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Dear Chump Lady, When does the pain stop?

desperate_handDear Chump Lady,

Tonight is a hard night for some reason. It has been 11 months since D-Day. And since then stories of other affairs and how long I have been a chump has been trickling in. I finally said I can’t take anymore information and stopped all the asking of how many and how long.

We have been married for 22 years. I thought if I knew when and how and how many that the pain would lessen, but now my thoughts are even more clouded with, “Oh WOW! So this is why this happened, and so this is why he said this and did this.” It’s a never ending of  trying to make sense of something that I can never really make any sense of. I am so tired and wish so much to put all this behind me.

The kicker though is even though with all the lies and the extent and length of the affairs, I am still waiting for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

What is wrong with me? Why can I not see him for who he is and kick him out of my life? Why do I wait for him to call or text me to tell me that he misses me and loves me? I am a total chump and can’t seem to know what is real and not real anymore. The pain continues because I am choosing it and then I ask him to stop my pain by being caring and nice to me. I am so confused and messed up that I feel as though I am going to lose my mind.

Why can’t I understand that he is the root of my pain and that he cannot help me stop the pain? I need help. It’s like all logic goes out the window and I become this pathetic, needy, illogical person. I don’t like myself when I get low like this, but it’s like I am not in control and this other weak person takes over.


Dear Marj,

My standard answer to “When does the pain stop” is Tuesday. I don’t know which Tuesday, but I assure you that Tuesday is out there and it’s pain-free. Because this infidelity shit is FINITE. I know it doesn’t feel that way now. I know it’s a kick to the gut every time you learn of some new horror. I know it feels like soul death every time he doesn’t comfort you.

But I’m telling you as someone years out from her D-Days, that if you told me my ex was a bisexual, white slaver who held orgies in Sunday schools — I would simply shrug. This is what “meh” feels like. I know he’s a freak.  I don’t really need to know how much of a freak. It’s not really central to my life anymore. I trust that he sucks.

Of course, it was a long time coming to this place and like you I spent a lot of time grieving and puking and getting horrifying details. I spent a lot of time longing for the person who hurt me to put things right. And he didn’t.

Marj, I can’t tell you how many pathetic emails I sent, how many wailing phone calls, how collapsed in grief I was. Let’s start with the emails, because I’m a verbal gerbil. I would send these detailed reconciliation missives. (Because of of course, he didn’t want to divorce, so I thought that meant remorse. I didn’t understand cake then). Just vomiting out my soul to him. Lengthy diatribes in which I would note how very UNsorry he looked. And what we could do to fix that. (I’m sure I cross referenced several Amazon purchases.)

He would reply with one or two sentences tops. Generally along the lines of my grief was very inconvenient to him right now and he had pressing work issues to attend to.

The only time I got emotion from him, was when I made a move to leave. And then he commenced with the wailing and crying and the “remorse.” So then I thought, oh he really is sorry, and that set me up for the next round of D-Days.

Like you, I was waiting for for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

Here’s the sucker punch, Marj — I already had my answer. I was just in denial about it. His actions very clearly demonstrated that he did NOT love me, he was not going to “wake up” — because he wasn’t in a dream — that is who he WAS. And sure, he did “want me” — but that’s because I was of use to him. And wanting someone is not the same thing as loving them.

Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.

So a couple things had to happen to get past the pain. First, I had to wake up and pay attention to his actions (not his words) and draw the painful conclusions. Second, I had to assert my self-worth.

You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. Especially after they just GUTTED you. Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.

Never match a cheater’s misdeeds with your vulnerability. When they hurt you? NEVER show them more of your tender underbelly and hand them the harpoon. No — PROTECT YOURSELF.

Your pain is kibbles to him. He may not want to continue the relationship, or he may stick around to eat cake, but trust me, he is enjoying the centrality and the drama. My how powerful he is! How desired!

And Marj, that shit should piss you off. Do NOT give him the satisfaction of your grief. You want the pain to stop? You start drawing boundaries with him this minute. You take back control. You go see a lawyer. If you feel you can’t assert boundaries, you go find a therapist who will show you how.

It’s okay to feel weak, it’s NOT okay to not feel in control. As hurt as you are, you are still the master of your ship. You still control you. You still have choices. It’s time to start exercising them. Assert your self-worth. You’re not kibbles, you’re a human being — his spouse of 22 years and you deserve respect! And if he doesn’t have the decency to treat you with kindness and caring, especially after he BETRAYED you? He can find his shit on the lawn in Hefty bags.

You are going to grieve 22 years, no question. But don’t do it in front of him. You can’t properly get past this until you go no contact with the man who is hurting you. And you can’t start to heal until you start to protect yourself. So my advice to you is start bagging his shit for the lawn. Take a little of your own back. You’d be amazed how it lifts the spirits.

This ran previously. More Tuesdays ahead. 

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  • “Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.”

    This brought back such painful memories of the frank conversation I had with Cheater #4 in the garage of my old house.

    I confronted him about managing down my expectations. He actually admitted it – that this was what he had been doing from day 1.

    I remember being so taken aback by that – that I said something very direct to him, and he didn’t lie about it.

    But I didn’t learn from it, and I kept trying …

    • OMG – I just relived an entire moment with the Dickhead. We were in the garage and I was talking while he said nothing. I asked why he wasn’t saying anything and his response was, well, I’m not disagreeing with you. No, you fuckhead, you aren’t saying anything. Even though, I would love to punch him square in the month. Married almost 18 years and I took me that conversation to realize that I didn’t matter. I didn’t even deserve an explanation.

        • This is so true! The garage is where he told me he was moving in with a new woman (the divorce wasn’t even final yet) and the kids had only met her the week before. This is so funny how our stories are all so similar.

          • It does look like garages play a key role in chumpy stories. The garage is where I overheard Cheater whispering sweet nothings into the telephone in the dark. I’d come down to help him carry the groceries into the house. Of course I immediately switched on the lights and asked wth was going on. And of course there was a truckload of lies and gaslighting before the truth came out. 24 years of marriage down the drain and it all started in the garage. Funnily enough, the thing which has given me the most comfort and faith in myself is also in the garage, now. The car I bought on the first anniversary of D-Day, after finally getting the driver’s licence Cheater had actively discouraged me from getting before he started playing around.

            The pain stops, the mightiness carries on.

            • The grarage is where I found boxes of condoms, douche, pictures of naked women I knew from church and work, pictures of him with strippers and all the photos of the women he slept with letters providing details.

              • OMG! Me too! The garage is where I found his stash of condoms, love notes, selfie photo albums of his mistress (before I learned there were multiples), and even a Tupperware container of brownies that she baked him. Oh how I would like to send her a note informing her that he absolutely hates brownies but she’s not worth the ink or the poor tree or, more importantly, my thought or time as I am almost two years out from that fateful day in the garage and I am finally halfway to meh. Plus, the thought of him having to fake his enjoyment of her brownies for the rest of their miserable relationship is just too satisfying to end!!!

              • This is hysterical that it’s a verb! “To be garaged!”


                I think it’s because the garages are heavy man-caves.

        • I sobbed my heart out in the garage while he just stared blankly at me. I think you’re right.

          • Omg… the blank stares ????????????????????. 25 years of marriage and 4 kids and X said he wanted to “see” one of the whores he was fucking “openly”….. this conversation happened on the street in front of our child’s therapy office when our suicidal teen was reeling from Ddays…. sickening

            • Yes and yes. I swear – we were all married to the same exact person.

              And yup – I have garage stories too.

              As for the pain: it does go away. Promise!! It took two years for me. But it’s gone.

              (Divorced. But married 27 years to a serial cheater who met his latest schmoopie on a Craig’s List sex site….they make such a lovely couple.)

            • The blank stare and mute response. In the laundry room, all I got was “I can’t talk about this with you”. I’m embarrassed that I pleaded/whined/sobbed, we aren’t really going to do this to the children (get divorced/broken home).

              But his dick and his escape/happiness was more important.

              Nothing said all I’m concerned about is myself more than the things he rushed to pack and leave with. His computer porn, cameras, coins and clothes. None of the children’s gifts they made for him made it into the pile. All him, all the time.

              For months afterwards, because no closure/no explanation, I wallowed in the pain and then slowly put the pieces together.

              Like a picture coming into focus or a jigsaw puzzle, it all fit. All the lying, all the deceit. How could I be so book smart and life stupid.

              I agree with CL, listen to their actions, not their words.

              • I got the “I can’t talk about this” in the garage . Pleaded my heart out to him and he just started at me blankly. I didn’t want a broken home and have my kids suffer. But he said he needed to be happy and she made him happy…

                Sounds like my disbelief that this could happen… actually happens to a lot of people … today is the day I found out about his affair. Not that he told me but when I asked he did not deny. He still won’t say the word “affair”.

                Four years later… a different woman makes him happy and I am only 3 months away from the year mark of our divorce.

                He sucks…and is a selfish bastard but his mommy said “his happiness is important”. What about his kids. Will he ever grow up and see what he did to his family.

          • The blank stares in the face of distress are so telling about the cheater; they have no empathy, it is always only about them, no amount of the chump desperately trying is going to fix them or make them happy, and the cheating only stops long enough to take the heat off from the chump then it’s back to it again. It is very sad that as a chump married to a cheater for many years, we instinctively long for comfort from them even though they are the ones who hurt us, and the more they hurt us, the more we long for their love. But despite what our bodies and emotions tell us, we have to remember one phrase and stop contact: “Trust that they suck!”. And even after they finally give us some tiny morsel that reignites hope, we have to remind ourselves again: “Trust that they suck!”.

            • Thank you . To day is my birthday and he called tbis morni g to wish me hapoy birthday and then said i will maybe up for lunch…? Then I know where he is going to be then tells me that so i won’t go look and see he is at the whores house …hes supoose to take me to dinner tonight . Oh, I’m going to go and I’m going to enjoy myself . Thinking what a ball buster he is to think I’m am so stupid and I know how much he enjoys sucker punching me ….even on my birthday .
              I will say that all day as my mantra. “Trust they they suck” ! She is 55 , i am 72 today. He is 72 also. This hurts beyond comprehension but I will get thru this I always do…thank you everyone for your input on here .

              • Truly hope you change or cancel plans tonight and go to dinner with someone who loves and comforts you. You deserve better !!! Repeat this to yourself until you believe it. Happy 72nd birthday and 1st birthday without Mr. Cheaterpants.

              • Happy birthday dear Janet. I hope for your birthday you give yourself the best gift ever: a call to the best divorce lawyer there is! You are worth so much more for your remaining trips around the sun.

              • Janet happy and blessed birthday to you! Put yourself first, you deserve it today and every day. Why give him the comfort and centrality of feeling like Mr Nice Guy by taking you out? Prove to him that your special day is far more special without him in it!


              • Happy birthday, Janet! If you went on that dinner I hope you ordered many most expensive dishes, drank expensive wines and was as boring as possible.

              • Happy birthday! I hope you had a good time with loved ones and not him.

        • The garage is where he asked me “ aside from all the infidelities I was a good husband right?’
          I responded “that’s like me asking you if you had a nice dinner despite the arsenic i put in it”..

          • Mine fully admits he was a lousy husband — to my daughter even. “I haven’t been a good husband to your mom.”

            But he thinks he’s been a stellar father. He doesn’t take responsibility for the betrayal and pain my teenage daughter felt. He doesn’t take responsibility for breaking up the family. He doesn’t take responsiblity for stealing years from me while he had multiple affairs.

            Daughter has reconciled with him and he’s full on Disneyland Dad. Took her to Costa Rica, now taking her and one of her friends to Cabo. Bought her a BMW X1 as her first car.

            Meanwhile, I’m the one trying to instill values. Like chores help you learn the decipline to do things you really don’t want to do. Needless to say I get “Dad and I don’t fight like this.” Sigh.

            • Surely she’s now old enough to choose to live with him full time? And for you to stop paying her bills?

          • My ex, during the divorce process, used to say shit like “ I know it ended badly, but you know I was good to you”
            and I would say:”????….you are kidding???””
            Then he would say something like “ you don’t get to preach at me anymore.”
            It’s like he would float the bait to see if I would take it that he was “good to me” and when J didn’t immediately agree he would shut it down.
            It was super frustrating.

        • My thought exactly! What is it about the garage?!

          Thinking back, there were a number of soul-rattling, emotional discussions in the garage with my XW. I suppose it’s just another (of many!) commonality in the discourse between us chumps and the cheaters.

        • *raises hand* Me too! I started referring to them as The Garage Talk Chronicles.

          It’s where he told me, a month after DDay, that he and schmoopie needed to go on a vacation to the Carribean because they were “so stressed out” from all of this. “You think this is hard for you?” blah, blah, blah. I just stood there, my jaw dragging on the concrete floor along with the spiders and dead leaves swirling around. WTH.

          Another time, as he was moving his things out, he suddenly turned to me, backed me against my car, and earnestly starts giving me unsolicited dating advice, “Please, just don’t marry the first guy that comes along. He’ll only want you for the money.”

          It’s where he emphatically tried to convince me that blowing up our 25 marriage was all good because HE had finally found love and that’s what matters, right? “I’m in love!” Oh, the look on his face when he said it. It was like, if he said it with enough enthusiasm, it would make it real.


          I moved out of that house as soon as I could.

          • The Dickhead had an ambulance run two days after D-Day. He had a severe allergic reaction. He was at the hospital with his sinister sister, BIL, and his son. I was barred by the sinister sister who told the guard that we were divorcing and he was angry with me.

            The BIL eventually came out to the parking lot because I was beside myself not knowing if DH was dead or alive. No one would tell me anything. He said sometime during the talk that DH was stressed. STRESSED? He cheated on me with hookers, he’s already hooked up with a new person, he wants the divorce and he’s stressed?

            No, stressed was not being able to see your husband after taking care of his ass for 18 years during all his surgeries. Stressed is learning that your husband cheated, that he betrayed you and doesn’t even have decency or integrity to say he’s sorry. Stressed is not understanding what happened to your life as it got blown up by him. Stressed is looking at someone who is now a stranger and living in the same house as you.

            • Consider yourself free of that narcissistic,abusive clan

          • First words out of my ex when I called him on the last affair.

            “I deserve to be happy.”

            Yeah, and I deserve to be lied to and taken advantage of for more than 20 years.

            Fuck you. And yes, I’ll take 1/3 of your salary until you die or retire at age 67.

          • Oh my god, the unsolicited dating advice!! My ex (not husband, but together five years, cheated on me with five different girls that I know of) advised me very earnestly not to let “some guy” treat me badly. He was in the self-pity stage, so I didn’t respond, but this was 17 years ago and I still remember thinking how bizarre it was that he was still trying to inflict wisdom on me.

        • I had good feelings about the garage.
          We alternated weeks at home with the kids after she told me she wanted a divorce. I soon discovered she was cheating and confronted her at a counseling session. Several more weeks of lies and I had enough. While she was having a lost weekend, I changed the locks. When the kids were out of the house, a buddy and I carried her clothes out to the garage and hung them up. Her dresser and our antique bed kept them company.
          Texted her a note that all her stuff was in the garage and the door opener was in the mailbox. Help yourself.
          She never set foot in the house again except to try to sell it. I got to keep the house in the settlement.
          I loved that garage.

        • Yup, the garage is where I overheard my ex on speakerphone with his married employee and discovered their affair. I then went into the garage and told him, “You need to get the fuck out of my house”.

      • The garage was our final show down. He promised to not give our credit card to our son again. He did of course. He then told our son how I was ragging him about it. He wound our son up and let him go. Son was shrieking and screaming at me in the garage about how horrible I was to his father. While the ex stood there with a satisfied smirk. I left for good a few days later. I was outnumbered and sick.

        • Oh man my ex did the very same kind of thing with our son. It sucks!!

          He used money too. He told our son I stole money. No matter how many times I told my son I had paid the cable bill, he wouldn’t believe it. He said no one has that big of a cable bill. The thing was, I had to buy out of a 2 year contract that had been made in my name without my consent. By his father. And I was moving out and the cable company wouldn’t shut it off otherwise. But no, I was the bad guy.

          And then during court ordered mediation fuckwit father had the nerve to say I should apologize to my son for my behavior during the divorce.

          Seriously messed up when not only do they break up the family they encourage the kids to take sides.

    • Marj, for years I believed there is something wrong with me, beause my contience knew that I’ve been had, but my subconscious will not stop working against me. When I found this site and fed.myself spoonfuls with other women’s stories – I realized what was going on with me.
      My subconscious was re-wored to work for them, not for me.

      I feel it ( brain) like having PTSD, Stolckholmes syndrome and the worst case of schizofrenia – all rolled into one subcontious. It is not comprehendable.
      Every time I try to escape these three hit me so hard,that the only thing I can do to protect myself is to replay the few times that were good between us. It is devastating, cause it goes on and on like a film, constantly adbert, but my mind goes so overworked that it cannot continue having normal thoughts.
      The only solution is realizing what is happening to you, and realizing that the comprehension you seek, will never come about no.matter what you do to yourself.

      • I think it really helps to learn the phrases that Chump Lady coined, and think about them, and remind yourself of them whenever you think about the good times (that never really were):

        trust that he sucks
        don’t try to untangle the skein
        sparkly turd
        and many more —

        Also look at her cartoons. They are so hilarious, the humor will heal your soul, and bring truth to your heart. I love the shark in a suit holding the mask of a man. (I think part of this one was yesterday’s graphic.) I love the dog poop with frosting and sprinkles on it. (That’s your cheater.)

        I also told myself over and over the phrase that my intuitive healer told me: “He didn’t love you, he never did. Some people aren’t capable of love.” Yes, the truth hurts, but lies hurt more. The truth will set you free. It helped me from thinking back on the good old days, because there were none. It helped me stop longing for him. Ironically, it gave me the greatest contentment, eventually, to remember: He didn’t love you, he never did.

        • QueenMother…that gave me contentment also, that he never loved me but it gives me great contentment to know that he doesn’t love schmoopie either. He doesn’t love ANYONE but himself. These sharks in people suits are empty vessels devoid of human emotion.

          All these schmoopies think that they are sooooo special. Bwahahaha~ They’ll find out someday just how special they aren’t. Cheaters are as faithful as their options.

          • Word

            Love that – Cheaters are as faithful as their options.

            I refer to the Joy stick as the one that said yes. There were others in our 36 married years that said yes to cheating and flirting and there will be more that say yes, but he’s her problem now.

    • Ah, the garage. The metaphorical and literal portal out of their old life and into the land of Selfish Exuberance.

      After being abandoned I was left to do 100% of the clean up and prep to sell our home. An auctioneer took everything that I couldn’t lift, 30 years of accumulation gone in one afternoon. I took loads and loads to the dump. I donated tons of small items. I did all of the unfinished DIY shit he just couldn’t get around to completing. And I refinished the garage floor.

      X Asshat had done a shitty garage floor painting job years before and had commented often how he felt terrible about how it looked. We were tracking paint flakes into the house constantly as it wore off and was picked up on the tires of the cars. A real shitty job he had done, indeed. So post-abandonment I cleaned the whole garage out myself, washed the walls, and did a full epoxy of the floor alone. It turned out awesome. In the 2 months between his spectacular discard of me I had turned the whole place into tip-top shape for listing at the highest possible price.

      When the X Asshat showed up the last day, he stood and cried in that garage as he looked around. I like to imagine that he felt bad about how he dumped everything on me and to walk into the house at this point with its fresh carpet and paint and all the repairs done he had a realization of how much shit he constantly tipped onto me. The garage floor was the final cherry on top where I had to fix his crap and did an outstanding job of it.

      But my smarter, post-chumpy brain realizes that he didn’t feel that at all and just hated me for (in his mind) once again showing him up and doing all things he could never ever do. That was a constant theme in our marriage, I always felt I had to compensate and accommodate his stupid moves and lack of skill. I also could never tell him how much money I made or what my bonus was because he couldn’t handle it.

      So for him his life can be one long, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” game show and I will go do wonderful things and never feel like I have to hide my success or talent.

      He is a piece of shit and a totally inadequate husband. He can play with the downgrade, half his age, and feel like a hero. He definitely sought his own level and found it.

        • Thank you both- it took a long time to realize what really happened on that day because at the time I was still smoking hopium.

          He had a lot of tears as he walked around the house and clung to me declaring he “never deserved me” and that his abandonment of me (by e-mail after 28 years married) was the “worst thing he has ever done.”

          As he drove away those thoughts left his head and he was right back to being a selfish dick. I have not seen him since that day 22 months ago and have not spoken to him in 16 months. Our adult daughters are now NC with him, too. Life is better without him in it.

      • So awesome IC.

        We lived in our house for almost 12 years by the time my STBXH left just after Christmas 2017. In all those years, we were never able to park in the garage because of all the junk. I often begged my ex to clear out the garage so we could park in it. Two times pregnant, I asked him to clear it so that I could keep the car out of the Canadian winter so that it was easier to get the babies in and out of the car. He never did.

        Within two weeks of him leaving, in the harsh Canadian winter. I cleaned out that garage, got the garage door fixed and had an automatic door opener installed with a keypad. Everything was finally hanging up on hooks and off the floors. Shelving units installed. My uncle came to help and just shook his head at how a man was living in the house for almost 12 years and not one hook had ever been drilled into a single wall. He couldn’t understand it.

        I parked my car in the garage for the first time in 12 years. Even my neighbours came over and looked at it in awe because it was a long-standing joke with my neighbours that I had wanted the garage cleared out for years.

        Funny, how much can go on in a garage.

    • Imagine if he had spent that energy and focus on figuring out how to be a better husband. From day 1?

      Yeah, that never occurred to my cheating wife about her situation either.

    • This dbag said something along the lines of “i thought you were normalized to the lack of romance by now” after 4.5 years together, while i was losing my mind in agony.

  • Mark,
    Listen to CL. Get every part of him that you can out of your life. Go NC. It doesn’t just get better after that: it gets amazingly clear and hopeful!

  • We just found out that he moved to the next town north of us to live in an apartment with the cheating accomplice, lying to us and telling us he was living in the buildings at our place of business, so he could save money to buy a house.

    He CHOSE to live with a hooker from Craigslist, instead of getting a place where he could live with our daughter.

    And my daughter caught him on Tinder while she was using his phone. And going to the “massage” parlors. While he is living with his “sole mate”.


    He loves his dick. And he IS a dick.

    I was with him 27 years. DEPROGRAMMING TAKES TIME. I don’t love him or want to be with him, but I still spend some time every day in the Twilight Zone in utter disbelief, trying to absorb the disconnect of who he is and who we all thought he was. I suspect Bernie Madoff’s friends feel the same way to this day. It’s an unfortunate symptom of having been conned.
    Be kind to yourself.

    • Velvet,

      There is nothing better than coming to complete understanding.

      Pathetic as it is, his self worth is his dick.

      It’s the only thing that makes him feel good about himself and gives him the illusion of immortality.

    • 29 years and I go to the twilight zone too. But just not as often as I use to. My goal is to make it 24 hours without thinking “why”

  • No matter how the details differ, this is the bottom line.

    “Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.

    So a couple things had to happen to get past the pain. First, I had to wake up and pay attention to his actions (not his words) and draw the painful conclusions. Second, I had to assert my self-worth.”

    • ^^^THIS^^^

      I copied it and saved it privately to my FB wall (it’s been 14 months and I still have not proclaimed any “truths” there). This is what needs to be my mantra since like so many, 18 years investment was not worthy of any explanation.

      • I relate.
        After immediately moving to the opposite coast for his AP after I accidentally forced the truth out of him, he ignored most of my texts if they had anything to do with what he’d done. Without fail, whenever he did respond to something about his betrayal, he was robotic and businesslike. He even had a favorite go-to reply. ‘We are getting a divorce.’ Translation: ‘I don’t need to explain myself to you. Divorce magically means I am not obligated to explain.’

        It was brilliant, really. And perfectly commensurate with his stunted maturity. All he had to do was utter these 5 little words to shut me down, and then he’d be scot-free. It happened so often that I’d even started envisioning him holding up an actual sign emblazoned with his crappy new mantra. Kinda like that guy who holds up those ‘quiet please’ signs at golf tournaments. How ironic that both are meant to shut me up.

        • Ugh. My husband, too, many times hid behind the auto-reply “We are getting a divorce” whenever he wanted to dodge interrogation or my emotions regarding his lying, cheating, theiving secret life that I discovered. No admittance or accountability or compassion or empathy. Just hiding behind a canned phrase. But that’s what cheaters do: Cheaters hide.

  • Yes! In the dark days pre- & post-Dday, control was my savior. Tough as it was, I took the reins & piece by piece put the truth together, then took back my life. He sure as hell wasn’t going to do either for me. This became my JOB. He’s fired. Even during Wreckconciliation, I could not put Me back in his hands. Only ‘Us’. So when he couldn’t step up without spoon-feeding, I’d rebuilt a strong enough ‘Me’ to end it.
    Every chump should look at it this way. Have a good private cry in your morning shower every day. Let it all out. Then get to work. Slowly, you will find your power, diminishing his relevance every step of the way. Just as he diminished you.
    One side note; I do think it’s impossible to heal in a relationship without the Whole Truth. Trickle Truth is bullshit, ripping the band-aid off with every revelation & starting back at square one. If only I’d ignored the books & the therapists (“It takes Time”) & trusted my gut, I could’ve saved myself 1.5 yrs of futility. Truly remorseful, repentant cheaters who want to put it all behind & start fresh/build trust, understand the importance of total honesty & transparency. You should have to drag it out of them. You shouldn’t have to ask them for love, affection. You can’t make them care. Your only job is You.

    • I chose not to seek the whole truth. I did not want more damaging images in my brain. My visuals were seared in. I also chose to file, to be in control even though I felt wobbly, I didn’t show it.

      What was the most difficult was not why doesn’t he love me, why doesn’t he value and cherish me but it was why didn’t I value myself? Why did I allow someone to show me such little care? Why did I show myself no compassion? And that’s what CL teaches. Don’t untangle their skein. Untangle yours so that you move into the light. Yes it’s very difficult and it takes work. But Tuesday does exist.

      • “What was the most difficult was not why doesn’t he love me, why doesn’t he value and cherish me but it was why didn’t I value myself? Why did I allow someone to show me such little care? Why did I show myself no compassion?”


        It’s been almost ten years and that is the only part that still bothers me.

        • Because women are trained from childhood that they don’t count; the only thing that we must do is to be supportive and forgiving of all human fraility as demonstrated by our significant others.

          F**k that noise.

          • My apologies to the men on this forum; there are all too often women who take full advantage of the training men are given to support their wives in family activities, and to never question the commitment that their wives are supposedly acting.

            • Hey, thank you for saying that.

              Truth? We understand, providing people keep in mind that men are not some monolithic group who would all gladly act like the worst of exes or manipulators.

              Too often are sexist generalizations against men shouted, now, and it has been visibly growing to this point for decades.

              And modern men? Heck, I was born in ’69 and have always seen women as people like myself, instead of some sort of resource or posession. A great many men are like that, regardless of the ones that are sociopaths. It isn’t a century ago, but some of the thinking about men sure is. Outdated.

              And the poor Millennials. Those guys have been largely brainwashed from Elementary school that they are automatically rotten, just because they are male. It’s a real mind crime. They can’t even properly be the creature they are, for all the beaten down wussiness. And their college and career stats? Oy.

              Millennial women are dating guys more like my age in bigger numbers than younger women typically may, just to be with someone who can simply be a man and who perhaps has a little chivalry to him. It’s terrible that modern young guys are missing such essential stuff.

              There’s our next generation. Screwed by sexist hate. Did they get any good healthy classes on masculinity or honor? Nope. Just learning about their “toxicness”. A disgusting mind crime, as I say.

              There would be way more betrayed men on here, but men are affected somewhat differently by the betrayal of their partner. It sort helps but hurts us.

              “I have been declared worthless. I have been replaced. It’s probably my fault somehow, in addition to whatever on her part. This is an unfixable lost cause. There is no choice but to be done with this relationship. This is too rough for me to Ever talk about.” It’s like a program.

              No seeking aid with reconciling or with struggling through things. So often, we seal off our feelings, compartmentalize the experience to stop its bumping into other thoughts and making us cry in the store, and we try to bury it and move on.

              Also, it makes it that circa 80% of men privately say, “This is over” and leave their cheater.

              More men should be encouraged to seek advice, especially with such a devastating and life changing event. The problem (well, one of them) with that is almost making me tear up right now just thinking about it, and that means, looking at the horrible truths.

              Screw it. I’m just typing stream of consciousness now.

              But I remember the night before our first therapy appointment. The counselor had us filling out a set of info sheets for her to look over ahead of time.

              I just couldn’t bear to look at it long enough to fill it out, so finally, that night I was going to force myself to do it. I got the most pertinent stuff done around crying my eyes out, by around five in the morning.

              After learning we were there because of my wife’s infidelity, and that my wife refused to admit it, she (counselor) saw the need to take the second appointment over entirely with an effort to make me think I have ADHD and Autism.

              Now, I have a genius level IQ, have done complex, cerebral and interaction jobs my whole life, and I just started investing, made a good sized chunk in one month, and through research and analysis, I have two stock moves to make for an amazing year by mid summer. It has already enabled me to quit my regular job. Could an autistic man be as I am? I have my doubts.

              The next counselor decided to use a similar tactic, with a subtlety to her way that would be impressive if she weren’t using it for evil. There was much educating and understanding sought and taught, and that was good. The trying to make me doubt myself and my own perceptions was recurring and with more frequency as we sort of progressed.

              SHE wanted me to think I had vague hallucinations all the time, tricking me into thinking my wife was unfaithful, while she was just a.model of marriage-loving commitment. When I sought information further, to nail down what we were truly talking about here, she had no specifics or possible examples and suggested I go on some kind of mood stabilizer drug.

              Is THIS normal now? for men to experience this non-help in couples therapy? Sure, my mood may have been a little off. My wife’s betrayal was so bad for me, it overshadowed my Mother’s death entirely. It was like two other deaths happened, my wife and our relationship.

              Or, oh my gosh, my World.

              Did anyone see that Sci-fi show “Sliders”, where an inventer, Quinn, makes a machine that opened a “slide window” to an alternate reality, each with one or more differences from his Earth? He got stuck sliding between worlds without any guidance ability, and like with Star Trek Voyager, the show follows him from place to place while he tries to get back to his Earth, mother and life.

              I have really felt like that at times. There is no sliding machine, however, so I am stuck in the far lousier Earth 2.

              Here on Earth 2, there are work friends who have slept with my wife. People around work are aware of things, so it cannot even be private pain. Tammy 2 realized that I am too aware, and she is afraid to say anything needed (like the whole story) to build anything between the two of us, for fear that she will make it real if said aloud, or similar. She knows that Tammy 1 never, ever would have done anything like this, which makes her a massive disappointment. I can’t go home.

              But back in therapy:
              Wouldn’t a human typically be bothered really badly by that point? and show it? Twice in a row is no coincidence, not with something as particular as this. So, what was I to do? My counselor was trying to generate tons of understanding, sympathy for my cheater wife… And then it was like we were waiting for something. I’m guessing we were waiting for my wife to cough up info.

              Then at another appointment, she said that my wife’s memory was faulty on those several years, so I might have to get used to the idea i may never know what our true history even was. (!!!)

              I said I grew up with a gaslighter father, could smell it all over everything happening, and that my wife was obviously not ready for couples therapy.

              The investing grew to fruition during this time, and now, I look like somebody who reeeally may be vanishing soon.

              She will sign a hard postnuptial agreement by this weekend, and tell me everything, or I’m gone in a week with all things that are mine.

              During the months of lying and foot dragging, I have somehow gained the superpower to care somewhat less. It’s strange. It will make manipulation almost impossible, and I can get this facial expression that’s pretty hard looking, just by listening to her try to weasel out of something.

              Is this the meh place? Sort of, only, since she has one slim shot?

              Is this kind of travesty in couples counseling the new norm for betrayed husbands to expect?

              I’m bad-reviewing them, with details, but think of the poor betrayed guys who had no “hold onto known Reality bits” training against gaslighting as children? They are set up to doubt their own minds and be easily victimized through the future.

              Thank God there are people like Chumplady and the Emotional Affair dot com couple who have stepped up and done something about the messed-up-ness of it all. They’ve given us some firm ground, and a path.

              • “Could an autistic man be as I am?” Yes, of course. My spouse and I are both on the autistic spectrum (and have an unusually strong marriage, coming after a terrible relationship of several years/multiple incidents of being cheated on for me). It’s an incredibly broad spectrum and includes many people with “genius IQs,” as well as people with narrow areas of interest and strength, AKA splinter skills, in areas that include investing and finance. No need to denigrate a large and extremely diverse group of people just to say you couldn’t possibly be one of us.

                That said, no one should force a wrongful diagnosis on anyone, for any reason. And a sudden ASD diagnosis could be a lever for the cheater to seek full custody of your children, which is truly horrifying.

              • Eyesopened – I’m so sorry for what you have been put through. I’ve been shocked to read it. I’m a Counsellor, and my training does not qualify me to diagnose autism, ADHD or anything like that. I cannot see how the counsellor you saw was qualified to do that either. If the counsellor thought you may have a particular condition he/she should have referred you to a specialist for proper diagnosis. Your counsellors amateur diagnosis was probably the last thing you needed at a time like that.

              • Hi Eyes Opened,
                As the mum of 3 boys (on the verge of teenagehood) I completely agree with the sentiment that males are treated like 2nd class humans these days. It doesn’t help that my beautiful boys have a dad that had abandoned them and me, their mother. It doesn’t help that females are continuously congratulated for doing anything and males are ignored. I see it in school all the time, in the newspapers, in sport, in everything. Females are victims and males are perps. There are plenty of females with crappy characters and I would not want them to experience from a partner what I/we have been through any more than I would want them to do this to anyone else. I talk to them about all this stuff, I hope that they will grow up to understand that behaviour and character is a choice no matter what gender anyone is.

      • I get the desire to turn off the visuals, the gory details — it’s not like there’s some magic number of transgressions that determine some line in the Sand. But does the decision to shut that door keep you from wondering what/who else is behind it?
        If only I could have done that. But when I decided to try to work it out with exH, it was conditional on knowing how many, for how long, etc. I didn’t need to hear all the details, but did need the big picture of what I was dealing with. Who I was dealing with. An open book, remorseful man? Or a dog still trying to kick grass over his shit while going through the motions of counseling? Woof-woof. Buh-BYE.

        But I will say, it was different when the subsequent boyfriend chumped me too. We weren’t married, it was what it was. I didn’t need to dig for the whole truth. I knew enough & my gut filled in the gaps. It took longer than it should have, but finally Buh-BYE.

        • @Chumptydumpty, I totally ‘get’ the need to know the depths of the madness, but the truth is- few of us will ever really know the depths these monsters have gone to. And we would either remain trapped in their clutches or lose our minds trying to figure it out. Hence, the mantra- Trust That They Suck. I already knew enough, based on his behavior after D-Day, enough to know there was/is more. It doesn’t matter in the long run what “more” looks like. Trust. They Suck.

          • Katie

            You are right…. I like to know… I wanted and needed to know as much as possible… at some point I realized that with so much of lies and deception I will never knew 100%…. Came to conclusion that knowing about 1-20 or 100 hookers makes no difference….

  • When I was in those shoes, I eventually realized that, for me, I believed I was avoiding grief and loneliness by trying to work things out. I also realized eventually (in therapy) that in reality I was prolonging grief and that I was already painfully lonely.

    When we finally split, I did grieve more acutely for a while, but at least then I was grieving something real — the loss of what I wished he was and the dreams I had for the marriage — rather than something unreal — what he pretended to be (honorable, compassionate, committed, caring — a person who is those things simply doesn’t cheat.)

    I also felt a more reasonable kind of lonely — lonely because I was actually alone instead of lonely because I was constantly being reminded of his perspective that I was unworthy of the best of him — that between me and the smorgasbord of strange, I was the lesser choice in the present moment.

    I don’t know if any of this is true for you, I just know it is what turned out to be true for me.

    You might have to bite the bullet and make the separation to know for sure what will change for you. One thing is certain — if this person doesn’t live where you live, then at least nobody who lives where you live treat you like you have low value while you are there. Home will be safe again. That alone is an improvement.

    Strength to you.

  • The truth of it all, the realization that I had loved a man who never really existed is one of the harshest lessons of my life. And it was that which set me free.

    Trust that they suck.

    • This is exactly the realization that’s hard to accept. This is especially true when the liar cheater tries to put his pile of shit outside your door. It never was yours!

    • Darn it, Katie. It

      I have thought this of my wife at times “the realization that I had loved a (wo)man who never really existed is one of the harshest lessons of my life”.

      It did seem to me that it was like she was gone, leaving this 30% of her sort of revenant or a bad doppelganger behind in her place. And when she was in The Fog, holy crap! It was like an evil twin kidnapped her, or even…

      Well. It was just horribly, life-changingly bad. Exploring the metaphors just makes me sadder about it.

  • It needs to be said over and over again. They already showed you who they are. Your chumpy self ends and your mighty self begins when you start understanding that this – the real story- is what their values are.

    A hobgoblin at least looks like the monster they are. This person is sneaky, but the real story is the crap they do, the crap they hide. The piece of crap they are.

    • So true !

      One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou “When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them”.

  • It’s been over two years since DDay and over a year since my divorce and only now am I really facing the fact of how little she cared about me. I wonder how many affairs she had. I wonder why she just didn’t tell me. I wonder why she would settle for me (that’s me being hard on myself making this all my fault.) I wonder why I didn’t notice or walk away (there were many times I really felt she had issues but I always invested more. I can’t go no contact because we have two young kids. Today I have to figure out how to sign my son up for lacrosse because she can’t figure it out (probably doesn’t want to have to take him to practice and games) outwardly everyone says wow you’re doing great full recovery, inside not so much. Every success and I think “See, See, Look, I’m worthy, I’m a catch, why can’t you see that why wasn’t that enough?” I wonder when it will stop.

    • Cause you’re a catch.

      Cause your value is caring/loving/signing your kids up for lacrosse. Cause you kick ass at what really matters.

      I often wonder your exact things and more.
      I even wonder why she bothered to say “yes” when I proposed.

      I come around to several answers but basically it is cause we are nice guys. What else could it be…

      • You’re not NICE guys, you are KIND men. Nice is just a sheen, all outward projection and pretend. You guys are genuinely kind and have character and integrity.

        They are not able to see kind as the strong, beautiful and real trait that keeps this world from completely devolving.You are worth MORE than what those women were able to give. They just cleared the path for you to find better and what you deserve.

      • TY Fear&loathing

        Betrayed & Confused, Can’t go no contact either, but we email only unless is urgent. The BIGGEST boost for me was thinking that she kinda died, and that its Team Tall One. Then they go to Team XW the other half and they can focus on that.

        I have big boundaries; I dont go into or (rarely) up to her house. She isn’t really welcomed in mine. yes, we have the kids, but we are going in very different directions.

        Its a business relationship that is ticking away. So, more and more I’m getting to “meh”.

        Had to say good bye to Switzerland friends, hurt like hell but helped in moving forward.

        I can’t yet say this with complete honesty, but I dont need her approval.
        I really never had it anyways.

          • Kind men….kind women…. can u imagine how wonderfully normal, safe and stable life would be together? 30+ years of getting to know each other and all the perks of building something strong for years…. no drama, no emotional abuse, no deceit and put downs… no rejection…
            So boringly exciting!!!

            • Yes! That right there is what this marriage to my CW was supposed to be.

              Ahem. Sorry.

              Yes again. It would be wonderful, loving and loyal stuff. A dating site for us though? Whose hunting ground would that be? How would we weed them out and be left with the recent people?

              We need to work on this.

    • I’m about 1yr behind you @Betrayed and Confused and I feel the same way. I’m often the one who still “figures things out” because my STBXW is too busy, too confused or just doesn’t care enough. She still likes to take all the credit, just doesn’t like the heavy lifting. I often wonder why I didn’t walk away although I almost did 10 years ago but then reinvested again and again. I’m not sure if there was more than one affair. At first it mattered, now it doesn’t because the cruel discard said everything she needed to say.

      @marj, What was real? CL puts it best YOU were real. It took me a while to be able to think of a fond memory (even if it included the cheating STBXW) and still like that memory. It’s because I truly enjoyed myself. The fact that she claims she didn’t enjoy that memory doesn’t concern me any more. It was real for me…I was real.

    • As CL would say, “on Tuesday” somewhere down the road when you suddenly realize you’ve reached meh. No Contact as much as possible, I have 2 young kids with my XH. I only speak to him about the kids, nothing else. Don’t try to figure out how their mind works, don’t worry about what they are doing (unless it effects your children), focus on you and your kids, that’s all you can do.

  • It is the difference between what you know and what you think. You know that they lie, even about the little things. You know that they use money they can’t account for. You know that they disappear and you have no idea where they are. You know they will not answer their phone. You know they will not return texts. You know that they treat others poorly. Keep going, you’ll come up with a very long list of things you do you do.
    You think he needs you. You think she loves you. You think he might be loyal, at least to the children. You think she would be ashamed of herself if everyone knew. You think they will feel remorse. Compare that to what you know. It makes a difference.

    • Oh wow. The wisdom concentration there.

      Instead of giving her one postnup’s chance in Hell, I may just have to end this thing.

      At the very least, there will be no questioning my sincerity, because it is truly an honest and open relationship whose goal is to keep improving toward amazing, or it is goodbye. It will be in both my eyes and the separation papers in the other hand.

  • This really hit home. My XW turned extremely cold after D-Day. At first, I believed the fog bs the RIC sold us. Our first MC called by XW on her bs and the XW promptly fired her. The second MC was full-on RIC.

    At the end, what I discovered is that this cold, uncaring b**** was who she actually was. Full stop.

    I’ll bet that if you look back before D-Day you will see tons of behavior consistent with this behavior that you just ignored out of love. Stop doing that. I won’t change. And it won’t get better.

    You know what’s better? A partner, or even casual date who gives a s*** about you.

  • All very good advice. Indeed, after D-Day, I never showed my tender underbelly to sparkledick, and gave zero kibbles.
    Even though he called me many times, wanted to reconcile (for that attempt his lawyer got a letter from my lawyer: OK: new marriage, putting everything in my name, living in the maid’s room and gets his meals out of the house, I will pay health insurance for him. He was PISSED OFF. That sure felt good.

    Showing my tender underbelly is not the problem I suffer.

    The problem I suffer is: how to STOP feeling every single day like such an idiot for having missed red flags, and wasted 40 years of love and dedication to a mediocre, accommodated, self-serving, narcissistic asshole?

    • I kicked myself a lot for missing those red flags, too. But my therapist helped me realize that we can never truly know any person, only what they *allow* us to know. In the case of a narcissist, what they project vs how they act produces such dissonance that our minds are compelled to employ the laws of perceptual organization to fill in the blanks and try to make sense out of it. In other words, let the guilt go over missing the red flags in the past. Just make sure you move forward with a new awareness.

    • Each day day you wonder this you add additional day to those 40 years. At least you’ve figured it out now, many never do. You can meet another guy tomorrow and have 20- 30 blissful years.

      • Thanks Hopeful and Persephone, your insights are perfect. Not worth a second of my energy. I am moving forward and I love my work, but I don’t like kicking my self.

      • Hehe! Persephone. Nice relevant reference. Clever.

        ClearWaters, take her advice. My story is way shorter than yours, but my Mother’s story was longer. Asap, she set up a new life for herself that was tailored to her, and she loved it.

        I’m chuckling remembering her trying to tell me how I needed to just not worry about women and stay single forever. I said I couldn’t, that I would always feel the need, I was sure, to have a woman in my life.

        The truth seems to be though, the older we get (just turned 50), the more difficult it is for men to incidentally stay single, and being purposeful about it would only go so far. Single, decent looking men (or better) seem to be more of a commodity, with there being fewer of us. Women just show up.

        One problem though. Unless someone’s husband died or similar, one is looking at the higher percentage chance of single people being user cheater people who someone else escaped. For wise partners, hanging onto the good ones keeps them off the market, so who is left? Troubled people, at least in higher percentages.

        When single, why bother chasing younger women for that matter, when plenty of women with some curvy-ness are around in higher percentages, who also can instantly break, or join, into the 1970’s Budweiser Christmas commercial hum or the one about Coke teaching the World to sing?


        You will love being in charge of your time and space. When the right guy comes along, who knows? But, punctuate those other years with these. You’ll stop worrying as much about your old life, and start enjoying your new life.

        • Okay Eyes, that was just mean. Now I have that Coke song ear wigging around my head. LOL

  • Its a cliche, but cliché are often true. Actions speak lounder than words. The only person who can take your self esteem or confidence is you.
    People who love you, don’t cheat, if they have addictions get help themselves. You are not their mother. Are their parents actually enablers themselves.
    You will have painful memories, I think everybody does.

  • We all do it. You will finally get sick of it and let go. It’s like a heroin habit. You’re addicted!! The sooner you go cold turkey I promise you will feel so much better. I have never felt more powerful by ignoring all he did and not caring anymore what he did and who he did it with. I wasted two years having to find every piece of crap and thing this asshole did. Another couple of years digesting it. Had I just dismissed him and all he did day one I would have been so much powerful asking nothing and not caring and cut him off. Hang in there and just detox from the bullshit. One day you won’t care anymore and will have moved on. Lessons learned and a stronger you. Cut the cord!

  • Mark

    I’m so sorry your going through this. I was married for
    34 years & when he met the Owhore he was no longer there for me. For 2 years I ignored the red flags knowing deep inside me that something was wrong. Being I loved him so I didn’t want to believe he was cheating. Finally after catching them together at her home , they verbally attacked me in the most cruel way.

    I served him divorce papers immediately & threw him out. He lived with the whore until she died 2 years later. Now he needed a another roof over his head so moved into another woman’s home where he is today.
    I may be lonely & financially strapped but at least I’m
    not being cheated on & going through hell.
    Please go NC with your morally corrupt husband & gain some self respect. You deserve to be treated with with kindness. Let his affair partner have him he’s not
    worthy of you. Good luck & stay strong. ????????❤️

  • I’m a very visual and narrative based person. Reading this post today reminded me of parasitic infestations.

    Warning – might make for a cartoon idea – or just bad vibes.

    The parasite clings to the host. In some cases pumping in chemicals to make the host perfectly happy with them. You can rip the parasite off but that leaves a hole. A parasite shaped hole. We unconsciously want to fill that hole with something familiar that will stop the bleeding and the pain.

    But we need to heal, grow stronger and know that life without a parasite is a whole lot better than one with.

    Parasites often seek out the sick and the vulnerable – easier prey. They also seek out the strong – longer feed. But pretty much any host will do in a pinch.

    Anyhoo – I thought I’d share and now you’re all stuck with that image – bwah ha ha!


    • You are pretty much dead on, Bowtie. I like the analogy. They cannot live without a host. When the first one is depleted, it’s time to move on. No emotion, just a practical decision for a lying cheater.
      But the question is, Can two hosts live together? Or two parasites? Food for thought.
      Btw, do you live somewhere near Georgian Bay? Just wondering from what you said in a post a while back.

      • But the question is, Can two hosts live together? Or two parasites? Food for thought.

        Happens all the time. Very sparkly on the outside from what I’ve seen.

        Btw, do you live somewhere near Georgian Bay? Just wondering from what you said in a post a while back.

        I do indeed. To me one of the greatest places in the world.

        • I used to own a farm up there – God’s country…

          Since I am on this site, I won’t bother explaining why I no longer own it ????

          • I know that area very well, too. Lots of family in Grey-Bruce.

  • I’m three years out and no where near healed. Part of the reason is that we have a 7 year old and we are both very involved in her activities. I try and try to go no contact but it’s so hard when children are involved. How do you find middle ground between no contact and showing your daughter that both parents can be together and get along? I normally just end up burying my emotions and then paying for it later. As far as my x cheater is concerned she can be around me and family stuff and carries on like nothing has even changed.

    • Travis, you don’t have to “be together and get along” with your ex. You can attend the same events but not sit together. You don’t have to be a faux family unit. You can be polite when you have to have a direct interaction but beyond that, you owe your ex NOTHING. Don’t give your daughter the idea that she has to eat a shit sandwich when someone does her wrong. Let her know that it is okay for her to give consequences to people who treat her badly. You will be doing her a great service if she knows that before she starts dating.

      • Beth, nice one. Good point. Kids learn way more than we think they do from watching us handle things.

    • My teenage daughter just loooves her father. She even wears his clothing. I tried to gently bring up his cheating once or twice, only to have her tell me that she does not believe me. It’s very hard when your child thinks the cheater is a great person. It’s a sacrifice we make to keep the kids stable. Some cheaters are very good actors.

  • I truly believe with all the zeal of a convert to the true faith, that No Contact is the only way to get free and end the pain. I had to have space – in my life and in my head,in order to see the truth without his narrative of how everything was my fault confusing me, and most importantly to understand that I could not just navigate life on my own (we were together 30+ years) but I really enjoyed my independence and making my own choices. Ultimately what I realized is that I had been alone all along anyway. When only one partner is truly invested in the marriage, it isn’t a marriage at all. At least on my own I wasn’t dragging his dead weight around with me. I only had to carry myself and my kids. It is necessary to grieve the loss of what you thought you had. You do have to know what the truth is and accept that you were unbeknownst to you, living a lie. But you can only do that if you give yourself the time and space to work through it. You can only do that if you get him out of your physical and mental space and give that space over to yourself. No Contact. It’s the straight path to pain and cheater free.

    • I totally agree. No contact was essential for me to start to see what was real and then to accept it. It took a few years. I really believe it takes time to stop caring. Interestingly, last week, a friend mentioned XH had called her because he heard a mutual friend had died. She wanted to tell me about him and I stopped her and said I didn’t want to hear anything about him. That really shows me I’m at “meh”. Yes, pain and cheater free.

      • It took me a few years too FFH, but that’s okay, it was time well spent. I’ve grown and changed and learned a lot about myself and the world. My ex? Same ol’ fuckwit.

      • With my ex cheating wife, no contact was the best thing ever.

        No interaction!? How are they going to screw with your head of there’s no contact? Oh. Right…


        New studies even show that being alone helps you restore your personal sense of self. You really Are finding yourself.

  • Yes 40 years.
    I relate.
    He shall have his ass handed to him in the hefty bag as soon as I tie up some business matters that are more important financially to me than him and our family house he’s living in and entertaining current schmoopie.
    Strategic planning is necessary for me.

    Dang there were a lot of those soul-searching deep trying to meet him in the middle of the night talks that lasted for hours and hours.
    It was a waste of my time.

    Why did I give my power to a schmuck like him? – codependent issues that needed therapy and self-help groups to heal.
    I was not accepting the reality of the situation that’s for sure.
    Now meh- ish toward him even though we still have to do the divorce.

  • I wish this blog had been posted yesterday as I would probably not have completely lost my shit when STBX came by the house to get things. We’re still in divorce phase, at the beginning really, with no court date set. He says he wants to mediate and stay out of court. He’s run up all our credit cards and ones I didn’t know existed. We live in a community property state. There is no savings account or retirement fund because when his parents die (91 & 89), he inherits millions. There’s no money and no assets. He’s rented himself a three bedroom house somehow but is probably from his trust funds.
    I’m in so much pain at the surprise, quickness, and completeness of his betrayal and it feels like he just flipped a switch and I was erased. He says I’ve always been cold, our marriage was never good, he feels justified in slandering me to family and friends. He is the victim. He blamed me. He does suck.
    I will reinvent myself, I will move across states again (we moved June last year to this community prop state) I will figure out a job and how to live and support myself. And I will do this with no money coming from the 13 year relationship.
    I keep hearing how nice it is once you get there. But right now, I’m still giving him kibble. I don’t trust him in the house alone because the personal property is ALL we have. I know that doesn’t matter. It’s just stuff. But he’s taken so much of me already I feel i have to protect the TV. I hope my craziness is temporary and that my basic self is still in here somewhere.
    This is a horrid and foreign place to be, I am the enemy of the man I loved. It will take months and it will go to trial. I’m in the house we were remodeling into our dream home. I have no good friends here but am doing MeetUps and a divorce group. I am exhausted.
    Chump Lady, you give me confirmation that what he did SUCKS and that I will heal. Reading the comments here made me cry, there is so much pain being inflicted by these dickwads. I am comforted to know I am not alone. I am looking forward to the Tuesday that brings me “meh”.

    • One: stuff is stuff. You can get more stuff. Being away from him is worth walking away. But…
      Two: do not mediate. Get a pit bull lawyer and
      Three: get a forensic accountant. However he is paying for things, whatever he is hoping will stay hidden with mediation… shouldn’t. If he has funds, you deserve to find them.

      You will get there. People suck. But meh and a good lesson of fix your picker and planning for a future are nice to have. 13 years is way better than 40, you still have loads of time.

    • Do some research on avoidant attachment styles and you will start to understand how some of these cheaters can just leave without sadness or looking back. (I’ll try to post some links within a few days, but have an insane schedule today).

    • If he used his trust fund money to pay joint household bills you may have entitlement to some of it. Don’t let him rush you to settle. He is a rat.

      It’s hard to know we lived with Judas. They are the true fair weather friends. No real depth.

    • My cheating wife is now a “dickwad”? That’s hilarious!

      Advice. Consult a lawyer about taking him to court. If he’s vulnerable, they may work for free up front, so they can have a cut of him later.

      Likely, if something you didn’t decide reeeally matters to him right now, it is BAD news for you, like a further method to cheat you. When someone wants you to do something a little too much, always question it anyway, I say. Often it is an accidental telegraph of some ploy they are up to.

      Okay, here’s my deal. My cheating wife came to light as herself, while my Mother was at the last of dying from a cancer comeback.

      I inherited some funds, which I invested during the bargains of the last big correction in the Market, at the end of 2018. I made money fast. My analysis for ongoing investment looks even better. I’m even quitting my regular job to do this, and some venture capitalism, full time.

      Our savings were not a lot, and we had some real debt. Now, I have whatever monies, but they are all inherited funds growing themselves. I’m being careful to spend joint money on bills, along with my inheritance related funds a little, but it is always through a buffer account to avoid comingling with common funds. Comingling could compromise the inherited stuff and create the legal illusion that I intended to share it with her.

      If my cheater decides to fake reform, and do whomever anyway, she gets zero, even if she fights the postnuptial agreement I’m giving her this weekend. Why? Because the only funds of mine that will remain are my inherited funds. I’m even making an LLC corporation solely from inherited funds for the same reason. I WILL have complete power over my life and choice, with no shit sandwiches for me, ever again.

      She will reform down to the bone, or I will vanish, taking all hopes of early retirement for her with me.

      Was your situation different? Was there savings account money? Set aside money of his own? In that much time, I’d be stunned if he didn’t have some socked away for his unhappy self, for a future rainey day.

      Sounds like Creativerational has some very good knowledge of this stuff. Forensic accountant, bulldog lawyer, enjoy and max your personal freedom again.

      Do it now. If he’s going to try to screw you over even more, you might as well make him work for it.

      • Holy crap!

        Have them look to see if he did any comingling of funds! Since I didn’t say it outright before, I wanted to add it in here. If he did any, at all, it could compromise his trust fund!!! Arrogant people will make some serious errors.

        If so, you could get half of it. Ooooh, I’m starting to get excited for you now.

  • Every. Thing. CL and CN has said. I really don’t have anything else to say that is better but will say I had this on repeat in my car for months as a reminder that this was how my cheater felt about me:

    “And all I can do is keep on telling you
    I want you, I need you
    But-there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
    Now don’t be sad
    ‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
    Now don’t be sad
    ‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
    You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
    You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
    I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks
    But there ain’t no Coup de Ville hiding at the bottom
    Of a Cracker Jack box…”

    Thing was, I didn’t need or want sandy beaches, ruby mountains or a coup de Ville. I just wanted someone to love me. And then one day I realized that person is me- And there was no room in my life for abusers and users.

  • Marj, I’m so sorry for the pain you are enduring. I’ve often fantasized about my husband ‘getting his shit together’ and showing up on my doorstep — on his knees crying. It hasn’t happened. I’m only 10 weeks out from finding out my husband had an affair with my best friend. Stabbed in the heart – and back, at the same time. We were only together 10 years (we meet in court on April 9– would have been our 10 yr anniversary lol), but the pain sucks. I have found that no contact has been a true blessing – and I also wrote a list of EVERYTHING I HATED about him. I read it every morning and every night. It’s a constant reminder of what a crazy, disrespectful narcissistic f*cker he is. And yes, I still sometimes fantasize about him being sorry (won’t happen), but I now remind myself immediately that it’s OK to still love someone but not want their sorry-ass back! But, I keep these thoughts to myself – share with my best friend (no, different “best” friend lol). I will not show one more ounce of emotion towards him. And I read a lot about people who ‘forgive’ their exes. I don’t believe in that shit. I believe in Meh. I’ll get there and I know I’m getting closer. But, NO MATTER WHAT he gets zero amount of time or emotion from me. Write yourself a list like I did – read it every day. It helps to keep things in perspective. Hang in there!!! 🙂

    • Ten years isn’t nothing, you still invested a lot, and losing a besty at the same time… what a turd. What a shitty occurrence. You will get through!

  • That fucking blank look of “I’m not telling you, YOU are not the boss of me!”
    — Just like the two year old who shit his diaper, but defiantly stomps and denies – all the while smelling bad enough to make the dog leave the room.

    You can cry, plead, beg, download proof, record proof, hear things and see with your own eyes – and they will still be INDIGNANT that you have it wrong.

    Example; I had a check for decorations for dance at school. XH saw it in my car, thought it was a current pay stub and removed it. FORTUNATELY for me, it was picked up in a gas station an hour away, one block from xh’s work by a good Samaritan.
    I had to drive into a horrible section of town to retrieve it. Just thankful I did not have to have the check cancelled and recut.

    XH claimed that HE HAD NO IDEA how the check got 45 miles away in 10 hours right by his work.
    Xh did not CARE that I had to go downtown/bad district to pick it up by myself.
    Xh did not CARE that I would have looked untrustworthy at my job, and caused stress to have check cancelled and re cut, another week waiting.

    Xh said nothing when I kept asking, really just begging for the truth, finally… {I understand now he got a lift out of it.}

    At one point, I said; “XH. Here is the overwhelming proof. I know you are lying. You know that you are lying. Counselor admitted they did not find you credible. Did you do this? Did you remove the check?”

    He stood there with an incredulous smirk on his face. Shook his head like I had it all wrong, claimed he had no idea what happened to the check, but admitted going into my car.
    COMPLETE and total asshole.

    THIS is what I tried to recover a marriage with. THIS.
    The dog had enough sense as to leave the room.

  • I remember 3 years ago when I was fresh after DDay and I read some comment that said that it takes anywhere between 2-5 years to feel more like your self after infidelity. I can tell you I am not the same person I was 3 years ago. It took time for me to stop loving my husband, not the guy that cheated on me but the one I had obviously imagined. I had to mourn the loss of an intact family for my 3 kids. All of the kids experiencing the hurt and pain of losing what was “normal” to them.

    Today I have been living by myself with the kids half time and managing on my own. I now mow the lawn, pay the bills, run this house and everything in it I know is true and solid. I manage my money and don’t worry about making decisions based on someone else. It is literally taking something shitty and making it into something better. You can’t change him but you can change you. Take your power back!

    Will Smith on Instagram has a small video explaining how it is not your FAULT that something shitty happened to you but it is absolutely your RESPONSIBILITY to fix it. Messages like this and here on CL continue to push me forward. I am wishing you all the best. #meh

    • I remember crying and I said to monster, “I will never be the same”. He got mad at me for saying that. The person who had been my shoulder to cry on for 10 years was suddenly acting like my emotions and thoughts were annoying and ridiculous. Still baffling in some ways to me, but I appreciate knowing that someone else felt similarly about not being the same.

      I do like to think now that the same joy and innocence I brought to the table can be restored (I mean, it’s my core personality!), but that the thing that will never be the same is that I won’t freely give it away to someone who didn’t deserve it.

  • This hit home. The RIC and others want you to have your abuser help you in your healing. My XW used my pain and vulnerability to haroopen me even more. The abuse got worse when she saw that I was weakened. I eventually picked myself up, filed for divorce, separated, and divorced her. It enraged her that I dare divorce her. The abuse got much worse. She even tried to blackmail me in staying. I took my power back. Look at their actions, not words. They will tell you who they are if you listen. Believe them. I am not totally at “meh” yet and as we have kids I have to deal with her. But I am getting back myself and have a wonderful fiancé.

  • The most honest thing my cheater XW told me was “You will never understand why I did this”. She was right to some degree. It took time, but I realize now that the cheater brain and the chump brain are very different. And that the scam occurred at the beginning of the relationship, NOT when the adultery occurred. She pretended to be someone she wasn’t at the beginning of the relationship- otherwise I wouldn’t have ever been interested in her.

    The pain begins to decrease when you accept who they really are and how LUCKY you are to now be away from them and their chaos (unless you have kids, then your quasi screwed for awhile)

    • My counsellor pegged my ex as being an “accommodator,” and I’ve done some reading about that since.

      The accommodator does not have a fully-developed sense of self. They are most fearful of being alone. They lovebomb the start of relationships by appealing to the person they are with in every way – taking on their interests, easily overlooking obvious flaws, providing support in all they say and do, quickly claiming a devotion to them, gift giving, predicting their partners needs in advance and delivering, putting that person up on a pedestal and defending them in the face of any questioning, easily fantasizing an ideal life together.

      The accommodator keeps this up for as long as the person they are with makes them feel validated. As long as they are feeling “love and adored,” they will rarely argue against anything the object of their affection says and will go along with anything their partner suggests.

      But as the reality of life puts pressure on a relationship and infatuation wears off, the accommodator cannot transition into mature love because they view infatuation as love. They find that they cannot express their opinion or asset themselves. They are offended if their efforts aren’t acknowledges and come to feel easily unappreciated if any complaints are made against them. They start to feel resentment and take it out on the partner in passive-aggressive ways. They start to feel taken advantage of because the partner is not predicting their needs. They expect the partner to be a mind reader.

      In being a partner of an accommodator, the problem is that you don’t recognize that your partner is having a problem. You think that you have someone that you have so much in common with, who is so easy-going and solid. You think you are on the same page. So, it’s confusing when they shut down, when they nod their heads at you in understanding but then don’t follow through, seem to have little to contribute when you attempt to engage deep discussion about serious matters, seem to always want to avoid difficult tasks and discussion. When you call them out on this, they deflect, gaslight. They start to get agitated with you.

      Before you know it, they explode. Suddenly you are being told how selfish and controlling you are because they feel that they’ve done so much for you that you have not acknowledged. They feel you’ve done nothing but criticize them and you make them feel they do nothing right. They blame you for their poor behaviour and feel justified in that behaviour as now they are finally “doing something for themselves for once.”

      You see, you don’t feed their ego anymore and they’ve found someone else to accommodate.

      I can look back now and see how my STBXHs personality changed with the different women he pursued when we were together. Once I learned about the women and their personalities, I was able to recall ways that I saw my husband morph to reflect their characteristics, opinions and preferences.

      He doesn’t know who he is and he ties himself up with the object of his affection. It is why he couldn’t leave the marriage until he felt confident that the OW was going to stay with him. He is so afraid that he will end up alone. He thinks his issue is that he lacks communication skills. Sorry, buddy, you’re issues go far beyond and inability to communicate, but I guess you’ll likely never figure that out.

      • I feel like my STBX had so much of this going on. The feels very familiar to me. And his resentment, blaming etc has only hardened as the months after DDay have gone on. There feels like nothing of kindness left towards me in any way. He’s not a narc like many cheaters here and his affair seems more like an exit affair – he was never interested in cake when I found out.
        Think he spent years resenting me for things I had no idea about. In the devaluing phase of his affair and just after he brought up random, small and specific grievances from way back – some 14 years ago (together 20, married 15, two young kids). Like, I let him do all the early-morning car packing for going away for our regular weekend activities (14 years ago). Or that a I once went skinny dipping with a group who all did it, while I had never initiated that with him (10 years ago). I am realising how little I have really ever known this man.
        One of the big hurdles for me, is why didn’t he ever have children with me then, if he’s never been happy with me?

  • This: “He would reply with one or two sentences tops. Generally along the lines of my grief was very inconvenient to him right now and he had pressing work issues to attend to.”

    Early on, when I vacillated between being a quivering mass of pain and telling the cheater exactly what I thought of his sorry ass, he would often respond with something along the lines of, “Must be nice to have the luxury of time to focus on this. I, myself, have hugely important business matters to tend to, unlike worthless you.”

    Hah! So wonderful to be shed of the constant put downs. Freeing. We really do need no contact for a decent stretch in order to start thinking and seeing clearly again. As creatures who cannot love and do not feel empathy, these people never did have the capacity to value all of the rare and wonderful things of which a chumpy soul is spun.

    Shocks them when we finally decide that the discard should be mutual, and are genuinely good with that.

    You will get to the place where you are perfectly at peace without ever knowing another thing about cheater, cheater’s activities, or cheater’s fate.

    We really do know all we need to know once we witness their choices. Just takes awhile for a good person truly to believe that anyone—much less someone we once cared about—can be what they are. Seems impossible, but one you get it, “trust that they suck” becomes second nature.

  • I am new to this site but it has been so helpful to read all of the posts and supportive comments. My SO and I have been in a push pull relationship for over 2 years. We weren’t married, don’t have children and don’t share property but somehow I am more gutted over this relationship ending than I’ve ever been before. I was (unknowingly) the OW when our relationship started. He had a pattern of push pull dynamics at the end of all of his relationships and during the “breaks” he would meet other women on dating sites and then be in relationships with two women at the same time as he would get back together with the original woman. I am the third woman to engage in this pattern with him. Our relationship started while he was in the midst of breaking up with his current GF (he would say later that he was never in love with her but struggles to end relationships because he doesn’t want the other person to hate him). We dated casually for a while and then it became more serious. I was always faithful to him. He lied about everything. He lied about things he didn’t need to lie about. He was doing drugs and lying. He was talking to other women and lying. He didn’t go more than 3 months without doing something inappropriate and lying about it during our entire relationship. But it was always about him (I need help, can’t you see I’m trying, I have so much on my plate, I need support right now). And I allowed him to continue. I would attempt to hold him accountable but I would always fold. He would pretend to be sorry, but he never really changed. He lied about going to therapy. He made promises he never kept. He is the king of gaslighting. Recently I found he had been cheating again: On two occasions he sent me a text while I was out of state telling me he didn’t think our relationship was working and then slept with someone else. He says I can’t call it cheating because he sent the test first. I caught him on a date but because he left the date to be with me I took that as a positive sign. I had to go back out of town after that and he promised he wouldn’t do anything while I was gone and we could re-evaluate when I got back. Of course, he slept with someone while I was gone but had me believing he had been faithful. After I found out about all the cheating, I was still weak and willing to give him another chance. He told me it was over with this OW and even though I didn’t really believe him, I went along with it. This past weekend I found out that he had still been talking to one of the women. So I called all of the women that he had been lying to and told them what he was doing. Unfortunately, one of the women is just as horrible as he is and she used that against me to get between us by telling him lies about what I said. Now he believes someone he’s known for three months over me, who he supposedly loves and has been with for over 2 years. He has an extremely fragile ego and he sees the things I supposedly said about him as unforgivable. I’m in the midst of all of the horrible feelings that go along with a break up – sadness, pain, rejection, abandonment, fear – which is all in conflict with my rational mind that knows this guy was a dirtbag and will never change. He is putting the break up on me when he was the one who is damaged. I know he isn’t capable of stability or love given his own issues. But after a few minutes of rational thought, my emotional mind takes over again and I cry and text him and beg him back.

    I know eventually the suffering will end, especially with NC. The hardest part about this is we met doing something I love and am continuing to do. I will inevitably see him again and a lot of the joy I had in this activity is now gone because I associate it with him. This feels unbearable and never ending.

    Thank you for being a place I can turn with my shame and sadness.

    • Despina, run — run and run some more to get away from this loser.

      Just be thankful that you only wasted 2 years with this bum, not the decades that many of us wasted AND thankfully you have no kids and don’t have to go through a long and painful divorce.

      My only other advice is as CL says “You need to fix your picker”. Perhaps a therapist could help you discover why you put up with this guy and kept going back. This is no criticism as many of us (including myself) had to go through the same thing so that we didn’t end up with someone as bad or worse than our Ex.

      Good Luck !

    • What lies you told her… he doesn’t care what you actually said- he is using the anger at these lies to distract you from what your actual purpose was- scaring off other women.
      1) he could be lying completely about what she told him. He just needs a scapegoat so you chase the bunny like a dog at the races and he makes you do the work. Distracting you from reality: he’s a cheating turd, don’t give a shit about him or his ladies.
      2) He told you he doesn’t think it’s working, then sleeps with other people. Is that acceptable to you? Do you consider it cheating? It sounds like he has already told you this is what he does to women he doesn’t want. So why are you staying? And even if you want him- ask yourself Why? You deserve a man with a backbone, you deserve someone who can conduct himself like a grown up. You deserve to be with someone who doesn’t cheat on you then convince you it’s not cheating. This isn’t that fucking episode of Friends.
      3) do not for one moment give up this thing you love. Use it to fortify yourself. Dig in deep and be full into it. Know it and the people in it better than he does. Volunteer to plan the fundraisers, be first in and last out, make these people your army, and tell the same truths to them that you would tell a small child
      ‘Weren’t you guys together?’
      ‘Yes but he decided to see other people. I wasn’t keen on that so I broke up with him.’
      Don’t go into detail and don’t make it a therapy session but be real about it.

      No contact. Ignore. Stop going back. Get a friend to keep your phone away from you if you have to.

    • Update, I’m still addicted to the hopium. I see him for what he is and has been, but can’t get the codependent thought of “but maybe I just need to try harder, be better” out of my head. This morning he hugged me and apologized for the pain he’s put me through (It makes me feel bad to see you hurting). This is after he ignored me all weekend and spent last night and the night before with the manipulative woman that I thought I was helping by warning her. How do I get off this crack? HE went no contact for 2 days and I was crawling out of my skin, thought I might be dying (not to be dramatic or anything). This morning he told me he doesn’t love her, loves me. But doesn’t know if he wants to be with either of us. But cuddled with her last night while I was texting and calling and a general disaster of a mess. I keep giving him chances to tell me he doesn’t want to be with me but he doesn’t take them. Then he just does whatever he wants whether it hurts me or not because we’re technically not together. So he won’t let me go but he won’t commit either. My friends, as supportive as they are, don’t understand my confusion. Is anyone available to, i dunno, kidnap me and take me somewhere I can’t use my phone or see him around, etc? Need a sober companion asap. I don’t know that I can do this on my own. My brain is not working correctly and I’m losing hope I will ever feel better.

      • I feel the same exact way. Kidnap me as well. I have to work with him. Ugh. Crawling out of my skin is perfect. He just went 10 full days of no contact and now is telling me that I should have reached out to him.

  • What ultimately helped me the most was setting CLEAR boundaries about what I would not tolerate. When he crossed the boundary (reaching out to the OW via a third party), that was it. Done.

    Know what your boundaries are, since they are the only ones you can actually enforce.

  • funny topic for today. I am on to living the best life I can, cheater on the other coast (thankfully, no stench around here), DD very grown at 27.

    And yet

    I heard a story on the radio about the upcoming 2020 census yesterday, and it hit me like a gut punch. Very unexpected. But, the first side piece (that I knew of) that cheater chased, was an artist working for the 2010 census collection. He would follow her around the grocery store, getting off the bus a stop early. Weird shit like that.

    I tracked her down [story] an she said, “oh my God! that creepy guy in Trader Joe’s is your husband!! I am so, so sorry.” She was relieved in a way–he had never worked up the nerve to make contact. But then we had a lovely chat, as it turn out she was also a chump, having had a brain bleed a few years before, and while in the hospital her BF cheated on her. Yeah. That certainly fits the profile.

    So we cheered each other up, and it was a sad/funny story for each of us.

    But I did not expect to get punched by a ghost.

  • I’m Marge, not Marj, but clearly we have the same life.
    I know deep down that I have been waiting for cheater to wake up and beg me for forgiveness, to pick me.

    I realized last week justbhow painful this is. Ever flippant text or false show of remorse only results in another jab at my heart.

    I hired the lawyer. I put together the financial assessment.i am filing for divorce ASAP.

    The only way to stop the bleeding is to stop letting him cut me and to Bangladesh my heart myself. That’s where I’m starting.

  • The pain never completely goes away. It will subside and only flare up in passing at the weirdest things and very rarely. To hasten its demise – focus on YOURSELF.

    Not fucktard.

    Not the lazy Susan/daisychain of fuck buddies.

    You. Yourself. You’re worth the time and effort. Go forth and uncover who you are without a fuckwit holding you back.

  • The pain you are feeling will go away. It will turn into relief. Once the toxic cheater is out of your life you will be happier.
    I made the mistake of trying to make my marriage work. I would cry in my car on my way home from work. I could not even stand to be in the same room with him. He killed any love that I had for him when he screwed my cousin. I decided to put myself first. Hired a lawyer.
    The best thing you can for yourself is divorce him go no contact. I promise the pain will fade and eventually go away.

  • For whatever reason, in each of my marriages to serial cheaters, I did absolutely no crying and zero begging or anything like that once I found out. It was a relief to get out from these abusive assholes with a legitimate reason that everyone would understand. Try telling folks your wife is emotionally and verbally abusive as the reason you are divorcing and you will get a lot of judgment and folks doubting you. Cheating- they understand.
    If you are with a cheater, it is doubtful their abuse is confined to the sexual fidelity area alone. Most of these folks lie, steal, deride, criticize, commit financial infidelity, and are ,just in general, abusive assholes.

    • Arnold! I haven’t seen you for awhile. I agree with your statements soooo much. And I think I didn’t realize how much of what I went through was abusive until I was actually looking at it all in the bigger picture. Oh. The eggshell walking isn’t normal. Oh, the wild rages I aspire to avoid aren’t usual. Oh, the pounding of fists and seething rage out of nowhere isn’t something I should assume is part and parcel of relationship. And I don’t do any of those things so it isn’t fair.

      I’m happy you’re away from the cheaters and sorry that people don’t accept other abuse as a reason to divorce. I’m hoping you’re good.

    • Arnold! So nice to hear you.

      I want to thank you so much for an observation you made that really helped me soo much to work out what the problem was.

      You said: the characteristics required for infidelity (selfishness, lack of empathy for your feelings etc.) … are the characteristics that cause the problems in the marriage in the first place.

      My IC said to me ‘Patsy, can you see that his affair is the finally, unacceptably hurtful PART OF A PATTERN?”

      – but it just did not cut through to the chase as clearly as that observation, where you nailed what the problem really was. When I was in an absolute mess, you really helped me that day.

      • So glad that helped, Patsy. I never bought the 50/50 marital problems analysis. It is trite and devoid of analysis.
        Clearly, someone who cheats with aplomb and no guilt is super messed up such that it is a certainty he or she caused most of the conflict and problems.
        But, those wo have not been involved with the disordered have a hard time understanding thus.

  • Marj,

    “The pain continues because I am choosing it”

    I’m not sure our pain continues because we choose it. It sounds like you (we) are blaming yourself for the pain brought on by his actions. You may be at a turning point in your thinking. Protecting yourself and your self-worth eventually does sink in!

    I sent my STBXH on his way immediately. He resisted, but finally got an apartment (maybe with AP) and moved his stuff.

    No Cantact is the only way to break your attachment. It was hard at first because he has also been No Contact since D-day. But looking back (5 months), it is for the best that there is no communication between from either of us.

    I still have days when I wish he would knock at the door and come back. But, then I remember that he said the marriage was over and that he was done. So, I have be strong and leave denial behind. I tell myself that I can CHOOSE to be DONE.

    I know NO details about the A or the OW. But, I want it that way. I learned from my first divorce (26 yrs ago) that the less I know, the less I hurt. Details can become self torture.

    I forced myself to talk to a lawyer three weeks after Dday. It was a good decision. Like a lot of cheaters, he wants to end the marriage, but hasn’t filed. My lawyer is filing this week. Although not my choice, getting a divorce will protect you a lot of ways. Believe it or not, talking to a lawyer will give you some peace of mind.

    Finally, GET HIM GONE, Get a Lawyer, Go Strict No Contact, Give Yourself lots of TLC, Get Strong, Get Help, Give Yourself a New Found Freedom!

    Hugs, prayers.

    (Me married 16 yrs, 69 years old)

  • I’m 8 months out and doing okay with that after being constantly suicidal. I wish I could help you by telling you how I did it, but I just don’t know. Even the ptsd symptoms are much better. It’s like I just decided enough was enough and that was it. How, I have no idea. I hope you get there, love.

  • There is no wake up call for a cheater, they don’t have the ability to feel or have compassion about anyone other than themselves. We get sad and depressed about the situation because we have and express those feelings they lack. Once you realize you are projecting your capacity for feelings and love on to them, you will begin to heal. I may feel depressed and feel a lot of pain but I know I will love again. You just can’t fix something that isn’t there to begin with. This is what their reality is…
    Disordered people can only objectify people in to things of value. They know you have worth but are unable to feel the range of feelings that normal people feel when they are in a relationship to form a proper attachment. They are also unable to relate to the feelings you have, since they cannot experience this for themselves. That is why they seemed annoyed when you are crying about how they hurt you. Their form of attachment is based on jealousy (you are an object) not love. They would freak out if you wanted to sleep with someone else (they want sole possession of their objects), which is also a primary motivation for them to lie about their intentions. They don’t want to lose their object (let the gas lighting begin), even though they may display happiness for the object they collected. They will never be satisfied or appreciate an object(you), that is why you only see emotion when they are about to lose an object. Once they know they lost, they no longer have to pretend with you.

  • Acceptance for me was coming to terms with this: “Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.”

    It hurt like hell and still does one year out, but even at a snail’s pace and even when I hit incredible lows, I still know the truth will set me free.

  • amazingly the pain does get less. im 2 years out And Don’t feel pain Per se. I still get nostalgic for what I thought we had . I just had a New granddaughter born and Fuckwit was there. And it just made me angry that he blew up my family and this wasn’t a cohesive celebratory event. He was there and it just still taints the occasion. it makes me angry and sad . so I look forward to the day when I feel absolutely nothing But I don’t know when that’ll be . but for now I just am happy That I’m not with somebody who is so cruel . Hugs to you. hang in there. Better day is coming

  • Garage Chump here too. He pulled me in there while I had my friend there helping me clean. I have a loud voice for a rather small frame when I am outraged and he wanted to protect my friend from hearing me. I kicked him out then and there when he admitted what he’d done.

    He wanted a ‘separation’, whatever that was, blah blah, but I couldn’t wait for his ugly presence to get out of my home. An hour later, I found a pair of black (worn) lace panties in his blankets. Game over . (Physical Proof – finally)

    A week later later, while he was living in our motorhome an hour away, I served him with D. papers.
    He was shocked – shocked, I tell ya.


  • Eyesopened – I’m so sorry for what you have been put through. I’ve been shocked to read it. I’m a Counsellor, and my training does not qualify me to diagnose autism, ADHD or anything like that. I cannot see how the counsellor you saw was qualified to do that either. If the counsellor thought you may have a particular condition he/she should have referred you to a specialist for proper diagnosis. Your counsellors amateur diagnosis was probably the last thing you needed at a time like that.

  • I don’t hate him, I understand he is a damaged soul with the emotional level of 4 years old to a pre teen.

    But there is no two ways that the marriage (25 years) ended when I got tired of constantly giving (actually I was on my knees) and emotionally and reactively demanded that my emotional needs got met as well, ie he must change.

    The End.

    This is how all relationships with narcissists end. The moment reciprocity is demanded is the moment the one way giving stops and they reject before they are rejected. That is the cue for OW (better, shinier attention!). He literally said to her “I do not love my wife any more, she does not care about me’.

    There is no use being indignant or upset. This is who they are. They will not give, because THEY CANNOT give.

    Chump Lady is right, impose boundaries, get away from the abuse, learn about the ‘covert contract’ (our huge Chumpy failing), live your life, fix your picker and maybe someone who does understand reciprocity will cross your path.

  • Yep, the garage was where my ex asked if there was anything he could do to earn my respect back as I was moving some furniture out in preparation for my departure. Let’s see… the nearly hundreds of men you fucked over the past 6 years, the men you brought into our bedroom while I was at work, the trips you took with your “soulmate” the three “chances” I gave you, all of which you yes’d me to death then as soon as I turned my back you were back hooking up with random men, or making plans with “the love of your life” (which one honey, there were at least 3 at one time if I recall?). Trust me, there is nothing to earn back. I absolutely want to KICK MYSELF for the time I wasted with you. I hate how weak I was, groveling for your attention, trying to work things out. Trying to be “nice” and “accommodating” during our divorce. You suck and you will always suck. Sucky McSuckerston. Therapist and a lawyer. Take control of your life, please.

  • “You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. Especially after they just GUTTED you. Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.”
    I love this and have read this post several times already… Thanks CL!

  • Not going to lie, the pain of being betrayed and abandoned by someone who I loved and thought loved me and was connected, is the worst pain of my life. Heartbreak is physical.

    25 years pretty much half our lives and all that we did, worked and achieved together, the safety of our children, less significant or important than shiny and new.

    I pretty much cried for 10 years.

    Grief really hurts but you do get there in the end.

  • I can relate so deeply with this. I feel like I’m undeserving of the pain since we were only together for two years and not even married (although engaged and lived together). A part of me has no choice but to blame myself since I keep going back. Even when he DOESN’T initiate the remorse. I’ve gotten so low where I’ve begged HIM to take ME back. Just for more indiscretions to happen. It’s gut wrenching and I just want meh.

    • I can understand. I work with him and spend 40 hours a week working two desks from him. We dated 5plus years and haven’t had sex in 2.5 years. He wouldn’t come around my parents or kids (I am a single mom). He lied and cheated on me several times that I know of. He hoovered back after I tried to cut ties several times. This last time I was all hoped up on the hopium and now it is ten days since he has spoken to me. I am once again devastated. I don’t understand any of this. I want meh.

      • Yes where is this elusive meh I hear of? I would sell my soul for it at this point.

  • Cheaters are the worst kind of criminals. Very rarely are they held accountable aside from losing assets, paying child support or alimony. No jail or real comeuppance. I’m sick of waiting on that elusive “karma”. What happened to stoning?

  • My ex tried to bully me with something ridiculous. When I pointed out how ridiculous he sounded he said I need to get over the fact he left because I wasn’t good enough for him Anymore. It just made me laugh. Not good enough for a cheater? Well, I’ll take that as a compliment. I told him our values are too far apart – we were no good for each other. I told him I hope he’s happy’ by now being with someone with the same values as him.
    He deserves it.
    I almost said he deserves everything he gets.
    But I settled on, ‘he deserves it.’
    So nice to be free. He left 3 years ago. Divorce final 10 months. Our daughter suffers with his weirdness and that’s hard to watch. I gave her a sociopath for a dad. That’s still hard for me.

    Ex goes camping with the Switzerland friends. He can have them. They’re all of the same mind set.

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