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This Is Your Brain on Hopium

Hopium is a powerful drug. You can hand a chump the most desperate set of circumstances, and goddamn it, that chump will work with it. Let’s just give it a year! I owe it to us to try! Sure, I can ionize my needs into tiny, undetectable particles! You’ll never get a whiff of my anger, no sir!

Hopium says, sure you can leap off that tall building in a single bound, and not go splat on the pavement, because UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! Hopium whispers, you’ll never lose a single sunk cost. Hopium exults, OMG she went to therapy! We’re good now! The Wizard of Therapy will give her a heart and we’ll click our ruby slippers and go back to our restored marriage!

Hopium lies.

Under hopium’s influence, chumps let down their guards. (Wouldn’t want to upset the Timid Forest Creature with your demands now, would you?) That boundary you had? It can wait. Those financials you should be collecting? Hey HE BROUGHT ME FLOWERS! That post-nup you were thinking of maybe taking his temperature on, kinda, perhaps… We can’t upset the cheater or they’ll run back to Schmoopie!

Chumps despise the suggestion that they’re high on hopium. NO, I CAN QUIT AT ANY TIME, but I CHOOSE NOT TO, because I believe in the SANCTITY of MARRIAGE!

Here’s a radical suggestion for all those who chase unicorns — reconciliation and protecting yourself are NOT mutually exclusive. Sorry is as sorry does. A remorseful person will give you transparency, a post-nup and STD testing. A remorseful person will run a credit report on themselves. But chumps, high on hopium, will never ever test this sorry (I SEE A UNICORN! He’s white and fluffy with a rainbow mane!) because they fear more pain.

Hopium anesthetizes. Truth hurts like a motherfucker. So let’s not be pushy. Chumps fear that if they enforce those boundaries, the cheater will balk, and they’ll be forced to connect the dots that the cheater doesn’t really want to give up cake. That maybe the chump isn’t winning the pick me dance as definitively as they imagined. And so chumps will not test the depths of cheater sorry because it means further suffering.

Reconciliation sounds so noble. Bargaining stage of grief, not so much.

Put down the pipe, chumps. If you’re going to reconcile, do it sober with protection.

So tell me, what crazy thing did you do under hopium’s influence? And how did you kick the habit?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I love it Tracy, hopium I got lucky I didn’t hang off the hopium pipe because I have strong boundaries and I like myself! I just walked right after triangulation and filed for divorce. Yes it hurt like a son of a bitch but the writing was on the wall!????

  • I gave him the open relationship that he had already taken for himself.
    I bought a £400 smart watch and started running around the streets of North London trying to get my abs back.
    I went to stay with my sister to give us ‘space’ so that he could fuck Norbert in our house and entertain him at our dining table.
    I messaged him every day, trying to get him to take it all back.
    I believed his gaslighting.
    I internalised his criticisms of my mental health and personality.
    I sought therapy to fix myself and therefore fix us.
    I was kind to him.
    I believed we could fix it and committed that to him openly.
    I convinced myself that his response meant more than a “Hmmmmm.”
    I moved out of our house because he refused to leave.
    I tried to share the dog with him because I never believed he would use this to engage in more manipulations and deceit.
    I held off instructing a solicitor because I told myself he would still act in my best interests.
    I went to the house to talk about finances, promising myself that I wouldn’t get into a relationship post mortem.
    I didn’t believe he would ever be so callous as to lock me out of my own house.
    I cried when he made allegations of aggressive and threatening behaviour against me through his solicitor.

    This could all have been avoided with a stout and joyful “Fuck you!”, but did I have that in me after years of what I now know to be emotional abuse? No. Easier to light up the hopium pipe and take a nice, long, deep breath.

    Don’t do it guys. Chumps let things go too easily. These people know exactly what they’re doing.

    • Dr. Chumphead,

      I did so much of what you did. I think the most damaging to my mental health was my belief in his gaslighting and the internalization of his criticisms. I, too, was kind to him, even though he didn’t return my kindness.

      Dr. Chumphead is right when he urges other chumps not to go down this road. It’s a dead end.

      • As did I Spinach….ditto with the belief in his gaslighting and internalizations of criticisms. My divorce was final 2 weeks ago and what I REALLY struggle with is…….Did MY response to his infidelity…..the acquiesence to his anger and finger-pointing, the acknowledgement of his perceptions/views of MY culpability in the marriage, empower his sense of self-righteouness and entitlement?? It HAD to. After 2 years of therapy and countless books on covert narcissim I see it was HIS disordered personality. But it bothers me. He will ALWAYS think he was justified in the affair (30 year marriage..3 months before daughters wedding) and to have all the feelings he said he had. He was NOT right, NOT justified, NOT a victim. My therapist said I suffered from trauma bonding and shock. My 2 daughters say …let the disordered fuck believe anything he wants to until the day he dies….maybe my Tuesday will be the day it doesnt bother me any longer.

        • The ubiquitous false narrative.

          I’ve heard it described as ‘shared psychosis’ when in a relationship with the disordered and accepting of their abuse.

          Has nothing to do with you. It’s a con man’s game. Slowly I have regained my self and exclude x from my tribe, my circle, my life. And others like x. No more benefit of the doubt for anyone. It’s a good survival skill in today’s world.

          • “No more benefit of the doubt for anyone,” wise words to live by.
            I’m working on getting real, seeing people for who they are, accepting that real monsters do exist.

          • I have excluded him and his family from day 1….total no contact…everything went through my attorney. Both daughters have been NC as well…it is self-preservation.
            A con mans game….and a cowards game…indeed.

        • Your concern for his interpretation of history and his feelings will end as it should. No contact is the best remedy. You’re doing everything else you can to heal from the trauma of a knife in your back from the person you were so capable of bonding with.
          Anyone of us who are more years away from the trauma – even if married 38 years!- will tell you we only wish we had put down the hopium sooner.

          • Lauren….I have been NC since Day 1. Acrimonius 3 year divorce…everything went through my attorney…we even had to go to court. I so wish I had put the pipe down the day I discovered the infidelity….I couldnt even begin to comprehend he had the capacity and willingness to do this to me and also to our daughters….I guess I am in good company.

        • Had you given him a notarized document from the world’s top psychiatrists diagnosing him with narcissism and stating he was nothing but a selfish prick that chose to have an affair because he has a severely disordered personality…he would still have a warped sense of self-righteousness and perverse entitlement. I can guarantee you it would have made no difference which is why these narcs are so frustrating. Your acquiescence had no bearing on his entitlement.

            • pennstategirl,

              One day you just won’t care. I have the same intellectual questions over 10 years later. You don’t really get sensible answers to situations that don’t make sense. What you do get is that feeling that you just don’t care, that none of it matters. It takes a bit to get there but that is what happens. Focus all those thoughts on yourself and how much love you deserve and how you are going to give it to yourself. Try to funnel every bit of mental energy spent on him into you.

              Don’t focus on what you did wrong but rather on why you were willing to stay in a relationship that wasn’t acceptable to you. There are many reasons and some of them are very painful to excavate. But this is the work that will propel you into that next mighty phase of life.

              Easier said than done. This shit is hard. Focus on you and your family and be kind to yourself.

              • TY Fern for your kind words and insights…This shit is hard indeed. Baby steps to Meh.

          • And not just that, but he would have a therapist putting the blame on you.

        • I’m with your daughters.
          The answer to that question is that his self-righteousness and entitlement is baked into him, is independent of whatever you said or did. In fact, whatever you said and did would have been twisted to enable him to turn it around on you. Bagged salad.

          • Gosh Adelante….you are right on target. After DDay he twisted SO much that I did, and said, over the course of 30 years. He brought up conversations, comments, things I did…from years ago…to justify his actions. One example of many….The wedding anniversary before DDay we went to dinner. Our daughter out of state called to have drinks sent to our table as a surprise…but the restaurant screwed it up. They apologized profusely. On the way home I called to let her know they gave us a gift card for future use. On DDay he said that I put the kids and the cats ahead of him and an example was that car ride home …said it was OUR time and I shouldnt have been on the phone with our daughter on the way home ….that was 3 years before DDay. He never said a word that day. He just harbored various slights to him and word vomited them on DDay. Thanks for standing with my 2 amazing daughters.

            • Oh gosh, this upset me so much.
              I experienced exactly the same. He tried to justify his actions by blaming me. Until he decided to cheat, he would tell me how lucky he is to have me. But when he tried to put the blame on me, he couldn’t come up with anything solid. Here is what he told me: 10! years ago, we had a long day with friends etc. I was of course cooking all day after work. The same night, he spontaneously wanted to go to the cinema, but I supposedly refused. He said I was annoying and acted angry. I have no idea what it was, perhaps I was too tired and he was too inconsiderate. But he had never mentioned that before.
              I said is there anything else you want to tell me? Any other day you were upset about my behaviour? He said: No, I cannot think of anything else.
              But this is more ridiculous: I thought if only I had said yes to his proposal that night, he might not have cheated. These people play with our minds horribly.

    • I also followed Dr Chumphead’s laundry list of chumpy activities. I wish I hadn’t. It prolonged the pain.

    • With ya sister. Glad that is in the rearview.

      “These people know exactly what they’re doing.”

      Life lesson.

    • Dr Chumphead, me too????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Omg I also offered an open relationship, thought he’s have my best interests at heart, his solicitor also accused me of stalking and intimidation. I went to the therapist if his choice who thought the sun shone out of his ass who further gaslit me. All because I was scared of the pain. And it was a motherfucker.

    • Dr Chumphead; I appreciate your honesty.
      Navigating through all the mindfuckery is no picnic. We actually believed we were cared for and about. Thank God for CL and CN. She has had her new life for over a decade and still keeps churning out the info to help us, and shines the light on the truth which is very hard to see when you are in the middle of Hell.

  • I didn’t get off hopium until I started reading Baggage Reclaim.

    It was naltrexone for me: hopium stopped working, quite quickly. The hopium receptors were blocked by really good information.

    I was talking to my sister last night about reasons why people trapped in the RIC don’t read Chump Lady, even though they know it’s there.

    My theory is that they can’t tolerate being confronted with hundreds of stories identical to their own.

    One of hopium’s most insidious effects is making you feel Special – that your situation is somehow the exception to the rule. Getting a different world view has a way of shattering that.

    Most heroin addicts don’t want naltrexone because it stops them getting high. You have to have hit rock bottom to go on it.

    • 100% agree with this. Chump stories are to hopium what naloxone is to morphine.

      If I’d known how these people operate before it happened to me, I could have seen it a mile off and conducted myself accordingly.

      • Hi Dr Chumphead. Just wanted to say hi! South London for me but your list resonated. I find it interesting that Chump started in 2012 and my first Dday was 2012. And yet I didn’t find her then. What I found was RIC crap and I spend thousands over 7years. DD2 I spend my final $500 on the very first coach I’d found years before. We ran throgh the basic checklist. Yes I am staying slim (really he said that) and healthy, have my own life and friends, not being needy, never mentioning the affiar, never nagging, being pleasing. He said this was the best I was ever going to get then and had to decide if it was enough. THEN I found Chump Lady. If I had a time machine…. I’m out now. Hopium pipe down. Life being lived. Still very angry but 50% of it is at me for all that hope and chumpiness.

        • Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re a human being and your feelings are normal and valid. You found the light at the end of the tunnel- you made it. Be proud of yourself 🙂

        • Hi Chumpsuit!

          There was talk of relationship counselling at one point for me. I do wonder how that would have panned out if he had ever had the balls to commit to it. Doubtless my part in “driving him away” would have been maximised and I would have fallen into the RIC vortex of blame shifting bullshit. Luckily, thebonecarrier found me on r/survivinginfidelity and sent me here.

          Who on earth was this coach you saw!? My God! Imagine being complicit in someone effacing themselves so much for someone else, someone who clearly wouldn’t reciprocate.

          I’m still sad a lot of the time which is largely due to the slow progress around the house sale. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. You did the best that an honest and empathetic person could. I try and use dignity as my guiding light when I’m feeling shit about it all. If I’ve behaved in a way that I can look back on without shame, then I’ll know that even if I haven’t “won”, at least I didn’t lose. Not that it’s that easy.

          • To mis-quote Chump Lady, “You still have your soul! Nobody can take that away from you.”

          • Dr. Chumphead- you are such a lovely writer! And also the detailed checklist is a perfect reference point. I checked them all. Its been a long time for me, yet it still helps so much to know what great company i find myself in in Chump Nation.

    • When I was in the RIC there was a comment on a post in one of the (many) forums I had joined in my hopium days about how we should check out chumplady. Someone wrote a cold reply and the comment was ignored like dogshit on the pavement. But I went across and found her. But at that time it was way too scary for me. I kept sucking on the hopium pipe for a while after that.
      But there was one forum that had a thread called ‘just found out’ and there were so many posts that started out ‘well I never thought I’d be back here but he/she did it again after 1,5,10 years!’ That scared the shit out of me

    • Dear Lola Granola, thanks for sharing and clarifying— my hopium trip was nasty as a fentanyl OD, but I found chump lady!!!!
      I look back, just March and I was begging my ex to be in an open relationship where she could still screw the gardener and treat me like a chump.
      Thankfully, chump lady was also part of my research for the “open relationship”. Boy was I an idiot. Thank you CL, dodged that bullet.
      Can you imagine being in an open relationship with trash? Ugh, that is addiction.
      Xioba Xioba

  • Never had the opportunity to do any of these fully. My ex was the runaway husband Vikki Stark talks about. I sensed something wasn’t quite right in the months prior to d-day, but he insisted on rebuffing it and everything was good, it was all in my head. So I bought it. One morning I woke up and he was gone, left me with a text message.

    I did get him to come back for an agonising 6 months. I had it my head that this was just a bump on the road, and ofc he wasn’t telling me the whole truth so the picture I had in my mind didn’t correspond to reality. He told me he had cheated just for sex, and refused to admit anything about who is now his current partner. So I was like “it’s sex, he’s not in love, I can fix this!”. We’d been together 17 years since we were so young, so in my head I could excuse cheating if only related to sex, after all I did give him less attention. This might be a controversial statement, but cheating for sex didn’t bother me (and still doesn’t tbh) as much as him leaving, I saw the former as a mistake and the latter as the real act of betrayal. Cheating was nothing compared to tearing down our whole life, the things I had invested in it, the sacrifices.

    Of course, if he had told me the truth, that he was in fact in love with OW and wanted to leave to be with her I would have looked at it differently. I suspect she asked him not to get her involved in this, and to him she was more important than owning the truth with me and our son. He only recently admitted to our teenage son that she was the woman of the texts my son found out, and that they had an emotional affair which is still not the whole truth…

    So this was my hopium. It was mostly based on the fact I didn’t have the full picture, so I thought I could fix it. I’m still not sure whether my outlook on the topic is a little fucked up. Is cheating just for sex really something forgivable after you’ve invested nearly 2 decades in building a life with someone? I just don’t know. The most traumatising thing wasn’t being cheated on, but watching my life crumble to pieces when I was completely unprepared for it.

    • I don’t think that “cheating for sex didn’t bother me … as much as him leaving” is really all that controversial. For most people here, it wasn’t the sex itself so much as the lying and deceit that accompanied it.

      Very few of us here were married to our “one and only” sexual partner, but we were absolutely OK with that before the adultery occurred. So the issue isn’t “you had sex with someone else” so much as “you broke a promise and now you’re treating me like shit”. This was certainly the case for me, because I was in such deep denial that I didn’t even admit that my XW was committing adultery: I was “only” suffering the effects of the devaluation and discard (with nonsensical “explanations”, rewriting of marital history, emotional and physical withdrawal, etc), with no knowledge of sexual infidelity, and it was certainly enough.

      • “So the issue isn’t “you had sex with someone else” so much as “you broke a promise and now you’re treating me like shit”

        That wasn’t quite it. I would have forgiven that, had he wanted my forgiveness. Although maybe rebuilding trust would have been another matter, and much too difficult. But I could have forgiven him breaking a promise and lying, life is difficult and in 17 years you won’t always treat each other with the respect they deserve.

        I was “only” suffering the effects of the devaluation and discard (with nonsensical “explanations”, rewriting of marital history, emotional and physical withdrawal, etc), with no knowledge of sexual infidelity

        Yeah that messes up with your head. I go those as well, he would talk of things that made zero sense unless he was in love with someone else and saw a life with this other person. And you make a good point about this, it’s not the cheating in itself but everything that goes along with it.

      • Agree. It was not the sex part that bothered me the most, it was about the sneakiness, deception and the money being blown to support the AP. I admit that menopause impacted me and lowered my drive. I do not think that this would be a license to cheat though. The other thing that bothered me was acting like a seven year old with the constant texting, hiding the phone, sneaking off and so on.
        The immature behavior and sneakiness quickly destroyed any feelings of hope that I may have had. Of course it is always the chumps fault!!! Hopium did not last long here because FW was obvious about not trying.

        • “I admit that menopause impacted me and lowered my drive. I do not think that this would be a license to cheat though.”

          No, it doesn’t. Anything can happen, people can get sick or things might happen to them that makes sex difficult. A commitment to a spouse you’ve built a family with and spent so many year should warrant more thought before jumping into the next shiny new thing.

          • Thanks for that Vee. They come up with the craziest things to justify their basic dishonesty. I know CL has a list of a bunch of them but some of these were just so creative and I think they sincerely believe that they are all valid reasons for cheating. Of course, I spent some time feeling guilty about some things but once I got off the hopium train, I realized that I will be much better off. I need to take care of myself and not spend my time feeding the FW more kibble and doing the famous pick me dance. Now he can enjoy his twi wuv and then when she gets older, he can do the same discard with her.

            • Maybe they really believe them. Maybe not.

              IMO, what really happens is they come up with a bunch of reasons – often mutually contradictory, or just plain stupid – and then they make sure not to think about them too hard so they don’t realize how stupid they are. So, they probably believe them because they’re making damn sure not to probe too deeply into whether they’re believable.

              Just one example: my XW told me that she needed to leave me because “I loved you too much for too long and all my love is used up”. Which is 100% not how love works. Not even close. Love is not some finite resource. I have sympathy for a kid who’s worried a new sibling will mean his parents will love him less, but the only way a 45-year-old woman (with kids!) can believe this is because she is willfully deluding herself.

              • I suspect one day, through a challenge CL can up her count of stupid shit that cheaters say. I tried to figure out some of FWs crap but none of it made sense to me and I did not even want to try. I will have to admit some of it would make excellent comic material. Mine also said that he “ran out of love and had none more to give me”. Not sure but he sure seemed to be giving something to Schmoopie but maybe that was not love????????

              • My FW told me the following things “bothered” him:
                1. My lying on the couch after work (and before I did chores) made me look lazy.
                2. He expected me to massage his neck and arm anytime he was driving.
                3. Talking on the phone while he was gone was “disrespectful.”

                These are three reasons why I wasn’t a “good wife.”

              • They have no concept of what love is. Mine said exactly the same: I loved you so much for 12 years. Now, I still love you but not in love with you. When I left our home a few days after, he was begging me not to go. I reminded him what he said to me and he responded: No, I could’ve never said that. I don’t remember ever saying that, I am still in love with you. I waited for this love to come to an end (after he decided to cheat), but it never does.
                So yes, their reasons are completely contradictory and they have no idea how ridiculous everything is.

      • IG, agree! The sex-with-someone-else was definitely something I was willing to work through. As devastated as I was when I found out, I never had the mind movies or any such trauma from knowing about the sex itself.

        Two things were deal breakers and happened months after D-Day – my gradual realization of what a selfish person he really is (finding out about the sex was merely a 2×4), and his controlling behavior after D-Day.

        When I filed for divorce, FW indignantly said “You told me everything would be ok! You hugged me!” (I did, like a couple weeks after D-Day, clearly not thinking right). Oh well, creep. Guess that makes us both liars. ????

      • For me IG IT WAS THE SEX. Period. Foresaking. All. Others.
        Accepting the Stone cold fact xw joyfully spread her legs and enjoyed herself and wanted more. That did it for me. Trust? Poof!!
        Disease bin from that moment of clarity on.

        • What self respecting man wants to be married to a cum dumpster…not I for damn sure…

          • Cum dumpster is right terminology. My ex wife was caught cheating with over 20 men and caught on tinder saying she had a boyfriend who wanted to watch her fuck other men. I called her nothing more than a whore and she responded with this classic “I’m not a whore”. Yeah sweetie whatever gets you through the night.

    • Your boundaries are your own and you get to have whatever standards you feel comfortable with. If cheating just for sex is not a deal breaker for you, that’s your decision to make.

      I don’t personally believe cheating is, at the core, really about sex, nor is it about love. It’s really about the cheater’s need to live in the realm of fantasy because the reality (that they actually aren’t as special as they think) is painful for them. They are like addicts seeking a pain free oblivion between other people’s legs. There is no way a chump can fix that. Cheaters need truckloads of therapy, and even if they had it I would not trust them.

      • Your boundaries are your own and you get to have whatever standards you feel comfortable with. If cheating just for sex is not a deal breaker for you, that’s your decision to make.

        That’s what’s confusing to me a bit; is that my boundary or is that I lack boundaries? If someone I’ve been with for a short time would cheat on me for whatever reason I wouldn’t think twice about not wanting to see his arse ever again. But with my ex? He was my family, my love and commitment went beyond. I think there are only very few things I wouldn’t have stuck with him throughout

        • Maybe you should try to sort your confusion out in therapy. I say that knowing that a lot of therapists suck, so be choosy if you do go that route.

        • Yes. He’s not the person you want to believe he is. That acceptance takes time and processing. And it takes honesty with our self and self love and self care.

        • Vee – don’t beat yourself up about the boundaries. I felt the exact same way about my ex (in the beginning). I didn’t really care about the extramarital shit. I honestly thought it was a phase, a mid life crisis, and I was willing to wait it out because he was my husband. That meant something to me. We had children, built a home, and were finally living our dream. (Or so I wanted to believe.)

          We dissolved our boundaries because of the hopium. Because a boundary is easier to lose than a family, a dream, a life, and an identity. It’s a desperate act done in a desperate situation. You said it yourself – you wouldn’t accept cheating from someone you were dating. So you do have boundaries. You just didn’t regard them more than you did your life.

          If you were being mugged and you were given a choice to hand over your wallet or die, what would you do? Of course, you’d hand over your wallet. Does that mean you don’t have boundaries for God’s sake?!

          Your instinct is always to save your life. When your spouse, the parent of your children, the foundation upon which you have built your life, threatens to destroy everything you know, have, and are, you’re faced with a life or death choice. That’s why this is so damned traumatizing.

          Have some self-compassion. You have boundaries. You’re not a basket case. This didn’t happen because you’re a doormat or because you’re a bitch. It happened because your ex has no character and threatened your life. It’s his fault, not yours. His actions were abnormal and cruel. Your response was normal and decent.


          • ChumpQueen, you just spelled out what I attempted to but couldn’t in the recent Friday challenge about cheating as abuse. What kind of choices does cheating leave us with? There’s no way to avoid immense loss and pain.

          • What you wrote is so true. I held on in a marrige where I came last over and over. He was a sex addict who threw me away decades before I left. I held onto hope because I thought he was a good man and I was the messed up one with depression and obesity. I still struggle with those things. He appears to have an enchanted life now. I miss having a family and I hurt for my grown children who grew up in a broken home though their parents were married. I didnt see it then. I had so much hope that it would get better. It didnt.

        • I know what you mean, Vee. I broke up with my one and only high school boyfriend because he cheated. I’d really liked him, but he disgusted me after that and I ignored his attempts to reconnect for years after. My college boyfriend ended things in a really cowardly manner (avoided me during our semesters abroad, rather than just breaking up – it was very confusing to go through), and I cut contact with him upon return. He was my first love, but that crossed a line. I adored my next boyfriend, after college, but he was a musician who traveled a lot and it wasn’t what I was looking for, so I broke my own heart and broke up with him. Then I met a genuinely kind and honest fella who wanted to marry me, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that and didn’t want to hold him back, so I let him go. Then, I met fuckwit. Fast forward 15 years…

          Since leaving, I’ve met a couple of nice, interesting guys who are interested in me. It just hasn’t felt right, as much as I’d love the company and connection, so I’ve been honest with them and have kept my distance.

          In many different kinds of relationships and situations, I have/have had strong boundaries and standards. (It’s a mosaic I’m trying to get to the bottom of, because other times, my willingness to accommodate for others and set aside my own feelings/needs does not serve me.) Something complex happened with my longterm, fuckwit, cheating ex-partner. ChumpQueen explains how I see it a little farther down this thread. I guess this is why the “fix your picker” thing confuses me, too. I’m older and wiser now and wouldn’t be duped the way I was, but my ex was a con artist. And maybe he wasn’t so evil when I met him? He had and still has a lot of people fooled. Thousands. I think I needed to fix my “leaver,” more than my picker. This is totally about boundaries.

      • I’ve been pondering this boundary question, too. I’ve been told multiple times that I lacked boundaries. And I never could figure out how to find my boundaries as I take each person, one by one, and see them for all their faults but I want them to know that I am willing to accept their faults. Shoot, I will even stand up for you and explain to others how they misunderstood you or need to see both sides of the story.

        Was I supposed to just say, “Everybody with a green shirt on….I HATE green…so you are just out of here! Leave my life!” That’s what it felt like a boundary was. Arbitrary, selfish, judging a book by its cover. Not really based in humanity or love.

        After D-Day (40 years of marriage to FW and I really, really, really thought he was the only honest and trustworthy person I knew until the moment he declared his twu wuv and moved out), I felt boundaries snap into place.

        Boundaries are about Core Values. ANYONE who thinks affairs happen all the time, get over it, people make mistakes, etc……. they DO NOT share my core values. That’s a boundary I can enforce. This was my first time to be able to name a boundary and go to work enforcing it.

        My second boundary is about lying. If I find out you are okay with lying or have lied in the past, or that you believe lying in certain circumstances is the right thing to do….. that’s a Core Value violation for me. You are out. I distance myself from you as quickly and quietly as possible.

        At the current time in my life, these two boundaries have broken nearly all of my lifetime relationships. I was living in a snake pit and didn’t know it. Now I am very alone. But, there are no snakes.

        Boundaries are Core Values in action. I wish someone could have explained that to me long before I wasted my entire lifetime with FW. As another person shared, I feel a little like I have pulled the sword out of my back and am now using it to protect myself.

        • The difficult thing, for me, is enforcing the boundaries. But I know I MUST do so, even at the cost of ending relationships. My X was like a toddler who, upon being told not to touch a table, would brush it with his fingertips, just to 1) test the boundary, and 2) see if he could get away with it. If the second happened, the next thing would be a hand on the table, then his arm, then he would be laying on it.

          Adults understand and respect boundaries.

    • “So this was my hopium. It was mostly based on the fact I didn’t have the full picture, so I thought I could fix it.”

      I’m still realizing what I didn’t know. My suspicions were enough for me to spackle and engage in pick me dancing.

      But he had the facts.

      He knew he had already left our marriage, he knew he would pretend to consider counseling, he knew he would keep up the act until I broke and filed for divorce. And he knew he would claim that the relationship with AP began only then.

      He knew he could trust me to be “fair”. He knew that I wouldn’t really make demands and that he could maintain his image.

      Hopium not only helps to numb the pain of discovery, it lingers in grief and cognitive dissonance.

      • “But he had the facts.”

        It’s what creates the imbalance, they have all the facts and we have a version of it that isn’t even true. There’s so much manipulation in this.

        “Hopium not only helps to numb the pain of discovery, it lingers in grief and cognitive dissonance.”

        Very true.

      • Almost Monday, I could have written most of this. He knew everything–that he was not coming back, that marriage counselling was just a sham (why he kept going for 11 months until *I* finally called it off I will never understand), that he had met his “true love” (my married colleague who STILL hasn’t left her husband after … what … four years? five years?). And there I was, pick-me dancing without even knowing there was another contestant, and trying to support him through what was such a hard time *for him*, not realising it was all some kind of performance and that I didn’t have any of the information I needed to make an informed decision. I didn’t even find out about the AP until the whole “reconciliation” sham had been over for months.

    • For me. The sex wasn’t as bad as the lying, gaslighting, physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Plus getting pregnant with the AP’s child. Not that didn’t care, it was that the other stuff was worse.

  • Yes, I dumped him immediately after Dday, but that was just because of the affair. Deep down I knew he was an emotional abuser and all-around moody AF covert narc before the affair revelation, but I stayed because I was doped up on hopium. I think I didn’t want to lose my sunk cost. I didn’t want to believe I’d made a terrible mistake in marrying that man, even though I saw red flags ON OUR HONEYMOON! I didn’t want to see the truth. I was alone, ashamed, and afraid. That we moved far from family immediately after marrying only added to the isolation.

    Of course, it wasn’t all bad. We had some good times. We traveled well together and, oddly enough, had a good sex life. I thought fly fishing (he was addicted) was his only vice. How healthy! I joked that fly fishing was “the other woman.” My God! Little did I know that there was indeed another woman, and he was fishing with her.

    I really only see it clearly now, from this 2-years-out vantage point.

    Here’s what I did and thought when smoking hopium:

    “It’ll get better when he’s retired. Work is so stressful.”
    “It’ll get better when he goes on meds.”
    “It’ll get better when he has a grandchild.”
    “He means well.”
    “It’ll get better if I’m fitter and lose some weight” (I was a size 2 and exercised a lot. But he criticized how I looked, so…I did more.)
    “If I make more money, he’ll be happier.”
    “If I stop insisting on anything for myself, he’ll be happier.”
    “If I become a speck with no needs, he’ll be happier.”
    “If I never complain…”
    “If I keep a perfect house…”
    “If I praise him and join him in his hobbies…”

    It’s all so sad to think about now. Hopium is a helluva drug.

    • I also began many sentences with “If I just…” when I was on hopium. Hopium told me that I could, maybe, control an uncontrollable situation. I listened because I do desperately didn’t want to be a divorced single mother.

      Well, once the hopium smoke cleared (years of hard work but it did clear), I realized that I loved being a divorced single mother. So much better than being married to a cheater who drives you to antidepressants.

      • It’s sad that I used to need anti-anxiety meds when I was on the hopium. When the last D-day hit and I said F this, I have hardly needed them since. Now I can go months before I need so much as a half of a pill. Just the mental shift from hanging on to calling the attorneys and making a solid plan. From walking on eggshells to building a stash of funds for a retainer. From being panicked if he left to being relieved for him to go. That was all I needed to stop being a jumpy mess.

    • My hopium was much like yours. Two weeks after we married, we moved overseas and were thousands if miles from friends/family for 8 years. D-day 1 hit while we were gone and I had moved into the guest bedroom but couldn’t figure out anything beyond that. I had no money to buy a plane ticket back and no place to go once I would have gotten back. No job waiting for me when I got back, either. After almost 2 weeks trying to come up with a plan to leave, one friend, who meant well, said I would regret it if I didn’t at least try counseling. So I went and walked right into RIC where they fed me more hopium than I ever imagined and much of it was the stuff you listed – if only I lose weight, made more money, had sex with him more, etc. he wouldn’t cheat. I had to accept that I had a role in this! My carrying 10 pounds of extra weight was the difference between him cheating and not! We didn’t have a honeymoon but the red flags were there early. By the time we returned to the mainland US, klootzak and the RIC had convinced me that all was well. A year later, I was going through infertility treatments and, unbeknownst to me, 40 year old klootzak had taken up with a 22 year old enlisted sailor’s wife. I found out when I was 7 months pregnant. That was when I put down the pipe and started disconnecting from him and yet still I wanted to keep the marriage together until the child was a bit older because I didn’t trust klootzak to keep him safe. As I could begin to see the time coming on the horizon, D-day 3 hit and klootzak wanted to move us to an expensive area for his convenience before the final discard. Followed promptly by the pandemic and the whole world shutting down. I look back and ask myself how different things would be if I had been able to end things from overseas.

      The additional 10 years stuck in this mess will likely benefit me financially in the long run, but I feel like the emotional pain has probably shortened my life. All I can do now is add life to my years.

    • Spinach, I could have written every word of what you wrote. There really is a playbook they use.

    • I had all the same thoughts.
      – it will get better after counseling, after she has seen a doctor, after I get rid of my chest hair (????) , if I work out whilst she is asleep, rather than daytime and so on.

      That hopium is strong . If you look back at it later, it looks like we were on some trip and it wasn’t a good one.

  • I gradually had the hope for a good relationship taken out of me, bit by bit, D-Day after D-Day, devaluation after devaluation, criticism after criticism, neglect after neglect. The good thing about that prolonged, painful process is that I no longer love him. I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to.

    • ????????‍♀️ One day you wake up and realize not only do you not look forward to seeing them, but you dread them being around because they are constantly negative and make you feel bad. When you realize the best parts of your day are the ones they are not involved in.

      Klootzak is a military officer. I started out missing him when he would be sent out for training or a conference or whatever for a week or more. (He washed out of the command track so just rode a desk job and had only one deployment before we were married, so he was never gone more than a month tops.) Then I recall starting to look forward to him going because it was a nice break from his drama.

      • I remember going to the airport to pick up AH after him being in South Africa for work and I was so unhappy. I wished he’d never come back! And that was before the cheating!

        • It was before the cheating that you knew about. In most cases, the devaluation and associated mistreatment of chumps goes hand in hand with the cheater becoming infatuated with someone else.

      • I remember being so worried about/missing ex when he would travel for work. Then those thoughts stopped, because I realized that while he was traveling, he wasn’t thinking one iota about me in that way. He was overseas paying for sex. I even remember him pointing out prostitutes when I visited him in Germany when he was there for an extended time. Just thought it was something he noticed in passing. Fucking horrible shit to think back on. I began to dread seeing him and talking with him in our own home as well (he was WFH when not traveling, and I was a SAHM with our infant daughter).

    • Happened to me too, the slow, gradual loss of hopium and loss of love for him at the same time. I was so ready to divorce. My friends always said “you’ll know when it is time,” and they were right. The best friend said “I’ll love you no matter which you choose.”

  • I let him come back after a few weeks, and he treated me like dog shit under his toenails.

    As awful as it was, it woke me up big time.

  • Don’t even trust them if they do show those signs of remorse. My fuckwit did all those things and more, yet the remorse was fake. He was just doing it to get me to stay so he could keep on treating me like crap.

    Only time will tell if they really mean it, but why spend any more time waiting for the next shoe to drop? I doubt cheaters are even capable of remorse, since they obviously had no guilt about cheating or they wouldn’t have been able to do it. Guilt and remorse are part of the same package and some people just don’t have much of a conscience, so it’s best to just get them out of your life.
    I am through giving anybody more chances to screw me over. Once you’re well and truly done putting up with shit, you’ll know it, and the hopium will die.
    On to better days, chumps.

    • I trusted mine too. After he cycled through GF#1 and #2, he came back to me and wanted to reconcile. He was full of tears, terrified of being alone, had nowhere else to turn, would never ever hurt me again, etc etc.

      The hopium smoke was thick around me. I took him back. I let him move in with me. “Our marriage would be stronger than ever now that we had survived this” and all those other crocks..

      A little over a year later he and his suitcase were living at GF#3/Wifetress’s house. He met her during our “reconciliation.” He never wanted to reconcile; he just needed a safe place to perch for awhile while he licked his wounds.

      Hopium is the drug we chumps huff when the Reconciliation Pipedream is pitched to us. On hopium, we can make marriages out of mirages.

      I’m a bit of a bitter bunny now but I am okay with that. For me, hope is just a four letter word.

      • You have a right to be bitter. Who wouldn’t be after being conned like that. I consider my bitterness a battle scar. It’s always going to be there, but it won’t always hurt and will fade with time.

  • I was a hopium addict from our dating days until he was dead…about 29 years.

    He tried to “postpone” our wedding 2 weeks before the event because he said that I had lingering feelings for an old boyfriend (take away point: when fiancé tries to cancel wedding for any reason, take heed).

    He didnt act happy to be married from day 1 and a few weeks in said “the best part is having someone to blame everything on” (I thought he was kidding).

    He did, however seem to appreciate the handy things about marriage (like easy se and his income suddenly doubling). He began the custom of throwing crumbs at me when he could sense he had pushed me too far. He never developed the ability to take ownership for his preferences (to not be married or monogamous) or seek therapy for his rage.

    Oddly, the “craziest” thing I ever did was something I wouldn’t take back…he convinced me to have a 3rd child. Perhaps the stupidest thing I did was to use some of the money I had saved to escape him to instead pay off his fuckboy apartment expenses.

    I was WAY too optimistic with regard to the deeply disturbed people in my life. I now wish that I had asked myself “Imagine they NEVER changed…what decision would you make then?”

  • At no stage did I think that our marriage was rescuable; she’d hit me with the “I want an open relationship after the fact” gambit once she was busted for cheating (by our kids no less) and then accused me of lacking emotional maturity when I demurred. But like an idiot I had hoped that the now Ex-Mrs LFTT would be reasonable in our divorce negotiations.

    I should have seen that whole sh*tsorm coming: she lied to our mediator; ran up debts and then tried to saddle me with them; stole from me and our kids; misrepresented her relationship status and living arrangements to her legal team and the Judge in our case; made outrageous financial demands (eg she wanted more than she would have been entitled to had the kids stayed with her, even though they stayed with me and demanded maintenance despite agreeing to a clean break); ran up my legal costs whenever she could; witheld financial information and; took her AP to meetings with her legal team and had him accompany her to our final hearing. It was an absolute sh*tshow from start to finish. Thankfully, the Judge saw through her BS and I got a very fair settlement, but we could have got it done much more quickly and for much less in terms of legal costs had she not tried to go all “Scorched Earth” on me.

    Joke’s on her though; she ended up paying almost 20% of the settlement on her legal bill and nearly another 20% to cover debts that she’d run up just prior to and after our separation. She will tell anyone who listens that she got scr*wed in the divorce … but will never accept that she was the one scr*wing herself over from start to finish.


  • I demonstrated hopium up to the point when I found out about the affair. As soon as I knew about the affair via emails left on home computer, I moved to grief and quickly to divorce. He knew an affair was a deal breaker which is one tiny reason why he has never admitted it, in spite of me quoting the emails to him word for word. Main reason for not admitting that his ex gf is his soulmate is image management and the lies that he had already told mutual friends and his family.

    I went to a football match with him, during which he looked bored, accused me of being a ‘messy eater’ having previously throughout our relationship told me I was the ‘tidiest eater he had ever seen’, demonstrated extreme road rage, and generally behaved like an obnoxious 12 year old. In spite of this, I made him stick to the promised dinner out. During which he continued to abuse me without mercy in a packed restaurant. We turned out to be sitting next to the garage owner who serviced our car. The ex pretended not to know him. It was excruciating. I had no idea why he wanted to be ‘the closest of close friends’ in spite of the breakdown of our marriage due to my long list of character failings. That view was reinforced by his behaviour that afternoon and evening. My last vision of him, as he walked to the tube station after dinner, was him frantically texting, no doubt to ex gf, as she is as clingy and needy as a person could be. Probably because she knows that, as a cheater herself, in a long-standing affair with a cheater, she is as likely as the next woman to be dropped like a ton of bricks if it suits him.

    I have learnt to be kind to myself over the hopium. It would have been wrong to give up on a 26 year long relationship without trying. I had no idea why he was leaving me (apart from the character defects which did not make any sense). I believed that he was ill. Once I knew the truth I was all Warrior regardless of what was going on in my heart.

    • “He knew an affair was a deal breaker which is one tiny reason why he has never admitted it, in spite of me quoting the emails to him word for word. Main reason for not admitting that his ex gf is his soulmate is image management and the lies that he had already told mutual friends and his family.”

      If they can make reality look like something else they feel their conscience is clean. Or at least they feel better about themselves. It’s also possible that she asked not get involved in this and he complied by defending her. But it’s so disrespectful to lie on someone’s face when you’ve been busted.

      • One of the emails said ‘I want to tell the world about our love and not give a f**k who knows’. This was in a poem in which she was giving him ‘something to hold on to’ 3 days before my father was put in the ground. I think she wanted everyone to know that she was involved (ex gf from school). I had the film ‘Sliding Doors’ thrown at me by him before I knew about the affair and I was still too trusting to recognise what was going on. They really do deserve each other and he never deserved me. Thank you friendsreunited. I know better now.

        • And I think she was turning the screws on him, to force a decision. That email was a very thinly veiled threat to spill the beans. It had only taken him 26 years to decide that she was the one who got away.

        • Ironic considering Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling” — main scene I recall from that movie is her falling into a friend’s arms, just wailing. In public, at the pub, having just witnessed her boyfriend’s cheating.

          • ???? yes. Ex suddenly decided he wanted to watch Fleabag because ‘someone said it was good’. I was happy to watch it as he had previously refused to allow it on his TV set. I have no sense of humour, I’m told, and I didn’t get it. He didn’t either, but he pretended that he enjoyed it. To do otherwise would have been to criticise his former ex OW by default. I sigh and say to myself ‘they deserve to make each other miserable until they die’.

  • I trusted that she would be able to continue to work with the OM and have no contact. What an idiot I was! I told myself that she saw the errors of her ways, hat she wanted to repair and preserve our marriage and family. Then I came home early one day when she was out and I answered the phone and lo and behold OM called to see how she was doing. Then I told him to fuck off. Then the genuine naugahide remorse and the I didn’t know he was going to call I’m sorry blah blah blah. Oh yes I fell for it. Then when I started getting stalked by him (he was a cop)at work, in church,at the gym I woke from the Hopeium high I said bye bye

    • Stalking you? I’m pretty certain that people who get into these long term affairs with married people are not at all ok. They always do the weirdest things

      • Vee. Yes in tge beginning of the affair I confronted him in an alley while he was on duty and told him to stay away from my wife, he put his hand on his gun and said “I’m not near your wife” later that week he nearly hit me with the police car in a grocery store parking lot. During the attempted reconciliation he showed up at my work hung around the parking lot where I worked out all of a sudden starting going to church services at the same church as my family, would shine a spotlight on me when I was in my backyard at night. But when I found out they were still talking on the phone I woke up. Definitely a sick bastard

  • While listening to an audiobook yesterday, I learned a little fact about Colorado state law regarding murder:

    “If a person
    Engages in conduct
    That manifests in extreme indifference to the value of human life
    And a death results
    That person will be charged with murder in the first degree”


    Is conduct
    That proves extreme indifference
    To the value of the well-being,
    On all levels
    Of your partner and children,
    Intentionally inflicts extreme emotional distress, pain, and suffering
    On your partner and children,
    Results in the death of the marriage and family,
    And therefore the cheater should be charged
    With soul-murder in the first degree…

    My latest book is When the Body Says No….on the way from Amazon now….

    The right words are the antidote for hopium addiction….

      • I put the pipe down when he left, but the residual smoke took a while to clear. How do I explain my mindset? It’s difficult for me to articulate. I did not get up and go after him when he left. I did not ask him to come back. I did not spy on him. I did not want him to come back. The only things I have ever wanted is for him to be genuinely sorry, for him to feel the pain he caused me and our child, for the accomplice I know about to be history so the interactions I have to have with him (child, business) would be easier on me. Justice.

        He so completely shattered who I believed he was with all the nefarious discoveries that I still, four years later, have trouble wrapping my mind around it. The hopium smoke was about wishing he was who I thought he was and knowing that was not possible.

        When I found out he was cheating, it was like he had taken the portrait of Dorian Gray out of the attic and hung it above our mantle. It was like that scene in The Shining where Jack Nicholson looks in the bathroom mirror and sees he is really making out with a rotting corpse.

        I realized the other day that justice has been served. There is no way to have true self-esteem and peace of mind when you hurt other people in this way. That room is off limits no matter what one believes or thinks, and is true even if one is a sociopath. The counterfeit and the forgery and self-will and declarations and insisting and resisting will never ever make it the real thing, no matter what it looks like or what the liar cheater thief believes.

        It’s taken me four years of daily and intense emotional, mental, spiritual, and psychological work to finally internalize this. And with that, the doorway to self-esteem and peace of mind opens for ME…..

      • I learned of a chump’s death last week, a niece of my stepmonster. Breast cancer that finally killed her in her late 50s.

        Her ACE (adverse childhood experience) score was midrange-father died when she was a kid and a mentally ill mother-and she married a cheating asshole. I met him a couple of times in the early twenties, one time standing out. A family meal at a restaurant where he arrived late and drunk after sailing with some buddies. I had the misfortune of sitting next to him, listening to him say how she had been desperate to get married, etc.

        She was the larger breadwinner (finance) and supported him when he went back to school. I saw him out in the big city one night with another woman on his lap at a museum opening. What a p.o.s.

        I’ve watched some of Gabor Maté’s videos on YouTube. Favorite quote “It’s not what is the addiction but rather what is the trauma”

        • One of my goals as a parent was for my daughter to have an ACE score of zero, unlike me.

          It was zero until her dear old dad blew up our family by cheating and abandoning us.


          • Hugs to you VH. I value your posts and you’re a loving, engaged and protective mother to your daughter.

  • He finally fired, younger than our children, gf, I was answering phone at office, I knew she called & hung up. The next day he leaves before me calls from office & tells me, he’s bringing her back, the practice needs her. Don’t cause a scene. The hopium pipe shattered. I caused a scene, went home and called the attorney I had consulted the previous month. (Thanks to CL). I had thought I was getting a post nup.

    Turns out gf was on vacation, he never fired her. Divorce took 2.5 years. Practice/building is being sold, turns out addicts aren’t good for business. So glad my hopium fix didn’t last long.

  • After DDay #2 I made the Edgar Suit leave our home and move to our vacation home BUT I let him come home every weekend (when I would cook multiple meals for him to take back with him until he complained that I made too much so I stopped making him anything) and I kept it a secret from everyone except our two kids. This went on for two YEARS. We went to family functions together, saw friends together, etc., and no one was the wiser because I was so sure I had a unicorn and I didn’t want anyone to think badly of him. God, I’m gagging a little just writing that. I was so high on hopium, I didn’t realize I was committing slow suicide and that’s exactly what it was. Living a lie for that long damn near killed me. Slowly, very slowly it sank in that I was happier without the constant but subtle emotional abuse I had lived with for 20+ years. My sense of independence came back. I started to realize how much I was capable of. I started to really evaluate how I had been treated and what it meant that not a single one of the things I had asked him to do in order to reconcile had been done. He spent those two years eating cake and I spent them feeding myself the same ol’ shit sandwich. The only good thing I can say about that time is that when I finally started to wean myself off the hopium, I had been living on my own long enough that I knew I would be fine without him. I already had one foot out the door, it was just a matter of shoving that door fully open and running through.

    • Aw, don’t be too hard on yourself about the years you were separated but still married. It sounds like you wouldn’t have been able to leave him (or at the very least wouldn’t have been as well positioned) if you didn’t have that space away from him. It was time well used to gather the strength to leave.

  • I smoked Hopium from the day I first met him:

    1) He had been married and divorced before me and admitted to having extra-marital affairs. But hey, he’s a changed man and I thought and he’d be different for me

    2) He had a permanent STD. But hey, his love-bombing game was so strong and I thought I had for sure met my soulmate. Definitely a changed man.

    3) In his office there was a trashcan full of dried ejaculation. No sex addict to see here!

    4) He followed 5000 people on instagram to include escort services, happy ending massage services and lots of Only Fans profiles (Didn’t notice this until after the fact). But hey, he’s just super social, charming and outgoing – he has lots of friends and I feel so special that he chose me!

    After D-day, I laid on the pipe heavy! I ended the relationship and then went back – even after I found out he had been fucking around with multiple people behind my back, lied to me about it and told me I was paranoid and that I was the only one. Then when I reacted emotionally to his abuse…I was TOO EMOTIONAL. DARVO 100%.

    The best piece of advice I have to give is…IF YOU SEE IT, BELIEVE IT. Put down the pipe because these tigers don’t change their stripes!

    Who here thinks that these fuckwits actually change??

    • I think I was on hopium when I first started dating FW as well. He admitted that he cheated on his high school girlfriend, they got into a fight about it, and she slapped him. Then they broke up.

      All I remember thinking was (1) “She slapped him? Omigosh, there’s never a call for violence!” and (2) “Well, he was young and dumb but that will never happen to me because we’re soulmates and he’s devoted to us.”

      Yup. Smoking the hope from day one. What a fool I was.

  • Here’s what I did:
    My cheater was on a porn discussion forum with his AP, although she was reluctant to use it. When he ended it with her, I went on it with him instead, and went hypersexual trying to show him how edgy I could be. We were having sex multiple times a day, new positions/ toys/ fantasy dress up you name it. Even though he said she never went on the site, she was on it and spying on us. She went to his boss about it and completely ruined his career. It was terrible and we both still have PTSD as a result.

    • She didn’t ruin his career, he ruined it when he decided to cheat with her.

      Who knows what lies he told AP, all you can be sure of is that he’s a liar who wouldn’t tell you the truth if your life and health depended in it.

  • Yesterday, I remembered an incident that happened 5 or 6 years ago. D-Day was 18 months ago. I was married to FW 40 years. I was probably the hopium drug lord by then, with all my years of experience and growth in the industry….

    When I opened the washing machine to put my clothes in the dryer…….there lay a pair of panties. Not mine. I took a photo and sent it to someone with a quip – “if these aren’t yours, one of us has a big problem.” And I sort of just dropped it there. I didn’t follow up. I considered asking him about the panties for about 3 seconds and then quickly shut that door and never opened it again. He was watching me, I now remember that.

    Hopium. I was in such a dazed high doseage I don’t even remember the events.

    I can tell you the hangover and detox are horrific and nearly unsurvivable. It still is day by day by day.

    Chump Nation, you mean the world to me. Please stay steady so I have some bit of ground to restart my life from. The rest of my world was a hopium haze for as long as I can remember.

    • Tallgrass – We’ve all come to the right place. I wish the rest of the world had been there for us.

      Your washing machine example is chilling. A chump wrote earlier today about suffering from “trauma bonding and shock”. That’s probably a pretty accurate diagnosis. Yet the mental health field offers (faux) marriage counseling, family of origin inquiry, addiction treatment, etc.

      The legal profession offers pragmatic and expensive advice. There’s no justice or reimbursement for the emotional, sexual and financial betrayal.

      Our health care practitioner might offer medication, but hasn’t received training about the somatic response to trauma – raised cortisol, changes to the structure of the heart, physical changes to the brain.

      Friends and family think they’re correct in minding their own business.

      Chumps need a #Me Too movement.

    • Hi, I’ve been lurking here– 2 weeks divorced, only 14 months married…my 1st his 2nd. My inner alarm was ringing off the charts just 3 months in. No proof, nothing’s come to light, and all I know for sure is that I’m crazy according to him. Anyway, TALLGRASS, your comment about, “I must’ve been the hopium drug lord by then,” made me genuinely LOL and I am still cracking up. Witty, and so good you can laugh about it!

  • Here goes: I let him stay 3 more months in our house after he said he wanted a divorce so that he could spend the holidays with our children. I acted as if nothing was going on around the kids to preserve them, but also because deep down I was hoping he would change his mind if he saw how “reasonable” I was.

    I went to couples counseling after separation at his request. His stated intent was to get an amicable divorce. I was still hoping to fix our marriage. It was just image management for him, and a chance to fuck with my head and my heart. In actuality I had to sit and listen to how awesome he was and how I should just let him be awesome. He never ever admitted that he was leaving me for OW. To this day, 4 years later. They have been living together the whole time.

    The day I realized how painful the whole couples therapy farce was, a couple months later, and refused to go any more was the day I put the hopium pipe down. It helped that I had moved out of the house with my kids. I let him deal with emptying our old rental house of all his shit. He was borderline a hoarder. That was my first act of retaliation.

    • To be honest, I was smoking hopium during the whole marriage. Always hoping that he would see the light and start treating me with love and kindness. The first time I remember was the day I helped him buy a car, one week before our wedding. He needed one to commute to his new job. I went with and ended up co-signing on it because his credit was dreadful. Hello?! Red flag anyone? He also drove like an asshole during the test drive even though I told him he was scaring me, I was in the passenger seat with the car salesman in the back. I still married him a week later. I never got to use the car, it was his even though I was also paying for it. I had to take public transportation 2hrs every day, even when our daughter was born and I was taking her to daycare on the bus.

      Hopium is a powerful drug indeed.

  • All your stories hurt my heart! FW needed to cheat to make himself feel better about himself. Being younger woman chasing him fed his ego. He believed she loved him and it made him feel macho. He got rid of me -his controlling wife. I was tied to my commitment to marriage. he was talking about our relationship being a problem, he was having a mid-life crisis-the truth being he was having an affair. I tried to help him with his crisis until I learned the truth. Then he became smug and arrogant which I couldn’t tolerate. He was like a child. Glad he is gone. Hugs -it sucks until you start loving yourself and treating yourself with respect.

  • I gave him more money than I made in a year from my inherited money so he could stay in hotels during separation and have an emergency fund. Somehow I thought that would show how much I loved him. I also took money out of marital funds so he could buy a car that was only in his name.

    After I had taken his version of reconciliation off the table, one of the SIL’s told me, “Love conquers all. If you just love him more, you can save your marriage.” Thankfully I was barely using hopium by then and begged to differ. My ex kicked off the divorce not long after that, and of course, it was a crazy one. Thankfully I knew enough to hire a superstar attorney that got it settled, but it took a while.

    I don’t beat myself up for the past, but I know better now.

  • hopium.

    1.believed him. my X said he wanted to take 3 months to really evaluate whether or not to end things because we had a 30-year marriage and that was a big investment, right?

    2. healing separation. i asked for a healing separation (a trial separation) of 1 month, and set our parameters for weekly meetings where we discussed our relationship. some of these conversations were quite good but really he was just getting organized to leave. see above.

    3. therapy. at marital counselling, he gave me a job evaluation and then fired me, complete with corporate jargon. he’s an executive. the therapist just about flew straight up into the air like a helicopter, laughed, and said to him, “now you can drink all you like, that’ll make you happy.”

    4. cooking. for example, one day he brought home key limes and asked me to make key lime pie, one of his favourites. and i did.

    5. lotsa sex.

    6. care. took care of him following his colonscopy.

    7. listening. supported him during a couple difficult situations surrounding his friend’s cancer diagnosis’ + stress of COVID. you know, was a friend?

    8. waited.

    what a dopium i am. thank god for my therapist + my friends who listened to me as i circled and circled the truth.


    • damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster,

      “3. therapy. at marital counselling, he gave me a job evaluation and then fired me, complete with corporate jargon. he’s an executive. the therapist just about flew straight up into the air like a helicopter, laughed, and said to him, “now you can drink all you like, that’ll make you happy.””

      This is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard! He gave you a report? Then “fired” you? WTAF!?

      • yeah. Dr. Chumphead, it was weird.

        here are some of the things i recall (memory is, of course, flawed):

        1. “the first 5 years of marriage were okay but once the kids were born, it changed. she changed” “she was a good mother to my kids, i’ll say that.”
        2. “on the balance of probabilities, including past indicators, this marriage is not sustainable.”
        3. “i’d like to have all this cleared up by the end of Q1, Q2 at the latest.”


        PS we’re in Q4 and it hasn’t cleared up.

        • Yeah, wow… If he’s going to fire you did he offer a severance package (I’m thinking something in the upper 6 digits at LEAST, right?!?)? How would that job description go?
          I would have asked him that, but then again I’m a smart-ass like that. That guy is one of the most narcissistic, transactional people on a power trip. Glad you are free of him, you deserve so much better.

          • boudicca, i’m working on the severance package AS. WE. TYPE. it’ll be okay.

  • My worst hopium moment occured on dday this past July when I confronted my now ex after discovering proof positive evidence of his multiple hookups, sexting, escorts, etc. (The idiot gave me his phone to take to the cell phone store to upgrade and the one who called him “Daddy” decided to send a naughty text while I sat waiting for a customer service rep. How convenient! I ran out to my car and sat in the parking lot for the next hour reading some of the most disturbing crap you can imagine.)
    So, instead of just going home and packing a bag and leaving right then and there, I opted for a confrontation. Don’t get me wrong, my bag was packed and I did leave, but I wanted the confrontation so I could see him grovel, declare his undying love for me, and beg me not to leave. After almost 37 years of marriage, I wanted to see him suffer when I told him I was done. That was my hopium.
    And of course, he did none of those things. Actually went out of his way to tell me he didn’t regret his actions nor did he love me. Waved his hand dismissively when I pointed out that he played Russian roulette with my life by hooking up with strangers during covid and sleeping in my bed afterwards.
    So, I put down the hopium pipe, walked out and immediately filed for divorce, which was finalized a month later. Am now in full no contact mode and living my best life going forward.
    You see, while he spent the last 4 decades wrapped up in his fantasy secret life of porn and destructive sexual activities, I built a successful career from which I am now retired, raised two amazing now adult humans who are both in good and healthy relationships with their significant others, and created the strongest support system of friends and family who have rallied at my side and have been amazing to me throughout all of this. I was also a fantastic wife and friend who did nothing to deserve the utter disrespect and callous disregard my ex’s actions displayed.
    I want nothing to do with the man going forward.

    • I could have written your last paragraph of mightiness except I was probably more self-critical foe the first while. I am proud of my life and sons. It does make a big difference to be self sustaining. Good for you!! You rock!

  • What I did? stuck my head in the sand, spackled and tried harder.
    Hopium sticks it’s head in the sand. Not sure he actually physically cheated (spoiler he did). Surely he wouldn’t. He’s just being horrible because of work stress. He’s toned down the abuse (and did something nice before the next bout). I’m not perfect either. How can I afford it?

    How I kicked hopium? Shared details with a trusted confidante who reinforced it was not okay and FWIW they thought he had cheated. Caught him out in a lie. Went to see a Counselor.
    Dear Chump, Actually cheaters lie. They don’t admit anything you haven’t discovered. Yes they would. Because they can. You deserve reciprocity, respect, love and care like you give. Is being treated disrespectfully, horribly acceptable to you? You deserve better. Yes you CAN cope and are way better off without the cheater, love Future you)

    • Same here. The proof I was smoking hopium? Every single person I told that we were separating, repeating all the BS reasons FW gave me, asked me if he was with someone else. I don’t remember much from that time, I was in shock, but I remember that because I was thinking, how can they think that, while simultaneously thinking the same thing in my moments of lucidity. I can’t quite explain it, but that’s what I remember.

  • I told him: get a job. Figure out why you did this to us and you, and me (because they are three separate things), fix up the apartment, then we can see what happens.

    He got a job.
    He went dead shark eyes on the fixing part.
    He went full rage and ptsd forest creature on the fixing the apartment.

    And then when I ended it because I realized we would never be ok, (2 years later) I wasn’t giving him a chance to fix things. ‘It wasn’t fair since he deserved a chance in person.’ (But- you’re not doing anything to change the inside of yourself. Or even understand it? So why the fuck do I have to see if everything is still broken in person….) and… you’ve had two years to replace flooring and paint and sell the condo and it’s still just sitting empty (because ‘I can’t stay there, I have ptsd there, it’s where we died…’) (um. Yeh. It’s also where you left me night after night to sleep exhausted while paying for your life so you could go pay hookers but somehow this is my fault…)

    Ugh. Just thinking about this makes me … roll my eyes soooooo hard I can count my brain cells.

    Marsha Marsha Marsha.
    I has a sad. My cheated on wife doesn’t want to stay married even though I do and said I would stop buying hookers and stop chatting with video strippers and yet every time we are together in person she finds more instances of it happening recently… boooo booo. I’m so miserable. I’ll have to go cry into the bosom of Tatyana, or Vivian or Becci with an I… or whomever is on shift at ‘ay Papi Escorts’ ….

    It’s always the same.
    It doesn’t get better, you numb out to the idiocy.

    I moved. I spent those two years reading here and watching the actions. And nothing changed.

    Fuck Hopium.

    Addicting to the idea that they will be better for you.

    It’s not about you being enough. Or helping them. Or them changing. It’s absolute nonsense to think their awfulness is because of you or can be affected by you.

    Hopium is the one time betrayed folks are narcissistic- where we actually think it’s about us. We get all turned into knots expecting our efforts to change things or our wishes to matter. So… It’s not about us. And our wishes still mean dick all. And once we get that, we go. Well. Hells bells. Let’s go kick ass somewhere else.

    So I am. So I do.

  • One of the morning news shows I watch had a guest therapist this morning whose specialty was dealing with victims of abuse who did not leave, or accept they were being abused. This was after a segment on the R. Kelly abuse story. At any rate she said physical abuse was harder to hide, or defend, even though excuses are made, generally it becomes easier for the victim to realize and deal with the abuse. However the psychological abuse and verbal abuse are easier to hide, and harder to report. She also says the victims often cut themselves off from resources that try to help, out of a sense of loyalty to the abuser, often reinforced by cultural and religious value systems. She says victim blaming is pervasive in our culture. She believes the victims think they have no place to go, and are somehow at fault.

    I believe that FOO issues, rolled up and battered in religion and culture, were deep fried into my psyche. I chaffed at the inequity even in childhood, but I had to gain adult status, and financial independence to be able to leave my past behind. I had to have a place to go, and know the path to get there. I had to aggressively evaluate my belief system and abandon all ideology that proved false. It took tremendous effort. Anyone who wants to victim blame me for any of my foolish hopium induced actions as a child or young adult, or even as a trusting, hopeful wife, better be prepared for what happens when you poke a stick at the tiger in a cage.

    I have a dear friend I’ve known for 40 years. She is educated, and has worked. She is kind, and loving. She had a good childhood, with a loving father and mother, and regular trips to church. She was fed, and swallowed, every bit of RIC and cultural advice you can possibly imagine, to see her marriages as some type of test for her tolerance and Christianity. Her first husband was incredibly verbally abusive, and socially awkward, and she knew this going in. Her friends begged her not to marry. She thought her love, and God, would change him. Her friends, as a group, finally had an intervention where we told her we were no longer going to listen to her travails and toxic reports. Leave, don’t leave, we are not going to listen. It almost killed her. Finally she saw a therapist, finally she divorced this giant loser. He was not a cheater — he was a sick bastard. She immediately started a search for the Mr. Right she just knew was out there. She met another Mr. Wrong. They will probably be married until one of them dies, but it is not a happy, blissful dream comes true. She constantly complains about him, too. She has good reason to complain, I know him well enough to know he has a toxic personality. But she will not put down the hopium pipe, or give up her dream of a “happy marriage.”

    I am not blaming her — she is a victim. He may well be a victim of his FOO culture, too. But they both have some place else to go, and neither will step out the door. So I can only conclude the pain of staying is not worse than the perceived pain of leaving, and living a life of self reliance.

    I get it. I wish I had figured it out earlier. But now that I live in Independence, I will never consider living in the Land of Great Expectations again. I can observe potential, from a distance, and wish folks the best on their travels. But I am a retired fixer, problem solver, financial resource provider.

    I firmly believe you have to decide you are worth more than you are getting to get more. When others complain about enduring their abusers, but choose to do nothing, I tune them out. That is a fairly newly acquired boundary I have established, and I love it! I can tell you about MEH, but I am not a Sherpa.

  • What he did was all on him. When someone lies, gaslights, tells half truths, lies by omission, etc. there is no way for the betrayed spouse to know what they are really dealing with. The minute he decided to cheat, he had left the marriage IMO. Anyone’s reaction, etc. did not make the cheater leave the marriage. He left it when he decided to cheat. He thought he had the right to do whatever and minimize it, etc. but he did not. Best of luck to you and your daughters.

    • Sorry this was meant for PennStategirl up the thread. Do not know how it ended up a couple of hours downthread

      • Lee—TY for your insights and good luck wishes…I have my daughters…He does not and never will….that is what his cheating and leaving the marriage got him….but he really doesnt give a fatherly fuck.

  • Ummm.OK. 2a.m. Lying in bed, cellphone on FB messenger- watching the “last active ___ minutes ago”
    field for Xw’s activity. Wide AWAKE SOBER

  • I wanted to divorce him on D-Day and told him so. Unfortunately he talked me into the “open marriage” scam. He agreed to start having sex with me again (he cut me off sex even before the affair began), to start going to family and social events with me again, and never to bring APs home. He never did have sex with me again and within a few months he was asking me to spend the night elsewhere so he could bang the OW in our marital bed. I’m guessing she was tired of paying for everything and he was too cheap to pay for a motel room. I rightly refused to vacate the condo whose utility bills and HOA fees were paid with MY salary. I could see the cogs turning in Nitwit’s head; he was clearly trying to decide if he should call the police to evict me, his legal wife. I wish he had done it, it would have given the officers and I a good laugh at his expense. I had my photo ID, our marriage certificate, and my name was on all the utility bills. I was going nowhere except to the divorce lawyers.

    One good thing to come out of this incident was that the scales fell from my eyes. I knew this was not real monkey love. I realized this man did not love me, had never loved me, and would never love me, as he is incapable of that emotion.

  • The sex with someone else was definitely not something I would consider ” working through.” WTF? This is the basis for marriage, along with trust, commitment , and respect. Committing adultery in itself certainly shows there is no love for the chumped. It also shows willingness to bring possibility of an unwanted child, loss of existing family, disease, humiliation, financial ruin, and traumatic pain. Right there I see no reason to continue this false impression of a marriage, there is none. Honor yourself, protect your children, you have no obligation to deal with all the dishonesty that come with adultery.

  • Blamed myself 100% for his affair. And endured the continuing abuse of infidelity for two years. I still wonder how I survived that.

    • I am sorry. I have done exactly the same thing for 2 years. It hurts me to remember how much I suffered. He couldn’t have cared less. I was in mental and physical pain while he was entertaining himself. He would leave me at home in that situation and go out to have fun. It took me so long to see what a selfish narcissist he is.
      We blamed ourselves because we are too good to blame anyone else. We are too good for these horrible people.

  • The longer the chump replays the mental tapes of being victimized by these disordered people, the more of an imprint the brain retains and struggles with. If chumps mentally and emotionally continue to regurgitate the trauma of the incident(s), these thought patterns become calcified in memory and are stubborn pests to overcome. If not dealt with, released and overcome (mental, emotional and spiritual help may be necessary), the chump can take on a false narrative where love, trust, commitment and interpersonal relationships are compromised. Sound familiar? The disordered cheaters became who they are via longstanding exposure to crippling circumstances. Later in life they projected their dysfunction onto chumps. Don’t repeate the pattern or take their issues onboard.

    Dig deep, seek help or support as needed, run don’t walk away from disordered people like your hair is on fire, and work on cleaning out the mental cobwebs so that you can emerge free and at peace forward.
    Don’t let these walking-dead exes occupy your precious years of life ahead. Use your experience to become the best you can be and share your support where appropriate to help others.

  • I tried for 4 years after D-Day #1 to repair it, but couples counseling, marriage policing, and never being able to trust him completely again helped me realize I had to do something different. Too much hopium made it hard for me to figure out what.

    I did some internet searching and I found Chump Lady. I read her book and the hopium haze started to clear.

    When I found out about a dinner date with a waitress (he said he was with “the guys” at a restaurant/bar but we had each other’s locations tracked on our phones and he was busted when I saw him go from the restaurant to her house), I told him I was done.

    Mistakenly tried in-home separation for awhile but that was miserable (to say the least). Now divorced and so relieved!!! Thanks, CL and CN!

  • I think I was simultaneously forced off the hopium pipe and also willingly put the pipe down when my ex announced unilaterally that we were getting a divorce, and then, in the same conversation, stated that he preferred women at least a decade younger than me and had several in mind for dating. This was, of course, after he’d had affairs with at least one of his college students, a former academic colleague, and how knows who else. Something about the fact that he was actively sizing up women for dating, while still enjoying my home cooked meals and laundry service and general love and support, just really put the nail in the coffin for me, and enacted my long period of complete repulsion. Which, I highly recommend. It’s hard to smoke reconciliation hopium when you are 100% grossed out by a dude. Once you get to cringe, it’s a much shorter leap to meh.

    • So true. Once I understood that pathetic, lying, grooming creep was not just a mistake but the real FW, and that he’d been taking advantage of me and carrying on intimately with other (also much younger) women for years and in secret while I bopped around being me in the dark – I was done. Glad I saw the unvarnished truth via email and text, etc. Mortifying and cringy. Thanks to that, never a moment that I miss him, no matter how lonely and disheartened I feel. I can’t think of FW as a real person and no longer feel disappointment because my attachment and concern for that person has been destroyed. All I feel is revulsion, and I would feel nothing if I bumped into him – the person I spent fifteen years with, less than a stranger – if it wasn’t for the trauma.

      How do honest, mighty humans pick me dance for these losers who are so far beneath us? Hopium is a bitch.

  • Thinking back on the craziness and fog of the hopium days (years) really is like flashing back to a night of heavy drinking. It is surreal. It doesn’t make sense. My brain and judgement wasn’t right. I wasn’t me. But however much the abusive cycle functioned like an addiction, being treated poorly and living in a perpetual state of uncertainty and vulnerability NEVER felt good. It wasn’t a high. I never wanted it. I was in love with the potential. The reality was that I was living with a gaslighting con artist, and something was off and I knew it. I could only pretend to feel good when I let down my guard and pretended to feel safe and loved – the high a rare, warm glow. (Genuine, reciprocal love? THAT sounds intoxicating, still – and like a fantasy. Maybe cheaters are addicted to hiding themselves, deceiving others and gaining trust and control over others, while chumps are addicted to feeling trust and yearn to be in relationships where we can be authentic and ourselves and not worry about power dynamics.)

    I loved my ex deeply, but I didn’t worship him. I certainly didn’t desire him – though I wanted to. My “addiction” to my ex was nothing like the shallow, self-destructive, juvenile, “passionate” love for a bad boy that the movies and pop culture portray. Discard definitely felt like withdrawal (at least from what I understand of it, not having personal experience), but comparing a hopium addiction to the bargaining stage of grief feels much more accurate than looking for a high. I didn’t stay in an abusive relationship because I got high off of it. I stayed because leaving meant losing nearly everything I cared about. My friend said I kept climbing up a ladder to go down a slide and land on my ass, over and over. It was like that, but I didn’t do it because I liked getting hurt; I hoped I could learn to land on my feet. Doesn’t success come from hard work, commitment and resilience? Aren’t we told to be persistant and to expect failures? I thought I was trying everything i could, and it took me a long time to put down the pipe so I could reframe my efforts and recognize the options before me.

    • “I didn’t stay in an abusive relationship because I got high off of it. I stayed because leaving meant losing nearly everything I cared about. My friend said I kept climbing up a ladder to go down a slide and land on my ass, over and over. It was like that, but I didn’t do it because I liked getting hurt; I hoped I could learn to land on my feet. Doesn’t success come from hard work, commitment and resilience? Aren’t we told to be persistant and to expect failures? I thought I was trying everything i could, and it took me a long time to put down the pipe so I could reframe my efforts and recognize the options before me.” YES to all of this. And what I learned, finally, in three simple words “Trust, but verify”

  • Ohhh, good little chumps. Like most normal human beings we look inwards when problems arise. Cluster B’s do not……..thus the hopium pipe. If only I’d had supper ready on time…..maybe I should have put that shirt on she likes. If only I’d done this one thing….if only….if only. None of it mattered. You could have been a movie star riding in on a horse drawn chariot to take them to dinner……10 minutes later you are never enough to satiate a cluster B’s emptiness they feel within themselves, so they look elsewhere. Once I realized that it wasn’t just me that wasn’t good enough for her and that no one could ever be…..I put down the pipe. She never loved me……she doesn’t even understand the concept. Yes, it took me a while to overcome the grief I felt for investing so much and feeling like an imbecile, but I saw it clear as day then.

    • “ If only I’d done this one thing….if only….if only. None of it mattered. You could have been a movie star riding in on a horse drawn chariot to take them to dinner……10 minutes later you are never enough to satiate a cluster B’s emptiness they feel within themselves, so they look elsewhere. Once I realized that it wasn’t just me that wasn’t good enough for her and that no one could ever be…..I put down the pipe.”

      This. Exactly.

      My STBX has admitted to me that he used to sit around, as a child, and wish for a different mother. I think a lot of kids probably wish for different parents at times but my STBX would sit around thinking of specific things that he’d want and expectations his mother could never live up to. Granted, his mother is definitely a piece of work and, ultimately, ended up abandoning him and his 3 siblings.
      The interesting thing is that he’s continued doing this in every relationship he’s ever had (yet more insights that came out after our wedding day). EVERY. Single. One. No female he’s ever been with has ever ‘measured up’ to every little thing he “wants”. Not needs. Wants. And so, he’s cheated and ‘overlapped’ in all of his relationships his entire life.
      Now, HE won’t be anyone else’s “everything” but he damn sure does expect it from the people he’s with. And, when we’ve exhausted ourselves trying to live up to what he “has to have”, he begins sitting around feeling sorry for himself, once again, upset that he can’t find his perfect slave of a woman, fantasizing about “the one” that still must be out there.

      None of them are EVER going to fit the bill. And it took me a handful of years to realize that that isn’t MY problem. It’s his. Wholly and completely.
      He spends so much time wishing for better instead of appreciating the ones that are there and accept him, flaws and all.

      And then he has the nerve to complain that, “everyone always leaves”.

      I fucking wonder WHY. ????

  • I am in the process of a divorce now. He filed. Third affair in five years, that I know of anyway, and I have given up hopium. It has been so painful and emotionally abusive. I am seeing a smart, caring counselor and I have a very smart, savvy attorney. Now he is sending flowers, loves and misses me and is lonely aka, horny I’m guessing! I’m also in the middle of gathering financial information so CL’s post was spot on for me! CN keeps me going when I start feeling wimpy. Thank you all!

  • My dumbass became a sexual freak thinking if I could become spontaneous enough, sexual enough, he wouldn’t look back. Boy was I wrong. He still ran back to her, and I’m left with a very expensive STD check bill, which I’ve requested him pay in my settlement offer. Stupid hopium makes you so weird things.

  • I also did many of these things.

    -The most damaging for me was that he saw how I suffered, but didn’t care. I was horribly blindsided as we were one of those soul-mate(!) couples married for 12 years. I thought I would die with the pain he inflicted on me. I was also going through cancer treatment when I pick me danced for one year. It pains me to remember this.

    -I was striving to remind him how great we were together. I was extremely kind to him. I didn’t realize that I was literally dealing with a robot. He became a soulless selfish robot.

    -I gave him time to think. I thought he was confused. I minimized my needs so much that I wanted nothing for myself.

    -I thought our future depended on me. I always tried to be kind, understanding and nice towards him but I thought I had to be nicer and kinder.

    -I organized an overseas trip, and I surprised him with concerts, activities, birthday presents, and parties…He was having a great time with me!

    -While he was cake eating, I never mentioned how much of a liar he was, how disgusting his behavior was, because he hated to talk about it. I was afraid that I would scare him with my demands.

    -I read all the books on adultery, highlighted certain paragraphs and mailed them to him. After all, he was confused and needed help!

    -I thought his “fog” was little by little diminishing. Occasionally of course. I thought, great, if only I try harder, we will completely get rid of the “fog”.

    -I put down the hopium pipe when I lost interest in him. I never thought I would, but it happened. What did he do for me wben I was pick me danced in pain? Nothing. I decided that I deserved better than a selfish liar.

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