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Dear Chump Lady, I can’t kick hope

Dear Chump Lady,

First I want to say I am so glad I found your site, it is beginning to counteract the damage all the “save your marriage” sites have caused me. Thanks for exposing me to harsh realities. I wish I would have found this site in the beginning. I am still in the throes of wanting to believe he’s different from other cheaters, that it was mostly my fault, having the desire to reconcile because I still love him and it’s best for our young child, while he and one of my closest friend are creating a life together. Yep, the lies they told were to make sure our two families would spend a lot of time together. Because they knew their spouses trusted them, they could spend time together alone without arousing suspicion.

I guess almost two years of begging, pleading, crying, yelling, and individual therapy just isn’t going to work for him. Now what…

I’m in a crazy situation, basically we are not getting a divorce because of money. (Of course I want to believe it’s that he still loves me and will come back, or doesn’t want be is a situation to get too committed to her). We own property together, he knows I don’t see the point of maintaining a business relationship after divorce which means liquidate (which he doesn’t want to do).

To make matters worse I let myself believe he felt some guilt for leaving me in a home that he was demo-ing for remodel, so we just purchased a home for my son and I to live in. He explained that it was so he could stop paying rent and so he (and the OW, when she can blow off her kids and make the 1.5 hr drive here) can live in our home, and so he can complete renovations he started… 10 years ago… This leaves me financially beholden to him because he is paying part of the mortgage for the place my son and I will be living in.

Go ahead, call me super-chump, I can take it. I keep telling myself that it fucks up her plans to be wife number 4 (I know, but I thought I was special, I knew about wife 1 and 2 but didn’t take it as a sign, I drank the kool-aide) and step-mommy to my son, but it also fucks with my life… or at least the one I hope to have one day.

So… now what? Any advice for a newly minted chump climbing this mountain of crap called my life? Any tips to keep on the righteous path to fully realized chumpdom? Is there a chump to chump dating service? Been a while on that front.

I read your 5 things that keep you stuck — Hope… that’s the biggest one. How do I stop holding out hope for what could be? Smart me and Emotional me are at odds. Emotional me tends to win out… still. I want to believe he is a good person even with every obvious ulterior motives Smart me sees.

Hopium Addict

Dear Hopium Addict,

Put down the crack pipe and let’s review the evidence — he’s continuing his affair, wants zero consequences, and has conveniently shelved you and your son out of the way in a separate residence. And his excuse for that is…. home repairs.

Aside from his obvious, remorseless cheating, I think you should dump the man if only because it’s taken him 10 years to renovate a house.

No one should have to spend a DECADE in a demolition zone. I had an ex like that. He’d rip out a bathroom and then just leave it. There is a special place in hell for home improvement sluggards. These people love chaos. Emotional chaos. Physical chaos. To live this way is to live in a constant state of disruption and delusion — pay no attention to the mess, see the Potential! Just wait!

You literally are spackling to live like this.

Just like the House That Is Never Done, you’re holding out hope for a man who very deliberately wants to live this way. Noncommittal. Chaotic. Concerned with no one but himself. How’s that working for you? He comes and goes and plays family guy when he gets an itch to. Then goes back to his lair and screws around without supervision. Cake is awesome.

But the reason you won’t leave him is money? You’re keeping this douchebag around for HALF a mortgage payment? Have you seen a lawyer? Half of that unfinished wreck is yours and half of the house you live in is yours. Unless you signed a separation agreement before you moved out, you’re still legally married and own all property jointly. Talk to a lawyer. You may be able to afford to live where you’re living, or could MOVE.

You don’t leave a cheater painlessly, HA. You have to be prepared for a fight. You need to hit and get hit. The houses get sold. You liquidate the business. You take a loss. And then you rebuild. Your cheater doesn’t want those consequences? Too bad. You didn’t want to share your marriage with Ms. Pretend Friend OW.

Get ANGRY! That’s how you kick hopium, you get PISSED OFF. When you’re righteously angry enough, you will ACT.

Repeat after me: HOW DARE HE!

Value yourself enough to get angry. Truly angry. Not the self-directed, eat-your-guts-out depression. No, get truly righteously pissed.

You do NOT deserve to live this way. Your son doesn’t deserve it either. You need to be the catalyst. YOU need to change this, because your husband is very happy to keep eating cake. He likes everything just as it is. This hopium is keeping you stuck in passivity, which he is taking advantage of.

You MATTER. I can tell you that, but you have to believe it. You can only unstick yourself. I can’t do it for you, the chumps here can’t do it for you. But I can tell you from experience that it’s far more painful to live like you are now, then it is to face the pain of leaving him.

You’re teetering on the edge of liberation — go forward. Let the OW be wife #4. Let her live in the shit pile of his chaos. Let GO.

(And no dating until you fix your picker and figure out why you accepted not mattering for so long. Extracting yourself from this mess is the first order of business.)

This one ran before. Late night. The Nats are going to the World Series! Yea!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • As this post ran before, please if you’re out there still can you let us know how you’re doing. I hope you made the “CL choice”!

  • I had to liquidate a business I spent 30 years building from scratch….

    I lived in a 22 year old car at truckstops in the worst part of town because I was BROKE…..

    I moved to a new city where I knew no one to find a job and start over at 49….which didn’t require a moving company due to my worldly possessions fitting in my car…..


    Go Astros.

    • That is some badass Chump Recovery there.

      In the past few years, I have looked back and realized that he manufactured chaos in order to keep me off balance and in survival mode enough to be distracted from his poor behaviors. One of the episodes bothers me to this day…

      we had moved for a military assignment but he wanted us to stay in our old home and he could go as a “geographic bachelor” (live singly since a move would be too hard on the wife/kids) but I insisted we all go. When we arrived in our new town, he sabotaged every possible living arrangement we might have trying to get me and the kids to move away. Me and kids ended up living with just the things we had in the van (sleeping in temporary quarters and grandmas house) for more than 5 months.

      Every potential home I found he refused for some random pointless reason (and God forbid his opinions werent respected, he would rage). I realize now he was maneuvering his availability to screw around. I cant even imagine what I would have done in the middle of that crisis if I had learned what he was doing, I hope I would have been mighty.

      People willing to do this to us do NOT love us. We all need the bravery to look shit like that in the face.

      • Yes. People that do that, keeping their families in disorder, are the ones who are monsters. They are cowards. I’m glad you’re no longer with that coward. Thank you for writing this.

      • unicornomore–me too! Wouldn’t you love going back in time with what you know now? I would walk through the fire one more time, just to be able to not react. It was bury my head in the sand survival mode that made me get through all the abuse.

        It took me long time realize the now Mr. & Mrs. Dingus-Dingbats, pounded me emotionally, financially, and even abused my mother on her death bed, to keep me in chaos so I would be the crazy ex-wife and possibly kill myself. She’s even a worse narcissistic psychopath, so I had no hope as they were playing game 2 on 1.

        So they did succeed in some ways, but I’m hoping the truth will come out one day and my kids will understand why I was an emotional wreck. The sad thing is he’s so disrespectful to the kids and they have no idea, especially my daughter. He’s allowed his first mistress (he was an Army Captain and she the “cute” Lieutenant (he even pinned her on the Arizona), to comment on Instagram photos of her. Such disrespect, not only to me, but also the children themselves.

        • The military cheaters have a very special way with the mindfucks don’t they? My Exhole Colonel just couldn’t do enough for his schmoopie Capt. while he made my life a living hell.

          • I don’t understand why they treat the schmoopies so well. Why, why?

            Is it all just an act to secure the commitment?

            • Always remember they have lied to them too. Their foundation is built on lies. So no, they don’t treat them well. It’s all external to look good, and probably an attempt to devalue us further. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Cheaters have a darkness deep inside their souls they never want to reveal. That’s why they lie so well and to everyone.

              • NotBlue – “Cheaters have a darkness deep inside their souls they never want to reveal.”

                Truer words have never been spoken.

            • It’s lovebombing. It’s the 1st stage. You are comparing your 2nd/3rd stages (devaluation and discard) to her first stage.

        • I have tried to imagine what I would have done if I knew the WHOLE , REAL truth…not just that he was sabotaging that move because he had a fuckbuddy in the moment but that betrayal was a hobby since we first married, what if I had known? (we had sold our house and all our household goods were in storage. Where would I have gone?

          What enrages me now is that he was ALWAYS miserable, ALWAYS cranky…but we went to lunch after I had found a rental and asked him if we could apply and he said “Oh lets wait a day and think about it” he was in SUCH A GOOD MOOD…positively GIDDY despite us having no where to live. It never made sense…now it does !!!

      • ???? My STBXWH did something extremely similar! Except I agreed to his suggestion. D-Day came ~7 years later (8 months ago).
        I thought it was strange of him to ask this. I had a gut feeling there was more to the reasons he gave me.
        I’d always put him before my gut feelings. Looking back at all the strange vibes and gut feelings I’ve had during our relationship…feeling like a super chump.
        On the plus side, I have a strong/intuitive gut and a VERY good memory. Its helped me “trust that he sucks.”

      • I love two teams: The Red Sox and any team that beats the Yankees! Go Astros!

  • The problem with hope, its one sided. He’s with you and the ow, and your both doing the pick me dance. He’s enjoying himself and your miserable. The only proof of hope is action. Words are cheap. He cheated you get what your entitled too. You should ask yourself why your being nice to him and he’s being disrespectful to you.
    Good luck

  • This could have been me until May if this year. After 2 yrs of hovering and hope I said enough. Sold the house and left. Since then the sun has been blinding!!! My kids and I are so happy and I have started to feel and do things I haven’t in 2 yrs.
    see a lawyer and go. The hopium dies when you are removed from the situation and on your own. You start to see more clearly just how bad they suck and you start telling yourself you deserve so much more.

    • 28yearchump, I left in May. Filed. Took my dear old doggie and moved hours away. Everyday is a little better. I’m reconnecting with myself.

      He is contesting the divorce. I’m working on “MENTALLY divorcing” him. If I can’t have a divorce decree suitable for framing I can at least have inner peace.

      Yesterday’s post was emotionally draining/triggering. I hope Kate will find the peace and contentment I feel in my little shack.
      I’m creating the life I’ve always wanted. It is a slow process. But this morning I think I heard the walls sing.

        • He doesn’t want to lose half of his military pension, or pay me spousal support, he doesn’t want me to have anything. My lawyer says he doesn’t have any good option but to pay me.

          He is being his usual narcissistic self. He decided I get nothing so in his mind that is what will happen. He has changed the locks in the house, moved all the money from any accounts where I have access, he opened an account in his name only and there is all the money. Then he happily reported all this in his financial affidavit.

          He has been financially abusive for years. I just didn’t know any better. Now I do. I had no idea he makes so much money. He deliberately deceived me. I had no idea he had credit card debt. I didn’t make the debt. He has an expensive HotRod habit. He spends a lot of money on his lifestyle and his hobbies. He wears very expensive clothes. He once spent $1,845.11 on a pair of shoes.When I found the receipt I was wearing shoes with holes in them.

          He begrudged me every cent. I had to ask repeatedly for grocery money. Once I decided there was no way but out it took me two years to save a little money for a safety net.

          He never wanted me to work outside our home. I wanted to get a job on base. He was adamant that was a bad idea. Now I know he was hiding his affair with his good, Christian howorker.

          He also wants to retain all properties, houses and contents of the houses. When I left I took my documents, my old dog, all the family photos, my jewelry, some clothing, my sewing machines and a good pair of scissors. I literally threw things into the car until it was full and left.

          He still hasn’t called, e-mailed, sent me a letter. He did send me an angry text demanding I sign away all rights to his pensions and any spousal support.

          I am trying to build a life and move on. I can be “MENTALLY DIVORCED” until I receive a decree suitable for framing.
          I have an intuition this is not going to go well for him.

          I’m doing so much better. I’ve lost three pant sizes since I left. These jeans are baggy straight out of the dryer. So soon it will be four pant sizes. My darling dog died, I am financially in limbo land, I live in a shack and yet this life is so much more.

          First court hearing is next month and I am sure I’ll be granted the divorce.

          • Thirtythreeyearsachump,
            Good for you, getting away with your precious dog. I am so so sorry for the loss of your beloved best friend, your dog.
            YOU are so Mighty. All of your posts are so brave.
            YOU are so Mighty.

            I am sorry for all you have gone through.
            Stay strong.
            You are an inspiration to CN.


              • Thank You Peacekeeper, I’m having a tearful time and it helps to know someone thinks I am mighty.

                I would be very isolated but for the support I receive from fellow chumps. I am trying to reach out and make connections. It is just a slow process.

                I miss my darling dog far more than I ever have missed my STBX. The dog spent more time with me and was far more affectionate. The dog never once was deliberately cruel to me.

                I do feel mighty when I realize I planned and prepared for two years to make my escape. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

                Thank You for validating my Mighty!!!!!

          • OMG you are so mighty ~ this stuff is scary and you are doing it!

            Have you looked into fostering dogs ~ it’s so emotionally rewarding.

            • JP, I’m working towards that. I don’t have a fenced yard. That is a requirement for the group here. Soon!!!

      • Well, he can slow it up and make it difficult by not cooperating, but every state in America has no-fault divorce–so he really cannot stop you. Your divorce will eventually be granted. Why do these jackasses have to make it so hard when they are the one who took a giant piss on the marriage in the first place? I’m sorry he is jerking you around.

        • Thank You, Jojobee. He is just an angry narcissist. He thinks because he says it then that is how it is. Nothing original about him. Just another narcissistic cheater intent on having his way in all things. He really believes I am stupid. He always did underestimate me.

          I’ve given a lot of thought trying “untangle that skein”. Thanks to Chump Lady, I now know that is a wasted effort. So now I literally untangle skeins. I joined a free Knitting Club at our local library! So much more productive!

          I am afraid of him. I always was. He manipulated me with his anger. I am so happy to be free of his cruelties. After Kate’s and Tessie’s horrific stories I am being even more cautious. I want to live a life that benefits me. So I am.

          Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I can never repay you. I am so deeply grateful for the love and support.

          • Dear Thirtythreeyearsachump,
            After reading your posts again this morning (I am concerned about you and want to know that you are, and that you will be, ok and safe), I want to encourage you to write your story to CL, ( just as you have written it above would be fine, adding whatever is in your heart that you want to get out). Chumps, like you, are the heart and soul of CN.
            Please please let us know, ( your CN Family), how your court date goes.
            When you feel lonely, or feel down, continue to think of how brave you are to have gotten away from your narc/cheater. That took real guts.
            You are amazing!
            So glad you joined the knitting group at the library. I hope you make, sincere loving friends who give right back to you.( I would be so proud to be a real, tangible, friend with you).
            I feel so much pain and suffering in your posts, but the strength and determination shine through as well and they look so damn good on you my dear sweet lady!

            Geeez, so many of the narc characteristics are the very very same. Too bad we can’t lock them all up in the same room and throw away the key!!!

            Stay strong!( keep in touch with CN)

  • I have a friend whose husband is a divorce lawyer. He told me to get the divorce sorted asap because if you wait till the kids leave home a mother who has cared for dependants will get less. My guess is that the cheater knows this and is trying to manipulate the chump not to divorce while the child is young in order to reduce the settlement.

    • Each case is different and everyone should go by what their own lawyers says.

      Each state, country and couple comes with unique circumstances.

      I hope the writer got out ASAP for her own well-being and for the emotional well-being of her child.

      My kids were out of the house and I was a stay at home mom. I was compensated very well with no expectations that I would join the workforce that I had been out of for many years.

      • Rebecca, your post gives me hope. I am a SAHM, I’ve only worked three years since our sons were born. Then I worked in their school in lieu of tuition. My sons are fully self supportive adults. My lawyer assures me I will receive spousal support. I chose to believe that. Reading your post was very encouraging!

        • Please collects as much info as possible.
          Tax returns, credit card statements, bank statements…make sure you dig up everything, including anything you might not know about.
          Check locations of where ATMs, pharmacies, chain stores were (research store numbers on the credit card statements).
          Put copies of everything in a safe location and then go thru everything line by line.
          Build your own case to help the lawyers.
          Dig and dig some more.
          Chronicle the time and efforts you put in, especially when your spouse was absent.
          Put in the hard work to help them and show your worth.
          I spent 2 years working full-time in my case for why I was entitled to very long maintenance.

    • Oh, and he has free live-in wife appliance, plus all of his assets, most likely under his control.

  • Maybe you don’t realize you have him under your thumb financially. So use that leverage to get the best legal deal to get away from him. I’m sure he’s got a plan so you need one, too.

  • Deeds, not words. That’s my mantra. Everybody knows the path to hell is paved with good intentions. So make sure that when you survey the scene, you’re looking at DEEDS and not words.

    • That’s cheater’s military unit motto, too. The irony is totally lost on him.

      That and the hilarity of when he kept trying to help his howorker remember the army values so he could help her get a promotion and she kept forgetting loyalty and integrity.

      But yeah, deeds not words is a really good motto for us to keep in mind, as proven by the fact that it’s beyond the grasp of people lacking in loyalty and integrity, lol.

      • And I do want to clarify that the irony is not lost on me that my screen name is “Hopeful” on a blog that encourages chumps to stop smoking the hopium. My hope was never for/about him. That would be hopium. My hope is rooted in faith that there are better things ahead. Calling myself “Hopeful” makes it feel like a Tuesday every time I type it.

        • Hopeful, there are better things ahead! I love your cheerful name!

  • Wow. This one hits close to home. I spent 10 years in a partly renovated home that the ex NEVER finished. He would do a little bit, then stall out, until I begged and nagged for him to get something done, then he would make another feeble attempt and then stall out again, and then…..rinse & repeat….. for 10 years….until the house was sold as part of the divorce, for a loss, just to be rid of it.

    The whole time he put on the public facade of the “good” dad – coaching sports, volunteering at school, while his family lived in chaos and disorder. I couldn’t even fully see or appreciate the toll it took on my mental, emotional & physical health until I moved out.

    • MehBeSoon. Yes!! I lived that way too! 15 years of renovations. My ex would go and buy boats, snowmobiles, hunting gear while we lived in work in progress constantly stalling. When it was sold during divorce had to take less because it was deemed unlivable by appraiser! I guess I’m a slow learner or too trusting but I finally had enough. Now the kids and I are no contact and in a comfortable home.

    • “I couldn’t even fully see or appreciate the toll it took on my mental, emotional & physical health until I moved out.”

      This sentence could likely be applied to most of us with the “it” representing different things to different sufferers but years after Cheater died, I am amazed at how hard I now see my life with him was even though at the time I succeeded at seeing my nearly empty glass as nearly full.

      • When I think about the depths of his betrayals, deceptions, and devaluing, I wonder how I was able to function, let alone function reasonably well. It explains why I always felt OFF — and because I am a super chump, I always blamed myself for this feeling.

    • I lived for 17 years in a double wide pre-fab that he if he ‘repaired’ anything in it would be done with duct tape, boat hull repair putty, and wire and screws and any kind of scrap lumber, no matter how crappy. He’d ‘renovate’ to add on a room (which no matter what its intent was for soon became taken over by his horde), take out the sawzall and cut into walls – without moving anything around in the room so everything was now covered in sawdust, plaster, and fiberglass. The crowning achievement was when I begged him to replace the failing linoleum which was curling at the badly placed seams. Instead of ripping out and replacing properly he used the metal transition strips you use in doorways and between carpet and linoleum to tack the edges down. I now had metal speed bumps every 3 feet across the floor – even right in front of the stove where you stand to cook. He saw nothing wrong with this. And he constantly touted his building abilities.

      I can’t tell you how much I love the comfy, warm, clean and WELL REPAIRED apartment I now rent. And XAss gets to stand on the metal ridge to cook his own meals now.

    • This must be another trait of a narcissist not being able to finish home improvement projects they says they can do. I think it should be another red flag of the character disordered. ????

      My stbx was the same he could talk a good home improvement but never finish one.

      • I had the same problem with my ex–as it was my house, not his, I took the initiative by having a contractor come by one afternoon to give me a quote on finishing his “project”. STBX came home as the guy was writing up his estimate. STBX finished up the project within the month.


          • Holding up my hand up to everything. The Twat did virtually fuck all around the house but if he did do something it was so badly done it was laughable. I’m going to have my bathrooms re-done soon and when the guy came to take a look at what I wanted done he burst out laughing at the state of my shower room (which I had REALLY liked before the Twat decided HE didn’t like it and ripped it out). And yes also to the constant chaos. I didn’t realize constant chaos was “a thing” until I came here!

    • Ouch. This hits home in the opposite way. I was a grad student the entire time who did what I could do with the little money we had. So, I was the one trying to renovate the house for 8 years… partial weekends spent on the house while XW took a nap and then complained that I needed to stop what I was doing and go pick up some food for dinner….doing the demo that I could to save money on labor while we waited each year for a tax return check to get a little more done. Yes, the house was chaos, but it was what we could afford. Perhaps it was a mistake to buy it. Of course, this was her “I told you so” and one of the reasons she HAD to have an affair. I can only wonder how much faster it would have gone if she had actually taken an interest in making a home for ourselves and helped me, or at least tried to add some personal touch to the spaces that weren’t chaos. Funny, now that she’s gone, I can devote every other weekend to finishing the remodeling rather than catering to her, and a year and half later, I’m almost done. I admit that I realize the toll the chaos takes. It’s much more fulfilling to come home to a house that you are proud of. Maybe I drove her away, but in retrospect, I see how little investment she had in creating a home from the beginning. Smh.

      • Hmmm. Come home to a cheater or diy remodel?? Hmmm. Remodel!

        Congratulations on being cheater free and having a new home!!

      • You didn’t drive her away. She could have said:
        1. Sell the house.
        2. Hire a contractor.
        3. Let me help.

        What “drives people away”? Substance abuse. Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Crazy behavior. Lack of engagement. Their own immaturity or lack of character.

        • Yup. These are all the things I repeatedly said/suggested to my DH during the never-ending renovations. I even learned, more or less, to live with the unfinished stuff in an effort to “keep the peace.”

          What I didn’t DO: use the renovations chaos as an excuse to cheat, lie, gaslight, drink too much, rage, etc.

    • My husband coached, too. He yelled at the kids, me, and other coaches. Don’t know how they continued to let him do it. I’m still stuck at the moment, but I got a clue the last year he coached when one of the mothers came up to me, hugged me, and said “I’m sorry you have to live with that”! Got my wheels turning, now trying to figure out a new life in my 60s.

  • Get a good lawyer and stop communicating with this shit of a man unless it’s about your child. You will thank yourself later and have less regrets. Your not seeing your self worth right now. I know this because I was there. You will though and you will regret this part of of it. Hire a lawyer and ask what is fair for you in all this and tell your husband nothing and proceed forward with a new life and new found happiness. I wish you all the best!

  • Oh dear… I’m a chump who lives in a demo-ed house because I have no freaking money!! Every extra dime I’ve poured into fighting for custody and a bogus trespass and assault charge by The Bonus Imposter. (That all ends TOMORROW!!!) It’s been like this for 2 years.

    Need to examine the idea that I might like living in chaos…. ????

    • Or perhaps you are unconsciously punishing yourself by living in chaos… somehow you do not believe that you deserve better? Just a thought…. hugs.

    • My wasband used home renovation as an excuse to carry on with his howorker. We bought a fixer and kept our family home until we felt the fixer was in livable condition. The ex would leave around 7:00 each evening to tear out carpet and pull out the racks. He and the Ho were both teachers and it was summer break. He would text that he was going to work late and might fall asleep at the fixer. I cared for our kids and pets and did bedtime detail. When I commented on the slow progress he became outraged that I was doing so little when he was putting in long hours at the fixer. Uh huh. The house was a cover for his affair. I got the fixer in the divorce and my gutted kitchen is finally getting remodeled. It feels like closure. And I get to make all of the design decisions to suit my taste.

  • Staying angry so you have the strength to act resonates with me. I was so lucky…by a set of strange circumstances I ended up with recordings of several days of telephone calls between my ex and his OW. I used those recordings to nurture my anger. While friends were advising me to delete the recordings, I kept them and listened to them to refuel my anger when I got weak. I analyzed them to catch his lies to HER and to me. (Yes, he definitely wanted lots of kibble!) These recordings were a God send — they re-enforced to me what a lying sleaze ball my ex-husband had become and made it very clear that he had been living a double life. This made the divorce and moving on so much easier.

    Our society teaches us that women are not supposed to be angry. NO! Righteous anger is a God given emotion that tells us something is seriously wrong, our rights are being violated and that we need to ACT to protect ourselves. Be angry, be strong, move on when the threat is past and you are safe.

    • Exactly. I carried around Hannibal Lecher’s sexual harassment notes to remind me that there was NO choice but to leave him, even though gradwhore was a distant memory by that point. Anger gets stuff done.

      • I have a pile of proof and documentation that I refuse to purge. I have been lectured to burn it all or whatever. No, its mine. It proves at least parts of the mindfuckery. I have a right to keep it.

    • I have been thinking so much about anger lately…

      About how bad most people are at sitting with other peoples’ anger without trying to change or soften it —

      About how women are considered unattractive when we show anything that might be anger while men are considered tough and capable — often with a positive twist when they hold powerful roles in society and with a negative spin when they don’t —

      About how gaslighters, including cheaters, manipulate us into subverting our anger by leveraging it as unacceptable, thereby ensuring their position as people who don’t have to respond to or validate it —

      About how so many people honestly believe that when THEY are expressing anger, you are oppressing them if you won’t field it, no matter how much harm it causes, then the same people turn around and call you negative even when you’re expressing yours using mature and responsible behaviors and language (gaslighting again!) —

      About how so much of why I can’t feel closure about shitty relationships that ended because the other person acted like an asshole is actually because I am afraid I am a bad person for thinking the other person acted like an asshole (“What a rude thing to say about that person, Amiisfree, maybe you could just look at it like the two of you had different needs…”… Uh… NOPE.)

      I am beginning finally, blessedly, fucking finally, to decide that


      And, wow, it’s freeing.


      Power surge. ????

    • When I get weak and sentimental. God knows why?? Other than my heart needs to catch up to my brain. I just remember the pleasure he got from my emotional pain concerning the affair and it’s like a cold bucket of water snapping me back to reality. That piece o shit doesn’t deserve a committed kind wife but a whore and that’s exactly what he got. What did I get? I think I got the better deal…Freedom, Primary parent, no crazy, no anxiety, no caretaking a narc, health problems, personal trainer, gym membership, control of T.v. remote, kick ass lawyer, supportive counselor, Fun vacations, time with family and friends. I could go on and on. It’s lonely sometimes And not what I wanted for me and my family but so much better than being abused emotionally. I know that now thanks to cl and CN. In the long run I am going to win not my piece of shit stbx who was keeping me like a caged bird. He has no more control over me!! I’m gaining a life.

      Let go of hope it’s not going to help you in this situation. Ur piece of shit cheater doesn’t deserve u and can’t complete home projects. Non-diy loser. Let ur lawyer rain down the pain and u step right over that narc and keep gaining a life.

      Feel better now

  • Mine manufactured chaos always. Always buying stuff we couldn’t afford-boats cars. Insisted on expensive trips. I will admit I enjoyed it all too but it was more like he was going to spend it anyway I might as well get some enjoyment. In the 4 years after we wreckonciled we signed a $500000 line of credit on our house, a $160000 one on our cottage. We bought a bigger cottage ( 5 bedroom) and used all of my rrsps ( 401k for my American friends) to buy a house in Florida. He blew up his business by blowing about $560000 of the above lines of credit in it without my knowledge( he claimed he had stock of vehicles to cover it—he was a car dealer). He didn’t have the vehicles and by the time I found out it was too late. The money was gone. Massive chaos in mine and our children’s lives. He wasn’t even smart enough to hide the money for his “new life”. Prior to this he had me paying off his business debts to “protect his reputation”.He left saying he had to get rid of his old life to start a new one. He spent 4 years doing his utmost to make sure I was left destitute. He only didn’t succeed because there was equity in our properties. He stole jewellry, vehicles, snowmobiles, a motorcycle, a house trailer, he stole mail to screw up my credit. He stalked me(after he moved in with schmoopie/sugar momma). I got no spousal support because he wasn’t earning any money. He is an evil sociopathic narcissist. I just shake my head now. I should have separated when he was caught the first time which is why I am now adamant that reconciliation doesn’t generally work and if anyone does try it make him sign a post nup so he can’t wreck you financially. I am willing to bet if I had insisted on that my marriage would have ended 4 years earlier and I would have not lost my entire retirement savings at 56. It is the means to get the trash to take itself out. Oh and between what he stole and what I had to pay to get rid of him finally ( after 36 years of marriage) he got about 2/3 of our assets. On a happier note I managed to keep the house(funny how the banks won’t lend a deadbeat money) and sell it for $250k more than the value he was paid out on. Cue the narcissistic rage..,

    • My cheater XH was a chaos junkie too. A few weeks after we married he started jumping up and down insisting we sell my lovely home for something else. This went on for years. I think I had the house up for sale five different times while we were married. Thank dog it never sold. He would demand that we look for another place to live and we would spend months looking at stinking dumps that he insisted we put offers on. We were always in debt. He just had to have the latest, greatest thing. We wouldn’t even have one thing paid off and he was lusting for something else. It made me crazy. Ugh. Off the crazy train now. This must definitely be another sign of the disordered.

      • I moved long distance / cross country for him 7 times. He told me he was divorcing me because I was a bad wife then he left me. He returned 18 months later (wreckonsillyation) and moved us 3 miles to a house we could not afford and were soon ($100,000) upside down on our loan. He then moaned every single day that he wanted to move and/or start a business.

        I refused to move. He threw fits on a regular basis and despite the fact that he claimed that he bought the house for me (yea, right) he demanded I give into moving.

        No no no no no no no no

        He said our (lovely) house and town were “A Hell hole of horror”

        I told him the “Hell hole of horror is between your ears” I still live here.

  • I needed permission to get angry after separation. For too long I felt that it was bad for me to get angry. I needed to rise above it immediately, be the better person, etc.

    I didn’t realize that good psychology supports the necessity of getting angry. It is one of the stages of grief – and a very important stage at that. Being angry is NOT bad. What you do with that anger can be bad, but that is the choice of your actions.

    GET ANGRY! Then, use that anger towards positive actions and thoughts.

    Positive actions must begin with protecting yourself from the source of harm, which is HIM. Getting angry at him will make that easier. Protect yourself so that you can protect your child be providing your child ASAP as stable and nice a home as possible. By providing yourself security, you are giving security to your child. By setting up a peaceful and organized home for yourself, you are ensuring that your child will be at peace when with you. I’m giving your permission to look after #1 – YOU – and in this situation, it is not selfishness to do so. Don’t you let anyone tell you that it is.

    Positive thoughts will come from the re-wiring of your brain that needs to take place after the trauma you are suffering. It takes a long time to understand that you were truly victimized and see that so many of your choices were trauma-driven. We got so caught up in “doing the right thing,” not wanting to “scare them away,” and trying to show them patience and love so that your home could be a place “where they wanted to be” (+ more RIC bull), that we did not recognize that we were allowing ourselves to be victimized. It’s a brain-wiring issue and the brain can be re-wired.

    It’s taken me a year of counselling and a number of articles/books to understand that there were habits in my brain, reactions and a mindset that set myself up to be taken advantage of and caused me not to recognize the facts as they were (and still are). Getting angry about it – I’m talking that I went into the forest an several occasions to rage like an animal as a process of getting it out of me – is very important to moving on.

    No one is saying that you need to treat your ex terribly. No contact (or as much grey rock as possible) allows us to not only stop dealing with our cheaters, but allows us to maintain our dignity from limiting the potential of us derailing in front of them. No one is saying that your anger should become spiteful or vengeful. Your anger is your ammunition/energy to fuel your action towards looking out for your best interest and your motivation for moving on.

    GET ANGRY! Do it! Find some supportive family members or friends or counsellor and UNLEASH it all. You have to do this. Feel every ounce of righteous indignation, every offence, and RISE from it. It no longer matters what your cheater wants or thinks. HELL NO! This is your time now. It’s what you need that matters now. What this means for him does not matter at all. This is your revolution.

    I recently came across a meme that I now have posted on my mirror. In fact, I have a wall in my bedroom in which I have posted every quote or meme that has spoken to me in my recovery. My children ask me about it, and I use it as teachable moments to teach my children values and self-respect.

    My latest:

    They whispered to her, “You Cannot Withstand the Storm.”
    She whispered back, “I Am the Storm.”

    Become the storm.

    • Option No More,

      I agree that women are too often told to refrain from voicing their righteous anger. Unfortunately, I have felt angry toward people who knowingly, unapologetically, chronically hurting other and very sad for many years, voicing my anger. Don’t know how to get over this but should/need to for my kids’ sake at least, as the ongoing anger and sadness erode my productivity and my kids would benefit from a productive, cheerful mother. Over a few decades, I have spent/lost hundreds of thousands of dollars legally trying to feel better (even just ok as opposed to depressed/numb) and experiencing the negative consequences of being unproductive. I often feel as though my exes may have a point—I am a failure.

      I really hope that Hopium Addict is doing much better now.

      • You’re still with us, RockStar. You are still working on yourself. That’s not a failure.

  • Is that a recurring theme with cheaters? More than happy to have a half done demo/reno job in their home for spouse and kids to cope with. But only too freaking happy to spend all weekend at a friend’s helping them finish a project. x ripped out the bathroom tile walls and started removing the tub but left it partially seated because he could not be bothered to fix it or hire professionals .For three months.Harped at me not to spend the money every time I asked to call somebody. He only got it fixed after the family cat got trapped in the space under the tub when she slipped through the wall opening while my mother was staying overnight. Left a toilet off the flange to fix the o ring for four months Called a plumber to fix it when my terminally ill father offered to do it. Looking back every project he started by ripping up stuff either I contracted somebody or I did it myself if he wasn’t shamed into fixing it by somebody like my parents. Almost every single time. The only thing he ever actually finished himself was repainting my youngest son’s bedroom to make it x’s private office/den. Moved the kid into his older brother’s room.
    And yet these supposedly loving spouses and parents will drop everything to help out a friend to get similar stuff done outside the chaos they inflict on their family. Help Ursula move her stuff from one apartment to another. Help Stu build a fence. Help George repaint bedrooms. Help Chris erect some jungle gym set in his back yard. Let wifey deal with the crap he left half done at home. Oh yeah x was not trying to impress the idiot he married or the progeny he thought were less than perfect.

    • Oh yes this was my life! No only were we living in chaos & disorder, but he was always so quick to help out others at our expense. Now I realize it was not because he was some inherently good person, but because it made him *look* good to do so, and gave him lots of external kibbles. I often thought, “how about you help US, your family, before giving so much time & energy away to others?” but if I tried to voice any complaints, I was told by him how hard he worked, etc., and by others what a “good guy” he was and that I should count my blessings.

    • The lazy home improvement fuckwit seems to be a common subtype. My fuckwit was too lazy to hang a robe hook in his daughter’s bedroom (in the new house he insisted we buy). He only did it as a half-assed apology after dday, more than five years later. It took all of ten minutes. He also broke a promise to hang paintings in the new house for all those years but insisted I not do it as I “wouldn’t do it right”. I hung a few perfectly right, then thought; “Why the hell am I doing this? He said he would!” This was after he left our living room in our previous house in the demolition stage for 12 years and repeatedly promised to drywall it, but never did. He even bought an expensive drywall lift to do the ceiling. I ended up using it to hang wet laundry. Home improvement fuckwits are scum. They make your life chaotic and so uncomfortable that you don’t notice they’re up to something. It’s all part if them having control of your life.

  • I had no idea until now that anyone else had experienced the cheating loser who would tear a house apart and never finish it! We lived in the first house we bought together for 18 years without a single room ever being completely done. When I would try to do some work on my own he raged. I threatened to hire someone to finish parts, at least a single damn room, just so I could see light at the end of the tunnel, and he would freak out. He only finished it before we moved out….literally finishing putting new flooring in the living room the day before the move. He got away with it because the house wasn’t being sold, just rented to relatives so, no appraisal needed. Ugh.

    Second house same thing. Instead of starting a single room at a time, he ripped out walls and ceilings throughout and never finished. I’m living in the second house still. I’m disabled and cannot breath paint fumes or go up a ladder or even cut the damn grass myself so I live in a litle house with unfinished drywall and even spots where it’s open to slats and plaster. Bugs come in from outside because of the open gaps in the walls. My bathroom is half tiled and half bare drywall. I have to shower surrounded by plastic sheeting. There’s mold growing now and it’s going to kill me eventually. But I have no where else to go and on Social Security Disability I can’t afford to hire someone to finish it all. You can bet though that his new place is nice and normal and FINISHED.
    I always thought that he wouldn’t finish a place because he thought that as soon as the renovations were done, I would divorce him and kick him out. Now that I know it was to keep things chaotic, so many things make sense now!! I have enough hurdles due to my fucked up health that I don’t have the wherewithal to try to get what I deserve after 25 years of marriage and he knows it.
    So he’s off doing his own thing and I spend my days staring at the unfinished walls and floors of my tomb.

    • Sell it. Find a small apt that you can afford to rent that is clean. You will spend more $ and emotional energy just trying to live in that place than you will getting out of it.

      • Look into rental apartments for the disabled. Most cities have them. Rent is proportional to income. Just move out. Call Social Services in your area to see what help you can get. Start there. Make a list.
        1. Social services for the disable–call. Find out about help.
        2. Look into apartments where rent is proportional to income. My friend and her husband just moved into a gorgeous “senior” apartment that also rents to people on disability. My aunts lived in a very nice building. Some of these places also provide a lunch or dinner every day. Start looking.
        3. Don’t give up. Your health will improve. An apartment also provides activity and companionship.

    • Contact HUD and/or the department of aging. There are grants to repair homes owned by the disabled and or elderly, and the agency hires the contractors and oversees the work.

  • At some point, the pain of staying supersedes the fear of leaving.
    The financials are a trap.
    Mental health is priceless.

  • I appreciate your advice. I did attempt to sell it as is at one point but no one that was interested was able to obtain financing because of just how torn apart the place is, plus the mold and the furnace is dead. I even applied for assistance from the local LIHEAP who assists with bringing low income homes to the point of being energy efficient (free new windows, furnace, replace rotten siding, etc) but they turned me down because of the mold. I understand that, they can’t risk the health of their workers.
    Believe me, I know it sounds like laziness and excuses but I really have thoroughly explored and exhausted all of my options. They are 1) live in the paid for but chaotic shithole or 2) find someone willing to buy despite it’s condition, who can pay cash. Then if I do, I rent an apartment in a bad neighborhood and have literally not enough money left every month to eat every day. It blows my mind that this is how my life has deteriorated but I am stuck with it now. I have no viable options.

    • You don’t need to live in a bad neighborhood. Your beliefs are keeping you stuck.

    • Hydrogen peroxide will kill mold and it’s cheap as cheap can get. I don’t know how disabled you are, but if you are able to spray clean it, it will help. If not, lean on friends, neighbors, community, or church if you go, to find some help with clean up. That goes also for other repairs. If you reach out, you will get surprised how many people are willing to volunteer their skills and a little bit of their time to help a neighbor in need. There is no reason for you to be living like this, especially the mold part. Clean it up or get some help with it.

      • Just want to add that hydrogen peroxide does penetrate wood, drywall, any kind of porous surface to kill mold at its roots. It’s also beyond simple, buy a few bottles, pour or spray on generously, depending on how bad the situation is and let it work. Wipe off dead mold after 10-15 minutes. Done. It is critical to clean up not just for your health, but also because it can cause dry rot if it’s on wood.

        Also, there is a site called – not sure if it’s active in your area, but if it is, sign up and use it. Lots of neighbor to neighbor advice, information, etc. You’ll find plenty of neighbors are trading skills, services, taking care of each other, recommending good cheap tradesmen, etc.

    • I too am chronically ill. I know how desperate and alone and trapped you can feel when your body is too sick to be able to manage getting off the couch. How isolated that makes you, and how cheaters will take advantage of the situation because you are much more vulnerable then even your average chump.
      I believe you when you say that you are in a position that you can’t physically solve. Pain is real and sometimes it wins no matter how hard you fight it.
      I second the advice to look for communities that help support the disabled (such as getting involved in a church). Also look to friends and family (if you have any- you may have to reach deep to find people left in your life who are understanding) to see who can help you get into a livable situation.
      Of course that is super hard to do- reaching out for help, giving up all your pride and admitting you need help, that you are feeling desperate.
      I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Invisible Not Broken” for chronic illness warriors. They talk about all the mental hurdles that come along with being chronically ill.
      For example: I refused to use mobility aids (like those carts at the store) because- pride. And my cheater ex definitely encouraged that sentiment. Because I couldn’t ACTUALLY walk through the store (despite trying to convince myself I could), I stopped shopping. I stopped leaving the house. But I told myself I was being strong by “refusing to be disabled” (I.e. not using the cart at the store). And the resulting isolation meant that when my ex got abusive I had almost no one left in my life to turn to. Because I never left the house.

      Please try out that podcast, or some forums online, or even better (if you can manage it) offline support.

      You have lived through an impossible situation, and so far have survived, you are a warrior. And us other chronically ill people are your tribe (as Chumplady says). Most people have no idea how brave you are, how much strength it takes to get up every day. And you lived through an abusive cheater ex? Who purposefully left you sick and alone in a house that literally makes you even sicker??!? Like you need that, when just being alive every day is a struggle.
      You are a badass. Take pride in that.

      • I’m also chronically ill. Taking advantage of that makes what these cheating scum do even more abusive.
        Great advice.

    • I get it. I know these aren’t excuses. Mold remedation actually isn’t that difficult if it’s only on surfaces. Do you have friends or relatives who would be willing to scrub the place with peroxide and vinegar? These will kill the mold without being harmful to your health. The mold itself is a terrible health threat, far worse than living in an apartment in a bad neighborhood would be. It has to be dealt with immediately or you have to move. That is imperative.

      This is the fuckwit’s legal responsibility, anyway. Isn’t he on the deed to the house? Why is this on you? Can you find an apartment and just leave that house for him to deal with?

      • Regarding gettibg an apartment; doesn’t your ex have a legal responsibility to make sure you have enough money to live in a place that isn’t a threat to your health? Why is he getting off scott free? It’s outrageous!

        • That’s what I want to know They cheat , bring pain , hurt to the family , just because there not happy , or what ever but we the wifes seem to suffer I was a stay at home mom I don’t have a pension , or social security to fall back on But he does , plus he has a great job , He gets to do what ever he wants with who ever he wants and comes off with everything Why us that ,This is why a lot of woman stay in a bad marriage, to afaid to leave , not knowing where they will end up

          • You have a legal right (depending on how long you were married and the laws where you live) to either a share of his money and his pension, or to spousal support payments. If he refuses to obey the law, get a lawyer to compel him to do so. You *earned* that money as a SAHM. It enabled him to go outside the home to work to earn that money and still have a family.
            They only get away with it if you don’t assert your rights.

            I was married to mine 27 years (30 counting the common law marriage before the wedding, and that counts as equivalent to legally married here after one year), so I get half of absolutely everything. That’s why the fuckwit didn’t dare divorce me, but just made my life miserable instead, waiting for the day the hoise was paid off so he could afford to dump me. That would have been 15 years from the time he started cheating. He was going to dangle me on a very thin string, while threatening divorce me when I objected to his abusive behaviour, for 15 years. Evil bastard. I’m so glad he got caught!

            Lawyer up and get what’s yours.

  • I was listening to the song “Womanizer” while reading this. How appropriate.

  • I lived something almost identical to this. It was 12 years in a house that was a construction zone because the fuckwit was so lazy and chaotic.
    Then he decides to hell with it, we’ll just move. By the time we moved into our new house he was already having an affair while supposedly fixing up the old house to sell. But instead of doing the work, he was more often off whoring around with her. We had a contractor helping who kept wondering why there was never any progress after the fuckwit had supposedly been there working. Consequently, it took two more years to finish the house and we almost went brankrupt over it. Selling the house saved us. He hid that fact from me as well. I didn’t know how deeply in debt he’d put us during that debacle until after Dday, summer if 2018. He started cheating spring of 2013.

    The point of this is; lawyer up and divorce this clown! Get a forensic accountant, too. Find out what he’s been doing with the money and take steps to protect your share of it immediately. He will divorce you as soon as his financial ducks are in a row, meaning he’ll try to position himself to take all the assets and the business. My jerk was also waiting until he could afford to divorce me and enjoying cake in the meantime. People like this are utterly selfish users who do not know how to love. They don’t change. Write; “HE WON’T CHANGE” somewhere prominent so you can see it every day, and please believe it. You have been used and abused for far too long. It’s time to get out from under that.

  • I kicked my hopium habit once I made that exact connection between procrastination on the DIY and his bullshit. There were other tipping points, multiple double lives and the realisation he NEVER stopped cheating through the 4 times I’d stuck around for it, but yeah, those dining chairs ultimately made me stay away.

    2 years in full disrepair 7 years needing work. The parallel with my marriage and those chairs is striking now I think about it.

    Finding metaphors really helps. In public speaking and politics it’s a known influencer technique.

    My marriage. 6 Dining chairs. One for every OW (and OM) I know about. There were 2 more I found out about later.

  • I think one of the key phrases here is – we would have to liquidate, and he doesn’t want to. Wow. I would push it through, for just that reason, I guess I’m a hardass! I really hope this writer, Hopium Addict, got a good lawyer, and a financial accountant! I’ll bet her cake-eater was shocked to see how this would be divided up. Not that they ever learn what consequences are, they are incapable of understanding. Just on to the next victim…

  • Holy crap CL nailed it, I’d divorce just for the renovation nightmare. One of so many ways these abusive snakes destroy our souls with endless chaos and stress. Another is having a busy complex family business that you have to constantly rescue and organize while running the home – read the case of Dr Leedam in lovefraud.

    The one I experienced was sleep deprivation by horrible fights in the night… this literally exhausted me to the point of overdosing sleeping pills. Finally my fury kicked in I got out. I’ve since learnt how abuse turns your own brain against you: trauma-bonding & gaslighting are powerful. I hope she got out.

    • Oh my goodness, I got the fights during the night too. He would stagger home stinking drunk around 1.30 a.m. (on work nights no less) and I would obviously be “sleeping too loud” or something and then he would manufacture a fight that would last 45 minutes to an hour or so. He would then fall fast asleep and I was done for the night – but still had to get up at 6 a.m. for work! Sadly, when my son was about 15 he mentioned to the hairdresser that “now that dad has gone I can finally get some sleep at night”! After so many years of reading CL I didn’t think any more red flags would go up, but you just proved me wrong! So glad I’m out of there!

    • Late night fights – thank you for another connection. Chumpy me patiently explained that late at night was not a good time for discussion [angry on his part, bewildered, trying to help sort things and be constructive on mine] because I had to get up early the next day to get kids ready for their day and go to work. He would sleep in, waltz off to work late and waltz in that evening late… ‘working hard’ [and doing a ho-worker but that wasn’t apparent till muuuuch too much later]. Glad that’s in the rear view mirror! Now I wonder what took me so long…

  • Wow ; so many similarities in the cheater personality! My ex wanted to build a house from the ground up. While running our own business. The house got built mostly by me and my dad. In the divorce he insisted on keeping the house. There was so many things undone just to name a few. The storm shelter 8 years since start date still not done; big hole in yard still. It took 3 years for him to weld stringers for stairs to front door. Stucco columns still not done 14 years later; I started on them right before dday after that I didn’t try to fix anything. The dishwasher, stove and fridge had already broke and I had to fix myself. Always to broke financially to afford anything necessary. But we could buy buffalo, fishing rods, tractor nonsense, feed for all the animals that never made $1, stuff to bale hay that never got sold. We owned the money pit with no income. Our business consisted of me running jobs never could figure out how ex claimed to be “working” but no income came in. Mystery solved it was his member working on porn, schmoopie and alcohol. I bought a fixed house last year that could only use upgrades if I so choose (peace of mind).

  • There was so much chaos created around owning my home. Losing it was his way to control me. This I know: A narcissist knows exactly what you need and use it to hold you hostage.

    Pass on the hopium and RUN as if your life depends on it; sadly it does.

  • Quite honestly you can’t win – I got canned for doing up a house too quickly and ‘not paying her any attention’.
    What a crock of shit. Cooked dinner for her most nights when she got home late after running my business and side hustle working on over a million pounds of property projects so we wouldn’t have any financial stresses and live in a beautiful house…..
    I got told that I should have done it one room at a time. One year’s sacrifice of hard work to set us up for life – turns out ‘she made a mistake in marrying me.’ Marriage lasted 18 months. She fell out of love within 6 months. And then got a text from a co-worker (while I was using the torch on her phone!) that said, “Have wicked wet dreams thinking about me sliding my cock in and out of you again and again”. Think the only honest thing she said at the end of our marriage was that, “She uses people and when she’s learnt everything she can from them she leaves”.
    Also other hi lights included, “If you got a terminal illness or ED I’d leave you as I have needs” “It’s no big deal people get divorced every day” “You’re so weak – just compartmentalise it” (when I cried because she told me she wanted a divorce out of the blue – well thinking about it, perhaps not quite so out of the blue as that text cane through several months before but she said it was intended for someone else not her and I had two choices – to believe her or not….)
    Her family were very kind to me when she left and explained that she had cheated on every boyfriend she had ever had and was always an awful selfish person but had changed when she met me and became a better person. They said they didn’t say anything to me as she genuinely seemed to change and they assumed she had grown up. Fooled everyone. Just getting round the idea that it wasn’t all my fault as she said when she waltzed off with the Mercedes convertible I bought her saying, “It was a gift and there’s no way I’m leaving it behind”. True it was a gift but I didn’t like that entitled attitude much……

    • Oh and she denied cheating. Cognitive dissonance was intense – sent me absolutely loopy….. Didn’t know what to believe. It really breaks you down to your bare elements. 18 months of heavy duty counselling and antidepressants…..
      Can’t think I’ll ever be able to trust again…… Didn’t think someone could actually be that deceptive. It’s certainly taken away my naivety. And for someone who has their own business I thought isn’t seen it all in terms of tricky snaky weasely deceptions. Just didn’t expect it from the person who was supposed to be there for me no matter what.
      I was told my idea of marriage was outdated and old fashioned and it didn’t mean anything. FFS!

      • A lot of these lying cheaters “fooled everyone.” They’re just so damn good at lying. And acting like a good person when they’re anything but.

        Trust is hard after this ordeal, but you can learn to “trust but verify.” Think back on the red flags: they may have been very subtle or few in number, but you probably can now identify times when something felt “off” and you knew in your gut something wasn’t quite right. We can learn from those.

  • I can raise my hand to the renovation nightmare too. STBX was a contractor too, so no reason he couldn’t fix a place up. He always claimed that there was no point because we needed to wait for some future date when we would have loads of money and could do all this other stuff too. He wanted to put on an addition with a huge bedroom and master bathroom. He wanted to put in a swimming pool. In the meantime, the place was practically falling down around us. There was bare concrete in some areas of the house because he tore out the rug and never put in a new one. When I started fixing it up myself, he just got mad and watch TV while I worked because he said I was trying to manipulate him into working. I can’t believe I didn’t divorce him just for that.

  • Ambiguous grief is felt when we lose a loved one who is still living, but not as they once were.
    When the relationship changes/ends and we grieve, it isn’t like grief in death because in those stages, we don’t have hope.

    With ambiguous grief, the hope we hold that our loved one will return to the person they once were (or who we chumps *thought* them to be, is what keeps us stuck. Turn that hope onto yourself and watch how your life shifts. Hope for healing, joy, a new friend, a full night’s sleep, a hot cup of coffee. Start small and practice- and watch your hope for YOU GROW while your hope for him shrinks and disappears. As a recovering chump and co-author of this process model, I know it well.

    CL is 100% on target ! Put down the hopium pipe (for him)!

    Next step: Start hoping for YOU!


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