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Dear Chump Lady, When does the pain go away?

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Dear Chump Lady,

My question for you and perhaps more so, Chump Nation, is when, how long does it take before the pain goes away? How many days, months, years does it take until you wake up and go a day, few days, weeks without thinking about him?
What are the experiences of your readers?

I came back from a business trip to a bombshell, my husband wanted to seperate. While I was away, we spoke every day and emailed, said I love you to each other every day I was away. It was classic, “I don’t love you in that way, you are too controlling, I feel constrained, I want friends, freedom”, etc. I asked if there was someone else and of course, he said no. He left without warning and very little discussion with no desire to save the marriage. You hear these stories about women who say that they didn’t know, it hit them blindsided and think how can that be? I am here to tell you, that it happens. We were preparing for retirement, doing home renovations and I thought very much in love.

I spent a week crawled up in a fetal position, not eating and decided to go and see him with heart in hand, willing to go to counseling, do whatever to save the marriage, which of course met with rejection. I finally got it out of him a week after he left that he was in love and having an affair with his secretary, interestingly enough someone older than both of us. He slept with her in our bed while I was away and God only knows how many other times. He moved her into our properties and locked me out almost immediately and they now live as if they are husband and wife. His family, whom I was very close to, dropped me like a hot potato, as if I never existed. After 14 years.

I have a serious illness, have been in the hospital twice since this has occurred. Have lost more than 20 pounds and I was reasonably thin to begin with. I have done all of the right things, after pouring my heart out in an email, stopped all contact, hired a great attorney, reached out to friends and my family, throwing myself into my career, etc.

I still wake up every day with a huge pain in my heart, think about him way too much during the day and am still very hurt and sad. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this guy back, ever. I could never trust or believe him again. That is not this issue. I lost a parent a few years back. I was devastated. For some time, I thought of my parent every day, still cried often and was very sad. Over time, hours would go by when I wouldn’t think about it, then a day, days, etc. I am anxious to get the same emotional relief in this situation, but it hasn’t come. So when does it come? How long and what have been your readers experiences?

Signed,

Hopeful

Dear Hopeful,

I get asked this question a lot — when will the pain stop? The answer I always give is “Tuesday.” I don’t know which Tuesday, I just know that your Tuesday is out there waiting.

Hopeful, the pain IS finite. I swear to God there’s going to come a day when your heart and head catch up with each other and you realize with every molecule of your being what a total asswipe he is. No one misses an asswipe. Your head is really winning on this one — you got a good lawyer, you reached out to friends, threw yourself into your career. Your head is mighty.

Heart, however, is a dumb bunny. Heart’s all “I miss his crusty chest hair and those kissy face emojis he used to text me!” Head’s like “HE ABANDONED YOU. SHUT UP!” Heart’s like, “No one will ever love me again!” Head replies, “Plenty of people love you, and many others could. He, however, NEVER loved you. People who love you don’t suddenly discard you, especially when you’re sick. People who love you don’t fuck their secretary.” Heart wails, “HE NEVER LOVED ME!!!!” and then collapses in a puddle of tears and snot.

And so the battle goes on…

Eventually Head wins, so long as Heart doesn’t get drunk on Hopium, break no contact, and start the grieving process all over again.

So that’s the first bit of advice — your healing is really tied to no contact. Starve the heart of its love object and try distracting it with other things it likes. Good friends, puppies, hollyhocks. I’m not being flippant here — seriously do a bait and switch on the ol’ heart. Think of your heart as a toddler having a meltdown because they lost their teddy bear. You’re handing the toddler different toys in an effect to soothe. “Binky the blanket? Smedley the mouse?” The toddler will wail and kick, but eventually pick up another toy to snuggle. Because, hey, you gotta have someone to love.

Feed your heart. Hand it other things to love. Yes, at first those things won’t be as satisfying as the Fuckwit, but over time they will be. You’re grieving, you will have a hard time experiencing joy at first, but still keep feeding your heart. It WILL come around. Fill your life with friends and new adventures, and meaningful work.

Next, really listen to your head. Your head knows. Sometimes the head can get overzealous untangling the skein of fuckupdness — why did he DO this, what does it all mean? Him! Him! Him! I think some skein untangling is a necessary part of the grieving process — learn about personality disorders and narcissists. Accept that normal people don’t just walk out on their sick wives. Accept that some people just have empty elevator shafts where their souls should be. Then MOVE ON.

These people exist. It’s a shock, but once you accept that monsters walk among us, you will heal. Albeit with better monster radar.

Don’t get stuck in the eternal loop of “Is he a monster or just misunderstood? Maybe his mother didn’t love him properly and he’s having a midlife crisis/sex addiction/bad coping mechanism/skin rash/brain tumor/spiritual awakening.”

He’s a monster. In a day he swapped you out for his secretary and literally locked the doors. While you were sick. Monster. No further analysis required.

Be kind to yourself, Hopeful. Getting past this kind of betrayal hurts like a motherfucker and acceptance (Meh) is the end point after a long journey. But you WILL get there. We did, and you will too. (((Hugs)))

Rerunning this for anyone who might need a reminder that although it is Wednesday, Tuesday is out there. 

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  • I needed that today.
    My head took over at the beginning of the year – the court mediation was coming and I wanted to make sure that she gets away with as little money as possible .
    And here I won, I kept my house ; her payout is something I can absorb.
    But then the heart came limping behind and caused me all this pain.
    As we have young children, no contact is difficult .
    I’ll get there , but it’s still a rollercoaster.
    One ticket to Tuesday please.

    • Good for you on the financial win Atg! Try to keep to as little contact as possible. Your heart will get there. It took mine over 2 years after my ex threw me and our three kids away. A few months ago I realized I felt absolutely nothing towards him anymore. Tuesday had arrived! Reading the post this morning made me laugh because at my 19 year old daughter’s encouragement I set up a Bumble account a few weeks ago (on a Sunday). I wasn’t expecting much but on TUESDAY I matched with a guy whom I have a ton in common with. His ex walked away from him and their kids. Well, we had our first date last TUESDAY and it went great! I hope TUESDAY comes quickly for you and for Hopeful!

    • I’m in a similar situation, but not as advanced. If everything goes as I’d like, I’ll keep the house and she won’t have a lot of money. This makes the heart wounds the most painful ones.

    • I needed this too. As a reminder that I made the right decision. Its crazy how long it takes for the heart to catch up with the head. I really enjoyed the child toy analogy, it totally makes sense. Someone once asked me on this site how I took my power back. I guess the answer is to treat them like the abuser they are. Your heart wont agree for sometime because you have one. It’s turning the tables. They get quite indignant and cycle through the channels. This is real people.

    • I want your lawyer! I actually kept my multigenerational family home and my college age kids, so I won in that regard. But I am not able to absorb the financial devastation. The damage is irreparable, and I don’t have enough years on this Earth left to recover.

      • I hope you find that your predictions are not true and that you recover financially somehow.
        I was blessed with an excellent lawyer, an absolute awful lawyer on the other side – and the fact that my narcissist ex wife did not do any due diligence prior to the court date. She did what has worked for 15 years – she cried and thought that I would give her what she wants. I didn’t

      • Quantum Chump,
        I am sorry. I empathize. I, too, was financially decimated. What hurts most is seeing my kids physically, emotionally, financially suffer at the hands of their father.

    • Same here for me with my ex! I’m a little further along than you, and I can feel Tuesday coming. I’m finally dating again and no contact works. Hang in there!

    • Hi, This is Hopeful. I wrote that post in August 2016. I am not sure when Tuesday arrived, but it did.

      Reading what I wrote, 3 years ago, it feels as if I am reading something written by someone else, not me. My life 3 years later, is wonderful. I have the love of so many people, family and friends. My career is flourishing. I am so busy between work, family, friends, weekends away. My life is incredible, I am so fulfilled and I am very blessed. As my daughter often says, “You are living your best you”.

      As for him, I heard that he remarried, pretty much right away. Honestly, I don’t care much about his life, I don’t “google” him, just am not interested. To me, he is just another person that walks the face of the earth, that I don’t know or care to know. The only thing I do reflect upon, occasionally, is how foolish I was for ever getting involved with someone like him. I was naive. But, you cant turn back the clock, there are no “do overs” on mistakes such as a bad marriage. You just have to dust yourself off and move on. Life is too short to lament over mistakes, but learning from them is a different story.

      So for all of you out there that has that undeniable pain, in the pit of your stomach. If the hurt and pain feels as though it will never leave you. If you feel as though you will never be happy again. I promise you, you will. One thing that I used to think about when the betrayal was fresh and new, is that I didn’t want to waste anymore time in sadness. He already stole enough time of my life. I also did not want to live my life sad about the loss of my marriage. Rather, I chose to look at what I do have, all of the love, all of the wonderful friends, old and new and a lot to look forward to.

      After some time, it will be in the rear view mirror, in the distance and eventually disappear completely.

      Keep the faith, Hopeful

  • Dear Hopeful

    I like you was completely abandoned as in i have never once had a text message/ email/ call nothing from STBX and again I like you have never once seen or heard from in laws after being in the family for 19 years ( 15 married ) . On D day he just packed and left and took nothing from the home either . I again like you have had to push the divorce and financial agreement through ( i think he thought id roll over and hand him everything his lawyer asked for )

    So no contact for me has been a breeze my pride will forever never let me call him or any of his toxic family . As in LACGAL i have done it by the Book ( literally Tracey’s book ) i have done it all through lawyers . Yes its cost a fortune but i have bought him out of the house i am almost divorced and all without a word .

    I would like to say here i am in Scotland and there is a 1 year separation period UNLESS you can prove unreasonable behaviour or adultery i proved both so here i am almost divorced after 7 months and it took the court 9 weeks to approve my application and serve him !!

    I don’t know when the pain stops but i believe CL & CN that there is a Tuesday out there for all of us .
    I send you and all Chumps love and support and Roll on Tuesday 🙂

        • I’ve been following too Karen. You are mighty. This 💩 is hard. Be gentle with yourself. You are doing great. Someday you will look back on yourself with pride and wonder that were able to do everything you have done.

  • I’m counting the days of No Contact. Three days! (It took me four months to understand how necessary it was.

    • Oh yes I remember those early days..NC was a challenge. A week was an achievement…breaking it solidifies the importance of keeping it going as you NEVER EVER get the response you hope for. I’ve had several years now but last January the bitch texted me on our daughters birthday to say how she can’t believe she’s 22 and the years went by so fast blah blah like I’m her best friend. Fuck her

      • New here. D-day over a year now, August 2018. A planned exit affair, only I found out, which I think wasn’t the plan. Think she wanted a backup.
        Couple of months hopium. Then it started to sink in: it’s really happening. Made sure she got away with almost nothing financially. Kept the house. Everything finalized in April. I thought I would be done then and there but the emotional aftermath was yet to come.
        There are periods of anger and hate. Days I pity her for I know what an emotional wreck she is. Still sad and not being able to grasp what she did. Doesn’t match how I saw her. I know.. it was an illusion.
        Funny thing though: her fucked up family still supports me and feel for me. They never wanted her to do this and tried to keep her from choosing that homewrecker.
        Long way from Tuesday but there are some good days. If we hadn’t had 2 kids i would have moved on but we still have to stay in contact.
        Tnx CN for your stories

        • It gets better GuideDog. I promise.
          It makes senses that the emotional wallop comes after the logistics have been tended too. Pay attention to the feelings, allow yourself to feel them and examine them. Then let them go. They hurt but they won’t kill you. And at some point your Tuesday will come. Take extra special care of yourself during this sensitive time. You deserve it – this stuff ain’t for sissies.
          Great moniker.

        • My God GuideDog it feels like you are writing my story here! Each word is my story! For f***’s sake I had my stepsister on the phone this morning! Former junkie, I love her, I really do, and she loves me too… And I feel like you. Waves of anger, that grow, burn white hot, deep, powerful… And then the tears… Thanks for your post.

  • Oh gurrrl…please! I’ve just moved into my 6th yr of the head/heart battle. It’s…dare I say it…a bit “easier” but I’m not thinking it ever goes away totally. Gurl – at the time, I was 35 yrs in doing the same – planning for retirement, getting the house ready to sell and downsize then KABLAM – right in the kisser! I just turned 60 last week. 60. Whereas I look pretty good for my age (or so I’d like to think) what will I be stuck with? Missing teeth? Bad prostate? Forget about HAIR. I went on Match right after that and all I could attract was someone who looked like Jed Clampet (10 yrs AFTER his death!). Meanwhile, Mr. Charisma with the wad of cash waving it around, while wearing his “RoDex” he got on Canal St in NYC and his inverted belly button from pushing out too many farts for 60 yrs – managed to get someone 12 yrs his Jr. Granted, she’s a white trash alcoholic moron with a GED and a kid in prison for the biggest heroin bust in the state’s history – BUT…

    Point being – it never really goes away. Even if you find someone else (and hopefully you will) or even find the next day a bit easier to get out of the fetal position from the back of your closet – there’s always something that lingers because your total trust has been broken and your world collapsed. The GOOD news, however, is that you eventually find some peace in the fact that you’re fucking AWESOME and he’s a narcissist who doesn’t deserve to have 1 more of your tears. It does get better.

    • LeeLeeG

      Here 35 years also. Almost 4 years out but not close to Meh. I try very hard but some days are hard.
      He found two OWhore’s since I threw him out but the pain is still there. Hoping for Tuesday also.
      Good luck to you ❤️

    • I do hate the fact that yes, THEY can get a younger woman, and me, at 63 … the younger men are actually not banging my door down. Three years divorced next month and I have come to realize that the only person I will be taking care of is myself. Selfish? Maybe, but I spent 42 years taking care of everyone else.

      • you are looking at that all wrong. THEY can get a younger woman who is actually not too great. YOU TOO COULD GET a younger man white trash alcoholic moron with a GED and a kid in prison IF YOU REALLY WANTED.. .. . but you know you do not want that. you have higher standards. YOU COULD have younger men actually banging on your door if you were to troll some seedy bars, the unemployment line and sewers.

        Do NOT be jealous that your ex has a girl because if you really look at his new girlfriend she is most likely someone nobody wanted in the first place. Wasband left for the neighborhood party methhead. she might be somewhat attractive with tons of make up, but she is still a horrible person. she is cheating on her own husband as they are still married. she abandoned all 4 of her own kids, which now 3 are in jail. she used to throw bottles at his face, hit him, belittle him and make fun of him. she is now missing teeth from all the meth. they were homeless more times then they had a home. living in their car, until the repo man took the car away. running from bill collectors and the law.

        So he might have a younger woman but all i know is I DID NOT WANT TO LIVE THAT WAY. i wanted more in my life then the next beer bottle. i could never do drugs or live in my car. It is time for you to take care of yourself and make yourself happy. focus on doing things YOU enjoy and that bring happiness into YOUR life. maybe in living YOUR life you will stubble on a good partner, maybe you wont. but at least you will have your peace.

    • The memory of an abusive person is like a small dog barking in the night. It’s annoying, it’s distracting, it’s unwelcome and you wish it would JUST STOP. It’s all sound and fury amounting to nothing, because no matter how many times you ask why, or how many one-sided conversations you have, the only relief is rewiring your brain to think of something else.

      That’s when Tuesday can come.

    • Yeah he got someone that is more than likely just attracted to his wallet and from your description she is a train wreck. So yes you could also find someone of that caliber but why would you want to? I’d be rather pleased that he is with a train wreck…karma is on the way:)

      • My ex whore left after 24 years for a “family friend” that was about 10 years younger than myself..what she got was a clown that has 4 kids with 4 different women and a shitty apartment on the busiest street in town as I kept the 2000 sq ft house. Our grown kids spend all the holidays with me. She literally begged them to go to the ocean for the 4th of July this past year with her AP and they declined..THATS what caused me to break NC and told her (via email) to leave the f*cking kids alone, as I went through that same shit with my cheating father and his second wife he dumped my mother for. I was furious (and a little drunk) and in hindsight I shouldn’t have even bothered. I thank God our kids are grown so I don’t have to deal with bullshit

    • I’m cracking up at the Match.com story. I totally agree. I’m 63, fit, fairly attractive, very active and have a good sense of humor. The men they suggest as matches all look like shirtless Slack Jawed Cletus. Really??? I get more looks in real life by decent looking men, but everyone is married. Do these guys on online dating actually think taking a pic of themselves in their bathroom, without a shirt is what a woman wants to see?
      Yuck!

      • LOL….I’m chuckling too. I’m 60 and not bad if I say so myself. I look years younger than most people my age. Internet dating….what can I say? I could seriously write the funniest book you’ve ever read. The shirtless bathroom selfies. Bwahahahaha

        What I know is this. The Dunning Kruger affect is most definitely a real thing.

      • Match story totally true! And I was married 38 years before X cheated with an Older choice too….AND it took me a long time for Tuesday to arrive….CL found after I was3 years in and I now hand out a copy of the book to anyone I meet faced with the same cheating issues. Finding Tuesday shows up….now if we only could fix the inadequacy of online dating mismatches……

    • LeeLeeG:

      63 yr old Chump here, 8 years post discard [ghosting after 29 yrs of marriage]. Yep, I too was blindsided with the old Presto.Change-o.Gone! Maneuver.

      The reason for my comment is that you made me laugh when, referencing being in the sixth decade of your life now, you said : … “What will I be stuck with? … Missing teeth? … Bad prostate? … Forget about HAIR. I went on Match right after that and all I could attract was someone who looked like Jed Clampet (10 yrs AFTER his death!).

      Loved it. Howled with laughter!

      After Casper, my Unholy Ghost jetted that fateful Valentine’s Day, I also tried having Match profile for a couple of months.

      It made me gag how many old fart’s narcissist’s profiles prominently stated: “I want a mature woman who has taken care of herself, still works out, is fit and trim, does backflips and handsprings, … blah, blah, blah” [insert any variable].

      I would read such things, look at their pictures, and grimace thinking ‘Hey wanna-be Romeo, what the heck were you smokin’ when you wrote that?!’

      I don’t mean to be mean—and I do not mean that all men at this age are like what I am about to describe—but I’m sorry y’all, a good deal of men who abandon their families and cheat aren’t Mr. Adonis anymore.

      Okay, with business clothes on—perhaps. Packaged in the gift-wrappings of an expensive black suit, a red power tie, and perched in a corner office with a lucrative six-figure income, he might be able to sell himself to a gold digging cheater-lovin’ dimwit.

      But you and I both know that after a certain age, the reality is that coarse wild hairs the size of redwoods sprout overnight from a middle aged cheater’s nose, ears, and wherever more. Strip off the tailored shirt and sweet young thing will most likely find wrinkled crepe-y skin, sagging pec that look like he nursed a couple of sets of twins, and prickly gray hairs on the chest he’s so proudly pounding like a gorilla.

      When we love someone the correct way, these things don’t even matter to us. As a matter of fact, true love causes us to appreciate older men more as we see them aging and become less virulent, knowing it can be hard on them.

      Sure, whether make or female, we all want to look our bests, and we’d all like to pair up with someone commensurate to our level of attractiveness, intelligence, etc., but as they say on SNL … “Seriously?! I say to every pompous narcissist out there, take a look in the mirror, sweet cheeks. You ‘ain’t no spring chicken yourself.’ Get over your bad self.

      I’m not trying to be cruel. None of us likes the fact that we’re getting older. As a matter of fact, I’m overdue right for my appointment with Lady Clairol right now and at my age, carbs are permanently off the menu. But the truth remains that none of us are gonna outrun the Grim Reaper forever. That’s a fact.

      Thanks for the laugh. You made my day!

      Page

      https://youtu.be/ClQcUyhoxTg?t=13

      • Page,
        This…you described my 64yo x to a T. (And I am ‘only’ 56.) He’s now with an even younger woman. The ear hair though…GAH. I used to lovingly (barf) trim them …

        “But you and I both know that after a certain age, the reality is that coarse wild hairs the size of redwoods sprout overnight from a middle aged cheater’s nose, ears, and wherever more. Strip off the tailored shirt and sweet young thing will most likely find wrinkled crepe-y skin, sagging pec that look like he nursed a couple of sets of twins, and prickly gray hairs on the chest he’s so proudly pounding like a gorilla.”

  • I think about him every day. But not in a pain way. You just need to reframe that shit. I think about him every day because we have kids, and he makes parenting hard. We also have court (ref:kids) which was meant to happen today but didn’t (did find out he lied through his affidavits too though, this guy a pro at devaluing not just me but the OW I dared to get closure from, and closure we both got).

    I’ve got no contact as a parallel parent down pat. After the court debacle that didn’t happen today, he then abused me for not sorting my sons show and yell out before handover (it’s like 15 minutes on google dude it’s really not a big deal). So that thinking of him isn’t pain. It’s a gift. It’s a reminder of what a fuckwit he is. A reminder that I’m better than that, and im the healthy parent. Sure it sucks for my kids but they get to compare good parent to bad parent and I know if we were parents together they would get double down on the bad parent, so, it’s a gift.

    A good psych was my saving grace. I don’t even see her now but I have strategies that just keep on giving. It sucks that I have to think about him, but I do so from a mighty place of health and happiness. I’ve stopped catastrophising. I’ve stopped doubting my mightiness. I’m only a year out and I’m lonely as hell, but I’m drama free and have a bad picker. Working on that picker by picking me, and I don’t suck. Reframe it girl. It really works.

    • I got in trouble last week for being too good at NC.

      In three years, XW hasn’t shown any interest in kids’ piano lessons (piano teacher offered to teach every other week at her house – she said no; I sent over a keyboard so they could practice at her house – she never plugged it on so after 6 months I asked for it back). My kids had their first recital last weekend, and it honestly didn’t occur to me that she would be interested in attending, because that part of our lives had never had anything to do with her, ever. Well, kids mentioned the recital to her and she got mad that she hadn’t been informed. She’s right – I should have told her – but my NC skills are so ingrained that it just didn’t occur to me.

      I told XW as much – admitted to her I should have informed her and that I would do so in the future, but that it just hadn’t occurred to me that she’d be interested. I got a four-paragraph email in return about how I shouldn’t make assumptions about her, and I was in violation of our settlement agreement, and asserting (incorrectly) that I’d been hiding these events from her for years. Her email served no practical purpose, since I had already admitted that I’d made a mistake and promised to rectify it in the future – but she never lets an opportunity pass to vent at me. And then she wonders why I try to minimize contact with her…

      • You did nothing wrong. Its not your job to parent for her. I suggest telling her to fuck off. She could have found out about school functions that same way you did. If its not a medical emergency or joint financial issue, zip it. Don’t hand her a hammer to hit you with.

          • I agree. I don’t inform STBX about anything, even if he specifically asks, because he could just use his brain and go on the school website if he was that bothered.
            He’s missed school performances, parent workshops etc. although he did half assedly ask about parents evening, but I just said that I will let him know how it went, and that was him satisfied.
            He doesnt argue or fight to attend anything.
            He told his parents I had refused to let him see his youngest on his third Birthday!!. Whatever, he made it clear, by saying he would call (he never asked to see him), that whoreface was more important that his son. I mean, even if he has asked and I had refused, he lives ten minutes away and could have put up a bit of a fight.
            Useless cock

      • If your kids are of reasonable age, and if there is a calendar where these events are posted, you are not in charge of informing her. Quantum is right – don’t handle people a hammer – ask them to be responsible.

      • I will not give him the satisfaction of trying to contact him directly by phone and try to have a conversation with him that will be filled with gaslighting, blame shifting and lies. He would then be able to say, “you never said/told me that”. I am sure to only contact XAss by text or email. Half the time he doesn’t respond and then tells me at a later date, “Oh, sorry, just saw that….” So he wants me to keep him informed, but then he doesn’t check his inbox. After the initial sending of info, it’s not my problem if he doesn’t check his messages. And I take no responsibility for the issues that behavior causes him. Not my circus, not my monkeys. I’ve become a Master of the blank stare, the no reply, the non comment. My life is so much more peaceful.

      • She doesn’t care she missed the piano recital; if she was that interested in the kids’ musical development, she’d have agreed to lessons at her house. Merely a ruse to criticize you for something, IG. These cheater narcs are so predictable. Sorry you had to deal with that.

      • She’s NOT Right IG…Save the apology for when you back into her car and break the tail light lens cover in a rush to flee her presence…:O)

        “… it honestly didn’t occur to me that she would be interested in attending, …”

        WTF are you in trouble for? Not giving her centrality in your mind? You forgot. That’s GOOOOOD. Besides. The kids told her. She WAS informed. You opened that door Bro.

  • My Tuesday is almost here, I can nearly see it. As he is slowly fading after 2 yrs my 4 children and I are moving on and rebuilding our lives. He chose to not be part of that but 3x for a few hours over a 5 month period. This makes it so much easier for us. I’m sure he will either completely fade away or find a smoochie that encourages regular daddy visits. For now we’re all talking about him much less and seeing that Tuesday not to far away.

  • Sweet Hopeful. We have all been there, unfortunately, and most of us still are. It’s the most emotionally draining, hard as hell thing I’ve had to do in my life.

    Even though fuckwit didn’t just up and leave, he came back to me many, many, many times asking and sometimes begging for my forgiveness. Every time I took him back I soon discovered he was lying. I kicked him to the curb and then started the grieving process all over again. I honestly don’t know which is worse. The fuckwit who up and leaves or the boomerang fuckwit. Both suck the life out of you.

    Hang in there sweetie. No contact really is the eventual key to peace of mind. It’s hard as hell not to have any contact with the one person in your life who was your life. Practice makes perfect. And keep yourself busy. The latter is hard when most days you don’t feel like getting out of bed but try your best at it.

    Don’t worry, he made a life altering, huge mistake and he will sooner or later know this when his life with that whore gets down to the nitty gritty. It isn’t about that whore. She’s just a whore. And just like dog shit, you unintentionally step in it, scrape it off your shoes and regret stepping in it in the first place.

  • It does get better. I didn’t believe this at first. I’m only 2 months from kicking him out but a year from d-day 1. I danced the pick-me polka through 5 more d-days until I finally trusted that he sucked. But the BEST thing I did for the pain was go on a women’s only tour to Bhutan. Got back a few days ago and while there were a few days of desperate pain, there were some absolutely wonderful times. Came home a few data ago and the deep visceral agony has gone. There’s still sadness & anger for sure but I feel so much better. So do something for yourself that’s a bit scary but be with supportive people who have your back. It’s helped move me through the pain enormously

  • For me, it isn’t him that I grieve. I am so very thankful that he is out of my life. My grief that still gets me at times (2 years out) is that someone I loved could betray me so deeply. That I didn’t matter to someone I trusted completely. I grieve the future that is lost and I desperately grieve the times when my kids are gone. It’s only every other weekend and I know many have 50/50 so I’m grateful for the time I have, but when they are gone with Cheater Cheatson the grief comes back every single time they walk out the door with packed bags.

    • Mana, you’ve just said everything I feel. The betrayal the fact that the lessen served is no one is trustworthy will always be part of me.

      And most of all, I grieve the loss of time with my young son. 50/50 tome just isn’t fair; forking no fault states.

      In my mind he chose to leave the family so he should have little claim to raising our child. But his OW dumped him and now he wants the “good dad” image back. The courts don’t care, no one cares, about the sacrifices I made to care for my son. (Was SAHM for a few years).

      Nope. Every other weekend, and every Monday and Tuesday I’m ripped open once again as Cheater gets his time with son and indoctrinates him with his narrative of “mommy didn’t make daddy happy”.

      • Fearful, you get as much time to indoctrinate him with the truth. My daughter (12) came to me with that “I wasn’t happy” BS from him..I rarely call him about things she tells me he said but I called him and told him in crystal clear terms that she was going to get a proper education about infidelity from me, lest God forbid, it should ever happen to her. I reminded him that as the liar and the traitor who ghosted her, he has zero credibility, and as the infidelity victim who didn’t lie or betray or abandon her, she believes me over him. And that every single time he opens the door with that “unhappy” shit, I am obligated to SHUT IT DOWN because she cannot ever be taught that it’s OK to respond to unhappiness with infidelity. So think of that “unhappy” crap as PERMISSION TO GIVE YOUR SPEECH OF TRUTH.

      • I am living this too! You said how I feel word for word. My heart isn’t broken over him-but the hell he is putting the kids through. Tuesday is so far in the distance as my little one is only 7. My ex claimed his goal was to turn the kids against me (I was sahm) some weekends they buy his bullshit and its exhausting. The courts are worthless money pits that don’t give a shit about children.

      • Fearful & Loathing – what a dick – did he try and hoover you back once he was kicked to the kerb?

        My STBX puts Whoreface before his kids, even on their Birthday’s, however, once she dumps him, for someone who actually has some value, I am sure he will be converting to ‘good dad’ mode as he will literally have nothig else to do in his spare time.

        I also wonder if its a way to get back your attentions

    • “That I didn’t matter to someone I trusted completely”. BINGO!
      They weaponized your trust against you. I felt like such an idiot to be defrauded by, scammed, cheated, and stolen from. But I realized she was only able to do it because I loved completely and blindly. That’s the way love should be. Sickos who can stab loved one in the back are wired defectively. Be thankful you aren’t one of them.

      • Right there with you friend. Such a terrible nightmare to be defrauded like this. Oh and if you earn more than your cheating spouse, you are absolutely screwed. Then just for good measure the selfish cheater will vilify you for their despicable actions.
        In my case I was just used for wedding, car, baby, house then poof – affair time!
        Such a sickening fraud yet the cheater always gets to skate out of it and go on their merry way.
        We get to lose everything important to us and for what? I feel dumb for every sacrifice I made to satisfy cheater’s next whim. Now I get to spend the next decade plus trying to rebuild the savings I was cheated out of while being chained down by ongoing payments to the cheater.
        Not sure how anybody accepts this reality and manages the misery.

      • I’m 100% with you QuantumChump. True love is complete. This is what made me suffer so much. But I’m proud I can love like that. I wish she had loved ma like that, but obviously it wasn’t the case. Tough luck. But there’s still hope. I don’t want untrusting half assed love.

        • That’s what has me very leery about relationships. After 24 years she told me after she bailed “it just never felt right” and im still gobsmacked by that comment..NEVER?? All those years..christmases were always at our house and thanksgivings etc..family vacays to Disneyland etc..was it all a mirage? Ugh

          • Well in my case, I only understood a few days ago I could not believe one word of what she was saying. I’ve talked with her a lot and she has said everything and it’s contrary on almost every topic. Just one example : on the phone she told me she had kids because she was lonely. I answered to that by mail by telling her in her next life she should get inseminated, she answered me ‘I never told that’s.

            I tend to believe she isn’t even conscious that she’s uttering pure bullshit. In her case fuckwit is a well deserved denomination.

            I wouldn’t pay attention to what your X says. Seems like classic Gaslighting. And of course it’s your fault she wasn’t really happy isn’t it? Tsss

            • What this has done to me? I don’t trust ‘love’ anymore. I’ve had one serious relationship since cheaterpants left many years ago. He told me too that ‘I was his soul mate and the love of his life.’ When we broke up, nine minutes later he was on a dating site and within 15 minutes he had met another soul mate. I just don’t believe it anymore. To me, it’s all bullshit. My husband fucked his howorker and went from our bed to hers within six short weeks.

    • I hear you Manna. The betrayal from the person you loved and respected and believed that they loved you. The total mindfuck of them love bombing you even during their affairs. Like CL says it hurts like a motherfucker. The realisation that I was duped for 9 years & that I even got manipulated into tacitly agreeing to him cheating via open relationships where he even cheated then. Filthy behaviour that will probably always hurt.
      No contact is impossible as we still have a farm & other property and he’s unwilling to sell. But he’s no contact when it suits him ie whenever I need information. He’s an impossible POS

  • The pain decreases, but never goes away. Its like a wave, comes in and out. Your be surprised how callous they can be. I think they have to justify their behaviour. They deny your pain, they don’t just hurt themselves they hurt, the kids, the chump. You have to realize what their actually like.

  • I find that I am not stuck in pain, but rather, in anger and disbelief about the depth of my Ex’s betrayal. After over 2 years of separation and mostly No Contact, I still spend hours sometimes replaying my past and piecing together what I now know was my Ex’s double / triple / quadruple life [“Omg, when we went on vacation in 2015, he was having an affair with X.” Or, “That time he told me that he was visiting his cousin, he was actually with Y.” Or, “That time he introduced me to his new group of single friends, he was actually in the midst of an affair with one of them.”].

    It is so difficult for me to wrap my mind around the depth and extent of my Ex’s deceit and betrayal. I keep trying to, though, and I really would like to stop. It’s been over 2 years. He sucks. Enough is enough.

    • So Done, you are not alone and you articulated it perfectly. This is MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR trauma, and I am in the same boat you described.

      I need to take “heart medicine” daily for this….LOVING ME and time with people who love me and who I trust.

      • Velvet Hammer,
        Thanks. It helps to know that I am not alone in this. I just want to stop thinking and ruminating about the years and years of lies and betrayal. I feel as though I have thought about it all enough for 10 lifetimes. I want to be done.

    • When the bandaid is finally ripped off, we each are forced to deal with a wound so deep and so painful that was hidden for years. Caring for the wound takes time. At first, we can only manage to stop the bleeding. In time, we are able to tend to the wound, but that takes a lot of focus and self-care. I feel that when my wound heals, I will have a scar, but I hope that reminds me how strong and mighty I am and what bullies and cowards Mr & Mrs. Dingus-Dingbat are and will always be. But I will have changed for the better and I’m working on me. They will never change.

      It took me awhile to be at peace with my Ex’s actions and realize I was no longer a part of his life. I’m still angry, but it’s less and less. I don’t know what it was, but one day, I just didn’t care about the fiction of my “other” life. He is a liar and it was not worth wondering what deep dark secrets are locked away in is dark soul. I know that he sucks. I do mourn on the future I sacrificed for, but tell myself it was my dream and not his. And it takes two to have a healthy relationship. We are worth so much more.

      Second DDay April 2017, Divorce 2018. We met in 1983, when we were 18 and married 10 years later.

      • NotBlue, agreed, the pain doesn’t entirely go away even after we successfully unlove the cheater. Rather, the wound of betrayal that caused the pain scars over. It changes you forever. There are countless triggers that can lead you to look at the scar and remember the pain, but you don’t feel it the same acute way as when you had a festering wound that needed to heal. I think this is all part of the processing, and integrating what happened into the changed person we must become. Despite the scars and the pain they encase, we can move on to be whole and happy selves again, stronger and wiser than before, with our hearts devoted to other people and things we love in a healthy way.

        Cheater and my niece are still together. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about them for at least a moment, and sometimes many moments, but it’s easy to swat away the thoughts like mental flies, and think instead about how much better my new life is. The betrayal gutted me and I’d never want to relive it, but it led me to where I am now and I never would have know what I was missing if it hadn’t happened.

        • the pain will go away. you are almost there. i remember being like that also. i used to think of him first thing when i woke up and last thing before i went to bed. then i got to the point where it wasnt so often, and would go days in between thinking of him. even know something may bring a thought of him to mind, but it is easy to swat away the those thoughts now.

          hold on, it does get better and some day .. .. on a tuesday.. .. you will realize that months have gone by and you dont think of him at all and the pain is completely gone.

          stay strong.

    • My anger gets fueled when I see my kids’ pain. She accuses me of “parental alienation” but my kids were 18 at the time, old enough to see exactly what was happening. How could they ever forgive the person who murdered their family??? And the murderer was their own Mom! I can only imaging how mind-bending this must be for the kids. I hate her for this crime she perpetrated on her own kids.

    • I think once you arrive at an understanding about what he is, and how to square that with your map of human reality, you’ll stop. Your anger will hold, because it is a healthy response to something vile and evil, but the need to grasp fully what the hell he is and accordingly what he’s done will be settled. To pursue this answer might almost be an evolutionary imperative. Some can grasp that the bear is dangerous because it tried to rip their arm off; but some like me keep thinking bears aren’t dangerous, I’ve known tons of stuffed bears so none of this fits. The danger however is in thinking that by understanding it you’ve somehow settled the matter or made the threat no longer a threat. But you’re clearly not in that boat.

      I think you need to make room in your concept of human reality for a new category. If you’re like me, it is so hard, even if you fully accept the vile facts and the accuracy of your knowledge, to turn the corner and finally simply identify this person as completely what they are. It may be because you don’t actually have that definition firmly in your list of possible types. At least it was like this for me. And this isn’t conceptual head knowledge, it’s more a kind of shapeless heart knowledge. Those seemingly separate realizations of “at this time he was doing this, or at that time he was actually doing that”, are like your head repeatedly trying to get your heart to build and accept a new category because you keep putting him into one he doesn’t actually fit. If you had a more accurate category in place, and the knowledge of human reality further refined, all these remembrances and realizations would fall simply as souring “of course” moments in your heart rather than enraging “WTF?!” moments. From there you can move pretty steadily towards meh.

      I had to learn what disorder was to begin with. Then I had to fully accept its reality, not out there in the world, but right here. I knew about it but simply couldn’t let it take hold as a really real thing. And so I continued to experience shocks of realizations like yours where I kept wondering why I was shocked. After all, this was disorder which I now knew about. Why was more evidence of it still stunning? I had to learn how it can exist within a person who seemingly 97% of the time was the opposite of disordered. I had to come to understand how it operates, what it seeks, why it hides, how it is so comfortable in dualities. I know, total skein untangling. But not for the purpose of making any of it okay or fixable. The biggest help to all these was settling on a belief I have now of how the brain develops and how “authority” either transfers to the cortex or remains in the limbic system in every human being beginning around age two and determined by environment. In other words, these very trait-similar and actually fairly widespread human defects arise from a definable process within development. Somehow, settling it on that level allowed all the other Dr. Simon-like psychology, the Bill Cosby-like examples and my own experience to fit together and form a completely valid, in fact hyper-valid, new part of human reality that my head and heart understood. It sucked all the off-balancing mystery out of what I was dealing with. It sucked the power out of the evil. This thing was and is a permanently defective creature, pathetic, simple, limited and predictable like a cliche. They know what they’re doing when they’re doing it, the pettiness of it literally feels good to them, I know how and why all of this is so (and they don’t) and they will never be capable of being anything else. Some people don’t need to feel like they know all of this, or they can take plain reality as it is and have confidence in their conclusions. Maybe they arrive at D day with more awareness of human reality to begin with. For whatever reason, I needed to settle questions like these in this way.

      • “…and finally simply identify this person as completely what they are. It may be because you don’t actually have that definition firmly in your list.”

        TKO. You articulated that extremely well. That is exactly the mental process in a nutshell that is required to emotionally face a traitor. I now have a ‘label’. A Noun to describe what I couldn’t before. My head could wrap itself around these DSM (V?) defined personalities. Reading about it was key, especially when the predictable behaviors become self-evident and tangible.

      • Thank you. This was such a good post and observation and something I really really struggle with.

        What did you read or would you recommend for helping to understand?

        • I am sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I saw this and couldn’t answer quickly and so I let it slip longer than I meant to. So I’m going to put just a few things down in hopes they might help you, but really there was so much I can’t compile.

          Of course first was the book Character Disturbance by Dr. George Simon. Look at the early YouTube videos by Dr. Abdul Saad at Vital Mind where he covers NPD causes. Ross Rosenberg was decent too. There is a podcast on narcissism called The Little Shaman which is absolutely excellent. The book People of the Lie (first 100 pages) was very good too.

          Sources like these helped get me in the ballpark with some awareness. Sometimes when I’d revisit them later, with a little more understanding, they’d suddenly deliver more value I had completely missed the first time.

          As I learned about the psychology, I also learned about the neurobiology and brain development. I learned about the extreme end of the environmentally caused developmental failure spectrum in reactive attachment disorder of Romanian orphans. I looked at studies like the ACE study and epigenetics studies to learn about some of the effects at the mid range of that spectrum. Experience literally alters the form and function of our brains as they develop in our youth. This stuff was actually interesting to me, not simply a search to understand a particular person’s disorder.

          I even read things I’d never have read, like the book Wild, simply because it provided an unintentional window into the world of someone with borderline personality disorder, their entitlement and destructive egocentricity and its roots and drives.

          Perhaps the best source for understanding how compartmentalised this all is – how they can appear one way while being entirely different underneath – was a self defense book I cannot name just now. It very simply described the three evolutionary parts of the human brain and how they interrelate, both correctly and incorrectly. There are literally different compartments – only one gets ultimate authority. Integration of these is health, separation of these is hidden illness.

          I hope this helps shorten your road to better understanding what this is and how deeply (likely permanently) rooted it is. A therapist once said the best you can hope to do is “manage” it. Aka eating a shit sandwich slowly.

          • TKO, I never saw your first response and it’s EXCELLENT! What you said about someone being 97% of the time the opposite of disordered rings so true to me! THAT was the heart of the confusion in the early days post D-day. I lived the 97% and that’s the person who I loved; the mask. The 3% was his true hidden self; the evil. I read People of the Lie years ago — I’ve been slowly learning about personality disorders since way back in 2005. That book is chilling! Especially the story about the parents who re-gift the shotgun to their son. The same shotgun that their other son used to kill himself!! If that’s not evil. I don’t know what is!

            You are so right. We have to learn how to manage living with this “new category” of people who walk among us. I look at the XH with the 3% glasses now. He can sparkle and shine all he wants, but he’ll always be seen by me as the 3%. There’s no going back to the 97%. The fact that they live most of their life in the 97% makes it so difficult to point out their 3% to others, so of course we are not believed by most. But I no longer care who believes me. I know the truth. And the truth always sets you free!

  • I’m a couple years out from (final) DDay and less from divorce. I’m still grieving the loss of family as I understood it to be. But it was not reality, and now I can go seek exactly what I want out. And if not that, a new and more authentic life at the very least.

    As chumps, our grief is powerful. Our care and love are some of our best gifts to world.

    That hard pain does die. But thank goodness we feel it, it makes us amazing!

    • Well said, Tall One.

      I am 3 years out from the day X walked out. About 3 months ago I tried Match. It’s for sure a shitshow and it’s not for the faint of heart. That said, I have met a nice man. We’ve been dating for a couple of months. It’s surprising how pleasant it is to have a caring companion.

      For those who are still grieving – a couple of thoughts

      – Grief comes in waves. You go under. You finally come up for air sputtering, gasping. Miserable. Feeling like you’re dying. Just when you think you might make it — another wave engulfs you.

      – Finish strong. Feel every last bit of your grief. Don’t cheat yourself.

      – I’m finally almost through the grief. It’s been 3 years.

      Evenutally, I decided that I was responsible for my happiness and I attempted dating. Here I am dating the kindness, sweetest man ever. He may not be my forever match but I’m healing through his caring kindness.

      I never thought that would happen

  • Hopeful, I really can identify with your story. My ex husband left me after 23 years and never looked back. I found out about the ow a few weeks after he left and he still denied the cheating. His family also ghosted me after he left. I did all the things you are supposed to do: lawyered up, went no contact, there was no pick me dancing and I am in a good financial place. But yet after two years I often still feel stuck in my own head. For me the hardest has been seeing him go off with her and his family and his fan club. Many of them do not know all the things he has done like having our family dog put down without telling anyone, hiding money and buying a business and house with her before the divorce was final not to mention all the emotional abuse I suffered over the years. I have tried to take the high road and cut all out of my life except those that support me. I am still not at meh but hope to be there soon.

    • Ironbutterfly

      Mine bought a house with OW BEFORE he even left me !
      They bought a house together 21st November 2018 he left me 16th March 2019 i mean who does that ???

      No worries though i found out about it before settlement and i got all the marital funds that he used for the deposit and mortgage payments back 🙂

      • Wow! Nicely done, Karen!
        I know you may not feel mighty (as you mentioned in another post above), but I too have been following your story and trust me, you ARE mighty!

    • good for you. you are amazing.

      try writing it down. i was stuck in my head also. i would get triggered whenever i read a story here and realized i had a similar story. i started writing it all down. no real order just as the memories popped into my head. i ended up with 3 spiral notebooks. it really does help put into perspective when you see it written down.

      stay strong.

  • I am so sorry that you are going through this, but I am so grateful that you found ChumpLady and ChumpNation so early in your journey to healing and reclaiming your mightiness. And believe me, you are well on your way… you’ve already hired a lawyer! YAY YOU!

    For the first six months after Mr. Sparkles blew up our family (his third, mind you) for an OW, I continued to have him over for dinner, take the kids places together on the weekends, hangout on the couch watching movies after I put our son to bed… but only on the days/nights when the OW was otherwise unavailable. I was in a self-loathing fog.

    Thankfully, my therapist threw the words “narcissistic personality disorder”… and they were my golden key to knowledge… I found CL and CN, I found Melanie Tonia and Lisa E. Scott, and Psychopathfree.com… so many great resources… and I started to set new boundaries with my fuckwit. I filed six months later.

    SO, twelve months in, I’ve filed and begun the process. I’m back to eating (I too lost about 70 lbs in that first year of discard) and back to socializing and definitely back to reclaiming my mightiness and raising my son. But at night, bedtime, my mind would still race… what are they doing now? are they happy? is he faithful to her? why her? how can I break them up? and writing imaginary missives in my brain and on my computer telling her just how awful he is (which I never sent). That pretty much took up the next 12 months.

    So, 24 months gone and we’re finally in front of a judge and wrapping up the divorce. The OW is long gone because she found out he was cheating on her too (funny that, eh?)… but he has already replaced her with a 46yo gym buddy with no kids but a good FICO score. And I think, hmmph, this ain’t right. But I mostly let it go… I’m 99% no contact at this point except for emails and texts regarding our son, child support, and schedules. Still, I’m occasionally prone to wonder… how the fuck does he keep landing on his feet like a cat with nine lives and I can’t even get a date?!

    So, around 30 months, I’m bored and frustrated and convinced he hasn’t changed, but still I go looking… only took 15 minutes to find his personal ad on Ashley Madison… yup, still a cheater… and by now, the new GF has already co-signed a $300K mortgage with Mr. Sparkles. And all I can do is pray for her.

    I’m five years out now and I would say solidly at MEH. It took a lot of work, but there was a lot of JOY along the way and I’m proud of the cheater free life I’ve built for me and my son.

    It is a slog, but you will get there. Just keeping doing you and build that retirement dream life you wanted… minus one cheater. We’re here every day… keep coming back… it does get better.

    • Meh, there is plenty of trash in the world willing to accept him…that’s not landing on his feet like a cat; it’s a numbers game. Dating is a snap for people with no standards.

      Happy people don’t hurt others. He isn’t happy.
      Bars all over the world are filled with the appearance of happy at 1:30 am….

      • Well said, Velvet Hammer… well said. To be honest, he found a woman who survived an abusive marriage and fell for his love-bombing. I cringe to think what is in store for her as she undoubtedly didn’t do enough work post-first abusive marriage to recognize the red flags (his being 3 failed marriages and walking out on six kids with a credit score so low he couldn’t sign his own mortgage even though he makes over $100K a year). I know she’s not better, she’s just next.

      • True that…..went to a place nearby with my kids…..after 10 it was weirdly desperate. A meat market of women my age wearing teenager clothes 2sizes too small, and men with strangely dyed hair letting them sit on their laps. Good thing we were done eating. No thanks, I’m good.

      • It’s also a lot easier to find someone if you don’t exclude the 90+% of people who are already married. That affects the numbers pretty dramatically, at least in my social circle.

        • …and of the 10% divorced/single people, half of them are the cheaters, and half of them are your own gender! So only 2.5% are honest decent women. Not such a big pool to fish in.

  • I’ve read it usually takes about half the total time you were married or together to really get “over it”. However, it took me about 1.5 years with the first cheater (7 years married) and now I’m on year 1 post DDay with second cheater (17 years married). This time I moved 4 hours away so No Contact is a breeze and it does help speed up the healing process. My picker needs a major overhaul though. Enjoying my time alone, discovering ME. Like CL said, “It hurts like a motherfucker” but you will overcome and look back and say, “What the hell was I thinking, putting up with so much BULLSHIT?!” Life is short. Choose YOU!

    • Good to know I’ll be over it in 18 years then. Of course I’ll also be drooling in my oatmeal in a nursing home but at least its something to look forward to. LOL!

      • QuantumChump—

        Let’s start our own CN nursing home! I’ll be glad to wipe your drool if you wipe mine 😄
        Of course, no sparkle turds allowed!!!!!!

        Villas of Meh
        Meh Pavilions
        Care for Chumps

  • I’m ten years out and almost meh. I’ve dated lightly but haven’t had much interest in giving away my time and life to some guy who wants me at his beck and call. I’ve made a very nice comeback but sometimes being with my kids or finding an old photo or some such thing and I feel overwhelmingly sad. He’s still with the ow and they appear happy. He’s still a dick to me which snaps me out of such reveries. I wish him ill, to be frank. Like dead. Like voodoo doll writhing dead. So that’s how I know I haven’t reached meh. He treated me so despicably that letting go is like he wins. So I visit CL because I’ve made leaps towards meh since I found this book and site. I’m not sure if I’d laugh or cry if he dropped dead tomorrow. But I’d like to find out. Ok back to meh. Meh meh meh. Wash and repeat.

  • Clearly this post must have made a tremendous impact on me in those early days when I first read it, although I’m embarrassed to admit that I was in the depths of PTSD and PPD and don’t remember…. because by the time I felt comfortable enough to share here I chose the screen name Hopeful. My apologies to the original! I sincerely hope that she is happy, healthy, well, and free of the loser scumbag who never deserved her. And despite the pain of being chumped, may she always remain Hopeful for better days ahead.

    • Hopeful 2, I accidentally chose someone else’s name too. I chose “Martha”, because my mom used to call me that when I was a little girl. It’s not even close to my real name. lol. I came across the first Martha while reading older CL posts. So if the first Martha is still here — I apologize for taking your name!!

      Martha 2 🙂

    • Hi. Original Hopeful here. No apologies necessary, see the post I left. It’s out of order above, life is GOOD!! Hopeful

  • Sounds like ur on your way to gaining a life maybe try some other outlets to help u with the grieving process?

    Counselor who specializes in narcissist personality abuse and pts recovery to help u grieve

    Get a trainer and join a gym. Exercise releases those feel good endorphins

    Paint n sip, or craft classes to calm ur mind and let artistic juices flow

    A girls trip

    Read books on narcissist personality disorder, psychopaths and the book runaway husbands

    I’m a little over a year out and feel a whole lot better than last October my heart is catching up with my mind. I still cry almost every day but i so much better now both physically and mentally.

    Hugs keep moving forward 💪🏻🌈❤️

  • I feel like I stumbled through a giant supermarket of shit sandwiches. But finally I got to the checkout. The items I paid for were mightiness self esteem and independence.

    When you get done you leave. The fwit is still in there packing the product for other customers.

    You need to figure out why you had to go in there in the first place but then you get to learn to navigate your freedom. It is sweet and worth the price.

  • With me, there was a point where something popped inside me. It’s not like all the pain went away, but most of it did. We were in the middle of our supposed reconsolidation when it happened.

    She had been seemingly very remorseful when we separated prior. When she moved back, the remorse stopped. She had the attitude of “I moved back, so I’m ready for us to start all over again”. Uh, no! Moving back can’t be the only sign of commitment.

    I’d tried to schedule activities and time to work on us. She’d fuss but never refuse. She’d barely participate because she “didn’t know what to say”. It was completely passive aggressive compared to the way it was when separated. She actually got workbooks and wanted to work on them together. She would talk at length about everything.

    That’s when something popped. In my mind, I realized that I got played for a fool again. Remorse was only shown so I’d stick around instead of filing for divorce. I think it was probably so she could continue the affair. I really wasn’t angry, I was relieved.

    The pick me dance completely stopped. She didn’t like that. Then I focused on me and our child. It wasn’t long before I found out she was in contact with a former AP. I confronted and she claimed she didn’t do anything wrong.

    It stung just a bit, but only for a couple hours. It wasn’t that there was contact that really bugged me, it was her claim that she didn’t do anything wrong. I just became motivated to get away from her. It’s like I finally saw who she really was clearly. To save my sanity, I had to get away.

    • SPF-my STBX had the same attitude.

      After I found out about his first affair(assuming it was his first) I told him we needed marriage counseling but he also had to go to individual counseling for himself (I know-naive me thought that would work).

      He would make an appointment then cancel (his excuse? He couldn’t make time for it between his job and family time 🙄).

      Fast forward 12 years later and I find out that he has cheated again.

      I told him I would once again be willing to go to marriage counseling-but he had to go to his own therapist too.

      He told me he felt that wasn’t necessary.

      I decided to leave-bought a house and 1 week before I moved in, he graciously offered to go to therapy.

      I’m not gonna lie-it felt pretty good to laugh in his face and say, TOO LATE!!!

      Good for you for getting away and choosing YOU!!

    • Sorry you got yanked around by the heart. Once I finally had 100% proof of her cheating, it was like auto-pilot kicked in. I got a lawyer and filed within 3 weeks. She was SHOCKED. She still blames ME for breaking up the marriage because I filed (while she fucked 5 different guys). Luckily my head took over but I’m not sure my heart will ever catch up.

      • I am ashamed to admit it but i didn’t know so many married women cheat. I guess it kind of makes me hopeful if i start dating again maybe, just maybe, I’ll find one of you guys that were loyal and not find the divorced cheater I’m afraid I’ll find. I know the red flags but these cheaters are so good at appearing normal. I just hope there are guys like you on POF and just out walking around and oops, we’ll bump into each other.

  • For me it took 4 years to begin to stabilize. It’s a very slow process. Lots of talk, and tears. You cry and cry, it seems to go on forever. But then one day you realize that self pity gets to be an ugly emotion. But that takes years to get to.

    You do gain a greater perspective in time. We humans all suffer in this life in different ways. Cancer, chronic illness, death of a child, forced child marriage, financial ruin, civil wars, bullying, racist behaviour. I have no right to think I am the only one that suffers. Does that make sense?

    But it gets 99% better 🙂

  • “The mind may grow wise, but the heart just sulks and whines and remains a child” those are lyrics to a song written by Tracy Thorn of Everything But The Girl.
    Takes a while to feel better….

  • Not sure about Tuesday, but my father is very ill and I wanted my son to watch some videos from a few years ago so he can be reminded of his grandfather as he was now at 16 while his memories of a healthy grandfather are still relatively fresh, rather than years down the road after he forgets and only remembers sick grandfather.

    Of course all the videos are one’s I took so they are all of cheater and my son, and then family events. It occurred to me that for me to view my own family Christmas’s etc., for the rest of my life, ASS Cheat is going to be in those videos. That really sucks. It is what it is but it makes me mad, since I as the videographer was hoping to preserve precious memories, which I did, but now there’s ASS Cheat in all of them. And how weird for my son to see his parents together. Kind of sad. As far as Tuesday, a feeling of moderate irritation has definitely outlasted the heart ache and anger. I often think it’s like a puzzle where one piece will always be missing somehow, even though that piece is the one with a turd on it.

    • Ahh yes, triggering videos. Our decree required me to digitize all our home videos so we could each have a copy. I swear it was like watching someone else’s life go by. Like an out of body experience. Like it wasn’t me in the video. Like she was some unfamiliar stranger. My son tells me it’s called “depersonalization”. It would have been better to burn them all. She didn’t care about us the first time through life. I know she will never watch them. But maybe my kids will enjoy them someday.

      • Ughh – being forced to watch them all while copying them, that had to be awful. I think I was only ready recently, it would have hurt to much before now.

  • Wait be locked you out????!!!!! He has no right to lock you out of YOUR property. It is half yours. See an attorney right away to find out what you can do about. They are both assholes. Get angry and let that propel you to fighting for what is yours! Grrrrrr!

    • Hopeful here. I did, great attorney. Known as one of the best in my area. Settlement is long since passed and my attorney was with every dollar. Aside from the financial settlement, the OW got him. Good luck with that. My life is the beat it has ever been. #MehandBeyond, Hopeful

  • Yes – that is illegal and he cannot lock you out. Please don’t allow him to treat you like this. Fight back for your rights. See a lawyer right away,

  • For me the process was…. layers of acceptance. Accepting that I can only control myself. Accepting that I am only human and did the best I could given the circumstances. Accepting that I was dealing with a monster who had a very convincing mask and who was covertly undermining me for years. Accepting that I was not at fault for his crappy behavior. Accepting that I am enough, just as I am because I am a decent person. Accepting that for me justice had to be turned over to Spirit. I could not carry that can of worms and remain sane.

    My anger, when I finally arrived there, was cold. Cold as in he wasn’t going to get one more bit of my energy, attention, or any reaction. Unconsciously I grey rocked him. He lost his shit, and committed murder and then suicide.

    My final acceptance was yes, it happened. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it. My job was to get on with my life, to work on healing and self worth, and to never ever again settle for being treated as less than.

    Somewhere in the middle of all this, meh arrived, at least as far as cheater ex was concerned. Still having a hard time around the anniversary of my boy’s death, and his birthday though. But that’s how grief works. I just keep on stepping.

    • What an incredible comment Tessie. So much wisdom from so much pain. Your story never fails to give me chills… you are the definition of mighty. Thank you for being an inspiration to keep pushing forward. Big hugs to you.

  • I am 3 years out and I think I finally have meh … Trust that the pain will end. Find a new interest, reach out to old friends. I tried crochet, painting photography, hiking, excercise—- you name it. Anything to keep my mind off him. I went NO CONTACT, our children were adults so I didn’t have any custody issues. It hurts and it is hard as a MF at first, but then it is like a scab that you want to pick . There are twinges of loss, but it is loss of what our family could have been, not for him. Your Tuesday will come!!

  • I am not going to lie.

    It takes a long time.

    But you really do get to the point where you just don’t care any more.

    Our humanity is in our pain. We loved. We could attach. To just move on to someone else is unthinkable for us.

    And it that understanding I found my Tuesday. It was a radical acceptance that: he was never connected, people are replaceable. Now I just feel sorry for OW4, and hope she will be ok. My SIL described her as ‘anxious’ [just his type]

  • the pain DOES go away. it just takes time and acceptance. Once you accept that what you believed he was is not the truth of what he IS. Once you accept that it was all out of your control to begin with and he was lying to you. Once you accept that no matter you loved him he was not on the same page as you were. .. .. the pain will go away.

    i am 5 years out. i was blindsided even thou the signs were flashing neon, i still could not believe he left us for the neighborhood party methhead. i never thought he would do that … … .. .”AGAIN”.. ..so i was blindsided and heart broken. i poured so much into him. i just could not believe that he was not grateful, not appreciative, not happy, not understanding, not in love with me. i was convinced it was some big misunderstanding. surely he just did not know how his actions were hurting me and the kids. maybe if i could just explain it him one more time, using smaller words, standing on my head while rubbing his feet, then he will finally understand.

    the first year i was crying every single day. i literally could not breath and had pain in my chest where my heart was breaking. it was all i could do to get out of bed every day and a couple time i almost got fired because i was so out of it. my shining glory was that i was still able to negotiate a quick divorce during that time.

    the second year, i was still crying at least once a month, triggered very easy. still hopeful that he would “come to his senses” and realize he had a good wife, a good life. at the end of that year, wasband attempted suicide. my heart dropped. i honestly believed that he just got so depressed because he was missing me and his children. i reached out to him when he was in the mental hospital and after talking to him for a little while, i realized he had not even thought about me or the kids the past 2 years. not once did he think about us. his suicide attempt had nothing to do with me or the kids. And that was the beginning of me finally accepting WHO he really was. that whole time i was projecting MY values, MY morals, MY standards onto him. i would never abandon my kids so i projected that thought onto him. it would tear me up not to see my children every day so i thought he was the same way. i would feel so guilty running off on my family so i believed he felt bad. .. .. and then found out he actually did not feel bad at all. .. .. he never did feel bad about anything. it was my light bulb moment

    year 3, i stopped focusing on him and started working on healing. i stopped worrying about how he was and started thinking about how i was. i quit trying to set up visitations, meeting and phone calls with the boys and started looking for things to do with my boys. i quit wondering why he did all those hateful and selfish things and started figuring out why i allowed him to do those things. .. .. .. i focused on the the thing i enjoyed doing. i wrote down everything i could remember, every time i read someones testimony on this site and another site i am on, i had a story to go along with it or was similar. so many things that i forgot in the 15 years i was with him. so i started writing them down as i remembered or someones story triggered a memory. they are not in any kind of order, just stories about the shitty ways he treated me. i ended up with 3 spiral notebooks full.. .. it helps when ever i was feeling nostalgic for the “Good times”

    by the 4th year, i was good. i rarely think of him. since we have children and history together, he does come up. but it was no longer painful to think of him. i have always allowed my boys to talk about him and their memories they had, now we can actually joke around about it and laugh. remember that time that dad took us to the mini horse farm…. yes, there are good memories but it is not painful to reminisce anymore. even when he calls or talks to me now, it does not effect me anymore. he broke up with the troll he left me for, and actually tried to come back. crying how sorry he was, and how he did not intend for this to happen. when i asked him what did you intend, he responded his intend was a wife and children (yes, i know that doesnt make sense).. .. he weak way of trying to worm his way back did not faze me on bit. in fact, it just made me laugh. My mind is finally clear of the fog and mind fuck he had on me. i can clearly see it for what it is now.

    year 5 and life is good. i have my peace. i accept that my life is NOT what i wanted it to be. especially at this stage in my life at 52. i still have bad days were i get sick and tired of struggling. i hate being single but i enjoy being alone. i would have loved to grow old with someone but i accept that it just did not work out that way for me. i understand that i have bad taste in men and have no wish to go thru all that again. i know my heart could not take another break like that, i am sure it would kill me next time. So i just live my life day by day. enjoying and loving the things i do have and working to get the things i dont have. i am so glad that i am not living that way no more. i hear stories/gossip about him and the things that are happening and i count my blessings not to be caught up on that crazy train anymore. my children are happy and we laugh often. he comes around once a year and the boys spend time with him. but they understand it is only for a little while and are not to surprised or disappointed when he disappears again. i taught my boys to respond to any questions about mom or my life or what goes on in our house with “i dont know, ask mom”.. .. so now most of the time he doesnt ask anymore.

    Life is good and peaceful. i enjoy my children and grandchildren. i have a good job, my house, my truck, my family.

    • Mrs Vain

      Thank you for your post – it helped! I’m only a few months in and still letting go of the future I was invested in, still accepting the reality of my situation and trying to take steps towards gaining a life. Most of the time I just feel tired ☕️

  • For me, pain going away came about three years out. Year one was really really rough. Year two was better but still bad. Then the pain really faded but the injustice of it all made me angry. Now I just don’t care about any of it (He moved out four years ago). However, I’m not sure how much of that is due to the time that had passed vs due to the big changes I made in my life (a move to another state and a new job). I think it’s about 50/50. I made a great new life for myself. Guess that’s what the whole “gain a life” part of Tracy’s book is all about lol. There’s nothing like a great new life to make you stop dwelling on the old one. But you gotta grab that bull by the horns and make it happen.

    I think after a long-term marriage, it takes a while for the pain to fade (a couple of years, not months). The heart does need time to heal. But it helps to be pro-active about it. Keep reminding yourself that life is too short to be depressed over an asshole and sunk costs. You gotta retrain your mind. It does take time.

  • “Feed your heart” is great advice.
    1. Feed it beauty. Make your home beautiful. Look at everything from different angles and change what isn’t beautiful. You don’t need new furniture. Try slipcovers or a nubby throw or new pillows. And if you’re really broke, may pillow covers out of old sheets or old sweaters. Take photos of beautiful things or weird things that you can make beautiful. Walk in nature; walk in cityscapes. Go to the National Gallery or your local museum and look at art.
    2. Feed it intention. One thing I do is decide on daily wardrobe, daily jewelry and put everything out before bed. Getting dressed in the morning is intentional. I plan meals, so eating is intentional, and done at the table. I’m working now on once again planning exercise and yoga.
    3. Feed it nourishing stories: Films, great binge-able TV shows, books, podcasts.
    4. Feed it music: I have many playlists for different times. I have a whole one devoted to sad stuff I listened to after my cat died. Other playlists are for quiet Sunday mornings, singing loud in the car, pumping up for game day during my seasons.
    5. Feed it self-love. Give time to yourself. Get in shape. Walk every day. Cull the stuff in your wardrobe that you don’t wear. Shop for a few new pieces–try thrift stores or Marshalls. A $19 shirt jacket and 2 new $9 Ts will give you some basic new pieces. Take old stuff to the consignment store to pay for some new pieces. Go through your old jewelry and see if you can use that to jazz things up. Change your hair or just get a fresh trim. How you present yourself to the worlds can help you recover. When we go out in the world with an unhealed hole in the heart, knowing who you are in terms of style can give you big confidence.
    6. Feed your heart good medicine. I don’t think reading about narcissistic, manipulative people (etc.) is necessarily untangling the skein. It’s a way to stop projecting your own good values onto a sociopathic predator or to stop projecting your fantasy version of them onto the real jackass. Read and learn. Don’t read to figure out the cheater. Read to figure out YOU and how you settled for the little that the cheater brought to the table. Read to figure out why you “thought you were very much in love.” Get real about human emotions, about what love is. That is, fix your picker.

    • your number 6 brings me to a point I have been thinking about for a while. I think that this site just keeps me from MEH. I read all of the comments everyday for a couple of years now and recently I have been thinking it has had the opposite affect that it is intended for, i think it keeps me in the thought of her. It is invaluable at first, but now I think enough is enough. IDK?

      • I had that thought too at one time Matt. I don’t read CL everyday. I used to in year 1. So, Maybe start there and decrease your frequency.

        However, on the other hand- sharing your story here helps US. Helping others Helps. Maybe you just haven’t read that one sentence yet that gels everything, then grants you freedom. Stick around for the miracle.

        • Yes, I agree that I think that eventually this site needs to be used in moderation (at least for me). I am getting much closer to meh but the more I read the site and talk about the infidelity it pisses me off. I can be fine and then be foaming at the mouth when someone starts talking about infidelity. I don’t know if this will ever change. I am so over him but I am not over the unfairness or injustice of it all. I just prefer to ignore it and live my life. Anyone else feel like this?

  • This was my biggest question that followed the end of my last long-term relationship. “When is this pain going to stop?” And it was probably the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and the darkest time of my life. I woke up, pain, went to sleep, pain. I felt the pain when I was asleep, I felt it at work, I felt it when I went literally anywhere. It was like having to drag a giant boulder chained to my sternum. Some days I would describe it like a large spear through my heart. Other times it felt like my ribcage had been cracked in every conceivable place. I wanted to cut open my chest and pull my heart out to make it stop. One of my therapists, when discussing the pain and the suicidal idiations I was having, said “It sounds like maybe you don’t want to die, you just want the pain to stop, and you don’t see another way of making it stop.”

    It will stop though. It will.

    The no-contact, for one, will help. It will feel like hell though, because your body is literally detoxing from a “drug.” Spend a long, long time with someone and your brain chemicals will get attached to them and will deliver happy feelings associated with them. Suddenly take that away and it’s like detoxing off heroin. Your brain and your body will FREAK OUT. That’s the physical pain of the end of a relationship you feel. Emotional pain is in the same part of the brain associated with physical pain.

    But, like heroin, if you lower that dosage and eventually stop the flow, your body will let go of the dependency. Every time you reach out to this person or look at their social media or look over old photos or texts from them, it’s like a hit. Just a little dose of it, but it slows the process. The less “hits” you get, the less you need it.

    And it’s hard. It’s hard to function in so much pain. It can be crippling. Like if you have a broken leg you don’t want to go run a marathon, or even walk to the store and back. But the leg heals, you get that cast off, and you start rehabilitating. Getting outside and walking around just a little bit, breathing fresh air is a small thing but it’s enormously helpful.

    Learning new things that have nothing to do with your ex are helpful. One thing I did was I dove into music artists that I hadn’t really paid attention to before (no songs to remind me of him if they were new to my ears.) I am a big fan of Sia now. And when I listen to her, I don’t think of the pain, I think of being mighty.

    Unfortunately there’s no definite timeline of when the pain will stop. You can’t pinpoint when it does. One day you just notice that you aren’t hurting anymore. And you wonder when that happened. But then you realize it doesn’t matter when it happened, what matters is the pain is GONE and you made it.

    • Great job describing the pain. One trick I used is to change her name in my phonebook to a very derogatory but accurate term. When she calls it reminds me who I am dealing with. Over decades my brain was programmed to associate her name with happiness. Now I cringe when I see it.

      That would make a fun Friday Challenge. How is your Ex listed in your phone! Ha ha.

  • Dear Hopeful and anyone new i. This,

    You are on the right track being here. As CL says, trust that they suck. The pain will slowly abate but may rage back any time, when you see the drill in the garage for example. The acute despair will go away, the fury will come. Just feel them, you have to. Go to counseling if you are not already. Discard like this points to NPD so explore that a little but don’t get obsessed with it. In the end he is a fu*kwit that’s all.

    Find your friends, they’re waiting for you. Do anything that makes you happy small or large and live again. Time will show you the truth and answers about what you thought was a mutually loving and equal relationship.

    Healing is work, it sucks but you will find you again.

    I’m still waiting for my own Tuesday but, I can tell you for me it’s Monday night.

    Love to you all.

  • I am 7 years out from DDay, 4 years out from leaving ( ughhh 3 years of hopium and pick me… what a waste), and 1 year from my divorce being final. With some distance, I can honestly say what an incredible waste of time and energy for a result that was inevitable. I wish I had ended it when I first found out. I would have saved so much time. Here is what I know: The pain lessens when you spend your time and energy creating a wonderful new life, with new friends, new activities, that provides you with joy and happiness. The pain lessens when cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the things in your life you DO have, the people you can count on to support you. Only YOU can do this, you own your happiness, but it’s a gradual process. I am largely at “MEH” now, but I do have moments when it still catches up with me, and I miss being married, belonging to someone, and trusting someone so completely with my heart. I’ll see a couple my age doing things that I miss doing with my husband. This is usually a signal that I need to treat myself better, invest time and energy in me, schedule time with friends, go interesting places, reaffirm my healthy choices, find things in my life I’m grateful for, etc. I find that will alleviate the short episodes of pain that still linger. Live your best life, every day.

    • Ever notice that when you are alone it seems the whole world is in couples?

      I agree with the attitude of gratitude. There is always a good person, an nice glass of wine, a funny movie, a walk among the trees…… always something to appreciated.

      My lawyer said you don’t ‘get’ a life, you create a life.

  • Hmmmm. Almost 3 1/2 years D day – divorce will be three years March 2020. Year one terrible. Year two – a bit better. Year 3 – still not MEH not gonna lie. But I am strict no contact. That is THE best advice ever.

    I have gained an amazing life – filled with a new job, new friends, new activities. But… when I play with my adorable grand babies I get sad because those were to be things we did together, and that still bothers me. Not that I want him back, I do not. He is a mean evil POS. I just miss what I thought I had and basically worked all my life for.

    I still have anger, Anger at what he did – not just the cheating but his evil awful behavior, anger at his family who promised to stand by me but now has abandoned me and treats ex and the ho wifey like I never existed. My kids still have not met ho wifey. That will be the last big hurdle for me. I will just keep my mouth shut and smile like CL says. Wow. Cool. Bummer.

    It is a process. I am close, but not there yet. Married 32 years.

  • I’m 3 years out from D-Day, 2 from divorce. Meh nowhere is sight. We were brand new empty nesters and I slaved so hard over the decades and saved enough to put kids through college and for us to retire modestly together. But not enough for TWO of us to retire SEPARATELY!!!
    I’m mostly numb to the heartbreak but occasionally still get overwhelmed with loneliness when I come home to my empty house. The house that used to be filled with fun and joy and the laughter of kids.
    But the rage and anger just won’t go away. Fueled by the hopeless financial situation created by her cheating. And the sheer stupidity of her throwing away a fantastic marriage, family, and life most others would have killed to have. And for no other reason but the vapid curiosity of what other men’s sausage tasted like.
    She sleeps in various guys beds and they all buy her dinners and goodies. While I and our kids eat hamburger helper, sometimes with hamburger. Every time I get a call from a bill collector my rage returns. Every time I look into my hurt children’s eyes the anger bubble to the surface.
    I don’t see that ever changing.

    • Yep, it is the injustice of it that really pisses me off. Same thing I busted my ass to save and he bought himself lots of crap so really I was subsidizing his lifestyle. Nothing to do but carry on. Life is not fair and horrible things happen to people but it is hard to accept when someone purposely does a horrible thing to you and people dress it up as oh things happen and monogamy isn’t natural blah blah blah. So many selfish people in this world.

    • My response keeps getting wiped out!

      Quantum,
      I feel for you. My abusive, adulterous ex-husband decimated me and harmed our kids. Five years since he filed and took me to court, in my fifties, I am unemployed, sleeping in the floor of my kids’ bedroom in an apartment I share with a polite stranger, never eat meat, poultry, seafood (have not in decades). I will never be able to buy a house and highly doubt (have not had a ‘real’ date in over two years, since last partner left me marry his young work subordinate) that I will ever have a healthy, happy enduring romantic relationship although I would love to be happily married. My ex-husband, who can easily earn $250k, insults me for being poor and still takes me to court. He sues people as a hobby. I am numb.

  • A scene from THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (Vin Diesel) played in my head with that Monster descriptor Tracy…
    Imam’s daughter ZeeZa says her parents had told her, ” There were no monsters”. She looks at Riddick and says, “There Really ARE Monsters, Aren’t there?” “Are YOU going to Kill the Monsters Riddick?”

    So that rang like a Mission Statement to me after this mornings CN read. Yes, There really are monsters. They exist. I Didn’t know that, or should I say I’d not experienced it. Yet.

    December will be a year and a half post D. The imagery of who I thought loved me has all but evaporated leaving a drifting kind of feeling. Like I’m floating down a lazy river which is quite calm.

    Feeding the heart is SO IMPORTANT. I took up playing guitar again. (And TaeKwonDo at 57. Be 60 in Jan) There’s a bunch of neuromuscular programming that has to occur. In fact it never stops being a requirement. My Brain does not control my fingers/fretting without it. The same can be said for the hopium emotions Heart needs to hang onto until Programmed Not To. REPETITION. PERSISTENCE in repetition. NO Contact works the same way. Meeting new people who know what Love is, is good therapy too.

    However, I’m gun shy and tend look at the new person I meet to see if they blink a 2nd set of vertical eyelids. You know, looking for snake eyes to appear before the next blink. LOL

    Also there is the cyclic depression Heart creates. Depression is medical and treatable. It takes awhile to find a med that works well, … and a counselor. Other chumps are a good resource.

    Even Christ suffered betrayal. So I know what was felt now. My lesson learned was that I really didn’t know who I was/or am dealing with. I learned about trust. My trust. It was empirically faulty, based on words and feelings, …not the observable, subtle creeping abuses of a closet narc and its ability to shape-shift everytime I walked out the door, or hung up the phone.

    “…some skein untangling is a necessary part of the grieving process — learn about personality disorders and narcissists.”

    No truer words have been spoken. Pain is the price of admission to this club. It is an intellectual driver. It is FINITE because Tuesday. A severe wound always leaves a scar after the long healing process. So does an elective surgery to lance a boil. A bone can fracture, and heal itself to become stronger than it was before. This is in our nature. Thus Tuesday.

  • I am 5 years out from D-Day (divorced 4.5 years after 30 years of marriage), and I’m at Meh. As with everyone here, the anguish was horrific. I honestly wanted to die. Maintaining “No Contact” was the absolute key to my initial survival. I went through many of the things already described here before I reached Meh. But upon finding it, I stopped and reflected on what all it took to get here. I found I went through several stages and I had to resolve each before I could go on to the next stage.

    Stage 1: What’s wrong with me?
    Stage 2: It was never me.
    Stage 3: Did he ever love me?
    Stage 4: What does forgiveness mean?
    Stage 5: Why did I allow it to happen?
    Stage 6: Not everything is good for you?
    Stage 7: I would rather live alone than go through such ugliness again.
    Stage 8: How do I love my enemy?

    As you can imagine, I compared myself to the skank finding myself ‘not enough’ until I realized that I could have looked like Marilyn Monroe and known the Kama Sutra inside and out and I never would have been enough. It was never me. After educating myself (with lots of books and therapy), I realized that I was trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness when I wondered if he had ever loved me. He has no concept of what real committed love is and the odds are that he never will. He’s not my problem anymore. But for me to continue to the next stage, I had to forgive him. Wow!! That was hard because I wanted him and his skank to hurt! Fortunately, with a lot of prayers and faith, I found a way to forgive him. Forgiveness means choosing to detach from revenge and let God deal with it in His way. I forgave him by choice. So then I wanted to know why it happened. Well…, I allowed it to happen because I never realized that I had value. I allowed others to treat me in accordance with the value I placed on myself — which apparently wasn’t that much. Once I learned to love myself, warts and all, I knew that I would never allow anyone to mistreat me again. That may mean severing some difficult family ties, but if someone doesn’t respect me and the boundaries that I’ve set, I’ll walk away. I still had a problem with loving the dick even after all the crap that he did. But like chocolate and alcohol, not everything you love is good for you. You can love it, but it may just be best to let it go. But my shield was still up from all the hurt I endured. I knew I’d rather live alone than to ever allow a dick in my life again. But it sure got lonely. I can truthfully say that I have trust issues. But since I truly believe that the Lord wants us to love everyone, even our enemies, the last thing I knew that I had to do was to love the dick and his skank. I learned that loving someone means wanting the best for him/her. What!! I sure as heck didn’t want the dick and his skank to be happy, have a big house, take vacations, (have one truck not two), etc! I wanted them to fry in Hell! But eventually I was able to see that the good for him is the same as the good for me, and that is knowing when I’ve done something wrong, seeking forgiveness, and repenting. If he and she finally realize that they have hurt others, if they seek forgiveness, and if they repent and want to walk in the path of Our Lord, than that’s the good for them. I can love them in that capacity. And I can love them far away and I never have to interact with them again. (I don’t have a lot of faith that they’ll ever seek repentance, but that’s not my problem.) Only after I reached the final stage did I finally reach Meh.

    • I allowed others to treat me in accordance with the value I placed on myself — which apparently wasn’t that much.

      THIS!!! Insight. Thanks.

    • Very interesting post and powerful. I personally find no need to forgive … BAM was an asshole and lied and cheated for 30 years. I don’t worry about him anymore and have a new and happy life. I don’t spend much time hating him and wishing bad things for him (although I would be lying if I said that never happens!!). But I see no reason to forgive him. Instead I accept that he is a shit. Accepting is as close to forgiving as I go. 🙂

    • I don’t forgive the Douche or Schmoopie. But I have learned to let go of the victim role I was holding onto so tightly, and that helped me a lot. I listened to Fred Luskin “Forgive For Good” a few times. He didn’t say I had to love the Douche or Schmoopie in order to heal, but that it was unhealthy for me to grip onto that victimhood and that I should just work on letting it go. I have not completely let it go, but the process of trying to let go has helped me, after I was done with the initial rage and grieving.

  • Amazon- your list shows how different our grief process is from the traditional model. It is an additional journey of recovery from gaslighting and blame shifting.

    Has anyone found an online resource that helps? Anyone live in the philly area? What would gave been more cost effective- marriage counseling or fitness center?

  • DivorceCare said it takes about one year for every three years you were married to heal. So for me that would be about 6.5 years. I’m five years out from D-day and right now I’m living at Monday. Tuesday is for sure right around the corner and I know one day it will come.

    The soul-crushing pain lasted well over two years, but I think some of my unhealthy choices made the pain last longer than it should have. I still have the occasional small pain in my heart, but that’s okay. It’s a reminder to myself that I’m actually a normal, healthy person that can feel real feelings and don’t have to fake it like my personality disordered XH.

    I have often wondered why we are not taught about these monsters in school? Why do we have to get trapped and destroyed by them in order to learn that they exist? Oh, the horror of realizing that the monster was not under your bed, but lying in the bed right next to you! The monster is off hiding in someone else’s bed now, but what great lessons and wisdom I have learned from all the evil he did to me!! I don’t think I would have the wisdom I have today if I had not encountered this snake. I’m grateful for the wisdom! Knowledge and wisdom are better than all the material things in the world and also a buffet of Schmoopies. 🙂

    • Martha,

      I’d read 2-5 years after divorce was the norm, but it’s also largely dependent on the vitcim and how proactive they were in their recovery. I think I’ll be in that window.

      I recieved the Divorce Care daily messages as well. They were helpful.

      • Marcus Lazarus,

        I went through the beginning of the Divorce Care program and it was somewhat helpful. Sadly the videos we were shown didn’t come even close to addressing what happened to all us Chumps. I sat at the meetings and all the other members were cheated on. Yet, it was never addressed in any of the videos I watched. It was the same narrative as the 50/50 blame for the marriage failing. I couldn’t relate at all and I tried my best to do the work, but couldn’t keep going with it. I know the program means well, but they are missing the boat when it comes to us that were cheated on.

  • Length of time to heal depends on a lot of things:
    -were you starting to despise your spouse even before D-day because of their emotional abuse? If so, you’re already a few steps forward in healing.

    -how psychologically minded are you? E.g., if you knew that how your spouse was treating you was abuse, AND thought you did not deserve it, healing will be faster.

    -AGENCY–people who are abandoned take longer than people who made the decision to divorce/leave to get to emotional stasis. One of the things best guaranteed to cause depression is learned helplessness. If your spouse just up and took off, not much you can do about it except slog through the bewilderment and pain. But if you have a choice as to who files for divorce, the chump should file. Taking action toward your “new life” is the best way to launch that new life, imho.

  • I feel like I took one tiny step closer to Meh today.
    In my yoga class, two songs came on that I strongly associate with ‘us’. The last time that happened, I asked the teacher to skip the song (I was the only one who showed up to class, so felt i could speak up). This time I let them play. I realized I still like the songs themselves.
    One small step for me, one giant leap for ChumpKind!

  • First a practical suggestion that is not particularly original … write yourself a letter/email and tell yourself all those things your head knows and heart keeps forgetting. List all the ways s/he has absolutely proven to you that s/he is a complete asshole not worthy of you or your endless ruminating thoughts. Be all inclusive. Then read it every time your heart gets sentimental. Because it will as time passes. The horrible deeds somehow seem less horrible with the passage of time. Until you read your letter and remember that all those bad things really did happen.

    How long? If only we knew and could just gut it out. It is longer than you deserve but it WILL get better. You have to just trust. For me, I lost 30 years of my life and I cried so hard at night I could literally almost not breathe. Three years later, I am happy and live a joyous life that could have never happened had he kept his true inner-asshole hidden. Now I am thankful to know the truth and have him gone. But it was a painful process to get here, no doubt. Hugs to all who travel this road. Keep putting one foot in front of the other … it is worth it.

  • Hello everybody – One thing that I heard Tracy say in her YouTube recording helped me a lot:
    When you really understand what your spouse did to you, then you will fully reject that person.

    That was my experience. I spent a lot of time thinking about the deception, lies, twisting of words, twisting of our history, twisting of reality, and the total disrespect, disgraceful behavior, and demonstration of no ethics or morals with regard to the choices he was making. WHEN YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT HE ACTUALLY DID TO YOU – WITH FULL INTENTIONALITY AND ON PURPOSE – THEN YOU WILL FULLY REJECT HIM.
    (Note: I spent a short time blaming myself, and moved on quickly from that. He made all of the choices in this and unilaterally killed the marriage.)

    When I fully grasped the depth of his flawed character, it became very real to me how awful of a person he is and I completely rejected him. ALSO – I listened to Tracy as she explained, and I took this in: You know what, I am a good person, there is nothing wrong with being a chump, except I got hurt by this bad person and now I need to learn from it. This process took me about 4 months, because I needed to understand, and I needed the pain to stop in order to continue with my life. I am NOT PUTTING MY OWN LIFE ON HOLD INDEFINITELY…or for years…to deal with this idiocy and offal. That would be a waste, right? And I know he is not thinking about me….at all.

    Once I got here, it got very easy to TRUST THAT HE SUCKS, and trust that they suck together. What they have is something I will NEVER admire or want for myself – To violate two families and screw up children’s home lives? To deceive everyone they know and supposedly love? To conspire against others for their own personal pleasure? To exploit the trust of others? To obfuscate and lead others down the path of deception and cover up their behavior? To ask others to cover for them? WHAT A HORRIBLE WAY TO LIVE! And a horrible way to treat the many caring people in our lives. I am finally moving on…toughing it out…and getting stronger each day. THANK YOU TRACY! YOU ROCK! KEEP CHUMP NATION GROWING!

    • Well said, MovingOn! I definitely wasted time asking if I did something to explain this. No more! I am a good person and was a good wife!

      When I look at what he did, it’s unfathomable that my best friend and lover and committed spouse of 25 years could do those things.

      It’s his problem, not mine!

  • What took me ages to get over was the pure unadulterated ANGER I had at that fuckwit, not so much for the cheating but for what I threw away by marrying him in the first place. Anger that he thought he had the right to beat the shit out of me. Anger that he knew I would always sort his fuck ups out (take out the loan to fix the latest car he trashed while drunk). Anger that he assumed I would be mommy to him because “I don’t speak French” (learn it you lazy asshole). Anger at myself for wasting my youth on that jerk and anger that I didn’t give my kids a better father. THAT took ages to get out of my system, years in fact. It is only relatively recently that I don’t feel that way. Sorry I ever met him, for sure, but the anger and absolute loathing is pretty much gone. It helps tremendously that he is in the States and I’m in Europe so I never have to see him any more. I absolutely HATED that I was so angry and resentful about the wasted years and all the money he managed to consume in that bottomless pit of “need”. I thank God I reached Tuesday on that account finally! I wasted 26 years on that asshole – I don’t want to waste any more years being angry or even thinking about him ever again!

  • What helped me the most was to realize that he never loved me. This helped me avoid being sentimental. I would just remind myself, “he never loved you.” It was hard to face that, but, in the past, with other difficulties, I have loved the freedom that the truth has brought me, and this truth helped me detach from him. I don’t remember when “Meh” came, but I know I’m in it.

  • My dday is fast approaching the 10yr mark -day after Christmas & I still have “pain.” I’m terribly worse off finacially & that fact follows me like a black cloud. Over twenty-six years together, 24+ married, I am alone as my only family was his (deceased parents & younger brother 14 time zones away). Dabbled in dating but very distrustful. I still see a therapist regularly.
    Before dday, I was on a non-profit board, gave back to the community, entertained often, doted on the in-laws & traveled the world. I’ve become a partial recluse & am trying to make it to retirement when I should be ok due to divorce settlement.
    I love Chump Lady/Nation & discovered it in it’s early months but alas after the divorce. This site is a daily pep rally for me but I’m afraid to say, I am one of those who will never truly recover from the damage of being blindsided, devalued/discarded & dumped by so called family.

  • Sometimes I come to these stories for therapy (because so many of us still have no understanding of “why” this happened), while sometimes I stay away (to not be reminded of how painful divorce is). I don’t know if we ever 100% get over it. Unless we physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually harassed our ex, we were not in the wrong. You just have to take it one day at a time, and believe there’s nothing you did wrong.

    I’m in a better place now, but I will admit that I am lonely now that my life has changed. I have to trust the process, and believe that something better will come to me, cause I deserve it

  • Chump Lady is right. The pain ends especially when you actively work at it. The sooner you add new adventures to your life the sooner that chapter is closed. You are writing your story so don’t be afraid.
    I would wake up with the pain although I was glad to be rid of the shit I had the process of detaching in a hurry.
    The less I interacted with him the better I felt and the less I thought of him. Absence did not make the heart grow fonder.
    Now I find any interaction with him to be a bother cause it is an interruption to my awesome life.!
    Find a group hobbie. Help the less fortunate. He is not the sun. Life does not revolve around him.

  • Does anyone know the sad story of the Poet Sylvia Plath? Married to another Poet Ted Hughes? They built their lives with 2 kids in an idyllic farmhouse in the countryside. When he cheated on her with another married Poet, Assia Wevill. Sylvia, deep in grief sealed the kitchen of her tiny lonely London flat, turned the gas on and committed suicide, first making sure her 2 children were safe. Ted Hughes moved his mistress, Assia in, 2 days after Sylvias death to raise his children and be his partner. That was 1963. In 1969 Assia Wevill committed suicide in that same flat gassing herself and the 4 year old daughter that Ted Hughes had fathered. Why? Because he cheated on her! She wrote that she was haunted by the suicide of his first wife in that same space! Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plaths young son Nicholas an adult and acclaimed fisheries Biologist committed suicide in 2009 in Fairbanks Alaska. This is the cruel legacy of a cheater and their dishonesty. It leaves me speechless. All I can say, is that character matters!

    • I studied Plath years ago. Didn’t care much for her poetry but her story was just so tragic, especially the bit about making sure here children had a bottle in their beds before she committed suicide. No good ever came of cheating and I hope Hughes was tormented by what he did!

  • I found the “1 month to heal for each year of relationship” saying was pretty much accurate. After 20 years I’m now a bit over 2 years since D-Day (and no intimacy) and XW is really just more of an annoyance these days (especially as I still run a business with her — don’t do that folks! — actively looking for a way past that too).

    The big change for me was finally getting the money together to move out into my own place, 3 months now. We share kids too so there has to be some contact; however I’ve impressed myself by how little face-to-face there really is and I’m learning to just reply to her many messages at my convenience and not hers (turning off the kibble supply).

    An in-house separation really is hell on earth, so if you’re still in that fellow chumps, please do whatever you can to get away from them. Whatever reason/excuse you’re using to still be in the same property it probably isn’t worth it in the long run. It is truly wonderful slouching down in my own sofa at night with a (large!) glass of Rioja and no drama/atmosphere/etc. to deal with. After 20 yrs I’m really enjoying the peace & tranquility (I think my kids notice it too) and I’m also glad I didn’t rush into another relationship like others advised. Still need to figure out me first

  • the best advice i could give is not to try and rush it. expect to live with the pain for an indefinite period of time, but build some quality into your life despite it. i was ready to date when i felt confident i could represent myself honestly and confidently to other women. this happened about 18 months after we split. there was still pain, but i wasn’t wallowing in it. it felt more like something i could use to guide myself towards better things. i think time has proven that i made the right decision.

    when i was over the breakup i could say that i had a balanced view of what lead to it. she might’ve cheated, but i did plenty to cause her pain too. in the end, i think, we’d both just had enough.

    all the best.

  • “learn about personality disorders and narcissists. Accept that normal people don’t just walk out on their sick wives. Accept that some people just have empty elevator shafts where their souls should be. Then MOVE ON.

    These people exist. It’s a shock, but once you accept that monsters walk among us, you will heal. Albeit with better monster radar.”

    The above is what helped me the most. I kept thinking that it had to be me. There can’t be this many assholes in the world. Yes, there are!!!! And you and I both married them. I’m past the 8 year mark. I’m remarried to a wonderful man and clarity is my friend!!

    Hang in there. Clarity is around the corner.

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