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How Come I’m Not Over It Yet?

Dear Chump Lady,

I feel like I’ve been doing all the “right things” to move on and heal from my soon-to-be narcissistic cheating ex-husband. I’ve gone no contact, I moved out, I practice yoga, read self-help books, attend weekly therapy and surround myself with good friends. However, I don’t feel like I’m far enough along on my healing journey. I feel like I should be camped out in the screw you, you suck stage.

To give you background, I found out two months ago that my new husband of only 7 months was having an affair. An affair with an army friend who I made one of my bridesmaids in our wedding. And a woman who I have befriended over the last several months as she goes through her own divorce. She actually had a few month long affair with a different man right before my husband. She and her husband have a 1.5 year old daughter. I hung out with her A LOT—took her to yoga classes, invited her over for dinners, took her to church, and tried to help her “heal” from her own divorce. Little did I know that my husband was telling her he loved her and was sleeping with her.

Her behavior towards me NEVER changed. She smiled, laughed, and carried on being my “friend.” I even texted her to ask if she knew what was going on with my husband as he became cold and distant–a generic “maybe he’s stressed response.” When I asked him what was going on claimed he was just overwhelmed going back to school and was suffering from depression. What a chump I was to believe that for weeks. I actually found out what was going on from my father-in-law! When confronted, my husband claimed for three days that it wasn’t physical until he realized he couldn’t deny it anymore. I asked him to fight for the marriage for two weeks and he kept saying “It’s too far. I’m scum. I’ll always be the cheating husband now.”

After finding out, I learned that he had been lying about a lot more than that. He told me that his ex-fiancé had cheated on him, but I came to find out that he actually cheated on her with at least three different women! I also learned about an engagement he broke up between two church leaders by charming the woman, convincing her to leave her fiancé, and then dumping her six months later. Next, after I moved out, took him off my car insurance, and talked to a lawyer, he turned it all around on me. He said I was the cruel and manipulative one. Oh, and here’s the kicker—I found out they moved in together less than a month after I found out about the cheating. And he took her to our church too. He is banned from our church now—thank goodness.

After all that he did to me and all the information I learned afterwards, I feel like the last 2.5 years of my life were a waste. I had two narcissists in my midst who both used me and lied to me countless times. And who knows if they were EVER going to say anything. I know from my research on narcissists that I will never truly understand their behavior. But I’m finding it so hard to close that door of hurt. How come with all this information of how shitty of a person he is (and she is), I can’t just say screw you Fuckwits and focus on me?

Doubly Chumped

Dear Doubly Chumped,

It’s been 8 WEEKS since your D-Day. Eight weeks. Most chumps are in the drooling zombie stage at 8 weeks. Unshowered. Paralyzed with grief. Barfy. You, my friend, have moved out, gone no contact, and take yoga classes!

Exactly how far along on your “healing journey” did you expect to be by now? Misty life regret? Funny tragic-comic story over wine with girlfriends stage? Ugly life scar only hurts when Esther Perel gets a cover story stage?

You are MIGHTY! DC, you’re doing all the right things! Give it time.

Oh shut up, Tracy. No one wants to hear about time.

Yeah, well, I’m sorry. Bouncing back from this kind of horror show takes time. If it didn’t take you time, I’d wonder about the state of your soul. How bonded you were. How deeply you loved. I’m sorry you hurt. It means you’re a decent human being who bonded. Take some comfort from the fact you’re not a fuckwit.

As for doing the right things, no one feels mighty slogging through this shit. You just feel exhausted and unmoored. But trust me, you’re going to look back and be really proud of yourself for not giving your soon-to-be-ex and Ms. Thing one second more of your life. Most chump regrets center on “Why didn’t I leave sooner?” You LEFT. Yea!

An affair with an army friend who I made one of my bridesmaids in our wedding.

Come here and sit on the bench with me (pat, pat) of chumps who had Schmoopies in their wedding. I paid an OW’s bar tab. It’s a special kind of fucked up. You aren’t alone.

Your husband and your ex-friend are SICK. It’s takes a sociopathic amount of chutzpah to delight in the humiliation of someone on their wedding day. I’m sure they wouldn’t cop to that. But your declarative love for him, a vow made in front of assembled family and friends, was just a set piece for their drama. The frisson of their naughtiness. The high stakes for their furtive fucks.

Your love and attention, didn’t matter one iota to these freaks. If that doesn’t camp you out in the screw you, you suck stage, I don’t know what will. Both of them, but especially your “husband” took you to the highest heights, just to cut you down. All their actions were to goad you into more, and more, and MORE investment in them — all the while they were betraying you. Your soon-to-be-ex did not have to MARRY you. OWzilla didn’t have to go to church with you, or accept your friendship. All the triangulation and deception was grist for their mill. You were of use to them. That’s all.

He told me that his ex-fiancé had cheated on him, but I came to find out that he actually cheated on her with at least three different women! I also learned about an engagement he broke up between two church leaders by charming the woman, convincing her to leave her fiancé, and then dumping her six months later.

He’s a serial cheater. There’s nothing to save. I wish your FIL told you before the wedding, but at least you know now. He gets OFF playing with people’s lives. He thrills to the pick-me dance. Guess what’s in store for OWzilla? More of the same. And she sounds equally delightful. I feel sorry for her child.

Next, after I moved out, took him off my car insurance, and talked to a lawyer, he turned it all around on me. He said I was the cruel and manipulative one.

That’s the real him. Cruel and manipulative. DARVO is what these freaks do.

Oh, and here’s the kicker—I found out they moved in together less than a month after I found out about the cheating.

Well, someone’s got to pay his car insurance, DC.

How come with all this information of how shitty of a person he is (and she is), I can’t just say screw you Fuckwits and focus on me?

You are focusing on you. You’re no contact with them both, right? Why are you still untangling the skein of fuckupedness and reading self-help books on narcissists? Because you want to understand the nature of the bomb that detonated your life. You want to know what that trip wire looks like. I get it. Just don’t spend too much time there.

They did it because they can. Because it doesn’t hurt them to hurt you. And such people walk among us. You’ll never be naive about that fact again. Which is kind of sad, but also a sort of superpower. Your narc-dar will improve.

None of this is a waste if you learn from it. (This is where the chorus of chumps comes in to tell you how they lost 20, 30 years to a fuckwit and how fortunate you are.)

I know You Dodged a Bullet is the last thing you want to hear. Some people never get shot! Some people are loved honestly and have unbroken legacies of intact family togetherness! Some people are cherished! Why am I NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE?!

You have the chance to be now. And you never, ever had the chance to loved properly while married to him.

I’m glad you’re free. Keep up the good work.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Wow — you are amazing DC! As CL said, most of us were still a complete mess 2 months after DDay. After much therapy, I learned that the trauma of this garbage hand we were dealt takes about 6 months to START to come out of. Usually at a year, if we’ve continued on no contact and focusing on taking care of ourselves, we really start to feel better — especially after divorce. For many, it takes longer. Cut yourself some slack and recognize that you’re doing great! Hang in there. Stay no contact with both. And when you’re ready, read Shania Twain’s autobiography… she talks all about how her closest friend said and did all those same things to her (and was cheating with her husband Mutt Lange the whole time.) I’m really sorry. But also — wow! You’re awesome!

    • I never knew this about Twain. Wow, what a case study in how amazing people get cheated on and that cheaters often “cheat down.”

      And yes, two months into d-day is still just basic survival: put food in mouth, try to sleep. When you feel like you’re living a decades worth of time compressed into a week it can be disheartening to hear that it takes time to recover. I wouldn’t say I’m healed, but omg I’m so much better now than during those early days. It gets better! There will still be highs and lows and you round the calendar, but nothing will be like that shock of finding out that your life is not what you thought it was and that people like this walk among us. Sending you tons of virtual hugs.

    • Yep. I’m a year from finally getting rid of him and still mis him and wish I’d never found out about his cheating. I know that’s irrational but I’m not rocking my new life which is a sad consolation prize to what I thought I had with cheater. He was one of those who kept his betrayals very well hidden and treated me like a queen. Since we split my life has been very hard.

      • You miss The Lie. I get it. This is grief, and you have to do your grieving.

        Are you seeing a good therapist who can help you reframe all this?

        Your healthy relationship with the truth will grow as you reduce his claim on your mental real estate.

        • Yeah it was a beautiful lie. I did have a therapist but unemployment has meant I’ve had to reduce costs. Still waiting on the settlement $ to come through but property prices have skyrocketed in the region I wanted to buy in so I’m almost priced out. If it hadn’t taken so long to get the settlement done I wouldn’t be couchsurfing right now. Anyway i keep hoping it gets better. Some days are better than others.

          • That sucks; I’m so sorry. I know that in Australia it’s absolutely essential to get a good financial settlement, and ASAP, so I know that must have been awful for you. And couchsurfing also sucks.

            The happiest house in the world is the one you can afford. It might not be in your dream area, but if you can afford it, you can relax and start focusing on being really happy yourself building a new life.


  • DC, not trying to one-up you at all – but (sorry, that dreaded ‘but’) count yourself fortunate that you have nothing permanent bonding you to him, i.e. children. Own the pain, it’s only temporary. You will move on.

    • I understand this you dodged a bullet and no ties so you get a clean break and you never have to interact with cheater ever again all the good stuff

      But there is lots of chumps who gave all there fertility years to the cheater to be denied children and then cheater goes off and has children with someone else . That’s a mind fuck all of it’s own

      • This is the first time I’ve seen anyone acknowledge this, so thank you. I found out my husband was cheating on me with a coworker after putting him through 4 years of nursing school. I sacrificed my time and best fertility years while he created a new career and life on my back. He stole my dream for a family. Maybe I’ll be able to have a child down the road, maybe not… but it’s heartbreaking to realize I might have squandered my chance for a child on a fuckwit.

        • I’m so sorry ((( hugs)))

          I was 26 when I got with cheater and he told me even then that he never ever wanted children . I went ahead and married him knowing this and knowing that I’d never have children.

          He then left me when I was 45 and he had since had 2 children with his AP now OWife

          • I’m so so sorry. It’s beyond hard to wrap my mind around how people can be so cruel.

            I realized I typed husband in my previous post…I should have said EX husband. That’s still hard for me to remember to say. ????

          • That is totally f’d up. I’m so sorry.

            I’m pretty sure my h will go on to have more kids and be mr. Wonderful elsewhere. I wish I would have insisted on a vasectomy like a sane person other than to tied my tubes, that fkr has unprotected sex and dips it anywhere with a pulse. It’s just a matter of time and I can’t even think what important step siblings would do to my abandoned innocent babies.

            • Same here. I got the TL, and he was left intact to spread it everywhere. As far as I know there were no other children but mine, after we were married. But, still he should have been fixed.

              Funny story he told me he had the Vasectomy in a conversation we had not long before our divorce became final. It was said in passing, but after the fact I wondered why he needed it now. She couldn’t have kids, at least according to him. She already had three big assed sons, (two teens and a ten year old).

              Then he went on to cheat on her a lot, so I guess that was why. He evidently never intended to remain faithful to her, anymore than he did me.

          • Karen, this happened to a very good friend of mine. Her husband approached her one day, told her he was seeing someone else, she was pregnant, and he wanted a divorce so he could marry the OW. He wanted to “be a family man”. My friend had just turned 40.

        • I agree that this is an unacknowledged problem with many unfaithful spouses. Our judicial system focuses on cash and assets, but our social system is much more complicated than that. Men both have more years of fertility and benefit from a social structure that allows them to marry much younger women, so an unfaithful spouse may impact them less (or at least differently). After women in their 30s are chumped, they may not be able to “try again” in the same set of ways men can. I don’t want any man’s experience to be minimized, but I wish we could acknowledge your particular loss better.

          I hope your wish for a child is fulfilled.

          • Ok. And what about male chumps that find out their children are not actually theirs. At least as a woman you’re always certain.
            Every gender has it’s upsides and downsides, lack for a better term

            • Then there is the shit sandwich of finding out that a child isn’t yours but having the court enforce that you pay child support because you have an established relationship.

              • Yep that one is a hard one.

                I get that if a man sires a child outside of his marriage, the spouse has to essentially pay child support too, because it is her money too. But, still it just doesn’t seem right.

        • This is so painful, and some of us here have experienced the exact same thing. I really wish people would stop telling people to be happy they didn’t have kids with the FW. Honestly, I did get there eventually, but it’s actually REALLY painful to hear and it feels like a stab in the back from people who are supposed to understand and support us.
          Like I said, it’s not wrong… but it REALLY REALLY hurts to hear when you’ve given your fertile years to someone, and now you may never have that experience. It’s a different kind of pain than the pain of parenting with a FW.

      • Yes Karenb6702 — totally me! I used up my good fertility years with a man who not only didn’t want children, he doesn’t actually even like children.

    • I have a son with my ex, but he’s 14 so he deals with his relationship with his dad on his own and I take no part in it. I never ask about his father, and in fact I asked my son to please not let me know any details as I don’t need to know. The ex still annoys me and texts me when there’s absolutely no need to, but I ignore him for the most part. I do sometimes worry about having to see him years down the line, such as graduation and the likes but that’s in the future so I try to set those feelings aside.

      I suppose it’s more difficult to go nc when you have younger children, but it can still be done by keeping contact as formal as possible and only when absolutely needed. Co-parenting like you’d do with a business partner, in a way. This is what my best friend does with her ex (she left, he didn’t cheat but he was mentally abusive in all the other ways). She just never engages, no matter how hard he tries.

  • GURL! You got out in 7 MONTHS!!! Wow that is something to celebrate!! I know it hurts. For those of us in the decade club(32 years here) that is nothing time wise. It’s been 5 years and the hurt of all the evil stuff my ex did still weighs me down sometimes ( helped along by the fact that I can’t retire any time soon due to his financial abuse). Many many of us would love to have those years back. I am grateful for my wonderful kids but can’t help thinking I could have had wonderful
    Kids with someone who actually loved his family. You have a whole lifetime ahead of you. You will heal it just takes time and you have plenty of that!! Time to start thinking about how lucky you are that you got out so quickly!

  • “And such people walk among us. You’ll never be naive about that fact again.”

    #1 benefit of the pain and trauma.

    How I got to be in my 60’s without knowing about these kinds of people and without realizing that that’s what I was dealing with in my multi-decade mirage…
    Glad that cluelessness is over.
    I know now and it cuts right through a lot of bullshit.

    • One of the more unsettling side effects of this ordeal is that you see narcissists clearly. They’re everywhere. I always thought of them as truly pathological, a rarity, like serial killers. But the mindfuck is that they’re quite charming. Successful. The life of the party. The way they are benefits them. Why would they be anything else?

      • And then there are the covert/vulnerable narcs who are not the proverbial life of the party. They are just as entitled as the overt narcs, just harder to spot.

        • The covert narc was my ex. So entitled and selfish. They really mess with your head — how could this boring quiet guy cheat? When it happened, no one believed me — “YOUR husband cheated on you?” Yep… he’s sleeping with his coworker, left us abruptly and moved in with her. I had too many people tell me “I can’t believe it! How could HE do that?? He is so quiet and introverted.” It was just more crazy making. Good times

          • Yes, many cheaters play the quiet, devoted, even troubled spouse.

            It is mind blowing when you find out you have lost the devoted life partner you thought you had.

            When the person closest to you in the world becomes the enemy.

            • There’s a motto in journalism that goes: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

              I wish I had applied that skepticism to my ex-husband! I believed his lies for years. I had no idea that people can lie – without getting caught in a lie – for many, many years. They’re just that good at it.

              • Same. My STBX is a textbook covert and malignant narc. He was a nerd, so quiet. We never went anywhere because he was just so shy and antisocial. We dated 8 years and were married 22 years. It should have been a clue that he had no friends at all. I thought he was just so awkward. Then last year, BAM! Saw sex videos on his phone. Apparently he has had a girlfriend for 2.5 years and actually lived in her house with her kids when he was supposed to be out of town for work! And he has apparently been with other women constantly in all our 30 years together. Among the other things I learned in the fallout are that he is a kleptomaniac and has committed fraud a few times. His life’s goal has really been just to lie and enjoy getting away with it.

          • MichelleSchocked,

            Mine was the same. Everyone was shocked because he’s SO introverted, almost pathologically quiet. I had a male friend say, “But he hardly strings two words together. How is this possible?” Mine, too, slept with a co-worker (a much-younger nurse).

            Looking back I can see that I was abused and manipulated for decades. I was so enmeshed in the marriage that I didn’t see what was right in front of me. I spackled. His main manipulative tactics were: passive-aggressiveness, gaslighting, blameshifting, silent treatment.

            I agree that it’s crazy-making. I never would have left that man had I not discovered the affair. The silver lining in the shitstorm of the betrayal is that I’m away from my abuser now.

            I hope you’re doing ok. I’m sure we could swap stories as could so many others on this site who were similarly involved with covert narcs.

            • Chump up the Jam,

              It is almost never just the cheating is it? In my fws case it was also gambling. I talked to his sister for a long time yesterday, as I had called her to tell her her brother was ill and not expected to survive (my son was too upset to really talk to anyone). I knew he had gambled up a debt and filed bankruptcy, but I didn’t know he had bankrupted his mother too. What I didn’t know was that schmoopie gambled right along side of him, which in part could explain why he liked schmoopie. I was never a gambler, and would be horrified at it. When I say gambling I mean hard core gambling. I am not talking about a vacation in Vegas where you throw a small amount of money away as part of the experience, or buy an occasional lotter ticket. Whole different concept than the gambling he was doing.

              I know it is only hearsay, but it wouldn’t surprise me. If he had asked his mother for her money she would have handed it over.

              We talked a long time and cried a little. Surprising how those fw’s can still touch your heart. But, he is my son’s father; and at the time I did love him very much.

              It was a really nice talk with her, we don’t live close to each other, and aside from FB updates; hadn’t talked for years. She told me “Susie, what happened had nothing to do with you, I know how hurt your were, but “Joe” had lots of issues; and he gambled a 20 year marriage against an affair and lost, and once he did that he never stopped” She said she had told her mother that, when his life started crumbling by his own hand and his mother was trying to make excuses for him. She said she didn’t want to hurt her mother, but she needed to accept the truth.

              I do know that she stood up for me, when her mom started turning against me, I will always appreciate that. She loved her brother, but she didn’t once that I know of, ever put his sins/actions on me.

              This was all years ago that we split, but his gambling and bad decisions are a constant in his life.

      • Mine actually nick-named himself “life of the party Marty”. My kids and I would just cringe knowing his behavior with us was the exact opposite. Having the husband and or in the case of my kids the dad that your friends wished they had when you know he is treating relative strangers better than they would even consider treating you is it’s own special punishment.

        • My 5 year old told me he likes it when the neighbors come to visit because then FW “pretends to be nice.”

        • Yep it is soul crushing to see how nice he is to strangers, the loyalty and consideration to acquaintances and coworkers.. while at he doesn’t even tell us if he is coming, or if he going to be late, or where he is at, or even have his number at work. He is a great conte der for the worse husband and father contest. At least now he admits as much.

      • They really are everywhere!

        I grew up with narcissistic sociopaths, dated a slew of them, and have since met many more in social/work situations.

        Thank god for therapy that I can now see them so I can avoid them, but it’s disheartening to know this is reality. Honestly, it’s shaken a lot of my faith.

    • Langele,

      Me too.

      Cuts right through the bullshit and now, as I learn more about all of this, my life is making so much more sense…Things that puzzled me your decades are falling into place and the familiar ‘its my fault, blinders are dropping from my eyes and I feel like a caterpillar slowly emerging from a cocoon.

      Note the word slowly….its been about 4 years now.

      OP you are lucky. You do have a second chance. Many do not and are left with horribly broken families -I have grown children who are trying to put the all pieces together while trying to find their own way in life.

      Truly heartbreaking to see the impact on one’s children especially grown ones who have to face the fact that the man they thought they knew doesn’t exist and all they thought about him/family was a monumental lie because of the lies a serial cheater tells and the way they live their lives which pretty much means the neglect and discard of them.

      Hang in there. Read everything you can here. You are well on your way to freedom.

    • That is true. I got to 39 without having to deal with that. Not that I didn’t know they existed, but as it was something I never experienced myself I had many pre-conceived notions about it such as thinking that cheaters will come clean, or that it was only done when they fell in love with someone else.

      This knowledge makes me a little more sad, but I also feel wide awake now. I can never look at the world the way I used to, and that makes me miss the naive part of me, but I also feel better in the knowledge I can never be that person again.

    • “And such people walk among us. You’ll never be naive about that fact again.”
      Yes! This. You will see people in a whole different light. And for all of us, that really is a good thing.

    • 60 here too. After 26 years. I am having intensive therapy to get me through the trauma that followed September 2019, shortly after the death of my father. I am divorced and bought him out of the house (higher earner once I re-entered the workplace). It was a proper ‘runaway husband’ situation. I too wasted my fertile years on him. He hooked up with long-distance ex school girlfriend with a ready made family. I was immediately discarded in a most horrible way by his extended family who had been my family. The wasted years and the loss have been hard to get over.

      But that’s dead and gone and now it can be all about me for the first time in my life. Covert passive aggressive narcissists are a creeping danger in our society. In England, affairs are nothing to most people. ‘It is what it is’ is what we most commonly hear. Thank goodness for my likeminded friends who have been through the trauma too, and who understand.

    • You wrote exactly how I feel. I met my not yet, ex-husband at 15 years old in High School and am now 57 – married for 30+ years. I didn’t know this kind of ugly existed. It truly was like a scary movie when the mask is removed…and I could go on and on. This site has been a treasure for my sanity.
      Doubly Chumped – I suspect I am old enough to be your mother. It was awful to be chumped after 30 years and it also breaks my heart to think of you (or one of my 3 daughters) on the receiving end of cheating after only 7 months. There is no better or worse amount of time – it just hurts in different ways. You are doing all of the right things. Fake it until you make it!!! Take Care <3

  • A thing to consider, and ponder, and decide if any part of it fits for you:

    You describe being traumatized by more than one gaslighting toxic narcissist. If you’re anything like me, the reason they can sneak through your filter is because you have a background story that includes non romantic toxic narcissistic abuse going back beyond your young adult/adult relationship days.

    This can matter because we can sometimes inaccurately conflate feeling a way about a specific person with feeling a way about what the person has done — or what we hoped and dreamed the person would be in our life.

    CL is right, you’re still very early in the process. With anything we grieve (and yes, we even grieve things when we are glad to lose them, because we grieve what we had hoped and dreamed, and a little piece of ourselves as well…) it takes that whole first year just to get through all of the anniversaries of memories the first time through. That’s a big deal on its own.

    CL is also right that you are doing great work already! That’s mighty. So, I suggest, consider that it may be true that part of the ongoing work will include trauma therapy (for complex trauma, like EMDR or Brainspotting), and maybe also hard work on reducing codependence and increasing boundary skills. (This, too, is long-term work, but SO worth it.)

    Go easy on your poor, fractured heart, and don’t expect it to believe your very smart head all the time. It’s slower to catch up, but just as strong, and it will get there. We have all been there, and we can all find unique ways to say “me too” to this one. ⭐

  • I think you are well on your way to mightyness! The path to recovery will have lots of bumps though, so please be kind and compassionate with yourself when these arise.

    Staying focused on no contact will go a long way (it’s good there are no kids) but unfortunately you’re facing a double betrayal. That shit is going to mess with you for awhile. CL is spot on in regards to figuring out why they did this. I think sometimes we attribute our own values to cheaters knowing that we could and never would do anything like this. The truth is there is no why. They are trash and now is the time where you need to fight for your freedom. Stay focused on your well being and you will get there.

    You’ve got this!

  • DC,

    This all takes time …. but you have so much going for you: a FIL who clearly has your back (rare as hen’s teeth); a short marriage (so hopefully you won’t look back in time and think “I wasted half a lifetime on the cheater … just two and a half years”); no children (believe me, co-parenting with a cheater over the long term sucks); hopefully not much in terms of comingled finances and joint debt (easier to untangle) and; ……. most importantly, you have you (and I mean it). You may not feel as if you are making progress but you clearly rock at this.

    It took me 6 months post D-Day to get Ex-Mrs LFTT out of our house, a further 20 months or so to finalise our divorce and another 18 months beyond that to sort out the financial mess and debt that she’d created. And I still have another 10 months of co-parenting to go (youngest daughter is 18 in October this year). While our respective situations will – no doubt – be different, you are a long way ahead of the pack. It does get better, and the pain does reduce over time …. it’s just that each Chump is working to their own, personally unique, hour glass. The grains of sand (pain I guess) work their way from the top to the bottom in their own time. All we can do is avoid upending the hour glass by second guessing ourselves or allowing the Cheater to worm their way back in.


  • Thank you, Chump Lady for responding to my letter. To be honest, looking at my journey as only 8 weeks makes me see how far I actually have come. I’ve had many wonderful people in my life tell me I’m strong and that I’m going to be okay. But it’s hard to believe them. I still see myself as a broken person–picking up the pieces while he rides off into the sunset with his mistress. I know somehow I will be okay. And that time (unfortunately) is the biggest healer. I have always been a “barrel through life” kind of person. I guess I don’t give myself enough credit for how much I’ve done so far and give myself space to get through it.

    THANK YOU CHUMP FRIENDS. This community has saved my negative self talk and emotional spirals more times than I can count the last few weeks.

    • Hi DC:

      He and that woman rode off into the sunset like Thelma and Louise rode off in their convertible, headed for a terminal plunge into the grand canyon. (I don’t remember who said that originally, so can’t give proper attribution.) But in any case, they are headed quickly towards nowhere, and have nothing you want. You wisely hopped out of the car before it careened off, and CN is happy you did.

      • This!! There is no sunset DC. Relationships that stemmed from adultery typically don’t last. I read somewhere that happiness cannot flourish if the foundation is the suffering of others, the tears of the innocent. I figured out why the bible always talked about the blood of the innocent, I’m not religious, but I always wondered. Think about it, it is the suffering of the vulnerable and unprotected that has brought down empires, governments, dictators. Children tears, women cries, abused elderly , abandoned families… No good can come out of making innocent people suffer. It is divine justice and karma. You will prevail. FW and hobag will not.

        • No good will come out of it for selfish, shortsighted, delusional takers. We on the other hand are rid of someone who didn’t know our worth and who didn’t deserve us. And because of our chump nature, we will learn and grow from this. They won’t.

        • > Relationships that stemmed from adultery typically don’t last.

          Even the ones that last, what kind of relationship IS it, really?

          It can’t be loving or genuine. You’re looking at 2 jerks with no integrity or empathy. How does anyone build something real with that? You can’t.

          I had a scary ex in college who, in hindsight, was a malignant narcissist. Unfortunately I had no idea back then about personality disorders. This guy terrorized and brutalized women. I was fortunate to get away from him.

          He got engaged to some poor woman who would run around catering to his every whim like a servant. They weren’t even married yet, but you could tell she was beaten down.

          They’ve been married over a decade now. If you didn’t know the backstory, you might presume they’re happy due to how long they’ve been together. And how many of us here got hoodwinked for many years?

          Anyway, that’s my TED talk on why even “they’re still together!” is a useless metric for success and happiness. Plenty of miserable people are married, and plenty of predators are happily finding marriage useful (for the moment).

          • “Relationships that stemmed from adultery typically don’t last.

            Even the ones that last, what kind of relationship IS it, really?”

            I hope that chummps who don’t5 get to see or know the carnage of those marriages can understand that. I don’t care what kind of front they put on, or how many toys they get to cover for it. Those marriages consist of two people who knowingly attempted to destroy another person/persons. They can’t escape it. And if they are total narcs that have no feeling, then still how happy can they be with each other?

            • I think this ties back into Tracy’s “Untangling the Skein of Fuckedupness.”

              I’ve had the displeasure of seeing behind the mask of several narc sociopaths. These people can paint a pretty picture on social media. But behind the scenes, all of them lead horrible lives with addictions, untreated mental illness, bad marriages, bankruptcy, lies, fraud, fraud, fraud, you name it.

              And of course, they keep abusing people. I’ve seen it myself and heard stories from other witnesses. Shitty people don’t change, they only change audiences.

              I think chumps struggle to accept this because, on some level, many of us have been taught that there’s something wrong with us, that WE did something to deserve the abuse.

              What we need to remember instead is that a good person would never have abused us in the first place.

    • DC. You are amazing but do let it take time. Feel the feels. Don’t let anything fester. Grieving is for you. There are multiple stages of grief. Remember that this relationship was REAL to you and you are not losing the fuckwit, you are losing the hologram he pretended to be. That was REAL to you. The future plans were real. The trips you took, the laughs, the sex, all of it. Grieving that loss takes time. I am almost 3 years from D-Day #1 and 2 years from D-Day#4 (aka – get the fuck out day). Filed for divorce almost 2 years ago and it still hasn’t happened. Just when I think I’ve gone through the stages, new information comes up and I go backwards. I am in a much, much better place. Where you are now I was barely functioning (27 years). This is a good article on stages of grief due to betrayal. Hugs 🙂

  • Most excellent response, CL!

    To DC: You are still in very early stages. That you were together for such a short time will, indeed, allow you to recover sooner than those of us who invested years & even decades (slowly raises hand–I know I am in ‘good’ company!) hoping spouse would ‘get a clue’

    However, make no mistake: This sort of thing WILL affect you for LIFE! Not in a bad way, though. You will be fully aware that not all people ‘are good at heart’. You will learn how to navigate so as not to loose yourself to one of them ever again, whether in romance or in any other relationship. And learn what the ‘red flags’ are

    We all want to get past this stage as fast as possible, but remember this: “The hurridier I go, the behinder I get!” (Yea, I know….Not real words, but…..)

    Ever try to hurry up the baking of a souffle, a cake or meal? Cook poultry too quick on too high a temp? Yea…..THAT. Turns out pretty crappy. Some things can not be hurried.

    Same with this ‘ journey’ you are on. Keep reading here & commenting. You will get replies to your comments that will help you along.

    Also, read Dr George Simon’s book & web-site.
    As Tracy said: DO NOT spend too much time with it. Do not try to ‘untangle the skein’.

    Some of us here at ChumpNation have done a therapy called “BodyTalk” They have a web-site, Body Talk System, that explains the therapy & helps you locate a practitioner. I found it to be an excellent modality to move me along, better than ‘talk’ therapy in my case.

    Love to all as we continue to ForgeOn!

  • It’s funny, because I wrote a comment on yesterday’s post about how impatient I am to get to meh, and frustrated with myself that 4 months after the split and 10 months after d-day I’m not quite there yet. It’s not all bad, I have good days and bad days, but I just want to put it behind me forever as if it never meant anything, because after all, it didn’t. He lied to me and cheated on me with several randos for 3 years out of our 17 years together, so those “cheating years” were all a lie I want to forget about. Nothing good comes from planning your life and making decisions when you’re being deceived. I want my time and emotional energy back. I can’t get them back, but I can do things now so that no more time is stolen from me (although yet another lockdown in England is slowing me down, and that’s annoying ngl, but that’s out of my control).

    CL makes a good point here though:

    “Yeah, well, I’m sorry. Bouncing back from this kind of horror show takes time. If it didn’t take you time, I’d wonder about the state of your soul. How bonded you were. How deeply you loved. I’m sorry you hurt. It means you’re a decent human being who bonded.”

    This is what my therapist told me as well. If I didn’t hurt, then it would mean that my bond and attachments were shallow, and that’s just not who I am. I loved truly and those feelings were real to me, so it will hurt. Reading about those who did make it out of it and are now happy helps me feeling like I will get there as well. The knowledge that certain feelings aren’t forever helps as well, sadness will too go and leave nothing but a memory.

    You’re doing great by working on yourself and going no contact. Unfortunately we need to be patient and ride it out. But we will be just fine, I’m sure of that.

  • He’s probably worse than you know, hon, if his own father outed him. I know I really struggled to wrap my brain around the guy sleeping next to me being so perfidious. And people knew but never said boo to me. He treated me bad a lot but it was my kids who kept me hanging on. and what a waste of my lifetime. Go. Be free. Don’t look back.

  • You are doing awesome!

    At 8 weeks, I was a mess. Crying in the fetal position on the floor. Spending hours staring off into space. Not eating. Not sleeping. Screaming into pillows. I felt like my head would explode from the cognitive dissonance. And I didn’t have the additional betrayal of knowing the OW.

    It sounds like you are on the right track, just keep going. Recovery takes an annoying amount of time, and you can’t fast forward through it.

  • I need this today, because I so want to be ‘over it’.
    I am one year from D-Day next week. The divorce is final, I was recruited for a new job (and a promotion and significant raise), I’ m in the process of moving to an awesome new city in a warm climate and my new co- workers all seem like really good people. I’m back to my high school weight and have been taking good care of myself. I know who my friends are, and I am so grateful for all of the love and support from my friends and family, who I leaned on pretty hard some days.
    I KNOW I am mighty, and still the pain persists. I feel it every day. My head KNOWS that he sucks, that he lied to my face, that he is a duplicitous fuck, that his ‘goodbye text’ to me was basically the self-pity mind fuck channel repeat. I know that he has replaced me, that he is a man capable to betraying his only friend (or so I thought). I would not chose this person again.
    But my heart still doesn’t accept this and can’t make sense of it. The really sucky part is that I can’t just turn it off, it’s going to take a long time to extract 20 years of ‘him’ from my heart and reach meh. I’ve accepted that other people live with horrible pain, and I must too, for a while longer. I’m hoping a new city and new friends will help.

    • I am right here as well – stuck in the pain, knowing he was awful and still thinking he will wake up, change, realize what he lost and beg to come home. 22 years married- 2 kids. DDay was 2 years ago this week. Wasted a year where I thought he was reconciling but was really just image managing. I filed over a year ago, but Covid and his lawyer have delayed the process. His AP relationship blew up (his assistant at work, 20 years younger threatened lawsuit). Now he is already in another relationship. And still I sit in pain. Have done all the things, solid family home, moved with the kids to a meeting neighborhood nearby, job going well, lots of supportive friends. But every day feels the same: I wake up with this pain every day, and I go to bed with it every night. I sometimes feel just as bad as DDay. I’m just stringing days together hoping some day I’ll be better. 2 years is a long time to feel this way.

      • Oh Chumptoolong. ???? ((hug)) and COVID appropriate fist bump ????

        Yes we seem to be traveling similar paths. Day to day its better than it was, I’m not sobbing everyday like I was (it took 9 months it get to that point). So the better times are slowly creeping in.

      • And this is why I hate cheaters most of all ! They ruin good people.
        I’m so mad at what your cheater has caused in you. I identify with it alot. Eventually the pain mellows. Your heart hardens and you are someone else…
        God bless you. Hugs!

    • I get exactly what you’re saying, WiserChump b/c I’m just a little farther along from being discarded after 20 years (nearly 2 years out from DDay, 18 mos. from divorce), and the pain is still there. It’s more of a dull, persistent ache now than stabbing agony, but honestly I’m not sure it will ever fully go away. But as someone said recently to me, “Courage is acting through the fear.” And I think we could also say, “Courage is living through the pain.” Life is always painful. I’d rather be defined not by the pain but by what I do in spite of it and through it. That’s what keeps me going. And I do think it will get less and less until most days I don’t notice it at all. I think that’s called Meh. And I’m pretty sure that’s a natural process that we can’t force. BUT I do think your move to a new city with a new job and friends will really accelerate the healing process! I really wish I could leave the city where my ex lives—I feel like I’m on eggshells going around town all the time. Moving to a new place sounds wonderful. I also think we won’t ever get over the pain until we deal with the lack of self-love and self-esteem that caused us to cling so desperately to someone else’s opinion of us in the first place. The reason our abandonment hurts so badly is because we had invested too much of our essential selves in our cheating exes. We need to fix that by loving ourselves as unconditionally and intensely as we want to be loved. That will help the pain, too. Good luck! I’m pulling for you—for both of us, really.

      • I’m sorry you feel like walking on eggshells, but maybe HE should be walking on eggshells. That is YOUR town. He should go shrink off to a cave.

        I moved to where I am following FW’s career and love where I live. Low decost of living and I have such a great support system here. FW has only 1 friend in town and 1 about 5 miles out. I have over a dozen good friends and neighborhood friends who are my big supporters. They ask how I am doing. They don’t care to see FW. I wouldn’t give them and this city up for anything. I figure if he doesn’t like it, HE should move. I spent 20 years on eggshells. No more of that; I am mighty. You can do it, too!

      • Okupin
        Thanks for your kind words. I totally understand the eggshells. Everytime I’m out in public I am looking around because I’m afraid I will run into ‘them’ as we current live in saame area with same shopping. I am so looking forward to not looking over my shoulder in the grocery store.

    • Wiser, I tell myself that everyone struggles in this life. Chronic illnesses, cancers, sick children, mental health challenges, betrayals. We all suffer in different ways.

      I moved on in my life, travelled, dated, moved, got pets. Because there was no way I was going to let a cheater rob me of having a full life. He took enough.

      • This! He took enough already (15 years) , and he also wanted to take my memories as well by telling me that he faked it for years? Well the fact that fw is a cheat and a liar doesn’t mean that it wasn’t real to me or the children. I loved my marriage, my husband, my kids and my home. At least I can say I have that, he gets nothing and he doesn’t get to ruin my memories just because he is a crappy human being. He took the best years of my life, my life savings, my heart, my trust, my joy. But not my memories fucker, I am keeping those!

        • That “I never loved you shit is the most vicious” I am sure it happens, but most of the time they are lying out their ass, desperately trying to excuse what they are doing, and pin it on the betrayed spouse. They don’t even stop to think what that statement says about them. It says just the opposite of what they are trying to make people believe. They want to blame the spouse, but how can you blame your spouse for your marriage issues, when you have just said I never loved you and I lied and cheated our whole marriage.

          They flail. They don’t remember the lie they told just two mannites previous to the last one.

          • Thank you, Susie Lee! Although next month I will be 4 years out from DDay and 3-1/2 years post divorce, him saying he was never happy with me from even before we were married hurts the most. He attempts to steal away 30 happily married years of my life by saying that. He makes it not real. I needed the reminder that those words are fake. No one can fake being happy together for 30 years! And, if he was able to fake that happiness, despite all his ‘unhappiness’, there is something deeply wrong with him. But I agree with you – those “I never loved you” comments are just a way to run away to the new shiny object and leave us with the damage.

            • Yep.

              Heck when my ex fw wanted to come back home after about a month of being legally separated, the one thing I asked him is “but, you told me you never loved me, why do you want to come back.” He said “oh I just told you that to make you hate me”

              He had made such a freaking mess of his life, of course it didn’t work. He treated my like shit the whole week he was back, so I ended it. But, I do think he spoke the truth, he said it to make me hate him, so his exit would be easier for HIM. It was all about him.

              I was married 21 years. I had letters and cards and even a beautiful letter of how much he loved me written to my dad from when we were young. All a bunch of flailing shit to propel them through their nasty deeds. They need energy to do the things they are doing, and the only way they know how to get that energy is to make their spouse the bad guy. They need hostility so they create it.

              He may or may not admit it to you some day, but he will know it.

    • Wiser – I feel for you. You are grieving the loss of a illusion. Your 20yr relationship was an illusion. We all have had pain over our losses; it seems even worse realizing that our marriages were based on lies. To spend those years in something that was just an illusion…takes a bit of time to overcome. Sounds like you are doing great!

    • You are doing great.

      My guess is that pain will eventually just become a sensitive scar, then the scar will fade. For me the scar never really disappeared, but became just a painful part of the past.

      It got reopened a couple years ago when my ex pulled some crap with my son. They patched it up, but that is when I did some research and CN popped up. In hindsight it really helped me to understand a lot more about what the heck happened. I don’t consider it a bad thing to have relived it a bit. I hate that it was because of pain my son had to endure, but I guess if there is a silver lining, maybe that was it.

      Life is certainly messy, but don’t let it stop you from living and loving. Whatever form that takes.

  • I’m getting to meh…the one thing that keeps me stuck is the fact that OW was in the room when I had my biopsy. As the freaking medical assistant.

    I’m just so grossed out and angry over that.

    But…at least she wasn’t my “friend” or in my wedding.

    These people are sick and disordered.

  • It took me a long time too. It’s a hard thin to wrap your head around that someone who purports to love you (and maybe does n some level) could deceive you and cause this much pain. I agree, the fact that he’s a serial cheater is helpful (or can be if you chose to see it that way), then you know it’s not you – it’s who he is.

    One thing that is *still* difficult for me is watching him be happy. I’ve gotten over what he did. I trust that he sucks – in fact, what he did liberated me to see how much he sucks. What’s hard though is to see him be happy. I feel like he doesn’t deserve it. But alas, karma doesn’t operate on my timetable.

    Hang in there.

    • HM,
      You really don’t know if he is happy. Often these freaks have a public side (happy, shiny, look at me) and a private side (moody as hell, miserable, frustrated about things they can’t control). You may never know how they actually are feeling and this is why I like CL’s focus on YOU.

      It’s hard but really best to try to not look at what they are doing. Easier said than done – I know.

      • I agree-mine looked pretty damn happy on the outside… And he was cheating on me because apparently …. he wasn’t happy!

    • “One thing that is *still* difficult for me is watching him be happy.”

      I wonder if cutting him entirely out of your life, as in you know nothing about him, would help? I know it does for me. Every time I get as much as the tiniest detail about him I get a rush of anger and sadness, but if I know absolutely nothing about him it’s not on my mind.

    • I have had a hard time with this also, but I realized something. It is NOT that I failed to make him happy, the truth is that his anxiety, neurosis and unhappiness were caused by the pressure of living a double life, the lying, the guilt, the looking at your children in the eye after betraying them, the numbness and darkness must be unbeareable and too much work. So he looks “happier” now because he doesn’t have the guilt eating him and the pressure of keeping up with lies, hiding phones, making excuses, picking fights etc. That is the appearance. Second, once the thrill of the triangulation is gone and with no one to blame, they repeat the same pattern on their new relationship. Remember? The hook was that they were in a “loveless marriage” and we’re “unapreciated and neglected” OW took the bait and picked me danced, love bombed etc. But once FW are not victims, then the thrill of the lie and the hook is gone, so their relationships are doomed. Then repeat again.

      • This is a perfect response. My ex left me after 23 years for a friend/not a close friend but still a friend of mine who had been married for 24 years. Cheaters for 3 years that I can now account for. One of my kids was in college and one in senior year of high school when d day came. He got engaged to the OW four months after our divorce was final. She moved into his home well before that. I was close with his family. One of his siblings has said nothing to me at all since this happened. It will be 4 years this coming summer.
        I hate that he is married to that thing and that people are happy for them. WTH?!
        I don’t want him one slight but but the fact that he pretty much got away with this and tried to look like this great guy really pusses me off. People buy his shit.

    • I second what Fern wrote. Abusers aren’t happy. The mania in bipolar disorder is not joy.

      Ted Bundy was grinning like a loon when they put the hood over his head for his execution according to professional witnesses. It wasn’t defiance. The same grin kept creeping onto his face throughout his final trial when he thought no one was looking. He also didn’t want to die. So why was he smiling?

      I find the psychology of this fascinating and have wondered if that infamous reflexive grin wasn’t a clue a to how Bundy became the way he was. To me it suggests that when children are taught to put a “good face” on traumatic horror, it risks planting the seed of something monstrous under the surface.

      Like many abusers who internalize the worst of what was done to them as children and later become adult renditions of their own tormentors, Bundy denied ample evidence that he’d been severely abused as a child by a grandfather. And apparently somewhere along the way he learned to “grin and bear it.” It would make sense that the more fraught his circumstances were, the more that death’s head grin would come out.

      By pointing out clinical theories about the backgrounds of perps, I’m not arguing for clemency for abusers and killers. On the contrary– it’s an argument for stopping adult abusers by any means necessary to keep them from infecting others, especially children. In violently reenacting his own trauma at the expense of victims, Bundy might also have grinned in those moments. It’s not happiness but something demonic.

      I’m sort of making two points– displays of “happiness” can be misleading. And if you’re not able to immediately put a smiley face on trauma yourself, you’re just that much less like a psycho.

      Try to go 1000% NC if you can. Don’t let mutual contacts report on FW’s current performance art antics. It’s all bullshit. Your ex is a walking abortion.

      • “The mania in bipolar disorder is not joy”.

        Nailed it! I really needed to read this today. I have always thought FW is bipolar, I new he has been depressed since his terns and as a young adult he exhibited dangerous and wreckless behavior . Then he met me and he cool down his jets. He became much like his father, the perfect family man, devoted father, faithful husband, good provider, example of the community. Then after war triggered ptsd, depression returned and the reckless behavior started again,like another person, with incredible highs, and incredible lows, unable to deal with normal day to day situations, escapism, anxiety, sabotage, danger seem to be the only thing that makes him feel alive, he no longer enjoys family life and went as far to say that “being a father and a husband is so boring”. So booze, porn and lose women and his dangerous work is what fills his void these days, that and inflicting pain to his children and i by abandonment, neglect, cheating, lying and emotional cruelty. He looks so happy the but then comes home to me to nurse the lies. Then go enjoy his manual in expensive trips, cheap thrills and low grade women. What have I done to deserve this.

        • You’ve done nothing to deserve it. Cruelty has no kick for the genuinely cruel unless it’s done to someone undeserving. He sounds like a lot more than bipolar. He sounds like he has some criminal schism, Jekyl-Hyde split. When you see that split personality thing, the “evil” side typically hates the former innocent “victim self” and wants to punish innocence as if innocence were a form of despicable weakness. They can be very depressive but trying to help them is like trying to help an injured cobra. In its darkest form you have serial killers. Majorly messed up.

          I wouldn’t be so sure his dad was such a great guy when no one is watching. There may be a dark story lurking there. Be safe. He sounds dangerous.

          • HoC

            Thanks for another eye-opener with your description of the Jekyll-Hyde split. Not one I usually think of when people use that term.


            More pieces falling into place. Clunk.

  • You’re doing awesome for 8 weeks! It took me nearly that long to leave (although to be fair to myself, D-day was during Hurricane Irma and we lived on a sailboat — it took nearly that long for the flood waters to recede.) Eight weeks after leaving, I thought I might give him another chance. (That lasted 24 hours!) I didn’t even find Chump Lady until 8 MONTHs after D-day. You’ve already found this blog, absorbed the message and cut him off. Well done! You wasted 2.5 years on your fuckwit; I wasted 25 years. You still have the chance to find a good man (and I’m told there are some out there) and have a family. I had to go back to work after retiring and I’ll have to work until I’m 70 due to the financial abuse.

    You are doing fantastic! Go you!

  • “I’m scum. I’ll always be the cheating husband.” BELIEVE HIM. He told you what he is. And that is what the OW “won”. You, on the other hand, have a chance to rebuild your life FW free.

    8 weeks is nothing when you are undergoing cancer treatment. In many ways, you had a cancer in your life, and excising the nasty tumor is going to take a while for your body to repair.

    I believe you are doing what you can. Give yourself some grace.

    • Mine gave me the same self puting nugget: I failed you, I am a POS, everytime I look at you I get reminded of what a piece of trash I am. It is not that you are worthless, I am worthless and I have to look at the mirror everyday with that knowledge”. Boo hoo. His way of fixing his convince was to break free to chase skirts without having to lie anymore. Narc.

    • “ Believe him. He told you what he is”.

      My ex often told me he wasn’t a good person, said he felt like a liar and a fake.
      I spent much of my marriage telling him what a good man he was and all the good things I saw in him. Guess who ended up being right ????

      Lesson learned: If they SAY they are a POS, sneaky shit, devious fuck – believe them. Dont try to ‘love them thru it’.

      • THIS! When we were dating and then engaged, all these hints that he really wasn’t a good person. And me trying to shore him up, insisting he was wonderful. Found out two decades later that when he met me, he was in a long distance relationship with someone else and she considered me the OW! My SIL went to her high school reunion and heard the whole story about her FW brother and then called me and asked me if I knew FW was with this other person when I started dating him. Of course not! I wouldn’t have had anything to do with him!

        When they say they are trash, it’s no lie. You accidentally chose to marry a pile of dog doo doo that was hiding under sparkles. Accept it. Move on. Don’t think for one minute that when he looks at you he has any guilt being reminded he is a POS. If he had morals like that, he wouldn’t have done all he did.

        They ought to teach this to kids in high school. Listen up, teens. If you date someone who tells you they are awful, it’s truth. Turn and run. They know better than you ever will. RUN.

      • WiserChump,

        Yep, I did this for decades too. Slapped myself a good tender loving one when I finally saw the light but I am not sure if I ever would have seen it had not discard happened or if I hadn’t found LACGAL. He sure wasn’t going to tell me….

        I love it when the truth finally gets through and another big weight of self-flagellation falls away just by knowing the truth!!!

    • Mine kept telling me during our “open marriage” phase (read: he screwed around with the OW while I was too depressed to do anything) “You’ll find a better guy”. Now I haven’t actually been on any dates, but that is still the single most honest thing Nitwit ever said to me. A vibrator is a better guy than he is and I don’t even like them.

  • I wonder if your ex is the reason the OW and husband divorced? Wouldn’t hurt to let her ex know the true character of his child’s mother although with a prior affair before your husband (or maybe she was seeing both OM at the same time) her ex may have her number. Her poor kid, what a life she is in for…
    Not that you should care but these two sleazebags will not last. He’ll cheat on her if he’s not already. I know this has already been stated but you dodged a bullet and a year from now you will be so grateful/relieved that this “man” is not part of your life.

  • This shit takes YEARS.

    Especially if you have to spend the first few devastated WHILE digging yourself out of that hole…THEN comes healing.

    It’ll be 4 years for me this Spring. Sometimes I (very) fleetingly even miss “him”.

    But take all that pain in stride, because you’re the fruit at the end of it.

  • Oh my goodness.

    Expectation recalibrations are in order here, STAT.

    This is a COLOSSAL emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, sexual injury.


    Exponentially compounded by the participation of a “friend”.

    This takes YEARS to heal from and leaves major scars and lasting effects. A giant war wound, intentionally inflicted on you, by not one but TWO from who should have been on your side.

    I just passed the three year mark. I am much better but not yet indifferent. I know some who reach total indifference and some who heal and never get to feeling completely neutral about their assailants.

    When you have gaping slash wounds, the size of the knife is irrelevant. The size of the pain does not neatly correspond necessarily with how much time you were with someone. The length of time it hurts and the length of your life that comes into question might.

    Before I was the victim of infidelity, I had no idea how massive the pain and damage was. In the stuff of movies and books and TV shows, it is comic fodder, no big deal, a paper cut, justified, normalized. My opinions and beliefs about it were completely wiped out when it happened to me. What most of us see and hear about it has nothing to do with the reality of it. That’s why you’re wondering why you are not All Better by now.

    It’s baptism by boiling tar and feathers and open wound and salt.

    Intentionally inflicted trauma is THE MOST DIFFICULT trauma to heal from, according to Dr. Peter Levine, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma.

    You have landed in very good company for dealing with this by finding Chump Lady’s blog.

    I am very sorry for your loss. This is the lifeboat….stay here! Those two losers are back on the Titanic, swapping deck chairs.

    • “I had no idea of the trauma”

      When we were still talking I told my ex “justice will be when she does to you what you’ve just done to me and YOU can feel some of this pain”

      ???? *beep beep* karma bus

  • You are doing better than you think. You want to figure it all out and thats normal . You cant believe this has happened to you. It did and it had nothing to do with you or anything you did or did not do. Those two are sick and demented individuals. They are just trash and he is a serial cheater. They are both miserable people that have found each other and will probably rot together. I so get how you feel ,even after many years my head may go there for a few minutes but through time I can now push through that flashback and let it go. Its traumatic and i don’t think you ever get over it but it diminishes and does not effect badly anymore, just something you learned and conquered . Hang in there and I bet you will get to a great place sooner than later. Took me way longer but then again I chose to indulge in misery . Im in a good place now and so will you.

  • You invested 2.5 years of your life with him – it’s going to take Tincture of Time (TM) to reach “ugh – so over this!”

    It won’t be forever but it won’t be today. Plus 2020 and 2021 have been unnerving for many. But I suspect that by the end of 2021 you’ll feel much better.

  • I don’t know that anyone actually “gets over it”. Not to sound all doom and gloom. It’s been 30 years ago for me and I still have nightmares and triggers. I have “moved on” and I really believe I’m stronger now . However years ago I was trusting ,optimistic , enthusiastic, willing, unwavering, romantic, an activist, determined and hopeful. Now I doubt more am overly cynical keep otherwise good people at arms length…in short I’m a damaged version of who I once was and at times an asshole. Early attempts at dating back then led me to hurt some very lovely people ( for the record I have written cards and letters to those wonderful ladies apologizing without defence) I didn’t like what this did to me. I have been better and trust a little bit more. I fear at my age and in light of my history I may just be a curmudgeon forever. You on the other hand have youth strength and a better attitude going for you. Had I picked myself up and dusted myself off all that time ago I’d not be here writing this. Blessings for the future.

    • I wish the internet, CL and CN had been around years ago but alas they weren’t.
      Thank God they’re here now so there’s a reasonable, sane place that names what cheating is (massive trauma, as Velvet Hammer points out, for spouses, partners and any children, even grands). Plus instructions and support on self-protection and healing. Unfortunately there are scars.

  • I am 4 years post-divorce and 4.5 years post-DDay following a 5 year marriage with no children. I am 33. I drop in to Chump Nation ~monthly but for the first two years it was daily. Tbh, my Tuesday arrived some time in the last 6 months so I know the internal self flogging of “you’re too slow” quite well. What helped?

    1. No contact. All forms. No exceptions.
    2. Your healing will happen in fits and starts. There is no finish line, just onion layers to keep peeling back.
    3. It’s not the pain olympics. We each have a unique journey. To those “dodged a bullet to be child free” folks – agreed and STILL fiercely envious that you get to experience the gift of parenthood. There are pros/cons to every story.
    4. It took me a “long time” to heal because I committed wholly, in the deepest possible way, without any hesitation or inkling this match wasn’t lifelong. This is a reflection of my strong heart, not weakness.
    5. Celebrate small wins. While journaling a few weeks ago I spontaneously wrote “… my first marriage”, stopped myself, and did a huge hurrah because it felt very significant that I recognized the possibility of another marriage by using the label “first”. Groundbreaking? No. But I’ll take it!

    Go your own speed.

    • That’s so cool that you wrote “first marriage.” Einsteinian intuition at work?

      Recent Nobel winner in physics Roger Penrose theorized that quantum functions in the brain’s microtubules could account for premonition and deja vu. According to the Penrose’s take on the Einstein-Rosen bridge theory, subatomic worm holes may exist within or around us through which the past and future periodically “leak.”

      Anyway, thought I’d share some fun physics in support of your vision of the future. You don’t have to be a Psychic Network fan or a purveyor of woo to put a little stake in positive projections or gut instincts.

    • Good for you! I started referring to FW as “my son’s father” after the last D Day. No one had filed yet or anything but to consider that trash my husband wasn’t acceptable. He donated a sperm to make my son (literally – it was IVF) so that is his technical title. He never acted like a husband and stopped wearing his ring so I moved right on. He told me he felt like my roommate so maybe one day if I ever need to refer to him and it is not in relation to my son, that is what he can be. My old roommate. Being able to move on to those kind of descriptors without much thought puts them in a mental box and shuts down the emotional response they used to elicit.

      • I’ve at times referred to ex as the “previous occupant.” I got my beautiful home with 99%% of the contents in the divorce….someone I used to know once lived here.

  • I think I got this from the therapist who runs the divorce support group I’m in, but someone told me that getting over a relationship is going to be different for each person every time. As long as you are getting better inch-by-inch, there’s no right or wrong. As long as you aren’t going down the vortex, it’s OK to have a few messy days and some struggles.

    I listened to an interview yesterday with someone who has a very similar story to mine. Decades of marriage, grown kids, a little older than me. She claimed that she was completely over it and doing great. I found that surprising. I am doing great, but at times I find that I’m not completely over it. The holidays were hard for me, and I cried over a recent turn of events because my ex missed something good going on with one of our adult children. They went no contact with him when the divorce started as I did and have remained so. But if that lady is completely over it, good for her. I know that I’m mostly over it, but not quite.

    So we just keep going. Thankfully I’ve never gotten stuck and have solid friends who aren’t afraid of hearing my doubts and struggles, as I hear theirs. Some of my married friends have problems with their husbands that aren’t divorce-worthy in their minds but are still problems. I don’t think any of us has an easy time all of the time, but as long as we keep going, that’s good.

    But I get up every day, get my personal affairs and work done, and life goes on.

  • One of the biggest things that helped me shake off the paralyzing dark doldrums after D-Day was ditching all the pop-psych self help “narcissism” theories (which have become a kind of cottage industry steering dollars, clicks and notariety to theorists and practitioners under this mod banner) and “sex addiction” CSAT crap and realizing I was, in fact, battered.

    FW was a batterer. Shmoops was a fully knowing proxy abuser. It was akin to gang sexual abuse. They were criminal. I was a victim of crime. Full stop.

    That’s a hard thing for anyone to admit about themselves. There are male chumps who have been subjected to the same types of abuses and it might be particularly gruesome and culturally shaming for men to think “I was battered. I’m a battered man.” But in truth it’s culturally shaming for anyone who started out with basic self esteem. The stronger you thought you were to start with (and abusers often choose “challenging” targets), the more shameful it feels to fall prey. There’s a brilliant passage in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd about how the heroine, Bathsheba Everdeen, by virtue of always having thought of herself as strong and independant, crumbled more thoroughly under marital abuse than a weaker person might have because the weaker person had less distance to plummet when they fell.

    Admitting to being “battered” comes with the baggage of antiquated and toxic cultural assumptions about victims– that we’re “drawn” to abuse and draw abusers to ourselves via our pathological Voodoo tractor beams. But that’s an old school view and the deeper you dig into more current research on it (which requires getting off the “narc,” RIC and CSAT tracks), the more it becomes apparent that the old view has been concretely and statistically debunked. In dv, it’s only the abusers who statistically come from predictable backgrounds and show predictable preexisting pathologies while victims of dv come from every background and psychological disposition imaginable. In short, just because average people have hardwired vulnerabilities to having our emotional and nervous systems hacked in particular ways proves nothing about the victims but says everything about the “hackers.”

    DV expert Richard Gelles makes the case that the stress endured by dv victims is pretty much indistinguishable from the stress endured by hostages. The psychological methods of captors and batterers are essentially the same. The East German Stasi was actually far better at destroying dissidents than more physically violent regimes because they soecialized in “breaking souls, not bones.” Either Gelles or another author argued that even battle-tested military intelligence specialists are trained to understand that if they fall into enemy hands and are subjected to certain stressors, they’ll likely crack like piñatas. It’s not a reflection of weakness, just of being human.

    Maybe the boiling frog abuse I was subjected to was “subviolent” according to some, but the cutting edge view in criminology is that things like exposing someone to STDs without consent is categorically violent, as is financial abuse/control and gaslighting, not to mention sly threats– in my case–to my custody of my own children. Personally, the latter is a threat worse than death to me– absolutely paralyzing and far worse than being beaten unconscious with a tire iron in terms of coercion and intimidation. At least in the tire iron scenario, bruises stand ss evidence and the perp might end up in jail. This is not to minimize the impact of overt violence. I was stalked and assaulted by a psychopathic coworker and went through the criminal court process years ago. The latter, if more accutely terrifying and literally scarring, was easier to recover from.

    When this dawned on me, I stopped reading all the “narcissistic abuse” stuff and went back to the training material I once had to read for dv victim advocacy years ago. Then– “click”– certain things slid into place in my mind. The clouds cleared. My mental state made more sense and the path to recovery was clearer.

    I was recently lurking on another site and reading about how CSAT and RIC practitioners steal terminology from clinical studies of domestic violence perps and victims and then rebrand and rename the concepts to surgically remove the more serious ramifications. In this way, therapists in these fields can shield themselves from losing their licenses for unethically attempting to reconcile real victims of dangerous abuse with their really dangerous abusers. Because, you see, the violence has been excised from the scenario. Victims are not informed that they’re acting just like battering victims and so are essentially cut off from the resources that would be the most effective in addressing the specific syndrome these victims are suffering from. By extension, the authority figure (therapist), is refusing to give permission to the victim to view their abuser through this lens.

    Just because it may be currently unlegislatable to outlaw certain forms of intimate abuse does not mean these abuses aren’t categorically *criminal*– arising from the *criminal* mentality and *criminal* disorders (not the same thing as sad sausage “crazy”) of perpetrators and their acomplices. Something being technically legal does not mean victims won’t show every symptom if being victims of *crime*.

    I’ve grown tired of the modern “narc” psychobabble cottage industry. Older diagnostic labels like “megalomania” and criminal categories of borderline and antisocial personality disorders already had that stuff well covered and came with built in warnings and decades of statistics showing how seriously dangerous people with those dispositions can be and how exposure to their methods can cause real PTSD, not just a watered down “virtual” form of it (i.e. “betrayal trauma”).

    • p.s., I started taking a harder line on this after reading CL’s account of a Twitter exchange she had with Esther Perel in which Perel imperiously decreed that CL had been thtough something essentially worse/darker/different than plain old cheating.

      Haven’t we all, dude. Haven’t we all.

      • “essentially worse/darker/different than plain old cheating.”

        Right? That is the whole point, all the lies, gaslighting, financial fraud etc is part and parcel of the cheating activity. Yes, I know ONS unicorn. But, most cheaters have been at it for a long time upon discovery.

        Why do these charlatans keep hiding this? (rhetorical)

    • Interesting read Hell of a Chump. I tend to agree that the PTSD aspect of it is often not acknowledged. The longer it goes on, the more it would take to heal I suppose too. Healing is not a simple process. Chumps are forced there by way of unpacking the layers of spackling over our own acceptance of chumpdom. Where did that come from?
      I have unpacked it down to my own childhood with a narc mother and an enabling father, and me being the scapegoat in a triangulated dysfunction with my golden child brother. I took the burden of my mothers dysfunction and the emotional impact of her adult problems. This realisation was a huge shock and betrayal at the most sacred level. I’m still not over that even though I have been no contact with my mother for many years. I suspect I’ll get over the FW cheater husband quicker than the betrayal by my own mother. When you are not loved adequately by your parents, you will never feel good enough. I take that lesson to my own parenting. The most important thing that I can ever do is parent my kids well. The FW has raised all hell in the area of parenting (even attending parenting classes for pete’s sake!) but never quite managed to get over himself enough to be the parental rock that kids need growing up. He created insecurity for everyone in our household. My eldest daughter left at 16. I have my youngest 14 year old still at home. She is a sensitive kid and finding it hard, now going through the second D-Day in 4 years. The discomfort of our fake family life has affected her in a way that I will feel guilty about for the rest of my life probably. The energy that I used up on the FW cheater should have been taken away a long time ago and put into single parenting my kids. As a result of prolonging the marriage (22 years into it), I’m exhausted. The physical ailments that come with CPTSD slowly eat away at your body as well. It’s not just a mindfuck, it’s a bodyfuck too. It’s a long road to recovery. The chumps that have walked this road give me so much hope. This blog is such a blessing for getting yourself out of the turd pile.

    • >>I was recently lurking on another site and reading about how CSAT and RIC practitioners steal terminology from clinical studies of domestic violence perps and victims and then rebrand and rename the concepts to surgically remove the more serious ramifications.

      Can you share that link? Sounds like word needs to be spread about that. I’ve been reading a lot about narcs lately. Have you checked out Dr George Simon on character disturbances? Protecting your children from that sounds terrifying.

    • Hell of a Chump,

      I am so glad you are taking the time to share what you have uncovered with us here at CN.

      You have put into words what I have been struggling to name for the past 3 years as I have been wading though my own confusion after 30+ years with a covert passive aggressive narcissist.

      I first landed in the RIC crowd because that is all I could find and I was thoroughly conditioned via society, religion, education and family hx. to try to ‘fix it’.

      Took me well over a year before I discovered LACGAL and my RIC days were gone. My life changed radically and finally I was able to see and the seeing keeps unfolding on a regular basis.

      I did read a bit on dv but unexpected circumstances intervened and my time to read came to an abrupt halt.

      I would love any titles you would recommend so I can ‘further my education’ when time permits.

      I have turned into a really pissed off older woman. ( I used to be very accepting and tolerant and…..all the chump characteristics rolled into one big bag of denial. ) Now that I see how I was manipulated from the get-go and I am beginning to piece together what happened to my self-esteem and my entire outlook on life along the way.

      I am interested in hopefully finding out why some of us can walk away and never look back while for some of us it turns our entire world upside down – no stone left unturned.

      This chapter in my life has pretty much completely unhinged everything I once believed about my self, family, life and I even find myself wondering what is the purpose of life for it all seems so horribly cruel and unjust.

      I am at the stage where I feel like it is all a huge lie and those of us who are truly good people are being fed into a human shredder by monsters who simply do not give a hoot about anything other than themselves and their images….bleak outlook yet I know this too shall pass as did my RIC days… Just leaves me fluctuating between outrage and deep, deep grief.

      Reading does help me assuage this pain a bit at a time.

      • I dont’ know EC.

        I am not convinced many just walk away, it may just seem like it. I don’t know your circumstances, but I was age 40, and had just started working full time a couple years previous to D Day. I hung on to my job with an iron grip, and it became my focus. To some it might seem like I just walked away. But, I spent a lot of time after work, in my house alone just existing.

        I just found out my ex died about an hour ago, and it is surprising how it hit me. Of course most of that is sorrow for my son.

        • SL

          Please note that I wrote, ‘some of us walk away’ not many.

          I am sorry that you have had to go through all of this and now a death too.

          • Oh I know, I was just trying to make sense of things that for the most part will never make sense to most of us.

            I just wish some of these folks could know or even care about the damage they cause. But as CL says if they had the capacity, they likely wouldn’t do it in the first place. They would be chumps instead. ????‍♂️

  • I love Tracy’s last remarks:

    “You have the chance to be (loved) now. And you never, ever had the chance to be loved properly while married to him.”

    This gave me hope. And perspective. I was looking for love in him trying to fix things up when in fact, there was none for me. I want to think that love may be a possibility for me sometime. Not now, I’m too wounded and I don’t want to hurt anyone. I am 46 years old, fit and attractive, fun and funny, but fear that if I don’t hurry up I will end up alone as my cute years will be gone soon. I know hurrying up will only lead me to another narc that only cares about looks and sex. I might just die alone and be done.

    • Fix your picker. Take a year (or two) and don’t date, no matter what. Being in a hurry is a recipe for attracting a predator. Your “cute years” won’t be gone a year from now. What you want to add to your attractions is something deeper than being fit and fun. You want to work on your character, in this case by raising your standards about who you let in your life. You want to learn how to recognize character in people and to stay away from narcissistic types and abusers.

      Here’s the realistic news: once you are my age (69), you realize that based on statistics, many of us women will end up “alone,” if by that you mean “not cohabiting with a man.” So now is the time for you to get comfortable with yourself, to enhance your confidence in something more than your physical attractiveness and your ability to be “fun.” You can’t attract men with depth if you don’t have it yourself. You won’t even see that. Of course, you are much more than what you indicate here, but maybe you haven’t really seen your kindness (e.g., knowing not to hurt others in a rebound) and your intelligence and your honesty are attractive qualities to other people like that.

      If you’re in therapy, this is an issue I would raise: how can I value my high character qualities? How can I learn to recognize good character when I see it?

      And yes, I have a steady relationship with a man a bit younger than myself. His best characteristics? Kind. Generous. Smart. Honest. And funny. That makes him “cute” to me.

    • Queen

      I get it. I’m 49. I loved being married, I wanted a home and a partner to share my life with. I valued those things. He didn’t. He told me “I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you your marriage is over” (not OUR marriage, as if I was married and he wasn’t). The raw pain of being dumped is amplified by the fear of being alone forever.

      Weirdly, the words of Rhett Butler kept playing in my head “the world is full of any thing and many people and I shant be lonely” (I know, not the best guy, and also kind of a chump. But he had terrible breath and still he decided he wouldnt be alone.).

      There are plenty of other people, some of who maybe just got shit on, that need a friend, that want to spend time with a fun and funny person. Alone and lonely are two different things.

  • DC,

    You’re still in the stage where you need to tell your story. So it will be helpful to be here, to read about other chumps and their experiences, to tell your story in different ways until it’s no longer the dominant story in your life. One thing that helps us here is that telling our stories helps us to sort out what happened to us. You were abused by both of these people. The pain resulting from that is natural.

    Do NOT try to rush through the pain stage. Feel the feels. Remember that feelings will come and go. That’s normal. But this is a powerful opportunity to learn to manage pain, disappointment, and heartache without creating a situation where old stuff comes back once you start a new chapter in you life.

    You’re almost certainly very young. But it’s clear that you need to fix your picker. Here’s where I take a different road than CL. While I don’t recommend psychological diagnosing cheaters and other predators, it’s helpful to understand that they are not like you and me. They could hurt you as they did because their values, their emotional capacity, and their psychological wiring is very different from yours. You should learn to recognize when you are PROJECTING your own values onto these two hyenas. You wonder how your “friend” could be so deceptive? Because she’s a liar. A cheat. Someone who seeks out “Duper’s Delight.” Someone whose favorite game is “I know something you don’t know.” So I think it’s smart to learn that not all people have good character. I’d recommend you to Dr. George Simon’s website on “Manipulative People.”

    Fixing your picker will also involve figuring out why you picked your XH. Out of billions of people, why this guy? And how can you fix that picker and set it to someone who is HONEST, KIND, RELIABLE, ACCOUNTABLE, CAPABLE OF LOVE, CAPABLE OF RECIPROCITY, SELF-REFLECTIVE, AND UNSELFISH. If you picked a pretty face, rethink what is attractive to you. If you got lovebombed, learn about what that is. That might mean you need to date yourself for a while, to learn to love yourself first and that romantic love is not the only love that matters. The picker-fixing extends to your friends. Take a look at their behavior, not just how long you’ve known them or how much fun they are, or their proximity to your location or your job.

    So the pain you’re feeling can propel you into the kind of growth that will not have you back here in 2 years being Triple Chumped.

    • I think all the indicators are there that she is young, too. I have often wondered how my life would have been different if I had been young when I finally got all my ducks in a row, but that would have been someone else’s life. Also good point about no guarantees about being with someone, or alone. Your spouse could die, or have a terrible illness. We have to be self sufficient, we can enjoy a companion but not depend on one.

      I started putting the pieces together in my late 20’s, and didn’t really come to a good understanding for 20 years. Maybe I am a slow learner. But I think you have to learn to enjoy the journey, and the sights you see along the way. The destination, MEH is not the end of the road, just a great goal to have for a homeplace. I still am learning, my life is just not as turbulent now.

      I also believe that although we can study disordered behaviors, they will never make sense to us. We could not act like they do, and would not want to. I can study all sorts of other life forms, but I can not become one (thank heaven!). The young need to develop patience, and how to accept not being or having everything. That is one of the really good things age has taught me!

  • What if it isn’t narcissism or any of that, but rather they were unhappy, I wasn’t a great wife because I was tired of doing all the kids stuff, they felt neglected, etc. they simply stopped loving us. Fell into available arms and then it all blew up. They left, moved on. No real mystery, yes, some shitty decisions, no affair partner anymore but they are happily feee. Why can’t I just get over that reality? He stopped loving me after 10, 15 years and it took 5 years to blow up because he didn’t want to hurt me with divorce- but now he is so relieved of it all. What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I demand more or do more to fix it when I was unhappy?

    • It doesn’t have to be narcissism. But someone who feels neglected can speak up, go to counseling, suggest marital counseling, start doing date nights. It’s a decision to cheat, to lie, to betray. You say he “didn’t want to hurt you with divorce” but was fine with hurting you with an affair and then making his exit? I think you give him too much credit. What happened is not your fault.

      We all can learn about ourselves from these betrayals–how to have higher standards, how to speak up, how to choose partners who will share the tough work of life (like raising kids or sickness). We can learn to cherish things that make us happy and expect reciprocity from a partner.

      You are doing a lot of looking back in this post, but where are you now in life? What are you doing to build your new life? What makes you happy and fulfilled? That’s where to put your mental energy.

    • Let me get this straight; it’s your fault because he felt neglected by you TAKING CARE OF HIS KIDS? If that isn’t narcissism, what is it? He really gaslit you well and has you blaming yourself even after he cheated and left. Wow.

      Btw, people don’t just “fall out of love”, anymore than they “fall” in it. It takes a series of decisions and choices to either create or destroy feelings. He chose to destroy any feelings he had, to destroy a whole family, and it sounds like he’s been saying it was because he was jealous of how much time and attention his own kids were getting. He may or may not be diagnosable as NPD, but like all cheaters, he is definitely narcissistic. If he didn’t want to be a parent he didn’t have to. He chose to, then decided it sucked because you couldn’t pull off a miracle and constantly pamper a big, spoiled man-baby as well as a bunch of kids. Get angry! This man is a noxious POS. The gall of blame you for the demise of your marriage because you had to be a parent is astounding. The path he neglected to take would have involved actually HELPING you more so that you had more time for him. He neglected to take it because he is selfish and lazy. It was easier and more ego-gratifying to cheat. I had a cheater like that. After being caught, he blamed it on me not giving him enough time and attention. I was dealing with a disabled, severely mentally ill child who needed constant supervision, as well as having health problems of my own. If the SOB had actually done his share of the work, I’d have had more time and energy for him. So I called bullshit on that excuse. That’s all it is; an excuse, and a particularly offensive one. Please try to internalize that. Cheaters don’t ever give reasons, they just make excuses. Giving reasons would mean admitting that they are immature, self centered people with crappy character and poor impulse control.

      Don’t buy his spin that he stopped loving you but stayed to avoid hurting you, either. He stayed because you were still of use to him, until he found somebody else more useful, then he had no problem hurting you by cheating on you and dumping you. He’s relieved now because he’s free of the responsibilities of family life, not because you weren’t a good wife. This guy just doesn’t like to adult. Btw, cheaters always say they haven’t loved you for a long time. It’s on page one of the cheater playbook. They think love is feeling all tingly and giddy, obsessing over the person and having butterflies in the tummy. They are eternal adolescents who don’t know one damn thing about love. No matter who he’s with, that feeling will fade, and he’ll cheat to get it back.

      So please stop believing his blameshifting lies. That’s when the healing starts. If you keep blaming yourself for what are actually his failures and character defects you’ll never get past it.

    • If he was unhappy, maybe helping you with the kids would have made you more loving. Why do you say “I wasn’t a good wife” when it is obvious he wasn’t a good husband either. Yes if you were unhappy, you should have spoken up, and as should he have.

      He could have told you up front he was having issues, and you both could have fixed them, or gone your separate ways without the awful lying, cheating, etc. But, he chose to lie and cheat. I am assuming you didn’t.

      But, true he is free now. And here is the kicker, so are you. Now go have a wonderful life. I wish you the best. Unfortunately we can’t go back and fix it. Just learn from it.

    • Chumptoolong – HE’S shitty.
      He ‘stopped loving you’? When? Most likely it was AFTER he was already acting inappropriately. He had an affair. He chose to deal with the lull in his marriage, not by turning towards his wife, but by fucking someone else.

      Me Ex told me that the marriage ‘changed for him’ when I went thru about 6-8 months of panic attacks and depression SIX YEARS BEFORE (I had made full recovery). News to me. At that time I was terrified, struggling, thought I was losing my mind, and I needed my husband….and he checked out on me. After that, we never had one conversation about his concern for our relationship. He just started messaging another woman. SHITTY. When I was sick he told me “you need to start taking medication because I can’t take this anymore”. SHITTY. And “the only thing you care about is the dog (Yup. I didn’t have kids so he had to be jealous of the dog). SHITTY.

      He made it about him. It will always be about him.

  • Doubly Chumped, CL is so right. It’s way too early to expect anything remotely resembling healing. Girl, it took me over a year just to stop crying every single day. So you’re doing incredibly well to even think about being past it at this point. That shows that healing isn’t far off into the hazy distance as it is for so many chumps.

    You seem very strong and it sounds like you’re young. You have every chance in the world to find somebody who will cherish you. Thank heaven you weren’t duped for decades as so many of us were, leaving us with a very slim chance of starting over with somebody else. Thank heaven you didn’t breed with this asshole. You’ll never have to experience the toxicity of coparenting with the disordered, and you aren’t tied to him in any way. You can go full NC and eventually forget he exists.

    I know you’re in too much pain to count your blessings right now, but some day you will be so relieved that you didn’t invest a lifetime in that freak or have children with him. That I can promise you. When you are further along you won’t be obsessing about the injustice of it anymore either. Being chumped isn’t fair, it isn’t right, and it’s infuriating that cheaters and APs (particularly so-called friends!) get away with it. The reality is that your STBX and his ho are deeply disturbed people of the hostile, anti-social sort who decided to abuse you to get their kicks. It’s horrible, but eventually you will accept it as just something shitty that happened. So let OW support his sorry ass, take this time to concentrate on yourself, and sail off into a great new life.

  • I must say that not only am I amazed at how far you have come in two months, but I am very impressed by all that you have learned about his activities in such a short time. It took me almost a year to piece together most of the picture that I now understand was the true reality of my marriage. I’m three years out and I still see my counsellor once a month to work on things that linger because I still have to see my ex as we share two children.

    You are exactly where you need to be and doing all the right things.

    The truth is that you need to feel these feelings (sense of injustice, disgust, anger, sadness) and process them in due time as part of the healing process. You really don’t want to rush this if you have hope of becoming mentally and emotionally healthy. The wisdom from this experience comes from the painful process of healing, whereby you will become smarter at identifying red flags, stronger in setting boundaries, savvier about the reality of human nature and relationships, more compassionate of the feelings and experiences of the suffering of others, and more comfortable being in your own company. However mush this suck, and it does, you will be able to turn this into your favour with time.

  • There isn’t much else I can say that hasn’t already been said, welcome to Chump Nation.

    One thought did come to my devious little mind… if you can prove he was cheating on your before the wedding and after the wedding with this ho-bag (maybe a nice affidavit statement from FIL?) and you gather up all your receipts for the wedding… you might just get a judge who thinks you deserve restitution for all expenses… could take you on a nice vacation sans one cheating fuckwit? Worth a shot!

    • Sue him for fraud! I like it. After all… marriage is a contract and she entered into it while he was withholding material information from her which undoubtedly would have led her to make a different decision. I’m sure a judge might be interested in compensating her for that. Worth a try.

  • DC – of course you are not over it. What happened to you is one of the cruelest, manipulative, mindf*cks ever. Your ex and the OW bridesmaid are sociopaths. This would leave anyone traumatized for a very long time. There is no way to rationalize or wrap your head around how anyone could be so deceitful, callous, cruel and lack empathy for what they have done to you. It’s nuts. You may benefit from PTSD therapy.

    The ex and bridesmaid twat are sick and disordered people. And yes, you invested time and years into wretched people. There is nothing you can do to turn back the clock except accept this has happened to you and try to do your best to move forward. Have compassion for yourself. (And sociopaths wreak havoc everywhere – neither will be happy long term, even if it looks that way now. )

  • Doubly Chumped,

    I’m so glad your faith community sided with you and banned the cheater. Chumps who have supportive friends, families and circles can count their blessings.

    Still, to this day, divorcées are often cast aside for two reasons. Firstly, fear that the newly single will try to poach other women’s husbands. And the “Ew ! Get away from us with your divorce cooties !” phenomenon. I don’t see this happen often with divorcés.

    When my mother died, long after my parents breakup, I went through the divorce box. I met one of Harlow’s affair partners, Gladys McDogface. Not sure if she was the same woman who called the house. There was another one from a trip abroad.

    My parents belonged to the local Episcopal church and took two trips to Israel with other congregants, led by one of the reverends. H. broke the 6th and 9th commandments with either one of other guests or an Israeli tour guide. My mother didn’t identify the whore in her journal and notes for the divorce attorney. I’m certain the other travelers and Rev. BM witnessed it, gossiped and blamed my mother. Here is how I know.

    My mother’s cremains are interred in the church’s memory garden and some nasty asshole in the church office misordered her name plaque. My father’s first name was used as her middle/maiden; she kept his surname after the divorce for the sake of her children. I live far away from my hometown and visit every few years. When I noticed this cruel error, I went and complained to the new church secretary.

    A disturbing group dynamic when a victim is ganged up on by bystanders. I witnessed the same psycho behavior with a sophomore uni roommate who was shunned by her freshman year clique. She became suicidal, dropped out to spend time at Silver Hill Hospital and never finished her undergraduate degree. I felt sorry for her but was glad to see her go. The urinating on our dorm door stopped.

    These types are not part of my chosen tribe.

  • DC,
    My XW and I were together almost 17 years, and this March will mark 36 months since D-day. I’m 53, and it has been the most difficult period of my life. But now, at this juncture, I can tell you with confidence that it gets better, and time is your friend. As CL has said, it takes time to heal, and we all do it at our own pace – for some it is short, for others it takes a while. I can look back on the early days and recall how confused, alone and hopeless I felt, but that was then and this is now. After nearly 36 months, I can’t say I’m completely healed, but I’m close.
    My point is this, keep doing what you’re doing, stay no-contact, be good to yourself, lean on family and friends, give it time and be patient. “Tuesday” will eventually come. I promise.

  • It took me two years. Plus multiple D Days after I had left him. The truth came out but still only tip of the iceberg.

    Doing shadow work and trauma recovery work is what healed me. Lockdowns helped too. I’d already isolated for a year before that, but the lockdown gave me double the value of working on me, on my own, and why I was stuck ruminating over the betrayal.

    Leaving the recovery groups also helped. It was just more external validations and invalidations. It was sending me backwards.

    Focus on you, and who you want to be, on your own. No one there to validate you, to make you “complete” (only we can make ourselves complete).

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