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Newest Member: 39Robbo

Divorce/Separation :
36 year marriage, filing is imminent. Emotionally exhausted.

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 dahlia33 (original poster new member #50586) posted at 5:28 AM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

This has been in some ways a very, very long time coming, and yet, it is still so hard to accept. 3 affairs over the span of a couple of decades. He would have an affair (mostly emotional, a little physical), I would find out (usually after at least two or three years), I would essentially drag an apology out of him, then drag promises out of him, we would continue on, I would experience anxiety, he would essentially call me crazy, then I would find out 6 or so years later it was happening again. Rinse and Repeat. A narcissist who needs constant attention. Is obsessed with working out and his body. Obsessed is kind of an understatement. He is now 62, I'm mid 50's, and I met him at 18. After I found out about the latest affair, and a few months after he assaulted me in a drunken rage, I knew I could not continue. I moved out, and moved out of the area. I now find myself pretty much alone all the time. Working from home, feeling shell shocked. He has doubled down on his infidelity, and has been happily dating. I feel like a piece of crap he happily wiped off the bottom of his shoe. Literally no remorse- he is happy as a clam to be officially. on the dating market. I know he is no prize, and yet all the years together it's hard to let go and realize everything as I knew it, and all the plans in the future are gone. Sadly, every photo, every memory has been destroyed knowing how deceptive he has been. He goes to church regularly, goes to Bible studies. I can't wrap my mind around how someone can be such a fraud- although I legitimately think he thinks he is a pretty good Christian. Again, he has all the signs of a classic narcissist- I don't use the term loosely. Because he can be charming, he has almost everyone convinced that he is the nice guy and I'm 'crazy'. The gaslighting over such a long period of time has made me feel pretty crazy, I will admit. I've been lashing out at him for the past few months almost like I'm trying to find a button of humanity or something. I'm pretty certain I'm stuck in some sort of trauma bond with him, and I really need to get out of it before it swallows me up. So, I left my home (will have to sell), live in a small little condo now. It's been difficult to adjust to that too-- I've really lost so much. Working more to make ends meet and really just trying to get by day to day. Was crazy sick with COVID a few months ago, soon after I moved. Now I'm losing A LOT of my hair. I had a ton to begin with, but am now down about 75%. It's just been a horrible time and I'm lamenting. I'm starting counseling soon because I feel like I can't get grounded. I just am sort of in this weird world where it feels like I can't focus and like I came out of a war zone. Lots of tears. I really am trying to just keep one foot in front of the other-- not allowing myself to stay in bed because I'm afraid I'm on the precipice and don't want to make matters worse. I found out recently my husband has been communicating with someone we know from church. She knows he is still married and doesn't seem to have a problem seeing him while he is still married. I actually got told that I should work on my fruits of the spirit. It could be that because I've always kept these things to myself, over the past few months I've been spilling my guts. I think it is a result of the major gaslighting. Pretty angry and full of grief. All of this to say, I need to prepare myself for the next phase as he wants to get this divorce going next week. Word to the wise: Rug sweeping and not holding someone fully accountable only prolongs the inevitable.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2015
id 8702076
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taken4granted ( member #61971) posted at 4:41 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Hugs to you. It’s so hard.

You need to cut him out completely. Find another church. Stop paying attention to what he is or isn’t doing. It will only prolong your grief.

Remind yourself that he is a stranger. No one will ever really know him.

One thing that helped me was every time I thought about my ex dating was realizing that he had been dating for the last decade of the marriage. I no longer needed to worry about it. I was free from his shame of infidelity and I wasn’t going to get an STD.

Sometimes reminding yourself of just how bad it was will put things in focus for you.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain
Me: Living life! Him: Not my problem anymore
Married 15 yrs.
1 LTA, Many EAs from 2009 - ?
Dday 1 = 6/16/17
Last Dday = 1/4/18
Started loving myself 2018!

posts: 347   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2017   ·   location: OH
id 8702126
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cbgrace1980 ( member #64109) posted at 9:01 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

I feel like you were writing my autobiography. My story matches yours so similarly. It's like you SAW my soul. My ex husband is a true narcissist and you really do have to treat it like a textbook case. Once you know the behaviors, you can almost predict their responses to you. I am looking forward to you going to counseling. My counselor has helped me tremendously. You will definitely benefit from it. You are very well spoken and self aware and I am thankful for that. You are articulating your feelings in a great way. Please message me if I can do anything for you. You are NOT alone.

posts: 143   ·   registered: Jun. 12th, 2018
id 8702190
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 10:30 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

dahlia33

Sorry you are here. A lot of what you wrote speaks to me. I know what you mean about every photo and every memory being a reminder that what we thought we had was just an illusion. It's excruciatingly painful.

I also think I had some trauma bonding. I needed a full separation and some time apart with no contact to start to feel healthy alone again and turn the focus off of him and onto my healing. And although it's not his primary diagnosis my spouse is also a narcissist. If you haven't discovered the videos and workshops by Dr. Ramani, I recommend them. Also, I haven't tried them, as I'm in a different support group for spouses of Sex Addicts, but I know there are online support groups for spouses of narcissists, as I recently met a woman who had just come back from visiting some of her new friends in person.

I don't want to flog you but I do want to point out that it feels to me like you are rationalizing his behavior somewhat, and that may be part of the trauma bonding.

I legitimately think he thinks he is a pretty good Christian.

Which part of his behavior makes him a good Christian and not a hypocrite? The part where he broke at least three of the 10 commandments? (Adultery, coveting and bearing false witness by lying to you) The part where he broke the marriage vows that I can only assume were performed by a clergy member? See him for what he is.

My therapist told me "When you argue with reality, you lose 100 percent of the time."

It's OK and normal to mourn and feel grief. Be kind to yourself. But do search out a good therapist (not necessarily a religious one) and try to find a support community of other women who are going through something similar. You're doing great putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep going.

I recently asked my ex if he was dating and he said yes. And I didn't feel a thing except sadness (mostly for our daughter) that he's so insecure the can't stay focused on his recovery to get a healthy functional place, and sympathy for any woman who gets involved with him and will have no idea who is truly is.

Since it sounds like you have strong religious beliefs, is there a way to get an annulment or religious divorce in addition to the civil one? I went that route and found it very cathartic. Much more closure for me than the email that arrived from the courthouse.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 10:32 PM, Thursday, December 2nd]

posts: 308   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8702198
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LostInHisFog ( member #78503) posted at 11:58 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

(((dahlia)))

Rug sweeping and not holding someone fully accountable only prolongs the inevitable.

Amen to that!

My full sympathies with what you're going through, my STBXWH is a selfish serial cheating narc as well, there really is a special level of evil that comes with a cheating narc isn't there?!

Have you read 'The Body Keeps The Score'? Emotional and physically I was, to some degree still am, breaking down and I felt this book could explain what was happening to me in a way I couldn't articulate to others. If you're a reader &/or curious about the impact this trauma is doing, do give it a read.

Distance and detachment is what is going to start you on the right track, honestly. "Out of sight, out of mind" works and that won't happen as long as he is near you in any compacity or his OW. I do agree that a time out from church or even a new church is something to consider, now is the perfect time for a new church because you will meet more of the congregation during the holiday mass. Otherwise taking a short sabbatical away from the church, even if it's a walk around a local botanical gardens each Sunday, will allow you to stay in contact with your faith but away from him. Soup for the soul time!

Easier said than done but with your new place don't look at what you lost, a lot of us have down graded when we had to move/sell, if you can try focusing on what you have gained! No doubt you shouldered the bulk of the homemaker responsibilities, if not all of it, rejoice in the reduced housework, for example my POSXnarc did none of the housework and he would leave everything out for me to pick up after (yes I nagged and he never listened, so fricking typical narc UGH!!) and he would never take his muddy shoes off at the door (something I have always wanted to do to keep my floors cleaner for longer) so now simply without him in my space my new place is nothing special but it's clean and smells amazing since there are no hidden/forgotten cups of coffee or wet towels lying around, and the bathroom!! WOW! I had no clue how dirty and gross he made the bathroom, now it's lovely. There are a lot of little positives outside of leaving a M damaged by infidelity, you just have to notice the little improvements to appreciate them. Alternatively my therapist suggested (because like you I was struggling) I focus on making my new place a safe sanctuary before trying to make it a home or place to simply sleep in, maybe tackle it that way and hopefully that will stop you feeling bad about the change? There is a long road of healing a head of you and maybe if you reprogram your mind set from "this isn't a home"/"this isn't the same"/"I miss my home" and start thinking "this is my sanctuary"/"I feel safe here"/"This is a beautiful space" that might give you a subconscious boost of esteem and safety that you need at this time? IDK, that is helping me at least so wanted to share.

As for the hair, I didn't have COVID but the traumatic impact of this sh*tshow did make me shed big time, completely self conscious by the thinning especially when the light hit my scalp in a certain way and I caught my reflection. My hairdresser recommended to stop stressing (I just laughed and promised I would try to be kind), change my diet to a diet rich in "good fats" plus start a nourishing hair program that targets hair thinning/loss/breakage. Two brands were recommended for the hair program, the Nioxin range or Kérastase 'Genesis' range. I started with kérastase because I couldn't get my hands on nioxin anytime soon and it's actually working, the hair that I do have left feels thicker and stronger (my breakage has dramatically reduced) and there is new healthy strong regrowth. It didn't happen overnight, I'm a few months in now and I didn't see positive change until I changed it all, started the hair program, the entire diet changed (eat a pescetarian mediterranean diet and have ditched most sugar (still eat fruit)) and my water intake increased ten fold, only then my hair is coming back. You never mentioned it but I'm going to assume your skin and nails are not the best as well? like my hair falling out, my nails became brittle and my skin looked corpse-ish but what is working with my skin and nails is I'm taking a daily hair and nail vitamin blend as well as using jojoba oil on my skin and nail cuticle at night.... all are helping, I'm sure the extra water plays a part too. Unsure if you have been given any tips or advice but if this is a concern, the hair loss especially, consider looking into a hair program and diet change, even if it's short term as a trial.

If you're not a journaling type set up a new email address "dahliasjournalemail" or something like that and email yourself to purge your thoughts, write everything you want to say to him, his OW, his enablers, life in general, yourself and god and simply email those thoughts to yourself. That way it's up to you if you want to reread it but if not you've purged it out of you at least, it's so good for your mental wellbeing, don't stew on the things you wished you could have said.

You're not alone, wishing you strength!

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

posts: 265   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2021
id 8702209
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 dahlia33 (original poster new member #50586) posted at 7:02 AM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Thanks for the support, friends. What a road we have walked-- the good news is that we have fellow travelers who can help us along our journey. Thank you all. BlackRaven-- Yes, I've seen some of Dr. Ramani's videos. It's funny, once you have spent enough time living with a narcissist, I don't think you even need to learn about it-- you just need to know that all of these things are finally given a definition. It really did help me to know that it was useless to continue- that this man literally is fueled by the attention of others and that wasn't going to change. I mean, I guess there's always a chance for a miracle, but there has never even been a glimmer of that. No empathy, just a bottomless pit. Also, no, I don't think he is a Christian. At all. I think he thinks he is. He uses the church just like he uses everything else. I think he thinks if he does something 'good', like going to work at the homeless shelter once a month, then it cancels out his emotional affairs, selfishness, and lack of empathy. No, his temple is his empty body, with muscles of a 40 year old on a face that matches his age. It's all pretty pathetic.

taken4granted-- I am going to work very hard on not knowing what he is up to. While I know he is a horrible human being, for whatever reason it has been hard to let go. And when I say let go, know that I have physically left and moved hours away from him because knew that it was going to be too painful for me to be in the same small-ish town with him. What I knew the day I found out about the last affair (6 years after the previous affair), was that he was a monster. I don't know if that is too harsh of a term, but that is what I called him, and the damage he has done to me over these past decades is one I feel only a monster can do. It's the narcissism. It is dehumanizing.

cbgrace1980-- thank you. I too, look forward to counseling. I definitely can use some tools to re-train my thought patterns and break free. I'm sorry we share the same story. It's been rough for sure.

LostInHisFog-- yes, distance is going to be key. No contact-- which he has been fine with since he is so happy he is back on the open dating market. The thing about church-- I quit going to church with him for the past six years. It was after his second affair (that I know of), and I just felt sick that he could go to church while being so deceptive. And not just go, but be an usher. That was the hard part. To me it demonstrated what I had already knew on some level, that he didn't have shame or much of a conscience. Because I moved far away, I am now able to go to my own church, and there is an authenticity that I feel in church that I haven't experienced in a long, long time. I don't feel that I am living a lie. I pretty much cry throughout the whole service, but again, it's where I'm at and it's real. I don't have to sit next to my fake husband. " start thinking "this is my sanctuary"/"I feel safe here"/"This is a beautiful space" that might give you a subconscious boost of esteem and safety that you need at this time? IDK, that is helping me at least so wanted to share." Yes, I will definitely take this advice. I really can see that a lot of the work that I need to do come from changing the voice in my head. To reframe things. My sweet brother encourages me to 'embrace it'. The good, the bad, the ugly, 'embrace it'. Considering he has walked a hard road too, I know I can trust his advice. And yes, my hair and nails-- it's just awful! I have been eating pretty good and decided the other day that I am going to make a plan to try to put myself back together a bit. I can't do much about the hair right now, but I can work on some other things in the meantime. I know that where I am at emotionally, physically that I need to focus a lot more attention on myself- in tangible ways- rather than staying in my brain and retreading all of this ground over and over and over. It's like a treadmill that is hard to get off of and I think that it is just because it had gone on for so, so long. I really feel God did not want me in that marriage one moment longer- I never doubted that leaving was the right thing to do. I didn't want to do it, and I think there was a part of me that really wanted him to want to change, but it never happened. If anything, he was colder than I have ever seen him in my life. The classic narcissist discard. As I lay very, very sick with covid, all alone in a new place with a very high fever that lasted weeks and pneumonia, I told him on the phone that I wished he would have protected me and made me feel safe. His response was that he was thinking about a girlfriend that he had before we started dating. Like 38 years ago. I felt like dying that day and am ashamed to say that I really began wishing for it. I'm still struggling, but not as low as during that time. I look forward to the day when I actually feel happy. It's been a long time. Until then, I just am going to just keep working on the things that should get me there.
I really thank you all for the support. Reaching out has been one of the things I have been proactively working on. I kept so much to myself over the past 4 decades-- really all my life. I have never known how to ask for help and there was such shame in what was going on and so I just kept trying and trying to 'fix it'. I did come to the realization that it was not my shame to bear and my husband has no shame. Over the past few months, I have had friends, old and new who didn't understand the depth of the problems in my life, step alongside me and love and support me. Sadly, I've had to move away from many, but thank goodness for technology. I joined this site, under a different name about 6 years ago, when I found out about my husband's second affair. While I didn't leave at the time, I found a lot of comfort from seeing how everyone supported each other and really helped people out of infidelity. I really feel the humanity of good people, who take time out of their lives to share what has helped them, because as we all know, this stuff is brutal.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2015
id 8702261
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 10:38 AM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Buckle up b/c divorcing a narc is no picnic either.

I watched a good friend go through it and it is ugly. The minute you say X he will say Y. He won’t go along with requests for documents or financials or cooperate on any level.

Your backstory is interesting. The "tell" is having to drag an apology out of him.

My experience is if there is no remorse the cheater will most likely cheat again. My. H had no remorse for his first affair. So when he got mad at me for something he had a second affair.

Except the second time around was a very different outcome. I stood up to him and blindsided him!

Your situation is temporary. You will meet née friends and escape the misery you dealt with in your marriage. It just takes time.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11162   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8702289
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cancuncrushed ( member #28156) posted at 1:59 AM on Monday, December 6th, 2021

I recently divorced a n Npd. He was serial cheater. Chronic alcoholic Brain damage from alcohol. Then became a sex addict. For awhile.

Divorcing him was hell. Changed his mind. Agreed to other things. Changed his mind again. He did so much for attention And punishment. He was very cocky.

My lawyer and his lawyer hated him. He was insane.

The games never stop. All this after the cruelty of cheating and discarding me. He too was elated and dating endlessly. Only for a short time. They could see quickly that he had issues. He continues still. He goes thru a lot of women.

I never dreamed he would be this cruel. It doesn’t stop. It’s less now the divorce is final. But alimony games continue. Police lawyers judges and drs have warned he that he is very dangerous. I’ve experienced it and witnessed more.

I too live elsewhere. After 36 years. Sold everything. Small cottage. I healed by reading about Npd everyday. I have to refresh and remind myself daily so I can be prepared for what might pop up. He really is two different people. I keep thinking he’s the man I married. But he’s not. It’s strange to see him from afar. Hear him from afar. He seems to be the man I married. I have to be alert. Know he’s insane.

Staying with the studying. Learning peace. And no contact is what it takes. It takes a long time. It took me three years. No contact. I believe it took so long because he pulls new stunts from time to time. I refresh constantly.

I actually feel joy from time to time. I thought that was gone. It’s awkward. And elating. Hang in there. Do the work.

a trigger yesterday

posts: 4756   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2010   ·   location: athome
id 8702761
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cancuncrushed ( member #28156) posted at 4:04 AM on Monday, December 27th, 2021

[This message edited by cancuncrushed at 4:43 AM, Monday, December 27th]

a trigger yesterday

posts: 4756   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2010   ·   location: athome
id 8706093
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 6:17 AM on Monday, December 27th, 2021

cancuncrushed

I actually feel joy from time to time. I thought that was gone. It’s awkward. And elating. Hang in there. Do the work.

Thank you for this.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 6:18 AM, Monday, December 27th]

posts: 308   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8706098
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