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Your Long, Strange Hopium Trips

Chumpy hearts die hard. Armed with the smallest evidence that a freak still cares, a chump will assign great significance to scraps. HE CALLED (to ask that I pick up his dry-cleaning.) HE RETURNED (to get his kayak). SHE WANTS ME (can I babysit tonight?)

Sigh. It’s what makes us chumps — idiotically ascribing decent intent to the indecent. Believing, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, and a swirling muddle of mixed messages, in there someone our freak still LOVES us.

We call this affliction hopium. Symptoms include pointless rounds of unproductive marriage counseling and unicorn sightings.

Today’s Fun Friday challenge is to pose translations of facts versus hopium.

Fact: I bought a self-help book.

Hopium: The cheater is going to read it.

Betty Ford Clinic-grade Hopium: The cheater is going to read it, highlight significant passages, and we’ll stay up all night in our pajamas drinking tea discussing it!

Did anyone out there chase after unicorns? (I was soooOOOO close! I almost grabbed it’s silky rainbow tail!) Did you have a hopium pusher? Therapist, pastor, frenemy? Today we share our bad spackle trips.



Ask Chump Lady

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  • I was “lucky”…. my cheater walked out and left me and our child the moment I figured it out and confronted him. The OW even texted him “it’s time.” My path was a straight line and I wasn’t given a glimmer of hope. I’m thankful every day that I jumped straight to serving him with divorce (for cause in my state) and we were divorced in a year even with a child.

    • Same story, sort of.

      I found out and he never uttered another word. Walked (ran?) away and never looked back.

      Divorce took 3 years but worth the long, nasty fight because I came out way ahead. Yea me?

      Before I found out about the affair, I bought the book Sexless Marriage. Each partner reads half the book and answers questions leading to an open and honest discussion. Then “exercises” to bring back the spark and more! Did he ever touch it or open it? Nope. I was the one with post-it notes and a highlighter.

      A sexless marriage is enough to make anyone NUTS. Well, anyone who wants sex as part of their marriage. Poor him blamed depression, stress and, maybe, low testosterone levels. But take a test? Oh no!

      At least I can say I tried. Who knew there were cheaters who were faithful to their affair partners?

      Definitely a major bruise to my head, my heart and my self-esteem. I could say that I’m over it and meh about how it made me feel as a person, but that wouldn’t be the truth.

      • Evidently being “faithful” to the AP is pretty common. I mean at least while they are sneaking around behind the wife’s back.

        I think once they are outed, all bets are off and other women are on the table, so to speak. At least that is the way it was with my ex FW. He ceased sex with me about three to four months before Dday. Except for maybe twice. I mean he is only human, and I guess he had to get a couple more samples to make sure. Both times I thought he had seen the light and was coming back. Vomit.

        • In my case, the affair had been going on for years right under my nose.

          That meant about 8 years of almost no sex or anything more than a kiss. I say almost because he would bless me with his body only during the twice a year vacations we took.

          Maybe your husband was a bit more normal than mine?

          • I don’t know for sure how long it went on. First he told me (after Dday) three years, then two; then one. In hindsight, I think I know when it started, but regardless sex between us went on fairly regularly until just a few months before Dday.

            He also went on to cheat on whore wife within a couple years of their marriage. She left him one of the times, but went back (she wasn’t letting go of that paycheck). I suspect he smoothed it over and took it further underground, or she just didn’t care after that. Who knows.

            He was a police officer and they can hide that shit for a long time.

            He also told me he had been “dating” for the last ten years of our 21 year marriage. Again who knows, he in the same conversation a few minutes later, told me he had never loved me and had never been faithful. And again, who knows.

            I just had to assume he never loved me and was always unfaithful. Once those words are spoken, there is no going back from that. Though he tried, and I let him try. Luckily for me he couldn’t even get through a week, it was over and I kicked him out.

        • Mine too. She was doing it right in front of me and I couldn’t stop it. When he was around she would do everything she could to avoid me. Like she didn’t want him to see her with me. The sex never stopped but she was definitely trying to show that she was being faithful To him when we were in public. It was fucking nuts.

        • My XH slept naked for ten years. I notice that he started to sleep with pajama pants the last 1-2 months. I even asked him about it, he got mad at even the observation. It is pretty crazy to realize he was being faithful to his schmoops. The one sleeping with a married man and had a boyfriend…. It makes me kind of smile at myself now because I should have known. They didn’t make it I am sorry to tell you

          • It is crazy to imagine what goes on in their heads that they think denying their wife affection to remain faithful to a whore makes them a good guy.

          • Mine went from sleeping naked to keeping his shorts on. During the long discard he used our little daughter as a bumper in the marital bed. She’d learnt to sleep in her own bed and was very proud of it. He would return from ‘work’ way after midnight and carry her into our bed (told me she’d walked over). Then strip his suit and shirt and sleep in spoon position holding her close to his shorts that always had visible drips from his cheating encounters. Rubbing OW fluids onto my baby’s Disney PJs and leaving blonde hair on her back far too long to be her own. (I put the pieces together only after Dday).

            All for being faithful to a whore? Doesn’t make them a better anything. Not partner, father or human being.

          • That’s the same here for half of a 26 year relationship. A sudden desire for pyjama bottoms. He felt that he was being unfaithful to his ex girlfriend throughout even though she was also married with kids. What a disordered, pathetic man he is.

          • Wait, their TRUE LOVE did not survive the cruel, cruel world?

            I am stunned. Stunned. You have made me need a cup of tea!

      • Forget sex, after my ILYBINILWY speech, XW refused to so much as kiss me. I couldn’t conceive of her really giving up on the marriage just like that, so I found this pretty confusing; everyone knows that physical touch (I’m not even talking sex here, just contact) is an important element in bonding, and I didn’t understand why she would reject such an important tool when we were (I thought) trying to save our marriage.

        Turns out (as everyone here knows) she was having an affair and this is how she was remaining “faithful” to her AP. Not that I knew anything about it at the time, but she had already given up on the marriage and committed herself to her AP. I still think this is a shitty way to treat your spouse, and a cowardly way to end your marriage, not to mention that poaching another woman’s husband is an betrayal of the sisterhood and so on… but I am so glad that I’m not spending coronavirus isolation cooped up with my XW.

        • From dday to his leaving was just 3 weeks. He immediately moved into the guest room which also had its own bathroom. A week or 2 from day (didn’t know at the time he had just secured an apartment in an armpit of a town almost an hour away) we were having a civil conversation when I asked him if he could just pretend for a moment that this wasn’t really happening & could he hug me. He did. I was really falling apart & the feel of hopium – a grovel for a tidbit of affection -helped for 30 seconds. I am tearing up thinking it almost 11 years later. Fucker!

          • It is an awful feeling isn’t it?

            I remember once early on, asking the fw for a last hug. He hung there limply as I hugged him. I so wished right away, that I could have taken that back. He did everything he could in those early days of the discard to humiliate me.

            I really wish I had access to wise counsel from someone like CL. It was before her time, and though my pastor was very kind and loving and he tried to help, I suspect he was clueless too.

            • Ughh I had a few of those ‘oh so sincere’ hugs. Barf. Makes me queezy in an extra sickening way. Disturbing how they can pull that off.

              • After he dumped me, he thought he’d just live in our home until things were sorted. He tried to claim it was over and that OW wasn’t involved in the sudden discard. When I realized he had an actual girlfriend, I told him to get out. I thought this would snap him into reality and he’d beg for our life back.
                He returned a few days later and gave me a big long hug and said he missed me.
                He pretended to leave again to think about his choices – only to tell me for 2nd time a few days that he was choosing officeW not me.

                Then weeks later, I would ask him to come over and talk because I was distraught and beside myself in pain…he listened and called me ‘baby’ over and over – like ‘yes baby, we will sell the house etc’. He had never called me that name before.

                I thought it must be what he called the young OW
                – and I didn’t even say anything- because I wanted him to like me. I took that as his confused state. I’m shocked at myself.

              • It is.

                I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy rejecting him, when he tried down the road to “again” come back. Oh I don’t think he wanted me back, he just needed me destabilized, but I was able to get up and walk out of the preachers office and say; nope.

              • The withholding is maddening. The Limited withheld sex, couldn’t plan, walked ahead or behind me always. And he was ‘cured’ from his porn addiction, one of the many announcements after #19. There’s one commitment ad it’s to his broken dick. Always looking and never satisfied left him broke and the Sadz.

              • Replying to Zip a day later— Me too! Mine started to call me ‘Babe’, which he NEVER called me before!

            • OMG! We hugged once, too, right after our dog died unexpectedly. After the hug, I said, “Can you at least kiss me?”

              Worst kiss ever. I felt like I was being kissed by an old uncle. It was such a weird feeling because this was someone I’d been kissing for 35 years.

              We had sex til the end, although less frequently. I attributed that to his age. We’d always had a good sex life. I think I mistook sex for love. Big mistake. As it turns out, I spun that sex into hopium. “We’re good because we have sex!” Nope.

              • Hi Spinach,

                The last time I saw the DOCTOR, we had sex and I had no idea he was going off to the tundra and new exciting job and schmoopie that night, and that I’d never see him again. That was 50 months ago, but who’s counting?

                I will say he was irritable and critical the last 2 years, and the sex began to suffer in quality (for me), but I mistook the shitty treatment for HIM being depressed, about to retire (not) and or “mid life crisis.”

                UGH on so many levels.

                The hopium – not many actions to go on, that’s for sure. But he’d SAY things that I clung to, and to be brutally honest,

                MY EGO was my hopium.

                I’m smart, well educated, and damn attractive. I’m hilarious (I do stand up comedy so this isn’t just me saying it) and we have 3 children together and a ton of shared history AND I WAS LOYAL & LOVED SEX.

                Him cheating just made NO SENSE to me.

                And that fact kept me hooked for a very long time.


                Our kids are hilarious and solid young people. Yes they have issues but they’re very good people and we are close.

                And the DOCTOR has not seen them in over 4 years either…

                Does not make sense.

                I now accept as one of life’s hardest lessons, which is that there are things you must accept in life- but that you will never understand.

              • Doctor’s1st
                – my H’s cheating and discard made zero sense to me either – I’m wondering if it ever makes sense to anyone? That’s what causes us to think they’ve had a psychotic break or whatever…. rather than they’re a shit on wheels.

              • I don’t think I ever got a passionate kiss from Nitwit. He kissed me on the lips all the time, but with no more passion than one of my parents. I just thought he was shy about expressing his feelings or that it was a cultural thing.

                The weird thing he loved kissing me, holding my hand, and cuddling with me on the couch. Every form of physical contact except sex. I think he enjoyed watching me drop what I was doing to cuddle with him on the couch in the hopes of getting sex, only to reject me once again.

                Even as we were leaving the divorce lawyer’s office he tried to hold my hand and seemed shocked when I pulled away. I don’t understand that mindset at all.

              • Yep, we had regular sex right up until 2 nights before discard/his affair reveal. There certainly wasn’t any intimacy or pillow talk afterwards. I’m creeped out by remembering him saying months prior to the discard and right before sexy time, that unlike some couples sex had never been a problem for us. I think enjoyed sleeping with the howorker and me and I’m sure he lied to her that we haven’t been intimate in months/marriage already over.

          • I still have dreams, fortunately not frequently, where my “old” husband returns to me and he will hug me or kiss me like he did during happier times. It almost feels like he had died at some point or had been lost at sea and then just miraculously came back. It is this unnerving, immense sorrow to wake up from that.

            • I’m so sorry. That does sound heartbreaking. I’ve kinda daydreamed about that for a second, not so much anymore, if I’m honest. But then I remember that I would be just remembering the way I felt when I was ignorant of his bullshit….I can’t be missing him. Because “him” never existed.

            • That is awful. It is similar to when someone you love dies and you have such a great dream about them being with you and just so happy to see and talk to them… then you wake up.

              I’m tearing up just thinking of it. It happens occasionally to me re my late mom.

        • I discovered my ex’s affair by overhearing parts of nightly phone conversations between my ex and his AP. There was one week where I listened before hearing the end of the conversation (where the sex talk and the “I love you” occurred) leading to the confrontation. During this week I was highly suspicious that an affair was occurring. I tested my ex husband by hugging him. He stiffened and did not return the hug. Later I told him I loved him, and did not even get the reflexive “I love you too” back.

          Two days before D Day, my ex suddenly invited me to the theater. I was surprised, since it had been so long since we had been on a date. It turns out, the play was a revival of the 70s play “Company” about 4 couples whose marriages are all falling apart, each for a different reason. I was already suspecting the affair at this point. I asked my husband on the drive home if he thought I had been a good wife. He told me that I was. Two nights later he was full of rage, screaming in my face that he loved her and not me.

          It is not about us at all.

          • I remember when he stopped saying “I love you” It was about three months before Dday, maybe even only two months. Anyway, first time I noticed we were on the way home from building a deck for our river front property, so he and schmoopie could spend weekends there (didn’t know at the time) and I said I love you, he said “I love me too” and laughed as if he were joking. I laughed too; but then after that I noticed he said it again, in response to my “I love you” or avoided the words a lot. He also was avoiding touching me, and would recoil if I came too close.

            I went in to over drive pick me dancing; but to no avail.

            • I had the opposite issue.

              My exH was still saying “I love you” a few weeks after I served him divorce papers. He was pretending like he was having such a hard time with the divorce (e.g. self-pity seeking sympathy) all the while he was planning a trip with his AP to look at houses to move into – of which I had no clue at that time. I said it back one time in desperation, and he sort of sneered as if thinking “I still got her.” I suspect he was doing this to try and soften me up as we were working on our financial settlement, but I do not know. I start down that path sometimes, and I have to remember it is not healthy to try to untangle the skein of fuckedupness (thank you CL). I cannot recommend no contact, no contact, no contact enough to anyone going through this.

              To be honest, I am not sure which of our situations is worse.

              • Oh, they may play out different in the beginning, but most of the situations are pretty much the same. Just a FW using us to their advantage.

                Yep, my horror is long ago; but he blew up his relationship with our son, not too long ago and between that and the lockdown, it caused me to start researching Narcs. I found CL. Sure wish I had her around when my fw’s shit hit the fan.

                Don’t get me wrong, I did pretty well; but still there are a few things I wish I had not done, and wouldn’t have with good counsel.

                For instance when he called me to talk about “working it out” less than two months before he married whore, instead of meeting him and listening to him say, oh I just told you all that stuff to get you to hate me etc, I likely would have said “what’s the problem, sparkle twat lost some glitter?”

                I wasn’t moved by his shit anyway, I just wanted to hear him grovel a little, but it would have been fun to say something like that. Also, he didn’t really want me back, he just wanted to destabilize me. He found out I went out with a friend and wanted to stop that shit. Lol.

              • During the discard, he said forgive me and I responded, I’ll try. Later I told him I love you, he responded, I’ll try.

              • “I suspect he was doing this to try and soften me up as we were working on our financial settlement…”

                Yup! I would agree. The charm offensive can be effective. And the self-pitying probably worked in the past. Just a guess. When they see that charm is no longer having the desired effect, they often switch to rage.

                Whatever reaction he put on, know that it wasn’t about you. It’s about him and his attempt to manipulate for his own benefit.

                But, yeah, you’re best not to untangle the skein. NC all the way!

          • Zip “rather than they’re a shit on wheels.”

            I think that is it. Who wants to think they loved someone who could do these things.

          • My discard was full on rage. Quite scary to witness when you’re accustomed to your husband avoiding most conflict. I knew something was terribly wrong other than the marriage ending. Took me about 2 weeks to stumble across narc & sociopath behavior & ongoing therapy to help heal and learn to steer clear of these types in the future.

            • Our last year (ish) was full of his rage too. I did question it, and he put it off to new promotion pressures. I bought it, I tried to back off and not put more pressure on, which of course was exactly what he needed me to do.

              I let him and schmoopie go at it un interrupted. I never had a chance, as CL says it was rigged from the beginning. Schmoopie knew what she was going for, and she had all the info, I didn’t.

              In the end I feel I did win with my new life, but in real time it sucked.

            • I experienced that too. I thought maybe he was on drugs. He was always so even tempered but he would start fights with me and walk out. One time he went into the bathroom, then come out and said he was going to take boxes we had from Christmas out to the trash. I started picking up boxes to help him and he yelled “CAN”T I DO ANYTHING BY MYSELF” FTHIS and drive off. I later discovered it was to call prostitutes. I bet he never said that to any of those hoes, no just to his wife of 30 years.

              • It is just so heartbreaking. I don’t know what happens to these guys/gals.

                I know they are likely full of rage at themselves, and they need somewhere to let it loose, but dang.

              • A couple times after these pointless rages, my ex fw would come back hours later and apologize (ish). It was like he was fighting with himself in his head. I even thought that at the time, though of course I didn’t know why, as he always put it off to “work pressure”.

        • I got something similar after the ilybnilwy speech. Although, he was still pretending that he would be willing to try couples therapy (just not any days and times that I found), he just wasn’t sure if we worked as a couple. I tried hugging him and he just stiffened up. Like I was some hideous beast. I asked if we could kiss or do anything else physical and he said he thought that would be confusing and weird.

      • Yes, last two years no sex. Excuses, similar. Depression and anti-depressants causing low sex drive. Was being faithful to other woman!!!!

      • I lived through that as well, exact same false excuses. I bought it, over and over again.
        Only the deranged are aiming to ruin their relationship with a good-hearted partner. Very deranged.
        In more hindsight, I got enough STDs from the very seldom sex, and in that way it was more a “blessing… in disguise” ????
        But the harm, the abuse from that is horrible. I am so sorry that person that you loved and trusted crushed your spirit so much.
        Remember that it doesn’t say anything about you, it’s all his craziness.
        Release and move on living your best life!!! ????????????

      • Similar situation.

        The narrative that a chump probably didn’t put out enough, and somehow deserved it when the offending partner was forced to look elsewhere to get needs met, is so prevalent … when in reality, the chump is the one that’s rarely, if ever satisfied and trapped in their loneliness. .

        • ????

          Yep, the ex went on to cheat on schmoopie, per my daughter in law. So evidently she didn’t quite hit the spot either. At least not after marriage.

    • I know exactly I too was chomped as soon as I figured it out but in my case the snake decided I wasn’t seeing my kids once I served him divorce papers he was triangulating me in our home! I took that anger right after Christmas got a lawyer and served him, thank God I didn’t go into the Hopiim pipe!

    • There was no hopium or wreckonciliation in my story, his mind was made up and while that’s harsh I see it now for the godsend that it was. Because I would have chumped-to-the-max toking so hard on the hopium pipe, spackling and throwing energy into something that didn’t deserve it. Hit me like a stone – but I can so it it was the better outcome.

      • It really is better that way.

        And honestly for most of us (hand up) it isn’t about him giving us hope for the marriage really, it is just that for their own purposes the time is not right for the final discard.

        In my case I think he was still under the illusion that his adultery was a secret at the police dept. Some didn’t know, but come on, it is a PD. Do we honestly think some of those patrolmen didn’t see his care parked at the whores trailer in the middle of the night, please they had pictures I bet. Someone dropped a dime right after the PD Christmas party, and he then went into full discard mode.

        City counsel wanted him fired, because just a week or so earlier he had gone to the Town Hall meeting and petitioned for a raise for the animal control officer, who he was fucking. Evidently they granted it, and they had no idea what was going on.

        That is part of why I think the “affair fog” is real, not that it excuses them, but that they really think they are pulling it off with everyone, just because they have a clueless spouse.

        There is a lot more, but point is, he was using me for his timeline, what I felt, or what happened to me had no bearing on covering his own ass.

      • I remember thinking – right after I got the “I dont love you and never did” speech …”If this is going to happen, I hope it is quick”.

        It was NOT quick…he went back and forth of who he was picking for a while then set up house somewhere else and lied about it then moved home and continued to be an ass…all tolled…from Dday to the end (a certain end with his death) was 7 years.

  • I have mainlined hopium more than once. Forget smoking it; I had an IV line in sometimes.

    I wish I could blame someone or something, but the fact is that I thought I was special – that WE were special. I believed in happy ever after; that if I just kept trying, it would work.

    I’d always been able to get things done, solve problems, persuade people, and finish what I started.

    These are all terrific qualities in an employee, but they don’t help you if you persist in choosing emotionally unavailable cheaters to fall madly in love with.

    THAT was where my rehab had to start:

    Why was my picker so broken?
    Why did pain feel like love, and vice versa?
    Why did I expect to have to pick-me dance, even in a commitment?
    Why did I never feel secure, or good enough, no matter who I was with?
    Why did all of this feel so comfortable, and natural, and inevitable?
    Why did I obsess about, and make my life revolve around, The Great I Am, every single time?

    Put down the needle. Focus on your own shit. It really pays off.

    Untangling the skein is a way of avoiding some awful truths, but the truth is very liberating.

    • Same thing happened to me after the last cheater I dealt with (21 years – 3 relationships and all ended the same). I did the hard work on myself and it’s finally paid off????

    • LolaGranola: I could have written your comment. ????

      My parents were alcoholic narcissistic cheaters who emotionally, physically abused and then abandoned me literally. I was homeless at 16. I was ignorant and thus a target for these types. Two cheater husbands: one 4 years when I was 18. Second 25 years.

      At 53 I’m recovering. CL has been instrumental in my self awareness. Self sufficiency and financial independence helps. I’m in a significant-other relationship but I don’t take ANY shit now.

    • Hi Lola:

      I just re-read what you wrote multiple times. I’m like you were: I think anything is fixable if I just work hard enough. The downside of the Puritan work ethic.

      Trying to wean myself from Hopium onto Nopium. That is when I get the urge to smoke a giant bowl of Hopium, and I observe that in myself and say “Nope.” The fumes still drift temptingly through the air, though. But it is a tiny baby step in the right direction.

      The strongest and worst Hopium for me is thinking about who he pretended to be. That man I loved and respected with my whole heart, and I still miss him tremendously. I know he is not that guy. Hopium is thinking that because he pretended to be so honorable and have integrity, that he wants to embody those qualities and might one day. Nopium is knowing that he doesn’t want to be those things, he just wants the benefits of pretending to be those things.

      My rational mind knew everything perfectly on Dday. But my heart is totally Chumpy and is taking some time to catch up.

      • “Nopium is knowing that he doesn’t want to be those things, he just wants the benefits of pretending to be those things. ”

        Thank you for that, it’s perfect for me. My STBX is really messing with my head, trying to generate the hopium to convince me, in his words “there is still hope,” even though I’ve already filed, even though he’s been having an affair for 7/10 years of marriage, even though there were more than just her, etc etc.. Barbed wire monkey. And yet he has HOPE he says. Hope that he can manipulate me back into believing that he is all the things he really never was. I’ve just taken the bold step of blocking him, finally.

        • Glad you finally blocked him. It’s okay. It took me WAY too long to stop the hopium. You’ll be okay. In fact, you’ll be better than ever before he came into your life.

      • These comments are so true and amazing. My abuse counselor at women’s refuge calls this my fantasy side. When I start going down the path of talking about how wonderful my husband was, and why would he leave me and our lovely daughter? We were such a close and fun family, everyone thought we were the power couple, blah, blah, blah….My therapists just calmly asks me, “What part of you is believing this?” And then I have to admit it’s the fantasy part of me (the hopium) that thought we were an awesome couple and family. Then she says, “Where is the warrior? Bring her out now. Wake up the sleeping beauty who is dreaming! The warrior is here to show her the truth. Don’t take the red pill! Don’t go down the rabbit hole.” She gently guides me out of the hopium den and into the cold, hard reality that he didn’t really love me and that he created a fake world for me to live in while he was out fucking other women and being master Dom around town in S&M clubs. Hope dies hard Chumps. Our hearts are stronger than our heads sometimes.

        • Maybe there is a specific moment of clarity you can focus on whenever you are tempted by the hopium. For me that moment came after DDay, after agreeing to an open marriage (really just him screwing around while I sobbed and wondered if I was ever going to have sex with my own husband again), after filing for divorce but before I moved out, when he asked if I would mind vacating our condo (paid for with MY salary) so he and the OW could use our marital bed, then implied I was a friendless loser because I said no. To say the scales fell from my eyes in that moment is an understatement. I felt as if a bucket of ice water had been poured over me. I realized that this man did not love me, had never loved me, and would never love me. Then I felt as if my head would explode and just started yelling, “NO!” at him until he got it through his thick head that I was still his legal wife and was going nowhere.

          Moments like that are like ripping off a Bandaid all at once. It hurts like a mfer, but it is so much better than prolonging the pain.

          • I’m glad you got the chance to yell, NO! I should have done that. Well, my moment should be when he said, “How it’s going to work is that I’m going to go to my girlfriend’s house 3 maybe 4 days a week to be with her, and then I’ll come home and mow the lawn and do the taxes and hang out with the family for a bit then go back to her house.” This was jaw droppingly fucking ridiculous, yet horrendously painful to hear that he didn’t give a shit about me and thought I was only good enough to sit home and wait for his lawn care and tax services (which, by the way, he did neither well nor on time). I was so hurt I nearly went into a coma. It’s kinda funny when you read about it in hindsight, and most of my friends laughed their asses off. So, in a sense I suppose that was my ripping the band-aid moment, but for some reason I still miss the part of him that I thought was real and that loved me – I’ve still had a lot of that confusion. It’s slowly going away though, but hopium is a hard habit to break.

      • I think my ex does want to be an honourable person. I think he may even think he is one. He told me in the early days that I should move on because he was a ‘bastard.’ I was still on hopium and still pick me fidgeting and asked him if he really thought he was a bastard because I didn’t think he was. I was still in schock and denial.
        He answered ‘no, I don’t think I am.’
        I don’t think they see themselves accurately – and why should they? As CL points out, they get a pass and society is intellectually lazy where cheaters are concerned.

      • Wow, Principled Life, what you said really explains my worst hopium incidents:
        “Hopium is thinking that because he pretended to be so honorable and have integrity, that he wants to embody those qualities and might one day. Nopium is knowing that he doesn’t want to be those things, he just wants the benefits of pretending to be those things.”
        My cheater pretended to be so considerate, gentle, caring, highly-principled–and I truly loved that person he pretended to be, and expected to spend the rest of my life with him happily. It took me months after D-Day to fully comprehend that the person I loved had never existed. After D-Day, Hopium led me to ask him all kinds of questions about his childhood and youth. I was trying to prove to myself that the core of him was still the good man I loved, maybe just temporarily led astray by the temptations and stresses of living and working far from family and loved ones. But finally having the context of the D-Day information to clear away the haze of spackle and hopium, I was finally able to ask the right questions about his early years and make sense of the answers. And I kept on hearing more and more clues that made me realize the rot went very far back, long before he left his family of origin. I started to realize that he had always had entitled attitudes about women, and was always a user, was always Machiavellian, and had harbored a wish for revenge towards women at least from his teens onward, and had always felt justified about all of this. He was never the soulful, enlightened person of his elaborate facade.

        In order to kill Hopium and to kill the feelings of longing and love, I used de-conditioning techniques. I had a folder listing all the bad things he had done, all the harm he had caused, all the lies he had told that I knew about; printouts of emails that contained the worst of his horrible whoppers along with the evidence of what he was really doing with Schmoopie during those times; I also wrote down all the little and big things about him that I had found irritating but had tolerated because of love. Whenever I would start to long to be close to him again, I’d read through the file, trying to replace associations of love for him with feelings of scorn and disgust instead. It actually works pretty well.

          • Thank you! I hope it will be useful! I think cheaters create an addictive hook into your guts on purpose, using a combination of love-bombing and emotional withholding over time. So, I thought treating it like a physical addiction and using Skinnerian de-conditioning techniques might speed up my recovery, and it really helped. It is disorienting, though, to realize that I was so passionate about a ghost, a mental construct, a person that didn’t really exist. I imagine that’s how people that have escaped from cults feel about the cult leaders.

      • I miss The Lie too.

        Those guys were great on paper.

        Even the very worst ones I chose had moments of greatness.

        They sometimes managed to be decent for longish stretches.

        Chumps are good at living on crumbs – bits of a relationship that are stretched over long arid patches to make up a whole.

        I had to learn to stop being afraid of being single, and learn to reframe my ideas about marriage and relationships.

        THAT was hopium naltrexone – the thing you take which stops the hopium high of fantasy and daydreaming.

    • Lola Granola,

      Thank you for your comment. I copy/pasted your questions in a word doc so that I can contemplate my answers. I need to do this!!! Rehab indeed! Very helpful!!!


  • I was married to my STBXH for 24 years. We had counseling in 2002, counseling in 2009 for a 3-year affair with his ex-wife, I left him in 2012, 2015 and this year when it happened I refused to smoke the Hopium.

    He sent me an email with a video from Pink entitled can we try to love again. I responded No.

    I think that I have replaced my Hopium with a good dose of Meh.

    • I know what Pink song you’re talking about. It’s called Just Give Me A Reason.

      And your ex clearly does NOT know what that song is about XD It’s two people who have been struggling in their relationship, but each person still loves the other and they both want to fix the relationship.

      It’s not about a cheater coming back to their chump and reconciling lol

  • After D Day and Rev. Cheaterpants’ declaration that he wanted a divorce (and also that he wanted to “end well,” whatever the hell that means), I paid $1200 for a Divorce Busters coach.

    I could mention hundreds of hopium-induced decisions/observations, but I will share just one. My DB coach told me that it was as if my husband’s mind had been taken over an alien, and that there were still glimmers of hope that he would “come back.” One indication? If he started using pet names/nicknames instead of my regular name.

    I was happy to report back to DB coach that Rev. Cheaterpants had called me “G,” his pet name for me. Of course it meant nothing, but I paid someone big bucks to tell me it was something.

    The things we tell ourselves– and pay others to tell us–when we are sad and desperate and afraid.

    • I too paid a DB Coach. Bought many books, Marriage Bootcamp on my own (wife refused). This was all while I thought she was going thru a midlife crisis or having medical issues (never in a million years did I think she was cheating on me).

      To try to save my 2 decades+ marriage, I offered to spend over $10K to fly across the country to see the DB creator herself for an intensive 2 day session with my STBXW.

      THANK GOD my STBXW said no!

      I spent that $$$ on a coach (not therapist) who I believe literally saved my life. It was the best $$$ I have ever spent.

      I wish I had found CL sooner but after my coaching (and discovery of the truth), I flushed my stash of Hopium down the shitter!

    • “end well,” = I need you to treat me like an old friend, so I can walk around and not feel like the huge piece of shit that I am. Also, so they can get most of the assets in the settlement. After all you are good friends and he never treated you like yesterdays trash.

      Just another way to say “I hope we can be friends”

      • Did any of you do “Fireproof “. The book came out about the same time as my D-day. It was suggested to me by several.

        It’s just one long pick me dance.

        • “Fireproof” was the worst!
          That scene where the husband beats up his computer to end his porn addiction really irritates me. Typical of the Evangelical RIC.

    • It’s unethical to counsel a couple when there’s abuse (which cheating is). So of course these therapists suck.

      By the by, constant use of nicknames is listed somewhere as a serial cheater red flag. It’s so they don’t slip up and call a shmoopie by the spouse’s name or vice-versa.

  • Well, the neighbor caught him spying on me and my daughter through the windows after dark. When confronted he said he had done it before, was lonely and wondering how we were. (Weird. He left because he said he was lonely.)

    I discovered photos of us that he had blown up in the loft area of our business where he had been living. (Well, one of the places he had been living. The other place was a secret apartment with the Craigslist ‘Sole Mate’ he was paying for with money stolen out of our business).

    I noticed at one point that my feet were not following him. That my concerns were for JUSTICE, not reconciliation. Justice is not possible as it means they would be tied to a stake, set on fire, the fire would not go out and they would not die.

    My head was like trying to herd cats and greased pigs during a Cat 5 hurricane.

    But my FEET. My feet did not follow him and were telling me the truth. My own crummy sex life with him, which I realized after DDay, was another symptom of my body telling me the truth about him.

    I was smoking hopium the entire relationship. I had a MIRAGE, not a MARRIAGE. And like other drugs, when I got sober I had to endure withdrawal symptoms.

    BTW….SOBER stands for


    A way better choice than smoking hopium.

  • The FW went to a sex addiction treatment program for a week just after GTFO day. I inhaled hoping until he returned to let me know that the guys in the program told him he was a good guy. His take away was that the other men in the program were never going to recover from their various issues, because they were so messed up. I had suggested the program because the only excuse he had for his problem was that he tried to quit but he couldn’t ( stop fucking prostitutes, for 20 years). Hopium died, and the long arduous road to recovery started. Hopium is the drug that never satisfies and has to be used constantly or eliminated from your life.

    • Eeeek! He didn’t even see that he was basing his assessment of his own goodness on what a bunch of hopeless perverts said…if they even said that. I will never understand how their minds work and how they seem to have zero self-awareness.

    • “I inhaled hoping until he returned to let me know that the guys in the program told him he was a good guy. His take away was that the other men in the program were never going to recover from their various issues, because they were so messed up.”

      OMG my chronically wife-abusing brother went on a program when his wife fled, and emerged and told me exactly the same thing.

      Almost word for word.

      There are none so blind.

  • Ahh, there are so many. Here are two instances from the end of our relationship:

    Me (softly pleading): “I want more intimacy.”
    Him (cold as ice): “I know” (while walking away)

    Hopium reaction:
    He’s going through a tough time because he just retired. Also, he’s getting old. Maybe this is what happens in long-term (35-year) marriages.

    A month after he retired, he said he had to go in for a work meeting.
    Me (incredulous): What? You’re retired.
    Him (angrily): It doesn’t mean I don’t still care about my patients and want to be involved.

    Hopium reaction:
    I guess that makes sense.

    It’s so obvious now why he withheld intimacy and pretended to go to work. That go-to-work excuse post-retirement reveals that, in the discard phase, he wasn’t even bothering to come up with good excuses. He knew I’d believe anything, I guess. Queen of Spackle. It was as if I was in a trance.

    But when he confessed, I left immediately. No pick-me dance. Well, that’s not 100% true. I did some lame things that I regret, co-dependent shit like leaving chocolate he likes in the house when I said he could come to clean things out. I once made cookies and left a note, urging him to take however many he wanted as if the man wasn’t practiced in taking whatever he wanted. *sigh* Implied in my actions was this silent scream: “You’ll miss out on these cookies! Does she make cookies for you? Are they this good? I know that you like lots of chocolate chips!!! That must count for something. Don’t leave me!” Pathetic.

    I behaved this way exactly a year ago. What a difference a year makes. Thanks, CL and CN!!

    • I let my ex FW come back home when he lied and said he changed his mind about leaving and loved me. He stayed a week, Sex a couple times in the first part of the week. It was awful by the way for me. I guess he enjoyed it. I was stunned at how turned off I was. My body was trying to warn me.

      He treated me worse and worse each day, recoiled if I got near him etc. I figured out by the end of the week, he only came back to gain access to the car, so he could go politicking after work hours.

      He wouldn’t admit it, just said I tried but can’t get the feelings back. God I hated myself at that moment. I threw him out; and that was the last shot he got at me, though he tried at least two more times that I remember.

      • Our bodies know before our minds do. I kept wondering why sex was so infrequent and why I wasn’t enjoying it on the rare occasions when he deigned to sleep with me. Turns out the guy making it all about his own needs is a turnoff for me.

        My ex is still young and good-looking but I now feel nothing but repulsion towards him. I see him as golden butter turned rancid, except that the butter was once good and he never was. He is the human embodiment of an oil slick. You can see a beautiful rainbow of colors in an oil spill if you look closely enough but it is still a threat to passing motorists and ruins its environment.

    • Oh, we’ve all done some cringe-worthy things. Your offenses are pretty minor – I forgive you!

      I decided that, through my wife refused to so much as kiss me, we needed some physical contact to save our marriage. So I asked to schedule time when we would just lie together on the bed with our arms around each other (no kissing! no other form of touch!) and talk. Because, you know, I thought we were having normal “not enough bonding and communication because we have two jobs, three kids, and just spent 6 months apart during a 1000-mile move” problem. Now I know that while I was pleading for her to let me put my arms around her, she and AP were figuring out how he would ditch his 20-year wife and kids and lining up housing for after they left their families. Of all the stupid things I did, this is the one that is the most pitiful.

      • I think it is super touching that you made such an effort to work on your intimacy. That says nothing bad about you, only what a horrible person your x is.

      • IG– it’s cringy to you because it was wasted on “it.” But as a gesture and expression of your overall commitment and intent, it’s beautiful. At least the legions of non-cheats see it as beautiful, and who really cares what cheaters snd apologists perceive.

        The scene when Richard Gere gets into the tub in that cheesy film Unfaithful was the only really truthful moment in it (and so allowed really good acting in that moment), brought the whole campy thing up a notch and puts viewers squarely on the character’s side.

      • IG
        That’s not pitiful. I let him sleep in our bed and asked him to hold me – after the truth re the discard was finally was revealed – I sobbed into the arms of a cold abandoning rock.

        • Ditto. I am so sorry you were so hurt. I was too. We’re hurt, we feel. There’s no shame in being true. It’s ok you cried in front of him. It’s all behind you. ????

          • Hugs and thanks. Legally separated but still have to sign Dpapers- maybe over the holidays (his choice to pick this time of course) so the pain resurfaces and feels like a slow burn sometimes.

            • I hate that it is dragging out for you. I think once it is final, it will help a lot. Won’t be instantaneous, but will help a lot. How long have you been legally separated?

              I think I will always struggle from time to time with the disconnect between who I thought he was, and who he really was. Didn’t stop me from having a great life, and still going; but it does scar one.

              • Hi Susie,
                We have to wait 1 yr where we live. Dday was last yrs Xmas present, this yr it’s finalizing Divorce.
                ‘ I think I will always struggle from time to time with the disconnect between who I thought he was, and who he really was.’
                I find that healthy – you’re putting it on him where it belongs.

                Mine was Mr Wonderful until the affair was exposed-then the sudden discard where I was told I’m all horrible – and then back to kind and helpful during my hurt phase -until my anger surfaced then he went back to discard attitude
                because of years of kindness and the fact that I’m uber sensitive by nature- it’s been hard to see him as a fuckwit and move on.
                It’s still hard to accept that this Happened!!!! We were NC but then the blunt request to finalize D set me back emotionally big time. I can only assume he wants to marry OW as soon as he can.
                If anyone has a link to an amazing therapist who does zoom calls I would appreciate it. I’m yet to find a great one.

            • Hi Zip:

              Your post asking for a therapist referral didn’t seem to have a reply button, so I am responding here. I did EMDR therapy with Tania Rochelle and really liked her and got a lot out of it. Was in person but I know she does Zoom therapy for betrayed spouses as well. A Chump herself so she gets it., works with Counseling Services of Atlanta 678-444-4505. Good luck to you whomever you work with!

      • I did the EXACT same thing. I jumped through all these hoops to try setting aside time for just the two of us, but it often just ended up being me because he had to “work late.”

        FFS, I had a young toddler that was still nursing. I felt kind of touched out; we had two young kids who were horrible sleepers. I just thought we were going through a rough patch, not that he was all up in his coworker’s rough patch.

        To repeat what others have already said, it is incredibly sweet and caring that you did that.

        • Oh Limbo Chumpian,

          I can’t imagine how hard this must be with young kids, one so young that you’re still nursing!! It’s totally understandable that you chalked up whatever marital issues you had to a typical rough patch. When you have really little kids, you’re especially vulnerable. He’s an ass for pursuing the coworker’s “rough patch.” What a complete ass!

          I hope you and those kiddos are doing ok.

          • Thanks. Given the ages of the kids, a lot of friends and family were super shocked that he wanted a divorce even absent the knowledge of the affair. Honestly I would think he was trash just for wanting a divorce given the age of the kids even if he had done everything honestly. Absent compelling reasons, I just don’t believe couples should divorce when kids are young just because they don’t feel passionate towards one another (that’s what he told me. He was concerned about having a passionless marriage) because having babies is super taxing on a marriage but you’d hope your spouse would recognize that it is normal and temporary. When he finally moved out of the house (we were in limbo for a while hence the screen name) the youngest was still in diapers and STBX was complaining how he didn’t even have a place to change the kiddo at the new place. I thought to myself “that doesn’t give you pause about how fucking crazy you are?”

            The kids are doing ok. The youngest cries for me at naps and bedtime and the oldest tells me he likes that I don’t scream at him when it’s my week. I wish I could take them more but it’s hard fighting 50/50 and the FW wants to look like a good dad.

        • Dang Zip; I know it is rough. My divorce took a year. Six months was what I asked for with him paying the freight, but then he started stalling. But, I was ok with it as it just helped me save more money.

          You won’t be over it for some time, if ever; but before long you will be doing better. It also won’t stop you from having a good life. I don’t subscribe to the notion that you need to be completely healed before you go out and start living your life, even dating if that is what you want. Obviously with caution.

          I don’t think many folks who truly loved ever totally forget. We just learn to manage it and life; just as with any other major traumas.

          I wish I knew of counselors. I think I would have benefitted from counseling, assuming they were not victim blamers. But, back then I had no money for that. I did go to a group counseling for a few weeks, and it helped; but it was more focused on letting go, rather than processing the long trauma I had endured.

          My ex (about 6 months into the legal separation) did call our preacher to see if I would go with him for counseling. Preacher called and I agreed to come and talk (though I was hesitant). I got there and the first thing the bastard did was to start naming my faults. Preacher sat there for a minute and just stared at him like he was looking at an alien. Then he shut him up and, then I looked at the preacher and said “thank you for your help, but we are done here.

          I think the preacher was expecting some remorse and maybe even a little asking for a second chance. What my ex really wanted was to destabilize me, and likely to have me fight schmoopie for him, of course I would lose; because he was still screwing her; but he waaayyyyy over valued himself.

          • Hi, I’m pretty new to this site but I’ve noticed that so much of what everyone has said resonates with me. Particularly you, Susie Lee. My ex (as of last week) is also a police officer. We live in a small community where he is in an elected position.

            He began cheating on me over 3 years ago. The first Dday was about six months into the affair. I heard about it because the skank was telling everyone he was going to leave his wife, and one of my friends told me about the rumors. He was going on lunch dates and making out with her in his patrol vehicle.

            Long story short, I mainlined Hopium for 2 full years, even catching them together once in his vehicle. I tried everything during that time to be the perfect wife, and doing the pick me dance. Pretty sure the skank was doing the same, although no sympathy for her because she chose this situation. I grasped at every straw and tiny piece of hope he threw my way. Realizing now he just kept me around for wife appliance duties and especially for public image. Kids are grown and in college.

            I knew we were in a rough patch, but chalked it up to the stresses of his job, our middle age, and kids growing up. Never thought he’d be sniffing around for another woman.

            Now that I’ve found out about this long term affair, I’m questioning our whole 22 years together. Was every flirtation he threw in my face an affair? Was he screwing the teenage girls who did “educational ride alongs”?

            I left 7 months ago and filed. He refused to leave the house, but I’m happy to report that I’m purchasing my own home, and got a fair settlement. And I dont miss his mind games and moodiness one bit (although i do miss who i thought he was, and the home where i raised my kids). So glad i found this group.

            • Oh wow our situations are similar. Mine was many years ago. My ex FW, had not been in my mind for years; then not long ago just before lockdown he and schmoopie blew up his relationship with our son. It was a mess.

              So anyway it kind of cause a relapse of sorts, only not because of our situation so much, but because I just couldn’t believe the idiot would do what he did to our son and sons wife.

              So I started researching narcissist’s and found CL. Dang, I wish I had CL when I was in the midst of it. I learned so much not only on CL but other sites. I decided to stay a while, just to help others if I can, and because everyone here is so funny and inspiring.

              I was lucky in that I began to see my ex for the rat he was fairly quickly in the mess. Still took a while, but I knew eventually schmoopie did me a favor. She got the turd and I eventually met a very good man, who himself was discarded after a long marriage. His was 29 years, mine was 22, with the last year being legally separated. After we took several years to get to know each other we married; and are going strong.

              Yes there are many things I will never know that went on, at a point I just accepted it and moved on. He lied so many times, who knows.

              I did figure out though that I had kept anger at myself buried. Anger that I was such a fool, and was duped so easily. It was undeserved anger, but it was there. I finally told my brother and my best friend of the treatment I had endured in our last year, that helped me so much.

              My husband already knew a lot of it, but I think I needed to tell someone else, and I did.

              I would advise anyone, don’t hold it in; find a trusted person or even a few and let it spill. I didn’t tell because I was ashamed, I didn’t realize the treatment I got was so common with cheaters as to be cliché. There was no where then to find that out, except maybe in counseling; and I couldn’t afford that.

    • p.s. Just remembered that he wrote a note back to me re the hopium cookies I’d left for him. It read: “You’re making this really hard.”

      Oh FFS!!!???? He must have been in kibble heaven.

      Thank god I put down the pipe. NC all the way!

          • Wasband would definitely crush all of them. At once. With just one arm or leg.

            He was telling me he’d been loosing weight. “It’s amazing what cutting out simple sugars can do.” And then takes a big swig of his 20 oz Coca Cola.

            They lie like a twelve year old trying to impress his friends.
            I had a friend like this while growing up. Constant bragging that was never true and we all knew it. It just made her look bad. It was cringeworthy.

        • Yeah. I got that too—like he was choosing between door number one or door number two. He said it was such a tough choice and that he really didn’t know until the last day that she would get the rose. But I should feel lucky, I guess, because I’d made it to the finals!!

          Bastard. And when I told him to put himself in my shoes, to imagine how he’d feel if I’d done what he done, he couldn’t. The man can’t empathize.

          Also, he needs someone to blame, onto whom he can unload all his crappy feelings. I was that person, but now that I’m a ghost, I would guess I don’t satisfy his need as much. It’s a good bet that the OW is the current repository of his shitty feelings. Booby prize.

          • Spinach, I asked mine how he’d feel as well if I’d done this to him and he said he couldn’t imagine what I was going through.
            Maybe he really couldn’t imagine. Wow!

            • Many of them can’t imagine, because they really don’t think anyone would do it to them, as they are all powerful. And by the time of the discard they have devalued us and turned us into non humans; so if they ever did care, they don’t anymore.

              • I agree that they don’t care anymore – that takes a while to sink in- whole other world going on with our replacement and new loyalties.
                However mine had been chumped and left before!!!!!
                Maybe it normalizes it for some people.

          • Last year a guy I was dating told me he couldn’t choose between me and this other woman.

            Instead of pick me dancing, I immediately said “Let me make that real easy for you- pick her because I just took myself out of the running!”

            CL and this blog gave me the strength to say this. It wasn’t a difficult decision.

    • Same…
      Although when he confessed, I declared right away that it was over (and what a shit show of misery it had been…). I also was doing all the codependent things. Working on not doing that anymore. It took a while to block and accept the cold, hard truths…

  • Fact
    exH: “I’ve thought a lot about what I want. What we had was a teenage romance that is dead. I want an adult relationship.”
    me: *gasp* and *sob*
    exH: “I mean, we have to see what our relationship evolves into.”

    Hopium: If I just change, then my marriage will be fine.

    After ruminating about his comments for weeks, it finally dawned on me. If his idea of an “adult relationship” was lying, manipulating, and deceiving others while sleeping with the OW in our marital bed and refusing to take any responsibility for his selfish actions while smearing my name to try and keep his “image” – uh, no thanks. I acted like my own definition of being an adult by delivering consequences, serving him with divorce papers, going no contact, pushing the settlement forward even after his multiple attempts to delay, and getting the hell out of that dysfunctional toxic marriage.

    • Talk about projection mixed with gaslighting. Ugh. He doesn’t want an adult relationship; he wants those teenage tingles. And he wants you to think that you’re the one who hasn’t evolved. Total manipulative mindfuck!

      Glad you’re free!! You are mighty! ????

      • Thank you, Spinach! Feeling mightier each and every day.

        Your comment made me think back to one part of the conversation I had with him on DDay. We were discussing his AP, and he whined “I LIKE THE WAY SHE MAKES ME FEEL!” while seemingly stamping his foot at the same time. Talk about a toddler throwing a tantrum! Yep, he was definitely liking the teenage tingles.

        The projection and gaslighting were definitely strong with that one too. And to think, I had no idea what psychological projection and gaslighting even were until after DDay! I was in such a mindfuck for a good while until my very kind therapist explained these concepts. Oh, my, talk about how that accelerated my healing. There was a post above that mentioned it is not about us. It truly isn’t!

    • Soon
      The way they twist everything to suit them. I wish the UBT could have been there for all of us while we listened vulnerably while holding on for dear life to all their self-serving BS.

      • Yep. It will always hurt for folks going through it, but dang I envy those who have access to CL and DM, and a few other sites.

      • I forgot to add that after Dday, he was a bastard and went out each night the week between Christmas and New Years and stayed with the whore. He would come home the next am and I would have to sit there watching him walk in. He would stare coldly at me. Then the day after New Years day, I came home from work and he had moved a few thing out of the house, never told me. He came home that night, and I said what are you doing? He said he needed space, that he thought it was going to work out, but he just needed to get his head on straight.

        So the next two days he moved all his shit out. He came back a week or so later, and finally admitted he had been “dating” this girl and they were in love and wanted to get married. This “girl” was a fat assed 35 year old woman with two teenagers and a 10 year old. She hadn’t seen girl in many moons. That just shows how blind they are.

        Anyway that night is when he told me all the I never loved you shit, even tried to tell me about their “first time” in the squad car. Sadistic bastard.

        Totally gave me hopium during his move out, to get the hell out before I threw a fit.

        Funny thing is, I never threw a fit. I pretty much went in to shock and stayed there for some time. I think maybe that was a good thing.

  • My hopium was wrapped up in minimizing the cheating itself. I went down the rabbit hole of “well… if everything else is “great”… does it matter sooooo much if he cheats from time to time”… the UBT translation of that is “KNOW YOUR WORTH”…. I came to realize that it was a deal breaker for me. That if there wasn’t true remorse and STD tests and full transparency and therapy, there was nothing there to work with or repair. Still it took him discarding me and my finding CL and CN to see the hopium pipe I was toking and put it down and gain a life. It took me two years from discard to get my brain rewired.

    • Yep, Meh. I wrestled with whether to “open our marriage” for a couple of weeks before realizing that was just not going to work for me. (My body’s trauma response tipped me off.) Of course, my STBX broached the topic of “opening the marriage” a few days before admitting that she had already made that move unilaterally, without telling me. Within a week or so, though, I realized that the one scenario I might have been willing to consider in advance – STBX having one-night stands with very remote acquaintances when traveling for work, but no strings attached – was exactly what STBX had already given herself permission to do. And not surprisingly, she had been unable to stop communicating with the stranger she picked up in a bar, and it ended up becoming a full-blown long-distance affair, with the hours of sexting and making plans to meet as often as they could. So, the real problem wasn’t that STBX wasn’t getting enough sex or whatever. The problem was that she needed a constant supply of kibbles from me and others, and was happy to use other people to get what she wanted. So – then the only question was, could STBX see that this was the case, and change her ways? I gave that question about 15 months, and I bet CN can guess the answer. I moved out in March – would be much closer to meh by now if I didn’t have to continue negotiating with STBX over parenting issues during Covid! All best to you, Meh – I can see it coming, too!

    • Hopium -2017, DDay# (lost count)_I spackled and even had sex with him on DDay (In my mind, he was a good person who was really not making good decisions, I loved Mr. Sparkles, sex was my pick-me dance. I know: he cheated, I rewarded him with more sex. Also in my mind, “I will show him just what he is in danger of losing hehehe!”) I asked him to get an HIV test ( not even the full STD battery of tests). Heaven knows why I would even trust a liar extraordinaire to actually do the test and bring the results. Well, he did bring negative results and hopium increased. We moved to a new country together. I did not trust him, but still stoked the pipe.
      Nopium- 2020, DDay# (lost count years back)_ I stopped having sex with him, hauled myself to the doctor’s, and got a full range of STD tests. Was grateful the tests were all negative and decided right then to leave to preserve my health and sanity. Filed for divorce and sobering up. Everything he does disgusts me now. Looking forward to meh

  • I’m getting better, but after 8 months no contact I am preoccupied by this gem.

    My STBX just told his lawyer (I filed) that he was too confused to go through boxes in the back of his closet. The only request I made – after doing EVERYTHING else – was that he check to make sure I hadn’t left personal financial papers. His sad sausage routine was so convincing, his (family friend) lawyer offered to go to the house to help him. This is a FW who managed to hide a multi-year affair.

    • I put all of the crap that was his in boxes, took it to his house, and put it in the back of his truck. He called me later when he was driving down the highway seeing his crap fly out the back. He was intimidating (right after DDay), but I held it together and told him that I gave him his chance to get his stuff. He didn’t. I didn’t want it in my house anymore. He said, “I’ll take you to court!” I said, “Okay” and hung up. He never did. He was so full of crap but I was so intimidated back them that I nearly peed myself with fear. I cannot believe how kowtowed I was, but certainly not anymore. And my dick-ex also had a multi-year affair.

    • You recognized this sad sausage self-pity routine for what it was – a ploy for kibbles and to potentially delay the process until his sad feelings could be processed. **eye roll** Progress, Lemonhead! Good for you!

  • I bought books for us to read about recovering from infidelity. She wouldn’t open them. I highlighted the important parts and placed them back on her nightstand. She didn’t touch them. I ordered the same books on audio CDs so she could listen to them in her car. She never removed the shrink wrap.

    My point being: a chump can manufacture hopium even when the cheater gives him ZERO evidence that change is possible.

    • Your attempts were sweet. She didn’t deserve you.

      Manufacturing hopium out of nothing is a special chump skill.

      • Nomar said

        My point being: a chump can manufacture hopium even when the cheater gives him ZERO evidence that change is possible.–


        Add to that — our self image & NON NARC self awareness that we are good catches

        CAN make you believe & trust cheaters. Why? Because 1) WE would never betray them AND

        2) because betraying a fun, loving honest spouse makes no sense. It’d be crazy for someone to reject a good catch.

        BUT we’d be wrong…because it’s NOT about us. It’s not about what makes sense to the real world (or us).

        it’s about how a person with a serious character defect operates…

  • FACT: I signed us up for a Catholic Marriage Encounter Weekend
    Hopium: He would start talking more to me about his alcoholism and I could talk with him about our low sex life. Interestingly, if the couple was trying to repair infidelity, they weren’t allowed to attend. I did not know about the affair at the time.

    Reality: My older kid, now 40 (3 at the time) told me that her dad said something like, “maybe you and Earl should try Marriage Encounter. I got so much out of it. You mother — not so much. She wouldn’t do the 10 and 10 they recommended.”

    I must be at Meh because I found this very funny. My kid is outraged that he would try to give her advice wrapped in a lie.

    Lesson I learned: the kids, even when adults, are hurt deeply by cheating.

  • The first split, a relatively brief separation, was fraught with hopium pushers as well as the defeatist “calm down, cheating happens all the time, it’s not that big a deal” gaslighters. The second time, the divorce time, was fraught with switzerlanders and “divorce is the worst possible choice you MUST make it work” religion pushers.

    All of those people are completely full of shit, it turns out.

    Divorcing a deceptive selfish serial cheater was definitely the best choice and I never feel any other way about it when I look back.

    Some people shout “YOLO” as they leap off the cliff in the base jumping gear. They see living as a thing to push to it’s limits and look down on people like me who prefer simplicity.

    I say yolo gently. I’ve lived a lot of dramatic stuff, including skating plenty close to my own death without any expensive neon gear between me and the end, and I don’t need to push myself into intense experiences to feel alive. The things I savor about being in a body are the sweet, pleasurable, calm, meaningful, tiny miracles all around me, all of which I was missing when I was constantly spinning at the hands of my drama-creating ex.

    Life now is filled with sweetness, even when chaos comes.


    • Also, screw autoincorrect for always putting an inappropriate apostrophe in “its” and re-inserting it when I post even if I’ve already removed it twice. ????

      • Amiisfree,

        Thanks for the autocorrect snark.

        If it’s going to correct MY grammar, you’d think it’d be programmed to do it correctly. And I have to teach it what I mean, then what the hell is the whole point of autocorrect??

    • To put into words what I’ve discovered about myself (and wondered how many others of us are out here) is such a beautiful, touching gift. Thank you! Now I’ll go find the sweet, peaceful beauty of watching/hearing the wind through the trees while sipping a perfect cup of coffee.

  • After Dday #1 I smoked the hopium pipe so hard I agreed to remarry him in Central Park( gag). I thought he was recommitting but it was all bullshit to keep me hooked and paying and paying and paying( but he was constantly gaslighting me that I was all about money while he was spending like a drunken sailor and not working full time–asshole). wow did this trigger me today–yikes. By dday #2 he was basically out the door and only stayed until schmoopie let him move in–and he was having sex with both of us ewwww. and claimed he met her 3 days after we separated( in house because hey I was still his meal ticket). Ok –a cup of tea is in order now., back to my peace of mind.

  • Since I was raised in the land of “Stand By Your Man” and religion biased beliefs like the man is the head of the household, I think many of my problems were culturally based hopium. I think of it as being raised in a cult, and being rescued and having to go thru a reality based re-education program. It is hard to define normal when you have no idea what that looks like. Eventually, the cognitive dissonance led me to a long journey of self discovery, and self worth. The belief that I was capable of living independently, and had value of my own was what actually started recovery from hopium addiction.

    I also believe my ex’s both followed the same pattern. They lied to impress, then lied to cover the previous lies. They were selfish, and entitled. They did not really care what happened to anyone but themselves. They wanted a specific image, and they were not willing to do the work to obtain that image. Everyone was either useful or not useful to them. They had no moral basis, and thought only fools followed the rules. They knew how to spot an enabler, how to love bomb, and how to keep the enabler hooked on hopium to keep the “relationship” going. They were parasites.

    There is no song, “Stand By Your Parasite” but you have to be able to see your “man” is not a “Man”, and is a parasite. It took many disappointments to clarify my vision. In my culture of origin the man is supposed to work hard to provide for his family, seek a better life for his children, value and cherish his wife, obey God’s directions. My ex’s never provided steady support for the family, rarely thought about the children, wanted the wife to find a second job so that they would have more time for drinking, porn, and screwing around. I can not explain why it took me so long to see this, or realize I could not “fix” another person. It happened. Living with constant disappointment erodes the structure of a relationship, living without being loved erodes the love bombing of the start of the relationship. Finally, the urge to overcome this hardship and to live a better life caused me to say “enough.”

    I also had to learn that love bombing is not love, and promises are just words meant to manipulate if there is no plan of action to back up the promise. These were the hardest things for me to learn. I have always been a what you see is what you get type of woman, and see no point in telling lies about who I am and what my goals are. I always have Plan A, and back-up Plan B, and emergency Plan C. I am not afraid of hard work. I have no time or interest in porn or being drunk. I have learned that I only need to befriend others who have these same qualities, because my life is much more peaceful when I can count on my chosen circle of friends and family. Choose people you can count on, people who have realistic dreams. Those folks have no time for hopium.

    No matter what foolish thing you did or said while you were under the influence of hopium, forgive yourself. There is no point in looking back, you cannot change the past. You figured it out, you got out, your life is better now. That is success!

    • Portia, I swear it was myself writing your letter. The parasite sounds exactly like my ex. I shall now revise his name to Parasite Asshat.

    • Portia–

      “There is no song ‘Stand by Your Parasite.'” Now there is: Stand by Your Neural Larva Migrans.

      Sometimes it’s hard to be a homo sapien
      Givin’ up your optic nerve to just one nemotoda
      You’ll have bad times, and he’ll have good times
      Doin’ things you never woulda
      But if you love him, you’ll ingest him
      Even though he’s hard to treat-a
      And if you love him, avoid antihelmintics
      Cause after all, he’s just an ascaradida

      Stand by your Baylisascaris procyonis
      Give him your brain to feed on
      And somethin’ warm to come to
      When he tires of your liver
      Stand by your Neural Larva Migrans
      He did a species jump to blind you
      Somewhere there’s a heartbroken procyon lotor
      Crying in a garbage can
      Stand by your Neural Larva Migrans
      Stand by your Neural Larva Migrans
      Don’t try to torch those feces
      Keep givin’ all the love you can
      Stand by your Neural Larva Migrans

      • Tammy Wynette probably would not appreciate the way I interpret this country anthem. It was a great magic switcheroo. Your man acts like an ass, but you are strong enough to love him right, Forgive him, and you will benefit. The benefit was always vague to me. I also wondered where the consequences were for the bad behavior.

        I don’t have enough scientific knowledge to fully appreciate your lyric, but I am sure parasites everywhere are proud of your anthem!

        • Procyon lotor= raccoon. 😉

          Poor Tammy was married five times in her short life and was apparently being battered at the time she wrote the song. There wasn’t much talk of Stockholm Syndrome or enabling in the 60’s.

  • I have a close friend who is six years in on the hopium roller-coaster ride cycle. Hard to watch but this is what she chooses and has determined the life-style and goal of marriage till the bitter end is what she wants more than a ‘broken’ family. Sad thing is all of her children are very aware of the dynamic in the marriage.

    Here is the real CHUMPY story though on my part: I keep believing maybe her marriage will last every time things appear to be going well. It’s like I finally start to go along for the ride, but then am one of the ones waiting to hear her out when she has to get off the ride in moments of disrespect and suspicion. It makes me sort of relive those feelings with her when it happens. It also reinforces my decision to divorce that is for sure.

    • I completely understand. I had this issue with my ex-MIL. She enabled the bad behavior of her husband for YEARS and continues to do so to this day as far as I know (no contact with my ex-in-laws 18+ months now). Everyone saw it in the family, yet she continued to spackle, spackle, spackle. Not that I blame her for what her son (my exH) did, but it is eerie how similar the situations ended up being – from creating another space with the OW right under our noses to grooming certain members of the family that we had “changed” (my exH’s father tried to groom my exH about his mother….and my exH tried to groom his brother….yikes). My exH definitely expected me to do what his mom did – spackle, deny, minimize, and spackle some more while my ex-FIL acted like nothing happened refused to talk about it within anyone else. Nope. I never returned to our marital bed after DDay, and I served him with divorce papers on the grounds of adultery three weeks later. I agree that seeing my ex-in-laws lack of respect for each other and marriage definitely influenced my decision to divorce as well. That was NOT going to be my future.

      These women living on hopium for the long term just do not realize the ripple effects. Model self-worth. Model self-love. Model administering consequences for unacceptable actions. That is the loving thing to do – for yourself and others as well.

  • After FW left me alone, 1000 miles away, terrified and bewildered, he would make “appointments” to speak with me over the phone. I would wait anxiously for these calls, hoping at least to get an explanation, an apology, CLOSURE. The calls never came, or when they did, they were mostly logistics, passwords to pay bills, that sort of thing. Anger finally kicked in, and once that happened, I went to therapy, I spoke to people about what happened to me, the obsenity of his sexual abuse finally becoming apparent (I was drinking heavily during the crossdressing/weird sex years and after we moved the no sex years) once I sobered up. The final straw and the lightbulb moment when I knew I was reaching “meh” was when he emailed me to tell me his dad had passed away. He “thought I should know”. What he thought was he could dump his grief onto me and I would forget all the terrible things he did because, come on, his dad died! I told him “if you are looking to me for sympathy, get it from the person you went on all those trips with while I was abandoned in Portland. I’m no longer your wife, I am not even your friend. I am sorry for your family’s loss.” While this might seem harsh, knowing this man, and knowing how he always played the victim, I know he was hoping I would race over to comfort him, so he could reject me. I haven’t seen him in three years, except for once. I’ve mostly gone stone cold silent, so this was his opportunity to get a response from me, the perfect excuse to reach out and then say “see, look at her! She won’t even be nice to me after Dad died!”. He’s a sick fuck, and over the last two years I have learned that I was dealing with very sick people in a very sick family. I’m off the hopium pipe for good, but ever vigilant not to slip.

    • Chumplandia– What you said doesn’t seem harsh at all under the circumstances. “Harsh” would have been laughing and saying something about him needing to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

      But even then…

  • Fact: my ex told me straight to my face a week after walking out on me to be with AP that “I don’t want to work on our relationship. I just want to split up our finances and move on.”

    Hopium: I baked him banana bread to take to his new apartment (where he was fucking the AP on the bed he took out from under my 76-year mother who had flown up to take care of me). I sent him a good memory from our marriage each evening until he told me to stop. I was convinced he was going to come to his senses during an annual bike trip with his best friend, when he had time each night alone in his tent to reflect on what he was giving up…. I sent him “hope your trip is going well ????” messages.

    That lasted about a month until my friend told me ex was bringing his AP to a birthday party we had RSVP’d for together on the weekend of our 18th wedding anniversary. When friend told ex I would be there, he said, “It’s a big party; it won’t be a big deal.” He followed that up a day later with sending me a push notification for a reservation he had made at a resort I had asked him to take me to…but the reservation wasn’t for me. That’s when I put all his shit in boxes and told him to come get it and scheduled a mediation session to hammer out the divorce settlement….

    • Oh Okupin,

      I can’t imagine the pain of receiving the push notification for the reservation that was for them. That stings. I’m sorry.

      I did the baking thing, too. Guess we took the cake thing quite literally.

      • I saw Air BnB charges on our credit card and got really excited because it was a month away from our 25th wedding anniversary and I felt like my husband had finally listened to me and planned a trip away. Yay! But, alas, it was an Air BnB he’d set up for his girlfriend while her boyfriend moved out of their apartment – my husband also paid for the boyfriend’s moving van. I saw the credit card charges for a vehicle company and I thought it was a rental car for our trip away. You can’t make this shit up.

        • Oh geez. That’s terrible. I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s must have been really painful to come across those cc charges.

          After D-Day, mine accidentally sent me an email thread he had with the AP. In it, he asked her if she wanted to attend a fly-fishing lecture about vacations in Canada, and she enthusiastically replied, “Yes!!!”

          I calmly told him to be more careful with his emails.

          I know my psychiatrist would question whether that was an accident at all. The scum bag probably wanted to inflict yet more pain. I know I’ve mentioned here before that he cited as a reason for leaving me that I didn’t enjoy fly fishing enough, and the AP apparently LOVED it. lol. I think she would have loved watching paint dry if he’d said that was his passion.

          The thing is, I fly fished with him a lot. Not with enough enthusiasm apparently.

          I guess fly fishing was my hopium, too. “If I do this with him, he’ll be happy.” ????The man didn’t give a rat’s ass about doing anything that I liked. ????

          God, I keep coming up with more instances of that drug in my life. Glad I put down the pipe.

          • Hey Spinach, fly fishing? Really? What a baby. I have to agree with your psychiatrist that the email was most likely not an accident. To be honest, neither were the credit card charges from my ex. He’d been skimming money for years, so why all of a sudden use our joint credit card? As he was leaving, he said, “my thinking didn’t keep up.” Which I interpreted as, “I can’t keep up with the lies anymore.” I think he wanted me to find out. It’s horrible and I’m sorry that happened to you too. And mine was mad because I’m not an online gamer. I’m a grown ass woman, so no, I don’t enjoy World of Warcraft.

  • I bought him Lundy Bancroft’s “Why does he do that?” to read before I would even talk to him after I found out about the affair. He basically matched the descriptions perfectly. Even the examples were spot in.

    He read it and concluded that he indeed matched the descriptions, but he then said: “I am not an abuser, because I do not do this to control you.”

    So… how would I know the difference? And why are you doing it then? For fun?

      • Lol. I know how embarrassing that may seem now, but that is the the brain on hopium.

        In my case, I didn’t do that; but he had taken nude pictures of me early in our marriage, and I knew he still had them. I asked him about them and he said he destroyed them; but who knows.

        I actually wouldn’t mind seeing them, I was hot back then. But, I wouldn’t want anyone else to see them. I am guessing if whore ever saw them, she got rid of them.

  • Ok, here’s my biggest hopium fail of all, and CL might ban me from this site for admitting this, but here goes:

    I actually recommended Esther Perel to my then-husband after he said he wanted to separate and that he just needed time to “figure things out” (or whatever the hell fake excuse he tossed my way like some bone you absentmindedly fling to your dog). I sent him an article she’d written.

    I know I know I know I know I know….

    • “I actually recommended Esther Perel ”

      If you get banned, I will too…..I asked my cheat-ah-ho STBXW to watch Brene Brown and Esther Perel….maybe she could find herself and find that loving feeling again.

      I remember praying every night that my love would fill her heart again……and before I went on a Men’s Retreat (the best thing I have ever done for myself), I sent her a note with the couple from the movie UP…

      “To my wife….you are braver than seem, smarter than you think…..blah, blah, blah, blah….you are my sunshine”


    • Spinach@35 you don’t get kicked out of the chump club for recommending Esther Perel….I’m pretty sure you get promoted to a captain!;-)

      I think the baking and gestures you did were very kind and considerate. I cleaned off my XW’s car from snow and warmed it up for her in the mornings so she would be more comfortable….for two months straight!

      I often did that before DDay to show how much I cared. I suspect you often baked for your XH and did all those considerate things for the same reason.

      It’s taken me a long while to not be ashamed of the kind and considerate things I did out of one sided love that I had for her. I really thought she was the most beautiful woman and the best mom….today I find out she’s taken my youngest out of school early to go hang out with her AP/now legit boyfriend in a high risk COVID19 area. Love really is blind because now that I see her behavior I know without a doubt I have no idea who she really is.

    • Yea – I sent many reconciliation links to my cheater too. Later he used some of the information I sent him as an excuse for why he carried on the affair – he couldn’t stop ….he was on a drug…etc

  • I’ve really spent some time today thinking more about this… Mr. Sparkles kept me on the hopium hook with actual wedding rings… here me out, because this is really f*cked up… before we got married, we exchanged rings on a beach… sterling silver celtic knot bands… he “lost” his a couple week later, I replaced it. When we eventually got married, we exchanged wedding bands. He stopped wearing his because he said it was too big after he lost 15 lbs… so we went and bought him another ring. FOUR RINGS all in all. For the last sexless year of our stalemate marriage (he wouldn’t get blood tested or go to therapy and I refused to have sex until he did)… he displayed all the rings on his nightstand… a big FU to me I see now in hindsight… yet, I thought because we kept getting him a new ring, he did love me and wanted a way to show to the world that he was mine. NOPE – all just one big mindfuck for him. Ugh.

    • That’s cruel! My STBX had bent his ring and didn’t wear it for years. Right when he met his girlfriend, he got it fixed and started wearing it again. I was thrilled! I took it as a sign of his re-dedication to me. I still don’t know why he did it, but he really thought I was going to accept him being in an open marriage. I also think he was triangulating with the new girlfriend – it would have showed quite a bit of power over her to say, “I’m married – see, I’m wearing this ring, and you’re just the side dish fuck.” Well, when I kicked him out, now she’s the main event.

    • My ex pawned his before the judge had even signed the papers. I bought his ring, and gave it to him in love and trust. He sold it and gave the money to his half-his-age girlfriend. She used it to BUY A RING FOR HER FIANCÉ. So messed up.

  • Oh yes, all of this. I sure wish 2020 me could go back in time and shake some sense into 2015/2016 me. I would tell myself that you cannot/should not convince someone to love and care about you–either they do or they don’t. I would also tell myself that you deserve to be loved and cherished and that his cheating is his failure, and not yours. And that you don’t need to be a perfect wife in order to be upset that your husband cheated. Even imperfect wives deserve loyalty and consideration.

    There was a sad period of time in which I thought that his making of future plans for us indicated he actually wanted to reconcile, but in fact it was an ongoing smokescreen to keep being a Grade A cheating asshole. Hopium is a hard drug to quit.

  • My hopium moments were way too many to mention. That’s why I immediately recognized myself in CL’s book and took on the name ‘Amazon Chump’. I bought about 50 books and several dvds, watched YouTube videos, went to counseling, reviewed articles on mid-life crisis, got him a book for finding men friends (he said his only friend was the skank), made Jib-Jab videos of us two together and would email them to him, I wrote him love letters, gave him chocolate-flower bouquets, etc., etc. The hopium was strong. And then I found out he was actually in an 11-year affair! All of that stuff was before I found out about the infidelity. I filed for divorce, but he swore he’d never do it again. So I was still on hopium because I chose to believe a liar. After all, I had 26 years invested in him. But finding out 4 years later that he was still in his affair, the hopium was faint at that point and I filed for divorce and forced myself to stifle the drug. No hopium anymore for me. I’m no longer an addict.

    • That affairs go on for years proves to me that cheating has ZERO to do with being “unhappy” in a relationship.

      If I am “unhappy” with a restaurant, I don’t keep eating there.

      Cheaters are so full of shit. From the soles of their feet to the ends of their hair.

    • Amazon Chump,

      Hopium is a helluva drug! And I can identify with the confused emotions regarding sunk costs. Decades of investment! It’s tough to let go of that.

      Any betrayal is horrible, but 11 years? My God. What an entitled prick he is!

      Glad you put down the pipe! Here’s to your hopium- and FW-free future!


  • Too many to list but here’s a funny one.

    Fact: he spends up to 5 hours, on and off, on a weekend day, taking a crap in the toilet. Door locked. Phone with. Probably 5-10 seperate visits.

    Hopium: You need to see a doctor. That is way more shitting than is healthy. Well, way more time on a toilet than is healthy.

    So he goes to the doctor. Reportedly. And reportedly his bowels are high functioning and perfect.

    Betty Ford level hopium: it’s me with the under active bowels cos I only go once or twice a day, must eat more fibre, become a vegetarian ????????

    Haha I didn’t really, but I definitely thought about it (and did become vegetarian when he left, for other reasons).

    Found out a few months after I left him just how many women, and men, he’d been stringing along. Yep, he played the toilet game on some of them too, once he was free to casually shack up with them, when I kicked him out of our home.

    Have since seen a few memes on this one. It’s a pretty common theme.

    • Literally laughing out loud! Thanks. ????????????????

      I called Apple for him because he said he hadn’t sent what seemed like an incriminating text. I believed him and thought he was a victim of identity theft. LOL!!! I was on the phone with several Apple reps. What the hell must these poor Apple people have been thinking? I’m sure they knew. I read them the text. Swear to God. I just can’t. My husband sat sheepishly in the other room. I kept asking him how he could possibly be so calm when his identity may have been stolen!!

      OMG!! At least I can laugh about it now.

    • Yes! I laugh with you in compassion, NenaB! My exH did the exact same.

      He started intermittent fasting about two months before DDay to lose weight, in preparation, for what I later found out to be sleeping with the OW when I went away on a trip. He would frequent the bathroom SO MUCH to which he explained it off as the intermittent fasting making him feel like he always had to poop. I believed him.

      One Saturday we went to visit friends for the day, and it is now embarrassing how frequently he was going to the bathroom and how long he was staying in there. The wife of this couple was such a dear dear friend to me on DDay and after, and we chatted about this visit after DDay. She told me about how she thought it was so weird with his bathroom trips. She was prepped for the bad smell when she went into the bathroom once after he vacated, and she actually was surprised that there was no smell. He wasn’t shitting in the toilet at the time, only shitting on the marriage we decided.

      What is crazy to think is how frequently they have to be in touch with the AP. They couldn’t take a break in communications for a few hours to visit with friends?! Yet something else to consider and identify as a red flag when dating again and hopefully setting up a healthier relationship/marriage.

      • Yep, that constant contact is weird. I wonder why they are compelled to do that. Is it the highs they get? Is it the OW demanding attention, who knows.

        My FW on our last TG before Dday on Christmas day, was on his phone, walking in and out of the house (his mothers house) non stop. Put it off to work shit.

        By then, I was starting to notice the oddities. I did notice when he started staying up at night. He was constantly on his phone, he talked like we was talking to one of the guys; but I noticed he did a lot of yes and uh huhs and yeah me too. This was in the early days of cell phones, and there was no texting.

      • Haha! I love that shitty story. My parents asked me if my STBX had diarrhea when we visited because he was always in the bathroom. I was so embarrassed by my parents asking me that. And yes, turns out it was just him being a POS as a person.

    • I can relate to that. He would spend up to an hour in the bathroom always with his phone and I would knock on the door to see if he is ok (because he does have other health problems) and he would get mad and tell me it’s his new medication or his diabetes or he fell asleep. He asked me one time why was I so concerned about how long he was in the bathroom. I said I’m just checking to make sure you are ok, I don’t hear any noise and Elvis Presley died in his bathroom. By that time I had checked our phone records and was interrupting him just to piss him off.

      • ” By that time I had checked our phone records and was interrupting him just to piss him off.”

        Ahhh HA, I love that.

      • Yeah frequent bathroom usage must be in the Cheater’s Handbook. My ex FW would even do it at his family gatherings.

        • Of course. Mine used the bathroom and the laundry room because they were two places where no one could come from behind and see what she was doing.

          • I remember in hindsight, that he did a lot of walking outside to the deck when we were spending our last TG (at his moms house. There was no texting then, so he had to talk.

            • Mine would sit on an enclosed porch with his back to the wall texting her while I was literally in the next room, cooking meals.

              I always suspected it, but I know this for sure because on the last Dday I sneaked outside the back door and went around to the window behind him and saw their love messages to each other.

              I threw the dinner at him (with some expletives included) and left the next day. This was after 2 years of gaslighting, (me) working on it, etc, etc. I wish I’d gone earlier, but theres no doubt I tried everything in my power, and then some.

              • I remember my fw sitting in the living room talking low on his phone, while I was cooking. They are horrible people. How can anyone look at themselves in a mirror after treating another human being like that.

  • My hopium ran the entire length of our marriage because intermittent reinforcement was his favourite tool of manipulation. In front of others, especially, he poured on the sickly love bombing, and I ate it up. I lived for his scraps of attention – it was demoralizing. We had irregular sex, but it was great when we did. We actually had MORE sex towards the end so he wasn’t worried about cheating on his new partner. When DDay happened, it was him wanting to have an “open marriage”. This, after me just learning that he had been fucking strange for the past 13 years. The new partner was the only “steady” one he’d had and it was only a couple of months. I went into a trauma and couldn’t eat, sleep, or stop crying. I had NO hopium at this point and went into a shell like a turtle to protect myself. It was at this time when he tried to have sex WITH ME. When I pushed him away, he acted VERY rejected and hurt. I’ve always been so confused by that move. I almost think it was his own kind of hopium in the form of the fact that he realized he was losing me (his cake), and he thought that bonding us back through sex would keep me on the hook and then he’d have his “open marriage”, which was essentially me hanging around being the appliance wife, making a nice home for him, keeping us in good jobs, taking care of the daughter, while he was fucking schmoops. No thanks. It was utterly soul destroying to reject him when I wanted nothing more than to jump back into the fantasy life I was living and have sex with the man I loved. But somewhere deep inside me, I knew I needed to protect myself and reject him. A week later I told him to GTFO.

  • “ Fact: I bought a self-help book.
    Hopium: The cheater is going to read it.”

    This hit me pretty hard. I’ve got decided that getting self-help books are a red flag that I should get out of the relationship.

  • Yep, big dose of hopium 6 weeks after I discovered affair and STBX was nice to me. I told her I’d take her back and she said she would think about it. While she was “thinking about it” she sent an email wanting to make a small change to the parenting schedule.

    I had my answer. That was three months ago. Since then I’ve got her out of the family house (will buy out her interest) and, when asked, I’m quite happy to tell anyone in our profession what she did. I have to deal with the STBX because we have two kids but meh is getting closer and closer.

    And every now and then I think to myself: I am so glad I uncovered her affair.

  • I didn’t think hopium came into my scenario as he’d made up is mind to go but if this isn’t hopium what is. It’s May, he’s been a bit distant and moody for about six months but hey, it’s not entirely unusual but perhaps noticeably worse that I’ve picked up on it. At this point my dad’s just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was a tough time. So I woke up one morning to email telling me he’s having an affair. I looked at it, got that awful feeling and ran down to show him and said what the hell is this. I got this look (which I now know to be total guilt and having seen that look served me well later) and he said I have no idea flower, you know I’d never do a thing like that, I’m not that kind off guy etc etc.

    I was so confused. And you know what I put it down to some spam thing (as I’d had other emails with no relatable text from the same email source). I went away with my friend and our kids a few days later and we both said, there is literally no way it can be true.

    That’s hopium. Or maybe it’s just trusting your partner. With hindsight it’s definitely slightly naive. I liked the naive me who thought so much of him I never thought it possible. That says more about me than him.

    • It really sucks when you find out that people are not who we thought they were. Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself. That is most important. It was totally normal to believe your vows. But forgive yourself for being hoodwinked by a liar.

    • I think your last paragraph says it. There is no shame in trusting your spouse, that is what we are supposed to do. Infidelity is so awful that one never wants to falsely accuse a spouse of that. Also, there is no shame in naivete. We can only know something when we know it.

  • My husband was doing the “guarding of the phone”, running errands (to make calls) spending hours in the bathroom (it’s my diabetes) and working late at night (home 1 am one night) on a special project. One night he fell asleep in front of the computer and on his screen he was logged into an escort website. I checked it out the site and found out his “special project” was meeting prostitutes and then rating them on the site. When I confronted him he admitted being on the site for the past 6 months but didn’t meet any of the women he was just bored.

    I really wanted to believe him and really tried to for longer than I want to admit and it was hard to be mad because he was uncharacteristically nice to me, complementing me taking me out to my favorite restaurants and even taking me on a nice cruise, but when I came out of the fog I had to accept that he was meeting prostitutes and had been for most of our marriage (according to the post he made in the forum) and was just doing those nice things because I had the goods on him.

    • I also found porn and local escort sites on our computer. I confronted my husband and he convinced me that the local escort site was just him fantasizing about local girls, but nothing was happening. I told him that sounded like bullshit, and he went on a massive tirade telling me I’m just so dense that I don’t know how porn works. I actually believed him. I wished to god I hadn’t. That would have meant I would have been outta here about 5 years earlier. Maybe that’s more like spackle than hopium. Both I guess!

      • Denial, Anger, Reverse Victim and Offender – DARVO.

        It’s a good acronym to get to know – and it’s a classic abuser’s response to being caught or challenged.

        • OMG YES! Finding out about DARVO and how it works was revolutionary for me! I used to spend so much effort and time trying to straighten out those tangled conversations and arguments …. Made me feel quite crazy, and TOTALLY worked as a distraction both from the actual reasons for the convos and arguments, but also for how fucked up that relationship was overall.

          Sigh. Too soon old, too late smart.

  • I’d been high on hopium for 28 years. It ended 4 months after he moved out. It was kind of a relief actually. I’m now in withdrawals and I think I’m going to die from pain but everyone says this will pass. It just takes time to get the drug out of my system.

    • Oh yes! This time is finite. It does end. Take one day at a time and force yourself to stop all contact. Don’t look at your phone for texts, don’t look at social media. Before you know it, two days will go by when you have no thoughts of him. Then three. But it absolutely requires your cooperation to get through this.

    • I found that looking at the ceiling and saying “I married a stranger” (insert word of your choice – I didn’t use stranger) every morning upon waking up really helped with acceptance. I also practiced and continue to practice positive affirmations. 28 years is a long long time to disengage from. Cut yourself a lot of slack. I can say that mine was my best friend, or so I thought. We were joined at the hip for over 15 years. I talked to a lot of nice people, 2 therapists for a bit, this forum, and my fantastic family. There is life after this. It has been nearly 18 months since I found out and it is incredibly better. Good luck!

  • No hopium for me. I believed what I read and saw – 10+ years of telling other women he loved them was just one thing – no way to make that into something it’s not. I didn’t like it, but I believed it. No idea why he married me.

    • He married you because they LOVE having their cake and eating it too. And I bet that you, like most Chumps, were an excellent Spouse Appliance, providing a lot of good stuff in his life.

      • Thanks. I excelled at being the wife appliance. The last dinner I had with him was for his birthday. When I asked him what he wanted to eat, he said – “You go ahead and pick. You always do such a good job.” It was a wonderful last meal. I had no idea.

        • I picked a restaurant – sorry that wasn’t clear! I did make his life easier. I never suspected what had been going on. No hopium, just difficult acceptance.

  • Mine isn’t very long, thanks to Tracy and CN.

    After I found the texts on his phone, boasting about fucking the rat faced whore, I saw a solicitor and started divorce proceedings.

    He came over to tell me they weren’t true, it was “just lad’s banter”.

    I actually wanted to believe this,(I know, I know????) and wrote to Tracy, asking her if she thought it might be true, because “he can be very immature”.

    She replied,”No. He’s gaslighting you. Get on the forums and get some support”.

    Which I did. The hopum didn’t last long, but it was there. Thank God for Tracy and CN.

  • NenaB, What’s with the toilet pictures? What’s the point of the memes/? My STBX sent his online AP photos of himself on the toilet. I don’t think anything was visible below his waist. It seems utterly unromantic. He sent very few recent pictures of himself, mostly sent photos I took 20, 30, even 40 years ago. He posts those on websites, too.

  • I’ve only commented here once – but today I have a reason to do it again. My ex disconnected, we started fighting because he was distant , no fun, etc. He started sabotaging and devaluing. I had no idea why. I filed for divorce – final July 2020- and found out then about howorker. 20 years younger with two young girls, divorcing her husband for my loser maintenance man, 54 year old, 140 lb, sickling. When I gave her ex the heads-up in a text – everything blew up somehow. Today my ex sparkledick a-hole wrote wanting to know when we were closing on the house which I’m keeping because he’s got no job, said he is broke and has no where to live – after 16 years of marriage – HA! KARMA! He had a second marriage – no I’m not an OW – for 16 years, loving wife – marriage that needed re-invention – a little work – no kids, a 190k paid off house and pets who loved him. He ditched us for the meaning of life – blow jobs and anal sex- and now…???!!! Yeah – f-off. Merry Christmas my lovelies – stay strong. IT will never work out – I promise. And your life will be awesome like mine!

    • I love a happy ending. I agree we will all win, just getting away from a fuckwith is winning. Just takes a while for the heart to realize it.

  • Hopium took a long time to die, in my case. I truly believed that ‘deep down’ he loved me and the kids, valued us, valued the life we had …. His mood and attitudes changed so often it wasn’t hard to convince myself that the kinder, more caring and loving him, the moments of insight, that was the REAL one, while the rest was … I’m not quite sure what. Unhappiness? Insecurity? Cluelessness? Leftovers from an incredibly messed up FOO and upbringing?

    Only about a year after Affair #1did I start to realize that all the good stuff that the IRC promised was not going to happen. He was VERY happy to have ME doing the work to ‘make the marriage better’, to have ME reading and thinking and applying all the advice that’s out there …. He quite couple therapy as soon as the therapist started very gently confronting him. He made zero effort, and the fact our relationship actually was better (on the surface) after the affair than before it was 100% because of me.

    At that point it slowly dawned on me that he was yes, unhappy and clueless and messed up. But mostly SELFISH and lazy and inconstant, unappreciative and ungrateful. And SOOOOOO entitled.

    So I seriously considered my options; we lived in a default 50-50 custody time jurisdiction, and while he was a lazy father and left most of the actual parenting up to me, the Wife Appliance, I did still believe he loved his kids and was invested in his relationship with them. (Not quite sure why I thought that. Wishful thinking? His image management? My making parenting easy for him with my work and SPACKLE>) The kids were around 7 and 8 ys old, and I knew they’d be extremely unhappy spending half their time with him (and with whoever he would immediately love bomb into moving in with him), because he was so moody, negative and occasionally explosive. And I knew the kids loved their dad, and would be pretty miserable spending half their time away from each of us.

    So I made a choice; I would continue the relationship, and I would be the wife I chose to be; the one I would be if I did have a mature and reasonable partner. I would be loving and affectionate and sexual, as is my nature, I would keep trying to connect with him whenever possible and helping him towards his goals. But I would greatly lower my expectations of him, and get most of my emotional needs met in other relationships with friends and family.

    I also learned that I could set firm limits with him around the most important stuff, by telling him calmly that I would leave otherwise. This reduced the explosiveness, and when he got more and more moody and miserable over time (while of course refusing therapy, individual or couple, refusing to talk to his doctor etc), also led him to treat the kids and I more nicely. Weirdly this limit setting ended up making HIM happier, since we were all able to treat him better. But of course he resented it deeply, anyway.

    I knew I was providing ‘good value’ to him, so he would likely stick it out. I assumed that the first big fight after the kids grew up and moved out would lead to my leaving, but things would be OK ’til then. I also assumed that he had understood that a second affair would mean I’d be gone (but he admitted later that he’d forgotten about that (as he often did forget info that wasn’t in line with what he wanted), so didn’t marriage police or worry about repeat infidelity. I had figured out he was screwing around really fast with Affair #1, I assumed I would do the same for any repeats (and did; I don’t think he’d even slept w/Schmoopie #2 before I realized).

    If I had know at that point that he wouldn’t even ask for 50-50 time with the kids, I would have been gone. Fortunately at the time of Affair #2 the kids were 11 and 12, and here in Quebec, kids that age get a say in how much time they live with each parent, and by around age 14 get to decide whether they spend any time at all with a parent. So I kicked him out (with getting him actually out being the long and drawn-out process often described by Chumps). The kids and I discussed what they wanted and what would likely work, and I suggested to him that he take the kids 2 evenings a week (about 3 hs each time, while I worked) and every second weekend. He preferred to cut that down to Saturday lunch time to Sunday after supper, because of his work choices and kids’ sports. So he ended up with 15% of the kids’ time.

    I also stopped coaching him on parenting and spackling for the kids. You can imagine how that turned out.

    The hopium that at least he would make efforts to be a decent father was the last to die, and the most painful.

  • My whole marriage was a huge slop bucket of spackle—covering over his multiple stints of unemployment, a DWI right before we moved in together and his “funny” jokes about how less than I was.

    Fortunately he was so shockingly happy-go-lucky looking for a new bachelor pad 3 blocks away after I found out about his affair that I pretty quickly couldn’t take anymore kicks in the gut and got a lawyer. Even more fortunate that I found ChumpLady right away and everything suddenly started making sense. Divorce took almost two years, but it’s so far in the rear view now. He’s still annoying (we coparent an 11 year old). Full of self-pity and just hit another round of questionable employment, but it’s not my problem anymore! Thank you amazing Tracy for showing me the path to a great life that I BUILT.

    Love and healing Chumps. I promise you won’t regret leaving. Walk away one step at a time.

  • Well…my name says it all. I NEVER gave up…I clung until his last breath. I had an escape fund with $40,000 in it and I still hadn’t left. I now say “well I would have left if ____” yet I never did. Most of you know the story, he died so that was that but I was hopium fueled.

    I wasnt going to just stay…my Betty Ford Center level hopium is that he was going to have a change of heart, become a decent person and realize that he had been mean all those years and we were going to do like the couple on the Catholic Channel and give marriage seminars <— yes, I actually hoped for THAT.

    Instead I found pictures of Susan of Seattle in his papers while settling his "affairs" pardon the pun. There were also gifts to him from her that said "San Francisco" but when he lived there, they were supposedly broken up. SOOOOO he had a wife and kids on one coast and his Schmoopie on the other. Fucker.

    Then I found a document that proved that the whole story he gave me when we wreckonciled was total crap. That, fine people, was the day my love finally died. He had been dead a little over a year.

    Then I found a document where he said "I never loved my wife"

    Then I found out he had cheated ALL ALONG…not "just" with Susan of Seattle.

    He was an abysmal husband. Im remarried to Colonel Greatguy. I wish Cheater had lived to see me married to someone taller and richer than him…it would have annoyed him to no end.

    • >>I wish Cheater had lived to see me married to someone taller and richer than him

      I want an afterlife just for this. He could look up from Hell & see how lame he is in reflection.

      • I have found immense solace in my Catholicism because we believe that even if you die “saved”, if there are things you did that caused pain, there is a time of debrief in puragatory and I believe he is there. When he first died, I prayed a prayer of forgiveness and asked God to let him into Heaven but I felt a tug on my heart “I dont know, this aint over yet” before I found the proof of the other shit.

        Once I learned he had cheated all along, I started reprocessing the entire 29 years I shared with him and remembered that on our 5th anniversary, we were moving and I had 2 little kids underfoot. I supervised, the move, cleaned the house, breastfed the baby and all while he was gone doing a task for a wildly long period of time (with him returning home task undone). In that moment, I told God “If he was out fucking someone while I struggled alone, he can stay in Purgatory until I get there” and Im quite healthy in my 50s. Later, I told God that I release Him from that particular request since I respect Gods wisdom…but you get the point.

        • “I started reprocessing the entire 29 years I shared with him ”

          That is the ongoing pain isn’t it. Once we know we question everything. I remembered things after Dday, that I either didn’t focus on in real time. The first memory was the night after my tubal ligation surgery that he stayed out all night. I was upset, but he explained it away as he got caught up in a poker game and the time got away. Now I think, he was with another woman.

          I bought it then, I wasn’t happy that he did it, but at least it wasn’t with a woman. So many more events. My history with him was a lie.

          • Yes…once I knew that he lied a LOT, there is no way for me to ever know where there were truths mixed in with all of it. I totally reject the “keep the good memories” fuck that…I dont even know what those are. If he loved me at all then his capacity to do that was sick.

            What it DOES explain is his extreme angst before he died. I kept trying to get him into a close, genuine relationship when he knew that I would have lost my shit if I knew the truth. (There was a brief window of time where – if he had told the whole truth – I might have offered to wipe the slate clean and try but that was a desparate time and didnt last long. He ruined his life more than he ruined mine and that is sad.

            • ????

              Yeah, I just can’t on the remember the good times crap. The good times are gone. Except for the memories of my son and I, I definitely hang on to those. But, the FW is blanked out of the past. He has to be, because as you say; how do you know what is real and what is lies.

  • Towards the end, he suddenly was willing to do two or three family day trips, things he’d refused to do for years. He wanted kudos for being such a great family guy while looking for work, although it may have been image management as part of his plan for walking out. He spent almost the entire time he was “with” us texting on his phone. He was testy if he was interrupted, needed some space, but sat in plain sight absorbed in his phone. He claimed he was applying for jobs and said I should praise him for being so dedicated to finding work. Turned out he was texting his AP, even while we were eating lunch, visiting sites and exploring as a “family.” Seems like he got a thrill from cheating right under my nose while demanding praise for doing the trip as well as looking for work. What a fraud. All those memories are tainted now, and not just for me. The 12yo doesn’t want to think about or visit any of those places anymore.

  • I am now several years no contact but went through a very chumpy separation phase where I analysed his every word and deed for signs that he cared.
    His sister made a Christmas cake one year and he actually wrapped up a slice in a napkin and sent it to me via our daughter. Oh,he knows I like cake…what a breakthrough…he must be thinking of me…this is the high point of another lousy Christmas.
    Hey, maybe this is the year in which we will reconcile..
    My daughter rolled her eyes and told me that I should not read too much into it.
    What a cakefest…for him.

  • Im so guilty of this, for 13 years!
    -finding jewelry store box in his vehicle, when it wasn’t given to me at Christmas I told myself he was keeping it for his mom.
    – talking to his ho-worker all the time, believed it was “just work”. Her strategically placed lip gloss told me otherwise.. but I still hoped????
    – condoms in his overnights bag when I was pregnant… still hopium
    -after he confessed of an “emotional affair” I gave him a book on boundaries. He can read but absolutely won’t.
    -He said all was over, he just got sneakier.
    Finally quit the hopium. Holy cow, was I a fool!!

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