doing it again and move on.

      She has her own Skein of Fuckedupedness to untangle. She’s mistaking her skein for a Lasso of Truth.

      It’s not. The sooner someone tells her what she is doing and how she’s hurting herself, the better.

      • Please call the seconds what they really are…sloppy seconds!

        The letter writer is fooling herself and not being honest about her motivation behind reaching out to her ex.

        If QueenMother cannot see that, then she may still have work to do on herself.

        Infidelity is not pretty, gentle or kind.
        It is cruel, harmful, hurtful, life destroying and real. The fallout is often life or death.

        Tracy is real and raw because infidelity is horrific.

        QueenMother – if you have had a different experience with infidelity, one without illness, poverty, suicide or death, then count your lucky stars. Just don’t project.

      • “If she’s going back for seconds, she has issues.”

        THIS.

        Years ago, I was in this letter writer’s shoes, and I’m the first to admit I had issues. I wish someone had verbally smacked me upside the head. I would have gotten to therapy much sooner and saved myself years of frustration, heartache, and wasted time.

        Tracey’s doing the letter writer a favor. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s crueler to lie to someone seeking advice.

    • Chump Lady is the champion for us Chumps, but really…. she does an incredible service with the huge Wake Up Call and putting it all into perspective.

      Cheating is wrong. We all know it. But we chumps often tap dance our way around it, forgiving it (just this once, we say), doing the “pick me” dance, and everything else to rationalize why we should keep the cheater in our lives. In other words, we keep trying to self-harm emotionally. Chump Lady is trying to get us all to see what’s really going on. Sometimes it means tough love and because the OW keeps going back to self-harm, she really needs a good dose of tough love and a major reality check.

      OW knows the cheater will never reform. OW knows the cheater has done harm. OW knows. But OW goes back for more. And more. Chump Lady is here to stop the carnage, much like you would scream at a 5-year-old child to GET OUT OF THE STREET when there’s an oncoming car. Same thing.

      Chump Lady is the light while we chumps are trying to get out of the darkness of cheater-hell.

      • It’s very dangerous for me to type before I’ve had enough coffee. I do NOT mean “OW” but I do mean “OP” for “original poster”!!

    • QueenMother….I am really not trying to take “Graduate” down but she may be very well disordered. From what I gleaned from her post is she needs big time therapy as her self respect is in the toilet. She has a child to consider and shouldn’t be wasting her time mooning over some asswipe of a man. I say this as I have known a couple of single moms way back that had relationships very similar to Graduates. One admits that even when she was physically with her young daughter, she really wasn’t with her or engaged as she was constantly thinking about the narcissist she was dating off & on. They have an ok relationship now (lots of therapy) but her daughter resented her for years as she was brushed aside (although physically well cared for) for her mother’s love interests.

      • Eh, I wouldn’t go there. I’ve needed therapy most of my adult life. What we all need is to know our worth and fix our pickers.

    • It’s always a hard call to make when we decide what approach to take with someone that we can clearly see is making poor decisions. Do we be more diplomatic or do we dish out some tough love?

      CL decided tough love was the way to go. For those of us that typically don’t chose this approach, it can seem lacking in compassion. But I don’t think the CL lacks compassion for Graduate.

      Graduate is making some misguided choices that do go beyond the chump experience. Graduate needs that friend that is going to say, “There, there. Now what you are doing may not be the best choice. You know…” But, Graduate also needs that friend that is going to say, “Hell no! Reality check! Some of this you are doing to yourself unnecessarily.” Followed by a splash of cold water from a bucket.

      CL has pulled the emergency break to bring an out-of-control train to a screeching halt. Whereas some wonder if it might have been better to apply the breaks to bring the train to a gradual stop. Sure. It’s less bumpy to go this way. We don’t get any bruises. It’s all very civilized.

      But, if you believe that there is a collapsed bridge ahead and the train is going to go over a cliff, you pull that emergency break and understand that the bruises to be sustained from that impact will be nothing compared the death of a broken body.

      Graduate – You are making some very poor choices about the constant sleeping with this ex, and it has turned you now into the other woman. There is nothing but pain in this path for you. The pain will not come in being left by this man as much as it will be from the consequences that comes from using sex as a way to “hang on to the guy.” No one would ever advise their daughter to use this approach. It’s degrading. End this for good!

      Never make someone a priority who just treats you like an option. It is this phrase that I stumbled upon eight months ago that helped me, and became the basis of my name for this site.

      You have optioned yourself out (volunteer).

      Take yourself back.

      I send you a cyberhug, a towel to dry off the cold water you’ve been splashed with, and an opportunity to use all of use to discuss that amazing game-plan that you can now put together for yourself. QueenMother has your back with a listening ear, CL has your back with hard-core reality checks, and the rest of us offer all sorts of things in between.

    • One thing we love Tracy for is her ability to deliver the Two-by-Four of Truth when necessary. Today’s chump is one such instance. WHAM.

    • Because the letter writer can only control her own actions. It does not matter who OW is or was, how big of an asshole the cheater may act like. After months and months of being used as a booty call, the letter writer is setting herself up for more. Writing to her a pablum response is not gong to help this poster move forward.
      She is asking CL’s opinion. She got it. She is not going to get a green light to contact cheater here. That may open the floodgates to more abuse. Not for any reason should she contact him.

    • I think in this instance the constant repeating of the same mistake warranted a little tough love. Graduate isn’t someone of little intelligence who might need a softer hand. She’s a smart cookie with a masters degree who needs to hear it straight.

      • I mean, seriously, how many times do you break “no contact” and sleep with the cheater (to whom you are NOT married and with whom you don’t have a child) before it’s clear that you didn’t so much “break up” with the guy but are playing [somewhat] hard to get, as we used to say in the old days.

    • Queen Mother, this IS a compassionate response.

      I think you are confusing compassion with sentimentality. A sentimental response would have waved fairy dust and said, There There, You Are in Affair Fog! I Mean, It’s Not Like You are Chumping This Dickhead’s Actual Girlfriend by Sleeping with Him Behind her Back – You are Not Guilty, For You Were Chumped By Him First!

      A compassionate response, on the other hand, feels her pain, but also gives her the means to get out of that pain. That’s what we have here.

      Yes, it’s more like a tetanus needle than a sugar-coated placebo, but it does the job when you stand on the rusty nail that is a hoovering ex.

    • “After all, she is not the disordered one.”

      It’s not the highlander, you know. There can be more than one. LW isn’t being fair to her kid by dragging out a quasi-parental relationship with this awful guy, nor is she doing herself any favors by lying to herself in such a spectacular fashion. That isn’t good behavior and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

      Also, she doesn’t need compassion right now, she needs a wake-up call. If she was beating herself up for how stupid she’d been (which is a bad action to take), then sure, a little compassion might be in order (to help her stop taking that bad action). Instead, her bad action is that she’s making stupid choices, so compassion is not in order, as it’s just going to encourage more of the bad action in question.

      When you’re contemplating bad choices and trying to justify them with “but it’s really just me Doing The Right Thing, isn’t it?” you don’t need sympathy. You need a clue-by-four of “no, no it is in no way The Right Thing, and you know it. This isn’t about “right” it’s about getting your attention fix from your ex and you need to stop it.

      • I too cringed thinking about what this on-again off-again is doing to the poor kid. I’m surprised so few people have mentioned that there’s another person – one we can agree is totally blameless, regardless of our exact parsing of Graduate’s own responsibility in this – who is being whipsawed in this scenario.

        • @Involuntary Georgian

          My child had a very hard time accepting it. When I told him last April, he was very sad about it. My ex contacted him and suggested the picnic, which is basically how he manipulated my son into me being in contact again. It is all on my for not saying no to my child, since I already said no to the same offer in July.
          I had to explain to my son that he is a bad man. I think (hope) he gets it now.

    • I agree, Queen Mother!

      It is so hard to swallow that the person you shared a bed is actually a putrid hog who only cares about their own pig nature.

      You negotiate with yourself. You believe that if you show them some gratitude, some kindness- they will wake up and see your value.

      It is ALMOST impossible to accept all those sunk costs. You think…but he held my hair when I vomited? He paid my mortgage? He bathed the dog with the dingleberries?

      Was it all a fraud?

      Two years out…I wanted to send the Maggott a note that my beloved Saint Bernard died at 16. He was so good to him. He loved him! He needs to know.

      And then I realized…he had never checked on him once since I was ghosted. He did not love him. Its fun and kibble rich to give hugs to a big lovable dog who smells great.

      I have had a house burn down, I have almost been arrested, I have been beaten by a boyfriend and my mother was in and out of mental hospitals…and being chumped is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

      THE HARDEST THING. Graduate, its ok. You just have to white knuckle your impulse to reach out. He will only hurt you. Just hang on. The impulse to reach out is a mind trick…to make sense of a mind fuck.

      HUGS.

      • Poppycake, you are so mighty. And you are so right.

        I offered my XH the Substance Abuser his “favorite” of our cats when he moved out. He said he would take her but of course never did. When that cat was diagnosed with lymphoma and I was running up massive vet bills, he cried some tears but never offered a dime to help.

        Some love. I’d have paid anything to help that cat.

      • Mr B, the cat, is now 13 and came to our house about the age of 3 months. That cat loved the X from the very first day, and I mean LOVED him. When the X discarded me, he immediately stopped paying any attention to Mr B. I asked him if he wanted to take Mr B with him, and he said no. Mr B requires daily medication, twice a day, and he didn’t want to hassle with it.

        I know that cat cares for me but it’s not the same. He will snuggle up next to me or lay beside me in bed. With the X, Mr B would talk to him, paw at legs, and would follow him around the house like a lost puppy dog. We (me and the cat) were in bed one night before we moved out, and I promised him that we would be OK. I would always take care of him and see to him every need.

    • Wow. Harshing on Queen Mother. It’s her opinion, no need to attack Beth. I’m sure CL doesn’t mind some feedback.

  • Graduate,

    Your BF (I hope solidly, totally ***EX*** and ***NC*** BF after today’s discussions) DOES NOT LIKE YOU. Much less love you.

    How do I know? Well, I am also a graduate. After my sons were grown and on their way, I moved to another city for a much better professional situation and, like you ex-BF, Lord Sparkledick supported me. We were married for 40 years.

    Turns out, the “support” was all self-serving, from feeling good by wielding his power against colleagues, having a trophy wife, down to making cheating easier for him by having my whereabouts 100% under control.

    My sons tell me he brings up this “support” BS when he is trying to push the “value judgement” BS on them. He has the gall to tell them that HE did not get ahead in his career because he “sacrificed” it for me. He has yelled at me that he was a failure and that it was my fault.

    Well, he is a failure because he was only interested in power and image; battling in the field of his profession (he has a PhD) is for mere mortals. The day he defended his thesis he got dozens of phone calls asking him to be head of an important research unit. I was totally against it. I pleaded that it was not the right time, he had to first get into the trenches and fight. That was the beginning of his end. He became an armchair general.

    #notmyfault #doesnotowemeanything

    PLEASE stay NO CONTACT. It is NOT okay to be treated that way, no matter how much babysitting an editing (BTW, is your child his as well??? If so, he only fulfilled his obligations…)

  • Stop. Drop. Run.

    What would you tell your son to do if it someone was treating him this way? Now is the time to practice modeling “doing the right thing”, which is:

    Stop. Drop. Run.

  • Spackling how “wonderful” he was.
    You did the work.
    He’s a cheater.
    Trust he sucks.
    Abstinence is the way to recovery. That means zero contact.
    If you want to be treated like crap then go back and keeping treated like crap until you’ve had enough. I wish someone had said that to me.

  • I’m not trying to be mean or unkind….but I really question how helpful he was during your studies. I’ve known quite a few women that exaggerate or blow out of proportion so called helpful acts by jerk ass boyfriends. The boyfriend may have committed a decent or helpful act once or twice and the women milk it for all its worth. They hang on to the one act of kindness as an excuse for staying with or hanging on to boyfriends that treat them like shit 99.9% of the time.
    The reaching out to him to thank him is pitiful and just an excuse to try and bring him back in the loop. You have no future with this man. He is not going to have an epiphany and realize what a catch you are or what a fool he has been…..please go no contact and forget this guy.

    • KB22, that was my life when I was studying and also effectively supporting a cheater. Living on crumbs. Always willing to forgive every bashing and cheating episode. Thank you.

    • KB22 – exactly. It’s like the lazy bastard who throws 3 steaks on the BBQ and then is lauded for “helping out” and “being wonderful” when that’s the only thing he ever does!

      • KB22, I think you hit the nail on the head. I have been guilty of overvaluing the Python’s few good deeds during our relationship while minimizing my own (that’s how I ended up doing most of the adulting: “Oh look, a crumb – yay! I must do more for him”). Giving and helping and sacrificing and being thoughtful may be second nature to us (true for many women) so we may also underestimate how much WE have done for our partner.

        Graduate’s asshole ex-boyfriend was probably on the receiving end much of the time but she doesn’t even “count” all that she did for him, day in and day out.

        Thanking him would be giving him even more kibbles. And an opening to seduce her yet again.

        She needs to STAY AWAY.

  • Narcissist. That’s what he is.

    Supply. That’s what you were.

    All the times he was “with you”, you were his supply. He did what it took to keep you as his supply. And after even he left you and hooked up with New Supply, he used you and those encounters to keep HER baited, twisting with her emotions so she’ll do the “I’m better than her and I’ll do THIS for you” dance. Narcissists must always have plenty of supply to feed on.

    Starve the bastard. It’s not only No Contact, it’s block his ass. Delete his phone number. Block any and all social media you are on.

    This turd Does * Not * Exist.

    Happy Matriculation!

  • Be careful what you wish for, he might come back once he figures your earning power is higher. They are drawn to good supply that can give them a better life style.

  • It won’t provide the healing you are hoping for. The person who hurt you cannot heal you. I am so sorry for your pain. It is still early and you have to trust the people on this forum to break all contact, no matter what. Teach your child to let people exit your life when they want to exit. Otherwise, they too will experience the pain that you have. When people show you who they are, believe them. My heart goes out to you. Stay on the right track and make a great life for yourself!

  • Reading Graduate’s letter reminded me of the grasping, desperate, Hopium-amped behavior I exhibited when my XH of 40 years unexpectedly walked out the door to be with Married Howorker. I’d been so brainwashed into believing I was worthless, stupid and couldn’t possibly survive without him, I would’ve done anything to get him back. My blinders were not only on, they were superglued to my face! Do the Pick Me Dance? Full speed ahead! Beg him to come home? Yup! Think he was serious about marriage counseling? Of course! Have sex with him? Yessss!

    It was like having my teeth extracted, one at a time, with rusty pliers and no nitrous oxide. P.A.I.N.F.U.L.

    CORRECTION: That was my pathetic behavior BEFORE I finally woke up to the manipulative whore of a person he was and went Zero Contact. I look back and am ashamed that I allowed myself to be systematically devalued… I regret wasting so much time, effort (and money) trying to save a marriage that apparently was nothing but paper mache from the beginning; beautiful and colorful in the outside, but totally hollow on the inside.

    Graduate, take the blinders off. Go Zero Contact and don’t look back! He. Doesn’t. Care. Go to your commencement ceremony, be proud of yourself, and go live your life without him!

    • MyRedSandals:
      As I read yours— I’m reminded again of the really terrible things they put us through, emotionally & physically. For years, DECADES! I couldn’t articulate, like you just did, the waves of shame & embarrassment that I still feel after 4 years (post escape). I too lived what you described for 23 years and I, to this day don’t know how I missed all the signs, allowed the violence & betrayal. I’m a pretty bright girl – not perfect, I always try to do the right things, I know I didn’t deserve this, but I still can’t forgive myself for freezing & doing nothing ( shock?). Anyway, I just wanted to say- you are so strong & I’m going to keep what you wrote close by. You did it — so can I.

      • Kerry:

        In the beginning, the shame and embarrassment I felt over being dumped was like wearing a concrete coat: heavy and suffocating. Now that some time has passed, I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve (pretty much) been able to accept that it really was “all about him“. Yes, I missed the red flags… Yes, I believed his lies… Yes, I broke my own cardinal rule (“Cheat and we’re done”). I, too, froze out of fear. But it is what it is. The important thing is, I’ve learned from the experience, won’t compromise my standards again, and will be a lot more cautious.

        You’ll get there, too; just keep working on letting go so you can live in freedom.

  • I agree with most here. You want to open the door. You probably always envisioned the day with him by your side. You are still in need of and desire his attention. His kudos on a job well done. You want his validation This doesn’t make you a bad or weak person. It does mean however, that you have not yet realized your worth or strength. He lied and cheated. He didn’t care enough about you to be honest and just go. He was selfish enough to put his desire before any respect he had for you. He put your son in danger of losing his mother had he brought home a disease to you that could have been fatal. All of us here at CN identify. Please start to put YOURSELF first. This time after D-Day is hard. You don’t want to be alone. You miss him. You miss feeling wanted and needed. It’s also a dangerous time. You are so desperate to not feel this way that you are willing to trade everything you are for the affection of someone who cares about no one but himself. You are obviously an accomplished woman who is capable of raising a child while obtaining an advanced degree. Consider his help during that time as compensation for what he put you through. Most of all STOP victimizing yourself at this point. He lied and cheated and you know that. Luckily he was a BF and not a husband who you have to obtain a divorce from. He isn’t a father who you have to co-parent with. Count your blessings for those things. I am not discounting your pain. I’m just pointing out that you dodge some serious bullets. Pour all that energy into your child. Move forward with that education. Rediscover you friends. It’s ok to mourn the loss. Grieve. But while you are doing that, plan. Start to vision your life on your terms. It’s not easy. Growth never is. CN is here and can be a great resource when you need strength. My divorce was final in July after a D-Day in 2016 and I still come here when I need a reminder of how far I have come. How mighty I am and to trust that he sucks in my weaker moments. Take that degree and that wonderful child and don’t look back. It’s scary, but also wonderful too. Good Luck! YOU ARE MIGHTY!!!

  • Just no.

    First, as others have said, sending him an invitation or even a WhatsApp picture is doing a Pick Me Dance. It invites a response. Did you want an invitation to come over for sex this month? If so, then be honest to yourself. You miss sex; you’ve had sex with him before, and presumably he’s open to more sex with you. However, if you go this route, and since you know that he is currently in a relationship with another woman, then you are inviting him to cheat on the current girlfriend, even if he cheated on you with her.

    Don’t go there. Frankly, given that he’s fine with fucking the both of you, you already know he’s not going to be the stable relationship you want to model to your child.

    Second–and this is really the crucial thing–before you go leaping into another relationship, get some therapy!!!

    You have a child. Presumably there was a father with whom you felt you had a long-term, committed relationship. Then there was Cheater, and apparently you felt you had a long-term, committed relationship with him, too.

    At this point, you have a track record of picking poorly. Before you pick poorly again, you need to figure out WHY you are drawn into unhealthy relationships. Learn your self-worth. Find out your core values. Learn to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. Be confident that it’s fine to stop dating people once you realize that the two of you don’t share core values. Fix that picker!

    Stay No Contact and start attending therapy for yourself.

    Best of luck!

  • Dear Graduate,

    I notice in your letter that you begin by saying you are “no contact with your boyfriend.” And, I think that is at the heart of the revolving door on your bedroom for him.

    He is NOT your boyfriend. He is your X. There is a difference.

    He is with another woman, and you think he cheated on you with her. Ergo, he is not your boyfriend.

    He has proven to you that he is quite comfortable with using you for sex and putting you in the position as “other woman” as a result. He is not your boyfriend.

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

    As I long as I thought of Mr. Sparkles as “my husband”, I was still holding on to the notion that there was something there for me in that status… in that definition… in that relationship. That was my own form of denial (one of many). Only when I put him in his proper place as a Bisexual Lying Whore (the name I have for him in my phone – we co-parent, but I’m reality-grounded), it was step in the direction of keeping front and center who he is. It also became a why for me to remember who I am and what I deserve. Do I deserve a marriage with a Bisexual Lying Whore? Sure as shit don’t. Do you deserve a relationship with a lying cheating douchebag? Only you know the answer… come Master Graduate… use that degree… your new life is waiting. Block him everywhere. Turn the page. You could find 100 guys today that are better because they have never lied to you (and your kid) or cheated on you (and your kid). But it is on you to be a better person than you have chosen to be. I get that it isn’t easy, we all do here, but nothing worth having (like your self-esteem) rarely is. Good luck.

    • THIS^^^^!!!!!!^^^^ What is needed more than the steps of disengaging yourself from this tool is the mental paradigm shift that separates you from him in your mind and heart. ICSTMC is 100% correct. This shift is hard. For you it may very well be letting go of the fact that he was once your boyfriend BUT he isn’t any longer. For me, it was realizing that my ex did NOT love me. Make the mental shift and the correct actions will follow.

    • “As I long as I thought of Mr. Sparkles as ‘my husband’, I was still holding on to the notion that there was something there for me in that status… in that definition… in that relationship. That was my own form of denial (one of many).”

      Agree with Jojobee. This is key to disengaging. Name them for what they are.

    • Well put @ICanSeeTheMehComing

      It’s an important mind-shift — I’ve started that myself by not trying to automatically say “my wife” but just use her name, or “their mother” when it’s related to the kids, and so forth — but after 20 years it can take a while to get deprogrammed

      And yes @Graduate, “He is NOT your boyfriend”, in fact he’s not even your “friend”

  • I just wanted to chime in that all this is TOUGH.

    I’m well over 2 years out and am still grateful that I had the presence of mind to delete Mme’s contact info. Because from time to time there is still that itch.

    I broke N/C early this year to send condolences when both her parents died within days and even that while perhaps the decent, right thing to do in a polite society was perhaps a mistake. I got a polite response back and then carefully deleted everything. Because just seeing an email from her caused that itch again

    It is so very easy to justify breaking no contact but for our own sanity and ability to move forward to the future we need to hold fast. When the itch happens. And it will. We need to honestly ask ourselves why we think we need to scratch it.

    BT

  • He is a bad man. You do not want to be around bad people. They are like vampires. They suck the joy right out of your life. Close the casket and lock it.
    Congratulations on being a good person, a grown up and starting your new life.

    • Haha. Good one, Let go!

      “CLOSE THE CASKET AND LOCK IT.”

      Best course of action after a vampire has sucked the joy out of your life!

  • Good news, Graduate–you are writing for advice BEFORE you send your EX a thank-you message. This means you are more cognizant of the dangers of re-engaging than you were a few months ago. You are making progress.

    That said, take the good advice you are getting here and go find someone else to offer your thanks to–maybe your child’s teachers or daycare workers, maybe your own instructors, maybe a family member or a neighbor. I imagine in ways large or small, lots of people helped you. And if you still feel badly for not thanking your EX enough, then make a vow to play-it-forward. There are plenty of ways to be a grateful and gracious person without re-engaging with your EX.

    Congratulations on your graduation! I hope your new diploma leads you in happy, healthy, prosperous directions.

  • Graduate- similar story, similar timeline here. I am also a single mom. We are often targeted for this very reason by the disordered. “Hey! She keeps that kid in good shape, maybe I can climb aboard the Jolly Caretaker!”
    I went N.C. in May- it took a while to disconnect from him (read:detach from the trauma).
    Trust that he will ruin your graduation, it’s not worth it. Taking the steps to enjoy this celebration without him-that’s where it begins. Your future self will thank you!

  • Graduate,

    You are about to complete a master’s degree. That indicates you are intelligent and hard-working, that you have goals and dreams.

    So why are you still hanging on to this guy? “No contact” would mean: block him on social media. Block him on phone and text. Put his email in your spam filter. And stop thinking about him.

    That last one is harder to do, given your list of things he “did” for you while you were in school. But if you had 10% of the pain or agony experienced by most chumps after D-Day, the last year of your push to He devalued you. He discarded you. He used you for sex. He used your love/affection for him to get sex and keep you hooked while he put his efforts and affections (such as they are) elsewhere.

    It’s a decent thing to recognize what people do to help you along. What your BF did was what any partner would do, especially if he was living with you and your child. But the cheating and the timing of its discovery is a class move to undermine your success. He’s not as “nice” as you think he is.

  • If anyone ever tells you they want to take a break, don’t fight them. Just tell them, “Take your break and then take the whole rest of your life.”

    These “breaks” are never anything more than someone who wants to explore other options as freely as possible while keeping you around as a back door just in case things don’t work out as planned during his play time.

    Break=screwing around with a backup plan waiting.

    I bet the guy this post is about still thinks Graduate who wrote this letter is still his backup. That’s why he doesn’t stay away for too long at a time. He knows it keeps her hopes up so he doesn’t have to give up his extra fun every now and then.

    Don’t be someone’s backup plan. You can do so much better than that.

    • THIS:

      If anyone ever tells you they want to take a break, don’t fight them. Just tell them, “Take your break and then take the whole rest of your life.”

      These “breaks” are never anything more than someone who wants to explore other options as freely as possible while keeping you around as a back door just in case things don’t work out as planned during his play time.

      Break=screwing around with a backup plan waiting.

      IS SO TRUE!

  • Cheaters get off on the drama- including when crying is involved. Its like a high for them. Don’t thank him for YOUR degree. Heck, he might use it as an excuse to ask you for money to “pay him back”. Cheaters love money as much as they love cheating.

  • A cousin of mine did this with her husband. He got to sleep with her and his girlfriend. My cousin picked up the girlfriend’s STD. Sloppy seconds. We felt sorry that she was used this way and allowed it.

    The counselor at the abused women’s center told me that even wife beaters bring their wives roses at times. Just because someone does/did something nice for us doesn’t mean we owe them. WE did plenty of wonderful things for them as well in the past.

  • This is inappropriate and not welcome here.
    Even if you disagree, you can do so decently.
    There is no place for such meanness here. I hope the moderators pull this post.

  • Congratulations, Graduate! I applaud you for earning your Master’s as a single mom with a cheating boyfriend. I agree with CL&CN that you are strong, smart, and hard-working.

    I also note that you have only been No-Contact since August. And that means you are only one month or at most 6 weeks in on the whole no-contact concept. As a frequent relapser myself, my best advice is to hang in there and do not contact him in any way for any reason. Any contact is a form of pick-me-dancing, whether we realize it or not. I know what’s in your heart. I know you are having withdrawal symptoms on so many levels. You miss the sex, the support, the companionship, the contact. But this is like staying in contact with a scorpion; you’re just waiting around to be stung, over and over again. Ask me how I know.

    Relapsing is OK. It is very hard to kick a habit. But listen to what CL&CN are telling you- every time you have to restart No-Contact, it gets harder and harder as you shame yourself for trying again to have a relationship with someone who is incapable of being a good partner. You start to feel like you’re the delusional one for smoking that hopium when you know it’s deadly.

    Subject change: Has anyone else enjoyed the 2 seasons of Doctor Foster that I’ve been watching on Netflix? She deals with a cheater, no-contact, etc. in an interesting way.

    • Even as a male chump I absolutely loved Doctor Foster @Meg (especially as I’m a Brit)

      What I found interesting was reading comments posted on sites like IMDB that labelled a lot of the 2nd series as too extreme and far-fetched. A great example of how you cannot relate to infidelity until it’s happened to you, as personally I found it (sadly) very relevant

      • I didn’t think Doctor Foster was too extreme or far-fetched either. I was enthralled & wishing I had the power to do what she did! I agree that no one who hasn’t experienced infidelity can ever imagine the intensity of feelings & thoughts.

  • GF, your letter scares me: I recognize that former quality I had to hold onto abusers while they drug me down the road to hell and misery….and I would.not.let.go……

    Get help for whatever trauma you suffered as a youngster that is compelling you to self destructiveness. I am just now, at 51, getting EMDR for the core traumas that formed these traits in me. I wish to God I had healed 30 years ago and prevented 30 years of abuse and wasted sunk costs and prevented my children from having abandoning abusive serial cheater dads…. that’s all on me.

    😢😢😢😢😢😢😢

  • I understand your wish to be grateful for the good things in your life, and I don’t think we should let a cheater rob us of this and other great qualities that we have. However, I have finally realized that I cannot share my feelings with him because he will just use them against me or think it means that I still want to have a relationship with him. I recommend that you write a thank you note expressing your gratitude for the things he did that helped you complete your education, then throw it away or keep it. Do not give it to him. I share your struggle. Be strong – do not communicate with him if you don’t have to. Every day, it will get easier to do this. Congratulations on your educational accomplishment. You have much better things in your future than a cheater who doesn’t deserve you.

  • i have one simple question for you Graduate.

    what is the goal? (of sending the thank you)

    Because he has a girlfriend. Whether you had him first or not, you are no longer his girlfriend. ylu arent friends. he hasnt reached out to you in any way to check on you, your life, yoir kid, your progress, your anything.

    but you are reaching out to HIM. he is TAKEN. he has a girlfriend. how he got her is irrelevant at this point.

    if you really need to say thank you to someone who read a few papers and babysat, maybe lent you some money (did you pay it back? then that is a moot point to even bring up)….write to his GIRLFRIEND and tell her that she and your EX are invited to your graduation.

    otherwise, you are hoovering. i did it as well. all the time. i dont minimize a short term boyfriend situation by comparing a 26 year marriage and two kids and a house and three dogs….because the pain from being deceived is the same either way.

    what i am saying….what is your goal here? to make him proud of you? you can find probably a hundred more worthy people to be proud of you….your son comes to mind.

    pay attention to the ones in your life who STUCK AROUND for the tough slog thru grad school…because those are the ones that will stick with you in the future.

    btw. i did the excuses to see or talk to my ex thing. all the time. a card here and there for accomplishments, a sympathy call when his step father died, a congrats on his graduation and being the first in his family to graduate college.

    and guess what. i knew he had a new schmoops. and guess what it made ME by pursuing a dialog with someone wit out their other half knowing?

    just saying. get out there and kick some ass in yoir new life. he helped you a couple times, so what. so does the guy who bags my groceries at whole foods. but i ain’t texting him to come over.

    oh. and Charlie The Troll? Please, you first. (fuck yourself)

    • @ Home Bound: He encouraged me to go on the program. I would never have done it without support because I was juggling so many things. Life had been relentless since 2012 (when I separated from ex-husband, dad of child), so I felt he changed the course of my life?

      • Oh Graduate. It is a reflection that you are a good person that you seek to recognize the good things that someone has done for you even in the midst of having been so horribly wronged by this. It shows that you are wiling to look for the good, even when things go bad. That in itself is not wrong to do and will help make you a great person to be in relationship with when you find someone worthy of you.

        You are not a bad person for freezing him out of your graduation. It does not make you ungrateful to him to withhold the invitation. He changed the playing field when he betrayed you. He has no right to have treated you the way he did and then complain that you didn’t invite him to your grad (if he actually has the nerve to do this).

        He might have been a good guy back then, but guess what? That guy is gone; he is dead. The real guy is a liar and a cheater who uses you. You don’t owe him a thing.

        If you feel the need to thank the man who helped you, the man who is now gone (because he changed or because he was only a figment of what you projected on to him that made him appear to be a good guy), then write a letter. Get it all out. Read it to a trusted friend or family member to stand in place of the man who is now gone. Then, burn it. Never actually give this letter to the man who now uses you. Absolve yourself of any further misguided notion that you owe this man any more of yourself.

        He does not get to “collect” from you now. He burned the bridge. Do not rebuild.

        Pour your attention now into your child, into your career, and into YOU. If you can, get into some counselling to help grieve this relationship and redirect your misplaced guilt.

        Your right that this man has changed the course of your life, but you are wrong in thinking that the change has come from the Master’s degree you have earned. The real change he has caused has been in your relationship with him, the hope that once existed in the future that was laid out in this relationship, and in your perception of what is love. You are in the midst of change without yet a full comprehension of what the totality of that change will entail.

        He killed the entire dream you had mapped out in your mind of what your life was going to be like for you and your son with this man in it. Now you need to remap your life with your son without this man in it. You need to process valuable takeaway lessons about your own self-worth and what real love, mature love entails. You need to develop your inner resolve so that you can better project your self-worth out into the world and attract healthy, positive people who will honour you. You have had a failed marriage and now a failed long-term relationship. Ouch. That’s a lot of healing that needs to be properly done. You need to figure out who the single you is. Who is Graduate when she is on her own? What is Graduate capable of on her own? What example is Graduate to her precious son? What does Graduate stand for?

        When you have processed all of this and come through it with clarity in standing on your own, you will then see the magnitude of the change to your course of life. The real change. My hope for you is that you will then realize that the real hero of change in your own life is YOU, not HIM. Whatever he did is simply going to be one event in the course of the entire journey of your life OF WHICH YOU ARE IN CHARGE.

        You are hanging on the weakened threads by attempting to bring him back in at all costs. This is not about your gratitude to him for the role he once played in this part of your life, this is really about you hanging on. Let go and fly!

      • You have agency remember. He didn’t change your life. You did. He may have made you aware of your options and given you some encouragement, but it was YOU who made the brave choice to start the course, YOU who did all the hard work, YOU who passed and whatever else happened/happens after that was and is only down to one person – YOU. Before I discovered CL I also found lots of other reasons for my successes other than my own abilities and hard work. It’s how you’re trained to think in abusive relationships. Your success is YOURS. And it’s an enormous success as the parent of a small child. Congratulations! And well done you! Please spend your graduation day with people who deserve to be there because they love you and treat you well xx

  • Graduate, it is completely understandable to long for intimacy (not necessarily just through sex) after being chumped, but the offender is not the one to give it to you. He has already proved he doesn’t love you and your heart is not safe with him. Don’t be the person who proves to his new partner what a jerk he (even though she is the OW). It is time to invest in your son and shown him how a decent human behaves, rather than show him that people use each other in relationships. About the thank you note, even if your motives for writing that were not related to another possible round of “I reject all of you except your orgasm-giving parts”, I would give it a miss. I wrote to my ex after the divorce, thanking him for the good times we had early in our 27 years of marriage, because I thought that is what decent humans do. He did not even acknowledge having received it, which hurt me again. We chumps need to stop putting ourselves out there in any way that allows us to get rejected again and again. Lastly, I’d be going for sexual health testing having been sharing him with OW and consequently who knows else – gross. STOP IT NOW!

  • Great reply!!! You don’t know? You’ve been chumped. Once informed, that’s on you. It’s no longer a mistake it’s a choice. All the excuses…but sunk costs, children, our vows. But he really LOVES me!! Yes because nothing says love like emotional abuse, disrespect and infidelity. If you stay you have chosen all of that and you have stated loud and clear that’s all that you are worth. If that’s the case, great. If none of that is acceptable to you, a lawyer is the only acceptable choice.

  • One of the shortest, most useful bits of advice I ever got, and it was here from a fellow chump:

    The horse is dead. Dismount.

    I have used this a thousand times since final dday in many situations. It reminds me when it’s done, it’s done, walk away, dragging a dead horse down the road will never result in it coming back to life and all you’ll get is tired.

    • My guess it was to demonstrate that ‘he tried’ when really, he had no intention of doing any of the relationship work.

      He was ticking off a box.

      • For sure!

        DDay for me was early March 2017. We proceeded to do 14 hours of marriage counselling, at his request, to work on the marriage. I later found out that he took a brief hiatus from the OW but then was back in contact the whole time.

        In October 2017, he gave me what I thought was a heartfelt speech about saving our marriage and acknowledging that he had not been fair to me and I am so amazing. We went to a couple’s therapy weekend retreat. I later found out that he had created a secret email account the week before the weekend away and was back in contact with the OW.

        He asked to see another marriage counsellor in late November 2017. There were four sessions. Yet the secret emails reveal to me that in the middle of those sessions, he already told her that he was going to leave me and was looking for places for January 1st, hoping that they can be together to ring in the new year the way they should have last year already.

        He tells everyone that he tried everything he could to save the marriage and then will say that MC does nothing to help marriage, it just makes everything worse. I realize now that he was just checking boxes off to divert attention from the affair that he was maintaining until he could screw up the courage to leave me for good. Now he feels he can reasonable tell others that he tried to save the marriage but it just didn’t work so that he can manage the image of this affair and pass off that his leaving had nothing to do with the OW.

        He sucks.

        • He absolutely sucks. It just goes to show the manipulation with a cheater never ends. I read your story and felt like I was wearing your shoes. I know my dirtball ex was trying to save face in his small uber rich community and with his new supplies. (Some of his supplies are quite well known and are profiled in magazines and even have museum wings in their names!) He will never change and those who come after me are just going to be abused, too. I exposed him, though. But now I’m just NC. I need to save myself.

    • He had a fight with New Chick. So, he figured he’d give Graduate another chance. Then, New Chick and Sparklepants made up…sometime while the therapy week was going on. It’s no fun for Sparklepants to sit in therapy, especially when New Chick is waiting at home with open arms of a Pick Me Dancer with Make up Sex on her mind. Always remember, Sparklepants walks on the path of least resistance!

    • That is an odd detail! My guess it was a form of ego-kibbling, with maybe some future-faking thrown in. “Oh, look, I am serious about wanting to be back in your life! Make that appointment!” Makes it easier to get into her undies–after all, he’s shown commitment! And it keeps himself and their storyline foremost in her mind and imagination–going to therapy, THINKING about therapy, etc.
      But who knows? I’m not a disordered fuckwit!

      • ..”he asked me to arrange for counseling”

        If he was serious, he would have made the appointment…he made the mistake of cheating. Not Graduate’s mistake to fix.

        • To all above, thanks for the replies. My sociopath ex wanted me to go to counseling with him the moment he found out I found out he was pursuing a number of women post me leaving his ass for cheating and lying to me. Immediately, he wanted me to go to therapy with him as it would help him be a better person and my insight would be of great help to him and his therapist. I didn’t go. I thought it was nothing more than impression management; he wanted to somehow cast me in a bad light so he could have a good story to tell everyone because I already told with cold hard proof he was cheating on me and was just a total dirtball.

          I found it odd that her guy wanted her to go to therapy, too. I also thought maybe his new “chump” wanted him to go to therapy if he was to stay with her because she knew he cheated on her. I also thought thisin my case as well because my sociopath ex immediately went back to one of the women he had slept around with for years and had also betrayed her with multiple other women in town. Phone records revealed a lot to me.

          At the end of the day, I didn’t go. I saw it as nothing more than manipulation and I would somehow come out it looking bad.

          • Yes imagine management. So he can we we tried everything but nothing worked. Whole all along he was already checked out.

    • Additional mindfuck
      More lies
      Made up stuff like “you never loved me”
      Rewrite history
      Rewrite more history
      Cry
      Cry
      More crying

      DONT go to counseling with a cheater
      Like my counselor said, it’s not a marriage problem, it’s a personal problem
      I know, I did it, who knows why I went
      But I put a quick stop to it after I watched him act out
      Anything to blame anyone but themselves

  • Graduate-first and most importantly congratulations for your success. That is huge! And you did it as a single mom-WOW! You are a star! Re:fuckwit-been there, done that, felt bad about myself for it! I have come to understand that for me, the greatest insult to my emotional health is seeing or talking to fuckwit. It takes me down to a place I hate. I have to then dig out from that dark hole that I didn’t create. I am the victim here and have always hated that state of mind. It is nonproductive, makes me feel less than and question myself. It was necessary to be there for a bit until I could right the boat after the tsunami of betrayal. I did what CN told me to do even though i didnt want to and moved quickly to divorce or in your case complete severance of the relationship. I think it saved me months of agony and money. Your fuckwit Is playing you for kibbles. Also think about hi. Having sex with you and her within days maybe hours of each other-yuk! May his dick rot and fall off. Let.Him.go. And just cry it out. Be thankful you didn’t end up married to him and go use that awesome education to build a fabulous life with your child-fuckwit free!! Hugs!

  • Graduate is a young (pre-50s) woman. SMACK her upside the head! She has a lot going for her! A degree, a beautiful heart, and hormones. She is at a great advantage to those Chumps who are ‘over the hill’! So, Graduate, fix your picker and be a good mom. Mr. Right is out there and you are denying Mr. Right the possibility of meeting you as long as your plying for Mr. Wrong.

    I read somewhere that it takes a woman 20 times on average to leave a physically abusive relationship. What we have here is an emotionally abusive relationship, and Graduate is honest enough to come clean with spackling the booty calls as relationship starters.

    When you hoover back and answer those booty calls for years . . . guess what normal people think about you? That you are a willing participant with no self esteem. There must be something “wrong” with Chump. And, you know what? There is! So, get out now!! While you are young.

    • @ Meow Mix Aww, thanks for the flattery! I keep on thinking that nobody will ever want me since I am a student, no income, divorced, with a child and a migrant. I am not hot or anything like that. Yeah, my self esteem is in the shitter.

      • You are clearly a hard worker, determined, smart, thoughtful, grateful and kind. In my book, those are some of the very most important qualities a person can have. He proposed that break idea right during the middle of your exams, and you managed to somehow make it through and still graduate! You are strong and you can do this. These traits are ones that good people will appreciate, whether friends or potential romantic interests. Persevere and keep on going (away from him). Things will get better, and this will eventually be in your rear-view mirror…

  • You are young and smart, and GET OUT! There are plenty more fish in the sea, especially for a woman with so much going on. You are hurting your future Mr. Right, by staying attached in your brain to Mr. Wrong.

    I read where it takes women in physically abusive relationships in the teens of attempts to finally leave. So, I thank you for your honesty in telling CL that you went back. That’s courage. And, it’s also courage to leave. Give yourself that present. You don’t want to be pick me dancing for years. Because then people will say, rightfully so, that you are the willing participant and a bit “crazy” yourself with “self esteem” issues. You don’t sound like that type of lady . . .

  • I get doing this whole pick me dance over and over…I get the hopeium…..but what really hit me in this post was the “do the right thing” concept….that we chumps are still torn after being destroyed by still wanting or feeling compelled to be nice…to be humane…to the asshole. For me…I’m starting to feel it with the holidays coming up…when we first split I didn’t invite him to our family gathering, but then I somehow changed when I felt bad for him being left out…as I would for any other normal person. I need to remember he is not a normal person. He destroyed our family. He lied over and over. He does not deserve my “do the right thing” feelings any more, and this guy doesn’t deserve any more thanks for whatever he did to support her education success…xoxo

    • When my in laws couldn’t make it to my duaghter’s 18th birthday party (to which ex was also invited and he attended briefly), I invited them to brunch the next day. This included his mother, sister and his niece and nephew. I didn’t think to invite ex because I wasn’t sure they would actually be able to make it, he had previously indicated that he wasn’t comfortable in the room with them and me at the same time, he hadn’t shown much interest in the B-day party even though his aunt was there and I thought he would be reluctant to attend such an event without Schmoopie (or she would be reluctant to let him go). Ex found out they had been there after the fact and sent an text telling me how angry and hurt he was that he hadn’t received an invite. My immediate reaction was to apologize because I felt genuinely sorry for having made him feel left out. I didn’t want to make him feel the way he made me feel. It wasn’t until later when others responded with a “so what why should you care” attitude that I was able to put it in perspective. Old habits die hard.

      The funny part is that in his text he even asked “have I offended you in some way?”. Uh, you had two affairs and left me for Schmoopie 2.0 so yeah. Duh.

  • Rational self protection comes first, Graduate.

    I have a narcissistic ex who helped me a lot through hard times. Then when I started to cope better lost interest. It’s strange how narcissistic people can be interested in people having a hard time, I think it’s not so much to genuinely help as it is to control. Something about casting themselves as the heroic rescuer.

    • @Pecan: I think you are on to something. Except for his first GF, all his exes are single mothers in some kind of financial hole.

  • I didn’t read all the comments, so it probably is brought up somewhere else. This guy broke up with her either half way through the master’s degree program if it’s 1-year, or near the end if it’s 2-year or more. It’s cruel to create so much drama in a life so full of activity. It’s further cruel to distract and create drama by coming around occasionally while she’s trying to complete her program and juggling everything else. Probably he looked elsewhere because he wasn’t getting enough attention/centrality, or some consequences showed up, or maybe she was not buying into the drama efforts as fully. They really do change their game when the mask is exposed.

    • @ Validated:

      He “wanted a break” at the end of my last semester, smack dab in the middle of exam season. I found out that they have been seeing each other since before Christmas. Will do some more explaining in a separate comment.

    • @ Validated: He wanted the “break” during the exam season of the last semester of school. His “reason” was because I refused to move in with him because I wanted to remain independent. I told him that if he wanted to move in with me, he had better put a ring on it. I guess that did not go over well.

  • Dear everyone,

    Thank you for your comments (even the harsh ones). I really needed that. I guess that I feel very adrift because I am a migrant in a new country, with no family around me except my son. I moved to this country to be with my ex-husband (the father of my child). He was also physically and emotionally abusive.

    I am aware I have self-esteem issues and have a broken picker. I believe this is from my family of origin (which was the incentive for me to move countries in the first place) and I am in therapy (seeing a LCSW) to help me determine why I keep on picking weird men. To be honest, I felt manipulated/stalked/pressured into being in a relationship with the Cheater, which is why we never lived together. He resented my insistence on remaining independent, which was his “reason” for cheating. I admit I became the OW and pick-me-danced, and I didn’t know my desire wanting to thank him was another form of it.

    I have blocked my ex on several platforms (FB, Messenger, Text, I tried Landline but I think I did it wrong because he still was able to call me a month ago) but I hesitate to go nuclear because after seeing him and his GF last August he went crazy and posted a 69-page album of stalker photos of me/my child on FB and aired all of our dirty laundry. He tagged me on every one of them to make sure I see it. Blasting me on the book of faces for going on a cruise with him, implying that I used him for money. I did not even want to go on that damned cruise. Anyway, I have been told by several people to go to the police but IDK if the harassment is serious enough to warrant it, because he hasn’t done anything since. I have been checking his social media since then because I was very paranoid, and also I needed a slap in the face because I agree with y’all, I am not yet re-framing this guy as an ex.

    I agree, I need to admit to myself that he isn’t a nice person, and had used his connection to my son to bait me again into sleeping with him again (that’s how the picnic happened in the first place). I have now blocked all avenues for him to contact my child. He still sends me Whatsapp messages once in a while and I give one-word answers. I am afraid blocking him totally would push him over the edge, I don’t wanna poke the bear. He is very proud that he is “friends” with all of his exes and I know it is driving him crazy that I refuse to play into that narrative.

    Anyway, thank you for all the advice and I will answer comments for clarification, if necessary.

    • Good luck graduate. No contact and blocking is the way to go. Even a one-word answer fuels the flame. I’m sorry he’s trashing you and violating your privacy on Facebook. I’m not sure what the laws are in your state, but if he’s posting pics of your child online he may be violating a state privacy act, which is actionable. If you’re worried about physical violence, then I hope you see if there is any legal action you can take now. If it’s just online anger, F it. Who cares. People who know you will not believe him.

      You don’t owe him a damn thing, especially not respect. But, you have to WANT to get him out of you life. That’s probably the question you need to answer for yourself.

      • @ Not a Nice Chump: Thank you for your comment. I forgot to block him on Whatsapp (which we rarely used), and which is why he still texts me. My best friend had encouraged me to not completely block him but to grey rock instead as to “not poke the bear.” Will talk it over with my therapist if blocking on all avenues is viable and probably go to the cops? My therapist encouraged me to.

        • Talk with your therapist and talk to the police if recommended, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

          You must realize that he has absolutely no interest in well-being. Everything is about making his life better even at your expense. I was married for 18 years and the X treated me no better than your ex is treating you. You must take care of you and your son. Be strong, cry if you must and take a step forward. It’s what we all do – you can do it too.

    • TheGraduate, there is a pattern here.

      You know something is wrong. People confirm for you that something is wrong, and give you advice on fixing it.

      But instead of taking their advice – for example, finding about from the police about stalking charges – you decide instead to fix it your way. In this instance, you monitor his Facebook activity – thus exposing yourself to even more hurt and hoovering. But it keeps you in touch with him.

      (Question: why was he not already blocked, so that his tagging never reached you in the first place?)

      Again: You know you have to go No Contact, but instead you stay in contact via WhatsApp.

      I think this pattern is very common among Chumps, because we overestimate our ability to cope, while underestimating our need for outside help. Also, this tells me you are afraid of this man.

      I am not sure if this guy has physically harmed you in the past or not, but he IS an abuser. When you are afraid of someone, you form trauma bonds with them. Trauma bonds are the crack cocaine of relationships. The only way out is cold turkey – full No Contact.

      So he trashes you on Facebook? If you block him, you will never see it. Tell your friends not to relay information about him. Purge the house of everything he is associated with. Throw stuff away. Change your music playlist. Change the route you drive to work. Change all your mental locks.

      This. Doesn’t. Stop. By. Itself. You have to do it. No one – not even your therapist – is going to rescue you and your boy. YOU are going to do it, one day at a time.

      Trust us. Deep No Contact is the way to go.

  • This letter is a great example of how the mind makes up reasons to match the feelings.
    Graduate, book a session for yourself and work on those feelings, because the mind will follow no matter what.
    You have an addiction to this guy. No contact is the emergency treatment for it. Follow up with therapy.
    Hugs and know your worth!

  • I’m not sure he did ‘support’ you in your masters. I think he encouraged you and spoke of support, spoke encouraging words etc but his actions of causing mayhem mid exams was to sabotage the masters.

    He thought he was setting you up to fail. Love bombing you to start the masters and then doing his discard by trying to make you fail. His plan did not work. He underestimated you.

    Let him keep underestimating you. Don’t ever show your hand. NC and a masters degree…. the way forward.

  • It’s interesting how these people think they are being supportive of you, but they really aren’t.

    When my STBXH started to have inappropriate relationships with other women a few years ago, my career was starting to boom. I was the sole income earner at the time as my husband was working full-time on another university degree. Yep, he was having affairs while I was supporting his studies.

    Anyways, I was getting tapped for leadership roles at work. When I was offered a department headship, I actually turned it down. Sure, my husband was “supportive” and couldn’t understand why I didn’t pursue it. But, I knew then why I couldn’t do it and I spoke to my superiors and explained to them why.

    I simply didn’t have enough support at home. My children are still young and lacking independence. I have a son with a disability. I worked, came home to do most of the housecleaning, was responsible for most of the familial commitments, have a mother who is ill, look after the kids’ schooling, son’s therapies. I was stretched so thin that I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to take this professional leap at this time.

    My husband never understood that giving me verbal support is not the same thing as actual support. He figured that because he was taking the kids to school and picking them up, cooking some dinners and doing some laundry, that he was sooooo helpful. He felt he was doing so much more than most of his friends so couldn’t understanding why I kept “complaining”. He never saw or acknowledged the triple duty I was carrying out. Taking on my promotion would have required a shift of division of labour at home that he simply could not comprehend and follow through with. Women do it all the time with career husbands – husbands who put in longer hours for greater pay and their wives agree to take on a greater burden with family and home for the greater cause. There was no way that my husband was going to take on that role, but hey he wanted to “support” me by telling me to go for it and leaving it to me to figure out how to still get everything else done.

    Funny how now I am single – I still look after most of the kids’ needs, son’s therapies, school and appointments. Now I have the care of the entire house on my own, as I kept the house after separation, still maintain families ties and responsibilities to my family and my in-laws, and am still on a career path. Yet, I feel the less stress than I ever did before. I am back on the leadership track at work and feel confident now that I can handle a new position.

    Yet, I’m down a husband. So, how is it that I am better positioned to manage a new role now than I was before? Funny how that works.

    I don’t have the stress of him. The burden of him. I believe that when affairs happen, there is an unrecognized evil that drains the family spiritually. You don’t recognize it’s happening when you don’t know an affair is taking place, but you suffer. Once that element was removed from my home, it became a brighter place, no longer sucking me spiritually. And now my STBXH has to take the kids on his days and weekends and fully parent them on his own. Those evenings and weekends free me up to work late, complete courses, engage in projects and enjoy myself so that I can rest and renew myself.

    I still have the kids about 65% of the time (according to our current access arrangement which works best for our autistic son who benefits from more consistent school nights spent at home with me). But, I get so much done in the time I don’t have them, so that I am so very present for them. I get to be a better, more attentive, more put-together mom, and I get to do better at work.

    All because I lost a husband and his so-called support and help…….NOT!

  • Graduate,

    we have all been where you are. Wondering WTF happened and WTH is he and was any of it real?

    Well, you know now that cheating is what he gets off on. You are an object, and OW is an object, and objects are there for his personal use.

    Your relationship WAS NOT REAL. Your relationship was a HOLOGRAM. You see him using OW who also ‘thinks’ she is in a connected relationship? Well, what does he care? He pretends. She is of use. You are of use. He is using you.

    One day, a little voice (God, your soul) will go off and it will say ‘you are now participating in your own abuse’.

    Please take Tracy’s 2×4 – VOLUNTEER, YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN YOUR OWN ABUSE (hoping that it is something else)

    to get you to that voice, sooner.

    Go No Contact! That is how you quit smoking etc, you STOP PARTICIPATING! In time, the urges get weaker, and quieter, until you are free.

  • We are weak by nature especially when we have feelings someone. I understand now why No Contact is so important because once we break that no contact, we open the door to subject ourselves to the same heart ache they gave us in the first place. I broke no contact early on thinking I was strong and could handle it only to find out I was not and ended up sleeping with my STBXH. Even though legally he was still my husband and I could try to use that as justification or reasoning for my bad judgement and bad decisions at the time. It still didn’t take away the hurt and guilt I felt afterwards. He was living with the OW, so technically I was the OW and just a booty call. My STBXH did not feel any guilt about the pain and hurt his actions caused me or potentially the OW if she found out. Afterwards his words were “thank you, I needed that” (nothing had changed it was still all about him). Not sure what he meant by that, but I realized I had made a huge mistake by breaking no contact. This incident made me question my character, morals and values. Afterwards, it took double the time for me to get back to where I was mentally and emotionally on my journey to a new life. So, breaking no contact opens the door for us chumps to repeat past mistakes and undo all the hard work that we put forth towards a stronger better life. It is not worth it, not even to say thank you. I encourage you to stay no contact at all cost.

  • Dear everyone,

    Yes his dick is my kryptonite! Great way of putting it. I blocked him after the photo album!

    “Your relationship WAS NOT REAL. Your relationship was a HOLOGRAM. You see him using OW who also ‘thinks’ she is in a connected relationship? Well, what does he care? He pretends. She is of use. You are of use. He is using you.”

    This is something that took a while to wrap my head around. I have been asking myself the same question these past two weeks. In a way yeah, I was aware I was being boory-called and yes, I am addicted to the sex. I agree that I am afraid of what he could do.

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