Today’s Fun Friday Challenge is to tell CN how that no contact’s going.
In yesterday’s post, Dr. Chumphead commented:
You know, since I have gone completely no contact, I am much better. Even when I did it in the beginning, I was better. But I didn’t set strong enough boundaries that he couldn’t contact me at all. He would still email me at least twice a week about rubbish we didn’t need to and every time I spoke to him I would get more upset and feel like I’d gone back to square one.
Alas, because we have no magic bullshit bracelets, there’s only boundaries. It’s hard to get the hang of it at first, but as I’ve written here many times before, no contact is a discipline. It gets easier with practice.
Usually the “rubbish” is an invitation to stick your head in the mindfuck blender again. And you can say no. Actually, you should say nothing at all.
(Unless you have children, in which case — parenting software.)
So, how’s it going out there? Tell CN about the joys and struggles of No Contact.
I am rocking no contact but truthfully it’s made easy because he doesn’t try. He is firmly in his new fake life. He recently asked my 32 year old daughter to “babysit” Schmoopie’s troubled 16 year old daughter for a week ( she sends nice pics to random men on Snapchat… gee I wonder why with her slutty mother as an example?). Anyway my daughter held her boundary and said no to that bs. I’m proud of her for that.
As for him—I would say karma is hitting ( “they don’t trust her to be alone mom and her own dad doesn’t want her around anymore).
Nude pics—stupid autocorrect.
Lol Brit. I’m also sure my 60 year old ex just loves having a teenage girl creating all kinds of drama ( hey isn’t that HIS job?). Look good on him!
Nude pics are ‘nice’, we understood, what you wrote 🙂 I thought it was a nice/nude euphemism
I thought you were being sarcastic with “nice” photos. (meaning nude photos)
No Contact is the path to the truth and the light.
I was my own worst enemy for years: always wanting ‘closure’, and the last word, and to explain everything to them.
The life changing miracle of those words: “It’s not that they don’t see. It’s that they disagree.” ????????????
Who knew that the Desert Fathers were right?
Silence allows you to hear, often for the first time, your own thoughts.
The real ones.
It creates space for you to process the Cheater’s actions, once you turn off the blaring soundtrack of their words.
You can also FEEL more – ouch, I know, but in therapy they say you have to feel, in order to deal, in order to heal.
No Contact makes you turn and face yourself. This is super scary, but oh so necessary.
Yes, the fata morgana of “closure”! The only closure you’ll ever get is the closure within yourself. Everything else just leads you back to the mindfuck blender (love that word).
Giraffy: “mindfuck blender” is definitely appropriate, but “fata morgana of closure” is absolutely brilliant! Wish I had understood that concept eons ago.
Ahah yes same here, would have saved me from a lot of wasted effort! ????
What’s the Fata Morgana of closure..?
It’s just my personal way of describing how it felt to search for closure in a toxic relationship: you’re running after something that always just disappears as soon as you get too close to it.
In my experience it happened in the following cycle:
FW: does something mindfucking/degrading
Me: shocked. Take distance/break-up
Also me: start thinking: aw, but FW has a sweet side too! There is/was this “thing” between us! Maybe we should talk it out! After all, we have been through so much! I don’t want to be a proud bitch!
FW: in innocent/charm mode again, possibly even says “sorry”
Me: feel satisfied/peaceful for a nanosecond
FW: new mindfuckery here at ya!
That’s an excellent way to think of “closure” in a relationship with FW; it’s a mirage.
Please help me get this right. My ex emails suggesting it’s ok to be in touch even though I have said no several times & never changed my tune. I can’t seem to get my email block to work properly!
Is it best to ignore? To call or write and say stop?
Looked it up:
Fata Morgana is Italian version of the
Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay (“Morgan the Fairy”), who had the belief that mirages, often seen in the Strait of Messina, were fairy castles in the air or false land conjured up by her witchcraft to
LURE SAILORS TO THEIR DEATHS!!
Don’t break No Contact because you see a
Ah thanks for that, I didn’t even know! Here (Europe) a fata morgana is a pretty common concept, but maybe not in the US. I indeed see that on the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fata_Morgana_(mirage)
I love your phrase “fata morgana” and I wish I had you way with words My take was that I had to achieve closure with the fact I’d never get “closure” in its traditional sense.
Accepting that Ex-Mrs LFFT was incapable of telling the truth, and was never going to accept responsibility for what she did or ever attempt to make amends was incredibly liberating. It meant that her inability to do the right thing did not hold me back from starting the healing process.
“Her inability to do the right thing did not hold me back from starting the healing process.” Yes! If anything, once you see that they are doing something hurtful AGAIN, it just proves it’s pointless to expect any kind of human reaction from them. So withdrawing and healing is the only way forward.
And this is where gray rock/as no contact as I can be (youngest daughter is 17) helps, but it took me a while to put two and two together. Unfortunately, chumps tend to hope (mistakenly) that the cheater will do the right thing, if not for them, then for their children. My youngest was the last to understand that her mother’s continuing lies and inability to accept responsibility were holding her back in terms of her healing.
It was my MIL (who I am still on very good terms with) who broke the circle for the youngest. MIL told her in no uncertain terms that Ex-Mrs LFTT (her own daughter FFS) was incapable of admitting that what she did was wrong and that she was never going to apologise or try and make amends. It was far better for the youngest to hear this from MIL than from me, and she started doing much better not long after.
Wonderful to see you have a good relationship with your MIL. I thought in most cases the parents defend their cheating child (because their entitlement may be a result of their upbringing), but clearly this is not the case in your situation. All the better.
I wish somebody had taken the effort to speak to me that way when I was young, I think it would have had a big impact on my outlook on human relations.
Good for your daughter!
MIL is a chump and Ex-Mrs LFTT is a lot like her cheater father. While MIL loves her daughter, she does not approve of what she has done, and is horrified by the way she has treated myself and our 3 kids.
The relationship that I have with MIL has had its ups and downs, but MIL loves her grand-kids and is glad that they live with me (she thinks that her daughter lacks any form of maternal instinct). I have gone out of my way over the last 6 years to make sure that the kids have contact with MIL, as Ex-Mrs LFTT makes no effort in this area. It’s been hard work (Ex-Mrs LFTT thinks that MIL having any form of contact with me is MIL being disloyal), but worth it.
I’m sorry that you had no-one in your life like that when you were young; MIL’s is able to say to the kids things that would sound like I was being bitter if I said them. In many ways, the kids already know the things that MIL says, but it better validates their feelings when it comes from a third party.
Closure is realizing that they truly do suck
Lola Granola, that is an awesome post!
100% true. Scary, necessary … but so so freeing as you look at it all and work through without evasion.
Lola its like you read my mind! By staying in contact we do become our own worst enemy! I hung on for 1-1/2 years after my divorce, still determined to get back that wonderful man I lost????????♀️
I didn’t even know what no contact was until I found Chumplady. Xh was still stringing me along and I was still falling for it. Xh was still telling me he wanted to reconcile and he loved me and missed me so much. He then told me him and Schmoopie bought a house together and that is when I FINALLY put down the hopium pipe. I blocked him on all social media and on my phone and email and never spoke to him again. Literally 3 months after I did this I felt so much better and could finally think without a cloud of dispair hanging over me. I 100% contribute no contact to getting my life going. Im a true believer in No Contact being the onlyway to movement on
No contact is the only way.
I’ve told all friends and family that I do not want to know anything about the freak and her “buddy”.
My attorney told me that she’s trying to portray herself as a “little scamp who just escaped the kennel for a few hours. Don’t mind that little bit of dust on her tail”. My response, “never tell me anything about this woman again. Just tell me where to sign the divorce settlement”.
No contact is awesome. Good riddance. Tuesday is almost here.
I did minimal contact (through email and text but mostly email) until my daughter reached 18. I avoided all face to face encounters as much as possible. Everything could be managed via email. He was not invited into my home ever. He didn’t like that and suggested 4 years post divorce we go to therapy because “that would be good for our child.” I responded that our child was coping well and keeping his dick in his pants would have “been good for our child.” That ended that.
Currently, with an adult daughter and 8 years out, I have no contact with him that isn’t through email. I went to my lawyer when he balked at any adjustments to support whether child or spousal. Everything is documented on email. When he gets angry, and he still does, I ignore him and if he gets abusive or difficult I go to my lawyer and they deal with him.
Abusive ex partners don’t need to be part of your life. They don’t get to be involved in your life because they have proven to be unhelpful, unkind and generally useless to your well-being. Role model good post divorce behaviour by setting good, healthy boundaries. Your ex might be angry, but who cares? Get a good lawyer and let them deal with the ex. Eventually, they get tired of harassing you and move on to the next victim.
Peace has been restored to my life. I’m well free of him. No contact can take a bit of time to establish as you break old habits but it’s essential. Never let a therapist or anyone else tell you that you have to “make nice” for your children. You do not. Kids grow up and they get it. They will be ok with you setting those firm boundaries and it shows them that bullies won’t be tolerated in your life going forward or in your home.
Oh my gosh thensome! Yes! This is the advice that the chump parent hardly ever hears. It is ok to share your real feelings and not hide the terrible behavior of their parent. We shouldn’t allow them to be chumped as well and promote their relationship with a terrible person just because he is their father. I tell my teen children I support whatever they want their relationship to be but will not hide his true nature from them or make excuses for him anymore. We don’t have to show our children that “people make mistakes, we forgive them and move on” as I heard on a recent podcast. We show our children that it is important to have boundaries, know what you will and won’t tolerate and don’t allow other people to manipulate and lie to you because they are biologically related to you. Would you choose to have that person in your life if they weren’t related to you? If the answer is no then you have your answer.
You are a boss!
That is all.
Love this. I’m also at minimal contact but have had some setbacks. Have now invested in a lawyer to hopefully get my rights and my kids rights. Trying to reason with a FW is more painful than walking on Lego.
“I did minimal contact (through email and text but mostly email) until my daughter reached 18.”
My kids are 14 and 15 and this is my plan.
“I avoided all face to face encounters as much as possible.”
“He was not invited into my home ever.”
Yup. I even draw the curtains shut when he picks up the kids each week; he’s not allowed to even look inside. This is my sanctuary.
Thensome and k – yes. Watching my youngest son and more recently my daughter become empowered by absorbing these lessons and setting those boundaries has been an absolute vindication of No Contact and of truth-telling.
Ex-Mrs LFTT does not “spark joy” (understatement of the Century) and I am as no contact as I can be.
Youngest (living with me) is 18 in about 4 months and completes her Secondary education in June next year …… at which point I can finally drop the rope after what will have been 7 long and mindf*ck filled years.
I can’t wait.
To me, no contact is so empowering. To me, it doesn’t necessarily literally mean absolutely zero contact in every case (if you share children, or a business, or whatever, that changes things). What it does mean, to me, is that the chump has grabbed their own reins and is now making their own rules.
It means every one of the cheater’s bids for attention must first clear the chump’s “does this rise to the level of necessity for my energy?” before it even gets more than five seconds of the chump’s time. Same goes for any event having to do with the cheater, like social media, or presence at a school concert or in a grocery store, or gossipy triangulating people wanting to have a salacious chat.
To me, the next step is, if this DOES get more than five seconds of my energy, how can I approach this so my response or action toward it is as brief and minimal as possible?
The overarching point being, I run my own damn show, and nobody is invited to any part of it unless I say they are invited, and the invitation is strictly limited by me, and you get no input.
Try it. You might find it suits you. It will change way more than just your setup with the cheater. (Of course, the cheater will get pissed off, but that is just another bid for attention, so the same rules apply.)
Own your space. Own your life. YOLO. Don’t waste time on asshats. ????
Amiisfree: I like your definition. It suits me well, since my FW operates on ignorance, in the root sense of the word. He ignores anyone and anything that doesn’t make him feel good about himself.
That originally left me in a bad place because we have underage kids, so I quickly learned that, if I needed FW to respond to me, I had to kiss his ass. THAT was a shit sandwich.
Then I got smart and turned it around. I realized that I didn’t need FW to respond. I’ve got full custody. I make the rules. Now, my (infrequent) emails to him consist of my CL-inspired snarky rules, which he must read and follow.
Voila! No Contact has been achieved and he has to swallow *my* shit sandwich.
It may not qualify as a fully healthy disconnection, but it feels empowering and it makes me laugh. ????
I love this! Life is complex and sometimes we have to navigate the shit sandwiches. I love that you have grasped this empowerment and are finding ways to reduce the shittiness! Applause for your mighty!
After sending a last F.Y.-message before going no contact, I knew he’d be too proud to sleaze back to me. However, he’s been using his social media for showing How Well He Is Off Without Me and I was stupid enough to look into that every once and a while, which got me back into complete mindfuckery again. (the worst ever)
So came No Contact Attempt #2 – adding the no stalking on social media – and I’m still holding it today! I have to admit I am sometimes tempted to check his Facebook to see how he’s screwing up his life while in the same time holding on to impression management. (It must be a hard job.) But then I think: nah, not worth it. It’s been 6 months now… I have had hard moments, but the whole drama starts to become a ridiculous thing of the past.
Congrats Giraffy! I completely agree on the temptation, mindfuckery, and drama that watching social media opens you up to. And that it’s not worth it.
I know it’s not the most impressive of stories here but I’m pretty proud that my heart and mind seemed to be more aligned!
Social Media was a great tool for reconnecting, keeping in touch, reporting life events, milestones, etc. at the beginning. Some people still use it for those purposes, however far too many now use it as fake image projecting. Now these defects have a larger audience to broadcast their phony BS. Narcissists will definitely use it as a tool to get back at exes by portraying a fabulous lifestyle. Don’t buy any of their bs and yes, not looking at it is the best route to take. The narcs are counting on you peaking at their site.
I have a friend who said once that Facebook should have a relationship status option called ‘Potemkin Village’.
???????????? The “It’s complicated” status is the giant ???? for now
And agree with KB22. I even have the impression that social media seduce normal people into impression management, too. (Don’t we all; when we are on Facebook/Instagram? I never post anything about a dull day when my hair looks bad.)
And yes, I so much suspect narcs counting at us peaking at their page, probably still thinking they’re the center of our world months after! So he’s not having that. I truly prefer not to know.
Giraffy, we seem to be on a very similar trajectory/timeline. Congrats on six months! It’s amazing how much can change in such a short time, after years of being stuck in the same abusive cycle. I used to feel sad and empty at the thought of No Contact with the fuckwit; I couldn’t even imagine my life without him. After a short period of NC, I can no longer imagine it with him. This brings me hope and relief, not despair.
For chumps who are so afraid, or angry, or shocked and traumatized, or trapped that they can’t yet manage to go NC/gray rock (love Amiisfree’s take) – don’t be ashamed. You’re not failing, you’re just not there yet. Keep on trying (the sooner the better) and know NC will make room for healing.
Congrats to you too then, bread&roses!
“I can no longer imagine life with him” Indeed! Yeah healing from a relationship with a disordered person adds extra challenges. In the beginning I’d still have doubts about my wrongdoings, but the more I took distance, and the more I read about these kind of people, the more I am sure that there was just nothing to work with. Only more pain to come. All the best for those starting!
The one thing that makes me happy is that no-contact is killing him. I’ve blocked it all and he must be aware because every once in awhile he uses snail mail. In the beginning, I opened it, but it was always some sort of advice. “you should let the bank know your address…” (in response to some junk mail mail to his address).
We are now 7 years past any joint IRS stuff, so I’ve felt safe enough just tossing all shit from him.
No contact was going great until last night, when douche signed his volleyball team up on the same night I play. It’s the same night I’ve played for the last 6 years, not like he didn’t know!
The league has been my happy place since the shit show started. To say I’m annoyed is an understatement! Like really … WTF!
Got-a-brain: That truly sucks, and it will require some serious mighty from you. ????
In the end, this could actually speed up the journey to Tuesday. “Fake it til you make it,” and it won’t be long before that mighty is real.
In the meantime: (((hugs)))
I think this is par for the course. When we stop responding to their calls or texts or other typical ways of making contact, they shift to invading other spaces. I hope there is someone on your volleyball team that you can talk to about this. Explain you are concerned that the EX will use the volleyball space to initiate conversation or drama with you. Ask that person if they are willing to stand right beside you anytime he talks to you and who will support you if necessary when you refuse to engage. (If speaking up is hard for you, this person should say loudly, “Please leave her alone, she isn’t interested” as you both walk away.) This friend should also walk with you to your car after the session is over.
With luck, he will be reduced to flinging an occasional insult your way or “accidentally” hitting you with a ball.
Can one of your teammates spike a ball, aimed at his head ? Just kidding ????
Sweetie – use that brain. Change teams. Just think how disappointed he’ll be.
Tracy Schorn & my therapist, along with everyone else around me begged me to not break no contact despite months of daily calls, emails, cards in the mail.. this man even broke into my home & would drive thru my neighborhood. After his 3rd attempt to break in, I called the police and showed them all my evidence starting with my letter to him asking him to “cease and desist” from any further contact. He was arrested twice, I got a civil Peace Order against him, and today he plead guilty in criminal court to stalking. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of standing firm. Hope this will help others!
Way to rock the boundaries!!! I’m so glad you pressed charges. Having a record will help warn future victims.
I had a similar experience, with video evidence of him shoving his way through me into my house, plus three witnesses to a separate occasion where he was hiding on the side of my house, and the judge dropped the restraining order in court. Because I didn’t call the police EVERY time, it created some question in the judge’s mind about whether I actually feared him. So, don’t just call once (or three times in my case). Call often. In my case, I was worried about the kids seeing him arrested repeatedly. It’s amazing how twisted our thinking gets under this kind of pressure.
Im so sorry you had to go through this. These judges are unbelievable, its so depressing. Hope you’re free and safe.
WOW! That must have been awful for you. I’m glad it’s now over. That’s a cast iron boundary you put up. One day maybe I can fortify mine as much as you have yours!
Similar story here, endless cards and notes on my car. Would come over to the house and not leave, on the doorstep. Went on for over a year until I finally took all the ‘letters’ to court and was granted a two year restraining order. He contested it but didn’t show up to the hearing so it was granted. He had no dirt on me despite trying to provoke me so he could record me on his phone. Took magistrate about 5 minutes to decide it was harassment and stalking. Which I think was to do with the notes on my car when I parked at work. He was blocked on everything so this was his way of keeping himself in my mind. It got pretty weird and he was acting unhinged. 6 months now and I don’t have to worry about him pitching up at my door. If he so much as looks in my direction when the order ends in Nov 2022 I will get it extended for five year. Can finally start moving on.
(music by The Clash, lyrics by Chump Nation)
Now the Cheat fucked his marriage up
He went and fucked a little strange
His willy went a wandrin’
Like the fucker had arranged
The Chump had an epiphany
She introduced the “Big Ignore”
The Cheater’s having trouble
Can’t control her anymore
The Cheaters don’t like it
Rockin’ the gray rock
Rockin’ the gray rock
The Cheaters don’t like it
Rockin’ the gray rock
Rockin’ the gray rock
It left the Cheater baffled
It left the Cheater vexed
He didn’t want the limits
Of ‘Our Family Wizard’ texts
Then the Chump she set some boundaries
On the contact she’d allow
The Cheater couldn’t handle
Hearing “Cool, Bummer, Wow”
As soon as the Cheater could not engage
He began to rage
The Cheaters don’t like it
Rockin’ the gray rock
Rockin’ the gray rock
The Cheaters don’t like it
Rockin’ the gray rock
Rockin’ the gray rock
Here’s the tune, for you youngsters: https://youtu.be/bJ9r8LMU9bQ
You win the Internet AGAIN, Ux! Bravo!
One of your greats!
The word “youngsters”, more than the tune, is our time stamp, Ux. A word which I love saying! ????
This is my favorite! You are a gifted Chump!
Ha ha. My ex was a huge Clash fan. At one point many years ago now, I taunted him with “Should I stay or should I go”. I left.
Totally Awesome UX!!
Beyond awesome, UXworld. You’ve transformed one of my favorite songs into an anthem for the chumped. My stress and anxiety plummeted when I went gray rock and stopped looking at ex’s social media. 26 months out from DD3+, and I think I’m 95% meh. I still get angry sometimes when I think of 25 wasted years, but no tears!
You are gold !!
I think mostly I couldn’t stop myself from responding or wanting closure or something. He liked to play the quiet game — no response no matter what (especially regarding our son).
And he liked to screw with calling his son at night and little things. Then I realized (maybe more in hindsight after going “no contact”) that he was trying to trigger me. That he wanted me to call or text or whatever. It took getting more shit in place with attorneys for our son, but now we only correspond through Our Family Wizard or a quick text. He’s lost any control now that my son is an older teen (15).
You know what also helped a LOT? Ring camera on my door. It keeps FW’s ass in the car. No more acting all high and mighty and mocking me at the door. Shut him up and shut him down.
No contact is KING. I don’t care what the fuck he’s doing and I have zero interest in hearing from him. (don’t despair… it takes most of us a while to get to this happy place!)
“He liked to play the quiet game — no response no matter what”
Same. I don’t know what’s worse – the nonstop stalking and raging or the complete shutdown. All because *they* cheated.
And then the need to control… ????
Their heads are just as empty as their hearts.
Right? That complete shutdown is made to frustrate and control. They really are complete idiots.
I think my favorite thing is when he needs a response from me… and now I take my time. I try to remember that I can make him wait too. My natural response is to be helpful and resolve things quickly. Now I put it off because that’s his language and I keep my contact as limited as possible.
Another thing I wish I’d known eons ago. Shutdown = control.
I think they’re all just mad because they f*cked up a good thing and there’s no way to recover.
Keep on being mighty!
You too, friend! We are mighty!
I do have to admit though — I don’t think he’s “mad that he f*cked up a good thing.” My FW totally re-wrote the script… all the good things that I lived and remember don’t exist anymore. I was nothing but an appliance to him and he created a story about how awful and useless I was. That only works if he keeps repeating it and believing it. I have let it go that he even looks back or has regrets. I doubt he does. And — YAY!!!!! — I don’t care anymore 🙂
Mine discarded me brutally so he doesn’t try, which helps. But recently one of my bills came out of our old account which is now his account. I still don’t know how that happened. It’s been working fine coming out of my account for months. I thought I had even removed the old account.
And I thought fuck, I do not need this. I don’t need to be accused of theft. So I sent one text message letting him know it happened and I was transferring the money back to him. Then I transferred it. The end. He did try to make small talk though and I ignored it but I’m thinking wtf?! You hate me, you want to murder me, I ruined your life. Why do you want to chat with me? Gross.
Then I had to go through all my accounts and lock everything down again and make sure everything looked right because somebody hacked into all my stuff sometime before the discard and divorce. He’s not smart enough to do it. I think it was one of his service animals and I think her intention was to end my marriage. Which sounds awful but goddamn, that stupid slut did me a favor! It’s hilarious because she’s still not number 1 girl. I wonder what she’s going to do to her. People were saying I was probably being paranoid and then my boyfriend was on the couch with me when alerts started popping up just a couple months ago about someone trying to access all my accounts. I had discovered it and locked everything down. Almost a year later and she was still trying to get into my stuff. Then this weird billing thing happened right after that.
Boyfriend was all, “Why?! Why would she do that?! You’re gone, what’s the point?!” Well, why did her ex wife move to another fucking country after the divorce and delete her entire online presence and make herself incredibly hard to find? Hmmm, I wonder.
I’m just going to have to keep changing passwords and locking my stuff down at least once a month. I’ve changed email addresses and things like that. It’s annoying but I’m pretty sure she’s doing it and she’s a psycho. He may have messed with the wrong woman this time, she might kill him.
“One of his service animals” ????????
That cracked me up, too ????????????????????
A bit more seriously, I am worried about my online presence as I still think he might be stalking me – although there is no evidence. I’d ideally like to disappear from the web completely but I can’t, because of work. (I’m a freelancer and need people to find me.) If anyone has any ideas on this, happy to know!
I use to pride myself on my no contact mainly because I never stood a chance and he disappeared on D Day
Until a few weeks ago I drove past him and laughed as he looks like a yeti a big fat hairy yeti
So me in my wisdom looked at sparkle whores Facebook !! Never again don’t do it chumps just don’t you only end up hurting yourself
Cried for ages again over that error
Then I pissed myself off as I should be better than this over 2 years out . It’s a vicious cycle breaking no contact even looking at Facebook
It’s a process. We all have relapses; the important thing is to recognize that it ended up making you feel like shit, so that – gradually gradually – you associate that bad feeling with all contact and – gradually gradually – lose the desire to have any contact. It’s taken me years, but I can honestly say that I would be overjoyed if XW disappeared from the face of the Earth. I don’t need an apology from her; I don’t need “closure”; I don’t need to see her life in ruins – I just want nothing to do with her. You’ll get there.
Also, breaking no contact only hurts your own ego. It causes no collateral victims, no incurable diseases, no insurmountable debts; all you need to do is get up the next day and do better, and the repercussions stop there.
Change the pronoun from “her” to “him” and you’ve said it for me, too.
IG, I feel EXACTLY the same. In an ideal world, he would no longer exist. I also do not want to exist for him, so I’ve been hiding myself on social media.
Mine was gradual. I went email-only for a long time, then no contact during the divorce process. By the time it was final, I was so broke that I decided to do certain things with him via email versus paying someone to do the stuff that didn’t require court orders.
My attorney was very concerned and questioned me on that, but it went fine. He tried to get at me again (of course), and I ignored everything but the issues at hand. There were some legal issues he tried to take up that I handled via email. On one, it took some time, but there was an institutional attorney who worked with mine and got it settled. Later my attorney had a trial during another flare-up, but his paralegal got the go-ahead to make phone calls and got it resolved. When that mess was over, she emailed me that she hoped I knew that they were both really sick of how my ex was behaving! Ah, yeah…
I guess that he decided that he had nothing left to get at me with, or he’s otherwise occupied now. It’s been months since I heard from him. A few months ago, I closed my file with my attorney since every bit of closeout is done and the period for appeals has ended. We found out some months after the fact that his attorney had died of COVID, so that explained some of what happened. As far as we know, he never got another attorney.
A wise friend of mine made me promise to delete any more emails that come my way since the legal part is over. I haven’t had to do that, but certainly, I will.
No contact is the best thing I’ve ever done. When we first divorced, I created two new email addresses. One was only for communicating with the ex and the other was for everything else. Over time I changed all contacts over to the new one. He eventually learned my new email address, so I blocked him on it which forced all contact to go through the special one. Having a separate email account allowed me to only see email from him when I felt up to it. When my youngest turned 18 I blocked the ex on the special email, so he has no way to contact me via email.
I also got a new phone number at the time. It was several years ago when phone companies had just stopped charging for texts. I never responded to a single text from the ex, so he never considered that a viable way to communicate with me. I stopped answering when he called (which infuriated him, LOL) and eventually I blocked his cell number from that phone which forced all communication to come via email. On the (very!) rare occasions when the children were with him, they could call me on their phone if they needed me.
I blocked him on social media because I had a bad habit of checking up on him via Facebook. It wasn’t good for my mental health.
At this point, the only way the ex could get to me is through snail mail or showing up at my door. He showed up at my door on Christmas Eve once in the last several years and dropped off things for the kids and a letter for me. I got as far as the second sentence where he was blaming me for something, so I quit reading. In the 25 years we were married he almost never used the USPS, so I’m not sure he knows how to do that.
We’ve been divorced for over 10 years now. I’m fully at meh. I only come over here to offer hope to the new chumps. It takes time to reach meh. You can’t get there when your ex is still actively abusing you. For me the abuse finally ended was when the litigation was over. The last time we were in court was after the children were all over 18 and I had to sue to get him to cough up the rest of the money he owed me. (He has a very high income and could write a check for a year’s worth of alimony and child support)
You’re at meh? That sounds so exciting! Thank you for coming back to offer others support.
Noticing how much better I felt minimizing contact (child and business together still) was the carrot on the end of the stick which inspired me to get with the program. Of course, the enormous injustice was what kept me hooked in.
The only available legal justice, if there were such a thing, would be jail time and financial restitution. Not happening. But there is justice; it’s a matter of realizing it. I discovered the affair and without that, he would have continued to lead a double life and eat cake. NOT what I wanted in life. So at the very least I can consider my freedom from a fraudulent situation, which I did not consent to, as justice. I don’t have fucking him over on my rap sheet. He and whoever he was fucking around with behind my back do. Your actions decide if you are clean or dirty in this life, no matter what you think or say, and they are dirty. Not how I want to be. So in addition to minimal contact, I stay on the high road to stay clean, for ME. I am not going to hand anybody any ammo to use against me and the LAST thing I want to do is prove all the lies he told about me.
No/minimal contact, integrity, dignity, therapy, authenticity, boundaries…all these things are a firewall and a force field against the radioactive toxic Kryptonite that infidelity flings at me.
The Craigslist cockroach is using our last name on one of her multiple (personality?) FB pages.
Dr. Kick-Ass Co-Parent has told him to tell her to remove it as it would be damaging, VERY damaging, to our daughter should she happen upon it. He is to copy Dr. Co-Parent on the cease-and-desist email. So before our sessions I look and see if he has complied or if it is still an open issue.
Fine with me if Dr. Co-parent puts him on the griddle for 300.00 an hour. It’s been very gratifying to watch her roast him about this. These fucking assholes think nothing of saddling their own innocent children with major baggage and dragging them behind their crazy runaway train and I want to see their blood on the tracks instead of my daughter’s.
Power is putting heat on the cheater and blowing up the Craigslist cockroach’s life. How’s that karma taste, lowlife bottom-feeding scum? That’s some fine-tasting justice right there. She thought she had the winning hand and had no fucking idea I have been holding a royal flush the whole time. I am royally flushing both of those sparkly turds and whoever else was lurking around right down the toilet where they belong.
No contact is a blessing. An absolute blessing. It sucks that my children had to learn how to navigate their own relationships with their father from a very young age, as they see him every weekend, but I had to go no contact and thank God I did.
One of the last texts I remember exchanging with him was in regards to our son who was about to get glasses for the first time at the age of… I want to say seven or eight. In the divorce agreement, it was agreed upon that I, as the custodial parent, would make these purchases for the children, supply him with a receipt, and have X pay for half of the cost.
Everything about negotiating this with X over text messages was a nightmare. He said he didn’t like the glasses that our son had ended up with. I explained that these were picked out by the doctor and our son himself; as our son really didn’t want glasses, I felt that letting him choose the frames was giving him some good feelings about the process. X texted back that our son should have the kind of glasses that HE had as a child and then he went on a long text rant about how he is the better parent because he wants the best glasses for his kid and how I’m trying to be our son’s friend and not a good parent and how he and the Wifetress are not going to pay a single cent for glasses that aren’t good ones and etc etc etc etc.
I was absolutely stunned with the vitriolic reaction. I NEVER air the dirty laundry regarding the end of my marriage (after his first affair I stopped talking to anyone about it) but, after the glasses rant, I passed my phone over to a friend and asked her to read it because I wanted confirmation that he was being insane and that I wasn’t being crazy. (She was stunned: “Wait… he cheats and leaves multiple times… you stay and get the child some glasses… and he still thinks HE is the superior parent…? What planet does this man live on?”)
My son got the glasses he got in the end because X refused to chip in because they weren’t the glasses he would have chosen. But that’s not really the takeaway here. The takeaway is that, after Glassesgate, a GIANT lightbulb finally went off over my head and I realized that I can’t involve him in any… ANY conversation that isn’t pure, sterile business (i.e., “When are you depositing this month’s child support?” “July 15th.” “Thank you.”).
I decided to fully embrace No Contact because after something as innocuous as asking him to help with the cost of our son’s glasses, I felt abused, attacked, was depressed for weeks, and ended up vomiting most of my meals for a few days after. I thought… is this garbage going to happen every time I ask X to help with the cost of glasses? Piano lessons? …winter jackets? Yes. Yes, it will happen every. single. time. I don’t have the money to route communications through a lawyer every time; I have to handle this nonsense on my own.
I stopped talking to X about anything and everything, except child support deposit dates and pickup times, from that moment on. I absorbed the full cost of everything from that moment on. X has never paid a cent for any procedure, lesson, or piece of clothing that our children have had.
And it felt amazing. It was worth every penny. If I wanted them to have piano lessons, I just forked over the money for the lessons myself and didn’t involve him at all, not even to discuss the cost. He doesn’t get to be a part of that. I don’t care that he’s saved a ton of money over the years by not paying for anything except the bare monthly minimum of child support; I care that he’s cut out of the process of how I parent, and what glasses our child wears, entirely.
Conclusion: Long ago, I asked him to help pay for our son’s first pair of glasses. I didn’t hold the metaphorical door open for anything except that. He kicked the door open, ranted like a lunatic, and I was set back on my journey to emotional sanity for a long time after. I decided not to involve him in any of my decisions again EVER and go full No Contact.
It was glorious and freeing. Going No Contact was the best decision I ever made. Glassesgate was the final piece of objective proof I needed to see that involving him in my life in any way, shape, or form, is just sticking my head in the blender.
No Contact is a blessing.
This could be told on stage. if you’re not aware, Fourleaf, consider this: https://www.themoth.org/
Disclaimer: No names, nothing that could come back to hurt you legally. But there are ways to tell this tale of epiphany for what it is: a trimuph
I appreciate this and feel exactly the same way. My Waterloo was Orthogate, crazy blameshifting behavior about invoice communication from the orthodontist office that didn’t even involve me. Dr. Co-Parent roasted him and backed me up. That was the end. I do not give a rat’s a** if I get any money or input from him as it means kooky complications on the simplest most innocuous things. I prefer to handle things by myself and feel relieved whenever I do so. It’s worth every penny I don’t get from him. I can eat ramen and live in the trunk of my car if I need to.
Peace is worth any price. I have never regretted my choice to cut him out of decision-making. My parents don’t always agree; they’re very much of the “make. him. pay.” mindset but I saw that trying to involve him in our family life in any way just opened the door for his brand of crazy and personal heartache. It’s just not worth any amount of money to hold the door open for that.
I saw how he reacted to not being able to control what glasses were purchased and thought “Omigosh, he’s going to make me feel like crap after every purchase. He’s going to push his opinions in after every single winter coat purchase. He’s going to make me feel awful forever. This will never end.”
So I never asked him to share in the cost of anything ever again. I bought the winter coats I wanted to buy for them. The kids always get to pick their own glasses. He doesn’t pay; he doesn’t get to have an opinion. I don’t ask him or inform him. They just show up at his place on the weekends wearing those new glasses or new coats that he didn’t pay for or control.
It feels amazing. And that metaphorical door is closed with a No Contact sign hanging off it. That feels even more amazing.
Unfortunately, that attitude isn’t confined to just cheaters’ interactions with us chumps. The kids get pulled into it too. Last year my daughter earned enough money that she filed her own taxes, though she’s still in college. It would have been the turn of XW and AP (now husband) to declare her on their 1040, so they made her repay them the $500 that her filing as an individual cost them. Their reaction was not “good for you for taking a significant step towards adulthood” but “you owe us money”.
It is such a stunning display of narcissism that it demonstrates, once again, that the problem isn’t the chump’s flaws but the cheaters character. And just to be clear: XW and AP are pulling down probably $300k per year and have inherited well over $1m in the last few years from various family members: they have no money problems – this is all about the principle.
That is astounding. I hope she didn’t pay.
It all boils down to wanting power and control.
Ugh, I’m sorry they pulled that on your daughter. 🙁
Fourleaf, textbooksgate was my lightbulb moment. They really are crazy aren’t they.
They sure are, NewChump. The amount of money the FW could potentially contribute towards these things just isn’t worth the grief.
My ex never bothered to explain, to apologize, or to have any kind of conversation with me after D-Day #2. We had to live together for the six months until the divorce was finalized because it was too expensive to live apart (California allows cohabitation of divorcing spouses precisely because that state is so $$$$ to live in). After that though I moved across the country and I literally had one phone call from him (to tell me his mother had died) and a handful of texts/emails about child support that I had to initiate because he never paid anything until I begged for it. Like so many of us, I’ve given up on asking him to do things like pay half the kiddo’s dental bills because it’s not worth the aggravation of having to chase him and eat humble pie to get him to cough up his contribution.
In over three years, we’ve literally communicated maybe a dozen times and only about the kids since his mother’s death. I don’t know whether I should be grateful that going NC was so simple or feel even more devalued and discarded. Honestly, even when we were married, he couldn’t be bothered to say “hi” when he came home from work and I was sitting five feet from the front door, so I guess there was already a pattern there. I just read all these comments about the Cheater circling back for kibble and more and mine never did that. Admittedly, I was so disgusted by him and his incessant drinking that when I discovered the cheating I was relieved to have a reason to divorce him that was non-alcohol related (I know it’s a disease but living with an alcoholic who had no desire to change was beyond horrible). So he’s NC with me as much as I am with him–it’s as if once I moved out, I ceased to exist except as that nagging person who insisted he keep the kids on his health insurance as he was legally obligated to do and that he actually send child support for his minor child.
Back when I was pick me dancing, he suggested that if he divorced me, he could still pop over for dinner and we could vacation together. I told him if he left me, he would lose all of me. I never wavered from that. The first few months he lived with shmoopie, he would send inappropriate unnecessary texts, which I ignored. “I saw you at daughter’s event. I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you this but you look beautiful”. Ignore. At the end of the year, he sent me a big mind-fuck apology email, full of sorry’s but passive aggressively blaming me. I wrote a big response, UBT style, where I absolutely slayed him. I never sent it. It was so tempting, but I was not going to give him the satisfaction of caring. Another year and I deleted it off my computer. Five years later, other than the occasional logistic stuff with the kids, no contact. There’s no doubt in my mind I got to meh by no contact. It brings clarity. I put that person in my rear view mirror, time removed the emotion. Now I have distant memories, not just of him but of who I used to be. He was an asshole lol, always. I was too young and naive to see it. I was devastated when he left. Now I think he did me a favor, and I wish I had done myself that favor years earlier. I’m rocking my independent life, and the thought of him being in it makes me cringe.
No contact is the way…
“Back when I was pick me dancing, he suggested that if he divorced me, he could still pop over for dinner and we could vacation together. I told him if he left me, he would lose all of me. I never wavered from that.”
Good for you. My X tried that game after he ran off with GF#1 (context: he eventually married GF#3) and, after that first D Day, he was really pushing for a three-way friendship between me, him, and her like nothing was wrong. I’ve posted in another thread that he told me (after I had had two of his children, after he gave me an STI, after he had said horrible things about me, after sneaking around with a younger girl in her early 20s, and, most notably, while I was sobbing next to him at that moment) that he dreamed of the day where this would all boil over and he, her, and I would be best buddies like Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Bruce Willis. I, the wife, was, of course, Willis in that scenario.
He said that to me, while I sobbed, with a straight face. “We’re all going to be friends! Everyone’s just waiting for you to get with the program.”
Like you, I let him know that wasn’t ever happening. If he walked out, he lost access to all of me.
It took a few years of practice to wean myself into proper No Contact but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. I don’t want to be married to people like them; why would I want to be friends with people like them? These are not people I can ever respect.
I only bring that out here; my children love their father and their stepmother (GF#3) very much and I don’t interfere in those relationships at all. I just ensure my own boundaries.
Like you, I look back and am thankful for the times that my FW brutally discarded me. He did me a favor. I love, love, love my independence.
For years I went grey rock. It set the stage for current years where we can easily communicate and stay within the playing field of acceptable topics.
Mine has been sad sausaging around again lately. His dad (who is also a serial cheater and advised mine to cheat/leave) has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and given a very short time line. Ex keeps trying to rope me into “how are we going to tell the children” conversations. My answer continues to be you can tell them or I can. There is no need for “us” to do anything. He sleeps des in all kinds of comments about how hard this is and how he knows I understand (I lost my beloved dad years ago). I grey rock the shit out of that.
I don’t wish the old man any harm, and I take no joy in anyone losing a loved one to center, not even my ex. But I feel no emotional investment or obligation to either of them either. Not my drama. My only role is to comfort the kids if the are upset.
I’ve achieved what I consider to be “regular” no contact: no calls, no texts, no email, and blocked across all of the social networks I use.
Tried to use Our Family Wizard (OFW)at first because one kid was still in high school, and there were dissolution details to tend to. Colossal fail. Ex—apparently unclear on the concept that documentation is the whole point of OFW—was breathtakingly abusive in virtually every exchange there, including one about eyeglasses. (What is it with these folks and kids’ routine needs? Over the course of the the marriage, he regularly flipped out about glasses, braces, shoes, school clothes, school supplies, etc. Was a huge eye-opener to discover how much he was spending on affairs.)
Didn’t take long to abandon the OFW attempt. Last communication I sent there was to inform him that all communication would henceforth flow throw attorneys, and that was that.
Then, I had to make sure that I shut down or blocked everyone who insisted on sending me updates, screenshots, etc. All good.
But, in three ways, have not achieved ninja no contact status, which I’m striving for.
First, the kids update me. I don’t shut them down because only the three of us fully appreciate what went down, here. Sometimes, they need me to listen and guide, which I do even though it often (well, usually) utterly sucks to do so. Worth it, because I love those two and value our little fam above all else, and because ex left serious damage in his wake (of the sort that needs monitoring in case intervention is required), but really no fun. Doing right by them entails knowing things I’d rather not know.
Second, ex apparently plans to keep the legal wrangling going forever. I fired the two therapists who suggested I should just step away from all of that, and I think it was right to do so. What kind of therapist suggests placidly accepting further abuse as an acceptable strategy? Everything in me says no to that. I won’t walk away from what years of work and sacrifice earned, from what the kids and I deserve, or from holding ex to the agreement he willingly and with complete knowledge and understanding negotiated and signed.
Third, and very much tied up with the first two, though not solely a result of them—is that I haven’t managed to achieve what I think of as spiritual no contact. Some of that is a result of material things like ex’s proximity (so strange to settle in my community, in which neither of them have any roots), connection to the kids, and interminable court shenanigans, but a decent slice of it is a matter of trauma. Lot of work to do there, still.
The good and freeing thing is that even though this is hard work, it is my work. Maybe I’ll never reach ninja no contact, but the ongoing effort is a good thing.
So here’s a story. Have been on the struggle bus a bit this week, and quite aware that the impending birth of the child whose name will apparently be virtually identical to my daughter’s (hoping that will change, but doubt that it will) is part of the struggle. Then, the other night, as she was saying goodbye before heading out with her boyfriend, my very non-physically demonstrative girl reached out to stroke my head, and then said, “You are my very favorite person in the whole world, mom.”
Darling girl. The next night, I thanked her for being aware that I was battling the darkness, and being so kind. She said she did know that, but that wasn’t why she said it. She said it was just true, and she wanted me to know it.
So, the thing with working toward ninja level, I think, is to try to live a life and become a person worthy of that. Not there yet by a long shot, but my kids endlessly give me hope that the very flawed effort itself is meaningful.
Also, I really want a ninja outfit. ????
A little tear after reading this cashmere. Please know that a stranger on the internet is sending you light and love. All the best on your journey.
What a lovely girl, Cashmere. You did good raising her.
You are doing so well, Cashmere; I’m looking up to you.
These past few weeks I have realized the importance of no contact and strongly set boundaries. I was doing pretty good but unfortunately, I allowed my boundaries to weaken.
I had set a boundary that our communication would be limited to matters regarding our separation agreement and any emergencies with the adult kids.
The texts started to increase about the time that the soulmates parted ways. Suddenly the former is realizing the consequences of the event and the losses associated with it. But instead of accepting the consequences, he was reaching out to me and one of the kids looking for sympathy. Talk about disfunction-junction.
So in order to continue the healing from the trauma of infidelity I have needed to re-set my boundaries. And to be honest, my world is a much calmer place for it.
This tactic of the ex is also called hoovering.
Thank you for linking this back to chump lady and the concept of hoovering ???? I think I also need to re-read Leave a cheater, gain a live for some reminders.
Ginny its definitely a process for a lot of us. Re-read, reset. Keep going, it gets easier. Trust that they suck. (Hoovering, get it ????)
With two kids, it is very difficult to maintain even grey rock. One kid lives with me, the other with her (200 miles away). There is always one teen crisis after the other that we need to confer over. (And I’m not talking about not keeping their rooms clean; I mean mental issues, health issues, getting arrested…).
I try to keep it confined to email and sometimes text, but every few weeks we do end up talking. And once that happens, I’m terrible in the trenches. I literally keep notes at my side: Stay calm. The less said the better. Don’t get drawn into even a mild disagreement, which you know will escalate. Your script: Oh. I see. I get it. Uh-huh. Ok. Yup. Ok, gotta go. Reminder! There is nothing wrong with saying “I need some time to think that over. I will get back to you.” Or simply “No.” Or just silence!
But once the phone conversation commences, all caution is thrown away. I lose it. She inevitably blames me for everything and criticizes my parenting, and all my anger comes back and it does not go well. Then I need at least a full day to calm down and recover and get back on the horse again. Thank god my youngest is almost 15. Three years to go.
LTC(R) Fuckface’s favorite weapon in his arsenal of emotional abuse was stonewalling. He would simply refuse to speak to me for however long he found appropriate. Now I find it appropriate to never speak to him again.
I’ve not spoken to him since May of 2019. I only see him in Court. I have him and his flying monkeys blocked everywhere. I don’t know where he is or what he is doing. More than that I don’t care. He can sleep in a big old, greasy heap of whores and Howorkers. I do not care where he is, what he is doing or who he is currently deceiving.
I see a definite pattern of needing several days to regain my balance after seeing him in Court. I can’t wait to be divorced and truly living in the Land of Meh. On the meantime I am living it up!
I’m visiting my son in Alaska. I’m wearing a hoodie in July! There are over three thousand miles between me and fuckface and I am here for it!!
After 51 years he finally confessed to leading a lifetime double life then said ” I just want to forget about you and start a new life ” and he did just that. Never tried to contact me again. Can you imagine?
No, I can’t imagine it. These people live in an entirely different solar system than normal people do. They look like earthlings, speak like earthlings, and pretend to be earthlings. But they are as foreign as a purple sun. I am glad you survived and are rid of this evil alien being.
Think of it this way. If you saw a dating profile that said, , 77 year old serial cheater, overweight, drinker who is bald, wears hearing aids, glasses, false teeth, and lifetime smoker with chronic heart problems would you WANT to contact him?
hey – this sounds like you are going out with my ex! Except you left out the bit about the little blue pill, the penis pump and the silicone ring….
I found out the traitor was on Tinder and I laughed. I said I could not imagine that he was honest on his profile and therefore was already on his way to Divorce No.2 and had not even finished Divorce No.1.
There is nothing as priceless as watching the lightbulb (dim) come on over the head of cheater and rendering them speechless.
Life is about survival of the fittest and there is nothing intelligent or psychologically fit about staying partnered with a lying cheating traitorous morally and emotionally bankrupt dimwit. (IMHO).
Yes exactly, Life is about survival of the fittest and there is nothing intelligent or psychologically fit about staying partnered with a lying cheating traitorous morally and emotionally bankrupt dimwit. (IMHO).
I heard through one of my grown sons that X had met someone on Match. We were long divorced but I did take a peak and finally found him. His profile pic had cropped me out, but my hair was flowing onto his jacket, Suck an idiot!! Then his user name was something I had used even before I knew him. It was signature ME. Half of his pics were of the two of us and I was cropped out. Not an original bone in his body. I created a fake account (no pics) and Match notified me of the perfect match….. it was him. Instantly deleted the account and LMAO at his loser profile. 32 yrs he wandered the earth in search of strange, all the while presenitng himself a walk on water husband, father, son, brother, friend.
I survived and I will never be manipulated by this sick mf ever again, Im guarded around him and have nothing to add to his existence.
Freedom and Peace
My ex’s dating profile said he wanted a ‘slender woman at least 15 years younger than himself’. He also said he was retired yet makes over 100K a year.
Yup, he is still alone.
No contact, gray rock and calling the ex a “coward” was by far the most effective punishment I did. After being gaslit, lied to and cheated on for 32 years this was the least (and most) I could do. I didn’t learn about NC & GR until half way through the divorce. So I failed miserable in the beginning unloading this crap on him and off of me. Didn’t hold back ever! He was surprised that I filed and blew him up. He hates authority (when you are the law You can’t break the law) and seriously hated consequences.
I only need to engage a few times a year for a grandchilds birthday, but I still act like his doesn’t exist. He wants nothing more than to chat with me ………. uh NO! Giving them a taste of their own behavior is great.
Well I’m now out of D day 5 years but financially nothing has improved I’m still suffering daily he tries to sneak into my Instagram I just block but it’s a daily struggle of not being able to pay all the bills!????
Carol, you don’t have to live with him anymore, that alone is a gift. As someone once said ‘you can call me a son of a bitch, but you are going to have to do it long distance.’ We are free from their physical presence now.
Financial struggles do suck, sorry you have this burden.
Thirty year marriage …. admission of infidelity 3 monthe before older daughters wedding…abandonment on DDAY….after he refused to speak to me or interact with me during the selling of our home a few months after abandonment (Realtor had to be go-between) I informed him that ANYTHING he needed to say to me could be done so through my attorney. That was the summer of 2019. I have not spoken to him since….no texts, emails, calls…neither have our — MY–2 adult daughters. The proceedings/negotiations have been extremely contentious and drawn out…He is vile and vindictive and tries to play the victim. At a settlement conference 2 weeks ago we were inadvertently left in the courtroom alone for about 10 minutes. TOTAL SILENCE. His attorney wanted to put in the settlement agreement that I would “communicate” with “former spouse” regarding minor unresolved marital issues……I told my attorney….THAT SHIP HAS SAILED….ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I would have gone to trial for 35,000 if I had to…..My Attorney wrote the agreement and made it clear that “her client” would have NO FURTHER COMMUNICATION with the “former spouse.” I sign the agreement this Monday at 10 a.m.
Congratulations! You were smart to refuse to communicate about those “unresolved marital issues.” Chances are they would have been endless, pointless, and vicious.
Thank you Eilonwy!
Good agreement. Trying to force you to talk to him is just more abuse.
i agree Mitz—thank you.
No contact is something that takes time to understand fully. I sure as hell didn’t do it for a while “pick me dance”. After reading the posts on this website, it finally hit me like a hammer. There is NO good interaction with her of any kind. We have kids so, it was a little tricky. First rule. Whenever you wanna respond with more than a sentence……..DON’T. They hate the “yes” and “no” answers. They’re just looking for kibbles. Second rule, cause I got this from my family and most of my friends that don’t understand what kind of person you;re dealing with. They don’t understand narcissism and how relentless and the emotional vampires that they are. You know cause you’ve been in it for years. It takes them time to come around but I’ve found that eventually they do. Stay the course and tell you’re support system the truth. Just watch how predictable they are. My ex of 4 years will still text me something seemingly friendly from time to time. Good little chumps are good people, so first reaction is, oh I should say something back nice. NO!!! She is not my friend, she is just someone I have to deal with until the kids are old enough. Third rule. No fighting. Do not engage in fighting. It’s DONE. Why would you fight with someone who no longer matters in ANY aspect of you’re life. If you want revenge then you are not “meh” and this will make it very hard to grey rock. You got you’re revenge already. They lost a great person and you gained a life.
“First rule. Whenever you wanna respond with more than a sentence……..DON’T.”
Absolutely. This is an excellent first rule.
Not only have I been NC, but my daughter has too. She’s 21 and it’s been 3 years since she talked to her Dad.
Every now and then, usually before a holiday, I feel guilty and think I should reach out just to let him know that his daughter is doing great. But then I talk to someone about this and they remind me of who he is. I remember how he treated me and realize who I’m dealing with.
I would never want to open the door and feel obligated to speak to him. Whatever I would do or say would never be enough for him. It wouldn’t stop after a quick “she’s good. You’d be so proud of her.”
I don’t care if he chooses to believe I’m bitter and a horrible person… that’s far better than having my life entwined with his forever.
I am glad you don’t give in to those urges. Your ex can ask her himself if he wants to know how she is.
Your daughter is 21 and has decided on no contact. You passing on information about her to your ex is not really respectful of her boundaries.
You’re right… I left out the main reason I’d never break NC. I guess I wanted to bring up the guilt chumps can feel because we value people in our lives and can’t imagine life without them. Cheaters and narcs can though. They don’t want to be around anyone who won’t idolize them.
Best to avoid triangulation.
No contact is good! Blocked mobile phone, email and social media. Have a postal address is not street address. It is peaceful, healing, relaxing not to have to deal with that bullshit anymore.
I hear these comments… “Never tried to contact me again,” and “daily struggle of not being able to pay the bills,” and my heart goes out.
I think that No Contact has its place. It’s extreme. But cheating is extreme. Cheating is a show-stopper. And going No Contact is just a way of acknowledging that the show was stopped. It’s being in agreement with the person who preferred someone else over their married partner. “You stopped everything. I acknowledge that with my actions.”
But it’s still extreme. If lesser measures could command the same result, it might be wise to go with those. Being ignored hurts. To be on the receiving side of what hurts is one thing. To be on the delivering side of what hurts is another. Tit for tat is not always the thing that makes me feel best in the long run. No matter what has been done to me. I try to think, “and then what, and then what, and then what…” and that sometimes helps me choose how I want to respond to what’s going on in my life.
For a lot of us, going no contact is not extreme. No one would say it is extreme to go no contact with a stranger who gave you a sexually transmitted disease. No one would say it is extreme to go no contact with a stranger who stole money from you. No one would say it is extreme to go no contact with a stranger who verbally abused you. No one would say it is extreme to go no contact with a stranger who physically abused you. It is even less extreme to go no contact with a SPOUSE who had deep obligations to you yet still did all or some of these things, and then told you it was your fault, you deserved it, they never really loved you, the marriage died three years ago, or some other lie. For many people here, no contact is not about tit-for-tat, it is about safety.
If your EX is a reasonable person who also cheated on you, perhaps there are better strategies than no contact for you, but the tone of your contribution suggests that people who go no contact are being vengeful. I think you are misunderstanding the principle of no contact in most of these situations.
I think all (or darn near all of us) tried other strategies before no contact. Our EXs used the opportunity to communicate with us to abuse, berate, or lie to us again. No contact is not about “hurting” our former partners, it is about protecting ourselves from further harm.
and then what, and then what, and then what. I love that way of thinking, I do it often. And down the rabbit hole I went while life slipped by and everyone who doesn’t think, “and then what?” was full on living, which is most of the world, while I stayed put in uncertainty. Yes being ignored does hurt. But you are missing the point that grey rocking is not designed to hurt, it’s designed to protect yourself from someone who did willful harm to you, probably without even thinking about you.. Yeah, its for damn sure cruel to a cheater. You took their power, which was over you. If that’s cruel, then call me cruel. I call me sane and healing.
No Contact isn’t tit for tat. It is self-protection from a harmful person. It is not a weapon to hurt our exes, it is a shield to protect ourselves.
I can’t state it enough – it isn’t about them its about us.
Their precious feelings, timid woodland creatures that they are – have been their tool of manipulation. No Contact breaks that hold over us, that reflex response that we must consider them first – or at all.
My ex thinks NC is “tit for tat.” He accused me of always being “tit for tat.” I’d forgotten all about that. Ugh.
His tit, mind you, was an actual tit.
My tat is preserving my sanity.
Not the same thing.
True tit for tat would be for me to emotionally abuse him, lie constantly, betray, defraud etc….
He blew up our family and said he wanted to be with this other woman because he “thinks he’ll be happier with her.” I’m just letting him do that while trying to get on with my own life, which, to a disordered cheater mind, might look like vengeance. So be it.
No Contact is often about protecting one’s own sanity from an abuser
Every contact is an opportunity for more abuse. A wise therapist told me this. And she was right.
Yes, I understand!
I appreciate all the comments above.
I have gone No Contact several times. I didn’t know what to call it in those days, and no one was talking about it, but I did it. It worked for me! It dramatically lessened the pain I was experiencing. And I felt protected, too. I did it for me, not for the other person.
There was a time when I needed protection, when my ex was knocking repeatedly at my door, and I was afraid of him, so I called the police. And there was another time when I took out a restraining order, when my daughter’s ex was bullying her and physically threatening her.
I really do get it.
And I understand the extreme conditions that warrant an extreme response, like a stranger or a spouse or a boyfriend who might give me an STD, or a stranger or a spouse or a boyfriend who might steal money from me, or a stranger or a spouse or a boyfriend who might verbally abuse me, or a stranger or a spouse or a boyfriend who might blame me for everything.
I understand how I can get caught in thinking “and then what,” and never make a decision. But that thinking has led me to some good decisions in the past.
I’m not here to judge anyone.
I’m here to read what Chump Lady says, what others say, and to learn. It’s also a great place to express opinions, and – on this Friday’s challenge – opinions are being solicited.
My opinion is that No Contact has its place, when the situation is extreme.
My opinion is that No Contact is an extreme form of communication.
My opinion is that there is an alternative to No Contact that is less extreme.
In my experience, there have been only two times (mentioned above,) when I had to ask for the help from the authorities to protect my safety, or the safety of my daughter.
I have dealt with crazy people and had conversations with many verbal abusers. Not easy. Not always necessary, but I have found a way that works for me that avoids the silent treatment, which is so detrimental to the psyche of a normal person. (I’m passing judgment here on the silent treatment, not on the people here on the blog.)
(And many cheaters are not normal. I agree with anyone who might want to point that out!)
Here is the way:
1) I listen. I am present with the person. (If I think the person will hurt me physically, I don’t open the door. I get a restraining order.)
2) I respond in the way I respond to everyone, as though the person is intelligent, sane, has my best interests at heart, and is mature. I respect the person even if the person does not deserve my respect. (I’m not worried here that I’ll become confused. I’ve been confused in the past, but I know who this person is now. I rely on my good judgment.)
3) I give up the consequences. Will the person rage? Maybe. Will the person call me names? Maybe. Will the person cheat on me again? Maybe. Will the person lie to my face? Maybe.
4) When the interaction is finished, I walk away. I feel good about the way I handled things.
It works for me.
I’m actually in a state of No Contact right now. I broke up with a boyfriend by hanging up on him. (!!!) And he hasn’t called me back. If he calls, I won’t answer, for a while. The sound of his voice is pleasant to me. The things he says are charming. And at this point, I don’t believe he’ll call just once. If I’m nice to him, he’ll think we’re back together, and I don’t want him to think that. If six months has passed, (it’s been four months,) and he calls me, I’ll probably answer, and take the steps above.
I think I’m just saying that I like No Contact, but that it has it’s place and time. You know? And for me, it’s never for forever.
When people call me, I like it when I answer.
I believe in redemption. (Even if it’s down the road.)
Even for a cheater.
My ex would sell my eyeballs if he could make a profit
He has burned his entire family
He’s betrayed too many of us in too many ways
Would I put my hand out to a crocodile? A rattlesnake?
Each situation is different of course, but in my case I’ve been played and mind fucked too many times by trying to be the ‘nice lady and the bigger person’. That only works with normal people. Not Cluster B’s and predators.
Your body will tell you what you need to know. If you have chest pains and insomnia for days after an encounter you need no contact.
Ahhhh… Mitz, it sounds like you’ve been through it.
I know what you mean about your body telling you what you need to know. With me, it’s the pit of my stomach. It aches when something is going wrong… it doubles me over…
And no… I wouldn’t put my hand out to a crocodile or an alligator.
I think that you can’t really go No Contact when there’s no contact.
It’s when I’m contacted by the guy that I have to decide what to do, because I’m not going to reach my hand out to him! It’s been enough years now since I was divorced that I know it’s not in me to do that.
But it’s good to know ahead of time what I want to do, should I suddenly get a call out of the blue. I think that’s why I decided that – hey – he’s not gonna hurt me, and I’m for sure not gonna go out with him again or try to be friends with him. I can be civil on the phone.
But my case is not extreme. Not even close. I like what FTS said, “Sometimes silence is the right answer. The only fitting one.”
I love this site, and all that Chump Lady does for all of us, with her insight, viewpoints and humor.
I believed in redemption even for a cheater too. After my H had a one night stand (which he never told me about; someone told me years later which puts the one night stand chronologically, maybe, as his first cheat), a secret young girlfriend that he left me and the kids for, then a second girlfriend that he allegedly left GF#1 for… well, after those three affairs… I took him back. I let him move into the house that I had gotten a loan for so the kids and I could live somewhere while he was out living his fantasy.
He kissed my feet, he lovebombed me, he thanked me every day for a month, he wished everyone could be as forgiving as I was (and was furious with anyone who didn’t forgive him as easily as I did including my parents), he said “We will look back and tell our children and our grandchildren one day how important it is to give everyone a second chance!”
I felt so proud of myself. So sanctimonious. Not everyone in the world had the capacity for forgiveness that I did. My H had put me through Hell and here I was, still ready to extend my hand and believe in his redemption.
Six months later he met his next soulmate. He packed up his bags and moved into GF#3’s house. This one he married. In a rare moment of truth, he admitted that he never really wanted to come back to me; he just knew that I was a soft place to fall and he had no other place to go.
Call me cynical. Call me jaded–I can take it. But somehow, I don’t believe that everyone has a redemption story arc in them. Particularly cheaters.
Believe in patterns of behavior, not in your hopes.
No Contact is life saving. It’s not meant to be a punishment for the cheater; it’s meant to save your emotional sanity and your life. It’s just about the healthiest boundary a chump can set for themselves.
If that door for personal contact is open even just a little bit, time and time again, the cheater will stomp all over the progress the chump has made through this hellish journey. The chump has to regroup and start again. With the door closed (going no contact), the chump is in a much better state to move forward (whatever moving forward means for you; mileage varies, of course).
To me, going NC is akin to an alcoholic saying “You can drink in your own life, of course, I have no interest in controlling that. My personal boundary is that you don’t drink around me or keep alchohol in the house. I need that removed from my daily life. Thank you.”
Not going NC in this metaphor, is when the partner refuses to acknowledge that alcoholism, drinks in front of you, and continues to bring alchohol into the house.
It shows a complete unwillingness to even empathize with the alcoholic.
A complete lack of respect. As chumps, we know that feeling intimately well. Everytime he does that, you are set back again and again and again. And he doesn’t care; he never does. He’s convinced he’s not really doing anything wrong anyway.
Eventually, the alcoholic will have to put their foot down and enforce that boundary: No alchohol in the house! No alchohol in my daily life! And they notice that life begins to get better when that boundary is actually enforced.
Eventually, many of us chumps hit that wall of pain and had to put our foot down too: No Contact! And once that boundary is established–and enforced!–our lives begin get better.
No Contact shouldn’t be about punishing the other person. If that’s your thinking then you’re still centralizing the cheater in all your decision-making (i.e., “Ha, that’ll really show him!”). No, going No Contact is centralizing *You* in *Your* life. It’s the healthiest of boundaries for a chump and, for many of us, it’s saved our lives.
What I love about NC is that my ex doesn’t get to know anything about how or what I’m doing. In the roughest months of my pain, it gave me strength to know that he had no idea about me. He hasn’t reached out either, and I’m fine with that. I feel pride in this one area of the situation where I have been strong and never cracked. No contact is my shield.
I have been a champ at no contact fir 8 months.
But lately I feel I may be slipping.
It’s the I Just Need an Answer to This One Thing syndrome. DANGER SIGNAL!!!
Through 2 earlier separations, two wreckonciliations, my making excuses for his distanceb( oh he’s just depressed again), ( oh he’s out with the guys because he never got approval from his father), etc.
now I’m realizing that I put up with all this because he was doling out breadcrumbs by indicating that
we’d always be together ( in our own special however limited way). I totally bought into the together forever
because we shared decades of life together-however unhappy much of the time.
So now ….apart 10 months with STB divorce in progress….I see he totally gaslighted me into accepting years of toxic relationship because in the end he be back and “we’d grow old together given all we shared” and implicit pledge to care for one another in old age.
So I am tempted to break no contact just afk him this one question- how can you lie to someone about being together forever when you don’t mean it. Isn’t that theft of another person’s human rights, dignity, and the years tolerating the tightening noose..??
He’s have to answer that- would t he..???
Help me keep my head out of that awful M-F blender..!
Oh, sweet Chumpess, there is nothing good that will come out of that conversation.I had one of those and let me tell you how it went. My husband used to hold me close in his arms in bed and whisper to me that I was safe. It was one of our tenderst moments…or so I thought. After Dday, one of those times when I was sobbing and could not stop, I sobbed out “You said I was safe. But I wasn’t. How could you hurt me so much?
He looked at me with the cold. dead eyes of a shark and said “I meant you were safe from falling out of bed. It was a joke.” Then he smirked at me.
You’ll get an answer like that, probably. Or some bullsht completely at odds with his behavior towards you. Take it from Chump Nation, when it comes to Mindfuck Chess, the ONLY winning move is not to play.
Guaranteed that he will use the opportunity to shame and blame you. To plant seeds of doubt in your psyche.
My amateur tip: If you falter, focus on how you feel after each interaction. I would inevitably come out feeling worse about myself, even if it had been a relatively non-confrontational exchange. There was always some comment or other that I would be ruminating on, some veiled snark or disguised blame-shifting. It is NEVER worth it with these people. You owe them NOTHING! Don’t give them shit! They didn’t give a fuck about you when Norbert was balls deep in them. Return the favour and give no fucks about them when you’re taking half the money and blocking them on WhatsApp.
Agree! Any exchange with my ex triggers me. It’s not worth it, so I have stopped. Even the occasional necessary business email sends me into a tailspin.
I’ve also gone NC with people who maintain contact with *him.* And I’ve told anyone who might hear anything about him that I’m on a no-need-to-know basis. I’m blissfully ignorant of anything about him.
In one of my last communications with him, I wrote, “I don’t care what you and the AP do or where you go.” He seemed pissed!!! At that moment, I realized that part of the joy is in the triangulation. When the chump is gone, so much of the fun ends.
Anyway, CL is right; NC is the magic elixir.
I’m going to take a try to answer my own question above.
DON’ T DO IT..!!! He will never answer anything that reveals his twisted character. His been willing to rob you of years and pillage your emotions-just to keep you on on hand to be his Potemkin Village, (show of respectability to the world), provide him with a cozy home filled with everyday comforts, including your solicitous- always there for him attentions and always warm hope for his change into a normal person.
For him to answer “ how could you do that “ would reveal his sick character so he’d only twist the question into something that would make you sorry you interacted with him and give him the dopamine laced satisfaction he always gets from his toxic shape-shifting manouvers..
I’m fighting back against the “just answer this one last thing” syndrome.
Cl calls it the “mind-fuck blender” for a reason.
Thank you Mitz, Principled Life and Dr, Chumphead,
Yes it would blow up in my face as always.
If you were to attend Family Court in session you would see daily abused kids begging to go back to their abusing parents. It’s a deep brain function that is embedded in us when we marry/bond with this gas-lighting shape-shifter. We equate and internalize them as the good parent-spouse-sibling-child who is part of our emotional DNA.
PS Can you believe after 10 months of my going no contact he sent me a Happy Birthday text-.thereby wrecking my birthday.
He still thinks he’s a good guy.
6 weeks before my X Asshat abandoned me he declared, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you!” So romantic. Married 28 years.
After the trauma and looking for answers to “why” on everything, I challenged how he could lie and declare his un-ending love mere weeks before.
He said “I just wanted to see how it sounded.”
Step away from the blender. Stay NC.
Now I.C, that’s infuriating!!! Respect for you staying away on that blender. I’d be super tempted to jump back into the blender like a monster hungry for revenge..
*staying away from that blender
I’m sure he DID want to spend the rest of his life with you. Chumps are grade-AAA partners. #NeverHadItSoGood
Oh heavens-yes…! They are always looking to see how they look when saying or doing XYZ.
Yup-my FW just liked to see how he looked/sounded in the Happy birthday text.
We are not real people to them and they can’t do empathy. They can spew lies and never hold themselves accountable to any of it because they are disordered freaks. Trying to get the truth is a waste of our precious lives. Simple as that. Thank God our adult daughters have cut him out of their lives, too.
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you” That’s something one says at the beginning of a marriage, not 28 years in ! ????♀️
Yuck, I.C. I know how hard that can be to resist when your life is in shambles and you’re still on hopium. Can feel like a lifeline.
Mine said he wanted to spend the next 50 years of our lives together. Finally understood commitment in a way he never had. Wanted children, after being scared and undecided for years. Was ready to put my name on the deed (I’d written) for the land I’d worked for over a decade and the house I’d invested in and helped design and build. Told me and many friends, family members and even neighbors. (Seemed a good sign at the time, as much as I felt it was also a violation of privacy, and odd that he didn’t ask me before sharing. Now I know it was image management and a manipulation tactic; thanks, CL, for showing me the astounding gall and unoriginality of two-faced fuckwits.) He was begging for me to come back. And – he was still secretly involved with a young and “inconsequential” woman. Had a second in the wings. Blew it up with OW #1, whose sparkle had faded, but was with OW #2 within weeks of my departure.
Fifty years, indeed. I ruined everything the morning after I came back for that final wreckonciliation: I asked if he’d been in contact with anyone else and wanted to see his emails so I could unpack, relax, and just be. I fantasized I would be able to forgive, trust, heal, fall back in love, rebuild, gain long overdue security. All that love he promised, all of his accountability and remorse, everything he’d said he loved about me – it disappeared overnight. And it was my fault. I felt worthless and unlovable and scared and guilty, and I did unpack my meager remaining belongings and Pick Me. Fortunately, I somehow also managed to hold onto reality and my values and boundaries fiercely enough that I moved out for good a couple of months later. Just about one year ago! (No Contact took longer. But, after years of being trapped, I’m not about to look back and sweat the months it took to get there.)
No contact is the best! It’s given so much peace and I can finally hear myself think again.
It’s been a struggle at times because I can’t go completely no contact because of kids. However if I am ever tempted to reach out I remind myself how it feels whenever I mistakenly stick my head back in the blender, even for a minute. The other thing I remind myself of is how much time of mine he took away when we were married. Now that we’re separated and almost divorced my time is finally mine and mine only. Every time he tries to contact me and get a response he is trying to steal more time away from me, so I don’t let him. I think of all the things I’d rather do, work, read a book, watch the paint dry, and I let it go. Cool bummer wow. It always feels good afterwards.
I’ve also finally understood that, like a lot of cheater/abusers on the narc spectrum, he doesn’t use language the way that most “normal” people do. First off he never says what he thinks. It’s like he’s feeling how some words sound and is testing what reaction he can get out of it. Very often he has some favorite word that he keeps on using about everything. For a while it was “empathy” ????, as if… So it’s helpful sometimes to picture him as an alien dressed as a human trying to communicate, or a parrot, or Borat taking etiquette lessons. Trying to find humor in it can help.
I love how one can block an abusive person on one’s phone and through email.
Over ten years ago I dated a younger man who turned out to be an alcoholic jerk. I dumped him and received a barrage of nasty emails in shouty capital letters. So I blocked him. Kept the emails, just in case. Followed Gavin de Becker’s advice in the “Gift of Fear” to cut it off and never respond to the batter ramming. I caught him driving by my home two years after I dumped him.
I was shopping one town over on July 4th and had just put on my mask to enter the supermarket when some man calls out my name and gives me a side hug. I didn’t even recognize him at first,his face bloated from the booze and a bit of a paunch. Told me what he’s been up to. I didn’t care and assumed he had moved away. He saw my car “you STILL have your car ?” Why yes I do, thank you very much. “Do you STILL live on such-and-such Street ?” Why yes I do, I love my neighborhood versus his ghetto address near campus where people were robbed at gunpoint.
So still the same critical, self-centered, boundary violating person who wasn’t even in my thoughts because I blocked him. For all I know, he sent me a follow up email after our chance meeting and he doesn’t have my new number.
This reminds me of how empowered I felt as a young adult. I lived in my own apartment and was 100% financially and other use independent. My dad was screaming at and bullying me on the phone, and I warned him that I would hang up if he couldn’t change his tone and treat me with respect. He didn’t, so I hung up the phone. That simple! This encouraged me to enforce a similar boundary when working on home improvement and maintenance projects with (for) him. If his “temper” flared up and he lashed out at or micromanaged me, I was done. That simple. It was such a predictable pattern that eventually refused to work with him for several years. I didn’t have this freedom as a child. It’s a shame the lesson (learned before I met duck wit) didn’t carry over to my relationship. I wasn’t a trapped child, but I acted like one.
I freed myself with No Contact, which made way for true independence.
For those of us who learned chumps behavior as kids, this is an important lesson:
“I was [no longer] a trapped child, but I acted like one.”
Chumpess. I’m so sorry. It’s over. I say that again. It’s over. 8 months out and you still want an answer. 8 months isn’t as far as it seems it should be.You went no contact way faster than I did, I think that took me 6. We’re all different. You never said what that burning question was, but I can only imagine. I had ten thousand of them. You can spend years framing that question. The question does not matter anymore because the only real answer you’ll get comes from you. We do not trust them anymore and for good reason. We want to believe that there’s a reason, which will allow us to keep being a good little chump. Oh he/she was abused or whatever. That doesn’t translate into, Oh, I should be more forgiving or more loving. Cheaters certainly do not. Look at what you contributed to this relationship. Cheating is not an oops. I don’t care how drunk or high you are. It’s a seed planted and grown that allows you to put yourself in situations that foster it. I believe in redemption 100 percent. I’ve seen people do it from addiction, prison, you name it. But never from infidelity. Just my two cents.
SWDWW: My sense is that you are onto something when you say that redemption is not for cheaters – maybe people who abuse others, more generally? CL’s unicorn theory applies. (Loosely quoting Lola Granola/Desert Fathers: “It’s not that they don’t understand; they don’t agree.”) I suppose my skepticism stems from my own repeated experiences and reflections, other fuckwits I know and have observed, and the damning testimonies I’ve read here from CL and millions (!) of other chumps.
In my case as in many chumps’, the cheating and other abuse happened over the course of many years, through the good and bad and everything in between. All while I was being a decent, honest person. Not perfect, but real. Any person who can perpetrate that degree of abuse and deception for that long – whether they take pleasure in or just simply don’t care about hurting others – is deeply disordered. It’s not like the monster resides in one little compartment of a serial cheater. The entitlement, dishonesty, cowardice, lack of empathy – and the manipulation and callousness and splitting it takes to maintain all the lies – lives in every cell of their being and spills into every relationship and aspect of their lives. It controls them. They are con artists. Phonies.
I can do forgiveness. Coming back for a third attempt at reconciliation (at which point most everyone knew something about what he’d done and what I’d come back to), I said, “Fuck what everyone else thinks; I’m not proud and I will do what’s best for me.” I believed in the cheater more than he believed in himself. I wasn’t “hung up on” what he’d done. I was interested in who he was; how he understood himself and what he’d done; how he felt about partnership and love, and me, and us; what he was capable of and committed to for the future. All of which was staring me in the face and was evident by what he’d done.
People who willingly betray those who love them most and who make unimaginable sacrifices for them (often at their own expense) are bad to the bone. The discard and scorched earth from cheaters is in perfect keeping with the patterns chumps live pre-DDay and during reconciliation. Cheaters never come around and try to make amends, as chumps see fit – do they? ALL of the serial cheaters I know or know of are entitled fuckwits. LAJ recently commented that abuse (of substances, etc.) and personality disorders are degenerative diseases, and this helped something click in my answer-seeking brain, without forcing me to unentangle my abusive ex’s skein. Something was wrong with him to begin with, and the substances and lies and other unhealthy pressures he piled on himself, and me, were a slippery slope that continue to make things worse. Even though he hasn’t been drinking for awhile, he’s a worse human than ever. It’s not what he did, it’s who he is. Trusting he sucks is letting me feel safe releasing many of the painful memories and emotions from that difficult time and relationship.
Thanks, CL and CN, for helping me get to NC. Finding freedom and agency, at last! There was no other way.
I agree, that comment that that type of behavior and disorder was like a degenerative disease also clicked with me. It is being reinforced and it’s like rot if nothing is done by the perpetrator to change, from the inside.
It is normal for us chumps to want to look for answers. It takes time, I’m 3 1/2 years in and I am finally getting some distance. My FW never admitted to having an affair, but I know. They all behave the same way, don’t they. I have also always known he was a lier. I just thought it was little lies, nothing much, and not to me! Silly me. It’s just practice lies. The big ones are there too, that was obvious when he said that “a divorce wouldn’t be that bad” out of the blue, packed a bag and walked out the door.
No contact is not cruel. Sometimes silence is the right answer. The only fitting one. I have nothing more to say, and nothing I would say could change anything.
I think the quote ‘It’s not that they don’t see – it’s that they disagree’ is from Dr George Simon? Great writer – great exposer of sociopathy.
Thing is, in my experience anyways. With an addict or alcoholic, you can take away the drug. Yes, the underlying problem wasn’t the drug or alcohol, but removing it is a monumental step. With abusers, and I’m going out on a limb here because I haven’t experienced that personally. My best friend has and he’s still pretty not ok. But take away the abuser and he has a shot. With a cheater, what do you take away? They always have someone they can connive or convince that they’re great. They can always fall back into their little world. Addicts and abusers can go to jail. Yeah, real consequences. Cheaters do not in this day and age. The perfect crime. I’m not saying wearing the scarlet letter should be back in fashion. I’m just throwing shit at the wall and wondering what will stick.
It’s going good for me. It turned out that all I had to say was:
Don’t contact me anymore. I don’t want to have any more conversations or texts from you ever again.
Not only did that stop him from contacting me but he signed the divorce papers and it was over.
I guess those were the magic words. I feel free. It has been exactly a month since my divorce went through and I feel blessed.
I keep thinking about No Contact.
I’ve been reading the stories. And they just break my heart. No one should have to deal with having a cheater in their life! Every time I see a post and read all the comments, and hear more stories, it gets to me and I feel terribly sad. And mad. And it reminds me of my own stories.
And yes, leave the cheater! Yes, remove yourself from the situation! All of that. But WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT… and there has been enough space to get a grip on the situation…
… here’s what I’m thinking… and it’s okay, you can tell me (again) if I’m way out there…
Going No Contact sets the cheater apart. We talk to everyone ELSE. We’re amazing and friendly to everyone ELSE. But when our cheaters call, or text, or message, or knock on our doors, they get special treatment, because we’re scared of what will happen to us if we engage. We do it for us. For protection. As a statement. So we can get on with our lives. Because we can’t deal with them.
But… after some time… What if we could open our doors, look them in the eyes, and treat them like we would treat anyone else? Why are we not up for that? Okay, okay. Tell me about all the STDs and the stealing money and the time they knocked the door down and yelled at us for what they did or had the affair partner in the master bedroom… I DO READ THE BLOG… but let’s get beyond that… let’s go further…
What if we just… handled it? It wouldn’t be a false front. It’d be dealing with another human being that we knew we couldn’t trust, that we knew would lie to us, that we knew would say awful things to us, etc., and basically, we’d be treating them like we’d treat anyone else, like we’d want to be treated. With respect. Even if all we could respect was that they still had a job, or that they were still standing, or they could still talk or that they were still alive. Even if they didn’t deserve it.
It’d be boring after a while.
The cheaters might look down on us. Or think they got the upper hand. Or think that we were okay with what happened. Or think that they’re okay people, after all.
But we’re not responsible for what they think.
You might say, “Don’t you get it? We’ve already DONE THAT! We’ve been nice and sweet and we’ve gone the second mile, and the third mile, and the fourth mile, and we’ve been doormats and we’ve been stomped on! We’re not doing that any more.”
But to me, a person who can stand and deal is the person I want to be. That person is the person who has grit, maturity and fierce courage. It doesn’t mean going along with… It doesn’t mean “taking it…” It doesn’t mean “showing the kids that we’re weak…” It doesn’t mean saying “yes.”
On the contrary, it’s saying to the cheater (without words,) “This is not what I wanted but it is what it is. You have a right to make your own decisions, and I respect that right.” It’s saying to the kids, “I’m strong. I can handle situations in life. Life is good! You’ll be able to handle things, too, that come your way. Just watch me.”
Wouldn’t it be great if that was possible?
I’m not trying to be contrary. I’m just thinking all of this through.
And I think that, for me…
There’s a time for No Contact, when certain situations arise. D-Day. The first six months. Dealing with a looney toon. Or dealing with a crazy person with a weapon. But if it can be avoided, I want to avoid it.
That sits well with me.
Does that sit well with anyone else?
This is very VERY VERY dangerous, please be very careful, you would never say this to a rape victim, or a domestic violence victim. You are deliberately playing with words and ethical ideas and I have no idea why you would be shaming victims of abuse for getting away and staying away from their abusers. You have done this above and than back tracked and said yes yes of course I care for you and of course you are right, I TOO have been there I am EXACTLY like you i SIUPPORT you and your choice…….BUT SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT BEING THE BIGGER PERSON AND NOT TREATING YOUR ABUSERS WITH RESPECT< SHAME ON YOU. Please stop this, it is not okay in this arena
Thanks for your response! I think I might be talking about a form of MEH, where I could actually just talk to the guy, and not care so much.
Not sure, though… still trying to get my head around it.
I don’t think there is a one size fits all kids of answer to this. It depends what kind of situation you’re getting out of.
I have to co-parent with my X but I am dealing with a garden variety covert narc kind of guy. I know I can’t trust him and that he doesn’t have my best interest at heart. It is not my job to meet his needs since we’re divorced (almost, any day now), and of course, he has a girlfriend. If I have to talk to him I stick to the minimum, kid related, business. I am civil, I open the door but I don’t let him “in”. I don’t volunteer any information about my life. Grey rock is my spirit animal. I only trust what he does, not what he says. Live and learn. Even this way I don’t feel great after most of our interactions.
FTS, yes, this is what I’m talking about! Not suggesting to be friends or to get into long conversations.
I guess it’s possible. I have minimal contact because I have to. I don’t seek it out. I have noticed that I do better when I can avoid it altogether though, if I pick up the kids from school instead of his house for example.
My take is what’s the point though, if you don’t have to? I got fired from my job as a wife appliance, why would I still return to the office for the chit chat in the break room?
Here are some reasons that we would treat our ex as we would want him to treat us:
FOR OUR CHILDREN:
I was trying to become a mediator and I’d taken the courses, and I was observing. Not saying anything, just observing. The lawyers both said, “this case is going to go nowhere, there no talking the ex-husband into anything, but we have to go through the motions” and the mediator tried, and they all left the room, to draw up the papers and end the mediation.
I was left in the room with the client who was not budging. He was asking me questions about being a mediator. I was answering. And suddenly he said, very passionately, “I just wish I knew that 20 years from now my daughter would be okay!”
I said, “Well, I’m divorced. It’s 20 years out. My daughters are okay.”
He said, “What can you tell me?”
I said, “Well, it’s all about how you treat her mother. You might not feel much love for her mother, but thankfully, love is not a feeling. It’s actions. And sometimes it’s tiny, little actions. Let’s say that you have 14% love for your ex. Next time you see her, take an action that shows her that you love her 1 more %. So you’ll love her 15%. Tell her she looks nice. Offer to pay for something. Ask if you can have a night out with your daughter. Say thank you for something. And that’s all you have to do. Those actions will add up, and 20 years from now, your daughter will be fine.”
The lawyers came back in and the mediator, too. They had all the papers and they presented them for him to sign. He said, “could I talk with just my lawyer for a minute?” So the rest of us left the room.
She came back and said, “Okay. He just agreed to everything.” New papers were signed. We went into the ex-wife’s room. She was crying and saying, “Please tell him thank you! I need him to know how much I appreciate this!”
We’ve gone No Contact. It’s given us some much-needed space. We’ve accepted the breakup. We know we’re dealing with a psycho, a socio, a narcissist or some form of personality disorder. We decide that we’re gonna be fine without that person, and we’re enjoying No Contact.
IFFFFFFFF that person wants to talk to us, can’t we just stand there, in a thoughtful way, and listen, and give a few answers? (IF WE FEEL SAFE ENOUGH TO DO THAT?) Or, better, can’t we just put the phone to our ear?
I did it (after some time of No Contact) and it was AMAZING. The same stuff happened that happened before. He blamed me for everything. He turned things around and presented them in an awful, twisted way. He refused to take responsibility for anything. Everything was my fault. I immediately thought, “why did I agree to talk to him?” but I did agree, so I was there, so I kept listening. Homer MacDonald says in his book to just find a point that feels valid to you, and agree with the person. You don’t have to agree with everything! Just a small thing. So I was looking for a point. And I found one. And I said it. “Well, I see the validity in what you’re saying. You’re saying X and I’m agreeing with that. I’m glad this is going well.”
I don’t know. I walked away and I felt ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I no longer had to work so hard to keep boundaries in place. Or fear that they would come crashing down. I could handle it. (He wasn’t a dangerous person.) It felt amazing. It felt like I could be my own protector, and that was a good feeling.
It’s not that I was excited that I’d learned how to take abuse. I wasn’t taking the abuse. I was just not working so hard to prevent it. I could treat him like I’d treat anyone else, like I’d want him to treat me. It didn’t matter if he’d call, or come by for something. And that happened a few times. After a while, the whole blaming game stopped, because there were no more fireworks. He just wasn’t getting to me any more.
It’s like I didn’t need to not see him any more. I didn’t need to teach him anything any more. I didn’t need him to be a better person. I didn’t need him to understand me. I was fine with the way he was, because it was no longer getting to me.
Everything we do has a ripple effect. Everyone is watching. All the time. When we reach a new level, it’s registered. People notice. They take stock. It elevates the collective unconscious.
Every situation is different, but for me no contact makes sense because every word I tell him is food for manipulation. He will never communicate to understand me, he will only interpret everything I say as in favour of his ego/against his ego. This sucks my energy into nothing that I want and I just don’t see the point of it.
I understand it’s an extreme thing to do – I also blocked him on all social media. I’ve never done this to anyone else, but it’s self-protection first. He did enough harm and I’ve given more than enough undeserved love and attention. If anything he could wonder what he did to deserve this, although much more likely he will think I’m crazy for doing so, confirming his own self-rightousness.
Getting back to contact would be hoping we can talk like adults, but I don’t think we ever can. (And believe me, I’ve tried..)
Everything you say here makes perfect sense.
But there came a day where I had just had enough of No Contact with an old boyfriend who would keep calling. I made a conscious decision to talk to him the next time he called (I never blocked him because I was monitoring the frequency of his calls.) I didn’t reach out to try to establish contact. I didn’t suddenly ask to be Friends on Facebook after I deFriended him. But he was still calling and I was still ignoring him. So the next time he called, I answered. He was so surprised! He just wanted to ask me some questions. I listened and answered. Short and sweet. He asked if he could see me, one last time, and we met at the park. He hasn’t called since. And that was probably in 2010. But I’d take his call if he did. The whole thing felt good to me, and I wanted to pass that on.
For the record, he had not changed. He still made some snide remarks and twisted things around when we were talking, and blamed me for the things that happened. I had the conversation with him because it was bothering me that he kept reaching out and I kept ignoring him. I decided, before we talked, that it just no longer mattered. I didn’t need him to understand me. I didn’t need him to be a good partner. I didn’t need him to say pleasant things. I didn’t need to apologize. I was responding to his initiation. And I just felt up to it. And it was great. I feel good now, thinking of this story.
Probably I should have just told this story. I’m only remembering it now! Thank you, Giraffy! This is why I think the way I do, because it worked for me.
If it works for you, that is all really all that counts!
And yes telling the story makes it more understandable. Thanks for the share.
Has you’re cheater apologized or even attempted it? I mean for real. The reason chumps stay no contact is not because we aren’t capable of forgiveness. Quite the contrary. Going no contact with someone who will always try to hurt you IS being strong. Being the bigger person for most of us is what led to the “pick me” dance. Being strong was saying “no more”. If you can have a version where you get along with you’re ex, then fine. Nothing wrong with that. Most Chumps won’t have that. None of us wished for it. But choosing not to engage in conversation with another human being doesn’t mean that you’re weak or a bad person. It’s you’re right. How they or anyone else perceives that to be is irrelevant. I stay grey rock with my ex because she continually proves that any response but “yes” or “no” will land me with another 3 paragraph text of how I’m a bad father, won’t coparent, or I’m just a motherfucker. Usually followed with some sort of fake apology for her tirade days later, then I’m a great father, coparent, OH and maybe sometimes I get the wish we could be friends bullshit LOL. Gonna go all nerd here, but I sometimes think they’re like that scene from the last Matrix movie where Keanu Reeves is flying through the city and all the cars and trash and rubble are accumulating behind him. They carry all they’re devastation with them, ALWAYS. Enlightened chumps just walk away from it. I wish you the best.
Your explanation helps me understand a little more.
I agree with sheepwhodancedwithwolves, being friendly with X and showing that you can be the bigger person is a slippery slope that often leads to pick me dancing. I would just ask myself “what am I trying to accomplish here” and try and answer very very honestly. The other person will never change. You can only change yourself.
And the answer is simply, “the golden rule really works in all relationships.” I’ve tried it with some pretty out-there people, and with some cheaters and some verbally abusive men. I’ve been sooooooo surprised and pleased to find out how well it works. It’s a universal principle. Maybe I didn’t choose the best words when explaining? Maybe the thought is scary? It is counter to No Contact, but it’s all in the same spirit. How to regain power, how to protect ourselves, how to start our lives over, how to love ourselves again. It’s just another step that I’m proposing for anyone who wants to think it through. When there is more readiness. No Contact is perfect at first, and in some cases, for a long, long, time, but even in those situations, when it’s possible to have contact, when the dust has settled, the golden rule works. This is just a reminder of how great it makes you feel, and it can be a Monday on the way to Tuesday.