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Why Can’t He Be Happy for Me?

Narcissist GoldfishDear Chump Lady,

You’ve helped me more than I can say in the wake of D-day almost a year ago after the RIC threatened my mind and dignity. I’ve embraced your advice not to even attempt to untangle the skein, but I can’t get past one thing: FW can’t be happy for me.

I’m in the process of divorce (he doesn’t know, I’m lining up my ducks), and I’ve created emotional and physical distance, though we still live together. We have a nice and supportive group of mutual friends about only three of which know about his infidelity. They have been supportive of us as a couple and I’ve learned to lean on the tactful few that know for support.

After D-day, FW withdrew from everyone claiming he needed quiet and time to think, but then started complaining that no one cared about him.

There were times after D-day I felt a bit lonely as well (I have a lot of family nearby but didn’t feel like talking to anyone and we have no kids), but I made it a point to still reach out to folks in our friend group to say hi and check on them. l understand that people are busy, life happens, and that it’s not all about me. Not hearing from someone doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care about you. I’ve noticed he seems to get jealous and even looks hurt if someone invites me out out of sympathy for the pain I’m in, just so I can vent and have a change of scenery.

Recently I got a big promotion at work and also published a book I’ve been working on for ages and one friend decided we should celebrate, all of us together with a little vacation/trip shindig. I told FW and his immediate response was “It’s nice that they still care about you and sympathize with you”.

Honestly I was crushed. I’ve had so many depressing and dark days that I was looking forward to this. Why couldn’t he be happy for me? He knows and sees how much pain he has caused me, shouldn’t he be happy that my spirits are lifting a bit and that those that care about me would want to do something nice for me? Why can’t he be happy for me especially since he CHOSE to withdraw from these folks? He has a very well paying and prestigious job in investment banking so I doubt he’s jealous of my success… I just can’t understand this?

Confused Chump

Dear Confused Chump,

Because he’s a fuckwit? Because it’s all about him? Because this same jerk skillset made him a cheater? (Little empathy, lots of entitlement)

My question is: Why do you expect him to care? Why are you looking for validation from a fuckwit?

It’s like building a block tower with a toddler. You know that child is going to knock those blocks down. The entire point of building a block tower with a toddler is to watch them destroy it. In fact, most toddlers cannot handle the anticipation. You’re three blocks up and WHACK! Maniacal toddler laughter.

Stop handing your toddler blocks.

Or, to torture you with my cartoon metaphor above, don’t expect the goldfish to knit you a sweater. He’s not invested in your pain, so it stands to reason he’s not invested in your joy either. Withholding gives him a big trough of kibbles. It’s a power trip, just like the cheating.

Normal people who care about you (see “Friends Who Take Me Out to Celebrate”) are invested in your feelings. Of course, yes, you should absolutely expect this from a life partner. But he’s already demonstrated that he is NOT that partner. What we have here is a classic case of Trust That They Suck.

You’re not trusting the suck. You still need validation that it sucks.

CN’s got your validation!

Recently I got a big promotion at work and also published a book I’ve been working on for ages and one friend decided we should celebrate, all of us together with a little vacation/trip shindig. I told FW and his immediate response was “It’s nice that they still care about you and sympathize with you”.

Still care about you? Uh, you weren’t the wandering dick here.

And, right-o, they couldn’t possible care about you, or feel pride in your accomplishments, just pity. They sympathize.

He’s being an asshole, but it’s also projection. He operates on the self-pity channel and probably figures everyone else does too. You wangled your way into a trip with your Poor Me schtick. Authentic connection seems beyond his ken.

Instead of being hurt (fish do not knit sweaters), take it as confirmation that he sucks.

Perspective is hard when you’re still living with a FW, so full-speed ahead on that divorce. The best cure for all of this is no contact. He can’t hurt your feelings if you maintain radio silence.

Trust that he sucks today! And congratulations on your book and your promotion.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • 2 Timothy 3 (Voice Translation) #Sometimes …

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

    You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people.

    They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good.

    Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure

    • Dear Sometimes, II TIM chapter 3 scripture is the lens I have when I read here or elsewhere about pathologically selfish people
      aka narcissistic or disordered or whatever term is selected. Unfaithfulness & betrayal
      in all it’s forms has spiritual roots deeper than psychological ones.
      The main reason I’m grateful for this site is that it directs the traumatized away their abuser, away from hopium & switzerland
      friends & the typical RIC. Reality can be brutal, but people can find some of it here.

      • The abusers/subhumans consistently choose the negative path in order to enrich themselves alone.

        Unless one wishes to bear the consequences of their decision-making, get out of their way and move in the direction of self acknowledgement, self recognition, self development and self love. We are powerful beings.

        • Langele,
          Yes, Abusers “choose” Selfish Street. Yes, “get out of their way”. This chapter of scripture above agrees with you.
          The original “No Contact” advise!

      • Sometimes snd Dogs & Hogs, I love that you filter your thoughts and perspectives through 2 Timothy 3. I absolutely agree that it’s deeper than just a psychological affliction, but I guess I never really explored that line of thought too deeply. I’m going to have to read 2 Timothy 3 again with a different set of eyes and with your words in my heart and mind. I think it will help explain some things that have been inexplicable to me for so long. And I am so thankful for CN. The guidance and support has been and continues to be enormously helpful, honest, and pragmatic. We all need to get slapped with truth now and then, and I think CN does that…gently! ♥️

        • Dear Momma Marsh,
          I’m delighted to read your post!
          Psychology is beneficial because it addresses the suffering of people, right? It offers some truth & wisdom. The best of the best of it spreads & lasts & helps.
          I refer to 2 Timothy chapter 3 as the “narcissism scripture”.
          Compare this scripture, 2 centuries old,
          to 2022 description of narcissism ~
          It’s a match!

    • @dogs&hogs @MommaMarsh

      #Sometimes … ALL of us need a REMINDER about what people can be like!

      Whenever I see someone posting about the “Why God Why” I am reminded of what “Some” people can be like …

      I used this verse not as a spiritual or psychological answer to this letter …

      But as a reminder that a lot of people can have those traits under many different circumstances!

      — Yesterday I was reminded of this when I had a Dr. appt with My Boys – Step-mom —

  • No contact is the only way, Confused Chump. I’d admonish you for even talking to your FW to try to get him to care about your life in any regard but, I get it. I remember still living with my husband (who was openly cheating on me, lining up his ducks, and, over the course of time, was packing up all his and our stuff to move to his Girlfriend’s house) and, even though I *knew* he was a hot stove, I still put my hand on that red hot element. I still loved him and I still desperately wanted him to think well of me or to, even in the smallest of ways, take me into account somehow. I’d ask him for validation. Did I get it? Nope, I got hurt. Crushed everytime. I wasn’t reaching out to a person who cared for me in any regard (even as a friend… that really hurt); I was reaching my hand out and placing it on a hot stove.

    And it hurt. Every time. I don’t know why I was expecting that stove not to burn me each time but it reliably did.

    Happily (“happily” because it was one of the worst days of my life but also one of the *best* days of my life), the day came where he finally moved out and lived happily ever after in his new love nest with his mistress. Our contact lessened significantly until I was able to finally put the pieces of the puzzle together: talking with my FW husband always made me feel like crap and depression whereas *not* talking to my FW husband made me feel ten million times better about myself.

    I stopped talking to him about anything personal after I finally got it. No Contact or business only.

    After I began my NC journey things got better and better. I got better. I felt better. The only times I feel like emotional garbage are when he initiates personal contact. His absence is a blessing.

    Look forward to the day where you won’t live with him or talk to him ever again, Confused Chump. He’ll be gone and so will the temptation to reach out to a hot stove for validation. Freedom, No Contact, and better days await.

    • Fourleaf, such an excellent description using “hot stove” to explain how strong love & attachment can be. Some of us (me) have done just as you have done. Brutal reality sometimes requires letting go many, many times. Trauma bonds are real.

    • Fourleaf, I completely agree with this. My divorce was finalized last month, and ex wife is overseas. Even when I have a “business only” interaction with her, it makes my day worse. Best days are NC days.

    • Yeah, still struggling but this really hit home. Same feelings. Why must it be harder than “don’t put your hand on the stove?”

    • I agree completely with everything you say but have a snarky little perspective creeping in around the edges because of the time I happily went to the wedding of an ex who was poached by a mutual acquaintance before we officially broke up. The fact that the OP even assumes the FW should be happy for her as she successfully moves on must cut him like a knife and burn like acid. And that’s funny. It’s not worth her hurt or disappointment (so NC all the way!) but it’s still a bit funny.

      I was happy at the wedding of the ex all those years ago because I had merrily moved on, was starting my career, had a full dance card, etc. They could not have known this because I wasn’t a big “coMmUniCaToR” back then, but I felt like two loose ends in my life that I hadn’t known what to do with had tied themselves together and would forever be out of my hair. I really didn’t give it much thought but the general sentiment was “yay!” They were both “FOG” types (fear, obligation, guilt) and I must have felt relieved. But then I was hurt when the ex and would-be poacher were gloweringly nasty to me after the ceremony. I thought it was because I was brandishing my happiness too openly and they thought I was upstaging, so I threw in some dark notes about a few difficult things I’d been through. And they became even nastier.

      I was left scratching my head. What I failed to understand is that they MEANT HARM by overlapping relationships and were pissed they’d failed to do harm. I wasn’t hurt, I wasn’t humiliated, so I assumed they hadn’t intended to do those things until, in the face of my lack of hurt and humiliation, they doubled down.

      I think the OP’s STBX has given it away that meant to devastate her and she’s failing to be devastated enough. Because I worked as a DV survivors’ advocate and view cheating through the lens of abuse (for one, all batterers cheat; for another, the psychology of most cheaters is exactly the same as batterers give or take broken bones), I think this is the intention of most cheaters, even if it’s subconscious. They mean ill– and so do proxy cheaters. Having a victim is essential in producing more “tingly orgasms” as another member of CN put it. One clue that this is true is that the more hurt and crushed and paralyzed their victims are, the breezier and more fancy free many cheaters seem to become. But if victims quickly move on, abusers tend to circle back around to see– like classic sociopaths– if they can have some effect, any effect, to reaffirm their power to alter another person’s fate. Since sociopaths are incapable of making another person sustainably happy, they settle for damaging and wounding others.

      What seems confusing in some cheating situations is that certain abusers do a disappearing act and seem to never look back. But from what I understand of abuser mentality, this is to ensure that the very last concept or mental image they have of their former victims is of someone flattened and bleeding in a gutter and crying out the abuser’s name. I suspect the Houdinis don’t look back out of fear that this effect might not be permanent. They don’t want to see their victims bouncing back and thriving because then it will be like the abuser didn’t exist and didn’t matter.

      The moral of the story is that just because you’re not permanently harmed by someone and do not feel destroyed by them doesn’t mean they didn’t MEAN harm and are not a destroyer. It sounds kind of elemental but it was something I had trouble wrapping my head around because for most of my life I had been such a bounce-backer type. It’s only in retrospect that I can clearly see the villainous intent of certain people– and also recognize that it must have really gotten up their craw that I so often barely seemed to notice their nasty gyrations. I was the artful dodger and would turn setbacks into opportunities.

      The latter bit gives me a laugh in retrospect. Had I planned to get even, I couldn’t have kicked back harder than by simply not appreciating their beautiful evil. The innocent are diabolical that way. 😉

      • “they MEANT HARM”

        This clarifies what chumps fear to acknowledge. Once I internalized that it is a lie that “all people are good deep down inside”, my world view became mature, realistic and I stopped being their patsy.
        And, I didn’t suggest others to continue being patsies either.

        • Before I was chumped, in my ignorance I believed that “all people are good deep down inside” that everyone has a conscious.
          I had doormat written on my forehead.

  • Confused Chump,

    You’re still thinking like a partner, and he’s still just thinking about himself. Takes a bit of time to adjust when you’ve made sn honst conmittment to someone, like you did (but he didn,’t). So sad, he only cares about himself.

    • I love your line, “You’re still thinking like a partner.” It sums up the situation brilliantly.

      • “Thinking like a partner” is perfectly succinct. Yes, Eilonwy, I agree that SurferGirl summed it up brilliantly.

        If one is loving, devoted & committed, then so much is centered around the partnership.
        To change direction away from that center To find no remnant left of good will ~
        is just another painful reality in the big painful reality.

    • I guess I’m struggling to understand how he can detach so easily or be so shallow…but alas that’s untangling the skein ????????‍♀️

      • CC, having been dumped after 26 years (also no kids) only a few weeks after my father died, I understand what you’re struggling with. How could this man, who I had been through so much with, act as if he hated me while feeling sorry for himself at the same time? I discovered the affair a few weeks later. He was ‘saddened’ never ‘sad’ – implication that my behaviour had ‘saddened’ him. He was mournful. I was ‘in my comfort zone’ at mediation – both lawyers although I’m a litigator to be fair to him. Mediator immediately felt sorry for him. Ex sat there saying little, with sad look on face, while I was quizzed as to where he was going to live. My answer ‘that’s not my problem, with his girlfriend I assume’. Cue sad face ‘I’m single’ ( a lie because we were still married). I was doing this alone, not even a pet, in lockdown via Zoom and was dying inside. My point is that it’s all a passive aggressive covert strong narcissistic traits act. You will never understand because your wonderful empathy cannot extend to understanding your FW’s addled disordered brain. You are wired so differently that it isn’t possible to understand. No contact saved my life. That was the last time I saw him (July 2020) and I will never see him again. Once you get into the same position you won’t care what he thinks, I promise. I’m 62, was 59 when dumped. If I can be happy and peaceful, you can too (and I’ve had to go back to work full time to keep a roof over my head). Their capacity for playing the victim knows no bounds. If he could he’d have those friends off you in the blink of an eye, without caring even slightly about your feelings. He wouldn’t even wave goodbye as he set off on his trip!

        • “You will never understand because your wonderful empathy cannot extend to understanding your FW’s addled disordered brain” This is the part I’m struggling with… are there really people in the world like this? Wow…

          • ConfusedChump, he just showed you. Believe him!

            This was difficult for me to understand too, as part of my FW’s persona is that he’s a good, upstanding role model kind of guy. But if I look back I can see that it was all about being seen as a good person (and what that does for his weird narcissistic self image) without ever figuring out how to actually be a good person.

            He said to me after DDay “I have a problem with empathy.” It surprised me at first; I knew he was self-centered but sometimes he put on a great performance of being a human. But if I look back with what I know now, I can see the cracks in the facade where petty resentment and entitlement leaked out pretty consistently.

            We live and learn.

          • CC–

            I tend to go into long spiels about it but as a former DV victims’ advocate, I want to share a concept with you that could explain a lot. It risks verging on “untangling” but it’s one of those revelations that, once you grasp it, you might have such a massive “aha” moment that the urge to untangle ever again simply fizzles.

            There’s an aspect of batterer psychology referred to as “masked dependency” in domestic violence research. Because of whatever horror show upbringing they had, abusers tend to form pathological, infantile attachment to partners that causes such feelings of shame, humiliation and vulnerability that they might begin to actively hate their partners who, unwittingly, have been handed near life and death power over the perpetrator.

            If this seems like a bid for amnesty for poor sad cheaters, bear in mind that serial killers also often show traits of masked dependency and are on the same behavioral spectrum. That form of dependency is nothing like adult love which abusers are incapable of. In any case, when this pathological dependency/fixation starts to form and dredges up consequent terror of abandonment or irrational fears of being “engulfed” by a partner, abusers will spend all their time and energy trying to reclaim that “lost power” they dementedly imagine their partners could or might abuse.

            I think this is why the starting move of many batterers is to cheat. It kills several birds with one stone: 1) It’s an attempt to “dilute” the pathological dependency the abuser has on their partner by spreading the dependency out between several partners; 3) It’s a less athletic, less legally risky means of punishing and paralyzing partners whom the abuser imagines is enjoying the power they wield over the abuser. Since this doesn’t tend to work to quell all those pathological, infantile fears, this is when many abusers amp up their abuse and become more overtly oppressive or violent.

            Within this perspective, for an abuser, achieving detachment is experienced as a type of victory. It was the outcome they sought in their “kill or be killed” mutant attachment style. It could explain why so many cheaters are cruel to the point of bafflingly acting as if they are seeking valid revenge against their own victims though the victims had done nothing to them. The abuser does a victory dance in the moment they achieve what they think is sweet freedom from dependency. Many try to cover this internal process which is why it’s known as “masked” dependency. It’s a dirty secret.

            The danger is that the detachment is a lie and a cover for something a lot creepier– a leaching, grasping, drooling, raging infantile need. Theoretically, this could be why even the most “detached” seeming abusers often tend to circle back around and stir up trouble if their victims appear to be successfully moving on. Some can become dangerous at that point and many victims don’t see this coming because the “mask” was so convincing.

            Anyway, it sounds like your STBX is walking chaos. Whatever his MO is, he’s dangerous to sanity. I hope you can get yourself to freedom and safety soon.

            • I think I have read this explanation from you before and I can’t tell you how much it helped me understand a little bit better what makes FW tick. The description fits like a glove. It sounds like a very useful framework to help chumps deal with the contrasting contempt, cruelty and hoover attempts from FWs. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

          • They aren’t really ‘people’ as we know the term. They are empty shells ACTING like people. We don’t see it because we can’t imagine it in our wildest dreams or nightmares. They really are just empty vessels that mirror how to ‘act’ like people, but they just really aren’t. He is unable to be happy for you because he wants you to hurt and be sad because that’s how he planned it to be. He’s upset because you are not going with his program. His cheating was INTENTIONAL and it was meant to HURT you once you found out. Go and share your happiness and achievements with actual people who love you and forget about him. No Contact is the way to truth and light.

      • He’s an asshole, that’s why.

        Sorry to be so blunt. I know this is all very shocking. You want to UNDERSTAND, because you CARE. You bonded with this turd. Now you don’t recognize the man you thought you knew, and you’re wondering what happened. You think if you can solve the puzzle, you’ll find closure and a resolution.

        I’m sorry to say that’s not how closure works. You find closure (healing, peace) by leaving and going no contact. Thank God you don’t have kids!!

        He’s behaving this way because he’s an asshole. I know that’s not a satisfying answer. You want REASONS. Head injury? Demonic possession? Family of origin issues? Was he always this way? Did he ever care? How could he do this?

        The reasons don’t matter. They don’t. He chose to betray you, he’s not sorry, and he’s just doubling down. He’s an asshole and the reasons why don’t matter. You just need to get away from this person. He’s fired you from the job of having to understand him. Put yourself first.

      • Yes it took me many months of heartache to get my head around how he could move on so quickly and his shallowness.
        They’re shallow because that’s who they are.
        Be grateful you’re not them.
        It hurts like a motherfucker but it does get better.
        Hugs to you

      • Must first attach before there’s detach.
        Right? Sometimes some of us find out
        that there wasn’t any real attachment. Ever. Or it was always shallow. Or conditional.
        Or the attachment switched to AP.
        Or attachment to anyone is impossible.
        It’s incredible, almost unbelievable how some fake roles for years, even decades
        having tactics to keep a chump attached
        & deceived & useful.
        I’m not assuming this describes your stbxh, but just putting it out for consideration. Somebody might relate or need warning. ACTING good on the outside to HIDE the bad on the inside is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • It’s not that “he can detach so easily” – he wasn’t attached in the first place.

        They know how to act like loving partners, and do it quite convincingly, when in reality they have been on a separate track all along. Hiding who they really are, pretending to value honesty (because that’s the best cover for someone who is routinely dishonest), and constantly manipulating the flow of information about themselves so that when D-Day comes we are blindsided.

        He is not who you thought he was. It hurts to realize we were bamboozled for years.

        • Yes. Like a sword to the gut and largely unfathomable that I lived with a total fraud for 30 years. It’s hard not to blame myself for being a fool. (I’m a newbie Chump.) It’s also terrifying, and the depth of it is only revealed in small doses. The word he used was not “detach”; it was compartmentalize. He was very good at compartmentalization (such big words), while I was crazy and all over the place. No end to the twisted thinking.

    • I’m lining up my ducks and getting a few things in order… I’ll be out soon. Thank God!

      • This is a really hard time CC. Please be gentle with yourself. You will wonder how you got through this once he is gone. I love the red, hot stove analogy above. Once there is no stove you won’t have to worry. For now, try this: every time you start to think of him and why he does anything or how he feels try to redirect those thoughts towards you. why do you feel a certain way? how do you want to feel? What can you do to get to that place? Where do you want to go? What do you want for your life? Why did you care about what he thinks and how can you stop caring? Would you like to get a pet? what nourishing food are you going to give yourself tonight? If the thought is about you, then it’s a good thought.
        You’ll get through this.

        • Fern – Love your suggesting of redirecting one’s attention to self, along with your list of questions.

      • When you are out you will care less and less every day. You will accept that he does not have the depth for genuine love, compassion or empathy. The only emotions he is capable of feeling strongly are self pity and rage.
        While you’re still there and dealing with it every day, it’s torture.

        My fuckwit claims to be happy for me that I am free of his bullshit and feeling better about life. It might even be true (in his limited, shallow way) but it doesn’t matter to me. He was fine with me being miserable because of his abuse too. Nothing really matters to them but pleasing themselves, avoiding discomfort and avoiding being an adult. There is just nothing there- no real identity or values and no depth of feeling. It’s hard to accept that and just let go, especially if you are still living with him, but you will get there.

        • “You will accept that he does not have the depth for genuine love, compassion or empathy. The only emotions he is capable of feeling strongly are self pity and rage.”

          This is very obvious to me now in retrospect. I never really missed the signs when we were together. But, I pushed them aside and just didn’t admit to myself they were there. Otherwise, I would have cut bait a long time ago. I wish I cut bait a long time ago.

          I can’t wait until his lack of depth is obvious to the very young lady for whom he left me. They don’t change, right?

      • Whatever your ducks involve, if you have a great job and can publish a book, you can get yourself away from this jackass sooner rather than later. You are still “confused” because you continue to live with him. Sometimes, waiting for the perfect moment causes you more pain and trouble than just filing and getting out.

        Take a long look at what “soon” means to you. A year after D-Day, when you have no kids, is a lot of time to waste with a cheater. That you still want acceptance and good wishes and validation from him is a sign that it’s not good for you to be there.

  • People who have just blown up their marriage, family, life as they know it – because the cheated – tend to like to pretend they are the victims vs being total putzes. 10+ years later, my ex still is a mr boohoo. The ow just dumped him so he’s probably crying in his beer. But these guys – they always land on their feet with a new gig going. He’s probably still foolin around and playing the sadz card with you. Get it all lined up and end this marriage. And go be free and happy. Go.

  • Dear Confused – You’re confused? We’re confused. I suspect your friends and colleagues may be confused.

    I get that it takes some time to get your ducks in order, but if you haven’t filed or moved out that’s generally called being unhappily married. Does he think you’re both still working on marriage? Is he just chiming in between his dates with an OW?

    Hopefully, this situation ends in a matter of weeks/months and his presence in your life will end with emotional and legal clarity.

    • I’m almost out…very soon. Just needed to settle a few things. I wanted to be out before he got served…

    • “ Dear Confused – You’re confused? We’re confused. I suspect your friends and colleagues may be confused.” Agree.

      I went through similar behavior, which for me, was a way to salvage my pride after being unmercifully discarded and rejected. It was my covert way of saying to him, “Look what you lost.” Revenge disguised and a tragic way of hanging on to something that was dead, even as divorce proceeded.

      I got slapped out of it when he inevitably turned the tables and went full speed ahead to his next kibbles. His “sadness” and pouting had nothing to do with me. I had to admit that my ego was still invested, and my face-saving agenda caused me more pain. I cut the cord and will not have one thing to do with him. His opinion or applause has zero value. I’m done with that chapter.

  • Confused Chump
    Not to untangle the skein, but likely covert passive aggressive narcissist. Keep grey rock, get those quackers in a tight row and move towards divorce, true NC (no kids…no need for ANY contact!) will make a huge difference. There is freedom and better days ahead. You will probably need to cull that friends group once you start divorce so be ready for that too, even tho most contact and support is towards you currently.

      • Yes the covert passive aggressive narc is a different looking animal.
        Sad sausage, silent treatment, poopy diaper face, great is not good enough, buzz kill, party pooper.

  • Confused Chump, what he says and does will have less meaning to you as you gain time and distance. Perhaps accelerate your plan to leave this sad sack of victimhood.
    Concerning yourself to why he does what he does is a waste of your considerable creative energy. Whenever you wonder why he does something hear “Because he is a lying, manipulative, abusive cheater, that is why.”

    LTC Fuckface makes me sick. I suspect that Mr. Success makes you sick too. The sooner you avoid the plague that is your abuser the sooner life gets good.

    You wrote a book!!!!! You got a promotion!!!!! You are amazing! He is not.

    • Whenever you wonder why he does something hear “Because he is a lying, manipulative, abusive cheater, that is why.”

      Yes! And whenever you turn to him for validation in the form of acknowledgment, appreciation, congratulations or remorse, sing “looking for love in all the wrong places” to yourself. Sounds cheesy/ridiculous, but I actually did that. And it actually helped! The morals and motives of this FW are corrupt, and your worth is in no way connected to his (de)valuation of you, Confused Chump.

  • Confused Chump, you are still acting as though you are part of a committed couple.Why? It must be difficult to continue that and is sure to take a toll from you. I understand the lining up of ducks but for your sanity, you need to take action! Hopefully, you are physically separated in the home. Just remember the longer you wait, the more courts will think you have forgiven his behavior. Please, please, recognize that he is a fuck wit and he sucks and go either pure grey rock or no contact.
    Living with a cheater is pure hell, ask me how I know but once you go no contact even if you are in the same house, there will be relief. You need to move forward and stop thinking of this guy as a partner. He is not your partner, he is not interested in a committed relationship. You have friends who care, celebrate with them. He should no longer occupy space in your life. He does not value you he only wants sympathy and kibble from you. Do not feed him his doses of kibble. No contact will lead to ego starvation and that may take him out of there if you are lucky. Move forward as soon as you can. I am in the middle of trying to settle with a fuck wit and am no contact. Everything goes through attorneys. I do this to make sure there is no engagement because engagement with a FW on any level just feeds them kibble. I know he hates this because it costs him money and he cannot get a reaction directly from me. Trust that he sucks and start your new life with real friends and reciprocity.

    • Yes, I’m physically separated. I moved upstairs and we don’t interact beyond sharing needed information. My sister always says I make the mistake of thinking everyone is like me. Even after all he’s done I’m still happy for his little successes so I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t even feign happiness for me at the very least…

      • Confused Chump, you are a good person who thought you were in a committed and reciprocal relationship. It is hard realizing that he is not the same. He only cares about himself. They feel that they are the center of the universe and their pleasure is all that counts. Your success and happiness does not feed his ego so he will devalue your achievements. Again, telling him any of this gives him kibble, if he can’t have success himself, he will devalue anything you do. They do not have empathy. Once you recognize that, you will be much better off. No contact will help that. Don’t stop being the good person you are but do get the crap people out of your life.

        • I’d go further and say that your achievements actively damage his ego. They make him angry. Even if he pretended to be happy for you, that would be a lie for image management. When I got my first role after he dumped me, as chair of a board, he told me off because he ‘had to find out about it from someone else’. After I’d finished spluttering into my wine, I said ‘I don’t have to tell you anything anymore. We are not friends’. I got ‘I just want you to be happy’ but he couldn’t bear to hear from others that I was happy and that I had moved on. These people want to see you mourn their absence, weep, cry, beg. The last thing they want is for you to succeed, because, heaven forbid, someone might think that leaving you was a mistake (especially as in most cases they really do trade down – it took me a long time to see that but it is so true).

          • I considered this but given he’s very successful and accomplished I thought “no, he couldn’t possibly be jealous”. He’s even got more degrees than me…

            • You need to reframe this. He believes you to be an appliance dedicated to feeding him kibble. You got recognition for something you did on your own and he hates not being central. In their mind you need to provide kibble and worship his greatness and never be recognized for your true accomplishments. Trust that they are like this. These FWs absolutely hate it when the appliance has success. There are truly people like this and because you are a good person you have trouble seeing this; however, CL and the CN can help you understand that they suck. Keep on being the best you that you can and stop caring what’s FW thinks. Here we consider your accomplishments mighty!

              • Lack or reciprocity is THE red flag. I remember sustaining the narrative to the kids about how smart their dad was, until one day the little tyke said to me (in front of him) that such and such was true because ‘dad is smarter than you!’ That was my ‘back that truck up right now moment’. I look at exFW to see if he would build me up to the kids at that moment—nope! So I told them in no uncertain terms that I was just as smart as FW. Later I reamed him out for lack of support. It was clear he truly believed I was inferior and that the child only spoke the truth. After literally years of building him up because y’know shitty parenting skills that he had, which needed me to bolster his value to said kids. Faugh. The mistakes I made…

              • “Lack of reciprocity is THE red flag.”

                Onandonandon, I agree. Now armed with this knowledge, I am curious about whether under the right circumstances and with the right man, I might feel confident enough in my judgement of his character and genuine love for me to trust and let him in.

                Reciprocity is also one of the most beneficial lessons I’ve learned from this entire experience, and I’m trying to keep it in mind in all relationships and agreements.

            • Sure sounds like jealousy to me.

              Fuckwits don’t think like we do. They don’t view relationships as partnerships, but as adversarial games of one-upmanship. Do you know how many men have openly told me they couldn’t date or marry a woman unless she was “a little bit less” than him? They were insecure and needed to feel like the dominant party (smarter, more successful) in the relationship. It’s a control issue.

              Your husband refuses to be happy for you and shits all over your success. His contempt oozes out of your story. The sooner you leave this dumpster fire, the better. Fuck him. Start getting angry. This guy hates and disrespects you with every breath.

            • I thought the same. Let’s just say he his his insecurities well. It came out in the end when I started cutting him out of my life.

            • This, as your sister points out, is projection.

              He is not you. He doesn’t share your values or world view. And again, you’re untangling the skein.

              • More straight talk from the CN wise ones. I am beginning to experience glimpses of clarity and left-brain thinking after leaving a hugely toxic and abusive marriage. These messages — He is not you. He doesn’t share your values or worldview — are pure gold.

                Meanwhile, FW attorney is working 24/7 (with his attorney) to attack every aspect of my being in a divorce that he says will be a “death struggle.” I need these pearls to keep my head out of the fog. Thank you, LAJ.

          • Mighty Warrior, “Pretending to be happy for you would be a lie & for image management.” EXACTLY
            I know the type your X is/was. It’s all kinds of ego-centric pathological & that makes recovery so horribly hard.

      • I hope lining up your ducks includes having retained a very good lawyer. Once he’s served, often the clock stops ticking.

        Wonderful that you got a promotion (did it come with a raise?) and a book (royalties?). How will that impact any settlement? You’re still living together and separate space inside the same home while appearing to be a couple to the outside world cannot be proven. His word vs. yours and we know what his word is worth.

        Make sure you are truly protecting yourself and your assets while you are living together. In many states, you can file before service which keeps him in the dark but secures your position.

        I’m also concerned that your FW might be draining/playing with/manipulating your money or credit while you assume he’s doing nothing. Cheaters cannot be trusted and I worry that you are too trusting.

        • I want to run a credit check on him but from the little research I’ve done he’ll know it was me. The 3 major credit bureaus all report when your credit is checked. How do I go about this stealthily?

          • You need to run a credit check on yourself. Any accounts held jointly will show up on that report and you can see if anything is hinky.

            Pretty sure you can’t run a credit check on another person without their permission.

          • Yep.

            Run it on yourself, you are entitled to know about your credit as much as he is. If he asks say yes I did it. I want to know my credit standing.

            Our had to be done during the D. I had to know if he had any other debts. I also had to run a title check on the small house I got to make sure there was no tax or any other lein on it.

            These Vipers will fuck us over given an inch.

        • “I’m also concerned that your FW might be draining/playing with/manipulating your money or credit while you assume he’s doing nothing. Cheaters cannot be trusted and I worry that you are too trusting.”

          This is what I always fear, in fact it was my first fear the day after fw left. I went straight to work and changed all my beneficiaries that I legally could. I asked my best friends boss who was a lawyer for a reference to a bull dog law firm for family law. I ordered three years of history from our joint credit card (we only had one that I knew of) and I ordered a three year history on our joint bank accounts.

          So not only did I find financial fraud, which helped me open my eyes, I had a solid snapshot of our finances of the day he left.

          This was before CL, so I was going on instinct.

          Get those finances separated, then worry about the ducks, he/she is likely shooting those ducks as fast as they can.

            • The thing to think about is why your “plans” are more important than your freedom? At the very least, you need a very very good lawyer and a plan that is built on legal advice.

      • Because he is character impaired, that is why.

        Wait until dividing the property and money comes around, he will not just be cold, he will be lying/scheming/hiding assets

      • As very painful as truth & reality is,
        feign is bad for you. Because feign is
        a form of deception.
        Deception is your foe.
        Truth is your friend.
        After all, you wrote to Chump Lady because he didn’t feign happiness for you.
        OUCH. When we bite into the truth, sometimes it bites back.

        • Survival is the name of this situation.
          Knowing the difference between predator and prey lets one live another day.
          You’re not dealing with a fully functioning human being here.
          Feint is a survival strategy.

          No need to sacrifice oneself to the wolves.

  • Confused Chump,

    He’s not happy for you or sad for you because he can only think of his own feelings. I suspect it’s always been that way.

    A therapist once said of my x-MIL, “The tit is dry in that one.” In other words, don’t go to her for nurturing or validation. She won’t/can’t give it.

    This is true of most cheaters.

    Find others who can give and receive support and comfort. Expect nothing from him. And don’t fall for his sad-sack routine.

    Move on.

  • Something from my time in Al-Anon – “Why am I going to the hardware store for bread?”

    I try to remember that one. He’s not capable of giving me genuine support because, in many ways, he’s incapable of human connection. He seeks external validation, and a ton of therapy has taught me how validation has to come from within. He’s not willing to do that sort of work himself, and so, on he goes, abandoning the life I thought we had together.

    So, if this person has historically hurt me like they have, why am I still seeking support from them? If they’ve shown themselves to be so shitty and have taken these atrocious actions that a good and loving person would never do, why do I care if they are happy for me when I succeed?

    I hate trying to answer these questions, but they do help me to frame things.

    • “Why am I going to the hardware store for bread?”….wow, that really puts it in perspective ..

      • The phrase I learned was “You can’t get milk at the hardware store”. Milk=nurturing. Hardware store=hard.

        The others are right in saying it is of the utmost importance to get out as quickly as possible, I found out my ex was cheating on a Sunday. The next day I got an appointment for a therapist and my friends were getting names of attorneys for me. I contacted a realtor to find a place for me to rent. Every day before and after work I made copies of our financials. That Thursday I confronted him. I moved out in 6 weeks, signing a lease mid-month and doing pro-rated rent; I had to get out of there asap. He called me at work, using a sweet sweet voice, saying “I know you’re entitled to half but what do you REALLY want” thinking I would back down as usual. I screamed at him that I never wanted to speak to him again. And I was no contact from that minute forward, my attorney handled everything. And that was in 1997. You can do this, you published a book!! You’re strong!! Good luck!

  • You are the caretaker in the family. The person most disordered has the power. The caretaker constantly circles trying to fix things. Sadly, it’s futile.
    He sounds like his default mood is depression. Those folks who know better get help. Others want FUN, want EXCITEMENT, and their poor caretaker can’t provide it but that person over there can. Until that falls apart and they are back being the powerful depressed person ruling the home. He is “wounded” and has a “sadz”. You are to tend to him and stop all this happiness stuff.
    Things won’t change for you until you stop trying to take care of him and move on.

    • Yes, he suffers from depression but refuses to get help or do anything about it. I realize he uses it as a crutch in many ways…

      • From what you describe, your stbx is a lot like my ex. My ex always had the vague sadz, requiring care and concern from me, which made sure my attention was always firmly fixed on him, and, when it wasn’t, he would manufacture an existential crisis, often when I had achieved some success at work (sound familiar?) to make sure it returned to him. Moreover, he was always bemoaning his lack of friends, although he never reached out to anyone else and never reciprocated or initiated.

        And as someone whose ex sounds a lot like your stbx, I would say your stbx uses his untreated depression not as a crutch but as a tool or weapon to get what he wants, especially from you: attention, emotional investment, extra caretaking, for you to shoulder the bulk of the household management, etc. Meanwhile, he goes on doing exactly what he wants.

        Seeing his untreated depression as a “crutch” implies that you consider him as suffering a hurt of some kind. Seeing it as a “weapon,” on the other hand, implies that he is deploying his depression (to the extent he actually has it) deliberately, and he has weaponized your empathy against you to benefit himself.

        I say this not to untangle his skein, but to reframe his behavior in ways that will allow you to make the leap to “trust that he sucks.”

        • Wow, I had this experience as well. I suspected depression, and he would never get help for it, no matter how I begged. Hell, he took it as something to be irritated about, I suspect. He was upset he “had no friends,” but never took the initiative to maintain friendships. He would be irritated when I’d confide in my friends.

          My therapist has talked a good bit about how he put himself in a “one-down” position in the relationship, with me in the “one-up.” I am absolutely an overfunctioner and problem-solver, while he is much more of an underfunctioner. I am a fixer. I am good at managing and scheduling and planning. My mom taught me well.

          My therapist has also highlighted how the “one-down” position can be a useful stance for manipulation – whether intentional or not. It was absolutely something present in our dynamic.

          • I, too, am a recovering “overfunctioner and problem-solver…a fixer” whose mother “taught me well,” and am currently in service to my 95 year old mother in assisted living, managing her affairs, and and managing, just, to maintain part of my own life.

            A younger person I know described the “one-up, one-down” dynamic as “topping from the bottom.” It really opened my eyes, too.

          • AYS, this is fascinating. I’m just like you, very OCD about managing life (the weekly spreadsheet I created for my family was a work of art).

            I started researching narcissism years ago, in relation to my mom – and then I realized it also applied to my ex.

            As well, my therapist at the time pointed out that my ex’s success in business was due to the fact that I completely managed the home front, and he had two secretaries to handle the business front. In other words, he only needed to do his one job (I’m envious of “Mr Wonderful’s Ex” – such an appropriate name and describes how my ex viewed his successful career), pretty easy to do when everyone else was covering the necessary details. But of course, his success was solely due to his “Mr. Wonderful” aptitude. ????

            • Wow. Yup, we have a lot in common. My first instinct when he told me he was going to move out was to start making intricate spreadsheets of how to. handle financial details.

              My therapist has pointed out how he “needs the women in his life to do things for him,” and that he was subconsciously attracted to me for that reason. His mom handled so much for him as he grew up, and I stepped into that role.

              My mom was great at running my dad’s business for him, too. My dad was much more overtly narcissistic and loudly emotionally abusive – a dry drunk. He was my Al-Anon and ACoA qualifier. I thought I was doing well, picking a quiet one with no addiction issues, dammit.

              I don’t necessarily buy into my ex being a narc, but he is absolutely entitled. The dynamic of “handle all of the complicated adulthood things to show love,” was perfectly modeled for me growing up, although I’ve actively tried to take steps to not repeat all of my parents’ mistakes.

              I feel you on that sense of massive disappointment that they won’t acknowledge how we contributed to their success. It is infuriating after I gave and gave, and particularly when I wanted to believe that if I could just give enough, he’d be happy again, and that damn depression would disappear. Ha, nope. He refuses to examine himself.

              • Lightbulb! And that last paragraph describes exactly how I felt (past tense!) until quite recently. This is precisely why Confused Chump shouldn’t waste any more of herself on this FW.

                I started picturing my ex as a black hole whenever I was tempted to do something for him rather than invest in myself (usually at my own expense), or caught myself wasting precious mental energy worrying about him instead of focusing on myself and the people who deserved my attention. As my therapist at the time said, “Stop pushing an anvil down the road.”

        • Adelante – This sounds like my dad! Until the very last few years of his life, pretty much every time we (me, mum, brother) went out without him, we’d come back to some minor crisis or something (manufactured by him, naturally). He often made things less enjoyable when he joined us, too. It really put a dampener on things.
          My mum was the “chaos janitor” and I was the deputy. He passed away last year, though, so we’re free of the all crap he liked to pull.
          Even then, his last stunt was to almost not turn up for his own funeral!

            • Adelante – there was a mixup between the hospital and funeral directors, meaning he was still in the hospital morgue until a few days before the funeral. Luckily the mistake was caught in time but it was a bit hair raising!

          • This was my father too. He would pout and give us the silent treatment when we were having fun without him, even though he was the one who chose not to participate. And when he did participate we all had to make sure not to upset him (and anything and everything could upset him) so that we didn’t ruin our day by pissing him off. My mother was never allowed to do anything without taking major grief from him about it. When he died I felt a lot of things, but mostly relief.

            • MollyWobbles and Shintoga, you just described my entire childhood. Wait – life! It’s ongoing in my FOO. That term ‘chaos janitor’ is apt. Like Shintoga, we kids were our mom’s deputies. Not an easy thing to navigate, even now.

          • Yes, my ex would grill the chef/wait staff about his food allergies if we went out to dinner , then eat the ‘forbidden’ foods the next day at home.

            Attention seeking

      • Likely as a smokescreen and a flytrap as well, if he’s anything like my ex which, form your descriptions – he is.

  • You are getting divorced. There is a reason for that. It’s time to stop caring what he thinks. He is irrelevant. He had nothing to do with your success. He doesn’t get to be part of the celebration.

    • This was hard for me to let go of, even after I left. I had to GAL under difficult circumstances (don’t we all?), and I accomplished a lot in a short period of time. I was also incredibly lonely and isolated, and I craved genuine comfort and connection. Even after leaving the cheater, I was wired to want to talk to him about my days and share my successes and struggles with someone I loved. I think I was also still caught up in a form of pick-me dancing and was trying to prove to him and to myself that I had value, and that he’d made a mistake and his cheating wasn’t because something was terribly wrong with me. Instead of feeling proud and validated, every time I talked to him I was disappointed and felt worse about myself than before. He continued to mindfuck me, and I was sometimes the one creating the opportunity for him to do so (which after only added to the ickiness and confusion I felt). It was destabilizing, and I was still trapped in that confusing, painful cycle.

      My advice echos CL/CN: Focus on yourself, get out of there and set your sights on NC. This can be slow and messy at first (it was for me), but if you do slip, recognize how it affects you, forgive yourself and firmly recommit. I was where you are less than two years ago… scary similar. Leaving is the hardest part and asks the most of you, IMO, but you can do it. Once you do and the fog clears, you will be shocked by what you put up with and confused about how you ever loved that person or “let” this happen to you. I think most/all of the thousands (millions) of other chumps who post and read here would say the same. Keep reading the blog and archives. I left before I knew about CL, but CL is what helped me go NC and emerge from the “chump fog.”

      • B&R, I behaved in exactly the same way as you between being discarded and finding out about the affair. I felt the same. That period of 10 weeks was grim, not least because he moved back into the marital home for 2 weeks. He slept in the spare room but would walk through the previously shared master bedroom every morning to shower for work in the en suite and use my hairdryer. I laugh now because it was ridiculous. He would be doing a big cover up act so that I didn’t see his naked body but he would pose in front of the full length mirror in his underpants with one leg bent and hip jutting out drying his hair and I was intended to see him. That man just loved himself so much at that time. And we had another bathroom he could use. He then moved to an AirBnB when he had finally got himself sorted (I later found that the exgfOW was giving him a hard time about being back in the house). He arranged meetings at which he broke more news about his future plans while I painted a fake smile on my face and pick me danced like a shocked and dazed puppet. Finding out about the affair was such a relief, although it didn’t feel like it at the time. My boundaries around infidelity being a dealbreaker were the strongest part of the relationship and, whilst still devastating, it became easier to start the divorce. I stopped dancing instantly. There were then weeks of messages delivered via flying monkeys about how we ‘needed to talk’ and ‘truth and perception are not the same thing’. He revealed himself over and over to be a PoS.

        I look back on that first 10 weeks with huge sadness and forgiveness for myself. I wanted him to encourage me when I went for a second interview for a big job. All he cared about was whether I would have to use ‘his’ car to get to and from the job. I was attending an event near his office on one occasion. All he cared about was whether I might meet him accidentally (and he had a lot to hide). I acted like a fool because I was being fooled by him. The only person to carry blame and responsibility for that is the ex. It’s a massive leap of faith to accept the sunk costs of years invested in a person without merit. We want to believe that our judgement was right, to restore the equilibrium. And perhaps wanting some recognition for what we’ve achieved is something at our core saying ‘tell me that I wasn’t completely wrong about you, please’. Some validation for the time spent in ignorance.

  • Once you reach true “Meh”-you won’t care what that asswipe thinks about, cares about, etc.

      • Make a list of every rotten thing he has done and said

        You’ll need it to avoid getting abuse amnesia

        • I like this ‘abuse amnesia’ or the psychological propensity of wonderful humans to forget the bad and focus on the good. I think I’ve mentioned before here that I don’t want to keep FW central in my thinking and I don’t want to keep his abuses at the forefront of my mind. He does not get to take up prime headspace any longer. However a list is a great idea to refresh our minds as to why they should never ever be trusted. I’m three years out from divorce but I just put a post-it note at my desk dated 1/24/22 where exFW texted that I was an “f—-ing idiot loser failure” I wrote next to the quote, lest I feel bad about myself, “not your friend”. I have had a recent promotion and very significant raise—all on my own. I am none of those things but he is still trying to tear me down, that long after the fact. #trustingtheysuck #everywhereyougothereyouare

        • Mitz , “ABUSE AMNESIA”. Wow.
          These 2 words put together should be patented & paid for!
          I had a bad case of it, couldn’t understand what was happening & probably had a hundred thoughts trying to understand & probably spoke hundreds of words trying to explain.
          Abuse Amnesia. Crystal Clear. Succinct
          Another gem found here today.
          ???????????? Bravo

  • No Contact (or Minimal Contact if you have liddel kiddels with the traitor in your life) means no or minimal opportunities to control and mind-eff you.

    Cheaters don’t do love. They do power and control and manipulation. It’s a huge misconception that they are operating out of love. They position themselves as the hub of game, controlling the information and the truth and keeping it from all the players that THEY have manipulated into their game of Lie Cheat and Steal. Love is nowhere in the building. Love has a completely different address. Where there is power and control and manipulation and deceit and deliberate harm to anyone, there is no ability to love. Love is there or it is not there. It is not selectively there, or partially there. If it is there, it is applied to all, not some.

    To celebrate the accomplishments of another, there must be love. Love is as love does.

    You can’t convince me that someone who deliberately harms someone can love anyone. Even their own children. No one who cares about their children would burn down the bird nest with a parent bird and baby birds in it.

    He said he loved me. His actions did not reflect that. Same for our daughter.

    The words only matter when the actions match.

    And if you loved someone, you would never invite them to have an affair with you and put them in that position.

    Don’t think for one instant that people who have affairs know anything about love.

    • I never had an affair or was involved with someone who was in a committed relationship. Because to do either of those things would hurt people. I guess because I am capable of love.

      At nineteen years old I was not a together person, at all. I was in college and went on a date. I realized not long into the evening that the man I was with was probably married. I asked him to take me home immediately, which he did. I never spoke to him or saw him ever again. I was angry and insulted. As a nineteen year old mess, at least part of me was wired properly.

      I don’t believe people who have affairs are wired properly or know a dadgum thing about love.

    • Contrary to what x would insist…”[w]here there is power and control and manipulation and deceit and deliberate harm to anyone, there is no ability to love.’

      So true!!

      Speaking of power and control, my adults kids told me that x recently mounted his moral high horse to berate them (by email) for not wishing his mom a happy birthday.

      A special kind of degenerate feels he can tell others what they should and should not do.

      As far as I know, they did not respond to his email.

      When they lose all power and control, they toggle between rage and self-pity. And they blame everyone but themselves for their situation.

      • “When they lose all power and control, they toggle between rage and self-pity. And they blame everyone but themselves for their situation.”

        Ain’t that the truth.

    • Agree with you Velvet. Once I started paying attention to FWs actions and not trying to interpret his words trusting that he sucks was easy. No contact was the next step and it is great. Everything goes through the attorneys. It may cost a bit more but the peace it provides is wonderful. We are currently trying to settle our assets so my CDFA is doing that heavy lifting. I am hoping for agreement in the next days with a finalization shortly thereafter. Hopefully my next stop will be meh.

    • “Don’t think for one instant that people who have affairs know anything about love.”

      VH, even just two years ago I don’t think I would have understood those words. Now I know exactly what you mean.

  • There is also the element of they (FW) want to have the upper hand by making everyone around them miserable. It’s a power thing. If the FW can ruin any good thing the chump has going for them the FW is in heaven. It feeds into their delusion that they rule the world and only they matter. Their sense of entitlement makes them jealous of even the most miniscule accomplishment or even tiny bit of happiness a chump achieves.

    Bigger blessings really set them off. In their sad little egos, if the chump receives a blessing…. 1. said chump doesn’t deserve it because – devaluation, and 2. In their mind, FW deserves everything with no effort, and anything anyone else gets depletes the supply for FW.

    So what do they do? They do their utmost to proverbially shit on it. If they can ruin it for the chump…..POWER! And if they can destroy the chumps’s life even better!

    The best was to insulate ourselves from the FW’s negativity is to totally refuse to buy in to any of their opinions. They can have them, it just doesn’t matter to me. I am enough, just as I am.

    And so are you!

    • “If the FW can ruin any good thing the chump has going for them the FW is in heaven”

      Hmmm.. he later emailed to “apologize” and said I “deserved” the celebration. I haven’t responded. His initial response was enough…

      • I hope you’re on the alert for “placating” behavior, that nicey-nice behavior of theirs that is not an honest expression of how they feel but an attempt to keep you compliant through the divorce process.

        • I got this before when I threatened divorce the first time, the placating behavior. He became husband of the year as we attempted wreckonciliation. Lesson learned. That’s why I’m keeping my mouth shut until I can leave in peace and serve him.

    • This is so true. My FW would ruin every family get together, holiday, vacation, celebration. In the end I realized that I was about creating things and all he did was destroy whatever he could. Thank goodness he can no longer affect my mood or destroy my happiness. NC is the only way forward for me.

  • Chumps often realize that the most painful part of infidelity is not the sex, but the deceit as a spouse goes on with their life knowing they have emotionally left the marriage. It’s a terrible feeling, no matter which end you’re on.

    Rip the band-aid off.

    • Right.

      And cheaters can’t appreciate the pain they’ve caused.

      They see only their own pain, whatever that might be.

      Their pain is the pain of consequences. If they’ve suffered any negative consequences, they feel the sadz because those consequences are *so unfair*.

      That they causes their own pain doesn’t register.

      • His pain??? Really? Fancy dinners, vacations, endless gifts, my money spent on Schmoopie, hotel trusts, great memories with her… what pain??? The pain of fond memories…guess this is why it’s called disordered thinking…to consider for a moment that he even sees himself as the victim…

        • Make certain you have evidence of his spending marital/household money on Schmoopie. A good lawyer will ask that he return it and even try to get him to pay for the legal fees for filing to divorce his cheating ass.

          May he and Schmoopie develop a scorching case of herpes and their genitals melt.

        • And just unpack that a little. Anyone who could be happy while causing you pain like no other—disordered. Get away. Not your friend.

        • If your stbxh is a covert narc, then your question “What pain?” can be answered: 1. The pain of not having what he wants without consequences. Entitlement.
          2. The pain of being exposed.
          Some are very invested looking good,
          but not in being good.
          Imagine management.

    • My ex always looked after the vehicles. Suddenly he said I was going to have to take my own car in for repairs/service; he had always done that, to get the best price/work etc.

      Only later did I piece it together. He had already left in his mind and was methodically cutting his ties to me.

      No matter how big a FW they are …. it hurts

      • Mitz, I remember when my ex started doing that to me. He had always been a bit of a controller, it didn’t seem so bad in real time. He couched it as protecting me. But, he didn’t want me going out at night, didn’t want me to travel for work etc.

        Anyway, towards the end he started complaining that I needed to learn to take care of things. So yes he was building up to the drop kick.

        Then part of his complaint about me was I needed to be more self sufficient, like it was a life long effort of his to make me that way. Lying piece of shit.

        His problem was everyone knew he was a controller, and a lying piece of crap. I am one of the lucky ones that I got to see his crash and burn.

  • Confused Chump, a few things you wrote are key to what I would work on: “Why couldn’t he be happy for me?” (Because he doesn’t care about you- you’re an appliance and your happiness means nothing to him- that’s who he is and always was). “He knows and sees how much pain he has caused me” (no, he doesn’t “know” and frankly, he doesn’t give a shit about you – never did – that’s who he is and always was – the mask slipped and now you know) “. . . shouldn’t he be happy that my spirits are lifting a bit and that those that care about me would want to do something nice for me?” (Strike “should” from any thought about him. He shouldn’t have put his dick in strange vag or butts and risked your life, but that’s who he is and always was- he does what he wants to and you mean nothing to him- never did and never will – that’s why you’re saving yourself and divorcing …. Trust he sucks. It hurts like nothing else, but once you’re fully no contact you can start to heal and one day soon you’ll think nothing of him and be grateful you’re free.).

    • Very true with the “should” statements.
      The disordered covert narcissist does not think like regular people.

      I received many emails from Xhole during the Divorcing process. He was often admonishing me for things he thought I “should” be doing. Statements were often started with:
      “You would think you would be able to do XYZ”
      This is because in his mind there is no other way of doing something other than his way. Even if the kids were repeatedly getting hurt by his actions, he felt justified we should all get in line and do as he says and think like he does.
      They truly are Case studies.
      Power & Control & Manipulation. As Velvet Hammer mentioned above.

  • Confused Chump:

    You’re married to someone who’s previously demonstrated that he hasn’t cared about you or your feelings; maybe at one time, he had the emotional band with to do so, but most self-centered and narcissistic individuals have been that way all their lives. FWs are their own sun, moon and stars, and they tolerate other people inhabiting their solar system because those people are temporarily useful, not because they’re actually taken into consideration. It’s surprising that you’d expect him to care about you now, let alone throw a party to celebrate your amazing success. He won’t. Keep getting your ducks lined up and do what needs to be done.

    • It’s such a painful reality to accept… especially given that I’ve genuinely celebrated him and his accomplishments…hell I put him through school…Im actively working to trust and accept that he sucks…

      • Dearest ConfusedChump, the unfairness
        IS an outrageous offense. All of the unfairnesses. And all your thoughts & emotions about unfairness. So sorry.

      • He doesn’t operate by your standards. You are projecting. I did it too, wanting to see what I wanted to see, ignoring the red flags because then I’d have to do something about it. Eventually I had to draw a line in the sand and he eventually crossed it. I still didn’t want to upset my and kids life but I realized that I had already lowered my standards way too low, accepted things I never should have accepted and let my self respect go in the toilet. In the end I had to uphold my own ultimatum though I really didn’t want to sign up for the agony and pain of a divorce. All FWs try to do enough to keep you in the fog until they can monkey branch away —FWs was counting on you to think he was a great guy. Beat that narrative and make him irrelevant to your success and happiness. He always was only out for himself.

      • Don’t worry about how you feel about him or what he is or isn’t doing. Just get away. Everything will be more clear with some distance. I filed while still half in love and not at all sure it was best in my heart. But my head said to get the F out, and my heart soon followed when I saw the s*storm of lies and attacks (emotional and physical) that followed me filing. I’ve been separated four years and divorced a year and a half. And I still read here every day to remind myself that he sucks. It is a long process. You won’t get there now so don’t sweat it.

      • Again, he isn’t you.

        Don’t project. Pay attention to what he does, not what he says or what you would say in the same situation.

  • Cheaters often devalue their partners to justify their affair(s). It’s hard to position you as a sad, bitter loser if you are thriving professionally and socially. Cheaters also resent your success, because they aren’t central if you are. It doesn’t matter if they have a prestigious, high-paying job. YOU have published a book, and YOU got a big promotion, so he may feel small in comparison. He’s probably been resentful since you finished your book and got your contract.
    If he knows you know about the affairs, he should be on his A game with you if he wants to make amends or salvage the marriage. Obviously he doesn’t. Celebrate without him. And don’t be surprised if he retaliates. When author Vikki Stark was on a book tour celebrating sisters, her husband had his OW in their home, and soon after, right before her appearance on a major TV show, he blindsided her with the announcement that he’d left their marriage. Stark is the now also the author of “Runaway Husbands,” which I highly recommend.
    While you’re getting your ducks in a row, he may be doing the same. Make sure you have documents and valuables out of his reach.
    Congratulations on your promotion and publication! They are both big accomplishments.

    • Oh I’m definitely celebrating without him… im shopping for nice vacation outfits and getting more and more excited. I’ve assumed he’s not coming…I haven’t asked… oh well…????????‍♀️

      • Wait – “I’ve assumed he’s not coming” ? Does that mean you were even considering asking him? What would that gain you, unless you’re trying to pretend like you still might reconcile, and then you serve him?

        I hope you’re not on the fence about the only sane thing to do.

      • Confused, your comment raises anxious feelings in me. I made the same mistake it looks as if you are about to make. A friend had a big birthday party overseas coming up. The ex and I were married, but I was in the process of being horribly devalued. I did not know why. I had accepted the invitation with his agreement and booked flights. Then I was discarded 4 months later. Ex insisted that he was still coming on the trip. The friends knew that he had left me but none of us knew why (except him). We all hoped that it was to be a short-lived midlife crisis because we all loved him. He messed all of us about for weeks. He was coming on the trip, he wasn’t coming on the trip, he told the friends he was coming on the trip, then 3 days before he announced to me in an unexpected text (I had just found evidence of the affair) that he wasn’t coming because ‘it would not be right’. He didn’t tell the friends. The moment I stepped off the plane, literally the moment I did so, he sent a text ‘hoping that you will enjoy the party’. I ignored him. He then texted the friends. By this time they were furious with him. The afternoon before I got on the plane to come home, he sent me a long, abusive text. I showed it to the friends. For the first time they were truly shocked. When I got home, after a difficult journey, he had raided the house, taking quantities of stuff. Fortunately I had locked all the important papers in a safe place off site and he had been unable to access those. I presumed that the abusive text resulted from his frustration about that. Believe me, you do not want him at your celebration trip. He will destroy it for you. The ex managed to damage and hurt even without coming on my trip.

        I say, respectfully, that some (more) therapy may be needed for you to break the trauma bond with your ex so that you can get on with your life. The link between ‘vacation outfits’ and not asking about whether he is coming reads to me like hoping he is coming and not wanting to ask in case the answer is ‘no’ and your hopes are dashed. Until I knew about the affair I hoped the ex would come on my trip. It would be the big reconciliation when he recognised his mistake. The affair made all the difference. In your position I would be saying to those organising the trip, ‘if he’s coming, you’ll have to go ahead without your lead player, because I won’t be coming, I’m divorcing him’. Look after yourself.

      • OK, now I see why you are busy lining up ducks. You say all the right things (lining up ducks, working on “trust the he sucks,” waiting for Tuesday) but here is the tell. You are still in this marriage, living in the same house (albeit “separately”). You’re still attached.

        And your original letter to CL is really about what you really want– your husband’s attention and validation and “happiness for you.” And if you get that, you can stay. Again.

        If you want to gain a life, the first step is “leave a cheater.” That means…leave. You don’t even have to file. You rent an apartment or buy a house and leave. There is really nothing to keep you in the marriage if you don’t have kids and you can support yourself. If you can afford a trip/vacation with friends to celebrate your success, you can afford to leave and let the lawyers sort out the financials. Lots of people here left with nothing but the kids, the pets, and the clothes on their backs.

        • LovedAJackass,
          Responding to “you’re still attached”
          I think you’re right.
          CC left the RIC. Was that a firm, solid, well thought out decision to divorce?
          The Reason she wrote to CL is because she is struggling, upset, surprised, confused & offended that husband
          isn’t happy for her.
          An upsetting, frightening jolt of reality? A powerful, but momentary case of cold feet? A needed push into the unknown future? Trying to break the Hopi I’m addiction?
          Only CC can answer these questions.

        • LAJ – can you be my mentor? Serious. This is what I need. No bullshit. The fog can be so so so thick.

          • Read enough of what people write and you can usually tell what’s what. That’s why the UBT works so well.

            It’s hard to leave a marriage. It’s hard to leave a home. And some people need time to line up those ducks because they have kids, lack cash or don’t want to leave the family home. Every situation is different and complex.

            Sometimes people are caught between what they suspect they need to do (leave, in this case) and what they really want (the cheater to “feel their pain” and show up as a unicorn). If Cheater is an investment banker, there are lots of lifestyle issues involved in leaving. This one looks a lot like an RIC 180 to me.

            Hey, I wanted all of these same things from Jackass after D-Day. But I was lucky–he discarded me so I had to get on with things. And my therapist was no bullshit clear with me that I couldn’t go back. So there was that, too!

  • If he is truly a narcissist, a narcissist is a bucket with no bottom on it. You can fill it and fill it and fill it and it will never get full. Nothing is ever enough. There’s a book out called “the Wizard of Oz and other narcissists“. It’s great for describing the narcissist, if not telling you how to deal with them and manage the relationship. You might recognize your soon to be ex in there. In the meantime, it would be good to invest in some counseling/therapy. Chances are if you were attracted to a narcissist, it’s because one of your parents is also a narcissist which makes the pull that much stronger. And also makes it more likely that you’ll end up with another narcissist after this.

    Hang in there and good luck with your divorce.

    • Well I definitely didn’t see narcissistic traits before we married but I’ll spare you that history. I’m consumed with planning and lining up ducks now, I suppose when all is finalized I’ll take some time to reflect. Acceptance isn’t easy still…

  • Dear Confused Chump,

    Your ex is a loser. He doesn’t have to be, but it’s his choice.

    You are a winner. You care, you’re a hard worker, you’ve published a book and earned a big promotion. Look ahead at your great life. Don’t worry about the trash that has crossed your path and you kindly put to the side of the road.

  • Even if he weren’t a FW, he’s a stbx. That means he’s not on your team.

    Going forward, none of his actions will prioritize you. Oh he may do or say things that benefit you, but your gain isn’t why he’ll do them.

    Please cultivate prioritizing yourself.

    • It’s hard to remember but not all exes and stbxes are narc FWs. We are all here because our ones are like that. However, I think in a normal relationship (whatever that is) it is conceivable (and I have witnessed this) that the exes care about their exes at the very least for the sake of the children. They want their kids taken the best care of and making sure the ex has what they need is paramount to the safety and well being of the kids. So they make sure to model good behavior. They help their young kids celebrate their other parent’s birthday and mother/Father’s Day. They are sensitive to the needs of the other parent. They show up and they open their wallet and act in a mature way. Unfortunately all of us here did not marry that type of person. But they are out there and may even be a majority for all I know.

      • Onward&Upward, I too, from time to time, wonder if we (collective we) & myself assume too easily, too quickly that every betrayer is a narcissist or falls somewhere on the continuum of cluster b spectrum.
        Then I/we write from that assumption.
        I think what you wrote is important &
        is food for thought.

    • “He’s not on your team”…I need to post that somewhere I can constantly see and be reminded of this.

      • Make it your screensaver on your phone.

        Consider changing his ringtone to Darth Vader’s music, or Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine’s music. Or whatever suits him best. But make it a villain!

  • He didn’t care enough about you and your feelings not to cheat, what makes you think he would care about your feelings now? If he could do what he did, why would you ever expect any support or caring after that? He did not get a character transplant! Everything is all about them, the FWs, it was never about you, only you *in relation* to them. You are merely an accessory, an object, a wife appliance, to a FW. On the contrary, keeping you off balance and trauma bonded keeps you coming back to him for validation so he can knock you down again! Kibbles! Cake! Stop feeding the beast! Detach like your life depends on it! Walk away! No contact! I have walked down that lonesome road…

    • “You are merely an accessory, an object, a wife appliance, to a FW”… boy does this truth hurt…I hope “meh” doesn’t delay…

  • Hey CC, it sounds like it’s early days for you. It’s a very hard realization that the person you trusted the most, were closest to actually doesn’t care about you. It is understandably very painful and will come in time, but it’s worth working your way through because the state of “meh” is on the other side. No contact is the way to get there. What I used to do early on during the very confusing first months after D-Day was repeating to myself “he’s not your friend”. It helps until it finally sinks in that they indeed suck.

    So serve him already and get the f&$* away so that you can get started! Life is sweet in the other side.

    • I’m definitely struggling to accept but internalizing it little by little…Tuesday is coming…

      • You’ll have to be patient with yourself on that end, this takes time usually. You will have to disengage emotionally with NC and administratively/financially through divorce. Even so it is not immediate, I would describe it more like a grieving process. Only people are not truly invested, or incredibly shallow, can get in and out of a long term relationship or marriage in the blink of an eye…

  • Confused chump,

    You’re still attached. It’s okay and most of us have been there. I was incredibly shocked that my husband went from over the top sickly sweet to me and being my personal champion for all my successes to a cold detached and very mean person. You see, after I found out about OW and then he confessed to the years of cheating, I said we’re done. From that moment on it was like I never existed and he was cruel and horrible to me. It was like he was punishing me for his cheating. He left me and our daughter without a care in the world. 2.5 years later I’m nearly detached from him. You’re in the early days of it still. Get him out, go no contact. I hate to say this but he won’t care about you ever again. He’s not your friend, unless you’re okay having a friend as someone who hurt you and doesn’t respect you.

    Try it out- no contact. Don’t expect any kindness or care from him. Find it from your nice friends and stop protecting him. You got this!

  • Yes, he doesn’t care because he doesn’t care. If he did care, he would not have put your relationship into such a bad place. He would have owned his junk and more, but he’s not doing that. He’s simmering, blaming you as much as he can even if he doesn’t voice that.

    I had to go back and look up some things in an older calendar diary unrelated to the separation/divorce, and I found some notes that really struck me. We were separated long-distance, but still talking on the phone regularly, supposedly trying to reconcile.

    He complained that I wasn’t meeting his needs and was not in a good place. All the blame was on me of course, which was nonsense because he was the one that chose to take off so far away. How can you possibly meet each other’s needs long-distance at a time when the marriage is in jeopardy? He didn’t care a bit about the chaos he left behind or how abandoned I was feeling. It was all about HIM. I journaled all that and then saw the local life coach that was helping me, and I wrote down afterward something to the effect that I had to own my own stuff and find my own joy in life. Maybe he would come around, or maybe not, but either way, I had to let go of him for now.

    So I did. I saw both the life coach and a therapist for a year and worked through a lot of hard stuff including my junk from childhood. His version of reconciliation was set up so that I figuratively would have been enslaved (my terminology). The life coach, therapist, and our church’s leadership confirmed my gut on that, so I refused reconciliation, and divorce followed. It was truly an awful experience but confirmed that there was absolutely no path forward but through the legal buzzsaw.

    It had to be!

    • Elsie, your post reminds me of the value of our gut instincts aka red flags or what I believe to be gift from God alerting us to truth. Even when (especially when) truth is so very difficult to find, face & accept. followed by grief, upheaval & adjustment
      Also makes me think of the book “The life saving divorce” which I didn’t read, but watched author on YouTube interview those that agree with you ~ “it had to be”.

  • The fable of the scorpion and the frog:
    A scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so it asks a frog to carry it across. The frog hesitates, afraid that the scorpion might sting it, but the scorpion promises not to, pointing out that it would drown if it killed the frog in the middle of the river. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: “I am sorry, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s in my nature.

    The FWs can’t help themselves. It’s in their nature. Chumps are trusting frogs. The scorpions we married are able to camouflage their nature for a while (years in many cases) but eventually it reveals itself. As trusting frogs, we feel blindsided because it’s hard to accept that we loved a scorpion.

    FWs will never care, nor be happy for any blessings that come your way. Never. They’ll get angry when good things happen to you, because it’s not happening to them, but they’ll never be happy for you. Nor will they care. Illness, mourning the death of a loved one, job loss, whatever hardship life will throw at you – THEY DON’T CARE. (Many may take glee)

    When you can finally accept this, when it finally sinks into your brain that this is the reality, that some people are actually created with this chip in their brain, not the fantasy you were living under, it’s incredibly freeing. Let them die not caring. That’s not you. You care. You are free. They don’t care.

    • I’m actively working to accept this. It’s hard… almost like having to retrain my brain but I’m getting there. Trusting that he sucks little by little…

    • MsAzure. This fable is brilliant. It truly is in a narcs nature to cheat. They are hard wired for it.
      FW is from a family of liars and cheaters. The parents and siblings all cheat. I thought FW was the good one in the family as he appeared to disapprove of the siblings behaviour. NOPE. He is just extremely covert. I was snowed 21 years. Big time.
      Confused Chump:
      It is THE HARDEST pill to swallow knowing now that he NEVER loved me. My entire marriage was a mirage and I was merely wife appliance and leg up in life. Shiny new is in. Me, out.
      If there is one thing I may always mourn it is this realization that I’ve never been loved in life. Hurts like hell, but better to know the truth than be continually caught up in a snowy blizzard.
      Love yourself is the only way to heal from this, that I can see.
      You’re doing amazing. He is jealous as can be. Good riddance.

      • Mine was the same. He seemed like the normal one in his family of lying cheating narc weirdos. Like yours, he was just covert.

        I think they use us chumps to try to escape that family curse of awful narcissistic fucked-upness and spiritual/emotional emptiness. They think we can make them better, so they blame us when that inevitably does not work. Then they are sure AP will do that for them. Then the process will repeat and they’ll cheat again to try to find a magic groin which will fill the hole in their soul.
        They are hopeless.

      • Chumpadelic, I know that awful feeling of never having been loved in life, but I think if humans can share suffering as we do in this forum, then we must also share its opposite — love. My heart goes out to you, and I feel bonded to you in kindness. Just that is worth more than the false shit crumbs I was fed for 30 years. Thank you for your sweet post. We are loved. ????

      • Hi, Chumpadellic.
        Late entry, don’t know if you’ll ever get to see this, but just wanted to say that my heart goes out for you. Also, (((hughs)))
        I hear you, it hurts me too to realize that I was never romantically loved in my whole life. I mean the mature kind of romantic love, that has to do with partnership, weathering life’s struggles, support, admiration, pride for your better half, care, tenderness and the desire to die of old age holding hands. I had all of that for my FW XW which I met when we were teenagers, and to know now that it was all counterfeit on her side (when it was, because it was mostly invalidation and criticism), saddens me a lot. I feel like a dried up well right now and I am pretty sure romantic love is never going to come my way again. There are lots of other kinds of love of course, and I know for sure you and me are loved in other ways by many people. But it really hurts to have been denied that part of being human. If only cheaters wouldn’t rob us chumps of our time and innocence… that’s the biggest theft.

  • CC,

    Don’t expect him to show that he cares because he doesn’t; at least not in the way that you want.

    In his view, he is the star of the show and you are at best a supporting actress or perhaps one of a number of supporting actresses. He does not want people to show that they care about you because they should care only about him; them showing that they care about you implies that he might be in the wrong. He does not want to see you succeed, because he is the only one who should be seen to succeed and his success looks even better if you are seen to fail. In his world, it doesn’t matter what he’s got; it matters that he hasn’t got what you’ve got.

    I could go on but I won’t.

    Basically, don’t try and untangle his BS; there is one one person whose happiness matters here and it’s not him!


  • I got a job in my chosen field through what feels like sheer serendipity (was a SAHM and planned on being on for the next year before finding out about the prostitutes and lies). I was in limbo at this time, also living in the house I thought I would be in for the next 20 years or so, living parallel to the FW who had betrayed me and our family (my daughter just over a year old at this time). So you wonder why he can’t be happy for you. Well, mine suggested we go out to dinner to “celebrate” my finding financial independence (man, what a load off of HIS back that must have been too, considering it could have been spousal support) from the monster who had essentially been breaking up our family from its inception. Dinner could not have felt less celebratory. It was nice to go out with my daughter (who was eager to eat anything at that point and would cutely fall asleep in her carrier), and I love sushi, so it was certainly a fine “go me” moment, but in retrospect I wish I weren’t sharing the victory with him. He put me/us in that position. He sucks. I agree with the post above — you are still thinking like a partner. I was too, having tried to understand my lot (about 4 months) and then living in that house in limbo knowing I was headed toward divorce (another month at that point). I was still wrapping my head around what happened. Before this, yes, celebrating together would have been so natural. Uncoupling is hard. You celebrate you because YOU are awesome. Celebrate with the people who appreciate/love/respect you. Not that turd. He has shown you quite plainly what he thinks of you. Any compliment or shared celebration would be hollow and horribly ironic.

    • Yea all of this is a serious mindf***. I can see why not untangling the skein is a golden piece of advice…im trying hard….just hard to believe people are really this messed up internally.

  • From my own personal experience FW’s are extremely envious people

    Expecting them to be happy for anyone is not realistic, sorry

    • It’s interesting… they treat you like s***, won’t be pleasant to you but then get mad when others are good to you or when God things happen to you…

  • When I was getting a divorce I somehow immersed myself in videos and books on these types of men/ women ,while seeing a counselor and had one, counselor, in the family. I learned what they are and what they are and are not capable of. In the end I cut off contact with surety that he was not worth the time or energy with no maybes. It was not in my power to change him but for my health I not talk to him and move on. Granted I am damaged and have gone asexual but still alive. It’s a damaged world. I just made bad judgement.

  • Dear Confused Chump,

    Be careful that he isn’t sabotaging you because he’s offended you’re doing so well without him. My Ex had to ruin an event I was looking forward to, smear me behind my back, etc… Also his words are poisonous, implying your friends only pity you. After you’re free, you’ll have “ah hah!” moments for years afterward of realizing how his toxic was holding you back.

    • Oooh hadn’t even considered that. Again this is why my ducks are being lined up in secret and I’m being extra vigilant with everything… he suspects nothing. Probably thinks I’m going through another pouting phase and will “recover” soon enough. I will have moved out and had him served.

      • CC – you sound smarter than I was back then. I had an instinct to not share, but not enough. I’m so glad you intend to be gone when he is served.

        For some reason, the stories here remind me of O N Ward’s book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath”, or her blog posts on the lovefraud dot com site. She describes so well the hostility underneath the mask.

  • I find the direct line from cheater to narcissist can be overused. Sometimes it’s as simply as “is this acceptable to you”. Having sex with others and lying about it? Not acceptable.

    Every decision going forward is based on what is best for chump – as long as it’s honest and legal.

    • Not all cheaters are character/personality disordered. But (probably mangling Chump Lady here) cheating is in itself narcissistic. At the very least, cheaters have “a bad case of asshole” (stole that from Chump Nation, maybe from Chump Lady herself).

  • Great advice from CL and on this thread. The next chapter of your life can’t begin until you get this monkey off your back and go no contact. When you’re no contact, the issue of them being happy for you becomes irrelevant. You’re happy for you, and that’s what matters. I would encourage you to put the same amount of energy into exiting this relationship and getting this guy out of your home and life as you’ve been putting into your career and friendships. Until that happens, everything will still have this dark cloud over it. Be free.

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