Just Discovered Long-Term Boyfriend’s Double Life

boyfriend's double life

She just discovered her boyfriend’s double life, which included mistresses on multiple continents. How does she process the pain?

***

Hi Chump Lady,

Last year I ended my long-term relationship with my boyfriend of 6 years.

We lived together, when I ended the relationship I felt like a heavy load had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt lighter and happily went on living my best life. At the time I thought my ex was a sweet, kind-hearted man, but it was just very unfortunate that our values and lifestyle didn’t align.

Months after the breakup, I discovered what a monster this man really was.

I was with a sociopath who was living a double life and I had no idea. I recently discovered the truth of who he really is and the laundry list of terrible vile things he did throughout our relationship. It’s a painful realization that hits you when you realize just how much this person manipulated and gaslit you.

Very recently, within the last month, I uncovered that the last year of our relationship he was actually in a full blown relationship with a woman in another country. All those times away “for work”, “stuck on a remote work site”, he was in fact out of the country, renting an apartment with another woman. I could puke as I type this.

He was a pathological liar.

I wanted to get to the truth, timelines, etc, so I found the woman online and reached out to her. We ended up talking on the phone for 6 hours. She had no idea I existed, she was apologetic and informed me that he always said that he was single and pursued her hard. He had essentially omitted the last 7 years of his life.

She ended it with him. I felt good, I felt vindicated that he had been exposed, and now had to live with the consequences of his actions. He can’t stand being alone, so I found comfort and joy that everything blew up in his face and that he was miserable and single now.

Well, that was short lived, because in the last couple of days I found out that she took him back.

How do I know this? When we first connected, it was on social media, and I’m now seeing she’s in my country, in my city, she’s with him. I feel sick to my stomach. Seriously, what the hell??

I thought we were on the same side.

I can’t help thinking why the hell would she forgive him and take him back knowing what a massive manipulator, liar, and serial cheater he is? She told me there were other women in Mexico that had actually messaged her about him. Why did she take him back??

I thought she was smarter than that. She spoke highly of herself and even said things like “Once a cheater always a cheater.” Friends say I just need to let it go and focus on myself, which I’m trying to do, but my heart also feels really heavy.

Is this what just comes with the territory of being a chump? I know I’m better off without him, matter of fact — career wise and financially I’m doing much better, but I also can’t help feeling that he got away with it. She knows what kind of man he is and took him back anyway.

I’m left processing the truth of what’s gone on and I’m mentally struggling.

Six years of my life was all a facade. I don’t understand why when I attempted to break up with him many times during that last year, he wouldn’t let me go! Meanwhile, he had this whole other relationship in another country.

The first few times I was trying to break up with him, he could’ve just left and carried on his other life. But he was adamant about us working it out. He sat there and saw me become miserable month after month trying to figure out how we were going to work, all the while he had someone else.

I’m left with psychological trauma. How do I move past this? Some friends have said I need to remove her from my social media. So I’ve muted all of her posts. Beyond that though, how does one deal, process, cope with this level of betrayal and hurt? What are the coping mechanisms? Some days I can barely eat, some nights I can hardly sleep. I hate that my worldview has been shattered and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to ever trust again. It feels like my spirit is broken.

Please, any words of wisdom would be really appreciated. No one else in my life has gone through anything like this.

Best,

Hell Hath No Fury

***

Dear Hell Hath No Fury,

Well, you’ve come to right place. Chumps know the sucker punch of discovering a partner’s double life. It’s very difficult to come to grips with the idea that some freaks have gonzo deception skills, and you missed it. That’s why you’re untangling the skein of fuckupedness. It’s a coping mechanism. You’re trying to find the black box in the wreckage that will explain it all.

Let me stop you from further pain shopping.

You know enough.

You’re happier without him. Your finances have recovered. You feel saner. There is nothing to miss, except the boyfriend-shaped space he used to occupy in your life. But the actual HIM does not sound like someone who ever gave you a moment’s peace.

Now you know why. Because he was fronting a fake investment. He was a fraud. He enjoys the deceit — that’s the high. Sociopaths walk among us.

I’m not saying every cheater is a sociopath, but according to dark triad personality disorder researcher and therapist Sandra Brown, every sociopath cheats. IMO, the longer a person can compartmentalize a double life and not stress about it, the more disturbed they are. As I say here a lot, it doesn’t matter what flavor of fucked up it is, get away from it.

Your boyfriend’s double life and the depth of his deception isn’t normal. Please take comfort in that. Any number of sociopaths is too many sociopaths, but the majority of the populace are not predators. For every one freak with a double life, there are a thousand kind internet strangers who will hold you up and help you heal. Including the people in your own life who I hope are horrified on your behalf.

We should never normalize double lives and such fraudulence, which is why I carry on this blog and snark at Modern Love columns. Trust is the social glue that binds us together. Social contracts are important, whether it’s marriage, or promising to show up for jury duty.

Integrity matters.

Cheating is the theft of your reality. You’re completely normal to feel gutted by betrayal. And by hunting down his other mistress(es) you’re trying to claw back your stolen reality. You feel violated. And when you discover another one of your ex-boyfriend’s secrets and double (or quadruple) lives, you feel validated. We get it. We’ve lived it.

But there comes a point, where for your own sanity, you need to trust that he sucks and invest your energies in rebuilding your life. What he does next, and with whom, doesn’t matter. You tried to warn the next one, but this cannot be your life’s mission. (Unless you want to be your own Netflix true crime special…) Because there will be a next one, and a next one, and a next one, and a next one. Why? Sociopaths. Walk. Among. Us.

Why did the Other Woman take him back?

Why did she take him back?? I thought she was smarter than that. She spoke highly of herself and even said things like “Once a cheater always a cheater.”

Let me answer your question by quoting you.

I don’t understand why when I attempted to break up with him many times during that last year, he wouldn’t let me go!

That’s what he does. Manipulates, lies, hoovers to win you back. You fell for it, so did she.

But! But! She knows he’s a cheater!

You knew he was a bad boyfriend. That should’ve been enough reason to dump him. She’s got a steeper learning curve, but it’s the same shitty standards. He’s a bunch of lame promises in a human suit. Thank the sweet baby Jesus he’s not your problem any longer.

The first few times I was trying to break up with him, he could’ve just left and carried on his other life. But he was adamant about us working it out. He sat there and saw me become miserable month after month trying to figure out how we were going to work, all the while he had someone else.

He’s adamant about stringing you both along, because duper’s delight is a turn on. Don’t try to understand it. You can’t. You’re not a monster. He fed on your misery. Now, he’s got a new trough.

I also can’t help feeling that he got away with it.

His punishment is being him. A person who has no depth of character or feeling. I know that’s no comfort to you now, but there’s no there there. He’s a Halloween mask. A hobgoblin. A sorry bag of artifice. You’re a real person with real feelings, who would never intentionally hurt someone. You win.

We cannot stop sociopaths from being sociopaths. We can only learn from the experience and raise our standards, listen to our alarm sirens when they activate, and assert ourselves accordingly.

This fraud took six years off you. Don’t waste another minute of your life chasing him down or wondering about his latest mindfuck volunteer. Better days ahead, Hell. ((Hugs))

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Stepbystep
Stepbystep
1 month ago

It takes time and experience to begin to heal, but to trust as we did before is unlikely. There will always be a reflexive response to red flags and, hopefully, a healthier sense of self.

But I have a question.

If sociopaths and the dark triad are rare, why is infidelity so common and accepted? Isn’t every cheater (but particularly a married/parenting partner) living a double life? Is a sociopath the cheater who denies the existence of a spouse or family to others?

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

At the risk of sounding ‘religious’, I would say that since there are a lot of ‘nones’, i.e., people that have no denomination at all and do not feel the need to belong to an organized religion (e.g., because they’re “spiritual”), there has been an associated rise in crime. There are more acceptable white lies and a lot more tolerance to bad behavior. Adultery and white collar crime are two mentioned here. If a child grows up and is not exposed to a set of morals and ethics — on a regular basis — that child eventually discerns what is right for him. (He or she, I’m just using the male pronoun.) Essentially, that child makes himself ‘God’. You’ve heard things said many times that shows this tendency, e.g., ‘Well, that may be right for YOU, but that’s not right for ME’, or ‘I’m not judging’, or ‘It’s not my business’, or ‘I’m not the one living his life’, or ‘He never did anything to me.’ People are not willing to make a ‘judgement’ call because they’re ‘minding their own business.’ I understand that there were, and continue to be, abuses in organized religions. But it is not necessarily the religions that are bad especially when they purport the 10 commandments. It is not the commandments that are bad. It’s the man that discerns which commandment applies to him and which one doesn’t. If a child is hardly exposed to a set of morals and ethics on a regular basis, he eventually makes himself ‘God’. He is only accountable to himself, he decides what is right for him, and he becomes entitled to do whatever he feels is good for him. One result is that he seeks his value in how others see him (instead of living up to the expectations of a divine being.) This is a very narcissistic society. Every day you turn on the news, or look at Facebook posts, and you see what people are eating or where they are visiting or what celebrity they saw. (I’m sick of seeing the duck face on a regular basis.) I truly do not care what my ‘friend’ is eating, but apparently she feels the need to share her breakfast and how healthy it is — daily. Or she posts the location of where she is eating. I’m not a sociologist, but it might be worth a long-term study to see if our current culture and practices are not actually making more sociopaths. It is extremely sad when young teenagers commit suicide because they were attacked or made fun of through social media. What gave those bullies the feeling of entitlement to harangue others? And many of those, whose cruel words or taunts that led to someone taking his own life, have no remorse for their behavior. To me that’s indicative of a lack of conscience. I truly believe that if children are regularly exposed to a sound religious education that teaches morals and ethics (aligned with the 10 commandments), that a conscience is developed, reinforced, and becomes ingrained. It’s my understanding that a sociopath is someone that lacks a conscience.

PrincipledLife
PrincipledLife
1 month ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

I agree with you. Self-worship (as opposed to a healthy love of self) creates monsters.

lulutoo
lulutoo
1 month ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

What about the Jesus cheaters?

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

“I would say that since there are a lot of ‘nones’, i.e., people that have no denomination at all and do not feel the need to belong to an organized religion (e.g., because they’re “spiritual”), there has been an associated rise in crime”

Not the case at all. Ethics and morals absolutely do not have to be religiously based. It’s quite an assumption to say that people who don’t belong to organized religion are not teaching their children right from wrong. Plus, crime has actually dropped, not risen. Look at the stats;

https://www.npr.org/2024/02/12/1229891045/police-crime-baltimore-san-francisco-minneapolis-murder-statistics

So, are you prepared to make the reverse conclusion from this correlation, that less religion is the cause of a decrease in violent crime? I’m betting not. Neither am I, because correlation alone does not show causation. Crime is complicated and there are a lot of factors in play. I also don’t think infidelity rates have increased that much either, at least not among men.They were doing it all along. It has increased among women. That started because women got out into the workforce. The fact that it’s no longer legal to beat your wife up for cheating is another factor. More people do it openly now and they are more willing to admit to it when questioned for surveys, so it seems like the rates have increased.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Based on your link, NPR states that violent crime is down. I won’t argue. According to the links I quickly looked at, shoplifting statistics are up (https://capitaloneshopping.com/research/shoplifting-statistics/); the rate of bullying is up (https://www.pacer.org/bullying/info/stats.asp); suicide rates are up (https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/suicide-data-statistics.html). My point was to say that people who are not brought up with a regular regimen of ethics, morality, and integrity (religious or non-religious; spiritual or non-spiritual) have a tendency to place themselves as the decision makers, so much so, that they have made themselves their own gods. They are not held accountable to anyone, but themselves. And if they discern that a rule does not apply to them, then they could very well be considered as not having a conscience. For example, saying white lies seemingly does not have the negative connotations that it might mean to you or me. Lying to a child, a parent, a spouse, an employer means nothing. Everything is relative. What you determine is lack of conscience means nothing to someone that doesn’t hold the same values. Subsequently, what you determine as a sociopath, means nothing to someone that did not learn the same values as you did. “What’s bad for YOU, isn’t bad for ME.” In fact, news media, social media, Ester-Perel types all have a tendency to justify behavior that has traditionally been considered bad behavior. I do not argue that one must grow up in religion in order to be ethical. Anyone can be ethical. It is a choice. And being religious does not prevent someone from being non-ethical. Again, it is a choice. We all know, and CL has often pointed out, that there are many Jesus cheaters in the world. There are, and will probably continue to be, several whatever-name-your-religious-figurehead cheaters. There will also continue to be non-religious-figurehead cheaters. What I was trying to say is that when one is brought up not being held accountable to anyone but himself (vice someone having been brought up as accountable to a divine being), then that may be the reason why this society is more narcissistic and there are seemly more sociopaths. For that reason I argue the worthiness of a long-term study to see if our current culture and practices are not actually making more sociopaths. As I grew up in a classic ‘Christian’ religion, I argue from that point of view when I state that children who are regularly exposed to a sound religious education that teaches morals and ethics (aligned with the 10 commandments), will develop a conscience. Regular reinforcement makes a conscience ingrained. I will also concede that it does not require that a child be brought up with a religion-based education; but I do believe that the moral code found in the 10 commandments is a good basis for instilling a conscience. And I will also concede that just because a child is brought up with regular reinforcement of morals and ethics, will not preclude that child from becoming a sociopath. I purport that the odds are better in a child’s favor of developing a conscience if he is brought up with regular reinforcement of ethics, morals, and integrity.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

No kind of education– whether religious or existential/intellectual– will confer ethics in someone who had the capacity for empathy and reciprocity beaten out of them in infancy.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
1 month ago

I will argue that though someone may seemingly have ‘had the capacity for empathy and reciprocity beaten out of’ him in infancy, that it could make it extremely difficult to attain morals and ethics and integrity, but it does not mean it is impossible. There is still a choice to do wrong or right. Once someone learns the rightness or wrongness of something, even though that knowledge comes later in life, that person can either choose to continue to do wrong (continue to follow the pattern learned from infancy), or he can choose to change his behavior. CL touts often that infidelity is a choice, and I agree with her. One can either choose to commit adultery or not commit adultery. No adult is forcing another person (except perhaps in cases of rape) to put his/her genitalia where it shouldn’t be.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I agree. If I led you to believe that I think that only people who believe in God or belong to an organized religion can be good people with morals, ethics, and integrity, then I did not state my argument clearly. Yes. There are many, many people that are good that do not believe in God or do not belong to an organized religion.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Thank you!

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

I personally believe they’re more common than people think.
But compounding that is the current trend for honesty and truth to be optional extras when dealing with others.
Apparently truth is now subjective and if honesty pays off for you than by all means, but otherwise get away with what you can.
The concept of personal integrity and honour has become a non essential rather than a foundation on which to build character- and it shows .
Look at all the workplaces with pretty mission statements and manifestos but how many working there live those words and affirmations?
So many forego walking the walk and opt for the easy way to the cost of the rest of us.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

Wow is that a big question. It reminds me of a jibe I heard someone make to a vile coworker: “Were you born an asshole or did you go to school for it?”

Who knows how prevalent this stuff really is especially considering that antisocial traits are often measured on a spectrum. Plus, who’s doing the measuring? If psychology and psychiatry had any observable physical proof that any of these conditions objectively exist, the fields would have been absorbed into neurology ages ago. And because the fields of psychology and psychiatry can often be politicized and monetized (even arguably corrupt and “dark triad-y”: https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj-2023-076902 ), I don’t find “official claims” (particularly the supposed genetics of criminal mentality) to be all that reliable. Consequently, I tend to look at the whole thing more from a political and societal perspective– the idea that shitty behavior tends to increase along with wider societal aggression and corruption, especially if the corruption is institutionalized.

For instance, does the fact that white collar crime is skyrocketing in first world countries affect individual morals? Can all of it be driven by a fixed number of supposedly “genetic psychopaths” or is the proliferation a result of proliferation? Considering that white collar crime can arguably lead to the deaths of millions and costs societies far more than any other type of crime combined, what happens to individual empathy in these settings? In order to conform to this environment, can people selectively reduce their own empathy regarding one expression and not others are is the effect more sweeping and there’s a gradual dulling of all empathy? What if someone works in a field (hello, Wall St.) where nearly everyone is on the take and bending the rules? Were the shitheads who brought us the 2008 crash also more prone to cheat in marriage? And once someone has been “inculcated”– basically incited to commit increasingly cruel acts– what are the chances they’re ever going to regain the capacity for compassion? Do they become effectively “sociopathic”?

If you think about “norms” within particularly violent societies– the ability of “average” people to participate in atrocity or stand idly by letting it happen and then sleep at night– it suggests rates may vary and are influenced by many factors, one of which involves rationalization within a social context. In Facing the Extreme: Moral Life in Concentration Camps, the late French political historian Tzvetan Todorov wrote:… the totalitarian power demands that its subjects restrict themselves in thought and deed to instrumentality and treat every action as if it were a means to something else rather than as an end in itself. In the realm of material production, the fulfillment of that demand does not yield particularly brilliant results, as expanding bureaucracies and the loss of personal initiative present formidable obstacles. In the domain of moral conduct, however, the demand is far more productive. The question is often asked how “ordinary people,” “decent husbands and fathers” could have committed so many atrocities. Where was their conscience in all of this? The answer is by usurping social goals and restricting people to instrumentalist thinking, the totalitarian power manages to have its subjects accomplish whatever tasks they are assigned without its having to disturb the individual’s moral structure at all. Guards who committed atrocities never stopped distinguishing between good and evil. Their moral faculty had not withered away. They simply believed the atrocity was in fact a “good thing,” and thus not an atrocity at all—because the state, custodians of the standards of good and evil— told them so. The guards were not deprived of a moral sensibility but provided with a new one.

Anyway, we’re currently watching almost the whole of corporate media banging the same gong that adultery is “groovy” and peddling moral justifications for it. I’ve wondered if this reflects the fact that adultery just happens to be one of the lifestyle norms (like skiing in Gstaad, summering in Ibiza, etc.) for the white collar criminal class that sponsors the media and controls our political systems.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
1 month ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

My theory is that sociopaths impact a disproportionate number of people. Say you have someone with good character who partners honestly with one or two individuals in 8 years. Then you have a sociopath like this freak, who impacted who knows how many women around the globe in that same 8 years (while pretending to partner with just 1). There are not more of them, they’re just working overtime to spread the plague of their presence far and wide.

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
1 month ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

The Atlantic sites 1 in 14 people fall in the dark triad range. That means most people aren’t, but paradoxically, there are still a heck of a lot of them on the planet.

The article is paywalled, but if anyone has a sub it’s titled: “The sociopaths among us”

ExWifeOfSparkleDick
ExWifeOfSparkleDick
1 month ago
Reply to  NotAnymore

Here’s the archived article from The Atlantic:

https://archive.ph/LRP8N

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
1 month ago

Such perfect advice. If I was still early on in my betrayal I would print this out and put it on my bathroom mirror to read each day as a reminder.

kim2003
kim2003
1 month ago

She took him back because she’s either a dumb bitch or she’s smoking the hopium pipe. And she’s obviously pick me dancing hard.

Every time he’s out of her sight she’s wondering who he’s fucking. Sounds like a miserable way to live.

But why do you care? You’re well rid of him. My ex wasted 13 years of my life while he had a trashy ex gf on the side, who FYI was on marriage #5 (pretty sure she’s now on #6 but not to him). Once I decided I was done I didn’t give a rat’s ass what he did.

And even if this dumb bitch dumps him he’ll just find another one to lie to. There’s no shortage of them.

Stop following him and stop worrying about what he does. Be glad to be rid if him and next time don’t let a guy talk you into “working things out”.

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  kim2003

There are a lot of people on this site who are still struggling to break free, to accept the truth, to acknowledge that they were tricked so profoundly, to set aside their sunk costs and move on. I appreciate your anger but calling someone a dumb bitch isn’t helpful nor accurate.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
1 month ago

I can really relate to a lot here, but in my case the double life was a gay one. Apparently that was enough for FW and an entire universe of pearl-clutchers to excuse lying, stealing, and cheating. But I digress.

I have made a choice not to internalize a lot of the messaging around my potemkin marriage. Rather than accept that I was at fault for being “in denial”, I maintain that he must have been absolutely exhausted trying to keep track of all his lies, 24/7, year in and year out, for over half his life and mine. It takes a LOT of effort, focus and concentration to keep a secret life hidden, particularly when you’re actually married and living with the person you desperately need to deceive.

I admire HHNF for having progressed this far, that she walked away from a toxic relationship and did her best to advise the OW. But, you can’t force-feed someone reality. You leave it there for them to accept, if they’re ready for it, and beyond this you move on. Pushing it will only drive them deeper in. Particularly when someone is terrified and vulnerable, doing nothing always feels safer than doing something. It’s why horses will stay in a burning barn rather rather than run out: they’re too terrified to run, even to save themselves.

I believe a few years from now, this same OW will be writing Chumplady and beating herself up for being so gullible.

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
1 month ago

Dear Hell Hath No Fury,
I am now 6 years out from my true hell, the worst experience of my life, 4+ years wasted trying to build a relationship with a sociopath who sounds a lot like your ex-boyfriend.

It’s the same playbook. They lie with impunity. They lie about big things and small things. They lie even when telling the truth would benefit them. And they are So Good at lying.

They also violate every boundary, like they’re participating in an Olympic sport. I mean, what is breaking up if not asserting a boundary? The sociopath cannot let that stand. The more heartfelt the boundary, the more they endeavor to violate it.

For years after I dumped the Lying Cheating Loser, I ruminated. I stalked him and his OWs on social media. I failed No Contact many times.

And I too did what you did, “outed” him to a woman whom he had duped. She too took him back.

The name of the game for us is getting to indifference. What CL and CN calls Meh.

I am there now, and it’s glorious, but boy was it a long, hard road.

It’s like ridding your body of a drug. Many of us relapse. We eventually get clean and stay clean, but on some level we still miss the drug, the high.
Maybe we even miss – weirdly – being the sociopath’s chaos janitor and relationship police. In my case, I was also the alcohol police, the phone police, the event coordinator and ersatz parent to his two kids. Etc.
The illusion that gave me of being in control was more seductive than the FW himself could ever be.

You will get to Meh. It may take years, but you’ll get there. And CN will throw you a welcome home party when you do.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

What is the high I got from feeling better than him? Me as his caregiver for his mental illness, his interpreter of woman and why they all come on to him and love his motorcycles. Why this person or that person doesn’t see how amazing he is, why they don’t value his brilliance at work..why is he so anxious over changing jobs and cars every 2 years…so much more
.while I held down the house and a job and kids and saving him too. What is that? I get a high from helping…helping myseif into illness and an early grave and mental instability. But I did feel righteous. Yes I’m untangling my own skein and it is all a mess too

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
1 month ago
Reply to  2xchump

I read a quote somewhere: Help is the sunny side of control.
For me, that also rings true. And our own skein is the only one worth untangling, but only insofar as it promotes our healing.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

Yes walkawaywoman- love your name by the way…insofar as we don’t WASTE TIME beating ourselves up. OK so I married 2 cheaters. But it took 12 years for one and 20 years for the other, to fully expand their porn, affairs and lying. In the mean time I was forgiving the yellow lights they ran until it was easy to forgive the red ones too🚦. So I love my kind ❤️ but the chumpy one needs updating and kindness…I can’t learn beating myself to pieces..I only learn being gentle with my wounded self. Working on that.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
1 month ago

Ugh, site crashed before I could “post.” Anyways, HHNF, time not to just mute the OW, but block & delete. Maybe consider quitting social media for 30 days for more of a detox. At any rate, time to focus back on you. Download some audiobooks to listen to while driving, workout, or enjoy some nice walks outside now that the weather’s warming up. Try happy hour at a new spot, even if you go alone! New content, new scenery to create some new neuron pathways in your brain to make it easier to stop ruminating about this sociopathic ex.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago

Dear HHNF…Chump lady just had to.say NO CONTACT and end her reply, but she took us on that journey we all need. Truth and Reality. When my #2cheater was in full throttle lying to me, before D day..
He this Outloud to me. “Gee Chump, I’m going through so much right now(HR investigation unknown to me. A work place affair, massage ladies,and Me getting closer & closer to his underground 2nd life..) its surprising to me says cheater, that I haven’t needed to take my anxiety pills at alll!!! I’m sleeping fine, I feel good…I’m pretty impressed with myself and how I cope!
OK I puzzled at that because ordinarily, my cheater took pills for anything that impacted him or his mirror image. So I was surprised too.
No FEELINGS IS A KEY, NO COMPASSION, NO GUILT NO SHAME.RUN! He cannot love either!
Please don’t pick at this scab.. you were fooled, anyone could be fooled..and crazy lady who.wasted 6 hours of your time might have wanted to cut one woman out of the million your boyfriend is “doing” so she could have his sparkly self without you in the pudding. There are crazies all over and these two deserve each other. Cheaters are like a 3 year old at Baskin Robbins..so many flavors, so little time. Done be a flavor, respect yourself. Shut him down, no contact. Stop. I’ve had 2 Cheaters and 2 no contacts. Life is beautiful 😍.

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago

There is nothing for you with someone who lives a double life. Nothing. I get that it’s hard to walk away from someone you made a life with, but they are a very, very poor investment once you uncover the double life.

My therapist warned me multiple times to have nothing to do with any of his partners, past or present. She said it would take me down more than it would help. At this point, I don’t care who he’s with as long as he leaves me alone. That’s a good place to be.

Last edited 1 month ago by Elsie_
Elizabeth Lee
Elizabeth Lee
1 month ago

I was married for 25 years to someone who pretended to be normal. I have absolutely no idea what his secret life entailed. All I know for certain is that normality was a pretense. I think that in the beginning he was even pretending to himself that he could be normal. Eventually he realized “normal” wasn’t in the cards for him. By the time I divorced him I realized that he enjoyed being cruel. It gave him pleasure. That’s not normal.

These people are not like you and me. They lie and cheat, and the lying and cruelty is part of the fun. But also, they know they are abnormal. My ex hated being weird. His entire family makes a huge show of being normal and wholesome. It’s all an act, and they all know it.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Lee

Lol, given time, all cheaters seem to develop an incel mentality. I think part of the reason FWs become progressively more cruel is because life on the meat market is cruel in itself and filled with nasty, transactional people who have a stock market mentality towards other human beings. At the very least it’s extremely deflating. The vast majority of middle aged, middle management cheaters aren’t getting within a million miles of their fantasy targets and their sex object standards are going to be forced progressively downward. By the time they bag that rather sad and soggy temp from the office, they’ve likely already gotten the “ick” face from a thousand women. Then they take their loser rage and wounded egos out on partners.

I’m not a huge fan of Milan Kundera but there was one good bit from one of his novels (forget which because I could never finish any of them) about the dangers of objectifying women– that they then might turn into an “object” like a hammer, knife or gun and injure the objectifier.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago

Greetings, Ms. Hath No Fury, welcome to the Chump Nation!

Before I go any further-I am so sorry that happened to you on both counts. You have a healing journey ahead of you-fortunately you have come to the right place!

Justice, schadenfreude, whatever you wish to call it, is a non-linear and indirect path from where you are. He will get his-rest easy and assured. As our fearless leader put it above-his main punishment is being him, which from the sounds of things is going to turn out to be far worse than anything else that can happen to him. He is living half a life and none of it is genuine.

The goal for us is that we get to Tuesday-when and if we do see the smoking cratered remains of their life that we have grown so far above and beyond them that we just sort of go “meh.” I am not there yet personally-as much as I would relish watching my FW’s life implode after how she hurt me…we can’t lower ourselves to their level.

I am going to guess that your now former compatriot is a cheater herself or otherwise has those same “well, they DID do that, but would never to do it to me” blinders on. You have done your due diligence(which you never had to do). She knows what she is getting herself into and she is going to pay for it as well. “Anybody that would cheat WITH you would also cheat ON you.” She has already demonstrated that she is ethically compromised.

I would strongly recommend that you block her on all of your socials as well. I recently discovered what happens when you leave a blindspot in that-it is very, very triggering. You need to protect yourself-it is clear that your ex and this…whatever we wish to call her do not have your best interests at heart.

As a former teacher of mine would say, “sadder, but wiser, we plod on.”

Let us know if you need anything!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

Dear Hell Hath…..two things I can tell you: you will NEVER understand this behavior because you are a normal, decent person and the only thing that will really help is absolute NO CONTACT with him or his floozies, including this long term OW. Even if you find out more, it’s not going to explain his behavior because his behavior is abnormal and I think…psychotic. Can you imagine all the energy it takes into maintaining and hiding 2 whole lives with different women, countries, homes and all that goes with it? I wonder what someone like this could achieve if he put all that into ONE WOMAN/ONE HOME….but he gets different things from different places, or maybe he goes similar things from similar people – who knows. Can you imagine living like this? I can’t. Serial or parallel cheating is a few shades removed from people who are serial killers or rapists or financial criminals like a Bernie Madoff – they have a whole other existence apart from their “loved” ones know about. And once you find out what they’re REALLY doing….you can never look at them the same way. It’s not about forgiveness….it’s about what you know and how you view them. DO trust that he sucks and you are a lucky one who got away.

As for the one who DIDN’T get away, this OW….well, it’s her choices. She knows about you now, she probably has known there are other women, not just you but probably a lot of others. Maybe even other families, who knows. For whatever reasons she has low expectations for him – and for herself. Maybe she’s personally screwed up, maybe she’s a drug addict or alcoholic or from a bad family. Maybe she gets money from him. Maybe she has other men on the side and he’s just one of a flying circus. No matter what you find out, it will never explain this behavior because she’s as disordered as he is and she has extremely low standards. I put up with a serial cheater for a number of years when I was young because I had no confidence and I thought it was the best I could do (he was very handsome, charming, accomplished and I thought I was a big ZIP). Whatever it is, you won’t understand it and there’s no sense in trying.

I think the worst effect here on you and the one that could be lasting, is the destruction of your reality and the trust that goes with it. We trust that people, important people in our lives, ARE who they present themselves as. We don’t think the school principal is a child molester, or the lawyer is a mob mouthpiece, or the accountant is stealing vast sums of money – just recently a big Japanese ball player discovered his interpreter and friend of many years has been stealing MILLIONS of dollars from him for gambling!…..but these things do happen and we can’t let it destroy how we view the world. After all, WE MAKE THE WORLD TOO and if they make it worse, we have to make it better and the only way we can do that is by being aware and having better standards and doing better in our own lives. We can’t let their wickedness and lying ruin us and the world. We just have to become more aware of what is possible and note any red flags we see. I’m willing to bet that if you go back over 6 years of relationship, you’ll see red flags about him, possibly in different areas of his life. THE MORE NO CONTACT YOU HAVE WITH HIM, THE LESS EMOTIONS YOU WILL FEEL ABOUT THIS AND THE CLEARER YOUR THINKING WILL BECOME. And you’ll start to see things about him you missed or pushed away before. You probably had moments in the past when your gut told you something that you then ignored because your brain couldn’t imagine it would be possible. Always trust your gut and don’t be hard on yourself that you trusted a crooked sociopath – what do you think our country frequently elects to office? THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US OUT HERE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES!!! Don’t beat yourself up, be grateful you found out fairly early with no kids, and maintain RIGID NO CONTACT for him and the OWs. Good luck!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

P.S. Stop peeking at Social Media too, that’s part of NO CONTACT. The more you fill your head with him and his floozies, even trying to understand, the longer it will take to empty your heart of him.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Social Media is probably the one of the WORST breaches of No Contact in that it’s sneaky. You think you are just peeking at some photos and posts.

But everyone paints such a rosy picture on social media. It’s not 100% fake, but the curation of only the most flattering pics and stories, leaving out the icky parts. It’s just such a bad idea for a chump.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

This. Very this. You already know the guy sucks and is a scumbag-why retraumatize yourself? You aren’t going to magically find any answers (or prove “why he was right”-he wasn’t!).

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Well, Jeff….I think part of it is Hopium. I think most Chumps, including me, are natural optimists. We tend to see the best in people and outcomes and hope for the best. So we hold on long(er) after others would have given up. Also, I think a lot of people, including our Letter Writer, are trying to reset their sense of reality which has been severely disrupted by FWs. They throw us down the rabbit hole of Alice in Whoreland and I think many think if they find out “enough” they will be able to “understand” it and reset their sense of reality. It will make “sense” finally. This doesn’t work, it just makes us crazier. Which is why NO CONTACT really is the only workable solution. It’s frustrating as many of us WOULD like to know, understand….but it just doesn’t work that way. It is always best to avoid crazy and rotten as the smell is infectious and corrosive.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Oh trust me-that was just as much for myself as it was for our new friend here ^_^. Part of the heartbreak is hopium withdrawal. And just like with all other “drugs”-we need to change our people, places, and things.

Also: today I learned when typing too fast that “trust” is exactly one letter off from “tryst”-and look how easily THAT is corrupted! Happy Monday!

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago

Dear Hell Hath No Fury,

My heart goes out to you. I too lost 6 years of my life to a cheater who was in a highly developed relationship with someone else (though in this case the OW knew he was married). I’m glad you wrote to CL, as reading the posts on this site may well speed up your healing.

My two thoughts are these:

a) You’re only a month out from your shattering discovery of the betrayal. There is no way that at this early point you could be anything but profoundly distraught and preoccupied. A therapist told me, helpfully, that in the months just after discovery I could expect to be “a little crazy,” and could expect my mind to be “all over the place.” So please just give yourself credit for how well you are in fact coping, in that you’re not begging your ex to come back, or slashing his tires, or otherwise signing on for further drama. It even sounds like you’re not untangling the skein very much (as you simply KNOW he’s a sociopath)! This is all very good, and to me is indicative of quite a bit of psychological strength.

b) Therapy can be an enormous support at a time like this. (I’m speaking from experience.) If you are like me, the main aim of the therapy at this vulnerable point is not to “fix” your own psychological issues but to get reminded, over and over again, that you are a beautiful soul and a person of integrity, a conviction from which much healing flows. Those affirmative messages, from a therapist and/or from family and friends, do sink in and in time can help you to feel much bigger than this trauma that has happened to you.

I actually have a hunch that in time you will feel much better. Sending hugs and every supportive thought.

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 month ago

Chump here, eX husband of 34 years had a secret double life for I do not know how many decades. I pain shopped after my D-day for a long long time, by looking up the call girls he was texting and making “incall” arrangements with. I was obsessing, in shock, in pain.

eX tried to prevent me from leaving him; he attempted to hoover me back. He lied, denied and gaslit. I finally, finally realized that he was “fake partner mask on a stick” man. When I discovered his secret double life, I finally realized he is disturbed. I finally realized that he is a monster.

Everything CL says here I find so helpful. I hope her advice and consolation is helpful to you. You are not alone, Hell Hath.

jahmonwildflower
jahmonwildflower
1 month ago

Just read the comment that suggested a good therapist. I second that. The first few months are awful, and thankfully, you had no kids together and weren’t married. So you are spared that bit of hell. Friends are wonderful, and if they are supportive, family can be good, too. But a really good therapist will always have your best interests and your health in mind. Check and ask before you go, make sure they have a good, current license and training, and aren’t just a year or 2 out of grad school, and get references. Ask about their experience with this. My FW betrayed me for nearly 4 decades w/all manner of prostitutes and gutter-dwellers all over the map. A good therapist (not the first one I went to) turned out to be worth her weight in gold. I had to go 45 minutes out of my way to get to her office and it was also worth every mile. They can support you and listen and help you grow and thrive. Highly support this idea.

HellHathNoFury
HellHathNoFury
1 month ago

Thank you Tracy for your wonderful response! In the last few weeks I’ve completely absorbed your book and it’s been very enlightening. Also a major thank you to everyone commenting under my story. I find a great deal of comfort from those of you who have lived through such gut wrenching betrayal and have moved on with your lives where this BS doesn’t define you or shape your reality. I read through all your comments and look forward to the day where thoughts of my cheating ex will be met with nothing more than a shoulder shrug and maybe even laughter….what a loser. I’m actively working towards getting to that point where it’s “Meh”. I’m grateful I dodged a bullet, never married his lying ass, and have no other ties to him. Good riddance! I’ve started therapy and I’m determined to not let this terrible experience leave me jaded. I realized I was lovebombed, manipulated and gaslit but at least now I know all the signs and I’m wiser! Onwards and upwards.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

Dear Hell (from a fellow Hell),

I was just thinking today that one exercise that might help unravel a traumatic emotional attachment to a psycho is to read about the tactics used by wannabe psychos on those Redpill sites. It’s pretty eye opening. The infamous Andrew Tate was basically training men (as his acolytes continue to) to consciously use coercive control and “operant conditioning” methods of collapsing the self esteem and agency of partners that tend to come very naturally to those with antisocial personality disorder like Tate himself. One of the tactics Redpillers champion is some variant of a thing called the “dread game” which, quite tellingly, uses the threat of cheating or monkey branching as a lever of control. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10926771.2023.2186302

I find it very interesting that, while experts and advocates for survivors of domestic violence and coercive control have been slow to include infidelity or the threat of it as a potent form of emotional abuse, it’s literally the go-to approach for those consciously seeking means of psychologically hog-tying their prey and inducing captor bonding. I mean when abusers recognize cheating as one of the most valuable abuse tools, it’s probably time for helping professions to catch up.

In any case, cheating is abuse, full stop. Reading how you discovered in all in retrospect and had a delayed emotional reaction struck me as similar to finding out you were roofied and raped while unconscious. Just because you weren’t aware it was happening at the time it happened doesn’t mean you weren’t harmed while it was happening and doesn’t mean you won’t be traumatized when the truth comes out.

Basically the reaction you’re having is full blown PTSD. You may even be having an almost delayed form of Stockholm syndrome where you find yourself fixated on this ex-abuser. It’s like finding out you had a giant scorpion living under your bed for six years. If– after you stop shaking from head to toe thinking about the what-ifs and jumping on chairs every time you hear a slight scratching sound– you find yourself turning into an amateur entomologist and studying poisonous insects for awhile, it’s understandable. I mean the original scorpion was never captured or exterminated and the creepy thing might always come back.

Except domestic abusers are far more dangerous, both statistically and because scorpions don’t actually go out of their ways to sting humans. One of the hardest things to process in domestic abuse is the knowledge that you had such a close brush with danger in the form of partner who meant you harm– which cheaters do whether the impulse to harm partners is conscious (like with Redpill followers) or was ingrained due to some horror show upbringing (like with Tate).

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago

“She spoke highly of herself”

That says what you need to know about her. She’s narcissistic. She was probably lying to you about not knowing you existed. She did admit to knowing of other women, after all. Yet she changed countries to be with a man she knows to be a serial cheater. It says everything about who she is. So absolutely do not communicate with this freak and keep strict no contact with your ex. OW are not friends, no matter how friendly they seem. She seems to be adept at image management just like your ex.

The other part of it is about getting a life that’s so fulfilling that you no longer stress about how you were robbed and disrespected. You are already halfway there, since you say you are happier without him. Your goal is to reach acceptance that what your life was is gone, satisfaction with what your life is now, and to look forward to what is ahead of you. Find peace, whatever that means to you and however you find is best to reach it. Know that you will thrive and that he and his schmoopie will continue to be the crappy people they are. He’ll cheat his whole life, or at least as long as he can still get it up, because he is an empty shell devoid of a soul, which is a profoundly miserable thing to be. She knows he’s a monster and doesn’t care. I don’t know which is worse. Let them both be losers. By any measure you have won.

PrincipledLife
PrincipledLife
1 month ago

He did get away with it. But rest assured that eventually people will see him for what he is….a boil on the ass of humanity. That may happen in hours or years…but when it does, you will be happily elsewhere, living a better life.

Cal
Cal
1 month ago

The only way to move on is to stop looking. I bote you said you muted, not blocked. So the posts don’t show up, but you can still go look easily.

You need to block, really. Add that extra layer to being able to keep from pain shopping.

You’ll be ok, it takes time and support, but he (and she) will soon be a bad memory.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cal