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‘I Can’t Trust That She Sucks’

Dear Chump Lady,

My wife left me for another man 8 months ago. You could argue that she didn’t TECHNICALLY cheat on me (at least before our separation). However, she had been laying the groundwork with him before she asked me for the separation. As soon as she asked me…BOOM…she was out the door three nights a week to spend the night at his place. We continued to live in the same home, in different rooms, for about three weeks. She said she wanted to fix the marriage and sincerely thought that we could if I gave her space and freedom to “figure things out.”

However, she would not stop spending the night at his house. I told her I WAS NOT ok with this and that if she wanted to fix the marriage she needed to end the relationship. She refused. I said it was either “us” or “him” and she chose him, so I made her leave. She walked out on me, our two children and our home for a guy who “didn’t mean anything to her.” Yet not six months went by before they moved into a new apartment together.

Of course she will not acknowledge that she left me for him. She had been “unhappy for a long time” and “loved me but was not in love with me.” We had some pretty rough times the past 3-5 years, but I never knew she was planning on leaving me ALL THIS TIME. According to her these were the reasons she left me, NOT the OM. But I know that this new guy was what triggered her to cash in on the “unhappiness” card. She even admitted as such. But in her mind and words: she “didn’t choose him” she just “didn’t choose me.”

It’s over. She is not coming back. I couldn’t have her back even if I wanted. I’m not sure I will ever forgive her for the suffering she has inflicted on me and my children.

My main problem is I just can’t trust that she sucks…because…she doesn’t. She’s funny, smart, charming, fun, sooooo cool, soooo beautiful, a decent mother, and best of all, low maintenance. She is the kind of girl a lot of guys would dream to have and now someone else gets to appreciate how amazing she is. She even still sees the kids everyday, helps me with bills, and lets me have two nights a week to go out with friends.

I have been experiencing a lot of self-pity during my grief. I feel like I blew it. She was so very VERY special to me, and I have lost her forever. Please, PLEASE give me some of your powerful words of encouragement. She wasn’t perfect, but I love her and I miss her SOOOO much. Why can’t I trust that she sucks?

Sincerely,

I Want Her to Suck

Dear I Want Her to Suck,

How about you don’t suck? How about you — and your children — deserve better than this? Could we please reframe this?

You don’t have to hate her. I’m not about giving exes that much centrality — but I am about lucidity. And this is some bullshit.

There are ethical ways to leave a relationship. And it’s hard at first to untangle the pain of rejection from the pain of rejection plus being deceived. How come it’s only in the THREE WEEKS since she met Mr. Wonderful that she suddenly wanted to “work on the marriage” — which is expressed by checking out three nights away to sleep with this other dude? (Excuse me, space and freedom “to figure things out.”)

Those 3-5 years of “rough times” — never once did she suggest “working on the marriage” then? Only through Fuck Another Guy Therapy was her Unhappiness revealed?

She had been laying the groundwork with him before she asked me for the separation.

Um, that’s a nice euphemism. “Laying the groundwork,” as in cleaning his pipes?

Are we being asked to believe that after a casual acquaintanceship, Shazam! they’ve moved right to overnights? Not even dinner and a movie first?

You realize this looks bad, right? You sure want to keep your good opinion of someone who looks like she was two-timing you.

I told her I WAS NOT ok with this and that if she wanted to fix the marriage she needed to end the relationship. She refused.

Cake.

She was never sincere about fixing the marriage.

I said it was either “us” or “him” and she chose him, so I made her leave.

No, she put you and your family in an untenable situation. Her conduct was wrong and instead of facing it, she bailed.

You didn’t MAKE her leave. She CREATED a torturous situation to gratify HER ego. Which could’ve been avoided with a) therapy b) honest conversations (that did not include Fuck Another Dude Therapy) and c) divorce lawyers.

She didn’t choose those things. She chose to fuck around on you, humiliate you, let you twist in the wind, and then let you think YOU were responsible for ending a relationship she detonated.

Yeah, I’m not seeing her low-maintenance charm here…

According to her these were the reasons she left me, NOT the OM. But I know that this new guy was what triggered her to cash in on the “unhappiness” card. She even admitted as such. 

The ETHICAL way to reject someone is to do it cleanly (no relationship overlap) and honestly — as in take responsibility for ending it.

“Bob, after some painful examination, I’ve decided that I no longer want to be married to you. I’m sorry. My decision is final. I’ve retained a lawyer, you should do the same. I think my continued presence would be painful to both of us — so I am leaving.”

This is followed by PRACTICAL actions that do not leave you in the lurch — temporary custody orders, mortgage payments, generous (but fair) division of assets.

You know what’s NOT ethical? Bailing and blaming you for it.

You know what’s vapid and ice-ice cold? Bailing and blaming you for it.

I’m not arguing that you’re a flawless person. Let’s say for the sake of argument you truly suck. She still invested a marriage and two children with you, and unless you were a danger to yourself and others — in my opinion, folks should try to work on it first before bailing. Even if you don’t go the therapy route, you deserve honesty and respect. Not blameshifting and cake-eating. That’s a mark on HER character, NOT yours.

But in her mind and words: she “didn’t choose him” she just “didn’t choose me.”

I don’t know why cheaters think the whole “He doesn’t mean anything to me” schtick works. No one wants to learn their shared life was flushed away for a trifle.

She chose herself. Ergo, she’s not available for a relationship because it’s all about her.

She’s funny, smart, charming, fun, sooooo cool, soooo beautiful, a decent mother, and best of all, low maintenance. She is the kind of girl a lot of guys would dream to have and now someone else gets to appreciate how amazing she is.

Please don’t be a chump who is hung up on his ex, an ex who treats him like gum on her shoe.

I’m glad you don’t hate the mother of your children, but let’s be real about who she is, okay? She’s a woman capable of casual betrayal and abandonment. I don’t care how she fills out a sweater, or if she can recite the periodic table while flipping pancakes. She’s unethical. Leaving her marriage was a test of her character and she flunked it.

She even still sees the kids everyday

Bitch cookie. She’s a goddamn mother. Until you work out a custody arrangement, she SHOULD see her children. She walked out on them. IT’S THE LEAST SHE CAN DO.

helps me with bills

Bitch cookie. She has a LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY as a co-parent and co-owner of all your shit to PAY HER SHARE. She isn’t doing you a favor. This is not “help”! It’s HER RESPONSIBILITY.

How mindfucked are you that you’re giving her this kind of credit for basic adulting?

and lets me have two nights a week to go out with friends

Bitch cookie. She “LETS” you? Get your balls out of her purse. Dude, you deserve a life beyond holding down the fort for Ms. Eat, Pray, Fuck-Over-Your-Family there.

IDWHTS, you need to raise your standards way, way up. Reframe this as, we are two adults who are divorcing and we take turns parallel parenting our children. She is not the Munificent One Gracing You With Her Favors.

When people reject us it can make them see very powerful. It’s a law of human nature. Weirdly, it’s like their stature goes up, like they know something we don’t know, and see us in ways we can’t see ourselves. Rejection can make you wobbly and crave validation from the fuckwit who rejected you.

You invested a lot in this person, and that’s normal — but IDWHTS — she’s NOT the final say on your worth. She’s a vapid nitwit, if you ask me. Don’t give her so much power. See her for what she is — a craven, weak person, whose faults eclipse her better qualities. Who does the minimum. Who doesn’t clean up her messes and wants you to gladly do that work for her, and ask no questions.

You miss her because you’re an empathetic, loving person who BONDS. She’s a person who un-bonds quite casually. You don’t share values. It hurts, but real bonding people are out there, who are MUCH, much better than her.

Heal up, be the sane parent for your kids, and quit giving this idiot so much credit. You deserve that for navigating this shit. ((Big hugs))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “…to her these were the reasons she left me, NOT the OM.”

    Who cares about her reasons? Honestly, is there any reason that would excuse her cheating on you? Any “reason” that would make that ok? Entitled cheater.

    • DM nails it.
      Cheating is cheating just as excuses are excuses.
      This story matches mine almost perfectly.
      Attractive, good mother
      Some years of increasingly abusive behavior, trouble at work and an unwillingness to stick with couples therapy. Suddenly “I want a divorce”, I never loved you”, “I want to mediate a peaceful divorce” “Of course there is no one else involved”. I took it all in as my fault.
      Very soon I discover the affair with a divorcing co-worker, the web of lies leading up to it and her concurrent attempts to cheat me in a property settlement. Weeks later a little sleuthing uncovers a previous affair at work that nearly cost her her job.
      It is so painfull for a person who is basically ethical and loyal to their spouse and wants to think the best of them to accept their partner is far from who you imagined. Worse yet, people who have not been personaly injured by her believe she is quite sparkly and special.
      It is important to see them for what they are: sparkly turd cheaters who have learned how to manipulate others.

      • You said this quite well. They are sparkly turd cheaters. Like this guy’s cheater, my ex was dynamic, handsome, wonderful…. I had SO many people tell me what a wonderful husband I had and that I was SO lucky! I am SO, SO glad one of those skanks (who also is a sparkly turd who cheated on her husband) took him away from me. Like the chump in this blog, I was devastated. I kept looking at me and what was wrong with me. After all, he was handsome, charming, wonderful and everyone loved him. Five years later my head is much clearer. I was married to a sparkly turd but no longer. Not everything you love is good for you. This guy’s sparkly turd is not good for him. I hope he recognizes this soon. He’ll take less time to heal if he does.

        • Same.
          My grandfather, RIP, nicknamed my ex ‘Clark Kent’, loved and adored by all, could do no wrong.
          I was devastated at first, but now not so much.

          Turns out he is a sparkly turd.
          I’m one year out from a bifurcated divorce. But found out, cleaning out his stuff, that he had a sparkly affair while we were dating, during our engagement, during my pregnancies, throughout our marriage.
          And, turns out he had a porn addiction and an embezzlement addiction while employed for others.
          I thank the sparkly turd mistress of 10 years (that one started right before we found out we were pregnant with our third child) who ‘won’ him and married him.
          These sparkly turds are sparkly perfect for each other with matching his and hers sparkles.

          Me? I spent the last two years getting my kids the therapy they needed, started therapy myself, and you know, keeping on being the sane parent.

          They do *appear* perfect, funny, great parent, drool-inducing appearance – but it turns out it’s because you’re in love with them and see them as ‘beautiful’ people on the inside and outside.
          After they leave you and you had enough time to grieve, you’ll realize that no, it was you all along – you did all the heavy lifting on funny, parenting, maintaining your own self, maintaining a job, maintaining a home, just everything.
          It turns out you were projecting your total perfection (your inner beauty of love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, compassion and self-control) onto a sparkly turd with no soul.
          The perfect catch was you all along.

          • “The perfect catch was you all along” – perfectly put ! I’m finding a lot more strength in solo these days. Why bother investing in a human when there is such a high risk that they will be a sparkly turd. Invest in yourself and your kids. anything anyone else brings should be gravy. That’s just where I’m at right now…

        • WOW!! Mine too!!! My family and all our friends loved him!! Tall, good looking and Charismatic!! Everyone would comment what a great couple we were!! He, after being married for 26 years, he cheated with a coworker and abandoned me!!! I was heartbroken and devastated, not to mention blindsided!!! It’s taken me since July 2017, to actually come to grips of how devastated I was!!! I’m Thankful to God, Chump Lady and Chump Nation to put it all in proper perspective!! I used to blame myself, as he did!!! He dragged junk up to blame me in order to justify his actions!!! I understand now he was a selfish Scoundrel and it was always all about him!!!

        • Ditto. Everyone loved mine. Many still do. So what did that make me? Obviously it was my fault he cheated, right?

          It is the chewiest shit sandwich ever, to lose your love of thirty years, but then many of your friends.

          I had to learn to cull. To let go of those who chose to blame a loyal, loving, hard working partner, even when they all knew he cheated long term before.

          It’s taken a very long time. I do trust that he sucks, but the man I thought he was, I still mourn. Meh is still in the distance, and it’s a long way until Tuesday.

          The devastation and grief feel unending. Not for him as such now, but for how I lost myself in his three decade long deception of that girl who adored him.

          You keep getting up. You embrace the loyalty and love of those who see through his good guy facade. You love the shit out of your kids. You keep being mighty.

          • Yay, Horsesrcumin. I agree entirely. I had to learn to cull too and yes the devastation and grief does feel never ending for what we gave to those who didn’t value it. I always love reading your posts and your writing is incredible. So, from an Aussie to my fellow Kiwi I hope your Tuesday arrives soon x

      • & if people at work know about these affairs then why doesn’t someone clue in the clueless spouse at home? It’d be the rigjt thing to do for gods sake… even annonomously. Wish someone would have clued me in.

        • Oh they tried to tell me in an annonymous way. But she had set me up by telling so many stories of how mean her co-workers were to her. When I got a phone call from someone who would not give her name I chalked it up to spite. After all, my EW was so very sparkly! Later I would learn the tipster was telling the truth. She was having sex in her First Grade classroom with at least one coworker.
          She was a mess…

  • “She was so”

    much a selfish backstabbing bitch
    much a half-assed partner
    untrustworthy

    If you haven’t done so already protect your family’s assets in the meantime. Cut her off from you financially. Firmly. Cleanly.

    I see no mention of an attorney here – so HIRE ONE. Interview as many as you can because that way she can’t become their client.

    Also – GET TESTED FOR STDs!

    Nothing says, “I didn’t choose you” and “I for damn sure chose him!” like a non-participant STD.

    Hug your kids tight and stop drinking the Kool-Aid that she is giving you.

    Definitely start with separate holiday celebrations. No, she does NOT get to come over and play the role of matriarch when she is living with and fucking another man. She left. She doesn’t GET CAKE.

    Please. For your sanity AND your children.

    Oh – and get the kids into family therapy straightaway. Go sign up for whatever recommended “parenting with your ex” class that is available. Many courts want to see it anyway and the first person who can say, “I have completed this course”, show them the dates AND it’s before the other (cheating) party is the one who is going to have the slightest bit of partiality shown. Judges are human and I won’t say it will put a thumb on the scale but possibly a few feathers.

    • I agree with everything that No Shit Cupcakes says. (And also–she ‘lets’ you go out with friends twice a week? “Let’s’ you???? She’s sleeping with another man. She’s lucky you even look at her, let alone talk to her!

    • And on top of grief, sane-parenting, keeping your children and yourself afloat, protecting yourself, lawyering up….

      Please get tested for HPV.

      After years of abnormal Pap smears blamed on me, the year in which he told me ‘no’ to us, I also found out my ex gave me a high-risk strain of HPV.
      In some states, there is a 2-year statue of limitations, from the day you found out via testing, on suing a person for giving you an STD with associated high mortality.
      I swear these turds should be charged with manslaughter at the very least.

      It is hard, but the analogy my therapist uses is this,
      ‘In case of emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then attend to your children and others around you’

      Hugs!!!

  • I’m very sorry for you. This reminds me of my own story. It’s hard to make sense of the image that we have of them and what they actually did. Sometimes so hard you almost forget the facts. But facts don’t lie. At least you had the strength to stand up, fight and reject this limbo situation which was torturing you. I wish I had done it sooner.

    • Its so easy to forget. I made a long document with every evil and sceevy thing she did. So whenever I “forget” I can re-read it to remind myself who she actually is! Comes in handy too if she wants to go back to court.

  • I hear you brother!
    It’s not what you chose, but you’re gonna have to accept the journey you’re goning to make. It’s a lot like my situation. I’m 15 months after she left me. The road is rocky, but keep reminding yourself: She’s gone and that hurts. That’s ok. It will get better. Then ask yourself: what do I need now? (besides taking care of the kids of course). make goals for yourself and keep busy. Also take care of your emotions. Accept them.
    A big help for me was the book Now what? by Dad Starting Over. Real eye-opener for me and I still listen to it a lot.
    Let her actions speak to you about her character and beware of her charm. It’s a killer. Everytime she is nice to you remind yourself what she did and expect a request the next time you have contact. You’ll be amazed at how predictable she will be. Always have your guard up. Trust me

    Hang in there!

    • I kind of feel sorry for the OM (but not that much). I’m sure he doesn’t realize that “if they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you”. Right now he’s just all thrilled and gooey that she is paying attention to him and he isn’t thinking about long-term consequenses at all………but karma will show up, sooner or later.

      • I am a bit guilty of waiting for the karma bus. The OM also left his girlfriend for my ex. The problem is that waiting for karma stops you from moving on. Accept and move on should be the new mantra

        • I agree. Waiting for Karma stops you from healing and moving on. Don’t worry about Karma. It may or may not happen. Work on you. Find out why you allowed a jerk into your life. You have to see that you have value and your value is not dependent on whether someone else recognizes it. Once you recognize your value, you’re less likely to allow another sparkly turd in your life.

      • Her latest fucktoy cheated on his fiance to fuck my cheating ex-wife. They can never trust one another! They both KNOW the other one will cheat like the narcs they are. THAT IS THE KARMA.

  • In my country, virtually nobody would consider a woman who left her children behind a good person and/or decent mother.

    Also, listen to yourself. She “let’s you” blah blah and pays the bills,I guess enters the house under pretext of children (that she’s abandoned). You’re still owned by her and practically, still in a relationship with her (of sorts) with her. That’s why you have problems to understand that she sucks (I almost wrote that she fucks). Time to stop being a naive living in a tra la la land. Stop chasing your fantasy, it’s not real.

    • She does still come to the house when I am at work to be with the kids after school. She even stays overnight, so I can go out to be with my friends or date for a night. But she comes when I’m gone and she leaves before I come home. I have been pretty good about No Contact for awhile now, and she knows very well that I don’t want to see her.

      • This arrangement is part of why your healing and gaining of perspective is so delayed. It might be a technical No Contact but there is still too much invasion of your space by her. You need her out of your house permanently. Are there different arrangements you could make for the kids? Only do your dating when it’s her time to have them at her home? An after school program?

        • There are no other arrangements, she lives with the OM, and I wont let my kids over there. I really want to have my life back and be social and this is the only way to get to do that. It does not bother me that much that she is in my house. I am NEVER there when she is and I want my children to be able to spend time with their mother.

          • There’s a few unsettling pieces to your arrangements.
            1. You won’t let your kids go to her place? Why not? Do you not have a legal separation with custody and access such that the kids would go back and forth? Or are decisions made on a personal ad hoc basis?
            2. Family finances? She helps you with the bills? Because she wants to, or is court-ordered to?
            3. Why are you dating in the middle of this mess?
            4. Ditto comment below as to leaving perhaps under age children in a house alone between goings and comings of parents?

            • I’m in the same kind of mess. My ex lives with the OW and doesn’t want to bring the kids there, so he still comes into my home to watch them. It is terribly violating and it is miserable for me. Because I live in California and it takes 6 months for a divorce to go through, there’s no court orders for anything. He could decide to stop “helping” me with the bills (rent/daycare) at any time so I’m constantly trying not to enrage him, and it is MISERABLE.

      • You are out dating, while still pining away for your wife? That isn’t fair to the women you are going out on dates with. I didn’t date until I was legally divorced. Allowed me to fix my picker, work on myself, and help my kids. I knew I was ready to date when I saw my XW and had NO feelings for her. Dated a couple of old friends and then met my current wife.

        • Thank you, Sir! You speak great truth!

          IWHTS, it’s not to kill your fun that there are those who’ve worn your shoes who encourage you to be fully divorced and fully healed BEFORE you start dating. We encourage this for your well-being and well-healing AND for the sake of some poor innocent woman out there who has no idea what she’d be getting into with a guy who isn’t fully well and fully healed.

          AND, may I add, wait for the sake of your children who have already had and in at least the next year to come will have more than enough turmoil without having one more stranger tossed into the mix. You are all worth the wait.

      • “But she comes when I’m gone and she leaves before I come home.”

        Whoa – wait a second. Double-check that isn’t child endangerment. I don’t know your kids’ ages but in some states, that would land one or both of you in jail. Particularly if something horrible happened when neither of you are in the home with the kids.

        Unless there is another adult in the home who is responsible for them in the intervening time?

      • It’s time to to change the locks. Coming and going while you are not home isn’t just for the kids. She is keeping tabs on you, looking for signs of the presence of another woman, inspecting your mail, taking inventory of personal property, and, perhaps, spiriting away what she wants for herself, all while constructing the illusion that you are fast friends. You need to shut that shit down now.

        • I twice knew two bullies, both females, both of them literally territorial, spreading around their shit around our office. You’re lucky if your ex doesn’t pee on the furniture while you’re away.

          Believe us, your arrangement isn’t good for you.

    • That is what i was thinking. funny, smart, charming, fun, sooooo cool, soooo beautiful, a decent mother, and best of all, low maintenance women DO NOT cheat and fuck around or abandon their children. How can a man even think a woman is good, dencent, funny, charming, smart and so cool if she can turn her back on the children that came out of her!!!! i mean seriously if a female can throw away her own children, children that grew in her womb, where she felt their every moment and heartbeat.. .. and she just walks out on that!!! she is unable to love anyone if she can do that. WHY is he not seeing her as heartless, cruel, evil temptress without a soul? Oh she is so beautiful… .. walked out on her children, opens her legs to anyone and has sucked more dick then a hoover vacuum but hey she is beautiful. and can tell a good joke. the only difference between her and the crackwhore down the street is that she left her kids at home to fuck while the crackwhore has her kids in the backseat. THAT is NOT decent or beautiful.

      • she kills baby rabbits.. .. . but she is beautiful
        she stole from old people .. .. but she is decent
        she mugged a blind person .. .. but she is funny

        how about she destroyed her marriage .. ..
        she betrayed her husband. .. .
        she bailed and abandoned her children.. .
        she stabbed his heart and tore it out

        (sorry, it just blows my mind that this guy can still think of her as charming, decent, smart and funny)

          • Wow, I can’t believe there was such hurtful people on CL. Excuse me for being in a “self-pity” stage of my grieving. I was very much in love with all that I thought she was and was blindsided by this.

            I wrote this letter in the hopes that people could encourage me to stop pinning. Not disparage me for doing it.

            • i am sorry you took it that way. it sounds like you are not ready for the truth. you still have blinders on. .. .. it was the most painful thing i ever had to do was to accept that wasband WAS NEVER the man i thought he was. . ..

              it is not disparaging to point out the truth. SHE IS NOT those things you thought she was. decent people do not betray. hence, she is not decent. sometimes the truth hurts, we are only trying to point the truth out. AND that really is encouraging you to stop pinning. Maybe it is not how you wanted to hear it but in all honesty you really need to take off the rose colored glasses. good people do not cheat. smart people do not need to lie. decent people do not betray. since your wife did all those things, it means she is not good, smart, or decent. .. .. . you are not seeing the forest for the trees.

              i am sorry you are hurting. it really is the most painful thing to happen. but your pain is caused by HER actions and betrayal. you did not cause this but you and your kids are the ones hurting for it. she doesnt hurt because you (and the kids) never meant that much to her. she is shallow. her love is shallow. there is just no deep to her. you are not that way, your love was real and deep and strong.

              you will get thru this. it will take time i hated hearing that so much but it is true.

              • She absolutely sucks. None of this behavior makes her a valued partner. It’s VERY ROUGH, but do open your eyes to this. You are a good person. You deserve so much better. Your kids deserve so much better. None of this is your fault. Big hugs.

              • IWantHerToSuck, I completely hear you. I didn’t have kids with my ex, but I had brutal discard and my wife left me for another man in another country. It’s hard to hear right now, but these comments are correct. You need to focus on the bad, it will help you get over missing the good. Also, my ex felt the need to be mean and admitted to having multiple affairs during our marriage before this new guy. When someone shows you what they are capable of (abandoning and instantly moving on), you can almost count there were other things that you did not know about. Focus on what you and your children need. Don’t feel the need to show her sympathy. You’re vulnerable right now, but later on you will be happy that you were strong and put yourself first.

            • Iwanthertosuck…sorry that some people here aren’t giving you the support you need. I think they get carried away with their own shit sometimes.
              I think I can speak for just about everyone here…we have all been where you are now. Some of us are further on the road to Meh. It took me YEARS to get there and sometimes I wanted to hate myself for that but I had to realize that it takes what it takes. Godspeed in your recovery. Like they say in AA, ‘take what you need and leave the rest’…do that with this blog.

            • I’m with you IWantHerToSuck – I’m surprised at how harsh CN is being. I’m sorry you’re going through this, truly! I understand how you feel, it sounds almost exactly like me and my STBX, sans the kids. Stay strong and don’t accept anything less then what you deserve!

            • Find my reply downthread. Reverse the genders and I am literally you. I get it. All the feelings you have, I had. (And sometimes still do, 18 months out.)
              But. I have a great life now and so will you. As you pore over the responses from CN, take in what you can use and disregard the rest. This is your journey, and you get to decide what it looks like.

          • Sorry, but I can’t get past “and best of all, she was low maintenance.” It makes my stomach turn and my skin crawl.

              • I have commented on the “Low Maintenance” phrasing below. I agree it was a poor choice of words, so I wish that people would stop commenting negatively on it.

                What I meant to say was “It was easy.” Our relationship was easy. We just clicked. We were a team we worked so well together. We were not demanding on each other. We were both very free-spirited and had no cares in the world. It of the major reasons we were together for so long.

                Our relationship was effortless.

                When we had children and bought a house together, it started to become HARD. I think we evolved differently. I started to worry about the kids and the house and money, and she did not. She maintained her “not a care in the world” attitude and I was no longer “fun”

              • IWHTS, I get you. Kind of what happened in my marriage as ex entered fuckwitty work environment and made more and more money. WE had been “low maintenance”, all of a sudden all these desires and options. Fully leaked into character after we bought the house, then when he realised that’s work, too, I guess he rewarded himself with some affairs.

                I really want to add a different perspective on you dating. You were clear on not taking your wife back. You say, you wouldn’t even if you could. That’s just fine for me, as long as you are fairly open about it.
                I don’t believe that I will ever fully heal from the betrayal and mindfuck I experienced regarding this person. But it never stopped me from taking true interest and bonding with other people. Be it friends or dates. I immediately started going out 2 nights a week after I kicked cheater out. Some were dates, some meet ups, sometimes friends bringing a “date” for me. It was the best thing I could have done. My first date turned out to be the son of a cheater and we had a great, intense evening, talking until 4 am, laughing and swearing. I was so happy to see that no matter how shattered, I could still really enjoy myself, have a reciprocal time without hiding my wounds and being liked just like that.
                I found someone very special to me 2 months after break-up. I layed it all out. I still needed so much healing, so did he from other hurts and betrayals. Being with him catapulted me so much ahead. And with the approval of the child psychologist I let him into my daughters life very shortly after. It all worked out great. He’s become a special friend to her, too. We agreed that if we don’t make it, that he will still see her and be there for her. We both are with a therapist and each says that is meeting and being together has played a great part in healing our individual wounds.
                I do believe in fix-your-picker. My personal reasoning however goes like this, I did all the vetting I could have possibly done with my ex. There were no red flags. I still ended up with a fuckwit.
                I’m all for dating if it feels good. I’ve made three great platonic friends. Two turned out to be chumps. I’d never known.

  • My brother in betrayal,

    Know you are the prize! Who was standing at the door of his castle with his children as her taillights faded? You, the real man! And where were her lights fading toward? To a sleazy man-child who cares nothing for what is TRUE and honest.
    All those positive attributes you are attempting to adorn her with completely fall flat at any marriage alter when you add her lies.
    This road you are about to start down will suck like no other. You will experience multiple losses and grieve deeply. Don’t try to white knuckle it. Let it wash in and grieve it. My go to book to detach was Chump Lady’s. My number one book when you get ready to work on your self. No More Mister Nice Guy. I know it crazy early, but you have an opportunity to come out of this as being a better man than you could ever imagine. This is my experience.

    Don’t forget. You are the prize!!

    Not your cheater.

  • I am sorry that you are going through this. It is a hard pill to swallow. You wrote that she soooooo cool, sooooo beautiful, a decent mother. The kind of girl a lot of guys would dream to have and now someone else gets to appreciate how amazing she is. What kind of Mother leaves their children to go screw another man???? Amazing?? She is so amazing that she lied to you and screwed another man. The other man deserves her. You can’t polish a turd you flush it. I am sorry but, people like her make sure they have their replacement before they leave. So trust that she sucks. Once you do you will realize you are better off without her. Focus on your children. Get screened for STDs.

  • “I don’t know why cheaters think the whole ‘He doesn’t mean anything to me’ schtick works. ”

    Me either. Or its corollary, why cheaters try so hard to warp the timeline so they can claim unconvincingly that THEY DID NOT CHEAT! Just happened to move in with Schmoopie three days after D-day, but up until then they were just “good friends”!

    • Why do they all do this???

      My ex actually went out with two of his best friends and their wives, and had Schmoopie show up at the same place so they could pretend they just met each other. He didn’t want anyone to know the truth, that they blew up both their marriages for their great lurve.

    • Yeah, which is more hurtful?

      I’m going to walk away from you, for someone who’s not important to me. I’m going to destroy our children’s intact family for a whim.

      Or

      This is true love (just like I told you we had true love). This person I met a few weeks ago and have spent very little time with is now the centre of my world (just like I said you were the centre of my world). I’m going to build my life with this person (just like I convinced you to build your life with me). This relationship, to me, is worth ripping our relationship apart, destroying everything we’ve built; our children’s family, our extended families and friendships, our financial stability, etc. This new relationship with someone I barely know is worth all that. You are not.

      But the reality is;
      – I like a cheap thrill
      – anyone who acts like they adore me and think I’m perfect is better than you, who actually knows me (the fact you love me anyway is irrelevant)
      – I don’t bond, so will just move from relationship to relationship my whole life (either overtly, or clandestinely)
      – children? See above; I don’t bond
      – whatever makes me feel good for the moment is what I will choose. Other people, including you and our children, aren’t human beings to me, you are objects that either serve a purpose in my life, or don’t.)

  • There are two possibilities here. Neither are good.

    She’s a user. She wasn’t happy with you for years but she was content to stay in the marriage without letting you know, or doing the work to improve things. She used you for company, extra income, childcare, help with housework, sexual services, and adoration. The alternative was to be single. She used you until she found a replacement, then she was gone.

    OR

    She didn’t know she was ‘unhappy’ with you until she met OM and limerence kicked in, and she mistook it for love. Old established content love doesn’t have the heady rush of lust and new relationship energy. Then she rewrote the history of your marriage in her mind as a justification. Instead of keeping her vows and resisting this man out of love for you, she went for it.

    She might be gorgeous on the outside, have good mothering skills, be charismatic, etc. But inside she’s selfish, dishonourable, manipulative, weak, and willing to hurt those she is supposed to love and protect most, to satisfy her own desires. Terrible qualities in a life partner or a parent.

    Either way, not someone to stay with.

    • My therapist calls this being in the ‘pink love cloud’ there is NO WAY for a long-term established relationship to compete with the endorphins of an clandestine affair. It is exciting, new and shiny. To think that this is a competition is unfair to the long-term partner. It is a choice that the cheaters make to go with the shiny, short term thrills instead of the long-term stability.
      Some people tell me my STBX will regret his decision some day. I am not holding my breath…

      • This is good. This is my observation too. Serial cheaters and people who cheat are thrill seekers looking for an andreniline rush not a relationship. They are hooked on the thrill of going outside the “norm” of marriage and getting caught to them is no different than crashing into a tree on a bike. All they need to do is heal the bruise and then go back out on their road of thrills. I’ve met too many of them and they all suck. But they all think they are great bike riders because to them everyone crashes at some point or another. They are not unhappy with their marriage or their partner or their kids. They simply don’t give a shit about them because they are hooked on the adreneline rush. The lady described above will cheat again. It’s who she is…

        • Excellent analogy! We chumps hand them back their bikes every time too. Sorry- one wobble and I’m taking the bike away LOL. My ex has another chump in his life now. He can’t exist without someone to deceive.

        • The definition of narcissism. And the description of my marriage. What a waste of 25 years. That’s what kills me. The deceit and the lost years.

      • Learning Not to Dance,

        A lot of cheaters DO regret their decisions at some point, but not in the way we might think. They don’t wake up and realize they’ve made a devastating mistake in torpedoing their former chump and their family. No, they simply find themselves in between victims and it occurs to them that it would be easier get the old chump back to fill in until they find a new shiny thing if they hadn’t used so much napalm. In other words, they burned their bridge when there potentially was still value to be had. It’s a transactional assessment, not an emotional one.

    • good mothering skills DO NOT walk out on her children to fuck another man. or abandon her kid to chase after a rainbow.

      • Don’t confuse personality and character. Someone can have lots of charisma and little character or the reverse, not as magnetic but have good character.
        I BET (and my ex was the gambler, not me) that as you begin to process this with less rawness, you WILL see this more clearly in her, but you made excuses for it because you loved her and trusted her.

  • To fresh chump guy from not-so-fresh chump guy,
    She sucks. If I was out getting beers with you I’d say “she sucks”.

    It’s simple math really; On a nice-human-being scale you’re up here at (let’s call it) 8.

    Her actions might have been up there time and again, but this defining act puts her at 3 or 4 by comparison.

    You’re worth 8, you’ll be worth a 9, likely 10 after all the shit. She’ll still be a 4.

    You’ll see. But it’s gonna take work.

    I sometimes struggle to see just how much my XW sucks. But everyday I care a little less.

    Chumps have a stickiness to care about everyone we know. It’s kind of a problem (even though it’s our best characteristic). You have lots of stickiness to her, so it’s hard to think someone so sucky would be that close.

    But she does Suck and you don’t.

    • Actually I want to add to my response:

      You wouldn’t put up with this dating, and feel bad about it dating, would you?

      Most importantly:
      It doesn’t matter if she sucks (she does). It matters you don’t. Your life is forward!

    • >>> I sometimes struggle to see just how much my XW sucks. But everyday I care a little less.

      Very well put! I find that too now 2+ years post-D-Day with my XW. In fact I find that now, without any intimacy, she’s just plain annoying at times 😉

  • I would have written something pretty similar in the early days after my wife left me. I understand that it’s hard when your spouse isn’t the snorting-cocaine-off-a-stripper troll that one often runs across on this site.

    In the last few years, though, I’ve examined her and our relationship, and learned more about the situation leading up to ILYBINILWY, and my opinion has shifted. No, your soon-to-be-ex is not an ogre. But she is also not such a wonderful person. Betrayal and abandonment doesn’t come out of nowhere: you will find foreshadowing of this behavior in other actions and attitudes in her life. It’s not healthy to spend *too* much time examining the whys and wherefores, but I think it is important to understand that the profound character flaw that just bit you in the ass is not something that was created out of whole cloth in the past few months: this is who she is, there will be evidence of it in the past, and there is (and was) nothing *you* could do to change it.

    For instance, just yesterday I discovered that my XW’s AP had sent her “thousands of dollars” worth of flowers, perfume and clothes in the year leading up to DDay. My now-XW (like your wife) denies to this day that the AP had anything to do with the collapse of our marriage. She swears that there was nothing between them before the day she left me – despite the fact that her AP left his wife (admitting that he was doing so because he was in love with mine) two weeks after she abandoned me and the kids. I guarantee there is more to your wife’s story as well. If you can trust that she sucks without knowing the details, that’s probably healthier – it may spare you some lingering unresolved anger – but if you choose to go digging you will find plenty of evidence that your wife is not a safe partner.

    • Just wanted to add to Involuntary Georgian’s
      comment. Have you considered that the 3-5 years of “rough times” were because she was cheating on you then?
      The Worm used to pick fights so he could “leave the house to clear his head”, AKA go visit his Pookie.

      • My ex didn’t pick fights as an excuse to leave the house, but gave me convincing lies that had me being so supportive of his ‘errands’ and ‘me time’ and ‘have to get to work early’ and ‘going to the gym’ while I looked after our babies alone. But he would tell schmoopie that we had ‘fought again’ and ‘how hard I was to live with but he was doing it for the kids’ and other complete lies. It was all to elicit her sympathy, nothing more. Those who really do pick fights get double benefits per lie, away from the chump AND sympathy from schmoopie, that’s all it is.

        In my snooping phase after D-day, I once found an email to her describing a ‘fight we had’ blow by blow about all the screaming he’d endured from me, when really it was an evening of ordinary false reconciliation domestication, with perhaps some awkward silences. He would also tell her I was taking and destroying his possessions, which he had actually only misplaced because I had stopped tidying up after him.

        • sometimes i have to remind myself that wasband told her things like that. i wanted to blame her. she is NOT a good person. in fact she is the most evil hateful person i have ever met in my life.. .. .. BUT the whole reason she attacked me and threatened me was because of the things HE TOLD her. .. .. i used to wish i had proof like that, an email or a text but it is only because i refused to see the truth. Thank you for the reminder.

  • “LOW MAINTENANCE”

    This cheater requires maintenance of the highest kind, from you, from her om, from her Children, from everyone she knows.
    Do not be one of her suppliers. Protect yourself emotionally and physically, ( and your Children) the best way you can.
    CL, CN will guide you.
    YOU are a person with morals, with dignity and grace. You must be the present, sane, loving parent. Your kids need you.
    She wants to waltz in and waltz out. When she grows bored of her new man toy she will want back in.

    Listen to CL, CN, they are the real thing.
    She is a blitzie, blingie, polished turd!

  • Sounds like my ex. He didn’t cheat but he moved in with her and bought a business with her 2 months before divorce was finalized. Yeah right 🙄. Only his toxic family believes that lie. Denial much?? Trust that they suck! My proof? How much better my life is 2 years later!!

  • This story is so similar to mine. My husband also didn’t technically “cheat” — He very suddenly announced that he didn’t love me, two months after we moved with our two kids for his medical fellowship to a new city. He moved directly in with the OW (his coworker.) He becomes infuriated if I tell people that he left me for someone else because according to him, he left me because I have so many terrible qualities (I don’t cook dinner often, am not strict enough with the kids, I watch reality TV, I spend too much money on the children.) It had nothing to do with the secret bra pictures she was sending him while he texted in the bathroom in the middle of the night, or the fact that they were going to happy hours together every day after work.

    If you think about it, this is the ultimate mindfuck and blameshift. Your wife wants to leave her husband and kids and fuck some other idiot, but it’s YOUR fault. Not hers! She is perfect and shiny and Never At Fault for Anything! And she didn’t technically cheat because cultivating a relationship which was up to the level of overnight visits while you’re married isn’t cheating. Bullshit! She sucks!

    • just because she didnt spread her legs and get fucked before they separated DOES NOT mean she was not cheating.. .. . of course she was cheating. she was spending hours, days and weeks of time, energy and thought on a man that was not her husband. she was going behind her husbands back to talk to the OM. she literally took that time and energy away from her children and husband while she was planning, scheming and building a relationship with this other guy. just because the other guy did not actually nail her ass doesnt mean a thing. she was cheating as soon as she got his phone number. .. .. .. oh wait, i forgot she is charming and smart and beautiful. .. .. and such a decent mother/person *eyes roll*

  • Also, I know he’s a chump, but can we please target the mysogyny of “best of all, low-maintenance”? How is that an acceptable compliment to another human being?
    She took care of her problems on her own because Narcissists can be terrific at life, since they know just who to ask that favor…

    This is a low blow to all the chumps left while hearing the reason is they’re “high-maintenance” because God forbid you should ever need any help around a Narc.

    • Thanks, Quetzal. That was a trigger for me, too. Especially because I made my needs so small over the years. That’s one of the things I am most ashamed of myself for. Of course, it didn’t change anything and probably made things worse. He became more and more entitled.
      Currently reading the book, “Why does he do that” which explains so much about these disordered individuals.

    • Thanks for mentioning that. I felt the same about the “low-maintenance” comment. The crazy thing is that cheaters are actually really high maintenance when you think about it.

      • Cheaters are very high maintenance. I think of the hoops I jumped through to make my cheater happy. It seems that whatever you do, isn’t enough.

  • You are still in shock. It’s hard to reconcile the past with your new reality. I had to write it on my mirror “Trust that he sucks” to help me process the fact that the man I thought I knew was fake. Give yourself time – don’t worry – her suckiness will come shining through once you are finished feeling all the other shitty emotions that come first.

  • >>> When people reject us it can make them see very powerful

    Very true — I look back at the first year post-D-Day and I really acted quite pathetic/needy/etc. and totally influenced by the Infidelity Industry until CL & CN (slowly) showed me reality — I too looked at XW and found her totally beautiful/wonderful/amazing/etc. and I had to do anything to get her back but then…

    What happened? Quite simply time and following CN notions of “trust that they suck” and as little contact as possible. That old yardstick of needing 1 month per year to get past an old marriage/relationship is really quite accurate. I’m now 2 1/2 years post-D-Day and (finally) out of the house and in my own place. Now I look at XW and see a very different woman; manipulative, bad-tempered, lazy and I actually don’t really find her that attractive any more either (definitely no “inner beauty” to magically appear there!).

    I could finish with a little warning too — “Beware of Cake !!!” — XW’s affair has really been a disaster though she stubbornly keeps pursuing it, so yeah, like others have said above, she’ll do just a teeny bit to keep you interested and hanging around — the real test, as I found, is to take any self-pity/crying/woe-is-me moment and to ignore it and stand firm; then see if she continues or just gives up straight away as you’re obviously too much ‘work’

    • This give me hope! I had heard one year for every 5 together. Since we were together for 30+ years that is 6 years. I can wrap my head around a little less than 3 years a lot better. 🙂

      • I reckon 1 month per year is pretty accurate — well it was for me — we were together for 20 years and it took me about 2 years to really start to detach and realise I was on my own again (well apart from when the kids are around!) — and you know, I’m glad also I didn’t jump online and try dating so soon like a knee-jerk reaction, have waited and am now really quite enjoying my single life again 🙂

        • Dating too soon after such a trauma can be dangerous yeah.
          I dated too soon, but fortunately she was a good person and very mature, so she didn’t take advantage of my vulnerable state. It didn’t work out in the end and that set me back big time though.
          All the bad feelings came rushing back, when the bandaid came off so to speak

      • …and yeah I don’t think you’ll need 6 years 🙂

        nor will it take 3 months like so many of our family & friends would like to think — I noticed the “compassion fatigue” thing with them all so that’s why I still hang out here in CN from time to time

        • yeah, i just want to give a shout out to someone/anyone

          who mentioned “COMPASSION FATIGUE” here on CN

          when i was first preparing for D-Day

          it wasn;t really a concept i had any experience with, but it allowed me to eliminate “receiving sustained emotional support”

          from my goalset when it came time to Tell Friends What She Did

          instead I just explained to them the Super Bad Facts

          and then said while i’m open to any suggestions or thoughts they might have at any time, i probably won’t be bringing the topic up again

          simply because it’s both boring and inexplicable to anyone who hasn’t experienced it

          and i was able to shift my Emotional Support System to CL & CN

          where I have gained SO MUCH wisdom and love and understanding

          from people (you all) whose opinions and observations actually matter

          stay mighty!

        • I was together 30 years and I would truly say that it took me 5 years to get to where I’m at. I may have gotten over the dick in about 3+ years, but it took me two additional years to figure me out and to learn that I had value. I learned that I had allowed lots of people to take advantage of me throughout the years. I had never learned about boundaries and that I was allowed to erect them. So the last two years was learning all about boundaries — to include not feeling guilty when I erect boundaries. I finally realized that I have value and if someone doesn’t recognize my value, then they’re shown the door. And I don’t feel guilty anymore.

      • There’s also the “half the time you were together” which felt VERY untenable to me because even four years was four too many. I was furiously looking up “how long does it take to get over someone” posts, but honestly I think it greatly varies and depends on the person and the relationship. Don’t feel discouraged by long (or short) timelines! We chart our own recovery.

      • Jesus Christ, this ain’t Noah’s ark. There is no edict to be pair bonded. It takes a while to heal from this shit. I was married for almost 30 years and almost jumped into a relationship wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too soon after dumping the cheater. Big mistake. HUGE!! Take some time to heal and don’t worry about the time without a partner for ever-lovin-fucks sake.

        Oh and I’d like to add this straight from CL. It’s not okay to use people to heal. Or in other words, it’s not okay to try to pair bond with someone while you’re trying to sort this shit out. Casual dating sure. Deeply committed relationships, yeah not so much.

        The healing timeline is very close to 1 year for every 5 together. Whatever expert said that was true, said it for a reason. Get over it and focus on yourself.

  • Getting a life involves learning to see truly.

    There’s nothing cool, beautiful, or the least bit attractive about a person willing to do deep harm to family, and quick to spin whatever lies might be necessary to maintain a sparkling image, lay all blame on others, and avoid responsibility for the whole of it.

    Whatever beauty is—and it takes many forms—that sure does not qualify.

    Further, this is one instance in which the economic principle of scarcity increasing value does not apply. “She’s gone” is not equal to “OMG, she was amazing.”

    Think of this as poison or cancer—both things that can be oddly beautiful under a microscope—making themselves scarce.

    “The destructive entity is gone” is equal to “now I can live a healthy life.”

  • Dude. She walked away from her children. That is NOT a decent mother. That is a BAD mother. It takes a certain kind of coldness for a woman to dump her kids. It’s rare. Trust me. She SUCKS.

    She SUUUUUCKS.

    Also, those years that the marriage felt off? She was cheating then. Get tested for STDs.

    She’s funny and beautiful and cool? She “sees” the kids every day? She’s trying to make sure the divorce is amicable. Do NOT be one of those “nice guys” who gets screwed in the divorce. Ask for primary custody of the kids and get yourself some child support. You’re the one doing the parenting.

    I’m sorry you and your kids are here. It’s hard. It will get better.

    P.S. She’s not “cool” she is COLD.

  • Dear I Want Her to Suck,

    I am so sorry you are going through this. Please look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder (sorry CL I know it’s skein detangling but many of us need to be educated on it or we can’t believe it wasn’t us) It is a common thread for we who are discarded in this manner. She does suck, and more so, she is likely a very damaged person not capable of self reflection or empathy. She sure sounds NPD to me. In time you will see this. Read CLs posts on Narcissism.

    These types cannot change and don’t want to. Once you see how messed up she is and what she did to you, you can steel yourself against the games that will follow. Beware of the Hoover. Well you’ve already seen some of that, aka pick me dance.

    Blaming you is projection, making your life unbearable until you kick her out is domestic emotional violence. Lying to you about her reasons is gaslighting. Plus she fucking cheated on you, she’s a hoe.

    It’s literally a script for these monsters and their actions follow the same script. I could insert my exs name in your story, it’s the same.

    PS, she was the catch? Hun, YOU are the catch…a faithful, kind man? Sign me up darling. She is a lying, abusive, cheater, a fuckwit as CN knows. You are a real MAN.

  • If you’ve spent even the tiniest amount of time here, you’ll see cheaters all utter things from the same playbook. ILYBINILWY and “I haven’t been happy for a long time” are two phrases they like to trot out to try to excuse their shitty behavior. The latter one is particularly galling because for a lot of people, it’s bullshit. The marriage was fine, while they got to do whatever the hell they wanted. The minute you called her out, she bolted. She had zero intention of fixing your marriage; I’d wager she would have kept jerking you around while seeing this guy at the same time as long as you put up with it.

    She might be a “cool” chick, but she’s got a character defect and frankly is not worthy of you. She’s not a big prize you lost. She’s a person who left her husband and children for strange. Ick.

    You’ll feel crappy for awhile and that’s ok, but definitely re-frame this to see what she is. You deserve someone you feel safe with. Someone who isn’t going to run out the door for shiny new lurve.

  • What a timely letter from a fellow male chump. Her exit is practically identically to me ex wife’s. Almost verbatim. The only difference is our daughter was 17 and son was 26 and he had long moved out but my daughter stayed with me. It’s amazing how similar these stories are. My ex didn’t come out and say she was seeing someone but I put 2 and 2 together after another “weekend with the girls” story. Pack her bag Friday and come home Sunday drunk and happy. After over 5 years I can say it does get easier, I don’t talk or communicate with her at all anymore, I used to feel like I’d never get over it. It still hurts a little if I see a pic of her on my daughters social media, especially a throwback when she was younger as my ex was pretty good looking and I was very attracted to her. So ya that’s probably always gonna hurt. But the pain eases and life marches on. I have a grandson now and recently took him and my son to the ocean for a weekend. Flew kites, ate too much, had some shots with my son on the beach..life can be pretty damn good still. Hang in there it gets better

  • I think it’s hard for us males to realize that females can be horrible people. We’re not raised to think that way. There is however equality in horribleness.

    @… you need to get control over your life and file for divorce and push it through so you can begin to repair yourself. You’re stuck in a middle ground that she controls. You need to realize that she is indeed a cheater you just didn’t realize it was going on . You got scammed. No one likes getting scammed.

  • I’m sorry but one of her best characteristics is that she’s “low maintenance”?!!!!! What does this even mean? Usually when a man describes a women this way it means that her needs never come first or are even considered, that she makes herself small in order to accommodate her spouse and the relationship. A good little wife appliance. Add in the multi-year period of really rough times and honestly it’s not hard to understand her leaving. I know that when I left it had been so bad for so long that I was left with zero emotional connection or affection for my spouse. My ex also described me as low maintenance.

    We don’t know that she didn’t mention wanting to work on the marriage He openly acknowledges that there were really rough times. Maybe marriage counseling was too high maintenance so she felt she couldn’t bring it up or she agreed to drip the subject. We have no way of knowing.

    I know that here everyone defaults to siding with the “Chump” but from the little information here I don’t see a Chump. I see a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage with a man who considers her best quality her lack of needing consideration.

    Low maintenance is an incredibly misogynist and sexist term that is NEVER applied to a man, only to women who don’t let their needs get in the way of a man wanting to to what he wants when he wants.

    Think about how few stories you read here about women leaving their children, think about how bad things would have to be for you to leave yours, think about all the rough times and all the forms your needs were ignored in your marriage, thenreread this letter.

    • You are projecting your own experiences on his. His Low maintenance is rather I think a laid back attitude of a woman who doesn’t need constant Assurances and was not controlling. Looking back she did need them, but got them somewhere else.
      Frankly you are talking the narrative of the cheater: that he deserves this. Nobody is perfect, neither him nor me nor you. We (including you) did the best we could, which wasn’t enough for the cheater. She still had tehe choice to do the decent thing.. But take her words with a grain of salt, since she is only choosing a narrative that suits her best.

    • “Usually when a man describes a women this way it means that her needs never come first or are even considered, that she makes herself small in order to accommodate her spouse and the relationship.”

      This is absolutely not what low maintenance means. See GuideDog’s description of the term.

      And you are right, we default to support the chump here because you are in Chump Nation. We do not attack other chumps. If you’re making the assumption he deserved to be cheating on, don’t.

    • Talk about a misogynist comment, “Think about how few stories you read here about women leaving their children, think about how bad things would have to be for you to leave yours…..” Women do leave their children even when things are not bad. They screw around, they lie and they suck!! YOU are the sexist, only men leave families??? women=good & man=bad. I know too many men that have suffered through this kind of woman..My current husband being one of them!!!
      I do not perceive low maintenance mean anything other than easy to get along with. She obviously wasn’t trapped, she slept at another dude’s house 3 nights a week and came home.

      • Thank you guys, for coming to my defense. UknowingChump’s comments were not helpful.

        You are exactly right GuideDog… this is what I posted a little further down here:

        “I wish people would stop commenting negatively on the phrase “low maintenance.” Perhaps that was a poor choice of words. What I meant to say was “It was easy.” Our relationship was easy. We just clicked. We were a team we worked so well together. We were not demanding on each other. We were both very free-spirited and had no cares in the world, and one of the major reasons we were together for so long. Our relationship was effortless.

        When we had children and bought a house together, it started to become NOT so easy. I think we evolved differently. I started to worry about the kids and the house and money, and she did not. She maintained her “not a care in the world” attitude and I was no longer ‘fun’ “

        • IWantHerToSuck ,

          First off, kudos for having the bravery to write this, and yes you are hurt now and not in some perfect state of being past this. I am sure most of us were caught off guard, hurt and in some sort of Stockholm syndrome place when it all came to light. I certainly was. People need to stop being such dicks to you here, yes, she 100% sucks AND you are asking the right question.

          I was a chumpy guy who was in your shoes a few years ago, so I get it. My ex-wife was charming, smart, a great athlete, beautiful, paid her bills, had no chemical addictions and was a good mother. She was not an obvious sociopath. The end came as a shocker when I did some detective work, and i spent a few months still in love, kind of coming out of the chump fog catching up with what really happened.

          My biggest regrets about the experience were wasting time having a broken heart AND dating while I was still a mess (thinking I was OK) .

          So, when your narcissist is the bright and shiny kind like yours, you cannot give her a trophy for acting like any other human should act. Yay! You picked up the kids on time! Thanks for not stealing all our money! Thanks for probably not giving me herpes!

          Concentrate on what CL said. Imagine you were the problem and a shitty husband. Grown ups own what they need to do. She would have told you she wanted a divorce and not laid the seeds for a new relationship (in other words was def. having sex with him before this).

          I remember when I realized how many times my ex must have lied to me during her long affair. Thousands of white lies about where she was? What kind of human has that ability without being a mess? That is the coldest, ugliest hollow-souled thing to do.

          Your cheater is a monster and it will become apparent to you as you start to realize how good you are. This can take a little while. See a therapist, remember that YOU do not suck and you just got the best gift of your life of being free of this piece of shit.

          • THIS ^^
            My XW used to start random fights over nothing then leave to “clear her head”. She once left for 3 days and already had a weekender bag packed when she created the phony argument!!!

            • How painfully obvious. This reminds me of a night my x started a horrific argument with me one week before moving out. He scared me to death and was threatening. I actually thought he was going to kill me that night. I did the only thing that came to my mind to defuse the situation. I sat on his lap and asked coquettishly “are you going to kill me?” It shocked him and put him back on his heels. Stammering he said he was leaving because he didn’t like the vibe.

              When I found schmoopie instagram months later, I saw a post about that night. It was a pair of boots, it said “new boots for a wild night”. So obviously they already had plans for a wild night and he had to figure out some way to get out of the house.

          • Cheating requires thousands of lies (big and tiny) told to hundreds of people. Anyone who can so casually lie to everyone they know, spouses, kids, family, friends, coworkers is a special kind of sociopath.

        • IWantHerToSuck, you said “When we had children and bought a house together, it started to become NOT so easy. I think we evolved differently.”

          What happened is that you grew up and she did not. She’s acting like an irresponsible, selfish child. You are being a man and taking care of your family. You are no longer compatible.

          Also, I’m sorry people are being awfully snarky today. Next week is Christmas, which is usually a sucky holiday for people who are divorced from cheaters. It puts a lot of people on edge. My ex walked away from our kids. It’s been over 10 years and four of my five adult children never see their dad. The other one is pretty narcissistic like him and has cut me and her siblings out of her life.

          • I’m sorry about your ‘other’ child, the one that has cut you out of her life. I really know the feeling. My son refuses to talk to me and it has been 2 years. I went through the same emotional turmoil with him that I did with my ex, ‘What did I do wrong?’ ‘Should I have said this…?’ But now, I realize (just as I finally realized with my ex) it was not me. Normal people, i.e., parents and children, will never agree on everything. But normal people still love and communicate with the other. It was very, very hard to realize that my son could possibly be just like his dick dad. And because I don’t approve of everything that he does (like when he cheated on his now ex-wife), and I’ve verbally said so, he chose to give me ‘the silent treatment’…, just like his dick dad used to do. I finally stopped smoking the hopium pipe where my son is concerned. Bummer.

        • IWHTS, you need to understand that you aren’t the only injured party on this site. You used terminology that triggered some chumps. They are communicating the trigger to the forum. I feel the need to point out that putting them down for using their voice is unhelpful to them. Especially when they have communicated their painful history of making their own needs small. Is it that hard to apologize for the trigger, however unintended? I’m not attacking your use of the phrase but I’m not going to spackle for you either. I’m more curious about your defensiveness, given that you came here seeking advice.

    • My XW used to call me “high maintenance” because I asked her if she loved me and, for example, if I looked good for a sermon I was going to give. I know now she was projecting on me because my XW was so high maintenance I couldn’t give my kids or very sick parents the time and effort they needed without her being jealous.

    • My X of 24 years said, give me X amount of dollars and I will get out of your and our daughters life. So there is that.

      And there is such a thing as a husband appliance. Way more common than people think. Responsible family oriented guys tend to be like loyal Labradors.

      They trust without question and tend to focus on their family’s needs.

      • You’re right. There are just as many cheater women as cheater men. I think men just don’t like to talk about it as much. There’s nothing wrong with good loyal Labradors. I hope you find someone deserving of you and that appreciates you!

        • Thanks Amazon Chump.
          3 years of hyper vigilance and 2 solid years of self recovery work has enabled me to see people’s red flags without even thinking.

          While back in the day I had a loyal Labrador, my loyal Blue Lacy was the dog that helped me through my personal exit from hell on earth.
          I had to put Abilene down in the midst of this shit as well. Damn I miss that dog.

    • Nah, I describe myself as low maintenance, meaning that I do not need someone to make me the center of their existence. I have hobbies. I have friends. I can entertain myself. I do not have the need to control another.

      Be loyal. Be a true partner. That’s all I needed.

    • I’ve posted here before, so I’m sure some know my story. My wife left my boys and In November 2018. She too gave the “I’m not happy “ speech. She left out the part about her being involved with another man (and I later found out he wasn’t her first).

      She, not I, regularly referred to herself as “low maintenance.” Perhaps that’s where this comes from with this poor guy as well.

      And as far as women not leaving their children, mine not only bailed on them, she moved 70 miles away and since she left has seen them about a dozen times, never more than an hour. She gave me full custody without any hassle; her main concern was my retirement. So maybe you should rethink your words instead of blaming him. Talk about misogynistic, not to mention hypocritical.

      And to I Want Her To Suck-I’m sorry for what you’re going through. We were married 21 years and had our rough spots too, but I never considered quitting. I was all in and believed she was too. I deeply loved her and still miss her so much.

      She came by last Sunday, her first visit with the boys in nearly three months. They’re 13 now and wanted little to do with her. She hasn’t been there for them; she’s more like a distant aunt now rather than a mom.

      I’m not one to give advice, because I’ve pick me danced and played the game and honestly still miss her, but I’m trying to put my attention and energy into raising my boys. I would recommend you do too.

      And whether you have a therapist or not, come here. I’ve received so much support her from people I’ve never met, and probably never will. I’m so grateful for that; it’s been wonderful to have that kind of caring and support from others, particularly in light of the fact that the one person you thought would give you that support instead chose to cause you the greatest harm.

      • Hey Cali, hope the visit was ok on you and your boys. I was wondering how it went and hoping for the best outcome for you all. Do you get the boys to yourself for the holiday season? Hopefully you can have some peace.

        • Thanks Fearful & Loathing;
          She was there about an hour. One son was polite but not warm, the other told her he didn’t want her there. It wasn’t pretty.

        • And yeah, it’s just me and the boys for Christmas. Our second alone. Second thanksgiving alone too. She’s with the asshat and his family.

          Last year, she told me she enjoyed not being home for the holidays; everyone where she was “doted “ on her.

          • And she once again showed you who she was when she said that she enjoyed not being home with her children. Trust that she sucks, and in your case, she continues to suck over and over again.

            • My ex wife actually told our daughter she already had plans for mother’s day this year. She also let the kids know she’s going to be in Hawaii for the holidays. Ya…women can definitely suck too

      • My mother walked out on 3 girls when I was 14 and never looked back. It was 4 months till my dad found her. he took us with him and she wouldnt even let us get out of the car for a hug. It was extremely damaging. There are as many woman narcs as men.

        Many people had shitty comments about 3 girls living alone with no supervision. My dad walked out 2 months after she did to live with a woman. we lived alone with him bringing groceries once a week. we were 16, 14, 11. when my sister and I got summer jobs he took our paychecks every week to support his girlfriend and her two sons while we lived on plain pasta and popcorn, hearing them talking about all the great restaurants they went to.

        my crappy ass ex, knowing my mother’s abandonment hurt me more than anything in life, has convinced my children that they didn’t all abandon me, instead (with an insane version of flipping the script….on steroids… ) I abandoned them. history has been rewritten on scale of psy fy time changing level. both my kids have spouted a version of ‘you’re just like your mother’ to me in the last 2 years.

        I know it comes from his shit, but it takes narc abuse beyond comprehension. I was the mother I never had. I am polar opposite from my mom. it was very difficult to give my kids what I’d never seen, but i was a very nurturing mother, pouring into them all the love I never received. How like a narc to take the most painful thing in your life, accuse you of it, and then stab you straight in the heart again with it.

        Please dont blame us for our ex’s abuse and abandonment. We’ve been thru enough.

  • “My main problem is I just can’t trust that she sucks…because…she doesn’t. She’s funny, smart, charming, fun, sooooo cool, soooo beautiful, a decent mother, and best of all, low maintenance. She is the kind of girl a lot of guys would dream to have and now someone else gets to appreciate how amazing she is.” The qualities you list for her are a great list of qualities to look for in a partner – IF YOU’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL!! Know what qualities adults appreciate in a partner and children appreciate in a parent? Kindness, loyalty, honesty, patience, trust, reliability and predictability. Do you know what’s not appreciated by partners and children? Someone who puts fucking strange above their family. That does not make her a decent wife or mother. Being someone her kids can trust to be there for them, that’s what would make her a decent mother. Being someone who treats their father with dignity and respect would make her a decent mother. She is no prize. You didn’t lose her to someone else. She is the loser here. All you lost is a mirage who only exists in your own mind. Kind of like the wizard in the Wizard of OZ. You need to look behind the curtain of those shallow, meaningless qualities you are touting and see who is really there.

  • “When people reject us it can make them see very powerful. It’s a law of human nature. Weirdly, it’s like their stature goes up, like they know something we don’t know, and see us in ways we can’t see ourselves. Rejection can make you wobbly and crave validation from the fuckwit who rejected you.”

    So true. Many years ago, I saw a therapist to help me through a painful breakup (not a cheating situation), and one of the things the therapist focused on was “de-Jesusifying” the ex in my mind.

    During our relationship I had so many issues with him, so many doubts about our suitability for each other … but when it ended, and he seemed to move on so effortlessly, I suddenly thought I’d lost The Most Wonderful Man That Ever Was.

    The therapist had a hard time knocking him down a few pegs from the Mt. Olympus I had put him on. Took some time to put him back into perspective.

    Hang in there, IWHTS. Try to interrupt your ruminations of her brilliant qualities with reminders of her sucky qualities – (the ones that blew up your and your children’s world).

    • P.S. My more recent ex – the cold, work-obsessed, pathologically self-centered, gaslighting, passive-aggressive, disordered narcissist – did not trigger that phenomenon in me. I very much trust that he sucks. Because he does. LOL

  • She was low maintenace. A plant can be low maintenance, a type of flooring, or a shorthaired dog even, but your life partner? What does that even mean? She didn’t wear make up? She did not expect to go eat out every weekend? She basically did not ask you for anything?

  • Trusting that she sucks isn’t a value statement about YOU. You happened to have picked someone who when the going got tough, chose to lie and cheat. Obviously you didn’t choose her because you had a premonition that she would do this.

    It’s on HER that she did this.

    It’s on YOU to develop excellent boundaries and realize that you didn’t dissolve the marriage on a whim. For JustAFuck.

    Now dissolve the union. Be prepared for the charm/bitch cookies to stop once she realizes she has to face what she did for real and in court too.

    Whatever you do – do not entertain the idea of sharing a lawyer or trying the mediated divorce route without an attorney. Mediators don’t care if one party is screwing the other one over or not. They want the people to pay them money and sign on the dotted line.

  • “We had some pretty rough times the past 3-5 years, but I never knew she was planning on leaving me ALL THIS TIME.”

    Those are NOT the actions of someone who is wonderful (as you are not an abusive spouse). Those of the actions of a USER. She was getting her ego stroked and possibly her body as well by someone other than you. Possibly by a different man or different men.

    She is all packaging but no substance. A radioactive Twinkie.

    She sucks. Don’t let her spend any time with your children in YOUR home. She doesn’t get to play house and rub your nose in the fact that you were only of use to her for at least 3 – 5 years and when the time was optimal for her, she left all of you behind.

    She sucks.

  • I wish people would stop commenting negatively on the phrase “low maintenance.” Perhaps that was a poor choice of words. What I meant to say was “It was easy.” Our relationship was easy. We just clicked. We were a team we worked so well together. We were not demanding on each other. We were both very free-spirited and had no cares in the world, and one of the major reasons we were together for so long. Our relationship was effortless.

    When we had children and bought a house together, it started to become NOT so easy. I think we evolved differently. I started to worry about the kids and the house and money, and she did not. She maintained her “not a care in the world” attitude and I was no longer “fun”

      • “I started to worry about the kids and the house and money, and she did not. She maintained her “not a care in the world” attitude and I was no longer “fun”

        Those were the red banner flags of her ENTITLEMENT whipping in the wind. She could and did dump all the responsibilities on you because you are the Sane Adult in the relationship. Once there were not so easily deferred responsibilities in her life, she pretended there weren’t. Most relationships are fun when you can get out of them without too many difficulties. Kids and a home make it tougher. Unless you lack empathy. Then it’s still easy – for the cheater.

        “I think we evolved differently.”

        You grew up. She didn’t.

        She has probably been cheating on you for at least 3 years. If not longer.

        Go see your physician and make certain she didn’t give you an STD. Don’t forget to interview attorneys and hire one before she has you served for the holidays!

        • I did get tested and I am clean. I live in a “No Fault” state, but the separation agreement is already written up and I got mostly everything. Thankfully.

          I really appreciate everyone’s support and advice. Chump Nation is a wonderful community.

          • “I did get tested and I am clean. I live in a “No Fault” state, but the separation agreement is already written up and I got mostly everything. Thankfully.”

            Awesome.

            Now go get family therapy for the kids’ (many courts require it) and work on unpacking and leaving behind the damage she has done. Dating…may not be the wisest move right now. You are still raw and it will be too easy to get entangled with another Faux Adult.

            • I agree about no dating. First, make sure your kids are okay and ho-momma doesn’t cause drama for them. Don’t believe anything she says because liars lie and ho-momma is a liar. She cannot be trusted EVER again. Second, learn to love yourself for who you are and learn all about establishing boundaries. Good luck!

      • Thanks for clarifying. This is such a common thread in many of the stories I read here. Cheaters like life when it is easy for them. When adulting becomes necessary (because normal people mature and grow and move into new phases of life), they split for someone who has lower expectations of them. I’m sorry you had to go through such a painful experience, but lots of people here can relate!

      • check your savings and checking accounts – freeze them. she may be siphoning. get a lawyer and you will see how bad she sucks. these people hate consequences

    • It seems to be a common thread on here: when life is easy for the cheater, they’re a great partner. But take your attention off of them to focus on kids, a sick parent, your own health problems, financial struggles or going back to school/pursuing your own dream, and they vanish. They want to be the center of attention, and expect relationships to stay in the honeymoon phase.

      That’s why people say ‘Trust that they suck”, because cheaters are so unoriginal. They are the same in SO many ways. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so destructive.

      It’s okay not to see it yet. As you coparent, you’ll probably see a pattern of her chasing ‘effortless’ relationships then walking away when real life intrudes.

      • bingo. I theorize that they need to “get attention” from people. The attention they get from their spouse may be high but it no longer rings true in their brain. They see spouse caring about the children and the house and solving problems and for some reason instead of admiring the quality they begin to have negative views about it and feel they no longer are getting the “percentage of attention” they got before. Or the attention is somehow less genuine. All my ‘I love you’ and ‘you look beautiful’ no longer had the same impact in her brain- she needed to hear it from a stranger for it to seem real to her.

    • “I started to worry about the kids and the house and money, and she did not.”

      Ah, ok. Well, there you go. You are a responsible adult. Your wife sees adult responsibilities as obstacles to fun. This is immature and narcissistic suckitude.

    • Dude – I’m sorry some people have piled on you over a stupid phrase. It happens occasionally but stick around . . . This site was integral to my recovery. Take care :hugs:

    • Thanks, it does make sense now. I was honestly wondering, and yes triggered by this comment. Now, it makes a lot more sense. To me, cheaters are high maintenance as fuck. Their happiness always depends on others.

    • Yes, the moment things stop being sparkley and one lil problem arises, these people are done. They never internally grew up. Someone above commented that you describe her in idealized teenage terms. I agree. But it would appear that you actually grew up, and she didn’t, yet your perception of a good mate didn’t mature along with you. Annndd, you’ll choose “cool chick” again if you don’t fix your picker.

      So, don’t worry about whether she sucks or not, worry more about why you view this type of person as an ideal mate. And change that.

      I’ll take an overly concerned, type A worry wart, sock-drawer organizing, always on time for appointments nutjob over a “cool guy” any day of the week. Life if tough, I want someone who can handle its toughness with me.

      Best of luck

  • My advice get a lawyer, and get boundaries. She may decide to stop “helping” with the bills or seeing the kids. She may decide to take the kids to schmoopie’s and keep you from them or take back your home. You need to protect yourself and your children. Do not let her control the narrative anymore. I also believe that once you do this, her true character will come out. She is only playing nice because you have let her have anything she wants.

    I feel like I read this and you would love to have her back. It is almost an ode to her. It is as if you are hoping she reads this and realizes what a mistake it was to leave a man that loved her so much. Please stop smoking the hopium. A woman that is capable of sleeeping at another man’s house and then coming home to you is not worth your time. You and your children deserve so much more than a part time mom/partner. Good luck and know she sucks, because she does!!!

    • I used to feel that I couldn’t wait till he sees that I’m the better woman, then he’d come back to me and he’d be a good, decent person and husband. Nope. He sucked and he will continue to suck the rest of his life. But now I absolutely feel repulsed thinking about running into him again. To think that someone can be so ugly as to cheat on his wife for YEARS and gaslight her into believing that he was leaving because she didn’t appreciate him enough. What a total and absolute dick I was married to. He sucked big time and I could NEVER take him back!

  • ” Bitch cookie. She “LETS” you? Get your balls out of her purse. Dude, you deserve a life beyond holding down the fort for Ms. Eat, Pray, Fuck-Over-Your-Family. ”

    I reiterate that with kindness.
    You’re mind – fucked dude, she has the narc spell on you and you’re not thinking straight.
    Now there is one thing, which is your broken heart.
    I want to say this clearly that your love is real.
    You CAN love. And self love will get you through.

    She’s a mask and you saw what’s underneath – thats the REAL her.

    Let me UBT this illusion:

    She’s funny, smart, charming, fun, sooooo cool, soooo beautiful, a decent mother, and best of all, low maintenance. She is the kind of girl a lot of guys would dream to have and now someone else gets to appreciate how amazing she is.

    Hilarious when she’s fukking other guy.
    Brilliant in her “let’s work on the marriage while I fukk other guy” reasoning.
    Charming- wait for the sad sad sausage, rage and silent treatment channels when faced with consequences.
    Fun – you’re having loads of fun doing the adulting for her. ( she helps with bills too? Wow.
    Cool – Cold as fukking ice, man.
    Beautiful – thanks, she I think so too.
    Decent mother – walks out on her family.
    Thank the AP – he’s got it now and you’re on your way to fuckwit-free.

    I say this with great respect and empathy: ” Dude, get your head out of your ass.”

    You are the dad; the guy who is stepping up; the guy who is not running away; the guy who is taking care of business. Many many, many people want a guy like you.
    Sending best energy to you and your children.

  • This sounds so similar to my discard. I didn’t know it was a discard at the time. My STBXW chose what was one of the worst times of my life to discard me. She showed no empathy during this process or over the next few months. She also took off to be with her AP. I didn’t realize it at the time (it took almost 4 months for me to figure it out) but she had been having an affair and had slept with him before she told me ILYBINILWY. She still lies to our kids, people we know and likely herself. She was “unhappy for a very long time”. It’s almost letter for letter. They are all the same.

    Some words of advice and lessons from my experience. My STBXW tried to get me to “share” her lawyer. Even I thought this was a bad idea in my poor state – don’t do it. Get your own lawyer. Start working on a parenting/separation agreement and prepare for her to be childish and picky about the entire thing. Also, she likely won’t lift a finger for this entire process because she knows you will take care of it. Use her need to be with her new “true love” to secure what YOU want out of the agreement. Get your kids into therapy. She won’t believe they will need any help (because she’s happy, ergo they’re happy).

    Lastly, take care of yourself. Be wary of your shared friends. Start reading everything you can about personality disorders, healing from this trauma (some people think it’s not a trauma but if you’ve been through it you think differently). Be kind and patient with your kids and yourself.

    • Very true- my STBXW repeatedly said she wanted a divorce but refused to file. After 8 months of pick me dancing, I finally filed. She continued to play games, saying she wasn’t sure what she wanted, all the while living and sleeping with another man. It seems like they enjoy playing games with you.

  • My cheating XH was handsome, charming, funny and smart too. My own daughter said the other day after a comment I made about him that he ‘had a good heart.’ Pfffttt A good hearted person does not cheat, lie and humiliate their partners. Just read a little bit here and you will find that ALL of these cheaters say the exact same thing. ‘They haven’t been happy in a long time’…’they love you but they aren’t IN love with you’ and other nefarious bullshit.
    Definitely a bitch cookie for her that she sees her children and helps pay their bills. That’s the very least she can do.
    As for her and her schmoopie…..a match made in heaven. She’s a cheater and he fucks married women. Money back guarantee that one will eventually blow up.

    • P.S. I’m low maintenance too. He used to smile and tell me that I was ‘High performance, Low drag.’
      I took care of his ‘dying’ ass for two years while he fought a horrific war with cancer. My reward? Catching him at the Econo Lodge fucking the ugliest skank on earth.

  • Dear IWHTS,
    I’m reading your description of your wife, and to me it screams personality disorder (probably Borderline). A very sparkly woman with barely adequate parenting and adulting skills.
    I know there are some male chumps here with BPD exes, and tons of female chumps with narc/sociopath exes.
    In my experience, leaving a personality disordered partner is ten times harder than leaving a non-disordered partner.
    For one, we chumps tend to develop severe co-dependent coping mechanisms when we partner with the disordered.
    Secondly, they are just so damn sparkly! Sooooo cool! Sooooo good-looking! Sooooo smart/sexy/funny/fill-in-the-blank.
    We get hooked on the few measly kibbles they toss in our direction once in a while. It’s called intermittent reinforcement, and it bonds us to them and makes us pick-me dance like crazy.
    We have to leave anyway.
    You say you can’t trust that she sucks, and that’s okay. You don’t have to. As long as you keep taking the next right step in gaining a life for yourself and your kids.
    You can miss her, love her, long for her. Just keep moving forward anyway. Don’t beat yourself up for how you feel. Your feelings are valid. Just don’t let them dictate your actions.
    In time, as you build your new, mighty life, those feelings will take up less and less space in your mind and heart.
    I left a 4.5 year relationship with a sociopath 18 months ago. Objectively, I know he sucks. He moved in with his parents when we split, gave away his beloved dog, and hasn’t seen his kids (not by me) in a year.
    Me? I bought a house for cash in a different town, am a successful business owner, and most importantly wake up happy and grateful every day.
    And I made all this happen while still grappling with a mountain of feelings for my sociopath ex.
    You can too. And it is soooo worth it!

  • May I suggest getting the Ancestry or 23andMe kits for you and the kids for the holidays? I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that one or both of your children are not yours biologically.

    I don’t recommend that so you can dump the kid(s), but because of the medical implications for the kids.

    If she gets wind of it and pitches a fit, then you will have a pretty good indication that she has been cheating for a lot longer than you imagined.

    I am really sorry you find yourself here but the support for you is incredible.

    Now go figure out a way to make your holidays bright – regardless of what she is doing.

    • Yes – I’m surprised CL didn’t bring this up in the original post. A unique hell for male chumps is having to face paternity doubts.

      • Well, there was SO MUCH to unpack in this letter I am not surprised that something cogent wasn’t forgotten.

        We have your 6!

  • When it comes to the “trust that they suck” narrative I think there are two places we chumps get tripped up: (1) In assigning the sucky-ness points and (2) the wonky math we then use when we are tallying the plus and minus columns.

    We all sometimes do sucky things. You don’t return your grocery cart to the bin – you suck. You forgot your mom’s birthday – you suck. You always keep your dog tied up outside on a short leash – you suck. Even in those simple examples, you can probably assign degrees of sucky-ness. But there are some acts of sucky-ness that just simply break the scale. Lying as a means to steal someone’s agency, cheating and exposing someone to STDs, gaslighting until the other person feels insane, and completely destabilizing your children’s life because you “aren’t happy”. These are scale breakers…the suck points that they should be assigned are astronomical.

    But then we begin to do that wonky math. They’re beautiful (genetics, luck – should be no value but we give points). They make a mean chocolate meringue pie. (points) They feed their children (double points here). OMG…and they read bedtime stories as well? (The points wheel is going crazy). Ahh, she’s also funny?? Please re-tell the side-splitting joke she told as she was walking out the door. We need to make sure we add in those points, too.

    It doesn’t work like that…and trying to make it work like that will just make us crazy. Sometimes there is behavior that is so far out on the sucky-ness scale that there simply aren’t enough “value points” to negate it – no matter how you twist the math. If I were a long-time, beloved teacher that hugged each student every morning, bought snacks for hungry children, coats for cold children, and could teach long-division in a way that every single child got it in one lesson…but I also held one child back after school to molest him/her. Not all of them. Just one. What would my value score be? With some behaviors the “just one” matters that much…so much as to negate all the other good.

    You and your children are that “just one”. Your wife may not suck in all ways…but she sucks in a way that really, really matters. There aren’t enough other points to offset that.

    • Bingo, Jammy for the win.

      A mental image: She is like a frosty keg of beer on a 100 degree day. Gorgeous, tasty, refreshing, you can see the beads on the side of the keg and you know that it is so cold and the anticipation is overwhelming. You have enjoyed the beer before and you know exactly how good it is and you long for it again. You love how it makes you feel.

      But…. now you know someone has poured a cup of urine into the keg. Sure, it still looks great but it is ruined. You can’t remove the pee, it is un-findable and totally a part of the overall product now.

      There is no way to un-know what you know about her now– we call this “the slipping of the mask” and it can be very difficult to convince ourselves that this is who these entitled cheaters have shown themselves to be. She sucks.

      • …And also, people are not things which we covet as worldy possessions.
        Not to go all Old Testament here, but that’s the same set of values cheaters have.
        And why they can and will discard us when even fresher, more glistening beer is served…

      • hmmm. the “slipping of the mask” is when their true colors come out. when they forgot to pretend they are human and you see the monster behind the mask.. .. it doesnt happen often. and when it does happen, you are shocked. .. . you cant believe it. the love of your life would NEVER do that, say that, act that way.. .. . and so you make excuses for it. he was tired. he had a long day. his boss jumped all over his ass. he was stressed.. .. and you forget it. until the next time. and the next time.

        before you know it you see a pattern, and it is harder for him to keep the mask in place. But they always have the mask.

    • This was such a thoughtful, kind reply Jammy!(unlike some of the other mean spirited comments based on how the original poster worded things)
      Your comments are very insightful. Please keep posting here. Thank you for the wise words…

  • Please take a look at the book “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists”. I think you’ll find your ex clearly described here. This book doesn’t give a lot of coping skills to deal with people like her, but I hope you find a qualified counselor/therapist to talk to. I’m sorry this happened to you. Remember to take care of you, too.

  • The children still live with you full time, you get 2 nights a week to go out with your friends, and she lives with and spends the night with fuckboy every day.

    Who is really doing who a favor here?

  • It’s cognitive dissonance. We see a sparkly package that possesses many attractive qualities… but we also see the duplicitous cheater who had to tell hundreds, perhaps thousands of lies to us to keep us in the dark for so long.

    Our brain longs for the more comfortable, less confusing past. We were being duped, but we were in love and life with this person SEEMED to be great.

    But it wasn’t.

    They were playing a role. They manipulated and managed us, because we were not equals but useful underlings that (unwittingly) played supporting roles. THEY were the lead characters in their fantasy. Some of these disordered cheaters were capable of fidelity for awhile; some were never faithful for even a short while.

    Those of us who are able to bond (like normal, non-character disordered people do) feel a deep connection to the person that we fell in love with. This bonding ability helps us to forgive minor transgressions, but unfortunately it also keeps us emotionally connected even after the worst, most abusive treatment and disrespect.

    We need to “rewire” our brains. We need to train ourselves to break the bad habit of idealizing these people who are not as wonderful as they first seemed to be. For me, making lists (even having a few different categories) of his bad behaviors, disrespectful language, and evidence that I found that proved his “assholeness” helped a lot. I had to refer to those lists frequently for awhile. Fill your head with reminders like this and it will help you move past the painful pining stage.

  • Its like they all have the same playbook. this is my story almost to a T.

    I could go on and on but everyone here has done a great job filling in the blanks. I have one piece of advice. My XW cheater was very nasty during the separation. My son expressed in no uncertain terms that he did not want to live with her and the man that moved in with her within 30 days of her leaving me.
    I failed him, I was still hitting the hopium and in the attorneys office I gave her the 50/50 that she should not have gotten. The attorney, who had spoken with my son, even told me he did not want to live with her and he expressed that in a closed door meeting with him. I gave her what she wanted because I was still waiting for something……..something that was never coming and never would have no matter how I reacted to anything, good or bad. If your wife was once a good person, and I believed like you that mine was, she is not anymore. She deserves no respect, no remorse, and definitely no love from you.

    Repeat after me……

    “The fact she lived a lie is not my fault. I was real. I lived and loved fully. I am not to blame for her disorder”

  • I Want Her to Suck:

    Oh no, you are stuck in trauma bond (please look that up in reference to infidelity). I was stuck in this mindset for about 6-8 months until the scales started to fall from my eyes.

    I had been stuck in the “pick-me” dance for so long that it took that long to break free from the bonds of it and start to rewire my brain to see things as they really are. It took a lot of counselling to recognize the abuse that infidelity really entails. For a long while, I was still in the notion that my ex was this sad, confused, good person who just needed my patience and understanding.

    Like you, I still believe my ex to be a decent enough person. He’s not evil. I also don’t think that he has a personality disorder or is sociopathic (as in a DSM V diagnosis). However, I have come to learn that the act of cheating, including the turning of one’s mindset towards cheating in the first place, results in a a cheater displaying many narcissistic tendencies.

    Make no mistake that your wife was cheating on you, absolutely. I am almost two years out since my ex left me for the OW, and he still adamantly maintains that he did not have an affair and that he did not leave the marriage for his affair partner. What he is doing is image management extraordinaire. He is very concerned about the appearance of things and does not want to be the bad guy, so he’s gone to great lengths to concoct a false narrative in the hopes of getting this woman and relationship accepted. Unfortunately for him, he underestimates how principled his family is and many of his friends who continue to be appalled at what he’s done.

    And, if I hadn’t discovered the secret email account that documented what ended up being a 19-20 month relationship, with dates, trips, gifts and lovebombing drippery, I would have probably believed him to be more innocent. I have chosen not to let him know that I have this evidence, although I have shared it with his family and key friends, which has allowed me to be even more enlightened to his two-faced image.

    Eventually, I decided to grey rock him. I was demonstrating symptoms of trauma and began treatment with a counsellor for post-traumatic stress. Seeing his continued “innocent” act with his continued lies took its toll on me as I started to get gain an understanding of how insidious his cheating had become and what his choices had made of him. And, go figure, once I cut him off, his mask started to crack and he got ugly with me. The stories I heard from others about the things he was saying about me was startling, and thankfully people informed me to assure me that they didn’t believe him. It took him almost a year to turn around that attitude, and then he became “nice” with me again. By that point, I knew to be suspicious.

    I don’t know what his exact motivations are anymore, but I do know that it is to serve his self-interest served up with a serene self-satisfied smile. Just last night I learned of another manipulation. His birthday was last Thursday, which is his night with the kids. A few weeks ago, he let me know that he couldn’t keep the kids for the night as he had to leave at 6am to go out of time for a meeting (he is an auditor). He returned the kids to me after having had a birthday dinner with them. Every once in a while, I hear from the OW ex-husband and we exchange intel. He let me know last night that his ex left their three kids on Thursday night with her parents because she went out of town for the weekend. So, I learned that my ex was treating me like a babysitter to free himself for along weekend away, and this is one week after he emailed me about his financial struggle and how he thinks he can only give me $100 a month for the kids’ extraneous expenses.

    What’s interesting about the covert, “nice” cheater is that they are probably the most manipulative of them all. And, that is exactly what you are dealing with. They are subtle, seemingly kind and patient, logical. In re-examining my marriage in counselling and talking with his family members, whom have all maintained a good relationship with me and rarely see him, I have learned he’s always been like this. Living a double-life, being one way with his family and a different way elsewhere. I recognized how often I noted his moral ambiguity in our relationship, felt that his apologies were never quite sincere, or would do things only when there was something for him to gain. My major grievance in the marriage was that he lacked initiative, was always the path of least resistance, and wouldn’t always follow up words with action. He always said the right thing and did just enough to look helpful, but there was always something distant. As soon as our married life became real adulting (parenting, house, etc.) he was never quite with me. My gut instinct felt it, but my mind couldn’t get it.

    Your wife is playing nice with you because you are playing nice with her. It serves her purpose. Her purpose is not to really be a decent person to you – that much is obvious through her cheating. No one just starts sleeping over with someone immediately without a relationship having been established. She’s creating an image for herself so she doesn’t look like the bad guy and she wants this other guy accepted. You are falling for the trap.

    Guaranteed that if you pushed back on her with some hard boundaries about her lying and fully disengaged yourself from her (which you need to do for your own healing), you will see her true colours too. The woman you believe your wife to be is but an image.

  • Dear IWTSS,

    If you can’t trust yourself right now that she sucks, trust people on the outside looking in who know all about this-
    SHE SUCKS BIG TIME
    One of her qualities you forgot to mention-she is super awesome at manipulating you into feeling you are responsible for this mess.
    Anyone who…
    “Fixes” marital problems by fucking people outside their marriage
    Blames the person who was faithful for the collapse of the marriage
    Does the bare minimum parenting
    Puts their own needs above the family
    Lies
    Ect, ect, ect…
    SUCKS, trust me.

    You aren’t too far out from the shock of this all, and it takes time to trust that she sucks. One thing that really helped me was paying attention to ACTIONS not words. Anyone can say words, but do they line up with her actions over time? Try no contact as much as possible and see how things look from a distance over time. I wish better for you and your kids my friend. No judgements here, just been there done that. Hugs❤️

  • I understand why you want your kids to have a good relationship with their mother. My brother, and his very young kids, were abandoned by his wife. The damage to those children took years to get over. Good for you for being a great dad.
    The hard part. The CN folks have walked your walk and feel your pain. They want to help you get past it all. Going as “no contact” as you can will help. Looking at her behavior will too. Living with a man and “visiting” her kids is no where near decent. Once little people come along you don’t get to be selfish, and she is. Ted Buddy was good looking and charming. Morals beat looks and charm every time.

  • I Want Her to Suck, I’ve been where you are now. I thought my STBXW was the most beautiful, charming and sexy woman there ever was. I stayed for 4 long years after finding out about her affairs. See “Im an Ex Marine Chump” and you’ll see my story. Everyone in the comments tried to tell me, but I couldn’t listen. We all move at our own pace. You have to shut her out of your life though. For me, I did the pick me dance for 2 years and then I spent the next 2 years planning my escape after realizing WTF was I doing. I told her that I wanted a separation and I moved on with my life. You’re not doing the pick me dance and that’s great. You do still have the perfect image of her in your mind. We all do it and that will fade in time. Like I said, it took me a couple of years for my head and heart to catch up. That and a lot of therapy. Someday things will become clear and you’ll start to hate the way that you used to think, the devalue of your own self will be come present and all you can do is shake your head. For me, that took some time to move past how I acted placing her on a pedestal and devaluing myself. I was still technically married for two years as I worked all of this out. Once I decided that i had enough, I told her it was over and she moved out. Now I only see her maybe once a week when we do the drop off and pick up of my son. To keep my mind off of everything, I went back to school during the dark days and finished my doctorate, became the deputy director of a great program at the Pentagon and found myself again. My point is that you have to focus on you. Hell, be selfish. I always wanted to be a doctor so I could tell other people to shut up when they pulled that they were a doctor. Do something for you no matter how big it is. Your STBXW’s image will start to fade in your mind. You’ll also start to realize that things can be great. Although, I will never get married again, I have learned that I’m a pretty good guy and women love that. I had a poor self image of myself (like most of us do after something like this) and I have been proven wrong in my thinking. I have found a great woman who is crazy about me. She calls throughout the day just to see how I’m doing. You will notice that you will be the same. All of the sudden women will start to notice you and it feels great. Maybe they noticed me before and I was so stuck on my STBXW that i didnt notice it prior. <<<See what I'm saying there, you miss out on so much when you hold them high on that pedestal. Shit man, it's you who needs to be held up there. You sound like a cool guy who is a great father that just got fucked over. knock her off that pedestal and get back out there when you are ready. Just make sure that you are ready, trust me two years is a long time. I was lonely as hell but you dont want to go from one bad situation and then create another. Read up on the stuff here and apply it as needed. I've been reading this site for 4 years now. We all got through this and you will too.

  • Like IWHTS I thought my relationship was low maintenance, when actually my XH was pretending to think the same way as me and building up a set of resentments that he used to justify doing whatever the hell he wanted.

    The bald truth is that IWHTS’s wife was on the look out for a soft place to land rather than work on her relationship or be honest. That’s not someone who really bonds.

    • Me too. I thought we hugged along just fine and we didn’t row or have difficulties I saw other couples having. I never bad mouthed him. But guess what it would appear now that there were this huge bag of resentments and issues from day one. So either this isn’t true and was made up to justify his behaviour (most likely) or maybe it was true and he did used to go and sit in the car park crying as he couldn’t believe what we were like as a couple and he did write 1,000 unsent emails to me about how he was feeling while simultaneously going along the happy path. Whichever is true doesn’t matter, he ended up being vile to me the minute he started an affair while also telling me when I dissed something was off that he stayed for love and all the good that outweighed the bad. So frankly one thing I can say for certain is he puts in a good show. Doesn’t matter any more which of it was true or not. We were seen by my friends as a living and unproblematic couple with a beautiful family. Weren’t we all wrong. Once I started to trust that he sucis I was next furious about how he was treating her, hand made cards saying ‘I love ya’ and flowers in his hand every time I bumped into him. And poems and crap like that. (All on social media of course to make sure everyone could see) but I have long moved away from having any reason to see that stuff (just did it in the discovery phase to work out what was happening) and I then thought but why wasn’t he like that with me? And that doesn’t matter either if these people had spent 1% of the effort on their lung term partner than they do the sparkly turds things would maybe have been different. Most realists understand that the sparkle may fall out of a lung term relationship with the pressures of’dependents, illness etc and probably there are times when you don’t like each other that much. Not them, need to be kept up in their pedestal and once someone puts them back up there they lap it up and proclaim this as their one true love. They are less emotionally mature than 8 year olds no matter how cool they appear. Wait till she starts behaving awfully towards you, it will come so be ready. Then you will know that she sucks.

  • Mr. “I Want Her to Suck:”
    This is standard operating procedure — or a variation thereof — in the cheater playbook.
    “I’ve been unhappy for a long time.”
    I didn’t start seeing this guy/girl till after we were apart.
    You’re really the problem here.
    I want to work on things, but only if “work on things” includes seeing the AP.
    Read through this blog, and you’ll hear this story a million times.

  • Oh, and
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.
    She was cheating on you long before she left you for him.

    And, she is NOT low maintenance. Any woman that wants to spend a few days a week at another guy’s place is a royal pain in the [].

  • I WANT HER. TO SUCK.

    I like your name. It’s kinda symbolic like mine, Yeh? This is where you are now (I want her “mode”)…
    This is COMPLETELY NORMAL in your Current internal battle of your mind trying to catch up to your heart. Not a fun time for me. OK THIS normal recovery statistic… Don’t put a stopwatch on your recovery. Period. It fucking takes as long as it takes. Nobody else can go through this but you. Wonder over the statistical placement in the bell curve later on…That’s not helping your NOW even though it does get painted with a light scheen of new-hope enamel.

    (with my arms around you brother and so gently) … Be forewarned Brother that YOU can extend this period of adjustment or shorten it. The only difference between your ‘awakening’ , your forthcoming ‘moment of clarity’ -and mine, was that all (our?) kids were grown adults and just out on their own.

    It took only 1 night sleeping (Yeh Right!) in the same marital bed with x-dragon- knowing from bones to balls that she’d been with another man that night- for me to quarrantine myself from the disgust of knowing it (again). Betrayal tasted at the very center of my soul. Judas anyone?

    And OMG Man! the unashamed, palpable Entitlement the dragon now clothed herself in during her later post killing field ‘visits’ to me to show off her new wardrobe and post Rouen-Y weight loss…Yippie Kia Yay Mutherfucker!!! Que Grateful Dead..What a long, strange trip it’s been…
    yeah Bro you need to keep your humor… anyroad, it’s a great coping mechanism for me..

    My perscription for you is to get Tracy’s audio book and listen (with notepad and pen handy) about 30 times minimum. I have copious notes from my 2:47 am Chump Lady classes. There’s A LOT to learn. This is Hard Style. military grade. refocus training. Knowledge IS POWER. Believe that.

    Here’s an example… Me: WTF just HAPPENED!!!??? (dday)
    (time slows to a crawl)
    Me: Dude, You’re in Shock
    Me: What day is it?
    CL voice on my shoulder gently saying… “That’s called the ‘ODD’ cycle. Objectify. Devalue. Discard.
    That’s what just happened to you. The target”.

    Example 2-
    Me: (after a few verbal/emotional/pickme dance separation encounters later) Dude. You really, really need to go No Contact with this white trailor trash.

    Me: (AA sponsors sage advice decades ago…) “you’re not going to do a Goddammed thing about it (alcoholism) until you HURT bad enough!!”

    Enter Cognizant DARVO behavior pattern recognition during verbal exchange. Deny. Attack. Reverse victim/offender roles. YUP. The mask falls away. This is one sick individual.

    Bro I’m not saying this is your path. It was mine. Sep2020 is 2 years out for me. Post Divorce. I’m still working through it but making strides. I feel like I’m about to turn a corner. Just in time to reach 60.

    Eventually you WILL get in touch with your anger. Use it. Intellectually. Quick. Funnelled through a lawyer. I did a no fault divorce wherein I wrote up the settlement. I could have taken more but got what I needed. She didn’t care about material possession at that point. For xw the settlement clauses were necessary, low value concessions gladly surrendered for image management with her kids and my family. I also had hard undeniable evidence implicating her for years of infidelity before dday. A word about that. Be careful how much you dig into this cravass. Once you know a thing you cannot un-know it. I think you know enough.

    One more thing. Have you heard about the two wolves we all carry inside? I reread it two days ago. I have it posted above my sink as a reminder when I do dishes. There’s a list of defining the good and bad traits in each wolf.
    Self-Pity is Evil. Hit me like a ton of bricks. What will you model before your children?

  • What she did is called “monkey branching”.

    She made sure she was all set with the other guy before she let go of you.

  • You’re not alone DIWHTS,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this and know first hand how fucking painful it is.Our stories are very similar. Mine went out nights at a time too and she claimed that he was “just a friend”. I was also told the same bullshit lines like: “I need to find myself” and the classic “I love you but I’m not in love with you. That there was nobody else and she wanted to live like room mates. The only differences is my kids are grown and do not live with us and I fucking caught them red-handed in our house, and he was upstairs naked.

    I was so shocked that I could not move, so I sat in the dining room utterly stunned as she took his clothes up to him, walked him down my steps and out to his car, she even kissed him goodbye. I was so fucking humiliated.

    I have left her and paying on an attorney to rid myself of her. First thing you want to do is get Tracy’s book “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life”, and read it. All. The. Time. Tracy is spot on and it will give you a lot of insight and clarity. I got her audiobook and am still listening to it over & over. It’s basically my bible now and has helped in keeping me sane.

    CL has a support group online, you have to get permission to join. The members there have been through the same thing we have and are wonderful, caring people! I don’t know what I would have done without it. CL is right, your wife is UNETHICAL and SELFISH! She doesn’t deserve any respect from you and doesn’t have any honor!

  • It is uncanny how I could have written this myself. She plotted, schemed, lived a double life for almost a year before I busted her. She started the moment our kids became adults. Apparently, she thought motherhood expired at age 18. She gave the same cliché nonsense – “He (AP) is not my future”, “I don’t know how it happened”, “Been unhappy for years”, “we can be friends”, ad nauseum. She proposed an open marriage (after I discovered the fuckbuddy of course), when I refused, she walked out the door and left her kids (one in the midst of a mental health crisis) and I in the house and left me with all the responsibilities of getting them through college. COLD. AS. ICE. Then has the girl-balls to tell everyone “He gave up on our marriage” because she left me to do the dirty work (and pay for) the divorce.

    I also thought the sun rose and set on her. You need to see her for the evil creature she is, not who you thought she was. It is such a mindfuck to discover that the woman you’d take a bullet for, was the one firing the gun.

  • I too was blinded by the halo, the goodness and generosity extended to all and sundry, except as it turned out his nearest and dearest. He camouflaged it all by doing the cooking, but after D-day I realised that the boys and I could have had takeaway every night and still had a better time. A gourmet meal is no substitute for love and respect. After he left I was able to see who he really was – took me some time, but when I stopped imbuing him with my values (as CL notes us chumps do so often), there he was, a self absorbed turd and not even very sparkly. And now that I can get into the kitchen (not just to clean up after the maestro) I enjoy cooking the things I like to eat! Hang in there, her suckyness will be revealed in time.

  • I’m coming back to the party late, but I just want to say on the “low maintenance” comment — I take zero offense at it and I’m a hairy-legged femi-nazi liberationist.

    As a general rule here, if someone offends you, or you’re not sure of their intent — either ask them what they mean, or just ignore it. Obvious trolls troll — but chumps are our people — and so lets everybody cut everybody some slack, okay?

    I took low maintenance to mean she didn’t appear like some obvious diva cheater. Just like before I was chumped, I didn’t think my cheater was Rico Suave, appearing like some obvious douchebag.

    And frankly, I refere to myself (to Mr. CL) as high maintenance all the time. Not like getting your nails done kind of way, but I Have Opinions About Everything kind of PITA way. Like don’t buy the Wrong Kind of Butter. Like I don’t camp. Like I care a LOT about bed pillows.

    Low maintenance, high maintenance — my feminism is intact. Death to the Patriarchy! (fist bump) toodles… CL

  • Dear Letter Writer: I, too, have times when I forget to trust that my handsome hilarious smart ex sucks. But you know what helps? I think of my children. And, would I want them to be with a charming, cool, sooooo good looking, funny cheater? Would I think that was a match that could bring them long term happiness? And I quickly snap out of it. Because people I truly love (like my kids and, on good days, myself) actually deserve partners with qualities that count far more: kindness, loyalty, integrity, sound judgment, willingness to communicate, etc. I think you might come to the same conclusion if you conduct the similar thought experiment.

  • I just wanted to say thanks to all the guy Chumps who have come out to aid this fine fellow. Your personal paths to healing are amazing. They also help us lady Chumps remember good, loyal guys exist. Betrayal is so damaging.

    • Amen. We live in a culture that sometimes tells men they are weak if they share their grief and pain. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Thank you for coming here and openly discussing your experiences. It is healing for so many of us. Xo

  • DM nails it.
    Cheating is cheating just as excuses are excuses.
    This story matches mine almost perfectly.
    Attractive, good mother
    Some years of increasingly abusive behavior, trouble at work and an unwillingness to stick with couples therapy. Suddenly “I want a divorce”, I never loved you”, “I want to mediate a peaceful divorce” “Of course there is no one else involved”. I took it all in as my fault.
    Very soon I discover the affair with a divorcing co-worker, the web of lies leading up to it and her concurrent attempts to cheat me in a property settlement. Weeks later a little sleuthing uncovers a previous affair at work that nearly cost her her job.
    It is so painfull for a person who is basically ethical and loyal to their spouse and wants to think the best of them to accept their partner is far from who you imagined. Worse yet, people who have not been personaly injured by her believe she is quite sparkly and special.
    It is important to see them for what they are: sparkly turd cheaters who have learned how to manipulate others.

  • Ditto. My story is the same.

    They will not suffer. Everyone else will.

    With there looks and charm they will always meet a new chump. Sad but true.

    Be a good dad!! Kids need an anchor in life.

  • I don’t get how a woman who behaves this way can be “sooooooooo cool” and “sooooo beautiful.” Lying and cheating are ugly. What people look like physically and how “cool” their mask is means nothing.

    Angelina Jolie? Physically beautiful. Puts on a mask of public service, adopting kids, charity work. Cheater. Liar. Leaves a trail of destruction behind her. If I were a man, I wouldn’t touch her with a barge pole.

    Pretty is as pretty does. Wise words from my often crazy, narcissistic mother. She also made the point that “water seeks its own level.” So time to up your own game if you are still thinking a lying, cheating manipulator is the best you can do.

  • I’m probably going to find some quiet time this weekend to go over all of the comments in this thread, because so much of this is relatable, and I can take away advice from what all of us are dealing with. We could all right a book, or at least a lengthy chapter, of our personal experiences.

    In my case, she cheated w/a co-worker who admitted to her that he had cheated on his own wife or GF. I still shake my head to think that she could just throw away almost 18 years of marriage, and over 20 years of a relationship, to commit to a d-bag (I won’t acknowledge him, because he knew what he was getting into by going after a married person) she knows already did the same thing to someone else. #karma will come some day, and I hope to be close enough to hear and laugh about it.

  • Tracy, this is one of the best posts you’ve ever written. It’s exactly what I needed to read today.

    I could easily have written this letter, many, many times over the past year. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few Chumps thought it was me. I did write the letter you published on January 14th (back then I was commenting using the world’s stupidest username, “GMSB”). Your parting words: “Walk in the direction of that new future. Free yourself from the nonsense.”

    I’ve been walking in that direction. I was an active poster in the forum, and I’ve been lighting up the Reddit chat since August. I’ve attended meetups monthly since May, and I’ve met some of the most amazing people, offline and online. Seriously, Chumps are incredible human beings.

    Reading this post, I can see that I’ve made progress. My life wouldn’t be the same without Chump Nation. In fact, there’s a non-zero possibility that my life wouldn’t BE, full stop, without Chump Nation. Tracy, you are a lifesaver. And anyone who considers that statement a hyperbole clearly has never experienced what we have experienced.

    To the author of the letter: you are not alone. (Are you my long-lost twin brother?) Please comment, if you haven’t already, and let us know how you’re feeling. Or join the Reddit chat and talk to us. Or email me. Tempest (if she’s around) can get you in contact with me. Just don’t be a stranger. You may not trust that she sucks—I’m not there yet, either—but you can trust that you’ve found your tribe here.

    • Sometimes I cry tears of (pseudo) joy, when people are so kind to me during all of this: my brothers, my friends.

      You just made me tear up a bit Mono. I’m going to come find you guys on Reddit.

  • I hate to say it, but if she’s truly been “low maintenance” it means: “she’s been fucking around on you for a long time, probably your entire relationship”

    Sorry.

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