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He Left to Join the Circus

trapeze
Lithograph by Calvert Litho. Co., 1890

Dear Chump Lady

I think my friends are getting sick of my rants about my abusive ex and sometimes I just don’t know when my rage and sadness at the unfairness of it all will stop. My incredulity at his awfulness is the gift which keeps on giving.

Hard to summarise it all here, but in a nutshell: After 25 years together, my ex left me to join the circus. An underworld cast of magicians (of which he is one), prostitutes, webcam girls and swingers who don’t believe conventional reality is worthy of respect and who mock marriage and monogamy.

I found social media accounts with help of a private investigator, ‘friends’ online who look like whores, dating site involvement, dressing up stuff which suggests he was into BDSM, freakish stuff to do with witchcraft (‘using magnets to increase your sexual attractiveness’) and a video still (recovered by PI) of an orgy which was ‘professionally shot’, along with lots of video equipment, which I didn’t even know the pervert had. I had wondered about affairs because he was doing weird stuff with his phone all the time, locking himself in bathroom for ages, etc. I also found a couple of messages from women that he claimed must have been sent in error. But I never expected this underground freakshow.

I found all this out just at the beginning of the pandemic, when his stonewalling and nasty rages had led me to say ‘Hey, go stay at your mum’s for a bit’. I had just started a new job, literally six weeks in, when all this shit hit and both kids were doing online school too. It was so surreal and traumatic. When I confronted ex over the phone about some of my finds (still haven’t told him everything I know), he denied anything was off, said the stuff was for his ‘shows’ (what shows?), put the phone down when I told him I had evidence he used prostitutes and was connected to webcam girls, and refused to engage.

This was the man I supported through two bouts of ‘depression’ because he hated his job for the past 5 years, found a job for at my last company (though he didn’t hang on to it and lied to me about how it came to an end), and who swore he would never turn out like his father (cheating lying arsehole).

I changed the locks and filed for divorce within weeks of these revelations. I asked to discuss his ‘alternative life’ and how we would deal with the kids. But he refused. Never met or spoke to me again after what I thought would be a few weeks apart while he was at his mum’s. He never came for his stuff. Just abandoned his old life completely. Refused to meet with mutual friends for a chat or coffee about WTF happened here. He didn’t even ask to see the kids until I suggested it.

The divorce was final 6 months ago. I last saw him 18 months ago. It is like the old person I remember (who was sweet, devoted and caring for most of our years together) died. My teenage daughter doesn’t want to see him as she knows he cheated and saw him change into someone she didn’t recognise. My son is having a break from him because he too needs time to process, but has no idea of the order of stuff.

My question to you is, how on earth will I find a spring in my step again? I feel so battered by all this toxic stuff, will it ever heal? I used to feel optimistic. Now I feel sad a lot and shocked by how my life turned out. Did he win? Meaning he got away without any accountability. I know I am better off without him. But I just want some of my old joy back. Tuesday feels a long time away.

Yours

Freakshownowmore

Dear Freakshownomore,

I assume you’re speaking metaphorically here — he left to join an underground sex circus? Ringling Bro. and Brothels? Cirque du Sol Fuckwit? Watch the Great Wankini pull a prostitute out of a hat!

I’m sorry. My mind goes to strange places.

If my mail over the years has taught me anything, it’s that there is a wild, weird variety of double lives out there. (Magicians. Huh. We’ve also had dancing Yetis, pagan scythes, and doggy-cam D-days. I’m shock proof.) It’s totally normal for chumps to feel like Freak of the Week after discovery, but I assure you, it’s a big circus tent. You’re not alone. (Heck, we have contests about this stuff.)

But back to you.

webcam girls and swingers who don’t believe conventional reality is worthy of respect and who mock marriage and monogamy

Okay. If it’s all beneath contempt, why was he fronting a conventional life with a conventional wife and children? Why wasn’t he living his high-minded principles? Oh right. You were of use, what with paying the bills and homeschooling kids through a pandemic. Funny how after discovery, cheaters craft treachery as a noble quest for authenticity.

Whatevs.

freakish stuff to do with witchcraft (‘using magnets to increase your sexual attractiveness’)

Could you connect him to an engine block?

I told him I had evidence he used prostitutes and … webcam girls, and (he) refused to engage.

I’m sure he’ll be very happy with his pay-by-the-hour friends who just love him for him.

Never met or spoke to me again … He never came for his stuff. Just abandoned his old life completely.

Well hey, you can’t compete with a six-ring sex circus.

He didn’t even ask to see the kids until I suggested it.

Don’t suggest it. Don’t manage his relationships for him. Rookie chump mistake. Let the kids figure out the Disappearing Fuckzino on their own (and with some therapy). Perhaps he’s shackled in a box, or being sawn in half, and can’t come to the phone.

My question to you is, how on earth will I find a spring in my step again?

It’s been 6 months since your divorce. 18-months since D-day. Give yourself a break. You’re allowed to feel like crap. You’ve been through some monumental trauma. Working and simultaneously home-schooling teenagers during a pandemic is enough to break the average person. Now add in your marriage imploding because your husband fancies himself a sex wizard? Friend, congratulate yourself for getting through another day.

You’ll have a spring in your step again (happens on a Tuesday), but first kick the shit out of something. I get the sad. You’re exhausted. But consider how you propped this guy up and managed his life. And he repays you how? By siphoning off family funds to indulge his sex fantasies? By using you? And then abandoning his children? Get mad. Channel it. Be energized to rebuild your life for the better.

He’s done you a big favor (bitch cookie) with the no contact.

I feel so battered by all this toxic stuff, will it ever heal?

Yes. But you’ll wear the battle scars and have a much lower tolerance for stupidity and injustice. The shit sandwiches never taste delicious, but at least you’ll be able to discern that they are, in fact, shit sandwiches.

I used to feel optimistic. Now I feel sad a lot and shocked by how my life turned out. Did he win?

Did he win?! He’s an under-employed magician with a hooker habit.

clown

In the great Life Winner Hall of Fame, he’s gum on the sidewalk.

What did he “win”? Unfettered time to play Spanky the Clown? Who will finance his web ladies now? Or the battery of needed STD tests?

You have your kids! (And all the attendant work. I get it.) You have authenticity. You have GUTS.

Look at how you navigated yourself out of this shit show and be PROUD. I know it’s really hard to have faith in your future, to feel optimistic when everything is shit — but what other choice is there? Get pulled into the undertow and drown? Let Sneezy the Syphilitic Sorcerer be the last thing you ever invest in? Is that the legacy you want?

Get some rest. Be kind to yourself. Then give yourself the sort of bolstering you’ve been wasting on him for years.

I predict you’ll bounce again. Far away from the fuckwit calliope.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You changed the locks and divorced him already? You didn’t suck on the hopium pipe? Book marriage counseling appointments? Convince yourself he was suffering from temporary insanity and you would be the “strong woman” who got him through it? I suspect you’re going to get to your Tuesday a lot faster than I got to mine. But don’t worry, your brain will take the needle off the outrage record some day, and your best of friends will talk about it as long as you need to. You have a great independent life ahead of you, promise!!!

    • I agree
      You are mighty…. 18 month from a D-Day with teenagers at home, during pandemic, with a new job, and you are divorced- living your life?
      OMG you are MIGHTY!!!!!!
      Sending love and good vibes

    • Yes! Best friends and family will hold your head above water for as long as you need them. It was MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS before it dawned on me that I had not been asking ANYONE how they were doing in response to them asking me. Be kind to yourself…cut yourself ALL kinds of slack. This is the worst, but you can do this. One foot in front of the other and one breath after another. It does get better. (I haven’t quite reached Tuesday yet, but I can imagine how it will feel.)

    • Thank you Strugglingnomore, I did do counselling and hopium for the 5 years prior to D day, at the altar of his depression. Many people said (including him), many people would mot have ‘waited’ for him to get his shot together for that long. But I loved him, our family, and was invested. I now see the amputation as painful but necessary, if only I had known before that the depression was a great subterfuge. Though I agree with what others have said here, he does sound mentally ill with it all.

      • Oh yes…seeing him through his depression. I tried that too…for way too long.

        I will never forget the day I finally cleaned out all of my books, I was embarrassed that one could have read the roadmap of my life looking at my books and “Depression Fallout” was about 2/3 of the way in.

        I will list books, but these were actually genres with a few in each category… started with the Mars Venus book, onto “The Power of a Praying Wife”, to “Midlife Crisis”, “When One Spouse Wants Out” to “Depression Fallout” then to some glurge about what to do right after they leave and eventually widowhood books.

        I wanted to hide them in different places in the donation boxes so that I didnt look like a cliche. This was all pre CL.

        Amputation, yes…painful but necessary. With a thorough cleaning of the wound (and your letter and this discussion is a good cleansing moment) it will heal.

        My life now is SO different and SO much better, when I stop living my now-great life to contrast then with now, its shocking. Just this morning, I had a moment in the same room where he used to live with him and I thought “this is the same carpet we stood on before in that old life, I cant believe how different everything is and yet this is the same carpet” (that is kind of stupid, but Im simple sometimes).

        About 2 weeks ago, I had a growth moment…I went to a HS reunion and I ended up telling no one about his abuse and ghastly history…not even a whisper to an old buddy. It was finally in my past enough to not deserve to be spoken. As a person who managed to vomit my truth on about 300 people at various times, it was a milestone.

        Keep going

        • Thanks Unicornnomore. I get your carpet moment, I do that stuff too. And as for vomiting your truth about the abuse on everyone I get that too. Awful we have to act out crazy to get sane. Further mindfuckery designed by cheater.
          Yup re the depression books. I read what he wouldn’t. Such a bloody good student of what should have been his homework. But no, he was too busy learning trapeze skills and how to make chimps clap.
          Your story of progress and moving on is heartening.

      • There’s something fundamentally broken in this man. Most people would jump through hoops for their marriage and appreciate someone doing the same for them.

        The fact he doesn’t? He’s got a screw loose. Missing the human empathy chip. Whatever you call, he’s defective.

        That’s not your fault.

  • Dr Omar Minwalla, take a bow. The secret sexual basement has been discovered again by another unsuspecting victim.

    Mmm. All that unconventional sex sounds very edgy. But people like this don’t age well.

    You know what ages well? Decency, integrity, respect, honesty, loyalty. Real love.

    I’m so very sorry this happened to you. You deserve so much better.

      • Really grateful for the link Lola Granola. The secret sexual basement is such a good description for this ‘place’ and yes it is so subterranean.
        Absolutely right about the avlues which age well, I must hang on to that.

          • Interesting article. I’m curious about the book; I’m glad to know there are other women like me who have been questioning our so-called sexual liberation. I’ve always thought it was just another way of telling women what to do and how to think.

            Personally, I’ve never felt as sexually free as a man. Why would I? Women are more physically vulnerable and have a lot more at stake than men when it comes to sex.

            And the porn that’s come from this “freedom” is grotesquely debasing; it’s very likely making women even more vulnerable collectively. There is just no way that it’s not affecting people’s values, attitudes, and behavior.

            Anyway, it was a good read. Thanks for sharing.

            • ChumpQueen, I so much agree with you. After several waves of feminism, I have the impression the problem has only been changed but is far from resolved. And perhaps it’s irresolvable. I grew up with MTV where women were displayed around fancy cars and Britney Spears appeared to be in control of her sexuality. What a ridiculous thought to think these women were sexually liberated.

            • Porn has damaged an entire generation of young men now

              1/3 of young teen males say they have fantasies of sexually violent predation of girls, ideas they say they got from porn

              Porn is a pestilence on society

    • True–they DONT age well, and when they start looking old and tired, they don’t get invited to the kinky parties with the young things anymore. And he’s not going to get any more employable–he was a deadweight on your family life financially. He’s already diving downward headlong, while you are much more solvent financially without him, and free of his horrible influence on you and the kids. It feels painful now, but when the haze of shock and pain has cleared (and it will!!) you will realize your life is so much better without him. It’s OK to grieve your losses now, the spring will come back, I promise!

      • Absolutely. Reading this letter, I was reminded of a song:

        “You got girls that sing and dance, I hear one’s an acrobat
        You got ’em swinging from the chandelier, well honey, I don’t swing like that
        The main attraction’s leaving, let the side show pay the rent
        Take this diamond back, and you’ll be two rings shy of the big top tent”
        – Miranda Lambert

        Let the sideshow pay his rent. You’re mighty. ❤️

      • Yup, finances were going down the pan and have improved since he left.
        Thanks for telling me spring will be back, it’s what I need to hear! Pandemic hasn’t helped of course, my world came crashing time at same time and it’s hard to think of a new normal right now. Others have said the same on here, it’s a double whammy.

      • This is a good term of art we should include into the CN lexicon: “not going to get any more employable”…

        So, so true. These Disordereds that aren’t killing it in the workforce don’t get better on the job with age, either.

    • I always recommend the film *Shame* directed by the brilliant Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor) for any chump still suffering from lingering delusions that the kink underground/fuckfest lifestyle is fun or in any way liberating or that you were chumped for being too “vanilla.”

      A dose of that film is a needed sad, depressing, effed-up, gross-out emetic. https://youtu.be/Op9iQiB_ANI

      • Funny you should mention it, a friend of mine keeps saying to watch. I will but right now I worry it might trigger me. As for whether I was chumped for being too ‘vanilla’, maybe that’s partly true. What’s wrong with vanilla I think? The kink underground world he frequented is so disturbing because it was so not him in the life he had with me, Mr Nice Guy as CL says. The need to polarize and project was manifesting with him in other ways – he seemed to want the world to recognise his ‘greatness’ and he got more and more critical of everyone and everything in the months leading up to D-day. Like normal life had become a drag. Mind you he cheered up and came off antidepressants in his final months here, which I suspect was down to bagging a ‘stable’ kink partner. Or maybe two for the price of one, I will never know.

        • Vanilla comes from the seed of a tropical orchid that lives for one day and then perishes. It’s the second most expensive spice in the world. If anyone says you’re vanilla, say thank you. You’re rich, rare, sought after and hard to get.

          • I love vanilla. I have a subsequent spouse who is happily vanilla with me. We plan on getting old relishing our happily vanilla romantic life. He gets annoyed when I tell him that he is wonderfully trustworthy, but we here know what the opposite of that is like.

          • That’s very beautiful. I will remember this. I think far too many men & women manipulate others into sexual deviancy by calling them vanilla. I know it was attempted on me several times, but my boundaries were intact emough to fend off at least this manipulation.

        • You didn’t get chumped for being too vanilla, you got chosen for it. He is likely running away from himself, and thought you were the perfect cover.

          I had the same make, model and serial number. By the end of my marriage, he’d spent so much time wallowing in the subculture of prostitution that he was unable to understand any relationship other than through this transactional lense. He wasn’t like this when we met, but I realized by the end he’d just internalized that assumption that everyone is out for money, everyone is trying to take advantage of everyone else, and anything that’s good for someone else must be bad for him.

          • “You didn’t get chumped for being too vanilla, you got chosen for it. ”

            Yes, our vanilla selves were presentable, predictable, respectable, and valuable.

            But when their treachery was discovered, the same traits they valued in us were weaponized as excuses.

            He liked to keep his deviance a deep secret.

            One day, LONG after his treachery and death, I was getting dressed up to go out and in a split second while catching a last glance in the mirror before the evening began, I thought to myself “If you had put Cheater in a room with 100 attractive women, he would have picked me”. He initially chose me for reasons
            (likely good – albeit selfish – reasons)
            His inability to find contentment with a really good partner was his failing.

        • You weren’t chumped for being “too vanilla.”

          It’s another pitiful excuse from abusers who want to justify their abuse somehow.

      • Yes, it’s a great film. The disordered freak protagonist is a pitiful wreck of a human being who is self-medicating with sex. Many fuckwits are a lot like this guy. Mine was a hypersexual self-medicator, except he is too introverted and insecure to seek out lots of partners, so he used porn instead. The first time a woman actually hit on him was the OW, and he was gone instantly, mindlessly chasing his fetish for drunken bad girls, telling himself it was twu wuv to make it feel less sleazy.

        I’m somewhat torn about the fuck freaks and compulsive kinksters, because I do feel bad for lost people, but I also can’t help but look down on them. They wear porn goggles 24/7 and use others as objects. There is no such thing as abusive kink that is loving and intimate as they ridiculously claim it is. Emotional intimacy requires deeply connecting with the whole and the humanity of another person. You can’t objectify and abuse and ever be able to achieve that or get it by servicing a fetish. Fetishes are all about *disconnecting* from the humanity of others.

        What I really despise are the militant kinksters who try to paint “vanilla” folks as unenlightened prudes and conservative bigots because we don’t think abusive sex is okay. I think many of them are straight up psychopaths. I was stalked and my life was threatened by a gang of BDSM militants and I know other people who’ve experienced their bullying.

        • Psychopaths definitely infect the kink community and when uncovered should be summarily named, shamed and prosecuted when necessary. They are a menace.

          Nothing wrong with vanilla – IT’S GREAT.

        • I tell kinksters who try to vanilla shame (yawn) that my kink is kink shaming.

          I’m with you that I think many involved in BDSM and sex work are broken. I can see the humanity of it but only until that person tries to exploit or harm another, proselytizes the lifestyle without seriously warning of the downsides, norm-shames or otherwise coercively drafts others.

  • The good news: you will heal.

    The less than good news: it takes a very very very long time.

    I had to stop thinking about “when will I feel better”. It was a recipe for making me feel worse and amplifying the feelings of hopelessness.

    I had to keep my mind in day at hand. Change my thinking to what do I need to do TODAY. This MOMENT.

    If you have to eat a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you can only do one bite at a time.

    • If I had cancer and didn’t know it, and found out, and was totally cured, I would be elated and relieved. This is the same, but it took me a long time to scrape all the boilerplate layers of facade off to realize who he is. Would I be glad I had cancer? Heck no, but I’d be glad to find out and be able to do something about it. Our true selves are who we are when we think no one is looking. Con artists are masters of the Nice Guy/Gal facade. I can’t ever control what happens to me but I can control how I respond. That was true before I found out I was married to a cheater.
      That will always be true.

      I saw the new James Bond movie the other night. The most memorable part of the film was the opening theme song, where Billie Eilish sings, “I had fallen for a lie/ you were never on my side”. That is my “marriage” in a nutshell.

      The person who discovers they are married to a lying, cheating, stealing, fraudulent, traitorous, hazardous to your emotional/mental/physical health, and gets away, is the winner.
      Not the liar cheater traitor thief fraud.

      Cheaters are a dime a dozen. Loyal people of integrity are rare. Both groups are defined by conduct. I don’t want to be a part of the lowlife flock. Leave lowlife flock and let the birds of a feather fuck together. Be an eagle and go soar with the other eagles.

      • VH both your posts were pure gold to me. I have been doing the “day at hand” thing and it is helping. I’ve been dealing with and upset today by a Switzerland couple, so-called “friends.” Reading what you’ve written clarified a lot for me and cemented my feelings that these do-gooders haven’t got a bloody clue about what we chumps have been dealt and what we have been forced to deal with, the “shit sandwiches” we’ve had to eat. They’re vacuous idiots and not worth getting upset about. Thank you.

    • Yes, the one day at a time thing means we have to be very Buddhist. But then the trainwreck feeling can kick and leave you ranting and fuming about what damage the fuckwit left behind..
      I was going to meditation now and again but that ‘calm’ phase seems to have eluded me for the moment.
      I hate hearing healing will take very very very long – like please can I sleep through some of it?..
      Or can you lie to me someone and say it will take a very long time?
      Thank you Velvet Hammer, I have internalised a lot of your posts.

      • Staying in the moment does not mean feeling All Is Well 24/7/365.

        It means being honest about how I am feeling at any given moment, respecting how I feel, acknowledging it, allowing it, and not responding destructively or critically when I am filled with rage….

        Check out Thicht Nat Han on anger….

        ❤️

      • Hang in there Freakshownomore. It does get better slowly but you’re a strong person. As Velvet Hammer says focus on “the day at hand” and your feelings as they arise. Take care of yourself.

  • It’s amazing to me how each of us put aside self-worth to save a relationship, any relationship.

    As I read the description of this “magician”, I just cringe. What a loser. And I worried about my competition on the dating apps.

    Maybe in the underworld of magic and whores, he’s amazing, but in the parenting, normal world, he’s a character from a sitcom.

    Hang in there Freakshownomore. Tuesdays coming.

    • “It’s amazing to me how each of us put aside self-worth to save a relationship, any relationship.”

      This. Still angry at myself for some of that, and baffled that my picker was so out of whack.

    • I didn’t pit aside self-worth to save “any relationship”. I compromised myself to try to protect a relationship that had been a vast investment for me: several years of my life, my vulnerability, my youthful beauty, my home that I sold, were all invested into my relationship with him. I didn’t want to have given it all up for a mirage.

      • I completely agree, its’ the vast investment you’re protecting, I don’t see it as putting aside self-wroth, though that suffers in the process. The youth and vulnerability we invested, which is so a part of us, means it is hard to feel whole again and let go of the investment. I hope you are starting to heal.

      • And my children and all the memories and future holidays and my worldview that you work as a team. My whole belief system revolves around love and family. That belief system was blown apart and has now been decimated by the world of online dating. Apparently monogamy, loyalty, honesty, and communication are so passé- strange sex and ego stroking are the what’s in these days 🤷‍♀️

    • It wasn’t saving a relationship for me, it was a family. I don’t give two fucks about a relationship. I never needed a man and I could go the rest of my life without one. I’ve never in my life been a person who needed to be in a relationship.

      But family means a whole hell of a lot to me. And when I built a family with a man, he meant a lot because he was the father of my child. And I raised his youngest brother whom I also cared about a great deal. He was married with a child when dday and then the divorce hit and having them ripped out of my life was intense physical pain.

      I put aside my self worth to try to save my family. I kinda hate how people glaze over that. I know some people are simply afraid to not have a partner. I’m not one of them. I didn’t have a nice family growing up and it meant a lot to me for my son to have one. And yeah, I would put aside my self worth for that. Doing it in this instance was a mistake but there’s plenty of other instances where I’d do it to save my family and never regret it.

      • Family vs Relationship. An important difference. Yet, that’s their evil gift. To find the one thing you’ll do anything for, and pretend to fulfill that. Who could guess FWs exists?

    • I didn’t share and don’t feel the need to. Suffice to say there was a paper trail of disorder which reasonably led me to enlist help of PI to get the backstory on what happened here.

  • Not falling for any of the fast-talking bullshit he was prepared to unleash is amazing. 18 months and you’re still standing and DIVORCED is AMAZING.

    Tuesday is coming. You didn’t waste any time or money on RIC abuse – err – “counseling” and instead you bounced him. Your Tuesday isn’t imminent, but it is on the horizon. And it’s wonderful because you don’t have to share it with a twisted jerk.

    May his genitals melt off with an incurable STD. Just for funsies!

    • “May his genitals melt off with an incurable STD. Just for funsies!” 😂😂😂👌

      Thank you for making me laugh out loud. What a freakshow.

    • Ah, thank you No Shit Cupcakes.
      18 months sounds like a long time but when you say it like that..
      STD revenge fantasies welcome!

  • Amazing on what types of activities these cheaters find for themselves. I had to educate myself on sexual antics but this one takes the cake (and probably feeds him the cake he needs, so forgive the pun). The big thing is you are OUT. You just have to worry about yourself and your kids. He is gone in that you are truly lucky. Don’t try to figure him out or the whole circus.
    Now is your time for healing. Vent your frustration, blow off steam at a gym or whatever it takes. Take care of yourself and you kids. You need to focus on the present and not dwell on the Circus that your ex joined. Make jokes about it if that helps you to feel better. You are normal and you need to build out your normal life. What you have done in escaping this is MIGHTY. It will take time but your Tuesday is coming.

  • Other people will want you to be over it long before you will even start being over it. Don’t let them confuse you into thinking you should feel different.

    • Yes, true, true, true. So come here often on your way to Tuesday.

      CL & CN will hold your hand for as long as you need. There are no freaks here just kind folks who know EXACTLY how you feel.

  • “In the great Life Winner Hall of Fame, he’s gum on the sidewalk.”

    Best line ever Tracey ! Believe that freakshownomore, you got this !!!

  • I have an ex sister-in-law who dumped her husband and children overnight. Disappeared. For a while my brother got reports of what she was up to. It wasn’t the sexual stuff but it was out there enough that if I wrote about it someone might recognize her. So I don’t write about it.

    I’m sure you’re wondering why he’s this way. There is no answer. He is this way because he’s always been this why. He just got very good at hiding it at such a young age that by the time you met him he was a master of disguise. I think you need to recognize that there really is no logical answer for people who do the things they do. He should never have gotten married.

    Also, he has not won anything. He’s running as fast as he can towards something he’s never going to reach. He’s going to chase whatever the hell that is until he dies. On the other hand, you’ve won your freedom from a freak.

    • ‘He should never have gotten married’ resonated. I can’t help wondering, did he know all along he was a closet freak? He had doubts about marriage and children (though lots of young men do) but knew he loved me. I was the initiator in most things. But when we had kids he was completely all in, or so it seemed. My misgivings – and I trust my gut – were only in the ‘depressed’ years.
      It might be progress that I now care less about the timeline.

      • Whenever he knew, that’s when he should have told you. Before he took any action on his feelings. There is no excuse.

        It took me for-ev-er to accept he never loved me. I loved him so much, and it felt so real and reciprocal to me. But in the end, all he loved was me loving HIM.

  • It’s proof that cheating types really are all the same under the trappings. This is a textbook cake-eating event, even if the details are different. It’s like CL says – if he really didn’t care, he wouldn’t have hidden this.

  • I’m convinced these freaks we invested in as mates were wired this way from the get-go. We chumps were just a front, a muse, a cover of normality for impression management while they needed us. Who better to pair with than stable, motivated, capable chumps with functional personality and character? Who better to be a prop during the years of career potential and self-discovery than a stable leader like a chump?

    We never really knew these freaks; we only knew what they wanted us to see. At D-day we found out just who these freaks really are. Yes, it’s shattering. No, it won’t level you. It’ll shake you to the rafters, but you will rise above it to find that you are a wise, loveable, quality person that walked through hell only to acquire many very useful transferable skills. You deserve better and were given this opportunity to find it.

    Let PT Barnum run off to the abyss of the circus. He’s in self-destruct mode and you cannot help him. Model your personal best for your children. Time is on your side; this does get much better. Wishing you all the best!

    • I agree with this.

      My therapist once commented that people who are psychologically healthy remain pretty much the same throughout life. They are solid citizen types who go to work, pay their bills, help others, and are there for their families. Any thoughts to be “otherwise” are not a consideration at all.

      Some people put up a good face, but later in life decide to give in to the “otherwise.” They go after what they view as missed opportunities and ignore the chaos they leave behind them, blaming those who question that. Soon the “otherwise” makes perfect sense to them.

      She said that those are the people you need to get out of your life because they are not safe people and will continue to leave rubble behind them. Yes, I agree.

      • This seems spot on Elsie. He was in love with the thing he couldn’t have.
        My therapist also said a person who is healthy stays pretty much the same through their adult life. Wrecking balls, exactly.

    • Latitude69 “You deserve better and were given this opportunity to find it” – Thank you for this!

      There are so many helpful words here by CL and CN, but this I will write down and read daily. True hope for a better future, not RIC hopium bs.
      FWIW, freakshownomore,
      I’m still feeling very raw even though I’m 3 1/2 years from first DDay of their emotional affair, nearly 16 months from learning he’d fucked her instead of breaking it off line he told me he had, and ten months since I sobered up after hitting the hopium pipe pretty hard and pick me dancing my ass off – for years! Only to realise he was still lying, had been lying for years.
      He is now deep in “twu wuv” and it’s been very hard not to feel he’s won. I felt very discarded. After a 28 year marriage.
      I also feel like my few friends, heck even my therapist, are over hearing about it.
      That’s one of the reasons this community is such a gift and a source of strength.
      So many people with similar experiences and so many gems, words of support and wisdom, to help get you through.
      I take one day at a time and so far I’ve gotten through them all.

      You are truly mighty, freakshownomore!

      • Continue, I am so sorry this happened to you too. Not the circus, the discard after very long term relationship. Real life friends can become an abstraction can’t they, when they can’t get you are in a bad place, or want you to move on before you are ready.
        One thing my therapist encouraged me to do was to discard him symbolically in whatever way I could. For example cutting up an item of clothing he once bought me and putting it on the fire. Letting go of the ways in which he seemed to ‘get me’, such as choosing clothes which suited me. Because I didn’t need the memory of his validation any more. Easier said than done but it’s a ritual and process worth returning to I think. Wishing you a brighter future.

        • What a good idea!
          I did a lot of “letting go”. Not just of him but of my own hopes, future, expectations etc.
          Burnt some things 😏
          I might try your suggestion though. Sounds very good.

      • He hasn’t won. Trust that. I felt that way at first too. But if he was awful to you, he will be awful to the twu wuv. If he lied to you, he will lie to her (he already has, most likely – the lies go both ways in an affair. I know my husband lied to OW about me and the state of our relationship.)

        Online, my stbx and the “love of his life” looked like the happiest, most in love couple you could imagine. Lots of kissy photos, smiles, “happy family” shots, posts about how amazing the other was, etc. But that was the face they showed the world, not reality. I found out after my stbx died that he and his schmoopie were MISERABLE. OW tried to kill herself and she was hospitalized in a psych ward for a bit after he called an ambulance to get her, they fought all the time (even physically), they were both alcoholics, they were constantly broke, on tons of medication to try and deal with their “anxiety” (from being shitty people who had to worry about it coming back to bite them, but of course, they’ll never realize that), and when they actually moved in together (four years after they began their affair) it lasted all of four weeks before she left him and fled the state. He spiraled out of control when he realized she wasn’t coming back, and killed himself a few months later.

        They aren’t happy. Even if it looks that way to you. Even if they stay together for the rest of their lives.

        We have the chance to be truly happy. We get to keep our integrity no matter how badly we were wronged. I know for certain that I am happier without him than I ever was with him, and I’m happier than OW was or will ever be. She’s still a shitty human being. And she broke up her family for a guy who turned out not to be her knight in shining armor after all.

  • As CL and Chump Nation have already stated— Freakshownomore, you will get to Tuesday and you’ll be fine! You got free of a FREAK FW. And you did it quickly and protected your kids and yourself. You’re still dealing with the trauma of everything.

    But once time passes and you get through that, you’ll be able to see how mighty you are! And that YOU WON!

    He’s a mess. He has zero stability. How old is this guy? You think he can live happily the rest of his life like this? Yeeks no. Something will give and you won’t be there to watch the train crash. Just let him crash and burn while you live your life.

    Meanwhile, you got the family and yourself back. You’ll be great!!! You ARE great! Just give yourself time to get over the crazy of it all.

    • Thank you, thank Michelle Shocked! Mr Zero Stability, I must remember to call him this. And to remember he’s a mess and I’m not.

      • Yours IS a hot mess. I remember thinking ‘I have to get out, get out now, before he drags us all down with him.” Mine did join the freak show too, and was an alcoholic to boot and got DUIs. Getting free was a relief that he couldn’t torpedo our lives any more without my consent or knowledge. I got control of my life back among many other things.

  • We agreed to separate, and he chose to go many states away. I wasn’t surprised because he had been talking about divorce and going to that part of the country for fifteen years. So he did, saying that we’d work on our marriage long-distance. I knew that an ex from several decades before lived there. She was everything I wasn’t in his mind. He had also developed a taste for porn and such that was too edgy for me. He asked if I wanted a threesome once, and I said no way. I packed a suitcase of his blue pills and hormones which he requested, knowing that was a big red flag. I was hoping he’d appreciate that. Various friends tried to contact him with little or no success. He basically ignored our college kids’ existence.

    So he was retired and living in a new place where he knew no one supposedly. I asked several times what he was doing with his time, and he was evasive. He told me that he wanted a divorce over the phone after saying he had “something to tell me.” Of course, I knew what was coming but didn’t mind that he called. Classy people with nothing to hide would do it in person, but that wasn’t the situation. The phone call was easier because I didn’t have to control my responses.

    I retained a “grandpa with an iron rod” attorney, and he retained a local streetfighter attorney who promised to fight for anything my ex wanted. Yes, it was a mess, but his got irritated with how demanding my ex was and changed sides in some ways. His told mine that there was dirt that he didn’t want to go to trial with, and we did indeed settle out of court.

    At this point, I don’t care what my ex did or didn’t do after he left. I stayed in the same area where our kids grew up and am enjoying watching their young adult adventures and experiences as they have stayed here as well. Not long ago he finally contacted them, wanting them to come to visit so they could “catch up” on the years apart. My oldest said something to the effect that visiting someone who had blown up your life was a stupid idea and that maybe he didn’t want to know what his father had been doing since he left. Yes, that’s it.

    • People are things to them. He thought he could take his adult kids out of the box, and make them talk to him again. Nice.
      My X has only seen our little granddaughter once, and she’s 18 months old now. I refuse to prod anything, we each live ten minutes from her, so he’s on his own, and I told him to go ahead and reach out. Crickets. ( I see her regularly and help out with whatever they need)
      I do think the adult kids should try to see their father, and ask my sons to contact him, but it seems there’s either not much interest, or they are afraid, because he’s a substance abuser. Oh well, so I just am living my own life and trying to forget what he did to us.

  • Dear Freakshownomore,
    Good morning and welcome to CN.
    If anything, the scamdemic has taught me is the world is literally polarized.
    On one side, the stress of it all created super-freaks who would do, say, act in ways that are mostly inhuman and it appears your freak is up there, near the worst of em. On the other side, as if GOD himself set it upon us, we chumps find the will to rise up and be awesomer than anything the world has seen before in the face of this shit show. ( I was raised that family supports and loves one another in good and bad ).
    Evolution for we chumps and devolution for the freaks.
    Obviously CL is right about you and your situation, and the picture she paints of your freak is quite repulsive and hopefully makes you see that you are free!
    The picture CL paints of you and all we chumps is one of humans with hearts and souls who can persevere.
    I’m just 6-7 months past my DDay, but every day ( I’m totally alone in NYC, no family, no friends, just me and my shit sandwiches ) is like paradise compared to the life I had with my freak.
    You are an inspiration, no contact, remember she/he sucks.
    Thanks CL and CN, one day closer to Tuesday.
    Xioba Xioba

    • So true about the times we are living in. There does seem to be a polarization in the air, the worst and the best of humanity surfacing.
      Thank you Xioba Xioba, totally alone in NYC sounds liberating!

  • You are MIGHTY! I’m 7 years out from Dday, 5 from divorce-25 years married- 4 kids, all nearly grown. No contact most of the time.

    It took about 4 years to feel like myself. I’m really better now.

    Give yourself time. Focus on building your new life and be kind to yourself—however you are feeling is normal. Time takes time but you’ll be okay. 😘😘😘

    • Four years does sound like a long time. Does it lessen with each year or was there a sudden shift for you? I’m glad you are feeling like yourself again. You are mighty too!

      • Similar timeframe – lessens but sometimes there are small setbacks. Have read the stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
        Looking back at journal entries 1 to 2 years there was a lot of anger. Now it’s much more acceptance – X sucks, that isn’t something I caused or could change, and the focus is on going forward and what do I still need to learn to go forward better 🙂 That’s the wonder of CL and CN – folks to show you – you can and will get there!

  • You will get spring in your step when you have been thinking clearly for a while. That means grief and more realizations about the life/future he was planning. Yes, he took away the future you had planned and brought your past into question.

    I have been surprised that three years out from D-days and nine months out from legally ending 30 year marriage, I am no longer in “pain”. I am proud and relieved to have gotten out. I am curious about what is coming next.

    You will get there, I promise.

  • I am also laughing out loud, thinking ahead to how this cheater’s approach to life is going to age, if he has the privilege of aging.

    Like I wonder about all the young girls spending jillions and risking their lives to look like Instagram perfect Kim Kardashian wannabes. Looking like that is a very short period of time in one’s life and is not sustainable indefinitely IMHO. Every single woman I know who went for a boob job in her younger years wanted them out when she got much older.

    But I don’t think cheaters think Long Game.

    Infidelity creates permanent consequences and damage for the cheater and every single person in their lives.

    I read Suzanne Somers book, “Keeping Secrets” back in the 80’s when it was published. What I remember is that it was a very inspiring book about her experience as a child of an alcoholic. I saw her the other day with Alan Hamel on Million Dollar Listing: LA. They’re selling their
    Palm Springs home. They mentioned their kids not coming around as one of the
    reasons they want to sell. That’s just what happens when kids grow up, they said. Nice shots of well-stocked bars on the property. Hmm.

    I went back to the book.

    He was married with two small children and they were having an affair. I do NOT remember that part at all!

    Maybe the kids don’t want to come around because they’re a couple of self-centered cheaters and practicing alcoholics?

    Hmmm.

    • That’s interesting – Suzanne Somers always struck me as the consummate pick-me dancer – taking hormones and dieting and writing books that underneath it all seemed to be about keeping herself sexy for her husband. Makes perfect sense – she was the OW.

    • Yes, interesting about Suzanne and Alan. I just googled them and came across this article.
      Tequila at 5:00 pm sharp every night. after drinking tequila they have sex every night. (do we really need to know that).
      She says he was separated from his wife when they met on a game show. He was the host and she the Vanna White girl on stage presenting the prizes.. she slept with him on their first date.
      Sounds like she had a few tequila’s before the interview.
      https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/threes-company-suzanne-somers-alan-hamel-slept-together-first-date

      • According to her own book, he was definitely married when they got involved with each other.

        I should also mention I have nothing against plastic surgery. I have just not seen that it has ever succeeded in keeping anyone looking 25 indefinitely. I think a more successful motivation is to look great for whatever age you are. I saw a lot of Weirdly Gruesome results when I worked at Neiman Marcus.

  • Well done Freakshownomore! That is quite an achievement. You trusted your gut and did what needed to be done to protect your kids and yourself. It will take time for your brain and your heart to catch up but one day you’ll wake up and realize what an achievement this is, and how lucky your are not to have a freak show be part of your life any more. All the resources you wasted on him are for you and people who really matter to you from now on. It’s too soon to see it but you will, and I know your new life will be wonderful because you have what it takes. Your friends don’t want to hear about what you overcame anymore, that’s OK. You can come here and keep sharing your war stories and compare your hard earned battle scars with all the chumps at CN. We never tire of it.

    • Yes, a waste of my resources. I need to replenish and save them for people who deserve them, including myself. Your words of support mean a lot, thank you.

  • I think we all see our circumstances with these disordered ppl as some sort of f’ed up circus come to town! The lies, trauma, manipulation, cheating, deceit, gaslighting, it’s one big topped,three-ringed circus that’s impossible to wrap our heads around. And yours is an actual freakin circus, brings it to a new level of bizarro for you!
    I can’t believe how fast you got a handle on it, divorced and bugged out of the freak show experience. Wow, that’s so incredible! 100% the right choice, you cannot save that clown from himself, irregardless of how much you gave and loved. Every one of the clowns we sadly happened upon in our wide eyed, unsuspecting, find the good in everyone lives, belongs in the circuses of the lives they created for themselves. They gave up a moral compass, good character and integrity for a fake red nose and shoes that don’t fit. All they are is fake.
    Bravo to you for leaving the damn circus! It won’t be an easy or short road out, but it’s the right one.
    I started reading a very good book by a psychiatrist, Paul Conti, called “Trauma, the invisible epidemic.” It’s a brand new release I got yesterday,I’m only 40 pages in, but this guy’s writing style is beautiful and deeply caring, he’s been through stuff in life and writes with a deep and real understanding. (Lady Gaga wrote the forward to the book, they first met in the ER, during her bout with a psychotic break.) I already feel comforted by the book. We have all been traumatized by our experiences with all these freaks of nature we’ve encountered along our paths, but we aren’t fake and have the core strength in us to get through it. Best to you on your journey.

    • Thank you Chumpasaurus45 and best to you on your journey too. I will check out the book, really appreciate the recommendation. I am listening to Tara Brach but finding it a bit too perfect world-ish!

    • I have no idea if Lady Gaga is a cheater, but I do know she was part of that not so secret sexual underground scene as she started off a burlesque dancer etc. in NYC. FWIW

  • The world of cheaters has a lot of subsets. There are the Jesus cheaters, the “cheat with a woman younger than your daughter” cheaters, the “fuck a prostitute at lunch” cheaters, the “bring the OW/OM home to dinner (or to fuck in the marital bed)” cheaters, the “soul mate” cheaters and the serial and indiscriminate lots of fuckbuddies cheaters. Your ex, like mine, is one of the freaky sex cheaters, those who are into role playing, BDSM, cross-dressing, diaper wearing, “Daddy” games.

    Each of these subsets of cheater comes with its own particular mindfuck and hurt. Discovering the sordid truth about my ex’s sexual proclivities and realizing what he’d been hiding from me hit me hard. Not only did I have a hard time reconciling what he appeared to be with what he revealed himself to be, the mismatch was so great, and the reality so twisted, that I had a crisis of confidence in myself. I’d always prided myself on reading people well. And if I had missed this essential thing about the person I thought I knew best in the world, how could I trust my perceptions about anything?

    I left three years after he revealed his secret life. It’s taken me almost another three years to get out of that confidence tailspin and start to trust myself again. I will probably never be able to reconcile what I thought my ex was with who he really is, but I no longer make the attempt. I accept that he is disordered (or, as my best friend said, “He’s really fucked up.”), and that’s enough for me. I don’t waste my time wondering how he got that way (untangling) or how he deceived me. He’s really fucked up, and despite the grief and pain and difficulty I’m so glad I found out and got away from him.

    Freakshownomore, you will get there, too, in time.

    • I also had a freak show underneath the loving generous intelligent man I thought I’d married. He showed me some of it and I thought i needed to be part of it to keep him. Sort of pick me dancing before I knew the ton of shit underneath that.
      The result of being gaslit and lied to for the better part of 12 years is that I don’t trust anymore. I’m slowly coming around to the reality of being alone for the rest of my life.
      I think it’s harder to recover when they’ve dressed up their secret life with a thick veneer of Mr Wonderful.
      You will heal but you will never be the same. In some ways I’m stronger. My life is good and I’ve built a life I’m proud of but I miss being part of a couple.

      • I feel you.

        I know I’m stronger. I know myself better now. I like my life. But I don’t trust without verification now. I don’t blindly accept anything said from anyone any more. Most of my life I have been alone, even in the midst of a 20 year relationship and marriage. While I’d like to find someone, with only 1 date 6 years past divorce, I no longer have any confidence that I will ever have that opportunity. People tell me to “not give up hope” but it actually is more painful to me to keep on hoping and trying, only to end up disappointed once again. I’m being very protective of my emotional health now and not allowing myself anymore false hope or expectations from anyone or anything.

        I’m just taking it one day at a time focusing on small personal pleasures and realistic goals.

        • There’s also the ‘gone back to ex from decades ago’ cheater. A mind game all of its own making a total mockery of the marriage with the chump (26 years here). Having ‘Sliding Doors’ thrown at you is not a happy experience. My self-worth and confidence were destroyed by the actions of my cheater. 2 years out since he left, I was in a ‘Charles and Camilla’ situation for all of those 26 years without knowing it. I’m English living in the UK and I feel nauseous every time I see the sycophantic coverage of those two. At 61, it’s unlikely that I will have another relationship and the thought of trusting a man in that way ever again fills me with horror. No amount of ongoing therapy is going to change that. My life is full and rich and fun. There is however a well of loneliness that will be with me always. Freakshownomore, I have come to accept that I will always be a fundamentally different person from who I was before the discard started. Striving to be that person again is not going to serve me. Instead I need to find it in myself to embrace the new, deeper, sadder me. I’m still optimistic and I love being alive (there was a brief spell when life was a burden, just after the split which came on top of a major injury and my Dad’s death). I’m still me, but I’m a later edition with a revised foreword and extra footnotes.

          You will continue to rise because that’s what you, and the rest of us at CN, do, with our hungry minds and beautiful souls.

      • That’s sad ChumpDownUnder, the missing being a couple and the man you thought you knew. And some of the sadness is just for ourselves, the never being the same. Hugs to you.

    • Well done for getting out. The confidence tailspin feels like the final sting in the tail and is hard to shake. May you and other chumps here find that inner confidence again!

  • freakshownomore, i think you raise a good question, a parallel question. how do i find joy? maybe that’s a Friday subject for CL and CN.

    i don’t have an answer because i’m in the first year and negotiating a separation agreement, and there’s no fucking joy in that process. but you raise a good question, a parallel question, a healing question. how do i find joy?

    when i was turning 40 and felt lost, i started dancing at a jazz studio. i danced my way out of my mid-life passage. it really helped. i often dream of returning to the studio, but it’s covid and public classes still haven’t resumed. another friend of mine danced her way through her divorce–group salsa. she swore by it.

    it’s a great question, worth exploring.

  • Look for joyful MOMENTS while you’re in the dark tunnel. Maybe it’s being able to do something or have something you were criticized for, were not “allowed” or supported in being/doing/having. A cup of tea and swaddling myself in a blanket has brought me a sense of comfort almost daily.

    It’s been a horrific four years for me, but there have been many joyful MOMENTS and always things to be grateful for. Those flickers of awareness kept me going , acting as life preservers when I felt like I could not keep going.

    That is still my survival tactic.

    I have to get really basic some days and be grateful for my daughter, my cat and parrot, safe and trustworthy friends, great therapists, a roof, food in the fridge, clothes to wear, my health, etc.

    My daily gratitude list has kept me floating. The challenge for me is to max out on self care/first aid when I have been mortally wounded to the core of my being.
    It’s the only response that has worked for me.

    • It amazes me how long it takes for me to realize things. Getting cheated on really rang my bell and my brain and my thinking has been so utterly scrambled.

      About a week ago I realized that I NEVER had true security with him. I just believed I did.

      We see what we believe. (That’s why I stayed, Jerk Mediator # 1).

      In truth, I now have a chance to have real security, on my own. Which rocks.

    • Recently I re-watched Lord of the Rings with my son. I was struck this time around by Frodo’s journey, especially the end. By the end he was unbearably traumatized by something so corrupt and evil—and actually chooses not to give it up, but is forced to. He was betrayed, starved, beaten, left for dead and mentally and emotionally tortured. Miraculously, though they expected to die, Frodo and Sam are saved. Sam goes on to live a good life, sadder and more subdued, but still healthy. Frodo writes his story and tries to move on but cannot. He loved the shire and saved the world to also save the shire, but no longer belongs in his old life. He also has a cursed sword wound that will never heal properly. The first real smile we see is when he’s headed out into forever with the elves and Gandalf and Bilbo.

      I think that this is a wonderful allegory for all those who suffered trauma. We will never be the same person as before we set out on that journey. We may never be fully healed or belong back in our old lives, but WE SURVIVED—and there is still plenty of living left to do. We just have to have the courage to set foot on the new path and forge a new life. We may have endured much suffering, we may now be older, wiser, battle hardened and burdened by the knowledge that such evil exists in the world and that it could hurt anyone, good people included. But we must fight (sometimes our own minds and hearts) for our freedom and to live an honorable life until we can die an honorable death as much on our own terms as we can manage.

      • That’s the weird bit, not really knowing our own lives. We thought we knew what our lives were but we didn’t know a damn true thing. The narrative escaped us, others wrote lies as truth and we lost our own stories. Sam held on to his love for Rosie and returned to the Shire, albeit changed. Frodo lost connection and was adrift. We lost the right to live and tell our own stories. The liars and cheats get to refashion the narrative to their advantage and that just BURNS. I don’t care about the individual asshole who perpetuated the crimes against me personally. But I care deeply about the ability of people with bad faith and corrupt intentions to perpetrate harm against unwitting chumps. THAT must be dealt with with no mercy.

  • FreakshowNoMore, Big congratulations on skipping the reconciliation and moving directly into dumping his sorry ass.

    What gets me about this variety of cheater is the spinelessness of living a double life. It’s not about being a libertine, artist, non-monogamous free spirit – it’s being a weasel, a total coward. He maintained a front of normalcy because he was too scared, weak and incompetent to stand on his own two feet and proudly live his “alternative” lifestyle. If an adult wants adventure they do something brave and adventurous, these losers fuck strange because they lack imagination.

    Don’t be surprised if this Romeo comes crawling back with a doughy paunch and bald head wanting you to provide safety and succor. He’s definitely not going to age well.

    • “What gets me about this variety of cheater is the spinelessness of living a double life. It’s not about being a libertine, artist, non-monogamous free spirit – it’s being a weasel, a total coward. He maintained a front of normalcy because he was too scared, weak and incompetent to stand on his own two feet and proudly live his “alternative” lifestyle.”

      YES! I am copying this and putting it in the document I keep of Chump Nation’s wisdom for when I need a tonic.

    • Hilarious Skeeter! His doughy paunch and bald head..
      Yes, the front of normaly..Con artist indeed.
      His imagination was his biggest brag.

  • I swear by the therapeutic value of boxing / kickboxing classes. The kinds where you put real boxing gloves on and hit a bag, or trainer’s mitts until you’re too exhausted to keep going. Grunt, yell, scream, while you’re punching it out. I swear it doesn’t matter what the 20-year old trainer, or the other people think. YOU ARE GOING THROUGH SOME SHIT. After you are done and exhausted, walk to your car where you can break down into cathartic sobs, or a primal scream. You’ve been mentally & emotionally fighting a beast, sometimes your body needs to go through the physical act to process all the stress and release it.

  • LW, you are mighty. And your ex did what he did because rather than step up and do the hard work of fixing his problems and being a good dad and husband, he chose to tell himself a story that he was entitled to an easy, lazy shortcut.

    Did you catch the part where you were his rock through two bouts of depression coupled with immaturity and not being able to keep a job (even when you found one for him)? About his temper tantrums? This is a man who dealt with his sad feelings and his struggles, not by trying to pull himself up, but by feeling sorry for himself. Boo hoo, life is hard and sometimes boring. Waaaa, he made a decision to get married and become a father and that conflicts with being able to sleep around whenever he felt like it.

    I assure you that he didn’t “win” anything. I’m sure right now he’s finding out how much harder it is to live a cool alternative lifestyle when you don’t have a spouse with a day job, and how little slack there is from his new friends who are struggling with their own bills. The downside of a circle where monogamy and commitment are not a thing is that nobody will give him monogamy and commitment, either. People who do sex work for money are doing work, and they’re not going to shower him with attention and sex for free.

    Skeeter is right that he’ll probably come whining back at some point trying to guilt you into giving him money and blaming you for everything. Keep up the gift of no contact.

    • So nice to be reminded that the alternative lifestyle may feel less glam now he’s been shut out of his old life. You’re right Apidae, he chose not to step up as father and husband and acted like a teenager in a grown up’s body. And yep, paying the bills, or not, was his Achilles heel and he came to resent I was the good earner who got recognised at work. He was too ‘talented’ for conventional work…
      I doubt he will come circling back, he is so full of blame and also couldn’t handle the truth off me.
      Exactly that, lazy shortcuts was where he ended up. Hard work over a long time, including on the relationship, just didn’t count.

  • Did he win? Would you want to be him? A desperate degenerate with love for nobody? A body without a soul, a heart, or a reason for living other than weird circus sex and delusions that he’s a wizard? He sounds mentally ill, actually. He’s such a pitifully disordered whack that he makes my sad sack of an ex look like a great catch. You don’t have to be his mommy anymore, pay his bills, or give him safe harbor when his wand doesn’t magically get him what he wants.

    It’s normal to be sad that you wasted so much of your life on this sicko who shattered your dreams. Eventually, as you heal, you’ll be happy you didn’t waste any more if it. Give it time. Be patient and kind to yourself. You have to go through it to get to the other side. I wish I could tell you there’s a shortcut. It’s been over three years for me and I’m just starting to feel like I’ll get there. The timing is different for everyone. It will be awful, but you will prevail. The Great Spankini, OTOH, will continue to spiral down. Whatever you do, DO NOT try to save him. He will probably circle back to use you again, so you’d best be prepared to unequivocally say no and slam the door in his face. Thank God he wants nothing to do with his kids. Use it to get sole custody so you don’t have to co-parent with a hooker fucker, one of the lowest forms of human life. You sure don’t want him to expose the kids to his bizarro world. Document everything about his freaky life in case he tries to fight you and please, please stop helping him see the kids. They are truly better off with no father than with this guy. No contact. Lawyer. Ruthlessly cut him out of your life. That is the route to get your joy back.

    Godspeed to you and I’m sorry it’s so painful. Know that you are unquestionably the winner here.💜

    • Thank you, I do have sole custody thankfully. He was seeing son once a fortnight but we agreed a break which he is not happy about. Tough. I told him we all need a period of no contact for healing.
      Reluctant to let circus back in.

  • There is a long grieving process that goes on after any loss.

    Add betrayal and revelations about extreme seediness to the pot and it makes the process even longer

    To me it’s a matter of finding small pleasures in the middle of the storm. Plan an outing, or have a special board game night with the kids, go out for lunch with friends. Anything that you can do that is positive.

  • Chump Lady, Chump Nation, thank you so much! I so needed these responses today in particular – have been feeling like a castaway hallucinating with grief and abandonment on my own the past few days (I have Covid just now to top everything so have been unwell and isolating, not able to get out for walk to clear my head, and asking, where are people when you need them? answer sometimes emotionally very scarce/like nowhere to be seen).

    CL the pictures made me laugh out loud, brilliant! Car wreck/clown just hilarious. You are so funny and perceptive CL, I tell my non-chump friends to read you just for laughs (and anthropological interest). You ask if the circus is real or metaphorical. Good question. It seems like these freaks have created real life meet-ups and ‘art’ out of their fantasies, a collective of on line ‘creators’ who contribute to and participate in each other’s content, whose fantasies break out in real and creatively promiscuous ways when they meet up (Frankenstein fantasists). I don’t know if he thinks he is Toulouse Lautrec, finding his artistic soul in hanging with whores but it seems like a terrible subversion of the fact we used to enjoy art and imaginative possibility together. And very simple pleasures in life like a walk in woods, Alsatian dogs and seeing Paris (CL, special request: please re-rerun the Alsatian meme which goes ‘Say what?, with its head cocked). It’s kind of put me off the idea of art and imagination for a bit. Like maybe I should stick to how to assemble flat pack furniture (getting a new bed in a few days). But no, I am terrible at DIY and have no desire to use a drill (unless on him).

    And someone asked but this man is in his late forties. I am slightly older and have that ‘wonder if it is too late’ to have a future angst. Like it’s one thing to get divorced but another to have your faith in humanity blown apart by what was your best friend and be faced with ‘getting a new life’. But I know you all know this.

    It’s nice to be told I am mighty. As for being decisive, I say yes, but..confession time. I did do time in RIC – 5/6 years to be exact, trying to untangle the skein of his ‘depression’, going to stop and start counselling with him for ‘better communication’. But had no idea his depression was a front for his money laundering/cheating heart. But that 5 years of trying to save him/us the family from his emotional abyss drove me to one (also quite expensive therapy bills too) and meant that when D day came I was already on empty.

    So yes, I guess the challenge of ‘how to find joy’ while my heart is in intensive care is the real question. Small moments as you wisely say, Velvet Hammer. But it is a bit like a tightrope that live in the day thing, you can’t afford to look back or forward in time or you fall into the abyss. Oh no, I am buying in to the circus metaphor!
    Even thinking ‘when will I feel better’ is distressing as you say, VH. Or I used to have a lot of joy and OMG what if my time for new life is over thoughts creep in!
    It is true, I am exhausted. I just want to be able to relax and not do mind control exercises in order to get through the days.

    Thanks so much everyone, I will definitely keep posting here. Because I think no one who hasn’t been through this understands the wreckage and obsessive will I be OK loop that comes with the shock of the betrayal of everything you held dear.

    • Honestly, when my husband dumped me unceremoniously for his howorker (even though he SAID she was “just a friend” and lied to me for years about it), I thought I’d never find joy or be okay again, let alone happy. Something that really helped me was going way back, to a time before I met him, and revisiting some of the things I loved when I was in my late teens/early 20s. I had given a lot of things up because he made me feel like my interests were stupid or a waste of time, and we usually did/ate/watched what he wanted and liked. I’d suffered over a decade of emotional and verbal abuse and didn’t even know who I was outside of him anymore. The first day I was alone (our son was with him, and I’d never been apart from my child like that), I had no idea what I even liked to do. Eventually I remembered several books I’d loved long ago that I used to repeatedly get out of the public library and ordered them off Amazon. I said to myself “I know I used to like THIS”. Piece by piece I found myself again, and decided who I was on my own and what kind of person I wanted to be.

      Four years later I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. Happier than I was even when our marriage was “good” (looking back I can see the abuse/manipulation was there even during the good times). Those four years were absolute hell, and things aren’t exactly easy now either. I’m 41 and a single mom (truly now, my ex committed suicide a month ago, and before that our divorce was UGLY). I live in a tiny apartment instead of the home I lovingly chose. But I like who I am now. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m free. I’m healthy (I had horrible anxiety/depression/insomnia, I lost a ton of weight and was very sick for a few years). I have friends – real, genuine friends who are good people and like me the way I am. I don’t have the huge circle of “friends” that I had when I was married (they all sided with the ex and his ho, so I cut them out of my life), but I’d rather have a few good ones than tons of fair-weather friends.
      I have a good job with coworkers who like and appreciate me. They’ve been really supportive. My tiny apartment is perfect for me right now. I can have things exactly as I like. My child is happy, healthy, and safe. I do the things I love. The moments of joy increase in frequency until they outweigh the bad ones, and even if everything isn’t always JOYFUL, I have PEACE. And that is worth so much.

      Ideas to help (these helped me, and everyone is different):

      -physical activity. For me, it was running (I have never been a runner). Focusing on my body (breathe in, breathe out) and tiring myself out physically helped give me a break from the obsessive hamster wheel my thoughts were always running on and helped me sleep at night and gave me more of an appetite. Yoga also was nice, for the focus and also to relieve some of the muscle tension that invariably happens when we are stressed.

      -Finding things I used to enjoy and gave up for the cheater. Do that thing. Rebel.

      -Journaling helped a lot. I’d dump my angry feelings out, and then I was able to be civil with my ex for exchanging the kid, etc.

      -Music. I had a YouTube playlist that I would add to regularly. It ended up being an interesting timeline of how my feelings changed as I made progress. It started out being titled “If Only” and I ended up changing it to “You Got This”. The songs went from sad love songs to kick-ass power songs. Belting out Papa Roach’s “Burn” in the car made me feel better every time. If anyone wants a list of songs that I listened to, I’m happy to share.

      -Try something new you’ve always wanted to do. It’s hard now with the pandemic, but there are tons of online courses (I’m taking a cooking class) and discussion groups to join. Find your group. Find people who share your interests. Find friends that share your values. My best friend, whom my husband was always denigrating (because she didn’t buy into his bullshit), has been a rock to me. We have so many things we enjoy. She and I started recommending books to one another, reading them at the same time, and then having long phone calls to discuss them. It’s been wonderful.

      -Find a good therapist who understands (easier said than done, I know, but the fourth person I tried ended up being AMAZING and she has helped me so much).

      -NO CONTACT. Stop trying to make your ex do dad things or whatever. Leave it be. Once I stepped out of the mess that was my stbx and his stupid girlfriend and left them to it, I healed MUCH faster. And they ended up crashing and burning all on their own. She dumped him and my ex spiraled into a depression that he did not survive. I never wished harm on anyone, but I know his self-destruction had nothing to do with me. It was just who he always was. And even in the tragedy, my child seems happier and more at ease than I’ve seen him in ages. Kids are smart. They see and hear a lot more than we realize. It’s hard being the stable one, but you can do it. It sounds like you are a very competent person and you all will be just fine. Remember, you and your kids make a complete family, even without your ex.

      -Keep coming here. There are so many women on here who have been through horrific betrayal and a lot of us never thought we’d ever be okay again. And yet…so many here are now living their best lives. In a way, I’m grateful my ex cheated. I put up with YEARS of abuse, but cheating was something I wasn’t willing to tolerate. It got me out of a marriage that was slowly killing me. A marriage that it turns out was built on lies and control and manipulation. Life on the other side can be GOOD. You’ll get there too.

      • Wow, thanks for sharing your journey and all the suggestions. I am glad you found a way back to you. I don’t have a let’s do stuff together a lot friend like that at the moment – could be that I’m a decade older and people are less available. I would love to paint again in a class but the class I went to before lockdown is not meeting again at moment. Soon hopefully. I am not feeling comfortable with online networking – it reminds me of his world – but I will start guitar lessons soon, something I used to do a while back.

      • Per Chump Lady, she gets as many male as female visitors. Males mostly lurk and read. Cheating is universal! Every possible gender, race, creed, color, etc. comes to Chump Lady. It’s like Union Station, or Rick’s Cafe.

    • Dear FreakshowNoMore,
      Just from the comments you made here you seem a wonderful person. There is no justice, and the betrayal you went through is beyond measures. Like many people said already, give yourself time. I only experienced a fraction from what you went through and yet I keep on reading this blog month after month, because it was a mindfuck nonetheless and only people that have been through similar things can understand. In general society expects us to be not too sensitive, I find. These wounds are deep and I believe that it is only when you except the grief of it, you can heal fully and come out stronger. So see this as an “investment” (although I do not like the word) for the rest of your life.
      Oh, and concerning art and imagination: my fw was an artist and I lost my taste for music, one of my big passions, for a while. But it’s coming back, I can enjoy music without the bad taste of him getting back in my mouth 🙂
      I wish you all the best!

      • Giraffy, thank you! Yes, society expects us not to be too sensitive. And even friends can freak out around trauma, like they might catch it. Being honest about feeling like your world caved in is not welcome everywhere..
        It would be so nice to be able to meet other chumps socially and not have to hide the trauma like a bad superpower.

        • It would… I read in previous posts and comments that some people on this blog actually met up in real life! Perhaps you can give it a try?

          (I’m probably too far away from most people here, as I live in Europe. And I’ve been unable to find such a community anywhere closer!)

  • As my therapist told me: Not my monkey, not my circus anymore. FW (shithead) of 30 years was living a double life for at least 2 years that I know of. An ob/gyn who was forced to give up his medical license for addiction and sexual misconduct. When D-day happened, it was like a bomb had gone off in my “normal” life. Destroyed me, my family. But I started to rise from the ashes as shithead hadn’t even begun to burn. His parents who reported him to the addiction people then turned 180 on me and blamed ME for his using, cheating, etc… No contact, or as little as possible is the only way to save yourself.
    And you won! Just like I did. I no longer have to be subjected to the lies, gaslighting, abuse, and my kids are with me most of the time. He is still using and will never stop.

    • Ugh donebeingshiton, what a car wreckage. How on earth his parents could blame you is beyond me. Although my MIL never liked my influence and am sure is glad he is away from me so he can be ‘happy at last’ on his own terms. I am so glad I never have to see his ‘family’ again.

  • A Long Treatise On Freaks.

    It has been kind of my mission in life, as a writer, to speak openly about what I’ve seen regarding the objectification and commodification of bodies in the world, as if I could alert all the young men and women who step into marriages/long-term partnerships not realizing where marriage sits in a world that also involves mistresses, sex trafficking and prostitution: all of these are as old as the hills, and they are related to one another.

    I’ve been wanting to be happily married forever, not taking into account that marriage for the longest time was what you did to a 15-year-old to lock her into bearing your offspring and keeping your household, and you approached the man who owned her/fathered her to secure that. The unspoken practices of still seeing girlfriends and prostitutes is baked into the culture. At this point in life, I know that many many men have entered marriages by grooming their unsuspecting partner. They deliberately pick young, or naive, people who think that sex parties are something that some freakish 0.5% of the population does. Many men get into marriages young, then get the message from their peers that they are suckers if they’re not treating marriage as the patriarchal structure it has long been. I meet them in my dating life, telling me that they “grew apart” from their wives with whom they co-parent small children, never saying quite why they grew apart, but dropping their fetish preferences into conversation over appies.

    I guess I was lucky, in some ways, to have been an artsy kid. I went to film school, and my mom is an artist who would take me with her to life drawing classes. My parents are super naive and straightforward, but I grew up in a lifestyle that respected nudity, expression, etc in ways that I knew friends from conservative families couldn’t comprehend. I considered myself “open-minded.” I was naive and let my female roommate take artsy nudes that got circulated in the dorm. My first year film-prof was a second wave feminist that showed us a movie of topless women who danced as men that they were mocking (they taped beards to their waists and their boobs were the eyes). My world was adjacent to burlesque shows and feminist porn. My first boyfriend tried to introduce me to all kinds of stuff with bondage and “toys” that just frankly made me laugh (he was no good at playing the dominant roles he wanted to; I mean, he was just some white kid from the suburbs). I was disappointed that he didn’t want to do sex as intimacy and he was disappointed I didn’t want to do sex as fantasy (his fantasy, of course!). When we broke up, he started seeing a burlesque dancer who had done sex work. I moved into a world of feminist writers where many are former sex workers who now write about consent, pleasure, kink, etc. So I feel I had a gradual, but not particularly heartening, education into all that’s out there.

    Over the years, I have had many experiences of men I’ve dated very quickly pushing for a “dirty” encounter. So many men want to maintain a nice boy / bad boy double life, which means slotting women into madonna/whore, wifey/sexy gf roles. Sexism is obviously at play here, and racism and classism also inform who gets slotted where.

    Personally, I AM SO BORED with middle-aged men looking for their dirty sexy time at the expense of calling emotional intimacy “vanilla.”

    Is their play ever inventive? Here babe, here’s a ball gag, here’s a whip, let me tie you up, please tie me up, let’s wear leather, let’s wear heels, can we bring another girl in? et fucking cetera. For the longest time I was struck with feelings of inadequacy and prudishness. Now I say: YAWN! These folks’ imaginations are entirely colonized by a billion-dollar porn industry and seriously — young people learn very quickly how marketable they are in such an economy, it’s not imaginative. There will always be the thrill-seeking people who teach others that they’re valuable if they’ll do threesomes, trains, scat play … And because it’s not creative, because it’s about transgressing perceived boundaries of decency, the boundaries keep having to be pushed to more extreme levels in order to get the thrill. I mean, I suspected one guy I dated of pedophilia but because at the time I also thought such things were way out there, I wouldn’t let myself believe my gut.

    And for your run of the mill, grab-some-young-Pelotoned-ass-in-an-expensive-hotel-room types, I get it — when I went through a period in my life where I wanted to be sophisticated and worldly, I felt special and superior and hot to be chosen by these middle-class playboy-wannabes. They want videos of ME! They’re showing ME off to their buddies! They’re really getting off on ME! The sex-as-expression-of-power is a drug that feeds a vision of oneself that is absolutely unsustainable and fuels the worst kind of competition and comparison with other people.

    One thing that participating in the objectification game has taught me is that I am as hot and how hot as I want. It’s about my sense of self, and my sense of what it takes to get close to me, not how game I am to wear crotchless panties.

    These days, I try to have an open conversation with any man I’m considering getting serious with about porn and kink and all of it because I’m straight up suspicious of any guy who tells me they never think of that, watch that, want that, etc. And because 45 minutes to get into a bunch of leather straps for 3 minutes of huffing just feels like a lot of work. My heart still wants to be loved for me, and to not have to be an object, but what to do? I still hope for a partnership where we’re sharing cooking and cleaning and trips to the store and a satisfying sex life. Should I be looking for a guy who is “naive”? “Conservative”?

    • Yes, completely agree about how the objectification is tedious and predictable. And so unreconstructed. Wish I could get to yawn over it, but it’s such a horror show when it replays in my head.
      We also seem to be living in an age where intimacy is so commoditised it’s hard to just be yourself and trust to connection.

    • You might enjoy “Women, Sex, and Addiction” by Charlotte Kasl. One of my favorites and a classic on the subject of sex in my recovery library.

      It’s a great piece of work.

    • You make so many valid and inciteful points. As the mother of a teen age boy with a narc father, I worry about how my son will navigate this world you so accurately describe. I try to warn him about of all this. I try to convey to him that the best expression of ourselves that will bring the greatest satisfaction and reward is in having a trusting, loving intimacy with someone special. No instant gratification, sex play or performance can come close to it. And I can only pray that he will be able to find and sustain such a relationship, unlike his parents.

    • Brilliant. I just find it hard to believe, with all the women out there craving emotional intimacy with a partner, that there are not also a bunch of men who wish for that as well. Are you saying that society programs them to not want that in their lives? That sex is enough, or all they can hope for? That is a very ‘death of a salesmen’ dreary hopeless outlook.

      • Thanks everyone.

        “Are you saying that society programs them to not want that in their lives? That sex is enough, or all they can hope for?”

        I don’t know; maybe some male chumps can weigh in.

        Also, let me be clear. I’m not saying that I don’t like a little fun of roles or teasing or play-acting or whatever, or that I don’t have my own fantasies that would get me kicked out of my early ideas of eligibility Good Girl or Good Feminist clubs. What I’m saying is that whatever scenarios and whatever I co-create with someone, I want it to be about having safe freaky fun with my special person in this fucked-up world, that I’d want to pick that person based on their character. I’m looking for us both knowing the difference between connecting around our desires to feel hot (which is about power and image) and connecting around shared vulnerability and cosmic awe at the brilliance of sex (which is about intimacy).

        A freak! https://youtu.be/K7OwBQPZYh8

  • I didn’t see where you purged your home of his things. Humans react physically to inanimate objects, music, places etc. . If not haul it to goodwill or the trash. Don’t send it to him. Get rid of the couch or chair he picked out or loved. Make your home, truly your home. Your looking for joy? You just got the crap beat out of you. Be great full you are strong and survived the circus. Joy comes after the mental bruises start to fade.

    • I put most of his stuff in storage and gave him deadline to collect, some went to charity shop. Yes, I have been purging home, redecorating. He was obsessed with online purchases, nice to be free of the crap.
      I know it sounds a tall order to ask where is joy, but the suffering has been going on so long, I need to ask.

      • Freakshownomore, it’s taken me a really long time to feel any joy at all, as well.
        Double difficulty as most of my previously enjoyable pursuits are hers as well and he admires them in her.
        But one tiny mico-moment at a time, I’m finding moments here and there to be grateful for and find joy in.
        And I’m choosing one tiny thing at a time to take back my life.
        On an aside, my wasbund was “depressed” for years as well but nothing I did to support him, no amount of medication or counseling either, seemed to help. Sometimes I wonder now if it was genuine.
        He told me he was a terrible person, and not a good man and I argued about that with him. Ha! Should have listened, in the first place. Might have saved me years of excruciating pick me dancing and basically begging to be loved. Settling for scraps of attention. Cannot recommend Dr Minwalla’s work highly enough, and, of course LACGAL. Both life changing, affirming, validating treasure troves of information for those of us dealing with the confusion and grief that comes with discovery of betrayal.

        • I too spent time and energy at first, trying to persuade him he was a good person. Like you say we should have believed them when they protested otherwise.
          Stuff the OW whose qualities he admires. It’s the pedestal she’ll fall off.
          One of the hardest things is to take back the things they used to admire and which made us feel good about ourselves. Finding the warm and creative feelings towards your self is the hard part I find, I am trying not to see myself or refer to life through his eyes.

          • Love that!
            Yes, not seeing ourselves through their eyes.
            So key to the healing journey for want of a better phrase.

      • Joy takes awhile to show up post infidelity. I’m a little more than two years out, not counting a brief false reconciliation a little over a year ago. I am finding more and more moments of joy every day.

        Initially I focused on my children and pets, then my home. It’s slower than I would’ve liked but I do see so much progress. And it’s far from linear. I can have a streak of wonderful days or weeks and then hit a terrible low for a day or two – usually related to a trigger.

        I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

        • Good to hear Skeeter. And no it is not linear. Light really is a thing which you miss when it goes out of your heart. Glad for you it is getting closer.

  • freakshownomore
    You are blessed in some ways – he is gone , there is no contact . You don’t have to see the ex once a week when handing over the kids. You don’t have to answer stupid emails why it is fair that you share the cost of gymnastic classes and crap like that .
    But our mind goes wild – we find ourselves in a pretty lonely place – and of we may crave closeness, intimacy and have our own sexual fantasies.
    But whilst we spend Saturday night crying on the sofa after the kids have gone to bed, do we imagine that the ex is living their wildest sexual escapades, having nights out with friends – and we imagine that they “ won “.

    Some here suggest that we should find comfort in the fact , that the ex’s life most probably sucks right now, and that what we imagine is a busy life of pleasure actually smells of piss and ashtrays .

    The solution however is inside us – it doesn’t matter if he now lives in a palace and there is in orgy 4 times a week or if he begs on high street for loose change .

    The answer is to stop comparing and focus on the things you can change .
    Focus on yourself and on the kids .
    Luckily he is not around . You will get there

    • So true, the imagination runs wild and creates some romantic idyll they are now living.
      No, who pays for the gym class is not an ongoing dispute, he made very clear he did not intend to co-parent or show up for parents’ evenings/school reports etc. Luckily kids are flourishing in their school work without him here and are not distracted by the constant tension and fights any more.
      Most of all I am glad the sense of imminent moral collapse has gone from the family. Sure, there is a great big hole where the loving him used to be, but that person left a long time ago.

  • Dear Freakshownomore,

    He absolutely did NOT win! You are the superwinner here! You got rid of a fuckwit. Yes, you ended up with all of the responsibility, but I assure you, you are the biggest winner! Your children will love and respect you someday (after the teenage years) when they realize all that happened. And what happened? Their mom did NOT abandon them. Their mom was a supermom! They will brag on you! You only get one shot in life to do right by your kids. If you screw it up, you don’t get another chance. The fuckwit screwed it up. So Mom, stay the course. Be the mighty mom that you are and just take it one day at a time. Be kind to yourself, and Do NOT intercede for your children with their fuckwit father. His relationship with them is solely on him. You must only worry about you and your children. Your responsibility to the fuckwit is finally, finally over, and you WILL…, I guarantee it, be incredulously happy that you stepped up to the plate and handled it. You will be old a heck of a lot longer than you are young. These years with your ‘young’ kids will pass by quickly (even though they seem like forever.) In future you’ll have adult children for many, many years longer than you had them as young children. That’s when you will realize that you are the biggest winner. Right now it’s tough, but remember, you’re old a heck of a lot longer than you’re young. It will always be worth it! You will be grateful someday. I guarantee it!

    • This is so true, we are older a hell of a lot longer than we are young. But we/ our society is so obsessed with youth that we can think in terms of ‘the best is life is gone’ far too much as we get older, particularly when our partner runs off to join the circus. Like, did someone else run off with my hopes and dreams? I never wanted to join the circus, but I have always liked adventure. I don’t need much for an adventure, I have often found adventures in small things.
      I am very grateful the children see and appreciate me. And it is rewarding see them grown into young adults with kind hearts, sense of humour and a good moral compass.
      Sometimes I want to send him one of those ‘ a puppy’s not just for Christmas’ cards with the word puppy crossed out and kid in its place.
      Or a father’s day card which is empty inside.
      There are so many cards which could be specially designed for cheaters. A Thinking of You card with a picture of a clown and skank inside.
      Anyway, I digress. Thank you for your support Amazon Chump.

  • Today’s post dovetails with the “Friends Disapprove of Her Divorce” post for me this week, and resonates after watching a pair of narcissists’ memorial service online. This couple lived to 93 and 98 respectively, dying within six hours of one another.

    My family of origin and this couple and all their kids (six in total) belonged to the same church. I was recruited as a surrogate sibling to their youngest Kate, five years younger than me. She was an “Oops !” baby, conceived after her mother Nancy’s botched tubal ligation, which Nancy had after the birth of her severely disabled son who died at age four. There is a twenty year age gap between K. and her oldest sibling, one of her four brothers. Kate’s eighteen year older sister was a stunning young woman. Sandy moved to Paris in the mid 1970s after art college to learn circus arts (seduction skills) with Fratellini and Etaix. She lived there and across Europe for seven years and I don’t know how she supported herself. Sugaring is my guess. When I was a young teen I accompanied the parents and Kate to see Sandy perform in a travelling circus in Spain. My parents marriage was imploding at the time, due to my father’s abuse which included cheating. He blatantly disrespected my mother during a trip my parents took to Israel, organized through our Episcopal church, sneaking off to schtup one of the tour guides. All the guests knew what happened. I stayed with Nancy and her husband during said trip.

    Nancy blamed my mother for my father’s cheating. Nothing like kicking an abused person when they’re down, is there ? Nancy also insisted on calling me the male Spanish version of my first name after our trip to Spain (i.e. Mario instead of Maria for Mary). I don’t know what that was about. My mother distanced herself rapido from Nancy the communal narcissist; she nicknamed her “Lady Bountiful”. Nancy loved to pat herself on the back for her volunteer work. “Aren’t I fabulous for helping the poor black kids in Newark learn to read ?” Nancy’s death notice read how she was so good at consoling friends. Huh ?! Her husband was lauded as a man who never met a stranger, who kept in touch with all the people he met over the years.

    Her daughter Sandy, who had a bit part in a James Bond movie, mate poached a married man. “Sandy’s marrying an ugly man, one with money” Mom said. Well Sandy died a slow, horrible death from ALS in her early 50s. Her morbidly obese daughter spoke at the grandparents’ memorial service. I can only imagine what it was like for the young woman to have gorgeous Sandy as her mother and Nancy the Narc as a grandmother.

    My head and heart hurt a bit this week thinking about how downright vicious, cruel and insensitive some people are, most disturbingly the self-professed “kind” people.

    I’m admiring my favorite mug as I type this “Not my circus, not my monkeys” and having a little chuckle after all.

  • “She said that those are the people you need to get out of your life because they are not safe people and will continue to leave rubble behind them. Yes, I agree.”

    Yep, I saw it first hand. I know now that my fw spent his whole life chasing something, anything that would make him happy. After discarding me at the 21 year mark, he married schmoops, started cheating on her, then after he retired, I guess the available pussy dried up and he and schmoops started gambling, lost everything. The last thing he tried was a big ass RV that cost over a hundred thousand dollars. He was too sick to barely drive a car much less an RV of that size.

    My son begged him to not buy it. (he had to get a loan, who the hell authorizes these sales to a bankrupt individual) Anyway, when my son asked how are you going to pay for it he said “I don’t care, I will be dead” he died a year later and left schmoops in debt. They had signed over their trailer to her son, so they wouldn’t lose their trailer. The RV is actually a lot nicer and in better shape than their trailer according to my son.

    I don’t know how that ended for her. I assume the company just repossessed and took a loss.

    I am so grateful that I got out of that mess when I was younger. At the time it really hurt that she would get to enjoy the life that I helped him build. She did get my future with him, but dang she was welcome to it. I had no idea he would do the things he did.

    • “At the time it really hurt that she would get to enjoy the life that I helped him build. She did get my future with him, but dang she was welcome to it. I had no idea he would do the things he did.”

      AMEN to that. I used to say the same thing – why does she get to reap the reap the reward of my hard work? But she got more than she bargained for. She realized her mistake faster than I had and left him, but I think it was far worse for her than it had been for me. I’m SO glad I got out of that, even if I wasn’t happy about it at the time.

  • Did he WIN?!

    He’s literally a middle-aged clown (not a metaphor!) who couldn’t hold down a job and fired himself from his family to fuck strange.

    He’s embarrassing! That he can’t see it doesn’t make it no less true, it makes him immature and inept, and any reasonable adult will recognize that.

    You threw him out immediately and got divorced. You and your kids are safe. You’ve got a job. Sounds like you’ve got your shit together! And you won’t have to worry anymore about this lunacy in your house, or Mr. Clown Shoes trucking home STIs or stealing your money for affairs.

    “Did he win?” My God, the man’s gonna die homeless on the street cuz he’s burning bridges left and right and his own kids hate him. What a loser.

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