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Dear Chump Lady, I feel like she traded up

Avoid feelings of paralysisDear Chump Lady,

I’m a multiple D-Day chump. Like many of us chumps I regularly engaged in the pick-me dance for my cake eater—talk about degrading. I’m approximately four months out from the last D-Day and it’s been two months since filing for divorce. I’ve been going to therapy and ingesting anti-depressant pills for the last six months, which has helped curb the paralyzing depression. Some days I’m hopeful for the future.

That said, I can’t seem to shake the idea that my cake eater traded up. Dredging this through my brain is cruel and unusual. Why do I insist on torturing myself? Let me tell you about my situation.

I’ve been married to my wife for twelve years and we have two boys (age 8 and 7). They are the love of my life and I’m completely devoted to raising them. For the first eleven years of our marriage, I was unaware that our relationship had soured. In fact, I thought life was great. My wife and I, or so I thought, were best friends. We regularly went on date nights and had lots of fun laughing and socializing. We had a great sex life. We shared equally our parenting and household duties. Life was busy, but I thought we were doing fantastic handling the responsibility of raising two little people and both working full-time. My soon to be ex, is a physician, and I too have a good job. In short, we had a nice family, good jobs and lots of love. I was content and had hope for the future.

Not so fast…in walks the affair partner. A sexed up geriatric limp dick who intended to steal my wife and raise my boys. WTF! He too is a physician and is quite successful in the medical academic world — just like my wife. They met at a medical conference last year, and have been lovers/soul mates ever since. He is 18 years older than the cake eater, and 16 older than me. He lives in a neighboring state but somehow they find the time to regularly see each other (while I’m raising our boys she’s out screwing gramps). His wife is divorcing him. Evidently, the soon to be ex and the AP are planning on getting married. The thought of this ass-hat raising my little men is excruciating painful.

For whatever reason, I regularly compare myself to the AP. I admit, on paper he looks quite a bit better. As far as I can tell, he is a charmer and is well liked by many in the medical community. He has enjoyed tremendous success, is in great physical shape, and apparently is extraordinarily fun to be around. One of his colleagues recently told me he was a good person and very humble considering all of his success.

Taking a hard look at myself, I don’t feel like I stack up at all. He appears way above average in many respects, and I’m just average on most. While I want nothing to do with the ole’ cake eater, I can’t stop comparing myself and thinking that I was just a stepping stone to something better. Obsessing over the AP and coupled with all her mindfuckery, my sense of self has been destroyed. I have been completely emasculated. I feel like I’ve been taken out with the trash.

In sum, when these two jackasses aren’t mindfucking me, I’m more than happy to jump in and mindfuck myself. Please help me stop this mental bullshit! I want to move on with my life.


Average Joe

Dear Joe,

They Never Trade Up. That basic rule of infidelity physics is explained here as The Lola Doctrine.

Dredging this through my brain is cruel and unusual. Why do I insist on torturing myself?

It’s a coping mechanism. Your brain is trying to figure out WHY — what does he have that I don’t have? And identify all the landmines on this particular road to hell, so you never set that tripwire again. So you replay this shit over, and over, and over again. It puts all your focus on the cheaters, and off yourself. (Which is coincidentally the way Entitled People enjoy the world, with centrality, and you’re an afterthought. So, improve yourself. That will be $399, made payable to the Reconciliation Industrial Complex.)

Every chump tries to Untangle the Skein of Fuckupedness, but it’s a waste of time. Instead ask yourself — do I want someone like this in my life?

Why are you seeing the world through your ex-wife’s and Dr. Douchebag’s value system? Who is JOE? What does HE value?

By my standards, you’re the much better man — you love your kids, you’re capable of deep intimacy and abiding commitment, you’ve got a good job, and all those things satisfied you. You’re solid.

Compared to Schmoopie values, what do they have? A shallow pool of piss.

Consider their world view for a moment — we’re all trading stock (buy low! sell high!). The numbers go up and down — gained ten pounds (down!), got a promotion (rallies!), got cancer (plunges!) — life feels pretty shitty. It’s a never-ending pick me dance. The whole point of a commitment is to have a solid partner to weather life’s stock fluctuations with. Love should go beyond how the market is trading that day.

I’m not saying you can’t leave a relationship. Commitments can be broken ethically. But I argue the standards should be pretty high for doing so (infidelity, addiction, untreated mental illness). The fact that your ex-wife could disengage so easily from a GOOD life with a GOOD partner? She’s not your people. She’s shallow piss pool people.

They met at a medical conference last year,

I guarantee you, this is not Dr. Douchebag’s first out-of-town conference soul mate.

He is 18 years older than the cake eater.

Two shallow people, I’m sure he’ll love raising future teenagers and she’ll be thrilled with dementia care.

His wife is divorcing him.

I guarantee you, this is not Dr. Douchebag’s first out-of-town conference soul mate.

As far as I can tell, he is a charmer and is well liked by many in the medical community.

You really have no idea how well-liked he is. There’s impression management and social media — and then there are the people who actually know him. In any case, he might be Jonas Salk, but he just left his wife for a much younger woman. Back in the day, people looked askance at that sort of thing. But maybe they found a cure for social opprobrium and were all inoculated.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of him. This is JOE’s world and JOE’s values — and I would hope I solid guy like Joe sees that Dr. Soulmate is a walking colostomy bag.

He has enjoyed tremendous success, is in great physical shape, and apparently is extraordinarily fun to be around.

He’s one sexual harassment lawsuit away from ruin, his dick is limp, and people glaze over when he discusses cholesterol.

I don’t know these things for a fact. (Just a hunch based on hundreds of thousands of Schmoopies that appear on this blog.) But I know this as much as you know he’s fabulous. (Probably self-reported from your ex.)

Let’s say it’s unknowable and completely irrelevant. Idi Amin had a lovely singing voice. And Hitler was fond of parakeets. No one is all bad. They’re just bad in ways that matter.

I was just a stepping stone to something better.

To her, maybe you were. Again, she’s not your tribe. You wanted a spouse, she wanted a stepping stone. You were never compatible. It could well be she was YOUR stepping stone to something much better — a future partner who values you.

(That was my story. Of course, I didn’t know it four months out from D-Day and neither will you.)

I feel like I’ve been taken out with the trash.

One fuckwit’s trash is a sane person’s treasure. Just because she couldn’t see your obvious worth doesn’t mean you don’t have value. People throw out treasures all the time! Where would Antiques Roadshow be without cases of mistaken garbage?

Here’s an example from my life — my husband’s ex cheated on him with a TROLL PRIEST she met on World of Warcraft. Please enjoy the comic gold that is TROLL PRIEST. The choices here were: loving, kind, sexy, super-educated, whip-smart, civil rights lawyer and TROLL PRIEST.

She married the troll priest.

Your ex may marry a walking colostomy bag. Doesn’t change your true value one bit. Rock your new life and be the sane parent to your two boys. Some day the Schmoopies will be a punchline. You were NEVER the joke.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dude, one of the former executive directors of my place of employment was a charming (also a physician, actually) social butterfly and sparkling academic. He also ran our institution into the ground through neglect and misplaced trust in a predatory assistant (because he was lazy and basically didn’t think we were prestigious enough to justify his attention). He undid *decades* of hard work, tanked our reputation, and put us in financial straits. So I guess you could say we were chumped as a collective workplace.

    Charm and academic success definitely do not indicate character. I’m tempted to say they mostly indicate ego, but I don’t have a formal study on that. Like guys with ripped bodies: Maybe that’s hot, but definitely it means he spends a lot of time on himself at the gym.

  • She’s shallow. You’re solid.
    She didn’t trade up because YOU are the man of good character and integrity.

    • Exactly!…. Dear Average Joe

      Focus on what Chump Lady and Chikadee said.

      I was in your boat for a very long time dwelling over how happy my Ex wife is, at the destruction of my own life.

      When I finally woke up and realized I don’t want my ex wife’s severely flawed character in my life. I started rebuilding my life and surrounded myself with people of character and integrity. I had to do some pruning along the way. Not only of others, but some self improvement of myself as well.

      As the journey progressed I realized my Ex Wife didn’t trade up at all. She is living a destructive path and I’m enjoying the life that matches my value system and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      Stay the course, overtime your life will be a very large focus and your ex wife will become very very small….but it takes time!

      • Joe, it’s so easy to feel this way! I’m 3.5 years past d-day and almost 2 years divorced and I still go to that place way more than I should (my ex-husband of 20 years left me for a gorgeous woman half our age). I’ve been raising our teenagers alone while he’s off with his girlfriend and barely checks in with the kids.

        All I can say is that I hope I can meet a man like you some day. Someone who loves deeply and enjoys the journey through life with his family. I’m an academic physician, and I have no interest in all the bloated charming egos this field attracts. (My ex is in the Silicon Valley ego world). You are the catch, Joe. Don’t sell yourself short because she did.

        • Same amount of time as you , my ex had been through a few guys since, all of whom my. Kids first impressions are they ‘ have big houses’ and ‘ buy stuff’ . I provided a lot better when we first got together then trying to get my own thing going we had some rough years and then all of a sudden I had a wife who had been ‘miserable’ for years out of nowhere once an affair already happened.
          Point is I still sometimes go ther too when kid comes back and tells me moms newest ‘friend’ did this or that.
          I think for me anyhow it’s a hope that this person who did me so rotten with no remorse or any apparent feeling should be “better off” without us. Cruel hand of fate that they are so evil to you then go and win the ‘ lottery ‘. It does make you question your self worth but in the long run they’re still shorty miserable people who use people until they’re no longer useful. Like I said my ex is 3 or 4 guys in since leaving 3 years ago . It’s sad and obvious

        • “Don’t sell yourself short because she did.”

          Best one line of advice you can get for your situation Joe. You have to train yourself to stop thinking of them and think of you instead. Create project for yourself and every time you find yourself thinking of them do something on your project.

          For me it was lists. I made lists for things I wanted to do, places I wanted to go , skills I wanted too learn and traits I wanted to exhibit. Every time I thought about Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore I worked on a list, until I moved on to doing things from the list like visit that park a state away or learn to faux finish and old piece of furniture. It helped me put the emphasis on where it needed to be, me. Doing those things I never would have before also gave me self-efficacy and as I started to believe I could do things I started to believe I could do the biggest thing of all….gain a life. And, I did.

        • Joe,
          “Don’t sell yourself short because she did”

          That is it in a nutshell. We all did it. We get it… I dissected photos of my Ex husband’s disco stick. It made zero sense to everyone…
          So in the opposite of what you are thinking…This Incredible Dr. LimpDick is “better” than you…I was comparing myself to a woman who lived in the projects of Chicago and was on welfare… Not that there is anything wrong with that..
          But we owned a 71 acre farm, we had a grass fed beef business and I owned my own hair salon… we as a couple were successful. So why go dumpster diving in the projects on an out of town business trip?? BECAUSE HE COULD. HE DID. And it was about her stroking his EGO.
          Nothing to do with me…our success…our kids.

          Average Joe…I would have one of you over the Incredible Dr. LimpDick and his accolades. Remember…he is fucking over his wife…his kids and they aren’t thinking how he upgraded with your wife.

          It gets better. I swear it doesn’t feel like it will…but it does.

  • You’ve lived through multiple D-days? Your ex is a real loser!.

    Betrayal is a gift that keeps on giving. Now you will have to share your kids with another man. This will be more of a challenge than the betrayal was. But it can be done. Hold your head up. Focus on making a good life.

    I can forsee your kids coming to live with you full time when they are a bit older. IF you do not succumb to bitterness and self doubt. There will be good days and bad days. But eventually more and more good days.

    You wanted an intact family. You fought for it. You can be proud of that. But now it’s a new life and you have to look ahead.

    I am glad you found Chump Lady, it’s a priceless resource for chumps.

  • Joe, on the face of it my ex traded up. Well the latest one anyway. She is younger, prettier, slimmer than me and seems to love doing all the things he likes. BUT at my son’s wedding 2 years ago son number 2 said she was a nag and kept him on a short leash. Son number 2 and gf invited the Twat and the Skank over for dinner and they ended up in a cat fight because the Skank knew how to do everything better than son number 2’s gf (she didn’t). She was also living with my husband less than 4 months after her second husband died. Call that grief!!!!! And if she’s so great why is he still hoovering me almost 10 years later! You sound like a great guy who has been hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Don’t believe their BS!

  • Hi Joe! I was in your shoes Mother’s Day Eve 2015, my D-Day. The Worm (Ex) told me his Pookie was wonderful. She had a great job, made twice as much money as I did, was ten years younger and “she found him fascinating”.
    Fast forward to September of 2018. I remarried a wonderful man….guess who wrote me an detailed e-mail about how he pined for the “river of happy memories”. He had the nerve to tell me he hopes “the new man in my life” appreciates what he has in me.
    What’s my point? These losers spend their time looking over the fence. They will never be happy because their happiness is not internal. It’s always over there, with that shiny new toy.
    Someday when you are out of her life, she will circle back. But you, Joe aren’t going to care. You are a human being, not part of her toy collection!

    • “These losers spend their time looking over the fence. They will never be happy because their happiness is not internal. It’s always over there, with that shiny new toy.”

      Love this! Such a perfect description of what drives them.

      • Truer words were never spoken. That’s the Dickhead. I even told him – you have a good job, two healthy young adults, a nice home, money to do your hobbies, a new truck you always wanted, gone on out-of-state hunts and the love of your wife – yet, all you can look at is what you don’t have. Be careful what you wish for.

        • I thought mine would be happy when I let him cash in the term life insurance policy to buy the airplane he always wanted. That “:happy” lasted about 2 months before it wore off.

          • Chumpinrecovery, I’ve noticed it’s a pattern, “hobbies” were always short lived, ex would get excited about his new hobby, usually something someone had told him about at work (never original).
            Camping, hiking, remote airplanes, playing harmonica(to name a few). In the beginning he’d be so excited, it would be all he’d talk about, buy expensive accessories and equipment, even books on his new hobby. Then ihe’d lose interest and the topic would fizzle out. I had a garage full of things for his many hobbies that fizzled out and lost interest in.. They enjoy the excitement of something new but once they find out it takes effort and some work they get bored and move on to something different.

            • Mine, too. Admittedly the interest in the guitar was always there but does anybody need 10 – and always the most expensive ones? I see on FB (yeah I still stalk him ‘cos I find it funny), they were in a guitar shop recently so I guess he’s buying more. Then there was the fishing, the rods, the “magic” stuff that would make him a great fisherman etc. That didn’t last too long. The woodwork equipment. Then joining a gym (went only once but paid for a year because he thought everyone was laughing at his skinny body – they probably were). All this is well and good but the amount of money he spent was unbelievable. We made good money but he went through it like a dose of salts! Glad he’s no longer spending my bank account dry any more!

              • Attie, ex’s AP is a triathlete,a body builder, an attorney, and a professor at a local college. He trained to become a triathlete with her. He traveled to different states and hired triathlete coaches for running, cycling and swimming util he qualified. He would only have the best bikes, (more than one) had cycling ensembles, every accessory.
                I’ll never come close to being a triathlete, I sacrificed my career so he could advance in his, ex insisted I be a stay at home Mom for 20 years.
                My degree is useless.
                I thought I was married to my best friend, which is what he’d tell until one day I wasn’t. He came home from a business trip and told me about this woman he met at the hotel gym. I remember thinking to myself, why is he telling me this. That day was the beginning of the end.

            • It’s like your ex and mine are one in the same. Always having new hobbies (brewing beer, learning the guitar, hiking, camping, wood working) you name it. I called him out on the fact he was an unsettled soul and nothing was going to make him happy in life. His reply back to me was I was not supportive of his “dreams” and a Debbie Downer. Funny since he went behind my back and spent thousands on all his “hobbies”. One hobby being smoking weed. In three years he took over $7000 in cash out of the ATM. The best hobby was screwing his co-worker and stifling money from our joint account to his and his whores joint account.
              Here is how I look at it now that we are a little over a year post DDay. My ex did not trade up. She is 7 years older than my ex and myself, divorced twice, 3 kids (22, 19 and 11), and engaged a third time which I’m positive she was cheating on him with my now ex. She constantly posts on Facebook their trips together and I recently found out they bought a home together, both on the Deed, only 4 months after our divorce. I can only imagine the shit storm in that home. I would love to be a fly on the wall but I am now getting to the point of meh. The icing on the cake is the fact they bought a home exactly next door to her mother!!! There is so much more to my story that in fact it could be a Lifetime movie, but I don’t want to leave to long a reply. Best to all us CHUMPS out here. I know only good will come our way and we were saved from horrible people who will never be happy and satisfied in their miserable lives.

            • Constant new hobbies are usually mirroring. As I looked back at Narkles the Clown and his constant new hobbies it occurred to me that he was mirroring a new target, the same way he mirrored me.

              Oh, the hobbies when I look back are amusing….running, tennis, motor boating, skiing, wine tasting, snow boarding, gardening, and so many more but my person favorite when I look back was ear candling! Seriously, WTF?

              I am nearly 4 years from D-Day and sometimes I can laugh at stuff. I have great amusement as I think of him mirroring someone with “yeah, I love ear candling too!” as a pick up line.

              • Yes, Alloutofkibble, absolutely mirroring, ex and his first AP Target-
                ex never wore white clothing, or any light colored clothing, he didn’t like that white was hard to keep clean. Ex didn’t like visors, particularly white visors, he’d laugh at men who wore them.
                AP wore white gym clothes always with a white visor. Guess who suddenly started wearing white and white visors?

                Ex began a relationship with a married women while in a relationship with his AP. He and the AP broke up, while ex and the married women were stealing romantic moments finding marathons in other states to get away from her husband. (What a tangled web we weave).
                Married woman divorced and within a month of her divorce they got married.
                Cheaters are restless souls, incapable of mature love. They enjoy the excitement of infatuation. Eventually infatuation fades and the adoration fizzles out and just like their hobbies.

      • “They will never be happy because their happiness is not internal. It’s always over there, with that shiny new toy.”

        I’ve re-read this 10 times because it lands so deeply. Thank you!

        Same over here, Average Joe. I also thought we were rocking the married with kids, happy life thing. Ha! What I learned is that not only were we NOT, he is also NOT my people. Not remotely close. I’m 3 years out and better every day. You’ll get there.

        • Thought we were living the good life. 37 years married, a beautiful daughter ( homecoming queen, class president) attending her 2nd year of graduate school at the Citadel, 2 puppies that I thought we both loved and one Saturday evening I walked in on him texting a howorker. Best thing I ever did was kick him out of my life the next day. He’s now got a twice married, cheating plain as Jane howorker who looks like a man, has accomplished very little in her life at 43,and never had and never will have children. He has lost my family (the only family he really ever had) and has to live with the fact that he is now a 62 year old has been with balding grey hair. I have a successful practice and at 60 could probably still model for Playboy. These people will never be satisified, always searching for the next best thing and lowering their standard’s and taking us down along the way. The best thing you can do is get them out of your life!!!!!!!!

        • “They will never be happy because their happiness is not internal. It’s always over there, with that shiny new toy.”

          This part of the thread has some awesome answers. This is one of them.
          Brit and Attie – you nailed this on the head.
          MY garage (since I cleaned it) 6 stalls worth, were full of past, bored hobbies.
          Boxes everywhere, skis, rifles (he never hunted), golf bags full of the best, new, expensive clubs and balls (he played 6 times)..the list goes on and on…And, in the end, I realized he had NO hobby. So, I guess that’s why he thought he needed a chick.

          When I kicked him out, he left it ALL for ME to clean out. He just said, get rid of it all. pfft – asshole.

    • They spend all their time looking over the fence and never accept that the grass is greener WHERE YOU WATER IT- that if they had put half as much effort into their spouses and their families, as they do with their schmoopies. . . . well life would be different.

      • Yeah, they needed to lean IN and not opt OUT. So true. I even told him that. If he had appreciated what he had instead of complain about what he thought he didn’t have, things would be so different. He had it all but he threw it all away…Adele song paraphrased.

    • “You’re a human being, not part of her toy collection.”

      Love this!!!

      JOE, my ex traded down, but it still hurts like hell. I had the same marriage you described, great 12-year marriage, good jobs, a cute kid, money, sex, laughters…I thought we’re happy. Until he said “You suck my blood and leave me bone dried. Sex with you is like doing it with a cold corpse. You’re a martyr and obsess with raising our daughter.” So, he gave me the “choose me or our daughter” ultimatum, which was the mindfuckery for me at the time. I kicked the whole “Sorry, darling, I will be a better wife for you” dance in the highest gear. Then, I found out about that cheap, new, shiny toy was around for at least a year behind my back.

      These people are not worth our loves. I was his yesterday’s trash and he moved in with her right away. I’m a broken toy that he just tossed and now he has a new toy. That’s it. The hardest thing is to accept that you’re not special (like what they told you during love bombing) and just an “object” in their view. You’re sincere, so your marriage is real. But, it was just a script to your wife and she’s rewriting it to edit you out. I’m sorry. I know how hurtful it is. Hugs.

      • Banana-Anna (Danna-couldn’t resist) – love your name.

        I was trash right out of the shoot so I understand this mindfuckery.
        X told me daily – Love ya, Hun.
        Me back.

        We ate together every night, CBC (childless by choice), enjoyed the same sports, worked out together, loved the big-breed dogs we had, good, healthy extended family life with close families…..for almost 40 years.

        One day, this ‘gentle’ man, never hitting me with a below the belt comment (nor I, him) nor raising his voice and was just cool and calm all the time. Then he just announced he had never loved me. ok, shock so I didn’t say anything and we went to breakfast. It didn’t sink in and I my mind couldn’t handle it. Then he said, he did not love me. And, furthermore, he was NEVER romantically attracted to me, 2 days later.

        I’m proud I never shed a tear – but talk about limbo for the next 4 months we were together. I had no idea what to do. C/L, C/N…of course. I filed immediately shocking him (shocked I tell ya!) and that was that. Talk about wiping out an entire history with some very very hurtful words that I will never get out of my head. Why do that to somebody who loves you with all her heart?

        • Shechump,
          Yes, “Why do that to somebody who loves you wth all her heart?”
          Sometimes trusting that they suck is just never enough.
          Bigbig hugs to you and the Great Danes!

    • A girlfriend wrote the same thing, i.e., they’re never satisfied with what they have. Instead of a new toy, she described it as a new car. With her analogy, I finally understood what happened. We had 26 years of what I thought was a good marriage with plenty of sex. I just didn’t know he was having sex on the side for 11 years with his skank. Really!? The only thing that can describe that behavior is sociopathic. Who does that for 11 years?! When I was untangling my skein, my girlfriend’s analogy helped me come to the realization that he ‘loved’ how I made him feel about himself…, like a brand new shiny car that he’s thrilled with at first, smiling every time he drives it, polishing it, and talking about it as he’s showing it off. (He had 9 new cars in the last 15 years of our marriage.) As long as I (or that brand new shiny car, etc.) continued to perform the function of making him feel good about himself, then he would continue to ‘love’. His focus would continue to be on me. However, when I finally started to call him out on his shenanigans, I guess I was just too much of a Debbie Downer. He no longer felt great about himself around me and so, in his mind, the problem was obviously me. He also had two expensive bikes that he never rode, two sets of very expensive golf clubs (he does play golf because it’s prestigious to play), he always had the newest computer (because they were faster — for doing word processing and excel spreadsheets), but I refused to let him trade in our RV trailer for a new motorhome. I told him that when we start using the paid-off trailer much more often, then I’ll consider the motorhome. However, after our divorce, he SHOWED me. He traded in our RV trailer (that he would hardly ever take me out in) for a $160K Mercedes Sprinter (motorhome). My son says that it’s used mostly for convenience. I’m glad I’m not paying that bill! And he bought a timeshare in Mexico so he and his skank can go to the beach. A timeshare is not a good investment (to say the least.) I’m still driving my 9-year-old car that works just fine, and I am no longer financing his latest toy!

      • Wow, we got the RV and new car business too. He was drunk one lunchtime (every lunchtime actually) and went out and ordered himself a $60,000 car – yeah, reeking of booze but they took the order anyway. When we got divorced my car was valued “generously” at $1,000! And we had a camper that we used quite a bit but that wasn’t good enough for him. He got “custody” of it in the divorce and then went out and bought a brand new one because he was gonna go fishing every day now he was retired (and twang away on the above-mentioned guitars no doubt). I don’t think he ever went out in the new one but at least we were divorced by then so he had to pay for it.

    • “They will never be happy because their happiness is not internal. It’s always over there, with that shiny new toy.”

      SO true, Wormfree! It really speaks to their character – or rather, lack thereof.

      Like 2 year olds in adult bodies.

    • This is exactly right. My Ex is never happy with what he has; always thinks the grass is greener; wants what other people have. It’s a hard was to live knowing you or the family you built will never be enough. He is remarried and has been for a while but I know from his family that he is still doing the same thing. Trading vehicles, buying motorcycles then trading that, and on and on. His wife is the Marriage Police Captain and still, after all this time is very jealous of me, even though I have not been in contact with him for years. She can have that life, I don’t want it. Even though I am alone and have been for a very long time, I wouldn’t trade it for the life they have. It’s just not worth it. He is never going to be happy or satisfied and she will always be watching him and tracking him.

  • Dear Average Joe… we believe what we think so the first thing I encourage you to do is change the way you think (and see) about yourself. From your writing, here is who I see:

    – Works full-time
    – Father to two young boys (committed to raising them up in to good men)
    – Faithful husband
    – Helpful around the house
    – Thoughtful enough to remember to have date nights and a sex life
    – Introspective
    – Self caring

    This is my list and I don’t even really know you… but you think she traded up? C’mon… lets just put that thought back in its proper place (the garbage).

    You are “losing” a CHEATING SPOUSE. She is “gaining” a GERIATRIC CHEATING SPOUSE

    You need to talk to a lawyer about limiting her ability to move/leave the state with the boys… go all in for Primary Custody or 50/50. Make grandpa have to give up his practice and move for his “twu luv”.

    Your boys are in the cute ages right now… I’m heading in to the teens with my son and I can tell you… Grandpa isn’t going to find them as cute in a few years and as you know… raising children is a full-time job. I give their marriage (aka impression management) 0% of surviving… cheaters cheat… it is what they do.

    So please, keep your chin up. You want to raise good men – be one. Walk tall knowing you are a good man (see list above). Make sure they know every day you love them and you will show up and be there for him. Don’t give up one inch.

    I know this sucks… but remember… you don’t. And this will pass… and you will have a cheater free life and be able to raise your boys your way.

    • Oh Average Joe. I’m not saying that you should track down and talk to the OM’s rejected spouse, but I am sure that if you did she would have plenty to tell you about how all that glitters is not gold.

      Do you think that his wife is lamenting that she lost the greatest man on earth? No, she’s likely devastated because she’s been cheated on. And, CL is right that there is no way your wife was his first medical conference true love. His wife might also be fed up and relieved to finally do away with him as he’s a terrible husband (and probably terrible father).

      Given his age, his kids are likely grown and his wife no longer served purpose. She probably supported him on the home-front all those years so that he was free to pursue his professional “greatness” with “humility”. Now that she’s done, she’s being traded in for another appliance, your wife.

      Your wife has her own agenda for her life that doesn’t include a normal, stable, loving ethical family life. Nope, she’s taken by whatever kool-aid this guy has to offer, maybe promises of shared research opportunities, sharing a clinic together, greater contacts, exciting future conferences. She’s convinced herself that this new “exciting” life is also going to be of benefit for the kids in some way.

      There is something incredibly lacking in an adult’s emotional quotient when they just “wake up one day and realize this is not the life they wanted,” which seems to be the MO of every cheater. Did they not really know what they were signing up for in life when they chose to get married and have kids? Apparently not. Why? Because they are actually immature people. They may be IQ smart (or not), well-education (or not), financially successful (or not), but they are not emotionally or relationally mature. They really lack the skill to fully participate in deep meaningful, life-long relationships. They pretend, and they try for a number of years, until they give up and throw in the towel and blame you for it.

      That is not on you. Not at all.

    • I love everything about this response… I know it is hard when you are going through this shitstorm but there is sunlight on the other side, it just takes that 4 letter word that we all hate to hear, TIME!!!! I am 4 years out and there are still days I am hard on myself thinking he’s doing great with the TWAT, but he is not, it’s all a facade. I would never want or take him back because I know I am better off without him, I would however love for karma to rear her head any day now. It’s hard to not want to wish the worst for them but I know that that is not my job, let God and the universe take care of that. My job is to be the best mother I can be to our 2 children and to take care of myself and be the best version of me possible. If you must then fake it till you make it but never let them see you sweat. I truly believe those of us that have gone through this shitstorm have something bigger and better waiting up ahead. Best of luck and know that you are not along.

      • Better – for the 5 yrs I’ve been divorced, a man just walked into my life. Gosh – me who never wanted another!

        • You know, thinking of It now, that has been My experience too, but with women, some time later but always, every time.

          I will add, guys Really REALLY need a system, as much of more than women do. It is so tricky, like an evil ghost or bad politician, to pin down and reveal a narcissist early.

          I say, chump folk, who are just trying to live your lives in peace, if a person chooses You, it may be that your “decent humanitarian” aspects were detected by a narcissist. My joke is that it’s like they smell my blood on the wind.

          Look at anyone you are seeing, or seeing about seeing, with a critical eye. “IS that how things really are?” There are narcissism checklists and reveal techniques.

          I urge careful thought about your phrasing and methods, but if your gut says it may be worth it, even go as far as to accidentally ridicule them or something they like, in a harmless way. Something you can apologize to a normal person for.

          But, if They choose You, don’t stop squinting at and evaluating them for a year.

          Especially if they seem great and perfect for you! Love bombing!

          It’s past you, now, working to save future you!

  • On my Dday, Ex said that the OM was TEN times the man that I was and did everything she could to hurt and emasculate me.
    I finally realized that even if a relationship was over, anyone with a shred of decency would never do that !
    As time rolled by and the divorce was final and the glitter fell of the turd as it dried, it became apparent to everyone that she massively traded DOWN !
    I ended up meeting and marrying a fabulous woman and am very happy. My Ex is married to a dried up turd whose glitter fell off and he treats her like shit. I’m happy and she’s miserable and eventually it will be the same for you.

    • What a fantastic karmic beatdown. Love it! Congrats on getting a life, and a happy one. ???? I know that’s exactly what would have happened to my cheater if the horrid bitch he was obsessed with had ever left her husband for him. I’m actually sorry it didn’t happen, because I’d have enjoyed watching them destroy each other. Instead, I was treated like garbage for years as the bastard delusionally blamed *me* for the fact that he couldn’t have her. Her husband had more money so there was no way the little gold-digger would give that up just for all the attention and slavish devotion she got from some clueless, spineless wimp. He knew she had no intention of divorcing, but blaming me gave him an excuse for hatred and emotional abuse. I’d much rather he had just left and they had slithered off together to a hellish coexistence like your ex and her creep. It would have spared me many painful years.
      I love how you triumphed in the end. Your bitch ex must have massive regrets that she gave up a prince for prick.

    • Spot on UX. Every Chump does need to etch that into their brain.

      When I would tell IC that Schmoopie was younger (10 years), thinner, had advanced degrees from better schools, could run marathons, is a better match for XH etc.., IC would say: “So what, even Hitler loved his dogs! You’re not seeing that she’s amoral!”

      There were some key things about Schmoopie that I ignored: She broke up her first husband’s first marriage. They lasted about 2 years. She divorced him when he would only give her right of survivorship on his house. She also likes to flirt with married men at her job. One of their male co-workers said “She has a way.” She seems to switch jobs every 2-3 years. She helped XH destroy our 17 year marriage, they married and now at age 47, he’s a first time dad (he always said he didn’t want kids). She’s selfish, cruel, and, unstable.

      The interesting part of the story is never the cheaters though. It’s the Chump. I’ve gone further in the same industry with one degree, from a lesser school. Since cheater left, I’ve gotten the best raises and reviews. I rehabbed a knee injury and ran a half marathon. I’ve also joined a weight loss program and dropped weight. I’m healthy! I spent several years in therapy, fixing my picker. Turns out, I ignored many red-flags with him and had to focus on why I settled for so little. I’ve also learned about gratitude and the value of peace. I’ve become a better friend and family member. I purchased my own home – as “a single woman”. Some how, I manage to pay the bills and have been able to take 2 friends on some amazing trips: Australia, Vietnam, Bali, Shanghai, Hong Kong etc. I am loyal, generous, and stable. The schmoopie is usually never any of those.

      We seem to believe the cheater narrative – that the schmoopie must be better. Time will show that they aren’t better, but in fact, much lesser than the chump.

      • Reasons they are willing to cheat:

        1. They use up kibble supplies and need a new source. Not a better source. A new source.
        2. They can’t sustain the mask of normalcy any longer and the lovebombing of the Schmoopie keeps both of them from looking too deep.
        3. As they age, their fixation on surface appearance makes younger partners attractive, even if the person is toxic. It’s about how things Look, not what things are.

  • Joe. You sound like a catch and when you’ve taken time to heal, make sure your sons are weathering this transition as well as possible and fixed your picker, you will be AMAZED by how many wonderful women OF STERLING CHARACTER will want to date you. Trust this: the only person trading up will be YOU.

  • Joe, I totally feel the same way as you right now. AP was much thinner than me, looks like she would be wild in the bedroom. I thought we had a good life as well– both good jobs, a beautiful home, lots of friends. But I’ve started to realize that I was actually being treated like shit for a long time. More and more people are coming forward and telling me ways they observed him treating me poorly. Still, I do the same self-traumatizing behaviors of thinking about the AP constantly and comparing myself to her. I recently blocked her on all social media accounts and that has helped because I don’t obsessively look at her. Have you done that? Maybe try telling yourself you’ll only let your brain do the comparison game for a certain amount of time at a certain time everyday– and then keep reducing it. Know that you aren’t alone in your suffering. But hearing from folks further down the road from us– I have to keep hoping it’s going to get better. Rooting for you!

    • Shattetedbut surviving I also look back and and see ex didn’t really love me. I loved him dearly and thought we had a good life together. He had detached in the last four years but he made me believe he was depressed and I vowed to help him through it. After he left suddenly I found out he had been having an affair and leading a double life for those four years. Two years from D Day I now see him for who he really is. I am getting on with life and think of him less and less.

    • Friends also tell me they observed my ex treating me badly. I wonder if he treats her the same. He says he is happy now… It’s brutally painful.

      • He’s happy because he feels he no longer has a responsibility to care, to support and cherish you. I know it hurts, but look at it from this vantage point: he’s not so much happy as relieved he doesn’t have to examine himself and recognise what a twat he is for treating you badly. He’s happy like a kid whose teacher believes the dog ate his homework. His ‘happy’ is sheer selfishness. He will probably end up treating her the same when the sparkle wears off because that’s his character, but just remember that he is ‘happy’ because his cruel treatment of you and his cheating has resulted in him getting what he wanted. Love to you Surviving! X

  • This letter could have been written by my OW’s ex-husband. She definitely treated her own husband and family as a stepping stone towards something better (my husband).
    I am really looking forward to her rude awakening when the sparkle falls off and he reveals his ugly side.

  • Joe, it’s not automatic that your sons will live with their mother. If you have spend time with them, are active in their everyday care, have a schedule that can accommodate unforeseen circumstances and provide them with a stable home, you can be the parent with physical custody. Do not sell yourself short!!!

    When comparing yourself to the OM, it’s apples to oranges. You are a devoted husband and he’s cheater…end of story. There’s no trading up. IMO, his lack of character negates any success or whatever ‘good guy’ he may be.

    I hope you have a kick-ass lawyer and possibly one with custody experience. If you want your boys with you, concentrate on them.

  • Joe,
    I also “guarantee you, this is not Dr. Douchebag’s first out-of-town conference soul mate.”

    Many people “like” people who are in power. As soon as the tide changes all their flaws are discussed with great enthusiasm and righteousness. And then you can expect lots of juicy (sad, actually) stories and gossip about the “well liked” academic.

    Thank goodness you are rid of this cheater and your young boys will have a better example growing up.

  • Hi Joe–I feel for you. I tortured myself with these thoughts when D-Day happened to me, too. Was this other woman everything I am not? Am I really hard to live with or something, and he finally found a good woman who would rescue him from me?

    I think we chumps are always willing to listen to advice and improve ourselves…sometimes to a fault. Please trust me when I tell you that you have no improving to do. You are perfect just as you are, and I don’t even know you…but I know you have integrity, and you value your commitments and family. That is pure GOLD. Your ex is the one with screwed up values, and so is Grandpa. They are scum. My ex and his “whore wife” (to steal a term from the legendary Frank Reynolds of IASIP)…are also scum.

    Ex’s whore wife is younger than me and very outdoorsy and well traveled. She is also chronically unemployed, knew he was married when they met, lives with Mommy and Daddy (or did before marrying Ex), and has stumpy legs. But you know what? None of that (good or bad) matters in MY world. They don’t even register, because my world is filled with caring, intelligent, moral and ethical individuals. If my world were an exclusive club, ex and whore wife would be the drunks sleeping it off on the trash pile outside.

    Your ex FOR SURE traded down, and so did mine. Best of luck to them while they slowly and painfully discover it.

    • This right here is a golden nugget of wisdom: “If my world were an exclusive club, ex and whore wife would be the drunks sleeping it off on the trash pile outside.”

      They never trade up.

  • Joe –
    I was in your shoes. We all were. And everyone here will post that you got the good stuff. You did. Start promising yourself that you did. Turn the conversation. And in time, you’ll not only believe it, you’ll see proof.

    I downloaded CL’s book and put it on heavy rotation on my iPhone. I came here regularly. I trusted my heart; the one that was giving me panic attacks, the real me that was lost to the dancing me.

    You are now in battle mode, get through that and in time, you will see that you are the victorious one.

    I promise.

  • She traded up!? LOL! LOL! LOL! I don’t think Mr. Geriatric douche colostomy bag is going to be fun for long. And don’t think for one minute that your boys are ever going to want to call him Dad. I’ll bet they are going to resent Mr. Geriatric’s invasion of their lives even more than you do. That’s not going to make for fun times at Mom’s house. They are going to be so much happier when they are with you, the sane parent who puts them first instead of someone old enough to be their grandpa (if a young grandpa). You will be the winner in the end here. Focus on them and take pride in being their Dad. Show them you love them and will always be there for them. Plan some fun trips and events for the three of you so that they know you can still have fun when Mom isn’t around. This will benefit you too because it will distract you from thinking about the two loser schmoopies. I hope you are talking to a good lawyer and documenting everything when it comes to who is looking after your boys and who is neglecting them in the pursuit of strange past, present and likely future. Get as much custody as you can. If she travels a lot for work, leverage that. Make sure you get right of first refusal to look after your boys any time she is out of town or otherwise unavailable so that Mr. Geriatric cannot step in and babysit in her absence. Eventually, custody and placement may tilt in your favor because she is too distracted by shiny stuff to really have her heart in parenting.

    Meanwhile, she has traded gold for sparkly shit and she thinks she is getting a good deal. That makes her too stupid to be your wife. You are gold. You have a good job and you are a devoted family man who is generally content with himself and his life. At least you were once and you will be again as soon as you get through this shit storm. You are well above “average” as most people would define it. Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of who you are, your values and the things that make you great. Don’t let this change the best of you. As CL said, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Right now you need time to heal but someday you will be considered a good catch if you want to be. Your STBX values sparkles, you value character, integrity and connection. That makes you the better person. You are better than your wife and her schmoopie.

    Also note that your STBX is planning to marry a man who cheats on his wife. It’s just a race to see who has to pick me dance the hardest to keep the other one from straying in the end. Karma is coming but hopefully by the time it hits you will be rocking your new life and really won’t care anymore.

  • Dear Above Average Joe,
    I was married to a Reverend who is very much like Dr. Douchebag. After he found his soulmate Schmoopie for the fourth or fifth time, I finally divorced him. Your stbx didn’t trade up, she got scammed and she deserves what’s coming. Karma and all that.
    You sir are a good man. Those are hard to come by. You are a cut above the rest. Hang in there. I’m three and a half years out from the final D-Day and it really does get better.
    And your boys…they will figure it all out eventually. Just don’t give into the RIC.
    Best wishes.

  • This guy does NOT want to raise your boys. He might say he does, he might tell her he does (love bombing), but he does not want to raise them. His criteria for getting involved with your stbx was 100% strange sex-motivated. Very little time has actually passed in this scenario, he probably hasn’t even counted the cost of his divorce. Anything could happen, but don’t let her come begging you back when he dumps her like radioactive waste.

  • Joe, you are a catch. After many D-days myself, the cheater has gone through numerous ‘relationships’ after our separation and divorce. When he left, the man he made room for, in my life, has similar qualities as yourself. A godsend.

  • I so relate to this, the fear of being lesser than. Being codependent, it’s second nature for me to feel not good enough.
    Rationally, it would fit that we were discarded due to our suckiness. What we learn, though, is that most, if not all of this cheater crap is not rational.
    Looking back now, I see I devalued myself because he devalued me (although my codependence trained my devalue long before I met him). This, for me, & probably you is a phase in the healing process. You’ll not get stuck here, you’ll pass through it as part of the grieving process. If you’re anything like me & many of us here, you’ll look back & thank God that worthless skank is out of your life. She took her own sorry-ass trash out. She went from a loving, devoted awesome man that any woman of quality dreams of to a cheating whore. She is a garbage can licker.
    Document everything for your lawyer. Go for full custody. Best wishes, my friend.

    • We need a new way to talk about codependency. Someone like you, paigeup, who is aware and conscious of the healing process is committed to not “being codependent,” which is descriptive of how you generally relate to others and in particular to some addicted or otherwise dysfunctional person. So maybe you are a recovering codependent or recovering from codependency. I just worry that saying we are “codependent” or “addicted to this or that” is embracing an identity that is unhelpful and probably inaccurate. Someone like you who has this deep insight into devaluation and “garbage can lickers” may tend to “do too much for people,” but you are on the road to recovery.

      We have to be careful what words follow “I am……..” because that’s a way we tell ourselves what we are.

      • I agree. There are people who may be co-dependent, but not everyone who stays in a bad marriage/relationship is co-dependent. People stay in marriages for many reasons–the children, social or family pressure, etc.–but remain aware of the toxic dynamic and either fight against it, or struggle to maintain some equilibrium by picking their battles with a toxic spouse. That is a very different scenario than filling a pathological need to help the toxic person (which is what is entailed by co-dependency).

        • And part of fixing our picker is ending the way we act as “codependents.” Even if we started out with that pathological need, the goal is to end that way of relating to other people.

          Glad you don’t think I’m off base on this, since I’m just a recovering co-dependent and not the psych expert. 🙂

  • No – if he was so great he would have found his own woman (or held onto her, as I’m remembering that he’s also married). No disrespect, but knowingly sleeping with a married person is like picking up sloppy seconds. With all due respect, the woman was leftover meatloaf.

    You’re focused heavily on this other guy. As CL said, it’s a coping mechanism. I hope in time you’ll direct the focus where it belongs – your dirt bag soon to be ex-wife and what she’s done to you and your children. I worry about your self concept. You’re so down on yourself …please don’t take her back when she inevitably circles back around once the love dust wears off. She’s no prize – neither is he. This is who she is, and he didn’t ‘steal’ her. She willingly engaged in this.

    I’m so sorry this happened to you – please continue on in your therapy. You’re still very much in the thick of it but it WILL get better.

  • Joe, I am married to a doctor as well. I feel for you, because I thought I had a great marriage up until 2 years ago. We went on dates, had an active sexual life, and always did stuff together. I will second what chumplady says. I can guarantee this is not Dr. Douchebags first affair. The cheater doctor I am divorcing had multiple affairs in our 22 year marriage. He started his first affair one year after we were married. The kicker is that in the community, he is considered this great guy. He’s a great doctor, helps people all the time, and is fun to be around. In fact he’s even had a fellow doctor come up to him and ask for advice about what she should do because her husband was having an affair (she had no clue he was in the midst of one of his affairs). What I’m trying to say is please don’t think for a second that your wife’s affair partner is better than you because doctors are really smart and extremely good at image management. I’m sure if you talk to the APs wife, you’ll get the truth about what a douchebag he really is.

  • On the surface, it looks like my ex traded up too. She has a PhD and works at an Ivy League school. I only have a masters and teach at a nice average university.

    But my 21 yr old daughter, who recently met her, sees through all the sparkley BS to who she really is. Just yesterday she told me that the OW crosses her eyes when she talks and makes weird smacking noises when she chews. My daughter finds her annoying. I also happen to know that the OW and my ex like to have exhibitionist sex at sex clubs. Like ewwww.

    Your stbx is trading down down down. Mr. Doctor might look all pretty on the outside, but he’s all brown, mushy and rotten on the inside. In fact, so is your stbx.

    Not your monkeys, not your problem, and definitely not your tribe!

    Stand tall! You’re the one who wins!

  • I could have written this post myself. My Ex left me while I was pregnant with our youngest who is now 10 months. Recently he asked me if he could terminate his parental rights for the baby and maintain rights to the 9 year old. He then informed me that he was moving in with his girlfriend who just graduated from medical school. Meanwhile I left college my senior year to properly care for our first child. They just moved into a beautiful high rise apartment in a major city with a rooftop garden. I feel hurt and hopeless like I cant compete. I’m strong for the kids, but I am dying inside. Hes only working part time so she is funding the whole relationship (they are leaving on a mission trip to Africa today that she fully paid for). I too continue to compare myself to her and it is extremely unhealthy. I haven’t eaten in weeks. I just feel like its unfair.

    • Pearlychump… you are MIGHTY… and your X is a flaming douchebag. Seriously… step away for a minute… would you want a man who walks out on his child and his pregnant wife? Would you want a man who wants to terminate parental rights to his newborn (you know this is financially motivated, right?)? Would you want a man who only works part-time… can’t support his existing family… abandoned that family and is now a social and financial parasite to another woman???

      Do not envy them or that poor excuse of a human being who is your X. They don’t deserve it.

      You have two great kids… and they need a sane parent. And that will mean many sacrifices for you in the coming days, weeks, months, years. But I want you to know… I believe in you. I believe your are more than your current circumstances. I believe you can finish that degree and give your children a stable environment for their childhood. I believe you can discover your worth and build an amazing life for yourself. But it won’t start until you stop comparing yourself to a pile of sparkly turds… which is what they are… you are not a sparkly turd… you are so much more… and now you have the freedom to find out who that amazing woman can be.

      • Thank you for your kind words. Your right it is very financially and socially motivated. It’s hard not to let it occupy my mind. I am trying my best not to think of them and their exciting adventures. I try to be positive and think on the bright side. For example: while he’s jet-setting off to East Africa, that’s two weeks I don’t have to see him and I have my children 100% of the time without awkward pickups and drop offs. Perspective I guess. I can’t wait to get to the place where I can fill my head and heart with wonderful thoughts and be the old me. In due time I’ll get there!

        • Oh my dear, you have been tormented and had your mind twisted so badly by two cheating scum bags! They are off on a missions trip to East Africa? Kick the image management into high gear, folks! Nothing but great, great people here (NOT!!!). YOU are the awesome, loving parent. You are the honest and caring one. Please, please eat something nutritious and keep yourself hydrated. Your little ones need you. Do not let those two disordered cheaters win. I know that the grief and trauma and pain keep you down, but look at your little ones and try to be righteously angry for their sakes. Their cheating father left THEM too. Your righteous anger will give you a little energy to make it through the whole
          process of divorcing the cheater. He is so unworthy of his family.

          Hugs to you.

        • Ms. Amazing is oh so awesome that she had an affair with a married guy with children and pregnant wife, no real job and I don’t want to understand that cancelling parental rights thingy. And she has to pay for this Treasure man (Errr … holidays)! Sad and desperado. I think it’s more than fair and they deserve each other. You, on the other hand, deserve somebody far better.

    • OMG – what a fucker!!! Children are not accessories, you don’t get to pick and choose. Please consult a lawyer before making any big decisions.

      Big hugs – cheaters that leave pregnant wives and/or sick spouses (male and female) should all go to a special place in hell. Be sure to get therapy if you need it. Gather support around you.

      You can’t see this now but in time, you will start to realize that this sorry excuse of a man is just that – sad and pathetic. You did the best you could and still are – don’t let him take you completely to the ground. You can be mighty if it’s just a little step forward today.

      • Thank you! My family has been great and I am looking for a family therapist now for both myself and the 9 year old. It’s very important to me that he is well adjusted and has safe space to express himself.

      • Hope there is room on that bench in Hell for my Ex. She told me she stopped loving me the night I had my heart attack “to protect her heart” in case I died. So much for in sickness and health.

    • Please find a good lawyer, get full custody of the baby and the 9 yr old and get as much child support our of your ex as you can. There are others here who have been in your shoes and they may be able to help you figure out how to navigate the financial side and how to gain a life while looking after your kids. Meanwhile you are effectively a single Mom to your kids and you are keeping it together for their sakes and that makes you awesome. You have strength, endurance and integrity. You are the better person. Money doesn’t make you great it just allows you to buy cheap friends. You have to be seriously flawed to go after a pregnant woman’s partner. Who does that? Obviously a lot of soul sick people based on the many CL posts from women who were abandoned while pregnant.

      • Thank you for your comment. He didn’t want the baby when I found out I was pregnant. He would send me hate mail (text messages) telling me I was a horrible person because I wouldn’t get an abortion or place the baby up for adoption. I ruined his life twice (first kid and second) even though it takes two to make a baby. I was pregnant and full of hormones when all of this occurred and I let him take me to a place mentally where no man should ever go. That’s when I discovered Chump Lady and went full no contact as much as possible. Even at swimming classes I would sit right next to him and not utter one word to him. It wasn’t good for me to interact with him.

        It sucks because I have to deal with him for at least 18years.

    • Pearly Chump,
      Firstly, I am sorry you mated with such a mutant from the toxic waste polluted end of the gene pool. I understand. I really do. I am going to give you some advice that you probably won’t hear from any lawyer or therapist. Take him up on his offer to terminate parental rights in lieu of child support. In fact, offer to do it for the nine year old as well. The prevailing wisdom out there is that “kids need their dads no matter what.” I say no. No they don’t if that “father” could do what he has done and is proposing to do, the kids are much better off without having that asshole drop in and out of their lives with Dr. fabulous and mind-fucking them. People who shout that all kids need two parents are laboring under the delusion that both parents are human. Make no mistake–you are dealing with a monster. And, trust me, he’s a monster that will start dripping poison into your child’s ear.

      I too was married to such a monster. I basically bought my children in the divorce. I knew he didn’t really want them–and I was right. When I gave up the house, the cars, all material goods, and child support, he quickly agreed to let me have full physical custody and move out of state. Best decision ever. I went back to school finished my PhD. I was absolutely poverty stricken. I didn’t have a car. I lived in a very crappy apartment, and I had zero financial or childcare help. It was hard. But one day, I was literally looking up from a book that I was reading for my own class to answer homework questions from my kids, while simultaneously stirring a pot of spaghetti and thinking “I have to run down to the laundry room before someone steals my dry laundry again”–when I had the thought “No matter how hard this is, it is sooooo much better than putting up with his abuse.” And it was true. He reared his head a few times during the remainder of their childhood and each time was terrible heartache for them. I thank God every day that I made the moves to really limit that monster’s access to and influence on my daughters. They are both happy, kind adults now with families of their own. They didn’t mind the poverty. They knew I was working for them. You can do this! Your possible ensuing material poverty is a much better thing to expose children to than his certain moral and spiritual poverty is. And children DON’T need monsters in their lives.

        • Thanks LAJ, it didn’t always feel like it at the time. But I’m certain it was the correct choice for me and my girls. People don’t need abuse. They never need to spend more time with the people who are intent on doing them harm.

      • Will women do the same on letting their kids go? I have always been the primary care giver for our kids. I did everything and she just had to sit back and enjoy. I know I am a great father. I want my kids with me all the time. But since I filed she’s trying to be the best mom ever. She moved schmoopie and his 4 boys in once our temporary order was in place. So right now there is 3 of our kids and his 4. She spends zero alone time with our kids. It’s always her and sparkle dick 24/7. She was the breadwinner as well. Which she resigned from her job thinking that’ll get her out of paying child support and alimony. How do I get her to give up my kids? I have offered to drop child support and alimony if I could get them. I want them so I can move my 10 year old son & 7 year old daughter far away.

        • Get dirt on her. Use it as leverage. Bad people always have something to hide. Hire an investigator to find out what she’s been up to.
          I got a new house, all the furniture, and the family car car in addition to the half of the cheater’s income that I’m legally entitled to because of info on him I have that he does not want made public. It’s worth a shot.

  • “No one is all bad. They’re just bad in ways that matter.”

    Don’t mind me. I’m just over here needlepointing THIS!

  • I also thought we were good because we still had a sex life. Men who get sex at home don’t cheat right? Of course it hadn’t been as successful as it once was in the last year or so before DDay. I thought it was age and/or stress related and was worried about his health. It turns out it was because he was getting his rocks off elsewhere and just didn’t have anything left for me in spite of my best efforts (which were evidently dull, predictable and inadequate because I have a low libido according to him).

    • You’re right. Doesn’t matter how much they’re getting at home – if they’re dirt bags they don’t know any other way to be.

      We had lots of sex and were still technically newlyweds d-day was after 15 mos of marriage. To think of all the weird, kinky crap I happily agreed to in effort to keep to things “fresh” and “fun” while he was out paying hookers. Gag!

  • Your wife cheated on her husband with someone she met at a work conference. So did her OM. They know this about each other. How many more conferences will they each go to? How many more soulmates will there be? How are you “trading up” to get a divorced, cheating man who will need geriatric medical care soon?

    They deserve each other, and all the grief they’ll bring each other.

    • Conferences appear to be hotbeds of infidelity. “Look! We have SOOO much in common! We are at the SAME conference!!!” My STBX and his OW met up at them all over Europe. He even fucked her at two where I was in attendance.

      The cheater gets the write-off AND gets to fuck strange. In their messed up heads, this is the best!!

      Yes, I felt he was trading up, for a while. She was slimmer, younger, had a PhD, works in a lab. Never mind that she cheats on her husband, that he is the primary bread-winner, and she would complain about her grants getting turned down.

      She will have great fun living with an entitled unemployed narcissist, especially after she has been kicked out of her villa on the Mediterranean. Hope she can find a studio somewhere she can afford, and that offers him enough bandwidth to jerk off to porn all day, because God forbid he get a job. And, if he does, she had better hope there are no female employees for him to offer a sympathetic shoulder to. She will also need to cook and clean, AND be just like the porn stars for at least 3 hours every night, since it takes him that long to have an orgasm. Oh, and if she finally speaks up, he will behave like a spoiled child, and will accuse her of not having enough stamina. His porn habit has NOTHING to do with it.

      Oh, and I am sure she will continue “going to conferences” that, somehow, she won’t be able to take him along on.


        thank you i loved your truthful post ….laughed till i got tears ……….

      • Yep. My cheater and OW started up at a work conference as well. These idiots feel like they’re “off the leash” at conferences and go buck wild.

        3 hours? Lol. Her pussy must be awfully sore. My cheater started to have the inability to reach orgasm problem because of porn, too. But apparently, with the OW he only lasted a minute or two, and she stopped having sex with him after the second time. Being drunk off his ass both times probably didn’t help his performance any. They are laughable. Yours sounds like a real piece of work that that stupid bitch now regrets ever going near.
        I always say cheaters and APs are their own karma, because it’s always true. No matter how good things look from the outside, they are miserable sods.

  • Joe – They don’t trade up, they trade for other reasons, none of which are worth your time. The best that you can do is to work through the “why” portion of all of this and realize that she is not what you thought or valued, she is something else. You will eventually learn that she is a very, very shallow person who had been lying to you for many years and chases only whatever makes her “feel” good. She traded for nothing. He is nothing. So what if they look good – that is all it is, looks. This is a time to not believe what your eyes see because their future is going to be at best a shit show. I learned this through dealing with x. I have been keeping an eye out for her and everything I see shows me that her life is actually only getting worse. X got her man – someone who had went through five jobs in the first 18 months they were together, someone who sends his time from bar to bar, someone with two teenage kids who needs her to pay for everything. She bought the house, he can’t be on the loan. Oh yeah, it’s his parents house (creepy). Originally, I thought she traded up, he must be a hell of a man. Nope, she traded down … way down, down to her level. In the end, all of it hurts but you will actually come through this in much better shape. She loses, you will win. Let the pigs lie in the mud, it is where they belong, you will move on to a far better life.

  • Mission trip?
    What kind of a mission are they on?
    A mission to wash the stink of adultery off their souls.
    Image management cannot accomplish that.
    They are purchasing indulgences.
    “They are not all bad. Just bad in ways that matter.”

  • Hey Joe,

    Keep repeating this to yourself because it’s very important:

    Outward charm does not indicate inner character.

    In fact, a lot of flashy outward charm is just that, flashy OUTWARD charm. It hides inner bullshit.

    People like that have to let the whole world know how great they are so no one notices the shit they pull behind closed doors. It’s image management. If everyone on the outside sees the professional achievements, how much money they make, the fit body, the charm everyone in the room…

    No one sees the fact that Dr. Fabulous is a cheating, philandering, selfish, unfaithful piece of shit. It’s glitter on a turd. You can cover a piece of dogshit in pink glitter and pom poms and it is still a piece of dogshit. Don’t compare your genuine shine to the glitter on a turd.

    There is nothing wrong with you. There is everything wrong with them. CL is right, this is very likely NOT Dr. Dogshit’s first out of town conference soul mate. I can guarantee you it’s not. Won’t be the last one either. (If they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you. Remember that. If he’s okay to cheat WITH your STBX wife, he will be okay with cheating ON her. It’s 100% true. It is. Because the bottom line here is that he is ok with cheating. He thinks it’s an acceptable behavior. So if it’s acceptable to him that he cheats with her, that won’t change later.)

    You were happy with the beautiful life you had. A wife, your children, your decent job, and the home that came from it. That’s stability. You are a fan of STABILITY and you are satisfied with the love you give and create. And believe me, that’s what good women want. That’s what good partners want.

    Contrary to what ol’ Doc Shitopus would have you thinking here, good partners do not want flashy out of town conferences and the shallow glamor of LOOK AT HOW GOOD I AM and the guy who walks into the room and distracts everyone with his (bullshit) and romance-novely whirlwind love stories. It’s got the emotional depth of a teaspoon.

    A good partner will be satisfied with the life they build with someone who loves them, and is honest and ethical. That will look different to different people, but the principle is the same.

    Don’t get blinded by the sun reflecting off the glitter on the dog turd.

    • @Kara
      You wrote:
      “Outward charm does not indicate inner character.”

      I love this! It also reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite actors, Sam Elliot:
      “Like most words in the English language, the word “charm” has two faces. On one side you have those really delightful people, the ones we all love to be around. But on the flip side there is a kind of charm that is less sincere, that’s used to manipulate others. Anyone who uses charm for personal gain is not particularly nice, and in the end that’s really what it’s about — treating people the way you want to be treated.”

  • Joe, she nowhere near trade up.

    My story is some what similar, but the female version.

    Clusterfuck had been cheating with one night stands for years, I only ever knew of one woman that he “kissed” (He was busted by one of my friends”. In 2017, we went through a rough patch for maybe 6-7 weeks. He was distant, nasty, I just didn’t feel connected at all. He slept with mishtress and a 3rd girl in that time. Before that though, I would have said we had 10 good years. Alot of love, I supported him and his military career, we were both on good money, nice house, nice cars, nearly out of debt. When u think of that life checklist, we were doing well and only just 30. Atleast that’s what was being peddled to me

    What I actually got was 2 stds, a lying cheating clusterfuck for an ex, 2 kids that met mishtress before he left, being told that mum doesn’t need to know all our friends and this was their lil secret. She was apparently oh so awesome, prettier than me because she used to be a hairdresser, she apparently had so much more money than me (a FIFO baby daddy will do that), skinnier than me (She only had 1 baby). Apparently she was the shit

    2 years on, one hell of a divorce, do u know what I have? I have my kids 60% of the time. I have a good job, nice home, a great relationship with my kids. I lost 25 kgs after he left. I Have a great partner, newly pregnant (sweet baby Jesus I don’t miss morning sickness) no lies, no gaslighting, no cheating. I’m currently travelling through europe, I went to Vanuatu last year, I have travelled all over australia. I rarely miss my old life and my ex has finally got the hint to not Hoover me as he has realised that I can pick his intentions and I hold him to his actions.

    Want to know what ex has? An abusive mishtress that has assaulted him multiple times. 2 kids that don’t want to go to his house, a 8 yr old daughter that has already worked what clusterfuck and mishtress are like and a step daughter that at the age of 5 has no boundaries or rules and requires copious amount of attention. A toxic relationship that has meant the school has called child services on him as he finally snapped and punched mishtress in the face – in front of the kids. He is in a rental, being investigated at his work, lost his extended family. His true colours are showing and it’s not the good guy he perpetuates.

    For a good 18 months I was pissed as it appeared he was doing better than me. For my mental health,I took myself out of the competition. As soon as I did that, low and behold the karma started hitting.

    Now just to go through the court battle for full custody…

  • Think about this: your ex and her new schmoopie are both getting together with someone they KNOW has cheated on their former spouse.
    Sure, they lack integrity, but they are both downright foolish.
    Hugs and hang in there.

  • Just a quick comment:

    Average Joe,

    M.D. does not mean Moral and Decent.

    That said, there are many fine doctors out there who are moral and decent. Just not your STBXW and Dr. Grandpa. Don’t let an M.D. fool you into thinking they must care about ethics and are decent people. Plenty of people with M.D.s, Ph.D.s, and other pieces of paper that represent accomplishment in higher learning have the morals of a schoolyard bully. (Plenty of them, like me, are nice and decent people too).

    Don’t assume that intellect and morals correlate. I suspect they are completely independent of each other. Also don’t assume that a person’s worth and their intellect correlate – you, with your dedication to family, your solid ethics, and all of what makes you you, have far more worth than your STBXW and her OM put together, times a lot. ‘Nuff said.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • I feel like this every day Joe

    She is 29 , I am 45 so is he
    I have been told ( i have never seen her yet) she is very pretty – I’m maybe a 4/10
    She seem to be great otherwise why would he just walk out of a marriage for her ? Give up everything without a look back .
    She knows he is married but seemingly they just can’t live without each other .

    But then i think to myself well i’m not a whore that would have an affair with a married man so I win !!

    • Well Karen, you are so right. The thing about being 29 is that it doesn’t last. It didn’t last for us and it won’t last for her. Someday she’ll be looking around and find out that he needs another new 29 year old. The thing about being you and being a moral good person is– that does last. You will always be better than her.

    • I always think about this age difference this way.
      She might be young and pretty, but how long until she realizes that he new partner is old and grouchy. 😉
      When she is 40 and he is nearing 60, how shiny is that?
      How sexy is an old man who needs to take blood pressure medication or has to deals with ED.
      How sexy is it when you partner is being confused as your father.

      • Read the recent New York Times article “Out to Lunch” by Audrey Ferber. A whiner bemoaning her caretaking role of her husband who is 20 years her senior and how she feels the hots for a man in a cafe, also a caretaker. I smell a mistress who became a wife who regrets her decision… Not a “moving,nuanced essay” in my opinion.

  • @ Average Joe………..She traded stable for dysfunctional. A dysfunctional person chose dysfunction. Her future is dysfunction. When the two cheaters get sick of each other- one will cheat on the other, or they live in paranoia of each other, or they become more dysfunctional and become swingers/etc…to elevate the “high”

    You must now reteach your brain to overcome the emotions. Every day tell yourself: “Thank God I got out of that. My life has been saved”.

    It’s a long road. Some things will haunt you. I’m close to two years post Dday and some things are hard for your brain to let go, but you must try- especially for your kids’ sake.

  • Hahah she dumped you for a old man? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. I hope she likes no help around the house and changing his diapers.

  • Joe,

    I know how you feel, but please hear me when I say that the AP is not better than you. Cheaters never trade up. Never. My X had 16 affairs (that I know of) and every single one of them was below average in every way in my opinion. It is my opinion that a lot of the reason why people cheat is due to their own low self esteem and trying to boost their fragile ego. A secure person would not feel the need to cheat and betray. The last person my X was with when I divorced him now has his baby and is engaged to him. Her father moved into their basement. She hasn’t had a steady job ever. Now he is supporting a new baby, his fiance, and her father. The whole point of hooking up with a 21 year old was to party and forget responsibilities with his wife and our then infant. Now, he is in a much tougher situation. You don’t see it now, Joe, but you are in a much better place. When you find someone that actually respects you and isn’t completely selfish, it is life changing.

    Hang in there. You’ve got this.

    • Ouch!! That’s awesome. Let me guess, the AP is super crazy too! Your x is a pos and now he gets his just desserts. Priceless! Just imagine the 2 of them fighting about the father’s care. Ooh this is making me happy! Unfortunately that poor child has very little adequate support. Collateral damage is just “part of life” to cheaters.

      • Mac1234… yes! the AP is supposedly bipolar. My mother has had to intervene and rescue my child from a previous domestic disturbance between my X and OW. I never reacted that way. I ended a 15 year relationship (11 year marriage) 48 hours after finding out about all the affairs. I never did the pick me dance. I hired a lawyer and never looked back. I am sure they fight about her father all of the time, among other things… I do feel badly for my son’s baby brother. He didn’t ask to be born into this mess.

  • So much great wisdom and advice above already. Dr. Cheaterpants was a serial cheater, I mean twu wuv soul mate finder. It’s interesting how many soul mates one must have in this world. And imagine finding them so quickly at a conference?

    I confused intelligence for character. And once you’re far away from the drama, you realize you were the one putting in the effort and making excuses for their lack of true participation in your and the family’s lives. Sure they were fun and engaging when they were there mostly. And you made excuses of why their needs came first because ‘they’re a doctor’. I actually put in more hours at work than Dr. Cheaterpants and I did all the child rearing and home care including yard work.

    Protect yourself and your kids while you’re trying to come to terms with this. Make sure there is a clause about not moving out of state with the kids (or out of your city if you can) without both parents consent.

    He’s by far not better than you! He may have book smarts but that’s it. If he spends that much time on himself, he has little time to spend at home and ultimately in a real relationship. And now that his wife has ditched him, there’s no one to do the boring stuff in life. It will get old. He will get old.

    Make a clean break while you can!!

    • Yes, confusing intelligence with character is a common and deadly mistake. Not unlike confusing feathers with cuteness—until you’re sliced and stomped to death by a 6-foot tall cassowary.

      I once thought all truly smart people want what’s best for everyone. Boy, was I wrong. Worst combination out there is intelligence + poor character. They do the most damage, because they go longer before being found out.

      There are no proxies for good character. Not intelligence, wealth, education, professional success, or a sweet smile. You just have to watch actions over time—and avoid the spackle.

      • @nomar
        If only I’d have read your words of warning a couple of decades ago. It would’ve saved me a world of hurt and many wasted years.

        Intelligence is the quality I’ve always found most attractive. Unfortunately I used to think an intelligent woman wouldn’t act as poorly as my ex did. I was wrong, waaaay wrong!

        Live & learn. The hurt is over for the most part and life is going on just fine with her in the rear view.

    • “I confused intelligence for character. And once you’re far away from the drama, you realize you were the one putting in the effort and making excuses for their lack of true participation in your and the family’s lives.”

      This. And I banked on his “potential” instead of taking a more honest assessment of who he really was. He never lived up that potential, and things never got better….they just got worse and worse.

  • Chump Lady is spot on. Cheaters do not cheat up. Think about what person with integrity or self worth would knowing cheat with a married man/women? There is no Comparison between you and the cheating doc. It took me quite some time to stop comparing myself to my pos cousin. I finally realized that I was torturing myself. There was no comparison. I had integrity. I kept my marriage vows. I was not the one screwing my cousin’s husband. Please do not let the cheating doctor haunt you. Let them have each other. Education, money or position doesn’t make you a good person. Integrity is what makes a good person.

  • Similarly my cheating slut XW imploded an amazing intact loving family and awesome comfortable lifestyle for no reason besides the cliché “I’m searching for Happiness”. But consider the following mindfuck. She left me for a 50-year-old lying, cheating, uneducated, jobless, skill less, carless, 300-pound biker dude with neck and knuckle tattoos who lives in daddy’s basement. Now if in her mind, he’s an upgrade (google hypergamy), what the hell did she think of me??? I often joked that I could understand if she had left me for a rich doctor or lawyer (like your cheater). But that low life? WTF???

    Of course, that didn’t last and now she is out sampling all the knockwurst she can gobble. Friends tell me she looks like she aged a decade in 3 years. It is soul sucking to be betrayed and blindsided by the one you trusted with your life. Three years out from DDay, I am now glad that I didn’t squander my remaining years with a partner who didn’t share my values and was not “all in”. I am sad for my college-aged kids who are old enough to understand what she did and want little to do with her.

    • Why are they so certain a cliche will bring them happiness? Unemployed overweight biker living in his parents basement? Sheesh.

      Sorry you had such a delusional twat for a spouse. After she ages out of the knockwurst buffet, she’ll probably circle back whining about “all that she lost.” Keep on rocking your better life without her. She wasted enough of your life. You always deserved better.

  • Dear Joe,
    Maybe this will help you as it has helped me. When the thought about the affair partner being somehow better than me pops into my mind (not very often a year after Dday I am relieved to say)-I always go back to one example to clarify things. I just remember that Jennifer Garner was cheated on by Ben Affleck with the nanny who is clearly a trade down. I mean can you get any more gorgeous, rich, successful, ect ect than Jennifer Garner???? And she is one of many who are open about it; God knows how many more that just kept it private. It is true that cheating has nothing to do with “deficiencies” in the chump and everything to do with something inherently lacking in the character, ethics, ability to bond of the cheater. It is really hard to accept that fact, it has taken me time to internalize it (for the most part, I still have days when those thoughts try to creep in). I hope you know that there are wonderful women out there who can recognize your ability to be the partner that your wife will never chose or be able to be, is pure gold. And in a world where cheaters are waaaay too common, the characteristics and values you possess are worth way more than any witty party facade or wash board stomach could ever be worth. Love your boys, be the sane parent they need so desperately. And whenever I start to lose my mind about the affair partner being in my 7 year old daughter’s life (happens A LOT); I remind myself that this little girl has basically been put in a position to “like” the affair partner or lose her dad completely. The cheater & AP are a package deal, she nor your sons are given a choice about that-they have to have the AP in their life in order to have a relationship with their cheater parent-how sad.

  • I discovered a weird truth as I scoured the interwebs looking for answers. Woman are overrepresented on all the internet forums so you might think most chumps are female. However the sad facts are ¾ of divorces are initiated by “unhappy” middle-aged women who think the grass is greener or want a second bite of the financial apple when their mommy years wane. It’s a sad commentary on society but this is so common now it is almost cliché. Many of her friends were getting divorced and it’s like she had FOMO. Her circle would go out drinking and brag about how wonderful “divorcing that loser” was, then they would all go home alone and cry themselves to sleep. I don’t know why this makes me feel better, but it does. It is like the whole situation had almost nothing to do with me. All the cool kids were doing it.

    • Quantum,
      So true! I found almost nothing that covers what is now being called the WALK AWAY WIFE SYNDROME. Data on divorce statistics is quite old. However new stats are becoming public after 20 years of current research and publishing. 65% to as high as 82% of all divorces are filed by women now. Varies depending which state you’re standing in. They are finding that women have much less to lose financially for many years as opposed to the husband. Custody is 85% to women by default ensuring them the marital home, child support, retirement benefits if applicable. Lots of variations from state to state and how affluent they are. I’m sure you found this out same way I did. It is absolutely true about the divorced women club you mentioned. 2 reasons. Married women don’t hang out with single women nearly as much as other married women. some people are superstitious DIVORCE is contagious. Perhaps, ask the girls club. One thing you did mention that COULD be very true. Going home at night and crying their eyes out? Perhaps. But they all know this. If they meet another good man? They will leave that group very fast.

      • None of this tells us WHY these women are leaving.

        Perhaps, with cheating and internet porn addiction at plague levels among men, more women are realising that it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge.

        And I am not sure how you can be certain these women are going home and crying themselves to sleep every night. I’m not, and I suspect quite a lot of my fellow female Chumps are sleeping better than they ever have.

        In Australia we have no-fault divorce with a standard 50/50 financial split. I hear men fulminating about this as ‘The bitch took me for everything.’

        Actually, no, buddy. The law of the land gives each spouse 50%, plus then you factor in child support. So it’s NOT YOUR MONEY. It’s collective assets held by the married couple.

        Closer questioning of the angry ex-husband sadly too often reveals his infidelity and porn addiction. This isn’t to say that women don’t leave for affair partners or financial gain or other bad reasons. But the bottom line is that WE DON’T KNOW because we don’t have reliable data. We have lots of anecdotes, but no data.

        So the law is really, REALLY clear in this country – but I also understand that it comes as a surprise to many people, because they’re soaked in US television and movies.

        • My STBX could technically say I divorced him but this was after he was defiant and unrepentant about cheating, lying, and stealing. It took him 8 months to admit he slept with someone or perhaps multiple someones (without condoms – awesome). He even said he didn’t want to be married to me anymore and was a complete asshole constantly (spending tons of money, staying out til all hours even though we have kids). He then had the audacity to challenge our separation date because he bought me a birthday present and he said that why would he buy me a present if we were separating. WTF – why would you be screwing others if we were married is the better question?

          • Well, my now ex walked away from our family with ow, but I had to file for separation because he wasn’t doing it. So what does that say about your walk away wife syndrome and stats?

            • Same here. The STBX didn’t want to be divorced because he thought it would ruin him financially, and also because he couldn’t be bothered and thought I would be ok with an involuntary open marriage. This walk away wife thing is probably just male cheater laziness.

  • “No one is all bad. They’re just bad in ways that matter.”

    Remember the distinction between “Up” in terms of superficial characteristics–wealth, fame, or substantial characteristics (e.g., intelligence) that allow people to better snooker others, vs. the “Up” of character and integrity. Use that distinction to sort friends, romantic partners, & colleagues (to the extent possible).

    My marriage to Hannibal Lecher included many “glittery” aspects, but I would not trade my current life of being surrounded by people of integrity for even another minute with Hannibal.

    • This, right here, Tempest. Sort out the superficial from the substantial–with $$, house, trips, cars, and age being superficial.

  • Once I knew that he is all about status I lost all respect, and there was no affection left.

    I still am bothered by the fact that I did not see that it was so. On the other hand he played the humble and kind guy, so how would I see it? Nor did I see that he used me for status, as I was living life through my own lense.

    His arrogance was dormant, to come alive the moment the right opportunity presented itself.

    So glad he left.

    The hurt about the con remains. And the damage is real.

  • When absolutely BUSTED with the truth, my xh, in a rage seethed into the phone (on his way to work) “You know WHAT?? I LIKE having ssseeeeeexxx twice a day!” “She treats ME like the RRrock STAr I AAAmmmm!”

    Ummmmmm, I wonder how that sex 2x a day is going for the “rocker”

  • It’s hard to see it this way but when they walk away from us, it’s actually a blessing. Why be with someone who doesn’t want to stay. Let her go. Focus on your kids and being the best dad possible.

  • Average Joe, once both divorces are final, your wife and Dr Schmoopie will get the pleasure of worrying about what each is doing while they’re away on medical conferences.

    You and Mrs. Ex Schmoopy will be free to live your lives without worrying about getting a scalpel to the back without warning.

  • The grass is greener when your living in affair fairy tale land. AP enjoyed fancy dinners and hotel room sex. Ex enjoyed the same with someone my age but who had kids early thus was free to work off the baby weight and was basically in a care free point in life. What ex didn’t realize is that when he got caught- the fairy tale was going to be over. He now doesn’t have as much disposable income for his dinners and hotel stays- he has to pay me a hefty amount – he has to take care of his son half the time (less hotel getaways). AP never had to live with who he really is in every day life. And so when asked i say- good luck to her- she has no idea…. and guess what – found out- they are over and he’s alone. It’s all a facade during the affair and that facade will reveal itself – maybe right away , maybe in a year- maybe in 10 – but it’ll catch up with them. Remember they were able to hide things for years. What you may see is really a turd covered in sparkles.

  • What about when your exhole doesn’t end up with the affair partner? In my case, they ended up breaking it off less than a year after our divorce was final. BUT he is now cohabitating with a lovely person, and she seems like a trade up to me. She’s younger, thinner, cooks all the time, plans all their social happenings, is ok with joining all of his hobbies instead of having her own, and they work in the same field (you know, so she UNDERSTANDS him). The only place that I have a one up on her is that I’m in a higher paid career.

    He is the lying sack of shit that abandoned his wife and yet he get’s to go on to have the life that he promised he’d have with me, while I remain alone.

    This is what ends up getting under my skin sometimes, and lures me out of the Land of Meh that I *mostly* live in.

    I know all the things to tell myself when I start feeling down about it (I don’t really know what their real life is like, I have higher standards for relationships now and it’s hard to find someone that meets them, I actually like being on my own because it is so much more peaceful and simple….) but it still feels like by most people’s standards he ended up looking like the “winner” in the game of life here.

    Sometimes I just wish the Karma Bus was a real thing.

    • Odds are good that the new nice girlfriend is a replacement for you after the relationship with the AP blew up, and that she has no idea what she is getting into and down the road will be here with all of us on CL.

      Be thankful that you don’t have to deal with him anymore and sorry for the new girlfriend who is going to have to deal with his BS and abuse along with the inevitable cheating.

      • Thanks for your sage advice, Laughing Gator! You are right, I am grateful to not be with him. I know he isn’t a prize, and she is likely going to be hurt the same as me at some point. I appreciate your help.

      • Pretty much what I was thinking! I think the fear of the cheater having some kind of epiphany as to what they had with KHARLess73 they will shape up and be grateful and fly straight. Doesn’t happen that way. It’s a character defect from the manufacturer. It doesn’t go away by itself or with a tuff lesson. It takes a long long time with a lot of work, therapy and introspection. Fear can put those thoughts in your head. Its not real.

  • Joe,

    Keep reminding yourself that water always finds its own level. Your STBX is a liar and a serial cheater. Her “soulmate” is the same. She tricked you into believing she was at your level, but now you see her for who she truly is. You are too good for her and she doesn’t deserve you at all. I’m sure a lot of female chumps that are reading your letter to CL dream about meeting a guy like you someday.

  • It’s understandable that in the first weeks or months after D-Day, chumps go through this process of asking “what does the AP have that I don’t have?” Often, the question is answered in terms of age, weight, appearance, job title, income, size of house, car model, and relative fame. But none of that stuff is permanent and part of who we are. Trust me–at 67 I can tell you that everyone ages. Everyone’s appearance changes with age. Anything from illness to pregnancy to depression to grief impacts our weight. Take a look at an old episode of The Price is Right from the 1970s to see how fleeting is our sense of what makes a great, stylish house.

    Imagine that there is some place we go when we die, where our impact on the planet is measured. A doctor who treats patients may get a lot of points for that contribution. But so would a great teacher, or a firefighter, or plumber who makes a home livable or a blogger who provides a place for betrayed people to learn and heal. So anyone who does a job well is making a contribution to the world.

    What isn’t ephermal or relative is character. Is the person kind? Respectful of the needs and rights of others? Honest, in word and deed? Is the person humble (e.g., aware that others who get less praise are just as important and worthy)? Is the person unselfish? Is the person conscientious? Does the person refrain from manipulating situations and people? Does the person have a strong work ethic without disregarding the needs of the family? Can this person be trusted not to lie or cheat? Does the person love, as defined by a commitment to the well-being and growth of the people in his or her life? That stuff may evolve or devolve over time–but the direction with most people is pretty clear.

    The world may applaud people with status and money. But the world is fucked up. There’s not a holy book in the world that says money and stuff and status is what we should value. The person worth living with is the one who has good character.

  • You wife gave up a happy marriage at the drop of hat. Who would want her? Money, influence, charm mean thing without good character. Their relationship reminds me of Versailles. The place bored me silly. There were intrigues, banishment and hedonism but were covered up with gilt. Gold over emptiness. Go live your good life.

    • I love that comparison and I agree that Versailles sucks. My favourite places in Europe are the ruins and catacombs, not the gilded palaces.
      Who wants a relationship that’s a gilded turd? Cheaters want something sparkly until the sparkles wear off and they realize it’s actually a turd. But since they are by nature self-deluded people, it takes a while for them to get it. Some of them never get it, they just keep trying with a series of sparkleturd relationships, never imagining that they are also a turd and the architect of all their failures.

      • For all those who have not yet visited Versailles-it’s a gilded palace that was emptied of its contents, sacked and pillaged. Sparkly and empty of most of its furnishings. Kind of like a very handsome or beautiful cheater.

  • Thanks CL and CN! These are some very kind comments. Sharing your lessons learned is much appreciated. I found this site about a week ago—boy, am I glad! I was really starting to feel alone going through this process. I’m sure like many chumps, my friends and family (they mean well) don’t really understand the pain. This support has uplifted my spirits!

    • Joe, we’ve all been where you are and we know how badly it sucks and the pain that you are in right now.
      Just remember that in time once it is all over, it gets a lot better and eventually when you start dating again (make sure to fix your picker first), you will realize that there are wonderful good women out there who will appreciate you, treat you right and you will be very happy.

      You are going to see that for the next few years it will look like the Ex “won” but 5+ years down the road, you will see that things will get better and better for you and probably not so much for the Ex.

      Good Luck !!

  • A wise person once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Written under a different pretext of course, but nonetheless still relevant here. Joe, trying to compare yourself (a decent, moral human being) to the OM (a cesspool of vapid narcissism) would be like comparing puppies (you) to orangutan shit (him). See? No comparison. Just my $.02 here.

  • You sure sound like a good guy to me. My theory is that abusive cheaters that are into image management feel deep down that they’re not worthy of anything but shit, so that’s what they choose after they can’t make it work with the original “better” partner (you), and then they image-manage the chosen shit by shining it up and marketing it as gold, and try to pass you off as the shit. There are different levels of this … automatic from ingrained behaviour from their upbringing, or intentional sabotage, or both (in my ex’s case).

    I had a friend send me this when I told her about how I think 24/7 about my ex and the AP, and how I try to figure out if all along I was the “bad” person in the marriage. I said, “Why do I keep doing that?”

    She sent a meme that says, “Why? Because some people are just terrible human beings, and terrible people do terrible things. If you’re racking your brain trying to understand it, it just means you’re not one of those terrible people.”

    AverageJoe, you’re not one of those terrible people. You’ll do well … you’re already on your way.

  • Joe,

    Your STBX did not trade up. Chump Lady is right – she’s not the first one he’s cheated with. An 18 year age difference?! Most likely, if he has kids, they’re adults or close to it, and he will soon tire of playing ‘dad’ again to two young boys. I’d actually be surprised if he goes through with the wedding. Whether he does or not, it won’t be long before he trades her in for an even younger model, with no ‘kid baggage’.

    I was with my ex 34 years, married 29 (probably close to as long as you’ve been alive!) and found out he’d been cheating the whole time. (My daughter asked recently if I was dating anyone, or if I thought her dad was. I told her that he never stopped ‘dating’ – that’s why we we’re divorcing…)

    I wracked my brain and beat myself up for almost three years, trying to understand how someone could live a double life for so long; the level of deceit and betrayal and disrespect are unfathomable. He had absolutely everyone fooled into believing that he was an awesome husband, father, and successful businessman.

    I finally came to the realization that I will never understand that mentality, just like I will never understand how someone can molest children or murder people or abuse animals. We chumps can’t relate to the level of depravity it takes to hurt the one person you’ve vowed to love, honor, and cherish. I’m actually grateful that I can’t understand that, and once I let that sink in, it’s been easier to let it go and focus on making my life the best it can be.

    It’s a process, Joe, and you’ll have to work through the stages. You’re a decent human being, with morals and integrity that your ex and her AP, for all their ‘intelligence’, will never possess. You will be the example and security net your little men need.

  • I’m sure there are many women right here on this site who would think they won the lottery if they had you. I hope you are able to get custody of your sones

  • Joe, joe, joe. They *always* trade down. No matter how successful and charming this guy is, no matter how many people think he’s a great guy, he fucks married women and breaks up families. He is not a great guy, not even a good one. He’s a cold-blooded, amoral reptile. He does not get to raise your kids, either. If you don’t have joint custody, please apply for it. I know it’s awkward seeing as how they are in a different state, but you could do half the year with you, encompassing summer break, Christmas, spring break, and all holiday weekends and get almost your half that way, which would not disrupt their schooling. The rest of the time the school can give them their work for whatever time they’ll be gone and you can home-school them with it.
    There are ways to make it work. Figure out a schedule with your lawyer. The situation is not hopeless. Don’t let that INFERIOR piece of garbage be the most prominent male influence in the life of your boys. They already have a total bitch as a female influence. They need you. Don’t let these two creeps tirn your boys into what they are. Fight like hell, Joe. Then you will feel empowered, not emasculated, especially when you see the crestfallen look on her face when you’re granted joint custody. Take that, ya cheatin’ ho! Also, seeing as how she’s a doctor marrying a doctor and they are likely to be wealthier than you, be sure to get child and spousal support from her as well. Make them pay the price they should for what they did and eventually you’ll be snickering at those fools rather than feeling all this self-loathing. I know whereof I speak. If I hadn’t given my ex heavy financial consequences, I’d probably feel bad about myself as well. But while I may still be sad and angry, I have no self esteem issues or self doubt. I know my slut cheater and his skank are shit (even though they have good jobs and I can’t even work for medical reasons) and that I am the finest champagne by comparison to those assholes. Everyone thinks my cheater is a good guy, but I know better, and eventually everyone else will, too. I’m planning to expose both of them as the scum they are when he retires and it can’t affect his job, since half that money is mine. His name will be mud in this town. Getting some kind of justice helps tremendously. Go get ’em, Joe.

  • Women told me my sociopath ex was charming and they would choose him if he wasn’t married. Well, a man who knows him well called him a bastard to women. WTF do people know? Truth lies with the man who called him a bastard. My ex charmed women no matter who they were. I know he is a lying sociopath that “charmed” and “fucked” multiple women at the same time and even got one pregnant and failed to disclose he has herpes. My ex is also extraordinarily wealthy, not in the Bill Gates way, but maybe the next level or two down. So Average Joe, who gives a shit if someone calls this POS new guy “humble and successful” because that’s what I call my ex when I first met him. Now I call him a sociopath who wreaked havoc on my life for his own selfish gains. He has zero remorse and shame. Your wife can go fuck herself. She traded down. You have values old dick is a scumbag player. Your wife won’t be the first. Next conference and another willing mistress, she will be cheated on. THese people never change.

    I left my POS even though he wanted me to stay. How fucking delusional he was and still is? I moved back home with my family and without a job. He can have all the money in the world, and I’m never going to stoop to his level. Plus, I would rather die on my own than through some disease he would give me.

    Trust that they both suck.

  • sorry – that should have read, “women who are married said they would want to marry my ex if they weren’t married.” my ex is single.

  • There’s only one answer that has ever satisfied the question, “What does she have that I don’t?”


    Oh, sure he was aiming high at some point always looking to trade up for someone with assets, intelligence and beauty. Not one healthy woman bought into his laundry list of lies and complaints that mad him a tortured victim.

    Joe, they find their equals, trust that. What they have in common is their willingness for duplicity. It’s a crap shoot. Don’t buy into the propaganda, the soulmate, happiness, or the mindless fuck that landed them into togetherness. That foundation relied on lying, cheating and harming loyal partners and children. It MUST be fabulous to give up everything! NOT.

    Two cheaters together is a perfect storm that frees you from the disordered assholes. Embrace the freedom.

  • This post has really weighed heavily on my heart all day. I am married to just the kind of man you described- successful, Dr, charismatic, fancy clothes/house/trips/lifestyle. I am 8 months out from D day, separated 1 month.
    I can honestly say that as I look towards the future I would give anything to eventually meet a man with YOUR qualities- not his. Behind closed doors men like that are a different story. And even if he is just as “nice” to your wife as he seems on paper he still lacks integrity. He is a liar. He is a cheater.
    When we are buried, what do we have? Not the money, not the charisma, not the body……our integrity.
    Don’t compare yourself- not for one more second. Find a life you love. Set the example for your boys of what “a man” should be. Life will be so much better in time, but she is not the woman you thought she was, and a better person- who loves you and cares for you- will come along.
    Best wishes!

  • Joe! I know what it’s like to be an ‘average Joe’ (pssstt.. Jax may not be my real name)! You seem like you’re searching for a reason to beat yourself up bro (I know -it’s very common in situations like this – and I know I’ve had similar feelings).
    CL wrote another gem ( I loved ‘Idi Amin could really sing and Hitler liked parakeets’) – I LMAO! Man get back in the gym chase that inner alpha male gorilla all us males have in our DNA! That’ll fortify your mental state as you grow physically – gaining inner confidence! And he is only going to be ‘shiny’ for awhile. Remember – he will always fear you because you’re something he can never be a REAL MAN! Besides – what’s so special about Dr Dimento anyway – is he a rated Chess champion that speaks 3 languages? (So am I) So he’s a cunning linguist? Ever heard of Babble? Rosetta Stone? And there are numerous excellent chess tutors out there – you’ll be rated inside of two years (I’m almost there). And I’d star with pig Latin if I were you (I did and I can speak it almost read and write). Try to look it logically – your Ex and Dr Feelgood both cheated on their spouses – the chances they’ll cheat on each other are about 94.19 percent – or is 94.6? Either way – it’s fuckin’ HIGH! Fuckin’ forget her – you don’t need any of that plasticine Mondo bazarro mojo anyway! And who do MOST people prefer to sip on a beer with at the local? An AVERAGE JOE -that’s who – (probably 90+% of Chump Nation – including CL of course)
    So hang in there – I’m betting their little house of fake Hallmark cards is already a little wobbly!
    ‘Iligitimi non coruptum’ (‘don’t let the bastards get YOU down’!
    See Babble works!

  • What I’m going to say might ruffle a few feathers, but here I go: maybe he is better than you in some way. So? There are a lot of women who look better than me. There are people who are smarter than me. We could go on, but none of it matters. Remember you view the world through a filter. You didn’t create all of that lens. Society impresses certain things upon us. We believe ourselves immune to that pressure, but none of us are. Are your thoughts grounded in reality or are they the result of forces beyond yourself?

    What do you want? That’s the real question. Have you really thought about that?

    • Hi DemHoez
      Society’s lens – from where I sit our society’s lens is very skewed. Many many people care way more about appearance in every aspect of their life (bigger house, fancier car, amazing hair job, plastic surgery, big $ etc). I work in a high school where everyone is trying to find their place. I always tell my kids that I am not cool, was never cool, and really don’t give a rat’s ass about being cool (or whatever the new word is). I have seen many people do shitty things to look good.

      You are correct that the focus should be on what you want. Most of us want someone to love us no matter what. We want someone to share life events with. We want intimacy both emotional and sexual. Right now my personal want is escape my live in separation hell and get on with my life. I will settle for peace right now and I cannot imagine ever meeting someone.

      My STBX is 52 and has become all about the cool. He is screwing a married colleague who drives a Porsche. He drinks the best wine, he smokes the best pot, he eats fancy meals, and he has no time of day for the wife who gave her heart and soul to him. I don’t think he has traded up – I think he has fucked up. I think he wasn’t happy and he is on an elusive search for something to make him happy. I can be happy – I can live with the choices I have made.

  • Joe, however clever, good-looking, socially acceptable, sexy, rich or charming they are, cheaters have bad character. People who have been through experiences like ours know that in the end good character is the most important thing. Cheaters are untrustworthy, self-serving and unreliable. Any other attribute becomes meaningless. What would you want for your boys? I hope my children turn out to be, first and foremost, good people. Any other attribute they might be admired for is, basically, theirs from sheer good luck.

    All the best to you and your boys. Please see yourself through their eyes and ours, fantastic Dad Joe!

  • I hope that Dr. Limp Dick’s STBXW has picked up, was given or WILL be sent a copy of Tracy’s book. Anonymously, if necessary.

    You’re a good man, Average Joe; Dr. Limp Dick is not. I hope you come to realize that soon.

  • Can I say something contentious?

    If you still have thoughts that your cheater traded up, you are NOT at Meh.

    Meh is a glorious state of indifference to the cheater and their AP and their antics generally. Quick refresher course:

    I find that sometimes Chumps are so determined to get to Meh that they believe they’ve arrived there – when they’ve actually only just packed their bag to leave for the airport for the four-hour wait before their flight to Meh, which will then take another 24 hours.

    In some cases, they’re still actually married to the cheater, but are proudly announcing their state of Meh except for the one or two million things that are still annoying them about the cheater who is still living with them. Also the one or two thousand worrying red flags about their new hot date who is going to fix all their wounds for them.

    Meh can’t be rushed; it’s an organic process, and you absolutely must put in the time needed to heal thoroughly. It’s not a competition. The first one to Meh DOESN’T win.

    And PS – Cheaters.Never. Trade. Up. If you can internalise this, you might get bumped up to business class on your forthcoming flight to Meh.

  • The whole point of love is that it is supposed to be a safe place from the cut-throat competition of the world. I love my daughter. I love her more than any other child in her class. And my daughter is not the prettiest or the best athlete or even the smartest. She’s sweet and she is kind, but there are other “shinier” kids who are great at gymnastics and aren’t as obsessed with K-pop. But you know what? I love my daughter more than any of those other kids. She doesn’t have to be all those things for me to love her. I love her just the way she is.

    People who “trade-up” miss the whole point of love. It’s not a competition. If it becomes a competition, then it is no longer love. There will always be someone prettier, funnier, better at cooking, better at golf, whatever. The point of love is that you can relax because all those other people have one big flaw–they aren’t YOU, and someone who loves you wants you, not them.

  • Hey Joe,

    As is said in here often…your stock trades high. My girlfriends and I were just talking the other night about how we’ll take a nice man with a dad bod and a good job who’s willing to garden with us on Sundays and wear matching aloha wear on vacations any day over Mr. Sparkles. Ya like making sure your kids have new shoes and know how to make a decent meal?!? Hawt.

    It’s tough now, but trust me that there are tables full of attractive, middle aged, accomplished ladies pining for your ilk.

    • Yep! Someone who sits in the kitchen and talks about his day while I cook? Someone who sees me looking frazzled, hoover in hand, and asks “Can I do anything”? Someone who puts up with me laughing at TV ads instead of angrily pausing them because Commercialisation? Shiny!!!

  • Hi Joe,

    I really feel for you, especially as I constantly (unfavorably) compare myself to the work subordinate my last boyfriend left me for and married approximately six months ago and within a year of his departure. I used to compare myself to all the shiny affair partners my husband had, but I no longer care how shiny they are as long ago I got to Meh with my husband, who abused any love for him out of me many years ago. The abandonment of me by my last boyfriend hurts way more than the abandonment of me by my husband as I thought I knew my last boyfriend for 30 years and thought, like virtually everyone else, that he was the greatest thing since sliced bread, especially in terms of character. I was stunned and still am to discover that he was along with being ‘superficially nice’ at times, he was dishonest, emotionally abusive, critical, controlling, opportunistic, and covertly narcissistic. These traits came out generally in private, beyond the scrutiny of the public. In my case, the woman who won my love’s heart IS ‘all that’–young, childless but still young enough to bear her own genetic children with my last boyfriend, slim, brilliant, successful (in my former partner’s field and company), wealthy (became a homeowner in a very expensive neighborhood when she was in her mid-twenties). She is the better, younger version of me. I could not compete with her even on my best day, and ‘today’ is far from my best day–my life is in shambles (unemployed fifty something year old mother of young kids (one with special needs), just found out I have lost virtually all of my social security due to a weird government set of regulations, have lost hope of finishing my doctorate, have a degenerative back condition, and haven’t been able to get a ‘real’ date in nearly two years. But you know what? None of this ‘matters.’ If I can remind and reasonably convince myself that the core issue is how I related to my last boyfriend and vice versa and that he had a beautiful veneer in terms of personality but deep down was/is not the type of person with whom I want to associate (as we don’t share the same moral framework–he’s fine with lying and lying to cover up lies), then it doesn’t matter how wonderful my last boyfriend’s new (second) wife is. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he could instantly without provocation turn from humble sweet guy to insulting, deeply hurtful and offensive guy. My views on my situation and perception of me are somewhat complicated by the fact that I don’t know whether my last boyfriend physically cheated on me. As I don’t know whether he did or not (although he always seemed to be looking over the fence to determine whether the grass was greener), I sometimes feel more inclined to think that I screwed up and just ‘wasn’t good enough’ to keep my boyfriend. I think that I would have felt less bad about me if I knew that my boyfriend cheated on me.

    As a few people have already mentioned, an important question to ask is, ‘What does Joe want?’ I think that over time with introspection, you will be able to answer this question and also realize that what you DON’T want is your unloving, cruel wife.

    One of the few things I have found that help prevent me from going mad with grief, which has been compounded by the deaths of a few relatives in the last couple of years, is the company of my kids and thoughts about my kids while they are away. If you can be really ‘present’ with them, or ‘present’ with your thoughts of them while they are gone, then you will probably find some solace while significantly helping your kids. You can feel deserved pride for trying to be an attentive parent to them for years.

  • “One of his colleagues recently told me he was a good person …”
    Let me stop you there, Joe. No, he isn’t. He’s a cheater and a home wrecker.

  • As the wearer of an ostomy bag, I can tell you that the ostomy bag is insulted by this comparison. My ostomy bag is helpful, and dependable, and it sticks with me in tough times. It doesn’t stink and it has integrity.

    Cheaters are none of those things.

    The only thing they have in common with my ostomy bag is that they are full of shit. Still, my ostomy bag can at least manage its own shit without getting it all over me.

    Ostomy bags: 100 times better than cheaters.


  • Chump Lady?

    You are a truly beautiful human being.

    That was a wonderful ode to the authenticity that is Joe. And Nomar.

    You have made your mark in this world. Wow, imagine being one of those people who left a footprint.

    THANK YOU for sticking up for authenticity, integrity and values. Thank you both.

    You probably hate him, but so does Ben Shapiro. Some feed came in “DESTROYING FEMINISTS” (or clickbait whatever) but I watched it, and he was talking about how sex needs to not be transactional, but to be linked with values.

    And I watched this courageous young man sticking up for ‘old fashioned religious’ values with tears pouring down my face.
    Because I stupidly believed our marriage ceremony being wrapped up by the stole of the priest (hand fasting) as a Covenant in which our love making was sacred – and he didn’t. Co workers, prostitutes – he trashed those values.

    Does this mean my values are wrong, or is his shallow ‘people are of use to me’ wrong? People like you, Nomar, Shapiro help me believe I can stick to integrity and authenticity and not give up hope.

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