Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dead Bedroom? Cheater

Dear Chump Lady,

I recently found out that my wife of 2 years has been in an sexual/emotional affair with a old college crush for over a year (possibly longer). To make matters worse, we’ve been in a dead bedroom since the end of engagement.

We went to couples counseling and it failed. I was seriously considering getting out soon if she didn’t get help. As for her affair, she didn’t mention it once during couples counseling. The entire time, I believed that the dead bedroom resulted from anxiety, and boredom on her end. We’ve been separated since I found out about her cheating.

At first, she constantly tried apologizing and sweet talking me. She kept telling me that she loved me, and would have came clean after getting some individual counseling. After I filed, she became angry and said she thought we would work it out.

After finding out that she won’t be entitled to any premarital property, she became an entirely different person. She yelled and cursed at me, smiled when I was getting worked up, and blocked me on all social media. It is all starting to get real now. Our nice little house is now empty, yet still full of lies. I keep having feelings of sadness about the end of our marriage. I am very angry that she managed to lie and manipulate me this whole time. My needs went unmet the entire marriage while she had her fun. Despite our problems, I loved our companionship. I would’ve done anything for her.

I’m struggling to understand the point of all of this. Why did she decide to marry me? We wasted so much time and money in counseling. When our therapist ran out of options for us, she cried for hours. Here I was, believing I was a patient and understanding husband, when she was lying the entire time. This is the kind of stuff you see in crazy romantic dramas. The logical voice in my head tells me that I’m doing the right thing, and standing up for myself. The emotional side is sad that I have to live a life without her. Why am I not relieved to be leaving this sham of a marriage?

Sincerely,

LostGuy

Dear LostGuy,

Okay, last question first. Why are you not relieved to be rid of this sociopathic, withholding monster? Because to be relieved would mean you’d have to accept that she’s a sociopathic, withholding monster.

That’s a big bite of pain and you can only absorb so much crushing reality at once. Over time you’ll accept what a piece of shit she is. But right now you cannot fully trust that she sucks. And at this moment, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re protecting yourself and getting a divorce. Your heart will eventually catch up to your head. You won’t miss her loving companionship. You’ll think of her as the bitch who felt entitled to your house after you caught her cheating.

Why did she decide to marry me?

Because you were of use to her.

Because the deceit makes her feel powerful. Sexy. Superior to chumpy unknowing you.

You can’t understand it because you’re not disordered. You wouldn’t do that to her, and you see the world through your own moral lens. Anyone who truly loved you could not behave this way. They couldn’t live a total double life and fake their way through breakfast or couple’s therapy for over a year. Only someone pickled in entitlement, utterly disconnected from you, and who lacked all empathy could do that.

We wasted so much time and money in counseling.

Yeah, well that’s ego kibbles to her. Time, money and centrality spent on her.

You there, on the shrink’s sofa, pick me dancing for your marriage. Working so hard, with such compassion, for a dilemma you don’t understand because she’s lying.

When our therapist ran out of options for us, she cried for hours.

The drama! Someone may take her cake away! The LostGuy Humiliation Show is going off the air! Whatever shall she stream next?

This is the kind of stuff you see in crazy romantic dramas.

No, more like Dateline segments where the guy ends up dead for the insurance money.

But yeah, to her, I’m sure she felt like the quite the award-winning actress.

my wife of 2 years has been in an sexual/emotional affair with a old college crush for over a year (possibly longer). To make matters worse, we’ve been in a dead bedroom since the end of engagement

Let’s talk about that dead bedroom, LostGuy. YOU MATTER. It would’ve been totally okay to call it quits on the no sex issue, because that’s not the relationship you signed up for.

First I want to applaud you for your sensitivity — a compassion that was weaponized against you. There are times in any couple’s life, if you go the distance, where someone is not going to be in the mood, or has health issues, or have small children who cause great joy and utter exhaustion. Times where no one’s orgasm is on the top of the to-do charts.

That understanding of yours is a beautiful thing — don’t lose it. BUT DON’T GO TWO YEARS WITHOUT SEX EITHER. Not if sex is important to you! (It’s not important to some people. That’s okay too.) YOU MATTER.

LostGuy — you did all the right things. You talked to her, you went to therapy. You didn’t just harrumph and leave. You were an A+++ partner. But going forward, be okay with asserting what you need in a relationship. This relationship seems toxically lopsided with you doing all the understanding and her doing all the drama and calls for forbearance. Ugh.

Chumps get flinchy on the dead bedroom topic, because ironically, it’s an issue that is the classic cheater excuse. “I was in a sexless marriage.” But in my experience (and I just read hundreds of thousands of chump stories… the blog flipped 32 million this week…) the people most often experiencing “dead bedrooms” are chumps. Yes, it’s a sexless marriage because the sex is happening elsewhere.

And my advice is to anyone, chumps and non-chumps, if sex matters to you, and you’re in a sexless relationship? END IT. Ethically, compassionately, but END it. You matter. Cheating solves nothing. It just disrespects your partner and takes risks with their health that weren’t consented to.

At first, she constantly tried apologizing and sweet talking me. She kept telling me that she loved me, and would have came clean after getting some individual counseling.

Gosh, all those therapy options you ran out of, individual counseling never occurred to her! Just coincidentally after she got busted. Huh. Guess her google was broken.

After I filed, she became angry and said she thought we would work it out.

You took away her cake — all your husband appliance benefits, plus side dish fucking — so, she flipped to rage. Remember the mindfuck has three channels, charm, rage, and self-pity. She did them all. Sweet-talking, anger, and poor boo didn’t get the Individual Fuckwit Therapy.

After finding out that she won’t be entitled to any premarital property, she became an entirely different person.

No, LostGuy, she’s exactly that person. Always has been. You’re just seeing it now.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I think its clear why she married you. It’s summed up in the statement about pre marital assets.

    You had assets and she wanted to take advantage of that. College bf is probably broke.

    I’m going to guess there were red flags that you ignored. There always are….i ignored loads of them with my ex.

    You’re far better off without her.

    • Those flags become so in hind sight. I saw so many ref flags that I spackled over, and thought I was doing good in real time. Being the understanding patient wife. Taking over most of his volunteer obligations because he was just “so busy at meetings”. Then after dday,I figured out that all I did was clear the way for them to have their excitement unfettered by me. I was too busy covering for him, as I was quietly trying to save our relationship because he was “just under so much stress” at work.

      And then I was told I was blind to the fact that we were “growing apart”, you know because I was busy doing every damn thing I could to help him.

      The only thing that prevented a homicide was that I went into a kind of walking zombie shock after Dday. Actually before Dday, as he was constantly screaming at me over stupid shit. I quietly endured that too, so I had to have been in an altered state.

      The worst part of this went down withing the last 1.5 year of a 20 year marriage. I can pin point the day it started.

      • And I’d be willing to bet that if you looked back further on those 20 years you’d see some version of this behavior over the course of decades. After divorcing and decompressing, I really tried to figure out where things went bad in my 20 year relationship. I worked back in time and wound up to the very first time we hung out. Even on that first encounter there were massive red flags. So, yea, people age and behavior escalates but ultimately most of these cheaters told us who they were from the get, we just didn’t believe them.

        • Oh yeah, those were examples back over the 20 years. My ex was a police officer for most of our marriage. So riding around with one of the guys was a standard.

          There are other examples, but would be too detailed to go into here. The first incident I remember was when we were 20, and stationed at Vint Hill Farms VA. Now I know he was fucking a 40 year old WAC. Back then when he brought her home, to introduce her to his wife and baby, she was just a work friend that he was helping her fix her car, and then he kept her car for her when she went on a vacation. God I was stupid. I remember thinking, well nothing is going on because she is really old. So Spackle and move on Susie. You got a good man here.

    • What comes to mind is the ‘cerebral narcissist’. Look it up or watch you tubes on it. She sounds text book. They withhold sex. It is their way to gain control power and punish through sex–and also get attention called supply. Typically this type of narc will give copious amounts of sex in the courtship phase. Then withdraw. This is to lure you in. Once they have you they weaponize sex by withholding it punishing their victims on purpose. That’s why you feel the way you do. They also wear a mask. Once it’s off you can’t scarcely believe it’s the same person. Like night and day. You will see a whole different person. Basically their true self versus their false self. Read up on it and you’ll be enlightened.

      If you study this subject you will understand you were a targeted victim. You will also know the signs to watch out for so you do not fall into this again. Unfortunately there is an epidemic of narcissist’s in our society today. I’m sorry you were hurt in this way.

      • Yup-My ex was one of these with a side of porn addiction thrown in for good measure. I’m embarrassed to admit how many years of dead bedroom I endured and what it did to my self-esteem. It was so bad that I started referring to the situation to my friends as being “lost in the d–k desert with no d–k in sight.”

        Lostgal is right though-once the mask is off, you will realize you don’t even know the person behind it. Since my ex has been gone, I realized I never knew him. He had a whole other side/life I knew nothing about. He told so many lies to so many people-including his so-called friends and his own family-I don’t think any of them knew him either. Sad thing is that there are many more like him out there.

        • As a woman in a dying bedroom with a man who looks at porn in some form nearly everyday, his behavior has been feeling more and more like cheating to me as the months and years go on. And this is coming from someone who never cared about porn use back when I wasn’t feeling neglected.

          And of course it’s even worse when the masturbation fodder goes beyond porn to fantasizing about real life female “friends” – emotional cheating territory. Another “gray area” of infidelity to many people, but I’ve experienced the feelings of betrayal and lost confidence from it, and they feel real to me.

          Of course he has endless excuses for his lack of interest sex and his occasional, but increasing, performance issues. Of course not one of them is related to his habitual porn viewing and demonstrated ease of objectifying other women. No of course that can’t be it! Porn is normal and healthy! Everyone looks at it! That’s what the current zeitgeist tells me. But why do I still feel like I’m being chumped here?

          • @Chumpedthroughascreen

            Excessive amounts of porn makes men eventually impotent to the extent where they can no longer perform other than to porn with themselves. It’s called porn induced ED.

            It also escalates in usage and then spills out into every day life where they hypersexualize and objectify literally anywhere and everywhere in stores, church, work etc…nothing is off limits eventually including prostitutes.

            Porn is cheating. If they need various fantasy sex partners they shouldn’t have made vows getting married but have remained single. Aka Cake

            Internet porn is a huge modern problem against the family.

            Narcs especially love porn because there is no intimacy and gives them an ego boost of false fantasy attention (supply)

            • I have to chip in on the side dish of porn, that eventually became his go to. I stuck it out for 31 yrs, of course not knowing the complete story. Once the kids werent babies anymore and we could have real “fun” he was LD for sure (limp d***) I was so resentful when I discovered his secret life/lies and porn addiction for over 40 years that I just cut my looses.
              Its very difficult to throw in the towel, but its necessary and beneficial to your life. Ive been on this side of MEH for almost 5 yrs and I now think my PAST is her/whomever PRESENT. I don’t have to think about it anymore. The man I married Never existed.
              Save yourself and move on with your life that you deserve. Time will teach you that they just arent worth it…. Never to be trusted again!!

      • Covert narcissists withhold, as well. Kim Saed did a youtube piece on it. Sex is on their terms, never yours.

        • This is so true. I did not know that withholding sex is a covert narcissist trait. There’s so much I’m learning here. My mind is blown.

          • Yep it’s so part of that. My ex withheld and did anything he could to avoid times we might have sex, eg when kid goes to bed he magically had work to do or kid is away at sleepover he magically felt sick-it hurt me so much when I found out just how much he was out there cheating on me all those lonely years. And to top it all off, he blamed me for our lack of sex. He blamed me for having low self esteem! Fuck that. He made me feel bad about myself sexually all the time by avoiding intimacy. How was I suppose to feel good about myself??He basically told me I was boring and vanilla which isn’t true but compared to his porn fantasies, S&M clubs and hookers I suppose I was. It’s so damaging and I don’t know how in earth they feel so entitled.

  • RUN! Don’t invest one second more, lost guy. She’s not worth it. You are worth more than this. She sucks. You just can’t make it all line up yet. It will make more sense later when you have time and space to think within the mindfuckery. Hugs and good luck 🍀

  • Older members of Chump Nation know that I had a guardian angel — 4am4ver — who was twice chumped and who was my “guide” as I was going through The Troubles.

    I recall one phone conversation in which I prattled on about KK’s sudden confusing and contradictory behavior (and my pick-me dance responses), and about how I was sorting through the 2-3 possible explanations for it.

    4am4ever listened very patiently, let me exhaust all of my theories, then said: “You’re forgetting one other possibility: that she’s batshit crazy, and fucking with you.”

    I remember sharing a long laugh and thanking her for her candor, but insisting that that couldn’t possibly be it, because she was my wife of 15 years, I knew her better than anybody, and I had every confidence that we could work through the trouble.

    It still sends shivers down my spine that my friend was so spot on, and how she instinctively knew that — as painful as it might be to watch from the sidelines — I had to come to that realization myself.

      • Yep! UXworld is right. Still, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

        Agree with CL here: “You can’t understand it because you’re not disordered. You wouldn’t do that to her, and you see the world through your own moral lens. Anyone who truly loved you could not behave this way.”

        Don’t even try to understand these freaks. Move on. Love your new life. You truly will be better off without her. Take some solace in the fact that you didn’t’ waste any more time with this deranged person. (I endured 35 years!) I hope you find the happiness you deserve!

        p.s. Re therapy. What’s with some of these therapists? My then STBX actually told my that his therapist told him that we could go to marital therapy and that he wouldn’t have to mention the multi-year affair. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

        Oh wait a minute, that’s what my ex told me. Who knows? It was probabaly a lie. Silly me.

    • Wish i could come to this place. Same roller coaster ride day after day. Mindfucking me all day long and always making me believe to focus on the problems. The problems that she admits werent really problems then. Quote, ” When i was living it, it didnt seem that bad.” ” Now that i say it out loud, it hurts and was against my morals.” This is coming from a cheater mind you. All these problems seemed to come to the forefront as soon as she met her lesbian lover.

  • ☝🏻
    THIS 💯 %.
    Like a cat with a mouse. The cat may not even be hungry but is fucking with the mouse anyway. Because they can.

    • Actually, cat has a lot of fun tormenting the mouse. When we think we humans are the only beings who kill for no reason/ for fun, we’re forgetting cats.

  • LostGuy – Read UXworld’s posts and take them to heart. Also, now that she has found out that she gets none of your pre-marital assets and is angry tells you that she only wanted the things you could provide for her. Not you.

    And I am so sorry because you deserve someone who loves you for yourself, not merely your trappings and account balances.

  • That’s it. They are that person. Not the “person I know they are deep down inside”; not the “person he should/could be.”
    They are the person entitled to use your life to enrich themselves regardless of how it affects you or your children.
    That’s the shocking unbelievable truth that as a chump I had to learn to accept.
    And then decide what to do about it.

    Life is so much better without x and the false narrative.

  • I feel this HARD. I went 7 years with a dead bedroom. After the birth of our child we had zero sex for the remainder of the marriage. I tried to initiate and was told I needed treat him better—this was 6 months postpartum. I rationalized it by thinking maybe it was the Madonna/whore complex and he was a guy who didn’t like to talk feelings. I begged for counseling, not for the sex but for communication issues. I was told I was the problem.

    Periodically over the 7 years I tried to initiate. No response ever. Do you know what 7 years of rejection does to a person? I’ve now gone over 10 years without sex. I find it hard to date. I’m rarely sexually attracted to anyone. It’s like that switch has been turned off. When we were dating, my ex and I would have sex several times a day and just like that it stopped. No real reason.

    8 years of marriage and he cheats and leaves me while I am going through cancer. While we were separated I had us fill out some marriage questionnaire. There was a question about sex on it and I brought up how hurtful it was that he rejected me. He replied that the stress of having sex to create a child was tough for him. What? We tried for 2 months. It’s not like we had difficulties conceiving. I don’t think I’ll ever have the truth.

    The real knife to the heart in all of this is that 5 months after walking out he had another woman pregnant. Then 1 month after having that child she was pregnant with their second child together. THAT was betrayal pain unlike any other.

    Moral of the story, don’t be so understanding that you sacrifice yourself.

    • CC, I’m so sorry. What a messed-up jerk he is! For him to say that “…the stress of having sex to create a child was tough for him” is beyond ridiculous.

      I’m sure the rejection hurt like a mother-f**ker.

      I’m glad you’re out. None of this is about any deficiencies in you. It’s all about his fuckedupedness.

      Love the moral of your story. So true! Good luck!

      • Guys I have a question, me and my x has been together for 12 years, sex was always a problem because of my weight , We went minths without it even in the most romantic private islands in the world . During this time he had major problems with the way I look. We broke after his cheating he entered a relationship where she was perfect in terms of looks sex whatever- no with COVID we trying again, and it’s the same issues all over again – is it really me-!l he says everything about me is perfect except my weight – can this really become such an issue – I’m so confused

        • Anyone who cheats on you and has problems with “how you look” is a horrible person. There is no happy ending in a relationship like that. It will be awful, it will take the best years of your life, and your self-esteem.

          I hope you are able to break free of this man and find one who will cherish you.

          • Zulu
            I’ll tell you what the real problem is here: Your ex is piece of shit. Do yourself a real favor and dump his sorry ass.

          • @Lovedajackass @kathy @NotAnymore

            Thank you thank you so so much. I think I knew this recon was a bad idea never felt so lonely in my life … it’s not easy but I am really working on moving forward- my mind is a giant mess and I need to sort it out.

        • It’s only you insofar as you tolerate a man who shames you because of your weight. He’s also a liar and a cheater. What are you trying again with such a man? You’re confused because you are listening to him, reacting to him, rather than asking yourself: Is how he treats me OK with me? Is his behavior acceptable to you?

          You’ve invested 12 years in this jackass. And you’ve listened to his devaluation of you because of your weight–and perhaps internalized it. He’s abusing you emotionally. Keep in mind that if you have a loving, invested partner, there are many ways to have a happy sex life. But that takes two people who are COMMITTED to the relationship. Right now, you are the only one in it.

    • So sorry CC. Sociopaths are known for sexual abuse. Withholding is a form of abuse and a passive aggressive form of tearing you down. They’ll also make off that the new relationship they left you for is different and she/he is far more special. Let me be clear, it is not different and she is not special. She’ll only be special as long as he can use her to torment you. Most male sociopaths and narcissists hate, really hate all women. They have the ability to hide it well. The OW will soon (if not already) receive his treatment and she’ll either make the excuses and endure his selfish behavior or she’ll leave on her own or being dumped with two babies in tow. Either way they will not be happy. Even if your child is coming home and telling you how happy they are, do not believe it for one second. That is the narrative they are portraying so your kid can relay their happiness to you. Just a form of continued torment.

      • CC, did you ever stop to consider that your ex might not be the father of the OW’s second child? I mean OW has questionable morals, right? Very possible that whore continued whoring around. Please don’t torture yourself thinking about that whore and her spawn.

        I’m glad you are divorced from that fool.

          • Did you ever consider that he lies? That his rejection of you has nothing to do with you or your child? If he’s into a form of the love bomb/devalue/discard, he may not be on the same timetable with every relationship. He may have been perfectly happy being married to you until things got difficult when you had cancer. Likely he was getting the sex elsewhere and the respectability from you. And maybe cancer meant that he might have to step up and be a support to you, which he probably can’t and won’t do.

            I see how his having children with another woman would feel like a betrayal. But having kids with her might have been part of the lovebombing, the way to hook her into the relationship. The indifference and the withholding of affection may take an entirely different form with her. Jackass was married twice before our relationship. The marriages really only had one thing in common: he didn’t mean his vows either time. Just as he did not mean his promises to me. And I am sure he didn’t mean his promises to Wife #3. When you think about what he’s done since he walked out, that’s you telling yourself a story about what his behavior means.

            Let’s grant that he’s behavior is disgusting, shocking, brutal, and selfish. But don’t see those poor children as some betrayal of you. He can’t hook another woman in without sex. You had sex until the kids came. You can’t know for sure how he assess what he needs to do to gain control over this new woman. Whatever is going on has nothing to do with you. He betrayed you in a million different ways, from marrying you when he didn’t have the capacity to go the distance to withholding sex, to blaming you and manipulating you to try harder, to leaving you in the midst of your fight against cancer. Trust the over the years, you’ve learned what he is. He’s a man who uses sex and children to control and abuse women. His latest partner is just his latest victim. Your path to recovery is not to see that she got something you didn’t. It’s trusting that he sucks. It’s trusting that you’ve seen what he really is and you are better off. It’s doing the hard work of mental no contact so that he is not longer central to your thinking. I hope you’re recovering from the cancer and getting some therapy for the trauma of your marriage.

      • “Most male sociopaths and narcissists hate, really hate all women. They have the ability to hide it well. ”

        So true. Even if hate is too strong a word, men with those tendencies don’t think that women are equal to them. Women are for their use. It can be subtle for a long time, but at some point they will drop the mask and you will know that hate and disrespect. Schmoopie, if she stays with him will be no exception, whether she ever admits it or not. People will see it.

        These guys once they go full force, rarely turn back to being subtle, there is no reason for them to, they have been exposed.

        • I am female, so it pains me to say this, but the gender does not seem to determine the mindset of the type B disorders for abuse. I do not know whether or not there is a percentage connection between the gender of the type B’s and the total population, but there seems to be more information in popular culture about the males. But anyway, if they have the disorder they don’t care about anyone other than themselves. All people are useful or not. Perhaps heterosexuals like to prey on the opposite sex, I don’t know. Sexual abuse is usually about power and lust, somehow a weird connection develops there.

          Either way, there are usually red flags, and culturally we are ill prepared to deal with them. The types of things these folks do were considered taboo for many years, and they were not talked about in a public manner. My FOO only whispered about any “troubles” anyone was having, and then only if they thought the children could not hear. Silence and guilt allow the perpetrators to get away with atrocities.

          Talking about this, and making these crimes against morality become actual crimes in the legal system may encourage better reporting. I hope so.

          I do not think it is fair to compare human motivation with that of other animals. We do not know enough about how they live and how they think. My guess would be that most predators are initially motivated by hunger, and they have to eat to survive. Perhaps their other predatory actions have to do with survival instinct, too? I do not know if they have “souls” in the sense we humans discuss the soul, but when we are talking about humans, we are talking about Evil Intent. I’ve always thought Mother Nature was a Cruel Bitch, but technically we all are in a life/death cycle, and we all have to eat, so maybe killing and cruelty are a part of all of us.

        • OMG! CC, I know it is so easy for me to say you gotta move and realistically that may not be at all possible…but you gotta move. Another alternative is to really work on blanking these freaks. Grey Rock for sure. Indifference is a killer for these people but it can’t be faked indifference it has to be real. I’m guessing you are the glue that binds them right now. Boredom is setting in so they have to recreate the drama that took place during the height of their affair.

          • Oh I’ve been grey rocking as much as I can. Shortly after they moved I started getting random messages in our parenting app from the ex asking me if my power was out too. I just shook my head and went about my day without ever replying.

            • Yep that is rough. But maybe good side is, it might making sharing time with child a bit easier.

              For me, as long and I didn’t have to walk out my door and see them, I think I could manage. Maybe.

    • A friend, who was on the cover of Euro Vogue in her twenties and among the most funny and loyal and charming people I’ve ever known, struggled for 18 years in a sexless marriage. The guy was a lawyer with an evil global law firm and played on her empathy, claiming he had problems related to repressed memories of childhood abuse. When that wore thin, he used his legal knowledge to financially control and intimidate her. I find this especially sickening to think about because she was my rock when I was struggling with workplace sexual harassment for years. She always gave such great support and advice. Ultimately she caught him red handed and uncovered his vast, filthy history and filed for separation but by then he’d expertly played games with assets and threatened to leave her and her child with nothing.

      There’s no way the hookers and freaks this guy messed with were more attractive than his wife on any measure you could possibly imagine. There obviously was a Madonna-whore thing going on with the guy and it probably did relate to some childhood horror or other. But these types use that sad sausage victim side of themselves as bait. What can be confusing is that the suffering of people with personality disorders is real and they often genuinely were victims in the past. But stick a fork in the adult perpetrator– they’re cooked. Strategic use of past victimization is how you know they’re beyond redemption. Their inner perp is the side that’s really in control.

      • This is why CL says “don’t untangle the skein of their fuckedupedness.” it doesn’t matter if cheaters have “suffered” in their childhoods or were somehow victimized. They’re adults. They are responsible for the behavior. What motivates their abuse or what created the sociopathy is beyond our pay grade to determine. All we can look at is behavior.

        The key is to find the line between making excuses for or spackling terrible behavior and being willing to recognize that nature, nurture or both had a hand in shaping the abuser. But it’s important to realize that WE CAN’T KNOW what made them as they are, and we can’t get caught up in empathy or codependent behavior. The task is to save ourselves, our kids, and our future. That can’t happen when we focus on the abuser.

        • Lovedajackass–

          I totally agree that misapplied empathy is dangerous. But I like untangling skeins, plus it’s technically within my pay grade. I write investigative reports for various advocacy organizations for important causes. This sometimes involves getting into the minds of villainous opponents who typically use the media to intimidate or psychologically crush targets– the original model for DARVO.

          Anyway, I’ve seen more and more in the news and popular psychology publications about the different types of empathy– cognitive, affective, selective, etc. I’m glad this is becoming more understood as a concept. Affective empathy is the warm “put yourself in others’ shoes and feel their pain” kind. In the selective form of affective empathy, people feel the pain of those they identify with but ignore the pain of those considered outsiders or opponents. Cognitive empathy is the original predatory form of empathy our species evolved with to predict what our prey/opponents might do next the better to overcome them. I even read that some sociopaths and psychopaths can turn affective empathy on and off if it’s useful to them which is basically an upgraded form of pragmatic, cognitive empathy.

          If a chump is dealing with a genuine predator who’s using social maligning, economic abuse or threats to child custody not to mention devastating psychological abuse, understanding what the villain will do next and their weaknesses can sometimes save the day and cognitive empathy may be useful.

          This might sound too cold for people who have certain ideas about moral purity but I don’t think engaging in necessary defense makes people bad or clinically Machiavellian. To me, unraveling skeins is also a neutral activity– neither good nor bad. Everything depends on what purpose it’s being applied to. If figuring out an abuser is all about “fixing” them, then it can be dangerous to the victim. But if it’s put towards victims’ survival, then it’s effective and even a good thing. What’s sad is that it’s even necessary but that’s yet another tax lien to be put on ethical accounts of abusers. It would not be necessary if it weren’t for abuse.

          The value of that knowledge really hit home before D-Day when I was in the worst tailspin from being subjected to DARVO. I finally confided what cheater was doing and saying to a very good advocacy lawyer friend (for whom I’d done some pro bono reports in the past). She gave me the lo-down on exactly what was going on, exactly what cheater would do and say and, blow by blow, what I would have to do to protect myself and the kids. She was so spot-on that it was dazzling and snapped me out of my paralysis. She was spot on because she had that skein thoroughly unraveled. But not one bit of it had to do with her misplaced empathy for the cheater. She was displaying both major kinds of empathy and aiming them appropriately: affective empathy for me (pro bono legal counsel and emotional support) and cognitive empathy towards the cheater (deftly analyzing his MO the better to get justice).

    • Oh my god CC. So sorry you had to go through this. And you are so right. Ten out of my twenty years of marriage were sexless. There was no d-day. I found out about the serial cheating after the divorce decision. I haven’t confronted him. It all makes sense now. All our sexless periods coincide with his “extracurricular” activities. All those years of feeling deeply rejected.

      I was separated five years ago and divorced two years ago. During the divorce, I told a friend that my husband didn’t look at me (He literally avoided looking at me! Not just as a figure of speech). My friend said that sounds like guilt. I said it felt like rejection. I guess my friend was right.

      The funny thing is, since he never engaged in physical abuse ore overt verbal abuse (his style was more subtle. I still remember things that I recognize as abuse now but didn’t at the time.), he thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong by me. These people don’t even realize the damage they inflict.

      I will stop here. Every time I start writing a comment here, I fear it will turn into a rant.

      Thank you CL and CN. You still help me keep my sanity.

  • Please run. You have many gifts to give someone who is worthy of you, and who will reciprocate your love. It’s painful shit, but it is the best thing to do for yourself.

  • This is also definitely true, throughout our marriage we had a healthy sex life (even with two kids under two), and when he started the discard, it was him always turning me down for sex, but when he filed for divorce he sited that it was because I was withholding sex from him…

    • “Yes, it’s a sexless marriage because the sex is happening elsewhere.” This is what is really going on when cheaters try for the “sexless marriage” narrative. Ex and I still had a sex life but it wasn’t very successful after he started cheating. He had a difficult time keeping it up and climaxing. He also wasn’t interested unless it was 3am, five minutes before the alarm went off or five minutes before I needed to walk out the door to make an appointment. It’s like if I wasn’t willing to make some sacrifice for it then he wasn’t interested. And even when I did make those sacrifices he couldn’t climax anyway and it would go on forever and I would end up sleep deprived or late or whatever. One 3:00am before a very important work meeting, when I really needed my sleep I refused to wake up and service him knowing he wouldn’t climax anyway and the sacrifice would be too great. I did deliberately withhold that night because I was angry at his lack of consideration. That, of course, was proof that I was a sexless cold fish so of course he had to cheat and leave me for some slut. That whole narrative that I was the one not interested still pisses me off. What I wouldn’t give to have had a husband as understanding as LostGuy.

        • Agreed – I was just thinking that maybe I could find a caring man… Someday – I do need to fix this picker, though.

      • Everything everyone has said was my life. I was rejected constantly. I would lay in bed alone at night and wonder why he would be up all night watching porn when he had a real woman that wanted him. When he did come to bed and I would try, he couldn’t even get an erection. If he did, it didn’t last. The only time he would iniate was when I was walking out the door to go to work.

        He blatantly flirted with women in front of me. Only because I didn’t want to look stupid, I would tell him I saw you. Not even say what I was talking about. Then it would turn into him yelling at me about how he couldn’t even go to the store without being accused of something.

        I could never say how I felt about anything or I was starting my crap again. But yet he could say the most hateful and outrageous things. I would say I can’t believe you said that, and I would get yelled at about how he couldn’t even say how he felt.

        Someone said they hate women and I agree with that. I know he used to talk about how his mother wasn’t a mother, she was always out in the streets.

        He was on so many hook up sites. Adult Friend Finder, Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, at least twenty I found. His Plenty of Fish name was “Pumpit”.

        Then I found out about the three year affair if that’s what you call it.

        He was a police officer the first five years we were together. So easy for him to lie about his shifts, his off duty work. The last year he was a truck driver. So easy for him to have two houses set up. To easy for him since I paid all the bills at my house.

        So easy for him to lie. If his lips were moving, he was lying.

        I hate that I put up with so much for so long, six years, which I read the comments and know thats not a long time compared to the twenty and thirty years people have invested. I’m so sorry for all of you but I hope like me, you all have found your peace and if not, it will be soon.

      • Jfc, mine played the exact same game! It took me too long to realize it wasn’t a coincidence that he seemed to only want to have sex when it was right before the alarm went off, right before I had to pickup our child from school, or some other important obligation. The variety of ways he came up with to withhold affection is truly astonishing.

  • My male friend’s wife suddenly went off sex completely (young couple). They had no children. For two years (like Lost Guy) he kept asking and begging for explanation, wanted to go couple counselling, asked what was wrong, what he can do etc. No answer. After two years of no sex and little communication he divorced her. He’s remarried since and to this day doesn’t know what went wrong.

    Visiting this website I think it’s highly likely that she was having an affair the whole time.

    Yes, people are allowed to divorce just because there’s no sex (especially when no reason is given as to why). But this is a difference between ethical people and cheaters. Ethical people strive to resolve their relationship issues without cheating (as my friend). If it doesn’t work then they divorce and find themselves other partners as single people.

    Lost guy, check Internet on narcissists who with old sex and affection, I think Dr. Ramani had at least one clip on it.

  • Hi LostGuy,

    I am the female version of you.

    FT used to feign sleep after I tucked the kids into bed and joined him in ours.

    He didn’t mention his affair to the counselor either. It finally came out in the discussion and the counselor said he had nothing to work with.

    FT was looking for an early retirement. When the marriage ended, that’s what upset him the most. Even though he was the one who cheated (numerous times I later learned).

    It has been difficult to understand that there are people like that in the world. I beat myself up for being duped by him. Looking back, yes, there were red flags flapping in the breeze, but for other reasons, I ignored them.

    Please don’t waste your time trying to figure her out. Use your freedom to examine the choices you made and check your boundaries. Life is calm and beautiful on the other side.

  • I found out my sexless marriage (sex stopped 3 months into the relationship) was because he was dating, having phone sex, and sexting – men and women – the entire time. When confronted with suspicions, he said he had never cheated, and if I ever even suggested he had he’d go out and f*** the first person he could find (that shut me up pretty quickly). Eventually, I was contacted by a woman he’d been asking out for 3 years, complete with screenshots of their conversation the night before while he and I were watching TV. We went to counseling – he stopped going after 2 visits – it didn’t do any good. They will not stop, you did the right thing to end it.

  • I know it doesn’t feel like it now, Lost, but you are lucky. You are out in two years, and no kids (I’m assuming). You can make a clean break. I’ve lost 25 years, financial security and have trauma from my ordeal. Yet, it’s still better than the alternative of being with someone who was also “a good companion”. I’m realizing now that I should not be missing that type of company, someone who is fun to hang out with but treats me so horribly.

    You sound like you’re doing the right things, protecting yourself financially and not reconciling. In time, the clarity will come. She is disordered and there is no rationalizing with that if you are not. It may be worth getting some individual therapy to navigate through this, it’s really helping me figure out why I put up with having my needs disregarded and boundaries trampled for so long.

  • Very apt statement about the ‘husband appliance benefits’. Cheaters thrive on the illicitness and the undermining, but also enjoy having their reliable, trustworthy spouse/partner around to feed their ego, pay the bills and handle those daily responsibilities. Even if it’s a dead bedroom, they feed on that feeling of their spouse/partner desiring and hoping for their romantic and sexual attention.

    It tends to rattle their entitled worldview when the spouse/partner cuts off all of those easy, convenient benefits. It’s easy to find an ass kissing, parasitic paramour, but far more difficult to find a trustworthy, giving individual.

    • “It’s easy to find an ass kissing, parasitic paramour, but far more difficult to find a trustworthy, giving individual.”

      THANK YOU, AIN’T!

  • It took me a very long time after DDay to realize that our bedroom was dead because he was cheating…..NOT that he cheated because the bedroom was dead.

    In long term relationships, what happens outside the bedroom determines what happens inside the bedroom. No one who is angry with you is going to want to have sex with you….avoiding issues and building a slush fund of resentment is sure to kill the sex life of any couple. Despite speaking up speaking up speaking up I was ignored ignored ignored. Now I know why. He had no incentive or intention to deal with anything because he had a secret sexual double life going on. Which is what he wanted, like all cheaters, until the game is revealed. Then they have to go find new players.

    • “Despite speaking up speaking up speaking up I was ignored ignored ignored. Now I know why. He had no incentive or intention to deal with anything because he had a secret sexual double life going on.”

      This describes to a “T” what was going on in my marriage. And as “Ain’t It a Shame” says, my then- spouse also wanted all the benefits of me serving as the wife appliance.

      • I took the gold medal for the wife appliance! Thank goodness I quit that job, didn’t even give a notice.

    • “It took me a very long time after DDay to realize that our bedroom was dead because he was cheating…..NOT that he cheated because the bedroom was dead.”

      Yep, most of us upon after Dday reflection can pin it down to the day it started, and that they the cheater was the one who walked away.

      I know beyond any doubt that my ex cheated throughout our marriage (I didn’t know in real time) I also am pretty sure, the exit whore offered a good time with NSA in the beginning. Then she started making demands. Ex was so stupid he didn’t see any red flags about her being his direct report at a police department.

      So he had to start devaluing me, and pizzing me off, in hopes of making me mad enough to leave. I am betting that if I had, the narrative would be, oh she left me and then whore and I started dating. It certainly wouldn’t have been oh, I started fucking whore, then she left me.

      • Same here. Quite frankly I waited on him hand and foot. If he was sitting in the living room and he wanted a coke or snack I got it for him. I never thought anything of it. It is kind of how we did in our generation.

        Even when we worked full time or part time as I did most of our marriage, we did all the house work and waited on them.

  • Lost Guy,
    Awe dude.. digital hug from me to you.

    I felt ALL of these feelings. I remember thinking, “how am I going to live life without her?”. Now I think “thank God I don’t have to live life with her.” And instead of feeling like I failed, I feel grateful-BEYOND to be done with my xw.

    You will too. Give it time. No contact, etc…

    And you know what –> you’ll feel love again. REAL love. And with your caring, loving heart, your life will be so amazing. I promise you.

    …..

    To CL’s note about divorcing a sexless marriage; that living as a person with value is spot-on. I want to shake married friends who are unhappy but afraid to challenge their marital-ho-hums. Come on people, fight for the relationship you deserve.

  • This is one topic that I am an expert on.

    I had a sexless marriage for 10 years. TEN years!

    Chump Lady say “ BUT DON’T GO TWO YEARS WITHOUT SEX EITHER.

    This may be the first time I vehemently disagree with Chump Lady!

    When you have kids AND a 20 year marriage, I don’t think the sexless partner should just walk out. I thought I had a real marriage; a partnership. He allowed me to believe it was a physical problem and he started individual therapy twice a week. We went to couples sex therapy. I truly believed that it was a physical problem that he was addressing. At that age, it is possible.

    His job was demanding, the kids were teenagers and life was busy. We went on vacations, had date nights and time went on. I wasn’t going to leave as long as I believed he was sorry for disappointing me and was trying his best.

    Hindsight is 20/20 and perhaps I should have known better but I refuse to kick myself because I didn’t.

    “the people most often experiencing “dead bedrooms” are chumps. Yes, it’s a sexless marriage because the sex is happening elsewhere.” THIS is true but I didn’t know.

    Turned out he was having a sex life, but with his co-worker, affair partner and family friend.

    After my divorce, I was working at an event where a guest I knew well had too much to drink. He said to me “No guy willingly goes without sex. How could you not know that?” That was a crushing moment I may never forget. How would I know that (assuming it’s true)? Was it in some married woman’s guidebook I neglected to read?

    I’m sorry for anyone that lives this horrible, cruel lie. With all the other lies, I will say this is the hardest to recover from. It is such a deep wound that hits the very core of your self-worth.

    I do keep repeating over and over that the Judge took me into her chambers to tell me that in all of her years on the bench, she has never seen a bigger sociopath than my ex. It’s comforting because no one is prepared for life with a true sociopath.

    Please don’t beat yourself up over surviving a sexless marriage. It definitely makes you a true survivor chump. You will survive and thrive. I promise 💖

  • Oh, Lost Guy. Here is a big hug. First, you did everything RIGHT, so congratulate yourself on that. YOU can hold your head high. And, in years to come, you will thank God that a relatively small portion of your life was wasted on that particular fuckwit. Plus, you have CN to cheer you on for being your mighty self, even if, right now, you truly do feel like a Lost Guy. On the bright side, she doesn’t get any premarital assets, and you have no children together, so you can truly be done with her.

    I think that sometimes people marry for very strange reasons. My first husband told me, in the one really honest thing he ever said, “I know you loved me. I think I married you out of loneliness…but not love.” He was never interested in being a partner with me on anything, except for sex. I was merely an appliance.

    Chumps love. We are empathetic, we care, we are partners….even when our so-called partners are busy “partnering” with somebody else.

    Lost Guy, Tuesday is coming. At some point, you will suddenly realize you didn’t think about her at all yesterday, for a week, a month, a year. And then you will know you have reached the blessed land of “meh”.

    Just don’t be like me and go do it all over again with a different co-star in the role of “fuckwit”. Watch for warning signs and red flags. They are there. Pay attention. Don’t spackle. And, when you are ready, you will find somebody who can be as wonderful and committed to a real relationship as you are.

  • Takes a moment. But eventually you will see and understand you were of use. She did not marry you out of love. As time went by, I realized I was just a vessel to get her out of a bad home situation. Sex was 4-5 times a year. She would say she only wanted to have sex with me when she was drinking. All because of my lack of this or that. She also would say sex wasn’t her thing and was not important. Year 20, sex became her thing. Just not with me! She started the ex boyfriend thing then expanded to 8-10 guys she was “talking” to. Have no idea how many of those got some…… fact is they don’t want to have sex with you. We are not someone they are attracted to, in love with or connected to. Just a tool…. stability and a paycheck….

    • Broken Toy (the guy who auditioned me to be His Next Schmoopie but I luckily failed, yay!) I am 1000% positive married his (multiple times betrayed yet still there) wife decades ago because he saw his eventual wife as an escape valve to get out of obligations he felt to his mother (Broken Toy & his mother strike me as having been very toxically enmeshed, his mother is long deceased but I doubt Broken Toy has done much to heal that relationship).

      I’ve said as much to Broken Toy, urged him in vain to work his mother issues out back when I still cared & first got the truth bomb of him still being married to said long suffering wife. Of course he didn’t.

      Broken Toy has since looked at every subsequent woman as His Next Escape Valve. It doesn’t work.

      This is something sick people do, if their family of origin (FOO) is a mess, they employ the childish strategy of running away & seeking what they didn’t get as a child from one or both parents (consciously or subconsciously) from someone else. It’s childish logic run amok. It might have worked as a child, but as an adult it fails sooner or later.

      Healthy people are also looking for some reparenting (no one gets perfect parents) but it’s not this extreme, often a little work with an individual therapist who understands inner child issues can help an adult stop looking for the missing something from relationships.

      I have no idea what Broken Toy’s Missus issue(s) are but for her sake & the sakes of their children I hope she works on them without (or with) Broken Toy. Life’s too short to waste on broken people, especially broken people who insist on clinging to their broken-ness.

    • I realize there are health conditions, mental health struggles and then there is difficulty with sex after having a baby, etc but besides these things I find it insane not to want sex with your husband. It’s so important and amazing to be with the man who loves you, who is committed to you.

      I wish my XH wasn’t a cheater because sex was never an issue. I grieved our sex life when the marriage ended. I still have memories of some of our great intimate moments, it’s very sad that’s all gone now.

      For a woman to want to sleep around instead of sleep with her husband is just outrageous to me.

      • Same. I grieve the sex life as well. But I also recall that it was only in his terms. Not when I wanted it. If I initiated, he would reject me. And he used to complain that I don’t initiate and I should know what he wants. Idiot.

  • “First I want to applaud you for your sensitivity — a compassion that was weaponized against you. There are times in any couple’s life, if you go the distance, where someone is not going to be in the mood, or has health issues, or have small children who cause great joy and utter exhaustion. Times where no one’s orgasm is on the top of the to-do charts.

    That understanding of yours is a beautiful thing — don’t lose it. BUT DON’T GO TWO YEARS WITHOUT SEX EITHER. Not if sex is important to you! (It’s not important to some people. That’s okay too.) YOU MATTER.”

    I second all of this. Those characteristics make you golden. How many of us here had husbands who took in personally any time we weren’t in the mood for whatever reason. Some husbands think women have periods on purpose just to have an excuse to get out of sex once a month. Doctor’s orders, no sex for six weeks post partum? Just an excuse. Feeling ill, excuse. Exhausted after being up with the baby all night “You just don’t love/want me”. It’s 3:00am and you were woken up out of a deep sleep for sex and you didn’t resist but you weren’t able to climax either. He’s hurt. You clearly don’t find him attractive. That’s what women (and possibly similar for some men) have to deal with all of the time. Those of us who did would have loved to have had a husband like you who would try to be understanding and not take it personally and run off to the first whore to cross your path. It pisses me off that your wife chose to take advantage of that and screw you over instead of cherishing you. She should have been showing you the best time ever when she was feeling up for it instead of giving it to some undeserving shmuck instead. I hope you find a woman who appreciates you and lets you know it so that you can still be understanding and not take it personally if, on occasion (and not two years straight), she just isn’t up for it.

  • “Yes, it’s a sexless marriage because the sex is happening elsewhere.”
    LostGuy, the same thing happened to me once the infidelity started. All the sudden she had no interest in me whatsoever, except as a financial support. Like you, I kept trying and trying to figure out what was wrong. I tried so hard to fix whatever the problem was, to do whatever needed to be done to get her to feel differently. Little did I know it was because she was already getting whatever she wanted somewhere else. Like you, though I didn’t know it at the time, the first affair started within months of us getting married. I wondered why anyone (especially a woman) would bother getting married just to turn around and violate it months later.
    I’ve actually read elsewhere that some cheating women will refuse to do anything with their own husbands in order to be “faithful” to the OM. Pretty warped, if you ask me. But that’s all beside the point.

    Though it doesn’t seem like it, you’re making the right choice, and this will get better, trust me. The hurt will end eventually, probably sooner than you think. You’ve only wasted a couple of years on her; many of us have lost a decade or more, and have kids.

    • It’s not just women. My ex withheld sex because he was faithful to his AP.

      I will never understand the logic but perhaps there is none.

      • That was when I knew something was terribly wrong. Jackass wouldn’t even touch me. And he would stand there smirking. Then I found out about the MOW.

  • Lostguy, on a certain level, in hind site, I am thankful that my husband lost interest in initiating with me. It super grosses me out to know that he was even touching her while still married to me.

    At the end of the day, any/ all forms of rejection are painful. It’s just hard to understand why being rejected by an epic loser Can still hurt. It’s because in the beginning, when they come across as being SO amazing, that becomes the narrative that stays with you. Then, when their true, selfish nature comes out, it feels baffling. There is no understanding demented personalities. Congrats on getting away from her.

  • I think your ex thought you were a cash cow, reliable for financial security, she was horrified at your pre nup agreement. I wonder how many chumps are the financially responsible ones. The one difference between chumps and ow/om. Ow will tell them how wonderful they are sexually. Ow are known for lying, aren’t they. my ex’s ow relied on him, for her happiness. He always told her to shut up, and she did. He was proud of the fact she gave up her kids for him. Fuckwits the pair of them.
    If you listen to what ow, unfortunately I know a few, what they say is quite telling:
    One said “any man is better than none”
    Another said “she the ow, let him go back to his wife”.
    Also “you have to keep men happy”
    This is what some women actually think, you wouldn’t think it was 2020 would you.

    • I’ve heard:

      “women have the control of their marriage since we are the gate keepers to sex”

      “just let a man do as he pleases and he will never leave you”

      “respecting your man is the key to a life-long marriage”

      “if a man cheats on a woman, it’s the woman who needs to look in the mirror and ask where she went wrong”

      “men are not that complex, all they need is sex. if you don’t give it to them someone else will”

      All of these statements make me sick and I’ve heard them from MANY MANY women sadly.

      • Yep.

        If any man ever got pretty much whatever he wanted in a marriage, it is my ex. And not just about sex. Still cheated and eventually discarded.

        Non of the arguments that I have ever heard by the cheater break down to any truth. Hell he couldn’t even tell the same lie two days in a row. Back and forth. I meant it, I didn’t mean it, I did it, I didn’t do it, etc

        • XH the last three years didn’t resemble at all the man I married. He was a wolf in sheeps clothing.

          I remember during our lawyer meeting, I’d be trembling with anxiety before walking into the conference room, palms sweaty. Then I’d imagine my husband (the one I married) sitting there with me, telling me how sorry he was and that I deserved better. It helped keep me strong against the monster he became.

          • I think that would have been rough to have to sit with the lawyers. Though our divorce took a bit over a year to complete, I didn’t have to sit through negotiations. I mean I sat with my lawyer, but we didn’t do it with the ex and his lawyer.

            I didn’t even have to go to court for the final gavel. I could have if I had wanted to, or if I had anything I wanted to say, but in our state in an uncontested divorce you didn’t have to. Don’t know if the ex went or not.

          • Zulu,
            There are men that love a woman for who they see inside not out.
            I went to weight watchers when my x and I were first dating. She’d lost 100 pounds. Amazing, and I supported her and lost 40 pounds or so myself in the process.

            She lost interest when her WW home group’s leader moved away. She eventually gained it all back afterwards. It really didn’t matter to me. I was in love and blind. Great sex life. I suppose I miss that Miniscule part of marriage. But by far a partner that’s got my 6 is more valuable.

            Do not beat yourself up and forget the Hollywood paradigm of what gorgeous looks like. That’s not realistic. Personally I like a woman with some weight on her. Nothing better to snuggle with on a cold winter night. Besides my Beagles.

            Beauty is vanity and will fade. I think it was Solomon that said this. I hope you find a man that loves every inch of You. He’s out there. Go find him hugzzz

  • Another note from my end, specifically on the ‘dead bedroom’ angle —

    KK put a ‘soft stop’ on sex shortly after our second daughter was born in 2004. For the next 10 years I was repeatedly and consistently told: “No hands. No mouths. No devices. No positions. I don’t need the bing and the bang. All I need is the boom.” Every suggestion I made was rebuffed. Sex became something I provided for her, when she wanted, in the exact way she wanted. As a true chump, I chalked it up to the stresses of being a stay-at-home mother, and a need to figure out what “KK 2.0” was going to be.

    Although I (now) wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out otherwise, I don’t believe she was cheating on me for 10 years, before The Troubles started.

    I DO believe that her sexual game-playing was one of her ever-present mechanisms for testing me. How much would I put up with before had enough and I bailed? What if anything would make me ‘step out’ on her, and thus give her justification for painting me as a ‘typical guy, that’s just what they do’?

    It was a test I had no idea I was taking. And, of course, it was rigged. Even though I passed (committed husband for whom marriage and family was most important), I failed (minimal sex for 10 years, she had no option but to get affection and satisfaction elsewhere).

    • Sex for some people is about power and control. As is cheating. It’s all in the same playbook. I truly don’t believe Jackass was having sex with the MOW. What he loves is the chase, the manipulation that looks like flirtation (i.e., the lovebombing phase). He was never all that interested in sex itself. He liked being CENTRAL to multiple women. And he LOVED interjecting himself in the relationships of couples.

      • There is something satisfying for these humans to try breakup a marriage…they are more interest
        Ted in the married woman for that reason, and that they keep their mouths shut…
        My ex did it in his first marriage and in ours
        Good riddance

    • My X wouldn’t kiss me. I might get a peck. No real kissing. Ever, except for maybe if he was really drunk. Gave me a litany of excuses from me having bad breath (for years I always brushed my teeth before he came home, ate parsley, etc. I didn’t have bad breath.) to him having ‘mouth sores’ that somehow never could be diagnosed/treated (he works in health care).

      He wouldn’t let me initiate affection, much less sex. Always an excuse for it, up to actually saying to me in an accusing tone “are you trying to solicit affection from me?” As if it was a crime to ask for affection from your husband.

      He’d always try to initiate sex when I was asleep, upset at him, or dead tired/sick. If I refused him then I was withholding from him.

      He then would tell me that “he’s just not that affectionate of a person”.

      It was always on his terms, his ‘power’. And it took me years to realize that it was about his own sense of inadequacy, his hatred of woman, and his need to be in control.

      • Oh, wow, Skunkcabbage. I had forgotten about the Stupid One and kissing. One of his complaints near the end (before D-day) was that I didn’t kiss him enough. I laughed and told him, “Well, first we have to be in the same room because it’s hard to kiss someone that isn’t anywhere nearby.” For instance, work on being in the same city as me and it might improve the odds. Or state. It gets worse, we weren’t even in the same country.

      • I bet the mouth sores are canker sores and the biggest cause is toothpaste! Certain toothpastes, like the natural and special made toothpaste are fine as is Crest. The rest can cause the canker sores but I wouldn’t bother telling him at this point:)

        • We mostly used brands like A&H or Toms, sometimes Crest, he’d grab samples he got from the visiting dentist at work – I think that was a mostly bullshit excuse.

          • This is so weird. He tormented me about my bad breath. I went to dentists and asked friends to check and nothing. No one got a whiff of any funky smell. I stopped having coffee. I brushed and flossed after every meal. I think I did have bad breath but only when I was around him. I used to get this weird acidity when I was about to see him or be with him. As I’m healing after the divorce, the acidity is under control and I’m have decaf now. Too much caffeine triggers anxiety.

        • Canker sores are commonly the result of many autoimmune diseases.
          They exist regardless of any type of toothpaste and are part of the disease itself

    • I’m really glad I read today’s post. I have long thought my issues were rare. In addition to all the cheating, the blatant avoiding me was so humiliating. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    • X was a serial cheater. I didn’t believe he would cheat because like when? He cheated early and often. I was clueless.

  • LostGuy,

    What CL says is true. And from a male chump that got dumped after 24+ years of marriage (not including 3 years of committed dating and living together), listen to me: Learn to look on the bright side. It was not something I was very good at before I was chumped. When faced w/my FW XW’s actions, I felt lost too (I had left a high-paying/high-stress job due to burnout, battled depression and diabetes in the wake of that, while she eventually developed an affair w/her much older, richer boss). After at least six months of separation, my fog regarding her started to clear. Only started, but still.

    I began to realize that I could let myself get stuck in mourning what I thought I had in her and my relationship w/her, or I could start looking at the reality of it all. It wasn’t pretty, and I had to admit that I had missed many red flags w/her, starting right at the beginning of our romantic relationship (we were friends first from high school. At least, I was).

    Through CL and CN, I began to identify these red flags, and while I could have let it depress me more, I realized that my best bet was to start embracing the positive. I also started to take a harder look at me, recognizing mistakes I made in the relationship, and ways I could improve myself overall (not that that validates the FW XW’s actions). It’s not easy, and it’s an ongoing process, but I think I’m creating a better me, long-term.

    For example, if I found myself thinking that I’d lost the love of my life, I’d counter it by reminding myself that she just proved w/her actions that she never thought of me that way. That I’d eventually be much happier w/out her lying, deceiving ass in my life. And I am. I’m 3+ years out from D-day, and 1+ year out from absolute divorce. So don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s early days for you.

    [That’s another thing to wrap your mind around. People like our ex’s don’t think about other people and relationships like you and I do. They’re not normal. They don’t love as deeply as we do. They may not know what real love is. Don’t think that they think like you and I, and the rest of CN does. They’re fucked up mentally and emotionally. Possibly spiritually as well. The upshot is, don’t ever think that they view things the way you do. They’re not wired the same as us chumps (aka, normal people w/character and morals).]

    Granted, we have three children together, so I still have to interact w/her (I practice hard grey rock; look it up on the website if you need to), but I’m much happier on my own. Not having her deceiving me like she did for so long is a blessing. There’s something for you to look positively on: you didn’t have children together. Trust me, that would be much worse, since you seem to be like me, and would probably have been very attached to any children and the idea of a having a good, loving family. A deceiving, cheating spouse/partner doesn’t fit into that expectation.

    Looking on the positives can only help you. Find your silver linings. Embrace them. It takes some time, but it is SO worth it. Realizing the reality of your failed relationship w/the ex does not have to be depressing, if you change your mindset to look at the positives in your situation. That shift in perception is freeing and brings a lot of peace. It could have been worse for you. Life can always be worse, so use that knowledge to recognize the bright side of your situation.

    And remember, you were the honest one. You were the one who tried, who upheld your vows and commitment. You can hold your head high. You have worth. Your ex greatly diminished her worth and your marriage w/her actions. You didn’t. That means that you have a strong character, and good morals. Although we don’t tend to think of it as much in our current society, that shit is solid gold when it comes to people and relationships. Your ex is the one who ultimately looks shitty on the scorecard of life.

    I wish you only the best going forward, LostGuy. That’s another thing to try to set your mind to. Look more forward in your life. Don’t let your past define you. Your best days are ahead of you. Don’t doubt it. Focus on moving forward w/your life. You can’t control what your ex did. You can only do your best to control yourself. May you find peace and happiness, soon. And regarding the ex, may you get to meh and Tuesday quickly as well. Stay safe. We’re here for you if you need us, too.

    • Thanks, the long run. I wrote a ton of this down in my journal. Some days it is hard to stay positive when it feels like all you manage to do is drag yourself through the day so you can enjoy another sleepless night. I think COVID is adding to everyone’s negativity. I appreciate the reminder and the encouraging post.

  • lost guy,
    I remember when we were in the reconciliation phase, he said “I don’t want to sleep with you yet, I want to take it slow to show you how much I respect you.”

    I believed it. He respected me real good with all the cheating he did.

    I also had the days of wondering “did I end it prematurely? did I give it enough efforts?” In my opinion, this is the single hardest question Chumps face.

    Walk away and don’t look back! She does not deserve your compassion, nor your understanding!

  • I wish my cheating exh had withheld sex whilst he was fucking someone else. Makes me sick to my stomach knowing he was having us both at the same time. Obviously i didn’t know I was sharing, I wonder if she did 🤮

    • Yeah that went on for us up to about four months from Dday, and even then it was sporadic, because of course all I knew was that he was really stressed at work, because that was what he told me.

      The whores may or may not know. Doesn’t matter much to them I am guessing. They are either just in it for the sex and money, or they are biding their time for a marriage. Either way they are playing the long game.

  • I’ve been on CL’s forum for several years, and I also studied narcissism, and followed my therapist’s suggestions to learn more about alcoholism, porn, and sexual problems. I am a child of the “sexual revolution”, and did not wait until I married to have sex. Fortunately I dated a few talented fellows, and learned how enjoyable recreational sex could be before I married.. The reason I say fortunately, is because after marriage, sex became something different than what I had experienced before, and it was no longer fun. When I found out my husband was addicted to porn and was cheating, and was something called a functioning alcoholic, I lost respect for him, and trust, and no amount of study, therapy, or RIC nonsense was going to make him desirable to me anymore. It is hard to feel cultural pressure to “forgive and forget”, and to have children’s lives involved, and a long relationship, and joint ownership of property and business, and realize you do not like, or respect, or desire your husband any more.

    He was drinking too much and exhibiting alcoholic behavior early in our marriage. I tried to learn about the disease and help him overcome it’s pitfalls, because I felt it was an illness. I had seen this illness in my own FOO. He also came from a highly dysfunctional mother, who was clearly a narcissist. I worked hard “to save him from himself”, a real chump move, because I carried the chump belief that I could change another person. It did not help my loss of respect and desire for him. Internally there was a voice of reason that told me this man would never change, and that I was doing all the work in the relationship, and sex had become another wifely duty. Sex is not fun when it is a duty. Alcoholics will not get better until and unless they decide they need to do the hard work to save their own life. By the time I found out about the porn and the cheating, I believe the basis of the marriage was long done, and no amount of cultural guilt or RIC fantasy was going to fix what was wrong. The only thing that made sense was to divorce, and start my life over again.

    This happened before I heard about CL. I came here for the community, and to try to pay forward some of the lessons I learned. I believe education, and having a sense that others have had the same experience you have had, and will gladly try to help you are all wonderful healing things. I no longer believe I can change another person, but I can offer comfort and advice from my experience on the front line of bad FOO and a bad marriage.

    Nothing about going through this experience is easy, and there is no magic fix. Some days it will be all you can do to get out of bed and shower. But do that. Maybe the next day you can do more. If your spouse tells you all the problems in the marriage and bedroom are your fault, don’t believe it. Remember the time before you became involved with this spouse, and before you carried the weight of all the problems. Ask yourself what specific effort and actions the spouse is taking to address any issues. If you liked yourself before, and enjoyed life before, you are not the problem. You can save yourself by getting out, or you can hold on to all your cultural guilt and sunk costs, and let a bad situation destroy you. If you were abandoned, learn to let go of the belief that all was wonderful before, and that your spouse will magically come back to the life you want to believe you had. Stop believing in fairy tales, and start believing that you can put your energy into your own life and make it better, for you. That is the way to follow the path to MEH. Prepare for a long journey. It is worth it!

      • Thanks LAJ! I read your post, below, and it is excellent. You and I have a lot in common, and I think we both speak from the heart. I’ve always enjoyed your direct and practical style!!!! I always look for your take when browsing, because I think you are trying to pay it forward, too! It is good for the newbies to have some of us around to prove survival and happiness is indeed possible.

      • Us newbies super appreciate the seasoned chumps that return over and over to encourage us! I go through the archives a lot and see how you have been around a long time. It is encouraging to see so many people move on and graduate out of CN. But it is really appreciated when there are wise chumps that stick around to pay it forward. Your wisdom, insight, and inspiration is there to guide the next crew. Love you both!

  • Dead bedroom and affair since wedding ring solidly on finger. PREMARITAL ASSETS. No analysis needed here. Sorry you were used, but move on fast, with all your assets. No contact. She’ll be circling (your assets).

  • Lost guy. She used you. Like CL said she didn’t become a different person after she found out she wasn’t getting anything. She was that person to begin with. You just now see it. Glad you only wasted 2 years. What if it had been 10 or 20? Go on with your life and never allow her back. Don’t be fooled! If it doesn’t work out with this other guy she may come crawling back. Don’t fall for it. You are better off without her.

  • “My needs went unmet the entire marriage while she had her fun. Despite our problems, I loved our companionship. I would’ve done anything for her.”

    Boy, do I relate. But she showed you who she is, at last. Believe her!

  • While I generally support the bottom line, I wouldn’t be too quick to support “yuck, end that sexless marriage now!” Two years can feel like an eternity or five seconds.
    I don’t feel comfortable encouraging a culture of “ugh my needs aren’t met and 5 seconds have already passed, time to ditch this bitch!” because that’s very selfish, unempathetic and entitled, too.

    Granted, it will always be better to see someone leave for whatever reason is on their minds, rather than stay and extract value from you endlessly…but this guy had the right amount of grit that we should applaud and encourage, to an extent, in our cultures.

    Boundaries and empathy are not mutually exclusive, precisely because they’re both so important.

    • I think the point here is that he did try. His needs weren’t being met but instead of running off to some whore, he tried to get to the bottom of it and fix it. It turns out, she was the one cheating and his needs weren’t being met because of it. Two years is, perhaps, a reasonable time to wait if you are a devoted spouse and there really is a valid reason. In this case, there wasn’t. I understand where you are coming from, however, and I do hope that of LostGuy finds himself in another relationship with diminished sex, this experience doesn’t jade him and cause him to walk out prematurely for fear of being chumped or otherwise used again. I also hope he isn’t chumped or otherwise used again. The trick is how to trust but trust the right person. I guess that’s called fixing your picker.

  • Why aren’t you relieved? Because you are still in the shock/ denial/ sadness stages of grief. It takes a lot of time for your brain to sort out the cognitive dissonance and truly accept what happened. It took me about 6 months.

    To get there, I had to immerse myself in the proof. I highlighted phone logs, went line by line through cc receipts, listened to recorded conversations and the perfectly stated lies. I forced myself to see every deception. I could not accept how evil he was… until one day it clicked and I did.

    Now I would not take him back for any amount of money.

    My marriage also didn’t have much sex. He didn’t deny me, but I got the subtle manipulation. If I wore lingerie, he would comment that he liked me just as much in a t-shirt. He would complain that most positions were uncomfortable for him. He would complain that the bed was too soft and too low. He wasn’t appreciative of anything I tried, so I stopped trying over time. After my first child, he made a comment that he no longer could view a woman’s body as sexual. So the sex was not good, and it did not make me feel good. I’m very curious about how sex could be with someone else post divorce 🙂

    For premarital assets… the growth on them is also separate property. If you mixed assets or added marital money to an individual account after marriage, you might need financial tracing to prove what should be your separate property.

    Good luck! *hugs*

    • Ughh, I recalled STBXH who did not like me wearing lingerie at all. He said it reminds him of ‘loose’ women. And this was 13 years ago as newly weds. Can’t make this shit up.

      • My ex liked it when I slept in an oversized button-up man’s pajama top…which made me feel like a little girl dressing up in her dad’s clothes. That’s what he found sexy.

        Freak.

  • @LostGuy…. as soon as your divorce is completed (and assuming you are completely no contact with this sociopath) you will begin to heal. In a short time you won’t believe you ever spent a second wanting her back.

    You’ll likely meet a loyal loving passionate woman of integrity who will reciprocate. This will all seem like a nightmare.

    Most people are good. These sociopaths are a smaller % of the population….

    You have a great life ahead of you! Ask me how I know! (5.5 years since Dday — Meh is wonderful!)

  • Lost Guy, CL nails it in her first graf: “Why are you not relieved to be rid of this sociopathic, withholding monster? Because to be relieved would mean you’d have to accept that she’s a sociopathic, withholding monster.”

    Let’s count what makes her a “sociopathic, withholding monster”;
    1. She was having an affair, probably from before the wedding. The dead bedroom starts at the end of “engagement,” i.e., the start of your marriage. Why would that be the case, if she was what she should have been–a happy new bride?
    2. Why would she enter a marriage in which she intended to have no sex? Once she had secured access to your income and assets through marriage, the sex stopped because she had what she wanted.
    3. She lies and deceives as a way of life. She lied to you when she took her vows, which clearly she never intended to keep. She when she was conducting the affair. over and over, every time she deceived you about where she was going, who she was talking to, and what she had done. She lied by omission by not telling you about the affair when it started, and certainly after you began to question the dead bedroom. She lied to the therapist and you in therapy.
    4. The therapist ran out of options because your X was lying. Then your X cried and carried on like a victim. That’s gaslighting of the highest order. The claim that she “would have come clean” after some individual therapy? Gaslighting. That’s patent nonsense. If she knew she would eventually come clean, why didn’t she do it in couples counseling?
    5. She has no remorse. She’s angry at YOU for discovering her con job, for protecting yourself by filing, by fighting for your premarital assets. She has one note to sing: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME.

    The hardest job after encountering one of these future faking sociopaths is recognizing and internalizing what they are. Part of this is cognitive and emotional lag. Your thoughts and emotions were grounded in the idea that you loved each other and wanted a future together. That was your starting point. And now, still, you are processing from that point—which was never actually real. She is not like you. Marriage didn’t mean to her what it means to you. The woman you thought you married is not who she is. You married a projection of what she thinks you wanted.

    Your comment about companionship is telling. She sold you on marriage but threw you the crumb of “companionship,” which costs her nothing but time. Meanwhile, she got love, fidelity, honesty, effort, commitment, a home, and access to your income and assets. You got none of that.

    Time to start reading about the narcissistic relationship pattern. I’m not diagnosing your X as a “narcissist,” by the way. But Cluster B type cheaters and those who are just “narcissistic” also follow these patterns. Google “narcissistic relationship cycle.” Read Dr. George Simon’s book and the vast material on his blog. All of this will re-set the position from which you look at this marriage.

  • Lost Guy… I commend you for everything you did to save your marriage… ripped from the pages (unknowingly) of the Chump Playbook. And I love that CL began with the most important point… until you trust that they suck to the very core of your being… Meh will remain elusive. I just passed what would’ve been my 14th wedding anniversary date and it was the first time I actually thought… sweet Jesus, what a great party, but what a piece of shit in the tux. Time has given me the perspective (it’s been six years since discard)… and even though we share a son, that is just “transactional” now.

    I’m glad you got out and you got out with what is rightfully yours.

    My one comment to us all as a red flag… whenever sex is used as a bargaining chip… you’re in an abusive relationship. Sex is joyful and intimate… it’s not a tool used to leverage power over another person (for mentally healthy people)… ever. I should’ve ran in the first two weeks of dating Mr. Sparkles when he “refused” to kiss me because he wanted to be really sure he could see a future with me before he did… I thought he was being romantic… in hindsight, it was his first test of my boundaries.

    Rock on Chump Nation.

  • I do disagree with the “leave a marriage if you haven’t had sex in 2 years” comment.

    If you have a medical condition affecting sex, I believe a good spouse should be loyal and supportive.

    My first pregnancy/ birth tore me to shreds. I knew I needed medical treatment, but you can’t fix it until you are done having children. If a woman doesn’t want sex due to pain, prolapse, incontinence, etc. due to a traumatic birth, that doesn’t excuse a man to leave her. She sacrificed her body for their child and a man needs to be patient and appreciative for that. It might take years to finish childbearing and to arrange the necessary pelvic floor physical therapy or surgery. I know that isn’t fun for the guy, but a woman with a broken body is having even less fun.

    And losing time with your baby from a divorce while you are still managing birth complications is horrific to experience.

    • You would hope a partner would be understanding, just like partners can be understanding of ED and prostate issues. But no one owes us a relationship — the issue to me is to leave ethically — with support, fairly, humanely. Of course, I’d rather no one leave anyone when they’re vulnerable, which is what a postpartum body is. Good partners work through things.

      • Also, talk to your OBGYN. I’m not an OBGYN but I think there are things they can do to repair your body. I had three days of child birth. (Yes, THREE DAYS), and the scars to prove it, so I’m not unfamiliar with the “ripped me to shreds” experience.

  • @LostGuy,

    Sadly, your soon-to-be-xwife has a lot of similarities as my XH. We also wasted a lot of money in counseling, he was sneaking around while I was trying to find ways to make him happy and be a good wife. We even did church counseling as well but it didn’t matter. He still went on to have a third affair (his first one was emotional, second one was physical as far as I know).

    He also begged and pleaded with me after the first two affairs not to leave him, telling me I was his everything. I took him back like a fool both times, did the counseling, read the books, etc. By the third affair I was done and told him I had hired a lawyer. He at first tried to play it off like I was bluffing and then went into angry mode. He got super heated during our first lawyer meeting when he found out how much he’d be losing financially.

    Cheaters don’t want consequences, they only have a “ME” mentality. I’m still in some ways grieving that I have to live my life without him because of what he’s done, choices he made for the both of us. It’s very sad.

    My heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like. I lost my dream home with the man I loved. It wasn’t the home itself, it’s what it stood for. We worked very hard to get our home, we were a great team when it came to meeting our goals. It’s painful knowing they just throw it all away for empty relationships.

  • Thanks for including words on regarding it being okay not to want sex. My marriage was quite sexless, and it was on my end. Two main reasons. My ex had a porn addiction. The look in his eyes as he looked at me… It was a huge turn off. His ED caused me significant nerve damage, leading to vulvodynia vestibulitis. He finally found Viagra and did not seem to realize that his miraculous erections did not resolve my permanent nerve damage. And before the nerve damage my sex drive was pretty average I think. Now,… I haven’t had sex in years, since I left, and then fine with it. One day, right person, who knows.

    But. He could have been ethical. He could have ended the marriage without destroying it. In fact, it was one of the things we talked about when we got engaged. I had said that I did not have a problem with divorce, but that there would be no cheating. If you wanted to cheat, that meant there was something wrong, such as work on it or get divorced. Like all the other promises, not kept.

    Anyhow, this is my long window to thank you, not just vilifying people who are for whatever reason, including no reason and just the way that they are, not interested in sex. 100% correct that it can be on its own grounds for divorce, 100% correct that it is not “grounds” for cheating, has though anything could be.

  • Thanks for all of the replies. They mean a lot. Its crazy to me, because we had frequent sex while dating. She was loving and caring, and never gave other men the time of day. I don’t know what I did to make her to make me lose all respect and sexual attraction to me. Now I know she’s just a low quality person. Whenever we discussed the deadbedroom, she would be quick to jump to divorce. I would talk her out of that option. That would be followed by no sex, and the cycle would continue.

    Believe it or not, she was my first romantic and sexual partner. I believe I was so eager to be in a relationship, that I ignored the red flags. She often mentioned that she gets bored easily. Also, she lied about everything. A few years ago, we fought because I caught her flirting with a guy she met online. I asked if she sexted him, and she said no. I told her to block him, and we eventually worked it out. On D-day, I got a bonus bombshell. I found evidence that the online guy apologized for FLAKING ON HER, and he thanked her for sending him nudes years ago. She is the worst kind of person, and it makes me sick just thinking about it. I was 100% faithful and patient with her. I cooked every night, planned vacations, and helped her type up midterm papers. I know I deserve much better than this person. She really had a great situation going with me. I wonder if she will regret all of this in the future.

    • Another thing you’ll have to come to grips with is . . . it doesn’t matter if she regrets it in the future.

      Form this point forward, EVERYTHING you do should be about LostGuy. Healing LostGuy. Learning more about LostGuy. Why LostGuy was willing to overlook red flags.

      That’s the hard work, and there are no easy workarounds — you have to go THROUGH the fire — but it’s also where the big payoff comes.

    • LostGuy, it sounds like she thrives off attention from men. Sending nudes to a man she’s never met online is gross and very insecure. There is no amount of attention you could have given her if this is the type of woman she is.

      As far as her regretting it in the future, sure. It will take a long time though. She seems like she has always had the security of you to fall back on while fooling around with other men. There was no risk for her in reaching out to other men because she always had you as her plan b.

      You deserve so much more than that! She will come to see that many men will just use her and cheat. It will be too late by then and you will be moved on.

      I’m just guessing here, but I bet she is also one of those women who is obsessed with social media and thrives on getting “likes” and “comments”. Probably posts lots of thirsty pics too. This is NOT a woman to spend your life with if that’s the case. Anyone who seeks validation on social media has major problems.

      • Speak truth Alice. KK’s bottomless pit-like need for attention was bad enough before social media, the sudden prominence of which coincided nicely with a lot of red flags that came to me in hindsight over the past few years. Watching the supposedly fabulous lives of others on SM made her already fragile self-image even worse.

        Now validation on social media, getting the likes and comments you note, is part and parcel of who she is. How else to explain a 47-year old woman posting boudoir photos of herself on Instagram (where our teenage daughters can see) and promoting plans for a podcast detailing her and others’ “sexual evolution” on both Instagram and Facebook (again, where our teenage daughters can see)?

        I’m SO glad I don’t have to be in position of supporting/defending that kind of behavior to anyone anymore.

        • Uxworld, Oh my gosh a podcast about her and others “sexual evolution” is disturbing! It also just screams “I Need Attention”. What is she thinking?! I’ve always been told it’s better to remain mysterious because it shows you have value.

          Women who post thirsty pics on social media or send these types of pictures to men over the internet are just plain dumb. Do they really think these are good guys who are falling and drooling over these sorts of things? These are the same type of men addicted to porn! These are not quality men who respond to crap like that.

          I dated a guy once who seemed nice but one day out of nowhere asked to see a pic of me in lingerie. I told him those types of things are reserved for a guy I’m in a serious relationship with and he kept pushing for it anyway. I ended dating him after that. If you don’t earn me, you don’t deserve me. So many men don’t have to do any work for these things and think it’s the norm, good for them. I’m just not their girl, Next!

        • UX and Lost–

          I’ve had the bad luck of encountering tons of narcissists like this because of the industry I worked in. It’s tragic, depressing and icky when a nubile 22 year old bombshell engages this way and even more sad-sack as they reach middle age. Male or female, it ain’t pretty.

          Thank your lucky stars you won’t have to be around to see the Sunset Boulevard denouement. “I’m ready for my naked selfie, Mr. DeMille.” Oh God, and when they start getting laughed at. It’s horrible.

          Avert thine eyes lest ye turn to stone from the pathetic fuckedupedness of it.

    • 1. You are not alone. Don’t feel isolated or embarrassed to talk to people.
      2. Seek out real support, avoid those who offer pity or nihilism.
      3. You did your best, this was a challenge and you rose to meet it with love, strength and honor.
      4. You control what goes in not what comes out. I made the mistake for a long time of judging the success of the marriage based on outcome and saw divorce and XW’s unhappiness as my failure.
      5. Now that you have learned how to put so much into a relationship be careful where you choose to direct that energy. That includes new relationships but also your (hopefully) soon to be XW. The anger becomes surprisingly easy to handle but it’s the “I HAS A SADZ” that can wear you down. Helpful tip, if she does start to have regrets listen to how much she says “I” and “ME” instead of caring about you.

    • “I don’t know what I did to make her to make me lose all respect and sexual attraction to me.”

      It wasn’t what you did or didn’t do; she was never worthy of you. As evidenced by her behavior while married to you.

      “I wonder if she will regret all of this in the future.”

      Who cares? You will be better off without this piece of dreck attached to you.

    • Oh, honey, this breaks my heart: ” I don’t know what I did to make her to make me lose all respect and sexual attraction to me.”

      This is how these sociopaths, narcissists and other disordered people roll. They LOVEBOMB you in the courtship phase, but once they have you committed, the devaluation can start. She didn’t have what you understand as “respect” and “sexual attraction.” You could have been perfect and she would have devalued you, somehow.

    • She’s definitely sounding like a narc. Besides their lack of empathy, her admission of getting bored easily – it’s more like I need constant narc supply. I need this man or that man to tell me how wonderful I am. Dr. Ramani and Les Carter have great videos on narcs. My Ex was always on Facebook, group chats, fantasy sports leagues, texting coworkers, Snapchat, etc. because he needs supply.

  • I know he doesn’t see this as a blessing now. But I am glad he is out after 2 years, unlike 24 years I endured through.

    My XW told me I couldn’t even have the DESIRE to have sex without her permission. That I was a sex addict and unchristian if I wanted it more then once a month. That a man is to ONLY please a woman and a woman doesn’t have to please the man sexually.

    Anyway, went to MC and everything was my fault. But, of course, she didn’t disclose that she was in a middle of an affair. If they don’t want to have sex with you (baring any physical/emotional trauma) they are getting it elsewhere.

    Very good advise given. Move on and enjoy life.

      • My XW made me feel like a pervert for wanting to have sex with my own wife. Wanting normal, missionary position sex. Not particularly often, even.

        I was so confused that I thought that *I* was the problem.

        • I guess I’m a pervert too then and a much bigger one. Cheater went dead bedroom for only a few weeks and it pushed me straight over the edge. It’s what led to D-Day. This apparently happened after AP harangued him with tears and hysteria for continuing to have sex with his wife. He’d been “honest” with her on just that one point as part of his strategy to prevent AP from getting her hopes up he’d ever commit to her. But then he became increasingly afraid she’d go postal so I guess he lent a bit of realism to the mass of lies he’d been telling as a way to appease.

          Just a few weeks of that and I hired a PI and retained a lawyer. Because… big perv lol.

          I can’t figure out whether it’s worse to do this to faithful male chumps or female chumps. On the one hand, there are traditional social sanctions against women wanting sex so the wife being cast as the aggressive pursuer is humiliating in a special sense. But then decent men are particularly appalled by being accused of sexual aggression because of the long history of male sexual aggression that they’d probably spent their lives distancing themselves from. Cruel and sick either way.

    • @Sirchumpalot, the manipulation and abuse you went through is terrible. How can a wife say these things to the man she loves is beyond me.

      The sex never stopped in my marriage with my XH, in fact we would both comment on how lucky we were to still have a great sex life. The thing that gets me is he was sleeping with me at least 4times a week while sleeping with OW. That just kills me.

      I feel like I would have known something was wrong had we had a dead bedroom, but we didn’t. So I had no idea.

      Anyway, I’m so sorry you had to endure that for 16yrs of your 24yr marriage. It’s just not normal to not want to sleep with your husband (at least IMO as I have a high sex drive I think).

      • I remember about 3-4 months before DDay, my then H came into the bedroom right before sex and commented about how lucky that sex has never been an issue for us unlike sone couples. 🤮 I now know his affair with married howorker was already going on when he said this. Duper’s delight!

        • The one thing my ex said to me on D-day was. It isn’t about sex. He knew that (at least until he started getting mean) was never an issue. However, having said that I am convinced it was about sex. Oh not that there was anything wrong with our sex life, but he liked the illicit thrill. It is likely why he ran around all of our marriage. (though I didn’t know it in real time) I joined him in a lot of risky romps, but I guess a wife just can’t supply that extra kick.

          Since she had bedded plenty of married men, I am betting when he first ran across her she offered NSA sex, then she became his employee, (through his recommendation) and he had his dick caught between a rock and a hard place. When it hit the fan, he ended up busted in rank, and she got moved to another department.

          Will I ever know for sure? No, but there are so many events that point to it.

  • LostGuy wants The Dream [lots of us do, we’re culturally & socially conditioned to want this].
    Somehow he thought his soon to be ex-wife embodies The Dream but she doesn’t.
    She’s a Dream Exploiter aka The Nightmare.
    When LostGuy can let go of The Dream or more accurately the idea that the STBXW is in anyway associated with The Dream, he will begin to heal.
    LostGuy should go to an individual therapist someone who puts him first (not ‘the relationship’), preferably someone who understands relationship betrayal & the recovery from trauma (PTSD or complex PTSD aka C-PTSD

  • She was clearly with you for the money and status of being married. Many women just want a wedding, they don’t care about the guy they’re marrying.
    Funny, my cheater told me he started talking to another woman because he was convinced I was only with him for his money. Yet I gave him so much love and affection everyday. Sex 8 times a week. I was totally in love. He doesn’t even make much money, lower middle class. It’s just an excuse. In your case it’s very obvious she wasn’t with you for you.

    • I agree, many women just want a wedding and not a marriage. They see all the pretty things on Instagram that come with weddings and think the wedding is the goal, not a marriage.

      My XH never really gave me a reason for his affairs. He’d say things in the heat of the moment while upset but we never really had a discussion. I believe it’s because he knew he screwed up and didn’t have a good reason (not that there ever is one).

      Women are seen as gold-diggers by society. It frustrates me because that’s not who I am at all. I married my XH when he had nothing, well he did have debt haha. I’d still prefer a good man who has nothing over a man with money, I have a lot of men try to flash their money in front of me like I’m going to jump for them, it actually turns me off and sends me running when they do that. I don’t want men who think this is how they can get women, gross!

    • Yes, some cheateresses want the money and the fairy tale but just to make a case for the value of cold, pragmatic skein-untangling, people with attachment disorders tend to displace the fault for their own issues onto partners. They always think the next one will be the magical person who will “inspire” them to change. When they find they have not changed, they blame the partner.

      In other words, they desperately want true love and they often choose the person they think will provide and inspire it. But eventually it becomes too much of a strain to keep pretending to be worthy of it. In abusers, contempt for “weakness” (i.e., being human, wanting love, being loyal, honest, decent) is like an aggressive cancer. It might go into remission for a time but it will become active again.

      It’s the same for battering mentality. Batterers genuinely “suffer” from their own psychosis. They want intimacy like any human and die inside without it being but are allergic to it and compulsively sabotage.

      This isn’t to make a sad sausage case for this kind of person. We can simultaneously see how pathetic it is and still give no quarter to abuse. The takeaway for me is simply to see how important it is to protect children from the kind of abuse that produces monstrous adults like this. But once someone becomes an adult abuser, fuck ’em.

  • The mind tends to focus on the good times and the good memories. Make a list of every shitty thing she ever did to you, and review it when you feel the rose coloured glasses slipping on.

    It takes a while to accept who they really are. It doesn’t happen over-night.

  • “The people most often experiencing ‘dead bedrooms’ are chumps. Yes, it’s a sexless marriage because the sex is happening elsewhere.” YES!!! I wanna scream it out into my house but would terrify my children and puppies. Actually I wanna scream it out to everyone who knows about my husband’s affair with a friend (“friend”) – and it’s a lot of people. I want EVERYONE to know that it wasn’t me withholding sex, it was HIM. It was always him. I know folks like to think guys have affairs bc their wives are stingy. Bullshit. I like sex, I love it, and I always wanted more. He couldn’t get it up while he was cheating on me, and I thought he had early-onset ED. Begged him to go to the urologist to figure out what was wrong. And I stopped initiating sex bc I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed by his limp pickle. Call me a chump.

    “And my advice is to anyone, chumps and non-chumps, if sex matters to you, and you’re in a sexless relationship? END IT. Ethically, compassionately, but END it.” Thanks for the pep talk. Wish I’d heard/read this years ago.

  • I’m sure she benefited from things I was able to do financially. However, I believe she benefited far more for what I did for her, rather than what I could buy for her. For starters, I used my connections to help her get her first job where she’d use her degree. She always leaned on me for support whenever she had an issue at work or school. She bumped heads with her mom and sister a lot. I often found myself playing therapist when they stressed her out. I pulled my share of all-nighters to make sure that her term papers sounded great. I was kind enough to leave my home office to fix her fancy breakfast bowls every morning. Followed by dinner every night. Perhaps I did a little too much for her. Did she see all of this kindness as weakness?

    • Anyone who puts in that much in a relationship, without expecting much in return, is a good person. A family man/woman.

      Anyone just feeling entitled to cake, abusing, lying and being ungrateful for such nice things, is a bad person, terrible spouse, recipe for disaster.

      Don’t doubt yourself too much, there are plenty of people out there who would appreciate these things, you just came across a bad person. But setting some higher standards for yourself is never a bad thing.

      However, be very careful. This good of cake can be a good reason for her to return to you, when she messes up, and she will. Don’t fall for that. I speak from experience.

      Did so many similar things for my ex too, and when we split and she messed up everything I arranged for her, suddenly she contacted me. But she didn’t know I was aware (luckily) she was just done using someone else and she literally hid all evidence of that relationship, while texted me with a “sincere” apology. I did not let her know I was aware and grey rocked. Thx but no thx. Couple days later she “restored” her relationship with her other former victim.

      Somehow these idiots don’t value/appreciate people and behave so incredibly entitled.

    • No, don’t beat yourself up, Lost Guy. You were being a caring, supportive spouse that was invested in the relationship. In a normal, healthy marriage that would have been reciprocal. I don’t know how, but there is something about these relationships. Cheaters act like they are super invested, when really, they are contributing very little except drama.

      We had a family friend, and I learned years later he had nicknamed me “Sweet Left It ALL Behind.” Everyone in his family knew me as that. My STBX was shocked that anyone would be crazy enough to see me that way. It was because he had devalued the marriage and me for so long.

      Don’t rethink your actions. You were investing and she was eating kibble. Trust me, it’s hard to get them out of your head.

    • Your kindness isn’t weakness, and she didn’t see it that way. She saw it as her entitlement. She’s a taker. When she found you, a giver, she did what she had to do to hook you into marriage. Then she resumed being a taker.

      That’s all the deconstruction you need to do. Don’t agonize over trying to figure out why she cheated, why she treated you this way. Take some time, rebuild yourself, and go find yourself a fellow giver.

    • You can’t know what she was thinking (whether she saw your kindness as weakness). What you can know is that she accepted your kindness without reciprocating it. She sounds more like a child who needs help with her schoolwork than a wife. When you fix your picker, remember that you need to look for someone who is KIND, like you are, and someone who reciprocates support, kindness and thoughtful treatment.

    • There are people like this.
      Users.
      I also was a person who did way too much for X.
      X is an entitled cheating lying fraud.
      Years of Al-Anon helped me focus on myself and that has been very beneficial.
      I was married for 34 years plus separated for 5. Divorced 3 days before the 40 year mark. My life is a gift and X is not part of it. Glad for that.
      No Contact is the way to recovery.

    • Dear Lostguy,

      Normal people appreciate loving gestures and support. Abnormal people channel a huge amount of psychic energy pretending to be normal people. Don’t blame yourself. She sounds like the Bernie Madoff of the intimacy con job.

      In truth she probably hoped that you’d change her. It’s weird how sick people have such a great radar for non-sick people, almost as if they have an unusual appreciation for true love– no doubt because the concept is so exotic to them and out of reach because, deep down, they fear (rightfully) that they’ll never earn or sustain it. Vampires seek out healthy blood supplies.

  • I wish I had seen this years ago. Mr. Sparkly Pants moved out of our shared bedroom in 2009, without really giving me any reasons beyond a vague “My ulcerative colitis is acting up. I’ll just use the guest room for a bit.” And then he never moved back into our bedroom and wouldn’t give me a reason other than, “You don’t want me to go there; you wouldn’t like it.” With a serious back injury (I couldn’t walk), knee issues (after surgery for the back) and cancer, I let it go. Of course, there was spackling going on, and hopium — I really believed when I was healthy again, we’d resume our sex life.

    In 2015, he told me the reason we weren’t having sex was the changes cancer had made to my body (he didn’t say it like that, he listed them in graphic, degrading detail) made it impossible for him to “achieve satisfaction” with me. The thing was, I didn’t have cancer until 2012. After I left him, I started going to therapy on my own, and one of the first things the therapist asked me was, “Where do you think he was getting sex after he moved out of your bedroom?” I didn’t get it then, but in retrospect, I think he was cheating with our next door neighbor, Cheryl.

    Once I accepted the idea that he WOULD cheat, I can see all sorts of episodes in our past where he withheld sex for one reason or another — because I gained weight, because I had tried to initiate sex and no one got to do that but him, because I chopped my long hair off to shoulder length. I suspect that when he was withholding sex from me, he was getting it elsewhere and not just, as he claimed, pornography.

    Although now my view on porn has changed — if you’re using pornography and withholding from your wife, that’s abuse. That’s cheating. I wish I had insisted upon counseling the first time he withheld sex, and ended it if it continued or happened again. I wouldn’t have wasted a quarter of a century on a personality disordered, abusive cheater.

    “My advice is to anyone, if sex matters to you and you’re in a sexless relationship . . . END it.” I wish I’d read this a couple of decades ago, the first time our bedroom went dead for awhile. (Because I didn’t follow his diet and exercise plan stringently enough to lose the weight he thought I needed to lose.)

  • Ouch, so many similarities! Spot on respose from Chumplady as well.

    First off, {{{{bro-hug}}}}.
    Second, watch out trying to rationalise every part of what you been though, it will cost you tremendous energy, without providing you answers. Been there, so I can give you some answers/advice.

    I get that you are broken from all the work YOU put in and you will want try to tell yourself it was worth it. Stop right there, It wasn’t, she wasn’t, and it takes a while but eventually you will except that. Would you love any other person that did the things she did? No. You loved the idea of her, you as a couple, and was probably fixed on the potential of the relationship. The fake her gave you that idea, the real her gave you the opposite. I wouldn’t settle for that (now), and so shouldn’t you.

    She was not the person you thought her to be. Another hard thing to accept, because it makes you doubt yourself (yes, you’ll notice red flags in hindsight). Forgive yourself for this, but do not take the blame. It was her being all sociopathic, abusive, acting, lying and cheating. You were good of faith, trusting and patient, dude those are some real decent properties in life. Do not lose them over this stranger. Like mentioned, she high jacked those properties, presumably for her personal gain.

    My sincere advice, go no/minimal (grey rock) contact. Store reminder stuff (especially photos) away out of direct reach, don’t look at past convos and focus on your own recovery. No social media either. It will be very hard, but that will fade over time.

    When things happened to me, I made a lot of mistakes that could have been prevented if I came across CN/CL before. However I focused on my own recovery, went into therapy for the immense feeling of betrayal and grief.

    I know too little if this is applicable to you, but just know some things weren’t acted by my ex either. The sociopathic manipulation (or lying) was way easier to recognise for me (although I spackled) and some real tearful moments with so much sincerity did not have any sign of being fake. That discrepancy (to her actual actions) tore me up and shifted my interpretation every now and then. Until, I also accepted that whatever happened, happened. No need to find an explanation anymore for each and every part. Luckily, I was at no contact, because I would might have taken her back, during my period of self doubt. In the end I did recognise a lot and I did take proper action that would be resolving in any other HEALTHY relationship.

    You did too much already, you can’t change her, she has to decide to. By that time you’ll find someone better, who is actually worth every bit of your invested time and energy. I haven’t yet, but even every non-match I had with dating (I only started to date slowly after recovery), were still way more sensible choices for a life partner.

  • Although I’m probably in the minority, Chump Lady’s words “BUT DON’T GO TWO YEARS WITHOUT SEX EITHER. Not if sex is important to you! (It’s not important to some people. That’s okay too.) YOU MATTER” cut me to the core.

    I was married for 25 years. Before the affair (that I knew for sure about), there were a number of years prior to that our bedroom had died. He was verbally/emotionally abusive (although at the time I didn’t really know what to call it). I suspected that he has been carrying on with other women for years, but every time I’d raise any kind of objection or question, he’d gaslight me (I didn’t know what that was until 4 years ago.

    Over time when we had sex, he wanted to do things I was increasingly uncomfortable with. He wanted me to have sex with another man while he watched. I’ll admit, I even did that, and then he just wanted to do it again. He kept asking about it. He’d speak as if I were a huge disappointment because I didn’t want to do it again. He wanted a lot of oral sex performed on him every time, as well as other times just to gratify him. He wanted me to degrade myself by licking and smushing my face into areas I didn’t want to go, and put my fingers in there most times. There was no foreplay for me – he’d just say, “Want me to throw you some stick?” Yes, that really got me in the mood…The whole experience became icky.

    To make matters worse, I struggled with my weight and he told me that he was too embarrassed by me to introduce me to his boss. He said that my weight was a turn-off. When my weight went up (we’re talking about 30 pounds at that time, not extreme), his treatment of me deteriorated. I never stopped trying to lose the weight, but I became more and more depressed, and my efforts were hindered by PCOS (a hormonal imbalance). My weight climbed higher and all I felt was shame. He even admitted that he didn’t treat me well when my weight was higher.

    It got to the point where I didn’t want to undress in front of him, let alone have sex, because I could see he was repulsed by me. He would tell me , “Lesser men would have left you by now.”

    After I found out about the affair (and during our wreckonciliation) when he went for personal counseling a total of 2, yes, 2 times, his therapist told him, “You deserve to have passion in your life.” He felt justified by his affair.

    Chump Lady’s words have me feeling that I killed the marriage. He killed my soul first, but I stupidly kept trying to make him love me. I kept trying to fix it, even after the affair. It’s hard to have sex with someone when they don’t value you.

    Sorry to ramble on. My heart hurts. I know I didn’t make him have an affair, but I didn’t want to have sex with him when he treated me so poorly. I wanted him to go back to who he pretended to be earlier in our relationship – someone who seemed to care about me. I kept trying and hoping that he’d change back – that’s why I didn’t leave. I’m ashamed that I begged him not to leave me – I was willing to do almost anything to try to save “us”.

    • BNB, please DON’T beat yourself up about this. A lot of us chumps understand completely. The Cheater abused you and eroded your self-esteem then blamed you when you didn’t feel confident enough to engage in sex, for fear of being insulted and hurt. Your cheater was a selfish lover that used your body for his own selfish satisfaction, and didn’t care about how his style made you feel, or ask you what made you feel good. And I think sometimes we just know that things aren’t right and that’s why we don’t want to as well, because it’s not authentic and having sex/making love to someone who doesn’t make us feel safe and valued feels like a lie, and as you said above, degraded. Sex should be about mutual pleasure, but you can’t be present and vulnerable when you are afraid that you are going to be told you are not good enough by the other person. Cut yourself a break and trust your gut. His degradation of you was in all probability initiated by his cheating – he wanted you to feel reluctant to engage in sex, so he could blame you for the cheating. Don’t take that responsibility on board, REJECT that suggestion every time your mind goes there. You didn’t feel good, you were’nt the one that chose an underhanded path to work out your unhappiness instead of engaging in adult discussions to resolve the problems between you. Let yourself off the hook and give yourself the love and acceptance that he wouldn’t. Hugs.

    • Brand New Bag, this breaks my heart. You have value. You are special and unique. You did nothing to deserve such horrific treatment from someone who was supposed to value, honor, love, and cherish you. Please tell me that you are finding ways to heal and move forward. Are you getting any from of therapy?

    • @ Brand New B, him tearing you down and treating you like entertainment for ONLY HIS enjoyment is not your fault!!!!!

      He emotionally, verbally and physically wounded you and expected you to perform as if you were is personal porn star in the bedroom?! What woman would feel comfortable being intimate after being brutally wounded?

      I’ll tell you this, the weight the excuses he made not to introduce you to his boss, LIES! I’m 110lbs, turn heads everywhere I go, have always been told I’m great with people (even my XH) and even XH NEVER introduced me to his boss. He was screwing around and didn’t want people to know he was still married, that’s why. Your XH was trying to bring you down, tear you apart.

      He’s a dog! To make you have sex with someone else, is basically rape. I can say that because I know just as much as you do that you did not enjoy having another man sleep with you while your XH watched. Your X is a pig and he will get his Karma!

    • Your number one priority is to go for individual counseling. You were abused on so many levels. If it helps a little, I can share that I also tried to go over and beyond my comfort zone to please him. He enjoyed oral but after the event, he would degrade me in some way. He would ask me not to spit out the fluids, be more discrete or swallow. He would wake me at 3am for sleep sex and blame me for it. The last time we had sex was a physically painful, I had tried to resist but gave in. I took whatever attention I got. I did unpleasant things to please him but it was never enough. Now I realised it never will be. I’m glad I’m out of it. It’s onwards and upwards now. Go heal, girl. We’re in it together.

  • This one was a hard one for me to read along with the comments as a chump. I withheld sex, I was tired (6 kids), I faked sleep, I never initiated and was not an openly affectionate person. Lots of years I had babies in the bed. I tried to make sex a priority at least once a week but sometimes that wouldn’t happen. I know I have a low sex drive. And he didn’t. I am a SAHM and worked my butt of all day and have some body image hang ups. I felt like I never wanted or was scared to be vulnerable with him. He says that’s why he cheated. He didn’t feel loved or wanted. Did he talk to me about it? Maybe once or twice over 25 years and I’d make it more of a priority and often he’d say it makes him want to help around the house more if we have sex. (It didn’t really.) Eventually we’d go back to our old ways. I decided one day when all the kids were in school and I was getting more personal time (I think I had major burnout and some depression) that I’d open up and be vulnerable and not afraid to initiate or shy anymore about my body. I felt like rediscovering who I used to be 24 years before we started having kids (and lots of miscarriages between those kids.). I felt like I could relax finally, and I wanted to try really hard to be physically close to him. I felt a change in my heart and a great confidence. We had a great week that week and he said he really felt loved but by the end of it I discovered he had been cheating for a year with someone 20 years younger from his work. My open vulnerable heart that had closed off gradually over our marriage was destroyed. I did everything over the next two years, blaming myself for it all, to win him back and he lied and gaslighted and kept cheating and did the whole cake thing and I danced the pick me dance hard. (I also had chemo for nine months for breast cancer I luckily found a week after I first found out.). I realized I wasn’t showing him the love he needed, and he blamed me and still does. I don’t know if I can ever ever stop blaming myself. I was a good wife in so many ways and a good good mother and faithful and everything else I just wasn’t very affectionate or sexual. He had a lot of rejection over the years and I cry a lot feeling like I could have appreciated him and could have done a better job at being a wife.

    • He could have helped you. Six kids. Miscarriages. Depression. Body issues. He could have said, “honey, a good sex life is important to me. Let’s get some counseling to figure out what we can do.”

      If he had helped around the house more, helped with the kids, held your hand throw the grief of miscarriage, then maybe you would have felt different. His blame shifting is ridiculous. As if he’d help more at hime if he got more sex.

      I was married to XH the substance abuser for 10 years. I’d known him for 30 by the time we married. He was nearly a decade older and had a heart attack in his 50s that resulted in erectile dysfunction. I would have cherished a sex life of any sort but there’s no working with a drunk on anything that involves intimacy or vulnerability. But still I was faithful. And HE had the nerve to tell me (as a size 12 at that point) that he might get interested if I lost weight. I should have left that night.

    • Susie, dear Susie,
      A good person talks with you, is honest with you, does not betray you.

      I could have written a lot of what you did.

      All people have issues. All marriages, all relationships have issues. And if you are lying and cheating and betraying your partner, you are one of the issues. He wanted to cheat and it had nothing to do with what you did or did not do.

      My therapist told me years ago that if I slam the front door and lightning goes off in the sky, that doesn’t mean they are related. Same with cheating. His lack of character is why he cheated, not something lacking in you or your marriage.

  • No. He could have communicated like an adult. The truth is no matter what you did, he wouldn’t have been satisfied. I’m slowly getting it now. I also withheld and would pick up what’s bothering me just before bed. He also claimed I was not physically affectionate enough. He said he needs more sex so I can distract him from her. When I did the pick me dance, he said I was being more affectionate, but it feels forced. When he said I didn’t initiate, I proved to him that he rejects me when I do initiate. It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You can’t win. The game was rigged. I walked away. Be kind to yourself. You went over and beyond to please him. And it was not enough and it never will be. Not with you, not with anyone. You deserve love and you will be the one to give it to yourself. You are enough.

    • Thank you. I could say I hardly ever felt cared for. I felt like I should have no needs. But I put a lot of that pressure on myself too. My mom from afar said she saw me being the adult and being the one that kept everything going in our home. I also will say he never wanted to talk before or after sex. I felt used. And after I tried harder when I found out about the affair and did everything he wanted me to do (be fun, more sexual and touchy, be happy all the time) he still went back again and again to her – then he would say well I fell in love with her and now I know what real love feels like and I can’t let it go. (And then come back begging.)

    • I was told that I ought to be having sex even if I had to fake it and then if I faked it and admitted to it then I was a liar. You know you just can’t f****** win. Acting out a little bit to encourage a guy to have a better time is not lying. It’s acting and all of those women that my ex watches on a day-to-day basis, guess what? They’re actresses. They’re actors. But he’s not calling them liars. And mine had warts on his dick. Yeah that’s enticing.

    • Yes- cheaters constantly move the goal posts! You’re too independent then you’re too needy. You don’t want sex enough then you want too much sex. The house is clean but you didn’t do the dishes. Nope, you’re just a lying, cheating, emotionally abusive asshole!

  • Yeah another one whose sex life died in the last 4 years, I gave up trying but last time he initiated sex he said to me that “I” had to have an orgasm as it was better for him”! Narcissistic much? Anyway, he had dropped off any foreplay, so it was not enjoyable anyway. I’m actually thinking he may have already been in an emotional affair by then. Did notice the Viagra on my way out the door, but never used with me. Oh well, can untangle the shitshow anymore! She can have him.

  • On Reddit my husband has called me DB, LL, dry vagina. this is a man who is cheated on me repeatedly and I kept taking him back. Eventually it made it to the point where I just had nothing for him. And then I started working on myself through counseling on my own. It’s a 23-year marriage and I’m 55. Yes I use lube but I don’t think that that’s the right reason or is there ever any reason to call people out for a health problem. A dry vagina is a health problem. It is not a statement on my sexual mental health.

    He wanted me to take a medicine that causes cancer to alleviate this problem. I refused. everybody in my family that’s died in the last 70 years has died of cancer. And I’m not going to do that just to facilitate his orgasm. Not when there’s lube around.

    I realize that I had a lot of issues from my growing up and being molested by my dad. and I tried working through those and I told him what had happened to me and what things particularly trigger me to shut me down.

    those things became the things that he needed to get off. The exact way that I said that I had been touched was the way he then touched me. The exact sexual act that I told him was triggering to me became the only thing that he wanted.

    I could do all kinds of other things. I let him video which was what he said he wanted. I let him tape me, I gave bjs, I dressed up. You name it. but it was never enough because he needed those things that I told him were part of my abuse of background that I was working on.

    Eventually I got to the point where I told him that I would Rather never have sex for the rest of my whole life than to have sex again with him. And I filed for divorce. There might have been a dead bed in our situation but that’s because of the cheating and the lying and abusiveness.

    But reading this article made me feel guilty. Made me feel like I should have done more. There’s more than one side to a dead bed argument. If there’s a dead bed maybe the man ought to consider that there’s a reason why his wife finds him sexually repugnant.

    • That wasn’t the point at all. You shouldn’t blame yourself! He sounds like a monster. But you know what? If he needs to be in an abusive relationship and making his chump relive her abuse and that’s what he “needs” to get his rocks off? Great. Out the door with him. BUH-bye. That’s not a relationship that should be acceptable to you. And you’re “unacceptable” to him because he’s a monster.

  • Sometimes I get to a point where I feel super anxious and depressed about leaving my cheating spouse. I’ve been with her for nearly a decade. We got along great. We traveled together. Spent holidays together. I loved her family dearly. We just clicked. I know she’s a lying adulterer, who somewhere down the line lost sexual attraction for me. The near 2 year deadbedroom started to eat at me. I would kill my focus at work, and in the gym. Sure she gave me oral regularly, but I still craved that deep physical intimacy we once had. Still, I often find myself asking “Could we get through this?” It drives me crazy. I remember reading about the monkey experiment Chump Lady’s book. My cheating partner is all I know when it comes to romantic relationships. Hopefully, I’ll meet a genuine partner who loves and desires me. Maybe, I’ll look back and laugh at this mess I’m in.

    • Brother, I was with my ex wife for a decade. I thought she was such an amazing person and better than me. For our last year together, she kept telling me how I was a disappointment. Felt like I was trying to avoid being fired. Didn’t matter what I accomplished or how much money I got, the goalposts kept moving. When she started citing grievances one night and how she wanted to separate, I was hurt but my gut told me there was someone else and sure enough, I discovered the truth incredibly fast. I learned she was a pathological liar. Years of my marriage were a total lie unbeknownst to me.

      But my point in replying is to let you know how amazing it is to leave that narcissistic person. The peace I have. The red flags I overlooked and pieced together afterward. When I went NC, my life changed. Guess what? I found a normal and loving (kind and thoughftul) woman. I had normalized her BS so much that having a healthy relationship that isn’t one-sided feels bizarre.

      You’re normalizing something toxic because it’s comfortable but when you break free, you have no idea the peace that comes with to not having to come home to that person. There’s so much better partners out there (and you will find one, I promise and you’ll know what to try and avoid). You’ll have someone who actually builds you up and isn’t choosing to deceive you. She’s a terrible person who wore a mask for you and I know it’s going to take a long time for you to process that being the case.

    • No matter HOW bad it feels, you are better off without this user in your life. Yes, the anxiety and depression are going to happen. That means that you are a normal and healthy person that can bond with others.

      I am like you and have only had my cheating STBXH as a romantic partner. I think that they use this against us because we have no other relationship(s) to compare them to. BUT, because they are the only physical bond we have known, it makes the trauma of leaving them difficult. Mine let me know last week that he NEVER loved me. Which is true because these people do not know HOW to love.

      Your cheater will circle back around and now is the time to get strong. Keep CN posted on how you are doing.

      • Cheaters always circle back. The reason why are countless, but it is never because they truly want us back – it is because we are of use to them in some way: they got kicked to the curb, they got bored, they need help with something, image management, money, you name it, there is no end to why the circle back. One thing is for sure, it is a sick game.

  • I look forward to getting to Tuesday. In a way, I feel that her affair gave me the final push to leave. I always straddled the fence of leaving, or giving the deadbedroom issue more time. I struggled, because I thought she was a amazing person who just had a fixable mental block with sex. My STBX claims that she always loved me. I told her that she didn’t love me nowhere as much as I loved her, because I never could imagine doing this to her.

    As for her AP, she claims that it was just about sex. He wanted more than that, but she didn’t want to leave me. She said that she hasn’t spoken with him since D-Day (supposedly). I called her out on her cake-eating. She replied “well now, I have nothing to eat”. She seemed to accept the fact that we’re over. She hasn’t reached out in some time. I’m guessing she’s still in “rage mode”. I don’t expect her to circle back. My friends and family all know bout her betrayal. If she does try to reach out though, I will remain strong.

    • Lost Guy – Your story pains me. I know you cared for her and you loved her, but she is a total fucking bitch. She is a liar and a manipulative whore who fucked another guy and made you feel like it was your fault. She went to therapy with you for a sexless marriage yet she was having sex with another man. She is a wretched human. She is trash and belongs in the gutter. She got mad at you when the she realized she wasn’t getting any cash from you? Ugh, she is repulsive and horrid.

      I’ve been cheated on twice. I know the pain and I know what it is like to 2nd guess yourself and feel so low and yet still want to be with the one who caused you harm. Being mentally abused by a cheater / narc will do that to you.

      I can assure you, you will move on and the pain will go away. It might take months or years, so set your expectations now and know there is no quick fix or a magic pill. I wish there was… Keep working on yourself and know it was never you. Try to have compassion for yourself and don’t let her cunt behavior make you feel bad about yourself, your looks, your body and anything like that.

      She is an awful, awful, manipulative, horrible woman. She’s evil.

  • Looking back, I was really doomed from the start. We were engaged for a year, and I could count on two hands the number of times we had intercourse during that time. During marriage, our therapist gave us sexual assignments to practice at home. This mostly focused on foreplay and touch. I almost always had to remind her about doing them. When we tried, it was always awkward. She would look uninterested everytime. It never advanced to actual sex. It often ended in fights. She would
    often quickly jump to divorce. She said that she knew I was miserable, and I was not impressed with her efforts.

    She never changed her last name after getting married. (Not saying that’s required, but her reasoning was off.) At first, she said that she never had the time to do the paperwork. Later, she admitted that we had so many problems in our marriage, she figured she’d just keep her name, since we probably wouldn’t last anyways.

    I guess I ignored a few red flags in this marriage. She always mentioned that she gets bored easily. I guess that explains her need to entertain other men. The deadbedroom was another issue. I forgave her for flirting with that online guy in the past. I learned later on that she sent him nudes, and discussed our relationship issues with him. After I found out about her sexual affair, I realized that she won’t change.

  • >