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Situational Truths

Here’s a hallmark of the hardcore cheater — situational truth.

You may ask a straightforward question like “Did you really mean it when you said you loved me on my birthday?” And the cheater will reply, “Of course I meant it!” leaving unspoken that moments after those words were uttered, they left to go screw their fuck buddy. Well yes, the cheater insists, in that moment I said it, I did love you. It’s just that when placed in another situation, they forgot… or shelved it… or the truth changed into another truth (“I love the fuck buddy too!”).

Truth to such a person isn’t constant. It’s malleable. Fluid. Completely dependent upon the objectives of the cheater. Mine was fond of saying, “The truth is somewhere in between.”

When you try to pin them down, they claim subjectivity — “Well that’s YOUR story! That’s YOUR perception!” Accuse them of bad deeds and you cannot pin it on them. “I am not DEFINED by my relationships!” or “If you think I’m that kind of person, then you really shouldn’t be with me, should you?” (But you ARE with them… ergo? They’re not that kind of person? Huh?)

Don’t expect them to make sense.  You have your reality. The cheater has theirs. There is no currency exchange. It’s like trying to do a surrealist bank trade in which you’ve only got Krugerands and wampum — and the cheater only takes ducks.

If you’re going to navigate yourself out of this mess, you cannot look to the cheater for guidance. “What do you mean by that?” or “How could you do such a thing?” are not going to get you satisfactory responses. Cheaters have a vested interest in keeping you confused and off balance — it allows them to eat cake and not take responsibility for their deliberate choices and actions.

And cheaters enjoy feeling superior. If you don’t speak Cheaterish, well that’s only because you lack the sophistication and intelligence to understand someone so worldly. How tiresome to have to explain things to such a dim witted creature. <Sigh> Are you really going to ask again? 

When dealing with a master mindfuck, trust your gut. You know what the truth is. You know what was said. Don’t doubt your senses. It also helps to get perspective from others. Confide in family and friends, get their gut check. Find support at on-line communities. Expose the crazy talk. If you don’t understand situational truth-isms, chances are other people don’t either. You’re not the crazy one — they are.

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Situational truth: reminds me of the story of the jury who hears the case of a man accused of stealing his neighbor’s mule. The jury’s verdict: “We find him not guilty–so long as he gives back the mule.”

    Similarly, cheaters seem to think of their spouses, “I love you–so long as you’re of use to me, and are either ignorant of or will tolerate my crappy behavior.”

  • STBX still pulls this crap, even on the kids. They will mention something but if it doesn’t gel with the current story he’s selling he’ll just outright deny that it happened. They then think he’s insane. They would not be far off.

  • When does this behavior begin?? Has it always been there or does it just appear after a few years of being together. Maybe its because I have a huge flight response but if someone trys to fuck with my mind they are gone – no second chances.

    • I don’t know when it begins LJ. I do think people who are disordered usually figure out pretty early on in life that manipulation works for them. And they have a faulty guilt/empathy/remorse switch. (Most of us feel very bad about lying. Some people do not.) Everyone lies at some point, but from what I’ve read (check out Dr. Simon mentioned here), it’s WHY you lie that’s important. If it’s to gain advantage over another person, as in lying to cheat on them? That’s fucked up.

    • Turns out my STBX has always been this way, with every woman. I just never knew. A lot came out after I tossed him – people started talking and yeah, he’s basically a cheater-always was and always will be. Hell, he had his main OW but had a few EA’s going on the side, as well as one hook up planned – and was telling her and me of his love.

      He’s all kinds of fucked up.

  • LJ, most cheaters are personality disordered. I think they hone this skill throughout their lives. Trying to pin one of these folks down is like wrestling a greased pig( or greased affair partner((no offense to pigs)) .
    This is why gaslighting comes so easily to them.
    Imagine just how easy life would be without a conscience to deal with. You could take advantage of myriad opportunities(purses left unattended, all types of stealing and fraud, etc).
    These folks just do not live by the same rules.
    And, CL is right. Thye do exude the air of superiority. Many are ddrawn to the type of opaque phrases re the truth etc and their spirituality. You cannot argue with them. Thyey have entirely different values.

  • I don’t pretend to know whether or not my ex had some kind of personality disorder. I tend to think not. I mean, he’s surely not a psychopath or sociopath, nor is he BPD nor is he a malignant narcissist. The way he behaved when confronted is the key to this for me. He owned up to what he’d done, he didn’t try to eat cake, when I told him that was the end he accepted it and accepted responsiblity for his choices. He didn’t hang around and beg me to take him back, but then neither did I beg him to stay or threaten him with any kind of histrionic display to keep him with me. Arnold said something to the effect of “infidelity set me free.” Infidelity did set me free. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt me, and embarrassed me for sure, but it didn’t break me.

    If I had to guess, I would say that I honestly think he just has poor coping skills and is situationally avoidant and emotionally immature. But I think if he had the inclination to work on things he probably could lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

    The thing that I worked on at the end of it all was me because, obviously, I’m the only one I can control. I can’t be bothered to try to direct him through the fixing of himself, that’s on him. And anyway: what was it with me that led me to be involved with someone like him? I mean, he wasn’t malicious or cruel in terms of being verbally abusive, but he DID do the situational truth thing (not just to do with his affair, but rather with day-to-day stuff all along in the marriage) and he did gaslight me, as in: “I never said I’d do that…” when I’d ask him about something that had been left undone. The big thing I realized was: he’s not the first emotional nitwit that I’ve been involved with, either. He absolutely fit a life-long pattern for me.

    My analyst said to me: “What good do you want to come out of this situation?” I said: “I want to not pick men like this anymore. Why the hell do I do such a thing?” and then we dug around in my head to figure out what I was doing and why. I guess I figured that the best revenge, the very best way to not get mired down by the fact that I was betrayed, was to focus on myself in an effort to understand why I ended up with a cheater. In the end, I honestly believe that the truth of that is because I was attracted to him, just as he was not because he was super manipulative or tricky, but simply because of who I was and what was at issue in my psyche. So my own personality profile was conditioned to accept situational truths from someone, it was a situation that I accepted because I was used to accepting it. It felt familiar.

  • I , sometimes, wonder if any cheaters ever read on this site. I wonder if any of them, after reading this stuff ever get even the faintest notion of what they have done, if any of them can leave their blameshifting and justifications behind and really take a look at themselves.
    On other sites , i see cheaters posting, and, a few appear to have basic human qualities.
    But, I think we get a very skewed view of the typical cheater from those posting, as the majority just go on their marry way, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.
    To this day, when my first wife is asked to give any information about her cheating, she diverts the conversation.
    One technique she uses has two facets. First, she will make some disparaging remark about how “well, there were other issues in the marriage(duh, you think? I mean you have no integrity or empathy and a huge sense of entitlement. Do you think, just possibly, a wife with those innate qualities might have caused just a small % of the problems?). Themn she sidesteps further , expressing incredulity that i am not ” over ” this by now.(Hell, you’ve continued to lie, blame and show no remorse. Think I will just let tht go?).
    Then, if I persist, in a calm, respectful, non-threatening manner to bring up evidence, this demonstrates how unevolved, obsessive and controlling(abusive) I am.
    I just gave up. Told her no contact ever, unless I get a written timeline with details.
    Think that will happen after 16 years? Not a chance.
    It is the a-hole’s birthday, today. I hope she dies alone.

    • YOu know what I get when I point out the bleeding obvious of why we are divorcing? ‘

      ‘I shouldn’t have to put up with this sort of abuse from you for the rest of my life’.

      Well, bubs, it’s not abuse, it’s simply the truth and since you keep wanting to argue I’ll just keep speaking the truth. And if he really wants to know about abuse? Try years of cheating while pretending me and our family were the most important thing in the world to him.

        • Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe it. He says he welcomes the divorce but can’t understand why it’s become ‘the worst divorce ever’. Actually, I don’t think it’s all that bad but from his point of view I guess having me call him out on his shit makes it ‘really awful.’.

          If he wanted it to be bad, though, I COULD show him what it would be like. 🙂

  • First, because of the nature of this blog, I’m going to fess up and tell you all I was the cheater in my marriage. CL is aware of this. I had an EA with my *cough* “First Love” ex HS BF. Yes very cliche I know. As far as situational truths and lying, the exBF is a master. My H also has had issues with deception and lying.

    I think they are different though. This blog is helping me to see this.

    ExBF (and cheating douchebags) lie to manipulate and spin the truth, to exploit, control,get laid, for kicks, what have you. He messed with my head BIG TIME!!

    H has lied (mainly) about drinking, DUI’s and speeding tickets. But it was still CRAZY MAKING.

    Both are bad, but the first, IMHO is waaaay worse! My H has lied, but it was because of fear I think. Fear of losing me. Not to control me or have some kind of upper hand, but because he loved me. He wanted to control the situation.

    I hate lying. I have always believed in being truthful. I don’t have it in me to keep track and cover up. I’d rather just face the music. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to just be a liar though! It does seem quite easy to dupe people! Intelligence has nothing to do with it. It’s knowing that humans believe other humans are all basically good, honest, kind, and taking full advantage. Pretty simple. Also pretty fucking evil!

    I will spare you all details on my EA. I’ll just say that it was short-lived, about a month, we emailed daily, spoke on the phone, then met one time face to face and kissed. The next day I told my H everything that happened. I could not handle having an affair. Lying, sneaking, guilt, I didn’t just consider my H, my kids face kept popping into my head as well as exBF’s wife and son.

    “What in the Hell am I doing??” I did rationalize it (to myself) “Everyone does this, it’s no big deal” But it didn’t stick. I was compromising my integrity and values and I felt it. For every high I was getting by flirting with the old BF there was a low that went with it. Even though my marriage wasn’t great, I valued my family and I valued loyalty.

    It’s been kind of a mess since then and that was 5 years ago. I’ve been in therapy for a long time and still don’t have all the answers. H and I have been separated for 5 years. Neither of us dating. We still do things together as a family. Vacations, holidays etc. There’s a whole lot more to the background of this, and I’ve hijacked this thread as it is.

    I have since learned the exBF has had numerous affairs (before me and after) and I was just a number. He is still married. Going through all of this shit for a dude who is just a player. Still makes me head spin sometimes. A very stupid thing I did!

    But it woke me up to a lot of issues I’ve had buried for a very long time, as well as my H. Now we’re just trying to get to the other side of all of this. Whatever it looks like.

    Sorry for the long ramble. Just wanted to share my experience with lying. It sucks!

        • Okay, then I guess I can go make out with someone ,and, as long as there is no emotional connection, it is neither a PA or an EA, right?

        • Slippery slope, there , CL. IMO, it matters not whether the act involved tongue wrestling or the insertion of a relatively rigid(hopefully) piece of flesh into a lubricating slot.
          The real damage is the willingness to lie and set up the next relationship while your spouse subsidizes it, unknowingly; to simply use your spouse as a backup and to break your vows.
          I , certainly, would consider my spouse kissing another man to be a physical affair.
          What’s next, it was not physical unless there was full insertion? How about the guy merely put it in halfway?

          • My point again is that it all sucks and IMO it’s on a continuum. The person who that continuum matters most to is the betrayed spouse.

            I’m not saying some kinds of affairs are “okay” and others deserve condemnation — Lasso IMO was VERY clear that what she did was shitty and wrong and that she is responsible for her own happiness and cannot blame shift her choices to her BH.

            I’m not going to condemn anyone who comes on here and owns that their choice to cheat was WRONG.

            And frankly, I really hate the tactic that you see on a lot of save the marriage sites and on SI that it’s ALL equal. IMO it is NOT all equal. Porn is not an EA is not a PA. Dating is not marriage. Then there’s marriage with kids. Or a LTA and a long-term marriage. Some things are more abhorrent than others. Anyone who cheats on a pregnant woman IMO is the lowest of the low. You may have your own spectrum of awful and your own deal breakers, which is entirely your choice.

          • How about a woman impregnated by another man, who does not tell her husband who the real father is? I’d say that is as low, or lower, than cheating on a pregnant woman.

      • Arnold – I understand you and many others consider it a PA since we kissed. Some do not. I call it an EA for one main reason, for me, it was all emotional. I was starved for an emotional connection. I’m not blaming my H for this either. As an adult it’s my job to get my emotional needs met in a healthy way. I just didn’t know that was my issue until after and a lot of therapy!

        We only kissed once. It wasn’t a make out session. In fact I stopped abruptly because he actually began to giggle a little when it happened. This hit me as VERY odd since we were doing something so VERY wrong in my opinion. I was an emotional train wreck he was just having some fun. I mean who laughs in the middle of doing something like that? Unless you’re a tween playing spin the bottle! But he didn’t come off that way at first. It was like the mask he wore slipped off right then and there. He suddenly became very cool and casual. I asked him what he was laughing at, he said a funny song on the radio.

        The guy is very disturbed. To make matters worse he’s an elementary school principal and I heard his last affair was with a staff member. I remember him bragging to me how he had a great ability to tell parents to Go to Hell, with a smile on his face, and they left thanking him for his help.

        ICK!

        He can come off like Mr. Rogers one minute and the next he’s the prince of darkness.

        We had a history, he was the only long term relationship I ever had other than my H. I never in 100 years thought I’d head down this road, yet I did. I’m not proud of it. I have no excuses. It was very painful to learn he wasn’t sincere about his feelings. I guess I had that lesson coming. I truly believe I loved him. Which is odd really, because for all I know he really sucks in the sack. He did when he was 18! Ha! This wasn’t about physical stuff for me. I was very needy emotionally and he was more than willing to step up to the plate.

        EA or PA, what I did was wrong. Also, I’d like to add, I kept telling my H about things every step of the way. The first email: “Hey guess who emailed me today?” “Hadn’t spoken in almost 20 years. We’re just catching up. He’s married etc.” My H just shrugged and said, “That’s cool.” Then I mentioned he asked for my phone number and we may talk. H said, “OK” I think the entire time I wanted him to stop me.

        He said, he honestly never believed for one second the guy was any real threat or that I’d fall in love with him. This tells you how much H and talked about past relationships!

        All I can say is, I know I did wrong, I’m trying to learn from it, heal my family and never be duped again.

        He is still who he has always been and always will be. A douchebag.

        P.S. My H has told me he would have been far, far more upset if had been full blown physical.

        • Chump Lady–

          I’m sorry, but are you really buying into this?

          Lasso sounds exactly like my cheating wife. She also didn’t consider two of her affairs physical. One had fingers involved and the other had a tongue involved. You figure out where they were.

          Sorry, Lasso, I’m glad you’re very remorseful, as is my cheater wife, but once you kissed OM (with an ex-BF that you’d had sex with in the past!) you crossed the line and made it physical. I don’t care how quick it was or if he was giggling. You physically touched lips. That’s why it’s called a Physical Affair.

          My CW also kept me informed “every step of the way”, and probed me to see if I’d mind if she got in contact with old “friends” from her past, or if she could give out her number. I said the same thing: sure, no problem, have a blast catching up.

          What she was doing was looking for approval from me and to gauge if I’d suspect anything was up. She also confirmed to herself that I saw them as no threat.

          She also told me that at the time she was doing this she wanted me to “stop her”. Really? “Save me from myself!” Come on!

          My CW also believed she loved her OM, and she also says she’s not proud of herself. She also says she feels duped and used by her OM’s.

          I’m just not buying this.

          • Look RJ, you only get to control you. If that story is one you don’t buy, you don’t have to reconcile with your wife. As you’re probably aware, I’m not a big believer in reconciliation. Not that I don’t think it can happen, but just that I see so few convincing cases of it.

            Lasso’s husband is free to divorce her. Five years of limbo, personally, would be more than I could take.

            I’m not going to beat up anyone that owns their shit and does the work. Five years of therapy and owning her shit, to me, is commendable. That doesn’t mean her husband has to take her back. Totally his choice.

            And it’s lasso’s choice too. If she’s in a relationship in which she felt “emotionally starved” — I go back to my question I ask all cheaters who cheat because they say their marriage sucked — so why don’t you LEAVE?

            Another thing — and I realize not everyone is going to agree with me — I think ALL affairs suck. EA, PA, sexting, all of it is shitty. But it IS on a continuum. (Check out my post “A Spectrum of Cheaters.”) There is a LINE at fucking someone. To me, there is. Or oral sex. Or getting naked with someone. It’s a line. Skating right up to it, or poking your finger across the line — yes, it’s CRAP behavior. And as the betrayed spouse, you’ve got the right to walk. But IMO, it’s different than plotting and scheming and doing the deed, over and over and over and eating cake.

            Those people truly suck. Cheaters who mindfuck betrayed spouses and blame shift SUCK. I have zero sympathy for them.

            But an EA/PA with kissing? It sucks to a lesser degree. That’s all I am saying.

          • I’m not asking anyone to buy into anything here.

            Correct me if I’m wrong RJ, but your wife had several affairs? So it doesn’t sound to me like we are exactly the same.

            I am not a believer in infidelity. I was raised in a family of cheaters, as was my H. We both come from a lot of dysfunction. We didn’t start with a great foundation for marriage. We have experienced a lot stressors in our marriage that many couples would have fallen apart over a lot sooner. At least that’s what I was told in therapy.

            I think it’s important for couples (especially if you have kids – ours is special needs) to reach out for help and support from friends and extended family. We didn’t have it. But we also never asked for it. We didn’t want to burden anyone. I don’t know that it would’ve prevented what happened from happening but it might have helped.

            I’m not like your wife RJ. I’m not buying that. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I truly am. I know who I am. Yes, I did something very wrong. But I am not like the other guy at all. This much I do know.

            Thanks CL and others for your positive words of support.

            The thing I love best about this cite and what you write CL, is I actually believed there was something wrong with ME for not being able to go through with it. For not having my cake and eat it too. My H does very well, I had a very secure and nice life overall. Some would say I was stupid and should’ve played the game. That I was a weak “pollyanna” was too old fashioned for the times. It seems like our culture is becoming more and more okay with infidelity. Meh, no big deal.

            It is a big deal and I’m glad others are speaking out.

          • Arnold-

            You sound a lot like my sister–bear with me here–and I’m not comparing you to a girl.

            She cheated continuously on her first husband, always telling us that it was H’s fault for how “perverted” he wanted her to be in bed, how cold he was, how he nitpicked, etc. when we would get all over her for doing what she did.
            Then, she gets married again to a pretty good guy, IMHO. This poor guy, she put him through the paces, big time. He stayed. He was faithful (she’d already ruined her rep in our town, so she couldn’t get away with it twice…nobody would believe her that she “somehow” got the same perverted type again)—but he had a few strange habits, like stopping at a grocery and purchasing a whole pie, then sitting in his car and eating it with a credit card. But hey. Whatever. It’s not like he’s sticking his dick in anybody.

            She would not let this type of thing go. EVER. This went on for 10 years. I’d call her and I would hear the same broken record ad nauseum. “Why don’t you just let some of this go?” I would ask.

            “I DON’T WANT TO LET IT GO!!!!!!!” She’d scream at me. This went on. And on. And on. And on. And on. And oh….did I mention it went on and on?

            Everything he did was wrong. If he came home from work and didn’t immediately, and WITHOUT BEING ASKED TO DO SO, mow the lawn he was a jerk.
            Then she started with the bragging that she’d not given him sex for over 2 years. I asked, “What kind of self respecting man allows that to happen?” Not realizing that perhaps in my own marriage, I could say no when I didn’t want sex? (and yes. I was one of those I got married to stay married types. stupid, huh)

            My point.

            I have read a lot of your comments here–and I don’t know how long you were married, or how long you’ve been divorced. But what you sound like to me is my sister—“I DON’T WANT TO LET IT GO!!!!!!!” Even when it isn’t worth hanging onto, when it would allow you to TRULY move past things and be healthy for YOURSELF.

            Somebody told me a long, long time ago, when I was healing from what my husband did to me—that I needed to forgive. I blasted back, “HOW CAN I EVER FORGIVE SOMEONE WHO THREATENED TO KILL ME???” She said, I didn’t tell you to go to him, forgive him and take him back. I said that you needed to forgive this person, for yourself. You don’t even have to tell them or anybody else. You can remember it, but you are the one who is allowing it to define who you are.

            What it seems to me is that you are allowing your EWs affairs and subsequent inability to take responsibility to define who you are.

            Everything and everyone is suspect. Everybody around you is overlaid with that cheating EW template in your head. Nobody gets a chance. Nobody can be innocent or duped. It seems that you sit and pick apart everyone’s statements, looking for some evidence that they’re lying or duplicitous or were complicit in some way. Why would she come on here and say a word about anything, especially if she sees how cheaters get flamed?

            Why not go to some site, where it’s a mix or it’s a cheater’s site or whatever—get it off her chest—and get all kinds of support?

            Just my opinion.

    • I don’t think the EA/PA distinction is nearly as important as the remorse/no remorse distinction.

      You made a very serious mistake in making a romantic emotional investment outside your marriage and kissing a douchebag. But (and here’s the important part) you recognized right from wrong, stopped what you were doing, told your spouse, felt terrible about your mistake, and tried to make it right.

      I think that’s what matters. You clearly learned a lot from what you did. I don’t think that, 5 years after the fact, you have anything to beat yourself up about. At. All.

      • I totally agree. You did the right things — you drew boundaries, told your husband, got therapy and committed to that. And you HAVE a moral compass because you feel and show remorse.

        I come down hard on cake eaters and players.

        One thing that bothers me about sites like SI is that they make EAs, PAs, looking at porn all equivalent. I don’t think they are. And I don’t know why this false equivalency. Maybe if you are a cake eating, unremorseful serial cheater, you’d rather be lumped in with the folks who committed lesser offenses. Maybe it’s a kind of minimizing. I certainly know of cases where cheaters want to point to BSs and accuse them of “equal” crimes. Not your case, Lasso, but it might explain the phenomenon.

        • Fair enough. I must be sitting at the “tolerates little to no bullshit” end of the continuum.

          Some things to keep in mind:

          Cheaters minimize, downplay and parse words.

          Cheaters only tell you what they want you to know.

          Cheaters only tell you what they think they can get away with.

          Is a month long fling and a peck on the lips the crime of the century? If we can take her at her word, probably not.

          But we all get on that slippery slope when we start parsing what makes cheating egregious or not.

          • Well, I agree RJ, that’s the sticky wicket. Cheaters usually only cop to what you know, and nothing more. So if it was an PA, they’ll say EA. If it was fucking, they’ll say it was a kiss. And as all cheating entails lying, how do you know? So better to err on the side of “tolerates little to no bullshit.”

            But I don’t know Lasso and I can only go with what she tells me, assuming that is the truth. Obviously, it is a very different situation if you’re married to her. But IMO, she’s got no reason to expose herself as a cheater on CL and own up to it and say it was shitty and she’s in the therapy. I’ll take that ANY DAY over the wing nuts who write to me and leave me comments, like that OM, or the woman who had dozens of affairs with married men and wanted to elucidate us poor souls.

            I can’t very well say that I would respect a cheater who just OWNS it, and then one comes on here and owns it, and then say “Hey! You’re not welcome here!” I think Lasso makes an important point — that people around her ENCOURAGED her affair. And she choked and didn’t go through and thought something was wrong with her for not being edgy enough or something. And that infidelity is devastating.

            RJ — are you reconciling?

      • I agree- completely. On some sites- people act as if an EA where the people never met in person is equivalent to a longterm PA. And those spouses get angry and start trying to justify why their wayward’s offenses are just as bad as those long, entangled physical affairs.

        I believe in a continuum. There are lots of stops along the way. And they are all wrong, but they are not all equal. But I guess I am glad not to be posting at places like SI anymore, because I was in peril of having my eyes being stuck in the rolled back position. Permanently.

        • I think the common denominator for all affairs is that they take away from the core relationship, which is the marriage obviously. I would not be jazzed about any kind of cheating, honestly, so it would not matter to me personally where on the continuum it fell. But I am also not naive, and I know cheating happens and not all cheaters are severely disordered, some are really just people who do not have good coping skills. And honestly, there are some BSs on SI and who I know in person about whom I think: I get why your partner would want out….but he or she should not have cheated to do it.

          But I do appreciate that LOT is being honest about cheating and is trying to make changes.

          LOT, the one thing I would say is that you are trying to draw a distinction between the lies your xMM told and the lies your H told and the thing is…all lies are about control. And it is not loving to tell lies, as in: he loves me, so he tells little lies to keep me. Not really. People tell lies to protect their egos and to manipulate others into doing what they want them to do. I hope your H is working on that as much as you are.

          • Yes, sorry Isolde. Posting from my phone, so it is hard to tell where I am replying. I was responding to your comments and then referenced LOT. 🙂

  • I’ve learned that you can’t argue with crazy. Their truth is something they make up as they go along to fit what they are doing. Just get away from them, avoid them and don’t waste your time.
    There are plenty of good people out there who deserve your time and energy instead. If you have kids, the time and energy watsed on your crazy cheater is better spent on your kids. If you have a knew love interest, wasting time on the cheater will get noticed and impair any new relationship.
    CL has it right with the no contact rule. That shortens the time for healing.
    Stay strong all my fellow betrayed spouses, there is life after this death, we just have to be ready for it and embrace it when it comes!!

    • I agree Arnold. No one is a mind reader.

      I look back at both my marriages and cringe at the “cool” wife I thought I was being. Oh, you want to suddenly take an out of town trip that doesn’t involve me? Okay, cool. Strip club? Ick, but okay, whatever.

      Not that I could’ve stopped it, but I thought my job was to be agreeable and roll with everything. Ugh.

      • Me, too. I did not want to be controlling etc.

        But, really, if the desire to be faithful does not come from within one’s spouse vs fear of consequences etc, what value is there in the fidelity?

    • I think people who say such things really just want attention.

      And I think that can take a couple of paths. One, if a person is trying very hard (or feels that he or she is trying very hard) to express his or her needs, but those needs are not being met and they think they don’t know how else to provoke a conversation, they do something totally drastic to get someone’s attention.

      It isn’t so much about wanting someone to stop them, it is more about wanting someone to pay attention. It is a ridiculous way to do it, and wholly self-destructive, AND is the result of their own inability to express needs and enforce boundaries to see that those needs are met, but it is definitely an attention getter. These people may end up actually leaving their marriage or fixing it, but really the affair is not indicative of who they *are* or any kind of deep seated character deficiency or pathology. It is just a faulty and stupid way to provoke a response. Which is what it kind of sounds like what LOT is describing. Trouble comes when that’s the default method of getting attention. Betraying someone is a stupid and completely ineffective way to communicate need because it weaken’s the cheater’s position. Going back to the other post: No matter how much your BS truly sucked, as soon as you cheat, you simply are (and quite rightly so) the bad guy. Full stop.

      I think the other sort of attention that cheating provokes is the sort that feeds narcissistic supply. Those are the sort of cheaters who enjoy the drama of an affair, and keeping it secret and who go to great lengths to keep things hidden and doing all the cheatery things they do and that’s soooooo enticing. But then, if there is a discovery, even better! Because then there is lots MORE attention being devoted, on both sides. The BS starts fighting for the cheater and gives the *gift* of reconciliation and there is IC and MC and the narc gets all sorts of attention (and negative attention is still attention, so they are like pigs in shit). Plus, the other person is probably pining away and the affair may be underground so there is that ego snack happening as well. Ultimately, I would wager that these are the guys and gals who, when the BS finally feels “healed” and that “R is going along beautifully”, cheat again. Because as soon as the BS starts relaxing and living a normal life (not being Inspector Clouseau with the phone records and VARs and all the rest) the narc starts feeling neglected and not special enough. And he or she goes looking for some attention. Because what is life without dramatics and hyperbole to fill the hours?

  • I disagree, Kristina. Having an affair , even if it is to get the spouse’s attention, does reveal a lot about the cheater’s character and it shows a deep seated abusiveness.
    Frankly, I have difficulty even imagining something so depraved, so utterly lacking in empathy.

  • I love your name for the language, “Cheaterish”.

    It makes me think of the Narc-decoder at One Mom’s Battle on FB.

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with this one.

    Andy wouldn’t recognize Truth if it sat up during an autopsy and bit him on the dick.

  • Hoo, boy. Does this ring a bell.

    I used to ask my cheating husband: is there anyone else?

    He would say: no.

    He said he was telling the truth. Because, whenever I came back into town, he would break up with her. So at that time when I asked the question, he was not with anyone else.

    Therefore, he was telling the truth. This went on for two years.

    I said to him (years later on from this): your ability to lie is terrifying. He said: yes, it is.

    What is he agreeing with? His terrifying ability to lie, or does his ability to lie terrify him?

    • Patsy,

      Mine did something similar. Did you sleep with her? “no.” Well, that IS the truth, as they did not sleep.

      Even when I am so specific and corner him in a line of questioning with physical proof, that Alan Dershowitz would be proud of, the usual cop out from him came in the form of, “I don’t remember saying that. I know you think you remember me saying/doing that, but I don’t remember it, so…”

      Another one he does is when I ask him why he didn’t do something he promised to do or why he lied about something (that it took hours of exhaustive questioning to get the “truth”)—he says, “I really WANTED to….” Well, what was stopping you? “It doesn’t matter now. You’re mad. I can’t talk to you when you’re mad.”

      Yeah. He would go to his family’s place in Nebraska, all of them knew/found out about the cheating, but he tested the waters….found out meticulously who knew what, and tailored what his conversation would be for each. He would make certain that he never got into it with more than one of them at a time. You can spin one person, but a whole group!

      Eventually, though, those people got together once he returned—and compared notes. Then I got to hear at least what could probably be construed as the closest thing to the truth that I will ever know.

      He still, to this day, will deny and obfuscate on things that I ALREADY KNOW the truth about. It’s weird. If they say it enough it becomes “more true”? It makes the statement true because THEY said it?

      What’s nice about getting out of the situation is the clarity. When that thought comes to you and it’s honest and heartfelt—“How in the hell did I EVER let that cretin touch me??”

      The sad part about it though is the filter that you constantly use from that point forward, the one that makes you feel like there is something wrong with you, that you have “trust issues”.

  • After I confronted her, she admitted she didn’t love me. Or maybe it was the love you but not IN love with you bullshit.

    At any rate she has never stopped referring to me as “Honey” when usually addressing me. Even before I knew for sure she had cheated, it never made any sense to me why she calls me Honey, we haven’t been intimate or connected in any decent way in years.

    But I am acutely aware how USEFUL I am to her. And that’s a clue.

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