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Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve only very recently stumbled on your blog (actually, last night at 2 AM, and I’ve read about a hundred posts so far!). I wonder if you can help. I could really use the help, because I’ve let myself become nuts.

I was recently left by my (ex-)partner, for nobody in particular. Our relationship was never great, so, theoretically, I shouldn’t be absolutely devastated.

Thing is, in my mind, our relationship was never great because… I’m a Chump. And I was a Chump because I’m just not good enough.

I wasn’t good enough: One time, I was only a 6/10, while his AP was a 10/10. Another, I was immature and codependent. Why else would I be hurt that he tried to sleep with a new colleague (and failed; he got turned away when she found out he wasn’t single)? He didn’t end up “cheating”, and, even if he had, “millions of people get over it”. Obviously, I was only hurt because I’m not confident/mature enough to understand it’s a “him” problem. I shouldn’t have been impacted. So it’s really not cool how hurt I was since a “real woman” would just roll her eyes at his immaturity, let the affairs happen, and HELP HIM GROW through it. (I actually discovered CN by Googling “I hate Esther Perel“)

Plus, wasn’t he always nicer and more involved when he was cheating? Wasn’t it better?

And why couldn’t I just lose some weight (mind you, he chased and begged for this “fat”-monster at the beginning), or take better care of myself? After all. I’m the most interesting person he’s ever met, and he “couldn’t imagine growing old without me” and he loves me… He’s just not attracted to me anymore. And he’s definitely not attracted to the fact that I didn’t transform as a consequence of his cheating. That there was no post-traumatic growth (actually, loss – of weight), only devastation and sandwich-eating.

And recently… he grew up… And he left. And I need help, because I’m worse than a Chump, for staying for years, and THEN being left for… nobody.

Most people seem to have some self respect. Or maybe they’re not genetically predisposed to overdose on Hopium (my dad’s a Chump and my parents are still together, and she’s not cheating anymore, so there IS such a thing as meant-to-be, no?)

I mean… I dated a lot before we met, and beneath the surface, we really do click on indescribable things. Things that I value more than anything, (because, you know, death and the meaning of life) but which he values only as much as sex with other people, (because, you know, “self-actualization” and YOLO…).

So my case of Hopium is big and strong and pathetic, and I don’t even know where to start rehab.

I’m doing the “Pick Me!” dance and he’s choosing to pick nobody because he’s… Growing. He doesn’t “want to be such a shit to his next partner”.

And I’m left… Angry. Because I’m worse than a Chump — a Chump that hoped the partner will change, and now that he’s doing it, it’s for not-me.

And I’m also left… So broken. Because how can I be “an amazing person”, a “person that’s too good for this world” (etc, etc)… but not good enough for him not to have cheated on. Or for him to want to change for?

How do I deal with these feelings when I can’t even be angry? I DIDN’T LEAVE. I stayed. Years. And he left for NOBODY, to be “true to himself”. Because he gets that it wasn’t fair to me.

I’m not even a Chump anymore! I’m just rejected.

Rejected and hurt… Hurt that the mere fact that I was a Chump and took the role like a Champ (though I should’ve paid Perel for coaching sessions on how to stay with a cheater AND thrive on the situation, so I can continue to be desirable enough), now makes me wholly and eternally unappealing.

So how do I detangle the rejection from the chumpdom, and what do I do with the Hopium addiction I’ve indulged in for years?

Thank you so much,

ExtraPatheticExChumperina.

Dear EPEC,

Welcome to Chump Nation. The competition is stiff around here for who wears the chump crown, so don’t beat yourself up. Part of the condition is hoping the fuckwit will change. But you have to love yourself more and not tolerate abuse. You MATTER. Yes, more than a fuckwit.

I shall now perform my hopium detox sorcery by putting your letter through the Universal Bullshit Translator. If you’re new to the blog, the UBT is a truth-telling machine that works for cookies.

I was recently left by my (ex-)partner, for nobody in particular. Our relationship was never great, so, theoretically, I shouldn’t be absolutely devastated.

You’re human, you bonded with that thing. It’s normal to be devastated. You invested deeply of yourself. He’s not devastated, because he didn’t not invest deeply of himself. His attachments are shallow. You mistook him for a person of substance. Going forward, ask yourself why that relationship was acceptable to you? (We call this Fixing Your Picker.)

Also, he didn’t leave you for “nobody in particular.” Freaks like this never leave the pussy buffet. He tried to sleep with a new co-worker and was rebuffed? Hell-OOooo Human Resources. Anyone that boundary-less has his creepy feelers out. His pick me dance understudies are ready for prime time.

Thing is, in my mind, our relationship was never great because… I’m a Chump. And I was a Chump because I’m just not good enough.

HE is not good enough. He’s a cheater and a liar. Is that acceptable to you? Only YOU can give this man the power of “not good enough.” Says WHO? A liar and a cheat? Stop being defined by the opinion of a fuckwit.

I wasn’t good enough: One time, I was only a 6/10, while his AP was a 10/10.

He SAID that to you? And he kept all his teeth?

Another, I was immature and codependent. Why else would I be hurt that he tried to sleep with a new colleague (and failed; he got turned away when she found out he wasn’t single)? He didn’t end up “cheating”, and, even if he had, “millions of people get over it”. Obviously, I was only hurt because I’m not confident/mature enough to understand it’s a “him” problem. I shouldn’t have been impacted. 

If it’s just a “him” problem, why is he goading you into the Pick Me Dance with his affair partners?

That’s an ABUSE problem. And yes, it’s a HIM problem.

You being upset about his risking your health and emotionally abusing you isn’t “immature” — anger is the proper reaction to violation. What’s wrong is you shut that warning system down. You let him label your reaction, and you believed him. Instead, you should’ve been listening to your grief and anger and GET THE HELL AWAY alarm bells.

So it’s really not cool how hurt I was since a “real woman” would just roll her eyes at his immaturity, let the affairs happen, and HELP HIM GROW through it. (I actually discovered CN by Googling “I hate Esther Perel“)

Speaking of fuckwits who label chump reactions…. Esther Perel is a scourge.

You want to help a fuckwit grow through their infidelity? Levy consequences. He can “grow” over on an air mattress across town.

Real women and men can tell the difference between eye-rolling offenses (Mr. CL: “Look! I got $9 cargo shorts at Walmart!) and leave-your-ass offenses. (Fuckwit: “I think you’re a 6/10.”)

Apparently there’s a whole self-sabotage help industry in confusing these things.

Plus, wasn’t he always nicer and more involved when he was cheating? Wasn’t it better?

Chlamydia improves every relationship. (Eyes rolling into back of sockets…)

CHEATING IS NOT NICE.

“More involved”? — he is literally checked out with someone else. He cannot be MORE involved.

And why couldn’t I just lose some weight (mind you, he chased and begged for this “fat”-monster at the beginning), or take better care of myself? After all. I’m the most interesting person he’s ever met, and he “couldn’t imagine growing old without me” and he loves me… He’s just not attracted to me anymore. And he’s definitely not attracted to the fact that I didn’t transform as a consequence of his cheating. That there was no post-traumatic growth (actually, loss – of weight), only devastation and sandwich-eating.

You were of use. Until you weren’t. They all move the goal posts. It’s part of the mindfuck. Had you been super-model thin, he’d curse your bony ass. He’s just goading you into the pick me dance. Rejecting you makes him feel powerful.

And recently… he grew up… And he left. And I need help, because I’m worse than a Chump, for staying for years, and THEN being left for… nobody.

Most people seem to have some self respect. Or maybe they’re not genetically predisposed to overdose on Hopium (my dad’s a Chump and my parents are still together, and she’s not cheating anymore, so there IS such a thing as meant-to-be, no?)

Got some chump/cheater FOO issues? Fucked up dynamics may feel normal, but they aren’t healthy. Pick me dancing was modeled to you. You can hang up your tap-shoes as an adult.

I mean… I dated a lot before we met, and beneath the surface, we really do click on indescribable things. Things that I value more than anything, (because, you know, death and the meaning of life) but which he values only as much as sex with other people, (because, you know, “self-actualization” and YOLO…).

So my case of Hopium is big and strong and pathetic, and I don’t even know where to start rehab.

It starts with TOTAL NO CONTACT. Quit orbiting the narcissist. Cut yourself off from him, and from his judgements about you, and just be quiet with yourself. Fill your life with things that aren’t him. Every minute, every hour, every day will get incrementally better the longer you are away from him. No contact is the fastest way to healing. But yes, in the beginning it feels like kicking a drug.

Even when you bond with a barbed wire monkey, you still miss the familiarity of barbed wire.

I’m doing the “Pick Me!” dance and he’s choosing to pick nobody because he’s… Growing. He doesn’t “want to be such a shit to his next partner”.

And I’m left… Angry. Because I’m worse than a Chump — a Chump that hoped the partner will change, and now that he’s doing it, it’s for not-me.

Oh, I promise you, he’ll be a shit to his next partner. This is his operating system. His parting shot, essentially says, “I only hurt you. I’ll be better for the next one” is just another insult. Yet ANOTHER provocation to beg that he change for YOU.

It’s what grifters do — “I have this very exclusive thing, but it’s a VERY LIMITED OFFER, act now!” He wants you to think you missed out.

He will pull this shit on all of them. It makes his dick hard.

How do I deal with these feelings when I can’t even be angry? I DIDN’T LEAVE. I stayed. Years. And he left for NOBODY, to be “true to himself”. Because he gets that it wasn’t fair to me.

I’m not even a Chump anymore! I’m just rejected.

Rejected and hurt… Hurt that the mere fact that I was a Chump and took the role like a Champ (though I should’ve paid Perel for coaching sessions on how to stay with a cheater AND thrive on the situation, so I can continue to be desirable enough), now makes me wholly and eternally unappealing.

So how do I detangle the rejection from the chumpdom, and what do I do with the Hopium addiction I’ve indulged in for years?

You were rejected by an unworthy, shitty person. Consider the source. Do you respect this guy? Would you hire a hobo to judge dairy cows? A plumber to paint portraits? He has no qualifications to judge you. You think he knows you and finds you lacking — he DOESN’T KNOW YOU. You served him. That’s what he knows. He’s shallow. He sucks at judging you because he sucks as a person.

You’re feeling tangled because you put so much of yourself into a totally unworthy person. Stop it. You have the power to STOP that. You didn’t leave, okay. That’s done. Don’t give him one more minute of your precious life. Stop investing today. You control that. YOU.

Oh, and Esther Perel, as always, can go fuck herself.

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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 want Esther Perel to come down with a scorching case of herpes and shingles. Simultaneously. While her husband prances a chorus line of nubile young women through their house and asks her to get her ass out of the bedroom so he can audition them.

    EPEC – it is doubtful he left you for no one. That is what he has SAID. He has been auditioning others.

    EPEC – please read this one too:

    https://www.chumplady.com/2016/05/science-vindicates-leave-cheater-gain-life/

    • Love it No Shit,
      In addition, I’d like her husband to fuck her best friend or her sister… then I’d like him to give her a laundry list of her flaws. I want her to have received all kinds of proclamations of love and commitment from her FWH soulmate before her Ddays. I’d like her to stay with him only to be discarded for a younger woman. I’d like her husband to tell her that he’s going to go get help but not so he can be with her. I’d like there to be huge financial loss involved. I want her to have to move and lose a lot of her friends.
      How dare she minimize abuse.

      • Exactly. I took a college class years ago, right after my H’s discard/abuse of me, and the instructor was a woman who espoused the same drivel. I hope she has lived to eat those words.

        I was to raw then to even react, if it were now I would gut her with her own words.

      • If she weren’t an only child, I’d vote for her best friend AND her sibling. Simultaneously. Plus everything else you suggested.

        Rub her nose RAW, then scold her for not being more mature.

        • OK, really I don’t wish this type of abuse on anybody – excluding 0W and fuckwit – I’m not that evolved! However she should not be giving advice and talking about this type of abuse like it’s a minimal inconvenience in somebody’s life – let alone the blame shifting she does etc. Watching her YouTube videos before I found CL made me accept blame, minimize the abuse, feel sorry for my cheater and want to help fix things.

    • “EPEC – it is doubtful he left you for no one. That is what he has SAID. He has been auditioning others.”

      Agree. Don’t trust a thing these cheaters say. He’s got someone else lined up or has feelers out. Don’t they all?

      Because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I wonder how he’ll manage sex with the new OW. Oh, wait. He won’t care about COVID. YOLO overwhelms health concerns. To these entitled jerks, YOLO stands for, “To hell with everyone else. It’s all about me, me, me, me, me. I will, however, make you feel as if it’s all about *your* inadequacies. It’s not that I’m an entitled jerk; it’s just that you’re so…sensitive and not a ‘real woman’.” (Note: all of us here got a heaping version of this type of shitty rationalization.)

      The 6/10 comment just shows that he’s not only a jerk but a cruel one at that. What a hurtful comment!

      I agree with CL. Go NC and reap the benefits. You’re better off without this fuckwit.

      Two more cents:

      *Make a list of all the shitty things he’s done and said. Refer to it if he ever slithers back. Snakes don’t have spines, but you do.

      *Also, read CL’s book. (I have a personal preference for the audible version! The narrator–Laura Copland– does a great job!)

      And welcome to CN! You are in good company.

      • I’m a male chump and I detest the unsympathetic drivel that spews from Esther’s mouth.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how kind and patient a person is, it’s nearly impossible to truly understand the hurt and pain that comes from being cheated, if they haven’t experienced betrayal.

        If Perel’s husband were to give her the same treatment that so many on CN have experienced, would we forgive her and welcome her to CN if she asked to join?

        • I don’t think I’m that evolved. Forgiving is a religious concept, and I’m not especially religious.

          Although I did have some sympathy for my sister when she discovered that her husband of twenty years had a mistress and CHILDREN (when my sister couldn’t conceive) who followed them around from town to town for the entire length of their marriage. And this was the same sister who slept with my first husband, didn’t deny it when confronted and instead attacked me for “talking to Dad about this.” (Uh — Dad sat me down and told me there was something I ought to know . . . AFTER I divorced the fuckwit.) I had some sympathy for her — I don’t think I’d ever welcome her to CN.

          • Dad sat me down and told me there was something I ought to know . . .

            Ouch! I hope you’re healing well.

            • That was in 1981. I arrived at Meh about the husband decades ago; the sister not so much.

        • Chump King, I bet she would never ask to join. She’s far too up her own ass. Unlike us chumps, she would probably take zero responsibility, dump him and move on to her next project.

    • I heard that too, he left because of my long list of inadequacies including he was concerned for my mental well being. Like any caring, loving spouse concerned about the mental health of their spouse, ex left me. Ex even made a female friend at the gym to cover any suspicions I might have.
      After I came out of the fog of hopium, spackle, and he wasn’t that kind of guy mindset.
      It was obvious he had someone, and I was a Chump for believing that he wasn’t that kind of guy.

      I must say I can relate to the excitement of finding a pair of cargo shorts for $9.00 at Wal-mart.

  • Dear EPEC – I had to reply, because I hear so so so much of myself in your email.
    The most useful things I can think of are:
    – he’s going to cheat again. His moral code is so completely and utterly lacking.
    – there would be surely nothing worse than spending your life with someone who didn’t make you completely happy, valued and someone who you could trust. He’s proven he can’t do that. His big promises (to himself) of the man he’ll be in the future are quite literally irrelevant. He wasn’t the man he reckons he can be, when he was with you, so he’s lost you (and, my personal opinion? He’s deluding himself. He’s an awful person, proven by his awful things)
    – I hear how devastating it is to be defined and characterised in the way he has. Remember though, he needs to find evidence that lets him convince himself he’s not a horrendous man. Surround yourself with people who truly know you, and let them tell you what they see in you – guaranteed it won’t be the same as him, and you’ll respect these people more than a lier, gaslighter and a cheat.
    – EVEN IF YOU WERE THE WORLD’S WORST HUMAN, YOU DONT DESERVE TO BE CHEATED ON. (And therefore his justifications are all completely worthless)

    I hope with every single tiny part of me that you can read through your email, and notice how much self-deprecation and self-abuse there is in there. Honestly, you need every single little bit of care, love, support and gentleness for yourself at the moment, so save the hatred for him. It’s so so important.
    Sending love and support, from someone who has written essentially the same letter in the past few weeks. I’m a bit ahead of you, and I promise it gets better. You ARE strong and you ARE better than him.

    • PS, it doesn’t matter if he leaves you for nobody or for someone – you.dont.want.him. (and even if there is someone else, it’s either short-lived, or the source of repeated behaviour) . He can do whatever he wants, with whoever he wants, whenever he wants. It doesn’t matter now. You’re better than him and if you’re with him, you won’t get a chance to realise that. You know the phrase “dodged a bullet”? Get it on your fridge.

        • Regardless of the cheating, he has told you that you’re not enough. And it’s not true.
          Never stay with anybody who tells you you are not good enough for them.
          It is a blessing in disguise that he is leaving now. That type of emotional abuse will leave you feeling worthless.
          RUN to no contact and to working on yourself so that you are overflowing with self-love.
          He sucks, you don’t.

          • I second this! Telling you you’re not enough is a big, fat, flapping red flag. This all alone is reason not to stay with him. A man who will tell you this, even in the heat of anger, is a man who has thought this. A man who has thought this is not a man who is on your side or has your back. Dump HIM!

      • Wow. Just, wow. I was in this position exactly six years ago. Felt like my entire self-worth was lost forever. But more importantly, I came to realize it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Free of the abuse. Free of all the mind games and bullshit and feelings of inadequacy. I myself got “Well, you’re no Brad Pitt.” Well no, I’m not Brad Pitt. If I was, my name would be Brad Pitt. My ex has gone through at least four men after she dumped me six years ago. I guess Brad Pitt is a hard man to find.

        I still have time in my life to be happy and make happy memories. But it’s also true that it hurts like hell. For a long time. Nobody who is an authentic person should have to go through this.

        • LifeUpsideDown, you are right we shouldn’t have to go through this. You just reminded me that I got “you’re not Julia Roberts” among other doozies from 1st H. He wasn’t even a cheater! When separating he told me I was a beautiful woman, just not for him. We too had all kinds of amazing things together when he wasn’t sporadically making me feel like shit. If they cut you down or emotionally abuse you, it doesn’t matter what they can offer you in terms of making your life better – it will never be better in the long run.
          The emotional number H #1 did on me probably caused me to not properly evaluate the love bombing from H #2 who is the cheater.

          • “If they cut you down or emotionally abuse you, it doesn’t matter what they can offer you in terms of making your life better – it will never be better in the long run.
            The emotional number H #1 did on me probably caused me to not properly evaluate the love bombing from H #2 who is the cheater.”

            WOW! This one hit home. As my first husband was leaving 25 year old me to go live with his mistress, he told me, “You’re too fat. You’re too ugly. I deserve something better, so I’m leaving. Goodbye.” At 5’8 and 127 pounds, I certainly was not too fat. But the pain of hearing that probably contributed to me falling for husband number two, also a cheater.

            The first husband came back when he found out the mistress wasn’t willing to finance the lifestyle he thought he deserved . . . but things were never, ever the same. Even if he had not gone on to cheat with everyone who had the proper orifice, he would have been a shitty husband and a shitty partner.

            • The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants, yes it takes A LOT of healing when you have been diminished and devalued. I didn’t heal after the trauma of marriage #1. I was too busy taking care of my kids, working, worrying and making a life without a partner … and everybody told me it was all his issues. Even the many therapists I went to with H#1 made it clear he was the one with the problem. They could not believe the things that came out of his mouth.
              What is surprising in retrospect, is that not one person told me maybe I should get some help in order to heal. I think I come across as very strong and together. The thinking was that once I’m away from him, I’ll be fine.
              Not true, it left scars. I stayed single on purpose for years. Now I’m doubly scarred because I ended up marrying Mr. Wonderful – complete opposite of H#1, always full of compliments, loving words and loving gestures. Then the sudden discard for younger 0W. So my kids had to go through yet another ordeal – and they too loved Mr. wonderful and felt very bonded to him.

              The difference for me is, now I know I’m scarred. I’m working on it and because of this site and other reading etc I’m starting to feel better and know my worth.
              Never minimize what emotional abuse will do to you. But we can heal.
              I’m realizing as I’m writing this, that I also didn’t acknowledge the scarring caused from an unstable sporadically emotionally abusive father.
              But this is stopping now.
              Wishing everybody healing.

        • I was told I was no “June Cleaver”.

          Was that supposed to be an insult?

          I was also not like his Mother.
          Thank God.

      • Jess (originally Jessica, correct?),

        I’m w/you. EPEC dodged a bullet. Not only did her FW partner leave her (thank God), but it sounds like their was no marriage, and no kids. EPEC, it could have been SO much worse. Take it from me, someone who thought they had a true, caring partner, a soulmate for the rest of their life. I was the one who married a person I thought was my friend first since high school, who I thought became more than that in late college after my father had just died (probably contributed to me missing red flags, but it was still up to me to see them). I had three beautiful children w/the FW XW, and lived together married for 24+ years (we lived together unmarried for two years while I finished college).

        I was so head-over-heels in love w/the FW XW that, early on in our marriage, she told me I was an uxorious husband. It’s a word firmly based in Latin, and it refers to a man who dotes on or adores his wife (or is submissive to his wife, in Webster’s, it seems). I would not categorize myself as having been submissive to the FW XW.

        [Like many husbands, I think, I let her have her way on many things because it seemed to make her happy. Since I loved her, I tried whenever I could to make her happy. It was important to me that she was happy. And most of the time, what she had to have her way on wasn’t that important to me. If something was important to me, and we disagreed, then I spoke up and or dug in my heels, if I felt strongly about it. It seems those were the times she most held things against me. Looking back now? What a fucking surprise. Not.]

        The FW XW was capable of being very intelligent when it came to things other than relationships, morals, love, etc., and loves Latin. I know, duh, when she’s calling me uxorious. Who else would do that? When we were just friends I had unrequited love for her without admitting it publicly (although at least some people noticed it, I’m sure). Her intelligence and general narcissistic sparkle drew me in. I was blind to it then. It didn’t hurt that she was beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how it was only skin deep.

        What I’m trying to say in my very roundabout way is that EPEC is so similar to many of us here at CN. The FW XW and I were flawed partners (in my case, deeply flawed). That doesn’t excuse the abuse these fuckwits perpetrated on us thru their cheating and betrayal(s). We at least did not blow apart our vows in such a shitty fashion, or commit intentional acts of abuse against our partners by cheating on them. They did. That, in my mind, is what takes it to an unacceptable level in many people’s eyes, and certainly to us here at CN. I think that’s why a good portion of society still holds those that commit adultery or that cheat on their committed partners in such contempt. It wasn’t listed as one of the Ten Commandments for nothing. It’s seriously fucked-up shit to do to your partner.

        EPEC, you weren’t a perfect partner. I wasn’t a perfect partner. Jess/Jessica wasn’t a perfect partner. Hell, even CL and Mr. CL weren’t perfect partners. The point is, THERE’S NO SUCH THING. You do the best you can, and when you hit a rough patch in your relationship, you try to work it out, w/out the cheating and the abuse it entails. You honor your commitment until you truly can’t. Then, if you feel you’ve exhausted all you can do, you tell your partner you can’t do it anymore, you’re not happy and you don’t see a way towards being happy w/your partner anymore. Then, you either break up, or separate w/a mind toward divorce if you’re married, as amicably as you can. You show your soon-to-be ex-partner that at least you respect them enough to do that. That’s what a caring adult does.

        As for what your cheating FW of an ex-partner says or thinks about you? It can take awhile, but you really do have to wrap your mind around the fact that if they are willing to treat you w/the lack of respect cheating involves, they are the ones that suck, not you (it really is a bare minimum not to cheat on your committed partner). Write it on the walls around you in letters a foot high if you need to: TRUST THAT THEY (HE) SUCK(S) (apologies to John Mortimer’s Rumpole).

        You have to shake yourself loose of the idea that what they think, possibly what they ever thought of you, DOESN’T MATTER. They are in no way capable of judging you. They’re morally bankrupt. So they have no good claim to evaluate you, nor an unbiased perspective. They only care about themselves, as shown by their betrayal through cheating. So, anybody not filling their current list of wants is useless, TO THEM. Not to the rest of us. They are poor representatives of humanity. Don’t let him/them try to define your worth. You’re already so much better than him/them, because you showed respect and love towards him/them. They don’t get that, and probably never will. Because they’re FUCKWITS.

        EPEC, I wish you lots of love, health and happiness in your future. You might not think you deserve that right now, but you do. All of us here at CN do. You deserve to be treated way better than your fuckwit partner behaved towards you. Start learning to love yourself for who you are, and you will. Don’t let the fuckwit’s words gain any purchase in your brain. Otherwise, they’ve won. And that would be a travesty. You’re so much better than any of these fuckwits. Believe that. Reach out to us if you need it. Somebody here is always willing to help.

        Jess/Jessica, thanks for letting me use your post as a springboard. I wish you love, health and happiness, too. And to the rest of CN as well.

        Side note: I blasted Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” yesterday in my car. It felt great, because I heard it growing up as a kid, but now I understand it so much better. It was in response to literally having the FW XW and her AP having to stop the AP’s car for me at a local crosswalk on Sunday, after I’d just seen my kids (who were heading to a spot to be w/the FW XW and the AP) and walking 10 miles for exercise. I turned, looked THRU those pieces of shit, and then continued on my way. I don’t give a flying fuck about the FW XW and AP now, so long as they don’t fuck around w/my children’s happiness. The song just felt like the right one to listen to after that.

        Sorry for the length.😬

        • the long-run, your story sounds so much like mine, I could have written it myself. I can so relate to giving all you had to your spouse because you wanted her to be happy. That’s what good spouses do. Normal people are thankful for having thoughtful people in their lives. Narcissists just exploit it.

          I was stupid enough to believe I was being a good husband for not pressuring my ex to go back to work once my kids were of school age. I thought she would be happy to do what she pleased during the day when the kids were at school. Maybe even do the stuff around the house she complained of not having time for. Sell, she was happy to have that free time during the day all right. And when we separated, she took me to the cleaners for child and spousal support on account of her not being employed when we separated. She has two degrees and a teaching certificate. And she hasn’t been able to find a full time job for six years now? Really? So she can now live off the support and make a little extra as a supply teacher of she starts running low.

          But anyway, I understand your situation more than I would like to. Stay strong?

  • You know you deserve better
    He has no right to give you ratings
    He conveniently gave her more
    Its not about weight, size its about control
    He’s telling himself what he wants to hear.
    I knew people who were 6 stone, people 20 stone, it makes no difference people who cheat live in a different reality
    I unfortunately have known ow, they live on a different planet, they are desperate for a man, and do you know what they think there more beautiful and its a lot of crap.

  • In my life I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to be defined by somebody who has their moral compass set to nothingness.

    I was told that my definition of infidelity was too narrow. I choose to believe that being on porn 24/7 on the phone, chatting with other women about what he would like to do to them and where he would like to deposit his semen on them, telling the entire world all of my shortcomings and how much he despised me and the state of my vagina (dry. I wonder why…) were grounds for infidelity.

    As my mother said, and she was not one to talk because she stayed in an abusive marriage her whole life but this was gold: hit me again because I’m not sure you meant it the first time.

    I choose me. I chose therapy. I chose Al-Anon to learn how to live without being a submissive enabler. I chose me. I choose not to be defined by a cheating, lying, self-absorbed person with no empathy, no ambition and who will take his hand and pornography over me every single time.

    Am I wrong?

    • “hit me again because I’m not sure you meant it the first time”, that just made a lot of sense to me. I’ve been punched and kicked in the gut a few times (sports related), and cheating when you find out feels almost exactly the same.

  • Dear EPEC,
    I was a form of you. Please I beg you to RUN! Don’t look back. Trust to your core that he sucks! Trust to your core, YOU DON’T SUCK!! 🤗💕Head forward at whatever pace you can manage from that single truth. Just do the next right thing. It will take a long time for you to really think about it as emotional abuse. I took years to see all the pretty red flags I missed/ ignored. They are there. You will see them when you are ready to examine yourself and why this happened. Good luck!

    • Chickenchump, exactly.
      Not only does it take a while to realize that you’ve been emotionally abused… it takes a while to understand what that did to you. The cheating makes it more obvious that he’s an abuser, but even without the cheating he’s an abuser – rating you looks!!!! Fuck that.

  • He is an emotionally abusive piece of shit. You deserve better. Please stop speaking to yourself the way he did. Positive self-talk. Pick something you want to do that you couldn’t do with him around – writing, singing, playing an instrument, planning a trip, juggling. Make it something just for you. Be kind and positive to yourself as you do it. The world is your oyster, you are a pearl.

  • Gaining freedom suddenly is its own trauma but once you get a grip and open your eyes and glance around the room, over your shoulder, peek in half empty closets – you can close your eyes and breath – because you don’t have that 600 lb gorilla piece of shit hammering at your head 24-7 non stop anymore. And the relief tastes better than your favorite ice cream. You’re still traumatized by his sick evil crazy but when you’re ready, go. Run. Be free. You’ve escaped. I’ll be giggling with you when you realize it. Run, baby.

  • In my case I was so deeply defined by my FOO: cruel critical belittling covert-narc mother and enabling distant alcoholic dad. I internalized this in my entire life and relationships with controlling types including a cheater.

    Finally as I began healing from my abusive relationship, I subconsciously realized I had to distance myself from the toxic FOO dynamic. I’ve been gratefully reading this blog and other resources for 3 years… and like magic my life is peaceful, hopeful and free. Life with a narcissist is a desolate soul-destroying wasteland.

    Love you CL. Dear UBT – pls accept my offering of a chocolate macadamia chunky cookie!!

  • I know that this sounds hollow right now, but he actually did you a huge favor. He won’t be better for anyone else. Asshole is who he is, right down to the bone. As you heal, you will realize that.

    Hugs, and be gentle with your self. It’s going to get better, as long as you break contact with him now, and refuse to have anything to do with him. Think of any contact as him poisonous, because it truly is.

    • “Oh, I promise you, he’ll be a shit to his next partner.”

      Take that to the bank! They don’t change.

  • “You want to help a fuckwit grow through their infidelity? Levy consequences.” I wish I this had on a t shirt years ago. Poor broken things…can only get better f*&&^ strange. Not.

      • You want to help a fuckwit grow through their infidelity? Levy consequences. He can “grow” over on an air mattress across town.

        This. This. I finally did THIS!

        Love bomb has detonated tho BIG TIME. HELP!!

        • My only regret is that I didn’t find out what my fuckwith was doing until just before he left. If I had known, there is not doubt I would have blown it wide open. Oh I would have been in shock for a few weeks, but I would have gotten myself together and blown it open.

          Just as I did when I finally did find out.

  • There is an old song, performed by several vocalists, that claims “You’re nobody till somebody loves you, you’re nobody till somebody cares.” The tune is catchy, but the message makes me cringe. I think most chumps, and many people in our culture internalize this message to mean you must have a mate. So you find one who agrees to live with you, and use all you provide, but never actually commits to be your exclusive mate. So you spackle and bend yourself like a pretzel, and make your needs small, and the mates priorities huge. EPEC, you did anything to say “my boyfriend”, or “my husband”.

    Here is the thing — He was never yours. He was only into himself, his needs, his wants, his desires. He may have shared your address, but he never shared your values. He was a mirage, a vision you created to be who you wanted him to be, who he could be, if only. . . He was someone you could refer to when talking with friends and family, as someone who loved you. So you could be somebody.

    Hopium is the drug of choice for those who want to be somebody, because, well there is a warm body somewhere in proximity, and that’s proof, right? Seriously, how low can our standard of what’s acceptable be?

    You can blame this guy all day long for being a jerk. Sounds like he was always a jerk. I bet he will always be a jerk. Decide he is not acceptable to you, not necessary for you to be somebody.

    Decide on who you want to be, what you want to do, where you want to live, by yourself. Make your decisions based on your values. You do not have to be perfect or achieve perfection, even by your own standards, to be somebody. To paraphrase Descartes, You exist, therefore You are somebody. Having a mate, any mate, just so you can pretend that somebody loves you will never be the right answer. Be proud of the self you choose to be. You may be a work in progress, but you are still somebody.

    If you never value yourself, how can you be of value to another person? Get out of the funk, take a shower, wash away your previous misconceptions, set a goal. Take small steps, if necessary, but step away from the problem. You may have problems to solve, but he is his own problem and you are not responsible for solving his problem. Solve your own. You are enough. After all, you are somebody.

  • Where does this guy live? I need to quickly go over there to rip his damn head off ….!!!

    All stories here are rough, but man….this one has something extra about it

  • So this guy took a strong woman, convinced her he loved her and then manipulated her into being a doormat. He demanded it of her and convinced her that not being a doormat made her a bad partner. Then, after years of abuse wore her down and she became a doormat to please him, he leaves because she’s a doormat and that’s unattractive. What a poss. EPEC, you don’t need that in your life. You don’t need a man who will tear you down, make you vulnerable, and then leave you to fend for yourself. It’s time to prove him wrong about who you are. It is time for you to pull yourself up and go gain a life now that you don’t have him dragging you down anymore. Let this be a learning experience that keeps you from making those same mistakes again. From now on you will stick up for yourself. You will be an independent woman who can take care of herself and if you do chose to date again, because you want to and not because you think you need a man in your life to have self-worth, then cheating is a deal breaker, the first time. If he tells you you’re a 6/10 then tell him he can go look for a 10/10 and good luck with that. If he doesn’t think you are a 10/10 then he obviously has poor taste in women and he’s too clueless to be your partner. If a man says he can’t imagine life without you then he needs to act like he can’t imagine life without you. All of this isn’t going to happen overnight. You need time to grieve and time to heal. It will take time, but you will get your self-esteem and your life back. You can at least start that process now through no contact to get him and the trauma he put you through out of your head. Trust that he sucks, trust that you don’t suck, and trust that you will feel better with time. You will survive and be stronger and wiser for it.

    • “So this guy took a strong woman, convinced her he loved her and then manipulated her into being a doormat. He demanded it of her and convinced her that not being a doormat made her a bad partner. Then, after years of abuse wore her down and she became a doormat to please him, he leaves because she’s a doormat and that’s unattractive.”

      This is exactly my story as well, chumpinrecovery. Except he left because I dared to pick my head up off the floor and say “No” when he tried to walk over me one day. But I know how hard it is to get up off the floor when you’ve been bullied into lying there, and when you’ve trained yourself to take it. All your self-care muscles are atrophied to jelly….

      But you’ll do it, EPEC. Know how I know? Because I did it. And because there isn’t any other choice for us. He’s not coming back. No one’s coming back. We have to pick ourselves up off the floor and learn to be a 3-dimensional woman again instead of the 2-dimensional one we let him make us. And you know what, when we start to expand into that other dimension, it feels SO great. It happened for me one night in bed at 2 am when I couldn’t sleep. But all of a sudden, I felt like I was swelling up inside myself to my full size, like I had shrunken down inside myself and was swelling up like one of those little foam dinosaurs you put in water. I was finally the shape of myself again (or getting there), and it felt so awesome I chuckled out loud in bed and said to nobody, “I’m back.” It’ll happen to you, too, once you’re out from under the guy who keeps squashing you flat. And there’s nothing like it.

      • Yes, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Maybe EPEC did try to stick up for herself, he was offended and squashed her again and then blamed her for letting herself be squashed. That happened to me. I did start to push back, ex responded with anger and resentment and I allowed myself to be small again for fear of losing him (when I should have been wanting to lose him). About two months before DDay he took me to dinner seemingly wanting to talk, but he wasn’t listening. He told me I needed to show more self-confidence. I responded honestly with “you have a role to play in that you know”. I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. I should have left right then but I didn’t. Ironically, after DDay is when I finally found my backbone. I was willing to reconcile, but I wasn’t willing to accept the blame for the break down of our marriage. He would say it is my fault we couldn’t reconcile because I wasn’t willing to self-reflect. To me it was clear that he wasn’t doing any and I didn’t want to carry that burden alone. Thank god he chose to run off with Schmoopie instead of trying to reconcile. I have so much more self-confidence now without him there constantly dragging me down. And EPEC, there is definitely another OW in the mix. Let her deal with him.

      • okupin “I was finally the shape of myself again” This is beautiful!

        and just generally.. I think I read this here once, and it may apply to today’s letter: “You think that something is better than nothing, but nothing is actually better” especially when it comes to cheaters

      • Yes! They want someone of quality. Then they devalue, criticize, abuse. If we take it and stay, they lose all respect and despise us. If we stand up to them or leave, they hate us.

        It’s not a game you can win, so the only solution is to stop playing.

  • Dump this low life piece of shit. You can bet he DID NOT leave you for NO-ONE. He is a piece of shit. Walk away and let someone else deal with him!

  • Meh comes when you stop asking why and just accept your ex is an asshole no longer worthy of your time or tears.

    Even if he seems to change and saves orphans and cures covid. Still an asshole. Still not worth your time.

    It really is about them. That’s why beautiful people are also cheated on. Because it’s a cheater behaviour.

    Throw away all your momentos, delete him from your phone. End any communication. Start living. He no longer exists in your new world of limitless possibility.

  • Dear Esther P,
    My husband was swinging a knife around and it cut me pretty badly. He says it’s my fault for not getting out of the way. I have a long scar and he says he is no longer attracted to me. He says his only interests are women with no scars.

    Dear Esther P.
    My husband was driving with me and going too fast he had a wreck. I am paralyzed from the waist down. He says he will no longer stay with me because I can’t hike with him anymore. He is looking for a hiking partner.

    Dear Esther P,
    My husband says the stretch marks I got from being pregnant and nursing aren’t attractive. He likes smooth bellies and breasts.

    Dear Esther P,
    I am turning 40/50/60/70 and my husband says I am getting too saggy and wrinkled. He likes them younger.

    Dear Esther P,
    I need …………………………………………..

  • a.) He didn’t leave you for no one. He’s lying.
    b.) He will be back. Therefore, you have to get yourself rocket-launched into a new life and new way of seeing yourself, so that you don’t take the bait. Serious about this. You talk about wasting years, and if you don’t want to waste MORE years, or even days or minutes, then make no contact your highest priority. No, I don’t have a crystal ball, but ask anyone on here. He WILL try to keep you on the hook; I can tell by the language he used. Your solution is two-fold: ZERO contact and then therapy or whatever kind of healing will help you see yourself truthfully.

    • I was thinking exactly this! He will be back. NC. Please NC. I lived with my ex for 6 years when I discovered his numerous affair partners and failed attempted affair partners. I kicked him out–he love bombed, I MARRIED him. I can’t believe what a chump i was. He moved me across the country. I got pregnant. He asked me “what do you want to do about it?” for the entire first trimester!! He had me drive home his co-worker once and was flirting with her the entire ride. He was fucking or trying to fuck everyone. I look back now and remember how hard it was for me to divorce him and I just can’t believe how warped my brain was. 17 f’ing years of my life with this awful person who i now have to co-parent with. I so wish someone had told me to go no contact, walk away and not be afraid to be on my own. I wasn’t even in love with him—women are raised to feel the end goal is to have a partner. This is why I tell my daughter that these disney movies are crap. When she was little she told me she wanted to be a Princess. I said to her “Why? What is it that princesses do?” She thought about it for a second and shrugged her shoulders. I told her—what is it you want to DO?? My point is–and i know i’m rambling–FYI is spot-on. You must go No Contact and stay far away from this person who has robbed you of your own self-worth. You can do it. You will be so happy you did.

      • Glad you had the ‘princess’ talk with your daughter! Women are very trained to believe that their worth is measured by the man in their life (and what that man does for a living).

        I told my sister recently that I was feeling lonely after watching couples post about their wedding anniversaries on social media. She said, ‘Yeah, and which of those couples do you truly respect and admire?’ And…I couldn’t come up with an answer.

  • EPEC, I don’t believe he’s leaving you for nobody. A few years ago I read a research that yes, some women do leave husbands when nobody else is involved (and many cheating women for their APs) but men practically always leave when they’ve lined up another woman. So no, I don’t believe he left you for nobody.

    • Oh, hell yeah.

      When mine told me he wanted a separation, I said, “You must be having an affair. Men don’t leave their wives unless they’re having an affair.”

      He sneered, “You always think you’re so smart. I’m not having an affair.”

      Three days later, he admitted to having a 2 1/2 year affair.

      Guess I am “so smart” after all!

  • He left you for nobody? I’ll call BS on that one.

    When stbx told me he was moving out and wanted a divorce, he said he just wanted to be single. He claimed he wasn’t having an affair and did not want to be in another relationship.

    I couldn’t understand how I was so horrible to make him walk away from a newborn baby. I was devastated and emotionally destroyed.

    Guess what? At that time, he already had 2 vacations booked with the OW.

    Cheaters cheat. Cheaters lie. Cheaters get caught and learn to hide it better.

    Since he left you, another great book to read is The Journey From Abandonment to Healing. It helps explain the trauma of abandonment.

  • The opening scene of “The Way Way Back” (2013) features Steve Carrell as a douche-bag asking his girlfriend’s 15-year old son what he thinks he is on a scale of 1-to-10, then coldly stating: “I think you’re a 3.”

    The movie follows on a summertime journey in which the boy struggles prove to himself that he’s better than a 3, or a 6, or any number for that matter.

    Eventually he voices his struggle to a free-spirit co-worker: “I didn’t want to have to answer it (the original question)! I shouldn’t have to answer!”

    The co-worker counsels him: “Listen to me. That’s about him, man. That’s all about him. It’s got nothing to do with you.”

    EPEC’s ex would likely say he was being honest and motivational, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that he was actually being cruel and controlling.

  • I get this fear every single day – that he’s going to be better for his OWife .

    His life since leaving me almost 17 months ago has changed so much from what we had for 19 years .

    What if he doesn’t lie to her
    What if he doesn’t gaslight her
    What if he doesn’t cheat on her
    What if he doesn’t steel from her
    What if he really loves her

    Does this mean he only did it to me ?? I know now he never loved me at all but that hurts like a MoFo

    It’s the most horrible feeling so I totally understand these thoughts .

    Big (( hugs )))

    • I get it.

      Just yesterday, my daughter brought some leftover home-baked bread back from XW’s house. XW made dinner – we’re talking store pasta and sauce – maybe a dozen times in our 17-year marriage, and now she makes her own sourdough from scratch? I think about all the things I could have done with my kids (or my marriage) if I’d hadn’t been the only adult cooking and taking care of the family.

      But you know what? That wasn’t an option for me. XW was never going to offer more, I was too chicken to ask for more, we were set in a pattern and XW refused any conversation about changing it. My “choice” was original XW (mediocre wife and mother) or nothing. The fact that she can pull off “new and improved” just means that her piss-poor attitude during our marriage was a choice that she made. She was capable of more the whole time, and just couldn’t be bothered. That’s not someone I want to live with.

      • Oh how I could have written this IG

        In 19 years my ex never cooked me a meal or a cup of tea or cleaned the house not once , not his job you see .

        He moved in with me and from the start he said “ you did it before I moved in so it doesn’t matter if it’s for 1 or 2 people you’d still cook and clean “

        I was so weak and so in love that I didn’t want to upset him or him to leave me , so I just accepted that for 19 years .

        • Utter disregard of your time… it’s easier to see in others than it was in myself. I guess maybe we’re the type to hope for some genuine mutual exchange to come after the fog lifts… which never happens.

      • I love what you said, IG. Thank you so much for replying to my little (long) letter #pathetic.

        “She was capable of more the whole time, and just couldn’t be bothered.” This really resonates with me. I tried many times to broach the subject with my ex, after the cheating and while we were still together. “If I’m as amazing as you sometimes say I am, why not work with me so we can be utterly amazing together?”. Because he doesn’t have the energy. Because I don’t inspire him.
        … Probably because I wanted him. Because maybe he really does live the way Esther Perel describes. Maybe for them, the only thing that’s worth it is the chase.
        He wanted me to be more independent. To make him feel like there was a chance to lose me. For me to be half disinterested in his existence. For him to be forced to improve to get my affection and never get it.
        I think he submitted me to the type of treatment he secretly wanted. Or not. I don’t even know anymore, this decade of my life was so confusing.
        Whatever it was… I really resonate with your reply. I only had two options: fuckwit expartner, or this heart-ache… Never any deep, meaningful planning or conversation. That was the pattern and I was too weak to change it.
        And it hurts. And fuck your XW’s sourdough. I’m sure you could make better if you were the type of person to dedicate his life to personal skills and other selfish pursuits, instead of seeking true relationships with others.

        • If you were independent, he’d use that as an excuse too. Mr. CL got “You’re so independent I didn’t think you needed all of me.”

          If they blameshift, they blameshift.

        • Mine told me “if you just stop wanting me so much, I’ll pay attention to you.” I did that too. I tried everything. (He still cheated for two decades. Same (satanic) church, different pew).

      • “She was capable of more the whole time, and just couldn’t be bothered. That’s not someone I want to live with.”

        Thank you for this! I have watched as my now ex has done for himself what he never did when we were married and left for me to do, and it has hurt. I have said to myself, it’s not that he couldn’t, it’s just that he wouldn’t do it for you. That hurt. What you have said re-framed his behavior in very useful ways for me: He was capable of more the whole time, but chose not to do/give it. And why would I want to be married to someone who made it clear he didn’t think I was worth what he’d do for himself?

        • Maybe people in certain relationships get stuck in a certain way with relating to each other—good or bad.

          When those people move on to different relationships it breaks up the old loop between the once couple. Doesn’t make the new relationship any better. Just different. In fact, with the shitty character of cheaters, maybe they’ll find new ways to tank their new relationships.

    • I guess maybe what hurts about watching them change for the better (or imagining that they will; my new mantra is: “Trust that they suck!”) is that they never saw us. I often felt, especially towards the end, that I was put in a box that I didn’t even belong in. “You always react that way” – What? i wasn’t even going to, and why would I? “You’ll never continue this streak of X, or Y”. “Why do you even bother?”…
      I guess they have to start diminishing us on some level to be able to justify looking for Twu Wuv. And it sucks because we can’t do it, and it hurts to feel that, if only they’d seen us (Pick me dance, or just-see-me-again!) the complete way we really are… we could’ve been great.
      But we have to Trust that they suck. That’s why they look elsewhere. What’s actually missing is inside, and they’ll always look elsewhere: that’s why they suck!

      • I think even when we know intuitively that they are not going to change, we all secretly fear that they will become a better person for the next one. And they like us to think they are nicer to rub our faces in our “failure” as partners. Even now, I still sometimes wonder if my ex has changed for the better. But she continues to replace her iDick every 12-18 months when a new shiny model comes out. She will always have the emotional depth of a mud puddle. And there is no end to the supply of douchebags to keep her amused. Not my kind of life, thank you.

        • Yes, I remember thinking she is going to get the wonderful life I should have had. She didn’t. Oh they ended up married, and maybe they are happy, I can’t know that, nor does it really matter.

          What I do know is, they withdrew from all the activities that he and I were involved in, he loved those activities, so there had to be a reason. They ran up massive gambling debts. had to sell their house/file bankruptcy, (my son bought it) and they moved into the small attached apt, then they caused a big blow up between them and my son about three or four years in.

          My son had to sell the house, just to get away from them. He talks to his dad every once in a while. My daughter in law refuses to this day (2 years later) to speak to either of them.

          So are they living the dream? Guess it depends on what the dream was. My guess is she is pretty happy, (she had nothing to lose) he likely is in hell. But, he won’t ever admit it. He will barrel on through, take his fun where he can get it, and no one else will matter much. Though he did tell my daughter in law once that he probably should have stayed with me.

          Once we entered our legal separation though, staying with me was not an option. So I am not sure what he meant by that.

      • ^^^^^THIS!!
        EPEC. Write it in your journal, on your mirrors, on whatever you’re seeing daily to remember and remind you! Trust me he will swing by again. Trust that you do not suck.

        Trust that he sucks. He has to manage his image. IT will look like life is a fairytale but it’s smoke and mirrors. You know what he is.

      • That’s the second move in their cycle–devaluation. They can’t cheat on someone they haven’t devalued.

    • “Angry and Controlling Men” sounds about right. I definitely will, as soon as I get through our wonderful hostess’ material. I’m making a list!

      Thank you!

  • My ex said he was leaving because he had ‘never lived alone and needed to grow’. Don’t believe their tales. The real them comes out if there is any property or money to divide up.

    It’s hard leaving the familiar, but why stay in a lukewarm marriage of convenience? Single is better than half hearted coupledom. He does not have your back so turn him loose. You deserve better, and you need to embrace that truth.

  • If he actually doesn’t have a current AP (though he probably does – all cheaters are liars), he’s almost certainly got one (or 2 or 3) on the line and he’s just working on reeling her (or them) in.

    Trust that he sucks!

    • Oh… Well.. He has SEVERE self-confidence issues. We’ve been chatting since our breakup, pretty openly. Even before, actually. I know that he desperately wants to fuck ALL the hot women I’ll never be. And that he’s currently fucking nobody because he’s (currently) lame. But that he’s really, really hoping to drown in it soon.

      My problem was that I never had the clarity that He Sucks. I just saw a broken man, whose insecurities I could relate to. Even though we definitely disagreed on the solution – aka, I thought it was through quality of a primary bond, he thinks it’s quantity of pussy – I still thought it was hurt and it could be fixed through unconditional love.

      But now, I have Chump Nation to thank for consistently reminding me to Trust That He Sucks! Because the way we deal with our insecurities IS different, and there IS a good way and a bad way. And cheating, lying, hurting and treating another person like an object… well, that objectively sucks.

      • My ex swore he wasn’t cheating- threatened me out of our house when I filed for divorce. Amazingly a week later she’s living in our marital home while we are married. He hid her in that house and tried to hold up he wasn’t involved with anyone for 2 years. While she posted the whole relationship on Instagram. She left him at the 2 year mark-guess she was tired of being a secret or his lies.
        Don’t believe his lies-he’s a cheater!

      • EPEC, please stop communicating with this cheater. He will just keep trying to mindfuck you. I speak from years of experience. Unless you have children you need to communicate about, silence is GOLDEN.

        Do you share any property or assets? Are you married to this hot pussy seeking machine? Are you at all on the hook for his liabilities? Could you be entitled to his benefits? IF any answers are yes, lawyer up. If no, block him and gain a life. The life you save is yours!

      • “We’ve been chatting since our breakup…”

        I say this with the utmost love, you gotta cut that sh1t out right now if you want to get well. The fog will never lift while you are in communication with a crazy-maker.

  • This could have been my story.
    Word for word.

    He said he wanted to cheat on me but did not.
    I now starting realize that he was cheating then. As well. I have be in no contact for 10 daysand hoping so much he won’t contact me.

      • Go No Contact! Block them! It’s the hardest thing you will ever do. Once you get out of their mind game and control you will see who they really are. Then you can “Trust they Suck”. If you are not divorced make sure it’s filed. That’s how you see their real colors. 3 years out and realizing how peaceful my life is without him. He’s still hovering on a emergency phone for our kids and a court server. But I gave them to a family member and told them don’t tell me what he says unless it’s about the kids. I trust he sucks and you will too- It will lead you to a better life. I am not dating or involved with anyone. But I am getting to love myself and my kids and it’s great! You girls got this!

        • No contact is easy part I blocked him.
          He got all our friends since I am not the sparkling one. So I will not hear anything about him. So there nobody left to contact.
          I moved today in to my new appartement. So quess I am lonely

  • His cheap, arrogant, entitlement is his problem, it has nothing to do with your looks, competence, or sexuality. YES HE IS LEAVING YOUR FOR NOBODY, believe it she is nobody. Doesn’t matter who this one or the next is or what she is like either. HE HAS A CHARACTER PROBLEM. You can’t be a person of substance and hook up with somebody’s spouse. Spend your time finding out why you settled for this kind of treatment. Who cares what is weak, limp, little opinions of you are? In your heart you know this to be true, don’t you? Become everything you want now, use your time to better yourself so you will never even consider living a life of shame. Stand up, count as someone, help someone else.

  • His cheap, arrogant, entitlement is his problem, it has nothing to do with your looks, competence, or sexuality. YES HE IS LEAVING YOUR FOR NOBODY, believe it she is nobody. Doesn’t matter who this one or the next is or what she is like either. HE HAS A CHARACTER PROBLEM. Spend your time finding out why you settled for this kind of treatment. Who cares what is weak, limp, little opinions of you are? In your heart you know this to be true, don’t you? Become everything you want now, use your time to better yourself so you will never even consider living a life of shame. Stand up, count as someone, help someone else.

    • Well… It takes a while to break from my mould. As CL phrased it, I had the Pick Me Dance modelled for me.

      I went into the relationship with fairly low self-esteem. It’s the lowest it’s ever been right now.

      And because of my upbringing, and my genes, probably… I’ve always been an incredibly sensitive romantic that has always wanted someone to call home, and whose home to be in return. I haven’t really ever wanted to become anything else. That’s not to say I’m not competent, intelligent, skillful, sufficiently successful or giving. Just that all of my worldly accomplishments… weren’t a goal. Existential meaning through companionship was.

      And helping someone… I think that’s one of the insidious traps of the RIC. Huffing on Hopium feels like helping someone – at least to me, it did. Giving this person you already love a second chance… Who else would you rather help? Because cheating is a problem, no? Shouldn’t they get our… help? And be the first ones to get it? Maybe even the only ones?

      But like CL answered to me above, and has been said before: maybe this way of helping is just enabling. So step one. Stop “helping” that one person. Step two: help people who actually want it/ appreciate it.

      I really appreciate your reply.

      • Step three: Forget Step two, and help yourself. You don’t have any help to spare right now.
        Step four: He left you for someone else. Stop believing his lies. He is a liar and a user, and at this point, you are stupid to believe anything he says, or fall for his manipulations. He is not your friend.
        Step five: He’s still keeping you on the line. Stop being available and a doormat. Go 100% No Contact, and stay that way no matter what bullshit sadz excuses he comes up with.
        Step six: He will come back around and hoover. Stay NC forever.

      • EPEC, I so get what you’re saying regarding helping people. ‘And helping someone… I think that’s one of the insidious traps of the RIC. Huffing on Hopium feels like helping someone – at least to me, it did. Giving this person you already love a second chance… Who else would you rather help? Because cheating is a problem, no? Shouldn’t they get our… help? And be the first ones to get it? Maybe even the only ones?’

        I helped and helped and helped H #1 until a marriage counsellor told me to leave because there would be nothing left of me. I felt immediate compassion for cheater H #2 and thought the poor sausage was being self-destructive. He was, but he was taking me down with him.
        We have to call mistreatment and accept it for what it is. We do not need to help those who are treating us like shit. Help those who deserve it, starting with yourself.

  • I’m going to respond to this in pieces.

    “I was recently left by my (ex-)partner, for nobody in particular. Our relationship was never great, so, theoretically, I shouldn’t be absolutely devastated.”

    I can almost guarantee you he’s either got someone else lined up, or there will be someone else he “accidentally” just happens to start dating and he’ll tell you she’s just “special.” 1) He’s not going off to discover himself. 2) Nobody he inevitably shoves in your face is special. Your relationship was never great because of him, and he will take that toxicity wherever he goes. And you are allowed to feel devastated at being treated like shit. Feeling like you “shouldn’t” feel a certain way is because of him telling you garbage about who you’re supposed to be.

    “Thing is, in my mind, our relationship was never great because… I’m a Chump. And I was a Chump because I’m just not good enough.”

    This is also because of him. I had a few exes who made me think the same thing. “I’m not good enough.” This, I also promise you, is definitely because they are terrible people with impossible standards. Nobody is good enough for them. They will go from person to person, finding every tiny flaw, real or perceived, no matter how innocuous, and dig at it until it makes you feel worthless. Then they point to that sense of worthlessness, that THEY planted, and tell you it’s the reason they’re leaving/cheated. It is a sick, twisted cycle. I promise you, it is also all bullshit. Ask yourself, do you even want to be “good enough” for someone who’s sense of morality is non-existent? Do you want to be “good enough” for someone who gets his kicks by making you feel like shit? Do you want to be “good enough” for someone who gets rejected by his potential office hook-ups because they have better morals than he does? You really don’t. You don’t want to be the kind of person who is “good enough” for that. Because you will constantly have to keep twisting yourself into pretzals to please them, their needs will always change, their goal posts always move, and you will end up not being able to recognize yourself. It is not that you aren’t good enough, it is that he is never, and will never, be satisfied.

    “One time, I was only a 6/10, while his AP was a 10/10. Another, I was immature and codependent. Why else would I be hurt that he tried to sleep with a new colleague…”

    All if this was designed to make you feel like it was your fault, and it was him shirking responsibility for his hurtful choices. I remember my first boyfriend in college comparing my vagina to porn stars, comparing my body to models, etc. All of it made me desperate to be attractive enough. He still dumped me, and he still told me “I’d rather be alone and have porn than be with you and have sex.” That too, was designed to make me feel like it was my fault. Guess what? He wasn’t going to be alone, he had girl behind my back (number 6 in a long line.)

    I also had a (short term) boyfriend tell me I was crazy, resentful, and needed to learn to understand how human nature is when he dumped me. After ghosting me. For two weeks. He also told me I was crazy and desperate for actually believing him when he said he loved me, and that was just him “being cute, how did I think he was serious?”

    Point is, garbage people who say terrible things to you, who compare your body to others, and who call you immature or crazy based on your reactions to their poor treatment of you, these are NOT good people. They are not good partners. They are abusers. They don’t have to hit you to abuse you. They can say nasty, demeaning things designed to make you hate yourself. They can frame your emotions as unreasonable, the entire point is to avoid the responsibility of what they’ve done. You could spend eons trying to untangle the “why.” It doesn’t matter. What matters is their actions. If they follow up cruel actions with cruel words, they need to be out of your life.

    “He didn’t end up “cheating”, and, even if he had, “millions of people get over it”.”

    It doesn’t matter she rejected him. What matters is he tried. He approached another woman, attempted to get her to sleep with him, and absolutely would have if she’d said yes. She said no, so he will go find someone who will say yes. His intent was to cheat. He will find a way to do so regardless of what this one coworker said. He is a cheater. And no, you do not have to get over it. Telling you “millions of people get over it” is just one more way to avoid responsibility.

    “Obviously, I was only hurt because I’m not confident/mature enough to understand it’s a “him” problem. I shouldn’t have been impacted.”

    You can absolutely be impacted by your partner attempting to sleep with another woman. Even if you have not internalized that it’s a him problem, what he did was hurtful.

    “So it’s really not cool how hurt I was since a “real woman” would just roll her eyes at his immaturity, let the affairs happen, and HELP HIM GROW through it. (I actually discovered CN by Googling “I hate Esther Perel“)”

    See previous comment about my ex who told me I needed to learn to understand human nature. Esther Perel and her ilk are garbage and you are not obligated to hand-hold a cheater through learning to stop cheating. (Hint: They don’t stop. They go underground and you end up playing relationship police.) Anyone who tells you that you’re supposed to “roll your eyes at his immaturity” when a partner cheats, or attempts to cheat, is probably a cheater themselves. Cheating is not an eye-rolling offense. It’s a relationship-ending offense.

    “Plus, wasn’t he always nicer and more involved when he was cheating? Wasn’t it better?”

    This is another deflection. It’s a serious mind fuck of a deflection. It is impossible for him to be more involved while cheating, because he is dividing his time between two (or more) people. It is a trap question. He is looking for you to say “yes” to this, because then it’s validation for him to say that the cheating was a good thing and then tell you again that if you’re hurt by it, then you’re immature. Do not feed into questions like this.

    “And why couldn’t I just lose some weight, or take better care of myself? After all. I’m the most interesting person he’s ever met, and he “couldn’t imagine growing old without me” and he loves me… He’s just not attracted to me anymore. And he’s definitely not attracted to the fact that I didn’t transform as a consequence of his cheating. That there was no post-traumatic growth (actually, loss – of weight), only devastation and sandwich-eating.”

    If he said all these things to you, this is probably one of the most abusive things I’ve ever heard of a man saying. Doing something as hurtful and back-stabbing as cheating on you and then actually getting mad that the betrayal didn’t make you lose weight is extremely abusive. Anyone who actively does something to harm you with the expectation that it literally change your body is sociopathic. Abusers will do this. They will sprinkle in nice words like “I can’t imagine not growing old with you” and follow it up with “why didn’t your trauma make you drop ten pounds?” The (false) words of love are meant to make you need their approval. They want you to listen to them, and only them, on who you’re supposed to be. They set the rules, they want you to obey.

    “I mean… I dated a lot before we met, and beneath the surface, we really do click on indescribable things. Things that I value more than anything,”

    You do not have the same values. He does not value honesty and trust, nor does he value loyalty. You need to look into “Love Bombing.” Abusers will do this to get their targets hooked early. They will tell you whatever you want to hear. They will tell you you’re special, that you understand them in ways no one else has, they will expertly listen to what you say you want, and then mirror that to make you think you have a “connection.” But this is also a way to get you under their control. They do this with every target. You say you love the autumn season and want someone to watch movies during rainstorms? Why, that’s his favorite thing in the world! You say you want a wedding at your mother’s church and three kids? Well…the only thing he’s ever wanted is three little ones and a chapel ceremony! What you don’t know is the last girl they dated loved summer at the beach and that was also his favorite thing ever, and the girl before that wanted two kids: one boy and one girl, and well gosh darn that’s just his dream!
    Love bombers will dangle your hopes and dreams in front of you like bait to gain control. They don’t really care. The only thing they want is someone to use. And when you don’t keep in lock step with all their demands, they tell you the future you’re hoping for can’t happen unless you do XYZ so hop to it.

    “I’m doing the “Pick Me!” dance and he’s choosing to pick nobody because he’s… Growing. He doesn’t “want to be such a shit to his next partner”.”

    This is a lie. 100% I promise you. If he cared so much about not being a terrible person why can’t he start with you? Why does it have to be the next one? He’s not growing or working on being better. Telling you that he’s focused on being better for the next partner is purely, entirely, 100% meant to make you feel worthless. He wants you to focus on the fact that he’s going to (supposedly) be “better” for someone who isn’t you. Everything this man says is cruel.

    “And I’m left… Angry. Because I’m worse than a Chump — a Chump that hoped the partner will change, and now that he’s doing it, it’s for not-me.”

    You’re allowed to be angry. He did things that deserve anger as a reaction. It is perfectly normal to be angry at the things he’s said and the way you’ve been treated. The feelings of anger mean that you KNOW you have worth. You know you did NOT deserve this. A lot of chumps hoped our partners would change. They don’t. This man is no different. He’s not going to change for some magical Cinderella with the right sized vagina. He’ll find someone else to use and cheat on, and then will very likely leave her too so he can “grow.” I would bet all my savings that you’re not the first person he left to “grow.” You won’t be the last.

    “Because how can I be “an amazing person”, a “person that’s too good for this world” (etc, etc)… but not good enough for him not to have cheated on. Or for him to want to change for?”

    See what I previously said about love bombing and sprinkling in false words of praise. And also see what I said about him changing. Remember: all this stuff about changing for someone else is bunk. He’s just trying to further abuse you.

    “How do I deal with these feelings when I can’t even be angry? I DIDN’T LEAVE. I stayed. Years. And he left for NOBODY, to be “true to himself”. Because he gets that it wasn’t fair to me.”

    You CAN be angry. He didn’t leave for nobody. He is being true to himself though, he’s being an abusive liar. He doesn’t get that it wasn’t fair to you. He’s about as far as he possibly could be from “getting it.” If he got it, he wouldn’t be making you feel like everything is your fault.

    I’m not even a Chump anymore! I’m just rejected.

    “Though I should’ve paid Perel for coaching sessions on how to stay with a cheater AND thrive on the situation, so I can continue to be desirable enough.”

    Never pay Esther Perel for anything. I wouldn’t toss her a coin if she were a dancing monkey with an organ grinder on the street in the 20’s.

    “So how do I detangle the rejection from the chumpdom, and what do I do with the Hopium addiction I’ve indulged in for years?”

    You start by internalizing the idea that he sucks. Trust That They Suck is a mantra here in CN. This man sucks. He’s a terrible person, a manipulator, and an abuser. Some of the things he’s said to you would make the devil say “…sheesh dude…lighten up.” This is not about you not being good enough. It is about him being mentally and emotionally abusive.

  • ‘And he’s definitely not attracted to the fact that I didn’t transform as a consequence of his cheating.’ Narc alert! This guys loves to see the pick me dance and seeing the desperation on your face, it makes him hard. He is a nasty POS sadist who enjoys seeing you in pain. Telling you that he left for noone is his latest way to fuck with your mind, because he’s telling you that even nothing is better than you. The trash took itself out, honey. I know it feels like hell, but put all that energy you’ve been using to try and work out What To Do to focus on yourself. Find as much out as you can about Narc abuse, and go heal. I bet he’ll circle back once you stop giving him attention and probing him for why what etc so be aware the three channels of charm, self-pity and rage will start coming at you, but work on your boundaries an keep him out of your life forever. You deserve so much better than to be laying awake at night agonising that if you’d only be sophisticated enough to not care, everything would be okay. Guy wants a mommy to pay the bills and clean his house while he pokes his dick in any hole that he can. See my comment yesterday about man-children who basically want to be a teenager, share their romantic life with ‘Mom’ and then rebel when Mom doesn’t approve. You deserve better, and you’ll find better, when you treat yourself like you do. Hugs and welcome to the Nation, the club noone wants to belong to, but where person growth is guaranteed, whether we feel like we want it or not.

  • Thank you Chump Lady For All you do.
    This is my first reply.
    Super struggling right now.
    I am a chump at home.
    And I am also getting a chump experience at work.
    Is there anyone out there that thinks the same?
    The bro culture, the unrequinted passive aggressive type sexual harassment that ends in a narrarative that is always your fault? In which your boss always turns his head. Sorry for saying his, I know men get this as well but the bro culture is there and very real.
    It’s a power play beyond all power plays.
    My question to our almighty leader Chump Lady and us followers is can we create a space here for chumpworklady.com?
    As I said, going through it at home and now just today, have realized what the narcissist “she wont fuck me dude” has done to my reputation at work. This job is my lifeline out of chumpdom but I’ve come to find out that all my hard work has been undone in my bosses eyes by a this passive aggressive man child.
    Need advice asap my fellow chumps.

    • I’m sorry Epec,
      I’ve never posted before so I apologize for posting off your topic.
      And yes, I was never good enough.
      And 25 years later, I’ve finally had enough.
      You are more than good enough.
      I have finally figured that out and don’t ever ever blame yourself.
      That was what I did for all these years.
      You are to be cherished.
      Dont ever doubt that.

    • I had a male boss who fished the pond of female underlings. Until he found some suitable ones to manipulate. That being said I was still a target for hostile verbal communication or harassment when one of his harem felt slighted. There was unfortunately no recourse for his behavior at the time. He was the alpha male, president and CEO of the company. The other board members were the beta males, stock holders and wanted their own perks/benefits. They turned a blind eye to his behavior since it didn’t really impact their work or bottom line financially until it did.

      You see, Alpha got caught with his main harem girl C in public by his wife’s friend V, another businessman CEO’s wife. V spilled the beans to Alpha’s wife. Ugly divorce ensued and business was claimed as a marital asset. He later married main harem girl C. (C cheated on her husband to be with Alpha just as Alpha was cheating on his wife.) Well, C cheated on Alpha after she decided she used him for his worth to her. Workplace harassment and violence ensues. C gets fired and Alpha is Teflon so nothing happened to him. I no longer work there.

      The best I can offer if this sounds like your situation is Ben as professional as you can be. Follow your employment manual, rules, etc like they are the Gospel and The Ten Commandments. Do nothing else. It will not make you bulletproof but you will have a chance to defend yourself to the next employer or upper management if he is not the top dog. Sorry you’re in that situation. It’s just more shit sandwiches because we are working women. I wish we could send them to another solar system.

  • I’m sorry Epec,
    I’ve never posted before so I apologize for posting off your topic.
    And yes, I was never good enough.
    And 25 years later, I’ve finally had enough.
    You are more than good enough.
    I have finally figured that out and don’t ever ever blame yourself.
    That was what I did for all these years.
    You are to be cherished.
    Dont ever doubt that.

    • Gayle, being a chump has a lot to do with habits of mind that undermine your own life. You aren’t really clear about what’s going on at work–is the person undermining you your husband or BF? Or is it just a co-worker?

      I think most people run into narcissistic and power-hungry people at work. If you work and you’re a woman, you know about sexist culture in the workplace. But remind yourself that the two situations aren’t the same. I would suggest finding a good therapist and learning, little by little, how to navigate these issues in the working world. I dealt for years with a co-worker who undermined my reputation, over and over, and I was horrified when she became my boss. But my therapist was a wonderful guide in how to manage that. Today I get along with her just fine. She’s still a narcissist, but I have things in perspective. Do your work. Be professional. Find a therapist who can suggest the most effective ways to handle the challenges at work. And remember that once you put a couple of years in at this job, you can look for a better one in a healthier environment.

  • EPEC,

    You write “I DIDN’T LEAVE. I stayed. Years.”

    Why do you think you have been deprived of the dignity and satisfaction of leaving? All you have to do is follow CL’s advice and go NO CONTACT. That’s you leaving him. That’s you choosing not to chase him, stop the pick-me dance, and focus on your own life. And when he hoovers back–which he probably will–it will be a real triumph when he tries to text or call you and finds out that he’s been BLOCKED. Because you BLOCKED him on phone. On text. On all social media. You’ve sent his email address to your spam or junk file. You’ve closed down all avenues of communication. You don’t pain shop on social media. You’ve not DELETED his phone number (because you don’t want to accidentally pick up the phone or see a text. You’ve written as his screen name: DO NOT CALL OR TEXT. So he can’t call you or text you and you choose not ever to call.

    It will hurt like a motherfucker. And you will need support. Get yourself to therapy with someone who understands trauma bonds and can help you start to respect yourself and to develop self-efficacy. You will need a support system to turn to if you are tempted.

    Your goals? First, to train yourself not even to think of him. I still think about Jackass sometimes, but it’s like thinking of a minor character in a blah movie. As I’ve said here before, if he showed up at the door with a winning multi-million dollar lottery ticket, I would say, “Get the fuck off my lawn.” I don’t think of how I felt about him. I don’t have a scintilla of pain or longing. I have more affection for the raccoon that keeps taking my bird feeder apart. Second, your goal is to “gain a life.” That means you are to create a life where you are the central character. That doesn’t mean you won’t love friends, family and maybe even another man someday; what it means is that you won’t love people AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, YOUR HAPPINESS, YOUR FINANCES OR YOUR FUTURE. You won’t accept abuse. You won’t be someone’s Plan B. You won’t settle for a fuckwit. Third, you want to move all the way through the pain, the longing, the urge to get him back (blah blah) and process it all. On the other side, you will have a solid foundation for your life. And for a while, you need to stay away not only from your X, but also from other romantic relationships. Have a relationship with yourself. Figure out who you are and want to be when you aren’t giving everything to an abuser.

    You can leave. Every single day, you can wake up and say, “I want nothing to do with him.”

  • He told you he left for no one. He is a proven liar and manipulator. And you trust that he left for no one? Trust that he sucks. Count your blessings for having no children with a fuckwit. You need to start seeing your own value. You are worth a thousand of him, more. Determine your own worth, not the worth he placed on you.

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