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Maybe He’ll See What He’s Missing

HopiumDear Chump Lady,

I am a little over three months out from D-Day now and I feel I have given myself a major setback. I came across another website that in some ways should probably be called “The Chump Maker.” They do have some good advice and articles, but you really have to be on top of your game to dig through the BS and not start on that hopium again.

Most of the commenters on that website seem to be hopelessly trying to rebuild their marriages after all kinds of infidelity. Some of them have success stories, while others are begging for advice as if there is a magic formula for knocking your spouse out of the affair fog and opening their eyes and hearts.

I’m afraid I read a few too many “success stories” and started to think, “Hey maybe I gave up the fight for my marriage too quickly…” My husband asked for a divorce about a week after D-Day, so I didn’t have much time to beg and plead, although I did. I knew him well enough that if he was telling me he didn’t love me and wanted a divorce, he meant it. After that week of begging I had pretty much accepted this is what he wants and I get no say in it, as soul crushing as that was.

Before D-Day my husband seemed perfect, I believed we were very happy and had an extremely close friendship and relationship. Post D-Day he told me he wanted a divorce over the phone. He still denies the affair with his coworker, he moved in with said woman a few weeks later, and he turned into a cruel uncaring human before my very eyes. You know, that old chestnut…

So now I find myself thinking, well maybe if I word an email to him in just right way. Maybe if I create this amazing new life, one I know I need to no matter what, he will see what he is missing. Maybe if his affair ends before we file he will come back on hands and knees, begging…

I was always an ‘infidelity is a deal breaker’ type person, so I find it surprising that I even entertain the idea of taking him back. Some mornings I wake up with the words “Trust that they suck” floating around in my head, but that’s all they are, just words to me at this point. What is wrong with me? I still love this man so much. This man who hurt and betrayed me so badly. I think I need a reality check.

Thank you CL!


Dear KS,

You haven’t filed? Why not? The hopium fumes from the RIC getting to you? If he’s moved in with his coworker, you need a lawyer like yesterday. Please tell me you have a legal professional and it’s just one of those waiting-out-the-physical-separation-clock-because-you-live-in-an-insane state things.

KS, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just going through the bargaining stage of grief. Flagellating yourself with woulda coulda shouldas. It’s a coping mechanism. You thought your world was safe, that your husband was perfect, connected and invested, until one day suddenly he wasn’t. And the terrifying vulnerability and powerless of that bends a lot of minds toward voodoo. If you just said the right incantation or sent the properly worded email or got him to read 14 articles in the Healing Library of Wizardy, this wouldn’t have happened. You’d have a unicorn.

You can chase that unicorn. He’ll still be a cheating coward who dumped you over the phone.

All that shit you’re reading on or or is not helping. You cannot save a marriage by yourself. You are not to blame for his decision to cheat. The Reconciliation Industrial Complex peddles false hope and fear. Horrors! Who am I without a fuckwit? A sad quitter! A bitter unforgiving harridan muttering curses! A tragic divorce statistic whose children will descend into psychosis and be Forever Scarred from Broken Homes and Single Parenthood! Quick! Download this ebook! Buy this marriage retreat! Stand for fuckwittery! Wait in the pumpkin patch. The Great Pumpkin will return!

I’m afraid I read a few too many “success stories”

Oh right. Is that the cattle chute for Waywards? It’s only been 18 days since they last texted their Schmoopie (not that they’re counting, because they’re committed! And if WeepingSnotTears would only get over her triggers…). Is this the place where people have taglines listing their multiple D-Days and scripture verses? And unicorns breathlessly recount stories of their vow renewals (“We stood on a beach, and tattooed each other’s names above our genitals/exchanged vows/cubic zirconia cock rings…”)?

Don’t waste your time in that tar pit.

Look KS, dead is dead and gone is gone. The sooner you shift gears into self-protection mode and acceptance, the better.

My husband asked for a divorce about a week after D-Day, so I didn’t have much time to beg and plead, although I did.

Begging (aka the Pick-me dance) is not a foundation for a healthy relationship. People who love you don’t goad you into contests. They don’t sit in the coliseum like Caesar and give the thumbs up or thumbs down if you live or die. Rejection feels powerful, but fuckwits are not all-powerful unless you GIVE them that power.

I know you love and you bonded, and that’s beautiful. But when someone shits on your gifts, QUIT GIVING. Don’t keep offering more of yourself.

So now I find myself thinking, well maybe if I word an email to him in just right way.

He doesn’t have an insight problem. He has a character problem. He’s okay cheating on you and conspiring against you and dumping you over the phone. Judge him by his actions.

Sending him an email is just begging by internet.

Maybe if I create this amazing new life, one I know I need to no matter what, he will see what he is missing.

If he valued you, he wouldn’t cheat on you.

You should create an amazing new life because you must rebuild your life and it may as well be totally amazing. But you know what’s not amazing? Retreading fuckwits.

Maybe if his affair ends before we file he will come back on hands and knees, begging…

Maybe you’ll win the pick-me dance. Maybe you’ll be in the power seat and he’ll be the sad beggar! You can be Caesar!

This is not a healthy basis for a relationship. Trust a few gazillion of us who had one hoover back, it just means you’re still of use.

KS, his affair might end. He might figure out that divorcing you is expensive. He might miss cake and your unknowing chumpdom. He might even have a sadz and want compassion for his self-inflicted stupidity. Doesn’t mean you have to be there.

It’s easy to beat up on fuckwits. Sure, cheating is a measure of their character. But you know what’s a measure of YOUR character? How much you value yourself. If you really think a gutless wonder who dumps his wife with a phone call is all you deserve.

He still denies the affair with his coworker

You want a man who gaslights you? A future of twitchy hypervigilance? There’s nothing here to work with.

I still love this man so much. This man who hurt and betrayed me so badly.

You love who you thought he was. You miss the time you felt safe. Rebuilding is scary.

But it’s honest. He isn’t. Invest the rest of your life wisely.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • We’ve all been there in the beginning. We want to protect what we thought we had. Cheating was a deal-breaker for me, until it wasn’t. I’m embarrassed of the dancing I did and the sacrifices I was prepared to make. Years later I’m a tiny bit grateful that my ex discarded me and got pregnant within three months of moving out. It closed the door hard and allowed me to set out on my hard path of recovery. Even now, though, I look for signs of conciliatory actions pointing to remorse. When she communicates politely it’s because she wants something. In all other comms the mask is fully off. 8 years later. For you, maybe he’ll regret it one day, but don’t accept being shat on any longer

    • For those who’ve been around a long time you may recognise my username as I too, was stuck on one of the reconciliation websites. My story is well known and I used the hundreds of pages posts and responses as my therapist.

    • “When she communicates politely it’s because she wants something.”

      That’s so relatable. In fact, it triggers me every time he texts me because I half expect him to either want something or drop some bomb on me. I literally get panicky when it happens.

      Recently he had surgery and I wished him all the best as I try to be civil as much as I can, but nothing more (I’m so done with this drama I just want peace of mind). He texted me to inform me it all went well and I didn’t even ask. I did laugh that time though, because idk why he thought he should fill me in without me asking, as if I was waiting for it. They’re just odd.

      • “’When she communicates politely it’s because she wants something.’

        That’s so relatable. In fact, it triggers me every time he texts me because I half expect him to either want something or drop some bomb on me. I literally get panicky when it happens.”

        This is all extremely relatable! Mine either texts non-business related stuff when he wants something (“Can’t have the kids over this weekend”) or if he’s “got something to say.” I’m always scared that it’s going to be the latter which sends me into a bit of a panic. Sometimes if I see that the the text is more than one word long I have to take a deep breath and center myself before reading it.

        I’ve got years of this nonsense left to get through.

        • Dear Fourleaf,

          You can get through the nonsense and bs much sooner by employing no contact. He’s texting you and flipping your world upside down each time? BLOCK him. Emails only and do NOT open them for two weeks. Respond (only if absolutely necessary for legal reasons) two more weeks later. Stop his abusive pattern in its tracks.

          • You can’t always go NO contact, not completely. Not if there are minor children. Divorce Wizard is good, but there’s always a way for them to make contact to mess with your head.

          • I have to stay in contact; we share children. But I do employ some pretty aggressive parenting software. My apologies for making it sound like I don’t. 🙂 I have a pretty good Grey Rock method, which I consider to be as No Contact as I can get right now. Years and years of curt, business-like responses from me have also trained him to reach out far less than he used to. However there still is the occasional text (I’ll say, like, once a year) from him that slip through and make me feel panicky. Thankfully they are far and few between. But, when they do happen, they have a use: they remind me why I am as No Contact/Grey Rock as possible.

          • Um, no. You can’t do that when you share custody. You have to act in the child’s best interest, and ignoring possibly important communications for 2 weeks is not in the child’s best interest.

            Keeping it to email except for emergencies, fine. Keep your distance, check. But you can’t act in a way that’s unreasonable or could cause problems to the children, without weakening your own position as “the sane parent”, as Chump Lady likes to call it. You want to maintain custody.

        • At the beginning I used to get panicky as well. It finally dawned on me that I was being abused. Your panicky feeling is your reaction to the fear he instills in you; from the abuse you’ve endured. Stop. When that panicky feeling starts, stop it. Take a breath and say to yourself, “I have nothing to fear from that dick ever, ever again.” And then ask yourself, ‘What’s the worse thing that can happen now? Getting divorced?’ You’ve done that. You’ve lived through it. He no longer controls your life, but you have to see it yourself. “He no longer controls my life!” Yell it at the top of your lungs several times. And then several times more the next time that panicky feeling comes on. And then yell, “I will NEVER allow a dick in my life again!!!” I’m not kidding. One way I got my power back was yelling these same sentiments. Finally I believed in me.

          • I dealt with that panicky feeling by giving him a special ring tone, so with every other call I wouldn’t get instinctively anxious that it just might be him. (Three young kids at the time so I couldn’t block him completely). The ring tone I gave him was the Darth Vader theme music. It certainly was fitting! 10 years later that’s still my ring tone for him, and the couple of times a year he might call about our grown kids it always makes me laugh.

              • Yup. I got the Psycho stab-scene theme and put that on my phone for the ex. It seemed fitting.

          • oh my gosh, that panicky feeling…yes! Thanks for the note about indicating abuse. I appreciate that. I think what got me and really messed with me was that I too felt like I had nothing to fear from him ever again – until he started randomly driving by my house to stalk me. It was at that moment it occurred to me that I really didn’t know this guy and I surely didn’t think he was capable of cheating on me…what else might he be capable of?? Then the fear ticked back up.

          • I’m still in the thick of it. We’re not divorced yet and he did lock me in, in a way. In negotiation he offered for me to have his part of equity of the house as long as I keep on living in it and this country until our son is 18 (I’m an expat). He’s not doing it to control me as such, but to keep me from moving back to my home country with my son, so technically to keep his son here. I get panicky because for quite a while all he did is drop bombs every other week, and every time I felt like I was moving forward he would hit me with some news or something that would set me back. After learning that AP was 6 months pregnant about 9 months after he left I asked him when was he done wrecking havoc in mine and my son’s life and he was like “well it can’t get any worse than this”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

        • Yep, me too – I only get polite communication when XW wants something.

          Actually, I now find it useful. Almost any time I receive an email that starts with a salutation and ends with her name at the bottom, I immediately know that XW is asking for a favor and I can adjust my mental state accordingly. On the very, very few occasions that have violated this rule, when I look closely I find she’s ccing a kid’s doctor or teacher, or her own lawyers – so the politeness serves as a tipoff that she is establishing some kind of public record that will be potentially useful in a future custody hearing.

          XW has aggressively called me out for many supposed violations of email or texting etiquette over the years (almost all of them invented or projected) and I’ve thought of countering by pointing out that she’s habitually rude in her emails unless she wants something … but in the end I don’t want to tip her off that her tone gives away her agenda, so I’ve never brought it up.

          • Not only would you tip her off, but I’m sure she’d just project and blame shift, anyway. DARVO vs. accountability is predictable, too.

            • Yes, and also: listen to your body. Your gut reaction to having to deal with FW is telling and a good warning signal. That panic, which I still feel even years away from my D Days, is an alarm going off.

      • He texted you because his ego tells him “I’m still all important to her”. Gah.

        • Friendly reminder that if you haven’t procreated with any of these assholes and you’re officially separated/divorced, their contact should be blocked on your phone and social media. Block. Block. Block. No contact, no contact, no contact.

          • I have procreated with him, which is why I can’t do no contact much as I would like to

        • ngl in that moment I thought it might the effect of the anesthesia lol. but you make a good point

      • I have taken to keeping my phone on silent because I too was getting triggered every time it went off. Especially after one night about a month ago when he called 20 times in a row and finally left me an angry voicemail. On the opposite end of the spectrum around that time he had sent a sad sack email bemoaning a few things not going well (money, job, both turned out to be lies), I believe he was just trying to make me agree to a quick settlement.

      • One thing I did to reprogram my panic responses was to change his contact in my phone and email to “Unicorn H. Fluffypants.” It was my friend’s idea, and it was brilliant. Whenever he texted me or called me, I laughed when I saw it, and that helped break the panic cycle. Particularly hilarious was the day he was supposed to move the rest of his sh*t out of our house, and of course there was DRAMA, so he was texting me all day–but I was on vacation in a rental car with Apple CarPlay in it, and it kept reading me his texts while I was driving…and it kept trying to make Fluffypants into an actual last name, so it kept saying “FluffyPENCE,” and I laughed all day long, which was the best medicine for that sh*tshow.

    • Yep, I hate that I let him come back once a few weeks after he left. Only lasted a few days, it was horrible and he was just using me to get access to his car for his politicking. Sounds awful doesn’t it? But, the way it went down there was no other explanation for it. Luckily I picked up on it fairly quick.

      But it drove it home like a nail to my head that this man was evil, and he would do whatever it took to preserve his coveted job, promotion and cozy office. I never looked back after that. Oh I still had some private pain to work through, I still had to work through divorce issues; but the passion for him died.

      By the way he did save his job, but he got busted and kicked out on patrol. His coveted promotion that we both worked so hard for, gone; and he because a joke in the community. In that sense I was the winner, but really no one who is devastated by infidelity is a winner.

      Many of us are survivors and we rebuild a new life, but in real time there is too much pain to be a winner once blindsided by betrayal.

      • Oh, I’d say I’m a winner. Going through such betrayal, going through the healing, and then coming out on the other side sane, healthy, and content made me a winner. And it made you a winner as well. I now know that the dick that I was married to was a dick from day one. And he’ll be a dick the rest of his life. That’s who he is. You can’t go back and wish you had never met that dick. And if you could, who’s to say that you wouldn’t have got stuck with an even bigger dick! I could have ended up with my teeth knocked out, gasoline thrown on me and had him throw a match on me, or even been killed and thrown in the bay (Scott Peterson). Instead I finally came into my own in my 50s. There are so, so many still living with their dicks and that will die with their dicks trying to save their marriages till they die. For their entire lives they’ll be walking on eggshells, stressing over whether or not dinner is okay, not too salty, wishing they had remembered to buy that item because ‘the dick’ is going to make them sorry that they forgot… They will die never knowing freedom. I am a winner and so are you. You finally have your freedom. And as I’ve said many times before, I’d rather live the rest of my life single than to every allow a dick in my life again.

        • True, I was speaking though of the stuff folks vomit out about “affairs/betrayal being the best thing that ever happened to them” To me betrayal and the affects/effects are not a win.

          The rebuilding and having a good life definitely. I have all that.

        • You are definitely a winner! I have a very clear memory of looking at my then husband’s face as they were wheeling me into a major surgery and thinking “I don’t think he wants me to live.” That was before a DDay so it was just instinct and the contempt I could see in his eyes. I found out much later he was texting and emailing his gf while sitting in the surgical waiting room with my mother. It was so scary and so surreal to have that thought about the man I had been with for all of my adult life that I think I just couldn’t accept the reality of it at the time. I was lucky, I think that he wasn’t a full blown psychopath like Scott Petersen so I am still here.

        • Amazon Chump- I totally co-sign your entire comment here. All of us are winners for escaping from these monsters.

          I’m never going back to walking on eggshells, or driving through 20″ of snow and risk my life to get their special creamer for coffee, or holding my breath that the holiday dinner didn’t replicate Normal Rockwell *exactly* to their liking.

      • Yes Susie Lee, some friends have said oh he’s the loser look how he acts, and he lost you! But betrayal is a dark thing I never understood until now. Sounds like your XH got a little tiny karma like consequence for his poor choices.

        • KS – You are right. No one understands this path unless or until they’ve walked it. I am living a better life alone, even though it’s hard. I’m out about 4 years, and it still hurts – not because I still love or want him, but because of what I let him take from me. Yet, if you had asked me at the time, I would have told you we were happy; we were best friends; we had a great marriage.

          After he left, I pick-me danced a little and panic-texted and even poured my heart out on paper hoping I could make him see what he was throwing away. I’m sorry I did that now, but hindsight really is 20/20. What *I* didn’t see then was how sick he was, and how living with him had made me sick too. I went down a rabbit hole when I married him. When he was done with me, I didn’t even know I had needs anymore. I literally couldn’t identify them – they had been so neglected for so long that I simply adapted to not having any. I allowed him to take as much as he wanted and give very little in return.

          I suspect if you look a bit deeper, you’ll see that the man and the marriage you want to “fight for” isn’t so great for you – or even what you believe it to be. It hurts a lot to see it, so it may take some time before it’s clear to you. But someone who would betray you like this, who would visit this kind of trauma upon you, is not someone who is good for you. It’s likely he never was.

          Personally, I’d rather have nobody in my life than someone who makes me feel like nobody.

          I wish you all the self-compassion and love you will need on this journey, and I hope you get to the other side sooner rather than later. ((hugs))

          • ‘But someone who would betray you like this, who would visit this kind of trauma upon you, is not someone who is good for you’
            Agreed, it takes a very long time to see them for what they are now and to stop staying in the far past. Ultimately they are SELFISH and lacking in empathy.. we shouldn’t be wanting that back.

        • Honestly KS, I don’t see it as Karma, at least not in the way I understand it.

          To me pretty much everything that he dealt with was just simply a matter of his own poor choices. He continued to make poor choices. I only know because my son and his wife suffered the consequences of a lot of it. I am really close to my son and his family, though we are miles apart.

          He went on to rack up massive gambling debts, blew up his relationship with our son etc. Karma? no just more results from stupid choices.

          To this day, I still am embarrassed that he fooled me so completely.

    • “When she communicates politely it’s because she wants something.”
      I thankfully never communicate with XW unless it has to do with our adult kids. Then out of the blue she sends me an email reeking with her “sparkly turd” perfume. She wants me to give her my original birth certificate so she can file for my Social Security. Chatty, (give!) chatty, (me) chatty, (that) chatty (document!) I used to fall for her Southern girl charm, but now it is as grating as fingernails on chalkboard.
      Hell no!

      • FYI: She doesn’t need your birth certificate to file as a divorced wife to get Social Security benefits based on your contributions. Fact is, divorced spouses can claim these and their former partners don’t even know about it. (If you’re receiving these divorced spousal benefits, however, you lose them if you remarry.)

      • Bruno, loved the “sparkly turd” perfume. Good you can now smell it a mile ???? off. I needed a good laugh. It’s morning here and a good start to the day!

    • ‘When they communicate politely they want something’

      I have found this to be TRUE as well

    • My stbxh has never showed any sign of regret, remorse, or guilt. I suppose I should look at it like you said, he has closed the door on our marriage and I don’t really have any other path. Thank you for that insight Allatsea, I’ve never looked at it that way before.

      • Many here have pointed out that cheaters didn’t have regret or remorse the entire time they were cheating – often for years. They only pretend to feel remorse once they’re caught. Any real distress is because they are experiencing consequences and don’t like to briefly (maybe) face the fact that they’re POS’s. They’re only sorry for themselves (read about Timid Forest Creatures) and using the pity channel to manipulate chumps and manage their images with others. Keep reading here and you’ll begin to trust this. So many chumps have been through the same exact thing. That’s why we’re trying to save you from repeating our mistakes. If this guy truly cared about hurting you, he would’ve stopped hurting you long ago. Instead he hurt you again and again.

        What would YOU do if you hurt someone? Compare that to how your ex is behaving. Would you want someone you love to date this guy? Would you choose him now, knowing who he is? Focusing on values helped me realize that my ex was lacking the things that are most important to me in a person: honesty, integrity, compassion, emotional maturity, personal responsibility, generosity. Isn’t that enough? Tough to let go and stop believing in someone you love, but stick to NC and CL and you’ll find him repulsive in no time.

        • Consequences! I last met the ex in real life in March 2020, a couple of weeks before UK lockdown as it turned out. I have not spoken to him or communicated directly since a disastrous mediation in August 2020. I had started divorce proceedings online the night before the meeting. He smugly said ‘what’s the next step’, because he never troubled himself with admin work. I replied ‘I started proceedings against you last night, citing unreasonable behaviour as the ground’. He had previously agreed to that ground but wanted to vet and approve the petition first. We are both lawyers. I ignored that request. He stared at me, wind taken out of his sails. I said ‘there are consequences to your actions’. I saw panic flood across his face. He shouted, in the pub in which we were sitting as I refused to allow him into the house, ‘consequences, what consequences?’ as if that possibility was occurring to him for the first time. I repeated my last statement and said nothing more.

          The ex is a profoundly cowardly person. He is that chocolate bunny, pretty on the outside, thin shell of mediocre chocolate under the gold foil, and hollow to the core. Deeply unsatisfying. What ChumpQueen said above applies here. I do not know what my needs are, at 61. I lost any idea of myself during the 26 years of relationship with the chocolate bunny. He sucked me out of me, slowly, with small put downs, small restrictions, little criticisms, the putting of his FOO first on every occasion, the occasional angry outburst, the odd grabbed arm leaving a bruise. It is insidious and dangerous.

    • I paid my XH’s way through a private school PhD program that took him 10 ridiculously long years to complete. During this time, I worked crazy hours, birthed two children, slept little, and fully supported my family on my low salary. Like many of you, I thought I had a terrific marriage and I looked forward to the years ahead. Upon completing his PhD, however, X-hubby worked only briefly (as, you guessed it, a newly minted psychotherapist) and then came to me out of the blue to announce that he wasn’t in love with me anymore and he wanted a divorce. He moved out the following morning. Two weeks later, though, he returned with an offer: If I would support him through another 4-year graduate school program, he would do me the big favor of staying married to me a while longer. Fortunately, my response was a firm, “Not a chance, Bub.” XH then had the entitled audacity to get angry that I wouldn’t agree to his plan. 

      I was lucky that my mom had modeled perfect chumpess conduct for me years earlier, when my dad left her for the OW. Although she was gutted with pain from the betrayal and rejection, she never once pleaded or pick-me danced. Instead, she maintained her self-respect and her dignity, and with little money she started a new life for herself from scratch. It’s because of her example that I did not grovel and I also came away with my dignity intact. (It’s not news that children absorb more than we realize. They watch and learn from us always. From my mom I learned the valuable lesson of modeling the strengths I want to pass on to my children, even when it’s hard as hell.)

      Among the many things that helped me heal are:

      ▪︎ an outstanding family therapist who worked with me and my children for 6 months (My advice here is don’t pick the first therapist you speak with and, if your therapist doesn’t feel like a good fit, find someone else. I got as many referrals as I could and I interviewed 12 therapists by phone before choosing a wonderful woman. With each phone call I learned more and more about which questions to ask and how to refine what I was looking for.)
      ▪︎ lots of readng
      ▪︎ the funny, tender, commiserating support of CL
      ▪︎ the videos of Vikki Stark on Runaway Husbands
      ▪︎ learning about the hedonic treadmill

      My X married his 20-years-younger gal and I naturally assumed that while I still suffered, they were wildly happy. Then I learned about hedonic adaptation and suddenly the world seemed a little more fair again. Here’s the info:

      “The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable “set point” level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

      How The Hedonic Treadmill Works:

      Starting a new romance or being promoted at work may cause a brief burst of extra joy, but these events will not necessarily change people’s everyday levels of happiness in the long run. Instead, people often adjust their expectations to the new status quo and find themselves desiring even more to maintain the same level of happiness.

      What does the hedonic treadmill mean for relationships? 

      As with other happiness-boosters, people who begin romantic relationships tend to eventually get used to—and perhaps begin to take for granted—much that is positive about being with a new partner. Initially novel and exciting attributes, or shared experiences, become less appreciated over time.”

      If you think your ex’s life is now a bowl of cherries, I guarantee you it’s not. Nobody’s life is. The fact that more second marriages than first marriages end in divorce attests to that.

      For those who are still in the throes of betrayal anguish, I gutted it out through several years of pain and often had to push myself to keep moving, one foot in front of the other. On some days, all I could manage was a baby step or two, and I had to employ plenty of “Fake it till you make it.” Although it seemed impossible in the early stretch, in time I did arrive at the merciful, peaceful Meh. I promise you, you WILL too!

  • Oh KS, hugs to you. When I left my terminally ill cheater I read success stories, he wanted to stay together, he booked a trip for us to Japan! The truth is…your ex is a cheater. He didn’t love and value you enough to remain loyal to you. He didn’t feel a connection to you that prevented him from seeking sex and connections with other women. He asked for a divorce once you found out…because he didn’t even want to try and keep you as a wife appliance.

    You are worth more than being used for what you offer him. You are worth more than a man that is looking for a “better option”. You deserve so much more than the crumbs of false affection.

    Listen to Chump Lady. Life after a cheater gets so much better. The further away you get the more clearly you see how little you were settling for. It will stun you and probably embarrass you that you wanted such crud back in your life.

    And those success stories you read…it’s like the great hits on FaKebook. People put forward the best spin on a crap situation. They don’t tell you that he stared at the waitress for the whole meal, that they checked his phone at 3am in the morning or that 2 years on he left for his next “twu luv”. Those success stories are written in hopium.

    The real stories. They came after you leave cheaters and rebuild. They come when you do the hard and painful work of changing your life and putting yourself first by demanding better. You do have the strength to move on and you can have such a better life! I know it doesn’t feel like it now but these things sneak up on you. Getting rid of a cheater leaves so much more room for genuine and good people to enter into you life.

    • Exactly. My ex stared at women EVERYWHERE. Drove me nuts. It helped me realize his actions would never match his hoovering words.

      • My ex did too. I used to think, he’s just looking, I noticed good looking guys too. What’s the harm? The difference is that it never occurred to me to cheat. And I wouldn’t stare. So that was probably more of a red flag than I could see at the time

        • When we first met in my early 20s mine would stare and make comments about other women’s boobs. I was very skinny and flat-chested and he knew I was really insecure about it. When I asked if he minded me being the shape I was, he said some crap like “more than a handful’s a waste”. Should have punched his lights out and left right then.

          • better late than never! cheater-x used that phrase too. he too flirted with other females sometimes in my presence and several times with males. so should have left years earlier in hindsight.

        • Ogling at other women was just to admire beauty , just like pornography was healthy and normal because all the guys in his family had that. Flirting with other women was just his outgoing personality . “Someone should of said “ “ wake the Hell up” I don’t like to think back on how long he might of been cheating! I changed my life for this guy by learning his occupation, had a child high risk later in life , always had his back was a good wife , supported his hobbies hunting and forgave his mistakes. After 20 years of marriage I learned of a cheating , left him and the therapist tells me to not leave more than six months, so I gave him another chance “dumbness on my part” He went on to cheat with another in another state . Let’s see this one is 25 years younger . I’d been divorced all I wanted was a forever love , but he murdered our marriage. I cried to many “Snot Tears” for this guy he had me under the pick me dance spell the first cheat but not the second! Enough of that craziness! It’s a process and it’s not an easy one , I’m four years out and still learning to live single. But in the end it was the only choice and the right one. I keep the good memories for the kids.

    • You are so right. I remember we took a family vacation early on after my child came along. We were pushing him in the stroller in Ireland and this teenage girl walked out onto the sidewalk across the street. Klootzak stared at her and would not stop. I finally said, “Why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last longer.” He got angry and denied staring. Later that week we stopped at a fish and chips place. I went to the loo and as I was walking down the stairs to return to the table, I caught him flirting with a woman at another table – WITH OUR CHILD SEATED NEXT TO HIM. I admit I may have had a little hopium in me before that, but for him to be a fuckwit with our child in tow? Bridge too far. I finally trusted that he sucked – good and fully trusted it. I still feel awful that I had any hopium before that.

      • My fuckwit flirted with a sales girl, right in front of me, while we were buying him clothes for our honeymoon! Chumpy 24-year-old me got upset but quickly spackled over it. It wasn’t even the only red flag, but it is probably the one I kick myself hardest about when I think back on it. Oh well, live and learn. I got three wonderful children because I didn’t kick him to the curb in that store. I also got a crap ton of betrayal, lies,, gaslighting, and pain, but I’m free now.

        • Ex had control of the video camera during our honeymoon. When we got back home, he played the video of our honeymoon. It was filmed during our honeymoon with ex talking to me while filming women’s behinds and boobs, walking along the beach, in restaurants, shopping. He thought it was hysterical, like you I was in my 20’s and not sure what to think. I was naive and trusting that he was only “joking.” He’d say all guys do this, you’re just lucky Brit that I don’t hide it from you, not like the other guys…

          • Mine ogled at women who were pierced and tattooed and really hard looking. I’m soft fair and blond and I look like a fairy! I pointed this out to him and asked if that was what he was attracted to and not a woman like me. He told me not to be silly and that he loved my natural look. Well I found porn that was so hard core on our computer once and confronted him again. Ultimately it turns out he was into all that hard stuff so he was indeed attracted to that. He left me for a young pierced, scarred and tattooed woman who is the opposite to me. I don’t know why I just didn’t realize it all those years ago and make my own decision rather then believing him. I also don’t know why he stayed with me if that’s what he really wanted.

            • Because they want B O T H and feel totally entitled to have both. I’m case he wanted the you -that was an option that he had. His secret and sometimes open lusting for the other image was always there too.

              We believe that we are one they really are bonded to. They play it out keeping the secret life hidden. Then we find out it was a game of duplicity all along.

              Better now to have the truth.

    • Thank you Wishinforhappiness! I do find myself really struggling with that idea of him not having a connection to me that prevented him from seeking sex and connections with this other woman. I guess I just can’t believe it was completely gone. I do know one thing, my husband is a giant coward, that’s for sure…I really do hope someday I feel what you said: “The further away you get the more clearly you see how little you were settling for. It will stun you and probably embarrass you that you wanted such crud back in your life.”

      • The worst part for me was he was pretending with me, (and the community at large) and I was giving myself to him emotionally and physically for several years, working volunteer and political work that he signed up for, but couldn’t do because of “meetings” while he was at the same time romancing the town whore.

        I found three years of gifts, flowers, and dinners that were not given to me on our joint credit card statement. If you have not run your CC statement, run it for a couple years. It might help kill the romantic feelings that may linger. Even if you have already cancelled it, you are entitled to see the statements if you want to see them. You might even be able to set it up on line. Back in my day, on line was not available, and he took all the credit card statements with him when he left.

        While I was scrimping and saving so asshole could have his boat and river property, she was being showered with gifts, that I was helping pay for.

    • My gay, MALE therapist had to point out to me that his staring at other women was profoundly disrespectful.
      It is so sad what we get used to, how stuffing our needs and stuffing our anguish was as natural as breathing.
      What the children are telling me about their memories really lets me know: I was not giving them a happy childhood sacrificing myself.
      My children were incredibly good, easy, beautifully behaved. Perfect kids.

      I now know this is called ‘walking on eggshells’ around their tense, unhappy and bad tempered parents.
      So much regret!

  • “[W]hen someone shits on your gifts, QUIT GIVING. Don’t keep offering more of yourself.” One of the hallmarks of Chumps is that we tend to be loving and generous people who try to see the best in people who matter to us which is why it is so easy for terrible people to take advantage of us. I am happily residing in the peaceful kingdom of Meh after a long, long battle with myself to get there. The fight to QUIT GIVING was one of the toughest ones for me because it meant I had to recognize and appreciate that I had gifts to offer and they were worthy gifts so shitting on them was unacceptable. What I finally realized is that I have always tried to live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others has you would have them do to you. It is okay (really more than okay) to expect to be treated as well as you treat others and to be valued for what you have given to a relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to be the perfect partner, friend, lover, relative, or employee. It means that when you have made a sincere and loving effort to be your best you and that effort to share your gifts is undervalued and/or under appreciated, you QUIT GIVING. Once you learn to apply that in your primary relationship it becomes easier to apply it in all your relationships. A dear friend of mine, Diane Strickland puts it this way: “Don’t donate, negotiate.” Don’t give away your gifts, you are not a charity. Expect reciprocal giving and appreciation for who you are and what you have to offer from every person you give the gift of allowing in your life (and it is a fucking generous gift because you are worthy) or walk away. Set a firm boundary that effort on your part demands an equal effort on their part.

    • Sounds great, Beth! It took me 4 – 6 years battling, but I made it to Meh too. I now have boundaries and have had to put them in place even with my own family members. That sucks when it’s your own family, but I’ve now come to realize that they don’t reciprocate. I deserve better.

    • Beth: You nailed it. Don’t give away your worthy gifts to someone who does not appreciate it……Very well said.

    • Yes thank you Beth! I still find myself fighting the urge to do a nice thing here and there for my stbxh, I am a chump through and through! But then I remember this man I loved more than anything, who had me so convinced he felt the same, moved right in with another woman. I will definitely need to learn better boundaries, that shouldn’t be too hard, at this point I don’t have much trust, I can’t even trust that he sucks, haha.

  • KS,
    Your story is oddly very similar to mine… my ex had an affair with his coworker. I had no idea… thought we had a happy family of 3. Then things started getting strange… he suddenly went from 14 years being a nice guy to meaner and meaner to me (see: discard phase). I figured out he was cheating on me with his coworker (although I was in complete denial) and confronted him. He immediately walked out on me and our 9 year old son and our home that day. He moved right in with coworker and her 2 boys… just 2 miles away.

    But here’s where we differ. I was terrified and had no idea what to do. I was a SAHM for 10 years and suddenly thrust into crazy. And I was sad and grieving the loss of my marriage and my husband. And I decided to go after him for adultery and get the divorce right away. In all my trauma, I was a hot mess and made many mistakes, but I served him within 2 weeks of DDay.

    Look, I tried reasoning with him. I tried talking. I sent emails. But when they have literally moved out…they tell you they want a divorce… you need to accept that it’s over and not in your ability to control.

    Is it possible I could have kept trying and pick me dancing and saved my marriage? Sure… I guess I could have begged and fought and tried harder. But why?? What would I gain? A husband who discarded me and his son and was ready to cheat on me and use me forever.

    I’m 6 years out now. I was divorced a year after he left. And guess what? He’s STILL with AP. And the man I thought I married… wow, that guy isn’t him. He’s a complete stranger to me. And I had more battles with him over the past few years because he became so abusive to our son. He is nothing like the nice guy I thought I married.

    KS — the husband you thought you had isn’t that guy anymore. He’s an ass who lies cheats and gaslights and breaks up with you coldly over the phone. Let him go. Get your divorce. It takes time but you’ll be glad you did it sooner rather than later. You deserve better.

    • This is why I list my ex in my phone contacts as “Edgar Suit” (complete with a picture from the movie Men in Black). The man I thought I knew and loved for more than 30 years was an illusion. He was really just a giant cockroach walking around in a man skin. ????????

      • Hah! The picture I have for my ex in my phone contacts is the half-rotted face of “Dorian Gray’. And I don’t list his name. His contact info is “Lying Cheater”.

        • Haha! After the divorce we sold a little house and during the process W I handed my phone to the real estate agent so that she could confirm my X approval . The photo on my phone was of a pooping Buffalo . After we disconnected she literally busted out laughing and said her x husbands ring tone was some dooms day type ringer tone. It was just a funny moment between two clumped women ????

    • “He’s a complete stranger to me.”

      I remember shortly after he bailed on me with a text message meeting with him, and thinking in my head “who is this guy? idk who he is”. By that point we had been together for 17 years, I grew up with him because we got together when we were 20. I thought, surely at that point you’d know a person very well? I had break ups as a teen and young adult of relationship which had lasted for a couple of years, but I never experienced that. There was sadness and all, but never this feeling of literally having a whole new person in front of you. And I don’t think it’s normal. Because it means that for a good chunk of time your partner was pretending to be someone they’re not.

      But you were so brave. I’m glad you did what you did and you’re out. I’m sorry for your son.

      • Vee, ‘pretending’ is exactly right. In fact my ex told me flat out that she had been pretending our entire marriage. That’s the exact word she used.

      • I wasn’t brave really. I just suddenly realized that I had to fight to protect my son (I was on the back burner of my priorities). There was nothing there to save. The thought of trying to bring back the douche that walked out coldly on me and his sweet innocent son — I couldn’t do that to my kid.

        Why bring back the FW who was clearly lying all those years about who he was… what he wanted… only to walk out coldly on both of us? There was no way I was fighting to get that POS version back and force that into my son’s life. I knew I’d never trust FW again.

        Just a few days after FW left, my son (9 years old) spent some time with his dad. He immediately asked me “What happened to dad? Why is he so DIFFERENT? He’s completely different!” It was both horrifying and valdiating. Thanks kid… I knew I wasn’t crazy.

        I always hoped FW would somehow come to his senses, just for his son’s sake. Nope. Once that mask came off, he revealed himself as the biggest douchebag selfish abusive prick ever.

        • I had that experience as well. My husband looked and acted completely different in a matter of days. He had new mannerisms, a different walk. Friends of ours at first, unhelpfully, told me he was really happy. But, a few months later he was playing cards with them and apparently he was a huge competitive controlling dick during the game. They literally got into a fight with him. They said they didn’t know who he was anymore and said he had a different skin tone, was really aggressive and had different facial expressions they’d never seen. I’m not really friends with them anymore for the obvious Switzerland reason, but it was chilling to hear how much he’d changed. Our daughter hardly sees him.

          • Same! I even wondered if it was a brain tumor…. His personality changed so dramatically. He would laugh maniacally and became so bizarre… he was no longer the quiet introverted guy I knew for 20+ years.

            I noticed his eyes literally darkened too… they looked black after he left (I even questioned if it was drugs!). So freaking weird. They are cracked.

            But it helped me make a clean break. So thank goodness for small favors.

            • Oh my MS,
              My mother-in-law kept asking me if her son had a brain tumour. We live overseas so she didn’t see him, but she said he sounded very odd on the phone. Everyone at our work (yes we had a business together) thought he was on drugs. He came to work one day wearing combat boots and a beanie. The team was laughing at him behind his back wondering just WTF he was doing. He looked grey, sullen, black eyes. He kept scratching like he had hives. Yes, it does help a bit to know they’re nuts…but I also spent waaaaayyy too long worrying about him as well. Not anymore! Freaks.

            • OMG, I still wonder if my ex has an undiagnosed brain tumor or something. How else would or could someone change so quickly. I assume I am still trying to justify her behavior.

      • Yeah, I remember staring at my ex across the table, after some new “trickle truth”, and this wave of panic washed over me. I was living with a stranger. I didn’t know who I was looking at. It gives me the chills even now.

        • Yep, when I was getting the trickle truth, it was like speaking to a stranger. He was like, “so I started out with porn, then went to prostitutes then to S&M clubs and then I decided just to get into a relationship with someone because it was easier and safer.” He had NO awareness that what he was spouting was killing me. No regard for me whatsoever. As ChumpLady says, he stepped over my body to microwave himself a Hot Pocket. He neither noticed nor cared that I was vomiting, crying, heaving and screaming that I was in pain and how could he just talk to me like I was nothing. He just starred, snake eyes. No remorse, no love…nothing. They are hideous.

    • So sorry to hear you went through a similar situation! You sound very mighty, serving him so quickly…Can I ask, was adultery still something you can use in your state? I am in a no-fault state but I wonder if it can still play a part in my case… It really does help to see someone on the outside recognize he is “an ass who lies cheats and gaslights and breaks up with you coldly over the phone.” Thank you!

      • Just in case it helps, my state was no fault 50/50. But no fault does not cover fraud. If you can find proof of monies he spent on other women some of that can be recouped.

        In my state because I had a credit card history of gifts he had bought her for three years, I got him to pay for all my living expenses for a year. Per my lawyer I could have gotten three years given the 21 year marriage, his fraud. I didn’t have to have all the proof, the history I had was proof enough for the judge.

        So if you have even a few receipts, cc history or any other proof of money he as siphoned off for his adultery it can help.

        I think lots of folks misunderstand no fault and 50/50. That is the asumption, and no fault has to be claimed to file, but it does not cover fraud. As for 50/50 it does not mean right down the middle. I mean it can mean that if both partners are equal, but 50/50 can also mean 40/60 etc depending on how much time one spouse spend in child care, or lower earning power etc.

        In other words it is just a starting point. But, it takes a good lawyer. My best friend who went through it just before I did consulted a lousy lawyer and she decided to just work it out with her ex and she got screwed over royally.

        When I went through it a couple years later, my best friend worked for a lawyer and she got the name of a family law firm with really good lawyers.

        Unfortunately now days it costs so much, a lot of folks can’t afford it. Back then the rates though high were doable for most folks.

        If you interview lawyers make sure they are firm in what they say. My lawyer didn’t say we can try to get this, he said this is what I can get you. The only reason I didn’t get three years of temp maintenance is I didn’t want to wait that long to be free. I asked for six months and at the six month period fw started to drag his feet. That was fine with me as he still had to pay. Still don’t know why he did that, though I suspect I know.

      • KS,
        Adultery is still recognized in my state but is frowned upon. It’s not really something most lawyers will even pursue but I had an aggressive lawyer that told me to hire a PI (there’s no “legal separation” here either so when FW walked out, he didn’t realize that moving in with OW and her kids continued to prove adultery. He made it easy because he didn’t bother to Google).

        It was a quick way to move the divorce forward without an idiotic one year “separation” (required with minor kids). But it was messy and icky and in the end I wasn’t even permitted to finish it as “adultery” as the cause. It’s all a bunch of BS

        My lawyer was crap and took advantage of me. I ended up having to switch attorneys in the middle of everything. I got out… but it wasn’t pretty.

        Get yourself a great lawyer. Get recommendations from friends or do smarter research than I did. And they’ll tell you what your options are. In the end the important thing is to get free of FW. No matter what… no matter how much you get or don’t… you win by cutting them off and moving on. I promise.

    • One thing I regret to this day is accepting that my ex wanted to file under “irreconcilable differences.” Had I my wits about me, I would have pushed for filing under adultery – because that was the real reason we were getting divorced. He wanted to run off with his 21 years younger coworker. We rarely disagreed about anything our 30 years together!

  • No, KS he won’t be back. And no they don’t show regret usually either because they spin a lie for themselves and they devalue their spouse so they feel justified in their cheating. I spent two years thinking if only I’d worn lingerie, if only I was sexier, if only I’d let him do what he wanted to my body then he’d still want me. Doesn’t that sound gross? My husband was also my best friend, my person, my confidante and father of my child. We had 25 years of building a life together. That life was a lie – he was fucking people behind my back for most of it and he finally found one that he decided to leave me for. I was shocked and horrified at how he could throw it all away-his best friend, loving wife and child for some S&M sex with a young whore. But what I realize now is that the reason he could throw it away was because he didn’t value me or what we had. He valued the pussy smorgasbord and his secret fantasy BDSM lifestyle instead. No amount of lingerie and sex would have kept him there. So KS, you see it’s not you it’s him. You need to realize he’s made a choice to be a cheat and he’s gone. The best thing for yourself is to grieve and rebuild. Wishing for him to come back will set you back so much! Don’t ever expect an apology either. Start the healing journey now and let it go, come here every day and read what the experienced chumps say. You’ve got this. Oh, and fuck him.

    • Same – same. Mine ended a 16 year marriage on the phone from overseas – and I had to request the call. Turns out he had a secret kink too. I thought it was ED, but now I know. I was tired of all the weird fantasy stuff. You put it great – his kink lifestyle was the priority. Unless I was going to let crotch shots of my body be posted online and be “shared” it was over. He didn’t say that – I found it all out and filed. I don’t miss him a day. I miss the dream I married that doesn’t exist. I missed the money at first. I have enough, but not what I thought and worked as a team for. Most of all I am shocked at how fooled I was. His new gal – I feel sorry for her. My guess is she doesn’t know that any gal who fits the profile will do. Boy, I tell you – potential replacement 1 was adored and loved, not sure what went on with potential replacement 2, but potential replacement 3 is now the “love of his life.” No, I don’t miss it.

      • Same here, as well. If I don’t do X, Y, & Z then he’s going to cheat and/or divorce me.

        And I fell into the whole, “If only I……(fill it in with anything because there have been so many things ‘wrong’ with me that he doesn’t like and has used as excuses)….then he’d still want me.” only to realize that, hello!!! I’m the Same person I was when we met 6.5 years ago. He knew who I was and what I will and will not do THEN and has continually tried to change me. As soon as the ink was dry on the marriage license all of these “requirements” came out. Things that I am NOT okay with and that he’s hounded me for ever since. And I’ve been made to feel like shit because I’m not interested in his fetishes. When he KNEW this beforehand. Yet he pushed and pushed to get married.
        I know now that he just saw/sees me as an easy mark and needs someone to pay the bills so he can sit at home all day, play records, and talk with other women online and via text. He did work for a year and a half – that’s where he met his nasty troll that only fucks married men.
        Now his unemployment is running out and it’ll all be on me to keep the rent paid again until I can get away (like I can save anything taking care of everything/everyone with just my paycheck).

        Use, use, use. That’s all they do. And they’ll keep coming back to do it if they think they can get away with it and make you do all of their bidding.

        I’m not against kinks when everyone involved is on the same page. When one person is harassed and pressured to do things they’re not comfortable with – that’s abuse. It’s NOT okay to do a bait and switch on someone. Ever. It’s especially not okay to bait and switch someone with sexual assault/abuse in their past and want to RECREATE what happened to them due to your own twisted fantasy.

        Sorry. I rambled.

        • ChumpMeGently,

          I hope you get away asap, he can play this game forever, and will.

          There are likely shelters or organizations in your area to help you get away. I had a friend who walked away from her mortgage and filed bankruptcy, but hey, she got free. ❤️

    • Thank you FormerlyKnownAs, I am definitely in the mindset you described being in before. I am filled with “If onlys.” I know the OW a little, so I waste time comparing myself to her, it’s awful. I did get a laugh from the little “fuck him,” thank you 🙂

      • Yeah, I know the OW too in my case. She’s at least 15 years younger and was a client in our business. She spent all her time whining about how she was so alone, with only her doggie to keep her company. She jumped at the chance to fuck my husband and I had to suffer through seeing their emails later where she was fawning over him telling him he was perfect, that she’d cook naked every night for him, let him do whatever he wanted to her. She even offered to give him all her money. So-there you have it – she’s his “sub” and he’s the “dom” who makes him feel powerful and in control. Just what he wanted. It totally sucks but you know what – she’s a whore who traded down by screwing a married man. The “if onlies” fade away with time. Big hugs.

    • Wow, FKA, what a superficial loser. That’s what he cared about. It’s so sad that we chumps, for a time, buy into cheaters’ devaluation of us. “If only I had…”

      KS, could you feel good about yourself while Pick Me dancing? Is this dynamic the kind of relationship you want? And let’s not forget “bagged salad.” The reason is never really the reason. You can do and say everything right, and it’s still not enough. I realized that I could not be true to myself while fighting for a relationship with my ex. It wasn’t what I wanted and it wasn’t who I wanted to be. And when I stepped back, he definitely wasn’t who I wanted to grow old and spend the rest of my life with.

      • That’s right B&R,
        Instead of wondering what we’re lacking, we should look at what they were lacking! In truth, my husband sucked to be around and he was lazy and selfish. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    • ” he was fucking people behind my back for most of it and he finally found one that he decided to leave me for. ”

      Same with mine. I am sure in my fw’s case he was also spinning and lurching and trying to save his ass on the job, still the result is the same. I am lucky he finally got tied up with his direct report. If it had been one of the other non job related whores, he likely would have lied to me until he retired, then took off after dragging me into bankruptcy and poverty, just like he did himself and the whore wife.

  • KS, it’s entirely possible he will come back crawling on his hands and knees like the rat he is but I will only be for the following reasons: (1) The shine has worn off the howorker (2) He doesn’t like the financial cost or the other drastic changes in his life that divorce requires.

    If I’m right, then he will be back no matter what you do or don’t do, so your best bet no matter what is to extricate yourself from this man and this marriage and get moving with the rest of your life.

    And if he is the .0001 of cheaters who are sincere and remorseful? SO WHAT?! He still killed your marriage. You would still spend the rest of your life with him constantly questioning his intentions and loathing yourself for not living according to your values.

    • You’re right Lulu, I don’t think I could play relationship police forever…I suppose on some level I still don’t want to believe he will not wake up and at least express regret…In some way I just want that validation, that he knew he made a mistake and had loved me… But, intellectually I know most chumps long for this, and very few if any get to see remorse or regret. Thank you for tough love, he did kill our marriage! Those words are sticking in my head now!

      • KS, I agree on that Hopium for remorse. I wouldn’t take him back, but would feel validated/vindicated if he came back crawling or expressed he made a mistake.

        I gave him my everything and trusted him with my love, my life and my future.

        I gave him my fertility years and just recently had a miscarriage that required a surgical

        Little did I know, just a couple months later, he would start an affair with a second grader – I mean second grade teacher – 12 years younger than us. If that didn’t hurt enough, the minute I kicked him out, he moved in with her and is living his best life very publicly with her. We live in an at fault state, which isn’t very wise.

        Friends are appalled – Switzerland ones are kinda whatever. He’s taking her to all the places we went for 14 years.

        It’s like he hit delete on a keyboard and inserted another person. No remorse. No sadness over the loss of a 14 year relationship/8 year marriage.

        It’s like he’s a robot and I don’t even know who this man is I trusted my heart and future to. I’m doing much better today. First few weeks were hell. But of course, would love for the FW to come begging just so I could shut the door in his face.

        • Yes they are so strange in so many ways. Taking them to the same places, giving them the same gifts… It’s like they are one trick ponies.

        • Chumperoni, very similar situation here. After DDay 2, I thought I was done. After a couple months NC, I caved and gave him a chance to apologize because he seemed so distraught and depressed; I thought I was being compassionate and forgiving by offering closure. I was so sure I was strong and genuinely believed I was over him. The validation and remorse felt amazing, and somehow, after this meeting, I believed he’d changed and maybe I’d get my happily ever after. He was the person I’d always dreamed of, offering the relationship I’d been fighting for. I got sucked back in.

          The validation never lasts. Whether you go back, call them out or shut them down, they go back to being cruel. Rinse and repeat. It never ends with appreciation, remorse, amends or appropriate closure.

          • And by similar situation, I mean relationship timeframe, lost window of fertility, immediate new younger “sweetheart” flaunted in community and online.

            I never miscarried and am sorry you are dealing with healing from that loss along with everything else.

  • Dear KS. I completely understand where you’re coming from, as I (as most people here) was once in a similar situation. When I look back I now see I accepted ridiculous amounts of bullshit from my ex “partner”. Even then, I knew it was bad but what kept me in it, was that I took him for an imperfect, immature, but otherwise normal human being – meaning that he would show a learning curve in his behaviour. I mean: he said sorry, he wanted me back again, etc etc, so why should I be so unforgiving?

    Thing is, the more information I researched about this kind of behaviour, the more I realised there is no learning curve. So any hope for change in his behaviour is hopium. If a guy is like that at 40, it means that he has not learned his lesson from previous partners, nor will he most likely learn from the women that will enter his life after me. We are not a supernatural mother Theresa that can finally appease him, unfortunately. And maybe actually: fortunately

    If someone is capable of announcing a divorce by phone and move in with another woman within weeks, is it a moment of crisis that he will grow out of, or is he just an untrustworthy coward? And even if he gets to his senses, would you be able to trust him again?

    Like CL says, get out of it ASAP and it will become clearer that any second wasted on this person is a second of you not living your life. Take care!

    • You’re right Giraffy. Stbxh is pushing 40, so maybe he always had this deep down in him, it isn’t some giant learning curve…And thank you, I truly hope for the day it becomes clear he is a waste of my time..

      • It’s always up to you to judge of course! But I think this site can help, because to me it was reading very similar experiences from other people and then understanding how these people are wired, which made me realise the best thing to do was to move on.

        All the best!

        • Giraffy, I give CL/CN credit for getting me to the point where I could let go and accept, for exactly the reasons you describe in your above two comments.

          As CL says (and by now, she knows because she’s seen it all), you’re not dealing with a unicorn, KS. Learn about personality disorders (narcissism, sociopathy and entitlement) and cycles of abuse, learn about gaslighting effects and PTSD/trauma responses, read here and stop leaving the door open to your ex. Invest in yourself for once, and listen to the legal/divorce advice here. Go NC as soon as you can, even though it will probably be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done. At first.

          I stopped believing the RIC when I noticed the patterns in the comments. All the BSs were experiencing the same kinds of BS chumps here experience. They were depressed and anxious and helpless. They were all victims of emotional abuse and gaslighting. I saw myself in them and decided that wasn’t the real me. Some people stay trapped for years. Seeing I wasn’t a unicorn, nor was my cheating ex, really was a wake up call. As much as I wanted something better and different, I had to accept it would never happen with a proven creep and liar.

  • Howdy Ms. KS,

    Even if you do not follow the bible or maybe you do please note these bible verses. It truly “PAINTS” the “REALITY” of what “Most People are like” Nowadays… 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (Voice Translation)

    3:1 And know this: in the last days, times will be hard.

    2 You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people. They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy…

    3 uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good…

    4 Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God…

    5 Even though they may look or act like godly people, they’re not. They deny His power. I tell you: Stay away from the likes of these…

    6 They’re snakes slithering into the houses of vulnerable women, women gaudy with sin, to seduce them. These reptiles can capture them because these women are weak and easily swayed by their desires…
    7 They seem always to be learning, but they never seem to gain the full measure of the truth…

    8 And,these ungodly people defy the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and their faith is absolutely worthless…

    9 But they won’t get too far because their stupidity will be noticed by everyone…

    • Thank you #sometimes, this hits home. OW is a big time Jesus cheater. Going so far as getting my non religious stbxh to attend church with her. Is there anything worse than trying to wipe the slate clean of your sins while you are sleeping with a married man? Ugh…

      • Our preacher flat out told my ex he would never find happiness on the destruction of someone else.

        He from all that I knew (we share a son) proved the preacher right. Oh he put on quite a show for a while. Aside from his cheating on the whore, he started gambling and racked up a bankruptcy. Lost every thing he had gotten in the divorce.

        Then went into debt a couple years ago for a big ass RV for over one hundred thousand dollars. Keep in mind they were living in a fixer upper trailer in Florida. When my son asked him how he was going to pay for it, he said “I don’t care, I will be dead”

        He died in Jan, and she is in FL and she owes over eighty thousand dollars for that RV.

        Sounds to me like the second half of his life he spent trying to buy happiness. Maybe he did, but it doesn’t sound like a life I would have wanted.

        As painful as it was I was spared that life, and I am so grateful.

      • Hey Ms. KS,

        I here ya… my Son’s Dad had a big alcohol – police – domestic dispute LAST year. Because the “12 yr old” and her family our “Long-time” Christians… she STAYED with him after that!! And now we are “going” back to Court again…

        I’m a Pastor’s Kid… I thought when we were married he was a “Christian” as well. Found out recently he cheated on me with the “12 yr old” – 10 days before my 2ND SON was born…

        I ALWAYS use that scripture as the Measuring tool of behavior when defining the “Truth” Christian or Not… Because ANYONE can say they believe in Jesus… But what does their ACTIONS SHOW CONSISTENTLY OVER TIME…

  • Thank you KS and CL,
    Why we chumps need to keep hearing the same message over and over until we reach Tuesday is beyond me, but I know I need to keep hearing it.
    CL is right.
    Listen to her and trust that they suck and gain your life.
    We chumps were devalued by repulsive creatures and we found this amazing nation of chumps who understand our pain and journey and will help us gain that amazing life that is ours to make– its not easy, but its ours.
    KS you are doing awesome in your journey.
    You sound like a pretty awesome level-headed, caring chump so I say trust CL and go live your life! Screw that dude, what a loser.

    • XX, re: hearing the message ovr and over. i think CL is like AA–you have to keep coming back and hearing the same things, listening for the nuances, gathering what you can from it. it’s a process, you know?

    • Thank you Xioba Xioba for the words on encouragement, and yes thank goodness for CL & CN!

  • KS, my story is similar to yours in that my cheater ex also switched from one day to another. I was (mostly) clueless, because even when I did start having doubts 6 months before he discarded me he kept on repeating that it was all in my head and that he was perfectly happy. I have a video on my phone we made on Christmas day, merely a few weeks before he literally left one morning while I was asleep and abandoned me with a text message (not even a phone call lmao), where he was declaring in a very satisfied tone what a lovely Christmas he had. I was just like you back then, and I did get him to come back for a few months where I was CONVINCED that this was just a bump on the road and he will see how happy we truly were. I would be the best possible me, he would see the error of his ways and we would be normal and happy again. Of course, it didn’t work.

    Like your ex, my ex also refused to admit to cheating. I had to find out for myself. At that point I was met with an onslaught of what I can only assume was a bunch of fabricated stories to confuse me because they’re so out there, to cover up that he was leaving to be with his coworker. I found an email where he was sending a Valentine’s day present to coworker with I love you balloons, he was calling her my love etc, so I had all the evidence. And yet he’d refuse to admit it, saying that was just a “joke”. Instead he filled my head with absurd stories of him cheating with men and rando women, just to distract me from that one person he actually was with (and probably hope I’d be the one to kick him out and take the easy way out). To this day, he still won’t admit he was with her. He says it happened afterwards. Even when she turned out pregnant a mere 5 months after leaving again, he insists that she got accidentally pregnant 2 months into this new relationship. We haven’t even started divorce proceedings yet, and he’s having a baby due this December. I can’t even explain the mind fuck.

    So I feel for you, and I see where you’re at. But the truth is that you did the right thing to believe him the moment he told you he didn’t love you anymore and he wanted a divorce. You might never get him to admit anything else like I didn’t, and it burns and I can never muster even a tiny bit of respect I could have for someone who is the father of my child and whom I spent 17 years of my life since I was only 20 yo. But that is it. That’s what you have; someone who’s a coward, but who’s telling you the truth when he said he’s moved on.

    I won’t tell you it will be easy from now on, it won’t. But you know, we have no choice but to try and rebuild because we are alive, and it is better to live rather than just exist. I’m wishing you all the best.

    • vee, Leaving via text message, I am so sorry! As CL says, this isn’t the Pain Olympics, but that is the silver medal, right after someone who just disappears…
      I had to find out he cheated as well. I put a tracker on stbhx’s car after D-Day, a few weeks later I tell him I knew he had been spending every night at OW’s house. He STILL denied it, I offered to show him the proof, but he got angry and left. They do seem to all have a similar handbook. Many times if I confronted him with something and he did not have adequate time to come up with a lie, it became a “joke.” I found a new box of condoms in his nightstand a week after he asked for the divorce, when I again confronted him about sleeping with her, he said he had bought them as a joke with himself….ok sure….What is wrong with me, I still can’t trust that this liar sucks!

  • It’s hard to believe that yesterday I found myself in a similar position. It’s been almost 2 years since I kicked the X out of my life. One little conversation in the car with the kids about Christmas and when I got home I was crying in the bathroom.

    The new life I’m creating Has to be for me. I evicted him from the house, I need to evict him for my head. I need to develop new things in my life, new traditions, so that I’m not continually dwelling on that old stuff.

    And the crazy thing is I find myself feeling sorry for him. It is unbelievable but after everything that he has put me through since 2002 and I am feeling sorry for him. Utter bullshit.

    I printed out all of the screenshots that I kept for evidence. I three hole punched them and put them into a binder. And when I start having soft feelings of regret, hopelessness or sadness… I read that shit. I remember what he did. My problem is I have a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad.

    • “My problem is I have a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad.”

      I don’t think that’s just you. It’s that for us we were true and in those moments WERE actually happy and good. The difference between a relationship that falls apart rather than being cheated on is that in the former both partners are aware that something is amiss because it’s out in the open, while in the latter one part is most likely clueless. That’s why the damage done to someone by cheating on them is so much greater than simply leaving/ending a relationship.

      • I got over the conflict of remembering the good times vice the bad times. I now have no problems remembering the good. There were good times. As with the fuckwit, I also had an abusive father albeit that abuse was physical. As with the fuckwit, I also had good times with my father every now and then. In fact, I’d bet abusers everywhere have ‘good’ assets and have created good times for their targets. However, when you equate cheating with abusive behavior, you’re better able to step back and see that your fuckwit was abusive. The bruises didn’t show on the outside, but you had plenty on the inside (and probably still have.) My bruises have healed now. It’s no longer hard for me to see that I had some good times with the fuckwit and good times with my abusive father. But I no longer have the cognitive dissonance associated with ‘good times’ and ‘bad times’. The day came when I said ‘No More!’ So acknowledge that there were good times (as with any abuser), and then say to yourself that no matter how many good times, the fuckwit was still abusing me and I won’t have an abuser in my life ever again.

    • “My problem is I have a tendency to remember the good and forget the bad.”

      It’s fine to remember both the good and the bad. But it’s damaging to over-value the good and overlook the bad.

      There’s a difference. You can remember peak moments like the birth of a child or buying your first home and recall how YOU felt in those moments. But you have to remember them without projecting your own values on someone who doesn’t share those values. Where we go wrong is thinking that the cheater’s experience was the same as yours, that you shared those moments. One thing being chumped and betrayed should do is cure us of closing our eyes to the nature of the person we were involved with/married to. Those happy moments were the experience of someone who did not know that their spouse was capable of betrayal and duplicity (or who had an earlier experience and assumed it was a one-off.) “Forgetting the bad” is a version of spackling; it’s a version of smoking the hopium pipe.

    • Muthachumper, Yes sometimes I feel a tiny bit bad for him, what is wrong with me? To the outsider he seems just fine, having the time of his life. But, as the person who knew him best for 14 years, I believe I see signs of a mental break. I know it’s not my problem, but I still have loving feeling towards him, and in true chump fashion wish I could have helped him before he got to this point…I do hope I can begin to get him out of my head, he consumes my thought all day, and my nightmares at night. I like the idea of putting all the terrible things as a reminder in one place! I will have to start compiling something like that 🙂 Thank you!

      • Does he feel a tiny bit bad for you? Does he worry this might break you?

        NO. He’s “having the time of his life.”

        Think about that.

        • Chump Lady, mine is doing the exact same thing right now. It’s appalling the disrespect he has for me. But each time I hear of him taking her to one of our favorite places, or football games, or him living with her, I’m at least to the point now where I trust that he sucks. It took me a minute to get there. But a lot less pain now that I am.

          Thank you CL and CN. Y’all have kept me sane the last few weeks.

  • That’s a good question. I absolutely did not want to grow old with him. I was waiting for the kids to grow up. Eventually I got to the point where I couldn’t wait any longer but I’m out.

  • Can you all please stop repeating how t\many marriages get better after infidelity? Where’s the evidence? Any scientific studies? How many anecdotal couples do you know, that you REALLY KNOW WELL that happily reconciled? I’m not talking about flaff that anybody can post on the internet.

    • What’s foremost in my mind is that I have no interest in staying married to someone who has taken the biggest sharpest knife in the drawer, intentionally plunged it into the spot with the most pain receptors, and then asked his accomplice to twist it.

      Therefore I don’t want what anyone has who chooses to reconcile , so statistics don’t even matter to me. Trust and safety are the point of being in a relationship. No matter who you are, once the infidelity line is crossed there is no crossing back into the Land of Certain Trust and Safety.

      To me, staying together after infidelity is like turning up the radio as loud as you can to mask the sound of the engine problems, and what I believe and think and feel are the only “statistics” that I need to be concerned about.


      • “taken the biggest sharpest knife in the drawer, intentionally plunged it into the spot with the most pain receptors, and then asked his accomplice to twist it.”

        That was how it felt when I was Laboring with my boys on the Artificial Labor Medication… What an amazing description of what “They” do to us…

        As well as, no crossing over into the “Land of Certain Trust and Safety”…

        I can be “Certain” of what I said earlier… #Sometimes – 2 Timothy 3:3

        “UnHusband” Can BE… uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good…

    • I’ll tell you…zero marriages get better after infidelity. The success stories are a complete fantasy. The chump basically takes the blame for the cheater cheating because somehow they dropped the ball. So the desperate to save the marriage chump will now improve. This means the chump will now walk on eggshells, be completely selfless and strive to make sure everything is perfect. The cheater comes back for two reasons. Number one it didn’t work out with AP (better luck next time) or two, because divorce will wreak havoc on their financial situation. All the cheater has to do is not cheat and voila, there is the success story. However, we all know the cheater will cheat again. How many success stories are followed up by in the end it didn’t work out stories?

    • I wish I could remember the source for this, but I read about a study that found the majority of reconcilers did divorce within five years of supposedly reconciling. Not surprising. I would assume the cheater did it again or the spouse decided s/he just couldn’t live with an untrustworthy partner.

      • My self esteem and my expectations for a healthy relationship went out the window after DDay 1. I was initially heartbroken, disgusted and furious. Then I bought into dreams of reconciliation, and what was once unthinkable . Thank ver the course of the next year, I put up with “trickle truth” and was fed more lies. The abuse escalated. Honestly, it was psychological torture, looking back. The years I spent being devalued and gaslit before the first DDay, I couldn’t have dreamt I’d put up with it. After learning about the cheating, it was blatantly and objectively awful, and I put up with more and more. Until I didn’t. The boiled frog analogy is apt. It’s wild, what we normalize.

        Even “successful” reconciliation wouldn’t be successful for me. I didn’t stay for a reason.

        • Edit: *what was once unthinkable became normal, expected, part of the process. Over the course of the next year…


    • Years ago, in the produce aisle of our small-town grocery store, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine who’d reconciled with her cheating husband. (He’d cheated with an attractive married woman. Wealthy, prominent people. Total scandal!) This poor chumped woman looked miserable in her ridiculously short skirt and high heels.

      I’ll never forget the look in her eyes–a heartbreaking mix of sadness and shame.

      I lost touch so don’t know how things worked out. But I do know that, at least for several years, this woman pick-me danced all the time. Even after both cheaters returned to their spouses, the cheating female made a habit of stretching for her run in front of her “former” lover’s house. Oh, and the poor kiddos from both families had been friends but were destroyed by the revelation of the affair.

      Just one case, I realize, but it’s always stuck with me.

      These two marriages might go in the “successful reconciliation column,” but the stats don’t reflect the misery of the chumped spouses and their children.

      • Interesting. That reminds me: Has the Mayo Clinic written anyone back re their BS blog article about reconciling?

        • I haven’t heard anything. I’m guessing it goes to a spam folder anyway or they’d be inundated with emails all the time about their articles.

      • Weird how that article ends with a link to a RIC article. “The vast majority of relationships don’t survive cheating. Now here’s an article to read by a person who chose to stay with the cheater.”

    • Persephone, That does remind me of a personal “reconciled” couple I know. My childhood best friend shared with me her dad started cheating on her mother about 4 years ago. She only told me this when I called her shortly after DDay crying. She and her siblings were able to stop his affair with threats of cutting him out of their lives and a literal punch to his face from her younger sister! Her parents went to marriage counseling and are now back together. Her mother was sympathetic when she heard of my situation, had good advice about leaving them alone, and said he will soon see his mistakes. But I don’t think so. I got the feeling she believes they will all come back eventually. I don’t know what their marriage is like behind closed doors, hopefully they’re the exception to the rule, but who knows.. If I really really think about it, I don’t know how we could make it work if he came back…

  • One thought that I have struggled with, in spite of twice weekly therapy, is that I didn’t deserve better treatment. I’m 61, 26 years together, dumped for ex gf from over 30 years ago with whom he had been round the block unsuccessfully twice already. The affair went on for well over 10 years, but has never been admitted (I found emails to his ‘soulmate’). No kids, isolated from mutual friends during discard (I was ‘controlling’ ‘restricting his drinking’). The discard was extraordinarily brutal in content. As soon as I discovered the affair, 2 months after he left, I got myself together and divorced him. My triumphs since then have been huge. However, I constantly fight a desire to self-sabotage because, honestly, I believe that I got what I deserved. This is not a rational, coherent thought. It’s emotion-based, dating back to a highly critical FOO, where I was the scapegoat. I have been ill recently, with an auto immune issue, and I have definitely slipped backwards. Also 2 years out last week. He told his story in such a way as to damage my reputation. I was immediately dropped by his family. People believed terrible things about me, because they chose to do so. And I ask myself why in my frailer moments. This is why therapy is essential for me. Without it I would be in trouble. With it, there is much more hope that I will be able to navigate life round the toxic people And that I will encounter/care less about them more often. I feel now that there will always be a small part of me that believes that I got what I deserved, because I deserved no better. Sad really.

    • You are a fighter whether you realize it or not and yeah you’ve been knocked on your ass but you keep getting up. Oh and as far as his story goes…anyone that actually listened to his horseshit is a complete asshole and they need to be out of your life. He cheated for 10 years…believe me people, including friends and family were well aware of his cheating. They know what and who he is, they chose him because they’re low lives that prefer falsehoods to the truth. I believe some people are removed from our lives for good reason, like the universe is watching out for us. Keep up the therapy and if possible remove yourself from the town or vicinity where his family and friends reside.

    • I’m not at all making light of how painful it is to doubt your own worth because I struggle with this too but the fact that you recognize how you feel as the self sabotage that it is, is half the battle. I know it’s easy to get lost in the negative voices in your head, especially if there’s a malignant force like your ex who is reinforcing those voices but from an objective perspective, you come across as an extraordinary person who is strong and grounded and has created their own happiness out of darkness. You did get what you deserve but not in the ending of your life with your ex. You got what you deserve in the creating a life for yourself where you are indeed a Mighty Warrior. And I agree with KB22. Anyone who believes his crap about you needs to be jettisoned from your life anyway. Including those voices in your head who tell you you deserved his treatment of you. 🙂

    • “You are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.”

      No one deserves abuse. Even the worst person on the planet deserves humane consequences, not abuse. “…no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.”

    • Don’t ever believe you “got what you deserved!” I struggle with that too, but deep down I know it isn’t true. Glad to hear you’re in therapy. 10 years of cheating is brutal, I have no idea when my husband started cheating, I am certain this was the only time and probably hadn’t been going on too long. But, I like to think if I found out it had been for years and years that would give me an extra boost of anger. I’m not at anger yet, but if you are use it to try and propel past any block you have right now. Also fuck that character assassination and fuck anyone that blindly believes it!

  • Next month is the four year mark of the Reality Reveal. I didn’t have a marriage; I had a MIRAGE.

    Four years later, the cheating isn’t even the headline anymore. ABUSE is the headline. The affair(s) are just one symptom in a LONG list of symptoms of abuse. I didn’t see it because he is an expert liar, puts a LOT of energy into his Mr. Nice Guy facade, didn’t hit or yell or express any kind of anger at me. I really thought he was Mr. Easygoing Nice Guy. Now I can’t even imagine the person I thought he was and we were together for 27 years. It’s a huge mindfuck beyond my comprehension still. I am in awe of the power of denial.

    Last Thursday Dr. Kickass Co-Parent had him pinned on the griddle telling him, “You are on the hot seat and trying to get off by deflecting and attacking her.” She had to say this to him TWICE. After the session all I could see for the next 24 hours was YEARS of his deflect/attack tactic, in jillions of situations.

    The truth is, without the affair I would have stayed in a relationship I should have gotten out of. Even right after DDay, like many of us I thought it could be fixed and wanted to fix it. Now after defrosting for four years, I see that even without the affair I should have left. Those crumbs of “nice” kept me rooted to the spot hoping for a whole loaf. The affair was the 2 x 4 of Truth (thank you Thirtythreeyearsachump!) that I needed to wake me up that I was in danger.

    Anyone he’s with is a new target.

    • What I am wondering about these days is WHAT I WAS MISSING by staying in a relationship with this clown, stoking the fire to keep the smokescreen going. Jeez.

      When he left he gave me the old, “You won’t know what you had ‘til it’s gone” comment. Well, he was right. But not in the way he meant it.
      And I’ve heard that how he meant it is actually what he’s experiencing these days. So sad; too bad. ????

      • Velvet Hammer , did we have clone dudes? That cliche “ You won’t know what you’ve lost bullshit nonsense”. He actually thought he was the super great guy super stud , then twirled the “ I dont desearve you” at me! In the end when the hands were around my neck during intimacy I knew that the exit door to safety was a bright neon sign. This guy had lied and by omission and outwardly the times I realized should have been my wake up but ya know the investment , love , sacrifices of long term marriage and want to keep the family together lend to decisions to stay. As your significant other continues to change his personality to blend with other people’s groups or ideas and leave you wondering who this stranger is and if I was imagining , and the Blame shift gaslighting becomes the regular. His bizarre coveted attitude becomes more noticeable. I felt relief to not be in the same home with him , I actually felt fear of what he might do. He did have a legal history years before but I’d given him a chance, 20 plus years chance. He ripped our family apart and disposed of us for the latest girl. I’ve actually wondered if she is excusing his past like I did. she’s a cheater like him .

        • Hands around the neck… yeah, had that happen too. Plus walking in on the ex watching violent, horrific porn involving murder that I’m shocked didn’t send me running for my life at the time. When you’re so mindfucked and drained to empty, and all you can do is put one foot in front of the other… it’s amazing what doesn’t even register anymore as a great big warning sign. What just… doesn’t exist because you can’t process it. Took me probably a year or more of being out to even look back and realize I wasn’t being dramatic when I would have the thought that I’m lucky to be alive after all that.

    • It is astounding the image they can portray. I was certainly fooled, but you know what so were a lot of other folks. He was living a double life for at least six years, more than likely all of our marriage.

      He was playing the family man in the community and in church. Did some police officers know, yet I am convinced; but they kept quiet.

      Then someone dropped a dime, so I can only assume that whoever it was was laying in wait for the best time to blow him up. And they did.

      As horrible as it all was, I am so glad it happened when I was 39/40 instead of ten or twenty years later.

    • Yes! Now when I look back on my marriage, I see abuse–35 years of it. In some ways, I’m glad the affair gave me the kick in the pants (aka 2 x 4) I needed to get the hell away from an abusive situation.

      These days, their sexual relationship makes me yawn–two pathetic, upper middle-aged married people with poor character getting it on. So what? It’s the betrayal and abuse for years that makes me angry and sad–sad for all the years wasted on that crumb-doling crummy man.

      By the way, the other day my MIL sent me a prayer with some message about finding peace and forgiveness. I’m sure she thinks I’m still pining for her son. If I weren’t NC with her, I’d love to tell her that, on the contrary, I’m so much happier without him.

    • “I didn’t see it because he is an expert liar, puts a LOT of energy into his Mr. Nice Guy facade, didn’t hit or yell or express any kind of anger at me. I really thought he was Mr. Easygoing Nice Guy.”

      Thank you Velvet Hammer, sounds just like my stbxh, seemed like the perfect man. Everyone says focus on the negatives in your relationship leading up to DDay, it will help you get over him faster. Other than him obviously not telling me he got unhappy at some point, I can honestly say nothing was bad. Now I think maybe he was TOO perfect…It’s very hard to think he could have been hiding who he really was for 14 years…That just scares me and saddens me all at the same time.

  • Dear KS,
    He may come back after he’s cycled through this affair partner. Mine did. Mine left me and our babies and moved a young secret girlfriend into our former place. After that relationship broke down he moved another girl into our former place. In the meantime, with my dial cranked to survival mode, I (1) moved back into my parents’ home with my two babies while he enjoyed his new bachelor pad (I actually saw him call it that in an email he sent to a friend!), and (2) acquired a new homeowner’s grant for low-income earners.

    Imagine that! Living with my husband and our kids made me poor, yes, but not poor enough to qualify for this homeowner’s program. Suddenly becoming a single mother with two dependents, however, well… now I was poor enough to qualify for a forgivable loan that covered the down payment for a house. (A very crappy house, to be sure, but a house!)

    My FW cheated on me, gave me an STD, and left me with our babies and… now I was a homeowner! Crazy, isn’t it?

    The point to this story is that, yes, the FW cycled through his affair partners and then he leveled his gaze back at me. He saw that I was building a new life. A good life.

    He was lonely and saw that I had a house.

    He came knocking on my door one night. Said he missed me and the kids and–tellingly!–told me that he had recently been at a family friend’s for a holiday meal and felt depressed because he looked around their table and noticed that he was “the only one there without someone” and he felt so sad that he had to go back to his lonely, empty apartment. He begged my forgiveness.

    He literally told me that he wanted back because he couldn’t stand to be on his own.

    I took him back. I was in love with him. I wanted my family together and unbroken. I wanted to do *whatever it took* and “fight for my marriage.”

    I wish I had never taken him back. Living with him was horrible; he was worse this time around the affair train. The devaluing was worse, the eggshells worse, his gaslighting and outrageous “she’s just a friend”s were worse. I was not terribly surprised when he packed his bags and moved in with what is now GF#3/Wifetress and yet my heart still broke all over again. Taking him back put me on antidepressants. That hopium is a helluva drug, I tell you.

    • If you catch yourself thinking “I want to build a good life so that he looks at me and thinks about what he’s missing out on” then, well, the moral of my fable is “be careful what you wish for.”

      • Fourleaf, Thank you so much for sharing your story. Good for you for getting a house! Despite allll the shit he threw at you, sounds like you’ve been so strong.
        I still miss my husband so much, ugh, in some ways I think it might have helped to be around him more after D-Day, to let his new personality soak in a little more. I only saw him about 5 or 6 ties after that day, and that was probably it forever. I am 1000 miles away living with my parents again. We don’t have any children (so all you parent chumps are extra mighty). So no need to ever see each other again after divorce. But in a way that is a sore spot for me, I was just starting to want children (in my early 30s) and he used never previously wanting them as one of the reasons for leaving me…
        Thank you again for the honest story of what happens to probably almost every chump who takes them back, your advice did not fall on deaf ears. Best to you and your children.

        • I recently read that the type of people who end up with narcissists are often of the caretaking variety, and we stay in hurt a very very long time rather than moving into anger.
          The feeling I would consider normal given what happened to us would be anger. I myself stayed in hurt for so very long.
          I actually don’t know if I ever got to anger.
          But I did get to pity / disgust. In the beginning he would say to me “I know you’re disgusted with me’ -but I wasn’t, I was just hurt.
          Eventually you will get to something that matches how he has treated you. And you will no longer miss him as much.

          • “I recently read that the type of people who end up with narcissists are often of the caretaking variety, and we stay in hurt a very very long time rather than moving into anger.”

            Even my own preacher said to me: “you need to get mad”. He was right, I needed to. It took me one more round at his hands to get mad. He came back for a week, lied to me to get in the house. By mid week, I was done, I knew then that this man was evil and had been for a long time.

            I walked away and left him to his whore. They deserved each other, (it took that second round of pain before I really knew it in my heart) and though I am sorry that down the line, some of their antics hurt my son, they surpassed any expectations I had of how miserable they would be together.

  • All those “success” stories you’ve read are nothing but desperate chumps convincing themselves, others and even their cheaters that they are indeed a special couple and can overcome lapses in judgment and how they both are culpable for failures in the marriage. Most, if not all the success stories include the chump taking the blame for their cheater cheating. So the chump needs to improve in order for the cheater not to cheat. The RIC, what a freaking racket! Then the chump will go on to say, how their marriage is so much stronger, so much better since the cheating. Why the cheating was the best thing that ever happened, it actually saved the marriage! So the chump will shout from the rooftops how great everything is but what they are really doing is attempting to convince or beg the cheater not to cheat again. Who the hell wants to live that life?

    • “but what they are really doing is attempting to convince or beg the cheater not to cheat again. Who the hell wants to live that life?”

      I don’t even think most of them are trying to convince the cheater not to cheat, but trying to convince themselves that the cheater has changed.

      Can it happen, yes I think in very rare circumstances it can; but very rare circumstances. Mostly I think what happened is a chump who in in a particular bad situation just swallows the shit sandwiches, slaps on a happy face and survives however they can, until they can do better.

      • Exactly. Who wants that kind of life? Apparently, a lot of people are willing to accept it for a variety of reasons. I feel badly for them, but the ones on the RIC sites who try to convince others to eat shit like they do really piss me off.

    • KB22, The ones that claim cheating saved, or was the best thing for their relationship must all be fake stories, right? All of you wonderful people today have been pointing out a few things that I know would be true if I was presented with the opportunity to take him back. I would probably be so afraid of scaring him off I would be walking eggshells all the time. I would probably relationship police him, and who knows if trust would ever return. Why does the cheater get put on such a high pedestal and I still can’t knock him down despite the Hell he put me through?

      • ‘Why does the cheater get put on such a high pedestal and I still can’t knock him down despite the Hell he put me through?’
        I went through this. FW was incredibly good to me until shortly before Dday. That got lodged in my brain and that’s how I saw him, and us. That’s what I missed… Particularly all the feelings of connection, safety and love I felt from the early years. I saw my side of it, me looking at him through loving eyes.
        When I think about what I didn’t see…. All the lunches he took her on while I was packing my lunch (and offering to pack his ), all the phone calls he made to her, the secret cute texting, all the intimacy they shared at my expense, all the lies, all the times he was thinking of her …. Keeping me around while he figured out who he was going to choose. Me asking if everything was OK, me checking in and his lying to me. Gaslighting me. I haven’t even included the fact that he was in hotel rooms with his coworker.
        When I started thinking about what I didn’t want to think about, he stopped being put on a pedestal.
        Think about the facts of what he did and the facts about how he treated you.

      • No I don’t think the posters writing that cheating saved their marriage were frauds they were just duped into hopeful, desperate thinking. They were justifying the reconciliation. What happens is the cheater pretty much gets away with cheating and goes on about his/her life while the chump gets to do all the work to save the marriage. The chump gets to be worried sick every time the cheater goes out the door. Is the errand for real or are they meeting someone? The chump gets to play marriage police, on the sly of course. The chump has to walk on eggshells so not to upset cheater and God forbid the chump ever question or bring up the cheating. Then after all this what happens? The cheater dumps the chump for someone else. They were really clever about hiding their tracks this time and this time they got all their financial ducks in a row. The chump has been blindsided. KS, if you ask any chump here that reconciled with their cheater after D Day 1, they will all tell you it was a huge mistake.

        • ” The chump has been blindsided. KS, if you ask any chump here that reconciled with their cheater after D Day 1, they will all tell you it was a huge mistake.”

          Yep, my fake-conciliation lasted less than a week. I was one of the lucky Chumps, many of them got faked for months and years.

  • Now it’s difficult for me to believe that once upon a time I felt bad for walking out — it didn’t seem fair to me to leave a 75 yo diabetic with heart problems.
    This was after he refused to help me with my adult disabled daughter and resented the necessary money that was spent on my granddaughter.
    This was after he sprinkled the garage floor with large nails when I was recovering from foot surgery and still using crutches full time.
    This was after he kept accidentally locking me out of our house when I was sweeping the porch or clearing weeds.
    This was after he forgot to give me the code to the front door lock when he changed the locks while I was helping another daughter in England after the birth of her first child.
    This was after I caught him with another woman leaning together and touching each other’s arms.
    This was after I asked him why he sent $300 using Western Union and got the silent treatment.
    This was after discovering a Victoria’s Secret purchase that was not gifted to me.
    This was after I discovered he spent $78 on breakfast while I was undergoing a difficult tendon surgery that took 6 hours.

      • I was beginning to fear he was trying to think up ways.

        What caused me to actually leave was a single incident. He came into the kitchen and startled me because I was wearing headphones. I dropped a teaspoon. He puffed up angrily and called me a “fucking inconsiderate idiot” for dropping a teaspoon. One of his hands formed a fist and he raised it up. I kept staring at the fist. Eventually it came down and he walked out of the room.

        The next day I started packing, rented a storage place and bought a condo.

    • “This was after he sprinkled the garage floor with large nails when I was recovering from foot surgery and still using crutches full time.”

      um … wow. Just … wow. ????

    • I agree with Motherchumper99, You describe a few things that sounds more than coincidental. He seriously might have been trying to kill you. I hope you are doing better now!

    • what a supreme dick. I hope he dies, painfully. Keep safe, Emma. Enough is enough.

  • KS- I got sucked into the vortex of RIC for 6 months- that almost killed me. No matter what I did or didn’t do, I couldn’t undo what X did. There are no do overs in life.

    I could have written what you wrote: “ Before D-Day my husband seemed perfect, I believed we were very happy and had an extremely close friendship and relationship. Post D-Day he told me he wanted a divorce over the phone. He still denies the affair with his coworker, he moved in with said woman a few weeks later, and he turned into a cruel uncaring human before my very eyes. You know, that old chestnut…”. We were married 25 years— XH dumped me for the AP on the street while our middle child was in therapy steps away after a suicide attempt— I later learned her poor mental health and trauma were partially caused by discovering her father was cheating and his threats to destroy her if she told me — she was 14!!!!! Evil incarnate.

    Fast forward 7 years — life is grand. I rarely communicate with XH- no need even with 3 kids. I fully accept now that he wasn’t who I thought he was and not compatible with me. I cried a lot of tears and spent years healing and coming to this place and building a new life- I had no other choice.

    Now I wouldn’t dream of spending one minute investing in XH. Yuck. I also don’t touch hot stoves, walk in front of trains, or stick my head in a blender.

    Get busy getting your divorce finalized. One minute at a time, care fir yourself deeply. Stay no contact. It will get better and you’ll look back snd thank God for unanswered prayers.

    • Oh, God answered them alright! It just didn’t feel like it at the time….I know you agree…

      I have to laugh….I know someone who calls God “GUS”….it’s an acronym for Great Universal Spirit…

      My faith in a higher power was badly damaged on DDay. It’s taken me this long to really see and feel that I was ignoring the STOP signs so the memo had to get big and loud…and even after DDay I thought it could be fixed. Thank GUS I snapped out of it not too long after.


    • Your poor daughter, I hope she is doing better now! You sound like a great success story to me! I really hope I can get to the point where I don’t long for him. I definitely can’t see that now…I do have a lawyer and we did make him an offer which he shot right down, saying, and I quote, “What is this, a charity case?” I need help seeing he is an ass now…His entire family, his few friends, my family and friends, none of us can believe what he has become. Watching someone do a 180 before your eyes is something I think my brain still hasn’t caught up to.

      • ” I really hope I can get to the point where I don’t long for him. I definitely can’t see that now…”

        That is the hardest part. I think in my case he was so nasty the last year we were together, then I gave him one more shot at me and he ramped up the nasty. I guess I should thank him for that.

        But, my dad when I told him what had happened, told me to get as far asway from him as I could, that if I went back I would suffer for the rest of my life. He was my cheerleader. he told me I would soar without him, I was strong etc.

        The funny thing in hind sight is that my ex when he was dumping me tried to defend the whore and said, well her parents want the best for her too. I was still in shock then, but I wish I had the forethought to say, my dad wants the best for me too, and he told me to get as far away from you as possible. What I did say was “oh, and her parents think a cheating married man is best for her” Truth is I am sure that is exactly what they thought because they just wanted her to have a steady meal ticket. She had tried with several other married men, but she grabbed the brass ring with this one.

        I honestly could not see for a while what an ass he had made of himself, right out in front of God and everyone. He shit all over himself at his work and in the community. I just wish for you that you begin very soon to see him for what he is.

        In the rare likelihood that he has had some breakdown, well I hope the best for you. But, more than likely this is just who he is.

  • KS, first of all, stay away from the unicorn cult sites. The “success” stories are from people smoking hopium about a partner who has just taken the affair underground, or quit it but is a dry drunk.
    I stumbled onto one of those places not long after Dday and was overwhelmed by how terribly sad these “successful” reconcilers were, despite their claim that a marriage can recover. They get awfully defensive, even downright nasty, if you point out the flaws in their pro-reconciliation arguments, too. I remember one of them telling me that infidelity isn’t abuse because, and I quote; “I just don’t think it is.” No reasoning attempted whatsoever. The unicorn cultists are living on Fantasy Island.
    Then I found CL and a community of smart people who could smell the B.S. those sites are peddling. What a relief it was.

    Your FW is not going to come to his senses, KS. Once they cross the Rubicon and cheat, they discover how much they love duping their partner and get hooked on it. He’ll eventually cheat on schmoopie once the drama settles down and domestic routine starts to bore him. Besides, even if he did supposedly change his mind, could you really live with somebody capable of being that callous and vicious? It’s people who are fundamentally crappy who do that, not waywards lost in a mythical fog.
    I suspect there were some red flags to his true character along the way which you spackled. That’s true of almost all chumps, if not all. Bury the dead, KS. In case he eventually hoovers, and he might, slam the door now to preempt him. It won’t be because he loves you, but because he wants to use you again.
    I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.

    I had a false reconciler. He allegedly “saw the light”, quit the affair, and wanted to stay with me after Dday. Though he did not continue to cheat, he did continue to lie about the details of the affair and to treat me horribly. Yeah, he wanted to stay with me in order to eventually pull the same shit on me again because it was so much fun. No thanks. But oh, did he ever go to great lengths to try to cover up his motives. However, he just couldn’t hide his contempt for me. Contempt is what they really feel for us, KS. Yours has made that quite obvious.

    • ” It won’t be because he loves you, but because he wants to use you again.”

      Absolutely. My ex hoovered back to get use of the car so he could do his politicking, and pretend we were “working it out” He treated me like such shit, it only took me a couple days to figure it out. I kicked his ass out, but he had damaged me yet again. That is how little he cared about me as a human being much less his wife of 20 years and the mother of his child.

      And as stinky as what he did was, there are much worse out there. Hell I have read stories where they hoovered back just to have a place to stay for a few days until he and the whore could get into their new apartment, These guys are soulless. They really are.

      Yes I know women do it too, but I focus on men because it was a man in my case.

      • Too cheap to buy his own car and faking R to use yours? FFS. I bet he thought that was a reasonable thing to do, whereas to us it is lunacy.

        Mine admitted he decided to stay with me only after finally realizing his mistress was never going to leave her husband. He had the balls to admit it not because he is honest (he’s a huge liar) but only because he actually thought I’d be pleased to hear that I was his plan b. He couldn’t get it through his head that I wasn’t pleased with that even though I actually let out a blood curdling scream when he repeated it. Over a year later and after having lots of therapy he let me know he finally understood why that was hurtful, but I know he doesn’t care that it hurt me. That would require affective empathy and he only has the cognitive kind, and not much of it at that. He can sort of get why I would feel that way, but knowing it doesn’t have any emotional impact on him.
        I like to call it what they are afflicted with interpersonal insanity.

        • Not quite like that, he was making payments on the car, but I got use of it until our D was final. Also, I don’t think it was totally about the car, but the image of him in the car. From what a couple neighbors told me after the fact, he was telling folks we were getting back together. It was just to snow them long enough to get through the election.

          Except that he couldn’t fake being a human for more than a few days so I kicked him out.

          But yeah, as far as I can tell these fws rarely have any human decency. And as in the case of my ex, may times they are in panic mode trying to save their ass; so they have even less human decency.

          Note: A couple months after that, I bought my own car and turned the car back over to him. As soon as he got that car to his apartment complex someone stole the caddy symbol off the hood of the car. A few days later he came back to me trying to say it was gone when he picked it up. I said if it had been gone you would have seen it gone, then I shut the door in his face. He was trying to get me to pay for it.

          He had rented an apartment in a shitty area. Lol. He should have stayed at the whores trailer park, it would have been slightly safer. It wasn’t like no one knew he had been fucking the whore for years. He had already shit all over himself at work.

          I flat out guarantee he would have seen in the second he got in the car. He was a cop and he noticed everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whore didn’t steal it and give it to one of her punk sons to sell.

    • “Once they cross the Rubicon and cheat, they discover how much they love duping their partner and get hooked on it.”

      This is what chumps struggle to understand: that there are people who get a sick charge out of duping their spouses.

      They may never cheat again with the new person, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they were more than capable of and willing to cheat on us. In fact, these sickos enjoyed it.

    • OHFFS, Even just today reading all these helpful comments it is sinking in a little bit more. He “crossed the rubicon” and I suppose he is so far past the point of no return if he was going to have a “come to Jesus” moment that time has passed…
      When you were in false reconciliation did his horrible treatment make it any easier to leave? And the contempt, yes you’re right about that. I told stbxh a few weeks ago I didn’t deserve his indifference and hostility. His response was, “I’ve never shown you hostility.” I’m a chump, by omission he is telling me he is at indifference. That one was rough, I know it’s over, and I know that should help push me.

      • Yes, KS, his treatment of me made it clear there was no saving the marriage, so I was able to make up my mind very quickly to leave him.

        So your fuckwit doesn’t think it’s hostile to cheat on and mistreat the person he vowed to spend a lifetime with, huh? What a flaming arsehole. I know it’s hard to let go, KS. My fw and me were together 30 years. But let go we must. It gets better and you can do this. ????

  • KS – You are SO not alone in the way you’re feeling.

    I’ll never forget..after finding out that my husband, the man who I built my life around for 19 years, had been fucking whores during his work lunch breaks.

    I looked into his weird, cold, dead stare where his beautiful green eyes used to be, and screamed “who are you?!?!??”

    It didn’t take long until that thought became “who am I???”

    If this shit doesn’t fuck up your mind, there’s something wrong with YOU.

    I wish you peace. You’re not alone.

    • “I looked into his weird, cold, dead stare where his beautiful green eyes used to be, and screamed “who are you?!?!??”I looked into his weird, cold, dead stare where his beautiful green eyes used to be, and screamed “who are you?!?!??””

      That was what struck me. Once he dropped the mask, his beautiful huge blue eyes, turned steel gray and he never again looked at me that is eyes didn’t look like slits. Once we were Divorced he never looked me in they eyes again, at the few grandchildren functions we attended together.

      My son has the big blue eyes too, fortunately so do I so it isn’t as bad as it could be. Son looks more like me/and my dad than my ex.

    • Thank you Givetimetime! That’s a good point, if they can do these awful fucked up things and not suffer a bit of emotional or mental distress over it, there must be something off with them, right? And I asked my stbxh the very same question of “who are you? I don’t even know you!”

      My MIL (who I am still close to and freely admits her son is and idiot,) said a few weeks after D-Day he was practically boasting about how cold he was now. I don’t know if it was his dark sarcasm, or if he really meant it. Sounds like some kind of personality/mental break to me though.

  • KS, too many times those supposed ‘success stories’ are not success stories. They are signing up for another round of abuse and discard. It might resemble a reconciliation, but it’s not. A tiger doesn’t change it’s stripes. I thought I had a success story. I thought my wife was done with that behavior. No, she wasn’t. She just learned to hide it better. It cost me another 22 years and everything I owned and half of all the goals goal I had worked for in life. If I had cut my losses after the first time, I would have been so much better off.

    • thingsthatmakemegrumpy, Thank you for sharing that. Another 22 years, I’m so sorry. How are you doing now? I hear you and know my stbxh can outsmart me with technology in his sleep. I would probably never trust that he wasn’t possibly hiding something from me…

  • My marriage was crumbling when he left, and then I tried for a year to somehow make myself acceptable to him. However, the criticism and contempt had been thick for years, and he always was a stonewaller, sometimes for a month at a time. It was perpetually my fault, and he kept a list of all my faults and failings. He was blameless. I went to a talk by a Gottman-trained professor/therapist some weeks after he left, but it took some time for it to sink in. The foundation was already gone, and then he set it on fire with his departure.

    It took awhile to come to my senses, but it finally came down to trust. I no longer trusted him at all. I didn’t even trust him enough to be in the same room. Our mutual therapist said that people like him really shouldn’t be married. Another therapist that I saw at one point talked with me about how all domestic violence begins with emotional abuse and how she was seeing warning signs. She had me do the MOSAIC threat assessment, which was eye-opening.

    So he kicked off the long-distance divorce process and made it ugly and messy after promising that it would be quick and easy. I hired a superstar that I really couldn’t afford, and he got it settled. His attorney ended up despising my ex, and figuratively threw him to the curb.

    A therapist friend of mine often tells clients that actions speak louder than words when he’s doing marriage counseling. Big actions like affairs and abandonment speak volumes and have to be taken seriously.

    My ex’s actions showed everything I needed to know. Whether he misses me or not, I know that I’m better off without him. He burned the house down, after all.

    • Elsie, thank you so much for sharing your story, he kept a list, wow…Did it help at all to get some validation from professionals about his personality and mental health? I like to imagine if I had that kind of information it might help in the smallest way. But good for you finding a superstar lawyer, I hope you got everything you deserved out of him!
      My stbxh told his mother, who of course told me because we’re still close, that when his lawyer learned who my lawyer was, he said, “Oh she’s an idiot!” I hope that is just a cocky male lawyer saying something shitty to make his client feel better. But, it has made me a bit worried about my lawyer. I know he is paying more for his, I just hope I made the right decision, she had good reviews…
      And yes Elsie, you’re so right I need to be concentrating on what he does and not what he says, thank you!

  • The first time my ex cheated was 6 months in and my insane disordered ass stayed for 28 years. He was especially cruel he showed up at my job as a bartender while on his date and I kicked him out of the bar. I could not believe the sheer abuse I took. There were times he was not cheating and there were times he was but he was never present. He was “poly” but it never was polyamory it was cheating and he steamrolled me into millions of decisions that were not right for me.

    I didn’t remember so much of this until I was gone for about a year. The sheer brainfuck of these people is astounding and you are in the early early days. Two years in, it still sucks but I was there for almost a lifetime. Now its all about raising my kids pretty much alone. I know he will never ever ever play fair. I look for the day my youngest turns 18 (670 days) and I can move away from him and I don’t have to regularly have contact besides important stuff like graduations, weddings, and funerals. You have to muscle through each day in the beginning. Cheer yourself on for the small stuff and I promise the small stuff will get bigger and bigger.

    • I Count, thanks! The small things don’t feel like much to cheer about when I compare myself to my stbxh. He gets to continue on with his life…great job, extra money, a new partner, a place of his own to pretend to stay at instead of OW’s house…lol ok that last one does sound a little pathetic, maybe that is a win for me…
      As someone on the outside, your Ex sounds like a true ass! I hope once your youngest turns 18 you’re able to make all the changes you want to in life 🙂

  • Dear KS, you have gotten great advice here. I’m just writing to say I understand and I’m so sorry. I woke up every day for at least a year and a half waiting for my “real” life to come back.

    Somehow, someway, in the meantime I had begun to build a real life. But the feeling of loss was immense. I once told him it felt like an amputation. (I got no response to that, so I don’t recommend even trying to get them to express any remorse.)

    Trust that they suck … I found that the more stories I had read on here, the more similar patterns of disordered behavior I noticed, the more I believed it. I’ve shared my story before, but my ex abandoned me with no warning, after I had moved across the country for his dream job, we had bought our dream house, complete with new puppy. He lied and lied and lied, only told me he suddenly needed to “be alone,” until I found out he had chased a 19 year old he met god knows where to her college, enrolled in some classes there and moved into her dorm. He was 34. (No, I did not know a 34 year old man with an existing college degree could even move into an undergrad dorm. It still creeps me out.)

    I cried oceans over this man. I twisted myself into Navy knots. I bargained like I was on the floor of the stock exchange. Looking in, it’s easy for you to see that he sucks, right? What was I thinking? That’s why we trust that they suck. It just takes time to see it for ourselves from the inside.

    • Cheesy, I love your metaphors: “…. I twisted myself into Navy knots. I bargained like I was on the floor of the stock exchange.” Made me LOL!

    • Hi CheesyGrits, Thank you, I have been getting so much invaluable advice today. It has truly felt like a special day, knowing so many strangers that TRULY understand what I am going through care and took time out of their days to reach out. I haven’t had anything resembling a special day, let alone a good day, since this started, so it has been nice 🙂

      Mine pulled the “I need to be alone” card right after D-Day as well, but I was a chump and still didn’t believe an affair had started. A 34 year old man allowed to live in a dorm does not sit right with me…My stbxh is 36 and I could definitely now see him having done something similar if it meant living with OW…You’re so right, from the outside looking in your ex does not sound like a man I would ever want to be with, as I am sure mine sounds to everyone else. That is a good perspective exercise, thank you!

  • I hate the Reconciliation Industrial Complex with a complete and total passion. They are no better than quacks who dangle promises of cures in front of desperate cancer patients. I hope that one day soon, when betrayal is recognized as abuse, that there is a class action lawsuit against the RICs and they all end up toothless and living in an un-air-conditioned trailer. They built their empires on the backs of suffering women (mostly…no shade thrown at our male chumps) and children and they know it.

    There are no true, happy reconciliation stories. The closest I ever heard was an aging cheater who had a stroke and it wiped out his memory of being a pervy, gaslighting cheater and he seemingly reveted to the kind midwestern boy he’d been before porn rewired him into an pervert. This could happen to any of us, but we are far more likely to be struck by lightning.

    To paraphrase Forrest Gump, with a cheater, life is always a box of fucking milk duds: you always know what you are going to get. He may promise you the Godiva chocolates you desire, and thought you had, but he is and always will be a dud.

    • PrincipledLife, I agree the RIC as a whole seems comparable to used car salesman as I believe someone else said. I suppose like most chumps who still hung up like I am, we like to think our cheater is deeper than that, if only they got a good wakeup call. But after today I am really seeing, thanks to all you wonderful people here, my cheater is pretty cookie cutter and I should not expect anything different.

    • You know Mitz, right now the only way I can even imagine being less than distraught that he is with the OW is if he someday does the exact same thing to her. A girl can dream I guess… This is the first time he ever cheated, so I’m afraid he is one of those “I did it for true love” cheaters.

      • I thought at first that he had left me for true love too. And maybe he did, after all as it turns out he had been cheating unknown to me for at least ten years of a twenty one year marriage. So it wasn’t like he hadn’t auditioned enough whores. In her case though she was his direct report, so he had his nuts caught in the work place auger, and he wasn’t going to get rid of her easily.

        It is possible that you will figure out later that this was not his first rodeo. Cheaters are sneaky, and they tend to get careless as time goes on.

        Also, I think it is just as likely that she will do to him what he did to you. In fact I hope that does happen to him, he would deserve it. Then and only then will he have an inkling of what he has done.

  • Divorce him. Take a deep breathe and admit that the ONLY person working on saving this marriage is you.

    What is the worst thing that can happen? What if he does come begging in 6 or 12 or 18 months? Well, should you truly still wish to reconcile, you can date again and craft an ass-kicking pre-nup, make him sign it, and have another wedding.

    You lose nothing by moving forward and building the best possible future for yourself.

    (Well, actually, all of us are here to tell you that eventually you will lose the desire to reconcile, but we know it takes awhile and that is a “loss” that someday you will celebrate).

    You are suffering through a tough thing. Keep reading CL. The survival stories here have happier endings than those “success stories” you have become mired in.

    • Thanks Eilonwy, It’s hard to hear but you’re 100% correct, I am definitely the only person even interested in trying to save our marriage. I am doing the tiniest bit of a waiting game to keep using my husband’s health insurance while I try to take care of a few things.

      Deep down I also know I am not mentally prepared to be divorced. I still think of him as my husband, I still call him that. I sound like a sore loser, but I don’t want the OW and him to get exactly what they want. The freedom to openly flaunt their F-ed up relationship and most likely marry. I know that sounds so silly and very counter productive to my life. But I’m a very honest person with myself and others and that is how I feel :/

      • ” but I don’t want the OW and him to get exactly what they want. ”

        Many times letting them get exactly what they want is the best revenge that can happen.

        That was the weirdest thing when I finally accepted (after I let him come back once) that he was a lying pice of crap, all I wanted in the world was for him to marry her. I was literally afraid he would somehow get out of it. I just knew that them being together was the only revenge I could ever get. I was right.

        But, years later when I found CL due to him and the whore blowing up my sons life (son is ok now), I read so many stories of folks who didn’t want the cheater to end up with the OW. It still puzzles me that right out of the gate, that was the very thing I wanted. Not sure why, but for some reason I just knew they deserved each other.

  • does he miss me?

    i’ve recently come to understand, and accept, that my X had the emotional capacity of a 12-year-old; he’s emotionally stuck. i doubt he’s capable of missing me. it’s all about him.

    it’s sad but true.

    i’m sorry you’re in the chump process but you’ve got good company here.

    • Love your name 🙂 I think you’re on to something, by stbxh is acting like a young teenage boy in a mans body…

  • This is what “seeing what they are missing” looks like: I got this steaming pile of bullshit today, which evidently is (was) my 30 year xiversary.

    “Even though you may regret this day, 30 years ago…I don’t. We had a wonderful life, and brought 2 beautiful humans into the world. I hope someday you will not hate me so much and we can be friends. I do miss having you as my very best friend.”

    I didn’t want a “very best friend” I wanted a wife, a mother to our children, a grandmother to our future grandchildren, someone to grow old with, someone I trusted with my life, someone I would take a bullet for. I have plenty of friends thanks.

    Also notice the DARVO in here? It’s MY fault we are not friends. I’m such a bitter non-forgiver for hating the person who hired nasty lawyers to drag my carcass through family court to extract every last molecule of value from me.

    We did have a wonderful life and amazing children. Too bad I’m the only one who could see that 5 years ago.

    • QuantumChump, have you been No Contact? If so, this unsolicited message that she values you may be her attempt to break your silence and get a response, positive or negative, that supports her narrative and image management. So sorry she chose to barge back into your thoughts on a significant anniversary, as so many cheaters do.

      • I am 99 and 44/100th percent no contact. In fact I didn’t even realize it was a significant day and didn’t realize it was 30 years. That’s progress! I have been quite successful at erasing her from my memory banks (unfortunately I’ve erased much of MY past too). Yes, she spins any naritive in which she is not the bad guy. I don’t think she has the emotional capacity to feel remorse. I have forgiven myself for buying into cheap imitation counterfeit love.

        Both beautiful humans she speaks of have finished college since I vowed to myself I would provide a stable home while they studied, so now I have finished my fatherly duties. Not really sure what my role on this planet is now, or how many days I have left, but it’s ME time.

        • QC – Next May would have been my 30th Anniversary. I was able to go grey rock two years ago, divorce was final 8 eight months ago.

          I know that the cheating ended the future of my marriage, but the constant re-framing has stolen most of my memories. I don’t know if healing or time will allow the memories from those years to return.

          Sounds like you found the healthiest balance possible.

    • Well great googly moogly, I would not lie to, cheat or betray my “very best friend.”

      So all that is bullshit.

    • I’m a big time chump and even I can see that message has a basic DARVO undertone. I hope it didn’t derail your day in anyway. If anything it would make me, being a new chump think, hey maybe she does suffer just a little bit, good!

    • That is BAD, QuantumChump. You must feel so relieved to have that phony, manipulative monster 99.4% out of your life. I’m guessing you dealt with this kind of BS daily during chumpdom.

  • I have to admit that the only time I communicate politely with my cheating ex is when I need something from him. I have such an unlimited supply of anger and hurt, that every time he text me it’s like a knee jerk reaction, I can’t stop myself. I hate him for 50/50 kid time because it’s his way of weaseling out of full child support. But I abhor him for taking the kids over to his mistress house( my former friend) for play dates because it is “important for the kids to have continuity”, and he expresses dismay that I am not being a good coparent. I know that my rage is not helpful but I don’t care, it feels good to be a nasty bitch sometimes, especially because they already marked you as one. Oh, and he is upset when I call his lover( who was married and gotten a divorce as well after the reveal of a 3 year affair) a C-word because I am dehumanizing her and him; and he is right because I feel like they are less than human.

    • Yes, mine gets upset when I call the OW a w***e…Well if the shoe fits…I did spend probably weeks 3-10 post D-Day sending sad/sometimes angry emails off and on to my stbxh. I stopped after I discovered he was sharing them all with the OW…I know this is pretty par for the course. But that new level of betrayal cut deep. He was sharing my person thoughts and feeling meant for only his eyes, with her.

      • “He was sharing my person thoughts and feeling meant for only his eyes, with her.”

        It is what they do. They have to devalue the spouse to live with themselves. It has to be someone else’s fault.

        I just think once they open that marriage up to a third party, it is done. It really doesn’t matter if sex has taken place yet or not, though it usually take place early on. By the time we notice it, it is way too late. That is by design. They don’t want us to know until they have settled their new path.

  • Oops, sorry for the double post. That was in response to Persephone and it went haywire.

  • KS. Put down the Hopium and accept the truth by four you’ve been rattled with.

    If this world was cartoon this article would leave you with big bonked out eyeballs and a ‘boiiiiing’ sound.

    You need to get back to the person you were before he whittled away your self respect and convinced you that his treatment somehow equals love.

    Cheating is a dealbreaker for you because you deserve better. Also- lying. Also- breaking up with you by phone? Fool. Coward.

    You didn’t vow to be perfect, you aren’t responsible for the marriage entirely- if he wasn’t happy, he should have shared with you and worked together. This isn’t about that. He doesn’t want the picturesque marriage- he already had that. He wants to manipulate people and put his dick wherever he wants with no consequences.

    File. Get tested. Keep your exercise regimen in place for the endorphins and ptsd rewiring it does. Protect your space in the divorce as much as possible.

    You say you have seen him change before your eyes. Well, this is who he wants to be. Who he always was, and now he’s tired of the costume changes of always pretending to be decent. He ran out of Jekyll and Hyde potion perhaps. Who knows.

    The point is- there’s no meeting him in the middle on this. You deserve and are better. And he is currently sent on rage, you will probably get charm or self pity as the divorce progresses but absorb this part of him as who he is. And fuel it to get out of bargaining and into anger.

    After these years he does this? He treats you this way after being amazing? And lies to you to boot. Fuck this guy.

    And when he does come crawling back, because he probably will, leave him on the porch- for social distancing and go grab those cookies from the freezer. Run to the bathroom and read chump lady for five minutes. All the times the promises were ash. Just lies – for divorce manipulation for for sick head games, whatever. And then take those cookies and lemonade out to him. And listen to him try to con you while he shoves his gob full. Assumes that you are dumb enough to buy that he and his coworker he’s shacked up with are totally not anything- just buddies. That he just got scared because things were sooooo good with you guys, that they couldn’t be real so he ran away, Yknow? Yknow? And nod and smile, and say- gosh, well. I think I need to think about it. Why don’t you go back home and I’ll let you know what I think tomorrow. And his eyes will go dead like a sharks. And he wont let that last long but for just a second you’ll see him annoyed that you’re not just clamouring for him. But. A little chase is good sometimes. He will brush off those crumbs and kiss your cheek and say he loves you and head to his car. And as he drives away you’ll look at your watch and wonder how long the Metamucil fibre and ex lax chocolate in the cookies will take to make him shit himself, he’s so good at getting his car detailed monthly. Hmmm.

    You’ll tidy up the lemonade and cookies and go back inside humming something- maybe ‘I love myself, and I don’t need anybody else’ …. And set a reminder to text him tomorrow that you want the divorce and you don’t think it’s a good idea for him to come to the house anymore.

    And then have a good night.

      • I have been on CL for a long time. I used to be sooooo good at being witty. And then I went full blown ptsd and spent three years climbing out of ptsd hell, along with getting laid off and potentially reconciling and … the funny was a bit lost in the panic disorder. But honestly, the healing was worth putting the ‘funny as defender mechanism’ on hold.

        This week, I have been feeling downright glib. I’m going to lean into it and see if CR has her witty groove back

    • That cookie story! Made me laugh for the first time in awhile, thank you that was great 🙂

  • For one brief moment after Dday, I tried to call my STBX to say, “Hey, let’s call off the divorce. Let’s just go back to how we were. Forget this ever happened.”

    Thank GUS he never answered the phone. He didn’t answer because we’d just hung up from a conversation that pissed him off.

    This is one time I’m grateful he had a tantrum and relied on his usual punish-through-silence manipulative tactic.

    Here’s what I think would have happened if I had I had backed up my truck and dumped a stockpile of let’s-reconcile pleas on him. Pleased beyond words that I still pined for him, he would have said, “No way” or “maybe we can get back together later.” And he would have been so happy. Basically, I would have given him a lifetime supply of KIBBLE.

    And I would have felt small, very small. I would have regretted it forever. Phew!

    • Yes thank you Spinach@35, Good for you! On the rare occasion I have anger and not sadness I think, ugh I wish I hadn’t given him as many kibbles as I had! If only I had pulled an epic fuck you and just left. But I am still a lowly chump…

  • Reality is that he shat on you, and the gift of your trust. Many times. An affair is many choices and actions. He is not a prize. He is a cheater. He sucks. It takes time for your heart to catch up. Many of us walked the hoping, pick-me-dance path for a while (maybe my investment can be regained) it just prolongs the pain. Rip off the bandaid. Step away from the hopium pipe. Lawyer up and keep reading.

    • Onwards, I know I must not be a hopeless care when it brings me joy to see: “He is not a prize. He is a cheater. He sucks.” Thank you!

  • Next time he is mean to you, if that should happen, just say “Look, I know you hate me. You can stop trying to convince me.” Then let it go.

    • Hi Sue, I wish I had had that line ready a few times. It reminds me of one of the few times I saw my stbxh in person after D-Day. He felt the need to once again practically yell in my face, “I don’t love you anymore!” I just started crying and said, “I know, you don’t have to keep telling me.” That one was rough.

  • KS, pay attention to what you wrote here: “Maybe if his affair ends before we file he will come back on hands and knees, begging…”

    What is this “before WE file”? You have to stop thinking as “we” and start taking charge of your life. You find the best, toughest attorney and FILE. Let him respond to you. You aren’t getting a divorce together. You are doing this for you, to get free of the lies and gaslighting and cheating and get back to being mighty and not a chump. “If his affair ends after I file, he will be out in the cold because for me, cheating is indeed a deal breaker.” Time to get on with your life. It will take time to stop feeling in love with who you thought he was, but start working on that now. Trust someone who carried a torch for a man for 30+ years only to find out he prefers alcohol and drugs. Don’t give your love to someone who can’t love you back.

    • Thank you LovedAJackass. I do have a lawyer and have actually sent one offer his way which he was not receptive of. The few times I do feel angry I know the only way to hurt him is financially. With very few assets, no children, and a no fault state, the best I can hope for is a few years of transitional alimony. He makes more than 4x what I do so he probably won’t feel it too much.

  • Absolutely get your own lawyer. Get your ducks in a row – see CL archives. Do NOT expect him to assist you through this. You have a very brief window where he might agree to some important concessions in a settlement you negotiate through your lawyer.

  • I am quite certain all these divorce proof RIC rackets use timeframe guarantees. It’s like reviewing cancer treatments- success is not a guarantee of a full long cancer free life.
    90% following this plan make it one year (because you pay up front and there’s wait times in most states)
    80% make it two years (while cheater learns new tricks, gets a burner and betrayed spouse clings to hope because they mortgaged the house for this program
    70% make it three years of more and tbats a great success rate right? (After 26 months all guarantees expire so you’re either going to re-enroll or divorce or stop trying to stop the inevitable) this could be you! If you make it 3 years you must get over it and end up on a porch swing together.

    It’s not success. It’s acceptance of fate, and how long they track their victims oops I mean patients and how wel they brainwash the betrayed to think they have to dance harder to make the affair partner stay.

    You know who deserves a hard working spouse ? The one who never strayed, the one who stayed.

    In all seriousness:
    I have a few blogs I follow with people who have reconciled. But they still struggle, they acknowledge their lives would have been easier and potentially happier if they divorced. They are happy. Their partner is committed to ongoing recovery and improvement. And they are sparse.

    But reading their stories of surviving, of reconciliation was actually what made me see I needed to leave.
    One: the man I married claimed he was all in on finding help but he wasn’t. It dissipated and came to nothing. If he wasn’t going to work on finding a way to stop blowing our money on hookers and sex chats and knocking up coworkers … then there was nothing to work with. Secondly. I love these people I have met in my blogosphere. Love them. They tended to me when I was beyond broken and showered me with compassion and love. And over the years I hurt for them at how hard their path is. I wish I could make it lighter. Easier. And I can’t. But- I knew I didn’t want to have to work that hard to be happy, especially when my partner wasn’t doing his share because it would be bound to fail.

    So yes. It could happen. But it won’t. You’re not the exception. You’re the rule. Divorce his ass and give love to the people who deserve it.

    • You know I think hearing stories of how reconciliation doesn’t work almost every time is something I haven’t run into much. I either read the “success” stories, or the painful but truthful stories of us chumps, moving on. I guess I don’t run into a ton of people, except here, willing to admit their attempts at reconciliation failed. But I need to hear those cautionary tales, so thank you!

  • He devalued you this much in order to betray you and then discard you. Imagine how much he would devalue you if you actually took him back knowing what he did to you.
    It’s pretty crappy when they discard you and just takeoff. Mine discarded me and thought he could just stay in our home until he worked everything out – because it was his home too! That’s pretty crappy as well, I would’ve gotten to see him every day texting the OW. He was shocked when I told him to leave. I had become an absolute chair to him. The lack of empathy is incredible.
    It took me a very long time to stop wanting him back, to stop weirdly thinking he would want to come back because he would realize what we had…….. basically it took me a long time to trust that he sucked because he played Mr. perfect pants until Dday. So I felt like 0W had gotten my prize.
    Once the truth sets in re what kind of an asswipe could do this to another person, you won’t want him back. The loss of the life you had or at least you thought you had may be mourned for a very long time, but you won’t actually want that fuckwit back because he’s not who you thought he was.

    • Zip, yes I am struggling with the exact thing you described:

      “…basically it took me a long time to trust that he sucked because he played Mr. perfect pants until Dday. So I felt like 0W had gotten my prize.”

      That’s pretty much me in a nutshell right now. I’m glad to hear you overcame that and I pray I can, too!

      • KS, yes of course you can get over it. It will take time, no contact and feeding your brain the right information. I’m sure your image of perfect pants FW did not involve him lying, manipulating, cheating on you, dumping you
        with zero empathy etc. etc. This is the sleazeball that you’re longing for. Forget about the other guy in your mind. He is long gone. The one you’re mourning is the one who can look you in the eyes and lie to you… all the while having a great time betraying you, have inside jokes with OW, and have all kinds of intimacy building with someone who likes to fuck other peoples husbands.
        It’s like you’re longing for a great chocolate cake that was really made with human shit but well disguised because of some chemicals. Do you still want that shit cake?
        The chumped H of the OW in my case is already engaged again.
        I haven’t ventured out there yet, but hats off to him. He knew his cheating W was a narcissistic piece of crap. He ventured out and met somebody else who is a single mom and now they’re getting married and building a new home. I know this from Facebook! I’m sure for some people, meeting somebody good who values you helps with getting over a FW.

      • Hang in there, it is tough when you truly loved someone.

        I remember one day when I was out for my walk (I have always been a walker) it was a couple months after he left. I was stressing over the fact that he had his freedom and he gets to do whatever he wants and he, he, he. Then I literally stopped dead in my tracks about three block from home and thought “wait a minute, I get my freedom too” That thought had not occurred to me up to that point. It didn’t take away all the pain, and yes I was still so lonely for a while longer; but it was a definite break through for me.

        I knew that even though I was not ready yet to move on, I knew that when I was ready I could do it.

        I was 40 and I worked for DoD so meeting someone else was almost inevitable. I didn’t think I would ever want to remarry, but I did want to be emotionally stable before I dipped my toe in.

        You are only 35 if I remember right. You are in your prime and if you don’t ever want to marry again, you don’t have to. But, it doesn’t mean you have to live secluded.

        I gently advise getting a legal separation as soon as you can. It can be reversed down the line, but it will legally protect you.

  • Thank you so much Kathryn! That is a very good “test” question. I have been dealing with a few medical issues the past 2 1/2 years, probably endometriosis. It has been very painful and Covid didn’t help with getting this diagnosed and resolved. It put a damper on our sex life, and I feel guilt about this pushing my stbxh away. My mother has pointed out time and time again, “Why would you want a man that would leave you when you needed him most? Better you find out now instead of down the road when you get older and possibly very very sick one day.” I know this is very true, he obviously failed the character test. But, it still hurts to be left in a vulnerable state like this…

  • I smoked hopium for about 4 months and this was before I had my d-day (he just moved out one day). I filed for divorce 3 months later when I found out there was someone else.

    2 years later and Im still married. He’s still with her and while that sucks I know he regrets what he’s done. The karma bus has flattened him while the kids and I are doing better without him. Oh well hope she was worth it.

  • As someone who was completely discarded and abandoned, I can definitely relate to this post. I know chumpdom isn’t a pain olympics scenario, but I still catch myself wishing my cheater had tried to come back and/or given me a chance to even do one reel of a “Pick Me!” dance (even though that would have been humiliating as well). Instead, he gleefully coasted out of our quarter century together and immediately began to cohabit with OW. They are still a couple in spite of the statistical odds of that ever occurring. So many triggers pop up which make me wish I had begged him to come back as living all alone (while additionally childless) truly hurts. Being rendered a disposable human is painful beyond description. Even dog shit sticks in someone’s life longer than he let me remain in his. HE instituted “No Contact” for us and strictly enforces it to remain faithful to OW! (The last time he and I ever spoke, he remarked, “What am I supposed to tell her?!?!” expressing utter fear that OW would find out we had communicated).

    • Dog shit on a shoe*…I meant. Anyway, he never came crawling back like my friends and family assured me he would do. I wasn’t worth it. He feels he has upgraded and is thrilled with his decision.

    • I’m so sorry. I was discarded too but I still managed to pick me danse because he’d come over and say he missed me etc. The whole thing was really sudden, unexpected, unbelievable and beyond traumatizing. I’ve had a few friends say I should write a book, and I tell them I’m not alone – there are a lot of strange stories out there.
      I too also remember the feeling of utter shock ( and a punch in the gut) when he told me he was protecting the OW from me ( why not revealing who she was ).
      And I so get the wish that if there had to be cheating… that I could’ve been the one to dump his ass. Instead he framed it as ‘he left me’.
      But for those of us who were discarded we don’t have to frame it that way. We can be the authors of our life. I tell myself the truth… that he was a cheater, he was a fake, he was a covert narcissist, he was a liar, he was a manipulator ….. he is a very very mixed up empty and shallow man. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

      • Same here. Discarded and he did his best to destroy me while he did the discard. The discard wasn’t enough for him. I truly believe that he was trying to push me to suicide. That suited his narrative and financially would have left him in clover. And he nearly succeeded. No kids (this is a man who went to work while I was having a miscarriage in my early 40s). He has never admitted the affair, although going off to see his ex school gf who had moved to Canada 25 years previously for New Year 3 months after he left was a clue to those of our friends and family who chose to see it. Most of them looked the other way. His narrative was that it was his decision: ‘it is what it is’. Well I didn’t discover the emails proving the affair until 2 months after he had gone. Otherwise the decision would have been mine. He knew adultery was a dealbreaker so he lied about that too. One of the hardest parts of this has been accepting that the man I chose to love, trust, respect, support for 26 years was and is a despicable, disgusting human being. The cognitive dissonance and self-blame are huge and traumatising. Others do not believe that he is that bad. I stay quiet because people think I am bitter. I’m not bitter. I’m sad, damaged, scarred.

    • Still I Rise, I hear you. It was so hurtful to know my husband was so completely, 100% done with me after 14 years. Him knowing full well we will most likely never see each other again didn’t even make him bat an eye. He instituted No contact on his part, just like your ex. And he moved right in with OW, still denying he had/has been cheating…They are 29 and 36, they will probably end up married and I am so afraid I will not be mentally prepared for that if it comes quickly. I am honestly starting to question these “statistics” about the number of affair partners that marry and stay together 5 years plus. I have a sneaking suspicion it is a much higher number than we are led to believe.

  • Well, I’m in a mood so this. Cheating is the end of any relationship. There’s no fixing it…..there’s no $500 dollar course or $3000 dollar retreat that will make you trust them again. When trust is broken, there’s no fix that I’ve ever encountered. If you don’t believe me then you’re mind movies of them and AP will convince you eventually. Even IF, they do everything “right” you will never think of them in the same way. I took mine back after d day number one and “winning” the pick me dance……you think it was even remotely the same? You think intimacy would be the same? It’s not. It’s fucking weird and a million thoughts will race through you’re head if you do. Guess what…….they’re all bad thoughts. You don’t deserve this. No one does. All betrayal is bad but this one in particular is something more than betrayal. Yes, you should be angry, but don’t let that anger define you. You have to move on, that’s the only choice.

    • sheepwhodancewithwolves, You know, I hadn’t really thought in emotional terms what it would be like to be intimate with my stbxh again. Especially knowing what I know now. I can imagine it would be just as you described..fucking weird…and probably traumatizing, too. Thank you for that new perspective!

  • I haven’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if my comment is duplicative to the ones above. Be wary of those “success stories” on RIC sites. And yes, the scare quotes are intentional.

    During my 6 weeks of pick me dancing hell, I was fortunate to have a few group therapies of “an affair saved my marriage” types of groups, and I met a few of these “success stories” in person.

    These people were twitching messes. They were basically full time marriage police and didn’t trust their spouse, they had car and phone GPS’s on the Cheater, at all times. NONE of them looked happy or joyful over their “success”. They all spoke angrily about the Cheating and their Cheater, some years after DDay.

    I was lucky I got to meet these success stories in person. I can assume if I only “met” them online, they would be painting a rosy picture to validate their decisions. Like all the fakeness on Facebook.

    To me, if that is what “success” looks like, give me my “failure” any day of the week. My life is 1,000% better without Dracula.

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