Getting Past the Affair… Or Staying Stuck

after the affair

His wife cheated, they’re in limbo, and he’s reading “Getting Past the Affair.” He’d like Chump Lady’s opinion on the book.

***

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m four months past D-day, discovering my wife had a 6-month affair with the church choir director(!!!) after we had been married for 17 years. I know the affair is over, since I found an emo journal full of recrimination on him for leaving her.  Of course, that was a few months after I confronted her about my suspicions prematurely without evidence. I got the usual gaslighting about hurt feelings that I didn’t trust her.

Three weeks after D-day, before I had even started to pick myself up off the floor, she told me that she wanted a divorce, forcing me onto the back foot to try to defend a marriage that I hadn’t even had time to consider if I still wanted. (I feel this must be a common tactic, but isn’t one I’ve seen mentioned on your site.)

Since then, she’s waffled and claimed not to know what she wants.

I have a long history of depression, and this unsurprisingly hit me hard. I lost 30 pounds and almost lost my job. Literally the only reason I didn’t kill myself was to spare my children that trauma. I’m now seeing a therapist and am on antidepressants, but it’s awfully hard to tell the difference between depression and the proper reaction to your life going to shit.

Did I mention I just turned 40 today? Perfectly symbolic timing to discover that your entire adult life has been a waste. 

Anyway, all that’s mostly irrelevant backstory to my main question. Like a true chump and an academic nerd, I tried to get my hands on all the literature I could. One of the books I stumbled on is “Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On–Together or Apart,” which seems to be one of the better known and more well regarded. The advice purports to be backed by clinical trials that confirm chumps will get over betrayal faster and more fully.

It is antithetical to many of the concepts discussed here on CN, mostly encouraging lots of discussion with the FW. It is very explicit to repeat multiple times that the FW is solely to blame for their actions and not the chump, yet one of the chapters has both partners explore how they each contributed to factors that make the relationship “susceptible to an affair.” (Sadly it does not mention that being married to a FW is the one and only factor.)

I wonder if you have encountered this particular book before?

Do you think there is anything at all of value there, or is just more drivel from the RIC. As for me, I’m not yet brave enough to pull the pin on no contact. (What can I say? Self-harm has always been one of my MOs.) Meanwhile, her working through that book with me without my prompting is one of the ways she is trying to demonstrate true remorse

Thanks,

Should Know Better

***

Dear Should Know Better,

Asking Chump Lady to review a reconciliation book is like asking Ron Swanson to review vegan dining establishments.

I am not the target audience. I haven’t read it, but I’m happy to discuss the bullshit therapy concept of dual accountability.

It is very explicit to repeat multiple times that the FW is solely to blame for their actions and not the chump, yet one of the chapters has both partners explore how they each contributed to factors that make the relationship “susceptible to an affair.”

In clinical terms we call this “talking out of both sides of your mouth.”

If the chump contributes to their partner’s susceptibility to an affair, that’s saying they are, in fact, responsible. It implies that their behavior can control what the FW does.

Try this another way.

The embezzler is solely to blame for their actions stealing the pension fund. Yet, the company should explore the factors that made this employee susceptible to embezzlement. Could they have done more to promote him? Addressed his job dissatisfaction? Had longer coffee breaks?

Nuts, right? The embezzler’s employment relationship — in his MIND — may have justified his criminal acts. No coffee break? Fuck you, I’m stealing the pension fund! But no judge in the land is going to reduce that guy’s sentence based on a manufactured grievance. The evidence is he stole a pension fund. Because it was profitable. Because he likes ill-gotten money. And because he could.

NOT because he couldn’t have a conversation about his dissatisfaction at work.

When therapists encourage conversations about relationship dissatisfaction that led to affairs, they are subtly assigning blame to the chump.

Not all the blame!

Blame is blame. What we “both” did is more of an insult. To be chumped is to be unaware. Cheaters act unilaterally. So were you sleepwalking? Did you send mind rays? How did you consent to be cheated on?

Let’s look at the reviews for Getting Past the Affair.

this book was a slap in the face and honestly, it was upsetting enough that I couldn’t finish it. This book suggests it’s ok for the affair to continue for a few months while your cheating spouse decides what to do. Preposterous. How demeaning and esteem crushing for the hurt partner – at a time when the hurt partner’s self esteem is already completely destroyed. What kind of statement are you making to your wayward spouse that it’s ok to play around while s/he figures out what/who he wants. NO other book that I’ve read has suggested continued contact with the affair partner is ok.

Amazon 1 star review

Is it any wonder your wife is reading the book that’s okay with cake eating? If the book really argues that, it’s more evidence of grieving the affair partner RIC bullshit.

This book set our recovery back….WAY back. It gave my husband excuses to not look at his own behavior but rather pick apart our 19 year marriage and how our “marriage” became vunerable, instead of how HE became vunerable, or screwed up in the head.(Can we say typical mid-life crisis?) I quote from a section titled “A Special Message to the Participating Partner” (ie. the cheater), page 236. “Was the Affair My Fault?” If we haven’t made this clear yet, the answer is an unqualified no.” Uh, hello??? HE is the one who dropped his pants!!! This book increased my anger and made it harder to get started on the road to healing. 

Amazon 1 star Review

Even people who want to reconcile can’t stomach this advice. Yes, there are many more 5 and 4 star reviews. Let’s review one of those. (This is an excerpt.)

There have been some reviews complaining that this book goes too easy on the person who had the affair and that is let’s him/her “off too easy”. I really do not feel this book does that at all. What it does is asks both partners to look at their parts in what went wrong with the relationship that contributed towards the affair.
AND the more important part is that although my partner is a wonderful person in that he is WILLING to read any book I push at him, and he did read most of After the Affair and a few others, this book has been so much more helpful to him and some of that is due to the way the authors speak in a less BLAMING tone towards the person who had the affair.

Amazon 5-star review, Nancy

Wow, he was willing to read a book after fucking around on you, Nancy? Bitch cookie. And it’s kind and gentle and less blame-y? Strident tones are so difficult for timid forest creatures. You wouldn’t want to scare them away from reconciliation with a harsh adjective.

SKB, even the good reviews are solidifying my opinion that this book is the usual Reconciliation Industrial Complex claptrap.

Let’s look at your situation. Are you getting past the affair?

I’m four months past D-day, discovering my wife had a 6-month affair with the church choir director(!!!)

Jesus cheaters are the worst. The church choir director? With a woman?

I know the affair is over, since I found an emo journal full of recrimination on him for leaving her.

So you’re Plan B? Fuck that shit, SKB.

she told me that she wanted a divorce, forcing me onto the back foot to try to defend a marriage that I hadn’t even had time to consider if I still wanted. (I feel this must be a common tactic, but isn’t one I’ve seen mentioned on your site.)

Dude, it’s all over the site. It’s called the Pick Me Dance. And you don’t have to defend your marriage. Take her at her word and go talk to a lawyer, STAT.

She’s waffling and can’t decide what she wants? YOU DECIDE. You are the decider!

Happy birthday.

Did I mention I just turned 40 today? Perfectly symbolic timing to discover that your entire adult life has been a waste. 

Happy belated. If you’ve read this blog for very long, you’ll know that I had a D-Day right after my 40th birthday (and just months after my wedding.) I tell the story about ordering myself a truckload of cow manure and literally spreading shit on my 40th birthday, and thinking it’s a metaphor for something. My metaphor called a few weeks later. The Other Woman informing me she existed.

We’ve been there. Chumps have had countless significant events upstaged by cheater drama. Consider this a new beginning. Get away from this faux reconciliation nightmare and celebrate your future decades in peace.

Where’s the data?

I can think of better ways to celebrate 40 than pick-me dancing for the ambivalent attention of some nitwit who fucks church choir directors. What hymn pairs with adultery? How Great Thou Art? A Mighty Fortress Is My Hard-on? Blessed Assurance (My Wife Doesn’t Know)?

No. You want to read RIC books with a cheater.

The advice purports to be backed by clinical trials that confirm chumps will get over betrayal faster and more fully.

Bullshit. The largest study on infidelity showed that people who left had better outcomes. I’m highly skeptical of RIC data — you can read the breakdown here.

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter. YOU matter. Is this relationship acceptable to you? Do you want to be with someone who can casually betray you — knowing that you suffer from depression — and keep you in limbo all to feed her ego? Your suicidal grief is kibbles. I mean, fuck her.

But you wanted a book review. So here it is: That advice blows. Read my book instead, Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.

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LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
18 days ago

SKB,

Your wife says that she doesn’t know what she wants; not really a ringing endorsement of her commitment to your marriage is it? And that’s after she was busted for cheating on you. The fact that she lied to you when she thought that she could get away with it should tell you a lot. I’d also (in your shoes) draw a lot of inference from the things that she’s not doing right now …. like trying to address the harm and damage that she’s done.

I’ll expand on CL’s last line; you should get LACGAL, read it, internalise it and use it to guide your path through this sh*tstorm and into a much better future for yourself. LACGAL was my “Northstar” during the worst time in my life, and I suspect that the same goes for most of the people who post on this site.

LFTT

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago

Are you willing to accept becoming the marriage police? To let your mental, emotional, and physical health slowly degrade over time? To allow her to blame you for everything to get her off the hook? Divorce her and take your life back, she has shown you she does not follow the teachings of Christ, do not allow the church to push you into reconciliation. Reconciliation is also divorcing the person and living in peace.

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Yes, and forgiving just means being willing to let the anger go rather than holding onto it and building into a festering grudge, which is what FWs tend to do, and to forgo revenge. Justice is not revenge though- it’s justice to impose consequences and in adulterers’ case, the just consequences are they can no longer use and abuse the faithful spouse because they’re not in their lives anymore. TBH, as a Catholic, I’d encourage annulment. I’m in the process of it now and although I don’t know if I’ll get it or not, just the fact the Church has taken me seriously has been really encouraging and validating!
Getting the spiritual ties to an unrepentant adulterer cut and rid of would be one of the best things a chump could do for their own welfare!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

So true. Once someone has been chumped, short of playing with their home lobotomy kit there’s really no way to ever, ever trust the cheater again no matter how many “reconciliation” guides one reads which automatically condemns the betrayed partner to the role of marriage police by default. You can brainwash yourself till the cows come home but your nervous system and something in your hypothalamic ancient brain is never going to buy it and will remain exhaustingly hypervigilant. These stupid RIC programs are predicated not only on the pie-in-the-sky idea that someone with a Cluster B disorder can be magically inspired to get a character transplant, these programs are also based on the lie that it’s even possible for a victim to truly “forgive and forget” once the person closest to them stabs them in the back over and over again.

Pretending otherwise is like pretending gravity doesn’t exist which is why RIC is pure fraud. Only when the backstabbing experience is far away in the rear view mirror and someone has gone NC long enough for their nervous systems to heal and to start rebuilding a safer life will the details of the trauma start to seem a bit blurrier. I suppose that could be called a form of “forgetting.”

As far as “forgiving,” I tend to think “meh” contains a philosophical element in which one might see a former abuser and their destructive behavior as a product of their creepy, icky upbringing and it all starts to seem less personal– more like a sewage disaster one once had to wade through. At least I assume this is how it works because my pulse doesn’t even go up at the thought of some past harrowing near misses dealing with psychos while working in an aggressive industry. I’ve even crossed paths with a few of those psychos years after these encounters and remained cool as a cucumber because I was out of their reach. In other words, “meh” only happens when you’re effectively safe from continued aggression.

I guess that could be seen as a kind of “forgiveness.” But nothing close to forgetting nor forgiving are really possible to achieve while still in the orbit of the offender. In fact, I think these experiences tend to leave people permanently allergic to even the subtlest, most covert abusers (including crappy therapists and victim-blaming self help authors) in the future so, like someone with a peanut allergy whose throat will close up if someone 30 yards away opens a bag of mixed nuts, part of healing and remaining stable is being forever careful about who one keeps company with lest all the memories of earlier trauma come flooding back and undo all that progress.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

… and in retrospect, on a subconscious, intuitive level, I “knew” something was wrong for a long time, though there was no evidence. I teach my kids to listen to their guts now. It’s hard to hear that voice, it’s like trying to capture a smell by sniffing the air.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

I am an empathetic person, but I also am pretty clear on what is tolerable/forgivable behavior and what isn’t. I’ve never been interested in being a victim or a martyr. This discussion helps me understand why my husband had to plot in secret and wage a whisper campaign for years before deserting us with no warning. He knew me well enough that if I knew what he’d been engaged in, I would have ended the marriage. He kept me in the dark and then abandoned us with no warning, knowing that what he’d done was unforgivable. I just realized this thanks to this post!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
14 days ago
Reply to  Chumpty Dumpty

Because domestic batterers typically preemptively smear their victims even in cases where the batterer has no intention of ever letting the victim go, I suspect the preemptive smearing of chumps might have slightly different purposes for different types of fuckwits. While FWs are in the midst of doing things they know their partners might leave them for, I can imagine some– who might not necessarily want to be dumped and would prefer to maintain a harem arrangement until the wheels fall off– may begin preparing to allay the potential humiliation of being the dumpee, save face with others, etc. So they start complaining to bystanders about the chump as a means of pretending that– if and when they are dumped– it was, uh, er, no big loss and not their fault. But then for the FWs who are consciously planning to monkey branch and abandon, the smear campaign is probably much more about preemptive blame shifting and discrediting the chump in case the latter tells others about the abuse.

In both cases I think that, like batterers, FWs are poisoning the social pot with reputational attacks as an attempt to ensure that their victims are less able to move on to have happy and fulfilling lives without the FW. Same difference since, either way, the chump is subjected to a toxic and devastating smear campaign.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

It is really helpful to learn that pre-emptive smear campaigns are a signature of abusers, thank you for that information. I had no idea that was a characteristic. I thought I was the only one who had that happen to them. It’s the worst! He wiped out so many of my support network. Definitely in his case it was about discrediting me. I think a lot of people in our circle were just short-circuited: they didn’t know what to believe, since they were presented with two contradictory stories — but he got to them first with his. I was left playing catch-up, and not being a sociopath, I ironically am actually less convincing. People believed him emotionally, not rationally.

Last edited 14 days ago by Chumpty Dumpty
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
14 days ago
Reply to  Chumpty Dumpty

He not only got to them “first” (in terms of spreading his bs among mutual contacts), he also had the advantage of being the scarier, creepier, more dangerous party of the two of you. In other word, as the perp in a domestic abuse dynamic, he was the more dangerous to cross or contradict so that, typical of the social dynamics surrounding domestic abuse, many people tend to curl up into furry balls at the feet of the dangerous perpetrator and emotionally abandon or even collaborate against the relatively benign victim.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
14 days ago

But I would still urge you to hold out hope that some people have either the experience or spiritual fortitude not to fall for the lies of some loud-mouth abuser. I feel blessed in having met people who could see through the lies and weren’t swayed by power dynamics.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

Aw, Hell of a Chump, he compartmentalizes so well that noone found him remotely dangerous. Only I saw the other side of him, as well as his children. Everyone else found him very pitiable and all seem to have genuinely felt sorry for him. But he is a world-class manipulator. He actually was awarded an Exceptional Ability green card based on his uncanny ability to “book” tv subjects and otherwise persuade them. Very smart and of course he fooled me for decades! So when people were confronted with a set of facts that didn’t line up with his story, and yet were moved to really feel sorry for him, they were understandably confused. I do feel as though “the wheels have come off” somewhat and the irrational facts about his behavior are mounting up, but he is still employed and productive and presumably has moved onto — I wouldn’t say greener, but.. other green pastures.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago
Reply to  Chumpty Dumpty

… in retrospect, on a subconscious, intuitive level, I “knew” something was wrong for a long time, though there was no evidence. I teach my kids to listen to their guts now. It’s hard to hear that voice, it’s like trying to detect a smell by sniffing the air.

Last edited 14 days ago by Chumpty Dumpty
Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

So true, so well said!

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago

Oh yeah, I do not push reconciliation at all, the trust will always be lost. Never once met a unicorn that forever changed. As a matter of fact, all of the marriages that exist after an affair in the small group I am in are due to super heavy marriage policing and they have gone through multiple D-days. This is why I am anti-reconciliation, that’s just unhealthy and so damaging.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

I agree that reconciliation propaganda is unhealthy and damaging but I tend not to judge anyone who attempts it as long as they aren’t nasty to those who eschew it or don’t bitchily try to proselytize the RIC view to others. This is mostly because everyone has to learn for themselves and also because helping professions and the legal system are still nowhere near catching up with the horrors and entrapping power of coercive control which I think is almost always a factor in cheating. Basically if someone purporting to “help” a survivor can’t offer the funds to pay for any fallout if the victim does what they’re being pushed to do or can’t offer 24 hour body guard services, it’s best not to foist directives.

I learned as an advocate that it can sometimes increase the danger some victims are in to too abruptly pressure them to break through their own Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding. The Catch 22 of Stockholm syndrome seems to be that, due to this “survivor denial” in which victims make themselves appear loyal to abusers almost down to a cellular level, arguably in order to inspire the abuser to be more merciful (which works to some extent, at least until it doesn’t), the victim may not even be able to mentally access, define or describe to supporters the ways an abuser is threatening or endangering them (that recognition usually only surfaces after the victim gains some safety), leading some bystanders to assume the victim doesn’t leave because they’re weak and masochistic which can lead to bitch-slapping, etc., which can in turn shame and socially pressure (an already coerced and terrified) victim into taking rash, poorly conceived measures that endanger them or put them at a disadvantage.

Instead the private service I worked with seemed to have more success than state shelters and services in eventually “liberating” people by gently helping to ease them into a progressively stealthier, conspiratorial mode rather than bitch slapping or doing the classic passive blamey psychobabble tactic of asking victims why they felt they “deserve to be abuse” (which most state-supported shelter workers were trained to do at the time, ugh). Once a victim took a few “smaller” safety measures like, say, gathering up personal documents and securing them in a safe place or putting together a bit of mad money and sleuthing out joint assets, the increased sense of tactical safety from doing these things itself would quite magically begin to “melt” the captor bonding in stages. You could always tell this was happening when a survivor started getting the giggles about deceiving their abusive partners in little ways.

It felt so strange when a lawyer friend that I’d previously worked with in advocacy and whom I’d actually sort of trained in the gradual method of “melting” Stockholm syndrome, gave me my own “medicine” after I reached out to her during the worst stage of my FW experience. And in having to take my own medicine, I found it was actually pretty effective. At first she told me all the reasons why it would be especially hard for me to “just leave”– that I’d been out of the consistent workforce for years to care for a disabled son, that single mothers of disabled children in particular are especially vulnerable to abuse by the legal and family court systems as well as post-separation abuse by abusers. That was step one in the “anti-victim shaming” approach– offering empathy for why the victim stayed which builds trust and usually causes a sense of relief over at least not being secondarily shamed and misjudged by someone purporting to help. Then she started to ease me into stealth mode– you know, why not do this little thing or that little thing to make yourself and your kids safer regardless of what you decide to do in the long run… That was step two in the “melting” process.

Of course I recognized what she was doing on a mental level because I edited the guide for her organization. But I could still feel it taking effect because this is what it took to actually reach my nervous system which was what had paralyzed my brain. And it had to come from another person because those purporting to help can either represent hope that there are people in the world who will “get it” or they can send the message that the world is just as shaming, blaming and condemning as the abuser, ergo, nowhere to turn for safety. By representing the former, by the end of the conversation she had me laughing and starting to scheme. From there I began to form a clearer picture of the coercive, threatening and controlling behaviors that had made me shut down into an inert puddle. And I got angry.

Anyway, it was such a weird experience to find that we can both know and somehow not know what’s going on with ourselves while under severe duress– call it “trauma anosognosia.” In any case, it’s why I can’t judge people who stay as much as I’ll rip the heads off those who try to bully victims into staying.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
17 days ago

Oh yeah, I don’t push them to leave. I ask questions as to whether they are okay with the situation they find themselves in and if they feel safe. I have learned that I am there to listen, and they are the ones to make the choices.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
18 days ago

Hell of a Chump, I always learn a lot from your posts! Thank you!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  LaDoctora

Thank you and likewise! (I’m assuming you recently adjusted your alias). {{{ }}}

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

I think what Chumps underestimate is that having experienced being cheated on….changes US. From trusting people who never imagine this stuff, at least not happening to us, to people who always have some tiny corner of our psyche, even if we are unaware, attuned to being betrayed yet again. It changes us more than it changes the FWs, I think.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

And my god, I never noticed before how cheating is just absolutely everywhere in media, and usually played for laughs. Have to be very careful what kind of shows to watch when trying to dissociate for a while.

Waitedfartoolong
Waitedfartoolong
18 days ago

So true! And it is taken so lightly, as just another part of modern life completely ignoring the devastation to families caused by adultery.I find myself looking at couples in restaurants or anywhere public, idly wondering,given the pervasiveness of infidelity, whether one or both are cheating on their spouse/partner. As for tv, movies, music and popular culture in general, frequently, I have to change channels or turn off the radio. I can’t even watch MASH reruns without being triggered.

2xchump
2xchump
18 days ago

I watched a movie last night that mentions how true love is so boring!!! Wow!!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

True love is… boring? Wow is right, sort of a confession of personality disorder from whomever wrote that dreck. Please name the film to protect the innocent.

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago

Hell of a Chump, the movie is called Runaway Romance…this movie also shows how chumps are of use and how we are used after trusting that we are loved . It includes Amish traditions as well. It’s Seened like a brainless Romance movie but if you watch it all. Cheaters and chumps are true to life.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Take it from someone who used to work in the entertainment (more specifically, “infotainment”) industry, the creeps that typically produce the offending tv, movies, music and popular culture do not by any means represent the whole of humanity. Because of the nasty, dog-eat-dog, knife-fight nature of the profession, the creeps who rise to power tend to be very extreme narcissists and psychopaths who use media almost like a personal activist platform to normalize their own weird and demented predilections. This also goes for the most sober executive news editors. They’re virtually all megalomaniac pervs.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

Yes this is true of my network news producer husband! It strikes me periodically, as I pick up the pieces and build a new circle of friends and acquaintances (because he despoiled many of my existing ones with an organized campaign of lies!), that everyone I encounter seems so kind and good compared to him. Even the petty and mean people don’t come close to touching him in terms of cruelty and delight in perversity. It makes me feel hopeful (for the future) and sad (for what I was living beside for decades, I was so alone!) at the same time.

Last edited 14 days ago by Chumpty Dumpty
Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I agree, the experience of being cheated on changes us. As you say, “some tiny corner of our psyche” has the theme of potential betrayal thrumming in it, even after we have moved on from the FW and all the chaos and heartbreak he or she caused.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I’d still rather be us than them lol. I’ve had many a happy or even hilarious bonding moment with other survivors of a wide range of experiences in describing that lingering hypervigilence. Meanwhile all abusers are condemned to lie about everything for the rest of their lives. The more shit they do, the more they have to lie about it and therefore become increasingly alienated from humanity. To the extent that I really treasure emotional connections with others and think this is one of the things that make life worth living, I can’t imagine a worse punishment than being a FW.

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago

There is not…they can never truly love nor can they have deep.imner happiness. .nothing is deep and the connections are shallow

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

Yes, shallow is what they are! As shallow as mucky puddles and like the film of oil on a mucky puddle that shows pretty colours but is really just pollution, their seeming sparkle is also just a sign of their pollution! Ugh!

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago
Reply to  Shadow

Shadow! I picked men who were sweet at first but morphed into lying cheaters,, shallow men who fooled me into thinking they still loved me. But is abuse love? Thar is the question I am answering for myself right now. What I thought love was. How I accepted abuse as love. How I felt needed but was actually being discarded as well as used. I’m so happy and at peace without the abuse. Maybe staying with this abuse was a form. of self harm like alcohol or overeating or anorexia? I’m figuring this out now and working on shoring up my boundaries.

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

Hi 2XChump, how are you? I reckon learning about ourselves and changing is a lifelong process. I would have thought I was OK in the few years before I met STBX; single mum, self-determined, no interest in men, loads of friends and quite a full and fulfilling life with lots of happy times, despite the low income and other problems. Sure no one’s life is perfect but I was quite content really. Then I had to come here to Ireland and it was like being exiled from my tribe- I was very vulnerable and lonely and I reckon that’s how he got his hooks into me. So, don’t give yourself a hard time whatever you do, because the last thing any of us need to be doing is picking up the spiky stick they were beating us with, after we wrenched it out of their hands or they dropped it, and carrying on where they left off- beating ourselves with the mucky end!
I know that for most of my life I didn’t really know how to set boundaries nor discern who was safe to be involved with, but we chumps can do something FWs can’t i.e. LEARN from our mistakes. We’re always learning, and we’re always progressing! I reckon that’s cause to be a small bit proud of ourselves, isn’t it? I am a bit tired of having to learn the hard way though- I’ve decided that from now on, it’ll be if in doubt, DON’T, in regards to who I get pally with and if I’m a bit unfair at times, it’ll be a shame but I have to protect myself. It’s been a horrible few years and now I’m feeling better I never want to risk going through anything like that ever again! I think I’ve really learnt that love has to start with ourselves!

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago
Reply to  Shadow

Shadow!!! You are so right!! Oh my goodness..let’s call what some of us do is the second Arrow 🏹. The first 🏹 Arrow was the cheating, demeaning, devaluing, intimate abuse I thought was love and I allowed. Locking that cheater out and involving police..protecting my previous self was the MIGHTY!! BUT..The SECOND Arrow 🏹 is me continuing the internal battering of why why why did I allow years of this cycle from him. years…of abuse of all kinds. So after too much of that, I stand with you and all the other chumps who got past that horror and now live a life of meaning. I live in middle America and Tracy’s work has brought us together..the world of chumps crippled for a time by this cheating injury. I love Tracy so much for her art her words, her cutting to the heart of these preditors. I took off my blinders and now I see and I will be kind to this hurt gal, me and all of us here. I’m so thrilled to meet you and understand we are all coming out of the cave. We thought we found our dream relationship and it turned out to be a disaster. I am learning my boundaries now. Not giving if I don’t get back with ANY friend or family actually. I have a whole new tribe. Smaller but way healthier. I will be single but thrilled to be solo after 2 cheaters 35 years apart and 47 years total of giving and giving and giving. Not asking for reciprocal love and care. Thank.you for responding Shadow. Let’s stay strong and keep the live story going of US.

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

I’m delighted to meet you too 2xChump it’s fantastic that we have this platofrm to support each other even if we’re 1000s of miles away from each other! It’s gobsmacking how , despite the fact our experiences are unique, FWs all seem the same behind it all and their behaviour. can actually be predicted once you know their form and we have Tracy and CN to thank for that. Tracy is a top bird, so are all of CN, yourself included! I love her acerbic wit and her cartoons make me burst myself laughing- Brilliant, hehehe!
I reckon Tracy and CN could well have saved my sanity and I reckon may well have saved a few lives and all!
God bless you, CL and all of CN! We’re top birds (and blokes-mustn’t forget the fellas)!!

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago
Reply to  Shadow

Shadow!Three times a week I pass near to cheater#2s and OW house( it’s on my way to many other locations and was the house i left behind). I have flash backs but then Praise God that he is gone and I am NC! My life was saved. Amen to all you said. I’ll be back tomorrow to write more! Thank you for responding!!! Hugs from the USA as we are all in this together ❤️

Shadow
Shadow
16 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

Hugs to you too 2XChump, chat to you tomorrow, have a lovely evening!

OHFFS
OHFFS
18 days ago

I so agree, HOAC. A fuckwit’s life is inherently an empty one. Life is better on the chump side, despite all the pain. We feel deep pain because we are truly alive. It also means we can feel great joy. A FW, otoh, is dead inside. It’s why they need their sick, cruel thrills, because it’s the only time they feel anything. What a miserable existence.

Last edited 18 days ago by OHFFS
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  OHFFS

How sad for FWs. I can’t even imagine missing out on some of the incredible “social bonding” moments of my life, none of which actually required furtively humping in parking lots or being slathered with flattery to be fulfilling and wonderful.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Peace is so under rated. If I had the money and health to leave my husband, I would do so NOT to find someone else, I don’t think I’d ever look for that again if I were single, but I’d like to find the kind of peace that many here talk about when they are single. The peace of mind and sometimes frankly, just being able to do things the way you want to do them, LOL. A fantasy I bet a lot of married people have but finding out about cheating gives it a lot more impetus.

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Wanting to leave is a sign of emotional detachment though Mehitable, which IMO is the biggest step. Once you’re detached from someone emotionally, it seems that the things needed to detach in other ways fall into place, or so it seems in my case. I hope it does for you too- like HOAC says, take you’re time and be strategic and the bonds will “melt” on every level that you need. Meanwhile, just keep looking after yourself and in contact with CL and CN. We are on your side and want the best for you!

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I mean there is a peace that comes when you’re not dealing with a disordered person all of the time, but being alone all of the time is overrated too. I mean, you have friends and do things, but I still have a lot of life to live and going to movies and other events alone does have a sell by date.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

I don’t really have any friends or extended family left after putting everything into my job and family for almost 20 years. That’s a big part of the terror. I travel a fair amount for business trips and when I’m alone in the hotel room at the end of the day I just sink into this mindless depressed haze.

She’ll probably end up with primary custody of the kids when we separate. Between work travel and the complete mental breakdown complete with strong suicidal leanings, it will be easy to demonstrate that I can’t care for my children. So I’ll end up in an empty apartment every night except for every-other-weekend visits. I don’t know if I can survive that.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

You’re a smart guy. Start looking for work where you don’t have to travel. It’s clearly not good for you. Talk to an attorney. The current standard in most places is 50/50 but that actually might be more than you want to take on right now. But start re-imagining your life around better circumstances so that you can have the custody you want and you aren’t alone in hotel rooms. Honestly, almost any job that allowed you to have a steady home and friends would be better than what you’re enduring now.

Winnie
Winnie
17 days ago

As a kid/young adult, my natural state was awkward introversion and, heading into my 40s, I only had a few friends. But since then, I’ve managed to create a much richer social life in a few ways:

-On Nextdoor, I responded to a post looking for people to join a monthly book club. (You could also try Meetup for this.) Seven years later we’re going strong and I look forward to it so much. I know book clubs are very female-coded, but don’t let that deter you. We intended to be a mixed group but the only man was part of a couple who dropped out early. I’m guessing there are a lot of women-only clubs like ours who would be happy to welcome a man. If being in the minority seems uncomfortable, you could look for (or propose) a men’s book club–the husband of one of our members has been part of one that’s been meeting for over 25 years.

-Since my D-Day last May (and subsequent divorce), I’ve been taking community ed classes in things I’m interested in trying–self-defense, dance, pickleball. I’ve made one friend so far and just getting to casually socialize, plus learn new things, is nice.

-Do you have some casual acquaintances you’d like to know better? Can you maybe suggest a weekly walk, jog, or some other activity? (Or again you could look on Nextdoor or Meetup for people interested in doing this.) I had a casual friend that I didn’t see much, but during the pandemic when we were all stuck at home, the two of us got together every week for a walk. Now we’re very close and I’m so grateful to her for what an amazing supportive friend she’s been through this last year of hell.

I know it can be difficult, especially since there’s this cultural message that making friends as an adult is hard. But I’ve found that just going into situations with an open mind with the attitude that everyone has something interesting about them or some story to tell, and then actually *being interested,* goes a long way. And if nothing else, it gets me out of my own head for awhile and really improves my mood.

Good luck! If the thoughts of an internet stranger make any difference–I’m pulling for you. I’m also devastated to lose my life partner just as (or so I thought) we were getting so close to the early retirement of travel and leisure time that we had so carefully planned and saved for. I’m nowhere close to meh and I cry almost every day, so I know what you mean about the terror.

2xchump
2xchump
17 days ago
Reply to  Winnie

Winnie! I loved your post! My cheater left our 32 year marriage with me at age 69. Since then I moved urgently into a Senior Connect 55 apartment. It’s been 18 months since D day but as I feel better I am.meeting so many people as I take daily walks and exercise. Just saying hi. There are plenty of old guys here but I have zero interest and just am friendly. My picker is turned off because I pick sweet men who morph after about 11 years..into addicted, lying people. I don’t blame myself because they became expert liars, Who can fight that decline? But I have a problem thinking being nice and saintly is a virtue in the face of abuse. So I’m taking my nice and Saintly person, me, on the road and enjoying people I meet and listening to thrm but talking too because NOW I MATTER.I refuse to sit in the back seat anymore crying for a cheater.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
18 days ago

Don’t give up hope! Is there some possibility that you can set up a small apartment that becomes an oasis of love and respect for you and your kids? A space that truly honors you and your love for them? A place for fun and laughter? Any way to change your job so you travel less? Anything at all that you can do to give yourself the care you deserve so you can share it with your kids? Your kids need to see you really care for yourself so they can do it themselves when the time comes. Make friends. Join a club or team. Take a class. Don’t let this ruin you!!! Sooner or later, we all have to deal with terrible things. I hope you can hang in there!!!! I just listened to the memoir by Leslie Jones and she talks about all the hard things she went through. She transforms the pain into comedy. I found it really inspiring. I hope there is something out there to help you find hope.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Emotional abuse is isolating as hell and I’m so sorry you’ve been entrapped with an abuser for a great part of your life. Being the mother of a disabled child and having two others with severe allergies certainly contributed to my isolation but looking back over the years I can now see how FW systematically contributed to my isolation and then– Roman circus style– ended up weaponizing this fact as supposed proof that I was somehow socially inept and a misfit.

But what I learned is that it’s almost as if abusers spray their victims with some kind of invisible social deterrent, almost like negative pheremones or they’re territorially pissing on us. While being actively gaslit and mentally fucked with and then for a period afterwards, it mysteriously becomes harder to form bonds with others. I can’t really explain it but it just seemed to affect my “vibe.” This became clearer after I started spending time out of state with the kids and away from FW for extended periods in seeking specialized medical care for my middle child. Suddenly for no reason I could discern, I became kind of a social magnet. Everywhere I went with the kids, it’s like people were tripping over themselves to get to know us. It also came with being hit on by weirdos and poachers but mostly it was just friendly overtures.

It was the weirdest radical shift I’ve ever experienced. I’d been a bit of a social butterfly before getting married but assumed that I had somehow become fatally off-putting over time. But not so! I started throwing big parties for all my new friends and the kids’ new friends. And that’s when I got to see evidence of the fact that FW hated and felt deeply threatened by that side of me. It lent credence to the idea that he had very insidiously and subtly discouraged or punished this over the years. But deep underground, the real me had somehow stayed alive all that time.

Like me, it sounds like you were having your “vibe” messed with for what sounds like approximately half your life. I hope you can hold out hope that this may change once you’ve been out of “pissing range” of this FW long enough to dissipate the effect.

Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago

Oh my gosh, Hell of a Chump–what you say is so true: “it’s almost as if abusers spray their victims with some kind of invisible social deterrent,” so even for a time after one has exited the relationship, “it mysteriously becomes harder to form bonds with others.”

I am SLOWLY recovering from an abusive situation, and bit by bit–but wow, it does take time–the “vibe” you describe is fading from me. Moving to another city has helped quite a bit.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Leedy

It’s like dark magic, right? I’m still trying to wrap my head around how in the hell I was transformed from “happy party girl” in my youth to some social recluse who kept the shades pulled and seemed to inspire cold and contemptuous treatment from random strangers. I know for a fact that my middle child’s catastrophic illness as a toddler and descent into disability coupled with the many traumas I experienced in trying to advocate for my disabled son against endless discrimination and an abusive school district lent to this. But frankly I was withdrawing even before the kids were born.

As time goes on and I get distance from the often covert abuse, I’m remembering more and more specifics. It seems important to piece this story together not only to regain a sense of my own life narrative and to understand my personal vulnerabilities but also to inoculate my children against similar manipulation and gaslighting.

Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago

I’m so very sorry your child was so deeply ill as a toddler, and that you had to fight an abusive system to get him help later on. I hope he is doing all right now.

To have to fight for your disabled child, against abusive resistance, is pretty annihilating. I have been there, and I agree it can change your personality. Of the various traumas in my adult life, the most wrenching one was the experience of struggling almost helplessly to get my tween daughter into proper treatment for severe OCD–against the resistance of her therapist and her father, who were in a kind of twinned-up narcissistic denial of the mental illness which was really obvious to me and her teachers. After two years of absolute hell, I was finally vindicated and she got into the right treatment. Everything has been much better since then, and my daughter has an adult life she values. But the scars I carry from that experience of parental helplessness still scare me.

Anyway, here is to mighty mothers and the fights we fight.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Leedy

What a lovely sentiment and thank you. Honestly, no personal barb or attack ever sunk deeper than witnessing discrimination against my kids. It’s the place where most parents have no skin. Prior to that I always had an incredibly long fuse in response to shitty social behavior and rudeness if it was aimed at me. I typically shrugged it off and didn’t take it all that personally if the individual didn’t actually have the power to really damage me and mine. But my attitude changed radically after I saw “petty” ill intent manifest as genuine harm.

Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago

Yes, that particular hurt goes so deep.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  Leedy

Like they say, having children is like having your heart walking around outside your body.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

I’m as introverted as they come, and probably somewhere on the spectrum. That is a core part of me that I’ve never really minded, until I find myself now without any kind of support network (except at least I’ve now found CN and already love all of you!).

But I definitely hear what you’re saying about the social stink clinging and probably making it even harder to connect.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

I had lunch with a college friend who was in a sorority and I wondered, once again, why I kept myself apart from all of that, in a school where sororities and frats were the central social experiences. One thing I know is that I enjoy my kind of social contacts. I like playing on teams, for example, and there are even opportunities for us older people!

OHFFS
OHFFS
18 days ago

On the spectrum here, too, and extremely introverted. I am slowly building up a network in my neighborhood. I think it helps to move to an area where nobody knows your FW. If you think you might want a pen pal, let me know and I’ll post my email here. I talk to a number of people who are struggling on a regular basis.

Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago

SKB, my heart goes out to you, and I’m glad you’ve found CN!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

And by the way, welcome to CN! Please stick like glue to this community. You sound like you have a lot to offer.

I think this community also has a “scent” that begins to rub off but it’s very nice and maybe a little intriguing– sort of a mix of French vanilla and gun powder lol.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

Thanks! Finding this community is the first honestly good thing that’s happened to me since D-day. Y’all are worth way more than a bottle of antidepressants!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Think of the psychopharmaceuticals as an interim bridge to get you to the place where you can form your tribe and then can flush the pills down the toilet (after very, very gradual withdrawal with caring doctor oversight). I think actual love and connection always trump the wonders of modern chemistry.

Immediately following D-Day, I was so worn down and dangerously underweight from gaslighting/emotional abuse-induced insomnia that my doctor warned me I might die at the ripe old age of 39. For a short time, I took sleep medication which scared the hell out of me because I had worked for many years for an environmental health publication and was at one point assigned to investigate prescription drug-induced psychosis, organ damage and suicide. But I had to make a compromise because, to quote the film “The Other Boleyn Girl,” “If I can’t sleep, I can’t think.” Sleeping only three or four hours a night for a year can literally kill a person who had formerly been in good health, not to mention what it does to your ability to plan.

Fortunately the prescribing doctor I was seeing had actual integrity and understood my concerns. She wasn’t offended by my political view of the pharmaceutical industry because she shared it and wasn’t on the take. She said her entire goal was to eventually get me off any chemical aids because she fully trusted my ability to think my way out of the trauma.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

I was going to say that if you’ve always been shy and hadn’t had a “social butterfly” stage prior to a relationship with an oppressive gaslighter, it might be a bit harder to muster a shining sense of hope that things could shift after you break free. But, like I was trying to say before, it’s quite extraordinary how, even in the dark, even under oppressive circumstances, the seed of our true selves really continues to grow all the while. We know more and understand more even if, while entrapped with an abuser, that knowledge doesn’t seem all that useful or welcome since narcissists don’t do “insight.” Especially in the recovery process when we become quasi experts in the survival experience (at least our own), it can be very appealing to other good eggs who’ve survived various things. Also being in the forty-something, genuinely grown-up stage tends to change people’s social requirements and makes them appreciate actual character over mere “personality.” In our twenties it’s still a lot about “personality” and glitzy charm (which gets old since the “charmers” often turn out to be backstabbers or leave ruin in their wakes). So while it can be harder to make friends as an adult in some ways, what’s there can be much better quality. And grownups with integrity tend to find signs of innocence, even shyness or social awkwardness in others more and more adorable because it can be a mark of sincerity.

I was thinking that being gaslit on a daily basis probably made me a bit furtive or exhausted in a way that made people uncomfortable. But what you wrote makes me wonder if maybe abusers make us smell like THEM which sort of acts as a danger warning to others. Almost funny thought, like the abuser stink rubs off and makes people nervous and they don’t know why but just prefer to stay away? If that were the case then, unlike an abuser, us regular Joe and Jane chumps don’t typically know how to overcompensate for that “stink” with heavy charm and relentless image management to throw others off the scent.

anix
anix
18 days ago

I am in reversed roles, my FW is never there and now that I am going on the D route he is fighting for more time with the kids… and playing the love bomb disney father… I would say do not give up, try to find ways at your work to accomodate more time with the kids, at least every two weekends and 1 day per week. And start some hobbies to get to know more people. There are also some websites for making new friends -> maybe you could try that as well

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

SKB, it doesn’t have to be that way though – at age 40, you still have a lot to experience and hopefully at least the physical health to do it. I know money can be limited, believe me, but with relative youth and health, you may find a lot more in life than you imagined. If you do therapy, do it for YOURSELF (and maybe the kids) so that you can have a better, fuller life for yourself. I’m nearly 70 and not in good health so I just don’t have much to work with but I still hope that I can at least be of use to someone else. That gives me something to look forward to, whatever extent I can help someone else, even if it’s just with a few words. There’s always a bit more that you can do to make it worth while, it’s just much harder when you’re so beaten down and depressed. Things CAN get better for you even with a bad marriage. I bet once you’re not dealing with your wife anymore….you’ll be surprised at how much better you start to feel despite the circumstances. These people REALLY bring us down, perhaps even on a psychic/spiritual level. They’re like fucking vampires.

You have plenty of support and love here. I hope we help.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mehitable
ChumpNoMore
ChumpNoMore
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Just to say that you sound like a wonderful person Mehitable.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago
Reply to  ChumpNoMore

Thank you, that’s very sweet. Aw shucks, Ma’am! We have a ton of wonderful people here!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  ChumpNoMore

I second that.

ApidaeChump
ApidaeChump
18 days ago

Stop. You are spinning yourself into a doom spiral by guessing at what will “probably” happen and what you think she could demonstrate and what you imagine your life is going to be like after that. You don’t know any of this is true.

Depression can do a number on your head and your FW sure isn’t helping but you have young children who need you. You do not, at all, have the luxury of sinking into a depressive pity pool and saying “well she’ll probably just tell everybody I’m crazy and she’ll get custody so why even bother”. You don’t even know that she WANTS primary custody or uneven custody. Lots of FWs don’t, when it gets in the way of their new single lifestyle.

You’ve been present for your children when you are home, yes? You provide for your family? You are an involved Daddy when you are not on your business trips? Then it’s going to be very, very hard for your cheating wife to show that you are an unfit father. (Hell, women whose FWs are actively abusive have a hard time showing that they should have custody. Look around this site.)

Again: keep talking to your therapist and get treatment for your depression but talk to a divorce lawyer, immediately.

Last edited 18 days ago by ApidaeChump
Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago

I very much understand your situation, I was there for a short while. Cheating is abuse and it does cause mental and emotional harm. It will get better, much better. I am 39 and am now starting to find my stride almost 3 years later, and most judges worth a damn will look past mental issues if they are not consistent.

Orlando
Orlando
18 days ago

I had a confrontation with the marital therapist afterwards who tried to assign “equal blame” for my ex’s shitty behaviour towards me. I told her all the harm she caused me & how it kept me dancing in futility when I should have exited the marriage. She had the grace to apologize and said she was “trained” to do that as usually one spouse didn’t want to be there & if she didn’t treat as if both were to equally blame, then that one spouse wasn’t likely to come back. My retort was “if they don’t come back, then they obviously don’t give one shit about the marriage, so it’s rather pointless to start therapy with them to begin with”. I read one reconciliation book after D-day and can’t even remember the name…but like the therapist, it angered me assigning equal blame eg. my “having a (slightly) crooked bicuspid tooth” caused my husband to cheat on me. Yeah that was actually one of his reasons!! I was so appalled by having normal human traits being equated with having dating site profiles, banging randos in parking lots, giving me an STD, and telling me my boobs didn’t measure up to another woman’s because she was willing to get a porno-sized boob job, and I wouldn’t. I thank gawd, I found Chump Lady & her book that validated that I did NOT deserve to have equal blame piled on me for my ex cheating. I hope you throw that other book on the trash heap and stand up for yourself.

OHFFS
OHFFS
18 days ago
Reply to  Orlando

“She had the grace to apologize and said she was “trained” to do that as usually one spouse didn’t want to be there & if she didn’t treat as if both were to equally blame, then that one spouse wasn’t likely to come back.”

That’s exactly why therapists are trained that way. It’s self-serving, because if they lose one spouse, they can’t claim to have “saved” the marriage. Consequently, they can’t get patients to refer their friends to them. It’s about both keeping clients and building their client base. Good for you for telling the therapist off.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Orlando

They will ALWAYS find a reason to justify their cheating. You could be born on a Sunday under a full moon and that will be the excuse. You can ALWAYS find something because we are all imperfect humans. If you love someone, you overlook the imperfections and tolerate them….if you don’t love them, you use them as an excuse and a weapon.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Orlando

Interesting that one little indy film I worked on as a student intern was about a middle aged FW who delusionally saw his wife as a deformed, screeching old battle axe. He goes on some Odyssey chasing strippers and ends up getting drugged and robbed (the film predated Hustlers) and witnesses a horrific murder. When he comes to, he realizes his wife is beautiful and vibrant and perfectly normal.

Anyway, I remember the hours of makeup the actress playing the wife had to go through in order to transform her into her husband’s nightmare vision of her and how the early scenes were filmed in distorted sepia to signify “psychotic delusion.” It dawned on me later when I started working as a victim advocate that this is how all domestic abusers view their victims– like they see the latter in a twisted circus mirror. Of course since the film was treated as a black comedy I thought the scarier ramifications of this distorted “batterer lens” were whitewashed and minimized as a so-called “midlife crisis.” But in reality I think anyone who finds themselves being “distorted” in this way by a partner should consider that they may actually be in mortal danger.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

That sounds like a really interesting movie!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Actually it was terrible haha. But the premise was sort of enlightened.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
18 days ago

SKB,

I love CL’s words: Is this relationship acceptable to you? Do you feel valued, cherished, respected? If no, you have nothing to work with!

In my case, FW was in discard and devalue stage for a decade or more. I thought I could fix the marriage through sheer will. I spackled like a crazy person. When I finally got the guts to confront him and his sneaky ways, he got louder and meaner and physically violent. At that point, I said get TF out or I’m calling the police. I finally felt disgust. There was no turning back from there.

Having him gone has given me some peace. Otherwise, I was trying to reconcile and he was just an entitled abusive a-hole. Going no contact was painful–months of daily crying at my desk at work. But, eventually I got some sense of what it feels like to not be blamed and shamed on a daily basis! It’s delightful!!

SKB, you’re 40. I know that feels “old.” But it’s not! I’m 54 and 30 years married to a sad sausage lump. (In divorce process.) My kids are now young adults. I don’t ever want them to stay in a marriage that is so ugly and mean where someone puts them down and makes them feel like shit.

I was embarrassed at first. What will people think of me for getting divorced??? But I went to therapy and realized that the people that matter don’t care. And the people that care don’t matter!!!

I told my kids: I accept that he doesn’t want to be married to me anymore. I don’t need his love and acceptance. I give it to myself. And if someone lies to your face and treats you with contempt—get the hell out!! You deserve peace! Give it to yourself!

I’m not a therapist, but it’s pretty obvious I stayed too long because of some childhood trauma shit. BUT, the good news is I’m getting out of that marriage and I’d rather live in a box and eat ramen noodles every day than live with that crazy FW!

Get a lawyer and move on! Life doesn’t have to suck!

One last time
One last time
17 days ago
Reply to  LaDoctora

Great post and outlook LaDoctora. I especially can relate with the “discard and devalue” stage. Similar situation, I’m 54, was married 31 years. It took me a long time to accept that she didn’t love me, and had been checked out a long time, and that the unknown future was better that the romanticized relationship I’d convinced myself we had.
Good luck.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
18 days ago

SKB,

Your wife has knowingly disrespected you, your children, your health, your finances, and even the poor church choir! I don’t see how you are to blame here. Get tested for STDs and call a lawyer. Take action. Go to therapy. You will survive. All of Chump Nation is rooting for you and your kids!!!!

2xchump
2xchump
18 days ago

It is important to shore ourselves up to leave. My participation was allowing and living with unacceptable behavior year after year. Depression, weight gain, STIs belittling, rages, the cycle of abuse along with intimate abuse that I blamed on mental illness. But there was no actual D day yet ..I had no idea of the extent of the basement life and mental illness.
I wonder if Chump lady could weigh in on Ross Rosenbergs youtubes and work along with his prepping stages 1-11 to leave a cheater over a few months to a year..(i know… too long but you dont go back 50x either.)…or anyone with abusive traits whatever the name.I had my own prepping innoculation with cheater 1# for leaving cheater #2 so I feel good about leaving within 2 weeks of D day.of my second cheater…But I also had a therapist who worked with prisoners and he told me to leave NOW. Us hesitant cerebral chumps need the titanium in our spine of Chump lady and CN..and to remove the jelly.

susie lee
susie lee
18 days ago
Reply to  2xchump

“My participation was allowing and living with unacceptable behavior year after year. Depression, weight gain,”

Yep, in the year before he started the year of discard, I was really struggling back and forth with depression (untreated) and irritation. I just couldn’t figure out why. Then the year of discard started and he started getting mean (verbally). I was confused, scared etc. In hindsight of course I knew I was struggling that first year because my body was screaming at me that something is not right.

If I had just confided in someone, they likely would have known.

2xchump
2xchump
18 days ago
Reply to  susie lee

I’m telling you Suzie Lee that the body keeps score. I was sick with UTIs, STI, obesity irritability which I blamed on work, my daughter moving in with her dad because of Cheater being inappropriate ( yes, I blamed this too on bipolar disease). My dad was so much like cheater in mood, rages, demands and I knew DARN IT!! I could wave a magic🪄 wand and stay put with this. Cheaters moods felt like home!!!I think as a Chump I had a spell over me, a fog over me a blanket that this man loved me as he cycled through abuse to charm to” caring”. How do you get glasses early on before you end up sick? It’s devastating to see you are not loved and like yesterday’s Bon Jovis wife, just a #1side dish to a buffet? I’ll take the Mac and cheese NO WAIT, the cheesy corn..no wait…oh shucks I’ll take a bite of everything!!!

Viktoria
Viktoria
18 days ago

Love these alternative hymn titles! There’s thousands of hymns; this could be an irreverent Friday challenge. The Jesus cheater hymnbook.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Dear SKB,

There seems to be an internet skirmish over who originally said the following but it always rang true to me nonetheless: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”
Sometimes I’ve noticed that chumps (including myself at the worst stages) tend not to blame their abusers enough for personal issues. I think that, as we find ourselves being subjected to outrageous and false blame reversals by abusers, we don’t want to be hypocrites and “over-blame” the FWs ourselves. But I believe in giving credit where is due and I think it’s probably a good idea to explore how much of your current and past depression and low self esteem were caused by a FW. Case in point, you were married 17 years and together how long before that? The math says you’ve effectively lived with a duplicitous, personality disordered, mindf*cking asshole for your entire adult life. If, as you suggest, you had emotional issues prior to this relationship, who knows how that may have resolved in a parallel universe in which you were not, in fact, living for decades in close proximity to your worst enemy.

As a former advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, I think most clinicians in the past would grossly underestimate the emotional and psychological impact of just that “mere” proximity to abusive personalities even if the latter’s evil capacity doesn’t fully or overtly manifest. But all of us have some primitive, lizard part of our brains which evolved to keep us safe from rampant intraspecies aggression and harm. That faculty picks up on all those “eerie social vibes” and does not underestimate the many dangers involved with being partnered with someone who means you harm (if you’re really looking into social research, read the new studies arguing that covert sadism is typically part and parcel with narcissism). Instead that faculty will frantically factor those risks from people around us unconsciously. It will send constant signals and warning flares in the form of gut feelings and even dreams. If that alarm system is set off for too long, it can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, high cortisol, eventual adrenal insufficiency and all the dysphoria, physical issues and immune dysfunction that goes with it. Fortunately, newer research related to “coercive control”– the term coined by the late, great veteran victims’ advocate, legislative activist and clinical researcher Dr. Evan Stark to describe “subviolent” domestic psychological abuse– is delving deeper into the devastating long term effects and negative outcomes related to that “mere” proximity to evil. Coercive control spearheads like Dr. Christine Cocciola (who worked closely with Stark) also include cheating as a form of psychological torture. Again if you’re into nerding out on social research, check out the works and writings of the above two authors and activists.

Anyway, back to the idea of parallel universes, I guess by that logic that, in one of those parallel existences, you were also left paraplegic in a luge disaster but I still think it’s arguable that, in many of those universes, you found your self-described longstanding tendency towards depression resolving as you matured and interacted with and grew alongside people as honest, decent, loyal and obviously intelligent as yourself and who reminded you every day that your stock runs high as a partner, colleague and friend.

That’s not to add to your grief over the time wasted on a shithead or lost opportunities because (another esoteric argument) I strongly believe that potentiality in you to form close and rich bonds with other honest, decent, loyal types has always existed in you and, even as you passed through the valley of the shadow of a FW, that potentiality grew and gathered steam all along and will spring forth and blossom as if it had never been hindered once the smoke clears and your “Tuesday” of true healing and recovery comes. Furthermore, because your traumatic experience with a FW will bring you closer to other innocent people who’ve endured and survived hardship or injustice of any stripe, you’ll have even more points of potential connection and bonding with others. More social research has found the latter to be true of many people who survive various horrors.

In any case, I really doubt this hopefully soon-to-be ex was particularly good for your self esteem over the years. I’m sure she’s systematically and insidiously weaponized all of your emotional issues in order to falsely hold you accountable for her own baseline instability and classic Cluster B sense of emptiness that has to be filled with rando dick and icky Harlequin novel kibbles. I also really doubt that this was the only affair she engaged in over the years or the only affair she tried– and failed– to have (no one every talks about cheaters’ low batting averages– how many times they chase potential affair partners and get ignored or kicked to the curb). She’s an abusive personality with a compulsive crotch issue and stalkery, parasocial, narcissistic tendencies to fixate on fantasy relationships, something the zoomers are calling “delusionships.” I assume she’s gotten humped and dumped before by provincial horndogs and then likely blamed and scapegoated you– as Cluster B types tend to– for her feelings of rejection and bruised vanity rather than chalking it up to the price of messing around on the infamously nasty meat market.

As a final note, I’ve noticed the difficulty some men have in recognizing themselves as victims of domestic abuse/coercive control. It’s ironic because, while domestic abusers and a range of other serial offenders specialize in falsely claiming victim status and playing victim to their own victims, actual victims hate being victims and struggle against the shameful-feeling status, maybe especially normal men. The fact that a lot of research and writing on the subject of domestic abuse tends to focus on the statistically more prevalent circumstance of male abusers and female victims can contribute to the confusion since a lot of it is built on feminist theories of patriarchal abuse. I think this confusion can sometimes lead men– in a reactionary sense– into the claptrap of the deeply misogynistic Redpill “manosphere” cult which will inevitably lead to more relationship failure and misery. But (being esoteric again) I’ve found that male victimization by women can be reconciled with feminist theory by noting how how female abusers/she-FWs tend to suffer from internalized misogyny, often subscribing to some of the worst and cheesiest strictures of “patriarchy.” In any event, if you read many of the stories of fellow guy chumps on this blog, notice how many of their FWs betrayed good providers and examples of positive masculinity for the sake of knuckle dragging thugs and ham-fisted apes.

ChumpNoMore
ChumpNoMore
18 days ago

Great in depth analysis. Thank you.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago

“As a final note, I’ve noticed the difficulty some men have in recognizing themselves as victims of domestic abuse/coercive control. It’s ironic because, while domestic abusers and a range of other serial offenders specialize in falsely claiming victim status and playing victim to their own victims, actual victims hate being victims and struggle against the shameful-feeling status, maybe especially normal men.”

That right there is a hard pill to swallow still, it’s difficult because you feel like you’re weak and not a man. Only women are abused, not men. Thank God I found a male counselor that is helping me come to terms with this. And fortunately, I went through this with her so now I recognize when she is doing that to my sons and can help them get past her manipulations and mental abuse.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Not that it’s any consolation but consider that real victims of any gender get much less sympathy than fake ones. When I worked in my crummy, top-down, pervy former industry, I actually witnessed a couple of women falsely accusing men of harassment and noticed to my absolute horror that “fake victims” always seem to garner more gushing support from the crowd than actual victims. I don’t know why. Is it that narcs know how to let one decorous tear fall gently down their cheek as they appealingly simper out their fabricated tales of woe while actual victims are ugly crying alone in the restroom and, even if they aren’t too ashamed to tell anyone, tend to either sound quasi catatonic or charmlessly “hysterical”?

As a lifelong feminist, it was a hard enough pill to swallow to recognize that some women fabricate accusations even if it’s less than 5% of the time. Ugh, the damage that does to actual victims is immeasurable considering all the “what abouters” ready to pounce on any evidence of false reports. The only way I was able to reconcile this with my feminist leanings was to consider in retrospect that both the women who did this were hardly feminists so at least I could distance myself from them politically. Aside from chronically backstabbing other women in the workplace, both repeatedly bonked married superiors as a career strategy without regard for these douches’ wives and kids. Recognizing this at least categorized the tendency to smear and fabricate false allegations under the broader heading of “dark triad” and personality disorder.

Anyway, it always, always sucks to be a genuine victim though I recognize that the details of the suckage can vary by gender. In recognition for the special ways in which this sucks for victimized men and as a mom to two teenage boys, I despise that whole manosphere cult that’s currently trying to shame men back into brittle, retrograde machismo. And I can’t stand the “internalized misogyny” types of women who– even if they self present as woke– harbor contempt for and betray actually decent men. Like you, I also talk to my kids about all this stuff to try to inoculate them against it. I also try to surround the kids with positive role models. I love it that my sons– like flowers tilting towards the sun– quickly began to emulate their infinitely decent, kind, responsible, thoughtful and protective music professor far more than they do their own father.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

I totally agree and I would suggest to SKB that this may not be her first affair. It probably will not be her last either. This is ON HER, it’s a reflection of WHO SHE IS, not who HE is. I think many people target those they think are vulnerable like him, perhaps because of depression, anxiety, family history, whatever, but many cheaters are PREDATORS and they look for certain traits that enable them to live the kind of life they want. They need victims. We have to be aware of who we get involved with and if we are being used in subversive ways or as convenient tools or excuses for fuckwits, who are not necessarily all cheaters.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

The OM is also married, and I am learning has a history of skeezy behavior. Predator is exactly the right term. For whatever good it will do I will be outing him to the priest, but it wouldn’t surprise me if his reputation is already known and ignored, and maybe even this most recent affair.

I never really attended that church, but my youngest absolutely loves it. It’s a safe space for him, with a huge extended family that loves him unconditionally. I’m trying to figure out how to prevent her taking that away from him like she’s already destroyed his home family.

Marco
Marco
5 days ago

Don’t disregard A coverup by the clergy. I’d inform his wife directly.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

You can have that argument in your custody battle, if it comes to that. You can always start attending the church, even if it’s not your jam or the presence of Mr. Skeevy bothers you.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Oh God the complexity of the situation your FW/abuser has caused is making me sweat. I mean how dare she piss in the pool that might otherwise be a safe haven for a vulnerable child. That alone is the mark of a dangerous sociopath, not to mention the creepy she was consorting with.

I can only recommend that, when dealing with sexually motivated, compulsive creeps, it’s probably a safer bet to apply the “pedophile” principle. Because they’re universally considered to be the lowest form of criminal even within the criminal universe, no one politics, maneuvers, greases palms, image-manages, charms and manipulates social groups or coerces and blackmails more than child sexual abusers.

I saw this happen in my kids’ district school and it got so bad that the scandal ended up in national headlines. The “principle” is that sexually motivated offenders tend to act like cancer or a colony of termites within any social order, plying and clawing for influence with such devoted and rabid intensity that average dummies simply fall in line. So (please pardon my French) expect that wherever this adulterous choir director has wagged his diseased little dick there will be a clusterf*ck of his brainless, rapt defenders. The fact that he targeted you for betrayal (believe me, he did and reveled in trouncing another man) pretty much guarantees that he’ll try to bias anyone around him against you. If my child was enmeshed in an “infected” setting like that, I would try to gradually ease them into another, hopefully safer spiritual home as a backup plan in case the first explodes into dysfunctional toxicity.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

Does OM’s wife know of the affair? I would let her know if she doesn’t. He should be outed to EVERYONE. And you’re right, the priest may not care – I was raised in the Catholic Church (I’m assuming this is the RC church you mention) and I cannot despise them enough. I just cannot. I had great nuns as a child, but the priests…..yeeeeeeeeeeeeee……I just read the Bible now and get what I can glean from it. I don’t pretend to be holy, I have a lot of piss and vinegar in me, but I think the main value of the Bible to me is the stories of the people who lived in it and what happened to them when they did right or fucked up. It pretty much shows that people haven’t changed – the right and wrong things are pretty much the same now as they were then – the big stuff anyway. I never cared about ceremonies and rituals but I understand the importance of community especially to a child. My parents never attended church with me (mixed marriage) but they should have if they wanted it to stick at all. I would recommend, which may or may not be workable for you, that you start looking for a new church/community that you can be involved with and introduce your children into. You’ve got to start prepping now, I think. But those who are more conventionally religious here can probably give you better guidance on this. Personally, I would start now – you don’t have to make a full break right now necessarily, but I’d start taking them elsewhere.

Other than that, if you want them to have a religious background, I’d start reading the Bible stories WITH THEM in language they can understand (not necessarily the KJ version of course, but more modern English). Have discussions about how people used to live and the choices they made and how some things worked out and some did not…and why that might be the case. I don’t know if you have any personal interest in religion/spirituality but it’s a good thing to give your kids a background in. Obviously it didn’t take with your wife, LOLOL – but don’t let her run things. She’s an asshole.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

The other wife doesn’t know. She was the OW before they got married…he’s the absolute epitome of unrepentant FW.

I know I should tell her, I should stand up in the middle of service and announce it to the whole damn place. But I care about my kids more than I care about her or her family (maybe I should be ashamed to be so blunt about it, but I think all parents feel that way, or at least non-FW parents). So I am being careful not to do anything irreversible until I know what the ramifications are going to be to my family.

Marco
Marco
5 days ago

All it takes for evil to triumph Is for good men to set back and do nothing.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

Good plan. See a lawyer. Hold your fire for the moment.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

If your FW’s affair partner’s wife was a former OW/cheater, don’t put yourself out on a limb to inform her because she’s clearly a disordered jerk in her own right. It’s one of those good deeds that will not go unpunished. But if you’re simply trying to do a public service in warning the community (starting with the OM’s partner), one tactic I used to inform a chumped spouse of a scary former boss that her husband was cheating on her was to send an anonymous email pretending to be an “old friend” who was too afraid of the cheater to name themselves. Something like “Dear X, I’m so sorry to be such a coward that I’m sending this anonymously but, as someone who’s known and respected your for a long time, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to warn you that your spouse is being unfaithful. My only excuse– weak as it is– for not putting a name to this warning is that I deeply fear your spouse’s retaliation for telling you this which I’m sure is the case with the many other people who know this has been going on. You have no reason to believe idle rumors from some unnamed party but I do hope you take measure to protect yourself and investigate this situation on your own…”

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

That’s good advice. She was in fact both an OW and cheater…they both deserve all the misery they can heap on each other. Their children deserve none of it. I’ve seen her use children from a previous marriage against her former (chump) spouse, so I know very well that those kids will not be the priority they should be in a new divorce. But will they still be better off than in a totally dysfunctional family headed by two FWs? I really wish I knew.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago

How tragic that you (and many others) would even has to know about the existence of, much less the filthy details of the creepy activities of scum like this. It’s all so… maudlin and pointless. But when people endanger us, as a defense strategy we end up having no choice but to pay attention to the things they do no matter how maudlin and pointless. I’m sure that, left to your druthers, you’d probably be happily focused on some higher plane, maybe solving some important problem in the world and just generally attending to your kids.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Just to share my general view of religion, for what it’s worth – to me it’s not about the invisible man in the sky or his son, who was a great guy, but….about the rules and regulations about making life work especially for communities of people. The 10 commandments are about creating a structure that a society can be build around and maintained. Actually much of the OT is about this – I don’t care much about the intricate rules, but the big ones, yes, I do think they matter. Lying, stealing, killing, honoring authority figures like parents – yes these things are necessary to build society – and the Bible stories actually show what happens when you DON’T abide by the rules….bad things happen if not right away, then eventually. Personally I care more about keeping a functioning society going where people treat each other decently than about individual salvation, which seems selfish to me, but everyone has to make their own choices about things none of us can prove. Maybe the larger point here to me is that while it’s nice to have a religious “community” where you feel welcome….that’s where your wife is welcome. She should be treated like the whore that she is, IMO. Yeah, I AM judgmental, LOL. If people have actual rules that they are taught to live by, and understand WHY these rules exist, then they have a moral backbone built into them that will serve them throughout life, and that’s more than feeling welcome in any specific place. There are places where no one will love you, but if you believe in yourself and whatever you think God is….you’ll survive.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mehitable
Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I am not at all religious, and honestly I worry about my kid being brainwashed by all the dogma. I grew up Catholic and know how hard it is to overcome the molding they do to impressionable young minds.

It’s the community I don’t want him to lose. I haven’t felt like I belonged anywhere outside of my family since I left grad school, and I couldn’t bear to see him that way. He’s the most amazing kid, has absolutely no fear of being his own weird little self no matter the circumstances. I never ever want him to suppress that, but it’s already making him a bit of an outcast at school, and he’s only in Kindergarten! The people at that church love him for who he is, unconditionally.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

I can totally understand what you’re saying about community and how important it can be. I was pretty much a loner as a child and my parents didn’t let me take part in a lot of things. I grew up in the slums and I guess they were afraid of me being injured, but it was too limiting. As for the religious indoctrination, the specifically Catholic kind didn’t take for me. My father’s father was a Protestant minister and those ideas stuck with me, at least somewhat. I DO understand your concerns about your kids being indoctrinated and also isolated. Are there any other organizations or groups in the community for kids that might not be religion based? There used to be the Scouts and things like that, 4H, etc, but I’m not sure of the extent to which they exist now….and I hate to say it, there are a lot of predators in child centered organizations, INCLUDING the RC Church as we know.

It’s always hard to find any community in life, even as an adult, and I have to say, especially as an older adult, it can take some real effort to build . I think a good skill to focus on building with your kid(s), not sure how many you have, is the art of making friends, social skills, because we go in and out of situations and we can’t always stay in the same group – moves, new jobs, schools, whatever – through life. But if you can learn how to evaluate and make friends and pick groups and keep them, those are long range skills that will always come in handy. I have some concern about your kid being tied into a community that may work now but as your wife has poisoned that with her evil, that might get worse as time goes on and become a negative thing. It might be good to focus on the underlying skills of becoming part of a community, and personally, I would look for another one(s) which has not be tainted.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Oh do I ever know that gut-churning fear of having my geeky, creative, walk-to-their-own-beat, brainiac kids permanently wounded by social rejection. It’s why I got them into classical music training and the arts the second I could afford it and found some great teachers.

Immersion in the arts has all sorts of benefits and is motive enough but it was also about hooking them up with fellow “nerds” for the social confidence that would create. After seeing the old film “Little Man Tate,” I realized it wasn’t mere vanity or elitism to recognize that kids need to be with their own tribe so I focused on the specialized interests where that “tribe” tends to cluster. It’s really worked out. Then for good measure, I got them involved with an aviation club where they build and fly their own model planes.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

That all sounds awesome! My older kid is also a huge introvert, but managed to find their tribe.

It’s easy to forget when we’re trying to cling to and salvage all the good old things that maybe its better to let them go and find something even better.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago

When a group of nerds and “misfits” get together and provide each other with a sense of casual normalcy and belonging, it’s funny how quickly they vibe as “cool” to everyone else. To be honest, my kids are all pretty out there and eccentric but they somehow float around without getting bullied because they assume their way of being is just fine. Human social pecking order is really like the stock market in that sense– mostly about perception.

Unfortunately one of the good old things that’s gone and passed is relative social safety. I knew this was the case when, after his first week using social media, my son asked me who Andrew Tate was and why someone from Tate’s organization was texting him.

You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? Well right now “the village” scares the hell out of me. I don’t know whether it’s the rise of neoliberalism or the rise in crisis cults due to the latter and climate change, etc., but the propaganda war for the hearts and souls of kids is becoming terrifying.

Consequently, I’ve decided to be the main hand that rocks the cradle. Dinner table conversations sometimes get so involved that I have to study up to answer the barrage of questions but I’m really proud of how the kids are developing a sophisticated sense of the world, human nature and politics. They’re skeptical and react to news and events with a lot of snarky gallows humor (endless Epstein island jokes) but are never callous. It reminds me of something beautiful that the director the advocacy network I worked with said, that “harmlessness is the only glamor.” She didn’t mean harmless as in weak or ineffective, just not being harmful to vulnerable people.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

One thing I’d say about kids now in general – I’d keep them off social media – no smart phone until you’re an adult, just use clam shells to communicate in emergencies (I think we should bring back land lines also), and try to keep them off TV. Such negative programming and it always seems to be reaching for ever lower bottoms. SM particularly is very negative programming.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
18 days ago

You can have it written into the parenting plan who is responsible for the religious aspects of your children. I take my boys weekly, and she doesn’t show up anymore.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago

Oops, posted too soon. I was going to try to sum up that last, slightly nerdy note (since, again, you claim membership to the merry nerd club) about DV theory by saying that, even as many important resources on domestic abuse that I mentioned seem to focus more on female victims, this doesn’t automatically exclude male victims if you consider that all abusers of any persuasion or gender without exception have internalized a very warped, top-down, hierarchical, dog-eat-dog, kill or be killed, anti-democratic and “zero sum game” perspective of life of which “patriarchy” just happens to be one iteration of. In other words, due to whatever horror show family dynamics that turned them into soulless ghouls, abusers all worship at the “church” of abuse of power in any form, even the ones who selectively feign “woke” views if it serves their illicit agendas (and then dump those views when it doesn’t serve them… because “empty vessels”). For more geeky social research fodder, separate studies have found a significant association between, for example, those who harbor “rape myth acceptance” with “tolerance of infidelity,” “admiration for political authoritarianism” and racism.

If you dig deep enough into the psyche of any abuser, you will find a smorgasbord of unjust beliefs even when this seems to contradict identity and is effectively self-loathing and leads to self-destruction. As someone trapped in proximity with someone who holds this soulless, hideous perspective, it’s best to step clear of the blast zone when they self destruct. It can also take time to “cleanse” your own world view and perspective of any way in which these have been “infected” by abuser nihilism.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

Dear Should Know Better – DO NOT LISTEN TO A SINGLE WORD FROM THE RECONCILIATION INDUSTRIAL COMPEX (RIC). They don’t care about YOU – or any other Chump. They are providing cover for the cheaters – our society encourages and supports cheating, I believe personally, to weaken marriage and family bonds so the Government can fill in the void and get bigger. I tend to see things globally rather than as individual cases. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. There is not a marriage on earth that does not have some kind of problem or irritation or anything that might be used as an excuse for an affair, including mine. People have affairs….because they WANT TO HAVE THEM, an opportunity presents themselves and their personal morals are weak enough for them to do this, excuse or “forgive” themselves, lie to, deceive and then BLAME YOU. Cause as Sam Spade said in the Maltese Falcon “Somebody’s got to take the fall, schweetheart.”

Gonna throw this out there – this may not be your wife’s first affair. It frequently isn’t especially after a couple of decades. Sometimes it happens with age, boredom, new job, new group of friends, insecurity about appearance, etc….but these are all things she should be discussing with you instead of banging the CHURCH CHOIR DIRECTOR???? That guy needs to be removed from his job, incidentally, I hope you outed this POS. So many pieces of crap hide in churches they should all float out to sea. If it wasn’t him, it would have been some piece of crap at the gym, or some piece of crap at the office, or some piece of crap neighbor – they always find someone low enough to secretly fuck. And yes, I am blunt and coarse because I like people to be shocked into what they are actually dealing with instead of the 3 syllable words the RIC throws at people to blunt their natural outrage and heartbreak.

What is the bottom line after an affair? To me, it is…..IS THIS THE RELATIONSHIP YOU WANT? DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIE TO YOU ON THIS LEVEL BY FUCKING SOME OTHER GUY? IS THIS HOW YOU THINK MARRIAGE SHOULD BE? OR WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE? This is about YOUR life and YOUR choices – she made HERS when she had the affair.

What I have found personally in my response to my husband’s on line cheating (I had another cheater decades ago but he just up and left so no after issues there except dealing with my depression)…..was how I viewed him afterwards. My view of him as a person changed irrevocably. It just did. Yours will too. You will no longer view this person the same way you did before. You will no longer have the same innocent feelings towards them and their activities. You will never trust this person 100% again (or even close to it) perhaps many years afterwards. 8 years after finding out about my husband’s on line bullshit, one afternoon I wondered why he had not followed me into the house after an outing as he always did. A half hour passed – why is he still out in the driveway? So I checked. He was talking to the pretty divorced neighbor lady next door, whom we have known for over 20 years and believe me, she has NO interest in him (I’m sure of that) but I felt absolute rage. He wasn’t cheating with her or I don’t think even planning to but that is where my mind and emotions went instantly. I was triggered after EIGHT YEARS and….you will be too. All the stuff the RIC tells you is BULLSHIT. Why am I still with him, why did I stay? Mostly because of lack of money and health issues – on both our sides. if I were younger, in better health, with more money, I probably would have left. I still consider it from time to time. I DO LOVE HIM….BUT…..My opinion of him changed when I discovered what he was doing on line.

MY OPINION OF MY HUSBAND CHANGED WHEN I DISCOVERED HIS ON LINE CHEATING. He never met anyone physically, I’m convinced of that but if one of them had taken him up on his Rico Suave act….he might have. I realized that the nice, kind, gentle, sweet, funny man, I thought I knew for over 15 years at that point….had other parts of his personality I DID NOT KNOW. I did NOT know that man. After cheating, you don’t know who they are. You don’t know who you are married to. You don’t know what the real person is. You don’t know what they are capable of. If you didn’t know beforehand….you don’t know now or in the future. YOU DON’T KNOW WHO YOUR SPOUSE IS ANY MORE. They’re a stranger in many ways who has been pretending to you.

I used to unreservedly admire my husband. His generosity, his kindness, his willingness to help. I thought he was a menchs. Now….not so much. I still see a lot of good in him but frankly…..I don’t admire him any more. The sense of looking up to him, or respect, or admiration is gone. Since I found out about the cheating I see ALL THE FLAWS now. Just like when that vase gets broken, your eye will always go to the crack no matter how well you fix it. You just don’t view your spouse the same way anymore…..you can’t. So many things you thought or felt were untrue or no longer true. And this will come back to you in the future no matter how much RIC bullshit you do or how many RIC books you read….at some point you will realize you no longer trust or admire or respect this person in many ways and you might be triggered even by something innocent they do because YOU KNOW WHO THEY REALLY ARE NOW AND WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF. You can’t unsee what you’ve seen.

THIS is why so many RIC concocted marriages either just turn into what an acquaintance of mine referred to as “business arrangements” or eventually end up in divorce that seems unrelated to the original cheating event. But it’s not. Over time, this will suck the love and joy and energy out of your marriage, to whatever extent it existed anyway. Many of the RIC “experts” who went through an affair and who tout forgiveness and getting back together and blaming yourself and all this bullshit, end up divorced ANYWAY themselves. Because the person you’re with now….is not the same person you thought they were before the divorce. NOW YOU KNOW.

In the end, it’s really not about understanding, or forgiveness, or growth or any of this bullshit…it’s about being married to someone you know is capable of doing this stuff and hiding it and having a secret side you did not know about. It’s also about a loss of respect and admiration and all those innocent feelings you had for your spouse before the affair that you really never have again. It’s not about forgiveness….it’s about how you view them afterwards. I guarantee it will not be the same and it will not be better. I might also mention that as a natural depressive you may be prey to a certain type of person like your wife who will use your nature against you. Be aware of becoming prey to someone like your wife

LISTEN TO CHUMP LADY. She has the most practical, level headed advice based on personal experience and research and she is HONEST. Sorry to be lengthy but I think this has to be considered in detail and I’m a lengthy person. There are no shortcuts to the truth.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

P.S. Just an addendum….I’m NOT a jealous person by nature. I’m actually not. I don’t expect people to do bad things to me, or consider them plotting against me, or look for issues, etc. This is what my husband’s online cheating brought out in me. And even if it’s not warranted – I don’t think he wants to cheat with the neighbor and I’m sure she’s not interested – that’s where I go to automatically because….I now know he is capable of this. I don’t see him the same way I did before the cheating.

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

For a time I was worried that my not being friends with XW showed I was a bitter and unforgiving person. Then I realized that she (and AP) are the only people in the entire world that I hold a grudge against. In other words: the problem is not my nature but their actions.

Also AP’s ex-wife has exactly the same relationship with the pair of them that I do, so either AP’s ex-wife and I are both (independently, because we’ve never met) unusually vengeful and vindictive people, or the root of the problem is the common factor: my XW and the AP.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

I think it’s ridiculous to expect people to want to be “friendly” with those who have severely injured them and possibly their children, and tried to wreck their lives in very real ways – not just emotionally but financially and socially, etc. Anybody who would want to do that would be….mentally ill frankly, and not have any self respect. You don’t be friendly with the person who beat you up or stole stuff from your house, why would you be friendly with these love thieves? I think civil for the sake of the kids is the best that can be expected and if there were no kids, I wouldn’t even be civil.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
17 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

If there were no kids, and I could walk away and never see her again, I would take that opportunity in a heartbeat, regardless of the financial fallout. Being tied to a coparenting relationship for at least 15 more years is hard to stomach.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I had easy proof that I’m not a “jealous” type by nature in that FW merrily got away with an epically sleazy affair for a year before I even started Googling anything on infidelity. Like my mother, I’m not even naturally what’s clinically called “intrasexually competitive” with other women. I’ve always mother henned younger women and several of my closest, bitchery-free female friendships are with women who are (literally) world class beauties on top of being very accomplished.

Being cheated on seemed to at least temporarily alter the above personality traits. But thankfully my training as a victims’ advocate taught me that what appears to be “jealousy” or “territoriality” in victims of abuse is actually quite deceptive and may not be due to baseline character. Back in the day I concluded that it’s far more a reaction to perceptions of mortal danger because, in a hardwired monkey evolution sense, humans have an unconscious understanding that when someone in intimate proximity to you turns out to fundamentally lack empathy, the sky’s the limit on what they may be capable of doing to us. One look at history and domestic murder rates (and the fact that an estimated sixty percent of domestic murderers had never previously been violent), and the reason for that hardwired, evolved defensive reaction should be obvious. If we learn that our only window of safety was being of sexual “use” to an abuser, it naturally signals that the gloves might come off once they find a replacement. Given how technically difficult and statistically dangerous it can be to untangle from an abuser, I think victim “jealousy” is mostly terror masquerading as knee-jerk territoriality while “groveling for amnesty from danger” masquerades as “pickme dancing.”

I think the good news is that once a survivor feels truly safe from an abuser, any faux feelings of territoriality towards an abuser will disappear along with other expressions of captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome because the latter is actually the furthest thing from love possible even if, in the throes of it, it masquerades as such (for survival reasons, since even “captors” aren’t immune from bonding with “captives” who appear loyal).

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

My anger towards his conversation with the neighbor lady – whom I like personally and have no negative feelings about – really surprised me, how ANGRY I was. It was triggering from the online cheating years before. 8 YEARS. Which is what I really wanted to convey to our poor SKB – it doesn’t go away….once you learn to distrust someone, it comes back and you don’t necessarily know where or when but it will come back because you just don’t view them the same way. I don’t know if I would be generally “jealous” now – as you say, this probably originates in some species survival mechanism – but I see I can be triggered by his behavior now. Maybe it’s partly because I feel vulnerable because of my financial and health condition but my reaction was so instantaneous that no real thought was involved in it….it was all reaction and it’s like a PTSD thing. I don’t want to cheapen PTSD at all but that’s the closest thing I can liken it to. Trigger is a great word for it. I can’t advise SKB enough to talk to a lawyer and plan his way out of this relationship – I can imagine how hard it is esp with kids but I don’t think this is ever gonna get any better and it’s best to make your plans before you get blindsided. If she blindsided him with the affair, she can blindside him with an abandonment and divorce too. You can’t trust what you don’t trust.

Also, I found out about his online bullshit purely by accident. Before that I never read his phone or email or computer or listened to phone calls or anything like that. It would never occur to me that he would do anything like that and I’m not naturally a jealous or suspicious person, as I say. He left his computer open one night and I knew he’d been having problems with it so I, being computer savvy, thought I would try to fix it as a surprise. Well…there WAS a surprise but it wasn’t the computer! He left his email and the dating sites open so I saw this stuff and started reading it and I was gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked, I would never have thought this of him. The bullshit he was writing to these women. I don’t see that anyone took him up on it or that he met anyone. I don’t think he did, but…ya know…who knows. Now in thinking about it, I thought at the time he was blowing off steam because of handling his sick father’s condition. Now I wonder if he was actively trying to replace me. Maybe so, it’s possible. At any rate, it was such a shock. You really see someone you had no idea existed before. I was so fucking angry I raised hell with him for days and then the marriage police started. Well, you get tired of that but….8 years later I can still be triggered. It is what it is. Now that I don’t see him as such a sterling character I can see other things that point to weak morals in other areas. Oh well, maybe I’ll hit the lottery some day, LOL!

Last edited 18 days ago by Mehitable
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I’m not totally out of the weeds yet regarding my chump experience. I can still go Italian opera about it with friends though fortunately most of them are New Yorkers and can handle opera. But I know I’ve gotten to meh over other catastrophic and traumatic events in the past (mostly related to my former career in a shitty industry) and trust that I can achieve this again given time. Mostly what I trust is that I find everything so damned interesting that it drags me forward and beyond. When I think about things like neocolonialism, sweatshops and child trafficking, FWs just seem like a big, pointless time and energy suck sent by Satan (not a believer but, you know, in a symbolic sense) to distract us from important shit that needs attending to.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

That’s a very healthy perspective. It drags you out of the purely personal into something more productive for you and the world, that’s a healthy thing. Personally from what I’ve seen and read of some of these cheaters….I think Satan is REAL!!!!! And he invented Ashley Madison, LOL!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I honestly believe abusers damage the world by distracting and entrapping victims who are often the kinds of people who would otherwise naturally get involved in causes and advocacy work.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Look up “Post Infidelity Stress Disorder”. It is not an officially recognized diagnosis in the DSM, but good therapists recognize that infidelity trauma is very real, and shares a great deal with PTSD.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

Thank you for that, I will look into that because I’ve realized that I still have some effects from what happened. Just being able to be triggered so easily and deeply – well, there’s something there. I will check it out!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago

Considering the prevalence of post-separation abuse, sometimes these traumas aren’t even “post” but present and ongoing. For a really compassionate but straightforward take on this, check out interviews with Dr. Christine Cocciola on Youtube.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

SKB here. I wish I had found this community and CL’s book first. Just having other folks who’ve been there who really understand how traumatic it all is helps wonders. But goddamn it’s hard to swallow the medicine even when you know it’s the right move. I didn’t mention that we have 2 school age children who have no idea that their mother chose a fling over them.

One of the other desperate things I tried is something called Discernment Counseling, which is supposed to be tailored to couples with one partner wanting a divorce and the other wanting to work on the marriage. I came into it doing the pick me dance, mostly hoping that she would have one of those magical revelations and realize that she really wanted to commit. But I also wanted the chance to get off the back foot and decide what I wanted. I never got that chance, because after a single session she said that she wanted a trial separation. I spend pretty much all of my time with my personal therapist just unloading and there’s never enough time to rationally figure out what’s best.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago
  1. So you have a therapist. That’s good. For now, unloading there is about all you can do. But you should know what the plan is for managing your depression, particularly in crisis. Ask questions. Push yourself to be on an arc of improvement emotionally.
  2. You need a really, really good lawyer to fight for what you want. Don’t just sign over the house to her, etc. The lawyer can help you figure out what’s possible.
  3. It’s not time to worry about what’s best. She wants a separation and while it’s hard to believe it now, she’s doing you a favor.
  4. What will help you is to start envisioning a new and better life. Where do you want to live? What kind of family do you want to make with your kids? What hobbies or activities will feed your soul? How can you build a community for you and the kids (that ain’t easy, but it can be done).
  5. Talk to your supervisor about your situation. Can you transition to a job that doesn’t require travel? From what you say, not being on the road would benefit you in terms of spending more time with your kids and also make it easier to manage depression.

Sometimes things happen that open the door to making huge and helpful changing in a life that isn’t working. That happened to me. It’s been 11 years and I’m happier than ever. You absolutely must work on your now life because your kids need a healthy dad.

Marco
Marco
17 days ago

All the pick me dance does is make you look weak and unattractive.

Marco
Marco
17 days ago

Drop the hopium pipe if you want to get out of limbo.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago

I’ve been especially active on this thread because I relate to a lot of what you write and how you write about it. Like many of us here, you sound adorably baffled over why someone would cause so much chaos and devastate their family just for booty and thrilz and some adolescent concept of romance.

The easy answer is that they suck, have shit for brains and no character and you really can’t put anything past them. But if you’re like me and like the evidence to be peer-reviewed, here are a few studies that will probably ring a lot of bells but, as you’ll see, will not provide even a whiff of hopium.

Click “download” for a free read of a paper on “neutralization,” the mental gymnastics by which a range of serial offenders– including serial killers– justify their crimes at the expense of victims: https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/9/2/46

Here’s another study linking domestic violence to cheating and enforcement of one-sided monogamy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583221/

Considering that your partner not only cheated on you but also mate-poached a married affair partner, here’s a study (one of several similar studies) linking “mate poaching” with “dark triad” traits, particularly psychopathy: https://kb.osu.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/6bda356c-e961-5cba-987c-cfbd94bd8c1b/content

I’m sharing these things in the case you’re like me in another sense: really yearning for objective (as possible) truth over hopeful lies.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago

The bottom line is always that they SUCK. Bad character trumps everything else.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
18 days ago

SKB,

You said: “I came into it doing the pick me dance, mostly hoping that she would have one of those magical revelations and realize that she really wanted to commit.”

I am here to say, my cheater had a long distance affair for years. He told me about it by choice, I had no idea. He told me because he was gearing up to leave me for her. Then a lot of time passed. I was pick me dancing, and he, well, I’m not entirely sure what he was doing? Maybe OW dragged her feet about moving near him. Maybe he just wasn’t sure how things would work out. He was definitely worried about how this would LOOK. To leave a wife of decades and our kids, for a younger model. It’s NOT a great look.

Anyway, at some point I was done. I asked him to move out. It took forever and then e dumped him. (He’d claim otherwise, but I am as sure as I can be that she dumped him)

And then he was all about reconciliation. But (suprise!) I had no interest in that by this point. And I have to tell you, him wanting to reconcile was scary. I was afraid he wouldn’t actually move. And that he’d fight me every step of the way, and he has so far.

So if your cheater didn’t fake the reconciliation game, it CAN be a blessing. It’s still early days for you, and at some point you are going to really and truly want to be rid of her, and you’ll be glad you don’t have to argue about that.

In the meantime, read the archives of Tracey’s blog. And read the comments. Nothing helped me more to get rid of any doubts than seeing just how common every single thing I had been through was. None of these cheaters are unique. They all have the same playbook with a few variances. And nothing will make you more sure that leaving is the best, than seeing how many others have been through the same.

I saw many of your comments here and agree with the person who told you to try not to predict an unhappy future for yourself. You don’t know that things will be so dire.

I also saw that you are concerned about custody. Many lawyers do a free consult. Even if you are nowhere near ready to pull that “filing for divorce” trigger, get a consult. They will be able to tell you what to expect legally. It may help. I had some pretty doom and gloom thoughts myself, and then had a consult and felt much better about my options.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago
Reply to  SortofOverIt

I think so many of them are just so afraid of being alone and without a reliable spouse appliance that if they’re dumped by the AP – which is not uncommon – they try to come back. Any port in a storm! It’s always best to be rid of them if you can because….they’re only gonna do it again.

ApidaeChump
ApidaeChump
18 days ago

You need to get off the back foot now and you do that by talking to a lawyer. You have kids involved, and you need to protect them and your ability to support them. Your FW already caught you off guard. You do not know if she is already lining up her ducks to leave you, while she is pretending to do a ‘trial separation’ or to ‘work on things.’ You need to find out, now, what you have to do to protect your children and protect yourself from getting financially destroyed by a FW.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago
Reply to  ApidaeChump

100% THIS.

PhoenixFlame
PhoenixFlame
18 days ago

She doesn’t know what she wants?

Of course, she does.

She wants BOTH.

ApidaeChump
ApidaeChump
18 days ago

The embezzler is solely to blame for their actions stealing the pension fund. Yet, the company should explore the factors that made this employee susceptible to embezzlement.

Yes, the company should explore the factors that made this employee susceptible to embezzlement…. so that they never hire another embezzler again, and if they do, that they spot the warning signs immediately. Not because the company “contributed” to the embezzler’s actions or because the company “shares fault”, but because the company needs to make sure it’s fixed its picker and that it isn’t spackling.

You would be depressed at how many reports I see in the legal news about companies that never did a basic background check on employees who were trusted with finances and, whoops, turned out to have past convictions for embezzling or other theft from employers! Or who blindly trusted those employees. Or who never noticed or paid attention to warning signs (like the person who never ever went on vacation, or hoarded all the financial info such that nobody else could see the books).

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  ApidaeChump

The difference is employers eventually have to hire new employees or go out of business. Right now I don’t believe any human is capable of not being a selfish FW…but that just means I don’t have to worry about going back on the dating market ever and can just focus on myself and my kids.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

Don’t look into the future, other than to have a kick-ass lawyer protecting you so you have a future. Live in the present but plan for the future. You don’t know what you will want in 5 years. Focus on protecting yourself, your finances, your health and your kids.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

Ya know, sometimes when you find out something about a person, it changes how you see them or feel about them….permanently. I used to love Woody Allen when I was younger, I saw all his movies, and I especially loved the early ones. I’d go to a Woody Allen film festival. Once I read the allegations about him and his children, Mia’s children, well, I said…maybe it’s not true, I don’t want to believe this, but…..I see him marry his own step daughter, a woman he knew since she was a child and I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANOTHER WOODY ALLEN MOVIE EVER AGAIN. On TV or in the theater. I just can’t view him as something other than a creepy, sleazy man who would fuck his own step daughter and maybe the other kids too. Once you know, you know, and it’s not about forgiveness or understanding or any of that….it’s just you know how low they go and you can’t unknow it. It permanently changes how you view this person, how you feel about them and that does not go away.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mehitable
LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

This is my experience, exactly. And I’m a huge movie lover and never all that much troubled by celebrity bad behavior since I’m looking at characters in a movie, not the people who play them. But Woody Allen? Nope. Can’t go there.

susie lee
susie lee
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Bill Cosby really fooled me. I adored him and his comedy and his show.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  susie lee

Oh yes. Even though I always thought he was really funny and astute, I also always sensed great anger in him so I wasn’t tooooo surprised. The amount of it surprised me, but well, what can you say. The disappointment is enormous, and how much worse is it when you know someone personally. OJ is another one, but that’s such an enormous crime….but I loved OJ, my husband loved OJ. But once you know, you know and you can’t unknow it. It permanently changes all you see about someone.

All a Blur
All a Blur
18 days ago

What hymn pairs with adultery? How Great Thou Art? A Mighty Fortress Is My Hard-on? Blessed Assurance (My Wife Doesn’t Know)?

Oh my. This is genius, CL! This could go on for ages:

“Amazing Grace! I Did Her In Our Bedroom While You Were at Pilates”

“I Will Sing the Wondrous Story (about how I fell into her vajay-jay)”

Some of them you don’t even have to change: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Marcus
Marcus
18 days ago
Reply to  All a Blur

“Jolene, lover of my soul (let me to thy bosom fly)”…good Welsh tune, too.

“Will your lying hold in the storms of life?”

OK, originally I thought ‘hard-on’ but it seemed a bit much…

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
18 days ago

First of all, Happy Birthday!

Second of all, welcome to the Chump Nation!

Wherein the first two are true-what do YOU want to do?

I myself am closing in on 9 months past D-Day. I started my healing journey reading some of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex stuff(namely the 180) before settling in here for the long haul. I feel that I have made the right choice for me and you will as well.

Personally, I have found the “it’s their fault that they cheated but how did YOU contribute?” to be contradictory (as such depleting face validity and therefore subject to rejection) and a needless way to overcomplicate a rather simple matter-that your personal fuckwit betrayed you and generally without exploring mature adult avenues of repairing issues.

Cheaters-this includes yours-are character deprived and untrustworthy. I have no reason to believe that were I take mine back that she wouldn’t do the same stuff(and probably worse). What your wife “wants”(ie, whatever impulse whimsy she is suffering from) is immaterial. She betrayed you-other than the ring on your finger(which she has dishonored) all bets are now officially “off” save for the care of your children.

I repeat-what do YOU want to do?

You need to protect your happiness.

Quick coda: I see SOME value in evaluating “what you did wrong in the relationship.” None of us are perfect partners because we are human. That being said-this is not to fix the bridge that she burned. She had unrealistic expectations and decided that being an adult about it was not part of the gameplan-that is her loss(as is the loss of all of Fuckwitistan and its people). If she can burn a bridge the choir director can perhaps help her build a boat with the debris. You have a relationship you DO need to repair-that is with yourself. If and when you start dating again if that is your desire-you will be much better equipped.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

I have no problem admitting that our marriage was far from ideal and that I contributed to that condition. There is value in the realization that I was not a particularly good partner. But she could have said she wanted divorce first, and then found a fuckbuddy, and I could have still gained that insight with far less betrayal and trauma.

It’s horrifying…it’s so far beyond not being able to trust her, I find myself doubting basic assumptions about reality. All the sincere-sounding responses she made turn out to be straight from the cheater’s playbook. How is it possible for us chumps to so fundamentally misread another human being?

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago

How is it possible for us chumps to so fundamentally misread another human being? Velvet Hammer from CN recommended the book Dangerous Instincts by retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole that once and for all set me straight on this question. It’s a short, accessible read and I highly recommend it. To sum it up, I’d say that, for every human being alive, no matter how canny, sharp and experienced, there’s a sociopath who’s perfectly calibrated to get past that person’s defenses– sort of like how viruses mutate to evade human antibodies. Consequently, we all need to acquire tools and develop strategies– some of which don’t really come naturally and must be learned– to suss out information from people in order to assess whether they’re good witches or bad witches.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
18 days ago

Love.

Because Love.

“Love Wins”, after all. Or so they say.

I know your pain all too well, friend. I know I am not that far on my journey so those questions still haunt the occasional quiet night when I am trying to find peace in the bed that is “mine” that was once “ours.”

We loved our betrayers more than anything. We trusted them more than we trusted ourselves. They were our rocks, our pillars. We opened the very barriers of our hearts-our souls even! To blend into a better, more perfect being.

WE got that part right at least-warts and all. “Love is not a victory march.”

We “knew” that they would never do that to us because we would never do that to them.

That particular problem was never about us, it turns out. We Loved. They didn’t. They lied. They called their infatuation or the idea that we gave them a better life “Love.” Or that we helped them meet some other expectation without actually knowing us. Or they did Love and chose to stop. They chose not to clearly and directly communicate that they just weren’t feeling it anymore, or more importantly: that they did not have the strength of character to turn down somebody else’s advances or not make them on their own. They forgot-that they took a vow in front of all of their friends and family and the Federal Government to not fuck up like that.

We trusted that they didn’t just LIKE us but were LIKE us. Because we’re supposed to. Because we didn’t get the memo they got that “Forever” is actually only rolling periods of about 7 years.

We were too trusting. Because we were supposed to be. It doesn’t actually say anything about us that we were betrayed or weren’t worth being honest or direct with. That says NOTHING about our value as people or as lovers or friends. Hell, Beyonce got cheated on. FUCKING BEYONCE. There’s a reason we call them “Fuckwits.” Because it needs to be something beyond “buffoon” that would chump Beyonce.

You didn’t misread anything, friend. You gave the benefit of the doubt that you were supposed to give. I PIck-me Danced because she was supposed to be “the one”. When she said I had nothing to worry about, I was skeptical but took her at her word. She had the opportunity to act ethically if she didn’t want me anymore. Despite having her own hang-ups about loss and “always wanting to be friends no matter what” she discarded me…and well, the quality of work she did making sure no life between us was sustainable after she left would have made Ghengis Khan blush.

We let people in because we are supposed to. They took advantage of that out of childish selfish horseshit and stopped caring who they hurt(if they ever did).

I am at no-contact with mine. I am doing the right thing. Even her plaintive attempts at getting her foot back in the door are traumatizing. I don’t deserve to be traumatized and neither does anybody reading this. I owned my mistakes-she didn’t. I have no patience for traitors and liars. “Fool me once.”

You will regain your sense of sanity before long-once you stop using her to be the check and balance on that. And if your journey is anything like mine has been, you’re going to see a whole lot more to be angry about. You will blame yourself sometimes-because it sounds like that is part of who you are(and depression is a tricky adversary-it likes like she did.) As I have recently been advised-“don’t make life decisions after 9pm.”

And ultimately realize that you are better off.

We are here for you.

Mehitable
Mehitable
17 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Part of what makes it so hard is not that they are so lovable, but that Chumps seem to have a greater need to love.

One last time
One last time
17 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

JW, very well said.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
17 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Amen. Really well said.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Wow. All that resonates so much. I’m so lucky I found this community.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago

Well, partly it’s because we WANT to believe. Con men traditionally have a basic strategy….they look for marks. The old saying “You can’t cheat an honest man” means that people are vulnerable to conning because on some levels they WANT to believe. Especially when someone presents a great front to you – and most cheaters are very charming, socially extraverted people – and you are naturally drawn to it. It’s a trick. I always recommend the old movie “Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. It’s the origin of the expression but it’s a great movie and very revelatory to me. One thing that really comes across to me is that Bergman’s deceptive husband who tries to drive her into insanity….I think actually DOES love her on some level, the level that he can “love” anyone, but he loves something else MORE and that’s what drives him. Sometimes they actually DO love us but…it doesn’t matter. Their behavior is so toxic it nullifies the positive aspects of their emotions. Never underestimate how much these people can lie and believe their own lies….a really good liar is great at convincing him or herself. Don’t blame yourself, just try to learn from it. WE ALL HAVE FAULTS that unscrupulous people can blame their behavior on – every marriage has flaws. But realize….you will never view her the same way again. You can’t unsee what you’ve seen.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
18 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

As one of my mentors would say, “you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube.”

And also:

“When you wear rose colored glasses, red flags just kind of look like…regular flags!”

Elsie_
Elsie_
18 days ago

Yes, the embezzlement analogy is so apt. People embezzle because they are entitled and crooked. Embezzlers nearly always get caught because questions are asked and/or an audit is done. Very few turn themselves in.

Some years back, a local volunteer fire department was in the news because its treasurer embezzled $100,000+ over a long period of time. People blamed the lack of a formal audit, saying, “She’s a wonderful person; I know it.” Well, yes, an audit should have been done sooner than it was, but she was not a wonderful person. She embezzled. For that, she went to jail and then prison.

Cheaters cheat because that’s what they want to do, and deception and lying are just side effects in their minds. They deserve it and believe they can get away with it. Unless a truly huge character reset occurs (a true unicorn), entitlement and lying will appear again and again. There’s not much incentive to live otherwise for them.

I decided during separation that I had truly no reason to trust my husband on anything, which was saying a lot. He might or might not pay temporary support. He was vague about how he was spending his time and who he was with. I knew that he was spending like crazy from his retirement investments (technically marital assets) because he told me so, and then later denied that, saying that I made that up. Nope, nothing really to work with there. He even promised the divorce would be easy. Nope, it was a mess like I knew it would be.

Now, I surround myself with trustworthy people, and all is truly well. Had to be.

Last edited 18 days ago by Elsie_
Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Elsie_

I am lucky enough to be the breadwinner, so at least I don’t have to worry about whether or not she will pay child support. On the flip side, we live in a no-fault state, which means I still have to give her half of the assets I’ve spent a lifetime building (me being a cheapskate was always one of her favorite complaints) and pay alimony for several years on top of child support.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

Insist that she gets a job. I’d drag out the divorce a bit so that she feels the financial pinch. Your kids aren’t infants. She can go get a job.

Elsie_
Elsie_
18 days ago

Yes, I was the cheapskate and also a SAHM. If we had spent like he wanted, there would have been far less when he retired. So, then he spent like he wanted after he left. He viewed the retirement accounts like savings accounts, which is an issue if you are retired with finite assets, as he was.

I know that he felt like the attorneys were utterly crooked and that I ruined him, but his lifestyle has remained about the same post-divorce. How he’s financing that, I don’t know.

Post-divorce, we got the current balance and six months back on one retirement account through a legal “back door” that a specialist we had to hire knew about. No wonder he was refusing the “even-up” transfer from there. That one had more legal protections, but we moved to another one; amazingly, he followed through.

Fun and games.

Mehitable
Mehitable
18 days ago
Reply to  Elsie_

Yes, the RIC would tell us to give our money to Bernie Madoff again – he’s learned his lesson, he’ll be honest THIS time, be forgiving and give him another chance!

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
18 days ago

TRUST and SAFETY are the non-negotiable hallmarks of the healthy emotionally mature relationship. They are the whole point of being in a relationship. Why remain in a relationship with anyone who has proven their untrustworthiness and that they are not a safe person for you?

Cheating is not accidental. It is intentionally hurting you in the worst way possible. It’s the biggest, sharpest knife in the drawer. They deliberately use it on you. They use it on their own children. Then they hand it off to their fuck buddies to have a go at you, and your children.

Because the stab wounds and the blood are not visible, it’s easy to stay in denial.

How badly does someone have to hurt you before you leave?

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

Safety is a really good theme. I can’t relax in my own home, because I don’t know when I might be stabbed again. I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe letting myself be emotionally vulnerable to anyone again.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

Again, it’s OK to feel that you will never be vulnerable again, but try to train yourself to stay in today rather than project over the next 40 years. “Right now I can’t imagine…For now I don’t want to be vulnerable…”

Leedy
Leedy
18 days ago

100 times yes to everything you say here, except the prediction that you’ll never let yourself be emotionally vulnerable again. Maybe you’re right about that, but I suspect it’s too early for you to be able to guess.

Not to idealize chumps, but we chumps, or at least the ones that end up attracted to this site, tend–I think–to be people with a big blooming heart in us and a lot of tenderness (as well as, maybe as the other side of the same coin, a none-too-healthy capacity to spackle in the service of our attachment to our mate). You just never know what new growth your heart will seek over time, as you get more distance from the trauma of betrayal.

Anyway, I send you a big big, SKB. I’ve followed this whole discussion, including your comments, with a lot of interest.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
18 days ago

SKB,

You are in a lot of pain right now. It’s like a tornado has hit your house. You’re in crisis. It’s terrible and painful to realize that FW has discarded the whole family in such a heartless way. Give yourself grace to the thousandth power! You deserve dignity just like any human.

It’s been more than two years since FW left and I am still recovering. My kids too, are still very hurt. One son (21) has taken the side of FW and blames me. He and I fight just about every weekend. It has been hard. My therapist says give it time. Some kids side with the abuser.

The most difficult part has been realizing that FW was a bully, a user, a manipulator, and a poor-me covert narc all along and now my kids have to overcome something terrible. Yes, I feel guilty too. But I also feel very grateful that FW is gone. That is the main thought. Oh thank God!! He’s not here anymore!!!

Not easy. Many days I still feel like the walking wounded. Like there is just a gaping hole in my chest. But, still grateful to not have to live with that idiot.

Trust that they suck. What kind of person throws away their family so they can have some kind of sick second life?? Some sick secret sexual basement?? Just the truly disordered.

jacaranda
jacaranda
18 days ago

I accept 50% of the blame for letting the marriage get stale. But that’s not what destroyed the marriage- his choice to have an ongoing affair, cover it up, lie over and over, make it impossible for me to ever believe or trust anything he said, that’s what destroyed the marriage. Accepting that (after a year of pick me dancing arggg, but this was before I found Chumplady) and taking steps to protect myself financially, then moving on and figuring out what my new life was going to be like, is where we take back our own power.

One last time
One last time
17 days ago
Reply to  jacaranda

Jacaranda, my feeling exactly. Our marriage got stale. I accept my fault for that. But, I could live with her faults, and thought she wanted to live with mine. No. She checked out, lied to me for years and betrayed me. That is all on her.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
18 days ago

Clinical trials: your life isn’t a clinical trial – it’s your life. Your life is a data point of 1. Don’t waste it on a terrible person.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

While I appreciate this advice and think you’re right, I could easily turn it around to say “don’t waste a chance to get back the person you married.”

Humans are terrible at making choices that affect their long-term. Emotional humans are even worse. Emotionally devastated, vulnerable, suicidal humans much worse still. Clinical trials are how we know that ibuprofen will help with the pain of a headache, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is likely to help with depression. If there really is a scientifically-demonstrated treatment plan to reduce the trauma of infidelity, it would make no more sense to ignore it than it would to refuse to take a painkiller for your headache.

Unfortunately the science is difficult to evaluate.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
15 days ago

You can only control yourself. And you can ask yourself whether getting back someone who lies, cheats, and gaslights you is a wise choice.

Trauma therapy is a thing. It works. I’ve done it.

Shadow
Shadow
16 days ago

It would be great if there was a programme to heal and recover from betrayal , sort of similar to a 12 Steps, but there isn’t unfortunately.Hopefully, betrayal trauma will begin to be taken more seriously and reseach on it will start and they’ll come up with something helpful. All we do know for now is, that the best way to deal with it is to distance yourself as far as possible and for as much as possible from the source of the trauma- the adulterer, which when you think about it, just makes sense, because if we were being harmed by anything or anyone else in any other way, that’d be the best and probably only way to prevent further harm being done to us, never mind a chance to start healing.
I get you don’t want your marriage to fail, sure I didn’t either and none of here did. I still get a twinge of sadness now and then that it went Pete Tong, and so horribly, but it did and as agonising as it was, I had to call time before it permanently damaged me! I was having what’s called passive suicidal ideation , such as that if it weren’t for my son, I’d rather be dead! Sure you can’t carry on like that! Lookit, none of us are judging nor condemning you, quite the opposite, we only want to support and encourage you and help you have hope for your future and to build up your confidence and self-worth again! It is possible, I can promise you hand-on-heart it is but for me, it’s only because I haven’t had any contact with STBXH for months and months. I’ve seen him back in the village with a one I can only presume is his new bird and I don’t feel anything about it, except a bit miffed that he’s back when I thought he’d be gone until July! That’s healing! Bless you anyway, keep posting here, we’re all on your side!

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
16 days ago
Reply to  Shadow

I appreciate all the support I’ve received here more than I can express. Even my parents are blaming me for the situation.

I think most of the actions of my wife since D-day were legitimate attempts to minimize inflicting further pain. But by far the most important thing she did was to remind me how much it would hurt my children if I killed myself. I think in the moment I hated her more for saying that than anything else. I wanted to let go so badly. Without that reminder I would not be here right now. Every morning when I stare at my bottle of antidepressants I have to force myself to take just one and not down the bottle and thinking of my kids is the only way I can manage that.

Shadow
Shadow
16 days ago

Thanks be to God for your kids so SKB, I’m releived you resisted the temptation because you won’t feel like that for ever, honestly you won’t.
The uncle of one of my son’s best mates did away with himself when he found out his knew wife had been cheating with another man since even before they got married. I remeber saying to my FW that if only he’d talked to soemone and got help, he’d still be here and could be happy with another woman because he coulad have had that marriage annulled seeing as she was cheating before and during, meaning she never meant her vows to be faithful. Needless to say, the family are heartbroken after him, they’re all such lovely people. The treacherous cow wheo betrayed him left the area , no one knows where she’s gone and she’d better not show her face round here ever again- her name is mud as youc an imagine. The point I’m trying to make is, keep talking, to us, to a therapist, to your GP even! Don’t whatever you do bottle it up nor let it fester. Myself and most of us know the pain and anguish you’re experiencing, by God we do, but I can tell you, it DOES gradually ease then go, so long as you look after yourself.
Could your wife move out for a bit so you could have some time for yourself and the kids without having your nose rubbed in it all? Could you go and stay with a friend or with family, to give yourself some space to process it and get your head a bit more straight, because adultery is a head-wrecker as well as a heartbreaker, isn’t it? It takes time to process the sheer enormous horror of it and then you’ve the mind boggling phenomenon of “Who the feck did I marry at all? Who and what IS he/she?”.
You clearly love your kids to bits and they need you, so you need to be really looking after yourself now, it’s in their best interest as well as your own! God bless anyway and keep posting, we’re with you!

Chumped in KC
Chumped in KC
18 days ago

SKB,

First, I’m so sorry you are here with the rest of us! Second, know that we all here are in the same boat and have your back. And Tracy is right – there is nothing worse than the pick me dance and getting stuck on what to do. I too, like you, have always suffered from depression and my go to thoughts were always, “I want to kill myself”, but I also have kids and didn’t want to harm them by doing this. But one day, not long after D-Day I went into the closet and got out the handgun (9MM) and almost did it. ALMOST. But fast forward 2 years later and I still haven’t done it. I still think about killing myself from time to time, but it is far less. You will get there too. Read Tray’s book over and over if you have to. Read EACH AND EVERY BLOG POST, over and over if you have to. Her blog is the main thing that helped keep me alive, and still does, frankly. It helps to know you are the only one to be devalued for no reason and no fault of your own. I am with CN (chump nation) you did nothing wrong and it is 100% the cheaters fault! They are indeed FuckWits!

Having said all that, only you can decide what is right for you and what you want to do. But ask yourself what Tracy said. “is this relationship acceptable to you now?”

Things will get better. Focus on yourself and your kids, leave the cheating Fuckwit out of that, keep reading on this blog, and go from there.

Wishing you the Best!

p.s. Check out the book Cheating in a Nutshell. It is kind of on our side here, and talks about how it causes PTSD for the betrayed and how awful of a thing it is to do to your partner. Maybe your cheating wife should read that instead? But don’t give her Tracy’s book, she doesn’t need to read that, Tracy’s book is your secret weapon, if you choose to leave her.

2xchump
2xchump
18 days ago
Reply to  Chumped in KC

Good book! Read it!!

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago
Reply to  Chumped in KC

I read Cheating in a Nutshell, which is how I found Tracy’s book and then this site. About 1/3 of the way through LACGAL now and finding it much more helpful. Harder to read, but bitchslaps hurt.

Chumped in KC
Chumped in KC
18 days ago

Nothing hurts more than the bitchslap of a spouse devaluing and cheating on you. I would rather have Tracy’s “get your head on straight” slaps any day!

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

I hope you find your answer. Unfortunately I’m not one who can tell you when it will ever get better.

Chumped in KC
Chumped in KC
18 days ago

You can’t be told or even tell yourself when it is better, it just FEELS better. And it doesn’t start feeling better until you detach from your betraying spouse. But I think the more you are on this sight, the more it will help you do just that, detach.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
18 days ago

Seems a moderator maybe deleted the post this was in reply to? I mean I do talk to myself plenty, but usually not on forums

OHFFS
OHFFS
18 days ago

SKB, your wife is showing remorse by reading a book without being prompted? Not just any book, but one that goes easy on cheaters, apparently. If the bar for demonstrating remorse was any lower, it would be in the basement of hell.

Look, she’s just a garden variety cake eater. She threatened to divorce you and keeps you off balance by claiming not to know what she wants to make you do the dance. That’s what you’re doing by working through this book in all sincerity while she does it disingenuously. The balance of power is heavily on her side that way. You can only tip that balance by leaving the marriage. You are with a manipulative person who will probably always be running some infantile game on you.

Re; depression- you won’t know how much of it is clinical depression and how much is situational depression until you get out of this situation. We’ve all been where you are. I was a mess until I left. Then I started to heal almost immediately. You can too.

HunnyBadger
HunnyBadger
17 days ago

I would like to add the observation that every FW alive seems to share one thing in common: they cannot imagine how a Chump could show any anger or distress after the first week or so. This leaves the Chump struggling to figure out if maybe they really are too slow to heal…

Then the Reconciliation Industrial Complex always puts the burden of saving the marriage on the Chump. “Hold yourself together, smile, make opportunities for positive interactions with your cheater!”

The combination of those two powerful super-toxins do nothing but scramble a Chump’s mind and heart and make the healing slower. A lot slower. Because while a Chump is already reeling and trying to figure out why they were so unlovable or undesirable that their spouse decided to cheat, they are being told they must have played a part in it and therefore need to stand strong to save their marriage.

From experience, I recommend a Chump get mad instead. Mad enough to hire a lawyer immediately and let the FW scramble to see how much incriminating evidence might be dangling behind them. Mad enough to get tested for STDs without hesitation. Mad enough to not wait for the FW to have any more choices at all.

It’s okay to be mad. THAT is how you start to heal. (It will also help you stay away from slumping into more depression). Mad is pro-active.

Real LACGAL, read Chump Lady’s website every chance you get. You won’t find propaganda here or advice about accepting your part of the blame. What you read in the book and here are the hard won lessons of people who have lived it.

Leave your cheater and gain your own life.

susie lee
susie lee
17 days ago
Reply to  HunnyBadger

I agree, but the issue it for many it will just be almost impossible to call a lawyer right away. I know for me it took a few weeks to even think and accept what was right in front of me.

I do think though that it is getting better for chumps in terms of getting good guidance faster. CL, DM and there may be other sources.

I was fortunate I had my dad and my brother calling me every day. The bad part is I didn’t call them until about a week after he left. I was confused, humiliated, scared etc. The one thing they both told me, especially my brother was to focus on my job, and be the best I could be there. I think that saved me. Also, my dad told me to get to a doctor and tell him everything. I went on antidepressants short time, and within a week; I could focus again. I only took them a year, and went off and never took them again.

I know there are a lot of horrible things folks have to deal with, and when I know it I try to help those folks; but intimate betrayal is horrible and difficult to over come. I believe the longer you are married/together and the more you were connected to the spouse the worse it will be for most.

I have talked to my granddaughter, and will be talking to her again. I will be telling her that the second she has a gut feeling, respect that feeling and to always be on top of her finances; no matter how busy. In my granddaughters case if I remember correctly she does handle the finances, but I assume he is staying informed. I will let his grandmother talk to him. 🙂

Learning
Learning
17 days ago

Dear Skb,

You have been violated. Your heart, mind and soul have been violated.

Cheating is nothing less than that. It is an extreme statement to make, but it’s also true.

Two people (one of whom you had/do love dearly and the other, a non-entity choir fuckstick) are writhing around in their own snake pit, tearing down the walls of your well being – and you’re depressed? Of course you are, your well being and dignity has been savaged in the most heinous way.

Never forget that, both to give yourself a loving margin of grace as to why you feel so decimated and to understand her.

There is something deeply, profoundly not right about a person who can do that to you.

Repeat to yourself:

“There is something profoundly not right in her.”

Her inner moral void pre-dates you, it is part of her, it sits deep inside her and it will not change. It can’t be fixed. Not by you and not by the RIC.

It has zero, ZERO, to do with your value or worth. In fact you are completely irrelevant to the profound disorder of character that sits inside her.

“There is something profoundly not right in her”.

You didn’t see this before (why would you). You loved with a full heart and you weren’t aware of this.

Now your shocked, savaged (violated) self is trying to match its vision of the woman (illusion) you had loved with this savage human.

“There is something profoundly not right in her.”

Give yourself permission to love her until that one, inevitable day, that you just don’t anymore (because closing that gap takes time), but from today, going forward remember:

“There is something profoundly not right in her.”

You have beautiful children, (they are the blessing in all of this).

You are a sane parent and you love them dearly. Let them be the motivation for you to get the legal and financial advice that you will need to prepare for what’s to come, because her profound ‘not rightness’ isn’t going anywhere.

Read through all the posts here to work out what that might look like, and how to manage it.

Detach from her as completely as you can and protect yourself and your beautiful children.

We have all been there and we are all thinking of you.

Should Know Better
Should Know Better
17 days ago
Reply to  Learning

Thank you. I’m sobbing re-reading what you wrote, but thank you

Shadow
Shadow
17 days ago

Hi CL and CN. I haven’t commented for a long time for one reason and another, but this man’s letter promted me to because I hope I can give him some encouragement to get rid of his FW.
Tuesday was the anniversary of me kicking my STBX out and I was grand. Yesterday, something happened that had me all happy and excited and I couldn’t stop smiling, and no it was nothing to do with a man! I’ll talk about it another time but blimey, the difference a year has made! This poor man needs to get rid of her because she’s toxic to him, it’s like living and sleeping next to some radioactive waste- it’d kill you, slowly and horribly! Once you are far enough away from it, you start to heal and become healthy and well again. It will take time, but you will.
Yesterday, I also saw FW on the road with a woman whom I presume is his new bird. I only glimpsed them and can’t really comment on her except to say she is rather unremarkable. I don’t know if she’s the one he cheated on me with or a new bird but it doesn’t matter, I’m far too happy and chuffed about what also happened yesterday. I’m a bit peed off that he’s back when I thought he’d be off on the Continent until July but it’s one o’ them, as they say in Coventry! It hasn’t dampened my mood and I hope this gives the OP and any other chumps who have not long had D-Day some hope! Time and No Contact really do heal!

Marco
Marco
17 days ago

You can only remain a chump if you allow it.

Braken
Braken
17 days ago

SKB,

You are literally living with your Depression trigger. You see her every day, in this awful situation she inflicted on you.

You are not reaching 40 with nothing. You have your children, and you have the knowledge that you love deeply and have integrity.

I believe you can get through this! You have the fertile ground that can grow a meaningful, happy life.

I just got engaged in my Late 30s, and my Partner is 38 and divorced his abusive, alcoholic wife five years ago.

My Aunt got divorced at 46, spent a few years single, went back to school, finished her bachelor’s degree, met another Grad student there, got married, and they adopted one of the teenagers they Foster. Her life is full of love, family, and good work.

My Grandmother Lost not one but two Husbands to health issues, met a gentleman at age 70, and they lived together and blended families until they both passed within a few years of each other in their early 90’s.

It isn’t too late! The longer you stay stuck in the mud, the longer you are stuck and not free to live a life seeking and investing in your kids, yourself, and genuine connections down the road—be they friends, future co-workers, teachers, therapists, or even more when you are ready.

LaDoctora
LaDoctora
17 days ago

I read something here about clinical trials, which would apply to drug research, but I don’t know that it would apply to human behavior. Qualitative research that looks at the lived experience would show how illogical many of our choices are. Many of our choices in relationships have a direct connection to our relationships with our caretakers. I agree with many here who say the FW has a character problem. I still don’t understand and maybe never will, how a person walks away from their family? It is so painful to everyone involved. Sorry everyone that we’ve had to go through this heartbreak and wishing you strength, grace, and self-love. I often think if I had loved myself more, I would have gotten out sooner. But it’s never too late to choose yourself.

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
14 days ago

You were married to someone unworthy, but that doesn’t make your life “wasted”. You’ve got you! Good riddance to her!

Cal
Cal
3 days ago

SKB – your marriage may have imploded thabks to your Jesus Cheater but that does not make your entire adult life a waste. You have kids. Friends. A job maybe? Hobbies. And you can now do even more with your life without that cheater weighing you down!

Hit the block button, SKB. Self-harm, even the passive kind, is never gonna help.