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This Is Your Brain on Hopium

Hopium is a powerful drug. You can hand a chump the most desperate set of circumstances, and goddamn it, that chump will work with it. Let’s just give it a year! I owe it to us to try! Sure, I can ionize my needs into tiny, undetectable particles! You’ll never get a whiff of my anger, no sir!

Hopium says, sure you can leap off that tall building in a single bound, and not go splat on the pavement, because UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! Hopium whispers, you’ll never lose a single sunk cost. Hopium exults, OMG he went to therapy! We’re good now! The Wizard of Therapy will give him a heart and we’ll click our ruby slippers and go back to our restored marriage!

Hopium lies.

Under hopium’s influence, chumps let down their guards. (Wouldn’t want to upset the Timid Forest Creature with your demands now, would you?) That boundary you had? It can wait. Those financials you should be collecting? Hey HE BROUGHT ME FLOWERS! That post-nup you were thinking of maybe taking his temperature on, kinda, perhaps… We can’t upset the cheater or they’ll run back to Schmoopie!

Chumps despise the suggestion that they’re high on hopium. NO, I CAN QUIT AT ANY TIME, but I CHOOSE NOT TO, because I believe in the SANCTITY of MARRIAGE!

Here’s a radical suggestion for all those who chase unicorns — reconciliation and protecting yourself are NOT mutually exclusive. Sorry is as sorry does. A remorseful person will give you transparency and a post-nup. A remorseful person will run a credit report on themselves. But chumps, high on hopium, will never ever test this sorry (I SEE A UNICORN! He’s white and fluffy with a rainbow mane!) because they fear more pain.

Hopium anesthetizes. Truth hurts like a motherfucker. So let’s not be pushy. Chumps fear that if they enforce those boundaries, the cheater will balk, and they’ll be forced to connect the dots that the cheater doesn’t really want to give up cake. That maybe the chump isn’t winning the pick me dance as definitively as they imagined. And so chumps will not test the depths of cheater sorry because it means further suffering.

Reconciliation sounds so noble. Bargaining stage of grief, not so much.

Put down the pipe, chumps. If you’re going to reconcile, do it sober with protection.

So tell me, what crazy thing did you do under hopium’s influence? And how did you kick the habit?

This column ran previously. Hopium still abounds. Back to our regularly scheduled snark on Monday. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I diagnosed him with Asperger’s, and later on with Cushing’s disease.

    Turns out he just had a bad case of asshole.

    • SAME! Only I added a possible brain tumor to the menu, including damage to his precious amygdala, along with a hefty case of a mother wound and “family of origin issues”. He was suffering and I could fix him. NOT. Turned out it was porn, ED, a willing predatory ho/co-worker, and full blown malignant narcissism.

      • Yes I know “MALIGNANT” Narcissi am, mine too it’s a nightmare until you finally understand what happened! Mine even went so far as to lie to authorities that I was a “CHILD” abuser. Yes Narcs are famous for this shit! We finished up court in Feb, of 2019 and I’m just finishing my probabtion. He walked out of the courtroom with out two teens and his whore. Now I find out of course she was a mistake and now begins the Hoover!🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🌹🤪🤪🤪🤪

    • Omg! Yes! I was certain mine had Aspergers too. Now I see what an insult that is to people who actually do have Aspergers! Lol

    • What a perfect comment! 🙂 lol

      I diagnosed him with depression. Chumpy me the fixer suggested he might want to see his doctor and get some antidepressants. He said back to me and I quote, “I don’t want to take any medications that will ruin my brain.” You see, he’s a genius and his brain has given him a lifetime of narcissistic supply. His family thinks he’s brilliant and can do no wrong.

      • The family probably has a case of asshole as well. I have learned the apple does not far from the tree. In my case the parent was a cheater, and then justifies their asshole child’s behavior by being upset that I am angry for the asshole cheating on me. Turns out, only assholes are allowed to be angry and cheat.

        • True. Ex’s father publicly cheated on his mother in a tight knit ethnic community shortly after Ex and I married. Ex denounced his father and acted so personally hurt and indignant. A few years later when I dumped him for cheating on me all his friends from this community dumped him for being such a hypocrite. And many of them told me they always thought he was a narcissist, even when they were kids.

          Now Ex and his father, who moved back to his home country because he and his new ho-wife weren’t accepted as a legitimate couple, are besties.

          No, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’m grateful my son is an empath like me and rejected both his father’s and grandfather’s blameshifting their cheating on us chump wives.

    • “A bad case of asshole.” Perfect!

      I also researched Aspergers (and assorted other non-neurotypical conditions) but couldn’t make any of them fit, so I settled on Midlife Crisis. That sorted, I put my Amazon Chump hat on, analyzed the situation, and EXPLAINED. TO. HIM. what he was going through, why he was acting out, and why he’d chosen that particular schmoopie (high school girlfriend, recapturing youth, blah blah blah.)

      I know, right? Can you imagine?

      Turns out he’s just a weak, selfish, immature little coward who has disappointed everyone who’s ever loved him. I guess his family and friends were already sufficiently disappointed, so it was my turn. (And just think: now he’s free and there’s a whole world of people he hasn’t disappointed yet!)

      • This is exactly what I did! My poor overworked and overwhelmed love was merely overworked and overwhelmed AND going through his MLC at the age of 63. Ha. and Geez.

      • In my case, the family who was so disappointed in the cheater, took enough pity on him to return and support the cheater. Turns out they had something in common now. They also cheated on their spouses. Selfish, immature, entitled, manipulative. Lacking values. I could go on and on.

      • In the thick of it, mine freely admitted to Midlife Crisis (which gave me so much HOPE!!) yet it was YEARS before I learned that one reason he admitted it (and sent me down that rabbit hole where I was for years) was that he was a long term serial adulterer and if he could convince me it was all a new crisis, he could hide years of betrayal in a dark stinky closet.

        Now years later, I know he had some soup of untreated mental illness but I have no idea what it was. What I do know is that he was fine with blaming me for all of it and the chronic abuse once he had scapegoated me.

        I saw him interact with others and thought “look, he is a great guy…all I need is for him to treat me like he treats everyone else”. HOPIUM . Trouble was, I was the scapegoat and it would never change. He held me in contempt. To him, it did not matter how fabulous I was, he needed a scapegoat because that was the only way his life made sense.

        The chances of our relationship ever being healthy were ZERO. But I hoped and hoped and hoped.

        So often, hope is seen as a virtue, but those of us in this need to know that there are times when it is a delusion.

        • I need to add that by the time he died, he was crazy, but I believe that it wasn’t the crazy that made him cheat, I think the cheating made him crazy. He knew what he was doing was wrong and he had to create a fantasy to justify himself…then he lived it.

        • Sociopath. An understanding the pain and hurt they have caused someone else to feel doesn’t exist. It’s the sad truth. Yes, it hurts because we have kind caring hearts and cannot possibly get why they don’t. Hopium becomes strong and the inevitable happens, we are let down because our expectations are too high. Realistic expectations are important. Moving on is important. They do have a disease and there is something wrong. They do not belong with you unless you love a life of disappointment and crave hurt.

        • Mine needed to have me as a scapegoat even to function. When we separated he started to hoover, and though I wasn’t tempted after all the abuse, I started to wonder if he was able to change. But after some time it became clear that without having his daily fix of raging and humiliating me, he couldn’t concentrate. He was self medicating ADD with rage and his deeply buried insecurity with humiliation.

          Really so beguiling….take me back so I can rage at you some more . Can’t you see I can’t live without you? Um yeah, but no thanks.

    • I studied asperger also. was totally convinced, until he was evaluated with several other disorders. Asshole should have been at the front of the list.

  • Omg this is me to a tee. Hopium and I stayed for 4 years after the first dday. Complete with Re-wedding in Central Park(he was all into the big snowy gestures). No post nup I’m such a dummy. He spent 4 years systematically stealing my retirement savings in the form of “investing” in his business which was failing in a way he hid from me. He also had me using money from my business to pay off his business debts. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and when he left 4 years later to run to second schmoopie( that I knew of), I had no retirement savings left( at 56). He continued to try to do financial scorched earth throughout the divorce process. Evil.. he cared not a whit that it was also our children’s inheritance. He just wanted me to have nothing. Schmoopie has money so now he’s using hers.. so little in consequences for blowing up the family and my financial security.

    • You’re not a dummy Newlady. I find chumps to be some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. We are givers and go the extra mile believing a con artist because we’re invested.

      My use was up after saying NO to buying a home with him at 57. He needed my signature to obtain a loan. His past history at that point in time made me cautious about getting into debt. He had been talking about going on disability, faking of course. Weeks later I was dumped, erased.

      He swore to his kids that he didn’t want my small pension. Yet he called my attorney, representing himself and wanted half. While by law he was entitled to it he agreed to get health insurance and keep a small IRA instead.

      I’m still rebuilding, thankful for my education and work ethic. Wherever they land they take their shitty selves along. It doesn’t matter where they land; they lack character.

      • Thank you I appreciate that. He has to live with what he did but mostly he has to live with his ugly self( ugly on the inside—rotten in fact)

    • Hi New Lady,

      I am right beside you in the trenches! Sending you strength and resilience. I don’t know which part of the world you’re in, but if you are ever in my neck of the woods, I’ll treat you to lunch—we can trade war stories and devise plans for a better life!

  • Having the ex over for Christmas dinner yet again – providing presents, food and a place to sleep on Christmas night.

    I received 1 cook book by some Youtube slacker and a mug. Nothing of great meaning or feeling.

    I realised last night after he finally left that I once again produced a christmas miracle. I’m left feeling empty and sad. I didn’t sob this time.

    My mind was busy and running in circles about what it all means. We are 2/3rds through our divorce and he says he doesn’t want it, but never brings it up as a topic of serious discussion after nearly 5 or 6 years of separation and no sex – not even holding my hand. Any attempts at holding his hand get shaken off like I’m diseased.

    I struggle because I don’t know what any of it means. I just know that I’m not getting any answers and that’s causing me stress and agony. 17 years and no child, no house, 1 half assed holiday.

    • Chumps ahoy please don’t do that to yourself again. The first rule around here is no contact is the way and the light. To really start to heal that is what you must do. The ex came “home” for Christmas the first year( after he was already living with Schmoopie). It was disastrous. He played games with me and my children and ruined our Christmas. Never again.. this year he took off on Christmas Day to go to Florida with Schmoopie and her daughter(something we did once and we all agreed we didn’t like). He didn’t bother seeing our son at all and gets home 3 days after my son leaves to go to his home 5 hours away. He truly sucks. He is just using you for cake , don’t let him.

      • Therapist said the same thing. He’s playing games, but ultimately it doesn’t mean anything.

        I didn’t sleep in the same room as him just to ensure that I’m safeguarding myself, but again, what does it matter? He wouldn’t lay a hand on me.

        I just don’t understand the game playing. I knew better and I should have stuck with my gut reaction and not hosted Christmas. I didn’t want to bother because I know the relationship is over and I want it to be over.

        No contact will be enforced once the divorce is finished which will be the end of February.

        Thank you for the response.

        • Why are you waiting to til February? Why are you tormenting yourself like these. Putting up with his physical rejection, his disdain for you?
          Who else in your life do you allow to treat you like this?

          You seem so brow beaten I just want to hug you and punch him. Then at the same time I want to smack those rose-tinted glasses off your face. I want to smack the pipe out of your hand.
          You still smoking the hopium.
          But… To each their own. You must come in your time.
          I will say that no contact is salvation with these mind fckuers. The faster you implement the faster you will unclog your mind. Focus on you. 2020 is in a few days. Start the year with no contact. Don’t wait til February’s divorce. Cut him off like a gangere leg.

          • Y’know…..it’s not even wanting the relationship back, because I don’t. I’m content living alone and not having to deal with all the BS that comes with that.

            I guess in some way I want to feel like I am important. I know in his world, I’m not, but I find myself struggling to find the magic and meaning in life when all the meaning I applied to life has been systematically stripped away and destroyed.

            I know him for what he is, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve become an angry person and in order to maintain the distance, I have to keep being angry. It’s an exhausting place to be.

            I try to allow myself room to grieve and he’s not allowing me to finish purging him out of my life. I’m nearly there and I know I’m nearly there because I cry less (or I’m just more dead inside).

            I’m exhausted and don’t know if I have fight inside me anymore.

            That’s where a lot of it is coming from, I think.

            Believe me the feeling of wanting to punch him repeatedly in the face is strong with me too.

            If I tell him he needs to leave, he just stays and asks me why. He doesn’t see it as abusive or controlling. I don’t want to threaten him with the police, but its going in that direction.

            I find my mind quieter when he’s gone. Maybe I’ve gone mad? I just feel really depressed and defeated right now.

            • My dear Chumps Ahoy,

              If you poured boiling water on your hand and told it not to hurt, do you think that would happen?

              I don’t think feeling angry when you are cheated on is any more of a choice.

              It’s exhausting and it’s also proof that you are wired properly emotionally.
              The crummy feelings last a long time, we can feel a tiny microscopic bit better every day. We can’t see the grass growing but it does. We can’t see a broken bone healing but it does.

            • Go at our own pace and I know you don’t want to upset things during divorce proceedings. Start with baby steps of not answering texts right away and being a little less available. Wean him off as you get stronger. Big 🤗

              • Thanks for this.

                This is exactly what I’ve been doing. Making myself less available. I realise I sound like I’m crazy, but I’m a lot stronger than I used to be and I’m tired being the only one upset and having my emotions ravaged. Hence, having to move at a pace I can afford.

                The panic attacks have been coming and going recently. I don’t feel like I should have to beg to be left alone, but it seems like that.

            • You don’t wait for him to “allow” you to “finish purging him” from your life. You do it. Because you taking the agency and purging him from your life is part of purging him from your life, and what allows you to put him behind you and move on into a future in which you are in control of your own life.

              You have no idea why he hasn’t wanted the divorce to go final, but you can rest assured that whatever reason it is, it’s for his perceived benefit. He’s not doing it for you, or to preserve something “in hopes of” your fixing your marriage.

              He ignores your boundaries when you tell him to leave, so don’t give him the opportunity to come into your home. Call your lawyer and get the process of divorce done ASAP.

              • In response to him not wanting to finish the divorce, let me leave you with this:

                In my early 20s I met and married a man I worked with. He was witty and good looking and I thought I could be content with him.

                But shortly after we were married he changed. Drastically. He cut off his hair, took out his earrings, started going to bed at 9pm every night. We worked for the same company and he made a rule that we were not allowed to talk about work when we at home which left us with pretty much nothing to talk about.

                I was very adamant abiut having children and he kept telling me when he turned 30 years old we could have a baby. So he turns 30, i get pregnant and then he wont accept the home pregnancy test. He doesnt want me to tell anyone until I’m 3 months pregnant. I start to bleed around 12 weeks and have an awful miscarriage over 3 days, while he cleans the pool, plays with the dog and I am going into shock from blood loss. He refused to go to the hospital with me, because he didnt want to use up his holiday time. He expressed no emotions over the loss of our baby.

                A few days later we had to out our cat down. He dropped me off at the vet and drove away while I stayed and had the cat euthanized.

                And on and on it went until our wedding anniversary came around and we are out for dinner and I ask him “what would you say are the biggest things that happened to us this year?” He lists everything except the baby.

                I ask him if he changed his mind about having kids and his response: if he made the mistake of getting me pregnant than he guessed he would love it, but if he had a choice, he had changed his mind and no longer wanted kids.

                So I divorced him. He claimed he was blindsided, he left and moved to his mothers. I offered to sell the house and split the procèds, he said no, it was my family home and I had been paying the mortgage, he just wanted it done.

                And you know what I did? I divorced him as quietly and quickly as I could. When people asked why we were divorcing I couldn’t really tell them, other than we grew apart. I didnt view his actions as abuse until many years later.

                I knew that he still loved me, whatever that meant to him, and so I did it as respectfully as possible. We also still had to work together.
                Our lawyers wanted us to fight over pensions, etc and I told them no, we had hammered out a very fair separation agreement and we would no sway from that.

                I felt awful for divorcing him. Guilty, even. But, he deceived me with saying he wanted children and then changing his mind. That was a deal breaker for me.

                So my point is: when you have done someone wrong and feel bad, you get the divorce done and move on.

                Ironically, my exhusband remarried another woman we worked with, who had a son from a previous marriage, and then they found out they were pregnant! Yeah. I was in therapy convinced they were going to name their baby the name I had picked for ours: Roan.

                My therapist told me I was nuts, they wouldn’t do that.
                The announcement went up at work to congratulate them on their new baby: Roane.
                So they added an “e”.

                I never said anything to his new wife about it, and years later when I was leaving the company, exhusband dif apologize for “ripping me off from having a baby”. He claimed he was scared and didnt know what having a child meant, but now that he had one, and I didn’t, he knew what real love ways….

              • The hearing is set for the 14th of January for the decree nisi then I have to wait for 6 weeks plus 1 day before I can file the final paperwork.

                There is no doubt in my mind its the best decision. I have no hesitation about this.

            • Chumps Ahoy, you’re not nearly there at all. How can you be when he’s still allowed into your home and life? Keeping him in your life will not help you feel important. Just the opposite. It will reinforce again and again how unimportant you are … to him. Well, then of course you’re angry!

              If you want to heal and stop the anger from taking over, then purging him from your presence is absolutely necessary. Don ‘t wait until the divorce — do it now. Grey Rock or complete No Contact (if possible). Remove the irritant that triggers your feelings of worthlessness and anger.

              You will still need time to go through the process of grieving and rebuilding, but at least you will have the right conditions to accomplish those things. Right now you sound so downtrodden. All your strength seems sapped by a sort of perpetual indecision … fence-sitting (or hopium-smoking). That is exhausting in itself.

              When you go No Contact, that is you asserting to him, to yourself, and to the world: I Am Important. Once you make that decision for yourself, everything will change. I wish you strength and healing for 2020.

              • Chumped in Canada-
                I’m so sorry for your loss. And to have your pet euthanized as well… The way your ex husband treated you was cruel. You definitely made the right decision to leave him, that guy was not good father material.

              • ChumpedinCanada
                My heart goes out to you. Your ex is a disgusting cold narcissist that doesn’t deserve you. I’m not shocked by some of the horrible things he did to you but your free of him now & that’s great. Don’t feel too bad about what happened in the past if you can. Your more important & your life will improve with time. I know what’s it’s like to be treated so cruelly & the torment we experience. Stay strong .. I hope you find peace & happiness in your future. You are not alone. Bless you 😇

              • Chumps Ahoy, I wish you the same and know how hard it is. But, once you break the cycle of caring too much about what he is doing and having him around and focus on you – you will be better. Try some yoga. Meditation. chakra healing. Keep yourself busy. Projects. Friends. Family. Books. Tv shows. Go no contact. Or sucks. It hurts. It’s normal. You will be stronger after. Give this time and give yourself time. Be strong because you feeling the way you do right now is because of him! It is not right and not fair and there are others out there who value others feelings and live and know how to. You will be on. Stay strong.

            • Anger is the exact right response to how you’re being treated. I suppressed it for years, and when it was finally allowed to surface it was spectacular. I did a clean sweep of abusers in my life. it was spun into ‘she’s sooo unforgiving ‘. I got a backbone, went to college, got a job, moved to a new state and started a business. no one knows where I live. it’s very lonely, but I’m not abused. use that anger to clear your life. it’s well earned.

        • Virtual hug going out to you! Hang in there! No contact makes all the difference.

          I’m at minimal contact due to child together, but it still helps. Something about getting away from a steady exposure of manipulation tactics helped reset my brain. Early on in my relationship with my ex-wife I remember the confusion her tactics would cause. Over time that confusion turned into accepting that she was wired differently. I was never alerted to possible manipulation.

          Now, however, that old sense of confusion is back, I recognize it for what it is, and refuse to have any part of it.

          • @Chumpedincanada

            I can empathise with this. Almost all major life events, I had to go through alone as well.

            Strung along for 17 years about children and buying a house just to walk away from the relationship with nothing but a massively broken soul.

            Hopefully, life offered you more after the divorce.

            With my own divorce, I haven’t asked for any kind of settlement, because he wouldn’t even pay me the token gesture that he had agree to when I moved out.

            I opted for a no frills divorce just to get it over with. Can’t squeeze anything out of someone who has less than nothing.

            To CN: thanks to everyone who commented and provided support. I’ve made myself clear that Christmas isn’t happening next year and I won’t be swayed.

            I’ve had so much happen over a lifetime that I am trying the best I can without driving myself crazy.

            Thanks again! I’ve been an avid reader for over a year and a half now!

            • Chump ahoy if you are divorcing in the uk make sure you complete a financial order even if there is nothing to split because if you don’t do it now they can come after you years later.

          • Chumps Ahoy,
            You are NOT crazy and in no way sound cray cray to any of us!
            I’ve been exactly where you are and I agree with the others that no contact is the key to being able to deal with the pain of the bullshit and betrayal HE heaped on you.
            I’m so sorry you are in that place. I am currently one year out from DDay and doing pretty well most days. I can see my future and am excited about it!
            No contact and being aware that you are grieving the loss of your love and your life with him and allowing yourself to grieve and realizing that grief is a vicious beast that circles back again and again will get you through. And venting here!
            Hugs and love to you now and in the coming year.

    • We’ve all been there. I’m glad you’re here chumps Ahoy as this is where you’ll find help and answers. It’s not what you want to hear and it doesn’t make 100% sense. It won’t make sense to you because you don’t see the world through the same lens as a cheater. It’s something in their character and they can rationalize and justify their behavior–usually by making it all your fault.

      I wrote on the CL Reddit thread about Dr. Cheaterpants asking to borrow a big suitcase after we separated (the first time with schmoopie #1) as him just trying to find a way to get in touch with me after I moved out and using that as an excuse. It turns out that fucker really just thought so little of me he could use the suitcase. Entitled, non emplathetic, selfish. And I took him back later for 12 more years of it.

      I bet you put on one awesome Christmas! That’s who you are, kind and caring, thinking of what makes others happy. And I bet he sure enjoys it. Fucker he is. You are still going through the stages of grief and he’s still a user. February is just around the corner for your divorce to be finalized. But don’t think he won’t keep trying to use you thereafter (called cake) for what he wants out of you. Your job is to stop any contact with him and to heal yourself. It sounds like a great New Year’s resolution!!

      • Thank you very much for this.

        You are absolutely right. I did a fantastic job of christmas. He said MY christmas tree was OUR christmas tree at one point.

        I corrected him. I paid for it with my money and decorated it. Yes, my christmas tree looks beautiful because that’s what I do – take pride in my accomplishments.

        I cooked a fantastic turkey with all the trimmings and my apartment was heated. He can’t cook and couldn’t afford his own heating.

        I bought presents that seemed fitting and were thoughtful, but didn’t cost me dearly with worry about paying bills, but they were still nicer than his offerings.

        I treated him with respect and like an adult (even though at 42, he’s still a 17 year old.boy).

        I have plans going forward that will eliminate him completely from my life, but that won’t be possible until the early spring.

        I can not believe the person he has become. It breaks my heart that I used so much plaster to cover that up.

        I come to CN nearly every day to read everyone’s experiences. I got off lightly compared to others. I only had to deal with neglect, disloyalty, porn addiction, monetary abuse control and so on.

        I never realised my experience of him was abuse because I didn’t have names for it. Thanks to therapy and CN, I do have names for them and my mind has been blown.

        • We are all rooting for you Chumps Ahoy, I can’t wait to hear tales of your mightiness in the spring.

          He sounds like a leech. And the numbness you feel if because he’s bled you dry. Once his suckers are out of you, your strength will build up again.

        • You say that you can’t believe the person he has become. That’s who he has always been. He just doesn’t feel the need to maintain the facade anymore. But he’ll lay the charm back on if he sees it will benefit him, so when that happens, ignore. Stop smoking that hopium pipe now.

          • Amazon Chump, I wasted years spackling, endless research on mid-life crisis, grieving over the loss of his father, brain tumors, hormonal imbalance, the vitamins and muscle mass supplements he’d been taking. An article written on one supplement claiming it caused high blood pressure and aggression in some people, so there was that.
            A dark cloud followed whenever he walked into a room. If looks could kill I wouldn’t be here. I blamed myself, there had to be something I was or wasn’t doing to cause his unhappiness. I was never quite good enough but that didn’t stop me from trying.
            I was a Olympic qualified world champion pick me dancer. I read save your marriage books and followed their instructions, smile more, go that extra mile, thank him for anything he does. I was slowly losing my mind. I remember smiling and thanking him for letting the dogs out and thinking this is what I’ve reduced myself to.
            I was determined, I just knew that once this phase of his life ended he’d thank me for my patience and understanding and everything would be back to the way it was.
            Being the cool wife would pay off.

            That was before I found CN and put the hopium pipe down. It was a revelation, My hard work and self sacrifice was for a person that never existed.

            I married an imposter.
            “That’s who he has always been,”

        • Chumps_Ahoy,

          I had to endure two years and a half of wait, after abandonment, to get to divorce – 12 years of marriage, under what became coercive control. In a country/continent not mine, where it was ensured that I was very isolated, despite being in a big city.
          Coercive control by a withholder fragile/vulnerable narcissist. Under the guise of nice-guy, very sensitive man. Ever the victim. A wound-collector, who uses what he perceives as slights to punish.

          I used those two years to get an education in matters cluster b’s and to build my own network of support just to make it out – I knew I could not stay on, owing to the fact that it is a very expensive city. Also, it did not feel safe under the circumstances.

          I knew I had to just endure, in order to get out. I had people who relied on me.

          Ever treating my ex with respect, is, I believe, what got me free. What got him to abandon me, as he would not get a reaction to his reaction-seeking behaviour.

          Also, I am not in agreement with a world that has decided that adultery is nothing (see no-fault divorce). Victims of adultery ought to be awarded compensation for damages. Not doing so is adding insult to injury.

          • Victims of adultery ought to be awarded compensation for damages. I love that statement! Sadly in America the victim is just punished worse with the legal system. I was in a 15 year marriage apparently with a psychopath. Lies, adulterous behavior, more lies, controlling manipulative behavior, all hidden by lies and his mask of phony. I left almost 3 years ago in the middle of the night with nothing after advice from police. He used the legal system to keep everything but a buy out on equity in our house, no alimony(I was stay at home mom), minimal child support, and he got 30% custody. So he uses the children to still control my life. He has our 13 year old daughter convinced if I date someone they would be a child molester because only child molesters date women with children. And yet it is still better than his constant verbal abuse and criticism.

        • Chumps Ahoy
          PLEASE get rid of him immediately! Don’t have him in your home feeding him. Go no contact.
          Your self respect is nowhere to be seen. You can make all the excuses you want but he’s using you.
          Here at CN we understand how you feel but your
          only prolonging your pain having him in your life still. Stay strong & put your self first. 👍🏻

      • No Contact will be a very empowering step for you! And, you can divorce him now! Like right now (& let February just be the paperwork)

      • No Contact will be a very empowering step for you! And, you can divorce him now! Like right now (& let February just be the paperwork)

    • Sometimes we need to look at our upbringing to understand why we put up with such awful behavior. A parent that made us feel invisible or defective. Not being taught to value ourselves. Or being taught that we had little value.

      You deserve much better than a user. Better to be alone than to be a convenience for a shallow mouth breather.

      • Mitz,
        Thank you very much for bringing this up. Now in my 50’s, I am still trying to recover from being told from the time I was a kid that I was a failure. Feeling like an underdog who was never good enough, I don’t think that I thought I had much by way of rights. (I suspect that I could win an Olympic medal and still not feel ‘good enough.’) Hence, decades of abuse, especially from intimate partners, depression, and lack of development due to depression. I encourage other chumps who have experienced a similar situation to search for ways to honor and nurture yourselves—you deserve so much better!

      • You are so right, Mitz.

        In my case, emotional abuse passed on from one generation to the text. Particularly neglect, which is the most subtle and invisible form.

        I found the books by Pete Walker most useful. On Complex PTSD and another one. He goes deep into the facets of trauma.

    • It means he doesn’t want to pay for it and probably wants you as a backup in case his whores don’t work out.

      You’re worth more

    • Chumps_Ahoy, first a big hug to you. Now a 2×4 to the head. You’ve been separated 5-6 years, no intimacy. No children. Why on earth are you even still married? Why are you hosting him for Christmas? WTF!?

      You are down and depressed because you have allowed a fuckwit to define the last 5 to 6 years of your life. Please, go no contact. You are angry because you aren’t getting what you want and need from this (non)relationship. When you go no contact, when you reach meh, the anger will dissipate. Frankly, the only one you should be angry with is yourself. You have kept yourself tethered to this unacceptable dysfunction. There should be no confusion at this point. He is no unicorn. Unicorns don’t exist.

      Stop giving away your power to him. Wrap up this divorce. Be NC NOW. Leave the contact to the attorneys. Run, and don’t look back.

      Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just commit to moving forward in a way that nurtures you. Know that you deserve better than you’ve settled for. Now go get it! Embrace all that a fuckwit-free future has in store for you. Keep coming here for support.

    • You are not getting any answers and never will. You are not getting any younger either. Soon it will be another 6 years. I know. I done it too. If I could turn back the clock I would have detached and divorced right after he moved out.

  • I think society still blames the cheated for the cheater cheating.
    Its quite hard to fathom that the cheater is more interested in ow, than you or even his own kids.
    You make your own rules in life,
    Don’t make the life of the cheater any easier than it has to be.

  • I did the horizontal pick me dance and now I have herpes. I dodged that bullet for 54 years and it got me during that desperate cringe-y performance.

    I don’t want a unicorn.

    I want a full-on Back to the Future DeLorean for me and my daughter.

  • Am I the Hopium Queen here? 31 years and I still cant divorce. I’m separated and living in a different state, and just sent him legal separation papers to sign, but I timidly didn’t ask for alimony and only 25% of his pension even though I stayed at home and didn’t work for 25 of those years. I’m just afraid of backlash. He could easily drag things out in court and I dont have the money.

    I could tell you so many stories of my stupidity. I found a condom in his wallet (remember, I was a stay at home mom and had my tubes tied). I asked him why he had it and he said he would never cheat on me, because he is a “coward.” I never again questioned it! STUPID STUPID STUPID.

    He confessed to having many “close calls” and “fantasies” where he and his co-worker would escape off to a side room or discuss sexual perversions they would do on each other in a hotel room (I was 29 with four kids during these times). But when he made a dr appt for a rash “down there,” he said the doc said it was from too much mb-ing and just prescribed Desitin. And i said OK! Ughhhhhhhh. STUPID STUPID STUPID.

    So many more stories…. sigh.

    I havent completely dismissed CN’s advice. I am slowly coming around. I created a list “Trust That He Sucks,” I have gone Grey Rock, I dont play the Pick Me Dance anymore. But I still find it hard to stick to my boundaries and he happily acts like nothing is wrong.

    🙁 I never wanted this kind of life. Lots of regrets.

    • It’s never too late to make a change though! Turn those regrets into lessons. Turn those regrets into kindling and use them to light a fire that will carry you through this next difficult phase, and remind you why you need to set boundaries. As CL says, it does get better. It’s not easy in the beginning because you’re going to have to do so many things that are outside of your comfort zone, but you can do it! Sending you hugs, please be kind to yourself.

    • Regrets? What did you do wrong? Don’t beat yourself up for his bad actions.

      He cheated, he lied about an STD, he’s been a bad husband and father. That’s him.

      You trusted your husband, you took him at his word, you were invested in keeping your family together. That’s you. Not stupid. Not stupid at all.

      Feel sad that it happened, feel abandoned, feel duped. But don’t blame yourself. While you were working hard to build a happy life, he was walking around with a lit match setting things on fire.

      • I have regrets too tbh regrets that I didn’t learn to not to act a fool much sooner in life!!

        It took a sledgehammer to get it through my 52 year old thick skull.

    • You’re far away from him and afraid of backlash? Nope. Have your attorney resubmit the settlement. Get alimony and half his pension. You’re entitled to this and it’s pretty basic.

      There are resources for attorneys out there. I’m pretty sure CL has posted them previously. You’ve already settled for 31 years, stop that NOW. That’s SMART, SMART, SMART! If you haven’t worked for 25 years you will get little SS.

      Nope, go for what the LAW says you’re entitled to. Fight for yourself. I’m sure others here can weigh in. Fear no more. Go for it.

    • Crabby Blogging Lady,

      You are NOT stupid!! You were trusting. A lot of us have similar stories as you, where we believed and trusted when we should have been running for our lives!!

      If the law says you are entitled to alimony and 50% of his pension, then that’s what you deserve! These are things worth fighting for. You didn’t work out of the home for 25 years. You will need money to get back on your feet or for job training. You need to be thinking about yourself and your future. Your husband is not afraid of you and HE SHOULD BE! Show him what you are made of. Show him how strong you are. Of course he acts like he hasn’t done anything wrong. He lacks character and a good conscience. There’s nothing inside of him that tells him he’s done anything wrong. No guilt. No shame. Nothing. I watched my XH tell the most horrendous lies and then he’d pick up his Bible and waltz off to church. He go up to the altar and get blessed with oil, prayed for and have people lay their hands on him. And at the same time he was lying, cheating and treating me horribly. This is not someone with a conscience! Your husband is the same. This is why they can lie and cheat and not feel bad about it. Take your power back and show him what a bad ass you can be. Get angry for all his abuse. Cheating is abuse. He’s abusing you. Be angry about it. I’m angry just reading your story. Big (((HUGS))) from me to you.

    • Crabby, You don’t ASK him for alimony and compensation. YOU don’t send him anything, your lawyer does. Your lawyer DEMANDS fair compensation directly from him/his lawyer, as does the law.
      You are not in the picture at this point. It’s your lawyer, and him and his/lawyer. The law is 50/50 split.

      Your feelings of ‘asking’ for less (of what is YOURS), making fewer waves never works anyway I am sorry to say. I am so grateful for those that got this through my head when I was feeling like you.

      Take care.

  • I tried to address all the issues listed about me and pick me dance while she went dancing with AP. Cost me my sanity, and a door which I finally punched through.

    • So sorry Francois. We’ve all twisted ourselves into a pretzel at one time or another doing the humiliating pick me dance. You’re in good company. You’ve been battered by a lying cheating asshole. What gives with letting a loser define YOU? Take your power back. You deserved much more.

  • I convinced myself that his childhood abuse damaged him. And that his over use of sedatives impaired his thinking, causing the affair.

    A therapist once put it succinctly “you keep expecting him to care, he doesn’t.” It took so long to accept that.

    • THIS. I still, STILL expect him to care, just a bit., even though I know he doesn’t seem to have that capacity. It’s one of the hardest things to accept. How could someone be so cruel and cause so much damage but and then not care?

      I thought I was breaking through and making some progress and he looked at me and said “it’s like you want me to be a mess or something” and I stared at him and asked “well how can you NOT be after what you’ve done to our family?”

      His response was “I’m not going to live that way.”
      Entitled selfish prick.

      • Yes Mitz and F&L,
        You want them sooooo bad to care. And they do not. This is something I really struggle with. She. Does. Not. Care.

        I also got a “I’m not going to live that way.”
        Except in the words:
        “I’m not cut out for the happy family lifestyle.”

        • They only care about themselves. That is the TRUTH that needs to be 100% accepted deep down into your heart and soul. As Chump Lady has taught us, “trust that they suck”. Well also, trust that they only care about themselves.

          Anytime it looks like they care about other people — there’s ALWAYS something in it for them. Impression management. Narcissistic supply. The person they are caring for will one day be useful to them in the future. I watched my XH amp up his Christian Service at my former church. He started volunteering for tons of stuff; even things I used to volunteer for. It was all for impression management. He’s not a pathological liar, serial cheater and wife abandoner. No, he’s this really nice Christian guy who shows up at church and volunteers for everything. I watched him smile, charm and wave people into parking spots at the Easter event, but when my car pulled up to him, he showed me his true evil face. I KNOW he sucks and I 100% knew why he was volunteering that day — IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT! He doesn’t fool me anymore!

          As The Who sings,

          “Then I’ll get on my knees and pray.
          We don’t get fooled again
          Don’t get fooled again, no no.”

          I’m no fool anymore. No, no.

          • Hi Martha,
            You said, “They care only about themselves.’ While I agree that a lot of the exes here are very selfish people, how do we know that they do NOT love their current partners? Maybe some of our exes really do and have met the loves of their lives, which are not us. It seems as though my last partner seems smitten with his new wife, who I admit is amazing (super-human in virtually every way). I feel bad that he could treat me like garbage but be highly esteemed in the community and his industry (Mr. Nice Guy image) and treat his new wife like God’s gift. I am alone and really lonely and see no end in sight to the involuntarily ‘singlehood’ and single parenting. (I have a child with special needs, so I will likely need to take care of him for the rest of my life.) Friends are great but not the same as a partner.

            • He “loves” his new wife because she is of use to him. Repeat: SHE IS OF USE TO HIM. The simplest formula for the seriously personality-disordered is, they love things and use people. Backwards from the way healthy people think.

  • Before DDay my brain knew before my heart did and I think it was trying to protect me. He would try and touch me and I would flinch or pull back. It was automatic and reflexive and I couldn’t control it. My brain was sensing danger but my hopium heart kept puffing away. Lesson learned: pay attention to your gut feelings. I spared myself the pick me dance and left immediately…..but then again this wasn’t my first rodeo. First husband cheated and left me for trans schmoopie (not really trans but sure looks like it). Ho Hum, I don’t give a fk anymore. They all suck and I don’t. On to my next adventure…..ME!

    • Please don’t insult other women by suggesting that if we’re not pretty or conventionally feminine or even gender non-conforming we are not women but trans. No woman is ever safe from the insinuation that because of some perceived fault or shortcoming in her physical appearance she is not a good enough woman, and many of our cheaters use that as their excuse to cheat.

      My ex decided he was trans. One of the more damaging effects of that time I spent trying to please him and “accommodate” him was that he tried to turn me into his “butch lesbian” counterpart so he could appropriate femininity. I’m still making my way back from that.

      • “No woman is ever safe from the insinuation that because of some perceived fault or shortcoming in her physical appearance she is not a good enough woman.” LOUDER.

      • I meant no offense to trans people. What I should have said is my ex’s Schmoopie looks like a man with make up and my ex looks like Ichabod Crane with frog-eyes (apologies in advance to Irving fans). I only attack their physical appearance because they both suck as humans beings and because it feels so good.

  • While my grandmother was dying, fuckwit didn’t feel like he was getting enough attention so he started an affair. Then apparently felt guilty about it so he asked me to have a baby with him. I knew something was up, but agreed anyway. I got pregnant much sooner than either of us anticipated, I found out the day of my grandmother’s funeral. So while I grieved her, and felt unending joy for the baby he decided he was back to getting no attention. So he left us 10 weeks into the pregnancy. Since then, no hopium for me. All I have room for in my life is the baby.

  • I finally figured out that I had learned to Pick Me dance very early in life. By the time I was 29 I had apparently gotten good enough to win quite a prize. Took 22 more years after that to learn why I needed to stop. And I kicked the habit 4 years ago. I guess I’m a recovering Pick Me dancer. CL is our AA.

  • I believed my wife that nothing happened between her and her emotional affair partner. The day after she said she wanted to leave me, she got doubts. I off course took that hopium pipe and started puffing away. Convinced that she would wake up from her ‘fog’.
    She panicked when I wanted to leave the house for her to make up her mind, which I interpreted off course that she couldn’t live without me. In hindsight she didn’t want to take care of the kids all on her own for that period. I helped with the kids everyday and left when we put them in bed. At which time she would cry when saying goodbye. In her mind of course because she was definitively saying goodbye, but didn’t want it until het AP threw out his girlfriend. In my mind because she missed me and didn’t want me to leave.
    Still to this day angry with myself that I didn’t leave her that first day. All she did was use me.
    After she told me the second time she was leaving mwe, we had sex a couple of days in a row. I hoped to rekindle things. Te her off course it was cake AND if I was having sex with her, I wasn’t thinking of her as a bad person who wrecked our family.
    Again thinking she would wake up out of the fog. Except… there was no fog. She became cold and distant. Sweet and charming when she needed something. I didn’t matter to her.
    so so angry..

    • Anger is a good stage of grief and propels you into breaking free from these cheaters! I also went looking for excuses for how or why the cheater could do what he did. The first time he left for schmoopie #1, the kids were 2 & 4 years old, we were in our mid-30’s, and I found midlife crisis on the internet. When it didn’t work out like he planned with his ho, he came begging back. I took that fucker back for 12 more years.

      When he left for schmoopie #2, I went searching for a reason again. This time I found affair fog! This is it. He doesn’t know what he’s doing leaving me and the kids! He will surely come out of this and be so, so sorry. While I was waiting for him to come to his senses, I came to mine. And I found CL & CN. Appears the only person in a fog was me and with the help of Tracy and chumps, my view became much clearer.

  • I have a two-fold chump reality.
    One, my ex engaged in a series of emotional affairs–I have no evidence of physical, although I wouldn’t rule it out, at least in several cases–throughout our marriage. He also would idealize other women, and become infatuated and fixated on them to an unnatural extent (this includes his sister). The last one was with a former student, an entanglement that went on for years, and ended with
    Two, my ex deciding, with the “help” of this woman, that he was really “a woman in a man’s body” (in reality he is a man who gets sexually excited by himself acting out his fantasies of being a woman).
    I was stung by the betrayal with the student–the fact this ex student knew intimate secrets with a fundamental bearing on my marriage. I was gob-smacked by the revelation, after 32 years of marriage, that he had decided he was transgendered and was going to transition (he never did, because seeing himself in women’s clothing–other than lingerie–forcefully reminded him he was a “man in women’s clothing” [his words] and interfered with his sexual high.
    My initial reaction was to tell him I wanted a divorce. Then, during the time he was thinking he’d transition and got cold feet about it, he one day asked me for comfort. Instead of telling him I was no longer the person he could go to for that, I lay down on the bed with him and held him.
    After that, I fell into transworld for almost a year, and enabled his every sexual fantasy, even trying to redefine my own sexual identity so I could fulfill his fantasies that we were either having “lesbian sex” or he was a f*ck-me porn doll of a woman and I was acting the part of a man. It was repeated sexual trauma that did enormous emotional and psychological damage to me.
    For almost three years despite the evidence and his increasingly narcissistic and controlling behaviorI kept hoping he would come to his senses. It took Chump Lady and Chump Nation to educate to me, but eventually I learned to analyze his behavior and listen to what was behind his words. The final nail in the hopium coffin came when I decided I needed to get away for a few days to think, and he said to me “While you’re gone I’ll think about what I want from you.” When I heard that, I put that hopium pipe down and began the process of screwing up my courage to leave him.
    I, too, am a recovering “pick me dancer,” of the “naked pick me dance” variety.

    • Sorry for the double reply: I got the “your comment is awaiting moderation, and I’ve lost comments before when I got that message, so I added a bit, and resent.

  • After the last D-Day, my ex-wife decided she needed to separate because of my “volatile emotions”. Only when she moved out did she give me a detailed confession. She barely talked for more than a few minutes on her prior confessions. This time she answered everything and it seemed more honest than she ever had been.

    I told her I’d consider reconciliation if she could be completely honest with me. For the first time it seemed like she was. There was books, therapy, videos, and discussion. Everything seemed to be going really good.

    However, the thing that bugged me was that she refused to move back home until her apartment lease was up. If I was in the least bit upset about something, she’d mention she might need to sign a new lease. I started to doubt her commitment and remorse.

    She moved back home and went from active partner in the reconciliation to a wheelbarrow; she’d participate, but only if I pushed. She never refused. She just had the attitude of “I thought that when I moved back we could just start all over again”. Uh, no. This is going to be years of work. Then she started worrying that I’d “never be able to get over it”. Kept saying she couldn’t live her life “under a microscope”.

    Hopium had an easy job when we were separated and actively “working on the marriage”. That sudden drop in participation made it a lot less potent. It was around there I read Chump Lady’s book. It took several reads to sink in. I finally understood the signs of fake remorse and my ex-wife had them all.

  • I just went no contact with a man I spent one year developing what I thought was a friendship with and 3 months moving things forward, and….3 nights ago found sexually explicit texts to another woman on his phone. I went complete no-contact immediately. We were having a small holiday away, and I sent him home alone while I stayed. Horrible — spent Xmas alone in a crappy hotel, although I did have my dogs with me and they improve everything This is the first time I’ve tried dating since 2.5 year ago, when I was completely and utterly chumped by my partner of 15 years.

    But Hopium is how I got to this place:
    Fact: He keeps coming over to play with my dogs!
    Hopium: he likes me!
    Reality: he likes my dogs. Also my house is much nicer than his.

    Fact: He cooks dinner for me!
    Hopium: he likes me!
    Reality: the kitchen in his house is small and squalid and mine is beautiful.

    Fact: He runs errands for me!
    Hopium: he likes me!
    Reality: he drives a car so broken apart, it sometimes doesn’t start, and when it does, it is likely dangerous. If he runs a few errands for me, he can use my very safe little hatchback with new tires.

    And then there are the mysteries that I will NOT untangle:
    Fact: He’s not particularly interested in sex
    Hopium: he’s on a blood pressure medication. That can affect sexual drive, right?
    Reality: he’s interested/having sex with women other than me or overusing porn or whatever).

    Fact: He’s exhausted or ill quite a bit:
    Hopium: Lots of people get sick in the winter!
    Reality: He was sick year round, and perhaps was using drugs, maybe alcohol.

    Fact: He’s a music teacher.
    Hopium: Music teachers don’t make a lot of money, and he just can barely pay his rent, so I need to pay most of the time.
    Reality: He didn’t have enough students to explain how he was even paying his rent! There were other sources of income from somewhere! And I don’t make enough money to be a sugar-mama, even if I wanted to be.

    I need to think about reciprocity, because I now recognize that I what I thought was reciprocity was a series of self-serving behaviors where I got thrown a few crumbs. I also recognize that loneliness — it has been two and a half years since the Kaiser of Loathesomeness left — is a direct pathway to Hopium.

    Anyway, it sucks and it hurts surprisingly bad, but I’m heading back to therapy. Clearly I have more work to do!

    • Unicorn, good job realizing that he sucks and that he was using you. I’m sorry that you are hurting, but you are so very mighty!!! Great job sending him to the curb and going no contact!

    • Well done on getting away.

      My guess is he’s a drug dealer to supplement his income, and I hope he didn’t use your car for deliveries.

      Run like your hair is on fire.

      I get it, though: I dated someone a few years ago who really looked the goods, but it’s surprising how quickly I was able to uncover his harem, his closet gay past, and his completely incestuous relationship with his mother.

      So next time, you will know how to stop making excuses and start asking the right questions! They’re all valuable life lessons.

      • Thank you M and LG. You know, I didn’t even THINK of his using my car for illegal things. Guess I need to follow THAT up. I guess I’m just disappointed in myself that I fell for abuse yet again. I’m also proud that I went immediate no-contact, no pick-me-dancing, too, and trying to focus on that. Learned all that here from CN.

        • Unicorn, don’t be disappointed in yourself. Tell yourself you had some lessons to learn and now you have tons of new knowledge for future relations. Sometimes we have to learn by making mistakes. You are working on fixing your picker. You will take what you learned and will be able to act even quicker if abuse starts getting served. 🙂 Big hug to you!

        • Unicorn,

          Congratulations on stopping the Pick Me Dance. I went through the ‘one two punch,’ too, After my adulterous, abusive husband left, I tolerated emotional abuse mixed with indifference from my boyfriend until he left me to marry work subordinate. I did almost exactly what you did during the relationship–kept giving him the benefit of the doubt and magnifying the beneficence of everything he did.

          Action: He invited me to his company function.
          Translation: He loves me!
          Reality: He does not want to appear as an executive that has no ‘game.’

          Action: He takes me on a short trip.
          Translation: He spends money on me and wants me around. He loves me!
          Reality: He does not want to go places alone and he thinks that I am too poor and unsuccessful to pay my own way and considers me substandard for not being more successful. He later tells me that he is leaving me because my (white collar) career is not good enough, not as good as his (executive career). Then he denies that he said this.

          Action: In describing how we got together, he tells me that he tells people that I chased him
          Translation: He is flattered that I loved and pursued him.
          Reality: I am just an ego boost to him. He does not love me. But he will ‘tolerate’ me until he finds the woman he really wants to marry.

          Action: He tells me, ‘I wouldn’t have time for you if you lived next door to me.’
          Translation: Poor guy, he is really busy at work.
          Reality: He is telling me that he does not value me.

          Action: After not seeing him for a week, I say, ‘I miss you.’ He replies, ‘It hasn’t been that long.’
          Translation: He is trying to make me feel not so bad. He is unintentionally insensitive. (I tell him that what he says hurts my feelings.)
          Reality: He is devaluing me and invalidating my feelings, even those that are complimentary to him.
          A month later, same scenario repeats exactly. The guy with the elephant memory again tells me, ‘It hasn’t been that long.’

          Action: He tells me which friends I should stop seeing, which (non-alcoholic) beverages I should keep on my bicycle, how much I should keep in my car trunk, how I should make up or not make up my face, etc.
          Translation: He is trying to protect me. He is trying to help me be healthy, organized, etc.
          Reality: He is a bit of a control freak (I think that he was diagnosed with OCD when he was a kid) who is insulting me.

          Action (lack of action): He never posts my photo (with or without him) on social media and never mentions me–for years.
          Translation: He is afraid that my ex (who left me) will harass him (my boyfriend).
          Reality: He does not want the general public to know that we are a couple because he does not love me. I am just a disposable, free, object to him. Years into our relationship, he confirms that he is embarrassed to be seen with me at a party when host takes photo of guests together, and my boyfriend tells me that he is afraid to be seen with me even in a big group on somebody else’s social media page because he doesn’t want his ex-wife who cheated on him and left him years before to find out. Also, he has pictures of us taken at events but decides to leave me out of the photo album on his Facebook page. (I see photos of him with our friends at events, say a picnic we attended, but any image of me is excluded.) People ask him about trips when they see his photo (I took) on our trips. He says, ‘I went there,’ never mentioning that he traveled with me. I feel really dishonored.

          Action: He tells me, ‘I don’t see you in my future,’ and then, ‘I love you,’ the second and last time he discards me.
          Translation: He loves me! (Colossal denial on my part)
          Reality: He wants nothing to do with me, but he is too uncomfortable (wimpy) brutally dismissing me to tell the truth. In spite of being an executive/military officer, he often behaves in cowardly ways, especially with partners. He has manipulated partners before. I am no better off than the others.

          So many more incidents like these and worse. I am a world champion spackler. Feel bad about tolerating the abuse for years. I probably put up with it because he had a very widespread ‘Mr. (Successful) Nice Guy’ image and I really wanted a relationship to work out for a change after decades of harmful relationships. I hope that someday I don’t feel nearly this bad about this jerk (masquerading as my friend for 30 years) discarding me. Re-focusing now.

    • I feel for you….12 step work really has helped me identify the emotionally unavailable. Just from your post you can tell your hysterically funny and bright. You deserve better

  • We’ve ALL been guilty of hopium. It is absolutely galling for me to think of what I accepted in the beginning. (And… it took a rage so primal that it even scared me before I saw a clearing in the fog).

    For those of you early in this journey, here is some advice from a battle-tested Warrior (who won the war):

    MAKE * HOPIUM * WORK * FOR *** YOU *** !

    The fuckwit is in his OWN self-induced hopium haze with the OW. (He is thinking about as far ahead as when his next fuckfest will be). TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF his penis-driven, disoriented mind.

    Your financial future is at stake for many, many years is it stake. This is the time to LOOK OUT FOR YOU. Need a Private Investigator? Find one. Get those financials. Hire a lawyer. On the sly. No need to tell him. About anything. He is not your friend. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself set up for the future.

    Are you thinking: “But… but… but…. I’m not sneaky and under-handed like him? I’m the bigger and better person!” Get that out of your head. How much input did YOU have when he maliciously and purposely imploded your life without your knowledge or consent? You owe him NOTHING. The “fair game” rules don’t apply here.

    His Hopium Trance DOES have an expiration date though. Get as much mileage as possible out of that window of opportunity.

    Good Luck, fellow Chumps. CN is here for you.

    • My XW was like that at first. But because it takes a year to get a court date she became hardened as time got closer to the court date. Had to go to court because we had kids and she was representing herself. NO ONE was going to leave her. Spent $15,000 fighting her in court. It those states or countries where you can divorce faster you have a better chance for that. One advantage was I saw her true colors and so hopium for me after I separated from her.

      • Sirchumpalot –

        The extended time to get your divorce definitely helped sever the hopium pipe in your case. I was very fortunate in that in TEXAS, you can be divorced after 60 days.

        On the flip side of the financial bloodbath (for him), I was plagued for months afterwards with questioning why he would give up EVERYTHING that quickly and that easily. It did a number on my self esteem. But… thankfully THAT delayed version of “Untangling the Skein” also had an expiration date.

        • “S/he is not your friend” was one of the key phrases someone told me early after d-day that was a hard truth, but ended up helping me.

          My lawyer advised me that I should take advantage of the short period that either guilt or affair for fuels in which I would be more likely to benefit financially. I did hit a snag with my ex delaying and delaying submitting his financials, which probably hurt a bit. But I also hired a PI and did get a little dirt on my ex that I think helped me some. These jerks usually are duplicitous in more ways than romantically.

          I think I smoked the hopium pipe for about 6 weeks after d-day, although I still managed to hire a great lawyer well before I put down the pipe “just in case”. My ex had wanted to do a mediated divorce and was super pissed I hired the best lawyers in my area. Protect yourself, even if you’re still on the hopium!

          • GladHe’sGone –

            Although I knew HE was not MY friend, I counted on him still thinking that I was HIS friend. And as I predicted, his massive and entitled ego came through front and center. I encouraged him to talk about her, tell me how they met, any stories about where they would go on their “dates”, etc. No PI was needed in my case. Once I opened that door, he would not STFU about her. It was nauseating the lengths that he went to in order to deceive me and it almost KILLED me to listen to it. I made the divorce my 24/7 job. Everything he told me, I used against him in the end.

            He wanted no lawyers involved. I said, “OK, no lawyers.” I immediately went out and hired a lawyer. Not just any lawyer though, a military lawyer well-versed in the complicated paperwork required to claim my share of his military retirement. When he received the divorce paperwork with exactly what it was going to cost for him to get rid of me, it truly was a Shock & Awe moment for him. I did not intend to go quietly. He underestimated me from the very beginning. And I let him.

            • Dear The Colonel’s Ex-Chump, you inspire me. I walked out on LTC Asshat, took my elderly cancer stricken dog and what I could load into my car. I just left. He didn’t even inquire after my whereabouts. He didn’t text, call, or e-mail to see if I was even alive.
              Sometimes I laugh and wonder how long it took him to notice I was gone.

              Now I am left wondering if I have the right lawyer. I left eight months ago, filed immediately. I’m still not divorced. LTC Asshat is driving this process to trial. He won’t settle.

              I intend to follow your example and make getting divorced my 24/7 job. I intend to receive my portion of his pensions. I will not give up and settle to live a life of poverty.

              • Thirtythreeyearsachump –

                I did everything wrong before I did anything right. But once I got mad, the whole ballgame changed for me.

                My advice to you:

                1/ Go talk to a lawyer who specializes in military divorces. Not a lawyer IN the military (like a JAG lawyer… they won’t help you and most especially if LTC Asshat is still in the military) but look for a lawyer who used to be in (or is retired from) the military, and is now a civilian. Many times the 1st consultation is free.

                2/ Since you left the home 8 months ago, Asshat may think he has a case or claim going for Abandonment. Not sure what the minimum statute is in your state. (In Texas it is 1 year). You might want check into that angle. Think of your divorce as a chess game. You always want to be a few moves ahead.

                3/ Be as unpredictable as possible (and as unlike your usual personality and normal reactions as possible). Let Asshat think you are crazy. Seriously. It knocks them off-center when they don’t know what you are going to do or say next.

                4/ Threaten to get his Commander involved. The military will investigate adultery. Bonus points if the Twat Muffin is also in the military (as was my case). I knew who The Colonel’s Commander was and his phone number as well as Captain Twat Muffin’s name, phone number, Commander’s name and phone number. It took a bit of research on my end. You would be surprised what you can find on Facebook as well as the Internet. I also made it very clear to The Colonel that 1 phone call from me could implode his life from about 8 different directions.

                5/ Use everything you know about him against him and to your advantage. To repeat: He is not your friend.

                Hope that helps! Keep us updated on your progress!

              • Thirtythreeyearsachump

                I’m a former military dependent (Dr. A**Hat in for 7 years, but civilian when we divorced).

                I agree with The Colonel’s Ex-Chump, except avail yourself with the free military attorney you are entitled to. So many civilian attorneys aren’t aware of the military regs that state you are entitled to housing & part of his monthly pay, no questions asked. Attorneys will talk with which other, and at least one of your attorneys will be free of charge (two attorneys for the price of one!). You may need to call different military legal offices due to conflicts of interest, but your military card entitles you to the same services as your narc. Don’t let him get the upper hand and it also puts him on notice that his actions are illegal in the military.

              • Thirtythreeyearsachump –

                Great info from NotbLUEinTC if you are seeking free advice and wanting to get some specific military or benefit questions answered. My understanding though is that JAG cannot write or file the legal paperwork for you nor can they represent you in court or a court trial, if it should it come to that.

          • I was told to think of XW as the enemy. Not your spouse or friend. Allowed me to harden toward her. No Hopium. But I allowed Hopium to influence the temporary orders. I thought she would put the kids first and if I was kind toward her she would reconcile with me. Once I changed my mindset I started rolling back the things I agreed to in the temporary orders. When she thought she was going to loose in court she quickly signed the permeant orders.

  • I degraded myself and continued to black out all the awful things he did to me because I was afraid of what my future would hold once he was gone. I was dependent upon him. I had no job, no place to live and no prospects for either. I hung on and degraded myself. I was being discarded but he wasn’t ready to let me go yet. Like a true narc he still wanted me as part of his harem like he had done with so many before me. I’ll never forget going back to our (technically his) home after temporarily moving out while he was away and discovering 2 coffee mugs in the sink. It was a clear sign he had another women spend the night. I decided then I couldn’t do it anymore and I was disgusted with myself for not taking my blinders off and leaving when I already had enough proof to know this man was a toxic piece of shit. It was fear of the unknown as to how I would piece together my life. Mentally, I was pretty sure I was also clinically depressed and traumatized by everything that was happening to me. The concatenation of all of it was scary and terribly debilitating. But there was something inside of me – I don’t know what? maybe the wholesomeness in me? my conscience? my self love that I didn’t know existed? Whatever it was, it would not leave me and occupied my headspace. I knew I could not live with myself by lowering my standards. It was all a horrible and completely scary feeling. So, I left. I had no prospects of anything but a spare twin bed in a family member’s house. I took a part-time job and I eventually found my way back to my profession and I am on my feet again on my own.

    There is a quote, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” I believe there is a lot of truth in this. It was fear that kept me in a dark place. My life is so much better without the cheater who mentally abused me and put my health at risk. I am proud I conquered my fear. I am mighty!

    • Sweet Apple, you are Mighty.

      This is what leaving a cheater, gaining a life looks like.

      It’s not about galloping off into the sunset with a new lover who will solve all your problems.

      It’s about waking up from a nightmare, deciding to make really hard changes, and then making them.

      Have at it. And congratulations.

  • Ah, Hopium. The sweet drug that keeps us hooked.

    My Hopium was when my H came home one weekend and told me he did not want to end up like his parents. WTF?* He had been working across the country at his dream job while I worked FT and cared for the two minor aged children back at the homestead.
    Of course, he didn’t say he wanted a divorce, etc. Things had been off, but he claimed it was work, etc.

    So I puffed on that pipe for almost three months, doing marital counseling when he was in town, etc.
    Then he trickle-truthed me for three weeks related to loving other women (not me!) while married. The ONLY good thing about that time is that he finally admitted to at least one other affair (the one I was gaslighted about 13 years before, after only 4 years of marriage; though still diminishing, only one time! Yeah, right.). Still claims to this day that his OWife was not an OW (but he was in love with this married woman I had never heard of at his new workplace). Again, yeah, right.

    I also forced him to say the words “I want a divorce” in therapy.
    Then I was had to do everything as he was too passive (and probably filled with his new found freedom with the significantly younger woman): file, find a mediator, find him a place to live decent enough for the kids, etc.

    That was 6.5 years ago– seems like a lifetime ago.
    One kiddo is off to college, the other graduates soon.
    Life is good. And my cake: I finally found a partner who respects and cares about me.

    My ex: rapidly approaching 50 with two new kids aged 6 and 4.

    * and one side note– I had always preferred his father to his mother, even knowing he cheated once. I think FIL truly felt remorse, and it was a once time thing. MIL is all about appearances, lies about things, etc. And of course, ex was always closer to his mother.
    Well, the in-laws are now separated, and it turns out MIL was terribly abusive for most of their marriage, verbally, maybe physically, very controlling financially, etc. Although xFIL he says he loves her and misses her, I am glad he is finally free of her.

  • I’m proud of myself Traci I did zero “HOPIUM” it nearly killed me at first but I was determined. I like myself, I’m not perfect but I respect myself and I deserve better. What helped me was joining a ladies prayer group, I love it!🌹🙏🇨🇦

  • Oh, that hopium pipe. When I first found out about Skankella. He promised to break it with her and work on the marriage. He actually did stop contact for about 6 weeks. That gave him time to get his ducks in a row. He failed to tell me that he was going to file for divorce and I got a divorce papers on my birthday. He decided to stop a divorce because I think looking back that it was because I got a lawyer on my own. and he knew that I wasn’t going to take it lying down. we agreed to work on our marriage again. He dumped Skankella and he actually tried. About 1 year later I found out that he was talking to an Ex girlfriend from high school. When I asked him about it he lied and said that he thought it was me pretending to be someone else to catch him. I then realized that he was never going to change. There was always going to be another lie. I packed his bags and put them in the driveway.
    I realized that I deserve something so much better than someone that’s going to lie and cheat on me. It is sad to realize that most of your marriage was a scam.

  • I wrote him love letters! I made a list a mile long of all of the stressors we’d suffered in the year previous! I tried to convince him it was just a midlife crisis. I asked his mom and our SIL to talk sense into him. I was scared of being too suffocating and scared to seem too uninterested. I tried so hard to be sexier in bed (yes, I slept with him knowing he’d stuck it someone else!) I stalked him endlessly. I behaved in ways immoral, unethical, and illegal for which I am still forgiving myself. But, I am done! Ok, no, fellow chumps I need to admit I am not done. After going no contact (for good) after our home sold in Sept, I texted him, “Merry Christmas love” two days ago. Dammit!!!! He left me Christmas Eve 2018 with no explanation. Dammit….I feel like those months of no contact went down the drain but I really do not want him back, so what was that about?

    • Forgive yourself for texting him. Block his number. Block him on email. Block him everywhere on social media. No contact from now on. Only stay in email contact if you have children you still need to discuss stuff with. Every single time you contact him, it’s kibbles to him. Turn off the kibble dispenser.

    • I did all those things as well Tchump. And though I have been NC since about August, I had the HUGEST urges to contact him too. It’s eaten me up and I’ve been crying and crying at night.

      It’s ok. Forgive yourself and put up barriers in place like Martha suggested.

    • TChump, I can hold your hand while you delete his contact information. I recently deleted my STBX from my contacts. I fudged around thinking I needed his number for our kids. The kids are fully functioning self sustaining adults. I realized that was an excuse so I deleted him and can’t wait to delete him completely when I have a divorce decree.

      You need to “mentally divorce” him. Part of that is purging your contacts. I have a List of Grievances to reference whenever I think I might want to contact him. I read my List of Grievances and the sheer horror keeps me from contacting him.

      I’ve found so much help from Chump Nation. Contact us before you contact him. Now forgive yourself and move forward.

    • TChump,
      Please don’t beat yourself up! Overall, you have done really well! My last partner left over two years ago–I still really miss the ‘nice’ him, the him he gives to his new wife (and the child they now have together?) I often feel devastated that my last partner not only left me (for his new wife) but also that he blocked me every way he could. (It’s like being stabbed in the chest–almost literally.) I thought that we had been friends for 30 years…Especially tough after being abandoned by an extremely abusive, adulterous husband while kids were still young. I completely trusted my last partner (boyfriend) to not betray me (lie/insult,/invalidate me, try to control me in strange, inappropriate ways). He was almost literally the last man in the world I trusted. You are not alone in feeling/acting the way you do.

  • What dumbass thing did I do under hopium? Told him he could continue the affair! Because surely he will come to his senses, or the OW will dump him… I am a strong woman who can ride out my poor confused husband’s bout with temporary insanity! And he will be so grateful!

    BwaaaaHaaaHaaaaaaHaaaa!!!!!!HeeHeeeeHeeeeeHeeeee!!!!!!!

    Oh lord how dumb I was! Four years later, I couldn’t be happier, and I wonder what I ever saw in him, and why in the world did I let him torture me for months??? Good grief….

    Anyone out there reading this still smoking hopium? Come join is in the land of meh! It’s beautiful peaceful and happy here

  • I allowed him to install cameras in our wreckonciliation home because it “would make him feel better to be able to check in on me and the kids while he was at work”. And chumpy old me, loving him and hanging onto a hair sized thread of hopium, thought that since work is where he started his affair, how could I deny the timid forrest creature this access to his healing balm of family?

    Nope. Turns out he’s just a weirdo who was SO INSISTENT to “catch” me up to something that having open access to my phone and all my emails wasn’t enough.

    Because I wasn’t up to anything 🤷🏻‍♀️ And it literally brought out the sociopath in him. And THAT is sadly what finally forced me to put the hopium pipe down.

    The fact that I had my standards get to “just don’t be a psycho and I’ll stay” and he couldn’t even do that?! Is the true sign of how high I was willing to be on hopium. It’s a hell of a drug but will keep you stuck in a dangerous situation. Put the pipe down!! It’s all a lie.

    • OMG this is so much my story! He put a camera on for one of his boys weekends away. With hindsight he was just making sure I was home and not doing a surprise flight into his location while he shacked up with the OW for said boys weekend.

      My ex a full blown cluster B – all of em. I’d even go so far as saying both psycho and sociopath given the DSM classifies then as the same trip now anyway.

      I read about “narcopaths” for about 2 years before I left him. That unfortunate portmanteau stopped me from googling sociopath or psychopath or narcissist for 2 years as it wasn’t very clinical reading. As soon as I realised he was still cheating, I googled the seperate words and my freedom opened up before me. It all clicked. He was/is a psycho, and that’s the only boundary i followed the though on. I can’t believe I set my standards so low.

  • After the first DDay I diagnosed STBXH with stress and Mid Life Crisis.

    After the second DDay-I figured out he was just selfish and self serving and told him to buckle up because me walking out that door was going to change his life forever.

    “I’m not your bitch, Bitch.”

  • D Day 1 and 2 – same day: Let him talk me into swinging, with the OW1!

    He carried on screwing OW2 (I’d found 2 seperate message threads not just 1). I discovered this minor detail 7 years later after DDay 4.

    When I realised that was a con we shifted to couples. Thankfully I never followed through as had gotten pregnant after 3 years of trying and all that angry breakup makeup triangulated sex we started to have (yes I rewarded him every time he cheated).

    D Day 3. pregnant I walked in on him and our lawyer sucking each other’s dicks!

    My response: I wouldn’t be the one to stop him discovering his gayness but he needed to be out in the open with it with me.

    He never was open about it and still stuck firmly in the closet.

    Fast forward to post baby working on us time about a year in we get married then: I get talked into having other guys in our relationship given I wasn’t into other women or couples.

    Lasted a year, full of lies. Was actually just a con to a) isolate me from my friends and b) convince his friends we had an open relationship so he could take OW3 away for their boys weekends they had a couple of times a year, no wives or girlfriends allowed (so I was told but apparently not).

    D Day 4: girl on girl porn gif being sent in his messages unrecognised number (I was googling something when reply came in on his phone).

    I lock myself in bathroom with his phone ask who it is.

    He says: OK it’s a guy!

    I pause. And laugh. If it’s a guy you wouldn’t be sending girl on girl porn dude. You’re out.

    He knocked down door, smashes glass framed painting in the process and runs off to another OW staying at a nearby hotel (I discovered later).

    That final day, he had sex with at least 3 seperate women, myself included, with no condom at all. I worked this all out later but luckily for me, I had promised myself the first D Day that it was 3 strikes and he was out. It was so many more strikes than that but I made it out this time. I realised each time I caught him out he dug his heels in further and cheated deeper and faster and more.

    I enabled it and rewarded it for 7 long painful years. Hopium did that to me. Hope for my family, my home, my love. There was no love there. Just addiction and abuse. Codependents Anonymous has been good for me.

  • I did the horizontal “pick me dance” in the hopes of trying to prove to him that I was better than the OW. After years of infertility treatments and being told that I wouldn’t be able to conceive without IVF, I got pregnant in the days following D-Day #1. Once I was pregnant, I hit the hopium pipe HARD! Couples therapy, individual therapy, reading every book I could get my hands onto, weekend marriage retreats, etc. Still, something felt “off.” On Easter day, I discovered that he had another affair back in 2016 that he never revealed. D-Day #2. More digging. Approximately 3 weeks before the baby was born, I discovered that he had frequented hookers MANY times. Then he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and sex addiction. We were separated before the baby was born. He’s 7 months old now and I’m trying to wait it out until he’s 1 before I file for divorce. Ironically, I am a family law attorney.

    • God love your heart! As much as it sucks to go through this at any point, it’s really heinous when a chump is pregnant, sick, or at a disadvantage for other reasons. You are super mighty to see it so clearly now and to put down that hopium pipe! Once you are cheater free and you gain that life with your sweet baby, I hope you are able to help other chumps down the road.

  • I did all the hopium stuff, right on through his ultimate abandonment of me. It is only in hindsight that I can see it at all so I have complete empathy for those going through it. I would even go so far to say that the 9 years between OW#1 and the final OW#2 he left me for were necessary for me to see him for what he is. I would have spent years wondering and feeling guilty that I hadn’t tried harder if I didn’t waste all that precious time. This goes for my daughters, too– they would possibly have blamed me if I hadn’t given it a go after the first time but now they are completely educated about what a colossally selfish prick their father is.

  • My cheater had been through horrific throat cancer and they radiated him right down to Freddy Kruegar. I believed that the radiation had made it’s way to his brain. Until I talked to my mother-in-law (his stepmother) and she told me, ‘Nah, this is what he DOES.’ That she had known him for 35 years and this was a pattern in ALL of his relationships.

    Just a bad case of assholism.

  • I tried to post this three times this morning; got sent to “awaiting moderation” twice and got nothing the third time. Here goes for a fourth.

    I have a two-fold chump reality.

    One, my ex engaged in a series of emotional affairs–I have no evidence of physical, although I wouldn’t rule it out, at least in several cases–throughout our marriage. He also would idealize other women, and become infatuated and fixated on them to an unnatural extent (this includes his sister). The last one was with a former student, an entanglement that went on for years, and ended with…

    Two, my ex deciding, with the “help” of this woman, that he was really “a woman in a man’s body” (in reality he is a man who gets sexually excited by himself acting out his fantasies of being a woman).
    I was stung by the betrayal with the student–the fact this ex student knew intimate secrets with a fundamental bearing on my marriage. I was gob-smacked by the revelation, after 32 years of marriage, that he had decided he was transgendered and was going to transition (he never did, because seeing himself in women’s clothing–other than lingerie–forcefully reminded him he was a “man in women’s clothing” [his words] and interfered with his sexual high.

    My initial reaction was to tell him I wanted a divorce. Then, during the time he was thinking he’d transition and got cold feet about it, he one day asked me for comfort. Instead of telling him I was no longer the person he could go to for that, I lay down on the bed with him and held him.

    After that, I fell into transworld for almost a year, and enabled his every sexual fantasy, even trying to redefine my own sexual identity so I could fulfill his fantasies that we were either having “lesbian sex” or he was a f*ck-me porn doll of a woman and I was acting the part of a man. It was repeated sexual trauma that did enormous emotional and psychological damage to me.

    For almost three years despite the evidence and his increasingly narcissistic and controlling behaviorI kept hoping he would come to his senses. It took Chump Lady and Chump Nation to educate to me, but eventually I learned to analyze his behavior and listen to what was behind his words. The final nail in the hopium coffin came when I decided I needed to get away for a few days to think, and he said to me “While you’re gone I’ll think about what I want from you.” When I heard that, I put that hopium pipe down and began the process of screwing up my courage to leave him.

    I, too, am a recovering “pick me dancer,” of the “naked pick me dance” variety.

  • Hope Chump Nation is having a happy, healthy mighty weekend! Thank you for all the sage advice, thoughtful sharing of experiences, and all the other wonderful things you do for the world! I really appreciate your thoughtful and kind feedback over the years I’ve been here. Many of you have kept me afloat.

    Presenting a question (at bottom of message). I hope that by doing so, some readers will provide ideas that might help many.

    I have some great friends, great, polite, responsible roommate (thank goodness), and a good, kind boss and co-workers (I’m working a few hours/week now–better than nothing but nearly enough to support even one person, much less a family. Boss is working hard, doing the best she can to help staff and clients, so it would not be reasonable to ask for a significant raise.) Have sent out hundreds of carefully prepared applications to permanent full-time jobs of many sorts, many levels this year, to no avail. May start looking out of geographical area, even though doing so means giving up a big chunk of custody to scary ex and kids having to change school districts again, which they don’t want to do–I don’t know what else to do as the Court and necessity mandate that I work. What types of employers accept ‘old’ job candidates, especially those who don’t have much-needed advanced skills and knowledge?)

    Last partner left 2.5 years ago, riding off into the sunset with Wonder Woman, the love of his life (and mother of his new baby (?), making my last partner, finally, a father at approximately 50). I still dream about my last partner, who I thought was my friend for decades, and am bereft over the loss of him in spite of him often emotionally hurting me for the last several years. People say, ‘Move on’ to people who have been abandoned but don’t say HOW to move on (beyond ‘Keep yourself busy, count your blessings, get therapy/medication (which is ineffective for some of us).’ It’s a bit like saying to an obese person, ‘Just quit overeating’ but not describing how to quit overeating and how to squash the constant urge to overeat. Over the last couple of years, I have been solicited by very few guys, and the few who have are completely inappropriate for me (very uneducated, unhealthy, DUI-getting current/former drug users), mostly guys who want to financially/physically screw me and perhaps others.

    Sometimes people say regarding relationships, ‘It’ll happen when you’re not looking.’ I haven’t looked much of my life and haven’t had any luck. Also haven’t had any luck when I looked. (I haven’t won Miss America, but I am far from an ogre, so trying to make myself more beautiful will probably not help anything, and face lifts are very expensive and sometimes don’t look very good/natural.) And yes, I have done a lot of different activities, and no, I have not been picky–mainly just wanted a decent human being who had bit in common with me and wanted a mutually supportive relationship. They (people) also say, ‘You never know, it could happen.’ Yeah, somebody wins the lottery–1 out of 10,000,000. I don’t want to hang my hat on such low odds.

    Kids are still fairly young although I am not. One has special needs–sometimes wonder if he has special needs because I bore kids with my own genes so late in life (in my 40’s). Many forms of treatment and accommodations over many years but no real results. Often, people, trying to be supportive, say, ‘Maybe he’ll outgrow them (the conditions, although he’s now a teenager).’ That’s a bit like saying to a paralyzed person, ‘Maybe you’ll outgrow your paralysis (of several years) and be able to walk again.’ (Not realistic, not helpful–actually feels worse than just hearing, ‘I’m sorry that you’re struggling, things went this way, etc.’) Some people say, ‘All you can do is pray.’ I see no evidence of a god/gods. If clouds part, and a god/gods whack(s) me on the nose or say(s), ‘Hello,’ then I’ll be convinced. (One of my friends half-jokingly says, “When the ship goes down, pray, and then start rowing,” which I think is decent advice, but I have lost hope of making it to land.) I try to help my kids but don’t feel as though I do. I offer to tutor them and take them out to visit museums and natural wonders (even minor ones), and play free sports (e.g., frisbee, basketball in the park), but they virtually never want to do those things. I worry that they will not develop ‘survival’ skills, acquire important knowledge, be healthy as opposed to sedentary. I can’t count on them and don’t want to depend upon my one child who does not have special needs to take care of me later in life and his sibling.

    I try to help the poor and underprivileged but have virtually no income to help them (or even my own family) and can’t think of anything brilliant enough to help them as these problems stem from complex, widespread problems facing the world.

    My spine is degenerating, leading to chronic pain, which has led to several problems. Have tried many treatments over the years. Fortunately, one medical treatment has helped reduce the pain for awhile, but spine will never get better. Ideally, I can stay able to work for a couple more decades in spite of the situation.

    People say, ‘Do what you love.’ Good idea, but what if you have no money and virtually no time for those things? Free activities (e.g., reading and walking) can be useful and slightly entertaining, but they feel far from a complete ‘diet.’

    I feel curled up in a ball virtually all the time and feel hopeless. Just want to do something useful in the world and not depend on anyone (for more than a very short time, which I already have). I don’t feel entitled to happiness and am not asking for it. (I gave up hope for happiness a long time ago, but I do want to make deserving others happy.)

    Question is, ‘How do you feel hopeful when nothing seems to be getting better and you can think of no way to make things better?’

    • Hey RSW,

      Whenever I see any of your comments, I’m always inspired because you have a phenomenal knack of reassuring others and giving them hope. I don’t really have an answer for how you can bring that hopefulness to your own life. I do know though that you are a source of joy to so many of us on CN so I can certainly tell that your children, family members, and friends are fortunate recipients of your kind spirit on a daily basis. You deserve reciprocal treatment and MORE!

      I spend most days feeling hopeless and waste far too much time still trying to untangle the skein. Unanswered “whys” haunt me and merely trusting that my cheater sucks rarely remedies my quest for the reasons of his erasing and replacing of me after our 25 years together.

      I’ve sought out ways to try to shine even a tiny bit of light in others’ lives throughout the day. I compliment strangers, etc. because so many times, I’ve been brought back from the ledge so to speak due to what probably seemed an insignificant gesture by someone with whom I’ve crossed paths just running errands or doing other mundane things. (The people who have let me cut in line at the grocery store upon seeing that I had less purchases than them or the one who asked where I bought a particular item of clothing that I wore which they admired…) Sometimes, those little remarks and/or acts of kindness bring me to tears as they are so contrary to what I now realize were abusive actions on the part of my cheater which I was conditioned to believe I deserve(d).

      This quote attributed to Tupac Shakur helps me sometimes: “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on!”

      Keep spreading love and happiness RSW. New pieces are bound to come together for you. Each positive connection you are making has the potential of multiplying. You are making a difference!

      • Still I Rise,

        Thank you for the heartwarming and thoughtful comments. I think that, in many ways. we are kindred spirits. I will try to forge on, realizing that I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a compassionate spirit. I have decided that when I feel as though my boundaries are being even slightly violated or I am being pushed by men or others, instead of asking myself, ‘What is wrong with this guy? I should give him a chance,’ I am going to listen to my gut and be cautious, even turning down opportunities to date or take a job that seems risky/not suited to me. I used to have dreams in which I wss trying to pry off the boards of a haunted house to get in to save my kids and friends…going to try to keep my relatives and friends and me out of the metaphorical haunted house and not go back in!

        Also going to remind myself that sometimes it takes a while to see the results of our efforts and that we do not know the future. One may get unlucky, but one may also get lucky.

        I imagine that it must be tough to adjust to your new life after 25 years with someone who was not who you originally thought he was. I wish you much serenity and happiness.

  • I had lots of hopium. I was the queen of hopium because I couldn’t believe my ex would ever leave my daughter, his beloved dogs and I. My ex and I struggled to have a child with numerous Ivf rounds and miscarriages. My husband pleaded (and pressured) me to do one last Ivf round and we got pregnant and had our little miracle daughter. When she was two he walked out on us, asked for a divorce and moved to another country to be with his ex colleague from work. He sees his daughter every couple of months (if that) and will speak to her maybe once every few weeks if lucky. He didn’t speak to her for two months at one point.

    Even after finding out about the affair a year ago I still have hopium although I am not resting on my arse. I’m moving forward with my life but I do get caught in waves of thinking he will come back. That he’s suffering depression etc. (He is suffering depression because he got caught our cheating and has lost his reputation, his friends and his family are disgusted with his behaviour) I have my financial settlement and getting my divorce finalised. He broke up with his lady at one point and asked to work on being a family again but he’s back with her although he’s keeping it quiet and not telling me or his family. Continual lying at its best to keep me a little hooked.

  • I finally came to my senses and diagnosed him as just a fucked up piece of shit with a fucked up way of thinking. What pisses me off with myself is that I had gotten so beaten down that no matter how shitty and disrespectful he treated me I chose to ignore it because if I said anything it would always be my fault and I would have to listen to his barrage of fuckedupness. My biggest regret is that I let him treat me that way for wat to many years before I finally threw him out like the garbage he was.

    • Ha ha Kim….. I think that is me too! I made so many excuses for his behavior but it’s just that he is a selfish bastard. He even told me he can only think of himself. (Atleast he is honest about that)

  • Kim and Moving Forward,
    Good for you!
    My last partner once said aloud at a restaurant in front of our friends, ‘I’m a bad boyfriend.’ I said, ‘No, he’s not.’ I should have clearly agreed with him and left! I wish that more people would not tolerate repeated horrendously cruel insults and lies. The tolerance makes jerks think it is ok to keep treating those they don’t care about like trash and think that they can get away with awful treatment.

    • RockStarWife, absolutely. We as chumps think if we forgive them then they will realize how wonderful we are and treat us well to keep us. Lol. In actuality, they see it as they can do whatever and whoever they want and we won’t leave their sorry cheating ass. The first forgive is like permission to the fucked up.

      I see in your posts you are still hurting. Stay strong and believe that you are strong and you get past this. Sending love to you.

  • Rockstar wife

    Your last sentence is quite apt for my ex. He told me his mum never told him off even if he did a bad thing so he never really suffered consequences for his actions. He thinks he can do anything then smooth it over when he wants to. Unfortunately real life does not work like that.

  • When we were “attempting” to reconcile I said of course he would need to have no contact whatsoever with her (crack whore/troll). He said that they were “just friends“ and that if things didn’t work out with us then he will have lost a “ Really good friend“!?! WTF!! What about losing a “ Really good wife“!!

  • I will be honest, I find myself playing mind games, something I would have never done before.

    We have been separated for months, and I have filed for divorce. Of course, he was shocked and blindsided by it all. Now he wants to go for marital counseling, and I am only going to agree to it if I get a post nup. In all honesty, I feel it is over.

    Years of lies uncovered after a voice activated recorder was placed in our room. I highly recommend them. GPS systems only tell you they are lying about their whereabouts, but not about what they are talking about. My fuckwit was discussing our financial retirement accounts with his 29 year old girlfriend, who is an absolutely horror….her husband is drop dead gorgeous, but is young and cannot keep up financially with my husband who is 20 years older. These narcissists are all the same!!!!

    My lawyer freaked and said I was committing a crime by using surveillance…..oh well, at least I now know the truth and have been financially protecting myself ever since.

    He was a military officer before being a very successful business man, I swear these guys are either Boy Scouts or sociopaths. I got a sociopath. PROTECT YOURSELF

    Put on an academy award performance if you have to, but secretly get you ducks in a row….someone accurately mentioned that they can be shady in many areas of their lives.

    I am also thrilled that I am starting grad school in January…..had a dream I married a professor!!lol

  • It’s been three weeks since DDay, when I found out my husband of six months (but live in partner of 12 years) was engaged in a full-blown affair with his ho-worker. Found out the night before I had an important job interview, too!

    After discovery we decamped to separate our families for Christmas (our parents live in the same town, and we ordinarily celebrate Christmas all together—but obviously that was off). I spent Christmas in hell, crying and sleeping a lot and bothering the hell out of my family I’m sure. Meanwhile, he was out at bars having a great time. I know because I’ve seen the bank statements.

    When I got back to the city we live he called me at the airport to tell me our cats hadn’t been fed yet; that his ho-worker had picked him up from the airport and that he would be staying there from now on. I demanded he come back to the house, asked him what the fuck was going on, he said he wished he had never married me and that he wasn’t going to stop seeing this woman. And then he went back to her.

    I am so, so devastated. Before this happened we were in the middle of home renovations so our house is in chaos. I can’t bring myself to clean it or go to work or do anything so I’ve just been in bed for two days amidst the wreckage. I can’t eat. I feel utterly destroyed. I just want him to come back. I don’t know how to face this new life alone or how to get through this horrible pain. And adding insult to injury is the knowledge that he’s out wining and dining his ho-worker at all of our favorite restaurants (and using our joint bank account to do so).

    How do I get through this? I just want to wake up from this horrible nightmare and have the life I thought I had back.

    • Newly, you have a lot on your plate. Break this down into steps. First, feed the cats. Then feed yourself. Change the locks. Make an appointment with the following three people: lawyer, doctor, therapist. You may need some antidepressants to help you get through this time. Take a bath, let the water wrap around you like a hug. Can someone come stay with you? If not, let us know where you are and hopefully there is a fellow chump close by who can meet up with you and provide support. Gather financials. This means getting bank statements, bills, mortgage statements and investment statements together. Run credit reports on your husband and yourself. Keep copies of what he is spending on TwatMuffin, you can ask for that back. Pick one thing to clean or organize each day. Give yourself permission to lay on the couch or in bed. Let yourself feel all the emotions. Pet the cats. Renovations: are they DIY or via a contractor? Can anything be put back temporarily so the house is more comfortable? Take one thing at a time. And reach out to Chump Nation, you are not alone.

    • newlywedchump

      What Susannah says^^^^^^^

      YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Breathe and take every moment as it comes. Make sure you’re getting sleep so you are able to think with a clear head. Drink water and try to eat healthy. Most importantly, forgive yourself–you’ve done nothing wrong. Do not take any blame that may come your way. Focus on what you can control. If you workout or practice yoga, continue to do that.

      Please check in with CN and gather your support team. You will find strength with us Chumps.

  • I smoked the hopium pipe my entire marriage. he lived in our travel trailer the last 6-7 while I finished raising our son and went to college. I thought he’d grow up and come home. unknown to me was the colossal smear campaign going on, the multiple affairs, and totally flipping the script to my kids and others.

    I made every excuse in the world for him until the lid came off and I discovered that his behavior had been a decision on our wedding day to make sure I was never happy. it’s insane how I let him and others manipulate me and made my needs smaller and smaller. I had every self help and relationship book on the market and even had the kids playing games with him to ‘teach daddy how to talk and find his emotion words’. OMG!!!

    the entire time he was just a lying, manipulative, bastard. I am chief chump…or was
    …it took awhile, but I’m finally my own person and so very glad I dont have to ever live that again.

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