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‘I Just Want My Life Back’

Dear Chump Lady,

It has been 3 years since I found out about the emotional affair my husband was having with a coworker. They kissed. That was as far as it had gone when I found out. They are together now and living together. So clearly, it went further than a kiss!

I simply cannot get to the nirvana that is meh and it is driving me nuts.

Quick synopsis. Met at 21, married at 30, tried for a family & had multiple miscarriages. We moved from the UK to the US for his job. I wanted to be supportive of his career and was excited for a new start. We talked about IVF as we were struggling to get pregnant. He wanted to wait a year before we started treatment and enjoy our time in a new city/country. I understood that, but I didn’t want to wait as I was already 35 with a history of fertility troubles, but anyway I went along with it. Or so I though…

A year later, we start our first round of IVF. I did get pregnant but miscarried. I then found out about his emotional affair. It was by me looking at his phone. I am not proud about that. I read intimate texts between them and learnt they had kissed. She was also married. This is all while i was going through fertility treatment.

I later found out that when I had got the positive pregnancy test they had said to each other ‘if there’s children involved, we need to stop this’ – how noble of them.

Anyway, when I confronted him he said I had gone back on my word of ‘just living and forgetting about trying to get pregnant’ – I thought that is what I had done by agreeing to delay treatment for a year. But apparently I was still obsessed with having a baby. I wouldn’t say obsessed, but yes I agree it was something I really wanted. And thought he did too. So, you can see where the self blame starts…

We went to therapy. I said sorry for not making him a priority. He did not say sorry. I thought we were going to work it out, but in therapy I had to sit and listen to all the terrible things I had done, and all the ways I had failed.

Amongst the things he said were:

– ‘There’s always something wrong with her’ [side not, there wasn’t – apart from infertility]
– ‘The anxiety you showed during IVF made me think about what sort of mother you would be’ [ouch!]
– ‘We have a connection’ [him and this ow]

Then, when we started to talk about his unmet needs he said i should know what he needs without him having to tell me. Er what???!!!!

So, I did all the things you I shouldn’t do. I did the pick me dance over and over again.

I told him I was going to stop going to therapy with him until he had decided what he wanted. He continued therapy on his own.

After 8 months, still no real change. We were in limbo.

So, I left. I think that is the most cruel thing about this is that I had to make the decision to leave. He should have just left me and then I could hate him.

I have questioned myself again and again. Should I have stayed, was there more I could have done. I still love him and think about him every day and it’s been three years. We are now divorced (I organised and paid all the legal fees associated with the divorce).

I find summer really hard as I have all these flashbacks to when we were young and carefree on our summer holidays. I just want my life back. I cry in the shower because I miss my husband and our life so much. It’s pretty pathetic when I think about it!.

I know on an intellectual level that he’s a shit and I am better off without him. I am also proud of myself for having left and keeping something of my dignity. BUT how do I get to meh on an emotional level? I am exhausted of thinking about him and just want to move on.

Please help me get to meh. I beg of you.

Queen Chump of Chumpy Land

Dear Queen Chump of Chumpy Land,

Sorry, I don’t have a magic meh wand. I’m not a wizard. I’m just a crazy-haired, middle-aged woman with a blog. If I could confer instant healing upon you, I would.

Please listen to your intellectual self — he’s a SHIT. You miss the dream. You miss a very specific dream of what you Thought It Would Be — a committed partner, a nuclear family, children. And he shat upon that dream, and your mind misdirected, misses HIM. The guy who shat on the dream. When really, you’re missing the dream.

You thought he was going to deliver that dream, be the man he promised to be. When his behavior from the get-go was not all in.

I know, I know — he pretended to be all in. That’s on him. We all make this mistake. But look at the guy’s actions.

You meet him at 21 and don’t marry until 9 years later. Whoosh! There go your primo fertility years.

You marry at 30 and try to get pregnant, but when you want to IVF he tries to put you off for a SOLID YEAR. For what? To sightsee? Like women with expanding uteruses are banned from tourism? And you go along with this?

Oh, don’t mind me here, I’ll fold my needs into tiny, tragic origami and stuff them into the recess of my soul…

Then, while (at last!) you put yourself through the torture of fertility treatments — he cheats.

when I confronted him he said I had gone back on my word of ‘just living and forgetting about trying to get pregnant’ 

Oh really? YOU’re the vow-breaker here? Holy blameshifting, Batman. I think the only justice here would be to fuck him with a speculum, inject his ass with hormones, and when he can’t sit or shit, tell him how unlovable this makes him.


So, I left. I think that is the most cruel thing about this is that I had to make the decision to leave. He should have just left me and then I could hate him.

Please go right ahead and hate him! It would be so much better than sad Queen. He’s a lazy-ass motherfucker who — insult to injury — let you be the Bad Guy. So he could withhold this One Last Thing — you getting on with your life.

Don’t you see what a withholding awful man he is? And now, you’re doing his dirty work for him — you’re giving him all this power, for free! to keep your life in limbo mourning him.

Stop giving him that power! You cannot get to meh until you see things AS THEY ARE. Meh is acceptance. And the terrible thing you must accept (that every chump must accept) is that you invested in a dreadful person.

Oh I know, they were lovely on that holiday, they knit you a sweater once, some of us made children in their image. There were hooks.

But the CRUELTY and the disregard for your health and mental-well-being, the craven way he played with your life’s investment in him — that ECLIPSES what he brought to the table. (What was that anyway? A warm vial of sperm? You can buy those. Or find a man with a turkey baster.)

He does not DESERVE you missing him. Tell yourself that. Repeat “Trust That He Sucks.” Maybe paint it on a prayer wheel, or chant it over rosary beads. Whatever it takes, exorcise his memory and get out with NEW DREAMS.

Have a long, hard look at your dreams. You wanted to be a parent? Do IVF without him. Look into adoption. Become a foster parent. There are so many children out there who need a sane parent to lavish all their love on them. Spend your love THERE. That’s a family! It’s a REAL family! Minus a fuckwit, which makes it a really awesome family because so many of the DNA families have fuckwits. But you can customize your family to be fuckwit-free!

It’s all on how you frame it. Queen, I know you’ve been grieving. It’s time to reframe.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Queen – Part of it is that YOU spent so much time and energy making the relationship happen and he…coasted.

    So, you’re exhausted from all that investment in a bad relationship and a bad person. Then you beat yourself up for not seeing all the red flags because you had invested emotionally too soon and too deeply.

    Okay. That smarts. Badly. You don’t get to rewind time and fertility.

    But you DO have decades of fresh air ahead of you without someone who wasn’t truly IN the relationship with YOU. I am willing to bet that he had plenty of other “emotional” relationships before this one. Hell, I’m willing to bet that he was already interested in her when he got the job if they are in the same field. He strikes me as being THAT lazy.

    Dry your tears. Get a nice hardbound journal. Look into being a foster parent if you are truly interested in doing so. Consider therapy to help you SEE the red flags when they appear in your peripheral vision, or right in front of your nose.

    Big hugs.

    • Queen, “You can customize your family to be fuckwit free.” You are the winner here. You were brave and mighty. You wisely divorced that fuckwit and paid for it too. That makes you the winner here. You refused to be disrespected. I salute you. You are a badass, Queen.

      Read about Trauma Bonds, that helped me. Seeing how I repeated patterns of behavior helped me end those patterns. I couldn’t have done that work without my earthbound angel of a therapist. Get you a therapist who agrees adultery is abuse. Your self esteem has taken a major blow. Do the work to regain a balanced perception of yourself.

      Queen, it isn’t too late for you to have the family you crave. Take a deep breath and get to work. Do the work to make that happen. You can do it. Use all the tools, therapy, journaling, exercise, listen to uplifting podcasts, memorize LACGAL, heal your broken heart and make a family.

      • I’m sure Queen isn’t missing him so much, as the lost chance at motherhood w/in a nuclear family. That deserves mourning. She would have been a great mother, and he couldn’t be bothered to noticed. What an evil bastard. Be the great mother Queen, somehow, someway.

    • Sweetheart, it was *never* you. You wasted some precious time on an evil, selfish, vicious fucker.

      You are still young enough to have a child, adoption, fostering, if that’s what you want. Just be glad you’re away from a piece of scum who never deserved you. xx

  • Hi Queen,

    I also struggle with missing the dream I was sold. I think it makes it especially hard when they move on so quickly. It feels very lonely to know that not only was a large chunk of my life was a lie, but I was the only one fool enough to believe it.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I promise it gets better! I’m not at meh yet, but I’m starting to see with clear eyes that he really does suck. Most days, I think about how happy I am to not feel anxious ALL the time. Worrying about what he’s thinking, doing, saying; or not doing, not thinking, and not saying.

    You still have plenty of time to build the life you want. All the while, he’ll be stuck being his shitty self.


    • Queen, this is so familiar. My ex set it all up so that I had to be the dumper. He’s the victim but I won’t go into it here just how heinous his cheating was AND it’s all my fault. Own it that YOU left. Fuck him. I know you’re missing the fantasy but he wouldn’t have stopped cheating if you’d had a child together- so don’t torture yourself with that thought. It’s astounding to me how many chumps in here were cheated on during pregnancy and during cancer treatments. They’re non discriminating because they don’t care. That’s the horrible part. My ex now blames me for the horrible mother that I am, that I make his relationship with our daughter hard for him, that I’m a money grabber, on and on. So see? It’s just how they are, and you are mighty because you left! Time to go for radical self love and love yourself in all those ways you were loving him. It was one sided then and now you will have the benefit of all that love for yourself! Good for you for having boundaries-it was never going to stop. You have a whole chump nation that will tell you that and we’re behind you!

  • Wow. This was something I definitely needed to read and think about today. I’ve been divorced now for 2 and a half years. It took me a year and a half of therapy and reading chumplady to get to meh. I’ve met a nice guy. My son likes him too. And yet, I start missing the fuckwit. Thanks for helping me realize it is really the dream of a typical nuclear family that I am missing. I don’t miss the fuckwit and his demands.
    Thanks Chumplady.

    • He fucked around on you while you were trying to get pregnant and going through fertility treatments and maybe while you were pregnant and miscarried.
      He’s no kind of partner. He’s a schmuck. And the sooner you open your eyes and recognize that he is never going to be who you fantasized him to be, the sooner you see your life and its possibilities for what it is – not a dream but real life with you in it getting to choose without a fuckwit sabotaging you and mindfucking you.
      You’re free now lady. The married ow that he’s future faking with now, deserves that fraud. You don’t. And thank God for that.
      You want that life back? You never had that life – what you had was what you described above and that doesn’t sound very fun or good for you.
      You are the valuable part of the equation in your life – you.

  • You left. You are so much stronger than you know. I also did IVF and it is not for the faint of heart. He is a monster for cheating and especially so for holding your desire for children against you when you were so much more than accommodating. I think you already know he is a creep of the first order. Make a new life and try to realize how much better it is to be rid of him. You already did good.

  • Oh CL! That was so helpful! Why certain nuggets of truth resonate in a certain day, who knows? This was excellent.
    ‘And he shat upon that dream, and your mind misdirected, misses HIM. The guy who shat on the dream. When really, you’re missing the dream.’
    I’ve told myself this for years, but you shined a light on the logic and wisdom of it.
    That lifted me up out of a semi inflexible lotus position trying to untangle the skein, once again.
    Thanks a bunch!

  • I am so sorry to read how cruel your husband was. I do agree that you miss a DREAM, not this man. This man is dreadful. His mask of the loving guy fell off and I think you are lucky it happened before you set up a family with him. If somebody is able to be so cruel to his partner the moment he likes the other woman – you have nothing to miss about him. People can fall out of love, they can want to try themselves outside a marriage, it’s life. The clue is if they handle that with or without respect to the person that spent years by their side. He wanted more, he wanted new – fine. But then come to ur wife, be sincere and propose an honest divorce agreement. And then go and build a new life with other people. It’d still hurt, sure – but the respect would still be there. Cheating and blameshifting is an ultimate lack of respect. I know you were craving for children but it’s better to have them with somebody decent. If you cannot find a partner and you are financially stable – try to adopt! Single mom with huge heart is a great parent for lonely children!
    And 3 years it’s a lot – I also think it’s a high time to reframe!

  • 6 months Dday and still cry everyday- just not for as long. Doing a
    the recommended healing things during social distancing – therapy, meditation, reading everything out there. I just want to say that being left does not make it easier. In addition to everything, you were rejected again – even when you tried to work with your cheater, minimize the wrecking ball to your lives and go for counselling and blah blah blah.
    I wish he had wanted to stay and I got to be the mighty one and save my dignity by leaving him.
    Being betrayed and then dumped for someone with zero integrity who could care less about breaking up two families is a double whammy.
    My life with my cheater was actually very good – until I found out about the betrayal and that he was planning on leaving me (all the while making me think things were fine) .
    It does make it extra hard when life with your cheater was good. Even though he wasn’t being authentic, I really do miss his in authentic self!
    He too had a ‘connection’ …. and that really does burn. How can anyone say that with a straight face in the context of a marriage. As if ‘a connection’ that you keep building justifies anything .

    • Queen,
      Being abandoned when you found out does NOT make it easier. It actually hurts worse because you are double rejected. It’s terrible. And be glad that you didn’t have kids with that asshat so then you would get to watch the OW parent YOUR children with YOUR husband. That’s a whole new level of shit that doesn’t go away EVER.

      It’s hard to get through this shit. I hope that someday I will reach meh, but it’s been 2.5 years and I’m still not there yet, but I’m doing much, much better.

    • I think as chumps we are trained to focus in the good in others. Try to focus on what really happened and you will start to see that it wasn’t that good . You were a good at spackling their shitty behavior! It was going on all along. Then you realize it was nothing to miss.
      My ex always made a joke that I deserved a break in a hotel room with a sprite. (I never got that break) but most importantly I never drank sprite ( he didn’t even know me) we were married over 10 years.

      • I agree FindingPeace. I think also generally as women we are trained to minimise our desires for theirs. We won’t want to be demanding or god forbid ‘high maintenance’ and try to ‘make them happy’. But we are entitled to our wants as much as they are. We squeaze our needs into a match-box but it doesn’t work anyway. They are the entitled selfish ones. Must be to cheat!
        Queen, you should congratulate yourself on leaving. You know you deserve better. Trust that he sucks.

    • Zip, there are all types of cheaters and they all suck. However, the cheater that makes you believe everything is honky dory while taking deliberate measures to undermine their spouse, family and marriage is in the category of sub-human. Your cheater never had an authentic self and he never will….all he is doing is mirroring caring human behavior. These cheaters are the ones that will murder or kill if they will somehow benefit and sleep like a baby that very night. I feel rather confident you will eventually learn he engaged in bad behavior throughout your relationship and kept you in the dark.

    • I keep telling myself that my life with the cheater was good too. I thought it was and I saw glimpses of his authentic self-whatever that means. But I truly believe that even though it’s shitty and mind numbingly painful, we have to realize that they are lying liars who lie and that is abuse and that has done damage. The wonderful soul mate of mine was 25 years as my best friend, father of my child, business partner and the.discarded me like trash. One day all lovely, next day BOOM! The deception unfolded and he literally looked different as he started the process of trickling the truth. It’s horrible. You’re not alone Zip. Let’s be mighty!! Fuck them.

  • Queen Chump of Chumpy Land, my exhusband has a lot of similarities as yours. Made us wait to have children, then we HE finally gave the green light (in my 30’s at this point) I had trouble getting pregnant. I went to fertility clinics alone (he was “working”), did tests alone, tracked my ovulation, ate right, the whole thing. All while he was cheating. I knew something was wrong and would tell him something isn’t right and he would blame-shift and gaslight me, tell me I was the problem all while saying he didn’t want a divorce.

    It was ME who had to do something about it. I hired a lawyer and took him to mediation, he was livid with me. I was so tired of being alone in our marriage though, he left me no choice. These men took our fertile years and then they expect us to keep living in a marriage alone while they run off with their mistress on weekends.

    I’m the opposite though, I don’t see myself as the bad guy for making the first move to start divorce. In my mind it was a result of his actions. Even when we parted ways on moving day, he said he wish it hadn’t come to this (a divorce) and I responded with “you choose this for us” and he had tears in his eyes and said “I know, I’m sorry”. I didn’t let him see my cry, I cried on my way to my new apartment.

    He will never be part of my life again as much as I miss our memories and the man I married. He wasn’t real and he has to live the rest of his life knowing he lost a good woman. He could never be trusted again and that chapter is now closed. My heart is open to finding someone new, my exhusband had his chance and yours did too. Hugs to you.

    • “He has to live the rest of his life knowing he lost a good woman.” That’s how I used to think. But honestly, you really are a dime a dozen — at least to him. If he had valued what he had, he would never have risked losing it. He is not as deep as you’ve given him credit. He’s shallow. And that’s the problem with all us that get stuck. We keep projecting our empathy and compassion onto someone who doesn’t have it or ever will. It’s all about them and for their entire lives it will always be about them. But they sure are good at ‘faking’ like they’re deeper than that. They’re good at it because they honestly believe they’re great people. But great people don’t fuck over the ones they purport to love. Just because he’s unable to recognize the ‘good woman’ that he lost, doesn’t mean that you’re not a good person. That also got me stuck. I actually doubted myself. But over time I came to believe that I’m a wonderful human being just the way I am and he was, and will continue to be, the big loser. He will always be looking for someone else to ‘make him believe he’s wonderful’. That will never happen. You have to believe it yourself.

      • I don’t know. I had someone very close to me die when he was 65. Just before he died he said he was regretful with how much he hurt his ex-wife and wished she was there with him. He knew he messed up, it just took him most of his life to realize he lost a good woman. He never remarried but had different woman in and out of his life after his ex-wife and him divorced but he never really could find what he had with his ex-wife. He was very prideful and never admitted it until he was dying.

        I’m sure many cheaters never really grasp what they had but for this man he did and I really believe my exhusband will regret losing me. I don’t think me believing this will hold me back from moving on, everyone is different though so I get what you’re saying.

        • My father was an abusive man to my mother the 12 years they were together. He was awful. Alcholic. Dangerous. Cheater. By the time I was 17, he was completely cut out of my life. I even legally changed my last name to take on my mother’s family name to mark my new life without my father. I didn’t see him again until I was almost 33 (on my wedding day).

          We now have a cordial relationship. He lives in another country, so I don’t have a lot of contact. I have no expectations and I have enjoyed my chats with him, learning more about his upbringing and family history.

          My father is a very sad man. He has nothing. Although he’s not likely to spew out apologies, he makes no attempts to ever defend his actions. I’ve heard from others that when he’s drunk he has even become suicidal about how badly he’s messed up his life. He speaks very highly and regretfully about my mother, not one disparaging word. I took my children to meet him overseas and he cried like a baby. I often caught him with tears in his his eyes during that time I spent with him. He sees how well my brother and I have done in our lives – educated, professional, community-oriented, happy. He knows he had nothing to do with it and that none of it belongs to him. He could have had it all, and he threw it away. He’s alone, having never been able to sustain a relationship for more than a few years.

          I do believe that many come to regret what they have done. I’ve heard a number of stories of ex’s who suddenly get sentimental with their ex-spouse at a major event, such as when their children marry or when they get sick. Personally, I don’t know that I would ever want to hear my ex say he regrets what he did. Sure, it would be good to know but if he were to actually say it to me, I think I might actually get violent on him.

          • OptionNoMore, yes I’ve heard of it too. It seems some experience regret at major roads in life. That’s a very sad story about your father, he sounds like he knows his misery is his own doing which has got to be very painful.

            • I believe some have regret and remorse, but I think it’s all about them.
              It’s what THEY lost. When they realize they are no longer on fantasy Island -it’s all about what a waste it all was (for them).
              When relationships aren’t great with their children, it’s about poor them.
              I wouldn’t let my cheater see his stepchildren right away to say goodbye – (too traumatic we needed time )…he was destroyed, but it was all about him and how he needed closure…
              Maybe the deathbed is different.

          • I don’t trust that they have regrets, they will use any excuse for attention and sympathy.
            They had opportunities to make amends or live a settled life For years and they chose not to.
            They might regret being on their own and not having anyone.
            Their values or lack of don’t change.
            I might be wrong but I can’t help thinking they don’t change even on their death bed. It’s all about them.

            • This, Gayna! They mourn their lost paradise which was a living hell for those around them.
              This post/discussion came timely. I was msg with a fellow chump whose cheater texted her at 1am to ask whether the little ones were sleeping safe and sound. WTF? I told her, I call this narco-sentimental. There he is in bed with the ow in a nice apartment, late on child support and after she replied with ‘yes’, he postpones visitation day because something came up.

          • I think it is just them feeling very sorry for themselves. In a way they know they screwed up and realize they would have had a better life in old age if they had stuck with wife and family. However, I believe they would do it all over again if they had a do over.

        • I was trying to tell AmazonChump I totally agree with you! My ex is excellent at image management. Said horrible things to me. Told me OWhore was God sent, love of his life, etc. Married her two weeks to the day after our divorce. Eleven weeks to the day after they married, he was knocking on my door playing sad sausage, saying how sorry he was, he missed me, loved me. I wanted to throw up and couldn’t get him out of my home fast enough.

          The point of my post is they care for no one but themselves! He supposedly found the love of his life, but as soon as he had put her on a plane to go help some friends, he was at my door.

          It was the best thing that could have happened. I realized in that moment no one meant anything to him! How I have wished all the flying monkeys at his so called church, that he had convinced I was a horrible person, knew he had come to try to cheat on her with me.

          I’m so happy to be free of that sparkling turd, glad the OWhore has to deal with him. The two of them deserve each other. He is her 4th husband, lol. She won’t dump him because he has money and she is 56 looking like she has been rode hard and put up wet. She is as mean as hell. I giggle to think what their life must be like.

          Sorry about the book, I’m still working on getting it all out of my system.

          • OMG. He actually came to you to express his regrets just mere months after having married the OW?

            That’s nauseating.

            Did he just go back to her? Are they together?

            It’s like a slo-mo train wreck. I can’t help but want to know.

            • I have no idea if they are together or not. I’m assuming that they are. As long as his money holds out, she won’t dump him like the other three. He is her gravy train.

              The only thing I do know is he was arrested and charged with petty misdemeanor battery in March this year.

              How I found out is a letter from an attorney for him showed up in my mailbox. He has been gone three years. I googled the attorney’s name and it was a criminal attorney in our city.

              I went to case lookup for our court system and to my utter shock, there was a criminal filing for him. I don’t know who he is anymore. He was very calm perhaps who never threatened anyone the years I knew him.

              He is lucky the virus came along. He got probation. I only know all this from the case lookup website. I have no clue who was involved. It is not domestic, so know it was not against OWhore.

              I don’t want to know anything about them!!! They make me sick to my stomach!

              I forgot to add that when he came to my house, I was in shock and let him in. The first words out of his mouth were I’ve been thinking of you are you alright. The next thing he said was my life is a mess, my life is a mess, can I stay here blah blah blah.

              He wasn’t missing me, loving me, etc., he was looking for chumpy old me to pick up the pieces, rescue his sorry ass.

              Like CL says, it’s all about them. Like I said, I giggle when I think of those two sparkly turds together!

              • I wanted to add, I did not open the mail to him as that is against the law. The return name and address was on the envelope.

                I wrote return to sender and have not had anymore mail for him. That’s another thing, it has taken three years for mail to finally (I hope) quit coming for him in spite of him filling out change of address forms.

                I tried to do it too, but only the person who has moved can do it legally.

      • Amazon chump
        I cannot agree with you more! Very sad though ????

  • Dear QCCL

    I can sort of relate here . I desperately wanted children I spoke to my ex lots of times about it . It started with him saying we will see , to a no , to a no I never want children to a if you get yourself pregnant ( don’t know how that’s possible ) I will leave you . So I never had children I just accepted that and to keep the peace I never mentioned it again

    My ex got his now wife AP pregnant within weeks of leaving me that absolutely floored me so it was just ME he never wanted children with then !!

    I’m 14 months out from D Day and although I’m no where near Meh I am grateful I don’t have children with him .

    As CL said you have many options open to you if you do want to go down the route of being a parent . I don’t know if you have this in your area but there is an organisation called friend a child which does wonderful work with disadvantaged children they really are great .
    Hugs to you

  • They will try to guilt you for *BEING ANYTHING* YOU ARE, anything!

    We all stand for something or do or want or need *something*.
    That’s being normal people with normal lives.

    But with these cheaters (aka abusers), they manage to make a fault simply being OURSELVES.

    It’s a fine art… I would be impressed, if I weren’t so appalled.

  • It took me 5 years — 3 trying to save the marriage and 2 more after the divorce — until I really felt like I had my head screwed on straight. Even now, I still sometimes grieve for parts of my old life, like summer concert date nights and growing old with someone who loves me. But Chump Lady is right: it’s not really him you miss, it’s the possibilities he represented. The man himself is scum, and you know that.

    The trick now is to create new dreams and new routines that he was never part of. They will eventually fill your life up so much that there will be no more room for him and his garbage. You can still be a mom, even without a partner, if that is very important to you. You can find other people to take summer holidays with, or go by yourself to places that he would never want to see. (I took a very therapeutic solo trip to Alaska a couple summer ago!)

    Keep moving forward even if it’s only baby steps, and eventually you will find that you don’t think about him anymore, and Meh will be right in front of you.

    • Yes, now I can prioritize my needs and desires. Taking the kids on our first family vacation to Hawaii without the Ex was amazing. Even going for a long solo walk listening to music (his weekend with the kids) tonight was wonderful. So much better than those Friday nights after a week of work having to swing bye the grocery store and pick up food & beer because he had invited his coworkers over for drinks/narc kibble. Meanwhile I was immediately expected to go into host mode and take care of the kids. No consideration of what the kids or I wanted to do – forget family dinners out or a Friday night game night – those were my delusions. He wasn’t capable of that – he needed to be worshipped by his friends, coworkers, and the howorker OW.

  • Your story sounds much like that of mine and the very special entitled asshole I married. It sucks and they suck. I am still working on forgiving myself for being young (also 21) and naive and believing in him and that we could ever have had a beautiful life together, ’til death do us part. I’m now in my 40s and he is off with his co-worker living a life free from all my demands and needs. Still not divorced after 2 years, but not for lack of a heck of a lot of work on my part. Time does help with accepting that he sucks. It also makes it easier to see that his vision of the life we had and mine were completely different all along. He didn’t really want a career or a house in the suburbs or a family. He wanted to enjoy his hobbies and have me there to support him, do all the hard work of adulting, and give him attention. Lazy jerk!

    • Good heavens – why hasn’t he signed the damn papers already? Does Adultery Accomplice realize he is the hold-up to her “bliss”?

      I’m rooting for you that it is legally ended soon.

    • I had chills down my spine reading the original post, for a moment I thought: “Was I drunk one day and wrote to Chump Lady?” and now I read what you wrote and same same story. He says that the terms of the divorce “are not fair” to him while having a mistr…I mean, girlfriend or howorker and still stalling the divorce process. She will never leave him because she is poor and he is powerful, and she is convinced she hit the jackpot, but “things that make you go hmmm”, almost 4 years, and he still is married to his “horrible wife”? I can only imagine the stories he tells about me “refusing” to sign the papers. It’s been hell for me but I finally decided I WANT OUT OF THIS MESS. The good memories are slowly disappearing, like on Back to the Future, when Marty’s picture with his siblings starts fading because his parents weren’t going to meet? I don’t even know the person I married and thought was my best friend. I could find out that when I was giving birth and he was the perfect father, he could be meeting with another woman while I was in the hospital, I could find out that when we were happily visiting Disneyworld he was having cybersex with a Philipino prostitute and I would not be surprised. He is a stranger I don’t want to meet and it sucks that we have kids together, but I am also focusing on adulting for my kids and behaving like a decent person, just like you.

  • “I then found out about his emotional affair. It was by me looking at his phone. I am not proud about that.”

    You saw something that felt off and followed your instincts and found out you were correct. You took care of yourself. You should be very proud of that. You took care of yourself by divorcing him and leaving. There is nothing wrong and everything right about that.

    You haven’t arrived at meh yet because you keep waiting for him to take care of you. He never did and he’s never going to. Sure, he promised to but the guy is all words and no follow through.

    I’m so sorry about your problems with infertility. I found out in my 30s I wasn’t able to have children but I’ve always had ambivalence around being a mother and what sort of mother I would be. I didn’t have that need to be a mother but I still talked with a counselor about it extensively, about adoption, and other things. Not all counselors and therapists are assholes so perhaps you could find one that can help you through your feeling around this.

    I hope at the very least you will come to be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself.

  • He’s a shit, but you know that already. Keep reading the stories here and you will feel better eventually.

    That said I do not agree completely with CL. For one; whats wrong for not marrying young? I say: why marry at all. if you want to marry at least wait untill you’re a bit older and both have had time to develop to adult people. 21 is too soon to marry in my opnion.
    Second: why is it wrong for him to want to postpone IVF after 5 years of trying to get a baby and moving to another continent for work. That is a lot of change and I would need time to get settled in a new country. Then have all the stress of IVF and what not. I dont see anything wrong with that. Somehow is his wish to wait inferior to a woman’s wish to get pregnant? What also could have happened is that he was getting doubts about the relationship and didn’t want to bring a child into that situation. If so, he should have been open and upfront about that if he was having doubts and not start an affair.
    Just my thoughts

    • GuideDog,
      You have a point that the Cheater’s requests looked reasonable at the time – good manipulators do a good job at manipulating. You can see his disordered character more clearly in hindsight. She waited the year, but by then the rules had changed: He said she had gone back on her word. Which she had not.
      And then of course he shows his true character by cheating.
      Cheater’s gaslight by saying “reasonable” things and then twist and twist. No wonder Queen is struggling with the epic mind fuckery.

      • I’m not denying he was gaslighting. All cheaters do. I’m just saying that I don’t agree that it was wrong by default. CL pointed it out as a red flag, though I’m saying it doesn’t have to be a bad sign per se.
        But again: he’s an ass for what he did

        • But they are red flags taken in context with other things. It is a red flag that when one partner really wants kids, the other doesn’t suggest a) therapy to discuss their differences b) other options c) a timeline that works for both. It’s a red flag when someone dictates how something so important will go solely on their terms. It is important for people to know this so they can assess the situation properly and leave in a timely manner. And marrying young isn’t the ideal. But if it is important to one person and the other is stringing them along saying “maybe later” frequently (which I imagine may have happened here given the IVF convos), that is also a red flag. We have to be careful normalizing entitled behavior in a society that is already normalizing it. Healthy relationships involve communication, compromise, and respect for the other person’s wants and needs. Respect being that they at least hear, acknowledge, and try to be fair.

          • It’s not clear what the timeline about postponing IVF for a year really was in relation to having arrived in a new country, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that it could have been a stalling tactic used by the ex-husband to not fully commit to his wife and marriage. That becomes more evident when he later on went on to basically say that she forced IVF on him later on.

            The strange things they say.

            I thought we had a plan, my husband and I. We had discussed timelines for things as we were already 30s when our relationship became serious. The timeline included how to have our kids before 40. So when our son was approaching 2, I brought up with my husband if it was time to start trying for our second. That was it. I took my temperature for a couple of months (literally two) to assess better fertility. We were blessed not to have any complications.

            But, years later, during “wreckonciliation,” what was one of the knives he twisted in my back? To point out how “I controlled everything,” he said that he hated the way I approached him about having our daughter. What? I still don’t know exactly what he felt the problem was. Is it he didn’t want to have another child? He didn’t like that for two months I took my temperature and let him know when the best days were? That was literally the extent of it. All I remember is a willing husband who was thinking that it would be nice if our next child would turn out to be a girl.

            It’s all mindfuckery. No doubt he was already thinking he was in over his head with adulting but didn’t have the balls to speak up. I think that’s the problem with all our cheaters. They are emotionally immature people who can’t really handle adult life but tried to play the part until they couldn’t anymore.

            • This is spot on “they are emotionally immature people who can’t really handle adult life but tried to play the part until they couldn’t anymore”.

              They are just aging adolescents.

              • “they are emotionally immature people who can’t really handle adult life but tried to play the part until they couldn’t anymore”.

                You nailed it!

    • 21 is too young (ask me how I know) but 9 years? At some point you need to shit or get off the pot. Late 20’s is still better than mid 30s when it comes to conception. 40 may be the new 30 but the vast majority of ovaries haven’t received that memo.

      Bottom line is whatever his wishes were, CL wasn’t putting them above hers. She’s calling him a shit for not being honest about them. He asked the OP to wait a year after they moved and she waited a year. If he meant 5, he should have said so up front. If he knew that being a parent was important to her and he pretended like it was for him too, he should have been smart enough to realize that her window for conception gets much narrower as the years progress. He didn’t care about anyone else but himself. The. End!

    • >>Somehow is his wish to wait inferior to a woman’s wish to get pregnant?

      Nothing if the man RESPECTS her desire to get pregnant, not blow it off and take advantage. But a man on the level would not have been so cavalier about the risks they were taking that she’d never get pregnant. He would have understood the god awful costs of waiting, and found other financial solutions. Men sometimes have their head up their ass about women’s biological clock. If he waits until he is ready, then she can’t get pregnant, and then he wants her to be a surrogate mom with donor eggs and his sperm. He gets to reproduce, and she doesn’t. She does all the heavy lifting for him. Grrr. I wouldn’t put up with that. I’d be forever angry with a man who disrespected me like that. I know too many people with kick butt careers who didn’t try to get pregnant in time. Their career victory feels empty. It sucks that prime fertility is also prime career time, but that’s not her fault.

    • GuideDog

      Maybe this is an opportunity for male/female understanding here. It’s not that the man is wrong to want to wait for an optimum time for children. But it is unforgivable to cost women their chance at children for nothing. Obviously, Queen listened to reasonable reasons to wait, too young, more money, more settled. Women trust their nest partners in timing. No one is saying a man is wrong for wanting to wait. But it is unforgivable for him to have lied about wanting children with her, and pissing away her dearest dream. Does it even register with you what she lost?? Why did you even bring up this subject?? If you don’t want children with that woman, then set her free. Don’t waste her precious fertility. Especially, don’t pretend you want kids when you don’t, because then at best you’ll be an unhappy father, and a let down for everyone.

    • Nothing wrong with not marrying young. But if a woman wants children, she can’t allow a man who doesn’t want to commit to take up her 20s. Say they had broken up when she hit 30 instead of getting married. Then she would be single and facing a narrowing window if she wants children.

      One thing I wish I had know years ago is that back in the daywhen marriage was the only option for women, it was conventional wisdom that a man shouldn’t waste a woman’s time if he’s not serious. This of course doesn’t matter if both parties are happy being single and it’s OK in their view not to have kids. But if a woman wants to have a child, and be married doing so, there is not infinite time to spend waiting around for someone like this guy, who clearly doesn’t want kids.

  • I filed for divorce. I paid the legal fees. Of course, my XW tells everyone that I broke up the family and was bitter. But you know what? I took my power back. I think she thought I didn’t have the guts to divorce her. Don’t be ashamed of filing. I am not.

    You are dealing with blame shifting. Stop internalizing his justification of his cheating. My XW did that and still does. Do you know how I learned to do that? Everything she said I thought “You are talking about yourself”. Internally I turned it around. THAT helped me to get to MEH.

    Be kind to yourself.

    • RE filing, my lawyer said the same thing. She said “let’s be the one to file first, set the tone, and control the narrative. Let’s be in charge.” Yes to all that.

      And in fact, when my ex made one feeble attempt to reconcile by saying “I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing here, that I’m making the right choice…” I was able to laugh out loud and say “Ha! I’m petitioner, I’ve filed. You no longer get a choice.” It was pretty darned empowering.

  • Dear Queen, YOU are not proud of checking his phone and finding out about his affair?????? Thank heaven you did! That’s the difference between you (normal) and him (abnormal)–he’s not sorry about the affair but you are sorry for looking at his phone!?! Also, thank your lucky stars that you did NOT get pregnant WITH HIM! Anyway, his affair partner will probably get pregnant within two months–just to keep him there with her… YOU dodged a bullet!

    • Lulutoo…

      Hmmmm, I prefer to imagine how Queen’s cheater reacts when he learns she’s happily pregnant. Personally I wonder if this guy can conceive at all. Maybe he’d screwed around a lot prior to the relationship and contracted clamhydia (infamously mutagenic to sperm). Maybe he’d cheated before with the same result. Maybe he secretly wanks off to porn, reducing fertility. Maybe he drinks too much and damaged his testes or secretly takes an antidepressant and damaged his sperm count.

      The latter happened to a good friend. She blamed herself and her age for not conceiving but hubs turned out to be secretly a sex addict who took an antidepressant to feel better about his chronic wanking habits, his massage parlor visits and the probably the fact he worked for the world’s most evil law firm.

      I talked her off a ledge and reminded her that her mother had had her 8th and 9th child in her mid-forties and that all of our great-grandmothers from the old countries had had children till they couldn’t anymore (late 40s and early 50s) which is what landowning families did back in the day. How else did people used to have 20 kids?

      Granted it can take longer to conceive in one’s 30s and 40s. But I just couldn’t believe my vibrant friend could not have the child she wanted. She has always been the healthiest person I know.

      If anything I blamed modern toxins for the so-called fertility crisis as well as all the spin minimizing the risks of modern toxins. I googled the med her husband was taking and easily found related studies on male fertility risks.

      My friend took it in and went even further. She re-read Susan Faludi’s Backlash again to steel herself against the panic inducing spiels of fertility doctors, and transformed herself into a biochem sleuth. No more plastics! No more heavy metals (mercury and aluminum are apparently “metallo-estrogens)! She started insisting her husband get off the pills, quit the pub visits after work (he hid how heavily he drank) and go into therapy for the porn (she did not know then about the massage parlors).

      Having always been a health nut, it wasn’t a big leap for my friend to go full on organic. Voila– 11 months later she had her beautiful, perfectly healthy baby after an easy pregnancy. It had been mostly his problem all along.

      Unfortunately 9 years later my friend’s husband reverted back to his original creepery. She’s now in a vicious divorce battle with a alcoholic, sex-addicted sociopath. But the point is that it’s often unclear whose issues cause conception problems. And sometimes the causes are reversible.

      My friend is now living in meh despite the heartbreaking discoveries and nightmare divorce process and is so proud of her amazing kid.

      The ghosts of my great-grands and their huge healthy broods from the virgin forests of yore are also telling telling me that the fertility industry and health industrial complex are probably guilty of gaslighting women into premature panic and are often sponsored by the very toxic corporations that are currently reducing men’s sperm counts (among other ill effects) to half that of their fathers’.

      Once we chumps start de-chumping, sky’s the limit on what kinds of fuckery we begin to question.

  • Much of this letter and the following comments resonated with me. Her ex sounds like my passive aggressive covert narc ex — even to the part where the writer had to do all the work for and pay for the divorce! They are weak, incomplete men, who feed off the women who love and support them.

    My ex also did not want children. We ended up adopting because I forced the issue (Guess who ended up doing all the paperwork, arranging the social worker visits, and paying for everything? It was during the psychological workup for an adoption home study that I learned that my ex had a passive aggressive personality traits from the MMPI personality test.) I am sure that this was not her ex’s first “emotional” affair. His AP probably took the first step over the adultery line, and he passively followed. He gets a new affair high while back stabbing you! A passive- aggressive’s dream come true!

    Promoting acceptance by verbally repeating a truth to yourself works. Write what you need to accept down on an index card, carry it in your pocket. Read these affirmations to yourself a hundred times a day. You will get through this. You are strong.

  • When I read your story, I think: “no reciprocity.” I also think “trust that he sucks.” If you have trouble “hating him” for his making you make the move to divorce, think of it as the last of his failures and the beginning of your acting with self-respect.

    You agreed to move from your home in the UK to the US, with all the losses such distance requires, and instead of answering your generous act undertaken out of love and commitment with one of his own (agreeing to start IVF), he instead demands even more–a year of not trying for a baby so he can “explore and enjoy.” (I agree with a poster above, who said that if he knew her back in the UK, even if by email, your move might have been motivated by his already-in-progress affair.) You agreed to wait, despite the sacrifice you had already made leaving the UK, and knowing that at age 35 it would put your ability to get pregnant at further risk. And how does he respond to what is the latest concession and a giant risk on your part? By cheating. Then, when you discover his cheating, he blame-shifts it onto you, and weaponizes your desire for a family against you in therapy (if the therapist did not call him on his “your anxiety about getting pregnant made me think you’d be a crap mum” they deserve to be horsewhipped).

    You had nothing to work with, and yet you were desperately trying to make it work, and you did kept trying because you thought you did have something to work with. He deceived you, and future-faked you, and you spackled. He sucks, and now you, as we all here have to do, have to work on yourself and fix your picker.

    And one small point: don’t beat yourself up for looking at his phone. He cheated; you looked at a phone. They aren’t equal; it’s a false equivalence.

  • Queen, do that terrible therapist ‘lets examine how you failed to meet his needs’ a favour and send their useless ass two books:

    ‘How to help your spouse heal after an affair’ by Linda J Macdonald; and

    ‘Cheating in a Nutshell’ by Wayne and Tamara Mitchell.

    Read them for yourself first. They as well as LACGAL chart the devastating damage betrayal does and puts the spotlight firmly on the cheater.

    I wish these therapists would wise up.

    We got you back here, Queen! Your grief tells you you can attach, and love. Unlike him. You will get there in the end.

  • It’s so easy to read someone else’s story and be cheering that they got away from such a colossal AH, yet when it comes to my own colossal AH I don’t have that same longed-for visceral reaction.
    My only explanation is all the “good” memories of all the “nice” things he did, clouding my judgement. I have issues, I have character defects.
    I am a work in progress til the day I die (my nickname is ‘Whip’ for WIP…). There is always room for improvement for any of us. But I don’t do things I know are wrong that will hurt people.

    Cheating is all I need to look at. I can dismiss all those other things and look at that one telltale part of the XH and that is the only piece of information I need to know about him. It says it all. They are not soulmates. They are criminals. Your thinking has to be super disordered to be in an illicit entanglement. How they are with you is their pattern, their MO, and that baggage goes with them to any and all new partnerships like a corpse handcuffed around their neck. It just takes a long long time for that to internalize, because the denial I needed to be with him is a multi multi multi layered suit of armor I built over a very long time on a daily basis to build to be with him. I was focusing on the “nice”….disabling the smoke detectors…handicapping myself… that state I find out about the affair and in my disordered handicapped state of mind I think, erroneously, that she is getting that Nice Good Guy

    The way to healing is DEPROGRAMMING…critical, essential.

    • This last part is so so true. We think the AP is getting the awesome version we created in our heads and in their lives (by sadly usually having to parent them to act better). But they are not that person. So hard to overcome this cognitive dissonance when we’ve spent years having to convince ourselves they aren’t that bad, otherwise why would we have kept tolerating it.

  • You checked his phone cause your gut knew something was off and found out he is a cheating asswipe. Stop apologizing. I’m sure you go over and over in your head, if you had stuck it out and not moved out, would you still have your dream life? No you wouldn’t. It would have ended one way or another. You took action and moved out, good for you! Keep in mind you don’t want a partner that will not move heaven and earth for you….he let you move out without so much as lifting a finger to try and get you to stay. Good riddance. As for the cheater couple here’s my prediction….the differences that drew them together (he’s a Brit & I gather she is American) will soon draw them apart. He’ll get on her nerves and vice versa.

    • “… if you had stuck it out and not moved out, would you still have your dream life? No you wouldn’t. It would have ended one way or another. You took action and moved out, good for you!”

      Thanks for this.

      And Queen, I know intellectually that getting out saved my life, but I still have to have my mom and my friends remind me regularly.
      I don’t love him; he’s a sad sack of crap and a waste of skin. But I miss my life, my home, my neighbors, my children. So some sort of twisted thought process leads me to doubt my leaving.
      So great is the mindfuck…

  • CL and CN – I hope no one minds if I post a link to the late, great site I joined years and years ago. I so mourn its loss. At least it is still UP but the boards are down and dead. I think many people here would have loved it too. Including the male chumps.

    This is for his Affair Accomplice and fellow Soul Sucker. May you live your entire time in quarantine with your Hollow Bunny in complete paranoia and fear. Plus a labia-melting STD:

    • Hey! I stumbled across this very article around the same time I found CL. I repeated parts of it like a mantra for months. I second this link!

  • When I was in college, there was a teacher who made a big public deal of telling every student that they were special. She didn’t really mean it, and most of the students she told could figure that out. She always did it in a public manner to make herself look like the caring person she was not. Those who didn’t understand that she was insincere followed her like a cult leader. They wanted to believe they were special, and no one else told them that. They chose to believe in the dream, not the reality of their life. You see, if everyone is “special”, then there is nothing special about being special.

    This does not mean that there will not be special moments in your life. Your birthday is a special day, for you, getting married, graduating from college, being hired for your dream job, going on a longed for vacation, celebrating an anniversary, finding a great friend, these are all special events for you. But these events also happen for other people, and they are special for them. No one in born special, or entitled to special. It is a random emotion which happens sometimes, and usually as a result of your hard work or dedication, and possibly that same thing from someone who actually loves you.

    Our culture is full of fairy tales, and we are raised on the concept of being special, and happily ever after. In most women’s lives, if they are working like Cinderella, and live with an evil stepmother and step sisters, the fairy godmother is not going to show up to prepare them for the prom. The Prince is not going to put the magic shoe on their foot. They are not going to become a princess and live happily ever after. Don’t become so entranced by the dream that you live for the dream instead of learning about your own talents and abilities. Don’t expect someone else to change your life. Each person has a different skillset, and is capable of setting their own goals. Working to achieve those goals — your own goals, not what your parents tell you to do, or what advertisements tell you you want — is how you build character. MEH is not magic, and cannot be bestowed. You earn it, you realize it, you accept it, and you are comfortable with it because you created it from your own reality.

    Every new relationship does not work out. Marriage is not necessarily about having children and owning a home. In the great scheme of things, statistics will indicate a “norm” which reflects what the majority does in a given situation. If you choose something else, that does not mean you are wrong. You have to drop the past, drop what you have been told to believe, and find what you do believe. Then you can live your life on your terms, and you will feel content because it is your choice. Your life will be special, to you, because you worked for it and earned it.

    Let go of “the dream” if it is not your dream, or does not fit your life’s reality. What can you do to achieve your goals, and what will it take for you to be content with who you are. Don’t look for someone else to make you happy, you can make your own happiness.

    • Thank you for this post. And I really like the way you conceptualize meh. I think so many of us here think we will wake up on a random Tuesday and meh will have finally arrived. But you are right. It is something we build with time, like character. It is so helpful to view us as in control after having lost so much control because of others’ actions.

  • One thing you need to be clear on. You didn’t leave him, he left you. You were already divorced in every way but legal. He just made you do all the work and incur the expense associated with it. He killed the marriage and you did what you had to in order to separate yourself from the corpse. You didn’t make the wrong decision; you made the only viable decision. You are not the bad guy here, he is.

  • Queen, my heart breaks for you. I was in a very similar boat. Together since 17, he had an emotional affair, said yes then no to children, and divorce in the 30s.

    I’m three years out too. I still think of him everyday. Don’t let anyone gatekeep your grief. It’s a long time to be together, and they are formative years. The dream of a family is a powerful one, especially for women given the cruelty of biological limitations. I was and in some ways am still crushed that I may never have children.

    However, you’re thinking clearly when you say at least you didn’t have them with him. What would have stopped that kind of person from leaving a child just as he left you? In some ways, an emotional affair is a different beast in terms of betrayal. CL is right about the skein, be careful not to let him rent space in your head to “figure things out”. Mourning is one thing, spiraling is another. It’s worth knowing the difference.

    I’m so sorry this happened and agree with others about becoming a mom with or without a partner, to a biological or adopted child, if you are ready. We need more loving parents in this world.

  • Also wanted to say: mine also forced me to file. These people are cowards. I’m glad you found your self-worth. Please don’t doubt that you did the right thing.

    And remember that the societal norm/dream of the perfect family — that hardly exists. Family is what you make it. You have control of that much, whatever form it takes.

    • I agree with you, wurmhole5. My friends have been closer, more supportive, and a better family than any family. They call and check up on me. Install washer lines at the new house. Helped with the move. I see them as my family more than the family that I have here. They have been loyal and true to me. I especially love it when they offer to punch my STBX in the face! Everyone was shocked to learn about my cheater, because he totally puts on the “societal norm/ dream perfect family” lie. It was all a lie.

  • Wow thank you so much for all the comments guys I truly appreciate your support. I don’t know how to reply to each comment. I’m so crap with technology.
    I’m so sorry to everyone who has gone through similar.
    So here’s the thing about the comment about how it wasn’t unreasonable for him to want to wait to do ivf after we moved continents. That person is not wrong. It was a lot to take on. The thing was all I wanted was a plan. I kept saying that. We don’t need to go right ahead with treatment now but I need a plan. No I didn’t want to wait a year as I was getting older but he did so I waited. What stung was that I didn’t wait ‘in the right way’. I wasn’t carefree and happy. Nope. I was sad as I was struggling. It’s probably fair to say he was having doubts about the relationship but it hurts so much that he didn’t speak to me about it. Anyway at the end of the day, he’s not the sort of person who felt he could be honest with me and so that kinda puts an end to any relationship.
    I also agree with the person who said they will get annoyed with each other as he’s a Brit and she is an American. I will laugh when it blows up.
    Thanks so much everyone. Love to you all xxx

    • Again, you are trying to untangle the skein. You have done nothing wrong! You must let go in order to move forward. Be kind to yourself!

    • Cheaters (abusers) don’t like when we have emotions they don’t want us to have because it means they can’t control us. And for them, life is about power and control. My ex bragged about manipulating people just because he could! To them, people are tools to be used. They love NO ONE.

      You miss the future that you THOUGHT you had. I felt the same way for a bit after DDay. It’s been almost two years now and I’m getting close to meh.

      I’ve done a lot of reading and you tube video watching regarding personality disorders and how to heal from narcissistic abuse. I learned two important things. 1. Go no contact, and 2. Make sure your self-talk is kind. A good exercise is to look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you”. I know it sounds corny, but it works. Boost up your self-esteem and keep your abuser as far away from you as possible. You can’t heal from the abuse if you’re still exposed to it.

  • Queen. “I’m so sorry you’re having a difficult time dealing with this.” That’s what my fuckwit said to me when I told him, “It would just be helpful if you could at least say you’re sorry!” But truly, I am sorry you’re having a difficult time dealing with this. You investing in a person with which you wanted ‘The Dream’, i.e., marriage, family, and life happy ever after. As CL and CN says, it was a dream … with this guy. It’s a dream that could still happen, but you just invested in the wrong guy. And the only way out of this is to absolutely Trust that He Sucks. That really is what it ultimately comes down to. If you’re like I was (thankfully no more), you only remember how ‘wonderful’ he was. He was handsome, he was charming, and everyone loved him. You were so proud to be the one that he chose. And then when I finally had to make the decision to divorce the dick, I wondered if I was throwing the towel in too early. I actually backed out of the first attempt at divorce and when I went through with it the second time, I know I didn’t make a mistake. You didn’t back out; you went through with it the first time and so now you have doubts. I’m telling you, if he was like my dick-ex, he would have strung you along for years. You absolutely did the right thing by cutting the cord. But until you really take the time to see that he was an absolute dirt bag, you won’t get over it. You have to force yourself that whenever you remember how wonderful he is, to pull out that list of all the crappy things he did. Wonderful people don’t fuck others over. They don’t blame you for their screwing around on you. He’s an absolute fucktard and only you (not us) can convince you of this. Intellectually you got it, but I don’t think you’ve taken the time to learn to love yourself. It has been 3 years since you got knocked over the head. It took me four years after my divorce to figure it all out, but I did! I have learned to love myself. This may be a cheesy expression, but that’s what you need to do. You have to love yourself and respect yourself. When you finally do this, you’re going to get downright angry at that fucktard. “HOW DARE HE TREAT ME LIKE THAT AND THEN BLAME ME!!!! WHAT A FUCKING ASS!!!” Anyway, those were the words that came out of me when I finally realized that he was NOT as wonderful as I believed (over 30 frickin’ years!) He may still be as charming and handsome as in the past, but he’s a fucking ass. Let his skank have him – him and all ‘his glory’. It’s all about him, it was always all about him, and it will always be all about him. You are no longer dealing with his stupidity. I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than EVER have to deal with a fucktard again. When you finally realize that you deserve to be treated with love and respect, and if someone doesn’t do that so that you end up removing that person from your life, then you will be at meh.

  • Dear Queen, it just struck me how, if cheaters don’t stay with the subclinical psychopaths they cheat with, neither of them can ever be honest again on future dates with prospective partners, in their social lives or anywhere else.

    Who, if they knew the truth, would want to be with someone who did what your ex did to you? Who, knowing the truth, would want to be with his creepy AP? They are condemned to lives without real intimacy forever. The only place they’ll ever “fit” is in the shark tank with other sharks.

    Meanwhile you aren’t condemned to bs because you’ve done nothing wrong. All his charges against you? Totally absurd. You have the wherewithal to swim with the dolphins again at any moment.

    I also find it interesting that it’s as if your feet walked away leaving the rest of you to catch up with the decision. But your feet knew what they were doing. You should take them out for a massage and pedi on a regular basis and have them bronzed.

    Maybe your uterus knew what was what too. Half the time when a couple fails to reproduce, it’s the man’s contribution that isn’t viable. If you tried again with someone in your own species you might find– just as was the case in that ex relationship– that you weren’t the problem after all.

  • Queen are you in therapy or a trauma support group? You’ve suffered tremendous losses at the hands of this psychopath and this type abuse gives so many people PTSD. I find my trauma support group to be very helpful.

    The one happy I can give you is he hasn’t changed. Her fate will be the same as yours or she will do it to him first.

  • You’ve spent more time grieving an asswhole than he deserved. Life is too short. He was EXTREMELY selfish. Wow, please go back and reread all the BS lies he came up with to justify cheating on someone who loved him and had his back. Just stop listening to all of his lies. Start living again. Look into adoption or surrogacy. Let his twinkly have him. Those two deserve each other. In time, you will look back and wonder why in the hell you ever spent so much time grieving that loser.

    • Thank you so much guys. I wish i could figure out how to reply to each comment.
      I left out the fact that i had wanted to get married around 27/28 and had made that clear. He made me wait and i should have known then. I should have left then. In my mind when everything came out, i thought well if he wasn’t sure about me back then and he isn’t sure about me now i guess this same thing will come around in a few years. Better leave now then!
      I am now 39. His waiting game has definitely cost me my chances of children. That is where I was coming from – the age thing. I didn’t want to do ivf either really – who would! But we had tried and waited and time was running out.
      Oh yeah – and he blamed me for not getting pregnant again after the last miscarriage I had in the UK the year before we moved. Apparently, i hadn’t got pregnant again due to my ‘mental health’ – firstly, fuck off and secondly even if that had been true – maybe suggest ways to help me not blame me!

      If they do go on to have kids that will be so painful but at the same time, I know i am better off without having to co-parent with him.

      Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to reply. I am reading and re-reading and i truly appreciate each and every one of you.

      • You’re a spring chicken compared to many of my ancestors as I mentioned earlier. Unless you know of a specific medical impediment (and even then new science emerges all the time), 39 is not “too old” and it’s possible the miscarriages were not due to anything wrong with you. I wouldn’t be very surprised if you meet someone nice and one broken condom later find yourself up the pole.

        My mother, an artist in NY, didn’t start having children until mid-forties. My parents wanted to amass some resources first which is tough in the arts but they socked it all away and then began begetting. When she had me (the last in the line up and an “accident”), she strolled twenty blocks to the hospital while my dad ran off to buy a new pram. She had me (with no drugs) and they both strolled back home with me and climbed the five flights to their flat. She thought nothing of it since her rugged individualist Scandinavian cousin had six children after marrying a ship’s captain at age 46 and her grandmother was 51 when her father (my grandfather) was born.

        I tend to think my mother’s blithe lack of anxiety about the whole thing probably helped a bit.

        You have been through a war and it can feel dicey keeping hope alive if you fear having those hopes dashed again. But don’t make any absolute decisions until the smoke clears a bit.
        Bear in mind that stress messes with hormones but those systems can repair themselves. Dare to dream when you feel strong enough.

        And as others mentioned, there are so many kids out there who would be blessed to have you as a parent not to mention men who’d admire and respect your perseverance. You’re obviously a ride-or-die type. That may have been a liability when bound to a creep but it’s a blessing in the right circumstances.

        • Yes fertility is a strange beast. I had four children in my 30s and my fifth at 41 … don’t give up yet ❤❤

          • I had a friend who was scheduling fertility treatments to begin after her second wedding as she was told her chances of conceiving were slim to none First marriage was a disaster. On her honeymoon she started experiencing morning sickness. So unbeknownst to her and everyone else (I was in her bridal party) she was nearly 3 months pregnant when she got married. Had 3 kids in total.

      • >>Oh yeah – and he blamed me for not getting pregnant again after the last miscarriage I had in the UK the year before we moved.

        I remember the shock of an insult on top of injury. I was stunned immobile and had trouble ever telling anyone the shocking things he said. And then he’d act like nothing happened and I’d just go along with it because I didn’t understand what had happened or what it meant. We need fire drills to recognizea sociopaths pretending to be the love of our lives or best friend.

      • One of my graduate professors told me, after I had my child at 35, that it wasn’t too late for a second if I wanted. (I didn’t.) She had her first at 39 and her second at 42. If the experience of pregnancy and birth is important to you, don’t give up yet. You can in fact attempt pregnancy as a single woman.

  • I can’t really say anything to improve on what CL has already said other than–you have to work at letting go. Picture yourself on a hamster wheel, running in place, looking at old movies of your past with this f*ckwit. You never get anywhere on a hamster wheel. And you can’t build a happy life IN THE PRESENT and then a happy future when you spend your life looking at the past.

    You were 21 when you met this guy and somehow let yourself burn 9 years waiting for him to make a commitment. You weren’t yet a fully-formed adult, mentally and emotionally. Now you are in your late 30s or early 40s and you’ve invested in his life and not your own. Part of the work you have ahead of you is definitely reframing along the lines that CL says, but also reframing what it means to be in a relationship. Perhaps more important, you will need to figure out who you are as an adult who is not attached to this selfish, cheating f*ckwit. If you turn your eyes to the present, and to having a relationship with yourself, you won’t be crying in the shower everyday. Yes, this jackass burned your 20s and 30s. You don’t have to give him the rest of your life. You can learn to love yourself, first.

  • One final thought: whoever we are, what we are looking for is not behind us. It’s in the present. And by living in the present, we create a future.

    • Love this LAJ. Some great posts today. I took screenshots several times.

    • I am adding this to my journal. Thank you. Excellent wisdom.

  • It is very hard to accept that someone’s part in your life story is over. Especially when you spent your young years together. But it is what it is. People’s lives can change for all kinds of reasons; a mate dies, they get a chronic illness, they divorce etc.

    The reality is that he was demonizing you in therapy, grasping at things to accuse you of. He was not the man you thought he was, nor the man you need him to be. A pastor once told me that they key to any relationship is knowing that the other person has your back. Your ex did not. I am sorry. You grieve, you mourn, then you create a good life for yourself.

  • Fertility therapy can be done till 45 at least where I went. Yes it’s expensive but if you really want your own biological child you can do it. So queen get your house in order. Build yourself up first and then live your life to the fullest potential.

  • Oh my gosh! I totally bust out laughing when I read, “Holy blame shifting, Batman!” Too true. My idiot STBX continues to say to me and our two kids that he felt on the outside so he had to find love somewhere else. Who is stupid enough to tell his kids that they are part of the problem and why he had to cheat? Then, he wonders why neither of the kids want anything to do with him.

    Seriously, Queen, you dodged a bullet by not having a child with this man. He would have messed up the child in the same way that mine as done to our kids. My 17 year old son just started EMDR therapy and the man we are working with says that it is a miracle that my kids are even sane after a lifetime of being around such a toxic individual.

  • I can recommend two things
    1 EMDR – this is a kind of therapy that is great for dealing with things you just can’t get over. I wanted to do it for my situation and researched it thoroughly. It wasn’t right for my particular trauma but it is a possibility for you. I was lead to it by a friend who had trouble coming to terms with her aunt’s passing. After three years of daily crying jags where she could not move forward EMDR got her over the hump so to speak so she could go on with life.

    2 – if you have been around for some time you can find my advice for making four lists several times in the archives. It’s a long term strategy to help you train yourself to relearn how to keep your life focused on you. You were trained ove time to make your fuckwit central. You need to train yourself to put yourself first. That means every time you think of him you have to do something for yourself, preferably something that helps you discover what you want and helps you focus your hopes and dreams on you.

    • Here are my hard earned two cents. You grieve an illusion. You grieve what you believe you had. I know because I’m grieving it, too. Yet our stories diverge at a certain point. He refused to man up and live honestly. I heard all the things that are wrong with me. I didn’t know about blameshifting and gaslighting. I knew John Gottman and Reconciliation At All Costs because we had children. It was emotional and he’s stuck to that story. It doesn’t matter, I suffered the abuse of adultery. I won’t offer excuses for what I’ve done with my broken dreams because Tracey said it all. I folded up my needs, expectations, and dreams into a tiny origami and swallowed it and I stayed.

      Pay close attention to this because I want you really comprehend what I am saying. We were married 10 years and had 3 children by the time he changed our marriage narrative. He was never happy. He never loved me. I danced and danced. I thought I won the pick me dance. I didn’t. I invested in a man who is a liar, a cheat, and many more things. And I smoked Hopium because I knew he was just in a fog.

      It is 18 years post D-day. He didn’t get better. Our marriage didn’t heal. I discovered far more insidious parts about him. Yes, I get some of the good parts like my four children (yep, had another one after D-day), but I feel certain I could have had those four children through my womb with a better man’s DNA. How much better would my life had been and how much happier would my children be without the shadow of their father’s sex addiction, emotional infidelity, and secrets and lies? My marriage is my greatest disappointment. I know my husband is a liar. I know that I can never trust him. I fully committed and he never, ever did. I invested in a devious man.

      The grief you feel is real but it is not bottomless. Thank all that is holy that you don’t have to suffer years and years in a bad marriage to learn what I did. He isn’t a good man. He won’t get better. He has shown his true self and his fame self can’t fit back in the closet where he kept it. There are too many crappy and horrible things in that closet and they will only trickle out for years to come.

  • “Then, when we started to talk about his unmet needs he said i should know what he needs without him having to tell me.”

    my god, the flashbacks…

  • So much wisdom in all these comments! I know this was from 2020, but I hope you’re in a better place now, Queen.
    I hope you finally have the family you wanted and the real love you deserve.

    My situation is similar, but I can’t leave (it’s extremely complicated). I married in my early twenties…now 38.
    My husband made me believe he wanted children. Well, for the many years we’ve been married, he made excuses and stalled the whole time.
    He decided (all by himself) that we will be “childfree”. I never agreed to this. He knew from day 1 that a family mattered to me.
    But as time has flown by, I realize that I’ve been had. He lied to me this whole time.

    He never wanted kids. He won’t even talk about it. He never wanted to discuss plans for a real future after marriage.
    His life revolves mainly around work, his hobbies, and wanting to travel or gamble (both of which I’m sick of).
    I feel that I’ve been patient for a long time, hoping that one day he’ll come around. That day will never come.

    At first I thought maybe we needed more money, more security…maybe he didn’t want a child until that was in place.
    But now I realize that it’s selfishness on his part. That, and his mom told me last year how he is still in love with a girl he dated in high school.
    Oh, and let me also mention the HoWorker that he says is “just a friend”. I only met HoWorker once years ago.
    She didn’t bother me at the time. I thought there was no harm in it. Now I’m starting to side-eye them both.
    As with Queen, I feel that another woman (HoWorker) is behind him not wanting children.

    Some narcs/cheaters don’t want kids because it would cramp their style, and because the AP would see proof (a child or pregnancy) that the cheater is still having sex with the chump.
    They want to eat cake, so they can’t take that risk of making the AP jealous or angry. I recall back in 2020 when I overheard a weird-sounding conversation between my husband and somebody else (I suspect HoWorker) where he was trying to placate her on the phone. It was almost like he was trying to tell her that she had nothing to worry about, he wasn’t still fucking me, etc.
    That was the vibe…that he was talking to her, and that she was insecure because he was home with me due to the pandemic.

    All of this to say that in Queen’s case, it might be the same. Her husband wants things his way.
    To have both a wife AND a girlfriend, and to control his wife’s fertility so he doesn’t piss off the OW.
    My husband’s howorkers are needy women…dumb insecure types despite their field, and the one I mentioned would be very upset if he had a baby with me.

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