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What Got You Unstuck?

For today’s Friday challenge, I’m wondering about the long-suffering chumps out there and your hopium habits — what got you unstuck?

I have some sympathy for the emotionally paralyzed, especially the limbo when you have Naugahyde remorse and think you’re really in reconciliation. You ride that unicorn carousel for awhile. I get it.

I realize that not everyone leaves cheaters. Not everyone gets a choice — they’re left. And sadly, in some cases, many stay years longer than they should, even when it’s obviously hopeless. The cheater has checked out for their Schmoopie, they’ve admitted they’re gay, they’ve destroyed you financially, they’re threatening to run with the kids to another state.

What made you finally act in your best interest?

What got you unstuck?

Was it a badass sister driving down from another state to drag you by the ear to a lawyer? Was it some final indignity that pushed you over the edge? An epiphany?

Or did you watch it all unfold like a bad dream and didn’t put up much of a fight? Could anyone have gotten through to you?

The point of this blog and this community is to UN-stick the newbie chumps. To overturn the RIC assumption of Reconciliation Uber Alles. Maybe we can figure out the pressure points together and save some folks a lot of unnecessary pain.

TGIF!

I’ve run a similar Friday challenge a few years ago. This one goes out to the new crop of newbies.

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.
  • Chump Lady, I remember vividly January 1, 2018 when STBX looked me in my tear filled eyes and said “I am not going to change, I don’t see the need to change.”

    I swear that comment freed me. He wasn’t going to change. So I did.

    • Yes mine finally said, after much gaslighting, lying, and stonewalling, that he didn’t think he wanted to be married to me. Tick 25 years wasted on an asshole. I was falling apart but that statement with the cruel actions made me pull on my big girl pants and see a lawyer.

      • About a week after he admitted to sleeping with skankenstein we decided to work it out, but he continued to treat me like crap. Distant, cold, etc. I kept begging him for affection and reassurance. (so chumpy…) Finally we got into a big fight over the phone when he said he “He just wasn’t comfortable showing me affection right now.” I told him to get his ass to the house as quickly as he could, get his shit and get out. The next time I saw him was in court.

    • I had EXACTLY the same experience. Four years of lies, affairs, and me eating myself up. Four years of me living in such a state of constant anxiety. Three weeks after he was a pallbearer for my Daddy who we watched die slowly and horrifically of cancer. I catch him in the bar with a 25 year old coworker all over her.

      He came home and told me he would never stop cheating, he had cheated on every relationship he’d ever been in, he couldn’t change. Standing there with his hands in his pockets smirking at me like the teenager he was when I met him twenty years ago. I was literally in the floor. And something just….snapped. Like I could FEEL it. Like a rubber band. It was like an angel came down and released me, and I thought, I’m done crying over this motherfucker.

      Now I’ve cried many times since because I let myself be treated that way for so long, but when I think of him….I know he’s going to make his own karma with his own miserable self-loathing choices. And I smile.

    • After nearly 30 years with a man who cheated on me from the beginning, he finally said, “I feel nothing for you, physically or emotionally.” That was it.

      • Susan – me too.
        I Got:
        I don’t love you.
        I’ve never loved you.
        I’ve never been romantically attracted to you.

        After 36 years. That was it for me.
        Cruel bastard

          • “I’m not enamored with you”
            “I’ve never respected you”
            “You don’t bring me any value”

            These didn’t really bother me then and they tell me all I need to know about him now.

            I’m just sad that he’s doing the same things to my son & daughter. It’s all about him and his Mrs. Howorker, who’s so happy being married after walking 52 years on this earth.

      • My Ex wasn’t very creative. I got the “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Also, “the spark is gone and I don’t think it’s coming back.”

        That’s when I knew there was nothing to work with. See, after nearly 25 years marriage, 28 years together, I expected what we had was far superior to “spark” while he just wanted sparks. He also told me I didn’t fulfill him, and I told him it wasn’t my responsibility to fulfill him, that’s an inside job.

      • Him asking me why I did notbwqsh his dish in the sink and then proceed to hit me with my phone charger wire. I then was told by my multiple neighbors he has been bringing a woman in my house for all 15 yrs of our marriage. after returning from the police station he packed up his things and left and never looked back for the two boys nor me.

    • I asked my therapist (in a discussion about Kobe Bryant), whether cheaters could change. Her reply was a riddle: “How many therapists does it take to change a cheater? Only one, if the cheater wants to change.”

      And that has to be about more than words. Some people will claim to want to change, some people will go to church, some people will even go to therapy. But change involves humility. It involves hard work. It involves the ability to take criticism. To take responsibility. To see yourself as a work in progress. To value other people. To want to reciprocate when others contribute to your life. To be patient and persistent in behaving in ways that build trust. Where chumps mess up is in believing the words and imagining that the words REQUIRE the chump to forgive AND forget. All that leads to is the whining complaint: “You still don’t trust me,” as if you can get over a betrayal in a day or a week or a year.

    • What a blessing he admitted it so there could be no more hopium. Mine swore over and over that he’d change, but although he was no longer cheating or drinking, he was still lying and being mean. So I realized he didn’t ever intend to change and that if he was still behaving like a cheater, he’d eventually cheat again.

    • The final Indignity was learning that he did the Same thing in his first marriage, ugh
      Frosting on the cake was his line in 2015 “ you can’t put my dick in your purse”
      Yeah buddy, don’t want to. Ha.
      Left a cheater, gained an amazing, healthy, adventurous life, now out 4 years
      Love my freedom!
      Join me!
      Xoxo

    • There were a couple of biggies. The first was, “I am going to keep seeing my friends…” (no problem with that from me, btw), ” … and I am going to keep seeing my ‘**SPECIAL friend**’. ” (“special” friend is her code for AP). The second was at the MC. MC asked, “How do you want this to go or how do you see this going ?” My response was, “I want to remain in the marriage, 100%.” My wife’s reply ? “I see us headed to separation and divorce.”. I realized then on a deep level, her heart was not in reconciliation at all and never had been. She was just going thru MC for image management. I had known about her affairs for 6 months at that point, but it took until then for me to finally begin to withdraw emotionally for my own sanity and mental health. All this after 31 years married and raising 6 kids together.

    • My STBX said
      you will either trust me or you dont
      3 weeks after he cheated on my for the second time.
      That was the thing that snapped me out of my funk and I said I have to get out.
      Got an apartment 3 weeks later.

  • What finally got me unstuck was realizing – when he told me he was now dating the OW – that I felt the most overwhelming sense of relief.

    Lightness. And very little pain. It was all over AT LAST.

    I actually felt like I had woken up from a dream – but one of those dreams you are glad to wake up from.

    • Same! Whenever I was happy and content he’d come pick a fight about my word choice, or my tone, or point out some other way I’d failed to support him in exactly the way he wanted. I was there for him and his family, little thanks I got for it. For some time I realized that he was much more burden than blessing, but thought it was grief related to his father passing. When I realized he’d been cheating (even when visiting his dying father), all the Laziness and derogatory nonsense made sense – discard phase! He wanted for us to go to couples therapy, but I was already at the point where I actively disliked him BEFORE I knew about the Craigslist hookups and I was done!

      • On the subject of picking fights–A huge light bulb moment for me that I want to share.

        I told my therapist about all the bizarre fight-picking over absolutely noting. Me apologizing profusely to keep the peace, taking responsibility (you guys know the drill…) then him not accepting the apology and going on-and-on berating me more or quickly switching to a different grievance (what I now know is word-salad.) She told me picking fights over nothing is VERY typical of these idiots and they do it to try to create valid (in their mind) reasons for doing the awful things they are doing to you; to justify it and validate that you deserve to be cheated on/lied to/ abused/ raged at… They also typically tell the AP they’re trying to lay all these same grievances.

        Maybe others put this all together on their own. I didn’t and this revelation was huge for me! it explained so much (and helped me track times over the past 25 years that he had side whores.) After more investigating, hateful confessions, and his colleagues telling me all the back stories after the divorce, (he is universally hated by pretty much everyone at work that he’s not sleeping with because he’s such a condescending abusive A-hole at work too) the pattern of this behavior was astonishingly accurate in pointing to when the affairs were. This doesn’t include the also constant F-ing strangers habit he also had of course… God, I am thankful to have that idiot out of my life! Sometimes revising my history like this really makes me feel better about my current life. I’m struggling so much financially, but it’s all so much better than having that deranged A-hole in my life.

        • Same here Beenchumped. A furious argument over nothing then allows them to storm out (and go to their side whore), but it also keeps you on the back foot. Their constant chaos means you can never see the wood for the trees. So glad I’m away from that asshole!

        • Beenchumped, thank you!

          I’m seven months into a nasty divorce—after a 25 year marriage. What caused me to turn my back wasn’t the discovery of cheating (I was drinking from the fountain of denial), it was the unbelievable dickishness of my ex. For a year prior, I’d endured put-downs, smears, taunts, gas-lighting, and something close to abandonment in the home. I sought therapy, discovered some self-worth, and one day, when he told me that I was the cause of all his unhappiness—- and that if I’d only work harder on improving myself, he’d be a lot happier, some weird auto-pilot kicked in and I went to an attorney that day. I realized I’d rather be alone than look on the face of an a-hole every single day.

          Fast-forward five months, and it all starts to come in to focus. A younger sailing partner who he guaranteed was a “die-hard” lesbian, trips away, not coming home on a few nights and telling me I should be grateful that he spent the night at a buddies because he didn’t drive drunk. Yes, chumps, I was the empress of denial because I never dug, never confronted, and made only minor noises about decency in a relationship.

          He even threw a party at our house And invited her. He was so excited to introduce us, he told me. Maybe her passion for life would inspire me. So the AP came, bringing presents for my children. She gave them her phone number, took selfies with them, and began texting them. On the same day she met them for the first time!!! “But they all love sailing!” He said later. “Plus, she’s a lesbian so you don’t need to worry!” I gave a chumpy reply of “Oh, okay then,” and shives the five-alarm warning bells into my deep, dark, and very quiet place of denial.

          All those memories, and many more —came rushing back to me during me time apart from him. I checked phone records—they were texting each other 1400 times a month. Pics back and forth. So sweet. And all the while, he would come home and insult me.

          Yes, I drank the cool-aid. But that behavior you speak of is so very telling. I know of two other women that appeared and disappeared, along with the abusive mental crap. It’s a giveaway for sure.

          I hate sharing how very, very chumpy I was. But that’s how it was. I left an a-hole and discovered that I left a cheater in the process. And that is how I ultimately ended up on chumplady, straight-up soul medicine for this chump!!

          • These dicks are the same black soul creatures! Our stories are so similar, except the texts were 4,000 a month–I just don’t know how they managed to work. We’re chumps because we are KIND!!!! They suck.

            Stay strong, fight for you and don’t take a settlement if your gut is screaming not to.

          • Mine did the same. 1,000 of texts and emails and on interoffice pop up messaging.
            Please go for 100/0 in settlement and negotiate down. Dontt start at 50/50. Think about you having full custody, him paying for counseling and transportation to and from, kids having no contact with OW/skank til they say they are ready. Him paying for college, sports, camps, clubs, uniforms, him putting and keeping kids as beneficiaries on life insurance, alimony for full marriage time, (increasing as his salary increases), he picks them up fr2im your house and drops them back off… make lists and shoot for the moon in the negotiations. I so wish i had.

            • SmarterNow–Yes!!!!!!

              I wish I had too. My struggle now is just this. I feel like the one last thing we can take from the “marriage” is a fair settlement. It’s crushing when you can’t even get that.

          • I just want to ad that most of the men( and an awful lot of women ) at these sailing clubs are blatantly cheating.

            I sail. I love to crew with a couple of very no nonsense boat owners.

            But I stopped because it got so triggering for me. So many old fools with money sleeping with younger starry eyed wannabe crew members. The wives never coming out or quietly making lunch back at the club house.

            It seemed that excessive drinking and whoring around was the norm, not the exception.

        • Thank u my husband also knit picks everything , The forks have spots on them why didn’t I try them better , and on and on Talking sort of under his breath load enough for u to hear , but he’s really talking to himself , I to use to apologize just to keep the pease , now I don’t say a word I just try to fix what ever he’s trying to pick a fight over , He’s trying to justify he’s cheating once again or the guilt he’s feeling Anyway thank u

    • I had a similar experience. When I caught my ex having an affair, I thought, “This is it, this is my out!” That was telling.

  • For me it took a symphony of events. My doctor of 20 years said to me casually “I’ve been looking into the HIV rates of sex workers in San Francisco. Let’s talk about what you need to do so your children still have a mother.” + The evidence in my planner that he was lying to me. Someone at a Posa meeting had told me what gaslighting was and told me to write stuff down. The lie was literally in front of me. When confronted with the lie he admitted to using a prostitute. I knew in that moment the only way to save my kids and I was to get him out. I tried to live on hopium til I literally couldn’t.

      • No, I think her doctor shrewdly figured out that her ex was seeing prostitutes and he didn’t want her to contract ant STI like HIV.

    • My doctor was treating me for HPV, I didn’t even know I had it, he never told me it was a sexually transmitted disease. I was crying as he cauterized my cervix (without any pain relief), and he slapped my thigh and said “You got this because you’re promiscuous, I can tell”. So, maybe her doctor did think she was a sex worker. This was in the late 80s, I think doctors are better now, but all my docs are women – so WAY better..

      • Iamchump,
        I am sorry that you were disrespected by a male practitioner. In my case, the worst practitioners in terms of making erroneous assumptions and saying condescending things have been women.

  • DDay thru the divorce remains a tornado in my mind. I was hospitalized twice, found medication to get me on my feet and, after my first disastrous lawyer, let my second barracuda lawyer take over.

    Since Dday I’ve moved 4 times and had 2 different jobs in an effort to find my “place” in the world.

    What finally got me unstuck was time. And determination to thrive if I was going to survive.

    Time has been my savior.

    Everything changes over time – your body, your mind, your perspective, the people in your life and your outlook.

    Always keep fighting to find your best life and the best version of you and find peace thru the gift of time.

    Oh, and Chump Lady and everyone here is a must 💗

      • Jan 2019. He had put a padlock on our bedroom door and informed me that his girlfriend was coming over to stay for the weekend with him and our son. I could leave if i didn’t like it. Naturally since this was his house too, this was completely acceptable. NOT! I filled all of our heater vents with dryer sheets (she was allergic to everything), rewashed every blanked I could find in fabric softener, went to my mom’s and called to make the appointment.

    • Rebecca, thank you for your explanation of The Value of Time. Beautiful.

      At first, Time is your hated Enemy. Later, Time is the necessity for survival. Slowly, Time becomes your best friend. And near the end, Time reveals itself as your beloved heroine.

      I’m just beginning to embrace the Friendship of Time. 💜🎶🎼💜🎶🎶💜

  • I know exactly what got me unstuck. After 26 years of marriage, 3 d-days, marriage counseling, short separations, and many threats of divorce I stayed. Then D-day #4 occurred, there was a year between #3 and 4, so I felt like a fool. This time I “knew” I was going to divorce. Many of my friend hoped yet doubted that this time I was serious. Then I heard that one of my friend’s husbands said, “Nothing is going to change in that house, she will never leave him.” That was 3 years ago and my motivation!! I left and have never looked back.
    Sometimes negative voices can motivate you, I wanted to prove I could do it.

    • My uncle always gives me real advice. I was over at their house telling them how my fiance seemed different after her recent work trip. There was a bit of trickle truth going on, ( she hadn’t met someone but then admitted she did but nothing happened ) so I booked a therapy session for us but it wasn’t for a week.

      My uncle, straight up said, “she cheated on you and now she’s lying to you. Is this really who you want to spend your life with? You’ll always be wondering if she’s lying about everything. There are some serious character flaws here. I think it’s best if you just walk away.”

      Best advice! I did walk away and eventually found out she had cheated ( the OW wrote all the details on a blog ). I’m finally on the cusp of meh. Thank you to everyone for sharing their stories.

  • I was unstuck by discovering a second, ongoing affair while in counseling with my cheater ex-wife to try to recover from the affair I knew about (I learned later of the others). Even I knew that left me nothing to work with. Even my very Catholic mother, fearful for my eternal soul, knew that left me nothing to work with. Thank God for the decisiveness of that (nearly literal) clusterf*ck.

  • When she said she wanted a temporary separation because it can help a relationship. After having done absolutely nothing to improve the relationship, quite the contrary.

    Separation yes, temporary, not a chance.

    For anyone unsure of these things; temporary separation = I want to go play around with others while you take care of the kids and bills.

    • Thank you Robert, Exactly. Same here. He called it “The Healing Separation”, after a book title (which I read cover to cover, but he didn’t). Nothing changed except more agony for me and unbeknownst to chumpy me at the time, he was screwing around. What’s worse is that we told the kids it would be a healing separation (me following his cues). I swear he was smirking all the way through it while I died inside.

    • Robert that is exactly right! No Change, attempted this “strategy” to save our marriage. I actually considered it for a few days. Came to my senses and said no.
      If you want to unclog the toilet you don’t just use another shitter too fix it! Wow typing that makes me realize that was her strategy.

      Also in respondIng to the post. Ironically my corner turned toward my own recovery and letting go, when NoChange added a new married man to the circus. I then realized it had nothing to do with me or our marriage. It sure hell had nothing to do with love. Dang thinking now it may have been the hammer she threw at me when my back was turned. Luckily for me No Change’s aim is as bad as her fidelity!

      It was all her. Now every day brings more gratitude that I escaped at 54.

      • When women are physically abusive, they are more likely than men to use an object. Pots, pans, knives, car keys, beer coolers, the TV remote, whatever happens to be at hand. Don’t discount or minimize the fact that you were physically abused just because a woman did it. If women really want equality, society has to admit that women can choose to do evil just like men can. I am a woman who fled a man who was emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. I know men who, because their abusers are female, didn’t have the validation or the access to resources that I did. Chumplady.com and Shrink4Men.com are great resources. Take care of yourself.

  • When we told the kids that Daddy was moving out and we wouldn’t be married anymore. They were 8 and 6. He told them that he would be moving out….slowly… so that it would be “easier” on them. They sobbed.

    Up to that point, I’d been pick me dancing. I had been reasonable and easy to get along with and kind in my marriage. We rarely fought about anything and I thought we were in it for the long haul.

    After that, I took him aside in the kitchen and told him that he would pack his shit and get the fuck out of my house by the end of the week. I was full-on Bitch after that.

    • It’s amazing that when we react to this extreme pain and go nuts, we’re being a Bitch. But these Assholes try to fuck up our life just move on like it’s another day. Good for you for being a Full On Badass

      • Yep, we’re the bad guys for not putting up with their terrible behaviour for some reason. Uh, what!?!?!

    • I salute thee! Yes I think he decided he would move out slowly to not upset out daughter. Aka stayed in the house being frankly abusive to me. Then I found out what was going on and confronted him about the affair. Left very quickly after that. I didn’t have a chance to be stuck but believe me every ounce of what I felt for him just went. I was so utterly disgusted at what he said to me vs the truth. I just had to think of him at the front row at my dads funeral playing the caring partner thinking oh good he is dead now we can finally move on with my move out plan. That got me un-stuck emotionally VERY rapidly.

    • Full on bitch, lol kingsui. Ex was pretending to be good daddy and husband until the kids went to bed then spending nights in the basement on the phone with OW. I cane home from shopping one evening and texted him to come outside. I rolled down the window and simply said “get the fuck out.” He snidely asked “where am I supposed to go?” And I said “to your mother’s, I hear there’s a vacancy.” She had died two weeks before and her condo was vacant. And he hadn’t shed one tear for her either.

  • After my 3rd DDay, I finally knew he wasn’t going to change, in fact, had planned to leave me. I could see in my mind him finally leaving me, telling me he din’t know why, he just had to do it, this after I would be old and drained of any life. I knew I had to go, but what finally caused me to file for divorce was the day I realized he was becoming abusive to my youngest son, having already run off my oldest, I had enough. He tried to threaten and bully me, his usual tactics, but I told him to leave and I was filing for divorce. I never felt so strong, so free, so utterly fearless as he raged, threatened, then pleaded and cried, then bullied some more. I just kept repeating “It’s over, please leave.” I cherish that day.

  • As if cheating and lying weren’t enough, it was the fact that he continued to do that while crying and begging not to get divorced and that he wanted to work things out. But Actions speak louder than words. So Finally seeing him hand in hand with another woman on the street – that was the final nail in the coffin. Couldn’t turn back after that.

    Also knowing that there is life possible after him and the fact that with him things would never be the same. Atleast without him I knew what I had. An amazing family, strong support system, communities such as this, and time. Time is the ultimate healer.

    Here’s to living the best life possible.

  • Being expected to pay for everything.
    They pay for ow, drugs, alcohol etc.
    You pay the bills etc the boring things.
    Kids, birthday Xmas, school stuff.
    Being expected to feel sorry for ow.
    But do they feel sorry for you, hell no!
    Yes he asked me to feel sorry for her.
    Beginning of the end eh?
    Ended nearly 7 years ago

  • When I was pregnant with my second child, and he was on a “business trip”, I found the secret cache of emails. At least four women, but one he was SUPER into. He swore it was just a friendship, tried for months to get me to accept it, even made me go on a retreat with her. I put my foot down and he stopped speaking to her. But asked me if he could start again, every six months. For years. All while flying off the handle if I ever called it an “emotional affair.” His disrespect, irresponsibility, and recklessness grew. He pushed us into extreme debt (my lawyer calls this “voluntary impoverishment and financial abuse). Then he started up with a new woman, one who convinced him that his obviously worsening mental disorder was just dandy. He scared my child one day. I told him to make a choice. He did and now I’m left to pick up the pieces of my life and try to protect the children and what little assets I have left from their lunacy, spending sprees. I wish I’d listened to chump lady years ago. I read her, but I was pregnant and in love and thought, oh, it’s okay, it was “only” an EA and I have a unicorn.

    • A brave and honest admission. Lots of us started out thinking we had unicorns. Sometimes just admitting that can be the wake up call.

  • Mine was – The day I was nursing him to health after a minor surgery and he accidentally left his computer open! I discovered that the last ten months of his uncertainty about our relationship had a name and she was younger than our son. I discovered that the therapy I had suffered through was really a pick me dance I didn’t even know I had a competitor in.
    I don’t know why we do the things we do but I made him a chicken pot pie took it upstairs to him and told him when he was done with it he better get his girlfriend to come pick him up and take care of him for the rest of his convalescence. He knew I knew and it was over.
    I told him he had 24 hours to get out of the house. His world was about to explode, mine already had, but he still ate the chicken pot pie. That said everything.

    • They do that. Where a regular person would throw up (or at least lose all appetite) and suffer sleepless nights, the disordered eat just fine and sleep like babies.

  • I was stone cold abandoned never seen or heard from him since D day he just packed and left so that really got me unstuck i had nothing to work with

    • karenb6702,
      That is truly a horrific thing to live through. I’m so sorry that happened to you.
      I hope you realize your strength and that you’re a survivor!

    • Mine just left too. We had two little kids, he came home from a trip, said he had been “thinking about asking for a divorce for a long time”, treated me like garbage for next few days, I took the kids to my moms and he moved out. Never glanced back, not even once. However I found CL and CN in the first few days and that gave me the strength to not pick me dance, not stalk him, not beg, etc. I divorced him and got the kids most of the time and a decent settlement. Fuck him.

      • When mine slithered back to the States to be with his latest twu wuv he also abandoned the home he was renting and left all his junk (and the dog) for me to get rid of. I mean, seriously, he still had wet washing in the washing machine.

      • Mine was similar, unexpectedchumpiness! Went on a guys trip to Texas, came back giving me the cold shoulder. Finally got it out of him that he had been ‘unhappy for years, I didn’t support him’ and that he was thinking about divorce.

        I played the pick me game for weeks, not realizing that’s what I was doing. I thought I was just working to fix our marriage, not competing against a woman that lived 9 hours away. He claimed she was just a friend helping him with a business idea. And that they just ‘happened’ to get together RIGHT after he walked out.

        He ended up leaving for work one day, texted me that he needed space. He never came home again, other than here and there getting a few things and dropping off our daughters every other weekend. This was last May. I’m finally starting a contested divorce based on abandonment.

        Had to give lots of info about the OW to my attorney. It has me sick to my stomach as he completely denies she had anything to do with him leaving and he just checked out years ago.

    • Mine abruptly moved out, taking only some clothes. He had the nerve to ask if we had spare bedding he could take. This while still denying the affair. I’m so glad I said no to the bedding! Anyway, over some weeks he would come and go, grabbing a few more items each visit. He seemed surprised when the day came that I sent him in the direction of the garage, telling him there was nothing of “his” in the house. I told him he was never to set foot in my bedroom or closet again. Everything of his had been bagged or boxed and placed in the garage.

      The divorce took more than two years, and yet it still took nearly 5 months longer for him to empty his stuff from the garage.

    • karenb6702,
      I, too, am among the abandoned. The year before, however, my ex convinced me to move to another state where we could build our dream retirement home. Two months before we were to move into that home, while living in a rental, me with no job, he came to me and said, “We need to talk. You aren’t happy and don’t love me.” Bitch-slapped by my husband of 25 years out of nowhere! I said, “I am happy. I do love you.” His reply, “No you don’t. This can’t go on. I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Ahhh…”Who is it?” I asked. “There is no one,” he said. But, sure enough, there was his 28 year old coworker that he spoke of a bit too frequently for my liking. I told him to pack a bag and leave the rental. I told him I did not want to see his face. He did. Our rental contract was up in two months. I had no job, no home, and had two dogs. Rentals are impossible with pets and often not nice. He went off to temporarily live in a luxurious executive apartment rental and see the other woman. I had to find a lawyer, find a home, find a job, and clean all of our stuff out of two 10’x20′ storage units. He refused to help me. (After I had packed it all from our last house on my own.) I took what I wanted, left the rest to him. I believe he sold everything that was his in those units and moved to Houston with Schmoopie – him 50, her 28. I have never laid eyes on him since that night, February 16, 2017 at 5 PM. With dating, we had been together 29 years. Bestest of friends, I thought. Got along like thieves, I thought. But, no…he did not love me anymore. As February 16, 2020 comes around, so does the pain all over again. I am stronger now. I am nearing Meh but it’s still just a bit out of my reach. Abandonment is unbelievably painful…

      • Duped — I’m so sorry. Please plan something(s) for February 16. I can tell you not to think of Ex, but this is your journey to Meh. If he does get some head space, plan ahead with some distractions. Yesterday was my Ex’s 55th Bday and I planned a busy day/evening–it helped tremendously.

        My therapist told me this week that betrayal is the most painful grief someone can endure. Add abandonment and it’s unbelievably painful…….Hugs!!!!!!

        • Thank you, NotbLUEinTC. So glad you kept busy on dingbat’s 55th birthday and that it helped you! I will try like heck to not think of February 16th as an anniversary of anything but freedom anymore…this is the third anniversary and time to put a positive spin on it. In reality, I realized I’m stronger than I ever thought I was/am and I no longer have to put up with those things he did that irritated me. I truly am free.

        • It’s horrible! It makes me feel even worse than people that were cheated on but had their partners asking them back. He was my best friend, we had sex 4 times a week and he NEVER looked back! Even the things he did when he discarded me when I look back I can see that he knew from the beginning that this was it. ANd I still lived 2 years thinking that he had some women here and there only to find out he was with the OW, this unattractive 30 something from a broken family that does not talk to her. People tell me I’m very pretty, wonderful mother, etc. It did not matter! I keep thinking, will this ever go away? Even people that in the beginning would tell me he would regret, now tell me that he is gone. And, although It’s painful as hell, my denial finally went away. I guess I was holding on to this denial to make me feel less pain, but in the end, 3 years of my life that I can’t get back giving him power over me when he had moved on a long time ago. I wonder if cases were the cheater leaves his wife and kids for another woman are that common compared to the ones that ask for forgiveness and stay. I feel cursed and abandoned.

      • You are not alone. I have read the Vicki Stark books and it’s amazing how many women have been abandoned. Typically, out of the blue and husband leaves for the affair partner. My wasband did this but the howorker is 11 years older with kids in college while ours are in elementary school. The author has yearly retreats in Sedona and Montreal. I’m hoping to make it to the fall one in Montreal.

        • Badmovie19,
          I’m so sorry you are in the same boat as us other abandoned spouses. It is a pain like no other. And, I think we tend to try to untangle the skein for longer because it’s just such a tremendous blow to us. I read Vicki’s book and would like to make one of the retreats some time. Her book and ChumpLady’s book helped me immensely – I probably would not walk this earth at this time if I had not found those books. SO MANY friends and family don’t understand that this was true, instantaneous abandonment – that it came from nowhere – that one night he was telling me how much he loved me and the next, that he was no longer in love with me. And then he was gone. Just gone. 29 years together and ‘poof’ – gone. I have tried to learn the psychology behind how someone can do that to another person, but it just won’t stick for me. I guess because I could never do that to someone – even my worst enemy – without feeling shame and guilt. It’s so hard to accept that what we thought we had, we never did.

          • Badmovie19 and Duped, right there with you in the struggle. Abandonment is hardcore.
            (((Duped))) (((Badmovie19))).

      • So sorry…we were best friends as well. How is this possible? Sometimes I think that’s the part that hurts the most. Sending a big hug your way!

  • My ex (the Rev Cheaterpants) and I had been separated for almost 18 months, but I even though I knew we were going to get a divorce, I couldn’t bring myself to go to a lawyer and file. Our separation was completely irreconcilable, he left when I discovered the affairs and hookups. But I was stuck in limbo and paralyzed with “how do I pick the right lawyer?”

    Two days before my 21st wedding anniversary, I was talking to an acquaintance who was also separated and she said that she liked her lawyer. The next day I made appointment for my anniversary day, met with the lawyer, gave her all my documents and 100+ photos of texts from his phone, and signed the papers to file. Somehow taking control of my future on that anniversary of nothing now gave me the kick in the pants to move forward.

  • My epiphany came about when he kept telling me that he had informed me of this or that thing he was going to do and I knew for certain that he hadn’t. Or he would tell me that we had already discussed some matter when I knew we hadn’t. I spoke with my therapist about it and she pointed out that “you are in an abusive relationship.” That was “all” it took.

  • My cheater left me for dead and cleaned out the bank accounts.

    When I got out of the hospital, I went to a Payday Loan place to hire an attorney.

    My attorney showed up at court drunk.

    I now look back and laugh at the fiasco I went through.

  • We were at a middle school play.
    4 months after Dday , a failed attempt at counseling, rounds and rounds of promises to change but no real remorse or action to change.
    He pulled out his phone to take a picture of our child and when the last photo on his camera role popped up, It was a half-naked selfie.
    I thought is this an old half-naked selfie or a new one? 🤔
    I realized in that moment that would a question I would be asking the rest of my life If I stayed with him.
    I called a lawyer instead.

    • Omg the half naked selfies. Been there. So gross. I made him take the mattress and all the bedding where he had taken the photos. Left him a note while he was moving out “take mattress and all bedding. Ew.”

  • During wreckonciliation, I found out we were involved in a lawsuit that he knew I wouldn’t agree with so he simply didn’t tell me. I asked him to take a drive with me to discuss this-away from our teens. During the drive, he was furious that we even had to take a drive to discuss this. He was “only trying to protect me.” We were almost back to our home when I asked him was he still watching porn, he admitted he had been and that “maybe he had a problem.” We has been in counseling. I had asked numerous times if he had a problem with it and he denied, denied,denied. He said he didn’t want to hear about it from me or anyone else. We got home, I packed an overnight bag and left. It is unacceptable to keep lying to your spouse about ANYTHING. This is when I knew I would never be able to uncover all of the lies. I called later to asked if he understood how wrong all of this was and how it was setting me up to discover another affair. He wouldn’t discuss it so I told him to have his things packed. He did. He left.

  • I’m still stuck. I just had D-day #9. Found out he bought the OW Christmas gifts last month. I’m so done but so afraid of being alone. We’ve been married 35 years. He told me he hadn’t seen her in six months. All lies. So much lying. We can’t afford to be divorced and I’ll be 60 years old and single. Divorce would equal no retirement. He has been with the OW for over five years. I was clueless about it. Completely clueless. Found out last year when he sent a text meant for her to me by mistake. He told me over and over that they were apart — but they’ve been together dozens of times this year. Why is he doing this????

    He says he loves me. He says he wants to stay married. He doesn’t want to destroy our family. Instead he’s just destroying me. We’ve been to three marital counselors who all say we can reconcile. Yes, I pay them.

    Reading your articles is unsticking me. Thank you so much for this.

    • If “we” can’t afford to be divorced, HE can’t afford to be buying another woman gifts.

      I was BROKE when I left. Lived in a car for 3 months. It was worth it. I actually recovered my bottled strength during that time.

      • I was married for 30 years. We were always broke and I didn’t think we could afford to divorce when he walked out on me. I managed to pay for my attorney, paid to move my stuff (including a 6 foot grand piano $$$) 2500 miles so I could take care of my parents, and even though he cried “poor” (he earned 3 times my salary), he’s still paying me alimony 5 years later. It will work out somehow. I’m still amazed I was able to afford the attorney.

    • Go make copies of your joint tax returns. At least 3 years, preferably more. Have them in your drawer at work, a sealed copy with someone you trust, another copy somewhere else he can’t access. Ditto for any retirement statements, brokerage statements, the mortgage, etc. Figure out how much utilities cost, food, medical. Scan them and send them to your brand new, super secret, never to be shared with him email account as well. Run a credit check on yourself to make certain he hasn’t had someone commit fraud in some manner (refinancing a mortgage, a loan in your name that you didn’t authorize, etc.).

      SAY NOTHING TO HIM.

      Simply gather information.

      Go to your physician and get tested for every STI under the sun. Do not engage in sexual relations.

      Once you have all of that, start interviewing attorneys. Every attorney YOU consult (even if you don’t hire) is an attorney that can’t represent HIM. Check out the state laws regarding divorce and alimony, etc. Use the private tab on your browser. It won’t save your searches, or your new email provider, etc. Clear the cache regularly.

      http://www.nerdwallet.com may be helpful too.

      I am really sorry.

    • Oh my Dear Nine Times ((( hugs )))

      Please leave him , he is NEVER going to change and you KNOW for a fact D day 10 is just round the corner . There are a million worse things than being alone and 60 like being with a disrespectful abusive man and 60 .

      Talk with a lawyer you don’t have to file but please see where you stand financially you may be better off divorced than being with him .

      Don’t try and work out why he is doing it you know he IS doing it . He doesn’t respect you and thinks you will always be there as you have shown him over and over you will be . He wants to stay married because you are a great wife appliance of course he wants to stay married he gets his cake and eats it knowing you will never leave him & you know he is never going to change .

      Please look after yourself xx

      • Also, he can LEAVE YOU at any time. I think it is better to prepare and leave him on your terms than to have it sprung on you when he has had time to prepare, hide money, make access to documents difficult ect. When I was abandoned by my cheater, I was amazed by the good people who cared about me and were there for me. I am an introvert, not like I had a huge network of friends, but still, people were there. It may be difficult financially, my credit has taken a hit for sure but that will be repaired with time. You know what can’t be repaired a hologram of a spouse. Hugs to you❤️. You have been through enough, make it stop.

    • Start squirrelling away some money in cash (from groceries etc). Start making a plan for you. Be aware of all financials and get a good therapist. Consult a lawyer so you know your rights. Once you do all of this you can evaluate your options. Sometimes money isn’t everything if it is killing your spirit and soul. Good luck!

    • Your husband flat out refuses to give up the OW? This man does not love you and doesn’t want a divorce for financial reasons. Get a good lawyer and file. Not sure what you meant by there would be no retirement if you left……if your husband has the retirement funds or pension you get half. By the way 60 is not old and you could have many happy years left but I can guarantee your health will suffer if you stay. Do you trust this man to take care of you if you become sick?

      • Oh yeah – this is IMPORTANT.

        Update or write a new will, change the beneficiary on any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc., give someone else Power of Attorney and don’t forget the medical decisions too. They don’t have to be the same person. Might be better to have two separate people who are trusted family or friends with sanity/experience in handling the matters. They would have to know and agree to do it – plus be able to keep their lips zipped.

        You do NOT want him to be the one pulling the plug (or not), if something should happen to you and you can’t speak for yourself. Nor do you want him to get his hands on your money to spend on OW if you can give it to people/organizations that make YOU feel good.

    • And this wasn’t his first affair. He had another one twenty years ago when I was pregnant with our daughter.

      I feel so stupid. I forgave him then. I forgave him this time. But my forgiveness just gives him permission to continue.

      • Your forgiveness doesn’t give him permission – it says you loved and trusted him. It was MISPLACED and he’s counting on it.

        Forgive if you like but please take care of YOURSELF now. Forgiveness doesn’t = agreeing to more abuse.

        Definitely start looking into those credit card statements, bank statements, etc. He is wealthy enough to woo others and force you to live in poverty = he is wealthy enough to stop abusing you financially, emotionally and sexually.

        You’re not stupid! Don’t let him continue to poison your mind with that thought.

        Now is an excellent time to get very angry and proactive. Quietly. While he’s out playing tickle the pickle or whatever he’s doing with whomever.

    • Nine times, you CAN afford to be divorced. I was married 25 years. I had to fight XH all the way through trial. Judge gave me every single asset we had. I live in a community property state. You don’t know how it will turn out— the asshole second mediator said I would “never” even get 50-50. I didn’t care, I wanted to tell my story to the decision-maker.

      I would rather be impoverished than keep myself bound to an abuser. Infidelity is domestic violence in my opinion.

      But it was terrifying. Literally terrifying for two years when I started the process. No contact is what helped. And EMDR (both YouTube and a short stint with a trauma therapist) and exercise and focusing on getting a better job. Time passed and I cannot tell you how wonderful life is now that I’m free.

      We are here for you. Leap, woman! We will catch you!

    • Nine times a chump, I was married for 30 years at the first dday( that I knew of). We reconciled. He spent 4 years ruining us financially before leaving for another schmoopie. Please please please don’t do what I did. I was devastated but have rebuilt my life. I fought for what I could and now own my home and have renters downstairs that basically pay my house expenses. I am not well off and drive a school bus to help but I have a very rich life full of my kids my friends and the community theatre community where I know many people. There is a life on the other side . I was married 36 years by the time the divorce to that POS was done. It is so worth it—you will not only survive but you will thrive. Most days I’m at meh but I will never forget that he took my retirement from me. There are worse things like staying with an abusive man. (((( hugs))))

    • Nine times a Chump, what the others said. Plus, I was 65 when I filed for divorce almost five years ago. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it was worth it. I’ve learned so much about setting boundaries and self-respect.
      It turned out my ex was living a secret life as a gay man for the 44 years of our marriage but didn’t think it was any of my business. He had also become verbally and emotionally abusive over the years. Now I can’t believe what I put up with for so long.

      • Anne G, what a coincidence! I also was married for 44 years to a man who was living a double life as a gay (he claims bi) man. The day I found the emails of his Craigslist m4m hookups I told him to leave, I was 65. He had also become verbally and emotionally abusive over the years. It’s been a long road uphill (5 years) but I can honestly say that I am so much happier without him.

        Nine times, you are never to old to gain a life. I know it is frightening, get angry, that helps. He is not treating you with love or respect, and he is emotionally abusing you. Don’t be afraid because of your age, you deserve more.

    • Hey – don’t forget that if you were married more than 10 years, you will get money from Social Security based on his earning (if higher than your own).

      So you may want to check out your Social Security statement and see if you can find a paper copy of his. It’s going to be a few hundred dollars a month, I bet.

    • There’s wonderful advice here, Nine. I will add, you say you don’t want to be alone, but I can tell you this… being alone (on my own) is so much better than being alone in a manipulationship with an abusive man.

      You can do this. We’re here to support you.

    • You can’t afford to be divorced? Oh, dear, sweet Nine Times. You can’t afford to be married–to this guy who is playing you like a fiddle in a recital that has gone on for far too long.

      Write down everything in these comments. THESE people have your back. Get a kick-butt attorney. Get your it-doesn’t-matter-how-old-you-are-ducks in a row and then march those ducks toward a better future than your past could ever imagine.

    • Oh goodness! You will be better than you think you will!
      Don’t stop seeking for a lawyer until you find one who tells you in detail what they can get for you in detail. I wound up much better than expected – long marriages and being so late to the job market may give you enough for a satisfying life.
      Don’t worry about being lonely. Get out and start with a divorce support group or meet-up for those going through a divorce NOW.
      Get a dog or cat. They’re much better company than any cheater and give you love as you walk through hell and hot coals.

      • Rebecca
        After 35 years married then abandoned (after I discovered the Owhore) my 2 beloved cats helped me emotionally & mentally to survive the cruelty I went through from him. Unconditional love is what I receive every day. 💕 Adopt a homeless pet and enrich yourself and their lives!

      • Nine Times, please find a way to leave or to get him to go. There’s always a way. It’s really scary and I know from where you are now it looks and feels like a new life would be ‘less than’ – but those of us who have taken the leap will all say how life improves so much on the other side. I’m poorer, my future is uncertain, I’m on my own (probably forever) and sometimes lonely. But my daily life is so,so much better, because I am so different now. I’m more confident, contented, so much more capable and my life is peaceful, filled with kind people who treat me well, and full of interesting things that I want to do. I’ve retrained as a Counsellor so I hope to be able to continue to work into my old age (because I’ll have to). It’s been a rocky road to get here but from day 1 after I ended my 27 yr marriage in my 50s with limited prospects, despite the heartbreak I have felt different. That little dying ember of what used to be the flame of life inside my soul has been fanned by the fresh air and space that he used to occupy that is now filled with decent people, truth and happy times. People who have known me for a long time say it’s good to have the old me back, people who have only known me for a few years say I’m unrecognisable from the person I was when I was married. I hadn’t even realised the effect it had all had on me or how ‘less than’ I had become even in my own eyes. Please give yourself a chance to be happy. Don’t think of your age as too old, think of being still young enough to be able to give yourself a chance to be happy. I wouldn’t go back, not for all the financial security, holidays and the comfortable future retirement I walked away from. Life is SO much better when this crap is not going on in your life, and once away from it you’ll be surprised at how quickly you become strong enough to deal with whatever comes your way. If you go get some legal advice it might help to allay some of your fears, it did for me. Big hugs xx

    • I left with very little also. Walked away from the maintenance and child support that state formula’s said I should get. (I did get some though.) I had 2 teenagers that I support 100%. He took nearly everything in the house because I had to move out after being threatened with my life and nearly raped in one of his drunken stoopers. I rented a crappy dump then I came back after the house was sold. He’d already bought a nice house and moved everything of value into it! Including gifts to me from my parents, my deceased Dad’s tools… It was fucking ridiculous and still pisses me off. I was too scared to fight for anything, my health was awful and I just needed to get away from him.

      I am still horrendously underemployed. I have 2 FT jobs plus pick up gigs on the side, trade tuition for more work for kid’s activities. I work all the time, I am exhausted, financial insecure, and 10000% better off than when I was with him! I can now eat what I want, do what I want, not cower when I hear the garage door scared that there might be a pair of shoes not in the closet, or dinner might not be on the table. PEACE HAS A PRICE. You can make money, you can’t make peace and you cannot buy your health. Staying with that Asshole will make you sick; stress is a horrible thing.

    • x9!!’ Enough!
      I’m 60 +29 today.
      Don’t let your age define your sense of security. It’s a lie. You HAVE NO SECURITY now.
      You have 6 decades of wisdom that was hard earned. You are the only person on planet Earth 🌍 that has Not Failed You.

      Look 9, you and I are Old. Fact. We’ve got more time behind us than we do ahead.

      Take heart, take The steps. Baby steps. Release yourself from the bondage of self. (Fear)

      Please enjoy a few more trips around the sun ☀️
      with us.

    • Stop pointlessly spending money on marriage counsellors and you may be able to afford to divorce. The problem is not your marriage. It’s 100% him. He does this because he’s a domestic abuser. Accept that what he’s doing is a form of abuse. As others have said, save up money, investigate if he’s been hiding money in other accounts or giving it to the OW, and make your plan to leave. Don’t spend the final stage of your life so unhappy. There is pretty much zero chance that he will change. Marriage counsellors give you false hope in order to keep you coming back. Do you want to have to care for this bastard in his old age? That’s what you’re in for if you stay, and he won’t be grateful at all. When he’s too old to get it up anymore in order to abuse you with constant cheating he’ll just turn to other forms of abuse. Please don’t stick around for that.

    • I was 62 on D-day. I had been retired for two years, had sold my house (the one I bought long before we got together) and all of my stuff and went to live on a sailboat with him. It was our dream. We were in Florida when Hurricane Irma came; we evacuated to his hometown of New Orleans. I left my home, not knowing if it was going to be there when I returned. It was during that evacuation that I learned of his “emotional affair” with his high school girlfriend. Emotional? Well, he claimed he hadn’t actually seen her in 45 years or so, despite all those inappropriate texts on his phone. I later found out he had been to see her that very day, driving the rental car that *I* rented to evacuate from Irma. THEN I found out that all of the money from the sale of the house, our joint savings, the retirement accounts had somehow disappeared, magically. All of the money I had saved over a 40 year career — gone.

      I left him with what I could carry — and the dog — and drove a thousand miles, sobbing most of the way. I lived in my best friend’s basement for two years until the divorce was final, and then I went back to work. I’ve just moved into my own little rental apartment and today I bought my own tea kettle. A red one. In a year or so, if I save like crazy, I’ll be able to buy a condo.

      I didn’t think I could leave at 62, and I didn’t know how I was going to live. Fortunately, I figured it out, and I am FREE of the fuckwit. If I can do it — a thousand miles from anyone I knew except the fuckwit and his sister — you can, too.

      I owe the sister for telling me what was going on!

      • Ms Ex
        Your story brings a tear to my eye
        I am turning 63 tomorrow. Just bought my own brand new townhouse, 4+ years after the “shitshow”
        Fell to my knees, Felt so great full the day I moved in
        Leave a cheater, work hard, gain security and peace
        Xxxooo
        LIS

    • My dear Nine Times, follow the excellent advice above. Plan your exit, lawyer up and leave. Stat. I was 57 when my divorce finalised, so 60 is not too old for anything, believe me. When I first left 18 months before the divorce (after 25 years of marriage), I realised that I had been alone and deeply lonely for years in the marriage. You will find that getting away from him will make you realise that your loneliness was compounded and made more painful by his cruelty. ((hugs))

      • NewChump, call around go talk to several lawyers. Often an initial consultation is free. Sometimes you are entitled to a percentage of his retirement. Don’t let financial fear make you stay with an abusive man.

    • Please remember that you own half. It’s not HIS, it’s yours. Go interview some fantastic lawyers.
      Retirement might look different than you expected – but better free than saddled with a lying man baby.
      Let the OP be in charge of his dwindling health and narcissistic demands in old age!!!

  • This is easy. I was stuck for years. I was a gold medal pick-me dancer. To be fair, during my unhappy years, I did instruct my Ex to leave multiple times. However, I never forced him to do so. I wanted him to leave of his own volition because I didn’t want to be the bad guy in my kids’ eyes.

    As you can imagine, my Ex did not leave of his own volition (umm. . . cake). Instead, he kept cheating (unbeknownst to me at the time), lying, and gaslighting, while I raised the kids, hoped, danced, worked full time, did all of the housework, read a million save-your-marriage books, and postponed the inevitable until my kids were older.

    And then, 2 years ago — I found a text exchange between my Ex and one of his OW. My Ex of course tried to explain away the texts with his ridiculous lies and blameshifting. I was livid. And yet, unbelievably, I was STILL a little stuck.

    How did I finally get unstuck? I found CL. I read her book, found this blog, and wrote her a letter. CL answered my letter almost immediately. CL’s response to my letter and the 200+ comments of the readers of this blog were the slap in the face that I sorely needed. After reading CL’s and all of the other responses, I kicked my Ex out. No kidding. For this reason, I am endlessly grateful to CL and to the readers of this blog. I am convinced that the Universe led me here.

    Thank you, CL.

    • It was reading Leave a cheater, gain a life that finally made me decide to leave STBXH. Though I ended up telling him we could just separate first, but I didn’t want to live together anymore. But then he decided he wanted to “swallow his pride” and file for divorce even though he didn’t want to divorce, because of financial reasons.
      Either of us can make the divorce final in less than six months.

      My first Dday was when he dumped me five years ago, denying he had someone else at first. Then he came back. A few months later he told me he’d cheated on me for five years with ho-worker. He left again and filed, but told me he was not seeing her. Came back 7 months later. Dday three, he had been with the ho-ho up until the moment he decided that he wanted to be with me anyway. Which he took back the next day unbeknownst to me. Dday four was a few months after he had come back. I found out he’d been in contact with her. Then relative calm followed. Dday five last summer, found out he’d used drugs and bought them in the dark net and had them delivered to our home about 20 times and he’d been convicted once, and he’d planned on leaving me again and he’d pined after ho-ho and looked her pics and used porn.

      I still struggle with hopium though. It’s crazy. But I’m finally moving out in ten days, with my daughter.

      • Mis-Guided, you can do it! Use a no-contact counter to keep yourself accountable.

        We are waiting for you at Meh. It’s wonderful here! Hurry!

  • I was a staff member at a teacher at a parent/teacher conference last night. Yippie, I was stuck for 3 hours, next to a male cheater teacher while we waited for parents to not show up.
    LET ME TELL YOU.
    Bit of background:
    *He had an affair with a young teacher a few years ago. Everyone knew. Blew up both families.
    *His XW went scorched earth.
    *His bio kids, whom I known since birth are 100% smack dab in the middle, seven years later. One lives with dad, the other with mom now.
    *His son is in a class of mine now, he is disabled, and very VERY hurt by his father’s actions. His father did not get him a Christmas or birthday gift…..
    *This cheater teacher has had his son in his class… they don’t talk.

    So, as cheater vented, seven years after his divorce (he did admit “he made a mistake”)
    He feels absolutely NO responsibility for his current position. It is 100% XW at this point.
    He HATES her guts.
    He will account for every penny he allegedly gives her. Said he will not retire because he refuses to give her any more money…
    He has no shame not buying his minor kid any gifts (“I will not buy his love!”) He claims child support does that.
    Did I say he absolutely blames and hates his xwife?
    Classic CL cheater/blamer/abandon-er.

    I told him about his son’s upset about his birthday and not talking to his little sister, now (Dad has sister in his house now, he claims his daughter HATES the XW now, too.)

    Because is was my job to be there as a professional, I couldn’t really say anything, nor would I want to. It would be wasted air. He does not realize the entire school watched his affair unfold years ago.
    He just went on and on and on.
    There was not one glint of personal accountability, shame, regret or hesitation to grind his xw reputation into the ground. His anger was lazer focused, still 7 years later, on xw.

    I was a bit stunned. I knew exactly what was unfolding in front of me.
    My meh moment:
    I knew in my situation, my xh very much says and does the same things about me.

    Chumps always hold on to the hope, or drama brags that the cheater “wants them back” or begs upon occasion to get them back.

    They do not regret their actions. They do not think they are at fault. They don’t want you back.

      • … in fact, being honest, admitting to myself that I didn’t want him back and I was glad I was out of it was probably harder for me.

    • Good points, though I think there are variations on cheatermind (such as it is). In my STBX’s case, I think she thinks she does want me back, but only on her terms. And she feels remorse, but it’s more of the I-am-filled-with-shame-because-I-have-no-self kind, and of course the pain of having to deal with consequences.

    • I do like that he spent all his energy on bitching about his Exwife, though. That is gratifying. My ex spends an inordinate amount of energy on image management as dad of the year. I don’t even give a fuck anymore if people believe that or not.

  • Even after finding (and documenting) so much proof on her phone (including fingering me for domestic assault); after catching her in lie after lie after lie; after the Driveway Confrontation with her and the Carrot Singer, and after watching her grovel in front of the couples therapist, I still was holding out hope that she’d see the horrific havoc she was wreaking on our marriage and family.

    Even when I confronted her about new texts coming in (“I guess I just like the attention…”) and forced her into a final decision, which I ended up having to make for the both of us, I held out hope that the separation could be handled amicably.

    When, the very next night — and despite her promise to get tactical advice from the therapist — she texted me to come home because she’d told our daughters that we were getting divorced and they were upset, I knew the person I’d committed to for 15 years was a person that never existed.

    • That’s a key insight for anyone involved with or married to a disordered person. They aren’t what we thought they were.

  • I lived in an unhappy abusive marriage for years and stayed “for the kids”. I knew that Dickhead had cheated and was on to another conquest. What kicked me in the head to leave? When my teenage daughters found out dad was cheating. I could not allow them to think that this was acceptable behavior for any man, much less their father. A very ugly divorce ensued and he tried to take me for everything. He even tried to take the kids. One of the 5 thinks his shit doesn’t smell and loves the OW. The others are in varying stages of denial even 5 years later. Me? Happy as a clam! I may not have a lot of money, but I no longer live in fear!

    • Ugh me too! That “stay for the kids” thing is a horrible cultural guilt!! I tell people now that for years I stayed for the kids, then I woke up and I LEFT for the kids.

  • I got angry. I had a baby in my belly that was also abandoned and I got angry for her. I allowed myself to grieve the loss of what I thought I had after I changed the locks and got myself safe. But that first wave of anger is what kept me from begging and pleading and dancing anymore. There have been other anger waves since then, but that first was the most liberating.

  • At the “advice” of my counselor, I admitted myself into the hospital for serious suicidal thoughts (she was going to call the cops if I didn’t go). This was 5 months after the 3rd D-day and right after I found out my in-laws were in on the whole thing with the OW. Ex acted vaguely irritated and unconcerned throughout the process. I was in for 2 days. Before my discharge, the nurse called ex and asked him if there were any guns in the home and if they were locked up. He said they were locked up.

    The day after I came home, he went to work as usual, leaving me alone with a toddler and an infant. I went to get dressed and saw the guns exactly where they had been before I left, keys to the trigger locks accessible, ammo nearby. In fact, a family photo that included our inlaws was on top of one of the cases.

    At best, he was completely unconcerned for my life. At worst, he wanted me to die. It took me two more months to call it quits, but that was the moment that shifted the narrative in my head from something being wrong with me to something being wrong with him.

    • What a horrible man. I’m quite sure mine wanted me to commit suicide too—making constant references to my mentally ill brother and my dad who did commit suicide. He loved to call me bipolar( I’m not). He would have been happy if I did it because it would have meant he would get everything. They are horrible creatures—I don’t consider that even human.

  • Getting my head and heart in agreement has been a steady, gradual, and progressive process.

    I have been in agreement with divorcing for a long time, but hoping there was at least a shred of truth to my belief that there was a Nice Guy deep inside, somewhere. Why? Because having a child with him means I can’t get completely away and it would be great if there was some authentic Nice Guy in him.

    Last week when addressing the topic of how to resolve the issue of the money he hid from me for 20 years (discovered a year ago….six figures…cash…by the man who has been complaining loudly about MY money issues for 20 years) he told me “I talked to a lawyer who said I have a very good case against you for mismanagement of money during our marriage. Clearly you weren’t acting in the best interests of our family.”

    There is 0% Nice Guy in his makeup. Zero, zero, zero, zero, zero.

    The time and money spent in therapy for 27 years with him were ineffective in creating a healthy relationship. Since he moved out two years ago I have felt that all that time and money was wasted. I now thank God that what I really paid for are two very competent expert witnesses to the relationship who keep me sane as he attempts to rewrite history.

      • According to him, he doesn’t have to pay me back because of what I did…..which he never said anything about……

        • Velvet- my counselor told me, “The longest distance is between the head and the heart.” I too struggled with this but the more crap he pulled the shorter that distance became.

          Your cheating pos is a moron. He said YOU were not acting in the best interest of your family? Oh yeah, hiding substantial amounts of money and destroying the family due to his neglect, abuse, lying and cheating is??? What about all the marital money he spent on that ho bag or ho bags?

          The burden is on him to prove you mismanaged money. Do not defend -attack! Do not settle for anything less than half. He’s blowing smoke out of his ass. Don’t let him intimidate you. “The devil whispered in my ear, beware of the storm. I whispered back, I am the storm,”

          • Thanks for your validation, Warrior. I am already there with you, thankfully. I think he mistook me for the idiots he’s been banging. 🤪

  • For me it was the fact that when I discovered his affair he wasn’t sorry or apologetic. He just gave me that shark-like, cold, death stare that so many other people on here have described. I knew that was the end.

  • My moment of realisation didn’t come with the discovery of a 19 year old drug addicted mentally ill sugar baby who was paid a wage for sex behind my back. It didn’t come with the admission that he had seen other prostitutes regularly throughout our 16 year marriage. It didn’t come when he told me he was bisexual and wanted to have sex with men. It didn’t come when he declared bankruptcy almost causing me to lose the roof over my kids head. It didn’t come when he took both family cars and left me with no vehicle, and then went and bought himself a new BMW, while the children and I catch public transport. Oh no! I was a mad Hopium Addict.
    It finally came when I found his profile on Fetlife and saw what his interests were. Sickening, objectification of young teens. And then I found a pic he “loved” on there. A semi nude pic of a “legal age” young teen boy, who had a distinctive pre-pubescent looking body, that was identical to the body of our 7 year old son. The sledgehammer hit me and I literally vomitted. Needless to say, I am in the middle of a custody battle right now and he hasn’t been unsupervised with our 3 children since that day.

    • You go, Holly! All credit to you for beating a strong hopium addiction and protecting your kids and yourself now! You can do it, you can kick ass!

  • My unstuck moment was after she left and moved in with the OM. I was hurt and worried I didn’t do enough to save things and show I was willing to let her make the effort, but then I learned from the OM’s wife that they were talking the entire time.

    The OM’s wife and I “connected” over our shared anger, which was the best “connection” I think I have ever had.

    Made me realize I was trying to save a marriage to someone who didn’t care about my needs beyond just the affair. There is more than just a single cheating, selfish, and shallow person out there for me.

  • I had gone out to run some errands on a Saturday, leaving DD and crapweasel at home. DD was supposed to be put down for a nap while I was out (she wasn’t even 2 yet). I got home and crapweasel had taken DD and our dog to a park on the skank’s side of town. Our phones were still linked at that point so I could see where he was and also where skank was.

    I started sobbing and called my mom and then my aunt, telling them both I couldn’t do this anymore. I went to see a lawyer that Monday.

    Something about taking both my daughter and my dog to a playdate with the skank just snapped the last bit of hopium I had in me.

    My dear stuck chumps – there is freedom on the other side of all this bullshit.

  • Google. I had been raised in a Christian household, and only understood the reconciliation perspective.

    He leveraged that against me for a long time. Finally, when my mind was spinning from the mind fuck he was putting me through, I typed his latest behavior into the google search engine. It lead me down a rabbit hole and taught me about narcissism and the abuse cycle.

    Once I understood that he was playing a game, and was incapable of ever participating in a loving, reciprocal relationship I was done. I went no contact immediately.

  • For me it was a gradual process, a totting up of examples. During reconciliation (complete with naked pick-me dancing, aka trauma bonding), he lied to me, acted behind my back, minimized his actions, tried to manipulate me, invalidated my feelings, grew angry if I expressed any doubts, and had no empathy for me. His narcissistic entitlement was off the charts. I was having dreams in which I was searching for doors out of buildings, and one night I woke up from one of them with the words “You have to get out of here” so clear and so audible it was as if someone had bent down and spoken them right into my ear.

    The final straw, however, came when I told him I was planning to go away from home for a long weekend to a friend’s (she was going out of town, and he’d earlier said “I think you need some time away,” a way for him to imply that I was the problem, not him), and when I told him, he said, “While you’re gone I’ll think about what I want from you.” Not, “think about us,” not “think about our future,” not “what we can do.” When I heard those words, “I’ll think about what I want from you,” I knew I had nothing to work with. It took me another year and a half before I could gather the courage and the make plans to leave, but that night marked the end of my hopium habit.

  • I think after all the lies and promises having him give me a timeline to decide and because I didn’t meet this deadline he had to return to the latest escort he was in love with. Then after reading a local newspaper article about backpage searching backpage and escort reviews he used my maiden name as his user name and my daughters name as his password. Reading these cold reviews of women their stretch marks were commented upon. I knew this was not a real man nor a real moral person. I had to go.

  • What got me unstuck? Reading the “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” book – saw my situation in that book. The other was I realized he wanted a wife and a girlfriend – he could not chose. Actually told me he prayed one of us would die so he could not chose between the two of us. Ugh, even writing that out still triggers me. He really is awful.

  • I woke up on my 45th birthday and decided I was not going to wake up on my 46th in the same awful place again. My ex was flaunting his emotional affair. My therapist had schooled me about gaslighting, emotional abuse, verbal abuse and mental abuse. My sons were seeing their parents fighting constantly and also hearing that they should respect their mother, but not seeing their dad respect their mom at all. It took a year for me to get things in place, but by the following December, dickhead was sent the divorce papers and by February – on my birthday, the kids and I moved out of the house and in with my mom. It took another 7 years to finally get the divorce. Damn Narcissist! Those seven years were filled with lots of terrible things that included the kids, the police, lying, etc… But I made it to meh and it is a great place to be.

  • “Do not let your cheater be the last thing you invest in”- YOUR BOOK.
    “I’m not only testing you for disease, I’m testing you for exposure to it as well. It’s important that you hear what I am telling you, these women make a living off quantity, not quality. Don’t be embarrassed, my office gets at least 2 of these calls a week.” – MY DOCTOR
    My unstuck moment came with the second set of test results and a clean bill of health. It came when I realized that my marriage, that nice and wonderful husband who slept with all the hookers, were not real. I had invested so much in my family and what I believed I had. But BAYBEE I had to wait 12 months, 12 long months to know for certain that I was in the clear. Then it hit me, he put my life in danger. When given a choice- me, the mother of his children, he put my life in danger hundreds of times. Then came home and said “I love you more.” I became unstuck when I realized there would be no words to make me understand that. With a clean bill of health and CN family I started investing in ME. Nothing like a health scare to make you appreciate second chances, and the fragility of time. Other than the therapist I tell people “I gave that douchebag 14 years, he gets no more airtime” and move on to better topics. Unstuck came with acceptance. He is not nice, he does not care, he is betting on the crazy. He gets nothing. Best way to get gum off the bottom of your sneaker? ICE.
    I save my warmth for my friends, family, and most importantly my children. Being the only sane parent requires being PRESENT. Gum off my sneaker, angry hip hop playlist, and a good run. Restorative beyond measure, keep me unstuck.

  • I got unstuck when he called me from getting picked up by the police for harassing his OW. He called me!? Ha.

    I learned the truth and extend of their affair from a judge. He gaslighted next for months saying they were only friends. That drive home was the longest drove home. As I can imagine the night he had to spend in jail was as well. I learned he was head over heels psycho in love with her. Little did he know he wasn’t special. He was just one of many affairs she had and he was dropped like a hot potato. She needed someone closer to her age not older than her dad.

    He had no idea I’d walk away forever. He thought I’d forgive him. I only told him a million times before all this happened. I’m not a stand by your man kind of girl. Even though we have a child together and our oldest son passed away a month after his affair was exposed. I’d never trust him again. He was more upset that his OW told me everything even though they made an agreement to never tell me anything.

    Most people don’t want to find out the truth. I learned everything. Every detail and that was helped push me into the never again, I’m done with you realm.

    I don’t regret marrying him and I don’t regret divorcing him. I’ve gained confidence and independence – one day some wonderful man will walk into my life and thank him for being an asshat.

  • Oddly enough it wasn’t him beating the crap out of me for the fourth time or finding him at her house being introduced to her parents. Nope, I had to disengage little by little. Every time there was an “event”, I pulled away a little bit more.
    The time he punched me in the head while he was driving, I started my own checking and savings account. When he threw me into the wall, I started keeping records. What finally did were 3 things. I was staking out the OW’s house to see when he would show up after getting some lame story about why he was coming home late.
    I found his car parked two blocks away from her house. I had the key, so I drove it to her house, parked it on her lawn and set the car alarm off.
    Fun times, right?
    Anyway I got another stupid excuse. He wasn’t with her, he just parked his car there and walked half a mile to a meeting at a restaurant.
    I realized 1. he wasn’t even trying anymore and 2. I didn’t like who I was becoming.
    A bucket of dirty mop water dumped over me head clinched it after I went back to talk one last time.

    • Wormfree, I had one like yours. The awful things is, as bad as the beatings and awful behaviour became, it didn’t “phase” me because it had built up over time and it was just one more awful thing to put up with. One time I had been through the weekend from hell and on the Monday morning a friend saw me at the bus stop on the way to work and stopped to give me a lift. She asked about my weekend and it all spilled out – the trip to the hospital, then stopping off at the police station to report him and being threatened with a broken whiskey bottle to my throat. When I eventually shut up I asked about her weekend and she said “oh I made a lovely steak and kidney pie”. And THAT is what brought it home to me. My life was anything but normal and should have been “steak and kidney pie” worthy!

      • Wormfree and Attie, I am so glad you both made it out and made it out alive! Both your stories could have had such terrible endings. 🦸‍♀️🦸‍♀️

        • Thanks Sodisturbed. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone but I know I will NEVER take crap from anyone ever again! And now my life is wonderful!

        • Scary how that life becomes normal.
          Attie, I remind myself from time to time that if I survived that life I can get through anything.

  • It had been just about a year since the previous Wreckonciliation. I sat on the couch being berated while holding our pukey 3 year old. I realized he had no remorse for his actions, he continued to blame me for all of our problems so I blurted out, “I’m done. I want a divorce.”

  • My moment came 2 days after having heart surgery to repair a valve. He had been shitty to me the whole 32 year marriage. Always had “questional” female friends. Traveled too much for work. Had already told me He didn’t Love me anymore. That he was probably just one of those people who needed to be alone. He visited me maybe an hour a day while I was there. Never stayed overnight. As my visitors were leaving the hospital this particular day. He was last in line to say good night to me. Instead of anything decent. He patted me on the head, like you would a dog. Telling me to have a good night. It was THAT moment I realized this person had no regard for my health, safety, and absolutely did not like me. I ended up staying another 2 weeks in the hospital because I contracted pneumonia. He never came again, didn’t pick me up. Refused to even care for me after I got home. He had taken vacation off to care for me. But he spent the whole time in his downstairs office. Probably texting, speaking to his howorker gf. A month later, after I recovered. I threw him out and changed the locks. He absolutely refused to leave. I waited until he was gone again for “work”.

    • Anuthatch I am so glad you kicked him out!. My ex once said to me ‘I keep you around because you are economically good for me.’ This after 26 years of ‘marriage’. These people have no soul.

  • Thank you for posting this! For whatever reason this very topic has been on my mind. What finally got me unstuck was being at absolute rock bottom mentally and financially with no job, two kids and the ability to feed my kids/keep a roof over their head staring me down in the face. In my despair I reflected on my past decisions of attaching myself to emotionally unavailable partners and seeing how I made choices to be with people who negatively impacted me and my children’s life for the sake of “love”. During that time my ex “Love of my Life” reached out and wanted to reconcile. I was so confused!!! I was very much accustomed to the reconcile/on again off again cycle especially with him and his inability to let suicidal “I’ll kill myself if you don’t stay with me/I’ll kill the OW (me)” smoochie. So, I reached out to some mighty older fellow chumps for advice because I was so scattered and confused. They are very well known in our community as they hold public offices for our city and state. Their words cut me to my core – “Todd is toxic! You have to stay away from him for you and your children’s sake…..and the fact that you are even talking to him let’s us know YOU are toxic too.” My heart sank. They were right! They then immediately said “you are a good person with a huge heart and NO boundaries. It is time for you to set and stick with these boundaries. If you don’t, be prepared to loose more than what you are currently facing.” Ironically, the next day my ex didn’t call me like he said he would so I drove by his house and, sure enough, suicidal smoochie was there. It was like God was pointing at me saying “This is toxic! Get away! Stop being toxic too!” That was enough to FORCE me to slap me into reality. To make sure I sealed the deal that he wouldn’t cross my boundaries anymore: I screenshot all the text he had been sending to me and forwarded them to her along with his voicemails about how he couldn’t be with her anymore and how he loved me. I told her that it was only fair we were all on the same page and congratulated her on winning the sparkly turd. After I blocked him/her and went no contact with them and Switzerland friends. I went on a total cleaning spree….and damn did it feel good! A week after my life dramatically changed – I secured a job that paid what I needed to get by and in a very positive work environment. My kids and I are closer than ever and they are doing well in school. My chump friends encouraged me to hang with them more, listen to their advice while I’m navigating through this new territory of becoming toxic free, and surround myself with people who love me for me not those who want to use me. They encouraged me to learn to love a “vanilla” life (because as we all know it’s really not vanilla). Then they encouraged me to go out with a fellow chump and we have been together ever since. By far this is the most amazing relationship I’ve ever been in….EVER!!!!!

  • After 38 years married , I stumbled across evidence and then began the long unfold. He continued to profess his love for me throughout and I continued to uncover lie after lie for as long as I searched. I needed to see so much more because the one I loved seemed the most sincere. He did , still does love me to the best of his ability- but he is not capable of love of my understanding. I had to continue to unfold evidence and talk daily to 4 supportive friends- the sister in law so sweet, the practical old friend, my mom and a good therapist. He could have easily won me back at any time had his affair ever stopped but fortunately for me , he continued to show me who he was ( or I continued to uncover) by actions not words. My life is soooo much better. I never expected to be better financially but that’s a bonus- it’s all better. My best advice- he has shown you who he is by his actions not words. The sooner you hear it, the better. Open your eyes, keep searching for truth- dig for as much evidence as you need.

  • The day he looked at me and said ” When I feel depressed I feel like getting a gun and killing you and the boys and then killing myself.” My blood ran cold because I knew he meant it.

    My next step after he went to work was disassembling his shotgun and pouring water on the shells down in the basement. I was in the final months of nursing school and working full time nights at the time and he controlled the money. I started picking up extra shifts and told him I was putting away money for Christmas. When I had enough I got a restraining order, took my kids and moved into a new place.

    I believe that saved our lives at the time. Later on, in the divorce, I couldn’t convince the judge cheater ex was dangerous which led to tragedy. That’s another story.

    • Tessie – I have followed your story. Share it ever chance you can. What you have been through is horrific. I am soooo thankful for people like you sharing. So very helpful for all. Thank you!!!

    • Bless you Tessie.

      In the moments I feel empty, you give me strength. Rays of hope from fellow chumps are getting me unstuck.

      You are mighty.

  • After discovering an 8 year affair, I was still working toward reconciliation 9 months after d-day, but was slowing trying to picture my life without the “love of my life” and storybook romance partner (with the help of a good therapist!). I started looking for rentals online and found an adorable 1920’s bungalow. I went to look at it with my mother, walked in the door, and suddenly, I could picture my new life without my cheater. Sometimes it takes picturing yourself in a different place than what you know so well and realizing that you can actually make the change and you will be okay. Today, I own that bungalow and my 17 year old daughter and I have had 5 years of wonderful girl time in it. Hang in there, chumps. You can make the changes you need to and you will emerge stronger and better than ever. I am honestly so relieved that my marriage didn’t work and blew up in such a huge way so I could create a new and fantastic life without him.

  • After d-day my ex started staying in the secret apartment he was renting. I was smoking the Hopium, reading every religious book of reconciliation and sex addiction. My ex was stringing me along with his “addiction” and how therapy was helping ( thanks to me basically feeding him lines). 8 months passed, and on our daughters birthday he tells me he has had a break through in therapy and he is ready to work. I am hopeful; He says, with all sincerity, “ I’ll start sleeping at home two nights a week.” Ha! Luckily it was so absurd, my brain made the click right then and there. The denial broke, and although it still took a few months to plan my divorce ( because I had bought that stupid one year idea), I knew I did not want him back. Didn’t find chump lady until about a year later- she helped me with the strict no contact. I feel so glad it was so stark in my case. Not sure how I could have seen through the bullshit if it wasn’t so obvious.

  • So many of these stories bring me back to the hellish last months before I kicked XH out (he wanted to see the young gold digger openly). It took another 9 months for me to file and what prompted me to do so was multiple factors: he didn’t put his huge year-end bonus on our joint account, he refused to get off drugs, he refused to go to rehab, he refused to sign a post-nup, other OW came out of the woodwork with proof of years of cheating and lying, he stayed with the young OW despite lying to me about breaking up with her, I met some wonderful men in my hiking club that suggested that when I was free of XH, there would be many eligible men that would love to have me for their life partner (e.g. my fears of being lonely and unwanted after the brutal and cruel discard by XH were unfounded— I started having hope that maybe being divorced would be better).

    Thank GOD I didn’t waste another minute with XH! I wish I’d gone no-contact and filed on Dday. I really do. The harm that I suffered and that my children between Dday and filing was worse than Dday.

  • Sadly-when my STBXH cheated and I found out the first time-I thought I forgave him and moved on with him.

    I realized after I found out about the second affair-I was almost relieved. I didn’t have to pretend to care anymore. I had shut down many years ago with the first one. I just hadn’t admitted it to myself.

    What made me let go of the idea that he would be the man I always wanted for his Schmoopie? An air fryer. They’ve been officially dating for less than a year-and for Christmas he gifted her with an air fryer.

    He’ll never change.

    I’m thankful every single day that I got myself and my kids out from under his thumb ❤️

  • I was going through cancer scare. When I got the news from my doc, I sat on the couch and cried. I had just finished getting my then husband through two years of intense treatments for his cancer. I had been there for him every step of the way.

    He looked me dead in the face, while I cried, then walked out the door and went to the strip club. That was kind of it for me.

    • I had a friend who was fighting breast cancer when her husband told her he had been having an affair and was leaving her. Her kids were in grade school/middle school at the time.

      She survived and her kids have nothing to do with their father 10+ years later.

      There’s got to be a special place in hell for people like that.

    • I just went to that website and will admit that he had me so tricked, that with 29 years of relationship…I did NOT realize how conniving and deceptive he was. He figured out how to play me early one and was very consistent …I never saw “changes” in him because there werent any…he likely lied and cheated all along and hid it all very very well. I wonder how many close calls he had where something almost got spilled but he got away with a lot, for decades.

  • I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for 24 years and THEN he started emotionally cheating. I forgave him the sexy divorcée employee he sexted and took out for lunches and dinners for 8 months. Then again, after 28 years of marriage he started up again. Mostly on line. In a matter of 2 months he had a dozen “relationships” on what’s App. Constant selfies and texts with sexual innuendo. “ Nice fingers” she’d text etc. also in a foreign language I did not speak. I was heartbroken hearing him sing to them and blow kisses on videos. He was lying and the more he texted the nastier he got toward me. He refused to stop. He wished all of them Happy Valentines Day snd not me. I served him that day Two weeks later he is all self pitying and comes to me and says he doesn’t want a divorce. Still in process. Not backing down.

    • Please try no contact, or as low contact as you can. These people often “hoover” back, trying to keep you on the string or get things back to the status quo they are confront able with. Use only email. If you kids are grown or nearly so, block him on your phone, text, and social media. You can communicate with the kids directly.

  • After making threats of harm towards me and my pet and generally making me feel unsafe for months, he threatened to get a restraining order against me. Something happened in that moment; an icy feeling filled me and I knew right then I was going to file for divorce. From then on I did everything I could to protect myself and never bothered trying to be fair or civil towards him ever again.

  • Also learning about narcissistic abuse through books and even YouTube was key…..being able to respond and not react, unhooking form the whole toxic realitty

    • That was a key point of understanding for me. The infidelity was just the icing on the narcissism.
      Try Dr Ramani on You Tube. Very helpful

      • Yes and Les Carter & Angie Atkinson YouTube videos helped me. I was disturbed by the discard and had no idea what narcissism was until I read Leave A Cheater Gain A Life and started searching the internet. I just knew there was something terribly wrong with his delivery of the affair reveal and breakup with me.

  • i hit that point the day i confronted ex about the affair. you see, he left 2 weeks earlier very suddenly, proclaiming he didnt love me anymore and didnt like how i treated him. i found evidence of the affair (had no clue about it) and confronted him in a public cafe, mostly to control myself. i asked for an answer, as to why he left everything we had so suddenly, he just kept saying ‘i dont love you, we argue all the time’. then i asked him where he was staying. he was stupid enough to admit it was with his howorker. i asked if he was seeing someone else, he answered no after a long time. i called him a liar and he started trickle truth ‘i like her but we arent together’, ‘she is just a friend who was there for me’ etc etc, ‘im just renting a room off them’.

    that was the day i knew i was done. i knew i could never trust him again. he had shattered my heart and disposed of me like an old shoe. i think he was expecting me to pick me dance, but got the shock of his life when he got the full taste of my wrath in text form.

    Im so glad i did that though. i feel free and so much happier now, realising that our life wasnt the perfect life it looked like from the outside, he was abusive financially, verbally and i practically did everything, even earn more money.

  • I hate to say it, but it really just took time…quite a bit of time, to get me unstuck. After reading a lot of the content here and looking at my situation, I finally realized (after 18 months) that my wife truly doesn’t love me anymore. She left me emotionally even prior to the affair and despite her saying she wanted to stay together, she never came back.

  • Honestly, Chump Lady, your blog got me unstuck. He was mean and backhanded and I come from a family of origin that’s about the same and had a lifetime of chumpy behavior since childhood and … this blog. ❤️

    He also looked at me when I said I was filing – after he asked why and I said “because honestly, you’ve been a really awful husband,” – and he said, “Well, no, I haven’t been a husband at all.” He was right. And he knew exactly what he was doing the whole decade. It was a pretty validating moment.

  • Being a very stubborn person, I never did get unstuck during his lifetime. I had saved $40,000 to start a new life and I had an apartment and car in mind (“my” car was in his name and Im sure he would have claimed it quickly) where I would go if he had another rage. He was talking about taking a job elsewhere and I told him to go ahead. I was still emotionally stuck and smoking hopium.

    I was a grieving widow who had forgiven him for the EA he had with his coworker. Then I found proof of lies indicating it wasnt an EA (Is that the OLDEST trick in the book??)…then I found a worksheet he had to do for an anger management exercise for work (why? what happened?) and on it he wrote “I never loved my wife”. Well there you go.

    It is really weird in the wake of death where you love someone to quit loving them…very complicated and secret (the world doesnt really create a place for this).

    Now when I hear someone say something about missing him, I think “go ahead and miss him, I dont”.

  • It wasn’t the end of hopium (I had a relapse) but it was the end of my relationship, and the end of the pick me dance.

    One morning, after a very short night, I demanded my now XW to tell me she was with me in trying to save our couple. She said she couldn’t. I went in the living room, threw my phone accross the room, punched a hole inside a door. Then she said it was over.

    Then I called our kids, put them at the living room table, and told me our family was destroyed.

    I suppose part of my brain was finally standing up and saying: I won’t suffer this anymore.

  • What got me unstuck?
    Finding Chump Lady (during amazon surfing at 2 AM; I’m eternally grateful to some anonymous, eloquent reviewer).

    Then reading CL’s book from cover to cover in an hour.

    Then stopping the pick-me dance and standing up to sparkledick when I realized I was totally adequate as a human being and that I was being gaslighted and blameshifted, humiliated and exploited.

    After sparkles complained about how I took him for granted, I will never forget the asshole look on his assholian face when I laid down the knife I was using at the kitchen counter and turned around to him and said: “It better sink into your numb brain that I am NOT afraid of you!” (he already knew that I did not depend on him to live)

    Like fellow chump ‘ Hoping It’s Tuesday’ wrote just yesterday (great post): “He’s still a pathetic little turd, but *I* don’t suck. I wouldn’t marry him again, but I don’t hate myself because I did”.

    Sparkledick has become the manure I needed to grow strong and healthy (I read that in The Guardian just today).

    Finally, since sparkles was pestering me to reconcile (“Don’t you miss your Little Bug anymore? “So we’re never going to be grandparents together?” “Do you realize that we will have to split our assets?”), I did do a quick experiment to distinguish genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse and real remorse.

    I said “OK, we’ll have to get divorced so you can put ALL our assets in my name and then you can live in the garage until I see what you have become.” Of course, it was all about him and how glorious and sparkly he was and how everything was my fault except for “a mistake” he made. That put the last shovel of dirt on the corpse.

  • Most of the unstuckness came via time and separation, but a few things stick out/helped with the proccess.

    I was gaslighted over at least 2 affairs (at least one physical) over a span of 13 years, two kids. Ex and I were high school sweethearts. Ex took a ‘dream’ job across the country (on leave from regular job) while I stayed home with the kids and worked full time. He visited home every 4-5 weeks, we went there, etc.
    7 months into the 12 month job, he came home and announced “he did not want to end up like his parents.” I was gobsmacked. Three months of continued gaslighting, false marital counseling, trickle truthing, etc. He could not say the words “I want a divorce.” I forced him to say that in counseling.

    Unstuckness for me emotionally:
    a) when he kept lying about his contact with a coworker at the new job, and I saw on facebook that they were in same country for work– and there was a credit card charge for a night at a resort.
    b) when he basically admitted to unprotected sex with first OW– and I got pregnant shortly thereafter. This was 13 years after the fact, but it made my blood run cold that he would not tell me at the time since I dragged him to marital counseling after he gaslighted me into believing there was no affair), and that he did not care about my health/safety, and that of our unborn child.

    Unstuckness for me regarding the “but at least he is a good father.” This took longer, especially since it is a mantra you hear all the time from others

    a) before the divorce was finalized, MOW got pregnant, miscarried, then was pregnant again within 3 weeks. Turns out, he planned to move pregnant OW in with the kids while I was on an extended work trip. No care or concern about the kids at all. “They are resilient.”
    b) eldest child attempted suicide 18 months later (at age 14) and he did not come out (excuse was that she said she did not want to see him– I found out later that before the attempt she texted him and said “now you will listen bastard”
    c) and simply confirmation just this past year–
    eldest has been basically no contact with him, and he finally said no money for college. Eldest contacted him with a very brief update about 1st year of college– his response was “I think this is a ploy for college money, and I do not think you wrote this email as it is not in __ {language they speak; ex and I raised the kids one parent, one language so they would be bilingual}.
    Coffin, meet nail. Idiot probably lost his last chance with eldest, and I get the blame as I poisoned them against him.

    So, for the newbies– it does take some time. And when you have evidence that they suck– Trust That They Suck.

  • Stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2018. I went in for a kiss and she turned her cheek for a granny peck. We’d done wreckonciliation, I’d been hitting the hopium hard, but I knew I had to get out. Everything fell not place when I stumbled into r/adultery and found posts that matches our lives in detail. One conversation with her where she asked for an open marriage and started looking for lawyers. It was at the same time I found Chump Nation, so I had plenty of resolve.

    Long story short, the divorce should be final in a couple of months.

  • My sister posted a link on facebook to the book “why does he do that?” By Lundy Bancroft. I bought it on my kindle and read it. My huge aha moment. The book is A forensic dissection of domestic abusers’ tactics and mindset. Truth. My life on the page. I was in shock then straight into denial. Decided against calling my sister, with whom i had a distant and strained relationship. Slipped late in to church the next saturday evening. Turned to greet my neighbour in the pew. It was my sister, who lived a fair distance from me but unbeknownst to me was housesitting nearby. It was like a massive sign from God that it was time – i had a window of opportunity soon after as my ex was spending 2 months of his long service leave in Paris. So I pretty much had an emotional breakdown in my sister’s car in the church carpark as i told her, got myself into counselling, planned my exit and left with my youngest son the day after ex got home. Read book in august 2016, left jan 2nd 2017. I will forever look on that time as the most awful time of suffering and yet the greatest miracle. Psalm 91 – being freed from the snare of the fowler who seeks to destroy you – is exactly what it felt like.

    • I read this. Excellent book. Glad you mentioned it. Man ran a program for abusive men. He writes from experience.

  • After finding out my ex had kept his ex gf around our entire 13 years together and listening to him lie and keep changing his story after finding out I knew things, I had a small moment when I brought it up a week later and he threw a tantrum and informed me that he “didn’t have to listen to this”.

    After i told him he could take his whore and go to hell, he half assed apologized for being “inappropriate”….all that he would admit to, then informed me that since he’d apologized I wasn’t allowed to bring it up again because there was “nothing more he could do”. Swore he didn’t remember when he last talked to her. I looked through phone records and could find nothing recent. When I didn’t plaster an appropriate phony smile on my face he threw a tantrum and said he wanted a divorce. I should’ve taken him up on it then, but I panicked in the moment. That just empowered him to keep being a dick.

    I dragged him to counseling (where he minimally participated except to lie..big waste of time), and he blew off my birthday because that’s how a passive aggressive coward says fuck you.

    I ended up getting into a social media account of his that I guess his dumb ass forgot about, and found where she’d hit him up for his number because she’d lost her phone (she lives out of town but comes back a lot because this is where she’s from). He gave her his work number…..that’s when I knew he was full of shit.

    I made plans and left after that. Ironically he cried….apparently he didn’t actually want a divorce but was ok using it as a bully tactic to shut me up.

    It didn’t occur to him that I might decide he was a shitty deal for me.

    Which I did.

    He’s still involved with the whore, but I no longer care.

    • What makes me laugh is that he was involved with her before me and they worked together. I’ve spoken to a number of people who know him at work and nobody had any idea who she was…..she’s such trash that he didn’t tell anyone about her (he’s extremely image conscious). Even his best friend apparently had no idea he’d been seeing someone. So he blew up his life for trash he doesn’t even want anyone to know about, and his trash has spend well over a decade involved with a guy who doesn’t think enough of her to tell anyone about her.

      Oh well.

  • It took a bike crash.

    I was told ILYBINILWY and she wanted out. I had no idea why but was exhausted by every attempt to keep the marriage together. A few weeks later i found out the real truth.

    AP has my same first name. During this mess, I was out biking, hit something and broke my bike. I needed a ride, was close to the house and called XW for help. On the drive to where I was staying, as I begged to keep the marriage together (hopium much?), I heard my name qualified with my last name over AP and his name. I suddenly heard how I was viewed. The raw truth. I was no longer “husband ____”, now I had to have my last name attached to clarify.

    That was the switch I needed.

  • After nearly a decade of lying, cheating, tolerating her addictions, gaslighting and the subsequent consequences it had for my health, plus all the sunk costs (such as being the primary breadwinner while she went to graduate school), as well as giving up nearly everything that was important to me in a relationship (such as monogamy and minimal basic care) just to keep her from leaving, she sexually assaulted me (and we are both survivors). That’s what it took for me to save myself. It’s been almost four years since my life imploded. I’m not actively struggling anymore, though I’m far from thriving. I come to the site every day and I hang on to hope. Sometimes I even laugh.

  • I’m ashamed to admit it but i kept on dancing and was far from mighty even after the divorce. I finally got unstuck when i met him for breakfast one morning and he informed me he was taking OW on the family beach vacation (with his family) that summer. I said “Are you sleeping with her?” (because he had sworn he wasn’t and i still believed him) I knew instantly from his face he was and man, did my whole world shatter, once again. But after that everything changed and i finally did break free, but boy – did it hurt and i felt so incredibly stupid. When i confronted him i got “But i didn’t MEAN to sleep with you BOTH” – oh yeah, that made it all better. /Snark
    Even years later, that morning still irritates my soul when i think on it.

  • Time. For me it’s as simple and complicated as that. It took me a long time to wade through the mess he made of everything. He nanced off into the sunset with schmoopie while I was left to pick up a million little pieces of our broken life. He was so giddy in love he couldn’t have cared less about my pain, not to mention the incredible cruel things he said to me. He has since tried everything to make it up to me but I will never, ever entirely forgive him and I most certainly will never forget. My brother asked me the other day if I would take him back. Ha! Hell to the NO !!

    What really helped me the most was this blog and for that I am eternally grateful to Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Mu-ah!~

  • Understanding the comprehensive damage he deliberately inflicted on my kids (yes, mine, because he was incapable of true fatherhood), and that this would never end.

    Done. ✅

  • I had stayed with my XH for 3 years after the first d-day and was utterly miserable for the majority of that time, pick me dancing while he slipped into every old habit he had promised would change.

    One morning I looked at this phone as i thought something was up since he made zero attempt to celebrate our anniversary (which was his MO previously when having an affair) and i found this short, flirty exchange between him and a mom on my son’s little league team.

    That exchange had no admittance of cheating, they had even talked about how they couldn’t be together because he would “lose his kids” *eye-roll*

    And that was the moment, i read that text, put the phone down and that very day got a lawyer, applied to 2 apartments and that was the end.

    Something about seeing it so plain in my face (he had deleted every single exchange between him and the first AP so i had never read anything) how he was so casual about it with her like what he was doing was normal. I saw a life time of cycles of AP after AP and it was enough to snap me out of “just surviving”

    After that point i stopped making excuses and didn’t care what i had to do to get out, i just did it. Moved into a bedroom in my moms house with my kids, maxed out a credit card/borrowed money for a lawyer, cashed a small retirement from an old job to pay my down payment/first and last month. I was pure action after that.

    I’m thankful everyday i choose to look at his phone, by the time i got home that evening it was gone off of it. I would have never known

  • When, during those first couple of hazy weeks after the OW’s husband notified me of the evidence he’d discovered, finally bringing an end to 12 years of lies, all my XH had to say was how much of a @$@£ her husband was for “letting the cat out of the bag”!!!! No remorse towards me. No remorse towards the OW’s H. No remorse for our 2 children, OW’s 2 children (and 1 on the way). No. Just “OW’s H is just being spiteful contacting me to tell me. He could have kept it to himself and didn’t have to destroy our marriage too.” Errr…newsflash…OW’s H has not destroyed OUR marriage! YOU have!!! Honestly. These people are a different breed.

    • I hope OW’s husband insisted on a paternity test the second that child was born and if he wasn’t the father, he didn’t have to pay a thin dime towards child support. She can pursue the man who impregnated her for that money.

      Not that the kid deserved a crappy mother.

      • No I don’t think he did. Sadly he was a first time chump and decided he didn’t want to lose her. As far as I know they’re still together. Despite her H finding out that she had been sleeping with my H since before she met him!

  • It wasn’t. a single defining moment for me. It was tottering Lego brick tower of revelations that revealed the true nature of my ‘soulmate’ of 18 years. In no particular order it was:

    • Her coming home early from work one afternoon and coldly telling me that she ‘no longer found me attractive’ because ‘There’s no getting away from the fact that you’re an older man with no power… Whereas I look better than I ever did…’

    • Discovering a fortnight later on Find My Phone that she wasn’t in New York on business but in Battersea in London.

    • Going through her emails and discovering that she’d been sexting her 24-year-old gym instructor at the family Xmas dinner table. (she’s 48.)

    • Discovering that she’d missed several of our daughter’s important hospital appointments so that she could fuck her 31-year-old Italian lover.

    • Offering to go to couples therapy with her and being told that she would only agree if she could ‘carry on seeing him at the same time’.

    • Discovering that she’d introduced said Italian gigolo to our daughter a week before I even knew he existed. ‘Well, she would have met him eventually,’ she cheerfully informed me.

    • Her gleefully admitting to me that she’d had numerous lovers over the years. She’d apparently forgotten the names of some of them, although one of them was a ‘Calvin Klein model’.

    • Discovering that years earlier she’d told mutual friends that we had an ‘open relationship’. Shame she neglected to keep me up to speed.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. The day after bidding me a tearful farewell as I left our family home, she kissed me and told me that I was the ‘love of her life’, she took my Italian Italian to meet her parents and our damaged daughter.

    To add insult to injury I was continually accused of ‘abusing’ her when I expressed my (I think) completely understandable shock and anger.

    These people really are sub-human scumbags. To me her betrayal represented the shattering of my innocence. I might have been a middle-aged man but I really believed that such people only existed in Hollywood movies.

    ‘Oh, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now…’

  • Catching her in our house with a naked guy upstairs and her taking his clothes up to him from the living room sofa, walking him out to his car and kissing him goodbye on our front sidewalk pretty much did it for me. Oh, and a side order of “I’m in love with him” to top it all.

  • We sat at our dining table, piled to overflowing with junk mail and old packaging, as I asked to have enough space cleared so we could eat together. Then I watched x change personality 6-8 times over 20 minutes as he told me why I didn’t deserve anything from him, channel jumping style. I watched and listened outside of my deep fear of him, and realized he would never negotiate with me.

    Then x shifted personality for 10 days into a “good husband”, it was so creepy after several years of apparently increasing mental illness to see him behaving in a “normal” way. X dropped the mask again when I said no to signing the home equity loan, and I slowly came to accept that he could choose to NOT be so abusive towards me, but couldn’t be bothered unless it generated money.

    He moved his “platonic” friend in when I left.

  • When I went to the emergency room after he threatened me with a broken whiskey bottle at my neck and the doctor said “are you really just waiting for him to put you in your coffin? What happens to your kids then?”. That did it for me. That and one night my oldest and his mates were playing cards in our camper. One of the lads came running into my bedroom at 3 a.m. screaming that my husband and son were in a fight and he was afraid someone was going to get killed. You see the overgrown kid that was my husband wanted to “play” with the kids – who obviously didn’t want him around. The shouting escalated into a fight and my non-violent son and his dad got into it. My son had just started his first job that week and ex broke my son’s foot!!!! And the snivelling little toad of a “man” (drunk out of his nuts but what’s new) lay on the floor crying because my son had hit him and “he hadn’t done anything to deserve being hit”. I just said “well now you know how I feel” and walked off – not that it would have made any difference because he was, as usual, blackout drunk. But when my skinny 16 year old started trying to drag his dad off me I knew it had to end and I filed. You break one kid’s foot and then your youngest is having to pitch in to drag you off his mom – no way, no more. DONE you fucker!

  • We had been separated (after DDay #2) for 5 days, him out of the house. He came by for something to do with our daughter (10 at the time) and as he was leaving he asked if everything was all right, and I snapped that “no, nothing about this was all right”. So he acts like he just doesn’t know what he wants (he was still denying everything at this point), and I told him he better figure it out soon, before it was too late, and the second the words left my mouth I realized it was already too late. It was done. Over. Incapable of resurrection.

    I never did the dance after that day.
    I didn’t want him at all.
    I still wanted him to suffer for a while (I’m over that now too lol, long living in the land of Meh), but I didn’t want him back.

  • I found chumplady.com and for the first time began to realize what I had truly been up against. For the first time in nearly a year, I found some unabashedly practical advice that applied to both secular and faith-based ways of leaving a cheater in order to take care of self, so that I could recover my sanity and properly maintain my role to father of my children.

  • Self righteous indignation. I went to our vacation property and found her s$&t everywhere and I was paying for that house cuz he wasn’t working-I was Fing paying for them to live together and F in my bed. The spirit of my “take-no-shit” WWII fighter long past Dad showed up. I heard him say “oh Hell No”. IN that moment embodied that storm the beaches mentality. Filed for divorce that next week. Thanks Dad where ever you are.

  • The OW’s (still legally married) husband DIED very young and tragically. Ex and OW remained (“secretly”) together, while OW played grieving widow. That’s when I realized that these people have an empty elevator shaft where a soul is supposed to be.

  • My ex left me and I found out about ow when he showed up at an event for my adult daughter with her. My final trust that he sucks moment was the same day I lost my home and the divorce was final he had our 16 year old beloved dog put to sleep without telling me or his children. We never got to say goodbye. That was the day I had to face the horrible truth that was had lived with this person for 23 years. That was 2 years ago and my life is so much better. Many thanks to this wonderful community ❤️

  • I languished in faux wreckconciliation for 3 years post dday. I frequented a RIC site during that time and in the beginning of the third year, someone posted a link to the Chump Lady.

    It was the most awesome 2’4 ever!!! After I read in the archives “Your walls will sing a again” about her Aunt, I started to imagine what my fuckwit free life would look like.

    So basically CL’s Aunt, CL and CN helped me see that my sunk costs weren’t worth being disrespected. At the end of the year I told him I wanted a divorce and 8 weeks later we were in course.

  • he refused to say “Happy Birthday” to me, saying his AP said, “never say happy birthday to a woman over 39.”

  • It had been 3 years of me begging him to realize how deep in jeopardy our marriage was. But he thought that he could do whatever he wanted, treat me with disdain, disinterest and distrust and I would just dance harder.

    The day he mocked me to my face in front of a house guest was the day. My jaw literally dropped open when he did that, a cruel smirk on his face, as he had always in our 19 years together did his best impression management for outsiders when I social situations.

    I’ve since realized that this house guest had been immediately turned into a flying monkey and fed tons of lies about me. I didn’t’ know it at the time but XAss was setting up to discard me for the AP, which is why he turned the smear campaign up to 100 those last 6 months together.

    Boy was he surprised when I beat him to it and filed for divorce 5 months after this incident.

  • On one hand I was tough. I immediately kicked Cheater out once he was caught, I told everyone the truth. The kids knew as one of the discovered the affair and told me.
    The first few months I had hopium he would fix things, while recognizing I could not live with a liar that I could never trust…but 25 years together, I was willing to believe he might change.

    After a few months he told me he was sorry, to give him a year. But he was dating as he was lonely.

    I filed. We are divorced. I have never felt so free, competent or in change of my own life.

    I am deeply grateful to chumplady for providing a place where I could claim my ex was different and they could show me he isn’t. LAJ especially.

    Cheating requires a level of deceit, disrespect and betrayal that can never be excused or reconciled. Yes, divorce is painful. But living with a spouse, knowing the person who claimed to love you abused you so selfishly, must be hell.

    The faster you leave, the sooner you gain a life.

  • He wanted to stay married but still be friends’ with her. I told him it was either me or his affair partner. He had to pick one. I wouldn’t work on the marriage if she was a part of his life because I didn’t want her to be in my life. He said he wanted to stay married but wouldn’t cut her out totally, ‘ I choose myself’ he said. Only time he wasn’t lying to me

    • Mine always chose himself. 2 months after DDay he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t over his 7-year affair (and Craigslist hookups and prostitutes). I mean, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?? In the meanwhile, he was nourishing his loving feelings toward the OW, like I couldn’t smell that. Please. What finally did it was 2 years later finding a note to the OW sent via a third party saying how much he missed the OW and how he thought about her constantly. Like I want to be with a guy who thinks about another woman “constantly”. Buh-bye.

  • A number of us have mentioned the sense of relief as being the moment when you knew and accepted it was over… and ran to the lawyer. I was gaslit into believing the first D-Day was “just his coworker sexting him and him not knowing how to tell her to not to” (oh chumpy, chumpy me), but the second D-Day 18 months later blindsided me. OW’s husband and their two-year-old girl showed up on my doorstep when I was working from home and he proceeded to show me their sexts. After I stopped shaking, I was relieved—I didn’t have to struggle to make marriage with an alcoholic work anymore. The years and years of his working late, never coming home, never talking to me (literally—he wouldn’t even say hi or good morning when he entered a room or did bother to come home), and the power-play sex where he wouldn’t initiate or so much as talk to me or touch me but would pout if sex didn’t happen once a week… the high-functioning alcoholism that let him get to work but that had him falling down drunk by midnight every night and me terrified he would DUI again (chump! the first two weren’t enough for me to leave of course)… it was DONE. My fears and regrets and sads all had to do with finances at this point because it’s hard to feel anything at all for a man who hasn’t bothered to say more than a dozen words a week to you for years. He gave me a one-word apology (“Sorry”) and then pretended like it had never happened. I was still the housekeeper, the full-time parent, the earner of 60% of our income, the gardener, and the maintainer of all family relationships—the useful wife appliance.

    I held on for three more years trying to get the kids through high school and into college because I didn’t want their dreams to go up in smoke, but then he woke me up in the middle of the night and proceeded to stare at me. It was the creepiest thing ever. I went to the bathroom—he stood outside the door and waited. I fled downstairs—he followed. He’d never been a violent person, but that night I was terrified. He finally said that “he couldn’t do this anymore,” I nodded my head (and went to sleep in our teenage son’s bedroom with the door locked and my cellphone in my hand), and I was at the lawyer’s at 8am the next day to start filing. Apparently, a healthy dose of fear was what I needed to take the final step of lawyering up—185 days after he terrified me, we were divorced.

  • I stayed for 3 years after finding out about his affair. To be honest, after all was said and down, I think he had more affairs than I knew of, but I was busy with those moving goalposts of his so I didn’t know of the others, just the one that ruined our marriage.

    My marriage was very strange to say the least. I was married to a musician (we met getting music degrees) and so I was convinced he was very…. sophisticated. Sigh. He wanted to remain friends with his affair partner (who was also married with 2 kids at the time, also lived in a different state, but that didn’t stop them!). I said no. That destroyed him. At the time I found out about the affair, he told me that what he really wanted was to live in a commune together with his affair partner, affair partner’s husband, their kids, myself and him and get this: share each other. Not the kids, but sharing the adults as sexual partners. It was the CRAZIEST thing I had ever heard in my life. I said absolutely not. I was convinced that given enough time, he would finally come to his senses.

    Ha ha ha! No. After 3 years time, he still wanted all that craziness. That added to the reason I could no longer take it. On top of MANY other things. He wouldn’t work a regular job. He had serious projection problems (I was always the problem, not him). He wouldn’t go to therapy. He wouldn’t have anything to do with my family. He wouldn’t have anything to do with his own family. I couldn’t take him anywhere because he was a killjoy of a person to be around, especially if you wanted him to be “good.” He was an incessant child about everything. He wrote all of his sex dreams down in a dream journal and thought he was the casanova of this century. He took mini vacations by himself and I wasn’t allowed or invited to come.

    But the thing that finally woke me up was, he had decided to leave me after he was done getting a 2nd degree off of my working back. In fact, he wasn’t even going to divorce me, he was just going to disappear. Just leave without a trace. Gone in the middle of the night, sort of thing. I finally got it. FINALLY. This man whom I had sunk everything into, did not love me at all. I was a means to an end. I was of use until I wasn’t. It was one of the worst realizations of my life. FINALLY after 12 years of being with him, it was time to let him go. So much heartache. So much gut wrench. So much wasted time. Thankfully, it’s all over. Wahoo!!!!

  • My HR person.

    He had an emotional affair (as far as I know but I don’t believe a word he or she says) with a co worker of ours. Everyone at work knew because they were always at the bar together when I was on night shift . I let someone else at work know she was an ex-con for trafficking and AP#1 found out and told HR that I was harassing her. Then he had an emotional affair (?) with another co worker’s wife.

    When I looked at his phone 3.5 years after the first affair and saw him sexting yet another co worker’s wife and he was giving her money and drugs (as well as sexting some other woman and there were convos with a few other women all day, every day), I went to HR again. I work with OWs husband every shift and didn’t know how to face him. HR lady looked me straight in the eye and said “you are so much better than this”. That was the moment I decided I was really done. She said outloud what I knew in my heart already. (I sent her an email later explaining how she had freed me and I bought an extra copy of LACGAL for her to lend or give to anyone else in my situation.)

    I texted XBF from work that “I couldn’t be that chick, I’m better than that.” And when I got home he had started moving his stuff out. Done.

  • My unstuck hero was my boss. I am lucky that I work for a very cool and impressive guy. When he asked what was going on, cause he could tell I was dealing with a lot, he helped coach me through the whole thing. I was stuck thinking – I needed to try everything to make it work since it was a marriage – but he helped me realize that my ex’s behavior was not okay.

    Helped me stand up to her. Get her to confess what was going on and gave me the strength to just walk away from a toxic situation. He also bought me a flight to go home and hang out with my family for a week so I could decompress while it was going on. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without him. I’m very lucky to work for him and his company.

      • Yeah, he had been through it himself. He told me when he first met her, he could tell something was off. Like she was always looking for something better. He’s a really great guy. I work so much harder now that I really respect and admire my boss.

  • What got me unstuck? My then 9 year old daughter getting cancer a month after D’day number 2 and realising I did not have it in me to continue fighting for our pathetic excuse for a marriage and support her in the fight for her life.
    So I chose her and in doing so chose me also.
    That was 6 years ago she is 4 years post treatment and doing well. I’m meh. And cheater is repeating history with victim number 2.

  • What unstuck me:

    People IRL and online who said: “He’s lying to you. Whatever he’s told you is the tip of the iceberg. Keep asking questions.” I did, and shortly thereafter, I wanted a divorce. Surround yourself with people who have your best interests in mind. People who worry about appearances (embarrassed family), don’t want to get involved (Switzerland friends), or have some other vested interest in you staying in a bad relationship (maybe your sig other is part of the family business, and your colleagues don’t want you to make waves) are not the people to talk to.

    Thinking long term: I thought about what it would be like to stay married to a man I could no longer trust. As CL calls it, I would have spent the rest of our marriage playing the marriage police. This also would have led to an extremely strained relationship that my children would all have witnessed, and it would have been a terrible model of a relationship for them. Even if I had not had kids, though, I knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my days feeling suspicious, jealous, and anxious because I was afraid that my then-husband was still cheating or might cheat again.

    Finally, I read a post online that someone quoted about how cheating wasn’t due to lack of respect for a partner. Cheating was treating the partner like he/she didn’t even exist. That really struck me hard. My ex happily went about his days, meeting his cheater partner in secret, and he didn’t care about whether he was exposing me to STDs or what I was doing at home to keep things running. He could have been at home helping. He could have been working harder on our marriage with me. Instead, I was invisible– just another part of his dreary, day-to-day life, like a chore, and I was easily dismissed so that he could enjoy his fantasy world. I don’t want to be invisible to the people I love, and the people I love shouldn’t treat me like I don’t exist.

    I hope this helps newbies to get unstuck. Once you do, you’ll be glad you did. As my name states, you will be much happier moving on.

    • This is such an insightful point: “I read a post online that someone quoted about how cheating wasn’t due to lack of respect for a partner. Cheating was treating the partner like he/she didn’t even exist.”

  • I came to the point where I could see through him. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a shade at a time. His words meant less and less with every lie uncovered.
    Then I learned to translate. Usually he was doing the exact opposite of what he said.

    I’m living off of barely anything!
    = Dating is costly, and I bought all new furniture for my apartment.

    I’ll help you out however I can.
    = I’ll hide as much as I can, and give you a bit here and there so I appear generous.

    My kids are everything to me!
    (That’s why I kicked you all out so I could revisit bachelorhood.)

    I just got tired of seeing my kids suffer, of having needs without being able to provide for them, living off snap while he dined out every other night.

    It wasn’t pretty when I laid out the consequences. It’s not always pretty now, but I wasn’t going to live off his scraps anymore.

  • I was discarded, so I didn’t need to be “unstuck” to get away from Jackass. What I needed was to let go of him emotionally. I was big-time stuck there (as I had been on XH the substance abuser for decades). What got me unstuck was a message he sent me, in response to one from me that was ostensibly about business but REALLY about asking him to meet me to “talk” about what happened (this about 2 1/2 months after D-Day and 5 months after the discard got underway after MOW appeared on the scene). His message came on Valentine’s Day and was so mean it made me cry for hours, including all the way through my yoga class. It was about that time I discovered CL and started to learn about the narcissistic relationship cycle. So I knew I had to cut the emotional tie because of how he treated me and once I learned what he is (narcissistic lying hollow jackass man), I knew I hadn’t done anything “wrong,” other than picking a jackass. So I got unstuck, body and mind.

  • I was brainstorming how to overcome the latest problems he had created and I just thought “he is a problem I don’t want to solve anymore”.

    It was the greatest sense of relief!!!!!!

    I am NOT responsible for your actions.
    I am NOT responsible for glossing over the truth.
    I am NOT responsible for solving your problems.

  • I know many of you were heartbroken over the discovery of the affair, but I was not heartbroken. Just stunned.
    My Ex-husband on dating sites? WTF. The little Napoleon with bad breath… You can have him and his selfish, entitled, money making ways.
    I actually considered staying for about a month or two. He said it was just fantasy- an extension of his porn habit and I almost went for it. Agreed to counseling until…
    he decided to tell me the truth that he had actually been with one of them. Probably more.
    Of course. Adults have sex. Not just fantasy. Ashley Madison is real.
    When he told me it was not just fantasy, that was when I got unstuck and ran through the hole he created in our relationship, into a better world.
    Meh.

    • ((OCWoman)) Thank you. I appreciate knowing that I’m not alone. Your experience sounds very much like mine. Yes. Ashley Madison is real.

  • Whenever my STBXH tells me that I am something that HE is-I realize I’m done.

    He says I’m selfish-yet-he’s the one who caters to his own wants before our kids’.

    He says I’m a horrible parent-yet-he is the one who couldn’t be bothered to go to his sons’ games and banquet.

    Narcs have an amazing way of living the. “Hector Projector” lifestyle….

  • I truly believed that the childhood abuse he suffered was the cause of his aberrant behavior. And he certainly used that as an excuse.

    I thought I was helping my kids by keeping the family intact. Then two bizarre incidents with the children finally showed me that we were all living in crazy-town, and I was done.

    Later he poisoned them against me. But that is another story.

    • Mine poisoned my 2 against me as well. One went on a rant on Facebook on Mother’s Day which ended with “she’s not the saint you all think she is” and the other (his stepson) called me a fake. They are all blocked on all social media and phones. I know what a shit sandwich he is, so sad.

      • MataHari, you are a strong person to be able to block them! I admire you. I have very limited contact with mine, and I suffer a lot of shit for the very limited contact I now have with them.

        We are told that the kids will figure the fuckwits out eventually. That is not always true. They are good actors and kids can be materialistic. Getting to meh when your kids side with a creep is a hard task.

  • I had moved east for work, which timed well with discovery and let me breath. I had been there for years, and had put out a few ‘this has to be worked on’ things. I thought I was capable of the big forgive. My anxiety however said otherwise. I was in full on panic anytime I was back where I came from. I went into full police mode, looking for any scrap of info, and of course it didn’t exist- no bills to look at, no pictures, no laptops left open, all the things I found before I would never find again and I couldn’t trust that it’s because he changed. I had no reason to mistrust, but I certainly didn’t trust either. It was heartbreaking. It involved grieving everything in an entirely new way. My body and it’s response to everything pushed me away.

  • I was in the kitchen preparing Sunday dinner — chopping fresh vegetables. He came into the kitchen which startled me and I bumped a teaspoon that dropped to the floor. Instantly he was angry, puffed up, and then said, “You fucking inconsiderate idiot!” I don’t know what my face showed, but my mind said, “I’ve got to get out of here.” The next day I looked at a condo and rented a storage room and began packing up my clothes and anything else that wouldn’t alert him. I walked away 3 weeks later when he was out of the house.

  • Cheater told me for YEARS that the reason she was cheating on me was that she was polyamorous. *scoff* She claimed for years and years that if only I would be polyam with her, she would finally be happy and no longer need to cheat. This was deeply troubling to me because I did not want to be with other people AT ALL. Needless to say, she still tried to push other people onto me, including one mutual friend in particular.

    She spent years trying to cultivate this possibility between me and the mutual friend. She pushed HARD. But being with more than one person was more than I could handle and I felt like she was trying to pimp me out. It was very creepy and overwhelming.

    Well, time passed, and eventually all of cheater’s hard work manipulating me paid off because, after my friendship with said friend grew, I gave in and decided to give it a go with the mutual friend and her. The three of us were consensually and openly together. Long story short, cheater soon after FLIPPED OUT. Cheater decided that mutual friend was abusive (she’s the abuser) and proceeded to try to force me out of the relationship with mutual friend, all the while continuing to cheat with others on the side btw. She became so unbarably abusive towards me verbally and demand that I end things with this third person.

    Meanwhile, the third person had been treating me with respect and care, something I had never experienced in a relationship prior. So I was starting to understand that I didn’t need to be with someone as outrageously abusive as cheater and could actually be treated well. So I did not want to comply with cheater’s demands.

    It finally erupted when she publicly declared that mutual friend was an abuser and mutual friend decided to leave me to try to stop all the public accusations and drama. I felt so manipulated and pushed around by cheater, I had enough and was DONE. I had to make an elaborate escape plan which involved changing the locks on my door, breaking up over email, refusing to talk to cheater in person, mailing back cheater’s key, and leaving town until I knew it was safe to return. The end. Cheater simply pushed me beyond breaking point. Now both parties are long gone and I’m in a loving monogamous relationship with a wonderful person.

  • There were a couple times.

    I first filed divorce when he smashed my head into a wall in a delusional, jealous rage. We reconciled months later when he cried, begged, agreed to go to rehab (he had become an alcoholic and had never touched me the first 7 years, but had become abusive verbally and then physically).

    About a year later, he was drinking and cheating again. We had a huge fight one weekend when I caught him texting his current “friend” again. I packed to leave, and he cried and screamed and made a scene promising to stop talking to her, leaving her voicemails in front of me telling her he doesn’t like her and she needs to stop reaching out to him so he can focus on his wife that he loves, etc. A real show. He still swore they never did anything physical but I knew better. Not my first rodeo with him. That week we were on super shaky ground but I agreed to celebrate Superbowl following weekend with him at our friends big party. He got stupid drunk. At one point I look over and guess who he is texting. At that point, I knew he would never change. I calmly got up and walked out without saying goodbye to anyone. Got an Uber. He came out and freaked out just as the Uber pulled away. I texted his “friend” some choice words, basically calling her a whore and calling her out for f-ing my husband behind my back while attending parties at my home and smiling in my face. It was not my finest moment, but I was tipsy and angry. He followed me home in Uber and I told him I was done for good. He still thought he could change my mind. Next morning he got called into HR. His “friend” was scared for her job now that I (wife) knew about their relationship. These hoes aint loyal I guess, and now he was in deep shit as President of his company having an affair with low level employee, now being investigated by HR and his board. He called me yelling at me, telling me it was my fault for texting her. Oops. Got to hear all his dad sausage crap about how it wasn’t fair he was losing me AND now maybe his job/company. Tough titty. I left work early that day to move out. My sis left her work early to help me pack. We were scared he would become violent again, so we didn’t give him that chance. He was stunned and sadz. I was sick to my stomach for weeks, but I made it. Now I’m 2 years out, divorce was final in November.

    I’ll be celebrating my 2nd cheater free Super Bowl this weekend.

  • It took me at least a minute to scroll through everything. That says it all. We are not alone. The stories are sad and empowering. Mine. He cheated with other men and i forgave him but found him sitting in his underwear next to a Woman from our hometown He had convinced me I needed to help her and her family. This was in Charlotte in the RV I paid for so he could clear his head while I did travel nursing. Somehow it was all my fault because I didn’t give him enough time to clear his head before he came back to retire and then we could spend our golden years together. Lmao btw. They were just friends. So happy now. Traveling. Totally enjoying myself without bearing the burden of him and his guilt trip. Heard the OW is leaving him. Still lmao. Life in The trailer park must be awesome. Hehe. Karma is a bitch. Didn’t mean to vent but damn it feels good. Have met a wonderful man that right now we are just friends. Funny thing. We grew up together and haven’t seen each other in 46 years. And we totally click. There is hope and happiness peeps. It is finite

  • Mine laughed when I started crying after finding out about the affair. Then claimed it was a nervous reaction. Should have gotten me unstuck right away…but I’m still having a hard time separating that person from the person I thought I loved. It’s only been a month though.

    • Mine smiled every time I cried at the beginning. They get off on believing they have the power to hurt someone. It is sick and disordered and not a reflection of you. It takes time, but time spent in Chump Nation is worth it for the wisdom and clarity you will gain through other’s experiences here. March on, soldier – your life is waiting!

      • I rarely cried (held it all in) but on the rare occasion I did he would run around imitating me and making fun of me. And this from a guy who blubbed snot all over the place on a regular basis!

  • I read almost every book and we did three reconciliation programs. I took him back SIX times after catching him. The seventh time I just knew that I could never ever forgive him again and was being treated like a pile of garbage on the side of the road – that he kept running over. My older adult kids said no more and I just knew it was them or him. Not a hard choice then.

  • I was stuck for a very short period of time compared to many here.

    I divorced my first wife of 13 years so I had experience with the process. She was an alcoholic and it was My sponsor who convinced me that my daughters wellbeing and my sobriety were at stake. Sponsor was right. Wife #1 drank herself to death in a few years afterwards.

    Enter wife #2, 2 years later. I’d found my soulmate. 13 years go by, then intuition,
    Intelligence gathering, evidence gathering, reconnaissance. All necessary in my discovery process to verify what I knew, but spackled over with Hopium. She moved in with her AP five weeks after my first intuition that something was amiss. She had changed.

    Part of the Intuition stage led me to Tracy via a FB post. This was after first being influenced by RIC and Quickly seeing the RIC bullshit profit motivations.

    Enter the LACGAL Audiobook. I listened to it repeatedly. For months.

    Tracy’s Knowledge of the cheaters handbook and their predictable/observable behavior got me unstuck. Surviving Infidelity sponsors got me unstuck. CN got me unstuck. Genuine people got me unstuck. The people that loved me. My daughter and xw’s son got me unstuck. He’d witnessed firsthand his mother’s infidelity with his father.

    When I allowed myself to See What. She. Really. Was. I had all the empowerment I needed. I went Full on commando. In basic training, the soldier is taught to Accomplish The Mission- regardless of circumstances. Fortunately, my strategy was already prepared for me Here. 10 months later I was rid of this abhorrence. I won.

    That’s only phase 1 of the 2-5 year process to heal myself from her betrayal. I’m Exactly where I’m supposed to be in my progress and recovery.

    I’m discovering who I really am again and the damage she inflicted.

    The Bonus…I’m armed to the teeth now with Fuckwit radar.

  • I’ll admit, sometimes I miss the liar, but I think its just because I’m lazy and don’t have anyone else.

    BUT, how did I get to meh? I got a life. Truly, that’s how I got to meh.

    I went from being completely reliant on him to becoming completely independent. I made an effort everyday even if it was just to get out of bed and do something. I was deeply depressed post d-day so this was hard for me.

    I was so tired of being tired and I just wanted to stop feeling unhappy. I made a choice that if I wanted my life to change, then I had to make changes. Nothing was going to change unless I made an effort.
    I found a job – huge relief! This gave me independence. Also, having to be responsible and accountable to perform at work is a blessing. I don’t have the time to spend think about him or the shitty ways he betrayed me. I enjoy the interaction with my co-workers. I come home exhausted, but I’m no longer in a funk.

    I also just accepted he is a lying asshole. It’s not my fault he chose to cheat – that’s on him. I genuinely believe he is an enttitled asshole. He was that way before I met him and he was that way to all the women before me and those that followed after me. I no longer harbor jealousy. I just don’t give a shit. He’s not my problem. It’s more than just words. I really am happy he is no longer my problem. And once the anxiety of no longer questioning if he will call, text, is he with someone else, is he lying, is he really being honest was out of my life, my god, did life just become more peaceful. Accepting some people just suck and walking away from it brought me to meh.

    Meh is wonderful! I hope you all find your way there, too ! Make the effort everyday, even if it’s just a baby step. And forgive yourself when you fall. It happens to the best of us.

    Of course, CL and the CL community helped me everyday on how to help me think through the chaos and dysfunction. Getting to meh took time, but no contact helped speed it along (1.5+ years, but so what, I’m at meh!)

    • “And forgive yourself when you fall. It happens to the best of us.” Thank you. I needed to read this, today.

  • What got me unstuck was the realization that I was living the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    Kicking him to the curb, taking him back, discovering he was lying. Kicking him to the curb, taking him back, discovering he was lying. Over and over again. Insanity. I had to do something different so without his knowledge I bought a house, moved out without telling him, took half of everything and divorced his sorry ass.

  • Jan 2019. He had put a padlock on our bedroom door and informed me that his girlfriend was coming over to stay for the weekend with him and our son. I could leave if i didn’t like it. Naturally since this was his house too, this was completely acceptable. NOT! I filled all of our heater vents with dryer sheets (she was allergic to everything), rewashed every blanked I could find in fabric softener, went to my mom’s and called to make the appointment.

  • I suspected my husband was cheating but couldn’t find any evidence. I decided to run my teenagers credit report and there it was. He had opened a credit card in my son’s name and every month for the previous year was between $2,000-$5,000 worth of chargers. He was making payments each month which also meant he had a secret checking account. That was it for me. Funny thing is when confronted he still tried to deny it was him.

    • “And forgive yourself when you fall. It happens to the best of us.” Thank you. I needed to read this, today.

  • Lack of remorse and cruelty after d-day and leave a cheater gain a life. Words weren’t aligned with actions.

    Sucks because I wanted to grow old with him and I just wanted a we, us, or partnership and I was to blind to see it was never going to happen but I was real and my feelings, thoughts and dreams about my marriage and family were real.

    When I found out about the affair and I said to him who are u and he gave me that quizzical look. I knew we were done and he’s not like me in any shape or form when it comes to being a husband or father. Sucks. Deer in headlights. Is all I can say. Angry at myself and At him for his real self. I want to beat the shit out of him!

    Deep down I knew but I didn’t want to believe because of who he portrayed to be.

    But I’m free to be me and be a mom to our son and right now that’s perfect.

  • In the early days, when I was still trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupedness, I tried to have a logical conversation with him about why I was struggling to forgive his “lapse in judgement.” I asked him how he would feel, if someday one of our girls were to have a husband who did what he did (the deed that shall never be said out loud, lest I be accused of shaming him). He responded, “I have prayed that if one of our girls were ever in her (OW) shoes, they would have a guy like me to be there for them, just like I was for her.”

    In that moment, the lightbulb went off in my brain, and I realized that he and I were living on different planets. In my world, people strive to live up to their commitments, treat others decently, and be honest. In his, people seek self-gratification and manage images. I wish I could say I contacted the divorce attorney then, but ultimately it was after he started a fight with my teenage daughter a few weeks later because she refused to go to the cookout he had planned at his new bachelor pad to show the kids “how fun it was”.

    Three years after d-day, and 2+ years after I filed for divorce (and schmoopie #6 or 7 for him), it is finally “final” – and now it’s just waiting for qdro’s and deeds and health insurance forms. Thank God my kids are young adults and manage their own communication with him, and I rarely have to communicate. I am happily, gloriously in a blissful state of meh. Oh, and I am so, so, so grateful for the wisdom of Chump nation. I have become the go-to mom in my kids’ private school community for women who have a d-day – and my first resource for them is always Chump Lady.

  • when he insulted my sobriety, told me I wasn’t fun without alcohol, and that I should find someone sober to be with. Knowing that sobriety was so important to me – that it was something I was proud of – and that I still had a lot of fear about being seen as boring – it was one of the cruelest things anyone could have said to me.

    This happened shortly before I found out about the cheating. I knew it was unfixable and the cheating was just icing on the cake

    • That’s awful Emily. I’ve had a lot of alcoholics in my family, many that got sober successfully and many that did not. It takes incredible strength and dedication to recover so it’s terrible that he would put you down for that. What an arsehole.

    • Emily, I can relate. My x never respected me for getting sober, and insinuated I was boring. Like you, way before DDay came. Mine found another drunk to hang with, so they get to get drunk and fight like we did. I’m sure she’ll see how “forgetful” he is when drunk, black outs, drunk dialing people at night for hours instead of spending time with me. Not remembering anything he said the night before. So I relate. I was not boring and you were not boring. We just chose to give up something that was killing us, I don’t see why that makes us bad people.

      And frankly him saying I was boring and doing old people stuff before he moved out was one of the things that kicked off me “getting over him”. Cause it hurt. I always looked at people who said they were bored as it’s their fault they are bored. Find something you enjoy, do something. Be positive instead of negative about everything. So he found skank to keep him busy. He’s No longer bored.

      I almost chose to go back out and drink to save the marriage. I thought it would fix our relationship if I just drank again. I’m so so glad I did not. But it does put a twinge in my heart to know that bettering myself somehow led him to leave me. That he didn’t like me sober. That he preferred alcohol over me. But he’s a sick individual that has his own demons to chase. Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful. I can’t help him stop and if he drinks himself to cirrhosis, wet brain and death I cannot control that.

      • I haven’t yet been tempted to drink over this but I’ve been sticking close to my sober support and women who are sober and have been cheated on. I’m glad you didn’t pick up. One thing I thought of is that if I drink, HE wins. He’d come back and STILL cheat on me. I’m better off sober without him

    • Hey Emily. That really bites. My sobriety is important to me too. My husband the addict decided that I had a problem, but he didn’t. Wasn’t going to work on it anymore. He would also say I was no fun, which was very hurtful. I wasn’t very fun with him in the end. Huge resentments because I was doing everything around the house, working full time and doing all the kid related stuff while he’d disappear for days and come home wrecked. I was exhausted all the time. I’m sure you are fun, and your ideas of fun are much different than his. We’re better off without them

  • I loved him and wanted to help him with the pain of emotional trauma everyone else has caused him by pulverizing my own needs into femtometer level obscurity. For a year, read articles and books obsessively about how to be a better partner and show him the kindness and love nobody had provided him (atleast he made it out to be the reason after DDay 1 as he explained for his shallow emotional attachment to me. I don’t know what love looks like)…Hideously stupid me, I care about you, I’ll show you. Suppressed my needs as he was supposedly overcoming the trauma of childhood and previous relationship abuse. Why would get in the way of him learning to love himself??? True love starts with self love right? I’ll help him love himself while I worked on my issues with a therapist. Stupid Mr. Rogers loving me.
    Turns out there was no therapist appointments. Therapy speak was bullshit so he could eat cake. All this as he invested and developed a “profound “ relationship with schmoopie. He had the audacity to put her picture as his phone wallpaper. He knew my trusting ass would balk at snooping on his phone. I glanced at it one night and stopped him as he was quickly trying to put it in his pocket again. Then the lancing pain….Still have PTSD flashbacks when I glance at someone’s phone and they have an SO or their child or pet as phone wallpaper. The word “profound “ has become a trigger and brings tears to my eyes. I threw him out that night but desperately hoped for days that he would see what he lost and would value me. Never admitted it out loud but hoped he would come back to beg for me and work on rebuilding us and himself. Anyway I was escaping into my favorite author’s book to try and numb the pain.I took a break for reading a book solely for my pleasure for once. And this changed my life:
    Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

    An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

    And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

    -Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

    The problem is him and he won’t change. I can’t do anything to make him realize my value. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone but I’ll learn from this. I am a survivor and I will thrive. It’s painful now but I will get to the other side. I love myself and that is more than enough.

    • Wow I was crying when I read the description of the sandstorm I am currently experiencing too! I don’t know how far in I am but I WILL make it out and I WILL never be the same person again…. I’m OK with that.

      PS Murakami is also my fav author!!!!

      PSS Thanks for the inspiration to start reading one of his books tonight!

      • Thank you. I am sorry you are going through so much pain.You are strong and worthy of love, care and belonging. I am sure you will make it through!
        Face yourself, speak yourself and love yourself:)
        Fighting!

    • (((Chumpwhochumpedtoomuch)))
      Wow,
      Powerful post!
      All Chumps needs to read it.
      Thank you for this.
      You are Mighty!

      • Thank you for your kind words 🙂
        Some days it’s hard to believe in my own self. This community and your kindness helps.
        Fighting!!!

  • After 2 d-days and a year and a half of counseling, and what I thought was working on our 33 year marriage, I ask him point blank if he loved me. He would say it often enough, but it always felt like it was just a canned response. So one night I just said do you love me. There was a 30 second silence that felt like 5 minutes. I knew right then I was done, over, finished. I took my wedding rings off, threw them at him. He then told me he was really “trying” to love me. I lost it. I couldn’t believe this is what I was trying desperately to hold onto. I told him to get out and that I considered him dead. Yeah a little dramatic but I haven’t spoken to him since. Divorce was final exactly 3 months from his pathetic “I’m trying to”.

  • Chump Lady ran my post on 7/11/18. Two things people said to me resonated.

    1. The only thing you may have control over is when you get divorced and if you wait too long you may not even have control over that.

    2. The lady who said her ex had not only been whoring around in strip clubs, but had fucked one in the back of the family minivan. Ugh. Eegads! I couldn’t imagine any hope after realizing how low people can stoop.

  • D-Day # 2 was the last straw.

    I tried wreckonciliation after D-Day #1 – I knew I’d never trust him completely again, but I was scared of being alone. Also, I had dropped back to part-time work the year before he cheated (this wife appliance, who previously subsidized him financially for years, was probably no longer as useful) and I relied on him for health insurance [political note: lack of universal health coverage in the U.S. has probably kept many people stuck with cheaters].

    He seemed to show some remorse at times, but sometimes he was crabby with ME, and I thought he should be sweet as pie pretty much 24/7 if he was truly trying to make it up to me. But now I think he was more sorry that he got caught, not so sorry about the cheating!

    Sometime in the 4 years between D-Days I found CL. I don’t know if I would have been as sure of myself on D-Day #2 if I hadn’t bought her book and started reading/posting here. But all I’ve learned from CL and CN fortunately came to the fore on that night. BAM. I was done.

    • Political P.S. –

      Obamacare had been passed but it hadn’t yet become available at the time of D-Day #1. A few years prior I had fallen on ice and broke my ankle so badly I required surgery on both sides of it, needing several screws and a plate. The thought of being without health insurance terrified me. Knowing I had Obamacare available at D-Day #2 was also helpful in getting me unstuck.

      Thanks, Obama! (Which I mean sincerely, despite that phrase having been used derisively by Obama haters.)

  • Oh, and of course Chump Lady’s Bitch Cookie cartoon! The one about giving these jerks a meritorious cookie for not doing WORSE behavior. It really puts it into perspective.

  • He threatened to take my children and hide them where I wouldn’t find them. As I was the one who always got between them and him when he wanted to hurt them, I knew he would hurt them. So I called the police, and loaded two garbage bags of stuff into the van while two officers stood watch. We left. We were free.

  • He knocked me down, dragged me all over the floor, accused me of having an affair, tore off my wedding ring set, and I responded like a rag doll. Inside I said to myself – I am not what he says I am, and even if I was, I do not deserve this. He begged me to put my rings back on but I never did. It took a few days to co-ordinate leaving with the kids and he pulled out a gun when I told him I was going.

  • (((Mmarg)))
    Are you and your children all safe now?
    I am so so sorry sorry for all you have been through.
    Your post is heart shattering.

    💔

  • My road to being unstuck began with me driving by OW house in the wee hours of the night/morning. He’s truck was there. He had told me he needed space and time and he had just moved out. I asked him why he was spending the night there. “I’m a man in the world”.

    Then 3 months after he moved out I found schmoopies Instagram account and he was all over it. It chronicles back to BEFORE I found out about this affair. She used the hashtag #myfuckwit. But substitute cheaters name with ducked it and that was the hashtag. And #loveis. #loveafterloss. It chronicles a love affair that started and grew, them getting to know each other, her cooking for him, baking for him, letting him drive her car, drinking, going out, and she was now posting texts between them with him calling her his girlfriend. TON OF BRICKS. FALLING ON ME. As I fell to the floor sobbing. I knew it was over, I knew he’d been lying and faking this hole thing. He never ever admitted to cheating when he moved out, excise me, abandoned his family.

    Then I got on google maps one day and the street view of her home was updated. His truck is parked in her driveway and the garage is open. His tools and supplies are clearly visible in her garage, along with 2 rims that I found in my trash can one day on trash day. I texted him that day saying – have you seen the new google update ok skanks house? Your truck is outside. What the hell am I waiting for? He said divorce, sell the house. I called my lawyer and said pull the trigger have him served. You see I had filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery one week after he abandoned us, but could not bring myself to serve him, because you know——. Unicorn!!!

    He was a bit shocked when the process server was at his apartment and schmoopie home next day leaving notes to calm them back.

    Y’all I ended up telling him about the Instagram a month ago after the divorce. The text messages she posted, and the affair chronicles. He was like. Thank you for telling me about this incident, I’m hanging up now. Then texting me to send pictures of this incident. And anything I could show him would be appreciated. I sent him the most damming ones to rub in his face, along with the one schmoopie posted of her being humped by her dog!!! Oh man! You gotta love it. But he’s still with her, so I got the last laugh.

  • After 44 years, cheating lying abuse and eight kids. He came home and said he was traveling to Indianapolis for a car show by himself. I laughed. This man never leaves the house except to go to work. He did this identical stunt 7 years before when he up and went to Mississippi to sleep with a girl he met online who was younger than our oldest daughter. He even repeated the exact same lies. I snapped. I smile and said have a good trip. The next day I filed for divorce. The day after that I gutted the house, took our two dogs and moved out. I deleted him from my phone, my Facebook, and went to stay where nobody knew where I was. He had gotten shingles before he left, got snowed in there and couldn’t get home for 10 days. When he got home finally in the middle of the night, it was cold, dark, empty and quiet. How’s that MF?

  • You are better off. You are healthy. You will have a longer life. And you’ll have the opportunity to meet another healthy person and have a truly healthy relationship on all levels physical and emotiona. good for you it’s a great story hang in there.

  • We were standing in the kitchen. I had moved across country with him, given up a job I really loved, to help him care for his aging parents. I was confronting him about his addictive use of pornography — hours a day, leaving our bed in the middle of the night and thinking I didn’t notice. I told him all the reasons why what he was doing was morally wrong, damaging to our marriage and disrespectful of me. He looked at me and said, “That’s what you think.” At which point I said, “That’s right. That’s what I think. And guess what; you’re supposed to care what I think because I’m your wife.”

    That was when I began thinking differently. Two months later, when I caught him texting with his stripper girlfriend, was the last straw. I filed the next morning and never looked back.

  • What got me unstuck?

    Time. Knowledge. This website. Endurance. Learning the true meaning of self love.

  • When we were at a family event and he and our daughter-in-law were flirting with each other. I didn’t react, I just left. I realized in that moment one beautiful truth:

    STBX is NOT my problem anymore.

    I cried on the drive home. Relief. I didn’t even recognize the emotion at first.

    That was a watershed moment for me. I was still sad about my family, sad for the end of 25 years together, still a little scared about my future – but I was finally able to see the first upside.

    This was the beginning of my new life, free from the insanity – HIS disorder – of flirting with other woman and then calling ME ‘crazy’ when I called him out on it.

    When I question that he sucks….I think about that night and I trust that he sucks.

  • XW was having her affair essentially in my face. She’d moved out “for space” and “to find herself,” i.e., pursue the affair without her husband meddling. I was dying inside but could not move, paralyzed with fear and hope.

    One night my then-nine-year old confessed that something was upsetting him. He finally confessed: “Mommy sent a picture of her boobs to someone named AP and I feel like killing myself.” (He was still reeling from his mother’s departure from our home and from half his life.)

    I called XW and told her. Her response: “He shouldn’t have been looking at my phone.” And “He’s just looking for attention and being manipulative, trying to get us back together.”

    I was staggered. I said, “Our nine year old just said he feels like killing himself. Does that mean nothing to you?”

    She snarled, “Don’t drag our children into this.”

    A few days later I served her divorce papers. Eight years later I’m still horrified.

    • Three weeks ago I found abusive messages between STBX and AP and sexual photos of himself on the kids iPad. His solicitor wrote a letter stating I had hacked his iPhone and only I was offended by the material. These people 🙄

    • Im speechless. It’s entirely what I could picture my ex say in a moment like that, the self-centeredness just never stops.
      I hope your baby is doing better now!

  • Toss up! Either: “I am afraid I’ll be stuck with you after the kids turn 18” OR “you’re toxic to me because I don’t like anything you’ve ever made, done or created (**sidenote I’m an artist), apart from our children…You are a glorified birthing vessel…and even that isn’t anything special”. I told him to leave that night.

    End of a 15 year marriage, the last 18 months were me pick me dancing. Life 1000x better without him!!!

  • He successfully managed to make the problem seem smaller, more innocent, by gaslighting me at every turn.
    We went to therapy for the things I knew and a year later the therapist had even forgotten what brought us there in the first place.

    I was really invested in our life together by that point and we started planning getting married (after 10 yrs of both of us not being interested in it, it’s more common here in EU).

    That’s when I got the nerve to ring up one of the names he’d provided. Turns out he went out with her, pretended to be single and did all sorts of stuff in secret when I wasnt around. That drew the line for me. That he’d violate a marriage before it even started.

    The world is a much different place, everything changed for me, Ive been very unhealthy for a couple of years and unhappy and unsuccessful because of it. it’s hard to separate it from what happened to me, especially when he’s enjoying everything I gave up.

  • Much more profoundly, I had to begin to understand and heal my own deep wounds that led me to accept – and for a while not quite “notice” that I was drawn to demeaning relationships. I had the pattern because my mother was (is) a cruel narcissist who I had always tried to please, it was the original “pick me” dance. My father was a recovered alcoholic whose own mother was a cruel narcissist, thus his attraction to my mother. My kind dad began drinking gain, left the family when I was 11, and died young, in his 40s. What helped me with the deep wound has been Pema Chodrun’s work on “Pain is the Doorway,” Patrick Carnes on Betrayal Bonds, Meredith Miller’s Inner Integration (her mom is a narc), Melanie Tonia Evans, Lisa A Romano, many Lewis Howes podcasts, and then people who help with bravery….Brendan Burchard (don’t buy anything from him) and the amazing and super helpful David Goggins.

    • Beth, I also come from a family with an alcoholic/narcissistic father (scientist/professor) and a supremely co-dependent mother (a registered nurse, of course). I’ve come to conclude that, when you come from such circumstances, you MUST be VERY careful of relationships that feel too familiar. Lop-sidedness and even abuse can feel comfortable, because they are so familiar. My wonderful second marriage (almost 10 years now) started with a relationship that always felt safe but sometimes quite uncomfortable, because I wasn’t use to reciprocity and affection, either in what I saw modeled in my childhood, or what I experienced in my marriage to a cheater.

      Here’s to conquering the new discomforts of healthy relationships!

      • Thank you, Beth Balance and Nomar,
        I too come from such circumstances.
        Many cruel covert narcissists in my family. My mother is one too, not only my father was one, as I realized after my forced return to my place of origin after having been abandoned on the other side of the Atlantic by covert/fragile narcissist now-ex-husband (his family, another nest of narcissists).
        In my family, only grandmother and grandfather on one side, and grandfather and one son on the the other side, were caring people. My sister and I lost all protection after the caring men died when we were ten and twelve.

  • He cheated on me while I was pregnant with our daughter. I was too afraid to let go and go through it alone. I took him back because he said he chose family.

    Nine months later, she was pregnant with his child. He begged me to stay and told me we could work it all out.

    I believed him. We were going to figure it out. Two months after his daughter was born, I found out I was pregnant with his child again. If I hadn’t have stayed, I wouldn’t have my wonderful son. For that I am grateful.

    But now as the early mama-hoodfog lifts, I am beginning to see him for who he is. A liar. A cake eater. An asshole who has no concern for me. A blameshifter. Always moving the goal posts. Fucking over both women and our kids. Using his daughter with her as an excuse to see her. He blows up little things he finds with me to try and make what he did seem “ok” to him. He thinks I act nice in front of people so that they pity me. I don’t have to- I never said a word of his infidelity; but the OW posted about their child online and so our family and friends did the math and figured it out. It’s never his fault. He’s been starting the cross the line a little- test the waters? With cruel jokes and telling me I overreact when I get upset. It’s a head fuck. And I’m exhausted of feeling infantilized. I’m tired of feeling like I have to scrape my heart off of the floor every day. I deserve better.

    I’m amazing. I’m awesome. He is a piece of shit. He has destroyed who I was. I’m hoping to rise better, but the journey fucking hurts. I’m terrified For my kids. I am terrified for the physical pain of having to split custody and of Disney dad syndrome and dealing with the OW for the rest of my life as our kids are siblings so close in age. But, I need to refocus on me.

    I am starting the Divorce process. This page gives me strength. Thank you.

  • An addendum to the above post that also has been part of the “unstuck” process: blaming his dad’s death on why he cheated.

    “My dad died young from cancer, you know, and never got to enjoy life. Spent it miserable with my mom. So I don’t want to pass up opportunities.”

    What a disgusting excuse of a human. I must leave to break the cycle of narcissism on he and his mom’s part and save my kids.

    • Dear Mama’s Tired, please take care of yourself. It’s one step at a time and a shock when you realize what you have put up with. The shocks can wear you down, so please be kind to yourself. Take things slowly. Document everything. The court may indeed frown on him for being such a dick. So keep your head down. Breathe. Read everything on this site that pertains to your situation. There are others here who have been through it. You sound like you have pretty cool smarts and a lot of wisdom. Don’t feed into his horrible tactics. Find people who will support you when you decide to make a move.
      You are seeing signs of his cruelty. He could ramp this up if he knows you are determined to leave. So, please be careful. Ask for help from trusted others. Try to get some rest as well.
      You ARE going through a shit storm. But like they say here- the pain is finite. So is the shit storm.
      hugs to you

      • Thank you. I have been playing the long game. The sane one. Hoping as my kids grow up, they know who they can always come to. He’s a Sunday afternoon dad with his other daughter so I suspect he will be with my kids once I leave.

        When I think back on the last three years, I can’t believe how much I’ve stood up against. I am treading carefully. Documenting it all. Putting my own savings aside.

        I’m excited to reach “meh” and stability someday. This has all worn on me. It’s like the bottom dropped out. I never saw it coming.

  • My moment of “unstuck” didn’t come for 10 years. After 30 years and two children it was difficult for it to sink in what had been done to me and my children and letting go for me was very difficult. He was my high school sweetheart and now I’m in my 50’s and alone. But the moment came after he had been married for 10 years to the other woman. (he married her immediately after our divorce). He came to me looking to repair our life. I assumed he meant he wanted to leave her properly and was asking to date me and start over. I was wrong. He was looking for an affair with me. At that moment, I knew that I needed to finally let go, that this man was not the man I remembered from my early life with him.

  • What got me unstuck was in reading CL (even though I didn’t want to in the beginning – I thought she was too harsh!) and then I started to make a list of things my X did that was bad/good. The “bad” list was crazy long, and I kept adding to it everyday, for the next few weeks. I was dumbstruck as to how little received in the relationship, even when I did ask (one of the most vivid things I remembered was asking him to be kinder to me as I cried. Pffft).

    The number of things on the “good” list was superficial, and was whenever he felt like throwing me a bone, or when he had a shred of human emotion. No sharing of housework, unappreciative, wasn’t interested in what I did (and yet talks all the time about his stupid stuff), threatens me when we get into arguments, gave me the silent treatment, etc. All of this for 16 years. I deserve more than being treated like an invisible housemaid, and a blow-up sex doll who we went to for business/people advice.

    That’s when I realised that even without the cheating, I was better off without this sorry excuse for a life partner. The cheating was just the impetus I needed to kick him out of my life because he’s a broken man and shitty partner – I just didn’t notice manipulative/narcissistic behaviours before. It all clicked then. Getting over my marriage and him was very easy after that.

    I also started to learn more about healthy relationships and boundaries, and realised that deep down, I know what those are. Being in an emotionally abusive relationship for so long has conditioned me to be okay with receiving very little, while shelling out too much in the hopes of rekindling good times, exacerbated by my own parent’s unhealthy relationship dynamics (a realisation I also came to after the X cheated).

  • It all came together for me in what I would describe as a mighty story. 7 year marriage, 2 year old daughter, 5 month affair.
    I lurked this site for a month while I had the “gut feeling”.
    I caught her and had the exact same Dday experience as almost everyone here.
    I spent 10 months suffering. Forget sleep, concentrating at work, it was a survival mission. Got counseling, got back in the gym, and picked up golf.
    I prayed and meditated and analyzed the situation very carefully for many months. Critical analysis came from this site. My spouse’s words were the same, the actions were the same, the results were the same. Your stories gave me the wisdom and strength that I prayed for every day.
    But what propelled me to ACTION? The time came to change the situation (10 months of “reconciliation”). I woke up one day, wanted a final straw, and I found it quickly. It just cinched up the whole mess with a nice CN bow.
    It was tame by cheater standards, but she was liking AP’s Instagram photos a full six months after supposedly cutting contact. If you read CL you know this is classic and let’s all just smile about it.
    Surprisingly it was a relief! I dug deep for my marriage and family and there was nothing left to do. The only available solution was MOVE ON and GET OVER IT.
    I’m proud of myself. I feel great. I’m 28, have the worlds most beautiful 2 year old girl, and my 6 pack is back folks!
    And guess who is begging for me back, telling me everything I wanted to hear, pulling all the standard shit I’ve read on this very site!
    CN already knows I only got these crumbs after I told her I FILED for divorce and am moving out.
    Let’s fucking go chump nation!
    I am escaping infidelity and it is not only the right decision, it is the correct decision. I have a clear conscience and I can’t wait to move forward.
    I’m taking my life back every day and I’m chasing my future with my daughter’s best interests first and foremost.
    One of the best things about this site is that it helped me not take this betrayal so personally. We’ve all been fooled by the same damn cheaters’ playbook. I honestly would not have gotten out for another 5 years if it weren’t for this community. Thank you.

  • I got unstuck gradually but once I did I could never go back. The affair was the last straw. He basically left me in the US while he was in our home country. I was two months postpartum, and had planned for him to come and take me and our baby home. Thank God my mother was with me after delivery. I asked her to extend her stay by another fifteen days. Long story short, I had to pack my up place and prepare it for rental, ship my stuff out, sell what I could, applied for my sons passport and my dad sent us tickets to go home. Ex did nothing except saying “you’re doing great good luck” and “I just have no feelings for you” though I asked him to not be so cruel when I’m so overwhelmed. I got no logistical/practical help from him OR his family. I reached home and tried reconciliation for two months before I realized I’m being treated worse than trash and my son needs me to be happy and SANE. Thats when I woke up and kicked him to the curb. Soon after that I started hearing about WHY this happened. I never confronted him, didn’t want to be lied to anymore. Once I had enough evidence staring me in the face, I got unstuck automatically. If my son hadn’t been born, I would’ve stayed but I was angry on behalf of my newborn. Good riddance to bad rubbish.CL brings me back on track every time I feel bad for ditching him, and I know my son deserves better than a father who does this cut and run crap.

  • Unsticking was a long painful process. But two incidents stand out, in finally goading me into pursuing divorce for real:

    Him telling me sadly, “I kind of hope it doesn’t work out with her, because I miss home”.He’d finally made a statement so nuts it was unspackleable. I finally realized I was Plan B (or Plan C since I wasn’t even specifically mentioned in that comment). I filed for divorce the next day.

    Him crying during our week-long wreckonciliation (spurred by my divorce filing apparently). Because of us? No, because “he missed her so much” and felt bad he’d hurt her feelings by abandoning her in their hotel room to come back to me. Then he wiped off his tears and asked me for sex. I was completely flummoxed on how to respond, but was pretty sure no human being should have to put up with such a bizarro situation. He left again the next day, for good.

    Oh, and reading lots of ChumpLady posts and comments was a key part of getting unstuck too.

  • Never had to get unstuck. To be honest, I wasn’t aware at the time that there was anything to get unstuck from. But one day, my XW gave me the ILYBINILWY speech, followed the next day by “I don’t love you anymore. I want to be single. I want a divorce.” And she left.

  • I’m somewhat of a newbie – been pouring over CL’s site since DDay 2 in May of 2016 hoping she was wrong and that I had a unicorn. Very condensed story, but after tons of tears, fighting, counseling, hoping and praying he’d never set a foot wrong again, my significant other was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s in July of 2019. Tough diagnosis and I was all in to take care of him. He couldn’t work, couldn’t keep track of a thought most of the time. He sat in the house all day every day, while I did *ALL* of the adulting for two. I came home from work the Friday before Labor Day weekend, looking forward to maybe finally doing something fun for a change … the beach, perhaps?… turned on the computer and he had forgotten to close out of the browser with his email up on it. Tons of emails from”findmyflings.com,” “xxxmilfs.com,” “adultcrush.com,” “naughtydate.com” etc. etc. etc. and it was honestly the last fucking straw. I finally saw that I was now taking care of someone who was never going to take care of me; never going to put me first – even if he finally wanted to, he no longer had the capacity. I literally told him to pack a bag and GTFO. He said but I love you, but but but but. Didn’t care. He said “but where?” I said “anywhere but here.” It’s been getting easier, but the holidays were rough. Chump Lady has (and all y’all have) literally saved my sanity. Bless you.

  • I saw a movie about the same situation I was in, recognized how fucked up it was from an outsider’s perspective, realized that the victim in the movie wasn’t even remotely to blame and the abuser was just that, and was finally willing to believe I wasn’t either making too big a deal of it or somehow bringing it on myself.

  • I can’t say for sure I’m unstuck, I hope I’ll finally wake up now. It’s been three years out of a two-decade wonderful marriage with a wonderful man that turned into a wonderful monster. But last week I was telling him about what my two kids were saying about the OW, one of the things was that she hurt my daughter (could have been mean or could have been an accident, but I’m not going to take a chance) and first he told me that he thinks my daughter is making it up and then he said that I had no saying in his life. I found out about the cheating (after being vehemently denied for 2.5 years and I realized he took the control away from everything in my life, he destroyed our family, he destroyed me, and NEVER asked me back or apologized, but I realized he took away my right to be angry about being cheated because when he showed up with the OW, they pretended their relationship had started a year ago, so instead of a wife that was mad because her husband cheated and a homewrecker, the story was about a bitter ex-wife that can’t move on and it’s jealous of this poor guy being happy with his new girlfriend. Even my own family told me that. I’m like: no! And also I was watching the new documentary about Ted Bundy on Amazon (portraying the woman that was his long time girlfriend and her daughter), and I saw the damage that was done to the daughter, I mean, of course, It’s Ted Bundy so- no brainer there, but I was amazed at how the daughter was hurt by her mom’s inability get emotionally away from him, even after knowing about everything he did. I was watching this woman being in love and connected with a monster, and although mine is not like that, I could see myself in her…..a part of me felt like: “what a fricking idiot, wake up!” , but mostly I was thinking:” This poor woman, I feel so bad for her because I act the same”.I realized my daughters are watching me and I’m just always unhappy and on autopilot and unfortunately, their dad is “gone” ( the super dad mask is still there), but the fact that I’m still so connected to him is making them have behavior issues and they are failing at school. It’s my fault? No, but what can I do? I need to wake up and finally get out of this fricking fog.

  • I will tell of two stories… helping my chump friend leave/get unstuck (5 years before being chumped myself) and then my own unstuck moment.

    1. My (then) husband and I went down to visit a town where we lived for a decade and visit friends. My husband invited a friend’s husband out to a beer festival. My husband thought the guy was acting weird and it was a strange night – very different from their past connections. Anyway, I found out the next day that my friend’s husband, C, was having an affair right under my friend’s watch. My friend had some medical issues that her husband C was using against her, but he was basically flaunting his relationship and his girlfriend had just moved across the country to be near him and continue the affair. So… I found out, we made a plan, and I came over to her house and kicked him out. I stood there supporting her in the living room as she confronted him and sent him out. Before I left town my then husband I helped her get a lawyer, helped her pack some of his stuff, and helped her when she told the kids. Basically, I was her support in that last D-Day and have been since – even after being chumped myself. We now support each other and although she is 6+ years out from kicking C out (and 7+ from her first D-Day, which I didn’t know about until after that weekend) and I am only about year out from my D-Day. We are interestingly at different points of healing at any one time and it’s comforting to have someone who really understands your hot/cold/random emotions that this roller coaster of being chumped does to you.

    2. Now me… about a year ago I found my XH and his ho-worker girlfriend having sex in our house after their work holiday party… while super drunk and within minutes of me talking to them after XH had texted that “a coworker needs to crash on our couch since they drank too much to drive.” I kicked XH out right then and there in the middle of the night at -9 deg F outside. I steeled my heart that night and swore to never let him try to even explain himself to me again because if he didn’t have the respect to talk to me about his concerns over our relationship, and to just pretend all was ok and good and “hoped that things would get better for me” instead of discussing, he didn’t deserve to know my feelings or have any closure with me. We had a few talks, but luckily I had heard the same sad-sausage songs from my friend’s experience that I knew so much of his lip-service was to make himself feel better and wasn’t about respecting me or my feelings. I discarded him from then on. It was my turn to be disrespectful.

    It was oddly easy to keep my heart broken and never consider being with him again. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t devastated and bawling and hardly without thoughts how I lost my 20+ year husband and friend, I am still mourning that. But I never once wanted him back or considered his feelings above mine and the kids again.

  • After 12 years of cheating on me, draining me financially, DWI’s, dragging two innocent child into the mix.. The final straw was when he started sleeping with married women from my sons sports teams.. Women I knew and started just intentionally flirting with them right in front of me.. Then saying “You weren’t giving me what I needed so I found it elsewhere”.. He felt entitled to have whatever he wanted at the expense of me, the kids, the family finances and my health.. I was done finally just done!!!! A year a half from d-day and I am still angry

  • What got me unstuck was the months of gaslighting and blaming me for her affair and total refusal to accept any responsibility. That and the constant attempts at manipulation and money grabs. She morphed into a total piece of crap and after months of “pick me dancing”, I realized she was such a drain on my life and not worth any more of my heartache. It turned to anger.

  • After 4 years of attempting reconciliation, the first chance he got on a hunting trip with our sons and my uncles, he had some beers and messaged a bunch of women on facebook and gave one of them his work number. I, too, felt that rubberband I have seen others mention. I have not confronted him about it and I wont. I am carefully planning my escape which will take a very long time. I finally feel like I am in control and he has no idea.

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