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Is Betrayal ‘The Best Thing That Ever Happened to You’?

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Dear Chump Lady,

Thank you for supporting so many betrayed people. I’m 1 month from D-day.

A reader submitted a comment on a recent article, “I’m going to make this the best thing that ever happened to me.” That angle is so interesting because infidelity is often the worst thing that has ever happened to us.

Perhaps you could expound on the potential for betrayal and recovery to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us? How would it work? How long would it take? What are the roadblocks? In my opinion, it fits right in with your message to leave a cheater and gain a life.

Sincerely,

Mac (Married 6 years, 2 year old daughter, tons of shit sandwiches left to eat)

Dear Mac,

The short answer is no. Betrayal is not the best thing that ever happened to me. I prefer to call a thing a thing — it sucked.

Frankly, that span of insanity was the most traumatic of my life and I’m surprised I didn’t wind up in the bottom of a well somewhere. As improving experiences go, I’d put it up there with that time my friend Ed blew his brains out and left me all his tools. Shock. Horror. Sobbing in awkward places. But infidelity was worse. With Ed at least I got a reciprocating saw.

(Of course the obvious difference is that Ed was a good person who meant me no harm. And my ex was a sociopath who did.)

Anyway. Trauma. I don’t recommend it.

A founding text of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex is Anne Bercht’s book: My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.

Which I have subtitled: “And Shooting Off My Kneecaps Has Improved My Tennis Game.”

It’s patently absurd, but our takeaway is supposed to be that her husband’s affair made their marriage stronger. Had it not been for his wandering dick, she’d never have known the bliss her marriage could be, and has become.

I debunk the RIC everywhere on this blog, so I won’t digress on the dryer lint that is Bercht’s moral reasoning. (But if you need a moment to vomit, go right ahead.)

Chump Lady is not the flip side of that nonsense. Nowhere here do I argue that what happened is okay or improving. Being Chumped Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me!

NO.

Let’s not confuse resilience with injury. I’m totally for resilience. And I’m not dressing an injury up as anything other than an injury.

Why am I splitting hairs about this? (Or chopping kneecaps with my reciprocating saw?)

Because it matters what we tell ourselves. 

To make the first RIC argument is like saying, “Oh hey, slavery was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to African Americans, because we got jazz!”

The fact that African Americans were able to create a unique American musical legacy in a country that enslaved them for hundreds of years is a testimony to their God-Almighty RESILIENCE in the face of oppression.

I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to tell people to thank their oppressors for their resilience.

And isn’t that what your ex wants? To lean over the table some day and say “Leaving you for Dylan was All For The Best! I’m not a terrible person, I was just a catalyst to us Both Finding Happiness.”

I’m going to make this the best thing that ever happened to me.”

I interpret that statement as — I refuse to let the motherfuckers keep me down.

And that’s what I encourage you to do. Choose how you will respond. Create your best life IN SPITE OF the injury. Because that’s what we control — ourselves.

How long does it take? It takes as long as the motherfuckers try to keep you down. It’s a long fight. Go make a joyful noise in spite of it. Make new relationships, have adventures, create jazz.

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Being betrayed, cheated on, and lied to for years was, no exaggeration, the worst thing that ever happened to me. There are worse things in the world, but this was MY personal worst. It was worse than the deaths of both my parents, which up until DDay were my points of reference. That said, I am working on rebuilding my life and regaining happiness and know that it will come someday. However, there could have been just as much happiness and purpose in my life if Fuckup hadn’t blown it up–and there would have been a lot less trauma to overcome in order to achieve it–so there’s no reason to celebrate his shitty behavior as a positive catalyst.

    • This is exactly it. As of yet, I don’t see that I have gained any blessings that I could not have had if ex hadn’t blown up our marriage in the way he did. I do have some relief from no longer having to live with someone who is perpetually dissatisfied with life and I no longer have to live with feelings of inadequacy, but I don’t really see those as blessings exactly. I could have had that if he hadn’t morphed into a jerk too (he wasn’t like that for my whole marriage). I am recovering and doing reasonably well in spite of what he did, but it’s more that he didn’t break me than that I was given the opportunity for something better. No better, no worse, nothing transforming in the end, just a lot of pointless heart ache and drama for a few years in the middle.

      • Well said, Chumpinrecovery. You got my thoughts on that exactly.

        Fuckwit was emotionally abusive during his affair, I could do nothing right, I was criticized heavily, I walked on eggshells, and wondered why I suddenly developed vaginosis when I had never had that issue before. There is relief that I don’t have to do that anymore, but if he hadn’t blown up our marrige, I think we could have had a happy life, could have had the family I wanted for my children, and I wouldnt be so incredibly broke right now after handing over all my life’s savings to a fuckwit.
        I will recover from this injury (and the vaginosis too!), but it’s a lesson in resiliency that I didnt need foisted on me.

        • I don’t like the idea that somehow trauma is good for you because it “makes you stronger” or whatever. We don’t think that abuse or cancer or train wrecks makes us stronger – so why in the world would we think betrayal does!? I don’t feel stronger. I don’t feel blessed. I don’t feel like I have developed an endless font of wisdom. I’m alive. I get the kids to school and plan vacations and do the laundry and do my job and take the dog for walks. I’m resilient. But not blessed. Not even.

        • Exactly. While I am careful not to idealize or romanticize my marriage as I wax nostalgic, we were pretty damned happy overall–I thought, and she certainly said so all the time. Two young children, great house, careers, money. A sacred family and an enviable life. She threw it all away. Took away my house, all my money, and me from half of my children’s childhood years. Put me and our children through terrible suffering. For what? As it turns out, for shit. Now she’s predictably miserable with the OM and wants it all back. (No way.) Idiots.

      • @Chumpinrecovery…..yes. “Perpetually dissatisfied with life” It does create a feeling of inadequacy in ourselves and we question why aren’t they happy with our life? That was part of my STBX’s problem. Everything or everyone was WONDERFUL in the beginning. Until it wasn’t new anymore. Then problems, issues and he was miserable again. I loved to entertain before we got together and he loved that about me. Until….he got bored with the friends or they stopped hanging on his every word about himself. Then he was miserable and it was embarrassing having people over or going to friends houses. Bonus on the cake was he said it was me! No, the cheating broke me. Challenges my trust and I question myself all the time. It was in no way the best thing to ever happen to me except now I can look forward to a life without his drama….ALL THE TIME!!!!

      • Same here. I do sometimes enjoy the wisdom about human relationships that I seem to be gaining, and I am astonished I’ve survived the unimaginable emotional torment somewhat intact. But I really push back against that “new muscles” bullshit. I’m all for being mighty, AND for telling the truth about what a horrible torment it has been if maybe it keeps one person from blowing up their partners life, or gives one person solace that they so, so, so wished their partner chose another road. My marriage did not suck the whole time. We were in the “rough patch” and one of us couldn’t handle it and their commitment.

      • Yes, betrayal is the gift that keeps on giving. The only way it would be a blessing is if you totally despised the person who betrayed you.

    • Hey Not Afraid – right there with ya! I lost my mom and then less than 4 months later I discovered that my husband had a 5 yr relationship with some alcoholic white trash moron. THEN months later, I lost my father. THEN I lost my brother. I honestly was in so much pain from the betrayal of my 34 yr marriage that I don’t really think I processed those deaths as I should. I still don’t think I did. What my husband did was SO horrendous, SO painful, SO devastating that even the deaths of my parents and my brother seemed less painful. And trust me – I know how awful that sounds. I was so broken, so devastated that I couldn’t even process those deaths the way I would have and should have under any other circumstance. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from being betrayed like that. There are only circumstances that you have to deal with – what other choice do you have? I’m almost 5 yrs out from D Day but I’m still not the same. When you have to totally reconstruct your life and who you are as a wife, a woman, a friend, a sister and a partner – there’s nothing positive there. That “silver lining” crap is just bullshit. In looking back, however, it definitely separated out who is and isn’t my support system, though. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of the worst crises of my life to realize it. I can have some pride in knowing that I was able to get my head off the pillow and function – somewhat. Past that – nothing positive can come from that kind of devastating heart break. You just roll with it – try to get through a day – and keep chugging along.

      • Yep, there is nothing BEST about this, you just keep getting up every day. I am 7 years past DDay, nearly 4 years past the day I decided to leave ( wow those 3 intervening years were the worst years of my life, hands down, THE most painful I have ever gone through, I have no idea how I lasted that long without driving off a bridge), and 8 months post divorce being final ( guess who dragged their feet, ignored requests from attorney’s, and needed two court orders and threats of imprisonment before they finally toed the line? Why would I expect anything different? He’s SPECIAL and rules are for Chumps). Am I having the best life ever? No, I am fucking not. I had to start from scratch. Reinvent myself at 53, train for a new career, live below the poverty level for a year, my kid got free lunches and breakfasts at school, we live with friends still because I can’t afford to get a place on my own, and since my credit rating was in the trash due to Mr. DownLow, I have to rebuild that as well. I work my ass off all day and take classes at night, just to KEEP my new job, which infuriates me since I already HAVE a graduate degree and I HAD a great job. I thought I HAD a future and by this age would be thinking about whether I could retire at 60 or not. I can’t because my 401K was drained trying to keep us in our house while Mr. DownLow was out having the time of his life, ignoring his responsibilities at home, so I will be working until I physically or mentally cannot do my job, somewhere north of 65 I’m sure. I have a hard life ahead of me, all because Mr. DownLow’s decided he was entitled to behave any way he wanted with no regard for anyone else or the consequences of his actions. Basically, the moral reasoning of a 10 year old. If anything “good” comes out of that, it’s that I now know what I won’t tolerate. Other than that, it basically sucks.

        • 😞 The bastard managed to make you eat a shit sandwich even though he’s gone. So sorry. People like him don’t deserve to live.

        • GrandeDame,
          I can relate! I am trying to find/create a job (or two) I like as I need to work until I am quite old–into my seventies. Thank goodness for free school lunches and health care from the government (with graduate degrees and fellowships), until a few years ago, I never imagined my family’s lives going this way. Meanwhile, abusive ex-husband is falsely telling relatives, friends, our young children, and the Court that I and other women and men sexually assault him, steal from him, etc. He’s walked off four jobs in five years, threatens to sue companies and individuals and complains about people not wanting to hire him–wonder why? What an adventure life is! Trying to view it with a healthy dose of humor.

      • I experienced the same trauma on top of grief since I lost a family member to death during the week of each of my three D-days. I moved out and filed for divorce this time. I know that the infidelity was far worse for me than a death because:
        1) Death was inevitable/ cheating was a choice
        2) I was told upfront about the death and encouraged to grieve/cheating was hidden and my grief was ignored
        3) I was not blamed for the deaths
        4) I didn’t have to hire an attorney to handle the funeral.
        5) I wasn’t told that the person died due to my inadequacy.
        I could go on, but I know everyone here gets the picture.

        • It seems to me that can’t be coincidental, that possibly he arranged to get found out just to add another level of torment to your grief. Either that or your grief took away his centrality, so he had to get you to focus on him and was too dumb to come up with a better way than getting caught. Even negative attention is ego kibbles to these freaks.
          I hate that guy and would love to take a ball peen hammer to his genitals. Pun intended.

        • Sorry to hear about all your losses. I have a bit of the same story. The betrayal is far more traumatic than 2 death of close relatives. Its really awful. One year after Discovery day and I still try to stay in marriage, not easy to accept and forgive. The betrayal is years back in time. My husband says he chosed to stay with me but not tell me anything until I found out because of a forgotten mail…

        • Same here. My mother died right before D-Day. In fact, it’s likely that some of my grief over her death was subsumed by the trauma of betrayal–which makes me even more angry. I should have been solely grieving my mother. I find some solace in knowing that if my mother knew how my XW betrayed me and destroyed our family, it would have devastated her too. Anyway, I wish my XW was dead and not my devoted, loving mother. There, I said it.

      • My lovely fella left me week after dads funeral just over a year ago. Mum died years ago so we were very close. The shock and trauma of this year which has still been playing out in various ways up to the last few weeks has meant it almost impossible to grieve for my father. When I get a day to myself with no stress around fuckwit and the hell of co-parenting with him. I should and want to feel peace and all I think about is utter heartbreak and sadness about last year and the loss of my father which I did not have any headspace to grieve for. No good will come of this, I will get through but I won’t bea better person. I will be a much sadder person as I have never encountered this on my life and my mum passed when I was 18 so hasn’t exactly been a picnic. The gas lighting and awful things that were said will haunt me forever although thanks to CL I can at least see that it’s the big standard response of a lying twat backed into a corner. But a better self. I think I will have the before me who just didn’t know this was possible thanks.

      • LeeLeeG, while a bereavement due to a tragedy, or simply old age leaves us with pure grief, sadness, longing for the deceased, I think this sort of grief can be a gift: we are able to say goodbye, remember the lost one with love, and be thankful for the time we had with them. The grief we feel is love itself, pure and honest. Altogether, it is a normal part of life to accept that we love and eventually lose those we love because death is inevitable.
        Betrayal on the other hand leaves us unable to feel pure grief for the lost relationship, the lost history which turns out to be a lie. Betrayal just gives us chaos, our entire history with the betrayer becomes questionable, we don’t know what was real and what wasn’t anymore.
        So no, it is not shocking that betrayal was harder to cope with than the deaths of your close family members.

        • KiwiChump,
          Well said! As several people in my family have died in the last few years while I went through official abandonment of me by my husband and then abandonment of me by my post-separation boyfriend/supposed friend of 30 years, I can empathize with many of the posters here. (The deaths of relatives under 30 were really hard to deal with. The night before my young cousin, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her early twenties, died, my ex-husband complained about me not instantly agreeing to send the kids to him to visit a local amusement park–on the day my cousin died and her mother who has stage 4 leukemia and her husband grieved her death! My ex-husband said, ‘She’s dying anyway.’ And this is the guy who constantly falsely accuses others of committing heinous crimes against him. He’s a monster.) It often feels like one tidal wave after another. It’s just been in the last two weeks (following many years (decades?) of trauma) that I’ve started feeling somewhat functioning, able to think a coherent thought, as opposed to paralyzed deer caught in headlights. Still have nightmares and sad dreams, but at least I can sometimes make what I think are sound decisions while I am awake.

          • Your ex is, quite bluntly, a cunt. What a fucking vile piece of shit.

            Cluster B’s think that the world exists purely to enrich themselves, and fuck everyone else.

          • Thank you, RSW. Your ex’s remark illustrates my point. When we deal with this sort of person, we have to deal with cruelty, disrespect and deliberate injustice. That is very unsettling for a decent person. When dealing with tragedy and death respectfully, we are behaving in the proper and constructive way we need to in order for life to continue and proceed in a way that functions best for the benefit of those who are left behind and ourselves. When we behave in this way, we can cope with tragedy, grieve, accept and support each other so life can continue in the most tolerable way for all, even in the face of the most terrible events. We see examples of this on CN with many chumps who have lost a child, have suffered horribly, but still have the grace to come here and comment to help others.

      • I love it I know exactly I’m 2 1/2 years out of DDay I’m DEFINTELY a survivor. My ex worm husband was having the affairs in our marital bed!😩My son caught him, 9 at the time, we had just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary the year before. It nearly killed me. Now I’m getting stronger each day and determined to never go through that nightmare again!

      • Going through the betrayal and loss of infidelity, divorce and the evaporation of my mate, my family, much of my identity (who I understood I was) and the future I thought I was investing in felt like going through a death. My own death.

    • Exactly.
      Man, discovering my great wife and the marriage I was So proud of, were both not real, and even were shameful shadows of themselves, was THE worst thing ever.

      My Mother died just recently beforehand, and the DDay discovery was enough to eclipse that entire situation. It was as though my wife had also died, but within her own monumental 9/11 tragedy, then multiplied by at least two.

      There is nothing good there. The Only good will be in how I bounce back and adapt, rather than hugging my knees in the closet.

      I will look back at it as endured trauma, from the worst thing ever, the effects of which I overcame in whatever ways.

      The best nothing.

  • I’ll put it this way: I didn’t waste the pain and suffering. And: I’m glad I see what Jackass really is.

  • Even awful experiences can be redeemed. However, that does not change the reality that they were awful and evil. Victor Frankl talks about that as he survived a Nazi concentration camp. He learned somethings there, but none of us sane people would call those camps anything but evil.

    • Nor would anyone choose to be in a concentration camp, or enslaved. Elie Wiesel wasn’t glad he had been in a concentration camp just because it made him a better public speaker. Trying to use a bad experience for growth doesn’t erase the horror of the bad experience.

  • I’d have to say, no ~ betrayal is not the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m coming up on Halloween which will be 3 years since he abandoned me for The Circus Clown and divorced me with absolutely no warning. Friends for 30 years, married for 17 of those years and now he doesn’t even know me.

    Betrayal sucks and I sometimes find myself wondering how he could ever have done this to me. How do you forget a best friend of 30 years ~ how do you forget all the times you were held in the middle of the night while he whispered, you know ~ I really do love you. How? How do you do this?

    For me the betrayal has been the worst. I’m not 16 and I’m not going to dwell on the cheating, although cheating sucks too. But betrayal? At first, I felt like a big spear had been thrown thru my chest. Now its just a wound that is taking an incredibly long time to heal.

    But he doesn’t keep me down, I do. And when I find myself doing the aforementioned wondering, I stop. For I know I will never understand it and I don’t need to.

    I take one day at a time. Some days are better than others. But I don’t have to worry about being cheated on or betrayed now. My best friend is me.

    • Thank you. I was with my soon ex for 34 yrs. He dropped the bomb on me 2 months before our 30th wedding anniversary. Still going through a lot of shit 1 year later. Sometimes I feel like no one gets it..

      • Hi Valerie
        I was married 25 years and I completely understand about your comment “sometimes I feel like no one gets it”. People cannot truly get it (although some can empathize) if it has not happened to them. The cheating is minor compared to the utter betrayal and levels of deception (I am not saying the cheating is okay but just that the complete betrayal, manipulation, and deception actually hurts more for me). I don’t think people want to get it as then they would have to accept that this shit can happen to anyone. Many people think they are stronger, smarter, and more whatever so they are immune to this – that is an arrogance you can have if you have never been a chump. I am still in the throes of it and I look forward to the day I can focus on me (right now selling the house, creating a new will, buying a new place, helping my children etc is where my mind is). The day for me is coming :).

        • 35 years in and it’s as if I don’t exist and he’s only seen one of our 3 adult children, once in almost 3 years.

          I still have moments when I ponder the incredible damage the DOCTOR did. I trusted this man all of my adult life, to cherish and protect and love me/our children.

          Instead he repeatedly and deeply wounded the 4 people who loved him the most and to whom he owed protection and loyalty. But the protector became the hunter, he was the danger, the harmer.

          Now that I see him more realistically, I have come to believe he’s actually not capable of grasping the harm he has done.
          It’s too deep for him (and or too frightening.) He always saw himself as the good guy, and needs admiration.

          Once when we were in marriage counseling, he blurted out that I did not “admire” him the way I had before. (Which can happen when one’s selfishness becomes manifest & visible to all).

          So if there came a moment of clarity in which he really saw how selfish, dishonest and cruel he was, how hurt our kids and I have been, all by him, it would bring him to his knees. Even if I matter not, to know what he has done–

          it would break him. The DOCTOR does not do humility. He does not do remorse. And in all our years of counseling about his obsessive need to make unilateral decisions to move AGAIN, he never said he’d change a thing. Not once.

          What a fool I was, trying to pretzel myself in the pick me dance…for what?

          To stay married to a man he never was.

          SO, to DETOX from the trauma of the past 3 years, I have made a career change to teaching

          and moved to Europe.

          New career, new country and it’s great to crowd out the many memories of trauma and pain that seeped into my DNA,

          with new memories and friends and sights I always wanted to see, and moving where I want to move, when I want to move, living for my own goals.

          I really did spend chunks of my life “waiting” for the pick me dance to be over. Not pursuing my own goals and just hoping to be able to stay on the same path the DOCTOR and I had been on, but which he veered off. Well the pick me dance and marriage are over and I’m on a new path.

          I think that’s what we are supposed to do. It’s all we can do and our children need to see us bounce back, in time. My daughter commented about how much better my life is now that the divorce is over. Possibly implying that it was “all for the best.”

          I told her ” I am resilient and I have recreated a life I enjoy. But that doesn’t mean your father did not betray me or break my heart. He did both. But he has lost so much more than me, whether he knows it or not.”

          I think she gets it. I get it.

          • You have just written my story except my ex was an airline pilot. The arrogance and entitlement these guys feel and display is mind boggling. I got no “credit” for being the main breadwinner for years so he could pursue his dream while I slaved away at jobs I hated but had to have. I’m going to be working at one of those jobs now until I die unless my boss decides I’m too old to be of any use. To destroy a family in pursuit of nasty, less than stellar women (and their children) in third world countries was more to his liking than loving the people he helped to create. Who does that?? And why aren’t they punished to the fullest extent of the law? I agree, this pain is worse than losing my father to cancer. It is worse than our daughter’s 15 year opioid addiction. I will survive but often I don’t want to. The destruction is difficult to overcome.

            • Watching your kid struggle with addiction is so freaking hard. My heart goes out to you. I hope you have support with that

          • No, it’s not all for the best, but it certainly did clarify my priorities and give me a different perspective on life. I know how strong I can be because I had to be really strong. I know now that disordered people exist and can look close enough to normal that you might not notice their deficit for a very long time. I know that if a relationship is not reciprocal, it’s not for me. These are valuable lessons, but they don’t have to learned the hard way. That said, life without cheater drama and chaos is better in so many ways. In time, it can be exactly what you want it to be.

            • Bravo – DOCTOR’S wife! Standing ovation for saying what it was like for me too. An over-inflated Bond Trader’s ego that he could barely fit his head through the doorway after he bagged the Elephant.

          • Amazingly familiar. Magnificent example to your children and us chumps, for that I thank you. My D Day was four weeks before our 50th wedding anniversary when I found out dickwad had lead a double life for (as far as I know) 13 years with OW. It was a once a year fuck fest at MN. League of Cities Conference. Imagine! Same old, same old, says he had a ” right to ” when asked to expand on that said ” because I wanted to.” Can anyone be that much of a narcissistic, entitled, asshole?” Again, thank you for your stunning example to all of us.

          • It was in the immediate wake of the big DDay …when I was in the depths of desperation and beginning a pick-me dance when Cheater said “A man wants to be admired” and here I was looking at all the horrible things he had done. I paused the dance and told him “the first step to being admired is to behave in a manner that is admirable” then resumed dancing (facepalm…I had a moment of clarity but didnt stay in it long enough).

          • I would say we were married to the same DOCTOR, but I only had 25 years of marriage & 35 years as friends. He’s playing our two children to my detriment and they just don’t get it yet. It’s as if the EX in all these scenarios is the same narcissistic psychopathic sociopath. And I so understand the need for constant admiration–my EX was called The Great DOCTOR (Fill in his name ****), or TGD for short (he even puts that on his support checks).

            I’m two years out and my daughter recently said that I appeared to be in a “better place” and on my “new path.” I explained that I didn’t come to a fork in the road and needed to take a different path. I had done that decades ago when her father promised in front of God and family to hold my hand until he died. Rather, I was hit on the head and taken to a new planet where I was the only inhabitant. I’ve now managed to make it back to Earth, where I’m the only person on Divorce Island. I’m slowly assembling my life raft with the timbers that remain after my world was blown to bits.

            I wish we could get together for coffee! I’ve lived in Europe and would like to be transported back there. Finding a new career at 54 has been difficult, but I’ve have options I need to turn into opportunity. One step at a time.

            • Hello! Your comment “hit on the head and taken to a new planet where I was the only inhabitant” is the hands-down best description of what many of us have been through–that I have EVER heard. All of you, and of course CL have saved my sanity, and my life. I cannot thank you enough. Married 39 years, husband now living with his 33 year old mistress. Family blown up.

          • This sounds like my narcissistic ex. I too played the “pick me dance” and he boy did he know it. I was at such a low point I couldn’t see the psychological damage that was happening . Once I realized that he was so deep in and how far gone I was from myself, accepting that his family had accepted this OW, our kids relationship with him was shaky, and their relationship with his family was severed because of their involvement. I decided enough was enough (still wishing that he would have picked me)…so I filed.

            He too is a person who thrives off of what people think of him.

            It’s only been 6 months since our divorce. I do not feel good about the betrayal. It does not make me feel warm and fuzzy that he married his AP and didn’t even tell our daughters. His response was defensive and cold. He admitted that he was aware of the impact it would have on our daughters (who are young women) yet still felt it was important enough to go thru without saying a word to them. Ultimate betrayal of trust for our daughters . So one daughter has decided to cut ties and he does not even ask “how is she”. “How is school” none of that. So that hurts. I understand that she has asked for “space” but he is still a parent that can just ask about her from time to time. His position is “she is grown “ which is another narcissistic tendency. Putting the responsibility on the person they hurt so they do not have to deal with it.

            I look forward to the day when I can see a flickering of light; not happy that I was betrayed but at peace with what happened.

        • I was once one of those people who went happily about my life thinking that I didn’t have to worry about MY marriage. I did feel “sorry” for those poor chumps but thought, “what are they like to live with?” Me, on the other hand, I didn’t have to worry because I TRUSTED my husband ( since he said I was “crazy” not to). I was SO blind-sided by his infidelity/betrayal and subsequent financial abuse that I lost all faith in friends and relationships.Through reading Victor Frankl’s book and a few friends who stood by me, I can believe that people may SUCK but life is beautiful. My life is NOT over but I have a future. If that future is without romance, that’s ok because there is still love in my life for my family.

    • Hey Jodi,
      I relate so much to this. X abandoned me and our 3 school age boys nearly 2 years ago to live interstate with OW. He has only seen his boys twice since he left (his choice). We were friends for over 25 years, together for 17, he had been a part of almost my entire adult life. Only a couple of months before he left he said he would never risk breaking up his family for sex with someone else (but meanwhile screwing anyone else). The excruciating pain of betrayal like that, of someone so close to you, for so long, cannot really be described. The fact that we pull ourselves through, day by day, is a testament to our strength of character in direct contrast to theirs – they only ever leave when they have someone else because of their weakness.

    • Jodi, it is the betrayal; flipping a switch and erasing a lifetime. For me it was 41 years total. After losing 41 pounds he looked at me and said, “See, your happier.”

      And I’ll expand on the, “It matters what we tell ourselves.” I’ll never ‘thank’ the affair skank for taking him off my hands. For me the catalyst for change was first finding a therapist who nearly jumped off dis chair and said, “Divorce him or the next time it will kill you.” He told me to find a blog, lol. I had no idea what that even meant at the time. Secondly, finding Tracy and my tribe gave me the strength to fight for myself.

    • @Jodi Lynch
      “My best friend is me.”
      Beautifully put. I never truly understood all the pop culture talk about self-love, what it really meant, until I went through the devastation caused by my then-wife’s thorough and intentional betrayal. I had always mistakenly equated self-love with narcissism and conceit.

      I soon realized I had to assume the role of my own best friend to preserve my sanity, slog through some very dark times and survive. No other person could have possibly understood the protective self-counsel and self-care that I required. Only then did I learn the concept of self-love. Godspeed to all chumps!

    • Jodi, I agree betrayal is the worst part. Ex had a 4 year affair which I found out about after he left. When I thought about the level of betrayal and deceit it would take to lead a double life I couldn’t comprehend it. Also if people haven’t suffered a betrayal they don’t really understand how heart-breaking it is.
      I am two years out and don’t think about it much any more but I know I don’t want another relationship as my trust is destroyed.
      It is definitely the worst thing that has happened to me but I am continuing to live the best life I can.

  • The cheating was not the worst thing: it was the wake up call. The worst thing was the years that preceded it: the devaluation, gaslighting, blameshifting, manipulation, and emotional abuse. I did not understand, recognize, or know how to defend myself against that. It was soul destroying, slowly, almost imperceptibly. Infidelity and being brutally discarded and smeared were highly traumatic events, but served to get me out of a destructive relationship and gave me insight into it.

    So it is the best thing that ever happened to me? hard to see it is a highlight. A bit like saying that the best thing that ever happened to Notre Dame Cathedral was that the firefighters put the flames out.

    But…yes..valuable. Necessary for unchumping.

    • ^^^This.^^^

      It’s the lobster slowly being boiled alive all the while assuming that they deserved it based on a continual devaluation and blameshifting playbook. Being cut free and then being able to redefine your life and assert your boundaries is the best thing that happened but I would’ve rather had a marriage where I felt whole – where it wasn’t a continual assault on the senses…

    • Thank you @Chumpella
      I could have written this. The years of devaluing, manipulation, graslighting, and disrespect are years I will never get back. I did not have the strength, knowledge, and courage to get out of my situation.
      The final betrayal and discard by leaving me with a friend of mine (while insisting that everything was my fault) was helpful for me…
      I now can rebuild a great relationship with my kids and friends. And have a lot to do to undo the damage in myself and heal.

      The best thing that ever happened to me?
      There are so many good things that happened to me.

      Lying, cheating, betrayal, devalueing, discard are not part of the good things that happened to me.
      I see it more as an alcoholic that needed to hit rock bottom before working herself and becoming sober.
      The cheating and discard were my rock bottom. I needed it to see the urgency. I needed it, because I did realize how bad my marriage was and how much I had been hurt and smashed until then.

    • Yes — that soul crushing fog that preceded the discovery of the affair nearly destroyed me. The affair was the ultimate betrayal, but it was a part of a much larger and longer pattern of devaluation and emotional abuse that just got worse and worse over time.

      • CHUMPELLA – yes, the betrayal and public humiliation of how he announced on facebook that he found the “Love of his life”

        -weeks after we had separated after 35 years of marriage (which he had said was a trial separation).

        The wake up call was when he blocked my access to our joint bank account, which he did by having me sign away my rights just after I was hospitalized for a neurological event that left me impaired for months.

        Nice…the DOCTOR betrayed me in every way a husband can betray a wife. And he did it with contempt. Patient endangerment, abandonment, because he left me alone in our home while he flew off to be with the “love of his life.” Totally clueless about how that would make me OR OUR CHILDREN feel (and btw, several of his friends reached out to me then. They were horrified and he has lost them as friends. If I had to guess, I’d bet he blames me for that. But it’s all what he sent out to the world in his “Perfect” photos of his new happy life.)

        There’s zero insight on his end and that is likely a permanent condition. I accept that most days.

        But on his death bed, I suspect the 4 people who loved him the most and for the longest, will not be there. I supposed I still care about karma but one lesson I am learning is that Karma is only going to work if WE make it work on OUR end.

        Improving our lives so that whatever happens in theirs, does not matter. I think that’s meh.

        CHUMPELLA – well said…

        OMG I literally just shook my head. Wow, I think I suffer from PTSD and that’s not an exaggeration.

        I had so much incoming stimuli and pain, that I changed everything I could about my life.

        New career, new country, new language, new people. Doing my best & being brave.

    • Yes, I lived in a 26 year marriage being the best wife I could be, though through the last half, I was lost to myself. When I learned XH was on dating sites, I walked away from the relationship that had sucked the soul out of me. I thought we were working as a team. No, I was only the pit crew for the race car driver egoist.
      It was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it was almost 3 years of true misery, stress, and sleepless nights to close that chapter.
      He gave me the key to open the door and walk out of my golden cage. And I will tell you ,it is a fine day when you close the door and walk away into the sun.

      • This is more aligned with how I feel OC.

        In some very important ways, yes… this is the BEST THING that has happened to me. It wasn’t the easiest, but thanks to my xw, I am a WAY better person and have been freed from the “prison” of never really pleasing her.

        I see friendships in a better/smarter way. I understand the importance of reciprocity and place a higher value on the relationships I hold. I value myself more.

        I was set free. But that is my story and the way it shook down for me.

    • I am sure Notre Dame will be beautifully rebuilt but that doesn’t make the fire any less tragic.

      • 35 years in and it’s as if I don’t exist and he’s only seen one of our 3 adult children, once in almost 3 years.

        I still have moments when I ponder the incredible damage the DOCTOR did. I trusted this man all of my adult life, to cherish and protect and love me/our children.

        Instead he repeatedly and deeply wounded the 4 people who loved him the most and to whom he owed protection and loyalty. But the protector became the hunter, he was the danger, the harmer.

        Now that I see him more realistically, I have come to believe he’s actually not capable of grasping the harm he has done.
        It’s too deep for him (and or too frightening.) He always saw himself as the good guy, and needs admiration.

        Once when we were in marriage counseling, he blurted out that I did not “admire” him the way I had before. (Which can happen when one’s selfishness becomes manifest & visible to all).

        So if there came a moment of clarity in which he really saw how selfish, dishonest and cruel he was, how hurt our kids and I have been, all by him, it would bring him to his knees. Even if I matter not, to know what he has done–

        it would break him. The DOCTOR does not do humility. He does not do remorse. And in all our years of counseling about his obsessive need to make unilateral decisions to move AGAIN, he never said he’d change a thing. Not once.

        What a fool I was, trying to pretzel myself in the pick me dance…for what?

        To stay married to a man he never was.

        SO, to DETOX from the trauma of the past 3 years, I have made a career change to teaching

        and moved to Europe.

        New career, new country and it’s great to crowd out the many memories of trauma and pain that seeped into my DNA,

        with new memories and friends and sights I always wanted to see, and moving where I want to move, when I want to move, living for my own goals.

        I really did spend chunks of my life “waiting” for the pick me dance to be over. Not pursuing my own goals and just hoping to be able to stay on the same path the DOCTOR and I had been on, but which he veered off. Well the pick me dance and marriage are over and I’m on a new path.

        I think that’s what we are supposed to do. It’s all we can do and our children need to see us bounce back, in time. My daughter commented about how much better my life is now that the divorce is over. Possibly implying that it was “all for the best.”

        I told her ” I am resilient and I have recreated a life I enjoy. But that doesn’t mean your father did not betray me or break my heart. He did both. But he has lost so much more than me, whether he knows it or not.”

        I think she gets it. I get it.

    • For some reason, I can’t post a comment, only replies, so I have no idea where this is going to end up, my apologies.
      Exh2/The Evil One moved out first of May. I posted on Facebook that he had left, which prompted my sister to reach out to me – because of TEO’s shitty character and low morals, she broke off contact with me — she couldn’t stand how “stupid” I was for him. She was right. I was a chump and put up with wayyyyy too much for 13 years.
      About five days after he left, he creeped back around offering wreckconciliation. During those couple of weeks, I was in constant contact with my sister. I said something to TEO about talking to her again, and he responded, “Well, see? Maybe me leaving was a good thing for you- it brought your sister back”
      Me: Oh, so I should *thank* you for betraying me and abandoning me?
      TEO: Yeah, more or less.
      Crickets. I couldn’t speak.
      GTFO-day was soon after.

      My healing and recovery journey from his narcissistic abuse has been hard at times, no lie. Hell on Earth.
      Four years later, I’m so much better for the wear. I wouldn’t ever have had the life I have now when I was with TEO, but to thank him? Hello No. Not ever.
      More like acknowledging that his absence has been duly noted with appreciation.
      Such a double-edged sword.
      Oxymoron, maybe?
      Paradox?
      🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

    • Yes a wake up call!! A huge one

      We had been married 10 years before having kids. I was always more than ready to fight my fight and stand my ground. He blameshifted saying that was the reason he went behind my back. Oh that and also because “I made him mad so he wanted to make me mad but never meant to hurt me”

      I learned to control my blow ups for the whole 6 months of wreckconciliation, alas that made him spiral even more into narcissist devalue, but thanks to this website, Tracey’s book and tons of education during our 6 month post DDay separation, I had my mental armor up and knew EXACTLY what was going on and why.

      It hurt that he knew exactly where to punch me (as it was a rough patch and sex was the only way I was able to connect with him there at the end, until that even started getting fishy but never stopped cuz cake to him, desperation to connect from me) but it really DOES make sense that what he said he meant.

      He wanted to make me mad. He needed my negative fuel as his behaviors and attitude in the years prior had extinguished the positive fuel from me.

      Interestingly I HAD tried to leave him pre kids about 8 years in when he had spent the prior couple of years just being an all out jackass. He caught me red handed. Stopped me and love bombed the shit out of me for a few more years.

      Same pattern and I am using this as my get out of jail “free” card. It was a jail I never should have been imprisoned in by the man I trusted the most.

  • Every bad experience leaves us with lessons that are valuable. It doesn’t make up for the hell that you go through. I had a stillborn baby 14 years ago and that shit never gets better. I certainly cherish the “gifts” that the experience bestowed: I can empathise with others going through the pain of stillbirth and help them; I can better appreciate the preciousness of life now that I have two living children; I now live in the knowledge that after you face horror you can be happy again (and that has been weirdly reassuring post-DDay) – but I would still never wish it on my worst enemy. We grow and thrive in spite of our traumas, not because of them. And with infidelity, being thankful for the experience is akin to excusing abuse. I won’t do it.

    But hell yeh. Go live your best life. I’m all for saying to the universe “bring it on”. But don’t thank the bastards. They don’t deserve to be let off the hook.

    • With you all the way SuzyQ. And I’m sorry you lost your darling baby. I know people think I’m being melodramatic when I say the last two years have been the worst (and most traumatic) of my life. Not just the late night call that began it all, to tell me of over a decade of brothels and gay sex clubs. It’s been the slow dawning horror, for me and my 3 sons, that this man we thought we knew and loved is a freaky callous narcissist.

      And the reason some think I’m melodramatic?? Because they know that I watched my three year old daughter die from a head injury, after a football goalpost fell on me, and then her.

      Yeah, I know trauma all right. But in that case there was grief, but no malevolent mindfuckery, no poisoning of memories, no gaslighting, smears, lies, devaluation etc etc … and just plain cruelty. From the person who’d been my best friend and husband for 22 years.

      And yeah I am now one tough old boot. But am not giving kudos for being tough to my cheater. Would make as much sense as thanking the goal post.

      • Oh Mamameh — I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. You have certainly had your share of pain.

        I work with a lady who lost a child and later was chumped. She told me that losing her child was devastating and traumatic but the utter betrayal by her husband matched or superseded that pain. I am saddened that some people have so much to endure.

        Big hugs to you.

      • I completely understand how you feel. I have had 3 miscarriages, lost my FIL after a lung transplant, watched my grandfather pass away, etc….

        The betrayal and discard, the shock of discovering that every single thing the exhole had said or done in our entire relationship and marriage was now questionable, was the worst trauma I have experienced in my life. The person that I thought I knew best in the whole wide world was a con and I was his prey.

        And then, after surviving that hell, the next blow was that I found out that most of my friends and some family were ok with continuing to have him in their lives. That second wave of trauma nearly did me in.

        What makes it so different, to me, is that betrayal from loved ones that have repeatedly told us that they value us and cherish us, attacks our basic sense of safety and reality. If all that they said is untrue, then what can actually be *real*?

          • Same here…that last sentence…still haunts me two years after he dropped the bomb…was anything real? And, if not, how did I not know in the 30 years with him that he was a fraud??? What’s WRONG with ME that I could not see the lies?! And, how does someone who was your best friend for 30 years (and lover and confidant…) walk away and never look back once??? I won’t ever make sense of that personality. And, frankly, I doubt I’ll ever trust my picker again.

        • Kharles,
          Thank you for writing this, ‘What makes it so different, to me, is that betrayal from loved ones that have repeatedly told us that they value us and cherish us, attacks our basic sense of safety and reality. If all that they said is untrue, then what can actually be *real*?’ You hit the nail on the head. After years of abuse by my husband and my last partner, the post-marital separation boyfriend, fellow chump (according to him), who I had thought had been my friend for 30 years and the most virtuous man in the world, left me for his young work subordinate and I discovered that he had been lying to me (and hiding me from the public on social media because he wanted to ‘look’ single) throughout our relationship made me wonder what was real about life, who I could trust, and if anything were sacred. I have decided to stop trying to figure out who and what I can trust and instead just work on being the type of (positive) force I can be with whatever time I have left in this life.

          • RockStarWife,
            My husband, too, left me for his work subordinate who is 20 years his junior. She was not even born when we started dating in college. My ex and I were best friends the entire time we were together. My family used to say we were “connected at the hip”. Yet he told me he was leaving with ice in his veins and I have never laid eyes on him since. He has no feeling for me since he has left. His girlfriend’s mother is only six years older than my ex-husband. He has more in common with her mother than with the young girl. And, instead of her parents being horrified to welcome their daughter’s “boyfriend” who is nearly the same age as them, they have instead posted photos of him and her on vacation with them on their Facebook pages! There was no shaming of my ex-husband for walking away from a 30 year relationship for a girl nearly half his age – not even by her parents! Was there ever a conversation with their daughter about the age difference? Or about how a man leaves a woman after 30 years (while they are building their retirement home)? Or can their daughter trust him not to leave her since he had no problem walking away from a 30 year relationship? Seems as if not! Seems they just welcomed him on the family vacation! That seems to be what this world has become…people who just think, “oh well, everyone gets divorced now-a-days…” and they just move on. Until it happens to them…

            None of my in-laws have ever – once – checked in to see how I am doing. My standard of living was cut in half. He left me with our two dogs but no stipend for their care. I can’t get a job in my degree because I have not worked in that profession for years. I’m looked over for recent college grads. My husband still makes six figures and will probably retire comfortably at 60. But, me, like so many other woman, have been hit very, very hard financially by divorce. And it is never brought up in news programs…it’s only brought up by those of us here sharing that added little nugget of long-lasting, latent betrayal thrown on us by our betrayer…the ones who said, “I’ll always love you, I’ll always take care of you, I’ll always be here for you, I’ll never hurt you…”

            And, to make me question humanity even more…I had a married coworker at my new job hit on me! He came right out and admitted to me that he wanted sex with me on the side! Seriously, dude? WTF?!

            Is there any decency in the world anymore?! Is there any shame?! I honestly don’t trust a soul anymore…

            • Duped,
              He said the same to me. Would always take care of the mother of his children.

              His family never cared to call and ask for the kids when he left us the first time. Nor since I left him for good a month ago. Yet now he needs their help and wants me to have them just swoop on in? No thanks my family has been there for my kids always and will continue to do so for me and the kids.

              I worked at a plant while we were separated and man. Witnessed a married man with the lead tech, then later on a gay dating (hookup) website. All the while complaining about his wife at home with their kids. And it makes me sick.

              Trying to get charmed by someone just like my husband while I was working there, also in a relationship of his own and I’m just like

              WTF

              I was smug and ignorant before all this. Phew really makes me know I need to focus on myself and my boundaries because this stuff is crazy.

              • I agree, Playedlikeafiddle…this stuff is crazy. I really don’t think there are any decent dating candidates out there. And, even if there were, would I trust them?! Probably not. The guy that hit on me at work came across as a really decent guy. Talked about his wife like he loved her. And, maybe he does, but…what wife wants a man that propositions his work partners for sex?! I mean, in my world, that’s cheating. Am I crazy?! If I thought he was a ‘good guy’ and he isn’t, how can I trust myself to pick a dating partner?! I obviously didn’t do so well picking a husband! So have, or don’t have, that going for me! I just feel like giving up on ever loving a man again. (Not that there are not honest men out there…just that I won’t trust myself to believe they are honest because of how I’ve been treated!)

        • Kharless73, your last paragraph cuts to the heart of the trauma of the chump experience. As a child of divorce after my father’s infidelity (he impregnated a co-worker and longtime family friend) I can say that that has been what has screwed with me most, the killing of the sense of safety about our perceptions of the world and the distrust of our own perceptions, because we thought that everything was okay, and underneath it all it turned out it had been the totally opposite.

        • yes yes and YES.

          It’s losing the sense of safety and not being sure of your footing on “reality” that is what really messes with you. That quicksand that is losing faith and trust in people you never thought to wonder about. The cheater, and those who are ok with their broken moral compass.

          Like my very loved and trusted (former) friend … who is actually Very Special and Really Understands him – and now the Love of his Life. They’ve just had their third overseas holiday in under a year. While I, with my Masters degree, am cleaning to bring in some money while being there for my kids. Also traumatised, also lost their sense of safety, after the life and family they thought they had fell over like a plywood stage set.

        • Ginger yes, he wrote a book. About himself – under the cover of a story about grief and loss. The old Dead Daughter story is a gift that keeps on giving for a narc.

          He started his adventures before it was published … and then oblivious chump wifey helped him shop it around. Because it was “all about love triumphing over death” ` right?!

      • MamaMeh,
        I am very sad for your daughter, you, and others who knew and loved your daughter. Thank you for sharing your trials, tribulations, your resilient spirit.

  • (With apologies to my favorite soul singer of all time)

    THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME — music by Gladys Knight, lyrics by Anne Brecht

    I’ve had my share of his cheating ways
    But it’s okay — thank you, R-I-C
    I guess you could say that we’re BOTH happy
    I guess I should say: “Thank you, in-did-el-i-ty”

    If anyone should doubt my true candor
    I was in denial but, now I see
    He is free to chase and fuck and philander
    Cause it’s the best thing that ever happened to me
    Ah, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me

  • I would add (but it’s long as it is) — I realize the paradox, that I never would have any of the blessings I enjoy today if I hadn’t been chumped. Meeting Mr. CL, meeting the wonderful people of CN, creating this place, and all my IRL adventures. Out of the worst things came the BEST things.

    I understand that I could not have one without the other.

    I’m grateful. And I can hold that thought AND the thought that being abused was never okay.

    • No need to justify yourself, CL.

      We can’t predict the different outcomes in life, but it’s possible you might have found your current husband (or another wonderful man) and found a way to use your talents to help people (albeit not about cheating) if your sociopathic ex had been honest before you agreed to marry him or at least ended your marriage in a dignified way.

      Your current success doesn’t justify or diminish your past suffering.

    • This is where I am right now. I have come to a place of joy. I did the work to conquer my demons, my FOO and my fear. I rebuilt and went into debt to do it and found love. While I am grateful for what I have I will never be able to say the infidelity was the best thing that happened to me. It’s bizarrely like asking me to be happy the infidelity diet helped me lose 40 in a few weeks because the emotional poo storm left me unable to eat. Maybe I “looked great” but I’d rather be healthy.

      • AOOK…you and me. I am on the other side and I have a great life and found joy but betrayal by the person I joined with in youth to have a family and give loyalty and support to – his cruelty and blame where there should have been charity and love…that will never be OK.

    • Echo. Echo. Echo. The new life I have now is the best thing that ever happened to me. But it can only be the best because it is the antithesis of what was, and always will be, the worst.

      It’s all in the contrast.

      Meht <— with jazz hands

    • Human beings are “sense-makers.” It brings us a feeling of comfort and security that helps mediate the anxiety of everyday life. So we turn to religion, astrology, or some other meaning-making system in hopes of explaining those things that bring us pain and anxiety. “If I hadn’t done x, y, z, I wouldn’t have married that person, but then I wouldn’t have my kids.” “If I hadn’t forgotten my lunch that day, I wouldn’t have come home at noon and found LadyLiar on Skype getting it on with her AP, and that was the concrete evidence I needed to get the hell out of that relationship.” etc. etc. I believe some things SUCK and happen for no reason at all – just an accidental set of circumstances coming together. For those of us who visit this site, those things happened because another person we trusted was willing to, and capable of, harming us in order to advance their own agenda. We look for reasons because this shit hurts so much, and we are trying to protect ourselves in the future.

    • Chump Lady – I’ve been on your site about 6-1/2 yrs and thankfully I found it as soon as I did. It came up on a ‘midlife crisis’ forum. I’ve read every post since.

      Many people know how much Tracy helped me in my life.

      I know you didn’t choose this job.
      You were in transition and just started a blog after getting kicked off the RIC sites.
      Right there – your life changed, whether you like(d) it or not.
      I know you wanted to give up many times – I was so impressed you started writing a post every day. And, each one enlightening, intelligent, snark and humor and relating to so many people.
      You are also funny and keep our wonderful little safe cave in touch with ‘us’ people.

      I don’t know how Oprah stumbled on her job when she started, or knew where it would lead, and maybe wasn’t planning that at the beginning. I guess you just cannot fight that you have become a Hero to many people here in the world.

      When I met you in Oz, you were such a warm and inspiring person IRL!
      Real Life is really wonderful.

      Thanks for all you do and I’m glad more people are joining PATREON.

      • SheChump, if it is the midlife crisis forum that I am thinking of, the traffic is minimal now. Quoting CL was actually banned on it before she gave up.

        But I met some amazing people on it, and at the time it kept me sane. Unicornnomore and I became friends because of that forum, so I am grateful.

  • Betrayal is never the best thing to happen to someone. Being Madoff’d in close, personal, intimate relationships can destroy your foundation of Self. You were constantly revealing your soft underbelly to a sadistic fucker.

    Choosing resiliency after grieving is how I interpret making “….it the best thing that ever happened to me!!!!”. Nothing is comfortable about reviewing your assets, lining up ducks, burying the dead horse and making yourself move forward. This shit terrifies me. All of the uncertainty terrifies me.

    I invested over 25yrs with a covert asshole. Someone who mirrored ME back to me, and was never committed to having a life partner, children or family. Ironically this idiot who is working on his Brooksian Second Mountain, is the one holding up the legal process by doing nothing or very little. Yeah. This part isn’t fair either. So, I will create the information as I see fit and process manage the shit out of it in order to achieve my resiliency.

    • OverIt, everything you said fits.

      I considered myself resilient surviving my upbringing., believed I was strong. Wanted a better life and raise healthy children with a man who also managed his image through mirroring my values.

      What I believed to be resiliency was tolerance in hindsight. Tolerance for abuse and not recognizing it as such. I’m ashamed to say I did not know he disrespected me until I was told this by a skilled professional at the age of 57. Talk about giving cognitive dissonance an electrical shock, that’s what pushed me past the fear into acceptance. I knew I had to save myself.

    • I so desperately wanted a good marriage that I projected the image of one onto the shit-show that I was in for 26 years.

      I lived in abuse but was manipulated into dancing harder and harder so that I would be so busy proving myself that he could get away with his dark, secret life.

      There are now enough years between my abuse and what I live now that I can look at it objectively. I appreciate the second round chance I got which nowdeadcheater never did. He did NOT redeem himself to me…I look at his life as an absolute tragedy. He was given every component of a fabulous life and he destroyed it.

  • I agree totally with you – if an affair is supposedly ‘good for your marriage’ than two or three affairs (or an orgy) should make it spectacular! Bogie and Bacall! Liz and Dick! Popeye and Olive Oil! Mickey and Minnie!
    Oh what about the months (or years) of lies, deciet and backstabbing? How does that make it better? Do you love her or him more NOW ? Really? More than what? Wait -not before the affair! Please – what – the week before it started? Oh and who was I DURING your affair? A automatical bill payer? A ‘freind’ ? Are you a more honest person now? Are you even real? Really? How did it end? What if you got dumped? Exactly – all these points mean one thing – Brecht and all the screech owls are giant crapola machines – UBT would vapor lock for good!

    • Oh, Tracy. God bless you for sharing Ed Murphy with me. I’m bawling right now, but a good cry. Thankful for reading about Ed.
      I can imagine he was standing behind Mr. CL when you first met him giving you a thumbs up.
      (((((hugs))))

  • Being cheated on was the worst experience in my life. My world as I knew it was gone. Not only was I betrayed by my husband. I was betrayed by my cousin. My husband’s betrayal broke me to the point where I took pills and alcohol. Thankfully for my daughter and Mother they stayed by my side, And oddly enough another cousin helped me through the depression and roller coaster of emotions. She was also a chump. Eventually I stopped crying in my car. And focused on repairing myself.

    Being betrayed taught me not to take things for granted. To trust your gut. My husband was the one who chose to cheat with my willing cousin. I still have those occasional days where I cry for no reason. But, I am so much better off being cheater free.

  • I told my therapist that when I look back I see plenty of times the universe was telling me that my ex was not the person for me. I ignored them and skipped blissfully down the path. The universe sent me more signs and I shook them off, blocked them from memory and kept going. The universe sent more signs and slowly I was becoming aware but was too afraid to do anything. I trudged along the path.
    The universe then hit me with a 2×4 (infidelities and cancer) and said “Wake the f up! You’re on the wrong path!”
    Then life course corrected me back to the same place of employment I started when I married the ex. Kinda like it’s saying, try it this time without a weight holding you down.
    Was betrayal the best this that happened to me? No. But it was the wake up call I needed.

    • Ohmygosh! This!!! Almost word for word is my experience as well. Thank you for helping me put a positive spin on my return to the career I started right out of college! I kept getting stuck seeing it as a “demotion” of sorts but love your perspective.

      • Me too. Raises hand. When I was married, I couldn’t sleep. I was plagued by strong feelings that I and my daughter were in danger and if I fell asleep, I would let go of the ability to protect one or both of us. Now that I am no longer living with a psychopath, I sleep soundly. I like to quote Bob Hoskins from one of my favorite movies “Maid in Manhattan, “Sometimes, life pushes us in a direction that we ought to have found for ourselves.”

  • The stupidest thing I ever did was marry the dickhead but I really didn’t know him so I guess you could say I married the mask. He put me through years of physical, financial and emotional abuse and had me running round putting out fires everywhere while he nipped off to start another one. I asked for a divorce repeatedly because I couldn’t take him any more and he repeatedly refused/threatened/punched. So in a way I agree with Chumpella, his running off with Fat Ankles WAS the best thing that ever happened to me. I got my divorce and got my life back – but it’s a life better than I could EVER have imagined it to be. Schmoopie gets dickhead!

    • For some reason, I can’t post a comment, only replies, so I have no idea where this is going to end up, my apologies.
      Exh2/The Evil One moved out first of May. I posted on Facebook that he had left, which prompted my sister to reach out to me – because of TEO’s shitty character and low morals, she broke off contact with me — she couldn’t stand how “stupid” I was for him. She was right. I was a chump and put up with wayyyyy too much for 13 years.
      About five days after he left, he creeped back around offering wreckconciliation. During those couple of weeks, I was in constant contact with my sister. I said something to TEO about talking to her again, and he responded, “Well, see? Maybe me leaving was a good thing for you- it brought your sister back”
      Me: Oh, so I should *thank* you for betraying me and abandoning me?
      TEO: Yeah, more or less.
      Crickets. I couldn’t speak.
      GTFO-day was soon after.

      My healing and recovery journey from his narcissistic abuse has been hard at times, no lie. Hell on Earth.
      Four years later, I’m so much better for the wear. I wouldn’t ever have had the life I have now when I was with TEO, but to thank him? Hello No. Not ever.
      More like acknowledging that his absence has been duly noted with appreciation.
      Such a double-edged sword.
      Oxymoron, maybe?
      Paradox?
      🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

    • Fat Ankles LOL

      The one that stole my low hanging fruit is Slaggy-Anne Whoreson (So similar to her real name)

      My fellow chump I know calls the OW, Chafing Thighs

      What we do gain is developing our dark senses of humour

  • I understand the point which is that you will eventually conclude that the cheating showed you what a shitty person you were married to and became the catalyst for whatever comes next in your life. It was still the worst thing that ever happened to me. And that includes him perjuring himself to have me arrested for domestic violence.

    • That’s in the cheater playbook. Once the chump is onto them, they need more leverage to keep them in line. Some turn violent, some claim to have been victimized. X did both.

      When he called the police to say I’d abused him, they did not believe him, and refused to arrest me. So he made a citizen’s arrest. When the prosecutor talked to him, he did not believe him either. When the prosecutor talked to me, he had domestic violence advocates there to describe the services they could provide me and the danger they believed I was in. The next time X laid a hand on me, he went to the Pokey and I got a restraining order. They know how to work the system, but the system knows this. I have no doubt that some Olympic-class liars still prevail, but not all of them do.

        • I, too, am part of the target of a DARVO and best defense is a good offense sociopathic manipulator. It’s not just men who get falsely accused of committing crimes. I used to think that spouse A who falsely accused the other spouse, spouse B, did it out of anger at spouse B leaving (probably for another lover). Now I know that that is not true. My husband abused/cheated on me for years, although I was always faithful to him, and then falsely accused me of committing crimes around the time he decided to divorce me and tried to get the Court to block me from seeing our young kids. Years later, he still falsely accuses me and others of committing crimes. Just another half decade until our youngest reaches majority and I can really be free of my abusive ex-husband. Can’t wait to never hear from or of him again. THAT experience, the experience of knowing that I will never again have to interact with him, will be my Shawshank Redemption! Then, 12 years after my husband left me, I will finally throw my divorce party! Part of me hopes that he goes to prison once the youngest reaches majority not because I hate my ex-husband (I really mean this now–I no longer hate him, even though he financially devastated the kids and me and contributed to the destruction of my relationship with my last partner, who, in many ways was the love of my life and who will likely be the last partner of my life as I can’t for the life of me get a ‘real’ date; I just don’t want to deal with him, my ex-husband), but because I think that he is a menace to society and I want society to be protected. Oddly, a small part of me feels a bit sorry for him, even though he made his own bed and now gets to lie in it. His life must be H–l in spite of all the outward trappings as the internal part of his life is a chaotic swirling astronomical storm. I don’t think that he will ever feel happy nor peaceful. I don’t think that I feel very happy or peaceful, but I can appreciate some of the good things in life and my life and realize that in some ways my kids and I are fortunate–just born lucky.

  • It isn’t certainly the best thing that ever happened to me, 21 years married six of them were decent I lived in a foreign country didn’t speak the language at first ,only a few red flags, fast forward moved back to the states with one child and the red flags just started popping everywhere it is always my fault of course you know how you make him cheat , Second child born lots of bargaining , lots of I’ll never do it again and lots of nothing… I initiated divorce got the divorce , after much stalling on his part , got the house but it’s still a slow slog of ups and downs I’m home for Easter break scraping painting, spackling trying to get the house on the market so I can buy one that’s more affordable in case you know he stops paying which you know is always a possibility because they’re so into responsibility and McCheaterpants and my dear daughter off On a scuba adventure. When he found out he had to have a letter to travel with her he went into a rage because of course we have joint custody not! So they’re screaming about lawyers and how could that be we only signed the agreement three years ago guess he’s a slow study. And now he’s withholding contact I can still tracker her on my Google find but it’s not the same as knowing everything is OK ! I’m sure he’s ruining her vacation too…None of them change certainly not for the better and it certainly didn’t make my life more fabulous, better or sparkly for him to have been a serial cheater. But I’m not giving up keep moving forward inch by inch.

  • While the betrayal on every level was the worst thing that ever happened to me, the growth and change that came from it is the best thing that ever happened to me (other than my kids and my dogs, of course). I am a different person now. I believe I am a much healthier person than I would have been if I had stayed with Ex, even without the cheating, etc. You know that saying “hate the sin but not the sinner”? Well I hate that betrayal got me here but I love where I am now. As for the sinner who put me on the path to where I am now… I’m too meh for hate and that’s a good place to be too. He was merely the painful catalyst that started the change.

  • While the betrayal on every level was the worst thing that ever happened to me, the growth and change that came from it is the best thing that ever happened to me (other than my kids and my dogs, of course). I am a different person now. I believe I am a much healthier person than I would have been if I had stayed with Ex, even without the cheating, etc. You know that saying “hate the sin but not the sinner”? Well I hate that betrayal got me here but I love where I am now. As for the sinner who put me on the path to where I am now… I’m too meh for hate and that’s a good place to be too. He was merely the painful catalyst that started the change. I did all the hard work and I get all the credit for my new self and new life.

  • The mindfuck Mondays were the worst. After spending weekends with home slice the guilt would set in and he’d start lovebombing me with all his mindfuckery. It went on for months until I implemented No Contact….which he conveniently filed a restraining order on me after this.
    How I made it: an excellent therapist, amazing inner circle, a damn good attorney (which I had to take a loan for), journalling every day and my determination to live my best life.
    Since “losing” Douchebag McGee, I committed to myself. I travel now, I am not scared of being alone (and actually enjoy the solitude) and have gained new interests and experiences that I never would have done. I’m also in a relationship with someone who I trust…. I did finally fix my picker after a lot of terrible dates.
    I’m 3 years out, it took 2 years of suck and commitment to myself to go through it, not around it. It was hard, and it sucked!
    For those of you who are new to this site, or still trying to work through it, I promise it will get better if you will allow it. Live your new best life.

  • “I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to tell people to thank their oppressors for their resilience.”

    ^^THIS!!^^. Exactly This.

    I’ve likened the Chump in Recovery experience to Losing your house to arson. You may rebuild an even more beautiful house, or move to a better one.
    But that fire doesn’t get credit. We can remodel our “house” if it’s in disrepair. Or move on to another. An asshole with a match forcing that choice amidst devastation is not to be Thanked. Ever.

    Thank God, your parents, the Universe -what/womever- for giving you the strength & resilience to rise from the ashes.

  • I think it’s the interpretation of the phrase, not the phrase itself that matters. I’ve thought the same. I’ve thought finding out about the other woman and putting that man behind me was one of the best things that happened to me.
    Not because of the cheating… I absolutely agree about the pain and the torment. I’m four years out from separating and the man is still trying to torment me and the kids. But because it allowed me to see myself for the first time.
    I grew up with a very oppressive sister that abused me verbally and physically. My dad was all about finding men to marry his daughters off to. So at 19 I married the first guy interested in me thinking it was my one and only shot. I didn’t know what a narcissist was. I didn’t know that some people say one thing with the intention of doing the opposite. At least my parents instilled hard work and honesty in us. I had no idea. And because I already thought so little of myself, it wasn’t to hard for my X to keep the ball rolling.
    I truly believed I was a sorry excuse of a human and didn’t deserve any better. I spent a lot of unhappy years being told I was worthless.
    I was doing the pick me dancing, pleading, begging, crying when the man finally just told me to take the kids and go. So for me, when I picture what my life would have been like had I stayed, compared to what it is now, it was the best decision he made for us.
    I’m free. I got counseling. I can see my worth, and it comes from God, no one else. I handle four kids, a full time job, and a 4.0 in college… all without his help. I discovered myself and am happier than I have ever been. I love my life now.

  • While nothing tastes as good as being free feels, I went through bloody hell emotionally and my losses were physical, mental, financial. I made it and I don’t have to look at his ugly face. But the BEST thing to ever happen to me? Non. It’s like the scene in Braveheart where before cutting his head off they eviscerate him and pull out his intestines. Non

    • I think that letting go was hard, but being free is beautiful!
      Once you get off your knees and start living, life is better
      Believe in yourself. Xo

  • The awful relationships were awful. I shudder when I remember how sick I felt, so often. Never, ever quite good enough. Being one of the Solid Gold Pick Me Dancers. Spackling till I ached all over.

    Being free of them? Priceless.

    I don’t believe any time is wasted. Everything teaches, if you let it. You can even learn things from watching terrible TV shopping channels (‘Chuck Norris is still alive?’)

    I think also that I can only learn the hard way, so I am almost inclined to say it was all worth it.

    However, ZERO of the crap I was dealt by cheaters was justified. That’s all 100% on them.

  • It wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to me. The stress and trauma of betrayal triggered a relapse of a medical condition that permanently damaged a major organ system, shortened my expected lifespan, and resulted in loss of physical and cognitive function. It didn’t disable me, but it impaired me in some ways.

    There isn’t any silver lining to that. I will die younger and never reach my full potential now.

    And all the drivel about rising from the ashes, making the best of the life I have now, learning not to take things for granted, and appreciating what really matters in life is a stack of shit sandwiches being shoved down my throat.

    There wasn’t anything good from this and I refuse to mindfuck myself into believing there was.

  • Since it’s Holy Week, I’ll add this analogy: It’s wonderful that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we could know redemption.

    But that doesn’t justify Judas betraying his dear friend and mentor for a sack of silver. And it certainly doesn’t legitimize the practice corrupt legal systems that allow authorities to trump-up false charges against innocent people who are perceived as political threats.

    • Why is it that nobody ever asked Jesus what he could have done to be a better friend to Judas so Judas wouldn’t betray him? Nobody claims that Jesus should have upped his friend game with Judas so judas wouldn’t feel like he could betray Jesus. Nobody blames Jesus for Judas’s actions. I wish we could react to all betrayals by not victim blaming and instead seeing the betrayer as the one with the problem.

  • Well I certainly hope my ex cheating on me and leaving me for Some stupid slut wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to me. That would make for a pretty lousy life if that was the good part. In fact, I am rather hoping that it will forever be the worst thing that ever happened to me because that will make the rest of my life pretty darn good. I can think of worse things that could happen to me and I really don’t want to have to live through those things. I fully intend to live a good life but it will be in spite of my ex and what he did, not because of it.

    I was lucky in that I pretty much already had a life before DDay (Ex was bothered by that because it meant he wasn’t the center of my universe all of the time) so I just had to go and find it again after ex left. I needed to rearrange a few pieces to fill the hole where ex used to be but things are pretty well patched up now. I have even found a few more pieces fill in the gaps.

  • My ex-wife’s betrayal of me and our children was the sh*ttiest thing that has ever happened to us; infidelity, lies, deception, theft (from the kids and me), emotional abuse – the whole works. I learned one thing though; that you can grow roses in sh*t.

    I have set up a safe home for our children and I, the children are doing pretty well all things considering (no help from ex-wife mind you), I am out of debt (finally) and saving for a house (we currently rent) and the 4 of us (ie kids and I) are happier than we can ever remember being when she still lived with us. Life – all told – is on the glide path to awesome.

    But do I ever think that she should be thanked for any of this? Hell no. She made a monumental mess and I got to clear it up without her help and, quite frequently, with her actively trying to make my job harder. That fact that the kids and I rebuilt our lives in a manner that suited us and us alone was our right; in my mind it was clear that she had opted out on the day we found out.

    To be frank, f*ck her and the broomstick she rode in on.

    • Lol. You are amazing! My three kids and I were equally blindsided but we have worked hard to “get a better life.” X’s timing was crap, our son had just recovered from a traumatic injury and our girls, who had almost died in another accident two weeks after, were just beginning to live again. All three were adolescents at the time, challenging ages developmentally, one in her third year of college and her sibs finishing up high school. Most of my story is posted here in bits and pieces. As for me and mine, our priorities have changed…We value time together, experiences over stuff, and honesty. Two of three graduated college (their father stole their college monies out of savings and failed to contribute to their living expenses once he ran off with Schmoopie. I set up part of my alimony to include an education fund so the money I was going to be paying for the children’s expenses wasn’t going to be taxed, and allowed X to “save face,” a great strategy for dealing with Narcs and MSAs) and are now very vocal about their feelings with their Dad. Family is a priority. Nine years out and we are tight. Their father is like an old uncle, he shows up to the odd celebration every now and then but is not a real part of anyone’s lives anymore. Every year the kids (now all in their twenties) and I choose a new vacation spot and spend a week there together. We are making memories that far surpass the ones in our past, where their father was a whining pain in the ass (leading secret lives does that). I am enjoying my independence, am two years away from building a little house, and with one child left, am looking forward to an empty nest and more free time to do whatever I want. A better life, indeed.

  • I was one of the lucky ones who managed to use the betrayal and ensuing survival mode to springboard into a whole new life for myself. I was jolted out of ennui and quickly found a very well-paying job and an apartment close to work. I strengthened bonds with all of my friends and family. I kept most of the post-discovery weight loss off. I started to dress nicer and feel better about myself. I rediscovered my value in the world.

    But I don’t see it as “the best thing that ever happened to me”. Quite the contrary. This was the hardest mountain I’ve ever climbed. A lot of hard work and an even bigger dose of dumb luck helped to get me to where I’m at today. When the dust has settled, it’s easy to forget that you were in pain every single day throughout it. Wake up with crippling anxiety from the moment your eyes open. Every hour punctuated by some trigger which sends you off on a mental tangent leading to anger or sadness or both. Every minute a struggle just to pay attention to what’s in front of you. It’s easy to rationalize it, like “Maybe this was the boot in the ass I needed to find my best self,” but ya know, I still wish I had the option to have gotten here WITHOUT the devastating betrayal.

    Instead I see her massive betrayal as “the best thing she ever did for me”. She revealed her true self and it gave me the boost I needed to escape her toxicity. There were some happy memories in there, and I will always cherish those, but ultimately, I was still wasting my time with an emotionally abusive user. I would’ve continued wasting my time out of “love” or “loyalty” or whatever else if she hadn’t let the veil slip and I didn’t get to see just how toxic she really was(/is).

  • I just read your story about Ed….and now am bawling my eyes out at work.
    Dangit.
    What a beautiful tribute.
    Thank you for the reminder that good men really do exist…

  • This is always a prickly thing to me.

    On the list of best things that ever happened, being betrayed and discarded is not on that list. I think calling it the “Best thing that ever happened!” is far too easy for the betrayers to take it as license to get off scott free. “See? You should be thanking me!”

    Yeah no.

    I could have learned that my exes were not right for me without being lied to. Or cheated on, or abused, or told that “Well she’s just BETTER…” or have to choose to end a marriage because “how many side partners do you have now?! Who is THAT one?” Or the ptsd…

    I am still here and strong and living my life despite the pain of betrayal and abuse. However I do not think it was necessary to experience those things in order to become who I am. Those experiences were still worse than losing a game of strip poker to Satan himself. I rose up out of that darkness because I HAD to. I had no choice. What was the alternative? I am stronger after these experiences, but what the hell else was I supposed to do?

    That’s my response to that question. “Was it the best thing that ever happened to you because you became stronger?”

    …No. It was horrible. What the hell else was I supposed to do?

    • I know people mean well but I got so tired (and am still tired) of people saying “you’re so strong”. I really don’t mean that to be bad. The only other choice was do nothing or give up which, to be honest, would be so easy to do. I have no children, at the same work place for almost 22 years, have work friends, my mother passed away, and my other family (cousins, aunts, uncles) live an hour away, and my dog died last month.

      With the ex, I had him,my stepdaughter and stepson. When he said he was leaving me, he took them all. I went from having a family to having nothing to hold.

      So her I am trying to find me and trying to look anew at life and its joys. This past year has the worst time of my life. Like you said, what the hell else I supposed to do?

      • Exactly!

        I went from having a social circle and a partner to hold for anniversaries and birthdays and holidays together, to being so alone and isolated that I would sleep for 12 hours and still be exhausted just from the weight of the 24/7 depression. I’d try to talk to others about it and I got “Well you need time to focus on yourself.” Or “You’re one of the strongest people I know! You have to learn to lOve YOuRseElfff.”

        It made me so fucking mad. It wasn’t about me not loving myself. It was about the pain of betrayal.

        My therapist even said my pain was so heavy it was palpable in the air, like walking into a humid room. She said “There’s being independent and having time to yourself and then there’s this. You’re in isolation. You’re TOO alone.” I had been forced into an apartment I couldn’t afford with only a bed and a dresser for furniture (imagine how that feels. In a 720 sq ft apartment and the only furniture in it is your bed and dresser.) I’d just been dumped, and later found out cheated on, and my friends either lived in a different state, or within the city…only two ever came to visit me. In 6 months. …2.

        The last fucking thing I wanted to hear was “be strong” or “you need time to yourself.” No, I needed companionship and someone who would listen. I HAD to get up. I HAD to get out of that. I think laying down and giving up would actually have been harder than pulling through it. Because giving up pretty much puts you in that pain forever. Resigning yourself to misery makes pain your normal. You’ll never be rid of it.

        Getting up and fighting and rebuilding is the only thing you can do if you want it to end. Which is why I hate the “is it the best thing to ever happen” crap. Saying “you’re stronger now!” like there is some other option.

        • Kara ((((hugs)))). Miss Bailey ((((hugs)))). This is my first proper post here.

          I feel you. Along with The Pain, there was no “best” about it. It is survive or die basically.
          22 months ago I was left with nothing and no one. It took me 2-3 months to discover my husband’s “affair” after he just up and left one night with no explanation after 15 and a half years together. So at first I was in shock at the Runaway Factor. He was so far underground with his affair that when I did find out about the OWhore and had an actual D-Day followed by several more) there was a whole new trauma(s) to process. I nearly did die and ended up in a hospital.

          In short, I became utterly isolated from the small community I live in. No in laws, no friends, even my best female (married) friends faded into the background of *busy* It was #awkward for most people. Everyone knew. And they avoided me. The very definition of devastation / isolation. It literally did nearly kill me. And it’s not over yet.

          So fuck the “make it the best thing” “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” “you’re so strong” BS. Recovery from infidelity is not some “become your best you” mission statement. For me personally it has been a hellacious slog for pure survival. Nothing more. Nothing less.

          So yeah. I feel you.

          • I was there. Isolated, alone, in a house x forced into foreclosure, with three teens devastated because x no longer wanted the life he had. In a small town, far away from family, and because x was a peace officer not a lot of close friends. Had met when I was seventeen, 20+years together, three kids, had just finished building our dream home, and low and behold he up and ran away with his racquetball partner. I was beyond devastated, even though I saw the humor pretty quickly too. Right away, I did several things well. I let him go. I focused on me, and told my kids to do the same (to take care of themselves). Lots of advice is here on the older blogs, what to do as you grieve an move forward. And prioritize spending. Kids, yes. Mortgage? No. Focus on what you can control. I knew what I could save and what to toss. My kids and I immediately fell below the poverty level, their colleges financial aid offices were a godsend (those that were cognizant of such circumstances), and we just focused on getting through. Part of that was understanding what our priorities were. Those years were hard but rewarding. Still working towards financial stability. Baby steps, Mouse. Your community, your kindred spirits, are here. Read everything here. Just keep asking for help, and be kind to yourself.

            • Thank you for the kind words … what a mess they leave. It’s freaking unbelievable. I am working towards any sort of stability. And yes, I can see the black humor sometimes too. Like today when my husband starts arguing about some expenses for our family pet. I’m like, dude, really? I broke a very good low contact / grey rock period to give him a serve about that but it was SO worth it 😂

              I’m cringing when I say I was a gold medal winner in all known forms of pick me dancing. Agree it is baby steps now not other dance steps… I’m all out of moves.

              Thank you Drew.

  • Graduating from college, being on my own, having the love of a good mother, buying house of my own, traveling, having a cousin/friend that means the world to me – those are all the best things that have happened to me.

    The Dickhead divorcing me and leaving is probably the best thing he ever did for me but not because he cared that much about me and my happiness. I’m just a product of the process. However, I have choices going forward and he no longer has that control over me.

  • Mac,
    I would give anything to get back 40 years of references.

    I would give anything to arrive at my age with a partner who respects me and built something worthwhile with me, instead of giving me sons disappointed in a vain, selfish, dishonest, failed father.

    From cheater all I got was “I made a mistake and I will always love you”, but who did not do one damn thing in the line of reparation.

    Yes, I am better off without this pile of shit; yes, I am mighty; yes, I am making jazz. But I will forever feel stupid and used and abused.

    Jazz or no jazz, I never wanted to be in that filthy hold on that slave ship, leaving my children behind, no matter how good the land on the other side of the ocean would be for my descendants.

    Being cheater-free is a great thing, but not ever being betrayed is much better.

  • This reasoning reminds me of the daft (and offensive) “logic” used to reconcile the existence of evil with a kind, loving God:

    We are given the “gift” of pain and suffering so that we may know it, recognize the difference between evil and good and thereby be given an opportunity to turn from evil.

    The problem with this is that an excess of evil is not necessary to know what it is as well as to know its opposite, good.

    I need only tap my finger on a hot stove to know what searing pain is. I don’t need my body consumed by flames to choose to avoid it.

    Humanity didn’t need the Holocaust (or choose your horror on a grand scale) to know how to recognize evil and turn from it or fight against it. A good, kind, and omnipotent God only had to let happen a minor evil. We would get the idea and be better humans for it. An enormous evil is not necessary.

    I did not “need” the hellish trauma of betrayal to become a better person. I think I am, and to some extent I can attribute it to what I went through. But I surely did not need it (let alone want it) to know what a good relationship is.

    • Great points. That’s part if the reason I’m agnostic. A loving, omnipotent God would not allow the level of evil that exists in this terrible world.
      When I point that out to theists, they try to claim that Satan is responsible for evil and Satan is also powerful. But if God is truly *omnipotent*, he/she/it would be able to beat Satan. They never have an answer for that one.

      No offence meant to religious folks (it sounds like you aren’t one if them, David), who are entitled to their beliefs. However, I don’t have be deferential to anybody’s beliefs. I think it’s all codswallop and reserve my right to say so.

      • Indeed, Chumperella, I’m an atheist, agnostic… a non-believer. I don’t usually give much thought to the topic these days, but the whole “Pain is good” thing as it related to betrayal reminded me of its theistic application and it has always irked me. It reminds me of the film Shadowlands in which C.S. Lewis (of whom I’m a fan regardless of his theistic views) presents his view of evil: God is like a sculptor, raining blows down upon the unformed stone of humanity in the form of pain and suffering. Each blow hurts immensely, but through pain we slowly take shape as humans. In my opinion, uh, no. I don’t need and never needed that amount of pain to transform me into a good, moral person. Good film, though, with a typically awesome Anthony Hopkins 🙂

  • Agree with everybody here that my husband’s infidelity was one of the worst things that ever happened to me (and our unborn child, as he gave me an STD while I was pregnant). No way to erase or redeem that shit sandwich.

    But I agree with what I think is the source of OP’s point: that for some of us, it kind of *ends up* being the best thing. Why? Because quite simply, I don’t know if I ever would have had the guts or the self-reflection to get myself out of that entirely lopsided relationship (where I was being used financially, used as a housekeeper, used in so many ways with zerrrrroooo effort from him) if it hadn’t been for the infidelity. Like, I don’t think I would have gotten to that point on my own. I would have probably kept absorbing and swallowing all the mistreatment, juggling 94 different plates at home, work, and with the baby just so that he could work a “cool” job for free and then come home and put his feet up, or….not bother to come home at all. I would have kept telling myself, “Just sacrifice sacrifice sacrifice. He’ll appreciate and love me more for it. It’s about serving others, not myself.” While I remained a total doormat. So in some ways I *am* glad it happened and I found out about it, because seriously, the first day of our separation was hard but every. single. day. after that got better and better and better. Building a real life without the sandbag that was my ex weighing me down was so much easier and I’m so glad I got the opportunity for this life.

  • Borrowing from another group of mighty humans:
    “We aren’t responsible for our disease, but we are responsible for our recovery”.
    Holding multiple concepts in my head at the same time is a way to stay out of the weeds. Reducing things to a binary A/B is a form of mindfuckery, in many cases.

  • I’m a breast cancer survivor who has been in remission for years now .. (thank God) When I was fighting the disease I thought this is the worst thing that can happen to someone.
    But when my ex lied, betrayed & abandoned me for a heartless whore I realized that the pain was somehow worse. With the cancer it was fright & thoughts of dying but with the betrayal my “heart” felt like it was ripped from my chest. I guess the worst thing for me was how my life & all I knew was a lie.

    • My story is very similar to yours. Know that you are not alone. And while it may sound strange, I’m glad to know that I’m not alone. We will battle on both fronts and become mighty in the meantime.

  • I’d say that the betrayal is the worst that that’s happened to me AND that I wish it had happened 10 years earlier. I would have gotten a decade back, to make a more authentic life and – possibly – spend with someone who is a true partner and friend.

  • I forgot it was Easter this Sunday. I’ll say that mine was a sort of Holy intervention. Something told me to stay home from church that day. So I did. I found the text. I screamed and confronted him. He pulled out his divorce lawyers card he had shone to me years earlier. Why didn’t I question him on why he would be carrying that card around. So Monday morning I’m separated. He’s giddy. Internet hookups, neighbors, etc.

    I would have never asked for this painful, horrible journey. When the divorce started I felt like I had one foot in hell.

    I was all out of sorts and scared beyond anything I had ever imagined. Betrayed by friends, close family members. He truly threw a bomb in the room and closed the door and was gone. His sick jokes reviled. He enjoyed each pain. I even questioned him on this. Like why didn’t you just leave if you were so unhappy? It would have been kinder. So don’t ask questions because it’s some deep, deep undercover sickness that makes them tick.

    I have no idea who in his mind he is fighting with. I’m a target but I’m not his source.The drs. told me something happened to him when he was small to make him act out like this. Another dr. Told me that men like this were rare. I just looked at him in amazement. Chumplady they are so much alike it’s scary. I would have never been able to source this information and know. It’s common behavior.

    It’s like this secret underworld that nobody ever ask about the chumped. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

    I hope they make this a movie. Everyone needs to see these stories and look twice before marrying. I see 30 years wasted I’ll never get back and tainted memories what should have been one of my greatest happy memories in life. Gone.

    I was weeping about my daughters death. The one year mark is coming up. Her birthday, Mother’s Day. And her death. All back to back. The pain of it. I think back to one year mark on divorce and I got through it. 5 years is coming in this area also. It is the last mark of this time.
    I’m going to close all doors on that and concentrate on forward next 5 years. Post growth it’s called.

    I also got some kind of spiritual message from my dead daughter. It was I’m happy, I love Heaven and she didn’t want me to remember her by her last day.

    29 years ago my beloved grandmother died the day before Easter. So it’s going to be a lot of new growth for me and I feel in some odd way God is directing me to new paths I would have, never could have went had it not been for this divorce. A totally new life with new purpose.

    I hope we can all keep meeting up here in 10 years and talk about our new growth from all this.
    Happy Easter everyone!

    • Beetle, sending you big hugs as the anniversary of your daughter’s death approaches. Watch out for a white feather – it is the symbol of your guardian angel!

      • Thank you. i feel the same way about feathers when I find them. I see it as spiritual.

        My handyman is coming over soon. He’s going to be here two days. I’m finishing out projects on this house. I painted it all super white, I have plants in my house. It looks a lot like an instagrahm picture from all different views and I’ve made a cheap ugly duckling home into a calming paradise.

        I’m taking another big step forward and I know when I remember this Easter I will see lots of new growth. I’m going to use this as my marker every year forward.

        I’m going to say prayers to everyone here and hope on their journey forward they can find their peace. Ive still have a ways to go for this but it is calming me down as I move through this.

        • I’m so sorry about your daughter. I have no words, as I can only imagine the weight of this Worst Thing.

          As for your ex, he used you. He sees humans–even his wife–as objects. It’s so hard to comprehend because your brain doesn’t work that way. It’s like he’s missing one of his senses. He can pretend, he knows the words to get what he wants, but he has no empathy. There’s just this empty, shriveled spot in his heart (or head, probably literally). One day if you don’t already, you will understand this, but not before incredible pain and awesome growth.
          Your home transformation sounds beautiful, reflective of you. <3

          • Thanks Stephanie. I love it. It’s healing and all. My X is just plain out weird. He acted and seemed like a really nice guy. Everyone loved him. His grandmother used to sew some clothes for me. Our grandmothers and all family knew each other for years. I didn’t meet him till I was 23.
            I trusted him more because of the family connection. I just didn’t understand he was disturbed. I never saw it till I found pictures of one daughter with her pants off and him taking pictures. You can truly never know someone.

  • I fully accept that I was content to be what I was; oblivious. I knew he was passive aggressive and ignored me and could be a competitive, jealous and petulant asshole, but he was MY petulant asshole. I knew (know) him better than anyone. I would have been his appliance and lived my life for him until we died, being devalued by him while wiping his ass or doing whatever other care taking was needed in his final decline. But now that won’t happen because he abandoned me and blew up my life.

    I lived for him and was content to do so. Now I have to figure out how to live for me. I don’t want to retire alone but I am scared of figuring out what a decent relationship might even look like. How will I know that I won’t be blown up again? I am certain there is no way of knowing since the fact my X asshat poofed on me while I was on a business trip and sent me an e-mail was not something I could see coming. He lied to me every single day. I have never been valued by a man and have no idea that it is even possible to have someone really (permanently) cherish me. I feel like I am not worthy of it- I mean, I gave absolutely EVERYTHING to that entitled covert narc and it still was not good enough. If everything I am is not good enough, how could me preserving anything for myself come close to adequate with someone else?

    I can’t say it is all for the best. That must sound bizarre and I suppose it was like I was living with a time bomb- it was ticking for 31 years and I didn’t know it. Oblivious. There is zero relief when it finally blew up, just destruction. The fact I can rebuild after the explosion doesn’t mean it was, by any stretch, a great thing.

    Like everything else in life I simply have dealt with it as tenaciously as I put up with the rest of his bullshit. I persist and do things for myself but I wish very often that I could go back to my slumber of oblivion. I am certain that it will take a truly decent guy coming into my life to make me realize anything different.

    BTW, none of this means I would take the X Asshat back. The person I knew died and I am not high on any hopium that he would ever be anything different. A leaky bucket, a lying, cheating coward. Just no.

  • I often tell my friends:
    “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I gotta say, though, some days I’m really sick of lemonade.”
    🙂
    Like most of you, yes, this was the worst thing that happened to me… even more than the death of loved ones. At least I could bury the loved ones and be done… I’d still have all the good memories.
    But, like others, there are still good things that came about afterwards that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
    I got to know which one of my friends were real, and which were just shallow and fake.
    I got to travel the world (hence my name here).
    I got to make a whole slew of new friends, and try new things my ex never would’ve done.

    I can honestly say that I’m happier now than I was before D-Day. Like a lot of you, cheaters tend to be crappy spouses in other ways, not just fidelity. People who cheat have bad character, and the ills from bad character spill out in more than just one way. I’m not having to deal with someone who ignored me to spend time on social media, or who wouldn’t sit with me after the kids went to bed, or otherwise treat me like an appliance.

    I’m glad we had this column today. Sometimes it’s ok to reflect on how bad something is 🙂 .

  • If my life is better after being cheated on and abandoned by a sociopath, the outcome is inconsequential to the cause.

    There have been many years spent sobbing on 2 therapists sofa’s. There’s been 2 anti-depressants. There’s been months where I could get only 2 hours of sleep and then had to awaken again each day to the very same nightmare. There were days I broke down in the grocery store. There were years when it consumed my every fucking thought and conversation. My finances are very different now having to live on one income. There’s been years spent online reading articles about infidelity. There has been about 60 online dates during this time with about a 6 to 1 disordered pervert to decent person ratio.

    I’m almost 6 years out, and my life is good now, but it’s been my hard-work and determination to climb out of the grave my XH and his whore so happily dug for me. There were way too many precious years wasted in grief caused by a passive aggressive, conflict avoidant man-child and his Borderline home-wrecker.

  • Is surviving cancer “the best thing that ever happened to you” ?

    Maybe that experience led to your personal and spiritual growth but it (like all of our ddays and divorces) was a horror that you survived and left pieces of yourself behind.

    In my case, I was always a happy person, an idealist who always believed that people could be great and wonderful. When dday and the divorce happened, besides the Ex betraying me, people that I thought loved me and had my back betrayed me as well. Close friends of decades were either suddenly Switzerland friends or believed my Ex’s lies and said that I was a rotten no good SOB.
    My BIL and SIL whom I had done so much even paid their mortgage for 3 months so they and their kids wouldn’t be on the street when they both lost their jobs turned their backs on me.

    It was horrible and the pain was 10 times worse than shattering my leg when I was a teen or the deaths of family members. Honestly the lies, gas lighting and manipulation that these disordered SOBs do is way less than what most murderers do.

    I survived it and thankfully I found and married a fabulous woman and am happy. But like surviving cancer and having pieces of you cut away to save your life, some of the best pieces of me were lost. As I told my Ex a few years ago, “that sweet loving and trusting guy that you married all of those years ago was murdered by you and your actions and what’s left is the cynical me now who does not and will not EVER trust you.”

  • I’m one of the survivors. I don’t lose sight of the fact that many literally don’t survive infidelity. Like many, I was suicidal after D-Day and was in a very very dark place.

    It took me a long time to crawl out of there. I’m to a point where I don’t much mourn the loss of what I thought I had – the reality is unclear and irrelevant.

    I’m at a point now where I alternate between still wanting to do physical violence to OM – I’m not a violent person – to wanting to shake his hand and thank him for being the catalyst that freed me from Mme YogaPants to feeling sorry for the guy. By all accounts Mme is a very angry woman and as the saying goes “when she’s not happy ain’t nobody else happy”.

    Even though I’m not religious I do agree with a good friend who has said of both of us that God has been very kind. It could be argued that in many ways I got the best years of Mme during the 26 years we were married. Now I’m building a new life, discovering myself and have found a loving, passionate lady who is baffled by all that I put up with over the years.

    I would still give almost anything to not have gone through what I did but having survived and standing on The Far Shore, I see a nice new life stretching out before me only made possible by the pits of filth I had to wade through to get there.

    BT

    • BT, your new lady is probably like my wife who deep down thought that I was exagerating how bad my Ex was and now after seeing her in action for herself, says that she is WORSE than I let on.

      I’m glad that you found someone and can have some happiness after all of the BS Mme YogaPants put you through !

  • I think the Relief, Excitement and JOY of finally being out of a controlling and degrading situation certainly felt like one of the best things that happened to me… lets thank the betrayers for setting the bar so low *slow clap*

    Seeing how mighty I can be after getting knocked down ? Certainly not the worst thing! “This is how it feels to not be degraded on a regular basis?‽ i think i could get used to this!!!”

    Love you and all of the strength you give us to fight. Thank CL and CL nation <3

    • Lol. Love the “*slow clap*”😂. Allergic, There is truth to that frog in water slow to boil and life is nice without all the crap cheaters invariably drag in. To our better days.

  • I just want to say that all of you are so inspiring and I really hope to do a lot of the things you mighty Chumps have done for yourselves. I hope I can pull myself out of this and do the same. I am not quite a year out and still in the getting things to stabilize stage. My daughter is in therapy and doing much better without the narc asshole sucking the life out of both of us. We have plans to make a major move next year that is the hardest thing because it’s too soon to actually make the steps to get there so I feel very stuck in a place I don’t want to be but trying to make that the main focus rather than trying to figure out how my former husband could instantly erase and replace me, he’s already engaged to his Schmoopie. We haven’t even been divorced a year. I know many of you have experienced this as well, they move on so quickly. It makes me really feel like there’s something wrong with me. I am supposed to “be over it by now” and I really am not. 28 years was a long time to be married to the wrong person. No one wants to even talk to me about it anymore. Thank you for being there CL and CN, I would be in such a bad place if it wasn’t for you.

    • Monimoni, most of us have been where you are and frankly no one understands what you are going through unless you have yourself. People (even family members) can’t comprehend the damage that betrayal of that magnitude causes and you can’t just “get over it”. It often takes therapy and years to finally recover.

      You are on your way and My Ex “replaced” me quickly as well and married OM #3 and demanded that my kids call him “Dad”. You have to realize that the disordered do not and can not feel like we do and they are incapable of really loving anyone !

      An example is that my Ex and I had a corgi dog for years and we both “loved” him. After he passed she never shed a tear, never talks about him and was going to throw his ashes in the trash until I took them during the divorce. Me, his ashes are going to be buried with mine when I pass and I mourn him to this day like I do passed family members, I really and truly “loved” him — my Ex (and your Ex) is just not capable of that and just goes through the motions.

      Take it one day at a time and things will get better.

      • Laughing Gator,
        I appreciate your insights that you share with us on this site. I just wonder if your statement, ‘You have to realize that the disordered do not and can not feel like we do and they are incapable of really loving anyone ! always holds true. My last partner, purported friend of 30 years, lied to me (and others before me), invalidated, insulted me, etc. often, while often keeping his eyes open for his next conquest, most recently his young work subordinate, now wife. He seems wildly excited about her. Does this mean that the disordered CAN love someone (other than us chump doormats)? Or does it mean that he wasn’t disordered and I am just a bitter loser? I often think the latter although my gut tells me that deep down inside, he is really messed up, he was awful to me, and I tolerated the horrible treatment (mixed in with a bit of ‘sparkle’) way too long, way longer than anyone who had a self-respecting, self-preserving bone in her body would have. Although I am still more or less walking, talking, and breathing, I feel more or less a shell of a human being, mostly devoid of emotion, even two years after the final departure of my last partner and feel somewhat distrustful of many people, especially men and thoroughly cynical, perhaps like Gerard Butler’s character, whose family is killed, in Law Abiding Citizen. I don’t want to be a cold person, but I have felt like one for two years and feel sad that I might always be this way as I doubt that I’ll ever find a partner with whom to have a mutually loving, happy, healthy long-term relationship. (‘Available’ men I meet are way too young, creepy, dishonest, very unappealing overall (character and physical appearance), quite incompatible or don’t want me, or perhaps anyone my age or older whose kids are still young.) Just existing until I die. I hope that I can soon find a full-time job so that I don’t feel like a complete loser and so that I can support my kids. Hard to feel mighty when you are (permanently?) partnerless, can’t support your family on your own, and spousal support is about to disappear. Sometimes I do wonder if most of my former partners were right–I’m not good enough for them and their current partners are way better than me.

        • The truly disordered don’t and can’t feel anything for others — it is why they are sociopaths. They see other people as objects to get what they want. They feel at best a superficial feeling towards others but in the end the only one they care about is themselves. It is about MY pleasure, MY happiness, MY benefit and f*** anyone else and their needs.
          Remember too that sociopaths are good actors and are very good at simulating emotions but deep down it is all an act so that they can get what they want.

          A really good book to read on this is “The Sociopath Next Door”, it discusses these things in detail.

  • Here’s my take… I was an amazing person BEFORE I met and married a psychopath and lived through 11 years of emotional and sexual abuse. I had a great sense of humor, I managed my household budget successfully, I had a great circle of friends, I travelled, I LIVED. And even though Mr. Sparkles try to dim my light every day… I prevailed. I maintained a semblance of myself (for me and my son).

    My psychopath chose me because of all the GOOD THINGS that made me ME.

    Am I better now for having survived the discard, the abuse, the pain… no. I’m not better for it. I’m better because I dug down deep in to what was already in my character… and I resuscitated her. I think we all did. Surviving something awful doesn’t build character, but finding your inner strength and owning it unashamedly… well, that is just letting your character take front seat. I like to think that whenever Mr. Sparkles was trying to bring me down or take me down I’d recite in my head “No one puts Baby in a corner.” (Dirty Dancing).

    I wouldn’t wish what I survived on my worst enemy. I’m just grateful I found CL and CN to help me survive it and get back to being me.

  • I’m the odd women out. In a nutshell and, yes while it was devastating that he cheated on me, and I cried while walking around in a fog, his cheating was the best thing for me.
    My story is very complicated and complex, but we should of never gotten married in the first place. I got ‘knocked up’ at 39 and he wanted to do the right thing and marry me. We had only dated 7 months prior and felt being ‘older’ we were ready for another relationship.
    There were MANY Red flags that slapped me repeatedly in the face, but did I listen…. ha.. NO. I wanted this child and he offered and I truly thought he was my ‘knight in shining aluminum’ (we were so broke and poor that we couldn’t afford armor)
    3 yrs into the marriage I knew it should never have happened. He lost his job over the course of a 12 year marriage at least 10 times… not kidding. I lost all trust with him, lack of sex(like none as he was impotent) and I was angry as he f’ed up my life over and over again with 2 evictions, no money to pay rent, Bill’s and everything else. Life with him was beyond shitty.
    When his infidelity started showing, I was never looking for it. It would appear on my iPad, in emails and other places. God was knocking on my door, yelling at me to get a clue, to open my eyes to this turd of a husband.
    Finely after doing a 3 yr ‘pick-me-dance’ I said adios mother fucker and in a blindside of plotting for 4 months, as he went off on a weekend ‘fuck session’ with whore #4, I packed up and moved without telling him. When he got home shouting ‘darling I home’ it was echos to a half empty house.
    Fast forward 4 years, and I’m debt free, have a huge savings and enjoying my daughter whom dad has not seen in 2.5 yrs.
    In my case, life is better without the shitshow, cheater that hes become. Would staying with him have been better? I seriously don’t believe it would have. I chose poorly. He couldn’t keep a job, pay Bill’s or do the decent responsible human shit that’s called life. Oh, and Karma was a doll to him and slapped him about 10 times before we were officially divorced.
    Ha, life got better because I wouldnt allow him to rain on my parade.

  • The worst part for me was losing contact with my children.

    Now the rare times I do see them I have to bite my tongue and witness their love and devotion to this scum bag.

    With ANYONE else in this world I can call out a freak as a freak. But I cannot do anything but go along with this ruse….that this human piece of garbage is a ‘nice guy.’

  • Yes, the infidelity and the years of gaslighting were horrible, and in many ways I wish my ex had left the first time he cheated, 13 years before we ended the marriage (lots of lying and gaslighting…)

    However, the one “silver lining” so to speak– if my ex had not been such a lazy, lying, selfish coward by staying for an extra 13 years, I NEVER would have known about the cheating (multiple times).
    I would have taken on the burden of the belief that we “just drifted apart” or whatever BS my ex would have spouted.

  • You know how betrayal was rewarded when practiced on monarchs? With beheading, if you were noble. It went much worse for you and your family if you were a peasant.

    I fail to see why anyone would do such a thing and then insist that it was good for their relationship or another person.

    be·tray·al
    /bəˈtrāəl,bēˈtrāəl/
    noun
    the action of betraying one’s country, a group, or a person; treachery.
    “the betrayal by the king by his daughter”
    synonyms: disloyalty, treachery, perfidy, perfidiousness, bad faith, faithlessness, falseness; duplicity, deception, double-dealing; breach of faith, breach of trust, stab in the back, Judas kiss; double-cross, sellout; trahison des clercs; rarefalse-heartedness, Punic faith
    “a cowardly act of betrayal”
    revelation, disclosure, divulging, giving away, leaking, leak, telling;
    raredivulgation
    “the betrayal of a secret”

    So sure – let’s celebrate resilience DESPITE the original wound. But I’m not going to hold up an act of betrayal as something to celebrate. Or congratulate someone on betraying another person, particularly their spouse.

    Not a fucking chance.

  • I have mixed thoughts on this. The cheating and subsequent divorces were plenty traumatic. And, the financial impact has been incredible. Retirement is a distant fantasy now, after supporting two households for over 25 years.
    But, here are the good parts:
    First and foremost, my XWs were abusive. This was before the internet ( the first XW’s cheating, any way) and I had so many doubts and confusion over what I was experiencing. There was , virtually, no online support for people in relationships with Narcissists. I was completely bewildered by the emotional abuse, if it was real, if I caused it, why it was happening etc.
    But, on some level, I knew how I was being treated was wrong and mean etc.
    The cheating allowed me to get out. It was a bright line, much easier to understand , and to explain to others as the reason I left. Others, including their families, came to me after the divorces and confided that they had seen how I was being treated and they disclosed that my XWs had always been like this. They supported my decision and were happy I was out.
    And, one big benefit going forward, was that I became very knowledgeable about myself and my misguided tolerance for treatment like this. I read and studied the signs of Cluster b personality disorders, and have either gotten away from relationships quickly when the signs appeared in the women I dated or never responded to overtures when they were made from a woman I saw had these signs.
    I was amazed by all the women I met that had histories of cheating and how they seemed to have no real remorse over what they had done. They viewed it as no big deal.
    I also learned of the incredible prevalence of cheaters and vowed to never get involved with anyone with a past that included cheating.
    And, I get a second set of kids from my second marriage, as well as those from my first marriage, that now had a safe haven, my new home, to come to and get away from their moms’ abuse when they had to. So, the cheating and subsequent divorces provided that.
    I worked on myself and my low sense of entitlement. Now, I do not tolerate it.

  • In my old age, I realize the conjunction ‘and’ tends to be more real. People might want to say the injury you suffered was bad BUT made you better. Nope, both are true. The infidelity was unforgivable and I learned a lot. She absolutely is a narcissistic robot and I lived through it.

  • The best thing? I scoff in bitter disbelief.

    I found out my biological mother considers me a duty. My biological father mocked my every interest and endeavor, and at the end told me I am tiresome and unpleasant. Both of them are fine with my ex-sibling having used me alternately for a fidget spinner and cat sitter and then tossing me aside like an old rag. The therapists I went to see validate and excuse them, as do all my other relatives.

    My entire life was a lie that I worked so hard to make real, because I had no clue. I believed in it, I believed in my family, I believed that I had a place. It didn’t matter if I were never rich or famous or anything, because I thought we were family.

    And everyone agrees with them. And with that many data points, I conclude that they are right, that I am just unwanted, just unwant-able. “How can a man say he loves God, whom he has not seen, if he doesn’t love his brother, whom he has seen?” I couldn’t love God, even though religion is the most important thing to my parents, so I tried to love my family. And they used me and lied to me and tossed me aside. And they are all fine with it. They told me so.

    This is the worst thing. The part of me that was alive is already dead, lying in a heap and no one cares. The shell that takes the bus to a job that doesn’t pay a livable wage is just that, a shell.

    You can stitch together a garment that’s been cut to pieces, but the stitching is going to show. The damage will always be there.

    • NotEvenAChumpJustUsed, you were betrayed as badly as any of us were !!

      Realize that even though things suck now, they don’t have to in the future. YOU and only YOU can decide what your future will be ! What you need to do is the same thing that all of us had to do — take every day one at a time and make it the best day that you can and work on improving your situation.
      If you lack an education, you can fix that. Need a better paying job ? Figure out what you want to do and what it would take to get it and then DO IT !

      Therapy would be helpful to help you process things but if you want a happier life, rid yourself of people abusing you and work on making your situation better. It takes time and hard work but you can do it !

      Good Luck !!

    • I used to say that my parents couldn’t have raised a hamster right. Some people are shitty parents, doesn’t make us any the less because of their failings.
      Perhaps you are the scapegoat child? Have you done much reading on the scapegoat/golden child family dynamic?

    • NEACJU, In the fifth grade, my biological father pimped my sister and I out to a random man in a bar for money. At first, I was angry (ah, a sign of worth even then) and once we were returned to his sisters house I attempted to beat up my cousin. I am sure now that no one knew what had occurred as my father was a splendid actor. My second reaction, the minute we arrived home, was that I told my Mom (and Stepdad) that under no circumstances was I ever going to spend another minute of my life with that man. We sat down then and wrote a note telling him we no longer wished to visit. I didn’t know of sexual abuse then but I had clearly understood that my parent was not healthy or safe for me to be around. The lesson here is that family does not always do what is best. When actions consistently communicate they care, yes, these are people you should embrace. People who use you, who belittle your worth, who are unkind, who lack reciprocity, who abuse you, who take vantage of you are not anyone you should be with. Many children are raised in homes much like mine, and it influenced my choice of spouse. I perceived character flaws as normal, known; his disengagement, what I knew and what was comfortable. Many of us grew up with domestic violence, poverty, drug/alcohol abuse, disengaged parents, neglect, narcissism. This is not family. This is Not a reflection of us, or our worth either. We deserve better. Infidelity taught me to embrace only those who lived authentically. Who shared my values. Whose actions let me know who they were. Who valued me, and whose actions showed me that truth. Choosing family, and friends, who care for us (and discarding all disordered others) is the only way to live a better life. “I am not ashamed of the abuse I endured as a child, that is for my abuser, not me.” That goes for Cheaters too.

  • It is nice to read that so many Chumps who’ve gained a life ( or are working on it) can put the betrayal in it’s proper context.
    I’ve always thought, particularly when I hear things like “My husband’s affair was the best thing …”, Bullshit. That’s a mantra of RIC, a resolution to turn the negative of infidelity into a positive, a life & love affirming blessing. The Pick-Me, Mastered.
    For those who leave, yes, it can be a catapult toward a new & better life. When you’re pushed overboard you MUST either sink or swim. It is truly a test.
    But I have a VERY hard time believing people can actually reflect on the pain & betrayal positively. That still-married Chumps don’t still quietly die a little when those memories slip out of their box and off the shelf.
    For those who left, at least we don’t have to stuff those feelings down and this is what I’m glad to see here.
    I’m glad I left. I’m NOT glad that I had to.
    Today is my 55th birthday.
    No matter what I do post-cheater, I can’t turn back the clock. I cannot get back the 27 yrs I devoted toward my ‘forever’. I don’t see how anyone in my shoes can truly believe chumpdom was the best thing. Good riddance, yes. Second chance, yes. But definitely not the best thing.

    • Happy birthday!🎂 You are 100% right. This is somebody who either bought into RIC horseshit or is a shill for the RIC.

      One bright side you might appreciate today; no more pretending to be pleased by lame, thoughtless birthday gifts from your jerk ex. I hope you get some awesome presents and have a great time.

    • Happy Birthday, dear ChumptyDumpty! I hope the next year brings you peace and is filled with joy. We can’t get back what was taken from us, but we don’t have to let that theft define us going forward. Hugs to you, our friend.

    • Your comments are spot-on. Happy birthday! May you enjoy many more in health, honesty, and happiness.

  • Made her a better, stronger, more understanding person? Strengthened her marriage? Reinforced her love for her husband? Their family is better for it? Home life is stabile and an experience she would recommend for others? No. I seriously doubt it.
    Is there one CHUMP here that would say THANK YOU to their cheater for what they did to them and the family? No. I didn’t think so either.
    Does anyone feel that they’ve become stronger form a serious case of food poisoning?

  • Well, sure, if you enjoy being placed into a washing machine on the full spin cycle, yeah, then it is the best thing that every happened to you. Sheesh, I tend to make lemonades out of lemons, but betrayal and its aftermath is not even a good experience, let alone “the best thing that every happened to me”. And it takes years to overcome the tremendous damage. Sorry, a baloney statement to say the least.

    • It reminds me of those RIC clowns who claim your marriage can become better than ever after infidelity. A pox on all of them.

  • I do have to say that “the best thing” to come out of the fuckery that is my ex and his twat is that I am no longer in a relationship with this narcissistic maniac, that my children only have to be with him half the time as opposed to every day, that I have learned to love myself enough to know that I deserve better, that I am no longer being silently judged in my own home, that I can do this on my own and succeed. So while nothing about being cheated on and continuously having that wound opened by the asshole and his twat is the BEST, there has been some good to come out of it. Yes, could I have done without any of it, well of course, but life is about learning lessons and moving on.

  • No, finding out about the betrayal itself, and the years of severe, suicidal depression that preceded it because of emotional abuse, devaluation and discard (not physically, he stayed to torment me), were in no way positive. Nor was the ptsd I developed after dday when I was traumatized anew almost every day for months by finding new, shocking information he had lied about.
    Neither was hearing from my doctor, that if not for the stress he caused me, I might have recovered from a chronic illness I have been battling. Being gifted with carcinogenic HPV is another thing I can’t see in a positive light. He refused to use condoms despite knowing full well that my immune system was in dangerously bad shape at the time he started fucking her. I had very few white blood cells and t-cells left to fight any new infection. I still wonder if he did it because it was a legal way to kill me. With my low immunity, HPV could have rapidly progressed to cancer, which would have then spread like wildfire. Thanks to my brilliant doctor, that hasn’t happened. She has been giving me immune boosters and anti-virals which may have saved my life. I have the pre-cancerous lesions, but so far, no cancer, and my last test showed that against temendous odds I have fought off the HPV itself. 😀
    What I went through was harder than losing several beloved pets, my grandmother and even my dad. My dad died horribly, me holding his hand, and was terminally ill all through the affair. One of the shocks I got after dday was finding out that my scumbag so-called husband didn’t come home to comfort me on that terrible day because he was in a bar having a good time with OW, not stuck at work as he had claimed. Naturally, I only found that out by investigating his activities going back years. Knowing he cared that little about me made me wish I had died, too. I did try to commit suicide because of the ptsd and depression he caused. I am still suicidal 9 months later despite anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication.
    I did get some good things out if it, but they are only material things. He bought me a new house and car in order to prevent me from putting his name and misdeeds all over social media. So at least I have some financial stability.
    The promise not to expose him, btw, has a shelf life because his marriage vows had a shelf life, so why not? As soon as he retires and it can’t affect his job (half that money is mine), I’m exposing the truth about him to all his friends, his family and former coworkers. The OW (who will still be working there) will be named as well.
    Am I bitter? *Now* I am. After he gets what’s coming to him, I probably won’t be. I’m looking forward to being able to sleep at night again, but how do I sleep when I don’t feel I have gotten justice, have to be publically silent about the abuse and let people continue to think he’s a good guy, and in all likelihood, blame me for our breakup? He set the stage by complaining (dishonestly, of course) about me during the affair, so that if he got caught people would think it was my fault.
    I also lost my eldest daughter (also a self-centered, cold person thanks to his toxic influence) when she chose to ally herself with him and didn’t even care that I tried to kill myself. She now refuses to even talk to me because I called her out on her atrocious behavior. That means I lose my grandchildren as well. 😞 He even managed to create a rift with my own extended family. They were all so convinced he’s a great guy because he had deliberately cultivated that belief. However, my youngest daughter knows the truth because she lived with us and has witnessed the abuse, and is a wonderful person. She wants nothing more to do with him. So I have her and my dogs, and that is more than enough. I don’t have any friends and haven’t for a long time, because when you become ill, people don’t want to be around you. So my daughter and CN are my support. Thanks to CL for creating this blog and everyone here for making it a warm and healing place to come.

    As an interesting and slightly eerie aside, about a year before my dad died, in a private moment with my cheater, my dad whispered to him (his voice was lost from the illness that killed him) to ask why he didn’t love me. Another time, before he lost his voice, he pointed out my good qualities and told the cheater he should be happy to have me. Somehow, though stricken with a deadly neuromuscular disorder, he knew before I did. I wish he had told me, but he likely forgot he’d even said those things and had those flashes of insight.

  • Hello everyone!

    I love the no BS approach that is written here, Not only this article but many others I have read since my own D Day back in 2015. This was my third divorce (long story) . This one was particularly painful because the x had an emotional affair with one of my supposed best friends (meanwhile treating me like crap) and SHE ate it up. At the time we were all living together in the same house (as I said long story, but there were six of us at the time sharing housing. We were all ex-cult members trying to start a new life and at the time financial circumstances dictated this particular situation. Not only did I have to deal with his crap, SHE pretended that she didn’t understand that she was coming between us (she had a husband, obviously she wasn’t fulfilled and he didn’t seem to care that she was carrying on with MY husband). I was gaslighted big time. I had had it with her and told her off after several attempts at trying to see that she was disrupting and causing harm to my marriage. Iinstead of sticking up for me, he took HER side and moved out. Well that one died down after a while. Then he got involved in an exit affair with another woman who has NO boundaries, believes that wife is “just a word” and has slept with just about the whole community INCLUDING a father and son. Geeze. So x is slumming it in my book. Whatever. our marriage started out great. I thought at last I had found someone, later in life ( I was in my mid 50’s he was 11 years younger). So I had to start over, now I am on SSI until I get on my feet) I am going to be 70 this year. Learning to be single again, getting used to the idea and quite honestly I am happier (could have done WITHOUT that kind of treatment, I was SO depressed and hurt.)My so called friends showed their true colors.

  • It’s one of the best and worst things to have happened in my life.

    It could have been worse in so many ways. And only I am allowed to come to that conclusion for myself–anyone else who points that out, particularly when I’m still grieving, gets a punch in the stupid mouth, if only figuratively. And, as CL so brilliantly points out regularly, none of us is in the Pain Olympics.

    I figure it’s one of the worst things to have happened to my kids, and yet…humbling. And fuck him and the dimwit twat if they rest on that. Rescue Twat’s life legacy is one of indescribable pain and destruction, whether she sees herself that way or not. Ditto for the ex–until I receive a meaningful apology, he’s a coward.

    But I don’t need an apology. I do an ok job of seeing him for what he is, and steering well enough clear.

    Best things? Permission to exit what had devolved into a sad marriage. Meeting the true love of my life, and the journey with him. Humility. A better understanding of personality disordered people–leaving the naivety of believing that everyone is basically good. Empathy for divorced people. Being more “real.” These are all very good things.

    I would do it all again. I have good memories from my marriage, and best of all things ever and eternally: my beloved children. Even the pain after Dday was exhilarating and motivating. I saw incredible beauty all around me, and became so motivated–maybe it was a self-preserving mania, but, damn, it was exciting AND excruciating. I met fellow chumps and have learned that y’all are freaking beautiful, and smart, and all the good adjectives–way too good for cheaters (they knew it–they’re ALL cowards.)

    Much love to you all–you got this. The path is full of wonder–leaps and back-slides, but certainly not all disastrous. A lot of good comes. It didn’t have to be this way. But you learn that you can count on YOU.

  • No, it certainly wasn’t the best thing that happened to me either. I had to refinance my house to get his name off of it. The house that would have been paid off two years ago will now be paid off when I’m 95. I would be retired by now with a paid off house, I have no idea if and when I will ever retire.
    Apparently I am no longer attractive to men my age as I haven’t had a date in forever although I’m fit and (I think) still pretty. I guess I get to live out the rest of my life alone without a partner. Meanwhile the cheating piece of shit and schmoopie seem to have it all.

    What did I learn from all this? Absolutely nothing except that maybe people are assholes and I think I already knew that. I don’t do half the things I want to do because I don’t want to do them alone. I try as hard as I know how to have a nice life and most the time I succeed but there are a lot of lonely times, who am I kidding? I eat dinner alone every night. I sleep alone. I have tried online dating and OMG, all it did for me is make me put a security system on my house. I never met so many losers in my life. All your cheaters where the schmoopie didn’t work out? Guess where they are?? Yep….on dating sites now. Along with the guys who pissed all their money away and are now looking for a sugar mommy to take care of them.

    • Chumtopia,
      Thanks for more clearly, concisely, and poignantly describing the situation that we both seem to be experiencing. These days, I try to view my solitude as a challenge. I tell myself when I either go out alone or go home alone (again for literally the thousandth time) knowing that my last partner is happily driving home with his young new wife to their pristine house on the hill that this a chance for me to experience life on my own and just experience it without judging it. My challenge is to try to enjoy it, feel satisfied with it, and make it the best it can be.

      I don’t believe that you have to be happy alone before being happy with someone else. (My last partner seems to have lined up his partner while he was with me and told me when he broke up with me the first time, before he met young woman who became his wife?, that he missed being married but wanted to run away from me. My last partner found someone with whom he is deliriously happy while being unhappy ‘alone’ (while with me).) I also don’t believe that adage, ‘You will find someone when you’re not looking.’ Again, my last partner, and many of the posters’ spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends found someone while they WERE looking, (and married/committed). Meanwhile, many of the chumps are still alone (partnerless), not always out of choice. Beside, if this saying were true, then wouldn’t it also be true that if I just stop looking for a job, then a job will find me? or if I just stop trying to make dinner, dinner will come to me? These has never happened to me or virtually anyone else I know. Funny how people who say, ‘Love will find you when you are not looking’ are the ones who almost always are partnered or had very long lasting loyal marriages and who were ‘looking’ or at least hoping for a partner, not the many people who are single. One of my friends who says this to me had posted an ad on a dating website but said she ‘wasn’t looking!’ WTH? Delusional? In denial? I am also tired of hearing, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I used to work with diabetic patients and know several people who have had cancer. The diabetes and cancer did not make them stronger–it made them lose limbs and organs. Finally, the statement, ‘Everything happens for a reason (as if things happening for a reason makes bad things worthwhile).’ Let’s assume for a moment that everything happens for a reason–like little kids get gang raped and then murdered in war. Yeah, this thing happened for a reason–some people are tremendously violent and cruel–that reason doesn’t make things better. Maybe nothing good came of the bad event. I wish that more people would just say that they are sorry that bad things happen or even nothing instead of spewing platitudes. Sometimes, I think that people say these things to make themselves feel better. End of rant.

      I am going to make the best of the situation, whatever it is, and try to keep going for my family. I owe the effort to my family.

      • RSW…If I ever meet the person who coined the phrase ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ I promise I will slap him for both of us.

    • My life too! I don’t date because I seem to be invisible to men, especially ones my age. I do everything alone. I have gotten better at eating out alone, but I still don’t like it. I make myself do some social things but usually end up leaving early. Online dating – I agree with you – made me even less trusting than I already am. So yeah, I will probably live like this the rest of my life. Doesn’t make me particularly happy, but at least I am not being lied to, manipulated or emotionally drained at the end of every day so its an improvement, but it’s very solitary to say the least.

  • I love that this was addressed, CL.

    Personally, a three time chumper here, at the time I thought I would not recover. But, recover I did from being the caretaker of assholes. It took me three times to get the message across that my picker was major fucked up. But for the Other Women, I would still have the asshole caretaker position. On my knees thank you God.

    I am 5 years out from the last DD.

    My walls began to sing immediately when I tossed the last mother fucker out. I forgot about beauty, nature, music, dance. I am now conscience of my surroundings and the people I allow into my life. It was VERY hard work accepting who I was into becoming who I am.

    I wanted easy.

    Easy meant I didn’t have to acknowledge a false existence with a person who did not love or care for me. Comfort in a home that was a tomb. Accepting that joy was for others. Being dead inside was a given. It was as good as it gets.

    I was living in a fog. I was accustomed to the fog. I thought the fog was just part of life.

    The wake up call SAVED MY LIFE of servitude to humans from hell.

    I no longer feel obligated to make them see the joys of life. They can have their hell. Bon appetite.

    I always say this and I mean it with all my NOW open heart and soul. Flowers and chocolates to the OW for making me look inward for happiness instead of outward. For relieving me from the insidious role of trying to make another person happy at expense of family and my well being.

    For forcing me to do things I would have never done before and getting enormous pleasure of job well done…or not. For opening my eyes to life’s incredible goodness that was squashed at every turn with the hellboys.

    For new friends, adventures, honest relationships, openness, delight.

    For stretching myself in ways I never thought possible.

    I don’t regret time spent in hell. I truly would not know heaven. I would not understand black without white.

    The push and pull of life on earth is inevitable. Ask any physic professor.

    I have faith that I would not have had without my hopelessness.

    God is good. All the time. He came into my hell when I looked to him for comfort and gently brought me to an understanding greater than anything I, a mere human, could possibly know.

    Thank you CL and CN. For all the insight and comfort you have brought me through.

    And, thank you for the wonderful people I have personally met through this site.

  • Betrayal for me is betrayal of home. Betrayal of letting one be home.
    Dante places the betrayal of the closest ones in the ninth circle of hell. The coldest place. Icy.
    And it’s not easy for him to describe the bottom of the universe in the language in which one can say “mom” and “dad”.

  • Thank you CL!
    I think I had those words jumbled up inside of me and you took them and made them make sense. I agree with every word. Just call a spade a spade already.

    À friend of mine summarised of the experience :`mandie101, a bad thing has happened to you so you are going to feel bad. You are not mad or depressed. You are just feeling how you are supposed to feel. `

    I remember those words cause it freed me up to just go with the funk till it came to an end.

    Fellow chumps keep going. Feel the feelings and keep going.

    Betrayal was not the best thing that happened to me. It was awful.
    I ended the relationship with the traitor and moved along. What other choice did I have if I wanted to get on to a better place?

  • If I had never met my particular fuckwit,or if I had left him when he cheated on me while we were just going out, then I wouldn’t have my children, which is one of those tricky conundrums. If I had left him after official DD1, when my kids were one and five, then I would be at least $200,000 better off, and I wouldn’t have spent 3 weeks in a psych hospital after another Dday and a nearly successful suicide attempt when my kids were four and eight and old enough to be traumatised by the whole thing. And I got lucky, I had a lot of family support and a psychiatrist who told me I wasn’t crazy, I just needed a divorce, so it could have been worse, but still, it was the defining event of my life and I would rather have had every bone in my body broken. I survived it, and I hope I have drawn enough cheerful squiggles over the scars of my life that people can admire the whole picture and not wince in sympathy, but I’m damaged, my kids are damaged…When time travel is invented I will go back to 2007 and pack my bags for me, strap the kids in the car, and drive myself 10 hours to my parents’ house , I will make myself leave the first time my heart broke.

    • Oooh Moominmamma you captured it.

      “but still, it was the defining event of my life and I would rather have had every bone in my body broken. I survived it, and I hope I have drawn enough cheerful squiggles over the scars of my life that people can admire the whole picture and not wince in sympathy, but I’m damaged, my kids are damaged…When time travel is invented I will go back to 2007 … I will make myself leave the first time my heart broke.”

      To this day, if God Almighty said to me: you have two choices. You can be stabbed almost to death, OR you can be betrayed by the person closest to you. Whats it to be?

      I would say: where is the knife?

  • This is the worst of the positivity movement – “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I have experienced several traumas and they brought me to my knees. I am resilient, I am still standing and moving forward, and I am making the best of what I have left. But, damn it, the damage these things did to me have long-lasting consequences. They negatively affected my health and finances in ways that I cannot fully recover from no matter how hard I work or how much I paste a smile on my face and “soldier on.” If you lose your jointly-owned house to foreclosure after your drug-addicted X runs up credit card debt that you didn’t even know about and dances off into the mountains with his hippie-dippie friends, you still have a foreclosure on YOUR credit report. If your “free love” X gives you “the gift that keeps on giving” in the form of an incurable STD, you have to manage it for the rest of your life, and it affects your ability to have other intimate relationships down the road no matter what attitude you adopt. If your child is suffering from depression, anxiety, disordered eating behavior, etc. because s/he had to move, switch schools, thinks s/he is unlovable and unwanted since his/her own father ghosted him/her, you can’t just adopt a positive attitude and be happy that you are now “free” of Cheater. Betrayal and abuse are NEVER a gift.

  • What doesn’t kill you doesn’t actually make you stronger, each and every time.

    What doesn’t kill you can also leave you with PTSD, debt, unemployment, poor physical health, and permanent psychological damage.

    I have been reading the accounts here, and certainly it’s easier to report better outcomes in retrospect for:

    – People a long way out from D-day
    – People who have really gained a life: found their tribe and their mojo
    – People who didn’t marry/have kids with the cheater
    – People who weren’t together for a really long time

    For people who were in very long term relationships, with kids who have suffered, and who were raped financially, and for whom it’s very fresh, the pain easily outweighs the benefits still.

    You can’t control the length of your marriage, the amount of commitment you gave, or the time out from D-day.

    But what you CAN control is the ‘gaining a life’ factor. This is Chump Nation’s mantra and core belief, and this post and comments really validate it.

    If you focus your efforts on gaining a life, your outcomes will be better. But it also takes time, and you really need to cut yourself a lot of slack and be prepared to take time to heal properly, false starts and all.

    • Excellent Points !!

      I always try to encourage others with my posts and give them hope because years after Dday I found love and happiness.

      That said, I didn’t meet my wife until 4 years after Dday and the divorce (married to cheater for 16 years with 3 kids). Those were the 4 hardest years of my life broke as a joke living in my RV with my cat. I was devastated emotionally and financially and it took years of therapy and healing to get me where I am now.
      My wife was chumped after 12 years of marriage and had been with her Ex since High School. It took her 8 years of therapy and healing to be where she is now.

      I want to give people hope BUT it is a long hard climb out of the pit of misery that our Exes threw us into.

  • Late to the party, but I’ll chime in, as I think this post was inspired by my comment.

    I think some of you misunderstand my point. I’m in no way saying that my ex’s betrayal was part of my divine plan or that it was a good thing. It was a terrible, wounding thing, and I will carry these scars for a long time.

    What I’m saying is that the affair exposed what CL preaches, that chumps spackle, put up with gaslighting, second-guess their instincts and their right to feel how they feel about things. Without the affair, I may never have realized how absurdly codependent I am, how much of my life has involved me twisting myself into knots to be what my ex wanted me to be.

    I’m not saying that this was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m saying I will MAKE it the best thing that ever happened to me. Meaning that I will use this as the flashpoint that forces self-reflection and growth. That I will come through it learning to trust and love myself and my own resilience, that I will stop searching for someone to complete me and instead be fully whole by myself. I won’t waste this moment or wait for the pain to stop, but instead use the pain like a forge for the new, no-bullshit me.

    I didn’t see this post until tonight because I’m road-tripping with my two kids, something I would never have attempted by myself before the affair. I’m still struggling. I still fight suicidal thoughts. I’m still wounded. But I’m healing myself bits at a time, and I refuse to define myself by my victimhood. The affair was something awful that happened to me, but my response is all on me, and I’m going to make the most of it. Your mileage may vary.

    • I’m with you NotToday. The ex cheater’s actions blew up my life. He did it at a time that I thought we would reap the benefits of 27 years of hard work. I did not expect I would have to start over at 47 and he sucks for that; no doubt about it. That said, I’m more than five years out from our divorce and I realize now that I wouldn’t have had the guts to stop spackling and leave if it weren’t for his choice to cheat. Will I thank him for that? No fucking way!!! I am however grateful for the life I have now because his shitty behavior turned out to be a catalyst for me to leave.

      He was a crap partner but I kept making my needs smaller and pretzeling myself to meet his needs. I was in it until death do us part and now I realize that when you get treated like shit, it’s okay to walk away. Life is way too short to put up with people who treat you like an appliance: useful until they get bored.

      While I would never say that his cheating was the best thing that ever happened to me, I will say that I am grateful for the life I have now. Yes, I worked hard to get it and yes I give myself all the credit for what happened after I left but if I am honest with myself and everyone else, it never would have happened without the cheating.

      • Cheaterssuck thank you for that. We have similar stories. I wouldn’t wish this level of gut pain on anyone, but I am at almost two years out and better all the time. I now realize how small I made my needs in that relationship, and how hard I worked to create a good life while he was working harder to destruct it all. Its likely I will look back at all of this and recognize the benefit of having a subsistent relationship blow up in my face. Loyal thing that I am, I would have never left because it wasn’t everything I wanted. I would have just kept shrinking my needs to nothing. Good luck to you, and thanks for the lamp on the road ahead.

        “When you are loyal to someone who isn’t loyal to you, you aren’t loyal to yourself.”

    • Hello NotToday,
      I am so sorry that you fight suicidal thoughts. I have been there and everyone I know who has been betrayed has had fleeting thoughts on suicide. Please don’t let your husband’s actions get you down. Also realize that you need to keep up the emotional fight on behalf of your children. I am sorry for what you have been though.

      • PS- I am sorry for what you have been THROUGH (not though). On the other hand, “I am sorry for what you have been though” sort of makes sense if you did have to twist yourself up into some shape that your ex found acceptable. That takes a terrible toll on a person. The best revenge is living well. May your road trip be part of a new adventure that gets you out into the world and looking up.

  • I equate cheating to a tsunami. When your life has been completely destroyed how can that be the best thing that happened to you?
    Curled up in a ball, your heart bleeding away, don’t know whether it is daylight or night, in a mangled mess, trampled, helpless, cannot imagine this kind of pain, ever! Is it my head, my hands, my heart, my stomach, what kind of pain is this, hurts everywhere, in places I didn’t know could hurt.
    Best thing … seriously?
    I know that it will take a very long time before I recover from the damage! But life goes on, right, and unicorns do exist!

    Today I received a link where the husband committed suicide after finding out his wife had been cheating for more than five years. Breaks my heart every time the chump commits suicide! What happens to the children left behind….?

  • Wow, what a powerful post! Tracy, I am so sorry to hear about your friend, Ed. Hugs. Dealing with the suicide of a friend is terrible. I have known three people during my life that committed suicide: my uncle (who married into the family), a male friend from high school, the adult son of my mom’s friend, and the friend of a next-door neighbor, who was named Ron. The friend of the next-door neighbor, Ron, was living with my neighbors due to longterm depression. Everyone was in their 70’s at the time (including Ron) and he had been their life-long friend. They ended up finishing their daylight basement so that Ron could live there full-time and Ron had lived there since we had moved in. I remember the day I walked over there to ask a question and my 70-year-old neighbor collapsed in my arms. She told me Ron had taken her pistol, shot himself in the garage, and she and her husband found Ron in their garage after they got home from church. It was unbelievable. When the police came, they found a 300+ page journal explaining his suicide. Ron also had failed marriages, but he had also dealt with life-long and treatment resistant depression. Treatment resistant depression is a BEAST and unless someone has experienced it, they will never know how painful it is just to exist. Ron had planned the suicide for many months (according to his journal). My neighbor felt terrible because she didn’t think to lock her pistol up. She thought Ron was on the mend and so did I. I had seen him a couple of days earlier jogging around the neighborhood with a smile on his face. He had a new girlfriend who adored him. Things were looking up… then BAM. It was all written in the suicide journal.

    I think trauma like this changes people who experience it. We have to come to terms with people we knew killing themselves. Life becomes very REAL when these things happen. We don’t have time to float around flirting with others, living life in the shallows, and wondering who we will seduce next. Life becomes very deep and reflective. We don’t have the option of floating around in the metaphorical sunny waters with the narcissists of the world. Our lives are forever changed when we see people we knew and cared for take their lives.

    Of course, I digressed.

    We would never be cheaters even if someone did not take their life. It’s not our character and not how we do life. We will never cheat.

    But, these experiences of seeing the suicide of another stay with us. We become a little more serious and we know things don’t always work out for the best of people while the worst of people float through the world doing just fine.

    Now onto the Bercht material.

    I will admit that when I first started reading affair material, the Bercht books seemed reasonable. But, that was a LONG TIME AGO. Now, the books do NOT seem reasonable at all.

    Everyone has their own way of handling things and I will never fault someone for that. But, I will say that I have been cheated on twice and both were in the context of relationships heading for marriage or newly married, with my ex having done the worst damage. I broke up with the first one who cheated. My ex never admitted to cheating even though his Schmoopie was sleeping in my bed the day after I left the house due to his physical violence. It was a deal-breaker and I would never go back. (Both cheating and violence are deal-breakers). My ex went through a period where he realized Schmoopmie was psycho and made lame attempts to try to pull me into pick-me-dancing. I never took the bait. He ended up getting sucked into the black hole that is Schmoopie and crushed by it. He is now a shell of a person, but clings to Schmoompie. (Not my problem!) However, he and I did NOT have kids. We had a house, a life, and assets, but no kids.

    I don’t know if children would have changed the picture in terms if his cheating. I don’t know if I would have pick-me-danced.

    However, the fact that my ex was willing to become physically violent was the ULTIMATE deal-breaker. I knew from domestic violence studies, there is always more where that came from and it’s best for a woman to cut and run. Plus, it was something I couldn’t tolerate– ever.

    Do I blame women who react to betrayal differently than I did? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Being betrayed is a mind-blowing experience and everyone reacts in their own way. We are all part of the same club that no one wants to join. It’s a terrible club to be in, but thankfully we have each other.

    I think being betrayed can mobilize a person to claw forward until they get the strength to live a good life despite what has happened to them, hence gaining a life and the life they gain is all theirs despite what someone did to them. Some people might discover that their cheater was a giant douchebag and as painful as it was, they might discover at some point they are better off WITHOUT that person. However, the damage can still be incalculable. My hope is that these people can find the pieces that were lost, restore them, and find their best life on their terms.

    Back to the Bercht books.

    The more I read about infidelity, the more I believe the Bercht books are a type of massive, reaction-formation on Anne Bercht’s part. These books also show other betrayed people that they too can work it out with a cheater, if they want to. But, it requires a betrayed spouse to do mental gymnastics to do so and to twist themselves into a mental pretzel. Their books resonate with some, but they no longer resonate with me.

    If Anne got stronger it was because she chose to and not because her husband cheated.

    For anyone who is betrayed, my hope is that they will put the burden entirely on the cheater (and also partially on any Schmoopies who knew the person was married) and I hope the betrayed spouses take none of the burden. After years of research, I keep coming back to the realization that it is impossible to make a person cheat on you. That is ALL them. It’s all about their own flaws, or their lax boundaries, or their internal justifications.

    Look at David Brooks. He and his research assistant have served the mind-fuck of a lifetime to his ex-wife and his children. But, David’s defense mechanisms allow him to see himself as the hero of it all and he gets to write another book about his moralisms when he has no character at all.

    For those who are betrayed, do NOT take any ownership for the poor decisions and poor character for another. You cannot cause someone to cheat. No matter what happens, do not allow yourself to be blamed.
    It’s so difficult to have your heart broken in half. But, it was not because of something you did or did not do. Don’t ever get sucked into the cheater’s criticisms of you — there is NO research to show that we can make someone cheat even if we are crummy people. There is a lot of research to show that people who cheat do so because of flaws inherent within them.

    Big hugs to anyone and everyone who has been betrayed.

    Great post!

  • Well, I wouldn’t wish the infidelity life experience on anyone, but I suppose it is very clarifying. I see these kinds of life events, especially ones where there a moral outrage (rather than parents or partners dying, or some kind of major illness, where it is nobody’s fault) as a turning point. It just tears apart your life from top to bottom, and you can either limp along with the cobbled-together remains of what you once had, or you can step out of the ruins, and head on the next bus out of town and rebuild from scratch. Both are traumatic and incredibly hard to do, but in some ways I assume that the fresh start is more liberating, when, in however many years time you look back on your life and see what you built, from the ground up by yourself. I myself have stayed, and it’s horrible. Three years now and I am still limping along, hoping for better times ahead.

  • I agree 100%! Before infidelity, my greatest trauma was a toss up between the murder of my mother in a mass stabbing incident that made national news (5 years ago, I was 28.) or finding my dad’s suicide note when I was a high school senior (although he didn’t complete the act). The infidelity was WORSE than both of these things. I know that sounds really dramatic to those who haven’t gone through this. I think it may even sound dramatic to other chumps who may not have experienced trauma like murder or suicide, but this literally was the most traumatic thing that happened to me, mostly because I continued to do the pick-me dance and see my oppressor every day. There is some closure after a death, even a traumatic one, but the trauma of infidelity is ongoing, especially if you attempt wreckonciliation. But, as many of us know, the cheater isn’t interested in offering us real change or closure to the failed relationship. Arriving at meh is a journey that takes work. I still haven’t arrived yet but am starting to see glimpses of it on the horizon.

  • Being cheated on by a sociopath is the worst thing that has ever happened to me…period. I’m pretty sure I was clinically depressed for many months post D-day and I still suffer from PTSD as a result of what happened to me. Every time I start to feel like myself and think I’m on the happy road to meh, I find myself waking up and unexpectedly feeling teary all over again. I hate it. I swear, all I want is for this sad shit to end and never rear its ugly head again. I’m so-so-so tired of it. I’m trying to move forward in life and put all this toxicity behind me and I f*cking hate when the doom finds me again. I believe my days will get sunnier, but I never in a million years would have expected the aftermath of a cheater to cause such chaos and destruction in my life. All I can do is try each day and find my gratitude.

  • The end of my marriage/my treatment by my ex was utter trauma and over 6 years later I have not fully recovered. My life, and the lives of my children, are in many ways immeasurably worse and I regret that the separation was as terrible for them (and me) as it was.

    One reason it was so bad is that their dad (seemingly up till that point a loving father) turned on a sixpence into an alien with no time for them and who doesn’t even remember xmas and birthdays (never mind refuses to pay child maintenance). This I cannot forgive.

    The other reason is that I fell apart. It is easy to think that the depth of one’s hurt is testament to the great love one felt. I now think it is more a sign of the extent to which I lost myself in that relationship.

    Since the split I have researched and written a book, Making Peace with Divorce, in which many people I interviewed found they appreciated the opportunities that their divorce offered them, painful though it was. This is how I now feel, too. I am worse off in many ways and regret much about my marriage and divorce, but I have been having therapy which is helping me to understand why I put myself in such a relationship in the first place and thought I was not worth better. These lessons are coming better late than never. Had I remained married to a man who was gaslighting me, I would have become increasingly crazy. My life now has the great advantages that I am growing rather than diminishing in strength and self awareness, and that I am no longer shackled to someone who while claiming to love me, is treating me badly.

  • As always, this is a weird space to live in. I’m thankful for the catalyst events that lead to where I’m at now. But I could have gotten to this place in friendlier ways. Turns out love and support are good ways to help others become better versions of themselves. That we can do the same under the umbrella of trauma is in fact so depressingly and amazingly human. I’m either CL…I’m proud that I rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of my marriage, it’s nice to know how strong I can be, but I wish I had been spared the pain.

  • Funnily enough I think my STBXH jumped to cheating and betrayal because of the best thing that ever happened to me (after my children of course)

    I have always been awkward and a loner. Overweight and insecure. When I became a SAHM I realized I wanted to set a better example for my kids.

    3 years prior to the s**tshow, I actually joined a fitness community, lost about 50 pounds, starting doing personal development and mediation. The works. I was happy and I was happy because I was doing it to be the best mom AND wife.

    If messed with me SO MUCH when he started treating me with contempt. At first the weight loss caused him to be insecure. Then he joined me and lost a significant amount of weight too. Yay, right?

    Apparently he just never tasted the sweet sweet attention from others until “surprise surprise” he was getting noticed. Then when the accusations started against me that I was cheating or wanting to leave him? Again me thinking “poor guy is really insecure that I’m doing this for looks” and I started to disengage from my newfound self.

    That’s when he went in for the kill. Luckily some residual self esteem I had built up remained and I never let him back in our marital home when he was gone one morning after my overnight shift.

    It was an undeniable horrific traumatic experience, but it opened my eyes to why things happened the way they did and who he REALLY was.

    I’m still trying to get back to my health (I’ve gained the weight back from emotional eating, my personal development time taken over by learning about who he is and this whole s**tshow) and have slowly chipped away at the mental block there. That had I not gotten healthier and happier he would’ve been just fine with that.

    What a mind F.

  • My Dad lost his wedding ring in the Fall before he died from colon cancer. He had lost a ton of weight, it was loose, and he thought it was buried somewhere in the flower beds at his church. He died on my birthday a couple of months later.

    Getting ready to sell his house three years later I was cleaning out his garage. I found his wedding ring in his gardening glove. I was so happy and I wanted to share the news. So I took a picture of it and texted it to my wife. She responded back with something akin to “that’s really nice”.

    Two days later …. D-Day and her promise to end it immediately. Then a couple of days later her backtracking from that promise. She had made a connection with him, he was my son’s teacher, and her co-worker. It finally ended about a month later after I had fully succumbed to the life of Chump. I had finally had enough gas-lighting, lies, blaming me, detective work, etc…and brought everything I had to an ultimatum conversation.

    As of today, we’re officially at the one year anniversary of when the texting started. A couple weeks out from the anniversary of my discovery. We’re still together and have made progress on our relationship. I’m really good about expressing my feelings now!

    That being said, this was not the best thing to ever happen to me. Dad’s death was easy to process, even though it was on my birthday. The affair was the worst thing to ever happen to me. Finding Dad’s ring was one of the best. That their tied together is a sore spot to say the least.

  • I lived in a civil war, watched people getting killed, and my parents are nowhere near the Parents of the Century award.

    But being betrayed in a long marriage, after all we had been through and achieved, by someone I loved and ‘thought’ had my back; and the loss of my family structure is the most traumatic thing that will ever happen to me. I was heartbroken.

    Years have gone past, in many ways life is better; but there is always a residual sadness that comes though. Its just one of those things. Now the children have to deal with his utter selfishness and lies.

    Him? skipped through several women and about to marry again. I wish her the best of luck, sadly she is going to need it and she really hasn’t asked the necessary questions. I suspect because she doesn’t want to.

  • Being lied to, gas lighted and cheated by two partners consecutively over the past 4 years annihilated not only my relationships, hopes and dreams, but its impact has been far more insidious on a personal level.

    I lost my confidence and self-esteem, and continue to question my appearance, personality and lovability. Just being able to say to confidently myself, ‘Everything is going to be OK’ has been destroyed.

    I lost my trust in myself and my instincts because how could I have loved someone and been in a relationship that I thought was healthy and AMAZING if the person I was with was cheating on me throughout our time together? It doesn’t make any sense; and therefore I no longer made no sense to myself.

    I have lost my faith and trust in other people, except for my family and friends that were by my side when everything went down. I am much more suspicious and guarded of other’s intentions now than before.

    I am not sure that I can ever be in a relationship again without always keeping an eye out. At the moment, I am completely and utterly exhausted and the idea of being with someone else seems so foreign… BUT if it did happen, I would undoubtedly check their phone every now and then, even though it goes against my own values, because had I checked his phone sooner… I would’ve known a lot sooner.

    I will never trust someone romantically ever again.

    More than that, I feel like I have lost my humanity; the little spark, joy, I always felt towards humans in general has been shot to pieces. Before I assumed the best in other people, but now I assume the worst. I am mindful that there are people out there that have absolutely no empathy, no heart, no love and will just take, take, take.

    When someone tells me that they have been with their boyfriend for 9 years or married to their wife for 20 years, my first thoughts are, ‘Which one of you is lying and cheating on the other?’

    It was NEVER like this for me before the last 4 years of hell.

    So, no, betrayal is NOT the best thing that happened to me.

    • I’m so sorry. I know what you mean. I’ve lived it for years too. One of the main themes here is trust that THEY suck. When someone cheats, it is not because there is something wrong with their partner, it’s because something is wrong within them.
      And you aren’t the only one out there that would NEVER cheat. Give yourself the time you need. Know that there are good people out there, not just takers.

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