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Closure and Other Myths

zombieIt must be part of the part of the human condition to want closure. Either that or we’ve all watched too much Law & Order. The perp is apprehended. Motives are explained. Nice tidy wrap-up.

Nobody wants a post-modern ending.

What is this AMBIGUITY? How am I supposed to FEEL about this? I DEMAND FURTHER INFORMATION.

A rookie chump mistake is the quest for closure from FWs. Expecting apologies, coherent timelines, answers. It’s the least they could do really, after stealing your reality. Could you explain some of this? 

Let it go.

Any quest for further answers will either be word salad or further manipulation and blameshifting.

They might not even know themselves. Dunno. Shiny thing.

There is no magic conversation that will make it okay. You’re just giving away your power, needing something from someone who thrills to centrality. It’s kibbles to tell you and see you crushed. (I matter!) And it’s kibbles to not tell you. (My withholding makes me powerful!) And it’s kibbles to deny you the accountability you seek. (YOU’re the real asshole here! Not me! How dare you question me!)

The RIC loves this idea of closure, while simultaneously advising chumps to shut up and not upset the timid forest creatures. Why did they cheat? Well, their love bank wasn’t full. You failed to meet their needs.

That doesn’t make sense? You need a better explanation? Send me $399 and I’ll affair proof your marriage. Not only will you get closure, your relationship will be IMPROVED by infidelity!

There is no closure. Just radical acceptance of fuckwits.

Today’s Friday Challenge — tell me about closure. Yours. A FW’s. (But I have to see Schmoopie! For CLOSURE! RIC quack nods sagely….)

What’s the meh like in your world?


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.
  • Just FYI, I’m having some issues with the subscription feature. If you subscribed to posts to be delivered to your email — are you receiving them? Yesterday? Today? Working to get this sorted. Will keep you posted.

    • Hi CL.
      No I have not received emails except for: I receive an email from CN the day after a new topic that there is a new topic. I do in and do some responses, check both block below the user name and email. But, I have not received any responses on the topics.

      I do miss them, as it makes it easer for me to read the responses and respond.

      Thanks for asking.

      Have a great day.

    • I receive the emails, but I still wish there was a clearly marked feature that said “Blog” or “Posts” and not “Archive”…

    • If you were a subscriber before the site redo, PLEASE RESUBSCRIBE. Sorry for the trouble. The current set-up is working. But something appears to have wigged out with the old list.

      • I haven’t received emails neither for today’s post nor for yesterday’s, but got one for the previous post. I already resubscribed after the changes in the site. I am doing this again right now. Thank you very much for everything, CL. Have a great weekend!

      • I resubscribed, but I am still not getting any emails of the postings. I do get an email announcing a new topic, it comes the day after the new posting.

        Just letting you know, in case that tells you anything.

      • Here is what I did and it worked for me. I followed the link that CL provided:

        At the top, right hand corner, click “sign in.” If you do not already have an account with word press, click “create a new account” found below the sign in options. USE YOUR SAME NAME THAT YOU USE ON THIS PAGE AND (I believe) THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS!!! Once you have created an account, sign in, then go to your account at the top right corner, and using your name from here (and possibly the same email address) load an image under “my profile.” For me, I had an image saved to my desktop and it was easy to find that way.

        If you want your same “monster” from the old site, then you will need to have taken a screen shot of that image. I have loads of screen shots, so feel free to ask a moderator for my email, and I might possibly have an image of your former monster. “Monsters” also appear on Divorce Minister’s website, if you want to look through his comments section.

        I wish I could post more personal information, but I have been warned about posting anything online, since my lawyer does not want for me to have an online presence during my high conflict divorce. Schmoopie is the queen of online trolling!!! So the new “like” option has been wonderful since I can contribute without including my name. I read everyone’s comments every day and I love all of you!!!I can’t wait for my divorce to be over so I can actively comment! Thank you CL and CN for all of your support!

        • Also, I used capital letters in my name. Word press changed my name to all lower case letters on their website. But, when I post here, using capital letters, it still recognizes my name. That is why I am assuming it also links to my email address. Not tech savvy enough to know for sure. Only saying that so that people don’t freak out like I did about the all lower case letters on word press.

        • Your lawyer gave you good advice. During my conflict at the discovery stage, I was ordered to provide all userid/passwords and to give any copies of emails that had the word divorce in them. I only found one email (gmail). My employer’s lawyers wrote an email to me (at my request) stating that sending copies of my emails or calendar and details of all business trips was a violation of government security. blah blah blah. My personal lawyer responded by asking which specific sites did they want userid/passwords. Did they expect me to remember MySpace credentials? Did they really want a userid/password from AOL? I had never posted anything about it on Facebook — not even “Yeah, I left the asshole!”
          Six years after the papers were signed, he came across a FLICKR photo from an event we had hosted for a group of friends. I had put Groucho glasses/nose over his face and then added lettering that said “It’s so wonderful to have a wife who can not only plan great events but pay for them as well.” I got a letter from a lawyer demanding to take it down or I’d be sued for character defamation.

    • Also, it’s be nice if the comment had the TIME and not just the date. Thank you for this site!

      • I agree. I check in throughout the day and it helps me to keep track of what I have already read. But toggling between “oldest” and “newest” at the top has been my current solution.

          • Under Tracy’s post, there is a count of the number of comments. The site defaults to “top rated.” If you click on the arrow next to “comments first,” then there is a choice to have oldest or newest posts at the top of the page.

      • (I noticed that because I was used to it. I reminded myself that people comment from different times zones-est,pst,gmt, etc. It seems that Tracy usually posts her daily blog entry around 9 am east coast-in-the-US time)

    • I’ve received the email daily except for this one today. I love the landing page with the starter pack, great idea. Thanks for your continued investment in Chump Nation – 40 million hits says the world needs you.

    • I didn’t get the emails yesterday or today so I resubscribed before I saw this comment.

    • Received email late in the day.
      Your email usually greets me first thing in the morning. Thought you may have had a headache today like I did ????????

    • I didn’t get the emails once the new site went up. I resubscribed and got them.

  • Chump Nation is closure. I am not alone. This is not me. Everything he does and says is so not unique. The mindfuck has three channels…watch them flip.

    Once you see/are educated on this stuff you can’t unsee. And it impacts every area of your life.

    Am I winning against FW and schmoopie? ROFL. We aren’t playing the same sport, let alone game.

    That’s winning. That’s closure.

    It isn’t easy, it takes a few years, it takes all the brave honest people here sharing.

    • Yes, CL & CN = closure. I discovered CL when the site was just a newborn & the ink on the divorce decree was still fresh – 10yrs ago. Ex was a runaway so there was very little non-legal contact, BUT I suffered emotionally & financially from the fallout of his fuckery for years. Every day when I come here it is a subtle 2×4 that = trust that he sucks. Am I still sad, lonely & uncertain of what is to become of me with retirement years on the horizon? Hell yes! But I know who I am & what is acceptable to me – something I don’t think I appreciated before CL. Thank you – ????

      • Hurt1, the ex was a runaway too. I feel the same. Lonely sometimes, not always happy, occasional rumination. But I’m am myself again. No doormats here.

        • To Hurt1 and MightyWarrior, I, too, had a runaway…his departure came absolutely out of the blue…like a 2×4 to the back of my head. I’m learning to accept there will be no closure and to push forward with my best life.

          Am I terrified about retirement and, even, dying alone? Hell, Yes!!! But, it’s my life now – all mine. I answer to no one. And, I can live exactly how I want!!!

          The young woman that wanted my ex-husband so badly can now deal with him. My guess is, she won’t want him for long…he’s 21 years older than she.

          No, my life is not what I thought it would be at 53. But, it’s mine. Only I can make it shine.

          Still, today, my spousal support is late…I guess it’s a way of trying to get me to break no contact for kibbles. I think not. My lawyer will deal with that if it continues being late. It’s so childish and petty.

  • We need closure.
    I needed closure so BADLY.
    What I haven’t known at the time of mindfuckery & DDays was that closure should be for me, about me and for me.
    I asked for answers, and no matter what I got- it wasn’t enough, never enough.
    4 years later- I know that closure is a good thing as long as it’s done from my side of the door. I’m closing the ????

    The moment I feel ready ( in any kind of relationship) I either write or say what is on my mind ( you screwed up, It’s unacceptable for me, we are done)

    It feels good.

    There is only one pre-condition

    I DON’T EXPECT ANY RESPONSE , I’m not waiting for their apology , it’s entirely about voicing my state of mind and immediately moving on.
    The door is closed, I’m done, no looking back.

    • Yes, Anna. Closure is for ME, not the FW, OW, or Switzerland friends. Grey Rock and No Contact are for ME. I closed the door, firmly, and only had contact re the divorce, which was swift and to the point. No adjectives. No indication of “how I was doing”. That wasn’t any of his business, no matter how much he attempted to find out. Once I made the decision to shut the door, and it took a while, it was closed, locked, bricked up. My life is so much easier without the FW in it.

    • “I’m closing the ????”

      I think this is a gold statement. I know when I realized that he (relatively overnight) shut the door in my face, walked away from a 21 year marriage where he knew I loved and trusted him; that was the real closure.

      It took a while to fully accept it, and that who I thought he was never existed. Also, and this is no slam to CL, but I worked through this part while CL was likely in grade school.
      But, when I did find CL years later, after fw messed with my sons life, she and all of you still helped me to see some other things that were so confusing to me, were not really confusing at all; they were just the common rantings of a lying fuckwit.

      I used some of the info I gathered from CN to help my son and daughter in law through their situation with fw and whore.

  • “Let it go”
    “Radical Acceptance”
    Important issues for us chumps.

    For me, meh looks like acceptance. Acceptance that I will never have the truth to SO many questions.
    I know the who because she was part of our lives. But the how long, the why, the details, the who knew, the how much (sex and money) are distant questions that I have given up on. I had a FE that never said a word once I found out. NOT ONE WORD.

    Radical Acceptance sort-of. Sort-of because sometimes my mind does go down that rabbit hole. I don’t berate myself because I think it’s just something I will live with. I’m not perfect and am working on 100% radical acceptance.

    Radical acceptance is the core concept of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) created by Marsha Linehan. A good read and program for everyone, especially chumps:

    First it was moment at a time, then hour by hour to one day at a time. Finally days and weeks and months of working towards radical acceptance and freedom.

    • Thanks for your insight, Rebecca.
      My ex and I are familiar with DBT and Radical Acceptance yet in working with these concepts, my ex kept moving the finishing line. Every time I’d make progress, she’d move the expectation— I did everything she asked of me for reconciliation then she went silent and didn’t show up to anything she asked. Then after a few weeks of nothing she’d send me a photo of my daughter “wishing you a joyous day.” Silence. Nothing.
      In the end, I radically accepted that she’s a sick, depraved person and I’m lucky to be alive. Unfortunately, I also had to radically accept the shit sandwiches and pain of being a chump but I’d rather accept that than be her, be with her, etc.
      DBT definitely helped me but it wasn’t like it’s a pleasant experience at all. You know what I mean?

      • I totally understand and it must be a bitter pill to swallow.
        I have always understood DBT to be for individual learning although I do know families that have done it together.
        I have heard Linehan speak on videos and conferences and am lucky to have a Linehan trained therapist since before DDay when I didn’t know what was wrong in my marriage. She stressed that DBT is for individual improvement and people need a space with strangers in order to get the most out of the process.

    • After Dday when my 15 year old daughter was suicidal following XH’s discard of her/our family she was hospitalized for 3 months. We finally got into a DBT program and she came home. For 18 months (through the divorce) we went to the family group sessions (8 families around a large conference table with two therapists leading the sessions/trainings). All of the kids and parents did the homework and participated. When Xh showed up, which was only half the time (attendance was mandatory) he never had the homework done, never contributed, sat away from the group on his phone. . . The therapists tried in vain to get him to comply. The other parents rolled their eyes. The kids sensed he was dangerous emotionally and never called on him during group projects. It was more stark evidence of how deranged he really is. I left everyone of those sessions further traumatized by having to sit in that small room and face the truth of who he had become or always was beneath the mask. It’s still hard to intrinsically know that is who he really is. He wore the mask of normality and charm for so long (26 years) that he truly did fool me. I still at times think he must have developed a brain tumor- that makes more sense somehow.

      • When you care about someone it’s easier to except the fact that they might have a tumor in their brain than a severe character deficiency. I remember thinking the same

  • That’s truth: radical acceptance that they’re FWs. I didn’t ask my ex why he did what he did. On some level, I already knew he why he did: entitlement (sexism), viewing women as appliances (patriarchy) & contempt for me when he viewed me as failing to meet his needs (misogyny). That’s why I no longer seek a relationship. In my age group, I think there are far too many men like this. And my ex-husband pretended to not be any of these things for a long time…so there’s that.

    • Call Me Jaded, we were married to twin idiots, perhaps. Same here, and I don’t pursue a relationship either as I’ve noticed the same with hardly any exception in men. Once you see it you cannot unsee it. I used so much spackle and rose colored glasses that I should have bought stock. I’m 64, active, working, and just feel the need to circle the wagons, batten down hatches, and take care of self. Almost ALL of my friends have disaster marriages. I believe most men are shit at relationships.

      • That’s so true, FWF, once you see it, you can’t un-see it! I tried dating afterwards and still saw the subtle red flags of the three above issues. You can’t unsee it, unless you’ve bought into that spackle & rose-coloured glasses stock!! My friend (we’re in our early 50’s) just got a new man-baby & she gushes about him in one breath & complains about him in another. No thanks!! Been there. Done that. I am hopeful that younger generations of men will value women & relationships more…time will tell, I guess.

        • I feel the same way about older generations of men: don’t know any women my age, family or friends, who are truly happy to be married to their husbands, while at the same time I see hope for younger generations.

          I used to think one of my friends was married to a good guy but recently she has been mentioning how “lazy” her husband is. She’s more of an appliance now than she seemed to be before he retired.

          The one contemporary of mine who is very happy in her marriage is a lesbian I went to high school with. Before they could be legally married they had a commitment ceremony, which I happily flew across the country to attend. They’ve been singing each other’s praises for decades – it’s a beautiful relationship to behold!

          Younger men in my family are (so far) getting rave reviews from their wives. I think younger men are less likely to buy into the sexism that is so ingrained in most older guys (I’m sure some of the male chumps here are exceptions!).

          As for closure, I found out after D-Day that my ex had lied to me about all sorts of things from the beginning of our relationship. No point in asking him anything about anything because I wouldn’t believe him anyway. My closure is “trust that he sucks.”

          • In reply to Hopium4years,

            It’s so sad that you don’t know any women your age, family or friends, who are truly happy to be married to their husbands.

            I’m 65 and, with very few exceptions, all my friends are very happily married. The couples I’m closest with (and there is A LOT of them) are devoted to each other. It is a joy to be in their orbits.

            These are friends I have known for over 30 years and I am just as comfortable with the men as the woman. I consider both the women and the men to be my friends. They are amazing men!

            These men and women collectively got me thru the hardest days. I have no problem asking them for help with things and they ask me for help on issues I’m expert at. We go to a lot of functions together and they get that it’s hard to be the only single person at the table. I don’t have a plus 1 to invite. The men all take turns asking me to dance so I feel included especially at weddings.

            I’m sorry you don’t get to share the joy that comes with seeing happily married couples. I don’t feel odd, I feel included!

        • I agree! I don’t see any healthy relationships anywhere- especially not on television. I may find someone after this mirage is officially over but I am not settling for bullshit. If I take that step, I will treat that person with love and respect and will walk if there is no reciprocity. My spackle tools have been burned and I will not get new ones.

          For me, there is no closure. I am constantly remembering things and putting pieces together that I did not understand previously (that’s why you you had to stay overnight for a job interview that was 30 minutes away, that is why random girls knew my kid and not me). It is so difficult to unpack a decade of lies and a facade.

          The only thing I know for sure is that I will try to raise a child who doesn’t mistreat people and doesn’t let anyone mistreat them. My kid already insists that people use their correct name- and has since toddlerhood- which is a level of assertiveness I have not obtained yet as I rarely correct people if they call me the wrong name. Hopefully I am successful at raising a responsible kind human. That will be my closure.

      • I voted thumbs up on this before I took time to reflect a bit so this is kind of a do-over. There are many men chumps on this site who have experienced the same abuse as we female chumps and I don’t want to overlook or dismiss their pain. So kudos to the good men of CN and to the good ones out there – may they never need to become a member of this community.

        • Agreed, DW. I’m sure there’s lots of men on this site who’ve been viewed as “just the wallet/breadwinner” for their FW. I’m not discounting their history, at all, as I can sympathize. I was the Wife Appliance AND the main breadwinner. I totally get it.

        • DW – Your comment makes me a bit nervous. It reminds me of my Ex-FW’s dismissal of female friends; he’d say something along the lines of “man bashing” when we asked him to be less controlling. I’ve seen too many legitimate concerns shut down with “you’re being too harsh” (towards men or me). Many women here got into trouble by being too kind/understanding toward their male FW, and suffered enormously for it. So let’s not say “you’re not understanding enough” while they process all this. Let’s not cry wolf about man bashing.

          I actually didn’t see anyone dismissing male chump’s pain. CMJ & Hopium4years were talking about how standards change thru generations, and how you can’t unsee entitlement, misogyny, and sexism once burned. Red flags are all around after you’ve been burned. Nobody said men don’t get burned too, or that men deserve it, etc…

      • Totally agree, CMJ & FWF. I don’t envy *ANY* of my friend’s marriages. They will sputter to me “but my husband is not a Cheater, like yours was!” And to that, I agree with them, but they still exhibit the other 99 million behaviors that were NOT cheating that I can’t tolerate today. I’m not signing up to be a Wife Appliance anymore (love that term and thanks to CL for it).

        Even if I could guarantee a future partner wouldn’t cheat (which we can’t), I have my own stuff going on in my life & places I want to go, people I want to see, that don’t involve me being a Sherpa to some dude’s life.

        • I’m with you Chris W-no to being a wife appliance, sherpa, an unpaid nurse/cook/laundress/travel agent/cleaner, etc.

      • Jaded and Fuckwit free make that Triplets ! I share both of your sentiments .FWF , we are same in age , although I am off work , I keep busy . Happiest when busy although I have not returned to my love of music. Four men were hot after me after my Divorce and I shut them all down. You are right in that once you’ve seen it , that undeniable truth , tasted toxic and felt a foolish for your own stubborn loyalty it is like the radar alert goes up on high . Four years out and feeling more adjusted but remote and sometimes a bit lonely.

        • GNG, I’m also four years out and remote and lonely. I miss what I thought was a family unit. At this point I don’t think I’ll ever be able to return to anything remotely how I was before.

          • Many cannot understand to isolation with remote and areas where counseling and group activities are not prevalent . Trying to wash away twenty years T of trauma take time. But good memories also rename , we actually made a great team and loved to laugh but he systematically destroyed all the good. Believe you are correct in that one is never the same . The posts here have helped so much in the healing .

      • We “older” come from a different beginning. At 66, I remember black/ white fountains, seat, schools, laws. Women were very limited as to being able to work or work in a man’s job: doctor, engineer, even realtors. I needed my husbands permission to have my tubes tied! Although times have changed drastically, their mind sets are the same. Our primary job is to do everything humanly possible to make them happy. I have been asked on coffee dates, numerous times in the last years since FW, never accepted. I am not their mother, house appliance, sex slave or nurse with a purse. I have never been happier, more content. As for dying alone! No matter how many people are in the room, it’s something you do by yourself.

    • I come here for support, not to hear man bashing. According to Tracy 50% of CN readers are men. STBXW displayed many of the poor traits your FWs did. She was entitled took advantage of me. Because I make a large salary and she stopped working. She sat home contributing less and less to the household. When I got sick with cancer she refused to work so I had to work when I was going through chemo treatments. She did not come to any of my treatments, yet now I find out she was screwing while I was at my appointments. Now in divorce she is trying to bleed me.
      That being said I don’t generalize that all women are gold diggers and take advantage. NO, I realize STBXW is a covert Narcissist and a FW. Yes There are plenty out there like her but I don’t think ALL Women are like that.
      Perhaps some of the blame is that we (many of us here ) are draw to the wrong people because we are too trusting.

      • Wow, DrChump, so sorry you were treated like that. Only someone who’s empathy-impaired could behave that way during your cancer ordeal. Disgusting.

        I was the caregiver to my ex during his cancer treatment, which was brutal. I took part-time Family Medical Leave from my job so I could stretch out how long it would last: went to all chemo sessions and all but a few radiation treatments (he wasn’t sick early on). I waited on him, bought him a recliner so he wouldn’t have to climb the stairs when he was too weak to get up to the bedroom, gave him an enema when he was constipated and in pain (never did that for anyone before, or since!).

        He cheated on me 3 years after he had recovered. That’s the thanks I got.

        Not sure how old you are but let me clarify that in my post I was sexist-bashing, not man-bashing (big difference!) with the caveat that younger men in general appear to be less sexist than older men. Most women around my age – and I’m talking about the vast majority, which is frequently backed up by social science research – worked outside he home but still ended up doing way more housework. By multiple hours per day, let alone the huge difference in hours per week. So unfair, not to mention exhausting.

        So now that we’re older and divorced (with the added fun fact that the mostly sexist men in our age cohort are more interested in women 10-20 years younger than we are), yes, we are pissed! Our options are very limited: if we did want to risk being lied to again, we are highly likely to become “a nurse or a purse.” Fuck that shit.

        • I get the point. The male bashing comment was tongue and cheek but I am not blind to what goes on but look at what I am going through. I get cheated on and FW destroys my family and I am still going to have to pay her

          • The attitude of the justice system is certainly “It’s too complicated to assign blame so we’re not going to assess any penalties on the person who broke the marital contract”, which obviously assigns zero value to faithfulness. In my experience (in GA, which is certainly not a beacon of progress and enlightenment) the law is enforced pretty evenly gender-wise: I got child support from my XW (because she earns 50% more than I do). Historically, obviously, this overwhelmingly meant women were getting payments from men but I’m sure it’s less lopsided nowadays. Unfortunately, you’re on the losing side of this culpability-blind principle, but I really don’t think it’s a man/woman issue as much as a high earner / low earner one. As long as the courts aren’t willing to assign blame for adultery, it’s going to be a crapshoot which spouse comes out ahead financially.

      • Dr.Chump,
        I’m so sorry about the cancer diagnosis and hope that you are doing well and in remission – or better yet, cured!

        My ex’s mother suffered years with breast cancer until it finally spread to her lungs and brain. Toward the end of her (young) life (65), I did as much as I could to be with her. Meanwhile, my ex always had to “work”. Turns out “work” meant hanging out, banging, or whatever, his 21-year-younger coworker.

        I had a birthday party for my mother-in-law, at what, we all thought would be her last birthday. It was her last indeed. My ex was not at his own mother’s final birthday because he didn’t want to fly home and leave his protoge whom he was banging. Those actions sum up so much for me about my ex – his centrality, his selfishness, his childishness. He could not be home for his mother’s last birthday because he was with his new love interest.

        Meanwhile… I hosted other family and friends for my MIL’s birthday and made them dinner and her favorite cake. My mother-in-law enjoyed her day.

        What my ex did just shows of what he thinks of other people – how little he respects other people – how little he cares about anyone but himself.

        Similarly your wife was the epitome of selfishness – leaving you to attend chemo treatments on your own…she didn’t want to deal with the sickness part of marriage, just the health. If only we knew so many spouses negate the full vow for just the prosperous times.

        My heart breaks at these stories. I can only hope a higher power delivers these selfish spouses the punishment they deserve.

      • I really think there are just as many female cheaters as male. People are people and one sex does not cheat more than the other (IMO). I know as many (or have known) female cheaters as male cheaters. Either way it is a disgusting thing to do.

      • I understand what your saying about your FW. My sister at 13 said she was going to marry a man with money, preferably older, who wouldn’t live to long. She continued to look for these traits. She married an older well off man. He was currently married when the affair started and had two children older and two younger then her!. She did not care! Three months after they married she was cheating every chance she got. Every husband who cheats is doing it with a woman (ok not always) who doesn’t care. We come here to bash/vent our husbands/ wives. It’s not one sided, just always painful.

  • Good Morning CN,
    I needed closure a year ago because I was in so much pain, but that led to Reconciliation and then hell on earth. There is no rationalizing with the devil so in the end it was about me— working on me, making me mighty etc. getting the closure I needed which was a new life. “Close the door on that trash” is what my dear mother told me.
    “Cancel. Clear.” A snake is always a snake.
    I had the unfortunate necessity of a court hearing with Trash yesterday and the luster on her is gone. She’s empty. Vapid. Any soul she had is so deeply buried all I see are jowls on a middle aged harlot. Sad.
    Thankfully, though my pain still resides, I am not with her and she can never have me. Case closed.

    • Xioba Xioba:
      So powerful :
      ” I am not with her(/him) and she(/he) can never have me.”

      Thank you!

  • Closure is a gift you give yourself. Closure is what you decide, what you choose and has nothing to do with what the cheaters do.

    Closure for me began with No Contact and purging my contacts. Closure was eliminating all of the Switzerland friends.

    Closure was realizing that LTC Fuckface was never going to change, he literally told me so. “I am not going to change. I don’t see the need to change.”

    So I changed. I put on my Bitch Boots and embraced my inner warrior. I scrubbed the door mat out of my soul with tears and therapy. I closed the door so firmly Fuckface was reduced to sending a postcard through the US Postal System to ask a question. I didn’t respond. Just sent it to my lawyer.


    • 33, you have so succinctly and beautifully put into words exactly how I would have described my closure. Thank you for this!
      I would bet, while you slammed the door shut, you have opened windows to new opportunities and experiences… ain’t it grand???

      • Chump Lady and Chump Nation inspire me daily to both slam doors and open them to “new opportunities and experiences…”.

        I have wanted to go to Alaska since I was in the third grade. I’ve been twice in the one thousand fifty seven days since I ran from Fuckface. I heard the wolves howl and that changed me. Leaving changed my life.

        Any newbies reading this feed. You can change your life. It starts with LACGAL.

        • Well said, 33. The Amalfi Coastline beckons me… as do any location I visited before I reclaimed my life so I can make new and happy memories to replace the sucky ones. I’ve already checked off several, and each of those trips have provided healing than I realized they would.
          Yes, changing your life for the better is not only possible, but I highly recommend it!

    • My ex also said something like he wasn’t going to change. What he said was, “I used to think you couldn’t change, but now I think maybe I can’t.” Typical sad-sausage passive aggressiveness.

    • I deeply regret that Major Cheaterpants didnt live to see me come to my full strength. I wish I had been able to see his face when he realized that he had overplayed his hand with me. I know he would have hated Col Greatly. So, yes, I wanted closure on some level but I will never get it so I live a wildly wonderful life as my vengeance.

      • You can cross that regret right off your list, because none of us are ever truly seen by fuckwits. CN sees you, and sounds like the people you cherish do, too.

    • Thirtyyearchump, It was a beautiful thing to read your comment. To find closure within oneself is where closure really is. Like Dorothy of Oz she had the power all along. It was within her and her alone. It was there all along. Not only finding true closure but finding that precious woman/man buried under the years of abuse and lift her out of that dung heap rubble and find the treasure that you are.And the Pearls are rescued out of the swine’s wallow.

  • Thanks for these reminders today, Chump Lady. I’m two years into my new life. Still not divorced. Ex left me after 24 years and 4 wonderful children for a rich childless woman. He blew-up his job right away, and isn’t working, so I’m paying child support. She bought him a big character home in our city, and I’m sleeping in the utility closet so my kids can have a room in our rented condo. It’s Spring Break and he’s in Maui for 3 weeks. I’m trying to get to closure and it’s getting easier because when I get down, I think about the how I don’t have to live with all the anger, dysfunction, gaslighting, anger and lying. Tag, you’re it, AP! There will be years more of this, no tidy ending, as you say, but my life is now peaceful. Aloha.

    • CM, you may sleep in a closet but you sleep with integrity. He’s a farce and will sleep in his car when the replacement finds out he screws around. Keep that focus on you, and kids, dear one. The surroundings don’t matter that is merely window dressing. Hugs to you.

    • Sending you a hug from another mom of 4 who was on my own after 26 years while XH moved into a $12k month rent high rise studio apt downtown with then-young mate poacher.

    • I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling financially while he parties. I can relate. My xh also had a long time affair with a childless co-worker with money. He is also currently in Hawaii and has been travelling extensively with her. I have no idea what she sees in him but the fact that she willingly had a secret relationship while they were both married means it doesn’t matter (it means we don’t share core values). My children know I have their back. Dad not so much ????‍♀️.

      It is shocking how many people are chumped. I routinely tell people not to make decisions where they are giving up too much for the relationship. Knowing how common chomping is I think I would have made different life choices if I were doing it again. I was so naive.

      • Mine was willing to let me take the fall so he wouldn’t look bad in the eyes of our grown kids. I didn’t cheat! My kids know that I will always have their backs!

    • Darkest before the dawn. You’ll emerge on the other side to a beautiful sunrise!

    • ChumpMarie and Motherchumper99,

      I am trying only to use the thumbs-up to support our fellow chumps tonight lest I fall in long-winded replies that will keep me from work I need to do. But I had to stop by and give you both virtual (((hugs))) and kudos for the bravery of mama bears you both show. What your exholes did/are doing to you and your kids is monstrous. I wish there really was a hell with fires to consume painfully forever any remnants of a soul these motherfuckers might still have.

      Your utility closet is full of the most precious wealth that can be, ChumpMarie: you. You are a hard-working woman and a self-sacrificing mother. You having to pay child-support is adding insult to injury. This is an unfair world.

      My FW XW doesn’t contribute a rusty penny whatsoever to our kids’ expenses except for *half* the private tennis classes she enrolled them in with her and half the visit to a pediatric neurologist each six months (not insured by my health plan). She never offered to pay for nothing, even though she makes almost twice as money as me. The judge scratched her head as to why I was letting FW off the hook (FW is unreliable with money and everything else for that matter; also, I don’t want nothing from her). Nevertheless, FW XW is partying hard with her new boyfriend (a gentleman 20 years our senior; he’s not the AP) as I take care of our sons (10 and 8 – autistic) 4 days a week while working. I’ve dropped them this Thursday with her and she called me just this afternoon to ask me to take them tomorrow. She has to party… ahem… work this Sunday. Just like every other Sunday, albeit her shifts are just 24hrs/week. Just for comparison, my workload is 40hrs/week plus. I pretend I don’t know what she is doing and just take the kids. I can appreciate what is important in life, and having them with me one extra day is really a gift. But I do struggle to make ends meet and I feel your righteous indignation for your FWs ostentatious lifestyles.
      May our three fuckwits rot in hell.

  • For me it was learning about covert, passive aggressive narcissism, which explained his behavior, but more importantly, it confirmed my belief that he is not fixable. That helped to affirm my decision to leave when so many people were telling me I should stay, that he’s just a nice guy who made mistakes, bla bla. My standard response; “If you knew what I know, you’d never even speak to him again. You only see the phoney public face. You have no idea who he really is because he keeps that behind closed doors.” That shut them up. Only a few wanted me to elaborate and when I did, they were shocked. CL warns against untangling the skein, but for me it helped to know exactly what I was dealing with.

    • I agree with this. The more I learned about these types and how it applied to him and all the jerks in my life, I did, indeed, get some closure. Some of us are deep researchers; the autists and so on.

      • Right, WATC. Knowledge is power. In this case, the power to change your life for the better.

    • OHFFS covert Narcissists are scary. STBXW is one and everybody believes her BS. They have a very pathologic way about. Everybody loves them and nobody believes they could ever cheat. Very frustrating! When they are done with you they callously discard you

      • Dr Chump, so true. They paint themselves as victims when they are actually villains. People feel sorry for them when they they lose their spouses and refuse to believe they deserved it. I had to take that crap even from my own family. ????Fun times.

        • OHFFS
          “CL warns against untangling the skein, but for me it helped to know exactly what I was dealing with.”
          I had the same experience. Realizing that I was married to a covert Narcissist helps me deal with her. I am total NC. It also gave me an answer to the unanswerable question of why. This video helped so much

      • So true! The evening I left my FW, the cab driver that picked me and all my stuff up was the same guy that used to take my ex to work some days. I told him briefly what had happened (kind of hard not to, when I was crying and clearly moving out), and his response was “I’m surprised, I really like FW – he doesn’t seem the type at all”. He’s the type alright, the archetype, in fact!

    • Street Angel~House Devil
      is how my Dad labeled those
      image management frauds
      aka covert narc, sociopath

    • This was EXACTLY the same for me. Covert narcissism explained everything. Ultimately I was more bothered that I’d invested so much love, time, and effort into another narcissist (until then I’d only tangled with the overt variety, so this caught me completely off guard) than I was about his cheating.

      I think for most people though avoiding “untangling the skein” is probably the way to go – I can imagine if your partner doesn’t have a distinguishable personality disorder, it would just be an undecipherable mind fuck that would only postpone the healing process.

      Either way, trusting that they suck is the way to go!

    • Ohffs, exactly! Mr. nice guy so fun to be around charismatic flirt , jokester is pulling off lies to people , to everyone ! Stealing from employers , screwing how many women , wives . I wanted to tell all but instead lived with shame knowing . Glad I’m free of knowing more of what he does!

  • Their disrespect and abuse of you and the relationship is your closure.

  • When you have children (especially young children), there really isn’t ANY “closure” because you still have to deal with them, at least on legal terms if nothing else.

    I reached “meh” after years of working through first shock, then searing pain, then losing nearly everything….and then learning to stand on my own two feet again. Remembering that I am a whole ass person, before and after, and that I have the capabilities to take care of me and my own.

    It did help that he and his schmoopie-pie got theirs, in different ways, but I didn’t encourage it. I just got to watch sweet, sweet karma.

    But closure? No. Not as long as my daughter is alive. But that’s a good trade off, she’s the light of my life.

    • Sadly, being in the same room continues when the children grow up and have children of their own! The exposure is often limited to birthday parties and special occasions. For me, I know when he visits and what he gives the kids and it takes a lot to ignore and move on.

  • You know how as a kid you got mosquito bites and your parents would say ‘don’t scratch you’re making it worse’ and so you had to learn to not scratch? Yeh. So the other option is you were the weird kid who was like ‘no….. must scratch. My precious blood has been stoled and I must punish the remaining blemish with scraping and blood-letting’ and you would scratch to infinity and create scabs…. And then because you’re the creepy kid you would pick at them and … maybe eat them?

    Folks, this is why no contact is better. This is why scratching is bad. This is why contact feels good. You’re the creepy kid who eats their scabs. May end up with deeper scars. Takes way longer to heal.

    The mosquito bite sucks. (Literally) but the more you leave it alone and focus on healing the better it fucking will be.

    Don’t be the weird kid

    • Ha! I love short little mantras/mental images I can use when I need them. Never thought “Don’t be the weird kid” would be helpful when I’m thinking of texting ex, but I have a feeling it will be because it’s such a gross image!

    • Ok, this is TMI, but my ex is the weird kid. He told me, about his desire to wear women’s clothes so he could get off on himself sexually, “It’s like an itch that is almost always there.” And scratch it he did, and the more he scratched, the more the itch escalated, and the stranger and stranger life got with him. He was also scratching that itch with a former student before I ever knew he had the rash. Of course he insisted that there was no harm in his scratching the itch, although it was demonstrably observable that indeed there was.
      After what you wrote I will now forever say of him, along with other pithy sayings such as “trust that he sucks,” that he’s “the weird kid.” And the visual will serve as added incentive never to engage.

  • I’m not going to lie. I still struggle with wanting closure several years out. (my recent post about my text to my ex proves that). 🙂 I think I’ll always want it on some level, and now that I’m no contact for a week or so (thank you, Chump Nation) I’ll never get it. I’ll probably want it less with him fully out of my life now that my kids are nearly launched.

    But I just set a boundary at work and it was asking for what I need and letting my boss know I will look elsewhere for a job if this nonnegotiable need is not met. I don’t care what is “possible” within my organization or what my boss decides to do about the situation that is not acceptable to me, I’ve made my decision and they will make theirs. I’ve been trying to help them solve this problem for a year, and I recently realized it feels a lot like negotiating with my ex. (I do most of the work and they nod their head and do what they want. Negotiating in good faith only works when both sides are trying). I’m done being a chump. Thank you chump lady. “Is this relationship acceptable to you (what do YOU want)” is the only way I plan to approach my life for my precious remaining years. After years of contorting to fit other peoples’ expectations and needs, that’s closure of a different kind.

    • GTS, I understand. I wanted it, too. But the reality is that they are always the misunderstood hero in their own heads, and they will always blameshift onto you. If only you had (whatever), they would never had cheated! I call BS. It really should be if only the FW wasn’t so entitled, maybe they wouldn’t have cheated. Maybe.
      Mine basically cheated whenever he could, with whoever would have him. It had nothing to do with me. And asking for closure is, as many have said, is like putting your head in a blender.
      Yes, I hope the FW understands how devastatingly painful his cheating was to me. But I don’t really believe that will ever happen. To acknowledge the damage you did to another person, means you have to acknowledge you aren’t a good person. Ain’t no FW gonna admit THAT.

      • Yes my therapist said my xh will protect his self image at all costs so he is never going to admit he did wrong (he even told the adult kids that “your mother likes to use the word cheating “ ???? like secretly banging your co-worker for 6 years isn’t). Thankfully my kids are smarter than that.

  • I wanted closure so badly from my last FW after I found him cheating AGAIN so I went on a sabbatical by myself….literally! I went to Sedona, AZ. with just me, myself, and I. I was called to do some spiritual cleansing and healing so I signed up for a 4 day session. What I got transformed my life???? I released so much baggage from past relationships (including my parents) and my last FW. It was a major step to help release narcs in my life and enforce boundaries with them for good. I remember going on a hike climbing to this beautiful peak to watch the sun set after my 2nd day and journaling, I wept crocodile tears and wrote a very descriptive “how I am going to regain my life letter”. After I wrote my letter I stayed up there and prayed. The wind swirled around me and I heard “all will be well”. It was a very spiritually enlightening trip that empowered me in so many ways to LET GO and finally accept meh.

    Ironically, as God works in mysterious ways, the day after I got home from that trip my FW ex husband texted me and said “it’s an emergency, I need to talk to you” and then called. (I went no contact years before, so I knew it was serious). He admitted that smoochie was beating him on a regular basis (which earned her the nickname Sumo Smoochie) and she started doing it with the kids were there so the police were called. This dickwad had lied, cheated, stole from me, ruined my finances, abused me, and had me in a 2 yr nasty custody battle and 24 hours after that trip he called to tell me that. It was God at work for sure!!! Needless to say, even though there was a quick ZING of happiness for karma to slap him in the face, it quickly subsided to “Meh”. I just focused on my kids, did what was best for them and have ever since.

    That happened 4 years ago and I have been narc free for 3.5 years. The healer said once I started down this path educating myself, setting and enforcing boundaries my life would get better quickly, it has❤️

    • I’m glad he’s gone and you’re doing well.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he was lying to you about the OW beating him. Abusers love to spin stories about being victims. It’s another source of attention for them.

    • Thanks for your great story x what was the retreat you went on? Maybe I need to go too! x

  • 2 1/2 years since D-day when he fessed up and I stormed out. It still hurts so much.

    That said, I no longer demand answers from him because I know that any more details or explanations/excuses that he might toss my will hurt me. I still have the scars from the ones he managed to stab me with early on.

    I do seek answers from myself–why did I stay in an emotionally abusive marriage for decades? how is it possible that I didn’t recognize red flags? what can I work on?

    Frankly, I think that x is the one who really wants closure and is frustrated that I shut that shit down. NC prevents closure for him. He wants to be exonerated or, at the very least, to pin equal blame on me.

    Sometimes I like to pretend that he’s dead.

    One sad result of this entire shit show is that I’ve had to cut off everyone who is in contact with him. I don’t even really want to see nieces and nephews who, honestly, don’t even like FW. It’s just that that entire side of the family triggers me. And I’m worried they’ll slip and say something about him. ANY info sends me into a tailspin.

    I’m afraid I’m not making sense here. The issue is closure, and I’m not sure I’ve addressed that or even understand it.

    Bottom line: I am still in pain. I stay away from any person or thing that will cause more pain (so that eliminates FW–obvi–and so many others). I try to figure out why the hell I ended up staying for years with someone who emotionally abused me. I’m a work in progress.

    • It sounds like your closure is literally closing the door on him and anything to do with him. Consider your closure a success.

    • Hugs to you, spinach. I could have written much of this: I too choose to untangle my own skein. And radical acceptance can be amazing as well.

      • “…untangle my own skein.” Love that!

        Untangle with compassion. That seems key. ((hugs))

    • for whatever reasons, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you could handle. that’s enough.

    • Spinach, There’s psychological information to help explain how & why we end up where we do. FOO issues, codependency, trauma bonded, a personality disordered partner ….
      I’m a big fan of getting educated on whatever problem exists & the 12 steps & group therapy.
      CN is a form of group therapy.

      Still, deeper down is the spiritual core of each of us. I was still stuck in pain despite much cognitive understanding.
      I learned self examination was necessary, but the real solution couldn’t/wouldn’t come from me. I was too messed-up & mangled & depleted. Some people helped. Sometimes.
      Some made things worse.
      I discovered (eventually),
      I absolutely need Divine Love
      & Divine Intervention to heal.
      I’m a work in process too.

      • That’s great, Dogs & Hogs. I guess we all need to find our own way.

    • Spinach,
      While I love the metaphor of the door slamming, it wasn’t that way for me. The process of closure, or acceptance, was a long and slow one. I did just decide one day that I was “closed” emotionally to him but it only changed the inside, none of our actual interactions were any different. But it was a big step in my way of being in my head and it brought a level of peace.
      You actually are making a lot of sense to me. Family connections are hard, but they are also long. You can protect yourself from his family if that is what you need right now and be open to better relationships with the people you care about in the future. I think you are right where you need to be and should be very gentle with yourself as you process everything that has happened. It’s a very difficult question about why you stayed and why you tolerated the treatment you did. I”m over a decade out and while I have some insights, and have accepted these less than attractive parts of myself, I don’t have all the answers. Somewhere along the line I became ok with that.
      Change is possible even if you don’t totally understand your motivations. A beloved therapist told me, when I asked a similar question, “it’s amazing what you will tolerate on behalf of your children.” I don’t know if that’s why I stayed, but something about that comment made me view myself with more compassion – a stupid move to stay but a noble reason. Obviously, a full answer is more complex but it was a helpful shift.
      I may be starting to ramble. Hope this makes some sense to you and provides some food for thought. I love hearing other stories on this site – really has been the biggest help to me.

    • Dear Spinach, it sounds like we’re walking similar paths. I am 4+ years out and I could have written the same things 2 years ago. Radical acceptance of FW is the only way to closure for me since there will never be any admission of wrongdoing. Trust that he sucks, but also we’re all human and no one is perfect. Both can be true. Radical acceptance of who I was has been key to finding some peace. She did the best she could with what she had. Trying to change what I can from understanding how she got there and avoid walking the same paths for my future self. Still a work in progress too, but closer to meh every day. Enjoying the journey there anyways, and maybe that’s the point?

      • Thanks, FuckThatShit. Good to hear from someone who is a few more years out.

        “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This F. Scott Fitzgerald quote seems apt, at least how I think of it.

    • I could have written this, word for word. Aren’t we lucky to have found CL?

    • Spinach, we are soul sisters. I tell myself that he is dead and the dead can’t talk. I want so badly to have answers but I know all I would get would be lies, excuses, projections and manipulations.
      My situation is a little different since I have had restraining orders on him since he got out of jail on bond, so – unless he wants to wind up back in jail – he can’t contact me. For which I am truly thankful.
      Like you, I am in pain and wonder why I didn’t see the red flags for what they were.
      We will provide our own closure. I think that is what meh is truly all about

    • Sometimes I like to pretend that he’s dead.

      Spinach, thank you for your honesty and the conversation you generated. I’m new here – at least posting – but I’m always drawn to your clarity and wisdom. You make perfect sense to me.

    • Spinach….”why did I stay in an emotionally abusive marriage for decades? how is it possible that I didn’t recognize red flags? what can I work on?”….

      You make plenty of sense. As a long term chump I identify with your ongoing struggle to make sense of the crazy relationship.
      “Why did I stay ?” Remember the hopium syndrome CL has described…? Remember how we sparkle over cracks and gaps in the story and look away from red flags…?
      I think it’s fair to say it’s because we are wired for connection as a primary motivation, organizing principle in our lives.
      They instinctively know that we are bonded with them from the earlier more innocent days. They may even be bonded too-but bonded doesn’t mean the same to them. It co-exists with their greedy-selfish/entitled-lying-no consequences-for-me manipulation.
      You like many of us are still wrestling with this and feeling the pain. That is why CL and CN are here every day. It takes a village to sustain us while we do the work of rewiring our brains.

    • I look back and wonder why I was willing to accept with the emotional abuse without question. I’m appalled at what I accepted as “normal.” I was living in denial.
      I believed we had something special, we had been through so much in our marriage, new careers, job loss, major moves, we worked together as a team, new jobs all things that in my mind make marriage stronger.

      I couldn’t imagine he’d risk our family and all the memories we has shared together.
      We were finally living a comfortable secure life that we had worked towards.
      All of this made it easier for me to spackle and over look the abuse.
      In my mind this was just a phase, a middle aged crisis that would pass. This along with holding onto the memories of the person I married who I thought would return.

      Closure is finding Chump Mama then acceptance of the truth. The harsh reality that the person I thought I married never existed. I married Ann imposter. He isn’t who I thought he was or hoped he’d be. Acceptance that he didn’t love me. There wasn’t a brain tumor or alien abduction. I was an appliance that lost it’s sparkle.

  • “It’s the least that they can do really, after stealing your reality”
    This ???? exactly.
    Sure, there was surprise, hurt, disappointment + awful wounds
    of abandonment & rejection, but
    the audacity of the deception…He KNEW deception was my Achilles heel. The internal Rage I felt was overwhelming. Then “I DEMAND FURTHER INFORMATION” followed

    Truth-seeking obsession to get
    this religious fraud to confess,
    to obtain truth from others, then
    to expose him only further injured me. Deception spread & deception won that battle via from hell smear campaign. Book-length story on getting from then to now, but it ends with No Contact and finally
    “Radical Acceptance”.

  • What was important for me was learning, through experience, that the suffering I felt, that felt like it needed to be relieved through ‘closure’, DOES subside with time. Time, No Contact, support from and time with people who actually DO care about me, focus on the things that DO work in my life.

    Also helped that FW just kept repeating and sometimes increasing the fuckwittery. Since my eyes were finally finally open, that confirmation that THIS IS WHO HE IS and there would be no change, fed that sense of ‘that door is closed, and I don’t need ‘closure’ to keep it that way’.

  • Closure came the day I went gray rock on parenting and no contact for any other topics. Even now, seven years out, I know how the conversation would go if I went back the rabbit hole… he has not changed. Yes, they change partners… yes, they look shiny… yes, you want to hear them say I’m sorry and be the person you thought you married (they can’t, they aren’t). Take back your power… tell yourself “I’m sorry you married a cheating fuckwit. I’m sorry you suffered abuse. I love you and I will never let that happen to you again #redflags.” Tell yourself that every day and you will get your closure.

    Using tools like Cozi or OurFamilyWizard help immensely in limiting contact but co-parenting. Great paper trail for the courts, and even kids are smart enough to use them!

    I was just talking to my 16yo son last night, who is now dating a young woman who’s Dad also walked out for an OW. Two chump kids… both saying they don’t believe in marriage. So, I’m trying to explain ideas like reciprocity, honest communications, important topics/deal breakers, and love and commitment. A piece of my closure is focusing on raising a man who won’t be a chump and who (hopefully) won’t get chumped. That will be more healing to me than anything my fuckwit could say.

    Living in Meh Town is awesome, peaceful, and filled with a freedom that is quite powerful, but it takes time… friggin’, stupid time. Fuckwits don’t provide closure, being mighty does. You’ve got this.

    • I love this! “Part of my closure is focusing on raising a man who won’t be a chump and who (hopefully) won’t get chumped. That will be more healing to me than anything my fuckwit could say.”

      Teaching reciprocity, honest communications, important topics/deal breakers, and love and commitment… YES!

      I just wanted to highlight what you said here. I love it.

      Marriage, when it’s good, is so good. (Easy to forget.)

  • The ex died last week. (On a Tuesday) He shot himself in the chest. The day before, he’d been arrested for assaulting the OW and their child. I reached out to her when he was in jail and she told me I was right and that he was everything that I’d warned her about and that she wanted a divorce. We made our peace that day and the next day, he killed himself.

    I’ve thought briefly about sitting her down and asking all the details, but then… nah. I just don’t care anymore. It doesn’t matter. The belief that nagged in my head that he was deliriously happy has evaporated. He left her with a $1000 utility bill, no running vehicle, a seriously handicapped child (she’s 4 and has cerebral palsy) and all of his cigarette smoke infused possessions to figure out how to get rid of. I have none of that. I just have to help clean out our daughter’s Daisy and Violet’s bedrooms and close that chapter for the most part and help them come to terms with what’s happened, which really will be a life long process. I don’t have the luxury of “closure” for myself and I don’t need it anymore. It’s as closed as it ever will be.

    • Kitsugi, I am not sure whether to congratulate you or offer condolences. But I do know that his suicide must have been a terrible shock, and I’m so glad you will be able to help your children through this.

      • Never saw it coming. I prayed/hoped for him to die sooo many times, but that was always a car accident ( as terrible as that is for me to have done) I never dreamed he would do it to himself…ever. I’m sorry it ended that way…that he chose that. It’s really tough on my kids.

    • That’s rough. And no, you don’t need the details.

      That sort of end remains a possibility for mine because of his history. If I get the word, I’m not going to want details either.

    • Kintsugi, As the daughter of a late life suicide (my father, who shot himself in the head), who threatened and “attempted” it throughout his life, I can vouch for the fact that coming to terms with their father’s act will indeed be “a life long process” for them. It’s axiomatic that those of us left behind feel unwarranted guilt, and that will go double for children, who are so capable of thinking the problems in their families or with their parents are somehow their fault, so please make sure any therapist helps guide them past that guilt.

      And it may sound heartless of me, but I have to say that when my father killed himself I also felt a great relief, because he had taken himself out of the endless battle he was engaged in with all of us (a displacement, of course, for the one he refused to engage in with himself). Perhaps you do, or will, as well.

      • I do think there is some relief. As the last 10 days have gone on, I am getting bits and snatches of the sheer chaos and what was really happening at his house. I expect the relief will not be admitted to for a very long time as I expect there is guilt for feeling relief.

        Soooo many layers of very complex feelings to come and that are being built as we speak.

    • Oh Kintsugi, your poor kids. I hope your daughters can process this and move forward with you. I’m glad they have you as their parent.

      • We were in a very bad and contentious custody battle. He’s been even more off the rails since January. He very easily could have taken my daughter with him and I would have had no way to legally stop him without risking arrest.

        It feels a bit too close to really think about too much right now. I don’t think my daughter realizes how very close she was and I don’t plan on her ever finding out from me.

    • My heart goes out to you and your daughters (and the other little child), Kintsugi. Your girls will find solace in your steady hands after this tragical event in their lives. This is so sad.

      • I worry I’m not entirely up to the task. I’m too old to find them another father… let alone a whole and sane man. I can’t model to them a happy marriage, and that makes me very sad. I worry about their future relationships and their view of men in general.

        • My heart goes out to you, too, Kintsugi. Once I heard this: “do the next right thing in front of you…” and my dad used to say this: “when you get confused as to what’s right and what’s wrong, try to figure out what is the best thing to do, considering everyone, and do that.” Maybe just one thoughtful foot in front of the other for now? And know that you’re forging a good future for yourself and your kids by making the best decisions you can with the circumstances you have? Thoughts and prayers for you. I’m so sorry for your losses.

  • Time is closure. Besides the “meh” that comes with the passage of time, so too does karma for everyone involved. Karma marches to its own drumbeat, so most likely you will wait a good amount of time, but it does come. Things have a way of balancing out. Your life eventually gets better and will surpass what was your life was before d-day. In the scheme of things, it will be relatively fast. Then it comes for your perp, the fw. And it will, though sometimes decades later. I finally got the karma closure on fw 40 years later. It will come.

  • I will never get 100% closure and I don’t need it. My ex wife said “I made many mistakes” without elaborating on it. “I had many emotional affairs” and refused to tell me with whom. I had suspected at least two other affairs before DDay. 99% of the cheaters will only admit to the ones you have 110% proof of. It sucks not knowing the whole truth but “trust that they suck” and move on!

  • For me, closure was realizing I was never going to get a satisfactory and satisfying answer out of someone who is constitutionally incapable of giving me one (see: subset of “trust that he sucks”).
    After that, I re-framed “closure” as “The End.” “The End,” not as in the fairy tale “they lived happily ever after, ” or even the feminist “she [I] lived happily ever after.” Going no contact was the key to ensuring the end stayed the end.
    In the rare event I have to be in contact with my ex or he comes sniffing around (which he did just three days ago), I remind myself he’s disordered, remember the rules of BIFF and Do Not Engage, and never never never give him any personal details or let him know what I’m thinking or feeling because he will attempt use it against me and bolster his own self-serving narrative.

  • Interestingly, just today I got the closest thing to closure I’m ever going to get. More than twenty years ago my then-husband left me for another woman after cheating for more than a year and a half, and married her. It was brutal and I suffered terribly for a very long time. (Oh, to have had Chump Lady and Chump Nation then!) Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2020, and I learned via Facebook that he had died. Slowly information started to trickle in — he was divorced from the OW, they had two small children, he was living by himself in an area that is generally low income, he died suddenly and was discovered by his mother, alone in his apartment. After his death I was briefly in touch with his family, who seemed interested in having some sort of relationship with me. I wasn’t up for that, but I kept thinking I wanted to reach out to his second ex-wife, to learn what I could about what happened to him. So I sent her a note via Facebook. Today, I heard from her, and she told me a small part of their story, which is so terrible in all the ways I could have anticipated (he was still an alcoholic with anger management and impulse control issues) and ways I couldn’t (having to do with infertility and the loss of a child). I don’t feel much of anything about this, having reached meh long ago, but there is a certain sadness to it all. I wouldn’t say there’s any satisfaction to be found in all this, just a kind of, “Huh. So that’s how it turned out.” Wishing Everychump happiness today. Stay mighty.

  • Through my healing journey, I have noticed that closure has come in steps. Sometimes slow and sometimes fast. It’s taken a lot of reflection and work to see that I am worth more than the story of how my long-term marriage ended. The biggest closure has been- “what goes around comes around”

  • I love visualuzations. I see two fws and everyone else who has harmed me on a barren rocky island, somewhere in a very cold northern sea. They are buried there. I walk around the graveyard and read their headstones. Then I close the crooked, old rickety iron gate to the graveyard, get back on my luxury yacht, and sail off in a beautiful sunset to a lush, tropical island. They remain dead and buried somewhere out there on that harsh, cold, remote island. Forever.

    • WeAreRheChumpions, thank you for this beautiful imagery. Fuckface is dead to me so I might as well bury him.

      • And place a bouquet of dead flowers on his grave before you leave. I even tell myself that the barren rock island is so small and insignificant that it’s not even on a map!

  • I never worry about closure, only about getting on with my life. But I just found out that FW has lost his job, is full of debts, can’t pay his rent and is freaking out.

    To add injury to insult his house was just broken into and all his fancy guitars were stolen. His plans to have a rock band are ruined. The guitars are probably part of the reason for his debts, besides trying to impress women).

    And why is a PhD think-tank guru, who used to boast that he earned 3 times more than I did, not able to pay rent at this stage in life? This makes me so sad. How did I not see how much of an idiot this person was? How can he be my sons’ father? Carry on, carry on.

    PS: CL, I too am not getting any e-mails since the change

    • Well its possible that his PD kicked in and got worse with age. Maybe he wasnt that bad when younger. My FW’s “quirks” are so much worse as he has aged. Its sad and comical to see. Like an old man telling the same tired stories over and over.

  • “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.” –Isak Dinesen

    and that’s why we’re here at CN, writing and reading stories, trying to bear our sorrows. i repeat myself when i say my X doesn’t have the emotional capacity beyond age 12, and there’s defensiveness and angry behaviours and denials and so on, and so on, and so on. i cannot expect much of him, especially closure. that’s too complex and he’s not emotionally smart enough.

    i’d rather focus on the support i’ve received in a variety of places, on the friends that have picked up the phone when i needed to talk, on the friend that sent me a cheque “just in case i needed it because now wasn’t a time to worry about money”, on my kids who get what their dad is about and are working their asses off in therapy, on my therapist who keeps me sane and shares laughs, too. on the anonymous members of CN who share their stories.

  • I wanted closure, but realistically never expected that. We had been separated long-distance for about 18 months with minimal contact in the months leading up to him kicking off the divorce process. By then, I had healed to the point that I knew it had to be.

    I went into the divorce process expecting a bad fight with no closure. Ironically, it was the attorneys that gave me closure after my ex began trying to manipulate and control his powerhouse attorney. As if that was going to be successful! So the two attorneys started talking more and decided that I had to be a saint for having stayed for so long. Coming from two attorneys in their 60’s, that was indeed closure. His attorney started periodically telling my legal team to tell me that he felt sorry for me and was doing his best to get the legal part done. I told my team to thank him for that when they talked to him on the phone.

    Then his attorney died of COVID late in closeout. I wished that I had been able to personally thank him somehow for being decent about it, but I missed my opportunity.

    • Elsie, maybe this was your letter! And you’re sharing it with Chump Nation, giving him credit for feelings of closure for you! Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to “finish” things without the other person knowing or agreeing, simply by writing a letter that we don’t or can’t send (to the deceased, or to a person, like a cheating spouse, who will never get the letter, because we won’t send it,) and then reading that letter to one of our trusting friends…? !!?

  • I have come to realize that closure is more like “trust that they suck.” Closure looked like signed divorce papers and getting that much-needed space. Closure looks like rarely having to see him negat because pickups and drop offs happen with daycare as a buffer. Closure looks like talking about what happened without shame, because I’m the only one in this situation who doesn’t have any to carry.

    I was amused though, when I was searching socials for evidence of affairs, I came across an “open letter” to FW from one of the OW’s. She was complaining that he had cut her off without a word. (It was about the time that I left him and he was oh-so-repentant and trying to get me to come back) She had so many “poor me” posts stating how she deserves closure and “My heart matters too, dammit.” Like, girl, what did you expect?

    • I had a similar epiphany about closure. We can’t get dirty details about every bad person we meet, but I heard enough about several fuckwits (including a cheating ex) to understand the disordered never change. They treat everyone terribly, down to the same methods of manipulation, and often blow up their own lives due to their bad decisions.

      It made me realize how impersonal their abuse was. I think I suffered so badly for years, in part, because I’d originally thought I was somehow to blame. That ended when I saw them treating others the same way.

      • Exactly!

        They treat everyone terribly, down to the same methods of manipulation, and often blow up their own lives due to their bad decisions.

      • Finding FW’s correspondences with OWs had a similar effect on me, Cam. The pattern was glaring. So impersonal and so incriminating. It really was HIM. Heartbreaking but ultimately a relief.

    • TOTALLY agree. For me, the “trust that they suck” process started while I was still with him, because his behaviour towards me became so cold and callous, that it forced me to accept that he wasn’t who I thought he was.

      Haha, the CHEEK of that OW! They’ve got about the same self-awareness as cheating FWs. Closure? Nooo Ms Thing, the only thing you need to close are those legs when you’re around married men!

  • I calibrate my expectations for closure every time I watch the Investigation Discovery Channel.

    Lying. Deception. Hiding, destroying, disposing of, tampering with evidence. Obstruction of justice. Accomplices.

    Crime victims have to deal with this all the time. Investigators deal with this all the time. I’ve not yet seen a suspect interviewed who showed up and spelled it all out for their victims or the detectives trying to put together what happened.

    It’s a very good reminder of who I am dealing with in my dealings with a cheater.

    The only closure available to a crime victim is that the perpetrator is caught and is incarcerated and/or ordered to pay restitution.

    I got divorced/freed in lieu of the offender being incarcerated. The settlement is the restitution.

    But like millions of victims of violent crime, there is no punishment or consequence that will undo what has been done. I will not ever be restored to wholeness. I will never get to know everything. Watching the ID channel is a great way to manage my expectations.

    Sex and Murder is a newer show which so far features cheaters who commit murder. The average Joe and Jane cheaters profiled, whom no one would have previously thought capable of murder, have me feeling lucky I got away alive.

    When you’re dealing with a cheater, you’re dealing with common criminals who are committing a socially acceptable crime. Expect accordingly.

    • “When you’re dealing with a cheater, you’re dealing with common criminals who are committing a socially acceptable crime.”

      This!! Not only socially acceptable but also often encouraged. We cheer cheaters on in movies. (I know I did.????????‍♀️)

      I used to think it was an exaggeration that I was lucky to get out alive. But now I’m not so sure. I didn’t think he was capable of cheating and lying either, but here we are. He’s basically a stranger that I thought I knew (for 35 years!). I’ll keep my distance, physically and emotionally. Always.

      Stay safe, fellow chumps!

    • Early on in the turmoil, my tire was low, I jokingly said to my mechanic, someone probably slit it. Turned out my mechanic and the police agreed. My attorney had me file a report in case there was escalation. Of course, he claimed thug gf would never do that. In the following 18 months, he had 3 damaged windshields, hmmm. Trouble in paradise, who knows? Or their dealers needed to be paid.
      Hard to believe he used to be a pillar of the community. Pains me to see all his stellar reviews of practice (now former). I won’t do them for professionals any longer, no guarantees people stay who they were when you used them.

      • Nowhere near slit tire, Sandyfeet, but odd nonetheless: Upon returning from a long weekend away, my ex removed his badminton racket from its case (delusions of grandeur – check) to discover it was severely dented. His expression was sheer shock, and he then essentially accused me. I would NEVER do something like that — which I think he deep down knew — and was as perplexed as he was. I suggested something in his car must have fallen on it or something, because why on earth would someone do that intentionally. And who?! But he was really bothered still. I found it kind of silly, but also unsettling, and I even felt sorry for the TFC with the sadz.

        This was years before DDay, but while he was cheating on my with an immature and jealous young OW. Hmm, I wonder what happened…

        It’s one of many odd incidents that have resurfaced in new light. (Another one: “No, FW, I didn’t rip myself out of that photo of you and I, steal the part with me, and then hide the half with you in it under a dusty pile of papers and books!” Isn’t it lovely to learn that jealous strangers were hearing private details about your life, sleeping in your bed and snooping around your home?) Waking up to reality after being subjected to years of a double life will do that!

    • Velvet Hammer, you’re so right!! I watch ID often and you have put a new perspective that I can relate!! I would’ve never in a million years thought my X would have done such terrible things to me! But he did!!! I feel blessed to have stumbled upon Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I’ve found MEH and I wouldn’t go back!! Thank you for your insight! I love to read your comments! Goldilocks

    • Velvet , I had read true crime books off and on for years “Ann Rule” “ “Jack Olsen” . My ex got angry that I read them. Interestingly I began to realize his anger , far more than if things did not go his way . He lacked empathy if I were injured or if he was caught lying , skewing event . His anger was deep rooted . His past WAS a testament to his true personality disfunction of a bully narcissist whom I gave a chance . I’m no saint but I’m honest and caring . He no doubt worried I might tell of all he did and face more in court that aliened with his past offenses.

  • I’ve got some closure from piling up physical evidence of FW XW’s misdeeds, that went way beyond marital infidelity. It’s knowledge that she can’t gaslight me out of, by pointing to my (real or alleged) autistic traits (in subtle and not so subtle manners) as she used to to.
    I’ve got some closure from the mask slipping off her face, when she showed me she would fight dirty – and wouldn’t spare nothing in her wake – for things that she herself couldn’t describe clearly (and I still don’t know what she is searching for in life). She has to win (win what?) regardless of the fallout for everybody else (she included) and, since she is right (about what?), anything she does (no matter how vile) is justified. I’ve got some closure from the exhaustion I felt dealing with this circular logic, and knowing I couldn’t do this anymore. So I allowed her some Pyrrhic victories to save what matters the most to me: our kids.
    I’ve got some closure from seeing them thrive under my care while their mother neglects them for whatever shiny thing crosses her way. This allowed me to see that I have always been a good father, contrary to her constant triangulation with other male role models of hers. And made me realize the crappy mother she’s always been.
    I’ve got some closure from mantaining a good place for me and my kids all by myself and paying all the bills in due time while she struggles with those same very basic things (she has asked me for help many times; I quit the job of chaos janitor for good now). The fact that she’s been outearning me for the past four years was kept hanging above my head during the two last years of our marriage as an evidence of the crapy husband I was. Now I realize I was not, I was a great husband who gave everything from himself to his family. It also provided me with validation about who was keeping things from falling apart at our home, financially and otherwise.
    I’ve got some closure from the support I received from CN, if only by reading similar and worst stories and seeing how banal and unoriginal cheaters are.
    To sum up: I’ve got closure from realizing the extent I was lied to about myself and the world around me and deciding to test the waters myself. Turns out I can swim and she can’t. I was her arm-floaties all along (and still am, but from a safe distance).
    I am still on journey to the promised land of Meh, delayed on my path for reasons of breeding with a FW, but I think Tuesday has already come.

    • BrazilianChump, no matter how much FWs earn, they will never pay their bills.

      • Dear I…S,
        here is just to warn you that maybe your real name is showing up in your reply.
        I don’t know if it was on purpose or accidental, so I thought I’d better warn you.
        I do agree with you, FWs are just like that. Thank you for taking from your time to read and to reply to my comment. Cheers!

  • Julia Robert as BARBARA in a classic chump role:

    “BARBARA: Even if things don’t work out with you and Marsha. BILL: Cindy. BARBARA: Cindy. BILL: Right. Even if things don’t work out. BARBARA: And I’m never really going to understand why, am I? (Bill struggles . . . it seems as if he might say something more, but then:) BILL: Probably not. (Silence. Bill heads for the door. Barbara watches him go and sobs.) BARBARA: I love you . . . I love you . . . (He stands for a moment, his back to her. He exits. Barbara stands, alone.)”
    ― Tracy Letts, August: Osage County

  • Boy I needed closure in the beginning! I was losing my mind from the desire to UNDERSTAND. And then I’m not sure when it happened… as I was moving towards meh (maybe around the 3 year point… meh was lagging because of FW’s abusive treatment of our son), BOOM I didn’t care anymore!

    I think when I saw what a rotten human FW truly was, I realized closure from HIM didn’t matter. This was a man that was married to me and acted like all was well… then out of nowhere he started treating me like garbage…he walked out on us… had the cops take me away as a “suicide precaution”… started locking our son outside of schmoopie’s house… starting berating our son and calling him names…started physically shoving our son and holding him down…. WHO CARES WHAT FW SAYS? I was over it. No closure needed anymore. No apology would matter. Fuck him and the pig he rode out on.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

  • So true. I begged my fw for closure. How had he been ok doing what he did to me? He looked stricken, and said “I don’t know,” and also, “I don’t remember,” and also “I just don’t feel like we’re compatible,” and also “I just can’t give you the time and attention you want, with my life so busy” (busy with the OW of course), and then the kicker, “maybe this is trauma from my past relationship – I’m treating you like my cheating ex and you don’t deserve that” (his cheating ex had left him almost a decade ago at that point).

    I think he didn’t have any idea what was going on either. He thought of himself as a good partner, so his brain scrambled and he found weird reasons to rationalize his behaviour.

    • Ive been reading alot about people with NPD. Their narcissism acts like a defensive mechanism in their brain. They dont realize they have NPD, to them its just instinct. They say and do things and their brain blocks out memories. If they said they loved you for 20 years then they dont and they say I never loved you, they truly believe this to be true at the time. And the mid range narcissists think they are good people and empathetic. Its truly bizarre when you start to read about it. These people walk around look, talk, act just like we do. You cant tell by looking that they are just your average everyday monsters.

      • Yes, mmg. I agree. The research is enlightening and frightening at the same time. I think that’s why NC is the only way to go. The truly disordered are not seeing things from the same lens, and it is futile to expect them to do so. Sometimes it helps me get rid of anger. I don’t excuse the bad acts and cruelty, but I’m better educated about expectations and his capabilities or complete lack thereof….

      • Yes, all true. Mine is a mid range covert and he thinks he’s a good guy. He donates to charity and thinks that makes up for dragging me and my daughter through hell for years. My poor daughter had an unusual eating disorder (she would gag or even vomit while trying to eat and could only manage to choke down certain foods) for five years. She tried every kind of treatment there is without success, then it cleared up as soon as we had that blithering idiot in our rear view mirror. FWs can quite literally make people sick.
        I sleep much better since I left him, too. I had insomnia so bad I couldn’t live a normal life and constant, terrifying nightmares. What a relief!

        I think narcs do believe whatever b.s. they are saying in the present moment is true, but only in the sense that they understand truth. To them truth means whatever serves their agenda at the time. Since they are the only person who matters, whatever serves them simply *has* to be true. That’s why their stories keep changing. They deliberately forget any fact that contradicts their “truth” of the moment so they can believe their own delusions. Doing that messes up their brains and makes them stupid. Even Sam Vaknin, a narc himself, says narcissists are morons. Understanding this helped me to see what the FW’s crazy word salad and ever-changing narrative were about, so I knew better than to think he would ever be rational.

        • The eating disorder you described for your daughter is arfid. Both of my kids have it. Food is associated with negative emotions and it makes eating difficult to impossible. Their food options become more and more limited with each negative experience. Then they are labeled as picky eaters. Completely not their fault. STBX’s family has a mountain of unresolved eating disorders.

          • Thank you so much for your comment, TMRH!
            My eldest son has a pretty abnormally strong gagging reflex (I have that too) that makes him throw up oftenly. It’s not only food, but medicine as well. It was way worse when he was a toddler and a preschooler. He was very thin and got sick all the time – partially, I believe for nutritional deficiency (I was just like that when I was a kid). Doctors searched for anything anatomically or physiologically wrong with him, but he was okay. Now (10 yo) he is eating well and even put some weight, but he is still a picky eater (I don’t mean it as a slur). He had very distinctive autistic traits up to the end of the preschool years. For instance, he only began to talk when he was 5 yo (just like my father) but in a way that was completely unintelligible for anyone but me and FW; even we had problems understanding him sometimes. But now he is totally functional, is doing very well at school and have lots os friends, so he was only diagnosed with just GAD for therapy purposes.
            His younger brother is an almost non-verbal autistic 8 yo kid (his eldest brother sometimes works as his interpreter for me and their mom, that’s so cute). He too is a picky eater, but hasn’t the problem with the gagging reflex, he just shuns the food he is not into. Funny fact: their acceptable menus have only rice, beans and animal protein in common, so we have always to have two distinct sets of vegetables ready for them.
            I always suspected this had something to do with the autism that runs through my FOO (I have a 51 yo undiagnosed but probably autistic brother). Now that I’ve read the wikipedia entry for ARFID (never heard this term before, let alone know it was in the DSM), I feel my hypothesis is somewhat vindicated. Definitely going to talk to their pediatrician at the next appointment. It was long assumed by FW’s FOO (and FW herself sometimes) that this was just our kid being a “retard” and a “pussy” (his exact granma’s words to him) due to our soft parenting style (probably my fault like everything else, I guess).
            Sorry for the rant, I just wanted to thank you for the new information (and to vent a little, okay). I learn a lot from CN, it’s an amazing community to be part of, regardless of what brought us here at first.

          • Thank you TMRH. I didn’t know it is common enough to have a name. I’m sorry about your kids. Are they being treated?

        • Your poor daughter! I’m glad she’s ok now.

          That’s so true about narcs being morons. I hate this perception that they’re evil geniuses, it gives them way too much credit. When you’re aware of NPD and not viewing them through the lens of love and trust, they’re incredibly transparent.

          • omg. this is so true. I thought my ex was too stupid to be a narc. I even hesitate to call him a narc to anyone else b/c it almost felt like i was flattering him—and then I would feel this need to say, no–but let me explain—he IS an idiot. I felt SORRY for him thinking how he was not very bright. honestly, when i read his emails and saw the numerous affairs going on, i was actually shocked–in the sense of “who would want to sleep with him???”. Now i think back to the 6 months I allowed him to stay in the house to “find a place”—and i realize, omg….he controlled ALL the money. I had a flashback of saying to him at the time of divorce…”wait, this is all we have in savings? how can that be? we both make 6 figures and don’t spend money on anything”. Now I realize I was the fucking idiot. I’m so glad to be done with him–he still tries to enrage/engage with me over email—but i won’t read them. I don’t know if i’ll ever forgive myself for being such a spineless, apologetic puddle of a person. oh the wasted years….i’m very happy now, i just wish i could have a do-over.

            • You were not an idiot. You just trusted him and he took advantage. How were you to know he would do that, and why forgive yourself for being human? You did nothing wrong. You did right, just with the wrong person.
              Can you block his emails or have them sent to the spam folder, or are there kids to discuss?

          • Thank James. Yes, if I had known about covert narcissism I would never have been with that jerk. I daresay none of us would have been with our FWs.

      • Covert Narcissists / victim narcissist are the worst. They pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Very few see them for who they are

        • Yes, I consider them more insidiously dangerous than the grandiose type because they are so much harder to spot and people don’t believe your stories about them.

      • My ex was like this. Whatever he felt at any given moment was how he had always felt and always would feel. I think he truly believed it. He would swing like a pendulum – “I love you” to “I hate you and never want to hear from you again” sometimes in a matter of an hour. He truly though OW was the love of his life, he’d never loved me.

        Things rapidly went downhill for him, OW left, he was running out of money, losing the custody battle, his public image was suffering (OW was trumpeting his abuse of her loudly, something I never did, to his employer, etc.). So because that was all he could see, he killed himself. And while I was shocked, in a way it makes sense. He was never someone who was going to die peacefully of old age. He’d rather go out with drama and try to create guilt for everyone who he thought had wronged him (as his suicide letter made clear).

  • I am still dealing with the settlement agreement. I don’t expect closure from him. I think the most meaningful closure for me is when I get the final decree and my name changes back to my maiden name. That will be the old me reinventing the even older what used to be me. I actually look forward to that. I know that I became a different person while married to FW. I will be glad not have to be that person again. Really the only great thing about the entire relationship was having my son. He is a great young man and has gone totally no contact with his FW father. We have a great relationship although he is usually pretty far away from home since he is active Navy. It is always great when he comes home and usually he brings one or two friends with him (ones who really don’t have a family to go home to). His visits home have been a lot better without the FW around. Somehow, looking back everything seems to be better without a moody FW. Yep my closure will be NC, continued reading of CL and knowing I wont have to see FW again. I know he will never apologize or explain but his actions show what he truly is.

    • Best of luck with your settlement, CFANM! I am rooting for your peace of mind from afar. Also congrats on your kid; your love and pride is always in full display whenever you talk about him.
      I hear you, I too became a person I am not proud of during my 20 years marriage, to apease FW and my own internal dissonance while trying to blend in with her FOO. Even falsifying myself shamefully, I didn’t really ever get to be accepted as one of them (a blessing in disguise). Now the younger me that kept latent all these years is claiming his domains and expelling the intruders. It is reinvigorating. I can recognize myself again in the mirror. As for your maiden name, congratulations! My FW XW strived till the very end to keep my name. I have no idea why, because she clearly despised me and my FOO. But she wanted the name. I think it was her new boyfriend that made her let go of it. And to my surprise she announced at our final conciliation meeting that she was signing her maiden name again – with this one more thing: “you’ve got your revenge, BC”. ????‍♂️

  • Echoing the idea the CN/CL is closure. Other good people (women AND men) have the same, reasonable expectations and boundaries vis-a-vis relationships. My expectations were not “controlling” they were safe boundaries a husband & wife should expect from one another.
    It also helps that I’m still on good terms with several people in ex’s family. I know that’s not exactly common here. But the former in-laws have started to see what I saw (I’m no longer his buffer) and think his choices and behaviors show whack priorities and weird entitlement. Also, from what I hear, it’s true… leopards don’t change their spots and water finds its own level.

  • Closure for me happened in many steps. The first was me being so fed up after 8 years of abuse, sexual abuse, manipulation, lies, and cheating with so so so many others. The severely painful infections because cheater didn’t use protection. The constant threats to my safety and my life between all the cheating while I am immunocompromised and cheater driving recklessly to threaten me. The keeping me up at all hours of the night with constant made up drama when I need sleep to manage my chronic illnesses. The stories that kept rolling in about cheater sexually assaulting and/or raping others, many of whom were minors at the time. The manipulating and threatening me for years into finally agreeing to be poly only for cheater to decide I couldn’t be with anyone else because she said so. I was DONE and wanted OUT.

    That was followed up by cheater posting creepy stuff about us on social media and leaving “gifts” outside my door. She also tried to manipulate me into contact through friends and with stories about herself or her mom recovering from surgery and other major health issues. That I had to file a police report against her was pretty closing.

    Then this site and reading about narcissism really helped me close that door.

    And probably one of the more closing acts was when I ran into her in a public place and then confronted her that she should turn herself in for all the rapes and other violent acts while she flipped through multiple manipulation channels as each one did not work.

    The end. I need nothing more from her besides for her to leave me and my loved ones the F alone. 🙂

  • I was a glutton for closure! I wanted answers to everything! The more I asked the weirder the answers became. 1-1/2 years after the divorce and I got my closure in the form of initiating No Contact. Block,block,block. That gave me my closure. The best part is I no longer try to get closure for things. I no longer try to convince people of things that are or are not true. I no longer try to make people see things the way I think they should see them. “Believe what you want to believe”. Thats my closure on almost anything and everything.

    • Some people very important to me either were just as deceived as me and/or I wasn’t important
      to them. Wish I had then what it takes to say & mean “Believe what you want to believe”.

    • If you ask for an explanation all you’ll get is more bull. I didnt even ask but my ex offered one explanation: that he was providing emotional support to his AP because her father had been murdered. I did wonder at the time what the circumstances of that murder might have been, and why it had never been reported when i google searched it, but didnt actually query whether it was true. I found out recently from a friend that the father had died of cancer several years prior. Clearly cancer wasnt going to cut it to elicit any sympathy from my cold cold heart – let’s go for gold and upgrade it to murder. I did get some closure from this story because I accepted finally that my ex is stark raving bonkers, will lie about anything to paint himself in a favourable light and i dont need to convince anyone else of that – only myself .
      His other explanations included that he had body dysmorphia from his ears, and his ears made him do it

  • I got as much closure as I needed.

    Backstory: I gave the FW consequences – dumped him and kicked him out. It was the first time in his life he ever got consequences for his bad behavior. Everyone thought he was a “good guy”. He kept his bad behavior underground. His ex-wife reconciled with him many times after affairs, and when she divorced him she said it was for other reasons. I still dated him knowing his past. I believe he truly loved me, and that he truly regretted screwing it up with me. He thought that 1) he could hide it from me (he did for over a year, and I only found out through dumb luck) and 2) if I did find out I would forgive him.

    Before I found CL, I still kept in contact with him. He’s the kind of guy that if you ask a direct question he will give a direct answer. So I asked him questions. I got timelines, how he got away with it, etc. Not gory details, but enough. I also pieced things together.

    AND most importantly, I got to yell and scream and swear at him. His Christian upbringing made him accept all the verbal abuse from me as his punishment. He thought that if I got it all out that it would bring forgiveness and reconciliation.

    He found the RIC, paid the $399 – which is surprising since he’s a cheapskate. He thought that would also redeem him in my eyes. It wouldn’t, nothing would. The only thing that would bring redemption was a time-turner in which he changed the past.

    I found CL, and that helped me realize that I had to go NO CONTACT. That, and the fact that he moved out of our small-ish town to move in with the next victim, has helped me reach meh.

    I’m happy with my life, with my cats, with my home, my friends, my job. I have a bf who knows I won’t ever live with him and he’s fine with that. Do I keep that bf at arm’s length? Yep. He seems to be fine with that too. It’s what I need.

  • My betrayal wasn’t as bad as some experiences, and I could have remained in contact. But she never admitted to the parts I did know about, let alone accept responsibility — she wanted to pretend her lying had never happened. Well I have a higher bar than that for friends, so ‘closure’ was going no contact.

  • Even before I had the good fortune to get connected to the wisdom of ChumpLady and Chump Nation, a quote from – believe it or not – Dr. Laura Schlesinger had already taken root in my brain and helped carry me through a very long, ugly period when Snakeface wouldn’t admit that he was in the middle of affair # 2 with Spiritual Slut, and I couldn’t afford to leave him on my own. I assume that Dr. Laura was paraphrasing sociologist Willard Waller, who coined the term “the principle of least interest”, when she told someone who called in to her radio show: “The person who cares the least about the marriage is the one who has the most power in it.”

    I heard that during a happy period in my marriage to Snakeface and tucked it away in my brain, where it marinated for years. Thank God I did, because when I saw the signs of his second affair, I went through an agonizing stretch of doing things I didn’t have names for until finding ChumpLady – the “pick me” dancing, treating Snakeface like a timid forest creature, looking at websites that were part of the RIC with the hopes that I’d find the magic formula to win him back. I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I think it was the second failed attempt at marriage counseling, when our therapist wanted ME to go through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to deal with MY trauma and unresolved issues, that finally woke me up. I pulled the gem out from wherever I’d been storing it, rubbed it off til it shone, and took it seriously: “the person who cares the least about the marriage is the one who has the most power in it.”

    I knew that Snakeface was stubborn, and he’d proved he was willing to protect his most precious relationships with Spiritual Slut and the members of their oh-so-beloved spiritual community, which gave them the illusion of legitimacy as a couple, no matter what it cost. So, I stopped having certain expectations of him and went on with my life as best I could until we were able to separate and divorce. The final years weren’t painless because I was still hurt and angry about all the time and attention Snakeface stole from our kids, but they were a lot less painful than they could have been since I wasn’t banging my head over his refusal to honor our marriage vows, and I kept my sanity.

    The antidote to hopium: knowing that the person who cares the least about the marriage is the one who holds the most power in it – and is very likely TO ABUSE IT.

    • “The antidote to hopium: knowing that the person who cares the least about the marriage is the one who holds the most power in it – and is very likely TO ABUSE IT”.

      WOW! This is gold.

  • Closure= Acceptance= Meh. When I accepted that they are screwed up and not a normal person like me, I was able to say Meh and stop looking for answers. After most of the panic and chaos subsided. It’s been about 2 years. It took TIME. And yes I untangled the skein, but for me that was helpful. I did it for myself not them. Once I saw the true them, I could let go. Now I see everything clear as day, I see who they are, their behavior, what they say. I understand them, Its a real eye opener to analyze them in real time or quickly after see what was going on. I feel alot freer and better able to deal. I read the book Heartbroken. It is very helpful to see that the physical reaction is real and why we have that physical reaction. It is also helpful to have tricks to calm your body and know that with time you get better. The best tricks are spending time in nature, warmth(beverages, heating pads, baths), rebound relationships, yes these can be good for us physically( not saying go get married or move in immediately with anyone!). Good read.

    • Yeah, I had to understand what the problem was for myself. Once I figured the narcissist traits out (plus some borderline traits) I was able to see how hopeless it was. I knew he would never be a good father, as did my daughter, which helped her to accept that our lives were forever changed and we’d have to start again without him. I also find time in nature to be healing, and the warm baths and so on. Not sure about rebound relationships, though. I would need to be further on in my recovery to consider even letting another man near me. I’m not yet able to trust. But hey, if it works for you, enjoy.

  • Closure for me is no longer wanting to continue a relationship with someone who cheated on me multiple times. It’s all one-sided. I am done with him. That’s closure. I don’t care about understanding him. Being his therapist is somebody else’s job.

  • I got closure when I realised that my Ex was either incapable or unwilling (probably the former but I’d not rule out the latter) to admit to having done anything wrong to either me or our kids. Once I realised that she was never going to admit it, never going to apologise and never going to try and make amends – and it was her refusal to address the impact that it had on our kids that really had me hung up – I was liberated; I was waiting for something that was never going to come, so I stopped waiting and got on with my life ….. and eventually all 3 of our kids did too.


  • I think I’ll always remember the mental flash — me literally banging my head against a wall — as I was trying to explain and dissect and fall all over myself to find a way to make things work, while he sat like a stone. I saw his amusement, his joy at watching me squirm. I had one other conversation with him post-filing, and I saw worms oozing out of his word salad. I slammed that door shut. I can’t say I’m close to Meh, but I have no interest in loosening the deadbolt I’ve clamped around my heart — as far as he’s concerned.

    • Liberated! — It happens less and less frequently, but I still catch myself engaging in circular logic (in my mind) around my ex and our former relationship and life together. Sometimes this pattern even creeps into my dreams. When this happens, instead of focusing on what I intuit, believe or want, I find myself attempting to respond to FW (or flying monkey/Switzerland) word salad… which is a song that never ends. As soon as I become aware of what I’m doing, I think ‘word salad’ and ‘this isn’t what *I* think/feel/care about,’ and I can let it go. I still might feel upset, but I accept the futility of trying to fix it by engaging with or appealing to an FW.

      Because of the constant power struggle inherent in a relationship with an abusive person, I think the only way to protect yourself is through a combination of enforcement (of emotional and physical boundaries, legal issues, etc.) and disengagement. Sometimes this requires assistance from friends, family, the legal system, DV advocates, hard evidence, the police. Often, it involves shit sandwiches, and settling for the lesser of two evils. There is no such thing as a voluntary, positive and equitable solution with an FW. Ever. There’s no such thing as a reasonable, honest conversation.

      As CL once wrote, you can’t *explain* basic decency to a person. Lightbulb. You need to make yourself central, have boundaries, and claim your agency by recognizing that YOU have the power to close the door, all by yourself. Even though you *shouldn’t* need to, there are people who will enter your “house” uninvited and might even rob or harm you; so if you want to keep yourself safe, you might need to do just that. (Sorry for the heavy-handed metaphor here.) Fourleaf wrote really well about this recently, too, and gave some illustrative and nuanced examples of how these power dynamics play out and how she manages gray rock.

      • Thank you, Bread & Roses. This is really helpful: “I think ‘word salad’ and ‘this isn’t what *I* think/feel/care about,’ and I can let it go.” I’m trying to find ways to rewire my brain. I know it will take time after 32 years, but even one time is a relief from the looping. This helps too: “You need to make yourself central, have boundaries, and claim your agency by recognizing that YOU have the power to close the door, all by yourself.” It’s the “all by yourself” that can seem intimidating and powerful at the same time. I don’t mind being by myself; it’s the lack of comprehension from every other person in my life (and his constant good guy sham). Thank you so much. I’m grateful. Tough times.

        • Liberated!, please don’t be hard on yourself for the traumatic fallout and emotional processing. We work so hard to heal the wounds of emotional abuse, often to go on being mean to ourselves. Remember, we’re liberated! As other chumps have said here before, it takes time for your “heart to catch up with your head.” It’s also exhausting and expensive to gain a life, and it takes a heroic effort to start over and settle in. It’s excruciating to experience, regardless, but for me, there’s been comfort in learning that the struggle is both normal and finite. I always appreciated seeing one chump’s moniker: GiveTimeTime.

          Making myself central wasn’t a therapeutic exercise or mindfulness practice. It required literal, concrete steps. I moved states away and found a new job and place to live, and I cut contact with FW, his family, and any mutual “friends” who knew about FW’s abuse and cheating and remained friends anyway. Leaving meant losing nearly everything, and that is no exaggeration.

          It was terrifying, as you say. The scariest part — and even then, I was horrified by this — was that despite everything, I wanted FW to do something to make it ok for me to stay. I wanted to be able to love and respect him again, which I knew was impossible. I didn’t *want* closure. I wanted reconciliation. My needs eclipsed my fantasies when the abuse became unendurable and I left. Then, after accepting that I could never have the life or relationship *I* wanted *with* FW, I asked for an apology and amends. In that futile quest for closure and justice, I continued to give an FW power over me, and he continued to hurt me.

          The gaslighting and abusive conditioning I’d experienced my entire adult life with FW had undermined my confidence and autonomy (already compromised from FOO), and I was very out of practice at making decisions. I also was accustomed to, and believed in, making decisions “with” my “partner” (in reality, this looked like deferring or like learning about HIS decisions and finding ways to pretzel and accommodate); it felt wrong to make a unilateral decision, in my own best interest, no less. That choosing to trust myself and leave went against what my ex was telling me made it even more counterintuitive and difficult.

          I literally could not imagine my future without FW. I had an identity crisis and felt disconnected from my inner and outer worlds (dystopian pandemic isolation probably didn’t help). I can totally relate to your above comment: I was afraid of my own agency and I avoided closing the door for as long as possible, even after I knew it was over for *me*. The finality and responsibility scared me. Agency doesn’t feel empowering and good when you don’t want any of the options in front of you.

          I’ve gone into detail about all of this because I was there — lost and wanting to die — just over a year ago, and now I’m in a much different place. NC and boundaries, and genuinely making a new start, led naturally to my own centrality. I was just going through the motions at first, but looking back at how much has changed in the past year, I see that “fake it till you make it” is working. Most significantly, I can easily make choices for myself and wouldn’t dream of consulting FW. I don’t care what he thinks of me. I genuinely — I promise — have no regrets about closing the door and feel only relief that he’s out of my life forever. I had to choose that, though, because were it up to him, the cycle might’ve continued for the rest of my life. You HAVE TO be the one to close the door, even if you don’t want to, if you want the abuse to stop. Hang in there, chump friend, and be brave!

          • Not meaning to intrude into your conversation, but I just wanted to say that I can relate to 100% of what bread&roses wrote in this thread. Reclaiming our own decision-making back is tough once we grow accustomed to just “deferring or like learning about HIS (her) decisions and finding ways to pretzel and accommodate”, as she neatly put it. But it’s doable and worth it.
            Here’s to Liberated! further liberation and peace.

          • Thank you for this powerful post Bread&Roses. I needed to read your post this morning here in the UK as I am feeling flat (post Covid and an injury). Life sometimes feels like an endless hike uphill. My thoughts are on making some significant decisions, including downsizing, to stop the cycle of struggle and slow the pace. Your story is inspirational (not least because I’ve followed your journey for a while now).

  • I come from a fucked up family and dated fucked up abusers for years. I struggled with closure from many people.

    For me, closure came when I realized there was NO good reason for anything these people did, no explanation or apology they could give that would ever sit right with me. The only explanation that made sense and restored a sense of balance to my soul was: “They did it because they suck.”

    That was such an unsatisfying explanation at the start of my healing journey, but eventually it clicked. I’m still not sure why. Maybe I’d just done enough therapy and finally started setting boundaries and loving myself. (Boundaries are one form of self-love.) I suppose at that point I was able to see the abuse wasn’t personal, these people destroy everything they touch and they’ll continue to do so long after you’re gone.

    It also helped seeing many of the fuckwits destroy their own lives from a distance. Do bad people get away with bad things? Sure. But consequences for a lifetime of shitty decisions tend to show up sooner or later.

    The highlight for me was one cheating ex whose apartment was evidently ground zero for “the worst toxic mold infestation in city history” (according to the health department, which had to show up in hazmat suits and evacuate the building). Ex lost everything he owned and his skin sloughed off. I don’t know what the hell caused the mold but I laughed my ass off when I heard. It was the early days so I wasn’t at “meh” yet.

  • My closure came the moment I learned about my narc’s infidelity. Just kidding. My closure has been a slow, drawn out process of realizing that my life really, *truly* is better off without him. But the moment I learned about his infidelity was the moment I started realizing that the love I thought we had was not what it appeared to be. It was, in fact, not love at all. And I am super thankful that I recognized it *this* time around. You see, this was my 2nd abusive relationship. First time it took me 2 years to disentangle myself. This time it took me about a year. I think that’s progress?

    • Sam, you will keep making progress in this by teaching yourself to recognize and to avoid disordered people. I determined not to partner again with anybody until I felt emotionally and mentally healthy enough, and here I am, a full decade later, still single. Every day I practice stepping back and observing my gut feelings before I react impulsively. A few months ago I actually went on a friendly afternoon movie date with a man who too quickly (for my tastes) jumped from “just friends” to trying to kiss me. Poor guy–I didn’t actually knee him in the groin, but the look of horror on my face probably was just as effective. I figure if that’s my (literally) knee-jerk reaction, I’m still not ready to begin a relationship. Good luck to you, and as my therapist has said for years, “Listen to your body.”

  • I agree that we probably never get closure. What helps is acceptance of reality as it is. Or ” radical acceptance” as the yogi Tara Brach calls it.
    I think I am practicing it. It’s 4 years now, everything is settled , I see my ex-wife only at handover of the kids but whilst she shoots a few nasty emails every now and then, she doesn’t bother me much. I have a busy life , it’s different to what it was , but I have a new social circle , an active hobby and work is going ok.
    I love my time with my kids and I put 100% effort in so that they have a good childhood, at least as far as I can play my role in it.

    Here is the catch:
    My subconsciousness must be still working on it:
    Dreams of getting back together with her , dreams of further betrayal. Dreams of finding her phone with messages from the AP .
    When do those dreams stop? Do I need “closure ” for them to go away?
    I definitely don’t wan to get back together with her. I’m “meh on a Tuesday” when it comes to her but yet, my mind tortures me with that crap.

    Any ideas?

    • Ugh. I’m sorry, AFS. If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. Although our cognitive brains might be on board with NC and all that CL preaches, I think many of us find that our emotional brains (aka feelings) are slow to get with the program.

      I, too, am plagued by triggering memories. These thoughts won’t stop. Some call it pain shopping. My therapist says that I’m my own abuser now. Ugh.

      But dismissing these thoughts isn’t so easy.

      Thanks to those members of CN who are further along in their recovery, I’m confident that things will get better.

      The thoughts that torture us will subside over time. In the meantime, we know we are not alone. Hope that helps.


      • Pain shopping and being my own abuser – does that mean that I am actively seeking this out? I am not. I had a really good week and yesterday’s dinner with friends in particular . I came home , tired , one beer . Did listen to some sleep meditation, fell asleep.

        ” And now for our main feature film : The Betrayal !”
        I did not buy a ticket 🙁

        • Oh no, AFS! Not actively or consciously seeking out pain and abuse. For me, it’s subconscious. I can’t control certain thoughts that are hurtful/painful. That was my point. But that’s just me. Your experience might be different.

          In re-reading your post, I see that you are referring to dreams whereas I guess I was referring to the thought intrusions–like nightmarish pop-up ads–that can occur at any time, day or night.

          Glad you had a really good week!

    • Dear AFS,
      CL has said a numbers of times in some of her posts (there is a pretty recent one) that she thinks the nightmares are actually a sign that you are feeling safe and now your brain has the bandwidth to proccess the trauma and heal – something it didn’t have when you were on the fight-flight-freeze responses around the DDays and all the nasty stuff involved in breaking up with high-conflict individuals. Not to mention that we usually didn’t even manage to get to the REM stage of sleep in the thick of the trauma. I, for one, slept only few hours per night, interspersed with waking up soaked in cold-sweat. I think her explanation makes a lot of sense.

      I declared Tuesday a few weeks ago, but I can tell you I dreamt of my FW XW this very week. I don’t recall what it was about because I usually jump out of the bed, and the memories dissipate for good. I have had a lot of dreams about her as of late. From the ones that I do recall, some are of we fucking. Some are of she talking me down and humiliating me in front of her FOO. And some are of me deeply worried about something that has happened or may happen to her, but I don’t know exactly what it is. I take them as a sign of my healing, since these dreams don’t disturb me. I have yet to talk to my therapist about them and see if he has something to add.

      Here is to your further healing. Hope these nightmares stop soon. Cheers!

      • Thanks – the dreams which include sex are the worst. Normally I can just get up and laugh it off. This morning, I had to sit in my back yard with a coffee for 15 minutes, trying to distance myself from it all. I mean we all know what healthy activities are. I listen to the daily stoic, which is an excellent podcast – and just try to worry about thin I can influence. I take those lectures to heart and have surely come a long way from 4 years ago, when I was just a crying mess. But I wait for the night when I dream off happy stuff 🙂

  • I had a big push closer to closure recently. About a year and a half ago ,after a big argument, my husband “accidently” left his burner phone out in the open. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. CI I was crying on the phone with my sister as I read the disgusting texts, stayed awake all night and confronted him the next morning. He admitted to having group sex with people he met in chat rooms for the past year. He said that he thought it was “better than having an affair.” I immediately asked him to leave, and he moved out. At that moment it was like dominoes falling in my head as I realized every doubt, every suspicion that I had over our entire marriage was probably true. I still had a little bit of guilt though, he had been having mental health issues for the last two years of his marriage and maybe he was acting out because of this. I knew we couldn’t reconcile but part of thought maybe I was being harsh, or unforgiving. Then recently out of the blue I received a series of texts from an ex girlfriend she said she was part of the second to last affair that destroyed my marriage. She wanted to apologize. It detailed how he said he loved her, they would be together forever etc. It set me back emotionally BUT I realized that indeed this behavior had been going on for at least several years, most likely longer, and he had been emotionally involved and his mental health issues were probably due to the stress of leading a double life. It hurt so much to read those texts. But now I now for certain that the choice I made was the only choice I really had. I am not at meh yet, maybe after the papers are signed I will get there but those texts brought me confirmation of what I already knew in my heart and a certain measure of closure.

  • I think I knew before I even left that I’d never get closure – closure in the sense that I’d know all the facts. He was a slippery fucker. I wrote a single farewell message, which felt like the cathartic thing to do at the time.

    I fell very ill a couple of months after getting out and ended up bedbound for three weeks (I’ve had a round of blood tests and have a specialist appointment on Monday, they think it might be IBD – and all the emotional stress caused an almighty flare-up… thanks FW!) so all my plans for living my best life (the practical stuff, and the non-practical feel-good stuff like Botox, a hair appointment, and a big gay night out with my ladies) were all put on hold. I lost work because of it too, which I needed because I’m still paying FW’s debt off to my mum, since I know he never will.

    So I had a LOT of time on my hands and my mind got restless. In-between cramps and fevers I was delving through his social media, looking at old texts, piecing together timelines, and sussing out his multiple APs. I was like Kathleen Zellner in Making a Murderer (“I check EVERYTHING”). I’d been lied to and conned a hell of a lot more than I realised. I kept digging and digging, until I began to hit dead ends and realised it was ultimately a pointless task (1-star btw, wouldn’t recommend) and I should just get back to not giving a crap – that, and CL would tell me off if she knew what I was getting up to. My conclusion was the same as when I started out anyway: FW is, unequivocally, an absolute thunder c*nt.

    I remembered when my story was posted in January, one chump suggested my FW could be a narcissist. While I acknowledged that he undoubtedly had narcissistic traits, I dismissed NPD at the time, since I was raised by a narcissist and have dated another – he didn’t fully resemble either of them… Well, that’s because they were overt. After a lot of research on covert narcissism (which my dumb ass had always assumed just meant they acted like dicks behind closed doors), I realised FW was 100% a covert narc – the absolute POSTER BOY for it, in fact.

    It explained everything. Despite his emotionally abusive tactics during the occasional argument, his kind, empathetic shy guy who-things-just-never-worked-out-for victim act was extremely well-played for the first year and a half (until the devaluation phase took over). I’m just kicking myself for never realising it sooner – I went into that relationship so cautiously, but I was looking out for all the wrong red flags.

    As soon as the penny dropped, and I knew he was the same brand of sociopathic freak I’d been abused by before – just packaged differently – it nuked any last shred of desire I had for him. And THAT’s when I got my closure.

  • I think that closure is a relatively easy thing to attain. CL’s “Is this relationship/abuse acceptable to you?” If the answer is no, there is your closure. End of. Finding our own self esteem, self belief, independence, these pertain to our closure. It has to come from within us. Not from the other. We will never get “closure” from the abuser. If they had enough integrity to get near the truth, we wouldn’t be in the situation of chumpdom. It has taken me 15 years to get free from my abusive relationship. Nearly 2 years no contact in April. Today, I have worked hard graft in my garden, digging, tidying, bending and stretching muscles which haven’t been awakened for years, and for the first time I did it contentedly. Alone. Yay! No yearning or desperation for his help or company, no desire to be doing it for ‘us’. I spent most of February in bed, still torturing myself, after nearly 2 years later (winter is a drag!). And I have my own health conditions to care about. But I don’t think that closure and MEH are synonymous. No contact or grey rock, during which we can find our own closure, peace of mind that we are ok, we will survive, the torment and pain ARE finite. They really, really are. We humans simply cannot tolerate intense pain indefinitely. My mother has died, I suffered an attempted strangling from a bloke whom I met via internet dating, (stopped that escapade now), both children have launched their own lives, since the demise of my relationship. But the sun shone brightly today here in Northumberland, UK, the narcissi are blooming their little proud heads and no fuckwit in the world can change that. That’s closure.

    • Good for you, Gerbera. Working in the soil is so, so healing and comforting. Not to mention the sunshine… I still have snowbanks taller than I am here in northern New Hampshire (with more snow possible tonight), but in a few sunny locations some daffodils are beginning to show. Enjoy Spring!

  • Just got a step closer to closure, albeit not in the acceptable CN way: just found out that the latest AP just died.
    She was vile to me, going out of her way to hurt me and also threatening me and my family with physical harm.
    She randomly popped up from time to time and I had a lot of anxiety around this.
    Yesterday I was grocery shopping and a cart appeared from an aisle as I was walking past. The hands and arms of the person pushing the cart were similar to hers. Had an immediate fight or flight response and then I remembered that she was no longer a threat.
    The relief was incredible.
    So I’m definitely not at meh yet, but this brought me one step closer.
    I know that this is a terrible thing to admit, but it’s how I feel.

  • Leaving was walking out the door. Literally. Closure came some months later, when I mentally closed the door on any kind of future with FW. For years, I loved him with all my heart and couldn’t imagine a life without him; I didn’t want to. Today, I wouldn’t let him back in for the world.

    I have accepted I won’t ever get closure or validation *from* FW, and I won’t get justice, period. I know that the ultimate goal is internal validation and trusting my own compass, and I’m making progress. However, I must admit that the education, connection and validation I’ve found from CL/CN has been a big comfort and help. Thanks, all!

  • Here’s how meh looks like on this beautiful Saturday morning: hanging out with my kids and cat, relaxing. Reading a book, drinking coffee and making plans for the weekend, watching cartoons, quietly enjoying each other’s company.

    Here’s what it is NOT:
    It is *not* having to drag everyone out to brunch with one of FW’s “friends”.
    It is *not* having to listen to him going in and on and on about how amazing he is.
    It is *not* having to compliment him profusely for making pancakes, yet again.
    Living with someone who needed centrality constantly was exhausting. *not* living with it anymore is absolutely glorious.

  • I made some closure for myself by saying goodbye to my old house when I picked up the last of my stuff. After packing the van, I went through by myself and thanked each room for how it served me (Marie Kondo style!) I cried a LOT, which is good because I struggle to let loose. It was very raw. When I got to the closet I thanked it for serving me by holding my clothes so I could feel beautiful when I dressed. My ex’s things were still in there so…I punched the shirts. That felt really good. Nothing broken, so no problem!

    When I was finished in the house I left the keys and locked the door behind me for the last time. It felt like saying goodbye to my former life, and I needed that. And best of all, FW wasn’t there. I didn’t need him for any of it.

    I still feel sad sometimes about that house, because I loved it. It was the first place I made truly mine. But I know if I ever went and saw it again, it would not feel like a place of happiness and freedom. It would feel like a prison. So I try to be grateful for the good times *I* created there and let go of the rest. I even told the house as I left, “I will miss you, but coming back will hurt me, so I will never see you again. Thank you for all you did for me during those years.”

    • Almost (? well…) crying here, Mighty Sheep. I hear you so much!

      Moving from a house has always been something sentimental to me, I would cry and “thank” the rooms, just like you’re describing. After my kids were born, and each room served them as well and were full of their chuckles, it was way more so. We moved a lot, but the last apartment we have lived in together for 8 years (almost all of my kids’ lives up to that point) was a hard pill to swallow. It was in the my preferred part of my favourite city in the whole world and was so cozy and so full of happy memories. My kids hadn’t have the chance to say goodbye to their childhood home (maybe it was for the best) for they were with me in my hometown (near the city where we now live) since the beggining of the pandemics when hell broke loose (aka DDays). And I know just how much they loved our home. And they do have a hard time letting go of things.
      The last time I saw that apartment was DDay #2 when I caught FW getting home 7am from a motel. I knew that very moment that I couldn’t live there anymore. Afterwards evidence hit me that FW has defiled our home and marital bed with her AP.
      We hired a company to make the move. I couldn’t keep anything but my office’s furniture for myself (I hope they didn’t fuck over my desk), everything else was taboo for me.
      The kids have a way better, larger, sunnier and happier place now (with plants and pets, that they’ve never could have), so we’re okay. But the memories still hurt a little (?…).
      Oh, God, I’ve got to take a break from sad stories for now. I could’ve crossed out the word “almost” at the beggining of this rant while writing the second phrase.

      • Glad you’re all in a better place now, Brazilian Chump! I can relate to that too – the space my kids and I now get to use and memories we’ve made here were impossible at the old house. Sometimes my daughter still asks if we’re going to move back…that stings. She still asks if we’ll ever live with Daddy again. Talk about knife to the heart. But I just tell her what I always do, “Daddy did very bad things and he’s not safe for us to live with anymore.” He was and likely still is a very covertly abusive person. (I say likely because I don’t know – because I don’t talk to him!! And I like it that way!) Maybe I should try to think of ways to help my daughter make some closure for herself too.

    • I like this!

      Once I wanted to buy a house and I didn’t put in an offer in time; someone else bought it. I grieved about it and thought about it for years. A friend asked me, “Did you move into it – in your mind?” And I said, “Oh, yes! I knew where every piece of furniture would go!” And she said, “Maybe you should move out of it!” So I did, and it worked.

      Hmmmm… would that work for relationships?

  • Early on I recognized that there would be no closure. Call it a hunch. Of course that feeling didn’t prevent me from trying everything I could do to save our marriage. But there didn’t seem to be an “Us” fighting for our marriage so, like healers struggling to save a terminal patient, eventually the realization of futility sets in. It’s inescapable.

    Closure is not possible with a spouse who told the two oldest kids before telling me. When you feel cast away, discarded, and that everything you worked for in life has been devalued by one who was supposedly your partner, then you have to realize that closure with such a mind won’t occur, for all the reasons CL elaborates upon. And that’s ok.

    As in so many things, there will be no closure in understanding betrayal, or slavery, or what Putin is doing. Such realities can create ambiguous grief, loss with no closure. Dr Pauline Boss describes the Myth of Closure in her book of that title. I suggest it for those who seek a better peace with an unstable universe.

    We find peace where we can, one day at a time.

  • I found some closure to a relationship that I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting to be hurt and grieving forever. The pain was ever present and I was used to it…

    But one day I came upon a song by Fine Frenzy called “Almost Lover,” and the official video was pretty stunning… a beautiful redhead in a yellow dress playing a piano (and singing) in a river in the forest… leaves falling as she played… and she was so gorgeous, singing and pining about an “almost lover…” that while watching it, I thought, “Why doesn’t she see her value on the marketplace? She could get someone else in one split second! And why is she throwing away such a fine day, when the wind is blowing, the river is flowing, the leaves are turning and the birds are chirping?” I’m not as beautiful as she, but it made some sense to me to look around and be thankful for everything and everyone in my path, and to turn my attention towards the present, where things are still possible, instead of losing it to the past, which has already been played…

    It was the end of my suffering and to this day I haven’t felt the sting of the loss. It’s been over ten years…

    I do agree that closure is not necessary to move right along into a better place. Closure happens one moment at a time, sometimes… with every baby step forward… probably I had taken most of those steps when I saw that video and something just clicked…!!! I’m glad it did.

    A few words from the song…
    “I cannot go to the ocean
    I cannot drive the streets at night
    I cannot wake up in the morning
    Without you on my mind
    So you’re gone and I’m haunted
    And I’ll bet you are just fine
    Did I make it that easy to walk
    Right in and out of my life…”

    Here’s a link to the video:

  • Oops, sorry! I didn’t know the link would bring up such a huge video!

  • Last night I wrote about “Almost Lover,” but as I was reading through the posts this morning, I remembered another moment of closure. Very much the same!

    I was invited to my friend’s house for dinner. She and I lived in the same apartment complex and she had a daughter the same age as one of mine. So we got together.

    When I walked in, I heard Enya playing in the background (I loved Enya) and saw one of her purses hanging from a door knob (very similar to mine.) She had some plants in the window (as did I,) and she came out of her room wearing black pants and a black shirt (very much like my wardrobe,) and we had dinner with our kids. She served salmon; I brought the rest, and she said, “oh this is what I always have with salmon; how did you know?”

    The next day I had a relief from the pain that had been plaguing me. I had fallen into a platonic love with my counselor, who was a Jesuit priest! And I had just divorced my husband, whom I loved, but who was battling a 15 year cocaine addiction.

    I thought about the relief and wondered where it originated. And thought back on the dinner at my friend’s house. See… she was a very feminine woman, and I saw myself in her. In her things, the music she liked, the plants in the window, the kind of purse she had, what she wore and what food she liked.

    She was extremely beautiful. And I am beautiful “on the inside.” What struck me – after much thought – was that if she had such an air about her, a way about her, an aura, a mesmerizing, magnetizing field about her, created by her femininity … then so must I, to some degree. Maybe not as enticing as hers, but maybe so, for some men, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think these moments of closure were the same.

    I was originally attracted to the song because of its lyrics. It mirrored the way I was feeling about losing my love. AND I had long hair. AND I play the piano. AND I had a long yellow dress. AND I love rivers. AND I love the Pacific Northwest.

    I saw her choosing pain instead of LIFE, on a sunny, beautiful, gorgeous day! Playing sad songs (as I often did,) instead of spending time in the beautiful outdoors, or with people who needed my love…


    It’s kind of easier to see what others should do sometimes… Identifying with these women helped me to see myself… and what I should do…

    And that gave me relief from the pain and a new direction in life, and I’m calling that closure.

  • Sometimes, when things are going well for me, and I encounter a person who is in the thick of it, whatever it is, I try not to flaunt my good fortune in front of them. I downplay.

    But I see now, from my own comments, and reflecting on them, that possibly those moments of good fortune for me give hope to those who are struggling.

    Maybe thankfulness is the key.

  • I got “closure,” I suppose. A few times over the years after I divorced her, XW apologized. Was it genuine? She was crying so…. Maybe. Who knows. The point is, there was no “closure.” For a few minutes I felt a vague vindication, but that dissipated and was replaced by sadness. Oh, and I got karma, too: she ended up cheating on the OM. They are still together but, ok. So there’s that.

    The point is, if you are craving these—the apology, the karma—try not to. You won’t feel like you think you will.

  • Without knowing what truth is it feels like I can’t stand on the solid ground that would let me breathe, look around, and move forward.
    So “meh” for me is learning to develop and use my “sea legs.”

  • I’ve always been a fighter, not in the mean sense but in a determined tenacious survival kind of way. Nothing much in my entire life has been easy. When I read “The Glass Castle” it gave me a bit of reflection to my own life . But I love life and Find ways around through and over tough spots. Perhaps in part this made it equally difficult to realize nothing within my power , love, want, or tears could change the outcome for him and Mines togetherness. All the pieces were hopelessly scattered and no amount of effort could fix anything except my split from him. Acceptance occurred when my mind stop spinning questions looking for cures the unescapable facts . Meh is being able to be alone again and enjoy building up this new way of life with out conferring with a long term partner without the fun times and laughter we had shared , we knew how to have fun over the littlest things. Overcoming the loss and setting it aside. I’m not yet out of feeling awkward , the strangeness of , just me . But Each day I wake knowing that the day is a celebration with out the infliction of him , the constant mind fuck , and uncertainty . Having the driver seat feels good.

  • My “current Meh!” is that I accept that it’s frustrating not to understand someone you thought you understood after a decade of marriage. I accept that you never truly know somebody else. And that’s why I am now looking for a cocktail of intuition AND moral and coherent behavioural history in a future partner. That way, if my gut is off about someone, at least I hope that their history of treating others with respect is another helpful tool to drive me to a healthy person.

  • Closure for me came even before my FW took his own life, though I won’t deny that no longer having to deal with him has helped a lot. He was extremely abusive. I no longer have to live in fear, and the freedom is a wonderful feeling.

    I watched hundreds (thousands?) of videos on narcissism. I needed to untangle the skein because my self-esteem was so low and I blamed myself for the demise of the marriage. Learning what kind of person I was dealing with helped a lot. I was able to go grey rock/low contact (other than child/finances), and knew what to expect when I refused to engage with him, which made the inevitable torrent of abuse less hurtful. I gave up the fantasy of reconciliation. In fact, I no longer wanted to reconcile. I realized I didn’t want to go back to that life, where I always had to make myself small, where I lived in dread of his unpredictable anger, when I had to manage his emotions, when I had to subjugate my desires to his. I went to therapy and my therapist not only believed my story, but validated my trauma. She told me I had been living in a war zone for years. That my PTSD was real and that I was allowed to feel angry. I was finally safe enough to feel those feelings I had suppressed for years. I let myself be angry. I let myself grieve. After a while, I found I no longer needed to watch the narcissism videos. I realized I was no longer angry. That while what I went through was horrible and inexcusable and wrong, I didn’t need to hold onto it or let it control my life. I reached “meh”. He was someone I used to know, exasperating and frustrating at times, but not in a way that affected my emotions beyond the moment. I had a kick-ass lawyer who held my hand every step of the way. I let her deal with him. I was able to emotionally detach and leave him and OW to it. Without me to triangulate with, their relationship imploded. He hated seeing me thriving and happy. He turned his abuse on OW (since I no longer took the bait) and she ended up leaving him. He still blamed me for their breakup, but I knew it had nothing to do with me.

    I will never have all the answers (there seems to be no end to his lies), but I know enough. I no longer need all the answers, because the details won’t change anything for me. It helped to see him woo OW in almost exactly the same way he did me. She wasn’t special. Neither was I. We were people who served a purpose for him, and when I no longer served that purpose, he found someone else to fill my role. It wasn’t personal. It had no connection to my worth as a person. In fact, it was a compliment that I was no longer of use to him – it meant that I had started to recognize his abusive behavior and was no longer allowing him to control me. I stopped being a doormat. I took off the rose colored glasses. I lost the stars in my eyes. I called him out on his behavior. OW was able to give him all the flattery he desired only because she believed the façade. She didn’t know better. She didn’t know what he was really like. (She learned, the hard way.) The biggest backhanded compliment FW ever gave me was when we were texting one time and I accused him of trying to manipulate me, and he replied “you can’t be manipulated”. That’s a win in my book. (I still find OW’s behavior despicable, and I told her so, but I no longer harbor hatred or anger at her. She doesn’t have any impact on my life anymore.)

    The best thing I found to address “closure” is this: When you find yourself saying “I don’t understand how someone can do that.”, just acknowledge – YOU ARE NOT THEM. You can’t ever understand it because you aren’t like them. And that is your closure.

  • I made my own closure. The first step was acknowledging that I chose her, so it was on me to learn why I made those choices and to accept responsibility for all my choices. Once I did that, I started living to my value and boundaries. All good.

    Ex-wife moved in with her cheating partner (my cousin) back when it all began. Years later she wanted to get back with me. I have zero interest in that. There was a time when I would have felt that her wanting to come back was like winning the lottery. When she broguht it up I felt absolutely zero consideration of that and was able to politely redirect the conversation.

    I’ve been watching “F is for Family” on NetFlix. There’s some real good family values there………kidding!

  • I thought I was going nuts. Turned out he had bipolar. Thank you to him for telling me, as I would have been dwelling in the pits of hell, (and I still have spent an extensive amount of time there) but honestly thank you jesus. He was sleeping around looking for someone with more money as he is pretty much in constant danger of not being able to work and comes from a wealthy family so he had high lifestyle expectations. I had no idea about this for literally years – his family were funding his lifestyle. He had no impulse control and it was a nightmare – the charm was fully maintained for quite a while so I was completely sucked in. Not having a go at people with this illness, he seemed to have a personality disorder as well. I am mentally ok, but physically the stress has done me in. If things are very bad, don’t waste time looking for closure. In another relationship I found out what was the matter and I wish to god I had not. If it’s bad, don’t stick around for closure. It maybe something you wish you didn’t know.

  • What I’m trying to say is if things are bad, the other party is behaving horribly, there is a reason – and the likelihood is it has nothing to do with you. Don’t stick around to find out what it is. Like chump lady says – is this behaviour is acceptable to you? If it’s not then leave asap.

    • And before anyone accuses me of being mean about someone with bipolar, this particular individual seemed to think his illness justified all the lying and cheating because he had no control in relation to sex, and was entitled to a wealthy lifestyle that he could not earn for himself because of his illness. I was fully invested in the relationship, prepared to deal with the illness, and the stress of the break up has nearly killed me physically, anyway hopefully next time I will be smarter, but I am having a break to recover before I get back out there.

      • And I don’t understand how I seem to be mentally ok after the initial distress and upset, but my body seems to have gone yeah nah and just collapsed. I have not read ‘the body keeps the score’ but maybe that is it.

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