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When Will I Feel Indifferent?

Dear Chump Lady,

How I wish I had found your book and website before I read Shirley Glass’s sexist, apologist Not Just Friends with him or spent $600 for him to charm a couples’ counselor into telling me that we “clearly share[d] one of the most special bonds” she had seen, yadda yadda yadda. So much pain could have been avoided. Half of these UBT emails may as well have been lifted verbatim from his own missives.

On the other hand, I likely would not have found out the full extent of the cheating, lying, and betrayal had I left on the first D-Day, when the cop was only to “emotional cheating” and a drug relapse. I’m grateful for that because at least I have no lingering thoughts of “what if,” and no one in my life is under the illusion that he’s anything but a piece of garbage and complete scam artist they should not come within a 1,000-mile radius of.

I no longer want to be with him. He disgusts me. I think back to how he used to embarrass me when I brought him around my friends and family with horror. I can’t believe a catch like me ever gave the time of day to a loser like him, let alone years of my life. Moreover, I now understand that what I once missed was the idea of him and the future that I was planning for us when he was bullshitting me into believing we were once-in-a-lifetime soulmates.

Since leaving him (he forced me to be The Bad Guy for my own sanity. Sure, he moved out of our shared apartment without telling me while I was away, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t still date, like we used to), I am so much better off. I’ve gotten professional accolades and promotions, I was in the best shape of my life [before the pandemic], I reengaged in my hobbies, I reconnected with friends and family from whom he isolated me. He actually tried to sabotage my career because he “resented” that I was more successful than he was. I mean, this is not a good guy! As luck would have it, he compromised his own career due to his dishonesty and lack of integrity, and is now in tens of thousands of dollars of debt and being supported financially by one of the Other Women (he constantly threw in my face how she was actually more successful than I, so, by the transitive property, shouldn’t that make him resent her more?).

And yet… it’s over eighteen months on, I’m in a healthy relationship with someone I trust completely (we’re taking it slow), and I am still overcome with feelings of rage about the injustice of it all. Why did I have to spend so much time in counseling, reading books, working out, piecing my life back together, moving apartments, relieving myself of the fault I shouldered for the demise of our relationship, crying in the bathroom at work, dealing with debilitating stress migraines, having flashbacks to his rages, trying to grow as a person, when he got off scot-free? Why does he get to pretend I, and the life we built together, never existed? Why does one of the OW he trashed-talked the entire time we were together get to live without the pain I experienced? Why does she get to live the fantasy? Why do his friends, who were also my friends, not see him for the fraud he is? Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him? Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost? Why isn’t he groveling? Why am I writing to you now, a stranger on the internet, over a year later? I don’t feel Meh about him. I feel like I want him to be strapped to a board with barbed wire and forced to watch everything he loves in the world be destroyed. Because that’s how I felt when I learned my whole life was a lie.

I realize I’m asking you a question without an answer. And I must admit that it felt a little cathartic just to write it all out. I know he doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in my head, or my nightmares, recently. Isn’t there just some magic pill I can take to feel indifference already? What is wrong with me that I haven’t been able to?

Sincerely,

It’s Still Just So Unfair

Dear It’s Still Just So Unfair,

At some point you’ve got to decide between justice and meh.

I’m telling you, as a survivor of this shit — choose meh.

Meh is my shorthand for acceptance. Take back your power and decide that this person no longer has the power to hurt you. Be grateful he isn’t actively in your orbit hurting you or those you care about. (People who bred with fuckwits have a MUCH harder row to hoe.)

People who have the power to hurt you are people you are invested in. People whose good opinion of you matters. You are no longer invested in him, and know he’s a fraud, so why internalize a bozo’s judgement?

If you get hung up on the injustice — and it is a real injustice — it’s absolutely traumatizing to be chumped — you will be tethered to a situation you don’t control. A powerlessness that feels a lot like being partnered with a fuckwit, really.

You don’t control justice, unless you mean revenge, which I discourage. And I’m not waving that off lightly. As I’ve written here before, I am peace, love and granola, but I had vivid fantasies of gutting my cheater with a fish knife. Stem to stern.

But why would I throw my life away for a fuckwit? Why should you? Their punishment is being them. People don’t have character transplants. Their crappy character and shit life skills follow them forever. Leave it to the laws of natural consequences — the arc can be LONG, but it’s there.

Focus on what you DO control — you. Meh is something you can strive for and achieve. Karma for fuckwits, not so much.

I don’t know if you ever truly feel indifferent about being chumped (says the woman who’s been writing a blog about infidelity for 8 years…) but you can accept that it happened, and you can rise above it. That’s a battle worth waging — gaining the new life. Meh just creeps up on you over time, as the new life eclipses the old life.

Read here awhile and thank your lucky stars that you don’t have deeper sunk costs. A $600 shrink bill is galling. Try 20 years and two kids. Try being a 50-year-old SAHM trying to re-enter the workplace. Or a man who had to paternity test his children. It’s not the Pain Olympics, but some perspective helps.

Now to your questions.

Why did I have to spend so much time in counseling, reading books, working out, piecing my life back together, moving apartments, relieving myself of the fault I shouldered for the demise of our relationship, crying in the bathroom at work, dealing with debilitating stress migraines, having flashbacks to his rages, trying to grow as a person, when he got off scot-free?

You’re a person of substance who connects. Ergo it’s painful to disconnect. He’s a human ball of dryer lint. He didn’t get off “scot-free”, he has no substance. There’s no pain because there’s no substance.

Do not wish to be dryer lint.

Why does he get to pretend I, and the life we built together, never existed?

He can pretend anything he wants. He can dress up like the Marquess of Salisbury and have tea parties. Don’t concern yourself with what fuckwits think.

Why does one of the OW he trashed-talked the entire time we were together get to live without the pain I experienced?

You don’t know that. She’s trying to connect with human dryer lint. That will either be painful eventually, or she too is human dryer lint and they’re a match.

Not. Your. Problem.

Why does she get to live the fantasy?

Are there scones at the tea party?

Why do his friends, who were also my friends, not see him for the fraud he is?

These people are not your friends.

Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him?

She probably wants someone to take him off her hands. And he fucked it up.

Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost?

Because he doesn’t value good people, he uses them. He found someone else to use, so in his world, that’s not losing. That’s changing hosts.

Why isn’t he groveling?

Pray that he doesn’t. If he circles back, he wants to use you. Shut that shit down.

Why am I writing to you now, a stranger on the internet, over a year later?

Well, I’m kinda winsome.

I don’t feel Meh about him. I feel like I want him to be strapped to a board with barbed wire and forced to watch everything he loves in the world be destroyed.

Before you gut him with a fish knife? I’ve had that fantasy.

What gets destroyed? His favorite sports jersey?

He doesn’t love like you love. He doesn’t live in this world as you live in it. Destruction doesn’t register.

Because that’s how I felt when I learned my whole life was a lie.

His whole life is a lie.

He’s never going to be shocked like you were shocked because his whole life is a LIE. The guy is a fraud. He has no world to destroy, because every world he inhabits is FAKE. See point #1 — you have substance, you connect. He’s not you.

I realize I’m asking you a question without an answer. And I must admit that it felt a little cathartic just to write it all out. I know he doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in my head, or my nightmares, recently.

The nightmares often come much later in the chump experience. When you’re safe and can start processing. I still have the occasional nightmare. Just realize it for what it is — healing.

Isn’t there just some magic pill I can take to feel indifference already?

No contact and keep building a new life. The liberation campaign can take quite a bit of time. Sounds like you’re navigating it really well! Excelling at work, being in great shape, taking it slow with a new guy. Great work!

What is wrong with me that I haven’t been able to?

Nothing is wrong with you. Give it time and keep investing in your new life. One day (it’s a Tuesday) the pain goes away. It’s finite. I promise.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This letter is so timely for me, Tracy. Over 2 years out and I’m finding myself brooding again. It’s not that I want him back at all, it’s the injustice of the whole sordid thing, and how he gets to walk away and start fresh with some new, starry-eyed future Chump, Meanwhile, I’m still digging out–not even considering dating again at this point–because there is so much needed fix the picker and I DO NOT want to go through that again. Thank you OP and thank you, Tracy, for the reminder that getting a new life and getting to meh is a marathon, not a sprint.

    • Me as well—Over 3yrs out.

      96.5% of the time I’m at meh.
      Wonderful place to be.

      But on occasion, the breeze picks up a scent from a garbage pit and blows some “I want justice” feelings back in my face. It’s mostly around parenting.

      Best I figure, meh comes in layers, it’s not like a switch.

      • Just over 3 years out as well.

        And again CL has hit on something I really needed. I have such a strong deep sense of justice….and I have to let it go.

        Justice/karma – the arc is long but it is there….and I wont be sitting around waiting to see it.

        Every now and then my justice needs creep up and I stew a bit.

        But then I check OFW and almost happy dance that I havent had to communicate for quite a while!

        And that’s when I know meh is mostly here and it’s better than justice.

        • You living well can be a form of justice. They are always looking backwards, hoping to see you in a heap on the ground unable to get up from the destruction they created. Living well really is the best revenge, it just doesn’t feel like it at first. There are very subtle ways to get that information out there, too. They are the ultimate spin masters, so two can play that game. There’s nothing wrong with a little little spin on your part. Even if life doesn’t feel so grand right now, forward motion to make it appear that way gets the ball rolling. Fake it ’til you make it.

          • When my neighbor told me that living well is the best revenge, early on in my situation; it kind of clicked in the background. So I did try to do that, even before the divorce was final.

            Another thing I talked with my neighbor about (she had gone through it, and was still a struggling single) was money. I was stressed that I wouldn’t have enough money to pay the bills, once divorced. She said, the thing is, you will have less money, but you will determine how to spend it, it won’t be used for his hobbies, his women anything he wants.

            When I realized how much money he spent on what he wanted, even before schmoopie came along, that gave me peace, and she was right.

            The first thing I did was get a part time job, first to fill the loney evenings, and second to save a little money. Turned out, though I wasn’t making a lot at the time, as long as I focused on just paying the bills and watching how I spent money, it wasn’t near as bad as I thought.

            My dad was also telling me, paying the bills will be easy, you have your health etc.

            But, to be fair in my case, I had no dependant children to worry about, so I get that takes the stress/worry to a different level. But, still the focus is the part to work on.

      • Same. 3 years out. While I feel like I have made progress on the the road to meh, the need for justice often keeps me stuck. This is a timely post/thread. Lots of good food for thought.

      • Sometimes, Even years after my ex left I cried in the car at a so g or got a wave of memory then I quickly came to my senses and it passed. Normally, it was during PMS or a difficult time in life. I ignored it and always let it go… my current husband obviously had those feelings and acted in them. Cheating on me with his ex after we met for a while (I didn’t know for over a year) and AGAIN after approx 4 years together and yes we were newlyweds. I just found out.
        Talk about LOST. Twice??? Fix my picker, I know
        Thank you so much for sharing. I

    • Same here. EXACTLY. I used to view this as a weakness of mine, still being hurt. Now I view it as something that’s actually a gift. The next woman(once I fix my picker) will be damn lucky to have someone who invests deeply.

    • NotAfraid, I could have written exactly the same. I am also 2+ in from D-Day #1 and almost 2 years from D-Day #4 (aka get-the-fuck-out day). I’m in exactly the same place as you. He has moved from the OW to a new Chump while I dated once and have almost no desire to do it again yet. The whole Covid with sharing kids has thrown a higher level of complexity with him traveling (for pleasure!) and not quarantining/getting tested etc. I see him as someone I have no desire to ever be with but the brooding is there. Divorce keeps getting stalled (his side) so there is always something. Definitely better than before but the internal dialogue shows up and the injustice is there. Why does he get to move on so fast? I guess that’s the big difference… we are looking for substance and not being hurt again, to invest in someone with integrity while still healing ourselves. They are looking for a warm body (host) who they can get kibbles from. I’ll take door #1 any day.

      Tracy – “Human Dryer Lint” is my absolute favorite description and yes, you are winsome 🙂

    • You are living in the real world, processing as you go, learning, striving to be stronger and better.

      Cheaters and APs live in the fantasy world of love-bombing, triangles, and dealing with the false face of the cheater. When we look at them and feel that they have it “better,” we are really making up our own fantasy of their lives. In Still Unfair’s case, she notes he’s a liar, someone who resented her success. He’s in debt, with a compromised career. He rages. And of course, he cheats. That is the reality of her X’s life.

      Don’t compare your struggles to rebuild with EITHER the lovebombin phase of the Cheater’s current relationship or your fantasy of what his or her life is like. CL says, “Don’t untangle the skein of their fuckedupness,” meaning that we shouldn’t spend mental energy on what they did what they did, or do what they do. We can extend this, “Don’t create fairy tales about Fuckwit happiness.” You don’t know what’s going on over there, even if you think their Facebook page is their real life. It isn’t.

      • “we are really making up our own fantasy of their lives. ”

        I know I did that in the beginning. When I found out down the road it was not at all that way, it surprised me, yet it shouldn’t have.

  • I posed a similar question on the beloved old forum about 2 months after D0Day, and received some very thoughtful responses. So much so that I saved them.

    From Star Tingover:
    “Not to sound melodramatic or dismissive, I suppose the answer to your question is “the same way in which we make peace with the fact that we don’t live in Africa under the threat of famine and war. ”

    And from Cashmere:
    “Maybe it’s not about them at all. Maybe it is only about us becoming who we were always meant to be, returning to our very own paths once again, and choosing either solitude or worthy companions as we deem fit.”

    It will soon be three years since D-Day. Except when I have to deal with him or he does something to hurt my daughter, he’s become…irrelevant…insubstantial. I did not think that it would happen because the amount of real estate he took up in my brain was excessive, early on.

    It takes time. But you will get there.

    • I love that response by Cashmere. Although I’m not out of my mess yet, I’m looking forward to rediscovering my passions and hobbies and what I want out of life. I’m realizing how much better my life will be without her (although I bred with her so it won’t be a complete and clean break).

    • ” The amount of real estate he took up in my brain was excessive, early on.”

      This is normal. It’s helpful to remind yourself that those thoughts are not actual life. They’re thoughts, in your brain. It takes a long time (or so it seemed to me) to stop thinking about them. But at some point, mental no contact (evicting them from your head) has to become a conscious priority. It’s not going to happen if the divorce is still pending or you’re in a custody fight, but if you want to get to Meh, that’s part of it.

    • Nailed it w/that next to last paragraph, chumpella de ville! I feel very similarly about the FW XW at this point. It’s been 3 1/2 years since D-day, so we’re pretty close on that.

      May your main problem going forward be how to deal w/so much happiness coming your way. Best wishes to you and your family. Stay safe and be well.

    • I LOVE THIS thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been struggling for years it seems. First my daughters father left after 14 years(true blessing although I thought I’d DIE) THEN
      my current husband cheated supposedly six years ago and just SWEARS that was it and that I am his only person on earth… I am deflated
      Wouldn’t I live to believe that. I don’t think he’s cheating but he DID and I’m stuck. It feels due to his guilt trips about me being a “better mother” than his ex for their daughter… and the fact that he can’t live without me and has nowhere to go. He does t want to leave and says we can and will be great if only I could agree to “open my heart”. What?!? It was. Wide open:(

      Thank you again it means everything

  • Some people pretend to be happy. His mom could be enabling, or is in denial. does she always condone his actions there was a programme on bbc about adult children of divorced parents, one man had 11 children by 9 women, 1 set of twins. His mother was in denial and blamed the women. Its actually interesting seeing how cheaters and their parents behave towards each other. My exs mum didn’t want him as a child, fobbing him off on other people, before she died, she couldn’t do enough for him as a adult.
    He always had to be everyone’s friend, even when they dumped on him.
    I think its common for them to slag off the ow. Its their version of the pick me dance.

    • It’s very interesting what you say about he-cheaters’ moms. Nitwit’s mom left him with relatives in a foreign country when he was 14, visiting him twice a year. I still have no idea what happened there and it’s not my skein of fuckedupness to untangle anymore. As an adult she gave him/us a condo to live in rent-free and when she visited would shower me with expensive cosmetics and treat me like the daughter she never had. Now she is full NC with me. I guess I know where he learned to lovebomb and discard.

      I think she just wanted someone to take care of her wayward son so she wouldn’t have to. Her last communication with me was to ask if I could see a way towards reconciling with her son. Without judging or attacking her in any way, I made it clear that he had hurt and humiliated me on numerous occasions and that he had burned his bridges with me. Clearly that was the “wrong” answer for her.

      • You’re of no use to mommy dearest anymore. So you’ve been discarded. I’m betting the ex deep down hates women, having a mother that discards and visits twice a year when you are still young is bad, but I’m betting she wasn’t exactly Mother of the Year prior to the dumping.

  • This response is perfect. I particularly love:

    “He doesn’t love like you love. He doesn’t live in this world as you live in it. Destruction doesn’t register . . . His whole life is a lie. He’s never going to be shocked like you were shocked because his whole life is a LIE. The guy is a fraud. He has no world to destroy, because every world he inhabits is FAKE. See point #1 — you have substance, you connect. He’s not you.“

    Spot. On.

  • More later, but I’ll start with this one….

    Read your own words…

    “SHE GETS TO LIVE THE FANTASY”

    Emphasis on FANTASY.

    You get to get into the lifeboat while those two craptacular people (and all the other cockroaches you can’t see) swap deck chairs and spit and have drinks on the Titanic.

    • Exactly. The keyword there is “fantasy.” Meaning it isn’t real. Like CL said, he isn’t real. He’s not genuine. No genuine person does to you what he did. Their life together isn’t, cannot be, real.

      People aren’t their real selves on social media either. Whatever they put to the world that makes their lives look idyllic, could be a load of bullshit. I was listening to the audiobook of “Healing From Hidden Abuse” (By Shannon Thomas. It’s for people healing from psychological/emotional abuse) and she said one of the most common tactics of psychological abuse post-breakup, even if the survivor is going full no contact, is to try to make their life look as fabulous as possible. They want to send the message of “Oh, you’re going to ignore me huh? Well look at how GREAT and AMAZING everything is WITHOUT YOU.” The survivor could be complete 100% no contact for a couple years, but the abuser is hoping the message will get around that their life is great and the survivor’s sucks.

      Don’t buy it. You mentioned he’s living off one of the other women? He’s a bum. That’s the reality. He shit-talked her the whole time you were together? That makes him a two-faced bum. He shit-talked her to you to throw you off while he was cheating with her, and I bet he shit-talked you to her to make her think you were some harpy.

      There’s no perfect life of happiness they’re living here. She’s a whore, he’s a two-faced liar, and a bum with no career. Who’s threatened by people who have one. Eventually the anger will give way to laughter. At him. For how sad he is.

  • More later, but I’ll start with this one….

    Read your own words…

    “SHE GETS TO LIVE THE FANTASY”

    Emphasis on FANTASY.

    You get to get into the lifeboat while those two craptacular people (and all the other cockroaches you can’t see) swap deck chairs and spit and have drinks on the Titanic.

    I don’t know any victims of violent crime who feel indifferent about the perpetrator. Ever. They learn to live in spite of it and ride out the feelings when they come to visit.

    • Sorry for the accidental duplicate post!

      PS….today is my birthday….almost three years out…and I woke up not even remembering that it’s my birthday. I have no desire to be anywhere near the traitor who nuked my life, and when I want to reach for the Louisville Slugger I call a fellow chump.

      PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. Healing from this is a lifelong journey….moment by moment….doing the next right kind loving thing….JUST FOR TODAY.

      • Happy birthday Velvet! I love all your words of encouragement here! I have you have a wonderful day full of love and happiness… and mighty! Because you so deserve it! Xoxo sweet

        • Happy birthday, Velvet Hammer! Virtual cake and champagne for you.

          Heck, maybe we can all chip in and get you a new bat for your birthday – aluminum this time. Swift and silent, ya know?

      • Have a wonderful birthday! When I see your name pop up here I wonder what wise and cool thing you’re going to post today! Here’s to many more, and it only gets better.

      • Velvet Hammer,

        I wish you a very happy birthday. We should all strive towards finding something positive in the day for ourselves, especially on our birthdays. I don’t care how old you are. Velvet Hammer, I think you’ve done that w/your words today for your fellow chumps. Consider it your positive for the day and a good deed.

        On the subject of this post, and in the thread of the discussion, I’m reminded of a song by Sting (I know, a narcissist/cheater if there ever was one, by all accounts) that I’ve been listening to a lot these past few months, called “Consider Me Gone.” The part of the song’s lyrics that make me think of today’s discussion are as follows:

        I’ve spent too many years
        At war with myself
        The doctor has told me
        It’s no good for my health
        To search for perfection
        Is all very well
        But to look for heaven
        Is to live here in hell

        I think this can definitely apply to our cheating ex-spouses/partners, but they’ll likely never get it. It can also apply to us chumps (I’m constantly struck by how words/statements in general can have at least two meanings, and sometimes many more, depending on the perspective of the person interpreting them). If we keep expecting things to go bad for the exes, and really good for us, we’re going to create our own hell. Better like Velvet Hammer says, to keep our eye on making progress, as slow as that may be, than to expect perfection or near-perfection in how our lives turn out, or how badly those of our exes do. Progress will be good enough for us, if we let it.

        Have a great day if you can, Velvet Hammer. And that goes for CN, too.

      • Happy Birthday! Cheers to you and the new life you are building.

        I don’t get to post much but I always appreciate your voice and compassion.

      • I had not thought to compare this Chump Journey I’ve been on for 5yrs to a 12 step program. ( my mother had been recovered for 20 yrs when she passed, so I know the terminology) … it’s a great idea! “ accept the things I can not change and change the things I can”. I met my Cheater when I was 14, was married for 35yrs. The hardest part for me has been accepting I believed the lie of who he claimed to be for so long, and wasted what feels like my whole life on that lie. But, people recover from other addictions late in life and get a second chance. Yep, “Just for Today”

      • Late with BIRTHDAY greetings to you Velvet Hammer & to New Lady15!
        Considerate, kind, lovely, loving ladies.
        I hope you ate cake, or at least ice cream, you are the real deal, the frosting on the cake, loved & treasured by CN.
        Wishing you both a happy & healthy year ahead.

    • Thanks for this, Velvet Hammer: “I don’t know any victims of violent crime who feel indifferent about the perpetrator.”
      This is true and this helps me -it will also help the clients I serve to heal from abuse.
      Why is there so much focus on the victim forgiving and moving on an letting go??? Fuck that. I hate him, he is a loser, and the OW is a low life dirtbag just like he is. Good riddance to old trash. My process will take as much time as I need it to. I do like the thought of them taking up space in my head rent free, though. Fucking dirtbags are STILL mooching off me! haha! If I don’t laugh, I cry, or I yell, and I talk to myself A LOT. it is totally ok because I am so much better off without him.

      Anyway, Happy Birthday!!!

    • “Emphasis on FANTASY.”

      100%.

      In my experience, delusional people hold on to the fantasy even when karma hits – and it always does, even if it takes decades.

      My grandmother? Died miserable, penniless, and alone after a lifetime of infidelity and destroying everything she touched.

      So did her son.

      Her daughter is nearly bankrupt and (we just found out) built her house on a toxic waste dump (seriously!). Which explains her chronic health issues.

      I know another sociopath who spent 30 years destroying people’s lives. He’s now facing media exposure and criminal charges.

      Had a backstabbing friend in college. I remember me and another girl, “Ellen”, crying because she stole both our boyfriends. Nowadays I have a great career and am being groomed for senior management. “Ellen” now does philanthropy in NYC and is an executive for a Fortune 500 that everybody reading this has almost certainly heard of.

      As for the backstabber? She flunked out, moved back home to Bumfuck, and got knocked up. She now waits tables and spends her days ranting on Facebook to anyone who takes her ignorant opinions seriously.

      Nobody escapes consequences in this world, even if takes years for those consequences to hit.

      The problem is, delusional people are SO delusional that they’ll refuse to take that karma as a consequence. They’ll play the victim at best. At worst, they’ll refuse to admit things aren’t ok.

      People who evade responsibility are wearing massive blinders. They’re not going to suddenly start accepting responsibility just because the police knock on the door. They’ll delude themselves to the end. What can you do?

  • “The liberation campaign can take quite a bit of time.”

    ^^^^THIS

    I told my cheating, disordered ex to move out of the family home 11 years ago. And here I am, still reading a blog about getting over the cheater and gaining a life. It took nearly 2 years to get divorced and then he kept using the court system to abuse me for another year after that. (We were married for 25 years and had 5 children together)

    I almost never have nightmares about him any more. I have been no contact for years. It gets better, but it takes time and work. I went to a divorce recovery group for over a year.

    Here’s the thing: I think my ex chose me because I am an authentic person who truly loves and feels deeply. He wanted that in his life because he knows that it exists, but he isn’t capable of feeling it. He’s like some kind of leech who tries to suck up the things he lacks from other people.

    I chose meh. I could spend the rest of my life resenting him, or I could move forward to a life of peace. It takes time, but life is good on the other side of the pain.

    • “I think my ex chose me because I am an authentic person who truly loves and feels deeply. He wanted that in his life because he knows that it exists, but he isn’t capable of feeling it.”

      That’s a sociopath move, there, getting close to something they can’t have. Then smashing it.

      • 100%. Sociopaths are parasites.

        You can tell who the problem was in a relationship by how they react after it ends. Normal people grieve. Disordered people abandon without a backward glance, because they don’t feel deeply.

  • I had to give up on the whole justice thing. I prayed to God for hours about my XW getting off Scotfree with no major consequences. You know what happened? I rebuilt my life into something better. So much happier that I focused on that instead of wanting justice. Remarried, traveled, bought a new home, kids are happier.

  • If I ever find myself wondering about the injustice of my Ex’s AP getting my Ex at her best, I remind myself that he also gets her at her worst ……. and then I pity him.

    LFTT

  • Karma is just a made up word .

    I’ve read thousands and thousands of infidelity stories and blogs and pretty much all of them are the same .

    Cheater gets away Scotfree and the chump is left picking up the pieces for years afterwards .

    The chump will move on eventually dare I say gain a life but all the while the cheater will just move on like you don’t exist .

    I’d love to hear of the OW / OM cheating on the cheater but that seems as rare as hens teeth .

    I can’t wait for meh but I’m scared I’ll never get there .

    • The cheater has no relationship skills. Neither does the adultery accomplice. Being together does not mean they have anything wonderful. I’m not any more envious of what they have/had than I am Hitler and Eva Braun.

      My fake husband cheated on the Craiglist “sole mate” he ditched our family for. She signed up for the illusion, unlike me who was unaware of his true character. Cheaters are broadcasting what low quality defective people they are. If only they were more identifiable before we got snared…but monogamists and cheaters are two distinctly different leagues and there should be no inter-league games….

      I think of it this way…..the cheating accomplice stole my steerage ticket on the Titanic…..

    • Karen, I think it is VERY common for the cheaters to cheat on each other later – but of course folks who proclaimed to the world that their “Twu Wuv” was so special as to justify the horrid things they did do not want to publicly admit later that they were in fact just horny and that their affair was exactly like every other banal affair.
      Hugs for more healing

    • The more you make peace, the more the meh.
      It’ll happen if you let it (cause you could fight it). It’ll happen slower than you want, but you suddenly find yourself lighter, happier.

    • XAss moved OW in the house 3 months after I was out. She left like a yar later because he was treating her exactly (if not worse) than he had been treating me. He’s on a bunch of online singles sites. Heard that he got scammed by a women who got him to send $ for plane tickets to meet him and never showed. More than once. I admit that made me giggle. And he thinks he’s so smart.

    • It’s the “cheater gets away scot-free” that can hold you back.

      It’s not really true. There are built-in consequences for bad behavior. If we think about life as a whole as a process of becoming someone, think of what they are becoming. You lie, you become a LIAR. You cheat, you become a CHEATER. You walk out on people the kids who need you, you become an ABANDONER. You abuse spouse or kids or parents, you become an ABUSER.

      It doesn’t matter how fancy the house is, how many cars they have, how big the boat or RV or TV is. It doesn’t matter how much money they have. If they are liars, cheaters, abandoners, abusers, all the money in the world can’t take the stink off them.

  • I am dealing with a bit of this resentment myself. I don’t think I had ever really completely reached meh, but I was close. I am not no contact with ex because of the kids but I am low contact. When we are in contact it is civil but I avoid Schmoopie. I was doing pretty well. I still see a therapist once a month but for months most of our sessions had been on other topics. Mostly we discussed the kids and how to help them navigate life, work stress, or sometimes my relationship with my current boyfriend and sorting through those feelings. Now, however, I am finding myself in parent counseling with ex and a lot of old wounds are being picked at. He seems intent on getting me to accept Schmoopie to make it easier for the kids to accept her. I don’t think I should have to do that. I have made it clear to the kids that they are free to have whatever relationship they want with her and I won’t hold it against them. I think that should be enough, he disagrees. I am only agreeing to the counseling because I want to help my older son who’s relationship with ex is strained because of Schmoopie. I don’t like that the counselor is gently trying to nudge me in the direction of interacting with Schmoopie more, with civility, without really understanding what that means to ex, but she is being helpful in other ways. She has made many suggestions to ex for strengthening his relationship with son that I have already made but he didn’t want to hear from me. Things like allowing son to gradually work up to ex’s definition of full civility towards Schmoopie and having ex spend more one on one time with him without Schmoopie to help solidify that relationship before bringing her into it. Still, his efforts to get me to treat Schmoopie better (because just avoiding her is mean) and the implication that somehow I am at fault and that I am behaving badly and causing harm to the kids is galling. Why is it my responsibility to solve the problems he created? Why do he and Schmoopie think they are entitled to everyone’s acceptance and why do they assume it is somehow all my fault that some people besides me are having a hard time accepting it too? Even when they do mostly accept it it isn’t enough. Apparently my youngest, who has a passable relationship with Schmoopie and her kids made a tie die shirt over there that he leaves over there and refuses to wear at home (with me). I thought it was touching that my youngest is being sensitive to my feelings but ex thinks it is a sign that he is anxious about what my reaction might be. It shows that my younger son recognizes that I was hurt by their relationship and ex doesn’t like that. My refusal to act like I was unaffected by their relationship and it didn’t cause me pain is resulting in tension that everyone else feels which is preventing Schmoopie from being fully accepted. Personally, I think it is perfectly logical for others to feel uncomfortable with their relationship without any input from me and if I was acting all friendly and unbothered by it that would seem unnatural and disconcerting. Why is that so hard for ex to get that?

    • You don’t have to be friends with Shmoopie or even interact very much. My experience with narcissists and self-centered liars is that they love nothing more than rendering almost everyone around them powerless. He’s just trying to further box you into a corner. Only until you have zero agency in this game will he be satisfied. I have two immediate family members in my foo (family of origin) and an ex like this. Don’t let him shove Shmoopie in your face any more than she is. I hope he’s the one ponying up for this ‘therapy.’ As we say out west, “stand your ground.”

    • It’s not that he doesn’t get it, it’s that he disagrees. More importantly, your refusal to spackle and image manage on his behalf is making his life a wee bit uncomfortable – a constant reminder that he is in fact a pos.

      You keep holding up a mirror to his fucktupiness and he is trying really really hard to turn that away from himself by any means necessary. Remember that fuckwits are very image conscious. He may be good with being an evil shit internally, but the general public should never perceive him as such. To others he should be the shining example of a long suffering good man. They are quite obsessed with their facade and here you are shining a bright light on it relentlessly and people can see the shit seeping through the cracks and judge him for it. Very very uncomfortable for him.

      Good on you though. Meh has nothing to do with playing pretend nice games.

      • See I don’t believe I am even the one shining the light, I am just refusing to block it for him so he can stay in the dark.

        • However you want to look at it, the end result from his perspective is the same – too much light on the filth that he is and that makes him very very uncomfortable.

    • Thanks for this. I have resisted several attempts by XW to lure me into counseling with her because I was concerned about *exactly* the type of thing you write here: a third party trying to force me to accept AP/ husband because it would be easier for everyone to pretend that deceit and betrayal are AOK, rather than acknowledge that certain actions have permanent consequences that may even be negative.

      My kids also, for the most part, refrain from talking about anything that goes on in XW’s house. Not that I’ve forbidden it, but they saw how it affected me early on when she and AP were setting up their happy home, and they just stopped communicating. I’m much closer to meh now and they’ve started to mention little things again. I don’t want to know about it, but I’m able to simply nod along, which I guess is an improvement.

      One of the reasons I don’t want to know about XW’s house is that, in the past, my negative feelings were so strong that they splashed over everything in contact with her. For instance, I was gearing up to buy a composting container, mentioned it to my kids, and they said “oh, Mom has that same one”. I still don’t have a composting container. Still some work to do towards meh, I guess.

      • Oh, hugs to you, IG. I hear that loud and clear. I imagine I will continue to feel twinges often when I hear about STBX from the kids for a while, even though thankfully she did not stay with the most recent AP. I explicitly asked her never to rekindle a relationship with either AP (we are all women), because it would be so disrespectful to me and to the kids – and STBX apparently agreed, though there have been other “agreements” that she’s already ignored.

        But, even if my STBX doesn’t shack up with her AP, she’s so desperate for kibbles that I fear she’ll shack up with another fuckwit before long, and then I’ll have to deal at a distance with whoever that person is – and worry about the overall effect on my kids (esp. DD9). STBX’s taste in partners (other than me) over the course of her life has NOT been great. Like, her last AP thought she was psychic, and one of the first things that STBX herself told me about that AP was “she will never understand my work.” (So, not the sharpest tool in the shed, as well as emotionally disturbed.) So, like you, I’m in the position of not wanting to hear what’s happening at the other house, but having some concern about it anyway, for the kids’ sakes. It definitely feels like having to continue eating shit sandwiches for a while.

    • What a horrendous shit sandwich for you (and your kids) to choke down. I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think you are doing your kids any favors by faking it for them. The relationship between the kids and their divorced parents are on them. He’s using you for his blame game.

    • “Why is it so hard for ex to get that”? Because he is an entitled, non-empathetic, controlling narcissist.
      Of course he shifts blame to you. In his mind, he is entitled to have you and your children treat schmoopie exactly the way he wants you to. In his mind you don’t get to make that decision for yourselves.I can’t remember how old your son is but I think early teens? I feel so much for your son and the horrible position he finds himself in.

      My kids are older (21 and 23) and have been in therapy for the last 5 years. They were helped to see that they had a right to choose what kind of relationship they wanted with their dad – that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with deciding to have no relationship with him. They could make that decision year to year or month to month. It’s all about boundaries. Your ex is giving schmoopie’s wants precedence over your son’s wants. That is such incredibly bad parenting.I hope a therapist can help your son see how wrong and controlling this is. Your ex will never ever ever get it – so the main goal is helping your son grow up with a strong sense of self and a strong sense of his own boundaries. So tough when he is younger and so different from my kids’s experience because they are adults now. It breaks my heart. (((Hugs)))

      • Yes, her son sees through all the BS and knows where his loyalties lie. That’s a great son, right there. How dare they try to take his truth away from him.

        My ex worshipped his cheating dad, spent much of his young adult free time at dad’s and shmoopies house (we were young). FW would thow out little jabs and putdowns about his mom now and then. I just saw a distaught woman with four kids trying to keep it all together and making some mistakes now and then, but it was to be expected and she was doing her best. My ex wanted to align himself with the charismstic successful man (and eventually emulate him) rather than look at the sad, painful situation his mom was in, and probably ascribed blame on her for the broken marriage and family. That should have been a huge red banner for me, but sometimes you can’t see red flags when wearing rose colored glasses. Not surprisingly, his dad left wife #2 for wife #3, and shmoopie was devastated. How you get them is how you lose them.

      • I have three children. The oldest, a daughter, is in college abroad and has what I would describe as a truce with Schmoopie. They get along but don’t really like each other. My youngest is 14 (he was ten when our marriage blew up), almost 15 and seems to have it pretty well figured out. He has his relationship (whatever it is) with Schmoopie and a separate relationship with me and he seems to be able to do that with no hard feelings on either side, or so I thought. He is the one who wants to leave the tie die shirt with Schmoopie. I don’t know if it was ex or Schmoopie who was bothered by that. It is my middle child, who just left for college and is not quite 18, who wants nothing to do with Schmoopie but is trying to get over that for his Dad’s sake. From where I sit, they are demanding their definition of civility which is still a bit unclear, and then making it as hard as possible to comply while ex threatens to withhold affection if he doesn’t adequately figure it out ASAP. Son might have started it by saying he no longer wanted to be around Schmoopie but I think they are handling it all wrong. They are leading with entitlement rather than leading with humility. That’s why we are in parent counseling and why I am going along with it. I am hoping to take some of the pressure off middle son and I think the counselor is trying to do the same. She sometimes hints at me needing to interact with Schmoopie more but doesn’t push it too hard, just enough to make ex feel she is taking a neutral stance, which, in this instance, is her job.

        • Ugh, nothing like a dad who withholds affection to control his son. Sounds like you are working hard to do the right thing for your son and the counselor is trying to keep things going forward. Good luck to you Chumpinrecovery. Glad your son has a sane parent – you.

    • This should be a separate blog entry. Schmoopie is not your problem! If the kids don’t feel comfortable around her, she should go make herself invisible the same way she did when their affair was full-on. I bet she’s good at it.

    • So basically your asshole X, the schoompie, and the therapist want you to lie about being a-okay and liking Schoompie and put on a good face pretending… That’s complete BS and I totally agree with your perspective. Asshole X’s relationship with his kids is HIS responsibility. I imagine that he made very little effort when you were married to have a relationship with them, let alone participate in the tougher raising them part. Am I right? So there was not really a foundation built from the start, and then he goes and screws everyone over blowing up the family and now you’re supposed to fix the present and future based on a shaky past that HE never really invested in, and then destroyed. Um no. (I’m really sorry. Those therapy sessions must suck.)

    • I’m going to suggest that have an eye on when to end your participatio in he counseling. You’ve made it clear that you won’t badmouth Schmoopie and you’ve offered suggestions for improving that situation. I think you can say “I see progress. I will continue to encourage DS to work on his relationship with his dad. and I agree with Therapist that XH spending alone time with DS is the most powerful pathway there. But why has to happen involves those three people, not me. Maybe the next phase of the counseling should involve Schmoopie, not me.” It could be that your presence allows X to deflect his own inadequacy as a parent onto your not being friends with Schmoops.

      I mean, seriously, what has to happen is XH has to learn how to be a father first and then he will be in a position to support a relationship between his kids and his partner. If she’s a rancid dish of old leftovers, though, there will be no fixing it. Maybe the therapist needs an eyeful of what it is your kids don’t like.

    • Tell the counselor that you have been civil and will be civil, but the idea that you should feel a different way than you actually feel is nonsense.

      We control thoughts and actions. We can redirect and strengthen some feelings over others. But your ex would like to dictate how you feel about what he’s done. Humans… don’t work that way.

  • I have shared these stories before, but I think they bear repeating for the newbie chumps among us. It may LOOK like they are off “scot-free” but karma and consequences get them eventually.

    Cheater “Pete” leaves wife and 12 year old son for the daughter of his business partner. Destroys his family, his reputation i the community and his business. For many years it looks like he “won” – then the OWifey gets sick and on her way to hospital she stops off at the bank and transfers ALL of their money into her son’s name. Oh, and house is in sons name now too! So Owifey dies and “Pete” gets the surprise of his life when step son kicks him out of his house with not a penny to his name. That karma bus took around 25 years to arrive but it was effective when it got there.

    Cheater “Beth” has an affair with her boss at work. Gets less than 50% custody of her son in divorce. Her boss abandons his wife and sons in his divorce. For YEARS there are no happy family holidays (or even dinners) as the sons from both former families won’t speak to the cheating step-parent. Facebook of cheaters new like faked to look like they were in happy married bliss. Every time I see them in person they look awful and pissed at each other.

    Cheater “Bob” has a “midlife crisis” and marries OW- years later she finds out he is up to his old ways and is actually surprised!

    And many more, all personally known to me cases where cheaters get some karma- we just don’t always see it when it happens.

    They have to live with being them. THEY are living the lie. All. the. time.

    • Thanks for this reminder. It can’t be said often enough. And this is a GREAT birthday present.

      A house with a rotten foundation and termites throughout that you grossly obscenely pay way too much for is not indicative of wisdom, or the ability to love.

  • You don’t have to be friends with Shmoopie or even interact very much. My experience with narcissists and self-centered liars is that they love nothing more than rendering almost everyone around them powerless. He’s just trying to further box you into a corner. Only until you have zero agency in this game will he be satisfied. I have two immediate family members in my foo (family of origin) and an ex like this. Don’t let him shove Shmoopie in your face any more than she is. I hope he’s the one ponying up for this ‘therapy.’ As we say out west, “stand your ground.”

  • One thing I found particularly helpful was owning the bad choices I made regarding my ex piece of shit.

    Unless one truly has no idea their spouse is a piece of shit and leaves immediately upon finding out, which is rare, there were many times that we knew what we had and chose to subject ourselves to more. There are a lot of reasons for this but at the end of the day we made our choices.

    Hell, there were blinding red flags all over the place with my ex and I married him anyway. I have to take responsibility for that.

    But with agency also comes power. You didn’t have to spend money on counseling or do anything else….you chose to.

    Own that and take back your power.

    • Yes, taking accountability was very painful but also very liberating and empowering.

      These red flags don’t even have to be big ones. My ex was a flaky irresponsible person from the start but I loved the lovebombing too much. I own it. It really helps achieving meh.

  • I think it is important to remember the past, and important to remember you survived the past. If your life had been storybook perfect, you would not be the person you are today, because experience shapes us, field tests our character, creates perspective, and develops empathy (if you have empathy).

    I am not saying you should seek a bad experience. Odds are, most of us will not live storybook lives, anyway. But being cheated on, lied to, and financially swindled by a person we thought was an intimate partner lets us know it can happen to anyone, and does.

    I believe many more people experience fraud and other crimes than ever report it. They feel it somehow diminishes them if they admit they were used and abused. But Evil not only exists in this world, but it strides through cutting a wide swath in its path. When we do not acknowledge, or report, or enforce consequences against those who are evil, we empower evil.

    This forum is a support group for those who have been chumped, and works in much the same way other support groups like AA, or NA, or groups designated to work with other types of loss work. We understand. We support. We allow venting. We pay it forward. I read here and comment here because it is comforting to know I am not alone, and that just by being here others with similar troubles will not be alone. Each one of has a unique experience, and each one of us has a shared experience. These two may seem opposite truths, but they complement each other and do not negate our group experience.

    The other night I was watching the national news, and I heard a terrible statistic about the younger generation (18 to 35) not knowing about the holocaust. We recently had an anniversary of 9/11 in the US. Soon we will remember Pearl Harbor. Other countries have their days to remember tragedy. We put up memorials, we honor our dead, we regret our past mistakes. It is important to remember. It may not be pleasant, but if you do not remember and acknowledge these bad times that happened, you create an unrealistic environment that allows these things to happen again. Humans are not particularly nice and peaceful by nature. We have to curb our bad tendencies. You have to recognize them to curb them.

    MEH is acceptance. You cannot change the past. You may have learned some valuable lessons from the past. You don’t have to repeat the past. You are capable of changing your path and creating a better place for you to be. This is hope, this is perseverance, this is being fully alive. Evil people limit their experience and never grow, and never see that they are forever doomed to repeat their bad behavior over and over again. You may think they are living your fantasy life, but be assured they will find a way to ruin it. You do not have to contribute to their destruction, they excel at ruining anything that is good and live in their own dark world. You got the lucky ticket out, and are bound for MEH. It is a much better destination. Ask me how I know.

    • Beautiful, Portia.

      I teach a course every year on World War II films focusing on Europe and ending with the Holocaust. It’s important for kids to learn this history. Right now, we are writing about statues and public memory–we’re talking about what we remember, what we should remember but don’t, and why that matters.

  • It’s Still Just So Unfair: I’m
    6 years out – 25 year marriage- X blamed me and our kids who became suicidal. I had to go through a week long trial. I am at Meh. I will never forget what he did and said, but I’m at peace. I too have thrived since in my personal and professional life. Kuddos to us! We survived!

    Maybe this rage will pass. Rage is helpful to fuel action, and now you’ve acted to get free maybe you want the rage to pass. If it starts to linger or impact your new life, you might get a lot out of some thought work coaching. I am really enjoying Scholars at Life Coach School (self guided and very affordable). The basic premise is that feelings are caused by our thoughts about circumstances. We can manage our thoughts. For instance, instead of asking “why” questions, you may write your thoughts in the declarative form to see what thoughts are generating the rage:
    “He has no conscience.”
    “AP is living the life I had”
    “They stole my dreams and life I had”
    “I wanted our relationship to be real”
    “I didn’t know that X was a pathological liar”
    “I wasted so many years”
    “They hurt me”
    “I didn’t deserve this treatment”
    Etc. Etc etc

    You can do an intentional model where you do believable (to you) bridge thoughts to where you want your thoughts to be to generate other emotions. For instance, if I want to feel acceptance or peace, I can Intentionally think thoughts I believe like:
    Despite what happened, my life is good today.
    I am learning how to protect myself from narcissists.
    I am building the life I want.
    AP has to live with a known cheater. I don’t.
    I chose to care for myself and be with a person of integrity in actions.
    Etc.
    Maybe this will help you too.

    Again, for those in the fight for divorce or custody, the anger is useful. I’ve found these techniques years after the divorce was final and I’m well into building a new life.

    • Yes! I am also a scholar and recognize the LCS model :). Pay attention to your thoughts and choose those that help you. Takes practice – but it has changed my life!

        • It’s the abbreviation of The Life Coach School. There’s an awesome, empowering, free podcast by Brooke Castillo and also a life coaching program (reasonably priced) called self-coaching scholars. But try out the free podcast first.

          Motherchumper explained the “model”. We have thoughts about our circumstances. We can’t always change our circumstances (like we can’t control other people). But we can begin to manage our thoughts about our circumstances which affect our feelings and consequently our actions and the results we get in our lives. Sounds simple right? But it really does take work to use it to improve your life. Very worthwhile. Im better able to recognize negative thoughts that are making me feel terrible and actually choose to frame things differently so I take back my power. Between reading Chump Lady every day (Thank you, Tracy!!) and listening every day to the podcast I feel like I’ve found the keys to a new, much better life!

  • Eventually, his OW will realize that he is a grifter leeching off of her. At least you can say you were duped; this bitch KNEW she was getting a lying creep when she agreed to be his sidepiece.

    Your ex-friends are not intimately involved with your ex, they’re not emotionally, mentally, and financially enmeshed with him, so no, they’re not likely going to be in a position to be fucked over by him in the same way you are.

    Lastly, his Mom is always going to be his Mom. Even if she is pissed off at him but she’s not going to take your side over his. The other possibility is that she helped create this monster, so what can you expect from her?

    • Agree. A mom will always be in her kid’s camp. As long as MILs have the “hate the sin, love the sinner” attitude, I’m cool with it.

      What I’m not cool with is an MIL that justifies her offspring’s acts, basically driving the get-away car.

      Mine met with the OW within weeks of D-Day (thus sanctioning the affair), told to me forgive and not to judge (this from the biggest judger around), and sent me bible verses and quotes from literature about a Mother’s Love for her Son.🙄

      • Maybe you should’ve countered with some Bible verses and quotes of your own, namely around the Ten Commandments. Especially the ones about !Adultery!, lying, stealing, and coveting (so important, it’s mentioned twice). Yeah, right, MIL-justice-is-mine-sayeth-the-Lord-judge-not-lest-ye-be-judged. Oh, how they can twist the scriptures to meet their own narrative.

  • This is my favorite Chump Lady response ever! Thank you so much – I laughed really hard and it felt good. I needed this today. Exhole has been haunting my dreams lately and it is good to hear it is just my damaged ego healing. But this was my favorite, because my ex and his mother have a strange dependence on each other, and when his first marriage blew up he moved back in with his parents, so I’m sure she is mortified by his second marriage detonating as well while he leans heavily on her to baby him and tell him how mean I am.

    “Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him?

    She probably wants someone to take him off her hands. And he fucked it up.”

    Oh, and real quick, after he left me to deal with everything he told me this gem during a rare phone call when he needed my cooperation for something pertaining to his well-being – “I’ll be an advocate for you if you’d just let me”. Mother of God, later after I had time to process that line and realize that what he meant was he would stop bad-mouthing me if I would just do what he wanted, a fish knife would have been the least of his worries. But like Chump Lady wisely let me know, he is not worth it. He has to live with himself, and that is punishment enough.

  • I do get some justice imagining that he has to clean his own toilet now, which was always such a gross job. He quite literally has to deal with his own shit. And if the OW scrubs the bowl, all the better. What a lust buster!

      • If only! XW bequeathed her slow-moving bowels on our children, so I have to keep a large-size plunger on standby during the weeks when they’re with me.

    • Ha.

      When I think back, there are a few things I wish I had done. One was to throw all this clothes dirty and clean in garbage bags and put them on the lawn and tell him to take them to his whore to wash. But, no for about a month I kept pickme dancing. Oh well I can live through others that actually did it.

    • I chuckle at the thought of his whore looking at his toupee. Sometimes when he would take it off there would be a puece of velcro stuck to his head, and sometimes he’d put it on crooked.

      Throw in his ED, low salary, and 100% phony facade and you have a real catch.

    • Not to get blue here, but for me catharsis is picturing him giving the OW the same mediocre sex he gave me with the most important 2-3 inches of his anatomy. Naturally it was always about his needs, mine were an afterthought.

      The line from “Crazy Rich Asians” takes on a world of meaning for me now: “It’s not my job to make you feel like a man. I can’t make you feel like something you’re not.”

      • Ahh haha.

        Reminds me of the old Golden Girls show, where Dorothy refused to take her Ex back, and he said then I have to catch Dumb Blonde. He shrugged and said well good sex is something. After he left Dorothy raised her glass and said “here’s to good sex, and the dumb blonde that isn’t getting any”

      • Interesting. Same here. Short anatomy and wham bam over. I wonder if the a lot of cheater men have serious inadequacy issues?

  • Five years out. I still have occassional epiphanies about something that happened in the past with XAss – “Oh, so THAT’s what that was all about!” I still have moments of rage at myself – of the manupaltions he pulled on me that I fell for, the mistakes I made getting free. I still have flashes of rage at him for being the Asshole that he is. But then….I think of my wonderful son. The valuable lessons I have learned about myself. What I am capable of. And rejoice in the peaceful, quiet life I now live. But that doesn’t mean I won’t turn my head to look at the train wreck if I happen to be passing by.

    I’m at Meh, 95% of the time now.

  • The ex sometimes shows up in day to day running errands type dreams. Every time, sleeping me says, with little malice or interest ‘oh, are you not dead yet?’
    The slapped-trout huffy face he pulls at that comment means I wake up laughing.

    Meh comes in many guises.

  • I am four years from DDay, and this website saved my life, otherwise I’d probably be looking for “just the right marriage counselor” while the Ex wracked up bills at Victoria’s Secret (which I loathe) buying trampy stuff for his 29 year old mistress.

    I was the 50 year old SAH mom returning to the workforce, and it was tough. Our two adult kids both have the same genetic disorder and still live at home, the are 20 and 23. The eldest is doing quite well, the youngest can barely get out of bed most days. The Ex hasn’t seen them in three years. He’s living in another state, married to the mistress.

    The divorce wrecked my credit, caused us to lose our house, had me working two jobs and managing all health care for my kids. The injustice of it all still upsets me from time to time, he just moved on, moved to a different state, bought a big house with a pool and a ridiculous sports car.

    I’d describe my current state as Mostly Meh. There are times when the injustice of it all really gets to me. I’ve got a better job, bought a house, my kids are making progress, things are improving, but sometimes I admit to engaging in fantasies of disembowelment by wild dogs, honey and ant hills, broken knee caps, etc. The “how could he” aspect hasn’t completely disappeared for me yet, I’m sure fueled by the lack of effort he makes with his kids. With them he plays the victim, I turned them against him, that’s his story.

    For me Mostly Meh is where I’m stuck. Perhaps Full Meh is on it’s way, I really hope so.

    • I’m about a year and half behind you. I am also the 50 year old SAHM and got a job but lost it in a merger earlier this year. My kids are 23 & 21 and no contact with him. He’s in another country now where whore lives, and I don’t know because I haven’t spoken to him in over a year but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he isn’t playing victim in some shape or form. I’m hoping that once the divorce is final, I’m working, and my kids and I have our own place (still in marital home) that I’ll be meh-ing my best life, but I just wanted to say a quick ‘thank you’ for posting this. It gives me a little hope that I can working and in my own home and doing well in another year or so.

      • Hi Thursday,

        Yes, there is lots and lots of hope, you will get where you want to be. I was surprised how long it took me, some people seem to have their lives back in a year. I think coming from a long term marriage made it harder, that and having stayed home with our kids and having basically no work history. I’m sorry your kids are in the same situation as mine with their father. It’s so hard not being able to protect them from that.

        As I said, I’m mostly Meh, there is no timeline to follow to tell you when you should be over it, it’s different for everyone. The last couple of New Years Eve’s I’ve thought, maybe this will be the year I get it all together. It’s happening, just slowly. It will happen for you too.

    • And see my post above

      This is exactly my experience with adultery !!!

      Chump doing everything , bills child rearing , money worries etc

      While cheater is married , new house , new family has got money , don’t care about children and this is “ karma !!! “

      Pull the other leg !!

      Let’s face facts there is no karma / justice etc . You can read 100s of blogs and all are the same .

      • Hi Karen,

        I don’t think there is Karma that provides the type of revenge we would all love to see, quick justice for the cheater. However, I think the chickens come home to roost over time. My Ex has three kids, none of which will speak to him, the oldest isn’t even mine, but I raised him. My ex is 59 married to a 32 year old now. I wouldn’t be surprised if a kid comes into the picture. She doesn’t have any yet, but I think him being a dad to an infant at 60 would be hilarious to witness. He’s married to a cheater and he’s a cheater, so I don’t think that bodes well for their future.

        He has more money than me, that part sucks. Especially since everyone is always saying to get a lawyer. I went through 2 and they didn’t do much of anything for me. We ended up barely able to survive, so I’m not sure where people are getting these super powered lawyers and the money to pay them. The ex has more money, so he can afford a better lawyer. In my state, there’s very little guidelines for alimony and it all ended up being a big negotiation, with him able to afford to go to court and me not able to afford it.

        All in all, I wouldn’t trade places with him for anything. Not having the love and respect of my kids would be heartbreaking, so he can have the stupid car and the pool, and the bimbo.

  • Chump Lady is a pro when it comes to differentiating what we tend to commingle.

    We don’t miss the person, we miss what we thought the person was.

    A person who lacks empathy can’t be made to see, or care about, how hurtful anything was or is.

    We remain not-meh about the thing the person did to us, not so much about the actual person. (Dig deep — it’s easy to see the surface, but often it’s the long-standing effects of the harm that we’re still feeling, not so much anything specific to the human who isn’t near us to cause more. A subtle difference, but a significant one, because it’s reasonable to still have sad, angry, harmed feelings about valid, actual harm.)

    There’s nothing wrong with you. The fact that you feel the ways you do is directly correlated with the fact that everything is right with you.

    You’re complete. You have empathy. You care about how you exist in the world. You’re good to other people. You’re good WITH other people. You give what you want to receive.

    You aren’t indifferent yet because you aren’t indifferent by nature. That’s a strength, even though it’s a pain in the keester right at this time.

    💚

  • Dear Unfair. IMHO It sounds to me like fundamentally you are dealing with the age-old question Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People, which in this case is Why Did This Bad Thing Happen To Me.

    This question can be understood two different ways of understanding the word Why: as a result of what?
    Or
    To What End, For What Purpose.

    As for the first understanding, it’s about picker fixing, really, again imho.

    As for the second understanding, the only thing I’ve been able to figure out in 52 years of bad things (among others but that’s not what we are talking about here), is that we are now super equipped to comfort other people with the comfort we’ve gained from the same bad things that have happened to us.

    Bad people aren’t going away anytime soon, or so I hear. So, could it be that there is someone in life with whom you can relate and somehow in that interaction comfort them in some way?

    Could it be that the universe, or God or karma or whatever, has someone for you to comfort?

    Now, how to find that person is beyond me, I don’t even have an IMHO on that one.

    Just a thought. But, it’s what CL has done on a grande scale…..

  • It’s Still Just So Unfair,

    Please stay encouraged! Indifference will come.

    I wasted a lot of time trying to propel myself into a state of “indifference”. I wanted — no, I needed — the full story about my XH’s many escapades. Even if it wasn’t in my own best interest. I figured if I got the information I was seeking, that would lead me to acceptance, and subsequently, to indifference. But he withheld the information. Not knowing was like a deep wound that wouldn’t heal; it kept me emotionally tethered to him, stuck in a special kind of sizzling hell. I was an emotional train wreck, deeply grieving my marriage, feeling unlovable, stupid, ugly, and worthless. I was light years away from indifference.

    But then, my very capable therapist sat me down for a serious “Come to Jesus meeting“. He put things into context for me and suddenly, a switch was flipped and I proactively took my first steps toward “Meh”. He said, “You are a beautiful and incredibly smart woman. You’ve been a supportive and encouraging partner to your husband. You’re an extraordinary mother to your triplet sons. You’ve built a successful business from the ground up and your clients love you. You’re a loyal and generous friend, and a loving and caring daughter and sister. You generously invest in others. Your sense of humor is amazing and spending time with you, even in a therapeutic setting like this, is energizing. You are a person of high moral character, integrity, and depth. The problem is… your husband isn’t any of these things. When the two of you initially walked in here last year for marriage counseling, it didn’t take me long to decipher his hieroglyphics. He’s superficial. He has no depth of character. He’s a poser. He’s a pretender. He’s a chameleon. He rewrites history. He elevates himself above others. He sees himself as some sort of psychology wizard and uses fancy therapy language to ‘prove’ he’s on my level. He holds himself blameless. He’s terribly insecure and is intimidated by your many skills. He’s probably ridden on your coat tails of proficiency throughout your entire marriage because he’s simply not capable of thinking, executing, or communicating as clearly and effectively as you. But your mind hasn’t been able to reconcile the vast differences between you, so you’ve taken all the blame, accepted all the responsibility, and then tried harder. I suspect you’ve been trying to push this string uphill for a very long time. Unfortunately, your moral and ethical codes are so different from his, your issues will never be resolved. He’s clearly not the man you thought you married, and the sooner you accept this truth, the faster you’ll be able to break away, rise up, and heal”. Wow, no fake news there! I walked out of my therapist’s office feeling lighter, less stressed, and more confident. The very next day, I met with a divorce attorney.

    ISJSU, don’t give up.

  • With Cheater #1, I’m definitely at meh. Actually, I’m more bemused than anything that his wrinkly old ass is sitting alone in a crappy rental with a 20 year old used car parked out front after he squandered almost half a million dollars after our divorce. This guy who was smarter than everyone else, had his great plans and was catnip (I tell you, CaTnIP!!!) to women. It was relatively easy to get to meh because he was such.an.ass.

    With Cheater #2, the anger is still there. Mostly that I fell for his BS so easily. That he still smoothly lies through everything. How the OW is “just a dear friend”. How he play-acted the good dad, caring stepfather (because C#1 was AOL), the loving husband. At it was all part of his super-salesman shtick. I beat myself up that I should’ve known better, should’ve listened to my gut, should’ve stayed single, so many couldas, wouldas, shouldas that clatter around in my head. If I could shut off the self-recriminating voices, I would be at least 50% to meh.

  • “I know he doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in my head, or my nightmares, recently.”

    Those nightmares are a signal that you are reaching the border of Meh. It’s like your body and subconscious mind are flinging the last bits of crap out of the window as you drive along.

    It’s not fun but it is a good sign. Truly.

    • No Shit Cupcakes, thanks for this^ . I’ve been having nightmares again which I’m sure are exacerbated by stress of Covid and now wildfires. But, I’ve had a few kicking screaming nightmares in the past few weeks, woke myself up wrestling with my comforter! 😉

      “Those nightmares are a signal that you are reaching the border of Meh. It’s like your body and subconscious mind are flinging the last bits of crap out of the window as you drive along.”

      This helps put it into a better perspective. It does feel like I’m processing some final indignations.

  • When I start to fantasize that my ex is living his best life now, I cling to this bit of wisdom from CL, a version of which is also in LAC;GAL:

    “Their punishment is being them. People don’t have character transplants. Their crappy character and shit life skills follow them forever. Leave it to the laws of natural consequences — the arc can be LONG, but it’s there.”

    These people are not prizes. Trust that they suck!

  • Still So Unfair, I’m looking around for my lightweight 2 x 4.

    You write: “I’m in a healthy relationship with someone I trust completely.” First, I’m just going to say you are only 18 months out (from D-Day?? from the move out? from divorce?). You by your own statement are not at Meh, yet–here you are in a relationship. That itself might be OK. Certainly I’ve gone from one relationship to another, all my life, until Jackass betrayed me. Then I took 2 years plus to sort myself out, figure out my unhealthy patterns ( yada yada). In other words, I fixed my picker. Only you know if you got into that relationship too soon.

    But seriously, you trust him “completely”? That seems crazy to me. How can you trust anyone “completely”? How long did you work on your picker? The idea that you trust someone “completely” suggests to me that you haven’t fully done that work. Your letter to CL is full of questions that pertain to fixing your picker, as well as getting to Meh. For example, consider “Why does she get to live the fantasy?” Part of fixing your picker is realizing there is no actual fantasy or fairy tale as we might have thought when we were teenagers. After all, a fantasy isn’t REAL. It’s an illusion. That illusion is part of what keeps us stuck with an abuser; we can’t let go of the fantasy. And the fantasy keeps us out of the real world, where we can see a fuckwit when one comes around.

    Don’t trust people completely. Trust yourself. Trust your judgment, because you aren’t living a fantasy any more. You have both feet in reality and you are observing what people do, not just listening to them spin fairy tales and soul mate stories. You are paying attention to how someone treats others, how honest they are, how they deal with adversity or frustration, how they respond when you are upset about something they’ve said or done. You observe this person’s relationship to the truth: Is he or she a blunt truth-teller? Diplomatic but honest? A conflict avoider who “lies by omission”? Someone who tells partial truths? A secret keeper? Can this person bring up unpleasant subjects and speak his mind to you? All of this takes time, not months but years.

    Please remember that many of the cheaters we talk about on this board fooled people for years. Your X still has his family and friends fooled. And for a long time, you were fooled by his mask. So please–don’t tell us or anyone that you trust this new person completely. I knew Jackass 30+ years before I dated him. What I learned is that I didn’t know him at all. Trust yourself to protect yourself. Know your dealbreakers. Trust yourself to walk away if an important line is crossed. Trust yourself to be strong and resilient. I hope he turns out to be a great guy. But I’m telling you–you may be in a rebound. And from your words, you may be moving too fast. Just my opinion, but been there, done that, over and over. Don’t be me.

  • Dear It’s Still So Unfair,

    You might be a neurologist or work for the FBI’s serial killer task force, in which case the following won’t be new news. Just take it as consensus if I’m preaching to the choir and boring your socks off.

    I worked as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence years ago and have come to believe that cheaters are basically sub-violent batterers with the same pathology, the same MO and the same tactics, albeit subtler and more scrambled in their expression.

    Just for an overly literal description, imagine a batterer who, just as they’re beginning to fantasize about running their victim over with a truck or beating their brains in with a brick because the batterer’s polarized and irrational terror of abandonment/fear of intimacy psychosis has been triggered, they subvert the lethal impulse and cheat instead, then say to themselves, “Look! I’m a lover not a fighter!” When they appear to be almost bragging to victims about their cheating exploits, it’s s way of saying “Hey, I’m damned proud of myself I didn’t pour gas on you and set you on fire like I really wanted to. How about some appreciation!”

    I think that, in cheaters, there’s rage, hate, wormy fear of abandonment and all the other frozen-in-infancy pathological mental processes that exist in batterers. I think that merely being in proximity to this vibe, moreover subjected to abusive expressions of it, can cause similar terror and trauma and consequent captor bonding in victims– because these types really are bloody dangerous. The difficulty in sub-violent abuse is that it’s harder to put your finger on precisely what was done to wreak this level of damage.

    If you’re finding yourself really stuck in a stage of recovery, I might read it as a signal from the ganglia at the base of your skull telling you you’re in danger of having this happen again. Maybe not now, maybe not even in a romantic vein. But the lizard brain has been awoken to the fact that not only does genuine evil exist, it has managed to get past your defenses. It’s not going to leave you alone until it’s convinced you’re defenses are ship-shape.

    That part of the brain is not particularly intellectual, it just assesses risk and feeds data to the amygdala, which then floods your waking mind and dreams with “defense programs,” a bit like the virtual martial arts training in The Matrix: you kicking the cheater’s ass, him strapped down with barbed wire, him launched in a sputnik filled with vicious, starving rodents, etc. Clearly it’s sending you the message that you need to adjust your military budget and strengthen your armed forces, need to be better prepared for “war”– i.e., detecting and warding off evil. The intrusive thoughts on justice/revenge may be a way of saying that the danger has not been neutralized, whether that danger comes from your creepy ex or someone just like him wearing a different guise and exploiting in a different way.

    I’ve found resources on domestic abusers, particularly the works of Canadian criminologist Donald Dutton, are very enlightening. Also the chapter on domestic violence by Anne Flitcraft and Evan Stark in Ochberg’s “Posttraumatic Stress Therapy and the Victims of Violence” is gold. Studying the methods of abusers can explain how targets are systematically hobbled and boiled like frogs over a period of time, how even combat trained intelligence personnel can be broken down in captivity in the same way. Dutton explains how abusers, long before they abuse, have internalized systems of “neutralization”– dense and ornate systems of rationalization for doing what they do that reverse blame to victims and exonerate themselves of wrongdoing. All chronic offenders have this mechanism, from college exam cheaters to serial killers. It must be in place before commission of offenses and serves as self-exculpation for past offenses. It’s necessary to dredge sympathy from bystanders and to confound victims.

    I think it’s “exonerating” for survivors to understand that abusers hack certain universal hardwired mechanisms in their targets. I also think it’s never a waste of time to enrich our own bases of knowledge in ways that can help countless other people we encounter in the future and grasp a concept that can be applied metaphorically to the world at large, making sense of political chaos, corporate malfeasance, etc., etc. BECAUSE ABUSE AND ABUSERS ARE ALL THE SAME. Some like easy targets, some like “big game” and shiny challenges. Some do it on a global scale, some only at home. But in the end they’re all gray and unoriginal. They are loveless and love is required for individuality.

    I agree with CL and CN that “untangling the skein of fuckedupedness” is a bad idea if it’s a hunt for cheater alibis or an attempt to cast them as poor sad sausages with mommy or daddy issues who just couldn’t “hewp it.” Abusers play the pity card well enough on their own and don’t need any help in that regard. It’s more about dissecting abusers and their MOs under a microscope the better to recognize and avoid the breed in future and maybe to let yourself off the hook for falling prey to begin with.

    As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” Unless you’re an abuser. Stick a fork in that type, they’re fully cooked.

    • This is amazing, I’m saving it. As a voracious reader, I get tired of all the fluff in books between the facts. This is great succinct writing about subject I don’t know too much about. Thanks.

      • Agreed! So incredibly helpful and well-said. My ex of a lying porn addict and sex purchaser hit almost every disorder Hell of a Chump described. “Sub-violent batterer” is a really useful descriptor because that’s exactly what it felt like I was dealing with, and sometimes still am. I agree with an earlier poster who said CL’s response was her favorite; I’m going to keep rereading it. Actually, so many comments today have been helpful–it’s been like receiving unexpected gifts, the kind I’ll actually use on the road to meh!

    • Fantastic! Thank you!

      It has been 6 years for me, and I still feel sick at the thought of my Ex. I know this is my body sending out danger signals, trying to protect me from future harm.

    • I had a physical reaction to reading “the lizard brain has been awoken to the fact that not only does evil exist, it has managed to get past your defenses.” You’re so right, and thankyou for writing it.
      I spackled and smoked the Hopium from the get go. If I’d left him when he breached my boundaries the first time, I’d have wasted 8 months on him instead of 14 and a half years. Fixing my picker (and figuring why the hell I allowed those breaches) has got be my number one priority. I also love the idea that “it’s not going to leave you alone until your defenses are ship-shape”. This is totally the lens with which I’m going to view my nightmares/ ‘this is unfair’ thoughts from now on.
      Seriously, these words are worth their weight in gold.

      • That is the worst part. They lie to us and use us to their own advantage, not giving a wit that we are wasting our time with them.

        They go when the time is right for them, then tell us to move on quickly, after they had been plotting for years, sometimes decades.

  • All the Why’s.
    There’s no answer, just more skein.

    I made my sibling Beagles a runner line and two tethers so they wouldn’t get run over on the busy street my mother lives on. I stay with her on a 10 day rotating schedule then drive the 100 miles back to my cottage in the country.

    The Beagles routinely get wrapped around bush or tree and I have to untangle their tethered ropes to bring them back inside. The thought hit me this week that is what I was doing trying to get my head around the why’s.

    Lesson: it’s not Wise to seek out the Why’s

  • I have the same questions and anger. Going tru my mind There is no real good answer that going to satisfied you. My therapist say he just does not care. It feels if someone cutting off your arms. You defenseless. It feels unfair. And there nothing you can do about it.

    I get why he does not want to talk to me. In his eyes it’s all my fault. I am recantation off all evil and in the worst case his mother. I hate it that he does that to the my children.

    My best friend reminds that he soon going to be homeless and his job is being downsize. He has massive debt
    So basically he is broke. Have fun with that OW

  • Thank you for this CL. I’m 5 months out and the thoughts of her are never ending. I swing between rage and grief. Every day I wake in a different mood.

    I’ve made my peace (just about) that he’s a grade A narcissistic a-hole who isn’t worth my spit. But it’s the knowledge that there is another fellow female out there enjoying my life, my car, my friends.. everything that I supported him to help us build.

    I thought we had a good marriage. We had a great social life, great physical relationship and fun as a family. We talked about anything and everything. We were great friends.. so I thought. That’s the part that makes the betrayal so huge. That our life, which I pinched myself every day because I thought I was so lucky, was actually fake.

    Sometimes there is a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel and I’m working very hard with the help of amazing friends, family and a great counsellor to move on from the trauma.. but oh it’s so hard!

    • HFM… don’t minimize the life you built… it wasn’t fake… you weren’t fake… you were just married to a liar. Hold on to that, know what you need to own and leave the rest at the curb along with your cheater.

    • Abusers always seem to get so angry at betrayed partners for failing to act as the magical “Blue Fairy” that would turn the psychopathic, empty Pinocchio into a “real boy” (or real girl). Rather than facing that they’re irreversibly wooden, off they go hunting for the next Blue Fairy candidate that might one day humanize the abuser, though usually a less sensitive, less ethical, less emotionally intelligent and less observant fairy–in the hopes of avoiding detection. Or they just give up entirely on the mission of turning themselves into human beings and lower their sights.

      I always think of that series of scenes from Schindler’s List where the psychopathic Goeth, momentarily mesmerized by Schindler into aspiring to be Christ-like, shows uncharacteristic mercy to prisoners a few times and practices a merciful emperor routine in the mirror– “I pardon you…” But then gets triggered by dirt under his fingernail, picks up a rifle and shoots the prisoner stable boy for dropping a saddle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjOwOtOEKMg

      Draw that process out over the course of a marriage and that’s the abuser cycle. It explains why their early targets are so often genuinely empathic, genuinely sensitive, etc.– i.e., top of the line models to study on “how to be human.” Unfortunately for abusers, the more human their target is, the more likely the target is to ultimately pick up on the vacuousness of the abuser. The devaluation process is partly an attempt to eradicate an inconvenient witness and partly just giving up on the campaign to humanize, but never an ultimate verdict on the actual value of the betrayed partner.

      • This is deep thinking on the relationship cycle these abuser tend to follow. I’ve gotten past thinking of them as “narcissists” or any other particularly disorder. They just aren’t like us, they follow these patterns and that’s because they are, indeed, vacuous, hollow, incomplete.

    • @hopingformeh

      Your sentiments resonate with me.

      It is that notion and image for years that he loves you, is faithful, us your best friend etc…. That there is a deep bond over the years. That you know him. You feel secure in your relationship. He values his family and you. He has morals.

      Then WHAM!!!! You find out; most of the time by accident. Then slowly it all errr…. mostly all of it comes out. Nothing is as you percieved. He is not who you thought. In fact he is more a stranger than you ever thought possible.

      That is paradox that is frightening and hard to reconcile. This is why meh is hard. The other thing is closure. A lot of the time you never know fully the real story. The extent of it all.

  • “…he compromised his own career due to his dishonesty and lack of integrity, and is now in tens of thousands of dollars of debt…”

    Just wait until the woman he is leeching off of gets sick of being treated like an ATM. The karma bus is gearing up already. Beep! Beep!

  • To be fair, CL, you had me at “will there be scones at the tea party”… but I think this is the heart of the matter:

    “Because he doesn’t value good people, he uses them. He found someone else to use, so in his world, that’s not losing. That’s changing hosts.”

    One of the biggest roadblocks I experienced on the road to Meh was separating my self worth from his value of me. Then, I thought he was right… that I was lucky an abusive fuckwit like him deigned to love me and build a family with me… but in the world of Meh… I have realized that I was then and am now an amazing woman with the full capacity to love, be honest and communicative, be sexual and fun, and able to commit 100% to one person. A like any parasite… Mr. Sparkles took his full of me until something better caught his eye… he was always a personals ad slut… but he left me for an OW that was a 10yr younger version of me with a very wealthy family… he thought he was trading up. Shame of it is, he was still the same old lying cheating parasite… and he cheated on her again and again until she finally gave him the boot.

    Only YOU determine your worth and what is acceptable to you in a relationship. That whole “he/she completes me” farce is a set-up. Two whole people make a good relationship, nothing less.

    Know your worth. Stop dumpster diving in to history and what ifs… there is no happiness for you there.

    • “Because he doesn’t value good people, he uses them. He found someone else to use, so in his world, that’s not losing. That’s changing hosts.”

      Exactly. And that’s why they are NEVER living a fantasy life. They’re parasites, living off the blood and tissue of others.

  • I’ve been here since the beginning (thank GOD for Chump Lady!) and one constant is people beating themselves up over the process of healing. It takes time and pain and nightmares (as discussed above) and ruminating and a lot of “OMG YES!” lightening bolts, and self-reflection and forgiveness of YOU. But people feel this odd sense of guilt about taking the time or space or privacy to do this work, and, trust me, you shouldn’t feel bad about feeling.

    You should try to not bleed all over your friends and family–that’s what WE are here for (or over at the forums). IRL friends/family serve to keep you grounded and GAL, an equally important part of reaching indifference.

    Don’t let anyone who hasn’t suffered in this way tell you what you should or should not be feeling, who you should or should not be forgiving, nor how long it’s going to take. As I’ve said here multiple times, I don’t trust chumps who claim to be great friends with their ex, or who instantly forgave them and claim to feel nothing but love or nothing at all about it. Cuz that’s BULLSHIT. I see it in their shudder, in the flicker of their darting eyes. And, I mean, that’s THEIR business, not mine, but I will not be judged by their inauthenticity. And CL/CN has given me (us) that gift. This shit hurts and it’s real and it takes time and processing to get over. It takes sharing and encouraging and 2x4ing each other, too.

    LOVE and HUGS to my CN friends who pulled me through a real life nightmare.

    • Good post.

      I had been away from the situation for years, honestly hadn’t thought about it at all. Then my ex blew up my son’s life with his crap, and I had a bit of a relapse. I found myself wondering how anyone could just continue to be a shit head, what is wrong etc. So I started researching narcissists. This site popped up. Just for fun and because of the lockdown, I started reading.

      Oh my goodness if I had this site back when I went through it, it would have made it so much easier, and more things would have made sense.

      I also realized I had long ago buried anger at myself for being such a chump (I called it patsy). But again reading this site and another one helped me to finally release that anger. Now I am here to just wish other well, and maybe still learn a few things about myself.

      Whenever anyone asked me if my ex and I are friends, my first reaction is “define friends”

      Yes my ex and I have been able to be civil at family events (there haven’t been many) but no we are not friends according to how I see friends. I don’t hate him anymore, though I did for several years. I guess I have forgiven him, though I don’t much care one way or the other. I no longer envision him floating face down in the Ohio River, so that is as good as it gets for me. Especially now that he has blown up his relationship with his son. (having nothing to do with me)

      But, that’s on him.

      • YOU are a sage–I’m a broken record on that, but you always amaze me with your generous insight and wisdom. I adore you!

  • ” Why do his friends, who were also my friends, not see him for the fraud he is? Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him? Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost? Why isn’t he groveling? Why am I writing to you now, a stranger on the internet, over a year later? I don’t feel Meh about him. I feel like I want him to be strapped to a board with barbed wire and forced to watch everything he loves in the world be destroyed. Because that’s how I felt when I learned my whole life was a lie.”

    I am 9 months from D-Day, 1 month out, and this could have been written by me. I don’t think the OW is living the good life with him. All the time between D-Day and my moving out he complained about how annoying she was and how he was just with her for the sex (he actually expected sympathy from me. WTF). Probably the only thing coming out of his lie-hole that I believe. She will get a lot less of his “Jekyll” side than I did and will get to see his “Hyde” side a lot sooner. I have stuck to NC religiously but it is my belief that he is applying the bare minimum of charm needed to get in her pants. I would be surprised if they lasted until the divorce is final. So I am not angry at the OW because she will reap the consequences of her actions sooner or later, emphasis on “sooner”. Being an OW is its own worst punishment, and nothing I say or do can add to that.

    What galls me is how my cheater ended up with our home and that I was the one who had to move out. It galls me that the vast majority of our friends are not even Switzerland friends but have openly taken his side over mine because he is always such a fun guy when he’s around them while I am the boring partner who adults. Why do they get the mask while I get to deal with the real him? I’m sure quite a few of his male buddies have covered for him while he was banging the OW; where are the consequences for these enablers? If a female friend asked me to cover for her so she could meet another man I wouldn’t do it unless her husband was an abuser. He may not have my income any more but I’m sure his enabling mother will bail him out if necessary; she always does. So while I’m stressed over money and having to start over in a new town, coupled with the realization that many people I thought were friends actually aren’t, he’s still living his old life. He still has his home, his looks, his friends, and enough money to live on. Where are the consequences for him and his flying monkey male buddies?

    • That’s troubling. You would cover for a female friend to meet another man if her husband was an abuser ? Huh ? How ‘bout you direct her to the appropriate resources (domestic violence shelter) rather than be a bit player in her “damsel in distress” drama.

    • Well, you got the mask. That’s how you got hooked. Nobody can keep the mask up forever. Thank God you saw behind the mask. Otherwise, you would go on living his lie.

    • You need to make other friends. This is not your crowd. I am starting over – no friends here especially with Covid – it’s difficult – and I think about how he has his/our friends…..because, I didn’t dime him out. I could’ve – big time. Sure he has told them a story where I am the villain. It’s ok – there’s lots of other people in the world. Just takes time. He gets to keep these friends. But he also gets to keep himself. I have given up on thinking there are consequences. Life isn’t fair, but you have to look at you in the mirror and he has to look at him.

  • As for sadistic fantasies I think there is a lot to be said for stripping Nitwit naked and marching him through the streets while ringing a bell and shouting “Shame! Shame!” a la Game of Thrones. An added bonus is future OW are forewarned about how underendowed he is.

    • I am, somewhat embarrassingly, 5 years from the final DD and coming up on 4 year since the blessed divorce day. I am emotionally great and SO happy to be rid of that shits show of 21 years married and 25 together. But I struggle SO frickin much with the injustice thing. I got screwed in the financial department, which I resent so much. (I signed away what I was entitled to because he threatened to kill me. And I left the house from fear, so he took all our valuables including my personal items.) Now with time clarity I think it was just raging but empty threats meant to scare me. If I’d been smart and called the police and gotten a lawyer (I was also forbidden to use a lawyer) he’d have backed down with his tail between his legs at the first sight of a police officer. He hedged on my being afraid and he won. My hindsight also hates that.

      I am STILL severely underemployed and working multiple jobs despite a good university education and tons of experience before I quit my job to be a SAHM at his request. (Hard to fuck all your colleagues, vendors, coworkers and subordinates when your wife works in the same industry.) I’m otherwise happy, the kids are fine- they see his BS and are long longer pulled into the crap. But I think because of exhaustion from working multiple jobs and being on such unstable financial footing I am constantly reminded of the INJUSTIOCE and it just screws with my head. Now I have it practically built up in my head that if I can resurrect my career my life will be full of rainbows, hearts, and fairies. Stupid Covid is making perusing opportunities really hard now and I feel so typed-casted in bad entry level jobs that I wonder if anyone will take me serious for a position for which I am TOTALLY capable of. I feel so trapped. Still better than being married to a sociopath, but still stuck BEACUSE of said sociopath. It’s keeping me from precious that meh I think.

      • Holy shit, he threatened to kill you? You are definitely well rid of him! I had it easy by comparison; I’m just hoping he doesn’t pull anything to try to squeeze more money out of me before the divorce is final. Hugs and best wishes on your journey towards the promised land of Meh.

  • ‘Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost?’

    “Because he doesn’t value good people, he uses them. He found someone else to use, so in his world, that’s not losing. That’s changing hosts.”

    Wow….Yes….. I had to sit awhile and really allow this line to sink in.

  • Happy Bday Virgos.
    This letter was my entire therapy session today; almost exactly, except for a little bit here and there.
    I paid a lot of money to hear similar stuff to what CL said: I am normal – it is normal to have a lot of pain in this situation – he’s out of my life and I need to fill up my life now – no use trying to figure him out – work on acceptance – it can take a while- he’s not thinking of me; don’t waste my time on him -whatever blame shifting he did was just an excuse because of his guilt – it’s understandable to have anger and disgust –
    Basically I think I heard that I was dealt a huge shit sandwich and I have to try to live my best life in spite of that. She thought it would always hurt, that there won’t be any Meh for me (perhaps I didn’t explain Meh properly) but that it would be fleeting pain and not all consuming.

    I agree, it’s a lot of fucking work that I didn’t sign up for… but here I am. It helps me to tell myself that it could always be worse.
    I don’t want him to rob me of any more of my life.

  • I read todays post and thought, yes I’ve made it! Totally indifferent. It’s taken me 2 years. I found the pathetic letter I wrote to chump lady after DDay. I cant believe I stayed for another 3 months after that letter. Yes it was a terrible injustice, but I didn’t have to stab him with a bbq fork because I realised the way he lived his life added up to a shitload of punishment as (CL says!). I was the women destroyed, but it passed!!!

  • Dear It’s Still Just So Unfair,

    You are correct. Life just isn’t fair. I’m from Oregon and there are families who have lost everything from the current wild fire season. I have read about more than one family from 2020 that had just rebuilt their life, only to watch everything go up in smoke, AGAIN. That is what it is like to be cheated on. You were living your life, being the good, honest, rule abiding person, then WHAM! Your life turned to ashes. It is normal to be upset. You have the right to feel upset. BUT! Rebuild from the ashes. That is what we do. We see the harm, acknowledge the pain, and then rebuild. That is 2020 for everyone. Not just us that have been left by cheater. This is a year to rebuild a new life. It’s hard, but worth it. Be mighty!

  • No time to read all the prior responses but I will share that Im 55 years old had have lived a life where Cheater and 2 others (one to a major degree and one to a minor degree) inflicted their personality disorders on me and hurt me terribly – in 2 cases for years and years.

    And while I was busy trying to live my good life, they all crashed and burned….foolishness, selfishness, addictions, terrible decisions have all come home to roost…its terribly sad for them and sometimes I have genuine compassion for the suffering they brought on themselves. I actually have a great passive revenge story about one of them and I quit telling it because her circumstances are too awful to laugh at…come to think of it, that is the case for all of them.

    I did NOT, however, wait until this all happened before I shook the dust off my feet and went out to live my best first.

  • The injustice piece is tough. One thing that helped me get through it was committing myself to achieving great things as soon as possible–phoenix rising from the ashes kind of thing. I worked super hard on several educational and professional goals, and when the dust had settled from the divorce and things were winding down and I had time to reflect, I had ALOT to show for it. And that made me proud of myself. And that feeling of pride kind of mutes any feelings of injustice, which for me still exist in a small form, but mainly I feel pity for ex. He has to live the rest of his life trapped in his own miserable mind. I, on the other hand, am free and happy and successful.

    In short, hard work and accomplishments will set you free. Also, sometimes you have to force yourself to just STOP thinking about it. Humans have this uncanny ability to pain shop and marinate in our own misery and perseverate indefinitely on the past. Set some boundaries for yourself, like “I will allow myself to perseverate on this for 15 minutes today and then I will move on.” It’s a mental practice, and its’s slow going at first, but in the end will make you a stronger person.

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