What Is Pain Shopping?

pain shopping

A chump wrote to ask me what I thought about “pain shopping.” I had no idea what it was. So I asked her, “What’s pain shopping?” She wrote back, “Like when I ask my husband about his affair.”

Oh.

So I googled. Apparently, in unicorn circles, “pain shopping” is that chump habit of hyper-vigilance, you know, where you ask your cheating spouse over and over what they did, and with whom, and how often. You need to stop that, because it’s just “shopping for pain.”

Pain shopping is a strange metaphor.

I never had to shop for pain with my cheater — he was giving it away for free. The man was like a Blue Light Special of Pain. Aisle 6! We’ve got your secret cellphones! Aisle 12! Multiple dating profiles! And act right now and we’ll throw in HIDDEN DEBT!

Pain shopping, as I read about it here and here and elsewhere, is about dredging up sadness, it’s about choosing the unpleasantness over the work of forgiveness and getting on with life.

As you can imagine, I have a few problems with this concept.

It’s not that I want chumps to stay stuck in misery (I’m skeptical of reconciliation!), I am all about meh! And forgive if you want to forgive (IMO it’s not mandatory). By all means get a life. But “pain shopping” still sounds like a euphemism for “eat the shit sandwich.”

The cheater would prefer that you not bring up the affair again?

Don’t shop for pain! Eat the shit sandwich and stuff that natural impulse to catch them in a lie. Or be comforted. Or see remorse.

Shopping for pain seems to work from several faulty assumptions:

1) That the cheater is truly sorry, so you need to stop bringing it up.

2) That cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures.

And reconciliation is a fragile, endangered ecosystem that could be destroyed by your bad attitude.

3) That responsibility for this reconciliation is on you.

It all depends on your emotional leadership. You’re pain shopping? You’re making a deliberate choice to STAY in pain.

How about THIS SHIT IS PAINFUL?

And you’re in pain because you were betrayed, and it takes years to get past this crap. More I reckon if you stay married to the person who betrayed you. If it were as simple as tra-la-la focus on something pleasant instead there would not be a bazillion websites devoted to people obsessing over infidelity.

Let’s put some “pain shopping” through the Universal Bullshit Translator (UBT).

These tidbits come from “The Betrayed Spouse’s Role After an Affair” at Marriage Advocates.

(I’ve updated this post and these unicorns appear to have gone out of business. LOL. But this crappy advice is everywhere in the RIC.)

I developed a plan to let her see there was hope. My plan would NOT be to change her. It would be to try to motivate her to want to change.

Dude, that’s the same thing. Trying to motivate her to change is, YES, trying to change her.

Put down the hopium and walk away.

My anger and focusing on my pain and telling her about it? I had to stop that. I had to realize that my feelings were mine to contend with and work through. Work through, not ignore. She could help and support, but the feelings were mine. Without remorse and desire in her to help, I would feel all alone, but I wouldn’t later when she decided to try. For now, I had to show her I could and would face my own responsibilities and not make them hers, and I did.

Hello DARVO my old friend…

This is fucked up on so many levels. If you hit me in the head with a threaded pipe, yes, the pain is mine. (You there with the pipe, you feel just peachy.) But the larger point is YOU HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH A THREADED PIPE. The natural reaction to assault is pain.

Yes, I’ll have to work through my pain alone, but IMO part of working through that is avoiding people who want to assault me.

But no, you’re going to work with that, and even though she is “without remorse” — she might LATER try and feel sorry. So you’ll eat the pain on the small hope that she’ll be impressed with you taking your “own responsibilities and not make them hers.” YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HITTING YOURSELF WITH A THREADED PIPE. She hit you! She is responsible for your injury and ergo your pain.

And another thing —

She’s NOT SORRY.

You can wait around for sorry, but more likely, you’re in for another blow to the head.

Finally, I had to let her know – by showing her – that I was not going to punish her and make the affair a lifelong nightmare for her. She had every reason to believe and expect that I would. I accomplished this by promising to not do that and by demonstrating to her how I would control myself.

Sure, let the affair be a lifelong nightmare for you, but why hold someone responsible, who is in fact responsible? Yes, it’s all within your control. If you just control yourself, you’ll make her come around.

We don’t control other people through our self control or stuffing our pain or imagining them with unicorn horns.

It’s great you can control yourself. Now why not put that ability to a greater purpose, like say, giving up carbs for Lent.

I showed compassion for her feelings once she started to try. I knew she was going through withdrawal from the other man and did not abandon her to deal with it on her own. As would be expected, this was extremely hard for me, but it reinforced that we were a team. We were there to support each other, and this let her know I wasn’t going to punish her.

Let me get this straight — you’ll wait on her “sorry” all alone, but you cannot “abandon” her while she grieves for her affair partner?

So fucked up.

Where she was at that moment clearly told me that she did not have that strength. My determination gave me that strength. I decided that my integrity and belief in my vows, “In better or worse and till death do us part,” should be my guide. I believed that marriage was partnership and that BOTH parties had to try hard to keep it going. Yet, she was unable to, so I had to be the rock and strength. I knew that failure was a possibility. I also knew the changes in me had to be permanent – not just to woo her back. I knew it wouldn’t work if I was making changes that were not me or that I would resent and regret later.

You think you can unilaterally change a marriage by yourself?

You put “BOTH” in all caps, although what you’re actually saying is that you’re in this alone because she’s “unable” right now.

Changes in YOU had to be permanent? So you’re saying the problem here is you? I’m sorry, who did you screw outside the marriage? You must woo her? Seriously?

Listen, if you want to reconcile, the unicorns have a point — you DO have to “let it go”. No one wants to stay locked in a marriage of the Martyr and the Fuck Up. But that’s the mental gymnastics you signed up for — suppressing the knowledge that this person betrayed you. Eating that shit sandwich in perpetuity.

Now, I would suggest you not eat it without a postnup and a ton of demonstrated remorse. You what demonstrates remorse? Answering the goddamn questions! Taking the lead on repairing what you broke. Not asking chumps to stuff their pain.

If anyone is “shopping for pain,” it’s these crazy unicorns who don’t ask for one bit of accountability. Talk about a recipe for misery. Geez.

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Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago

“till death do us part.” Infidelity is death–death of trust, death of the sacredness of your bond, death of a sense of equality in the marriage. Knowledge is power, and whoever holds the secrets gets the upper hand. THAT is part of why the chump wants to know details (pain shopping, my ass–more like shopping for less helplessess). Withholding those details is dishonest, puts the chump even further down the marriage phylogenetic scale, and is torture.

Mr. Letter writer–you can’t uphold a marriage on your own, esp. after wifey has smashed it to smithereens. Run.

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

well said tempest. i honored my vows, he did not. nothing i could have done could MAKE him honor those vows. so in a way, it was a death. he killed our marriage by cheating and betraying me. i take pride in the fact that i tried my best, i did everything i could to make my marriage work. did i make mistakes, sure i did, plenty of them. but i never gave up and i never killed it. i believe God knows how hard i tried and understands the who/what/why/how/when of my divorce (probably better then i know).

another famous saying is “Dont ask yourself why someone keeps hurting you, Ask yourself why you are letting them”

there is only so much we can do, if the other person doesnt want to try, to work it out then all you can do is save yourself.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest…..exactly that a death……I like to refer to it as a murder of the soul and sense of self.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

This could have been written by my EX. narcissist if I just substitute ‘I’ meaning the NARC. These were HIS expectations.

Donna I will give you hope that I will stay with you if you can change. I will motivate you with love bombing after you found out I slept with the OW in our bed.
Donna, I am angry and in so much pain. I did this because of you. You need to work on it. If you faced your responsibilities -giving ME the attention you give the kid, house, and busy schedule, I wouldn’t have cheated.
Donna, I told you I ended the affair, but its hard to stop. Yes, you caught me at her apartment again, but its over. I just had to talk to her.
Donna, I know about our vows. If you only tried harder to please ME.

After all these years of putting up with this, after his final DDay, he told my adult children that I never forgave him for cheating. This was after he dumped me for a sleazy woman he met at a bar. Who meets someone and moves in with them after knowing them for a few weeks? Yes, a narc. Those words came out of my daughters mouth. My children see him now and realize it was all on HIM. Yet I DID make the choice of staying in the pain. I DID take all the responsibility for too many years.

I was guilty of using the exact strategies in that letter again and again. Those are the strategies that not only keep chumps in pain if they stay as I did; they are the exact strategies narcs use to avoid all responsibility and reinforce their entitlement.

I think about the pain often as it is overwhelming. I have developed an addictive personality, evidently. After years of this abuse I developed Stockholm Syndrome related to this relationship. I was addicted not only to the narc but also the pain.

No one told me my relationship was abnormal until I found the right therapist. I know I am not stupid although I felt pathetic when I realized this pattern.

The question for chumps to ask themselves if they are in this type of relationship is, “Why do I torture myself”. It took me years to finally answer that question. I have answered the WHY. It led me to a lawyer and I filed. My therapist literally had to push me to take this step. I cried at the lawyers office and she said, “You know you have Stockholm Syndrome”. I am now Divorced!

I personally do not recommend reconciliation with ANY cheater regardless of how much a chump loves this asshole. Forgiveness to a cheater is in my opinion is a pass to sleaze on with more affairs. Forgive yourself for being selfless and give you love to someone who respects and truly loves you! Don’t stay to keep your family intact because he is not intact. You will do all the work and your children will suffer. As time goes on you will lose yourself piece by piece. Please keep your soul intact and LEAVE them to their own destruction. As far as a having a cheater sign a postnup for demonstrated remorse, it will just prolong the inevitable. Lets face it there are so many chumps that found out their husbands were having an affair for YEARS while maintaining the false sense of normalcy in their home environment. These narcs are seriously disturbed. The pain is inevitable and compounds annually. When they cheat you KNOW, get rid of them and never look back. Become mighty, find Tuesday, Meh is real, hopium is not!!!!

willowchumpx30
willowchumpx30
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna, your words resonate with me. I believe I have Stockholm syndrome too. I even sent CL an email several weeks ago asking about that. This is how serious and insidious the emotional abuse affairs have on us. This is serious shit! Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes I can see and admit there were affairs or hookups thru out the past fifteen plus years. Possibly my entire marriage. Maybe not frequently, but they happened. Donna, I wish you lived near me. That you were my neighbor and mentor. You ARE strong. Just reading your posts injects me with enough strength to keep going. Injects me with that little bit of anger that has been missing from my life.
Thank you.

moxie
moxie
8 years ago
Reply to  willowchumpx30

You have neighbors & mentors. We’re all right here for you.
(((HUGS))))

Stay strong.

It IS some serious shit.

willowchumpx30
willowchumpx30
8 years ago
Reply to  moxie

Thank you too Moxie! (While sipping at my tears) love all of you here in CN. You all are Bravely sharing so that people like me can learn and protect ourselves (and our children).

Irish
Irish
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna you are so strong. Thank you for sharing that. <3

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

What Irish said!

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Double like Donna! Get out should be the message every chump heeds after they learn about an affair. As the famous saying goes “Sometimes giving someone a second change is like giving them another bullet because they missed you the first time.”

In the case of cheaters, I would remove “sometimes” and replace it with “all the time”

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

I think I loaded his gun and it became an automatic weapon. One bullet is enough!!!

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna, good for you for finding your strength! (And good for your therapist for pushing you!).

I think one lesson our culture needs to learn is that love is NOT a good reason to stay in a bad relationship.

You can love someone to bits, and still see that they are bad for you, or the relationship is NOT working and is not going to work anytime soon, or ever. And walk away.

And you can recognize that your partner DOES love you, even a lot, and still see that they are bad for you or ….. (I think addictions are often this kind of situation, or untreated serious mental health issues, or just immaturity.) And walk away.

We need to start teaching our kids that respect and caring are the foundations of a healthy relationship, and that if those two are not present, or cannot be present, it doesn’t really matter why, and it REALLY doesn’t matter whether there is love on either side or even both. GET OUT!

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

Yes, I think at first it was immaturity on his part. But all the signs for mental illness in his family were there. And I thought I was lucky to have him seeing as he was such a good guy. His mom and one of his siblings are BP. We do need to teach our kids that respect and caring are the foundations o a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, for many like myself we never had the opportunity to experience this growing up. As a young child I couldn’t wait to see Walt Disney shows. He was so kind and gentle. I remember fantasizing about having him for my father and what that would feel like. My uncle doted on his daughter and picked her up joyfully and swung her up in the air. I begged for a turn. At first my EX appeared to have these qualities and I know I held on to that fantasy. I would add consistent respect and caring. After reconciliation it feels like they respect and care until the next phase sets in. Moving on is the only option.

Kira
Kira
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

I love how the vows are brought up, especially ‘for better or worse, til death do us part.” Does anyone remember what also is covered in the vows? “Forsaking all others.”

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Kira

Kira……yes! AND that not 1, but 2, count ’em– 2, people said those vows!!

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

A couple years after divorce was final, my ex — totally out of the blue — texted me, “I should have added LOL to the end of my wedding vows.”

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

GIO – What a pathetic, transparent attempt to trigger you! I hope you didn’t, but I’d have been tempted to text back ‘I thought you did’.

On D Day, when I’d learned that he’d started the affair 6 months after we’d got married, I asked ‘The Great I Am’ if he’d got his vows out of a lucky bag. Do you have something like that in the US? They are random bags of candy and cheap plastic toys sold to children.

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
8 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

I didn’t reply, but admit that after the minute it took me to understand what he meant, it hurt really bad. Not sure why he felt the need to send me that, considering we are basically NC other than very rare communication about our son.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
8 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

He’s a Jackass, Glad. Or a hyena. A veritable WalMart of pain.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

Sadly GIO – he needed to do that because that’s how he got his rocks off. He wanted to hurt you (and I reckon that must have been because the divorce was hurting him at the time – even if that was just anger at you for divorcing him) so he wanted to share that with you.

I’m really sorry it hurt you – I hope it doesn’t anymore. For as much as his vows were worth (as with The Great I Am) he may as well have stuck a LOL in at the end. But you know, that reflects solely and entirely on him – and who would want to be the sort of person who would stick LOL on the end of their marriage vows? As far as I’m aware, being a ‘man of your word’ is a personal trait that society rates very highly, and always has done. As you know, his values are fucked up all to hell and he’s going to run out of people willing to give him a pass for that – probably just at the time he really needs a society to fall back on.

Hugs
x

StrongerEveryday
StrongerEveryday
8 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

WTF, Glad. What a charmer!

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

But only 1 meant them !

SharedMarriage
SharedMarriage
8 years ago

I do believe in sticking it out through the hard times… but infidelity is just not a hard time. It is a deal breaker… and even the Bible stands by those who have been chumped. Matt 19: 7 to 9.

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  SharedMarriage

The guy who wrote this has a serious problem with self worth. What an incredible doormat.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

I am a chump and I too had problems with self worth. One of the many things I had to deal with was thinking back over all the years of abuse I tolerated from the NARC asshole I married. I know now that loving him too much, forgiving him over and over, being a selfless loving person were the qualities I possessed as a chump that NARCS love. I was an incredible doormat!! But thanks to getting professional help and finding CL and the support I gain here, I forgive myself and work incredibly hard to regain my self worth. I am still working on being a less ‘sensitive’ chump.

Jode70
Jode70
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Just reading what you have written here and you are writing about my life Donna. Hugs.. I was a huge doormat, forgave, gave and got trampled on until he finally found an new victim that he ran off with because I became a shell of a person and obviously wasn’t giving enough!! I put my hand up for self worth issues too. Got counselling and still am, still working through all the kinks in it but am totally at meh. Working on how NOT to let it happen again! x

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Yes, Donna, you are mighty! Thanks for sharing your story which so many of us can relate to. I was an incredible doormat too. Far too long through 10 year marriage followed by 16 year relationship. Doormat no more!

willowchumpx30
willowchumpx30
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna, I am a chump too, and an incredible doormat as well. Dancing and twirling till I crash every night. I know I am dancing, but can’t stop the impulse to do it. I react emotionally without rational thought. It’s crazy. But you and others on CN give me strength. Give me the energy and direction to protect myself and PLAN. I have sadly become extremely sneaky and subversive. What has this made me? I am lying and keeping secrets myself now. Even though it’s for self preservation; I have been forced to become someone I don’t know. Desperation and paranoia are not very pretty but I have no choice

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  willowchumpx30

Willow chump, you are right to plan and do what is necessary. Protect yourself!

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
8 years ago
Reply to  willowchumpx30

Willowchump-There is a HUGE difference between what your husband did and what you are doing now. If you feel like you’re at war it’s because he threw the first strike. All you are doing now is planning your next move without tipping him off. That’s called strategy, not being sneaky and subversive.

You’ve got a rare opportunity to get your ducks in a row and get the hell out of dodge. Do NOT feel bad about this even one little bit.

CN has your back!

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  willowchumpx30

willowchump,

sadly, you’ve discovered you are engaged in warfare. Your (hopefully) STBX fired the first salvo in abusing you with his lies, deceit and betrayal. Being ‘sneaky and subversive’ is imperative for you to protect yourself and your family. You know now that ‘the enemy’ certainly hasn’t your best interests at heart, so you must protect yourself. This doesn’t make you a bad person – it makes you a wise person. Stay strong – don’t undermine yourself for having to do what you have to do to keep safe. This is important. He has already shown you who he is, and that person isn’t your friend. Friendship doesn’t look like this, does it? Do what you have to do to get yourself safe and away from abuse, giving him the heads up is not good warfare strategy – he’s had an affair – he’s already stolen a march on you.

Wishing you strength and self belief Willow – you don’t deserve to be abused and you have every right to save yourself from it

Hugs

Jayne x

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna……are we twins? 😉

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

Onward to Meh!

Sunny
Sunny
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna, you’re awesome, you’re mighty, and you rock! Keep kicking butt!!!

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Sunny

Thanks sunny

CalamityJane
CalamityJane
8 years ago
Reply to  SharedMarriage

IMO it’s a pretty BIG THING if infidelity is the only thing in the bible that allows you to GIVE UP your marriage with a free conscience.

Matthew rocks.

Nicole S
Nicole S
8 years ago
Reply to  CalamityJane

God knows how devastating infidelity is and calls faithful spouses righteous and gives them an automatic out when they are betrayed. They are not required to reconcile. Infidelity and abandonment are the only two reasons that God gives Christians for divorce. That’s it, nothing else- I think that shows how BIG they really are. Cheaters were stoned to death in old testament times. Too bad we don’t have that tradition anymore. Can you tell I’m not at meh yet? 😉

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole S

Which God are we talking about, Nicole? Zeus, Allah, JC/Father/Holy Spirit, Thor…?

Nicole S
Nicole S
8 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Yes it was Thor I was talking about you smarty! I am talking about Yaweh, the Father of Jesus, the God of the Judeo/Christian bible, which I believe is the one and only God. I thought everyone could get that since we were talking about the book of Matthew! Of course, I realize not everyone believes this but I think many, many people respect the Bible’s morals teachings since our country (that being the United States of America) was founded on it.

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole S

Just asking. Thought maybe you meant Aphrodite.

Nicole S
Nicole S
8 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Yeah I’m sure you did. Lol.

It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is
8 years ago

This was so triggering for me this morning. I tried to do all of those “unicorn” things. I hung on for several years after DDay. I even asked my then serial cheater husband, in the spirit of openness and honesty to tell me about his encounters if he felt he needed to “get it off his chest”. He regailed me with all the lurid details. As appalled as I was, I just tried to be supportive, telling him how brave he was. What a chump I was. I wanted to repress my pain to make the marriage a “safe place” for him. I did the “pick me” dance constantly.

In hindsight, he wasn’t confessing, he was bragging as he is a major narcissist. I think he was happy to be able to tell me how “fabulous” he was and what he “got away” with. If you want to get really grossed out go to Bigdoggie.net and check out the instructions for using online escorts. My ex was a VIP member.

Linda
Linda
8 years ago

Yes, this is so true. I got to hear all about how a 20 something was into him and how great that made him feel. How she was so young and perfect
that she didn’t need lubricants for sex. Ugh…the things I had to hear all in the name of “approaching the infidelity with love” as instructed by the marital therapist. If I could go back…

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Linda……one airline puke bag for me NOW!!

SixYearChump
SixYearChump
8 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Linda: I got to hear that he did it because “She’s tall, and beautiful, and she dressed provocatively, and she pursued me.” Also, because he was “bored.” And, BTW, “lots” of women have approached him over the years, but this is the first time he ever acted on it.

R-i-i-i-i-ght.

OK, he’s 50 lbs. overweight, and not very likable. (After the fact, many folks told me they previously didn’t feel comfortable talking to me because I was with him, and they didn’t like him.) I’m SO sure there’s a line of women waiting to give him a blow job.

And I’m NOT in it! Woo-Hoo!

Maree: “Interestingly, we Chumps do notice their ‘short comings’ so to speak but never say a word. We just love them anyway. No longer I must add.” ^^^THIS^^^

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  SixYearChump

Sixyearchp, they lie about the ow, looks. Mine left me for a DREAM GIRL. That is what he calls all of them in a recycled poem. They love to stick pins in us to shut us up. They should be so humble..

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago
Reply to  SixYearChump

you just told everyone story. fill in the blanks “She’s ____ and _____, and she dresses _____ and she pursued me” also because he was “______”

i just thought this because in my case “She’s short and fat, and she dresses like a teenager, and she pursued me” also because he was drunk.

haha, i bet it would work on everyone of us here. 🙂

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
8 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

Hey, Mrs. Vain, if she was married and semi-literate, maybe your X and Jackass were dating the same woman…

not Juliet
not Juliet
8 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

It does work. She’s “not fat” and “not lazy”. She dresses ” phat and fresh” ( direct quote from an email from a woman in her FORTIES). He did it because ” it took him back to his youth “.

kb
kb
8 years ago
Reply to  SixYearChump

It’s the Chump Lady cartoon of “The muffin top that launched a thousand affairs.” No one stays young and nubile (or young and with staying power) forever. As we age, we adjust to each other. This is no big deal when you love the other person.

The difference between Cheaters and Chumps is that Cheaters will use the Chump’s physical appearance against them–ignoring the fact that beautiful people get cheated on. Chumps, on the other hand, look at the whole package. The thinning hair and the muffin top are endearing features on the long road together.

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Linda, my ex who by the way is 63 years old has said similar to me and he has also commented on the small hands that Cambodian teenage prostitutes have. He is going to relocate there very soon and it will be sex on tap until things stop working!! Interestingly, we Chumps do notice their “short comings” so to speak but never say a word. We just love them anyway. No longer I must add.

Drew
Drew
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Your POS ex, beautiful Maree, likes “small hands” because they make his DICK look bigger. And that’s all that matters…but I bet he’s paying for it all the same. What a tool! You are so lucky to be free of his crap life. You deserve every thing beautiful.

Irish
Irish
8 years ago

This triggers me too! I was told by porno king that I needed to “own my own shit” And “stay on my side of the road”. I had to be respectful of his shame and not keep “hammering ” him about it. Oh, and I was to STOP sabotaging his “recovery” from using images of teen girls to masturbate to. I had to tippy toe around him, lest I shame or trigger him into going back to porn.

Hell to the NO. FUCK that shit. I can promise any chump out there, that is serious crazymaking shit. Do NOT do this. Please. This about sent me over the edge. I became so sucked in to finding and keeping a unicorn, I completely lost me. Completely. I am just now, after 18 months, filing for divorce, getting an order of protection and lots of therapy, being me again. Of course living with a lying, gaslighting, hide the turd, MFPOS, anyone would be to half nuts LOL.

You don’t own it, you can’t fix it. Period. Get out. The house is on fire and the arsonist is standing right next to you. RUN.

Irish
Irish
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

I should clarify. I got the order of protection in June 2014. I have a contempt hearing on March 19th because he has not been paying the court ordered support. As a sahm for 14 years, I am, like many women here, struggling mightily financially. I filed April 2014, but it has taken until now to stop feeling so crazy. I am really afraid of this hearing. Custody will addressed for my 4 children still living at home. I am so anxious, but I do not carry any guilt for divorcing him. He did this. To me and our children. He owns that shit, not me. I am tired of reooening the wounds he caused, over and over. It a waste of time and precious energy.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

Irish, there are so many disturbing aspects to these cheaters. There are layers upon top of sick layers. What shocks us is normal for them. Glad your getting the order.

nutmegpixy
nutmegpixy
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

“Hell to the NO. FUCK that shit.”. Oh Irish! That had me in stitches . Lol.My stbxazzhole said he was molested as a kid, his mom ddidn’t take care of him and papa was a rolling stone!! U name it? He used it as an excuse to dog me!!! “I never had friends..I wasn’t popular in high school…I had to wear raggedyj clothes to school…my daddy never came around…we moved a lot….I didn’t know she was coming on to me…ad nauseum . He blamed being molested for everything! And here I was finding resources and book etc trying to help him !!! Since when is a fykd up childhood an excuse to treat ur spouse like shyt? And he never felt “comfortable” telling me what happened in his affairs…to this day I don’t know if he was with men or women or both. 10 Years of gas lighting and I was ready to combust!

SixYearChump
SixYearChump
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

“Hell to the NO. FUCK that shit.”

This is fabulous! I should get this as a tattoo.

Irish
Irish
8 years ago
Reply to  SixYearChump

Right? 🙂

Idle hands
Idle hands
8 years ago

The reason chumps keep asking questions is because we need to know wtf happened. And it’s unlikely we were told the whole story the first, second, third go round…

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago
Reply to  Idle hands

i STILL dont know WTF happened. but like donna said, i had enough evidence. actually what did it for me was having the married slut CALL me and tell me that “he doesnt want you anymore” while he was sitting right there next to her.

check please, i am done.

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

MrsVain, my ex sent our then 28 year old son into tell me that “he doesn’t want you anymore” and my son is still abusing me to this day with the ex’s blessings. Our ex husbands are cowards pure and simple and yet mine is loved by everyone. Staggering to say the least.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Maree, this is going to sound really harsh, but at 28 your son was well old enough to see how evil what HE did (and fuck that his evil father instigated it) – coming into his mother and relaying that vile message. At some point we have to take responsibility for our selves, and I’m figuring when you are pushing 30 you should be well old enough to turn around and say ‘Dad, I’m not getting involved in this’. I’m so sorry your children turned out to be so lacking in human decency as their father evidently is. I can understand why you would start to think ‘well if even my children would be so hateful towards me, then maybe I deserve the hate’ – I know I’d feel the same way. But seriously, ANY human who could allow themselves to do what your son did is not someone I would even want to know – I don’t care what justifications he might try to make – it was a shitty thing to do, by a shitty character and I’m sorry, I know he is your son and you must still love him, but I am pretty disgusted tbh. It seems to me that their father modelled scapegoating you and they (your children) inherited his disordered personality. Perhaps the truth is, you were the one that didn’t fit in with that evil cabal – you weren’t disordered, so, like a pack of animals, they turned on the misfit. Well, good for you Maree – who would really want to fit in with such a bunch of soulless, conscienceless, unevolved lowlifes. Sorry to be speaking so badly of your family Maree, but it disgusts me how they’ve treated you.

Hugs

Jayne x

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

Tempest, Donna, Roberta & Jayne, thank you for such supportive comments. I appreciate them more than you know. Only yesterday my son sent me a text saying that “he was appalled at WHAT I am”. He finds it hard to believe that I have any friends and many other nasty comments. I was a SAHM for 16 years and I loved it. My family with my ex husband was all I needed and wanted and for it to end up the way it has, has devastated me but I have to accept that our family of 4 has now been reduced to 3 with me excluded. I am starting to accept that my children are more like their father than me and in a way I suppose that is a good thing because my son tells me I need help and is ashamed to call me his mother. I did email my ex the other day after 15 months of NC and told him he should be ashamed at how he has encouraged our son to speak to me and treat me and of course I did not get a reply. He is a master manipulator who has won and I know he would have smirked when he received my email. He has to be loved at all costs and he is.

Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Maree–seriously, Block your son from texting or calling. He is chip off the old block and an asshole just like his father. Until he sends flowers and an apology one day, you need him out of your life. Even small doses of arsenic will kill over time.

And trying to guilt dad into improving either his or the son’s behavior will never work because he has no conscience.

You do not need to subject yourself to verbal abuse from ANYone. Stay mighty.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Maree…..I’m speechless! I really am. I am SO sorry about the deplorable way you are being treated. I’m quite sad for you as I have a 28 yr old son too and it would be devastating to be treated the way you’ve been.
I get my feeling hurt easily too and keep it to myself mostly.
Back to your question a while back about if I ever thought maybe I deserved it etc. My answer…..NOT 1x EVER did I blame myself. I absolutely know that I am a very good person with a great heart. I treated him very well, like most of us on here did, but he was very good at being a liar, sneak, and a phony. He treated me very well for most of the years together with him, but the last couple years that he was so involved with his stripper, he was very hateful with me. I knew something was VERY off though he constantly used his beautiful dead son as the excuse for the way he was treating me. Now that I know all that I know now, it absolutely sickens me to the core that he went as far as using his son. It’s beyond anything I can fathom!!! I’m crying right now thinking of it! I HATE HIM SOOOOO MUCH!

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

He is now blocked.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Maree….you know why your coward is loved by everyone? For the same reason mine is. They are MASTER manipulators! They’ve had so much practice, it’s second nature! AND they are VERY GOOD at it.
This is what’s scary!
I can hardly wait for their asses to be punctured with a pitchfork everyday (ie…hell), just like they punctured our hearts!

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

IHH, I agree but do you ever find yourself wondering “maybe I have been in the wrong all along, and I really do deserve what has happened to me”? I know I was chumped but my self doubt is so crushing at times particularly when my adult children prefer the ex and have cut me from their lives. Maybe this is my karma!!

Roberta
Roberta
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

No Maree, you did not deserve this at all and you are NOT the dysfunctional one. There is a warmer place in HELL for a cheater who pulls his kids into the mix to justify doing such sinful and heinous things! He’s a monster! No two ways about it!

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Maree, I asked myself the same question many times even though I know as you do that this is not our fault. Just thinking about your EX using your child in such a cruel sadistic act is evidence of his twisted vengeful hateful self. Maree, there is an amazing book called The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Please read it because it will help you recognize the many tactics these monsters do to control and abuse. The best part is that there are very effective strategies to STOP the dance they so expertly initiate. It may help you with your children also. I read this book and it helped me deal with the narc father I had to be around until my mom died. You, Maree are worth so much more. Please, know that good people like you have good energy.

Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago
Reply to  Maree

Maree–have you ever axe murdered anyone? choked a small kitten with your bare hands? Pushed a toddler into oncoming traffic?

Didn’t think so . Ergo, you did not deserve that MF’s infidelity nor his stealing your children. Put a stop to those thoughts. You were victimized, same as all of us.

ReDefiningMe
ReDefiningMe
8 years ago
Reply to  Idle hands

My very wise therapist told me, “you will never know ALL the truth of what he did this side of heaven. Your job now is to accept that and build a new life – build a life on YOUR truth – far, far away from him.”

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  ReDefiningMe

Mine said, “You have enough evidence, you can stop now”.

Irish
Irish
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

THIS^^^^^^ Time to stop. Love that, Donna! What a great therapist.

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  Idle hands

We Chumps will never be told the whole story, ever. Cheaters always keep a bit in reserve. It is how they keep us off balance and unsure of ourselves.

onthehill
onthehill
8 years ago

When I began to read your post CL, I thought the topic of “Pain Shopping” would be about going to the mall and impulse-buying to try to make the pain go away!

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time
8 years ago
Reply to  onthehill

Me, too!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  onthehill

With his credit card. Painful for him, not me.

Maree
Maree
8 years ago
Reply to  onthehill

If only it was that simple, I would shop up a storm!! 🙂

laurabb2001
laurabb2001
8 years ago
Reply to  onthehill

Me too!!

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  laurabb2001

I thought it was about the fuck you presents I used to buy myself every time he cheated. He never gave me gifts. It even reminded me of going shopping with him and his asking my advice on the clothes he was going to share with CUNTry girl. Sorry he said he liked country!

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna….I went shopping with the XPOS too so he could impress his stripper (he’s like a bitch in heat with shopping!).
A friend on his once told him that he looked like a pimp! hahahahhaha Had gold rimmed sunglasses, very young guy jeans, donald pliner shoes, rolex, porsche……..he was on the cunt, I mean, hunt at 52!!! (now 54)

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

Hahaha. What a beauty. He must love mirrors! Yup he’s in IT alright.

kimmy
kimmy
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna……”CUNTry girl”!!!! LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! I hope you don’t mind if I use that!

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  kimmy

You may use it. I am not a name caller but she lends herself to them. I coined this one because my ex HATES country music and has all his life. Evidently, he took her out in my car because there was a country station on my car radio. When I asked him about it he smiled with excitement and said” I like country” in a sexual way.

Freeatlast
Freeatlast
8 years ago

I did this for a short period of time during my False R with X. I just had to stuff it down, not talk about it, let him grieve her, and all the others I didn’t know about yet. Swear to God, that’s the closest I have ever felt to insanity. A few months of that, and I felt I was going nuts. My gut was screaming to me, this isn’t right !!! But for the sake of trying to be a better me, to make him want to be better, I did it. Until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t take anymore accidental sightings of her near my house, no more of our friends telling me he is still seeing her, no more of him sending her gifts, while not even remembering our 5 year old’s date of birth, no more secret Facebook accounts and private messages, no more OW#2 and OW#3 all at the same time, Just. No. More. I walked off that crazy train, and have never looked back.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
8 years ago
Reply to  Freeatlast

Freeatlast-my guts screamed at me too during false reconciliation but I didn’t start listening to them until I found Chump Lady. When we went to marriage counseling the ex would just sit there and chew on his finger nails for the whole session. It was like I was there with a 12 year old. In hind sight I was. Our therapist was about 5 feet tall and 95lbs soaking wet and did NOT make him own his shit so I never understood why he acted that way.

Thank god I’m off that crazy train too!

Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

We attended one therapy session. My a**hole sat there in a haughty way and refused to say anything. So I told the therapist about the affair I knew about at that time, “He met her in coffee shops for several weeks, and then f*cked her for several weeks.” His response, “I object to that language.”

WTF–you shove your hands and penis in someone else, and object to my single swear word? They are amazing, these cheaters.

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest, wow, just wow. Were you supposed to use a euphemism, perhaps that he “knew” her, as in the Bible? LOL. I think my cheater used very foul language with me that I’m sure he never did with OW. In our hours-long DDay discussion, when I outed him, he screamed at me, “It’s NOT about SEX, Muse! It’s not like she just stuck her big tits in my face or wagged her pussy in my face!!” Yes, based on that assessment, I was supposed to believe they were having a spiritual, deep, romantic, cerebral affair. But then again he also said, he was just standing there, “defending us!” (him and me, that is) when she was “all over him like a train wreck!”

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

What happens when they are single? Talk about a train wreck.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest & WithBraveWings……..I NEVER used foul language around him or any man for that matter. (with some of my gfriends though, watch out! haha) Anyway, in the last couple emails I sent him I let loose! Oh he told someone that he was so surprised at how I was talking because that just wasn’t his IHH!

REALLY, mother fucker??
Well I’m just as shocked that you (cheater) fucked so many strippers/streetwalkers and hid it so well with mindfucking manipulation maneuvers!!!

With Brave Wings
With Brave Wings
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Hahahaha, my language was also unacceptable to him after d-day! I forgot about that gem. “You see how you talk, Brave!” Yea, just him trying to deflect and I realize that now.

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

did you say “well I object to your fucking her”

DoneNow
DoneNow
8 years ago
Reply to  Freeatlast

FreeatLast, amen. I was at my craziest when in therapy and getting NO honest answers to my questions. He’d promise to talk about it in therapy where he felt “safe.” Then we’d go and he’d derail the conversation and talk about all the pain he was in. I went into the bathroom stall outside the therapists office and cried my eyes out after each one. Another week before he’d talk to me again. I almost got in a car accident from driving while angry. I just wanted to be treated with respect. Continuing with the lies and dishonesty is the least respectful thing you can do to your partner after infidelity. Well, that and having another affair! I never had any hope we’d work it out after that.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  DoneNow

DoneNow…….I feel convinced that our cheaters are all close blood relatives!! It’s unbelievable how all our stories are almost identical in many ways!

Freeatlast
Freeatlast
8 years ago
Reply to  DoneNow

Same here with the therapy, went to 3 sessions, and I called it quits with that because I found out he was still seeing her. All during therapy he wanted to talk about him. He ONLY thought the session went well, when I just sat there and he spoke. When I talked he said the session was awful. He was lying to me, to the therapist, and it just wasn’t working. The only reason he agreed to therapy in the first place was for more cake-eating. He actually said to the therapist “I’ll pay whatever it takes to fix this” , even though he was still having multiple affairs. He just wanted it back to what it was, me not knowing,but living in misery, and him out having the time of his life.

Now that I have been in individual therapy for a year, I am doing much better. My therapist is helping me tremendously with boundaries with him, and it is working great!

StrongerEveryday
StrongerEveryday
8 years ago
Reply to  Freeatlast

Free: I had a very similar experience with marriage therapy. It was short-lived for me too. After maybe 5 sessions, I found the emails between him and his skank where she was telling him to hurry up and finish the therapy session so he could go meet up with her. They were exchanging huge laughs about what a pain it was to go to therapy, how he couldn’t wait to see her, etc. Special. But I digress…ahem. My cheater also lied throughout every session, though his attitude was slightly different than yours: he thought the session went poorly when the focus was on him and his issues. The focus should have been on me and the troubles I was causing the marriage, don’t ya know? I know he just wanted it all to blow over, so he could continue to eat cake while I swept it under the rug.

I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be amazed by the unmitigated gall of these cheaters.

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago

that is just crazy!! why even go to therapy to fix your marriage if you are laughing about it with the OW? i am so sorry you had to go thru that. i will never understand the mind of a cheater.

StrongerEveryday
StrongerEveryday
8 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

Thanks. I am so close to getting all the way to meh, so most of this doesn’t feel painful like it once did. My first instinct now is to realize how sad and pathetic all of that was on both of their parts. Can you ever imagine being an affair partner and continuing along in such a relationship? Or, as Free said, walking through life as a soulless liar? And yet…tales of these disordered folks fill the comments on this blog. It’s mind-boggling to anyone with a scrap of integrity.

Freeatlast
Freeatlast
8 years ago

It truly amazes me as to what soulless liars they can be. It has taught me a very important and sad lesson about life.

unicornomore
unicornomore
8 years ago

We unicorns come up with a myriad of ways to navigate around and make excuses for their refusal to take the lead in actual healing. My H used the “Its too soon, Im not ready to talk about it” followed by the “why do we have to talk about that now? its been so long” method of avoidance. And I fell for it and a ton of other foolish avoidance tricks because he was a TFC.

Pain shopping? That is a stupid excuse to not push for truth…just get the truth then decide if you want to be in a relationship with this person or not.

I used to almost understand why someone would withhold small details that would cause the chump pain (as if that were possible) but my cheater died leaving details behind in his stuff that made it all MUCH worse than he ever admitted to. He denied me the truth and Im pissed as shit (for more details see the Toxic Shame/Jerk thread at the bottom).

There was a time when I would have tried to forgive whatever happened if he would have just told me the truth…it was as close to amnesty as he was going to get in the context of our marriage and he still lied. This is the crap that hopeful reconcilers are up against and it really is insurmountable.

I used to think there was a reasonable chance at true reconciliation and I thought I had found it but I was wrong. The “unicorn” moniker is apt…a real healing is as rare as hens teeth. So while Im technically a widow, I feel more like a divorced woman who never actually experienced a divorce.

I have dreams about him where I just want to GET AWAY from him. I try to imagine what he would now say to me if (after meeting God and having a real debrief about this) we were in the same place for 10 minutes, but I cant ever finish this mental exercise because I cant fathom staying in the same room with him for 10 minutes.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Unicornomore, we really expect them to love and protect. I often think about the healing aspect and how it is accomplished. We loved them, they disregard and disrespected us, it hurts to out core. At some point I expect him to try to come back into my life. I wonder what he could possibly say. There really is nothing he could say that would matter anymore.

nomar
nomar
8 years ago

“So I asked her, ‘What’s pain shopping?’ She wrote back, ‘Like when I ask my husband about his affair.'”

Hm. Seems to me this isn’t pain shopping but truth shopping.

But I guess when you’re with a cheater it’s the same thing.

Uniquelyme
Uniquelyme
8 years ago
Reply to  nomar

From the chump dictionary:

Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality

From the cheater dictionary:

Truth – “What’s that?”

Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago
Reply to  Uniquelyme

Since we’re on it, what’s the first thing a chump thinks when he/she hears “CL”? Right.

What’s a cheater think? Craigslist.

Charles
Charles
8 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Whenever I asked my wife about her affair or got angry, she would go into this weird stubborn silence — like I just hit her with a bat, or was about to. I agree about wanting to know the truth as well. But for me I also wanted to know what happened to my life. One day it seemed fine, the next day I was in some sort of evil bizarro world. Then I just got his with lie after lie after lie after lie . . . . . .

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

Charles that was exactly the same response I got. It was like “how dare you accuse me of doing this bad thing that I did in fact do. Who are you to expect anything more than that from me. You are the f$&@ed up one. I never owed you anything.”

And it’s crazy making because it’s gas-lighting. One day he acts like I am the cheese to his macaroni, the next it’s as if I’m not important enough to deserve an explanation or apology. I do not know which person is the real man. Is it the one that loved me or the man behind the curtain. This is why I am so confused.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen, he is both. Mask on mask off. Love me love me not. It is meant to confuse you.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

Divorced Minister, My EX enjoyed telling all the details. I think it excited him more knowing that I knew. How sick is that?, This last time when he told me he met someone and he didn’t want me to ruin it for him, I did just that. I had to live with him for a few weeks before I threw the slime out of the house. He started volunteering information. You will never believe where I met her. I don’t need porn anymore. I wont be home Saturday night, I’ll be away. He left his poems to the OW in the garbage can in his office. He was genuinely excited like a child skipping to a candy store. Now he is fishing for information from my children, “How’s Mom”.

He tried to prolong the divorce. He became very angry that I filed. He was embarrassed when I saw the OW and forwarded her arrest records to my adult children. His lawyer withdrew and he didn’t show up for the second hearing. The divorce became contested and the judge ordered him to appear. He finally showed up alone without a lawyer. He continued to threaten and I settled just to get him out of my life. He looked so DISTURBED. He never expected to actually get a divorce, I am sure of that. As my lawyer made copies for us I said, so are you happy. He said, “I think about you all the time”. I gave him my back, and put my arms up in the air and said, “I’m single” meaning I am free! I have no intentions of ever speaking to him again, as I have clear boundaries now.

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

My first wife delighted in describing in detail, the awesome physique of one of the men she was seeing. Woke ne from a sound sleep at about 2 in the morning to do so, the first time. I am pretty sure she was trying to provoke me into doing something physical, that she could point to as proof of my abusiveness. I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
About two years later, after the divorce, when I was picking up my boys from her house to go to school, I inquired why she had done this. She was supposed to have been in AA by this time, and was supposed to have been more normalized by abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
But, my inquiry, apparently, enraged her again and rather than apologize ( 8th step?), she took it further , alluding to the guy’s excellent endowment.
Fast forward to about 10 years later. I, once again ( stupidly) mentioned her describing the body of the guy to me and inquired why she would do that. This time I got the following explanation:” I was worried you would be angry at my coming in at 2 again. So, knowing that you had been an athlete, I figured that you would be interested in this such tat you would be distracted from realizing that I had come in so late, again.”
WTF? This from a magna cum law school graduate ( no wonder she could never try a case). I suppose I should have stayed out late and come home, myself, describing the awesome ass of a young gymnast to her, hoping that since she had been in gymnastics, this would mollify her.
The truly insulting , mind boggling thing about my XW, a NPD, is that she thinks everyone else is so stupid that explanations like that are believable.

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
8 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Her sadism is disgusting, Arnold. What a bitch. I have to admit, though, that I fell for the stupidest lies and explanations from my narc ex, thus encouraging him to lie even more.

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Donna, good for you! What a jerk. Mine did similar, I was traumatized by D-Day but in that discussion that night (I told him to leave that very night), he said, “Is it okay if I come back here tomorrow? Because I have to shower and change because I’m taking Schmoopie out to dinner to day goodbye to her.” Goodbye? I said. Yes he said, she’s moving back to [her home city, she had been staying in our home city in her second home] tomorrow. Really, you just destroyed my entire reality and you want to make sure you don’t have to cancel your date with the woman you’re cheating with, because of the inconvenience of me finding out?

A week later in one of our post D-Day “discussions,” he was smiling broadly while telling me they spent the whole day “talking and fucking” three days in a row while I was at work, and he came home each night telling me what a hard day he had at “work.” He was smiling! I will never understand this cruelty but am so glad he’s out of my life and proud of myself for making him leave that very night.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

TheMuse…..I am so so amazed and shocked; what a no good son of a bitch! The stories here from everyone never cease to astound me! (as well as my own!)

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  IHaveHate

I appreciate your thoughts and confirmation that this was cruel and sick. I wrote every word in my journal that he ever said to me shortly afterwards to preserve it. Right after saying they spent those 3 days “talking and fucking” was when he smiled and made a gesture with both hands, like showing a measurement, then said, “well it was THIS much talking and only THIS much fucking!” (hands in a smaller width apart), with that smile on his face. I went back to many times to my journal to try to understand how he could say that to me laughingly. I had loved him with all my heart for 16 years and had no prior suspicions of cheating till that night. It’s what led me to thinking he probably is a psychopath. But of course I don’t really know. A person with any heart or compassion at all could never say those things. I’m pretty sure of that.

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

Once his mask was off, he didn’t care if I saw who he really was all along.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

What an evil man. To the tune of “If I Only Had a Soul” from The Wizard of Oz. So sorry, Muse, and so SO glad you are away from him!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

Definately a bad person. Never be in the same room with that person again.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

Yep, that is truly horrific. I wasn’t even there and I want to punch him in the face. 🙂

Moving Liquid
Moving Liquid
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

My God, TheMuse, that’s just horrific. There is ONE good thing I can say about my cheater and that is he never brings up Heather Ann. Ever. It’s one tiny thing to be grateful for.

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

Donna and TheMuse,

Sounds like they are both very sick people. Getting off on causing you pain IS downright disturbing! Sick.

DM

Donna
Donna
8 years ago

Muse, it’s as if he was making an appointment or asking a stranger for directions. This smirky indifference delivered with heartless disregard make me want to punch the sadistic assholes in the face. Just once! Or twice.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  TheMuse

TheMuse, what your ex did was beyond cruel and abusive to you. So glad you are away from that sadist.

nomar
nomar
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

The bizarro factor definitely contributes to the need to ask questions and sometimes even the same questions over and over. On my first D-day, the things about which I was most certain (for example, that I was in a faithful marriage to a moral person), and about which I thought I had the most evidence (25 years together), turned out to be the opposite of the truth.

Or, to reduce the experience to a mathematical equation: WTF x WTF = ???

If tomorrow someone told you that the United States of America was founded in 1930 by communist vampires from Mars who re-wrote every single history book and film on the planet to hide the truth, wouldn’t you feel compelled to ask a few questions? Would that be “pain shopping” as well? (“Get over your pre-conceived ideas about Thomas Jefferson and democracy, already! By insisting on an accurate historical record you’re only causing yourself more pain!”) Because the communist-Martian-vampire-founding-father scenario is about as unlikely as I once considered the idea of my ex-wife cheating.

Charles
Charles
8 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Yup. The “over and over” is sort of like saying “did that really happen”? It’s almost like you want confirmation from your cheater. “did you actually do that? Did you really not consider the collateral damage? Is the same brain in that head that looks like the one I used to know?”

Irish
Irish
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

Did that really happen??? Wow. I have asked myself that a million times. As Nomar put it so well WTFxWTF=???????

futbolfan423
futbolfan423
8 years ago
Reply to  Irish

“Did that really happen???” was the first question that popped into my mind for the first year after D-day. It’s like my mind just couldn’t accept it…couldn’t reconcile the person I thought I knew with the person he was.

GoodMazal
GoodMazal
8 years ago
Reply to  futbolfan423

This is such a helpful discussion. Like all of us here, ex created a false reality that was “safe” and “supportive” “loyal” and “honest.” When I was told of his affair, I wanted the truth and asked for it repeatedly. When I discovered that ex could not even provide that, and what he did say was edited for his benefit, it took me a long time to accept that I was living an alternate reality with red flags that I ignored because I could not imagine what the real deal was with him. Who the hell does this? Such sickos were in my life as my “support network”!? I allowed these people near me and my child, served them, tended their gardens, and listened to their heartache? I supported ex through alcoholism? WTF? Not where I would have chosen to be at all had I known the truth. I did not want to think my life was such a farce, but there it was. So good to be away from that sociopath.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar – that’s an ACE analogy (as always with you). Put that way – wouldn’t it be psychologically UNHEALTHY to get a glimpse of a vampire history, rather than the Thomas Jefferson history, and NOT want to know what the truth is? An irrefutable need for truth – the only difference being a matter of scale. If I wasn’t so committed to NC I’d be tempted to forward your post to ‘The Great I Am’ who was all about telling me I was ‘pain shopping’ when I kept digging for the truth!

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
8 years ago
Reply to  nomar

True that. Ha!

But the truth might blow up the fantasy for the cheater and take away their power. Can’t have that! Cause nothing is better for a relationship than lies, secrets, and allowing a cheater to live in a fantasy world without accountability. Chumps asking questions are such buzz kills.

IHaveHate
IHaveHate
8 years ago

DM…..wow are chumps ever buzz kills is right!!! At the very beginning when he admitted he ‘had a fling with a young girl’ (he knew I knew for sure is why the admit), he stated, now the worst thing we can do is keep talking about this. You can’t drive me crazy about this; it will push me further and further away. And he also used to say…….SEE!!! That’s why these things like this never work out because you just won’t let it go!! You won’t drop it! That’s why people break apart after these things!

How all of us don’t have HATE (like me) after recalling all the bullshit mindfuck manipulation that’s been done to us is beyond me!!!

Isolde
Isolde
8 years ago

My therapist told me once ( or maybe one hundred times) that you need to face the pain and the questions until they disn’t come up anymore.

She was right. Pain shopping? No. Reality? Yes.

Friend
Friend
8 years ago

Unfortunately I rode my marriage out to the very bitter end. I tried every thing. I tried leading that Bull to water. I tried hedging up all the wrong paths. I tried heartfelt forgiveness. I tried changing everything about myself.
So, for me, I guess pain shopping was staying.
I am now on a better path. I will call it “Let Him Suffer”.
Wickedness never will be Happiness.

DoneNow
DoneNow
8 years ago

Pain shopping?? The pain of not asking is greater. I’ve always valued honesty over everything else in my relationships. My husband new that. We’d had plenty of time and plenty of conversation. He knew who I was. So when we started marriage counseling, I laid it out for him. I told him that with me there could be no reconciliation if he couldn’t be honest. That lying to me was, in my book, as bad as anything else he could tell me he’d done. I told him this was his chance to come clean-some people may not want the truth, but do. He still opened his mouth and lied some more.

My point is this. Asking a chump to stuff that down and throwing a cute label on it like “pain shopping” is so insulting. What I’d really be doing is asking for less than I thought I deserved. I would have been denying who I was at my core. That’s crap.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  DoneNow

I could have asked all day but would never have gotten a reply. If I hadn’t found evidence in his handwriting and seen his cell phone records I’d still have very little clue about the scope of his affair with MOW grad student.

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

When you are asking questions of a disordered asshole, you get DARVO. These folks, through years of practice, can dodge questions and turn things around on you in no time.
You ask “where were you all those nights?”
Next thing you know you are trying to explain why you forgot to take out the garbage three years ago.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

He would never tell me anything which is why I went through his stuff. I had to figure it out by myself. For the most part, I didn’t hide that I did it. He started out acting non-challant, like he had nothing to hide or had done nothing wrong. When I told him I knew she was supplying drugs for him, he changed his passcode. I was relieved because I really didn’t want to know what he was doing.

He was always super annoyed when I brought it up. He would say, “we’ve already talked about this.” Again I have to say I felt relieved that he wouldn’t tell me.

Charles
Charles
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

If I had a dime for every time my wife would say “we already discussed this” I would be a millionaire. Because really we didn’t already discuss much of anything.

Arnold
Arnold
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

You are beating your head against a wall trying to get one of these types to address a simple question. I’ve given up.
XW claims she never had sex with any of the guys just ” inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized.” (Word Salad much?).
So, I ask her why she had written that she wanted to “stop having sex with strangers’ on some papers I found. Response is along these lines: ” I will not answer anymore of your questions.”

Current Chump
Current Chump
8 years ago
Reply to  Charles

If I had a dime for every time my wife would say “we already discussed this” I would be a millionaire. Because really we didn’t already discuss much of anything.****THIS***

This is my stbx-and is it usually paired with “I am done talking” Then he goes into his silent, pouty mode where he doesn’t speak to me which could last a few hours or in the past, a few days. Who does that kind of BS?! The severely disordered.

Of course this is complete crazy-making because we could never discuss anything & he refused to talk. He would get angry, yell, go into to silent mode & then after that, he would act like everything was ok. That was his version of us working something out-FOR YEARS.

I will be so glad to get rid of him & get that out of my life.

MrsVain
MrsVain
8 years ago
Reply to  Current Chump

change the “i am done talking” with “you never listen to me”and you just summed up my marriage

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

Here’s an exchange that happened about 1 billion times in my marriage:

Me: Can we talk about this?
Him: We already did.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
8 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

I think their definition of ‘discussion’ basically means a perfunctory acknowledgment that the cat is out of the bag and an even more perfunctory apology.

One Step at a Time
One Step at a Time
8 years ago
Reply to  Current Chump

Current Chump,
Change the name to my ExH’s and you just summed up my relationship with the asshole.

insistonhonesty
insistonhonesty
8 years ago

For me, pain shopping was a thing… but not as described as above. It was when I was on a low (usually after the 3rd glass of wine haha) and dredged things up for myself- like reading all the emails again. See the date and look up what was emailed last year, on this date. Finding horrible infidelity stories. I spun downward and lashed out with everything I’d already said. It used to help me focus on finding out more… but there’s nothing left to find out. I’ve said absolutely everything left to say.

But bringing up new questions? New pain? That is NOT pain shopping, imo. That’s serving up deserved consequences on a massive You’re An Asshole Platter.

Moving Liquid
Moving Liquid
8 years ago

Yes, Shopping for Pain for me is whenever I look online for information about him, her, or them. I had gone a year not knowing who the OW was, her age, or what she looked like, but I looked until I found out and then my world came crashing in all over again.

On one hand I wish I still didn’t know details about her/them. On the other hand it’s helped me to hate him more. But on the third hand, there needs to be an end to this snooping because at some point it does more harm than good.

Today is the 20th day of Lent (halfway) and I’ve managed to go 20 days w/o looking them up (or reading his email) and it’s hard. I wonder what I’m missing. I doubt I can keep it up after Lent.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

ML – well done for keeping away from that for 20 days! That’s impressive and shows what you can do when you put your mind to it 😉

I think part of the reason why you had to torture yourself with finding the FB presence had to do with our need to know the truth. You don’t really know the truth though, only the physicality. Have you ever seen the film ‘The Man With Two Brains’ where the girl with the fantastic looks and body had a voice like a sackful of angry cats? Maybe she looks the part but is even now boring the life out of him with her tales of what happened at the manicurist today (for the hundredth time).

I really wish you could channel the you that told him to ‘go fuck himself’ prior to you finding out about ‘Miss Leather Tan’ – you rocked then and you rock now. She might be young and pretty but do you know what ML? she’s not you, and never will be – and that’s what he lost! (fool boy)!

Moving Liquid
Moving Liquid
8 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

Jayne, I love you. You know the fact that Little Napoleon didn’t even try to resist young Miss Leather Tan (heh) shows me how utterly shallow he is — but I knew that all along about him — this isn’t news! He fooled me into thinking that cheating is the one bad behavior he’d never do.

What a chump I am.

xox

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

Hah … I’ve said it many times on this site but, ‘The Great I Am’ told me EVERY DAY how happy he was, how he felt he’d won the lottery with me, how there could be no other woman for him, but me – EVERY DAMNED DAY.

We had many, what any sane human would have thought, were candid, honest conversations about infidelity and how cheating was a huge deal breaker for us both – fool me for thinking having those open communications would actually keep me safe – it actually blew my mind that he could have been empathising and agreeing with me about infidelity AND conning me with the ‘I’ve never been so happy etc’ speech AT THE VERY SAME TIME he was seducing another woman and going on motel reconnoitres – (as was one of his bizarre ‘confessions’).

ML we weren’t just Chumps, you and I, we were Marks!

urghh – fancy knowing you are the type of person who behaves like ‘Little Napoleon’ and ‘The Great I Am’ – urghh – no wonder they have to lie so much – how the hell else could they stand being who they are!

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

ML, any time you feel the need to look at what he’s doing ask yourself “will this help me or hurt me?” Chances are the answer will be “it will hurt me” every time. Then it’s easier not to look because you’re learning to love and protect yourself. That’s what helped me stop wondering what he was doing. Then friends would try to tell me what they knew and I’d hold my hand up and say “I don’t want to know.” Even my own kids don’t tell me what he’s doing, but then they’re grown with lives of their own. What he’s doing has nothing to do with your life now.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

Good job Moving Liquid. Once you know, and the relationship is over, there isn’t a need to get every detail.

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

Good progress, ML!! You can keep it up! And hopefully even if you can’t resist entirely after Lent is over, you can keep the checking to a low level, so it’s less painful.

I used to go back and read the emotional stuff I wrote in the first months after DDay #2/separation. It was like I needed to remind myself of that pain, and of how intensely horrible that time had been. Maybe so I wouldn’t be taken in by his attempts to show himself as ‘not that bad, really’ and ‘new and improved’ version of himself? Or maybe just because I needed to feel some of that pain again, to accept my new reality.

Fortunately that has super tapered off, very spontaneously. Hope the same happens for you!

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

My XH called it scab farming… keeping a would going so it could never heal. It is a way to cut short the horrific processing that comes with this kind of betrayal. ‘I don’t want to talk about this any more, you are just scab farming.’ Same sort of thing. Translates to in my case… I don’t want to deal with your pain, so just let it scab over and for a gnarly scar.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I agree that the best thing is for a Chump to poke until they “know enough” and then get out. I’ve got two close friends who thought they’d feel better once they knew all the details, and in both cases it just made them feel worse. At some point you have to accept that they are not the people you thought they were and get on with your life. You have to “know enough” and then move on.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

I was obsessed to find out as much as possible in the beginning. When you are blamed for everything after a while you need to call them out on it. They need to be seen.

insistonhonesty
insistonhonesty
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I got to the point where I told H that I simply assume the worst was done in every new scenario… that’s the consequence of destroying trust.

violet
violet
8 years ago

For me, “pain shopping” was about trying to make sense out of something I just couldn’t understand. It was as if I came upon the scene of a horrific automobile accident; I was trying to figure out how in the hell the mangled bodies ended up in the trees. One minute, I was in what I thought was a reasonably happy long term marriage. The next, I was a character in a bad country music song, and everywhere I turned, I discovered another stupid lyric.

Like so many others, I wanted the truth, I wanted my X to step up and be the man he portrayed himself to be. I wanted an acknowledgement that I mattered to him, that our marriage mattered. Wasn’t I, at minimum, deserving of the truth? Wouldn’t some recognition of what he had done lead my X to understand the depth of his betrayal?

Once I realized he was incapable ot honesty, I knew our marriage was over. I couldn’t stay with a person who refused to admit how hurtful his conduct was to me and my children. So for me, “pain shopping” was absolutely necessary to reach the point that I could leave. Had X ever tried to face what he had done, I am sure I would have tried to make our marriage work. The lies were just the nail in the coffin…and the beginning of a new life free from cheater pain.

Drew
Drew
8 years ago
Reply to  violet

Violet, your entire comment is brilliant! And I have to agree with Magnet, your best line is the one about the “accident and mangled bodies.” Infidelity is horrific. Dday and the two years after felt like this to me.

Magnet 4 Deranged
Magnet 4 Deranged
8 years ago
Reply to  violet

Violet,
I hope you don’t mind if I use “It was as if I came upon the scene of a horrific automobile accident; I was trying to figure out how in the hell the mangled bodies ended up in the trees.”

That is a most perfect analogy for the initial utter incomprehension!!!

Erbrown83@gmail.com
Erbrown83@gmail.com
8 years ago
Reply to  violet

^^^^^^ THAT^^^^^^^ …

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
8 years ago

For all the expertise such sites claim, you would think that they had a clue about the grief process and healing from especially traumatic experiences. Of course, the faithful spouse needs to know the truth. How else will they figure out how to rebuild trust with the cheater if they decide to reconcile? It’s like keeping skeletons locked in the closet. That’s not healthy. And grief is an emotional process NOT A RATIONAL ONE!!!! People need to know what happened, happened. But then again, these folk seem to think the cheater has no responsibilities here in helping the one they deeply wounded. In my opinion, that’s not real reconciliation…it is fantasy reconciliation. Real reconciliation deals in repentance and truth. It does not hide behind snake oil like sayings such as “shopping for pain.” It deals in truth and empathy.

unicoroner
unicoroner
8 years ago

Pain shopping for me was awful, but at the same time it was necessary. I was in such shock, that I really needed to hear the painful words and more importantly feel the gut-wrenching pain, over and over again, in order to believe it. I had put my husband on a pedestal for so long, this was the only way i could truly internalize what he’d done to me. Call me a glutton for punishment, but it worked. That pain helped me autopsy our marriage and kick the murderer to the curb.

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago
Reply to  unicoroner

same here. I had him up on a pedestal. I said to him, “I can’t believe you would lie to me! I respected you so much!” and he said, “Well, your respect was obviously misplaced.” The only other true thing he ever said to me post D Day was: “I am a twisted person, Muse. I was a twisted person when you met me and I am still a twisted person.” He really is so disordered. Moments of lucidity? I actually find the second truth more than a little creepy, and somewhat sad. For months, for about a year in total, I had to keep re-reading my journal to accept and believe it had even happened, so highly did I respect him before DDay. I thought he was a good, moral, upstanding, honest person. Now I know the truth.

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  unicoroner

unicoroner, that is exactly the case for me! I didn’t ask the cheater for info, but I went over and over what I knew about ALL his bad, uncaring and selfish behaviours over the years, up to and including the 2nd affair that ended our relationship, and through the separation and his neglect of our kids, that followed. I needed that, to allow reality to sink in, and to reach acceptance. When I started feeling like ‘it is what it is’, I knew I was on my way up!

ChumpedtotheMax
ChumpedtotheMax
8 years ago

My divorce is almost final. I know STBX was a serial cheater and abusive. I don’t know all the details but his last fling that resulted in a romantic cruise with the OW was too much for me, even though I waited another 3 years to file. I want nothing more than to move on and leave this painful chapter behind. But I recently was contacted by one of his OW. I didn’t know about this one, but she seems to think I knew about her. She wants to talk and it sounds like she wants to cry on my should after dealing with his lies and abuse too. So I am asking advice here–i want to move on, should i talk to this latest or should i let her just deal with her own pain and his crap on her own? I am not sure it would do me any good to find out more details. Maybe give me another chance to say “I told you so.” but whatever. Any advice?

M
M
8 years ago

I have had a total of four women over the past year confess their affairs with married men to me. Two wanted to boast about it. Two were swamped with self-pity and wanted us to bond in a ‘sisterhood of women who have been wronged’. All of my interactions with these women have left me emotionally wracked – the last instance required me to take valium to cope. It’s of course up to you what you do but my latest coping strategy for this is to be very calm, open, clear and in a kind way just say that I can’t be around people who have affairs with married men because it is too upsetting for me given what I have been through. Personally I don’t think it is fair for someone like that to seek support from you. It’s just not appropriate. I’m sure she can find more suitable forms of support and you could direct her to them if you like. In reality I did try to help one of these women but ended up inadvertantly really upsetting her because I became so upset myself and said what I really thought about people who have affairs, which wasn’t actually directed at her but I saw that it stung her badly as she realised in that moment she was the same sort, and so really I’ve concluded it’s best all round to step away from these situations.

Tempest
Tempest
8 years ago

ChumpedtotheMax–I think you should do whatever will make you feel better. If more details will help you, then chat to the OW once, then move on. You certainly shouldn’t comfort her or be her therapist. And be careful that you DO want all the details–I found I wanted details of my X’s affair with a grad student up to a point; apparently emails between them are still floating about, but i doubt I want to see them.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Remember the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie keeps pushing Natasha to let Carrie apologize for having an affair with her husband. Natasha avoids her until Carrie corners her in a restaurant. Natasha says, “I’m sorry too. I’m sorry you ruined my teeth (Natasha fell down the stairs with the shock of seeing Carrie leave Natasha’s apartment and lost her front teeth), I’m sorry you…, I’m sorry you.., and now I’m sorry you ruined my lunch.”

I love it that she didn’t allow Carrie to feel better about what she had done.

13YEARCHUMP
13YEARCHUMP
8 years ago

ChumpedtotheMax, she definitely knew about you even though you had no clue about her… That means she knew she was sleeping with a married man..your then husband and now when your divorce is final, she now wants to seek emphaty from you! DEFINITELY NOT!!!!

I’m normally all for forgiveness & compassion but I would not subject myself to dredging up the pain and the past again and I don’t think you should. I doubt this woman cares one bit about you, she just wants someone to cry with and call your ex names with …which is fine.. But that person should not be you. Focus your time on the wonderful Chester free life that lies ahead of you. Hugs to you.

tflan386
tflan386
8 years ago
Reply to  13YEARCHUMP

Never, but never give an OW a second of your precious time. Stay away – do not be drawn into that “let’s commiserate, perhaps we’ll be friends now” bullshit. Put that part of your life behind you and leave it there!

Blown Away
Blown Away
8 years ago
Reply to  13YEARCHUMP

DO NOT GO THERE!! She just wants to use you as 13 Y said…we have been used enough!! Let her go cry a river with someone else!

SphinxMoth
SphinxMoth
8 years ago

Hang on. So I get a diagnosis of cancer.(which an affair is a cancer on a marriage) I don’t know what kind (crazy AP? extra kids? STD? financial ruin?), I don’t know if it’s metastasized (seventeen APs, hookers, angry spouses), i don’t know if it’s treatable (counseling and possibly reconciling), I don’t know anything ABOUT cancer (how to care for myself, what I’ll need, treatments) and I don’t know the prognosis (without accurate information, you cannot make an informed decision). I say, “Okay!” and just walk out the door and live my life. Because that is pain shopping?

What the hell. I still go through this from time to time–because I’ll hear a lie from him and sometimes I’ll just say, “Choose your battles, Sphinx. This isn’t worth it. Remember that he’ll lie about the most irrelevant things.” But sometimes, it makes me temporarily insane. I KNOW he’s lying and I just have to hammer him about it. It’s exhausting. Hilarious, but exhausting…and I don’t do it often. I did it a lot after D-Day and he was in my face, denying reality.

Denying someone’s reality makes them crazy. CL said that once and I live by that. You deny my reality—you are history.

ByeByeCheater
ByeByeCheater
8 years ago
Reply to  SphinxMoth

Sphinx, this > I KNOW he’s lying and I just have to hammer him about it. YES!

I’m certain I came off as crazy to MC after DDay because unless I ‘hammered’ him, he wouldn’t admit anythings, even the things I already knew. Interestingly, when the MC met with him separate from me, she had to do the same thing to get him to talk and she knew he was still lying then too.

Also, your statement > ‘denying someone’s reality makes then crazy’ is spot on because we want to live in the real world not their world of crazy lies.

SphinxMoth
SphinxMoth
8 years ago
Reply to  ByeByeCheater

Absolutely. They LIE. If they didn’t, then they would not have been able to hide the affair. I observed him during the hiding, I recall vividly how he acted—NORMAL—and then I saw him post D-Day, trying to act NORMAL. Well, is he lying now or was he lying then?

Yes. Both. THEY LIE. They don’t want to be reminded of their lies. They don’t want to be called on their shit.

Another thing that occurred to me is that the person who is doing this “you can’t pain shop, because it’s keeping you stuck” has such abandonment/codependent issues, I shake my head. Oh, I can’t keep asking him why he lied, because HE MIGHT LEAVE.

Well, yeah. You’re going to hold that over my head? Really? If I keep asking you what happened and demanding the truth and what I get is “If you keep doing that, you’re going to make me leave and/or keep fucking around.”

Nope. You don’t harm me and then get to make demands about how I deal with it. Go fuck yourself.

The survival instinct of some of these people is seriously damaged from being around the mindfuckery. It took me a long time to figure that out–like I said, I couldn’t even go into his office in my own fucking house for WEEKS after I got him out, because I was afraid. I was never “permitted” to go in there without him present.

It’s like how they train elephants. As babies, they put heavy, heavy chains around their necks. Things that don’t actually harm them, but do prevent escape or using their bulk and size in order to get free. When they grow up, they only use a small rope or a small chain, very light—but the elephant has been conditioned to BELIEVE that they cannot escape because of the heavy chains.

Elephants are super intelligent and so strong, yet they are kept captive. How is that. Conditioning. I feel that these NPDs do the same thing.

ByeByeCheater
ByeByeCheater
8 years ago
Reply to  SphinxMoth

Sphinx, when I would ask mine if we could talk about our issues (in other words, his cheating), he would say…’no because I can’t stand to see the pain on your face. Let’s do something fun so I can make you happy.’ It only took a couple of times for me to hear that before I called BS on it. HE didn’t want to see the pain HE caused so HE wanted to avoid the conversation. It was always all about him – and still is!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  SphinxMoth

So, I’m a captive elephant? Not anymore. He can have that homely woman and the drugs they do together. I want to be a dolphin. I hear they mate for life.

SphinxMoth
SphinxMoth
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

🙂 Jen. No, I didn’t mean you are an elephant. What I am saying is that these hugely intelligent beings, with strength that could crush a human in the blink of an eye are subjugated by the horrible tricks that humans play on them.

It’s a terrible thing. To subjugate another—whether it’s an animal, or whether it’s a human being.

Gaslighting someone, denying their reality, putting mental chains on them in order to subjugate them, to bend a person’s will.

I was afraid to enter a room. A room. In my house. I am college educated, independent and strong. When I am at work, I am the master of my domain. I run million dollar equipment. But I was afraid to enter his office, out of fear because he conditioned me that I was never to do it.

I’m the weirdo that roots for the animals in captivity to break free and run away. I chafe at anything that smacks of bending the will of another. This is how I see cheaters—they attempt, with their lying and manipulation—to bend and break the will of others. I’m rooting for anyone stuck in this to break free–to recognize the mental chains that keep them tied to someone who doesn’t even acknowledge that what they’re doing is wrong.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  SphinxMoth

I know. I was just kidding. I am sorry you were afraid to go in the room. I went all through his belongings when he stepped out to the liquor store. He knows it too. I pushed it too far and he won’t speak to me now, but I am learning to be okay with that, he was definately doing what he was doing.

My second ex was doing some bad things, but he wasn’t scary. My first ex was scary and I do remember what that was like. So glad I never married him, but we do have a son.

It is easier to hate the first ex because he was mean. The second ex just seems very flawed. It is harder to walk away. Once I tried to convince him to give an extra sweatshirt to one of his employees, who I knew would be wLking home in the cold. He said, “will you stop trying to be a mom?” I said, “how am I supposed to do that?”

not Juliet
not Juliet
8 years ago

It’s truly disgusting that the so called Resources that are supposed to help people publish drivel that blames the person who has been cheated on. No wonder cheaters feel entitled to do it.

Freeatlast
Freeatlast
8 years ago

Just remembered my first experience with “pain shopping”. I had just confronted him and he admitted to cheating, but JUST the one time, yeah ….we know how that goes….I didn’t believe that for a second. So I demand to know everything. He says he will write me a letter to explain it all. He just wanted more time to think very carefully about what he would say.

A fucking week goes by and he is still not done with this letter. I demand to see it anyway, because at this point I knew absolutely NOTHING, only that he cheated. So I read his fucking letter, it was all a poor sausage read. He tried to be this, he tried to do that, but I wouldn’t let him, nothing he did was ever good enough. Bullshit. It showed me his true character. F*ing whiny little baby. I never finished the letter, it was pathetic garbage. He even tried passing it off to our counselor who read it, and bought into it for a little bit, until he realized X was still having affairs.

Sorry is as sorry does. Calling truth-seeking “pain shopping” is just more mindfuckery. Narcs love that shit.

thensome
thensome
8 years ago

The “pain shopping” that I do is wondering what I could have done differently to prevent his affair. I do it less now but I think it’s a bad habit chumps have. The “if onlys.” The thing that has helped me is to tell myself over and over again that it was his choose to cheat and his choice to lie. These are HIS choices. I had nothing to do with them.

It shocks me what some RIC sites claim. To me, it’s more abuse piled on top of abuse.

Before I knew about his affairs we were in MC. And it was very clear every problem in the marriage was mine. Not his drinking, his late nights, his boozy friends and lack of connection to our family. Nope it was me. It was absolutely crazy making. I caution anyone who is in the midst of this, DO NOT go to MC together unless your therapist is 100% throwing the mirror back on your cheater. Save yourself.

thensome
thensome
8 years ago
Reply to  thensome

*choice…not choose.

Kira
Kira
8 years ago

For me, “pain shopping” was during the gaslighting phase when I was trying to get the truth out of him, and a bit after DDay, when X was “trying to decide what I want” and I was stupidly going along with it, because I was so thrown by everything and had wanted to make things work. I remember telling someone, “Every time I think he’s finally told me the truth, something new comes out.” And pain shopping does seem to be a good way to describe it, except I wasn’t deliberately shopping for pain, I was shopping for the truth, like Nomar said. Trickle truth is definitely a thing with cheaters, and I don’t know that we ever truly get the actual full truth.

just another chump
just another chump
8 years ago

Somethimes when a major trauma hits we reach out to the one person we think we should be connecting with the person most likely to understand or be able to “share” our pain. Our marriage partner who unfortunately put us in that place.
Or maybe in the back of our little reptile brains we are trying to figure out what we did wrong. People who’ve been in major accidents will relive seconds and minutes of everything they did and question every detail of whatever they did or did not do to prevent the accident or its aftermath.
A year prior to him leaving our marriage, we had lived through our child’s suicide attempt and our respective treks through the mental health services system. By the time the x had dumped me for his new exciting life I’d finally had it hit me full force in the face that life for him was all about him. Every family counselling session was about his hurt and betrayal, how he was coping. My son would sit mutely with a look of either complete disinterest or suppressed fury. I would try to say anything and felt like I was being steam rollered by the weight of x’s professed horror and so on….. Anytime I tried to talk about our son with the great one it would be how the kid hated him and was doing all this to manipulate us. Not a word about our son’s despair or even about my possible sorrow or pain. Weirdly enough my son would talk with me separately and ask why was his suicide would be Dad’s cross to bear.
When he trucked off to his new life I never even bothered to try and talk. After I found out about the extent of his infidelity after the separation I fired of a few emails and then went NC. After all how can your tiny little needs compete with x’s pain and discomfort. x is the center of his universe and anybody else in it is just part of the audience .
In my case pain shopping would have been irrelevant. I had already gone through it for a different reason the summer before and had been rebuffed. x clearly made us all understand that when life gave us lemons we were supposed to make the lemonade and serve it only to him.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

I wrote him an email this morning. I work nights and I have a lot of time on my hands. I didn’t send it. I’ve been missing him so much and it was such a horrible ending. It is so hard to let go of someone you care for so much.

He is probably with her now. I saw her picture on Facebook when I was pain shopping. That really wasn’t painful though because she is homely and that made me feel so much better.

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

It’s so hard to let go, eh Jen? But HE has already let go. You want to hold out your hand to him, but he’s given you his back, in many ways, repeatedly. You did right by writing him and not sending it!

It’s normal that you miss him. Keep in mind that time really, truly does heal that pain. Time and NC, best combo! After I kicked the cheater out, I felt like I’d had my heart ripped out of my chest!!! But each month after I felt a bit better, and within 18 months, I could think of him or see him without much reaction, it feels like my heart is back where it belongs, doing it’s usual job. What a relief!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

Thank you, I needed to hear that. I went through this before with the same man in 2007. It took awhile but I moved on. I know I can do it again, but there is anxiety, pain in my chest, and obsessive thoughts. I have maintained no contact for the past two months. It hurts that he only tried to contact me once, about my car being in the shop. I wish I meant more to him, but I don’t.

I know I will move on, but it is slow going right now.

Donna
Donna
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen, I know what it’s like to reconcile and have it happen again years later. The truth with my Ex was that he was always on the prowl. The first thing I said to my therapist THIS time was, ” I want to know how to stop loving someone who cheats all the time”. Jen, no contact feels torturous when we still love someone. But when the person we love can’t be faithful you have control over what is acceptable in your life.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Thank you so much Donna and Lyn,

This has been very hard for me. I believe you that with “no contact” I will eventually be able to look back on this and not feel pain or love towards him. The last time we ended things I was taking Lexapro and I really didn’t suffer too badly. This time I can’t sleep and I feel anxious and sad. I did try the EDMR videos on YouTube and I think they helped a little.

I just don’t want to care about this anymore, but it really does feel like a death. I am going through a detox of some sort. I hope I will feel better on the other side, but right now my heart has a miserable, anxious hangover.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen, I felt the same way. Missed him so much. It really is like kicking an addiction (at least that’s what it seemed like to me). At first the feelings are overwhelming, but the longer you resist contact the more your brain is able to let go. My ex wanted us to “be friends” after his betrayal, but I remember thinking there was no way I could stop loving him if I had to see and interact with him. He was really Kryptonite to me. Just had to get away and cut all contact. Still hurts to have lost 36 years of history in my life, no one to share the memories of our children growing up with…really hard but 3 years out and it’s definitely better. I’m not depressed anymore which is amazing.

Lulu
Lulu
8 years ago

I put this through my own Universal Bullshit Translator and came out with this: “I’m afraid that I’m going to lose my cheating wife, so I’m suppressing all of my pain and asking her for nothing while at the same time being an infinite source of love and support in the hopes that she will see what a selfless, wonderful husband I am love me again.”

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  Lulu

Yup, “I am making my needs smaller and smaller, even in the face of pain and betrayal, and giving more and more love and caring, in hope that being an even BIGGER chump will win back the selfish asshole”.

TheMuse
TheMuse
8 years ago

What a crock of shit that article is. The advice to the chump is essentially “keep being chump, it’s what you do best. Your cheater is Special!” Yeah keep eating those shit sandwiches. I feel sorry for the guy who wrote that. I see it was back in 2012. I hope he’s come to his senses.

When I saw the title “Pain Shopping” I thought of the many months post DDay that I obsessively tried to unearth all the horrific details of the affair and my Ex’s past before I met him. What I found was so much worse than him simply meeting Schmoopie and being swept off his feet. Emails to prior OWs, weird photos of teenage girl, weird ph#s on cell ph all over the country. At what point is there enough pain to convince you to stop wasting time untangling the skein? How much pain is enough?

My therapist had me read Viktor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and this section in particular was so helpful to me:

“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

So how much pain is enough? You decide. I finally stopped driving past OW’s house, looking at her (albeit locked down) facebook, shopping on their side of town hoping to see him or them, etc. etc. because I’d already had ENOUGH. My capacity for the pain, the chamber, was already full. I had to stop punishing myself. One step closer to Meh.

LZ
LZ
8 years ago

I shopped for pain and shopped and shopped but my STBX would never ever fess up. My truth came from family and friends which is worse. I really did feel I was going crazy as my inter voice was screaming! And now a year after discovery he wants to know there is a slight chance of us reconciling before divulging the why’s, how’s, etc., and if I don’t say there is a chance I don’t deserve to know. BUT I quit pain shopping and now I am just ME shopping, determined to find my way and no longer care to know the why’s.

Hopeful Cynic
Hopeful Cynic
8 years ago

I’m nearly six years past d-day, and over five years past the end of false reconciliation and my ex moving out. What I did then, during that false reconciliation, was not pain shopping. It was survival, research, truthseeking, evaluation. It was necessary to make an informed decision about the path my life would take after the person I trusted most deliberately and viciously derailed it for me.

What I’m doing now, seeking out infidelity sites and offering up opinion and advice, long past the time that infidelity has a personal impact on my own life, THAT is pain shopping. Pain shopping is the deliberate seeking out of additional triggers on top of the ones that occur randomly. I could just let infidelity be in my past and move on with my life, but instead I do activities that regularly remind me of the worst time of my life.

By creating this website and keeping infidelity as an ongoing theme in her life, Chump Lady is pain shopping. Her wounds have long scarred over (one hopes), but by doing what she does, she pick at them. All of us who frequent this type of site despite being past the stage of needing the advice, are doing the same thing.

It’s like surviving any trauma. People experience the loss of a child, some survive cancer. Some lead workshops long after their own grief is worked through and are active in fundraising well after their recovery while others put their experience firmly in the past and try not to give it further thought.

The ones who are purposely dredging up the feelings all the time instead of only dealing with occasional triggers are pain shopping. It can be done in a healthy, constructive, helpful way, or it can maintain dysfunctional living. It’s important to know which.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  Hopeful Cynic

Hopeful Cynic,

I am another who would respectfully disagree with your view that CL is ‘pain shopping’ with this website. Tracy certainly impresses that she has moved on to Meh following her experience with the cheater that fucked up her life temporarily. I do marvel that she is able to continue to address aspects of this whole hellish experience (and there are SO MANY aspects to it) with such clarity and empathy. Often she will address an aspect that perhaps has not been identified by us chumps – such as this blameshifing manoeuve – but is part of the excruciating pain we chumps suffer. For instance, ‘The Great I Am’ was very fond of attributing my need for the truth as ‘pain shopping’ once D Day landed. A coherent argument for why that was just another mindfuck is incredibly validating and hopefully helps us identify their shit from our own. Let’s be honest, cheaters are very fond of blameshifting and chumps, in their desperate attempts to understand what the fuck has gone on, are prone to take on blame for what frankly should be recognised as a natural and normal response to what has happened to them.

I, for one – (but I absolutely know, there’s a whole ‘Nation’ of chumps) thank Tracy from the bottom of my heart for both creating this site and for the hard work she puts in to helping us poor souls who have suffered this trauma. I first discovered this site about 16 months ago – up until then, everything I googled (and hell, I googled a lot – I was in desperate need of help) centred around the RIC sites and the focus being on the chump to do all the work, or take all the blame, or, at best, how to deal with the pain of betrayal. There was nothing out there that absolutely said – hey this is shit and the cheater is responsible. I could not have loved ‘The Great I Am’ or pandered to his towering ego anymore – but he still chose to cheat. I couldn’t connect with his ‘fallible humanity’ because his behaviour made NO SENSE to me. I couldn’t walk in his shoes because I could not understand making the choices he made. CL, uniquely it seems to me, was the only site that made it clear the reason I couldn’t connect with him was because he was an entitled, disordered arsehole. I needed to know that, and that it wasn’t some failing in me if I came to that conclusion all by myself. I believe other chumps find the validation they find here equally as freeing and healing.

Without a doubt, the trauma of being cheated on has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It trumps bereavement and the loss of my still born son. Those traumas were awful, but they were ‘clean’ traumas. Betrayal is a mindfuck with it’s very own circle of hell. If I were a robot perhaps all I would need to do was process this knowledge and pain once and then I could call it history and move on. I’m not a robot, 5 years later I’m still dealing with the aftermath (financial ruin), I need to find the belief to trust again so I hopefully don’t spend the last 40 years of my life in self-imposed solitude. This site, the most wonderful excellent Chump Nation (and it’s empowering to know that there are friends who ‘get’ it – the ripples of destruction and influence that experience has had, often we chumps understand that our IRL friends and family tire of this shit because they just want us to move on already, without really grasping how difficult it is to have blind faith in love ever again) and Tracy’s unerring talent for identifying the residual issues is without doubt the most valuable resource I’ve ever found for helping me find the strength and belief to just carry on in my life!

In knowing we are not alone with the feelings and problems this experience have brought us, we find strength, and in being able to offer support to others going through the same crap it also helps us address our own pain and bewilderment, anger and fears.

I thank Tracy for not forgetting that other people suffer the hell she once did and for providing this wonderful site for supporting hurt and wounded souls. If there weren’t people like Tracy in the world we would all be the poorer and the sadder for it.

.

Jayne
Jayne
8 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

Hopeful Cynic.

I posted this before I previous post – it’s all got out of synch!

Lania
Lania
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Thing is though, even if you’ve healed and gotten a life and its truly Tuesday, there are so many gems of advice here that can be used in all factions of life, not just when it comes to cheating spouses, but when it comes to abusive people in general and surviving the clusterfuck which is life in general. Its the reason why I come back, anyway.

kim
kim
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Chump Lady has such a gift with words Hopeful Cynic. I was just thinking my simple minded response to you would be “FUCK OFF”. But she has a much less red neck approach. Well said CL

kim
kim
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Yes she did and due apologies go to her. No hate here. In my defense our post came in at the same time frame. So I thank her for explaining as her original post was a bit raw considering the site she’s on and directed to the ones she was directing it to. Thank you.

Hopeful Cynic
Hopeful Cynic
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Yeah, I really didn’t come across well up there. I was writing to AGREE with you! I admire what you do and consider myself one of those veterans returning to help people.

I think I am just using a different definition of pain shopping than the majority. You, and many others, want to help people, as you said. All I’m trying to say is that if we weren’t doing it, we would probably think about infidelity a lot less.

KarenE
KarenE
8 years ago
Reply to  Hopeful Cynic

I don’t think it counts as pain shopping unless it causes PAIN – think that’s gotta be part of the definition! I certainly don’t feel pain from this stuff anymore, and don’t imagine CL does either.

Uniquelyme
Uniquelyme
8 years ago
Reply to  Hopeful Cynic

Reading this blog makes me more and more grateful each day that I left a cheater and gained a life. No triggers. More like getting confirmation, in stereo, that cheaters suck. I continue to post here, not to keep infidelity alive and well in my thoughts, but always hoping that my experience will help a newly-minted chump or push a chump on the fence to choose a cheater-free life.

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
8 years ago