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No Contact Fails — The Blooper Reel

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beingawayThis “Fun” Friday contest was suggested by an intrepid chump — no contact fails, the outtakes. If your chumpy existence was a Bloopers show — what mortifying episode would you highlight?

That time you pet sat for her when she was in the Bahamas with the Other Man?

Drunken sexting?

Did you spend a few months separated, only to cave, so you could apologize to him?

Yeah, Tracy, where’s the “fun” in recalling our most pathetic moments?

Catharsis? Tripping over our hearts, flailing wildly, and crashing to earth is what makes us chumps. You’re among your own here. Maybe if we’re mortified en masse we’ll vow never humiliate ourselves this way again?

Remember, chumpdom is an entirely curable condition. Brush yourself off, forgive yourself, and get back on the no contact wagon. Only you can prevent cringing…

TGIF!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Holy hell..I slept with fuck wit #1 for a year after the divorce was final. Only stopped when I met fuck wit #2. Went no contact with that one (no kids with him) only to break it because his ex was able to get her no contact order reestablished for 5 more years and he was suicidal.

      Currently he is mad at me because I got upset when I found out married affair partner # who knows, works where my daughter goes to therapy. “Why can’t you let it go?” If I could let shit go you would of been history a long time ago. I’m like a hoarder for fuck wits.

      Hopefully that made someone feel less bad about themselves.

      • “Why can’t you let it go?” If I could let shit go you would of been history a long time ago. I’m like a hoarder for fuck wits.

        Thank you for this absolute gem. You made my day! 😂

      • haha! A hoarder for fuckwits 🙂 🙂 🙂 If I don’t laugh, I cry – I prefer to laugh. And… I laugh a lot without any fuckwits in my life.
        Hoarding can be treated, too – throw the unnecessary shit out!!!

  • After I caught him at her house (he and I argued in the front yard, she stayed inside), she got angry at him and his “crazy ass wife” (me, of course!). So I told him later that evening I’d call her and tell her I wouldn’t come to her house anymore so they could still be friends!!! I am so angry with myself.

  • I went to the medical solicitor with him after he was under investigation for having sex with his patient 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

      • Yes he was suspended and now he claims he earns $100 pm and that is what his child support payments are based on! Please then explain how you pay $600 per rent for your beach side apartment…….. crickets 🦗

    • Sorry, Chumpy, but this is preeeeeetty Deep and we’re supposed to mass mortify today.

      But I am glad you found CL and CN. And with your guts, you are sure to never trip again!
      Take care! And thanks for sharing, your story has already made me feel better.

      • Yep it’s deep hence the Deeply Chumpy title! Even his solicitor was looking at me with the “WTF run away woman” stare. The analogy I was given was that of a poker machine. You’ve invested so much – all in – that by that stage any small level of remorse, guilt, affection, attention was a pay out enough to keep me investing….

    • Retired MD here whose FW fucked the building slut who worked across the hall from my office IN MY OFFICE on my exam tables while claiming he was “working late”…..all it takes to be taken advantage of is a loving heart and an innocent soul. Don’t blame yourself.

      • No way he wasn’t jealous and resentful of your status. Trying to feel he *”finally” had “power” over you, behind your back.

        When men are intimidated by successful intimidating women episode 478

        • I read recently that if a woman earns more than her spouse the spouse is a whopping 25 times more likely to cheat. It is not enough that the entire world conspires against successful women, now you find out that your husband is likely to conspire against you too.

  • Begging him to restore our marriage and family even while he befriended a married young couple and the woman, who could not bear children, took a friendly liking to my daughter. Disgusting.

    PS can you do a daily on Josh Duggar? Now that’s a meaty story for you Chump Lady!

    • Yes for the Duggars, holy sh%*! That poor girl and the children, talk about religious abuse!
      I also want to hear CL’s take on the Armie Hammer train wreck that just keeps going! Just yesterday there was an article about the 20 year old he raped, and he blames shifted saying she was into kinky things. This is per the man with cannibal fantasies. Does he actually think we believe him?! What a psycho! If he didn’t have family money and connections he’d be in prison.

      • Josh Duggar
        Oh my… I saw a few clips from way before ( regarding his affairs) and holy cow- his wife is absolutely brainwashed.
        So- molesting his sisters- cheating- downloading a child pornography
        It won’t get better. Ever
        Yet, they are on a kid #7🤦‍♀️

        • She should flee for the hills. Actually she should have done that as soon as she found out he molested his own underage sisters. But better late than never.

        • How can they allow ‘Josh’ to have contact with his own young children?!?? He’s not safe! I cringe on the whole concept of the baby factory show, but we are in the criminal realm now. smh. Unbelievable!

          • The goverment is going to stop his contact with his minor children.

            Apparently his church elders thought contact with kids was a-ok. After he molested 5 girls, two his own sisters, got caught having affairs arranged through Ashley Madison, got sued by a porn star for assault during a sexual encounter. Now the latest charges.

            The CPS seems to have to step in when parents are too brainwashed and naive.

            The Jesus cheaters are the most repugnant. I swear they would have forgiven Ted Bundy for the torture, rapes and murders of all those poor girls. Sickening.

            After Joshy got caught molesting his sisters his parents refused to call the police. Instead the police got involved when a family friend informed them. The cop that they selected to ‘counsel’ Josh is now in prison on a 56 year sentence for child molestation.

  • I helped him assemble their bed. He was appropriately very awkward about it, but I carried in because I could see him struggling.

    I was of course suffering from temporary insanity.

    • “I was, of course, suffering from temporary insanity.” Bahahaha! I regained sanity, moved across the country and doing great for a year…only to move him across the country, and in with my cousin, where he could again pull his lyin’ cheatin’ BS. Insanity. If only that was a beginning or the end story. My family was like WTF?*?! Every once in a while a memory comes up, and I physically cringe. What was I thinking? CL saved me:)

      • CL saved me, too. This last one wasn’t the first… but it is the LAST ONE. I have an idea of what I was thinking – I could make him happy, I could fix it, I wasn’t deserving of anything more.
        Fuck all that noise, damaging beliefs BE GONE!

  • I wish I could go entirely NC with him, unfortunately he’s the father of my teenage son and that means he will be in my life forever and ever. You know that line Scarlett Johansson tells Adam Driver in Marriage Story, incredibly exasperated shouting “I can’t believe I have to know you forever!”. I felt that on such a deep level. I can’t believe I have to know him forever either, and every bit of toxicity he brings into my son’s life I have to deal with.

    My latest fail was last Sunday. For a bit of context, my ex had several affairs but the current AP was the reason why he left. He, however, always denied it. Our son found texts messages between him and this woman on Christmas 2019 (he was texting her while sitting in our living room with MY family, who took him in like a son, the disrespect), and when my son confronted him he gaslit him by deleting everything on his phone and, brace for it, told him he dreamt it. Afterwards I found an email of a £90 gift for her on Valentine’s day where he was telling her he loved, which he justified by saying “it was a joke”.

    Basically now he’s trying to make it look like him and AP just started dating recently (although he can’t even stick to his own story because he told me it’s since January but told our son it’s been 6 months lol). My son is having none of that, and since he’s hurt, he’s acting out like teenagers who are in pain often do. And I’m constantly roped in the drama my ex brings, because he’s unable to accept that his son is angry at him (“he shouldn’t be angry at anyone! he says), doesn’t want to spend much time with him (“you should force him to come and sleep at mine!” he says), and it’s my fault (“you foster his anger!” he says, not him with his lies, but me just by existing and doing the mothering thing 24/7 unlike him).

    The conversation ended up steering towards the lies he told me, and I know better than discussing that because nothing good ever comes out of it, but it’s hard.

    • Ahh, but there’s hope!

      You are no longer responsible for that relationship. You and teenager get to do your own thing. Let go of that rope and let it drift away.

      Lots of support in the older posts here on CL.com.

      Hugs

      • My son also went off the deep end for a bit. Behavior off the charts, refused to talk to his dad.

        My lawyer read the email i ultimately sent to him. Basically told him I was responsible to give DS access to his father and their relationship was up for the two of them to figure out. If he didn’t answer his phone when he called it was not my problem.

        Don’t let him bait you. You don’t have to talk to him. My rule was email only. When he sent the flaming text messages I printed them and saved them for future use. Don’t even respond. It’s not easy, a few nights Ben & Jerry kept me company….

        • Thanks this is great advice. I want to clarify that it’s not like I’m getting involved in their relationship by trying to fix it, it’s just that whatever mess he brings in my son’s life inevitably effects me as well, and that’s tough. I don’t particularly mind if my ex manages to fix his relationship with his son, it just that whatever impacts my son becomes part of what impacts me as well

          • You are right. My son behavior was horrible – ran away in the middle of a snowstorm (we found him within hours), he’s put holes in multiple walls (3 horrible nights), just very tough. He has attachment disorder and PTSD from life with birth parents. This made it very hard – his dad just up and left.

            You just need to stand tall, don’t talk about you EX in front of your kids, get them a councilor if they are willing, and be the sane parent.

            It is hard. Really hard. You have your own hurts and all the adult thing to deal with, plus trying to help them heal. I’m sending you hugs and know you are not alone.

    • “And I’m constantly roped in the drama my ex brings, because he’s unable to accept that his son is angry at him (“he shouldn’t be angry at anyone! he says), doesn’t want to spend much time with him (“you should force him to come and sleep at mine!” he says), and it’s my fault (“you foster his anger!” he says, not him with his lies, but me just by existing and doing the mothering thing 24/7 unlike him).”

      You have a teenage son, so you need only have minimal logistical contact with this man. You don’t need to be “roped in” to drama between two other people, ever. Not with your parents, or your kid and his dad, your co-workers, etc. This was one of the first things I learned in therapy: don’t be a third party in the relationship between two other people. Move your communication to email only. You don’t need to talk to CheaterDad to carry out kid business. Email is quite enough. Tell your son it’s up to him to work out his relationship with his father.

      If CheaterX can’t understand or accept “that his son is angry at him,” that’s his problem to work out with your son. He fired you from fixing that or even caring about the problem. Do not be a third party in any relationship. And if you’re smart, you won’t discuss CheaterDad with your son. Here are some lines you can use to end those discussions:
      “I’m sorry you’re so angry at your dad, but the two of you have to work this out.”
      “That must be upsetting/hurtful/frustrating, but you need to talk to your dad about what he did.”
      “Don’t put me in the middle of this conflict. This is between you and Dad.”
      “I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. Maybe you can talk to a counselor about some strategies to handle this problem.” Then change the subject, start making dinner, or go get ice cream. Show you heard him, stop the habitual complaint, suggest the alternative, and then change the subject.

      For CheaterDad, tell him to put all communication in email. Don’t pick up his calls. Let them go to voicemail. Then 24-48 hours later, remind him by email not to call or text again. Do NOT send responses about things that are not required business. It’s not your job to manage his emotions or his relationships.

      Cheaters love a triangle. Don’t be the hypotenuse in your son’s relationship with his father. Stay out of triangles.

      • Thanks for the advice. The problem is that we’re not in constant contact at all, he tried to somehow be my friend which was indeed ridiculous and I ignored all those attempts, but he has some downright unhealthy behaviours in his relationship with our son that I just cannot ignore e.g. lie and gaslight him then telling him he did it to protect him which is victim blame-ish, you can’t tell someone that especially when there’s such a power imbalance like in a relationship with a 14 yo and an adult. I understand what you mean, but I don’t feel comfortable seeing my son in pain and telling him that I can’t talk to him about it. My ex has never been big on respecting boundaries with me, and now he’s doing it with our son, and it troubles me.

        My ex also refuses to communicate normally, it doesn’t even need to be by email a text is fine by me, but instead of doing that he makes my son the messenger e.g. the night before parents evening (something he completely ignored) he lets me know through my son he wants to do it instead. Or ask our son to pick up some documents from the house behind my back. So it’s a constant like that, despite me telling him plenty of times that we need to be the adults who deal with the adult stuff in a civil manner by communicating with each other, he refuses to.

        • Vee, Why are you surprised that your ex is refusing to listen to you? He’s shown you that he doesn’t care, believe him. I don’t care how many times you tell your ex something he isn’t going to suddenly have a revelation and listen to you.
          This is who he is. You’re giving your ex power by communicating with him and expecting him to behave like an adult. Take your power back and go NC.
          Show your son by example that your ex’s behavior and disrespect is unacceptable.
          Regain your self respect by enforcing no contact and boundaries. Your son will learn self respect and to set his own boundaries by your example.
          You can’t change who your son’s father is or how his father behaves.

          Why do you care if his father wants to go to parent evening at the last minute? Who cares what he wants?
          You should however be concerned that your son is taking documents from your house behind your back for his father.
          Have you considered therapy for you and your son?

          • “Why are you surprised that your ex is refusing to listen to you?”

            This is a very good point. I suppose I assumed that since according to him the problem was that he was apparently so unhappy in the marriage, he would get his act together now that he’s finally free. I didn’t expect all this drama to go on and on. He has everything he wants after all. Like for instance the parent evening thing, it would be super easy to just write to me some time before to arrange it, but he has to make it difficult for no reason. That attitude still gets to me.

            “You can’t change who your son’s father is or how his father behaves”

            This is probably the biggest problem. Like I wrote in my og comment I’m still grappling with the fact that this is my life now and I have to deal with this whether I like it or not. It’s all still relatively new, being 1 year from d-day and 7 months from separation. Prior to everything being revealed he was a good father albeit often absent. It’s like a part of me still expects to see flashes of the person he used to be.

            “Have you considered therapy for you and your son?”

            My son atm doesn’t feel like he’d want to talk to a stranger (his words) when I offered him this option, as for me I did have therapy for a few months, but due to covid everything is conducted through zoom nowadays, and this just wasn’t working for me. I’d reconsider it when people are allowed to meet more freely

            • Vee,
              First of all, let me say you are doing great. This shit is hard. It is hard to wrap your mind around this is how is going to behave when you have this long history – before the devalue – of how you know he can behave. But you’ve seen behind the curtain and now you know. It takes a bit to adjust and these are early days still.
              It’s a long game. Stay focused on helping your son deal with it. I often said to my own children to take what I had to say with a grain of salt when dealing with their dad. It’s hard for children to accept what their parents are and to reconcile it with their love for them, even when they are disgusted with that parent’s behavior. Your son will need you and he will form his own opinion of his dad.
              Keep coming here, there is a load of wisdom.

            • As the mother of a teenager son, who said the same thing, I advise you push the issue and insist on a therapist. The right person can help. Do not wait until things go downhill to seek help.

              • Thanks for the advice. I’m trying to go with the flow in terms of what he wants and when he’s ready for it. There’s also the problem that I have personal history with this; as a teenager I started to suffer from depression. I’m on AD now and it’s under control, but at the time it did feel like my parents didn’t want to deal with it and just unloaded me to a therapist to fix me. It really hurt, and it felt quite lonely. So I’m trying to find a happy medium that works for both of us

            • Hugs, vee. A loved one (who just came thru a nasty divorce) had a great answer for her two older teens when f-wit wanted things from the house after he had packed up and left. (Typical covert narc control behavior and triangulation using objects “left behind”). She said to them: “He moved out by his own choice and left whatever is here, here. I am in charge of all the stuff that’s here and anything that leaves must be approved by me. That includes paperwork and stuff. If he has requests he needs to send them directly to me via email. This is not your issue to get involved with. Thanks but no, thanks.” Then sent them off with a hug. After a few more attempts (and good vigilance on her part) f-wit gave up. You got this. Another great resource is DSD, Dad Surviving Divorce on youtube. Best wishes to you and your kiddo.

        • Vee, I made my suggestions speaking from experience.
          Ex had a similar unhealthy relationship with our son. Ex manipulated our son into believing he was looking our for him, when in reality he was looking out for himself. Ex had no respect for us or our boundaries. This isn’t a normal father son relationship.
          Your ex’s behavior is abusive, and it’s chipping way at your sons self esteem.

          Take back your power and control and go no contact. Set an example for your son. Show your son that no one has permission to disrespect you.
          I didn’t and my sons self esteem as an adult is suffering. I also thought things would change or maybe it wasn’t that bad..it doesn’t change for the better.
          I hope you decide to find a good therapist for your son and yourself.

      • Lovedajackass, AMEN! I was that third person managing his relationships with everyone. That’s the first sign of codependency.

      • Children need Truth, direction, protection & information. Character disordered people bring adults to their knees, so leaving kids alone to navigate is neglect IMO.

        • That’s what it feels like to me tbh. I saw the damage it did to me, a grown 39 yo, being manipulated and gaslit by a man I had been with since I was 20 and whom I trusted implicitly. I can’t stand by while he does the same thing to my son who’s only 14. He shouldn’t even have to deal with these things at such a young age. I want his life to be full with experiences, friends, activities and school, not navigating the misery that his father brings in his life. It confuses him and upsets him, and I need to be there for him. I’d rather I’d be the one taking the brunt of this for his sake

          • I like Khalil Gibran’s analogy, from his book “The prophet”. You are the bow. Your child is the arrow. You can give your child both direction and the initial impulsion. But you can’t live his life for him. His relationship with his father is his to navigate. I speak as a chump raised by a narcissist father and an enabling mother. She was always telling me I had to understand him, he had a difficult childhood blah blah. Well, sixteen years old me was able to think “and who understands ME then?” but I never said it, and/or was never validated. THAT you can do. You can listen to your child, and validate his feelings. You can tell him that he is right, that dealing with his father is complicated. That a therapist/counselor can support him. Your job is not to prevent harm happening to your child. (If I may be blunt, you did not manage to prevent harm happening to you -I speak from personal experience). Your job is to locate the best person to help your son, maybe a specialist for FOO issues, and drive him to the first consultation. What they talk about is between them. Pay for the therapy that will reinforce your child’s defences against the dark arts of his father. That skill will protect your child from further encounters with toxic teachers, lovers, bosses. That will break the cycle of abuse for good. That is mighty 😘

            • Thanks for the advice. My only problem with this, which I wrote in another comment is that as a teenager I was depressed. My parents did take me to a therapist, but it felt like a way to unload me to someone else to fix me. It made me feel very lonely and disconnected and it didn’t help much, so I’m trying to find a way to deal with it by at least making sure my son knows he can count on me. I can do my part as well and be present, and if he ever decides he wants to talk to a therapist, that door is open as well

              • Vee, that’s perfect. It’s taken my 17yo son 3 years to actually commit to talking to a therapist. The one thing all the counsellors etc were saying to me was it’s useless to force anyone; in fact it’s very invasive of their trust and privacy. Most teens would be humiliated and very angry if they were made to talk before they’re ready. You sound like you’re coping perfectly – all the best to you and your son! X

              • >>It made me feel very lonely and disconnected and it didn’t help much

                I felt off loaded too. Plus, therapists sometimes confirm the sense that something is wrong with us (an idea abusers plant). What I would have given to have a therapist tell me that the worthless feelings were by design, and more proof I was defective.

                I wish I had heard of Alateen. My immediate family didn’t have substance abuse, but my grand parents did. Any sort of codependency is welcome I think. I hope your son has sports or a fan club, or something to belong to. Just a little perspective from your group can go a long way.

              • Yes. I have to review my opinion on therapy. I read on this thread many legit criticism of therapy and I guess I might have actually been lucky that my parents did not offer any. No validation from them, and consequently no need for therapy 🙄. I still find most therapists I met useful, but I have seen more than ten, and that might be telling that shopping around is crucial. I am glad you are there for your child. Validation of his emotions is important. Also acknowledging that navigating the relationship with his father is difficult, complicated and potentially not rewarding. That because you did not stay does not mean he can’t try. And yes it sucks 😭.

              • With respect. You are projecting your issues onto your child. What was true for you is not relevant to what your child needs now

        • ^^ this is the truth right here…

          …but it seems like that’s one of the many ways in which society screws over Chumps and the kids: the assumption that informing them that their one of their parents is a lying, cheating abuser is somehow wrong because they might get the #sadz

          I always wonder if they would say the same thing about people who sexually exploit children:

          “Sure I knew Creepy Uncle Josh Duggar really liked child porn… but it’s not my place to tell kids about such adult issues. I’ll just let them figure it out for themselves!”

          Children have the right to choose the relationship they want with a cheater parent…

          …but they don’t have a right to choose their relationship to the truth

          • I agree. In my case I didn’t even have to say anything because my ex was busted by his own son texting his AP so I never had to inform him of anything but it became messy anyway because his father tried to gaslight him. Sometimes he says that he feels guilty that he didn’t come to me and tell me, but I always say it’s not his fault his father, an adult, tried to make him believe he dreamt it. And when his father still denies it now, I tell him to believe his eyes. If you have proof, believe yourself not what someone else tells you.

            But yeah, I hate the idea that we have to lie about it. Obviously within reason and according to age explanations should differ, but the truth sets you free. Lies otoh keep you stuck. And I’m think telling someone you’re lying to protect them it’s all sorts of f- up; you lie to protect you, it’s never for someone else’s good.

            • Yes. I do not believe in lying for someone else’s good. I do not believe in involving the kids in a he did/she did fight. What happens in the conjugal bedroom is none of the kids’ business. I believe in omission, but not in lying. Circumstancial disclosure. No to the exact description of the issue “he cheated!”. Yes to the unacceptable hows and whys : ” we were shouting daily (screaming matches in front of the kids!) and I do not accept that anymore. We needed to work as a team to solve our issues without shouting”; “When we make mistakes, we have to repair it. If trust is lost, we can’t stay together. If somebody borrows your toy and don’t give it back, would you lend another toy?” . “The situation was unacceptable to me”. Of course, there are professional that will give better advice than I can. Lying to kids is not a good idea, though

      • On the subject of triangulation and staying in one’s own lane: if an adult child sees their parent mistreated by another parent, is it “getting between them” to say something to the offender?

        I have a better relationship with my mom but saw her basically bully my dad recently. I’m shocked and then, not (I now see there have been signs), and have been walking around stunned because I feel like the veil has been pulled off as to whom I have been appealing to for empathy since childhood (I’ve always thought my mom would care if I could just explain myself). Now I get, even more clearly, why I’ve always tried to explain good behavioiur to indifferent cheater men.

        I have been going back and forth with “stay out of it; it’s their relationship; protect myself and focus on me” and “I saw what I think is an example of a pattern; it hurt me to see my parent hurt my parent just like it always did; I believe that if I bring it up then my mom might treat my dad better. More impulse to explain good behaviour! Any thoughts would be helpful.

        • I doubt she’ll treat him better just because you say something. But I think you should speak up because it’s the right thing to do.
          Consequences rarely even stop abusers, so conversations certainly don’t.
          Nonetheless, speaking up is still the right call, unless you think she might take it out on your dad. Perhaps you could talk to your dad about leaving her?

        • I like what Dr. Ramani (Youtube) says about what to do when witnessing narcissistic abuse, validate the victim. You don’t have to say much, “That must have been rough. I don’t think you deserved that.” If Magnolia’s mom can’t hear it, it might do Magnolia’s dad a world of good.

          • Yes. I do not believe in lying for someone else’s good. I do not believe in involving the kids in a he did/she did fight. What happens in the conjugal bedroom is none of the kids’ business. I believe in omission, but not in lying. Circumstancial disclosure. No to the exact description of the issue “he cheated!”. Yes to the unacceptable hows and whys : ” we were shouting daily (screaming matches in front of the kids!) and I do not accept that anymore. We needed to work as a team to solve our issues without shouting”; “When we make mistakes, we have to repair it. If trust is lost, we can’t stay together. If somebody borrows your toy and don’t give it back, would you lend another toy?” . “The situation was unacceptable to me”. Of course, there are professional that will give better advice than I can. Lying to kids is not a good idea, though

    • It’s so fucking disgusting not that they do it but they can’t even own their shit as they are so scared what those closest will think of them. Well, the answer is not much. My daughter (younger) has brought into their lies hook, line, and sinker. During a recent meltdown (which of course I get because she can with me without fear of me running away) said that she would believe what they (dad and OW) said above me any day. Oh for the day she finds out but I say nothing and believe that somewhere down the line it will pay back .

      It’s the head fuck afterwards that just does you in. Right, I must away and think of some awful chump no contact fail for I am sure I must have gone there.

      • Oh Dudders – that line from your dd must have cut you so deep, I am sorry. ❤ She’s probably been conditioned to do that by the fw, if not explicitly but by subtle “Mum is crazy” stuff. I wonder how old yr daughter is and if you’ve told her abour the cheating? I sat my 17 and two 14 yo kids down as soon as we had moved into the new house without fw, and told them he’d left me for another woman, the one who used to drive them to school and look after them while we were on a second honeymoon. Does yr dd know the truth?

        • There has been plenty of grooming going on from day 1 believe me. She’s only 11 now and was therefore 8 or 9 ish when it happened. OW was introduced almost immediately as a ‘work friend’. Whether she chooses to believe this as it’s convenient for her for a peaceful life or not I think it’s one to brooch down the line. It’s because they were all super happy and I was super upset and a big hot mess and they were ‘comforting’ her through all this which is even more twisted. How the OW could do that I’ll never ever know. Sick fucks.

          I think for me I would address it if asked directly and I would not cover for them but also there will be a time down the line when it will be appropriate. I also believe somehow it will come back to bite them.

      • I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and it’s honestly heartbreaking. I have a friend who is divorced, her husband was cheating on her and she’s just trying to rebuild her life and atm she has a new bf, while her ex is still with his AP. Her son accepted AP but hates her bf with a passion. I told her that it’s probably because with her he feels safe enough to kick up a fuss, so it’s true that us parents who are always there get the most of the outbursts, because with us they feel safe.

        I think your daughter will see it, when she’s a little bit older, that it wasn’t your fault this happened, and that you were always there for her no matter what. It might take time, but she will. Sending you a big hug

    • Hey Vee,
      His relationship with your son or lack thereof is his problem now. You don’t have to discuss it. When my ex pulled that crap with my then 17 year old daughter, he even tried to force her into therapy with him. My response was “she is 17, she has her own phone and her own car – if she wants to see you she will. After a while (and her 18th birthday) he gave up, he never managed to force her into therapy and she still has nothing to do with him. I am sure he is still blaming me 3 years later but well, who cares he is nothing but a fuck wit anyway.

      • My dad or really his therapist wanted me to go to family therapy when he was in rehab. The request persisted even after I said he was emotionally abusive to my mom. Yo, I don’t think that’s making amends.

      • I don’t really mind if he has a relationship with his dad, it’s just that my ex’s behaviours are quite unhealthy, like your ex wanting to force your daughter into therapy with him, that’s unfair because clearly there’s a power imbalance between teenagers and adults that cannot be ignored.

        Thank you for the advice though, it’s good to hear from people who have already been through it.

    • I could have written what you did.
      It’s taken time for me to save my sanity, trust what I know, stop debating, and practice my blinking blank stare and say “Hm” whenever he says anything. If he said the sky was blue I’d have to verify it.

      • ikr? about 70% of what my ex says is probably a lie, and it’s so frustrating. I suppose I need more time to get to a place where I can stop feeling like I should debate with him.

        Thanks so much for the support <3

      • My ex is the king of telling people how to feel. My son shouldn’t be angry, and after I found out about cheating his attitude was always to talk in “we”, such as we don’t talk enough, we don’t get along etc, and I kept on telling him speak for yourself stop telling me how I feel. But I’m an adult, my son gets his feelings invalidated from his father and he doesn’t really know how to react to it

    • It is just so typical that they take absolutely no responsibility. I feel for your son – it is so hard to know your own father is a liar and the gaslighting is so damaging and simply unfair and cruel to do to a child. As long as he can see that it is not healthy and there is a better way to live, I am confident your son will be even better because of this experience. It is said here a lot: be the sane parent.
      What I wouldn’t do for even one sane parent when I was a teen.

  • Marriage counselor: What did you learn about men in your family of origin?
    Me: Men leave. They either die young or they cheat. Be prepared to take care of things yourself and be independent because you will be left alone one way or another.
    MC went on to explain how my experience growing up was causing me to be “too independent” and this caused klootzak to cheat. Klootzak nods head, “I don’t feel needed by her.” I start being counseled on how I could be more dependent and helpless to make him feel needed. I internalize that I caused his cheating. 😣

    • The chumpy thing I did was to – in response to D-day – seek this counselor out because she was a sex addiction expert, book the appointment, and then sit there and take it. Why didn’t I tell them both to F off and end it? Noooo… I became a first class pick me dancer and the less independent I allowed myself to be, the more he demeaned me for it.

      • Mr. Wonderful’s Ex:

        You didn’t know what to do. You were in shock. It took you a minute to realize that life as you knew it was over. Even if you grew up expecting for it to happen.

        I guess that’s the thing that gets me about all of this. And why I’m still reading this blog.

        Whether it was a gradual knowing, a repeat event, or a sudden revelation; no matter. There was a moment in time when suddenly we realized our lives were changed by agents beyond our control.

        And that’s where life begins, hey? It’s not really in trying to avoid the tragedies, or about being perfect, or requiring perfection from others. It’s about our responses to the tragedies that come our way. That’s what makes the real stories. That’s what give us character. That’s what gives us grit and determination. And compassion. And empathy.

        And I love this post and I love these answers. To suppose we can turn on a dime, without having digested the information about how drastically our lives have just changed, and be sudden enemies to the people we have been trying so hard to love… and say the clever things, and draw the instant conclusions, and make the paradigm shift, when it’s not a paradigm we chose: it’s a carved-out moment in time, where grace lives… where craziness is the norm… I love visiting it in this way…

        • This is a great way to look at it. And looking back, though the idiot MC mired me in things further, it was a learning experience and I am satisfied that I didn’t immediately walk and I tried to repair things. I didn’t throw my marriage away. It’s just that every time I was called on to forgive him, I loved him a little less until there was nothing left. When he said he wanted to end things, I didn’t care on an emotional level. I would be happy for an OW to take him off my hands so he’d leave me alone. The pandemic hit and I’m currently stuck but I at least have had time to develop a plan to move on. But damn if I didn’t bend over backwards trying to fix things that couldn’t be fixed.

          And apologies to all that my contribution wasn’t an instance of NC fail but a fail in general. NC is my dream.

      • Same here Ex. My first D-day was a few weeks after engagement. Our counselor also put it on me and said I wasn’t meeting his needs. It’s taken so long to realize how fucked up that is. Engagement should be at the height of happiness in a relationship. I thought we were experiencing that. If I was so disappointing to him why did he spend lots of money on a ring and ask me to be with him for the rest of his life. I’d really love for that counselor to answer that for me now. At the time I felt blindsided by her response. Now, after 12 years of marriage and two children, I see it all so clearly. Finally divorcing. Can’t wait to build a new life.

        • He wasn’t meeting my need for integrity, communication, listening, respect, romance, etc., and I didn’t cheat.

          • Whoa, Velvet Hammer. Yes. What about our fucking needs? They stray? OUR fault. They lose interest? OUR fault? What’s not our fault? I wanna hit these folks upside the head with a large shovel.

            • I am going to ignore all of the fuckwits, thank them for allowing me to learn valuable lessons, and take all of the energy I put into helping them and finally help and care for myself.

          • Exactly Velvet. I sadly went into a marriage not feeling safe and confident. Stupid I know. I tried to talk about things and be involved in things with him but he slowly shut me out more, especially after children. Apparently I was supposed to just be available for promised sex. There is no good explanation for it all except that this was basically what he was looking for. A beautiful family, eyewash for the outside world. A cover for his fucked-upness. Aside for him being a good provider for our family financials, he’s never even desired to meet my needs. Or just actually care about me. There is nothing genuine there at all. I actually hate that term. “Meet my needs”. Who would ever bother dating if we all said that we were just looking for someone to “meet our needs”? Sounds rather selfish, no?

            • Even within the context of “meeting needs,” It’s Over, I wonder: As a financial provider, was FW truly, reliably good for your family’s needs? Once you refused to take the abuse of his cheating, were the damages to you and sacrifices and contributions you’ve made, past/present/future, fully accounted for and repaid? How has your family’s financial situation been affected by your ex’s choices? I think that the financial security that “provider” or “protector” FWs offer is often an illusion, in many ways. I’ve read many stories here (even in the past couple weeks) of chumps who’ve achieved enormous professional and financial gains almost immediately after leaving cheaters – in spite of housing insecurity, income cuts, legal bills, etc. Financial abuse is one of the many ways cheaters manipulate and undermine chumps.

      • There’s no RIC mindfuck like the CSAT (Certified Sex Addict Therapist) mindfuck. Focusing on the partner’s family of origin as much or more than the poor “sex addict” is a big part of their blame shifting strategy. They capitalize on victim trauma.

        Hang in there Ex. It gets infinitely better the farther you get away from your disordered husband and the CSAT nonsense.

        • The only “sex addiction” therapist worth anything in Omar Minwalla, who says the maintenance of a secret sexual life is abuse.

        • Right!

          My highly rated sex therapist/ family counselor wasn’t even able to see the narcissist in my h.
          During one session ( after the cards were on the table regarding his hooker/ dating habit) I was a complete sobbing heartbroken mess… his response? Sulking into himself- making impression that HE IS GOING through the biggest betrayal of his life ( we were discussing his de spades and my shuttered world of monogamous marriage) almost fainting ( class act!)
          Therapist got scared- told me that he may be going through a breakdown ( yes, physically he was breaking down- not because of shame and guilt over his action but because he felt attacked and sorry for himself)

          I had to pull myself together, give him ride home, take care of the kids/ household for the rest of the day/ next day.

          My needs? My broken heart and PTSD? That had to wait…. HE WAS in need.

          I told this therapist at the end- that her advice was dangerous ( introduce sex), that diagnosis of a depression/ PTSD on my end and absolutely nothing of that sort on my h’s end- was all she had to know to see the real picture.

    • Dearest Mr. Wonderful’s Ex,

      I wish you would bring a lawsuit against that so-called therapist for malpractice. Just reading your story made me angry. As a Chump who walked out of marital therapy confused as to how I was responsible for his choice to cheat, I have such empathy for you.

      This narrative that the victims of the abuse of adultery are responsible for the abuse has got to change. Tracy showed me that it never was my fault that LTC Asshat cheated. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t you. These abusers chose their path.

      I am sorry for you. I hope you see his cheating was never, ever your fault. I hope you found an earthbound angel of a therapist who agrees Adultery is abuse.

      • This. I emailed my abusive therapist a couple of years later and told him how wrong he was and recommended this blog for a fresh perspective. I never intended to sue him, but worded my email just vaguely enough that I hope he lost a few nights’ sleep wondering if he might be sued.

    • OMG. That happened to me too! He ended up telling me that he couldn’t be with me because I was too strong and he realizes that he needs to be with someone who isn’t so strong.

      The women’s movement just died a little that day. And, I have to raise a daughter and son with this man who ultimately revealed that there is something wrong when a woman is too strong.

      He didn’t mind my strength the two times he was laid off from work in our marriage. He didn’t mind my strength when he decided to go back to school in his 40s to earn a degree full-time for three years, and I was the sole income earner. He didn’t mind my strength all the times I have put in all the work into our Autistic son’s care and therapies, while he chose not to participate because he wasn’t convinced that any of these therapies are really effective.

      For all the strong women out there, this one is for you (and really this works for the men too):

      “Dear Woman,
      Sometimes you’ll just be too much woman.
      Too smart,
      Too beautiful,
      Too strong.
      Too much of something that makes a man feel like less of a man,
      Which will make you feel like you have to be less of a woman.
      The biggest mistake you can make
      Is removing jewels from your crown
      To make it easier for a man to carry.
      When this happens, I need you to understand
      You do not need a smaller crown—
      You need a man with bigger hands.”

      ― Michael Reid

        • I love it too. All my extra efforts only gave him more time and money with which to cheat with. He wasn’t a proper man at all.

      • Men are threatened by strong women. The first time the ex cheated we had a crap therapist. She didn’t have enough experience to know what she was talking about. Fortunately I found a good therapist during the divorce.
        Women must always be true to themselves and look forward to a better future. I will thrive in spite of his cheating.

    • ” start being counseled on how I could be more dependent and helpless to make him feel needed.”

      Another reason why MC with a known FuckWit is useless and abuses the Chump far too often

      Oh! And the “counselor” was a “sex addiction” specialist. Yeah, they are the worst of the worst – utter trash human beings.

      So sorry you signed up for, endured and bought into it for a nanosecond. Glad you are here now!

    • Oh Jesus! So many so-called counselors are truly clueless and inept, causing even more psychological damage. You have to be really careful. When I told a counselor during our first session that I needed help & better tools to stop waiting for me ex to come to his senses so that I could move on with my life, he told me that I was acting like a small, spoiled child who couldn’t have her own way. This at the end of a 37-yr marriage that I had thought was wonderful. 🙄 I walked out of there immediately and later called him to say that his comments were outrageous and that I would not be going back to him for any more “help.” Meanwhile my ex’s counselor (supposedly) told him that I was too dependent. These people wield a lot of power at our most vulnerable and can readily inflict additional damage. We have to remember that they are imperfect humans with imperfect knowledge of us and our lives, working in a profession with no straightforward, easy answers … and often don’t get it “right.”

      • Totally! I suspect most of them don’t understand betrayal trauma at all. They don’t get that infidelity is abuse. I went to IC and the counselor asked me; “Don’t you believe a man can love two women?” She was incredulous about it.
        I told her that if she really thinks that’s love, she’s the one who needs counseling. Perhaps I was a bit rough on her, but what a simpleton and how insensitive. I’m bawling my eyes out and she says that to me, FFS.
        My daughter, OTOH, has a fantastic therapist who pronounced her father an asshole and advised her to get away from him for the sake of her mental health. It’s a crap shoot going to therapy. If you get a bad therapist they can really screw you up.

        • My former therapist told me people cheat because of hormones…..it seems like a needle in a haystack finding good therapy after betrayal
          Another one told me about the 50/50 contribution
          I could go on…..

          • ‘People cheat because of hormones’

            Don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

            What a load of crap.

          • Yes, Zip, and did you know the earth is flat? Sorry you had to deal with that on top of everything else. MC is traumatic. I am trying to find a therapist and whenever I see that someone practices couples counseling, she’s out. I think that “practice” in this field should show any reasonably intelligent and compassionate person that MC for “reconciliation” enables and perpetuates abuse.

            If your therapist is correct, it must also be true that chumps don’t have hormones? (And all cheaters are men of a certain age, chumps – women of a certain age?) If anyone doubted the UBT’s take on the advice columnist’s theory that menopause makes men cheat, this ought to clear things up. Chumps don’t have hormones, therefore we don’t experience menopause. Can’t be the cause! Forget the science, because the verdict is always the same: chumps are invariably guilty. And definitely not entitled to the same rights and desires as cheaters.

      • Yes, too many ‘therapists’ would not recognize abuse if it bit them on the ass.’

        Same with a lot of lawyers and medical doctors. They are taken in by narc flattery and lies as well.

        • Yup. I had 23 years of supporting ex while he toured for months with his band, went to work away so I only saw him every other weekend, spent a year playing every weekend with his band (we had 2 weekends as family that year , we had 3 kids by that time) and I never looked at another man, ever. But our marriage counsellor suggested that I would do the same thing as he’d done, in his place. It was a shame that I felt so flummoxed by that, that I couldn’t find anything to say.

    • What the holy fucking fuck??? UGH!!! You were surrounded by abusers! You didn’t even have a chance! I hate awful therapists, I really do. I am so glad you found CN. Another typical cheater liar thing to say: I don’t feel needed – that is right up there with: I don’t feel loved.

      • And along the lines of: My feelings are important, too. I don’t feel like can’t tell you the truth. We just can’t communicate. I feel abandoned. Stop judging me.

        Cheaters are timid forest creatures trapped in a cold, hard world full of evil chumps who want nothing more than to profit from and take advantage of them. We should really be more empathetic.

    • I can relate to that. It was before I knew about cheating (it was happening, I just didn’t know it yet) my ex husband had this big issue about how I was too dominant and he didn’t feel needed and it made him feel emasculated and he blamed me for his erectile dysfunction. I was too scary apparently. I was so confused because that’s the stuff he liked about me when we married. He wanted me to be more submissive. And my dumb ass tried.

      It’s funny though because I seemed pretty dependent and helpless when he discarded me and I think he thought he had broken me. But I just snapped back to my old self and took care of business. I was being more submissive with him because I loved him and wanted to make him happy. I never actually felt inferior to him in any way and honestly, I thought it was pathetic his little male ego was so fragile I had to pretend to be weak to make his dick work. LOL

      • I think you lived my life.

        Now that I have gray-rocked my ex since he left over 3 years ago, he sees that as further evidence of my controlling and emaculating ways. My thought is that if whatever I am doing keeps you on your side of the road where I don’t have to hear any more of your lies, then think whatever you want if that makes you feel better.

        I never thought that I would reach that point where I would almost want to thank the OW for existing to get him out of my life. Not that I would actually ever thank her, but I really am grateful now for anything responsible for getting him out. I certainly wasn’t going to do it because I was so caught up in remaining true to my vows and saving my marriage. She continues to serve as the sweet distraction that keeps him away from me and keeps him from paying too much attention to the kids beyond the days he has them. I’m left along and in peace, doing what I know is best for the kids.

        • Yes! I feel that sometimes too! I’m so glad she “took” him. I already lost 20 years to him, I shudder to think I would’ve lost even more time if little miss perfect hadn’t come along.

          I sometimes feel sorry for her because I can’t believe she knows the reality of the “prize” she’s won. She can’t know she signed up to take my bullet, no one would do that. But then I remind myself I don’t have to feel bad for her no matter what happens because she’s in that position due to a lack of morals and desire to harm another woman to fluff up her own ego. It’s better them than us. And I totally agree, anything that keeps him away and out of my life works for me.

    • I got the “you’re too independent” BS too. I told the Dollar Whore that if he wanted to feel needed around the house he had to do something besides work part-time (I was the breadwinner) and play video games all day. This is the same man who asked me to move his video game character around while he was out “with friends” , or more likely an AP, so the game wouldn’t kick him off. I’m sorry to say I actually did this for him.

      • Mine set alarms throughout the day so he could be reminded to “fight battles” in his game and not lose “resources”. If he was doing something else in another part of the house I had to go find him to tell him his alarm was going off. He would also excuse himself during meetings at work or social visits to go play his game. It ran his life for a long time.

    • Ugh, I had an ex tell me that my independence was emasculating. I refuse to make myself smaller just so they can feel superior when they’re not even my equal.

      If that’s too much to swallow, I hope you choke on it.

      • Astrid of Crazy Rich Asians said it best, “It’s not my job to make you feel like a man. I can’t make you feel like something you’re not.”

    • >> I start being counseled on how I could be more dependent and helpless to make him feel needed. I internalize that I caused his cheating. 😣

      If it helps, I’d love to shoot that therapists. And tell her she caused it by being worse than nothing. So appalling. I would have done much for a sane parent or good therapist back when I was dealing with this during my twenties.

  • Calling in sick to the (now ex-) husband’s job for him while he took a last minute flight to L.A. with the OW. (Halfway across the country)

    Why? Because he wrote me a note that said he “chose” me, but he needed to get this out of the way first. Then we could go back to being us.

    I claim temporary insanity brought on by extreme gaslightimg and emotional manipulation.

    🙄🤯

  • I let the bastard come back even though I knew in my gut it was stupid to do. He treated me like shit. Yes there was sex the first day, it was absolutely awful for me. I was cold as ice.

    Luckily I came to my senses and kicked him out within a few days. We were still legally separated, so luckily it didn’t change that status any. Only took me three days to figure out he only wanted to get back to be able to use our car for his politicking. He couldn’t use the police car.

    I cringe when I think of it. Bastard was inhuman.

  • I told everyone that he has PTSD and “depression” to justify his cheating. I booked him appointments with therapists that he never took, I excused his behavior to family and friends. I gave him the perfect excuse and justification to come out clean out of adultery while he pranced around with OW parading “their happiness”. He doesn’t look too “depressed” porking the sewer rat on fancy beach resorts and restaurants or everyone too see.

    If that chumpy impasse was not chumpy enough for a Friday challenge, FW and I agreed to maintain certain family traditions as we transition during the mandatory one year wait for the sake of the kids. We go to a Mexican restaurant with the kids often, and after two margaritas down plus one to go, I told him
    that I miss him, love him, and that “his cock was mine” 🙄 . We had drunken sex that night and havent been back there ever since.

    That is why, my people, I’m the Queen of Chumps

    • Queen of Chumps, I know this is a painful memory for you, but I have to admit that if ever I drink a margarita again, I will think of this story and smile. “His cock is mine.” OMG! Haven’t we all said cringe-worthy shit like that? You’re in good company.

    • I was talking about the therapy he started on with one of my good friends, who too may have been in a place where she needed to talk with someone (she lost her dad after a decade-long illness). I totally skirted around what was really the reasoning behind his sudden need of therapy. She asked me about that after everything came out. I was never going to tell until it was all there was to say about that. We make excuses for them because we get sucked into supporting the unsupportable. Support is what you’re supposed to do for a spouse…but there are limits. Of course we find this out later.

    • Oh my. I feel ya! I told my FW that I was gonna ‘fuck his brains out’ to keep him. He was so happy with that rubbing his hands together in glee. I didn’t realise I was ‘pick me dancing’ until reading LACGAL!..hes out of my life. NC rules and my children are adults so thankfully I don’t have to communicate at all. Yup 34 years down the drain. Hugs to everyone here. You lot keep me sane ❤️

  • Usually, I’m NC/GR. We only communicate re financial matters (alimony, tax stuff).

    Last week (LAST WEEK), however, he wrote to complain that a VHS tape I’d given him was blank. The divorce decree required that I give him photos, some vids, etc…

    I responded with something like, “That’s a shame. We have most of the home videos digitized. I could send those. Oh, what was written on the spine of that tape?”

    Turns out it was a VHS tape his brother had made for him a million years ago (hint=VHS). That was not my responsibility at all. Why the hell did he ask ME about it and make ME feel to blame for a blank tape? I had nothing to do with that effing tape.

    But I’d already let the cat out of the bag about all the home movies being digitized. He wanted them. Thus began an hours’ long search for those zip files. Once found, I forwarded them.

    When my therapist heard this story, she shook her head. “This man abused you. You don’t owe him anything. Next time this happens, run it by your sister or someone.”

    I fell off the learning curve. I think he was just trying to engage me. And he knows I’m the type of hyper-responsible (and/or codependent) person who will right a wrong. He shouted little commands like that for our entire marriage, and I danced. Our email exchange, which resulted in my searching for something for him, must have given him a bolus of kibbles. Just like old times. *sigh*

    • Spinach @35 – I feel you. Don’t beat up yourself over it. I have done the same and this hits close to home. The following advice is for both of us: If there’s a next time, don’t respond. Remember — there’s NOTHING he can do about it. He’s pestering you. Poking at you. Trying to control you. No response = nothing he can do about it.

      Ex FW was promised all his “collection of Scotch” in our legal agreement. I had already donated it all to my Rabbi who uses it for celebrations on Friday nights. I told FW that before he forced it into the document — and I only donated it after FW had told me to “do whatever you want with it.”

      But then he started pestering me about it. And inside I was freaked out because it was in the legal agreement. And I didn’t know what to do. I finally said “I gave you everything I have. If you have photos of what you think is missing, please give them to me and I’ll look.”

      So if you have to respond, it’s just “please give me your list and photos of all items and I’ll look again but I believe you have everything.” And then that’s it. Done. No more looking or fixing for him. End of conversation. Sending hugs and empathy

    • Don’t beat yourself up. They are major tricksters! Sounds like the classic Hoover attempt.

      • I don’t know if it’s a hoover attempt as much as it is a way for him to look like the long-suffering dad who has the sadz because his kids have been NC since Dday.

        “Look at me. I’m asking for the home movies. I CARE!! I was a great dad!!”

        Nope. Nopety nope. You weren’t.

        Also, I can guarantee you that he will not look at those movies unless he does so to manipulate the OW. #triangulation #manipulation #twocheaterdrama

        This is the same man who, in a moment of honesty when we were dividing house stuff, said, “I don’t really need many pictures. I mean, who looks at them anyway?” He later DEMANDED some photos and movies. That was the lie that he told to look good before the lawyers and mediator.

    • Correction: He never “shouted” commands. He was a very quiet man. He seethed, stomped, acted sullen, and made little cutting and dismissive comments. A stealthy controller!

      It’s hard to explain, although I’m sure a lot of you here know the behavior all too well.

  • I confronted fuckwit as soon as I found out about the cheating. Of course I was emotional, so he labeled me as “needy”, “paranoid” and insecure telling me I was the only one and completely denying it. We broke up and I went no contact for about a month after D-day until I lost my shit one night. I called him and asked to work things out telling him I was a “royal fuck up” for being too emotional and breaking things off. It’s funny how we chumps take the blame and actually believe we’re responsible for someone else actions. BUT…fast forward almost 6 months of no contact and I’m 80% to MEH. I can see Tuesday on the horizon! NC works!

  • After Dday, I continued with my fertility appointments thinking that if I fell pregnant he would have to stay…right?

    I did fall pregnant and sadly lost the pregnancy. He left a month later.

    After the miscarriage, the Ex was feeling ‘confused and ‘unhappy’. I would send him love poems EVERY day and make his favourite meals to lift his spirits.

    WTF.

    • Oh Morrychump,

      I’m so sorry that happened. That’s incredibly sad. And, if it makes you feel any better, I’m sure a bunch of us here would have done the love poems and meals. It’s a chump thing.

      ((hugs))

    • When you think you’re in something as big as that together, of course you’re comforting your spouse because you’re thinking you’re also sharing the loss. The fact that he already had his foot out the door is not on you, it’s on him. Hugs.

  • Almost the entire two years of wreakonciliation after final DDay was one long No Contact blooper reel. I kicked him out of the house but had him come home every weekend (thankfully the one thing I did do right was not having sex with him ever again because I know now he was still fucking strippers the entire time). Every weekend I would fix a ton of healthy meals for him to eat the next week, and even bought him special (and expensive) treats that were Diabetic friendly since he had just been diagnosed. I was so chumpy that I made sure he had enough food to take to work for lunches too (I’m sure that made his nooners at the strip club so much easier 🤦‍♀️). I finally wised up when he for real COMPLAINED I was making him too much food. That stopped Beth’s Free Catering Service in its tracks. The weekend visits came to an end shortly after and when I really instituted No Contact it quickly became apparent that I already been functioning just fine on my own and was better off mentally, physically, and financially without him.

    When you’re years out of chumphood the way I am you look back and are grateful for those flaming asshole moments where FWs show their true colors because those are the moments that wake us Chumps up and ultimately set us free.

    • Great point Beth. I know exactly that moment. Whenever I’m feeling lonely and am tempted to miss him, I think of that moment.

    • The scales fell away. The Brick to the forehead learning moment.

      Hold my beer, i’ve got THIS!!

    • He had the audacity to complain… oh, they piss me off.

      After D day, I was still making dinner every night. Our son still lived with us and I had no appetite but was trying to force myself to eat and I think just the routine of it was helping me keep it together.

      But one night my FW sat down at the table and said, “You know, with everything going on it’s really nice to still be able to come home to a home cooked dinner every night.” and he literally sneered at me and then sat there smugly grinning and laughing while he served up his food. My son and I both went to eat somewhere else and that was the last dinner I made until I got the FW to move out.

      He started bitching about it to our son who told him to grow up. At one point I went to get a facial and he threw a fit in the kitchen, “She can go get a facial but she can’t buy me groceries?!” He thought he was hurting me but really he did so much damage to his relationship with his son with his behavior. Our son was horrified and disgusted by the way he acted.

      • After I told him I was divorcing him, but in the interim week or so until I moved out, I actually asked my now-ex what he wanted to do about dinners, if he wanted me to still shop and cook for the two of us, and for us to eat together. Of course he said yes, although at least he was a bit abashed and said he realized this benefitted him.

  • I apologized for losing my shit when he said he wanted a separation. “Please forgive me.”

    I apologized for going out with friends for a book club meeting during the period when he wanted to “be alone to work things out.” Yes, it makes total sense that he can insist on being alone but that I can’t actually leave him alone.

    [Btw, during our 35-year marriage, I could never leave him bc he is needy AF. The man can’t be alone. Is that a covert narc trait?]

  • Does helping sparkledick retrieve his latest flatterfuck’s luggage lost by airline qualify as a trip over NC?

    Actually, this episode was part of a “creeping” D-Day, I was pretty suspicious of an “assistant” who needed to travel with THREE suitcases for work and about how sparkles got so angry when I pointed this out.

    Anyway, by the time the real D-Day rolled up and after much pick-me-dancing, I had discovered CL and read LACGAL.

    AND I realized how fucking mad NC made sparkles, so it was pretty easy for me, hehehe.

  • I slept with him when we were selling the house. We had not yet started the divorce process, but he had been talking about it a lot. He wasn’t coming back, and I was broke. I really didn’t want it at all, but then I remembered that the attorney I had consulted a year earlier told me — whatever you do, don’t sleep with him during separation. Apparently that resets the clock on the required separation if you are divorcing in my state. If I slept with him, I’d get another six months to hopefully get my financial act together.

    So I did. Boy I felt cheap, but I guess he enjoyed it.

  • Sending Jackass a great birthday card, 6 weeks after D-Day. Sending the first “why wasn’t I enough/” email. Following it up a couple of months later with a suggestion that we have lunch to get closure. That led to a nasty Valentine’s Day response that left me weeping in my yoga mat. But that was enough.

  • Yep. I still cringe with mortification that I slept with the fucker as part of the humiliating pick me dance. What a buzz for him that I would do that after the pain and suffering he caused me. Worse still he dropped me off afterwards in OW’s top of the range Mercedes with all sorts of her personal shit around me.
    He radiated smug triumph from every pore. My way of rationalising it to myself is that I was utterly traumatised and had some sort of Stockholm syndrome.
    Saw him recently on TV as he’s a big wig in these parts. He’s fat,old and ugly. WTF ever did I see in him? Meh.

    • >>I still cringe with mortification that I slept with the fucker as part of the humiliating pick me dance.

      I have a cringe story just like that. I didn’t want him back. I don’t even understand what was going on in my head, “proving to myself that this doesn’t matter, and ending on a good note”. I think I was in a fog of Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. Plus I had spent my entire life appeasing abusers before I could do things for myself. Reading others here I realize I need to forgive myself that. There was so much I didn’t understand then.

  • During in-home separation she came home after a weekend in the northwoods with the geico caveman schmoopie. I removed a tick embedded in her scalp at her request. Bummer than several strands of her hair also came with when I grabbed the tick with tweezers!

  • DDay arrived… my 4 year old daughter led me to them (Exw apparently took the kids to visit at his house(such a dumbass)). I’m thinking “This is an aberration , a one off.” After a brief altercation with homewrecker , and as future exw took off) , I went back home. She later calls to come home and I agree.
    We talk. But from the now obvious signs I had ignored , this affair had been going on for some months. The usual questions (ALERT: Questioning a lying cheater is a total waste of time.) I’m hoping the discovery will cause her to realize what’s at stake. (Hopium.) I needed proof , I bugged our phone (land line , many years ago). I discovered her continued contact with AP. I confront her , I’m talking to a zombie. It’s just not getting through. I suggest she take a weekend sabbatical for some much needed introspection. She leaves on Friday evening and returns the following Sunday evening. I assume (wrongly) she has come to her senses because she isn’t leaving. Two weeks later I go to her car to get the registration (license plates are due) and I find a camera. In light of recent events I go get the film developed. The last betrayal . She used her introspection weekend to take AP to a regional amusement park for a weekend fuckfest.
    There is no coming back from this , I gave it more than enough chances. I’m done. Told her if she loved this guy she needed to go be with him. I decided that if she wanted to continue her affair , I was done supporting her in any way. She left. I was beyond broken. But I got to meh a few months later.
    As the name applies I’m now 40 years freed.

  • Ooh it feels so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who flunked at NC. After he was caught the second time and left for good (after a wreckconiliation- thanks ester fucking perrel), I pick me danced for months. At one point he was coming over for an evening of drunken dancing and sex in the front living room with me weekly (supposedly OWhore was completely fine with this arrangement hhmmmm).
    I finally lost my shit when he was lying in my bed on my brand new bed sheets telling me that she was a priority. Livid, I realised that I would have to throw out yet another perfectly nice set of sheets because they were also now contaminated by his filthy presence.
    Now NC as much as I possibly can be with 2 kids. It took a few months of me ignoring his occasional invites over before he finally got the message to leave me the fuck alone.
    Nowhere near Tuesday but no longer cringing at myself.

    Wish I’d stuck the original plan from DDay 1, where I kicked him out, locked him out and logged him out of all our accounts to the point where he was homeless for a few days. That felt way more mighty 🤦‍♀️

  • Five months after the discard, I gave Mr. Sparkles a birthday present that included his favorite new video game (anyone else with a cheater that loves the escape of XBox360?)… and I also stopped by a sex toy shop (our dating sex life was amazing, our marriage sex life notsomuch… and when I saw the “strange” he was stepping out with online on Ashley Madison and AFF, of course I thought it was my fault)… anywho… so he’s coming over to pick up our son for visitation and he opens the gift bag… he smiles, but more in a devious “I’m getting kibbles” kind of way, and takes out the game and toy. He then proceeds to tell me he already bought the game but I could feel free to give it to my stepson (that lives with him)… and as for the “toy”… he would NEVER consider using something like that (trust me, it was TAME compared to what I found him doing online)… but I sensed that he was trying to SHAME ME by that remark… I had been out of his orb for five months and was already regaining my sense of self and was so grateful I could recognize the manipulation for what it was… I told him I had the receipts for everything and it was no problem to return. Lesson learned.

  • Upon discovering the affair and his secret email account, he moved out and moved his CraigsList schmoopie in with him. A month or so later, he texted wanting to talk. I replied ‘no’. He showed up at the house anyway. Against my better judgement, I talked to him. He claimed he broke up with schmoopie and wanted to come home. I told him ‘no’. That next week, I received an email from my attorney surprised to hear that we are reconciling. Umm…NO!! Definitely not reconciling. They really do live in an alternate reality. The divorce was official about 6 weeks after this ‘misunderstanding’.

  • Mine, once rumbled, wasn’t going to stand around and admit to anything or face up to anything so was out like a shot as soon as he could and tried to have as little to do with me as possible so thankfully NC has been somewhat mandatory.

    However, we decided on ‘taking this slow’ about his moving out. Looking back I suppose I thought it was best to not shock my daughter and I had just buried my dad so I was a hot mess. During that time, which was frankly AWFUL, I was doing things like asking him what he’d like from storage of my dads for his new place, I did all the work on our settlement agreement (goes without saying) but worse of all listened to him diss everything, our fridge was dirty, our shed was untidy, I had too much stuff on and on. He sent a picture of our cutlery drawer on insta or something insinuating it was messy and she responded that it made her itchy. I mean WTAF. He’d stand there in front of me all puffed up, constantly doing his hair saying to my daughter. Don’t worry, no more Mr Daddy Grumpy Toad and he was literally revelling in the fact he was leaving and dissing everything he’d helped create. And me, Chump of the Year 2018, I just stood in that kitchen and took it. In fairness I think I was so broken after everything I’d just been through but when I look back now I would have got a kitchen knife out of the drawer, held it to his throat and told him he had 5 minutes to get out and I didn’t care if he had to sleep rough.

    Oh yeah, and I think we were having crazy break-up sex (sure the OW didn’t know that) which was confusing and rapey to me, really dark. Yuk.

    I just can’t believe how dumb and nice and compliant I was. Chump-o-ramic.

    • Mine also complained a lot about our home. I’m a bad decorator, he and his girlfriends mocked my home. Some of these women I had in our home for holidays and parties and then they would mock me. I wasn’t clean enough but he never cleaned anything, even when I was working 60 hour weeks he did nothing. He said our couch was such a mistake and a terrible investment. It was $300 brand new and had a full pull out bed so his family would have a place to sleep when they visited. It wasn’t an investment, it was a couch we could afford that served it’s purpose. My best friend said, does he think a couch is an investment? Is he that stupid with finances? LOL

      They don’t seem to understand I had to work around HIS decorating ideas. He put up a huge black light fixture with edison bulbs. Then he tells me how he’d rather have light colored furnishings. So I was supposed to clash with all the shit he put up? Then I’d have been mocked and criticized for that too. We had two full shelves in the living room for all his nerd toys. I’m not anti nerd but the amount of bullshit toys he had to spend money on and had to display was ridiculous and it made our home look stupid. My best friend is a total nerd, loves star wars but she does not decorate her home like it’s a teenager’s bedroom. And they weren’t valuable collector’s items, it was keychains and crap like that. He nailed a stuffed animal that was a facehugger from the Alien movies to our dining room wall.

      I wonder how he’s justifying his decorating now that I’m completely out of his life and he’s in a new place but he mostly dates teens and young 20 somethings so maybe they think it’s “cool.” I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I have a clean, beautiful, well decorated home because I don’t have a gross man child messing it up anymore. It’s wonderful.

  • I broke No Contact with a forward of an email from my lawyer.

    The email was that my ex was stalling and that everything had been completely finished for the divorce for three months, except for his signature, and my lawyer was asking me if I knew a reason why my ex wouldn’t just sign it.

    I forwarded the email to my ex AND his girlfriend/fiance, as they were getting married the next morning.

    • Dudders, Please tell us what happened next! Did he sign it? have to delay his wedding? did schmoopie ditch him for this?

    • They were getting married before he was divorced? Oh my gosh, that’s funny. I hope she went nuclear. If she had any sense she would have left him right then but I’m sure she has no sense, nasty whore APs never do. LOL

      • I knew it was happening, before I got the email from my lawyer, and I went to the Vital Records office and said, “My husband is getting married and we’re not even divorced yet.” And they said, “Welcome to the club!”

        My husband emailed me and said, “I’ll just marry her again if I have to.” So yes, he married her while we were still married.

        Here’s the funny part: before she would marry him, she wanted him to go work on himself and his anger issues. So off he went to an island retreat house for a month. He told me it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him, and that I should go, too. He said women were fighting over him like he was back in high school.

        That’s where he met M. So he finished the course, got married to V, while he and I were still married, finally divorced me, then left V for M! So V, the other woman, had to deal with a woman he met when he was off getting fixed for her!

        And you know… this is even funnier… it didn’t make me happy that V got a taste of her own medicine. It’s not like I felt a lot of compassion for her, but I didn’t feel “Yeah! She got what she deserved!” None of that.

        Mostly I just felt vaguely sad for him. He was making all these messes out of everything, including his own kids and extended family, and former business partners, and I was working hard, putting one foot in front of the other, making friends, spending time visiting my kids, in school, learning about finances and slowly but surely building a life out of nothing.

    • OMG…that is too awesome. What a cliffhanger.

      You are actually kind to do that. I would have seriously debated not doing it and letting my ex commit bigamy just to mess them up.

      Where I live, signing divorce papers is not the completion of the divorce. It still has to go before the judge as a Court Order that he must sign off on. Then, you are divorced, but you don’t get the actual “Certificate of Divorce” for another 28 days which is needed for a marriage licence to be granted for a new marriage.

      • Yes, OptionNoMore, how clearly you can see things! I did do it to be kind. I thought about it a lot, and didn’t say anything, and then, when he STILL didn’t sign the papers, I somehow just wanted her to know that he wasn’t even divorced, even though she wrecked my home and my family.

        He didn’t sign the papers for another month or two. Said it “wasn’t important.”

  • Even after divorce and a few years apart, I still couldn’t keep it together with doctor visits we had to attend together with our son. I hated when FW would lie and pretend to be such a great dad, meanwhile doing none of the things he claimed.

    I got better at keeping my mouth mostly shut, but after one visit with a pediatrician, as we walked out the door to the parking lot, I put an “L” with my fingers on my forehead (the kid didn’t see). For whatever reason, calling him a loser like that pisses him off to no end…. and I know it. He started flipping out in the parking lot.

    He also recently got a brand new crossover suv that’s big enough for 7 people (OW has 2 kids… so they needed room for 5) — basically it’s a minivan. I was never permitted to get a minivan when I wanted and needed one… because he’d mock them and wouldn’t allow it. I laughed and then said “nice minivan” about his new car and got in my own car with the kid and drove off.

    Bad, bad MichelleShocked (I can’t keep my mouth shut — so bad)

      • Thank you Hell of a Chump — makes me feel less bad about still wanting to speak my mind. At least the “L” and minivan comment got it done without letting the lid too far off the pot… once I get going, I can’t stop 🤦‍♀️

  • I made it my whole life without herpes, UNTIL. Then, thanks to post DDay horizontal pick me dancing, I now have herpes.

    I will not tell him because he will twist it in his mind that he got it from me and not the lower companions he was screwing around with.

    I bought him a very expensive cozy blanket for sleeping on the couch. I felt compassion for the poor little snake!

    I told him I forgave him.

    For Christmas I bought him a piece of Japanese kintsugi. Oh, the symbolism. I suggested we rechristen our sailboat “KINTSUGI”. I am a sentimental sap and he never noticed, cared, or acknowledged it.

    On the other hand, I bought books on Amazon and went to therapy and talked to him, instead of buying a gun. He’s lucky I had years of recovery under my belt when it happened. You’re welcome, Mofos.

    Google “homicide suicide infidelity” and see how it turns out all too often. Cheaters are betting on chump codependent desperation and pacifism, but sometimes they get a big surprise when playing with other people’s emotions doesn’t end well. It’s in the news and on the Investigation Discovery channel often enough that I think it’s wise to think of cheating like playing Russian roulette.

    If you’re alive and haven’t done any of those things (homicide suicide infidelity) you get an A+ from me for handling the situation. Anything else you’ve done is understandable under the extreme duress and trauma of having your “partner” assassinate you and your family and annihilate your life with co-conspirators. Horizontal pick me dancing was a way better choice than that which would win me a free orange jumpsuit with matching bracelets, courtesy of the state in which I reside.

    • PS edit…..

      Delete this:

      “cheaters are betting on a chump’s codependent desperation and pacifism.”

      This instead:

      “Cheaters are betting on a chump’s love and loyalty and kindness”

      No editing once posted on Chump Lady, to my chagrin.

      Sorry everybody!

      • ““Cheaters are betting on a chump’s love and loyalty and kindness””

        I am glad you made that change. Though I think of course that can sometimes be the case, I know in my case I fully loved that ass, and in the very beginning; I would have done anything to save our marriage, or at least tried.

        I am still grateful that he was so horrible in the discard and even worse when I let him come back for a week. I knew then I was done. When he circles back a few more times, I was in firm go to hell mode. He married schmoops a few weeks after our D was final, which was also just a few weeks after he had called me on last time to “talk about trying again” He called me to tell me he and whore were going to Las Vegas to get married. I said “why are you telling me this?” He said I just didn’t want you to hear it from someone else. Yeah sure, you just wanted me to fall apart and beg, so you could kick me in the teeth again.

        Quite frankly it was a relief as I was so afraid (at the time) that somehow he would not marry the whore, and I wanted him to marry the whore. In my mind it was the only way I could get revenge.

        • Yes the brutal discard, while traumatic, has its plus points. You’ve seen the mask really come off and that sure focuses the mind about who you are actually dealing with doesn’t it Susie Lee. That they are, indeed, trash and mindfuck merchants to be avoided at all costs.

    • The kintsugi metaphor is compelling.
      Knave-man expresses shock that I refuse to do the horizontal pick-me dance with him.
      The kitsugi is me – not the marriage.
      You are kitsugi, too.

    • You made the better choice, for sure.

      I’m sorry you went through all of that, Velvet Hammer.

      And probably most of us have done the horizontal pick me dance. Goodbye love and kisses.

      We did it for two days and two nights. Didn’t even go downstairs to get food. I think we just both went crazy for a little while.

      He said, “The marriage is over. I have to leave.”
      I said, “Okay.”
      He said, “I found someone else.”
      I said, “Then you need to go and be with her.”
      He said, “Okay, I’ll go on Wednesday. Let’s go to bed now.”
      I said, “Okay.”

      And we had so much fun. Pillow fights. Passion out the kazoo. Deep, meaningful, real talks, like we never had before.

      That was Saturday. We stayed in bed all night on Saturday, all day on Sunday, all day Monday, and Monday night I got up and went to a divorce recovery group. (I’d seen a sign at church.) He took all his things and left while I was gone.

      I was early to the group. I saw the sign again when I went into the church, and I though, how odd, that I noticed that sign in the first place, and had no idea it was for me. The pastor who was leading the group said, “Oh, how long have you been divorced?” I said, “I’m not divorced.” He said, “But you’re getting a divorce?” And I said, “Oh, yes.” And he said, “How long have you been separated from your husband?” And I said, “Oh, I think he’s leaving tonight.”

      And that was it. He left and he was gone.

      And then I got upset. And then I thought, “Oh… my life just ended.” It was surreal, like I couldn’t comprehend the facts fast enough to keep up with what was happening, when usually it was the other way around. I usually thought about things before they happened. But at that time, I was thinking about them afterwards, and it was taking me a long time to process what was going on. It was the opposite of what’s called “the zone.” I was in slow motion. It was like there were huge blocks in my mind that information couldn’t seep through… until it seeped through…

      We tried the friends thing, on Thursday, and that was hilarious and tragic. So we didn’t try that again.

      And then I got help and read books and made friends and he wanted me back, but I said no.

      So that’s everything…

      … I think…

      It’s been a long time. I’ve been engaged three times since then, but just couldn’t marry the guys. One was a sex addict. (I didn’t know it, of course, or I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him.) Another was a flirt. And the other actually went out on me. (Is that cheating? Yeah. Maybe. But I’ll never know what really happened, and I didn’t want to go shmooping around…)

      It helps to just write it out.

      I’ll pick better next time. And then there’ll be no pick me dancing.

  • I was having trouble getting her, the cheater who asked for the divorce, to sign any documents to move divorce forward so…

    I’ve helped my STBX get a great deal on a rent house, helped move some furniture, met the appliance delivery guys when she couldn’t, sat next to her at our youngest’s baseball games, taken him to ortho appts on her week, got her a short-term insurance policy until hers kicks in at her new job, and “broke in” her new bed (it was great too).

    Result: Divorce is final next week. Fuckwit management.

    • We are so pressured into taking these situations with grace, to move toward “conscious uncoupling” when that is far from our reality. Being “unkind” and not playing into your old marriage role is not mean, it is you being strong for yourself. Drawing boundaries and removing myself as his secretary and organizer without the need to explain it was one of the best things I did for myself.

      My ex sat on the divorce decree without signing it for months, when he wanted the divorce and was plotting with the OW to leave me after the holidays to run away with his TruLuv…before I caught him. His last ditch effort at control? He finally signed when the court sent a notice that the divorce filing would be cancelled because the final paperwork had not been submitted and gave him a deadline he finally adhered to.

      • I get what you’re saying…but my actions have accelerated the process to get me where I need to be. Everyone has a different story. Mr. Altruism is gone shortly; I keep my house, my rental property, and the respect of my adult kids. She keeps a dipshit.

  • The biggest regret I have: When I finally got to the breaking point and told my kids about their dad and my “friend” (whom they knew for years since her kids played with mine…

    I found out about them a year before-told my husband that I would stay until the boys (twins) graduated from high school.

    I didn’t want the kids to suspect anything-so we carried on as usual doing family things. I even slept in the same bed with him (fended of his sexual advances-at that point-he disgusted me).

    I couldn’t make it the whole 2 years.

    During this time he was on a dating app and would text women in front of me.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back:

    About 9 months in, we all went to a movie together. During the movie I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he got a text and briefly saw a pic of someone-he quickly put his phone away.

    I was furious. When we got home and he was outside smoking-I demanded to see the pic. He refused-so I said, “Pack your shit and leave.”

    He said no. So I started angry crying, came into the house and told the kids (at that time they were 15,15 and 13).

    My one son got so mad he punched a whole in the wall and was yelling at his dad. The other two were just trying to digest everything.

    My ex proceeded to get drunk and demand that we all sit on the couch to watch a movie together. Any movie-just so he could have control over the situation.

    Sadly-I did it. My daughter and I were the only ones-and he passed out on the couch during the movie.

    When the kids asked me what we were going to do-I said give me 6 months to line up a home.

    Within 40 days I had bought a house close to their school and we moved.

    I HATE the way I told our kids. I’ve gotten better about forgiving myself for it-but if there was one thing in my life I would change-it would be that day.

    • StrongerNow, I covered for mine as I thought it was the right thing to do ‘Daddy and Mummy aren’t getting along blah blah blah’ and I sure wish I had lost my shit big style at him and don’t care if my daughter saw it. I should have thrown his clothes onto the drive. There is no right or wrong way, at least they knew what was going down and you were really pushed before you lost it.

      I did the ‘not upset anyone’ thing, then really found out what happened and wish I had kicked off and caused merry hell. There would be no living behind the lies then.

      I also would have gone out and made him tell her alone.

      • DuddersGetsChumped-it’s a living Hell, isn’t it?

        Where are you and how are you and your daughter now?

        I thought my kids would turn to drugs and violence once the found out (besides that one time wall punch)-but they all actually have great friends and have excelled in school!

        Have you found happiness and freedom?

  • Spinach, I heard and lived this too: “And he knows I’m the type of hyper-responsible (and/or codependent) person who will right a wrong. He shouted little commands like that for our entire marriage, and I danced. Our email exchange, which resulted in my searching for something for him, must have given him a bolus of kibbles. Just like old times. *sigh*”
    I hated those shouted commands, like we’re the neighbors’ dogs.

    • They sure do enjoy that game. Mine loved to ask me where something in the house was located and then demand that I explain where it might be to him so he could find it himself. Most of the time when he played this game he would ask about something obscure that might be in several places and was put away over a year ago. He would then rage when I would look for it myself.
      After he left he would ask for things and I would leave them on the porch for him, inevitably I would get a text later saying “wrong one” and demanding something different. And he wonders why nobody missed him when he left……

      • Yeah, Chumperella. That’s incredibly annoying.

        When mine knew I was doing something fun with, say, one of our kids (going to the symphony with my daughter, for instance), he would invariably text me that he couldn’t find something in the house.

        It was an obvious attempt to disrupt our time together. My daughter is the one who first pointed that out to me. I was so effing oblivious: “No, I think he just really needs to find x at 7:30 pm on a Saturday night while he knows the concert is about to begin.” *sigh* My blinders are finally off!! Also, it bears repeating that my ex truly SUCKS!!!

  • Well, I guess that I’m the ultimate failure at no contact because DDay was a little over a year ago and I haven’t kicked Knave-man to the curb yet.
    I’m still getting my ducks in a row.
    After 35+ years together, this is difficult, but I want an authentic and FW-free life.
    Every decision I make independently for my benefit, every trip I take alone, and every “not going to work for me” I offer in response to his craving for centrality gets me closer.

  • I was just thinking that I need to keep a list of scripts to respond or communicate with him.

    I try limiting contact to only the essentials with the kids and non-personal as possible, but he always does something that sets me off. Dropping our red-head off at a game without water or sunscreen, not following up or being involved in anyway when our oldest is in the ER, filing for bankruptcy without telling me and we still have loans and a house in both our names. I know, he’s a man-boy and is never interested in changing.

    What drives me mad is that when trying to communicate with him about times when the kids get hurt in this he manages to stay calm and calculated in his texts, formal and business-like always. That triggers me into trying to convince him (I know, he’s not interested), to communicate my hurt feelings (again, not interested) that I slide into personal and emotional texts. It’s like he does these things on purpose to hit me where it hurts (the kids, our home) to trigger me into reacting. Then he’s the good guy and I’m the bad actor. Uh, am I playing into the crazy ex-wife role or what?

    • There are multiple sources to get lists of canned responses. One that comes to mind is Tina Swithen’s, One Mom’s Battle. Good Luck and trust us when we say you’ll get there and no longer care. A good therapist that knows about treating people dealing with disordered people would also be helpful.

  • Most recent cringe: playing the pick-me dance with his family, who was always rude and critical of me.

    Sending cards and getting presents for the cousins’ birthdays, arranging conference calls with my kids, sending sickly sweet text responses to them. All while they don’t respond to information my kids’ activities, said nothing to me after the affair/abandonment blow up.

    I’m pretty sure that I’e been interacting with them more than he does.

    Why do I want to make it all good with them when they were nothing but horrible to me and I’m finally free of them?

    • ‘People pleasing’ needs to be stamped out by us chumps. Often people pleasing comes from being made to feel like a factory second in childhood. Or from a critical spouse.

      Don’t cast your pearls before swine, there are better people out there for your good energy.

    • Oh please go no contact with your ex’s viper family. If only for the sake of your kids that should not be placed in a position where they are rejected or made to feel insignificant. While you may be trying to make nice, all they are thinking is that you are desperately trying to get your ex’s attention through them and using your kids in the process.

  • I told myself that because he admitted what he did I could be “cool” about it and we could work on this forgiveness thing (I should have been allowing myself to react with the appropriate outrage that this warranted, and it should have been him working on everything thereafter).

    I let him back in the house after he came home from an overseas business trip and I had a physical, paper, received-in-the-mail-while-he-was-gone statement saying that he was at an ATM, withdrawing money multiple times from an account that was supposed to be for personal improvement/endeavors (he was exhibiting the same entitled behavior at the very least, probably blowing money at a strip club or on a hooker).

    I had sex with him after he betrayed me in black and white, no questions. It was awful. I cried. I was trying to re-bond with the person who hurt me the most because we had built a life and a child together (it was only a couple months more until I couldn’t take it any more and started down the road to divorce).

    To all the chumps who are just starting through this shit storm, this too will pass. All these bloopers happen because you’re someone who cares. You will come out on the other side still caring for the person who deserved it most — YOU.

  • This is truly hilarious to me.

    My ex was paranoid as hell after we separated. He wanted to control the narrative and even got mad at me for telling our teenage daughters why we were divorcing—because he was cheating.

    So about 6 months into separation where i would communicate only if it was a matter of kids or house, I get a really weird text: “meet me here (some hotel address) @ 6pm.”

    I bust out laughing. He texted me for a rendezvous?

    I did not reply. It was almost 5 and I was leaving work soon so I decided hmmm, let’s make the jerk more paranoid. (Cuz I couldn’t resist.)

    Left work, drove to the address. We lived in a small city so the drive wasn’t long—maybe 10-15 minutes at most. I park near front door and I see his car drive up a few minutes later. He sees me get out of car and stand by my car and he peels out at top speed.

    I stood there cracking up. I got a text later that night “I texted wrong person. I meant to text so and so because were were meeting for beers and to shoot pool after work.”

    Suuuuurrrrreeee. At a dive motel?

    Idiots.

    • That’s awesome! Go you!

      I often wish I would have reached over and grabbed his damn phone all those evenings he was texting, texting, texting. Stupid me – thought is was his (verifiably ) idiot friends. Right now, in my healing process, I think I would like to know some of the fucked up lines he was using on schmoopie that she was believing.

  • Waiting while my ex called her cheating partner to confirm it was okay for her to go with me to an NFL Championship game. Ouch.

    Looking back, the good news is we won and went to the Superbowl….priorities, right?

  • I found some boxes that cheater had left behind, and mailed them across the country to him, though no one asked me to.

  • A low was when I emailed his OW to tell her to stay away from my husband.
    He approached me an hour later asking me permission to go console her, because my email had upset her!. I said no. This was in the ‘we are just friends stage’ of the big lie.

    Another time, he was washing and waxing his car in the driveway. I commented to our son that he was sure doing a detailed job. Our son said ‘Mom, that’s not his car’. Turns out he had helped OW to get an almost identical car to his. My woman’s eye didn’t pick that up, our son’s did.

  • I allowed my ex to go by the house while I was out of town to pick up the rest of his things. Our adult son was there.

    My ex ejaculated in my shower and left it to dry so I had to scrape it off the shower door and the bathtub. And he only picked up half the stuff he left behind. He didn’t even clear out what little crap he had in the bathroom he beat off in.

    He came by the house AGAIN right after I had spent an hour scraping and cleaning his disgusting mess out of the shower. I had thrown his precious Irish Spring soap in a box and I threw it at him when he approached the garage and asked him why the fuck he ejaculated in my shower. His response was “I couldn’t have, I didn’t take a shower, you can ask our adult son, I wasn’t wet!”

    Our son’s response? A look of total disgust and saying, “You don’t have to get wet or take a shower to do that. That’s not a real answer.”

    That was the last time I had any contact with him. Haven’t seen him or talked to him since. No texts, blocked on all social media. Nothing. He told our son he was worried about me that day before he left my home and to “keep an eye on mom, she’s going through a hard time.” Trying to play the good guy. My son came back into the house and said, “He’s trying to make you look crazy, that’s what he’s doing.”

    It’s not going to work, I’ve completely disengaged. He can play his little games without me.

    • What a pig.

      My ex use to leave his underwear with shit in them beside his bed for me to pick up. He is a CEO. Funny enough I refused.

      Another pig.

  • Holding out a few days of having her sleeping in my kingsize bed before shunning her and banishing from my bed.

    Oh wow. In hindsight I called her within a few weeks after she left for greener grass and begged her to stay one night with me. That night cured me of wanting coitus with “IT”. She was tainted… FOR EVER

    • At least you did banish her from your bed. The Dollar Whore slept on the sofa without being asked to, but I begged the sleep depriver to sleep next to me for God alone knows what reason.

    • I asked my ex to kiss me when we were together after our dog died, which was only a few weeks after D-day.

      Worst kiss ever. I turned and walked away, shocked that I’d had sex for years with that man but suddenly felt nothing. Scratch that. I did feel something: hatred and disgust.

  • So this is super bad and highly not recommended. Temporary insanity is my defense.

    About 10 months after he left (on Christmas), our kids were doing very badly. I was deep in the midst of PTSD and had no idea he was practically living with another woman because he never told me anything other than I was a terrible wife and mother. Kids had both been star scholar-athletes and very popular in school. He promised them (and me) that he was just taking a marriage break and would be back after 3 months. When that didn’t happen, the kids went downhill fast.

    So 10 months later, my 12 year old daughter is talking about suicide and my 16 year old son has just been arrested for malicious destruction of property. I go to his new apartment to discuss the situation. Bad idea. Bad.

    He, of course, dismisses me. Stands in his doorframe not letting me in, not displaying concern or even interest. Since I have no idea about OW, I don’t know he’s living another life and we’ve been completely discarded. I think he’s been abducted by aliens or has had a lobotomy, and I lose it.

    Yes, I did. I physically attacked him. Put my hands around his throat and threatened to kill him for what he was doing to the kids. He didn’t hit me back, of course, because I had fallen directly into his trap. He pushed himself away and called the police. I left before they came, but he had me on record as being the crazy/bad mom and wife he (unbeknownst to me) had told friends, family, and OW I was.

    On the one hand, it felt kinda good to scare him like that. On the other hand, it was entirely horrible for me. My therapist said it was reactive abuse and promised to testify for me, but we ended up settling out of court – in part because I didn’t want to be humiliated by my own actions.

    This is just the worst of the no contact fails I’ve had, not the only. Others included begging and apologizing, etc. I’m not proud of my behavior, and I wish I felt the way I do now back then. I definitely would have navigated his narcissistic insanity much better. But, hey, I didn’t have the playbook, the truth, or the prescience to do well under the circumstances he created.

    So I forgive myself. And, more importantly, my kids are doing much much better. What a horrible human being he’s proven to be….

      • Wow, ChumpQueen, I kind of wish I could have reacted like that. My reactions were just totally off-base, which proves how out of touch I was with myself. It feels crazy to even read what I’ve written; like it wasn’t even real. Like I’m making it up. I wish I could have just gotten violent, or had a temper tantrum, or bitten him on the leg, or put a banana in his path, or SOMETHING.

        I did decide to leave town and go see my family. I asked him to go for a walk on a pathway that was a high ridge jutting out over the water. When we got out there, I was mad, and I did do a bit of screaming into the wind. I think I was saying, “You decided that you didn’t care about my day!” Or something really understated like that. And at that moment, I suddenly felt that he was a little scared of me, and I realized that I could have pushed him. And that maybe he was thinking that I wanted to go on a walk there so I could do away with him. (I would have never done that, and I hadn’t even thought of it, but I felt him thinking it.)

        I felt his fear.

        It was a powerful feeling. And so was the screaming. I’d never done that before and I’ve never done it since.

        Oh how weird it is to talk about this stuff.

        • I agree. Ive never been a person to lose my emotional control, but
          I never said M————ther Fu———-er more than I did that month,
          When I realized what he was up to, all while I was taking care of everything else
          I will never be all in with any man again.
          God bless you all
          LIS

  • I am good at no contact. The only time I sort of failed at it is when I knew of covid vaccine slots and asked my adult son if my ex knew about them. When my son told me he did, I wished I hadn’t asked, as it was a reminder that it’s no longer my business.

    And before anyone thinks I’m bragging, I’d like to say that the reason I am good at no contact is that I was such a champion naked pick-me dancer and hopium smoker that it took me three years before I had had it. Three years of being “understanding,” three years of participating in his increasingly bizarre sexual/gender behavior, three years of having my boundaries ignored and being turned into the clothing police (women’s; his), three years of having him throw his fascination with the women he was creeping on in my face, three years of totting up the evidence that said he did not care what he was putting me through, three years of learning to watch what he did and not what he said, three years before I understood that he would never change and my life would only get worse.

  • Here’s one: When his CSAT was getting him to talk about how traumatic his childhood was and they dredged up that he’d wanted to pay the trombone but the folks didn’t go for it, said with tears in his eyes and a quivering lip. Here’s to my listening sympathetically like the total Chump I am instead of laughing like a hyena, which is what I should have done.

    No trombone…oh, the trauma…of course having a secret sexual life and telling your wife hundreds of lies is completely forgivable with that in your past…

    • I AM laughing like a hyaena! ChumpLady, we want to see this trombone-less sad sausage in a cartoon, pleeeaase!!

  • Oh, I forgot.

    After I had come to my senses and realized what was happening, and had time to get mad about it, he came down from our penthouse (where he and shmoopie were living) to the townhouse (where I was living) to have me sign some papers.

    I hadn’t seen him in quite some time. I didn’t call him. It wasn’t no contact so much as not wanting my business to be her business, if you know what I mean.

    It was kind of nice to see him. He was kind of handsome, in his own way. I mean, I thought so.

    He said, “I’d like to stay longer, but V is making pancakes, and I need to get back.” And I said, “Oh, hey, you need to go get some breakfast!”

    And I called V. (Actually I just called the home phone at the penthouse, which half-belonged to me, and she answered.) I said, “Hey, this is Light Heart. I just wanted you to know that P is on his way and he’s hungry for some pancakes.” She said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have answered!”

    Yeah. I don’t know why I did that.

    I regretted it before I hung up the phone.

  • My post D day insanity was when the ex asked me to bring him his massage oils. He had moved out 2 days earlier and said he had stopped seeing prostitutes, and we were going to watch our son play sport. My ex had had a cycle accident and shoulder reconstruction, so I thought the oil was to reduce scarring (that’s what he said)
    Then the next day I looked at his phone record (still in my name) and I saw he called a number at 10pm in his suburb and the 3am in another suburb (I don’t do this shit anymore!! Trust me). So, I called the number and it was a prostitute doing full body to body oil massages.

    Yes, with the massage oils I had given him, that my son held in my car all the way to his sports so they wouldn’t spill.

    I sent one text, livid, saying, “that is the LAST time you ever use me again, you piece of shit”.

    Then I found an oasis of reality with CL. It has saved my sanity after 33 years of all the usual narc crap that you all have gone through too.

  • I kicked my Ex out of our co-owned home the very night of D-Day but for six months he played me, by dragging out his visits “home” to pick up his personal possessions, which he would often do in the evening when he knew I’d be there. A couple of those times, I made him dinner. When he complained that he didn’t have a printer, I ran into my office and grabbed one and gave it to him. I offered to pay for his broken truck door. I offered to give him money for an apartment (because I didn’t want him moving in with OW!). I was so vulnerable and confused and still in cognitive dissonance and shock, and he managed to dangle phrases to give me hope of getting back together (“No one knows what the future holds” he’d say, or “Don’t you believe in redemption?”)

    The turning point came when one of these times as he was about to drive away with his truck full of his personal crap, he looked at me with a smile/smirk and said, “If you play your cards right, Chumpuppy, you might just get a second chance!” I was shocked because he was saying outright that *I* needed to dance harder in order to have a chance with *him*, a lying cheater! I remember saying out loud, out of his earshot as he drove away: “Why would I want a second chance with a loser?!” — I finally realized all the talk of the future and possible reconciliation was all to butter me up and soften me to give him a better financial settlement from the sale of our house (trust me, that didn’t happen in the end).

    I then maintained full NC until about 3 or 4 mos after that when I was reformatting a hard drive that belonged to me, and before deleting thought I should check to see if there were any useful files on it. I found a *.pst file with his name in front of it (this is a Microsoft outlook mailbox account file). I figured out how to open it. I was shocked to find a “sent” folder from 5 years before DDay that disclosed a full blown affair with a different OW. I was so angry because he’d convinced me his affair was an exit affair, they were in love, couldn’t help themselves and I had explicity told him I FORGAVE them both.

    That night around 1 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I was so angry that I texted him, something like, I wish you had left me 5 years before this when you cheated previously with [I used her name]!!! Then I would have had a chance to meet someone else, someone who wouldn’t cheat on me!!! There were probably more exclamation marks than this, I was so livid. Told him he wasted 16 years of my life and I wish I had that back. He didn’t answer; it was just crickets. I had no further communication with him until about two years later in my lawyer’s office where Ex ended up with 5% of the dollar amount he had demanded from me.

    I have to say that I don’t really regret the late night text to let him know that I now knew of his prior cheating. I believe he became very scared of what else I might know and how I found out and that leverage helped me in the financial settlement, and also kept him (and his second chance carrot) away. I was lucky in that we weren’t married nor had any children together so I knew I could fully cut him out of my life permanently.

  • I had a near NC fail! It was “near” only because my ex refused to answer the phone.

    We’d had a discussion while he was driving. It was only a few weeks after Dday and before I really even knew about NC. The discussion got heated and he hung up. I kept trying to call him back, but he didn’t answer.

    What was I going to say? This: “Do you want to forget that the nearly 3-year affair ever happened, cancel the divorce, and try to be together again?” The man was living with the AP. He’d told me he wanted to marry her.

    OMG!! Thank God he didn’t answer the damn phone. Imagine the pick-me-dance kibbles he would have enjoyed!!! I was not thinking clearly, obviously. Near fail! He was trying to punish me (typical) by not answering but instead, he deprived himself of kibbles and spared me the humiliation of begging for him. An unintentional win for me!

  • Wow, Spinach.

    That’s amazing. And loving of you. And forgiving. And hopeful!

    And I’m also glad you were spared long term by his anger in the moment.

    • Mary,

      Hmmm. I’m not sure what you mean. The intent of my comment was to show that I am relieved that I DID NOT ask him if he wanted to get back together and call off the divorce. I think it’s the opposite of what you admire.

      • Spinach, No… I understood you. I meant that your loving nature came out when you THOUGHT to try to get back with him, and called him to talk about it.

        But you were spared from actually getting back with him because his anger made him not answer the phone.

        So it worked out for you really well. And I know why you were relieved that you never had that talk, because it wouldn’t have worked to call off the divorce and get back together.

        We were on the same page.

  • I thought I invented No Contact. I did it years and years ago when an ex-boyfriend insisted on calling me every week, just to check in. He needed to get his fix from me.

    And one day I just saw it for what it was, and thought, “I’m not in.” And I wrote him an email that said, “have a good trip, I won’t be in touch any more, remember that I love you.” It was called Pura Vida, as he was on his way to Costa Rica. (By himself, for three months, hmmmm.)

    He called. He texted. He emailed. He talked to my family. He talked to my friends. He wrote messages in bottles. He flew banners in the sky. He got on a plane to visit me when I went to visit my family, and said, “I’m in town.”

    I did not answer.

    It felt like the harshest treatment I could ever give to anyone for anything. Why didn’t I block him? Because I wanted the best for him. I wanted to know when he was able to move on. Was I still invested? For sure. And was that a bad thing? I mean, I couldn’t reach MEH or TUESDAY if I was still invested, could I?

    Yes.

    I could.

    And I gradually came to see that No Contact was not for me. (Unless the person was not contacting me; then not contacting them didn’t seem so harsh.)

    Here’s what I worked out for myself:

    It was a formula, in a way. I decided that I wasn’t gonna do No Contact EVER AGAIN, for any reason. That that was not how I wanted to show up in the world for anyone, to anyone, as my authentic self. So I would answer, in the method that I was approached, and I would say these things:

    1. a simple hello
    2. a comment on any news shared, or an answer to a question asked
    3. a reference to good memories of our times together and to how brave we were to both admit that we weren’t a match
    4. a well wish, a desire expressed that the person has a good life

    Imagine the tables turned and someone treating you in this manner.

    This worked for me. I was honest and sincere in the way I covered the things above, always in a different way, with new words and a “today” feel.

    The guy that was contacting me didn’t stop. So I began to answer. And say those things. And the contact from him gradually stopped. It took less than three months.

    When I invest in people, part of me goes out to them. The investment is still there after the breakup. The memory of me is inside of them. It hurts them (even if they don’t know it) and I still feel connected to them. It hurts me.

    Because we were connected. It’s the breaking away from those connections, the cutting of those heartstrings, the tearing of the flesh that hurts. If marriage means one flesh, divorce means tearing that flesh. You don’t come away with the original you when that happens.

    It’s painful for everyone, on some level. And our pain causes ripple effects of pain in others. Because we’re all interdependent; we need each other to survive.

    No Contact caused more pain for me. I worried for the guy who was trying to contact me, whatever his reasons: for kibbles, for narcissistic supply, for a try at hooking me again, for nostalgic reminiscing, to acknowledge the pain he felt, for survival.

    The world is harsh. I want to be love in the world. If a person treats me wrong, there’s probably a disconnect somewhere inside. A pain point that is not resolved. I have compassion while I don’t tolerate more wrong-doing, for my sake and for the other person’s sake. And sometimes that means interaction.

    My No Contact experience taught me that breaking No Contact was the only way for me to proceed in life. Do I instigate conversations with those who treat me wrong? No. I go on down the road. I don’t contact THEM again. People need to talk with me? I talk with them. I show up. I tell the truth. I care.

    It’s simple now, for me!

    • Mary, did this ex boyfriend abuse you? Waste years of your life fronting a double life? Threaten your children? Your health? Give you an STD? Did anyone have to paternity test children? Did you lose a 401K to sex workers? A retirement account? Do your children resent you for leaving their cheating parent? Do you single parent alone, unsupported, owed thousands in back support?

      In short, do you understand why people here DO no contact? It’s not that they didn’t love, or were not their authentic selves, it’s that they stepped away from abuse.

      It can take a lot of work to get to the point where you give up the conditioning to be “nice” to all people in all circumstances. It’s okay walk away from someone who is mindfucking you, stealing, cheating, etc. This isn’t the same as being so fabulous a boyfriend won’t leave you alone.

      • I’m just seeing your comment, Chump Lady, and yes, you’re right.

        None of those things happened to me.

        My ex-boyfriend was about the control; not about my fabulousness.

        I read the story below before I saw your comment, and I think I saw the incredible difference between my situation and that of BreadandRoses and so many other people here. And that what I was suggesting would definitely not be the best thing to do to protect against further abuse.

        Thank you. I appreciate understanding that. And I’m sorry! To anyone reading my post and feeling confused, all over again.

        I did No Contact for a few years and it made me so strong. I knew I’d never go back to that guy, and I’d gone back to him so many times before. So I tried being in contact with him, and then it all just worked out. I thought maybe I was onto something there.

        But maybe not! I definitely see the need for No Contact in an abusive, gas-lighting, false, cheating situation. And how dangerous that can be.

        Glad to get the feedback; thank you!

      • Dear CL

        Can you delete that stupid bitches (Mary) reply?
        WTF planet is she on?

        Your sincerely,
        Much abused MOTHER and wife of 25 years.

      • Dear CL

        Can you delete that stupid bitches (Mary alias Clueless) reply?
        WTF planet is she on?

        Your sincerely,
        Much abused MOTHER and wife of 25 years.

        • Dear Paula,

          I’m sorry for the abuse you’ve suffered over the years.

          That we’re coming from two different places, and that our experiences have not been the same are gains for me. I can learn from you and I believe that you can learn from me.

          My post on No Contact was a good one because it was my story, and it was the conclusion that I drew from my story. I shared it for anyone who could use it. You don’t like it? Take what you like and leave the rest. I apologized for it because I was moved very much by the story told by bread&roses. But there were some bad times in my life, too.

          Yes, the guy abused me. (He picked me up by my neck and threw me against the garage. He verbally abused me every day. He flirted and spent most of his time on Facebook, talking to whomever.) Yes, he wasted years of my time. He did not threaten my health or give me an STD because I was not sexually intimate with him. (He had herpes and I did not threaten my own health.) He had no children; I had two from a previous marriage. They were my children; they came from my body. Why would I need a DNA test? I had no 401K account, but he did wipe out my entire retirement savings by his bullying and controlling behavior and I am penniless today, without enough money to pay for tomorrow. I single-parented alone, without support, and my ex-husband owed me thousands and thousands and thousands of back payments that I never received. Does all that qualify me to understand anything about No Contact? No.

          I initiated No Contact because I saw that I was being chumped. I was being used. I was a placeholder for kibbles when they were drying up from other sources. I had broken up with my boyfriend and he just kept continuing to call. (Not because I was fabulous.)

          But No Contact was costly for me, so I decided to end it. The whole spirit of the post was “when did you fall off the No Contact wagon?” and my fall was deliberate. And it worked for me. So I shared it.

          After I ended No Contact, someone told me about Natalie Lue’s book “The No Contact Rule,” and I bought it and hired her as my coach. We discussed and discussed. And talked about all the gray areas. And she was there, clapping for me, when my idea worked.

          Why would I not share this in a post about No Contact? I want to learn everything I can from each and every one of you. It seems that you would want to learn from me, too. I have a different take on things. Equally valid.

          Abuse? Yes; I was abused and there were times when I was too scared to go to sleep; absolutely too scared to leave without a plan, without all details in place, without $. But this does not give anything I say validity.
          Mother? Yes – I have two grown daughters by this does not give anything I say validity.
          Marriage? Yes – 27 years but this does not give anything I say validity.

          What gives my words validity is that they’re the story of my personal experience. They’re all about what happened to me and what I did about it, and what I learned from it.

          Take it or leave it.

  • I had so many fails. The worst came after DDay 2, when FW slipped up and left his email open and then went outside to plow. That very morning, he’d told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. (What an honor, after he’d already let me dedicate 15 years to building a life with him, under the assumption that we were monogamous, better than married and would always be there for each other.) Something still felt really off and after many lies and betrayals, I finally had a chance to see the truth with my own eyes – not through his adulterated and manipulated narrative – and I owed it to myself to look. I discovered that he had been in constant contact with (and was actually still sleeping with, which I missed but might’ve noticed if I’d cared/known to look) this OW the entire time we’d been working on our reconciliation and paying for counseling and “dates” together. And then when I scrolled down and saw pages of emails, I discovered that this brief summer fling had been off and on for seven years. Which meant she’d been really young when this started, and I’d been…? Revised memory reel started rolling. I’d never suspected a thing and was in shock. Duplicitous f**k. (Down the road, I discovered there were others and that it was far, far worse.)

    This all occurred in a span of maybe five minutes. I frantically threw what I could in my car and left while FW was still out. (The craziest detail? I’d actually snuck out in the dark, wee hours of the morning BEFORE this to leave, so – pre-discovery, because things felt so terribly wrong but whenever I tried to talk about it he’d gaslight and bully me and/or block me from leaving. I made it as far as the intersection at the bottom of our road when I saw the headlights and his truck pulled up beside me. He wanted me to come back so he could at least cook me breakfast, and I folded, to avoid a scene and because I was scared to leave and part of me was relieved he’d come for me and “cared.” That’s crazy for me to remember. I KNEW. I had known for years – just not about the degree of abuse or about the cheating and lying.)

    Anyway, post-discovery, it was a race to get out the door because I knew he’d take my keys or block the door and gaslight me, and/or maybe lose his mind because I’d seen the real him. This time, he couldn’t coerce me with careful manipulation; there was no false reality for him to hide behind. The emails I found showed a wildly different version of reality than what I’d been led to believe. I was shaking and scared but I had the presence to move quickly; I’d never been so sure of anything in my life, and I felt proud and strong – almost elated. I felt like I had control over my life and could finally see clearly and begin to make decisions about my future because it obviously couldn’t be with this FW. I had the answer I’d been looking for: he was not a reliable or trustworthy partner and not worth another drop of my energy and love. It was time to move onto Plan B.

    Two days later, when I was so overtired (insomnia) and distracted and numb that I was just floating through the world, I rear-ended someone on my way to work. They were fine, thank god. My new little car, my hard-earned lifeboat, was not. Who did I call in utter despair? Yep, the FW.

    A switch had flipped and I stopped pick-me dancing and went NC for a couple months after this accident, in spite of his massive and public lovebombing campaign to win me back. Life wasn’t easy, but NC was, at first. But it became increasingly hard to ignore his escalating pleas and gestures. He seemed different? He really had changed? He was suffering and had grown? Then the pandemic came along. I eventually caved and opened the door a crack. It was enough for him to force his way back in. That was my biggest and costliest fail, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it nearly cost me my life. Some days, I still wonder if it will in the end. I hate how weak and stupid and complicit this story, and the many more failures I haven’t shared here, make me feel.

    I left on my own, but CL/CN deserve much credit for getting me to a place where No Contact is a no-brainer.

    • >>Some days, I still wonder if it will in the end.

      You sound like you have some good instincts. I believe the part of you which is proud, strong, and elated. But that sentence makes me worry for you. (I hope you can tell us more.) Do you have anyone else to rely on when you had that accident?? It can be so difficult since the FW’s are so good at destroying our friend networks, and even our ability to connect to others. It sounds like you have all the good instincts, it’s just that you are in a precarious position.

      Your stories remind me of my own, “leave my abuser” stories. I was just so conditioned to saying “yes” to him, and relying on him when anything went wrong. I arranged a “good bye”, and as I was leaving, he asked me if he could come with me to this fun event I was going to. Well, he drove, and guess what?? Half way through he started yelling and insisting we leave. I wanted to tell him to get lost, I’d get home myself. (I sure wish I’d done that, it probably would been a rush & triumphant feeling.) But I second guessed myself. So he ruined that event for me just so I could he’d drive me back to my car 10 miles away. It takes time to break that multi-year, knee-jerk to obey to be safe, and to rely on him and not ourselves.

      • Thank you for your kindness and honesty, Chumpkins. That was really nice to read. I was in a precarious position, like so many others dealing with abuse, financial strain or housing insecurity during the pandemic. Really, like any chump trying to make a life with a cheater, any time. If I’d written the above comment last spring, summer, fall – maybe even up through New Year’s – you’d have been right to worry that I was still in a toxic cycle and vulnerable. And you’re right to point out that being strong and proud and knowing what’s right isn’t always enough to keep us away from abusive situations. We all thought “our” cheaters were special. We all believed in unicorns. When I realized my cheater wasn’t special or different, nor was I, it became impossible to ignore the cyclical nature of infidelity. That’s why cutting/minimizing contact is so crucial, as this challenge of mortifying NC fails and pick-me dances illustrates. I was so grateful to see CL call cheating abuse.

        Late last summer, I moved out of state and to a new home and job. My family is supportive and not too far away, and I have some wonderful friends. (Still pretty isolated though, because as you stated, “FW’s are so good at destroying our friend networks, and even our ability to connect to others.” This has really hurt and changed me.) While life remains precarious and it’s a lonely and uncertain and expensive and anticlimactic time to start over, I have far more control in that I’m not relying on and investing in an FW. I’m not EVER going back (when you know, you know) and I don’t have kids or joint assets, so I never need to talk to FW again. Thanks to this site, I don’t take these things for granted. I am so fortunate that I only stayed fifteen years. Hearing from chumps who spent thirty, forty years with FWs puts it in perspective. I have less to recover from and more time to rebuild. And then I think about all of the people who live their entire lives trapped in these cycles, from cradle to grave. Far worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m privileged to be on this site, clear-headed and safe. Sometimes even laughing hysterically.

  • Woah, BreadandRoses, what a story.

    What a momentous event, looking at those emails.

    Beyond imagination.

    The same day he told you he wanted to be with you forever, you discovered that! So shocking. So sad. Such a heartbreaker. Such a game changer. Such a complete game.

    Yes. I get it that No Contact has its place! (If I could delete what I wrote this morning, I would.) Especially after years of gaslighting, lies, deceit and cheating. I don’t think I was dealing with that. I think I was just dealing with being a back-up woman.

    My heart goes out to you and everyone else here.

    • Mary – Unless you’re the other woman (and if that’s the case, hopefully this site will help you grow a heart, spine and conscience), being a backup woman is a form of being chumped, and thinking you can love someone into being better is chumpy. My experiences have forced me to rethink love and kindness. I also understand boundaries and consequences differently. I try to distinguish between understanding, empathizing and enabling. And I think about showing myself the same love and compassion and respect as I show others.

      You found and relate to this site for a reason. Keep reading if you want to avoid living a story like mine (or far worse, if you look through the comments from today or any day). And for what it’s worth, I’ve wanted to delete or edit plenty of my own comments, too.

      • Also, the NC fail wasn’t reading those emails. I shared that to show that any person in her right mind would have left and never returned, at that point. It was a few months later, when I broke NC partly out of pity and kindness, to offer closure and appeal to FWs sense of humanity so he would finally feel like he’d said goodbye and would leave me to live my life after all he’d done to hurt me. I hadn’t found Chump Lady, but I had come to many of the same convictions on my own (red flags, cheaters are entitled, cheating is abuse, FW is a sparkly turd, I’m a chump, time to gain a life, etc.) I felt darn close to Meh, as I recall. What happened? FW brought me a handmade hammer, spent the day in the woods with me, cooked me a fabulous meal, sat down and admitted without anger or sullenness that his behaviors had been abusive, looked me in the eyes told me he loved me, and said he’d wanted to bring the deed to our house for me to sign but thought I’d be angry. In over a decade, maybe ever in our relationship, I’d never felt so seen and heard. Then, he told me, in the name of “radical honesty,” that there had been yet another woman, and at the hardest time in my life. (He was still hiding and lying about so much – nothing radical or honest about this “confession”). No warning. I’d agreed for him to come talk, and he came to spring that on me. So how did I respond to being force fed this shit sandwich disguised as canapé? With temporary insanity. Within a month, I’d moved in, during a pandemic, to be trapped with an abusive FW. I gave him all the power, and he was instantly worse than ever. Moral of the story: NC (or grey rock) is the only option if you want to break the cycle of abuse. Even if you think you can handle otherwise. By the time you actually are strong enough and far enough out from a cheater to be able to “handle” having contact, you’ll be at Meh or Tuesday and you wouldn’t even consider NC.

        I can’t delete/edit previous comments about I’ve made, but I can take accountability and think more carefully in the future. That’s on me alone.

  • Ha, thank you for that last bit.

    No, I never was a cheater and I never will be. Goodness.

    I’ve just been choosing the wrong guys. I’m divorced from an addict. Then from a cheater. Then I had long-term boyfriends who were serious flirts. I never felt secure with them. I always had that sixth sense going off!

    That’s why I’m here. I’m trying to figure things out. I know that many of my problems stem from growing up with a father that I adored who was a cheater. Probably that behavior feels like home to me.

    With Facebook messenging, emails, texting, Reddit, Meetup, dating sites (even for those who are married,) and with the casual morals these days, I’ve lost my way. Cheating is easier than ever, and it’s my #1 fear about getting involved with someone. But my makeup is such that I long for a partner, and marriage is a good station for me (or it could be… if I could find a true blue…)

    And with a recent breakup, a guy who was totally starting a relationship with a woman on Facebook, I feel that the problem might be ME. Why did I stay with him so long? I knew he loved flirting with women, and that he did not have the character and the maturity to cut off all options, but I loved being with him, so I kept going out with him.

    I need to figure out how to spot the signs, (I’m learning – and this blog is helping) then have a serious turn-off valve in my psyche (still working on that,) and then develop some kind of dating game plan before trying again.

    And while I’m so on board with the things Chump Lady says (and I love the black humor,) I’m also wondering about – your words – “understanding, empathizing and enabling.” And trying to figure out a way to discern between them, when I’m in the thick of it and my hormones and emotions are engaged… Trying to learn as much as I can before I date again…

    I suspect this might be one of the only places that victims of cheaters can vent. So it’s interesting to read the posts and the comments. And it helps to comment, too. (Even if I do wish I could delete some of mine!)

    I got the term “Fall-back girl” or “Fall-back woman” from Natalie Lue. She’s a dating coach in London and she has a blog called “Baggage Reclaim.” Very brilliant woman. She helped me a lot – I was one of her first Skype clients. The fall-back woman is the woman that the guy calls when he’s between women. He tries to keep her interest going while he scouts around for someone else. Not a cheater-woman. Just a woman he used to date that he’s trying to keep on the hook, to call at his convenience.

    I’m not one to sleep around at all. I’m considering waiting until marriage now; I think it might be a good way to choose someone. But admittedly I’m confused. I keep falling for cheaters, over and over again. Gotta stop that!

    I’m glad you’re on the outside of your situation now! That’s wonderful. Cheers for you!!! Thanks for the back-and-forth. And for posting your story. It made me see my view on No Contact in a different light!

    Anything I can learn is a win!

  • I am not yet NC, as I am still living with the cheater. We are cordial and friendly and life continues “as usual” until I can get out of here – the plan is September (I’m overseas and moving back to the States). I am kind of “gray rock” but not as blatantly as I need to be, so that I can protect myself from more emotional abuse.
    So… in the meantime I am still cooking for him and doing his laundry and taking care of the daily running of the house. Not doing the horizontal dance because he’s doing that with Schmoopie, who he says is not love, but just sex. Whatever. My chump moment is that I shave his back for him. He says it’s so he doesn’t sweat so much. I don’t think so, as it’s usually timed for right before his “visits” to Schmoopie. Again… whatever. I’m pretty much already at “meh”. Been building thick skin for many years. So ready to get out.

    • I too am not quite at NC yet, but it’s a matter of weeks.
      My biggest Chump Moment was a few years ago when I found out that he was planning a trip to the Dominican Republic with his business partner and another male friend to stay at a sex resort full of exotic looking prostitutes. We had a big blow up when I confronted him and he even ran off to Hawaii for a week so that I could “cool off”. When he came back he laid it on thick…”I have never felt that I measured up to XX and XX and I didn’t know what to say when they invited me” “I am so insecure” “I just want to be included and not always be the outsider” “I hated hiding this from you” “You’re my best friend, please don’t make me feel bad about this” “I hate the idea of hookers, it’s stupid. If something happens when I’m there, it’ll be purely transactional and I won’t really enjoy it” “Please don’t judge me”. He went.

      While he was gone I went to work and pretended that everything was normal. I went to an annual awards banquet, where I was presented an award for community development efforts and work, which proves that I wasn’t a loser in all aspects of my life and thank god I was able to maintain a consistent presence in my professional world. He called me after to congratulate me and I remember thinking “why am not good enough? with all my success and accomplishments, why is that enough for him to only want me?”

      It didn’t matter how successful I became, how much I worked out or watched my diet, how much integrity and honesty I showed to him and others, how much I took care of my physical appearance, how well I cooked, how great I was in the sack, or anything else that any other man would have guarded, cherished and appreciated. He’s a sick sociopathic and narcissistic monster, which means it will always be about him and what he “needs” to fill the void.

      • Mighty Christine!! That ‘If something happens when I’m there’ … Because cheaters are utterly helpless before the Call of the Strange and it’s never their fault.
        Pah.

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