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‘How Could He Walk Away from His Wife and Kids?’

Dear Chump Lady,

We married 6 years ago and had 2 kids. I found out about his STBX’s porn addiction shortly after we were married and his swinging in previous relationship. I ask him if he was monogamous many times. He said he was. He was tired of that lifestyle. It did not make him happy. He wanted to have a family, marriage and kids.

This past August, he came home and told me he no longer wanted to be married. I was shocked and completely blindsided! He wants to be free to sleep with whomever he wants. He also said he having affair for many months and I should have known. Who he was all along and that there were many others. His affair partner wants to have open relationship. I took him at his word. I am stupid for believing him?

I moved in to our second home with the kids. I am so hurt. He has not contacted me since I left. He is having party’s at our house with friends and his affair partner.

It looks like he does not miss us or noticed that we are gone. He is happy in Lala land and I am over here in so much pain. The kids are confused and wetting the bed and I am taking sleeping pills. He does not care that he hurt me. He prefers to pretend I don’t exist.

All my friends say I better off without him. I am not so sure. Who is getting the better deal? He got his dreamlife. I got the sad and lonely life. He said his mask is finally off. He can be who he always was meant to be.

I guess I have to file for divorce because he is too busy being happy without us. I just need the pain to stop. He discarded me like I was nothing. How do I stop the if only’s? If only I had known that he was unhappy.

During the breakup. He was texting the affair partner and she was egging him on to tell me. That he was leaving me for her. We were both crying whole time. Which was weird. Because he wanted to leave. I suggested therapy and opening up the relationship. He said you are only saying these things to save the marriage. And that there was no point because he was happy with someone else.

We were not even part of the equation. We did not matter anymore, but he said still loved me. His mind was made up and he was leaving.

I have not heard from him since he left.

How could he just walk away from his wife and kids after 6.5 years without looking back?


Dear Champignon,

Because he has an empty elevator shaft where his soul should be. You mistook this void for a person and bred with it. It happens.

And it is totally survivable, although I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. (We’ll get to that part in a moment.)

Meanwhile, it’s totally natural to ask yourself questions that center around him. Why did he DO this? Why is he LIKE this? What does this MEAN? We call that Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness. It’s a coping mechanism. You’re trying to make sense of the insensible. When really, the answer is right in front of you — it’s just too appalling to accept.

Because he can. Because he’s not that deep. Because he doesn’t give two shits in a wicker basket about you and the kids. Because he doesn’t bond like a normal person. You mistook a void for a person.

That’s the truth of it. Let’s review the evidence.

It looks like he does not miss us or noticed that we are gone

Yes, because he doesn’t miss you or notice your absence. What you see is what you get. A man who can walk away from his young children and his wife and not flinch. Zero agony. Just throw another shrimp on the barbi. Party on.

That’s not normal.

Chump brain thinks — I must’ve done something truly terrible to make this person leave me. Because that’s the only reason we can imagine for shunning someone — a crime. When really they just never bonded to you in the first place. Everyone is easily replaceable, like swapping out a used coffee filter.

Now they may dress it up, good manipulators that they are. “You failed to display your car registration sticker” or whatever blameshifting reason is at hand. And it still won’t add up. Is my failed car registration sticker a crime equivalent to abandonment? And that’s the next series of rabbit holes you’ll go down — weighing all your faults and misdemeanors against the sentence.

No. Stop and look at the evidence.

Who he was all along and that there were many others.

He has not contacted me since I left. He is having party’s at our house with friends and his affair partner.

He said his mask is finally off.

Champignon, you are not a fool. He wore a mask. That’s on HIM. Normal, loving people do not dupe others into investing in them and creating families. He’s a fraud and his affair partner is just a silly idiot who wants the empty elevator shaft all to herself. So she can embrace the void. Or pass it around at orgies. I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is no person of substance or integrity there. There is no one to miss — just a dream you were promised.

He also said he having affair for many months and I should have known.

No, you should not have known. His deceit isn’t your fault. You trusted him, it’s what healthy partners do.

The kids are confused and wetting the bed and I am taking sleeping pills. He does not care that he hurt me. He prefers to pretend I don’t exist.

Big hugs to your kids. Time to find your anger and be the sane, protective parent. Document his absence for the courts. Document every single thing you do to put those children first, and every fuckwitted thing he does.

He doesn’t care that he hurt you or your children? Then he doesn’t deserve your tears. He’s beneath contempt. Find your anger — it can be focused and energizing for the divorce battle ahead. Sadness can come later, but you need fire in your belly right now.

Remind him of your existence with a court summons and a child support order. Enforce that motherfucker.

Who is getting the better deal? He got his dream life. I got the sad and lonely life.

YOU are getting the better deal. You have real, live children who love you. You’re their rock. You have integrity. You have the ability to love and bond. He’s a shallow puddle of piss.

Funny you should say “dream life” because that’s all he has to offer — illusions.

Life in the real world, with its losses and joys, and honest connections. Let him have the fuckwit Matrix.

And that there was no point because he was happy with someone else.

And someone else. And someone else. And someone else. And someone else. And someone else. And someone else.

We were not even part of the equation.

You were never part of the equation. He’s a sum of one.

We did not matter anymore, but he said still loved me.

Whatever he says has zero bearing on your worth. He doesn’t love! It’s pure impression management. It’s not loving to abandon small children. He loves that he gets a reaction from you. (Kibbles.) He loves to see that YOU care, because then you will pull your punches and not impose consequences on him. He loves that you are of use. Actual YOU? He’s discarded.

Fuck him. You don’t need that kind of “love.”

Tell him he can show his regard with a generous divorce settlement.

He was texting the affair partner and she was egging him on to tell me. That he was leaving me for her.

Dance prettier. Fuck him.

We were both crying whole time. Which was weird. Because he wanted to leave.

It is weird when sociopaths “cry.” They try on human emotions like discount shirts at Filene’s Basement. Don’t infer feelings here. The truth is in his leaving, and not caring that his small children are wetting the bed in grief.

As a mother I’d like to strangle him with a piss-soaked sheet when I read that. Your children’s tears matter. HIs do not.

I have not heard from him since he left.

Good. No contact is the fastest way to heal. Unfortunately fuckwits often circle back. Stay strong and forward march on the divorce. Only communicate with him through parenting software and lawyers.

Champignon, it’s early days. You truly will be better off without him, but it won’t feel that way for quite awhile. Do the hard work of grieving, but don’t let it get in the way of the harder work of protecting yourself from him. That comes first. Emotions can be dealt with later.

You get a good settlement, and model sanity and stability to those little kids. That pays dividends. The tears of a fuckwit? Not so much.

((Big hugs))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “ Chump brain thinks — I must’ve done something truly terrible to make this person leave me. Because that’s the only reason we can imagine for shunning someone — a crime.”

    Love this.

    • That quote is so very true…

      You really are better off. It won’t feel that way for a long time, but you really are. You will be able to live peacefully knowing you are real. You are authentic. He’s not. He never was. He may have thought marriage and family was what he wanted, but he didn’t. You are collateral damage in HIS internal struggle. It feels personal, but it’s not.

      • Ashley wrote “He may have thought marriage and family was what he wanted.” Exactly.

        I’ve compared it to someone who lived in cement block high rise buildings all their lives suddenly wanting to start a vineyard because they like wine. Then they find out how much work and knowledge are involved in winemaking, go into a massive sulk and let their vines rot. They run off to 7-11 to buy some rotgut, declare it better than Chateau Lafite while drunkenly burning down the vineyard and pouring toxic waste on the fields as if to prove the soil was to blame, not their own incompetence.

        How crazy would someone have to be to do such a thing? Super crazy but not as demented as a cheater who toys with human lives on a whim.

        • Love this analogy!! I married a thirty-something toddler who did exactly this kind of destruction because he wasn’t “happy.” When I begged him to come back for the sake of our kids, especially our little girl who, at 11 years old started having suicidal thoughts, his answer was, “No. It’s too much work.” I can’t even…

        • “demented as a cheater who toys with human lives on a whim.”
          I wish I had said this when my ExH discarded me and said the cheating was a whim

        • I am so sorry that you are going through this. I was you. Almost to a T. From being told they changed and want a family. Suddenly being told they cheated all along and you should have known. Crying and love you’s yet it is done. And then nothing from them. I went through each of these. The thing you must know above all else is that he will try to come back into your world. That may sound like the greatest news to you right now. It is not. And I pray with everything in me that didn’t have the wisdom I have now that you do not take him back. The affair will quit seeming fun to him or the AP will dump him or he’ll care that he looks like a bad guy in society. So he’ll tell you he messed up, will do anything, that ChumpNation is bitter people whose relationships are different that yours with him. That he’ll show you. And then he’ll hurt you again, but worse.

          If you want to get strong 1. Get a therapist who specializes in or understands personality disorders. They are not a fictitious sci-fi idea. Personality disorders are as real as other mental disorders, but these primarily impact people around the disordered. Having a therapist to help you cope will make you feel less lonely, more supported, and more understood as you come out of the fog.

          2. Fight with everything in you to go no contact, document, and protect yourself. Do not cry to him, text him, or beg him. That gives him as sick of a grin as Chris Watts got lying to police about killing his wife and kids (he admitted to this in documentaries). There are sick people out there. Do not turn to them when you are your most vulnerable. Think logically right now above all else because you must for your survival.

          3. Read and learn as much as you can to normalize what you went through. So many YouTube channels and podcasts out there (Dr. Ramani, ASSC Direct, etc.).

          4. Start rebuilding yourself. The first few months I had to focus on comforting myself and making myself feel safe. Watch movies you enjoy at night. Wear your comfiest clothes in the evenings, make your favorite breakfast. Love yourself and your kids hard right now, as you would do for anyone who feels displaced in the world.

          5. This is the hardest. When you are ready, start asking yourself what you tolerated that you shouldn’t have. Look at the flags that were there. Pay attention to pink flags that turned red with time. This is really hard to swallow, but it helps us protect ourselves in the future.

          6. And please know that you will heal. When I’d read this from people when it first started, I felt angry. I felt like I’d never get there. But I did. And I do not recognize the shell of a person I was the day he left. I love who I’ve rebuilt myself to be and I know that I built it on my own one painful tear at a time. But no one will ever treat me like that again as a result of the strength I now have. I promise you will have this too.

          Again, please don’t turn to him or take him back. Go as no contact as you can for your sanity. Don’t get updates about the house parties, the AP, him, any of it. One day you will know he was never worth the time and you’ll regret the time you lost in your life and your kids’ lives focused thinking about him. Sending you so much love!

          • Thank you for your post. You will never know how much this has helped me. I will read and listen to podcasts as you suggested. I am just coming out of the fog.If you have other suggestions for books and podcasts pls update.

  • Champignon, he’s a bad person who lied and convinced you he was someone different. That’s all. It happens to a lot of people. It happened to me, too. I was married to a bad person for 25 years. Every year was worse than the one before. I had 5 children with that man. He lives very near 4 of the children but hasn’t seen them in years. He married again and cheats on his new wife, too.

  • Dear Champignon

    Are you me or am I you ?? I could have wrote most of this word for word minus the children .

    On the 16th of this month is 17 months since d day and I’ve not once seen or heard from my ex since that day not a single peep

    He just skipped off without a single care in the world . It’s honestly like I never existed

    He married his 16 year younger ho worker and had a baby with her less than a year from D Day ( the baby he swore he never wanted !! )

    I know people say it’s image management but like you my ex and his OWife really do seem to have it all living a great life while I’m still trying to lift myself off the floor

    Big hugs to you and your children as I know exactly how you feel ❤️❤️

    • Karenb6702 and Champignon,

      My heart goes out to both of you.

      These are truly disordered people, incapable of true love and happiness. I believe they can fake happiness, espeicially when chumps are in the wings taking care of them, their moods, their needs, the taxes, the kids, the house, the cars…

      But be assured that when they abandon the people who propped them up, they are flailing and failing. They suck!

      We are all hurting on this site. We know we’re better off without the fuckwits, but it still hurts. For the families who are abandoned by the cheater as if they never existed, it must be especially difficult.

      My best to you! Stay strong!

      • I never even got a fake tear or a fake apology he burst out laughing in my face saying proudly I’ve been cheating on you for months you didn’t have a clue did you ?

        He then took out his phone started scrolling through his phone showing me his sexting / pictures shouting see she loves me and I love her .

        I’ve never ever had a text / email / call/ smoke signal nothing at all . He never even showed up to get divorced !! That’s how much I don’t exist in his world after 19 years

        I’m sure he’s a sociopath but there’s something deeply not right about him . I sure hope his OWife does this to him ( she won’t ) but I hope it every day

        • Karenb6702,

          I’m not usually a violent person, but reading your story wants me to strangle this laughing, cruel, deranged man.

          There is something deeply wrong with him.

          Please take some comfort in knowing that the OWife can’t possibly be happy. And surely he’s miserable.

          • This is usually true. My father walked out on us 5, for his younger co-worker, when I was a teen. Many years later, I ended up being the one taking care of him in his 80’s, as his OWife had died earlier. As I was going through his estate, I would find lovey birthday cards and such, so I thought, maybe they ended up happy?
            Then I found her real thoughts, written on pieces of paper in her office drawers. She was pouring out her anguish over the shitty, domineering way he treated her, including throwing away her personal stuff while she was at work (and that’s one small example). He was really cruel.
            You’d never know, all us kids thought they were happy! But she was living in hell, even if of her own making, I did feel sorry for her.
            All this was very eye-opening for me! It’s not always the way you think these affairs will go. And my Mom was a doll, she did not deserve this abandonment.

            • THANK YOU for this post!

              It isn’t us (although I would have loved to have met him half way and taken my share of the problems. I would have loved to grow together).

              We can let go of feeling less than.

        • Karen–

          The shocker here is that a psychopath could wear such a convincing mask for 19 years and that he didn’t resort to physical murder. Is he also a substance abuser? You may have LITERALLY dodged a bullet. That laughter puts him in Hannibal Lector territory.

          Please take care of yourself. You’ve been through a horrible shock dealing with that criminal. No one deserves such a thing and it sounds like you particularly didn’t deserve it. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

          • No substance abuse

            He’s or I have never taken any form of drugs and only drink socially

            It’s honestly like 1 minute I’m there telling me he loves me , then a minute later as soon as I found out about the affair he rubbed it in my face and vanished . He literally vanished he left me in a foreign country !!

            • Lower in the thread I recounted my first brush with an individual like this– the type who would laugh in the face of a partner during discard. The perpetrator also went from lovebombing to vicious scoffing in an instant.

              The guy who did this committed suicide last year. Because I was very young when this breakup happened and was also a bystander to it, not a direct recipient, I absorbed a lot about the kind of person who would do this. My friend, his former girlfriend, was too blinded by shock and pain and the sheer brutality of what this guy did at that moment but eventually she saw the whole thing very clearly and graduated to meh in due time. Of course she hadn’t married him and had no children with him so the road to meh was simpler but ultimately meh is inevitable response to that kind of crazy and that’s the rub. I think this kind of bully knows this.

              Neither she nor I were particularly surprised on learning he had killed himself. She was so meh that she saw his death abstractly– sad story of a fucked up mess of a man surrounded by a rank assortment of flying monkeys and not a single real friend at the end. He died of self engineered emotional malnutrition.

              Only a walking suicide would deliberately cause someone’s suffering and then laugh at it like that. What I guessed then as a bystander (who could clearly see that my friend did not deserve this and that she’s a person of far greater value than this dude) was that this guy wasn’t living in reality and that his responses to other people were based on his projections of who they were based on the terrible cast of characters he’d grown up with that lived like ghosts in his head. I knew the guy’s brother so my “guess” was informed by the backstory– the one the perp never talked about. The brothers had been raised separately. The nice one had been raised by his mother and the evil one had been raised by a violent, psychopathic father.

              He laughed at her merely because the only thing he got right about her is that it wouldn’t be long before she saw through him and would no longer care. He projected that she’d eventually be laughing at him and so tried to beat her to the punch. Never mind that his projection of her sadism was far off the mark, he was correct in guessing that her life would be vastly better without him in it and it ate at him.

              That was my first brush with a sadistic breakup but not my first experience seeing what happens to scoffing bullies. Sorry if the following is macabre: When I was 7, the teenage son of some fascist suburban a-hole on my block sicced his hunting dog on me. I heard the whistle and could see him snickering from his porch across the street. I ducked behind a thorn bush just in time. He ended up in prison. When I was10 a girl in school lobbied to kick me out of a trio in chorus after the teacher assigned me to it. I’d sung with the state symphony chorus since age 8 so the bullying was inexplicable. The girl was so nasty about it that even the teacher was afraid of her. That girl died in a car wreck at 17. Then when I was 13, a local bully led a gang of kids I didn’t know in attacking me out of the blue. The kid laughed and pointed and called me names. I’d seen bullies before but this was so stunning that I reacted to it almost as if it wasn’t really happening to me. I honestly had no idea what he was shouting about or why. Another group of kids clustered around me and walked me safely away before it got physical. That kid lost his leg under a train a year later. He was playing a game of dare and trying to jump on a moving boxcar. Walking suicide.

              As an adult I worked in a very competitive field and had a few more brushes with the scoffing brand of psycho, either personally or as a bystander to it. Another died by (I think) drug overdose several years later and two ended up in headlines following horrendous scandals.

              Now whenever I see or hear about that kind of scoffing sadism, I have an impulse to avert my eyes and duck in a fallout shelter because of the gory disaster I know is coming.

              • >>The perpetrator also went from lovebombing to vicious scoffing in an instant.

                Great stories!

                >>He died of self engineered emotional malnutrition.

                Great phrasing

              • Since I’ve had more free time during the pandemic I’ve looked through childhood photos and memorabilia. “What happened to so-and-so ?”
                Two sociopathic bullies have died terrible deaths, my neighbor nemesis and a boy from high school.
                The nasty piece of work that lived behind my family of origin grew up to be a wifetress. She died of gyno cancer. The last sentence of her lengthy obit mentions her stepchildren as an afterthought. I feel sorry for her ten year old twins. Once their father finds another woman they will be neglected just like his first set of children.
                Bully Boy, an alcoholic diabetic, died alone in his home, found by his ex. Hundreds attended the small town mayor and business consultant’s memorial service. One attendee stated “I’ve never met a funnier guy in my life.” Impression management. At least his daughters still have their mother who I hope has recovered from being married to a monster.

              • Read my comment below of how the karma bus ran over a couple of spaths and did donuts over them in the Parking Lot of Life. Not pretty

              • I’m telling you your post resonates with me. Mine is laughing at me at times. It’s a creepy weird mean laugh. I say wow you don’t feel anything for me for what you’ve done to me. No remorse just rage I found out and then you laugh at me when I’m talking it out with you about having empathy? Interesting but chilling. Psychopath

        • Karen – Wow! What a disordered prick. Mrs. Prick will get a taste of his callous assholishness soon enough.

          Spend time with people who will be very happy to see you this weekend. My guess is that you have several ????

        • He sounds like he’s demented or had some kind of episode ugh hugs to you. I hope it bites him in the ass in a big way.

        • Sorry to hear your experience has been any better. Did yours also had this weird
          Grin on his face while break your heart?

          • Yes the smirk , it’s called duper’s delight

            His eyes went totally black it was like his soul left his body .

            I’m so , so sorry you are here and if I can help you in any way at all I am on the Reddit chump lady forum ( same user name ) please feel free to message me at any time . You just create a Reddit user name and look for chump lady one of the mods will sign you up .

            Big hugs and lots of love to you and your precious children ❤️

            • Quick question: How the heck do you get on the CL reddit forum? I’m a bit reddit challenged, so maybe I did something wrong when I tried to join.

            • I also got laughing, smirking and clicking his fingers to music as he packed (after finally admitting to the affair in front of our 3 year old). Honestly felt like I was in Twin Peaks.

    • Karen, I am on your ass-kicking team.

      A person who behaves like the traitor you married is no prize. I know you believe this deep down and I know we all keep telling you and I am just going to say it again. His new object who had a baby with him is too unconscious to see what a tiger trap she fell into…you are not! And it’s still going to hurt until it doesn’t.

      Crappy people can have it all going on with outside stuff, but I do not want a hollow pie.
      All they have is a hollow pie. It took me a lot longer than 17 months to really internalize it.

      Watch that scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson thinks he is making out with a young hot chick and he opens his eyes and looks in the mirror and he’s kissing the rotting corpse of an old hag. THAT is what’s really going on over in Blissworld Street in Happyland.

      I hate that it takes so long to really sink in and believe it wholeheartedly.

      • Ooh, love this visual of the Shining scene! So very true.

        Karen and Champignon, as hard as it is and as sad as it is, it’s so much better when you DON’T hear from them. You get time to heal and sort things out. My ex would be no contact for a month, and I’d start healing, and then he’d pop up again and I had to start the process all over again.

        Karen, your husband sounds psychotic. Laughing at cruelty. What a lovely game to play. That is said with sarcasm.

        Healing takes time. The hard part is being impatient.

        • I had an older brother with that laugh. I know the laugh. I haven’t interacted with him in 30 years, but I can still hear it. It’s chilling.

          Sometimes I think that, as much as I totally hate this older brother, I married someone with similar characteristics. Go figure.

          Have a field day you psych people!

  • This reminds me a lot of my story. My ex is a narc/sociopath who led a double life the entire time we were married and dating. When I discovered his infidelity he dropped me immediately and filed for divorce. Our son was three months old. I was completely blindsided. This was almost a year ago now. I guess it’s gotten better than it was in the very beginning but I do still struggle with him being “happy” in his life that he wanted and me being lonely and feeling pathetic and dumped. I guess from my limited perspective I can tell you it gets a very very slow painful way.

    My ex also cried/cries often. At first when we were dating I thought “how nice a man who can show emotion!” “I’ve finally found a sensitive, caring man”. Then he started crying at weird times like when we were having a disagreement the waterworks would start. It wasn’t normal. He cried when we got married (he was actively cheating), I didn’t. I thought he was so much more in touch with his feelings than I was. These are real tears too. It’s ALL manipulation. Our son was in the hospital recently and I had spent all day with him in the ER…dad shows up, sees him in the bed and the tears start. Now any normal person would say “wow how dare you accuse him of faking tears, this man is upset seeing his child in such a state!” It’s not true. He is just that good at impression management. It definitely makes it more difficult to explain to people that aren’t familiar with disordered personalities who I’m dealing with because most people accept others on a surface level, much like I did at first.

      • Agree, I believe that that kind of emotional display is just another form of self-indulgence for them. They can be very sensitive about things that matter to THEM, in fact cheater was described as sensitive by his narc mom, and he would get misty eyed about small children, less-abled people and sad stories, but when it came to common decent empathy, he had nothing. If it’s something they deem important, you need to be very careful not to knock up against their sensativities, but otherwise they wouldn’t have a clue how to see something from someone else’s view point.

        • My ex has a narc mother as well. I spotted her right off the bat as she’s more overt and he’s extremely covert. She told me that he would be my “rock” and I’m so lucky to have him. She also chose my engagement ring and cried for an entire weekend when we got married in the courthouse without her present. He never let me forget that. I told him the crying was manipulation back then haha it makes me laugh now. He’s the golden child and can do no wrong in her eyes.

          But yes, he works with special needs kids. Does he really care to help people? I don’t know. I do know behind closed doors he would often joke about them and I always got an icky feeling but brushed it off as someone that was jaded by their career. Dumb of me.

    • “I thought he was so much more in touch with his feelings than I was. These are real tears too.”

      Ugh. I experienced the same. Mine cried like crazy at our daughter’s wedding. During the father/daughter dance, he wept on her shoulder. She thought it was weird because he rarely cried. The wedding audience ate it up. The photos of him slobbering turned out great–a Hallmark moment. He also gave a great toast (and for a typically shy man, it was even more remarkable).

      I thought something was wrong with me that I didn’t cry that day. I was too happy for the couple to cry.(I was also worried about wedding logistics.)

      Later my ex said, “I guess I ruined the wedding with all my tears.” He knew damn well that he improved his brand that day and probably enhanced the wedding. Ugh. That I wasted a minute thinking there was something wrong with me for not crying makes me angry and sad.

      Another thought: I remember wondering if he was sad for my daughter because he viewed marriage differently. When he married me, he started treating me badly. It happened slowly over time until I was up to my eyeballs in the shit stew. Maybe he worried that my daughter would suffer the same fate. This is how husbands treat their wives. What a total ass!

      • Blah. Im not an expert but ’m going to venture to guess they aren’t that emotionally deep and the tears were purely just manipulation to the crowd at the wedding and has nothing to do with his thoughts on marriage. Makes me ragey.

        • My sociopath ex kept my wedding dress slightly visible in our lake house bedroom. He’d often stop, gently pet the fabric and get misty eyed.

          He also fucked prostitutes in that bedroom.

            • I used to think he was truly emotional about me and our wedding and the prostitutes were a separate affliction. Now I just think he was getting off on a double dose of duper’s delight – me and the prostitute.

        • Mine cried while taking our wedding vows as well. I believe it was sincere at the time. Then not that long after he sincerely felt twulove for the coworker. We are normal people trying to make sense out of crazy.

      • My ex cried so hard he was sobbing at the burial in Arlington of our nephew after he was killed in Afghanistan. He cried harder than the young man’s parents. I remember thinking at the time it just wasn’t believable, because he had spent not more than three weeks total with the young man in the 23 years of his nephew’s life. (And then I thought “what is wrong with me that I’m not that affected?”) It was a performance for the benefit of his sister, I’m sure of it, just as the few times he ever gave me a phone call when he was away always happened when he was with his sister and father for a family vacation.

        • Oh yes, mine loves to have an audience. I recently dropped our kid off at his work and in front of his coworker he was a jovial, happy coparent, father of the year. Meanwhile I have a hard time even producing a smile around him so I look exactly how he has described me to people..crazy, bitter, angry, who knows.

          It must be exhausting to always have this fake personality to maintain. It’s no wonder our marriage didn’t last. That’s like 24/7 faking who you are.

      • Hitler loved dogs. He made vivisection of animals a crime punishable by death. I’m pretty sure this was the basis for the Tony Soprano character’s love of ducks in The Sopranos.

        I think the Sopranos series is brilliant because I’ve encountered more than one crying, sentimental psychopath in my travels. When I worked as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, I also heard about and saw quite a few sobbing abusers. At this point I see it as a red flag until proven otherwise (just to make things more complicated, it sometimes is proven otherwise), though I believe it can be a bit misleading to assume that sentimentality or crying in abusers is always put on or coldly faked. They may congratulate themselves after the fact that their sentimental displays somehow prove they’re not the horrible human beings they actually are as part of the “neutralization of guilt” that many perpetrators engage in, but that doesn’t mean they turned on the tears like a tap.

        The way criminologist and domestic violence expert Donald Dutton describes it, many batterers have a sort of split personality. One therapist I worked with went further and explained it’s more like the personalities are separated by office partitions rather than floor to ceiling walls. Unlike someone with dissociative personality disorder, many abusers know they have different “faces” and tucked within the mess is the original victim self that may respond quite sentimentally to certain triggers. The crying/emotional display looks genuine because, on a certain level, it is. But the “victim self” is not the ruler of their characters even if it originates from genuine childhood experience of victimization. Instead a central, organizing, evil persona is in control.

        The “victim self” may randomly surface and it can give seeming depth to the initial displays of empathy that abusers show their targets in the lovebombing stage. They’re great at playing rescuer because they really do understand the victim experience which is why all chumps should guard against any subsequent suitor who’s too “rescuey” post-betrayal. Sometimes the rescuer is the real deal but quite often it’s just another abuser. Again, that empathic/rescuer persona seems real because it once was real. But the victim self can also get trotted out at will like how the innocent looking member of a crime gang is sent to approach the bank teller. The victim self can also be put aside and silenced at will in a process of selective empathy.

        I’m probably making too fine a point of it because the semi-split abusers strike me as the most dangerous since they don’t set off even the most intuitive alarm systems. Those who have been fooled by this type should know that these kinds of abusers fool even seasoned experts. There’s also too little information about the phenomenon in circulation so that victims may be wrongfully blamed by bystanders or less experienced professionals for missing supposedly obvious cues. This can lead to typical assumptions that victims were somehow “drawn to abuse.” Bystanders like to comfort themselves that, if it were them in the same boat, they would have seen through the guise but the scariest part of human evil is that the devil doesn’t always wear horns.

        • Wow. This comment is really enlightening. Thank you for this!

          I do find it very difficult to articulate to people that I think my ex is dangerous. He has two very different sides to himself and his ability to hide the scary side is so perfected I believe he is capable of anything. I only found out about his cheating by chance and a tiny bit of intuition. I literally got the shivers when he accidentally shared another woman’s Facebook post. That was it. No other clues. Then it all came together. He’s very good at hiding his dark side.

          • Jo– The more you describe this guy, the more terrifying he sounds. You must be rattled beyond belief to have lived in proximity to that kind of evil.

            The director of the advocacy program I volunteered for told me something very apt– that it’s only when abusers are exposed that they may lose their epic ability to hide their dark sides in front of witnesses other than their victims. It was pretty prophetic because I then witnessed or heard about how batterers, whom victims described as masters of manipulation and everyone’s favorite teddy bears, would surprisingly implode and turn five different colors in court when the victim was on the stand recounting details of an assault. That’s why there are armed court marshals. The switcheroo is absolutely stunning.

            Dutton chalks this up to neutralization– the intricate, constant self talk of abusers used to convince themselves and others that they’re really great guys. When it’s stripped away, their insides pour out partly because they had fooled themselves and have great powers of selective amnesia about their own criminal behavior. That’s how they fool others so well. Their belief in themselves is bone deep. Just don’t cut too close to the marrow– that’s where the poison hides.

            • This is spot on about when abusers are exposed. Thank you for sharing because it it’s exactly what I experienced but have not been able to truly find a good explanation of it.

              People who haven’t experienced this behavior find it hard to believe. But my husband went from a gentle lamb who was so amazingly sweet and affectionate to a monster in one day. The mask came WAY off..he keyed my car, hid my keys so I couldn’t leave, refused to move out, Blocked me into the garage one day until I “apologized”, screamed at me and mocked me..I could go on. The change was so shocking that I often feel like people don’t believe me and he hasn’t physically harmed me which is what most people consider abuse. He is now back to the nicer version of himself for now but we have mediation coming up, all very unpredictable.

              I really appreciate your posts!

              • Jo And Hell Of A Chump…. Thank you ladies so very much for discussing this psychotic behavior. As this is also what happened to me. I was dating the most wonderful nicest guy on earth! I invested heavily into us and our home. After 4 years he allowed another woman (office whore of course who weaseled her way in between the cracks of his last 8 year relationship as well as mine and our family) And apparent fuckbuddy before dating me… Yes this “just friends OW knew all about me. And I believe she is sadistic in the fact that she enjoys destroying good healthy happy relationships. She gets off on it. Well I wasn’t going to let anyone get away with anything. I am disabled and on dialysis, and my life is valuable to me.I am not meant to be played with. And neither is my family who accepted him with open arms, as well as his family who loves me dearly. Unbenknownst to me, he had one foot out the door probably our entire relationship. Will never know… even after I begged him to come clean (he knew we were done and there was no hope) Come clean for MY HEALING, he refused. after D-day, I have never had my brain spin in so many directions with the gaslighting and blame shifting. Which is more narcistic abuse as my therapist would say. I would actually heal so much faster and more healthy if he owned up to his actions and behaviors. But of course he managed to tell everyone we broke up because “we didn’t talk”!! No buddy, I was there the entire time, It wasYOU who refused to talk to me. Thats not a relationship. I even offered couples therapy, because I loved him that much plus his family and our home/cats/life/ friends, community and so called sense of safety with him. I went to therapy for myself. He pouted and tried to wiggle himself back into my life minus the responsibility, accountability, remorse, and hard work. I kid you not, a 53 year old man acts this way. It was doubly hard because EVERYONE thought what a kind wonderful man he was…. Well I straitened out that lie for everyone. On Facebook I had had enough of the lies. Again unbeknownst to me, he had started dating again and had bought condoms, and salmon, and He never even asked for his house keys back. Because of covid, I moved out carefully and slowly. My babies (kittens) I’m sure I broke their little hearts as I could not take them back to my moms house 20 min away, she has 2 mean cats. Plus my ex used my babies to manipulate me into staying with him. I guess he still had more use for me before the discard. It took me 9 full months of gaslighting, abuse, lies, calling me honey and being super loving and kind to me. Crying and saying he is sorry. And get this; HE doesn’t want to talk about his cheating because it makes HIM feel awful! LMAO. Ya not to mention the fact I was completely gutted, my heart ripped out, I lost everything I had built with him over the years, and had to move back in at 41 with my abusive narc mother. It has been total hell, but I don’t have to be gaslighted and cheated on any more. It has been 2 full months of ZERO contact and 10 months since lovely discovery day when I found another whores name on his United Airline miles to France! A trip I was supposed to go on with our sailing friends of whom I love. I couldn’t go, because I have dialysis every other day and I actually got a call for a kidney transplant at UCSD while he was fucking schmoopie in Paris… Ahhhh the city of love. He paid for everything for this scnazzilla penis nosed twattwaffle.

                Point is, As I found out more info, I called her up one day ( she didn’t answer me of course, coward) and said, thanks for fucking my boyfriend. I had him signed up at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona to be my after kidney transplant caregiver. But after I am done, he is alllllll yours! Since you wanted him so badly, you were willing to intentionally destroy a solid committed 4 year relationship with your co-worker, my boyfriend ( also he is top management for the City IT department). You are more than welcome to have him. If he cheats with you, he will definitely cheat on you. I don’t want him anymore, he is all yours. PS he snores really loudly at night, wear earplugs. I didn’t get a reply from Penis Nose, but she sure ran off quickly to tell my now ex BF about what I said! I found it hilarious. Because she always totes herself as a BBIC or Bad Bitch In Charge, and a “Warrior Woman”. I made sure to re-itterate that real warrior women don’t fuck married men, for starters. A real woman would have taken a minute to call me up and report that my boyfriend was flirting with her at the office!
                Next, and here is the funny part…. After D-day, the gaslighting and blame shifting ramped up full force! He got angry and yelled at me for asking questions. Sorry buddy, you just stole 4 years of my life and I don’t even know who I was giving my heart too. I found out October 19. Lots of back and forth. I was caught off guard completely so I felt I had to catch up to where he was. (already fucking co-workers and taking them to concerts, dinners, happy hours, his boat (fuck shack), staying way late after events I wasn’t invited too. I thought it was just stress at work but he was very active in his double life. The mindfuckery was incredible. He really needs a 5 star rating. Im so grateful to my friends, and chump Lady, plus therapy and Klonopin for saving my life. Im not joking. I got so sick of his weak pathetic lies, that Saturday night, end of June, I had enough of the lying, and I wrote on his FB wall, (I had a bottle of rose to help) Simply stating that after almost 5 years and building a life together, my now ex boyfriend and I have ended our relationship for good due to the fact that he has been lying to me for the last 2-4 years, and has been fucking the project manager with the city of SD for our entire relationship. And she is fully aware of me. I called out her name and job title. I spoke the truth, I don’t care, they both had it coming. It is absolutely insanely cruel to blindsight and cheat on your disabled girlfriend while she is so close to getting a kidney transplant! Of which YOU happily volunteered to drive me too and take care of me 100%. The Irony here is, he was already in his full blown disgusting affair way before our trip to Arizona to get tested for a kidney transplant! Like couldn’t he just wait to break up with me like a normal, caring human being??? I had NO IDEA he was “unhappy” with me. I was such an awesome fun happy lighthearted, happy go lucky girlfriend. He needed a pretty younger woman to show off at events, and a housemaid to cook and clean the house. He refused to get a vasectomy after a year of begging and my IUD out. It was expired. He never wanted kids anyway. ever. So I begrudgingly had to get a hysterosalpingiogram to check if my Fallopian tubes are open. One is. So I can still get pregnant. Just another selfish thing on his part. If I get pregnant, My antigens raise up with absorbing all of his antigens, and that is a permanent thing, making it so much harder to find a match. He knew this but refused to go to the doctor. I truly hope he gets someone pregnant!

                Lastly, about the many fake masks they wear. When I spoke the truth on Facebook Saturday night several months ago, his best friend saw it in the morning and called him to clean up his mess. AKA hide the evidence he was banging his ho worker.Im sure without a condom too, putting my life at risk and my future kidney transplant at risk! What an entitled idiot! And this is Mr. Nice guy that everyone loves. Its such a farce. I told everyone I knew, the real truth. Its so shocking, I got some blowback but I don’t care. He called me up a few days later about the FB post and I admitted everything. I said yes that was me. What are you going to do about it?He yelled and berated me and threw everything he could at me, including pots, pans, and the kitchen sink at me. I don’t care, I am proud of myself. Our community has an opportunity to find out what a fraud he is. and I am glad. Oh and after 90 min of screaming at me, threatening me, and saying I will never see our baby kittens again, and he will never speak to me again, I said thats perfectly fine, and he cried and hung up on me! What a fucking coward!! But thats who these types are. I hope my story helps at least one other Chump out who reads it. Chump lady and this community literally saved my sanity!

            • Mine is spooky. Believes in demon possession with a passion. Makes sense now. Only way he can justify being so evil is being possessed!

        • Not that this long assed comment needs a long assed postscript but I also don’t agree that criminality or psychopathy are genetic or congenital. I got a partiular bee in my bonnet over this when reading a truly shitty book by neuroscience shill Simon Baron-Cohen that argued that victims of domestic violence are genetically addled freaks. The author weirdly went off on the character flaws of Marilyn Monroe at one point, failing to mention she’d been abused since childhood and beaten in her marriage to Joe DiMaggio, thus wiping out 50 years of research on PTSD.

          Every totalitarian regime in history has attempted to prove– without success– that acquired behavior is genetic simply because the existence of a crime gene or “evil genes” is handy to rationalize killing the children of targets or opponents in conflicts of aggression since the killing of children would otherwise rankle the public.

          Or it can justify stealing children from opponents. The pet theory of Spanish dictator Franco’s chief shrink, the “red gene” or “genetic political psychopathy” theory for Republican opponents of the regime, was used to rationalize the theft of 300,000 infants. The idea was that removing children from the care of their genetically psychopathic moms would “lessen the genetic expression” of the red gene. The same rationale was borrowed by other infamous regimes in the 20th century. More recently, neuroscientist and all around arms industry shill Sam Harris has tried to apply a similar theory to Muslims, except he added the scary “memetic evolution” twist that ideas can actually alter genes and become heritable (ergo accidentally frying babies with white phosphorous attacks on insurgents in oil rich third world countries is acceptable).

          Philosophers Karl Raimund Popper and Hannah Arendt identified the hunt for the “objective enemy” (genetically evil enemy) as the earmark of totalitarianism. It justifies preemptive punishment and genocide. Both also argue that totalitarianism distinguishes itself from other forms of tyranny in that totalitarianism tries to base its rationalizations and cast systems in “science.”

          I don’t think it’s surprising that a lot of bad “genetics of evil” science cropped up in an era of endless drone wars for resources in which an estimated 22 civilians, including children, are killed for every one enemy combatant. The wars aren’t justifiable so the collateral isn’t either– unless you can dredge up some weaponized genetics to prove otherwise and publish the junk science in the New York Times or The Guardian. There are entire front groups devoted to spinning this crap in science publications and it frightens me the degree to which the public seems to be swallowing this whole hog.

          USC neurogeneticist Pat Levitt argues that genes simply don’t code for behavior. None of the genetics studies that supposedly “proved” the existence of criminal genetics or genetic “zero empathy” have turned out to be replicable if replication is even attempted. Many of the studies are based on a house of cards of past bad studies. I think science journalist John Hogan explains it better than I can:

          Apparently a few organic brain conditions and brain injuries can predispose people to certain environmental influences but environment still pulls the trigger. There is proof that different ethnicities may be more susceptible to certain toxins or drugs (African Americans and statins, Finns and certain heavy metals), but that’s still primarily environmental science.

          I get very edgy about current “kinder gentler” seeming genetic studies that appear in pop science headlines like the one claiming that PTSD is heritable based on something about fruit flies. I think it’s a mind trap for liberals (I’m a liberal) and a bait and switch.

          On the surface the “heritable PTSD” claim can appear to be sympathetic to, say, the plight of Native Americans who are supposedly burdened with genetic behavioral artifacts of their forebears’ traumas. But on deeper analysis, the theory is just a way of saying “genetically tainted,” a view that can easily be extrapolated to “genetically criminal” to make entire ethnic groups appear disposable. It also completely discounts the fact that Native Americans are still suffering current traumas, discrimination and appropriation of reservation territory for fracking, etc. To quote GK Chesterton, “Eugenicists are euphemists.” They always try to sell their theories in the guise of philanthropy in the first stage. GK Chesterton was writing about so called “positive” eugenics in 1920, long before the rise of Hitler.

          If many Native communities still struggle with the effects of trauma, it’s fresh trauma. But that latter view is not favored by publishing giants (hello Murdoch, etc.) and research sponsors in bed with industries trying to rape Native lands. Humanizing the current plights of tribes might make the public too sympathetic which makes it harder to exploit and ravage. What journalist John Horgan did not mention is that the 20 year longitudinal study that supposedly identified the warrior/violence gene in the Maori was undertaken parallel to a huge campaign by oil companies to take over Maori bloodlands for drilling.

          I know it’s tempting to think fuckwits are genetic freaks but watch out for the double edge on that sword. It has a very ugly history and a boomerang effect. Forgive my preachiness but I think it’s relevant. Chumps are sitting ducks for shitty science as Esther Perel has shown. Just wait until junk genetics gets a bead on us.

        • What’s a “great life”? I see this over and over, the assumption that whatever the Cheater and the Schmoops are doing is a “great life.”

          1. Do chumps mean that it’s a great life to disconnect from spouse and kids without a backward glance?
          2. Do chumps mean that it’s a great life for an adult to throw parties in the house where his family used to live?
          3. Do chumps mean that it would be easy to live with the guilt we would feel for the lying, infidelity, child abandonment? Because only highly disordered people or sociopaths can do terrible things without conscience. Do chumps mean that being a sociopath is a great life?
          4. Do chumps mean that partying it up with someone who would break up your kids’ home is a great life? (Seriously–how many chumps would choose someone who would hurt their kids in vicious, obvious ways, and think “this is a great life”?
          5. Is it the great life to leave your small children and not miss them at all?

          Seriously–would any of us here CHOOSE to do these things? To live this life? If we looked at this from the outside–say, at someone who did this to a friend, sibling or widowed parent–would we say, “Wow, that person is living a great life”?

          Yet, I read this over and over. “He/she is sooo happy. Living the dream. Spending money. Avoiding child support. Vacations. Parties. Freedom. New car, new boat, new house, new haircut. No kids to take care of.”

          CL calls the “dreamlife” of the STBX here an “illusion.” But really, all of this “great life” stuff is an illusion, created in part by a cheater who specializes in creating illusions (i.e., impression management) and in part by chumps. We spackled and ignored red flags and did the adulting through the relationship so that we missed the bottomless corruption and lack of conscience in the cheater. We saw decency where there was none. And once they discard us, then we proceed to magnify their gloriousness and tell ourselves that they are living the great life while we suffer.

          We suffer because we love. We are decent. We bond and connect. We cherish. We protect our young. We had hopes and dream but pinned them on a jackass cheating sociopath. These terrible empty people are like Tom and Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby”: “They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” It’s been nearly 100 years. Fitzgerald understood these people down to the core. They are careless people who smash and destroy and never look at their mess.

          These thoughts we have that glorify the cheater’s life are our enemies. I think it takes time to end them but we begin by recognizing them and talking back to them, not accepting the idea that cheaters have a “great life.” They don’t.

          • LAJ– Excellent point. It wouldn’t be a great life to have a gun held our heads forcing us to do those thing, which is what it would take to make any half decent person do them. An orgy with randos on your kids’ toy box. Nope. Stuff of nightmares.

          • >>And once they discard us, then we proceed to magnify their gloriousness and tell ourselves that they are living the great life while we suffer.

            That’s how I got into the Chump situation to begin with. Admiring my brother’s and boyfriend’s accomplishments, and blind to my own. That was a family of origin pattern I had to grow out of.

          • Yes, the “careless people” from Gatsby is exactly right LAJ. It was one of my earliest thoughts about the cheater after D-Day as I was mired in the dreaded 180 and thinking about reconciling then as it was (unfortunately for me) way pre-CL. I had no idea about cheating, the playbook or sociopathy then.

            This was underscored by the fact that I have literally got a “green light” flashing at me from across the mountain where I live, one of the tropes from the book. In my insomnia in the terrible aftermath of DDay I watched it a lot through the night, and as I did I thought about that concept a lot in the early days of the abandonment.

        • Wow- interesting. My sudden discarder ExH was very very sentimental. It fit into his whole Mr. wonderful personality. It wasn’t fake, on one of our earlier dates he broke down in a restaurant seeing an elderly person struggling- it reminded him of his dad.
          He would bring hand written cards from loved ones on business trips to read over.
          I was nowhere near as sentimental as he was.
          What a split personality.

          • Zip– Is there anything creepier? It’s real. Then it isn’t. Then it’s real. Then it isn’t. This study explains neutralization, though the really extreme end of it (serial killers): Denying the Darkness: Exploring the Discourses of Neutralization of Bundy, Gacy and Dahmer.

            • Common thread seems to be that what makes them emotional is about them. The cheater I married was very good at having empathy for himself. Empathy for others and acting lovingly, not so much.

            • Hell of a Chump,
              I adore your psych nerd deep diving!

              Just a thought – the concept of neutralization seems to me to be just a form of the Perpetrator gaslighting themselves. They tell themselves another reality despite the facts of the horror of what they are actually like. Since if “I am a nice /great guy” which as they walk one block to a coffee shop without murdering someone they could well be. But then they go and murder someone. So they gaslight themselves that the 90% of them that is nice for the barista at the cafe while they compartmentalize somehow has nothing whatsoever to do with the 10% as they serial murder a bunch of people. But the net effect is they tell themselves the reality they prefer rather than the reality that is The Reality. My maths might be off though but I hope I make some sort of point lol

        • This, ex-cheater is a white knight, got caught up with AP because she was a professional victim with a very sad story of abuse, but in his efforts to make things okay for her, he ended up abusing me. He loved to be a rescuer, and loves his partners to be needy or damaged in some way: when I called him sobbing once because of something that had happened on a particularly bad day, he reminisced later that he thought me crying was ‘cute’. He didn’t want a strong partner, he wanted a damaged, fragile victim that he could be the hero for.

    • My XH didn’t cry when our dog died, when I miscarried the baby we’d gone through 2 rounds of in vitro to conceive, or when he lost his mother. But he shed big, sloppy tears in court while our divorce was being finalized. I’m sure I looked cold and uncaring due to the xanax I’d taken to get through the ordeal. Even my lawyer (who knew the whole story of his cheating and anbondenment after 28 years together to chase after a much younger Schmoopie) seemed to sympathize with him. Fortunately, in large part because of this site, I was able to recognize the image management for what it was. Thank you CL & CN! Hang in there, Champignon & Karen6702. It really does get better!

      • My kids still talk about how their father was the only one who didn’t cry when his mother died suddenly. But he tears up when the kids “hurt dad’s feelings.”

      • Sorry to hear about your miscarriage, Yogichump. My STBXH didn’t cry when his grandmother died or when I miscarried after 3 attempts of IVF. He started a relationship with AP 2 months after the miscarriage. He cried like a baby on Dday2 when I asked him to choose. Asshole chose me and said “I love her” blubbering like a baby. Should have believed him and left. I stayed for DDay3 and left him then.

      • I cried and wailed when I found out my husband of 19 years was and has been cheating on me pretty much our whole marriage. The primal cry that came out of me left me not crying for 4 years after. I literally couldn’t cry after the divorce, my father’s funeral, when I became an empty nester and after I sold our family home. Just recently I lost my precious lab mix who was with me for 13 yrs, that’s when the tears finally came. I think I put a wall up over my heart to not have that primal cry again. I’m a great woman who always wore my heart on my sleeve and trusted too much. 4 years ago broke my heart literally. Last week I lost my Nanny ( after Covid she was tired) and I cried and got angry. She was a second mother to me. Not everyone can cry, I know for myself it scared me that I thought I lost myself because my emotions wouldn’t come like they did 4 years ago. Thought I would share, not sure if anyone else has the same problem I did for a long while. Xoxo Sweet

    • I had an absolute psychopathic narc bitch of an incompetent boss once (I think I covered everything there) and she could turn the tears on at the drop of a hat. I always wondered how she could do that and I never figured it out but it sure was impressive!

    • I had an absolute psychopathic narc bitch of an incompetent boss once (I think I covered everything there) and she could turn the tears on at the drop of a hat. I always wondered how she could do that and I never figured it out but it sure was impressive!

      • And to think of the number of fine actors who have to use onions or other tricks to cry on camera. A wasted talent.

  • So very sorry your going through this especially with young children. In time you will feel stronger and will
    know that divorcing this selfish man/child was the best thing.
    It doesn’t matter how long any of us were married because we loved them with our heart and soul.
    My marriage was 35 years and to this day I feel the pain
    but I’m better off knowing I loved myself more then to endure the humiliation. It does get better when you start to realize that. Good luck to you and stay strong. ????????

  • You need to get sole custody of the kids. This is a high risk situation for child sexual abuse.

    Someone with such a low level of attachment combined with an “ adventurous/uninhibited “ sexual appetite is highly likely to bring someone into their orbit who enjoys sex with kids. He won’t see any need to protect them and may think early sexual exposure is good for them. Really, that’s a lie pedos tell.

    I say this as an adult survivor.

    • In my experience this is not easy to get if the father wants to be involved. I 100% agree with you though that he is a danger to the kids. My ex has a porn addiction, dates teenagers from tinder (and is a high school teacher), hires transgendered escorts and who knows what else. I’ve been told by everyone that his sexual preferences have no impact on his parenting and do I involve my sexual life in my children’s lives? The reality is that my child could easily stumble across all of this porn or be around escorts etc. It’s maddening. I’m so very sorry you’ve experienced abuse by someone like this. I wish there was more that could be done in these situations. Maybe some others have had success.

      • @Jo

        Yes it does. Last I checked having sex with teens is against the law. If he is a high school teacher he needs to be fired.

        • 18-19 is legal and these are not his students however I find it disturbing to work with kids the same age as you are having sex with or dating.

          Obviously if these were underage girls it would be reported.

      • I have been told the same thing. My ex’s ap was a face book whore. He made comments that “she’s the size of a child”.AP stated that ex was a porn addict. She was involved with drug crowd “she was sleeping on pimps couch when she got with ex ( while we were married). Court system views children as property! Point blank they are property and as a birth parent he has rights to custody. Doesn’t matter what they are exposed too or if they even parent. I know another guy had a DUI with his kid in car as soon as he was sober he got his custody time back unsupervised. Until the legal system quits viewing children the same as a sofa or house, you can’t protect them from the other parents shitty choices. I do think you should teach you children to protect themselves. Teach them what is not acceptable for any adult to do and teach them to fight back.
        Regret I am sorry this happened to you; it happened to my best friend as a child I was the one who found out and reported it to authorities ( I was a child myself). I am a big advocate for protecting my children. But my ex went off the deep end. Now I teach my children to be strong and fight back. I have also told them not all adults care about what is best for them. I am also teaching them respect is earned, not just given because you are an adult.
        My oldest child punched AP when she was yelling at younger child. Ex and Ap called oldest a monster. They forced oldest to keep going for custody and now ( she keeps going to protect younger child). I am proud of oldest it takes a lot of nerve to stand up to bullies, no matter who they are (even there own parent.)
        Ex and Ap have since split.

        • Sorry you’ve experienced this too. It’s extremely frustrating dealing with family court. It doesn’t stop me from spending thousands to attempt to protect my kid but it shouldn’t have to be this way.

          • Jo
            It’s a tough battle. I try every year to get a lawyer to stop it and they won’t. I am teaching my kids to defend themselves. Which sadly means they only get a childhood at my home. Every dollar I don’t spend on attorneys I spend on fun or put away for there college fund. I haven’t given up – Just resigned myself to the fact that no one cares. Meh will come- it will probably be on youngest 18th birthday. Unless karma comes first.

      • Here is what I would do:

        Put a PI on these parties. Find out who is attending & run them against the sex offender registration. My hunch is you will get a match.

        A judge & attorneys would take that seriously.

    • I agree with Regret. With the crazy swinging lifestyle he leads partying at the home, attracts the most deviant including potential child molesters. This is high risk and unsafe for your children and not a healthy environment. He doesn’t seem to have any moral threshold either so I wouldn’t put it past him to be more than capable of abuse with his own children if not now down the road.

      He may look on the outside like he’s happy but he isn’t.

      Mark the words here, he will circle back and start love bombing you. You’ll know it was spoken here first. Especially if you start initiating divorce where it will strip a lot away from him. You watch he will start the fake serenade again. He will seem very sincere. Don’t believe it.

      • He has shown so far no interest or contacted his children. I think. He thinks that it probably cramping his party style.

        • Champignon,
          I’ve heard others say that it is therapeutic to read “Husband Liar Sociopath” by O N Ward. Your Ex sounds like her sociopath Ex. Reading that book kills any illusions, dreams, or sorrow. The sociopath in the book was a huge partier who wanted to destroy his wife & son for trying to leave him. The author of the book lost 20 years to this soul murderer. It’s impossible to read that book without feeling deeply grateful that the worst hurt your sociopath found was to was discard you.

          Read that book if you want to see what your kid’s horrifying future would have been if he hadn’t discarded you after 6 years rather than 20. You probably showed backbone, and a lack of reverence which he feels is his due. They breath anti-love, anti-empathy.

  • Happened to my brother and his children. She never looked back. I think those people are probably sociopaths. They don’t love.

    • There is a man in SC who killed people. His broken mother described a dangerous child when he was two. He never changed. He kidnapped, chained up and continued to kill until he was arrested.
      Your ex has the same lack of morals. Don’t cry over him. He is not worth it. You can’t change a person. It’s useless to try.

  • Love to you, Champignon, and your lovely kids. Please listen to everything Chump Lady says, it’s all 100% proof truth, thousands of us Chumps can attest to that.
    The crying – don’t forget tears are also a response to stress. So if he cries when he tells you he loves you, it’s most probably because it’s a fat stinking lie and the stress of lying is what is making him weep those crocodile/shark tears. Be mighty, don’t believe a word he says, look at the actions and not the word salad. Hugs! ❤

      • THIS!!!!!!!!!: “They cry for themselves.”

        It really comes down to impression management or crying about losing something they value (like money).

        If you have a sociopath, then they will also just mirror your emotions – so if you’re crying, they will cry as well in order to manipulate. It’s all very self-serving. I remember my XH pretending to cry and wiping his eyes with a paper towel in our kitchen when he told me he wanted a divorce. I felt bad for HIM. I seriously thought he had depression or a brain tumor. The reality was that after he dropped that bomb, he drove off to a hotel to celebrate (complete with Champagne) with his affair partner.

        In my situation, it became abundantly apparent that my ex was definitely not crying over me. Also apparent was that there was no depression or brain tumor.

        • “. I felt bad for HIM. I seriously thought he had depression or a brain tumor.”
          I was so worried about his self-destructive behavior. It’s amazing to me how we project our feeling of connectedness on to our betrayer. I remember him thanking me for my compassion. The shock gets us.

          • Zip, you sound so much like I was in the beginning. Well before Dday even. I knew something was wrong, and I was worried he had snapped. Even after Dday, I had hope for a short time that he would wake up, or that something would happen to break him out of the “spell” he was under. (I don’t mean spell in the magic sense.)

            This was all before I really started thinking through our past. I was still trying to square the person in front of me to the person that I thought existed before.

  • Champignon – Use this time to take care of yourself and your children. Do you have a safe playground nearby? Wear them out with fresh air and activity. Scanning the horizon (while supervising the children) actually soothes fear/anxiety. Putting your hand over your heart, or theirs, and saying “you’ll be alright” does the same.

    Read through as many CL articles as you can. Put together your support team, starting with a lawyer. During covid, you should be able to schedule phone/zoom interviews. Tell your family and friends and even his family (if you are close). This will be painful, but write down the timeline of events while it’s fresh.

    Be careful of sleeping pills – I found calming (magnesium based) remedies at the pharmacy to be effective. Talk to your doctor (or even the children’s doctor) for referrals to therapist. Get treatment for your trauma, do not invite the perpetrator to your sessions.

    Hope you saw the recent CL article about throwing rocks through a stained glass window. Stay away from rock throwers.

  • “It looks like he does not miss us or noticed that we are gone. He is happy in Lala land and I am over here in so much pain. The kids are confused and wetting the bed and I am taking sleeping pills. He does not care that he hurt me. He prefers to pretend I don’t exist.“

    When I read things like this, I do not want to kill. I want to the Red Witch from Game of Thrones, set the cheaters on fire, and they don’t die and the fire doesn’t go out. For all eternity.

    As for you, Chumpignon, I wish I was the Blue Fairy from Peter Pan and had a magic wand to lift you and those precious children out of this nightmare of pain.

    I am not either so the best I can do is send virtual hugs and pray pray pray that we at Chump Nation can help guide you to safety.


    • Typo…

      I want to BE the Red Witch from Game of Thrones….

      I am so sickened and angry that I can barely type.

  • Champignon,
    I wish you the best and hope that No Contact will help you, over time, trust that your ex sucks. (He sucks for you, and your kids!) But I really want to underline what Chump Lady said about not letting your ex circle back to you. People like him often have second thoughts about their “great” new life as soon as it gets difficult for whatever reason. Because there’s no core there, they flip-flop between options, as if life were a huge buffet and they can go back to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. Obviously, your ex has already shown you that he doesn’t really care about you or your kids.

    If he comes back, singing your praises and saying all the “right” things about what a terrible mistake he made, that’s called hoovering – as in, trying to suck you back in. It could feel really good to you, after the pain of having been abandoned. But I hope you will remind yourself, if that happens, of everything Chump Lady has said here, and all the evidence you *already* have that your ex is shallow and uncaring. I hope, for your sake and your kids’ sakes, that you will stay strong and not let him back in to your home and heart. Your kids are young – they will be much better off if they haven’t bonded very strongly to your ex.

    It will get better. But only if you avoid all contact with him, and get your head out of his mindfuck blender! Hugs to you and your kids.

    • I think it helps to make a list of all the shitty things a cheater has done and/or said over the years. You can refer to it if he/she makes a hoovering attempt.

      I started my list about 10 months ago. 176 entries and counting.

  • Thank you for running my letter.

    At moment I still feel gutted like a fish.

    The night he told me. I left in a hurry. I just needed to get out of there. I went back after a week to pick up my kids stuff and my Paspoort.

    I Hoped he was not there. Unfortunately he was. He told me gleefully that it was still a good discussion and he did not bother to ask how the kids where. I went no contact after that. Still can’t beleef he absolutely does not care.

    • Come here daily and read read read.

      I still get struck by disbelief and it’s been almost three years since I discovered I had a MIRAGE, not a marriage.

      I was with him for 27 years. I wish I had left him a long time ago, but I wouldn’t have my daughter who is my Hope Diamond.

      The traitor I married traded that same Hope Diamond for fool’s gold. He is the loser, and so is the unconscious idiot who had an affair with him.

      I am still hurting, but he is miserable and I can laugh with my Hope Diamond. (He cheated on her and their shit show blew up.).


    • This reminds me of Ted Bundy’s live in girlfriend . She had no idea he was out murdering women. None. She and her young child lived with him. These psychos want to play at family man, when the whole time they are twisted freaks inside.

      It’s not you. It’s him. He is bent. IF he can be happy after discarding his wife and kids he is NUTS. Normal people aren’t capable of this. And there is/was nothing you could do to cure his pathology.

      • “IF he can be happy after discarding his wife and kids he is NUTS.”

        ^^^This. My ex went around telling anyone who would listen how happy he was–within a WEEK of abandoning his wife of 18 years for a woman he had known for less than a month. Though that is obviously crazy, you’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) how long it took that realization to sink in for me. Apparently, I was gaslit enough to make a nice backdrop for a Victorian murder mystery….

        Normal people do not feel happiness after abusing and abandoning their life partners. Normal people have naturally developed some empathy for their life partners over time and so, if they decide they’re unhappy in the marriage and want to leave it, they make that separation a mutual, consensual process–just like the original marriage was. And even if it’s done as respectfully and carefully and honorably as possible, the divorce will still make them sad for quite a while afterward. That’s normal. Trawling your mistress in front of your wife’s friends and colleagues mere weeks after DDay with a shit-eating grin plastered on your face and fervent protestations of happiness? That, my friends, is not normal.

        I wanted to say to my ex (but didn’t), “I hope to God you’re not happy right now. Not because I don’t want you to be happy, but because if the things you did to me make you feel happy inside, I’m afraid that makes you a sociopath.”

        • I truly wish I had not been in shock for so long, yes the gas lighting was horrendous. He had even told me that I might get some calls from his political enemies that he was messing around, but they were trying to cause him trouble. Less than 6 months before he completely discarded me, after a month before that saying in front of my best friend that I wouldn’t believe he was cheating unless he told me himself.

          I really was way too nice through out that whole sordid mess.

  • He will die old and alone. It’s a long time between then and now, but I’m old and have seen this a few times. My ex’s father was a serial husband-cheater, married multiple times. He would leave one wife and marry another, rinse, repeat. He died old and alone, children abandoning him. Running after the new shiny thing/person/lifestyle/excitement ruins their life in the long run. Be thankful you and your precious children are viewing him in the rearview mirror.

  • Oh girl…this one hits home for me. First off, not that you will, but you SHOULD listen to all of CL’s advice. She’s right on the money and we know what we are talking about here – ask us how 😉 Now likely, you won’t, and that’s OK too. Eventually will begin to see him for who he is and then, this advice will be just as pertinent. So forgive yourself if you transgress but if at possible, blindly follow this advice and trust us.

    Trust! What a funny thing to ask of you especially right now!

    So mine said many of the same things. “I won’t come back and even if I do, you shouldn’t take me back. In fact, it was a mistake for you to have taken me back all of those times before.”

    This statement gutted me. A mistake?? You came back and apologized and professed your love for me and I gave it another chance and I fucked up?? I mean I did, but I wasn’t an asshole for giving you another chance, actually YOU are an asshole for asking for one if you had no intention of following through with it.

    See how they do that? They make you feel at fault for their shittiness. “How could you have been so dumb as to trust me to mean the things I said??”

    If only you had known he was unhappy…then what? What would you have done? You can’t be someone you aren’t. You could never make this fuckwit happy and that is NOT a reflection of you, not at all, not in the least. Look at how he behaves now, the truth is there for you to see. He doesn’t give a shit about his children.

    Now, CL is right, he is likely to come back around. Likely he will use the kids. Again, CL is spot on, it’s not genuine concern, it’s either impression management or straight up manipulation. Mine, could not be bothered about my daughter for a long while before the end. But of course once I drew the line and went no contact, every email I received was asking about her, saying how much he missed her, how the idea of never seeing her again was killing him.


    Because you missed the last 3 years of BDAY celebrations for her so that you could go and fuck around with your friends (or who knows really).

    And now, you’ve been gone 6 weeks getting your noodle wet, and all of a sudden you give a shit about this kid?

    He used my daughter to try to get to me for 2 YEARS after we had split. I never responded to any of his emails until the last one when I had 2 years worth of evidence of electronic harassment, then I told him if he didn’t fuck off, I’d go to the cops. Amazingly that was the one thing that resonated with him,

    He’s driven by what other people think of him. A restraining order would have impacted his security clearance (and job) and would have likely been public information. He might be exposed for who he really is! (remember earlier when he admonished me for giving him multiple chances?? yeah, I am the asshole for believing him to be who he says he is *eyeroll*)

    Anyway, big hugs. This part hurts like hell. Just remember, it’s not you, it’s him and come back here often if/when you need support.

    • Yeah, mine mocked me for being so outraged. Like wow, this is fun to watch! What an idiot you are! That really drove home how badly I’d been played. Sadists.

  • I unfortunately have known a few ow, they all treat the cheater as they are wonderful, its true, your husbands ow thinks its a pick me dance, she only kidding herself. The ow put the men first instead if their kids. It seems as well they get pregnant as well, the pick me dance again.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s gets pregnant.

  • My goodness, CL, you hit a grand slam with today’s post! 100% spot on!
    We were both crying whole time. Which was weird. Because he wanted to leave.

    It is weird when sociopaths “cry.” They try on human emotions like discount shirts at Filene’s Basement. Don’t infer feelings here. The truth is in his leaving, and not caring that his small children are wetting the bed in grief.

    As a mother I’d like to strangle him with a piss-soaked sheet when I read that. Your children’s tears matter. HIs do not.

    I have not heard from him since he left.

    Good. No contact is the fastest way to heal. Unfortunately fuckwits often circle back. Stay strong and forward march on the divorce. Only communicate with him through parenting software and lawyers.

    Champignon, I’m nearly 6 years out of the hell of Dday. I could have written your post except we were together 25 years and had 4 kids. The first two years after Dday and, until your divorce is final, are early days.

    Do what Tracy said and file for divorce ASAP. Fight for your kids’ financial futures. I got full custody and all real estate — 80% of all assets. The freedom that gave me from his ongoing abuse was priceless.

    You truly will be better off without him, but you won’t feel better until a year after the divorce. Then you’ll have a new perspective and you won’t believe how lucky you are that he willingly left and isn’t actively abusing your kids. At least one of us here experienced the brutal and devastating murder of her precious child by the sociopath cheater dad. Hug those babes, tell them you’ll all be ok, better than ok. Then get dialing for a pit bull attorney who knows how to handle sociopaths. You’ll need that help.

    Go on our private group on Facebook for real time support. We are here for you like no one who hasn’t experienced this can be. Sending strength.

  • I have been there, but we were together 25 years.
    Ex is living with newest gf and a baby. I am not sure that was really what he was looking for, but, consequences.
    The pain does end. There’s not much you can do to make it go faster, except no contact and filing for divorce.
    In Buddhism they say suffering is the result of clinging. Of wishing things were different than they are.
    I had to think about that for a long time,but one day I realized that it was true.

    Ex was gone and never returning.

    From that day on I have looked forward. I have made sure my life was the way I want it. I have embraced my independence and being single.

    Your ex is not your friend. He is no longer someone you know, at all. If he was dead it would be easier, but since he isn’t, you have to find a way to consider him that way.

    You and your kids will be fine. Get a good lawyer to protect their rights and ensure they are being supported. Do not negotiate anything without legal advice. Don’t fall for any sob stories or anger.

    One day you will look back and maybe even be able to reminisce about your old life. I do. We had many fun times. But they are done and aren’t coming back. And that’s ok.

    Protect yourself. Get a good therapist. Engage your doctor for support. You and your kids are a whole family.

    Embrace it.

  • My heartbreaks for you and your children. I can still tap into the hollowness and disillusion of those early days. I too found the texts from His Tinder Troll saying “Leave them, leave them all they make make you crazy”. I was to “Yes I have a girlfriend because you were terri le to me”. While that maybe true, I did not deserve after 25 years, 2 kids and one on the way, support all through law school and his alcoholism to be cheated o. And discarded. My 1e yr old did not need to hear about his Polyamory or his gf fucked world. You will get through this because fir those kids YOU MUST! Get yourself a good lawyer amd an even better therapist. You need them. Then put one foot in front of the other and and get steppin’ to your new life. This part is hard. We here all know that, but it is finite. I m 4 years out and my house is calm and I am content. Right now though you protect yourself and those babies!!!! Come here when it gets dark and you need to remember you are not alone e. We are not special unfortunately the world is full of fuckwit narcs. What sets us apart is we not only survive but end up thriving once the dark days are behind us. MUCH LOVE

    • “I have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) because you were terrible to me” must be one of the oldest excuses for cheating in the book. I was accused of that too by my xw who lied pathologically and remained emotionally distant for as long as I can remember. I suspected affairs when she would give me vague explanations about where she had been or who she had been with. It was many years before I discovered the truth and my suspicions were confirmed. She would often put me down and rarely said complementary things to me even though I futilely attempted to earn her affection. Those feelings of rejection and abandonment, despite my best efforts to please her, resulted in legitimate anger and frustration toward her at times. Looking back, I think she made a conscious effort to drive a wedge between us in order to justify her affairs. She clearly had no interest in having a mutually satisfying relationship with me, but was happy to sponge off me while she didn’t work and could get away with screwing around. If you were “terrible” to your ex, you may have felt abandonment but weren’t completely aware of it at the time. You are a victim of narcissistic abuse and mindfuckery. Don’t beat yourself up. If he had any integrity, he would have chosen other options, such as couple’s counseling or divorce, rather than cheating on you. As CL says, cheaters cheat because they can. You had nothing to do with it. Any excuse is just an attempt at damage control.

  • God I hate these abusers. I honestly never knew this particular brand of evil existed until it happened to me.

    Strength and wisdom to us all.

    • The first time I encountered the phenomenon was when I was very young and a friend was unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend who had formerly frantically lovebombed her. But once the psycho shifted into discard, he did a victory dance on her face– shockingly vicious.

      I learned last year that the guy committed suicide at the beginning of 2019. The news took a long time to travel since so few people even cared anymore. They do not end well.

  • Champignon, my heart goes out to you!

    He said his mask is finally off. He can be who he always was meant to be.

    When you ask how he could walk away from his wife and children, this explains it all: he is a man who walks away from his wife and children. The mask is off and this is who he truly is. You can’t explain it. You can’t understand at a gut level because your emotions don’t work like that. You have a bond with your children. He is incapable of having that bond. And that’s a hallmark of sociopathy.

    So, where does that leave you?

    Well, first, give yourself permission to be very, very angry. Your children are wetting the bed. You know they are upset by this and embarrassed. Their father abandoned them. This is a huge betrayal!
    How dare he! However, you can’t yell at him. It does no good. It will upset them more and will make you look like the crazy lady.

    What you can do is to get them into counseling, and get yourself some therapy as well. You might want to get suggestions from your local domestic abuse shelter for this. This is very important, since right now your Cheater is happy in lala land and is completely indifferent to his children. That will change as soon as you file for divorce. All of a sudden, he’ll realize that he stands to lose money, and he will be happy to be Daddy of the Year. Don’t fall for this.

    It’s really important to let your children’s therapist know about the abandonment and the bed-wetting. This could have a real impact on custody down the road.

    Record when he left and when he sees the children. Does he wish them happy birthday? Does he send them email? Does he Facetime them at all?

    Interview and retain a family practice attorney who is experienced in dealing with narcissists and high conflict divorce/custody cases. Right now, your divorce seems straightforward, but once your cheater realizes that he’s going to lose a lot of money, he’ll start to fight you. Talk to your lawyer about this abandonment and ask what kind of documentation the court would need in order to award sole custody.

    Work with a divorce financial planner. The fact that your family has a second home into which you moved yourself and your children suggests that your marital estate is larger than average, so it is absolutely vital for you to have an accurate financial picture and a strong plan for your future. Many states see assets accrued in the marriage as community property and set the default property division at 50/50. Your cheater is partying it up in one marital home, and that money is money that could be used for the children.

    I know I’m talking about money, and money seems to be really cold when you heart is ripped out and your kids are suffering, but trust me that money is the ONLY thing these people understand. Statistically, men rebound from divorce a lot faster than women because women tend to earn less and have less opportunities for promotion than men AND women make career decisions based on their ability to look after their children.

    Your children are young and you have a lot of life ahead of you. You want to be able to ensure some financial security for them. By abandoning you and the children, and by partying it up at the home, your cheater is CHEATING them out of that future security. Once you file, though, your cheater will lawyer up and start to fight you tooth and nail for every dollar. A financial planner will help you know what you need to provide for your family and what kind of settlement would be fair under your state’s laws.

    So, get angry, get therapy, and get a really good divorce team (lawyer and financial planner and accountant if you use one).

    You will survive this and it will get better.

    • The marital estate is big but I have airtight prenup
      Which says he gets notting. He can’t claim anything that I had before the wedding. The two house are mine as a result of the prenup and date before the marriage. I have blocked all joint credit cards and bank accounts. So basically he has his salary and his own bank account and massive amount of credit card dept in his name.

      I probably have to pay him alimony which sucks. The big fight is gonna be about the kids.

      So fare has not spoken to my children. He has not called them or emailed them or FaceTime them. Not a word. We don’t exist. So there not a lot I can document at moment.

        • This. Document that he left on Date X.

          Talk with your lawyer and the children’s therapist (because you are getting the kids into therapy). Document the children’s behavior upon their father’s abandonment. Document how many weeks go by without any word from the Cheater.

          If your lawyer and/or therapist advises you to reach out to Cheater to have him speak with children and he refuses, document that he has refused to talk with them. Try to put all contact into email so that it’s in writing. If he texts a response, then respond by email but reference his text so there’s a record of what he said.

          You are mighty in your prenup. You may owe him some temporary spousal support, but a good lawyer may be able to avoid this. In my state, that support is given only when the spouse has stayed home to look after the children or has sacrificed earning potential in order to provide child care. In these cases, the temporary spousal support is intended to provide for the financial security of the children while that spouse seeks out employment.

          Just keep documenting how long he goes before he reaches out to talk with the children.

      • I agree with documenting everything.

        It is just so wrong that anyone man or woman should have to pay alimony to a cheating spouse.

  • Champignon–

    That monster is not polyamorous, he’s nil-amorous as CL explained. If you think he’s having a great old time over at the old house, watch the film “Shame” with Michael Fassbinder. I think the movie is dead on about the long term consequences of so-called sex addiction. As for his OW– just a fellow psychopath. These people don’t love and can’t love.

    For those of us who got strung along for decades, six years seems like a shorter prison sentence. And as horrifying as his treatment of the children is, it does mean that he will likely lose custody and visitation meaning you can have a much easier time going NC and moving on than chumps who are forced into years of check-ins over shared custody which fuckwits generally view as “More chances to fuck with chumps.”

    Follow CL and CN counsel to the letter. Document all his horrible behavior and get the best settlement you can. I agree with others here that the real danger to you over time is that this jerk will tire of his party lifestyle again and will be back to love bomb you and try to start the cycle over again. You have a golden chance to make a clean break and move on. Gather up all the strength you can, use anger if it helps, but get free.

    Also, be conscious of the side effects of sleep medications, particularly if they’re benzodiazepines. So many abuse survivors are pushed into that trap by trauma that the effects of various meds are pretty well known in survivor circles. Here is the standard caveat: NEVER tell the fuckwit that you’re taking sleep meds because he could try to double this around as a last ditch attempt to take custody by painting you as an addict. Try to work out a gradual withdrawal plan with your prescribing doctor when you’re ready. These drugs are infamous for causing rebound anxiety, meaning eventually the anxiety is caused by the drugs themselves, not the original cause. Never go off that stuff too quickly but get a step-down plan and be aware that they can increase the risk of alcohol abuse even in people who never formerly drank.

    So sorry this happened to you and I hope you can take solace that you are not alone in facing this. There is hope and your life is full of promise in the long run even if it does not seem that way now. The community here is the wisest I’ve encountered so cling to it while you piece your life back together. Infidelity is listed as a serious life trauma so you’re going to need serious support and self care for several years. And when the worst passes, you can find yourself with a genuinely beautiful new life free of monsters. A million hugs.

    • CBD oil, lemonbalm (strong tea or supplements) and melatonin can help with sleep, less dangerous than prescription drugs.

  • “He said his mask is finally off. He can be who he always was meant to be”

    This exactly what my X said when I discovered his double life, he was sleeping around with women and men.

    Fast forward 18 months after he said the above, he now wants his family back. He thinks I’ll forgive him because according to him, he was so deep into his “addiction and curiosity that he sacrificed our relationship.”

    Thanks to CL and CN I know exactly where he is coming from.

    Hang in there Champignon! Life really gets better without having a person who can’t bond with his own children.

    • ‘”…he was so deep into his “addiction and curiosity that he sacrificed our relationship’.”

      Oh FFS. I just hate these types of excuses. “It wasn’t me, it was the addiction and curiosity.” “I’m innocent!! Forces beyond my control made me do it.” Please!!!

      Also, “curiosity”?!! What? That word SO minimizes what he did.

      We give up the option to fool around when we vow to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of our lives. A spouse doesn’t get to unilaterally indulge his curioristy.

      It wasn’t his addiction and curiosity, it was his lack of character and sense of entitlement. Glad CL and CN has helped you recognize the mindfuckery.

      • It is so weird how these fuckwits are all the same.

        I went to our river property to get some of my stuff and caught him and whore there. (it honestly never occurred to me that they were using that property for their trysts. It should have, but it didn’t. I just calmly said, why are you doing this to us? He said “this is who I am”. So I believed him.

        Funny thing was that was the only time I ever saw whore during the whole 13 months legal separation. She just never was a big consideration to me. However, my mother in law went with me as she wanted her vacuum back that she had loaned her son.

        She cornered whore and gave her a tongue lashing. Whore fled, After whore monger fled, I gathered all my personal crap. There was a BB gun laying on the couch, it evidently belonged to her 10 or so year old kid. I picked it up and slammed it on the floor, and left. I figured I had paid for it anyway.

        Later whore monger called me and said you broke a BB gun. I said consider your self lucky you and the trailer are not floating down the river, you got off easy. It was only one of two times that I remember really acting out any violence. The other time was in my own house alone, when I threw a kids rocking chair across the room. Whore monger and I had bought it for our first (yet to be conceived) grand child. That thing was heavy, don’t know how I did that. But, it barely damaged it.

        I didn’t really get to think of my mother in law dressing whore down until later. Then I got a kick out of it. M in L hated whore for a while, then of course she had to accept her, and then she turned against me. I get that, but it hurt.

        I do remember when my M in L first found out, she said to me “you would have been better of if he had died” She was right. Would have hurt less. She knew because her cheating, lying husband did die.

        • Spinach@35: Yes, as soon as he started talking about missing me and the kids, I knew it was all about his feelings and not to benefit us, but him. So I told him, sorry buddy but that’s never going to happen. He said he understood because he had cause so much damage and now we can amicably co-parent.

          Susie Lee: It appears all mother in laws are indeed the same as well. Mine wanted to yell at my X’s last AP because she felt the AP put a spell on him. Lol. But I asked her if she was going to go yell at ALL his APs, because there were many! She said “no matter what…you will always be my daughter and I will never accept a girlfriend of his.” Fast forward 1 month after DDay, she called me to tell me she was going to stop seeing her grandchildren and would not visit me, unless I allowed my X back to our home. Well, I haven’t spoken to her since then.

          • Oh my ex m in l definitely wanted us back together. Since we were still kind of close, I actually told her when I accepted a date. (It was long after our legal separation) She told me later that she called him and told him he better act fast if he wanted to fix this, as things were happening fast. Lol. First of all, at that time he was engulfed in a fight for his job because of his wondering dick, and second of all even if he had “acted fast” I was done, and never would have accepted a date had I any wish for recon.

            He did try several times after that, but I always said no thanks. I knew he didn’t want me back, he just needed me destabilized to try and retain any power he could.

            I did feel sorry for her though, really she was a victim too. She even lost her house because of his actions. Collateral damage, means nothing to a wandering dick.

          • When I had my locks to the house changed my m in l was hurt. I told her she was welcome to come over anytime I was home, but I needed my home as my own space and no one else. I also told her that at some point she would need to re connect with fuckwit and I didn’t want to get in the way of that.

            She was pizzed for a while, but eventually she accepted fuckwits whore. To fuckwits credit, he did build her a small mother in law quarters on the end of his and whores house. Though I am betting she paid for most of it. She lived there until she died.

            I had occasion to talk to her at my sons house a few years before she died. We had a nice conversation, and she wished me well. I am glad we got that chance. She is the only one/thing I ever really missed long term. She and I had been really close.

  • “It is weird when sociopaths “cry.” They try on human emotions like discount shirts at Filene’s Basement”

    Well put. Mine cried too, trust me it means nothing. They just like to pretend for a second that they have some decency, but they don’t. It’s crocodile tears.

    Hang in there new chump. We’ve been there. Mine was five years ago and I’ve never been happier, and my kids too. That day will come for you, I promise. You will be so glad that worthless person is not in your life

  • This is so helpful. I feel like everyone should read this. The hardest part to reconcile is understanding how or why anyone could do this. My ex and I were married 14 years, knew each other for almost 22 years. We had a son together. I thought we had a solid family. Then I figured out he was having an affair with his co-worker, I confronted him, and he left us immediately. He moved in with the coworker and her 2 boys. I was completely blind-sided. Devastated. Confused. I read their texts and how AP was egging him on to leave me. He mocked me and became instantly cruel and wild-eyed (this was an introverted quiet guy that had kissed me every morning on his way to work!). I thought he had a brain tumor — his personality changed so much. It was horrific. It’s no wonder we all go through trauma/PTSD. But CL says it best: “You’re trying to make sense of the insensible… he doesn’t bond like a normal person… That’s not normal …Chump brain thinks — I must’ve done something truly terrible to make this person leave me. Because that’s the only reason we can imagine for shunning someone — a crime. When really they just never bonded to you in the first place. Everyone is easily replaceable, like swapping out a used coffee filter.” ALL OF THIS! I wish I had this information sooner. The hard part for me was that I was left holding the bag and NO ONE (not the attorneys, therapists or painful co-parenting coordinators) would call out his behavior as NOT NORMAL. Why isn’t this considered a mental illness? Why do we have to even share custody with these creepy a$$h*les?? WTF? Instead, I finally chose to just accept. Accept that I’ll never understand how someone could do that. Never understand why. And then be thankful that I don’t understand it. No one should find it normal and acceptable. It’s disgusting. I’m sorry for everyone dealing with this kind of crazy.

    • Yep, how hostile he got was the hardest part. I mean it changed almost over night. Screaming at me for every infraction he could fine. The only time he seemed to realize what he was doing was when he screamed and railed at me while at a gas station. He was standing at my car window (I had been following him home from our river property, as requested) Evidently I didn’t do it right. He screamed all sorts of insults, I looked over at the gas station and there were several men standing there staring at him.

      He said go home. So I went home. When he got home he said I shouldn’t have done that. He never once apologized for all the other times he did the same thing in our house. I guess the audience brought him out of his psychotic trance.

      I remember wanting so badly for him to snap out of it, so we could fix this. I am so glad he didn’t, I could have never lived with him after that. I tried for a week, then kicked him out.

  • Champignon – his tears are for HIM. It took me months to internalize this, but I see it now – and you will too. He doesn’t want the deal with ANY of consequences, he just wanted to skate – much eaiser to avoid. Its all about HIM, and as you get further away from this you may start to see that more clearly. The hardest but most important hurdle is to begin to make it about YOU and your littles. That is where the anger will come in handy.

    We’ve all been there and we all are sending (hugs). Ok – time to get PISSED!

    • The crying part was really weird. First I felt sorry for him. Then it creeped me out. It felt so wrong. I suddenly want to leave in hurry.

      • > I suddenly want to leave in hurry.

        Good instinct there. I wish I had validated when I had a similar instinct, back in that day. I see why he didn’t wait to discard you.

  • How can they walk away? They have no empathy. ZERO. My cheater, like so many others, slept like a baby hours after D-day.

  • Sometimes I wonder if I need to take a break from this site because of just hearing about how shitty human behavior can be and how common betrayal is. I use this for therapy and to gather wisdom but man, it’s so disheartening sometime.

    The part about the children wetting the bed from this. It resonated with me thinking about my little children as they get exchanged 50/50 because of their mom’s desire to be a pathological lying cheater, blowing up her family over an AP who she introduced them to already, and now a new guy with his kids coming over for a “sleepover” as my kids tell it.

    Who the hell was I married to? God, please protect as many people from these toxic cancerous people just going through life destroying and causing havoc.

    • SheSucks,

      I feel the same way about how disheartening it can be to read some of these accounts.

      As for your situation, that you have to co-parent young children with such a toxic person truly sucks.

      You sound like a great, empathic dad. So at least those kiddos have you!

      Good luck.

    • It was disheartening to me, but then I realized, look how many good, loving, REAL people are here commenting!

      I sometimes talk with my girlfriends and we lament how we think all men are liars and cheaters. Then I read the comments here from the men and it reminds me that no, there actually are honest, faithful men out there. I’m not at a point where I’m ready to date and don’t know if I’ll ever be, but it helps to come here and see that not all men are out to destroy us.

  • To Champignon and all those who shared your sorrowful stories, be strong. Have faith. Its gets better.

    I see all these supportive comments from the mighty CN, an army I never wanted to know and of which I am a proud solider.

    I’ve been thinking about how life changes you, betters you. Divorce was the best thing to happen to me. I hated hearing that, but its true.

    And the life you gain is SO MUCH BETTER than the life you were living BEFORE all this shit happened. If only b/c you value your life differently.

  • Biggest of hugs to you. Please remember a few things;
    1. Trust that he sucks!
    2. This is not your fault. You did not do anything to cause this.
    3. The truth is what people do, not what they say about it.
    4. You are strong and loving and you have your wonderful children.
    5. You will get over this one day, and you will look back and wonder what you ever saw in him.
    It will hurt like hell, but one day the pain will be gone, I promise.
    Thoughts and prayers to you. xxx

  • I am starting realize. How bad the situation is. How in shock and pain I am. Thank you all for opening my eyes. He really had me convinced that I was the problem. That I can fix this.

    De red flags I missed. How convincingly he can be at lying. How dangerous he might get.

    • (((Champignon)))
      I know you are holding your precious Children close.
      Is there a close friend or a family member you can lean on right now when you need support just to breath & get through each day? I hope you can reach out.
      Talk to your family Doctor also about what medication could best be helpful right now while you are caring for, and being there for your little ones. I am so so sorry for all of their suffering also.
      Cheaters live in their own world, they care only about what is within their instant gratification.
      They get what they desire when they want it, because they want to, and because they can.
      YOU are different. You are genuine, thoughtful & kind.
      The most difficult thing for you right now is being the present, sane, loving parent.
      CN understands & is here for you, 24/7
      YOU already are Mighty to have come here & opened up your heart.
      Wishing you healing peace.
      Stay strong!

    • Don’t worry Champignon we got you here. You are in the trenches with fellow vets. You have to have lived it, to get it [sadly]

      To this day, I sometimes wonder if I overreacted – even as I am picking up the pieces of my shellshocked kids as they finally give up – just like I did.

      Its all so outlandish! Normal people just do not behave like this!

  • “And someone else. And someone else…etc.”

    I have to laugh because you are so right Chumplady. Sociopaths like this are all the same.

  • Thank you. ❤ it’s a long slog and I’m still not where I want or need to be but I am trying. I k ow my worst day alone e is better than my best day with him.

  • I have a large tattoo on my forearm that says J’ai aimé jusqu’á atteindre la folie. I have loved to the point of madness. I got it the first time abusive cheater left and I was devastated and suffering. I didn’t hear anything from him for 6 months. Not a peep. He had been smearing me to his family behind my back the entire time and I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t speak to me unless it was to say it was my fault and I was the abusive one. He came back claiming he loved me and missed me and was no longer on drugs. I honestly believed him and that it was drugs making him abuse me and cheat. Except it wasn’t. He love bombed again for a month or two and his true personality started to come back. I’m almost 2 years out and at meh. I never thought I would hear from him again after he left the first time. It was like he vanished into thin air. Your ex will most likely try to Hoover you back. I didn’t realize at the time that mine only came back to make him look better in court. I was in too much emotional pain to see it.

    You and your children need good therapists. There are a lot who don’t really understand people with personality disorders and can do far more harm than good.

  • Substitute 27 for 6 years and this could have been me. My ex is now married to the AP, a lovely person who has a felony record and a pot habit. They met on a hook up site when she responded to his profile for a one night stand. He basically told me that the reason he wanted to be with her —and he did this all through buckets of tears — was because the two of them could do things like orgies together and BDSM classes together. In fact he chose a BDSM class over meeting up with our 20-year-old daughter at Disneyland. My kids were older (my youngest was nine when he came to me wanting a divorce) but the story is similar in so many ways.

    Here’s the good news: I’ve now been divorced two years. He is still married to the AP. I suspect they still do orgies. Even in the age of coronavirus. My kids have a strained relationship with him but interact with him almost never.

    Meanwhile my kids and I have created a new family. It’s authentic, it has lots of love, it has board games in the middle of the night, and school events (well, pre-pandemic) and Driving lessons and homework and Christmas traditions and church and birthdays and choosing to paint the family game room pink— because why not!? It is a pretty wonderful life.

    Meanwhile he’s got the AP and orgies.

    So, I promise: it gets better. Get away from him ASAP. Hug your kids tight and be the solid ground they can stand on. Fill your life with light. ((Hugs))

    • Isn’t it interesting how at one point we think the cheater is a vital part of the family and, once they are gone, you realize they were only a negative, sucking in all the attention?

      My kids and I also have a lovely life, full of late night chats, actual cake and love.

      The devastation of infidelity was real, but the freedom of living my way has become liberation.

      • Everybody keeps saying that. It will get better. At moment it just does not feel that way. It feels like a stept in blackhole and there is no way out.

        • I understand. I almost didn’t survive the first year…I had a good doctor and friends. But 6 months later I am happy.

          At some point you will realize the only way out of the blackness is with support and legal consequences and it will begin to improve. Trust me. Even if it seems impossible to.


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