I just walked away from a 17-year marriage. He admitted to his second one-night stand in our marriage. I’m not chumpy enough to think there wasn’t more. He thinks because “It was just one night. A whole year ago!” and “It’s been 10 years since he last slipped up” that he somehow gets brownie points. The simple version is; he cheated a year ago, admitted it 3 months ago, after a little waffling from me and some insensitive moves from him during a separation; I said I’m done.
I just never realized how done. I don’t miss him…at all. Not. One. Bit. It’s actually kind of scary. He was THE main character in my life for 17 years and I adored him. But his actions flipped a switch in my brain that I didn’t realize I had. I honestly wonder though. Is there something wrong with me? Shouldn’t I feel something when he’s bawling and begging me to come back? Or is this what people mean when they say “Harden your heart”? My friends say it’s just self-preservation.
I’m so genuinely confused. I feel bad that I don’t feel bad. I feel bad when I lay down at night, and realize I didn’t think of him all day. So, is this semi- normal?
Maybe you’re just really sick of his shit. Like bone tired. Like you’ve been puking on that carnival ride for 17 years and you’ve got no puke left to puke. Or fucks left to give.
Maybe after your umpteenth stomach-dropping loopity loop of his psychodrama you’re DONE. And having been separated for a few months, you realized peace and terra firma and a calm stomach are preferable to puking. And goddamn it, you deserve peace.
Should you feel bad? No. You just got to “Trust That They Suck” sooner than the rest of the class. That makes you in the top percentile. I swear a gazillion chumps will read your letter and wish they were you. They long for the flipped switch, and the self-worth that is stronger than the self-pitying laments of cheaters. Consider yourself fortunate.
I can’t tell you how “normal” this is, because most people who write me are here to get help in letting go and leaving. Those secure in the path of Gain a Life probably don’t need the same validation.
Why should you miss someone who deceived you for ten straight years? And had two affairs (that he’ll admit to)? Why would you miss someone who returned your “adoration” with gut-wrenching betrayal? You don’t have a hard heart, you have lucidity. It’s a gift. You can see him for who he is, and because you value your heart, you’re shielding it from anyone who would abuse it.
I would guess going forward, you might miss the husband-shaped space he used to occupy — but God bless, you know the difference between a figment and a fuckwit. I think you’re going to be just fine, DMH. Rock on!
Beautiful response, CL! Hear hear!
Plus that husband shaped space he used to occupy will soon fill with other better things. Count on it! (Great wording!)
Many years ago, I was engaged to young man who decided to have sex with a mutual friend while I was at my wedding shower. When I found about it a few days later, something snapped inside of me and I knew I never wanted to see him again. I broke the engagement, returned the gifts, and refused to see or speak with him. His mother called and said that I should apologize for hurting his feelings and embarrassing his family. My mother told her to go to hell. My family told me they were so glad I broke up with him because nobody could stand him. A few years later, I married a great guy and we have been married for 40 years. A year after I had married, my husband and I walked into a restaurant and I saw my ex passed out at the bar. I realized then that I had dodged a real poison bullet. I am forever grateful that I followed my anger and dumped him cold.
I’m so glad you’re here. Your testimony doesn’t sound like a chump (how are you here?) but it’s nice to hear it nonetheless!
(I was asking myself the same ????♀️)
While I am not a chump personally, my family has had to deal issues of infidelity in my extended family. I have always appreciated Chump Lady’s wit and wisdom and every time I read this column, I really learn something useful about life. I also really admire the people who tell their truths about the horrible reality of having their lives ripped apart by infidelity.
And that’s how it is done ladies and gentlemen ????????????drop
Honestly. I was in a white hot rage. I was so hurt and humiliated over this because I lived in a small town and everybody was going find out about what happened. I have never been at that level of anger again.
Wow, that is an amazing story. 40 years married!
I’m fully aware of the fact that I nearly married someone who would have made real mess out of my life. I’m also bothered that I didn’t listen to my family when they tried to warn me about him. I guess you live and learn.
I see this is a rerun but damn am I jealous! I have had brief moments of this glorious feeling and it’s empowering. But still, after 2 years I mostly still miss him. The thing is, he used love bombing all the while he was devaluing me. He used intermittent reinforcement like a pro. I wish like hell I didn’t miss him because he was an abuser. He was cruel, heartless and awful. He still is during our separation. I need whatever switch DMH’s brain has! Good for her. She’s my hero!
I hear you…mine used intermittent reward like a zen master …he knew exactly how many crumbs to throw at me to keep me exactly where he wanted me. I look back and remember a divorced friend of his who once said to him “never get divorced, it causes too many problems” I think that there were word to his advice I was not told like “do whatever you like but stay married”.
I missed him but for me, there were 2 specific moments when my love died, switch was flipped.
“he knew exactly how many crumbs to throw at me to keep me exactly where he wanted me. ”
Yep, mine did too. He needed me for the family look, to get his promotion, and get the mayor elected (to get that promotion) Once his promotion was secure at the very beginning of the new year, he started the devaluation process. I noticed early on and when I asked him it was “work stress”. The devaluation got worse and worse and I danced to his tune to keep it together. He kept me busy and out of his way.
He left Jan 2nd a year after his promotion. He didn’t need me anymore, he had attained his rank and standing. He came back and did a pitifully poor performance of wanting to come back. I was desperate, so I allowed him back. I knew in my gut it was not real, but I still loved him and wanted that old familiar life back.
It lasted a few days, with him acting colder and colder each day. Then the last day he walked in and said, I just can’t get the feeling back. I told him to leave. That was when the switch flipped.
He tried at least three times before our D was final after that (I said no each time)
But, please know that when he tried it was never the “oh I love you, I miss you yada yada”, it was can we try again, and I can’t make any promises. The first time he tried it, he set up a meeting with our preacher. I rejected him and walked out. I was glad to have that chance, even though I knew he was only attempting to destabilize me for his own use.
About two months later he was demoted, and put back out on street patrol, and lost his cushy office. So the way I figure it is, I took him to great heights, and she she brought him back down. Hey works for me, even though I know the truth is he destroyed it all by himself, a stable marriage with a woman who basically worshipped him, just wasn’t enough for him. Never was. Doesn’t matter who the whores were.
Ugh. I law enforcement, I assume. They are some of the worst cheaters I have ever seen! I worked with a shift for about 3 years. I think two of the 15 had morals and were faithful.
The stats on infidelity in law enforcement are through the roof.
I thought I had one that was not a part of that. He put that image on for me and the community. My guess is he was cheatings throughout our entire3 marriage, until he got hooked up with his direct report.
Our preacher was pissed when it was revealed. he trusted him. Their relationship was never healed, fw quit going to church, and once he and the whore married, they moved out of the county until he retired.
The preacher did try to help him as he is required to do by his faith. But, the ex wouldn’t walk away from sin, so he referred him to another counselor. As far as I know fw never went to any counseling. His life after our D, continued to decline.
As I look back on it, he really was a sick puppy. Part of me wondered what the heck was going on in his mind as all of this was unfolding.
I’m sorry, Susie Lee. I’ve read your previous posts and it seems to me that you happened to marry a very disordered man. It seems like there is nothing you could have done at any point to change his unfortunate personality and hyper-active sense of entitlement. I’m sorry you stumbled upon the wrong person in your youth. You deserved so much better.
Oh yeah he was a mess. He had me fooled for a long time. I think he actually did try to be normal when our son was younger. And to be fair, I believe just from what I know now and how his life turned out that the only time he was ever truly happy, was when our son was young. Not because of me, but because of our son. We had fun with our son, enjoyed friends etc. Oh he was likely cheating, but he was still fooling me.
But, yeah we all deserved so much better than the fw’s that abused us.
FORMERLY KNOWN AS You stated the magic potent poison formula: love-bombing even when devaluing me. Such a clash in the brain-we cannot process it. Like they knew the exact number of grams of breadcrumbs they had to feed you to get you to hope for the next micro-dose and walk on eggshells while waiting. So for those of us who fell into numbness and fog and smoked the hopium pipe, we didn’t have the wiring to switch to OFF like DMH. I was miserably unhappy for years (so sad to say it was decades…. so embarrassing). In my confusion and due to a heavy program of partial reinforcement and breadcrumbs and some magnetic attraction, I thought I would feel happy, if we could just be together and that the something good would finally happen. I guess was doing a form of pick me dancing… courting his good mood, constantly asking about him and giving him the tons of attention he needed. Though he tossed caustic barbs at me are all the time, he was hyper-thin skinned when it came to dealing with any hint of feedback about his outrageous behavior. In the event of my saying something about him or us…..he would leave the room, actually leave the house, just up and leave. This triggered rejection- abandonment – shame- paralysis. I was traumatized and trauma bonded. In September he did this-put on his shoes and leave. And thank heavens, the switch did go off. I knew it was important to listen to that signal and I left town to stay with relatives far away for a week. Then went with friends for 10 days. And started taking meds, and clung to the no-contact rule. Though my switch sent a weak signal, not as robust at FKA, I am saying: listen to the vibes and develop them into a switch-like mechanism or at least a compass, that can help guide you away from the source of misery. So here I am 8 months later, in a new house, revamping my life into doing what feels good and what feels right, and lawyer is about to serve him . Without spending too much time on it, I’m studying the inventory of red flags I wished I’d been able to see, feel, smell and stay away from.
Sounds like we had the same guy. My STBX, during the hardest part of the devalue/discard phase, got really bad. Here’s what a typical night looked like:
-I would make dinner for the family, we’d wait for him and then I’d call and ask, “where are you?”
-He’d say, “FKA, I told you I was going out with clients.”
-I’d say, “No, you didn’t”.
-“Yes I did. You forgot. Again!” etc, etc. etc, gaslighting bullshit
-He’d get home late. I’d be nice and gentle. He’d be distracted. I’d try to get him to come to bed with me.
-“I’m not ready for bed yet. I”m a really important guy at work, don’t you understand that I need to unwind after being out late with clients? Every guy I know at my professional level does this and doesn’t have to take shit from his wife.”
-“I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me, please don’t leave.”
-“I’m going into the other room now. You’ve made me upset again. I can’t keep doing this. Your constant hectoring of me has got to stop.”
-Then he would leave the bedroom and close the door
Soooo, anyhoo. Turns out he was out fucking other women. No “clients” involved – except for the one he left me for in the end.
The gaslighting is really hard to heal from. I’m too shy to date, and I hate living alone. I think that’s why I miss him and I’m jealous he left me for a new relationship. I really wish I had that magic switch.
I fully understand this about not missing them. I’ve realised that I’ve not shed one single tear for my ex wife. I have for losing my kids and what I thought was my little family. I’m still full of sheer anger over what she did to me (was this time last year I found all her cheating) and the position she put me in but I don’t miss her. I don’t think about the “good times” I don’t yearn for her at all. I think for many a switch does get flipped and I’ve always been a person that once someone crosses me I completely turn against them.
I loved my now dead spouse for decades, I deeply yearned for his love and approval. I pretzeled myself in circles trying to keep him happy.
I shed many many tears…once I got up in the middle of the night and weeped until I soaked 11 kleenexes. I carried tissues wherever I went because I cried so much. His rage made me cry, his aloofness and lack of concern made me cry. His death made me cry and cry.
The day I found proof that our reconciliation was all based on lies, I dropped the papers from my hands onto the floor and walked away from them.
The day I learned that he was a serial adulterer, I literally did not shed a tear.
For me, this is what the “flipped switch” looked like.
I’m sorry you grieved without knowing what he was. I found out about some of the cheating before my cheater died, the switch flipped then, after he died I found the rest of the iceberg including financial fraud. All this reinforced how awful he was and how glad I am he’s gone. It’s very strange as getting angry doesn’t fix it. I wonder sometimes if being glad is callous as I know it’s frowned on to be a non-grieving widow, and must be how they feel nothing when they abuse us and just don’t care, but then I don’t ever feel this way about anyone or anything else. If they exist in this just don’t care state all the time then it’s a very scary thought.
I’m with you. I don’t do lies and liars and for that reason alone, I do not miss the FW. Not one iota. And I am glad such person does not occupy any of my mental real estate. Onwards and upwards.
I felt the same after two weeks she moved out of the house. I did not miss her one bit, I felt I could breathe again … whilst she was still living in the family home I was high on hopium … I dreaded the moment she would leave, even though I had been throwing up almost daily for the previous 4 months. Now two years later and divorce almost final, I still don’t miss her (I met someone else, who is a kind and wonderful woman) – I only feel sad sometimes for our children and the broken family that they had to witness and endure, and sometimes I get triggered when I see my children and the OP in town.
DMH, what I wouldn’t give for that switch of yours!
I second that wish!
I did everything I was supposed to post DDay. Spoke the truth loud and clear, fought like a warrior for a fabulous settlement, remained the best, sane parent for my kids, talked my way into a whole new career, moved to 2 new cities, dated and then stopped dating and became a champion for better mental health for all.
But I cannot overcome the loneliness. I have many friends but at the end of the day, it is the loneliness of what I hoped life in my 60’s would be.
I suppose I miss having a partner desperately and, since I haven’t found a replacement, my thoughts go back to the cheater. I do NOT want him back but it’s where my head goes when I feel the weight of being alone at the end of the day.
Too bad that switch can’t be ordered from Amazon…
I recommend a pet, especially a dog. I am not saying this to be flip, but if you have a pet – especially an animal that enjoys people, then you have someone who looks forward to seeing you when you come home and who will provide companionship.
Rebecca, I’m hovering right on the edge of my 60’s and I’m lonely too. But I know I miss what I want but never really had – a partner who loves and appreciates me and knows my worth. I don’t miss what I did have – a partner who took me completely for granted and never loved me because he’s incapable of love. What helps when the loneliness threatens to overwhelm me is to remember how much worse much worse it felt to be lonely inside my marriage. I find that being lonely without a partner is much easier to bear than being lonely with one. Hugs to you.
A friend was asked if she was ‘lonely’. She is single after 2 fw in her life and now an empty nest.
She paused and gave the question some thought and realized that she isn’t lonely. What she is now adapting to is being ‘alone’.
That clicked for me too.
Being alone is different from being lonely and it brings with its new considerations to explore from a less ‘needy’ view point which I had in my head – another fantasy as you Beth adeptly described.
Out with the old and in with the new.
Unchartered territory since this is not what I thought my ‘golden years’ would be either.
Paradox….want/don’t want all dancing around in my head…during a pandemic no less which has thrown an entire new set of issues into the hopper.
Time to let it all percolate a bit and see what results.
It took me about a year to get there. Bravo! But the craziest thing is when I was still going through the grief and trauma, I still immediately recognized that now that he was gone:
* the house was cleaner
* he did nothing other than take the garbage out (and he usually forgot to do that)
* no more of his awful snoring that kept me awake all night
* no more unpaid bills and financial issues
* happier times going out with my son without FW causing troubles and being a jerk
Loads to be happy about! When they are gone… you get peace
My husband’s plan to live with and marry his online affair partner was just the first of many discoveries and realizations about financial, emotional and child abuse. Each of these was another devastating blow, and I found it hard to believe both that he did these things and that I didn’t know or suspect. You wrote that you suspect there was more deceit than you know or that he admitted. I suspect you’re right.
As Tracy wrote, there are a gazillion chumps who wish we could quickly flip a switch and get over our feelings of loss and betrayal. Initially, I missed what I though I had, until the mounting revelations showed I didn’t have a loving partner, I had a lousy leech who was even more of a fraud than whoever scammed him. It sounds like you expected more misery before you got to “meh.” Instead of wondering if there’s something wrong with you, I think you should celebrate your ability to detach from the man you adored and move forward independently after discovering his repeated and emotional and physical infidelity.
He said the classic “you won’t know what you had til it’s gone.”
Probably the truest thing he said.
When you’re an inch from the wall you can’t see the writing on it. With time and minimal contact and distance and therapy and Chump Lady? Hoo boy. I see a Surgeon General’s warning label in flaming neon letters that are visible from space.
I am angry because of the intentional infliction of harm, the years I can’t get back that I was held hostage because he was pretending to be married, being lied to and the character assassination. But when he left I realized I didn’t miss him. I realized and continue to realize what it was really like for me.
The manner of his departure was a great pain, but the cessation of a far greater pain. I thank God he did not ask to reconcile. I would have clung to him with all ten claws and continued my slow psychological death.
Why would I need to ask more than once to please roll down the car window if you fart? That’s a red flag I will never again ignore.
““you won’t know what you had til it’s gone.””
That is so true.
The lack of basic respect for us is a big red flag!!!
THIS! And why any fully grown man has to be asked/told to take a shower/brush his teeth or not belch in my face is beyond me!
Sounds like you were married to my x’s twin! But really, an adult who won’t shower is most likely dealing with some type of mental illness. Mine was, but I still divorced him, because of so much abuse shit he did!
What a slob he was !
We had this young guy in the Army who made the bay stink so bad as he did not wash his clothes and never showered. It got so bad that the SGT’s came up to our bay and made him do laundry and then two of my battle buddies had to stand outside the shower to make sure he actually got a shower and this was all in middle of a hot summer in Missouri.
Velvet Hammer — no truer words have been said:
“Why would I need to ask more than once to please roll down the car window if you fart? That’s a red flag I will never again ignore.”
The lack of empathy… the deliberate crappiness just to be crappy…
No one needs that shit. Even as awful as it is to be chumped, it’s so great to be free of them.
“I am angry because of the intentional infliction of harm, the years I can’t get back that I was held hostage because he was pretending to be married, being lied to and the character assassination.”
He saw life as a zero sum game where he could be a “winner” if only there was a “loser” and it was me. I didn’t see this behavior before we married but it burst onto the scene before the ink on our marriage certificate was dry.
He attacked my abilities, competence and accomplishments all day, everyday. His criticism was incessant yet I not dare reciprocate…he could tolerate zero criticism. Like VHs husband, mine pretended to be married, but he surely wasn’t.
“He attacked my abilities, competence and accomplishments all day, everyday. His criticism was incessant yet I not dare reciprocate…he could tolerate zero criticism.”
omg. this. I’ve been working in tech in the bay area since the late 90s. I’ve been fortunate to work at so many great companies with excellent pay and benefits. I got zero recognition from the ex. He told me on many occasions that I “…had a golden horseshoe up my ass” when it came to my employment. It really bothered me—it completely took any personal achievement out of the equation and made it sound like it was just dumb luck (which also meant I could lose it at any second). Meanwhile we could never go anywhere because he was always “working”.
I do not miss him at all. But I am still pissed at myself for the wasted years/youth. Oh to have it to do all over again!!!!
I am a Registered Nurse who has done things like pediatric trauma / ICU and Cheater used to mock me saying that I went to “janitor school” (not that there is anything wrong with janitors).
I know you are in a good place now and you know your worth, but I wanted to say that because of nurses like you, my beautiful grandbaby is alive, healthy and (at this moment) sleeping soundly next to me. You and others like you are a treasure beyond all the riches on earth. Thank you.
Yep, I am a company director and my STBX used to say to me, “you know that title is just completely overblown.”
” I thank God he did not ask to reconcile. I would have clung to him with all ten claws and continued my slow psychological death.”
I did let him come back (just once) but for that week, he treated me with even more disrespect than he had in our last year, which was substantial. It was like he wanted just one more shot at me. But in reality is wasn’t about me at all, I just didn’t matter; he needed back in the house for political reasons and how it affected me didn’t matter. He knew I was desperate for him to “choose me” and he used it to his advantage.
I don’t know how he squared his using of me for politics in his mind. I can only assume that he didn’t spend much time, if any worrying about it. It was what he needed and the effect on me or even the whore; didn’t matter. I am sure it kicked up the pick-me dancing for the whore a notch. Win/win for him.
Yes, I was angry, too, because of the intentional abuse and total lack of respect I put up with.
My adult kids had this reaction. They cried when our dogs died but didn’t seem to shed a single tear when they went No Contact with their dad. It’s been almost two years. ????????♀️#emotionalabuse #kidsknow
As for me, I cried daily for months.
This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read.
One of the many blessings of Chump Lady’s articles and Chump Nation, is that one discovers a vocabulary for all the invisible elephants rampaging over one’s life i.e., hoovering, bitch cookie, sad sausage, Naugahyde remorse, Tuesday, shit sandwiches, RIC, amazon chumping, timid forest creature, etc.
It would be useful if there were a term (either Chump slang or scientific based neurology) for the state of being instantly done with a trauma (or traumatic person).
Does anyone have one?
“Elephants” works, too!!!????
I think of it as the INFJ door slam.
Oops. I misunderstood, so my comment makes no sense.
Hahahahahahahah – these are fantastic, NC2U! I smell a Fun Friday Challenge in your future 🙂
Nope. But Bemusement Park pretty aptly describes married life with fuckwits, especially when they’re serial cheaters.
Bemusement Park!! Love it!
When you are freed from the trauma/traumatic person….. you have the “key to your handcuffs” ?
I like that “Key to your handcuffs”!!
In A&A we call that spontaneous event “A moment of Clarity”
Breaking the Rose-Colored glasses
How about being completely and irrevocably fed up.
the Head Snap
Why Am I Still Here ?!
Unbreakable. Free. Whole. Alive.
I too am jealous of this switch – although I do see it some days and am able to pull it. Spinach is right: the kids knew he was abusive for years. They did not shed a tear and do the minimum required in terms of spending time with him. Kids know. Two years out, one month past divorce and life is peaceful for me and the kids – that is worth everything. Today I am taking the first steps to get rid of his surname! Hooray for me!
Chumptoolong—I did the same thing today!! I signed paperwork at my attorney’s office to begin the name change process. I have been ‘practicing’ writing my maiden name again….its been 30 years. I simply cannot keep a name devoid of integrity and respect.
Ooooh I get the strong scent of entitlement from this guy. Maybe that’s why you don’t miss him! You’re so relieved.
Enjoy your freedom, the most delicious thing, after way too many years with a selfish snot for a husband. My name here shows how I feel about that. Loyal partners are just DONE with propping up the entitled one (who is stabbing us in the back). Plus, all the other stuff- catering to them, the whining when the family is together…ugh. Don’t miss that! My sons and I can do things, or just chill, and it’s very relaxed. Adults spending time, priceless and precious.
Here’s to freedom!
I didn’t miss XH the substance abuser although I had him up on a pedestal for 30 years and hung in there for another 6-7 years. But the real eye-opener for me was when a dear friend visited and got falling-down drunk at a local event. By the time we got in the car to go back to my house, I was in full PTSD mode.
XH’s drinking and my willingness to live with it created that trauma, but I got to the point where I don’t want to ever deal with a drunk again. So I think it’s normal to not miss someone whose behavior creates trauma.
Yes. I feel allergic to any degree of personality disorder now, even in the workplace, or among family members. I feel like the kid in the Sixth Sense who can see dead people: it feels like a superpower to be able to recognize disordered behavior and expectations, but it’s a nauseating superpower that I would gladly forgo.
“I feel like the kid in Sixth Sense who can see dead people: it feels like a superpower to be able to recognize disordered behavior and expectations.”
Awesome, thank you LezChump for this quote.
LezChump, I’ve felt the same way about being able to recognize disordered behavior. It is a good superpower to have, but also a difficult one because not many people can see what we see. I’ve dealt with this at work in the fairly recent past and ended up leaving because nobody else, save one person, could see what I saw. Fast-forward a year-and-a-half and the writing is now on the wall (news from my friend who stayed at the company) and I’m biting my tongue to not say, “I told you so!”
B&L: You make a very good point about the isolation of recognizing something that most other people can’t see. (Also evocatively expressed in the Sixth Sense! I just wanted to give that poor kid a hug and some Legos.) And it’s sadly the case that people with atypical superpowers have to be very selective about sharing our truth with others – further increasing the isolation. At least we know the truth for ourselves, and occasionally we might be able to discuss it with others who are receptive.
I had a good convo in the car the other day with my mom, about some disordered behavior exhibited by extended family members. Obviously, we’re not qualified to offer specific diagnoses, we were just observing behavior and the effects that behavior has on other family members over time. It’s interesting to see my mom’s shift in perspective, as she realizes that certain people are just built differently, after decades of puzzling about why they would invent their own realities. I hope, at the least, that that view can allow my mom to DETACH from their issues and make choices about her own boundaries. (Don’t Even Think About Changing Him/Her)
OMG I totally have this superpower too, and yes, it’s good but it can be our greatest strength overplayed. I’ve gotten so good at it I can name the manipulation in 5 seconds flat. I virtually shouted at my daughter’s friend the other day, “That’s DARVO!” I scared her half to death and she meekly asked, “what’s that” I went into a fevered state explaining this particular manipulative tactic. It was waaaaayyy over the top! I had to apologise and my daughter was mortified. But, I’m giving myself a break because at least I see it now – I can’t unseen it and this is self defence at its finest and something I was sorely lacking in my abusive marriage.
Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!
Thanks for describing this phenomena.
It is exactly what I have been feeling yet not sure of myself and my own sanity as there have been so many major changes in my life since dday.
Now I can ‘own’ it knowing I am not the only one….it is a super power and mine was turned off for over 30 years.
I feel like I am learning things that I have known for decades all over again but at a different level.
When I try to explain this to people it is hard to express in a way that they can comprehend what I am trying to say….Your words have given me the words to use.
Re: sixth sense
Me too, I saw entitlement and fakery in a couple of close friends too and ended the friendships.
My ex was a violent drunk (amongst his many other qualities) and I know EXACTLY what you mean about never dealing with that again. The fear in the pit of my stomach, not only about expecting violence when he came in but that he might kill someone driving drunk – I will NEVER have to put up with that again because I intend to remain single for the rest of my life!
All of that, Attie, all of it.
And the inability of a drunk to carry on a rational conversation or to see that their behavior is dangerous or annoying or stupid.
This struck a chord, LAJ. The ex drank excessively on nights out, holidays, weekends (especially in the summer). I walked on egg shells before, during, and after these events. I either drank with him to keep up, or felt ashamed of myself because he was drinking alone. Yes, felt ashamed of myself! I enabled his drinking for the best of reasons, to make him happy. If I didn’t drink I was called ‘puritanical’. My body was a seething mass of continual tension, for 26 years.
Life is different now, and healthier physically, mentally and emotionally. I can have one drink and stop without being criticised or side eyed. I can go out without worrying about what might happen next: will he be fun husband or abusive husband on the way home? I can pity the OW married ex girlfriend from schooldays and early twenties (they had two previous failed attempts at a relationship). I gave her a booby prize, and long may she enjoy using it! She had already test run the gift and found it wanting, and only has herself to blame.
We had a great thread several years ago about how with these FWs, there are usually LOTS of other things that suck about them, unrelated to The Cheating. The Cheating becomes a defacto “end point”, but you might have been “done” even before the final cheating & just didn’t know it. The Disordered usually have a lot of mess & chaos in other parts of their lives, too.
Until I was finally free, I couldn’t process all of the “other mess & shit & chaos” that was FW even without the Cheating that I was SO GLAD to be away from. That I didn’t miss, at all, once he was gone.
Right, my ex was like a 3rd child for so many years.
A 3rd terrible child …. liar/schemer/lazy/unreliable/tattletale/neversatisfied
I was the only adult for many years.
Exactly Chris. I was his Chaos Janitor for years (which I’ve only latterly realized was probably deliberate behaviour on his part). His financial abuse, the embarrassment when he was a jerk when we went out. The loss of friends who couldn’t tolerate his behaviour. I was done even before the cheating!
Exactly, Attie! I think even I the thread a few years ago, several of us stated “the Cheating was a gift, because now all of these other problems disappeared, too”.
Yes – the screaming at waiters in restaurants and other service people, the embarrassment & bad behaviour elsewhere, none of it I miss!
I uses to say my 6′ 2″ husband was like a 3 year old, but with the ability to wrack up significant debt, open loans, physically & verbally assault people and cause significant harm, etc. At least when my REAL kids were 3 year olds, they couldn’t cause the same swath of destruction.
In “Healing from Narcissistic Abuse” by Margalis Fjelstad (which I highly recommend), she wrote: “Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being in a relationship with a three-year-old armed with a nail gun.” I laughed so hard…and then went back to wincing and pulling out nails….
I can resonate with this. I even used to say I had 3 boys. He even said when we split he felt like a man-child like it was my fault he didn’t work or do much of anything. I felt guilty for years that I was successful in my career and he couldn’t seem to keep anything going for more than a year. He would mock successful people while enjoying the benefit of my success. It’s been good for my sons that he is gone. They have both flourished. They don’t want to be like him-a mooch.
Agreed, Thrive. I think it’s really bad for kids to be around these mooches who can’t get their lives together. I think it’s just as detrimental as watching a Cheater and learning that is how they treat their spouse.
Because watching the mooches these kids aren’t learning how to “gain a life” of their own, and the kids grow up to be functionally illiterate in how to function in society or keep a job or keep a roof over their heads when THEY reach adulthood!
It took me way too long to reach the “I’m done” point. After thirty-five years of marriage I was so used to spackling and untangling the skein, and making allowances for him based on his lousy FOO, that once I did begin to see that his behavior was inexcusable I didn’t trust my new perception of it. It took me far too long to “trust that he sucks” and give up the hopium pipe.
There were so many reasons I didn’t want to have to divorce him, from sunk costs, future plans, and most of all feelings and ideas I had about myself of defeat and loss and failure and self-worth. But I started totting up in my head the things he said and did that told me the real truth. Even after I had a whole host of them, I had to push myself: What is it going to take for you to act on what you know? A couple of super-egregious outrages finally pushed me over the edge, and after that, I was done with him.
Once I was done, I was done. I fully understood and accepted that “he sucked,” which helped me steel myself during the divorce process.
It’s surprised me that I never missed him. Leaving and divorcing, and living alone have all been difficult. Grieving over the betrayal, the deception, and devaluation, losing the life I thought I had and the one I had been working for in retirement has been painful. I’ve missed a lot about the life I had.
I don’t, however, miss him. Nothing about him. And this was as true right after I moved out as it is now, over three years later. I do miss some things about my married life, especially what being married allowed in me. Aside from the satisfaction I took in something like coming home at night to prepare a meal that to me was a way to show my love and commitment in a very concrete act of nurturing and nourishment, there was a deep security in feeling that my now-ex had made a commitment to a life with me. It made me feel that as a person I must be ok. I was grateful for that, and I depended on it. Now I am learning to provide that sense of security and self worth for myself.
What I see now is how much spackling I’ve done over the years in some other relationships, friends as well as family. My new-found understandings will I hope guard me in new friendships going forward, but I am just now confronting a situation with my sister that had led me to feel that same “I’m done” with her that I finally reached with my now-ex, and I’m feeling a real sadness over that.
Same here about the sister, Adelante. I (and my other sister) have finally accepted that middle sister is a narc. We live in 3 different countries so we don’t see each other very often – or I should say we NEVER see the narc now, because I guess we are of no more use to her! But the two of us (and our brothers) hung on and supported the narc in her divorce from a nasty, cheating piece of shit, sent gifts for her grandchildren, took them into our homes, financially supported her and so on. It still took us many years to ACCEPT that she is a taker, couldn’t give a shit about any of us, she’s a liar and a total narc. The fact that we live in different countries makes it easier to cut her out but it still hurts us to do this. Still, there’s nothing we can do about it. She was like that as a child and she’s almost 70 now so she’s never going to change!
You are so right: there’s nothing we can do about it. I am ten years older than my sister, and I’ve always been her advocate. But knowing that there’s nothing I can do about my her behavior, and knowing that in her eyes she’s never, ever wrong, and never applies–and will never apply–to herself the critical judgements she so easily levels at others, doesn’t exactly make this move of distancing myself emotionally from her easier or less painful, but it does remind me that it’s necessary, so it helps nonetheless.
Wow, Adelante, we have a lot in common. I, too, had a long marriage (44 years) and spackled for all of those years.
But the realization that my sister was toxic came first. It was a process that took years, and back then I didn’t know how to describe her behavior other than just being selfish. Now I think she’s a narcissist. Then I started reflecting on my husband’s behavior. That went faster, as I was able to find resources that partially explained it.
I divorced my husband but I haven’t ended my relationship with my sister. We’re identical twins so I don’t know how I could live with that.
Oh ja, ik herken dit precies….eindelijk (!) zie ik de patronen en na een huwelijk van 36 jaar ( mijn ex is inmiddels overleden) heb ik ook een aantal
” goede ” familierelaties moeten herformuleren… om dezelfde reden als jij…en hou ik ze op afstand of blokkeer ze van ieder contact. Ook door hen word ik steeds ‘gehooverd”… ze willen hun ” vriendschap ” en “liefste zus ” niet kwijt.
Toen ik op 10 jaar was werd ik als op school ” een goed konijn “genoemd…. hahaha… net meer…
I actually had watched my sister’s behavior and had drawn some conclusions about it before I was forced to see my ex’s, but I thought I was immune to her practice of demeaning and cutting off people who displeased her. Then I found out I wasn’t immune; the first time, I let bygones be bygones. This time, I won’t.
(PS: yay, Google translate!)
You have expressed this all so well. My story written by you 🙂
Since dday I have ended relationships with 2 of my siblings. One was pretty immediate and I haven’t looked back…he stole from me and my sisters while I was spackling his obnoxious behavior. Once I saw it, I was done and haven’t had contact since.
The second relationship has been a bit messier.
Thanks for putting in words some of what I have felt and am going through.
It’s really hard, isn’t it, Elderly Chump. This situation with my sister surfaced at a time of crisis in my mother’s life (I just spent over a month with my 95 year old mother getting her into assisted living). I know it’s an emotional time, and my own FOO was warped by my violent, sexually abusive, mentally ill, cheating father, so I understand that she’s wounded, but as many others pointed out yesterday, difficult situations do not give someone a license to abuse you.
I feel similar in many ways to you. What has been surprising to me is who of my friends I kept and who I let go intentionally. I have also let go of 40 pounds of fat. I think being in a stressful relationship sets up a chronic inflammatory situation and some of us hold onto water, eat poorly and gain wt making us feel even more unattractive. Toxicity manifests in many ways.
I completely agree.
“there was a deep security in feeling that my now-ex had made a commitment to a life with me. It made me feel that as a person I must be ok. I was grateful for that, and I depended on it. Now I am learning to provide that sense of security and self worth for myself.”
Thanks, Adelante. Same, although the last part is two steps forward, three back at present…
Here’s the crazy thing. I was pretty sure fuckwit didn’t “love” me for years before DDay. I remember literally saying to myself that it was ok, because he was a good person and would always do the right thing for his family. Security, in so many words. And I could always rely on and admire this about him even if I was unworthy of his love.
Once I found out he would NOT in fact put his family first, and would do everything from risking our health and financial stability to missing Skype calls with his kids for a piece of ass, it was a pretty quick switch flip after I got over the shock. He was so offended that I just wanted him to go away.
So I don’t miss him. I don’t think I ever did. Yes, that feeds into the toxic “unworthy wife” narrative that rides around in the back of my head. But I don’t have to accept it anymore, because he’s gone and good riddance. Still working on making the new narrative my default.
I don’t think this “switch” phenomena is actually instantaneous. Maybe the realization is, I am not sure, and it may be different for different people. But it is like the point of no return, when you have experienced diminishing returns, and tried to fix the unfixable for so long, one day you just realize you are done. It is liberating because you finally say it out loud. It may have been rattling around inside your head for awhile, but then the genie comes out of the bottle.
Yesterday I read several things which I have heard over the years, being the well trained co-dependent I was. One was a comparison of cheating to a disease, like cancer. You wouldn’t leave if they were sick, right? Cheating involves choice. Cancer is not a choice anyone makes. Cheating offers some “in the moment” benefits to the cheater. Cancer is never fun. They are not the same thing, at all.
Another is the “shoulds”, like you should love your father or mother, or the false image you thought you married. If another person treats you like you have no worth or value for years, should you really love them, regardless? I don’t think so. You may have been born into a family, or married someone who fooled you, but that does not condemn you to a lifetime of abuse and misery.
As LAJ points out, it is actually normal not to miss someone whose behavior causes trauma. You may have a past experience with someone that had some good times in it, but you do not owe anyone for past good times. They were there, too. What do they owe you? You do not have to hang around to be abused. You are entitled to be happy without that person in your life. That sense of relief, that sense of being done is actually as normal as you can possibly be. When an abuser dies, you know they are not coming back to hurt you again, you may still have some bad memories to process, but the pain will recede. When you are no contact with a liar or cheater, you gain the space to heal. Wanting peace in your life is a wonderful goal. You deserve it.
“[I]t is like the point of no return, when you have experienced diminishing returns, and tried to fix the unfixable for so long, one day you just realize you are done.”
That is a great way to describe it. It certainly captures my experience.
Portia, wise words. I am dealing with this in therapy and just yesterday was telling therapist what I think FW father owes me…which is kindness and not being an asshole and yelling at me and still putting other people above his family (even though mom divorced him this year). And we were talking about the pain of having him be my father and when the pain of not getting what I need from him will end. She said when do I think that will end? I said “when he dies.” She said no.
But I have to think that at least part of it WILL end when he dies. I thought of Velvet Hammer who yesterday wrote about finding out about her mother’s passing and how there was a little bit of relief there (I’m paraphrasing). My current husband went through that when his mentally ill mother died. Relief. I feel like I will be happier (and entitled to feel that way) when he is not in my life (when he dies). I know he will not continue to hurt me again. I know he will not continue to prioritize other people/shiny objects/status/kibbles over his family. That will be done.
Will I get the apology I want? No. I’m pretty sure I won’t. He is incapable of empathy and admitting that he fucked up in such a way that his wife of 54 years left him and hasn’t spoken to him in almost a year. He is incapable of the self-reflection it takes to see How Many Things he got wrong/did wrong in his life. He cannot untangle his own skein. The pain will recede in time, but I really feel like when he dies it will bring me great relief. The finality in knowing that the hopium pipe will never work is something that I am looking forward to.
Meantime, I’m in therapy trying to deal the best I can with all the fuckupedness that he caused in our family unit.
My father died this year. I was relieved. I, too had therapy and wanted an apology or at least an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, but I realized (in my late 40’s!) that was never going to happen. When you understand they are incapable of change, stop expecting it.
Even though I knew what to expect from my father, he was still able to inflict intentional pain while he was alive. He got to me by criticizing my children, even though I had taken great pains to shield them from him, and he really didn’t know them or how to contact them. I knew what he was doing, but it still hurt. Not as much as it used to, but still, anyone who enjoys inflicting pain when there is no other reason but their enjoyment, is a sadist.
I understand he was mentally ill. It does not excuse his actions or words. When he died, I was relieved because he couldn’t create any new ways to be an ass. I just had to work through whatever debris was left from his old actions and words.
The positive thing that was a result of my ability to “flip a switch” on him, was that I could apply my new found knowledge to other liars and cheats on my life. What began as a tactic to diminish me resulted in me becoming stronger and more resilient. I bet he hated it when that happened! Too bad, so sad!
Keep working on you! You sound like you are on the brink of something great!
The pain will end when you decide you’ve had enough.
Excellent points. Thank you!
“You may have a past experience with someone that had some good times in it, but you do not owe anyone for past good times. They were there, too. What do they owe you? You do not have to hang around to be abused.”
This was always a hard thing for me, until I realized that they don’t care about those past good times or they wouldn’t be cheating or drinking excessively or devaluing us.
I’m very envious of your instant relief and not feeling you miss him at all.
Despite being chumped and betrayed in the worst possible way by my ex-wife of 20 years, I was totally heartbroken, crying every day for at least 18 months, and I sometimes still miss and pine for her after 5 years, even though my dispassionate intellectual side knows that she is absolute garbage and I am an idiot for still having feelings for her.
Good for you to be able to flick that switch so easily. It is an admirable trait that I think many of us wish we could have.
You will hopefully reach clarity one day. It took me about 12 years to stop caring. It is almost never “instant”.
I didn’t immediately feel free, but by the end of year one and my finalized divorce I was beyond happy.
That first year was brutal. I only had one d day, and it rocked the foundation of my life. 25 years with my ex.
It took me for a huge paranoid, depressed, painful loop. I barely survived, but this forum kept me together AND helped me find my inner strength. I did all the hard things. I got divorced.
By then, I was done too. I realized I am a strong and independent woman. I learned the only person I want to get to know is me, and 18 months later I am still deeply in love with myself.
The freedom I feel without a man, who is really seemed was sucking the life out of me and the kids, is epic.
The pain was bad. I almost didn’t survive it. But I asked for help when I knew I needed it and I have come out stronger and more alive than ever.
We all deal differently. The timelines are different. It’s ok to be happy. Clinging to the past causes suffering. When we really see that, we let go.
What’s the Budda say,,…”The path of all suffering is born of Desire”?
I like “the end of suffering comes at the end of wanting.”
What help did you get? I can’t afford counseling but I desperately need it. I am retired and financially dependent. Please.
I read on another online forum that if this was truly my situation ( I could NOT get the counseling I needed – financial reasons and also just finding the right type of counseling that would help, years of failed counseling sessions that never got to the core of the problem that I didn’t have words for yet, etc.)……to take myself to the Emergency Room.
I’m not proud that I did that, but they put me inpatient SI watch for several days and then dismissed me with the cadillac in care and services to get the ongoing support I needed. I had tried for several years to get help as I was crashing and burning in my life and marriage and absolutely nothing or no one was able to understand or help. The Emergency Room did. I would not be here today if I hadn’t taken myself in to them and surrendered to whatever plan they might have for me.
Love and light to you, sadbutangry. Please take care of yourself however that has to happen.
Thank you for this important and generous response, tallgrass.
I might add that the (US) SAMSHA National Helpline is available 24/7 at
1-800-662-HELP (4357) for mental health services referrals.
If you are a religious person (or not) most all churches provide some form of free counseling, either by a solitary pastor, priest, or staff member. That avenue could at least point you in the right direction for you. I know of desperate people who have walked in cold off the street and found a helping hand. Also, your local health department has information on counseling services for low income residents.
I would avoid people of the cloth for mental health care, since they don’t have any training.
If you live near a university, grad students (LCSW or MFT) doing their required hours for licensing might be able to help, for a reduced fee. Call around and maybe you can find one who’s already licensed and works on a sliding scale.
I got help from the county health services. I went in initially because he was blatantly cheating, and I was at my wits end, but then the therapist told me I was a victim of domestic violence. Because of that, I was given a year of counseling at no cost. The DV was taking family money to spend on Xanax and booze, and he held me down and wouldn’t let me move or leave the room until I agreed he could go to a party with the OW. I had a few bruises from that.
This was in Utah, maybe other states wouldn’t offer this. It might be good for you to talk to someone at a women’s support group that the state or county runs.
I found a women’s group—not a crisis shelter— and they offered free counseling and legal help as well as group therapy for six months. See if you can find something similar near you. They are the ones that convinced me that the cheating, lying gaslighting and all the other bad behavior—was abuse. They help women get out of these situations but I was already out and they still helped me. They were a godsend navigating a messy post-divorce with the kids.
I suspect she got a clean break.
She didn’t get screwed financially, he didn’t turn any kids against her.
The lucky ones have a good settlement and good self esteem. And an ability to decide.
For me there’s an element of truth in that Mitz, in that I had a good job and was able to keep my boys in the only home they had ever known by buying him out. I got NOTHING from him and I supported our kids without his help. It’s somewhat of a consolation that he blew threw his pay off in record time though. But you’re right, while I lost money I was still stable and able to make my own decisions, so I feel it is indeed easier for some than others to flick that switch I guess!
I was devastated when she said she wanted a divorce. Denial, pick me dancing, bargaining with God ensued. After much discovery drama over a year a came a wreckconciliation attempt through a therapist. She was good. I think she realized right off my XW was a mess and was just trying to get me out of denial and let her go. She challenged both of us but zeroed in on XW’s blaming me for her own destructive choices. It ended with XW restating her desire to divorce.
My desire for her in my life just clicked OFF. I just wanted to get the divorce done and not look back.
I had the cruelest, most clear cut, most in-your-face discard imaginable when I confronted my cheating ex husband. I was devastated, but for the tiny little part of me that screamed “you are free!”. That night, I made a conscious decision to nurture that part of me.
My ex started taking trips every two months back to his home town. He claimed he was visiting his brother with cancer, or attending a memorial service for a high school friend; always a good sounding excuse. Of course, his real motivation was to see his AP. I was a chump for not seeing what was really going on — but to be honest, I ENJOYED time away from him, so I never complained or looked too closely.
>>I ENJOYED time away from him, so I never complained or looked too closely.
Good story. It reminds me of the surprising euphoria I felt after my discard. Yay! I’m free! All obligation settled.
Any chance I ever had at being the type who “feels bad for not feeling bad” was forever and permanently erased by 10 months of forced co-habitation while the litigation process evolved.
I knew one month in — through her continual triangulation of our daughters and ‘in your face’ acts and words of disrespect — that I’d never miss the person that she actually is.
I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but as a cure for the ‘leftover feelings blues,’ it can’t be beat.
I don’t miss mine either and have wondered if something was wrong with me. He’s just not who I thought he was, so he’s hard to miss. He did some pretty disturbing things. My conundrum now is to send an email I have put together to send after our last business is finished. We never discussed our end. He indicated from afar he was unhappy (unbeknownst to me), I then became aware of the decade plus amount of nasty secrets, left a note, went no contact, divorced. I never had the opportunity to tell him everything I found out and he was never curious to find out. He has another wife in line – doesn’t know I know. Don’t know if I will send. I’d like him to know I know. But miss him? No.
Don’t send!!! It’s a trap and won’t get you anywhere. He is nothing like you. He didn’t care and he doesn’t care. It will just give him power and centrality. I got hung up on wanting closure and remorse and amends, and it was awful. Some of my darkest times in all of this. If you ever need the info, you have it. You will not get the satisfaction you’re looking for.
Yesterday I had an experience that shook me up and now I am sorting it out.
I am NC yet, somehow he broke through my firewalls.
I didn’t read his message – sent it forward to a friend who told me he was ‘at it again’….blaming me for something. The Pollyanna blame shift ” I should have…..but you didn’t…..
It wasn’t what she told me that got to me.
It was watching how my thinking was throwing me under the bus. My own thinking was screaming ‘you should haves’ at me and a part of me was believing those thoughts although I knew they were wrong.
Talk about crazy making….I was doing it all myself.
I hunger for the day that I can protect myself wherein I am on my own side without hesitation.
I am practicing being compassionate with myself because I did practice, ‘it is my fault’ for 30+ years. It has only been about 4 years since dday….
In any event, I know what to do now. I recognize what is happening. I have names for it thanks to LACGAL and CL/CN. I call friends. I distract and supplant new thoughts for the old.
These things I can do to combat my old repetitive reactive thinking.
Changing him or what he has done, I cannot do.
P.S. I did sit down and figure out how he was getting past my blocks so now, hopefully, he is truly blocked and I will not have to go through another break-in.
Good for you! Keep saying, over and over, “I am on MY side, today and always!”
I was DONE for quite some time before he cheated. The violence, the financial devastation, his partying every night down at the ho bar using my salary, you name it, I was DONE, so the cheating was actually just the final nail in the coffin. When I walked out of the judge’s chambers after signing the divorce paperwork I high-fived my attorney. When I signed off at the bank to buy him out of the house I SKIPPED out of there. And when he moved back to the States six years ago to be with latest Schmoopie and I knew I would never again accidentally bump into him in town I was like frickin’ Tigger on steroids!
Tigger of steroids! I love it! My ex is about to move back to his hometown hundreds of miles away. I won’t see him anymore. Hallelujah!
Yay you. That is really the greatest!!!!
You only know the tip of the iceberg. Plus he’s exposed you to STD’s.
Twice that you know of (means a lot more) = serial cheater. They never stop.
When you dump this loser never look back.
I totally felt this way about my ex. By the time I left, I was just so SICK of his SHIT. I didn’t miss him. Not for one minute of one hour of one day. Zero amount of missing.
It was actually harder for me leaving my friends to move to a new home than it was leaving my husband of 25 years.
It was 25 years too long.
Not quite a year out, and there’s a lot I’m still grieving and missing. Not the barbed wire monkey. I am possibly the most anxious, saddest and least hopeful I have ever been in my life. And yet I let out a genuine sigh of relief nearly every night to be free from the FW and his abuse.
Chumplady – I would like to personally thank you for your words. They are pure gold to me and a very important part of my healing.
Anyone who has stayed in my life to support me through this (NO Switzerlands allowed, thank you very much!) – jives right along with me as I chatter about whatever the latest fiasco is…..FW and Schmoopie, hopium, the karma bus stop, two cheaters standing up in front of their friends to declare their vows, cake! fuckupedness, you breed with fuckwits so you give birth to fuckwits, etc.
It feels so absolutely wonderful to express that shit quickly and powerfully and then move right along with a new life I am beginning to enjoy more and more each day. I’m a chump but I’m not the broken one. Trust that they suck.
It was clarifying for me to say the words to Knave-man, with reverence, commitment, and humility like our vows so long ago:
“This marriage is dead.”
Not exactly a switch, but now I can (and must) move forward.
I remember the exact day and time my switch flipped. He hasn’t even tried love bombing me. I think on some level he knows there is no getting me back.
He could stick his finger in a bucket of water and pull it out. See the hole left behind? That’s how much I would miss him. He could fall off the face of the planet and I could not care less. I care about effects on my child but that is all. Trying to be a sane parent and handle the exit well so my son is OK is the only piece that gives me anxiety. But klootzak, I hardly care about him enough to hate him. He is just an annoyance, not something I would miss.
I think this is a normal response. I think this is how I should have responded after D-day number one. I only consider myself abnormal for having hung on, eatig shit sandwiches as long as I did before waking up.
This is wonderful news DMH. You got out long before he annihilated your self esteem. Some of us were not so fortunate. We have to battle back hard to literally save our own lives from the chronic abuse we’ve endured. It’s like starting at ground zero to make a come back. For some, it takes YEARS. I am now 4 full years post abandonment. Still getting triggered. Still struggling to get my family to safety.
In any grieving process there are ups and downs. You have suffered a loss and it’s not uncommon for the pain of that to revisit some time later. If this does occur you will be ready and we’ll prepared because you booted out an abuser.
You are mighty!
This is right, and kind of a gift. I left a 20-year relationship and felt a grand sense of relief. Sure grief, sadness, stress, anger, etc. But, relief that I no longer had to endure my cheater ex any longer. I did not miss him, not one bit. That has been a gift. I think that once you lose respect for someone, the dominos start falling and they can’t be set back up again.
I mourned the marriage when I found out about his whore ex gf, but after he threatened ME with divorce when I brought it up a week later I started to think about what I was getting from him
The answer was very little.
One day I woke up and just saw a sad, pathetic old loser (19 years older then me). The thought of him repulsed me and I wanted him gone. When I finally moved out I felt nothing. If he’s found someone willing to put up with limp dick I could care less….though I would feel bad for her.
He begged and pleaded but I felt nothing. He actually broke down and cried but not only did I feel nothing, I was convinced it was a phony desperation tactic because he realized I was done with him. When I wanted the marriage he basically told me to fuck off in passive aggressive coward terms. But once his image management and ego kibbles fell apart so did he.
I never missed him…not for 2 seconds.
This is a typical narc cake eater who can’t believe there will be no more kibbles from you.
I felt this level of zero shits left to give. But it took me 5 more years of increased abuse, constant cheating with more affair partners than I can count in addition to the steady affair partners, loads of sexual abuse and learning of cheater sexually abusing others including minors, countless genital infections, and getting extremely ill before I was able to get there. But once I was there, I was DONE. Cheater would send me endless text messages begging, crying, and pleading and I gave exactly no shits. There was nothing left but to protect myself and my loved ones.
DMH, your letter is everything. It is THE ENTIRE point of this community. You have achieved the ultimate goal of every chump, and that means that you are healthy. What you have does not come to everyone, but it is pure gold. The realization that “your” liar is absolutely interchangeable with any other liar on earth, and that you literally have nothing to do with his disorder, is the ultimate prize. I firmly believe that chumps who forgive and stay are in prison. They have not understood their own value yet. They are living to make someone else happy. Their are forfeiting their own previous lives so that their abuser is content, or so that their kids don’t learn the hard fact that they will eventually learn: some people cannot be helped. It’s a cold universe. Parental love is lasting. Friendship can be lasting. Romantic love cannot last a lifetime. True liars are permanently disabled. You cannot change them.
Some people are broken beyond repair. And it’s not your job to try to fix them, by staying and missing out on your own life.
I found a women’s group—not a crisis shelter— and they offered free counseling and legal help as well as group therapy for six months. See if you can find something similar near you. They are the ones that convinced me that the cheating, lying gaslighting and all the other bad behavior—was abuse. They help women get out of these situations but I was already out and they still helped me. They were a godsend navigating a messy post-divorce with the kids.
CL, your reply to this letter is so beautiful. It is so beautiful to watch someone gain clarity. To witness another person emerge from the cult of Until Death Do Us Part mentally and emotionally healthy. To watch the damaging, Disney happily-ever-after lie, this lie we are force fed from birth, just come crumbling down – it feels like the springtime. Thank you for saving so many of us.
Ex Mrs LFTT finally left the kids and I about 6 months after D Day. That was 5 1/2 years ago and not once have the kids or I missed her or wished that she’d come back. For all of us it was like a gigantic weight being lifted off of our shoulders.
The hard bit – and something that none of us anticipated – was dealing with the gradual realisation of just how far she had been going to sabotage everything that we did as a family for literally years. No family gathering, no family holiday, no family event had ever been complete without the “eggshell walk” to avoid one of her epic (and frequently drunken) tantrums. Realising that we’d been deferring to her for all those years – and to the point where the only person whose needs mattered were hers – really hurt.
The kids and I make a great team and we have made some fantastic memories since she left; having my eldest daughter say to me “Dad, anyone who would not want to be part of what you, me and my brother and sister have is an idiot; this is Mum’s loss” after a holiday about a year after she left had me in tears …… but with the widest smile I could manage.
My ex was in our lives for 13 years…..from the time my boys were 5 and 2. My oldest graduated hs about 6 months after we divorced…..and nothing. Radio silence. For all his bullshit about how much he loved them he really didn’t give a shit.
It’s fine because my kids don’t give a shit about him either. He never comes up…..it’s like he never existed. And we too walked on egg shells to avoid offending his majesty’s sensitivities.
He’s the loser though because he’s basically alone. He’s almost 66, has one self absorbed daughter who lives out of state and is much more involved with her husband’s family and a couple of brothers on the opposite coast. My two are grown now and he could have them in his life if he’d actually given a shit about them.
He doesn’t really bond with anyone. It’s a sad way to live.
I am so happy for you and your kids. You are free now.
I admire those who could cut someone off and never look back when they’ve been wronged. It’s like their self worth was far more important than any lingering feelings they may have had for the wrong-doer or any need for closure.
teens had clarity – one said ‘x is an abusive. he is not a good person’
leaving a cheater was costly financially but priceless
going to remember I escaped a faked future with a figment who was really a f***wit
Makes my heart happy to hear words of wisdom from CN. The tears do dry up eventually, it’s not him I miss. What I do miss: my intact family, the way I THOUGHT my friends regarded us, faith in ” professional ‘ mental health, security in knowing my brothers and sisters would always stand up for me, knowing some ” friends ” and “family” questioned my part in FW cheating, hearing ” she had to know.” The thing I know is I had nothing to do with his cheating, he even told me so. He said ” you were a better wife than I ever dreamed of ” but then he is a serial liar soooooo. I miss my memories that are now blown to bit. I miss being treated like the person I know I am by those who I thought loved me. All of them.
Bemusement Park!! Love it!
This feels GREAT read-I’m not alone!!!
25 years and I didn’t miss him from D-Day to the present. And beyond.
Due to circumstances I remained in the same home as my now ex wife for 9 months after her cheating came to light. Being woken at 4am by the noise of her coming back from a date with her ‘boyfriend’ was one of those peering into the abyss of madness moments. As soon as I was away from her I felt nothing but relief. In time I realised I had spent years of my life trying to keep her happy whilst getting nothing back (generally criticism and contempt). I have missed my intact family, although my kids have turned out well ( I saw them every second I could), but I never missed her. She was a selfish, entitled brat with a mental age of 14 who just sucked the life out of me. Have never been happier since I left her.
Mate, I only just read your comment.
9 months of hell.
And what an awful person she is .
No wonder you felt better getting out of that.
RML-I hear you-I tried to live in the same house and share a bed because I didn’t want the kids to know that as soon as my oldest graduate from High school-I was out of there.
I only lasted 9 months.
I don’t miss her anymore.
It took me 3 years , so not really a sudden switch.
More like a massive boundary which I built, brick by brick. It’s big enough to throw be a massive shadow , that’s where she disappeared one day.
You probably know the tip of the iceberg. Who misses a serial cheater.
After bawling my eyes out, laying in a fetal position and fearful I would be attacked right before a protection order. Packing my house in 2 months moving out within 2 hours and unpacking in my new apartment in 6 days. I have never felt better in the past 30 years because this man has been cheating behind my back for years and the most disgusting kind of man who would sit in church with me and still hold my hand. He would kneel in prayer. He asked me to watch The Shack 50 times that I would forgive. This man was a Jesus cheater and is out right now looking for more women on his list. He was disgusting. I do not miss him at all. I miss me, the woman I used to be before my heart was shattered. It’s a lot of work to get me back and that’s what I’m focusing on. Yay chump Nation let’s get it going