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When Your D-Day Is After the Divorce

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Narcissist GoldfishDear Chump Lady,

How do I get over the Beauty and Beast fiction?

Briefly: married my brother’s friend at 25, 2 girls and 20 years later, he divorces me. The 3 years up to divorce, I was a solid gold pick me dancer to a covert narcissist. (My diagnosis/skein untangling.)

I was always successful in work, athletic, have hobbies and never took a backseat. He didn’t take anything in the divorce except house buyout. He could have asked for child support and spousal maintenance but didn’t. We were both amicable. If you truly love, you let them go, right? I didn’t know he had cheated and was currently cheating — just my intuition, which I discounted.

Post divorce, I felt free from the Jekyll-Hyde swings, free to come and go as I please, etc. I’m doing me! Two months later, my suspicions on the past 3 years are confirmed. My daughters find out about dad’s “new girlfriend” — OW #3 — someone he’s worked with and likely was seeing before asking me for a divorce. I’m devastated. He told me he wasn’t seeing anyone “What kind of asshole do you think I am?”

Then OW #2’s husband contacts me and we compare notes about stuff that happened 2 years ago. Ex’s co-workers also reveal OW #2 and he had a fling. Ex is a nurse and as medical imaging college faculty, I feel like the medical community knows and thinks I must have been awful.

I forgot to mention that 11 years into the marriage, he left for 2 months and had a female “friend” — OW #1. He denied she was more than that and made me feel like I was paranoid. If you are counting, these are 3 affairs that I learn of. I feel like our whole life was a lie.

Currently, he and girlfriend (OW#3) bought a house and are engaged. She has a little boy from first marriage so he has a son now. It seems to me that he is getting the happily ever after and I am stuck in a grief cycle, trying to recover from the gaslighting.

I know I am supposed to “work on me now,” but I always have. Maybe I am the narcissist and can’t believe someone would do this to me! Did I have a huge ego? Outwardly, I look like I am thriving, but inside, I wonder if he was the beauty and I am the beast. Am I a narcissist?

X-ray Karma

Dear XK,

Huh? Are you a narcissist? Am I a jelly donut?

You just discovered your ex is a serial cheater. You got CONFIRMATION that he’s a fundamentally loathsome person, and your response is to wonder if you’re the bad guy?

I think you’re operating under some warped Just Universe theory — that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. He’s engaged, with a new house and a new son. You associate this as “happy ending.” Good things. Someone ergo must be getting shit, so that must be you. The Bad Person.

You know, a few paragraphs ago, you were much happier framing this along the lines of “I lost a loser and my life is so much better.” Why don’t we go back to that, okay?

Maybe I am the narcissist and can’t believe someone would do this to me!

It doesn’t make us narcissists to perceive wrong-doing. It makes us sentient. If someone hit you upside the head with a bat, you’re not a narcissist for feeling pain. Your ex-husband had a number of affairs, three that you know of, he gaslighted you, risked your health, stole your reality — and it hurts like a motherfucker. No one should do that to ANYONE. Least of all the person who promises to love and cherish you.

Did I have a huge ego?

On the contrary. You squashed your ego. You let a man come back into your life who walked out on you and two kids for his “friend.” You smothered your reason with a blanket of “He Would Never” — which is another way of believing in his greatness over your own commonsense. That’s chumpy, not narcissistic.

How about you lose the chumpiness, recognize his shittiness, and vow to value yourself more?

Outwardly, I look like I am thriving…

You ARE thriving. He left without a fight. You are successful in work, athletic, have hobbies and never took a backseat. That’s pretty mighty.

I’m devastated. He told me he wasn’t seeing anyone “What kind of asshole do you think I am?”

A lying, serially cheating asshole. This guy can’t be faithful to ANYONE. OW #3 (or #37, we really don’t have a body count, you truly have no idea) is not winning a prize. Her poor child is to be pitied. She just bought a house with a con artist. She won the pick me dance. She won the sparkly turd. It doesn’t end well.  DETACH.

You escaped.

I’d say you’re the beauty and he’s the beast, except that’s a really fucked up fairytale. Beast imprisons girl’s father and she thinks she can work with that. Beast continues to be an asshole, but one day he puts on a suit and they dance a bit and she’s encouraged! Buys his poor sad, sausage narrative about a frozen enchanted rose, and her love turns his snarly, hairy hunchback into a prince! He’s NOT an asshole, it was an evil spell!

Okay, and the WORST part of this whole thing is that she starts off as a girl who loves books, and spurns jerky suitors, until she gives all that up to pursue the biggest jerk of all. I mean, seriously, Belle — you could’ve been a scientist or an author or an anaesthesiologist — and now you’re a nitwit in a yellow ball gown living in a remote fortress with only a candlestick to talk to.

Anyway, let’s chuck the fairy tales. Your ex is not to be mourned. Keep rocking that new life.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Asking “am I a narcissist” shows that you in fact NOT a narcissist.

    A narcissist would never ask that question of themselves. 😉

    • OMG, HM! I asked myself all the time if I was the narcissit! I guess after him telling me I was and then the OW telling me, I started to believe it. But not anymore!!

      • Absolutely HM,
        It’s the old catch 22; if you think you’re crazy, you aren’t. Crazy people never think they’re crazy.

    • Thanks – I needed this comment and the post. I keep wondering if I was selfish in asking for more from my XH… but in reality he was giving so little that I could have asked and tried to get him be part of so much more an shenanigans never would have been happy or given me the emotional support I needed.

  • Wow. That was my life exactly!!!!!! No words. Wow Even the medical imaging…… that’s what he and all the other women (3- that I know if) did. WTH? I think there were probably over 30 myself. Wow. Just wow.

    • And the vast majority of mine’s were nurses. Then I learned that my deceased Father cheated on my Mother with a nurse. Then I was told by a friend who works in admimistrstion at a hospital that ALOT of the nurses there have married boyfriends. Wtf?? I always wondered if it is one of those occupations that tends to invite infidelity? No offense to those in the Medical field!!! Maybe just horrible coincidences? With some major health issues (that came into being during the time I started to suspect something was going on and became full blown after D-day 1) I spend a lot of time in the hospital and at Doc appointments so I am being taken care of by alot of nurses so it’s a MAJOR Mindfuck for me!

      • My STBXW was the Director of Nursing at a facility and sparkle dick the A.D.O.N. So maybe there is something in that field.
        My thing now is 1 year out from DDay and the divorce not even finalized yet I heard last night that my 7 year old daughter and 10 year old son call sparkle dicks 4 boys “Step Brothers.” She is a serial cheater and he is a notorious partner poacher from the area. When he moves on after the divorce is final how will my kids handle this shit show?

      • My ex cheated on me with a nurse too and now moved in with her. He also had a fling with another nurse prior to this. Weird coincidence… I’ve always had so much respect for this profession that it is definitely a mindfuck for me.

        • Mehisgreat – it had similar effect on me. Always had respect for law enforcement. My wife became a cop – I put her through the academy, and was very proud when she was sworn-in. Within a year, she started screwing a married sergeant (I discovered the affair after she left me). And the gal she went through the academy with left her husband within 6 months of getting sworn in; starting screwing another (married) cop (who subsequently left his wife and kids).
          Now, with all I’ve been through, I have considerable distaste for the profession. It’s not fair, I know, to paint with such a wide brush, but I can’t help it.

          • Captain – I share your distaste. The first time I was chumped, my ex met his OW while in the police academy – didn’t even make it on the street yet. Not sure I can blame the profession, but unfortunately I do think that line of work takes a certain ego (read narcissist).

      • For what it is worth I know a few people who are nurses who are absolutely not like that at all. One is a very married and loyal to her husband and family woman who was also a great supporter and confidant for me during discard. She is very pro marriage but she is the one who ultimately convinced me that he wasn’t in his right mind and I needed to get divorced to protect me and the kids. She and her husband had been friends of ours for years and had always thought highly of him before that.

        Anyway, just noting an exception to the spouse pouching nurse thing. Don’t judge them all harshly.

        • My ex was a nurse and ran off with a travel nurse. I don’t know if its in the profession- my mom and all my aunts are nurses and they are all wonderful, faithful people. But it has made me look at young nurses differently. 😭

      • Probably too much time at work plus too much taking care of other people – they don’t want a man of their own, just to occasionally borrow someone else’s.

      • Nurse here.

        It actually has to do with the personality type that thrives in Nursing. I have had a theory for most of my adult life that certain people with certain personality traits—are attracted to/thrive in certain vocations.

        **NOT that every person in every one of these individual vocations is an asshole. On the contrary. I LOATHE NURSING and everything to do with it. I do it because I make more money as a travel nurse than I ever would have in any vocation that I could have gone into. It’s mobile and it’s flexible. I hate nurses for the most part (for the very reasons I will explain to you why they are pretty prevalent in the Cheating column) and I wouldn’t do it again if I had an alternative that has the same benefits as nursing.

        So. I would never be a police officer. I don’t have the personality. But some do. Some thrive as a police officer, while others struggle with “moral injury” and PTSD, but continue to plod on because this is their lot.

        Nurses have a basic personality–they are martyrs usually, with very very needy personalities. They will live, eat, breathe, sleep and drink nursing. The ones who thrive, that is. They will sacrifice everything for their job and for perfect strangers. MARTYRS.

        Then comes the true narcissistic types—the physicians. And sometimes, other nurses who either washed out of medical school, were on med school track but were too lazy (see Narcissist) to do the work, or have one of the more dangerous personality types in nursing—the Control Freak. Most Nurses have some of the control freak in them, and this is what makes them stay—they control the patients’ lives and their schedules. They control it all—when who gets what and why. They control OTHER nurses—cliques abound in nursing and it’s the most vicious vocation (to each other) that I’ve ever encountered.

        So you have this bunch of Type A Narcissistic Freaks—doctors and some nurses—in close proximity to FIXERS and MARTYRS.

        Nurses want to fix everything and everybody—if they are the non-narcissistic type. Prime feeding ground for Cheating Asshole Narcissists to convince Nurse Martyr that she is the only one to fix him. and so it goes.

        We also work ungodly hours with each other—-12 hour nights that are actually 14-16 hours with report and other tasks. We are in situations that are much like combat—trauma patients or dementia/violent patients or during intense situations like codes.

        Martyr types bond very easily under these circumstances. Thinking as well as morality gets blurred very easily.

        I hear often—my spouse doesn’t understand the pressure of my work as a night nurse. My colleagues do. They tend to spend their free time with their colleagues instead of their families.

        Recipes for disaster.

        Emotional toll is another thing as well—all nurses I know have PTSD. From the patients, from the things we see, from administration and supervisors…you name it. We get it from families and all sides. We get spit on, shit on, kicked, punched, bitten, sued, fired, eaten by our own—and it takes an emotional toll that makes it so that the medical field is one of the highest in suicide rate, alcoholism, divorce, and infidelity.

        This is NOT an excuse for nurses or medical professionals. I am explaining what happens to the type of personality that is attracted to and thrives in this business—and why their boundaries are, many times—non existent.

        It’s the type of personality. I know some will say police officers and military are very similar.

        Why? Combat situations. The medical field is much like combat now—on all sides.

        It’s not an excuse. It’s an explanation as to the dynamics that happens between combat colleagues—and those that surround them. Why it’s so inexplicable that someone in the nurturing field can do the things that some of these nurses to do each other and to their families.

        Just my inside opinion.

    • I’ll chime in with the theme of a nurse being my exhole’s affair partner. And it wasn’t her first affair. I found out she had done it with a doctor a few years before. My guess is that it could be a couple things….

      1) Narcissists like feeling powerful and saving lives gives them a power trip. Maybe they are drawn to the medical field so they can feel powerful and get to run around spewing how awesome they are for having a career that is all about helping others. That’s my exhole for sure!

      2) The adrenaline rush of emergencies and the close proximity of coworkers in that situation gives them this feeling of being bonded through traumas and they take that bond beyond the line. (poor, sad sausages).

      • My XW is a cop and used that “adrenaline rush” line to excuse her bad decisions and bad behavior. It’s BS! I say that with confidence, because I used to skydive, hanging on the outside of Beech KingAir at 15,000 feet to stage a group freefall. It’s quite the “rush”, and yet somehow I managed to keep my dick in my pants!…go figure.

        At the end of the day, as pointed out by CL and CN, it boils down to character, or the lack thereof (I should say), for the poor sad sausages.

  • This is (kinda) my story!

    She asked for the divorce, THEN I found out. Twisted me about and rung my bell, but ultimately confirmed I was not the jerk. It flung me out of her orbit. A HUGE gift really.

    You’ll be back on track in no time. Just a new track; a faster track to a new life than you thought.

    • Same here, TO. She asked for the divorce, and the unexpected discard rung my bell (badly). It wasn’t until after-the-fact that I discovered the affair with (also married) Sgt. Sugardick. [what is it about cops and cheating; is it part of the recruitment criteria?! i digress]. It’s been 15 months, and I know it was a blessing in disguise, but emotionally I’m still recovering.

      • Captain same here. I have no idea how many there really were and never will. The LEO community is full of infidelity and cover up. I’m also at the 15 month mark(3+ years after d-day though). Total mindfuckery and it’s taken a toll.

      • My theory is that LE attracts sociopaths and narcs. It’s the power they want, not protecting and serving. I have seen a study that confirmed that both LE and the military have a large number of sociopaths in the ranks. I wish I could remember where I saw it.

        • I listened to portions “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” on audiobook today. This was briefly discussed. LEOs, Military, etc w/ re go narcs. Not a lot of statistics/study but it was discussed.

        • Mine was military who cheated with a nurse🤦🏻‍♀️. I guess I’m pretty relevant to today’s conversation and like to stay true to cheater/OW form.

    • So true DM…I would never in a million years have suspected that he did what he did…to even think that up was unimaginable. I really thought he “would never”.

      • Smothered? Hell – I practically rolled myself up in the reason blanket as tight as I could!

      • Me also! I do now think that finding out the truth about him was actually a real gift (although the process of receiving this “gift” was quite difficult).

      • Count me in as one who thought “he’d never.” I firmly believed he wasn’t “that kind of guy.”
        If anyone would suggest otherwise I’d be slightly annoyed, quickly coming to his defense that he loves me and his family, he has character, high morals and standards. After all, he’s a man of integrity, just ask him…

    • Me three. I never imagined he would cheat even if it wasn’t for the right reasons. He used my trust against me and I don’t just mean to get away with cheating but also as an excuse for cheating. He figured that the fact that I didn’t know meant I didn’t care. If I cared I would have kept closer tabs on him. Of course if I hadn’t been so trusting he probably would have used that as his excuse. Whatever you do or don’t do it’s just wrong.

      • This! I got “You never asked to go on business trips with me, so I figured you didn’t care”. Well, silly me, I thought business trips were for conducting business and the one time I did ask to go along (to Germany) he told me I would be bored just sitting around the hotel all day and he’d be too busy/tired to do anything at night. If he really thought I didn’t care why did he work so hard to be at home when I got in from work at 10:30 p.m. – I found out later that his girlfriends were annoyed that he bugged out so early, but still believed that we shared the house as ‘friends’. Ha!

    • (raising hand) Count me in the same camp. I never thought he would treat me so casually or emotionless. His flippancy about the divorce just being a ‘failed marriage’ did not match up with my perception. Our marriage wasn’t perfect but it also wasn’t some science experiment gone wrong. I trusted him with all my emotions and was left bleeding emotionally.

      I can forgive the cheating but not that. That pain is unforgivable.

      • “I can forgive the cheating but not that. That pain is unforgivable.”

        I feel the same way MissBailey. The affair I could maybe get past (although why would I want to?!), but the way in which he blew up our marriage & family after 25 years, without a second glance……I will never forgive that.

        • It’s unforgivable to betray our trust and walk away as if 25 years together meant absolutely nothing. Treating me like trash in the process. How easy it was for him to forget all those years of what I thought were memories that I worked so hard to create.
          Key would here is I worked so hard to create while he sat on the sidelines, taking credit and enjoying the benefits until he was done and ready for something different.

          This is what he told me, that he wanted something different, what he failed to tell me he had already found his something different. They had so much in common, they both liked Adult Swim, she likes to run marathons and so does he!!
          25 years of marriage, a son, everything 25 years of life together entails and he decides we have nothing in common..

          • oh my giddy aunt same here.

            only it was 15.5 years and apparently i “got boring”.. .. and i could not wrap my head around it. i was grieving for the death of my 25 year old daughter (and firstborn), i honestly believed we had a good marriage and i just could not believe he would walk out and never look back.. .. .. .. like you i worked so hard at keeping us together and having a happy life… ..

            i was so easy to replace even the neighborhood meth head party girl could take my place.. . it literally took me over a year and half to realize that i never meant anything to him at all. he walked out with his clothes and a few of his tools. .. . and i felt like i literally could not breath and my heart was physically in pain.. he ran off to the time of his life, running around without a care in the world. buying new clothes and new shoes, a new car, visiting family and friends and just having a good old time. while i was struggling to pick up all the broken pieces of my life and my heart, trying to care for 2 very angry and broken children, and put shoes on their feet and buy school clothes plus pay all the bills that took 2 incomes to pay with only one income. ..

            5 years later, he is homeless, jobless, carless, girlfriendless, only has a box of clothes to his name. and currently in jail.. .. his meth head troll dumped him and now he literally has nothing.. .. he had it all and he threw it away for a crack pipe and meth whore who didnt even keep him for 5 years. i have peace and happiness surrounded by my children and grandchildren. life is good for me

        • Mine too! My XW didn’t just fool me, she fooled my whole family; aunts, uncles, cousins (we’re a big group). She was that damn good.

    • Same here. All the signs (of cheating and leaving) were there, but I was oblivious – blinded by trust.

    • I willingly put on the blanket of trust, but that was wrapped even tighter by me feeling badly for questioning him! As in how dare you question my character, Free2bme, by asking why I had to stay the weekend for “work?” I have a tough job, I travel 3 time zones and have to be back here on Monday…What more can I do, I am trying to support our family!” He got angry fast, and came back at me with words that made me feel bad for questioning the Great and Powerful Oz. I was thrown on the defensive, and left feeling badly for questioning the fabulous husband and father of our 4 children. How dare I? Gaslighting 101. He had the power (the real facts) and I was in the dark with my intuition screaming at me, but nothing concrete to go on. So, I relied on trust, past shared history and his voice telling me I was wrong for questioning him.

      That worked for years. Until the lights came on and his lies scattered like cockroaches. I saw it, but then he hid again…Trickle truth and more lies. The power dynamic thankfully turned. I got the truth and was in the drivers seat finally. It was painful to accept, but I will take the light (truth) over the dark with a cheating abuser any day!

  • The pain is so deep when you are married to a narcissist. You started out your life with him so glorious. You were strong and athletic and independent. The narcissist is drawn to that type of personality. It’s those strengths that they want to destroy and get their jollies doing it.

    You went from those strengths to thinking YOU are the beast. To thinking YOU are the narcissist and the bad guy. That’s what they do. Take our strengths and gaslight you until we don’t know what end is up any more.

    I too was taking all the blame in the end if our marriage. Thinking I had to change to get him back. I did that awful pick me dance until this week. When I texted him “I don’t want you back”. I am starting to feel mighty. Guess what? as soon as I texted my one paragraph that ended in that sentence, he sent me a response completely unrelated and then blocked me so that he could not get my response. That’s what narcissists do. As soon as you uncover that vampire to sunlight they shriek and retreat. I now feel that I could be free from him. I may have just been able to break those invisible chains that held me addicted to him. Addicted to that narcissistic abuse cycle of love bombing and devaluing, and finally my discard. The discard that happened when he got bored with fucking with me because I stopped responding to his poking and prodding. And I started working on myself to make myself better. That’s when he found someone new to start this cycle over with. He is currently love bombing the OW. And she’s lapping it up. Seeing it the way I do now I pity her more than hate her. And I never thought I’d be in that mind set. I’m so grateful that my eyes have opened.

    You hang in there and know it’s not your fault. You are beautiful, strong woman.

    • Narcissists are also drawn to quiet, non-athletic people who can serve them in some way. That’s the narcissist gig–get people to do stuff for them and shovel kibbles their way. And when they drain the kibble dispenser, find another one, like aliens landing on a planet and stripping it of its resources.

      X-Ray is lucky he didn’t go for the spousal support and her pension.

      • I totally agree! I was heavy and insecure. No college degree and a dead end job at 24 years of age. He cheated and moved 6 months after marriage saying he fell out of love. I took him back after 2 months and we were happy for 14 years. But when I lost weight, got my masters degree and a career, he couldn’t handle it. I was different because I was successful. I thought we would grow together, but he stayed mentally 24. When we separated, a couple days after our 14th wedding anniversary, it was, “I fell out of love,” again. Said he wasn’t cheating but the day he moved out (told me where he was going) I found out it was with a 19 year old morbidly obese girl he worked with at a convenience store. I took him back after 3 months of being with her. He continued to see her and I asked him to leave after 4 months. We were talking for awhile but when I found out he proposed (yet wouldn’t sign divorce papers) he stopped talking to me. He tells people I beat him and cheated on him. Wow! I’ve been turned into this monster so others will take pity on him. I feel horrible about the whole thing. I feel stupid and bewildered how her family (he lives with her and her parents who are 10 years older) believe his lies.

        • I had a similar thing Lied to. We both were overweight and insecure. High school seniors. I pursued him (facepalm) but I was always full of emotion. A bit of a hot head and I guess that’s why he “loved” me. Fast forward 15 years, 2 sons later. I was doing very well in my jobs. We decided I’d stay at home for the kids. Then I found an online health community. Started to do personal development, lost lots of weight (helped him lose his too, that jackass), and was doing well in the community. Getting my spark back. So in the best shape of our lives, I helped support him to finally get the supervisor position and BOOM! Leaves me in the middle of the night (I finally got another job thinking it’d help with whatever was happening in my marriage, thinking he was just too stressed about money) at a job that once again I was quickly getting praised for. We did a 5 month kick him out separation. Where I’m sure (looking back now) he must’ve lived it up with the girl who in his words “if you saw what she looked like you’d see why I would Never want to be with her” except to have sex with since he knew it would “make me mad”. He had long since stopped getting reactions from me with his usual bullshit. These people are like vampires. And I’m slowly replenishing what he stole from me. I’m also pursuing my education again. F him.

    • “I don’t want you back”……powerful for you and devastating for the stbx narc. He may have blocked you for now but they always come back to see if they can obtain more cake. Block his ass and just let your attorney deal with him. You come out the winner. Let the OW have him and his personality disorder.

      • During our first separation. I was LIT UP with anger. How dare he do this to ME! Anyways I sent him a song. Artist: Eamon Title: F**k It (I don’t want you back)

        Which I now see is a total fuel fest for him. As he even sneered later saying he enjoyed the song. But I still enjoy belting it out in the car or shower.

        I’m also finally going to find an attorney and start taking my mighty back too. Thank goodness for CN

    • @IWMFT— no contact is the only path to breaking those trauma bonds. Block him. It’s all about you now. He’s irrelevant.

      We are here as you build your mighty life.😘

    • It took me a long time to write in here with my story as I hadn’t read similar. Though all of your posts tell me otherwise- that D-day can be after. The spouse is always the last to know I guess. Footnotes:

      He did not take pension- he sucks with money. He cannot change any of the settlement. Ha Ha

      My 15 year old is who told me we were in an abuse cycle and I have PTSD & trauma bonding!

      My mother-in-law spent the weekend with me and we had a talk. Her dad did the same thing to her mom. She apologized for how EX treated me. They do not respect EX’s choices. “He made his bed and now has to sleep in it”. He’s still her son, but it was nice to hear- I think she’s sincere.

      What is hard for me moving forward is that I thought I had a pretty good picker going into marriage. I hope I can recognize a narcissist in the future, in all relationships, not just intimate ones.

      • Thank you! Something changed in me when I learned more. I cannot wait to share my mighty chumminess with the world. 2 guys smiled and waved and flirted with me on the way home from work in my car. Then I raced them. It was so random and unexpected! People may actually like me.

  • I have some commonality with this Chump since I didnt learn of the serial cheating until the marriage was OVER…trouble is he wasnt there to be mad at (being dead and all) but I get it.

    I do think there is a marginal decency to “I dont want to be married to you anymore, we need to divorce” it is a lot better than years of abuse, but to learn retrospectively that most of it was STILL a lie and you were duped and cheater-abused all that time is deeply unsettling.

    Hard thing is how to respond in moments…you were all well into a “peacefully uncoupling” narrative and you learn that he deserved to have been locked outside watching his clothes burn years earlier and your chance to do that is gone. And now everyone expects you to be civil to him…ick…I would hate that. I really try to not let on how much contempt I feel for my Cheater when I interact with people who still mourn him, but I probably fail. Its awks.

    Yet, this doesnt change the goal…you do you and have a great life. Shake the dust of him off your shoes.

    • Even when others know about the cheating, they still seem to expect the “peaceful uncoupling” narrative should be standard behavior. Its just so normalized now, everyone on the outside thinks cheating is no big deal. Only other chumps understand.

      The law even supports that view. (I’m currently getting screwed in a no fault state).

      And the cheaters do get to live their “happily ever after” because they have no moral compass and this modern world is set up to support the instagram happiness seekers.

      If you are a real person with any smidge of morals or loyalty, this world is not built for you.

      Is there a chump island I can emigrate to?

      • I wanna move to Chump Island too.

        Loyalty is frowned upon these days in all areas from work to personal relationships.

  • Same story here. I got the ILYBANILWY speech. I finally threw him out because he treated me so badly towards the last couple of years. I was still performing the pick me dance. He had his own apartment for over a year before I even filed for divorce. The whole time denying anyone else. Two weeks before first mediation, I hacked into his skymiles account. There she was. Her name all over the place. Now I realize from the 33 years we were married. He cheated a lot. I found letters in the attic from different women. He had a second phone apparently for a few years. He had separate finances, and travelled for “work” all the time. I now have no idea who the hell the person is that I married. But am glad he’s gone. Thanks to Cn for suggesting the STI testing. Mine unfortunately came back positive for herpes. You weren’t ever cheating…right

    • “Mine unfortunately came back positive for herpes. You weren’t ever cheating…right”

      Ah crap. I’m really sorry. Any chance your attorney can leverage that to your advantage?

      • I had forgotten about the gift of herpes. I had an initial, very painful breakout when I was about 25 years old. We had been living together for 6 years at that point, and were not yet married. He went with me to the Dr’s appointment and was tested as well. Well, my OB/Gyn proceeds to smooth things over, talking about how it can be ‘latent’ for years, so it might have been just ‘there’ for awhile. WTF?!? Chumpy little me bought that, and it was an issue when we were having our first child 4 years later, after marrying the year before.
        After Dday and all of the soul searching of ‘why’ and ‘how did this happen?, how long has this been going on?, I realized he’d been fucking around the entire marriage and before. WHY did he marry me? Nobody was holding a gun to his head! I was a very valuable target and appliance and made him look good in all the right ways for his image management. Crazy to realize that they are lying cheating pieces of crap from the beginning. Married for 31 years, still not divorced, separated going on 4 years, and he won’t let go and wrap this up. He has also never admitted to the final ‘affair’, although he’s been living with AP#?? now for over a year. Yep, he’s a great guy (not) who had everyone fooled. Glad I had to rip off the rose colored glasses.
        He lived a double life for all of our marriage and before it.
        I missed SO MANY opportunities for dating many great guys in my 20’s but, of course, I was ‘off the market’. Yep, he secured his supply (me) and just sucked the life force out of me over the next 3 decades. Pisses me off still. Hrrrrrrrumph

    • Also if he was aware or is now aware he is to disclose it to his partners. If he is aware receiving medicines etc you might be able to use that somehow?

  • And for heavens sake, stop thinking his coworkers believe this is your fault. You don’t know what they think. They’re busy with their own lives and if they think anything at all, it’s probably that this guy is an asshole.

    • Be careful about this line of thinking. I too was told “never mind what people may think, they likely don’t think anything…” and to my detriment I believed it. In doing so I left the field to my enemy unchallenged. And they are masterful, this is what they are really good at. The truth is, a disordered serial cheater will almost invariably concoct a subtle smear campaign of their innocent spouse before, during and after their cheating and divorce. They use it on the AP(s) before they are even APs, and then both of them spread it further as cover for themselves. Their orientation is to self justify and blame shift and image manage. And just as they cheat, they also lie about their victims. I don’t know the details of this particular social/work situation, but in general I’d recommend putting just a piece of the truth out there; that is, he was proven to be a repeat cheater over the full course of your marriage. Nothing more. Not necessarily proclaim it from the rooftops, just get it out there to a couple select people. You have a right to your honest reputation. And a succinct piece of the truth will help protect it. In the continued absence of any truth, people do let the lies influence their conclusions. Beware.

      • So true when the disordered start the smear campaign long before they leave for someone else. We had a rather young woman at work that held a great position in the company. She married in 2014 and shortly after the wedding became infatuated with a coworker (he’s another story in itself) during 2014/2015. She started saying how jealous and unreasonable her husband was, badmouthing him and his “horrible” family. Basically laying the ground work for leaving him. Her husband was a sweet, nice guy. Well the coworker was just playing with her and had no intention of starting up with her. She caused a lot of problems at work, loved to pit coworkers against one another. She was taken to task for her behavior, the mask fell and she gave notice the next day. Come to find out she was chasing a married man before she got married, during her engagement. Last I heard she is still married. I feel so bad for her husband….he has no idea he is going to get dumped on his ass one day. It’ll be the day when the man she is currently pursuing returns her attentions. Oh and just to note….during her infatuation with the coworker, she & her husband took a vacation in the Caribbean. A gift from the grooms parents. Yes they were horrible people. If you looked at the vacation photos and her facebook you would have thought they were a very much in love happily married young couple. That is how scary it is being married to a sociopath or narcissist. You think all is well and have no idea the rug is about to be pulled from under you.

        • Clue her unsuspecting (?) husband anonymously and maybe save him years of mindf*ckery

          • It is my understanding someone did let him know she was flirting outrageously and acting inappropriately with other men. He didn’t bite. Not sure if she talked her way out of it or he just refuses to believe the stories.

      • @TKO I also believe my ex ran me down….especially to his family. I could never understand how his family could just welcome his AP in with open arms….she joined their church, was at his moms house for family dinners. I mean literally disregarded their grandkids feelings. That’s the only thing that convinces me that he has told awful lies about me in order to sway everyone (in his circle) his way. At first I was stressing about it, but now I don’t care. The people who has meaning to me knows the truth. And I also know some of his family knows it was all BS but choose to be neutral. My ex created so much disaster amongst the families it’s ridiculous. I still feel sadness from time to time, but I’m happy to have found peace and no longer wondering if he is going to chose me.

        • It usually behooves the cheater’s family/close friends to play along and believe ugly stories about the chump spouse. Makes life so much easier to believe the cheater’s narrative rather than getting to or dealing with the facts. Insisting on the truth and confronting bad behavior is hard work and messy.

          • My beautician was married to an incredible guy. Handsome, loving, successful, talented, and madly in love with her for over 30 years. She got involved with an old sociopath boyfriend …they started conversing through Facebook messenger and she ended up dumping nice husband for this loser. I could not believe the smear campaign she started about her husband. She never had one bad word to say about him in the 15 years prior I had been going to her until she met schmoopie. Then all of a sudden husband was a no good piece of shit over night. The whole thing made me sick. Now they are living together and engaged and I see how he treats her. Not good. She needs to go to the dentist really bad, but she can’t afford to go. He went out and spent $2000 on fireworks for the upcoming 4th. Yeah, I can see the writing on the wall.

            The point is, I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears how these people demonize their spouses once they want out and are too chicken shit to do it the right way.

          • So true. Their family and friends tend to be at least somewhat fuckwitty themselves and prefer denial over facing the real world.
            Plus, they want to keep the relationship with the fuckwit, so they play his/her game. If they confonted the fw about his/her misdeeds, the fw would want nothing to do with them.

      • My experience confirms this. It’s in the cheater’s best interest to launch a narrative about how the cheated-upon deserved it, or how the universe sent them real love — finally, or how they were somehow rescued from a horrible situation by the AP.

        It’s a marketing scheme. An Instagram highlight reel.

        As well as an exercise in self-deception by the cheater to alleviate cognitive dissonance (otherwise how could a “good person” do such a horrible thing like break up a young family). At the end of the day, cheaters will believe their own bullshit narrative — they’ll become the marketing scheme. Their Instagram posts will include the AP holding the cheater/chump’s toddler son with a caption “Our Boy! We could not ask for more.”

        This is dangerous for the chump who doesn’t play that game, especially when the cheater is charming, as is the case with my ex. Once the dazed chump realizes what’s happened, it’s too hard to defend against the scheme ex post — especially to cheater’s friends/family who, frankly, want to believe the cheater and her narrative over you and the truth anyway. No one wants an adulterer as a daughter/sister/friend, so they’ll mindfuck themselves for the same reasons the cheater mindfucks herself in order to sleep at night.

        So the best route for the chump is to disengage and focus on the friends and family who know you and believe you and support you. The others who fail to (or refuse to) see through the cheater’s narrative are not worth your precious time, even if they are seemingly large in number.

    • Agreed. Unless there could be professional ramifications for allowing this thinking to continue, then just put it in your past. And, there shouldn’t be professional ramifications (legally anyways).

      At the end of the day, anyone who truly knows you would not believe his lies. The rest of them are people you probably should let go if. This thinning of the herd can hurt a lot, but it’s cathartic. There’s no better way to go through life than next to people you can truly trust and vice versa.

      As someone said above “The people who has meaning to me knows the truth.” Bingo. The rest are history.

      On the few occasions when I’ve been confronted by a 3rd party with the story my ex told, I’ve simply said [with snark] “Is that what he told you? Yea, ok, go with that.” Conversation over. My job is not to disparage him or clear my name, this is not a court of law, and the people I care about get it.

      Sidenote, but through this process I’ve learned how many of my “friends” either have been cheaters themselves, are currently cheaters, or don’t think cheating is such a big deal. Delete.

  • When I am tired, which I am most of the time from processing the shit show the cheater inflicted on us, I wonder if I am a Terrible Person and the OW is as kind and wonderful as he says she is, and of course that is why he cheated.

    Thankfully I have reserves of sanity even when I am tired that bring me here to recalibrate my thinking. Which needs to happen a LOT. Multiple times a day.

    Being cheated on is the ultimate case of Stockholm Syndrome. Worse because there was no initial obvious kidnapping situation which necessitated being converted from victim to sympathizer. The debriefing and reprogramming is a major task. My brains STILL need daily washing a year and a half later, and for who knows how long.

    HALT stands for Hungry Angry Lonely Tired.
    Being chumped means you live with all four at once, which makes us really vulnerable.

    HOPE stands for Hold On Pain Ends. Keep coming back here to read the success stories and keep your thinking and actions in the right place.

    Thank you CL and CN for helping me stay in the right place mentally!

    • Oh my gosh, VH, I remember telling my mother that it felt like Stockholm Syndrome. Six months ago, I still didn’t know how to break those bonds and long wondered if I could wrest free of them.

      Fast forward to now, one year out from D-day and almost a year from the divorce, and I can say that the bonds are mostly broken and I’m walking towards the sunlight. I made a decision last month that even if I live out my days without a partner, I will not stop living my life for me. There are still places I want to see, feelings I want to experience, people I want to meet. He will not defeat me.

      • MissBailey, I remember reading your earlier posts and you’ve come a long way, proud of you!! Onwards and upwards! ❤

    • hi im thrive and i am a chump.😊. i now need a moniker to get through the bitterness. that final gift of betrayal-just being pissed it happened. yes that is probably me feeling victimized rather than liberated. it is a slog through the recovery from betrayal. maybe we need our own 12 step program. hugs.

      • I would love a Chumps Anonymous! I hate the “bitter” label….no other victims of violent crime that I know of, either physical or psychological, get called “bitter” for having the very normal feelings that accompany grievous intentional harm.

      • Step 1- we admitted that we have been betrayed, lied to and cheated, and that our lives have become unmanageable.

      • Step 2 – we ceased pick me dancing and went No Contact (or Grey Rock when kids are involved)

        Step 3 – we trusted that they Suck

        Step 4 – we focussed on healing and re- gaining our life

        Step 5 – we removed all Switzerland associates, flying monkeys and cheater apologists from our circle

        Step 6 – we fixed our picker

        Step 7 – we ignored the re-written histories, the smear campaign and and shit sandwiches shoved in our faces

        Step 8 – we saw through the illusion of the false image being portrayed by the “happily ever after” cheater couple

        Step 9 – we kept getting our ducks in a row

        Step 10 – we untangled our OWN skein

        Step 11 – we lawyered up, filed, separated ourselves, cut ourselves loose, found freedom and looked forward to a cheater free life

        Step 12 – we remembered we are Mighty, supported other chumps and demonstrated how to stand tall as the sane, stable example for our children, our loved ones and ourselves!

        • Can’t resist:

          Step 1. Admitted we were not to blame for any of fuckwits behavior and admitted that FWs made our lives unmanageable.

          Step 2. Came to know that a power greater than ourselves, a Good Lawyer, could set us free.

          Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over that Good Lawyer.

          Step 4. Made a thorough and searching inventory of all of our assets.

          Step 5. Admitted to a Good Lawyer the exact contents of all that had been taken from us and our children/family

          Step 6. Firmly set boundaries in place via no contact or grey rock.

          Step 7. Vigorously enforced those boundaries.

          Step 8. Made a list of all Switzerland friends and cut them off too.

          Step 9. Made direct amends to ourselves for being such Chumps.

          Step 10. Continued to recover our dignity and self-worth via therapy and good friends and, if we slip back into Chumpdom, we promptly admit it and read CL like our hair is on fire.

          Step 11. Sought through Chump Lady and Chump Nation to improve our understanding of FW’s cons as we have begun to recognize them for what they are.

          Step 12. Continued to support other chumps and to practice all we have learned in our daily lives.

  • Jesus, X-ray, you are lucky! Your x belongs in the creepy cheater category. Reminded me of the Dirty John Netflix series, down to being a nurse (no insult intended to any chump nurses!)

    And you sound like you are doing very, very well

  • If only all the divorces would end as easily as this one from a Narc!
    Count your lucky stars that he is moving on and hasn’t made your life hell. You deserve better. And there ARE better! Let him play house for a while. His Karma will come you’ll see. Just keep doing you, the best you and don’t waste any more energy on him!

    I felt so much freedom when I stopped thinking about my nex and what his life was like. And now my 5yr old tells me she wants to adopt a new Daddy because the one she has is always mad at her and always looks grumpy.. but he’s playing house with his new GF.

    Just because they appear happy doesn’t mean its true. Like you said… on the outside all looks good..

  • The best times will come for you when your mind finally crosses the bridge into “I am not married to him anymore, so he doesn’t matter anymore”.

    His life? Doesn’t matter. His problems? Don’t matter. His past BS? Your feelings about that matter, but he does not (because the person he was giving you was a lie, a ghost). His opinion? Really, really, really doesn’t matter.

    Getting there takes time, and it generally comes in waves for a while. It will come.

    • Yep, x-ray, Ami is right! You note that you do already feel a sense of freedom on the coming and going as you please. There will be more of this in the future while he is locked down to his stupidity. He will not be faithful to OW#(n). There will be more flings.

      I joined a golf league this spring. Part of the fun is knowing that my X Asshat would not have permitted it had he been in the picture. He would not have gone so far as to say “you are not allowed” and physically hit me over it but he would have played sad sausage and then picked fights and shouted about where-the-hell-have-you-been and then accused me of cheating on him and neglecting him. Chumpy, codependent me would have made excuses for not playing to avoid his wrath. No more.

      I suggest you make a list, as long as it needs to be, of how much you put up with from him. How often you accommodated the bullshit and painful habits. How you were neglected or made to feel bad in some way. And then remind yourself that this is the prize the OW has “won” and that you are free.

      You now know what kind of asshole he is, indeed.

      • Isn’t it funny how we were never “allowed” to do things!!! I used to enjoy amateur dramatics evenings but got hell when I came home. Never mind the fact that he was always in the god-damn whore bar! I always assumed he never meant to do these things but now I see he is just your everyday narc.

      • Mine actually encouraged me to go on a women’s retreat through our church so I did. I loved it. Then I came home and he was grumpy after having had to play Dad solor for an entire weekend. I enjoyed it enough that I continued to go every year. I figured I was due one weekend away every year to balance his many nights away flying and going to broker dinners without me etc while I was stuck at home looking after our children. Every hear he got more and more grumpy when I got home and then he started to disparage the whole thing telling me it was just me hanging out with a bunch of old ladies. Actually it was intergenerational. I was in the middle range of those who went and what’s wrong with hanging out with older women anyway? They are the ones with all of the wisdom, but I digress. Anyway I also finally made an excuse to stop going and then we moved (also Ex’s idea). Then after DDay he told me that I wasn’t social enough and didn’t get out enough. Obviously I just didn’t know how to make friends.

    • Funny thing about their opinion – they really think it still matters. After I found about the cheating, after the divorce was final and the house sold, the Dickhead really thought that his standing was still up there. He just didn’t get that he was laughable and or that his words and actions held no water with me. I bet he still thinks that I hold him in high regard.

    • I am soooo very far from Meh. Is it real? I mean, do you guys really feel free and better or is it a fake it till you make it, and most days are more fake than make?

      I have such a hard time envisioning a day when it will be better cause the suck is so extreme right now. And we share a a young child so there’s no getting all the way away from him.

      If Thisbe is what life is going to feel like on the daily from now on, I just don’t know how to take it.

      • Fearful&loathing- No, we don’t all feel free and better all the time. At least I don’t. I know that I am better off without him when I think of who he really is. But I feel a huge sense of loss when I think of who I thought he was. Really, I never think of him with an attitude of “meh”-it’s more that some days, I’m not being forced into dealing with him or hearing about his greatness and so my anger isn’t triggered and thoughts about him are like faint images in the back of my mind. But it’s not like I have reached some state where he can walk in with his gaslight or I can hear the kids talk about him and feel nothing. I still want to grab a megaphone and tell the world how awful he is.

      • Meh is a very real land, although sometimes hard to spot over the waves and is often rather mirage-like. But it is real! For my journey (3 yrs from DDay, 2 years divorced) the things I thought would get me to meh didn’t really, but other, unexpected experiences did. I recommend keeping a journal. I did and every once in awhile I look back and read old entries and realize how far I have come.

      • Fearful, Meh is real. It just takes chumps different times to get there. I could never understand how people who had had sex but broke up could be in the same room together. How could they face each other when that level of intimacy has been broken? Now I never think about it when he’s here with the kids. 3 years after D-day I still think of his EA often but mostly to marvel at how ridiculous it all was. Yes it grates that he still looks like a charming kind guy but I dont want to be bitter and wish him a lonely pariah-like life. And even with my fears about money and housing security, I am so grateful I don’t live with the person he revealed himself to be. It will come to you one day, never fear ❤

  • After the divorce its amazing how many people come up to you with “helpful information” that you really could have used before the divorce about the parade of OW. I have to remember each time I hear a new “did you know” or “you still with that guy…well he did this..” comment that I was chosen out of a line up because I was strong, smart, resourceful and being chased by several other fellas that wanted my attention. My goal is for this to stop with my generation after watching both my grandmother and mother and in hind sight myself, go through the exact same thing. Stay strong for your daughters. You got this.

    • DQ,
      I also divorced my narc-ex (not a conventional cheater, rather gender betrayal) to stop the cycle of generations of abuse. My mom and grandmother endured emotional abuse from narcissists. Me too. I swore I’d do everything I could so that my generation would be the last. I pick me danced, had anxiety about divorcing and dragged my feet. But eventually did it because I had to for my daughter.

      I too was independent, strong, and athletic before I met the narc.

  • Early on in my 11 year marriage (that ended last summer after I found out he not only had girlfriends but used hookers he picked up in strip clubs) my ex was laid off from his engineering job (along with many people much older and experienced than him during an economic downturn). For the rest of the entire marriage he blamed me for that, saying I made his home life too stressful, which affected his work performance, thus causing him to lose his coveted flight test engineer job. From that point on, that set the stage for my 11 year pick me dance where I did anything I could, spent money on airplanes and hangars, lived on a private airstrip, to keep him “happy.” Blaming me for getting laid off was just the dynamic he used to get away with a lot of bad behavior, plus get me on the hook financially for all his toys he needed to be “happy.”

    I’m sharing this so you can rack up stories on all the shit these kind of people pull. Wish I had run far far away the minute he tried to blame me.

    • hah – i didn’t get blamed but i did get “you don’t know what it is like to not be able to do the one thing you love doing”. then amazingly when he needed money cuz i wasn’t supporting hi anymore, he was back doing that work. that was just an excuse for him to sit around the house and not work..and to drink and f@3 his gf.

  • My D-Day was after my abandonment as I had the classic runaway husband. So I never knew what the deal was about the OW until I joined the marriage police and discovered my skillz but this was well after he left. It took a while to join the dots.

    The grief was so intense before I knew the truth as I had to reframe what I was experiencing to fit the almost daily evolving narrative that came on top of months of gaslighting, baiting, provocations, outright hostility and fake illness, then after he left there was silent treatment, pseudo mid life crisis, suicide bids, money fraud, you name it, by The Cheater. It was a fucking mess and I struggled massively. Finding out about the OW was a relief actually.

    By then I knew I had been conned and can totally relate to the Stockholm Syndrome as Velvet Hammer says above. By the time the truth emerged and my Cheater was exposed he then re-spun the narrative to paint me in the very worst light but the trauma bonds were embedded by then. It was and continues to be a mindfuck and I’m deeply traumatised from all of it. Spent time in a psych hospital and I am still in therapy and on major meds. But as a result of it all, I have now been in recovery / sobriety for 20 months #silverlining.

    I think the letter writer definitely does not seem like a narcissist at all, rather is suffering from the trauma of the gaslighting of finding out her new reality versus what she thought was her true reality and maybe blaming herself. It’s what chumps do, not narcissists.

    I don’t post very often but I love the CN regulars. Thank you all x

  • Disney Thursday . . .

    (music by Walt Disney Studios, lyrics by X-Ray Karma’s Fuckwit)

    See I suck, see I suck
    You’re a poor authentic shmuck
    You can pick me dance for twenty years
    And I won’t give a fuck
    You just sit silently
    While I’m banging number three
    You’ll forgive my being narky
    And you’ll swallow my malarky
    When I’m done with this expressin’
    Hopefully you’ll learn the lesson:
    If it waddles and it quacks, then it’s a duck
    X-Ray Karma, stop the bleating
    You’re disturbing my conceiting
    See I suck
    See I suck
    See I suck

  • There is never a fairy tale ending with serial cheaters. The new girlfriend/future wife may think she has won something special, but his inherent instability and personality problems will eventually ruin all of her dreams. The success of her marriage will depend on her ability to put up with his cr*p, put on blinders and forgive, over and over again.

    Maybe she can do this and maybe she’ll reach the conclusion he’s not worth it. My serial cheating ex has been remarried for about six years. It’s not a success story. Before his current marriage, while cohabitating with his girlfriend, now wife, she gave him all of her money, paid his debts, took joint credit with him and then he found a job across the country and moved. One of their neighbors was telling me about her reaction to this at the time, and the gf ran throughout the neighborhood, stunned and crying that he did that to her.

    But she didn’t cut her losses. She sold her house and moved across the country to be with him. Within six months, they declared joint bankruptcy (Chapter 7). Not sure how they managed it, but they then bought a house after the bankruptcy and then he married her. That was her reward.

    In the six years they have been married, he’s lost at least three jobs and he is now living on the other side of the country away from her with a new job and she’s desperately trying to sell their house so she can move to be with him.

    It’s a freaking disaster and the only reason I follow the saga is to remind myself that I would have been her had I agreed to reconcile with him. Serial cheaters do not change their stripes and I know he’s creating disasters by losing his jobs so he can get away from her and do what he does best – cheat! He was starting to do this to me after four years of marriage. I didn’t know about his serial cheating until D day and I made him leave that day, got an attorney asap, a counselor, and I legally ended my marriage within three months of D day. I had the house sold within four months. He pleaded for me to try to reconcile. No way! After the house sold and I no longer needed to talk to him (no kids), I went complete no contact.

    Don’t concern yourself with his and the girlfriend’s successful-looking life. It’s all a big show. He’s doing the same thing to her that he did to you and she may not have figured it out yet, but eventually she will and she’ll arrive at the sickening conclusion that she has made a terrible mistake.

    You are the one who gets to live a real life, one that is authentic, and you are free!

  • PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE SIGNIFICANTLY IN ADULTHOOD.

    Everyone wondering about whether their disordered Cheater Ex is “better” for the OW/OM, the answer is “no,” or “the mask will stay in for a temporary time and then they will be just as shitty to the OW/OM as they were to you.”

    I could regale you with gazoodles of anecdotes from the ranks of CN members, but I’ll let seasoned members share their stories. E.g., I heard from a mutual friend that my Ex Hannibal Lecher is currently verbally abusing his live-in GF/final AP of the marriage. I’d feel sorry for her if she hadn’t been the source of a terrifying devalue. No tag backs!

  • This is pretty much my story. I found after he left. 4 that I know of and I don’t doubt there are more.

    Once I got over the initial shock and ego blow I was actually relieved to have found out. It explained so much about the marriage that never made sense to me. It allowed me to see that he was the issue all along, it was never about me and everything that was “wrong” with me. It explained so much about so many situations which I now recognize as gaslighting – something I’d never heard of until a long time after I left.

    In many ways finding out afterwards was very freeing and allowed me to move on and really work at living the life of my dreams. I also think if I’d found out at the time I’d have Pick Me Danced my stupid heart out and just prolonged the shitshow.

    I read and hear other women’s stories and I am beyond grateful that that Fuckwit just walked away. He also would have been entitled to alimony, half my 401k, half the house. I paid for the divorce, gave him some shit from the house and that was it. He’s off being a Fuckwit to some other Chump, I will never be a Chump again.

    As far as what other people in the community think, fuck them. All “our” friends and his family think awful things about me that simply aren’t true. I give zero fucks as I never see them any more and they choose to stay in the orbit of his dysfunction, which as they say, says more about them than me.

  • Looking back, I’m wondering if a majority of the pick-me dancing was with myself, and his warped “who you should be” ghost/frankenschmoops AP. Until a real appliance showed up.
    Cue “Dancing With Myself”…
    15 months later, I like my rebuilt life without him. May even love it a little.

  • They seem to live great lives and be happy (sometimes) but wasn’t it the same when they were with us? I do not know what narcissists are after because once they achieve their goal they invariably loathe it, almost immediately. They put on an act for a while, something that looks great from the outside looking in, but it’s just a cover for them to carry on what they really love to do, and that is the thrill of deception. My X straight up told me he was duplicitous and that is who they are.

  • Oh yes, as he sat in the living room and cried and told me “I just want intimacy”… boo hoo. I went to the dr. and got on estrogen and some other pills so that maybe I would want to have sex with him. When I asked him if he was seeing someone else, the answer was no way.

    Went to a branch of the bank where he works to get another debit card, and the bank manager asked me if Asshat was my husband. I said yes. He said, “he’s a walking human resources nightmare” and then clammed up… Fast forward a couple years, Asshat moves out because “boo hoo, I want intimacy” so I filed for divorce, on Valentine’s Day no less. I start looking though the mother f-ing phone bills and low and behold, there was 800 minutes a month to the ho-worker. Yep. My gut knew it, my heart knew it, and I found out after the divorce.

    Turns out way down deep in my soul, I couldn’t stand him. My spidey senses knew it. He’s a liar and a cheater among many other things. I believe I started subconsciously started hating him when he called our then 6 year old son a cry-baby and son of a bitch. I smothered those feelings because I didn’t want the kids to have even one day with him without me in the mix to try and keep him from being so abusive…. I was aways trying to figure out how to avoid him while not having to give him unsupervised time with the kids.

    Finding out after the divorce, during the divorce, whatever, it all sucks. I’m trying to channel my disgust into meh. Is it Tuesday yet?

    • Littlesigns, that was me too. I loathed him but always had to be around him to keep him away from my kids.

      • We stood in the gap. We did what our hearts told us to do. I will never know if it was the right decision, but I chose to stay in order for him to never have unsupervised time with the kids. I’ll never know if I should have just said “screw it, I’m out”, taken the kids, and left…. The kids are now grown and still struggle to have a relationship with him. They both tell me they make an effort to see their dad because they worry about him; he’s not stable. They are being manipulated by him now to give him attention because they worry that he might take his own life or some other crazy thing….

    • I don’t believe it was the same NoDancing. Dated five years prior to marrying. That was a commitment he made.

      Cheaters often have multiple affairs, playing the odds one will stick. That special one often goes for the win giving an ultimatum at some point.

      We see exactly what they are and detach and escape as CL stares.

      X-Ray, embrace your escape from a covert. And Karma? It comes. That assertiveness the OW had that was admired as spunk by the Limited was the tip of the iceberg. Her arrest records for assault, and breaking and entering were ignored. Guess who prisoner in a self created living hell?

      Stop assuming their happiness. The independent man who owned a business, always had money, and a loving wife with values lost his business, tolerates a screaming abusive woman who tells him what to do, can’t buy a cup of coffee, and has to physically restrain her frequently. LOL.

      Focus on yourself.

    • Wow – I realized that I also protected my kids from him. Especially my daughter. she told me that about the age of 13 or 14 her father called her a slut. This was in middle school when she had her first “boyfriend”. She was stunned and hurt and it’s been 8 years now that I tried to intervene between them to keep his influence from her. No way could I let him have a shared life with her so better to just stay and protect her. When my daughter had the opportunity to move out of the house, I told her LEAVE. For the love of god go, I told her at least it will be better away from him. Then she came back 1 year later we wanted her back home, but she said she can’t live in the house with him so we put her up in an apartment.

      I look back and see all the times he lied when he didn’t need to. Making up stories to glorify himself and exaggerate the truth to sound just a bit better on him. The same story would get more exaggerated every time he told it. If I called him out on it he denied and said that’s the way it was. I’d argue with him over the lies, then I just stopped. I stopped and listened Over and over to the lies and exaggerated stories. I was fascinated by it. Like I was in a shocked daze and could do nothing about it. I do believe I had shell shock. I just closed up and clammed up and watched the show.

      But I’m the mighty one now. The divorce is filed, waiting him to be served. He’s dodged it for 2 weeks. Then it’s as quick as I can get out of this. He’s on to his schmoopie twu luv, cause they are just soul mates all of a sudden.

  • Mine actually had me convinced I was the beast holding him back, and he was the beauty trapped in my tower. I even wrote him a note saying EXACTLY that and gave it to him! SMH. I guess that was permission he needed to move a little closer to his coworker. Reading that part of this was painful, I can’t believe I did that, believed that about myself, said that to him. Ugh…..

  • When you start putting two and two together, you realize those periods when he was shut down, stayed away, wouldn’t kiss or have sex – it was because he had something better. He left a lot of hard assets too because he didn’t need them because OW had her house he wanted the money, though and was very sneaky. But no, never did he admit to anything so he’d have plausible deniability. Anyway, you don’t need proof. Cheat once or cheat ten times or more – he’s still a putz, a lowlife and not worthy enough to breathe the rarified air of the innocent and forsaken wife and family left behind with the taint of their sinfulness.

  • X-RayKarma,
    I totally understand where you are coming from. I have asked myself the same question. I’m so sensitive about it I even got a bit riled up on here on CN when my story was shared and someone told me I needed to get over it. And someone else accused me of being insensitive because I was concerned about how his actions were affecting me but didn’t discuss how they affected my child –in that particular conversation. Most people are somewhat self-absorbed or we wouldn’t survive. And there is a huge stigma- in the world of career women-on being too clingy. So having your own life, hobbies, etc is not only good for you, it makes you less of a burden to your partner. There are those people that will put everything aside at the drop of a hat for someone else. And there are those of us who will do that when it’s needed, but also make our own needs clear, make sure we take care of ourselves. But a narcissist wants whatever he/she wants whenever he or she wants it. That sexy nurse at work? She thinks he’s hot and you don’t act like he is the world’s sexiest man whenever he walks in the door. She doesn’t get up at 6am to go jogging-she lies around in bed until he wakes up-in case he wants a BJ or something. So now-you’re selfish and boohoo-if only you had been less absorbed with yourself and paid attention to HIM. It must be your fault. Just because you heap praise on someone doesn’t make you NOT a narcissist. She’s having sex with someone else’s husband because she wants to. THAT’S NARCISSISTIC. He’s having sex with a coworker because he wants to THAT’s NARCISSISTIC. No, you’re not a narcissist. It’s just confusing because you’re so much better than your ex that it’s hard to avoid acknowledging it. It’s not your arrogance that makes him behave in such way that reveals how much better you are than him. You’re just doing you.

  • Oh yes, the fun of the post-split D-day. Been there…

    First time was ten years ago so, very much behind me, thank goodness. I look back at that time and think of how big of a CHUUUUMP I was. Pick Me dance and errythang. I was also ten years younger and ten years more naive. I discovered OW, had the emotional freakout, reached out to the OW, she gave me some sob story about her medical issues and how she’s soooo sick all the time (she even gave me a sob story about her FATHER’S medical issues) etc. And she actually told me that I should just move on so they could be happy together. She was right, I did need to move on, but not for their sorry asses, for myself. Seven months later, he comes poking back around (at that point I was dating the man I eventually married.)

    Turned out he got Miss Hospital Bound pregnant and was trying to run for the hills, but that wasn’t something he had informed her about, so when she found the text messages he was sending me (in which I told him I was now in a new relationship, and repeatedly asked what happened to the OW, and he didn’t answer me when I asked.) And the stress caused her to miscarry. Then, once he thought he was safe from the responsibility of unplanned fatherhood, he went back to her. AND SHE TOOK HIM BACK. …only to be cheated on less than a month later.

    But it gets RICHER…two years later. I’m engaged. I meet a friend of my then-fiance’s. This girl is one of those people that kinda knows everyone. I mention ex’s name and she gets an angry look on her face and says she hates him. I ask her why, she says “he cheated on me.” I asked her when she dated him. And the floodgates OPENED.

    Turns out Miss Hospital Bound was actually OW #6. This girl (who is still my friend to this day) was OW #1, but she had no idea she was the OW. He cheated on me with her, cheated on her with her friend, cheated on that friend with another friend…this asshole had a chain of cheating strung 6 people deep. She had no clue I even existed, she knew about the people he cheated on her with, but when she found out she was an other woman as well, her eyes popped and her jaw hit the floor. We spent the next hour or so swapping stories that had holes in them. Things that had not made sense in my timeline fit into hers, and things that hadn’t made sense in her timeline fit into mine.

    She and I are good friends now. I have no idea what he’s doing (nor do I care.) But that’s just a little bit of my post split D-day story. Ahhh memories XD

      • Would you believe it actually gets worse?

        This dude shows up to a birthday party of a mutual friend. I knew he was going to be there, but it was happening on a ranch with a lot of acerage, so I had no plans to speak to him and stay far away. He hunted ME down, and tried to tell me he wanted to “not have anything bad between us.” I looked at him and said “I know about -insert the names of all the people he was cheating with-.” He stared at me for a few seconds (I could literally see the pupils of his eyes get smaller) and said “I don’t know who -insert only ONE name I mentioned-is.” I said “If you’re going to lie, you might want to cover all your bases. I said multiple names just now.” And walked away.

        THEN this tangled mess of a mofo hunts down OW #1 (now my friend) in a freaking grocery store, and starts asking her how dare she talk to me about “their thing.” She said it wasn’t a “thing” he was lying to both of us. That’s not a thing, it’s cheating. He starts yelling at her in the store, and the manager came out to see if there was a problem. She said “No, this man has mistaken me for someone else.” And he was escorted out.

        AAAanD it GETS EVEN BETTER! He finds out I’m engaged, and just can’t handle this news so he starts telling everyone he comes across that I fabricated my engagement just to get under his skin. Of course at this point no one believes him because there’s an actual ring on my finger, and a fiance to back it up. It got pretty ridiculous. He tried to tell all our mutual friends that I was a compulsive liar who couldn’t get over him and basically everyone’s reaction was to just look at him with a raised eyebrow. He even tried to tell my Maid of Honor that it was a desperate attempt to get his attention again. He came into my place of employment at the time and tried to tell the assistant manager that I’m a huge liar obsessed with him, and the AM said “…who are you? She’s literally never mentioned you…” He tried to follow me around the store and the manager told him to buy something or leave.

        I took him to court to get him to leave me alone.

        He FINALLY stopped when I actually GOT MARRIED.

        I laugh about it now because I look back at that and think, he was accusing me of being obsessed and unable to move on from him, but the truth was he couldn’t handle the idea of me actually moving on, and carried on a rather pathetic, desperate attempt at a smear campaign for almost four years. It was really, really pitiful. XD

        • Fuckwits always project their feelings and flaws onto you. I’m so glad he’s finally gone away and you are happy. 😀

          • Yeah, it’s so far behind me I can’t tell this story without laughing now. Can’t make this stuff up. I mean, objectively speaking it’s all horrible, but I laugh not because it’s funny, but because of just how truly unhinged it all was.

            • Hell, I laugh because the cheater is so moronic and such an ass, it’s genuinely funny, and I still live with him while my house gets fixed. Nothing’s funnier than stupid people.

        • “He stared at me for a few seconds (I could literally see the pupils of his eyes get smaller)”

          I have seen that! Does everyone here see that? What *is* that?!

  • Chump Lady, you crack me up! I love your Beauty and the Beast analysis. And XK, you are not a narcissist, and you are not the loser in this game. You have something your ex never will: Authenticity! Pity OW#3 because you know exactly what she’s getting into.

  • I still ask myself if I’m the narc, am I crazy, am I a horrid person? I’m not perfect, but I would never treat my spouse and children the way he has. In fact, I wouldn’t even treat someone I hated like that.

  • X Ray Karma, that is not happily ever after. He didn’t cheat because of you, he
    cheated because that’s how he gets validation, and he desperately needs that. He can no more stop cheating than you can stop breathing. He will cheat on this woman and hurt her and that poor little boy. She might choose to spackle and stay, but it won’t be a happy union. Was yours? After he took off on you with the first OW (that you know of), were you truly happy or just in denial? Him, he’s never happy, because he has no identity, no values and no genuine sense of self worth. All he has is a perpetually hungry ego. Think about it; if being with these women made him happy, why does he keep needing new ones?

    Hell no, you are not a narcissist. It’s not narcissistic to expect the man who said he loved you to actually love you. NONE OF THIS IS ABOUT YOU. Excuse the all caps, but I wanted to emphasize that. It’s 100% about him and his fuckwittery. Do not envy the sparkly surface of his life. All he has, all he is, is surface. You have what he will never have; a soul. Do things which nuture it and pay no attention to his fake-ass life. Sorry about this jerk doing that to you. You bought a lemon. So did I.

  • I remember many years ago, my cousin got dumped by her husband — turns out, he was cheating on her while she was in the hospital giving birth to their son, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. Apparently, the easy-peasy solution for him was to dump them both and marry the new one.

    I was shocked, but my sister was more complacent: “Why worry about his next marriage? They were meant for each other. She gets the kind of husband who has a history of cheating on his wife, and he gets the kind of woman who would sleep with a married man.”

    I’ve remembered my sister’s wisdom ever since. Any woman who sleeps with a married man, deserves to marry him herself.

    • This is what I don’t understand, maybe never will. How can a woman, who is married with children, sleep with a man who is married with children. Why does that not bother either one? I get the whole thrill of the chase and all that BS, but after everything is all done and both have destroyed two families, they get married and start living the SAME EXACT LIFE, except now you have to pay support in some cases and try and see your kids, etc. They are in the same life with the person who does not think there is anything wrong with cheating on a spouse, now you are a spouse??!!! I know I will never know these answers but it still mystifies me!

      • From what I’ve beem able to deduce through much research, they live for the moment. They don’t think about consequences at all. They don’t make logical connections because they are fundamentally irrational beings. They are all about “I want, I want” and nothing matters more than getting it. Their own kids are mere extras in their bizarre way off Broadway play that is their life. Spouses and schmoopies are things to be aquired, not people.
        IOW, they are disturbed. We won’t ever understand it in the sense that I think you mean it, because we’re normal. It’s not anything we could relate to and say; “Okay, I can see the point of doing that.” There is no point beyond the totally mindless “I want”, and they want it desperately, like an infant wants comfort. It’s how they self-soothe, often along with other unhealthy methods, like some form of substance abuse or compulsive behaviour. If it helps to know these creatures are utterly lost, wandering the earth like flesh-bound ghosts of themselves, they are. Despite that, don’t ever feel sorry for them. They are not so beyond reason that they don’t know they are doing harm. They just don’t care.

        • I know, right? Yes, to both these responses. At the end of the day, they’re just exchanging pawns in their sick game. When I asked exH how this was all supposed to play out with the talentless EAP, there was no plan. He answered that the thought process never extended beyond the fantasy of travelling the world playing music together. Never to the day-to-day practicality of caring for 5 kids between them, dealing with the hatred of kids/siblings/parents/spouses, supporting said children let alone who was footing the bill for all the booze. That was extremely bitter for me, to know that they carried on and blew up their families for a complete and utter fantasy.

  • My now XH told me he was leaving me because I was “unattractive” – emotionally and physically (BTW, I’m not unattractive in either way). He told me he was having a midlife crisis, but denied an affair. It was one of those sudden divorces where you think your spouse has a brain tumor because they appear to change overnight. He was un-waivering really. No pick me dance here. He filed within 3 weeks of saying “We should just get a divorce” (after 17 years of marriage).

    About 2 weeks after being served with divorce papers, I was going through his frequent flyer account and noticed that he used a companion ticket on a woman within days of filing for divorce. She was a co-worker (she’s physically and emotionally unattractive and a huge down grade, but younger). They were engaged within a year of our 2 month divorce, have been married for 4 years and just had a baby.

    I’m sure this affair was just the tip of the iceberg for Mr. Sociopath. His whore had previously married another guy who was married when she met him. They just repeat the same cycles.

  • XK,

    I haven’t been here long but even in my short time I have learned a lot which has helped me turn around my distorted thinking that was very much along the lines of yours. I have also uncovered family history in my nuclear and extended family that has helped complete the picture and allowed me to stop blaming myself.

    One book that really helped me besides LACGAL was a book a friend lent me titled ‘Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.’ When I read that at about a year post Dday my eyes were torn open as his patterns of behavior were written all over those pages and I realized that he had been trying to hide a sex addiction for the entire duration of our marriage. The relief I felt was profound because I then knew that it wasn’t about me at all.

    Good thing that you have worked on yourself. That will all play out in your favor once you get over this mind ‘blip’ and you will be able to really live your life in peace.

    I wish you well.
    Thanks for posting.

    • Really like the spirit behind this post. Cheating is not the chumps fault.

      I’d just like to clarify that there’s a debate amongst professionals whether sex addiction is an actual thing. It’s currently not listed as a psych disorder. And, many of those who deem it a real disorder believe it applies to a very specific pattern of behavior, of which very few people actually exhibit. Some folks believe it’s more often used as a convenient excuse for a larger character flaw.

      Like, just because you collect sports memorabilia does not make you a hoarder.

      • NANC,

        I am aware of the debate too and I need to clarify that having a diagnosis of being a SA does not give that person permission to use that as an excuse for his/her behavior. Just like being an alcoholic doesn’t give that person permission to drink themselves to death or a drug addict to continue to abuse drugs – either illegal or ‘legal’ ones.

        There are lots of ways people can get a high do not make it to the DMS and IMO they are still getting ‘high’ from the chemicals released in their brains when engaged in their addictions. The cycle of desire, seeking the release (fantasy etc) and then the actual acting out. Relief is temporary and the cycle starts up all over again.

        With the X it clearly was an obsession and that obsession was acted out in many ways and he knew about recovery via AA but chose not to be honest about what was going on. He chose staying obsessed and acting out vs abstaining from acting on his obsessions as well as not telling me what was going on. By the way, I have since learned that AA is full of these ‘types’ – both male and female as was the founder of AA himself. It is called 13th Stepping.

        I only see a lot of this in hindsight and the label really helped clarify a lot for me which then allowed me to move on. He made a choice and the consequences are ALL his. The damage left in his wake is monumental to me and our children and all of the women he used while acting out.

        • The difference is that drugs and booze create physical dependency. That is a true addiction. These clowns just have a psychological compulsion. They could stop but don’t want to. An addict needs to de-tox and get treatment. All these fools need to do is change their stupid habits. Brain chemicals from banging schmoopies might be pleasant, but they don’t cause physical dependence. My jerk tried to snow me with that SLA and SA crap, plus porn addiction B.S., but even he now admits it’s nonsense and he could have stopped at any time.

        • I’m certainly glad embracing this concept helped you move on, definitely don’t want to diminish that, and perhaps your ex falls into the very narrow category of people who have an actual, uncontrollable compulsivity toward sex.

          In my experience, SA is used more by cheaters/therapists to justify behavior and obfuscate responsibility (as in, “I had NO choice…”) rather than used by chumps for healing. It’s a red herring for dodging culpability. For those reasons, I’m not a fan of propagating it to other chumps who may latch on to it as a reason to “stand by their man,” or be smoke-screened from seeing their cheaters for who they really are, or worse…blame themselves.

          I agree with another poster that it is quite different than drug/alcohol addiction as those are in fact physical addictions. I might align it closer with OCD, and, again, apply it to a very narrow category of people.

    • SLA addiction is a marketing gimmick. The questionnaire the 12 step groups hand out to members is deliberately designed to “diagnose” this fictional disorder. Your ex’s behaviour would also likely correspond to a personality and/or attachment disorder, which is the real problem, not some fictional addiction. Sex addiction exists, but is rare and much more extreme than just cheating. SLA type behaviour is merely a byproduct of a real disorder. Often it’s Borderline Personality Disorder, or at the very least, the insecure and anxious attachment which precedes it.

      • Notanicechump and Chumpupthe volume,

        I agree with what you both have written – the dangers of using the label to encourage someone to stay in the relationship because of a label. That was not my intent on mentioning that book.

        My intent was to state that when someone gave me that book a door opened up and I suddenly was able to put a lot of behaviors together that specifically related to sex that I hadn’t been able to see prior to my reading it. It did for me what CN and CL have done for me.

        Yes, he is a cheater and I have learned a lot here that has opened my eyes to what a ‘disordered person’ is as well as what a cluster B personality is and, since I am on a roll, what a TFC is (Passive aggressive covert narcissist.).

        By learning about all of this I was able to let go of feeling like any of it was my fault. My primary focus was not on understanding him in order to stand by him, rather it was to understand why I got fooled in the first place – what was it about me that made me so blind and I have learned a lot about what makes chumps tick. Knowing that has made a big difference in my moving on too since I was ‘under his spell’ for many decades and never suspected that he was cheating on me. He was the proverbial good guy who had everyone who knew him fooled – all of our friends and neighbors plus work associates.

        I was indeed fooled and, in that charade of a life I thought I had, I picked up a lot of behaviors and attitudes about myself that were a direct reaction to how he was treating me.

        I am not putting myself down by writing any of this although it may come across that way, I actually find it rather frightening to see how easily people can be manipulated with just a few choice ‘strokes of a pen’ a few manipulative behaviors that have the power to seal our fate and kept us from questioning things. He was patient in his method. I was blind but now I see and my ‘research’ along many avenues has helped in my struggle to knit the pieces of my life back together.

        So, no anyone using SLA as an excuse is not acceptable to me but in reading about the behavior of those dealing with compulsive sexual tendencies rang true to what I have seen in hindsight and brought me much relief in finally understanding things about his behavior that had baffled me for years and years and years.

        I certainly did not intend to bring up a debate about the validity of sex as an addiction or not as that is too broad in scope for my old mind and as they say, not my circus and not my monkey anymore.

  • The thing about cheating is it allows for a kind of strict liability assessment of someone’s character. You cheated? Oh, you’re a dirtbag. It’s one of a very few true black and white issues. Even killing someone is more grey (were you acting in self defense? was it an accident?).

    I wish I had realized this earlier in my process because, like you, I spent too much time trying to figure out what I had done to make him cheat, how/why I was a bad person b/c this bad thing happened to me, and generally blaming myself. Sure, I questioned him and his motives, but I had limited info on him but ALL the info on myself, so I perseverated in that realm. Mistake. If I had accepted at the beginning that he was a dirtbag because he was someone of such bad character that he would cheat on me, a loyal and supportive wife, I could have saved a bunch of time and confusion.

    So, please don’t be confused. He’s a dirtbag. Case closed. Maybe you’re a dirtbag too, for totally different reasons. I don’t know. But that doesn’t take away the fact the HE is a dirtbag and did a completely dirtbag thing. Like, you can take that off your plate of self scrutiny.

  • XK – your X has not had a character transplant. that does not bode well for his next steps. just wait a while. hopefully by then you’ll be like, “whatever” ,as you continue to move on. As another long-time chump, gaslit about ‘friends’ and smothering my reason with a blanket of “He Would Never” I got more info later that confirmed how duped I was but can report a few years X has continued cheating on subsequent relationships. Can relate to enjoying “not missing Jekyll and Hyde swings and enjoying being free to come and go as I please”. Recovery from being gaslit and the rest of that crap takes time. Peace is knowing your worth and values.

  • In the book “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD, he says “No matter how much insight and understanding we develop, the rational brain is basically impotent to talk the emotional brain out of its reality”. His quote was also mentioned in Melanie Evans book, “You can thrive after narcissistic abuse”.
    Rationally, I know this isn’t about me, but damn, it hurts to feel so rejected. Thanks chump nation for the validation:)

    • It hurts worse than almost anything else. You were invested. He said he was invested and it turned out to be bullshit. I don’t think if it so much as a rejection, because he was never in it for real. He can’t reject somebody he never truly accepted.
      Someday it won’t hurt so much.

    • It was so disconcerting to really experience the rational vs the emotional parts of my brain so profoundly and for so long. I know that is what happens but it usually happens quickly in everyday happenings but in my case, dealing with the TFC the discord lasted for quite some time and the volume from my emotional brain finally couldn’t take the split anymore so I was ‘forced’ into no contact which came as a most welcome relief. Now the rational part of my mind can move forward and the irrational blips that come and go can be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

      Our physical brains are in 2 parts as we all know but it is something else to really feel that split.
      Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight’ speaks of this too.

      Thanks for posting.

  • It’s painful when you realize you were living with a person who has a disordered personality.

    Looking back I have put the pieces together that it was abnormal that the ex had several close female ‘friends.’ They were co-workers or people he volunteered with. I went along with it in the spirit of not being suspicious/jealous. He would parade these women in front of me, drop by my workplace with them in tow (he was a volunteer fireman). I see now that he was doing it for a thrill. At the time I was just confused by it.

    Normal people don’t act the way they do. It takes a long time to accept this.

    • “It’s painful when you realize you were living with a person who has a disordered personality.” Ain’t that the truth. It also makes you incredibly suspicious of almost everyone else around you for a very long time.

      At almost 5 years past dday, I’ve just now been able to recalibrate enough to trust some people in my life again–but really only those few close friends and family who have shown me over the last 5 years that they have my back. I’m sure I cut out several “friends” who are perfectly lovely and great, but I could never get over that hurdle of suspicion. Deep betrayal forever changes you–like almost at a cellular level.

  • I’m a nurse, and so is my ex, and most of the ow he cheated with are also health care workers. The caring professions attract disordered people! Fertile (NPI) hunting ground!
    One of my new life rules is to stay away from health care workers.
    Apparently teaching is worse for cheating than health care. (Aand it’s an anagram). Another fertile hunting ground!
    Maybe I’ll look in trades and services… but then again isn’t that how most porn movies start.. 🙈
    Ugh, I just don’t know..

    • Factories and plants are horrible for sustaining marriages. Too many people willing to screw anyone and every one.

      • Agree to the plants and factories. Mine cheated when he got a coveted supervisor “yellow hat”. The workers wear colored hard hats depending on their positions. It’s basically work uniform helping him declare “look at me, I’m important!!” At this plant infidelity is normal. I worked at a different plant during our separation and got hit on. Propositioned. I even had guys straight up get way too close cuz “it’s all in good fun”. No it really isn’t.

        As I told STBXH one day via email. “I can see why it was SO EASY for her though. As a woman working in a plant now, it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel if I wanted to. With literally no effort. She was easy and you were weak. Had nothing to do with me. Just like me not cheating has nothing to do with you.”

        Ugh I hate him so much right now. And it does make me so wary of the world to have experienced it myself. Like how the hell do marriages even last anymore in a world like this? SMDH

  • Totally irrelevant probably as just back from a work night out but this is my thing in my head and I need to share with people who need to great this.
    When that whore was a secret you thought you were better then me. Now that she’s no longer a secret I know I’m worth so much more than you.

  • Same here, X-Ray.
    He was openly flirting on Facebook with a female friend of ours, and had a few other questionable/suspicious behaviors or incidents that I spackled over.
    It was like eating a plate of food and you taste something different in the dish — you can’t name it, you “know” what it is, but you can’t say it.
    It was one night about six weeks after he left, he came back, wreckconciliation, then GTFO-day… I couldn’t sleep one night. I got my mp3 player out, que’d up my music file of spiritual songs that always boosted me up, then walked all around the house praying to God for the truth — I prayed to God to reveal the truth to me, I was ready. I needed to hear the truth. I had to know. I cried, I prayed, I praised God for truth…
    Two days later going through my Facebook Messenger, I noticed a “message request” from a woman I didn’t know and wasn’t friends with. I could only read the opening line if the message which said, “I’m writing to you to confess to you that I had an affair with (The Evil One/exh2)…”
    I approved the message and read to my shock and horror that that “taste” on my mouth was what I knew deep down in my soul, I knew it but I couldn’t ever say it aloud. He was a cheater and had been throughout our 13 years together.
    Suspicious incidents came flooding back to my mind. Comments made in “jest”. Social media issues. Being blocked from social media posts and comments. Friends and family asking me, “Is everything OK?” But never giving me proof.

    Four years ago. Still remember those moments more than any happy moment we ever had. He’s poisoned the water of 13 years together. He has never admitted guilt. He’s never confessed to any wrong-doing. He has tried to re-write history, failed. He’s tried to spin the truth, failed. He’s tried to cause me trouble with my 20+ year career, failed. He’s tried to have me labeled as an abusive mother, failed. He’s tried to starve me out and not pay child support, failed. He’s tried to cause me grief and angst, failed. He’s tried to lie about me, failed. He’s trying to exert control over me concerning our Autistic daughter, and is failing.
    Since Day One all I’ve expected him to do or wanted from him was to pay child support and keep with visitation. One for Two at least.
    Four years later and I’ve accepted the apology that I’ll never get. I received the much-needed truth and I was able to get shit done a lot better.
    I still deal with grief anniversaries, I process through it and I move on. Each year that passes, it’s a lighter, smaller pang.
    Time and faith for me has been my friends.

    • I really appreciate this comment. I also prayed to God the last month of wreckonciliation. I knew I was ready also to finally accept. Was this a test to improve something in myself for my family? Or was this a door He had previously tried to close and I need to let it shut? I prayed for Him to hold me close and protect me.
      That month was horrific in the changes in my STBXH. It was very very clear after that what my answer was. I wouldn’t treat an enemy the way Voldemort treated me that last month. Horrible.

      I don’t know what kind of music you like, I’m a huge fan of Skillet and Fireflight for rock style uplifting. Thank you for reminding me to Bri g those back up. I’ve been struggling lately.

    • Oh and he also is trying to weasel out of child support. Now I start shopping for lawyers. And because of that he has declined to have his visitation with the kids. I know and have faith mine will fail just as yours has.

  • I love love this post. I have also asked myself if it was ME who was the narc. I love to be around people. Like to help because it makes me feel good. I live loudly and proudly. EXCEPT I had to minimize myself and my needs and wants to be with him. The love (beast) of my life who SURELY just needs enough love in his life to unlock the prince that he sometimes (lied) was.

    This was a perfect timed post for me. I can’t wait to read all the responses tonight after work. I just had to say LOVE AND NEEDED!

    Our child support case got delayed another month cuz sad sausage cried to the judge about not having his lawyer money ready. Even though he’s had plenty of gas money to be visiting Schmoopie all month an hour away. But now I know who his lawyer is. My parents have given me the green light and the financial help to get him now.

    Last night I kept wondering was it me? Was I too much? Are the 7 personal reference letters I got from friends and family just another way of me “using” people? Is the beast right, did I just use him?

    Hell to the no. He is a narc gaslighter who no longer could pull the strings so he cut them.y friends and family know the real me. Who has inspired them. Who has always been a lending war and shoulder. Who picked up in the middle of the night to provide a ride to friends hit by a drunk driver 45 minutes away.

    Yeah. Fuck the beast.

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