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The “What If They’re Really The One” Fear

I had the pleasure last evening to be on the BBC Radio show “After the Watershed” talking about life post-infidelity. (Have a listen!)

One of the presenters, Sarah, had been chumped horribly — had four kids with her cheater, discovered her ex’s double life when the youngest was a toddler, performed a two-year long Pick Me Dance, and then her ex left for his affair partner. The Schmoopies are now married and have quite the social media presence. There are romantic vacations, breakfasts in bed, high thread-count bed sheets, castles, sushi, unicorns… Okay, I don’t know about the sushi and unicorns, but suffice it to say, it’s FABULOUS.

And Sarah asked, “What if she’s really The One? The person he can actually be happy with? And I wasn’t?”

And I replied (I hope not too flippantly, because this is really painful shit) — “Not your problem.”

It doesn’t matter. Will he better for the next one? I doubt it. Your only data point here is he was terrible for YOU. That relationship was unacceptable. You can’t go back in time and make it better. You have to deal with the reality you were dealt — the guy walked out on his wife and four children.

How you interpret that, and this guy’s value as a partner, depends on what YOUR values are. He didn’t leave the relationship ethically. (Double life, faux remorse, cake eating — and do listen for the story of Two Christmas Dinners…) He is a BAD PERSON.

If you jettison the responsibilities of four children, and choose someone without morals or stretch marks — well, maybe Sir, you have met your match. In vapidity and malfeasance.

I’m sure life is easier for him — he’s saddled someone else with all the adult-ing work and the injustice of abandonment. And if you’re not tethered to a conscience, sure, you can enjoy a LOT of sushi.

But real joy, in my opinion, is authentically connecting to people — people worthy of you. Who don’t mindfuck you, or play the Switzerland friend with false equivalencies and forced forgiveness. You want to heal? You need a better tribe.

This guy doesn’t measure up. Who gives a shit about his breakfast? Or the pod person he shares it with.

The world is full of injustice — injustice like raising four kids on your own, while some fuckboy Instagrams croissants — the pain of that is REAL. And most people are weak, and accommodating. Sycophantic. They will like his posts and buy into his All For The Best narrative.

Not a damn thing you can do about it. Focus on your new life. And unfollow Mr. Happy today.

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  • Happy nice people are not selectively kind.
    Manipulative people with double lives and hidden agendas are selectively kind. You and your children get abandoned and he breaks his agreement (wedding vows); she “gets” X, Y, and Z. I think this is the Ultimate Red Flag.

    When the real life problems hit Mr. and Mrs. Schmoopie, and they will, that’s when we get to see what these people are made of. On the other hand, they could be in massive denial their whole lives, like my MIL who had the shit beaten out of her regularly by my FIL. They are still together at 92 and 82….she insists they have a wonderful marriage and she “feels so safe with him.” Well, that is NOT going to be me. I want better. And someone in the ether wants better for you too.

    I don’t want fake, manipulative nice from a con artist with a record.

    • Noun: fraud
      |frod|
      Intentional deception resulting in injury to another person
      A person who makes deceitful pretenses
      = fake, faker, imposter, impostor, pretender, pseud, pseudo, role player, sham, shammer
      Something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
      = dupery, fraudulence, hoax, humbug, put-on, spoof

        • Good luck! I think we have similar stories…Craigslist cheaters and about a 20 year marriage. Stay strong! You’ve got this.

          • Ah, yes me too with the almost 20 year marriage and Craigslist cheaters. When the news came out last March about Craigslist cancelling the personals section due to human trafficking concerns, I considered sending Cheater Cheatson from Cheatsville a “my condolences on your loss” note, but even my sarcasm is too good for him.

            • Backpage.com cheater here.

              Condelences on your loss note would have been fantantic but as we all know he probably wouldn’t get it.

            • Lol… there’s now Doublelist.com and others that these cheaters access just as easily as Craigslist. Works just as well.

        • Velvet Hammer, once again you hit it out of the park with your comments. Love your insight!

          Sending strength and good thoughts for your mediation. We had two mediations, court required, and both were nightmarish bc X was in full narc rage and self pity mode fueled with his off-label adderall use. It was horrible but I showed up and suited up and pushed onward to my trial where I came out WAY ahead. I was willing to settle for 50/50 on finances— I got 72% at trial and Judge said he wished he could have given me more.

          • Wow yay you Motherchumper, My ex tried to get spousal support from me. I earn just a little more than him. The opposing attorney I noticed had a copy of my doctor’s report detailing my bruises so I don’t think he was looking to help my ex out. The judge just gave him that “WTF”look:

          • I wish I has the strength and courage to go to trial. I was still in horrific pain from the betrayal, directly followed by 15 months supporting my mother through lung cancer and her inevitable death and the divorce fight with the nastiest lawyer in town.

            In the end I got 50/50 assets and the down I put on our first martial house, 90% child support (although he takes her close to 50% of the time) , and 33% of his income until he retires — I’ll be 70 by then and get full social security. Plus my retirement assets have 13 years to grow.

            I know I am very lucky to be financially secure, but it still pisses me off that he’ll have 2x my income. (My earning potential is long gone after 17 years out of the workforce. I gave up a huge tech career so he could pursue his career and take advantage of the travel perks of a double life). He’s still in a long distance relationship with the OW, a mirror image of himself. Travel, $$$ — she supports her ex and only sees her young children 2 weekends a month.

            I’m 57, settled in my new small home, having a strained relationship* with my daughter and wondering what I want to for the next 30 years on this planet — realistically 15 of which are my still “active years.”

            I realize I’m in an enviable position as I don’t HAVE to work if I’m willing to adjust my lifestyle. But not lnowing what I want to pursue is absolutely paralyzing.

            It’s beem 2.5 years and clearly I’m still working through my shit. Ex says I live my life In the rear view mirror and he feels sorry for me. (Easy to say when you’re the perpetrator and not the abused.)

            I got into it with him last week when he flipped out about finances. He accused me of being a naraccist or having borderline personality disorder. Both my grief counselor and therapist had a chuckle over that one! I wish I had the wherewithal to get a mirror and tell him to repeat himself.

            * After 1.5 years apart, she is back with him — he’s playing Disneyland Dad and she can do no wrong). Meanwhile, I’m the one who disciplines.

            • Giddy,

              Abigail Trafford has a series of books about the challenge and joy of re-inventing in your fifties. She really digs into the issues surrounding that age, carrying for elderly parents, dealing with transitions with your children, your body, etc. They may cheer and inspire you: http://www.abigailtrafford.com/

              I believe a big, sparkly, and spackle-free chapter is coming. <3

          • We are in the same area, but my judge completely f’d me over. I wonder what the difference was…a different county maybe? Now I’m appealing, sigh.
            Motherchumper99, if you have time to discuss – my email is k9s@outlook.com. I honestly do not know what to do anymore!

        • Good luck, Velvet Hammer! (just know mediation typically does not work with fuckwits–they delay and delay, make ridiculous demands, agree to something and then change the goalposts. Gird yourself for battle.)

          • They also show up empty handed. At my first metting we were told to each have a business valuation done to bring to second meeting. 4 months to get it done. Ex showed up empty handed. A waste of 4 months. He finally turned it over the week of trial. I hope you have better luck than me, Velvet Hammer!

        • Best luck, Velvet! Crossing my fingers and toes for you today. I appreciate your input and thoughts on this blog, thank you.

        • Sending positive healing “fuck him” prayers your way. I know contradictory statements. In our world contradictions in intent is best in our past! Be well my friend and best of luck! Hugs

        • THANK YOU ALL.
          Leaving for appointment now.
          😬

          Hahaha
          The joke’s on them…
          Craigslist hooker thinks he’s an
          🏧
          (my new rap)

          OR

          A Poem

          It takes a while
          To reconcile
          The guy we thought we knew
          The guy he is
          Is NOT that guy
          He’s NOT the guy for you!

          • Love the poem, Velvet Hammer!
            Good luck today and remember to play Chump Lady’s ‘Trust that they Suck’ in your head as a punctuation mark for absolutely every single sentence that comes out of your fake/imposter/pretender/shammer.
            My own personal Shimmy Shammer beat me in court because I underestimated their ability to deceive. (Face palm) Won the judge over with ‘innocent ardent’ tone that was the total antithesis of what I had been receiving.
            I took it as a hard lesson learnt that absolute NO CONTACT is the only way and finally, brutally enlightened as to why lawyers exist 🙂

          • The mediation appointment went very well. He is a lawyer and a psychotherapist and said regarding infidelity, that the cheater hopefully would look at why he did it, look WAY back and deep (as in, it’s not ME) and hopefully would learn to be a better partner next time. And STBXH and I agreed to use him for mediation. One miracle down, hopefully more to follow.
            The mediator is someone we were each independently referred to…I like to think of this as Higher Power intervention. We shall see.

            I gave him back my wedding rings when I came to the appointment. We both had picked out the diamond and I designed the ring. I don’t want it, I don’t want the money from it, and I’m not going to give it to my daughter or remake something out of it. I had chosen platinum because of its strength. Sadly it was not stronger than his desire to cheat. I didn’t do it to be mean or manipulative; it just has no meaning now and he paid for it so he should have it back.

            I made him cry.

            • Oh Velvet Hammer,
              I cried reading your post about your ring.
              I totally understand you wanting to give it back to him, so appropriate, it no longer had any meaning.

              I never had an engagement ring, we could not afford it.
              I had a plain wedding band and because of work I was not allowed to wear it, so I just never wore it. I have no idea where it is.
              Sadly, eventhough at DDay my cheater stayed, the ring had and has no meaning.
              I can’t even imagine where it could be.

              I love to read your posts.
              YOU are so strong and Mighty.
              I hope everything goes well for you dear Velvet Hammer!
              ❤️

            • So happy to hear it’s gotten off to a good start and your ex appeared humble. Hope that continues in your favour.

        • If he’s still with homeslice and you live in a state where you can sue her, mediation can work. In the end I got 100% of the house profit, support that automatically gets deducted from his check and FREEDOM! He didn’t want his emails to her about molding his penis into a vibrator brought up in court. My last email from him: You are the worst human. EVER.
          My thoughts…. Back atcha.
          I hope it goes well. And when you do go to mediation, talk to someone from your tribe and discuss the settlement before you sign. The people in your corner are great about seeing things for what they are. Don’t negotiate much with a fuckwit

          • My pit bull Super Lawyer goes over everything with a fine tooth comb before I sign off on anything!

    • “Happy nice people are not selectively kind.
      Manipulative people with double lives and hidden agendas are selectively kind. ”

      THIS. SO MUCH THIS.

      I told something similar to the OW, in a conversation I never should have had with her. But essentially when she was telling me how he has changed and realized what he needs to be for his family, I told her that IF he had really changed, I would be seeing those changes. His daughter would be seeing those changes. We’re not. He is still as difficult as possible with even the smallest of information. A person who can leave a spouse during cancer to fend for herself during chemo treatments and not care one bit about her recovery is not a good person. PERIOD.

      • The OW is trying to get him to do what’s right for his family? That’s rich, isn’t it?! So how does she spin him cheating with her as being good for his family? … He’s a lying cheating bastard & she know that. Yet, she believes she has the magic wand to turn that frog into a prince. Have fun chasing thatvunicorn sparkle twat – Barf!

        • He told her that we were done and that the details of the divorce were being worked out. But by family, I think she only means her family because he got her pregnant 5 months after separating with me. She spins his cheating with yes, he made a mistake and that was the wrong way to deal with issues. We all have faults and he should not have to pay penance for his sins for the remainder of his life. He deserves to be happy! Because he was not happy in our marriage.

          It’s clear that she thinks she can fix everything wrong with him. She has offered to help with communication with me (which I turned down), she plans many get togethers with his family and hers. To her credit, so far it looks like he has made SOME changes. But they have only been together for a little over a year. My interactions with her have shown her to be very insecure and I think she think she really has him locked because she immediately got pregnant again after birthing their child. I think the stress is irish twins will bring our his true colors.

  • You have to wonder what the ow feels about the 4 kids he left, bet she feels it wasn’t the husbands fault. Incidentally my ex wanted to leave me and kids on Xmas day. Apparently kids had toys so he didn’t have to be there!. This was 5 and a half years ago. I was chumped for a drug, alcoholic sometime prostitute, who lied about almost everything. You could say she was doing me a favour, but no thanks for the stis. She was pregnant apparently or maybe another lie. Ex was proud she dumped her kids for him.

  • Thanks, Chump Lady. My anniversary is tomorrow, and Mr. Not-So-Mighty has been gone almost 4 months now. He didn’t really try to eat cake (as far as I could tell…I don’t know, I left 2 days after finding out about the affair). I’m struggling big time with this very thing right now; I don’t know if the affair is still going on, last I heard it had ended in early September, but who knows if they’re in back together or in some off-and-on cycle. But the question of “What if he’s happier without me?” translates into “What if the reason he was unhappy was because of me? What if he’s better off without me because I was the problem?” He told me the affair had nothing to do with why he wanted a divorce and he wasn’t in love with me anymore, and unfortunately, I think I’ve bought into that narrative as much as I’ve tried not to.

    What if he’s living his best life because he finally got rid of me? I know it’s not supposed to matter, and hopefully some day it won’t, but as I watch the hours tick by to my 5th anniversary tomorrow, it feels like it matters an awful lot.

    Also, hi, Chump Nation! Lurker of 3+ months, Poster of the First Time.

        • I’m actually surprised the software supports multiple users with the same name. I don’t want to share it, because I’m told some of my story. But you know what? You can have it. I chose it when I first signed on and was still living with my stbx, hoping I would find the “mighty” to leave. Well, I did, and my court date for the divorce is next week.
          So I’ll change mine, if the site lets me, to “Adelante,” with all its wonderful multiple meanings.

          • Adelante,
            Leaving is truly the hardest step. You DID it, and are therefore very mighty! May you enjoy all that comes from getting away from an unloving marriage. (It’s been decades for me and I still recall the big relief after taking years to leave a controlling, selfish spouse. Best life decision I ever made.)

            Onward and upward!

          • How about changing it to just ‘Mighty’? Since you aren’t trying anymore! (Or ‘Just Mighty’–you know, like ‘Just Jack.’ 😀

              • Kudos to 2 Lovely Chumps working it out, ( over choosing the same name)
                Both of you ladies exemplify kindness, integrity and good judgement.
                Then again, that is what CN is all about, respect, integrity and kindness.
                You got it Chumps!!

    • TFM, welcome 🙂 I’m a rare poster here and in the forums but I’ve been a silent participant since 2015.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head with your point: ‘what If the problem was me?’ And to be realistic: there were problems in my behaviour, choices and actions. Ive made an effort to reflect and change the things about myself that I felt weren’t healthy.
      On the other hand, I wasn’t actively sabotaging my relationship as wankhandle was, I didn’t lie or deceive him, I didn’t steal from him, I didn’t stop interacting with him in any meaningful way: those things are on him, and arguably much larger contributing factors to the decline of our day to day lives together – those choices were his and shape his character.

      It’s hard not to think the problem may have been me but if I weigh it up, my problematic behaviours pale in comparison to his continuous neglect and sabotage.

      • Thanks, AD. I too know I had some problematic behaviors that weren’t the best for a healthy marriage, but I also don’t know how much they actually bothered him. Because he never really told me what I could do more or less of to help him feel loved and appreciated. I got hints and insinuations, especially around how “controlling” he thought I could be – except my “controlling” was in reaction to his persistent lying, stonewalling, and general disinterest in me when he wasn’t in need of kibbles. In hindsight, the healthy thing to do would have been to leave rather than check up on him, but at the time, I really wanted our marriage to work and that was something I could do to keep my sanity without his cooperation.

        • Yes. This also my experience. He treated my reactions to his behavior as me being controlling and restricting. He really never addressed his actions in the first place. He felt any request of mine was unreasonable. The sane and responsible thing for me would have been for me to leave… I had the real stupid idea that I could change him and our unhealthy dynamics.

        • I had similar, not my reactions to his cheating because I didn’t know about that but my reactions to his devalue, being generally prickly towards me and the kids and acting like he was embarrassed by me. these things had me retreating and generally leaving him alone so as not to set him off. He then complained that I wasn’t giving him enough attention and he didn’t feel loved.

          He also complained that I didn’t make enough money and then complained when I tried to work more hours to get ahead. He complained that I didn’t do laundry right so he would do it and then he complained that he had to do all of the laundry. There were so many things I did or didn’t do in direct reaction to his stated needs/wants that he later ended up resenting. Initially I thought I must just be completely incompetent to have misread his intent so badly, but now I realize that it was just him being amorphous.

          • Chumpinrecovery, this is a PERFECT description of life with the disordered. Except it wasn’t him being amorphous, it was him being entitled, inconsistent, self centered, and an all-round asshole.

            I’m SO glad to be single as well!

          • Yes! All of this! I left him alone, looked for places to go that he wouldn’t want to go, took the kids out of the house, etc etc all to keep from setting him off. There was always a price to pay for just breathing. It might be pouting, bitching, deciding not to eat whatever I made for dinner. Never mind all the other shady shit he was doing, and whom he was doing it with…His obsession with his phone and who was on it. When he left, he said I pushed him away and he needed intimacy. Hell yes, I pushed him away. He was a self centered asshole that thought our marriage should revolve around his pencil dick.

        • Also similar to my experience. If he had been more plugged in and taken more initiative, I wouldn’t have taking on more and more so that it appeared I was in control of everything by the time it was all done. How about talking to me about how you feel? How you wish things to be? What you need from me?

          The only time he would say anything was in reaction to me and it was always that he didn’t want to do something or that I have to let things be. Well hard to do that when I’m knee-deep in things that need to get done. And, not addressing issues is not in my DNA. I don’t do sticking my head in the sand very well.

          In the end, I basically did stick my head in the sand, waiting for him to finish the degree that I was supporting him through, hoping that he would turn things around when he was done the stress of studying and was working at a better job. Figured that we’d have some money to have some fun again and get things fixed around the house and vacation somewhere nice. Instead he spent the last year of school and the first year of working having emotional and physical affairs with other women.

          Oh yeah, there were things I did wrong in the marriage – typical overworked professional mom stuff who is stressed out trying to be all things to all people – needing to be romanced to feel her mojo and not getting romanced because asking for it put off her husband. I complained sometimes. I railed at him sometimes. And, I’m sure it appeared that I could never be happy.

          In my support group for separated and divorced Catholics, we just started working on sifting through guilt and blame. My “assignment” for the week is to write out all the things I blame myself for and then figure out what is realistic guilt (those things that you know you need to work on yourself) and what is unrealistic/unreasonable guilt. Figuring out what is unrealistic goes in hand with figuring out what your spouse blamed you for (and other foo reasons) and filtering that out. It’s been an interesting exercise so far, and one that I think everyone should do.

          For example:
          Realistic: I blame myself for not having managed stress better and take ownership of my actions which were often very reactionary against my husband (Solution: work on prioritizing tasks better, ask for help more often, self-care better and develop positive strategies to cope)

          Unreasonable: I do not blame myself for “emasculating” my husband. I did not emasculate him. I supported him through two layoffs and three years of university – amounting to three career changes in less than eleven years. He failed to assert himself and take more initiative. He failed to communicate his feelings to me. That is his problem to resolve.

          I think that many of our issues with fearing that the OW is better stems from a lot of unreasonable guilt we carry. Time to offload that guilt and realize that if the OW/OM is “better” it’s only that they are the trade down for your spouse’s lower value self.

          • I have a really big problem with someone who thinks they are entitled to have their needs met, but can’t be bothered to meet their partner’s needs.

            That’s just some whiny-ass, immature shit right there.

      • Thank you for saying that Awakening Dreamer.
        I wasn’t perfect and of course I made mistakes but nothing that some honest conversation and making an effort to be present and spend time together couldn’t have solved.
        The lying, the withholding of affection, the hostility, the seething anger and resentment that I could see and feel around him: all of that were on him.
        He seemed happy with my imperfections and I was mostly happy with his until he pulled away from me and retreated to porn and hooker distractions.
        I lost him when I made clear that I wouldn’t continue in our relationship if we didn’t have children. He “gave in” because he didn’t want to lose me. What he actually did was seethe with resentment for “forcing” him into something he didn’t want. (I didn’t force him, we agreed but as you all know that’s his narrative.)
        He manipulated me into staying with him when he know I wanted a family and he didn’t and when he couldn’t control me any longer he sabotaged and bailed (emotionally) on the relationship.
        We’re still pretending to be together but I’m trying to get out. Now his narrative is that he wanted children and I couldn’t have them so we stopped trying. (I want to kick his teeth in every time he puts on that sad sausage routine.)
        He destroyed his own life with his selfishness and destroyed mine in the process because he chose to. I just went along for the ride because I bought into who he pretended to be. I still, even after all that he’s done, look at him and can’t believe he is the same person I thought he was. I am STILL in shock. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.

        • Sunflower

          I couldn’t have written it any better… details vary, but the feelings are the same… my mind still shuts down every time I’m trying to merge two images of my h ( his secret double life self and the married man)
          I learned by now that forcing myself into stuff doesn’t help… gentle, nice treatment with focus on my needs and healing is a key…. I’m starting looking at myself through different glasses, not the skewed, disorder way I was being told I was…
          Keep going Sunflower…. maybe in all the madness, the fact that we will come to conclusion that the only reliable source of safety is within us- will lift the weight and stress of looking for it outside?
          Who knows

          • Thank you so much for that Elsa.
            I struggle so, so much with trusting that they suck. I need to take care of me more.
            I struggle with leaving physically. I think I’ve already left emotionally but leaving this reality is so daunting to me.
            I think every single one of the people here who have left their entire lives, WITH children no less, are super heroes to me.

            • What I like about CL is that there is lots of support and not much of judgment… for those who still live with and hope- the place where the pain, confusion and mindfuckery is understood,
              for the chumps on the way out- understanding of difficulty to not only make decision, but also to execute it…
              For the chumps already divorced- understanding of baring the consequences and dealing with a world – solo

              CL is not an easy pill to swallow….when fog is thick and we don’t even know our name, not to mention we are almost in a non-existing phase ( gaslighting and abuse are powerful) of our life… it’s to raw, to harsh, to much to handle…. but when the fog lifts a little bit- it’s a life saving place… especially for the chumps with avery limited/ no support system

              I still did not figure out how to join the forum 🤦‍♀️

              • Go up to the far right of your screen where it says “Register.” Click there, and register. After you do that, you can click on the word “LogIn” right next to it. Once you log in, you’ll see “Forums” appear to the right, and a little note will appear under Chump Lady’s “head” up top that says, “Howdy, [“yourname”]. Just click on the “Forums” and you’re in.

              • Elsa – ‘CL is not an easy pill to swallow….when fog is thick and we don’t even know our name, ..’

                When I first heard that the X had probably been planning this a long time and already had his foot out the door, and most likely – didn’t love me anymore.

                The truth hit like a dart between the eyes.
                (I thought our marriage was GREAT!)
                It was a super depressing time and has taken me almost 5 years to figure it out. Nobody could do the destruction they do if they actually love you.

                The Forum can be seen at the very top of C/L page. 5 options to the right, the very far right one is Register. The one to the left of it is Login – which you’ll use after you register. It’s a great forum so hope you get in.

            • The important thing that I learned is that when I am physically present with the abuser or I spend my thoughts on the abuser that I am a prisoner of his mind Fuckery and I don’t heal or get better or get perspective.

              No contact is medicine for the malady which is the effect of living with someone who abuses us.

              And abuse it is.

              Get out. Zero contact. Education. Therapy. Get on with your life.
              Leave him in the rearview.

            • @sunflower gaze; Maybe it would help if you look at leaving as getting ahead of his twisted game of mindfucking for once. If you don’t show him your cards (get financials, an attorney, etc), you will have the upper hand for once. Trust me that you will also take a lot of your power back and feel mighty by doing that.

              Don’t be like me & know that your husband and marriage sucks & that you deserve better but continue to stay & keep thinking maybe one more puff from the hopium pipe will be the one that changes things. Not. Gonna. Happen. I waited & actually felt half blindsided when he walked out. (How that happened In still not sure, other than hope & denial are powerful.) I’m still struggling years later with knowing that I should of had enough love for myself to GTFO. I’m positive today if I had done that it would of made a huge difference for me & my self esteem. Instead, by not leaving & staying in that horrible situation, I lost all respect for myself. Do not be me, please! You have a chance to take the reins. USE IT!!!

        • Sunflower Gaze, I hear you and I understand the terrible internal confusion of trying to reconcile the man you loved with the cold, resentful, manipulative person you now live with. Three years out from separation, I still can’t get my head around that, but with the help of a great psychologist, I am working on healing and valuing the hurt me and trying to let go of understanding the why. Seeing these two sides of your man is a mighty step on your part, even if you are not quite ready yet to physically separate. And when it is time, it will be so much better, believe me. While I was really scared to do that, fearing I would have no-one to rely on, I realised I had not been able to rely on him for years anyway. I also found I could rely on myself much more when I wasn’t being constantly undermined and undervalued by my ex. And the Chump Nation has your back.

          • Thank you Chumpful and RoseThorns.
            I’ve visited a lawyer and they’re ready to go once I give the go ahead but I haven’t.
            He makes me feel like he’ll die if I leave him and I feel guilty. Hope and denial keep me here. They’re definitely not as powerful as they once were but damn I go around in circles trying to plan my escape. Then I feel like a horrible person if I leave without telling him why. If I give him an explanation then he’ll guilt trip me into staying some more. And on, and on, and on until I guess he decides to leave or breaks me down into compliance for good.
            I know I need to stop listening to him and looking at his actions but I still– even if I don’t believe it necessarily– buy into his sad sausage routine.
            I think about him not being so bad for the most part but I can’t get over the hookers. I don’t have definitive proof that anything ever happened with them but I have suspicions. Who sexts with prostitutes all day long and not finally break down and call one day? I haven’t had sex with him since January it’s only a matter of time.
            I need to just tell the whole story. I’ll go into the forums.

      • You summed it up nicely. I wasn’t perfect but my imperfect is nothing compared to his intentional devalue, betrayal and discard over that imperfect. Even in the case of things I may have inadvertently done to make him feel bad, he never made any attempt to understand my motivations behind anything I said for did or to explain why something might have bothered him. He just perceived everything in the most negative way he could and I had no idea.

        • Yes. Exactly this.
          Exactly describing my feeling. Anything I did was perceived in the most negative way. When he found me reading a book on relationships, he saw this as me attacking him. And accuses me of having read the book for him to see, so he would feel bad.

          • Last October, we attended a couple’s therapy weekend away. During a break, the counsellor played some music and the song, “Say Something I’m Giving Up on You, ” by a A Great Big World. I remember the summer this song was out in 2014. I was so frustrated by my husband. He was refusing requests for marriage counselling or any other idea I would present, and I was shutting down. I remember being in the car with him when this song came on the radio, and I was psychically yelling at him to listen to this song and turn to me. I brought this up to the counsellor and she asked me to share this with the group when we all came back together. She used it as an example of the different ways that we are all trying to reach out to one another. My husband’s response: “Well what I hear in that song is that she can’t accept me for who I am?”

            Really? Are you daft? How do you get that from these lyrics?

            Say something, I’m giving up on you
            I’ll be the one, if you want me to
            Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
            Say something, I’m giving up on you
            And I am feeling so small
            It was over my head
            I know nothing at all
            And I will stumble and fall
            I’m still learning to love
            Just starting to crawl
            Say something, I’m giving up on you
            I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
            Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
            Say something, I’m giving up on you
            And I will swallow my pride
            You’re the one that I love
            And I’m saying goodbye
            Say something, I’m giving up on you
            And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
            And anywhere, I would have followed you
            Oh, oh, oh, oh say something, I’m giving up on you

              • Then when I’m ready I let the next song on the album play, “You’ll Be Okay.”

                You’ll be okay
                The sun will rise
                To better days

                And change will come
                It’s on it’s way
                Just close your eyes
                And let it rain

                Just look inside
                You know the way
                Let it go
                Fly away
                And say goodbye
                To yesterday

        • I was just thinking about this this morning. I still receive emails from the Gottman Institute on marriage and today’s dealt with the goal of conflict.

          I mistakingly thought the goal of conflict was resolution. And maybe that should be the goal most of the time, but it is not the only healthy option. The other goal is understanding. That was something that my ex never once tried to do. He never tried to understand my point of view. Likewise, he never helped me to understand his point of view or even if I had inadvertently done something that hurt him. I think because everything he did was intentional, he assumed everything I did was and because of that looked at everything with a negative point of view.

          Like you said, I was also imperfect. But my imperfect was nothing compared to his intentional devalue, betrayal and discard.

        • YES! YES! YES! … I take full responsibility for my (actual) flaws & mistakes. None of those warranted being lied to, gaslighted, cheated on, & him living a secret double life for years! Nothing I did or didn’t do was that horrible to deserve any of that.

          Some of the reasons he gave for cheating & eventually leaving were ridiculus! Seriously, things like I burnt something in the oven. Other reasons were so selfish. Like he didn’t want to be with someone with health issues (I had become disabled & unable to work).

          Thing is, he had never discussed any of the many reasons he gave for cheating & leaving with me. (Apparent in hind sight, he just passively aggressively resented me for them.) Had he discussed things with me and let me know what he was thinking, I would of been able to see how utterly f’ed up his thinking was/is! I would of realised years earlier that I had nothing to work with & would of ended the home of a marriage. But then, most likely he knew that which is why he never said anything. Coward!

      • Cheating in response to marriage problems or “something missing” in your marriage is like embezzling because money is missing in your wallet.

        END OF STORY.

          • Yup. The seething lying, anger and resentment, and never owning up to it or being man enough to discuss it, work through it, or leave. Just using those feelings as wall for me to feel guilty about because he made it clear I ruined his life. Then, he used all of that as the excuse to cheat. He left for the GF, only after I forced the issue, and guess what? It didn’t work out. Shocking. And he is still angry and resentful-only now because I am not held captive by his emotions and can see what a sad man he actually is.

            • OMG-THIS BY THOUSANDS!!
              “The seething lying, anger and resentment, and never owning up to it or being man enough to discuss it, work through it, or leave”.

              My now deceased cheater’s M.O.
              They really do all operate from the same crappy handbook

      • This!! I now know a lot of the negative behaviors that I was continually berated about were created as a direct response to the mental abuse I was receiving. 3 years out I have embraced working on me and creating stability and contentment in my life. The NarcX? He’s busy shopping the dating sites, having bad encounters that steal his money and/or stand him up, and then whining on social media about how people are mean to him when he’s such saint.

        • Skunkcabbage – Glad you said that. I’m still trying to figure out how much of the way I acted out in the marriage is really the way that I am (and I need to work on that because that is not how I want to be) and how much of it was reactionary because of the situation.

          But hey. If I’m working on figuring that out then at least I am working on skeining myself rather than wasting my time skeining my STBXH. Time much better well spent.

          • I think how we react to any stressor, abuse, etc. IS the way we are. It is how we instinctually react. I’m putting my effort to understand why I react the way I do and learn how to react in a healthier way.

          • I know that I reacted a lot to the gaslighting. He simply ignored my needs. He simple devalued me as a person.

            Here is an example of how he tortured me. He would come up to me while I was working on the computer.
            H: can I press a key
            Me: no
            H: just a key, please
            Me: no, please stop, I am busy
            H: just a key, please
            Me angry: no
            H: come on, just a key, let me press it
            Me yelling: stop it, I need to work!!!!

            And then we would get into a fighting and shouting match, because I had overreacted. He was just being cute and fun. These situations happened multiple times. In various scenarios.
            I believed him that I was overreacting and just could not see the humor.

            I am so ashamed that I let him do this and didn’t leave earlier.

            I was not perfect. I yelled a lot, but most of it was a reaction.

            • Wow, this just reminded me of how my ExH did that same exact thing. Now I’m getting tense just thinking about his relentless behavior, asking me the same thing over and over and over until I blew. Boy, am I happy to have gotten away from that. So sorry that you endured that too, imescapable.

              • iNescapable, that is. Freudian slip? I did escape with my sanity intact even though he was apparently trying to drive me bonkers with his slow water torture form of abuse.

              • It is a play using my actual name: Ines and then capable … to me it means: nothing is inescapable, because I am capable 😉

              • My ex’ idea of “cute and fun” was to make a dive at my knees to take my legs out from under me, or to “pistol whip” my backside with a rolled up towel! God the more I think about it it tenses me up and he’s been gone 9 years. My doctor told me that if I didn’t get away from him my body would react from all those years of stress (she meant cancer I guess). Luckily not so far but I still worry about this seething hate I have for him. What it robbed that happy young girl of. I don’t want to hate any more – I just want to “nothing” him. I guess I really did have PTSD – and here’s me thinking it was only from combat zones!

      • We don’t have to be perfect to be lovable or have someone be loyal to us. We can have good days and bad days, be reasonable, and unreasonable, at times. If we both want the relationship to work we can work it out in an adult way. Loyalty, honesty, and tolerance are the building blocks.

      • AwakeningDreamer you can’t know how if you made mistakes when you don’t have all the information. My only mistake was staying too long and letting him wear me down. Some days I can’t wait to have the opportunity for a relationship with a noncheater – I’d like to know what that feels like.

    • TFM–none of us are perfect, and few of us enter relationships (especially early in life) as perfect partners. But that goes for our Xs and STBXs, too. And yet we didn’t cheat on them.

      My analogy has always been that marriage is like a car; each partner is bound to put a few scratches in the paint, a few dings in the fender. But cheating takes that car, drives it headlong into a tree and then pushes it off a high cliff. Car is totaled.

      The dings and dents didn’t cause the cheater to run it headlong into a tree (who ruins a car over dings?), but once they have pushed that car over the cliff, car is kaput.

    • Hi and welcome, Trying! I’ve been lurking for about as long and also just started posting (two days ago now). I have a lot of similar questions, but the one thing I DON’T question is whether the affair had anything to do with it. In his mind, he saw an opportunity to “trade up” and he took it. People around here will say that they always trade down, and on the surface I suppose it’s true (OW is married, a known cheater, an alcoholic, and randomly mean), but he’s having such a good time so it does feel like he traded up. I read the Trust That They Suck post a lot to remind myself of the third point, which is something like, you’re so upset in part because you’ve convinced yourself that this is the best you can do. You can absolutely do better than someone who felt like you were something he could trade. And I’m sure he was actually living his best life with you. I know for sure that I was the best thing that ever happened to my ex. But they shift the goalposts without telling you. Still unsure what to make of it all, so I’ll stop there. But don’t believe any of his excuses and trust your gut.

      • Why, good for you! You have a good attitude! There is only one to make of this-your husband is a selfish, ego-driven, narcissistic dick-centered asshole. Keep moving forward as you are. You are mighty. I will tell you that an alcoholic Cheating OW is a dangerous bitch. It is critical to quickly move to divorce. We don’t know the influence the OW has but we do know it is not in our best interest. As I said before get your divorce warrior team together and battle on. We are here. Hugs!

      • Thanks, Why. It’s so painful to think I was so lacking that he’d prefer to blow up his life, lose friends, lose his financial security, and lose his dogs than be with me. I mean, that’s what it means, right? If he didn’t come back after the affair was over, it MUST mean whatever he’s got going for him now is better than what he had with me. Part of me realizes that isn’t true, but I’ve been struggling with it HARD the last few weeks.

        • Absolutely not. That is not what it means that he did not come back. He is flawed and you don’t want him back. You are not the unworthy one here he is. He is not worthy of your desire. Refocus on what you can do to make yourself happy and it does not include being with someone who has abused you.

        • TFM2

          What if she’s the ‘one’?
          Well no, there was Karen, Linda , Cheryl, Sharon …The list goes on. Cheating is the tip of the disordered’s iceberg.

          No need to take any responsibility for actions taken by a cheater. Cheating requires shitty character; it takes the ability to lie, con, expose a partner to STD’S, and commit financial rape. That’s called agency. And they are all in fact serially cheating every time they deceive.

          Damn, they live for cake.

          And ‘the one’ is where you drop them off once you pick yourself. Clapping loudly for the ONE who won the serial cheating loser who wets the bed, can’t hear, and needs a driver cause he drinks in excess. Then there’s itty bitty dick, faking orgasms while waiting for the pay day…he’s broke; ain’t gonna happen. Always, looking.

          There’s only one person worthy of living better; it’s the chump. Head high, baby steps and Tuesday will come. Pick yourself. It works.

        • TFM2, he didn’t come back after the affair was over does NOT mean he didn’t have it good with you. It means that you know exactly who he is—a cheater and a liar. It’s painful for him to be with someone who knows exactly how deplorable he is, because it reminds him he IS deplorable. He’d rather go look for someone else he can charm and fool, who will put him on a pedestal at least temporarily.

        • Just remember this is not a reflection on you! The process of discovery often means the only action that they see they can take is to go forward. Remember they are character disordered and have zero capacity for remorse reflection guilt or responsibility. They behave like irrational amygdala driven teenagers with a dick driven destiny! You are asking decency of indecency; consideration of devalue. They know they are wrong but need to glorify their shit actions with spurious claims to happiness. Decency has too many letters for them to spell and does not roll off their tongue like cheat!

        • It can mean that he does not want to come back, because you hold him accountable and now see behind the facade.

          My cheater feels this way: now that I do not admire him and demanded change, he does not want to come back. He actually said to me: „You now think so badly of me, I cannot subject myself to that. You have always attacked me and my personally, there are deep down anger issues you have with me.“
          So, it is not the cheating and lying and risking my health that is causing the marriage break down, according to him it is, because I have deep down issues… it is amusing how he takes the way my right to be angry and demand change. And treats this as if I was making unreasonable requests.

          • Yup I remember that mess
            “You now cannot love me unconditionally
            I need to be loved unconditionally”
            Dumbfuck silly wabbit
            Love IS conditional

    • Trying for mighty (2)? All I had ever wanted was to love someone and take care of them. My husband, my kids. I just loved them to bits. He destroyed that. He beat the shit out of me and when he started on my kids it was just time to get out. It’s not you. It’s all on him – don’t let that bullshit sway you!

      • Thank you, Attie! I was the same…it was hard and sucked sometimes (we had problems prior to the affair), but I liked being his wife. I didn’t want to walk away because I loved being married to him. I’m trying to remember that this is not a situation where 2 people drifted apart and fell out of love; he blew up our relationship without a plan or any consideration for me…or even himself really. It seems like it was very much a “want what I want right now” situation without any thought about the future.

    • My dear friend, I am so sorry this is happening to you. It is early days and you are still in the early trauma phase which hurts like hell. You are so brave and right on to walk out on this asshole and not play his game. As CL says above, whatever is his deal doesn’t matter. It only matters that you are moving forward to divorce and taking the steps necessary to protect your finances, health, and future. I hope by now you have gayhered your team-lawyer, therapist who gets betrayal, sympathetic friends, frozen assets, forensic accountant. Recovery from betrayal takes time and it gets better. It is important in the early days to swiftly move forward to divorce. Hopefully he has some guilt and will be more amenable to your demands. This time is “life is about learning to dance in the rain”. Cry, cry, cry and move to divorce. No compromise, no second chances, no co tact-leave it to the lawyer. Be kind to yourself! You have been cold-cocked, sucker punched. He is a miserable bastard who cold heartedly abused you and exposed you to health and financial ruin. He is an enemy and he will get his. Protect yourself! We are here. Hugs.

      • Thank you so much, Thrive. Those are encouraging words to hear, and I definitely need them given what tomorrow is. I do have a lawyer, and I’m letting him handle things. I went no-contact after low contact (only emails about finances) two weeks ago. I also started seeing a therapist 2 weeks ago and decided she was right for me when I asked her if she thought infidelity was abuse. She said, “Yes, absolutely.” It sucks. I’m still somewhat hooked on the hopium that he’ll “wake up” and come running back, but I’m trying not to let that stop me from making smart choices to protect myself financially and legally.

        CN, you guys are the best. <3

        • You go girl! Consider this-would you really want to live with someone who can be so unkind and callous TOYOU regardless of his claims of “waking up”. As CL says, is that acceptable to you ever? He has shown his colors, you know who he is at his core-it is black. Kind people don’t treat ANYONE and especially their wife with such disrespect and cruelty. Hugs.

        • “:I’m still somewhat hooked on the hopium that he’ll “wake up” and come running back” That’s where I was for a long time after DDay. It never happened. After having read so many stories here I now realize that I am lucky it never happened. I would have taken him back and pick me danced like mad only to be betrayed again I am sure of it. What a miserable existence that would have been. Don’t go there.

    • My cheater said THE EXACT SAME thing to me about how his affair had nothing to do with her and everything to do with the fact he has no feelings for me. It’s our 15th anniversary today and I think we are about to settle on the divorce 🤞. I’m waiting now for his response to my final offer.

      And yes, they delay and delay and won’t accept anything unless it is their idea. Mine is out to ruin me and treats me like I’m the one who cheated.

      Sending u good mojo, Velvet Hammer!
      U got this!!!!!!

      • Yes. Same story here.
        Out of nowhere he claimed he wanted a divorce. We even had made future plans briefly before that. And he was so unforgiving, blamed me for my issues and lovelessmess, did not want marriage counseling. He just wanted out.

        I snooped in his messenger account and found that the OW existed and had also given him an ultimatum to decide between me or her.

        I told her husband. He told her. She told my STBX.

        He immediately called me from a business trip and offered marriage counseling. After one attempt, he opted out. Completely surprising to me. He became convinced agsin… that the OW had nothing to do with it. It was all me…. I confronted him multiple times of the OW was still in the picture. He said „No“. But then rented a house telling me after the fact.

        I filed for divorce. He did not move out, though.

        Then I found a secret credit card where he charged all lunch and dinner dates to he was still having with the OW. Plus that he was taking Fridays off work, but pretended to be at work to me.

        He just lied. He did not want to reconcile, because the OW was still in the picture… they were just waiting things out. She btw filed for divorce the same week he opted out of counseling. These are not coincidences. They just suck.

    • It took me two long years of pain, what ifs and self blame to get to a good place. I spent two years with a bad ass therapist twice a week (and I’m a therapist myself) to process the bullshit. I spent a lot of time journalling…and guess what? It’s not about him anymore. When you can see things for what they are and stop questioning what you thought it should or could have been, you will get better. Grief is hard, grief sucks and it hurts. Create a new life for yourself, try new things. Do not let that POS take a permanent space in your head, he’s not deserving of it.

    • Welcome, thanks for posting. Your questions and doubts are common amongst us. Let me try to alleviate some of your concerns. The problem was NOT you. He said had a problem in your marriage (maybe, cheaters are also liars so who knows that the truth really is) and had several reasonable-ish options on how to resolve that problem–talk to you about it, go to therapy over it, separate from you over it, ask for a divorce because of it, etc. INSTEAD, he chose cheating and then blaming you and then abandoning (which, though hard to see now, is a kind of gift).

      Without wading into the whole “we have a divine mandate to NOT fall in love with another while married and to be together forever and ever and ever because: God” discussion, I think it’s safe to say that if you are unhappy in a relationship, you try to resolve the problem respectfully. This is not what happened to you, and I’m sorry about that. But no, you are not the problem, or a blockade to his ALL IMPORTANT HAPPINESS…you were a loyal partner, who married with good intentions, and honored your commitment.

  • Mighty,

    NICE GUYS DON’T LIE AND CHEAT.

    LIARS AND CHEATERS DON’T DO HAPPY.

    HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T HURT OTHERS.

    • And happy people don’t spend a lot of time on social media because they’re out living their joyful lives!

  • I think the lived experience of pretty much everyone on this blog – and that is a HUGE sample – is that:

    1) The honeymoon phase with ex and Schmoopie is just that, with a good dose of image management thrown in. It goes to shit one way or another because they are awful people.

    2) Cheaters never trade up.

    So yes – leave a cheater, gain a life.

    • Lola

      I’m having issue with a “ trade up” part…
      My h could easily find an educated, younger, pretty woman… I’m not talking about a skanky lying human being, but nice lady.
      He would charm the family, no issues there….
      I think trading down would be a nice way to see him in, but I think in my case- it would be new model, with extra features and few more buttons…
      😕

      • My ex got a 13 years younger skank and man was she rough. In the end it doesn’t matter. Eventually the honeymoon ends.

      • Mine also can trade “up” very easily. He’s a good looking guy with a great job, fun and funny. However, the same cracks in your relationship will also rear their ugly head in his new “up” relationship. She’s either going to say fuck that and he will loose her specialness or it will most likely cause the same problems in their relationship as it caused in yours. And if he’s not willing to work on himself, as most cheaters aren’t, then these problems will rear their ugly head again….in time.

        And here’s the next part…she will age. She will sag. She will also have kids and have stretch marks and c-section scars and then she’ll be just like you….and he’ll be unhappy again. Poor sausage.

        It’s called escapism. Thats how disordered people solve their “problems”.

        • Unexpected…

          What if the aging won’t be that visible,because the age gap will do the trick? What if the post pregnancy damage won’t be there- because his kids will be enough for her ( oh so fun to be a young cool stepmom)
          What if he decides that 15 years of screwing me was enough, he got the kick he wanted, now he will try the honest, nice way… just to show himself, that he can do it?( reverse cheating actions but same goal)
          That I was the “trial version”
          It’s so fucked up 🤦‍♀️
          I had a rough week and started questioning the way I live my life… values, morals, being a good person…. what did it bring me? Nothing positive, while cheating lying h was enjoying his family, fuckfests and if he chooses to change- now will be scoring on the “ I changed and sin no more”!!!

          😡😖😡

          My innocence is gone, my cynical selfie emerges… so I’m becoming a bitch on the top of my fucked up past… great

          😤😭😤😭😢😩

          • Oh Elsa
            They will never change. Once they cross that moral line they can’t go back, especially when they crossed it over and over again. I’m not a particularly religious person but I am spiritual. I think about my STBX as he dies. How will he face his god? What black place will he go to or what miserable next life will he get? When I think about it , that is the only time I fear for him, but I did not make him do the thousands of things and make the million decisions that he made to have a 30 year secret life. He has the habit now of taking the easy way out and lying..it won’t change. I think maybe the Mensa candidate (not) that he is with is perfect for him and the right one. She is a shallow, stupid narcissist..like him.

            There are some days I’m so mad I can’t stand it but then I wear myself out on it and let it go. Each time I’m less mad. I take solace in the fact that I can choose to forgive..that is my power in this. You know what Elsa? I choose NOT to forgive. I can not forgive him and move on and let go and be healthy. I deserve it.

            • Spoon

              I believe that the whole motion of forgiveness is highly overrated….why?

              1. Whatever God you believe, there is absolutely no message of fucking someone over and not bare the consequences…. There is action/ reaction…
              2. Meh is a ultimate goal
              Meh doesn’t require extra work on my side regarding making h feels better, it doesn’t require me banding over or do ANYTHING except go taking care and healing myself.
              Meh doesn’t mean I have to become creaming angry bitch… on the contrary- it allows me to focus on my well being and well being of my kids
              3. My bio father left me and my mom when I was 5. It took me some time to end up in meh towards him, but I will never forgive. Never. Fortunately I had a great men in my family- and they were there when I needed a dad figure.
              My bio – I don’t hate him. I’m way pass hate… im100% meh.

              Forgiveness- overrated
              Meh- appropriate goal

              • Hugs to your Elsa. Some raw honesty there. I know you are venting . Deep down you know that doing the right thing is the Right thing.
                Psalm 37 says : fret not thyself over evil doers…” The writers of the Bible were hip to these kinds of people and they knew that decent people would get worked up when they saw the wicked thriving. But the Psalm continues to say: trust in the Lord and do good….the wicked shall be cut off”
                Don’t worry yourself. Delight in helping others and in doing good.
                One idiot does not a lifetime experience make.

          • No my dear you are not a bitch. You are in pain and battling surviving a sucker punch by a worthless, lying, cheating, self centered low life. You are not at fault here. He is an abusive bully. Your values, morals and being a good person are carrying you through this crisis. Your righteous anger is protecting you and moving you forward. When all is said and done, he is the devil and you a righteous warrior. No compromise, no contact. Your sanity and self respect are worth the struggle. You feel jealous of his ow but it is really grief, you feel weak but you are strong, you feel rejected but you are liberated from a rotten character, you feel alone and misunderstood but you have a tribe in us, you feel afraid but that is self preservation from your core; You are not alone! Hugs

          • Are you a good person for you or are you a good person to impress others? Do you really want to be a jerk even if it means a “higher” standard of living or do you like being able to look yourself in the mirror everyday? Maybe Ex and Schmoopie will be gloriously happy forever but do you really want to be like either of them? Personally, I like living with myself the way I am. I may not be perfect but I am not tainted by the stench of having screwed others over for personal gain. Good people don’t always appear to be the winners, but they are the ones whose souls remain in tact however battered and hurt they may be. I think that matters even if there is no God and no afterlife. There is this life, and how we live it is important.

            As for him, even if he “sins no more” that taint will always be with him. I do believe in forgiveness but to fully repair a broken soul takes more than “sin no more” in takes redemption and that’s too much work for a cheater.

      • My ex could probably have traded up if he had divorced me first but he didn’t. That meant he was limited to a pool of sluts who are willing to fuck other people’s husbands and tear families apart for personal gain. In his case he picked one willing to cheat on her husband and tear her own family apart too. Hardly an upgrade. Maybe he picked the best of that pool, but that pool is pretty shallow and I know I am better than that. If they broke up and he tried again as a fully single adult, then maybe he could trade up and I might even like the woman, but he’s too chicken to do that. He would have to risk being alone and he doesn’t have the balls to face the very situation he thrust me into.

        Look at it this way, your ex didn’t trade up, but he gave you the opportunity to trade up.

        • My experience with most men is that they can’t be alone for more than nine minutes and jump from one relationship to another at warp speed. After I figured out what my cheater XH really was I did a timeline of his life and determined he was NEVER single. He went from woman to woman to woman. If he wasn’t fucking around on one of them, he was fucking some other man’s wife or girlfriend. No, he sure never had the balls to face the situation that he put every woman who ever tried to love him in.
          And the really messed up thing? Him and schmoopie still seem to be going strong and he’s as happy as a pig in shit. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING bothers that guy…as long as he has a schmoops beside him.

        • Chumpinrecovery
          I love this so much! I am struggling right now. My cheater is with his AP that is 17 years younger. I just turned 50 and he’s with someone who is 34. She was married also with two younger kids. I have met her (before I knew about the affair) and she doesn’t seem like a skank. She seemed like a normal higher class person. And now I have that in my head that he traded up and she is somehow better than me. I hate this soooo much! Why do they do this to us? I cried for nine months straight. It’s been 11 months now and I’m finally not crying all day every day. We own a business together so I can’t go no contact. We have 3 kids, youngest just turned 15. He destroyed our family and doesn’t try to spend time with the kids. The whole situation is like a freaking nightmare. I’m getting to where I don’t care as much but haven’t taken any steps for a divorce yet. He moved out last January three weeks after d-day

          • She left her husband for some old fart who cheats on his wife and doesn’t spend time with his kids? That right there tells you what a loser she is. She is clearly stupid as well as lacking in morals and decency.

            Now you have a chance to trade up for someone who isn’t a shallow, selfish, short sighted fool. No guarantee, but if you don’t divorce the fuckwit, you will be passing up on at least the possibility of doing better. Heck, even being single is better than being stuck with a selfish dimwit.

            • Yes!! I am feeling so much more in control today. And they deserve each other. I deserve so much more. I deserve someone who is kind, and passionate and can hold a conversation about other things than roofs. I deserve someone who looks me in the eye and connects with my soul. I deserve someone who loves my sense of humor and wants to hang out with me just because they like my company.

              • You deserve a divorce, a good settlement, and a fresh start. You should give that gift to yourself ASAP and get out of your limbo. I wish I had acted sooner cause now that I’m almost through the process I am the happiest I’ve been in years.

                It’s irrelevant what your ex deserves or has or will get. What you know is that he does not deserve you…or the affection and attention of your shared children. That much is clear.

  • I listened to the show and hurt for Sarah’s story…she is being mighty in raising her 4 kids while her X wallows about excuted over new wedding gifts. I did hear that in her voice…a timid “What if she was the one?” as if that would have created the moral imperative of her handing her life over to someone else and forfeiting her right to complain about it.

    I agree with CL…there are ways to end relationships more ethically than secret lives and extended cheating.

    First, one common goal would be people would stop dating when they married and had 4 (or in my case 3) children. If you are busy explaining math to one kid, taking another to a birthday party and helping your wife prepare dinner, you theoretically dont have time to date. This dating in itself is an indicator of betrayal of devotion, time, effort, money…

    I dont know about you, but neither time I eventually married, I was not “in love” for a number of weeks or months…it took time to get to that place. I generally dont buy the “it just happened” line.

    Lastly, if a married person does find themselves struck by Cupids arrow and hopelessly in love with Schmoopie…the decent thing to do is to make a firm decision, sit their spouse down and explain that the marriage is over and enter a time of that Conscious Uncoupling Gwynyth spoke of. Will the left spouse probably cry, scream and beg….possibly…but that doesn’t justify the duplicity, blaming and using that Cheaters are so known for.

    If Nowdeadcheater had (instead of telling me that I was a horrible wife who needed to be left) told me back on 2005 that he and Susan were going to partner up thus our partnership had to end…it would have sucked, I would have been very angry and hurt, but I would have recovered. It was the unbridled cruelty and selfishness that still to this day leaves be undone.

    His selfish cruelty was a choice and it showed much more about his character than simply wishing to change partners…that is what I see is the flawed argument in “maybe she was the one”.

    • If Sarah is reading today…good on you…Im proud of your mighty self.

      Please pardon the typos…”excited” over wedding gifts, leaves “me” undone.

    • Personally, I don’t think anyone has a right to fall in love with anyone else while married at all. When you get married, you are agreeing not to put yourself in a position where that could even happen. It isn’t a matter of resisting temptation as avoiding it. To cherish means not comparing your spouse negatively to others real or imagined. You can’t cheat unless you have done that. If your marriage really is making you miserable, then you have a right to leave it in a respectful way, but whether or not you can find better out there should not figure into that decision at all.

      • If you don’t ACT on your feelings, they go away! That’s what forsaking is all about.

        FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS. A fact sadly lost on cheaters. The feelings were created by their actions toward the cheating accomplice. If they had acted toward us like the cheating accomplices, none of us would be here. Cheaters have no boundaries, or consciences, so they are compelled to act on their feelings and then claim helplessness over the situation THEY CREATED.

        • Velvet

          I feel a strong feeling towards the diamond ring I saw few days ago… really want to have it… wear it and enjoy it!!!!!
          So what?
          Nothing.
          I have no means to purchase it, my values don’t allow me to steal it… I moved on.

          Yes, it was shiny and sparkly….

          I redirect my “ want” towards something that is needed and goes along the line of my lifestyle… ended up buying very comfortable, luxurious- looking pj 😃

      • A friend and I were talking one day. He has been happily married to his high school sweetheart for over 20 years. He is a handsome, high-end, wedding photographer and sees rich beautiful brides and bridesmaids every weekend for the past 10 years. He travels all the time for his work. He has all the chances in the world to cheat and to trade “up”. I was young and naive and we were talking about marriage and commitment, I was asking him how you know if it’s the right one, and what if someone else better comes along, etc. He said “Someone better will always come along. There will always be someone more beautiful, funnier, skinnier, or richer than your partner. But the point is to choose someone and love them for all that they are and not despise them for what they’re not. Marriage is a create, the two of you have to create your love every day, it never runs on automatic.”

        So, there will always be someone “better” that will come along, there are billions of people. The purpose of marriage is choosing ONE and loving THEM like you are supposed to. It’s a promise to SHUT THOSE OTHER OPTIONS DOWN. That’s why you make promises before God about “forsaking all others” and even sign a fucking contract.

      • Oh I fully agree with you.

        A married person ought not do anything that would put them in a place of constant interaction with someone enough to develop feelings for them. My comment was a bit of a Devils Advocate treatment that if one did get there, one could still choose to attempt some decency while ending a marriage…it was the abject cruelty and lies and gaslighting that bother me in looking back on it.

    • I continue to be surprised at the reaction of the other host who asked, “What if people fall in love? Things just happen!” Bullshit. Utter bullshit. The response was right on the nose though that it simply can’t happen if your boundaries are right. You don’t get involved with married people. Full stop.

      No way would I engage in deep, meaningful, personal conversations with some guy at work. The flirtations and over-sharing and complaining about the old battle ax spouse simply MUST NOT HAPPEN. I wouldn’t do it. Asshat had no problem with that.

      He shopped himself around until he got his ho-workers to take a bite and then he justified the affairs as being my problem. He was oooh, so niiiiice and ooooh, so fuuuunnnnnny. Long lunches, beers after work, what a greeeeaaatttt guy! The wife is obviously the problem. How good it feels to have your middle aged-ego stroked by the young chicks.

      He buttered up his hands and held our relationship high over a crevasse while he charmed the ho-workers. When it slipped out of his grasp he blamed me for it.

    • It infuriates me when I hear of cheaters who cannot help themselves because of “love.” The ones who claim that they tried to end it but couldn’t let go of their love. Bull shit!

      I won’t go into the whole argument about how it’s not real love. It’s just not.

      But, I will comment about how it is possible to turn your back on love when it is the right thing to do. It is possible because I’ve spent 2018 doing it.

      My husband left me to be with another woman he’d been having an affair with for at least 17 months that I know of. I loved him. I loved him so much that I picked me dance for almost a year before he left, doing everything I could possibly think of to save my marriage. He left anyways.

      So I began the process of tearing down that love. If my love was a house, his affair was the earthquake that shattered it. Now, I’ve been sifting through the rubble, picking up every brick and 2×4, every broken possession, and shard of glass to say good bye. What do I keep with me from this rubble? Some of it might make it into a scrapbook or treasure box of memories so that I can say, “Hey kids. Here is some evidence of the life we had when we all lived in that old house, if you care to see.”

      My love for my husband has had to be smothered, packed away into that box and shelved in the attic. I hope that at some point he just becomes “someone that I used to know” even though I have to continue parenting with him. He wasn’t mine to have. He didn’t allow himself to be. Feel the pain, process it and move on. That’s what I have had to do.

      It’s what every cheater who claims to love the OW/OM should do but don’t because they really don’t want to. They’re not interested in doing what’s right, but feeding their entitlement.

      I build a new, mighty house. A new love emerges for this new home. This home is myself filled with my self-love. There will be no space in that house for my STBXH. At best, he can climb the front steps to drop off the kids. My house is filled with those people who value and cherish me in relationship, just as CL mentions above. My foundation is being poured and the finishings chosen, and every bit of it is being done with love and the wisdom of past mistakes. Light will pour out of that house and it will be filled with pure joy and love. God’s blessing and grace is found in that house.

      Is my STBXH happy over at his new house with the OW? Don’t know and don’t want to care. It’s not the kind of neighbourhood I choose to visit.

  • These are more than just bad people. They are completely blank people. They have zero clue who they are. They are moving thru life scared shitless of not eating the right croissant or not saying the right catch phrase. They are completely lost.
    Those of us who actually are real people can’t relate to *why* one would need to promote *being themselves*
    We just are. It comes as naturally as breathing.
    These people are fucking freaks.

  • I wish the hosts had flipped the guest order — the RIC therapist first, and you second.

    I think anybody listening who is truly in the cheater mindfuck would have benefitted from your remarks as a follow up to his “blame isn’t constructive, there may be issues unexplored, labelling someone who cheated as ‘bad’ is advice you might get from a 12-year old” blather.

    I get it — it’s how he makes his living, and he likely genuinely wants to help people both individually and as a couple. But people who’ve not been through it, or who are in the process of navigating through it, ae done no favors by continuing to put so much focus and attention on trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupedness.

    Thanks Tracy for continuing to wave the banner high on behalf of all of us.

    • Haven’t yet listened to the podcast, but I appreciate the advance notice that the RIC therapist thinks that labeling cheaters “bad” is something a 12-year old does. Sanctimonious, much?

      Gee, let’s play that game:
      Ariel Castro, who kept 3 women captive and regularly raped and beat them, was just misunderstood, not “bad.”

      Ted Bundy, who murdered over 30 women, just had unresolved issues that needed to be explored. He wasn’t “bad” because everyone can be redeemed.

      Witch of Buchenwald, Ilse Koch, who sadistically tortured many people in her concentration camp, was just gleefully following orders, not “bad.”

      A cheater who has a multi-month/year affair, leaves a woman with 4 children in the lurch to launch a public portrayal of Marital Bliss with his AP isn’t “bad,” he was just responding to Issues in the first Marriage.

      My 12-year old mentality wants to say “Fuck You” to the RIC therapist.

    • Funny how he (RIC therapist) deflected the question of whether *he* had ever been cheated upon, and/or ever been a cheater. “Of course, haha, I have…I’m 59… Mumble, mumble…was cheated on in twenties…deflect, change topic…”
      I’ll bet he left a lot out of that answer!

    • Yes, UXWorld! I thought the same and was angered by a lot that he said! When he said that you needed to talk to the cheater, not blame them, because blaming them would just shut down the dialog and you need to know what really happened?!?! Oh sure! Ask a liar what the truth is! That sounds constructive and healthy! I also felt like he was holding his breath and hoping that the hosts would not ask him if he had ever cheated on a partner….

      • “blaming them would just shut down the dialog and you need to know what really happened”…lol. Right. I know you cheated and you are un-remorseful. I think that’s enough.

        He’s advocating chumps should swallow their dignity so that they may play marriage police in an effort to, what, help the cheater come to terms with their own misdeeds?!? So, let’s all walk on eggshells and centralize this person who has caused us great pain and suffering. Nice work Mr. Therapist…way to empower victims of abuse. #therapyhero

      • But yea, that shit works out…for the cheater. This is exactly what I did with my cheater on the advice of our therapist–no blame, just talk. In addition to further destroying any self esteem I had left and obliterating my ability to emotionally care for myself, it just emboldened him to become more and more demanding and point more and more fingers at me and my “misdeeds” as a terrible terrible wife, apparently.

        So this advice is bunk. If anything you should continue to assert the blame, where blame is due, and see if real contrition and remorse results. For when people are decent and unicorn-ish, and are blamed for terrible shit they have done, they will show true contrition and remorse and work to make it right. If casting blame on someone (where blame is due) causes them to shut down and maybe even go on the offensive, then that is all you need to know about their character. Time to get the F out.

  • I’ll briefly add another layer I’m coming to terms with;

    The kids deserve a happy mother.

    I may wish the most vile cancer to consume her body. The kids don’t deserve that. I may wish her new boyfriend be an equal jerk. The kids don’t deserve that.

    You go through all these hoops trying to make justice out of jello and there is none. Not if I truly want the kids to feel loved, to be healthy and in a good relationship with their mom.

    It’s also kinda freeing, b/c you can only shrug it off and focus on yourself. Same feeling about living in a no-fault state; you are forced to let it go.

    I WILL say, I heard she was sharing FB photos with the kids and a) kids think he looks old & b) she said “all men look the same at middle age”

    So he’s coming in as an older, plain-looking middle aged guy and that is settled-for.

    I want my gf to think I’m hot, desired, etc…

    • Here’s a completely other thought I have (that I think is worth mentioning):

      I deserve the love of MY life. I deserve sushi and brunches and love, love, love. We chumps can get the love we deserve.

      That’s the point, isn’t it?

      Ps “justice out of jello” — wow.

      • I just want a best friend. Isn’t that what we all want. I can be sexy (ok I might be kidding myself) but I can also slob around too. But hey, I have the most fantastic sense of humour. My colleague just told me I should go into stand up comedy. But for 6 years I dated a much older colleague because I loved his intelligence and his wit. We are no longer a couple but I love him to bits. Looks fade but personality doesn’t!

      • I love the “justice out of jello” too because that is the likelihood I had of ever developing a sincere relationship with my cheater.

        I think though… “deserve” is a dangerous place to go. Ive seen some betrayed spouses use “deserve” in ways that werent really helpful.

        After my betrayal and the death of my cheater, I really did hope to find love. I did, he is a great partner…at first I had Schmoopie-eyes for him…saw him as the fixer of all that was broken …eventually realized that was too much to put on anyone. He is not a savior, he is simply a decent person and good partner and we love each other.

        Its funny that we are not each others’ “types”…he was looking for tall and blond…I was looking for short and dark, but our love kindled the fires of desire and Im fine with him exactly as he is.

    • That is a hard one for me too. My ex deserves to lose his kids for the way he behaved, but the kids deserve to have a loving relationship with both parents including their dad so they can feel loved and not abandoned. In our case, he is not a danger to them. Therefore, I encourage and facilitate their relationship with their dad and will continue to do so. It is not always easy though.

      • This is because you are a loving mom who puts her children’s needs above hers. Would that he did as well. But oh well. As long as the children turn out happy and well-adjusted – we can’t control this entirely but if they are little we can try to influence this.

      • [slow clap]. Yep. For as long as my ex is willing to be “father of the year” post-divorce to our daughter…I’ll take it! The kid deserves to be loved and cherished by her dad. It can hurt sometimes to see him doing the things I always wanted him to do with us, as a family man, but that has nothing to do with my kid.

  • I know my abandoning stbx has two choices: stay in denial and continue on without a conscience, or own the reality of his deplorable behaviour and deal with processing the emotions and owning that truth.

    I’m pretty sure he’s not equipped to face his underhandedness. Schmoopie has poached herself a man I would never choose to be with, someone who had it all and suddenly ran off with a co-worker blindsiding his wife of 20+ years and kids. So for me, it’s all about the disappointment of how shitty he turned out to be, not about what they have. What they have is a relationship predicated on narcissistic tendencies and deficient character. All points indicate she is equally, if not more, damaged than him.

    It’s embarrassing to be associated with the whole debacle he made of our family and the low-brow drama.

    • Mandy,

      “So for me, it’s all about the disappointment of how shitty he turned out to be, not about what they have. What they have is a relationship predicated on narcissistic tendencies and deficient character. All points indicate she is equally, if not more, damaged than him.”

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      THIS is exactly how I feel, too; thanks for capturing the sentiment so perfectly! One of my grown sons — the family peacemaker— simply doesn’t get why I’m Zero Contact. He asks, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

      THIS is why!

    • This!!!!!

      I had to finally accept that was and really is a worthless piece of shit who actually had no problem walking away from me (who loved and supported him for 15 years and tried so hard to make him happy and have a good life) and his 2 children. (Esoecailly because he wanted them so badly at first and got fixed so he can’t have any more).. .

      And not only did he walk away from us but he did so like we were nothing at all.. … (because we were nothing to him).. .. it took me a couple of year to come to terms with who he really is. He plays the nice guy part so well.

      It’s been 4.5 years and I hear he just cheated and ran off on the troll he cheated and ran off with. . . Now she is going thru what I did (not as badly thou since she wasnt married to him plus she knew beforehand that he was a cheater and I was blindsided)… .. now she is posting meme on Facebook about how cheating is wrong and things about karma and she loved him but he couldn’t see it. Things like cheating on a good woman… ..(cracks me up since she is far from a good woman. A good woman doesn’t beat her man or throw bottles at his face but she is so delusional that she thinks she was good) .. .. of course she STILL has not made the connection of what he did to me when he ran off with her. And she never will.. .. she was so happy she WON. She threw it in my face as often as she could. She posted pictures of him and her on social media. How happy they were, how much better she was then I, how they were meant to be and how God brings people in your life.. .. .. 4.5 years later she lost him to someone else…
      #karma

      At least she doesn’t have the new girl throwing it in her face or purposely hurting her like I did. Was and on the other hand gave up everything for her (and probably told her that repeatedly) and in almost 5 years he doesn’t even want her. THAT is the kind of man HE is.. so glad I am not associated with him anymore.

  • Do they change… probably not! My divorce has been dragging on for 4 years, which means I get access to discovery docs throughout that period. STBX has been dating his current girlfriend for just about 4 years and his credit card statements show charges for adult friend finder as late as 2018. Who knows, maybe she’s into it too and they have an account together, but my guess is she has no idea.

    Throughout our marriage he was on dating and hook-up sites, and just didn’t get why that was not okay. You know, since the problem was “my controlling nature”. From what I understand his current girlfriend divorced her husband for cheating… and now she’s with the king of double lives. In public he’s the face of charity, spirituality, community, and the victim of a “gold digging spouse”. Behind closed doors he sleeps with hooker, spends thousands per strip club visit, and is on just about every depraved sex website out there (thanks to my years of marriage policing).

    Do they change? Who cares, not my problem!

  • The concept of damaged goods comes to mind. The cheater makes sure on their exit that the chump is damaged goods. The chump is a commodity that no longer serves the cheater for active cake consumption but a broken chump for passive cake consumption, now that’s a gift that keeps on giving. Years down the line, the cheater can point their finger in feigned indignation and spout ‘see why I left Out West? She’s damaged, no good, bitter’. When we leave the cheater and gain a life they can’t use use us as handily, particularly if we get ahead of the narration. Build our image of strength and resiliency. It takes time to get the cheater’s voice out of our head. But oh so worth it! The Japanese have broken bowls that are repaired with gold, representing ‘golden journey’. Repair yourself with gold. Revel in your strength.

    https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/

    • This is fantastic, @Out West. What a perfect metaphor for this journey!

      “This repair method celebrates each artifact’s unique history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with new life.”

  • To Sarah,

    He is excited about his new wedding gifts while you are raising the four children? I think that about sums up how deep his pool of character goes… he’s permanently in the shallow end.

    Still, I know it hurts. And, I am sorry that you and your children have to go through this. You didn’t choose it (like he did), it happened to you. It is real.

    But, the other side of that coin is you no longer lay your head down at night next to a sociopath. The OW married a man who is OK with cheating on his wife and abandoning his four children. Do you really think she “won”? She just created an open space for the role of OW.

    You have the freedom now to find “your one”… because he sure as shit wasn’t it. You get to raise the kids your way (you probably were doing most of the heavy lifting already) and the reward that you will feel from raising those kids into good humans will be immeasurable and life-lasting. Your X’s new set of china will be broken in due course, it is the nature of a cheater to destroy things.

    We’re here… keep coming back. You are mighty.

  • For ages I thought I was the problem and that it was my fault “we” couldn’t be happy. I beloved my ex did all the things he did because I was a crappy wife. It newer occurred to me to look at him, it was all on me.

    When he moved in with his GF and started doing all the things he never did with me it was just more proof that I and only I was the problem.

    With time and distance from him I see that he really hasn’t changed for her and all of the things he accused me of are actually things he does and says. I have none of the issues now that I had with him. None.

    Leaving him was the best thing I ever did. I had to see him to resolve some issue and he is having exactly the same issues with her he had with me. He is in terrible shape and hasn’t changed a thing about his life. If I hadn’t been expecting him to walk through the door I wouldn’t have recognized him. Since splitting I have travelled the world, paid of all “our” debt, built a healthy savings, have a beautiful, peaceful home and since we split in 2014 I have made up almost his entire salary in raises and bonuses at my job. His. Entire. Salary.

    For some reason many of us here worry that we weren’t good enough when the truth is that they were never good enough.

    If I met my ex today I wouldn’t let him buy me a drink. The thing is he wouldn’t offer as I’m so far out of his league now. He (and men like him) just wouldn’t waste their time as it’s clear wouldn’t give them what they really want.

    • Yep unknowing I am so much better off without the Twat. Enjoy that Schmoopie -paying for his toys, his Cadillac his 20 guitars!

    • The ex narcopath also, has all of the same problems with each new woman he is with. His relationships all run the same cycle for the same length of time, and ALL of the women he has ever dated have left him.

      Sure, he goes through the idolize, devalue, discard phase, but the women are the ones who end it officially, after they catch him cheating. He will hoover them, all the while continuing to cheat (because technically they are broken up), and each woman will give him 3 to 5 chances to amend his ways. He will cry and beg and plead his way back into their hearts with promises to change and then blow it all up again. And again. And again.

      His relationship failure is statistically at 100% failure rate.

      When you see a person who has a failure rate like that and repetitive cycles, there is a name for that: predator. Sociopath. Psycopath. And narcissist.

      I always believed that I was the common denominator in all my relationships, and I have had a handful of long term romantic relationships.

      For a while after ex narcopath (by far the most soul crushing damaging romance I have ever had) I cried to my mother asking her if she thought there was anything more I could have done to save the relationship.

      She was exasperated with me and said: “ChumpedinCanada, you did Everything in that relationship, your effort was unmatched….you are sitting crying over that waste-of-skin and he is off in the sunset with a new gf. Your heart was pure. You have 110%. There is nothing more you could have done. He was never worthy….”

      And then she asked me: have any of your other romances been like this one?

      Me: No. Nothing close.

      Mom: Because he is a psycho.

      So. If mom says he’s a psycho. That’s all there is to it. Lol.

      • This is an important point. My therapist said it this way: “just look at his trajectory.” I went back and reconstructed everything I knew then, that prior to my sixteen year relationship with ClusterFuck, he had two serious longterm girlfriends. I found them online and contacted both, both described all the same rage problems and devalue followed by cheating. One of the told me ClusterFuck was still seeing her for the first 7 years he lived w/me in a house we bought together. So though I thought I only had one DDay I then realized there were many more layers of the onion. I was able thru sleuthing to uncover another affair prior to the DDay one.

        Now, five years later, switzerland friends told me that ClusterFuck and OW that I divorced him over, have “broken up and gotten back together several times.” But that he still lives in her house “because he can’t afford his own place. Gee wonder what caused their breakups. The rage or the lack of income, or the cheating. Maybe all three.. Meh. Not my problem anymore but I know for sure that I didn’t cause any of what is wrong with him. His trajectory proves it.

  • Sarah, if your husband is anything like mine, she’s not the one either. Why? Because there will never be the “one”. My X lovebombed me like nobody’s business when we were dating. And what’s he doing now? The exact same thing with the exit affair. I also know that the X has been the one to leave most of his relationships. He gets bored, he’s not getting the kibbles, maybe the cake has gotten stale and dry – he only needs some lame-ass excuse to cheat and move on.

    They might last a few years or just a few months. It doesn’t matter because his character has not changed. Trust that! Nobody is going to make him happy because he doesn’t know how to real love or joy.

    And start going Gray Rock as much as possible. Block all parties on social media, insist that he use a parenting software, and force him to use email as much as possible. Another precaution – don’t let him start using his new wife as the go-between. My X started dong that shortly after we were married because he didn’t want to adult with her. I finally stopped doing after a couple of years because I was tired of being in the middle. His kids – his responsibility.

    It’s hard and hurts so much. Take one day at a time. Spend time with people who love and support you. Teach your children how to respect and love one another. Show them what a good person is really like – be their role model. Believe us, you will get through this and come out better on the other side.

  • I do think my ex’s schmoopie is “the one” for him. He’s trash, she’s trash – they’re a perfect match.

  • Listened to CL on BBC last night.
    Her wit, charm and humour shined through. I hope new chump listeners will come visit this site.
    Can I just say, how much I value Tracy and this wonderful and supportive community of ChumpNation? Wow. Thank you everyone. Feel less alone in the wilderness knowing I have this solid network to count on. Always.
    Keep forging on.
    In solidarity! ❤️

  • My oldest daughter (26YO) gets texts from her asshat father occasionally, and recently he waxed poetic about how wonderful life is in the European country he moved to permanently. It is just soooo great. He wants daughter to travel there and won’t-that-be-fun. Impression management. Living the dream.

    DD26 told him she doesn’t want to hear it and she does not see a trip to Europe any time in her future. She has maintained a thread-thin relationship with him where nothing deep is spoken of, weeks go by without contact, and she keeps her anger mostly hidden. She knows he is a dick but is not as explosive as me or her younger sister.

    Younger DD23 has not spoken to him since telling him he is not invited to her college graduation. She has made no bones about telling him he is a dick. She called him completely out on his bullshit.

    So sure, he is having a wonderful life. As long as his 25YO Schmoopie ho-worker doesn’t wake up and get herself a 25YO stud and throw out the 50YO balding petulant and childish asshat with his hairy back and stained and broken teeth, his life will be great. He put all his chips on moving to Europe to be with this little chippy. He needed to find his happiness you see.

    Of course the Schmoopie is not better for him. Being with her requires he abandon everything, have a very strained relationship with his daughters, and be always at the top of a slippery slide out to the garbage heap when she trades to a younger model because asshat can’t give her children (he is snipped).

    Let them live the dream with their downgrades.

  • When your ex is a lying cheat it doesn’t really matter what kind of fantasy life he spins. He’s still a dishonest scumbag underneath the fake veneer.

    Anyone capable of stabbing a loved one in the back is pond scum.

  • I understand the fear. But really, think about that. In my case the x is with a woman who has a couple of failed relationships behind her, an almost teenage daughter( our kids are 26 and 30), and screws married men. If that is who can be “the one” to him, his standards are way lower than I adhere to, and he was with someone far above who he is with now. As is said so often here, they don’t trade up, so if their ideal woman( or man) is that much lower than us, good riddance, and enjoy that downgrade!

  • My ex was skinny runt (116 pounds with cystic acne but I didn’t care). I loved him – yea ive got to fix my picker, Sorry im typing on a French keyboard Swis history

      • Thank you Sucker Punched. I learned on a Swiss keyboard but made the mistake of buying the home computer in France so I really am buggered – metaphorically speaking!

  • And for those of us whose fuckwit lived a double life with prostitutes, craigslist fuck buddies, Asian masseuses, transvestites, other men, orgies, money theft/mismanagement, etc., the question is not so much “what if the other was the one?” but rather a deep deep trauma that no one gets.

    • nveragain… I get it. You’re not alone.

      Mr. Sparkles would respond to ads as a BiMWM and use a picture of himself from our son’s baptism day.

      Mr. Sparkles would respond to sex party ads and the pictures of the women were not much older than his teenage daughter.

      Mr. Sparkles had his own ad on Adult Friend Finder, Ashley Madison, and some non-mainstream sex sites with a “anything goes” post.

      Mr. Sparkles loved porn, IM’ing and online masturbating, you name it.

      Bottom line… it is all on HIM. That is who he is. It is not and never will be a reflection on me. But can I talk about it with people outside of Chump Nation… nope. But never doubt… people here get it and get you. <3

      • I can see the meh

        Joining the club… somehow it’s “ easier”( sorry, not sure what term to use… it’s all fucked up business) to see h with OW….
        When you deal with dating sites, hooking sites, ts, escorts, CL, backpage—— oh my, I learned so much, knowledge that I would gladly erase from my memory…
        What do you say to people? During holidays… “ well, I just saw a file with women’s vaginas or half naked bodies, followed by the ad my h posted on backpage and btw. I spook him during his search for a hooker one evening… hahaha, pass the potatoes, please?

        I had no idea of the underworld that my h was involved even before we got married… ugly

  • He wasn’t the “One” for her. He abandoned her and left her with 4 kids to take care of on whatever child support he pays plus what a woman with 4 kids can earn without de facto abandoning them too.

    My narcissist mother was found of saying “water sinks to its own level.” (She was pretty judgy too.) But it’s true: one reason these entitled types bail on their families is that they can live up to the expectations of life with the 2, 3, 4 or more kids that they helped make. They’re fine with someone who expects high thread-count sheets. You can put those suckers on the credit card.

    Comparison is the thief of joy. Compare yourself to some rich person or some celebrity whose face and body are air-brushed and made up and you can feel “less than.” And then you find out that they’re cheating or their spouse is or they are mean to everyone who works for them. Or they turn out to be addicts or married to one. Or they commit suicide for reasons we’ll never know. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Compare what you do, what you say, what you hope for and who you allow into your life to you STANDARDS. What–and who–is acceptable to you? What kind of life do you want?

    When I was in college, I thought that the good life was about a big house with a master bath, a big dining suite, and for reasons I don’t understand, a pewter tea set. I don’t have any of that. I never did. None of that was or is necessary.

    • Just to interject here: I personally cannot imagine anything worse than a pewter tea set, but yes, you’re right. No one is thinking like an adult in college. Chumps tend to grow up; cheaters tend to stay stuck in college.

  • I don’t think there is any such thing as “the one” for a cheater. They are chronically discontent, always shopping for the next better thing. The fact that so many of them stay with their chumps for quite a number of years is more a testament to the chumps’ high value than anything else. It is usually discovery of their misdeeds and the chump’s response that upsets the apple cart. So when they ride off into the sunset with the OW/OM and post flattering selfies on social media, it’s fair to assume that the next victim is being treated to the same bad behavior and simply does not know it yet.

    • “the next victim is being treated to the same bad behavior and simply does not know it yet.”

      This had me stuck for a loooong time. Looking back at the relationship I had with ex narcopath, and seeing where he had groomed me (and I unknowingly went along with it…).

      And then, from a distance, watching him with a new victim using the same grooming techniques. My ex has had 2 victims since our final split.

      One may have been an unknowing OW (I believe her to be innocent of what he had going on…) and the newest victim is a woman whom I went to school with.

      The first victim, when i was in a pretty dark place, wrote her a pretty long letter outlining to her, all of his grooming tactics and how abusive he was/is. She was swift in laying down the law about his drinking and how he would screw up custody stuff with her kids and her ex (funny enough she dumped ex narcopath just before her and her ex went to court over their kids). But she held on for quite a while. Finally, she dumped him.

      The newest victim, I ache to warn, but refuse to do so. She has been warned by 2 other people and still hangs on. Ex narcopath would be dancing in delight if I broke no contact to warn her. No doubt he has told her about the letter. This victim has me blocked on fb, due to whatever lies he has told her about me, and she feels threatened enough to block me. He has made a few attempts to provoke me. I think he wants me to tattle on him and tell her that he sought me out, but I refuse to play.

      Her father is in treatment for an aggressive cancer and I KNOW that ex narcopath will blow up her life when she needs him the most. I feel so very sorry for her, knowing what’s coming her way. But he only cares about himself and if her family is grieving, she will not have time to dote on him….so she will be replaced.

      This has been the most difficult recovery I have ever experienced, and I would not wish this pain on anyone else. Especially, the shame of knowing I was played and didn’t know it.

      It makes it so hard to resist warning everyone in his path. HE’S AN ABUSER! HE’S A CON ARTIST! HE’S A CHEATER!

      You just want to scream it from the rooftops!

      • I found out about my now ex’s affair with his married employee two months ago and told him we were done. He moved out almost a month ago. The OW has blocked me on FB. I’m sure my ex has told her I’m a crazy, abusive alcoholic just as he told me his ex wife was.

        OW has opted to divorce her husband of 23+ years…filed the papers a week before my ex moved out of my house. I’m going to stock up on popcorn for when the Karma show rolls into town.

        It’s amazes me the evil I slept next to every night. My eyes are wide open now, but I had no idea about sociopaths until I started trying to figure out “what the hell just happened?!”. The gas-lighting was the worst part…I’ve always been very laid back, calm and happy. I didn’t recognize the woman I had become. Now I understand what happened. And that angry woman I didn’t recognize? She disappeared not long after my ex did.

  • I pray every day that my EX lives happily-ever-after with his AP whore. I WANT them to stay together so that they cannot chump anyone else. As long as they are together they aren’t destroying nice normal people.

  • Hi Tracy,
    Just to say how much we loved having you on the show last night. You were brilliant.. After years of reading wise advice on how to save my marriage I finally found you and recognised all the behaviour instantly. Since I left him five years ago I’ve project managed a major development so we could afford to stay in the area the children loved , the kids are all happy, doing well at School and I’ve managed to juggle work as well.

    I’ve never talked about my experiences on air as usually I do a very different programme but it was amazing how many people related to what you had to say

    It’s been the most incredibly tough five years and my ex only manages the odd Disney moment with the kids ( he’s not seen them all year but wants them for Christmas..good social media devoted dad opportunities)

    It’s hard sometimes not to look at the joyful images and wonder where I went wrong and why I couldn’t provide the same level of devotion but I know that however bad I was there was no excuse for him to fail as a father. He’ll never get the years back that he’s removed himself from their lives in pursuit of holidays and date nights.

    The irony is that his father did exactly the same and my ex hated him for it. The woman he married refused to have her father at the wedding as he had also had an affair and neglected his children. I find it strange that they are repeating a pattern but seemingly completely unaware of it.
    I’d rather be worn down and exhausted (I am a lot of the time!) and know at least I’ve done the best for my children. Thankyou so much for making me sense all those years ago. Very exciting to be mentioned here and thankyou everyone for your lovely supportive comments
    Sarah x

    • They never get the connection between their own behavior and the behavior they despise in others. My ex’s parents got divorced when he was sixteen. His mom initiated it and his dad had to leave, no choice (and no OW in the mix). Ex said he hardly saw his dad for a number of years afterwards and resented him for it. That’s why he makes an effort to be active in his kids’ lives. He doesn’t want his kids to hate him. Sometimes the kids don’t want to go with him when they know Schmoopie will be there, however. His aunt told me that she was surprised he was complaining about that because apparently the real reason he didn’t see his dad for a number of years is because he refused to go along on the days his dad had visitation. His dad had no choice about leaving the family unit, ex did and yet he still thinks that somehow he is being a better dad. He is lucky our kids are more forgiving than he was and still love him in spite of the fact that he is a hypocritical idiot.

      As for you Sarah, you are the one living the good life. You still have your four children in your life full time. Yes you have to do all of the work and it isn’t always shiny and Disney, but you get to be there every day watching them grow, teaching them your values and helping them navigate life. It isn’t easy, but there are rewards too. You are the sane, reliable parent. You have a real connection to your kids that he will never really be able to have. You are the lucky one even if it doesn’t always seem like it. What did he get? He got the kind of woman who fucks other people’s husbands and tears families apart for personal gain. If that’s his soul mate what does that say about him? He got Schmoopie, you got the kids, you win.

    • Sarah – You are such a gracious host. Your story of strength and motherly love is to be commended. I know it is not easy and the discovery of your former spouses betrayal is one that is hard to reconcile. After hearing your story, I can say wholeheartedly, I despise your spouse and his cheater skank equally. Outside of you, the only other likeable person on your show was Tracy IMO. I’m sorry, but your co-host didn’t seem to be the most sensitive and Andrew was so far removed from reality with his self righteous know-it-all opinions that I found him hard to stomach and most definitely incendiary. The woman who cheated on her husband twice wanted to come across as a hero of some sort and I found her equally strange as well. Your podcast continued to affirm to me how deeply disturbing the world of infidelity can be; there are just so many people who don’t see the severity of their actions and they can easily justify their horrid and manipulative self serving behavior. I find it hard to be in the company of these people….

      I think you are great, though. I really do. You are a gazillion more times more gracious to these people than I could ever be…and the love for your children and how you continued to rebuild your life inspired me to keep going. I woke us this morning wanting to follow your lead and I just felt stronger like I can do this, too. So, thank you for sharing your story and inviting our hero, Tracy on your show.

      • Oh, one more thing! You didn’t go wrong anyplace in your marriage. Your husband is a louse. He took the wrong turn. If anyone needs to do serious self reflection on where they went wrong it’s him. He is shitty to everyone but himself.

  • Many many years ago I was chumped. Was home from work, had lunch with my husband, and then came home to an empty house with a note taped to the bedroom door. Never talked to or heard from him again. I was blown away. For a long time, I predicated my recovery on what everyone said…it won’t last, he will be back, he will be sorry, he can’t possibly love her…blah, blah, blah. Thirty years later, they are still together, with not only children, but grandchildren. Despite what many people might want to believe, there are indeed many people who start out as affairs, and end up happily married…Julia Roberts, Sting, Johnny Cash… yes even celebrities..The point is, you CANNOT base your recovery on this. Realize that for whatever reason, he does not love you. God I know it’s gut wrenching and beyond sad but it’s also true. Clinging onto the belief that he’s temporarily insane, made a huge mistake, or karma will get them is a big mistake. Realize that your serial cheater will continue this behavior to YOU. Is that what you want? I know I didn’t. Happy people don’t behave in that fashion, PERIOD. Mourn, rage, cry…and move on. Realize you deserve loyalty and love, and take the appropriate steps to recover so that you can one day be emotionally healthy. You are worth much more than what the cheater has given you!!

    • QueenBee, you and I have disagreed in the past, and we are going to disagree again. I have read about those ‘happy’ celebrity second marriages, and they all scream marriage police (Trudi Styler especially), or indifference and bullshit. When you have a 24/7 public relations team working for you, you can fool a lot of people.

      Thankfully it’s not the 1980s any more, and we can see past Hillary’s velvet headband and fervent denials (complete with down-home twang and baking sheet of cookies) to the reality underneath. Thankfully the truth about these marriages is a lot more accessible now. They’re just as messy as any ordinary person’s second marriage. For example, the Pitt Jolie Miracle Wonder Blended Family of Joy that was so very well publicised during its lifetime, and which looked so lickety-split on the outside, turns out to have been a very unhappy place in which to live on a daily basis.

      You are right in that you can’t base your recovery on the karma bus arriving. I enthusiastically second that motion.

      But I don’t care how many grandchildren there are, and nor should you. All you need to make grandchildren is two acts of sexual intercourse around 15 years apart. It’s really easy. Grandchildren are not a measure of marital happiness or success.

      I will never believe that cheaters trade up, because anyone who marries an affair partner is marrying a person with dodgy values and damaged character. Decent people don’t cheat.

      • No worries, Lola. It’s one of the many great things about our country, and CN. We are all entitled to our own opinions. Second marriages certainly don’t have a monopoly on marriage police, indifference and bullshit. You don’t need a public relations team working for you 24/7 to fool a lot of people. All you need is access to the internet, a Facebook profile and a camera. I am completely aware that grandchildren are not a measure of marital happiness or success, any more than children are a measure of marital happiness or success. Neither is a long term marriage, be it a first, second, third or seventh marriage. An affair is not a requirement to possess dodgy values or damaged character. Lots of that going on in society at large. Happy marriages require two people that are happy in the marriage, not one that is happy and believes that the other one should be too. Two completely different things.

        • Agree that an ex’s apparent happiness or discord should not be a measuring stick by which we move on with our lives. Meh is all about owning your own life and ignoring their’s…and that’s a great thing!

          However, I might alter your statement of “Despite what many people might want to believe, there are indeed many people who start out as affairs, and end up happily married.” to read: “…and end up [seeming as if they are] happily married.” Cause, you never know what’s goes on behind closed doors. Its quite possible that your ex’s behavior never stopped but his current wife is just willing to endure it. So be it.

  • If the cheater has found “the one” send her or him flowers and chocolates for saving you from a lifetime of hell.

    You may not see it now, but I promise you their assholiness will surface with “the one”.

    Cheaters are masters in the art of deceit. Chumps are no match for a conscienceless lying soulless void.

  • I’m several years out and I admit – this still rummages around in my head more than it should.
    They are married and have been for several years and it really appears she is a good wife appliance to him. He’s all involved with her family and they do all these social things ( cruises, beach trips, dinners) that i always wanted but didn’t have a large family to do it with. So, she is “of use” to him where i was not. Perhaps its still just remnants of the pick me dance. And of course, I’m totally glossing over the bad (she doesn’t know he was sleeping with us both and i decided not to tell her)

    So even though I know the advice “He just wasn’t right for me” and try to cling to it, sometimes its just hard not to compare and find yourself lacking.

    • You got rid of someone who thought it was ok to sleep with two women, one of whom he wasn’t married to, and lie to them both about it.

      And you’re still watching this guy’s life from the outside? Why? You should run like your hair is on fire.

      • I only know about the ones he takes my kids on. (The cruises, the dinners) now that they are over 18, he doesn’t do visitation anymore, just fun things. (So I know when it happens, because otherwise they are with me). Interesting to me that my youngest isn’t really a fan of these big gatherings- as she’d like some 1 on 1 dad time. But that never happens. I guess being super dad doesn’t count unless you have witnesses.
        So I think “wow, look at the dinners and things” and the kids say “meh”. My kids are wise.
        But I do gloss over the crap things in our marriage, and think “maybe she is a better match for him.” I’m just leaving out the part “cause he sucks” – got to remember that part.

        • Two things:

          1. Maybe she IS a better match for him…but that is not necessarily a positive statement. Like, flies are a better match for shit than beautiful ladybugs.

          2. Think of how long you and he looked great from the outside perspective. Think of those years and the fact that your ex is great at putting in the time early on then ultimately being a total asshole. So, they’re in the beginning of that cycle…it only gets worse moving forward, as you well know. And, you have no idea what’s going on between them…she may already be knee deep in your ex’s BS and already questioning the situation.

          But no matter, it’s irrelevant. You two weren’t a great match–in that you required an honest and decent partner and he could not be one. In the meantime, sounds like your kids are getting some fun vacations, and that’s nice for them. : )

  • Fakebook! Fake-ulous!

    —I know a couple, only as a married couple. They are work peers. About every 6 months, they post Faebook fakulous pictures of them enjoying life, no expense spared. Antarctic, Alaska, Paris, African Safari…the husband singing and dancing for Schmoopie wife birthday….her big, fake tits always prominently displayed. At first, I thought they were a cute couple. And, they are. But, then another peer told me the Schmoopie (the one with the money) broke up his marriage and kids. I still have them on my Facebook, but I do as entertainment. It’s fun to watch them try to make their life l.o.o.k. fabulous and innocent. When, all I see is those kids never going on any of these trips…. It is narcissistic and sociopathic…when you know the whole story.

    Everything has to be over the top, super dramatic, fabulous, incredible, for the affair partner and cheater. That’s not a real relationship. As Billy Joel sang, “Just give me someone I can talk to….Honesty.” A pair of loafers, watch TV, complain about the price of gasoline….mate. Being fake-u-lous is too much work. Real relationships are not work.

    Married many years now to Mr. Right. Left Mr. Wrong a long time ago.

  • From what i know about the XH’s GF is that she waited 17 YEARS to have any kind of relationship because of her child, the minute that child turned 18, she was signed up on MeetMindful, found the narc XH of course, I won’t ever really know what he told her but from what I know his narrative to be is that I rejected him, I blindsided him and so the poor sad sausage routine sucked her in, along with the love-bombing which he had up to Mach 5 level.. Who in their right mind thinks a man that is technically still married and living in the same house as his wife and daughter is good boyfriend/relationship material? If that information that I have is true, this poor girl waited 17 years to get a narcissist that probably still pulls the same BS he pulled on me. I am a very Chumpy Chump, I admit it fully. I think that his new supply is even more submissive and adoring than me and that is why he is with her. She let him move in with her even though they only knew each other a couple months. She does not fully know what she has involved herself with, at least not yet. I do know and am so glad that I do not have to deal with it but on a very limited email only basis for the next 17 months. Once my DD is 18 (come on 2020!) I will be completely narcopath free.

  • When I Cloud kept informing me that “someone is looking for you” and “someone was researching your name and age”, I knew it was the OW. It was not only herself, but her husband, who knew the entire time, too. She scrubbed her image off the internet/social media/linkedin BEFORE I was clued into their plan.

    The affair plan was for me to sign off the title to my HOME, (without any equity payment) let my children live with them – and apparently – she got to keep my pets, too.

    While I was visiting my niece in Colorado, she and he had lots of time to stroll and arrange their new life in my home.

    Since I did not go gentle into that good night, she just decided to take my parrot right away. Didn’t work out for her that good. (Tango the tattle tale parrot, at your service.)

    The kicker is, when I complained of the stalking, my XH sniffed; “She would never do that (online stalking). I know that because of the caliber of woman she is.”

      • I hope you are okay and their take over plan did not work – especially with the kids and house. What is her husband’s deal in all this?

        • He found out June 5th about their 3 month affair, he helped move her out (assisting my husband) June 18th. I found out a few weeks later.
          They had the whole plan. I was just going to disappear out of my own life and do it his way “If I wanted to or not.”
          Meaning sign over the HOUSE, move out and leave the kid(s).

          This plan was in place the very first night he told me about the divorce. He threatened me with thousands in negative equity by forcing a fire sale of our home he claimed we were upside down in – BS I sold it myself for $80,000 more saving $29K in real estate fees alone.

          That night, like a moon inspired night Phoenix, Magneto was born. Took baby steps, but she grew up just fine.

    • oh god, the caliber! I got the “she’s a really good person!” lecture, and I was like “she’s not being good to her husband! to me!”

      • I got that too! You don’t know her, she’s a good person. I’m like a good person doesn’t blow up two families and destroy five children

  • It does suck! The injustice of it all. I try not to think about it. Sometimes, it’s difficult to see the so called “happy life” the cheater and his new wife appliance (the OW) appear to have. They truly do seem like they have it all. But I remind myself, every time I am faced with their so called superiority, that they have both lost the love and respect of their children. That would crush my soul and make me lose sleep at night. That , and the thoughts of the shitty things I did to my then spouse.

    They can have the expensive new cars, vacations, Rolex watches and expensive purses. If I have to trade the respect of my family and friends for those things, I’m not one bit interested. This is truly all they have. Not many friends (that’s what I hear), limited family and the children show up for a few dinners here and there. Sounds lonely to me.

  • Let’s just say that was YOU in all the Facebook posts of wonderfulness and not the OW/OM.

    Tell yourself the truth. Would you truly be having fun? Or, putting up with a lying abusive jerk with a smile on your face?

    I thank God for amazing grace in showing me what I was tolerating for fear of failure.

    Whenever I forget that there are conscienceless people, CL keeps me honest.

    Hi. My name is Calamity. I am a spackler.

    Welcome, Calamity.

  • Can I get preachy for a minute? I live in the United States. We have a few castles here. There are some in New England, one in North Carolina, one or two in California. We don’t have royalty so we don’t do castles much. What we do have things like Mount Ranier, the Grand Canyon, or the grand Tetons, or the Mississippi river, or Acadia national Park, or the Appalachian Trail, or the Outer Banks or the Florida keys, or Big Sur. We have national forests that go on and on. We have the most beautiful national parks. We have state parks that are hidden gems. We have a beautiful country and every country I have visited is beautiful. There is not a car made, or a restaurant to dine in that can take the place of the trip I took with friends the other day riding in the national forest. Now new England and northern Michigan and northern Wisconsin and Minnesota have the most spectacular colors. You can’t beat them. And it cost almost nothing to go out your back door and look at what’s back there. It seems to me that people who live on the surface of life do so because that is all they are. They have no depth. It’s the difference between a zirconia ring and a diamond. They both sparkle but one is genuine.

    • It’s funny that you mention all the beautiful places to see in the U.S. I mentioned quite often to the X that I wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, see Old Faithful, stand in awe of the giant redwoods in California. He wanted nothing to do with any of them. Hell, I don’t think he cared that those special places even existed.

      My goal – to travel, see all these places, to feel joy and happiness even if I’m traveling alone. Now that I’m not waiting on the Dickhead, I can move forward with my life.

      • Since the Twat left I have taken 12 (I think) trips with Solos groups and I love them. It’s funny how much more money I have to do these things too. Just got back from Sicily and in March I’m off to Sri Lanka. You don’t have to go on your own (unless you want to). I travel with the Brits even though I don’t live there because we all laugh at the same things, but even non-Solos groups always have a few singles too. You might want to check them out. There are an AWFUL lot of elderly widows but I love that age group anyway, but you can also find younger groups too.

  • As a single person, I have to ask myself:

    If I went on a first date with a man like my ex-husband, would I want to stay with him when I learned about his past?

    The answer is NO. I met a guy a few years ago whom I really liked, and we had a great deal in common. We got to talking about our former marriages, and he confessed to cheating on his then-wife. I was so disappointed; he seemed like a great guy. Not surprisingly, he found someone else (aka a future chump) not long after we parted ways, and they were married not too long after that.

    It’s hard to be on my own sometimes. I crave warmth and connection from a romantic partner. But why on earth would I want to be with a man (who had two children with the ex-wife, by the way) who didn’t have enough decency to end his marriage the right way? He didn’t just step out on his wife; he also stepped out on his two little boys.

    I think it’s helpful to ask this question — would you continue to date a person who told you that he/she treated his/her ex the way that you were treated?

    • To answer your question “Nope ! I would not continue to date a person who cheated on his ex. That type of person is ice cold and incapable of any real connection with anybody,including himself. A pod person.”

  • Good for you, MovingOn. You definitely did the right thing! If we don’t learn from our chump experience, we’re doomed to repeat it.

  • I look at it this way, i was with my ex for 14 years and when i told people we were getting divorced about 75% of them were shocked. We were a couple people “looked up to” and many people gave us so many compliments on our true love and hard work we put into our marriage over the years.

    The truth wasn’t like that at all. I spent years being cheated on and lied to and years crying my self to sleep alone and years watching him drink away our 20s and my kids early life.

    So who gives a flying flip what impression he and the AP are sending out to the world. By all accounts he seems happy, but, it’s been not even 3 months since i left so they’re still a ss-deep in the honeymoon phase. and it goes without saying that he hasn’t done any of the personal reflection one would need to be truly happy – despite him constantly telling me how much he’s changed (i roll my eyes at that one and just remind myself how many times i was given the same speech when he was my problem)

    i figure any man who is willing to live like that and any women who is willing to date a married man like that and implode a family earned each other.

    He’s on dating sites and all that jazz so i can’t imagine his new “friend” as he’s calling it is going that amazingly…..

  • My XW seems (as best I can tell from the outside) to have significantly upped her game as a spouse. She does things with the kids, cooks occasionally, takes kids to after-school events, now knows our kids’ friends, goes on non-work-related getaways with the AP. All in all, she is a much better spouse and mother with him than she ever was with me.

    Every once in a while this bothers me, but she made very clear at the end of the marriage that she wasn’t going to work on it. So, if she is a better person now (and I admit I’m skeptical at how deep or long this will last), I was never going to get a whack at it. For whatever reason she couldn’t make those changes for me or for our kids, without torpedoing the marriage. So the question isn’t “do I want the new and improved her?”, but “do I wish I was still with the old her?”. Maybe her AP is “the one” for her – but that doesn’t mean she would have been a better spouse for me.

    The truth is, I really hope that he is “the one” and she buggers off way up north to pursue her rainbow-filled life with him and leaves me in peace.

    • This hit a chord. It was pulling teeth to get my ex to do things with our daughter and as a family. There’s a reason why my photos are selfies of me and my kid instead of happy family shots. But we get divorced, he moves out, and…voila! Dad of the year. Coaching shit, riding bikes, taking daughter to the Pumpkin Patch and actually carving pumpkins, etc. All his ideas. At first it hurt–like, where was this guy?!? And I suspect he does many of these things because it feeds his ego to be seen as Mr. Great Single Dad.

      But, his motivation aside, now I just see it as a benefit to my daughter–for as long as it may last. I suspect in the near future he hooks up with someone and ‘dad of the year’ gets bumped off for ‘new partner of the year’, but at least my daughter had this time right after the split of her family where she was, for a moment, his priority. And that is a gift.

      But yea, for me, he’s still a toxic d-bag. Even if every single change he’s made is authentic and permanent (and good for him if that’s true), it does not change how he treated me and my general nausea thinking about that.

  • If she is the one for him, my ex sure deserves it and she does, too! She’s been married 2 times and cheated on both husbands, built like a man and ugly as hell, 43 years old and never had any children. He’s 61 and pretty sure he’s a serial cheater but know for a fact he’s an adulterer, liar, cheater and loves his porn. We were married for 37 years when I caught him texting her on a Saturday night and kicked him out the next day and we were divorced seven months later. Our beautiful daughter will be getting married in a little over 2 weeks and the thought of seeing him and his horrible family makes me physically ill. She has tried to integrate herself into my daughter’s life by coming to her graduation (luckily I saw them and managed to avoid them) and hosting a shower for her but thank God she is not invited to the wedding. People make their choices in life and get what they deserve!

  • The thing that really stands out to me about cheating being a narcissistic act, is that even if the OW (or all the OWs he had) were “the one(s)” or better suited to him than me, by cheating on me repeatedly and serially for 16 years, he deprived me of the opportunity to meet someone who would treat me with the same loyalty and respect that I gave him. That he didn’t deserve.

    • You have been deprived of no opportunity at all. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, which could be two weeks long, or 20 years old, or longer.

      You can start now. I bet there are people in your life right now who treat you better than he does – male or female, work colleagues, friends. Start making a list of all the people who treat you better than he did.

      There will be more of these as you go forward. Whether you ever pair off again or not is completely unknown to both of us, unless you have a Spooky Voice that tells you the future. I don’t. But you can be surrounded by people who treat you with loyalty and love and respect right now, in the present, if you want.

      • Thanks, these are kind thoughts. But I’m 63 and this was my second long term relationship to end with cheating after longtime other forms of abuse. My main priority right now is to get through my remaining working years and to be able to afford retirement… while healing. I’m not interested in another relationship. And he did deceive me for the bulk of my middle aged years when I deserved the chance to meet someone else. The time for that is over now. But I appreciate what you have said.

        • I know how you feel; I am in a similar situation. It’s all just healing from now on, and I am really happy with singleness now that I’ve got my groove back.

          I suppose what I was trying to say was: Don’t give him that power. Don’t cast him in the role of the Thwarter of the Parallel Universe of Joy. You don’t know that. He could actually have been protecting you from a much worse relationship with an even bigger dick.

          We don’t have quantum eyeballs and we can’t know what might have been, and it’s pain shopping to think that way. You have enough pain already; don’t go shopping for more.

          And you may still find that down your track somewhere IS a better person for a partner. Or not. But I’m also saying that there are good people around you right now. These people can help your healing without getting romantic on you. And it helps to do an inventory on them – I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • I am reading a lot of comments along the lines of ‘From the outside, my ex’s life looks blah blah blah’.

    It’s such a good reminder that the blessed state of Meh can be a long way off for many of us, who are still sneaking peeks at the Daytime TV Lifestyle Movie that is the ex’s new life.

    It’s also a good reminder to keep travelling towards Meh – and the fastest route there on the interstate with no speed limit is No Contact.

    Daily choices.

  • They may appear to living the ideal life, and perhaps they are for now. She’s shiny and new, no kids, life is all about them without much distraction. I imagine they’re proclaiming their love for one another, never felt like this about anyone, blah, blah.., I also know that Cheater hasn’t had a personality transplant.
    He is incapable of compassion or empathy, therefore he’s incapable of genuinely loving someone.
    Eventually the newness fades, and everyday routine of life takes over with all that entails including expectations and disappointments then resentment.
    They haven’t learned anything from being in a relationship, because in their mind they do nothing wrong.
    Nothing has changed, they begin to build resentments, magnify any disagreement to justify cheating or an act of revenge.. as happy as they appear on the outside we know the evil of what lurks on the inside.

  • Thank you, Chump Nation! You are all heroes to me… and the best therapy ever. Much love to you all xx

  • Congratulations Tracy, great radio interview! It’s so good to hear that you got interviewed on BBC radio by a former Chump you helped.
    Hahaha! That cheater is outed to everyone now…

  • Oh lord, I hope my ex finds his “one,” so that he will leave me be. I know it doesn’t always work that way but I would love it. I’d much rather marinate in the possibility that he’s a cad only to me and no one one else than have him up in my business in perpetuity.

  • Andrew marahall was our marriage guidance counsellor at vast cost. Complete farce.
    However, he did say that there was no point staying married to a serial cheat.
    I had been told by a divorced friend it was hell and only do it if husband was a wife beater or alcoholic.
    Serial cheat was added to the list.

  • The only person impressed with a cheater is another cheater. They can overlook each others’ shitty character. If you pick a whore over your spouse and kids, you are nothing, in my book. Losers. They deserve each other.

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