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How Do You Get Past the Revulsion?

Dear Chump Lady,

Have you ever addressed how to get past the feeling of revulsion or “ick” when you finally see the cheater for who they really are?

I was involved with a cheating freak for 8 years. Very covert guy — likeable surgeon that always knew how to navigate social graces with well-placed humor or a generous offer to pick up the bar tabs for friends and strangers alike. Look at me! I’m a great guy!

Then I found out about his double life. (Secret girlfriend in another town and all the abortions that follow her) and fell down a wormhole of the most disgusting and vile behavior I have ever known a human to commit in secret.

Now I feel physical repulsion at the very thought of him, which is more often than I like to admit. It’s like he has infected my headspace. How to I get past the skin-crawling disgust I feel almost constantly knowing I shared the same air as him, much less my bed. I feel dirty. And no amount of hot shower is helping.

Signed

Disgusted in Kentucky

Dear Disgusted in Kentucky,

Perhaps you shouldn’t move past the “Ewww.” Your feelings are there to warn you not to touch — or commit your life to — disgusting things.

I think you feel repulsed by his behavior because it is repulsive. You’re fortunate, you can make a clean break, go no contact, and forever avoid the ick. The skein untangling is completely optional.

You’re asking me how to integrate the knowledge of Dr. Jekyll’s heinous deeds with the charming guy you thought you knew. When faced with this kind of cognitive dissonance (My! You don’t LOOK like a monster!), there’s only a few ways you can go.

1.) Spackle. Refuse to believe the evidence. He’s not a monster, he’s a fuzzy misunderstood kitten. Who acts out sometimes, but only because toxic shame/Mercury is retrograde/peanut allergy.

Do you want to make excuses for him? Explain away his double life with some crackpot theories? Knit a giant sweater from that fucked-up skein? No. I hope not. Which brings us to…

2.) Feign sophistication. Who among us hasn’t aborted a few kittens? Life isn’t black and white! Forgive and forget! You could try to integrate Dr. Douchebag’s nefarious double life with his charming guy persona by deeming it All Very Sophisticated and labeling your revulsion “judgement.” Don’t wrinkle your nose at kitten extermination!

Many people fall for the sophistication trap. It’s nice to consider yourself sophisticated. You can avoid all manner of icky, inconvenient truths. Sure it’s intellectually lazy and morally vacant, but the guy picks up the bar tab!

Feigning sophistication explains a lot of Switzerland friends. It’s a lovely free drink, until you find this person has stolen your wallet/wife/pension fund. And then judgement suddenly looks a lot less judge-y.

3.) Drop the skein. Kentucky, you could also decide to just decide. He sucks. In your moral universe you will not reconcile a double life with Mr. Nice Guy. He is his double life. That eclipses whatever facade he was fronting. You don’t have time to see what’s behind Door #147. Move on.

I know it’s shocking that such people exist. That’s our big takeaway lesson from being chumped — these people exist. It’s not ALL people. Mercifully, they’re a minority. But unfortunately a lot of people get snowed by fuckwits because of factors 1 and 2.

I wrote this once about the shock of discovering a double life — Surely You Must’ve Known.

We all see the world from our own moral lens. And if you have a particularly good set of morals (and assume everyone else does too), that makes you a good mark. If you’ve never experienced infidelity before and you know that you wouldn’t cheat on your spouse — you stumble around the planet with a certain naivety. You wouldn’t have done such a thing and therefore you can’t imagine a world in which the person you are most intimate with daily would do such a thing either.

That’s why infidelity is so shattering. It completely up-ends your view of the world, your sense of reality, of who you can trust. When it happened to me, it was like that scene in the Twilight Zone where the “normal” people suddenly rip off their masks and reveal that they are pig-snouted aliens. I was shocked to my core. The world has PIG-SNOUTED ALIENS?! WTF?! No one TOLD ME!

Kentucky, pig-snouted aliens walk among us.

Ewwwww.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Good reminder today especially #2 not falling into that sophistication trap that the culture pushes so hard. Stay repulsed! Finding a finger in the soup is as gross the 99th time as it was the first.

    I am in the midst of a lawsuit against the fuckwit over a business we co-own and he is the same psycho narc liar he was in the divorce. Occasionally I am angered as if I expected him to be different, nope, he will always be repulsive at his core!!!

  • Regarding the “sophistication” angle, there’s a lot of talk about French sophistication and acceptance of the affair, if you like. But it isn’t sophisticated. It’s just a bunch of dirty old creeps getting their rocks off and a load of hurt women dealing with the pain and fallout. Works the other way round too of course.

    As for my ex I found him physically repulsive. You know when the last dance comes on at a wedding – well I always used to dash to the other side of the room so he couldn’t touch me and I didn’t have to pretend that I could bear him. No contact works wonders though, and I’ve seen him twice at my two sons’ weddings in the last three years and was even able to be civil to him. My only thought at the time was “thank God I no longer have to touch that”!

    • Attie, I have had to go through one son’s wedding and it drained all of my energy. I was exhausted before XH arrived, just at the thought of laying eyes on him.

      Sparkledick breezed in and greeted me like a dear friend. Thankfully my sons were not in the room to see me get up and leave. He sighed the “what a bitter woman” sigh, but spent the party slinking around and left early. It was a no-win situation and I felt so bad and sorry for my son, but I just could not be “friends” with a creep that ruined so many things for nothing but pussy.

      Kentucky’s letter makes me feel normal.

      • I admit I was pretty shaken up before the first wedding (because I actually imagined he would have the gall to ask if he could stay with me). He didn’t do that but he did ask if I wanted to meet “them” in town for a drink and I said I’d rather not. The only thing I told my kids is don’t put him on the same table as me and it was ok. He got pretty shit-faced at the first wedding but behaved better at the second wedding. Either way it didn’t bother me because OW is batshit crazy and it was funny to watch it in action!

    • Attie… thanks for the insight, made me laugh. I also saw a recent article in my newsfeed about supposed French acceptance of infidelity. I didn’t bother reading it. That drivel has been recycled for years.

      I also lived in France but obviously not as long as you have. I too think that argument is total hogwash.

      I broke it off with my Parisian boyfriend after a year because his chronic jealousy was suffocating. The only reason we’re still friendly all these years later is because he didn’t have double standards about it and wasn’t mean. His constant anxiety just made me constantly anxious and this had an oppressive effect.

      He had been traumatized by a philandering, abusive dad but did not grow up with the father. His brother, who grew up with their father, was clearly bipolar and borderline and killed himself last year. Two of the best looking men I’ve ever laid eyes on in my life and hardly stupid. Neither ever married nor had children.

      The couple I stayed with in Paris as a teen ended up breaking up over infidelity. The husband had also slept with someone else early in their dating relationship and the wife confided to me that she never got over it. I’m not sure whose cheating finally broke them up. They both remarried.

      My childhood best friend’s parents tried a Francophilic “open marriage.” The mom aped what she thought was French sophistication and had a string of silly “lovahs,” some of whom lived in their house at times. Dad seemed to accept it but wasn’t quite as “busy.” I would guess that mom didn’t actually like sharing kibble or having hubs’s paramours around. That ended with rolling-on-the-floor fights and police being called. The childhood friend became verbally mean and abusive after that and I stepped away and lost touch. The parents were attractive people but they clearly didn’t sell the lifestyle to me. The one good effect it had was that I was immune to double standard arguments that men are “more sexual” than women. For better or worse that seemed like crap. But after an up-close look at the open lifestyle, I had no interest in it. Folowing their split, the dad came onto me when I was 18. I had the strange feeling he had something to prove after that wreck of a marriage. Talk about ew.

      Another high school friend’s parents, a Universalist pastor and his psychologist wife– were swingers. That friend couldn’t stand it. I never actually met her parents because they were literally never around, only saw the photo of the frumpy middle aged couple. She had been an excellent student but ended up clinically depressed by college.

      A third friend was devastated to find out her Swedish mother had had a long term affair on her straight-laced American dad. This friend had also been a 4.0 student, an athlete who didn’t smoke or drink and a well known musician. She ended up withdrawn and depressed for several years after her high school/college boyfriend cheated and gave her herpes and she broke with him at around the same time her parents split.

      So much ew, so much pain and dysfunction, so few selling points. I now have a few poly friends and I admit to them I’m a bit mystified about how it works. As long as people are stringently honest and there’s no abuse of power or double standards I don’t judge. But I would never get over the ew factor myself.

      • I think there might be a certain “resignation” that it might happen but I’ve never met anyone who thought it acceptable – or anyone who didn’t get hurt by it. I have a friend who went to Italy as an au pair when she was 17. The husband had many affairs and one day the wife pulled her jewellery out the safe and showed it to her. It was her “affair” jewellery – he bought her something nice every time he cheated on her. She said it meant nothing to her and she never wore it. They ended up getting divorced too!

      • That was incredibly illuminating, and kind of validating. I absolutely detest the ‘it happens, everyone is ok the kids are great’ half shoulder shrug bullshit spew that seems prevalent. Sometimes it feels like I’M the crazy one when I disagree, or like I’m just some provincial old bitter doomster who just doesn’t ‘understaaaaand’. I understand fine person-who-justifies-bad-behavior, I just think you’re wrong.

        Thanks for sharing.

        • ThursdaysChild–

          Hah, I’d love to disabuse you of the notion that being grossed out by adultery is “uncool” or displays a provincial lack of sophistication. Only someone provincial would be afraid of appearing provincial anyway.

          My NY artist parents saw what happened to idols like Marc Rothko and Jackson Pollack and the rest. In retrospect, my parents were plenty cool but didn’t want to die face down in their own puke, bleeding out in a ditch or on the kitchen floor, demented from syphilis, bitter and cynical with four divorces trailing them along with the requisite gaggle of alienated, divorce-traumatized kids and all the other “fun” things NY hipsters historically got up to. It’s a lot less cool when you witness the actual fallout.

          Sometimes these choices are made from experience while others don’t need the experience to know what’s what. They can learn from books or just watching the mayhem around them.

        • My Cheater dismissed my angst with the “this happens every day” but I responded “so does ax-murder but that doesn’t make it less horrible”.

          • Hmmm, so many things happen every day… child rape, sex trafficking, vehicular manslaughter, porn actor suicide, deforestation, sexual harassment, toxic dumping and attendant cancer clusters, graft, prison torture and unethical human research on child wards of the state. And we’re so very uncool for for caring about any of it.

            Fuck being cool. Cool will kill us all.

  • I would add that a corollary to No. 3 is to forgive yourself because your were actively deceived. We Chumps are not dumb, and we don’t knowingly pick used-condoms-walking-around-on-two-feet; rather, we pick what we think are good people. And we only pick cheaters because they dress up their rotten cores in good people costumes.

    I once bit into a beautiful apple with a worm hiding inside it. I wasn’t gross to do that. The gross part was the worm.

      • Or eating a jello and finding half a slug in it (we were camping and had put the jello outside to set)!

    • A nice looking apple with a worm hiding inside is a fantastic analogy Nomar. Unfortunately, some of us ate 3/4 of that apple and ended up biting into that disgusting worm!

    • Abusers apparently channel far more energy into image management than normal people and also deeply study their prey. I wish I could remember the study titles. I’ll have to reread the book to find the citations.

      • After DDay, my ex told me, “I’m envious of you. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not.” I hadn’t discovered Cluster B personalities yet, but when I did, his statement made sense. So yes, he did channel a lot of energy on image management.

        • STBX said something similar. “You wanted me to be something I’m not” and frequently commented on how many masks he wore for different people. Creepy Cluster Bs.

        • I’m no contact, but I don’t think my ex wastes half a moment on remorse. If he does, I’m pretty sure he blames me for the guilt trip.

        • Image management is like spinning a basketball on your finger 24/7. Makes it hard to do anything else.

          Kind of wondering if cheaters choose their spouse-prey as study subjects– models of how to act human.

          • Hell of a Chump, I think you’re right, I was a model for ex on how to act human. This explains why during discard and afterwards, he’s a complete stranger.
            He no longer mimicked my values or had to pretend he had any.

            • Brit– Ever see the original 70’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Did you ever find an ugly potted plant by your bed while living with him? Does he do a Donald Sutherland and point at you and scream when he sees you?

            • Yes! They use us to mimic being human. I often said I was Wasband’s social seeing eye dog. I guided him through social situations in the same way a seeing eye dog helps a blind person navigate a bust sidewalk.

              • Yes, they mirror your values. I always felt so proud that he asked my opinion and embraced the same values I did. I felt like I was a good influence on him. What a chump!

        • ha my ex said to me, “what if we break up and then one day, you’re a cheese and wine, olive-tree sprouting professor. I am afraid I will regret breaking up with you, if that happens.”

          I found that comment to be so illuminating. Simple foolish me who just wanted to be with him. He just wanted the societal validation of “oh look at my shiny partner”. I don’t know anything about the OW. I made sure not to get any details about her. but I imagine she must offer some material gain/prestige that I don’t have.

      • The 3 molecules in my Cheater that had a conscience sometimes influenced him to give me warnings about how horrible he was…they were always cryptic and veiled and I didnt understand them until after the whole thing was done. He used to tell me “you love an image” which I thought was a condemnation of me as a superficial person (and my response was to double-down on my devotion to him). It wasn’t until he was dead and I knew the truth that he was telling me that he wasn’t what he projected to me. The more shit he gave me, the better of a wife I tried to be which I think gnawed at those 3 molecules.

        • They know they’re fake. Mine would also give cryptic warnings. And I’d spackle and dance harder. The red flags are embarrassing in retrospect, but when you love and trust your spouse (like you’re supposed to!), you can’t even imagine what’s behind the mask. We all know better now though.

          • For the entirety of our wreckonciliation, I really thought he had had one affair. When Tiger Woods was shown to be a cheating man-whore, I told my then-husband that Tiger was guilty of biohazardous rape of his wife…she did not consent to the risk he was putting her in my lying about monogamy. He made the stupidest face…I thought he was mad that I insulted his hero.

            • Biohazardous rape? How very, very spot on.

              I shouldn’t laugh but I think CL and CN should consider this as a new acronym for APS: BH.

          • Mine said ( while dating and after the fight)
            “ I’m a horrible person and you should just leave me”
            Of course, I was seeing the world via my moral code, values etc. so I ended up listing all the good stuff , all his accomplishments- (something that would definitely cheer me up during a really low/sad mood.)
            Well, I should have known better- when they say who they are, believe them.

            3 kids, and PTSD later- I see all the red flags, gaslighting and disgusting ways he was acting the whole time we know each other.

  • Feeling disgusted is a very normal reaction to violation.
    Your boundaries were violated and it was gross. He IS gross and there’s no changing that.

    May he be “icked” away by everyeone he comes across in his life!

    • Quetzal, yes- I was reading “Cheating in a Nutshell” and it includes a chapter on disgust. Great book about the damaging effects of the cheater on the partner and family. The “ick” factor is a kind of survival defense mechanism.

  • That’s the thing about infidelity. Once you’ve seen who they really are, you just can’t “unsee” it. And life will never be the same.

    It took me years to understand that life never being the same is a good thing. All those nagging “Am I crazy to question what is off to me” feelings from that past life are no longer invading your space. You’re FREE.

  • When we married I took my vows seriously: forsake all others, cleave only to him. He took the same vows. I believed he felt the same way as me.

    Newsflash: if your soon to be spouse doesn’t already act for your mutual best interests before the wedding, saying a few words in front of a minister won’t change that. Wedding vows don’t fix shitty character flaws.

    I was young and idealistic. I understand better now

    • “Wedding vows don’t fix shitty character flaws” This should be cross stitched on a pillow somewhere….and made into posters for the world to see.

  • I remember in the beginning of seperation I was in a supermarket and had an intrusive thought of my ex and her schmoopie having sex. I almost vomitted in de aisle of the supermarket…

    • Two years out and I STILL get those images and the nausea that follows. When did that finally stop for you?

    • Guide Dog, I agree. The only thing worse is the middle of the night mental images that keep you awake for hours. Then, every time you try to roll over and go back to sleep, it is still there.

      • Every once in a while intrusions cause anger which keeps me awake. Often the intrusions are old memories and new realisations that accompany them, which trigger the anger

        • “New realizations” about old memories as triggers– spot on! But these lose their power too eventually.

          There seems to be a trauma processing
          filing system where, just as soon as your brain has combed out all the usable data from one detail of traumatic experience, another file gets slapped on our mental desks with “Urgent” stamped on the folder. More sleepless nights, more mulling, more reading and sense-making. Rinse, repeat.

          It’s like sitting down to a plate of whalebone and piano wire dealing with this shit. We can end up with very sharp teeth. Or die of intestinal perforation.

          But I’ve come to trust the process more. I think I’ve lived down some long past traumas pretty well. My voice no longer shakes when I talk about them and furthermore I find people opening up to me– unprompted– about things they don’t talk about with others, as if they can sense I’ve got the bandwidth to deal with it. And it’s true, I pretty much do. I don’t feel dumped on. I feel somewhat honored. There’s a beautiful verse along those lines from a Shawn Colvin song, “You don’t have to drag me down, I descend.”
          https://youtu.be/WicZ7QECI4c

          I suspect our minds wouldn’t keep shoving those files under our noses if there wasn’t a survival stake within, some bigger principle that has to be grasped. I tend to go big, eventually letting the personal go. I hope I can keep doing that because it’s better than forgiveness. Creeps and purveyors of bad experience are reduced to abstracts. I still wouldn’t let them near me with a ten foot pole but they cease to matter as individuals, only as representative cogs in negative systems.

          To me, the practical application is about fixing the people-picker, honing instincts and gaining wisdom with which to guide children and understand the world. Weirdly it can also lead to more resilient happiness and deeper connection with others. I remember running into a famous actress (who I didn’t recognize until after the fact) and, on mentioning Hollywood, we were both laughing and gabbling about harassment. Horrible subject but such a joyous relief to encounter anyone who really gets it.

          Another time when I was pregnant I met a playwright and the screenwriter of a film about war crimes, rape and the toxic buddy code that was the center of a galestorm of controversy when it was released. He was a combat veteran like my dad. I thought the film was this writer’s most important work which surprised him because it had not been a huge financial success. We ended up standing in a theater lobby for about two hours locked in conversation about war, mass denial of evil and complicity, evolution of violence, etc. I didnt even notice my feet had swollen up from standing so long.

          We also talked about how everything we live through can forge more connection– but again, that is if we don’t bleed out in the process.

          I certainly never thank monsters for “inspiring” personal evolution. I wouldn’t wish this stuff on mine enemy’s dog. But it happens all the same.

          • Haha I like your urgent file analogy. Sounds about right. I don’t fight the anger anymore. I know it will pass. It is as you say. It starts to lose it’s power eventually. And every time you process something like that. Afterwards your feeling for your ex is a little smaller and they mean less to you. Just keep processing

            • Guidedog– I love Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of Positive Disintegration (Wiki has a blurb on it). Basically the only way out is through.

              If you’ve ever run into some toxic maniac who once made your life sheer hell but, upon seeing them at close range, you feel less than nothing while they look frantically around for a place to hide and then you forget to mention the incident to anyone when you get home, that there’s some successful piano wire processing. If you also still feel empathy for anyone going through the same thing you once did and are inspired to help, that’s the brass ring. Immune but not numb.

              I feel like the danger of not processing thoroughly is inadvertently ending up internalizing the worst of what’s done to us or the worst of what we’ve witnessed. I think it explains Swiss friends and other negative bystanders. Without thought and socialization to restrain it, the lizard part of the human brain naturally views the bully as the “winning side” and whoever trumps or chumps us or others as having the “winning strategy.”

              • I think you have some wisdom you might be able to share with me. 5 years ago my husband beat me up pretty badly. I stayed with him. 9 months ago after lots of pushing to find out why he was so cold towards me he told me our 28 year relationship was over, he was leaving me for another woman.

                I decided fuck this I’m going to be happy, moved on very quickly with life no contact etc. But I own one quarter of the same business he does. We work together. I am repulsed by him. I ignore him at work but I feel like I’m losing. How do I be carefree and ok with him at work without him thinking I forgive or like him? How do I win?

          • Hell of a Chump Yes, it feels exactly like that filing system you describe! Like you, I have learned to expect the uprise of a new ‘file’ when the current one has been processed. It can be a turbulent process, and sometimes I wonder if I will ever get to the end of it. Triggering events still come out of nowhere and my reactions still need to be processed away from the public gaze. Every time I think I’m ok, something else comes out. I’m 3.5 years out from 25 years of marriage, the last 15 years of which were very abusive. So I guess I can’t expect to be recovered and blithely dancing into a new life yet. The good times are starting to be longer and longer between the triggering episodes. I’m voicing more easily the nastier aspects of the abuse, but speaking the worst bits still make me cold an shaky and sweaty and faint feeling, like a shock reaction. Its still difficult to confront the truth of the person I was married to for all those years. It still shocks me that he seemed to change so much and so quickly at the 10 year mark of our marriage. I am getting my head around the fact that that person was always there and had obviously made a series of private decisions about me and our marriage that culminated in the great unmasking of the real person 10 years in.

        • I didnt know that he was a serial cheater until we had a 29 year relationship under our belt and he was dead. Learning well after the fact set me up for an extensive time of dealing with “old memories / new realizations”.

          At first it was frantic and felt catastrophic but the process of remembering / considering / purging started to get rather efficient. I can now get through one in a few minutes with no tears or real reaction. I will often tell my husband where me head is and he has learned not to be afraid of it either.

          • Unicornnomore…

            You married a smart one the second time around.

            Don’t you just love “emotional athletes”– people who “get” healing?

            Whatever is wrong with humanity, I’m betting it relates to there being too few people like that around.

  • Agree! Don’t move past the ick factor. It’s the dog poop on the ground that you have to avoid as you move forward.

    Trust that Mr. Double Life sucks! You got this.

  • Its not your problem. Why is the ow having abortions, is she being coercived into unprotected sex. The woman is ultimately responsible for her health but repeated abortions means something deeper. I think a lot of ow have unprotected sex, I don’t understand that mindset. one I knew multiple men didn’t know who the dad was, a men asked her once who was the dad, SHE LAUGHED, she thought it was funny. She was banned from being alone with her son till he was 16. (that was the first child). I have realised they don’t want the older kids, but they want babies. There were a couple around my area. same experiences for both of them. The one who laughed used to worship men, unfortunately not her son, she thought buying expensive kids clothes for daughter more important.
    Money came from illegal activities.
    Getting pregnant is the ultimate pick me dance.

  • You are lucky you feel revulsion. It keeps you from pick me dancing or falling for fake remorse and taking him back. It protects you. Be glad you feel repulsed and use it to your advantage to keep yourself safe from him.

    Beyond that, you can forgive yourself for being involved with someone you didn’t know what icky at the time. Eventually it will just be a distant memory and you will feel better.

    • I was thinking the same thing. If you must go through betrayal, you are much better off knowing the other person is repulsive.

      It’s such a long recovery when the cheater did treat us like gold – until they suddenly dumped us because they decided to treat somebody else like gold.

    • Revulsion could be useful in other relationships. If someone is unfriendly or treating you with disrespect rather than wondering why, instead note the obvious, they’re repulsive human beings.
      Not my tribe…
      Sadly I’m wondering if I need to have the same attitude with my alienated son who is now 28 years old. He has little or no respect for me. I do a pathetic version of the parental “throw me a crumb.” dance.
      His lack of respect is repulsive.
      I don’t like my son but I will always love him.

  • I was absolutely repulsed by Mr. Sparkles after I found all the evidence around his online personal ads and personas… BiMWM looking for a couple for regular get togethers… MWM looking to be Sugar Daddy… SWM just out of a relationship… whatheeverlovingfuck?

    I would physically cringe when he tried to touch me during reconciliation (aka spackling and therapy)… and that led to him saying I let the sex go out of our marriage. Gaslighting anyone?

    When you meet him, friends have said something always felt “off”. Yet… he works in Customer Service and everyone loves him… he’s a man’s man… talk sports all day… and a sweetheart to the ladies. They have no idea that he’s MrGrey1968, SilverFox224, and many other aliases. They don’t know he blew up three families and walked out on a total of six kids. He’s Mr. Nice Guy.

    I pray daily for two things… my son to turn 18 so Mr. Sparkles is even further removed from the picture… and for his current GF to see the light and get away (after being with him, she is now being treated for depression… coincidence?)

    Whenever I need a good mental scrubbing of the “ewww” factor, I think of the scene in Silkwood where Meryl Streep is being scrubbed with wire brushes after being exposed to radiation… getting away from Mr. Sparkles has been just like that… I was a little sore after, but I healed and was stronger than ever after.

    • Funny, I often thought of that scene in Silkwood as well when I found the disgusting pics on XBF’s phone, and could ‘hear’ him and the slug speaking their texts outloud to each other in my head in the middle of the night.

  • Revulsion is your body’s defense mechanism for keeping you away from rotten, festering things that will make you sick. It’s there to protect you – let it do its job.

    Practice a few short one-liners for anyone that asks questions about why you two broke up: “I found out he had a secret mistress the whole time – but I’m not interested in re-hashing the whole mess. How’s about [subject change].” Then never associate with or talk about him again (unless you need to chat with a therapist).

    Focus on moving on, and stay no-contact.

  • I believe this issue is a double edged sword. On one edge you have the fact that the cheater is truly disgusting, and is quite willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get what the cheater wants. On the other edge you are quite devastated that you did not see this truth. You loved the cheater, slept with the cheater, planned a life with the cheater. How did you not know the cheater cheats? For me, that not knowing edge was worse. The first cut might be the deepest — He cheats! But the other edge bleeds longer, it feels fatal. At the time, I wondered if I would survive that sneak attack on my world value system.

    The second battle I experienced I was not nearly as surprised. I had learned from the first battle to put the blame where it should be, on the cheater. It was certainly easier to detect infidelity the second time. But I had not changed my world view, or done the work needed to fix my picker. I had to reinforce my armor, up my game, if I was going to survive. I had to figure out why I was attracted to this type of man, so that I could change that part of myself. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice . . .

    War tactics change over time, and with regard to the environment and weapons used. If you are going to engage with others in life you should be prepared for all types of situations and people. You cannot live in the dream world you created when you were young, you have to live in the real world. There are many things I did not imagine. It’s like trying to navigate with an old map. On the edge of your known world there is a note that beyond here, there be monsters. There may also be some wonderful new worlds to explore, but you best be prepared to deal with the unknown.

    Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the unknown. Think about it. How could you know? But learn from your experience, and look for chinks in your armor. You just might come across another monster.

    • You are right.
      Problem I have with myself is that there were instances where I suspected she cheated on. For example at a party with friends at a far location where everyone also spend the night.
      I suspected she left the party and cheated on me and then came back like nothing happened. Something felt off then, also when we had sex later that night. I shrugged it off as being paranoid.
      Now I’ve had intrusions about that night and more realisations about that night and am angry at myself for ignoring the HUGE red flag. The denial I was in.
      In hindsight I think from then on our relationship deteriorated slowly but surely, until she blew our family up to leave me for someone else.

    • Portia– profound analogy, thank you.

      “It’s like trying to navigate with an old map. On the edge of your known world there is a note that beyond here, there be monsters. There may also be some wonderful new worlds to explore, but you best be prepared to deal with the unknown.”

      Damn this is a brainy and poetic forum. Great laughs too. Five course gourmet human interaction.

  • Hugs! ❤️ Lots of these covert Dr. Jekylls out there posing as good guy surgeons who pick up bar tabs and are fake protective of nurses and receptionists, just like Ted Bundy was fake protective of his buddy Ann Rule.

    Mine was banging his male colleague for 8 of the 15 years he was conning me. We’re repulsed because their abuse is repulsive. Lean into the repulsion and spot these types going forward into your cheater-free life!

    • Hush–
      When cheater went cold turkey on D-Day and joined AA, there were several flying monkeys and sycophants suddenly plunged into DTs or finding themselves in credit card debt from having to pay for their own drinks for once.

      I bet it would be possible to create a mathematical formula of bar-tab-paying to determine individual level of up-to-no-goodness.

      • So true! Ex-cheater always picked up the tab for others with a wad of bills in his pocket. It annoyed me as “we” didnt have a lot of money. Another performance of The Great Guy. He worked in theatre so he knew all the right script moves. Loved having an audience in his grip.

  • Having had kids with my now ex husband, I went through all sorts of emotions. Maybe a year after, I would get these panic dreams that I was my younger self and we were having sex, conceiving a child and I would be trying to warn my younger self, it was like I was being raped and he was a demon and I could do something to stop this irreversible thing from happening.

    I’d wake myself up in a panic. I love my kids, they are my life but Their dad is a nasty waste of space

    • That you woke yourself up is a good thing. Think of it as stopping the “irreversible thing”; at some level even in your unconscious sleeping mind you were able to exert the protective force needed to wake yourself up.

      I have had a number of nightmares about my ex and the way his disordered sexual life (he’s an autogynephile, who gets his sexual jollies by dressing up in women’s clothes–including the ones he’d secretly steal from me–and masturbating); over time I have gotten better and better while in the dream at sending myself a message my dreaming self hears: I’m not doing this, not undergoing this, and I’m waking up now.

    • MidLife, I had the same thing happen — the dreams of sitting in a park with my daughter (then an infant), then suddenly being dragged away and murdered by a shadowy figure while she lay cooing on the grass right in front of me. This was when I was still with him, thinking I could work through it. The figure was most definitely him. It made me scared, it made me sick, it made me angry. Clearly a piece of me was not willing to tuck what he did behind me and “move on” in that now joke of a marriage.

      The fact that we have to live with the juxtaposition of our love for our children and disgust for the person who half-made them makes me so fuming angry. I do agree with you though — I love my kid. Period. Her father is a horrible human being. Those things can both be true.

      • Also, as some other folks have pointed out, there comes a point in time when my that disgust has served its purpose and can recede. Bad dreams spawned by disgust/anger –> I decided to get divorced. It did take some time, but that disgust pretty much only rears its head when I need to interact with him and he’s being the same old entitled, deceptive d-bag.

  • All of these scumbags look a lot different once the rose colored glasses are off.

    Mine was 19 years older and even though I knew that I really never saw it because I loved him. Once I realized he was a lying scumbag the glasses came off and I realized just how old he looked.

    I saw an old, limp dick, shitty toupee wearing loser that the thought of disgusted me. I never saw that when I thought I could trust him

    I think that happens to all of us.

  • This hurts because it was someone that you thought that you could trust and that you allowed into your close circle of acceptance. But, even kindergartners can spot, name, and be upset about a cheater. Remember on the playground when everyone would point and shout, “You’re a cheater!” It’s too bad we have to outgrow that practice. It would save a lot of chumps if cheaters were pointed out in the same way as adults.

    I agree with everyone above that says to embrace the disgust. That is your gut telling you to get as far away as possible, ASAP! And then STAY away forever.

  • During divorce proceedings I had to see AssHat at a school fundraiser with our children. The boys ran up to tell me Daddy was upset that I hadn’t signed their release form for photos or some stupid thing I’d forgotten in the midst of the chaos.
    Asshat walked up, tapped me on the shoulder and proceeded to berate me exactly as he had done in the marriage. In that moment I saw the true ugliness of the predator, phony, conman he truly is…as he rolled his eyes and turned away I mustered up every ounce of spit I had in me and spat on him like the vermin deserved. He has repulsed me from that day forward although I no longer have the gag reflex when I’m forced to see him.
    Asshat was shocked and horrified.
    I laughed all the way home.

  • Really your question comes down to two parts: is it normal to feel disgusted and how to get him out of your headspace.

    It is absolutely 100% normal to feel disgusted and to have your headspace filled with that disgust. As CL says, infidelity shatters your world. It takes time to process this. I don’t know how long it’s been since Dday for you or where in the process you are. (Hint: If you were married, you should be either divorced or divorcing because you don’t have anything to work with here. If you weren’t married, then kick him to the curb because again, there’s nothing there to work with).

    So allow yourself some time to process that your trust was violated, that you were Chumped because you believe that other people share your morals, that you take your commitments to other people seriously. Your cheater used everything that was good about you as a weapon against you.

    Your feelings of disgust are rooted in that betrayal. Your heart, soul, and body have rejected him.

    But Chumps also get angry at themselves for having been deceived. After all, once you really see your Cheater for what they are, you can’t believe that you were ever fooled in the first place!

    This is where healing starts. You have to forgive yourself for being fooled. Chumps get chumped because Cheaters use Chumps’ generous natures against them. This doesn’t mean you’re stupid for trusting people; it just means that Cheaters are opportunists who care only for themselves. This is where therapy is helpful.

    Get busy with that whole “gaining a life” thing. A lot of us are currently being physically distant, so throwing yourself in community work isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. Look closer to home. Find a project that you’ve put off. A lot of people have discovered that gardening is therapeutic. Change the paint or the wallpaper in order to freshen up your space. Start an exercise program. Do stuff for you.

    It takes time, but eventually your head will be filled with other things: planning next year’s garden, getting your garage in order, repainting the living room, putting in a patio, etc. It does get better!

    • Great advice kb. Its definitely a process, needs patience and keeping on moving away from the bad stuff by degrees. Small steps are still steps!

  • This is a thing I still think about ( I don’t even think I’m at the repulsive stage yet )

    When we fall in love , get married , have children we don’t know what the cheaters true character is but the OW / OM do know yet still go along with it .

    I know a lot of these OW/ OM are also married but in my case the OW was single so what all she could get was a known cheater ??? And she’s not repulsed by this ??
    It really blows my mind

    • The AP (and sometimes even just the occasional snarky subsequent romantic interest in their lives) always thinks they’re coated in the special magical fairy dust that makes them different. And that’s of course what the cheater wants them to believe. How anyone has dated my ex after he supposedly told them what he did (and I’ve talked with a couple, although who knows how he spun it) is freaking beyond me.

    • I’ve thought about this too. Who in their right mind would screw someone else’s husband while married themselves? What type of broken, pathetic, disordered person could possibly think that’s ok? Sharing the same bed just hanging out naked with someone else’s spouse. So many points along the way for them to say “hey, this is fucked up” and they still go right ahead anyway. Who would want a cheater when the evidence is in plain sight of what they are?

    • Same. I told Fredo about him and his whore “The ONLY thing you know with absolute certainty about each other is you will lie, cheat, betray and deliberately hurt and harm the people you are supposed to ‘love’ as long as you get to do what you want. Spouses, children, family mean nothing as long as you’re ‘happy’ in that moment. Both of you. Good luck with that”.

      I have no idea how someone could think someone else’s spouse is an attractive option, and I hope all of these icksters live with a large scoop of uncertainty every single day.

  • what all she could get was a known cheater ???
    There’s your answer in a nutshell Karenb6702. She’s morally corrupt. So of course she took what she could get. These people always think they are “special”. That they are better than the chumps. That the cheater would NEVER , EVER, do that to them. Luckily history and human behavior prove them wrong time and time again.

  • I vividly remember the onset and period of active disgust. I did the naked pick me dancc, and participated in some truly alarming acts. I believe in my case the disgust was directly related to the degree to which I had done this. Once I moved out and got away, and was out of his sphere of influence and manipulation, the reality of his disordered sexuality and his acts and the fact that he had me dancing to his specifications hit like a ton of bricks. It made me sick to my stomach. It also made me feel a depth of disgust when I had to see him (we worked in the same small department of the same small college) that was unlike anything I’d ever felt in my life. I am a person who thinks spitting is disgusting, and that spitting should therefore be reserved only for expressing disgust at the most disgusting behavior, but I found myself wanting to spit every time I thought of him and every time I saw him. I spat more in that few months than I have ever spat in my life.

    • I hear you sister. I went through the same after he had an affair and told me I never really sexually satisfied him. I pick me danced so hard after that, I had to check my soul at the bedroom door. That was how I mustered up the willingness to be sexual with him so he would not deem me not worth being faithful to. (I still can’t believe I told my individual therapist this and she didn’t object to me doing this to myself.)

      Anyhoo, the therapist and I didn’t know the half of it. After the divorce I learned that his sexual goalposts are not anything I would ever be willing to do and no one will ever satisfy him.

      The ick factor became PTSD when I found out how he really felt about me/women. Six months after our separation, he posted online a detailed graphically violent fantasy of kidnapping, raping, and leaving his unnamed ‘ex’ for dead on a deserted road off the highway. I stumbled across it on our family computer that the kids use.

      When I showed my new therapist, a man, what my ex had written, and I asked about trauma therapy, he dismissed it and said my problem wasn’t my ex, it was me. I fired him immediately.

      My circle of trust is pretty tiny now, but I feel safer and more at peace.

  • Empaths we are, giddy with love…until ‘after’.

    I called my x ‘concubine’ …after. A gilded cage provider of sex and fantastic liar.

    After the begging, after the pleading, after the bargaining, after the pick me dance, after the discard, after the mind (sex) movies.
    Until after the “I’m not coming back”..

    Then comes After the Revelations. After the crash course on NPDs, BPDs, Sociopaths… Cheaters.
    AFTER LACGAL basic training. Boot camp for Boobs.

    I recall standing away from xc and seeing the shark eyed evil before me. It’s impossible to forget that. Closest thing I’ve ever experienced to demonic possession. Reagan Brought to life from Blatty’s The Exorcist.

    The revulsion driven by her pheromones from another man’s chemistry 🧪
    After.

    Now 2 years after divorce the FUBAR thoughts aren’t so intrusive anymore. Chris Cornell came from across the Great divide and refocused my perspective in his song WHAT YOU ARE.

    The 2-5 year suggested recovery window for betrayal proved itself spot on. Sanity slowly seeping back in. After.

    The BC/AD becomes BA/AA- before adultery/after Adultery. It becomes history I’ll not repeat.

    I’ve not seen x concubine since October 2018. I told her Never to step foot on the property I won as settlement. No Contact is the way into the light. Like walking through a railroad tunnel bored through a Mountain.

    I’m sure if I ever saw her again the ICK would return. However I don’t think it would last more than a few milliseconds because…After.

    • I also had the sense of seeing demonic possession in my ex after DDay. And I am generally a level headed person. It was an unnerving experience, but very real. My attorney had suggested offering my ex our apartment building in exchange for him foregoing any claim to our personal residence and my other investments. We met with a commercial real estate broker to see what he would list the property for. When he told us the amount, I literally could see dollar signs in my ex’s eyes.

      He was only with me for my money. I am lucky I was not murdered. After this experience, I totally believe he could have done it.

      It also explains why the first words out of my mouth to him, when I discovered the affair was “What were you waiting for? For me to die?” I think my subconscious knew I was in danger.

      • Discarded Wife, I hear you. Near the end, it seemed to me that his rage against me and his sexual cruelty came from an ugly place … hatred of my soul and my religious faith because he had stopped believing himself. He couldn’t breach the final citadel and destroy that central core of my being that he knew made me who I was. And he was dastardly to our eldest son, whom he showed every sign of actually hating as much as he appeared to hate me, to hurt me. What kind of parent uses their child’s weakness to publicly humiliate them? I will never forget the look of triumph on his face as he humiliated his son. It was very, very disturbing to me and these were deciding factors in my departure from the marital home.

  • Hi there Kentucky. I think we were married to different versions of the same guy. Mine was biotech executive, but it’s that same smarmy, intellectual and powerful science cheater. Mine had lots of business trips to hide his double life, but I imagine yours had on-call nights and conferences to hide his. CL is right as usual, and I can tell you that I experienced all 3 of her options. I tried to spackle, and even after I thought I was over it all, I would find myself spackling in my brain. Part of that is having 2 kids with him and seeing the good elements of him in them. Part of it was trying to date other people and desperately missing our intellectual connection. Part of it was doing my own self-analysis and identifying flaws in me that I was grateful others forgave. The main difference is not doing something mean to someone you love, it’s the level of it. You lose your temper, misunderstand something, drop and f-bomb or say something mean and feel bad. You expect forgiveness. But systematically tearing apart the foundation of a marriage and then just walking away…that is a different level of awful. Sometimes I find myself trapped in a state where I make those two things equal and get all confused again. The main reason for that is her second on the list-sophistication. You will have so many “friends” and encounter “therapists” who want you to forgive and be good with it and acknowledge his behavior as understandable or offset by his good qualities. But that sends you back into spackling and blaming yourself. Three is the best. He’s an asshole. He may have some good qualities and those may even have been more prevalent early on, but he did something far worse than anything you would ever do. So, he deserves to be kicked to the curb and you deserve a fresh start. 🙂

  • Part of the whole dynamic of disgust for them is important for moving on. It’s especially cathartic for us when the fuckwit understands just how repelled and disgusted we are by them. For a long time they’ve had us, as well as the AP (kibbles galore). We’ve always been there for them. Suddenly we’re not, but not only that, view them as less than a pile of steaming dog shit. For some reason it seems to upend their world. It’s really shocking to see how they are so disturbed by this. Shows how deluded they are to being with. And, I must add, in some way just adds to the knowledge that they really think we’re so stupid as to not feel that.

  • Thank you fellow Chumpions. May 6, 2020 after 26 years of marriage to that “great guy” “the great surgeon the whole town loves” his mask fell and revealed the pig snout of a serial infidel who said he slept with 20 plus prostitutes throughout our marriage and even reviewed each one on line through his “hobbyist” club. Reviewed?! He revealed his double life because his cheating knees are shaking under that white lab coat – he gave his real name to the last prostitute who has been extorting money from him – threatening to band all the whores together to pull a Harvey Weinstein rape case against him – business is slow due to COVID for the wallet seeking whores. And then there’s me, the loving chump, I’m a lawyer, used to anchor, modeled all through college, trustworthy, loyal, honest, and I just spent $30,000 on legal fees to get a Restraining Order against his last drunken stoned whore who started coming to our (my?) home. The whores, the cheaters, they all belong together. I hope my 26 year “ great guy” gets a cell next to Harvey. I’ve cried so hard my nose bled for three days -the only thing keeping me vertical are my beautiful Bichon dogs and finding “Leave A Cheater…” this book was/is a lifeline. I read so many better together forgive and forget nonsense books and even accepted blame for being gone to much for work – he said he got lonely…. well, I know 20 whores who can keep him company. Thank you fellow champions- life is hell right now.

  • And people wonder why there’s no “Old gals network” today like there’s been “An Ol’Boys” network for centuries. I mean really, would any guy hit on LeBron James’s wife? NOT LIKELY, because men as a rule generally respect other men. But women can be terribly mean to other other women – and not just the whores- even in the workplace. If a married man ever approached me I’d send him running away like the shamed pig snouted man he is. But sadly women, ( not just the whores) will jump on a married man before your chemo is finished – or your business trip is finished, or you’re out of labor bearing his seed. Aside from Chump Nation that represents good women with integrity – I fear most of the ERA “sisterhood girl power” is still wrought with bad sisters.

  • I fail to understand WHY you want to not feel revolted by him. It is a wonderful warning sign. Keep it!

  • I prefer the term disgusted for my cheater- somehow watching a big time surgeon playing at life, hiding behind his white lab coat, cheeky grin to all his beloved patients, banging 20 plus whores throughout our 26 year marriage, secretly hiding his dirty side – while telling me how much he loves me – I worked hard as a lawyer combining ALL my income into his. Then using almost ALL of my savings to help parents throughout the Eldercare years….. and now – yep, disgusted, not mad- don’t want to cry anymore my nose bleeds and my face swells, and hey- he’s getting kudos all day long as that great doctor fighting the good fight during the global pandemic. If I weren’t a woman of integrity and honesty and do not act rashly I might consider giving his medical office number to all his whores to call or come in for free STD prescriptions. Piggy men, piggy doctors. Thank God for this book “Leave A Cheater….”. The author deserves a Pulitzer Prize- it has been a lifeline.

  • I lived in France for 3 years and although I do think the culture loves to think about their infidelity as “normal” for men, the women are hurt as badly as anyone. I had French friends, or friends married to French men in absolute agony and divorcing like the rest of us – it’s bullshit and what I saw just meant it made French women insecure and felt like they couldn’t live normally because they were worried about having to be perfectly beautiful at all times to please their man – it was sad and stressful for them.

    As for the ick factor, I totally get this and I’m still living it. I feel like it’s damaged my own self of sexuality (hopefully not forever). In my case, my husband was out there going to S&M clubs and hiring sex workers so he could find places he could chain up and whip and abuse women for pleasure. When I discovered he had a “sex slave” new girlfriend and it all came crashing down, a creepy wave washed over him and in a blank stare he looked at me and said, “you’re missing out, these women love what I do to them.” It haunts me every single day. I was married to a psychopath for over 2 decades. The mask fell and that was it. The disgust and sense of violation is unimaginable. He was actually proud of himself for the deception he’d managed. I was the at-home appliance wife living the respectable life, running the business, raising our child, keeping a nice home while he was out there, doing that, and then coming home to our marital bed. Vial beyond belief.
    Hugs to all who married disordered people and live to tell about it!

    • “ he was actually proud”
      Oh, that reminded me of the DDay- I was frozen, sitting still, my emotions completely turned off
      My h? If you didn’t know, you would think that he was describing a pleasant evening, or some exotic excursion- not the 14 years of cheating- with posting ads, with hookers… I was even hearing about “ difficulties to date one girl, since she wasn’t too interested after the first encounter and he was going nuts about it”
      Or … with a sadness in his voice “ it wasn’t as easy as you may think”- referring to his hookers etc.
      🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

  • The revulsion will haunt you. The key is minimal contact if you have kids, no contact if you don’t. The absence of seeing cheater’s face and hearing cheater’s voice will help you to survive.

  • I was also disgusted for a while and even had to deal with nausea in the beginning. Then again, I was at that moment still actively skein untangling. Went no contact after she revealed her true intentions by gaslighting and manipulation. To the level of having me on the phone and simulating a conversation as if I was threatening her (uncle right next to her, but convo not on speaker), ofc she was not amused I told her the convo was recorded and clearly showed she was well aware of what she was doing. I was intelligent enough to listen to my gut on that one, but not strong enough to not feel devastated everything was in fact a lie. She was a monster. Her uncle never knew the truth, since I only recorded it to protect myself.

    Even though I was happy to finally be able to reboot my life, after all the shit I went through, I was still feeling sick about red flag moments in the past of which I connected the dots of.

    I don’t know why, but for some reason that disgust went over in a matter of weeks. Later on I went to a psychologist. Best decision ever! I was told that I probably was married to a sociopath. In following talks she also suggested borderline. She highly suspected me to go though grievance and referred to Kubler-Ross theories. To this day I don’t know why it was, that I felt such relief when I could finally label it borderline, although later on confirming much was also highly sociopathic behaviour independent of the borderline classification. It just booted me out of grievance. Why? I can’t comprehend, but it did.

    Half a year after no contact she contacted me. About how sorry she was for treating me the way she did and she really wanted me to know that I was a good guy. She even changed her profile pic to a one in which she wore my (stolen) shirt, so I knew straight up what she was trying to do. After my grey rock way of not going to adress something I don’t feel like adressing anymore and asking her to just delete my number and break off contact permanently (again), followed by the notion that she shouldn’t interpret it any different than me just wanting to continue my life, she started to try to get me into an argument. Ofc, I just ignored her following text. Right after that, she changed her profile pick to her with her most recent ex. They got back together that week, yikes! Yep, I saw this one coming. Poor soul on the other side is probably going through the same rollercoasters as I did, but did choose to take the same ride multiple times.

    After all that happened, I strangely enough had lots of residual feelings for her and I did spackle every now and then in my thoughts, but I made sure of no contact. It wasn’t until a very recent link in this forum I started to see this unexplainable residual love for her as an addiction I got as consequence of riding along on her rollercoaster of fuckedupness.

    I decided to regain the feeling disgust, channel it and combine it with the notion “trust that they suck” every single time I think of her. Hot dayum that is a good way to stop the though process and really provided me the tool to move on. Quite ironic that it is actually the feeling of her I should have had after all the BS I coped with. She was my first and only, we married. Never thought of someone else. Those things might have contributed to the strong attachment I still felt.

    Thank you so much for all the meaningful words, CN and CL. This forum has guided me plenty through my process. It really feels like CN understands the situation best and also left me with plenty giggles to some well thought of jokes. Love the UBT.

    MyMaannnnTheChump

    • Give some thought to just blocking her on phone, text and social media. On text and phone, you want to block so you don’t accidentally pick up the phone or answer a text. You can put “Do Not Answer” as her name. If you block her, she can’t contact you other than by email or some other inconvenient format.

    • In my case, I realized that after the hardest and sickest things I found out about my ex, I immediately felt this urge to get him back, through therapy I made sense of it. Since we share kids, the sickest the revelation, the more I wanted to have “my enemy closer”, in a way of trying to at least have some sort of control of this horrible situation. I channeled that towards getting “his pants and some” on the divorce process and as much control of my kids’ custody I could. Getting myself and my kids away from this monster was how I was going to protect us from him. But the thought of marrying a sociopath, I know I’ll never get over.

  • Thank you for this timely post. It does take a fellow chump to understand the deep level of revulsion and disgust for our exes.

    I am still repulsed by him, even 1.5 years from D-day. Biotech executive, everyone thinks he is a great guy, he travelled all the time for work. Turns out he was a covert narc who was schtupping his female direct report employee for years while on these trips, and whenever he could. Oh yeah, he was one of those especially disgusting sickos who had sex with her in our bed too. Upon reflection, I’m sure there were others before her. And bonus points for him being an alcoholic too!

    “And if you have a particularly good set of morals (and assume everyone else does too), that makes you a good mark. If you’ve never experienced infidelity before and you know that you wouldn’t cheat on your spouse — you stumble around the planet with a certain naivety. You wouldn’t have done such a thing and therefore you can’t imagine a world in which the person you are most intimate with daily would do such a thing either.”

    I feel like this was written about me. 😞

    It took what seemed an extra long time for the shock of it to wear off. But, eventually I saw that he sucks.
    Now I look at him and all I see is a skinny, old, sunken chested, bald headed, nasty, cowardly, lying, pervert, who goes to CrossFit and tries to look younger and cool. I can’t even imagine anymore the man I once loved, because he is no longer there. He is dead to me. And the creature that remains makes me want to vomit when I am in his presence.

    I recently had to have in person contact. I felt like I had to hold my nose and hold my breath while in his presence, to get his signature on a document. Blech 🤮 ! Ick ick ick. I got out of there as fast as I could. That Silkwood shower reference was not lost on me.

    My mother told me she would break my arms and legs if I got got back together with him, LOL. Don’t worry mom. Absolutely zero chance of that happening thanks to maximum ick factor.

    Getting back together with a cheater and expecting the marriage to improve is like putting spoiled milk back in the refrigerator and expecting it to be good again. Not gonna happen.

    • “Now I look at him and all I see is a skinny, old, sunken chested, bald headed, nasty, cowardly, lying, pervert, who goes to CrossFit and tries to look younger and cool. I can’t even imagine anymore the man I once loved, because he is no longer there. He is dead to me. And the creature that remains makes me want to vomit when I am in his presence.”

      Brutal, but so true. I too just see a skinny, exercise obsessed, balding, narcissistic, middle aged man-orexic trying desperately to be someone and something he’s not. I do still get a tinge of sympathy for him, because he can look so pathetic, especially next to his 26-year old girlfriend, but mostly I just feel gross being around him and hope everyday that our child manages to grow up without any of his terrible emotional baggage.

  • Whether it’s hopium about wanting to get back together or hatred or revulsion, it amounts to the same thing: the cheater is in your head. Now, it takes time and a lot of effort (at least it did for me) to reclaim our brains. I didn’t ever get to rev ulsion, but I was devastated and angry and sad and wanted him back and despaired that he would marry the already-married OW. Lots of big feelings. And to some degree, the only thing to do with that is feel the feelings but try not to dwell on them. In the beginning, “dwelling” wasn’t the problem. I felt like my brain had been hijacked.

    But gradually, it becomes important to limit the time thinking about the cheater/OW. That’s way harder for people with kids, but even then, we’re giving them our time and emotional energy. And they don’t deserve it. For me, getting past those feelings involved seeing and believing that Jackass is (and was) existing on another plane. He can’t live at my level. He can’t be faithful or honest or truly kind. He can fake it for a while. Now? He’s not worth a minute of my time.

  • The disgust is the normal reaction and is the opposite of love. Disgust is a boundary. I was guilt-ridden for a number of years over being disgusted by my exhusband’s perverted sexual demands, lying and cruel meanness to me and the children in the last 15 years of our marriage. Now I am getting good with the idea that I was right to feel that way, it was the natural and correct reaction to his behaviour. He alone killed our marriage, and I don’t have to wear the guilt of that. Its a long journey from almost dying under the shouldering of blame for everything that ever went wrong in the marriage/family, through anger at bearing something that was not mine to bear, to putting that burden down and leaving it wherever it falls – letting go of the past injustice leaving it there, in the past. I’m out of it, divorced, financially reasonably secure, not going back, have no contact, and can look ahead. It is taking some getting used to that idea, but it is happening. Like the tide coming in, the waves advance and recede but each time the tide advances further.

  • It’s the feeling of complete revulsion and disgust that initially led me to Zero Contact. We divorced almost 5 years ago, but that feeling has not lessened one bit. That is my sign that I need to keep things just as they are, and eliminate ALL contact unless it is absolutely, utterly unavoidable.

    • Exactly! The revulsion IMO is a good thing. Keeps your boundaries up and keeps no contact in place. I have to interact with my ex in passing at child drop-offs and stuff, and there’s always a little upset in my stomach when I see him…because it truly disgusts me that I was ever intimate with this person. Maybe that’s not exactly meh, but it keeps me honest. Looking forward to the foreseeable future when the child is at an age where there really needs to be zero face time until, like a graduation or whatever.

      • Dear NotaNiceChump, I think you are a wonderful Chump, as we all are, and I feel exactly the same feelings you do- my 26 year marriage to a Cheater still wears and hides behind his Doctor’s white coat and big time reputation in town and is loved by his big time celebrity patients, but he too is a skinny man with boobs, a bloated belly piece of pathetic narcissistic dog poop. I loved him and worked my bum off (I’m a lawyer) and saved our pennies to help build his practice and pay for Eldercare, etc – while he decided to spend twenty years being a “Hobbyist” on the erotic review banging whores and reviewing them on line since 2007!! It’s Beverly Hills and the whores number 22,000 in a small radius of town – every failed actress, failed model, failed swimsuit model, are here and the police get their tricks for free too. So much for girl power – whores own Beverly Hills and the older the John the better the wallet. I married the creepy guy….I just discovered this on May 6, 2020….I can’t believe I was fooled for so many decades. I can’t look at him. He stole the prime of my life – he will not steal anymore time.

        • WOW! Jo reading your story I want to just give you big hugs! Im very familiar with Beverly Hills. Driving through there, the ego’s are huge. I’ve always wandered anyone is real? Not as in plastic surgery real, but authentic genuine with integrity real? Please forgive yourself. You had no idea of his pathetic secret life! How could you? You can hang your hat up high knowing you did the very best possible! You were a great wife for 26 years! He gets to live with the fact he is scum. He can go ahead and live his fake empty life! You now have the chance to be rid of him and enjoy the rest of your life fuckwit free and full of integrity. My heart goes out to you! Keep reading CL. This place is the BEST!. Because its all TRUE! Big hugs! You are not alone!

          • Thank you fellow chump. Thank you for taking the time to kindly reply. It’s a very tough body shaking kind of pain, betrayal trauma is a unique kind of gut punch. It’s bad enough my Cheater is high profile, combined by dozens of the prostitutes he saw right here still practicing in my neighborhood ( the cops love it they get free service from the whores), but one whore came to our home – countless threatening phone calls- extortion is the new prostitution- they are walker seeking whores. Had to get a Restraining Order ( I’ve never even had a parking ticket!) I’ve worked everyday of our marriage, I’m all of 100 pounds sopping wet, I’m a lawyer, I modeled for years, I climbed out of the cornfields of western NY and put myself through school and helped him build his practice. He had the gall to say his whoring began because I was gone too much for work and that he felt guilty about my dads death because he recommended the surgeon who had a massive complication. He actually blamed me and a dead guy!!! His psychiatrist agreed and added that his mother was too controlling too. His mother is dead!! So they blame the wives, they blame the mothers, he even blamed the first whore he went to saying if she hadn’t have been so good he wouldn’t have continued!! So, they blame everyone but themselves. I’m trying to stay calm, very calm, I will not let him define nor destroy me and I can’t keep crying so hard at night, my beautiful Bichon dogs can feel the pain too and it scares them. I married the Creepy Guy. Thank goodness for chump nation – I bought the book on a whim and it has literally saved my life – I bought 6 extra paperbacks for gifts. Thank you again for reaching out.

            • Jo- keep going! Your story is one that is often not heard -from that neck of the woods except in headline grabbing ways or glamour rags. I think you might really like “Cheating in a Nutshell, what infidelity does to the victim” Second only to “Leave a Cheater, Gain A Life” in my opinion, and I’ve been reading this stuff for 7 years now. It was published last year and is very validating. https://wayneandtamara.com/books available on amazon and probably a lot of other places

              • Thank you so much. I’ll buy “Cheating in Nutshell” today. I have been completely alone with this cheating incident – I couldn’t tell anyone – zero support – LA is a machine for work – I didn’t want to be rash and endure a public spectacle divorce. I tried telling the Beverly Hills police about all the prostitutes, but they ignored my letters and simply replied “its legal to sell time” and then the BH police chief was fired. Any colleagues here that I could have told would likely have enjoyed the news. It’s a vicious town under all the Botox. My dearest lady friends from college are thousands of miles away and Compassion Fatigue is real – there’s not much anyone can say or do. Thank you Chump Nation.

            • Try also reading Lindy Bancrofts “Why Does He Do That?” It’s available online as a pdf or a book through your favorite retailer. I prefer to touch my books but that’s a personal preference. I also journaled all over mine. It opened some flood gates.

  • After I kicked the cheater out, I found some selfies he had taken on his tablet. I was horrified by the evil predatory look in his eyes. He was smiling in the pictures, but in some way that made it much worse. He looked demented. He also looked so old and haggard. I always thought he was a fairly attractive man, but when the mask came off, my eyes were opened. I can’t believe I lived with that snake (no offense to real snakes) in my home for 25 years.

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