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‘I Haven’t Been Happy for a Long Time’

crushThe other week someone asked me to decode, “I haven’t been happy for a long time.” (Also sometimes expressed as “WE haven’t been happy for a long time.”)

It’s trotted out when the chump is looking for an explanation as to why their family life just blew up.

Well DUH. “I haven’t been happy for a long time!”

This statement presupposes a number of things:

A) That the cheater’s happiness is the most important thing (and is a valid answer to the Why Did You Commit This Dreadful Betrayal?)

B) That they’ve silently suffered for a long time and gee whiz, isn’t it time AT LAST! that they experience some true happiness?


C) How could you be so dumb that you never noticed how unhappy they were? Heck, how could you not notice how unhappy YOU were until they pointed it out? (WE haven’t been happy for a long time.)

This sends the chump into apoplexies of self reflection. Well, yes, I am sometimes unhappy, but it passes. Or… hang on, how could I have missed my spouse’s cosmic misery? Apparently it was long and went on for EONS. Am I just that insensitive?

Of course you have no way of challenging this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” statement because you are not in their heads. You have no idea what they feel. So if you say, “BUT YOU LOOKED HAPPY. You had kids with me! We went snorkeling in Barbados! You drank the coffee I brought to you every morning! You said you LOVED your birthday slippers!” the cheater can just say, “Nope. I wasn’t happy.”

But you looked happy. Happy enough anyway.

“No, I was full of sorrow. Every minute. My life was a burden of grief and misery. At night I used to gnaw at the invisible chains that kept me tethered to you.”


So chumps, how are you supposed to interpret this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” crap? Here’s a few ways to look at it:

1.) Take them at their word. Okay, you’ve been a miserable sod for decades. You, cheater, are responsible for addressing the things that make you unhappy and adjusting your life accordingly. While as a loving spouse I want to support you, if your needs are not communicated to me, there is jack shit I can do to help you.

2) Don’t accept responsibility. If the cheater was so unhappy in the marriage, they had ethical ways to go about ending it — beginning with honest conversations, therapy, and divorce lawyers. They could’ve gotten out honestly before they told all their “troubles” to a sympathetic fuckbuddy.

3) They’re bullshitting you. Cake is delicious. They were probably perfectly happy with you and the services you provided — paycheck, child-rearing, air of respectability. It wasn’t until they were busted at D-Day that their Great Unhappiness was revealed. Blameshifting their “unhappiness” on to you is an invitation to do the pick me dance. Oh, you’re unhappy? How can I make you happy? I can control that! I can WIN your happiness! Let me TRY HARDER!

And guess what, they’re probably pulling the same shit on the affair partner. Oh, my marriage makes me so unhappy, but I must stay for the children! I am a noble slave to convention! Woe! And the affair partner goes, I will PROVE to you that I can make you happy! I can control your destiny! I can WIN!

Cake, cake, wonderful cake.

This one ran previously. I’m sure they’re still “unhappy.” Not your problem. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Also, in most cases (including mine) the cheater directly or obliquely indicates that the CAUSE of unhappiness is . . . the chump: Her parenting style, his financial conservatism, her cooking, his nerdiness, her sexual inhibitions, his unspectacular income—all insufferable. “I did this to you?” we ask in shame and horror. All the more reason for the chump to dance like Fred Astaire on Mountain Dew and crack.

    • Yep.

      I said “you’re just leaving our family?!?”

      He said “no, just you.”

      • Yeah, I got that “just you” comment too. And the “I haven’t been happy for years.” I don’t believe it. We were happy before he started visiting hostess bars on his trips abroad and got addicted to a certain kind of fantasy. I was there. We were happy. He had to justify his cheating to himself and the story worked for image control too…….

        Fast forward 4 years, I’m getting really close to Tuesday. My house is exactly how I want it, my friends and job are great, and my kids are doing as well as can be expected after losing their father so unexpectedly (I have 100% custody by his choice while he’s off with 25 year old girlfriend -he’s 52).

        Kids have never been to his place (he moved away almost immediately and my teens were having no part in the every other weekend travel deal). So he comes to my house to celebrate Fathers Day and his birthday. (His idea, what a narc! Hasn’t seen the kids for 2 months -what exactly are they celebrating?) My daughter dutifully makes him his cheesecake and the kids and him go out to dinner and then return to my house for cake (only the food kind!). Yesterday he texts that he’s thinking of me, that going home Sunday was the saddest time of his life, that he misses our family and wants to spend more time with us.

        Hell to the no! I’m not going to lie and say I’m not thrilled that at least for a moment he realized what he’s done and what he lost! But while I’d love for him to spend more time with the kids, I’m busy for the rest of my life. No room for cheaters who broke my heart here. There are many young women looking for viagra using men who seem to have a deep wallet. If OW is losing her shine, find another similar model!

        • Yeah, seeing you having a good life without him just gave him alllll the sads. Can’t you dance a bit more?

        • Mine told me “we don’t have anything in common” … Then attempted to give me “homework” (hey, do another dance for me). He tells me to write down the things I feel we have in common so we can discuss them. No Thank you. I think this is something “they” came up with and he wanted me to play the game too. I wasn’t going and I didn’t do it. As we grow we change so I wasn’t about to HELP him prove to himself that cheating on me was okay

          • Mine also said “we have nothing in common”. I responded, “It’s hard to find things in common with me when you’re focused on another woman”.

            I also got, “We have different priorities”. Yup, that’s true. I believe a monogamous relationship is a priority, he does not.

            • I also got “we have different priorities”. This was shortly before DDay. Now I know what he really meant by that.

              • It never ceases to amaze me how eerily similar these disordered people are.

            • Pfffft! Standard cheaterspeak line of hogwash. A variation of “we have nothing in common” is “we drifted apart”. Adolph uses that stupid line to this day, 11 months later. No, shit for brains, we did not drift apart. Your penis drifted into a whore’s vagina and voila! we were apart. I was completely unaware of this penile drift so there was no “we” involved. When a cheater uses the word “we”, what will follow is invariably a lie.

              • Chumperella, I got “we drifted apart” too. That’s the one he has been telling his family (they like me).

                It’s all the same crap wrapped up in different colored word salad.

            • The idiot was right about that, but not for the reason he thinks. It’s absolutely true that cheaters and chumps have nothing in common. Except for the STD, of course. Other than that, since we are human and they are an alien pod race who merely pass as human beings for public consumption, we’re not even the same species.

          • Those are on the same page in the cheater playbook as ‘we don’t know each other do we’ I think don’t you? Thank god for this site or your head would be mangled with this crap.

          • Mine said, more than once – ‘You married the wrong guy’

            whatever the F that means!

        • Yes, my STBX only gets upset when I say he betrayed and lied to his children (which he did). I believe a lot of this is image management – it’s okay to throw away your wife/husband, people judge a lot more when it is your child. He still only does stuff like dinners out – no responsibility – why would he – “it’s not fun”. He came from a fucked up family and now he has fucked his own up – what an asshole. I am not a perfect wife but I loved him and supported him. If he was truly that unhappy he could have stopped spending all the family money on himself and told us all so we could go find our own happiness – his needs were always paramount. Basically it was never going to be enough. Now that my kids are graduating he doesn’t need me anymore – I was good enough to raise his kids but not good enough for him (I believe I was way too good for him).

          • Mine sent the child psychologist an email, telling her to establish with our daughter that ‘he never lied to his daughter ONLY to the mother chump‘. Psychologist (immediately putting me on cc) gave him this for an answer: When you tell your daughter daddy comes home late at night because he is at the office working, while you are somewhere else having an affair, you are not telling the truth. We call this lying.

            • GermanChump, shake that psychologist’s hand and tell him/her thank you. We hear so much on these boards about terrible, ineffectual therapists. Yours sounds like a breath of fresh air.

            • German Chump,

              Your therapist’s note made me laugh. Simple and straight. No frills. “We call this lying.” That is a line I shall remember.

              Thank you ever so much for sharing.

        • GettingThereSlowly: I could have written every word you wrote— even the timeline is the same- DDay was 12/27/14. GTFO day was 5/20/15.

          Only difference is that after I divorced I moved into a house with my significant other so there’s added bonus of XH cheater (married 25 years) NEVER being welcome in my home. Too bad so sad for him. I gave him so many (too many) “second chances” during the fake wreconciliation and leading up to the divorce trial but he never took the actions I demanded (post nup, year of abstinence and intense therapy for him, polygraphs — thank God! How insane!). He only has himself to blame.

        • I got that awful line, too. Plus, we seemed to be quite happy before he got addicted to the fantasies offered by creepy porn. Same thing. They are all addicted to some fantasy or other and it MUST be met. Reality sucks when your mental and emotional age is two and you have to live in the adult world. God forbid they should have to suffer the agony of not living out their infantile fantasies and experience adult reality.
          They’re nothing but cartoon cut-outs. It’s should be legal to shoot them, as there are no humans involved.
          Just kidding. Kind of.

        • Thank you, GettingThereSlowly, for sharing this. Mine, too, with that 23/51, now 24/52 age split, humiliation along with the lies, gaslighting, $30K to-date that I know of supporting the affair–lots of getaways that I believed were for work–and it all happened seemingly overnight. For months, when they were traveling together, he’d send me selfies in bed and now I know she’d have been right there on the pillow next to him (or worse). I’m 4 months out from DDay. I get it, all of it, but I can hardly believe it.

      • Mine said that exact same too, Unexpectedchumpiness.

        He also said to me, “You are no longer a part of my family.” Nice, hey?

        Oh, and he’s a “Christian”. Also known as a Wolf in Sheeps Clothing/Son of Satan.

        • We didn’t have kids. The relative of mine that he’d been a sort of father figure to for a decade didn’t even register with him. But he sort of knew the cats were part of family? So one day when I was petting them, he made a point of saying, “Look how they love you. They know you’re their family and I’m not!” Said it with an excited smile, like it had just occurred to him how to win at checkers or something only it wasn’t checkers it was my life.

        • “He also said to me, “You are no longer a part of my family.” Nice, hey?”

          I realized a year after the divorce that my ex never ever really considered me a part of his family.

          • CC, that’s really sad and I’m sorry he did that to you/made you feel that way.

            I got booted out the family as soon as I started telling his dirty secrets that I hid for over 20 years. And also when I started standing up to the narcish, son-worshiping MIL. I let her manipulate me and walk all over me for a very long time. When I no longer stayed in line, I got thrown in the trash like I was garbage. MIL said she’d “never accept that woman (the one I caught him cheating on me with) into the family”. Well, I’m sure they are thick as thieves now and of course I’m the bad guy, not her pathological lying, serial cheating, porn addicted masterbating, stripper fucking “perfect and special” son! Good riddance to that family who took great joy in using me to do all the work! After I told her off, it was like a weight was lifted off my back and in all honesty, there’s not one single person I miss in his family. I always felt like I was being used and was of use to them if they needed something or someone to listen to them talk about themselves. As they say, the garbage took itself out!

      • I got that same line, “I’m leaving you, not the kids.” What a bullshit mindfuck!

        • Og gaaaawd, not that. Right, and leaving you would have no effect on the kids. The way they rationalize is infuriatingly stupid and selfish.
          Mine said; “I wasn’t going to leave the family! Just you!”
          What, I’m not family anymore because you got a taste of whoring? Dude, I AM the family. I birthed those kids. I raised them while you played Donkey Kong and read science fiction. You’d have no family without me because you’re so dumb, you couldn’t raise guppies.
          These people have a lot of nerve.

          • “…you’re so dumb, you couldn’t raise guppies” – hahaha, perfect. Best line of the day – still laughing as I type. At least we can summon up a laugh at the antics of these pathetic losers.

            • Laughing at their absurdity helps me, so I figure it must help some of my fellow chumps as well.

      • I also was fed this spectacularly vile line, as he’s packing up his shit and rushing to leave the FAMILY home – not just my home, but the family home, where our 3 children and a dog lived. I actually gave that line a lot of thought at the time. What a waste of head space – time and emotional energy that I can never get back. The phrase ‘serious douchebag’ is too kind for these dim-witted fuckheads.

        • Chumpchange9,

          Get this– The after I pushed forward and said, “but you always said family comes first and now you’re leaving your family?”

          He looked at me like I lost my marbles and said “family does come first, I’m not leaving my family?!?”

          I clarified, “I’m your wife, I AM YOUR FAMILY and you’re leaving me.”

          Then he said “but it’s the best thing for my family!”

          I said “what? it’s best for the kids?” (obviously referring to the rest of the family)

          He said “No, you know, my mom and sister and auntie and uncle”


          (Sister is 33, mother is 65, Auntie and Uncle are in their 50s) They live on the other side of the United States, they loved me as his wife and we did not financially support any of them.

          What in the fuck was he talking about?!? Dude’s lost his mind, and it was literally at this moment that I realized what he was saying was fully insane.

          Once again. WORD SALAD.

          P.S. My cheater couldn’t get out fast enough either.

          • His Auntie and Uncle would somehow benefit from him dumping his family? That’s so insane it’s hilarious. I think he just said it because you had him dead to rights on spouting bullshit, and he couldn’t think up anything better to justify saying it was “best for the family”.

          • Unexpectedchumpiness: Makes zero sense. At least you were smart enough to quickly grasp that your Cheater-boy was completely nuts. It took me a long time to figure out the same about mine. It was shocking to realize that an otherwise extremely intelligent professional man, could say such nonsensical bullshit in his personal life. Bottom line – I mistook his intelligence for character.

            • Chumpchange,

              This was the only conversation that we ever had, six months after he ran away, after I had time to think straight and ask pointed questions. I wish I could say that my brain was functioning well in the beginning (Spoiler alert—it was not).

              And yes, it was literally PTSD shocking to me to see a smart, professional, logical, sparkly, responsible man spout such bullshit.

              And truer words have never been spoken “I mistook his intelligence for character”. Thank you for that.

              I also used to listen to his words and I took them at face value. Silly me.

            • Chumpchange9

              “I mistook his intelligence for character.”

              That made me think of another line..

              “I mistook your silence for intelligence.”

              Nope not intelligence after all. Now I know he was silent because all of his thinking was centered on his withering and wandering 60 year old balls.

      • Mine said those exact words. And then after a “counseling” session with our Pastor also dropped this painful truth bomb, “You just don’t do it for me anymore “. That one took a while to recover from after 18 years ago.

        • Nancy C.

          I love it that so many of us get fed the same lines – takes the uniqueness out of my situation and the fantasy life I was living although at the time I didn’t know it was a fantasy…..30+ years together and he was cheating for most of that time and I was clueless until he finally decided he had to confess. I got told a similar thing but his words were , ‘I want passion in my life’….I about choked on that one as we are both well into our 60’s…..

          He left chasing passion and now I live in peace. Didn’t realize how little peace I had been living in until he left and the dust settled.

          I love recovery and all who post here. Each new thing I learn brings more freedom into my life and I didn’t even know that I hadn’t been free. I thought I was living my dream…

        • From my sad sausage last boyfriend (who I thought was my friend for 30 years and most noble man ever), ‘I want to run away from you!’ and ‘My love for you hasn’t grown.’ interspersed with the occasional ‘I love you.’ I thought, ‘Did you ever truly love me?’ I think I know the answer—-sadly, no. What a mind f—k! To him, I was just an ego stoker, cook, companion (like a concubine who wasn’t paid), bed warmer until he found someone he did love, the young work subordinate who is now his second wife. His responses and lack of responses to me still pain me two years later. I seem to get approached by incompatible and often downright creepy men. I wish that I did not want a decent romantic partner so I wouldn’t feel as though I were really missing out. I often tell myself that, for the most part, I don’t miss him and our relationship—I miss the illusion of him and our relationship. I find myself noticing and being attracted to married men in my female-dominated line of work, but I won’t ‘mate poach’—and no decent, compatible guy has expressed any interest in me for nearly twenty years, so who am I kidding?

      • Holy crap!!! He said the exact thing to me and the kids. “ I left you, not the kids!”

        One of our children is suffering with abandonment issues. Lives is a treatment center. Did not take it well to say the least.

        But I can’t get her therapist to just say he was ****wit and only you can change to manage the situation and feelings for yourself.

        They have now spend 8 months trying to see that the turd is still a ( untangling the poop skein) good man just made a bad decision.

        Yes he made bad decision #1 then #2 and a year later continues to do so
        Visiting days are twice a week and you have only flown out ONCE in the past 13 months since you have been gone to see here? Nope not a good man—-maybe be was a shining Apple before he with through the let’s have an affair and leave the family so I can go live near mama and old girlfriend digestive track.. but he has definitely by been digested and pooped out a turd. Doesn’t even care enough to put sprinkles on it just a turd.
        She is 16 she knows what a turd is STOP making it try and sparkle.

        But best line from the therapist “we have a 100% success rate of children not killing themselves when they complete our program”.

        Now that is same major “mind ****ing”. Going today to have a “conference” basically I will have every treatment word used on me “you don’t trust us” And “it takes trust for us to work in harmony to create a safe environment for her”

        Her “safety is our highest concern” and no is we try x y or z it will not be safe for her…so much bs so much today it is over flowing.

        Just admit he is a turd and realize the Tuesday will come and stop sugar coating her cheating, lying, leaving, money hoarder (whoradar) delinquent paying DAD!

        • I know that some kids are more resilient than others, but I think my adult kids and one teenager are all far more mentally healthy because I talk to them honestly, and do not follow the traditional advice of “not speaking badly of their parent”. When a parent does hurtful things to the entire family, I believe it is emotionally abusive to pretend that it doesn’t hurt. If you admit it hurts, and listen sympathetically when the kids share their pain then I think that is far better than not talking “badly” of the other parent. My kids are doing as well as possible. My STBX is mad that we talk about it. He would prefer to sweep it all under the rug. We are happy. He is unhappy. Go figure. I hope your daughter is able to find happiness despite her crap parent. My advice is to tell her she is great, doesn’t deserve any of this pain, and that you will always love her.

          • Karmmamma

            Glad you wrote this. I have older children too and they were around watching when all of their father’s behavior went full blownwacko. He was mad that I told them the truth about what was happening but, as a child of divorce, there was no way I was going to cover up for him and his shitty behavior.
            One of my children will talk openly and sees clearly what had taken place – from the get go she saw it clearly while I was still in the dark. The other 2 don’t talk about it and my approach has been to let them be the ones to bring it up if they want to. We are all still reeling from wasband’s actions since his behavior changed so drastically – TFC cheater personality type – covert passive aggressive narcissist….

            I Call BS Recently I read in a book about recovering from relationships from narcissists that conventional therapy is not much use because traditional therapists simply do not get it. The author recommended finding someone who knows how to do deprogramming – the stuff people who have been in cults need to recover once they see the light.

            My heart goes out to you and your daughter. Read up and keep educating yourself since you know your daughter better than anyone else on the planet.

          • Totally agree with you! Why not let the kids know that the cheater spouse/parent has deficiencies , issues or is just a crappy, selfish shithead. Once the kids know the cheater parent is the problem there will be far less future therapy bills. The kids won’t feel “less than” and hopefully there will be far less jumping through hoops to please the cheater parent. Narcissists love to make everyone feel like they just don’t measure up.

        • Why not just get her out of that place and find a better therapist? It sounds like the lunatics truly are running the asylum.
          A “good man who just made a mistake” causes his daughter to be sent to treatment for over a year and then only visits her once. Oh please. Tell them to go straight to hell. No competent therapist would think lying to a kid is “treatment”.

        • Hang in there. Trust your gut as you help your daughter through the shitstorm he created. You are strong and wise. We are rooting for you!!!!!!

      • I got told that as well!

        Of course it is BS.

        Turns out he was juggling 3 of us: me, OW and Old Flame.

        When OF popped out of the woodwork 3 years later and the children forced him to tell me, he said ‘our family will continue, albeit in a different form’.


        Now the children tell me I should be thrilled to be free, he is their problem now #FamilyLove

    • I was given the I have not been happy speech. The blame was cast upon me. Later, I discovered communications with her male friends. She told them she never wanted me just used me 20 years prior to get out of a poor home life. The males told her how she DESERVED to be happy. And the message they were sending was they were prepared to assist her if she just would drop her pants. I take her words to them as being closer to the truth. I was used for 20 years as stability and a paycheck. Once the kids were independent, she started pursing the true life she desired. I really never factored in to her life or her plans. None of us really matter to them. Not a any point in our relationships.

      • Wow I am sorry that had to happen to you. It sounds like my stbxh. These single female friends that are “ helping him in this tough time” after him moving out on his family. They want him to be happy! And have fun! You know our spouses, they just deserve to have fun! They deserve to have single opposite sex friends and sow their wild oats.

        Once the kids were up and grown seemed to be the time he could cheat then bail. My son almost graduating from college. My daughter in her freshman year. Told me he’s not helping my daughter with her college. She’s on her own. He said if I want to help her I can, but he’s not. He is such a POS. ( I seem to end all my posts with what an ass he is). I guess I’m realizing what an ass he really truly is)

  • I really liked this one because it shows the cheaters dual personality traits – ‘ I was so unhappy at home so that’s why we should fuck like monkey’s at the Viagra lab’. And at home a different person pretending to be a loving spouse until he or she is caught – it backs up my theory that the person that can walk back in that marital home after a numerous sexscpades is show no guilt are mentally ill. They’re delusional. They’re bogus ‘ justifications ‘ illustrates this in so many ways. It’s scary!

    • Yes all of this Jax

      Fucking work whore in my bed on their lunch breaks and waiting for me in the evenings to make his dinner ! No sign of guilt or shame . Yuk

      • I know exactly my ex Narchole was also pulling that one, pure “FILTH” and with our kids bedrooms on the same floor! I served him divorce papers!

    • Looking back, I think the Dickhead used to be call me on his way home from his trysts and hooker visits. What a sick POS.

      • Mine was talking to me on the phone while traveling about our future while pulling up to her boy toys house!

      • They’re just sick aliens. My ex narc hole threatened me till I left marital home with kids and hid with friends. Next day he moves Facebook drug addicted whore in our house. 2 1/2 years later he’s still in our house with her still sleeping in our bed. They are still using the same sheets and comforter. Gross????????????. They have no character, morals or values.

  • Strange that was his exact words to me. Stunned by it. Now it makes sense.

    • Same here. Those were his exact words as he explained to me that he had found happiness with his younger ho-worker. Ours was a 12 year relationship. He will never be happy. I now live three states away from them.

      • Same here too. And I should make him happy by letting him do what he wants when he wants.

    • My ex claimed #2 only after he was busted by one of his multiple simultaneous affair partners. He proceeded to tell every one we know and our 4 kids that he was miserable for years and “what about his happiness- didn’t that count?”

      It’s the pity channel recording set to loop.
      He probably was miserable and unhappy (secretly) because nothing was enough for this guy and it’s stressful to live a double life.

      What are the chances that 6 years later with multiple failed relationships under his post-divorce belt he’s figured out that he is the common denominator to his unhappiness. I’ll go with 0%…Blameshift blackbelt that he is.

    • Same here. My response to him was, “I wasn’t happy either, but I didn’t go out and have an affair.” Crickets.

      • Good one. Short and sweet.

        My cheater wife tried this (But I already knew from reading that I could expect it!), and I said incredulously, “What?! I’m not to blame for your bad behavior! Holy crap! If I thought about All the times that I could have fooled around when I was dissatisfied somehow? Geez, I guess I could still have had one or two of them still going on the side, right now!”

        It’s stupid.

        I want a chump woman date forum or something, but I totally get what Chumplady says about it. A new hunting ground for people like our exes.

        • Me too, I mean how can I ever be with someone who wasn’t cheated on ? He would never understand my paranoia ????

      • He said and I said this exact same thing. Crickets as well.

      • I agree I wasn’t happy though out our marriage , I didn’t go off and have a affair, I stayed and took care of our family , our home Why do they only think of themselves.

      • I had a similar response, and her rebuttal was, “Well, I’m sorry I’m not perfect!” I was speechless at that. It doesn’t take a perfect person to be faithful.

    • Cheater MadLibs…

      Substitute the word “dishonest/honest” for the word “happy”……

      They use words differently than chumps….

      • ….”dishonest/honest” for “unhappy/happy”….

      • Oh this substitution makes much more sense now. After the cheater told me how unhappy he had been for such a very long time, I went on to say that happiness comes from within, that no one or nothing can make you happy but yourself. He had zero response.

        Then 2 months later around D-Day, I said to him that I hadn’t been happy for a long time either and I didn’t cheat. Even though he accused me if cheating at least two times and then some. I had caught onto him way before this, he just didn’t know it then.

    • Same here. Cheater McGee claimed that we were never in love with each other. He said he married me because he wanted a family, and I married him for the money, so we both got something we wanted, but we never really wanted each other.

      What a load of crap. When I married him, he was totally broke, living in a trashed-out mobile home and in debt. If I was going for his money, I made a terrible decision, as he clearly didn’t have any.

      But that is another of those “impossible to disprove” claims. I can say, “We were in love! Remember the vows? Remember the songs you wrote for me? Remember the babies we had together and the plans we had and the life we built and all the times we said we loved each other?”

      And he can just say, “Nope. We were never really in love.”


      • Carol39, Cheater McGee flipped the roles on you just like mine did. After Dday, my ex said, “I was in this relationship for emotional reasons while you were in it for financial ones”. I said, “You have that flipped.” (SStain owes me almost $90k!)

        • I hear that sort of nonsense from my ex-husband, who drained our accounts, partly to discretely pay prostitutes. He was in debt when I, fully employed and not in debt married him. He claims that he paid for my education—no, the military and various universities paid for it through scholarships and fellowships based on my years of study.

          • They’re truly delusional when it comes to money.
            I couldn’t figure out where my ex’s money was going. How was it possible he couldn’t afford his share of the bills? I now know that hookers, cocaine, gambling, alcohol and affair partners are expensive. Glad he’s gone! Almost 8 months no contact and life is so much better.

    • Bu wa hahahah. That’s my evil laugh on bullshit mitigation.

      Do NOT let these idiots try to spin the betrayal as a WE problem. No way. Squarely articulate to these assholes and their audience why the blame is 100% on the cheater. Because. if they were at all honest about their shit and issues, they would have informed you via an honest, transparent conversation.

      I don’t know if you would be visiting this site if you were emotionally invested in a person who displayed and lived their lives with good character and integrity.

    • From “The Phases and Warning Signs of Relapse” by Terence Gorski….

      “Immature Wish to Be Happy: I have a vague desire “to be happy”’or have “things work out”,
      but I don’t set up any plans to make those things happen. I want to be happy but I have no idea what I can do to make myself happy. I am not willing to work hard or pay the price for the happiness that I want. I start wishing something magical would happen to rescue me from my problems.”

      (Page 11, Phase 5, section 3)

      This booklet is about the relapse process of an alcoholic/addict, but really sounds to me like the premeditation to an affair as well….

      • They think they are doing something about their happiness by having an affair. Our happiness isn’t their problem. It’s on u to figure out how to make ourselves happy while they are checking out and we have no idea what the heck is going on.

        • I actually think that cheaters cannot be happy ….they rely on outside stuff trying to make themselves happy ….where as us chumps mostly are just happy people by nature …..i know that i m pretty easy pleased and have a sunny nature …..people commented often how my ex was a bit of a “stick in the mud “….i hadnt actually noticed it ….possibly projection on my behalf..because i can clearly see it now in hindsight …and i am glad to be free of him

          • Yes, they think they are doing something about their happiness but they aren’t really. It’s just a temporary high.

            • My STBX said all that – ‘I haven’t been happy in a long time’ (really, we have two children under 6?), ‘I’m not sure we were every right for each other’ (and it took you 20yr to see this?). And the kicker – before DDay when I was in blissful ignorance – he said to me that I need to start taking responsibility for my own happiness (when I said to him I needed to go get a coffee). Translation: I’m taking responsibility for my own happiness with my ho-worker.

              It’s all blame, blame, blame. Funny that it only came out after I found out about the affair. I think others are right – cheaters will never be happy because they are not happy with themselves.

              • I have learned that it is one finger pointing at us while three point back at themselves. In other words, I not see that anything the wasband said about me was actually a statement about himself. ‘CheaterSpeak’

      • VHammer

        Yes, just like in AA recovery. Other quotes include ‘Want the results of recovery without doing the work’.

        Or the lines in the Big Book – restless, discontent and irritable – no shit Sherlock. I remind myself that the BB was written when those guys had about 2 years of recovery and their good old leader, Bill W. was a flagrant 13 stepper and little old Lois was certainly a Chump extortioner. Bill never worked after getting sober…..that left good old Lois paying the bills. A different era then and she didn’t have the options we had today but I still do wonder why on earth she put up with his BS.

        I digress.

        I have learned a new name now for the ‘ism’ in alcoholism….when the alcohol is taken out if the ‘ism’ isn’t treated you still have narcissism to deal with and all the other disordered behaviors that accompany that. For the sober alcoholic that was in my life that included $$$ issues, sex addiction, technology addiction, food, work….and I was clueless until I found CL. Put a whole new twist on understanding the alcoholic personality.

        • Elderly Chump don’t get my gay marxist male therapist started on good old Lois and her masochism!!

          • Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

            I just wish she had CL and CN back then. She did disregard the chapter to the wives in the BB as the backbone for al-anon. Just what al-anon needed – the disordered person telling the spouses how to treat them….yes Bill wrote the thing vs asking Lois to do it….He let he do everything else for him but clearly didn’t want her thinking for herself and her recovery.

            Luckily today al-anon has updated literature and it continues to be refined as more and more is learned about addiction and its effects. Change is slow though but there are those of us who keep pushing the envelope to broaden the umbrella about alcoholic behavior – drinking or as dry drunks. A lot of really smart young people coming through the doors to and they are not as naive as we older ones were when we first found al-anon.

      • VelvetHammer, so helpful and spot on. I hear many from things from my STBXH that could be easily the voice of an addict and/or alcoholic.

        • There is a clear link between narcissism and dependency.

          1. its easy to have a relationship with a bottle. Bottles etc don’t have needs. (quote from IC)

          2. something has to fill up the empty hole and the boredom

          3. therapists have noted the remarkable similiarity of children of narcissists, and children of acoholics.

          • Patsy,

            Alcohol’ism’…..narciss’ism’. If the ‘ism’ isn’t addressed all you have once an alcoholic has stopped drinking is a dry drunk. IE someone who wants the results of the program without doing anything….another description of entitlement….

            Yes, indeed there is a marked similarity. Al-anon is filled with people whose lives have been trashed by blame shifting and gas lighting. The alcohol/narcissist may never recover but the victims can and do.

  • When spoken by our cheaters, “I haven’t been happy in a long time” comes with an implicit “. . . and because you are a major cause of that unhappiness, you have an outsized responsibility for alleviating it.”

  • It made no sense. We struggled s lot the first 7 or so years of marriage. He worked midnights. We lived in a 60 year old house that leaked.
    Fast forward another 7 years, we had moved, built a new life, he had positions and promotions, and more than he ever had. We had our 4th child.
    But then the running around started. When he said goodbye after helping me move away, I begged him to get help and fix things. His response: But nothing will change, and I haven’t been happy in at least seven years.

    I don’t think he’s capable of being truly happy.

    • And this one reason why the chumps who were that the cheater will be “happy” with the OW are looking at things the wrong way.

      “I haven’t been happy in a long time” just means that, unknown to the chump, the cheater had moved into the “devaluation” phase, in which the chump can do nothing right anyway. It’s a rigged game to be involved with someone who can’t make honest commitment.

      • We’ve glorified “being happy” in this society. It has trumped and nullified commitment, loyalty and doing right by your children. It makes it easy to say “I’m not happy” because society believes being happy is the be all end all of life. Happiness comes from being content with what you have, or changing it if you don’t in a noble way. It is not usually something external that needs to be changed, but something internal to make us “happy.”

        • ^^^Yes. The whole concept of “happiness” has actually become a trigger for me, in part because its definition is so vague. In First World countries, I think it’s a symptom of late stage capitalism, in which we’re used to getting our basic needs met almost all the time, so people move up Maslow’s triangle toward self-actualization and feel bereft if they’re not totally “happy” most of the time. Craig Malkin’s definition of narcissism is the inability to turn toward others in vulnerability, and instead seeking to feel special like a drug to soothe oneself. I think many, many people in modern America at least are looking for this magic elixir that doesn’t require hard work amanda integrity: could be alcohol, could be drugs, could be affairs, could be gambling. And then the rest of us who show up and do the work are maligned as not carefree enough to be truly “happy.”

          • LezChump,
            Yes, I agree here and it is an age old truth in any culture throughout history. Self-will run riot. I can see it happening on a personal level with people like the X wherein nothing makes him happy and I see it on the bigger scale in our culture….as a country we have everything and still want more….nobody stopping to take a look at what we do have or to question the very notion of happiness itself as being an ‘outside’ issue. Indeed if things could make us happy then why aren’t we happy when we have so much. Obviously something is very wrong here.

            If OW could make him happy then why isn’t he happy now? If a new job could make him happy then why isn’t that making him happy now? If a new tech toy could make him happy, then why isn’t it making him happy now?

            Happiness is fleeting, the more one chases it the more elusive it remains.

            Methinks joy is more deeply rooted in our hearts and souls. The mere joy of waking up to a new day and being able to go about my daily routine taking note of all the little things that come my way and the ability to give thanks for what I do have. For what does remain now that wasband is out of my life. That is HUGE.

            • I like your ‘taking note of little things that come your way’, EC. Seeing an eel in our local river, noticing birdsong at dusk, spotting someone with a particularly amazing hairstyle, looling at clouds. All these things made me happy yesterday. It’s the key to life I think, looking for “the magic of what happens”. Long may we have that joy in life! X

        • Yes! NJSC, Yes! No where, in life or in book or in theory, has any spirit or being declared all are entitled to a lifetime of happiness. Marriage vows clearly state for better or worse. Some people’s worse involves cruelty, depravity, evil, or silence and abandonment. But, when someone says they haven’t been “happy” in a long time, either a) they are a true martyr – putting up with the injustice in hopes of becoming a saint; or b) they have days, as everyone does, when they wish for more, or want more, or think life owes them something else. Those days come and go – and happen to all of us. But, most don’t give up on those closest to them in the hope of more because they know that’s just selfish, unrealistic, vain, or childish. It’s like this idea of “happiness is owed to me” has overtaken society as a whole. What’s forgotten is vows, promises, obligation, love, and life – full of it’s ups and downs – sorrows and joys – good times and bad. Marriage has lost it’s meaning to “happiness” and all the selfish runaways that strive to find it instead of having it grow within.

          It’s been five years since my ex left with no explanation other than “we haven’t been happy in years”. This was unknown to me – we sure seemed happy. Last night I stupidly asked him by email what I had ever done to deserve his abandonment and cruelty. Thirty years together – and five apart – and he still could not supply me with any justification. Just crickets… How can someone do that? Oh, I know, I guess they found happiness.

    • He really means I don’t want to. Too much work. Greener grass, etc.
      That’s when we realize they are shallow and useless.
      Sometimes I’m glad for these obvious flaws. It makes it easier to believe the person I was with for 24 years truly does suck now.

      • Shallow and useless. Sums it up pretty well! (So hard to even imagine being like them because of how most of us are!) I still lose my breath a bit from how spot on these posts are!

      • So true. My STBX said to me that it was too hard with me. He had ‘nothing left to give’. And he had plenty to give to schmoopie!? She was easy (more ways than one) because she offered easy kibbles and he didn’t have to do anything.

        • I got a version of “too hard”. The ex told me “it got complicated”. Boo hoo. Poor sad sausage, had to move on to uncomplicated shmoopie. I’m betting he’ll treat her as well as he treated me and he’ll find himself in yet another complication.

    • I moved from Switzerland which I loved (and great job) to DC for him cos that’s where he wanted to go. I got a job at the World Bank then 2 years later he insisted we move to Pittsburgh (to be nearer mommy) so that “Attie can be happy”! Two years later he still wasn’t happy so when I was offered a chance to take back my old job in Switzerland he jumped at the chance (me too of course)! Five years later he wanted to move to Montana to build a log cabin! I told him there was no way I was giving up another good job so that he could follow another of his “5 minute dreams” but if he wanted to go out there, get the great job with all the wonderful expat benefits that I had then I would consider it! Needless to say that didn’t happen. I mean seriously how COULD I expect him to be responsible for his own happiness! Yeah I know, I’m a bitch like that. He was supposed to snap his fingers and Attie was supposed to make it happen. How ya liking it now duck head?

  • My cheater pulled this one. I wanted to be a good example to my daughter, Teach her how to stay true to herself and show her how her father should stay true to himself and keep his integrity intact by following his happiness. WORD SALAD I asked him if he should’ve been modeling other things like honestly?Tenaciousness? Respect? Family values? His promises?

    Nope, none of that mattered, just his happiness. That’s the honorable thing he had to model to her.

    Well, can’t argue with that ????????‍♀️

    • And he should have won an Oscar for his stunning performance of being fake happily married considering how “unhappy” he truly was.

      Dude should be a millionaire with acting skills like that.

    • Yup, he can’t bear for his daughter to see him like this and she wants to her to see what a good healthy relationship looks like. No more Mr Grumpy Toad. He asked her apparently if she thought I was his girlfriend and she said no, you are mum and dad. He took this as categorical evidence that I didn’t act ‘like a girlfriend should’. Another attempt to manipulate to match the narrative.

      WORD SALAD indeed, he also told he wasn’t the type to give up on his responsibilities but I was making him ill.

      Shovel that shit my way why don’t you. What a weasel. Looks like a weasel too.

      • OH MY GOD Dudders! Modeling happiness for his child. My fuckwit cheater has hinted at this sentiment. Asked our daughters to meet the woman for whom he blew up the family–the one he was with when he missed their recitals and birthdays, the one he vacationed with when he was too busy for our family trips — he asked them to meet her because she is “important to him” (unlike their mother who is dismissible). It’s the same attitude, the same total narcissistic oblivion to the feelings of others. But yours actually articulated this and came up with a bullshit reason that his cheating is a GOOD LESSON for his DAUGHTER? OH MY GOD. I have no words for that. I am so sorry for you, and for your daughter. I hope she takes life lessons from her mother, not her father.

        • Mine said “Ill find someone that will love us all” meaning her and our children. This was during all of her gas lighting and during that time it was impossible to help her to be happy. I know now that she was checking out and did not want us to be happy because then she would have to admit that her affair was just for her sake, not for the sake of her family.

          Now two years later both children live with me and we are a family together. She has her new man and nothing else. I cant imagine what she is feeling, but she acts like she feels nothing but happiness so maybe she got what she wanted. Shortly after she left she said “I dont have to do it anymore…, cleaning, running kids” Maybe she got what she wanted… family anymore. Some of us just arent cut out for family I guess, wish she would have told me that when we met.

          • Stay strong brother! I’m hoping mine turns out the same way where she’s leaves and it’s just me and the kids. I can only hope though.

        • Ah well of course at that point he wasn’t cheating right (guffaws). Well he didn’t know I knew. He was going to go off and allegedly spend many lonely nights just as he’d had many lonely nights when he’d been with me. He will spin us anything he thinks we’ll believe and of course you have to be very careful what you tell our daughter so the pair of them have done a right number on her. I can’t bear either of them. Especially the way she is all over her. Literally no boundaries. I’ve learnt a lot about boundaries of late. I can’t believe madKatie that he’d introduce OW like it was a privilege to meet the woman who actually makes him happy. Is there a scale like the richter scale for self-centredness, sadistic and crass behaviour?

          Liar. Cheat. Narc.

      • Did he act like a boyfriend? No? Then I assume he’d have been okay if you had cheated? No? What, you mean to tell me his standards only apply to him? Whoda thunk it. A cheater with double standards.

        Mine found me inadequate because he preferred a skank who would cruelly come on to other guys right in front of him, then cuck him, but was jealous of the attention I paid our dogs and my favourite news show. Lol. They are loco.

      • I apparently was also failing to model what a positive relationship looks like to our children. He told our late-Teen kids that I was obsessed by the consumerist construct (I was working my guts out to try to pay all the bills because he was blowing so much money on alcohol, technology and as it turns out, fine dining other women), I didn’t like fun so I didn’t let “anyone else have fun” (oddly, I was not okay with his drunken escapades with other women and him posting about them on FB while we were married, and I was so boring (felt that way to me too as I was working 60 hours a week and doing everything inside and outside the home and parenting three kids by myself while he was off chasing women). And then after he left, he told lots of people that “we” hadn’t been happy in our marriage for years. A lot of wasted effort on my part trying to keep it together and feeling like it was my responsibility to keep him happy. After 27 years of marriage, I was so shocked when my psychologist told me it was not my responsibility to manage another person’s feelings and keep him happy. I had become completely lost in that impossible task over many years. Looking forward to celebrating the one-year anniversary of my divorce in a couple of weeks!

        • Oh yes, I had too many material ‘things’ too. Too much ‘stuff’. Evil woman that I am. And he told me he was worried about money while he was taking her out and we came up with an agreement to put all our money through the joint account that we both had always had access to statements etc. Guess what, he didn’t. Wonder why?

          I will never let the ‘we’ narrative stand, that is really something they can’t own whether ‘we’ were happy or not.

          Congrats on the anniversary, I was not married (of course he’s straight into engagement with OW no surprise) but about a year too and just think what an awful waste. I truly deserved better as did we all.

    • Do they listened to themselves! You are right you can’t argue with that lack of logic!

      • Dudders, that is the *most* ridiculous justification I have ever heard! Didn’t act like a girlfriend? OH HELL NO! I’m your *&^%$ wife! We have adult responsibilities like that daughter! Grow the heck up, buddy. I am self-righteously angry on your behalf.

  • This is a case of when Google ( other search engines are available ) is NOT your friend .
    I think all of us chumps take to google to ask what the hell just happened ?
    The first things that always come up is RIC and affair proof your marriage and how Chumps can be blamed .

    I read a site that said the 7 reasons he left you . I read and read it over and over again i was OMG i never knew this was happening how did i not notice he was so unhappy ?? I went over nearly every word said way before D day to see if i could understand why i made him so unhappy . After reading this it said affairs really only happen is needs are not getting met and/ or the cheater is unhappy . I racked my brains thinking why i never noticed .

    I found CL/CN and realize he was not unhappy what did he have to be unhappy about ? Sex from 2 women on tap . Wife doing all the chores at home and paying the bills . Him coming and going as he pleased no questions asked . Lying to my face saying he loved me every night .

    Yeah poor baby so unhappy !

    • Golden nugget from my chump guardian angel when I mentioned KK’s justification: “Nobody can meet 100% of a person’s needs”…

      “Oh, for fucks sake. You know who has to have 100% of their needs met? INFANTS.”

      And that’s exactly who we’re dealing with.

    • I was so lucky. When I discovered CheaterX’s affair with Schmoopie, I hit google and while I did see a lot of RIC shit, I came across a website that answered the question of “why did they cheat?” with “they cheat because they can.” This website was not CL, and while I did read that one for a while, I had come across CL’s site at the same time. I loved CL, but there weren’t a lot of posts and it wasn’t as regularly updated.

      Anyway, the other piece of advice I found on the other site was that the betrayed spouse should seek out a lawyer ASAP. They didn’t have to file, but they did need to know the process and what they should expect–and preferably without telling the cheating spouse.

      I did see the little love notes they sent to each other. I was convinced I was seeing a couple of teenagers. It was embarrassingly purile stuff.

      • Did they text each other heart and kissy face emojis a lot? I’m sure that must be a thing with these dwellers of middle school cloud cuckoo land.

        Mine knew it was twu wuv when she quoted Pink lyrics to him about how “fucking perfect” he was. ????
        I wouldn’t have fallen for a manipulative ploy like that when I *was* in middle school. Dumbasses.

        Btw, if you remember the contents of the love notes, feel free to give us a laugh.
        I have one. He wrote her a sad sausage email about how poor widdle him had a bad night’s sleep because the dog barked.
        She replied; “Poor you! Would a kiss and a hug help?” followed by kissy face emoji and (((hug))).

        • On the day I get to meh I promise you all you are getting the poem I found in full. It’s truly a gem. Indeed snicker Chumperella. It’s cringetastic though at the same time.

        • Barf emoji….and crying laugh emoji too!

          after my ex had “broken up” with her during wreckonciliation, I heard his phone ping in the middle of the night. I grabbed it to see a sunrise (or sunset – she lived across the world until he brought her here to live in bliss). It said something like “tears in my eyes missing you make the colors more beautiful.” He grabbed the phone out of my hand and ran down the street, in his underwear, in the rain and 40 degrees. I still laugh when I think of it.

      • I never saw the contents of their texts to each other (thank God. I could not have handled it) but it was bad enough watching him get that slack jawed gooey eyed look on his face at the mention of her name and hearing him say “she means the world to me”. He said the same to my 16 year old daughter and she found it equally juvenile.

        • Gross! What a malignant toad. Notice how they don’t bother to lie or omit those awful confessions of luuurve for schmoopie to spare your feelings, but do lie and omit other things if it benefits them. Immediately upon discovery I got; “I love her.” Then when I laughed at that, it was; “I have strong feelings for her.”
          Later, after he realized he didn’t really love her, he still felt the need to tell me he had preferred her, felt good around her but not around me, that she was “more accepting” and he found her sexier than me. All this while omitting truths I had a right to know and which would have helped me rather than just hurt me more. They say that crap for cruelty, not honesty.

      • Mine had two different targets. One was Facebook post and songs to an exbf with the I Love You’s etc. the other was 15 years younger and dirty text and her at 40 sending nude and sexually explicit videos! Seeking her much deserved happy!

    • Karen6702,

      Yep, that is where Google sent me too and I jumped right in with two feet and began the pick me dance polka in full color.

      Took me months to find LACGAL and I still can’t remember how I found it but that was a game changer for me. My entire life did a 180 and hasn’t been the same since!

      I am a proud RIC drop out!

  • Oh geez this hits home. This is what my ex wife told me when I asked her how she thought going over to a single male friends house was a good idea.

    She never really answered my question but instead gave me the “I’ve been unhappy all year”. Really? All year? Because just 2 months ago I had to talk you out of getting our wedding date tattooed on your side. So you couldn’t have been THAT unhappy with our marriage lol.

    • Lol mine was begging me to get out names tattooed on our wedding fingers. I think now that he may have been taunting me to “ see if I loved him”.

  • Well, for fuck sakes!

    Life is a series of ups and downs.
    Two people, taking a vow, together. Isn’t that what it is all about, facing the ups and downs TOGETHER?!?

    That’s why I find being present at a wedding ceremony very difficult. It makes me cringe when a couple looks adoringly into each other’s eyes and says those words. ( still, I hope it works out for them, but I have reasons to have my doubts, big reasons)!

    Happiness is something that two people have to work on together, TWO, not one!
    Happiness is a gift, that only you have the power to give to another person, but to be effective, the other person has to be in tune in order to give that same happiness back to you.
    It sounds difficult, but it could be so easy if two people kept up their 1/2 of the vows!

    Like, I said above, well, for fuck sakes!

  • Although I clearly worked out 1, 2 or 3 were the only explanations it’s one that I never quite got over the feeling that during some great times in my life this guy had just been miserable. Apparently our amazing family trips, he was lonely. Blah blah blah. It’s so upsetting having that all trashed. But trashed is what they do and I just have to keep reminding myself that I was having a great time. One thing that puts me off therapy (the cost mainly) is this insistence that I admit that things weren’t right. Like surely you knew and hindsight is a wonderful thing and I can now say, oh he was quite quiet and this happened and that happened but frankly I could counter that easily and balance out the argument to say I had as much evidence he was happy so that’s life right, I didn’t expect someone after what 15 years together to be jumping in the air together and tapping his heels every time I walked in the door.

    Gets me this one though, one of the most hurtful things because it undermines your past and reality.

    I am only just realising how much pick me dancing OW probably had to do (actually probably not that much except he didn’t go immediately) while doing that delicate balance of artfully loving his child while trying to take him away from the child’s mother. Sick f*ckers.

    • Dodders Get Chumped
      ‘How this undermines your past and reality’
      Yep that is the kicker. Second guessing everything now. Wondering who he was with and when and how that was all playing out at home where I was covering for him by doing all of the homefront stuff. Still creeps me out to think I was actually living with someone so adept at lying and for so long – 30+ years.

      But, I don’t spend as much time there now. My focus now is figuring out why I was so blind. Yes, I know they are master manipulators but, I don’t mean this is a self put down sort of way, something in me made us a perfect fit….He knew what he was looking for when he picked me and I was too naive to see it coming. It has been nice to get to know me and to find those endearing and wonderful chump qualities for what they are -GOOD CHARACTER….and I thank God for that!

  • I was asked if he didn’t deserve “a life”. As if raising two small boys didn’t qualify. I come to realize it means he deserves to have no responsibility to anyone but himself. He’ll see the boys when they present a nice photo op for Facebook to gather Father’s Day accolades. They’re good for that. But homework and heartbreak and all that everyday stuff really just gets in the way.

    • They don’t even want responsibility for themselves; they LOVE to have a spouse appliance to take care of the boring parts, and to coddle them.

      We were the only ones who thought that would be reciprocal.

  • This along with “I never loved you” were the words that rang in my head after my D day. Thank goodness for Tracey’s book. It took me a little while to figure out this was all just the bullshit narrative to try to explain the compulsive secret spending and online dating. Now he gets to make the other woman dance to create elusive happiness for him. What a thankless job it was!

  • With a mis-diagnosed and chronicaly mentally ill spouse, who could barely take care of himself, let alone show up and be a good husband and father, who created chaos and pain at home, but somehow managed to keep himself together to be very highly though of at work, I was unhappy for years. I didn’t cheat. I meant the vows I took and did my best to weather the storms of my marriage, hoping that some day there would be stability. I did my best to support him through his psych hospitalizations and medical hospitalization when he overdosed on his meds. I didn’t cheat. I twisted my self into a pretzel emotionally to make our home as supportive and comfortable for his needs. I didn’t cheat. I cried myself to sleep, neglected and lonely. I didn’t cheat. I managed our son’s whole life on my own so as not to overburden him. I didn’t cheat. I was miserable, lonely, alone and friendless in the world for the final 12 or 13 years of my marriage- I DIDN’T CHEAT.

    • “With a mis-diagnosed and chronicaly mentally ill spouse, who could barely take care of himself, let alone show up and be a good husband and father, who created chaos and pain at home, but somehow managed to keep himself together to be very highly though of at work, I was unhappy for years. I didn’t cheat. I meant the vows I took and did my best to weather the storms of my marriage, hoping that some day there would be stability. I did my best to support him through his psych hospitalizations and medical hospitalization when he overdosed on his meds. I didn’t cheat. I twisted my self into a pretzel emotionally to make our home as supportive and comfortable for his needs. I didn’t cheat.”

      “I managed our son’s whole life on my own so as not to overburden him.”

      Holy shit – you and I are/were in the same boat. I know exactly what you went through. Except it was plural children for us.

      FUU never cheated but he certainly has been a third-rate husband and parent. I still don’t know how much of it is his mental illness and how much is simply being a jerk. Mental illness doesn’t preclude or guarantee someone being an asshole.

      I’m really, really sorry.

    • I know exactly how you feel it’s pure hell but at least I got the dog, beautiful, faithful husky!

      • I’m with you Carol, keep the husky, jettison the cheater (see avatar picture).

      • Uh my husband left the home, the kids,the dog, the cat. Had the nerve to say one day under his breath, well you have the dog and cat. Is that what he misses? The dog and cat????

        He was over on Memorial Day and the cat came around the corner looked at him and turned around and walked away. He saw it and actually mentioned he was dissed by the cat. Then the cat came out again and walked up to him and he was just overjoyed. The cat likes him! Oh happy days! He told the kids that the cat came up to him. When he picked up the cat she squirmed to get out of his hands.

        He also mentioned once he misses the backyard. Huh? He misses the back yard????

        I’m flabbergasted.

        • My ex said he missed the house. I’m sure he does, it’s a nice house and he’s living in a cramped apartment.

          He also said he missed the cats. They don’t miss him. They’re much happier with him gone as they no longer fight and spray (they’d spray on his stuff…I’m not kidding!) Animals definitely know who the bad people are. Even my brother’s kind Great Dane (who likes everyone) didn’t like him. I’d never before seen that dog bark and keep away from someone before like he did with my ex.

        • For some time the pig had keys to the house in order to get stuff for our daughter after school which was awkward but he still pays for half the mortgage but it really violated my space. Anyway that aside, when he did he’d come in and sit there for an hour with our cat and take pics of it and put them on social media. I don’t know why but I find that so creepy. It’s like saying I still ‘own’ this. I don’t know what it’s saying but it’s fucked up.

          Thankfully after stealing £10K from me the key thing was resolved on the basis of our having gone from zero trust to out and out expecting him to do something awful.

    • Yes. This was me as well. You are an amazing person to have tolerated that and you have integrity.

    • I came from a dysfunctional family that centered around an alcoholic father and a checked out mother. When I met my husband, he swept me off my feet and a year later I was married and pregnant with our first child. He abandoned me emotionally when he refocused on his career (after he had secured me)- and early in our marriage, I fought for what I needed and was not getting. Where did my husband go? Over the years, I eventually went quiet. I wanted an intact family. I did this with huge personal neglect in order to be the “good” mother, wife… I was unhappy for years.
      But I did not cheat.
      26 years into our marriage, I discovered he was on dating sites AND he had cheated on me earlier in our marriage. You know what? He opened the door and i walked through it.
      He wanted to reconcile but I had had it with the years of going silent in order to have my intact family. The family might have been intact but I was broken.
      I said those words-” I have not been happy for years,” when I decided to separate. And I meant it. I take full responsibility for my dysfunction.
      I have been working on it, trying to find the voice of the alcoholic’s child who was not heard so long ago.
      Maybe we were just ill-suited, a year is not much time to test the relationship. Had I known he had cheated in real time I would have left him then. the hell with my misguided mirage.

  • This article certainly captures how I felt when I got “I haven’t felt like your husband in years”. What!? How could I not have known? Of course in hindsight I could then pinpoint every time we had an argument, he had been mean to me or I had just felt like something was off in our by then 25 years as a couple (22 married) and tell myself “You idiot, he obviously wasn’t happy”. He didn’t specify how many years so then I was wondering just how long this had been going on. Was he already feeling like “not my husband” back then when we had our first real argument about four years into our marriage? Was it not until later that time when he kicked me out of the car while eight months pregnant and made me walk in 96F heat because I expressed shock and concern when he sped up towards that jaywalker? Was he already feeling that way when he had the emotional affair? Surely I must have realized how unhappy he was then even though he didn’t consummate it (probably) and came running back to me holding me and comforting me and reassuring me when I called him home that night when he was at her house. I also should have known on our 20th wedding anniversary when he was being distant and disgruntled. I should have known it had nothing to do with the stress of being in the middle of a big cross country move and living at his sister’s house with me commuting 45 minutes each way and him stuck at home with the kids all day while we were fretting over selling the old house and finding a new one. How silly of me to think that. It was really just his unhappiness with me being unable to make him feel better during that time in spite of all of the stress that we were both under (my own stress resulting from all of that upheaval that he instigated was irrelevant). Just because things did seem to improve once we were finally settled into our new home that didn’t mean he felt like my husband. Well, ok I had started to realize something was very wrong in our marriage during those last 8 months or so before DDay when he started being a major dick again towards me and even more alarmingly the kids and it just got worse and worse. So yes, I had known he was unhappy and probably with me for a few months but years? How did I miss that?

    Then I ran across all of the cards, letters, notes etc. from over the years that I had kept. All of that beautifully written prose telling me how much he loved me, how happy he was to be married to such a wonderful woman, “be mine forever, please” “to Chumpinrecovery from the man whose heart you will always have”. Couple that with the fact that we had always been able to work through our previous ups and downs, working out our differences and being stronger for it afterwards. The downs had always been followed by ups before and I had no reason to think that this was any different. What long term relationship doesn’t have it’s challenges? And what about those ups? Was he really unhappy during the ups too or did he just not remember those when new and shiny was there for him on the sidelines? Did he think that life with Schmoopie would just be one long continuous up and that’s the way a good relationship should be? Really? In spite of their rocky start complete with accusations and break ups every couple of weeks? I am not the crazy one here. He was the crazy one for thinking he hadn’t felt like my husband in years and for forgetting about all of the many ups we had when he was sure acting like he felt like my husband.

  • I got I haven’t been happy for 20 years. And don’t WE deserve to be happy? Wow just wow. Could have fooled me he sure enjoyed all those vacations and the cottage and the house in Florida and all the motorized toys that I bent myself into a pretzel to buy. He sure seemed happy when he told me he loved me.

    • Yes. I was also told that he has never been happy with me. Why the heck did you marry me then?
      Without Chump Nation I would not have been able to get through this so quickly. The hardest part was truly to accept that he is disorderd, is lying to everyone including himself, and truly has no empathy with capability of remorse.

    • Newly15
      “Don’t We deserve to be happy’

      I just read here a bit ago a word that hit home….how they begin to ‘devalue’ us.

      That is what happened to me and in the end I had NO value except as a wife commodity. Shocking to witness that when his really disordered behavior took off at a gallop after Dday. He literally changed into a different person and it was mind boggling to say the least.

      So, in their eyes, we don’t deserve happiness because we have no value as a living human being let alone a living human being with feelings.

      Ever since Dday it has all been about his happiness and how painful ‘this’ has all been for him….the usual crap that people write about here daily.

      You are not alone in this and YOU DO DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

  • That statement was my wake up call on DDay#2.

    DDay #1 he told me “I’ve been increasingly unhappy in the marriage” and proceeded to give me a list of things I needed to do to keep him happy which included greeting him at the door when he came home from work no matter what I was doing; not talking about anything that our kids had done until he was sufficiently relaxed, and (of course) having sex with enthusiasm whenever he wanted. I did it all. I pick me danced until my feet bled. Four years later, only weeks away from being empty nesters and going on a trip he had planned to celebrate my 50th birthday, DDay #2 arrives. And when I confronted him, he started to say the exact same thing: “I’ve been increasingly…” literally the SAME FUCKING PHRASE WORD FOR WORD after FOUR YEARS of greeting him at the door with the dogs and doing everything else he said would make him happy. I think if he had said anything else, made any other excuse, I might have bought it. But that? That “increasingly unhappy” bullshit? Nope. You gave me a list, you motherfucker. I did everything you asked. And you’re still not happy? That is not on me.

    I kicked him out that night but I also spent another two years trying to make the marriage work. But in hindsight, that moment was the beginning of my personal enlightenment that everything Tracy said above is true: his happiness is not the most important thing in the universe and in any case, I was not responsible for making sure he was happy every second of the day. Now that I’m out of the marriage and well established in meh, I’m grateful he was shallow enough to use that same tired cheater phrase again and set me on the path to freedom.

    • Beth — I have never forgotten what you once said– there were 2 people concerned with HIS happiness and 0 people worried about yours. That is how I felt and never thought of it clearly that way until you articulated it.

      Your comments are clip-and-save ones for me so often. Thanks for being here.

      • Thanks I.C.!! Your comments made my week! SO many people helped me along the way to meh. I keep coming here in hopes that I can pay it forward a little bit and be of help to someone else on the same journey.

      • Same in mine, I.C.

        I didn’t realize how draining it was until the last months of our marriage when yet again, I was being asked to pick me dance again (god, I wish I had known what that actually meant back then) and still having no clue what I was supposed to do that I haven’t already done.

        • As if they were the big prize worth fighting for.
          Dance, dance!
          Here’s the secret- we were the prize! I think the cheaters actually know that, and want to keep us busy so we don’t figure it out. We are the fantastic catch, not them.

    • Can I just say how grateful I am for CL and the chump nation? While the whole world seems to believe the blame the chump, “how can anyone know what went on in their marriage” narrative, here is a place where many people know it’s not our fault first hand!

      The last and hardest part of getting to meh after him leaving our family is the shame at being left. My poor kids, now teens, who we adopted as infants, feel it too. “Mom, I have 4 parents and 3 of them left me.” Makes me so mad I want to spit. Therapy for all around here, but CL is worth more to me than any therapist I’ve ever met!

  • Yes, I got the I haven’t been happy for a long time. Even though we had just had Easter with our kids and he told me how fun it was….weird!! Then I asked if he was “in love” with me. His response, “I am not sure I even know what that means. I love you but I don’t know if I am in love with you.” Boy did that make me feel better…

  • Yeah, I hope the bastard was unhappy with having a maid, a cook, a nanny, a personal secretary, a sex partner, a lovely home, and a partner who paid a lion’s share of the bills.

    I wish he would have chewed his own arm off to make his escape. But apparently it takes less effort to just stick your dick into the office slut to break the ties that bind you. And I know “less effort” was always his gig.

    I think it’s very telling that he became unbearably “unhappy” the same month the office c*mdumpster divorced her chump. I can just hear the “If you don’t tell her, I will,” braying from her now.

    I only hope he’s now making her just as “happy” as he made me…

  • Cheaters take NO responsibility for themselves. Three years before D-Day (two years before he started going on websites), ex-husband told me he was unhappy. I asked what he wanted to do – therapy, quit his job, take up a hobby, start re-training, join a sports team, etc. He said no to everything. I told him I couldn’t make him happy, that happiness comes from within. I also told him that as we both worked full-time that I was not going to do everything around the house and yard, he still needed to do his share (I could tell he wanted that as his ‘solution’ to his unhappiness).

    He had an opportunity at that moment to end the marriage, to work on himself, he didn’t. Instead he lied, cheated, and stole – money, time, effort. Cheaters are lazy and entitled. Much easier to blame others than to look at themselves. Funny how unhappy he looked at the mediation hearing 2 1/2 years after we split. His drinking had aged him, his inner ugliness was showing, he looked miserable (what was his excuse now that I was out of his life?). I, on the other hand, was very happy. Still am.

  • Yes, I got the “I realized I was unhappy” BS too. Of course, he didn’t “realize” he was unhappy until he met exit-affair Schmoopie. How long he was unhappy kept shifting as the post D-Day abuse escalated…..2 months…2 years….2 decades…..Yet every time I tried to address the issues in our marriage, and every time I point blank asked him if he was happy, he assured me that he was, and seemed offended that I could ever even think such a thing. At one low point (after the discovery of an “emotional affair” – hahahahaha), I asked him how HE could be happy knowing I was so unhappy, and he just assured me how happy he was, how invested he was in the marriage/family, etc.

    It was only until very recently that I figured out what that actually meant. At no point was MY happiness ever considered. As long as HE felt “happy” (i.e. the marriage/family was of use to to him), he truly didn’t care about me or my needs. How could I have not seen that?!

    In his mind, he “deserves” to be happy but I guess I don’t? And so the pursuit of his “happiness” was worth blowing up our marriage and family without a second thought.

  • He was so unhappy that he drew our initials in a heart in the cement when we poured a new driveway.

    After DDay, I was so unhappy I chiseled them off.

  • He told me that he didnt think ‘ I ‘ was happy!!! Well, thank you, Im so much happier now Im raising two young boys myself (1yrs and 6yrs at the time), not!

    The AP apparently is ‘always’ happy, bubbly and lively….but….thats what he liked about me in the beginning, I havent changed, just that we have responsibilities now and he spent most evenings on his phone. She has no kids (was also married), so of course she has no cares in the world, nor morals or basic humanity

    I also hate the use of my children on social media. You can guarantee every two weeks it will be filled with pics of him and the kids like hes father of the year, and it annoys me that people ‘like’ this facade. Its all an act. My friends and his brother have removed him because they’re fed up of him acting like hes a great loving Dad when he’s abandoned them and happy to see them part time.

    • I hate the, look at me I’m such a great dad schtick, every two weeks. His father (who was also a cheating narc) wrote this big facebook post about what great father and mentor his son was to his two kids. It took so much to not write on there, “yes, such a great father… he cheated on his pregnant wife and proceeded to destroy his children’s intact family and home.”

      What’s funny though is the only person that liked his post, was himself… So then a few hours later he shared his own post again and liked it again. I think it got 2 more likes after that… They are both so pathetic.

      • Haha! Love that! So many people choosing not to click like!!!!!!

      • Ha, ‘liking’ your own posts is so sad ha ha

        My STBX gets lots of likes, and I am always sooooo tempted to comment asking how anyone can ‘like’ his child posing posts after what he’s done, and that they are just enabling his (delisional) belief that he’s an amazing father.

        The message I found on his phone on Dday actualy said ‘You’re an amazing father’…..uh…. what is her definition of a BAD father

        • Hahaha, maybe what was meant to be written was, “You’re an amazingly terrible excuse of a father”?!?! Auto correct must have accidentally changed that message.

  • They probably believe the hype from the ow/om. Your so good, so caring, my ex was told he was excellent in bed, he’s no Casanova, shame he had sti. When reality is not that, cheaters see what is convenient to them. I do wonder what the personality, temperament of the ow/om is really like.

  • As Gandhi has said “Happiness is when what you say, what you do and what you think are in harmony.” Is it any wonder that they were unhappy? These people can never be happy and will never be happy. That is now their problem!

  • ERGO, if you become interested in dating a person post-cheater and that person says things about an ex that echo this kind of BS, toss up an orange flag and probe for more.

    “What did you DO when you realized you were unhappy?”

    ALSO note that if a person starts whining to you about how hard their relationship is, the person might be using as a smell-test to see if you’re open to “comforting” them through their pain, a common wedge into inappropriate intimacy with a third party for cake-seekers.

    Don’t take the “oh, but she’s so mean and I’m so unhappy” bait. If a person isn’t happy, that person should be trying to work it out at home.

  • I got this too, she hadn’t been happy, had not been in happy in our relationship from 5 years into a 15 year relationship. Had nearly left 5 years earlier (guessing she had another different schmoopie then that didn’t work out). When I asked what would make her happy her words were “well if you loved me you would know what would make me happy” other than screwing a married coworker with 2 kids that is! Pick me danced for 3 weeks and then she moved in with schmoopie.

    • Skippy, see how effortless her attempts are first to cheat and then imply YOU were the one who didn’t love? I’d play hardball in the settlement. Put a price tag on every last thing you own together.

      • Yes, and that includes jewelry. Male chumps often forget to list the jewelry they have purchased as marital assets–but it is. If she is sitting with a $10,000 diamond tennis bracelet and various rings/eearings, etc in gold,platinum, and gems–it counts! I know a cheating wife that walked away with over $100,000 worth of jewelry that her husband never asked to be accounted for in marital assets. She certainly got her half of the house, cars, and his retirement though.

  • I’m really lucky that I didn’t buy his excuses for a minute.
    “I predated co-workers because all you cared about was your bite/posture”.

    It was so laughable that I never backed down from my “the fuck are you trying to pull here??” reaction.

    Oh, I knew he wasn’t happy. He could never be. But in his words, he was tired.
    And when, like him, you simply must be the hero who works his way up the corporate ladder, how can you not be… but he wasn’t too tired to do a lot of extra activities at the same workplace, though.
    Life’s just funny like that!

    Don’t stick your head in the mind blender!

    • Quetzal, You are my hero. I sooooo wish that I would’ve had this reaction but unfortunately I was all hopped up on pain pills and crazy hormones because I had just given birth to our first child so I was more of a begging, blubbering mess. I still fantasize about being able to have the “the fuck are you trying to pull here?’ reaction.

  • Ex Shit Stain said he “deserved to be loved” because I didn’t show enough love when I was paying bills, taxes, taking care of kids school events, planning birthday parties and vacations for the family, saving money for kids college, supporting him through a horrific lawsuit in which he lost a shit Tom of our money, and having sex with him regularly.
    His deserving of love meant my deserving to be lied to, betrayed and gaslighted for maybe half of our 20 year marriage. Conveniently, he simply can’t remember when the affairs, both physical and emotional, started.
    I still struggle daily to untangle myself from that mindfuck.
    Then.. his total shock when I wanted him to leave.

    • Fuckwit definition of the all-important Being Loved; you do absolutely everything they want at the exact moment they want it. Naturally, you know what they want without being told. You never dream of being critical of them or displeased with their behaviour, no matter what stupid and destructive hijinks they get up to or how lazy and feckless they are. You make sure they never have to deal with whatever realities of adulthood they want to avoid and you make sure their every fantasy comes to life. Naturally, you know what these are without being told.

      Note; this definition applies only to spouses, not APs. APs can be as selfish as the fuckwits and they are still better, because they are NotYou. Being NotYou is essential, because IsYou has seen all their flaws. Must have somebody who has not seen flaws! Then, if they actually leave you for the AP, that person will eventually see their flaws and become IsYou. But the new IsYou will be less accepting of their flaws, because he/she is also a fuckwit, having been willing to be an AP and help break up a family. At this point they will probably want you back, because you were more tolerant and giving, therefore, you must have loved them after all. They think you have missed them so much that you will now follow their rules for Being Loved. I estimate that this will happen within 6 months to three years, depending on how stubborn they are in their delusional belief that they have found twu wuv. If they didn’t get the chance to leave you and no longer have NotYou, they will try to reinstitute the rules. Surely you have learned from their totally understandable rejection of your inadequate love and can now do better!
      But you don’t. You still refuse to love them properly. They are crushed. Then you leave and they have nothing left to tie their lines to, so The Fuckwit Boat drifts away, looking desperately for a safe place to land. They may find a marshy spot to run aground in or bump into a Fuckwit Tug Boat, which is as stupid as they are, but at least has some pulling power.

      This is the time when we can all sit back and have that delicious last laugh, if we even care enough to. By that point, it’s probably worth no more than a chuckle.

      Fuckwit 101 in concluded for today. Homework is a brief chuckle and not giving a shit where the Fuckwit Boat lands.

  • Upon reflection, my ex did start getting distant, withdrawn, and moody. But, amazingly, this all happened after the affair started. Coincidence?
    (People always want to justify their actions, even retroactively)

    • Yup. I feel better on days when I realize cheater’s excuses are complete bullshit. I’ve got the dumb narc cheater, so the blame shifting is so juvenile it’s absurd. They’ll just throw shit at you to see what sticks and gets a reaction. Gray rock for the win.

  • Not quite 2 years out from divorce. After 28 years of marriage I was abandoned by e-mail so he could go be with a co-worker half our age and he moved to her European country 15 months ago. Our daughters (OW’s age) have been mostly NC with him but occasionally respond with some grey rock on about every 5th attempt he makes to communicate. He changes cell numbers when he visits the US so they can’t totally shield themselves from him popping up on texts randomly every couple months.

    The colossal fucknut has declared to one daughter in texts that he is depressed and anxious and is having nightmares. The Self Pity mindfuck channel is clearly tuned in and she is not swayed. He is trying to make both daughters feel guilty about the boundary lines they have drawn.

    What is notable here is that this is exactly how he has always been. Always full of anxiety and depression, always thinking he is missing out on something in life and always filled with a silent, passive aggressive rage against the world. Unhappy.

    Prior to detonating his life into unrecognizable smithereens, I was the focus of His Great Unhappiness. Now that I have been dispatched and he has fucked pervertishly young pussy and wandered across Europe with sojourns to the Middle East these last 2 years, completely untethered by tangible consequence, he is still just so, so, unhappy. Depressed. Anxious.

    Boo fucking hoo. He sucks. It was never me, it was always him. As Luziana said, he is the constant in all of his equations no matter where he is or who he is with. He will always be a pouty barnacle clinging to someone else and then deciding they are inadequate. What a useless life.

    • I forgot to mention that I first heard how awful I was and unhappy he was back when we were 17 years old, only about a year into dating. He declared I was the cause back then, too and we broke up for a short while. We got back together and by the time he was 19 he was feeling that old anxious stuff again. He moved away and we began to exchange love letters for the year we were apart.

      I am such an idiot I married him anyway at 20 years old.

      Looking back now of course the cycle of his anxiety and depression is so clear in the letters and just in how he spent his time with me after marriage. Cycling through the long devalue, usually ignoring me, always worried about his job even though he never spent a single day unemployed. Just always tense, petulant, and passive aggressive. Cue the first affair after 19 years, then the final blow up at 28 for OW#2.

      My life is not useless. He lived the lie, not me.

    • “Always full of anxiety and depression, always thinking he is missing out on something in life and always filled with a silent, passive aggressive rage against the world. Unhappy.” This seems to be a common thread among cheaters. It is inevitable that we end up getting the blame. I have been unhappy all of these years it must be my long term partner’s fault. They are correct when they say “I haven’t been happy for years”. That part is absolutely true. Where they get it wrong is in thinking that unhappiness has anything to do with us and that finding a new partner is the answer to all of their problems. Joke’s on them in the end. We are the ones who end up happier with them gone.

      • Hear,hear. I agree with that.

        After divorce I lost 200+ pounds simply by walking out of the court house. Best diet results I have ever had. I have kept the weight off for 2 years now and do not ever intend to let it back in.:)

    • We got a group text when he moved out. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    • Constant in all his equations. The lowest common denominator.

    • So eventually this is what starts making sense in all the craziness. I was married to Dr. Cheaterpants for 20 years. The disordered cycle of overvalue, devalue, discard isn’t only in his personal relationships. It’s in every freaking thing in his life: job, hobbies, friends, his family. He just keeps cycling through everything in this fashion but he’s the only constant in all of those things. It could take years to see the cycle so I didn’t get it at first.

      He would get a hobby and be all in. He’d research it, buy all the equipment, spend hours on it, then get bored with it. And when I say get bored with it, he would just one day stop completely and never pick it up again–total discard.

      Friends from work. I would learn to not get too close to the wives because when he was done with the husband and they became the enemy, I could no longer continue that relationship and it was awkward.

      His job. He would complain about his division chiefs (physicians with years of experience) and went through four of them during the time we were married. There was one particular female that he hated with all of his being. Apparently she told him she wouldn’t promote him because he never followed through and completed his assignments outside of bedside medical care. It’s hard to believe one has four bosses and all of them could be so awful. Especially since each one started as the best thing since sliced bread per him.

      His family. Intermittently getting along with some and hating others.

      He volunteer coached our kids in their sport. I mistook this as him being interested in our kids and now I know it was again all about him and his kibble seeking. DS played little league football. Cheater got some old guy fired from coaching so he could coach. Then he abandoned coaching when son would not practice for hours outside of the hours of team practice.

      Then cheater coached DD who is a people pleaser and would practice for hours and hours. She became the superstar of all the teams she played on therefore the golden child. When cheater started complaining about her teammates (13 & 14 year old girls) and about other coaches, I knew he was getting ready for the discard and I knew it would hurt. I no longer built up cheater about how awful all these others were including these young girls. I stopped being so compliant with him myself. And that’s when he started pursuing young schmoopie–DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school.

      He was absolutely exhausting to be married to. I mistook his neediness for love. Nope, he’s a black hole of need and always looking for something to fill it up. I am sooooo lucky to not be in the middle of all that crazy anymore!!

      • You are SPOT ON with this! I didn’t realize it before now, but my ex did the same thing…cycle through over-value, devalue and discard with everything in his life. Spouses/partners, friends, jobs, hobbies, homes, interests, projects around the house, bosses. EVERYTHING! Wow! Thanks for the light bulb moment.

      • Twiceachump,

        I am fleeing flooded with a sense of excitement and hope right now. A feeling I get which I don’t really know how to describe when something that I have just been giving thought to comes up in some fashion another in my life.

        Your post above has done just that. This morning I was laying in bed and I began thinking about all of the things the X went through throughout our 30+ years together.

        I have to end this and begin or my computer is going to erase all I have written so bear with me and I shall be right back below.

        • When I have something long to say, I write it in Word first, then copy and paste it here. Works like a charm : )

          • Sisu
            I am giggling out loud as I write this because I am not at all computer savy. In truth I am terrified by this thing I now rely on for so many things.

            You have given me a challenge and now I shall delve into it and see what will come of it. Could turn my giggling into tears but I am game 🙂

            Thank you for the pointer. One never knows what one is going to learn here!

            • Best of luck!
              I’m not all that tech savvy either as it’s not something I enjoy, but I’ve learned what I need to get by : )

        • This is my continuation to twiceachump…

          I thought about his hobbies, his friends, the activities we used to do and how it all felt so ‘off’ somehow. Not like how I experienced doing things or how my friends do things as we all try out new things etc but his behavior and actions had a different quality to them. It dawned on me that they were all hollow. That he was going through the motions to impress me or the kids or the people he was around at the time all the while there was no real connection. Nothing there. Eeerie.

          And then your post. You nailed it on the head and have given words to the feeling I was having and couldn’t pinpoint.

          Overvalue, devalue and discard.

          Priceless and precise. Thank you for sharing and going into such detail. Fits perfectly and, as you said, it happened over such a long period of time it was hard to detect but there that pattern is clear as day now. Just like someone has taken a red marker and run a line through a path on a map of a wilderness area.

          I had begun to think that one day he would wake up and realize that outer things, people or places do not bring happiness because it was as though he was seeking out happiness in those things…or like those things would ‘fix’ him.

          Long story short. He hasn’t woken up yet that I know of but I have!

          Thanks so much for sharing here!

          • I’m glad it was helpful for you Elderly Chump! I knew he got ‘bored’ with stuff and I knew it could turn ugly sometimes but I didn’t think he would turn on me. He was always so high maintenance and needy with me in our relationship. I did most of the adulting and he did most of the funning. Once I started to try to figure out how he could walk out on his wife, home, family life, pets, etc….(he still sees the kids but he’s pretty miserable to be around although he still has his young schmoopie), I came across the narcissist information of how they are self centered, lack empathy, and the cycle of idealize, devalue, discard. It all started to click.

            And I sometimes say that while I waiting for him to come to his senses, I came to mine!!

            The electronic stuff can take a little time to get used to but you’ll get there!!

            • Twiceachump,

              “I didn’t think he would turn on me.”

              Yep me too which is why I did the pick-me-dance but good old Tracy writes about delusion too….about us being the ‘special’ ones.

              Ouch, that one hurt when I really realized I had moved through the cycle of being
              overvalued, devalued, discarded …..and found myself being…..deleted.

              But the wound started to heal over when I found CL and CN so now I bless Tracy’s big heart and I have actually and unbelievably found myself giving thanks to the last AP for being the one who brought all of his cheating into the light.

              NO, I have not met her nor do I ever want to as she is a major uncouth person – I do the thanking in my head, behind closed doors, very quietly so I can barely even hear what I am thinking myself. 🙂

  • The first time Dr. Cheaterpants left for a howorker, twice divorced nurse with a history of cheating on both husbands, we were in our early 30’s. He NEVER admitted he was having an emotional affair with her. I don’t think he actually consummated this one. He really thought we’d divorce first and it didn’t count as cheating (his father was a notorious womanizer and he grew up hating him). Cheater didn’t know why he wasn’t happy when I took that fucker back.

    The second time I caught him chasing after DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school, I told him ‘I’m done’ and although he tried to engage me in conversation which I know now would’ve been the pick me dance and said he was ending it with her, there really was nothing to be discussed this time.

    He had our teenagers help him pack his stuff from the house and told them he was leaving because he was miserable. No mention of schmoops to them. That got left to me.

    They both got fired from coaching (he was volunteer coaching–nice) and she got banned from the school. He was on the school board so he got kicked off of that too. He tried the let’s be friends tactic, but I wasn’t having any part of that either. Thank goodness for this site. It just all makes sense to me now.

    I didn’t hear I haven’t been happy this time because I wouldn’t entertain him and his reasons for screwing around again. Poor kids did have to hear him say ‘I’m miserable’. Yep, you really are a miserable piece of shit fuckwit!!

    • It is nice to see that at least the school didn’t turn a blind eye to these shenanigans and decided to enforce the moral codes of Catholicism. It’s amazing isn’t it Twiceachump, that these jerks can be given second chances and instead of being grateful and loving they seem to become more entitled and emboldened in their bad behavior.

    • How distorted to have the kids ‘help’ him move. Bet they will have choice words for that someday when they realize what hit them.

      I did help mine to pack…..I did know what I was doing but I stopped short of carrying anything out of the house. He had a couple of friends help him with that and I made sure our children weren’t around to witness his behavior. It was like watching a teenage kid pack up and drive off to college. So weird.

  • Plot twist: They aren’t capable of happiness. There is something wrong in their brain. They can only sustain temporary feelings. They medicate their “unhappiness” with destructive ways. There is no relationship to be had with someone like this.

    • This is true. After the dust settled, I note she did not discover happy with exbf. So she added a 26 year old. Then she added other guys. I am pretty sure she never found the happy she so deserved. Always looking for the next victim!

    • Mine told me he was unhappy, just wanted to have some fun. Tired of the old people stuff. Thinks he’ll leave me and find a new life. A new and different life he says. But no he’s not happy. Every time he texted or I talked to him on the phone it was poor me. I’m so sad everything is miserable. I remember telling him “ it’s all good” and he said no, no it’s not all good. It’s all fucked up. I just said to him. You’re doing a good job. And he was silent. (I was still wanting reconciliation then so that’s why I said that thinking I’d win him back through being loving and nice. Guess what CN it did not work).

      Just still negative attitude just like throughout our marriage.

      I am so excited that I’m closer to meh. My stbx should have been served with the divorce papers last night. My whole mind and attitude have changed since pulling the trigger to serve the papers. I feel at ease and at peace. The strings that were holding me up feel like they have been cut and my body is relaxing. I’m sleeping now for the first time in 4 1/2 months. I am eating. I ate 3 meals yesterday. That is a first after 4 1/2 months. I’m happy laughing and smiling. My daughter said to me that she thinks she has her mom back the way she used to be. I love her sooooooooo.

  • Another thing that helped me to realize that it really had nothing to do with me was the fact that he had always been unhappy with life in general. Life was just one long disappointment for him and it started before we ever met. I know this because for a brief while my presence in his life actually made it better. I distinctly recall my sister in law telling me in the early years of our marriage “I am so happy he has you. He is so much more laid back and less tense and cross than he used to be before you came along”. I guess he felt like my husband back then. Unfortunately that didn’t last. He was always unhappy about one thing or another but there was always something or someone to blame. It was his mom’s fault because he had to go to a local college so he could live with her and help her out because she couldn’t drive. It was his parents fault for getting divorced. It was his Dad’s fault for leaving when his mom kicked him out (no infidelity involved). It was his extended family’s fault for squandering his inheritance. It was the church’s fault for extoling him to be more generous towards others instead of comforting him for all of his great suffering (he had a loving wife and three beautiful, healthy children and made $200,000/yr just his income). It was his job’s fault because they just didn’t appreciate all he did for them. It was the horrible state we lived in which prompted the move back to his home state. I always knew he was unhappy and I did my best, unsuccessfully, to alleviate it. I just didn’t realize how much of his unhappiness he was attributing to me and my inadequacy as a wife. I guess he ran out of other things to blame and it was inevitable that I would eventually become a convenient scape goat.

    • This sounds like my ex and my life!! Cheater is the only constant in these equations. But I don’t think my ex will ever put 2 + 2 together and see it is all him. His shitty attitude, blame shifting, and life choices are what has dealt him consequences. It will always be someone else’s fault in his eyes.

  • My ex went out of his way to pick fights and be miserable just so he could show how bad our marriage was. Just so he could turn and walk out. Just so he could weep on that fuckslut’s shoulder. Oh and he loved to triangulate using me to keep her sucked into his you and me against the world drama. The games were amazing. This is a central play for the game winning touchdown in the cheater playbook. Such an asshole.

    • Mine did the same. Before I knew about the affair, it became so bad that I pointed it out on multiple occasions. He purposefully made bad references, pulled out past mistakes, purposefully accused me of things, made more and more cruel jokes and… started to look at me angry all the time with dead eyes.
      Sometimes when he caught me looking at him in disbelief, he would stick out his tongue at me. It was awful and weird.

    • Same here. He loved to start fights full of circular arguments, gas lighting and word salad the last handful of months before Dday. I’d get so frustrated, I’d start yelling. I became someone I didn’t even recognize. Then he’d say, “I hate it when you drink and yell at me”. OH YEAH, because the fights were MY fault. What an ass!

      Well, he’s his AP’s problem now. Good luck to you, schmoops! Oh, and thanks for taking out my trash, you can have him : )

  • With statemens like this “I/We haven’t been happy for a long time” I think the best way to respond is not with more questions, just flat statements. If you ask “Then why didn’t you…” they just come off with more word salad.

    “I haven’t been happy for a long time.”
    “There’s other things you could have done. Like say so.”

    “I haven’t been happy for a long time.”
    “You had a long time to mention that.”

    “We haven’t been happy for a long time.”
    “Funny how that works. I can’t tell you how you feel but you can speak for me. Huh.”

    Or…nothing speaks louder than a divorce settlement.

  • He wasn’t happy because he spent so much time finding fault with me and our daughter. Who can be happy when so much energy is focused on nit picking and criticism?

  • Funny thing is, the marriage vows didn’t mention “as long as you are happy”.

    When my exhole said he wasn’t happy, I told him he signed up for good times and bad, in sickness and health, forsaking all others til death do us part. If you want to be happy then you need to put in the effort, not run away from the vow you took.

  • Adolph said over and over; “I was unhappy.” and dropped this gem on me; “I had an affair to be happy and complete.” Can you believe the gall of these people? He was “unhappy and incomplete” without a whore in his life. Whoring “completes” him. ????
    Oh, I believe he was unhappy. It just had nothing to do with anything I did or did not do. It’s simply because he’s fucked in the head, has no inner resources to manage stress, is emotionally stunted, cannot self-validate, and knows he’s a degenerate and a loser. Instead of looking at the very obvious real causes, he simply blamed it on me. After all, isn’t everything my fault? In his alleged mind, other people cause both his unhappiness and his happiness. Therefore, that feeling of emptiness (which he calls being “incomplete”) has nothing to do with him and his stupid habit of shutting down his emotions to avoid dealing with life. Because oh, the life of an upper middle class white male is so tough. How else can he cope? Pffft! What a wimp. Betraying your wife and risking losing your family because moral transgression, conning the people who love you, and power imbalance make you “happy and complete” is deeply disordered fuckwittery. He even said; “I wanted to be happy. I didn’t care that it made you unhappy.” But also, he looooves me. Sure you do, fuckwit. You just defined Not Love with that statement.
    Hence, I don’t care that being dumped makes him unhappy, and I do not love him. The end.

  • I would send this post to Cheater #1 if it wasn’t a waste of time and effort. We were married for 20 years and somewhere around 18 1/2 of them, he declared he had never been happy. WTF? All the three things Chump Lady describes:
    1. No one tied you down and made you stay.
    2. If you can’t tell me what is making you unhappy, I cannot help you address it.
    3. You sure enjoyed what my paycheck could buy and let me pay down your overdue debts.

    Welp, I guess he’s still unhappy because ~15 years after the divorce he still can’t keep a girlfriend around, declared bankruptcy and has had five DUI arrests. But his unhappiness? All someone else’s fault.

  • As this was my second and last merry go round, I did not buy into the BS. I knew he had someone already lined up. Hired a PI, had the proof within 10 days. WHat a dumbass. Almost three years later, he is still the unhappy sod, he won’t ever be happy. ALways chasing for that elusive perfect woman who finally makes him happy, instead of creating his own happiness. And despite advice to the contrary, I am not divorced yet, nor do I intend to file, as health insurance and an ever growing 401K are just too sweet . But he can file anytime he wants to, I don’t care either way. As long as I can protect myself financially, I am good. I am not even feeling any satisfaction that he is unhappy, he is what he is. WHatever, life is good!

    • Me too. I won’t divorce because I’d lose excellent health insurance. He can’t divorce me because I have dirt on him I would make public. He’s terrified of that. I wish him the best of luck getting a schmoopie to stick around when he can’t get a divorce. ????

  • This was the part of the discard that was the hardest for me. Absolutely no consideration for me. Nothing. And I had to realize that he never considered my needs. Not once during the marriage. It was always all about him and what he wanted. When I had other priorities, I was always wrong and of questionable personality.
    My entire life became a life of not inconveniencing him
    If he needed to travel, I better not question it. If he wanted to do a house project, I better agree to his priorities and timing and ignore mine. If I had a horrible day at work and wanted to talk about it, I better find someone else, because he had no interest in talking about anything that bothers me. How often did I hear that he did not want to talk about my troubles.
    Marriage counseling was not a valid option, because he had nothing to work on. Everything was just in my head and I was falsely putting him in the spotlight. He was not wrong. It was just me.

    Every need I voiced, chipped away from his happiness. This is how I became the root cause of it all. My needs took away from focus on himself. He hated that. Effort? Nada.
    He married me has his personal emotional caretaker and appliance.

    It gets better when they are gone. It really does.
    I finally have a chance to be myself again and not serve someone else at every minute of the day.

  • Yup, I heard it too–verbatim. I was stunned and in my sputtering desperation, reminded her how she constantly told me how happy she was. Her words: “I’m so happy.” Showed her all the cards, notes and letters she gave me proclaiming, yup, how happy she was. Look, here is the Proof of Happiness!

    So I choose #3: She was bullshitting me. The only thing that changed between her happiness and unhappiness was the fact that I busted her.

    Years later she finally admitted that she was full of shit. She had been happy after all. And now, guess what? She’s unhappy with OM. Hallelujah. Whatever.

  • Just to play devil’s advocate here, these were also the exact words that *I* used when dumping my cheater. Context is important; I don’t think that this statement on its own (“I haven’t been happy for a long time”) is enough to be deemed cake.

    • Not sure what you’re saying exactly, SorryNotPoly, but my kids now tell me that I didn’t seem all that happy before DDay and that am so much more lively and positive now. To the degree that I knew that I was not 100% HAPPY, I just chalked it up to LIFE . . . or to ME. My issues. My problems. I would have described my husband and my marriage as big positives in my life and not the source of any malaise. Was that me being realistic about life/adulthood? Or was I just being blind . . . in denial? Perhaps that will become more clear in time.

    • It’s what you do about it. You dumped him. Honestly. Because he cheated. That’s different than a nebulous after-the-fact “unhappiness.”

    • The difference is, the Chump’s unhappiness never figures into the cheater’s equation. In hindsight the four years I spent pick me dancing and trying to keep my cheater’s unhappiness at bay were miserable for me. Of course I wasn’t happy! I was constantly on edge wondering if I was making him happy “enough”. Always fearful that he was cheating again or still cheating. Stressing about whether I was measuring up to all of his demands. I was too exhausted from all the dancing I was doing to ponder my own happiness whereas his happiness was ALL he thought about. As I said in a different post, there were two people in my marriage worrying about my ex’s happiness and zero people in my marriage worrying about mine. I finally realized that was never going to change. Ex was never going to care about anyone’s happiness but his own and no one but me was going to be responsible for my happiness (or health or safety or financial well being).Once I realized that the only way to change the equation was to take care of myself and be responsible for my own happiness I got out of the marriage. Sounds like you did the same, SorryNP.

    • People in an emotionally abusive marriage become increasingly unhappy. What do they do about it ? Get therapy ? Or spread their legs/hop on top of another ? The difference between a cheater and a chump lies in the answer to that question.

    • So let’s say they were unhappy, by a fuckwit’s definition (I’m not getting everything I want! Waaah!). But what did they do about it? They did something stupid that did nothing to address the source of their unhappiness. You did something smart that did. That says that your unhappiness was about something real, not just trivial bawlbaby entitelment.

  • Yep, mine admitted to me that he LIED, told other woman, married client by the way, that we had not been getting along, didn’t sleep together, etc.

    If cheater tells OW they haven’t been happy in years at minimal there’s a warning message for the OW. This person has a communication problem! Either it’s true and he’s not done a thing to fix it/is part of the problem or he’s a liar.

    Funny, (my ex had several women going at once) one of them gave him her recently dead husband’s phone. Whole ‘nother story, Anyway, everyday when he opened it up, a video collage of ex and I would pop up and not being familiar with the phone he didn’t know how to stop it! He told somebody that the irony of it all is that he sees in those pictures how happy he was with me! Ha! Karma

  • 11 years of marriage, most of it unhappy. I made him go to couples therapy right after we were married because he turned into a different person after we said “I do”. After that he got better, communicated more, seemed happy and invested in the marriage. Had 2 kids, after second one was born, I spent 5 years begging him to go to therapy as he became more distant, noncommunicative, ignored us, never came home in time to eat dinner as a family, even tho he worked 15 minutes away and any time spent as a family was stressful, he was always on his phone. I was raising 2 kids, and doing anything I could to figure out what was wrong with him and desperately trying to hold our family together, cook, maid, running the house, did everything for our kids and family, as he became increasingly distant, unhappy and refused to communicate with me. I finally gave up, went back to work full time when my kids were 3 and 5, and worked out an exit strategy. It was the hardest decision I could have made, they were now stuck in preschool, kindergarten/aftercare, 5 days a week. And this is when he decides to finally start therapy on his own, proceed to have a “nervous breakdown” tell me how unhappy he is, then says we should see a marriage counselor, I say nope/you’ve got to be kidding, he then says he did everything to save our marriage and the reason we are getting divorced is 100% MY fault and he did everything to save it. I then find out that during the marriage he racked up mountains of debt with secret credit cards, had secret social media accounts, had a secret double life, but wait for it…He was unhappy all these years because it was my fault, I ruined our marriage. Wrong! So I kicked him to the curb, pushed thru the divorce in 7 months and never looked back.
    We’ve been divorced for 3 years, I think the OW may have finally dumped him, he’s on his third therapist, found out last year the IRS was after him for failure to pay his taxes…he’s a lawyer who make 6 figures.
    I came to realize that he was and will always be unhappy.
    And it’s not my problem!

  • I got the “I haven’t been happy in a long time.” comment. I asked, “How long haven’t you been happy?”
    “h”im: “The last six weeks.”
    Me: “You haven’t been happy since I had major knee surgery and scattered my mother’s cremains?”
    him: “Well, it’s been 3 months. I haven’t been happy in 3 months.”
    Me: “Oh, since I was in physical therapy? And planning the trip for my mothers ash scattering in Maui and funeral? You were unhappy when I was planning our trip to Australia? Where you were asking me to help you arrange a side trip for a marathon you were going to run?”
    him: “Well, I have been unhappy since December 15th”.
    Me: “You were unhappy the day you ran a marathon and I did a mileage run across the country to get enough mileage for first class tickets to Australia? After said mileage run across country and back in one day, I stood up on the airplane and tore my ACL. That day was when you realized YOU were unhappy?!”
    him: “Yes.”

    My guess is that they really aren’t unhappy. They were either caught, or the whore threatens to disclose if they do not leave. They scramble for excuses and this one is convenient.

    • A guy chump friend of mine had the same thing happen to him. His wife kept changing the dates of when her “unhappiness” started. Of course she was having an affair, but he didn’t know it at the time. He even said he felt sorry for her when she told him how unhappy she was. And he foolishly went into mediation with her while he was feeling sorry for her. She is now married to the AP who also was married when their affair started. But he’s a good “Christian” man, so I’m sure their marriage is blessed by Satan himself.

      • Martha,
        I suspect most chumps feel sorry for their cheater – especially if they don’t know about the affair. My XH said he was having a midlife crisis. I went to my dad’s house out of state while he was going to do IC. – I felt bad for being disgusted with him. I’m a chump! He was screwing AP while I was gone and she was cooking in my kitchen.

        • Yes, NoKibble4U, I agree that a lot of chumps feel sorry for their cheater. I did not, because I was so confused as to what was going on; I just wanted to understand and it was impossible with a liar and gaslighter.

          Yeah, I totally understand being disgusted by your spouse. That is so horrible that he was with the AP while telling you he was having a midlife crisis. And she cooked in your kitchen. 🙁 I’m so sorry all that happened to you. (((HUGS))) to you.

          • Martha,

            I am one who has felt many things since the first Dday and the one thing that does keep cycling back is that I do feel sorry of the X. I don’t act on that but I do feel it.

            He has screwed up his life. He gave up a wonderful family, an amazingly faithful wife, his self-respect to mention just a few of the things he trashed when he walked away.

            He will never have a relationship with anyone who has integrity or can be trusted because he has none. Who would want to be with an older man, well past his prime, who cheated on his wife of over 30’s and was/is a serial cheater? Sad to say there is probably some woman out there who would jump at the opportunity but I doubt he will ever tell any woman the whole truth so he is ultimately set up to have relationships built on lies. What kind of life is that for anyone? I see him as a sick, sick man – pathetic indeed. I can’t really feel anything else for him although I still do at times when I am in a weak moment.

            Please note I am still in my early days of this so I suspect, as with all things, this too shall pass and I won’t feel sorry for him anymore but today I do so I just had to share that.

            • Elderly Chump,

              Yes, I can see why you feel sorry for him, because you can see how sick he is. But I do hope you can eventually transfer all that empathy back to you where it belongs — you! At least that’s how I feel as I’m guessing most of us chumps spent years and years taking care of and loving someone who lead a double life behind our backs.

              After D-day, one of my friends who was also a chump, said she felt pity for her cheating XH. That is one emotion I will never feel for my XH. The only emotion I now feel for him is hate. I have never hated anyone my entire life, but I do hate him. He deserves nothing less. But these are all emotions and none of them are wrong. I denied my emotions for years when they were telling me something was “off” about him. I no longer deny how I’m feeling about someone. Denial got me into the mess I ended up with.

              (((HUGS))) to you Elderly Chump. Yes, “this too shall pass”. Just don’t let you feeling sorry for him make you drop your guard and let him back into your life. You deserve a million times better than a serial cheater!!!

              • Martha,

                Thanks for this. I won’t drop my guard but in case I do I have an entire phalanx of might women who will surround my house and make sure no one who isn’t authorized can enter or leave 🙂

                I have learned my lesson and have felt the hate. Reading here daily keeps me on my toes and is educating me to what in me got me into this relationship in the first place. I am not doing it in a negative way, more a curiosity as to what makes us chumps tick so I am more aware. I am also learning the patterns of the cheater which helps to clarify why I did do what I did all of which was pretty unconscious before.

                I am slowly getting some compassion and empathy for myself and it is a new feeling. I was chumped for a long, long time and in my ‘formative’ years as well so this is an entirely new experience for me and I am truly humbled by it because I am finding something in me that I didn’t know existed.

                Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement. Words that I can believe in.

              • Elderly Chump,

                That’s wonderful you have a tribe of friends that support you and keep you safe!!! And I’m the same a you when it comes to CL and CN. Not only do I want to pay it forward to fellow chumps. But I keep coming back to un-chump myself and to learn how to do this. Plus all the laughs too! 🙂

              • Martha,

                This belongs way below in your latest comment to me but there was no ‘reply’ box there so I had to move up a bit. Methinks this is an indicator that we are talking to each other too much 🙂

                Anyway, I did want to say that I wish I could get this info. out to people who are in the dark or lost in the RIC world like I was. If I had know then what I know now….


                I know that is not how ‘it works’ so I pass forward here to those of us who have found CL and CN.

                Thanks again for the words.

  • Is it at all possible that our CHEATERS are all related? Or is there a book they read and follow? I’m just saying!

    • My shock and ptsd subsided when I realized all the shitty parts about this have been played out tens of thousands of times in the same sequence with the same words.
      I have begun to see myself as an enabler to the narc rather than a victim. I didn’t put down any boundaries whatsoever.
      I don’t think I caused the affair at all. But, I let her have her way all the time. I’m almost ready to pull the trigger on filing and let the chips fall where they may.
      I’m getting the classic nice Mr. Hyde narc cheater for now, I learned they do this when they sense you have one foot out the door.
      What she doesn’t sense is that I am done enabling narc cheaters and I’m about ready to escape regardless of consequences.
      A cathartic recent victory was when I had the realization that I don’t need her to accept responsibility to move my life forward.
      All this blame shifting and justifying is played out and I see right through it.

  • These cheaters are all the same and their elusive search for “happiness”. As if not being happy gives you free pass on ethics. My cheater dude fed me the “I’m looking for any shred of happiness ..” excuse when I busted him for taking his AP out for her birthday. Artfully delivered in that sad puppy dog voice that pulled at my heartstrings.

    I honestly do I believe that he is unhappy and his quest is earnest. It’s the same reason why he drinks too much, spends money he doesn’t have and pursues the thrill of an illicit affair. Anything to stuff away those bad feelings. What he doesn’t get is that none of this will bring him the bliss that he craves. It’s only delaying it. But he’s too afraid to do the real work that it takes process those feelings and find happiness within himself. So much easier to suck down another bottle of wine.

    Fortunately I recognized it for what it is. A pathetic ploy to curry sympathy and keep supporting him in his downward spiral. Let him search for happiness in places he’s never going to find it.

    Maybe one day these cheaters will realize that their desire for “happiness” starts on a (therapist’s) couch rather than a mattress.

  • In The Divorce Letter, XH said, “I haven’t been happy for ten years, but I DIDN’T KNOW IT.”

    He sure seemed happy to me and the kids. He even told me many times how happy he was and what a “great” wife I was. A year or so before D-day, he said, “If you ever leave me, I’m going to run after you and never let you leave.”

    The pure confusion of this statement made me crazy for the longest time. That statement by him, played with my reality and history. Where there is confusion, evil and mindfucking is not far away.

    I gave XH all the family trip photo albums that he made. All the pictures of him and I being so “unhappy”. NOT. I have no doubt in my mind that all those photo albums are stored at his mommy’s house, so that his whore can’t see the truth of his marriage and family life. I also gave him our wedding album (after throwing it at his back, while he walked away from me). I’m sure that’s at his mommy’s house too. On our 20th wedding anniversary, he took it down from the shelf and said, “Let’s look at our beautiful wedding day.” Six weeks later I caught him on a date with a newly divorced whore. Two months after his date with his whore, he declared he was unhappy half of our years of marriage. THANK GOD for Chump Lady, because she helped me see that his declaration of “unhappiness” was pure bullshit to justify his lying, cheating and wanting a divorce. It was him and not me that was the problem all along!

    • He didn’t know it?!?! Then he’s either stupid or has the self-awareness of a newt. Smh

      • He’s supposedly a genius, but I’m not even sure if that’s a lie now.

        I have read that the smarter the narc, the more dangerous they are. I believe it! In my entire 53 years on this planet. I have never personally met anyone as cunning as him. It was like he was always ten steps ahead of me. His favorite game was chess; the game where you have to be thinking way ahead and contemplating your mates moves and what your move would be. After getting away, I felt like my marriage was a game to him, but I didn’t know it and I of course didn’t have any of the rules to win.

        • Don’t even consider that he’s smarter than you. You don’t have to be smart to be ahead of somebody who doesn’t even know she’s playing. Even if you did, since you have never played the narc’s version of chess and don’t know the rules, of course the narc will “win”. That’s their advantage, and it’s everything. They have to cheat in order to “win”. Narcs think they’re smart. If they really were, they’d figure out that their lifestyle of selfishness, manipulative machinations and lies hasn’t made them happy. If it could make them happy, they wouldn’t need to keep doing it forever. At some point it would be enough to fill up the void inside them. It never is, so they just keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. They can’t see something that obvious because they lack the basic ability to observe what is factual and what is not, apply reasoning, and make logical conclusions from it. I’m pretty sure that every chump who posts here is smart enough to do that.

          Once you know the game, they are easy to beat. You just have to be as ruthless as them. Most chumps can’t do that because they’re such nice people. But you can’t be nice where narcs are concerned as they will weaponize that against you.
          Your nex is a genius like Wyle E. Coyote is a genius. He’s a legend in his own simple mind.

          • So true, Chumperella. Cheaters are not smart people. Can’t possibly be, with the emotional age of a two-year-old. Chumps need to switch to a new mindset – the mindset of their cheater. Get as ruthless, unforgiving, unrepentant, and as as down and dirty as they are. Stay three steps ahead of them in legal proceedings – not that hard to. Keep important damaging information about them to yourself, until just the right moment comes when you can let loose, to an audience cheater is desperate to hide from. When forced to be in their company, be smugly indifferent to them. Roll your eyes at their lame jokes. They are endlessly surprised at your personality shift. My cheater-ex had the temerity to ask me once “is everything OK in your life, cause you’re not the old Chumpchange anymore”. I ignored him, but thought – No, asshole, I’m totally armed for battle with a cheating fuckwit now. How you have underestimated me.

            • ROAR!! Love it. I must be having one of those roller coaster chump ‘good days’ cuz I feel like Matlock right now, ready to take on cheater with cunning and guile for justice damn it.

            • Good for you! That’s the ticket.
              I keep super embarrassing info on the asshole secret to keep him in line. We made an agreement in which I get the assets and I stay on his healh plan. If he violates it, WHAMMO! His reputation will be ruined. I already have the deed to the house in my name.

  • “We haven’t been happy for a long time.” “We can’t be perfectly happy.” “We stayed married for the wrong reasons.” What the fuck was there a mouse in your pocket? What “we” are you talking about? I’m an adult and did not expect to be happy all the time. That is life. He evidently is a toddler. Thanks for wasting my time Mother fucker.

    So now he is so happy…and people are impatient with me being unhappy at times. I don’t want him around but after 30 plus years of his emotional and financial abuse I may just need a little time to adjust. I am 62 and female and as such have little value in the eyes of society. I have been systematically and brutally devalued further by the one person that vowed to love, cherish and honor me.

    I’ve had to make some unwanted changes yet again recently so I am feeling real salty today. It’s hard enough trying to put your life together again without having all these strong emotions. Saw a Facebook post that said they wished you could say to Alexa “Alexa turn off my emotions”. I’d pay top dollar if it worked.

    I want to feel solid , moderately happy most of the time and relevant again. I want to find my place. I don’t think you need to fuck your way to happiness. It is not that easy (or is it?). Nah.

    Someways I wish I was a narcissist then I could be clueless on what a selfish, destructive twat I was. Do you go to hell when you die if you don’t realize/recognize what a immoral coward you are? Do narcissist serve a purpose? Are they an evolutionary throw back? Are they reincarnated Nazis?

    Ok I feel better now..needed to vent. Anyone want to meet me for Margaritas on the deck tonight? I’ll bring the salt.

    • I’m gonna go with reincarnated nazis, and it wasn’t a mouse in his pocket, it was the snake. That’s the “we”. Oh, and narcs don’t go to hell. They *are* hell.

      Sorry you’re having a tough day. I just figure it sucks for a long time. Then it doesn’t. I hold onto that.

      “I am 62 and female and as such have little value in the eyes of society. I have been systematically and brutally devalued further by the one person that vowed to love, cherish and honor me.”

      56 and same thing. Your value as a person has nothing to do with your current sexual market value. Anybody who feels otherwise can fuck right off. Let the scumbags swipe on Tinder until they get carpal tunnel syndrome. I’ll be in my garden with a cup of iced tea, enjoying the summer blooms.

      • Wow, today is truly a treasure trove of wisdom. My post-dates middle aged behind will be going for a walk with my loyal dogs then binge watching whatever I want or reading an entire book in one sitting. Or hanging with my friends as much or little as I want. My life. No one gets to judge my worth!

  • I got the “unhappy for 10 years” crap speech. Until I confronted him with you were unhappy 10 of 18 years? He denied saying 10 because he meant only 5. They can’t even keep track of their lies.

    For being unhappy, he put in very little effort to make anything better. I knew our marriage wasn’t in a good place. For about 3 years, he came home from work, went down to his man cave most evenings, and worked most weekends. I don’t know the marriage was supposed to get better when one spouse is being ignored.

    If the Dickhead had put even half of the effort he has given the OW, our marriage would have been in a much better place.

    I also got the “you were unhappy too”. You’re damn right I was unhappy!! You ignored me, you belittled my concerns, you offered very little support and treated me as if I was invisible. I still loved you and just wanted to be noticed – you damn idiot.

  • I got the “unhappy for 10 years” crap speech. Until I confronted him with you were unhappy 10 of 18 years? He denied saying 10 because he meant only 5. They can’t even keep track of their lies.

    For being unhappy, he put in very little effort to make anything better. I knew our marriage wasn’t in a good place. For about 3 years, he came home from work, went down to his man cave most evenings, and worked most weekends. I don’t know the marriage was supposed to get better when one spouse is being ignored.

    If the Dickhead had put even half of the effort he has given the OW, our marriage would have been in a much better place.

    I also got the “you were unhappy too”. You’re damn right I was unhappy!! You ignored me, you belittled my concerns, you offered very little support and treated me as if I was invisible. I still loved you and just wanted to be noticed – you damn idiot.

  • My ex said that he knew I wasn’t happy in the marriage anyway. That I wouldn’t of cared if he cheated. He needed to get out of the house and have fun. If I truly would not of cared if he cheated. Then why did he keep skankella secret?

  • Chump Lady-your book should be mandatory reading for all. They all say the same thing–how is that? And the circle of logic –oh my god–how do we get trapped in it? It’s astounding. I got the “I’ve been unhappy for a long time.” And then, “I thought you were unhappy, too. Now that I know you weren’t, this changes things.” This led to a month of me regretting all the times I didn’t let him now how much I loved him. Lamenting having blown it. And offering all sorts of things we would do to make it better. But then I uncovered more lies. And confronted him. Made him choose. Told him he needed to think about how his actions were affecting others. Well, that’s no fun. As you say, CL, I was threatening to take the cake away. And I got, “I’ve been working on the marriage for 16 years.” Really? Working how? He was always gone. “I had to work,” he says, implying that I do nothing but sit around benefitting from his hard work. Yes, but then what about if the time spent on the other life, with another woman overseas? IT seems like the “work” he was doing on the marriage was hiding his double life. That must have been hard. Which side of the logic circle are we on now? It goes on. Eventually his logic turned to the fact that I didn’t “let him be who he was”. Which was what exactly? Well, I gave him ultimatums. I “made him go hiking.” He “never wanted kids”. What ultimatums? I ask. Turns out he is talking about when I caught him in his first affair and told him to end it or I was out. So wait? We’re using our past transgressions to defend today’s affair? Whoa…I’m lost. I think I just did the logic circle a couple of times. And then, apparently, I had once “asked for a divorce”. I asked for a divorce? Oh…that’s right. When he started to show his other face sometimes, when the double life started to be too much for him and this detached and dismissive side started to creep into his behavior, I had asked him if we were ok. I had asked him to go to couples therapy. And he would always dismiss my fears, getting all lovey-dovey for a while. This is rewritten as me asking for a divorce, as me acknowledging I was unhappy, and …. green-lighting an affair until my divorce dream could be realized? What? I gave up my career for this man that I was unhappy with, moved away from my friends and my life when I was planning to “go my separate way after the kids finished high school”? Nothing makes sense when the cheater’s gaslight is shining on it.

  • O-M-G – she said this to me! I was dumbfounded. How? When? Was I in the same marriage for 15 years? How did I not pick up on years of unhappiness, but caught onto her affair within weeks? Because, quite simply, it isn’t true. This one threw me for a loop and at the time I was heartbroken to hear this. I felt like a terrible person. My wife had been unhappy for so long and I had not noticed – what kind of monster was I? It was only later that I realized the mind-fuckery at work here. The manipulation, the gas-lighting, the twisting and reshaping of history. Anything that she could use to justify her actions. I honestly cannot imagine the level of deceit and maliciousness that goes on inside a cheater’s head. So to my cheater – go stick your tongue down your married boyfriend’s throat in the parking garage at work. Sleep with him all you want. Continue to lie to me, your children, your family and yourself. Enjoy your expensive lunches with gin and tonics and don’t feel bad when you tell your kids you don’t have money to take them out. Break up this family. Break up his family. Mess up the futures of 4 children. Go through with this divorce. Because now you’re happy, right? Keep telling yourself you’re a victim and a good person. This is the life you really wanted. Enjoy it. Karma will bite you in the ass when you realize who he really is. I already do. But since you have stonewalled me to death, there is no reason for me to share this information with you. Find it out the hard way and go through hell. Just like I did when you cheated on me.

    • You are describing an individual who’s level of self centeredness knows no bounds. Good for you for getting out.

      Mine just wanted an “opportunity to be happy before it was too late.” Well, I had no idea that the 20 years of living, traveling, adventures, child raising, interesting careers, and other awesomeness (from my perspective) were holding you back from happiness.

  • Alternatively, “You’ve been unhappy for a long time.” If they can mindread, you’d think they’d put it to better use.

  • Have you ever noticed that those who feel the most entitled to happiness are the same folks who do nothing to try to make others happy. No contribution, no effort. They think happiness is a limited resource and should be served to them on a silver platter. The rest of the family, the world at large, should be content with any crumbs of happiness that fall off the platter onto the floor. Happiness is always external to these folks. It is your job to provide them with happiness, their job is to consume all of it, leaving no leftovers for insignificant others, like a spouse or a family member, or a friend. They have no empathy.

    • I bet they think of it as a pie. The more you cut into it and pass it around, the less there is for the Adult Infant in the room.

      The only reason mine even considered whether or not I was happy was because if I looked unhappy to others, it reflected badly on him. Not because he gave a damn, or enough of a damn to be part of the solution instead of the problem.

    • I think they are clueless about what happiness actually is and what it feels like because it seems like the things that they say will make them happy are all external things. For them there isn’t any quiet contentment or satisfaction of just being – with themselves, with their kids, with their families. It’s all about getting, going, doing or being seen as – fill in the blank. You said it correctly Portia, about them seeing happiness as a limited resource because they view it as a commodity – the same way they view everything – to which they are entitled and if they share it, they will have less.

      I have come to understand that I was happy in my marriage because I was happy. I was happy because I loved being a mother and I loved being a wife and taking care of my family. I didn’t realize it until lately that any “happiness” my Ex provided was addition by subtraction. He wasn’t in a foul mood, he wasn’t giving me the silent treatment, he wasn’t angry about not being able to do or buy something, etc., and I interpreted that as treating me well. He rarely treated me well or the way I deserved. There were simply times he wasn’t mistreating me.

      If anyone was going to cheat because they were “unhappy,” it should have been me – as early as the honeymoon. Instead I stayed for 25+ years. At least it wasn’t my entire life and I’ve had plenty of peace and joy since the divorce.

      • “Addition by subtraction”…very well said. This was my relationship exactly. I thought he was treating me well when he came to the parking lot I was stranded in to jump my car after the battery died, and then followed me to get a new battery put in. How small I made my needs when something he SHOULD do because he cares about me is something I use as an example of him “treating me well”. I feel bad for that Sisu who made herself so small, and am glad I’ve learned to put myself first.

  • I think the trigger for unhappiness in many of these guys is having kids. Even if they “love” their kids and are attentive parents, the fact that their spouse now has to move much of her time and attention away from HIM, creates profound unhappiness for the narcissist who must be the CENTER OF EVERYTHING. And then, it becomes the wife’s fault for “neglecting her marriage.” Like, she should have just invented more hours in the day so that Mr. Kibbles could get all of the inordinate amount of puppy treats he had grown so accustomed to.

    This inability to share the “spotlight” with their own children confounds me, but is pretty common from what I can see. That’s pretty much what happened to my marriage.

    Might these cheaters have cheated even if there were no kids to steal their attention? Probably eventually. But kids are a pretty big trigger, which is sad on so many levels.

    • I agree, NotANiceChump: Cheater-boy left when our third and last child was still in nappies. I asked him why he agreed to have a third child, if he was “so unhappy in the marriage for such a long time”? Why would you bring an innocent child into a failing situation? Glared at me in stunned, stupid silence. Mr. Logical at a loss for words, who was never normally at a loss for words. Yup, that third little child was the attention-stealer that broke cheater’s back.

      • I got the double-dipped shit cone of “you pressured me into having a kid” then “you changed after you had a kid and I no likey.” Ummm, of course I changed, I HAD A BABY AND WAS CARING FOR IT! And, sure, 30 something year old wife in 10-year long marital relationship, complete with house and white picket fence and dog, pressures 30 something year old husband into having a baby. That’s called “living life” pal.

        I will say though that my ex did express doubt about being a father–I took it at face value, that he was just generally concerned like most people and would get over it once the baby was here. That was probably naive. The devil’s in the details and I would advise anyone whose spouse expresses any scintilla of doubt about having a child to immediately explore that to its depth. If they’re worried about things like money and stuff, that’s probably not a big deal. But, if they say things like “I don’t want less of your attention” or “what if I don’t love it”…ya might want to be sure your values are aligned. My ex never said those exact things, but in hindsight, that’s what he meant.

    • Oh yes here comes another classic line you have just reminded me about. ‘I didn’t know having children would mean I would lose my girlfriend’


    • I had no kids with my cheater. He had kids from his previous relationship while I had none. Yup, cheating happened even with no kids taking my attention from him. His AP, who he’s with now, has three kids. My guess is he’s already cheating on her.

    • The Dickhead took his first wife back to court in 2008 for physical custody of his two kids. He won and they came to live with us in 2009. Our marriage changed and not for the better. I do know the kids’ lives improved but our marriage suffered. It suffered because he really had no idea about how to be a parent or how to cope with their baggage. His solution was spend longer and longer evenings away from home and leave all the parenting up to me. If I dared to complain about him or the kids, I was just being a nag and a bitch. He seriously expected me to handle everything and leave him out of it, even if they were his kids.

      I love my stepson but he went through this “alpha male” phase in his early teens (yeah puberty). If I disciplined him on something, he would contact his father to gain sympathy and then I had to defend my actions. I got so tired of having to explain myself against the actions of a 14 yo boy especially because he pulled this shit when the Dickhead wasn’t around. I was such a pitiful place. I remember finally taking a stand against J and the Dickhead. No wonder I felt like I was a bitch.

      • geez, talk about a lose-lose situation…here, parent my difficult child but do so with my general disapproval and zero support, feel free to work countless hours that I will repay you for by cheating and lying. That’s a pretty big shit sandwich…glad you got out!

        My current “special friend” was in your shoes to some extent. Married a woman with multiple children from multiple dads, none of whom were involved in their lives (heads up, that’s a red flag for you newbie chumps out there). As a caring, giving chump he took on (or it was thrust upon him) the bulk of the parenting duties while she cheated, partied, and sometimes physically abused her children. He loved and fathered those babies for years, until she left him for someone far younger and proceeded to willingly give up custody of all of her kids to anyone who would take them. Of course, as a step-dad, he had no legal claims and “lost” them to errant family members. He was devastated. But, all these years later, two of them are grown and still consider him their step dad, complete with father’s day calls and regular visits. They have nothing to do with their mom, who has remarried again and had yet another baby with another man. So, sometimes a shit sandwich can turn into a fairly healthy salad with time.

      • Similar experience here.

        Stepdaughter came to live with us full time. My ex didn’t parent her at all, so I did what I could, which wasn’t much since my ex would undermine me all the time, and give me zero power for parenting. Oftentimes when I’d bring up something important regarding his daughter that I thought he needed to address, he’d say, “Don’t make me choose between my kids and you. You won’t like the answer”. That statement confused me every time because I would never ask him to choose.

        In hindsight, I realize he was triangulating me with his kids.

        • Triangulation is opium for the disordered. I now big time watch for this red flag in all my relationships – whether with friends or family.

        • My STBX actually just “chose” his 38 year old daughter over working on our marriage. I never asked him to choose, but her annual crisis gave him the cover he needed. That and how unhappy he’s been “for years”. I’m working hard to believe our 30 year realtionship wasn’t all bad. His mindfuckery is working.

      • I’ve seen this in its opposite form. The step father who I thought gave a shit about my first two children, not his, abandoned and discarded them before me. It was awful to watch him treat two kids who’d relied on him as “father figure” for over 10 years, as if they meant nothing and were deserving of his disdain.

        It works both ways with these disordered freaks!

      • I’m in the position of the “first wife”. The man asked me to leave and take the kids, spent 4 years moving around and dating, and once divorce got finalized (by mediation, not court order- so he GAVE me custody), he got married in the same month. Couple months later he filed for custody.

        He has never taken responsibility side of raising kids, just the fun. And now with a woman that makes some money, he buys a house and wants custody. I’m still struggling to get into a nicer place because the cost of the divorce.

        I’m fighting him though. I live in the mobile home he bought for me so the kids and I would have a place without him. I’m in the financial situation because he wouldn’t work out an agreement for over a year. I’ve been raising these kids by myself since before we separated, and I’m pretty sure his wife just doesn’t like all the funds lost for child support, but he will lay the responsibility on her. He hates school and mess, and he would not know how to handle full time parenting.

        Are there any other stories out there like this?

  • I was told that I was the unhappy one and that’s why serial cheater had to be with other people. It was such a mindfuck. What? How do you know how I feel better than I know my own feelings?? Blameshifting and gaslighting are horribly effective abuse tactics….

    Almost as good as when serial cheater told me “there’s just something about you that makes me treat you this way.”

    Ah, happy memories….

    I miss serial cheater exactly not one bit at all.

  • Mine wasn’t just unhappy, but he felt that he had spent years enduring hardship, always for the sake of others. And, now, he finally just needed to live for himself for once.

    Cute. I had just finished putting him through a university degree. I was the sole income earner for three years while he studied full-time. For that time, he was required to get the kids to school in the mornings and make some dinners. And, all this made him feel so hard done by.

    He forgot the six years prior that he was a commuter, gone for 11 hours a day, and I was responsible for morning drop offs of toddlers and pre-schoolers and pick-ups, put dinner on the table every day so it was ready when he got home at 6:30 and was responsible for getting the kids to every extra-curricular after school.

    Happy? What the hell is that?

    Joy!!! Now that I understand.

  • I cheated and I was cheated on. I know both sides. Being cheated on by someone you love and trust breaks you. As a cheater, I didn’t think about it at all. I thought only about myself and my new love.

    I come from a broken family. My father was disordered. After years of abuse and heart-wrenching attempts, my mom finally let him go. I’ve never seen him since but I don’t miss him.

    It did affect me though and it is something I’m only discovering a couple decades later while in therapy. I had one big love when I was very young but he left me after a year. I was always so much more into him anyway. He indirectly told me he’d been cheating and felt guilty about it but I didn’t connect the dots back then, I was young and naive. Cheating wasn’t on my radar at all. I was broken for a few years, not even slightly interested in anyone, especially that the ex came back a few times and each time, he’d leave me heartbroken again.

    I finally got close with someone, he was good and decent but now I know I loved the idea of him. He proposed but we never got married as I started distancing myself. I wanted someone like him but I didn’t want him. I should have dated more (not as sleeping around but just meeting people). Instead, I went straight into a serious relationship when this guy showed me his interest and I felt he’d treat me right. Well, in the end I treated him horribly because I met someone else and left my fiance (I hadn’t cheated).

    The next relationship lasted for a few years. Again, he was a good man and I loved him. He loved me for sure but he also didn’t want all the things I wanted in life: marriage and kids. He was older (a bachelor) and he was comfortable with just us but with no legal commitment (he treated me very well though). I never really said it to myself but I knew that relationship was a waste of time (even though I still love him very much as a person) because it’d never go anywhere further.

    I started a new job and fell head over heals in love with someone. It was like a thunder. This time I cheated. Emotionally at first, and then, after a few months, I cheated physically. I knew that this new person was all I wanted. It was the first time I felt so alive since my first relationship a decade earlier. I quit my relationship but I never told him the truth. Why? I wanted to look like a good person. I’m honest now. It was image management. I knew I didn’t want to be with him and I wasn’t planning on stringing him along so it wasn’t cake but I decided that me keeping the appearances was more important than the truth. I didn’t feel bad about it. I was very in love and had no remorse.

    My new partner knew nothing about my relationship either. I lied to both of them. I was scared to lose my new partner. I was sure he was the one I’d marry.

    He turned out to be like my father. An alcoholic with a personality disorder. A full-blown narc who lied, raged, abused me emotionally and physically, and needed constant validation. I went through hell for years. I did everything to make it work. I lost myself. Finally, I left.

    What I have been telling myself was how strong I’ve been that I endured it and found courage to leave. I am truly and honestly still broken a year later. I have ptsd. I know what had drawn me to him so much, he really is like my own father. I felt a victim of the narcissistic abuse (and truly, I am, regardless of my previous actions).
    Recently, he found out about my lies about the previous relationship. I’m the bad guy now, everything that he did to me is meaningless.

    I feel shame. I have to face now that I wasn’t a good person. I’m a liar and cheater just like him. I am no longer a survivor as I told myself, I am equally bad.

    You may never get the truth from your cheaters so I will tell you my point of view, as I would tell my ex partner (the one I cheated on) if I had the courage to be a decent person.

    I saw myself as a good person. Everyone around saw me as a good person. I thought that I just fell in love with the one and that was the most important thing in the world for me. I didn’t even think about my lying and cheating much because I was on such high. For me it wasn’t about strange sex but super intense love so I felt justified. I didn’t tell him the truth though because bad people lie and cheat and “I’m not bad”. I left the relationship basically instantly after all. I “just” didn’t tell the truth. I didn’t ask myself difficult questions like, so why didn’t you leave first? It wasn’t important. The love of my life was important.

    All these years, I thought that karma got back at me and I paid my price. But it was all about me, my hurt and my experience. Only recently, when my ex narc found out the truth, when I got “busted”, it hit me what I did to someone else. Yes, I had this very disordered view. I feel shame that I got busted, I admit it, but I also feel general shame that this is who I am. I doubt I would feel it if I haven’t got busted. I just wouldn’t ever process it.

    I think I will carry this shame with me. I definitely am somewhere on the narc spectrum since I could lie so easily. If your ex is a full blown narc, don’t expect them to feel real remorse though for what they did to you. I don’t have a personality disorder and I genuinely can feel empathy and love but I was able to switch it off somehow when I was having my affair. I was able to lie because it benefited me.

    I feel quite broken because I have to live with myself. We all make decisions we regret but it’s really different when it affects just me (like my relationship with the narc) and when I know I am able to hurt someone else. On top of that, I probably wouldn’t have felt this way if I wasn’t hit by the karma bus, if the relationship with the narc turned out to be wonderful and worth it, and if I never got busted. It does not affect my current life anymore that he knows as I am out of these relationships (and single, working on myself) but I feel horrible as a person. I have to face it now. It’s scary because I should have faced my issues years ago. It’s scary because I did it all to myself. It’s scary because I need to make right life decisions from now on because bad decisions from the past make me feel worthless.

    It’s not a self-pity message. I don’t pity myself. Please don’t pity cheaters and leave them instantly. Cheating is extremely selfish and there is no love for you there in the cheater. I don’t know cheating for sex but the narc cheated on me for strange sex and he definitely didn’t love me either.

    Cheating is lying. I lied a lot. Cheating is being blind to the other person’s emotions, trust and confusion. Cheating is abuse. Cheating is entitlement. Cheating means you know you break this person’s life but you don’t care. My “soulmate” was everything to me. I should have just told everyone the truth instantly but I wanted to keep a facade of being a decent person.

    • This is the ONLY reason I have ever received. Ever.
      Nevermind the misery he put me through — constant unemployment, frequent financial stress, emotional abuse, the absolute betrayal of all — cheating on me and talking shit about me to OWs and their family and friends.
      Meanwhile, I spackled like a boss, I stayed faithful and true to my wedding vows despite everything he did.
      Four years later, he’s still with OWife and her kids, but the way I’ve heard, he is now the sole bread-winner, her kids are little maniacs and tell him all the time they hate him, they’ve moved three times in four years, and he’s had multiple jobs. She’s even left him for a spell — after slapping him a couple times and scratching up his face ????????????????????
      Wonder how “happy” he is now????????????????

      • If that is happy, hand me a fork to gouge my eyes out, please, Molly!

        • ???????????????????? NMSB, right?!?!
          I want to ask him sssssssssooooooo much, “Are you so much happier now, TEO?!? Was it worth it?!?!!”

    • Sorry, didn’t mean to post my comments as a response to your post.

    • Well hopefully your self awareness and desire to change can lead you to a better life. It sounds like you may not even have a handle on your personal values, but that’s where it all starts. Having good values and honoring them, even when it’s difficult to do.

    • This is a very interesting post, but there’s something very basic which you don’t understand. You did not love the narc, or you wouldn’t have lied to him. Real love is not “thunder” and does not cause you to behave recklessly. That sort of feeling signifies an infatuation, and an unhealthy one at that. It’s no wonder he turned out to be a creep. That’s what “thunder” will get you, nine times out of ten. Like all cheaters, you have an adolescent view of love and that’s why you’re never satisfied with relationships that aren’t filled with drama. Mature love is altogether different. It’s not thundery, it’s warm and sweet and lovely. It’s low on drama and high on tenderness. I don’t think you are capable of mature love, sorry to say. You have a lot of growing up to do first. My cheater went for an unhealthy infatuation with an evil narc over the mature love I offered. He’s like you now; ashamed, alone and miserable. That’s where believing that “thunder” is love gets you.

    • Thank you for this perspective. For what it is worth, I do believe in redemption for those who are truly repentant and willing to do the work. It is hard and scary to face one’s worst self (and that is true for us all), but it is the only way to heal and to become a better person. Sometimes the worst things that happen to us turn out to be the best things in the end. I wish you the best of luck on your journey. I hope the person you cheated on has healed and moved on as well.

    • Cheater, you are on the right path. When you can see yourself for who you are, warts and all — well, now you have the power to change yourself. It’s tough to change, but you can do it if you want to! It took great courage to make your name here at CN as “Cheater”. Some of us married/dated our dad. I did too, but didn’t realize it until after D-day.

      And I’m with Chumperella that “Mature love is altogether different. It’s not thundery, it’s warm and sweet and lovely. It’s low on drama and high on tenderness.” With my XH, it was like being on a rollercoaster.

      And Chumpinrecovery is spot on that you can do better in the future if you are truly repentant and do the hard work to change. Maybe you could apologize to the person you cheated on in a letter or email? You sound like you are very sorry for what you did.

      I truly wish you the best, Cheater. Many of us grew-up with cheating parents. Some of us learned bad patterns. I myself knew my dad was a serial cheater, so I knew I’d never cheat on my spouse. And my XH used this knowledge against me.

  • did I write this letter to CL and don’t remember. to a word this is what my fuckwit said to me post dday. and yes i untangled that skein like mad trying to recreate scenarios where he seemed unhappy and i didn’t see it. i did finally land on then he should have said something and let it go. fucker. hugs to all of us.

  • Mine finally got me to say that I wasn’t happy. When I said it, I found it weird that she didn’t reach out or try to help. She took it as her chance to just up-and-go to be with the other man she was dating. Within a few weeks, she moved out. Within a few weeks after that, the other man was living with her. Now, she tells people that “we just weren’t happy” and that we mutually decided a divorce was best. We were married 22 years ago tomorrow.

  • Well, hell. I didn’t get it from the XW exactly. Her words instead were, “You just got so negative!’ Right. She knew I was in the worst depression I’d ever struggled w/EVER. I followed her request to go for counseling. It didn’t help. But I was trying, HARD. I didn’t realize I was also borderline diabetic and had little to no energy between the two. I was hoping if I got a real job I would recover from my depression (I left a high paying, high stress, professional job after being in that career for 20 yrs. It was that or have a nervous breakdown).

    All throughout my depression, I might not have been fun to be around at times, but I put plenty of effort in trying to make sure she knew I loved her. Flowers, running errands, bringing her lunch at work (where she finally found her AP in her now former boss), getting groceries and taking the kids at the same time, taking care of the kids in general so she could pursue her interests, etc. I also was never shy in telling her how much I loved and appreciated her.

    She had one conversation w/me in the middle of my depression where she asked me to do a few cryptic things, like stop using her as my primary social connection. Never actually said, “I’m unhappy or I’m unhappy w/you.” The marriage counselor called her on that and told her she was effectively asking me to “mind read.” In my fog of depression, I couldn’t have guessed what she was trying to say unless I had a telepathic hat.

    It was the SIL, the aunt the kids thought was great (and I did too), who drove a significant distance up to talk w/me a few months after D-day, who said the XW wasn’t happy in our marriage for a few years. I asked her as I broke down crying why she didn’t pass this information on to me? She didn’t have a good answer to this.

    I finally realized about 6 monhs after D-day that out of seven children in the XW’s family (my XW was the youngest, and most spoiled), all of them had cheated on, then divorced a spouse, EXCEPT for the SIL who came up to talk to me, and two sisters who had divorced husbands who were alcoholic or abusive (but who later went on to be the OW w/married men). And I think the favorite aunt didn’t because she made it clear in her marriage she would have no children, and she was the breadwinner in the family. So there is/was a lot less fodder for marital strife.

    The XW later also told my brother and his wife that she wished they had spoke to me about how deeply unhappy she was w/me. They told her in no uncertain terms that while they knew she had expressed some unhappiness w/me, it was never something they thought would send her into an affair and to abandon me and our family. She also chose to do it when I was starting to come out of my depression, mainly because she asked me to “step up”

    I now realize that I wasn’t providing enough cake for her, and definitely not enough money. For 15+ years, I earned from 2-4x what she brought in. I never minded her doing what she wanted during that time. I was happy to give her freedom to pursue what she wanted. When I ran into job trouble, and the depression that followed, I figure she gave up on me and the marriage after two years of my lower paying jobs and dealing w/a loving, but depressed husband. So much for providing the life she wanted to live.

    Now that I don’t have her around, I’m slowly making my way back to happiness for myself. I just hope that my kids will be there w/me. Here’s to happiness to all us chumps! Stay strong, CN.

    • Boy I wish my ex had showed me love and gratitude and brought me lunches at work after he quit his high paying job because it was too stressful. I supported that move because I knew he was unhappy and I thought it would actually make him less unhappy (and perpetually disgruntled). I was so wrong. He just got more unhappy and cranky and quite frankly depressed but he never would have admitted to it as it would have implied that there was something wrong with him. I continued to love him and support him. I worked hard at my career to advance and make more money while also encouraging him in his goal of becoming a flight instructor. I tried to make him feel valued and appreciated. I helped out with the kids and the household chores as I was able around my job. He just got more and more unhappy. But of course he wasn’t depressed, it was just me making him feel so unhappy because I didn’t love and appreciate him. I made him do all of the laundry. No I let him do all of the laundry because he had time and he didn’t like the way I did it. After DDay I tried to convince him to get individual counseling. He then tried to use that as a bargaining chip. “I’ll get IC if you let me continue to see Schmoopie while still living at home. I will be discreet”. Um no. Well he continued to get together with Schmoopie anyway but never did see an IC. People get depressed sometimes but you are proof positive that it doesn’t have to turn you into a jerk. Ex was lucky to have me to support him and your ex was lucky to have you still doing your best to be a good husband in spite of your depression. Seriously, what did she think “for better or for worse” meant anyway?

      • Wow chumpinrecovery! He wanted you to okay him being with Schmoopie and live at home? WOw just wow! Talk about shit sandwich. How are you supposed to feel after his “discreet” encounters? Did he not understand that you have feelings and are a human being. I am glad you said no – if he sneaked around that is on him – but you made yor boundaries and values clear. I am glad to see your writing over this long period of time – because compared to before, you are no longer sad.

      • Chumpinrecovery, you just made my day.

        I don’t know what the XW thought, but “for better or worse” to her seemed to only mean “better whenever possible” and “worse for the briefest period only”. I realize now she never expected me to do anything but make a buttload of money so she could have the freedom to pursue whatever she wanted to do. When I stopped doing that, all bets were off.

        I think it took about two years for her to emotionally leave the marriage after I left my stressful, high paying job (and yes, I did find other, lower paying jobs, but at least I kept contributing for the family). I wondered why she no longer was interested in visiting my family (never a problem w/hers, of course), but was so lost in my fog of depression that I wasn’t able to think clearly about her behavior. Never mind the fact that I thought she was as devoted to me as I was to her, so I must be wrong, right?

        When D-day came, and she told me she was in love w/her then boss, and that she did this because she “had to know if she could make the leap,” the only thing I could think of to say to her in my shock and anger was that there were a couple of times at least that I probably could have had an affair w/some women if I had wanted to during our almost 25 yrs of marriage, but that I loved and cared about her too much to do that. I will say it was a little satisfying to see her react to that statement like I had slapped her in the face.

        What I wish I had had the presence of mind to say is that it’s EASY to make the leap and betray your partner by cheating. The hard part is NOT making the leap. Remembering instead that this person you’ve committed to, had children with, BUILT A LIFE WITH is more important than the cheap thrill of temporary lust fulfilled.

        And she did feel the need to tell me on D-day that the passion was just “so amazing” w/her pathetic partner. Funny, it was that way when we started as well, you fuckwit. I think most people, even married people, are attracted to other people throughout their life. I know I had been attracted to a few women during my marriage. I just knew better than to act on any of my baser impulses.

        I thought I had a loving, wonderful, beautiful and caring wife always waiting for me at home. Why would I want to risk that? I loved her AND lusted for her. I thought she was wicked smart and a great mother of our three wonderful children (I got the wicked part right). What other woman could match that? I’d have to have been an idiot to risk that.

        When I stayed at home to enjoy my wife and family AND avoid temptation, that was held against me, too. I was too much of a homebody, and used her too much as my point of social interaction in life. Well, I tried to work on that too, but then D-day happened. I realize now that like many marriage partners, my strengths early on in the relationship (being sensitive, caring, etc.) became my flaws to her.

        I’m very sorry that your XH chose to abandon you and your love. He’s obviously a fuckwit, like my XW. As my older brother said when it was clear the XW had no interest in reconciliation, people like that never took the vows of marriage seriously like we did. He also said at least our family has morals (he has a lot of opinions that I agree w/on these matters).

        I got cranky too, in my depression, because I felt like I was letting my wife and children down. I blamed myself, and unfortunately when I wasn’t half-comatose from the lack of energy due to the depression and the then unknown diabetes (sugar was my go to for battling depression), I know I wasn’t necessarily the funnest to be around. All I can say is I tried to do as much as I could for my wife and family at that time. It wasn’t much, but I never thought of abandoning her or them the way she obviously was able to.

        Looking back, I realized I felt like I was on my own to solve my problems, especially those last two years. I did not get the feeling my spouse cared about me, but thought it was just my depression affecting me.

        You did your best to try to help your spouse through a difficult time. That’s all you can do. You did not deserve the shit sandwich he served you. And as for him tentatively agreeing to going to counseling on the condition you let him continue w/his AP while living at home? THAT blows my mind. I thought I had it tough because my fuckwit of an XW wanted me to keep everything quiet, as she was a local politician.

        You deserve better, and I am sure you will find better in the future. No, not all men are thoughtless, cheating bastards. We’re not perfect, but nobody, either man or woman is. I really liked the quote on the website for the marriage counselor I used in trying to reconcile w/the XW. It goes, “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It’s when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” Our fuckwit former spouses never got that. We did. We deserve better than them. Wishing you all the best.

  • Wow. These are the exact words he said. He repeated them to our children, to others…as if it gave him the right. He literally even said “we” weren’t happy in a letter to our daughter. She didn’t like him speaking for me, and I give her kudos for that. But literally, after all these years (5), I still woosh around in my head where I failed the marriage. I will own my shit. He never did, and won’t, own his. Thanks for this. Copied and pasted for future reference. I have a good life now, but what happened 5 years ago was a big deal and I need an occasional reminder that he was more of a dipshit than I was.

  • Heard those exact sentences from the ex when she got busted banging my cousin. Followed up by thousands of sentences describing what a horrible person I have always been. .

  • I also heard the same I’m not happy, for months, years, then all the way back to the marriage etc. I told him that was impossible to fake it for so long and he admitted that he used to think he was happy until he just realized he had Never been in love with me. So I’m asking if he’d never been in love with me and been so unhappy why did it take almost 25 years to realize it.

    Oh good lord the way they twist shit in their minds when you throw the confusion back at them. Well you see he had an “insight” one day from GOD and BAM he knew I wasn’t his soulmate. S

    So when I pushed even more for explanation when did he have this sudden insight? Just by coincidence was when he fell in love with the picture of his internet Thai whore. Yep in all of a couple of weeks the 25 years meant absolutely nothing and he said he didn’t know it before but he’d been miserable. BUT I was still his best friend yada yada yada etc.

    You know his best friends, his family, our neighbors and everyone told me that he was always talking about how much he loved me, and how great we were together, they said he would be so eager and excited talking about us. All of them told me that it’s completely a lie and delusional for him to deny he was in love with me.

    Yet the worst was when he used his happiness against me to make me feel like I was the selfish, unsympathetic bitch because “IF I REALLY LOVED HIM, THEN I WOULD WANT HIM TO BE HAPPY”

    Right, exactly what I wanted to be a martyr for his happiness and he didn’t give a fuck about mine.

    • Isn’t it great when they play the God Card?! Like, how can you disagree with God?!

      My XH “prayed” about divorcing me, because he “wanted to be with someone who trusted him 100%.” And I “couldn’t give him what he wanted. Trust.” He also “talked to” other Christians. No doubt he lied to them too about me and our marriage.

      He would also sit on the couch and read the Bible, all the while he’s lying and cheating on me. I felt like taking that Bible and whacking him in the head with it!

      He did much, much more to use God, our church and my faith against me. That I now know is spiritual abuse!

      • Martha,

        I am so sorry that happened to you. That kind of deception and hypocritical use of God is sickening, and yes, can only be described as spiritual abuse. Imagine being so arrogant that you would proclaim yourself to know the mind of God!–especially since what he was doing went against every standard set down in the Bible and in Christian tradition across 2,000 years. rest assured when he is held to account before his maker; he will be singing a different tune. God knows his heart. And he knows your better one too.

        • Thank you, jojobee. That’s what I keep telling myself — God knows his heart and also God has seen everything he ever did to me for 23 years — probably tons of stuff that I don’t even know about — God knows! I have such a hard time going to church now. The pastor and some of the church member did not do what was right according to discipline. They hugged and loved on him. He’s now with the whore he cheated on me with and my XH still goes to church there and everyone is perfectly fine with all that he did to me and my children. It’s like he didn’t do anything wrong. Sickening!

      • Martha,

        The X did something similar stating that why should he follow a bunch of rules that were set down over 2000 years ago and just weren’t relevant in today’s world. Not using God’s word against me but a denouncement of the vows we took together none the less.

        He forgot to tell me that his values had taken a dramatic turn over the years – along with a lot of other things he failed to tell me.

        I am ever so glad that is all behind me now and I can heal physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually….he left no part of my life unscathed in his dramatic exit.

        If what all the near death people report is true….someday he shall pay the piper for the damage done not only to me but to our children, community, his clients who trusted him and the women he used his position of power to seduce and use until he was ready to toss them onto his discard pile. A way of living that has spanned over most of his adult life. This guy has a lot of shit to explain. The unfortunate part is that none of it ever was ‘enough’ for him and still isn’t. A sad, sad, dirty old man now.

        • It sure is shocking when you find out that the person you’ve been married to for a long time isn’t who you thought they were! I have never ever felt such horror in my life and it took me a very long time to not only figure out who he really was. But even more time to accept who he really was. And thanks to CL and CN, I probably would have never saw the light!

          And yes, I totally agree with you that one day both of our cheaters will pay the price for all they’ve done to us and our children. Right now my XH has gotten away with everything, because he’s “such a nice guy! Big, fat fake! But one day he won’t.

  • The best I can tell, the I’m Unhappy statement is supposed to make it OK for them to fuck around on you. But, it’s just crap. If you are unhappy, you get a divorce….

  • I’m not sure people are still reading the comments on this post but this has really resonated with me. Dday for me was 10 weeks ago, and it wasn’t even an affair – he went off to a gig on the Sunday morning with some friends and friends of those friends, by Sunday evening he was, what, infatuated? with one of these friends of friends, kissed her and decided he wanted to be with her instead of me. Devastated didn’t even come close, they’d known each other one day.
    But apparently (aside from a myriad of other reasons thrown on to me) he ‘hadn’t been that happy for a while’ so the most non-committal way of saying he was unhappy. But I now know that this isn’t true, he’s just shifting the blame. If he was unhappy he wouldn’t have been doing all the stuff he was doing up until the gig day. I’m going to read around the rest of these posts and try to feel better.

    • HeartOut,
      You are lucky to find CL and CN so soon. Took me over a year. While you are in shock and incredible pain right now IT WILL END. Read, read, read – go into the archives and read until your eyes fall out and your brain explodes.

      HE is the problem. YOU are NOT.

      Protect yourself. Lawyer up. Protect yourself.

      Good Luck and HUGE HUGS

  • Hi HeartOut, hugs to you x If he knew he was ‘unhappy’ and you didn’t, it was up to him to do something about it. You’re not a mind-reader and you couldn’t do anything about a problem that you didn’t know existed. If he had loved you and wanted to stay, he would have talked about his ‘unhappiness’ and tried to find a solution. This looks like he found something a little shinier, to his eyes, who is lacking enough in moral compass to take him on. After a day!
    Sweetheart, this is not your fault, he’s a user. Please keep reading and posting, all the best x