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Why Is the Cheater Living His Best Life And I Am Not?

Waiting for karmaHi, Chump Lady,

How do I get past the idea that somehow he and the affair partner are out there living a happy carefree life? I am hurting so badly. I just want to get to meh, and it constantly eludes me.

Thanks,

Meh-less in PA

****

Dear Meh-less,

Untether yourself from his happiness.

Seriously do not give a shit if he’s happy, unhappy, bored, constipated, or filled with existential dread.

He’s someone you used to know. And his mental state is none of your concern. He lost the privilege of you caring.

Whoa, Tracy, this is a question about justice! How can he be HAPPY after what he did!

I get that he doesn’t DESERVE to be happy. But you’re going to be miserable if you base your well-being on the whims of fuckwits.

Happy, unhappy — if he cheated, he’s not that deep. He probably has zero ability to be content or committed and eventually the shiny will wear off this one, like it did you.

But maybe not! Maybe he’ll be deliriously enraptured with Schmoopie forever. And they’ll live in a gilded palace with monogrammed towels, Mr. & Mrs. FW.

It doesn’t matter! It. Does. Not. MATTER.

He lost the privilege of being in your life. So get on with it. Live YOUR best life. You control that. His wandering dick? Not so much.

How do I get past the idea that somehow he and the affair partner are out there living a happy carefree life?

The only people with carefree lives are sociopaths. Because they don’t care. There’s no adaptive anxiety to react to things they should actually care about. Overdue bills? A trail of destruction and broken hearts? Three months of dirty laundry? Whatevs. The synapses are not firing.

Responsible people have cares. Good people invest. And they tend to stress. Do not envy “care-free” people. If you’re busy with your life, and deeply committed, you’ve got a lot to care about. That’s GOOD.

Schmoopie won a cheater. They aren’t prizes. In time, you will trust the suck. Believe me, the pain fades. If you’re hurting badly, this is probably all still quite raw and new. But Sweetheart, you were rejected by a loser.

All rejection hurts, I get it. But you were not rejected by the Nobel Committee. You were rejected by some dick dribble who couldn’t keep it in his pants. Some unethical creature who didn’t have two brain cells of maturity to end things honestly. A pathetic fuckboy.

Who cares what he thinks? This is not someone to respect, or whose values align with yours.

Meh is out there. Give it time. Meanwhile, focus on your own happiness and a pox on his.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • For me, maybe the reason it hurt so bad is because he is a loser—who threw our family away for a prostitute. We mattered that little to him. I wonder if I’d feel so rejected if he left for some fantastic woman, who had it all together. Nope, he chose a drug addict with two illegitimate kids…

    • Faithful Rage, about the only thing I’m sure of since I left my sociopathic Lying Cheating Loser four years ago, is that only one person matters to fuckwits: themselves.
      I bent over backwards for the LCL for the entirety of our four-year relationship. I was a great partner and wonderful bonus mom to his two teens. And I’m sure he loved the lifestyle and the creature comforts I provided. But he never loved ME.
      Just as he never loved his ex-wife, his kids, the dozens of Broken Bitches he cheated on me with, or any of the new women he’s cycled through since I dumped him – including his two new baby mamas and poor innocent babies.
      Your ex’s new relationship won’t last. Even if he were with some fantastic woman who had it all together, it wouldn’t last. Fuckwits are who they are: parasites and opportunists. They don’t bond.
      And that’s why it doesn’t matter who they leave us for, and what that person has or doesn’t have to offer. They’re no more committed to them than they were to us.

      • Yes! That last sentence…”no more committed to them than they were to us.” I remember hearing a therapist say this – the one and only I’ve heard – in the early days of me listening/reading to ALLLLLL the podcasts/books on infidelity. His way of putting it was, if your ex didn’t/couldn’t practice emotional maturity with you, that maturity doesn’t magically appear in their relationships with affair partners.

        • Yep the very act of having an affair should tip off the AP to twu loves emotional maturity; but since the AP is likely even less stable/desperate, they don’t see it, or don’t care.

      • Sad thing is that FW’s new relationship probably will last for his lifetime. New wife, not OWhore, is 24 yrs younger to his 60. She will enjoy the good life like I did for over 2 decades & will out live him before he can blindside again.

        • Hurt1, I felt like this too. But then I started focusing on the fact that he wasn’t actually a good husband. I loved him, we had fun, adventures, a child. We worked together. We had a deep intellectual connection. I thought we were super solid. But he didn’t give me enough attention, he was a selfish lover, he played video games and Magic cards and seemed to enjoy that more than anything else we did. He did about 10 percent of the domestic chores, and he either did them half assed or late. He didn’t care about our daughter’s life that much. He was self centered. After DDay and I learned about his double life I was shocked and hurt and felt like he got the great deal and I was left with the rubble. And it was true! But I’ve healed from the idea that she somehow won the best life. The fact is- I needed to be away from him and he was toxic and selfish, and a massive liar and an all around bad egg. I agree with Chump Lady, who cares? Time for you to live your best life Hurt1. She got the turd, you got a second chance to be adored by a real person 💜

        • Hurt1, all she will get is an illusion. Healthy people do not cheat.

          My idea of a good life is the genuine authentic Real McCoy experience of what I thought I had.

          An affair partner is not a faithful partner, is not a healthy partner, and does not get a faithful partner or a healthy partner.

          • Years ago, I absentmindedly left my purse sitting on a sidewalk in San Francisco while I was loading up my gear into my truck. I made it all the way home, a half hour north, before I realized what happened. The only thing I could think to do was to call the police precinct closest to where I left it. By some miracle, someone had called and said they found it. I drove back to the city and a detective accompanied me to the home where the man who found it and his wife lived. Everything was inside, including the cash in my wallet. They were Russian immigrants, new in town who lived in a neighborhood where it looked like they could have really needed the money.

            The events had nothing to do with me or the quality of the purse. It had everything to do with the quality of the character of the man who found my purse.

            Individuals who lead secret sexual double lives, cheaters, and who get involved with people in committed relationships belong to the group of people who would keep the purse.

            I am the person who turns in the purse, and I want to associate with people who would turn in the purse. I thought (I don’t know why now!) that I was married to someone who would turn in the purse.

            If it’s revealed that the company that I keep is shady and deceitful and hurtful, it certainly has nothing to do with me and I do really need to go. They are not living what I would define as a “best life” and neither will I if I stick with them.

            My daughter also scores high when it comes to integrity, which to me is one of the most important reasons and a priceless true reward of practicing rigorous honesty. I want her to love her best life, and that means not being a cheater, or a side piece, or sticking with someone who treats her badly.

        • I wonder how truly good of a life a 36-year-old woman can have with a 60-year-old man. It’s a pretty significant age difference.

        • I get it, and maybe so.

          However, men get old too and there is a very high chance good old ED is going to rear it’s ugly head, or should I say not rear its head. Then he will wonder…

          Or maybe he won’t care, some don’t.

          I hope right around the corner, even beginning today you have a blessed and full life. You may already be doing that. You can have a full life and still ponder on other things.

    • In early days of this process, our emotions are intense and our sense of self worth takes a beating and the FW does Everything he can to make us feel at fault. As CL has written often, cheating is a character flaw and has nothing to do with you.we are collateral damage. FWs always downgrade cuz a woman (or man) of integrity would not take up with a married person and blow up a family. OWs are not fantastic regardless of their wealth or stature. Drug addicted OWs are looking for their next source. FW is merely the supply collecting payment with sex. An even bigger Suck. I’m sorry and glad you are here. Be kind to yourself, do nice things for yourself. Be your own best friend. You deserve so much more than this treatment. Get yourself free! Hugs!!

    • I don’t think there is a better or worse, all of it is horrible. I am so sorry this happened to you, and a prostitute is someone could never compete with. (nor would you want to) You are so totally different that it does not even make sense. My ex cheated with a woman that looks great on paper and appeared to have it all together. I struggled thinking that I was less than her, I tried so hard to be more accomplished/better/prettier/ etc in the “pick me dance”. It did not work, and now I know she won the shiny turd. Your ex lost his family for someone that was not worth your time, and it boggles the mind. He totally sucks and you are so much better without him.

    • I get that … the lower they stoop, the less it makes sense, right?

      Take it from someone whose ex would have been more than happy to have stayed married as he continued to add hundreds more notches to his sex worker and random internet hookup site conquests belt … It. Does. Not. Matter.

      You are a person of substance, of worth… deserving of being cherished above all! Simply said, they do not have the capacity or wherewithal to do that, to be that person. Yep, it is a loser mentality at best you were dealing with.

      Does it hurt, you betcha. It hurts like hell for someone to blow up a family and everything that represents, and that you put every ounce of your being into building, in trade for a hooker(s). No reasonable human or decent human being does this!

      But this does not define you are your life going forward. Hold fast to that thought. Hugs to you…

    • Faithful Rage- I promise you would not feel better if he “left for some fantastic woman, who had it all together.”
      Nope, that doesn’t happen either.
      I think you have more proof in your situation how actually f’ed up the man is, vs constantly thinking there is something wrong with yourself and how do you come up to speed to reclaim the love of your life. What was I lacking?! How do I fix it?!
      I was the SAHM, she has her own thriving business and is also a mom.
      She was wanted by People Magazine for some photo shoot on the top 40 most beautiful ppl in the world and turned it down. ( I know, sounds like I made that part up, but I didn’t)
      She is 15 years younger than him, I am a year older. And on and on I can go with this.
      You get the point I’m making, you do the side by side comparison and come up short on all fronts, except the one that includes integrity, dignity and a moral compass, she can’t beat me on that.
      But there isn’t any truth to our “ lack of”. Whether they leave with the hooker that has three std’s down on Main Street or the amazing woman all other men wish was theirs, HE STILL SUCKS!!
      Let them run off with whatever they dug up in our yards, something covered with dirt and worms or gold bouillon, they will continue to damage our lives if we stay in the game. They are toxic and will find a replacement person to be toxic to. It’s who they are at their core.
      Send a prayer up for the person who gets them next, because no matter what its appearance, it could never going to be a healthy loving relationship.
      He sucks, you won, the end.

      • I will admit that if my Cheaters OW was seen by media as one of the most beautiful people in the world, I would have been intimidated…good on you for not letting that get you down. My Cheaters OW was like 6 years younger than me, better looking than me, had lady parts which hadn’t pushed 9 pound babies out, spoke Mandarin Chinese in addition to English and made more money per year than I ever would, but she was an OW…as far as Im concerned, that is all I need to know…she is shadow and selfish.

      • Agreed! OW was younger, accomplished and I hate to say it – gorgeous. She also poached a married man with a family, cheated on her H. and helped destroy 2 families with kids.
        They truly are well suited for each other – both selfish FW’s!
        He clearly thought he upgraded, and felt no qualms about the wreckage.
        I would have preferred it if OW was awful on paper, believe me! I would have preferred it if OW was a guy, or a robot!
        But she was simply younger, attractive and accomplished.
        I 100% don’t think his happiness will last.

        If the trunk is rotten, you can take different branches in your life… But the trunk is still rotten.

    • Faithful rage, there are no fantastic cheats. Losers seek out what’s easy. OW know what they are getting. Both are predatory opportunists. The game is rigged for us to believe the OW must be better. Raising my hand for wondering what was wrong with me assuming that nonsense. Believe me when I say the cheater is never satisfied. As he aged intelligent women wouldn’t go on a second date. Who really brings up their penile pump on a first date. I filed; he was stuck with it.

      • “Who really brings up their penile pump on a first date.”

        😆 I’m picturing that as a skit.

        They are at dinner, and FW is trying hard to impress his dating site match-up with pompousity and overdone flattery. He is trying hard to appear gentlemanly to his refined looking date. Then as he moves to dig into his fettuccine alfredo he fumbles, drops his fork, bends to pick it up, and the pump falls out of his jacket pocket. It clatters noticeably on the tile floor and slides to the middle of the aisle. All eyes in the restaurant turn to it, then to him. Cut to his date’s horrified face. Then back to FW as he weakly tries to lie about what it is, his voice faltering and then trailing off. “It’s for my work, uh, it’s my friend’s. Yeah, we work together and he uses this for our work. It’s a high tech oxygen pump. We’re oxygen scientists at the oxygen research lab.You know, where they study oxygen and stuff….”

        In an ideal world I would cast Seth Rogan in the FW’s thankless role.

        • OHFFS,
          Haha, I love it!! Backstory: Having access to his phone records I called and spoke to a woman he’d called a few times during a dating spree. He lied to her stating we were separated and in the process of a divorce. She filled me in on the ‘date’ and filled me in on their or his conversation. She reported horrible stories about me and how he hadn’t had sex. He went on to tell her about the penile implant which is inflated using a pump in his testicle (2 inches). She said there was something wrong with him.
          I

          • “He went on to tell her about the penile implant which is inflated using a pump in his testicle (2 inches)”

            LOL, If some guy told me this on a first date or ‘out of the blue’, I would be sooo put off, like “Is this your way of asking me to squeeze your balls?!? Now?!? Are you 15? WTF, out.”

        • This reminds me of an incident in fw and my early marriage. (note: we married at 18 and he was about 20 when this happened).

          He told me he was talking to some guy at work; trying to impress him I guess and he told him he wanted to be a gym teacher. I remember saying I think someone studying to be a gym teacher would say a P. E. teacher. It really embarrassed him when I said that, and I could tell. I just made a joke of it, and we laughed it off; but it was an early red flag of who he was, others came along; but I spackled and (so I though) helped him in a gentle way grow and mature. I was so stinking proud of who he had become, that shit blew right up in my face.

    • Same here. He left me in a most egregious manner for a massage parlor whore and her young son. Turns out he had a long history of enjoying the company of prostitutes. It took a long time before I felt that I had washed the stink from his double life off of my body, my home, my life.

      He actually married her as soon as our divorce was final. He calls her child his son. We have grandson, who he never wanted to spend time with, the same age. It’s galling. My daughter is hurt and disgusted and wants nothing more to do with him. He hasn’t seen her or his grandson in three years.

      I don’t know if it would’ve hurt less if he had left for a so-called “normal” person. I no longer spend too much time thinking about whether or not he is happy and living his best life. I know he’s a disordered fuckwit who can’t be happy for long. He threw away a good and faithful wife, a comfortable retirement, his daughter, his grandson. His respectability. He’s just a ridiculous, pathetic old man who followed his dick and fell for the feigned charms of a foreign sex worker who saw in him dollar signs, a green card, and a free trip to the USA for her parents from China. It would be laughable if I hadn’t wasted over 30 years of my life on this fool. That’s the difficult part to accept.

      • Nemesis, you nailed it for me! The difficult part to accept is that I did not see earlier that I chose a FW. To see his current choice of mate (🤢) and realising I was stupid enough to fall for this scam. Yes FW traded down. Why did I marry him in the first place?!? Actually, I was angry at myself for a couple of years. Currently working on that picker (Family of Origin and all that jazz… It’ll take time, and it’s no fun)

      • Yes. I have a difficult time coming to terms with my OWN disorders in being with/staying with a FW. I danced and therapied. No more. Gone four years. But the pain lingers

    • It’s dehumanizing. There’s a lot of dehumanization in our culture right now and it’s traumatic when our basic rights and dignity are not regarded. I’m so sorry this happened it’s incredibly painful – I’ve been there. However after time the unbearable pain really does subside and you will one day feel whole again, in a way you can’t feel with someone who is abusive, selfish, immoral and manipulative. There’s the chronic pain of being with someone who’s abusive, the unbearable accrue pain of being discarded / breaking apart, and then there’s wholeness on the other side waiting and you’ll re-experience what it’s like to be safe again. I promise. When you get there you will not miss the abuser. What you’re experiencing it trauma.

    • ” I wonder if I’d feel so rejected if he left for some fantastic woman, who had it all together.”

      Very similar to my situation. In real time I remember even thinking “oh my God, how awful must I be; that he preferred her to me” She was not technically a prostitute but he was definatly paying for her service in the form of gifts, meals and cash. He had to keep her quiet somehow. I have no doubt that in the beginning he made it clear if word got out he was done. But, once he got her hired on as his direct report their power balance changed.

      Heck even if she had been a mess but young and physically attractive by general standards, I told myself it would have been understandable as a crappy thing, but young body etc.

      I was only 40, and still in shape and attractive. She was short, rotund around the middle; and had a really bad rep for dating married men. None of the others were stupid enough to marry her; no my H had to be that guy.

      Now I know of course it had nothing to do with me, I know I was a loving and extremely devoted wife; but he had to have his side piece; then he either decided she was better than me, or he got his dick caught in the work auger. Either way it was a kick in the head.

    • mine chose to go back to an unemployed disabled drug addict whose only claim to fame was a stint in the marines back in the 1980s and early 1990s for the 3rd time in 8 years – she just forgot she was married to me this last time. A person she dated on and off that she said was abusive, her own family said was a parasite and somewhat dangerous, a man who was kicked out of a health club and told to never return, and a man her own children not only dislike but are scared of based on things he did to her and in front of them. Go figure…

      • That’s another kicker, he had told me many times she was raised in chaos, that she told him she’d make public the cheating in our neighborhood and that of our adult children’s neighborhood. She would take his phone all day at work (another former employee told me) she hit him in the head with the phone and fist, tried to trip him at airport when she revealed their cheating. Hr yelled for people to call security.
        He’s with that, it’s astounding, 33 years younger than him. He’s a late life addict that blew up his life…..for that.

    • ” I wonder if I’d feel so rejected if he left for some fantastic woman, who had it all together.” From what I gather, FW’s never leave for a successful woman – a super model, with a PHD from Harvard and a kind and generous heart like Mother Teresa. They get exactly who they deserve…

    • Mine left for a woman 21 years younger, beautiful, going to medical school (on my ex’s dime) (third college degree). Believe me, it doesn’t matter if they picked up scum off the street or the reddest apple from the tree, it all hurts. And, in my opinion, we don’t miss the cheater. It may seem like we do when they first blow up our lives. We miss what we thought we had with the cheater. It’s not regain-able because we never really had it. It truly was (as, I believe, Velvet Hammer coined it) a mirage. Shame on them for fooling us and playing with our lives. Some higher power will even everything out eventually. I have to believe that.

    • Yep, I thought for sure FW was cheating with one of his female colleagues at his law firm. I could almost understand that, in a way – that he just found a younger, prettier lawyer to replace me (I’m also a lawyer). But no, he threw it all away over a cheap gold digger. He chose that over his precious son. I’ll never understand that.

  • It’s worthwhile remembering that the life that the Cheater portrays themselves as living on (for example) social media will not necessarily be the real life that they are living; for the Cheater, image management trumps the truth/reality.

    Don’t pain shop and remember that if your Cheater sucks, then their life probably sucks too … regardless of what the put on instagram.

    LFTT

  • Why do I keep thinking that most chumps (who are mostly younger than me) heal when they are in another relationship? I get that he sucks and I get that I need to make sure my picker is fixed. But isn’t there something true about the balm of being cared for and having a partner?

    • Oh, AM I think we feel that way because that’s how it should be. We weren’t built for evil, loneliness, etc, and we know at some level that’s not what we’re meant for, so at least in my case, I keep hoping/expecting that one day that “something true” will happen for me too.

      • I’m hoping for that as well. I function phenomenally well on my own and did enjoy being single for looong stretches at a time before FW came along when I was 30. But now that I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be with someone I thought I’d be with forever, I’m having a hard time finding that satisfaction with singleness again. I want to share the wonderful life I’ve worked so hard for! I want to raise a child (or two, if I still can) with a committed and loving partner! I still want that chance to build something together we can reflect on in a few decades!

    • AM,

      I am 7 years out from D-Day and 5 years out from my divorce being finalised. I took a deliberate decision to make sure that I had healed before going anywhere near another relationship; I have never wanted to burden a potential partner with the sh*t I’ve had to deal with and – on occasions – am still having to deal with.

      I’ve still not dated yet, and I’m quite happy being single until the right person comes along.

      LFTT

      • I am thrilled to be single and have been for over a decade now. I can’t imagine ever being partnered up ever again.

        • FL,

          I too am happy to be single …. but I could happily not be single in the right circumstances; it’s just this time round I’m a lot pickier.

          LFTT

    • I healed just fine single. I wasn’t about to make a terrible mistake by jumping into something while I was still hurting.

      In fact, I have no desire for another relationship. If something comes along…Maybe? But I love being single. I love my freedom. I love my peace. I love my space. I’m not lonely. I enjoy my own company. I have friends. I can’t think of anything that a partner would add to my life right now.

      D-Day was just about 5 years ago. FW died a year ago (we never got as far as an actual divorce). I haven’t so much as gone out for a cup of coffee with a guy, and have turned down every date I’ve been asked on.

      YOU care for you.

      • Seven years past Dday and I have finally realized why I do not miss having a husband. I have come to the realization that for thirty-six years, I never had one! I had a selfish, self centered, demanding, entitled adult child! And no one misses THAT!

      • “YOU care for you.”
        👍

        You still have to do that even in a relationship, it is something many of us didn’t do the first time around.

      • Same. I’ve been divorced for several years now, a “gray” divorce. There’s actually a penalty clause in my agreement if I remarry that my attorney said was effectively bogus for reasons that he explained to me. My attorney’s advice was that long-term dating might be better than marriage because of that clause and the legal complexities of remarriage at this stage of life.

        But I’m unmotivated and perfectly fine as-is. Truly.

    • It is true that feeling loved and cared for is the balm that heals a broken heart. That love and caring can come from many sources-a dear friend, a dog, but most importantly yourself. It sounds trite but caring for yourself, being your own best friend, giving yourself the attention you crave is the best balm. Do nice things for yourself. Feeling gratitude for people and things in life help to make us feel less lonely and hurt. Hugs!!

    • AM, I turned 50 during my divorce and am now nearly 62. I am not in another relationship. When I was in the process of healing from the divorce I met a lot of people who were on their second or third divorce because they made bad decisions after the first one. I think it would be lovely to have a partner and be cared for, but that’s not something I’m chasing. I’m content as I am.

    • AM, I think caring is the balm just as much as being cared for, if not more so. It does not have to take the form of a romantic partnership. Caring for my rescue dogs, who both have health problems, does it for me. I’m putting their needs above my own, so it forces me to not linger in a depressed, inert state in which I could not be an effective caregiver. The fact that they love me back is just the cherry on top. I’ve done it with dogs so damaged that they had no ability to connect with humans and it was equally rewarding. Find what works for you as a single person, because you aren’t even ready for a relationship if you need one in order to feel you are healed.

    • AM, I’m happily single. I’ve used my time wisely in planning my retirement. I have no longing for partnering up. I fully retired this month. After taking some time off I’m investing in my own potential and starting up a small private practice to finance my solo travel plans. It’s ok to be somewhat selfish with your time and energy once you are free!

      • I think this is great!

        This guy sucks and will continue to suck. You may never see what is really going on but it cannot matter to you like CL said.

        It seems to me that leaving a cheater (as difficult as it is) is infinitely easier than gaining a life. You have to be deliberate.

        Life is not fair. People who do bad things get rewarded sometimes. You need to focus on strategies to turn your life around and focus there. It is hard and sometimes I am better at it and some days I am not. What I do know is waiting for the dynamically dusty dirty duo of raggedy assholes to break up is a waste of time I could be spending securing my future. I hope this helps and the example above helps when you start to have doubts about their shittiness.

    • I jumped into a relationship right after D-day. It was completely different and it was healing. I don’t know that I love him, but we’re good friends. He’s not my forever, we’re not exactly even dating anymore.
      I don’t care if I’m ever in love again, and I don’t want to ever live with anyone again. I’m not seeking out a partner anymore.

      I learned a lot about myself through all of this. And I’m happy with where I am and who I am.

    • I think you hit the mail on the head. As much as people and therapists don’t want to admit it finding someone else is a critical part of truly moving on.

      • Actually it’s not. Chump Nation is full of people who have moved on very successfully without finding another partner.

        Most of them seem to be women. I think men tend to re-partner more easily.

        The women I read about here have usually been worked to death in unequal marriages. They’re now experiencing some genuine rest and freedom for the first time.

        This includes rediscovering who they are – the self that got discarded some way back down the road. Or stuffed into a little crumpled ball deep down inside themselves.

        Just figuring all that out is often enough. Getting solvent and housed are the biggest priorities. Raising children is a huge issue. There’s often not time for dating, and given the incredibly high risks involved, no real desire for it.

        This is time for making good friendships, possibly restoring some family relationships, raising functional young adults, and finding things that make the walls in your house sing again.

        This may or may not include a romantic partnership. It doesn’t have to. You can find love in many, many places.

        • Lola Granola speaks the truth.

          As I said above, I’ve healed just fine single. I’ve moved on completely. And I don’t have any desire at the moment for a romantic partner. I’m loving the single life.

      • “ As much as people and therapists don’t want to admit it finding someone else is a critical part of truly moving on.”

        Funny how this statement contradicts taking care of your own needs. Truly moving on doesn’t require depending upon someone else. It’s powerful to do the work and choose yourself. You might want to give it a chance. The peace and freedom of being single is a luxury like no other.

      • I don’t agree with that. I know lots of women who have very successfully and happily moved on and had great lives. My own mother in law for one.

        Her abusive husband died of a sudden heart attack when she was 48. She was a beautiful and loving woman, and she had several opportunities to date, she only went on one of those dates then she just decided she didn’t want to be tied down by another man.

        She worked her hiney off, saved money enjoyed her life and her friends; and I believe she was truly happy. At least until her own son blew up her life along with mine. I lost touch with her after that, but for the years I knew her she was fine.

        I did remarry, but it was a long engagement. I have had a blessed life and my H and I are still together and grateful for each other. Having said that it is not the only way.

        I believe god made us to be self contained and with the ability to self soothe. So many ways to do that. Many folks live a whole life without a singular love interest. Doesn’t mean they are not happy and fulfilled.

    • I’m 44. I’m in great shape with a very good job and am the Mom all the kids love. I’m winning. 5 years past DDay, 4 past divorce. Very single. And I’ve only recently achieved meh.
      At first I was so stressed by how quick my stock would fall as I aged and how unfair it was that FW had someone, someone 10 years younger than me.

      Healing comes from feeling sure down to your bones that you are a good person who did not deserve to be betrayed. And being comfortable with who you are: a person w integrity, a.person who dances in Publix, a person who is interested in social media, a person who get in to pickleball bc tennis is way too hard, a person who lets her daughter come into bed and snuggle if that what she needs…..I’m healing and feel good bc my worth is dependent on me. Not what FW did, not if any man will ever decide to date me vs someone half his age, not my boss’s opinion of me.

      Me. How do I feel about me? It was rough and the answer was worthless, pathetic, broken, unworthy. But with time I remembered who I am and stopped caring what anyone thought about how I am dealing with this.

      A new partner would be great but it isn’t the answer. You are the answer.

      • I love this comment! We ARE the answer. But also wanted to comment to anyone who is in their early 40s and in a quandary about their stock quickly falling in the dating market. I had my second child at 43. I was 55 at DDay and now I’m on the doorstep of 58. Divorce was final in 2020 and I didn’t date for the longest time. Didn’t want to. Didn’t need to. There were people who were interested but I wasn’t. I just kept being myself, doing my own thing. Rediscovering me along the way.

        Recently I started a relationship with a really cool guy and was worried about the age difference. I’m 12 years older than him but it didn’t faze him, and we hit it off quite well. Planning our next adventure. I didn’t need the FW to define who I am. I am the answer.

  • Don’t forget that the life that the Cheater portrays themselves as living – for example on social media – is unlikely to bear any relation to reality; for the Cheater, image management trumps truth/reality/authenticity.

    LFTT

    • Amen. FW and schmoopie looked like they had a perfect, sickly sweet relationship.

      Yeah. The reality was two angry, depressed, abusive alcoholics who had no money and fought constantly. No one knew until it blew up spectacularly. I could imagine what schmoopie’s life was like because I lived it. No one knew how bad my marriage was either. We looked great from the outside. I could see OW looking more and more haggard as the months went on. And even I didn’t know the half of it until after FW died.

      Don’t envy the shiny image. These people are expert at impression management.

    • “for example on social media – is unlikely to bear any relation to reality; for the Cheater, image management trumps truth/reality/authenticity.”

      So true and if you think about it for most of us, we thought cheater was happy, we were having a life and regular good sex; they they were secretly fucking strange, stealing our money and gaslighting us. Why oh why on earth would we think what they are presenting now is real.

      But, for a while we do struggle with it.

      • So right Susie Lee. I think we grieve and come back to our senses slowly with some backtracking here and there.

    • Exactly this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      Mrs. HoWorker/Wife (never married prior now 55), still has as her Facebook profile photo (nothing else) of her looking lovingly at Asshat at their wedding in 2019. He looks like absolute shit and everyone who sees him says he doesn’t look happy.

      She had a goal to become Mrs. Asshat and she achieved it. Thank God I never took his last name.

      Moving on………

  • it’s hard. i’m sorry, meh-less.

    i started to move toward meh when i realized my X wasn’t capable of much: communication, intimacy, dealing with problems directly. that took a lot of the emotion out of my thinking. then i started ending each “thinking/obsessing about my X” session with the following: and i deserve better.

    that brought the focus back to me.

    i think that some people aren’t capable of much and, even though we’d like them to do things differently, they cannot. and the consequences are their own. which doesn’t mean you don’t wake at 3 a.m. seething about their shitty words and actions, because you do.

  • Sorry that you are feeling that way Meh-Less. Trust me, the FW may post everything wonderful on social media and what not but there is no depth to it. Sure, it looks like they are living their best life because that is how FWs want their lives portrayed but the reality is that it is more than likely an empty shell. They do not have the capacity for being authentic, real or caring. Remember they suck!!!!
    Since you can only control yourself, start thinking of what you can do to make your life without a FW more wonderful. You won’t stop worrying or caring but your worries and cares should not be wasted on a FW and a Schmoopie. Better things are out there, you just need to find them. Treat yourself how you want to be treated by others. Be good to yourself even if it is just something as small as getting that ice cream cone or a fountain drink. You have the time to focus on yourself now (and your kids if you have them). Enjoy that time, you have control over how you spend that time. Please don’t waste it on a FW. Your life is what you make it and what you want it to be.

  • “Happy, unhappy — if he cheated, he’s not that deep. He probably has zero ability to be content or committed and eventually the shiny will wear off this one, like it did you…The only people with carefree lives are sociopaths. Because they don’t care. There’s no adaptive anxiety to react to things they should actually care about. Overdue bills? A trail of destruction and broken hearts? Three months of dirty laundry? Whatevs. The synapses are not firing.”

    Every word of this is true.

    And yes, the hurt does fade. Once I started focusing on my own life and deliberately ignored FW, schmoopie, and what they were or weren’t doing, I found happiness. I found meh.

    And hey, you may even live to see Karma. I did. However, by the time I did, I didn’t need it anymore.

  • In the early days for me I constantly focused on the wonders of my marriage and what I thought I was losing. It was heartbreaking and traumatic. I tried really hard to focus on the not so wonderful moments. I would read here and think to myself, FW wasn’t like that, but he so was. At first I couldn’t find any (yup super spackler here), then slowly there were many ‘aha’ moments. It just took no contact for me to truly see it. I started to realise that I had been duped by a master manipulater wearing several different masks spanning over 3 decades.

    I know what FW lost. I know my worth. I know what howorker ‘won’ and I smile.

    And to the newbies here… It gets easier and more peaceful ❤️

    • So true, Claire! That which you thought was “good” really isn’t when you shine the light of honest perspective on it. And that really is the key, isn’t it?
      I sugar-coated so many things over the years that it was truly a wake-up call when I began to reexamine all of it. That is when the first few glimpses of meh started to kick in…

    • This will be my new mantra: I know what FW lost. I know my worth. I know what howorker ‘won’ and I smile.

  • The question of justice and happiness is understandable. For me, I was able put the injustice of FW/OW living happily ever after and me not so much when I realized two things:

    1) I think FW and the Wifetress will be together for the rest of their lives.
    2) Forget karma; life is not fair.

    Now, both of the above seem counterintuitive to personal contentment and happiness, but believe you me: these statements have brought me a metric butt load of peace. They free me up to come to conclusions like “The rest of their lives, huh? Well, she can have him” and “Just imagine, Fourleaf, being stuck married to him for the rest of your life. Ew. You’re free now” and “Yes, yes, life is very often unfair and they may live a long, blessed married life together. Now that I know that is a distinct possibility, I’ll stop letting cobwebs grow on me while I wait for the karma truck that never comes to hit them. It’s time to lay the groundwork for my own blessings instead of waiting for theirs to dry up.”

    Release yourself from waiting for the ultimate pie in the sky prize of their downfall; it may never happen. They may even win the lottery. Their lives may be long and happy.

    It may not work like this for other chumps but, for me, once I realized that my XH and the third girl he left me for may live in clouds and rainbows for the rest of their lives I… stopped caring about it. It pushed me closer to meh. I won’t pretend it doesn’t rankle me from time to time (I’m only human) but their ongoing happiness doesn’t command my attention in a way that stops me from finding my own happiness anymore. I think, “Well, it is what it is and they may live the fantasy for the rest of their lives now. Whatever.” And I get back to the ongoing business of living and not thinking about the injustice of it all. Concentrating on the injustice of it all is crippling and it stops your own forward motion.

    So, I resigned myself to the idea that life is unfair and they’ll live happily ever after in the clouds with scads of friends and will probably win the lottery…. twice. After I played that scenario out I blurted out laughing and felt so much freer. Then I stopped thinking so much about whether or not they are living happy, blessed lives (fantasy) and got back to feathering my own nest (reality).

    • Good post FL.

      And yep, I can’t even imagine how miserable I would have been. I have the looking back view now and I know how his life turned out. Had I stayed with fw, I would be living in a run down trailer, bankrupt, with a huge newly acquired deb hanging over my head.

      The only thing going for me would have been I had earned my own SS and pension, so in that sense I would have been better off than whore because she quit working at age 37, and fw’s SS earnings were not much due to a private pension; that he waved benefit for her. I wouldn’t have signed that waiver, but per my son she did.

  • Meh. I see FW & AP’s relationship like the Ben & Jen show: shiny on the outside, fun because of all the attention & illicit moments, exciting because of all the weddings & honeymoons…then 6 months, 1 yr, 2 yrs…not enough kibbles & deep bonding to sustain their high-up-on the-pedestal images of each other. You can already see snaps of Ben “checked out”, but by golly, Jen finally got her prince, her happily ever after & she gonna run with this even when Ben turns back into the FW that he really is & put the other Jen, the mother of his children through the wringer. I know it hurts, I’ve been there. But you have to keep telling yourself that you’re hearing or seeing the sensationalized “tabloid” version of their relationship. The ex FW is with a dramatic narcissist & I’ve had to put up with her trying to morph into mommy & doing all the things I wanted to do as a family (he spitefully & deliberately did this to hurt me, nothing to do with her as she believes) all while posting it on social media & bragging to mutual friends & family. If you can see through the “show” you can see it for what it really is, just a show. If these FWs were really worth grieving about, wouldn’t they still be with us then??? I found a hobby, a passion that helped me forge a new life, a new path that takes me away from those two. Yes, they are peripherally here in my life, but it’s getting easier & quicker to bounce back from anytime I encounter them. They are just two losers who deserve each other & not deserving of anyone good.

    • I don’t watch a lot of commercials, but I happened to catch one the other day of BA doing a fund raising bit for veterans. I laughed till I peed. Loser ass hole trying to use Vets to redeem his image.

    • I just read they B & J had their second wedding in Georgia. J wore three wedding dresses. I had to quit reading the article because it was making me nauseous.
      What kind of example are they setting for their children?
      Oh, wait, that would mean they’d be thinking of someone other than themselves.
      What’s up with Ben? he doesn’t look so good these days.

  • Re-read CL’s paragraph starting with Responsible People Have Cares.

    People aren’t ‘happy” that have no character, conscience or courage. Nor are they ‘happy’ when intellectualism is how they perceive the world. Void of emotional maturity, self and impulse control,
    love and respect of self, ‘happiness’ is nowhere to be found. With no effective coping skills other than to self-destruct and estrange oneself from problems, being ‘happy’ is elusive, fleeting and circumstantial.
    When changing scenery, people and places; processes, substances and people become addictions to self-medicate oneself, no “happiness” is found.

    Cheaters don’t leave for someone better than you. They leave for someone worse than themselves.

    Happiness is fleeting. It’s temporary and dependent upon what’s going on AROUND you.
    Joy is real. It’s permanent and independent of others because it comes from WITHIN you.

  • Being happy and life being so wonderful for these people is just a façade to the public. Behind their closed doors it is a 💩show.

    Our lives are so much better without them. Do you really want to continue to be on marriage patrol the rest of your life? No? Then welcome to the chumphood! The happiest hood in the world! 😁

  • My cheater ex-wife grew bored and anxious when life was good, but slept like a baby in the devastation caused by D-day 1.

    Serial cheaters are often emotionally perverse, gollums that dwell in the dark and truly crave that which is bound to destroy them. When I think of the decades I spent trying to emotionally bond with . . . THAT? I am equal parts amused and horrified.

    • “When I think of the decades I spent trying to emotionally bond with . . . THAT? I am equal parts amused and horrified.”

      Same here.

    • My ex needed constant drama to feel alive. If there wasn’t any, he’d manufacture some (while complaining about how much he hated drama).

      It is LOVELY to have a drama-free life.

    • “Serial cheaters are often emotionally perverse, gollums that dwell in the dark and truly crave that which is bound to destroy them”

      Very true and this also applies to dysfunctional people that are not necessarily cheaters but grew up in chaotic households. You would think they would crave and appreciate a nice home life and healthy relationship but they will eventually rebel against sanity and a stable home life without conflict.

    • Holy shit Nomar, same here.

      5 years worth of complaints about how she was kept up nights by one thing or another, all of it (if i’d been savvy enough to read between the lines) pointing back to unsatisfied she was with the home and family we’d built together, and how supposedly nobody seemed to care.

      Once the sneaking around commenced — and most especially after I said ‘no more’ and entered the early ‘WFT do I do now?’ phase of forced cohabitation — she slept like a stone.

  • Meh-less in PA:

    The more you pay attention to yourself, the faster you’ll get to Meh. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained by investing any of your emotional or mental real estate on him, on her, on them, what a great life they supposedly have, etc. The bottom line is, they suck… and you don’t.

  • FW#1 seems to be living his best life with Schmoopie, and has been for 30 years. They live in a nice neighborhood, with new houses (or so I’ve been told). I don’t envy either one of them. I know what sort of critical, manipulative, horrible person HE is, and she was willing to destroy two marriages, which is all I need to know. What they project outside of their house is nothing like what goes on inside of it.
    They know what each is capable of doing, and I’m sure they have a great time policing one another.

    • “ They know what each is capable of doing, and I’m sure they have a great time policing one another.”

      Indeed. It give me a great deal of satisfaction knowing this.

  • CL is 100% right. Being carefree is nothing to envy. It feels like it is when you are in so much pain, but life without the ability to feel deeply is not worth living. I’m sure those two walking yeast infections are quite literally carefree. They lack the ability to care, which means they don’t care about each other either. Their sort of phoney, transactional relationship doesn’t end well, but your job is to concentrate on how *your* life is going to be, not theirs. By all means wish them the worst. Then get on with doing what you need to do to rebuild. You need distraction, only the meaningful kind of distraction like pursuing your own interests and passions.
    As you get more invested in your own authentic, caring way of living they will fade into the background, bit by bit, until they are just a wee flyspeck on your rearview mirror.

    I totally get the need for justice. It’s human nature. There is reason to believe that they will ultimately deliver what they deserve unto themselves just by being the shitstains they are, but don’t put your healing on hold by waiting for it.

  • I LOVE this post. Couldn’t agree more. When my ex decided that his apprentice in the tattoo shop was more interesting that myself and his 12 year old daughter- I packed his things and said you probably should go. He never admitted a thing because he’s a sociopath and thought he’d start a new life within a “gated community so you (I) won’t be able to get in” oh GAG ME. Why the hell would I try and find you and your 20 year old goofball who thinks you’re the coolest for leaving your partner, home and daughter?
    Gross. They are. Tracy’s right I’m so sorry you’re hurting. He doesn’t deserve your time or your heart.

    • When the ex was leaving me exactly three years ago, for his exgf (he and I had been together for 26 years), he refused to give me his address. I didn’t know about the affair at this point. But I recall being insulted that he thought I had any intention of coming to his place, making a scene, wanting him back. In his arrogance he truly believed that I was going to grovel after him. Whilst I was devastated, a 60 year old woman facing homelessness, poverty, loneliness, I would never have lowered myself to beg. Deep down I knew my worth although it had been submerged in 26 years of sly, under the radar abuse from a functioning alcoholic in denial. I can vividly recall saying to him, ‘don’t worry, I’m not going to come knocking on your door’. Once I discovered the affair and blocked him, he threw his toys out of the pram because I wouldn’t talk to him except through lawyers. He did the sad sausage routine. He didn’t want to be with me but he needed me to show that I wanted to be with him, to give himself value, not least in the eyes of exgfOW. Their relationship, such as it was, was built on criticising me, her being ‘better than’ me, her showing sympathy for his ‘terrible’ situation. And he probably did the same regarding her ex husband. He was furious when I divorced him, in part because it sent out a clear message to the world that I was done with him (and also because he wanted to keep control of the narrative that the split was his decision). I have no idea what they are doing now, whether they are together, whether he is still drinking every last drop of alcohol he can find in a room, because I don’t need to know anything about them to live ‘my one precious life’. And those last four words sum it up for me, he wasted 26 years of my one precious life and I’m not going to let him ruin the rest of it. Let him be happy, let him be a hero, let them be ‘lovers reunited’. Ultimately I won because I’m me. I doubt that I will ever have another sexual relationship with a man. And that’s ok too. I’ve got my home, my dog, and my relationship with myself. I don’t need or want another person to keep me real. I am enough already.

  • This is the most cliché response ever: but it takes time.

    You need time to get through the trauma. You need time to right your ship — financially, personally, kids, everything. Get the therapy you need to focus on you and your health and your future. Then things do fall into place. And you begin to stop caring about FW little by little until you reach the fantastic world of meh.

    I’m 7 years out from DDay, 6 years divorced… and now when I see FW I can’t imagine that I was ever with him! I don’t know him at all anymore. He is very literally a stranger. And I know in my heart that he is no better now than he was before… so I’m THANKFUL AP took on that burden of a shit human.

    But honestly, you have to work through it yourself and choose to focus on you. Meditation and time with friends also helped me.

    I’m in a good relationship now. It’s imperfect but in all ways soooooooooooooooooo much better than I had with FW — and that was the final nail in the “giving a shit about FW” coffin.

  • Fraudster actually told his online AP that he couldn’t wait to walk around town with her on his arm and everybody envying him for having for a hot babe. He wanted her to boost his flagging—ego. Turned out he was scammed by a catfisher, and when I pointed that out, and that her emails were clearly written by someone who used English as a second language and was not American, he replied that he thought she was mentally impaired, and that was an advantage, because she would look up to him and agree without question.

    I filed, and it took over two years for our divorce to go through. During that time, tween and I were making trips to the Food Bank while he was taking a succession of women to expensive restaurants and vacations. I know because we had shared an electronic calendar, and although I blocked him, he left his open to me, probably deliberately so I’d see what a great time he had dating. And proposing, to at least three other women while we were married.

    I resented his misuse of marital assets, but unfortunately the judge didn’t care about how he spent our money. He spun a lot of stories and outright lies about himself and our relationship. I count myself lucky that none of his APs, “soul mates,” “life partners,” etc. accepted, and wonder how they could see so quickly what I had missed. I found out he’d been stealing not only marital assets but my personal assets, the money our tween earned for himself, tween’s inheritance, and more, and the statute of limitations had already expired on some of these.

    Yes, I resent that he stole the financial security I’d been building and saving for decades. I resent that he has what a police officer termed a “hobby” of harassing me by doing whatever he can to interfere in my life, such as changing my address to his for every company he can think of –the DMV for my car registration, store rewards programs, etc. The karma bus came and gave him a series of heart problems, which I consider appropriate, since his heart was figuratively cold and shriveled. I’m sometimes at meh. I will get there permanently.

  • You know the weirdest and best thing I heard from her two days ago was I don’t even know what’s going on in your life. I want it that way.

  • I need to print this off and put it on my bathroom mirror.

    You rock CL and are exactly right. Schmoopie won a TURD. Or in the words of my therapist practically screaming at me when I was lamenting my “loss”, “She didn’t win, she got HIM.”

  • This is spot-on! I’ve been divorced for more than 6 years now. My ex and schmoopie are still together, but have a rocky relationship. She left her huisband, who is very ill and will die soon (a year before she left him they found out he was ill, they were only married for 2 years). My ex called me a couple of months ago to tell me the whole divorce and what he did was totally on him, and apologized for it. He hoped I was happy. And I am! I. Have a great job, a nice house, a lot of friends and a wonderful boyfriend, we met a year ago. My ex met him a few weeks ago at a dinner party at ‘m our oldest daughter’s house. There was no tension, it was really nice. But his girlfriend never goes to social events if I’m there. I have never met her! I think my ex and schmoopie are feeling guilty about the whole situation, and maybe are afraid I might say something nasty. But I would never do such a thing. I’d just kill her with kindness 😉.
    I just love my life, and that’s why my ex and I are on a friendly basis now. I don’t care about schmoopie. I know my life is good, my children are doing fine, and that’s all that matters ✌🏽

  • It’s trauma. There’s talk about grief but betrayal is dehumanizing and the effects of being dehumanized are shock, trauma and excruciating intolerable pain. This does go away though, it really does. Unfortunately I don’t actually believe that any amount of therapy or any mindset or mantra allows anyone to skip the intense pain of it all. It really is only time but know for sure there will be a day you naturally do not care and feel whole and safe. One day the only thing that person will make you feel is that they were a dangerous person, an abuser and you will feel free and whole and just OK in a way you never felt with the abuser. It is on the other side of this feeling. Hopefully you can find some empathetic people who do not minimize what you experienced which is the most painful torturous possible thing to endure. Anyone who minimizes stay away and let yourself feel what you feel. You get hit by a train – you’re gonna be injured severely. We heal though and you’ll heal.

  • In the earliest days, I wanted to rage at Evil FW. I wanted to demand answers. I wanted to know WHY WHY WHY?!?!

    The only thing that kept me from doing or saying something was telling myself “he is dead. His life is over and has no effect on how my life proceeds from here”. This helped keep my mental focus on moving forward with my own life, with zero consideration of what he might or might not be doing.

    Disclaimer: evil FW will be spending some time in jail after he is sentenced later this year, so I do get true satisfaction that he will not be living his best life.

  • Great question and great answer! We all need this reminder every once in a while.

    It’s just about 2 years since D-day and I have reached meh. His life is his to live. My life is my own and I’ve grown so much since then.

  • I’m just happy I’m not with that loser. He can be ecstatic for the rest of his days with a super model on a yacht in the Mediterranean – just so long as I never have to suffer his pathological presence again. In the end, whether they’re unhappy or happy does nothing to make our lives any better or any worse.

    My FW ex was supposedly a former cheater – long since reformed when he and I met. He splashed our supposed bliss all over social media, and I know for a fact it really bothered at least one of his former victims, bc she wrote him to that effect. Well, he was cheating on me rampantly from day one with sex workers, colleagues, hitting on my friends… What she saw – an idyllic relationship and a reformed cheater – was an illusion.

    People capable of their level of duplicity and disloyalty have something deeply wrong. It isn’t cured by meeting the “right” person. They aren’t normal. They don’t change.

    • “I’m just happy I’m not with that loser. He can be ecstatic for the rest of his days with a super model on a yacht in the Mediterranean – just so long as I never have to suffer his pathological presence again”

      Skeetermooch – spot on. FW now makes $350k —- the whole time he was with me he was out of work. I carried him on my back financially. He couldn’t keep a job, Now he makes a shit ton and I was asked if I was jealous. Hell no! He could make $350 MILLION and live in a mega mansion… just as long as he stays the fuck away from me. He is boring as crap and a loser. As I said to my son when he was upset that his dad went to Paris with AP, “wherever he goes, there he is.” My son immediately laughed. Even he knows that the trip would suck with FW.

  • Small consolation but I did get in one zinger when mine left: “Just think, every day for the rest of your life, you’re going to wake up and be staring into the eyes of a cheater. How nice that the 2 of you will have that in common forever and ever.”

  • Sure, it hurts. It does, it does. But time will tell.

    My attorney and others advising me pointed out that maintaining my dignity and staying on the path would ultimately lead to a better place. It took a while, but it did get better.

    He went my way, and I went mine. It had to be.

  • I am thankful to be 6 years divorced, but I too struggle getting to complete meh. In fact I think about it every day. My self talk is better now, and I move on to other things more quickly but I do think it still impacts my life negatively. My ex is seemingly happily remarried to a much younger woman who is a well-liked first grade teacher. She was not part of our divorce and seems to think that either I made up his 20-year double life of meeting men in hotels, daily live porn interactions etc., or that now he has changed so much because his terribly unhappy marriage was what drove him to it all. She has expressed to my friends that she thinks it’s reprehensible that I turned the 2 adult kids against him and they don’t speak to him now. And of course he did that all on his own. It’s a very unsettling feeling when the person who hurt you the most continues on with the hurting by rewriting history and people just believe it. Not everyone believes it, but enough that I just cringe thinking about it. I still pay him alimony (now it’s really a lump sum payment divided over 6 years for tax purposes) and I’m sure she has no idea that I built their new house – she thinks his incredible business acumen did. It’s just my last little shit sandwich to eat and that is why I keep reading CL. At some point I simply will not care anymore. But I am looking into hypnosis and ketamine therapy. I am ready to not have any of my brain space taken up by these people.

    • K – I’m three years out from separation and 18 months from finalized divorce. I have no contact (or financial connection) but worry 30 year history/memories will linger too far into my senior years. Considering EMDR.

      • I highly recommend EMDR. It is the first thing that gave relief from the pain. (38 yr marriage). You’ll always have the history and memories linger but the pain recedes.
        Life is so much richer without a cheater in your house.

    • KathleenK…why do your “friends” communicate with this woman? I know she wasn’t his affair partner but info about his current marriage serves no purpose. The karma bus is just gassing up.

    • She was not part of our divorce and seems to think that either I made up his 20-year double life of meeting men in hotels, daily live porn interactions etc.,

      He’s still doing this, he’s just gone further underground. He’s got the mask on for his now wifey that he wore when with you……

      Grab that popcorn Kathleen cos shit will go down sooner or later.

      Hugs to ya ❤️

  • Those Varsity Blues parents come to mind. In their pursuit of happiness, they dishonestly secured their children spots in prestigious universities, oblivious to the fact that in doing so they actually negated the conferred prestige they were seeking.

    I just watched a documentary on Netflix about Joanne Woodward and Paul
    Newman’s legendary Hollywood love story. Cheaters for five years before they came out of the shadows and made it “official.” How did that turn out? His alcoholism and cheating on Joanne were also legendary. I’m not buying the Great Love Story story.

    Chump happiness is about delayed gratification. Your happiness, which can now be genuine instead of based on a mirage, is on the way.

    Trust, safety, loyalty, security, are the elements that are the entire point of being in a relationship. An illicit relationship has none of them, and without them, I guess one has to settle
    for the kind of “happy” that serial killers get from plying their trade.

    Don’t believe everything you see. No one knows better than us that appearances
    are deceiving.

    • It made (jailed) Martin Shkreli “happy” to send the price of the EpiPen into orbit. (And the dingbat journalist who had an affair with him is quite a story.)

      It would make me happy to lower price.

      Cheating and stealing and lying and fucking over my family would make me hate myself.

      Traitor X cheats and steals and lies and fucks over our family and enlists help to do so.

      I suppose the real question is, which kind of “happiness” do you prefer, and are you with someone who likes the same brand? If they enjoy hurting people, it’s ultimately a gift, even though it’s incredibly painful, if they take off with someone like them.

      In my experience, esteemable acts are what produces self-esteem, and likewise, I do not see that character rot run riot produces happiness.

      • With all due respect to Chump Nation, I don’t agree that continuing to to feel
        anger/pain means someone is still hanging on to the person who cheated on them.

        It’s a devastating and deliberate injury and ongoing pain is from being deeply and seriously violated. Some people reach a place of neutrality when it comes to post DDay feelings. Others continue to receive visits from Anger and Pain. Both are valid.

        Most would never think to invalidate the feelings of victims of other more socially acknowledged forms of violence and abuse.

        My dad died in 1991 and grief still
        comes to call. Time has lessened the frequency and intensity of the feelings but not eradicated them. I know many people who have rebuilt their lives after infidelity and are doing well but the wound still flares.

        I really don’t want anyone to ever feel “wronged” because they feel lingering anger and pain over this.

        I am glad to not be married to him anymore and I still get visits from Anger and Pain. I can’t will myself to not hurt or be angry over a psychological injury any more than I could will the pain of a physical injury to stop. My power lies in how I respond to the feelings.

        It’s been my experience that attempting to control how I feel, rather than acknowledging it and expressing it, causes significant problems.

        • Totally agree V H.
          When I feel pain now, it is because of how he treated our son, just a few years ago, and when my son was young.

          Now my son when he was young didn’t know about his dads actions, nor did I at the time. But, when I think back to my sons childhood yes I have so many wonderful memories, because I spent a lot of time with him. But, now I also know that while my son was doing without some things that a lot of the kids were getting because his dad was spending money on whores. (lay whores). Yes that still hurts, and I have to fight the feeling of guilt because I didn’t know it. Knowing intellectually that I am not guilty for what I didn’t know, doesn’t always help.

  • Chump Lady nailed it, they’re sociopaths. It’s easy to have a happy, carefree life when you don’t care about anyone or anything but your genitals.

    I mean, all my ex husband needs to be happy is to find disgusting people to have sex with. And I’ve been admonished on here before for talking about their looks but the reality is that the people of Walmart website people look like supermodels compared to his sex partners. They were so incredibly horrifying I think they must hide in basements and only come out in the dead of night because I never see people so shockingly disgusting out in public. If I could post a picture here you’d all scream and understand immediately what I’m talking about.

    So yeah, he’s going to be happy. I’m sure he’ll always be able to find a homeless person who smells like shit and is covered in sores to suck his dick for a $20 so nothing is going to stand in the way of his happiness.

    What I’ve accepted is that what he considers happiness is a nightmarish hell for me. So I’m just glad to be away from him and have nothing to do with him.

    • Because many of the original “mate poacher” studies made the mistake of relying on the self-reported “mate value/attractiveness” of the interviewed poachers, that research perpetuated the myth that “hotness” is the main factor in choice of AP. The older studies did conclude that poachers measure very high on narcissism and psychopathy but it took further research to discover that self-reported attractiveness in personality disordered subjects was mostly misleading because, as these studies discovered, narcissists tend to grossly overrate their own positive qualities, particularly appearance.
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222249182_Narcissistic_men_and_women_think_they_are_so_hot_-_But_they_are_not

      I think it’s partly a reaction to the myth that many chumps have marveled about how surprisingly beastly a lot of schmoopies are. I can attest that it’s partly schadenfreude (snicker) but some of it is just understandably baffled “Huh?”

      My theory is that it’s the personality disorder that’s the main attraction. I suspect FWs tend to seek particular traits in APs above all others and sometimes to the exclusion of all others and the truly sought-after quality is likely that the AP must “smell” like whatever figure from FWs’ pasts that turned the FWs into FWs to begin with. That smell can come in a variety of wrappings but it seems for most average, flawed, non-billionaire cheaters the AP packaging can lean a bit to the “Huh?” side.

      Given viable other options, would most healthy people with a healthy sense of self worth accept the risk and sloppy seconds status of being poacher? At the very least it seems a little desperate. In my situation, the AP was a dead ringer for FW’s narcissistic mother down to the religious fanaticism, hatred of other women, schitzy fits of viciousness against people, endangerment (FWs mother left him around pedophiles as a child and the AP regularly binge drank and chauffered FW around on the freeway) who hadn’t done anything to her and visible facial deformity. I wonder if pathological reenactment might explain the disconnect a bit.

      • Hell of a Chump, FW’s AP is also very much like his mom — especially her bizarre chirpy voice. And he was always into his mom’s hairstyle — so yep, AP has similar hairstyle 🤮. When he was verbally attacking me years ago, I even got to tell him he’s fucking his own mom (metaphorically of course) — that went over well 😂

        I agree. Many of these disordered narcissistic FWs chase the one that made them into who they are. i read an article years ago about how it’s common for them to find someone similar to their mom that they were never able to please. So basically they are able to play that out with AP and feel like they are pleasing their mom finally. Creepy huh?

        But the good news? He discarded me… that means I am not like his mom — whew! And AP can have that creepy hot mess.

  • Dear ML. Tracy is pretty clear about meh. You don’t care about him anymore. He can be sleeping in the gutter, winning a prize, arrested or climbing mountains. Because you still hurt mean you are still tethered to him. You have to let go. Maya Angelou said when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time. Minister TG Jakes says when someone walks away let them go.

    I take National Geographic and the world is a beautiful place. I hope you will go see it.

  • This is really helpful today. The EX is on a cruise in the Caribbean. He is probably posting all kinds of great beach vacation photos, and people are liking and commenting, “You deserve it!” Probably, because I don’t check. But I know that must be the case. He is there with my adult son who is mildly autistic, so people think he is a great dad, taking his disabled son on a cruise.
    Here is what they don’t see–he has this money because he refused to let me and the kids have the house and instead squatted in it and refused to pay the mortgage until I agreed to a split that gave him most of the equity. As soon as he had the equity, he told me that God told him to take a sabbatical, and he refused to be employed for a year, so now he is out of money. I strongly suspect that he is paying for this cruise at least partly with credit cards. I told him that DD16 needs her wisdom teeth extracted and that will cost us quite a lot because it isn’t covered by insurance. He told me he can’t afford it and asked me to check whether my church would pay for it. He told me this literally one week before he left for this cruise.
    Also, when this adult autistic son came to live with me (after living for a year with his dad), he had no clothes that fit and he had a tooth that needed a root canal that his dad refused to fix. And when my son went on this cruise with his dad, my ex left him at the airport for five hours by himself, and I had to talk him through baggage claim and tell him to go back to the airport when he wandered out at 1:00am and tried to sleep on a park bench with his bags next to him.
    My ex’s life is a shitshow. But as Chumplady said, he doesn’t care. All the dental appointments, clothes purchases, etc, fall on me because I care. He goes on Caribbean cruises. He doesn’t care about anything else as long as he is having fun–which is why he wouldn’t stop cheating and stealing our whole marriage.
    But at the end of the day, the EX isn’t even invited to his daughter’s wedding. He doesn’t care about that either. I couldn’t live like that. I would care.

  • CL, thank you for this response. No one else can explain the cheater like you! I wish I had understood the cheater during the early days of our marriage.
    “The only people with carefree lives are sociopaths. Because they don’t care. There’s no adaptive anxiety to react to things they should actually care about. Overdue bills? A trail of destruction and broken hearts? Three months of dirty laundry?” <THIS was my XH. I used to think it was a virtue, or some good fate of personality, to not be worried or anxious. Until everything got dumped on me. Then that became the little secret in our marriage, because I told no one how lazy he was. I had to try to put on a good face, while he had his happy face all the time. And had the energy to be generous and helpful to other people.
    While I kept this secret, I became the irritable one. And that was all before I found out about his secret life of prostitutes and one-night stands.

    To Meh-less in PA: STOP knowing what the XH is doing. I am sorry if you are told about his life by other people. Comparisons are never worth the time. The hurt does go away. You can trust this, just like trusting that he sucks.

  • Happy, carefree lives? Take for example Rupert Murdoch who, if anyone’s not aware, is among the most powerful and corrupt media magnates in history. He’s about 90 and has never been more powerful. Seems to be working out for him despite a string of wrecked marriages in his wake, not to mention the countless victims and environmental wreckage of his toxic industrial investments, war industry investments and private prison investments that his media power has always been instrumental in covering up.

    But then along came Wendy Deng. I knew someone who knew her. She cheated on Murdoch with Tony Blair in the most humiliating way, then took Murdoch to the cleaners in the divorce. The fact that Murdoch is the ultimate Prince of Darkness and doesn’t seem to get emotionally felled by taking his own throat-cutting medicine only speaks to a tough, scarred hide, not happiness. His subsequent marriage was probably all about impression management to make up for the take-down by Deng and the latter marriage just imploded like the others. Fun, fun, fun.

    The first seasons of the bleak comic series Succession, which is somewhat based on the Murdoch family, paints a picture of such horrific dysfunction and misery that it could stand as a cure for average people’s daydreams of ever being that rich and powerful. Though not on the level of Murdoch power and wealth, there’s a part of my extended family that I’ve avoided for years that has similar dynamics and the series really rang true to me. All the fucker-overs get fucked over and the people closest to power eat the biggest shit sandwiches. No thanks.

    Succession writers managed to weave in bits and details about Murdoch’s actual life history that Murdoch has always used his power to obscure. For instance, in one scene the Murdoch-ish character emerges like a wrinkled rhino from a swimming pool and you can see the old keloid scars all over his back, obviously from being whipped as a child, a history that’s only hinted at throughout the series because the Murdoch figure won’t talk about it.

    Maybe the real life Rupert will have the last laugh in life but it will be the bitter, soulless, repulsive cackle of a damaged and miserable sadist. And most likely he’ll die screaming surrounded only by the loveless fiends who could even stand to stay in proximity to him because they have their own agendas.

    This is one of the more powerful figures in history so you can imagine that lesser freaks without the resources to keep buying and coercing their way out of consequences will probably land less “happily.” Trust they suck and that it sucks to be them.

  • I’ve just been reading the news – there was this beautiful, shy 15 year old kid called Sebastian who was beaten to death by his own mum and his thug of a stepdad, about 30 miles away from where I live. I’m maybe a bit that way out tonight, but it had me in tears. That kid turned up to school and was sweet and shy, and nobody suspected, and nobody asked. And that’s about how fair life is – how you get treated by others has so little to do with personal worth, and so much more to do with what you are conditioned to tolerate, or forced to endure. It doesn’t always feel that way, but if we’re free, and safe from abuse, and have the agency to create new lives, then we’re the lucky ones, we really are. x

    • WeShould( love yer name), everything you wrote rings absolutely true. Never knew how much my family of origin conditioning affected me until finding out about my ex’s double life as a gay man. For 34 years. Blindsided and traumatized then, I now understand that my denial shrouded red flags, The fear of abandonment was so great it was impossible to see the dysfunction. The truth is, I was already abandoned from the beginning, he was never invested anyway, and that is a bitter pill to swallow. Learning how to not neglect myself at my age, 68, will keep me busy and occupied for the rest of my days. Thank you for sharing.

      ,

      • Thanks Carolina. It’s so hard and so humiliating to tease out your own worth in a situation where you’ve basically been someone’s unwitting beard. I spent a couple of years thinking ‘I could live with it’, and it took me a long time to stop feeling sorry for him and start feeling angry for myself. He’s married now – he did it again straight away to someone else (although that someone else is his female affair partner, so I guess she has it coming).
        My blood still boils when I hear stories like yours, and I raged and raged over my lost 12 years, so I can only begin to imagine the pain of losing 34 to a fraud. I felt ashamed, and foolish, and deeply unattractive, and sexless, and used. I found EDMR was the one thing that truly helped me to move on (it wasn’t cheap – I stuck it on a credit card, which I’m still paying off, but I’m so glad I did it).
        I can now breathe properly, and feel fully, and think clearly. Before the EDMR, I felt punched in the guts every time I tried to take a full breath. And I’m determined to celebrate my own existence and loveliness, and if other people don’t notice it, well, they’re just not very observant :-). And goddammit, I’m going to do some good in this world, with the time I have left. Big hugs, Carolina. I hope you rinse every second out of this second chance to be happy. Think big. X

      • I hear you Carolina. We were conditioned to accept the worst. Which is why I’m so gun shy that I vet all new friends and avoid men in general as I’ve found most of them to be self serving and shallow dolts. Not all, but most. My eyes are open now and can see the emperor and he’s a disgusting narc.

  • I get this, and I’m not concerned with FW’s love life or happiness in that regard, but just today I found out there’s a glitch we me becoming reinstated as an active member of the Bar in my state after having been inactive for so long. This may mean I won’t qualify for a promotion and a huge raise. I paid my inactive dues, followed all the rules, etc. FW, on the other hand, who should have been disbarred for felony bigamy and other bad actions (but it wasn’t in my and my son’s interest at the time to pursue it and have him fired from his employment) has somehow managed to keep employed intermittently just enough so he can claim active status and waive into the Bar of more than one state as he moves around the country at will. So for me, it’s not so easy to let go. The reminders are in my face daily of the unfairness of it all, and they go to my livelihood, not just my heart and feelings. 🙁

    • CBN, big hugs to you, that’s a tough one. I’m a fair few years from d-day and have rebuilt, at least professionally and socially (romantically, not so much – I still don’t seem to have much heart for that stuff). I found that, although I was significantly poorer, I was also way cleverer – a better judge of character, and probably a lot easier to respect in the workplace than I used to be. It paid off financially in the end. Hoping you find your way though it x

    • It is a lot easier to “get past it” if you have not been financially damaged, if not destroyed. Many women have to go from a middle class comfortable life to starting all over again. Hard to just let it go.

      Yes we have to, but as VH said, it takes time and each will have to do it at the best pace they can.

      • Financially, it did hurt me, but my bigger challenge was finding out (a couple of years after we split up) that he’d had a secret kid while we were still living together. He’d only told me about his affairs with men. That one really hurt (we’d been together for 12 years, and we split up when I was 42, and recognising that I’d probably never have the choice of being a mum). Like snakes and ladders, I had to go right back to the start, in terms of pain. Things are a lot better now, but I don’t think it’s a completely linear process for anybody.

      • Being damaged financially has been a huge hurdle in healing/loving myself. Ex did very well in his profession. I got the house free & clear plus retirement $ in the divorce. I’m a decade away from retirement & just struggling. Finding a decent job in my 50s took longer than I thought. House is old & needs repair. I’m just exhausted emotionally worrying about falling through the cracks. I hate him for this.

      • Thanks, OHFFS. I still have a good job as it is, so I’ll be ok, but I think those who said that it’s almost harder, or is harder, to get over the financial losses are spot on. For me personally, those types of losses (money, beautiful home, etc) are much harder. Not sure if that makes me look like a mercenary or something, but those are the losses that stick with you and keep providing tangible consequences throughout the rest of your life, and your kids’ lives too. And I’m nearing retirement so there’s less time for me to make up these losses. Fortunately, what FW does with his love life and whether he’s “happy” with someone else, I couldn’t care less.

    • I wasn’t a member but one of my friends was. That place was the best.
      Alas, I applied for a membership and never heard back from them. I guess I just wasn’t bitchy enough.😪
      I miss those days before social media took over and ruined the internet.

  • Trusting that a cheater sucks seems simple on the face of it. They cheated. Cheaters suck. But I think a lot of us chumps get into the trap of extending the spackling we may have done to remain with cheaters to some point after we leave them or are left by them. Some might imagine that an AP or future partner might magically inspire a cheater to become unicorns! That assumes that the replacement partner would be inspiring in that way, meaning a great catch themselves– constructive, moral, faithful, healthy, reliable, etc.

    But– oops– science.

    According to research, mate poaching involves indirect aggression and competition that are the hallmarks of personality disorder and poachers show higher than average rates of narcissism and psychopathy. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S019188691400628X

    Mate poachers use specific strategies to lure “taken” targets like feigning friendship, requesting help/rescuing, sending sexual signals, shifting conversation to sex, attacking rival, spying on relationship to find weaknesses to exploit:
    https://www.academia.edu/16361187/Human_mate_poaching_Tactics_and_temptations_for_infiltrating_existing_mateships
    ————————————————————————————

    Narcissists rate themselves as more attractive than others and superior in other ways but others do not rate narcissists as more attractive. This has led other researchers to theorize that poaching is a means to re-inflate unstable self image.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222249182_Narcissistic_men_and_women_think_they_are_so_hot_-_But_they_are_not
    —————————————————————–

    Women who are particularly aggressive in targeting other women in competition for mates are also more self destructive and depressive.

    https://www.psypost.org/2022/04/heightened-intrasexual-competition-and-younger-age-linked-to-reduced-psychological-well-being-in-brazilian-women-62855

    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2013.0080
    “Werner & Crick [64] found that women who were nominated by peers as being indirectly aggressive were more likely to self-report symptoms of bulimia nervosa than their less aggressive peers.”

    —————————————————————-
    Mate poaching may be an expression of adaptive psychopathy and “fast life” strategy forged in dangerous socio-ecological environments (response to violence, fear of insufficient resources, shortened sense of life span) and reflective of controlling, neglectful maternal care. Not specifically mentioned is the potential role of fathers or other role models in creating threatening social environment that may influence neglectful, controlling maternal behavior and trigger psychopathy in offspring.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886916303373

    “Primary and secondary psychopathy are putative fast life-history strategies. Psychopathic individuals use deception and antisocial behaviours to exploit others for resources and mating opportunities (Mealey, 1995) and exhibit short-term mating behaviours such as mate poaching (Kardum, Hudek-Knezevic, Schmitt, & Grundler, 2015) and sexual coerciveness (Muñoz, Khan, & Cordwell, 2011). Being psychopathic could be successful in harsh environments, as a “live fast, die young” (have more children) strategy.”

    Promiscuity, lack of impulse control and “fast life” strategies involving highly competitive mating strategies may be responses to poor health and lower life expectancy:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-90579-8

    None of this sounds particularly promising for fulfilling lives and relationships and apparently the statistics agree. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0092656614000750

    One of the reasons I used science to bolster arguments a lot when working as an advocate for DV victims was because, for better or worse, science now forms the basis of laws and policies, not to mention public attitudes. As advocates, we learned that survivors tended to be very sensitive to the “voice of authority”– not because the survivors were necessarily that credulous of authority but because they were keenly aware of how authority influences police and social response in life and death ways. A lot of advocacy involved discussing research. I saw one survivor– who’d been blinded in an assault by a long term partner– get up an do a kind of humorous baptist revival dance in a group meeting in response to a bit of research being read aloud. It wasn’t just that the new research countered the typical victim-blaming institutional view that had made it harder for her to escape. The new research also showed a bit of hope that the policies that had failed her might eventually change.

    Science is also a political tool because institutional thinking is incredibly stubborn and will use junk science to bolster its own biases. So in fighting fire with fire, more legitimate science can be useful to snafu institutional bias and push for changes in policy and legislation and in turn public attitudes. So now my knee jerk reaction to running into cultural bs and injustice is to look up related research. Because you can dance to it.

    • This is so eye-opening. I happened to find a woman whose marriage was falling apart so she stayed online looking for partners. It did not seem to matter to her if they were married or not. She was the most pathetic woman I’ve ever read about because her lifestyle was so self-destructive. She dated at least three married man who got all the goody out of her sexually and then dumped her.

  • We have all been where you are – some of us are still there. If you can think of the situation as a con… a bait and switch… a repeatable movie plot with the same ending every time (sooner or later)… would you keep watching?

    Same here.

    She got a cheater. Will he cheat on her, don’t know. Did he cheat on you, yup. Enough reason to dump his ass and go build a mighty life. She’s got a man who will cheat on his wife. That isn’t a character defect that just goes away, for what it’s worth. That kinda shit takes years of individual therapy (not the RIC bullshit) to work through… you know him… think he’s down for that? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    Mr. Sparkles final OW dumped him after two years because she found out he was cheating on her. He had a new GF weeks… WEEKS… later. I had to realize then and there I could no longer get invested in the “what if” of whatever life he goes on to create.

    I know it’s hard, but the sooner you can do it, I promise, the sooner your deep healing can begin.

  • I needed this today. I’m about two months out from D-day when wife of nearly 30 years dropped the bomb about her two year affair. She moved right out to live wth AP. We are still “married”, pending divorce. The number of lies and deceptions, and the betrayal have left me crushed in depression and anxiety. She has left a massive path of destruction in the family. She acts happy with AP. Here’s what I know though, at the end of the day I have my honor and integrity intact, and a tremendous relationship with my adult sons. She has destroyed her relationship with them. I’ll come out of this. It’s just going to take time. She has to live with herself for the rest of her life…

    • Exactly, D…she will always be an evil scuzbucket, but in time you will heal and continue to live an authentic life as a person of integrity.

      I’m sorry you’re having to go through this hell…you will find lots of comfort here. Sending you a big (((hug))).

  • Thank you, CL, I needed this. FW has moved on to his second relationship in the almost year since I basically kicked him out, bought a new house, and I know he’s completely reinventing himself in a new city and coming across as Mr. Perfect Amazing Man. Meanwhile he continues to fuck with my life post divorce through a house we jointly own for now and a retirement account that I still don’t have my share of.

  • This – THIS post is the reason I contribute to Patreon to support Tracy.
    This is gold writing.
    Excellent advice, filled with experience and knowledge.
    God knows how many posts she’s read and replied to privately, as well on on the forum.
    10 years ago, she set me free and I will love her forever.
    Thank you, Tracy

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