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Is He Winning?

Dear Chump Lady,

I read your book twice and I am trying to figure out if I am a chump even though I don’t believe I have been cheated on, your advice resonates with me, so maybe I am with a cheater?

Here’s the scoop, I am 44 years old and I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 9 years. In that 9 year span we took a break twice. Usually the reasons were geared around me not feeling like he was connecting with me intimately. He doesn’t like to communicate his needs and instead gets flustered at my need to talk things out. This usually results in him saying that our relationship is immature and that at his age (49), he shouldn’t have to deal with this. Our lack of intimacy has been so frustrating to me — we have not had sex in TWO years. When I ask him about this, he tends to deflect and brings up situations where he felt I wasn’t trusting towards him. For instance, on two occasions he said he was going to spend the night at a female friend’s house (she is married and has a kid) to make music in her makeshift studio. I expressed my resentment at this and instead of showing empathy, he listed all the reasons why I should not be so controlling of him and his desire to hang out with his friend and make music.

I pay all the bills, because he didn’t have a job, but now he has one and he has not really offered to help. And I know that makes me a chump. About a month ago I just blew up and asked him if this is really what he wants. This stemmed from multiple accounts of me visually seeing the disgust in his face whenever I brought up an uneasy topic, or actually just any topic. I’m sick of bringing up the no sex topic and I’m starting to feel like a big fat loser chump and that maybe I am destined to be a chump forever. He gets to live free off me and not have a partner he is accountable to, so I guess he is winning the chump game?


Dear Elle,

For the love of all that is holy, DUMP THIS LOSER.

He isn’t a boyfriend, he’s a barnacle. Scrape him off your ship and sail away.

I don’t know if he’s cheating, or not. Maybe he and his married friend chastely ring handbells while singing Ave Maria. I have no idea. It doesn’t matter. He fails at all the other boyfriend criteria.

Sex? No.

Friendship? No.

Mutual support? Hell no.

What is he DOING IN YOUR LIFE?! Why do you think you need this creature there to reject you every day and SUCK THE LIFE FORCE OUT OF YOU? He is using you. And you don’t have to take it!

Alone is better than him. Much, much better. Honestly, you could craft a boyfriend out of cardboard, prop him up at weddings as your plus-one with less mortification than a single moment with your current whatever-he-is. At least Mr. Cardboard wouldn’t roll his eyes at you with contempt — and you could recycle him.

A vibrator is a better boyfriend! A vibrator doesn’t have grocery bills. And a vibrator is exactly where you left it and isn’t out “making music” at odd hours. (Well, unless you accidentally turned it on and its humming in a drawer somewhere. But it’s not trying to HURT YOU!)

Elle. Elle. Elle.

He doesn’t like to communicate his needs

Fuck his needs. Who cares? You’re done catering. Do you really want an uncommunicative, sullen person in your life? (Mr. Cardboard and BoB have no attitude problems.)

we have not had sex in TWO years

You realize that there is a great big wild world out there with men who will have sex with you? Now, not all of them are relationship material, but it’s best to heal up and fix that picker lest you have another non-paying roommate. But sex, Elle? Sex can be had. Why are you staying with someone who doesn’t want what you want (sex, friendship, mutual support)?

he said he was going to spend the night at a female friend’s house (she is married and has a kid) to make music

Uh huh. And you’ve read my book twice. I’m thinking you suspect he’s cheating on you. You don’t need proof of that to know that this relationship is a non-starter, right? I was mentally dumping his shit on the sidewalk at You Pay All the Bills.

he listed all the reasons why I should not be so controlling of him

Okay, be free little fuckwit. Fly away home. Oh right, you don’t have a home. Well, consider that on the cold, cold sidewalk. Buh-bye.

I’m starting to feel like a big fat loser chump and that maybe I am destined to be a chump forever.

No, this is an entirely curable condition. Know that you deserve better and start acting like it. He’s the big, fat loser. Don’t accept that. You have the POWER not to accept it.

He gets to live free off me

No he does not. He only does if you allow it. Stop allowing it.

and not have a partner he is accountable to

You can’t make someone be accountable to you. They have to be an adult who can hold themselves to account. You cannot demand respect. But you can always respect YOURSELF. You don’t deserve abuse. Recognize that he does not respect you. What you do next is your choice.

so I guess he is winning the chump game?

If you mean getting all the kibbles and giving none? Yes, he’s winning. And why would you want to stay with this zero-sum loser? Who cares what sick game he’s playing?

Leave. Stop being his chump.

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.
      • Maybe he’s a cerebral. They prefer solitary sex. They typically use it to get you hooked. My husband and I haven’t had sex for 10 and a half of the 23 years we’ve been married. We’re at 2 and a half so far this last time and it’s fine with me. Getting ducks in a row and then poof, I’m gone. Thanks to CN and another group, I’ve realized my worth.

  • Elle I am sorry but the best thing you can do for yourself is dump him. He will drain you financially and when you’re totally broke he will probably leave anyway. Ask me how I know. I paid all the bills. My ex only gave me $400 to $600 a month. I struggled to pay the bills. While he was out spending god knows how much money on my cousin. He even would tell me he had no cash for lunch. I would tell him that all I had was $20 and if I give it to him I would not have money for lunch. He would take the money anyway. When I found out about my cousin and he filed for divorce. I only had $200 to my name. While I was blowing through my savings. He was stashing cash in his parents safe. He stashed over $20,000 in their safe. My point is. While you are paying all the bills and being a responsible adult. He will use that against you. Please do not make the same mistake I made. You will find once the dead weight is out of your life. You will be free. And you will start saving money.

    • Thank you so much for this. I need this wake up call. It’s not normal and I know that I am too too too giving to a fault. I hope things are better for you now!

      • I don’t know whether you will circle back to this post, but I want to add something important right here.

        Every adult relationship should be based on reciprocity. That is, both parties GIVE and RECEIVE. Please stop being “giving to a fault” with anyone, let alone you significant other. If the other party isn’t giving, you’ve got a barnacle, a leech, a parasite–not a boyfriend.

  • “You can’t make someone be accountable to you. They have to be an adult who can hold themselves to account. You cannot demand respect. But you can always respect YOURSELF. You don’t deserve abuse. Recognize that he does not respect you. What you do next is your choice.”

    This little gem right here would have saved me years of distress…

    You deserve better Elle and he isn’t going to give it to you, so move along. Let his married friend with a child start paying his bills.

    • An important part of that gem is the recognition that this is abuse. It might not be physical, but it is abusive just the same. It took me so many years to finally accept I was being abused emotionally and financially. Though FW pays toward the bills (as do I), he also controls every penny I earn, too, whether it is part of what I chip in for bills or the amount that goes in the account in my name which I am supposedly able to use for whatever I want.

      • How come he has access to the account that it is your name only? Did you give him access or was it set up as a joint account initially? I’d change all my passwords and stop letting him accessing it and looking at it unless he reciprocates with the access to his private accounts. If he freakes out about this and tries to force you it is time to call the police. We’re talking about financial extortion here, not only controlling behaviour.

  • Elle,

    He may think that he is “winning” …. but you hold the most important card; yourself. You win when you walk away.


  • I was married to one of these (financially he did pay his way). Together 26 years. I was dumped for an ex girlfriend who lived overseas shortly before my 60th birthday. 6 weeks after my father’s death. Please don’t be me Elle. It’s no place to be. The ex sucked me dry. Get rid of him, today.

  • It is neither reasonable nor required to determine whether a relationship that includes you should continue based solely on whether someone who isn’t you finds it good in your life.

    The only thing that is relevant about what the other person wants is the other person’s decision to stay in the relationship or leave it.

    What YOU want for YOUR one life is really the only truly significant data point that applies to whether or not YOU stay in the relationship.

    If you find you still want to stay but it doesn’t work well to help you build the life you want to live, then examine why you still want it in your life. Maybe the reasons will clarify and help you be more ready to let the relationship go.

    Don’t want to be alone? You’re clearly alone now in all the important ways, so there’s nothing to fear there. If you get cancer, that dude isn’t going to show up to help you. You’re on your own anyway, may as well make it official.

    Don’t want to give up after all you’ve invested? The investment didn’t pay off. If you put money into a savings account and check the account nine years later and there’s no money, you don’t keep using that bank. Maybe you can’t get your money back, but you don’t keep giving them more money either.

    Think nobody else will love you the way you want to be loved? I worry about that, and it might be true. Probably not, but we can’t really know what the future holds and I’m not going to placate you. But even if nobody ever does, this person clearly doesn’t, and you don’t have a clear field to be open to someone who does while this boat anchor is sucking up all of your energy and attention. Would you give your energy to a person who was in a relationship? No person you’d want to be with would, so as long as you’re in there, your options are zilch. Out, it becomes possible.

    Staying in this relationship isn’t doing any real good and it is causing pain and harm. All the data says, drop it. Your heart just needs to catch up to the data.

    • This!

      The only real question is whether this relationship, as it stands right now, is acceptable to you. You don’t need cheating to break this off. There are other deal breakers.

      You’re not married. You don’t have children. What you do have is a trauma bond, and with some therapy, you can work on that. Do so. This is exactly why you took him back after the break.

      Relationships involve mutuality. I’m not seeing it.

      Kick him to the curb, get therapy. You are worth a LOT more than a celibate relationship where you pay for someone to live under the same roof.

  • OMG! CL, can you hear the “amen sisters” from where you’re sitting?

    “At least Mr. Cardboard wouldn’t roll his eyes at you with contempt — and you could recycle him.” ????

    All kidding (and chuckles from your response to Elle) aside, I wholeheartedly agree with the advice.

    Elle, I was with an uncommunicative, sullen guy for 35 years!!! It only gets worse. Sail away, Elle. Sail away. You deserve better!

    • spinach 35 is so right, it only gets worse! My husband of 37 years was also uncommunicative and moody…now I get it, living a double life does that to you. Get out now, I wish I had a long time ago!

      • Yep, uncommunicative, withholding, moody, petulant. It does not change. That’s who they are,

      • ???? ????
        Sail on silver girl
        Sail on by
        Your time has come to shine
        All your dreams are on their way
        See how they shine…

        –Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel)

  • The no sex reminded me of my chumpiness. He used no-sex-until-marriage as the excuse. It seemed plausible because he appeared to be a devout Roman Catholic who had a sibling who was a nun. He was also love bombing and pushing a quick marriage. My antenna were damaged by a very recent family tragedy — one of the types that shake up a family forever. I needed some loving care at the time. (15 years later, that’s how our family helps me rationalize)

    He told me pre-marriage that because of his diabetes he’d have to get the blue pill. Pre-marriage, we did have some sex without penetration. Sorry for the graphic detail.

    Post marriage, he told me his doctor didn’t really want him using the blu pill because of his heart. He began putting off any sexual activity. Imagine my surprise several years into the marriage when I came across twelve expired prescriptions for the blue pill in his closet that pre-dated our marriage.

    Then he began stomping on kindness and became angry with me. At one point, I told him that 90% of what he actually said to me when we weren’t in public was in an angry tone of voice and it had to improve or he’d end up bitter and alone. It did, for a bit. I told him I would no longer travel with him because of how he treated me when traveling. I stuck with that.

    At the 7 year point, I packed up my clothes and left. I was getting nothing out of the marriage except a drain on my finances. Ironic given that I married someone wealthy. It cost me more to live rent free and pay for his car insurance (I have USAA), his long-term care insurance, and buy the groceries.

    PS: he also lied about his devout RC. For Roman Catholics in the audience — you know how the mass is pretty much the same most weeks of the year? Yeah, he didn’t know the words and he would have celebrated the mass in Latin back when and lived through the change to English. Also, once we were married, he no longer wanted to attend mass, except for public events such as family weddings. When we did our taxes the first year, I asked about his charitable deduction to our parish church. Zip. It was all facade.

      • Neither. He was a very good liar who wanted a good looking wife with her own money who could cook. I looked very attractive on his arm at political events as long as I kept my mouth shut. It was okay for me to whisper observations to him so he could then express them as his own idea. It was annoying to him that I had expectations of a relationship. I don’t think I put up with his crap — I did tell him when he crossed the line. But I did stay entirely too long and it did cost me $100,000. It could have been half my pension and 401 savings more, but I signed a non-disclosure about some very specific things in exchange for keeping my pensions and savings.

          • Here’s one: I had major tendon rebuild and had hand controls installed in my car so I could drive to work etc while the tendon was healing (1 year of PT). One night he sprinkled nails on the garage floor while I was out. I came home to find I had parked on top of about 100 nails. I flat out asked what was going on and he claimed they flew from a top shelf and accidentally landed there. When I asked why he hadn’t cleaned them up for me given I was on crutches, he said he had.
            The fact that I told this story to my daughter meant it couldn’t be in the non-disclosure and cost me $100,000

        • I hope you can rebuild your savings and get everything you deserve in the divorce. I wish I could hug you! Truly! You deserve so much better! Just thought you should know if you don’t already. Breaks my heart if you can’t get back up and mend your soul. I can see you clearly are a warm, beautiful person. I really hope you are doing so much better with your life xo SweetChumpgirl

  • No emotional intimacy +
    No communication +
    Immature expectations of zero problems
    in a relationship +
    Conflict avoidant = no physical intimacy
    It makes sense from where I sit.

    You can have sex without intimacy. That’s what an affair is. Affairs involve lying and deceit and are comprised of unavailable people who are abusing unknowing partners, all of which actually preclude intimacy with any of the involved parties. Intimacy requires trust, safety, and integrity. Without those elements you don’t have a relationship; you have an entanglement (taught in my domestic violence prevention education and I agree).

    I’d ditch the dud and find a great therapist. If you hadn’t said he was 49 I’d have guessed he was 19. And I know 19 year olds who are lapping him on the maturity track.

  • Sounds like the guy is a loser. If you were to get rid of him would there be people lined up wanting him…..if they knew what you know about him?

    Just from the message its seems as though he might be lazy, selfish and a pretty good chance he’s a cheater. Bumming off of someone with no concerns about helping or feeling grateful is an entitlement mindset.

    • And if she wants a fulfilling relationship, she will never find a good one with this leech in her life.

  • Hi Elle.

    Is this relationship acceptable to you?

    It doesn’t sound like it.

    I understand the pressure of being in your early 40s and facing being single.

    Having dated in that era myself (another Cheater), I can assure you: Mr Cardboard romps it in for affection, charisma, and fidelity.

    Seriously: what’s in this relationship for you?

    • “at his age (49), he shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

      Hmm. Must have missed that in the news.

      When did the ‘You’re allowed to be a total asshole’ age legislation pass?

    • CL called him a barnacle and I thought of the Ugly Barnacle story from Spongebob.

      “Once there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly everyone died. The end.”

      • Kara,

        I’m not seeing a barnacle; more a plain common or garden parasite. I’m thinking tapeworm …. but other parasites are available.



      • Thank you Kara. You made my day.

        I think Spongebob contains so much surrealist silliness coupled with subversive humor and a whole lot of heart – I needed that gem.

  • You win the emotional tug of war with a jerk like this by letting go of the rope.

    At a minimum, you want different things, and what you want matters. So let him go find the thing that he claims to want, and you can go in search of what you want. Though I strongly suspect he is a cheater (a normal healthy man wants sex at least occasionally), and he actually has EXACTLY what he wants: a meal ticket that lets home chase tail.

  • Dear Elle,
    Here’s a loving 2×4. You ARE a chump (even if he hasn’t cheated – yet), and so were we. We’ve all been there.

    Here’s what I see in your letter: a whole lot of passive aggression, and not owning your own feelings. When you blew up last month, you asked HIM whether this is what HE wants? Hell no. When we blow up, we need to own that WE are the ones having the emotional response – and in your case, for good reason!

    You didn’t mention kids. It sounds like it’s just you and the barnacle in this relationship. I’m not saying there are not important ties after 9 years, but it sounds like you could disentangle fairly easily. (And even if it were not so easy, it would still be worth it, for your sanity.)

    Stop asking him what he wants, and own what you want – and need. If you stay, you will become a frazzled ball of resentment. (Frankly, it sounds like you’re already there.) The best reason for us to leave a romantic relationship is that we see what we have become. Ask any friend of yours to read your letter, Elle, and they will tell you that this version of yourself is NOT who you want to be. Many of us chumps wish someone had advised our cheaters to divorce us, or at least invite us for couples therapy, when they got to this level of resentment.

    Free yourself. (You’ll free the barnacle, too, but I’m not putting any stock into him.) Free your mind. Unravel your resentment. I personally don’t think there’s any point dragging the barnacle you describe to therapy with you, but some people prefer to do that in order to show they were willing to do the work. If the barnacle refuses to go to therapy with you, so much the better. Then cut ties and BREATHE!

    All best to you, Elle. I hope we can hear an update from you after you’ve Gained A Life.

    • “When we blow up…..we need to own that we are the ones having the emotional response”. Right on. This relationship is. NOT. LOVE.. Use your emotional response and the help of CL and the good people on this site to redirect your life away from this LOSER. You will gain some much needed self-respect by dumping him and concentrating on what you want for you. This is not it. This is ABUSE and he is using you. Withholding affection from a spouse or SO is emotional abuse. Blame-shifting is abuse. He has shown you what he has to offer you. Is this what you want now? In one, two , three, etc. decades? I think not. Good luck and keep coming back to this site. Read the daily blogs and the archives. There is invaluable much needed information and support available to you here.

  • Everything in your supposed boyfriend’s life is just peachy. Free place to stay, doesn’t have to pay bills and isn’t accountable to anyone, yippee. Except for you. You are his pesky little problem. If you would just shut up, disappear and still support him then life would be perfect.
    You are being royally used by a jerk. Time to cut your losses. Don’t dwell on getting reimbursed for anything, he has no intention of giving you a dime. He does not love you, he doesn’t even like you. He is more than happy for you to pay all the bills, it’s just that he resents your presence.
    I have a male cousin that has been off and on with his girlfriend for over 20 years. She does everything for him and he treats her like dirt. He works off and on as well. The only difference is he has his own house and she has her own house. His father is extremely wealthy. He and his brother will inherit millions plus lakefront properties and a substantial property in the Bahamas. She has hung on for dear life for over 20 years and she is not in it for the inheritance. She will get dumped and the only reason she hasn’t been dumped already is no decent woman wants to support an immature jerk in his 50’s that still plays in a band. Please don’t be like my cousin’s “girlfriend” that isn’t even given the title of “girlfriend”.

  • Elle, …. if you take Tracy’s advice, dump this freeloader and get busy unpacking why YOU invested 9 years of your one and only precious life with a man who was not acceptable to you, you will change and have a fulfilling life and laugh at the notion that this loser “boyfriend” is “winning” at anything.

    I suspect the culprit is the thoughts you are having: start writing your thoughts down. Look at what your brain is offering up. All of those thoughts are optional. They are driving your inaction/action. I suspect it’s some form of “this is the only man I can get” (scarcity mentality); “I’m too old/heavy/wrinkly/etc to attract a man who would treat me well”; “I don’t know where to meet eligible men”; “I cannot tolerate emotion of loneliness”; etc. these thoughts are keeping you stuck. Notice that you have the ability to think different thoughts that will compel you to take action. It’s that simple.

    Btw— this process is called a thought model. It gives you agency.

    Oh, this loser definitely is fucking the friend and they probably laugh about how you are nothing more than his ATM….. ask me how I know! Adults use their genitals, Elle. Dump him ASAP!

    • I made my mind up to leave when I finally realized that if all those negative thoughts were true that I was too old or whatever and would never find someone else, I would be SO much happier completely alone than being abused and controlled by FW. And the reality is that I have plenty of friends and know life is fulfilling without him. Life without romance doesn’t bother me one bit as I am already living it.

  • Doesn’t matter if he is or isn’t cheating he SUCKS as a boyfriend. He’s not even a good friend-who-is-a-boy. He just sucks.

    Get rid of him regardless of whether there’s infidelity afoot. He’s a bum.

    • Kara said

      Doesn’t matter if he is or isn’t cheating he SUCKS as a boyfriend. He’s not even a good friend-who-is-a-boy. He just sucks.

      Get rid of him regardless of whether there’s infidelity afoot. He’s a bum.

      THIS^^^^ – would you let an old high school classmate live with you for 9 years like this, because of the “history” you shared??

      Your non boyfriend/roommate is likely cheating BUT that’s also irrelevant. Because YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORK WITH HERE.

      Cut your losses and gain a new life.

      What’s to miss? The great sex? Uh, no.

      The loving support?? Nope.

      The great communication?? Not that either.

      Helping around the house?? God know.

      Sharing expenses? Nope…

      When you can see that Alone is way better and cheaper than this guy,

      you will see that although this is hard & painful, it’s also not complicated.

  • Dear Elle,
    Please dump him now. Don’t follow in my footsteps!
    I have had the same situation as you for at least the last two years of my 30 year marriage. Same failure to work, same failure to discuss issues other than I am controlling and block him from doing what he wants, same need to hang around other women only they are very young. And no sex here either for two years. For all kinds of reasons.

    So getting out has been really difficult on so many levels, financially and psychologically. Don’t follow in my footsteps and wait too long! It just gets harder and harder.

  • All I have to say about this, after 9 years all you are to him is a “girlfriend” tells you need to know about what he thinks about you.

    • This ^^^^.

      Nine years. Nine. YEARS.

      Not nine days, not nine weeks, not nine months. YEARS.

      If I were with someone for nine years and never saw a ring on my finger, I would be wondering what made me stick around for nine years with no ring on my finger.

      Also, if, after nine years, all you are is a “girlfriend” to him…uh…is THIS what his definition of a girlfriend is? ….REALLY????

      If I could I would insert that gif of the cat filing its nails and staring at him with an indignant look.

      • I didn’t assume anything on that front because so many people now are choosing not to marry at all and it didn’t sound like she was wanting him to marry her all that much. I remember when FW and I were dating 3 years and I told him to make up his mind, he DID put a ring on it. Worst mistake I ever made. It now often makes me feel like I did this to myself. I should have run when I had the chance.

  • Ask him to pay half the living expenses and you will see who he really is.

    A user. A manipulator. A leech.

    You deserve a better life than this.

  • Great advice – and I’d suggest that, even if he isn’t cheating *now* all these character traits have potential cheater written all over them. So chances are he’ll start cheating at some point. Why wouldn’t he?

    That said, at a risk of quibbling, I feel I have to bring up this:

    “You realize that there is a great big wild world out there with men who will have sex with you? Now, not all of them are relationship material, but it’s best to heal up and fix that picker lest you have another non-paying roommate. But sex, Elle? Sex can be had.”

    Admittedly, I’m a male chump, and not a tall, rugged or handsome one at that, so maybe it’s trickier for someone like me, however I’d argue that’s not been my experience at all. Not unless I pay for it (against my principles and why the Hell would I want to sleep with someone who’s not into it anyway?) or pretend/manipulate/lovebomb the other person. I know from friends and acquaintances most women are indundated with “offers” on dating apps, so those just looking to “hook up” have much sexier guys on offer than me.

    Which leaves me with finding people who just straightforward want to start a relationship with me – which, as I’m sure many single chumps are aware, is something we all hope for but also incredibly elusive. I hope I do find a new partner someday, however I’ve resigned myself I might always be singel – and, by proxy, that means celibate.

    • Hi there, Bertie –
      I hear you. I think Gaining A Life means being prepared to be single for the rest of our lives, since the alternative is to be so desperate for a new relationship that we ignore red flags. Finding happiness on our own is part of fixing our pickers. Then, if the stars align and we happen to find someone new who is compatible, so much the better. Like you, I think it’s unlikely I’ll find someone at least as long as I’m still coparenting DD9, since I’m a lesbian living out in the exurbs and don’t have the time/energy to spend hours driving around my metro area to date people. Women open to dating women are very rare in my immediate area, and less than 5% of the population overall – especially when you consider that I have no interest in dating someone half my age. But that’s okay, because I’m happy on my own for now, very focused on living my best life. I also acknowledge that I don’t have a crystal ball – who knows whom I might meet after my divorce is final?

      Until recently, STBX’s phone was synced to DD9’s iPad, so every so often I would check DD9’s device for inappropriate material (and would ask, again, for STBX to delink them). Anyhow, I saw in this way that STBX was compiling a list of desirable traits in a new partner. That’s a very fuckwitted approach, in my opinion, and exactly what I would expect from STBX. Instead, she should be considering what traits SHE should develop before SHE can be a good partner to others. I think that process of self-accounting is important for everyone (even for us chumps!), but is especially crucial for people who have a history of serious boundary violations. So, for now I’ll keep working on myself so that if and when the time comes, I can be a whole and healthy person for somebody else.

      • Don’t be so discouraged about numbers. Even in the hetero population, merely being alive, in the right age group, and single does not mean you are a good prospect. I have heard stories about older men in nursing homes being treated like a prize rooster, by the older women, because there are only a few of them. Also, venereal disease in senior centers is a real issue.

        I agree that sex with strangers lacks appeal for so many reasons. I have accepted I may be alone, and agree it is much better than being paired with a FW. After the experiences I have survived, I prefer to be alone unless the stars align and magic happens, and I find a true companion. Someone who would value me and treasure our luck, at our age, of finding the needle in the haystack. But I wake up every morning, and get over the dream, and proceed with my new life. It’s a good life, and I am grateful for that. If I hadn’t LAC, I would never have GAL.

      • We only need to be prepared to be single NOW. We always live in NOW. If we are happy and content being single NOW, we can be single for as long as we want to be. For me, that’s until the end of the line because I’m nearly 70 and I don’t want to share my space with a man again. Cats, yes. Humans, no. I see plenty of humans out in the wild.

        • “We only need to be prepared to be single NOW.”

          Exactly, you can’t know how life will turn our, but you can make each day the best it can be.

    • Hi Bernie,

      I feel your pain, even as a woman. I’m mid 50’s and a touch overweight (unlike most people, I eat more when I’m depressed). I may be able to get sex without a relationship, but honestly, I’d rather not go down that road. For me, sex with strange feels gross and degrading. So, you’re not as alone as you feel.

      I wish there was a dating site for middle aged chumps!

    • >> I know from friends and acquaintances most women are indundated with “offers” on dating apps, so those just looking to “hook up” have much sexier guys on offer than me.

      Yeah, but the “offers” on those apps suck. Women only have an “easier” time getting sex if we throw all standards of consideration for our safety (and probably no orgasm at the end of it) out the window. There’s a reason women have been fleeing those apps for a while now.

      For whatever this is worth from a woman’s perspective: you sound like a principled and considerate guy, and that’s a stock that trades high among healthy women who have their shit together.

  • for those unfamiliar with the tune:


    (music by Little River Band, lyrics by Chump Nation to Elle)

    Have you heard about Elle’s total loser?
    Throwing hissy fits at age forty-nine
    Have you heard about Elle’s total loser?
    He’s a loser and there ain’t no denying

    Step back, take a look at your life
    Don’t you want somebody decent?
    Someone you will not be ashamed to date,
    Who’ll treat you like gold, and communicate


    Acquired a job, but he won’t pitch in
    Won’t give you sex, then deflects it away from him
    He makes shit music with a married mom,
    Says defensively, “you are not the boss of me’


    • Elle, please consider eliminating the word “boyfriend” when you discuss or ponder this person who lives rent-free with you. Roommate? User?

      That’s what’s known as “reframing” and it can help you to more truthfully evaluate your situation and make healthy decisions going forward.

      But be prepared for his anger when you (as I hope you will) let him know this relationship isn’t good for you. He will probably lash out when faced with the prospect that his sugar mama will stop allowing him to be a freeloader.

      If you have brothers or other male relatives who can be a presence through the breaking up process (they could even offer to help him move out?), that might give you some comfort and confidence.

      • This is such good advice.
        An old time male friend of mine told me: had you had a brother or another male relative the whole thing and the discard as they went would not have happened to you.
        I agree. We totally not consider the role and importance of protective men in society.

      • I reframe this type of personality as a “Dementor” from the Harry Potter books. They embodied all the negative traits. They suck the life out of you. Perfect.

      • I’ve had my share of freeloaders and it took me forever to figure out what was going on. It took forever to admit to myself, because no one else in the family would say it out loud, that my father is a freeloader himself, and used my mom. He wasn’t horrible, but he was a struggling artist, bankrupted us once, had a short fuse and wasn’t genuinely affectionate or attentive to my mom or us kids. (He has grown some, but I wouldn’t wait around for an old man to realize that his wife is valuable and start to show her a bit of kindness.) I used to get angry about it as a teen and would get shamed for being needy/critical. Anyway, I vowed I would never let that happen, but I ended up still finding men like that.

        I would get a lot of affection and attention from these guys in the beginning. Because I had the model of a man who didn’t really have his shit together as my example of who a woman loves and sticks by, I had no instinct to say no to guys who didn’t have their own shit together. All they had to do was be more attentive, more interested, in me than I was used to (which when I was young wasn’t hard).

        I had low self-esteem because I was told I wasn’t conventionally attractive and believed it. My father and brother are not protective in any real way because they still cannot fend for themselves entirely. My mother immigrated to this country, works hard and was vulnerable to the attentions of this American guy who took advantage.

        I wonder if your FOO has any of this, Elle, and if the men in your family get tense and uncomfortable when the issue of freeloading comes up. I think the men who found me sniffed out that I didn’t have protective men in my family.

        I had two long-term freeloading live-in boyfriends when I was in my 20s (they worked on and off, but money disappeared, they needed top-ups a lot, I was always the steady one). Took many years off dating for health issues. Thought my picker was fixed. Then in the past couple of years dated another two guys: first one casually says, “it’s not like I’m looking at you like a meal ticket” – what!? we weren’t even talking about that! red flag! took me a while to see it. The second one: when I said that a local artist called me “money bags” (I’m a single woman with a job that people presume pays more than it does, but is more than adequate, and am paying for my own house), he just got very quiet.

        In both cases, I didn’t prioritize finding a partner who could support themselves because I was focused on the immediate emotional support they were giving me. I never understood why, because I’m financially responsible, I wasn’t attracting solid guys. It’s the emotional stuff; not feeling like I can ask for a man to be solidly there.

        I wonder if when you get out and start feeling out what you want, if a whole bunch of relationships and situations will change as you start to believe you can indeed go for what you want and need, and that you deserve to expect that you can find it, even if it’s not guaranteed.

  • Elle:
    Since your boyfriend won’t talk to you, have a conversation with yourself. Sit down and write a pros and cons list on what it would look like if he stayed, and then another list of pros and cons on if he left.

    It’s not clear to me if he’s bringing anything to this relationship. Have you asked yourself if you’re that afraid of being alone, because truly it really isn’t that bad. At least you know where you stand when you’re alone.

    Another thing he’s bringing to the relationship is that you didn’t marry him. you may want to check common law marriage laws where you live, or roommate/tenant laws, but otherwise, the next time he wants to go make music and stay over, take that opportunity to pack up his stuff and leave it somewhere for him and change the locks.

    • I know of a house where middle aged adults live, including a 50 year old squatter. He took over the den and hasn’t paid a dime in rent. I met the nurse who allowed him to visit, and he NEVER LEFT !
      Good luck detaching this leech. Reclaim your home.

  • I am a chump because I was taken advantage of. I did not know I was being taken advantage of until 12 years into my marriage. Then I allowed it, albeit confused by his promises to never cheat again.
    You are a chump. You have listed how you are being taken advantage of . You have chump-like characteristics, like asking your boyfriend if he really wants this kind of a relationship. You showed him that you value him above yourself. Instead, ask yourself “what do I want?” Ask “is this relationship good for ME?”
    Maybe you are attracted to Tracy’s book, because she tells us that it is ok to want what we want, to put ourselves equal with others, & to not accept poor behavior. She has the blueprint of how to avoid cheaters, scammers, and grifters.

  • Guess who is going to get all busy studying his rights as your renter when you change the locks? Guess who is going to declare you did not abide by some local virus eviction moratorium when you throw his shit out on the lawn? Guess who will drum up reasons to sue you for breach of common law contract?

    Mr. Lazy Ass, that is who. His neglect and disgust of you will very quickly become abuse and his entitlement will be visible from space.

    Suddenly when you find your spine this jackass is going to get real clever about what his rights are and what further things are OWED him. That he has paid not a cent to stay there will not influence his entitled fuckwit mind, and unfortunately some courts would agree, especially during the time of the ‘rona. (You were not specific about whether the abode is yours and whose name is on what documents, but now would be a good time to get clear on your rights to remove him, or figure out how to remove yourself.)

    Check into what crapstorm he might threaten and pray that he is too lazy to actually do it, and get ready to dramatically and suddenly throw his crap on the curb with locks changed the next moment he is away from your home for a couple hours. If required, you need to be the one who dramatically and suddenly leaves with no forwarding address. This entitled jackass is not going to go away simply because you ask him to.

    All of this might sound harsh but you can’t remove a leech by suggesting it go away; you have to yank it forcefully from your flesh, bleed for a little while, then heal up.

    Chump Nation is here for you.

  • On another topic, did anyone else wake up and hear the news of Prince Philip passing away and immediately ask “was he faithful?”
    Yes, he had an extraordinary life and extraordinary experiences, but was his character extraordinary?
    By that I mean, did he avoid making those closest to him suffer? And, if he was told his behavior was hurtful, did he choose to stop doing it?
    I wish that I wasn’t obsessed with stories of infidelity. And wondering who really is faithful. But I guess in a family where at least 2 of his sons are known philanderers, it makes sense to wonder what his marriage was like, and why his sons chose to be so blatantly promiscuous.

    • I think you’re onto something. Promiscuity is a dysfunctional legacy. The research on children of divorce also bears this out. Plus, royals are inherently entitled, so it makes sense that pompous entitled men would cheat. My ex comes from just such a WASP family: full of contemptuous narcissists and chumpy scapegoats. I wish I knew then what I know now.

      • In my STBX Husband’s Family- his father was married three times, cheated on each wife, had an out of wedlock child before his first marriage, STBX brother has divorced three times, his sister divorced her husband had an affair with a married guy and made him divorce his wife. My husband and I were married for 30 years he had an affair 10 years ago and I forgave him. Got up and left me suddenly two months ago – I’m assuming he’s having another affair. Having affairs and divorcing is normal for these people. And I think they found comfort in each other’s dysfunctional views on marriage.

    • My thought was that if he was unfaithful, given the times and culture he was raised in, I hope the hell he was discreet.

      I am going to get shit for saying this. I know.

  • Unlike many of us, your letter does not say that you love him. I think that omission speaks for itself.
    I don’t see anything in your past with him that you want to hold on to; you don’t mention a positive cherished history. If you’re holding on to the future you’re hoping to have with this man, look at what the relationship has been thus far: One sided, all the effort on your part., He doesn’t want to pay his way now that he’s employed.
    It’s clear he is not willing to provide any of the things you value and want, even conversation. He’s not a partner, he’s a parasite.

  • Pack up all his shit put it out on the lawn and send him a text to come pick it up the next time he’s making music.
    Tell him he’s no longer allowed to come into the house and this is the end.
    Make sure he is not on the lease.
    If he does not respect your wishes, call the police.
    Nine years is just shy of the 10 year requirement for common-law spouse.
    Get him out before he attaches your wages as support for a common-law husband.

    • “Nine years is just shy of the 10 year requirement for common-law spouse.
      Get him out before he attaches your wages as support for a common-law husband.”

      THIS! I wouldn’t put it past him to be trying to do just this. You MUST get him out.

    • As someone who has the pleasure of litigating whether or not someone is a common law spouse, I just want to clarify that this is not true. Common law marriage is only applicable in certain states, and each state has its own set of requirements. However, you may need to complete formal eviction procedures if he doesn’t want to leave on his own. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.

  • OMG Elle!!

    Please, please, please kick this asshole out ASAP!!

    No sex, no money, no communication,
    no friendship? What’s the point?

    Get a dog. At least he’ll love you unconditionally.

    Not joking.

  • THIS is why I love CL. No mincing words here.

    My favorite line para “Alone is better than him. Much, much better. Honestly, you could craft a boyfriend out of cardboard, prop him up at weddings as your plus-one with less mortification than a single moment with your current whatever-he-is. At least Mr. Cardboard wouldn’t roll his eyes at you with contempt — and you could recycle him”.

    I LOLed 🙂

  • F that guy. I’d bet he’s cheating. The minute a chump thinks someone is cheating, they are. It’s an intuitive radar that chumps hate to believe in.

    Take your hotness out into the world and let us other guys enjoy it!

  • But seriously Elle – please DUMP this loser and thank God you are not married to him. This is an easy fix. Do it now.

  • Elle, I had a boyfriend like that…

    – Friends told me he cheated on me. I didn’t believe them and believed his stupid excuse that OW-friend just “slept on the couch because she was drunk, nothing happened.”
    – We moved in together and he got fired from his job so I took up the bill-paying.
    – He secretly bought himself a new computer because he was “going to be in the tech industry” and he pre-needed it.
    – I found porn in his room (magazines – this was pre-internet as we know it).
    – “We” had our room and he had “his” room – I had no room of my own other than the one we shared. He had his own room in two of our apartments over the years.
    – As on yesterday’s topic of 20/20 hindsight, I got a yeast infection – I had NEVER had one before. Many years later I had a pre-cancerous cervical situation that typically comes from HPV. I had only been with one person before him and had never had an STD.

    And I still married him!!!!

    Then after marriage…

    – He went out with his friends, I went out with my friends.
    – He’d “molest” me in the middle of the night – I’d wake up to find his hands on me in ways they should not have been.
    – He’d pick fights at bedtime, which really sucked because I need a lot of sleep and he was purposefully fucking with me.
    – He made promises he didn’t keep and was bad at holding up his end of household life (chores, pet care).
    – There was no “wooing” … he’d just want sex when he’d want it and I’d have it just to shut him up. I hated it if he touched me or complimented me because it meant he’d want sex. We couldn’t just have a hug or hold hands without him wanting sex so I became withdrawn because I didn’t always want to have sex.
    – He lied and said he’d paid taxes when he hadn’t.

    And probably so much more.

    Elle, just dump this fucker already. You deserve more and better. Being alone is already more and better! It will NOT get better with time, it will only get worse. Life should be better than that!

  • My dear Elle,
    If you were looking for the strength to dump this guy, we’re all behind you here. And you are still young (yes 44 is YOUNG) and will be happier and free when he’s gone. You don’t need to prove he’s cheating. You don’t need anything more than the fact that you are unhappy and not getting your needs met. You are not his mother. You are not his free rent. Kick him out and move on. You don’t even need a divorce — lucky you! And please check back with us and let us know how you’re doing. We’re all on your side. You deserve soooo much better. CL said it all…. alone is better than dealing with this leech. (side note: I was married to my leech… and he withheld sex the entire marriage. Then he left me for his coworker — WTF? It was awful. I was divorced at 45 and met a guy that’s way more fun 😉 — you can do this!)
    Wishing you all good!

  • Elle,
    What a controlling and manipulative person your boyfriend is.

    >”He doesn’t like to communicate his needs and instead gets flustered at my need to talk things out. This usually results in him saying that our relationship is immature and that at his age (49), he shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

    So manipulative, making you share in something that is only his. He is the only immature one but plays the mature one.

    >”Our lack of intimacy has been so frustrating to me — we have not had sex in TWO years. When I ask him about this, he tends to deflect and brings up situations where he felt I wasn’t trusting towards him.”

    He has you in position where you have to prove to him that you are worthy of trust.
    He is undermining your moral integrity.

    >”I expressed my resentment at this and instead of showing empathy, he listed all the reasons why I should not be so controlling of him”
    He put the control, he is actually exercising on you, onto you.

    I pay all the bills, because he didn’t have a job, but now he has one and he has not really offered to help.

    Is it safe to ask this man to share in the bills?

    >”About a month ago I just blew up and asked him if this is really what he wants. This stemmed from multiple accounts of me visually seeing the disgust in his face whenever I brought up an uneasy topic, or actually just any topic. I’m sick of bringing up the no sex topic”

    You are not being heard. Which means you are being manipulated.

    >”and asked him if this is really what he wants”
    It seems you already asked yourself the question whether this is what you really want. You just put the question to him. I wonder if you find yourself in fear.

    I was in marriage with a controlling manipulator and withholder, and only after I got discarded and some time had gone by, and I had started educating myself on these matters, I started feeling the fear I had been in.
    The same fear I had been in with my FOO but I never knew because that was all I knew. And it was a matter of self-preservation not to fear the fear because I could not get out. And other peoples’ lives depended on keeping it all balanced.

  • But for the ages and marital statuses mentioned I could have written this letter.

    No sex? Check.

    Chump woman pays all the bills? Check.

    Sullen and nitpicking freeloader? Check.

    Spending nights at friends’ places instead of with me? Check.

    As I said a couple of days ago a husband who won’t (as opposed to can’t) have sex is as useless as a car that won’t start and far easier to replace. Dump. The. Loser.

    And if you thinking “making music” is anything but a euphemism, well I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Not really, but don’t just take what he says at face value. Listen to your gut.

  • I’ve started out into the online dating world. I would agree that women probably get lots more hits online. But 95% of those hits are either scammers or guys I would no way consider. It is rare to find a male who is attentive and considerate (online) who can keep a text conversation fun and engaging. I’ll bet my fellow chump in the comments above would run circles around the guys I’m hearing from on the dating sites. I could give tips – but I also don’t want to post those tips on a public site – as I use what I’ve learned to screen out those that will never make the cut (since I know now about boundaries and low core value people through CL’s writings!). Male chumps have an awesome quality that sets them apart. It’s an asset, not a liability.

    Another point I might add is for Elle. I am twenty years older than you. Some of the nicest guys I’ve heard from through online dating have been 30-40 years old. They are a bit lost too, since they aren’t necessarily looking to start a family right away or take on a mortgage for the white picket fence. It’s becoming more socially acceptable for older woman/younger man. If I were in Elle’s shoes, I would hunt for one of these guys. I’ve found them to be very genuine and attractive. You go girl!

    • The things you mentioned are the major complaints I have heard from the beginning of online dating. When you go online, without fixing your picker, you are chum thrown in the water, without a clue. The sharks will all circle.

      It is too exhausting to have to eliminate/screen all the sharks. Good guys would not use their tactics, but unless you know that, you are overwhelmed. I don’t feel the same way you do about age difference. It might be socially acceptable, but I want someone with a similar life experience. Of course many men my age think they should be dating a 40 year old, or younger. Unless they have a big fat wallet, I don’t know why they think a 40 year old would be attracted to a man old enough to be their dad.. They have a hard enough time with women their own age.

      I also think the pictures and overtures are overly sexual. These are supposed to be sites to meet someone who shares your interests, and is serious about dating. There are other sites for “hook-ups”. The online sites have done little to improve their processes from what I understand. I watch several nighttime news shows, and almost every one has a story about a woman killed by a man she met online, or women being catfished into sending money to someone they never even met. If you are online, PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!

  • I never really understood the term “triggering” until last night. I was wandering through dating profiles, wondering if I was ready to date again, lugging all of my emotional baggage about older fat women, wondering how low I would have to set the bar to find someone who’d be interested.

    Then I saw it.

    There was a picture of a guy in his work uniform (delivery service) making kissy faces at his camera while laying on a dirty mattress with no sheets. And apparently he felt completely fine putting himself out there, felt like some woman would come dust him off and take care of him. I thought about all the time I had wasted taking care of shiftless men just like him and fully and fundamentally realized my own worth.

    I’m not entitled to anyone’s time, attention, or love, but they aren’t entitled to mine, either. If you want to be in my life you’ll pull your own weight and have your sheet together.

    • Sheet together!!!

      So much this.
      Yep- “you are enough” – the mantra I have to mumble to self to know I don’t need to change. Thats about not dressing differently or worrying about being a size 6. That’s one thing.

      But- damn, from the other side- if you don’t have a sheet on your bed, you have some “Maslows hierarchy of needs” stuff that needs to be managed.

      • Somebody who can’t bother to even have ONE sheet to cover one’s mattress ?! Would you even want to sleep on such a bed and have sex with such a slob ?! NO????

  • Just some observations based on my personal experience with Ex#2.

    Sometimes ED in younger men is caused by excessive porn use. Mine also smoked and drank. He quit drinking. He preferred alternative sexual scenarios that involved a lot of work from me, and satisfaction for him, not me. As CL pointed out, a vibrator is more reliable. This is selfish behavior.

    I was raised in a culture that expected men to be the main breadwinner. My parents each made more equal contributions. I think both partners need to contribute based on what is possible for them, and agreed upon. It levels the playing field. With Ex#2’s skill set, he could have been constantly employed. He chose not to be. He kept his earnings when he did work. This is selfish behavior.

    I love live music and jam, every time I can. I do not spend the night. Ever. I am single, and could, but I have only had to spend the night with a girlfriend once when my car had trouble, or when we have gone on girl trips. Married, or not, I can’t see a spouse liking this scenario. It is selfish behavior, and takes advantage of other’s hospitality.

    Whether he cheats, or not, he is disrespectful, and does nothing for you. What do you feel you are losing? You are being mentally abused, and financially cheated. What more do you need to know?

    Being on your own is much better than being in an abusive relationship. Ask Chump Nation how we know.

  • These are the last words he needs to hear from you:

    Get OUT of MY HOUSE BIG FAT LOSER! and don’t let the door hit you on the ASS!!!!

  • Elle: Dump his butt so you can be free to attract someone who will respect and value you. Never forget about resiprosity (sp?). You do not want someone who is only in it for themselves. You will never find true intimacy with someone who only takes and does not give. Get out, fix your picker and then see what is out there if you are interested in a relationship. There is nothing wrong with going through life single instead of as half of a couple, You will not meet Mr. Right for sure as long as this guy is weighing you down. Find your self-respect and either go solo or with someone who respects and values you.

  • As they say in the movie Yellowstone, ” You don’t send him off half-cocked. You be smart about this. You figure out a plan that works, and you take that trash to the fucking train station.”

  • This isn’t your “destiny”. This is your choice. You are choosing to be with a person who gives absolutely nothing and treats you with contempt. Why? He sounds like an even worse partner than most of the verifiable cheaters on here. At least most of them paid their share of the bills and were willing to have sex with their chumps. This guy is a leech, and yeah, probably a cheater too, and the no sex thing screams porn addict. The thing is, the indisputable fact that he is leech and a user is reason to dump his ass immediately. Drop the fatalistic excuses for tolerating this emotionally abusive POS, kick his parasitic ass to the curb and your destiny is instantly a better life. Presto! Change-o! No more creepo!

  • Elle, my bet is he’s addicted to porn.
    He is totally using you. It sounds like you’re getting negative value out of this relationship. A solid relationship with Netflix would be better than this.
    Hopefully for your sake you act on all this advice immediately and get him out of your life.
    Don’t underestimate the damage that is being done to you psychologically and emotionally by living with somebody who does not value you.

    • Yep! Exactly this. “Don’t underestimate the damage that is being done to you psychologically and emotionally by living with someone who does not value you.”
      That is so true! I sure did that and I am paying the price now. It’s absolute hell. Even after I left.

    • Yep. Classic porn addict profile; sullen, withholding, immature, parasitic, sexual problems, treats his partner with blatant contempt.

      Good point about the damage being done to her. She seems beaten down, like she feels she doesn’t deserve better.

      • She is beaten down because like many abuse victims, she has likely been gaslit out of her mind by this horrendous user. I see DARVO, blame shifting and deflection and contempt writ large across her situation.

        You only get this confused about a relationship after a LOT of emotional abuse.

        Elle is in deep trouble with this guy. If he isn’t already cheating, he is a prime candidate to do so. She should get him out regardless. This situation is only going to devolve.

        • Yeah, I know how that works. Been there myself, for a very long time. I didn’t even know it was happening because it progressed slowly and he was passive aggressive, until schmoopie came along and then he was overt with his verbal and emotional abuse. But the bastard still couldn’t beat me down as low as he wanted to and get me to blame myself. He thinks he’s a victim because I called him out on his bullshit and told him the ugly truth about himself. Cue the flipping between the self pity and rage channels. What a bore they are.

          I hope she gets the hell away from this creep. As you say, it always gets worse.

          • It’s how they get to be the victim that kills me! It’s like we put a gun to their head to marry us. Both my exes after devaluing me came up with ‘we shouldn’t have gotten married’ blah blah blah. Like really? They proposed.
            With my 1st, I actually had reservations. He’s the one who convinced me that things would work out. All of a sudden… when a younger officewhore comes along… They shouldn’t have gotten married, because then they would’ve been free for the OW. Forget the fact that they had children and built a life… And that the OW probably wouldn’t have even found them attractive if they were single. Such delusional BS.

  • Elle… please ensure you stop paying for him.

    Check your rights and what he is entitled to. If he has income less lucrative than you, make sure he’s not able to apply for support. In my neck of the woods, anyone living together over 3 years without a solid roommate or tenant agreement can sue for support. If I lived with my sister or grandma – or partner/spouse/ OR even “someone I live with but met as a stranger no paperwork” (for 3 years) and that ended, whoever was less financially secure would qualify as the common law dependant and could ask for support. It’s meant to protect disadvantaged people- youth who live in rooming houses and never build credit, or people who are unmarried… it also means dunderheads like the troglodyte you cohabit with could take advantage of it.

    The other thing- you don’t say you love him. You sound so exhausted. It’s ok to not love him. To tell him it’s over because you deserve someone who wants to look forward to seeing you. To doing things with you. Who wants to contribute to a life together. You’re not living. You’re dying slowly, and you’re letting him dictate the narrative.

    You’re not a bad person for wanting to break up with someone who has made you make your needs so small. You want to tell him how you feel and he says that’s controlling? No. That’s sharing. If he feels bad about how you feel, because he’s a mean turd and treats you like shit, he’s mistaking guilt, and self reflection and thoughts about not being a knob as you controlling him. That’s messed up.

    What does he do which you consider boyfriendy?

    My boyfriend? He has sent me flowers at least once a month. I don’t even care about flowers. It’s that every month he lets me know I’m his favourite thing. I sent him a box of special pasta and tons of Kraft dinner cheese powder because he doesn’t have that in his country. Because he is my favourite thing. When I tell him how I feel, or he tells me, sometimes it’s hard, but… we both want to hear it. His effort at listening or caring? It shows how much he values your opinion.

    I hope to god he isn’t cheating because him treating one person this badly is already awful enough.

  • I went to counseling with my husband years before cheating was on my radar. The counselor basically told me that not all men are made for marriage or relationships. She told me that he had identified his needs and they did not match my needs. That was enough to leave, he had drawn the line in the sand that he wasn’t changing, wasn’t interested in anything with more depth. We never returned to counseling and while things may have “improved” for a short time there was not any long term change. I had family issues around the time we were newly weds and I often wonder if that had been different, would I have worked so hard to “save my marriage?” Also, why was I the only one saving it?

    I think you know your answer. Maybe he’s a cheater, maybe he’s not. Maybe if you caught him cheating it would be easier to leave? Oh, have I played that, if only I had more evidence? CL’s advice on relationships non-starters, that makes is so clear and helped me to give myself permission to let go. I know it is hard to after 9 years, but I think your future self will thank you.

  • >>He gets to live free off me and not have a partner he is accountable to, so I guess he is winning the chump game?

    The only game he is winning is the freeloader game. Is that a game you want to win?? You’d have to give up your profession, adulting, and pride to play. Would you even want to play the game of seeing how much you can sponge off of the people who love you the most?

    One thing to look forward when you leave is that you’ll be soooo grateful that gross loser hasn’t touched you in 2 years. That’s one of the reasons chumps put off these break-ups. On some level you know there is a lot of processing ahead. When your head clears (and even now) you’ll be appalled that you ever saw anything in him. Right now you’re too angry to see how truly gross he sounds (and is). But after you leave his grossness will be 20/20. After No Contact, it’ll be easier to let go all those too forgiving thoughts about his potential or his best moments (which will be pathetically little in hindsight).

    Anger will keep you tied to a loser. (Ask me how I know). Anger wants to win when someone needs to be cutting their losses. You hear head stuck in a need to “win” will keep your nervous system in fight or flight or freeze (similar to trauma survivors). Please redirect that anger towards constructive action, saving your precious, adulting self.

    There is no “win”. Have you ever seen a slimy, germy, blood-sucking leech, with its suckers and saw-like mouth, stuck on somebody’s skin after they swam hot, tainted, swampy water? Would any amount of money be worth swimming in that swamp water so you want to “win” against that leech? Not being a gross leech in slimy water is “win” enough, even before burning it off with salt or fire.

    Sorry for the graphic imagery but it can help break the spell. Sometimes anger prevents us from realizing that we’re in danger. Only in hindsight could I see well enough to count the cost. Another thing which kept me stuck in range of that bastard was thinking that it’d end like Star Trek, where any communication barrier is fixed, and everyone gets what they want. Also, that there’d be some meaning beyond a bad investment. Actually, there is a meaning; you ran across a real life monster and survived.

    You asked if he was cheating. The only thing I’m sure of is that he is lining up other meal tickets. That would be the MO for a ~50 year old professional freeloader. He’ll use sex, charm, lies, manipulation, whatever will hook another meal ticket. Those are bad enough, but he has been at this long enough where he might use worse things. So I’m a bit afraid for you Elle.

    I hope you see a lawyer first to head off any common law or worse entanglements. Expect him to be viscous without remorse. These kind feel superior to those who love and honor (their prey). He sounds like his mask is slipping and he is devaluing you, on way to discard. I’ll pray. Good luck Elle!

  • I am rooting so hard for you Elle – with no kids and no marriage you could actually get out fairly easily!

    Quietly make a plan and just GO GIRL. Since he is currently employed now is the time to make your plan without tipping your cards. If he’s such a 49 year old “grown up” like he says he is, he should have no problem figuring out a new place to live.

  • On the flip side of the lack of intimacy, lack of contributing to any expenses, and basic needs there’s always the cheaters narrative of being the victim all the while he’s devaluing you to others. I suspect he tells his victims he’s in a sexless relationship and you live as roommates. He’s a predator.

    The look of disgust on his face and his accusation of an immature relationship are justifications and clearly devaluations that tell you he not only incapable of love, he has hatred. Be careful how you exit him from your home as I suspect there’s much rage that will surface. Expect it and be prepared. Protect yourself.

    • My STBXH tried to tell our daughters that we were living in a sex less marriage…. It was in the end but not because of me! Youngest daughter (25) ripped him a new one for that comment. Like it was a reason to cheat on me. I see my meh on the horizon and I’m speeding towards it ????

      • I love that so many of our kids see through cheater BS!

        My adult daughter said it was laughable when her dad recently asked to meet her to tell his “side of the story.” They know! Earlier she’d told him, “Don’t even try to blame this on mom.” That was just before she went NC.

        • My son did the same thing. His dad started the “there are two sides” Son said, no dad, I lived in that house for 18 years, you did wrong, not mom.

          He just told me recently about the conversation. I did try to not put him in the middle, and for the most part I succeeded, but I am glad he stood up for me at the time. He had just graduated from HS two years previous to his dads discard of me.

          He knew how I treated his dad, not saying I was perfect; but I never disrespected him in any way. I never screamed and yelled at him as he did me, I never lied to him etc.

          • I just listened to some talks on betrayal and healing by Debi Silber (YouTube)
            To quote her ‘ it happened to you, but it wasn’t about you.’

  • Maybe because I help with a local divorce group and maybe because there were signs of cheating in my marriage that I ignored until the divorce was in full swing, but the doubts you feel about his female friend are real. Trust them. I chose not to hire a P.I. during the divorce because it wouldn’t have changed anything. We settled out of court, and I had more meaningful things to spent my hard-earned dollars on.

    FWIW I don’t tolerate any sh*t in those close to me now. Of course there are some people at work, neighbors, etc. that I don’t particularly like and trust, but I keep them at arm’s length. Friends and close family members know that I’m OK with bumps and scrapes, but no manipulation and garbage. FWIW, this guy is throwing garbage at you, and it smells bad.

    Yes, it hurts, but you’re better than this.

  • No, it is probably an accurate description of the times he lived in. Rich, powerful, entitled men are expected to be discreet. Whatever he did while he was married to her, he still kept his royal duties, and did not humiliate the Queen.

    Objecting to common moral, or immoral practices is an act of futility. You cannot change the past, but you can change yourself, and work toward changes for a better future.

  • If he’s your boyfriend and not married you don’t owe him anything.
    Change the locks next time he goes out to make music, leave all his stuff out.
    When he screams and yells and flips out, say that you handled it the 49 year old style and then BLOCK THE SUCKER.

  • Sorry Elle, but it’s time to wise up and grow a backbone. And I hate to say it, but you’re not even a chump. Chumps at least get tricked, and have some reason to stay. No marriage, no kids, shared real estate or finances, no sex, no friendship, no respect, no truth, no fidelity, no rent, perks…nada. You can’t believe a word this guy is saying…I’m sure he is cheating on you. Kick him out now, block him, and never give him the time of day again. But have someone with you during this time. Maybe a police escort out of your house. He isn’t going to take kindly to his meal ticket doormat upsetting his cushy world. And get a good therapist asap. You have deep self esteem issues.

    • Oh, actually, I was assuming that you own your place…if you rent, I would just quietly split when he’s gone, and cancel the lease and utilities. And go hard No Contact. This guy sounds dangerous.

      • Yep, in this case even buy out the lease if possible. Cheaper in the long run. If he is on the lease that makes it harder. But, lets say there is three or four months left on the lease and both names are on it. Give 30 days notice, and in the worst case she has to pay the rent for a few more months for the deadbeat, then he is on his own.

        Not ideal; but better than staying with the freeloader.

    • Also, it does not matter at all what this user says, feels, thinks. He is the enemy. Game over.

  • I was in that same situation for years. First I married a guy who promptly quit his job and lay on the couch all day trying to be a comedian. (He wasn’t funny.) I went out and got an apartment by myself and told him we were done. Then I met another guy who moved into my house also quickly lost his job. I told him I would not support him. He told me I was being selfish. So I spent the next 4 years not being selfish. I paid all the bills. I bought the food, cooked the meals, and cleaned up the mess. I mowed the lawn. I hired people to fix things. Once a tree limb fell and I couldn’t get my car out of the garage. For days. Even though he owned a chain saw. When I mentioned it he got mad. There I go being selfish again. And the worst part was, he wasn’t even nice to me! Not.At.All. Said my job wasn’t a real job (the money was quite real though). Picked fights. Once he yelled at me to shut my damn mouth because we were at a party and I wanted to go home. Then accused ME of “pitching a fit.” That was the week before Christmas. He drove home screaming at me all the way, 40 miles. I made him go stay somewhere else that night, but when he came back the next day I forgave him. On Christmas he started a fight because I always spent Christmas Eve with his mom and Christmas Day with my mom. He said I should spend that day with his mom from now on. He said I was selfish. They had just opened up all the gifts I bought for them the night before, to which I signed his name. On New Year’s Eve he got mad when I tried to get him to pay $13 for a long distance call he made (yes, this was before cell phones), and went to his mother’s till 10:30, then came home and told me I needed to wear something else because that skirt made my ass look too big. He always said I had the biggest ass he’d ever seen. That I was fat. I wear a 6. I have NO ass. After that weekend it was just a matter of getting him out of my house. I finally did, but he kept coming back. I know now I should have just changed the locks, told him we were through, and gone no contact. That’s what you should do too. I sometimes wonder what made him to that. But that’s untangling the skein, another thing we know not to do. Good luck! You deserve much better than what you’re getting.

  • Elle, since you have finally acknowledged there is a ‘problem’ believe your words. He is NOT a boyfriend, or even a friend. People get comfortable in the own dysfunction and that is what the last nine years has become. Everyone on CL has a story and you my dear still have a chance to cut and run since you are not married to him nor do you have children. He’s a mooch and you are allowing him to suck you dry. It definitely will get worse, not better. He has showed you who he is and it isnt much. Elle, respect yourself and dump his non sexual, selfish, flustered, non communicative a$$hole back to him mommy or maybe his music partner. UGH, this whole story is just sickening what we allow from loosers.
    HOLD your high and give yourself what you deserve. You will feel 100% better. ((Hugs))

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