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What Made Her Special?

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notspecialDear Chump Lady,

Eleven months ago, I found out that my husband of 20 years and two children had been having an affair with a co-worker for the past two and a half years.

During the time of their affair he moved our family to the same town where she lives so he would have better access to her and he got her pregnant three times that ended in miscarriage. I hung around for six weeks in a mixture of fog and reconciliation while being smart enough to get my ducks in a row. I took the kids and left him. I didn’t want anything to do with the new house or that stupid little town.

The kids and I went back to our hometown and moved in with my parents. It has been a hard road emotionally, but I kicked ass! I got my job back, built a little house beside my parents and the divorce should be final soon! Best of all, I found a fellow chump who is adorable and kind who I’m now seeing.

My problem is that yesterday when my STBX came to drop off the kids, he told me that he’s “talking” to the OW again. This has put me in a low place. I thought I was at meh! I know that they deserve each other and I hope she becomes as “happy” as I was with that narc-ass, but I just can’t help but feel like I’m not all that she probably is.

What made her so special that he risked his family for her? He only sees his children every other weekend now because of her and now he’s seeing her again? This just blows my mind!

Chump Lady, can you please explain why he did all of this, and why I can’t just do as Elsa says and “Let it go”?

April

Dear April,

Why can you let it go? Because you’re not through it yet. Your whole world has been topsy-turvy for 11 months. D-Day was less than a year ago, your divorce isn’t final, you’ve moved again, taken back your job, and built a house, and started dating. That’s a LOT of change in less than a year. This was a 20-year marriage. Just because your ex is a colossal asshole doesn’t mean you can speed grieve.

The fact that you’re still bothered that your ex is “talking” to the OW tells me you probably aren’t emotionally available for dating. I totally understand how the validation from a good relationship can be healing when you’re going through this crap. And I don’t object on the grounds that you’re still technically married (others may disagree with this — to those people, thank your stars you don’t live in a place that makes you wait a year(s)-plus before you can even file.). If you’ve filed, have never been a cake-eater, and are physically separated, I don’t have a problem. However, most people are still very wobbly at this stage. That means a) you may get attached before you’ve fixed that picker and b) it’s not fair to the person you’re dating that you’re hung up on your ex.

If I was dating my husband (a former chump) and he ever wondered out loud what made that troll priest so “special” that he lost his ex? I’d run for the hills.

Would you really mourn someone who would fuck a troll priest?

I’d feel like, hey, I’m a million times better than a person who has the dubious judgement to fuck a troll priest. Can’t you see that? I’d have no patience for a man who would unfavorably compare himself to a troll priest.

So, April, why are you comparing yourself to a troll priest?

Okay, your OW isn’t a troll priest (maybe she is, I haven’t met her), but seriously? You think she’s special? To be an OW just means you’re dim and available. That’s it.

He didn’t chuck his family because of her. He chucked his family because that is who he IS. A person who can abandon a family. A person who can lie and cheat and blithely knock another woman up three times. He’s a guy who will move his wife and children and upturn their lives just so he can eat cake.

She doesn’t have superpowers to make him do that. He’s just that much of a fuckwit.

And so what if he thinks she’s special? Hitler liked kitschy art. People can have bad taste.

No one is “special” to cake-eating cheaters. You’re just of use. The kibble means of production, the spouse appliance. To be “loved” by such a person is not enviable.

April, what matters here is if you think YOU are special. The woman who kicked ass, filed for divorce, and field marshaled that new life thought so.

Believe in your mightiness. Your ex lost his cake, so he’s got to hang on to some kibble and she’s the lucky loser. Evict them both from your head today.

This one ran before.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Just because your ex is a colossal asshole doesn’t mean you can speed grieve.”

    Thanks for that reminder, CL. It doesn’t have anything to do with OW, just like it really didn’t have anything to do with me. All him. It just takes awhile for the heart to catch up to what the head can see clearly. Or, as someone commented here, for the Hologram to die.

  • The APs aren’t any more special to the cheaters than we were. They are (or were) just more useful for providing ego fuel, which is like mother’s milk to a cheater. Your ex is lazy and unimaginative. He figures she’s the easiest route to kibbles because it worked before. He’s going to find out that without the sick thrill of sneaking around and breaking rules, the kibbles aren’t really there. Without you in the triangle, it doesn’t work. That’s why he told you. He’s hoping you’ll get jealous and that will recreate the feeling of triangulation he’s so into. Tell him you don’t give a shit about his personal life and you find him talking to you about it inappropriate. You may need to Grey Rock this asshole to put a stop to him pissing in your ear about Schmoopie. Personal chats with the ex aren’t a good idea.

    I think you’re doing amazing, but as CL said, you might have jumped into a new relationship too soon. Do some soul searching about that. It’s going to take more time to get to Meh and you just found out that a new boyfriend isn’t really a shortcut. Keep on going through it until you get to the other side.

    • “He’s going to find out that without the sick thrill of sneaking around and breaking rules, the kibbles aren’t really there. Without you in the triangle, it doesn’t work. ”

      This is something I didn’t know when it all went down. It would have helped me get through it better. I do know that he was acting like a hormone crazed teenager. I thought (in real time) it was because he was madly in love. That may be what he thought too. He was treating me like I was his lame mom standing in the way of his true love.

      I suspect when it got exposed, the thrill started to die. Then he cheated on her within two years of their marriage. Looking for more thrills I guess.

      • Spot on. I didn’t realize at the time, either, that the triangulation was a HUGE part of the thrill. Took me a long time after the fact to realize that; it is just SO evil.

        My sister-in-law told me that a couple of years after Ex & Schmoopie started living together, she left him because he “wasn’t spiritual enough.” Duh.

      • Yes, they act like teenagers rebelling against an authoritarian parent. They think of you in that way in order to justify what they are doing. They get crazy high on pleasure producing brain chemicals and seem like they have lost their minds. They tell themselves this heightened emotional state is twu wuv, but of course it is not.
        Then it all falls flat when they are stuck with Schmoopie and no hypotenuse, so they cheat again to get that high. Your ex and his OW created their own karma. Sucks to be them.

        • I experienced this as well.

          The defiant teenager/“you are not the boss of me”, couldn’t I see how hard this was on him, how dare you ask me where I was, always checking up on me, like you don’t trust me …

          I can still hear the blender whirring in the background.

          Mindfuck smoothie with extra entitled sprinkles anyone?

      • Jackass LOVED a triangle. His first words to me, after denying the emotional affair, was to tell me “You better not tell anybody.” It’s my own thought that he ended it with the MOW because he was afraid I would tell her husband.
        He prefers women who are married or in relationships, which is probably one reason I was discarded. But looking back, I realized he told me a lot of stories about married women, women living with other men, and really had no stories about just dating eligible people. One of the first things he noticed about women was whether her husband was present in a social situation. “Where is her husband?” is a question I heard more than once–and most notably about the MOW, during the stage when he was telling me all about her, Schmoopie this, Schmoopie that, Schmoopie came to the house, yada yada yada. He wanted me to know. It was a giant game of “I know something you don’t know.” But I did know. My intuition was right. It just took me 6 months to see something that made me sure. But once I knew, he had to worry about the MOW’s gun toting husband finding out. And for sure Jackass wasn’t taking on a divorcing woman with 3 kids. Not hardly. So she got kicked to the curb. The new wife doesn’t know it yet, but once he feels financially set, he’ll start looking around for the next person in a new triangle.

        • That’s so familiar to me, too. It took me decades to figure out that almost 100% of the female ‘friends’ he had come over, and I hung out with, were all former or current lovers of his. Lovers is too good a word! Fuckbuddies. So into the triangulation, and forcing me to hang with a harem. Ick. The thrill of the con, and thinking everybody wants him, is at the root of it. I wasn’t a wife really, I was a pawn in a game!

          • Unbeknownst to me, It named a bunch of our pets after his mistresses and ex-girlfriends. And I now know he named some of his various girlfriend’s cats after other relationships too. I’m sure he got a real kick out of me saying their name all the time. I knew I was getting close to Meh when a friend said, “and you know there is a cat named Mehverly Hills 90210 out there somewhere” and I just about died laughing. What a tool.

          • That was an early clue too, while 1 yr newlyweds (my 2nd), I noticed how he loved telling me about married women cheating or coming on to him. It was weird, he thrived on the drama and thrill of triangulation (in others)…

            I came to realize that’s who he was, when he started the sneakiness and emotional abuse. I left, ghosted and never looked back. 4 yrs later he still sends stupid hoovering texts, never replied even once.

        • Yes, my Ex-H triangulated me & my MIL. Now I believe he would take words out of context and pass along to her and vice-versa. Then I was in the unknown triangle of him & his MOW howorker. Them both sneaking around at work conferences and employer paid hotel stays while their spouses were in the dark. Definitely duper’s delight about sharing that random howorker’s kid getting a college scholarship. Big whoop some lame ass school in Ass Crack Midwest town. But alas over 18 months since DDay and MOW hasn’t divorced her hubby. Probably saw my Ex-H lose 1/2 his pension and doesn’t want the same fate for herself. They can be broke together for all I care.

      • You described my situation exactly. She needed the thrills. She had a stable, loving family with me and my daughters. She got off on getting away with things.

      • Great post.

        I am 5 months post D-day.

        Prior to D-day, there was the thrill of the affair.

        My STBX stayed in the family home for 4 months after D-day and continued her relationship. I think she enjoyed seeing how much that hurt me. I would react and I’m sure the OG was happy to console and then screw her.

        Need to get to meh. It’s better for us and takes away the drama.

        • True.

          They are long gone from my life. Only resurfaced after FW blew up his relationship with our son a couple years ago. I did some research on narcissist’s, because I couldn’t believe he would do that, and it was lock down so I was bored. Then I found this site, and others that explained a lot of stuff that happened.

          Plus a lot of funny, fun folks.

        • My Fuckwit Husband continued his relationship after D-Day and would frequently comment that he thought it was weird that I wouldn’t cry. It certainly wasn’t because I was fine; I mean, I most definitely wasn’t. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I was just in shock. In hindsight I wonder if he would have gotten off on seeing tears. How gross.

          • I never cried in front of him. I would collapse by myself. I was in shock for several weeks. Then once we were legally separated, I started to come out of it a bit.

  • Coming to terms with the reality of your cheater’s personality is a big step. And it’s difficult. I remember accusing the AP of all sorts of evil, only to turn the emotional corner and see that my XW was of equal evilness, if not more. And it hurts!

    But it’s important to do this. B/c only then can you start to move forward. The fog starts to clear.

    As for dating early; the relationship(s) likely won’t last, but I found the attention helpful and uplifting in a time I needed someone in my corner.

    It was unfair to her, but in the end she (date) too received something out of that time together. So I wouldn’t worry too much if you understand you’re no where near 100% capacity.

    • I’m were you are at my dear comrade. My separation has been a long process due to the continued return of my XH. The dirtbag would not leave me alone and kept stringing me along with how he would stop and how he loved me, while at the same time saying “we are Separated, we are not together,” which to him justified his adultery. I allowed this of course cus I needed to take care of my business, which included stability for my children. The jerkoff would keep going back and forth between me and the OW. This idiot would tell me about the OW and basically lay out for me how much she wanted him and how much he could get away with. He would keep returning to this idiot girl, while being on my beck and call. A part of me was in shock and bewildered about how he would choose such a low life (this chick was unbelievably stupid) over me. I am realizing that what he wanted was what this girl would throw at him attention and a desire for him, which I was not. But, I’m not gonna lie I’m still wondering if there was more to it. Like you I question did he truly want to be with this chick cus she was somehow better, or was it all about his selfishness like he claims now. The world may never know! Stay strong chump! I’m here with you!

      • Ha.

        It is just to get the comments in my email each day. I could do the same by putting any word in there, or make a comment when she sends out the new subject each day, but in the am, I am not usually awake enough to comment.

  • I used to wonder why Ex-Mrs LFTT left me and our 3 children (then 11, 16 and 18) for a balding, paunchy, twice-divorced, broke and drunk ex-boyfriend of hers. What did he have that she was willing to give me and the kids up for? I also wondered why she felt that it was appropriate for her to lie to me and the kids, to manipulate me and the kids (the kids especially), to steal from me and the kids and to run up huge legal bills in an attempt to destroy us financially on the way out.

    It took me far too long to work out that it was nothing to do with her AP being in any way special. It was because she is an unpleasant individual (and an alcoholic) who thinks that her needs trump all others; to say that “she sucks” is something of an understatement.

    Her AP is welcome to her; I pity him, because we don’t miss her one bit.

    LFTT

    • Yep.

      I didn’t do a lot of wondering, OW was five years younger than me/him, but she was not better looking than me, or more fit. In fact I looked younger, by any comparison. Heck, he looked younger. So maybe she was the bomb in bed, or had a great personality. Lol. I don’t know; I have never talked to her except for a short hello at a couple family events.

      Who knows, I think it came down to he was looking for the thrill, she offered it up and he lost control of the situation. (he was an extreme controller) She was him direct report; and he was in a mess at work because he was ephing his employee. He was not her first married man rodeo, (he knew that) which is likely why he thought she would be safe to screw around with. Ha, I am sure she was not his first side piece, but she got the brass ring.

      Painful for me, absolutely; he treated me horribly. Luckily once dday hit, things happened fairly quickly. It didn’t take me long to realize she deserved him way more than I did. Didn’t stop the pain, but gave me the strength to make sure he got the divorce he wanted, so I could heal and move on.

      • SL,

        I’ve never met Ex-Mrs LFTT’s AP and I don’t want to. Like I said, I pity him, as he will, in time, find out what she’s capable of ….. and not in a good way. Like you, my cheater treated me (and our kids, which makes it worse) terribly on the way out; particularly when the kids made it clear that they weren’t buying into her lies and refused to play “happy families” with AP. I guess that cheaters have some very common characteristics in that respect.

        Interestingly, only a couple of weeks ago my youngest daughter (now 17) said that the less she saw of her mother the better she got on with her. I was a bit lost for a response, so I just gave her a big hug,

        LFTT

        • I’ve never spoken to AP, but I’m now very good friends with his XW so I know exactly how he treats a long-term spouse. From what we’ve been able to deduce, he was generous and attentive to my wife while he was courting her (during the affair), at the same time that he was neglectful, condescending and frequently angry with his actual wife. Like you, I expect that my XW will eventually find out what her now-husband’s true nature is, but I’m not holding my breath. There was a year-long span where I was worried this would happen and XW’s relationship with AP would collapse, as I felt I would owe it to my kids to attempt a reconciliation if XW ever suggested one. I’m well past that now.

          My daughter has said the same thing about her mother. She’s old enough that our custody agreement doesn’t cover her, so she’s living with me full time during covid closure of her college.

          • IG,

            When Ex-Mrs LFTT left, my eldest daughter made it quite clear that she thought that I’d be an idiot if I ever even considered taking her mother back ….. so I don’t have to worry about feeling that I owe it to the kids to “try again.”

            And I don’t wish my Ex and her AP (they now live together) ill; I’d rather that they stayed together. That way she has less time to make my life and the kids’ lives miserable.

    • LFTT: “What did he have that she was willing to give me and the kids up for?”

      Kibble with dumpy, drunken dad-flavored frosting?

      The following is basic math but sometimes it takes time for character to be revealed, particularly because FWs are adept at mirroring and presenting a false front. Along the lines of fixing pickers, I figured out that avoiding people (friends too) with deeply conflicted FOO relationships is probably a good idea. That doesn’t mean shunning those with imperfect family histories since that can be a rich source of wisdom and experience. The conflict is the problem– when the issue is continually raw and unsettled. If they keep shifting between “forgiveness” and anger and consequently flop around between choosing people in their lives who are a far cry from whatever traumatic figure from childhood royally messed them up (chumps are often “far cries”) to scrambling back to dead ringers for the devils they know, it’s a screaming red flag.

      • HOAC,

        If I’d known about the FOO issues in Ex-Mrs LFTT’s background at the start of our relationship then I’d have run a mile. Her father was a drunk (check), a spouse abuser (check), a cheater (check), a liar (check), refused to take responsibility for his actions (check), a manipulator (check) …. I could go on. The infuriating thing is that she idolised her father and so all of this sh*t (and how closely she mirrored his behaviour) only came out much later. Basically, she wanted a brilliant, happy and fabulous existence, but without having to do the hard work/adulting …. apparently that was my job.

        I am now more careful …… much more careful.

        LFTT

        • LFTT–

          Classic– the adult child who internalizes the worst abuse from childhood then lies about and covers up for this past abuser.

          A criminologist who studied violent abusers in prison found this to be true of the worst offenders– they lied about or simply disremembered the behavior of their own abusive role models.

          Not to make a sad sausage case for it (this researcher didn’t and maintained these abusers belong in prison), but safety in childhood often depended on captor-bonded displays of loyalty and nothing shows “loyalty” more than bone-deep emulation of the abuser. It’s a way of groveling for amnesty. Some adult children will continue to display that “fealty” even after their former terorizing abusive role model is long dead.

          Tricky issue and not commonly understood. This why it can take time and careful observation to find out about internalized FOO issues.

          • HOAC,

            This is the bit that makes me want to puke.

            She knew exactly what damage her actions would cause, as she had seen it first hand with her father. Rather than thinking “I’ll never be that person, as I could never put those that I love through that,” she (a) did what her father did and then (b) copied his playbook when she was busted. She even swore on his grave that she wasn’t cheating. She could not see any irony in swearing that she wasn’t cheating on the grave of a cheater; ill advised at the best of times and even more so given that the proof was 100%

            Sadly, she feels absolutely no guilt (ie the internal voice) about what she did ….. but by goodness does she go off on one if she thinks that someone (especially her children) are judging her.

            • LFTT–

              Alex, I’ll take “borderline” for $100.00

              I’ve spent the last month re-watching HBO’s The Sopranos and am blown away again at what a work of genius that series is. Your description makes me think of Janice Soprano. Maybe that’s not a perfect match for ex-Mrs. LFTT but the behavior sounds familiar and I’ve encountered real life version of this. They scare the shit out of me. It’s like the strain of pretending to be someone they’re not (as they perpetually mold and morph themselves to fit the fantasy lifestyle of the moment) accumulates over a period of time and that’s the moment they explode into recognizable syndromes.

              The Tony Soprano character is also the most perfect example of antisocial personality disorder in the history of film or television. He even denies his own father’s abusive violence out of idolatry and gets smolderingly angry if anyone pries into this inconsistency.

              Anyway, it’s not that odd that an adult child would end up emulating the most dangerous member of the family and having contempt for their own victims.The contempt for victims is part of the emulation and the tendency to “neutralize guilt” (make up excuses why the victim deserved it and the perp couldn’t help it) is passed from generation to generation.

              The adult-child-of-domestic-abuser syndrome probably expresses itself differently by gender. How daughters react might depend on whether they’re directly subjected to abuse or seduced into being enablers and subjected to emotional incest or worse. Boys usually have it much harder in these situations, with about 85% of severe injuries to children that happen within homes with domestic violence being suffered by male children. It’s very sad reading research on how a lot of adult male batterers were frequently injured as children in the course of trying to defend the victimized parent. So many stories like that of little boys throwing themselves into harm’s way out of an impulse to protect and defend. Eventually they sublimate this heroic but unsafe tendency and, in the process of internalizing the abuse, begin to see “victims” through the eyes of the model perpetrator. If in life you can only be a victim or perp, they decide (unconsciously) that it’s better to be a perp.

              Abusers are great at playing rescuer and playing victim to the extent those parts of themselves once actually existed. One case in point is that no one writes female abuse victims better than Roman Polanski. He totally gets all the dynamics. I’d imagine he’s able to draw from his time as a Jewish orphan surviving in the sewers and countryside around of Krakow under Nazi occupation before the age of 12. And he’s simultaneously a very dangerous person. Tony Soprano loved ducks and babies. Hitler’s heart bled for dogs. Go figure.

              • HOAC,

                Your point about “…. the tendency to “neutralize guilt” (make up excuses why the victim deserved it and the perp couldn’t help it) is passed from generation to generation” is an interesting one. Ex-Mrs LFTT’s MO (similar to her father’s) was (and is) more frequently to deny that something that happened actually happened …. or if it did, to ascribe responsibility to someone else.

                A classic example was her accusing me of causing our 3 children irreparable damage by showing them a series of quite revolting texts between her and her AP. She just could not accept that the children saw the texts as her iPhone was synched to her iPad (which they used); they then took screenshots and showed them to me. In terms of D Day I was, quite literally, the last to know.

                As soon as I explained that it was her and her alone who was responsible, she went off on a tangent about how the texts were private, that no-one had the right to have read them and that she didn’t have to explain herself to anyone. As far as she was concerned, that was the end of the matter. Just like her father; if all else fails and all of the evidence is pointing at you, just shut the conversation down and refuse to engage.

                She also has a tendency to stir things up with the kids and cause drama, so that she can then be seen to be playing a role in solving issues ….. neatly forgetting that she was the instigator in the first place. The eldest two (now 24 and 21) can see through this and keep their distance as a result, but the youngest (17) sometimes finds it difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is confected drama.

                Not sure how this fits into the framework you describe; but Ex-Mrs LFTT sure as hell sucks.

                LFTT

              • LFTT–

                You and your crew might find this very interesting– “neutralization” and serial killers. I can’t post the PDF link but the article is in Societies titled “Denying the Darkness: Exploring the Discourses of Neutralization of Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer.”

                It’s a guilt-quelling tactic used by a range of offenders from those who cheat on college exams to adulterers and mass murderers. This study argues that the development of the tactic must be in place before the offenses are possible– in other words, the backfilling, gaslighting and blame reversal grease the whole criminal machine.

              • P.S.– I’m not sure if playing fireman after setting the fire is borderline or anti-social. But it’s definitely a sign of personality disorder (and a toxic corporate tactic) and common among batterers.

        • My ex’s dad was an alcoholic, he was abusive to his mom. Lots of crazy stuff went on in that house, my ex fathered a child that was put up for adoption, but I didn’t know about it until we married. We got married at 18 (not unusual in the 60s) I found out all of this after we were married. I asked him why he didn’t tell me about the child, he said he was afraid I wouldn’t marry him if he told me.

          I still don’t think our age was the problem, lots of folks in those times got married young and stayed married. Most of our friends who married at that same age, are still married. It comes down to honesty, and commitment. It takes two honest and committed folks to make a marriage last, one can’t do it alone.

          • Susie Lee– Your story fits my theory that cheating is just a sublimated form of battering. Then they congratulate themselves for not beating their victims to death with baseball bats, declaring “I’m a lover not a fighter!” and expect medals and a parade for it.

            • It is battery. Anyone who doesn’t think so has not experienced it. The battery is well beyond the sex part. Though of course that is painful too.

              It is about the lying, stealing, gaslighting, conning etc.

      • The false front. My Ex-H loved the word facade and used it often and incorrectly. I believe it sums up his feelings of self. The good guy family man facade. I actually mentioned to a friend this week how he probably thinks he’s a Tony Soprano minus the mob & the money.

    • LFTT, Cheaters who are also alcoholics or addicts are a double whammy. You have the “stinking thinking” of the drunk, the selfishness, the way that life centers around the substance they’re addicted to. Alcoholics and addicts are already prone to trampling on the needs of other people. That’s what they do. They’re “users” in multiple senses of that term. In those cases, I don’t think it’s at all surprising that they either cheat or they leave.

      Alcoholics and addicts prefer to use in the company of other substance abusers. So a Drunk Cheater who takes up with another drunk is about par for the course. That’s why some bars are full of “regulars” and why the TV show Cheers was on point. For many drunks, the bar is the best place in the world to be. My XH the substance abuser would be at the bar before noon on Saturday and Sunday and come home dead drunk late afternoon, if he wasn’t at a football game drinking. Married over 10 years, he never once took me to “his” bar. Not once.

      The other things that alcoholics and addicts need are enablers. You might find yourself discarded if you are tired of enabling, tired of dealing with a drunk, tired of the waste of money and resources, etc. So they leave because you are not longer of use. They’re users. If you aren’t “of use” they drop you.

      • LAJ,

        That really resonates. What did her AP have that I didn’t? Low morals and a drink problem as far as I can work out.

        But why she had to try and trash me (and by extension the kids, who stayed with me) financially on the way out I’ll never understand. If her and her AP wanted to ride off into their (drunken) sunset together, then no real loss as far as the kids and I were concerned …. but she went properly “scorched earth” on the way out.

        It took me 3 years to sort out the financial mess that she knowingly (and quite casually) created ….. because if she couldn’t have it then f*ck everyone else.

        LFTT

        • LAJ and LFTT– I third that. FW spiraled into 3rd stage alcoholism in the course of three years. He hid it well until the right side of his gut cantilevered over his belt buckle from early stage liver disease. No surprise he found a fellow binge drinker and epic enabler according to the astronomical bar tabs on the once-secret Amex card.

        • Same boat here regarding the scorched earth policy. “If I can’t have it, nobody else can!”. WTF? Disordered for sure.

      • This sums up my Ex-H! I’m not much of a drinker but his MOW has a DUI for hitting a parked car so I’m guessing they can throw back the beers together. I used to joke that I hardly saw him from September to early February because of football season. Now after reading Lundy Bancroft’s book on abuse, I can see how he was so entitled. Why yes Saturdays are for college football & Sundays for professional football. Who cares about taking care of kids, household chores etc. that’s what a wifey is for! I’d like to put a sports bet on him remarrying bc he’ll need wife appliance 2.0.

  • The OW is not special or better than you. It is quite the opposite. Any person who knowingly cheats with a married man or women are morally bankrupt. It takes alot of planning to sneak around. The only thing the OW had that you do not have. Is she was willing to screw a married man. Now that is special. It takes time to heal. Do not rush it. Let them have each other. They deserve each other.

    • I would second this.

      The AP isn’t ‘special’ she was just ‘available’.

      But yes she is better for him than you were, in fact I would say they are a perfect match !

      They are like two peas in a pod. Both are entitled, morally bankrupt, duplicitous, self-serving, conflict avoiding people who totally lack any shred of empathy or decency. She certainly won’t hold him to the standards you did because her standards are in the gutter. Makes it sooooo easy for him.

      What could possibly go wrong?! (Sarcasm)

      What could possible go wrong? (Sarcasm)

  • Your STBX is a gigantic asshole. Of course he is talking to the OW again. He probably never stopped for any meaningful time. They just love having the control over other’s emotions and love the power they think secrecy gives them.
    My ex is a gigantic asshole like yours and it is the same story. Long affair. Howorker. All the good things.
    He bought a house next to my yoga studio, so I see it everytime I go there. He also promised he broke it off with the OW, just for me to find out that every time this was just a lie.

    The important thing for you is:
    Really, really believe that he has a shitty character. Noone would cheat and lie for so long that has any kind of decency in him
    Really do not think it is a shortfall of yours. He would have cheated if you were a top model with a lot of money. He just wanted to cheat. And he will do so again. My ex cheated on every girlfriend he ever had. I thought I was special enough, so he would not. People that lie get used to it and make it their life style. There is no way you can ever trust someone again who lowered their standard to a point where they hurt the ones they should care for and love.

    You can read more of my story here:

    https://notmymonkeys.net/blog/you-are-not-welcome-susan

    • Thanks for sharing your story. HoWorker is a Susan also, so I find your blog very amusing.

      Our cheater’s sound very similar.

  • He’s talking to her because she’s an easy cheap piece of ass.

    There’s your answer.

    And the fact that he felt the need to tell you that says that he’s fishing for kibbles.

    When I was in the military the ratio of men to women was very high. All women got hit on, but the not that great ones got hit on more then high quality women. Why? Well because the men saw the not that great ones as an easy piece of ass that didn’t require much effort and that’s what most of them wanted.

    Remember that in this scumbag’s mind he didn’t throw you away. You divorced HIM….he might have been just as happy to keep you around, enjoy his family, and fuck his whore. I doubt he actually thought you’d go anywhere.

    So remember that OW is likely a cheap piece of ass that’s readily available. You have a lot more value and require a lot more effort.

    • My STBXW actually said she had thought all my talk of divorce was just a bluff and I’d calm down and unpack and we would go back to normal. In her world she would have no doubt kept on cheating whilst I paid the bills and provided myself as being a father and husband.
      I went straight for divorce and she complained that it all happened so fast, that I did not hold back and go slower. She got caught cheating several times and kept on doing it. Now plays the victim.

      • My ex treated me like shit, his parting shot was I never loved you and I was never faithful. Then when he circled back it was “oh I just said and did all that you make you hate me” Yeah, too bad ass wipe, you wanted a divorce, a divorce you will get. I want you and schmoopie to have a long, and I mean long marriage.

      • My XW didn’t think I would divorce her. Pissed her off to no end. In her mind, since she didn’t leave me for one of the AP’s I didn’t have grounds for divorce. On a side note, the AP’s were short, fat and UGLY! Don’t compare yourself to the AP. That is pain shopping.

        • Sir wrote: “The APs were short, fat and ugly.”

          Hey, was your FW shopping from the same catalogue as mine? 😅

            • Sir Chump-

              You’d think that would only apply to dudes! But FW’s AP also had chemo-thin hair. Like my bangs would amount to all the hair on her squat head.

              Then there was the full Brazilian waxing lol. How very 2010.

      • XW complained I was “going too fast”. She didn’t want a divorce. Why couldn’t we “keep things the same”, after proposing an open marriage. The day after she said she was going to give up the OM, I followed her to his house. Later she ambushed me with him and a fist fight ensued. She also cheated on him with 4 other guys. But it was MY fault for divorcing her. Can’t make this shit up.

  • He is ‘talking to her’ because

    1. he doesn’t like being alone
    2. she is easy and you are not.
    3. spiritual hard work? Whats that.

    None of this has anything to do with you or your awesomeness.

  • My ex actually said “She does what I tell her to.” My response,”She’s an employee, she’s supposed to do what you tell her to!”

    The point is: they are not special. At. All. They feed the egos of these narcissists.

    Unless he goes through a miraculous transformation, think Saul to Paul on the Damascus road, they have not changed and are no longer your problem.

  • I must have a thick skull. I have read and listened to LAC;GAL umpteen times. This morning, I have been nodding in agreement while reading CL’s response to the OP and the collective wisdom of my fellow chumps.

    I can accept that my ex and the OW are morally bankrupt. Each was married with children when they met and managed to lie lie lie for years so they could fuck away while eating cake. I can agree that both were dimwitted and available.

    He gave up his family for this woman after 35 years of marriage and 3 kids (now adult) with me. He’s an entitled, low-character jerk.

    And yet…

    *I do think they actually fell in love. I mean, they allowed themselves to fall in love, which was wrong. But still, they acted, and then it happened. I imagine that he loves her more than he ever loved me. I imagine that maybe she IS a better match for him.

    *This woman is objectively more physically attractive than I and 10 years younger. (She’s 12 years his junior.) My ex always wanted the beautiful woman on his arm. Don’t get me wrong. I’m attractive enough (very fit, thin etc), but this woman is in a different league. So many people in CN talk about their spouses trading down. Mine didn’t, at least in the appearances department. Oh, and apparently she is charming and kind to everyone. A real bubbly nurse, aiming to help the docs “in any way.” They developed a close rapport in that small office within the hospital. It sounds so romantic. I think I’m jealous of this.

    *He truly devalued and discarded me. It was traumatizing, but I didn’t even realize it at the time. I actually thought I had a fairly good marriage. Anyway, I now know he sucks. I don’t want him back. I guess I’m just slow grieving. I vacillate between two extremes: thinking they are living in a constant honeymoon state (mimosas for breakfast while petting a new puppy) to assuming they are no longer happy because real-life woes have killed the buzz, sloughed off whatever sparkles remained attached to their respective turds.

    I find myself creating imaginary scenarios for them. These are involved mini-soap operas. I have him saying mean shit (which he does) and acting moody (his default) and her calling her best friend and complaining that he’s different now. Then the best friend tells her to pack up her car while he’s at work (one day a week) and get out of there.

    This exercise is not good for me. I know that. And yet, in the moment, it can feel like a kind of balm for my mind.

    After 35 years of marriage and 13 months since D-Day, I am still beyond hurt and angry. I still want revenge. I want him to suffer. His kids have gone NC with him. He’s not allowed contact with his grandchild. So that must hurt him, but then I think that maybe he really doesn’t care. He might be that shallow and morally bankrupt. I don’t know.

    Somedays I think I catch glimpses of MEH, but, alas, it’s a mirage. Where’s my Tuesday?

    I guess CL has my answer: “Just because your ex is a colossal asshole doesn’t mean you can speed grieve.”

    • I don’t know Spinach. I think maybe for a lot of folks there will always be some pain, even years later. Just like there is pain when I remember my mother dying when I was 29. My marriage to a man I loved (no longer do) died, and his treatment of me was horrible.

      It doesn’t mean that I have not gone on to have a fulfilled life. (I have) But, expecting to never feel the pain again, maybe that happens for some; but it didn’t happen for me. Heck, I can honestly say I had not given my ex any thought for over 20 years. The couple times I saw them at family events, didn’t bother me at all. She was pleasant in our greetings, and he never looked me in the eye. I thought it was kind of funny.

      But, then he blew up his relationship with our son over more of his lies, insults and manipulations (she helped him do it) so it came back to me, and I started doing research on these types of folks. (we didn’t have PCs for research back then) I came across this site, and I learned so much (along with other sites). My daughter in law has not spoken to them for over two years. I doubt it bothers him much, he and she are just that shallow. And they have each other to look at. (that is my revenge) and I will gladly take it.

      So now, I try to be of any help I can to those going through it now. Also, CL and the posters are so kind and funny.

      Get out there and enjoy your life (I know you are) grieve when you need to. It is not either or. At least I don’t think so. I do agree that you and I need to trust that he sucks, and I think we both do. But, we don’t have to wipe everything from our minds. We remember good times and painful times, that is just kind of how humans are.

      I am also no one who thinks you have to be totally healed to date again, or have a romance. Every date does not have to be serious, and if it turns out that way, nothing wrong with that. But, I get that is an individual decision.

      I was asked out for several dates when we were legally separated. I turned them down as, I just wasn’t ready. Until I met a guy that I liked, and boom; I was ready. We have been married for years; and no end in sight. Doesn’t mean that each of us don’t still carry some occasional pain, we do. But, it hasn’t stopped us from having a good life.

      • Thanks for your comment. It is very kind, reassuring and real. I am both sad that my marriage did not turn out the way I had envisioned, AND glad to be rid of the man he turned out to be. Bittersweet.

        • Exactly.

          Now many years later; I am ready to bring back some good memories. Initially he had destroyed those memories. It was my past, and I had good memories whether he does or not. In fact for the first time; I am talking to my son about some things. Good and bad. I believe it has been good for us.

        • Discarded Wife–

          You’re not long out of the fire so it’s normal for the hologram to linger. You were blindsided. But the fact remains that FWs have rotten characters and are incapable of genuine love. That’s an axiom. The AP in your situation is not “nice” and “kind.” That’s just one of the classic masks worn by cheats and exploiters who fundamentally lack ethics and emparthy. Cheating is just sub-violent battering and FWs are abusers. Abusers aren’t “pretty.”

          Like a lot of us, you might tend to take people at face value. In a better world than this one, this is a lovely trait. But in the world as it is, this can leave us in danger.

          Two narcissists can sometimes make it work longer term but if you were a fly on the wall watching people like that interact with each other in private, you’d be chilled to the bone. Like observing monkeys flinging shit at each other and eating it, you’d feel relieved not to be part of it. It would not resemble your own concept of love.

          Try to remember that your imagination of what these people are like together comes from your own chumpy, loyal, loving, puppy-nurturing psyche. Total projection– the same way in which nice people always seem to imagine everyone else has integrity and the same motives as they, the decent eggs, do.

          Thomas Hardy wrote, “If a way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.” Sometimes positive thinking can be crippling, particularly after a brush with real evil. Consider taking a sabbatical to study a bit of criminology and abnormal psyche as part of your post-traumatic picker-fixing training. Learn about the masks and guises people wear to manipulate and exploit others.

          It’s a dark exercise but when you emerge, not only will you still be decent, you’ll have an even greater appreciation of decency and taking the high road in yourself and others because of the fact that it’s not a given with our checkered species.

          • It’s been hell of a ride since I left home 6 months ago. DDay 1 year ago. My picker seems to be more broken than before, all the while I’ve been researching and reading narcissist toxic patterns last 6 months. The only difference is that I’m recognising red flags and moving away from these people. I got into a housemate flat share situation and realised later that she was a narc who emotionally manipulated me. I made a friend recently and after months admitted that she lied to me. Introspection is going on. A lot of the relationships I form seem to be on the basis on emotional manipulation. That’s where my progress is at. I cannot detect lying and deception unless I’m told explicitly. Just like love-bombing, I recognise I fall fast for friend-bombing as well. Need to look at all my relationships to analyse where I’m being manipulated and grey rock them away. While in recovery, I thought I’d be more skeptical about people and what they say. But I’m not. Not sure what to do about this.

            • Yas–

              It’s a process. It takes time to absorb new information and reprogram ourselves. Everyone’s a teeny bit narcissistic and have tendencies to project their own MOs onto other people. Criminals assume everyone’s on the take and chumps assume everyone means well. In order to live in the world, we expand our vistas and understanding. In the end you’ll have it down to a science and you’ll blossom because you can trust yourself to keep safe. You’ll open up to others more. It’s easier to take risks and be charming when you’ve got Terminator vision (you know, a computer chip assessing everyone you talk to) and you’re carrying a rocket launcher under your cardigan.

              There’s a Taoist expression, “If you want the universe to fill your rice bowl, clean it out.” Once you’re good at keeping your waters clear of sharks, watch how the dolphins crowd around you.

          • HOAC—

            It’s been 5 months since DDay, and I know I did the right thing by leaving, but I’ve struggled with feeling I’m not as good as AP. I think she has a prettier smile, but that’s it. Though reading old cards recently, I was shocked that a couple people mentioned my smile lighting up a room, etc. So again, maybe just too hard on myself. (At meh with my appearance. 😂 Who cares. It’s what’s inside that counts, right?).

            I don’t envy her morally. She’s his aunt by marriage (it’s a very close family!), so if he dies first, there’s a good chance that she’ll be busy with her new love before he’s even in the ground 2 weeks later (and will spend cheater’s own funeral woefully ogling the new guy because he’s next to his girlfriend [previously me] instead of by her side). She knew we were a serious item (thanks covid for holding the engagement ring hostage a couple months while his true character was revealed!). But even if she believes his distortions, I still got the impression she thinks she’s far, far morally superior. In other words, she’ll provide him with all the love that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to give. She’s special.

            But you nailed it when you said they just act kind and nice—as a mask. It probably will be the two monkeys show—as narcs they might stay together longer, but it’ll be hell. And your insight that abusers likely are stuck in an irrational defense mechanism from say, age 7, in order to ‘protect’ themselves from whoever abused them as a child… that put things in place for me very well. Thank you.

            P.S. Love the Dorian Gray reference below. Lol.

    • Thirteen months is still pretty early. I’m not surprised that you run through scenarios like this. Give yourself some time.

      It took me a couple of years before I didn’t think of it every morning when I woke up.

    • Somehow I doubt they really fell in love with each other. I think Schmoopie nurse was set on landing a doctor. I have an old friend (not a nurse) that was hell bent on marrying a doctor. She landed one. No affair both were single at the time. People would think she is nuts about him but she is more nuts about the prestige as he is actually one of the top surgeons (won’t say the specialty) in the country. Quite revered. My friend had done well before she met him but at the time she met him, she was unemployed, ready to lose her home and deep in credit card debt. He had no clue. She is living the high life right now. So I would be interested in knowing what Schmoopie nurse’s former husband did for a living or if he was a success or Schmoopie was the breadwinner. If it is the latter, we can safely assume she was determined to land a doctor for a better life. Love had nothing to do with it and dr is just enamored.

      • I think the OW and her ex probably made about the same amount of $$. She would definitely improve her financial standing by being with my ex.

        I don’t know if they got married. I haven’t heard. Fortunately, they are not on social media. I’ve told anyone who would know anything about them that I don’t want to hear it.

        • Yup, it is usually about money.

          I worked at a hospital and the doctor’s were so vile. I know there are some decent ones also, but the ones I ran into were big fat cheats, rude, and treated me like a dog.

          I wouldn’t date a doctor if my life depended on it, and the two nursing friends that I know tell me horror stories about the doctors, and the other nurse’s they work with.

          Of course, two anecdotal stories from two other nurses doesn’t constitute an expert opinion, but I always found it interesting that no-one has anything nice to say about docs. My sister is a Physician Asst. She says her doc is absolutely awful-a total FW. I think the profession attracts psychopaths and narcissists.

          Hope you feel better soon. Sounds like good old fashioned grief to me.

          It does get better over time. But it hurts like a mother.

    • Spinach, character is destiny. This one’s for you.

      Scene 1: Happy couple (OW + FW) lounging in bed in the spacious bedroom of their palatial mansion.

      OW: (Bubbly, not-so-smart voice) Darling, these mimosa’s are delicious.
      FW: Thank you, I made them to celebrate our new status as puppy parents.
      OW: Honey-pie, thank you so much for buying him for me. As a gold-digger, I usually prefer…well, gold. But he is darling!
      FW: I’m going to go sccop him up and bring him back to bed for a nice cuddle with us.
      (FW steps out of bed, takes a step and then freezes.)
      FW: What the HELL? What is this? Ugh! There is puppy poop all over the floor. Why didn’t you put him in his crate?
      OW: Me? You came to bed after me. Why didn’t you put him in his crate?
      FW: (Mood shifting from irritation to anger.) Because he’s YOUR puppy! Get it? Your puppy, your responsibility. And please clean this up now or it will never come out of the carpet.
      OW: Oh, I see how it goes: I’m the nurse, therefore I am in charge of cleaning up all poop? You are the DOCTOR, far too important to clean up poop.
      FW: Look, I am not going to argue with you. For the record, if you wanted to be a doctor, you should have gone to medical school. You don’t have the smarts for it…but maybe you could have slept with the admissions committee.
      OW: What is that supposed to mean?
      FW: I prove my point!
      OW: You’re saying I’m not smart? Right! Not like SPINACH, right? Smart. thin, fit, would never screw around…better than me, that is what you are saying?
      FW: Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it. (Stomps out of the room.)
      OW: (Sob!)

      Scene 2: OW on the phone with friend
      OW: Sob! He’s CHANGED…he’s not the man I fell in love with. He’s always torturing me that I am not as good as Spinach. He doesn’t love me anymore.
      FRIEND: Oh, I’m sure he does. He married you, didn’t he?
      OW: Like that means anything! Look what he did to her! And now there is this young receptionist at the practice: she’s 22 and cute in a grunge kind of way. FW is always talking about her and the funny things she says and does. He’s totally interested. I can tell. And they text.
      Friend: You work there, you can keep an eye on things.
      OW: I can’t. Everyone there knows how we got together and is watching me to see what I do, and they want me to pay. I heard someone say “what goes around comes around.”
      Friend: Well…Why would a 22 year old be interested?
      OW: This house! To marry a doctor! A beamer! Everything I have. SOB!

      To be continued…

      • Haha. Love this!

        Thanks.

        p.s. They no longer work together. He retired and works one day a week in a different job. I guess my ex could find someone there who worships him.

        And, although the OW wasn’t working last I heard, she might have a job by now.

        The bottom line is that they’ll never be able to trust each other when they’re apart. I suspect she’s more likely to cheat on him by finding a new doc. He’ll worry about that constantly, so there’s that.

    • ” I imagine that he loves her more than he ever loved me. I imagine that maybe she IS a better match for him….I find myself creating imaginary scenarios for them. These are involved mini-soap operas. I have him saying mean shit (which he does) and acting moody (his default) and her calling her best friend and complaining that he’s different now. Then the best friend tells her to pack up her car while he’s at work (one day a week) and get out of there.”

      You say you know that this sort of thinking isn’t good for you. One thing you can do is stop thinking about what he feels, what he thinks, and what they do together; you can stop spinning soap opera fantasies.

      All of this is common and normal, but at some point, we all have had to decide to stop that behavior. I call that “mental no contact.” It takes discipline to remind yourself: “I don’t know why he chose Schmoopie. I don’t know whether they are happy as I understand that. I don’t know whether either them is a good match. So I am only hurting myself to imagine I know what I cannot know.

      You can see, if you read the above statements from your post, that XH is still very central to you in thought and emotion. You have some control over your thoughts. I’ll bet ALL chumps go through stages of obsession and rumination. But if want to get our lives back, that includes taking back our mental space. We can’t create and find happiness if we are spinning fantasies and stuck in the past.

      The Cheater lives in the past. You are alive in the present. And you want to put your energy into creating a happy future.

    • Just because she’s a nurse doesn’t mean she’s a good nurse, nor does it mean she’s a good person. My cheating ex married a nurse too. But the thing is: She’s shitty enough of a person that my shitty abusive ex would want to marry her and she’d AGREE.

      Anyone, regardless of their career path or employment status, who agrees to marry an abusive cheater, or agrees to cheat in the first place, knowingly and willingly fucking a married man, is morally bankrupt. Wearing scrubs and working in a hospital doesn’t cancel that out. I doubt her patients or coworkers know the love of her life was married and she’s a cheating slut bag.

    • Oh, Spinach…my heart breaks for you because I know just how you feel. Every time you post I feel like I could have written it. I’m not that far ahead of you in the process, though I wasn’t married nearly as long (1.5 years out from DDay, 13 months from divorce, 18 year marriage). Here are some things that help me when I get to feeling the way that you’re feeling:
      *realizing that my ex and the OW are shallow people. I could tell you long stories about how I realized that, but I’ll sum it up like this: “pretty” and “bubbly” are the fool’s gold that sparkles on the surface of the ground—easy to see, easy to get. But sooner or later in our lives, things get hard. Things get deep. Pretty fades. Bubbles pop. It’s then that we need someone with deeper qualities by our side: loyalty, steadfastness, patience, generosity. Those qualities mark the vein of real gold that runs underground in people of substance, invisible until the going gets tough. And then it’s worth absolutely everything. We’re gold. Our exes and their OWs are fool’s gold. There’s just no comparison.
      *realizing that I’m still going to be grieving and recovering for quite a while. If we’re diligent about our recovery, which we both have been, we can start to have strings of good days pretty early on. Then, when we have a bad day, we think: Oh no! I was doing so well, why did I backslide! But grieving and recovery are cyclical, not linear. They’re kind of like a spiral. We make some progress, and then it feels like we go all the way back to the start. But we don’t, and we realize this the next time we move forward and see how much ground we’ve gained since the last loop, and how much more quickly we’ve gained it. Still, it’s really important to be patient with ourselves through the process, and realistic about how much time it is going to heal. They say it takes 1 year to fully recover from a divorce for every 5 or so years you were married. Add to that estimate the trauma of cheating. Add to that estimate the fact the marriage was *abusive the whole time.* That’s going to extend the recovery process for sure. Now, I’m hoping, and I’m sure you are, too, that we can beat those estimates. I think we already are beating them. But no matter what estimate we use, we are NOT going to be recovered 13 months after DDay, right? Accepting the grieving process accelerates it; denying it slows it down.
      *practicing mental hygiene. As LovedaJackass points out, there are times that our grieving spins off into rumination and perseveration, and when it does, it’s not healthy and we need to stop it, using some kind of litany or mantra like the one LovedaJackass suggests. Or, I like the technique of “turning toward,” which my therapist taught me. I find when I get stuck obsessing about my ex and the OW, it’s usually not about them, it’s about something else in my life that’s not going well: I gained a few pounds, or the dishwasher broke, or I don’t know what to do about another relationship, or…. So, when I find myself spinning those mimosa fantasies for the 400th time, I try to “turn toward” those feelings and say, “What do you need?” And some answer always comes up. Sometimes, as my sister says, “The answer is just, lunch.” Sometimes I need to make a phone call, or balance my budget, or get some sleep, or go for a walk…. But like magic, when I attend to *my* needs, the rumination about my ex disappears. Our exes trained us over a period of *decades* not to attend to our needs. We absolutely have to relearn that skill: it’s at the core of everything. As my mom used to say, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
      ((Hugs))

      • The mental hygiene idea is great!! I need to learn to do this. I’m of the generation that was taught women and Mom’s are last in line to be taken care of, so this is very helpful and insightful. I even shared it with my daughters. Thank you!!

    • The bubbly helpful nurse is just an act. Affair partners master in mirroring and being the supportive companion while nagging wife just doesn’t know how to value you Doc but I can show you my appreciation on my knees. No tru luv just lacking character idiots who happen to work together. They’re both manipulators and now you can be free of that circus.

    • I feel the same way that maybe my X is happier and more suited to his AP. The discard hurts.
      But what I try to remember and teach my kids is that sometimes spouses want to move on, but they should do it with kindness and respect. It should not be done with years of lies and emotional abuse. They should face their decisions with honesty.
      If they don’t they are just weak and selfish.
      Hold your head up high – you are way better than them

      ChumpJax

  • Spinach, my mind does the same thing. You have a fantastic imagination— maybe use those stories to write fiction. It will sell! Lemons to lemonade.

    6 years since DDAY – 25 year marriage, very successful professional 7-figure earner, 4 kids. The AP he’s been with since (there were apparently many others🤮) is 15 years younger but she’s a classic goldigger and doesn’t look better than me physically. She “hates” kids, lived with her cheater dad and his AP until she was 30, just got her first real job this year — at her age I was the mother of 4 (ages 17-1) was a partner in a law firm and owned seven rental properties. I’d been on my own since I was 16. My dad died when I was a kid and cheater sociopath mom kicked me out.

    I literally couldn’t see the attraction X had for her other than her chronological youth. She’s not aging well so she looks much older now than she is. I don’t — good living has its rewards.

    X has cheated on her many times. He’s a bigger asshole than ever —abusive! Thank god I’m free of that. And yet I’m still healing from the death of my dreams, the hologram, the abuse, the discard. Sending so much care.

    • Motherchumper–

      Very true, FWs never age well. Apparently there are no portraits of them hidden in attics absorbing all their iniquity.

    • You are doing so well. I know I felt “recovered” from my marriage to XH the substance abuser–until I found myself out at an event with a very drunk houseguest. The entire evening was a giant PTSD flashback. So that trauma will probably always be there and I just need to stay away from drunks!

    • My best friends husband left her for a woman 16 years his junior, he was about 35ish. He was a cheater from the get go, and he never really tried to hide it much. They had been separated for several times, so it wasn’t a big surprise. But of course very painful to her, especially the way he did it. But, he finally found his trophy, I guess he couldn’t pass that up.

      I was visiting my friends FB page a while back and now the woman is in her mid 50s. While she clearly still has a pretty face, she has that cotton candy blonde big hair, and she wears a ton of make up, and the obligatory low cut blouse showing off the jugs. I guess still trying to be the child bride. Honestly, from what I can see if she toned now the make up, and had real looking hair, she would likely still be quite attractive; but as is she looks kind of like a caricature. He looks like the average 71 year old man.

      I imagine he has been happy, as really all he wanted was a trophy wife. They had no children, so don’t know if she remained happy or not. Likely though, she will hang in there now for the PD pension, which is quite generous.

      My friend has been happily married for years, and though she doesn’t try to dress like a 60s Barbie doll, she is still an attractive fit woman.

  • How could he/she abandon their family, life, home, children for the AP? This question is Chumps projecting their values to fuckwits.

    Us Chumps value family, loyalty, children, home, the life you’ve built, stability and so it’s hard to understand how can someone abandon all that, something that you, the Chump, value so dearly. Thing is that fuckwits do not value any of that. Never have. They aren’t giving up anything that they perceive as of value.

    Fuckwits value deceit, backstabbing, control, manipulation, duper’s delight (the term doesn’t really do justice to the actual psychotic level high they experience), triangulation, and above all else – harming people in some way, real or perceived.

    What’s really hard is admitting to yourself that you actually invested in ^ that. A bitter pill to swallow for Chumps.

      • lol….definitely something-gasm.

        I remember one time fuckwit and I were watching a tv show and he thought someone got taken advantage of. He jumped up from the couch and started pacing the room, eyes gleaming and with an energy that can only be described as orgasmic. It was so odd. Back then, I simply had no idea what it was or what to make of it. He seemed high as a kite…. It wasn’t even real life, just the idea that a fictional character is getting duped got fuckwit high.

        It was so extraordinarily weird, it really stuck in my mind. It’s only now that I finally get it and know what that was. Boy do I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have run like the wind.

    • One thing you know from growing up in a small town is that people doing change. When you go through school with them you see them in every season of life. If they were bratty kids, sneaky teenagers, gossipy, bullying, bragging people they are just like that through life. Not a single person I grew up with changed. Not one. Your creepy ex got the shit end of the stick genetically and wound up in the gutter where his AP lives. He was always like that. You were the one with principles and your rose colored glasses gave him some. Not on his best day.

  • In order to be an OW, you really have to be broken. Imagine having such little self-respect that you’d eat off of another person’s plate and then pull their plate away from them while they’re still eating. There’s a lot of selfishness and entitlement with that type of person (same with the cheater). OW typically have deep rooted issues (daddy issues quickly come to mind). Whatever the reason, they’re not good partners or even human beings.

    They’re not special, they’re pathetic.

    • Very true. Most OW did not have a father figure in their life. Or is if there was a male, more times than not there was dysfunction.

      • Yes, that was the story of FW’s AP. Cold, alcoholic cheater dad who’s a runty, squashy ex military type with a lame post who compensates for lack of distinction by bullying his family. Emotionally incestuous towards skanky alcoholic daughter and punishingly critical towards clinically depressed son.

        It always sounds sad until the “sins of the father” in someone else’s life wash up on yours like a sewage spill and damage your own children. Fucking dysfunctional ripples.

    • NoKibble4U,

      Thanks for the plate analogy. That’s just it, isn’t it? Like stealing someone’s plate out from underneath them. And then justifying it by saying they weren’t eating worthily enough or whatever…

      • Nita,

        100% on their justifications. They took it because you didn’t properly savor each and every bite (you know, with your eyes closed while swirling the food around in your mouth) like they would and, hey, they’re hungry!

  • Major red flag for me here:”best of all I’m dating someone”. Best of all? The best part is that you got you and your kids away from a fuckwit impregnator of other women. It sounds like your value is only determined by other people and not yourself. Sorry to be judgey but that “best of all” needs to be knocked down a few notches on your yard stick of self worth. CL is right. Dating someone who’s so fresh into chumpdom is a recipe for disaster. Work on your own sense of self worth from the mighty redirection you have single handedly managed to execute yourself. That’s the best of all part.

    • It’s one thing to have a post divorce freedom or affirming fling. The jumping into another relationship before healing ? Not so fast. As others have written here “Don’t self medicate with other people”.
      One of my former classmates blogs, more of an online diary. Her husband (second marriage) cheated and married a twenty year younger woman. Followed the cheater playbook. Brought the Christian girl around to their house, told S. what great friends S. and girl could be. Blah, blah. He had been emotionally abusive for years. Wanted her to abort their second son. Claimed she was a terrible mother. Was sexually abusive BEFORE they married.
      S. was in therapy for all the trauma and dove into a relationship head first with a much younger man. She admits that she did her usual of declaring her undying love and neurotically obsessing. She poured her heart out with every sordid detail of her life and exposed every vulnerability.
      The relationship lasted seven years and MYM (a boy really emotionally immature) cheated. Brought one of their mutual friends over to fuck in their bed.
      She hadn’t healed and she had no boundaries. And her two young sons were dragged through the mud with her narcissistic boyfriend. After they were discarded by their jerk of a “father”.
      I get it. She was lonely and wanted to be loved, have somebody to lean on. I hope her current relationship lasts. She refers to it as the One That Heals. Fingers crossed.

      • *second marriage for her husband. Child bride is number three for him. The happy couple moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania so thankfully S. doesn’t have to see him. But he still takes up headspace. Child Bride Home wrecker is studying to be a therapist 😂

        • Child bride’s wedding registry at Target including a yellow polka dot bikini for her.
          We can’t make this shit up.

          • Ugh. Your classmate needs to fix her need to be in a relationship. I know. Been there, and finally did that.

  • She’s not. Some men live a fake life, trying to appear decent, live by society’s social mores. Your ex is a true guttersnipe and he found a mate on his level. He can finally be himself. Of course the problem is he found someone on his level, so she’ll use him up and then discard. She’s a prostitute and this is how they operate. Forget the “Pretty Woman” type movies.

  • What does Schmoopie have that you don’t??  Unhealthy intensity, in her attachment to him. He needs that Godlike feeling of centrality & power which comes from a woman focused on him as intensely as a mother focuses on her child. Notice how screwed up Schmoopies are, the Lola doctrine where the cheater trades down rather than up. Schmoopie may be an embarrassment, but she focuses on him like he’s her world. She’s not special, but she makes him feel special.

    It’s the cheater’s religion that he deserves to be worshiped (as well as a wifely appliance and pussy buffet). In hindsight, I realized he destroyed some of my friendships because I wan’t paying him all my attention. In hindsight, I realized my Ex ramped up his destructiveness when my new love focus on him diminished as I focused on my career, and it became companionable love. To him this was blasphemy; heretics who abandoned the faith deserve destruction. Odd thoughts I know, but if anyone might understand why I perceive it like this, it’s chumps.

  • April:

    The extraordinary one here is you: look at all you have accomplished in less than a year from when your world exploded. You are a warrior.

    The OW was just an available kibble-dispenser whose low moral standards allowed her to have sex with a married man who was willing to betray his family. Two shallow, amoral people who hurt others…what part of that is anything you’d want?

    Your chump value system has you assuming that her “specialness” is due to something better, such as being smarter, prettier, kinder, more fun etc. But FWs don’t share our value system. He is far more likely to have found her “special” because she is a dim bulb and easier to fool, or that she laughs louder at his jokes, or that her moral standards are so comfortably low.

  • It’s not “better,” it’s a return to the scummy familiar. My impression is that cheaters waffle back and forth between reenacting tragic, dysfunctional patterns of their childhoods and trying to escape the same dysfunctional patterns of their childhoods. Choosing a chump is usually an attempt to escape the past by finding someone very different from what they grew up with. At least for awhile, they try to live out this fantasy of normality. But then it gets too hard keeping up the act and they waffle back to the “devil they know”– a person or people who resemble certain figures from their pasts and who easily fit into the old, familiar, toxic patterns of behavior.

    Most abusers blame their victims for “causing” the abuse so it follows that they enter each new relationship expecting that the partner will inspire them *not* to abuse. When the abuser’s mental rage tapes begin again, they get even more angry at the victim for not “preventing” the abuser from engaging in old patterns. And on and on it goes.

  • What made her special ?
    Her ability to put him high up on the Narcissist Pedestal and worship. For years. And he tunes out her incessant chatter, ignores her.
    Two shallow puddles of piss.

  • She’s not better than you. She’s not. She just reveals the level he really operates on–the level where prostitutes and gamblers who leave their kids operate. She’s just at HIS LEVEL, which is far below your level. I mean, you wouldn’t invite a male prostitute to move in with your kids, right? That would be the last thing you would ever do.

    And pretty much that’s what he did. Give up his family for a hooker he met in a casino. This pretty much speaks for itself, if you aren’t the spouse whose husband pulled this move.

  • Yes, it’s human nature to ask inwardly why the ex-spouse picked the AP over us.

    My story: even after I forgave her for adultery, and she assured me that she wanted to go through marriage and religous counseling, she still decided to be w/her AP. Through this, I started questioning what I did wrong, what I could have done right or better, and altogether wondering what I didn’t provide for her that he could from this point on.

    Looking back, I realize that there was nothing wrong w/me, and everything wrong w/her. I had to reassure myself that what I provided for her was a stable and good partner, and that if there was money in the accounts, that there was no material item or vacation plan that was out of reach. During our early stages of dating, I actually felt bad for her as she confided in me of her previous relationships of being w/guys who were physically abusive to her, and how she still forgave these previous boyfriends because she didn’t have the heart to abandon them, even visiting one in prison while they were still dating.

    Although I now believe that she went through a mid-life crisis, I also feel that she had some deep-seeded issues of being able to be independent, and so she decided that whatever I couldn’t provide for her, she’d seek it out in her AP or look for it elsewhere if doesn’t work out.

    Either way, she’s no longer my problem. The only thing that connects us is the children, who sadly know what she’s done to destroy the family.

    • I subscribed to the mid-life crisis theory for a long time. But, in reality, they are just emotionally immature people with weak character. They tried to be grown up and live the adult life, but it was just a skin they wore and it never went deeper than that. Pretending to be an adult is hard. Acting like this is all really you and it’s what you really want, when it really isn’t, is hard.

      So they crack. They are too immature to handle things honourably. They don’t really want to go it alone, so they find someone “fun” and validating – someone who is really on their level of lower value – and they think they have found “the one.” They self-victimize because they equate their “act” as being some huge sacrifice they made of themselves for you and the kids and now they owe it to themselves to “be happy.” Having someone else lined up gives them the courage to leave.

      They don’t come out of the crisis as better people. They might eventually become more subdued, usually because the grass wasn’t always greener and they realized they really messed up. They might ask for another chance. But, mine just displays his stubborn pride. He’ll never admit that he did wrong or made a mistake. And any attempt to point out the wrong in what he did and continues to do is met with anger over my “controlling or superior ways”. Why am I always so critical?

      Your right your ex has deep-seated issues. But this wasn’t a mid-life crisis. She won’t come out the other end an improved person who has been humbled. She’s just chosen to return to the behaviours that actually reflect the her mental and emotional development.

      • Good points and feedback. I’m not going to over-analyze my past anymore, because there is no future associated w/it anymore. GL to you, and I appreciate your input.

      • Dear OptionNoMore,
        OMGOSH!! You’ve nailed it perfectly!!!! You’ve described my XH to a tee!!! For the longest time, I’ve bought the idea of him going through a Mid Life Crisis, but from the beginning of our 26 year marriage, (no children by my choice) things were amiss. He was very impressed by people with status and money. (He grew up in an average household, mother, father and 3 siblings.) Sometimes, he would make condescending comments to me and because I was so in love with him, I just blew it off!! He met OW at work. She was/is married with 4 college age children!! I’ve been able to go No Contact easily bc we didn’t have children. He lied, and gaslighted me for almost a year before actually telling me that he didn’t love me anymore and he wanted a divorce on July 4th 2017. I filed for divorce a week later. I haven’t spoken to him since 8/15/18 when our divorce was finalized. I’m so thankful for CL and CN!! I’ve reflected on a number of times that totally support what you’ve said in your post!!! It is spot on, too!!! I’m at meh most of the time now. When I start to slip, all I have to do is read Chump Lady and CN posts and I’m good to go!!! Thank you!!!

  • There were four things my ex said that told me everything I needed to know about his state of mind and the OW, and I suspect it’s similar to a lot of cheaters and their APs.

    1) I know she’s no good for me and that no good can come of this. But, the feeling I have when I’m with her is like a heroine addiction. When I’m not with her, all I can think of is how to be with her again.

    2) I can tell that she’s struggling on her own and appreciates a man who can come in and tell her what to do. She depends a lot on her parents now.

    3) She’s not prettier or smarter than you. I know that people who meet her will think that I was crazy for leaving you, but it’s how I feel when I’m with her.

    4) You have no idea how many men want her. How often she’s propositioned. She’s even had couples invite to have a threesome with them. She’s a lot of fun.

    Summary:
    “It’s about me, my feelings, my need to be validated, my obsessive desire. She’s desperate, weak and easy.”

    Good God. What is there to be threatened by in all of that? Thank God I’m not her.

    • If she has all these men after her, why is she struggling so much? One would think she could have snared on of them.

      Likely like my FWs schmoopie, she has screw with several married men before him, he was just the one stupid enough to get snared. You would have thought the fact that she was his employee (direct report) he would have seen the warning signs. But no, all his blood was pre occupied; so he evidently couldn’t think.

      As hurt as I was at the time though; I really do owe her a debt of gratitude. I would be living in hell now; had it not been for her.

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