When Did You Know You Deserved Better?

leave a cheaterDear Chump Lady,

I have been following your site since 2016/2017, when my ex confessed to cheating on me going back to the early days of our marriage and pointed me in your direction, oddly enough. I would have chumpily gone along with a disengaged spouse had I not pulled it out of him with a frustrated “What is wrong?” one day. Sigh.

I have been realizing that as a chump in recovery, I have moved forward into new relationships telling myself that I’m happy with crumbs until the deficiency or lopsidedness breaks me. I was wondering if there is a methodology for properly slapping oneself in order to stop focusing on the things they like about people and then spackling over the rest of it?

I don’t really hold out much hope for being able to live or parent with anyone again. It makes me deeply sad sometimes because I miss this level of connection, and other times I’m just relieved. Is it the trauma talking? Some sort of brain damage? I keep saying I’m going to stop looking and then I get lonely again. I’ve tried to focus on family relationships, friendships, my daughter, myself…and at the end of the day I still feel lost.

If this doesn’t really fly as an ask and answer, maybe an idea for a Friday challenge — what’s the dumbest/saddest crumb(s) you’ve ever accepted from a FW or other personal relationship, and how/when did you know that you deserved better?

Thanks,

ChumpOnIt

***

Dear ChumpOnIt,

I think so much of behavior is predicated on expectations. For good or ill.

Take chauvinism for example. If I grew up in a culture that preached subservience of women to men (anyone watch Happy Shiny People yet?), if I was told from birth and taught by example that my needs were primary, if I thought women were fragile, dumb creatures who needed guidance — then I would have a lot of internal expectations about how I should be treated. And which women fit my box of expectations, and which ones are aberrant.

Now, let’s do chumpdom. If I grew up conscientious to other people’s needs as primary to my own, if I was shamed for speaking up, if I had lopsided nonreciprocal relationships modeled to me as normal, if spackle was a steady part of my diet — I’d have a lot of expectations about how I should be treated. (Hint, not well.)

And while that may suck — we aren’t so checked out as to know abusive behavior doesn’t suck — it may at some level feel normal. This Is What Relationships Look Like. And we might have some baked in responses to that — try harder, deny it’s as bad as it is (spackle), aspire to unconditional love and forgiveness, whatever the offense. If you’re a chump, you know the drill.

This is NOT to say, (as Hell of a Chump puts it) that victims of abuse have tractor beams that draw us to FWs. We don’t make people abuse us. And lots of GOOD qualities keep people stuck — giving second chances, having empathy, not being a quitter. The ability to dust oneself off and say “I deserve better” — and ACT on it — is hard won.

But it’s much harder if you have an internal script that says you don’t deserve better. That better doesn’t exist. And better the devil you know.

CL and CN are a deprogramming site. Yeah, you deserve better. And you generally wind up here after you’ve eaten (and been encouraged to eat — hello RIC) a lot of shit sandwiches.

Also, plenty of people with terrific self-esteem get chumped and wobble. Anyone’s healthy self-esteem can be worn to a nub by someone mindfucking them. All to say — don’t feel bad about those crumbs, or whatever humiliating thing you once did to try and win a cheater.

It’s NORMAL to be afraid of losing the people we love. That love may be misplaced, but bonding is human.

Okay, back to you.

I’m happy with crumbs until the deficiency or lopsidedness breaks me.

Bail much sooner. Lopsidedness is never okay. Examine your internal scripts that say otherwise.

I was wondering if there is a methodology for properly slapping oneself in order to stop focusing on the things they like about people and then spackling over the rest of it?

Yeah. Reframe it. YOU are the decider. Do they measure up to YOUR values? Is this a good fit for YOU? To do that you really need to know yourself and what kind of person you best mesh with. Part of that is trial and error, but by the time you’re a middle-aged person, I think you know if you’re chatty or introverted, someone who enjoys bungie jumping, or prefers sweater knitting. What your politics are, what football team you root for, etc.

It’s okay to focus on what you like about other people — people find that attractive. You like me! But you gotta take it further. Don’t be a one-trick pony whose only skill is kibble dispenser.

I don’t really hold out much hope for being able to live or parent with anyone again.

Examine that expectation. Reframe it. I’m a really good partner. I bring a lot to the table. It’s going to take an extraordinary person to give as much as I give to a relationship. I have standards.

Good people exist. That doesn’t mean they wind up your forever partner or co-parent. But maybe. I wouldn’t rule it out. I’d work on knowing my worth and going into potential situations with neutrality. Don’t presuppose outcomes.

what’s the dumbest/saddest crumb(s) you’ve ever accepted from a FW or other personal relationship, and how/when did you know that you deserved better?

CN — here’s your Friday Challenge.

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LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago

I guess that it would be the time that now-Ex Mrs LFTT after being busted for cheating (which to be honest was only the tip of her whole “alcoholism, financial impropriety, lies, manipulation and depression iceberg”) denied the cheating and then bridged into a fully-fledged rant about how”we’ll have to get divorced because this is my only chance at happiness …… and anyway, you are too emotionally immature to make an open relationship work.”

Apparently, me laughing at her and saying that my emotional maturity (or lack thereof) was not the issue here was not the path that I should have gone; at least according to her. But to get back to answering the question ….. it was then that, rather than realising that I deserved better, I resolved that whatever future it was that I built with the kids was going to be miles better than the reality that we had been enduring with her.

And so, here we are, 7+ years later. I got a clean break divorce with custody of the 3 kids (then 11, 16 and 18), I own my own home that the kids and I live in (we moved in a fortnight ago), the kids are all in a much better place emotionally, I have started a new career (and it is going very well, to the point that I make on more on my own that Ex-Mrs LFTT and her AP make between them), I am still very happily single and – should Ex-Mrs LFTT be reading this (and I hope that she isn’t) – my emotional maturity is as strong as it always was.

So, I guess it was that.

LFTT

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

You have modeled healthy recovery in so many ways, it would take me hours to point them all out, but let me comment on one…

Being happily single as your kids went through this particular phase of life was stellar. As a person who re-partnered when my youngest was 17, I will share that even of you find an awesome person to enter into relationship with, conducting a relationship in this phase of parenting is still really hard.

For me, I fall short of saying that I regret entering my current relationship when I did (he was going to move thousands of miles away as he had nothing keeping him here once his looming military retirement happened and we might have lost each other) but as most do, I underestimated the complexity of it.

You have sacrificed a lot to be the sane parent and I hope that your life evolves naturally and beautifully and brings fulfillment. Repartnering is not the litmus test of success so I wont project that onto you but if that is in your future, I hope that it is grand.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

UNM,

That’s very kind of you. I have to say that my decision to stay single was partly driven by self-preservation (I didn’t want to get hurt again), partly driven by my desire to demonstrate to my children that I was completely committed to helping them through the shitstorm that Ex-Mrs LFTT turned our divorce into and, also, partly driven by knowing that I wasn’t in the right place to commit to a relationship. Suspecting that you would make a terrible partner and would probably end up hurting the other person is as good a reason to stay out of a relationship as any I can think of.

I don’t see any of this as a sacrifice; it was just doing the right thing for me, the right thing for my kids, and making sure that I don’t damage anyone that I shouldn’t by jumping into something before I’m ready.

LFTT

Fern
Fern
9 months ago

I know you are going to be quite the catch should ever get the place you are ready.
For me it was five years of focusing on the kids and “dating myself”. I have never regretted that decision. But the day did come when I was ready and, by then, I was much more discerning about who and how I would let into my life.
Follow your gut LFTT, from your comments here it is clear you have good instincts.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago
Reply to  Fern

Fern,

I have been thinking about what you said above for the last day or so. The issue for me is the difference between someone else seeing me as a catch, me believing myself to be a catch and me being content to be “caught.” I don’t see being “coupled up” as the be all and end all but, should the right person come along, then I am open to seeing where it might go …… but I don’t want to compromise what I’ve worked so hard for in the process; rather, I want to be able to build on it.

I would say, however, that my “picker” is in the right place. When my sister in law (who I get on very well with and is a fantastic aunt to my children) told me that I married the wrong sister, I very quickly (if subtly) shut that right down. That one statement was a whole parade of red flags all in one go.

LFTT

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
9 months ago

Congrats on your new family home and all your other mightiness.

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Goodfriend

And for you and especially your kids being in a much better place emotionally, as well as physically.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago
Reply to  Goodfriend

GF,

Thank you.

LFTT

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
9 months ago

I slept in the car in the garage because the fuckwit said he wanted to enjoy his sleep without having to think about me and any emotions I had.

tallgrass
tallgrass
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

I saved money for months and then rented an apartment so he wouldn’t have to put up with me walking across his path in the kitchen or moving his coffee cup to the side. I had moved to the spare bedroom a couple of years earlier because he couldn’t sleep with me in the same room.

I assured people many long term marriages are fine this way; a living together apart positive twist. He took that to mean he was free to bring his affair into broad daylight and introduce her to everyone at family functions. And my family went along with it!!!

Ugh.

Wow – it is unbelievable looking back how small we are willing to make ourselves. I made myself disappear from my own da*n life. Luckily, there is emergency mental health care or I would have taken it all the way.

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

I have slept in the car twice because I woke him up in my sleep. Once because I had a bad cold and couldn’t stop coughing….I now can’t believe I dealt with that.

Cleo the Former Chump
Cleo the Former Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Redkd

This stuns me. Not even the couch? I just can’t fathom the sheer petty cruelty. So glad you (both) are out of that.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

For me the answer is loving myself, caring for myself, trusting myself, being protective myself, valuing myself. Verbs. Learning what they mean, how they translate into action, what does it look like, making the meaning of those verbs into a daily practice.

I’ve been on my own since he and his lower companions nuked our life. It’s been invaluable time for reflection and introspection. Very simply I’ve concluded that if I loved myself as I should, I would not have stayed nearly as long as I did.

Feelings follow actions. Great questions to answer:

If I loved myself, what would I do?

If I cared about myself, what would I do?

If I valued myself, what would I do?

If I was protective of myself, what would I do?

Write it down if you need to, and review it often. Acting as if is a powerful learning tool.

Loving yourself (action) is how you come to love yourself (feeling).

Leedy
Leedy
9 months ago

Velvet Hammer, whenever I see that the next post is by you, I smile inside. Whoever you are, you are a “hammer” of intelligence and insight, with a “velvet” touch of kindness and wisdom. Thank you for your wonderful posts!

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Leedy

I have to credit my sources (the excellent therapists who have ridden with me in my life car, Al Anon, ACA, CoDa, AA, all the 12 A groups, the trusted people in my pit crew, Tracy Schorn, and Chump Nation, and even all of the Don’t Bees that I learn from as well) and extend my deep and sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all of you here who have helped me so much.

You can’t keep it unless you give it away, and the least I can do is keep coming back to share what has been so freely given to me (or great wisdom I paid for in the case of my therapists 😛)

We all need each other IMHO. I did not escape the quicksand in the Fire Swamp by myself!

I’m glad to hear that anything I have shared has helped someone. Being cheated on pulverized my self esteem and sense of purpose and feeling of belonging…..thank you for letting me know.

❤️

Leedy
Leedy
9 months ago

Velvet Hammer, thank you. It cuts against the horrible loneliness of these post-Dday weeks to know that you and others like you who are well past “Tuesday” come back to offer a greeting and a hand to those of us who are still in shock.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Leedy

Leedy, I wish I could say I was well past Tuesday, but I am not there yet.
DDay was OCT 2018, and the journey is long, up and down, but always forward. It’s not what anyone who’s been cheated on wants to hear, but I find truth essential and comforting. I still manage an oversized load of pain, fear, and anger but it’s not compounded by unreasonable expectations of how I should feel.

Coming here is road food with the right traveling companions.

Leedy
Leedy
9 months ago

Velvet Hammer, my heart goes out to you in solidarity! And similarly, I wouldn’t say I’m entirely past Tuesday regarding even my first experience of chumpdom, which was . . .27 years ago! (The nightmares still recur, and in waking life I can occasionally get triggered.) That first experience, unlike my current experience of betrayal by the much less abusive husband #2, blew a cold wind through my soul that I can still feel today. And yet–maybe you’d say the same thing–the “self” that I built around that traumatic experience does have some sort of deepened ability to hear and respond to the pain of others, and to lift their burdens a little. Plus I feel closer to the heart of life than I used to–something I wouldn’t part with for the world.

Susan Gordon
Susan Gordon
9 months ago

Being cheated on pulverized my self esteem and sense of purpose and feeling of belonging.
This is how I’ve been feeling for 6 years post discard, amplified. 21 years prior to that was the same feelings, but in a more insidious manner of hidden erosion.
Thank you VH.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan Gordon

Write this down and spend a few minutes every day saying it to yourself. It is the Hawaiian healing prayer, otherwise known as ho’oponopono.

I love you
I am sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you

Breathe in and out as you say each line. Close your eyes and visualize saying it to yourself. Or from your adult self to yourself as a child or as a baby.

This also works very well when I get attacked by mind movies and upsetting thoughts, or am otherwise triggered.

I need a lot of aloha from me, and need to make sure I do that every day.

🌺

Shan
Shan
9 months ago

Velvet we love you! I always love reading your input here.
MAHALO🩷🌸

BirdNerd
BirdNerd
9 months ago

I know the story of that mantra. Very deep woo woo stuff ♥️
And I use it every time I pass someone who’s homeless or struggling.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

PS…a Velvet Hammer is actually the name of a cocktail that totally kicks your ass while you are unaware of it because it goes down so smooth. I first heard about them when I worked at the Renaissance Faire here in California decades ago.

Though I no longer drink, I still love the imagery.

😜

StillMad!
StillMad!
9 months ago

Please share the recipe 🍸

Shan
Shan
9 months ago

Thank you♥️😭♥️

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

The last strand of the romantic rope between us snapped when he told me he was with the Craigslist cockroach, saw that I was calling, and said, “Darn. It’s my wife.”

I was not his wife. I was his hostage. I do not call myself his former wife. I was not treated like a wife. I am his former hostage. I have found that it’s the most accurate term when I need to explain my relationship to him, and when asked to explain it allows me to share what cheating is in a nutshell, “When someone is pretending to be in a committed relationship with you while living a secret sexual double life, they are holding you hostage.” It shuts down the debate about cheating and what it is and isn’t very effectively.

BirdNerd
BirdNerd
9 months ago

Thank you for that! Yes! I was absolutely his hostage. I never realized it until now. I feel so much better. I’m still processing all of it. Some days are better than others. But I KNOW I made the right decision to get rid of him and his double life!

ImmaChumpToo
ImmaChumpToo
9 months ago

VH, I use your “hostage” term regularly. Perfectly illustrates the situation.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
9 months ago

VH, posts like this are the reason I keep coming back to this site.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

OMG! That is terrible!
I cannot even imagine how you felt.

Little Wing
Little Wing
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

{something in Polish that I cannot translate here if I want this post to ever appear}

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
9 months ago

I knew I deserved better when someone tried to “encourage” me by saying, “Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.”

I’m sure there are some situations in which that could be true, but I’m here to tell you that divorced life is much easier than living in a house made of spackle.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago

““Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.”

The difficulty of divorce has a finite timeline. Even if you are divorcing the most volatile of FWs and have kids, and hence, will still have to co-parent, there is a concrete end in sight. And even with co-parenting, you can avoid them a LOT of the time, moreso the older the kids get. If you stay married to a FW, you deal with that until one of you dies. And the fuckery can get worse and worse. The best of marriages can at times be hard, but not as hard as remaining in a truly bad marriage.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago

“a house made of spackle”
Perfect description

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago

Yep, I don’t like that saying, it can be true I am sure. But, yeah D was easier for me than I ever thought it would be.

In my case I don’t blame my faith for his failings. In fact I strongly believe that God took me screaming and kicking out of that marriage. As I looked back on it things were being revealed to me that I noticed but of course explained away.

My life started to thrive, he spent the rest of his in total destructive mode. Christian values are not the issue, corrupting those values is.

Power is hard to handle, and it doesn’t make any difference who the group is; Religion, Politics, Media, Medical industry etc, we have seen more than enough corruption from all these groups to know that lies and corruption destroys.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

I agree Susie Lee! I truly believe it was God who gave me the strength and courage to tell my WH to leave in the end, and to not give into his manipulations, which were almost demonically clever, to let him move back in when he hoovered me at the beginning of the month.
He’d not come home from his Friday night shift by tea-time Saturday so I rang him. He told me he was on his way home but stuck in traffic and would be back in about an hour. The hour came and went and a few hours later, about 9pm or so I rang him again and he told me again he was on his way home. I told him I didn’t believe him and to tell me the truth but he just casually doubled down on the lie and that was the beginning of the end for me!
I had been feeling really ill that Saturday and woke up on Sunday feeling even worse so couldn’t even get ready for Mass, but later on that day, as he lay in my bed spark out from his cocaine-fuelled debauchery, having sneaked in in the early hours and huddled on the edge of the bed instead of tucking into me as he usually did ( I suspect because he’d been having his way with his gullible little slapper!), I realised I had to get out of the house. It was a lovely day for Ireland in April so I went to the remote village where my parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles are buried, prayed for them and sat and took in the beautiful view but I was lower than a snake’s belly. I went into the church and got down on my Knees before Christ in the Sacrament and prayed my heart out to Him in floods of tears, then left, went to the supermarket in town for bits and bobs and went home, where Himself was still asleep and I was annoyed that he hadn’t even realised I’d been gone! I wanted him to be the one wondering where the heck I was for a change and you can bet he’d have been ringing me because he wanted me trapped here in this house, like they usually do!
Anyway, God answered my prayers and took the blinders off my eyes that evening- they started to ache like mad, in a way I’ve never felt before nor since- and He helped me to put my guard up and start to detach, so I could watch, listen, assess and “build a case”, which is what I spent the next fortnight doing until I decided to pack his stuff, text him because it was mid-afternoon on Sunday and of course, he hadn’t come home yet from his Saturday night shift at work, and tell him to his face I needed him to move out!
There’s loads more to it, I could write an essay but we all could I suppose. I credit God anyway with helping me see the truth of my situation, what he, FW, has become and the strength and courage to put a stop to his emotional abuse and betrayal of me, and my son, who he’d helped me rear since he was 9 years of age, and was the only “dad” he’d ever had!
God has also given me hope for our future now as well, which I look back and see I was loosing, sinking into a sort of numb depression which was in danger of becoming despair! I have told him I want a divorce and an anullment because I want to be free, not necessarily to meet and marry again, but just to be free! I trust in God He will grant me that freedom because I was faithful and true the whole time, right to the end and will remain so until I am released from my vows! And because God is good!

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

Oh Shadow, I know the pain. From the point I knew he had a girlfriend, both in crisis and in wreckonsillyation, I went to daily Mass for him and our marriage – nearly 7 years. I do believe that God guides us and I kept expecting to get an urging like you got to leave, but I did not. Once I went to the Church, sat in the front pew and cried so hard and so long, by the time I calmed down and opened my eyes, there was a funeral happening around me. (and I had to figure out how to extricate myself from it hahaha!!!)

One day, I was trying to survive in his crucible of abuse and he was SO DAMN MEAN, I got in my car and shrieked my prayer to God “WHY IS HE SO MEAN!!!???” I understood that people get grumpy and frustrated, but his levels of cruelty were excessive for anything resembling normal. That was on a Friday and I learned on Sunday that he was in a relationship with Susan of Seattle.

Much later, after a typically painful conversation with him (on our anniversary actually), I finally had a big “come to Jesus” moment trudging up the stairs at my job and I told God. “I have tried and its clear he is miserable with me and the kids and if there is a place where he can be happy, I release him to go there…I will not argue or try to stop him”. I felt calm and peace.

The next week or so, I invited him to go into the city and visit a museum with me. He grumbled and griped and refused to go with me but I went anyway. I had to tell him something on my way and he went into verbal abuse mode and I used my new boundary of “no telephone abuse” and hung up. I thoroughly enjoyed myself all alone. In my head and heart, I had rounded the corner of trying to fix and had handed him over to God for keeps. 6 days later, he dropped dead. No warning at all…youngish and ostensibly healthy person. We did later figure out what it was but that doesn’t matter. I thought I was releasing him to California, but it turns out that Purgatory was his next city of residence.

I now believe that God (who I believe would have told me to leave if Cheater had many more days) asked me to stay just a tiny bit more because God knew that Cheater had few days. I think Christians often mistake Gods directives to one person as blanket instructions for everyone. I got specific instructions for a specific situation and I dont encourage others to stick around for abuse.

I think my presence and prayers made the difference for him in going to Purgatory instead of Hell. I want him to someday get to Heaven but I dont want to be anywhere near him. I feel good that I did what I was asked to do but again it was a specific circumstance and not one to apply to others.

I hope you get the annulment. I know that topic is a pain trigger for some. My forever-husband’s marriage was annulled without his participation and he felt wronged by the Church, It did, however allow us to marry in the Church. Blessings to you

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

Wow Unicornnomore! God love you, you really went through it with your deceased H!
I pray everyday for my husband to repent and revert so Christ can save his soul too! Like you, I want him to go to Heaven and am sad because he has chosen the path to Destruction. I am SO angry with him, and still grieving but I would never wish Hell on him. You will have earned great graces from your prayers for someone who abused you so badly and you deserve them, because that’s a Spiritual Act of Charity! God bless and keep you!

Josh
Josh
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

I think we try and then we turn our marriage into a idol, and sometimes he has to break that. The pain sucks, but it’s much better in the end.

Shan
Shan
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

He is the only way♥️ and He’s waiting for me to realize
Thank you for sharing

Exofanaddict
Exofanaddict
9 months ago
Reply to  Shan

I believe god removed me from my marriage bc it was self destructive and unhealthy. I believe god was not ready for me give up my life on earth just yet and painfully but gratefully pointed me in my new journey. It still hurts but I don’t question why anymore.

Geode
Geode
9 months ago
Reply to  Exofanaddict

I hadn’t been a practicing catholic for years but one day I felt so overwhelmed I went to noon mass at a little chapel near work. I broke down and cried through most of the 20 minute service. As I sat in the pew unable to summon the energy to go back to work I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and the priest ask if I wanted to talk. And so we did. That night, on the priest’s advice I met up with my oldest friend and confided in her the things I’d learned about my husband of 18 months: his affinity for skanky back page prostitutes and local “respectable” hookups, the ensuing insane sex addict recovery that I was now policing, the financial fraud, the professional reprimands, the compulsive lying and the emotional abuse that was becoming physical. Like the priest, she told me what I needed to do, which deep down I already knew. I called an attorney the next day.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  Geode

Both the priests at my church told me I needed to detach and get away from my EH too! One told me I could come and talk to him any time, he’s a genuinely kind man and he warned me that EH is a very toxic individual and advised me to tell the Gardai (Irish police). The Gardai have taken me seriously too. Funnily enough, I hadn’t spoken to my best mate in England (I’ve no close female friends here, surprise, surprise!) and she was very upset I’d been going through it all on my own ( and funnily enough, although she and he got on very well, in the last year he never once even asked had I been speaking to her, never mind encouraged me to contact her!) She is a survivor of serious DV from her 1st husband and although she’s not a Catholic, she knows the score and she also understands very well that there is a spiritual element to adultery and abuse. She affirmed to me that when he caught me in a headlock disguised as ” hug”, that he was threatening me! A Gardai Sergeant told me it was an assault!
Basically, I believe that because I turned to Christ for help, He has not only given me moral and spiritual strength and courage, he’s has given me loads of support through people!
CL and all my fellow chumps are great support as well!
God bless you, keep asking Christ to keep hold of you, which is what I do, keep up the practice of the Faith and prayer and treasure your friend, she’s a God -Send to you, like mine is!

Sandyfeet
Sandyfeet
9 months ago
Reply to  Geode

FW and I went to confession, he was apparently pretending, I was confessing my desire that he and AP were dead. The priest told me his new, late life addiction would be my cross to bear. Weirdly, he ask if young AP was catholic ( I have no idea).
After unsuccessful intervention and faking going to addiction counseling and money disappearing again, lies. Father appeared to be right. But alas, FW didn’t give up AP. I was finished

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandyfeet

Both the priests at my church told me I had to detach and build a life of my own, and the priest I like best told me I had done the right thing making FW leave and that he’s “a very toxic individual, isn’t he??” He was disgusted at the behaviour of him! We all have crosses to bear but some would just kill us or drain us so much, we’d be no good to God nor anyone else! We might even become a cross for someone else to bear, like our kids and that’d be wrong! Bearing an addict’s crosses is a form of enabling anyway, cushioning them from having an incentive to get clean and sober!
I’ve just thought, STBXH used to refer to other men’s wives or live-in girlfriends as a “bit of cushion” sometimes! Red flag? I think it was!

Little Wing
Little Wing
9 months ago

“Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.”

THIS!^^^^^^^^^^

It can be applied to every single choice in life.

Glad He’s Gone
Glad He’s Gone
9 months ago

I had to negotiate to eat at least one meal a day (frequently at work, with colleagues) with my former FW, and begged to spend at least part of one weekend day with him, because his work schedule was so demanding. Guess what: he ended up leaving me for someone he met at a work event.
Frequently when he did have time off he’d choose to make plans with his friends or family. It felt like I was always last in line for his attention. I realized after it was all over that I was glad to not have that lopsided marriage anymore.

Tall One
Tall One
9 months ago

The gift of 3 replacement dinner plates.

In my head, I was like “wt…..” but of course I said out loud, “oooh good idea! Thank you SO much.”

Funny enough she got the whole set in the divorce.

…..

I had to learn to break up sooner. It’s a hard lesson for an empath. But it was critical to finding my own foundation.

So I learned to hurt people’s feelings. And I felt better when I was ghosted or left “behind”.

But I began to see my own value through a different perspective.

Beachgirl
Beachgirl
9 months ago

My father died on a Friday morning, that very same evening he got angry I looked sad and said “what the fuck is wrong with you”. Any emotion I had that wasn’t Stepford wife pleasant bothered him. I’m embarrassed to say it took me another 5 years and multiple affairs before I left. But I think that was the moment I knew I deserved better, it just took me a long time to have the courage to do anything about it.

sleepyhead
sleepyhead
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

I’m remembering when my dad was dying (it wasn’t unexpected but he had taken a sudden turn for the worse) and I needed the car to go see him. Husband then immediately decided that he just had to go visit his daughter and 4 year old granddaughter, the latter of whom had broken her arm several weeks (!) previously. Cue a huge argument about how insensitive I was about his granddaughter (WTF?) and I ended up having to tell him to F off, that I was going and he could find some other way to virtue-signal about his kids (whom he rarely even mentioned unless it was to make himself look like a doting father/grandfather). I went to see my dad (he passed away while I was there), and came back to a complete mess on my computer desk, with Post-It notes everywhere telling me how worthless I was, and a huge note in capital letters, with the paper torn from pressing down so hard, cursing me out for having supposedly said “F [granddaughter]” which I had never said. I knew right then that he was irrational, but had some ducks to line up and didn’t end up filing for divorce until the following year.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  sleepyhead

That is horrible. I had a similar desk episode with my cheater, but to come back from your dads death to this…inexcusable and Im sorry he hurt you like that

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

I came home after disappearing for two days after his DUI arrest where I did NOT bail him, and he’d broken into the house and wrote “fuck you” across our bathroom mirror in his own excrement. I took a pic and my atty got to show it to judge and enter into evidence. It was considered harassment.

FYI
FYI
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

Truly, truly disordered. Crikey. 🤮

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

Same, Beachgirl, same. My mother died unexpectedly. (My parents were in Sweden, I was in Texas.)
That night, the Lying Cheating Loser picked a vicious fight, and as I lay sobbing in bed, he left the house, saying he was going to call his mother, because “MY mother is still alive and not dead like yours!”
Not all FW are character disordered, but the LCL is a sociopath and cannot abide any situation where he and his needs are not the center of attention.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

Oh damn…I just made a terrible face reading that.

I posted elsewhere about my belief in Purgatory and that people are held accountable for what they say.

One day not long before Cheater died (young and unexpectedly), he walked through the kitchen where I was sitting quietly. He said something godawful to me (which I dont even remember) and (so accustomed to abuse) I didnt even flinch.

I then very calmly said “you will hear your words again…you will be in Purgatory and God will remind you of what you just said”. I genuinely thought was decades from that conversation with God but he was only a few months from it.

Beachgirl
Beachgirl
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

Unicornomore, You and I remain in the Dead Cheaters Club and I too often wonder, if there is a great beyond if he had to face all the shitty horrible things he did to me.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

I really do believe that there is something after this. I started my deep-religious experience as an evangelical where the teaching was “accept Jesus once and when die, whammy – straight to Heaven”. I started to convert to Catholicism for Cheater but Purgatory was a stumbling block. To me, it was a silly old awkward teaching they were too embarrassed to admit was stupid. I can tell you where I was standing in my kitchen when I realized that there MUST be a time and place of reckoning because there will be people in Heaven that we hurt and we must deal with that before we enter.

In this experience, I have found it all VERY comforting. I consider myself deeply Catholic in terms of the actual teachings of the Church but am not currently attending Mass right now because the American Catholic Church right now is deeply misguided.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
9 months ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

Pick-a-big-fight-and-then-you-can-storm-out was my FW’s go-to tactic. They must teach this in Cheater Academy in Excuses 101.

Sandyfeet
Sandyfeet
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

I’m sorry, I had similar . My younger sister died after me having to put her on hospice care and the next day FW HAD to go to office due to an employee dispute. It shocked me. I said “please don’t leave me with my grief”. I am certain now he was seeing AP Howorker. I remember thinking I would never do that to him…..

Sunrise
Sunrise
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandyfeet

I’m sorry that happened to you SF. When they’re done they’re done. The morning after he informed our three kids (10, 8, 5) “we” were getting a divorce, he went to work as usual. I heard the door shut and so did my son. I went into my son’s room and sat on the bed while he silently cried. Then he said “I guess Dad went to work” as if this was just a usual Monday morning. So I called a mental health day and we took the train into the city to see the sights. We met up with Fuckwit’s brother for lunch, who could scarcely believe that Fuckwit hadn’t spoken in checked in on the kids since his announcement the night before.

Principled Life
Principled Life
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

Oh, that hurt my heart. I wish I could go back in time and give you a big hug on that awful Friday, and punch him in the throat.

Mine said, defensively after Dday “Not EVERYTHING I told you is a lie” and I stayed for more years of lies and abuse.

Shan
Shan
9 months ago
Reply to  Beachgirl

That’s so sad. Your emotion was such an inconvenience
I can relate. They have no idea what to do. Or care to try

Shan
Shan
9 months ago

Let’s go to Hawaii. Then for a while it was- “I took you to Hawaii and you think I don’t care”
“Took you” makes me cringe. As if I didn’t rent a keep on my credit card or spend $1000 on hotel fees. Or basically plan most of it.
*I got my dad to go though which was priceless and reason enough to go♥️ yes he paid too
“I told you I love you and I am so sorry; it was the dumbest mistake I’ve ever made”
Prior to me finding out it was me going to work feeling like I was starving.
Starving for a night away. Starving for my back or foot rub. Recognition other than how good the dinner was.
“Here’s $100” after knowing I am broke and the money needed to go into the bank
I like this post because I recognize things like how lopsided my relationship was for years and the part where CL mentions “not wanting to quit” and empathy.
Ugh
I especially like when she says pull the plug sooner🩷

Doingme
Doingme
9 months ago

The breadcrumbs spanned decades. I was guilty of unconditional love and forgiveness.

The day I filed for a divorce despite loving my abuser I saw them together. When I approached them I thought she must have been the AP’s mother. After years of feeling like I didn’t measure up it was shocking to see this hag spewing out obscenities in a public place.

My attorney had just told me of her arrest record with a recent RO from a previous boy friend which involved breaking into a window, throwing his hot coffee in his face, throat punching him and escaping with drugs. She was also on probation for knocking over an elderly neighbor. That’s the short list. It made me laugh when I saw where I finally dropped off the asshole who led a double life. I never looked back. Not only did I deserve better, he deserved the classless ho.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  Doingme

My FW shut my son and me out for scumbags too! Cancerous people, a stupid little slapper and a “mate” whom nearly beat his pregnant girlfriend and unborn child to death! I still am shocked at the last one because he always used to utterly despise that creature! FW used to call him a “bender” and say he had a “twisted head on him!” (which he actually does! He’s twisted on the outside as well as on the inside) as most people around still do, but now he’s all pally with him!! It’s insane!
When they discard you for piss-tramps and psychos it’s a sort of compliment, albeit backhanded! It means WE are worthwhile, decent and have at least a BIT of class, and we should laugh at them! They are only sinking to their own level-a level of worthlessness!

Trudy
Trudy
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

He’s all pally because it means he thinks he’s superior to someone.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
9 months ago

It’s interesting how gaslighting and trauma leave memory gaps. At two and a half years divorced from a 30-year marriage, I’m still being hit by the ah-ha moments. So that’s why his errands always took four hours.

I’m going to use this Friday’s challenge to see if I was accepting scraps even at the beginning of the relationship. I have a feeling that I’ve always found “giving” men to be boring and “opinionated” men to be attractive. As an older woman, I now value being asked what I think.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

IcanseeTuesday wrote: “It’s interesting how gaslighting and trauma leave memory gaps. At two and a half years divorced from a 30-year marriage, I’m still being hit by the ah-ha moments. So that’s why his errands always took four hours.”

I’m right there with you, Tuesday. I’m 42 years out from my first marriage, and I am still being hit by the ah-ha moments. So that’s why Sister Margaret was calling our house so often — and it wasn’t about the piano arrangements for Sunday. I think you’re doing well. I didn’t have those aha moments until several years after my divorce.

Shan
Shan
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

I’ve often said I’m accepting scraps… we are all connected
Also- has anyone here noticed after having sex maybe the day before – that something good happens like painting a room you’ve been asking about or just doing something you’ve been mentioning but doesn’t get done until the sec happened(?) just wondering.

ComeOnTuesdayHurryUp
ComeOnTuesdayHurryUp
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

I too get hit with the ah-ha…. ohhhh, that’s why moments. That’s why he had to go to his office at 9pm when the office alarm ‘randomly’ went off. Or, he drank to much at a friend’s house and stayed over not wanting to drink and drive. I to wonder what scraps I didn’t see at the begging of the 20 year relationship. I honestly can’t remember that far back.

Sandyfeet
Sandyfeet
9 months ago

FW did the alarm thing too, after calling to say I’m on my way. In retrospect, idk if it was AP Howorker or the drug dealer, doesn’t matter any longer.

Doingme
Doingme
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

Hindsight is 20/20 IcanseeTuesday. I was overwhelmed by the number of pieces of the puzzle that fit once I learned about covert narcissists. I kept wondering how my therapist seemed to know play by play what he’d do. It was if he’d met the Limited.

What I fell for was the mirroring of my my values. I had to consciously let go of every disordered action and forgive myself.

What I value is my FW free life!

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
9 months ago

I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wasn’t in a relationship anymore and that I really deserved to be in one with a husband that cared for me. (Choir was the one activity I had that was just for me that didn’t involve FW at all; he hated it when I went to choir and left him at home with the babies.) I was picking up a friend for choir practice. Her husband followed her out to my car, wished her a good evening, gave her a peck on the cheek, and then walked back into his house.

That’s it. Like a light bulb coming on, that my husband would never ever do anything that casually caring and warm for me. Sure, in the early days he would have but in the era of devaluing, he never, ever did small things that made me feel cared for. He never held my hand (I can recall twice where I reached for his hand, once in public and one in private, where he pulled his hand away from me), never wished me a good evening, never gave me small kisses to wish me well, and never greeted me at the door.

I realized that I wanted that. I wanted better. Where had my sweet thoughtful husband gone? Why was he so cold? Dumbly, I sat him down and had a talk with him about how I would appreciate those small gestures of care. I recall telling him that I always greeted him at the door when he came home because that showed that I was happy he was back and that it would mean a lot to me if he would greet me (even just saying “hi” from across the room… I was asking for some pretty small potatoes) when I came home. He countered that if it was something he was told he had to do then it wasn’t very sincere, was it? And that he didn’t really appreciate my insinuation that he had to greet me, or sometimes hold my hand, or any of those things.

I ended up apologizing to him for my requests and said that I didn’t mean to make him feel bad. (Good lord, I was such a doormat.)

I did know about OW#1 back then. All I knew was that I thought I used to be in a relationship with a caring thoughtful man and now he treated me like a nuisance. It was devastating.

Pathetically, I accepted his treatment of casual disregard and I redoubled my efforts to show him how I would like to be treated (with gestures like greeting him warmly, trying to give him small affections like hand holding or quick kisses, and making the meals for him that I knew he would love, and I started lining up babysitters and booking us dates (he complained that we never went out as a couple anymore and yet hated going out on dates with me; I had no idea what I was doing wrong!)), with the hope that my behaviour would rub off on him and he would begin to treat me like I was treating him: with care and warmth.

As we all know here, that plan didn’t work out at all. The more of a submissive posture I took, the more belly I showed, the worse he got. Eventually he gave me the “I don’t love you anymore, I don’t know if I ever did” speech and, broken, my babies and I moved into my parents’ house. He quickly moved OW#1 into our apartment and I found the emails between them belittling all my efforts of small affections (including a memorable line where he told her that me having supper ready for him every day when he got home from work was driving him crazy because I was so boring and predictable) and it all started to make more sense.

So yes, I can pinpoint one of the moments where I knew I wanted more (watching a friend’s husband treat her with casual affection and respect, realizing that I didn’t have that at all) and what crumbs I was willing to accept from him as proof that he cared for me… even just a little bit.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

“I found the emails between them belittling all my efforts of small affections (including a memorable line where he told her that me having supper ready for him every day when he got home from work was driving him crazy because I was so boring and predictable”

🤬 That’s unconscionable, not to mention stupid.

It’s also not true. It’s guaranteed that if you hadn’t had dinner waiting, he’d tell her you were lazy and inconsiderate. Of course he liked those dinners. He was just coming up with rudiculous excuses to devalue you.
FWs know that these creepy, mate poaching pick-me skanks practically have an orgasm when FWs put their spouses down. So they’ll grab at straws and use any bullshit they can come up with. APs don’t care that it makes no sense. As long as they think they’re “winning” they’re thrilled.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

“FWs know that these creepy, mate poaching pick-me skanks practically have an orgasm when FWs put their spouses down.” True, but when they overshoot in trying to distinguish themselves from negative things they perceive, project or are told about chumps and show themselves to be the opposite, the effect can be comical. For example, the AP in my situation always plied for expensive bistros, pricey booze and dirty weekends and such and never opened her wallet for any of it. But at some point FW told the AP he couldn’t get divorced because, er, um, I cared full time for our disabled middle child and couldn’t work. The AP was reportedly outraged and said, “She could get a job if she wanted!” Maybe the AP was too dumb to understand things like court-ordered settlements, alimony and child support and thought FW could simply dump his family free and clear but FW knew better and was clearly lying to stall. In any event, the AP seems to have leapt on this news as the perfect opportunity to prove her worth was greater than a “parasite SAHM” by finally paying for shit. She put herself into significant credit card debt right before D-Day and then got dumped the second the kids found out about Dad’s double life. I assume she never read Madame Bovary.

I also think a lot of FW criticism of chumps is intended as dog training for APs, like “You’re so amazing the way you scurry around after me picking up my dirty snot rags, stray pubes and pocket clutter– not like that bitch of a wife who, you know, requires me to contribute and thinks her time actually matters…”

Leedy
Leedy
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

Fourleaf, I too found your comments very poignant, and they brought back the heartbreak I too felt I made little efforts to find a bit of heart in my husband, who had once been such a good friend to me. It’s kind of amazing that FWs can watch us make these small bids for love–for years!–without changing course because of some feeling of compassion and guilt.

lulutoo
lulutoo
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

Thank you, Fourleaf–I could relate. Very well expressed.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

I could have written so much of this.

“He countered that if it was something he was told he had to do then it wasn’t very sincere, was it? And that he didn’t really appreciate my insinuation that he had to greet me, or sometimes hold my hand, or any of those things.

I ended up apologizing to him for my requests and said that I didn’t mean to make him feel bad. (Good lord, I was such a doormat.)

I didn’t know about OW#1 back then. All I knew was that I thought I used to be in a relationship with a caring thoughtful man and now he treated me like a nuisance. It was devastating.”

Conversely, if he ever shared (i.e. yelled at me about) something HE wanted me to do for him, and then I did it, he’d say it had no value because I was only doing because he told me to. I was supposed to read his mind, apparently.

I’m so glad we got out.

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

Me too. In my earlier, traumatized and heartbroken days I felt discarded and dumped. As time marched on, even in the earlier “I’m still learning to fall out of love with him” days of numbness, I began to realize how lucky I was not to be in his circus anymore. These days I don’t feel dumped as much anymore; I feel like I escaped. I feel so lucky. You couldn’t pay me to sign up for that again, and I know because I did sign up for that again (post-OW#1 pre-OW#3/Wifetress reconciliation).

We are so lucky to be out of that now.

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

Scanned the post for a typo and I found a doozy. “I did know about OW#1” was supposed to be “I didn’t know about OW#1.”

charmee
charmee
9 months ago

I could give you my top ten….grrrrrrr. When he announced to someone he had just “picked me up on the side of the road” “found me on the beach”. When he stated, “You wouldn’t be here unless I wanted you here”, but the ultimate was when I caught him red-handed on his phone with a message from another woman stating and I quote “I really enjoyed our time together” and his response 3 months later after I had walked and moved out in a pandemic was “she is a Lesbian”……..and I threw back in his face “well she wouldn’t have been there unless you wanted her there” I will never forget the look on his face. They hate it when you use their own words to hang them. Touche.

Chumped
Chumped
9 months ago

When he told me that if I ever get sick and can’t work, he would take me back to my parents. I suffer from OCD and Anxiety. The medication made me so sick I could barely get out of bed. My response was, if you ever get sick, I would take care of you even if we lost our house and I can only afford a room. Wherever I go you go. I would take care of you because I wouldn’t want a caregiver because I didn’t want anyone to abuse you.

Later, I compared those answers and knew it’s time. It took another 3 years for me to emotionally withdraw and have the courage to see the divorce through after his usual ‘I want a divorce’ threat which he didn’t think I would see through. He still thought I loved him and never noticed when I started pulling back. Too obsessed by his awesomeness to see.

IamChump
IamChump
9 months ago

Dumbest, stupidest, most regretable … I asked him to tell me something he liked about me, he said I was a good loser. I smiled at his ‘joke’, and cried for the entire weekend whenever I was alone.

Cooper
Cooper
9 months ago
Reply to  IamChump

IamChump,

That one hit home for me. I am so sorry you were treated like that ((((hug))). Only a sociopath/psychopath would make a “joke” that would stab the heart in such a way. Nobody capable of love would treat another with such cruelty. FW’s are horrible people in so many ways.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

I was the metaphorical boiled frog. FW’s abuse ramped up slowly over years. In the end, I considered it a good day when he simply DIDN’T verbally abuse me. “Happiness” = relief from the pain. That’s it. A pathetic crumb. “I didn’t cry today. It was a good day.” “He smiled at me. He must love me.”

After he kicked me out so he could be with OW (although he lied about the reason), I was forced to be without him. I lived off the texts he’d sometimes send about missing me. But much more often the texts were simply more verbal abuse, blaming me for everything, tearing me down, calling me names, threatening me with financial ruin and social ostracism. At first I clung to the crumbs, but time and distance slowly started to give me a new perspective. Eventually I started to understand just how badly I’d been abused and manipulated for our whole relationship (even the “good times” in the beginning). My therapist helped a lot.

The moment when I knew I was completely done, and made the decision to file for divorce (FW, even though he said he wanted a divorce, never actually lifted a finger to get one) was the time that FW took his anger at me out on our son. My mom and I had gone out to dinner and I had my son with me. FW texted saying he wanted our son to facetime him (as was usual), and I simply said we were out and would be home soon where it would be quieter. FW then proceeded to text horrible things to me (apparently that restaurant -Outback Steakhouse – was “his” place and I wasn’t supposed to take our son there), and didn’t stop even though I told him that our son was watching a movie on my phone and could see everything he was sending. Once we got home, I told FW our son could call him and he said he didn’t want to talk to our kid. I said it wasn’t our son’s fault and he didn’t do anything wrong, and FW said “he did do something wrong”. He BLAMED A 6 YEAR OLD. For not being home to take the all important daddy call. He then ignored my son’s repeated calls and messages for THREE DAYS, while my son asked what he’d done wrong that daddy wouldn’t talk to him. I actually thought FW might have met with an accident or something as he was completely incommunicado and silent on his (normally active) social media, and he’d been very sick the previous week. I eventually drove over to our house (where FW was living) to see if he was okay. I found OW there in a state of undress (it looked like she’d dressed in a hurry). She got angry I was there (I told her “stay out of this, it has nothing to do with you”), and when I pointed out to FW what his behavior was doing to our kid (he was like “I’ve been sick” and I said “not too sick to have company! You could have texted your kid. AND I offered to take you to the hospital LAST WEEK”), OW called me a liar and started screaming at me. I had been very intimidated by her for years, feeling like I had to compete, etc. In that moment I lost all fear of her and saw her for what she really was. A stupid little girl who hadn’t got a clue what she was talking about. I told her, in a calm, level voice, to stop verbally assaulting me in MY house or I would call the cops. She tried to say that she was only there to “help” FW (because he was sick), and I looked her dead in the eye and said “M-, your bra is hanging out of your shirt. You’re not here to HELP.” She panicked and also realized that she was screaming in front of FW, who HATED when people made noise when he was sick, and decided to leave. She said on her way out “I’m sorry for what I said” to which I replied “you’re not sorry for anything”. I tried to talk to FW about our son, but to no avail, so I also left. He then tried to call me repeatedly and I ignored the calls.

The moment I knew I deserved better was when FW called (he had asked “to talk” the morning after the above incident). He let me talk for half an hour and then “apologized” (for everything EXCEPT his abuse and affair) and told me he missed me. He seemed to be holding out the idea of another reconciliation, though he never explicitly said that. And I had the weirdest moment, almost like a vision. I was in the woods and there were two paths in front of me (“two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”). One way led back to FW and the life we’d had. The other was a path where I would be alone. And for the first time that I could remember, the path alone, into a new unknown, looked so much more appealing to me. The path back to my husband looked…exhausting. Even without the cheating, even if he did something about his explosive temper, the thought of going back to dealing with his mood swings, his need for constant validation, the need to help him emotionally regulate himself, to me doing all the work, wasn’t something I wanted anymore. I wanted peace. I wanted freedom. And so I didn’t jump at the crumb he was holding out to me which, I think, surprised him. He ended the phone call shortly after I had this moment of clarity, even though I didn’t say anything to him about it other than saying that OW couldn’t be in my life anymore or it would never work out between us. From that moment on, I focused on rebuilding MY life. Things started getting better for me after that. (I won’t say it was a definitive end, because I did still pick me dance a bit after that, but it was a start.)

When FW tried to hoover me a couple years later (after AP dumped him), I had no feelings left for him and wasn’t tempted in the least.

Chumpkins
Chumpkins
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

That vision moment would look great in a movie. Glad you took the path here. I enjoy your posts.

LeftToxicTown
LeftToxicTown
9 months ago

This is an excellent and important challenge. I was in a long term relationship (age 19 through 48) with someone I thought was my soulmate until I discovered his secret life. The devaluing & discarding stage was 8 months and left me a shell of a human being. He told me that he thought I was beautiful but was no longer attracted to me. That the AP was younger (by 5 years) and fitter than me (I’m a size 4). That I was the kindest woman, an incredible wife and mother but he wanted to know what life would be like with her not me. I will spare you the rest. Let’s just say, that I kicked him out thinking I was old, fat, and unattractive. He told me that “all you do is stay at home feeling sorry for myself” (I was a SAHM with a kid with ASD, and while I realized I was lonely in my marriage, I was pretty much happy otherwise.). I dated the first two men who asked me (I’m not on a dating site). One lasted 5 months as I realized he was looking for a mother. The other was long distance and lasted 1.5 years when the little yellow flags in the bushes ended up being flashing neon red Vegas signs. I dated these men for longer than I should have as I had been left by my husband feeling like no man would ever find me attractive or would want to be with me. I needed to go through these relationships to see my self-worth. I’m beautiful, attractive, intelligent, funny, interesting and do not need to have a man to make me feel whole or complete. My life had been trying to make everyone else happy. Today, I know that I’m the only person to which I need to do this. If I happen to meet someone who truly is a partner in life, that would be wonderful as I do miss that special intimacy. If not… life is an adventure either way. Only I can decided whether to be alone or lonely and the two do not need to be the same. If anyone is interested, I highly recommend “The Science of Well-Being” a course offered in Coursera by Yale professor Laurie Santos. Cheers my friends

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  LeftToxicTown

Your experience makes clear a few of the reasons why FW’s always do the “scorched earth” thing on victims’ self-esteem when affairs are discovered– to impair the latter’s ability to move on to subsequent healthier relationships. They basically want you to collapse into an inert bleeding heap that will still be there crying their name if they decide to circle back around and use you as a plan B. The more they sense their victims are perfectly suited for wonderful future relationships, the more they put the victims down.

That’s not how people behave when they’re genuinely letting go. I know because I’ve initiated breakups where I did nothing but build the individuals up out of a genuine belief they deserved happiness and would find compatible partners. From that perspective, it would feel sickening to deliberately leave the smallest scratch on their self-esteem and it’s obvious that lacing a single “but,” putdown or negative comparison into the breakup spiel is a sign of “sour grapes” ambivalence and territoriality, like hobbling slaves to make sure they can’t run away. It’s a disgusting thing to do.

I think the skein of why FWs can never genuinely let go and, deep down, would rather see former victims dead than happy is another demented kettle of fish that gets into clinical abuser psychology and things like infantile “masked dependency.” I’m convinced this alone marks cheaters as a species of batterer though there are a lot of other overlaps.

KatiePig
KatiePig
9 months ago

I didn’t get it until he talked about killing me. That’s what did it for me. And other people still tried to convince me I was being ridiculous for being afraid. So I feel like I had no chance with people like that around. Everything could be explained away, even my death apparently.

My ex was great most of the time though. It was fake but he acted great. He listened, we talked, he pretended to care about and agree with any concerns I had then he would use that info to go deeper underground to hide his real self from me. It’s funny because occasionally I miss the fake “perfect” part of the relationship but then my boyfriend and I have a stupid disagreement and I’m actually happy because this is real. We don’t always have to agree and that’s ok. My ex would pretend to agree with me but then do whatever he wanted behind my back and seethe with hatred over it.

LadybugChump
LadybugChump
9 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

KatieP… same for me. He agreed or seemed to agree with a lot of things. Then just did whatever he did. Now I know.

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

I was in a rebound relationship after my marriage ended (foolish me!). I realized after several months that the guy was a complete asshole and sometimes I found his AH behavior around others embarrassing and/or controlling. When I broke up with him and he demanded to know why, I said, trying to be both honest and tactful, that I could not count on him behaving in ways around others that I was comfortable with (the nicest way I could think of to communicate “Because you’re asshole and I’m embarrassed to be seen with you.”). That infuriated him. Shortly thereafter, when we were still in contact because I was hoping we could at least be friends (we lived on the same floor of my apartment building), he told me he recounted our conversation to an ex-CIA friend, and hinted that the ex-CIA friend thought what I said was egregious and offered to terminate me.

I didn’t take the threat seriously because I thought it was outlandish (in part because Peter lived in another state, at least 900-1000 miles away), but this was decades ago, and I was much less aware of/sensitive to the violence some men are capable of. I wish that I had responded that I would immediately report this threat to the police and consult an attorney and document that I was threatened by my ex and that he and his friend should be investigated if I were to experience a sudden fatal event.

As I said, though, I didn’t take that threat seriously, and continued to get together with the asshole ex occasionally as “friends” (without benefits) for a month or so after the breakup. My eyes were finally opened when I took him out for dinner on his birthday to a “splurge” restaurant. After we were seated and the food arrived, he then deliberately fired me as a friend—the timing was calculated because he knew he could say whatever nasty thing he wanted and I wouldn’t make a scene in the restaurant and also that I would be forced to pay for an expensive meal that neither of us had eaten (and he knew just how tight my money was at the time). It was such a calculated act of cruelty that it completely woke me up to the fact that I didn’t want to be friends with that asshole or have any contact whatsoever.

Some months later, he contacted me about getting together again and I, without hesitation, refused to see him. Then, some months after that, I ran into him in the lobby of our building, and he told me that he was dating a woman in our building (a psychiatrist), and that they were engaged. I congratulated him (while mentally pitying her) and was relieved to know that I would likely never have a conversation with him again.

KatiePig
KatiePig
9 months ago

That’s so disturbing and I’m sorry you had to deal with that jerk. When my ex told me that he’d been “fantasizing about killing me for years” I was scared shitless. I remember telling other women and watching them literally roll their eyes at me and all I could think was oh my God, this is why so many women get murdered by their husbands. Nobody believes us until we’re fucking dead. It’s horrifying when you watch it on one of those murder shows but actually experiencing it drives home how terrifying it is. And how nobody seems to care until you get murdered and then they’re like, omg, who knew? They can literally say it and people still act like there were no clues. It’s maddening.

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

This was in the pre-social media era and before true crime dramas were a thing on cable/streaming, so domestic violence was much less in the limelight. I’m horrified about his threat in retrospect and utterly grateful it was only a threat. Older, wiser me would take the situation much more seriously. As a coda, I learned he died nearly 20 years ago, less than a year after his psychiatrist wife died of cancer. (I would not be surprised to learn that he died of an alcohol-related death because I thought he had a budding alcohol problem about which he was in denial. Nothing dramatic, but I thought he liked his booze a bit too much, and that tendency doesn’t fix itself.) I don’t feel the least bit of guilt about feeling joy when it crosses my mind that he died at 52 and I’m still going strong (fingers crossed).

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
9 months ago

Peter was the ex-CIA guy.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

20th Century–

Yikes, that ex sounds like a walking abortion (as my mother would put it).

Speaking of nasty former spies, I’m a fan of James Ellroy’s political noir. His view that spy craft and the security industry often attract perverted characters rings a bit true, especially after the whole domestic spying scandal broke. I also like how the author seems to set a trap for racist/fascist/misogynist readers to assume the story is going to cater to their bigotry only to pull the rug somewhere in the middle and expose characters that personify those biases as repulsive walking abortions. I get the feeling Ellroy does’nt want his writing to be liked by the people he doesn’t like, preferring the latter to fly into rages and throw his books against walls (which I’ve seen some creepy reviewers do). Not that you would, but it would be a great prank to anonymously send your ex and his creepy pal the Underworld USA series. They might stroke out.

20th Century Chump
20th Century Chump
9 months ago

I haven’t read James Ellroy, but have put him on my list of authors to check out!

Unfortunately, I can’t send the ex and creepy pal the books you suggested–the ex-BF has been dead for nearly 20 years (to which I add an unapologetic yay!) and although I assume the creepy pal is still alive, I never knew his address.

Living well (and longer) is the best revenge. I’ve had a reasonably interesting life and am glad I spent such a short (though regrettable) fraction of it with the ex-BF. Sometimes when I’m heading into the major city where the ex-BF lived, I pass his building, and I always flip the bird as I sail past his final residence. He was a nasty piece of work.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

I understand. Only sadly, I convinced myself I was ridiculous for being afraid. You’re very brave.

KatiePig
KatiePig
9 months ago

You’re still here so you’re brave too. I’m just glad we both made it out alive. That counts for a lot.

lulutoo
lulutoo
9 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

OMG, Katie. ‘Other people’ can explain away ANYTHING, apparently, as long as it is not happening to them! Just shaking my head….

Innocencelost
Innocencelost
9 months ago

My crumbs from my FW kept me around for way too long- he would do/say just enough that i thought he was truly changing. That he was reflecting, doing the deeper therapy work, reprogramming himself, etc. Learning how to be a different person is hard, and the crumbs I thought were like a baby crawling. But all I got werecrumbs, here and there. Never a full dish, let alone a meal.

My therapist helped me set boundaries of what i needed from him for our relationship to continue, and he was near to failing when I found him lying and involved with other women.

I felt more obligated to end things because I had said i would more than anything. And even that wasn’t clear cut.

I had no lightning strike moment of when I thought I deserve better. I always think I deserve better! LOL Perfection is the enemy of the good enough. I was one of those truly blindsided with his infidelity. And I think from the moment I found out I believed I deserved better. And I wanted that better to come from him. He wasn’t ultimately capable of doing it.

When I was hurting so bad I didn’t want to get involved with anybody else. But humans are wired for connection. It reminds me of playing The Sims where there is a Social bar that, if it gets too low, makes your Sim depressed and sad.
Friends can help fill that need to an extent. But to reach our full potential requires all kinds of relationships. We learn about ourselves and heal ourselves through relationships.

After 3 years of deep therapy and reflection, I have put myself out there again. I have to say, the pool of quality candidates is pretty small at this point in my life. My therapist is hopeful I’ll find someone though. I’m curious to see how I am in that kind of relationship again.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Innocencelost

I don’t feel like I need a relationship to reach my full potential. My last relationship held me BACK from reaching my potential, and I have blossomed without a man in my life. My life is much more fulfilling now, I am happy, I look forward to the next day instead of steeling myself to endure it while walking on eggshells and waiting for the other shoe to drop, I actually have enough money to do the things I want to do, I am far healthier (physically as well as mentally).

On the other hand, I am an introvert and enjoy being alone, as well as being demisexual (sexual attraction only comes with a relationship), so maybe I’m atypical. I have family, a couple of good friends, my kid, and my cat. That’s all I need.

TuesdayIsSoClose
TuesdayIsSoClose
9 months ago
Reply to  Innocencelost

“But humans are wired for connection. It reminds me of playing The Sims where there is a Social bar that, if it gets too low, makes your Sim depressed and sad.” – so true, and applies to me.

“Friends can help fill that need to an extent. But to reach our full potential requires all kinds of relationships. We learn about ourselves and heal ourselves through relationships.” – After a year post divorce, 2 years post D-day, I appreciated my amazing therapist, friends, and family yet was ready (starving) for a male conversation and some new attention. Friends set me up with someone and we’ve been dating a year. An amazing guy with such strong character traits and integrity. A complimentary lifestyle for me (opposite my ex that lived in bars). And treats me with the utmost respect, while understanding I’m still healing. Have faith that relationship will happen for you as well.

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
9 months ago
Reply to  Innocencelost

I am scared shitless about ever trying a relationship again. I hear you about wanting a good honest close connection for a change. But for myself, I both don’t trust myself to choose well, and I don’t see much in quality out there. Older men want. Nurse or a purse

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

Older men want a nurse AND a purse. And since I am a retired nurse, I don’t want to take care of any more old men with nothing to contribute to a real relationship.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago

My whole marriage was me accepting crumbs and applying industrial-strength spackle meant to normalize his clear indication of how little I mattered. Never a spontaneous word of appreciation, gesture of physical affection, compliment, or gift. Does a non-crumb count as a crumb? Because I tried very hard to convince myself that his shoveling huge gobs of food into his mouth at rapid speed while facing the tv (the only times we ate at the table were Thanksgiving and Christmas) as appreciation for and a compliment to my cooking, when really all I was doing was providing him a useful service and relieving him of the necessity of cooking for himself.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

I forgot the second half, the “when did you know you’d had enough?”

My ex had a strange entanglement of long duration going with an ex-student (emotional affair at the least) that had ramped up over the years, and a secret sexual/gender identity I later found out she was “advising” him on.

1) I was going over to a friend’s to housesit for a weekend while she was away. My ex and I had been having words, and he said to me, as I was getting ready to go, “While you’re gone I’ll think about what I want from you.” Not “I’ll think about us” or “I’ll think about what we need to do”–nope. No indication there was a “we.” No indication that I mattered, or that what I thought was important. Just “I’ll think about what I want from you.” This is when I knew I was going to have to leave him.

2) Here’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. We were watching some tv show set in Finland. The husband and wife in the show were in bed together. By that time my ex had both refused to have penis-in-vagina sex with me, and would only have sexual contact at all if he could wear women’s lingerie and I treated him as if I were the man and he the woman. Watching the show, I was just aching inside, so I got up to leave the room, and said, “I can’t watch heterosexual sex” and he laughed. That’s the moment when I said, “I’m done.”

Ugh@him
Ugh@him
9 months ago

So much came to me yesterday while in the midst of a mini cry fest. I realized to him it was never an “us” or a “we”.. but “there’s you and then there’s me”.

Over the span of the relationship we’d have many conversations on how I always wanted to “just be included”. And by that I don’t mean literally there all the time, but more in the know I guess? Thought of, maybe? If you’re out with your dad or friends or whatever and things change just send me a text.. let me know how it’s going, yknow? I don’t think that’s a lot to ask for but after the 3rd.. 4th.. 5th+ time I’d have the tear filled conversation with him I’d be left feeling like I was in the wrong for wanting more or nagging since any of the “i know i’m sorry i’ll do better” changes never stuck. Is it really that difficult to text “hey we’re going to dinner after the game love you”? I don’t think so 🤷‍♀️

I spackled a LOT with this over the 14 years internalizing and making myself believe it was small and my feelings were dumb and insignificant. That it was just him and one of those things I needed to compromise on and pick up the slack for. So much so that when the affair started and he had the (now known as) fake work trips then the ‘helping my recently widowed grandfather on his land when reality is I’m 2 states away with her’ trip and we’d barely talk… it didn’t feel weird or odd I just thought he was busy. And only until my mom gave me a VERY specific toned “hm” after asking me how his week had been and I told her I didnt really know since hadn’t spoken to him all day did I even think anything was off. I’d convinced myself this was just him and that’s how it was.

But he didn’t see us as a partnership or a paired deal and I deserve to be thought of.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Ugh@him

During one of my million attempts to explain to Cheater what I had hoped for in our marriage, he said “Its like you want it to be ‘you and me against the world’ ” and he said it like it was an absurdity that he had never even considered. I responded that yes, I wanted us to face the world together. The fact that he never saw it the same was quite telling

DoubleUgh@him
DoubleUgh@him
9 months ago
Reply to  Ugh@him

Like you, I came to that exact same conclusion now 1 year post divorce (17 years married). It was just his personality. It’s how he was. It was HIM and ME, never us as a team. It was such a chore for them to text us to check in when they are “with friends” or on their fake “work trips”. I truly thought he was too busy and wanted to be the cool wife that gave him space. Yeah, I gave him no leash and a free pass to live a double life behind my back. One hard lesson I’ll carry forward is NEVER AGAIN will I accept that in a relationship. I’m looking for a player to be on a team together, to grow together.

SouthernChump
SouthernChump
9 months ago

I can’t remember the crumbs….they were all BS, so they all sucked and I have forgotten them!

BUT, when did I know I deserved better is another story:

FW#1) when he expected me to work 3 jobs a day and demanded I work a 4th (each day) on our 10th wedding anniversary. Mind you I was already working around 20-21 hrs a day and only getting 2 hrs of sleep at night with 3 jobs….for YEARS while he half assed 1 job! Ironically the next day while at my 2nd job (waitressing at night) a sweet older couple said to me “I hope your husband knows how lucky he is when I delivered their food and they saw my wedding ring”. And, just like that I realized that he didn’t. What I now realize that he put me through was blatant abuse (mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially) that spanned from the day we were married. The affair with next door neighbor smoochie was just the icing on the cake. Him demanding I have a 4th job was to keep me out of the house so he and sidepiece could play “house”. 🙄

FW#2) when he tried to kill me. I was bloody and bruised but in 24hrs packed up my and my kids stuff, a 4 bedroom house, found an apartment, and fled for my life while he was in jail.

FW#3) if I have anything to thank this prick for is that he really pushed me over the edge to do the REALLY deep down hard work on myself to fix my picker and flip the switch for good so I quit associating with FW’s altogether in every area of my life. We were good friends and he knew the BS and abuse that my exes had put me through so he played the “I’m safe” and “I love you so much” card. We were together for about a year until I found out that he was screwing the 26 yr younger than him nanny who I mentored. I’m just thankful that I didn’t hitch myself up to that disaster. But, it really hurt to know I had chosen another fucktard! I had enough of being treated less than. AND, that is when I decided to take a long hard look at ALL the people in my life. What I discovered is that in every area I had associated with FW’s (friends, work, church, romantic, and family). When I dove deeper I realized it stemmed from my FOO (Family of Origin) as when I was young I was belittled, made to feel as if my feelings didn’t matter, abandoned (mentally, physically, and emotionally), and made to feel that in order to survive I had to put my Narc Father, Step Mother, and Step Sister on a pedestal. Yes, they have all been identified by Psychiatrist as Narcs. So, I then did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and cut off every FW connection cold turkey including quitting my job without a back-up.

I literally purged my life from FW’s and for the first time figured out how to put my priorities first, set boundaries, learn red flags in real time, and focus on me. What happened is I ended up finding a better job making double what I was making without being harassed, found and surrounded myself with amazing friends, found a healthy partner who was also a chump we are now married….got married on a Tuesday❤️, and have a healthy relationships and boundaries with my family.

So with all of that in mind, I leave you with this – A lot of amazing things happen when you set boundaries around these asstards and focus on yourself! Purge them, break the toxic patterns in your life, do not accept less than in any area of your life, don’t get caught up in society’s BS reconciliation or you need to “try harder” mind games. It’s all crap! Just do you and focus on being healthy and surrounding yourself with healthy. I promise, it’s a game changer.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  SouthernChump

That is some serious badassery right here. You are mighty !!

SouthernChump
SouthernChump
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

Thank you! I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and share my story to offer HOPE to others.❤️ I was discarded/abused again and again in some horrible ways from friends, family, partners, bosses (I only gave a quick snap shot….the whole view would take a while). Not only did my FW’s cheat but they tried to ruin me financially by:
FW#1 – judicially abusing me with a custody case where he ALMOST got custody of my kids because he forced them to lie about me until a psychiatrist was court ordered to test all of us. He wrote a report deeming me the custodial parent and my FW controlling, manipulative, and abusive (further testing would have to be done to determine if he is a Narc or somewhere else on the spectrum). I whip that report out anytime that asshole gives me trouble (it’s great to watch my FW squirm when he thinks that he has snowed over someone to do his dirty work onto me and it doesn’t work). I’m still paying those Judicial fees off and feel it’s some of the BEST money I’ve ever spent because that report has saved me and my kids many times now❤️

FW#2 forced me to be on his tax return the few months we were married by trying to break my thumb/wrist and telling me he would kill me and my kids if I didn’t….what I soon realized after is that he owed the IRS thousands of dollars in back taxes and he was trying to tee it up that I would be liable for some of that debt. (He was also trying to force me to put him on my life insurance policy, which I didn’t do). That is when the physical abuse escalated. When I fled I took as much evidence as I could about his back taxes, how much money he was making/spending vs. how much money I was, etc. I reached out to the IRS about the taxes multiple times but didn’t hear back for years. Then several years down the road they mailed me and said I owed over HALF A MILLION dollars in HIS back taxes. I gathered all that evidence that I took and presented over 2inches thick of paperwork to the IRS (including the blood spattered budgets that I was working on the day he tried to kill me). All of that evidence proved my innocence. I’m still working out some little kinks with the IRS but not half a million dollars worth…more like under 4,000 worth.

All that said, my life literally changed almost instantly when I purged the shittards from my life. My greatest accomplishments after these shitstorms are 1) I teach my children about Narcs, red flags, and how to set boundaries with other people in age appropriate conversations and they are now purging toxic people from their lives and surrounding themselves with healthy people. That is a huge blessing!
2) I help women and their children get out of controlling and abusive relationships in my community or if they stay, keep tabs on them to help them stay safe. I also keep tabs of what lawyers are good vs. who sucks and out for themselves. And, I have a list of resources that I give them where they can stay anonymous and safe in my community as well as online (like CN).
Those that know my story keep it on the down-low so I can navigate easily through our community and help those in need. It’s really a beautiful and amazing blessing sharing my horror turn triumphant story and then watching these beaten and battered women and children do the same thing. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Shan
Shan
9 months ago
Reply to  SouthernChump

Married on a TUESDAY!♥️♥️♥️

SouthernChump
SouthernChump
9 months ago
Reply to  Shan

❤️❤️It was amazing and all of our healthy friends and family understood the significance which made it that much more special. In our CN world staying anonymous is needed for safety….in my world staying neutral and anonymous is also safe because I now help a lot of women in my community get out of controlling and abusive relationships (and my husband is a major political figure in our community). So, keeping a low profile of helping those in need is a must. So, it meant a lot when our friends who understood what we’ve been through and how far we’ve come REALLY GOT the Tuesday reference.❤️❤️

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Shan

And I hope her groom was wearing a monkey suit! (to signify CL’s “real monkey love”)

MollyWobbles
MollyWobbles
9 months ago

I’ve had so many Ddays in my 30+ years with STBXFW, I am the President of The Shit Eaters Club. I was great at rug sweeping.
He’s in love with my cousin? No problem! I’ll just keep them apart! He tried to fuck another mom from our preschool group while I was pregnant? No problem! I’m so traumatized by this event that I develop amnesia and literally don’t think about it again for 15 years! Brain damage. Problem solved! He ended up in bed with his married, lesbian co-worker? RIC to the rescue!
The amount of dancing I did in those decades is staggering. Finally one day, when he handed me a workbook from our then current RIC group, I snapped. I have HOMEWORK? For HIS CHEATING? No. Just no. Fuck this noise. I’m out. I’m done. That was 18 months ago and I haven’t looked back. It took me 30 years but I finally did it.

KADawn
KADawn
9 months ago
Reply to  MollyWobbles

good job!!!!! Homework for HIS cheating…. how do these RIC folks keep a straight face while they peddle this crap???

lulutoo
lulutoo
9 months ago
Reply to  MollyWobbles

Yay you, Molly! (you are not wobbling any more!)

Skunkcabbage
Skunkcabbage
9 months ago

This is me. Finally said enough and managed to get out in 2015. Only 2 dates since then, and one was virtual. I do like my single life and live it exactly how I want it, but its a fact of being human that we get lonely and want some touch.

If I wanted to just go out and get laid, I’m sure I could do that, but it wouldn’t be with a person that I had a connection with and that’s just ‘eww’ to me. So, I am trying to come to grips with the fact that this just might be it for me. I may never find my special someone. And I have to learn to be ok with that. Everything else in my life is 1000% better since I left XAss. I have no regrets on leaving that situation.

I will never ever settle for less. I watch my 88 year old mother searching, once again, for her next boyfriend. That man will the one who sits down and smiles and talks to her, doesn’t matter what he looks like, what his background is, what his ethics may be…. if he likes her, she loves him. And it makes me cringe. Not me. Never, ever again.

NoMoreMsNiceChump
NoMoreMsNiceChump
9 months ago

I always knew I was giving more than I was receiving in the relationship, that he needed me more than I needed him. I was the breadwinner and still did all the housework. He was the eye and arm candy, and towards the end he stopped even accompanying me places. I knew going into the marriage that I would be doing most of the work and I was okay with it, but I never signed up for him cheating or depriving me of sex for the kibbles of watching me beg for it. He tried to convince me that I was too ugly for any other man to want me, but I knew that I was a not-yet 30 year old woman in damn good shape, so I never bought that particular lie. So I guess I always knew, deep down, that I deserved better from the time he started criticizing me on our honeymoon. I stayed as long as I did out of a combination of hopium and inertia until his threats to divorce me jerked me out of it.

My real “aha!” moment when it all came together didn’t come until after I had filed for divorce and he asked if I could buy him a flat-screen TV as a “parting gift”. In that moment I realized that he had never loved me, that I had never been more than a meal ticket for him. I yelled that his parting gift was being allowed to keep his dick attached after D-Day. I don’t recommend this, as CL says if it feels good don’t do it, but I mention it because it was so out-of-character for me. I am normally a very calm and level-headed person. As someone once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you mad.”

KADawn
KADawn
9 months ago

This is such an important question and CN is really delivering today! There were many moments that I wish I had recognized I deserved more… life with a covert narc and addict is really mind-in-a-blender messy with repeated cycles of idealization and devaluation! But if I had to pick one that I think set me up to later be able to actually leave it would be when we were having a disagreement and my (now) ex said “My counselor says I GET to watch porn because I’m so stressed AND he says I was allowed to lie to you about it because we all know how you are!” In one run-on statement, he lied, lied, and blameshifted! In that exact moment I was so stunned by the blatantly self-serving BS that I froze and had no response, but I took it to my own counselor and started the long and difficult process of learning to recognize the BS he was constantly serving and rebuilding my own self-worth so that when the final D-Day happened, I recognized it as the actual end, and took all the steps to close that chapter of my life (while he actively undermined my efforts, natch–they really do all use the same playbook!). It’s been more than 2 years since we separated, and divorce will be two years final in September, and I am still re-learning how to love, care for, and respect myself. But I’m doing it, and will keep on doing it, whether I date, recommit to someone, or remain romantically alone for the rest of my life. Being able to recognize the lies and blameshifting, finally, was the first step.

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

I knew it when I saw them out and they were texting back and forth like a couple of teenagers. A switch just flipped.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago
Reply to  Josh

They do act like silly teenagers don’t they. I don’t understand how they can’t see this about themselves. Texting wasn’t a thing when my fw was cheating, but he had just gotten a work cell phone and he spent so much time on that phone. I am guessing it was how they nailed him when someone dropped a dime on him

Idiot was so confident he was in control, I am betting it never occurred to him all the mayor had to do was pull the phone records. (she was his direct report, so he shit all over where he ate).

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago

So, for me, infidelity was for a long time not even the worst of his offenses. He was verbally, emotionally, and even physically abusive for years. I was totally ashamed and I still am because I put up with that crap for so long (and we have five kids, now grown, and that I modeled that this was okay still fills me with guilt to this day). I even thought his cheating was a situation of “at least he’s not screaming at me.”

It wasn’t until I found that he was having a deep emotional affair (not just a physical one) with someone from his work that I started to wake up. I thought how he screamed at me and called me a “cunt,” etc. and then was loving to her…my heart broke into a million pieces and a few months later, I started going to therapy to figure this out. Then I started to realize I deserve so much more. And eleven months after I confronted him about that big affair (there were others, but the emotional aspect is what ended up being the final straw for me), I left him. I was done. And not a day goes by where I am not so thankful I left him, although much much later than I should have.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Redkd

So glad you got away. Your story sounds so much like my mother’s. And if it helps you feel better about those years when you modeled behavior you’re not now proud of: when my mother finally left my father, she became a shining example of how one takes back one’s self-respect. And you did, too.

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

Thank you. It’s definitely my biggest guilt.

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

Also, as time goes on, I’m am becoming more grateful she left. It was so damn taxing living with her. The wreck-less spending, the fact she was so flirty with others and was proud other men looked at her, the list goes on. I am less anxious and in a much better mood.

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago

I want to add that from what I have read and from talking to friends who were in similar positions (there are soooo many of them, too, and none of them you’d think of as “weak” if you met them on the street. And they aren’t weak), infidelity is usually in addition to other abuse. I don’t think if often occurs in a vaccum.

portia
portia
9 months ago

Interesting that CL points out culture differences. I was raised in a culture where education and work and being responsible was honored. Women were expected to be enablers because men controlled property and money. My Ex was raised in a culture where making money was the most important thing. The cross-over expectation was that if he earned more money, I was expected to enable his ability to do so and be the responsible one for all the details of living. My happiness and fulfillment weren’t even on the radar. I was a very efficient wife and mother appliance.

He never wanted a divorce. He just wanted me to ignore all his indiscretions and bad decisions. He never gave a thought to how his actions hurt me, or how I felt. It was like water torture, drip, drip, drip. Then one day I just had enough.

It was not a snap decision. I had been reading, and studying, and evaluating my life. I had been thinking about my future. I just came to a conclusion, based on all the drip, drip, drip that I did not want to live this way anymore. So I started all the processes I needed to do to get out, and to protect myself and my children. Leaving was the only way I could change the narrative, and the only hope I had of finding happiness for myself. I figured out I mattered, and I was able to expect my own goals were important enough to bank on. He was not able to control me with property and money. I had rights under the law due to hard fought battles of women before me who recognized the system was stacked against us. It turns out I was very efficient at making my own life plans and taking care of myself and my children. It turns out he was not efficient, even at making money, without a wife appliance. It turns out Schmoopies don’t have the same abilities to support someone with needs as great as his, and he never found another efficient wife appliance. Evidently Schmoopies skills fell into other categories. He finally had to settle on a servant/nurse who stayed with him till the end of his days.

I don’t think he was ever good at reflection, so he did not even think about changing his ways. He did miss the life he had lost, though. He realized and admitted to our sons that he had lived his best life when we were married. He blamed me for being unreasonable, and for not thinking the crumbs he provided were tasty enough to continue enabling him. He also resented my success. I learned that what he thought and wished for was not important to me at all. No remorse here. My only regret was that I should have turned off the drip, drip, drip sooner.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago
Reply to  portia

I was also surprised at how successful I was able to become. I assume mostly because my efforts post D, were aimed at me and not him.

I will always feel a tiny bit sorry for him that the only thing that made him happy, even if only for a while was the thrill of strange, (whore wife didn’t slow him down a bit) and then when he got a bit older it turned to massive gambling.

I have only just recently read of the connection being discovered between adultery and gambling in terms of the similar rush each provide.

LadybugChump
LadybugChump
9 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

Hmmm gambling and cheating. I totally can see it. FW didn’t drink or gamble. But he definitely did a lot of cheating and not just the relationship kind.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  portia

Isn’t this the truth: “I had rights under the law due to hard fought battles of women before me who recognized the system was stacked against us.” Thanks to Rep. Pat Schroeder, Congress passed a law guaranteeing pension rights to divorced wives of government employees (with a stipulation of how many years you had to have been married). That pension meant my mother (who divorced my abusive father after 30 years) didn’t have to live her old age just getting by.

Proudly Seaward
Proudly Seaward
9 months ago

Too many crumbs to list, so I’ll take the second question.

I discovered (or finally found proof of) the affair between FW and my “friend” when I was 6 weeks postpartum with our third kid. All the kids were meticulously planned and agreed upon. The affair started when I was 5 months pregnant. I strongly suspect there were others before her.

Quite simply, the discovery broke me. I didn’t want to unalive myself, but my brain wouldn’t entertain any other options. My therapist told me I could check myself into the hospital or she would have me escorted.

When I got home from inpatient, ex was irritated and short with me, and immediately shifted all the childcare back to me. He left less than 48 hours later on a business trip, leaving a very fragile me alone with a kid, a toddler, and an infant.

I realized in that moment that regardless of the words that came out of his mouth, no one who loved me would do such a thing. No one who loved our kids would do such a thing. It was dangerous and selfish, and even though I rallied and made it through, it could just as easily have been a tragic story on the news. In retrospect, I think that may have been what he wanted, a clean break and a new life.

It was that realization of “what would I tell my daughter if her husband did this to her?” that got me unstuck. I would never tell her she deserved that kind of treatment. So, maybe neither did I.

Years on, I’m so thankful I left. FW still tries to play Dad of the Year for an audience, but is nasty and disconnected in private. The kids have a safe harbor in my home, where they are always loved and wanted. I no longer tolerate bullshit, and am becoming a boundary badass.

It gets better.

But only if you leave.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago

The dumbest/saddest crumb that I accepted was when at a work event for his company, I walked up to where he was talking with his boss’s wife just in time to hear him propositioning her. At my shocked gasp, he turned to me and said, “I meant a threesome, of course.” We’d only been married six months, and I stayed for another 3 years and four months. Meanwhile, I had lots of UTIs and STIs.

Or maybe it was when I went to pick him up at the airport after his business trip. I found him in the boarding area, having obviously landed more than an hour before he’d told me his flight would land. (Obviously this was before 9-11. About twenty years before.) He was enthusiastically greeting another woman. I just turned around and went home. He came home much later and told me his plane had been late.

I don’t know that I decided I deserved better . . . I just knew I couldn’t continue dealing with the cheating. Unlike my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother or my great-great grandmother, I just couldn’t live like that any more. I was to marry twice more, and cheating was always presented right up front as a deal breaker.

learning
learning
9 months ago

My STBX also cheated for our entire 37 year marriage.I spackled and allowed emotional amnesia to protect me and I turned the other cheek in the hopes he would age out of his behavior. I thought he would realize how amazing his family life was and stop the parade of other women. Nope. At 63 years old he told me “cheating isn’t fun anymore” and he wanted to stay married on paper but have the freedom to date publicly. I spent the next six months pretending to agree to it while getting all my ducks in a row and serving him with divorce, fully armed with my exit mapped out with my attorney. He is still trying to convince me that his plan is the best way forward, and it’s the perfect solution for HIM, so why would I fight it ? He continues to say he never wants to be married to anyone else but me, so why should we get divorced ? Can’t make this stuff up.

FreeWoman
FreeWoman
9 months ago

So many moments, and finally all of it got into my heart. It was more of a slow dawning of truth, about what I could count on my future being! He was treating me just like I’d watched his father treat his mother. And I knew she was a bright, funny woman, but his father constantly tore her down. Did I want to live that way? I realized I was going over to visit my Mom all the time, to get re-grounded. Then back to the house of so much cheating. He wanted an open marriage, and I was just over all of it!
I knew I could be better off living alone, and I am! 😊

Eve
Eve
9 months ago

I was a band mom. In fact, I was the band booster president. Our band was the host for the very large area marching band contest held in our only-in-Texas ginormous high school football stadium. Lots of pressure, very stressful. I am directing traffic in the parking lot. A car ignores all the red cones and handmade signs to park in a roped-off area. I walk over to the car, shaking my head. A man pops out, absolutely enraged. He berates me in a loud voice, yelling that he WILL park there, you stupid cow, except not “cow.” I stand, frozen, as several of my band dads rush over to yell at the yeller. After the yelling is done, the dads gather around me, pat me on the back and say boy is that guy lucky your husband isn’t here. And I think, no, that’s not right. My husband would have watched in disgust, lip curled in his trademark you’re too stupid to live look. And that’s when I knew I deserved better.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Eve

My husband would have been the one screaming at me that I was a “stupid c*nt”.

I didn’t really understand how bad it was until one day I was listening to a true crime podcast, and the host says he is going to play an audio clip from a police wire recording. He apologized in advance for how awful it was (it was a fight between a husband and wife where the wife was wearing the wire and trying to get the husband to admit to the fraud), and then he apologized again after it was over, saying he felt it was necessary. In the clip the husband yells a bit, blames the his wife for the scam falling apart, and calls her a b*tch. And my first thought was “that wasn’t so bad; I’ve gotten called much worse”. And then I stopped and thought “what is wrong with me that that is my first thought?” I realized that most people don’t find that acceptable or NORMAL. Because it ISN’T acceptable. It isn’t normal. It’s heinous. The show host apologized for playing something where someone ELSE is getting called names. But it was just a regular day for ME to be called things like that. To be yelled at. To be blamed for everything. Yikes. It’s amazing what you can become innured to over time.

That was quite a wake up call for me.

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

Yes! As part of the divorce prep, we included two videos of him screaming at his family (mostly me) as evidence of his emotional abuse. One of my teen daughters took the videos. I watch the, every so often to remind myself of how heinous she was. It is beyond horrible. But I put up with it weekly. For 27 years. Most people would see that as absolutely crazy, but it got normalized for me. Now that I’m out of it, it’s shocking. It was so much worse than I realized.

He got mad that I included that in discovery because I was trying to “embarrass” him, but he told me, “I like that man in that video!” He went on to tell me it wasn’t abuse….it was “cultural” to yell like that.

No culture thinks that’s okay. He will never ever realize who he is. What he is.

Redkd
Redkd
9 months ago
Reply to  Redkd

The typos!! Heinous HE was. Also, my daughters pointed out that there were so many worse videos too, on their old computers. And if they’d had iPhones when they were small??

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

Cheaters tirades like that were so awful that I used to get amnesia after them…I have an acutely auditory memory of most interactions but his tirades were like car accidents – so bad that my brain refused to remember the details.

and yet, I didnt admit to myself how bad they were

One day at work, a coworker was deeply upset all day. In the employee lounge, she described a “terrible” moment with her husband the day before where he got mad, left ad drove around the block them came back. She said “what would you do if your husband did that?”. I responded “my husbands actions are generally so much worse, if he did that, I wouldn’t even notice”.

A.
A.
9 months ago

Short answer. I dated a guy after FW walked out, sooner than I should have and longer than I should have. What crumbs did I accept from him: he answered a phone call from his mother during sex. Yep. You heard that right. He did. And shushed me when he was on the call. I am embarrassed to say I stayed after that. When I realized I deserved better, and was dating sooner than I should have…I walked. (Good thing too, because there were more red flags as I look back..that I was too traumatized at the time to see.) I realized I deserved better when he shushed me another time, in the car after picking me up from the airport, and he raised his hand aggressively to me at the same time. I just sat there. I sat there remembering the old me who would have opened the door and got my luggage and just walked away. I realized THAT old me was nowhere to be found…the new meek me just sat there. As I thought about the two me’s I was mortified. That was when I KNEW I deserved better. I vowed to never sit there like that again, with anyone. I found the old badass me again…and I’m not dating…and I am happy to have HER back as my company.

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
9 months ago

it was a group of things that really resonated for me, and most of them were non-verbal. one, he was lying and i know his “tell”, so i noted he was lying about A LOT of things. two, he was shrugging his shoulders like a 12-year-old boy caught sneaking in through the basement window at 2 a.m. during important conversations about our marriage. three, he looked childish/sulky/petulant during same important conversations. and, four, his attempts at manipulation were clunky/obvious/ridiculous.

i had a moment when i thought he looked dumb. i had never thought that before, and it was this thought was what made me shift my weight back onto my heels and get grounded. i started saying no to pretty much everything he was trying, and that’s when we moved from mediation to lawyers. things were sorted out by the legal experts. things continue to be sorted out by the legal experts because my X is financially abusive.

it’s funny, my X withheld $$ until I signed the separation agreement, but can’t seem to follow the SA for more than 3-6 months at a time. my lawyer is currently trying to track down a bunch of ESU’s that should’ve been paid out to me this April, but were not.

this is not going to end, is it?

tallgrass
tallgrass
9 months ago

Two things from chumplady help me with this: How many billion people are on the planet? She reminds us. Why spend time miserably trying to figure out one human who is not making sure we’re clear with each other?

And second: I do think a lot about chumplady’s husband who was also chumped. So much already deeply understood immediately. It seems that I would only need to work on being clear and upfront myself at all times. Which I love doing anyway. That’s who I am. I haven’t changed. And he “gets” the difference because he has also lived through the chump experience. He would know how to love me.

Those two thoughts remind me to stay hopeful even on the horrible days.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago

After I divorced my first cheating husband, I dated a guy who turned out to be cheating on his wife with me. And then I didn’t date for a few years, moved cross country for a new job and eventually was set up on a blind date by a colleague. The new man — I’ll call him Rene — was a former monk. He was divorced, he said, because his wife (a physical therapist) had “run off with one of her patients.” He told me he’d NEVER cheat. I believed him — I would never cheat either.

A short time later, we had lunch with a close friend of his from the monastery, Father Jim. Father Jim pronounced Rene and I as cheaters because “we were still married to our previous spouses in the eyes of the church.” He then went on to say that he and his partner, another priest, weren’t breaking their vows of celibacy because “it’s not sex. Sex is between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation. There’s no possibility of procreation between two men, so it’s not sex.”

I married Rene — our values were the same, after all. Neither of us would ever cheat. The worst crumb I accepted was after he slammed me through the drywall in the hallway of our house, his “apology” was, “At least I’m not cheating on you like the guy next door is cheating on HIS wife.” And after divorcing my first cheating husband, (the church organist who slept with Sister Margaret, among many, many others) cheating was a definite deal breaker for me.

Sadly, I didn’t connect that I deserved better than a husband who threw me down the stairs or slammed me through the drywall. My earliest memory was my mother throwing me down the stairs and throwing the vacuum cleaner after me. (She claimed she had no idea why I tolerated such behavior from the husband actively encouraged me to marry, not for even a minute.) I realized I deserved better when I found out my husband was having an affair with Father Steve, our pastor. And he claimed he wasn’t cheating because it’s not sex. I was still struggling with the idea of a second divorce at the time. I took marriage seriously and I didn’t want to fail at it twice. I didn’t actually leave him until he strangled me almost to death and dumped me on the highway. A dozen years later, I married my third cheater. (I am, evidently, a slow learner.)

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

EMSP, you have been through some shit and Im so sorry people treated you so badly. Like many here, my mom was dreadful and trained me to accept bad behavior from others. One reason I never left was that my worst days with him still felt better than my childhood, so I assumed it wasn’t so bad. CL and CN have made a safe place to learn and know that you deserve better

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

From Unicorn No More: “One reason I never left was that my worst days with him still felt better than my childhood, so I assumed it wasn’t so bad.”

Exactly! You get it.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago

#mixedmetaphoralert

I was running on fumes, thinking I had a full tank of gas. By the end of the discard, I seemed to have accepted that he would ignore me. I mistook sex (the biggest breadcrumb of all in my life) for love. So sad.

Before D-day, I used humor to deal with FW’s lack of caring and attention. For instance,I liked to tell the story about how I had a dream that my ex had given my pearl necklace to the dog and how I actually thought it looked better on him! The fur. The pearls. A nice contrast. [Note: FW would later cite this very joke as a reason to have an affair. WTF?]

I was used and abused and didn’t see any of that until I was free of him.

The feeling that I’m not good enough or deserving of good treatment goes deep. It originated with my FOO and the Catholic church and was nurtured by my ex who seemed to delight in putting me down. With the help of my therapist and this site (writing helps), I am re-claiming my self-worth. It’s a process.

More frequently than I like to admit, my ex, with whom I have virtually no contact, still fucks with my self-worth. You see, he’s taken up residence in my brain and has ignored all eviction notices. That said, I’ve thrown him in a cramped cognitive apartment and relegated him to the far side of consciousness. I suspect/hope he’s packing his bags now.
🤞 🧠

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

“Before D-day, I used humor to deal with FW’s lack of caring and attention”.

I did too but I look back and only see the abuse. Cheater used to “joke” in photos of us together that he was trying to escape from me and made horrible faces. Now when I see one of those, I dont think its funny at all, I think he looks like a mean bastard

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

I don’t know if this will help you dispel thoughts of your ex, but here’s one technique I use. I used to have what I thought of as an imaginary closet in my mind, and when things were going on that I couldn’t control and couldn’t resolve, I’d say to myself, “Put it in the closet,” and mentally, I’d open the door and shove whatever thought/problem it was in there. (For some reason I don’t understand, I imagined this as being on the right side of my brain.) Then, one day, I realized I didn’t want a mental closet full of unresolved problems, and the idea of a cliff came to me. So now, instead of telling myself to “Put it in the closet,” I say “Over the cliff,” accompanied by a hand gesture of shoving it right off the cliff (this is also on the right side of my body). When I do this I’m referring to the problem or the thought, but I will admit that I am not above imagining I’m shoving my actual ex off the cliff. I also admit it’s immensely satisfying.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

I like this idea, Adelante. I have another technique. When thoughts intrude, I let them, but I give myself a time limit. After the limit is up I do something distracting like taking a walk or watching a movie.
As time goes on, I find I can keep lowering the time limit.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

It’s worth a try, Adelante! Thanks.

Cam
Cam
9 months ago

For me, it was the quiet epiphany that every man I’d partn

Cam
Cam
9 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Whoops, sorry, posted too fast! Posted my full comment downthread.

Sadder but Wiser
Sadder but Wiser
9 months ago

The moment I realized I deserved better was three months after D-day when we were supposedly trying to reconcile and I asked him if he was willing to wholeheartedly commit to us. And his answer was no. I responded, “Really? After 15 years of marriage you’re not sure?” He responded “Yeah”, like it was a stupid question to ask. I then realized that if 15 years of marriage meant nothing to him and he was still waffling over being with the AP or me, I had nothing to work with.

As for the crumbs, I accepted so many it’s hard to remember specific ones. Mostly it involved not asking too many questions, accepting implausible explanations, and me doing most of the relationship work. I was really good at spackling.

Cam
Cam
9 months ago

For me, it was the quiet epiphany that all my relationships were horrifically lopsided. Romantic relationships with men, doubly so.

I gave thoughtful gifts, I was a good listener, I was enthusiastic, I was kind, I made an effort, I forgave, I was understanding. I did everything, and I got nothing back except lies and disrespect. I realized I was bringing my full self to the table for guys who wouldn’t even take me on proper dates. I was a chronic afterthought. Nobody was interested in making me smile or considering my feelings. I had to tap dance for basic respect and consideration, and I didn’t even get THAT.

This realization hit after the last cheater blew up my life and left, then harassed me over text demanding I forgive him. I remember staring at his texts in disbelief, wondering how I could make him understand how he’d hurt me, and the thought suddenly appeared like a bolt of lightening: “Why am I doing this?”

Lemony Henry
Lemony Henry
9 months ago

My turning point was after I saw the texts confirming the affair. This was after 2 years of pick-me dancing, gaslighting, trickle truth and manipulation following the discovery of the emotional affair. I was raised to always be nice, try harder, put everyone else first. Well, after I saw those texts something snapped and I was consumed with rage. The rage (which was terrifying) propelled me through the shitstorm that followed.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago

Thank you, Chump Lady. This was a very meaningful exercise, and has inspired more than a little introspection. I’ve been married to two Jesus cheaters. For my third marriage, which lasted over twice as long as the other two combined, I married an abuser who also cheated. My second abuser. This guy was also a Jesus cheater in that he convinced me to convert to Catholicism so we could be married in the Catholic church and then behaved as “the Catholic police” for twenty years. I had known him for ten years (we were coworkers) and dated him for five years when I married him, a dozen years after divorcing my last cheater.

Things started out with love bombing, and moved pretty quickly from “first date” to boyfriend and girlfriend,” and I attributed that to the fact that we had known each other as friends and coworkers for five years. The marriage seemed great for the first seven or eight years . . . until I injured my back at work and couldn’t even walk. I had to stop making him the center of attention at all times and focus on my health. He responded with verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual, financial and physical abuse. And I chalked it up to how difficult he had it, working full time and then “being a caregiver.” After my surgery, I returned to walking as therapy — emotional therapy as well as physical therapy. I walked three to five miles a day. Endorphins are a thing — I was able to spackle over the abuse for another seven years. He retired and “worked on the boat” I bought him before I hurt my back, making it “livable” so we could retire aboard the boat and travel. After a year, he declared the boat was ready so I retired, we sold our house and everything that wouldn’t fit on the boat, and sailed off into the sunset. The boat wasn’t ready. Our house closed on December 30 and we moved aboard a boat with no heat, no water, no refrigeration (the only good thing about it being December) and no way to cook. Nevertheless, this was our dream and I adapted.

The day I decided I deserved better was the day we traveled 50 miles on our sailboat at 8 mpg or so, him screaming at me the whole way about my shitty navigation skills while ignoring my input — things like “this is channel marker 33 — we’re looking for 33a” or “that’s a freighter, not a lighthouse,” or “this isn’t the Wicomico River, we’re two miles up the WRONG creek.” Even that wasn’t the final straw. The final straw was when we finally found a marina, and there was a grocery store in walking distance, where I bought beans for dinner and he screamed at me because I bought the “wrong brand of beans.” That wasn’t unusual behavior for him, but this time he did it in public, was screaming at me, instantly turned nice and flirty with the checker, and then turned right back to screaming at me. I rented a car the next day and drove a thousand or so miles to “visit a friend.” I didn’t intend to go back. Then found out from said friend that I probably couldn’t access my own retirement money without his signature. She was right. I couldn’t. So I drove a thousand miles back and set about getting my financial ducks in a row. We were right in the path of a huge hurricane, and that’s when I had my D-day. I had to wait until weeks AFTER the hurricane, when the water had receded and I could get to dry land again to finally leave him permanently.

I’m happily divorced now, four years out. I discovered CL after the divorce, and I wish she’d been around in 1977 before I marred the FIRST cheater. Also Lundy Bancroft and Patricia Evans. And “The Gift of Fear.” All of that I discovered after the divorce. But I own my own peaceful home now, and I’m happy. I left a cheater and gained a life.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

“Things started out with love bombing, and moved pretty quickly from “first date” to boyfriend and girlfriend,” and I attributed that to the fact that we had known each other as friends and coworkers for five years. The marriage seemed great for the first seven or eight years . . . until I injured my back at work and couldn’t even walk. I had to stop making him the center of attention at all times and focus on my health. He responded with verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual, financial and physical abuse. And I chalked it up to how difficult he had it, working full time and then “being a caregiver.” ”

JFC, the times on here where I see my own story repeated so closely is uncanny. We were also friends/coworkers for several years. I thought I knew him really well. The inciting incident was me having a baby (married 5 years) and staying home for about 2 years (since childcare was more than I would have earned at my job at the time), and then a few years later I was dangerously sick with a potentially fatal illness and had to quit work for three months. I stayed several years more until he dumped me (via text message) for OW. It was the most horrible time, but I am now SO glad he left ME, because I was the sort to stick it out forever, and I was so deep in it that I didn’t even recognize that I was being abused, or just how unhappy I was. It was literally killing me. Even him screaming at me (in public and in private) and blaming me for everything, criticizing everything I did, calling me horrific names, tearing me down, throwing furniture, getting up in my face, shoving me so hard I fell – none of that was enough to get me to leave. He didn’t, you know, HIT me. So…

I never actually got divorce, since FW died (by his own hand) a few months before our first hearing. OW had left him and he’d gotten himself into a financial hole he couldn’t get out of, and his reputation was crumbling (TWO women accusing him of DV does make it harder to explain it away).

I too now have my own peaceful home, and I have never been happier. My son is doing much better as well. He’s a happy, healthy kid, and I try every day to teach him what love looks like, and what respect looks like, what kindness looks like, and that he’s safe and secure and I will never abandon him.

LadybugChump
LadybugChump
9 months ago

Yes. The Gift of Fear is such a good book. I actually know of one of the stories in it in real life. My sister babysat five year old Richard.
This is a good reminder. Perhaps I should get it out and read it. I have a situation going on that I’m trying to say isn’t what I think it is.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
9 months ago
Reply to  LadybugChump

Please do read it again. I struggled for years with trying to say it wasn’t abuse when I knew it was.

MrWonderfulsEx
MrWonderfulsEx
9 months ago

For me, it wasn’t an a ha moment that “I” deserved better. I had already done a couple of D-days and was trying to wreckoncile. I honestly believed klootzak had turned himself around. I believed it so much I was willing to go through infertility treatments to have a child since most of klootzak’s swimmers were severely deformed. But when the last D-day hit and I was almost 8 months pregnant, I knew MY CHILD did not deserve this crap. My child deserves better than this FW dad. And so my plan was hatched to get a divorce.

I had no means to do so right away and plus, I had concerns that klootzak might be awful on “his” time with our son. I wanted to wait until he was old enough to talk and know the difference between truth and lies. I had at times asked myself if it would be better to just wait until our son sent off to college. I was (and am) afraid of what klootzak will be like when I am not around. He comes up with every available excuse to pick on our son for the crime of being a kid. I am able to push back because I am here. So I worried I would be sacrificing my son’s sanity for my desire to get out. But someone here mentioned “It is better for a child to come from a broken home than grow up in one.” I analyzed the bad that our son was learning by growing up in a house with us walking on eggshells around klootzak. And klootzak had made a divorce gesture, trying to get me to move with him 4 hours away so he could be closer to then-schmoopie without it impacting his parenting time. So I knew he could pull the rug out on me. But then the pandemic hit and he was delayed.

And then, slowly, something changed in me through my time reading CL and CN. I realized that “I” deserve better. Not just for my son but for ME. And my peace would allow me to be the safe, stable parent for my son. He could learn about boundaries and consequences by my example. And I could finally be out and free.

Klootzak has not anticipated the hellfire I’m about to rain down because he has wrongly assumed that I still have not recognized my own agency. I CHOOSE; I do not dance anymore. It has not been one moment that led to the realization, though. So I guess the moment I knew I wanted out was the last D-day, but my why for wanting out has evolved. Dear son deserves it and as I have come to accept, so do I.

Attie
Attie
9 months ago

I’d put up with years of financial and physical abuse, although why I did that I have no idea as I had a good job (outearned him actually and no longer even liked him at that point). I think I was just too exhausted by the constant, constant chaos that was him! One Saturday he was drunk and went out and bought himself a €60,000 car, while mine was generously valued at €1,000! Stands to reason everything was about him right? But he was constantly having accidents in said car while drunk and of course we always had to have it (and any other cars he’d hit) repaired back to pristine condition. Anyway, one Friday night he drove into town drunk and crashed his car (at the border no less!!!!) and called me at 1 a.m. to pick him up. I went so he’d leave my kids alone. The tow truck took his car to a garage and the garage lent him a loaner car for the duration. Following night he was again drunk and wrecked the loaner car – so two cars in one weekend! The following Monday morning I had parked at the border and was waiting for the bus when my friend stopped to give me a lift. She asked about my weekend and I went on a 45 minute rant about the effing twat and the chaos he caused in my life. I ranted the whole way to work and then realized it was only polite to ask about her weekend – to which she replied “oh I made a steak and kidney pie”! And that was when I realized exactly how fucked up my life was. He’s still a wreck 11 years later, but he’s now no longer my problem, thank god, and my life goes from strength to strength!

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

What is it with FW’s and wrecking cars? I bought FW a new (used) car when his finally bit the dust, and within a couple of months he completely tore it up (a tyre burst and ripped the whole front corner off; the tyre was damaged, but I’m sure FW was speeding, which made it explode and caused him to skid on the axle for over a mile before he stopped). It was a much nicer car than I was driving, and wasn’t inexpensive, even used. He also was constantly getting in “fender benders” and minor accidents. Never his fault, of course (LOL). That poor car was in five or six accidents within a few years. Our car insurance skyrocketed to almost double what we’d been paying. Once we split our finances, and I got a “new” car (with my OWN insurance policy), his insurance ended up dropping him due to the number of speeding tickets and accidents he had. I know because our insurance broker called me when he couldn’t get ahold of FW to let him know about the insurance (FW kept our broker, sorry, MY broker, because he had no idea how to do anything for himself). After FW died, I sold the car and I was so glad to be rid of it. He’d failed to renew his registration because he had so many “flags” (whenever you get a ticket of any kind, the motor vehicle association puts a “flag” on your vehicle that costs about $30 to remove). He owed over $1,000 in fees. He was driving an unregistered vehicle for MONTHS.

Yeah, sometimes you have no idea how fucked up your life is/was until you casually mention it to someone else and they are appalled.

Still a chump
Still a chump
9 months ago

I’ve been reading chumplady for a few years now. And have not commented in a very long time. I was lucky enough to finally hit Tuesday and meh regarding my now ex husband.
But, this today hit me hard. Trying to have relationships with other men and failing miserably by accepting only crumbs when I can get them is taking it’s toll on me now.I am now starting to feel like I deserve more and I’m giving up the whole dating scene. I’m 64 years old and can’t see a future with anyone. I have been settling for hookups and so called friends with benefits. Which meant when they call, I go and give them what they want. And I’m finally tired of that and starting to cut them off. And I want to be alone. This is new for me the wanting to be alone, but I think it is necessary to preserve my own sanity. The sex is not worth it any longer. I don’t even enjoy it.
So I think for me after two years of accepting little bitty crumbs from men who have just used me, I am finally figuring out my worth.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Still a chump

Good for you, SAC. You aren’t anybody’s blow up sex doll, so get rid of all those assholes.
It’s good to be alone in order to think about what it is you really want and to recover your self worth. I think it dating, sex and being in relationships can become habitual, used as a crutch to avoid dealing with personal problems. You’re on your way to rediscovering you, which is an rewarding journey, infinitely more rewarding than getting bad to mediocre dick from some jerk.

I also have no desire to date or have sex. I’d rather live out retirement quietly and peacefully. I don’t want any drama and I have no more tolerance for liars, users and generally shitty people.

Still a chump
Still a chump
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Thank you for your support and commentary OHFFS! It means a lot.

UpAndOut
UpAndOut
9 months ago

One crumb that I put up with, although I knew I wasn’t happy, was him leaving me & the kids to go on “business trips” whenever he wanted to. He had a large amount of leeway at work, to visit his hotel properties a minimum number of times per year. I had no way of knowing what was excessive. Often he would just tell me the night before. He purchased enough clothing that even if I didn’t have the laundry done, he had enough clean. He also didn’t have qualms about purchasing anything he had forgotten. So I was at home, with 4 kids under 7. First Dday happened around that time & despite it, I let life go on like it had – week after week, parenting for the 4 kids on my own, and pretending to be happy. We rarely had sex – by that point I was so exhausted it actually was better for me because he was gross and selfish – more crumbs I put up with. We moved frequently, almost every 2 years. That went on for about 10 years.
The next crumb I put up with with was being told by him that “we shouldn’t have sex for 6 months, because I was with a prostitute & I may have contracted HIV.” Yep, DDay2. I still don’t know where my head was then, except that I was in a vulnerable position with now more than 4 kids, smack in the middle of a move, and not having worked for more than 10 years. I think when we “went back to sex” (UGH) it wasn’t that great & we eventually left off, so yes, another 10 years without intimacy of any kind.
I actually knew I was putting up with crumbs. Don Hennessy says if the abuser can pick a victim that already has had half the job done for him by the people in their background, it makes the abuser’s job easier. My FOO was upper middle class and I had caring parents but at the same time their were real deficiencies in their emotional care of us, and in how they let me, the only girl, be treated by my brother. Also their expectations were heavy – to be well educated but also that marriage was the most important event, to be subservient to the husband. I remember complaining a little to my mom about the frequent out of town moves we made & she replied “well, the husband has to be happy in his job….”
I just didn’t know how to extricate myself from the life where I accepted crumbs, especially with the kids at all different ages. We literally had no income at what seemed the worst point. The attorney I went to asked me if we could not “just live together peacefully.” I think that was when I began to suspect that the XH was not a stellar employee (even though he made upwards of 300K the year prior).
The thing is, I’ve lived 63 years of accepting crumbs and I am not sure how to want more. Luckily I am a grandma, have a FT job, have activities that I am content with, and life is pretty darn good now (FW free 3 years!). Four things helped me get to this point: first came Chump Lady, second came George Simon, third came doing Lundy Bancroft’s daily reader, and fourth, I gradually told the truth to friends and family. That ultimately led me to working with a domestic abuse ministry. The ministry fully believed that when someone leads a secret sexual life, it is abuse.

I read here daily to help correct my faulty thinking that I don’t matter to anyone. And to realize that I, too, deserve joy.

For the many Christians who were posting above, acknowledging the psychological effects of emotional neglect and abuse, and saying yes, this happened, has put me right with God. I finally have begun to feel part of God’s valued creation, and that he wants the best for me too.

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
9 months ago
Reply to  UpAndOut

“I’ve lived 63 years of accepting crumbs and I am not sure how to want more”

I am in this same spot now. I accepted less than nothing for so long. I poured all my time and energy into parenting and working and I completely lost myself.

When the house was finally mine, I painted to cover up all the holes that he punched or kicked the walls. The painter asked me what colors I liked and I had no answer for him. Me? What I like? I hadn’t thought about that in 20 years. I told him to just paint everything white and am now living with blank walls and my house feels like an unfinished dorm room.

I’m trying to remember who I “used to be,” but that girl feels so long gone. I have no clue who I am and am trying to get to know myself.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  NotAnymore

“The painter asked me what colors I liked and I had no answer for him. Me? What I like? I hadn’t thought about that in 20 years.”

I felt the same way when FW left me. That first day when I didn’t have my son and I was alone, I sat on my bed and had NO CLUE what to do. I didn’t know what I liked, how I wanted to spend my time, what I liked to eat or wear or read or watch, where I liked to go. EVERYTHING had been about him.

I had to go back, back, back to find myself again. There were some books I’d loved and gotten from the library repeatedly as a teenager/young adult. I thougt to myself “I remember liking THOSE”. I went on Amazon and ordered them (all out of print, so I needed to get used copies). That was step one.

It’s been lovely to rediscover myself. I let so many things l liked go in an effort to please FW, or to avoid his criticism. But I’m back and better than ever.

LadybugChump
LadybugChump
9 months ago
Reply to  NotAnymore

One way to find out who you are is to think and even journal about yourself at different ages and stages of childhood. What did you love then? Who were your friends? What memories do you have where you were laughing?

UpAndOut
UpAndOut
9 months ago
Reply to  LadybugChump

As I was nearing the real separation, I used to walk a lot by myself. I caught the smell of a campfire, and it made me remember back to the year before I was married. I wax newly graduated, in my first job with a salary, was excited about life, and I went camping a lot that year.
The smell made me realize that I had slowly lost myself over the 35 year marriage. And that I would be picking up from where I left off. It was one of those bittersweet moments where I felt sad that I didn’t know myself, but a little hope was there too, with the smell that I loved so much.
Spinach, your question haunts me – what’s with the 35 year mark?

UpAndOut
UpAndOut
9 months ago
Reply to  UpAndOut

Hahaha also thinking about my married life. Why I ever thought my husband would have been celibate during many of those years, like me, IDK!!! He just seemed so asexual, along with the good guy appearance, teaching the kids to stay away from porn.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  UpAndOut

This is something I experienced also. A sexless marriage for 10 years. And not much before that. Who knows what he’s been up to all this time. It’s a mystery to me.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  NotAnymore

When I went to my financial advisor after I retired, the year after my divorce, he asked me what I wanted my money to do for me, what life I envisioned for myself. I sat there flabbergasted, and realized my ex had never asked me what I wanted, then started to cry. What I wanted! What a concept!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

Same.
When I left FW, people pointed out that this was great because I could have a new start. I could do what I like and go where I want to go. The problem? I didn’t know the first thing about what I liked. I was thrown back on my heels, a little panicked that I had lost touch with my own desires. Had I ever had them? I tried to think back to pre-marital times. Did a much-younger, pre-FW Spinach know what she liked and wanted? That was 35 years ago. I couldn’t remember.

Similarly, when my therapist told me that I needed to enforce boundaries, I first asked her to explain “boundaries,” then I told her that I have no idea what my boundaries are. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Truthfully
Truthfully
9 months ago
Reply to  NotAnymore

Look at your white walls as a clean, blank slate. I love white! Any little thing you thrift or buy, because YOU like it, will become your decor. I don’t worry about designers anymore, just neatness and what I like. Enjoy your journey of self-discovery.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

When I didn’t know I was being cheated on, I was happy when FW spent the day of our wedding anniversary with me instead of out partying (with OW, but I didn’t know that) and coming home drunk.
Naturally, it was not at his suggestion, and later I found out it was only because OW was busy that day. It was only one time during the years he was with her, and I hadn’t received an anniversary gift in more than ten years. Even birthday gifts stopped while he was with her. He just told me to order whatever I wanted.

Anyway, I latched onto this crumb and was hopeful that it meant things were turning around, but it didn’t mean a thing. Two months later that same year, his emotional abuse increased to the point that I sunk into a deep, suicidal depression.
The next year’s anniversary he spent the entire day with her, from ten a.m. and well into the wee hours of the morning, saying he was with his buddies. He took one break to come home to change from his day whoring clothes to his night whoring clothes, and I expressed how terribly hurt I was that he was leaving me alone all day on our anniversary again. He said he was sorry, that he knew I deserved better, then left to be with his whore.
He did indeed know I deserved better. He just didn’t care. He thinks saying those kind of things and not backing them up with any change in behavior is enough. After Dday he told me that he believes an apology doesn’t require that you refrain from committing the same offense again. He thinks an apology is a mindless courtesy intended to mollify somebody.
I’m paraphrasing here, since he expressed it poorly. I got the gist of it nonetheless, then got the hell out of Dodge.

As to the letter writer, she needs to sort it out in therapy. CL is probably spot on that is has to do with low expectations, which have their genesis in upbringing and socialization.
Chumps get used to low expectations being the norm for our relationships with these toxic individuals, be they FWs, friends or family.
I remember my best friend when I was in my 20s. I had low expectations for her, because she came from such unhappy circumstances and had such rotten luck that I felt bad for her. The truth was that she chose to be selfish and a user. Once that dawned on me, I stopped being friends with her.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

My fw except for the early years always “forgot” my birthday. I just accepted it as he was busy I guess. Though I always remembered his and did a cake and gift etc. I realize do course he didn’t forget my Bdays, he just simply didn’t care about them. He would make a big joke out of it after the fact, and do a little pretend sorry thing; but still up until the last birthday when he sent me flowers, I guess my good bye flowers never.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

Oh and never in our life did he buy me jewelry, except once when he gave me a charm bracelet for my HS graduation. But for Christmas just before he left on NYs day, he gave me a gold necklace. I was still thinking we were going to save this shipwreck, even though I knew he was cheating. Nope, evidently that was my “gold watch” for 21 years of service.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

“Nope, evidently that was my “gold watch” for 21 years of service.”

Damn, that is cold!

You just helped me figure something out. When I was leaving him, FW gave me the gold watch he got from work for 25 years of service. I just thought it was because he didn’t want it. Now that I know what it really was about, I’ll pawn the thing. It’s just been sitting in a drawer.

CBN
CBN
9 months ago

It started to turn for me when I began resenting that I was doing all the work around the house and all the work raising our son. And when I say all, I mean ALL. I grew up with a mother who did not work outside the home and a father who worked very hard outside the home and financially supported the family, and the divided their responsibilities along those lines. When I got married, I just fell into the same pattern with FW, even though I also worked outside the home. But I admittedly didn’t work as hard in as demanding a job as FW, and I brought less money into the family, so I justified having to run the household and raise our son alone as making up for that. It was “fair” in my eyes.

Then, at some point, I started asking myself if FW was working as hard as he was because of me and our son, or if he’d be working the same job regardless of us, and I realized he was doing it for himself, not for us. He’d be doing the same job with the same stress and the same hours if he was single. He was doing it when I met him, and I even encouraged him to find something less stressful with less hours because I didn’t care about the money, I wanted him around and involved with us more, but of course he wouldn’t do it. Those jobs were beneath him. So then I started examining whether I would have the same workload if I was single, i.e., was I doing a lot of things for him, or would I still be doing all of it if was single? And I realized that I was doing a lot of it for him. Like taking his clothes to the dry cleaner (I didn’t wear clothes that needed dry cleaning), and buying gifts for his parents on holidays and birthdays, etc. Small things, but they add up, and I realized I was only a wife appliance/personal assistant. And when you throw in raising our son single-handedly, it wasn’t even close. He never changed a single diaper, never fed him in the middle of the night, never drove him to school, never went to school-related meetings or games. Nothing. Ever. No reciprocity in anything! I realized this BEFORE the cheating, so I simply stopped doing the extra things I was doing for him, except I kept doing everything for my son. It went downhill from there, and then I found out about the cheating.

I’m not sure if these are dumb/sad crumbs that I accepted from FW, but I think it ties in with the topic and knowing your worth.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  CBN

OMG, same.

At first he was like “you’re a stay at home mom so you should do that housework” and I thought that was fair. Then I went back to work part time, and I still did all the housework. Finally I went back to work full time and was actually working 20 hours a week MORE than him (60 hours/week), and I was STILL doing all the housework, yardwork, shopping, appointments, school stuff, and 90% of the childcare and I was like ????

I see people talk about how hard it is to be a single mom, and I sympathize, but honestly? My workload went DOWN when I became a full time single mom (FW died – so there’s no shared custody or days off or anything). I was already doing everything myself. But now I don’t have to take care of FW too (and he was WAY more work than my son, especially emotionally), nor do I have to fight over every little things. It’s so much easier.

Attie
Attie
9 months ago
Reply to  CBN

Same here. I did EVERYTHING and he did bugger all, not even the yard work! I had a full-time job and a minimum 3-hour commute every day, plus I earned more and had expat benefits, and he still sat on his backside all weekend scratching away at his guitar, or passed out drunk in front of the TV – or down at the bar buying rounds of drinks for everyone out of our joint account. Life got SOOOOOO much easier when he left!

CBN
CBN
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Yep, I did all the yard work, too. I also painted, did handyman repair, cleaned the pool, handled all the finances, etc., etc. FW did absolutely ZERO except go to work and sit at bars drinking. I still can’t believe I thought that was ok.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  CBN

My ex didn’t know which end of a screwdriver was which, LOL. I did all the handyman repair in my house. He didn’t have a clue about money either, so I took care of that. Once I was gone, his life (i.e. our house and his bank account) literally fell apart.

The other day I was at the hardware store to get a socket (I was assembling a porch swing and didn’t have one large enough for the bolts) and the salesman who showed me where they were (I was in a hurry) said that my husband probably already had one in his tools. I replied “Oh, I’m single, and my ex didn’t have a clue about tools. That was always me.” (I have rarely encountered so much sexism as I do at Home Depot, I swear. When I was pregnant I went to buy some quarter round to finish the nursery and since I’d never done mitered corners, asked how much extra length I should allow, and the sales person said “It depends on how bad you are at it” or something to that effect. I left in tears – damn pregnancy hormones. I will say my husband called the store and reamed out the manager, who then told me to come in and buy anything I wanted for 50% off. But even that was sexist, since it took a man to tell them they were out of line. I manged to beautifully finish the nursery, including a hand-painted mural, with zero help from FW.)

NotAnymore
NotAnymore
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Same here. I did ev-ery-thing. Worked multiple jobs while was un or under employed. Managed the finances. Did all the parenting. I mowed the lawn and shoveled the snow. I literally patched and spackled the walls after he would punch or kick holes in them.

There was a point where he was lecturing me (as he often did) about how he needs more sex, about how even when he gets it I don’t enjoy it enough, about how he needs to feel wanted otherwise it “zaps his motivation.”

I remember thinking: “He is always talking about not getting what he wants. I don’t even have any wants because my entire day is filled with things I HAVE TO DO.” I realized it was like we were at the beach, and he was complaining about the temperature not being perfect while I was struggling in the water with sharks circling my ankles.