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When Does the Pain Stop?

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desperate_handDear Chump Lady,

Tonight is a hard night for some reason. It has been 11 months since D-Day. And since then stories of other affairs and how long I have been a chump has been trickling in. I finally said I can’t take anymore information and stopped all the asking of how many and how long.

We have been married for 22 years. I thought if I knew when and how and how many that the pain would lessen, but now my thoughts are even more clouded with, “Oh WOW! So this is why this happened, and so this is why he said this and did this.” It’s a never ending of  trying to make sense of something that I can never really make any sense of. I am so tired and wish so much to put all this behind me.

The kicker though is even though with all the lies and the extent and length of the affairs, I am still waiting for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

What is wrong with me? Why can I not see him for who he is and kick him out of my life? Why do I wait for him to call or text me to tell me that he misses me and loves me? I am a total chump and can’t seem to know what is real and not real anymore. The pain continues because I am choosing it and then I ask him to stop my pain by being caring and nice to me. I am so confused and messed up that I feel as though I am going to lose my mind.

Why can’t I understand that he is the root of my pain and that he cannot help me stop the pain? I need help. It’s like all logic goes out the window and I become this pathetic, needy, illogical person. I don’t like myself when I get low like this, but it’s like I am not in control and this other weak person takes over.

Marj

Dear Marj,

My standard answer to “When does the pain stop” is Tuesday. I don’t know which Tuesday, but I assure you that Tuesday is out there and it’s pain-free. Because this infidelity shit is FINITE. I know it doesn’t feel that way now. I know it’s a kick to the gut every time you learn of some new horror. I know it feels like soul death every time he doesn’t comfort you.

But I’m telling you as someone years out from her D-Days, that if you told me my ex was a bisexual, white slaver who held orgies in Sunday schools — I would simply shrug. This is what “meh” feels like. I know he’s a freak.  I don’t really need to know how much of a freak. It’s not really central to my life anymore. I trust that he sucks.

Of course, it was a long time coming to this place and like you I spent a lot of time grieving and puking and getting horrifying details. I spent a lot of time longing for the person who hurt me to put things right. And he didn’t.

Marj, I can’t tell you how many pathetic emails I sent, how many wailing phone calls, how collapsed in grief I was. Let’s start with the emails, because I’m a verbal gerbil. I would send these detailed reconciliation missives. (Because of of course, he didn’t want to divorce, so I thought that meant remorse. I didn’t understand cake then). Just vomiting out my soul to him. Lengthy diatribes in which I would note how very UNsorry he looked. And what we could do to fix that. (I’m sure I cross referenced several Amazon purchases.)

He would reply with one or two sentences tops. Generally along the lines of my grief was very inconvenient to him right now and he had pressing issues to attend to.

The only time I got emotion from him, was when I made a move to leave. And then he commenced with the wailing and sobbing and the “remorse.” So then I thought, oh he really is sorry, and that set me up for the next round of D-Days.

Like you, I was waiting for for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

Here’s the sucker punch, Marj — I already had my answer. I was just in denial about it. His actions very clearly demonstrated that he did NOT love me, he was not going to “wake up” — because he wasn’t in a dream — that is who he WAS. And sure, he did “want me” — but that’s because I was of use to him. And wanting someone is not the same thing as loving them.

Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.

So a couple things had to happen to get past the pain. First, I had to wake up and pay attention to his actions (not his words) and draw the painful conclusions. Second, I had to assert my self-worth.

You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. Especially after they just GUTTED you. Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.

Never match a cheater’s misdeeds with your vulnerability. When they hurt you? NEVER show them more of your tender underbelly and hand them the harpoon. No — PROTECT YOURSELF.

Your pain is kibbles to him. He may not want to continue the relationship, or he may stick around to eat cake, but trust me, he is enjoying the centrality and the drama. My how powerful he is! How desired!

And Marj, that shit should piss you off. Do NOT give him the satisfaction of your grief. You want the pain to stop? You start drawing boundaries with him this minute. You take back control. You go see a lawyer. If you feel you can’t assert boundaries, you go find a therapist who will show you how.

It’s okay to feel weak, it’s NOT okay to not feel in control. As hurt as you are, you are still the master of your ship. You still control you. You still have choices. It’s time to start exercising them. Assert your self-worth. You’re not kibbles, you’re a human being — his spouse of 22 years and you deserve respect! And if he doesn’t have the decency to treat you with kindness and caring, especially after he BETRAYED you? He can find his shit on the lawn in Hefty bags.

You are going to grieve 22 years, no question. But don’t do it in front of him. You can’t properly get past this until you go no contact with the man who is hurting you. And you can’t start to heal until you start to protect yourself. So my advice to you is start bagging his shit for the lawn. Take a little of your own back. You’d be amazed how it lifts the spirits.

This ran previously. More Tuesdays ahead. 

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Ask Chump Lady

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  • Marj,

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, but please take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. I discovered this shit after a 35-year marriage!! And all of CN feels your pain.

    I was grief stricken, too, and wrote a few cringeworthy pleas to him to get back together. “I’ll do better!” I cried.

    But then I knew I’d never trust a cheater so instead focused my energies on finding a great lawyer and fighting. I couldn’t eat or sleep but pressed on because I finally realized I deserved better, that infidelity is abuse, that my self-esteem was shot and I needed to take action.

    I repeatedly listened to LACGAL for some much-needed spine stiffening. I leaned heavily on supportive friends and family.

    It’s scary at first, but you’ll come out better and stronger once you get to the other side (ie leave and divorce).

    What helped me was writing down a version of the following on a couple sticky notes. I prominently displayed one in my car and another on my bathroom mirror.
    1. Trust that he sucks.
    2. Do not engage.
    2. He doesn’t love me.
    3. He will not look out for my best interest.
    4. Keep my eye on the prize (a favorable divorce settlement)
    5. Get to meh.

    Good luck. You deserve better. And remember that his cheating is not your fault.

    Ps I haven’t arrived at meh yet but am getting there. It’s been 9 months since D-Day and 1 month since the divorce was finalized. I no longer need the sticky notes. That message is seared in my brain.

    • Today was the first time I woke up on Tuesday. Felt a taste of calm and peace. It’s been day 5 from my divorce. Following CN, I understand it will be up and down. But for now, enjoying the calm and indifference. I notice this indifference is very different to what I felt before. This comes from a place of love. Yes, I trust that he sucks. But there is this feeling of peace in knowing that I don’t need to defend myself with his 5 page rewrite of history and half truths he’s throwing out to the family. I no longer feel the need to engage in that space anymore. Don’t care if he tries to prod people to get a reaction out of me. For today, I don’t have any reaction. Nothing. No hate or dislike even. I’m not sure what this is. Maybe it’s just my first taste of ‘meh’. I’d love to live here.
      There is hurt that I’m nursing with the wonderful support God has provided from everywhere in the form of parents, friends, my cat, my therapist, my work, my art. And there is fear for starting life at 36 on my own. There’s excitement for leaving behind years of infertility struggles and beginningmy journey of discovering myself. We’re warriors. We can face ourselves in the mirror. Be bloody proud for who you are, and who you are becoming.

      • I agree, it is scary starting all over by yourself. Still, if I had two paths: One with the cheater and One without, I’d 100% choose without the cheater.

        I never want to spend another minute of my life with him. I had so much hurt and anxiety being around him in the end, it was like invisible torture.

        Never again, nope. The path alone I choose!

        So glad you’re starting to see the glimmers of meh!

        • Thank you Alice. In a matter of 6 hours, got the shakes again. Disbelief comes back. I’m ready for this journey to take 5-6 years where I know I have it in me to go through the growing pains.

      • Sweet heart. 36. 💜
        I’ve had so many great years in the 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s so far. Divorced this year after a five-year separation. Married in 1980.

        I am the real one. I am the one who did what was needed to keep it good.

        Now I don’t have a user abuser fraud cheater with a suck pipeline draining my energy and inspiration and joy.

        Get on with your fine life.

  • Seems like alot of people say 2 years on the pain front and that seems to correlate with the average time of divorcing a fuckwit. It happens slowly once you accept and begin the process.

    It will sneak up on you until one day you look back and say when did I get to meh and there is no answer other than Tuesday.

    I am a firm believer that contact dampens the meh. When you have to have contact for kids or other things, it is harder but it is still manageable if you follow CL’s advice. The biggest key for me has been no contact and NOT EVER telling him how I feel. They don’t get to know. Your feelings are like a blueprint of how to destroy you for a narc. Your feelings and grief WILL ALWAYS be used against you. Put up a wall, no more sharing. The narc can try to guess but if they don’t know, they will be off balance. Manipulation becomes more difficult.

    Put on your poker face. If they can’t see your cards, they panic. Better yet, leave the game.

    • Agree completely!

      NC and GR are powerful toosl that both infuriate these cheaters and preserve our sanity.

      In a recent grey-rock exchange, my ex lamented that we haven’t received our federal tax refund yet. (We filed jointly this year.) I was about to write something snarky about whom to blame (rhymes with chump) but decided against even that amount of emotion. I simply wrote, “Same.”

      • Great job Spinach! The short replies drive them nuts.

        Here are some of my favs:

        – No.
        – Ok.
        – Got it.
        – Yea.
        – Not necessary.
        – Done.

        They seriously are the best! Especially if you use them hours after they text’d you. They wait for hours for a response and all they get is 2-3 letters lol it’s great

            • Nice list! One technique I’ve found helpful, especially after receiving a multi-point email, is to copy and paste his email into my reply. After each point, I simply add my one-word responses in red.

              So you see his blah blah blah blah blah in black, followed by my terse “ok” or “no” in red.

              What really drives him nuts is if I reply, “I need to check on this.” He’s always terrified that I’ll invole my lawyer. And, frankly, he should be terrified about that. I often do involve my lawyer. Worth every penny!!!

              • LOL I LOVE this Spinach! It’s like he’s not even worth writing a new email for, just quick little responses. GENIUS!

                Yea my lawyer is 6’6, big guy and doesn’t play word games. It was a great day when my XH had to meet him. I was swimming in smiles that day 😉

        • Shortly after he moved from our house to a place w/the whore, he sent me an email apologizing to me for treating me so horribly and that I did not deserve such treatment. 🙄 My short reply was, “no problem.” He went ballistic! Sent a scathing email w/all sorts of expletives blaming me for the failure of our marriage. I laughed so hard I cried (but in a good way.) They cannot tolerate no reaction. They must all fall somewhere on the narcissist spectrum.

          • Wow that’s so selfish to get mad at you! Mine was absolutely freaked out when I protected myself. Such as when I had my taxes done “married filed separately” he went insane. Or when I closed the joint accounts because he was taking money out but not putting any money in and he went nuts. It’s kind of fun to see them lose it! I do love the “no problem” response. Classic!

            • I agree, the “no problem” response was brilliant!

              @Formerly, i love that you filed separately. it’s like your taxes couldn’t even stand him lol

    • It’s been 3 1/2 years and I’m still not at meh this bastard is full on Narc and still wants to play games I’m just done!

      • It’s been 3 years not at meh. Not counting on meh till kids are grown. He’s a malignant narc and brainwashing and fear mongering are his game. I am grey rock. But the kids are vulnerable and he uses them as prey.

  • Lots of years of hard time. It’s still painful some days. I’ve given up on getting any closure from him. The divorce isn’t final. It’s all rage and sad sausage channels. Can’t go no contact due to children so says the court. Last night my head felt like wild animals were tearing it apart.

    I hope you have found some peace since this has run before. Please let us know how you are doing.

    • The closure relies in us. I decided that early on.

      I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of thinking he held my closure in his hands.

      I made up in my mind, it was ME who was going to provide my closure.

      If I had to describe closure as a tangible item, I’d say taking his money and receiving the divorce decree. That’s my tangible closure.

      I’m sorry you had a rough night last night. We are always here to support you, I have my bad days too. Try to tell yourself that it’s just a moment and it will pass. I know it’s hard at the time but imagine all us Chumps there with you in that court room. You have an army behind you!

      • “If I had to describe closure as a tangible item, I’d say taking his money and receiving the divorce decree. That’s my tangible closure.”

        That is so wise, Alice.

        It is *so* unrealistic to expect some sort of closure from a fuckwit, but I admit part of me hoped for it, 23 years is a long time. I shall write out your comment and stick it on my wall. Thank you.

        • Chumpnomore6,

          It’s completely human to want closure from our X’s, I mean sure I’d like that too if it was offered.

          I’m not going to rely on him though or wait around for it. Part of closure is getting our power back, believing in ourselves and taking control. That’s really the only closure I need.

          Definitely put what I said on your wall. I’m glad it helped 🙂

          • The only closure I would accept from my ex is one he would never be prepared to give. I now fully understand that. And that’s a kind of closure in itself.

        • I agree! Closure comes from within. Only you can do it. My cheater steadfastly denied the affair when confronted with compelling evidence. Played the victim. I moved on and processed my grief as though he had had affairs. I knew I had to trust my senses and he was gaslighting me and everyone else.

          18 months later he wants to “clear the air” and admits to the affair like he’s giving me the gift of closure. I could not have cared less. I’m at meh.

          I know there’s something in this disclosure for him but I don’t even care to figure that out.

          Marj, It’s a difficult process to seal your heart against someone you love
          But it’s an investment in you. You couldn’t be spending your time in a more important way. Keep moving forward. You’re going to get to meh and it’s glorious.

          • Tupelo, “ It’s a difficult process to seal your heart against someone you love
            But it’s an investment in you. You couldn’t be spending your time in a more important way. Keep moving forward. You’re going to get to meh and it’s glorious.”
            That’s fantastic thank you.
            As someone who did get “Closure” …. let me just say, it didn’t help the healing at all. Sometimes I’ve wondered if it may have been easier if I never heard from him at all and he just ran off – it would’ve been much easier to label him as a complete and utter fuckwitt in that case .
            After the initial rounds of lying, serious blame shifting, complete lack of empathy and emotional torture, I did get full on apologies and he took ownership of everything -however he was still dumping me for the OW ( because as he said “it was already done”). He was no longer in love with me he was desperate for her.

            It did not help at all to have apologies that admitted his failures and cowardice …. to me, these apologies and his helping out with things after, fed the narrative of him being a great guy and it made it all that much more painful to lose him. The bottom line is he betrayed me and dumped me – Closure or no closure.

            • Exactly why we should be the ones to get our Closure.

              And Zip, I don’t believe that for him “it was already done”. I just think he knew you weren’t going to take him back, so he wanted to hurt you more by doing the dumping. I seriously believe that.

              Hugs

              • Thanks Alice, but I pretty much begged him (ugh) to stay and RIC it – so did his stepchild … Sobbing in his arms. His loyalty had completely shifted to her.

                As I’m writing this I’m thinking about how only an unbelievably messed up person could switch loyalties like that with the snap of a finger. But then who knows how long they had been playing soulmates by emotionally investing in each other?
                I also wonder if he worried about repercussions at work. He has a top position and
                even if she’s not directly his subordinate she’s lower on the chain. I don’t even know if they went this far in their thinking ( probably not! ), but if he didn’t ultimately choose her for good and she didn’t want to stay with her H… this could’ve ended badly for him in a different way.
                I also think like a lot a chumps say – they want to go the distance to justify all the wreckage.
                I wonder what the cheaters would say about that? I’m guessing they would just say that they are just really in wuv and that’s it.

  • “You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. ” This, exactly. Once, while attending a coworker’s Wedding Anniversary party, I actually asked “that he make believe that he loves me” in front of my friends. I now realize that I always knew deep down that something was just so wrong in our 36 year marriage. Of course, never in a million years would I have guessed what was actually happening!
    I am five years post Dday and there is still a lot of collateral damage, especially with my adult sons.
    Yes, it hurts, but, the pain does lessen.
    I am sorry that you are going through this. I am sorry to all going through this.
    Hang in there and hugs!

    • I remember ex once telling me “I would never cheat on you. The stress of keeping it secret would be too great”. I don’t know what is worse, that I believed what he said, or that I even accepted that as the reason why he would never cheat on me.

      • Yep I was a bit smug in thinking my Ex would never cheat on me because his father had cheated on his mom and they divorced When he was around 5. About 3 Months prior to Dday I remember asking him if there was someone else based on his IPad history. “I would never do that to you. I can barely handle one woman – I could never handle two.” But one believes because you trust your spouse.

        • So true, one believes because of trust.

          My ex’s line was no way I would ever leave, (when he was talking about other guys who run around) “I don’t want to have to train another one” It was meant to be funny, but it still irks me. Of course I didn’t remember a lot of this stuff until after D-day, when he told me he never loved me, and had never been happy. When he wanted to come back a couple months later, he said he only said those things to make me hate him. Bottom line is liars lie, and there is nothing you can believe.

          In retrospect, my guess is; all those stories about other guys, were confessions that I was just to stupid/trusting to pick up on. He was very judgmental of cheaters for most of our 20 years together.

          • Susie Lee, ex would say the same, that he would never fool around after telling me the stories of the “other” guys.
            Some of his stories gave me moment to stop and think for a moment, for example, there was a story that the guys he was with on a business trip in a hotel bar/restaurant and were maybe being flirtatious after had a few drinks. Ex tells me he felt so bad for the waitress that after they paid the bill, ex being the gentleman he is, returned to speak to the waitress and apologize for the others behavior. #1, Ex doesn’t help strangers or apologize for anything #2, I assume the waitress was attractive for him to think it was important for him to apologize. #3, why? if you’re a waitresses in a hotel bar this probably isn’t your first or last group of tipsy men making stupid remarks.
            This is one of many suspect stores that looking back are so obvious today and I wonder what I was thinking
            So like you, I suspect all the stories of the other men and their escapades were confessions and I was stupid not to catch on, believing he wasn’t like the other guys.
            Ex was also judgmental the 20 years we were married. Ex would be so disgusted of all these other guys, shaking his head, feeling badly for their wives..
            I remember him telling me how lucky I was that he wasn’t like all the other guys.
            Trusting him I was confident that he had higher standards..

            A couple of years before he abandoned me when he came home from a business trip, I surprised myself and asked if he had been with someone.. Ex laughed, do I look like that kind of guy to you?? Brit, you know me, I’m not that kind of guy, Brit you sure have an active imagination. I let it go but I wasn’t convinced.
            Always trust your gut.

            • “This is one of many suspect stores that looking back are so obvious today and I wonder what I was thinking”

              Yep, I remember one story in particular. (of course I didn’t think of it until after Dday) We had just moved from VA to HI (Army) he told me about his friend “Glenn” who had told him he had sex with three women while he was on leave. I had met Glenn and he was a bit of a flirt so it was plausible. Anyway, during his leave before we went to HI, we stayed with his mom and dad. He went out a lot to see old friends. I stayed home and took care of my son, who for part of the trip was sick. Son was about 14 months old.

              So as you can imagine when I thought of that story… There were others. The last story (about six months before Dday) was that his employee who we shall call Trollop, was messing around with a 50 year old man. (H and I were 40) Well, though we were having problems then with him being an azz and mean, when I asked him what was wrong, he said “pressure at work” and of course he would make it up to me when things settled down. I never suspected he was the guy she was messing with. The good news is my response was: Yeah, but she does that all the time doesn’t she? I said it in innocence, I don’t think he even answered me, if he did, I don’t remember it.

              Anyway, Trollop was already a commonly known f-buddy with married men, so of course that fact, and that she just was not very attractive, well I bought it. 🤷‍♀️

              When he first told me he was leaving as he was “in wuv” with another woman, he wouldn’t tell me who it was. Just a girl he was dating, who had three kids. (like I was his mother) First she hadn’t seen “girl” in many moons, and second she was just so unattractive she did not enter my mind. She was 35, but had been rode hard and put up wet. In my mind I created a late 20 early thirty pretty young woman. After all, I was no dog, so it had to be right? When he finally said about two weeks later who it was, well my first thought was oh my God, he left me for that. Talk about damage to self esteem. I still can’t wrap my head around that. Not just her looks, but that she was a known slut.

              I had never been with anyone but him, (we married at 18). What a waste for me. I did get a great son out of it.

              • Yes, it’s sort of a waste of time to try to figure out “why HER?” or “why HIM?” in the aftermath of cheating unless you’re doing research on Oedipal syndromes (which can be fun!).

                The three critters cheater had icky flirtations with leading up to and including the affair partner all had chemo-thin hair, big lantern jaws, pointy, proportionately large heads and unnaturally high pitched, squawky Smurf voices. All were short. Two were normal weight with boxy torsos and two, including the affair partner, were a bit tubby with that telltale pre-diabetic apple shape. All had short legs, none were pictures of health and the affair partner had the complexion of someone raised on fast food and beer and had under-eye bags that I’ve never seen on anyone that age. Three that I know of, including the affair partner, were raised by fanatical evangelists which is odd because our state is one of the most secular and evangelists are pretty thin on the ground. Meanwhile cheater’s mother has belonged to a culty new-age sect for decades, was raised by a mother who’d never wanted children and had regretted not becoming a nun. For other parallels, cheater’s mother also has a big lantern jaw and thin hair and boxy body. Even at 60, she would frequently put on a fluttery “girlish” act and sing-song soprano. I always thought it was to compensate for her compulsive aggression and competitiveness towards other women (affair partner used similar tactics to put me down before I even knew she existed). Cheater’s mother is thin but has a strange relationship with food, eating a sort of radically low protein diet used by cults to make people more pliant and foggy. Clearly she’s terrified of getting fat which, to her, is akin to a moral failing (affair partner had had an eating disorder since 13). Cheater’s mother has sort of sallow, jaundiced skin like the affair partner and both have those sort of hysterical looking toothy smiles like someone’s shoving a gun to their ribs ordering them to grin or else.

                After her separation from cheater’s dad, cheater’s mother admitted to regularly “falling in love” with various men she assisted in her government job. All these men were married. Cheater’s mom is also a rape apologist, tending to blame the victims of rape and domestic violence. Affair partner rolled her eyes after hearing I’d been assaulted (attempted sexual assault) during a street protest.

                Go figure. I’m literally nothing like any of them save for being on the thin side like cheater’s mother but don’t have an eating disorder or any of the other traits in common. The big question about the cheating is not “Why her?” but WHY ME? I’m the outlier.

              • I’ve only ever seen one photo of the OW. It came up on social media when she was basically stalking me.

                At first it startled me because I recognized her name immediately..Then I just started laughing. Like no joke laughing. That woman wears a pound of makeup and doesn’t even measure against me.

                I quickly blocked her so I never have to see that ugly face again (smiling and wiggling w/ joy).

              • I am struggling with that part as well, when i see the other person, my self esteem just dives, i just dont understand. i can only think of the fact that though he is 7 years older than me, she is 5 years younger than me so in total she is 12 years younger than him

              • Marvel– You must be very young if you think five years makes much of a difference. She’s five years younger but in five years she’s going to look like your mother’s generation if she continues on this path. Wait for it. Nothing is more aging than being a dishonest dipshit.

                But by then you won’t care and your classic PTSD-related “telescoping sense of longevity” will have healed and you’ll feel much younger and more energized than you do now.

            • Same husband?
              Omg the stories about other guys hooking up with escorts during business trips.
              Oh my.
              From the very beginning- h was cheating on me with anyone willing or paid.
              🤮🤮🤮🤮

        • I got told similar! He said he could never manage 2 women, and that just me was more than he could handle. He would say he ideally wanted 0.7 of me.

          What kind of person says that?!

            • He always said he had no respect for people who cheat. When I first caught on to things, I stupidly came out with my evidence-which was dubunked…(always), he says to me, “Why would you accuse me of something that you know I can’t stand in others.” “I can’t believe you think so little of me.” “I work my ass off so that we can try to get somewhere, and you know how hard its been.” “I don’t deserve this and can’t look at you the same.” “YOU JUST GAVE UP!”

              • Ugh, the “I work myself to the bone” deflection for betrayal. Hello FOG. I felt literally battered with that one.

              • Yeah mine lost one of his friends because he had an affair and left his wife and child. My ex was soooo mad at his friend and stopped talking to him. Then 3 years later he did it way worse to me and my daughter. At least that guy sent a check to his wife each month. I get 0$.

          • .7? Lol. Guess that’s better than .5. My ex must have known he was doing a terrible job with trying to keep up with his double life and at least one woman -me- would have to go. Him barely being able to handle one woman – another joke. I’m fairly low maintenance, did and still do 85% of the child rearing, and work full time. No idea how this former wife appliance was so hard to handle!

          • My ex used to say that I wouldn’t have anything he’d want to see when I was 50. I was naive and in my 20s so I just replied that it feels the same in the dark. Ironically, he went ahead and had an affair with a 50 year old.

        • That’s also a really weird red flag “I can barely handle one woman.”

          Like…what? He can barely handle being with just one person? What about that is so difficult he can barely manage it?

          I just think that’s a super weird thing to say.

          • Oh yes, yes, yes!

            I remember asking the fuckwit if he would ever cheat on me, and he said, “when would I get the time?”

            Why the *hell* didn’t I see that as the waving red flag it was? Of course the reason was, as others have said, I *trusted*him.

            I remember when he stayed the night in Hull with the rat faced whore, (before I knew he was cheating) and he told me the van had broken down and he couldn’t get it repaired until the next day, so “Lisa very kindly offered me her sofa”.

            The next day he told me said rat faced whore had commented, “if that was me, I’d have hired a private detective”. To which he replied, “chumpnomore6 trusts me.” With a self-satisfied smirk as he relayed the conversation to me.

            After Dday, that burned into my soul.

            But I keep telling myself it isn’t stupid to trust – what is unconsciable is to use someone’s trust to betray them.

            • ” “chumpnomore6 trusts me.” With a self-satisfied smirk as he relayed the conversation to me.”

              Oh God, I remember the “susie trusts me” version of that. Makes me want to go back in time and punch him. Quite frankly, it is only by the goodness of us chumps that there are not more homicides in these situation.

              Seems like they all have confessed to us repeatedly, and of course we trusted them. That is not on us, it is on them. Still infuriating. They really do all work from the same playbook.

            • Ah, yes. “When would I have the time?” This was my narc’s common excuse. When he wasn’t gaslighting or blameshifting. Let’s see. When did you have the time? During all of those overtime night shifts, the wing nights with your friends, when you were at the gym…

              The better question is, why did I waste so much time on this man?

              • ChumpChamp– you wasted time because you trusted. You trusted because you weren’t as bent and mutated as him. In a better world and if you had been with a better person, all your liabilities would be santified virtues and not a waste of time even if wasted on someone who doesn’t deserve them. You didn’t know it was a waste of time because you just don’t relate to crazy.

                Own those vulnerable virtues. There’s a whole world of people out there yearning for contact with someone like you. Plus you’re now wise AF. Bonus. 😉

            • There should be a list of “Weird Things Cheaters Say: Pre D-Day Edition”

              Not the same thing as “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” just weird comments that are pre d-day red flags, like “I can barely handle one woman” and off-color shit like that.

              • I’ll add one,

                Cheater: “I just want to be in-love again”

                and he wasn’t talking about with me.

          • Eerily same scriptbook. Mine said it’s hard handling two women. I choose you. And Bam! I walked out last month after DD3.

          • It’s a joke Seinfeld has made a few times. I actually thought it sounded funny when I heard it from him before Dday. In the context of being cheated on- nothing is funny!

  • I was 27 years in when DDay hit, and after 18 months, we’re still working through the divorce. There are days when I’m angry, there are days when I’m excited about the new life I’m creating, and there are days when the feelings of betrayal overwhelm me. Yes, I have moments when I miss HIM. But, I really don’t miss HIM— I miss the idea of the HIM I should’ve had. The one who loved me and stuck to the vows and all that lot. I don’t miss the lying, cheating, disrespectful, emotionally void being that he became.

    I’m still waiting for Tuesday, but until then, I’ve got a top-notch legal counsel, a fabulous therapist, and a No Contact rule that has been my saving grace. Better days are ahead.

    • Book and dog lover— love your name and your message. You’ll get to Meh soon, we’re waiting for you. It’s lovely here.

      • Motherchumper99– When you write, “It’s lovely here”, I’m imagining a league of former chumps lying on a Caribbean beach sipping coconut water in the sun or flouncing across Alpine fields of flowers like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

        Sounds great to me lol.

    • I had so many Tuesdays that I thought I was over the hump – yay, finally. And, by Sat, the downs would hit me again. Married 36 yrs and very close to each other. ha. Anyway, I can honestly say I’m on the Meh Mountain now, and unfortunately, it took me 6 full years. I hope everybody’s Meh is quicker but you do have to get through so many mountainous emotional things to get there, possibly more so when you’ve been together so long and the betrayal was blatant. Totally worth it now.

  • I can SO relate to the long emails answered by one or two sentences. It helped me a lot to get to acceptance of reality when I realized that my emails were funny to him. I was this crazy, overly-emotional woman just losing her mind. He was laughing at me.

    When I realized that, it put me far on the road to meh. It taught me to keep my emotions protected, and to guard myself. When you realize that someone is amused by your pain, you realize pretty quickly that they do not love you.

  • I watched an HBO documentary last night about Dr. Larry Nassar, the predatory US Gymnastics
    doctor. One of the most riveting scenes was when he read his letter of apology in open court. The kick-ass judge responded by shutting him down with his own letter to her, which clearly proved, in his own words, no remorse whatsover. That he was, only concerned for his own hide. The psychological damage to his victims was compounded exponentially by how “nice” he was to them. How they thought he was their friend. How they thought he cared about them.

    I could certainly relate.

    That’s the hook. I have to remind myself that someone who is intentionally hurting me and simultaneously violating and abusing me IS A PREDATOR.

    It takes TIME for that to sink in.

    • Good post.

      My ex (before Dday) bragged to a friend in front of me that Susie would never believe he was running around unless he told me himself. (this was instigated by a town whore hanging all over him at a town event, right in front of my friend, me and our preacher) My friend (later in the evening) made a snarky comment to him about the whore, and that was his response. Sadly, he was right. I didn’t believe it until he told me. But, the fact that he took pride in that speaks to who he is, not who I am.

      For about three months previous to that, there were signs and I even questioned him a couple times, but he said it is politics and others are trying to start trouble for him.

      I often wondered why he didn’t just say yep, and end it. I realize of course because he was scrambling to save his a ss at work and finish getting his ducks in a row. So he used me to help him do that. The effect on me was of no consequence to him.

      Quite frankly they are awful people. I am sure there are exceptions, but I would have to be honest and recommend anyone going through this to not reconcile. I agree with CL that reconciliation is primarily a Betrayed Spouse who will spend the rest of their life, or until the cheater dies, pick me dancing and monitoring. That is not a life for anyone.

    • TYPO…someone who is being nice to me and simultaneously violating, hurting, and abusing me IS A PREDATOR.

      • My psych called fuckwit an abuser and predator long before I found out about the cheating. And I refused to believe the psych. Until I found out about the cheating. Then all the sexual ‘exploration’ in our relationship made sense. I should have listened the first time.

        • I don’t know. Sometimes being caught unawares is something to be proud of. To quote an heroic friend, “You can’t understand crazy if you’re not crazy.”

          I don’t read a lot of books on plagiarism of intellectual property in electrical engineering because I’m not an inventor or electrical engineer.

          I didn’t read a lot of books on cheating because I’m not a cheater, didn’t grow up with cheating, don’t relate to cheating and have a really hard time to this day understanding the icky allure of it. Lists of cheating clues also weren’t assigned reading in 7th grade.

          So clearly I brought it on myself by not being prepared for the “signs” of something completely alien to me, which I had not done a PhD thesis on and which was perpetrated by someone whose intellectual energy was overwhelmingly geared towards deception and who had pretended to be someone they were not with a level of skill that would defy FBI analysts, not to mention a slew of Ivy League therapists.

          “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” –Monty Python https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsefeg

          • Yep. Us Chumps had it coming to us didn’t we?

            I foolishly thought my ex was taking the vows as seriously as I was. Shame on me.

            • You are not alone. I foolishly played by the rules too. My therapist said narcs really get off on having their chumps play by the rules. It makeshifts is very very easy to play. OUCH! I learned that pearl today.

          • Hey, why carry all the blame alone? Our parents should have read us bedtime tales of adultery starting at age 3. It was remiss of them not to.

  • There are many levels of pain we experience in a toxic relationship. In truth the cycles are very predictable when you’re with a serial cheater. Once you recognize the cycles of abuse you’ll realize that first they torture you with blatant disrespect and then you torture yourself in believing this person is capable of intimacy. It’s rigged with repeated ups and downs (he loves me; he loves me not). This is as calculated as every action pulls you in deeper.

    Your conditioned to believe. Facing the pain isn’t easy. You’ve invested years of your life.

    It takes a sick person to tell the details as they are crushing. I realized I was just as sick to listen to the retelling, unaware he took great pleasure in robbing me of myself and dignity each time I forgave.

    I believe he knew it was over when he said you’d never believe how we met. It was as if he was talking to a buddy about his new girlfriend. Instead of listening I filed.

    The pain is finite. Once you’re free it takes time to shift your love, energy and self care on yourself.

    • “I believe he knew it was over when he said you’d never believe how we met. It was as if he was talking to a buddy about his new girlfriend. Instead of listening I filed.”

      Interesting! I got the same type of buddy-buddy talk. It was so weird, as if I was some guy friend in high school.

      I filed right away, too. I wish I’d had the wherewithal, however, to say, “I’m your wife, you insensitive, entitled shithead. What makes you think I’d be interested in hearing you describe with relish how you and the whore met?”

      • “I’m your wife, you insensitive, entitled shithead” I thought about that so often – why didn’t I say that? I listened to him talk about how he might move another family into our home once he saw how the relationship was working out….. I listened to him talk about how he was afraid she might not leave her husband for him …. like I was his best friend and he could share all of this with me.
        Makes me sick thinking about the fact that I didn’t tell him to get the F out immediately.
        Good to those who filed right away- wish I had been more mighty

        • I got this as well , like he was telling his friend about her

          I can’t breath , I miss her every second of every day I’m not with her .

          She’s NOT a whore she’s the woman I love

          You do realise you are saying this to your wife ?
          * shark eyes *

          • Went through similar. Boggles my mind. And what always gobsmacks me, even now over 2 years out from last dday, is how one of us chumps can say something that we think is odd or random or unique and there will ALWAYS be someone who went through the same. “Cheater did this–oh yeah, me too! Cheater said that–I got that as well.” It’s comforting in a way even if I wish no one dealt with any of this, if that makes sense.

            • Yes!!!! He would cry to me about how much he missed her and tell me I needed to give him space to get over her. I was like his mother not his wife of 26 years and mother of his children. He told me so many things about her – it’s so disgusting I even listened. Total abuse and that’s just psycho behavior to do that to someone.

            • Oh thanks god it’s not just me! Mine told me that he was hoping to have a new family with his whore. He told me that she would do anything in bed. He told me that he was looking forward to buying a cooler house than ours – we weren’t cool enough in the burbs. He and his whore then proceeded to make a plan for me to go into a mental health institution because I was so sad. You can’t make this shit up. He also liked to tell me how sad his whore was because she broke up our family. What on earth gives them the right to do this? I always felt like he was looking to me for validation and he was so surprised when all he saw was my pain. Of course I was disapproving! That seemed to be a huge shock to him. Maybe it’s because in my chumpiness I’d always accepted and admired him, until I found out the truth then I spewed out nothing but pain and anger. It’s totally amazing they think we need to suck up their behavior and accept it. They neither believe nor care that we are so damaged by them. And I agree- don’t let them see it now. Living well is the best revenge.

              • For a while my ex even went into lay preaching. (no pun intended)

                My daughter in law told me even his whore wife had the decency to be embarrassed when he was up there doing the fire and brimstone preaching, with the congregation not knowing their story at all.

                Maybe that is where the old joke “as nervous as a hooker in the front pew”, came from.

                After they blew up my sons happy home with their shit, they slunk to Florida, where I am sure they have rewritten their entire history.

              • Yes Formerly, ‘It’s totally amazing they think we need to suck up their behavior and accept it’…. I think mine actually thought I would wish him well and/or just move on like he had just changed our dinner plans rather than changed our life . No joke. He talked about goodwill between us ?!?!

              • Mine thought that going to coparenting classes meant that everything was going to be just fine. He said it was going to be great that we all go on family outings together again!!!

                WHAT THE F*€¥ ARE YOU USING??? Hell NO!! That’s called a marriage! You know the owe you kept leaving to chase strange. You gave me STIs. NO. Too bad, so sad is what I said to my lawyer. Lawyer started laughing.

              • I am living well. I know it the best revenge. I bought our house in a beautiful neighborhood near a beautiful school with great friends and a great job etc.
                I have my children 100% of the time. When I’m not at work I’m also now their teacher. I’m exhausted. living well but exhausted and very lonely …but the alternative it’s far worse.

                I’m not sure what it says about me that I can’t stand him living well? He posted an engagement picture on our anniversary. He takes his new mutt (not the mistress) on the same vacations we went on. On the same dates we went on. They just bought a brand new boat. The exact same kind we surrendered.. only newer. New Harley, new truck, new house. He replaced /replicated our entire life. Only without us.
                I think to myself, how could you even go on that river in that same Cove without your kids? How could that even be fun for you?
                He’s being particularly awful right now and not paying for his portion of childcare etc. which is drowning me and I’m just in a deep low right now.

        • ” I’m your wife, you insensitive, entitled shithead” I thought about that so often – why didn’t I say that?”

          It would have made *no* difference, Zip. The fact he was saying this revolting crap to *you*, his then *wife*, speaks volumes about him, and nothing about you.

          What a complete and utter *piece of shit* your ex is.

          You are mighty *now* ((hugs)). 🤗❤️

          • Thx- nomore- I know it would not have made a difference to him, but at least I wouldn’t feel sick to my stomach thinking abt how I was comforting him as he was
            very distraught over the thought of losing her. I thought he’d had a mental collapse…. and I guess I was hoping to get him back even though a small part of me knew I couldn’t take him back. But it mortifies me that I didn’t stand up for myself in that moment. I honestly thought I was a strong woman with more self respect than that.

            Anyhow, it’s caused me to really work on self- love.

        • Zip and Spinach–

          I said as much in response to some similar types of “lock room” blurting on the part of cheater.

          Spoiler alert: they just look confused, a la Forest Gump, when you explain that you’re not a locker room pal and not impressed. You didn’t miss much.

    • Doingme, I will never forget the way he was when he was telling me about the OW. It was surreal – he was still my husband to me – but I was suddenly an inanimate object to him – zero empathy for me, but he was concerned about her. Still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

      Worse than CL, I wasn’t trying to get him to love me, I actually thought against all evidence ( he was dumping me) that he still loved me. He was still calling me our pet names throughout the separation process, he was still being a great guy and helping out with everything. I thought he was having a breakdown.
      Later on, he genuinely seemed concerned when I expressed my grief and a few weeks into the bomb he started to show a lot of empathy for my feelings… However he was still dumping me for the OW .
      My 1st H left and returned several times ( he actually was having a breakdown ), and same thing, I made excuses for him and was confident that he loved me – thought he was suffering and needed help.
      Am I the only one who still thought you had a strong bond – who still thought he’d wake up and want to do everything possible to fix this mess? I feel like I’m delusional when it comes to being treated poorly by men who once said they loved me.
      I guess it didn’t help that he would come over and say that he missed me and give me a hug during this process ….. and that he was looking more and more distraught and depressed

      C ladies site has been enormously invaluable. But does anybody else ever feel that hearing the stories and telling your own keeps you in that place? Has anyone ever wondered if it would be a good thing to go NC from everything to do with cheaters for a while?

      • I hear grey rock and no contact is part of the magic cure. I unfortunately don’t have that option available for my use. Perhaps you can?

        • Nearly 6 years from Dday— 4 kids. Everyone can go grey rock and use no contact when kids are with you. All communications through scheduling software only -get a court order. Block on all other channels/platforms. Only unblock phone when kids without their own phones are with X. If they have their own phones—block X.
          If you have any kid-related NECESSARY communications, keep it to these three words: yes. No. Maybe.
          All non kid emergency communications through lawyers. Boundaries are to protect us chumps. Use them. This is the only way to break trauma bonds.

          • I use a coparenting app. He calls my cellphone to talk to our children when I have custody despite my maintaining a landline for that purpose. They are also able to call him on the landline anytime they wish, but never do. I even offered to tech them how to use the phone. I have to give him my phone number for communication ordered through custody agreement. He calls whenever he wants. I can’t limit his contact again ordered through custody agreement.
            I have tried to contact them directly through their phones but am usually unsuccessful. He makes sure it is unsuccessful perhaps? At least one day it was due to his scheduling an event during the time of the usual phone call time. I get usually 4 minutes per child maybe and he’s present to monitor the conversation. He gets unlimited time and I don’t care about the conversation topics. It’s very good to be the king.

            • Hi Chickenchump,

              First – I can hear your frustration with all of it, and I am very sorry. I know it completely sucks. It feels like a battle with him every time you want to talk to your own children. And since he is a complete ass, he has rigged the game to win every time.

              Second, I’m not sure of your custody arrangements, but Motherchumper’s advice is spot on. When they are with you – there is NO REASON to communicate with him at all!! Don’t answer your cell, turn off your ringer/notifications and give yourself some peace! And if he calls and they don’t pick up the landline, well, then so be it! Your time is your time. If you asked him to communicate with the kids a certain way – then stick to it.

              As for when they are with him – call them when you can, but if you don’t get a chance to talk – please understand it will be ok in the grand scheme of things (as long as you are confident they are not in physical danger with him). They absolutely need you to keep being the sane parent!! The one that doesn’t use them and play games constantly. Believe me, they will figure it out.

              Big hugs to you – it does get better as they get older and know how to use cell phones.

              • Wildcat And Motherchumper,
                The system is rigged in the custody agreement. That’s the easiest way to explain this mess. He has to know my phone number. I can’t impair his communication with our children. I can’t engage in parental alienation. This has not however stopped him from possibly doing these things himself. I might have a list of documents regarding this. I can’t get my lawyer to pursue this issue. I’m forced to endure the continuous harassment. I’ve begged for help and received no answer from my lawyer! Yes I’m looking for a new one. But how does one tell if the new one is really any better? There’s no rating system for them. I’ve already looked. I’ve asked the local domestic women’s shelter. They won’t point out whose good just who they refer too. So I’m just wondering if it’s all just a rigged system with boiler plates for plans for things like custody. Nothing else really changes unless you can document severe abuse, which I cannot without my children’s help. They aren’t talking and their therapists aren’t really digging for information. Therapists say there are no signs of abuse even though I have cited examples and offered other documents. I’m just watching a slow motion car accident with my children inside the car. At least that’s what it feels like to me.

      • Zip, my XH was similar in the end. He would hug me, ask me if I wanted him back, tell me he didn’t know how to be happy, the list goes on. I knew though I had to let him go, he was never going to be the man I thought I married.

        I also see what you’re saying about CL site. I don’t view it as a place that holds me back, I see it as a strong support system. It’s just like people who struggle with addiction, sometimes they go to treatment their whole lives.

        I want to maintain visiting this site, to get support and also to support others. One day I will be here just to support others but I want to do that because so many have helped me and I want to give back.

        • Yes, CL peeps are the only people who really really get it. I guess I need the constant reminders that he sucks anyway. Still shocking and twilight zone-ish to me -how people can morph into other people before your very eyes… And have zero empathy for you when you were previously the woman of their dreams. I hate BS and weird shit,

          • I completely get what you mean about the twilight thing. It’s actually very disturbing to think about.

            My XH came into success and money and that’s where he started changing. It’s like his heart disintegrated or something. Our dog even started growling at him when he’d come by the house to pick things up. Even the DOG knew he just became pure evil. Just crazy.

            • Oh goodness, I think I mentioned before, but my ex did the same thing. About two years before the big blow up, he started changing drastically. Yelling, fighting, being mean.

              That is why I don’t buy the “we grew apart” shit. No you started cheating as soon as you got your big promotion or shortly before that, and you pushed me away. I can almost cite the day.

              But, I don’t think he morphed, I think he just got cocky and thought he had it under control, but ended up with his a ss in a vice grip. I am pretty sure in hindsight that he had cheated several times before, but was much more careful.

              • LOL you’re killing me Susie. I think we married the same blood line or something.

                He tried to convince me to tell people we were getting a divorce because “we grew apart”….my response was, “someone’s afraid of their precious image being ruined by the truth”. I refuse to tell people a lie!

                It’s so so sad what money and power does to people. They get cocky and think their untouchable by consequences.

                Divorcing my XH (although it was painful), was like slapping him in the face with a book called Consequences. Technically, the slap was a giant dent in his bank account haha

              • I agree, I don’t think my ex and I ‘grew apart’, I think he got a new job that made him feel important (ego-boost) and came across a young co-worker who was willing to tell him he was amazing and bend over backwards for him – all at a time when I was trying to get him to be more accountable and act like an actual parent to our young son. I mean, this woman would even make lunches for him and bring them to work 🤮- talk about kibbles.
                Add that dynamic to someone already geared to think he was better than others and prone to emotionally shutting down/ severing relationships when things get tricky and it’s the perfect storm.
                My ex and I actually share a lot of commonalities and interests, if I wasn’t so geared towards ‘trusting that he’s shit’ and acknowledging that I need to move away from being a chump, we could probably be friends in future. We won’t though, because I don’t need a ‘friend’ who is abusive to his wife and capable of walking out on someone he’s been with for over 14 years old for a woman he’s only known for a few months.

          • Here’s what I like about this site:
            1. The laughs from CL (best medicine and all that)

            2. The support from others who “get it.” (Thank you, CN!)

            3. The ability to avoid overburdening my friends and family with my woes. No one’s complained (these people are saints), but I have to think they’re getting compassion fatigue at this point. So, I just burden you nice folks! 😉

            4. The insight from others (lots of smart chumps on here!)

            5. The act of writing seems to calm me and helps clarify my thoughts. (I realize I can journal–and I do–but sharing seems to be more helpful.)

            I don’t know how long I’ll linger here. Just when I think I’ve moved past the painful betrayal and grief, some memory is triggered and, bam, I’m immersed in the sad shit stew again and reaching for this site–a virtual life preserver.

      • It’s a reminder for me Zip. These are the painful realizations that perhaps will trigger another chump into feeling less alone, to know it’s not their shame and to recognize it for what it is, abuse.

      • For me I wish I had CL when my cheater blew us up. I did fairly well given how ignorant I was about these types of folks, but dang I think I could have been so much stronger if I had a network like this back then. I did go to a great counseling session after our legal separation, and they helped.

        But, to know how much alike these guys/gals are and how our experiences are so similar would have been gold. For example to know that “I never loved you, and I have never been happy in our marriage” was the same story almost everyone got. It would have helped me. I didn’t find CL until years after our divorce due to some other research I was doing. All those years I took that as gospel. So many other things, but now I know they have a playbook. I even get now why they do it, but I didn’t then.

        If I ever know of someone who is going through this situation, I have some help for them now. If nothing else, just to have some laughs through the tears is worth it.

        • Yup, my XH said “I knew after I proposed I didn’t love you”. Same shit, different day…they are ALL the same.

          It’s almost like they have to tell themselves these things to justify their mess. The only justifying my XH got was me taking his money in court. Hope that was justified enough for him haha

          • Agreed. The research I have read said it is part of the rewriting history. Then know what they have done is heinous, but they have done it so, in their mind they have to create a good reason.

            However, once said it is burned in the memory. My ex telling me when he wanted to come back, “I only said that to make you hate me” doesn’t make it go away.

            • I definitely have things burned in my memory, some very painful.

              I read in another response that you met up with him in public, 2months before he remarried! Wow that must have been VERY interesting. Something tells me he was hoping for kibbles and testing the waters with you. Glad you didn’t fall for it!

              I kinda giggle to myself when I think about how my XH used to say, “our marriage is so much work” he would say this a lot in the end. I giggle now because, it’s all fun and games when love is new and things are easy. Then you move in with someone and life happens whether you like it or not.

              haha he’s in for a surprise that ALL marriages are work.

              • Mine likes to tell everyone how controlling I was. And I say, “your damn right I came across as controlling, I was always asking where he was, why he was grumpy, why he was sleeping late, why he was hung over, why he was taking young female clients out for dinner, why he missed our daughter’s school events.” If asking those questions of my husband is controlling, then, yep! Guilty!

              • Oh kibbles for sure. I didn’t know the concept of kibbles then of course, but I knew this man was not getting back in my heart,or my bed, regardless of what he thought. I had no attraction for him at all. I think I did still love him, but he had killed the romantic feelings.

                I think aside from kibbles (I have two women fighting over me) he was desperately trying to regain some semblance of control/normal in his life, and as he had always pretty much had me under control; that likely seems like a good way to start.

                He had been busted in rank, lost his cushy office, back out on the street. Maybe schmoopie was putting the screws to him for marriage, and he was trying to delay that.

                After all the whole reason he had schmoopie was because it was my fault, so if I was out of the picture and his life was a pile of shit, surely it was schmoopies fault.

                I don’t know, all I can do is guess the reason, but I do know it was not about love for me.

    • To me some of his comments sounded like he was talking to his mother. Luckily for me, I got out of the immediate horror with a legal separation fairly quickly, and became NC. It really did help.

      I did grieve for a few weeks and it stressed me that (from my view) he was getting his freedom and he could do anything he wanted. I used to take a long walk every day after work, I remember some tears; and then on one of those walks, I stopped dead in my tracks. I realized that when he gets his freedom, I get mine. It was a turning point for me.

      He had a hard time with me exercising my freedom, and tried to stop that a couple times. He had lost his power though.

      Per my daughter in law he cheated on schmoopie several times when they first got married, and they got in big fights. I told her, he will always be a cheat, schmoopie is just the next chump. Only difference is she knew she married a cheater, I didn’t.

    • Perhaps I’m not the norm but I never allowed, tried to dig, or even discuss my XH’s whore w/ him. There were 3 affairs, the first two he didn’t seem as into although they still happened. The last one though he took to a whole other level.

      When I found out about her, that was all I needed. I never tried to find her on the internet, I knew if I saw a picture of her it would be stuck in my head forever so I never searched. I never wanted to know what she did for a living or where she was from. When I confronted him all I said was that I knew and told him her name so he’d know I wasn’t making it all up.

      We never talked about her, and I never asked any questions. I found it better not to know anything, I still don’t know any of the details and I prefer it that way. All that mattered to me was that he cheated again and it was enough to let go of him.

      I think my XH knew if he ever talked about her or details I’d tell him I’m really not interested in hearing about your whore. Maybe he never pressed it because he knew he was downgrading from me? Who knows, doesn’t really matter. I’m not even sure they are back together but even if they are they can have each other. In fact, I hope they are because that relationship will be cursed. Good riddance!

      • I didn’t do a lot of that either. He did say some things in the beginning, and I think my WTH stare or comment pretty much stopped it.

        I don’t remember it being a concious thing of, saying to myself I don’t want to know. I just think the horror show of discovery and pain was so fast that I didn’t even have time to think about it. I did find out and figure out some things later.

        For instance, he brought her to our house on a couple occasions. I was there, and of course I didn’t know they were Fbuddies at the time. She was his direct report at work, and it was couched as a work visit.

        I went to our lake property (with his mother because she wanted to get her vacuum back) and caught them there. Honestly, it surprised me, I was so stunned. Don’t know why I was, he certainly had to reason to hide it anymore, they were totally outed by that time. That was the lake property that he convinced me to cosign for, for our retirement years and as and investment. All the while he and fbuddy were planning his escape. But, of course she didn’t have a decent job, so he likely wouldn’t be able to get credit with her signature.

        My MIL hated her, and quite frankly him at the time, but of course blood is thicker than water and she eventually turned on me. By then I didn’t care. But, we had a close relationship, and of course he destroyed that too.

        • @ Susie,

          My MIL was also brainwashed to by XH and turned on me. I don’t call it a loss though because if she was that naive to think her son is so saint-ish then I don’t need her support or approval when it came to divorcing her son.

          I found things out later as well and I just used them as fuel to press fwd and keep on route with getting away from him.

          Anyway, it really is better not to know the details and to create boundaries if your ex insists on bringing up the AP. I just feel like, what’s the point of knowing all these things? It’s not going to change the outcome, it’s not going to help my healing, if anything it’s going to show my XH that I still care about it all which I didn’t want to do.

          • I agree on details.

            Once one has sat up all night, then watched as his/her spouse come home from spending the night with their AP, really what else is there.

            Luckily for me, I only had to sit through a few nights of that, as he moved his crap out and I told him he needs to file for D. I did let him come back after we were legally separated, as he was just so sorry and wanted our life back, (yeah right) he lied about not loving me etc. So though I regret it, I bought it. It lasted a week. He treated me so horribly, and was so cold, I don’t even know why he tried to be honest. In hindsight, I think he just wanted the use of our family car for his political work. (he couldn’t drive the police car) It is the only thing I can think of.

            I told him to leave and gave him a week to drop the slut and go to counseling. He didn’t call me back after a week, so I called and said what is your decision. He said he can’t decide. I said you don’t get any more decisions, I am deciding and it is over.

            Our divorce took a year, and he tried three more times that I remember to “try again” I turned him down on all those times. Once I said we are done, I did stick to it. By that time it wasn’t hard, because his mask had totally fallen off. I knew I had to escape.

            • You were very strong Susie. I forgave two affairs before the third one came up, so technically I had accepted him back twice before for the same awful actions.

              Some people see it as weak not leaving the first time, and I can agree with that too. However, I also know I would have lived with a lot of “what if” had I not at least tried the path of forgiveness.

              It was a harder path but I do sleep better knowing I at least tried. Does it make me weak? probably. Can I stand before my creator someday and say I fought for my husband? yup. Guess it’s all how you look at it.

              • Maybe not so much strong as lucky that he had treated me so badly when I let him come back. Even worse than before he left. Had he been a little smarter, he likely could have strung me along for another year or so. I think his azz was in a vice grip at work, given he was ephing his direct report. He was in trouble at work, and the whore was tightening the screws. When I think of how little control he had over his life then, it must have been hell for a controller like him. God they are stupid.

                I honestly think his attempts to get me to reconcile after the first try, were acts of quiet desperation and trying to delay marrying schmoopie, (I am pretty sure he didn’t tell her he was contacting me) and also to try to get me to get back into hopium, (ki8bbles) maybe he figured I could be the new side piece. Yeah, no thanks.

                I never told anyone but my daughter in law. Not because I was hiding it, but because really who cares.

                One time when he called about two months before they married, he wanted to meet to talk. He said we never really talked about trying to work things out. (I guess he had forgotten the first try) I said I had no problem meeting, (I was curious) he said I would like to go someplace where the whole town can’t see us. I said nope, if I meet you it has to be at (XYZ) right out in front of God and everyone, as I have nothing to hide. I was surprised that he agreed.

                Anyway, he started his spiel, and I said why did you do this whole thing. He said I guess I just wanted something for just for myself. I said, I thought that was who I was for you. He just sat there. I said, look if you love schmoopie you should go on with her and your life, as I said before we are done.

                He called a couple months later and said we are getting married, and I didn’t want you to hear it from someone else. (still looking for kibbles)

                I said best of luck, bye. Other than a few family events for grandchildren, that was the only time I ever saw him again. The last time I saw him was 2016, when my granddaughter graduated from HS. She graduates from college next year, so I don’t know if there will be a ceremony or not given the current situation of close down.

                It is really great to talk to all you folks. You are all the best, and I wish you all the very best.

              • I felt this way too. That I had to stay and “fight for my marriage” because marriage is sacred. I don’t think it makes someone weak if they don’t leave right away. We really don’t have a choice but to be strong no matter what option we choose. It’s all hard. However, I no longer believe that our creator is the one who is expecting us to stay and put our health at risk through STDs via the path of forgiveness. I think that’s more about other people twisting scripture to keep us stuck in an unhealthy situation without regard for our safety. I’m not sure forgiveness is about us needing to reconcile with those who are or act like narcissists either. But, it took me a long time to rethink the things other people put in my head.

      • That’s great. Mine volunteered information and I had to stop him! I literally said “shit the fuck up”. Unfortunately he was fucking someone from our business so I have the misfortune of knowing her. It makes it worse I think. She’s 15 years younger and really dumb and boring.

        • I envy you.

          While I think I handled it fairly well considering, I was alone and had no information; there are so many times through out the recovery that I would think, “why didn’t I say…”

          I did get a couple zingers in, but not many.

          One zinger was when he called me threatening to sell everything, if I didn’t do what he wanted. I was at work and I said “knock yourself out big boy” and hung up on him. My supervisor was sitting there, and when I told her what he said she was so proud of me.

          He called back about an hour later trying to apologize, I told him anything that he wants to discuss vis à vis our divorce settlement must go to my lawyer. He had been used to being in control of me, and I guess he thought that extended to the state laws per divorce settlements.

      • Alice, you were very very smart not to ask.
        He didn’t tell me her name because he was afraid of what I might do to her! (the biggest knife to the heart, your husband protecting his cheating partner)/ I mean really, I’m in a caring profession & I don’t have a violent bone in my body.
        Glad I don’t know her name though and I never want to know.

        • Zip, The only reason I know the OW’s name is because that’s how I found out he was cheating.

          I will forever hate that name now, ugh! I literally cringe when I hear it, yuck! I

          I’m envious you don’t know her name. Gosh what I wouldn’t give to be able to “unknow things”.

          I don’t think your XH was protecting her, I think he was protecting himself. I mean really it doesn’t matter if he gave you the name or didn’t because in the end she will get hers. Karma finds everyone!! That’s something cheaters never consider.

          If he had said something like that to me, I would have said “a whore is a whore honey, they all go to hell. even you can’t protect her from that” lol

  • Why does she wait for him to come back? Idk. Why do women go back to men that beat them senseless over and over again? Why did my friend stay with his wife who used to physically attacks him when angry, and had 4 affairs, one of them their daugthers boyfriend? He stayed until she left him for lover number 5.

    Like all of us, a fear of change. An inabilty to accept our life without that person in it.

    Sad because life is very liveable on the other side. And love is only an endless shit show without respect and honesty.

    • One guy that tried to give me advice from my in-laws’ church after my ex’s affair was discovered, was the epitome of a weak chump. Just no respect at all for himself. While I appreciated some advice and taking the time to try and help me, he was nothing like how I’d want to be. His wife had 4 affairs in 11 years. He forgave the first three and the fourth one was the final one where she left.

      I could get trying to make it work after one affair but two? Three? Four? At what point do you see she doesn’t respect you? Have some dignity. My ex got two on me (I was only made aware of one, learned the second afterward) and that was a wrap. You’d never get the chance to get four affairs on me. No man or woman should let that happen.

  • Thing is, the cheater has already weighed the potential cost of loosing their relationship with you and still chose to cheat. There is nothing you can do with that, except to realise it, accept it and let go.

    • In my case, I don’t think the cheater gave any thought to it at all. I think he had the opportunity, and IF there was a fleeting thought of the potential harm to his marriage, it was outweighed by the immediate thrill of sticking his dick in strange. That thrill was, apparently, worth more than 17 years of his life, his wife, his child.

      • I don’t think my cheater thought it out either. If he did, I think he thought I’d stay with him forever no matter what and we’d just have a marriage where he constantly goes out on me and I stand by him.

        He was wrong. I do not want to live like that. It took 3 affairs for me to finally accept it was over and I didn’t want to keep living like that for the rest of my life.

        I know he has a lot of regret. He will have to live his life carrying that. I gave up the job of carrying all his burdens when I decided he didn’t deserve me as his wife anymore. He can find someone else who wants that job, I quit.

        • Mine did think abt it. Decided he wasn’t happy suddenly and married
          mother he worked with would make him happy. They had a connection! Let her into his emotional life and shut me out.
          He went from being the most logical, caring and responsible person I’d ever met, to sounding like a 9 yr old boy telling his mommy he was going to have the candy because he really really really wants it (even if he has to burn the store down to get it).

          • I really believe when people make decisions based on lust (small or big decisions) they never turn out for good.

            He sounds like he was drooling in his lust, eventually that drool will drown him. No one gets off scott free when they are lustful. The universe has a funny way of making sure of it.

            • Mine said he wanted to stay married to me and have his girlfriend on the side. He said it was better that way because it was preventing him going to sex workers. I said, no, stop this now and I’ll consider taking you back. He said his girlfriend was too important to him so he wouldn’t stop. I said you’ve made your choice then, get the fuck out! Of course then he was the victim and blamed me for losing the marriage! Um no. Basically telling me that he was going to have a girlfriend or else isn’t exactly me losing the marriage. He even tried to sell me on the fact that it was better to have a girlfriend then hookers. It boggles the mind. 🤯

              • Sadly, this is the mindset of many men today. Especially men who have never been married. This life of having a wife and a side chick is trickling into old men now too.

                It’s very tragic. Breaks my heart.

  • For me, the moment of conversion was when it came fully true for me that what I was actually grieving was the illusion, what I thought I’d had, who I thought he was.

    Once that clarified, I still hurt and grieved, but no longer with attachment to the robot that looked like the husband I’d thought I had. It was easy to push the robot out, then, and grieve what I was really losing (which, in the end, was mostly grief for the parts of myself I was losing by accepting that the illusion wasn’t real after all.)

    YMMV, but that’s how it was for me. And that was a lifelong game changer.

    • “For me, the moment of conversion was when it came fully true for me that what I was actually grieving was the illusion, what I thought I’d had, who I thought he was.”

      👍

      • Zip, I answered you but it didn’t nest right. I think if you search text in the page for my name, you will find it. 💚

  • The pain comes and goes. It dies a little then some times comes flooding back. Cheaters try and minimalize it, because they cant empathise with you, or they don’t want to be reminded how shit they are. They know how shit they are but bury it, though drugs, alcohol. They are not like real adults.
    Cheaters cant respect themselves cannot respect other people, but probably pretend they do.
    There probably nicer to other peoples kids than their own.

    • Mine always seems to be a different case. There’s no drugs or alcohol. I think mine
      deals with it by being a workaholic and all-around ‘great man’!!!! I’m sure OW thinks she poached the catch of the century.

      • Hi Zip,

        Mine was a workaholic too, and successful from a financial standpoint. The thing is, some of them have redeeming qualities, but all the other sociopathic tendencies overshadow the good things. And they usually shoot themselves in the foot and ruin all the good things in their lives eventually anyway – so the karma bus hasn’t hit him yet (and you may never see it anyway). Trust that they suck – keep reminding yourself of how much he abused you. HE IS NOT A “Great Man” Great men don’t cheat.

        You asked Amiisfree about how she got there- (I came to that conclusion too) that what I really missed and longed for was the illusion of him, not really him. Two things had to happen for me 1.
        I had to get away from it enough to clear my head of the narcissistic fog, and 2. I repeated the mantra “Don’t pay attention to what people say, watch what they do.”

        Because, he showed me who he really was by his ACTIONS: a lying, cheating, manipulative bastard. I got out of the crazy and stopped listening to his BS – then my eyes slowly opened to what was really going on. I read a lot about malignant narcissists, was active here at CN and have a good therapist. It takes time – take care of yourself and give yourself some grace. You deserve it.

  • I think I am late Sunday night / early Monday morning waiting on my Tuesday .

    I don’t miss him at all , I miss companionship and having a partner . I freely admit I’m jealous of him and her being married and having a baby . This is what’s fully holding me back from late Monday night early Tuesday morning . That and the fact his baby and marriage all came within 1 year of D Day while I was still a blubbering mess .

    I’m almost 19 months out from D Day and absolute complete abandonment ( never wanted cake at all ) so that has helped . After reading every archive I know my Tuesday is out there well I hope so anyway .

    I hope the OP gets back to us on this re run and has found her Tuesday

    • Hey Karen. I know we are living the same story.
      Having a baby is no fun life. My ex told my son (he saw him for lunch one day after a year of not) that the baby cries a lot.
      Restarting with a new family in your 40s is not a life I would pick. These are their consequences, not their rewards.

      Hug.

      • Hi A hope you and your children are well ❤️

        Yeah He’s 46 now ( as I will be in a few weeks ) I can’t imagine having a now .

        If I can just get my head to that point of not being jealous then I think I’d be fully Meh .

        I’ll get there

        ( hugs )

        • Maybe applying the same concept as “I’m missing the the person I thought I married” will help. In this case, you’re thinking she’s getting the same life you thought you had, with the person you thought you married. And he’s getting happiness. But what she’s really getting is the real person you married–the cheating one–and you can trust that he sucks, and doesn’t understand anything about what really matters in life.

          • I was thinking that as well. Karen, you married thinking he was good solid man.
            She’s starting a family with him knowing he’s a smuck. Would you marry and start a family with somebody you knew was a cheater? I certainly would never have ended up with my Mr. wonderful if I knew he was cheating on his wife and abandoning his family to be with me. So I don’t want this version of him anyway.
            But I understand, it still does feel like she won my life and that he swapped me out.

            • I have thought about this as well. One of the things my soon to be XH said it’s that he can have kids, I can’t. I expect he will bring his AP and start a family asap. How do I feel about that? It will hurt, I know. I have to destroy my last embryo in storage but this asshole. Would I want a life like that though? No. They will be busy keeping up with fake appearances, living as though they are a normal couple. No, they are not. Trust that they suck . They both cheated on each other in the past. They have to live with the fear of the time bomb that may explode in them any moment. Raising a child with a narcissist? Nope, don’t want that for myself. OW can deal with that now. I don’t want to be in a fantasy world anymore. I’m done.

    • Karen,

      I know it’s hard not to be jealous…well I prefer the word “envious”. You might envy the companionship they have and that they have started a family but you don’t envy their relationship and how it was built on lies. You also don’t envy their future because relationships that are built on lust & lies are cursed.

      I hope what I’ve said makes sense.

      I look at it this way. I’d rather be patient, trust God with the timing, and know he will fight for my justice so I don’t have to. I’d rather be surprised by the love I share with someone someday, when I meet that someone. I want to be completely ready and mesmerized by the love that is to come.

      Although It’s hard to be alone, to mourn the life I thought I’d have with him, I know in the end I will be ok. So will you Karen, we all will.

      • “I look at it this way. I’d rather be patient, trust God with the timing, and know he will fight for my justice so I don’t have to. I’d rather be surprised by the love I share with someone someday, when I meet that someone. I want to be completely ready and mesmerized by the love that is to come.”

        That was lovely. I would love to be able to think that way; my feeling is that since I’m still in the middle of the mess I’m stuck at a certain point and will be until it’s all done. Until then, I really like your way of thinking. =-)

        • I get that and you will get there Thursday.

          For me I just think, this can’t be all there is. It just can’t be. I’m meant for more, so much more.

          Bad things happen to good people everyday but also, beautiful things happen to them too everyday.

  • I believe part of our pain and denial comes from unrealistic expectations provided for us when we are in our formative years and are being educated with false cultural icons. Some of it comes from being raised with the idea that all people share good values. We are taught by our family of origin, and our sanitized education system to believe things which are simply not true. It may be that our ancestors believed they were protecting the children from harm, but I believe you should prepare children with the truth. They have to learn, at age appropriate stages, that the world has some bad people in it, who are more than willing to take advantage of them and to hurt them. Some of those people might be family members. Some might be a spouse from another dysfunctional family. How do you explain two people raised in dysfunctional families may be attracted to each other because neither one has any idea of what “normal” is?

    The explanations never stop. My son married a good girl from an extended loving family. She knows and interacts with her cousins and uncles and aunts, in addition to her parents and siblings. Her parents have stayed married thru many years, facing troubles together. She does not understand my son comes from a different type of family, with dysfunction on both sides. Staying no contact, or low contact with his extended family is a matter key to his survival and any chance of happiness he has. She feels his family must not like her, and finds it hard to understand why he doesn’t know anything about his cousins lives. My son has asked me to help her understand. I like her a lot. Our family dysfunction has nothing to do with her, and yet she is feeling we think something is wrong with her.

    I am trying to form a plan which will give her enough information to understand our dysfunction, and help her to see that our problems come from past generations, and poor choices made in our lives, and have nothing to do with her. She wants our family to be like hers, because that is what she knows and feels comfortable with. Our family will never be anything like hers.

    I do not particularly want to do this, and will only try because I love my son and he has asked me to try. I don’t want her to feel we do not like her. I will have to resurrect demons from my past that I have buried and moved away from. I will have to explain what I know about my ex husbands family. I don’t know why he felt entitled to lie and cheat and use family funds to pursue other women, I just know he did those things. It probably had to do with his past. I put up with a lot of bad behavior, probably because of my FOO belief system. One day, I couldn’t do it anymore. One day I had to set out by myself, towards a destination I did not imagine I would ever visit. I knew I had to, to survive. I have to figure out how to convey this information to her, while trying to mitigate damage to myself. I know I am strong enough, but I really have reached a place where I haven’t got time for the pain. I hope I can walk around the edges of that swamp without being sucked in by any quicksand along the way.

    When does the pain stop? I believe you always have a memory of the pain. You learn to live with some chronic pain, because you cannot do anything about it. You distance yourself from triggers and direct contact with the pain. Do not volunteer to stick your head into a blender. You cannot control what other people do, so work on controlling what you do. Eventually, you will feel better if you avoid the source of the pain. That is the only way you can stop the intensity of the pain, in my opinion. Therapy and the friendship of Chump Nation can help. Take care of yourself, and eventually your actions will pay off.

    • Portia…. this girlfriend sounds like trouble! She’s too insecure about herself to feel ok without Son’s extended family members “Liking” her. This is a huge red flag. She’s violating some serious boundaries by acting this way. Son could use some therapeutic boundary-work support.
      “The extended family are dysfunctional, that’s why we don’t have relationships with them.” BOOM. She’s not entitled to abuse anyone by insisting on more information or changes. Entitlement. Scary!

      • I know she cares too much about being liked. That is another issue. She is my daughter in law. She comes from a tiny rural community in a state across the mountain from where my parents people live. Her culture is very much like theirs, so I am familiar. Also she is mid-twenties, She hasn’t experienced much about life yet.

        My son understands our family dynamic, he just is not as articulate as I am. He doesn’t know many of the specifics I do, because they were not necessary for him to know. He lived with me and his father, and met all the people in our extended family, and came to terms with the dysfunction. I feel relatively lucky that both of my sons emerged relatively unscathed, but that does not mean undamaged. We talk about many things as the problems come up.

        I hope that this marriage succeeds. If information leads to understanding, I will communicate the information I have. It will be up to my son and his wife as to what they do with it. For instance, this son has ADHD. like his father. He was diagnosed in 3rd grade. When I married his dad, I had never heard of ADHD. It is real. She did not believe it was real because she had not encountered it before, or didn’t know what it was if she did. I still hear people saying it is just an easy excuse for bad behavior. I beg to differ.

        People who do not have a disorder or have not lived with it in their family should not make judgements about it. Do you deny Epilepsy because you don’t have it, or Post Partum Depression? Of course not. So I educated her. If she ever has a child with it, she will become a believer. She still is living with my son, who is an adult who has learned coping mechanisms. Even so, it is still a real thing. I can not control what she does with the information I have provided, but at least she has been warned.

        When I grew up there was a culture of silence about anything perceived to be negative within that culture. My mother still doesn’t like to go to a doctor, or take her medicine, because she perceives that as weakness. She is an educated woman, but still clings to some childhood indoctrination. I cannot help that, either.

        I want to give this girl everything I can to help her succeed, because I think she is smart, and hardworking, and basically a good person. However, I am well aware I cannot change her. She will ultimately determine her life’s journey. I would like to provide other people a better, smoother road than I travelled, but their journey will be up to them.

        • Yup, if you haven’t had personal experience with liars, abusers, and manipulators you can’t fathom the two faces they wear, and the damage they do.

          • Right! Or why they would lie and mess up a good thing, when it hurts them in the long run. Or why any attention, even negative attention, is better than no attention to these folks.

            It is no wonder we get devastated. I would never imagine doing any of the things my ex’s did on a regular basis. I was too busy working, and paying bills, and doing chores, and raising kids. Who uses their time to binge watch porn, or stay on dating sites, or look for strange? I guess Chump Nation knows the answer to those questions. There is no answer to the why of it that we chumps will ever be able to feel is right. It may be accurate, but it will never be right.

  • Here is the thing about Chump Lady and Chump Nation… we are here for you. The fuckwit who cheated on you and abused is NOT, probably never were if you get really honest and take off the hopium glasses.

    I found CL and CN in 2014. They collectively saved my life, gave me the cajones I needed to FILE and GO NO CONTACT (granted, it took me almost a year of stalking the archives here and just reading comments)… but I did it… and you can too.

    I won’t sugar coat it: my first D-day was in 2009 and because we had a 3-year old I stayed and spackled. Guess what… he left me anyway in 2014 for a younger version of me (sociopaths tend to hunt within a preferred stereotype). And even then, I pretended it was “ok” when he would invite me to join him and our son on his visitation weekends to go to movies etc… (I eventually learned it was only so I could parent our son; and the OW had her kids on the same weekend, so she was off-limits in the beginning of “their love”).

    The pain, oh the pain, it lasted and lasted… my meh-Day arrived four years after he left for the OW. I had to file first, I had to go no contact (except for gray rock to co-parent); I had to master calendar software apps (I like Cozi.com); I had to keep the stability for my son and cry alone in the shower; I had to keep holidays and traditions and make sure the homework was done and the doctor appointments were made. And, in time, I got back to the rhythm of a new life… almost without realizing it… except for one thing… I noticed the PEACE in my household… no more chaos… no more lies… no more marriage police… I parented my way… I grocery shopped my way… I cooked my way… as CL’s Aunt told us would happen… my walls began to sing.

    I’m still single (only 54, so I’ve got time). I’ve been traveling with my son and making great memories of our “family”. And Meh arrived… it did… and it will for you too.

    Keep coming back here… read ALL the articles in the archives… if you need to “share with your fuckwit to have them see you pain”, get a good therapist and a good lawyer instead… you want meh, No Contact and Gray Rock are your best friends. You can do this… we will help you. And you will someday wonder, why did I ever doubt myself.

    (p.s. He/She WILL NEVER CHANGE… NOT EVEN FOR THE NEXT PERSON! I PROMISE!)

    • Nope, they will never change. You’re 100% right about that.

      I don’t wish bad things on people, although I do have my moments of weakness and say things like “I hope he has a miserable life” because well I’m human.

      The thing is, you don’t have to wish bad things on these people. Justice will be had without you having to make wishes. I truly believe that.

      These kinds of people will not have fulfilling lives because they live for the wrong reasons.

    • “I’m still single (only 54, so I’ve got time).”

      “(p.s. He/She WILL NEVER CHANGE… NOT EVEN FOR THE NEXT PERSON! I PROMISE!)”

      No just, no joke at all, just made my day. I’m 54 as well and….well, you just made my whole frickin’ day. Thank you!

      • Cheers to many more days to come… and this should make you laugh even more… the OW dumped him before our divorce was final because A: she didn’t like be named for adultery cause; B: she found out he was cheating on her; C: all of the above!

        They don’t change, they just change partners.

        Keep smiling!

  • My story was similar (did I write this letter?), and at around 9 months the unending bits of information and drama and daily shows got to me. I ended up off work as I had a breakdown. My ex works at the same place, so it had become unbearable.
    Funny, for the first 6 months post d day I thought I had it together. I kicked him out immediately and never reconciled.

    By 9 months I realized I was still waiting for him to fix this somehow….and because of that every moment he didn’t broke my heart over and over.

    I took the time off work to just grieve. To feel sorry for myself, and to soothe the parts of me that felt abandoned, discarded, unworthy of love.

    This wasn’t fun or easy and I don’t think there is an actual process. I just wallowed and found some great friends who would listen while I tried to make sense of this all.

    Then my ex told me his current gf was pregnant.

    As huge of a blow this was, for me it was exactly what I needed. This was over. Finished. He was not coming back and I no longer felt like I was waiting for him to. Final divorce papers were signed. I eliminated almost all contact with ex, except what was required for work or to inform him about the kids.

    I was divorced 11 months from d day.

    Now it’s 18 months from d day and I am truly happy and content. Meh has come.

    I am fortunate (ha) that my ex didn’t fight me for anything. I have full custody of the kids. He signed the house over to me. He pays his child support and he moved away. While all these things hurt initially, I’m a big believer in hard and fast pain over long drawn out pain.

    There is a whole life waiting. I can now tell my kids stories about my ex and I from university and laugh. We had 25 years together. The parts I enjoyed are mine to remember how I like.

    He has nothing to offer you except pain, resentment and disappointment. Divorce, cut all ties you can, and enjoy.

    • You are so lucky about the house and custody. Everything is a fight here – everything. Sharing kids 50/50 when he is the one that made the choice to have an affair and hurt us all stinks. He wanted that 50/50 lifestyle – I don’t – he’s the one that made it happen – not me. If I think about it too much it can make me feel crazy – it’s like the worst nightmare – being forced to be away from my kids.

  • I’m at peace with knowing I gave it everything I could.

    I went down the path of forgiveness after the first two affairs, we went to counseling and individual therapy through our church as well as through licensed therapists for years. I kept with our life long plan to setup roots somewhere and created a home meant for magazine covers all while maintaining my career and doing all the household chores. I stayed in shape and always made sure I was looking my best. He never complained about lack of intimacy, in fact he said our sex life was amazing. His friends would often say, he married out of his league.

    It didn’t matter. He cheated a third time, and it finally broke me. I will always mourn the man I thought I married. Perhaps I find it easier at times because I know he wasn’t real. I get upset when my people say things like “but you’re so BEAUTIFUL, it doesn’t make sense he’d cheat?” I’m sorry but that shit doesn’t matter!!!

    I have a strong belief in the afterlife, and I know he will eventually see the woman I was and how much I loved him. I wonder what that conversation will look like between us when that time comes. Only then will he truly see me for the strong beautiful woman that I was to him and maybe hold me with tears in his eyes.

    Until then, I’m at peace with knowing I gave it everything. I was pure hearted in my intentions to live this life with him as his wife. It’s painful to know he didn’t feel the same but I read this quote the other day and it rings so true. . .

    “Not the spoil the ending for you, but the pure hearted win in the end. Remember that.”

  • Meh comes after going no contact and finalizing the divorce. It’s characterized by trusting they suck, accepting they aren’t compatible -They cannot I ring the bell and cannot ever be a peaceful life partner for me. I will never be comfortable or happy with them. I cannot trust them, and therefore there is no possibility of intimacy. Meh is turning all that attention and care towards building my new life— improving my career, my retirement planning (I was 48 when Dday hit), trying to serve my community, take up interesting hobbies and pastimes. Along the way I met my significant other.

    I never cry about what happened any longer. I don’t ruminate. I feel sad and mad on occasion when I think of it, but my feelings are bearable and pass quickly now.

    With four kids I hear some updates — XH and AP #??? are getting hit on the regular by karma buses. Makes me smile but doesn’t surprise me. I know they suck.

    5.5 years out and life is mostly wonderful. I feel for my kids— their dad is a selfish entitled narcissist who raged at them, gaslights, blameshifting, manipulates….. I am the sane parent. I cannot change XH. I cannot influence him or protect my kids who are young adults.

    • “Meh comes after going no contact and finalizing the divorce.” Thanks for this. I am counting on this 1000% and it’s good to hear from someone who’s been all the way through it.

  • I had to go to the ER during the final reconcilation attempt. An ER nurse I’d met twice was out in the parking lot on break, remembered my name, and showed me more caring than the man I married. That was one of my aha! moments.

  • Marj (and anyone else going through this with similar thoughts and emotions), your feelings are valid. Your frustration is normal (many of the above posts establish that). If there is one piece of advice I can give you – love yourself. Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and tell yourself you are worthy. You are good. You are loved. You are so so loved. Now use that love to stand up for yourself, make choices YOU have control over to move forward, and do it. Making choices for YOU will grow your self-love and self-respect. THIS is when the pain begins to subside.

    We are here if you need us.

  • I know this column has run before. I’ve read it several times. And the line that I keep coming back to is, “Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.” I remember so clearly begging my husband of nearly 25 years to treat me at least as nicely as he would a stranger. He never did. Today is the day that would have been our anniversary if we were still married. I can’t be bothered to figure out how many years it would have been. Fortunately, the divorce is long over. The children are grown. I’ve been no contact for several years.

    It’s Tuesday and I’m happy to report that the pain is gone. No, I haven’t found “The One” and I haven’t remarried. But, I’m happy with my life. I’m at a place where I don’t even want to remarry. I have better things to do than take care of some old man. I have friends and I’m closer to my family than I was when I was married. Life is good, even in this crazy year.

    • Re “Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.”: My fantasy for my post-divorce relationship with XW is for her to someday treat me with the same politeness as a supermarket cashier.

  • I am a little more than 2.5 years from the discard. I have been completely no contact and he’s never looked back. But I think I am maybe only halfway to “Meh”, maybe longer. Some of the delay is likely due to other traumas afterward the discard – job loss, financial issues, and more revelations about the extent of his deception that I didn’t know, and certainly didn’t seek to know.

    Covid-19 has been a big setback in healing. I do not have work now, and my entire career is in jeopardy due to the effects on my industry. What is so difficult is not being able to look forward, to plan my mighty, to gain a life at a time when I live day to day with massive uncertainty. I can’t look backwards either – that’s just agonizing pain. The result is that I again feel like I am trying to simply make it through each day, hour by hour, sometimes 15 minutes by 15 minutes. I thought I was way past that point. That was the “early days” but they seem to be here again.

    I have a list of things to do each day and I work hard to keep to a routine. Get up early, take the dogs on a long walk, call my sister, check off something on the to-do list, but it feels banal. It feels desperate. I feel irrelevant. Zoom and texting, after 5 months are no longer cutting it. I love my dogs, thank goodness for them! but I am terrified I will never hug someone – a friend, my nephew, a lover – ever again. Meh seems to be slipping further and further from view as I again have nightmares about being discarded by the Kaiser of Loathesomeness, or the 250 boxes of my property he had dumped on my sister’s lawn, and even the narc boss who tormented me afterwards. Gaining a life has been eluding me as almost every activity that brought meaning – interacting with friends, working at my profession, taking classes, teaching, is now gone.

    I know things will get better. I sure hope so.

    • @Unicorn,

      Covid-19 has set me back some too. I live alone, no pets and I don’t have any family close by. I’d have to take a plane to see family and right now that’s not really safe to do.

      I’ve been doing the pandemic completely 100% alone. I have hard days too but I’m trying to look at it all as a positive to help maintain my anxiety.

      I read books, talk on the phone, go for runs, stretch out listening to music, play with makeup, sing (really enjoy that), and try to see Covid-19 as my time to slow down and gain perspective.

      Someday I’m going to meet someone, and we’re going to talk about our experiences with the pandemic. I’m going to be proud to say I did it alone and I’m still standing. I figure I can’t change it, so why fight it.

      When I have tough moments, I try to remind myself I’m in a very different spot than I was 10yrs ago. I think, 10yrs from now I’ll also be in a different spot and I’ll be ok.

      You can always come here and vent. You’re not alone in this pandemic, we’re in this together.

      • I think this time has had an effect on many.

        In my case, my ex about a year ago blew up his relationship with our son, by lying, insulting, gas lighting my son and his wife. This after my son bought their house from them, so they wouldn’t lose it to bank ruptsy, then let them live in the small attached house so they could have a home.

        So it brought up some old stuff, and as I tried to make sense of it, I did some research on Narcissists personalities. That is when I found CL and actually came to realize how much alike all these dicks are. I so wish I had CL in 1989 when my life blew up.

        When my son told me about his plan to help his dad. I lovingly told him that although his dad loves him as much as he can, I worry that he will get hurt because his dad will always come first, before my son, even before schmoopie. I did tell him no matter what happened, do not enter into a financial contract with his dad. He did thank goodness take that advice. Fast forward about five years and kaboom, ex and schmoopie detonated another bomb, and all hell broke loose. Son called for advice, as he was living in hell. I told him, the only answer is to cut ties and let it go. So he did. Sold the property he loved, and had sunk lots of money in, just to force them out. Son and wife are doing well now, but I don’t think their relationship will ever be good. I don’t think my daughter in law has spoken to them since, and I don’t blame her.

        • I’m sure it was very hard on your son to learn who his father is deep down.

          That’s gotta be a tough one to learn as a son or daughter.

          • It was, I mean he knew what happened with us, I made his dad call him when he told me, so he wouldn’t hear it from others. Our situation was town gossip as he was a LEO and worked in the mayors office. But, I tried to keep our situation from making him take sides. I assume his dad did too.

            Son is fifty now, and this blow up only happened a couple years ago. I luckily live in another state, or there might have been blood shed. 🙂

            My son told me years ago the only thing his dad said when he came home from AF to visit after our situation was when his dad started the blame shifting (though we didn’t call it that then) He said he told his dad, stop right there dad, I lived with you and mom for 18 years, I know how she treated you, so don’t try to con me.

            The only thing my son ever said to me about his dad during the split/divorce was when I called him and said his dad was coming home and we were going to try again. He said; be careful mom; he is messed up. He was right, the recon only lasted a week.

            • Good for your son for not letting his Dad treat him like he’s naive! You raised a smart & strong son!

              It’s very sad that he can’t be close to his father. I’d like to believe that some men are better fathers than husbands or reverse order….guess some men aren’t good at anything though.

    • @Unicornscomingoutmynose–I nodded my head through your entire post. Same same samesame same. Job loss, stuck in this situation, financial insecurity etc etc….it has left me just…I don’t even know the word. I wake up half way to a panic attack every morning and feeling like boulders are on my shoulders throughout the day. By evening I get myself to a place of peace then every morning, same thing happens. I’ve never been through anything close to this so it’s hard to feel ‘normal’ or even know that that is anymore. Speaking for myself, I think like is this feeling due to cheating asshole/divorce or am I just a total weak ass loser or am I only a half a loser because the pandemic has made a lot of things harder? Strange days indeed, but things have to get better. They just have to.

      • We can only go up from here Thursday.

        Sometimes I think about this Pandemic and I’m like “Pandemic Shamdemic, you dealt w/ a cheating loser for 3yrs and are still standing. A Pandemic is childs-play compared to that”.

        And I’m not meaning to lessen the severity of COVID-19, I’m just trying to tell myself I’ve been through a lot before. It helps me with trying to control my anxiety about the whole pandemic when I say this to myself.

    • I’ve had some difficult times during Covid-19 as well. I haven’t hugged anyone since March and I’m scared some days that I won’t get to again. Years ago, I had discovered a website called Cuddle Comfort and I’ve met some people from there who are also lonely and just want hugs and cuddles. I do have to be up front with my boundaries before meeting and meet in public at first. As this Covid thing gets better, I’m considering going on that site again. I did have some good experiences. Some places also have cuddle parties. I found one years ago through meetup.com.

  • Marj, I hope by now the pain has stopped. My pain stopped at least 1.5 years ago. (I’m 5.5 years out of divorce now.) I was self reflecting just a few days ago and I wondered why I was so devastated when the dick essentially threw in the towel. Years later I can see him for who he is and always was. I had married a dick from day one. But when I was going through the worst time of my life, I felt completely worthless. I know who I am now and I am far from worthless. But why did I allow a dick to make me feel worthless? I believe it comes down to the fact that I loved him and thought him very intelligent. I always went to him for his ‘insight’ because I valued his opinion. As time went on, I started to rely on my own instincts because I saw him more and more as the fallible human being that he is. In fact, I began to rely on my own judgement quite often towards the end. But I was still devastated when I was dumped. I thought about it and I came to the conclusion that the reason I was so devastated was because I had deemed him highly intelligent and I had valued his opinion. So when someone I thought was very intelligent decided to dump me, I could only draw the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. I was not worthwhile. It never entered my head (at the time) to question his judgement. It never entered my head to reflect on all of his bad decisions as indicative of an ignoramus making them. At the time I only looked at him as someone intelligent. The pain ends when you can step back and see that if they’re so very intelligent, they wouldn’t be making such stupid choices in life. When you can that they’re not all that intelligent, then you don’t believe the fallacy that your worth is dependent on their ability to recognize it.

    • I so relate to this. I don’t know why I often deferred or thought he knew better (he always thought he was sooo good with money so I thought he was too. I’ve since learned how wrong I was about him. I’m the one who is good with finances. 🙄).

      It’s one of the things I’m still working on myself – believing in myself and not automatically thinking others must know better. It’s a process with ups and downs but I’ll get there now that I’m out of that 15 year oppressive marriage. 💪

      • I trusted him to pay the bills too. That was until I found out he was making only the minimum payment on the credit card and still charging more purchases on it! WAIT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING! Plus he was not saving money. He was spending all our money for things and getting something from one of those rent to own places. WTH?? That was when he lost the checkbook. He had no self control like a child in a candy store.

  • I don’t necessarily recommend this but sometimes I needed to see the pictures, read the cheater emails and even overdose on their happy FB pages that would just twist that knife so damn hard as I dwelled. It’s sort of like cognitive therapy in that eventually it would take an awful lot to get me upset. I think I immunized myself. Even realizing all those times he acted bad were merely affair markers on his cheater timeline. Til the fucker couldn’t hurt me anymore. I’m meh but I still hate him. And it’s my very livable state. And, honestly, he was a lot of work, even on good days.

  • Marj, the first thing to help yourself recover is to go no contact. You’d be amazed at how much clarity you receive and how much easier it gets. Resist the urge to respond. Resist the urge to text. Because their ego eats it up. You’re a nuisance to them but it strokes their ego.

    It’s best to think of your ex as a soon-to-be washed-up celebrity who was used to fans and now suddenly no one cares anymore. It’s devastating to them and there’s nothing more empowering to you.

  • For me, the pain stopped when I realized he didn’t have my best interests in mind, and I stopped turning to the person who was harming me to make it better. I had to turn to others instead (family and friends) to support me. I had to stop seeing him has the best friend and husband I thought he was and see him for what he really is. And truly trust that he sucks!

    He is still so fixated on me – three years out. Parenting is a competition to show he’s better than me. So stupid. 🙄

    Life is so so so much better now. ❤️

    • I get this sometimes with my ex wife with her gift buying (yet she was so preoccupied with her AP BF she couldn’t even be bothered to remember one of our kids’ birthdays was that week and had not even bought a gift). She likes to send me texts lecturing me about parenting which is hilarious because she’s the one who is so damn lazy and didn’t even want to be a full-time parent. Everything is for show when it comes to her.

  • Dear dear Marj, Trust you will survive, I didn’t believe that either but turns out it’s real and true. I was a much bigger chump than you. I didn’t know until weeks before our 50th anniversary. I found this youtube by Jordan Peterson which explains just where you are. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbGzUqFcHSs Know we are with you and actually do care.

  • Marj,

    it takes longer than you want it to, it hurts really really bad for harder than you want it to,

    but there comes a day, where, no matter what they do, what chaos they cause in their shiny new lives to your children …

    you just. don’t. care.

    You see them for the sad lost people that they are, you STILL don’t care, and you feel vaguely sorry for them for the inevitable ‘this is not going to end well’ that is coming to them. And you STILL DON’T CARE!

    That day is Tuesday.

  • I think the type of extended grief and the extent of paralysis following long term betrayal is due to the fact that the cheating was only ever part of the abuse.

    Imagine that you’d lived with a perfectly devoted, constructive, communicative and loving spouse for 20 years and through some Voodoo spell or remote mind control by wizards, it turned out they’d cheated at several junctions but didn’t remember it and just went back to being devoted, loving, etc.

    Let’s say that when you learn about the infidelity, you don’t believe or don’t care that wizards or Voodoo caused it. It’s unacceptable and you decide you want to leave. I think you’d have a much, much easier time breaking free because you hadn’t been slowly boiled like a frog, hadn’t been socially isolated or systematically robbed of self esteem, independence and connection to your own intuition for years and years.

    Like domestic violence, I believe sexual and emotional betrayal involve a surrounding set of chronic abusive and controlling “grooming” behaviors that grind a victim down in the long term.

    All batterers are cheaters so some victims are violently annexed. Some abusers are more subtle and commit chronic microaggressions or periodically pull the emotional rug and withdraw love which both destabilize their victims. Some glaze their victims with praise like getting a ham ready for roasting. But abusers will ultimately make sure their victims can depend only on the abuser for this praise/support. What fosters dependency on that balm is the victim’s creeping sense of something being “off” and “wrong” in the relationship that causes chronic fear. If you weren’t being injured in the first place, you wouldn’t need the “balm.”

    After all this erosion of self, when the blow/shock comes, like Pavlov’s lab animals, victims may find themselves inert and collapsed.

    Bystanders who judge victims for not immediately leaving are failing to grasp the systematic nature of this kind of abuse and that active cheating incidents or physical assaults were generally just the tallest waves in a sea of systematic mistreatment. To the extent that the RIC fails to note the comprehensive abuse that usually goes with cheating, it can’t help victims of it.

    Again, if you were to magically remove all those surrounding abusive behaviors and control from a cheating situation, I suspect there wouldn’t be the same level of paralysis. A well-loved, confident person with a strong social network is just much harder to crush.

    I think part of healing from and overcoming abuse is an eventual review of and understanding of the methods used to groom and paralyze victims. Resources on domestic violence offer the sharpest, clearest descriptions of those dynamics and psychological tactics and the damaging, paralyzing effects on victims even if overt threats were absent. The threat to life and limb in cheating might simply be implied because, on an unconscious level, we can sense when we’re in proximity to someone dangerously lacking in empathy. That lack of empathy alone carries terrifying possibilities and there is an ancient, autonomic part of our brains that specializes only in risk assessment. In an abuse situation, whether overtly violent or not, those alarms will be going off all the time which in itself can cause adrenal fatigue and clinical exhaustion.

    It’s a matter of being stewed in fear and abusers do various mindfucking things to hack victims’ intuitions and perceptions, making the fear more potent for being unacknowledged. Victims also stew in shame because they feel they have no grounds for those creeping, unsettling feelings. Getting rid of shame requires a full inventory of abuse.

    I think part of why abusers want to maintain mind control of victims is because they know that, with emotional and physical distance from abusers plus time, victims will eventually see all too clearly the details of what had been done to them in the long run.

    That’s one reason to go NC– to cut the cords of captor bonding which suppresses conscious assessment of abusive tactics. As with batterers, cheaters are clearly extremely threatened by any subtle, cellular-level sign the victim has awareness of what’s happening and the abuser will typically punish in response. So NC is like going offline and running an antivirus program in you brain-computer.

    I think that, to the extent that cheating mentality is closely related to domestic battering mentality (both reportedly have something to do with abuse of power and infantile deindividuation– the need to “lose oneself” either in an orgy of rage or a sea of cake and kibble) with or without overt threats or violence, expecting a cheater to be reformed without addressing every aspect of their abusive MOs is unrealistic.

    Most batterers will never address these things unless they get a combination of therapy and *prison* and even then recidivism is 95%. If cheater unicorns exist I imagine these are the rare ones who approach their own cheatery syndrome the same as if they were domestic batterers.

    Just a side note that the whole “sex addict” excuse for infidelity sounds about as constructive as saying batterers have a “punching addiction.” If the latter existed they’d all be happy punching leather bags at the gym, not partners. The POWER over another person is the key in both battering and cheating, and the power to betray. Both require victims by definition so there’s no parallel to drinking, snorting and pill popping.

  • Dear Marj,
    I don’t know how long ago this letter was written, so I would love to know how things are now. At the time of this letter, 11 months is still not very long to be expected to feel healed from the trauma of this betrayal.

    I am just over 2.5 years out, and I am progressing in my “meh” constantly. It comes at unexpected times, in which I just turn a corner. For example, I suddenly realized that there is nothing I find physically attractive about my ex. I look at him now and think that I would never be attracted to this man if I met him now. Just last week, I had this dawning realization that if I ever met the OW, I would actually thank her and mean it. I am truly so relieved that this man is out of the house. If she thinks that a liar and a cheater is some kind of prize, then she can have him. So glad she “won”. And, I love that I truly mean it now.

    It’s not all roses yet, but I would say that I am functioning at 75% meh. Yesterday, my next door neighbour revealed that he and his wife saw the OW with my ex in my house during the summer of 2016 when I was away from the kids. They didn’t know the details of what led to the end of the marriage until yesterday, when they revealed what they saw through the window. They described the woman to a tee as the OW my ex is now with. Their revelation confirmed for me what I had long suspected – that this woman had been in my house more than once and that she was around a lot longer that my ex led me to believe. To my relief, the news didn’t upset me at all. It was good to know to solve a piece of the mystery, but it held no power to devastate me in the least.

    Good counselling. Building your best life. Focusing on new interests and great relationships with good people. No contact/grey rock. Learning coping strategies to manage trauma. It’s all a lifesaver to help get unstuck from the trauma bond that keeps us trapped.

    I really hope that all has gone better for you since.

  • Sorry to be so late answering.

    I reconciled with him once. The second and final break happened when I had just watched a loved one die (horribly) and he, unable (I realize now) to tolerate how much of my attention was no longer fully on him, cooked up this drama: “I need to move out to think.”

    I responded, numbly, “You don’t move out to think. You move out to fuck other people without getting caught.”

    Then all the secrets started to trickle out and I was finally too disgusted with him to deny who and how he was anymore. It was clear to my grieving heart that he simply only cared about himself.

    It is good that he is gone.

    The other thing that got me there was hearing people who were NOT trying to get me to try to stay married point out what complete and utter BS his whole self was. I needed to hear other voices say it, say that it’s totally reasonable to leave a shitty, one-sided, abusive, trauma-inducing relationship with a liar.

    Far as we know, we get one life. If you can, try to shift your mind to seeing the cheater as a monster that was wearing a partner mask. You do not deserve what was done to you. Not for any reason. Not even one bit.

    • Thx Amiisfree yes it helps to hear other people ‘point out what complete and utter BS his whole self was.’
      I will never hear that enough. I’m going to have to keep telling that to myself. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s different when this person was really great to you except for this one huge life altering trauma …… And then still kept up the nice guy actions after the initial lying, blame shifting and ugliness that comes with discarding somebody. I need to keep working on trusting that he sucks because he’s clearly not as much of a suck fest that a lot of people have had to deal with – but he still SUCKS and caused enormous wreckage

      • Hi Zip,

        The crazy thing is, abusers/cheaters trick us into thinking everything is great and they are great – when in reality both the relationship and they are not great at all. We were conditioned and learned to make so many excuses that we’ve convinced ourselves that they are not that bad. When you truly get away from it and talk to sane professionals that have experience with this, you will find that in reality, things were not great, and your cheater was a shitty person.

        This is probably the saddest part of all – we allowed ourselves to put up with SO MUCH LESS than we deserved for such a long time. When other Chumps talk about getting to Meh – this is part of the work that is going on – figuring out what it is about us that we accept so little from others in our relationships.

        Prior to meeting my cheating ex, I was not a co-dependent person, but he figured out I had those tendencies and that I was a prime target. So after 20 years married, kids and lots of his abuse/conditioning, my co-dependent side blossomed. Took me 2 1/2 years after the first D-Day to file for divorce – which were the worst years of my life. I don’t assume any blame for what happened, but I understand the part that I played in it and what happened more clearly which does help with recovery.

        • Wildcat, this was very insightful ‘When other Chumps talk about getting to Meh – this is part of the work that is going on – figuring out what it is about us that we accept so little from others in our relationships.’ I was treated extremely well, however I accepted a lot of distance (caused by affair). I guess sometimes you just don’t know what to do when things aren’t going as you know they should be. Food for thought….

          • It is hard to deal with for a clueless spouse.

            I tried to talk to my ex when it was clear he was pulling away from me. He hugged me and assured me, it was his promotion, he was so over worked yada yada. I tried to plan some fun times, he gladly went along, then except for few occasions would have to cancel at the last minute, because of “work”.

            Of course I would be disappointed, but being the good chump totally understood and didn’t want to add more stress to my poor overworked cheater.

            You can only react to what you know, or think you know. That is the insidiousness of a lying, manipulating spouse; they are forcing you to make decisions and react to lies. They have no power to make informed decisions.

            • Yes, me too. I planned babysitting for our children so we could go on a date night. The date night was to be a surprise since I wasn’t spontaneous enough. He would schedule something to do on that night by himself. I’d have to cancel the plans. I stopped doing it after a few times. When I told him I was disappointed and had canceled these plans several times. Cue the instant blame shifting. Just one example, there are hundreds more.

        • Wildcat, same for me… Prior to meeting my cheating ex, I was not a co-dependent person.

          He literally told me that his other relationships were co-dependent and he was breaking free of that mess by marrying someone that was independent. But then, he only knows how to relate to people in a co-dependent way, so he was constantly frustrated by my independence and my ability to tell him, NO!

          Since he wanted to be healthy, the dynamic worked for a while. But once he gave up on his “self improvement” then he reverted back to his normal, cheating self.

          Even worse, he really pushed a co-dependent friendship on me that was super unhealthy. Not surprised that he was glad to tag team every messed up idea my friend suggested and he was really upset when I ditched that unhealthy relationship. Even funnier is that he is shocked that I am ditching him in the same way I kicked the unstable friend to the curb.

  • 5 years out after a 27 year marriage was how long it took me. We still had a younger child at home who ended up having mental health issues as a consequence of the family break-up and who made a serious suicide attempt 2 years after the break-up. However last year I was at last at meh. My son is so much better. I started dating. I got back to the weight I was 30 years ago and everyone says I look fabulous. I met someone in November who is kind, good and very easy on the eye. Taking it slowly. If it works out – great. If not, I’ve had a lovely time with a lovely man and I know that I am strong enough to be on my own.

  • It is sad. And what is sadder is they had a real chance. I told my son that all this aside his dad was crazy about him as a kid, and he did try real hard to be a good dad. For the most part he was, it is just there was this other person lurking below the surface I guess.

    I do think he loves his dad, and they will of course talk now and then, but the bond has been severed. My daughter in law told me via email a few days ago that his dad and schmoopie came into town to see schmoopies grandchildren, and never made contact with his own grandchildren. Not even a, hey lets meet up for lunch. Don’t know how that went down. My guess is he just went by my sons fire house for a quick visit.

    I didn’t press for details. But, that is kind of how his dad would likely operate.

    I have a lot of good memories of the early years. It is why the “I never loved you” was so painful. I feel like I am sliding around on ice in my memories, and I can’t grasp them. So I concentrate on just the memories where my son is involved, and kind of put a mental mask on my ex, if he is in that memory.

  • Dear Marj I guess some of the pain goes away, I have yet to experience it fully , I have tried to put it in the past , to forget , But things remind me of all that he’s done , It could be though a song , movie , Or just talking , I’m still married Even though he cheated on me , He doesn’t want a divorce , I do but as of now not ready We are separated , for him it was to have freedom , to do whatever For me it’s to get my ducks in a row , and to figure out who I am with out him He wants me to forget it all and move on like he’s doing ( he still talks to her and lies to me about it We live together in our home we own together I don’t have the means to leave , to start my own life He does But for now he’s trying to see which life is better for him Her or me What he doesn’t know us there No more me for him , I’m done He left our Marriage to hang out with her , to do things with her, things he used to do with me He chose her over me I don’t want him back , I want to be a priority in someone life. I hope this helps u out take care

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