Jammy had a stellar comment on yesterday’s UBT post, which I think merits its own discussion today. To wit:
For the love of all things holy, can we please as a society redefine what intimacy actually is?
Intimacy is buying that first house and then worrying each month how you will make the mortgage. Intimacy is passing a crying, sick baby back and forth at night when neither of you have slept well for days. It’s anxiety on the first day of school, screaming like crazy on the sidelines when the bat connects with the ball and they actually make it to first base, and it’s crying together on the ride home from unpacking them at college. It’s dreaming, planning, sacrificing together to finally take that perfect trip. It’s putting the family dog down. It’s studying 401k plans and burying parents. It’s cancer scares and family holiday traditions. And it’s sex – even when you don’t feel like it, when you have your period and are horribly bloated, when there’s ED. Intimacy is sharing EVERY aspect of those experiences and working through them – when it’s great and when it’s far from great. Intimacy is standing at your partner’s deathbed or their gravesite and having absolutely no idea how you will get through the next hour. THIS is intimacy.
You can love fucking married people. Largely, I don’t care. I’m not interested in even debating those “merits”. I’m more sure of my own values than I have ever been so, honestly, I find those conversations boring. Just don’t call that intimacy. Don’t tell me that people that do so are looking for intimacy. If anything, they are escaping it.
This comment gets to the heart of the accepted Your Inadequacies Forced Me to Betray You narrative — that cheaters are compelled to cheat because they cannot “connect” with chumps, so they seek connection elsewhere. Because chumps are (fill in the blank) frigid, distracted, too busy with children or work, etc.
As Jammy points out — NO, if you can walk away from the intimate life that binds us — YOU have the connection problem.
Escapism is inherent to the act of cheating.
I heard this from him yesterday: “We can never again be a couple, because too much history, too many memories”. Oh really? And here I thought spending a third of our lives together actually MEANT making those memories.
What he really meant is, I’m no longer likeable now I’m not a chump anymore.
Better move on to easier prey – which he has. I pray Jesus she’ll run away while she can.
She’s much younger and he’s already showing her the worse of him.
I know exactly my ex husband has already screwed everything up with his new supply. Three years into Dday he’s so fucked up I can’t believe I ever married that idiot!????
‘We can never be a couple again because….’
I got the EXACT same lines.
Cheater’s handbook special.
Once again reminded of the vapid emptiness of cheaters
CL’s line, ” Cheaters are just cliches,” rings ever so loudly through my brain.
Just nightmares that happen 24 hours a day.
And ‘they’ thought we, meaning us Chumps, were boring?!?!
Tears after reading this. This is what every cheater needs to understand. They have walked away from the other part of them that didn’t get a say in the matter. I will never understand how the intimacies mentioned in the above cannot be the glue that keeps two people together forever. How can they be there for all of the hard times like a knight in shining armor then decide a 19 year old piece of ass is worth the gamble to lose it all?
Selfishness is the only word I have.
Bravo to this article.
Another word – disordered.
Cheaters don’t understand anything. They’re not interested in “understanding.” It’s not that they don’t see, as Dr. George Simon says, “it’s that they disagree.”
They understand MORE than us, on the subject. That’s the thing that hurts, they are the ones with superficial values, but they are also the ones who knew all along a part of the underwold exists, while we lived on the surface, oblivious to it.
In this game, we lose by default.
Brilliant! It touches on something that I always knew Rhys had backwards – he tried to tell me that without sexual chemistry, there’s no point in trying for emotional connection. I say that if you have the emotional connection and the history, sexual chemistry can be developed. It certainly can’t be forced!
Yes. And I have the proof in a subsequent relationship. My amazing BF says “how we make love is how we are outside the bedroom”. In that regard, then selfish or perfunctionary lovers are equally lame in the relationship.
Great post by Jammy and great summary by CL, as usual!!
Jammy’s article (or your summary??) brought tears to me. I was very moved. A bit enraged at the DOCTOR wasband, but only momentarily. We were married 35 years, plus 2 years of dating so I was literally in love with him all of my adult life.
I read this and it really resonated. I mostly felt sadness for the ex and my kids…and a forlorn hope that I’ll be able to have “intimacy” again with a non fuckwit… But yeah, it also hurt again. I still feel stupid for not seeing reality sooner…
And What a fool ex was to throw it all away but what a Godsend for me.
If I had known 15 years ago what he really was, I’d have cut him loose back then – and yet I’m usually at peace.
I mean, life is short and I can’t spend the rest of it regretting an idiot’s mistake. Or my own.
I am listening to it and it is really helping me let go of any residual self blame and the ‘if only’s’ my mind tries to toss at me.
Thanks for this. I have bought into the idea that my inadequacies was the under lying cause of the betrayal of someone I trusted and loved. I have bought into it in a big way. It makes the idea of ever even imagining connection with someone again seem impossible cause those inadequacies are still there. I am those inadequacies! It’s who I am. I’m tired of being ashamed about how I am broken. I do know I would never purposely hurt someone and lie to their face.
Good riddance. You should not feel ashamed because you were living and trusting. You are hurt. You will heal. He is broken.
Dee: “I would never purposely hurt someone and lie to their face.” That’s exactly why you will survive to grow into a better & stronger you. The cheating bastards will never change, and as Jammy so eloquently says about intimacy: “they are escaping it.” Offload the shame, as the fault lies entirely with the cheaters.
At least had hearts to break–they have darkness where a heart should exist. One step at a time.
Sociologist Brené Brown wisely wrote, “Of all the things trauma takes away from us, the worst is our willingness, or even our ability, to be vulnerable. There’s a reclaiming that has to happen.” Vulnerability is “about having the courage to show up and be seen,” wrote Brown. Nothing is more vulnerable than being yourself and living your life on your own terms. At the end of Good Will Hunting, you see the main character leave for California to pursue a life and love that reflected who he really was and what he really wanted – a fate that he would have denied himself had he not had a breakthrough about his early trauma. Anyone who’s suffered should be assured that you have the courage, strength, and vulnerability to transform, resurrect, and reclaim yourself. It’s not your fault, but it is your fate.
Hey, thanks for posting that. Very touching and it helped me today.
We all have flaws. A normal, healthy, kind loving person sees those flaws as beautiful. We are uniquely imperfect. Only a creep would label your flaws as inadequacies. The problem here is not you, but your terrible partner’s lack of genuine love and connection.
Why? Why do you buy the “reasons” of liar and cheater? And I’ll even grant the obvious “inadequacy” or problem that we all have in common–a broken picker that got us involved with someone who is CLEARLY incapable of the fidelity, honesty, and commitment required by marriage, as demonstrated by cheating.
Intimacy requires vulnerability, which means revealing who you really are in every day, all that you do, to the person to whom you’re committing. Narc cheaters aren’t capable of that, for whatever reason.
One of KK’s social media “becoming the person I was meant to be” diatribes focused on how she spent so many years hiding: “Hiding my body. Hiding my opinions. Hiding what I wanted and who I wanted to be. It was exhausting…”
If she truly stands by these words, then in one fell swoop destroys the argument that we lost connection and intimacy. You can’t be intimate with someone who spends so much time and effort hiding who she really is.
(It also destroys the “you never took responsibility for your role in the failure of the marriage” charge. If you’re dealing with someone that inauthentic, everything you do and say will be a ‘failure’ of some kind.)
Exactly. I can’t connect with you if I don’t know who you really are. Especially if YOU don’t know who the f you are!
“Revealing who you are” requires honesty. You can’t be intimate with someone who is in hiding, and erecting a wall so you can’t see in. So say I who was married 35 years to a person who had been hiding his true sexuality.
I’m in tears now after reading that.
That’s what my parents had.
After 4 kids & 25 years that’s what I thought I had with my spouse but I really didn’t. It was all a mirage.
Oops my comment nested under yours. It wasn’t meant as a reply. Sorry!
Being vulnerable would be the greatest narc injury of all- unsurvivable.
In my experience, it is all about control. They are constantly seeing to control everything in their realm. Someone having a different opinion is intolerable. No one else can correct them or offer any acceptable insight. This is so true that narcs cannot tolerate intimacy. It around destroy their disordered sense of self.
So Fuckwit has moved on bragging that he is now with “the love of his life”. Again, there is no real intimacy, just sex. My gut tells me she is also a narc. So is that relationship destined to blow up or can the be compatible because neither wants intimacy? Sorry, but I can’t help being curious.
The ex and his AP whore both were narcs it lasted 8 months after our divorce finalized. Almost 2 years to the day from when they moved in together. It doesn’t last when they have no supply!
My ex married his skank two years ago and for all appearances they seem to be happy. And I don’t care. It took me a long time to get here, i.e., that I don’t care. I doubted myself so much wondering why I was never enough. I compared myself to the skank over and over wondering where she excelled and I lacked. But it doesn’t matter anymore. Once I realized that no matter how pretty, skinny, dynamic, wonderful, etc. that she is, she’s a liar and a cheater…, just like my ex. And that’s when I realized that I’d much rather be frumpy ol’ me than be a liar and a cheater. I’d rather live the rest of my life alone than ever deal with a liar and a cheater again. Like Lola Granola says, “Does it matter?” It doesn’t. He’s no longer making me doubt myself. Tuesday is here.
Oh you just made my year. You go. I am in the same corner Just started reading this blog and the realization that I am not the only one just makes me smile. Thanks
Does it matter? Work on gaining a life for yourself; don’t let them occupy your mental real estate.
“THE LOVE OF MY LIFE” is such a bullshit thing cheaters say. It’s the perfect mix of overvaluing the new supply, while at the same time subtly devaluing all of the ::past:: loves in the cheater’s shallow life. Yuck.
My ex tried to claim that he felt he could be a better person with someone else. The fallacy in this is that he was trying to see himself through the eyes of a new person who put him on a pedestal after he love bombed them. His implication was that I was somehow holding him back. Which was ridiculous since I let him do whatever the heck he wanted to do when he wanted, enabling him to be able to cheat on me throughout the marriage. The truth was, once I realized he was cheating, I was not seeing him as this “great man” any more. He needed to be with someone who thought he was “amazing” and I couldn’t put that cat back in the bag.
Mine said the same. Took all the lessons of marriage counselling together and told me that he thinks it would be better to just apply it all to a new relationship with someone else. Except it wasn’t a new relationship as the OW had been in the picture for about 20 months.
He had screwed up so royally in the marriage and knew that he would always be the lower value of the two of us, so off he ran to a really messed up woman who saw him as her knight in shining armour. With her, he always gets to be the smartest person in the room.
Looking back on the marriage now, I realize how often I was frustrated with him. Maybe she has lower standards (clearly she does), but I’m not sure how that helps him feel better.
Nicely put and very astute. They see us as holding them back, while the reality is our presence represented the most dependable thing in their lives. But once we discover their unacceptable secret and threaten their fantasy, they’re off to find a new supply.
Yeah, exactly narc thinking; since everything is someone else’s fault, even if I have to admit I am not perfect. then the solution must be to find someone who I can believe will make me so!
My Ex actually said the following, justifying his accepting my kicking him out and his heading into a ‘real relationship’ w/Schmoops;
“I know I’m a crabby person, I’m not good at relationships, and I’m hard to live with. What I need is a woman who doesn’t bring those things out in me.’
At the time I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, and wondered if he even listened to the crap that came out of his mouth. Later I realized he is just WAAAAYYYY dumber about himself and how life actually works than is even imaginable, and WAY more entitled!
And yeah, his life was better in a TON of ways when he was with me. I thought we were adults adulting together; turns out he was a parasite who had found an excellent host.
What I learned about Jackass is that he is ALWAYS hiding what he really is. He pretends to care about people. He pretends to be an “expert”…in everything. He future fakes. I don’t think he has a choice because for whatever reason, he’s “hollow.” There’s nothing there.
Wow, wow, wow! This is the best, most logical, and true example of real intimacy. If that’s not the connecting thread your cheating, lying husband/ex husband signed up for, then tough luck that they’ve destroyed the relationship with their grown kids. As the kids still struggle to figure out their relationship with their dad, he’s still running away (literally. He moved to another state, jobless and broke, to live with his not so hot, but employed gal pal). My kids have these giant question marks over their heads. I’m doubting he’s questioned or examined his self serving life.
The ties that bind might not always be pretty, but they are strong and loyal as hell.
Cheers to all the chumps out there who are willing and able to go the distance!
Wow you got this so right. This is why cheaters never have true intimacy because they believe it’s all about sex! They are so busy chasing “exciting over the top sex” that they never have time for a true relationship. Funny they can’t figure out why in the end no one really loves them.
After 35 years married, I found your post so true.
But so very sad. ????
Fuckwit used to equate sex/ orgasm with love and said that was a universally male thing.
well.. who doesn’t on SOME level. Its not “up-all-night-with-a-sick-baby love” but on some shallow level, sure.
And as a guy chump, I’d say I place more meaning on this than I should.
Yes. Most men do feel that they are loved when we have sex. Just like most women have to feel loved to have sex. But I sure didn’t feel loved being married (last 16 years) to my cheating narcissistic BPD XW. There was times I had sex with her so I could feel “love” from her. Sad, but without the love and intimacy OUTSIDE of sex it makes sex just an act. As I use to tell my XW, I could get more love and connection from a blow up doll then from her.
The chemical hit from sex does indeed bind a guy. Mme YogaPants knew that if I went more than a few weeks without that I would become a bit more grumpy and distant.
On the other hand, in my post divorce relationships, I’ve looked to build trust and affection first before I would be ready for sex knowing full well that once I crossed that line that it would be very very hard to walk it back.
With that said though, if my girlfriend for whatever reason was no longer able to be physically intimate I would see no reason to stop loving her. Just like with Mme. Sex is the whipped topping on the pumpkin pie of love. Without it, there’s still pie – sorry late lunch here today 😀
My first therapist told me that men trade love for sex, and women trade sex for love. I always thought that seemed a bit banal, but in a way it’s true. However, I don’t think the statement adequately describes all the intricacies of relationships because it makes the mistake of equating sex with intimacy. I once found a blog that I saved some of the text because it perfectly describes the role that I (and perhaps many non-narc, non-cheating males who value intimacy with their wife) believe sex plays in a marriage. I can’t find the original source to cite here, and I don’t agree with a few of the conclusions the writer makes, but I’m pasting the relevant snippets since I don’t know how to write it any better.
I will add that a lot of what this guy is describing seems to be a lack of reciprocity on his wife’s part. I agree with the writer that sex is a big part of reciprocity in a relationship, but I also expect reciprocity in all other aspects of a marriage as described in Jammy’s post above. Without further ado….
“Sex is the direct equivalent for men to the feminine need for validation through conversation and processing. When I ask for sex, I am seeking connection with the love of my life. I am seeking confirmation that I am a good husband and fulfilling partner. I am seeking Validation that I am appreciated for all the hard work I do for our family and the things that I do solely for her. I need to feel attractive and desirable too. And, most importantly, I am seeking the most effective and real way she can say, “I love you, thank you.”
We try to explain that it is not just about sex, it’s about intimacy and we get “There are lots of other ways to gain intimacy, let’s do those things. “ all of which are wonderful, but tend to feed the connection needs of women, not men. The bottom line is this, when I am having frequent good sex, I feel more connected to her, I have more drive to put in the extra effort for her, I am happier and less stressed, I’m a better dad, and I feel like I am worthwhile and attractive. I have more desire to really listen and understand her and I’m more patient in delivering those female needs that I don’t understand. When we have very little sex I feel unappreciated, ugly, withdrawn, distant from you and lonely. I feel taken advantage of and have less motivation to tend to your needs.”
Sorry, but I am a female and when I read this I began to feel a huge amount of pressure about feeling responsible for having to provide all of that self-worth etc to someone else…or else there will be ‘consequences’. Like it is all up to me because they don’t have it themselves so I become ‘provider’ vs a partner. Sex with strings attached. Huge strings.
All of the ways sex makes him feel are about taking – getting something in return.
For me sex was about giving. I did not engage in sex for me to get anything from the x. It was about me giving to him something I gave ONLY to him – the deepest most vulnerable part of me. It was an act of love and many times it wasn’t even about me getting anything – the urge was to GIVE.
If and when I was turned down it did not change how I went about my life. I continued to show up. I did not give him the silent treatment. I did not become passive aggressive. Sex wasn’t about that for me. His loss not mine. Life went on as usual even when he turned me down for years and years and years….
In fact, because I am a Chump, it made me try harder – to do ‘better’ etc in just about every area of my life so in the end I benefitted from his rejections. My love increased and his decreased.
What he pursued instead was cheap trills, no strings attached hook-ups. Momentary thrills that made him feel ‘special’ until….next time when he needed another ‘fix’.
The above reads to me like all TAKE and if a partner says no then I am going to withdraw and do nothing for anyone – i.e. sulk and silent treatment behavior.
I am really hoping that the above is not the majority opinion of men.
I can understand where you’re coming from AnonymousTwo, but I can also understand what Chumpity-doo-da is trying to say. What’s not known in both of your responses are your ages. I’m 59 years old. As I’ve grown older throughout the years, and I’ve worked primarily with men throughout those years, and I’ve gleaned how different men and women think and how that thinking changes with maturity throughout those years, I don’t see that Chumpity-doo-da is expressing his feelings of being intimate as mostly all about sex. What I see is that it’s possible men have a tendency to place their “value” more in how a women sees them sexually. And if a woman sees him as so “hot” that she wants to have sex with him, he feels better about himself. A woman (at least this one) has a tendency to look at sex as just an act, i.e., when I feel valued, I want to extend my feelings of being valued into a sexual act with the person that values me and cherishes me. As I said, with years and maturity and self-growth, I’m able to see that men don’t, and never will, think like women. Their brains are just wired differently. It’s not that they don’t understand a woman’s point of view, it’s just that they don’t think in the same way. And I can also see where it has become increasingly difficult for men throughout the years to honestly express themselves because if they don’t think “like a woman”, they’re criticized for being insensitive, and they just shutdown. In one respect, Chumpity-doo-da is “being intimate” by taking the chance of expressing himself here in this forum. As I said, I’ve learned throughout my years that men and women think differently, and by understanding that there are differences, does not mean that one is less sensitive than the other. They’re just different.
Thanks Amazon Chump. Well put. When I said that sex makes me feel valued, I didn’t mean that it makes me feel valued as a person. Rather, it makes me feel valued as a partner. As you and AnonymousTwo both wrote, you see sex as an act that shows your appreciation for the person you love. And for me, it’s the best way for my partner to show her appreciation because sex is not just an act to me. It reinforces my bond and trust with my partner better than anything else.
So, back to FeelingIt’s question that started this reply, no, sex is not love, and love doesn’t require sex because all of the other types of intimacy from the main post are extremely important for love as well. Sex is not something I feel entitled to, and it’s not the be all and end all of a marriage. But, that doesn’t mean that sex is unimportant even though the relative importance of sex vs other intimacy can change as a relationship evolves.
I don’t think all men equate getting their cock wet with the ease or wish that you speak of – it’s a little derogatory towards men in general when there are some guys out there who don’t want to just have sex with random people and they are viewed as the outlier!
I only want to have sex with someone I know and can trust with that – for me it’s not a slight action. It’s saying you’re with that person. If you’re prepared to do that with a person then you should be prepared to stand tall with them at the day of reckoning….. I’m pretty sure my views are now seen as puritanical ????
Not seen as puritanical by me–but compassionate and principled.
Your wife was an idiot in my book and you are a lucky man to be rid of her.
No joke – the Dickhead said “fuck in a loving way”. Ya, he’s a catch (eyeroll). I overheard him tell his son that the passion was dead. It cut me to the core because I was the impression that love was more than just passion. He didn’t mean the passion that goes down to your very soul. No, he just meant plain ol’ sex.
So many critical ideas have been beautifully and expressed by CN.
But this one is it. And I am crying again. In my car.
A little sad but more relieved and thankful that someone understands and has given me the exact right words, finally.
Thank you Jammy.
I think most affairs last for years ( IMO the majority of them do )
So by this reasoning would that not mean that the cheater and AP actually do have this Intimacy at some point ? Living together , starting a family together etc would then lead me to conclude that yes they would share that .
I know at the start of an affair its all sex and flattery ( i guess never had one never will ) but as the relationship develops after years of being together then this must happen ?
Just throwing it out there
I think there’s a difference between form and substance; it’s easy to go through the motions, to have a wedding, a honeymoon, to buy a house. Doing those things, however, doesn’t mean that both parties approach it in the spirit Jammy has articulated so beautifullly.
It seems to me that your comment reflects that “but what if it’s genuine with her/him?” question that Chump Lady has addressed before.
Perhaps you’re right, but don’t forget the key teaching, the number 1 goal we are all striving to achieve, being… ‘meh’.
Perhaps some of the cheaters & their affair partners will achieve true intimacy. Maybe they’ll experience a shallow version of it. Maybe they’ll think they have it, but it’s not all that deep. Our job is not to care any more. What they did, and how they treated us means they are not good enough for us or to be in our lives. What they do after, we have to trust they suck and not give our thoughts to them anymore.
It’s hard. But we can get there.
I agree. I don’t want to imagine XW and AP have true intimacy, just because I don’t think it’s fair that they would get to harvest something good from blowing up two marriages, but I really don’t know. I’m skeptical it will last, but (as I learned) I really don’t have much insight into my XW’s attitudes. I projected a lot of myself onto her and marriage.
Most importantly, whatever intimacy they may have now was not on offer for *me*. So, whether or not XW sucks with AP-cum-husband (and I suspect she does), I know she sucked for me. And I know that I could never trust her again, so there is no possibility that she wouldn’t suck for me in the future. That’s an important distinction: your ex could suck for you even if he/she doesn’t universally suck for everyone else. Kind of like even though you can dislike / distrust your ex for yourself, your kids don’t have to feel the same way. This is a subtle distinction that I think is hard for people to accept when they’re in the midst of the pain and anger of the betrayal.
Well said. Bravo!
They certainly have a gross intimacy of being the only ones who truly know what’s going on.
And yes, some people seem to do all sorts of things with AP, even have complete dual lives, with “spouses” and kids at both locations. *shudder*
But I think most return “home” at night to their main husband/wife appliance, so I don’t know…no one is getting complete intimacy of true vulnerability if the cheater has to scamper off to take care of this family or that family.
I don’t think so. I believe that to even be capable of not simply telling a lie but of literally living a deceit, where every day represents a consumption of an innocent victim’s life and every single moment consists of a purposeful act of either omission or commission in furtherance of this deceit, one has to be formed differently inside. Not simply because of how such a person can stomach the harming of the other person, but also how they can accept being that within themselves. This makes them fundamentally different. Just ask yourself if you could exist in this way. And why not? You just simply couldn’t. Like literally couldn’t. It would sicken you. That’s because there’s a fundamentally different definition of you inside you. And there’s a fundamentally different definition of others as well. Your definitions include a whole host of depth of values and meanings that so rooted that they aren’t even conscious. But you feel them, especially within the intimacies written about by Jammy. There is an absence or serious deficit in a cheater’s capacity to feel life in terms of these intimacies fully. Otherwise, the cost of their loss or of stealing their existence from another person would be an unbearable sin. And if they manage to endure these realities by virtue of some rationalisation, then that too points to how they are different. You simply cannot be made up of these differences and still have the sensitivity, self identity, and values that makes these intimacies so plainly real for the rest of us. You simply can’t. They are not the kinds of things that can be turned on and off. Only a cheap approximation of them could. And that is what you see when cheaters and APs appear to have an “intimate” connection.
Yes TKO – beautifully stated. They are not capable of true intimacy but are MASTERS at faking it. Intimacy requires honesty, loyalty, and trust. Absolutely no way.
Tko…..YOU NAILED IT.
Another well-stated comment. If they had the capability to truly be “intimate” deep down, they wouldn’t have done the crap they did in the first place.
“So by this reasoning would that not mean that the cheater and AP actually do have this Intimacy at some point ?”
No, because the foundation of their relationship is built on lies. The AP thinks they have broken though and are the person that the cheater needs. But let’s not forget the number one thing cheaters do. LIE. They lie to the AP about us, the state of the marriage, etc. etc. And if the relationship with the AP continues after our relationships with the cheater have officially ended, they have to continue that narrative for as long as the relationship with the AP.
For those of us that share children with the cheater, this means that they have to keep up the narrative that we are terrible people. In my scenario, cheater is the absolute worst at communication. Because of this there are constant conflicts in our co-parenting relationship. The AP (now baby mama) will admit that cheater is difficult to deal with but still places the responsibility of better communication with ME. She makes excuse after excuse for cheater and has even called me manipulative. I have gone to the lengths of composing my responses with the help of my therapist and cheater will always react how he wants to. It’s not me. I know this, but AP believes the lies he told as as the foundation of their relationship. There cannot be real intimacy because on the deepest level he is living a lie.
Remember, to have intimacy, we must be able to feel and connect on a cognitive level. I can remember when becoming a parent for the first time. I felt my soul just burst with love and pride for my baby, and felt so connected to her just listening to her breathe and smelling her head. I didn’t want to put her down at the hospital. In contrast, my husband would stand there looking at her in her little crib with his hands in his pockets. He would be done after about 30 seconds, state some obvious comment like “Yep. She sure is little,” and then would either nap, or be on his phone. He didn’t even wake up to hear what the doctors had to say about her medical condition. He didn’t take a single picture of the baby and I to remember the moment. No push present. No flowers. No input on the name. No encouragement for me. He was incapable of doing anything in that situation but checking the box. Birth? Done. Check.
Every milestone was like that with him. They can’t feel anything but an orgasm. No higher level cognitive-emotional bonding. It’s sad, really. But I think that’s partially what attracts them to us. Chumps tend to be very emotionally intelligent.
So, no. I think it’s highly unlikely that true intimacy will be built through doing life with the AP. It will be exactly the same when the shiny wears off. The adulting still has to be done, and now there are likely two incapable idiots at the wheel, neither of which has any intention of overcompensating for the other. It’s a recipe for disaster.
I had a similar experience with the birth of my son who is now five months old. My husband filed for divorce when he was three months old. I remember when who I thought was a loving husband was so cold and distant while I was in labor. A couple of hours after the baby was born, he slept. There was no connection, no pat on the back for me, no excitement. He once said “the day he was born was the happiest day of my life” but I wonder if that’s another phrase he heard somewhere that he uses to make people think he actually feels.
I’m still going through the divorce process but I’m curious, how much custody did your child’s father end up getting/wanting? This is my biggest struggle.
Quick advice, go for full custody from the outset. The more control and therefore power you have over your life choices the better. Co parenting is so so very difficult after being cheated on. Shoot for the moon settlement-wuse. Try to make lists of what you’ll need in the future: him to pay for school fees, extra curriculars, keep child on life insurance (with proof he won’t and can’t change beneficiary to AP even if turned wife. Get alimony for whole time (all the years) you were married. Have support increase over the years with inflation rate, minimum. Make cheater have to pick up and drop off for visits, pay for sports and uniforms, all the deductible and co-pays for health insurance, hey pays for counseling for child in the future, college, or a savings plan… also, before you divorce get cash cards to grocery stores, get your car and tires tuned up or replaced, get a physical, go to the dentist,… in general think about your welfare as best you can through the gut wrenching pain of betrayl and fear and sadness of your dream being killed. Write lists and try try try to think without the emotions of affair taking over. Go to a financial advisor(s) for a free consultation. Think long term where you want to be and live and work once you accept your previous life is over. I couldn’t do this and it cost me some good decisions. Set yourself up for a future without them even if in the back of your mind you can’t imagine a future without them in it. Even if you hope to “reconcile”. Put in him paying for school for you so maybe you’re not impuned with a salary when you shouldn’t have to work ir look for it after just having a baby. Prepare, prepare not just with legal documents but prepare for the rest of your life. Maybe put in there AP can’t come to school functions, that you can move with your baby if the want, just think how your life will be the least miserable and eventually the best it can be and put all that in your decree or they won’t follow it or even be decent human beings when you stop being a supply to them. Their black hole of need i like to call it, only continues and gets worse. You can always negotiate down but harder to go up.
Great advice! Unfortunately I have an older son and I’ve already done the whole mediation for timesharing charade. It’s all really such a sad display. I gave up child support in order to get 60% of the time. I live in a state that heavily supports 50/50 timesharing. I’ve been “coparenting” for the past five years. It is not an easy life for the responsible parent or the child.
In my most recent situation I have requested no overnights until age 3. I will not get this. The reality is that I make more money and the more time he gets, the greater the chance I owe him support. Does he really want the time? No.
I just can’t believe I’m in this situation again.
Woah. Who would get all of those things in a decree? That seems a little…much. You should advise to ask for those things, sure. But maybe also say it is unlikely you will get most of them. AP can’t come to any functions? Come on. No one gets that unless AP is a convicted child abuser and sometimes not even then. Unless of course the ex agrees to all of that. Which also never happens. You need to be realistic.
Scared but Strong, I had the exact same experience as you. Not one single picture was taken of me and our newborn. No presents. No flowers. Even my labor and delivery was downplayed to everyone. XH said to everyone he talked to on the phone, “She (me) had minor discomfort.” He could not even give me any attention or credit on the day I gave birth to his son, because in is narc mind, that takes attention and admiration away from him. And when the narc’s mommy showed up at the hospital, she was all, “Oh, my perfect and special son!! You look sooooo tired!” Did I get anything even close to that? Nope! She helped make him into the entitled, selfish, disordered narc he is. And then when we got home, the narc seemed jealous of our son. He would say odd things or acted jealous; I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was terribly off with so many things he did and said. And then for the next 15 years I felt like he was purposely trying to undermine our son or at best, not doing what dads do to help their sons get ahead and get involved in things. I was the dad. Every single thing he was involved with that he needed help signing up for or getting started with, I was the one to do all the work to get it done. I even taught him how to shave! The narc didn’t start helping with anything until after he wanted a divorce and then he started acting like Disney Dad and Father of the Year. His whore and all his admirers were all now watching to see who he truly was. It’s all a big fucking act. He turned into a totally different dad overnight. He went from working every single night to all of a sudden playing card games with the kids at night. Or sitting next to them while they read on their beds or while they played their video games. He went to doing all this shit with them when in the past he could never be bothered, because he had so much “work” to do. He doesn’t fool me one bit. He deserves to be with a whore that dates and fucks married men. He never deserved me and will never be worthy of me.
Martha that’s very interesting that he downplayed the labor. This is fresh in my mind bc it was only five months ago but I had a brutal precipitous labor and come to find out he didn’t even mention that to his family when they asked how it went. They came to visit months later and were surprised to hear the nurse delivered the baby. It doesn’t matter much but it’s interesting how similar our experience was. His mother is extremely similar to what you described. She seems to control every decision he makes including marrying me and subsequently divorcing me even though he cheated while I was pregnant (she would never believe this about her precious baby boy anyhow). Good riddance to them all.
My ex narc was the opposite – he took pics of our daughter, he followed the doctors asking questions, he was Mr Amazing dad! With the finesse of a movie star he ticked every box and all his adoring paparazzi tried to get close enough for a heartfelt handshake.
???? Covert Narc poster child is his howorker wifetress’s problem now ????
Yep, great dad to the kids for their first 5 years. Now I can’t even say that because what dad purposely takes a further away job and now only sees the kids every other weekend? He robbed his kids of a family life, their financial security, all so he could have an affair with married howorker. Now it’s all about image management for him and I’m sure he parades the kids around when it’s a Disney dad weekend.
I don’t believe it’s intimacy Karenb. That would require vulnerability and trust. They’ve lived their actions together which required lying and cheating.
Absent are the building blocks to real intimacy. Let’s not forget what good actors they are and the years of deception. They know what they’ve got, an equal
I do not believe that the cheater and the affair partner have true intimacy. The affair by definition is not an actual relationship, and most of the cheaters figure this out the hard way when they leave their spouses for this “perfect” match. The person is playing the pick me dance in order to win the cheater. The cheater is pretending to be the perfect match as well. All is roses and validation until you actually spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with that person. Every human being is flawed. The wife at home wakes up in the morning and has messy hair and no makeup. The affair partner is always well groomed when he sees her. The wife sends text messages asking her husband to pick up milk on the way home and telling him that the kid just threw up. The affair partner sends text messages telling him he is such a wonderful, caring man and his wife just doesn’t appreciate him. In my experience, it takes about two years of being married and living together for the limerance of a new relationship to wear off and reality to set in. This is when true intimacy develops. Coincincidentally, that is about how long my cheater takes to get tired of the affair partner. It typically takes the affair partner another year to catch on that he doesn’t worship her anymore, and that’s when the affair partners start harassing me in order to try to “punish me” for ruining their relationship. I am really glad to remove myself from that sick game. Now, if the legal system will stop allowing my divorce to drag on, I will rejoice.
I have come to believe that some of these people are absolutely incapable of intimacy, as Jammy describes it. Intimacy requires honesty and vulnerability. It isn’t about manipulation.
Interesting post. One thing that stood out to me when I discovered the affair is how the Xhole kept talking about intimacy, like it was something he just discovered was missing in our 20 year marriage. Yes, it was missing because I was holding down the marriage and family, taking care of the bills, the cooking, cleaning, homework etc. I figure his new (also married) GF had given him the new buzz word, but if anyone had a intimacy problem, it was not me. I was dying for a real marriage and partnership. So true that it’s more than just sex, it’s facing life together as one.
Yes, I love this. Intimacy is more than just what goes on in the bedroom.
Funny thing about being ONE. To me there’s a huge difference in how cheaters believe they bond. It’s over sex and the thrill they get duping a loyal spouse. And I’m pretty sure that’s the power the OW uses to her advantage to control. These aren’t secure women. They are needy.
I see chumps as independent, intelligent,the organizers, and planners. Take that away and there’s not much left. Just a thought.
Standing Ovation! Gosh Yes! My best friend and I have discussed this at length. The cheater in my life had an affair because MARRIED LIFE GOT HARD. As it would in ANY marriage! Things got hard and difficult as I was starting a new career and he had to take more responsibility in helping out with the homestead. His answer: Screwing his coworker while shouting to everyone who would listen that WE had marriage problems. (NO…HE had marriage problems…BIG difference). I know that we aren’t supposed to untangle the skein but today’s post nailed it for me. He left because intimacy meant WORK. It meant that everything wasn’t about him. We had a family to raise and his cheating and subsequently moving in with his coworker made life that much harder on myself and our children. Escapism didn’t make life easier as now we have to juggle parenting time with children.
But alas, at least I don’t have to deal with his daily complaining. It’s the small things I guess.
After years of untangling and recovery, what hurt the most was the complete discard and attacks from xh. How can you treat someone you knew for 30 years like that? The mother of your kids? Hell, how do you treat your kids like that?
Midlife crisis, Narcissism, Bipolar — meh. There is one truth that stands out more than anything I have ever concluded: (In my yarn ball):
After so many years, something of an innate deep value should have gelled between us, between our family unit that has intrinsic value. A trust, love, interdependence, call it what you will. This is something that should have been protected, something to be proud of.
Something that is more valuable that strange.
I felt it’s power and value understood the sacrifices were small compared to the rewards. I had it. He did not.
He. did. not.
He did not because he could not.
Is he any different today? I shouldn’t even care this much, but I doubt it. As said here, frequently, “Cheaters don’t get a character transplant when they leave”.
BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO
Loyalty is the gold standard, the crown jewel, the POINT of a marriage and family.
My therapist said to me recently that your “soul mate” is the person you go through the shit with.
People who have affairs are tragically ignorant of that. The next right thing to do if you are “unhappy” or have grievances is to turn toward your partner and get creative to address things, not step out and cause permanent nuclear damage to your family and everyone attaches for miles around and generations to come.
INTIMACY = INTO ME SEE
NICE PEOPLE ARE UP FRONT WITH YOU AND LET YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON FOR THEM
I agree with your therapist. Sometimes your soul mate is not necessarily a romantic partner. I consider my best friend my soul mate as she was there! She was on the phone when I needed. She was there when it was time to pack the ex’a belongings and kick him to the curb. She was there to help babysit my children when the ex was mia!
I believe our children are our sole mates…
My head and my heart are my soul mates….and they had to get a divorce so I could stay in my marriage.
After DDay I married MYSELF.
I’ve been using the X’s misspelling so long it’s become automatic!!
I Find it very all telling that’s he’d spell it sole.. singular, one, no one else….appropriate for the narcissist!!
Sole Mate = Two heels
I love Jammy’s eloquent explanation of intimacy. Well done and well said.
Of course it is that they are trying to escape intimacy, not find it. I was told the hot young girl was so appealing because there wasn’t all the weight and baggage surrounding the mundane details of her life, and any problems or needs she might have. She was just a kind of fantasy who only existed when he wanted her to, and only for fun and sex. Definitely not for sick children, car breakdowns and leaky gutters. Well excuuuuuuuse me for being an actual human being.
I realize, 20 years later, that I thought we had intimacy. Mine was real and the Dickhead’s was not. I always felt that we were missing a connection. Envious of couples that acted as a unit, that genuinely wanted to be with their person. I knew I didn’t have it and kept hanging on in case the impossible happened.
He can’t do it – he can’t do it for anyone. Sometimes, I really feel sorry for him because he’s lacking so much and I think on some level he knows this. Then I remember how he walked over, used and discarded people in his life, even his own children. He’s stuck living his miserable life and I’m free to live my best life.
It’s all backwards rationalizations. Cheaters think “I’ve got to clean this act of pure selfish entitlement up so it doesn’t look so bad and definitely doesn’t look like my fault”. Then they get to work doing it.
My ex-wife would occasionally send me these several page emails that consisted of her pent up feelings. I hated getting them because it was basically a list of everything she could possibly complain about since the last one. It was never about how I made her feel. It was what I didn’t do that she wanted me to do. Her “love language” would definitely be acts of service and words of affirmation! I was to sing her praises and do whatever she told me to do. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to! However, to her, going to church meant “every time the doors were open” and since I didn’t want to go Wednesday night when it was just a couple of people, then that was a problem.
I tried! I honestly tried with all kinds of things a lot more than I was comfortable with. That to me, was intimacy. I guess that’s why she said she felt like I didn’t love her anymore. If I didn’t do every single thing she wanted, then I must not love her. However, I think she only arrived at that conclusion after she cheated.
Conversely, I would frequently say “I hate the way you treat me”. I’d get all manner of responses, such as:
“How do I treat you?”. I’d tell her exactly what she did that hurt me. She’d reply “I don’t do that”.
“I try so hard to make you happy. You just have something wrong with you where you can’t see it”.
Once I actually got “well, if you’d just do what I say, then I wouldn’t have to treat you this way”.
That last one shocked me, but when I repeated it back to her, she denied she said it and burst into tears. She sobbed “I can’t believe you think I am capable of saying something like that” less than one minute after she said it.
So, in my opinion, that’s probably the closest thing to the truth with her. Intimacy to her was all about me being, ready, willing and able to drop everything, at a moment’s notice, to do whatever she wanted. To be fair, I did this early on in our relationship. However, the reason I did it was because she treated me like a king. After 6 months the devalue started and I didn’t feel as inclined to be as giving.
From a twisted viewpoint, I guess she could actually say that there was a drop in intimacy. Personally, I believe that the closest reason for her cheating is exactly what she said when her mask slipped. In other words “if you’d just do everything I tell you to do, I wouldn’t have to cheat on you”.
My cheater expected the impossible from me and didn’t see a reason to reciprocate in any way. When I “failed” she had the perfect excuse to cheat. Personally, I think I could have done everything for her and she still would have cheated.
Even if you did everything she asked she’d probably say you could’ve done more than asked. The goalposts always move with these entitled cheaters.
Sweet Potato Flakes, from what you’ve written here today and in previous posts, I think your exwife and my exhusband must be siblings, because they sound so very much alike.
I, too, used to get long letters: pages and pages of his “pent up feelings,” on the surface expressing a desire for intimacy but which all blamed me for failing to make him happy.
Mine said, when I went away to a friend’s house for a few days to get myself out of the horrible atmosphere he’d created in our household by his giving me the silent treatment (until I caved): “While you’re gone, I’ll think about what I want from you.” Not “think about us” or “think about how we might overcome this together” but “what I want from you.”
Adelante, that last paragraph gave me chills!
My ex-wife would say “I need you to do me a favor”. It was a demand instead of a question. I remember saying once “depends on the favor”. She cocked her head to the side and had a quizzical look on her face. The she repeated it like she was talking to a disobedient child. “I. NEED. YOU. TO. DO. ME. A FAVOR.”
Lots of other things like that. Sometimes she’d come to me and explain about something she was having difficulty with, then just stare at me. I learned that meant I was supposed to go help her. I remember early on I’d ask “what is it” in response to her uncomfortable stare. She throw her hands up in the air and say “aren’t you going to help me?” I say “you didn’t ask” and she replied “I shouldn’t have to”.
She had the expectation of the entitled: that you would do what she wanted. And she was training you to accept that you were there to fulfill her expectations and that she was entitled to expect you to! They don’t just want the actual thing they ask for, they want your acquiescence to their centrality.
the ex did the same stunt with Love Languages. Presenting more hoops for me to jump through to prove my love to him.
Geez they really do have the same playbook
Years ago we did the Love Language quiz. His #1 was physical touch. My #1 was more time spent together/quality time. I spent the next 10(?) years upping my game to give him more physical touch and adventure in the bedroom. He didn’t do much with my #1. After D-day he said that he thought my #1 was acts of service. He said he had been working on that the last 10 years. Oh, just more lies, manipulation and gaslighting. He PURPOSELY withheld my #1, because of power and control. There was no fruit for “acts of service”. He did no housework, besides vacuuming the steps about once a month. They only time he helped was when others were looking, like on holidays. The Love Languages are just another tool in the abusers toolbox. I would have burned my book, but it’s on my Kindle.
Hahaha…yes the Love Language days. I bought a copy inspired by my RIC hopium trance days.
I donated my copy to my local library.
If someone ever did a survey,which I doubt they would, I bet the people responsible for purchasing that book are 99.9% chumps. (The .1% being covert narcissists; purchase = good guy = status points = lies.)
Oh…yes. Whats up with that Love Languages book? Our wedding photograpger gave it to us as a gift. I had already heard about it before and we had made the quiz also, me “quality time” as first and him “physical touch”. I do think it can be a great resource between two loving partners where both actually care enough to make some effort to respond to eachother in ways better perceivable for each. But… in our case also I could never meet his “physical touch” need to the extent he required for not to cheat in “pure desesperation” (his words). While my “quality time” need wasn´t even on his radar and he directly refused to consider that as important and defining of a “normal” relationship as the physical touch level determined by him would be.
PD Martha, thank you for your long reply to my comment a few weeks ago (It was the “UTB: It’s not who I am” post), I got to read it later after it was already in the archives (I think you can´t comment anymore on older posts?). Thank you for your compassionate words and for sharing your own story and for the hugs.
I have started the divorce process, I´m still confused but every day less so. There’s fear of what the future brings for me and my little son, but it seems to be the right path.
Confused from Europe, that’s so good you started the divorce process. I had to go back to the “UBT: It’s Not Who I Am” post to reread your story and also what I wrote back to you. I completely understand your fear of the future, but keep taking those baby steps each day in leaving your cheater. These types don’t change, especially when they blame us for their cheating!! (((HUGS))) and I hope you will one day be able to be move closer to your family again (if that’s something you hope for). 🙂
Sweet Potato Flakes,
You could look like People magazines Sexiest Man Alive! You could be rich. The best lover in the world. Did all the housework, cooking and childcare. And your wife still would have cheated. The problem isn’t you, it’s her. You are right. You could have done everything for her and SHE STILL WOULD HAVE CHEATED. One day you will believe this with every ounce of your being.
Your XW is selfish and self-centered; the world revolves around her and her needs. You are now free to find a partner (if that’s what you want someday) that is reciprocal in a relationship. Your relationship with your XW sounds a lot like mine. I felt like a queen in the beginning. It was reciprocal as we were both giving and taking equally. And then slowly I was doing almost all the giving and work in the marriage and family. And he was doing all the taking and using. And in the end he said to my face, “You never took good care of me.” THEY SUCK! They not only suck, but they suck the life out of us with all we are required to do to make them “happy” and make their life easier for them. We are left to do all the adulting. They deplete us and then discard us when they are done, because we are no longer of use to them and they found yet another sparkly new toy to play with.
Damn strait. Jessica’s Biel just got cheated on. BEYONCÉ got cheated on. No amount of perfect, beautiful, successful, wealthy, or anything, matters.
Cheaters are like dogs that jump up on the table to ravage a thanksgiving feast. They destroy everything, not because they don’t know better, (even a dog knows better) but because they don’t care.
Perfect. The one comment from ex that left me completely speechless – and I had to leave the room – was “I can’t wait to move out so I can have a life.”
So a quarter-century of marriage, moving together to the far side of the world, three children together, wasn’t a life? I couldn’t understand him at all and I was so distressed.
And his other comment – “All the masks are coming off” – yes. If you had masks on all that time – there was actually no intimacy or honesty. Here was I thinking yes, he’s a hard to live with bloke but he’s MY hard to live with bloke. Actually I was living with a stranger all that time.
The x’s variation on yours “I can’t wait to move out so I can have a life,” was, “I want my freedom.”
Like you I felt like you could have knocked me over with a feather. I had never felt such a sensation within me before. Disbelief in what I was hearing and it was as though I had just been completely and absolutely obliterated. I still have a hard time putting words on how I felt in that moment. Shocked but deeper than that.
Mine was “Euch – our lives are so intertwined”….. Said with such a level of disgust for me like I made her feel sick. Tough to hear.
Any my response was “Yes that’s what a marriage is”.
As you say the shock – literal medical shock I think – is something I will never quite understand or comprehend. I still shake my head in disbelief when I think of it..
My ex once told me “I would love you, but you won’t let me.” Never really figured out what he meant…..
When I was going through his stuff after I had him removed from my house, I found a treasure trove of text messages to OW’s. Many described me as “frigid”, and he would say we had a sexless marriage. I guess that statement to me was just part of him convincing himself that I didn’t want him, when it was actually the other way around. The mind fuckery was strong that one…..
Jammy’s brilliant comment really shines a light on the 1984-esque manipulation of language that cheaters use to justify themselves.
How can intimacy exist in the same space as deception? How can you call it intimacy when the people you’re fucking outside your marriage are only getting the fun and none of the hardship?
This! Also I will take on my part that we lasted as long as we did because I put up with it and did most of the heavy lifting in our marriage. I spackled and when I’d actually expect him to do these things, it lead to arguments, WWIII, blame shifting and manipulation. Always my fault for not enough passion or sex. If one of the many plates I was spinning fell or didn’t work out-my fault. When it really just him being an entitled toddler. ???? So much time wasted worrying of his happiness and not my unhappiness and exhaustion.
Yes!! Me too!
Intimacy… IN TO ME SEE… that is the last thing a cheater wants.
Mr. Sparkles cannot do intimacy, just like he can’t do empathy. If he could, he would never have been able to fuck strangers he met online and come home to his wife and children daily. In fact, it is specifically because he could do those things that I know without a doubt that he is a sociopath (to some degree, not all are serial killers!) and likely a narcissist.
Since my final D-day in 2014, he has “replicated” our marriage with the new supply… just like a parasite finding a new host, he digs in and buries himself in to the relationship… but that definitely isn’t intimacy… it is pure sociopathic survival.
And for those still wondering if their X “loves” the new supply… the answer is unequivocably NO… they lack the ability to let anyone see in to who they really are and truly risk being known and being loved. No, these fuckwits just want the surface high… and if they’re like mine, the shelf life is repeatedly under 10 years. Don’t spend more time trying to untangle the skein of their fuckedupedness… you’re free.
Mine said we had no emotional connection. It certainly didn’t feel like that when we conceived our children and held them as babies. When we renovated our house or got married. All the things Jammy talks about.
The further I get out from Dday, the more I realise it was a him problem, not a me problem.
OMG! CHUMP LADY…YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN! I was JUST talking about this in my therapist’s office but I couldn’t quantify it the way you did here. And I can’t stop crying now! EXACTLY. Intimacy is sharing a life together – not just sex. It’s hanging in there through all of those things you mentioned. So you get your rocks off with this other person – acting out some kind of fantasy that this is actually a life, like it’s an actual REALITY. Meanwhile – here are all the chumps keeping them tethered to an ACTUAL life. Handling the dishes and the laundry and the baby with colic. Cleaning up the dog vomit and the coffee grounds that got all over the floor. Planning, shopping for and making meals because the people you love the most have to eat. For many – it’s doing all of this while working a full time job or going to school. It was the violation of all of THAT, that hurts so much. Sharing all of your secrets in your sexual life is one thing but not giving 2 shits about all of the OTHER things that make up a relationship…all that hard stuff hurts the most. How dare you!
“Escapism is inherent to the act of cheating.”
^^^^This, this, and this ^^^
I so agree. Avoidance and escapism is the absolute root of infidelity. But the escape they’re looking for is from themselves; from the emptiness they feel being a soulless creature who doesn’t feel that same joy chumps do when their first child is born, the sorrow others feel when losing a beloved pet or the comfort we feel when snuggled up with our loved ones watching a Christmas movie…they don’t *feel* any of that, not wholly. Not completely. And so they go out into the world, searching for that thrill, that depth they see in us…and the closet they can get to a rush is the deceiving others.
This is why porn is infidelity. We had no intimacy. I didn’t know for decades that it was his only real interest. He used it whenever he had uncomfortable emotions. He used it instead of telling me how he felt. He used it instead of learning how to have genuinely intimate sex with an actual human being. And he hid it from me for many years and hid the full extent for more than a decade after the first D-Day. There is no way we could have had a real relationship because he was never in the relationship. When I tried to explain to him what real intimacy felt like, he was alarmed. It was too much vulnerability for him. I can’t believe I tried so long to teach someone how to love when they clearly didn’t want to.
Intimacy is holding his hand in ICU, praying to God for one more day, no matter how hard it is. Intimacy is him trying to wake when he hears your voice. Intimacy is letting him go in peace to make a place for you one day. Predators who prey on widows will be dealt with in eternity.
People only talk about intimacy as others- focused, but like self- love, self-intimacy is a prerequisite that some people never learn (I don’t mean sexually. Right?). For years I was deeply disconnected from *my own* emotions and needs. Boredom vs contentment, anxiety vs excitement, any sense of anger whatsoever, and also basic things like hunger and fatigue = indecipherable and inconvenient fog. Relationships, even with the most loving and emotionally mature humans, couldn’t touch that isolation.
I did a lot of work on it aaaaand now I’m married to a dude I’m not sure I know at all so there’s further ground to cover. But I’d rather be a chump with the capacity for intimacy than a disconnected escape artist, any day!
My husband saw me as a satellite orbiting his planet. Intimacy was lacking sorely but I didn’t know how to fix it.
Then the word narcissist entered my therapy sessions and a lot changed for me as I started to realize I was with someone with a character disorder, who couldn’t be truly intimate with me.
Because I am a Christian I didn’t feel I could leave him. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Thoughts I have never entertained before entered my mind, thoughts like “get a gps system, get a voice activated recorder”. I argued with myself thinking I didn’t have the tech savvy to do it, but I did it. I uncovered horrors. Lies upon lies. It was like listening to another person I had never met before. He was pitting people at work against each other. He was scheming against me in ways I cannot even fathom. He was having sexual intercourse with women in our bed.
In short really super scary stuff
I got myself a mean ass lawyer and THIS satellite is no longer orbiting his POS planet. This was of course after wreckonciliation. I’m glad I tried for my three children’s sake, but it’s obvious he is sick and dare I say probably evil. ????
And he is not your problem anymore. Sometimes it’s very nice when God doesn’t answer our prayers. I regularly prayed for my marriage. Finally, when I prayed for what God wanted, not what I wanted, I found out that the dick had been seeing his skank again (after wreckonciliation.) And…, I have to believe that God did answer my prayers. When I gave it up to Him, the blinders were off and I was done. There certainly is something wrong with these cheaters and it’s not our job to fix them.
During wreckonciliation when I was ALL in and he was eating cake, I didn’t know that was what was happening back then – my BCL (Before Chump Lady) days, I was walking across my front room and a voice, clear as day, resounded in my head. It spoke the words, “Leave him to me. This is too big for you.”
I do not hear voices on a regular basis. I am not what you would call a religious person…
but wherever that voice came from, I knew instantly it knew of what it was talking.
I would like to say I was instantly obedient but, alas, I am a Chump so I had to do some more resisting reality BUT something did shift in my psyche and the process of me letting go did begin in that moment; not a huge dramatic change, more subtle but persistent until I could go NC and mean it…..which ended up being a little over a year later.
Good for you! I don’t doubt anything you said. What happened to me when I finally prayed asking for whatever God wanted, and if it wasn’t the salvation of my marriage, then I would accept it, I told Him that I had to hear Him tell me. I said, “I have never heard Your voice. I need You to tell me! I need to hear Your voice!” And He spoke to me clearly. He said, “Just love him. Love him like I love you.” I was so excited! God finally spoke to me! He told me that I just had to love my husband! I assumed that meant that everything would be alright and my marriage would be saved. Well…,a few days later I found out that the dick was back to seeing his skank and… I.was.done. I angrily yelled out loud to God, “You told me just to love him!” And again, I heard Him say, “Yes. I told you just to love him. Love him like I love you.” And in that second i knew God wasn’t telling me that my marriage would be saved. He was telling me what we’re all supposed to do, and that is to love others. I knew in that moment that He loves each and every one of us and we’re mandated to do the same. But I had a hard time figuring out how I was supposed to continue to love the dick, and especially NOT the skank. I wanted her to burn in hell. So I asked how I was supposed to love them. And He showed me how. Loving someone means wanting the good for that person. It does not mean subjecting ourselves to continued abuse. But to want the good for someone is to pray that the person recognizes his sins, asks forgiveness, and to be repentant. I’ve been able to pray for all people everywhere to do those things (including myself) and that’s how I’m able to love the dick and his skank. It doesn’t mean that I ever have to have them in my life again. But i do have to pray for them, and pray for all people. I truly am at peace. He’s not my problem anymore. She’s not my problem anymore. He’s someone else’s problem, and that Someone has a lot more authority than me. I’m at peace.
Well put. I agree.
What was so confusing for me was that I did love the x and I still do from the stand point you have mentioned above – compassion may be the word to describe what I feel although I am not sure because simultaneously the emotional pain he has caused me and my children created such a static in me that I could no longer hold up the pretense of ‘being there’ for him as a friend which I had naively thought I could do once all was said and done.
Not sure I am stated this clearly so I shall try again be saying that I had entertained the idea that we could be divorced and I could still ‘have’ him in my life on some level.
I now understand that whole line of thinking was hopium and it consumed me whilst I dabbled in the RIC circles and whilst I was in deep shock after Dday #1 certain that he was having some kind of nervous breakdown and, as a dutiful wife, it was my job to ‘stand by my man’ because, after all we had been together for over 30 years.
What I didn’t expect was the emotional pain that began to surface as the shock began to subside and reality began to set in. The best way I can describe it to date is that of experiencing ambiguous grief. A love for him as a human being coupled with excruciating pain that is beyond anything I have experienced in my life which finally woke me up after reading LACFAL and finding CL/CN.
When I finally went NC I began to experience everything from a new vantage point untarnished by his lies that were so enticing – intermittent reinforcement/trauma bonding to name just a couple of psychological hic-ups I had been subjected to without even knowing it. I now consider myself well versed in the guises being married to a covert passive aggressive narcissist exposes us Chumps to..
So ultimately the person I love and loved is/was but a figment of my imagination since that person never existed – he is a serial cheater.
Vacuous. Eerily so.
That being said, yes I can love that man to whom I though I was married. I cannot abide by the one who has taken his place.
Ambiguous grief indeed.
Thank you! May we all continue to live free. Blessings to you.
P.S. like you I naively believed that I could remain “friends”. And like you, afterwards I abhorred the idea. I was even repulsed by the idea. So there’s no friendship with the dick and the skank in my future. I am friends with people who are honest and are decent. I got rid of Switzerland friends. It’s not worth my time to find the “good” in someone.
Isn’t that amazing how that happens to us! This really is a process and has a life of its own. CL and CN have made that so clear to me which has helped me beyond words.
I can’t imagine how it would be to go through something like this alone and thinking your situation and you were unique. Tragic really and so painful.
The landscape of my life has changed too. The unexpected fall-out which has been a blessing in disguise.
His leaving was the worst thing I could imagine after Dday and it has turned into the best thing that has happened now that I know what he was up to and who he really is.
Weird how it works out.
Totally. The times he cheated (I ultimately discovered) were time of increasing intimacy. Moving in together. Expecting our first baby. My moms death. Immature acting out. The opposite of intimacy.
Does anyone else remember the movie “With Six You Get Eggroll”? It was pretty stupid and bad, but if memory serves (and it may not) there was a line to one of the daughters about how having sex isn’t the be-all, end-all of the relationship. It was dealing with everything else. I think it was that movie.
Anyway – Jammy’s post was THE BOMB. Thank you!
After 40 years, I thought that XH and I had had more than our fair share of “intimacy“, especially as we went through some really stressful times as a couple, including 2 second-trimester miscarriages, a high risk delivery after months of isolating bedrest, staying solvent while getting triplets through college at the same time, putting down multiple beloved pets, losing jobs, gaining promotions, simultaneously juggling work and graduate school, saying goodbye to our respective Dads, hospital scares, 2 cross-country relocations, sending a son off to war in Iraq and Afghanistan (twice), starting 2 small businesses, and more.
Yet, when XH tried to justify his serial infidelity, his #1 reason was that we “lacked intimacy“. I simply didn’t understand; I’d always defined “intimacy“ as being open, vulnerable and transparent with your partner — in ALL of its manifestations. And we absolutely had that. But in his mind, he had distilled everything down to this: “Intimacy = Sex”; apparently, nothing else mattered.
But I soon realized that this excuse was just more made up bullshit; he finally admitted he’d been cheating throughout our entire relationship, including our dating days, during our engagement, and in the early years before we had children, when fulfilling sex was happening in every room of the house, and often, multiple times a day. And, we continued to have sex throughout the decades that followed. Let’s just say that his penis was getting a LOT of exercise. But none of it stopped him from continually bedding other women.
So, though I might be wrong, I’m going to stand by my original definition of intimacy: “Being open, vulnerable and transparent with your partner, in all of its manifestations“. If believing this keeps me from having another relationship, then I’ll have to live with it.
There are many dysfunctional ways to escape from stress or boredom; excess alcohol, drugs, affairs, binge eating etc. None of them do a person any good.
To take an act that should be THE most intimate act partnered adults can do, and defile it by secretly screwing coworkers, and prostitutes, and strangers met online seems horrific.
Abomination is a word that fits.
CL, CN – I am honored and deeply touched that yesterday’s words resonated. It’s a validation of what understanding I have gained through this whole sordid experience.
I only found CL a couple of years ago so I don’t respond on posts much but I read (and re-read) virtually everyday. For those of you still struggling, I’d like to give you a bit of my backstory.
Mine was an almost 20 year marriage. I first found out about his affairs at year 4 where they came crawling out of the woodwork like an unknown cockroach problem. The first d-day would bequeath 5 simultaneous affairs – and if the sheer number wasn’t enough to tell the whole story than the oh so familiar email language of the discoveries should have. I would later learn through the divorce process that he was actually engaged when we first started dating. All this to say, the hope of fidelity was never a viable option. Nonetheless I would go on to spend the next 12 years in a wreckonciliation. A train wreck of a wreckonciliation. He had a highly classified government job that provided both the opportunity and means (cover) for his cheating…and I would only see small brush fires when I should have recognized the whole fucking forrest was on fire. I spackled. A lot.
He walked out three years ago. Completely. Like, fell off the face of the earth. It still took me two years of hopium rehab – and finding CL – before I would actually file for divorce. In the end it was all rather anti-climatic – which from what I understand makes me “one of the lucky ones”. In that time I spent quite a bit of energy trying to untangle the skein (well, a different one anyway)..despite knowing full well that it was a futile and self-harming effort. I’ve also spent a large amount of time blaming and shaming myself for the years of spackling and untangling.
All this to say, intimacy is not a characteristic of the marriage…it is what each person (ideally) is willing to give to the marriage, how they are willing to BE in the marriage. It is the *commitment* – the sealing off the emergency escape hatch – that lays the ground for intimacy. We may not easily or even willingly step into intimacy/vulnerability in all situations – but when we absolutely hold our commitments in our hearts, we find that we have to be in that place if only out of lack of options. So, of course, I spackled and untangled, as well as gave and gave and fucking gave. I didn’t leave because I had sealed off the emergency hatch…I didn’t even see it as an option.
Cheaters never seal off the emergency escape hatch. They may go through the motions of what appears to be intimacy (those hallmarks mentioned earlier) – but without the commitment itself there can be no real intimacy. To then blame us for their lack of commitment – despite having *already* committed – is true lunacy.
Thanks for sharing your story, Jammy, and your post yesterday was so on point! It’s definitely getting cut and pasted to my Chump Wisdom folder!!
Thank you, Jammy, for starting a conversation that really gets the crux of these relationships. Like you I discovered an emotional (it was probably physical) affair in about year 7 of our 18-year marriage. It shattered my sense of security and it destroyed how I looked at him. Instead of leaving, I spent the next 11 years spackling and trying to reassure him that he was a good man and I was a wonderful wife. My aunt asked why I stayed. Simple, I loved him and I hoped that love would win out. I never realized that it was a losing battle. The day he filed and turned his back on me, despite living in the same house for the next two months, was the day I realized just what a cold and hard SOB he really is.
One other thing I want to say – and perhaps it is redundant, a kind of chicken vs. egg thing – but once I really got it, it changed my whole perspective…
We didn’t NOT have a good marriage because of his cheating. It was only because of his cheating that we had anything good in the marriage/relationship. Without his cheating (the ability to escape), he would have found any of those intimate aspects of marriage intolerable. That’s not to suggest that any aspect of the cheating was good or beneficial. It’s just to say that without the cheating, there would have been NO marriage – which totally debunks the idea that I held for so long that without the cheating there would have been a GOOD marriage.
Thank you for sharing Jammy.
I too never would have left him – but enough years have passed that I’m finally seeing what a gift it was when he eventually walked out and never spoke to me again.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent a LOT of years shattered about it. But time has been good to me. I built my own successful business, I keep my body healthy, I have a great kid (from a different marriage.) Last I saw him his teeth were yellow from smoking, his nose was red from alcohol abuse, and he had still never finished college or done anything with his life.
The best revenge is a life well lived! These fools will never be happy, no matter what they do. Thank god he left me and I didn’t go down on his ship.
I learned with my ex that some people just don’t bond. He’d clean the house and do stuff that required actions, but he had issues he refused to deal with that kept him from even having a personal conversation. He couldn’t talk about anything….his own upbringing, anything that he considered unpleasant, anything that bothered me, or anything that bothered him. Everything had to be surface and phony so people would buy his nice guy image and he didn’t have to be uncomfortable.
He had deep insecurities and his inability to bond left a hole that he couldn’t fill. I believe this is why he held onto an ex our entire relationship. And his refusal to deal with conflict of any kind caused passive aggressive bullshit that he’d play dumb about after the fact.
Even in counseling the counselor told me that it was so strange that he sat on the opposite side of the room from me while proclaiming that he wanted to save the marriage. She told me privately that he had deep issues that caused him to be unable to sense disconnect and that he lived in his own little world separate from everyone. It’s a sad way to live.
She told me I was wasting my time with him.
She also told him in counseling that it was important that I be able to cry in front of him and he just couldn’t deal with it. I walked on eggshells for years so baby wouldn’t be offended or annoyed and eventually realized we’d never had a deep conversation about anything.
Probably what makes his whore so appealing is that she doesn’t do intimacy either, as evidenced by the fact that she’s been married 6 times and was carrying on with him during at least the last one.
I’m long past giving a shit. Now I just feel pity that he’ll never know what it’s like to connect with someone. Not only will he never know the joy of exposing yourself fully and being loved and accepted for all that you are (good and bad), he’s terrified that people will see the real him and know he’s a scumbag.
But you know what? He’s not fooling a lot of people. I have my sources.
Also, women who fuck married men are smoking crack if they think it has anything to do with intimacy.
To the extent these guys are capable of intimacy (most cheaters aren’t capable at all) their wives are probably getting it.
They’re simply looking for a warm hole and an ego boost.
I can’t think of anything less intimate than that.
My ex’s whore fed his pathetic, never ending ego. That’s it. He thought so little of her that when he was involved with her prior to me he didn’t tell anyone about her. He’s way to concerned with his image to be associated with cheap trash like her. I can guarantee there’s no intimacy involved because be isn’t capable of it. Only two losers feeding each others pathetic egos.
Dday five year anniversary is coming up at Christmas. XH still living with one of his affair partners but he’s been caught cheating on her many times and he’s actively trolling dating sites and duping women into thinking he is single. Although I am mostly no contact, because he has been Spending more time with our three children, I do not have him blocked on my phone. He texted me night before last seeking kibbles, Which he frequently does, asking me “how are you?” Then he proceeded to play the self pity, sad sausage song about how he was drinking in a bar by himself and said “ I ruined everything, I destroyed it all“—By this I take it to mean he ruined the great thing he had using me as the wife appliance for 25 years and having the image management of the perfect looking family, and because I took him all the way to trial in the divorce I got all of our assets. Because five years has passed and I’ve remained either no contact or completely gray rock and have refused to engage with him in anything below the 35,000 foot level, he has Conveniently forgotten all the insults and blame that he shifted to me in the weeks following Dday when I was playing to pick me and marriage police dance.
It is so very clear to me that this is all on him. He is in intrinsically soulless, narcissistic, selfish, shallow excuse for a human being. He is not happy with his “young soulmate” And all of that was complete bullshit. I can see now how pathetic he is. His hollow, selfish words provide me with no comfort.
In 26 years there was never any real intimacy with him. He is not capable. It was all a projection on my part and in illusion that I created with my supreme spackling skills and his supreme manipulation skills.
It’s taken me some time to realize the “gift” in the many things the disordered XH said to me after D-day, not only to my face, but in the Divorce Letter.
Before the Divorce Letter was ever read and during the time I thought we were “working on our marriage”; he said with a big smile on his face, “At least we’ll always have our great sex memories.” I cannot remember what I said back. I’m guessing nothing. I remember the feeling of shock when I heard it. I have pondered this one statement over and over again. Did none of our 23 years of shared memories mean nothing to him? Is he really that shallow and only cares about sex? All the times when we were in the act of having sex and he stopped and said to me, “Can we do this tomorrow?” and I was like, “Yes, of course.” But in my mind I was thinking to myself, why are you thinking about tomorrow? He was a bottomless sex pit of need that no matter what I did and how much I delivered, more was always wanted. And that explains all the ho-workers, strippers and porn.
Jammy comes along and so eloquently wraps up what true intimacy is. And then I remember the “gift” embedded in the XH’s comment about us always having our great sex memories. It’s a gift when you realize words spoken to you shows you how much they truly suck and also how disordered their thinking is. Also how disordered their values are. I hold close to my heart all my memories with my children, my family and friends. Unfortunately the cheater is a part of them, but he’s a very small part now in those memories. He’s no longer a supporting role. On a movie set, he’d be an actor in large crowd of extras.
Intimacy is me boyfriend who used to be a paramedic talking to me about medical terminology and helping me study while I’m getting my EMT license, because he was in my shoes and one point and is happy to help me reach your dreams. Even though he is a full time nursing student and in the middle of studying himself, he takes the time to answer all my questions.
Or the time I caught my abuser ex stalking my Instagram. Told my bf I was on edge and I was scared. He called me and talked to me for nearly an hour, listened to every word, and promised me my ex wouldn’t ever get passed him.
Or telling him that I like my therapist a lot, and the combination of going to her weekly, and his consistent honesty and compassion has helped me heal, and I haven’t felt anxious in months, and he says “I’m glad to hear you’re making progress and seeing yourself in a good place.” Encouragement in my career choices, encouragement in my emotional and mental health progress, and being a consistently trustworthy person has made me feel so emotionally safe with this man.
And I think that’s part of intimacy. Intimacy requires consistency. It has to be maintained. Commitment requires consistency. I think part of the problem with cheaters and these “I sleep with married men I’m speSHull” OWs is they don’t get the difference between consistency and boredom. You can be consistent without being boring. You and your partner can go skydiving and free jumping or whatever you think is thrilling and exciting and still maintain consistency in trustworthiness and honesty between each other. If you and your partner hit a boredom slump, consistency is vocalizing it. Saying “Hey, let’s try something fun” or “Y’know we haven’t done XYZ yet” or “I’ve always wanted to -insert thing here- do you want to do that together?”
Intimacy requires a consistent willingness and capability to be an honest and compassionate person to your partner. No matter what.
Cheaters conflate consistency with boredom, treat boredom like a death sentence, conflate chaos with happiness, and intimacy with sex. It is useless to try to explain to them any form of intimacy that doesn’t involve sex and any relationship structure that isn’t founded on chaos.
@Jammy, Thank you for sharing your oh so familiar story dealing with intimacy. Your post jumped off the page yesterday. Today’s backstory lays out how “they”operate and without a flinch. My similar story dragged out over 32 years. For the newbies here on CL/CN some people are just really good at the trickery, deceit, betrayal and single handedly ruining everything that was good!! My x should get an award. (I think its called Hell). He was also a huge Jesus cheater, kidding behind the church, his bible thumping code for his fake life. I spackled WAY too much with forgiveness, grace, and keeping the family together. And also shined at keeping his secrets.
Im the poster child here, I gave my career, moved way more than wanted (never content), after our 3 child was diagnosed with juvenile Diabetes and require multiple shots, care and monitoring, I then stayed for the insurance, and support I needed. Looking back on that 26 yrs ago, I was always the one who handled it, not him. Such a fake, empty, emotionless, FUBR. Thinking I could bury all his misdeeds inside of me was a mistake and staying with him was the biggest.
4 years divorced, 5 years since he made his final exit, my life is better! Its not perfect, I still get triggered and once in a while ponder on what I survived.
Intimacy was on a sliding scale until it did not exist, after spending ½ my life on his nonsense. My past will become someone else’s future. ~~~~~
Holy moly Jammy, well done. Not only intimacy, this is what life is all about. How to be there for people in the most real sense wo the science fiction of addictive loops and projected pathology. I have a dear friend who brought me to tears describing working with her husband after she lost a parent. Her parent was in a remote area and the death was not discovered for several days. Not only did they have to travel to deal with the large property, animals that had been left alone, and financial affairs, but they had to go to the store and buy products to *clean up* the scene. She said that’s when she realized she had chosen a good man — while they stood in a big box store buying rubber gloves. They are my favorite couple and a reminder not to ever settle for science fiction.
I really don’t think that cheaters can connect at all. When I look back at my older-than-me-artist-narc-ex, I see how his art is riddled with stories of sexual encounters. But where are the partners? Long-gone, not in his life anymore. He goes through women like Kleenex, trying to get to the heart of some experience that will help him “connect,” which he can then “immortalize” in his art, which he can then read out to audiences and get to be “seen” by others, having the erotic experience all over again. It’s a closed loop, a narcissistic feeding-frenzy, and really has nothing to do with the lover/partner/prey at all. He was connecting with sex, not me. With himself, not me. In some ways, I might as well not have even been in the room.
Well put, artemis.
I think the chump as appliance concept is apt, but at times I see it in a slightly different way and think we are toys.
Toddlers (I think narcs have the maturity of toddlers) don’t bond with their toys.
Toys are there to be used, to provide entertainment. Some for a longer time than others (years for some, days for others), and often with an initial intense enthusiasm, but still ultimately disposable.
At one points during the discard when I was trying to say that we have been through so much, we could get through what he said was a midlife crisis, I said to Rat what about the times when we cared for our injured son. that was a horrible time and he said yeah that sucked with little feeling. like you know it’s over it’s done it has no relevance to our relationship or parenting. I think at that point I realized that my commitment and engagement to our marriage, our partnership was so much different from his.
“Sexy means loving someone you do not know.”. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies
Intimacy is taking care of your Brother in law for the last 3 years as he battles Leukemia. You are his warrior, his best friend and his biggest fighter. You stand up for him when he can’t. Even when it’s against the Dr’s. Intimacy is holding your brother in law’s hand and kissing his forehead as he takes his last breath and his brother, your husband of 25 years (been together 31), is standing nearby with tears streaming down his face. Intimacy is those moments in time that can’t be replicated and will never be again….
I experienced most of that in my marriage, except the ED thank god. Nevertheless, Result = wife banged my cousin.
F that bitch btw
Love this. Except for the sex even when you don’t want it part.
I lived with the emotional blackmail of *you don’t love me because you don’t want to have sex with me* bullshit for years.
It’s marital rape.
I didn’t want to have sex with him (more than the 2-3 times a week i was having sex with him) because:
He was a rageaholic blameshifting shapeshifter living multiple secret double lives from his workplace.
There was no emotional intimacy. No resolving the endless circular arguments that were on a high rotate rinse and repeat cycle.
He felt entitled to it.
He raged and temper tantrumed if i said I didnt feel like it.
I felt i had to say yes because saying no would mean my husband was raping me. See entitlement. It was happening regardless.
It was marital rape and blackmail.
If someone doesnt feel like having sex, that is really where the conversation ends. No means no. Sexual entitlement is rape. Consent is a rort for men to get away with coercive control and sexual violence.
Its really important we recognise this.
Totally agree. That part really bothered me. Nobody should feel compelled to have sex when they don’t want it.
My cheater was sexually coercive as well. I got divorce threats, threats to cheat (when he was already cheating!), manipulation, harassment, and there were even a few times he didn’t stop when I told him to because I was in pain, pretending he thought I meant stop for a bit and then keep going.
That was legally marital rape. The others are morally. At the time I believed him that it was a misunderstanding, but I know better now. He is a rapist.
I’m staying anonymous because this stuff is so private and painful.
I will remain anonymous too about this.
I agree about feeling compelled to have sex even when they don’t want to.
Reading the book, ‘How He Gets Into Her Head: The Mind of the Male Intimate Abuser’ by Don Hennessy, was a real eye opener to me in terms of how I acquiesced throughout our married life because of the consequences if I didn’t.
I took on the commonly held belief that it ‘was my duty’ to satisfy him or else – and that ‘or else’ hung heavily over my head. Little did I know he was already ‘or elseing’.
Sorry you went through that my dear.
What Jammy said triggered awful memories and I have been upset for days because of it. I’m shocked CL and most of CN didn’t catch that bit of toxic messaging and are singing the praises of this post while ignoring that part, which is anti-intimacy and promotes abuse. I’m wondering if this place is even safe now if most people here don’t even get that you don’t owe anybody sex. This is disturbing.
I can’t comment for others but for me I know that there were lots of things mentioned by Jammy and I am thinking that people commented on what hit them the most maybe.
I know for me I don’t read all comments because there are simply too many. I don’t even know how I ended up reading yours but it hit me right away as I too had glossed over the sex part when first reading what Jammy wrote.
I was thinking in terms of being in a healthy relationship where, I have heard through friends of mine, there is give and take with discussions about when and where sex happens.
So maybe that is what others did and many probably didn’t even read what you wrote.
I imagine that if CL were to use sex as a topic for discussion you would hear more of what you wrote about so I hope you don’t leave over this. There is so much here to help us and I don’t think any ill intent was intentional. ….At least that is how I am looking at it.
Sex is a loaded topic and maybe others just didn’t want to go there.
Thanks for coming back and commenting again.
THIS. Absolutely this.
Sex should only happen when it’s completely consensual,, unmanipulative, and uncoerced.
Cheaters try to fake intimacy with the inane star-crossed schmoopie narrative they cling to. “It’s just the two of us against the world” and that sort of nonsense. Intimacy is about a deep emotional connection with another, something that cheaters aren’t even capable of. They fear intimacy and use cheating to avoid it, not to attain it. Cowards, every one of them.
This really hits home with me too. After 30 years together and 28 married I really would think we have a partnership and all those things mentioned that make a marriage intimate. Instead I feel like I have a 57 year old man-child.. He has even said to multiple people like it’s a joke, “I don’t take care of my relationships.” Of course this is one of those statements he denies even making. But it is so true!
He refuses to discuss any issues or whatever he thinks are issues cuz he refuses to tell me even what the issues are.
I’ve felt that yes he totally avoids any real intimacy for who knows what reason.
And of course like most of you here have been told, he has said on numerous occasions it is all my fault. So he needs to make “friends” with young college girls because we don’t communicate.
He does not really want a life partner. That would mean he would have to take responsibility for his own behavior and at least make attempts to resolve whatever issues he thinks there are in our marriage.
Meanwhile all of the undone renovation projects and piles of crap in the yard are still there. If I do much as mention anything about them, he whines and complains and blame shifts so nothing gets done. And usually he starts feeling ill. He wants a mommy, not a partner.
THIS comment. Is exactly what the counter-narrative is to the one put forward to justify cheating. My ex walked away citing lack of connection/compatibility while I was left wondering what it is about 12 years of being together that was SO insignificant that he can’t remember what we shared. We had good times. Many, many hard times. I stuck by him all this time and I know I made sacrifices far bigger than he ever did, and I told him that I am STILL HERE so he has got to value that at least. But no, he threw it all away. The irony is that once I decided to be brave and walk away for my sanity, and went minimal contact, he asked me innocently if I have amnesia or nostalgia (I said, do you?).
The even bigger irony is he married the OW, and by his own admission this was God’s plan for him…I have to wonder, how can people who are so poorly equipped to be committed, ride-or-die partners think they can do it better the second time around? These people are Sisyphean in how they orchestrate personal tragedies for themselves and others. They have no idea what intimacy is; its not the post-coital glow only, its also children vomiting at night and ER visits. Its not just happy drinking sessions at bars and dancing, its facing your parents’ deaths and eventually those of people your own age. Can only feel pity for them and relief at exiting the circus.
I am so glad Jammy’s brilliant post got featured. And also her follow up today was equally poetic. Write a book Jammy!! The last two CL posts-the interview with Dr. Lei and the article by the husband-fucker- really highlight that confusing narrative we are subjected to regarding sex and intimacy. What strikes me is that the things Jammy describes-they make me tear up and feel a longing for the family life that was ripped apart; those were the things I thought I had with my ex and what made up for the less than perfect sex life. But those were the same things he considered to be “work” in the end. It was nothing but driving the kids around, yelling at them to get ready, going to all of these banal events, etc. etc. etc. according to him. It hit me like a flash when CL posted this today. Those ARE the things that represent true intimacy. And they are EXACTLY what the cheater runs from. I remember trying to reignite our sex life, feeling guilty one day at work thinking that it was me that was frigid. And hearing morning DJs and movies and friends and TV shows highlighting the importance of sex. I would come home and intend to initiate romance, let him know how much I loved him. But I would chicken out. I didn’t go cold. I got afraid. Because he had turned sex into acting out a porno, but in this cold way that made me feel like I was being judged. He had ED and I was ok with just being together but he would act like it was me and say, “it’s ok. I don’t really like conventional sex.” What he considered “sex” got weirder and weirder with the porn he watched. He was more intimate in other areas than he was with sex and I felt inadequate at sex-something I hadn’t felt before but those days were so long gone I couldn’t really recall. I managed to compartmentalize the whole thing, because at first he was still doing all those other things that define intimacy. And he stopped doing them so slowly that I couldn’t really put my finger on what was happening. He traveled a lot, so the decreased attention to family made sense, and he would do these grand gestures just when I was questioning things. In the end, his objectification of sex and inability to treasure the true intimacies we shared led right into the easy out for him-that I am frigid and our marriage was sexless and nothing but work. I loved that “work”. It didn’t make me feel like I had ended up in some Norman Rockwell painting hell. Those things Jammy described they WERE our intimacy. Until they weren’t. This experience, that I think is similar to many on this site, makes it so hard to hear these people like the woman who says she’s providing intimacy for these poor men who aren’t getting it from their wives. And it makes it frustrating to hear all the psychiatrists, and people in general, who act like getting upset over infidelity is old-fashioned, an over-reaction, or even discriminatory (like Dr. Lei’s implication that it goes hand in hand with homophobia) or hear people talk about monogamy being unnatural. I’ve always liked monogamy. The first time with a new lover, back when I was young, was exciting because it was the culmination of a mental connection, not just the act of sex. By the time I got married, I no longer found new sex exciting. I found comfortable, intimate sex rewarding. I was glad to be done with the other. Adrenalin and intimacy don’t really mix in the long run for me. I’ve realized now that my ex wanted to feel worshipped not loved. And that was more important to him than intimacy.
I can so much relate to this!
I could have written this. I too wished I had initiated sex more often but I became afraid in the last years. That fear, I know now, was distrust. He couldn’t be trusted with my most vulnerable parts. He was becoming a stranger then and it’s only now almost two years later that I’m finally understanding.
does a great job discussing sex with a narcissist and the wisdom of our bodies.
Stop wishing. Your body knew! Your fear was RIGHT ON. It saved you!
I know mine did and I am in awe of it now. Didn’t know it at the time but now I do thanks to the book.
This is so on point. I don’t remember what brought on the conversation with the cheater, but it’s one I’ll never forget.
He yelled at me “Just tell me who do you want me to be! I just can’t figure it out!” I responded with, “I just want you to be yourself, that is all.” He was stumped, his shoulders sagged, he gasped for air, his expression was despair and also sort of blank….as his hands flopped he dropped his voice to almost a whisper, “just tell me what you want me to do then.”
It’s the moment I realized that there is no Self in him, just a never ending parade of facades custom tailored to whoever he is in front of, meant to present him in whatever light he wants. Like an actor who is completely lost without a role to play. No personal identity.
So intimacy? No they aren’t capable. What you see with AP is nothing more than another facade, another theatric performance from an empty man or woman. An act. What you are seeing isn’t love, happiness, great life, or a fulfilling life – it’s about as real as a movie on TV. Doesn’t exist in reality.
Off topic 12/6/19. If you are struggling this year and need help getting your child a present for Hannukau/Christmas/whateveryoucelebrate, The Bloggess & tribe are doing the annual one day only James Garfield Day!
She has selected 100 gifts on Amazon, you can create a wish list per her instructions then post the link in comments. Jenny or some other person will buy them so your kids can enjoy. Don’t be shy if you need the help! Go here for instructions and to post your wishes: https://thebloggess.com/2019/12/06/the-10th-annual-james-garfield-miracle/
Happy Holidays and may all your wishes come true!
That’s it in a nutshell. Most cheaters will never get true intimacy because they’re not capable of seeing beyond the sexual/romantic aspect of it, hence once the love bubble wears off and they have to face the realities of marriage/relationships and the hard work and compromise that goes with it, they check out. When they cheat this is the rationalisation.
People that can’t think beyond the romantic aspects of intimacy will never ever be capable of a true fulfilling relationship because they look at relationships through a rose tinted bubble where as long as every thing stays perfect in their eyes, it’s all good.
My ex was exactly like this and still continues to be like it. Although he’s apolologised profusely over the past 9 years, he still doesn’t get it. He still blames everyone else for the demise of our relationship and takes zero responsibility for his role. His mindset is that he’s apologised, I should move on, get back together with him and that’s it.
Basically when things got difficult , reality intruded and it wasn’t the easy romantic idyllic life he envisioned and he realised that you actually have to make an effort, work hard at the relationship, compromise, be supportive and be present, he checked out mentally. Because he simply didn’t want to make the effort or be there but didn’t want to look the bad guy for walking out, he pretty much drove us all away and turned me into a broken mess, my teenage son from a previous relationship from a happy go lucky kid to an angry defiant teen and our two toddlers from happy babies who slept all night to anxious little beings that screamed 24/7.
The intimacy had worn off for him and real life kicked in and because he didn’t want to deal with it or put in the hard work what makes a succesful relationship, rather than grow a pair and walk away and let us live our lives, literally tried to destroy our lives because of his ego.
Even nowadays his mindset is that he provided for us (funny how he forgets that both of us worked) gave me regular sex, told me he loved me, changed a nappy occasionally and interrupted his busy social life to grace us with his presence on rare occasions, so what is the problem.
What people with that mindset fail to get is that intimacy is a whole lot than being romantic, helping out with the kids from time to time and showing your face.
It is putting your partner and kids first, putting in the hard work that makes a relationship successful, weathering life’s storms together through the good times and the bad, giving each other space, having each other’s backs, accepting each other’s imperfections, listening and communicating with each other, treating each other with value and respect, shouldering each other’s burdens, drying each other’s tears, being each other’s biggest cheerleader, being silly and laughing together, holding each other simply for the hell of it and simply being there and loving each other.
That is true intimacy, but a cheater will never ever see it that way because they can’t see beyond what makes them feel good so they won’t make the effort that goes into relationships so they end up in one unhappy relationship after another.
This!! This is what I have been trying to put into words. This is what a marriage is/should be. This is what I thought I had.
Intimacy is also about being able to be confidently at your most vulnerable knowing your partner is there in mind, body and soul ( ie childbirth).
Thank you for the words I needed. ❤️
My ex’s definition of intimacy: foursomes with people you like.
This is brilliant. This is so awesome. True intimacy is deep and complicated and slowly baked over time. A roll in the hay is not intimacy. Not even close.
Can we all just agree?
They just don’t care. They simply just do not care .
They just do not give 2 shits about you or anyone else.
Reading CL has made this real for me. Understanding that cheaters are a reflection of themselves, made me finally realize it had nothing to do with me. My Ex will not change. No need to untangle the skein, because it’s all fluff. Now, I just feel sad for my children (20 & 23), because he’s shown them who he is, but the true horror will take time to absorb. In the meantime, Disney Dad is in overdrive.
As for Mrs. Whore, she got Dr. Asshat, who we know does not give 2 shits about anyone. Mazel Tov!
Things that I thought was a part of being a team with my husband and working together for the benefit of our family like our taking turns to pick up and drop off the kids to before and after school care, my working nights to pay the bills was later listed in court docs to validate his claims that I was a thoughtless and neglectful wife and mother. This was the tactic used to deflect the reason I had filed for divorce, he had been cheat with men and the whole time had been looking me in the eye denying any form of infidelity. When he finally came clean he instantly acted like it was no big deal. He had confessed it and form that magical moment it was all in his past, no one needed to know. My being angry was just my own sinful nature coming to the fore. Being religious he then went the all sin is equal route so his having sex with men was no more an issue than me being angry. When I refused to take him back he claimed he was delivered and began seeking a new victim. Coming to terms with the lies, the gaslighting, the deliberate mindfuckery were far harder than coming to terms with the fact that he had been randomly fucking men for most of our marriage. Intimacy doesn’t just happen between the sheets.
“Randomly fucking men for most of our marriage”
All fucking bets are off on that one. Who does this? Intimacy is the last thing on the lizard brain of that depraved poseur.
No- that is all kinds of depravity.
You were sleeping with the Devil.
Forget why . It just is.
The last line says it all.
If you want to be an escapist, then label and promote yourself thusly. Have the courage to do it above board.
God knows there are plenty of polyamorists out there on the dating sites living their “truth” up front – and this giving the rest of us the option to opt out first thing. Don’t act like somebody forced that commitment on you at gunpoint. These are all *choices* not things that *just happen* to us.
I continue to be astonished by the lack of people to find themselves with feelings that contradict their circumstances and don’t just GO TO THERAPY ON THEIR OWN TO SORT IT OUT. Feelings are normal, actions define character.
All of the things that CL wrote that constitute intimacy. This and more.
For so many Chumps there are so many more breakers of intimacy.
I can’t help but believe that when respect for another human being, in this case, our soul mate, is lost, there can never ever be any feeling of intimacy.
Our eldest daughter’s husband died unexpectedly, ( dropped dead), in front of her eyes, with their young children and the family dog beside her as she called 911, and, immediately commenced CPR, which she did for over half an hour.
One day soon after cheater said to me. ” They are much better off without him.” ( cheater/narcs) don’t like many people. I said he was a good husband and father, they loved him with all of their heart.”
I also said that was the most horrible, cruel thing he could ever say, and that he better NEVER say anything like that in front of my daughter and the children. His reply to me was that he had said that to me alone, in the privacy of our home.
My God, that broke my heart.
But cheaters just never get it, we know that.
For the love of all things holy- who actually thinks that let alone verbalize it?
Your user name says it all and you paid dearly for being the Peacekeeper.
This is all so well said, thank you for sharing. These are all the memories made together that make it so hard to move on. People keep telling me that I need to be strong and move on. Those people have never experienced the trauma of a wife continuing to cheat on you for almost a year after she was caught the first time and then the emotional pain of begging that same person to stay, not give up on love, hope, you and your marriage, only to be rejected again. I think that experience changes a person forever that the betrayer never realizes and even if they did, wouldn’t care enough. They have no sense of intimacy, even the intimacy of the raw pain their partner is in from the soul crushing damage they caused.
The realization that they never cared, is a bitter pill. Knowing that they told other people the most intimate details of our lives, is soul crushing. They are empty shells. Not sure it helps while you’re walking through the fire, but it has helped me to realize the fault is within themselves–not us. It may sound trite, but I think of Dory and “just keep swimming” (better visual than Winston Churchill “keep going through the fire”.
This takes time and it is hands down, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I drove myself to the hospital while in labor (in a foreign country) with my 2 1/2 year in the back seat while A**hat was on a different continent.
You are strong and you WILL move on. On your timeframe. No one has the right to tell you what you should or should not feel/do. Obviously, the people that truly care about you will step in if they are noticing truly destructive behaviors.
Betrayal is the hardest THING to recover from. The person you believed had your back in the foxhole actually put a bullet in your brain.
Thank you for the feedback. I still struggle, I still want her back because I honestly can not believe this is the same woman that I married and have been in love with. I am a forgiving person and would forgive her again, that’s how much I miss our life together and the life I thought we planned together. I can’t stop being a fool for someone I deeply love.
You cannot recycle shit. That dog poop at the park ?
Some of us have gone through multiple Ddays. Our first mistake was not pulling the trigger the First Time.
None of us can believe it because it is truly UNBELIEVABLE.
Baby steps. Just little tiny baby steps each day. That could be getting out of bed or brushing your teeth. Eating. Not barfing when you wake up.
You can do this because you have to. For YOU.
We call this ‘You Miss the Lie’. It’s real grief for the loss of something you believed in, but which didn’t really exist. It hurts.
Perhaps read about ‘trauma bonding’. It’s a thing many Chumps have gone through, which makes us crazy for the person who is wounding us the most.
No Contact with your ex will help you get your head straight. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
I love reading this blog. Everyone here has helped me put what happened to me and my son in perspective and has helped me on my healing journey. Cheaters even have a different idea of intimacy too. They truly aren’t like us. Light bulb!
Oh my soul weeps with joy and validation at the whopping statements of truth here. 19 months out from Dday and I’m actually getting MORE of this from the cheater. I’ve tried to exit and he’s evaded it (service) and it’s also scary as hell to know how to do this when the stakes involve a very very young child (not quite 2 now). Anyway, cheater also won’t move out. And he feels truly justified in saying I won’t talk and because he lacks connection to me he swings back over to his AP. Oh, and he’s “following his heart.” Um, no to all of this distorted BS. He killed the connection and prevented us even seeing if reconnection was possible. And I am definitely starting to wake up to just how bad it’s been and for how long (which was well before the affair). And I feel a teeny tiny glimmer of hope I’ll find true intimacy as described here in this life once I get to the other side of the burning hellscape this marriage has become.
I have been thinking a lot about shows of intimacy that were not sex. Or, I should say, the lack of non-sexual intimacy.
He didn’t like to hold hands or show PDA. He typically always begged off when we were invited to go socialize with *my* friends and their partners. If there is something I wanted to do that he isn’t interested in I would take the kids, find a friend or go by myself. He has never been to my high school BF’s house though I visit at least 2x a year and has never even met my college BF. I always rationalized away the reasons he didn’t want to spend time with my family, my friends, our kid’s friends parents or our neighbors. I’ve been home for 10 years, he worked – it was part of my “job” to be the family representative and give him downtime.
Even with our kids he didn’t really participate. After one year of soccer with our then pre-schooler his participation in our kids activities was pretty much non-existent. He shows up for the showy events – especially if his family is coming so he can bask in the glory. With the exception of going with his family on a group vacation he has only ever been on one other family vacation in 18 years. I took the kids on family road trips / vacations because he was “working”. He does play video games with them – that’s their “quality time”.
I thought that he was being supportive when my mother was critically ill but looking back it was his family that made it possible for me to travel across the county to be with her during chemo. He flew off to a convention a 6 weeks after she died and ONE day after we moved to another city mid-school year. I sat on the floor exhausted, surrounded by boxes, filling out school registration forms and sobbed. And I told him it was OK. What the hell??
If he sat next to me to watch TV it always was a pre-curser to sex. A hug always involved fondling. I told him that groping my breasts during a hug wasn’t a turn on..as least not for *me*.
He has said that he is happy we are getting divorced because it’s insulting to him that I would have to have a glass of wine to be interested in sex and basically that I was / am frigid. BTW, he got cut off four months after DD because I told him that it was her or me/us. He chose her. Shmoopie is staggeringly younger and loves video games!!