Why Can’t I Leave Him? Do I Love Pain?

why can't I leave him

She discovered her boyfriend’s cheating early in the relationship, and it’s eight months later and she’s wondering “Why can’t I leave him?”

***

Dear Chump Lady,

I recently (aka today) found your blog via a reddit thread in the ballpark of “it’s been 8 months and I’m still not over the cheating”. I suppose if I am even writing you at all, I likely am looking for some sort of confirmation of my subconscious.

My question is: Am I addicted to the pain of being the victim?

As of May 2023, my current boyfriend and I had been in a committed relationship for about 6 months. Let me preface by saying that I would have bet my last dime on our relationship, because of the amount of blind faith I had in him. On a Thursday morning, he sent me a long, vague text about all that he was going through and how he needed to “get away” to clear his mind. He told me he was going no contact with me from Thursday-Sunday.

I was so stunned I could not even comprehend the message or a well-thought-out response. So, I just said I was there to support him through whatever he was going through. I have to be the biggest dumbass on this planet.

He returned that following Sunday to say that his long-time friend had passed and he had traveled to Canada for the funeral. I found it odd that he needed to disappear for 4 days for a funeral. I found it mind-blowing that he would leave the country without informing me, and so casually. He also mentioned that he was with his friend Dina who was a mutual friend from his past who was also grieving this loss.

My suspicions told me he was cheating, but he sobbed to me and I wanted to believe it, so I did.

I wish that in that moment I had someone to slap the living daylights out of me so that I would leave the relationship then because, in July, I found out (by tricking him into letting me use his laptop and going through his texts) that not only was he sleeping with Dina in May, but he was in a full-blown relationship telling her he loved her and that they would be together. He flew out to Atlanta to “visit family” in June as well, sent me a picture from his family’s home then flew to Canada to be with her. This time, he let me pick him up from the airport smelling like her detergent. And somehow, I didn’t know.

Around Christmas time, she sent him a pair of Lululemon sweatpants in the mail. I have a mailbox key so I was the lucky one to find the package that day. He swore up and down he hadn’t spoken to her since July, but I’ll never know the truth. It’s been 8 months since I first found out about everything.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much pain in a relationship in my life.

I’ve had my shortcomings as a partner in past relationships, but I wanted to be good to him. I would’ve given anything up for him. I wanted so badly to be his wife. And he just completely shit on me. I’ve plummeted into a cycle of lows, doubting my judgment and hating myself. Never feeling pretty enough or good enough. Feeling like I’ll never find love (not even again, because what was done to me was not love), and yet I stayed.

I’ve scrubbed his apartment more times than I can count. Gone through his mail, and tried to hack his laptop… I’ve turned into a psycho. If I’m not angry, I’m crying. If I’m not crying, I’m manic. I’ve turned to God, therapy, talked to friends…. but nothing works. And yet, I stayed. Am I addicted to the pain?

Signed,

Hopeless. Not Romantic.

***

Dear HNR,

Your situation is NOT hopeless and it’s definitely not romantic. It’s a very common problem, that I’ve built an entire blog around — how to leave a cheater. It should be a pretty easy decision — the relationship makes you miserable, so end it already! Trust me, we’ll be arriving at that bitchslap shortly. But first we’re going to unpack why you’re stuck.

You’re gaslighting yourself.

I likely am looking for some sort of confirmation of my subconscious.

You have actual evidence that he’s a cheater. And you have actual evidence that he isn’t one bit sorry — he didn’t come clean. You had to catch him in lies. Ergo, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORK WITH.

That’s not a gut feeling, or your subconscious saying he’s a cheater. You already know he cheated, and you’re making yourself crazy to find out what else you don’t know.

Stop the loop. You know enough. He cheated, and you can’t trust him. You don’t owe him reconciliation. Because you can’t find evidence now, despite scouring his apartment, phone, whatever, is irrelevant. This was NEVER SOLID. He cheated, he never came fully clean, and there’s no foundation.

You HAVE abundant evidence of his character (untrustworthy). You refuse to accept that evidence and minimize it as a hunch he could be lying, when you have a SIX MONTH HISTORY OF LYING.

He future fakes women.

not only was he sleeping with Dina in May, but he was in a full-blown relationship telling her he loved her and that they would be together.

This is a pattern. He’s faking a commitment with you — while pursuing one with Dina. And he’s telling her the same bullshit.

How can you ever feel safe with such a person? You can’t. The next move is yours. You cannot make him become the kind of person you wish he’d be. Believe the EVIDENCE of his character.

They’re still in contact.

Christmas time, she sent him a pair of Lululemon sweatpants in the mail. I have a mailbox key so I was the lucky one to find the package that day. He swore up and down he hadn’t spoken to her since July, but I’ll never know the truth.

People don’t send expensive sweatpants to their exes.

It’s been 8 months since I first found out about everything.

No. Christmas was three months ago. You don’t know everything.

Let the dream die.

I would’ve given anything up for him. I wanted so badly to be his wife.

This is your problem. There’s nothing wrong with wanting love or marriage. But you want it so bad that you’re trying to squeeze a fuckboy into a commitment-sized shape. He’s’ not that person. I don’t care what he sobs or promises. His actions are in direct conflict with your hopes and aspirations, and he uses that hope to extract value from you. That dissonance is making you MISERABLE.

Pay attention to your misery. It’s not an invitation to try harder, or improve yourself. (Squeezing yourself into a fuckwit-pleasing shape). It’s a commandment to GET OUT. Grief and anger are sirens. LISTEN to them.

This isn’t your best self.

I’ve plummeted into a cycle of lows, doubting my judgment and hating myself. Never feeling pretty enough or good enough. Feeling like I’ll never find love (not even again, because what was done to me was not love), and yet I stayed.

You recognize this isn’t love. So, instead of asking “Why can’t I leave him?” ask “Why do I feel like this is the best I can do?” Because, darling, alone is a million times better than this. Why are you giving this fuckwit so much POWER? His validation is worthless. He’s a liar and a cheat. A failed currency.

I can’t answer if you’ll ever find love again. But I know for certain you’ll find PEACE. And you can’t have healthy love without sanity. You’ll never be sane living like a Soviet spy, shaking down his apartment for errant undergarments or dating profiles.

I don’t know what values you grew up with that said being partnered was the ultimate achievement and metric of your worth. Those stupid messages are out there. Reject them. This is YOUR life. He’s not good enough to be in it. Rebuild.

It gets so much better. You don’t love pain. You’re just dating him. Please dump this freak immediately.

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JeffWashington
JeffWashington
21 days ago

Dear HNR,

First of all, welcome to the Chump Nation.

Second of all: That relationship you’re in? Get out of it and go no contact. STAT.

Only more pain awaits you.

I did the Pick-Me Dance thing myself for about 9 months before my FW came clean(granted the relationship was already over at that point.) It was probably the worst 9 months of my life-and that includes when I got held up at gunpoint in front of my own home and then totaled my car the day after court for same. Quaint by comparison, really.

I spent that 9 months in denial and crying myself to sleep pretty regularly while evidence kept piling up. She denied it-said they were just friends, etc. She gaslit me something fierce-told me that I was being paranoid and insecure. And I believed her. She was my everything and had been for 13 years. You’re supposed to be able to trust them like that.

I figured it was just another rough patch. That the person I fell in love with would come back any day now. That the rigors of school and medical issues were making dynamics weird but not unsalvageable. That I was happier dealing with this than being alone, sunk cost, working toward something bigger, etc.

Of course, the denial and gaslighting would always ramp up around when she was planning little getaways of her own under dubious circumstances. Just enough evidence to put me off of the trail and keep me happy whilst feeding me enough tablescraps to keep paying her bills for her.

D-Day destroyed me. It was all of the doubt and concern leading up to it x20. Because it went from “I…think she’s cheating?” to “this is very very real.” Went through all of the self doubt x20 as well. About my self worth, how could she do this, how could I have been so stupid, etc.

Don’t make my mistake. Get out.

I have learned a lot in the last 7 months since D-Day-thanks in no small part to coming here and my wonderful support system. I’ve learned about my own codependence and my own unhealthy relationship hang-ups. I wasn’t the best partner either-but I didn’t deserve that. Nobody does.

You definitely don’t. You definitely don’t deserve the self doubt and needing to deal with the lying, cheating, manipulative bullshit that you have been put through. It’s only going to get worse.

Kick him to the curb, go no contact, and reclaim your life and sanity. You’re worth it.

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

Well that was pure wisdom. How generous.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago

“Why can’t I just leave?” is a question I asked myself a lot, and has transformed over time into “why couldn’t I have left much earlier?” It takes a serious act of self-forgiveness.

Many things could be at play, but for me there were two major ones. First, leaving is hard, and doing nothing is easy (or seems easy at the time). This creates inertia, which is terribly hard to break. Second, it’s hard to forgive yourself for your own lack of good judgment. You may ask yourself, how was I able to fall for someone who is clearly terrible? What does that say about me? Your brain tries to deny this reality because it hurts. Ultimately, your judgment wasn’t to blame. You have been emotionally abused by a scumbag who lacks any sense of compassion, decency, or empathy. Like any good con artist, they are highly skilled at wearing a human suit and using their vulnerability as a weapon against you. Now that you are wise, get angry and get out.

My saving grace was to finally allow myself to get angry. I was able to say “I am better than this and how dare you treat me this way?!” We valorize tolerance and forgiveness so much in our culture, but it was the anger that finally saved me.

Also, what’s the advice on informing the OW? Is she a knowing affair partner, or is she completely oblivious? If she is unknowing, then maybe let her know, and both of you go to the clinic and get yourselves checked out.

ChumpyDays
ChumpyDays
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

Hey Hey,

so she is a willing participant in this all. when i thought she was just his friend, i had her blocked on instagram to avoid any sort of intrusive thoughts (gaslighting myself). as i ws going through his phone i unblocked her on instagram to collect as much evidence as i could. she texted him saying “your girl unblocked me lol”. that text is engraved in the walls of my memory bank.

when she sent him the sweatpants, i reached out to her from a fake page (because she blocked me after i caught them) asking her what the nature of their relationship was because to my understanding, they hadnt spoken since july. she opened it, never responded and deleted her entire instagram page and made a new page, which i am blocked from.

safe to say she knows and doesn’t give a flying fruitbasket about what i think or how i feel. so i’ll return the favor.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Watch your back. Quite a few studies have found high rates of psychopathy among “mate poachers”– i.e., witting side pieces. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S019188691400628X

For what it’s worth, I have a kind of long “heads up spiel” about cheaters and their proxies. Take what makes sense to you and helps and toss anything that doesn’t.

Another interesting thing I read is that female “poachers” (as opposed to male mate poachers, which seems to be a slightly different kettle of fish) tend to be something called “male directed,” meaning they operate on a stereotypically “macho” system of cowboy aggression– negative relational strategies, revenge, payback, one-upmanship, etc. They may compensate for this not-so-girly aggressive inner life with exaggeratedly “feminine” or twee/child-like external behaviors (talk in a baby voice, play the giggly cheerleader, etc.) but theoretically there’s a spooky amount of rage and aggressive capacity lurking under the surface. They are also arguably “male directed” in the sense of supporting immature men’s misogyny– what CL has dubbed “Vichy” women who “blow the patriarchy.” I think of the women I’ve met like this as the ultimate NLOGs (not like other girls) who pick-me dance with hubris towards other women. They like to hear a partner putting down exes (or chumped partners).

It could partly explains the attraction to cheaters– the chance to “win” against another woman by “taking” something away. It’s also a bit “hybristophiliac” in a sense (people with a sexual attraction to liars, cheats, felons and killers because it feels so special to be “spared”). The most extreme cases may even lose interest in a man once his primary partner dumps him because this type of aggression requires a triangle– there has to be a victim in the mix in order for them to get off. There’s a whole argument about why that is that’s well summed up by something some ancient Greek wrote, “Luck is when the arrow hits the other man.” In whatever effed up childhood dynamics these people endured, there always had to be a scapegoat so, if you weren’t victimizing, you would end up the victim. Kill or be killed. Think of it like a superstitious rite, as if it’s actually comforting to some people to harm others.

Also watch your back as far as cheater boy is concerned. He might be more aggressive than you think and a lot more vengeful than you imagine if you try to escape. As a former advocate for domestic violence survivors, I learned that, even if not all cheaters beat, all batterers cheat. There are some disconcerting overlaps between the two things.

From my experience, cheating can be a red flag for someone who could be dangerous in some way, whether it’s overt violence or such callous disregard for the safety of people close to them that bad things tend to happen around them (deadly STDs, illness, accidents, etc.). I’m waiting for the social research to be performed which identifies any association between cheating and domestic violence because I’m pretty sure there’s a strong correlation. This is because, also from my experience, another overlap between DV and cheating is that cheating on committed relationships requires not only a dearth or absence of empathy but a degree of sadism and hostility. In batterers, the hostility is internally generated.

To my mind, the biggest overlap is that all batterers primarily engage in “coercive control”– a pattern of subviolent psychological, emotional (often financial) abuse and subtle or overt scare tactics– that’s even being criminalized in some countries because, statistically speaking, it’s the best predictor for eventual violence. All cheaters also engage in forms of coercive control against partners in order to facilitate cheating. Look up discussions between Dr. Ramani and Dr. Christine Cocciola on Youtube on the subject of “coercive control” for a good overview and an idea of where that behavior is heading in the long run.

DV researchers have all sorts of theories as to why abusers generate so much rage and hostility specifically towards intimate partners. The best theory I’ve read so far is the concept of “masked dependency.” Just for a summary, because of whatever demented horror show experiences abusers had in childhood at the hands of parental figures or other close adults, abusers never really grow up. They’re all petrified babies. Their “attachment” style is like that of an infant or toddler but in really twisted adult form. Consequently, they tend to develop pathological, infantile dependency on partners that’s dominated by two extremely contradictory, intense dueling fears of abandonment or “engulfment,” both of which are also internally generated (meaning the partner doesn’t have to do fuck-all to generate these fears) and self-fulfilling. For instance, because batterers tend to love bomb and heavily “mirror” partners at first in order to draw partners in super, super close, this can set off the abuser’s terror of engulfment. Basically because the abuser is faking who they are in order to quell their fear the partner will abandon them, abusers begin to feel as if they’re “losing” themselves. Naturally in both cases– whether the fear is of being ditched or suffocated– the abuser cannot take responsibility for generating their own negative feelings and will instead blame the partner.

But here’s the “masked” part of masked dependency. Also due to whatever horror show childhood dynamics that shaped them, some abusers are catastrophically ashamed of their infantile dependency. They know that if others saw them for the mewling, raging babies they really are down deep, they’d be universally rejected. They’d have a harder time getting laid. I think particularly for male abusers, this level of dependency seems especially unmasculine. So they intensely try to conceal it from others and even from themselves. The scariest part of this scenario is that, in a statistical sense, some of the most explosively violent abusers may never display, for instance, the cartoon jealousy that’s typically associated with “wife beaters.” They may rage with jealousy but it’s all unconscious. They may appear to most people to be “feminist allies” and don’t tend to spout openly misogynistic views. But when they blow, they blow the biggest apparently.

Overall, the dueling fears dynamic arguably leads to the infamous “push/pull” in abusive relationships where, in order to suit the abuser’s crazy, ever shifting internal terrors, the abuser will keep shoving and pulling (in an emotional sense, or eventually quite literally) the partner either closer or further away. If the abuser feels “suffocated,” they push. If they feel afraid of being left, they pull.

Because this is all happening due to the abuser’s internal freakery, there is literally nothing the partner can do at any given moment to allay these fears. In fact, everything the partner attempts to this end will make it worse. If the partner assures an abuser who’s afraid of being left that they– the partner– will never leave, this instantly sets off the abuser’s “engulfment” terror. Or vice-versa– if the partner assures the abuser that the latter will be given “space,” this sets off the abuser’s abandonment terrors. In the end, because contented, healthy people feel somewhat in control of their lives and realities, even the partner’s relative contentment itself can set off the abuser’s fears– because if the victim has some control of their lives, this means the abuser does not have total control. And abusers’ main addiction is to total control. The need only snowballs over time. Basically the abuser needs the partner to be unhappy.

In turn, the dueling internally generated fears are what arguably prompt the internal mental “bitch tapes” to begin where the abuser begins to build an imaginary “case” against their partner for all the things the partner does which the abuser dementedly believes are “causing” these uncontrollable, infantile fears. They become like double agents secretly scanning and watching their partners for flaws or faults in very category. It’s like they keep a little blame bag and keep “collecting” things the partner does and says that the abuser pins the blame for all their rage on.

Once that bag is nice and full, the abuser will cash those blame chips in on some form of betrayal– typically (for most abusers) cheating is the “main” expenditure. But those blame chips can also “pay” for endless lies, abusive gaslighting, financial abuse, endangerment, maybe a nice tantrum or smear campaign or terrifying rage or even violence– even murder. This system of blame and rationalization is sometimes called “neutralization”– a mental trick whereby a wide range of serial offenders justify their offenses at victims’ expense. Confabulated blameshifting and distorting the characters/deeds of victims are basically intrinsic to serial offending. Even serial killers do it. It’s sometimes called “reduction of self punishment” but I lean to the idea that it’s part of image management. Abusers may have attenuated sense of empathy but are more prone to feel a sense of societal stigma for their misdeeds and this stigma causes shame. Shame can make one appear “shifty” and furtive to others– basically causing a kind of psychic “smell” that others can pick up on. This could risk scaring away prospective victims or alerting bystanders that the offender is “off.” So reducing shame/stigma is a way of passing for “normal” or appearing “innocent”– the better to be able to strike again.

I have my own pet theory about why cheating is sort of the all-purpose way of dealing with both of abusers’ dueling fears. The “push” involved is obvious– betrayal is a way to distance oneself from a partner. But the “pull” part isn’t quite as obvious. The abuser is so fearful of abandonment that they will compulsively hedge their bets by creating “backup” relationships. Cheating also helps to mask the fear of abandonment by flouting it (“who needs that bitch anyway? I got bitches on tap!”) and by– voila– displacing it. Making the partner jealous almost “relieves” the abuser of their own gnawing, concealed territoriality and paranoid jealousy. It also is a way to punish or seek revenge against the partner for supposedly “causing” these humiliating, infantile fears of abandonment. Finally, cheating is a way for abusers to manage their image in order to pretend they’re not actually abusers. As the abuser predictably and progressively generates more and more distrust, stress, tension and fear in their primary partner, the abuser uses affair partners as sounding boards to display their artificial “positive” side or to play “victim” to as a way of compensating for the sneaking feeling that they– the abuser– are in fact a really destructive, shitty person. Of course the diabolical prank for a witting affair partner is that if they have the “luck” of ending up as the primary partner, the cycle of bitch tapes and punishment will simply be aimed at them.

Personally I came to suspect that battering is really just the violent enforcement of one-sided monogamy which suggests in turn that anyone who’s enforcing one-sided monogamy (which is cheating in a nutshell, otherwise it would be a mutually open relationship) has the potential to be scarily aggressive. If it does eventually turn out that there’s a correlation between battering and cheating, the biggest caveat is that, like battering, cheating may be intractable. The only things that even minorly dent recidivism in domestic abusers is jail time plus intensive therapy. But even then recidivism is 97.5%. Scarcely reassuring.

If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to leave someone who may very likely be setting off unconscious lizard brain fear in you (because the above pattern is scary), look up resources for “captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome.” I think we all have felt like we had “tigers by the tail” when involved with someone who showed telltale signs of lacking basic empathy. The classic fear is that worse might happen if you let go of the tail.

ChumpNoMore
ChumpNoMore
21 days ago

That’s incredibly insightful. I am going to book mark it and read it again.

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

Kind of academic. I can’t take credit for the theories. Though I’d like to snarf a little credit for being attracted to theories that ring a bit true lol. 😉

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Girl, you know what you need to know. My heart breaks for you, but you know what you need to know. You need to drop this guy cold turkey, don’t try to figure him out or figure her out or figure it out. You’ll never understand nasty people like this, how can you, you’d have to be evil too. You can only BLOCK THEM FOREVER and move on with your life. I stayed with my first cheater for 7 years until he finally dumped me for good even though I knew he cheated because I thought he was the best I could get. I WAS WRONG. NOTHING would have been better than that POS. I really did great damage to MYSELF by staying. Please don’t do this to yourself and just go cold turkey on both these assholes. Get rid of all their shit, block their contact info, and send them to Planet DontGiveAShit as soon as possible. Save yourself, don’t be like me.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

“your girl unblocked me lol” … oh hell no.

Ok, get on out of there. My only advice, for what it’s worth, is 1) be safe (narcissists can get nasty when they are rejected), 2) make a plan, and 3) do not engage – just end it. Don’t respond to questions like “but why?” Their brains aren’t wired the same way, and you’ll get sucked into an intolerable, mind-breaking back-and-forth. He doesn’t deserve any more explanation than “you cheated, we’re done.”

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

“your girl unblocked me lol” … oh hell no”

This actually gives me the chills because it sounds so calculated. She knows exactly what she’s doing, as does he, they’re both evil pieces of shit – and I hope this whore gets every kind of vile crotch rot known to man. But you are right – Hopeless needs to BLOCK BOTH OF THEM FOREVER AND GET OUT AND STAY OUT and never have contact with this “man” again because both of these people, him and that “friend” are garbage people. You take the garbage OUT…you don’t live with it.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

P.S. It just occurred to me that what I find so chilling about this phrase she used it…..it shows they’re conspiring against Hopeless. Conspiracy is inherently CREEPY.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

The intentionality really goes against the fairytale narrative of “we were just two hearts drawn together by destiny.” Uh huh. Sounds like the two of you rats were enjoying your deceitful little game.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

That really comes out in that one sentence – they’re talking about Hopeless behind her back, discussing her. It’s really creepy. These two deserve each other – creep-peas in a pod!

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

Talking about Hopeless behind her back = ultimate primitive threat of reputational ruin/smear campaign. Smacks of “coercive control” threats.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
21 days ago

I had vague evidence that he was cheating three years in. I got the hard evidence twenty four years, one marriage, one co-built business, and one child later. Hindsight is 20/20, and the awarenesses have been coming hard and fast since DDay in 2017 that I should have “gotten out of the car” that day three years in.

You are in the BEGINNING, the EARLY EARLY STAGES of this entanglement (I don’t think of this as a relationship. Personally I reserve that term for people we are involved with where there is TRUST and SAFETY, the two non-negotiable characteristics of any healthy relationship.) This is when it’s supposed to be all great and the warts are not visible yet. You’ve gotten enormous neon flaming STOP signs visible from space. That CHARMING side of him is truly charming, as in, CASTING A SPELL TO BIND YOU TO HIM. All con artists excel at charm. It’s how they rope in a mark.

Google BF Skinner, operant conditioning, and intermittent reward. It’s powerful and exactly what ropes us in and bonds us with dangerous people.

What I would say to my 30-year-old self is “LEAVE AT THE FIRST LIE.”

What I say to my 60-year-old self is, “I love you. I’m sorry. You took him at his word and he turned out to be an expert con artist. You couldn’t see until you did.”

There was no Internet way back in 1993. No Chump Nation for reality checks and support to restore me to sanity. I am truly sorry that you have to be here, and you can’t imagine how lucky you are to be here. We will help you dodge the bullet. Infidelity is like surgery without anesthesia, but it’s to remove a terminal growth and you are not alone.

Keep coming back. And please grab a copy of Dangerous Instincts by Mary Ellen O’Toole (look on eBay). She’s a retired FBI profiler. She and I have a mutual friend and her book is my new favorite in my self-protection tool kit.

❤️

Last edited 21 days ago by Velvet Hammer
Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

“That CHARMING side of him is truly charming, as in, CASTING A SPELL TO BIND YOU TO HIM. ”

This is a FANTASTIC post! I always say, be ware of charming people, they are charming because THEY WANT SOMETHING. I almost always find this to be true. My first cheater was as charming as kitten dipped in honey but it was all fake. He always wanted something – I can still see him making those puppy dog eyes when he wanted something – I only wish I could go back and stab him with the nearest fork.

susie lee
susie lee
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

Your timing was similar to mine VH. I pretty much knew at age 20 he was messing with a WAC while we were stationed at Vt. Hill Farms VA. When questioned why he was driving her car, he gave me a song and dance and said that he was the only one she trusted to watch her car while she was on travel. He even brought her to our apt to introduce her to me, she was age 40. He convinced me she was too old for him.

Anyway, he convinced me and quite honestly he really seemed to be maturing and acting right; for many years then Dec of 1989: KABOOM. It was all over, and turns out he had been conning me for quite some time. Maybe our whole marriage, I never dug for any more details beyond the credit card and bank statements I needed to turn over to my lawyer.

ChumpyDays
ChumpyDays
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

HNR HERE

i truly loved reading this, thank you for your advice. everytime i think i have the courage to walk away, i tell myself “atleast you havent been together that long. you havent lost that much time. you can get out now before its too late”. my last relationship lasted for 7 years (my ex and i met when we were 19) and after i left, i always kicked myself for not leaving sooner. i’m so sad about the time lost for what i thought was forever for me, but i know i would regret submitting to this death sentence.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

One thought I find takes a bit of the sting out of the “lost time” issue is that, though people who endure abuse in any form should never “thank” abusers for “teaching” life lessons, we do learn a lot in spite of them and in spite of trauma and only thanks to ourselves.

You will know more. If you run with that and sort of make a life study of these things, given your pattern so far, this will undoubtedly make your knowledge very valuable to others. It also creates more points for bonding with like minds. Imagine being able to travel the world and encounter people in every corner who know all sorts of things about all sorts of things and finding that, even if your experiences seem to differ, you’re still able to bond with them across the points in common. I’ve really found this to be true. For instance, traveling to a country which had, not so long ago, suffered a violent dictatorship, I met quite a few people who’d survived that awful point in history and found that it’s true that the personal is political and the political is personal. Trauma is trauma, fear is fear, survival is survival, recovery is recovery. We all ended up having similar insights and were finishing each other’s sentences and then soon ended up laughing over whatever (which seems to always be what happens when you feel extra-reassured that you’re in very understanding company).

Also in DV advocacy, we used to joke that surviving (in the true sense of not becoming an abuser oneself) traumatic relationship experiences is like having a third arm. It’s hard to find clothes off the rack that fit and you can end up feeling like a freak at cocktail parties for awhile (especially when your hands and voice are still shaking) but that extra appendage means you can probably bench press a full grown gorilla. Furthermore, three-armed people (the genuine survivors again) tend to find each other and form extraordinary friendships.

Anyway, fuck the abusers for teaching these evil lessons but survivors often manage to turn this into an advantage (or extra appendage). Abusers may waste our time but then again we always use our time well.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

As Dr. Kennedy says in the TED talk below, what she says is true for ALL relationships.

This so-called boyfriend is not interested in being accountable, making amends, or repairing anything.

(And for me, I have come to believe that cheating is irreparable.)

Making amends means TO CHANGE.

Make a Pro and Con list. I focused on the Pro list (charm) and used the Pro list to minimize or dismiss the Con list. The DEALBREAKERS, the IRREPARABLE on the Con list. Lying and cheating and doing things he knows will hurt you SHOULD EVEN BE ON THE CON LIST.

Do not partner with potential. Look at the REALITY.

https://youtu.be/PHpPtdk9rco?
si=4oMLshfCnGMsXCL8

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

TYPO…

“Lying and cheating and doing things he knows will hurt you SHOULD NOT EVEN BE ON THE CON LIST.”

Don’t forget the NOT!!

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

I love your comment about operant conditioning. I have thought this, before, as well – but from the other angle. You are totally right that FWs give you just enough praise here and there to keep you jumping through hoops. The other angle is that FWs will get into a conditioning pattern of 1) cheat and get caught, 2) blame it on the deficiencies of the partner, and 3) get a “treat” for cheating when the partner tries to reconcile and do all the things the FW said they wanted. It’s a toxic mess. It’s like giving a puppy a treat when it pees on the floor and then expecting it to learn to pee outside. One problem I have with the RIC is that these therapists – presumably people with degrees in psychology – think that humans are magically immune from this type of conditioning? Because when you are promoting reconciliation and forgiveness, you are feeding right into this conditioning paradigm.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

Not even hard-boiled, scarred and seasoned veteran intelligence agents are “immune” from operant conditioning. This is something very interesting that I learned while training as an advocate for victims of violent crime: the methods used by domestic abusers– whether those abusers are violent or use psychological tactics– are nearly indistinguishable from the method used by professional interrogators. This is why professional intelligence agents are rarely given whole parcels of state secrets. It’s considered to be predictable that, if agents are subjected to certain stressors (again, whether violent or psychological), everyone cracks.

Even when I was in college I found it very unfair that secret agents who crack and spill all their intel aren’t blamed and shamed as much as typical domestic abuse survivors are (for freezing and fawning) by both bystanders and average “helping” professionals. Rather than being shamed and blamed, intelligence professionals who are captured and subjected to these tactics are routinely and carefully “deprogrammed” to undo any captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome they might typically form with captors in captivity. It’s simply expected that these individuals would bond with their “operant conditioning” captor in order to survive.

Anyway, it always struck me that battle scarred professionals seemed to receive gentler treatment than regular Joe and Jane survivors. Seems fucked up.

weedfree
weedfree
20 days ago

HOAC i can’t find your post about coercive control but you may be interested to follow Torna Pittman’s work about CC (Talking Wise on FB). She wrote a paper called The Trap. There is a podcast of same name with Jess Hill (admittedly haven’t listened to it as just out of DV related work after 15 years and need a break from it). Torna talks about the subtler aspects like conversational control.
https://www.vwt.org.au/the-trap-ep01-transcript/

Last edited 20 days ago by weedfree
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
20 days ago
Reply to  weedfree

What an excellent presentation, thank you for sharing it.

I get it about needing a break now and again. {{{ }}}

Braken
Braken
21 days ago

HNR,

I know you feel so much doubt; I can understand your fear that if you leave now, you’ll have lost time and perhaps face being alone for a while. Perhaps you’re secretly afraid that this is the best you can do.

When you crave a full meal, you’ll still eat the candy bar at hand. But it won’t actually fill you. It won’t give you a solid base to build a happy life on.

You still have time to find a real partner, but you won’t find someone worthy of marriage by staying with this lying man who hurts you.

You are worthy of love. You are worthy of the bare minimum of honesty and respect. It may not feel like it, but you are. I wasted years with men who weren’t ready for a commitment when I was, and I regret staying with them every time.

Once you end things, it’s rough for a while, but ultimately, you feel so much better, and your growing self-respect and care for yourself will attract the right person. I know I did; I’m currently making serious plans with a sweet and gentle guy with a solid tech job who loves cats and makes dinners for us. Who brings me coffee in bed and wouldn’t look twice at someone else.

You can get there too, getting a therapist to talk through these things and help you find the strength, talking to friends, rallying support, applying to a new job, and moving to your dream city, whatever you must do.

Once you stop accepting junk and scraps, you can find something truly nourishing if you are brave enough to make a place in your life for it.

GoodFriend
GoodFriend
21 days ago

HNR, you’reneither hopeless nor helpless. The hope is for a better future for yourself, without the cheater, and you can do that.

Instead of goiung through his aparment or his computer, use the time for you. Go though the archives here, and go out and get yourself a hard copy of Lose a Cheater, Gain a Life. Read it, at least once. Talking to your friends is fine if they support you and your obligation to protect yourslef and leave the cheater. Talking to chumps who have come through to Meh may be even better.

Instead of asking “Why can’t I leave him?” ask yourself how you’re going to leave him. It sounds like you aren’t living together and don’t have kids, so really, what’s to leave? If he has any of your stuff, decide if it’s worth getting or sending a friend to pick up. And that’s it. All you have to decide is if you want to tell him it’s over, or simply stop responding. Maybe tell him that YOU are going no contact. Then just do it. Stop responding, block as needed. Find a few things you’ve enjoyed and do them for yourself.

A good life is waiting for you.

ChumpyDays
ChumpyDays
21 days ago

HNR HERE

Thank you so much for this response, Chump Lady. After reading the posts of others, I knew I just wanted to be dragged for filth by you mostly because I’ve been looking for objective advice from an unbiased party and could not locate that.

I must’ve been choking on my tears practically the entire time I was reading this. I suppose the more I share my story, the more real it makes it considering only 2 of my friends know, and none of my family. But his immediately family all know.

I’m trying to build the confidence to have this conversation with him in a few days and be prepared to go no contact. I feel almost infantile thinking about it because I am so scared but I’m more afraid to lose the rest of my life to this cancer.

Thank you for everything, and I will report back when the deed is done.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Oh please report back. You’ve formed a community or tribe here and we await news. But, at the same time, understand that this community/tribe understands momentary faltering of courage. Don’t fail to report back just because you experience moments of weakness. We get it. It’s just part of the process.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago

I also second the advice to avoid the “big conversation” to preface the breakup. He will only use that the occasion to lodge more daggars into your self esteem, fabricate insane counter-accusations and leave you bleeding out in an emotional sense (and then wondering “How can I ever survive with out him??” It’s the ultimate bad joke. The word of the day is “blindside.” Make sure you’re already secure in your escape by the time he knows anything. Narcissists are extremely vengeful so be very careful.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago

So many typos. Sorry, lost my glasses. 😀

ChumpNoMore
ChumpNoMore
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Hi Chumpy Days. Well done for being so honest and vulnerable with us and I hope you can move on asap. I totally feel your pain btw. Been there, done that. My two bits worth is this. When ending a relationship with a decent human being, you owe them an honest and kind conversation. Depending on the length of the relationship this may be several honest and kind conversations. This is always difficult but the right thing to do. However, leaving an abusive piece of shit is different insomuch as you own them nothing, nada, sweet fuck all. If you don’t live with him just fucking text him and go immediate no contact. If you think he may turn violent, put effective measures into place to protect yourself. There’s zero shame in running away at top speed from a dangerous person.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Hopeless, you don’t have to have a confrontation – you really don’t. All you have to do is – well, you can text him. You can email him. You can call him. You can leave a voice mail. You can write a note. But whatever you do, don’t make it a big thing because he’ll probably just start his lying bullshit and it will drag you down or he’ll start trying to bully you or gas light you, and there’s no point in listening. You know what he does, he knows what he does, the bottom line is just send him a message saying We are Done, NO MORE CONTACT. That’s it, you don’t owe him ANYTHING else. And again….if you do want to meet and talk, which I would not advise anyway….do it in a PUBLIC PLACE, not at your apt or his apt. The only way to end it, is to end it, and go NO CONTACT…..and no peeking at social media for either of these losers. They always lie on that shit anyway.

OHFFS
OHFFS
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Why bother to have the conversation? If you find that prospect daunting, you don’t have to. Assuming he either lives with you or has a key to your place, you can have your locks changed while he’s out. When he finds out and you get a WTF text from him, explain that it is over and there will be no more contact. Ever. Then block him from everything. You don’t owe him jack.
If he has his own place and no key to yours, even better. Just send a text saying that it’s over, that he is blocked and warning him that if he shows up at your place you’ll call the cops. If he shows up and bothers you anyway, call the cops. Tell them he was warned to leave you alone and he refuses to comply.

Again, you owe him nothing, not even an explanation. You’re a nice person and want to do the right thing by talking this through with him. However, the right thing doesn’t work with wrong people. Guys like him will either fly into a rage or pull out all the stops to manipulate you into taking him back. You shouldn’t have to deal with that and you don’t have to.

Braken
Braken
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

I know the confrontation is scary, but instead, think of yourself afterward.

How will you feel when your friends and family hear that you stood up for yourself? How, in a week or two, you will be in your room, listening to power ballads and free of him, free of the need to watch their social media or clean his apartment. Free of this horrible other woman who enjoys your pain.

It’s so normal to want to avoid pain and, in the end, to spend a bit of time grieving him, questioning yourself, and feeling how you need to feel. But that is temporary.

What isn’t temporary is learning from experience that you CAN do this, that you can stand up for yourself, that you are strong, and that you won’t stick around for disrespect. That confidence and hard-won ability to trust yourself is priceless and will be well worth everything.

Also, what everyone said, you don’t owe him an in-person breakup. A text of “I know you are cheating, and I’m done. I mailed out the box of your things this morning. Do not contact me again.” followed by a block on all social media is enough. This isn’t a discussion; a Fuckwit is incapable of giving you genuine closure, so don’t even bother. Closure is what you will give yourself.

Then, you can heal, rest, and get to work on the rest of your amazing life!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  Braken

I’m loving these beautiful, inspiration ballads that many people are sending to the OP. I feel like taking a moment to appreciate how humans can be so generous and lovely to other humans. Love rules, love wins. Don’t ever forget it.

Braken
Braken
21 days ago
Reply to  Braken

Also of note, personally, I find the anxiety and stress of anticipating the breakup conversation in a non-co-habitating relationship are worse than the actual breakup or aftermath. The longer you procrastinate, the longer you are stuck.

It’s like the monster movie before you see the creature. Once it happens or is seen, then it has a shape that you can deal with. The unknown is often more stressful than the known.

You can do this on your terms, not his. You don’t owe him anything.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  Braken

Quite an unusual and brilliant insight about anticipation. In short, plan well and strategize to avoid the opponent’s evil mechanization but also don’t procrastinate and drag it out to increase your own suffering? Like that?

Braken
Braken
19 days ago

Yes, it’s tough because we all struggle with anxiety around the time between making the firm decision to leave and when, logistically/legally/safely, emotionally, we can actually leave.

Once I know that leaving is the right choice, the time between knowing I need or should go and telling them that the relationship is over is so stressful. It’s full of doubt, but also fear of being alone, fear of how they will react, fear of what they will do afterward. But being in that space and feeling that fear has always, ultimately, been worse than the actual fallout of the breakup. Because the fear is of all the infinite possibilities, but once it has happened it has a solid form that I can use my tools to deal with. Even if that fallout is a shit sandwich, it is something you can deal with once you know the truth.

New Beginnings
New Beginnings
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

Think about the relief you will feel when you have finally dumped him – I think a weight will lift when you realize that you no longer have to care about what he is doing, or wonder about if he is lying to you or not, or snoop through his stuff to try to find the truth.

And you can move on to better things. You can focus on you!

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

I don’t really think you even need a conversation with him. You could do it via text, email or carrier pigeon if you think it would be that hard for you. And if he has any shit, put it out on the curb and tell him to get it or give it to a friend for him. The less you have to do with him the better. If you do meet with him to end it and/or return stuff – DO IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE NOT AT YOUR HOUSE/APT. It will make him behave better and you can cut it shorter and cleaner. He’s not gonna make a scene in public and if he did, the cops can get him or you can just leave. Do not give him excuses to come to where you live (and you don’t go over there). Keep it as distant and formal as possible.

Last edited 21 days ago by Mehitable
OHFFS
OHFFS
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Exactly right, Meh.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I just learned that my local police department provides a monitored exchange location in front of the police department building. They don’t oversee your transaction, but it’s under video surveillance. They offer it for things like custody child exchanges (if that sort of thing is necessary), financial exchanges on FB marketplace – that sort of thing. I think it’s an interesting concept.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

Wow, that is really fantastic!!!! Is that here in the USA? This is a concept that really needs to spread – it would make things so much easier for people and would really enhance safety in a difficult area of domestic relations.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Yup, in the U.S. It’s such a good idea all around. Low cost and high benefit. Just the act of meeting in front of a police station in front of a rolling CCTV camera is going to put an amazing chill effect on the vast majority of interactions.

Mehitable
Mehitable
20 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

And it has the added benefit of providing documentation of behavior for different purposes. A great and simple idea!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

OMG that’s real progress!!!

susie lee
susie lee
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

I don’t know your set up, but I would keep that conversation short. “yeah, I am done; you need to pack your stuff and leave” or if it is his apt and you have no financial obligation to it, pack your bags and leave while he is gone. Leave a note saying “I wish you all the happiness you deserve, don’t call me.”

There will be nothing he can say that will make you feel better, and there is a huge chance what he says will cause you even more pain.

My fw just about broke me, but fortunately for me his actions to me were so heinous the last few months, it didn’t take long for me to know I had to move on quick.

I let him come back after a couple months and he was even more of a monster, I kicked him out before the week ended.

I was forty years old, working at a minimum wage job. It was scary as hell, but within a few weeks I started to feel better. I buried my self in work, college classes and part time work in my off hours. Fortunately my son was fully emancipated and it the AF in another state, so I didn’t have that stress.

You deserve better, what ever that turns out to be.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I second this, totally. Like Susie Lee above said, if you give any abuser room to retort, they will always, always use it to achieve maximum damage to your self esteem, hope for your own future, etc. Abusers are always “scorched earth” on their way out. Robbing them of the opportunity to exact extreme, traumatic, damaging emotional payback is also just good, clean fun. It’s kind of like the witch in Wizard of Oz having her “beautiful evil” melted by water.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago

So true, I tend to mouth off but frequently the old saying “Least said, soonest mended” is the best policy.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
21 days ago

HNR,

Read the archives and comments here. What you will find is many, many people who have been in exactly your shoes. Rare is the Chump that finds out their partner is cheating and just immediately leaves. They exist, Chumps that take action right away, and I am impressed as hell by them, but chumps that procrastinate and don’t leave right away are far more common.

You really do have all the evidence you need. Full disclosure? Mine TOLD me he was in love with someone else. He just blindsided me one day. I had no idea and no inkling, and he admitted it as his plan was to leave me. And even then? I didn’t leave right away. I froze. We have kids, a few decades and a house under our belts and the idea of that all blowing up was just so hard for me to wrap my head around. But the point is, he TOLD me. I didn’t need to dig, and yet, I was still not running out the door.

They had a long distance affair. I got some info, but it was all from him, and hence, suspect. It wasn’t like she was a neighbor or coworker. I definitely was very curious about her. But it wasn’t like I could find much out. I saw maybe 3 photos of her. I knew what state she lived in. I definitely wanted to be able to stalk her social media, I’m not too proud to admit it. But she was completely locked down. And I think I am luckier for it. I didn’t find their texts,or emails, or all that stuff that really hurts.

I will say this, in hindsight, there were red flags going back 2 decades. And I didn’t accept them. And now I sit here, wishing that I hadn’t wasted so much of my life on an abusive cheater. (I do have my kids and will never regret that) But you have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t waste it on him.

Again, my suggestion is to read archives and comments, you’ll see how many have fallen for te same bs. It was so helpful for me to see that. It made me see that he is just another fuckwit, not even original.

whatfreshhell22
whatfreshhell22
21 days ago

Dear darling hopeless not romantic:

I wonder if you have heard about attachment theory. In is a school of thought about the particular emotional attachment style each of us have that goes back to how we responded to our very early childhood. I mention this because I have always had such a struggle with leaving bad relationships, and when I found out about this attachment stuff it changed my life because I understood more about my lifelong emotional responses. Different authorities have different names for the various styles, but mine is often known as anxious attachment. It is a very challenging style to have. Letting go, even of someone we know is bad for us, can be excruciating. I learned a lot about this and found that there are clinical terms for the responses I regularly experience. Learning more about this stuff might give you some good insight, although understanding it doesn’t make it any less painful. It helped me have more compassion for myself and understand what I truly need in a relationship. Ultimately what we all need is a secure attachment to a partner if we are going to bother to have one. Honey this ain’t it. I have to go to work now but I will try to come back and comment again with more resources. Girl I am four months out from d day with someone I loved so deeply for four years. I feel your pain! You have to step up and hold your own hand and dry your own tears and bear the pain of separation to get to the other side. It is hell…and it leads to freedom. You have a strong clear self to guide you if you tune in to it. Journaling and exercise help me a lot. You can do it. Get out! You are in a horror film. We love you sweetie. You can do it!

Last edited 21 days ago by whatfreshhell22
Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
21 days ago

DETACH stands for DON’T EVEN THINK ABOIT CHANGING HIM/HER

susie lee
susie lee
21 days ago

Goodness I hope she dumps this liar. I would also suggest working on her own self esteem. She probably has plenty, she just needs to uncover it and let it fly.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago
Reply to  susie lee

That’s such a beautiful way of putting it– uncovering self esteem and letting it fly. I don’t think our commercial culture exactly encourages genuinely healthy self esteem. It might get in the way of chronic insecurities that prompt people to buy shit they don’t really need lol.

Chumped in KC
Chumped in KC
21 days ago

Oh dear, Hopeless Not Romantic – This is a hard one. I think most chumps deal with the pick me and are stuck for a period of time. For some it’s only months, but for others it can be years. There are several reasons for that, some are financial obviously, but the main reason is it feels like you are being GUTTED when you think of leaving. I mean flayed like a fish! You are in such shock that someone who claimed to “love” you could treat you with such little respect and cheat, lie, deceive and destroy your relationship! Who is this person? It’s not the person I agreed to have a committed relationship with! WTF?

The problem is, is that being betrayed also feels like being GUTTED! How can both leaving and staying feel the same? It’s a uniquely horrible experience tied to intimate betrayal and the trauma it causes. And we betrayed ALL feel this way. So don’t be ashamed or feel that something is wrong with you, because there isn’t. There is something MAJORLY wrong with the cheater for behaving this way and treating a good person so horribly!

Unfortunately, when I said the relationship is destroyed, I mean that, it is. There is no foundation left. Like Tracy said, there is nothing left to build on. He’s a liar and a cheat, and you have all the evidence you need.

Leaving will be the hardest thing you will ever do, rest assured, but once you do it, you will feel relief. You will also be sad and depressed for a time, but try to remind yourself of the things you have to look forward to :

Being at peace, not being lied to and deceived, not being used and abused, not having to be relationship police and private detective, not having to answer to anyone but yourself, not cleaning up after a person who not only doesn’t appreciate you but shows it by betrayal… The list can go on and on. You have to make your own list and write it down, look at it in times of despair and it will help you through.

You are hanging in for him and he will use that forever if you let him. He is still with you for a reason, and it is NOT love. You server a purpose. Maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s to wash his dirty laundry. Whatever it is, he is taking all from you while giving you NOTHING. Nothing but maybe and STD and Betrayal.

You are not married, with kids, have a mortgage, etc., so you have it easier than some of us chumps on here, that had this happens after decades of being with a cheater. Save yourself and you sanity and walk away! There are good people out there. Go find them! And find yourself in the interim. Make yourself happy, then you don’t ever have to depend on another person for that!

Good luck to you! And know you always have friends here that will listen and help as much as we can!

Mighty Warrior
Mighty Warrior
21 days ago

‘People don’t send expensive sweatpants to their exes.’

I laughed out loud! As many here know, after 26 years with me, I was unceremoniously discarded by the ex for his exgf from school. They had been in a long-distance romantic relationship (UK – Canada) for at least 10 years and, more probably, for 26. My very first Christmas with the ex, which we were to spend with his family, he got into a pickle about buying the exgf a present. He turned up with a pleasant enough candlestick (something that could be carried around with her as an everlasting phallic memory of him). He wanted me to come to the home town pub with him shortly after Christmas, to meet with her and her fiancé (later husband and father of her children but who knows what she did with him or them). The idea was that he and she would exchange his candlestick for whatever she had in her rucksack (I asked but was never told what she bought him). Presumably, the two pending or actual chumps, me and her fiancé, were supposed to look on while the cultural exchange took place. I declined and stayed at the in laws’ and watched TV instead. The writing was on my wall 6 months in. Sadly I ignored the red flags smacking me round the chops! Hopeless, Not Romantic, please kick him in to touch, otherwise in 26 years you run the risk of being me (I was 59 when dumped and I’m 64 now).

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
21 days ago

HNR – I think this guy already broke up with you. You’re just not accepting it. That’s the source of the pain.

He did some crappy and immature things. Mostly, he didn’t tell you that he was pursuing a relationship with someone else. Since you had hoped it was an exclusive relationship leading to marriage, this is actually YOUR deal breaker.

The straightest line to a healthy relationship is away from him.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago

OMG – HOPELESS – END THIS NOW!!!!! END IT NOW!!!!! JUST END IT!!!!!! This man does not love you, he has betrayed you, he has lied to you, he has treated you like garbage, there is no future with him. YOU HAVE TO STOP THIS NOW!!!!!!! You have to – he will destroy you if you let him and you are the only one who can stop this. As much as it hurts right now, YOU HAVE TO END THIS, stop seeing him, make it permanent. All you say is…”You have been cheating on me, I have read the proof, I have read the texts, I have seen your behavior, I’ve seen the lies, I’ve seen the pants, and you are NOT someone I want in my life ever.” Text if and then block him. Email it and block him. Or call him and block him. You don’t even have to see him. If he has stuff in your house put it in bags, put it on the curb and tell him to get his shit and DON’T SEE HIM. DON’T LISTEN TO HIM. He’s toxic, he’s evil, he’s bad for you, he will destroy you. What you are seeing right now is your life potentially for YEARS if you don’t END THIS NOW.

This man will never be any good for you, he will only bring you misery. if he is betraying you now, it will only be as bad if not worse, especially if you make the terrible mistake of committing to him and having kids. IT WILL NEVER GET ANY BETTER WITH HIM – I SWEAR THIS ON A STACK OF BIBLES (and I AM a believer). Ask me how I know. I KNOW. I should have left too but I didn’t because I thought he was the best I could do. You probably think this too. YOU’RE WRONG. This man is destructive and he knows how to twist and turn you inside to make you go along with his bullshit. The only way to deal with someone is to go cold turkey BLOCK HIM EVERYWHERE AND NEVER SEE OR SPEAK TO HIM AGAIN. Throw out everything he gave you, every picture he is in, everything. Don’t read texts, don’t take calls, say that you want him out of your life and then just retreat entirely. It will take some time, it will be a shock, but your life can be so much better, and there area decent people, including a decent man somewhere out there that you are preventing from coming into your life by using this man as a life raft. He’s a life raft full of holes and he’ll drown you. LISTEN TO US – THROW HIM OUT OF YOUR LIFE, DON’T COMMUNICATE, BLOCK HIM AND KEEP HIM OUT FOR GOOD. If you don’t, he’s gonna wreck your life, we’ve all been through this – LISTEN TO US!

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago

Please Hopeless – keep coming back here for support. You need to talk to people who have been through this – through it, went through it TOO long many of us (like me) and came out the other end. This community will help you through this, we specialize in reality and recovery. Good luck – life will be so much better without Drama King in it!

Anna
Anna
21 days ago

Hi HNR.
Please don’t waste 30 years of your life with a dishonest and disrespectful man. That is what I did. The only thing that I’m grateful for are my 3 sons. Your “boyfriend” is a cheater. He has shown you that he is a liar, a manipulator and a cake eater. HE WILL NOT CHANGE. It took me a long time to get out, but when I did it was pure relief, mentally and physically. If you read through the archives on CN, you will find that the biggest regret that most posters have, is that they did not leave sooner. Please leave. You have nothing to lose, except a POS cheater.

Last edited 21 days ago by Anna
Chumped in KC
Chumped in KC
21 days ago
Reply to  Anna

Yep, agreed, Wish I had told him to get out on D-day! But I was devastated, in denial and totally traumatized. The worst abuse of my life at the hands of a man I totally loved. And I was abused in every way as a child, yet this was worse to me. The difference is that I chose this person. One doesn’t choose the family they are borne into. But choosing your cheater somehow makes it feel like it’s partially your fault. It’s not, but seems that way. I think hardest part of all of this is the loss of a dream. You built a life with this person around shared dreams, a shared future. And they just throw it all away for a cheap thrill and extra cake. Unfathomable.

But waiting has cost me a lot too. So definitely wish I had been strong enough back then. But you learn from these sorts of things, I guess. Not a very pleasant learning experience, I can say for sure.

One last time
One last time
15 days ago
Reply to  Chumped in KC

Very well said, feel like I could have written this.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago

I was thinking about why we stay despite seeing red flags at the beginning – I did too, I just ignored them like y’all did. I think part of it is that, especially if we’re young, we put it down to youthful mistakes. He or she is young, unsure of themselves, not ready for a big commitment, easily distracted, not enough sex partners, made a MISTAKE he or she will learn from, but it all seems to come down to youth, inexperience, freshness – and our freshness of being in love with them and wanting it to work out so much. But what REALLY happens to people over time is that……….they get worse. LOL. Those mistakes turn into patterns, that become habits, that become ways of life. The kissing at a party, or seeing the old girlfriend at a bar….turns into ogling the neighbor lady, feeling up the receptive howorker….and it also turns into other things like stealing money from the marriage, gambling, increasingly extreme forms of sex or porn…..over time if someone starts off bad, they generally get worse with time. Until death starts gargling around the corner and maybe they figure they have to clean up their act or Hell looms. Up to that point, they keep getting worse and worse, so the “indiscretion” or “mistake” that you see today, will eventually become him cheating while you’re pregnant…or her having a baby with another man, or getting an STD and eventually leaving you. A lot of this done in secret while you think you’re the center of the world and you’re not even their favorite pissoir.

Be grateful if you see the signs – the red flags – early on and heed them. It will never get any better, they almost always get WORSE. Baby spiders and crocs and scorpions are all cute when they’re little but they ALL GROW UP.

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

You wrote, “I was thinking about why we stay despite seeing red flags at the beginning.” I’m currently reading Prof. Jennifer Freyd’s (pronounced “Fried”) Blindness to Betrayal.” I just started but I’m sensing there’s a kind of algorithm to emotional and pragmatic vulnerability to “having the rug pulled” regarding security that can accurately predict people’s relative difficulty in breaking it off with abusive people or even institutions, jobs or organizations.

Mehitable
Mehitable
21 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Oh….I forgot….they were SEDUCED by some she-devil or he-devil….succubus and incubus are REAL…who knew!!!!! No they’re not, they’re just looking for another thrill. Get in line!

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
21 days ago

HNR,

Have some compassion for yourself and realise that very few Chumps are mighty from the get-go on D-Day; it can take a while to work yourself up to it as you cycle through the various stages of grief. I know that I was a huge, fragile, shocked, broken, indecisive, uncertain mess for weeks afterwards, and it took me a while to realise that (firstly) my kids and I deserved better (secondly) my kids and I could do better (thirdly) my kids and I would do better and (fourthly) that my kids and I were going to carve the most most wonderful future for ourselves ….. once I had worked out what that looked like and how I would navigate us there.

While I am not one for inspirational quotes, my eldest daughter (then 18) gave me this one by Camus – “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” It was (and still is) our guiding star.
For what it’s worth, my children (now 20, 25 and 27) are now well and in strong and healthy relationships and I’m happy for them and the fact that I am close to their other halves. I’m still single – by choice rather than any lack of opportunity – and I’m OK with that too; it’s better to be single than in the wrong relationship with the wrong person.

Believe me, once you can visualise a better future, you’ll see this man for what he is; an anchor that holds you back, undermines you and stops you from achieving all that you can. At that point you’ll have all the “mighty” that you’ll need.

LFTT

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
21 days ago

Quite a beautiful sentiment. How wonderful that your daughter has learned to run things so deep. I’m going to make a wild guess that that influence was probably from you.

susie lee
susie lee
21 days ago

“very few Chumps are mighty from the get-go on D-Day; it can take a while to work yourself up to it as you cycle through the various stages of grief.”

So true.

Leedy
Leedy
21 days ago

Dear HNR,

I send you hugs. You are MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.

The fact that you feel you need to muster the “courage” to have a breakup “conversation” means that you are–forgive the phrase–mindfucking yourself. This boyfriend is poison, and either he or your own conditioning as a good girl (I speak as a recovering good girl myself) has somehow twisted your mind into thinking there would be something wrong with just texting this person a simple “I am breaking up with you. Do not contact me.” (And after texting or emailing him, you must block him, or more poison will come around, looking for an opening into your heart.)

Yes, it may feel scary and painful after you send this message, but tolerating those painful emotions–for a while–is just “work” you will be doing, like any other hard work, to free yourself from hell.

Poison is poison. You don’t owe poison a “conversation.” Again, truly sending hugs.

ChumpyDays
ChumpyDays
21 days ago
Reply to  Leedy

Thank you so much for this. The support from this group is seriously what I’ve been looking for all along.

I haven’t mentioned this but the car I drive is in his name because when we met I was repairing my credit and finances. I’ve been working with my mom to get some sort of emergency vehicle so I can commute to work (40 miles down state). I finally told my mom today after all this time. I’m praying this is all over soon

Leedy
Leedy
21 days ago
Reply to  ChumpyDays

I’m so glad you told your mom. Huge step! 👏 (And good for your mom for helping you.) I too hope for your sake that it’s over soon too, but in any case it will indeed be over. You will look back on this time and be so thankful to yourself for having gotten out. Sending every good wind of love and power to you right now!

Stephen
Stephen
21 days ago

Best quote in the response: “alone is a million times better than this.” Amen.

Second best quote: “you can’t have healthy love without sanity.” Amen.

Third best quote: “You’re gaslighting yourself.” This is the loop we all get into with fuckwits and toxic people and it is the one we struggle to break.

2xchump
2xchump
21 days ago

This is not his first rodeo…please know that he is incapable of loving anyone but himself. Is giving all you have to a creep- user pleasant for you? He can’t help you in any way, a con artist never can. His other girl friend is of use also. He does not love her either. You can be courageous now and keep your DIGNITY OR you can keep your spy campaign up and ruin your mental health…and all other health too. I’ve had 2 cheaters…the lies get bigger. You are the cake and you are feeding his super ego of me me me.He fakes human feelings. He is an alien- parasite.
My 2nd cheater cried all the time. He was faking every tear drop.and every human emotion. Faking.
It does not get better. Run for the hills. He is not special he is disturbed.

Cal
Cal
21 days ago

The one thing. The absolute first, biggest, and main thing that you can be absolutely 100% sure of, is that this, right here and now, is worse than being alone forever. Nothing is more lonely than being in a relationship with a barbed wire monkey.

You’re better than a fuckwit. Never be so desperate for the image or the idea that you’ll put up with anything less than you deserve – and only fuckwits deserve other fuckwits.

Block him on everything, bring your people around you – by telling the truth to the ones you can trust – and protect yourself while you heal. There are so many better things ahead for you!

Orlando
Orlando
20 days ago

No, you don’t enjoy pain! I don’t enjoy pain, no one enjoys pain! What you’re used to is hope & working hard at it, even when the person who’s the recipient of that hope is undeserving. What you have to do now is work on the backside of hope (hopelessness) & know when hope is gone, things are now hopeless & to let go of that rope so you can move forward towards ANOTHER hopeful path. This is painful, yes it is. But being dumped when the dude finds another someone to replace you is even more painful. Being disrespected by someone who supposedly loves you is even more painful! Be strong, dig down deep & walk the path of a strong, resilient woman warrior.