you cannot make your spouse cheat

By Sarah P.

My husband reads the New York Times every night before bed. Sometimes he will find a particular obnoxious article OR a particularly moving article and forward them to me.

I read two different accounts in the Modern Love section, one very moving article about the SELFLESSNESS of people with integrity and another article that appeared to be completely ridiculous and made me wonder where to start.

It clicked quickly in my mind that these two accounts of real lives from The New York Times would make an excellent comparison and contrast piece. They are polar opposites. But, it would also allow me to explain in detail the psychological mechanisms that I believed were behind the motives of all parties.

But, then I also wanted to tell a couple of more stories, including revisiting my own story. I was massively triggered and have told more details that I have not written about before. There is still more to “the story,” but I am slowly getting more brave and telling the most painful bits and pieces. This post will contain more of them.

This could be a very tough read and could contain triggers. Some of the things I will be talking might make people heart sick. Still, these things need to be said. After I say them, I will also provide information about what is going on—unmasking the pain so that people might be better able to understand it. I will also be telling stories about the true and utter shallowness of some people. These are the people who make you wonder why they had to do all those terrible things? I will show you the reason and perhaps give you an answer to their behavior.

Let’s dive in.

Here is the Tale of Relationship #1, aka True Love:

A couple of law students, who attended Cornell University, took their first “peeks” at each other across the law library. He was a handsome, chiseled Renaissance man who was not only a skilled athlete; he was also a musician, a prisoner’s right’s activist, a talented writer, a soon-to-be attorney, and a great friend to many.

She was a beautiful, female law student, with a huge head of curly hair and olive skin, who would always look up from her books and greet all of her friends. She was the kind of person who was outwardly focused and always had time to listen to a friend or to lend a hand.

They were both gorgeous and amazing people; they fell in love and became a couple.

They also took many trips together and had a grand, old time.  They both got wonderful jobs in NYC and they moved in together. They made a lot of money and had tons of fun together during their twenties. They knew they would get married after they got established.

But, usually when some kind of tragedy strikes the under 30 or just turning 30 set someone inevitably bails.

Well, the handsome, powerful Wall Street attorney became very ill and suddenly debilitated with a mystery disease. He saw one doctor after the next and no one could diagnose his “mystery disease.” By the time he was 32, he was completely jobless, on disability, and sometimes spent weeks in bed.

Now, she was probably supporting them financially and also helping care for him due to his mystery disease. He could not figure out why her support remained unwavering and how her upbeat attitude could be maintained.

He had all kinds of terrible symptoms that affected his vision so that the world looked unreal, he was always nauseous, and his condition gave him unrelenting pain in his head. He spent most of his time in bed.

This one time high-functioning and multi-talented person got reduced to almost nothing practically overnight.

Yet, every night, she turned off the lights (to give his impaired vision relief), crawled into bed with him, and intertwined her body with his, and told him he was still the most handsome and amazing man she had ever met. Only during these moments did he get a sense of relief. She was still there. She still loved him. She showed it, despite his constant physical issues. She was endlessly supportive.

What’s the catch?

There is always a catch—right?

I mean, who does that? (Sarcasm)

Surely she had a man on the side at the law office. Surely she had random men texting her and reminding her of her youth and beauty. Surely, she believed said men and groaned about being trapped, right? She probably constantly trashed her almost-husband behind his back and constantly plotted escape plans. Right?


There was no catch. That is one of the reasons this story is so powerful. I was crying by the end of it and there were so many reasons. But, one of the key reasons is because it gave me hope; it gave me hope that decent people still exist; the kind of people who do the right thing even if it means tremendous sacrifice—yet, they don’t complain. They just silently keep doing the right thing, no matter what happens. They keep doing it even when their sacrifice is not visible to others.

But, let’s allow the author, a gentleman named Ari, to speak for himself so that you can know the story for yourself. Here is my addended version of his (Ari’s) essay:


“We met in law school, when I was a chiseled rock climber with outstanding career prospects. I watched her sheepishly from my nook in the law school reading room, near the nine-foot-tall grandfather clock carved with a statue of Lady Justice. Across the mahogany reading tables, I spied Dunia’s tight curls bobbing as she glanced up from her books to smile at the parade of friends that stopped to chat.

We eventually bonded over hamburgers at a campus cafeteria. A week later I organized a group paintball outing, mostly to invite her. She came, though she hid in terror behind a barricade for much of the afternoon. Next, we got together for a bike ride followed by Brie-stuffed French toast at a local breakfast spot — not quite as romantic as paintball.

Six years later, our refrigerator is decorated with souvenir magnets from our trips across America. She’s my girlfriend and partner in life, even in my sickness. I massage her knotted shoulder when it freezes up, and we laugh riotously alone together in the dark after turning off the lights.

For two years I have been treading water in a sea of obscure neurological illness, an affliction that has felt like a serious and unrelenting flu, keeping me bedridden unless I make a major effort to get out. My eyesight is warped and psychedelic, my nausea unyielding, and a throbbing pressure monopolizes my crown and forehead. No doctor has been able to tell me definitively what it is. I am 32.

Dunia is most of what remains from my old life. Our cozy bed has been where my disability disappears behind nuzzles and entwined legs, a connection strong enough to convince me that there is still a world outside of my discomfort and twisted vision.

Chronic illness is a grind. Renowned neurologists have told me I have disorders I never knew existed — dysautonomia, autonomic failure, persistent visual snow. They have assured me these conditions aren’t terminal, but I am less concerned with death. Rather, I am consumed with how to live, how to maintain health care coverage, how to sustain disability insurance.

Dunia has witnessed my struggles, replete with ambulance rides and crying fits. I imagine she would rather be elsewhere during these distressing episodes, but she stands by me nonetheless.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Dunia means “the world” in Arabic, because having her with me is everything. We would be married but for my condition, which has placed a question mark at the end of nearly everything. Will experimental treatments eventually fix me? Can I contribute to a family? Is it fair to ask that Dunia sustain a lifetime of my poor health?”

I can no longer say whether time is kind or just, if I ever could. Dunia and I may adapt fully to this life, maybe not. It may be true that time heals all wounds; I can’t say. Who am I to judge time?”  (1)


His name was Ari Diaconis and he died on January 29th, 2018.

His “world” – his Dunia – stayed by his side throughout his tragic illness. She was there in the beginning when he was the perfect catch every woman would have wanted and was there to the bitter end. She did not complain and she chose to stay. Then, she and his family got together to ensure his essay was published in The New York Times.

These two were so young and yet so wise. Dunia was selfless, compassionate, and her love was unfailing despite the fact that her would have been husband and the father of her would have been children was very ill and dying.

Again, some might ask, what is the catch?

Well, here is the catch – he was fortunate enough to “catch” and fall in love with a woman who stayed by his side no matter what. Here is the other catch—she had integrity and the gift of selflessness. For the selfless people in the world, the thought of leaving an ill loved-one never crosses our mind. It would be unthinkable.

This essay also triggered a lot of feelings in my part. I have been living with a chronic condition my whole life – one that only showed itself fully – after my second child was born.

The person my husband married worked 60 hours a week in a boardroom and then climbed mountains on weekends. Yet, she still had time for volunteer work, photography, painting, and other hobbies.

I am still the same person, but I can no longer work 60 hours a week in boardrooms with a chronic condition that decides to flare-up at the most inopportune times.

We have two children who have special needs. My focus has turned solely towards them and my health. I still have the same personality, I just cannot hold down a stressful job outside the home and care for two children with special needs. The old me would have found a way, but the me now is incapable.

Luckily, my health flare-ups are mostly controlled, especially with new lifestyle changes and a new medication regime, but it still looms in the background. It always makes me wonder when he will “give up” and say it’s just too high-maintenance to be married to someone who looks and acts totally healthy and who IS healthy until the disease asserts itself.

Then it is off to the ER and I spend several days in bed.

For those who no me in person, they would never guess I had a chronic illness (unless I tell them). I take many steps to ensure that it is controlled. I look healthy, I act healthy, I take walks, bike rides, and long swims in the ocean when it’s warm. That is, until the illness hits.

One time I was at a routine visit to my doctor when it hit and I started vomiting all over the floor and shaking. (This was after it was diagnosed.) I went from being perfectly fine and within two minutes I was vomiting and shaking. (The beginning stages.)

So, this man’s essay hit a nerve with me. As long as I can keep my illness controlled, all is well. But, who knows if one day my husband will throw in the towel.

I hope not. I hope he is more like Dunia, who stayed by her (almost) husband’s side until the end.

There are a lot of good people in the world who possess unshakable integrity, regardless of how life is inconveniencing them—regardless of how hard dealing with a sick relative can be.

Such people are the heroes of the world.

And though Dunia is an attorney who lost the love of her life, she is so much more. She is one of the Good People of this world – one of the quiet heroes who does the right thing even when no one is looking.

These are the only True Heroes; the ones who do the right thing when life turns bad, even when no one is looking.

I am sure that Dunia watching her loved one become so ill greatly distressed her. But, instead of having a pity-party about her inconvenience, she became his rock and she did so without complaint.

Instead of talking, she acted.

She did what needed to be done. If she ever stumbles across this blog post, she will know people out there recognize her heroism and that she is an inspiration to us all. Dunia, if you ever read this, I am so grateful that you are in this world giving the rest of us hope that some people still have character and integrity. Some people don’t desert loved ones, even in cases when friends might drop comments about “getting a night off and going to the bar.”

No, these silent heroes like Dunia just do the right thing during the most tragic times. They put their own distress aside to help those closest to them. There is no manual that teaches people how to live—each of us must make decisions everyday to be good people.

Dunia just kept making that decision over and over again, even when it meant setting herself and her needs aside. Her character and her example is such an inspiration to me. Maybe in the future I will reach out to her and tell her so—we will see.

Here is the Tale of Relationship #2: aka What the Most Graceful People Do When their Spouse is Determined to be with an Unstable Other Woman

So, a married man walks into a bar and sits next to a random woman and buys her a drink. The woman asks, “What brings you here today?” And the man says, “My wife’s Mother’s Day tea party with our daughters…and my 12th wedding anniversary.”

The woman likes the man and after a while the man asks, “Can I see you again?”

And the woman says, “Sure!”

The wife goes with her daughters to visit her husband’s mother. That day her husband serves his wife with divorce papers.

The wife asks, “Why?”

And the husband replies, “The Mother’s Day tea party started it all.”

It sounds like a bad joke, right?

But, it is not.

I will let the other woman tell you her story, but I have addended it for brevity:


“Beka told me about her self-care plans for the day of her final divorce hearing as we were getting pedicures. Her two daughters sat between us in child-size pedicure chairs, chattering away and paying no attention to our conversation.

“I scheduled a facial, a massage, and lots of drinks beginning at 2 p.m.,” she said. “I’m going to need this. We know half the attorneys in town, and I bet we’ll see someone in court. Watch it be one of the loudmouths.”

We both laughed and sipped our wine.

Beka is my boyfriend’s wife, and the girls are their children. I met her husband, Josh, the summer before, on Mother’s Day, which coincided with their 12th wedding anniversary. Beka had shooed him out of the house to host a mother-daughter tea, and he appeared in the seat next to me at a neighborhood bar.

He says it was love at first sight, while I thought he was just another sexy married guy — strictly off limits.

I was wrong about Josh. He wasn’t a creep or even a cheater. He was a man who loved his children more than anything. Josh and Beka were a powerhouse couple — affluent, attractive, highly educated, generous — and the backbone of upper-middle-class respectability developing in my bohemian neighborhood.

They had married in their 20s because they got along, had a lot in common (both are lawyers) and the timing was right; many of their friends were tying the knot. Twelve years in, their marriage seemed to be compatible and right. But, it was a union of practicality more than passion, and Josh was miserable. He didn’t think he had any right to be miserable, but he was.

I didn’t understand why Josh was willing to break apart everything he had to be with someone like me. I was a struggling academic recovering from a messy divorce, deliberately childless at 40. My devotion to my students and my love for my dogs served as a stand-in for stable and nurturing human relationships.

After many years of struggle, I recently had learned I had bipolar II disorder, which meant I finally had the right medicine. 

Josh said he liked me simply because he did. “I am married to a wonderful, successful, beautiful woman,” he said. “By any calculation, I should be happy. But I’m not, so I have decided that I am not going to calculate anymore.”

On a sticky Sunday in August, when Josh and Beka’s children were staying with his mother, he asked her for a divorce. At first she refused to believe he was serious. Then she grew so angry that she shook.

A visibly upset Josh met me after she told him to leave the house. He was ashamed, relieved and almost physically sick with sorrow.

“I could handle her anger,” he said. “And I agreed with everything she said. It’s unthinkable for me to dismantle all we’ve built. But I fell apart when she started to cry. She put her head on my chest while she cried. I’ve never felt so horrible in my life.”

About a month later, he told Beka about me. 

“It makes more sense for the divorce to be about another woman,” he said. “Many of our friends are going through divorces for the same reason. And I’ll admit, she felt a lot better when I told her you’re four years older than she is. She assumed you would be about 25.”

When Beka surprised us both. Through Josh, she invited me to dinner.

“What?” I said. “Seriously? How is that going to work?” I didn’t see how a dinner could be pulled off without the whole thing erupting in open conflict or stalling into awkward silence. But, again, I was wrong.

“I had to meet you,” Beka said as she opened the door. “Josh wants you to meet our girls, but I need to get to know you first.”

Her smile seemed genuine, her eyes kind. She was small and beautiful, somehow elegant in casual shorts. Although I am short as well, I felt huge and ungainly next to her.

After we all had hugged good night, I thought, “This won’t last.” I braced myself for the wrath to come, but it never materialized. Instead, Beka introduced me to their adorable children, and my immediate bond with them made me silently rejoice that I didn’t have children of my own. It was as if I had been saving my maternal love for Rose and Alice, who were then 7 and 3.

Beka was the one who worked the hardest to make me part of the family. She invited me to birthday parties and smoothed the socially turbulent waters by introducing me to friends who had been indignant on her behalf. Afterward, we giggled at the shocked faces people made when they met me.

When Josh moved out of their house into a duplex, we had family dinners and celebrated holidays together to ease the transition for the girls. 

The one thing I don’t know, and may never know, is whether our bond is genuine affection on Beka’s part or the result of her sheer will to make this work, to avoid falling prey to bitterness, to refuse to be a victim.

Every now and again when I have thanked Beka for an invitation to a family event or gone out to get medicine for a sick child in the middle of the night, she has texted me words of gratitude that I treasured even while feeling I didn’t deserve them.

“The girls adore you,” she wrote. “And you truly treat them like they’re your own. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

And I can’t tell her how much this family we all have forged means to me.” (2)


For most betrayed wives, that story probably seems like a trip into an alternative universe. I have observed that on very rare occasions the French have been able to pull off such things. But, these people were not French. Also, on the occasions the French cannot pull it off, someone gets killed. The French invented the lesser jail sentences for “crime of passion murders.”

I have also noticed that Elon Musk’s first wife Justine, the one who bore him five children, did this when he left her for a British actress. Justine decided she wanted to be friends with the actress so that there would be no hard feelings.

So, why on earth would a wife give up a marriage of 12 years and befriend the other woman? Is she crazy?

Quite the opposite.

When I read the description of Beka, I could see a refined woman I know in Beka’s description.

She is a one-of-a-kind woman who not surprisingly was married at a young age to a man who is a dime a dozen.

She is emotionally mature, astute, well-educated, cordial, insightful, empathetic to the suffering of others, extremely intelligent, gracious, articulate, and graceful even in the most ungraceful situations.

This woman was once married – she had married very young — and during her marriage she figured out her husband was a serial cheater and he spent as much time away from home as possible.

But, she got married and the most vulnerable time in her life—after a trauma—and when she was too young to know how to spot the difference between sincere and extroverted people versus narcissistic people. She was born at a time when most people had never heard the term narcissism.

After she got older and figured out she had rights – that is she had the right NOT to be cheated on – she decided to divorce him. It took her years to see this and to gain the courage. She had so much to lose financially, and she did lose financially, but so much to gain emotionally.

Her husband married the “main other woman,” which this woman saw coming.

Together, the ex-husband and the other woman were as unstable as the nuclei of an atom that did not contain a normal balance of neutrons and protons. In the world of chemistry, this causes elements to become greatly unstable because they are unstable at their core. Nothing can be built on a foundation of extreme instability.

Even though the woman and her ex lived in different states, this woman knew the inevitable time would come when the children would want to spend the summers with their father.

The father never reached out to see his children or to speak with his children. He ignored them.

But, the woman knew the day would come when her children became so hungry for a father, that they would accept even the most measly, day-old crumbs of affection he just happened to unthinkingly drop onto the floor.

The woman knew full well that it was better to be friendly to, gracious to, and to establish good and respectful communication with the other woman/step mom.

After all, there was a good chance the OW (aka step mom) would hate the woman’s children and treat them poorly.

And so I pictured the “Beka” character in the New York Times story, as the woman I know and the “OW” character as the stepmother of the woman’s children. Beka, from The New York Times, probably knew somewhere in her heart that her “Joshie” liked to go hang out at the bars picking up new women any time that he could—even if it happened to be both Mother’s day AND their 12th wedding anniversary.

Also, I do not believe Josh was shooed out of the house as the other woman reports. He probably made some lame excuse about going flower shopping and instead went to the bar. Like most cheaters, Josh probably gaslit Beka so that she did not quite trust herself and her perceptions.

However, Beka also knew her children needed a good home. Somewhere inside Beka, she probably knew about Josh and decided to suck it up for the sake of her children as long as he could keep up appearances and as long as they could keep the façade of a marriage. But, Josh decided to demolish the marriage sooner than Beka had thought.

I am also sure Beka thought it was the hardest day of her life when she found out they were divorcing because of another woman. All of us who have been betrayed have been there.

But, I also trust Beka was also highly intelligent and it may have clicked pretty quickly for her that this was her ticket out.

They say, “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.”

I am sure Beka the attorney had heard of such a concept before and knew it was often a survival tactic to protect oneself or others.

People who break up marriages will always allow their true characters to be shown at some point.

The woman I know always showed kindness to the stepmom because she was waiting for the day when one of her oldest children wanted to live with his dad and step mom.

When that happened—when the teen child moved in with dad—this woman’s teenage child started to get really ill – especially after he ate stepmom’s cooking. The teen explained that even though dad was wealthy, stepmom did not allow the child to have access to food. Food was all locked up until step mom got home and cooked and served it. The more the child ate step mom’s food, the more my friend’s child got ill. (Dad was okay with this, by the way.)

The woman I know arranged for her teen to see a toxicologist. Low and behold, stepmom had been tampering with the food. The woman talked to her ex-husband about the toxicology report, but he got defensive and did not believe her.

So, she got on a plane, flew to her ex’s house, and personally retrieved her teen and flew her teen back home.

After that experience, her teens were so scared of their dad and step mom that they chose to have no contact.

Fast forwarded several years. The woman I know is now being begged by her ex to take him back. He has come to fear step mom after he found out she had been embezzling money from his business for years. Step mom is much younger and the man has realized that he is at the point in his life where a heart attack would go unnoticed. Then step mom would have all the assets and no one would blink.

So, again, let’s review the players: the woman I know who is of sterling character and whom I am so proud to call a friend, her narcissistic, cheating ex-husband, their biological children, and a stepmom who (thankfully) cannot conceive.

My friend could see well in advance, how it would play out. She knew that sometimes you must keep your enemies closer than your friends. And she did.

My friend chose to be the very picture of grace and understanding while crying in private. She intuitively knew her children would be exposed to toxic stepmom and she feared for them. Her fears were NOT unfounded.

To the outside, she looked like the most amicable person toward step mom and she still does. But, the only reason she did this and does this was for her children’s sake.

However, now it appears the house of cards is coming tumbling down on step mom and my friend’s ex-husband.

My friend is not stupid. She will never again give her ex the time of day. Neither will her adult children.

I believe Beka from the New York Times and my friend are very alike. I believe Beka knows exactly what she is doing, even though the other woman believes that Beka loves her.

No, Beka is just keeping an enemy close for the sake of her children. Since the OW has never met such gracious and refined women in her life, she does not know that gracious and refined women are always that way—no matter how they feel on the inside.

When their children’s lives are at stake, these refined and intelligent women must be the closest to the enemy. That is all Beka is doing. Indeed, Beka will get the last laugh. That is what I believe.

Some may disagree. Some may say Beka’s self-esteem is so low that she is stunned and bewildered. That could be true as well. But, Beka will one day wake up. She is a smart cookie.

My only hope is that women and men who have been leveled by a cheater can find solace in this blog. Male and female betrayed spouses of the world, I am on your side. This blog is for you and I hope it can serve as at least one of your lifelines.  Even though we have never met, I am here for you and I want to help.

The Trigger of the Week Regarding My Ex

A recent email I got from a mutual friend triggered me. Apparently, my ex was talking about jobs and bragging about his position at a company to people connected to his LinkedIn. She told me to look at the profile that he had written and was posted on the company website where he worked.

It has taken every. single. fiber. of. my. being. NOT to call one of the many software developers I know and ask them if I can pay them to hack into his company profile and to re-write it with the content I provide.

That is, to re-write it with The Truth.

Then I would watch to see how many days it would take for my ex to catch on and have it removed.

Hopefully, by that time, enough people would know The Truth that they would see through his faux-sincerity.

What he wrote on his company website contains NOT an ounce of truth. But, that is a narcissist for you. Always grandiose.

The thing that triggered me the most was when he said, about himself, that he had a loving and unselfish heart and that every act he has done in his life has been based upon his selfless love and compassion for others.

That did it. I got mad. I was taken back to that UGLY night.

I started to vent to my husband and my husband’s reaction further triggered me. (Yes, my husband knows all about The Night.)

I was monologue-ing to my husband, which I normally do not do, and here is what I said:

“Can you believe that on Tuesdays this narcissist went with me and volunteered at a place where we gave children with physical and emotional disabilities therapy using horses? Can you believe that on Saturdays he volunteered with me and the giant children’s museum and that we taught kids all kinds of cool things in the exhibits? Can you believe that we worked on Habitat For Humanity houses together on Sunday? Can you believe that he went to church and sung in the choir? Can you believe he would help me to tend to any stray, injured, or otherwise broken animal I could find?”

At that point my monologue stopped.


Was I finished?


My husband said this very sincere and exaggerated, “Awwwww, that’s so nice he helped animals and all those disabled children and poor families.”

I wanted to SCREAM.

I asked my husband, “Did you not get the point?”

Obviously not – and he is not the only person NOT to get the point.

Here is the thing about many people. They believe that if someone is helping disabled children, the poor, and children with cancer, it means that they are Good People.

But, here is something to think about.

It came out, in the past couple of years, that one of England’s most famous television personalities was a pedophile and had sent millions of dollars to children’s hospitals over the years. He had spent much of his free time in and around these hospitals.

His name is Jimmy Savile. Notice how his last name includes the word “vile?” That says it all.  Here is a snippet of what he did, according to Wikipedia. He spent many years involved in: “fundraising, sponsorship and voluntary work. Savile is estimated to have raised £40 million for charity. One cause for which he raised money was Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where he volunteered for many years as a porter.”

Prior to the public finding out, that the pedophile and his pedophile friends were using these hospitals to molest children, these people were seen as Good People. Little did the public know they gave kids the keys to the candy store. Only the metaphorical kids were pedophiles and the metaphorical candy was terminally ill children.


I hope everyone reading has enough sense to know that pedophiles and people who molest children are Not Good People.

Back to the UK pedophile…

“But, that pedophile donated millions of dollars to very ill children!!” some said.

“Ill children?” the pedophile says, “the better to molest them with, my dear.”

Terminally ill children are in a much worse position than healthy children. Also, terminally ill children often die, making them the perfect victims for a pedophile.

Can you imagine being a child with terminal cancer and experiencing the fear and physical pain of terminal cancer?  Can you imagine the TERROR such a child felt when a strange man came in during the night and raped the child?

Can you imagine if that child saw the pedophile walking around during the day and told the doctor he or she was touched in private places? The doctor might say, “Jimmy Savile? No, he is the hospital’s biggest donor. And what’s this bit about being touched? Was that your imagination?”

Yeah, that is what the end of life looked like for many of the thousands of children who had been abused by this pedophile and his friends. Yes, he had friends and they also worked through hospital charities.

I am a non-violent person. I have never raised a hand to anyone, unless I was defending myself against a life/death situation. (That is, when I tried to defend myself against my ex. That was the only time). I have never spanked my children. I do not yell. I do not have violent thoughts. I can be in a room full of yelling people and ask everyone to calm down.

However, if one of my children had been in that situation and had been abused by Jimmy Savile, Jimmy would no longer be safe anywhere on the planet. Like a mother lion, I would quietly stalk Jimmy until the day I decided to pounce. No one messes with children, especially not mine. I care more for them than I have ever cared for myself.

Many people want to look away from these ugly topics.

But, I have believed that in looking away, we help enable pedophiles as well as other abusers, such as those with character disorders.

Back to my ex…. Was my ex a Good Person who just made a mistake? Is my ex really worthy of getting a sincere, “Awwwww…” from my husband?

I think my husband forgot the following:

  • My ex carried on a physical affair right under my nose, which lasted between six and eight months, maybe longer.
  • When my ex decided to break up with me, my ex told me (as I was making him a gourmet steak dinner) and as he sat leisurely by the fireplace with a glass of red wine in his hand. He was completely cool and calculated in his words. So cool and calculated, I thought it was a bad joke. I thought it would be followed with, “Just kidding, what guy in his right mind would give you up? I am hanging on for life!”
  • He said he was serious—we just were not getting married. He would give NO reason.
  • When I asked him why we were not getting married, he just kept saying over and over again, “We can’t get married.” He refused to take the ring(s) back when I gave them back.
  • When I asked if there was another woman, he screamed that, with the Holy Bible as his witness, there was No Other Woman. He also screamed that I better not dare even imply that He was That Kind of Person! (Note: Bibles don’t talk so they cannot be reliable witnesses. The Holy Bible could not speak and therefore could not say, “Don’t believe him, on God’s word, he IS that Kind of Person. And as I sat on my lofty bookshelf, I saw him doing it in on the sofa, in front of the beloved fireplace, and on the kitchen counter.) There is a reason the liars of the world swear on The Holy Bible. It is the witness that has no ability to tell you what actually happened.
  • When I came to my senses, I told him that since my first name was on the title and since my part of the down payment was more significant, he would be moving out.
  • We had a stand off for about three weeks.
  • During that time, he moved into a separate bedroom, I avoided coming home, we barely spoke, and I was just trying to survive. I was barely keeping my head above water. Every night I felt like panic and abandonment were suffocating me to death as he slept as quietly as a baby in the other room. His conscience was eased because we were now broken up. At that point, I am sure it would have been more convenient for me to die.
  • When we did speak, it was always about the impasse—the house. I simply refused to leave. I offered to cover the mortgage on my own and buy him out.
  • I did this every day.
  • Each day, during the times I was home, he refused to allow me to stay, to cover the mortgage, and to buy him out.
  • Occasionally, I would be sitting quietly reading, and he would drop comments like: “You are going to be 30-years-old soon and did you know you have a higher chance of dying in a plane crash than getting married?” Note: He knew that getting married to him and having his children was my number one hope and wish.
  • I would ask him again to give me a reason about why we would never get married and why he refused to accept my buy-out. Note: My questions were met with name-calling, gas-lighting, and verbal abuse so that I locked myself in my bedroom and decided to shut up. Then I cried myself to sleep, only to wake up having panic attacks each night. In these moments, I felt like I was suffocating to death.
  • As soon as he announced it was OVER, we did not have sex, let alone talk, except for to argue over the home. I did not know what hysterical bonding was, but I knew that if I had sex with him, it would break me. So, I did NOT have sex with him. We always slept in separate rooms, only to wake up and leave for the very same workplace, in separate cars, only to sit on the very same floor in an office building once we got to work.
  • The couple who everyone admired and the couple that was so perfect had now become the subject of gossip and speculation. But, no one came to tell me what was happening until after The Grand Finale.
  • In the meantime, the pain of not knowing the truth was killing me.

The Grand Finale of this break-up was certainly a “Night to Remember” because who could forget? 

Suicidal Thoughts

I will provide an additional detail of the suicidal thoughts/acts of that night. This is something I have never spoken about.

That night was a Sunday night and I was cleaning the house, cleaning my room, packing things, and completely ignoring him. I did not know if he would leave or not or if I would stay so I had a suitcase I was getting ready. I was thinking going to my parent’s house for a while, but did not want to be forced out, regardless of what was going on. I could feel it was coming to a head.

I just kept ignoring him—as if he was not there—while I packed a suitcase and cleaned.

At one point he yelled, “You have NO RIGHT to ignore me after all we have been through together.”

“Oh yeah? I have every right to ignore you,” I said.

Then I started to turn away, but I could not. I had no choice.

He flipped and The Monster emerged.

 A violence and anger I have never seen in my entire life emerged from him.

Suddenly, a raging monster, who was over a foot taller than me and much stronger than me threw me and pinned me to the wall.

He kept yelling I had no right to ignore him as he tore at my clothes, yelled in my face, and kept me pinned. I fought back. I got bruised and injured for fighting back. I remember being forced to have sex against my will and that the more I fought the more violent he became, that it was brutal, that I cried the whole time, but not the rest of the details. Just that it happened, it was forced and it was brutal, shocking, and something so different than anything I had experienced with him or anyone else.

I could not process it.

I had never seen this angry, brutal person forcing sex on me against my will until that moment.

As soon as he got off me, he literally ran out of the house, and he sped off in his car.

Does a man who just had consensual sex run like hell to get away and speed off in a car?

That was the act of a Coward.

During consensual sex, men generally fall asleep in the bed and bathe in bliss. They do not even have the energy to run, let alone talk, and so they fall into a deep sleep. That had always been MY experience. I was never offended when a guy fell asleep because if it was a fulfilling experience, we both fell asleep and it was in each other’s arms.

(NOTE: I do not use this term “rape” lightly. I hate the word because people who use it get persecuted. I was screaming for him to STOP and I fought back. It was not consensual. This was his way of punishing me for taking some control of the situation. Until that situation, all of the relationships I had were consensual. However, no woman deserves to be raped—even if she is drunk—even if people say her clothes show her body, even if she is taking a midnight walk. None of it means she is giving permission to be raped. A woman screaming “no” and fighting back, does definitely NOT want to have sex. I felt like I had been raped, but it’s just too difficult to use the word confidently.)

I could not think.

It was like having your back turned to the ocean while a tsunami encompasses you. You claw to find a way to the surface. Primal survival instincts take over. When the water starts to recede, you cannot wrap your head around what happened. You go back into survival mode trying to find safe ground. Trying to clean up the mess and get rid of the reminders. All you see is the utter wreck of your life, wherever you turn.

My survival mode was going into my master bath and turning on the showerhead and the soaker tub at the same time. I scrubbed and scrubbed and cried and cried.

Then I looked at my razors. The ones I used to shave my legs. I started fiddling with them to see if I could get the blade out.

I could not get the blades out. They were assembled in a way where it was impossible to remove the blades.

So, I tilted them sideways and started cutting at my wrists. I had never cut myself and had never been suicidal prior to this.

I kept cutting and cutting and ensured the water was warm. I put my wrists in the water and closed my eyes.

I figured the blood would slowly come out of my wrists and it would be a painless death. It seemed like the right thing to do just to escape pain; not because I wanted to die.

But, I was still conscious.

So, I started cutting at my wrists some more. They were shallow cuts and I have very deep veins. (Trying to place an IV in my veins is nearly impossible, every time I go to the hospital.)

I tried to cut as deep as I could, but the blood just trickled.

Then I started screaming. I had never screamed like that before. I could not believe it was my own voice. It was a voice of terror, absolute RAGE, urgency, profound pain, loss, and fear. This scream was so loud and shook me so hard, I felt like it left the earth and shook other planets on its way out of the galaxy.

It probably still exists, somewhere out beyond the stars.

I did not want to live, so I kept cutting and sawing.

Nothing but lots of trickles came.

I threw the razor and screamed again out of frustration and anger. I could not even kill myself correctly.

At some point, I gave up.

I am pretty sure God took over and told me to wrap myself in a towel and to call my parents who lived an hour and a half away. I told them what happened even through the shaking that overtook my body.

They made it there in record time.

I do not know how I managed to get dressed or how I managed to pack a few things. It was a cold, rainy night when they came to collect me.

The Coward did not return.

The Aftermath

When I returned to the office after a week’s leave, all these people I knew well suddenly came out of the woodwork. They all started with, “Yeah, we should have told you, but we did not take the whole thing seriously between those two and we did not want to be involved. Anyhow, she is living there now and she is telling everyone that they are engaged. So sorry…”

After I found that out, I went to my doctor and told him I found out my (almost) husband had left for another woman and I was sure they had sex. Well, I had seen this doctor for a long time. He had lots of medical records showing a clean bill of health. He also was in disbelief when he found out I was talking about. He could not wrap his head around how a man could do such a thing. (This doctor was an extremely gentle, petite gay man.)

I asked him for every STD test, including an AIDS test. Waiting for the AIDS test kept me up and it was the first thing I asked when I got the results back. No, I did not have AIDS.

Huge sigh of relief.

Instead, my doctor said, I had the beginnings of cervical cancer, stage one cervical cancer.

What the hell???

My doctor told me he was sure my ex had given it to me via the time my ex was going back and forth between me and the OW.

It had to be taken care of immediately.

I had a cone biopsy that delivered worse news. There was a lot of tissue to remove.

I got surgery as soon as I could to remove the cancerous parts of my cervix. Thankfully, this doctor knew the power of a skilled surgeon and how to excise it.

I lost over half of my cervix.

Because of that, he said I would probably miscarry after I conceived. He said they would probably have to “sew my cervix shut” and reinforce it in order to carry a child.

But, this doctor was the very essence of sincere compassion and care throughout the experience. He was an amazing doctor, who I am sure is now retired. He was one of the few doctors truly worthy of the title.

Next, I hired a middle-aged male attorney and all communication went through him. He had adult daughters and I figured he would have some compassion for my situation. I told him every dirty bit of the tale and he did have tremendous compassion.

He had so much compassion that he billed me only $20 a month as a go-between. He was very kind and I had not asked for a reduced fee—I could afford more, but he insisted. I still appreciate his generosity.

During this time, I remembered a quote by Goethe to keep me going:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

That was certainly true.

I have so many other stories about kind strangers saying the right thing at the right time or coworkers I did not know well rallying around me and starting prayer chains. All kinds of bold forces came to my aid as I stood my ground and simply got up in the morning, pressing forward through the seemingly insurmountable pain.

Several months later, my attorney wanted to meet me in person because my “ex” had come up with an offer that the attorney thought sounded reasonable.

So, I met my attorney in his office.

He had gotten time to know me since it was several months after the break up.

However, now he was more guarded.

Do you know what the first thing my attorney said to me that day?

“I talked to your ex at length today and he is a Really Nice Man. He is very affable, reasonable, and charming.”

My heart sank to the pit of my stomach.

It took everything I had just to get past the shame my ex’s behavior had caused, just to tell my story to my attorney to begin with. He knew the whole story. He saw me cry, shake, and panic as I told it. It was very difficult for me to NOT blame myself for the physical attack and non-consensual sex. He had believed me, as he should have. I had no ulterior motive except to separate myself from this person as quickly as possible. The only thing keeping us in contact was our home.

Before that meeting, my attorney had very short phone calls with my ex and so my ex could not manipulate him.

But, that time, he had a looooong phone call with my ex that probably lasted an hour.

He went on to tell me that his impression of my ex was that he was a very Reasonable Man and that my ex absolutely wanted to do the Best Thing for both of us.

Note: Do any of you betrayed spouses believe that when your cheater was deep into the affair fog that he or she wanted to do what was best for both of you? Or did your cheater just want to cover his or her butt and extract all they could?

My attorney kept remarking that he just could not imagine Such a Nice Man doing All Those Terrible Things and maybe I had blown the situation out of proportion.

He told me my ex was very reasonable to him and level-headed and that break-ups are hard.

Yes, break-ups are HARD.

But, this was not any break-up!!!!

We were not a couple of college students who had known each other for six months and then mutually realized the chemistry had died, only to part ways amicably.

This was a fiancé who got me to leave my house by physically and sexually assaulting me just so that the other woman could move in. (That was according to about 30 different coworkers who heard it or saw it.) The one that caused me so much pain I was slitting my wrists and trying to bleed out in a bath. Then, I had to get surgery for cervical cancer that my doctor was convinced was transmitted to me by the other woman.

affair trauma

Why I didn’t Call the Police

Note: In the past, people had asked me why I did not call the police after my ex sped off. Here is why—I called a female family member/attorney and asked what to do after I got back to my parent’s house. My ex knew how to come off as Such a Nice Man when he needed to. (She had previously believed he was the best thing since sliced bread.) She told me I would have to prove that I did not consent to sex that used to be a consensual relationship. I would have to prove I was not pretending he forced me to have sex in order to exact revenge on him. Because I took a bath, there may not be any DNA evidence to collect.  I also could not get my head around the idea that a domestic partner or husband could rape his wife. Somehow people I had known normalized marital rape as just consensual, rough sex. For a long time I believed it was rough sex that I did not consent to, but I could not manage to use the word rape. People think rapists are masked men hiding in alleyways, waiting for random women to walk by.

Here is what a male attorney said about the concept of marital rape:

“Up until recent decades, it was thought that marital rape wasn’t possible. Rape was only considered a crime if it was committed by a stranger or by someone with whom the victim did not share an intimate relationship; there was actually an exemption written into rape laws for married couples. As a result, the first marital rape conviction in the United States didn’t occur until the 1970s.

Society would often blame spousal rape on the wife for withholding sex in the relationship. In reality, spousal rape has to do with exerting force and control over your partner.

The reality is that whenever sexual consent is not given and sex is forced upon someone, then rape has been committed. Many victims of marital rape are reluctant to report the crime, perhaps because it [marital rape] wasn’t even completely illegal in the United States until 1993 and some are confused as to whether it is a crime, because victims don’t think that they will be believed or because they don’t want their marriage to fall apart.

One out of every eight adult women in the US has been the victim of at least one forcible rape in her lifetime but only 16 percent ever report the rape to police. Only 3.2% of women who were raped by someone that they know report the rape to police. Sadly, prosecutors rarely bring a case of rape to trial and marital rape is no exception.” (3)


So it was, I sat in front of my attorney wondering what the heck had happened. Why had he come to believe my ex was a Reasonable Person. Perhaps it was because he had graduated law school in the late 60’s and was not up to speed on these recent changes in law? Maybe it was a generational thing?

It was apparent that after a long phone call, my ex had charmed my attorney and convinced my attorney it was merely a hard break-up and that maybe I was over-reacting. He told my attorney that tragedy makes people think funny things and maybe poor Sarah just needed a psych evaluation.

That is why I did not call the police on my aunt’s advice.

Let’s recap again:

  • Marital rape was only illegal as of 1993
  • Only 3.2% of victims of marital rape reported their case to the police
  • Prosecutors rarely bring rape cases to trial

Now you see why I did not call the police? This was less than 10 years AFTER those marital rape laws had been passed.

So, it was that I sat in my attorney’s office as he presented my ex’s plan.

My ex’s plan was for my ex to put the home up for sale with a realtor who happened to be his boss’s wife. He would stay there and manage all the showings while continuing to live there (will the other woman). He said we should list it below market value to get it sold. After all, we had just found out that our homeowner’s association was being sued at that time for some board member embezzling money.  There was also a problem with the builder. People were complaining about noise and poor insulation. (I verified that all as correct.)

I gave up, let him live there, let him list the home with his boss’s wife, and let him list it below market value.

What was that all about… was it a bad break-up OR was it cheating, lying, assault, rape, forcing a woman out of her house under duress, and battery? It depends who you speak with. Once of the many reasons I will never “out” my ex is because he will pull the same act he pulled on my attorney. But, this is not even about his name. This is about an egregious action that was committed and I am trying to explain the dynamics of this act. I have spoken with others and I am not the only one to have experienced this. (By the way, those women did not call the police either.) The dynamics, the lies he told, and the gaslighting are the important part. If others are going through this, hopefully, this will help them understand what is occurring.

Back to my ex.

Really Nice Guys don’t do those things. Nice guys approach their fiancé (before they have found another girlfriend) and tell them why it is not going to work. Then, they leave and allow the fiancé to stay in the home, if she wishes to do so. They give their fiancé time to process it all. They do not rip the carpet out from under her feet, tell her to leave, and then sexually assault her for non-compliance.

Only Cluster-B’s (like sociopaths) do the things that I described.

So, how is it that a guy who helped disabled children ride horses and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity could do those things? That proves he is a Nice Guy. Right?


People are still asking why Ted Bundy worked at rape crisis centers and suicide hotlines and why he was a good friend to those who did not fit the profile of those whom he killed. The people I know who knew Ted described him this way: charming, funny, extremely articulate, well-read, well spoken, intelligent, charismatic and most of all NICE. Have you ever seen a video of Ted Bundy? I have been obsessed with him because of who he was—he did not fit the profile of a serial killer — but also because I know people who knew him and some are convinced Ted Bundy could not murder a fly. I have seen the videos of Ted. He is a brilliant individual—a truly great mind. If he had gotten therapy or whatever support he needed NOT to commit these acts, he could have potentially used his brilliance to help society.

Ted Bundy loved talking to rape victims and those on the verge of suicide. He helped these people with all his heart. He treated the women he worked with wonderfully and he was The Perfect Gentleman to them. (Hint: they did not fit the profile of his perfect target.)

The fact that Ted Bundy worked at a rape crisis center, a suicide hotline, and was charming and generous to his friends proves that Ted Bundy is a Nice Guy. He was even engaged to one woman and married to another. He did not lay a hand on those women. So, he must be a Nice Guy, right?

No, this is flawed reasoning.


Those were the highly visible and public undertakings Ted Bundy did in order to make people believe he was a Nice Guy. (That way, he could be “the undertaker” when no one was looking.) Frankly, I do not care if Ted Bundy donated millions of dollars. (He did not—he was known for stealing cars and anything else he wanted).

He still violently raped, sodomized, and killed around 50 women, all of whom were someone’s daughter, best friend, sister, cousin, and someone’s would-have-been wife and mother. I say would-have-been wife and mother because Ted Bundy did not give those women the chance. Instead, he brutally raped them, violently killed them, and then practiced necrophilia on their decomposing bodies for months. I cannot wrap my head around such an act. (Also, his youngest victim was a 12-year-old girl. Even Ted could not speak about what he did to her. All he said was this it was worse than what other victims received. The serial killer even disgusted himself with that one. What a feat—truly.)

Do Nice Guys do that?


Here is the scoop.

What you do when no one is watching defines you.

What you do to other people when there are no witnesses defines you.

Your most private acts, whether good or bad define who you are.

I have noticed many so-called Christians (such as famous ministers) can have many mistresses. But, they forget that (according to their own theology) that God is watching. God despises those who speak his Word in public and go and commit sin in private. The Old Testament has some very harsh verses that describe what happens to people who are hypocrites and who represent themselves as religious authorities in the church—it has something to do with “blotting out a person’s soul for eternity.” At least that was in the Jewish texts I read, which are translated differently than Christian Bibles.

God is especially hard on those who serve him publically, such as church or synagogue leaders. So, if you are a Christian wayward spouse, it is time to go back and confess before your betrayed spouse what you have done and then break contact with the other person. You are only truly forgiven until you have stopped sinning and have repented. Both are requirements. Well, I am just saying, for those who believe themselves to be Christian—these are the rules. I did not make them. The Christian God did and I am just reminding you.

But, Jews do not get off any easier. In the Old Testament people got killed for committing adultery. There was no trial. There was just catching the naked offenders in the act and dragging them out in public and stoning them to death. Pretty cut and dry—I do not think God could have been any more clear when he said: “Do NOT commit adultery” and had it carved in stone.

After all, if The Ten Commandments were on paper, sinners could say, “Ooops. The dog ate The Ten Commandments and my homework. My dog really likes paper these days.” God knows that trick. So, God ensured The Ten Commandments were written in stone.

Back to the people who are truly rotten to the core, but who use public activities to fool others.

There are four types of volunteers: people who want another resume bullet-point for jobs/college, people who are establishing a public image in order to do horrendous things in private, people who have been court-ordered to do community service, and finally, people who actually care about others and have generous hearts.

There is a reason the phrase wolves in sheep’s clothing was invented.

Anyone can volunteer and put on what looks like “the cloak of righteousness.” Anyone can fool others by donating money to children’s hospitals and then raping those children when no one is looking. And a violent man who sexually assaults women (like my ex) can put a disabled child on a horse and lead the horse around with a rope. That is easy to do because nothing is being asked of his character and the disabled child is not standing between him and the other woman.

But, let’s go with the naysayers.

Let’s say my ex was having the Freak Out of his Life, that he had found his real soulmate, and he just happened to do all of those horrendous things. It’s doubtful. It has narcissist written all over it.

Why on earth would he sexually assault someone with whom he was finished and had discarded?

Well, because he met the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which I only learned about later.

Here is why the narcissist did it (from his perspective):

  • The Master Plan that he had in his head of telling Sad Sarah to move out of her house was not working. In his mind, he had a RIGHT to be with the other woman and a RIGHT to make Sarah leave her home and a right to LIE to Sarah and tell her there was no other woman. Then he had a RIGHT to have that other woman move in. The world was not revolving around him and his Master Plan and he was MAD, mad, MAD!!
  • He was punishing Sad Sarah for her saying “no” and punishing Sarah for ignoring him. He was re-establishing Sarah as “still his territory” even though he was discarding her. Since he did not want to discard at that very second and since his territory was not cooperating, he assaulted his territory, thus asserting his power and showing he was still In Control and the world again revolved around Him.
  • Sarah was not cooperating and nicely complying with his Master Plan and so he needed to assault her in order to make her comply, thus proving once again, he was In Control and Sarah had no choice.
  • Sarah was committing the ultimate sin. Sarah was acting like she actually had choices and she was not allowed to have choices unless they were part of his Master Plan. Once again- slap to the head for Sarah for thinking she had choices.
  • He was a narcissist and Sarah was standing up to him. Sarah had never done that before. She was always so nice and did whatever he wanted. But, Sarah suddenly got a clue and said, “No, I will not leave MY home.” Sarah stood her ground and this (in turn) created narcissistic rage of EPIC Proportions.
  • Sarah was no longer providing him with his daily dose of ego-feed. Sarah had previously fed his ego so much that it was the most obese ego in town. This was the type of ego so huge that it would epically fail Weight Watchers and need surgery to just to be reduced. I am not sure even surgery could reduce the size of this well-fed ego.
  • He was having a hissy fit because Sarah had refused to hysterically bond with him.
  • He had come to the realization that this was the end of “cake” for him and Sarah would not allow him to have “one last fuck, just for the sake of old times.” So, he decided unilaterally that one last fuck would be had even though Sarah kicked and screamed. The fact that he accomplished it made him feel Even More In Control.
  • Part of him thought Sarah would grovel and beg, which would have provided even more thrilling ego feed for his Jaba the Hut sized ego. (He was Jaba the Hut and Sarah was merely chained Princess Leia who needed to shut up and cooperate.)
  • He realized that these games are not so fun unless he is in the middle of a love triangle, even if the third person (Sarah) did not know. Sarah was OUT. Now he could be with his soulmate legitimately and perhaps he was having second thoughts because then it would be “just another relationship.” Having affairs was just so much fun for him; now he got to have just another relationship. “Yawn,” he said.

Those are just some of the reasons why he chose to violate me. I am sure there are others, but this post is long enough as it is.

So what are the common themes in the list?

  • Power and control.
  • The world revolving around him and his needs.
  • The idea that he did not have to play by the rules, but others had to—and he made up the rules they were supposed to follow.
  • Lies
  • Narcissism
  • Criminal behavior
  • Cruelty
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Extreme selfishness
  • In fact, I was wondering if any of you who read my article about Gaslighting picked out the gaslighting techniques above.
  • Maintaining his Master Plan at all costs
  • Having an EPIC narcissistic rage because “cake” was coming to an end.

Think about it—abusers use gaslighting to control their victim, to get what THEY want, and to beat their victims down. If you really think about it, gaslighting can be physical under some circumstances. If something is said OR done to make a person feel crazy or to disempower them, it is a form of gaslighting.

I will tell you there was no LOVE or LONGING in his eyes when he assaulted me. There was HATE, there was RAGE, there was control, and there was pure, brute force.

His True Colors

Some might ask why he only showed his true colors in the end.

Well, here is the thing.

Prior to this, I was like a moon constantly revolving around him and supplying him with constant adoration, ungodly amounts of sex, friendship, companionship, cooking, cleaning, and fun.

I never questioned him.

My life revolved around pleasing him.

I had never heard of narcissists before and how they thrive on narcissistic feed. For our entire relationship, I worshipped the ground he walked on. I was in awe of him and he loved it. Since he loved it, I thought that was what love was.

I was a stupid woman in my twenties who had never met someone so charming, so full of charisma, so able to make a room of people laugh. And he was handsome AND smart. AND he had graduate degrees. AND he and I both spoke the same languages and had the same hobbies. He was spontaneous, adventurous, and impish. And he — this amazing, charismatic man who could light up a room — was shining on me.

For those of you who know about narcissism, you could probably spot all the red flags in the above paragraph. It’s pure textbook.

I had never experienced that before. I had always dated introverts who were educated, but who had no serious career plans or life direction. I was always “the strong one” who guided the relationship. I was always kind and not domineering, but my boyfriends looked to me for direction and life-coaching and all kinds of other stuff. They were not charismatic, they were not charming, they were not adventurous. They were cute, but they were directionless and introverted geeks. I always had a life plan and goals and it always seemed like they were along for the ride. (Not as mooches; they were just directionless and did not really have goals beyond that day.)

Then, I met Him. I had never dated someone like him before. Plus, we had been friends (introduced by a mutual friend) before we got together. Sometimes he did really nice things like pass my resume along and dedicate a speech to me. But, this was because I was giving him so much narcissistic feed his cup was running over.  There was no reason to discard me until he found a new and shiny piece of narcissistic feed, the other woman.

Then, like any Good Narcissist, he discarded me. He did not care that I cried or started to have the first panic attacks of my life where I felt like I was suffocating. He saw it, he heard the tears, he heard the panic attacks, and I was no longer his concern. He was as concerned as a frowning stone statue.

He had a new source of Feed and I was not cooperating. Because I kept standing my ground, he realized that I might never give up and that would ruin his Master Plan. When he realized this, he released an EPIC fit of narcissistic rage. That’s why he physically and sexually assaulted me and then sped off in his car.

It was not because he was this Nice Guy who just snapped and could be easily forgiven. It was because he was a narcissist, he was in the discard phase (discarding me) – and unlike a meek source of narcissistic feed, I stood up for myself.

If I had not designed my life around him and if I did not provide constant adoration and sex, then I would have found out who he was more quickly. (Or if he found a better Food Source, I would have found out sooner because he would have left.)

But, because I had become extremely codependent and worshipped him, I got rewards for being a nice source of feed. So, I simply did not know what I was dealing with because I had never said “no” to him, let alone stood my ground. Thus, I messed up his Master Plan for discarding me and moving his new feed source into my house ASAP.

Why tell my story now?

I hope that everyone understands that only now, about 17 years later, am I able to write about these things, let alone tell strangers I will never meet. I admit that telling my story helps me make sense of what happened.

So, the fact that I am telling it benefits me because I am finally allowing myself to let go of the shame that prevented me from telling people.

I take a lot of personal risk in telling this story.

I could be made fun of or made to feel ashamed. So, I am going out on a limb.

But, there is still a BIGGER reason. Most people never tell the whole, dirty, messing story to others because they are ashamed or they have been made to feel they caused it. I am telling this story so that those in abusive relationships who are being discarded by a narcissist or an abuser can gain some insight. (Also, this is still not the whole story. There was worse, I just do not yet have the courage to give more details.)

They can read what happened to me, compare it to their situation, and perhaps make sense of what is going on so that they can LEAVE a terrible situation. That is my hope and that is the real reason I tell these stories.

I hope people out there in the midst of going through suicidal pain can realize someone else has been there and they need not feel ashamed. Instead, they can to reach out to trusted family members, friends, or therapists for help.

But, most of all, they can come out the other side. Life goes on and people find love again if they are open to it. Even seventy and eighty year olds find love. They just have to be open to it. (By the way, I know people of all ages and some people I have known got divorced at 70 only to find a nice widow or widower and have a deeply satisfying relationship. One time I saw a new couple in their mid-70’s, each one had a spouse who died, and they were laughing it up and goofy around as if they were teens. The two had spent several lonely years before finding each other and finally they did. That brought a SMILE to my face. It is never too late.)

I did get married to someone (not my ex) and have children, even when I was convinced I would never get married.

During the discard phase, I had myself convinced that I was “too old” and “unlovable” and “shameful” and “stupid” and “bad” and “too ugly” to even date again.

That is how my ex made me feel. I look back at the pictures taken a year after the discard and I looked so beautiful, even more attractive than when I was with him. I know that seems paradoxical, but it is true.

Readers, I need you to recognize if you are married to a narcissist or an abuser. I hope you can understand you did not cause the affair, especially if you are married to a disordered character. A wayward spouse will do anything to make you feel that you caused it. In fact, if he knows your own insecurity and fears, he will use those as the reason for the discard.

I need betrayed spouses to understand what abuse can look like even if someone appears to be a Nice Guy just like Ted Bundy was a Nice Guy.


People are truly defined by the acts they commit when they think no one is looking. Of course, many people are on their best behavior when others are looking.

But, narcissists often volunteer or do things of that nature to HIDE who they are. They also have learned to spot trustworthy and trusting people who have never met disordered personalities. Indeed, I have found the worst narcissists look for the very best people (people with integrity and who have good lives) and go after them. They are like low-hanging fruit.

Doctors Are Not Immune

Like that play on words? Doctors are not immune. No, they are not immune to affairs and doing the most horrendous things.

I have so many stories about doctors behaving badly. Many have had multiple affair partners, some steal drugs, some are wife-beaters, some sleep with their patients, and others falsify papers to defraud insurance companies.

Note: There was a doctor in my husband’s residency whom I will call Chuck. I remember the first day I was introduced to Chuck and how he evaluated my appearance from head –to-toe out loud and in front of me during another doctor’s wedding. Chuck was fired from the residency because he forged all kinds of documents. However, my husband inherited some of his patients. One young, blond, single mom was a stripper. Chuck had delivered her baby and he liked what he saw enough to commence a sexual relationship with her. (Yes, that is ILLEGAL.) She told this to my husband and said she would be “cool with such a relationship, if he was game.” Yes, he told me this (as well as the head of the residency). Thankfully, he graduated soon after. But, in that short time, many women stepped forward—patients and nurses—and they had all slept with Chuck!!

But, enough about Chuck.

I want to tell you about the Wicked Doctor and yet another Nasty Nurse.

My husband was approached by a new male colleague for friendship under the guise that they both come from the same culture. Wicked Doctor invited us to dinner at his fancy home with his live-in girlfriend, Nasty Nurse. (Yes, another Nasty Nurse. There are many and this is a DIFFERENT couple than Devious Doctor and the Other Nasty Nurse.)

I knew as soon as we entered the house and met these two that Nasty Nurse had poached Wicked Doctor. These two were nuts.

Nasty Nurse looked good for her age and it was apparent she had multiple cosmetic surgeries from head to toe and even had bright white veneers on her teeth. Her nose was perfectly sculpted by a surgeon’s knife, she had cheek implants, lip implants, breast implants, veneers, facelifts, and hair extensions. These people were about 15-20 years older than us at the time and they were looking for new friends since they burned bridges with everyone they knew. Nasty Nurse even sat on Wicked Doctor’s lap and giggled while we ate. (I am talking about a woman who was probably in her mid-50’s at the time.)

It is great to sit on a husband’s lap and be silly sometimes when no one is around. But, it’s not funny when it’s a spouse-poaching situation and they are doing it in front of complete strangers at dinner. That’s just deranged.

I could tell Nasty Nurse did not like me either because she could tell I knew what was up.

And I was also her opposite.

I rarely wear make-up, I don’t frost my hair, I wear classy, but cute clothing. But finally, I met and dated my husband when we were both 100% single. He was not seeing anyone else even casually when we met and neither was I. In other words, I married a doctor the right way AND because I loved him. There were many other choices too, but I chose him.

Wicked Doctor was really ugly.

He was probably 5’8,’ scrawny, and had a very evil looking face. He looked like a vulture, that is, if a vulture could be human. (I will also refer to him as The Vulture during this section.)

But, Wicked Doctor was rich.

After Nasty Nurse had a couple of glasses of wine, she figured out I knew what was up and so she did not try to continue The Big Charade that they met AFTER Wicked Doctor was single.

She told me the WHOLE, ugly story and had not an ounce of remorse as she told it.

Note: Why would Nasty Nurse have remorse? She was sitting in a brand-new, 5,000 square foot house in a gated-community in a prestigious area that does not even have crime. This area does not even need gates. She got to spend her days drinking wine on the veranda and looking at their huge, landscaped back yard. Why would she care?

It seemed Nasty Nurse had worked with Wicked Doctor when he was married. Nasty Nurse was divorced from a man who (allegedly) abused her.

Wicked Doctor and Nasty Nurse started having an affair and she wanted him to leave his wife. You can imagine his wife’s reaction after find out because if you have been betrayed, you have all been there.

You know what Wicked Doctor did? He started punching walls (leaving holes in them) and throwing Titanic-sized temper tantrums until the scared wife and children let him go.

I made the mistake of asking Nasty Nurse why she would choose to be in such a relationship, considering how it started and how Wicked Doctor acted towards his family.

Note: He got the beautiful and enormous house and his wife and children got a home far inferior. Nasty Nurse got to move into the huge mansion, where it was just the two of them.

My question did not even register for Nasty Nurse.

Note: His family? Well, that was not about Nasty Nurse, so why would THEY matter?

So, I said it differently:

“Wicked Doctor left his wife and children and became violent when they did not cooperate. I don’t understand.”

And I got my answer.

“My first husband beat me and it’s no big deal. Women can get over these things,” said Nasty Nurse.

Then, I asked about the cheating part again.

Her answer was, “Well, you cannot help if you meet your soulmate and HE is my soulmate and we have everything in common.”

Note: They certainty had cheating in common and being okay with physical violence in common. I wonder what will happen when he breaks Nasty Nurse’s nose, which had been so carefully sculpted by a surgeon? I wonder what will happen when Wicked Doctor slaps her $35,000 veneers off her teeth when she does not agree to The Discard that will one day come?

I asked what made it a soulmate relationship since he was a practicing a non-Christian religion and she was an Evangelical Christian. I said that probably caused friction between the two of them, especially since I know both religions well.

She said, “Oh we are so totally over our religious differences…I mean he says he can’t marry me because I am NOT part of that religion, but it’s cool. He still loves me. I am good living with him because he is my soulmate. We are meant for each other. Living together is practically being married, right?”

I asked again what made him a soulmate.

Her answer went something like this:

“Well, we totally have everything in common. Like we have two side-by-side treadmills and weight sets upstairs. We work out and that is really important to me—and it’s obvious he is my soulmate because exercising for two hours each day is also important to him. He is amazing at exercise and our love of exercise makes us soulmates.”

Then she took me upstairs to view the two side-by-side treadmills and the matching pairs of his/her tennis shoes sitting next to their side-by-side treadmills.

Then I got to see their shower that was custom built, where she said they could have great shower sex.

At that point I gave up—all I could think of was the movie Best in Show and this clip since Nasty Nurse looked a lot like the actress in the clip. In fact, Nasty Nurse could almost be twins with this actress, both in the way they acted and the way they looked. The resemblance is uncanny:


Truth is stranger than fiction and I am sad to say these people exist.

Also, there is more. I found Wicked Doctor online and he had nine patient reviews, which gave him a 2.0 out of 5 stars. I will not quote them because I do not want The Vulture knocking at my door.

However, I will make a bullet-point list of the actual patient feedback. Here are what Wicked Doctor’s patients think of him and these are all verified reviews. Yes, I am pulling out the actual words patients said, but not the entire quotes:

  • Personality disorder
  • Lacks empathy
  • Narcissistic
  • Needs a new personality
  • Incapable of “feeling” for anyone besides himself
  • Worst doctor ever encountered
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • The most arrogant person ever encountered
  • Should not be a doctor
  • Should be treated for a personality disorder
  • Employer should force him to take training in how to treat others

My friends, what is your assessment? You heard it from me, but now you get to hear it from actual verified patients. In other words, they were not FAKE reviews.

So, is Wicked Doctor someone who just happens to look like a vulture, but who is truly kind-hearted on the inside?

Is he just this terribly misunderstood doctor who only needed an implanted soulmate to heal his Vulture Heart?

Is he a Nice Guy who just snapped one day and blew up the lives of everyone around him so that he and Nasty Nurse were the only winners?

Note: They are not necessarily winners. They are both sociopaths who found each other. They “won” each other, but neither of them is a prize. They won a great house while ex-wife and children get to live somewhere far inferior, so that they can live in the Big House.  They are Special. No one should question them, because they are Above The Rules. I guess that is why they are soulmates, in a sick and twisted way at least.

Take note—these are the women who break up marriages. And what woman in her right mind is okay with a man beating his wife, so she will give him a divorce settlement?”

But, after the dinner, I found out via the gossip mill that things were much worse for the ex-wife. There was a woman who was the wife’s confidant during The Discard. Wicked Doctor allegedly gave ex-wife multiple broken bones during his beatings. Even though the wife went to seek medical help, the wife allegedly never named her husband as the perpetrator.  The staircase was the perpetrator. The free weights were the perpetrator. The blender attacked her. By golly, people break their ribs while cooking all the time! Have you seen those mixing bowls?

Note: I am not trying to discount the experience of victims. I am trying to demonstrate that victims are often so afraid of their perpetrators and have been so beaten down by them, that they have no fight left in them. Also, our community is small enough where the doctors the ex-wife was seeing in the ER knew The Vulture. I have discovered doctors protect each other and she probably knew this. This is terribly tragic and it happens to women of every ethnicity, every socio-economic background, every educational level, and every religion. Don’t get too comfortable looking at all the houses with white, picket fences and manicured lawns. None of us know what goes on behind closed doors. This is the horror of abuse. Even the strongest women are literally physically and emotionally beaten down to the point they have no fight left in them. It is shameful that our society still does not have systems in place where victims feel comfortable coming forward. No, we still live in a society where a victim has to strongly prove their case, even if there is solid proof. Also, note that if a victim were to record (on video or audio) her husband beating her, it would NOT be admissible in court in many states. Why? Because the perpetrator did not agree to be videotaped. I think these laws back victims into a corner and should be changed. If a wife wants to record her husband beating her or her children so that she can have solid proof, she should be allowed to do that. She should be allowed to show it to police officers and a judge and this type of proof should be able to add validity to her case. Because of these laws against recording others, our society aids and abets a culture of silence regarding victims. No wonder so many stay silent. Even if we spoke up, no one would believe us and we are not even allowed to get concrete forms of proof because that violates the rights of the perpetrator. Why would anyone come forward when they have to prove they are NOT lying and when they are NOT allowed to provide video proof that what they are saying is TRUE. What is wrong with that picture?

Now back to Nasty Nurse.

Nasty Nurse is okay calling a wife beater her soulmate. (Maybe he is because she was beaten too?) She has no empathy or sympathy for the ex-wife because the wife had an issue with these two soulmates getting together. That makes the ex-wife a BAD, bad lady. How dare a wife come between soulmates? She just needs more beatings to learn her lesson.

One more thing, some might be wondering if I am being too hard on Nasty Nurse since she was allegedly beaten. I talked to the gossip mill about that as well. It seems the consensus was she spun a story about her ex to get sympathy. This is also a common story women use when they break up marriages. It takes the focus of the real victim—the wife. Finally, I have met battered women. I have not met one who acted like Nasty Nurse. You will have to take my word for it.

In Summary

This was a hard post for me to write. When I write about people like Wicked Doctor and Nasty Nurse, it is difficult. Frankly, it makes me feel sad so many people go through this life so asleep. What I mean by asleep is that they are unaware of their own actions and how they tremendously harm others. They are asleep to others and only awake and aware of THEIR needs, THEIR so-called happiness, and THEIR so-called lives. Not a thought enters THEIR minds that THEIR behavior is DESTROYING others.

I would feel better about these sleepers if they could be awakened to their actions and impact on others and change. But, most frequently, when I have had conversations with these sleepers, they do not understand why I would have a problem with their actions.

They simply cannot see beyond their own world, their own, needs and when someone shows them their impact on others, they generally do not care because they cannot see beyond themselves. I have found that showing these disordered characters their impact on others makes not a bit of difference. I am speaking a foreign language, even if we both speak English. My way of thinking is as foreign to them as their way of thinking is foreign to me. Some days I get really down, especially after reading all the research.

Finally, today I was speaking with the new owner of a coffee shop I frequent. I had seen her around before and liked the vibe she gave off, but I never spoke with her. Anyhow, she told me her life story as many people do when they first meet me. (For the past twenty years that has happened. It happens while standing in line at the grocery store, or at the bank, or at the park, or anywhere really.) She told me that her father was a biker and her mother was a prostitute and that she had a rough life. But, as a teen, she realized she had a choice. She would not repeat the mistakes of her parents. She would not drink, smoke, or do drugs and she would be successful. She would raise herself up by her bootstraps by living a life full of integrity and doing “the right thing” even when it was difficult. She married a very educated man who makes good money and they have adult children.

I told her my belief that the only real character a person has is measured by what they do when no one is looking. She said she could not agree more and has lived her life very intentionally according to this principle.  She got married very intentionally, raised her children very intentionally, and made sure they had an emotionally healthy home. She is an inspiration to me. She has demonstrated through intentional living that everyone has a choice, even when someone comes from the most dysfunctional background on earth. One day she chose to BE better and to DO better and she has lived well ever since. When I meet these people, I want to weep both with joy but also because I have encountered so very few. Of course, the work I do also contains a “selection bias.” Regardless, prior to doing work in the psychology field, I still saw the same nastiness that I see to this day.

To once again sum of my thoughts. There is no terrible situation that can make someone do something they do not want to do—both for the good and for the bad.

First we met Dunia, who stood by the side of the love of her life all the way to the bitter end—even when things got really hard. Then, we met Elizabeth, Beka, and Josh and how Beka serves as an inspiration to Elizabeth because she has handled the blending of families to gracefully. I do not believe Beka is stupid—I believe Beka has the same grace and knowledge of my good friend and that Beka keeps friends close and enemies closer.

Then, we revisited the pain of my own story, as triggered by my husband’s reaction. My husband could not quite connect to the idea that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing. A wolf can volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, teach little lambs cool things at a children’s museum, and a wolf can even lead disabled children around on horses. But, this will never change the fact that he is still a wolf underneath it all.  My husband could not quite grasp that and I had to write out my anger and disbelief.

Finally, I told the story of Wicked Doctor aka The Vulture and yet another Nasty Nurse with hundreds of thousands of dollars of plastic surgery. This Nasty Nurse thought it was okay if women were beaten because they get over it. This Nasty Nurse thought she was a soulmate to The Vulture because exercise is so important to BOTH of them. And so is shower sex. Good for them!! — because other things like fidelity, honesty, integrity, selflessness, kindness, gentleness, and keeping promises were a foreign concept to both of them.

I hope you readers are not as down as I am this week. But, to put my down-ness in perspective, my mom lost her best friend (in the whole world) on Saturday—who was a close family friend to all of us. It was such a shock. So, I have that black, gloomy cloud of grief over my head as I write. Even though the sun has come out, I cannot help but think of the life of my mom’s friend. Her friend was also a betrayed spouse with a horrendous story of betrayal, abandonment, and single motherhood at a time when single mothers were not so common. She raised amazing children and managed to amass an excellent retirement for herself. She was set for life, only to be taken from us suddenly and prematurely. I cannot help but intuit the grief of her children who lived next to their mom and who saw her every day. I cannot help but think of the grief of the grandchildren who adored their grandmother over any other person in this world. They had so many plans for the summer – trips, events, and all kinds of fun things planned with grandma. It was all the grandchildren had talked about for the past 6 months. Now all of those things are gone. The story of their lives that was supposed to be written, but that was taken from them in an instant.

These events make me think about the fragility of life. When I think about the fragility of life the very next thought that follows is: why do so many people choose to waste this life on hurting others? I do not give people a pass if they had a bad childhood. I have seen some of the most amazing people shaped from the dross of abuse, tried in the fire, and turned into metaphorical gold because of it.

I have been so hurt by someone who came from a good family and who KNEW BETTER. I was involved with a narcissistic wolf and my only sin was being a lamb who did not (yet) know that wolves can sometimes play the best sheep of them all. That experience took away my innocence and my view that the world is a safe place.

It has left me with years of nightmares. It has left me with the knowledge that the world is not a safe place and the only person we can trust is ourselves.

This is such a difficult realization since we humans are social creatures and need each other.

The ones who need us the most are the ones who can hurt us the most.

This is one of the reasons I have always been an animal lover, especially a dog lover. Dogs are such great companions and the following quote has always resonated with me: Someday I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am.

I have a rescue dog whose first owner named him Hero. (I kept the name.) When he came to me, his jaw was split in half, due to being kicked by a steel-toed boot, and his soul was in pieces.

I announced I would redeem this dog. The vet said, “Not a chance. He has been too severely abused.” But still, I paid to get his jaw wired back together. I paid to get him neutered since there were pre-cancerous changes in his groin. He was hardly responsive after all of that, so grief stricken he was ready to lie down and die. He withdrew and simply stared into the air. He could not be roused.

So, I gently worked with him each day to show him not all of us are bad. I slowly earned his trust. Five years later, Hero the dog, has been fully redeemed. The vet cannot believe it is the same dog. The vet had never encountered a case where a person was able to take a dog so severely abused and completely withdrawn and to restore him to the point where he became the dog he was meant to be.

I worked with Hero until that happened. But, my dad made an interesting observation when he asked: “Are you his hero, or is he your Hero? I think you two saved each other.” I could not agree more.

Finally, here is a video “for thought” in case you have not seen it. I would recommend that you send it to your wayward spouse. You do not have to tell your wayward spouse what the video is about or even the message of the video. If your wayward spouse has once tiny sliver of his heart still in tact, he will know. Even if he does not react, this is the kind of video that cannot be unseen. Do not get me wrong, I find this video inspirational and MOVING. It is so moving that it cannot be unseen or forgotten. And I hope this video can melt even the coldest hearts.


What did you think of this post? What did the content bring up for you? What are you struggling with the most this week? What are your hopes for recovery? What does the path to wholeness look like to you? -Sarah



Ari Diaconis. She Was My World, But We Couldn’t Marry. From

Elizabeth Covington. An Optimist’s Guide to Divorce. From

Michael Tario. Shocking Rape Statistics. From


    58 replies to "Tales of Several Relationships and More Reasons Why You Cannot Make Your Spouse Cheat"

    • Nearly Normal


      My goodness, how courageous of you to tell such a painful story!

      Yet you have managed to use your life to help others. In my mind, this puts you in the same league as Dunia and Beka.

      I also have had a crap week and a crap month. Right there with ya.

      Hope it gets better.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Nearly Normal,

        Thank you. I try to become a better person each day since the only person I can control is me. That at least helps off-set all of the nastiness in the world. (And unfortunately, I can tend towards the cynical, the sarcastic, and the snarky if I do not keep myself in check.)

        Tell us about your crap week and crap month. You were seeing a counselor and dreading telling your wife about PTSD — that was the last comment I read from you. How is that going?


        • Nearly Normal

          The counseling seems pretty good so far. I think it will be helpful. Just starting EMDR with her, so it will take some time to see full results.

          Yes, I told my wife about the PTSD. I tried to be as direct as possible. She took it pretty well, I think, but it was still hard. Overall, she is supportive of me getting help.

          This new stuff – counseling, having hard conversations with my wife – are not so much the crappy bits, although they surely contribute to overall stress. The first session of EMDR was pretty difficult emotionally, so that doesn’t help.

          Some other things that made it a crap week: Some friends kind of being ***** and essentially betraying me (plays into my feelings of betrayal ala PTSD), including but not limited to talking about me behind my back. Also, wife saying she would do one thing, then not doing it, which I can’t help but feel is her breaking a promise. (blah blah, same feelings, blah blah PTSD)

          I think I’m getting through this, but I just need these mini crisis situations to stop hitting one after another. I am hoping that EMDR will take the edge off my emotional reactions every time I could possibly construe something as a betrayal. Here’s hoping. Or maybe I’ve just been screwed up too long, too bad.

          Sorry, I’m writing from a place that’s about 80% hopeless and despair. I know I’ll get through this, but I don’t FEEL like I’ll get through this. Stupid emotions.

          • Shifting Impressions

            Nearly Normal
            I’m sorry to hear it’s so tough for you right now. It’s amazing the things that can set us back. Things that aren’t even related to the affairs seem to have the power to do that….I know that in my case that is true.

            Anyway….thinking of you. I know the feeling, as many of us here do as well.

            • Nearly Normal

              Thanks Shifting. It’s good to hear that.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Nearly Normal,

            Yes, I do understand how these mini-crises in our life can send us spinning. And be careful with friends.

            I had this friend who was my strongest advocate at work when I was going through the break-up. (He and I worked together.) He hated that this women sided with me since she knew people in high places. Anyhow, when he decided to marry the other woman, he begged this friend of mine to design the floral bouquets at his wedding. He used flattery about how talented she was and so she did the flowers at his wedding. Then she came and told me about it later while also telling me his wife is such a gross person. Really? I am not friends with this person and also- this friend did NOT need the money. She was about 15 years older and had become a millionaire and all of her houses paid off. But she fancied herself as the greatest floral designer to have ever lived and so he used that to get her to agree to do the flowers at his wedding- thus demonstrating to me that he still Had Power and that many people could be bought with just a little flattery.

            So, if your friends are talking about you, confront them. Ask why. Get them all in the same room, look them in the eye and say, “Why do you think it is okay to speak about me behind my back this way? I consider you friends but friends normally don’t do such things so please enlighten me..” Most people are shocked by a direct person who sticks solely to the facts and asks a question solely about the facts.

            I hope your week gets better. We are here for you.

            • Nearly Normal

              Thanks Sarah. I’m sure it’ll get better

    • Rose

      Omg Sarah. I need to go home and have a glass of wine and re-read this. I’m so sorry this happened to you. After H promised he would cut off A#2 and then I found him writing to her from a new email, I tried to OD. Didn’t work or maybe I didn’t want it to, not sure. I’ve gotten much stronger since then.
      As to the first story…if I were sick and needy, my H would LOVE that. Its his MO, being the White Knight to needy women. But I’m not and won’t ever be needy even if I get sick so he’ll keep needing the sociopaths who are.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Rose and Everyone Else reading….

        These pieces of filth (chronic cheaters) are not worth ending your life over. Yeah, I am one to talk because I tried it twice. I have only written about the first time. I tried another time, but there was literal divine intervention. After that divine intervention (which cannot in any way be explained as coincidence or an anomaly) happened, I never tried to hurt myself again. (It was the second attempt soon after that break-up years ago.) It also proved to me that there was a God who sometimes reaches into this world for whatever reason. (I do not have the answer to why God reaches in sometimes and other times does not and this pains me greatly. It is something I have felt guilt over. Why was I saved when children die of cancer each day? That seems wrong somehow.)

        But, I am afraid of telling the second story because it will either trigger people or give them ideas that they should not have.

        When normally healthy and non-suicidal people are attempting suicude it is because the pain of living is too much. They don’t want to die– they just want the pain to end.

        Anyone who is reading– don’t ever attempt suicide. Call the suicide hotline. Don’t be stupid like I was. Then the loser/cheater wins if the betrayed ends their life. The betrayed will not serve as a reminder and how convenient after the betrayed has been discarded. Right?

        And just for reference, here is the suicide hotline number:


        Rose, how is it going? Has your H stopped his shenanigans? Ever asked The Chump Lady for ideas? She usually has great ones. If not, maybe check out her book since it will probably help you understand your rights as a human being and wife and implement them. Seems like your H might need a big, old butt kicking to wake up and I hope he is behaving better these days. No one deserves to be treated badly.


        • Rose

          Thanks Sarah. As I said I have gotten much stronger, and I have my therapist to thank for helping me do much of the work. She has helped me understand what an amazing goddess I am ???? and that I am much more important than anyone else in the world. It took me a while to understand that. I would never ever attempt suicide again because of what someone did to me. It took me a lot of work to get to this point. H is…hmm. I can’t make a diagnosis yet. The “physical” marriage has been gone for about 4 months now. I’m sleeping in another room, and sleeping very well. A couple of months ago, I wrote him a few loooong emails. I think he gets easily overwhelmed by my writing sometimes. Anyway, he admitted to me that he hadn’t read them because he was overwhelmed. Two months later he still has not read them, or if he has, hasn’t answered a single question or initiated a discussion as I requested. I laid it all out so the ball’s in his court. He is still taking care of his ill mother (a narcissistic alcoholic sociopath) but she is in the hospital this week, fell from being drunk and now has internal bleeding, so he gets a break. He has been doing tons around our house and has been smiling and telling me he loves me and that I’m beautiful, etc. Hmph. That’s what I say. He hasn’t been pursuing the OW on Facebook much (probably because she didn’t respond), but she accepted my friend request and though I don’t post any comments (so he doesn’t know we’re friends), I do still monitor when and where he posts to her threads. He has the time to write educated, lengthy responses to some of her posts…yet he can’t take the time to read my email. And, you know where, when someone comments on a post, you can see how long ago that comment was? Like it will say 1d, 3 hours, etc. I looked at his posts and they are ALWAYS when I am gone. I went backwards from today and there was one right after I left for my first appointment of the day. Saturday was while I was at yoga…etc. So he thinks it’s okay to have this FB relationship while I’m not around, and that proves it.
          Anyway, most days I’m good. I’ve started dressing up for my work assignments (like, REALLY nice) and wearing perfume and heels and dammit, I look good. And he’s noticed. And probably wondering why. Not for HIM, that’s for sure. It’s for me! I am in school for my master’s (which he said at one point I was too old to do, so of course I had to do it), and I work a lot, and I go to yoga, and I keep super busy and spend a lot more time on me these days.
          The detachment WORKS. I’m not sure where it’s headed yet but I will let you know.

    • Rose

      One other thing my therapist has made me see. Oh, and btw I am a nurse, too, but not a Nasty Nurse. ???? I’ve worked with and still work with doctors every day. It’s funny but my parents’ generation used to treat doctors like royalty. They would dress up to go see the doctor and say yes sir and no sir. But since I’ve worked with them so long, I know they are just people like all of us, and I don’t let them pull the “me doctor” routine on me, EVER. I have walked out of situations where they were yelling and abusive. Now I am dealing with a couple who are interested in me and not just for my customer service (rolls eyes).
      But I digress. I married my first husband at 18, divorced at 22 with a baby. The marriage was stupid. The baby was and is wonderful, now 37 and with a baby of her own. Then I met current H about a year later and married him, living with my mother and a friend in the meantime. I have literally never been on my own, made my own decisions about anything, or have done anything I wanted without having to consult someone else. A couple of years ago I had a traveling consultant job where I lived a state away each week and came home on the weekends. It was heaven. H did everything around the house, all the pet care, the bills, etc. All I had to do was go to my spotless hotel, eat what I want, stay up late if I wanted, go out and see a movie if I wanted…without having to check in with anyone.

      THIS. This is what I need and what I deserve and what I want. Since the marriage partnership has been, er, a little one-sided, with H getting what HE wanted and needed, now it’s my turn. My therapist said I can still live with him but I can live my own life. (If you recall, there are many issues preventing leaving.) I don’t have to answer to him. MY room is spotless and is my sanctuary. I don’t cook for anyone and eat what I want. I’m up late right now. I can head out and see a movie if I want. It’s all in your attitude. If you can’t have the marriage you signed up for, your own life is more important. I am my priority now. (No revenge affairs in the works, though—I have integrity. Not that I haven’t been tempted!)

    • TryingHard

      It’s a fact that narcs/cluster b’s etc. do acts of charity to cover up the evil they do. It’s like one offsets the other. I get it. I believe to some extent we all do some of this. I know when I was smoking I would rationalize that odious habit with the fact that I led an otherwise healthy lifestyle by eating well, taking vitamins, going for regular checkup and exercising (although not regularly). I believe it’s call cognitive dissonance?

      I am shocked your h after knowing everything about this pig ex of yours had the idea that he was a nice guy for doing charitable acts. Or maybe this was just his way of ending what may have been a painful conversation for him in the fact that he knows it is still painful for you Sarah. I don’t know and maybe your h being truly brilliant doesn’t know much about cluster b’s and narcissism.

      I have to say most people find it hard to talk about difficult stuff like this. I believe it awakens too many emotions that they don’t know what to do with.

      As far as my experience I know that my h has worked very hard at damage control and fallout from his cheating. One of the first things EVERYONE said when they found out is how out of character it was for him. How he seemingly adored me as far as they were concerned. That we were so obviously each others life cheerleaders even. So yes people that do horrible things will try to make up for it in many other ways. Some are driven to be perceived as “good guys” even though their acts are to the contrary.

      Hey Sarah I say call your hacker friends 🙂 You have been through some harrowing experiences. I totally get the whole suicidal thoughts though. And YES no one is worth taking your own life and I mean NO ONE. I am so glad you have seen your way through to the other side and have a loving family now. Even though h is a little dense sometimes 🙂

      • Sarah P.

        Hi TryingHard,

        Thank you always for caring. I appreciate you very much. Yes, cognitive dissonance. We all have it because all of us are human and are not perfect but certainly most of us want to see ourselves as Good People.

        But, you can smoke and still be a Good Person. You are not hurting anyone by smoking –except maybe longterm health — but I have learned even that is largely genetic.

        Get this. One of my grandfathers was a 2-pack a day guy since he had been 18. He also loved fatty foods and had a big belly. He did not exercise either. He had a heart attack at 55, survived, and was fine. The doctor said, “No more smoking and no more eating fried foods all the time and start walking daily or you will be dead in a year!!” And my grandfather did absolutely none of that. He was a very nice person and wanted to enjoy life while he could. He was a wonderful husband and father and grandfather but he loved his cigarettes, his fatty foods and sweets, and he loved sitting around and reading all day. He did not cut back on any of those things. He started smoking more and eating more because if he was going to die anyways he sure as heck was going to enjoy cigarettes and copious amounts of the wrong food. So, how many months do you suppose grandpa lasted after smoking and eating MORE? Well, he died a month later.

        NO– that was a joke.

        He lived a full 20 years after that heart attack while doing MORE of the stuff the doctor said not to do.

        We also suspect he knew he was going to die because of how he died. Over a period of months prior to his death, he had been getting all of his papers in order like a responsible husband so that my grandma would be set. He started writing cards to everyone he loved and making sure any old grudges from people long ago – even from childhood- were settled. (Note: He was not sick and showed no symptoms of illness at all– ever.) And he especially made sure to tell my dad and my mom and me and grandma how much we meant to him.

        One morning in May with the sun shining, he got up, he shaved, he put on his favorite cologne, he put on the most expensive suit he had and a bolo tie (and it was very fancy), made his favorite breakfast, and then he went into his organic vegetable garden in the backyard and he laid down on the grass and passed away. Just like that. Five minutes later my grandma found him out there dead with a huge smile on his face.

        They called the ambulance but in the end, they did not revive him because he did not want to be resuscitated. My dad visited his body at the mortuary and said his dad looked so content and happy. My dad asked the mortician if they had done something to grandpa’s face to make him look so happy so that it wouldn’t be a shock. Nope, since he was a cremation, he was left “as is” and that happy as a camper look on his face was real. That gave my parents tremendous peace. The point is, my grandpa must have had some kind of genetics that kept him going. He had siblings and they all lived to almost 100. They smoked too.

        My grandfather would tell us his whole life that he would always be young at heart and that he refused to be in a situation where he had to be in assisted living. He said he wanted to have a sharp mind and a functioning body when he died. He literally told us that when his time was up he would go to his garden and pass away peacefully. That is EXACTLY what he did. (And yes, it WAS a heart attack. Grandpa had not poisoned himself or anything like that.) The man just knew how he wanted to go and he did it on HIS terms. I wish I could figure out how he knew to go on his terms because that really is the best way to die (since death is inevitable).

        Oh boy, you mention smoking and you get an entire essay!!!

        Anyhow, smoking does not make anyone bad. Drinking does not make people bad. Not exercising does not make people bad. Taking drugs does not necessarily make people bad people. They are trying to escape pain, but doing the worst thing that anyone can do to escape pain.

        The only thing that makes people bad is knowingly making the choice to hurt innocent people over and over again, never changing their behavior for good, never repenting, never making it up to the person they hurt, never having empathy for the person they are hurting, and never apologizing. That makes a bad person because they seemingly have no empathy. Or they are cluster B– but it’s six of one or have a dozen of the other. (Addicts can act this way, but they are different than cluster B’s. Addicts are trying to escape pain.

        Cluster B’s only care about themselves because they are the most important people to ever walk the earth and their needs come first, even if it hurts another person. Cluster B’s are also above the rules. “Other people and rules?” says a cluster B. “What are Other People? There is only ME. Rules? Oh those are for these Other People you reference who are not ME.”

        It’s a very different attitude than addicts. Addicts are in so much pain that they turn to drugs just to get relief from pain that feels unceasing.

        Yes, I am so tempted to call my hacker friends. But, something interesting happened several years ago. Since my break-up was the ‘real life’ soap opera at work and since many people sided with me, some women were no longer tolerant of his occasional arrogance. (Once again, I had not met a cluster B, so arrogance and entitlement did not register.) Here is what happened. Before the break-up, we had a team recruiter. One day he went over to her cube, asked her to make him coffee, schedule something for him, and change the printer paper because it was out. She was NOT an executive assistant. She was a team recruiter and a peer. She held her tongue until after the break-up. After I left the company I googled his name and his full name as well as the recruiter’s first name showed up on Guy Kawasaki’s business blog. He has a column called “Asshole Bosses.” Well, he had decided to write an article about asshole coworkers and this recruiter sent Guy Kawasaki the entire story of how my ex treated her. She used his full name and her first name. She also gave the opinion that he was the most arrogant person she had met. (NOTE: The recruiter and I were friendly to each other and worked well together, but we were not friends outside of work and never spoke after I left the company. I did NOT put her up to telling her story about him demanding printer paper and coffee.) I was shocked to see the article. I wish I would have printed it out. It stayed online for a full THREE YEARS before it got taken down. I can no longer find it in the cache files either, so I assume my ex launched a defamation lawsuit against Guy’s blog and it probably took three years to finish the suit and have Guy remove it. During that three year period, it was the first thing that came up anytime someone Goggled his name. You can only imagine the fall-out for him after people read it.

        Anyhow, I have fantasies about revenge, but I have never actually gotten revenge on anyone in my life. Not even him. If I got revenge, then it would “karmically tie” me to him. And I do not want that. I do not have the heart for it in the end. It would probably make me feel bad instead of him because I would be ashamed of myself for getting on his level. But yes, it still takes every ounce of restraint I have to not have someone hack his work profile. It’s funny as heck to think about it.

        I also have to admit it helps me sleep better at night knowing the female recruiter outed him for his bad behavior specifically towards her. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he confronted Guy Kawasaki. I am sure the conversation would have been epic.


    • Hopeful

      Sarah, Thank you for sharing this with us. I can connect and relate to so much of what you talked about and those articles. I am the type of friend and wife would would be there no matter what through anything. I have always put others first in a sense that I treat them how I would hope others would treat me if I was in their shoes. This is very hard for me since I have given so much in our marriage and I have too many stories to tell of when my husband did not support me and was actually mean and nasty. I would challenge him at the time but he would always gaslight me and turn the table to it all being my fault. I was really on my own for years. And to the outside world he looked amazing. It was the reputation vs character difference. One story is when I had just had surgery. I was resting but started not to feel well. I was really struggling. He had arranged for our child to be with the grandparents. He went golfing which was not just golfing but out all day and night. I called him which I never do and explained to him how I was feeling and asked him if he could come home to help me and even assess. You know when you do not feel well and I did not have a clear head as to what I should do and could not get up to get water or food even. I will never forget his words “why are you calling me if you do not feel well? What can I do for you. Call your surgeon if you need help. I made sure you did not have to take care of our kid isn’t that enough?” That was hard. And I have many other stories similar to that. In the end he did not want to be bothered or have to help unlesss he was ready or wanted to. At the time of this story he was not having any affairs yet. He also had s few occasions I almost left or called my parents to get me even once when i was out of town. I locked myself in a hotel bathroom. And that time it was my fault since I cried which made him more angry.

      I have a hard time getting past these incidents. Now he gushes at me and says he would take a bullet and would die for me if I could live. He said he wants our kids to have me as a parent as a priority over him if there was a choice. He has done a 180. He is not perfect at all but I find it confusing how he can change and underlying I wonder how much of that is still there. Basically that selfish mentality. And how hard he has to work at how he is now. He claims it is not work and he is happier than ever before and that now he sees the benefit to thinking of others first for the first time in his life.

      Thank you for being so brave to share those details. I think society just does not understand and we are in a male dominated world still. My husband is more in tune than ever before with what women go through after watching me. I would say he has always been compassionate. In a way that bothered me since he was that way at work and with others in his life but not me. I do understand though that I made him feel guilty and like less of a person. Once he started cheating if he thought highly of me then he was even a bigger jerk.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Hopeful,

        That story of your husband leaving you while you were recovering from surgery breaks my heart. Oh I would never be able to forget that. My husband did something similar. Our second son had to spend 3 days in the NICU. My husband was able to get two days off but was convinced he had to leave the hospital on the third day because he drove around to different clinics to treat diabetes patients. I begged him to stay because I was still so frightened. But he insisted on going. That is something I will NEVER forgive him for. When our second child was born, he was limp, colorless, and not breathing. They whisked him away before I could even see his face. They would NOT tell me what was going on either and when they did tell me what was going on they said there was a chance I would lose him. I am a stable person, but the thought of carrying a baby only to have him die sent me totally off my rocker into an alternative universe. One of the nurses was cruel enough to ask if I was a drug user simply because I could not stop crying. I actually got angry and told her to give me a urine screen for drugs because I was so angry. The urine screen came back negative and she had to apologize to me.

        My grandmother had a baby who died three days after birth. It had to do with a heart malformation that they could not yet fix in the 1940’s. She refuses to talk about it to this day because the pain is too great. My son was not breathing because he had so much fluid and meconium in his lungs and the epidural some of the drugs they gave me for breakthrough pain (in addition to an epidural) made him sleepy. They cleared his lungs, gave him oxygen via a tube straight into his lungs and roused him.

        But, the thought of him being dead had already taken place in my mind and I just could not stop crying. He was intubated and had a feeding tube for three days before we could take him home. I did not know at the time he would be ok. No one would give me information that could have given me hope because they just did not know. So they talked worse-case scenarios and I just could not handle it. I had a mental breakdown and cried for hours on end. I resent the callous nurse thinking I was acting out of the ordinary. (I cannot even write this story without tears dripping down my face and getting a knot in my stomach.)

        And I resent my husband for leaving on the third day when no one was giving me any idea of what was happening. I had to sit all alone in the hospital, watching my baby, and wondering what was going to happen next. I think a mom has to go through this situation to really understand it. It doesn’t sound that serious to someone who has never experienced it.

        But, it is serious. I was literally bargaining with God and telling him to take MY LIFE but to let the baby live. I have yet another story of divine intervention with this but it’s too long to tell here. Anyhow, it all turned out okay. This is my little one who is on the autism spectrum. He is the most kind and generous little soul anyone could ever meet. He is so innocent and simply cannot comprehend that there are bad people in the world. Since he spends most of his time with me, he assumes everyone loves him as much as I do and would protect him at all costs.

        Anyhow, I can feel your pain, Hopeful. The pain of being physically ill, stuck, and all alone with a husband who insisted he needed to do something else that was not even freaking important. It totally, freaking stinks and it is NUTS. And it is very hard to forgive. I would not be able to forgive just as I will never forgive my husband for leaving me alone, knowing the emotional state I was in, with a baby who I might lose. That is what they call ‘the dark night of of the soul’ and it was one of many in my life.

        Thanks for the comment, Hopeful,


        • Hopeful

          Sarah, again I can relate. Becoming a mom has been amazing but for me it has been lonely. I had always been pretty good at taking care of myself. But when i entered marriage I envisioned being a team. And I love my kids so much but I was not sure I wanted kids and was not pushing to have them. My husband was the one who pushed. So mixed in with all the challenges of childbirth, babies, toddlers etc was this feeling of why am I in this alone. And I think it is a societal issue too. I have read a lot about how times have changed. We are not centered around an extended, church or other places that provided support especially for moms.

          I am so thankful you are here for us sharing your stories along side us. Thank you!

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Hopeful,

            I am happy to be here sharing stories along side everyone. So, this is a gift to me too. It goes both ways. 🙂

            No one’s life is perfect and I like sharing that life on the inside looks different than life on the outside. But, that is okay.

            It is okay to have a perfectly imperfect marriage as long as there is no: physical abuse, sexual abuse, extreme and constant (unrelenting) emotional abuse.

            Note the words “extreme” and “unrelenting.” Everyone in this world has defense mechanisms when they are hurt or shamed. Many of those defense mechanisms cause them to act on ways that could be termed emotionally abusive. But, if they are “normal” versus having “disordered characters,” they can be reasoned with after they have cooled off as long as the person subject to the abuse does not go on the attack. Now that I am thinking about it, this probably warrants a post on its own.

            Anyhow, marriages are manageable if they do NOT include the following things:

            1) Sex addiction

            2) Disordered character (which needs to be diagnosed even if it’s a by-proxy diagnoses by a professional since most narcissists and sociopaths will never go to therapy.

            3) Physical abuse (NOTE: Men can be physically abused by women, just as women can be physically abused by men. I know of a relationship where the physical abuse comes from the wife and the husband does not hit back. This is not a client or anyone I mentor. It is a former coworker who bragged about it and I also witnessed it once.) I have also been told by a male, family friend that this is why he divorced his wife. He was so ashamed when he told us the story.

            4) Street drug addiction. (Prescription drug addiction is different and NOT a deal-breaker. Suboxone is the answer for people with prescription drug addiction.)

            5) Sexual abuse: If someone is sexually abusing children or watching child porn.

            6) Extreme alcoholism. (That is the person is so non-functional they cannot hold down a job, get out of bed, and they refuse to get in-patient treatment.) There is no issue with social drinking and no issue with a glass of wine or beer everyday.

            7) People who refuse to leave the other person OR who keep carrying on affairs in secret– whether these affairs are emotional or physical. If you are aware your spouse is carrying on constant affairs– even digital ones– this is a deal breaker if the spouse refuses to stop and get help.

            8) People who gamble away life savings or gamble in secret. When I took my class on addiction and read that 1,500 page textbook that was only one of the books for that class, the book mentioned that “there is no end to a gambling addiction” if someone starts. People with gambling addictions will all end up on the street eventually and it’s best to protect assets and get the heck out. It’s only a matter of time. Personally, I have never even gambled for fun or played the lottery. All of the statistics for winning can be found online. These habits bankrupt millions of people while only one person wins. I am not judging people who gamble for fun, set a budget, stop, and know their limit. Some people are able to do this. However, many people are not. It’s best not to start– that is my opinion.

            Gee, what a diatribe…

            But, it’s also a wake-up call if anyone out there in these situations. Please get help because the above situations are deal breakers even without an affair. If a person engages in the above and then has an affair– an affair is not the problem. It is just another manifestation of the behavior of a sick person and it is in your best interests to get out. It is better to be single than to be in such situations.

            MOST IMPORTANTLY, if any of you are in these situations I am NOT judging you. If you are in these situations you need support and understanding, NOT judgement. I offer support, compassion, and understanding to those in such situations. I know it takes time to walk away from such situations due to trauma bonds. If anyone ever needs help leaving such a situation, reach out to me via email. I will be truthful and compassionate, but NOT judgmental. Life is hard and leaving relationships are hard.

            Back to my original point. It’s okay not to have the perfect marriage. The perfect marriage/relationship is a MYTH sold to us by romance novels and rom-coms. Humans are not perfect. We are not perfect. God knows I am not perfect. But it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect.

            Big hugs to everyone and HAPPY FRIDAY,

        • Kris

          Sarah, it’s a while since your response to Hopeful and I feel for you both and all — a quick comment about the knots:

          I have so many knots still in me but the ones of marital resentment and maternal fears and grief were loosened over the course of this odd year and this week. It took me ages to get through the process, but I finally managed to unearth my wedding dress and have it professionally cleaned. Then another year to muster the nerve to collect it from the cleaner’s; I had hoped they would lose it during that long time, or that it would be mangled somehow and no longer my problem. The clean dress sat like a stalwart bride in the back seat of my car for a long time more, then came into the house and lay on the couch for at least three months.

          I finally called the dressmaker and confirmed it was ok to send to her for repurposing. I folded it down and into a box for shipping. Then that box stayed on the counter for MONTHS.

          In quarantine circumstances, I used one of my errand mornings to send the dress away. I thought the house and my life would feel lighter as a result, but neither did. There was no change.

          This week, I received the kind message and photos from the dressmaker. My old wedding dress with all the stories and dreams and hopes has turned into over a dozen garments for babies who died. It sounds morose but the dress is now among 14 other families or mothers who need solace, care, comfort, concern, and quiet support during their time of fright and grieving, and releasing.

          I’m telling it because the process took almost 20 years to complete in full. And in the end, it was the dressmaker’s gifted hands that made the sorrows and resentments lift. They don’t ask for cash reimbursement of their work; I sent the beautiful expensive dress and they turned it into something important that no one ever wants to shop for, a single gift in a critical dumbfounded moment. The act of surrendering the symbol of wedding hopes to be changed into hopes for another wife or couple’s healing, was the trick.

          I no longer resent that husband or his family or enablers; I also know the gift of changing “mine into yours” lifted the pall that was in me, and hopefully took away at least one very minor layer of what those newborn and newly grieving families face.

          We find our way through the grieving and sometimes it takes decades. But turning one physical object into something that can even briefly console another person or several, can be rewarding and fulfilling for both parties, or all.

          I think you do this in all your writing, Sarah, and Hopeful, whether you realize it or not, you have, too, by sharing your story.

          Keep going. Thank you so much for creating dialogue here.

      • Lynsey

        Hi Hopeful, I can totally relate to how it feels to have surgery and no help from H. When I was laid up and in a cast, my H did very little to help. I was supposed to keep my leg elevated and stay off my feet as little as possible, but my H always had to rush out for “something” and told me he couldn’t help around the house. Wouldn’t take the time to fill my water pitcher, bring food, etc. At the time, unknown to me, he was having an EA, possible PA. This was near the beginning of his on/off EA with the same OW for about 12 years. I got really innovative as to getting laundry down to the basement machines, pushing a vacuum around while on crutches, and even crawling around on my hands & knees to weed the garden with a bag on my cast to keep it clean. I can’t forget or forgive this either. I also regret that I was so naive to think he wasn’t cheating on me at that point. D-Day came too many years later.

    • TryingHard

      Hi Hopeful

      I know you directed your comment to Sarah and I hope you don’t mind if I chime in.

      I can so relate. My h has done the 180 as well. I mean sometimes I can hardly breathe with all the attention and adoration etc. He is even agreeing with me politically which we haven’t been aligned for years!!! So what’s up with that? Yep it baffles me too. I had to sleep in our spare bedroom a few nights ago what with all the snoring from h and old dog and boy the next morning you’d have thought I left him. I’d love to figure this out too but I have to say it’s kinda nice?

      • Hopeful

        TH, of course I do not mind. I love this group and think we all are supportive. I agree it is great they have made changes. And I too am smothered at times and wonder if I am too reserved and cautious still.

    • Satori

      There is so much amazingly helpful information in this post Sarah!

      Thank you for breaking down the issues, you make it so clear to see how and what the Discard by a Narcissist truly involves. It was a hard read and I’m horrified and so so sorry you had to endure that abuse and assault by your (thankfully) Ex-fiance.

      What the post also does really well is demonstrate the “escalation” aspect of the cycle of abuse which starts off in micro ways that the victim usually does not notice. These power and control strategies change daily and evolve to insidious levels.

      I haven’t been here for a long time as I’ve been deep in recovery from my H’s abandonment and EA/PA. Great to read everyone’s replies too.

      • Sarah P.

        Yay, Satori! You came back!! We have all missed your wonderful personality and your wittiness. Big hugs, Sarah

      • Hopeful

        I agree with your point about how this happens in small bits that can go unnoticed. And pair that with someone who gaslights you. Looking back I see so much more. Nothing major but just these little things. And I feel they were emotional abuse for sure. I would never want to be physically abused but emotional abuse is hard and with no outward signs I questioned myself. If I tried to talk to someone they would look at me like I was crazy. I did one time try to talk to a very close friend. I was met with so much resistance and her telling me I was crazy and ungrateful.

        Also these little shifts and bouts of emotional abuse remind of how my husband talks about how the affairs started. Basically letting his guard down and shifting his boundaries slowly. To me it seems they mirrored each other with the information I have.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Good to hear from you. I have thought about you and wondered how you were doing.

        • Satori

          Hey ShiftingImps, thanks for the thoughts.
          I’ve been on the road “well traveled” by all of us here and moving through it bit by bit.
          10 months out from Dday now.
          Hope you are well?

          • Shifting Impressions

            Things are mostly well….still moving forward, with the occasional step back. That first year is really tough, that’s for sure.

    • TryingHard

      Satori!!! I can’t believe you posted today. You will NEVER believe this but I was just thinking about you this morning and was hoping and praying that you were doing well and now here you are. What a coincidence?

      You are so correct. Abuse is sometimes like the frog in the pot. It starts slowly and people will brush it aside or think it’s a one time thing. I’m guilty of this as I’ve always been too willing to give the benefit of the doubt when in reality I should have walked. Not necessarily talking about H but what the heck I could throw him in and his past behavior for good measure. I suppose that is why now I am very sensitive to any kind of disrespect.

      So glad to hear from you Satori

      • Satori

        Hello TryingHard! So great to reconnect with you again and also Sarah P. ????
        I believe you are very psychic TH so actually it does not surprise me!!

        I missed you guys in the EAJ crew however I have been making good use of the time out and focused on recovery. What.A.Journey.It.Has.Been.Got the whole cray cray OWhore in the mix still. I’ve learned and experienced the full horror of the sociopath spectrum, so might be a bit hyper vigilant myself LOL. But that is another story.

        How are you going?

        • Puzzled

          Welcome back Satori! I’ve often wondered how things have gone for you. Glad that you are making some strides in your recovery! Hope your journey can bring you some peace.

          • Satori

            Hi there Puzzled! Things are ok here, I’m sure you understand the process of recovery — as you said to me ages ago, running helps. So does boxing haha!! ????
            I’m just popping my head up above the trench to tune in again with the lovely EAJ crew.
            Hope you are doing well too!

    • Rose

      Hi…maybe this doesn’t belong here but I have a question about revenge.
      Don’t know if you remember but a couple of years ago H had a sort-of affair with his first cousin, 3000 miles away. It was obscene emails mostly and hours-long phone calls and she also sent naked pics. No idea what he sent as he’s really good about deletion.

      Anyway…he takes care of his 90 year old alcoholic narcissist mother 4 days a week…whore cousin’s aunt. Since H never cold stopped the A (because she’s family you know) she has tried to contact him twice in the last 2 years. I stopped it dead and he never saw her emails. She is still trying to get in touch with his mother. She probably knows her phone calls are blocked so MIL doesn’t get them. (We monitor MILs email, calls, and mail.) Anyway she has sent mail and parcels of junk which H has intercepted and tossed. So he brings her mail home and pays bills, etc. Right on top of yesterdays pile was a big envelope from the whore to his MIL. I saw it was open and asked H about it. He said it was a family tree and other IMPORTANT info and his usual MO, “I wasn’t going to tell you so you wouldn’t be upset.” Rather than getting livid, I opened it and looked through. She has 2 copies of the tree there, one for each of my sons. There was also a copy of a letter she wrote to H’s sister so apparently they are buds. H hasn’t spoken to his sister for years.
      This to me is clearly her trying to get to H. He doesn’t understand my anger but also doesn’t understand my triggers.

      Now, the psychopath whore has alienated most of what family she has left but I would desperately like for her to go away for frigging good. I want to send my SIL and BIL copies of the disgusting emails whore cousin sent to my H and tell her to watch out. I want her not to have her auntie anymore either. Actually if I found her daughter’s address, I’d like to send to her as well.
      Is this ridiculous? H wouldn’t like it at all but it’s his fault the whore is still in our lives. Should I be like Elsa and let it go? MIL won’t live much longer but I want the whore to lose the few family members she has left. Or should I drop it? Thanks in advance. If you guys think its better karma for me to just move on from this, I will.

    • TheFirstWife

      Rose. I understand your anger, pain and triggers. I really do.

      I think you are dealing with a mentally unstable person. No remorse, no morals and no shame.

      Are you right in your beliefs? Absolutely.

      But here is my advice. Let sleeping dogs lie.

      Don’t upset the Apple cart.

      Your MIL is the one who deserves the dignity. And respect and the ability to live without the drama and crap this A will bring to her life.

      I would not send anything to any in-laws. I would mention just this to them: “We are choosing not to engage with “XWhore”. She has been inappropriate with my H and we have decided to end contact”.

      Now in-laws can do whatever they choose.

      You keep intercepting. But remain silent.

      Silence will work in your favor. It sends a clear message you are better than her and not engaging. It also does not open the door for her to “misread” any communications from you or H b/c there are none.

      It also allows you to be classy. Classier than her.

      If you get something every few years from the “whore” as you call her, you can deal with it. But any revenge action or communication and you may start to hear from her more often.

      I’m not saying you are not right here. You are. But how you handle situations has nothing to do with being right.

      It has to do with being SMART!!

      • Satori

        Hi TFW! Satori here… as usual your advice is so good!
        Silence is golden and NC is the way. Classy is everything.

        Hope you and your family are well and that your H is behaving!!
        Just wanted to say hello…

      • Shifting Impressions

        I agree….this is really good advice.

    • TheFirstWife

      Hi Satori. I am glad to see you have returned.

      I think of you sometimes and always hoped our advice helped you. It is hard to be “right” in those situations – it is very painful for you.

      But the BS needs to be told the truth and aware of what they are truly facing. As hard as it is to tell someone the truth – you had to hear it. I’m sorry we were accurate and he made the choices he did. But I hope we minimized the pain.

      Hope you are healing – glad to see you are still with us here.

      And yes my H is behaving and we have not had any issues resurface. 5 years ago this summer – we are lucky to have made it.

      The odds were against us – but we committed to R and he made the commitment and changes. He just texted me the other day as he has been out of the country for a week – his text was simple. But meant everything. He wrote “you mean the world to me”.


    • Rose

      TFW, thanks. My head knows this…my heart screams that she should have to pay because I sure had to. When I asked H “Well, shouldn’t I tell your sister in case the whore tries to go after her H?” He said “Let her. Not our concern.” He drives me out of my mind but this made sense.

      • Hopeful

        Rose, I can relate and so wanted to contact the two ow. My husband was adamant that we did not want to engage and open that can of worms. I am sure he was protecting himself since who knows what they would have said. However we did agree if either reached out he had to tell me and we would decide together what to do. He has done that and it worked well for us. He understands he needs to be 100% transparent about this for him to have this second chance and this is it.

    • TheFirstWife

      Rose. I know how you feel. You just want to get back at the OW somehow some way.

      But in your case there is so much at risk in terms of the family. Sometimes it is best to just move on – sad to say.

      It is better to be smart than be right sometimes.

      Like I’ve been waiting for my son to get a hair cut. In college I get it – they all do crazy things. But he has no tattoos and he doesn’t drink or do stupid things (except go hiking when he should be studying IMO).

      So long hair is not the worst thing. I know that. I’ve kept my mouth shut about it. So yesterday he tells me when he gets home from school he’s getting a haircut. Woohoo!!! finally he will stop looking like a wooly mammoth lol.

      I just had to keep my mouth shut – and I finally will get what I wanted.

    • Rose

      Lol, yes, my therapist and I are working on controlling only the things I can. I can’t control this one. H will continue to intercept mail from her to MIL, and we also agreed over the weekend that he needs to quit the mindset of not telling me things for fear of upsetting me. I told him that’s how we got into the bad situation we’re in now.

      • Hopeful

        Rose, I told my husband early on that moving forward past dday it is best to tell me anything and everything. I told him if he was upfront I would not be mad at him And I am not talking about if he has done something we have not agreed upon. But if he is contacted by one of the ow and he tells me upfront then I will be glad. We talked about being a unified team vs him trying to figure this all out and handle it on his own. He says the way he looks at it he lives his life since dday “as if” i am next to him at all times, reading everything he types or looking at everything he looks at. He says it has been liberating for him. He said it has been so great every night going to sleep not worrying about anything related to that. Of course there are plenty of other things we are working on but he can control this and it has worked out well and brought us closer.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I wanted to thank you for writing this post….I know it couldn’t have been easy. Your story is horrific. I appreciate you openness and honesty.

      It was your Dad’s words about the dog, that brought me to tears. Yes, I am sure you saved each other. That was really perceptive of your father. It also made me realize what my youngest daughter’s dogs mean to her. She is going through a divorce and had a subsequent boyfriend broke her wrist over Christmas. Her ex husband has been caring for the dogs over the last year and a half….she is now in able to care for them herself, again. They came home to her, over the weekend. I think they will be instrumental in her healing. I think I perhaps underestimated how badly she has missed being with them. Your Dad’s words helped me see that. Thank you for that.

      I also watched the aging video and was extremely moved. My husband and I have known each other since we were kids. We started dating at 17…..and we are now 65. So yes, I can absolutely relate.

      Thanks, again, Sarah

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Shifting,

        Thanks for your comment– I always appreciate it.

        I am so very sad to hear about your daughter. I hope she is out of that horrific relationship. I know it’s hard to break up with people who are abusive. The statistics show women return and leave their abusers up to 8 different times before they break it off for good. Trauma bonds are strong and I hope she has the courage to stay away from her boyfriend.

        When I got my dog, Hero, I thought I was saving him but he saved me too.

        I will give a brief story of what happened. Our cocker spaniel had to be put to sleep because he developed a condition called megaesophagus and had not been able to eat or drink for 7 days. All the medicines failed. His organs were shutting down and so we had to have him euthanized. He was in so much physical pain I could not bear to see him pass away naturally, which would have been traumatic and painful for for him. He was already yelping in pain. I just could not allow him to die that way. My kids came unhinged. The next day, I called a breeder for a Cavalier King Charles puppy that was for sale. I arranged to come pick it up in the morning. When I got there (an hour drive) they had sold the puppy to a higher bidder. (I also did not know there was a bidding war). I also learned they were puppy mill type people (with a small operation) and they were shutting it down. The only dog they had left was the “dad.” They had sold the puppies and the female dog. They asked if I wanted to see the dad dog and when I went outside he was living his life in a small cage sleeping on a dirty bed and everything was soiled. They brought him out of the cage. He ran inside their house, ran through their open front door, ran to my parked car and when my dad opened the door, the dog jumped on my dad’s lap. Just like that. I saw where the dog lived and also heard the husband of the lady who owned the dog say he,” hated that stupid dog.” (Only he used the F word.) The dog would not move from my dad’s lap in the car and I told them to name their price. I went to the ATM and gave them money. I asked if anything was wrong with him and they said “no” even though he was severely under-weight. I took him home. Once we got home, he would not eat and was listless and exhausted. I took him to the vet and the vet found the dog was half the weight he should be and he had a lower jaw that split down the middle. The vet could move each piece of his split jaw up and down. The vet said he could not be rehabilitated and that I should put him to sleep. I refused to do so. I paid for his extensive surgery to put his jaw back together. He was neutered because they found cancerous changes in his testicles. After that ordeal, he laid down and acted like he wanted to die. But, I just kept at it. I had faith that unconditional love could work miracles. I was staying at home full-time and struggling with my chronic illness. Once Hero the dog came out of his shell, he stuck to my side. I took him everywhere with me, even to the store and home depot in a carrier. He could not even be left alone because is was so traumatic for him. So, he was with me 24/7 and slept in our bed. (He still does.) It took a year for him to stop yelping and barking and cowering any time a strange man (such as a plumber) entered the home. It took two years for him to start wagging his tail. It took three years fort him to start acting like a ‘normal dog’ and he could be left at home for short periods. (Or he went to my parent’s house.) Whatever love I give to Hero, he has given me back ten fold. When I have porphyria attacks and I am bedridden, he stays by my side, refusing to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. I will have to have my husband bring him out and makes sure he goes potty or he will run straight back to the bed. I did not train him to do this. I did not train him to do anything. After being so abused, he had manners and restraint. No barking, no chewing, no tearing pillows apart. As each year goes by, he makes a quantum leap in how he feels. That vet who told me to put him to sleep had been practicing for 40 years. He says in all of his time as a vet, he never saw someone take a dog who was in such terrible physical and emotional shape and fully rehabilitate the dog. When people meet Hero and I tell them about his story, they can’t believe it. He is so happy and so friendly and so trusting again. He knows when someone is sick, like my youngest, and he will glue himself to him (and not eat, drink or go potty.) He is doing this out of extreme loyalty and he is putting our needs before his. Many dogs do that, but he does it to the extreme. He has been with me during my worst illnesses and has been the comfort I need when I get bed-ridden. My dad has noticed all of this– how both me and Hero have helped each other. (His first owner named him Hero Star Legacy and I kept the name.) He has been my hero in all senses of the word. I really have no words to describe the type of relationship I have with this dog. Of course he still sleeps on the bed. And now that we are five years out, he is learning to play. He does not know what to do when you throw a ball– he doesn’t play with squeaky toys– he does not understand when other dogs give the “play signal.” But now his playful nature is coming out. At night he will sneak out of our room, go to a large bathroom with a tile floor, and he will use his paw to push the trashcan all around the room. I started taking video of it. It is so funny. If I throw a treat, he pounces on it like a cat. He also likes to climb things as if he were a cat. He has found ways onto the top of the dining room table, even though he is small. He also knows how to get into the pantry and remove bags of goldfish crackers with his mouth. Then he will lay down and use his mouth and his paws to open the plastic bag. Then, he turns the bag upside down and dumps all the crackers onto the carpet. I have never had a dog who knew how to open things. He also likes to get into the nutrition bars (meal replacement bars) and he will open them the same way. He is turning 9-years-old and he has achy hips. I am starting to panic. I got him when he was almost 4 years old. It seems the time we have had together is too short and it is starting to get to me. He has the best vet care and I do all I can to keep him healthy. But, these dogs usually live 12 years at most. When he looks deeply into my eyes, I wonder how much more time we will have together and it kills me to think about it. When I am asleep, he will cuddle in and he likes to put his paw on my hand, as if we were holding hands as we slept. Sometimes he will put his paw on my shoulder. Other times he will snuggle into my arms and put his face where it touches mine. Or he will put his muzzle on my hand as he sleeps. Dogs are incredible healers. I have always had a close bond with my dogs, but this dog has taken it up a notch. He can intuit how people are feeling and goes to comfort them when they need it. Another interesting thing is that the coloration both on his head and on his nose form heart shapes. I have found that highly unusual and I have lots of pictures of it.

        I want to write a memoir about this dog one day since there are many stories to tell about him. This is just the short version. I am glad your daughter has her dogs back. Her dogs will see her through her difficult situation. They are both man’s best friend and woman’s best friend.

        Many blessings,

    • Shifting Impressions

      Oh, Sarah
      That is so touching….I’m crying just reading it.

      My daughter was with her husband for ten years and they both loved the dogs. They couldn’t bare to separate them. Anyway, she got them this weekend and I think it broke his heart to give them up.

      She was with the boyfriend for only about a year but NO she is NOT going back. I am so thankful for that.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Shifting,

        I am glad your daughter got her dogs back. They will be so very important to her.

        Yeah, re-reading what I wrote caused me to cry too. Hero is currently resting on the large ottoman next to me taking a peaceful nap. He is one of the dearest souls (human or animal) I have ever encountered. Dogs have always been family members for me and losing them has been like losing a human family member. But, Hero has given me a type of love that is dangerous, because when you lose such love you fall apart. It’s dangerous because I have opened myself fully to this dog to show him not all humans are bad and have spent so much time with Hero and also my autistic son. Hero can interact with my son in a way that brings him out of his shell. Hero instinctively sticks to my son’s side as well. We call him “Daddy Dog” because Hero has a bedtime ritual he does with my son. He crawls up on my son’s bed and if my son’s hands or arms are dirty from playing, Hero licks them clean. He also knows my son hates sleeping alone so he snuggles against him and licks his hands and arms until my son is fast asleep. Then, Hero comes to me and my H’s bed for the night.

        The so-called puppy mill breeder did something cruel. They sold the Mom dog (Hero’s wife) when his puppies were only 5 weeks old. He had to raise them when they had not been fully weaned. (I am the type of person who asks LOTS of questions.)

        The day I came, his wife dog and puppies had all been sold away and I could tell the people were either going to euthanize him (because of how they were acting) or they were going to let him die alone in that filthy cage. (I can intuit things others cannot and ‘read’ the situation).

        The people looked at me like they just found a sucker when I told them to name their price. They smiled and named a price that was a little outrageous for an adult dog of this breed and hoped I was as “stupid” as they thought I was. I knew fully what was going on, even though they could not imagine anyone thought differently than them, could see through them, and knew full well what was going on.

        I spend money on things that REALLY matter, especially when it has to do with redemption or priceless experiences such as the one I have with Hero. I would have done it all over again and paid more if they asked. I had a deep knowing that taking him home was the thing I needed to do. There was no choice– it just had to be done.

        Little did I know how sick I would get and how he would help me through those lonely hours. But, that still did not matter. I saw his infinite worth as a being and when he jumped on my dad’s lap, I knew he was asking us to take a chance on him. I am forever grateful I acted against what some would call ‘common sense’ and followed my heart. The relationship I have with this dog is priceless.

        I have been seriously thinking about telling this story in the form of a memoir one day. Do you think this is a story people would read (especially since I have only told the highlights?) The goal would be to tell people an inspiring story that demonstrates the power of love as well as the idea that our relationships (even with our animal family members) are more important than “things.”

        Thanks again for your comment, Shifting, and so relieved to hear your daughter has her dogs again.


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