Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Am I Going to Get Over This?

Hello Chump Lady,

My name is Kimmy. I just came across your “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life“ book and I am absolutely in love with it. I’m only 22 years old, I’m not married of course, but I am going through the worse heartbreak I’ve ever been in my whole entire life.

I ignored all the red flags from the beginning, which was my fault because I was just desperate for his attention.

I’ll try not to go into details because it still hurts to talk about it. He is 23 years old, we’ve been together for a year, my first real relationship, my first love.

Around November I found out that he’s been cheating on me with multiple women having sex with them unprotected, even the same days as me. He had videos of himself and females having sex, he had photos of all different girls, some even together. He had conversations with them and telling them that he loves them.

Then I ask myself, how can a man like this love me if he’s putting my health at risk and breaking my heart like this? I shared personal things with this man I told him everything that I’ve been through my whole entire life I told him about my mental health, so how could he hurt me like this? My self-esteem, my insecurities, my confidence just went down, but I ended up forgiving him over and over again, I didn’t know how live my life with out him, he was all I knew and had.

I knew deep down inside he couldn’t change for me, I knew he was taking advantage of my weakness every second. The disrespect got even worse. I tolerated everything because I was just so in love. I was so blinded. Before I didn’t feel like I was in a relationship with him because he didn’t treat me like a queen and I ignored it. I was patient with him and the whole time he was cheating on me. Skipping on forward, he kept cheating he kept going back to one of the women that he kept cheating on me with who is 10 years older than us, she is 33 years old. He ended up getting her pregnant. And that right there told me he kept seeing her and being sexually involved with her even after I caught him at her home.

I never felt that kind of pain before. I truly wanted to die. Knowing the man that I am in love with got another woman pregnant and she is keeping it. I’m guessing that his own karma. Our relationship wasn’t the same when I took him back, everything just got worse and felt like torture. I was self harming myself I didn’t know how to move on and didn’t know how to heal. He made me feel so much pain. He’s done way more damage to me than anyone has in my life. There’s nights where I used to to bed, pleading with god to make the pain stop. I was a great girlfriend, I supported him through everything. I did everything right. I love him unconditionally. Gave him everything. Worked so hard to make sure he was happy … and he ended breaking my heart like this. He even had a bond with my family. But I don’t have a bond with his, they never cared to get to know me.

Some of the women that he was cheating on me with where way older, they were giving him money. He’s a user and a manipulator. My question for you is, will I ever get over this? Her being pregnant is hitting me hard still till this day and I know there’s no time frame on how to get past things, but I feel like I’m never gonna heal from this. I feel stuck.

Kimmy

Dear Kimmy,

Yes Kimmy you will get over this guy. But unless you fix the picker, there will be another fuckwit to mourn. And another…

So, today let’s take a solemn oath — No More Fuckwits.

But, I hear you asking, how will I know who’s a fuckwit?

You won’t at first. You’ll have to rely on your two superpowers — discernment and boundaries.

But I don’t possess these superpowers, Tracy!

You will learn them. It all comes back to what you will tolerate.

So let’s get back to your original question. Will you get over this guy? Or put another way — will you get over a guy who treated you abominably, cheated on you with multiple women, feigned some sort of interest in your welfare, and then shat all over that.

Why would you tolerate that? You shouldn’t. Ergo, you won’t be tolerating him. Buh-bye. You’re over him.

You dated this guy six months and he turned out to be a cheater. (Those red flags were real.) That was November. Okay, upsetting chump dating experience. You imagined he would be different than his flags and he wasn’t.

The question is then — what happened after D-Day that you thought you could work with this? That you thought you SHOULD? Who is the Kimmy who thinks so little of herself? Nearly every chump on this site has been there, and regrets their big, dumb chumpy heart. But sweetheart, you’re 22. You’ve got the benefit of youth and your gorgeous self. Don’t waste your precious life on a fuckwit. Not now, not at any age.

Let’s work through your letter.

I ignored all the red flags from the beginning, which was my fault because I was just desperate for his attention.

Don’t ever be desperate for anyone’s romantic attention. Healthy relationships are based on mutuality and respect. (Okay, and hot lust too, but that’s got to work both ways as well.)

He does not complete you. He cannot confer worthiness upon you. Love isn’t won, it’s a gift gladly given. The minute you’re competing for love, you’re losing.

Then I ask myself, how can a man like this love me if he’s putting my health at risk and breaking my heart like this?

He cannot. He’s an entitled creature who just wants a multimedia pussy buffet. You’re not real to him. He enjoys your attentions and feels zero accountability towards you.

I shared personal things with this man I told him everything that I’ve been through my whole entire life I told him about my mental health, so how could he hurt me like this?

For him, that’s just information to file away under “Buttons to Manipulate You With.” Did you share a childhood fear of bees? “Kimmy, I’m not lying to you! That’s your distrust of bees speaking.”

He can hurt you because he doesn’t care about you. Ouch. But that’s what the evidence says.

My self-esteem, my insecurities, my confidence just went down, but I ended up forgiving him over and over again, I didn’t know how live my life with out him, he was all I knew and had.

Is this relationship acceptable to you? Is it? Being his chump? You can forgive from a distance. You can happily choose not to forgive at all. You can make a radical decision not to give fuckwits that much mental space and give up deciding.

It was 6 MONTHS of your life. You knew how to “live your life” before you met him. Don’t give him that power! That kind of centrality is a choice you are making. Stop it.

I tolerated everything because I was just so in love.

That brings us to today’s meme, from Kindall D. @beenthatgirltoo. An excellent piece of wisdom on projecting love on to fuckwits. You loved who you thought he was. Who you wanted him to be. Not the actual fuckwit himself.

Next you made a mistake that a lot of people make — that we are encouraged to make by an entire Reconciliation Industrial Complex — you thought you could fix it.

It’s not your job to fix him. And he doesn’t want to be fixed. I know this because of the evidence — he’s actively grazing the pussy buffet.

Before I didn’t feel like I was in a relationship with him because he didn’t treat me like a queen and I ignored it. I was patient with him and the whole time he was cheating on me.

You being an awesome girlfriend will not compel him into being an excellent boyfriend. That’s a fairytale, that we can “nice” monsters towards kindness with patience and forgiveness.

I was self harming myself I didn’t know how to move on and didn’t know how to heal.

I’m telling you how to heal: no contact with monsters and know your worth.

I was a great girlfriend, I supported him through everything. I did everything right. I love him unconditionally. Gave him everything. Worked so hard to make sure he was happy

Healthy love is RECIPROCAL. Did he support you? Was he generous? Was he invested in YOUR happiness?

You MATTER. Healthy love is NOT unconditional. It comes with grown-up conditions like “you can’t abuse me.” It has deal breakers like cheating and risking your health. No one has to make that shit “happy.”

He hurts you? He doesn’t DESERVE you.

I can tell you this, Kimmy. But YOU have to believe it. When you believe it, you’ll give yourself permission to have a boundary. Your internal script will sound like, “I, Kimmy, am an awesome girlfriend. Too bad you are unworthy.”

Then you enforce your boundary. You DUMP him. Doesn’t matter that he knocked someone up (good luck with that), doesn’t matter how many sex videos he made, or when — it matters that THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO KIMMY.

Kimmy The Good Girlfriend does not do reclamation projects. She does real men. Real men only need apply.

(((Kimmy)))

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.
  • Perfect timing as always CL! Grown up LOVE makes your heart sing! It’s patient, kind and makes you feel at peace! This is my hope for everyone on this blog, to see you are all worthy of this kind of love xo SweetChumpgirl

    • Thank you Rhonda.
      Sadly I could have written Kimmy’s letter. 😞
      Difference is I’m 45. I feel so foolish.

      • I’m 44, no matter the age it happens to us all. I figure I didn’t learn the lesson the first time, it happened to me twice. Not everyone has the same heart as you xo happy 4th! Xoxo SweetChumpgirl

      • I could’ve learned this lesson with an asshole cheater I dated at her age. Instead I got crushed and, just as ChumpLady warns, I went on to find and marry another user like him. I’m 49.

        Now I’m free. It wasn’t easy and it took a long time, but I know now that it was the best thing that ever happened to me that he showed his true colors and I finally saw the light. You can build a solid and meaningful life for yourself, dear chumps. One step at a time. The pain is finite! Love and healing to each of you.❤️❤️❤️

  • Oh geez! I remember 22, and that was 50 years ago. Kimmy, if Tracy has been around back then I would never have married the 2 fuckwits I ended up with. Heed her words, she is the real deal. Don’t waste your life looking in the rear view mirror.

  • If you are harming yourself…

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

    find a good therapist.

    My own very long history wrestling with that 800 pound gorilla, which began when I was 13, was VERY MUCH linked to my choices in romantic partners.

    I began my outside help when I was 22. I am 56 now. I am realizing my self harm was one part of me telling another part of me that I was angry, in danger, and in a relationship I shouldn’t be in. A LANGUAGE, a way of expressing what I couldn’t articulate or verbalize. But the self harm is a TRANQUILIZER….so it ironically enabled me to stay in the relationship.

    In other words, A VICIOUS CYCLE.

    PLEASE get a good therapist who understands self harm.

    ❤️

  • Kimmy, you are very young and have your whole life ahead of you. I noticed something very interesting in your letter. You said his family never bothered to get to know you. Why do you think that is? I will tell you. They know who he is and what kind of person he is. Guarantee you that knew what he was doing and this relationship would run its course. You dodged a bullet and I hope you are away from him. Be done with him for good.

    • Yes, how the fuckwit’s family regards you can be quite telling. Knew a guy who was a player. Whatever new girlfriend came along would be hurt that his young teenaged kids weren’t very interested in getting to know her. They had witnessed the revoling door of girlfriends too many times and didn’t want the dissapointment any more, even though the majority of these women were really nice. Also, sometimes a family of not very good people raise someone like Kimmie’s fuckwit, who grows up seeing the adults in his life using and abusing others. Either way, the family’s reaction to her was a big clue. She’s young and will learn from this, as painful as it is.

    • In my case, fuckwit’s extended family wasn’t interested in getting to know me because of how fuckwit talked about me to them, which was basically disregarding our relationship to them. They never knew it was serious to take me seriously, even though we were together about a decade and I thought it was serious…

      How the family acts towards you is often a huge indication of how your partner feels about you.

  • There is a great book called HoTactics. Not what you think. Written by a man who explains how to get what you want from a msn and bd treated like a queen, doesn’t include sex. You csn read a sample online. Very enlightening.

    • I just read some reviews and a synopsis. The book is geared at teaching women how to manipulate men into spending money on them. There may be some good advice somehow mixed in but that is a shallow, soul-sucking goal for everyone involved and some of the reviews made me feel ill. It encourages lying and is is not for people looking for an authentic relationship. Be on the look-out men–

    • I am not certain that book is the best thing to suggest. We are working towards honest, manipulation-free lives. Not tricking a man into treating us like queens, but treating ourselves like queens and empresses. The original poster (OP) is reaching out here, because part of her realizes she’s awesome on her own, and that any relationship needs to be worthy of her time/energy. That is what needs to be supported, not trying game-playing with a man. I read the review of that book, and it sounds awful. It reduces people to the sum total of their wallets, and that is not what we are working towards here.

      • A better book to look at might be “Why Men Love Bitches” by Sherry Argov. The main theme is that self dignity is more important than a relationship. The overall theme can be applicable to women and men.

    • I also think that book looks like garbage. No. It is not ok to manipulate men into spending their money on you. It’s gold-digging manipulation and that’s not the goal here. The man who wrote it clearly thinks women are after money, and the women who would use those tactics are inauthentic people. Just. NO.

      I can also offer a better suggestion. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment

      My therapist recommended it. It is about different attachment styles and how it influences our relationships. Attachment psychology was originally studied as something that begins in infancy and early childhood, but more recent research has shown our styles can be changed through significant experiences in adulthood. This book discusses each style, behavior patterns associated with them, how relationships between each style can be, and exercises to help figure out yours, and how to understand the ways your style affects your relationships.

      This is much better for understanding yourself and the different things you need to feel safe with a partner.

      Read that. Don’t waste time with something written by a man who thinks his readers are “hos.”

    • That book sounded interesting at first. However, I looked it up on Google Books and as a selling point it described the book as, ” How to Mindfuck a man into spending spoiling and sponsoring…” Hm. Learning how to mindfuck someone definately doesn’t seem like the right thing to do to me. We’re all here & wounded because of being mindfucked by someone. We don’t want to do that to others, not even the fuckwits. No contact with fuckwits verses trying to mindfuck them back (a losing battle that will just end up biting a Chump back in the butt.)

      • I responded about the book before I realized & read all.the other responses. Whew, good to know I’m not the only one who that book struck as being so not right!

  • Kimmy,
    You are lucky to learn this lesson at 22. Please don’t waste another second crying over this moron. You stepped on dog poo on the sidewalk because you were looking in the wrong direction. Clean you shoes, fix your picker, and keep walking.

    You made a wise choice of books to read (LACGAL), you have guts and are smart. Generous men will value and respect this. You will be just fine!

    • Agreed! I am sorry for this young woman’s pain, but I wish I had figured it out that young instead of investing 25 years of my life in a fuckwit. She still has a second chance and lots of time.

  • I did decades of this. When I left, I found out what happiness is. Happiness is not having to deal with a liar 24/7. I am happier alone than I ever was in a “relationship” with a mindfuck artist who creeped on every woman he saw. Ask yourself one question every morning: What can I do today to make my life better? (It’s not selfishness: when your life is better, you will be better able to help others.) When you think about him, remind yourself: this is not making my life better. Then find something to do that does. Your mental and physical health will improve. And Velvet Hammer is right: find a therapist and work on self-harm. I eventually realized that staying with him was a form of self-harm.

    • “I eventually realized that staying with him was a form of self-harm.” Thank you for this, Madge. I think while we’re being chumped without our knowledge that’s 100% them harming us. But if we stay after knowing we got chumped, then it’s on us too. In that sense, reconciliation (where real or fake) can be self-harming because of how much the chump has to sacrifice (peace of mind, dignity) to go through with it.

  • No Contact as medicine is something to put in your toolbox for recovery. You’ll like No Contact to because it will be a great way to get back at him, he will hate it, but stay No Contact, no gloating or smirking in front of him, or he “won,” he got a reaction from you.

    Also, read up on trauma-bonding for an explanation as to why you stayed around. Maybe your family doesn’t show up for you, and maybe you are lonely. I offer to you this song, which is fabulous for kind of being okay with lonely: Supalonely. Working through loneliness and being okay with being alone makes you a BadAss.

    I am a proud and strong BadAss, after abuse, No Contact, working through loneliness and accepting the awesomeness of being alone, until it’s time to be with kind people.

  • I hate to say this but I don’t think you were ever his girlfriend. Many of those other women probably thought they were the girlfriend and you just another one of the OWs. Chew on that. He set it up that way. Do you want to be part of that mess? Is he worthy of having so many women and girls “so in love with him?” What makes him so special? What, really, makes him loveable at all? Why are you trying so hard to win him over? What is in it for you?

    I only say all of the above because I was once in a situation that was similar. I was “in love” with a master manipulator. He had me convinced that he was the vulnerable one who didn’t want to be taken advantage of by someone who didn’t truly love him. Loving him meant doing whatever he wanted no matter how repulsive. Of course he was always chasing others as well, looking for that one who would truly love him and having his fun along the way. Whenever I tried to extricate myself from the game he would throw me just enough kibbles to make me think I was close to winning him over if I just didn’t give up now. When I wasn’t around him it was clear that he was hurting me and I needed to get over him. When he was around, I kept getting taken in. Eventually, I deliberately took a semester abroad to put distance between us. It worked. It took a while to get over the embarrassment of ever having loved him but now he is a distant memory who really has no bearing on my current life.

    One other thing I will caution you, however, is, don’t let any man be your “rescuer”. Be independent. Only allow yourself to be with men who treat you well but don’t assume that they always will to the point where you spackle when they start to not treat you so well. Always stick up for yourself and speak up (politely) when your partner does something you find hurtful. Then pay attention to how he responds. I made all of those mistakes with ex husband. He did treat me like a queen for quite a long time, about 5-6 years I’d say. I used to refer to him as my prince for having rescued me from all of the other men out there (especially the fuckwit described above). Those first few years bought him a lot of spackle which I used for many years after that to cover up the cracks when he wasn’t treating me as well. Eventually he pulled the walls down altogether and no amount of spackle would cover it. Just remember that it isn’t a matter of relative treatment. If the next guy treats you better than this one, that isn’t enough. He needs to meet the same high standards you set for yourself or it isn’t enough no matter how well he compares to the absolute worst which is what you are dealing with now. It is easy to get our sense of what is good treatment completely warped when in the situation. Don’t let that happen.

  • You are so smart to learn the lesson quicker than me! It took me decades to learn this. Disney daddy’s family never really cared for/bonded with me either. I was discarded along with our children very quickly. They only have minimal contact with our children when he has custody. My own family is not very supportive either. I understand some of your thoughts and pain.

    The pain is awful but protecting you from him. Listen to your body. Please seek a good therapist for the self harm. Again, your body is telling you something. It’s begging you to setup your boundaries to get some control over you. Please listen to yourself. You are worthy of so much more. 🤗

    • Isn’t it amazing how the families discard the kids?

      My kids father wasn’t a cheater (that was my 2nd hb) but he was abusive. When I left him I left his parents an open invitation to see the kids, but they were going to show me and “side” with their baby by having nothing to do with the kids when they were with me, which was most of the time.

      I didn’t give a shit….the only difference it made is that they’re not especially close to their grandparents now that they’re young adults. Grandparents are both in poor health and my kids think its unfortunate but beyond that don’t care that much.

      The ironic thing is that over the years their baby quit drinking and grew up, so we now get along just fine. In fact, he gave me some good car advice a couple of days ago. So they ruined what could’ve been a good relationship with their grandsons for nothing….the ex and I eventually made our own peace.

  • Ah, Kimmy, your heart is breaking but I promise you that it not only gets better; it gets way better!

    CL’s response is absolutely spot-on. I want to underscore her first point: fix that picker! There are a whole lot of men out there who are good and caring men. But they may not be very flashy. Back when I was in grad school, one of my friends would date the guys I privately called “danger boys.” Danger boys are very flashy, very confident, often handsome (and boy do they know it!), and big risk takers. My friend would date for a few weeks and then something would happen that bothered her so she’d break things off.

    And then find another Danger Boy.

    It turns out that her father was an alcoholic who was emotionally abusive toward her mother. She was following the same kind of relationship pattern modeled by her family.

    This isn’t saying that your parents have a toxic relationship, but it is saying that people tend to gravitate toward a type and that aspects of that type . A good therapist can help you figure out what boundaries are important to Kimmy and how you can feel confident enforcing them.

    Good luck! You ditched your Cheater! Now you are free to gain an authentic life!

    • My d-day was 20 years ago when I was 10 years into the marriage. As many, I tried to “save the marriage.” For all of 6 months. Until I finally realized what a total asshole he really was. It took me a long time but I finally almost got to meh.

      Have been remarried for 17 years to a good man. I laid down the law w/him immediately and he took it well. Keep in mind that even if you choose a good one, you need to set the tone in the beginning regarding what you will not tolerate, and nip any misbehavior (such as abusive anger) in the bud immediately. My life is good and I am happy.

      The experience w/Asshat changed me–there is no way it couldn’t. But for the better. I even dumped some unhealthy friendships. I have few friends, but the ones I have are golden.

      I will say, though, I don’t think I will ever completely get past the PTSD…I still have occasional nightmares about the past, usually when the memories have been triggered by something. So thankful I didn’t waste any more time than I did in that nightmare.

      You will be fine…just keep working on yourself and consciously choosing the life you want to have.

  • Your story parallels mine in so many ways. Every time you forgave he upped the anti. This is how the power dynamic shifts. He cheated, unprotected sex, multiple women, and pregnancy of an older woman are all actions that tell you to get the fuck away from this disordered prick.

    For me it spanned decades. First it was him getting crabs while I was pregnant with my first child. Then he was found visiting a neighbor who needed to conceive due to health issues and lived down stairs. I caught him ‘visiting’ her at her new apartment pregnant again. The list goes on and on. Cognitive dissonance finally cleared and I was horrified when with clarity I knew this man loves no one.

    You didn’t sign up for any of this Kimmy. You have a support system right here, something I wished I had. You deserve much more than loving a toxic abuser. Free yourself. Face the pain and go no contact.

  • Kimmy – please go read some books about abnormal psychology. Read them while you are waiting in the doctor’s office to get tested for STDs (including herpes and syphilis – don’t leave any of them to chance).

    You are 22 and awful and heartbreaking as this has been, you have decades of living ahead of you. Fuckwit free if you use this opportunity to learn and grow. Why did you ignore the red flags, for starters? What red flags were they? What did you say to brush them aside?

    I recommend a nice hardbound journal. Note how you FEEL in response to how people are treating you and what you WISH to do afterward. If there is an unhealthy pattern, then you have been informed and can make different choices going forward.

    Please don’t rush into another relationship. Give yourself a little time to recover from the fumes of bullshit you were huffing. Pause and reflect.

    You are worthy of respect, reciprocity, kindness (not the same thing as being nice!) and love.

    Meanwhile, ditch him. Do not look back. Block him from contacting you every way you can think of doing so. Don’t cruise his SM accounts. Focus on KIMMIE. She is an interesting worthy individual.

    Meanwhile, have a cup of tea and buy yourself Puffs Plus with lotion.

  • I will forever love CL for teaching me this (about self-love and feelings)
    “We don’t feel mighty, then do the mighty things: you do the mighty things and THAT’S HOW you feel mighty” 🙂 It was true!

  • Kimmy,

    I am sorry this happened to you and I pray you are finding ways to self care and not self harm. When you self harm, you are giving your power over to the abuser… don’t do that. You are worthy, just the way you are and his being a cheating, lying fuckwit is a reflection of HIS CHARACTER… not what you did or didn’t do right.

    I would offer that given what you have learned from this experience, your mental health journey might include a study in co-dependency: how to recognize it and how to protect yourself from falling in to that mindset and way of acting.

    I’m 53 now. When I was in my 20’s living in a major city, I had what I thought was my first “real” relationship. In hindsight, it was spackled-up, bedazzled booty call relationship with the occasional meal first thrown in… and I tolerated it for years because I thought I was being “modern” (like the TV show Sex in the City). Flash forward 20 years… the same guy just tried to hit me up with “I miss you”… and I know my picker is fixed now because I said back to him “That’s a nice thought, but you miss someone your barely knew 20 years ago who had a bad habit of settling for less than she deserved from too many people”… and he ghosted… and I felt great.

    When you can do that… when you can be honest in expressing your needs and the guy doesn’t run, you’ve got something to work with… when it is only about them and there is no reciprocity… let go.

    Learn from this… and good for you for finding CN and CL and sharing!

  • Kimmy, read everything you can on narcissistic abuse and find a therapist who specializes in this. I didn’t have a clue and spent 32 years of my life doing exactly what you expressed: I was totally focused on being a great wife “supported him through everything. I did everything right. I love him unconditionally. Gave him everything. Worked so hard to make sure he was happy…” and yet two husbands and four kids later I’m just now learning that this mindset is WRONG! It subjected me to years of disposable abuse. Guess what? My parents conditioned me to this. Our culture conditioned me. No more! I regained my birthright— my agency!

    I have high self esteem because I do esteemable acts.

    I’m learning to face my fears, mostly irrational, that I will not be ok without a husband to care for me. It’s warped thinking and it takes time to undo. I’m a 30 year professional making six figures! Totally irrational mindset but I can change my thoughts and learn new ways of living and relating to men. It’s never too early or too late!

    Healthy love is RECIPROCAL. Did he support you? Was he generous? Was he invested in YOUR happiness?

    You MATTER. Healthy love is NOT unconditional. It comes with grown-up conditions like “you can’t abuse me.” It has deal breakers like cheating and risking your health. No one has to make that shit “happy.”

    He hurts you? He doesn’t DESERVE you.

  • “I ignored all the red flags from the beginning, which was my fault because I was just desperate for his attention.”

    You know what? That is better than someone who didn’t even notice them. Or who refused to acknowledge them later. You have so much to work with within yourself and you are miles ahead of many.

    Be kind to yourself, learn from this, and make a fabulous life for yourself Kimmie. Regardless of who is there with you.

  • When will you get over him? When you understand why you fell in love with him in the first place. That will come if you find a good therapist. When you know for certain there’s no way you could ever date him again, or anyone like him, then you will be over him. Please don’t wait till your 30s to sort this out like I did. You are a person deserving of love.

  • Kimmy, there’s a person just waiting for your love, and attention. It’s YOU. Please give all that love you have to taking care of yourself, start with baby steps. Take a class in something you’d like to be good at, get a massage, make a big bubble bath! You don’t need a guy, you’ve been played and hurt. I hope you forget him soon. Try not to talk about him for a week! Make a mantra- write your own, or here’s one-I matter, and I’m a beautiful soul.
    I promise, some day you’ll just shake your head and smile if his name comes up!
    I wish you the best of luck, keep looking forward!

  • I think recognizing that you can’t change a cheater is imperative for your mental well being.

    When I first left my marriage-I would torture myself by thinking my stbx was going to be a changed, better man for his side piece.

    They’ve been together officially for about a year.

    I learned the other day that he has asked a few different woman out-WHILE he’s in the relationship the side piece.

    When they remind him that he has a girlfriend-he says they are in an “open” relationship.

    I doubt this highly. He is too insecure and jealous to allow it.

    Bottom line: Trust that they suck.

  • Here are some things I wish I had known at 22.

    1. Put most of your time and effort into your own life. Do you like your work? Do you have post-high school education? What are your plans for your career? Are you living independent of your parents? Do you have an emergency fund? Do you live in a place where you need a car, and if so, is yours reliable? Are you planning for the time when you need to replace it? Are you able to save money toward a house? When you have your “adult” life firmly in hand, you will, I hope, look for dating partners who also have their act together.

    2. Part of putting energy into your own life involves putting energy into other relationships. How are your relationships with female friends? Are they quality people or are they selfish and manipulative like your X? People tend to make friend with those they meet at school, at work or in the neighborhood/building. Do you have friends that share interests with you? My BFF and I like to walk and garden. We’re in the same profession and we read and discuss books. Another friend got me involved with yoga. Way back when she was my student! Another friend is a work colleague and we go to plays and baseball games. Make your friendships something more than your posse at the local bar.

    3. Take a long look at your relationships with your family. Your desperation for this guy’s fake “love” suggests that there were things you needed as a little girl that you didn’t get. Let me tell you the #1 thing I’ve learned through therapy and in the process of recovering from being chumped: YOU CANNONT MAKE UP FOR UNMET NEEDS FROM CHILDHOOD BY HAVING A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP.
    The good news, though, is that through therapy you can identify those needs, grieve for the lonely little girl that is making your romantic decisions, and learn to comfort yourself, with the help of your friends. Once you start working on that problem, the problem of that little girl who needed things she didn’t get, then you can not only heal that part of you, you can also follow CL’s advice from a better foundation. You won’t “need” a man to love you. You will find comfort and joy in that when you meet the right person.

    4. What are your interests? Who are you outside of work? Outside of being a “great girlfriend”? Build some infrastructure in your life that will always be there for you. When I got chumped, I still had my work, my photography, my involvement in sports (as participant and spectator), my gardens, my love of movies and good books, my political involvement. It doesn’t make things hurt any less, but the fuller your life is, the easier it is to turn your mind away from someone who has hurt you–because you are busy doing things you love.

    5. Go no contact with this guy. That mean block him on text and phone (don’t delete yet–you might accidentally pick up the phone). That mean block him on all social media. That mean blocking the pregnant GF on all social media. That means not driving past his house or her house. NO CONTACT. When you hit 7 days, give yourself a little reward, like maybe a pedicure. When you hit 21 days, you’ll have a HABIT so give yourself a bigger reward. Massage? When you hit 90 day, you have a lifestyle. That’s a new outfit. Keep a tally of your days. That will help you stay on target. And while you’re doing this, make sure you walk or jog 30-60 minutes a day. That will help elevate your mood (since most of us can’t work out at our studios or gyms).

    5. You are still very young. Take a year or maybe too off from dating to get your adult life together. Invest in therapy, exercise, your career, your non-romantic relationships. You have lots of time. Figure out who Kimmy is, what Kimmy loves, and the kind of life Kimmy wants. Boyfriends can wait a while.

    • Seconding all of this! I wish I had focused harder on all these things after dumping a d-bag at 23. I look back now and wish I hadn’t wasted that time feeling bad about myself, when I could have made stuff and learned new things.

    • You hit it out of the park again, LaJ! A big Amen to “you can’t make up for unmet needs via romantic relationships.” I think many of us start out doing this early in adulthood to one degree or another, until we mature into ourselves. It’s a problem when people continue doing that into their 30’s and beyond, and it’s a red flag for dysfunction. My STBX, the daughter of an overtly narcissistic mother, will likely keep trying to fill herself up with romance for the rest of her adult life, and it’s really sad to watch.

      I wish it were easier for folks to recognize these red flags in their 20’s, when they’re likely coupling up. At the very least, I would advocate for a mandatory Relationship Psychology class for high schoolers, that would cover red flags (see Effie’s post below) and other truisms mentioned by LaJ and CL:

      1) You can’t make another person happy, and vice versa. You are primarily responsible for your own satisfaction with life. It’s nice to be able to depend on a loved one for care and support, but it’s not reasonable to assume that anyone can make your life better in every way (or even in most ways). Always be prepared to stand on your own two feet and to walk away if necessary.
      2) You can’t control or fix anyone else. You can only be responsible for yourself, though this is NOT license to hurt others with impunity. You certainly should have empathy for others and try not to hurt them. But beware of manipulators who will use your empathy against you: if they care for themselves by hurting/manipulating YOU, then it’s time to walk away.
      3) Because you can’t control anyone else, you need to work on understanding yourself and what is/is not acceptable to you, and then set clear boundaries and communicate them explicitly to the relevant people. It’s okay to say “if you do X, I will leave this relationship” just once or on select occasions, as long as you’re not trotting it out frequently as a tactic of manipulation. Most of the time, you’ll be proposing much less severe consequences for boundary violations, like “if you can’t talk to me calmly, I will end the conversation and leave the room.” Then you have to follow through: serious boundary violators will make you feel bad for maintaining your boundaries, so all the more reason not to waffle.
      4) If somebody violates a clearly expressed boundary, their intent doesn’t matter. They still chose to violate the boundary, and if a serious consequence isn’t imposed, they will continue violating with impunity. Even if you didn’t clearly express a boundary beforehand, you still get to levy a consequence regardless of the violator’s stated intent. Serious boundary violators can be very legalistic – “you didn’t say you had a problem with X!” – but of course most serious boundaries should be clear from the context. If you married somebody and didn’t negotiate open marriage or polyamory, for example, the obvious assumption is monogamous commitment.
      4A) Many abusers don’t realize they’re being abusive; they’re just acting in their own self-interest, with insufficient empathy for others. You don’t need to show that someone acted with malice aforethought to have a problem with their actions and to hold your boundaries. The beauty of boundaries is that they’re about how YOU want to be treated – they’re not a commentary on others’ intent. Of course, continuing boundary violations (even if unwitting!) constitute a pattern of abuse that may need to be called out. (See #BlackLivesMatter.)
      5) The only relationships involving unconditional love are between parents and children – and even then, parents/adult children need to establish and maintain clear boundaries. It’s never appropriate to let anyone walk all over you, even your child or parent. It’s very inappropriate for a romantic partner to ask you for unconditional love (and it’s a pretty clear sign that they intend to abuse your trust).
      6) If you don’t communicate openly about your needs/desires/choices that affect the people in your life, you will almost certainly end up hurting them. But you should have a filter, and think about how to express your truth kindly. (For example, your inner emotional life that you don’t act on probably WON’T affect the people around you and so doesn’t always need to be shared, unless it compromises your functionality in the real world.)
      7) You can leave a relationship at any time for any reason. If you make a commitment (like marriage or having kids with someone), open communication will be key, and you may well choose to put up with more discomfort than you would tolerate in a non-committed relationship. But leaving even a committed relationship is far better than cheating (or otherwise mindfucking/abusing your partner), or than staying when you’re routinely treated badly.
      8) Therapy can be very helpful, but some therapists are more skilled than others. If you don’t feel adequately supported by one, you should walk away and find another. (Be an informed consumer!) Note that many therapists were trained mainly to listen sympathetically and don’t really know their field very well; if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere over time, it might be worth finding a therapist with more/better academic credentials. If you go to couples counseling, make sure that the counselor really avoids false equivalencies and holds partners accountable for documented harms.

      And so on! Seriously, I’d much rather have this (and personal finance) taught in high schools than calculus…

  • Kimmy, you will get over him. I have some suggestions that may help you avoid such black holes of asshattery in the future:
    * Realize that you don’t need anyone’s permission to stop dating someone. He doesn’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to have a defensible argument as to why you’re leaving. You are 100% within your rights as a human being to just size him up, listen to your gut and say, “Nah, I don’t get good vibes. Pass.” A relationship is not a contract; you can just stop being a couple just because you wanna. I say this because for years I thought I owed guys an explanation if I acted on my gut feelings and stopped seeing them, and that I had to stay if they could successfully argue me down. (One of them I gently broke up with stalked me for months afterward, when I was 14.)
    * Journaling about your feelings and thoughts is helpful. My husband cheated on me, and I started a blog just to talk out loud about my feelings. Over time, it has helped me immensely to go back to those posts and re-read my perspective and what I’ve learned about myself and about him.
    * Websites like this one that give you reality checks are HUGELY useful. Chump Lady has helped me more than trained counselors I paid to help me.
    * Check out videos on TikTok and YouTube; you get some surprisingly useful coping and discernment tips. Search for “narcissist” and “narcissism.” Even if your guy isn’t one, it will teach you some red flags to watch out for. Forewarned is forearmed. Some I suggest on YouTube are: Permission to Exist, Doctor Ramini, Anna Akana, Derrick Jaxn, Inner Integration, Jaime Primak Sullivan (“Cawfee Tawk”), Kim Saeed, Lisa A. Romano, Thrive After Abuse (good series on red flags), and Overcoming Understanding. Some I suggest on TikTok are: @mia.vita.coaching, @onemomsbattle, @beal_allie (especially this one — she’s thoughtful and to the point), @ttimewithtracy, @light_queen.1111, @blondeboymom, @whatdoesitmatter . I could probably think of dozens more! Lots of good people sharing wisdom out there.

    I have confidence in you overcoming the bamboozling that your snake-in-the-grass boyfriend laid on you. BEST of wishes to you!

    • I second Dr. Ramani on Youtube, but her name is spelled like the noodle. And I would note that it doesn’t make sense to confront cheaters with what you learn about narcissism (Dr. Ramani has a whole video about this!). They are unlikely ever to grant that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with them. The point of learning about narcissism or other toxic/”difficult” traits is to fix your own picker, moving forward.

  • Kimmy,

    Getting your heart broken hurts – finding out you where a Chump is a dagger to your heart. Your first round at love was a knockout punch to the gut but you learned a lot about yourself, you faced your fear and you are moving on. That is AMAZING and you should be PROUD that you had the courage to stand up for yourself!!

    When you are ready, take a deep breath, and start making a new path. Therapy, going out with friends, doing an activity you love, hang out with some friendly pets and enjoy some puppy / kitten love… anything healthy / positive that helps you move toward a happier / healthier you. It’s not going to happen all at once but you just have to try to keep moving.

    Self-harming is giving him your power. Therapy, hotlines are here for you, please take advantage of them! Get angry but don’t turn it inward; it’s seems silly but throw darts at his picture, write ugly and mean things about him in a private diary and listen to some chump recommended songs https://www.chumplady.com/2020/01/chump-and-cheater-torch-songs/. (I highly recommend singing / screaming along to Liar by Henry Rollins Band, Done by Frazey Ford and Good as Hell by Lizzo!)

    If you are close to your family let them in… I cannot tell you how much I wish my mom was here to make me popcorn, a Manhattan and then tell me what a **complete shit** my fuckwit is.

    And know that HE IS A BLACK HOLE – a vile, cheating, soul-sucking snake who will overtly or covertly take your power, energy and love and when you have nothing left to give he will walk away without a second thought.

  • Yes you will get over it. Nothing stays the same in life. It is all a series of up and down cycles.

    You were conned by an expert manipulator. You loved who you THOUGT he was, not the real him. We have all been there. These people are experts at love bombing and seeming to care. It’s all f.a.k.e. As long as we serve their needs they will keep us around.

    With all challenges in life: job loss, illness, death of family members, relationship loss etc. we have to give it time, work on elevating our own self awareness and examining family of origin issues, and eventually be open to better people. And never see another person as the key to our life, or that we can’t live without them. People can compliment your life and that is great. But they shouldn’t BE your life.

  • Kim – Was he doing this during the pandemic? You were risking your life for someone who doesnt even care?

    Go no contact as a way of re-establishing your self worth and protecting yourself.

    Very few people marry their first love.

    Become the person you would want to meet and get to know better.

  • Right now it feels crushing, like you can barely breathe. Break ups suck and it happens frequently when you’re young. You will get over this jerk and look back with a sigh of relief that it never went further. Guys that operate in that manner usually don’t end up setting the world on fire. More often than not they end up being a bum. Going forward do not wear your heart on your sleeve. Six months is a very short time and you should not be divulging traumas or weaknesses this soon. Defects like your ex will just use it against you. I wish you well and I swear in the next few years when you get together with girlfriends on a night out, the biggest laughs will be really bad dates and disastrous relationships stories that thankfully you escaped.

  • Kimmy you are worth so much more than that small boy. Take some time and think, learn yourself. This is one of my favorite pieces.

    I CHOOSE
    To live by choice, not by chance,
    To be motivated, not manipulated,
    To be useful, not used,
    To make changes, not excuses,
    To excel, not compete.
    I choose self-esteem, not self-pity,
    I choose to listen to my inner voice,
    not to the random opinions of others.

  • Big hugs to you Kimmy.

    You’re so young and you have been infatuated with this guy: I know that feeling. The big infatuation. It’s sooooo hard to realise your love was misplaced. You can figure that out later.

    For now, what you need to realise is that you were abused by him. This was ABUSE. you have been in an abusive relationship.

    leave the cheating and the other women to the side for a minute.

    Everything this guy does is abuse.

    You need to recognise that this is/was an abusive relationship.

    Getting as far away from it as you can is a matter of extreme importance. Get away and stay away. Run as fast as you can. Your mental and physical health and safety depends on you getting away from this monster.

    It is of the utmost importance that you do not talk to this guy, do not let him know where you are or what you are doing. Just get the hell away.

    I feel sorry for the girl who has become pregnant to him. She will have to be tied to him forever.

    You can get away. Be thankful. Go go go.

  • First off ((Big hugs))

    I’m so sorry you had to go though so much. I can understand you might feel so much rejection. CL is 100% right, you loved the IDEA of him, not him personally. Your commitment and effort, demonstrate you invested a lot in the relationship. At such a moment the fact that he just used you and never loved you (similarly) can really leave you with intense feelings of pain and grievance.

    Don’t worry, you will get over this. My advice, which I personally took for myself is, no contact, make sure you are in a safe environment that values you, please go to a psychologist (self-harm is not something to ignore), read the Kubler-Ross stages of grief while allowing yourself time to go through emotions, perhaps educate yourself in narcissism/sociopathy and personality disorders. That could explain a lot about what you had to go through and might provide insight on calibration of the picker. Grievance is not easy, and you might permanently boot out of it the moment acceptance is there.

    For so long I had the question: did she not love me at all? Well the answer for me was, she did and yet she didn’t, I genuinely believe she is not capable of loving in a healthy way all the while her moral compass was broken. But NONE of this actually matters.

    You know how he treated you, that shit is unacceptable, you are worth thousands of times more than that. Just trust that he sucks, indeed reflect on your ‘picker’ and you’ll see there will eventially be someone who will cherish you deeply.

    Most importantly, really allow yourself to heal to a point you are happy as a (single) person again. So that you can be your best self the moment you meet someone new, someone way better than him. Make sure that you don’t skew your own values and regain your healed strong self. You will rise, grow and overcome, but give it some time. You’ll get there and will reach ‘meh’.

  • Dear Kimmy,

    Sometimes older adults tend to reassure younger adults in a manner that might feel like a dismissive pat on the head and a “you are young” and it may feel like they see your pain as inconsequential. Please dont take any encourage you find here as dismissive. What you may see is that so many of us wish we had learned this lesson at 22.

    I married my Cheater when I was 21. I recently found video pf the events leading up to the event (Im now 55) and I dont even like to see or hear myself…Im still filled with some self hate for falling for his manipulations back then and additionally Im terribly conflicted that I was SO committed to persevering that I stayed for SO LONG. (In fact, I never left, he died).

    In reality, what you experienced was heartbreaking and real and sometimes people (like my 24 year old daughter) let heartbreak steer the bus of their lives for far too long. I really hope that you can fully process and digest all the helpful lessons in this awful situation without it derailing you from life for too long.

    Good luck

  • >