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When Cheaters Forgive Themselves

One comment I keep seeing come up on Chump Lady, over and over again, is when the cheater says to the chump, “I’ve forgiven myself! Now why can’t you?”

I’m not sure what they expect to accomplish from this. Momentum on the forgiveness thing? Look! It’s so easy — WTF is your problem? Just give it go! I’m already there — and you’re sadly lagging behind.

If you forgive yourself does it even count? Do they think they’re God? Isn’t He supposed to adjudicate these matters? How long exactly did this “I forgive myself” thing take? And isn’t it wholly beside the point? Because I would think after you cheat on your spouse, the issue is not how much you forgive yourself, but rather how much forgiveness (if any) you have received. You’re not entitled to it, you know.

If I were to guess, the cheater process of forgiving oneself is not terribly arduous. Because who wants to deal with the discomfort of feeling like a total asshole for very long? For reformed cheaters who really walk the walk, I would think the process takes ages, a lot of grace from the people they wronged, and years of demonstrable acts of being a good person. And even then, IMO, if you were properly repentant, you’d never really forgive yourself. It would be a blot on your character. You wouldn’t have the audacity to announce yourself forgiven. I think you’d have to live with the lifelong tension that perhaps you’re not forgiven, you need to keep earning this, until there is a presidential pardon or something.

But maybe I’m too hard on folks. Paula Broadwell was in the news this week — she was at a prayer breakfast in Charlotte, North Carolina “seeking redemption.”  What’s it been? Six months since the Petraeus scandal? Not even? I wish I could embed the video, but check out the link above. She’s wrapped modestly in a shawl (oh Paula, show us your upper arms! Don’t hide your triceps under a bushel!). The interview reminds me a bit of those beauty pageant cross examinations where the contestant blathers on about world peace. I think Broadwell says “my family” about seven gazillion times in the span of minutes. Gotcha. You’re a devoted wife and mother.

The Charlotte Observer quotes her:

“The mission today, the prayer breakfast today, was to speak about redemption and slowing down in life and finding purpose,” she said.

Broadwell sat nearly anonymous, listening to a message about God, family and reflection.

“It really touched my heart. I’ve made some mistakes in the past but I’m trying to look forward with my family,” she said.

The breakfast drew many of the state’s political leaders. Broadwell says she’s been a longtime supporter of the YMCA and the services it provides, and prayer is a familiar part of her own life.

“I grew up in a strong faith-based family,” she said. “I think I have selected to return to those roots for strength, for my family, for myself and to protect our children and to forgive others and move on and face forward.”

FORGIVE OTHERS? Seriously? Who exactly wronged her? All those mean, mean media folks who broke the story? General Petraeus for being just so gosh-darned irresistible? That controlling Holly Petraeus standing by her man?  Her cuckolded husband who sticks with her sorry, skinny ass? Who exactly here needs forgiveness?

(I won’t even touch “protect our children” — I mean WTFfuckity fuck is that about?)

Oh Paula, it’s clear you “made some mistakes” but having admitted it (nebulously) let’s get on to the more pleasant business of having forgiven yourself. I bet that was worse than doing hundreds of military push-ups. I’m glad you’ve reflected on it… so publicly. We’re all over that news cycle. Don’t you worry your pretty, pointy little head. All is forgiven.

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  • My ex narc husband had sex with HUNDREDS of other men, along with orgies, threesomes and various affairs both emotional and physical with married women.

    When I was stupid enough to try reconciling with him, he told me several times that he had “forgiven himself” months before for his actions, and that he was completely forgiven by Jesus and everything was okay. He pressured me from the beginning to forgive him, or else “he didn’t see how it could work.” He was angry that I hadn’t forgiven 20 years of cheating within just a month or two.

    Personally I don’t even believe in the cheater’s bullshit “forgiving themselves” line, because I don’t think narc/serial cheaters EVER feel like they have done anything wrong that needs to be forgiven. They cheat because they feel entitled to do so, and because they don’t care about their spouse or anyone else. When you are entitled to do something, you don’t feel doing it requires forgiveness or is wrong. They mouth those words because they think it makes them look better, not because they have any concept of forgiveness for themselves or anyone else.

    As for using the word “mistake” for cheating, oh yeah, I heard that plenty. They all like to say they made a “mistake.” A mistake is when I make a left turn instead of a right turn, or use the wrong spice while cooking dinner. Sticking your dick in another man/woman’s body over and over and over again while lying constantly to your spouse is NOT A MISTAKE. That’s called a LIFESTYLE.

    • Gladit’sover, I’m glad it’s over for you, too. What a disgusting and dangerous man you were with. What an abusive sociopathic parasite. OMG.

      Time for Act 2. Never speak to that freak again.

      • Gladitsover – I’m with Stephanie on this. So glad that you are away from this incredibly dangerous man, and I’m so sorry it all ever happened to you.

    • well… if he keeps going on with this “lifestyle”, his life is most likely not going to be lasting that much longer. Its a slow death.

    • This what I say. A “mistake” is not intentional, it is not premeditated, it is not done over and over, and it does not gut someone you love. A mistake is overdrawing the bank account because an entry is missing, or forgetting to gas up the car. Nice try.

  • Why even bother speaking to these idiots?

    Really? Who gives a shit about forgiveness? As I’ve said before, I’m working toward indifference, not forgiveness. I’m getting closer and closer, and it is awesome.

    Why would anyone engage in any sort of soul-searching argument with a cheater? I have nothing to say to my ex, nor does he have anything to say to me that I want to hear except, “Sorry.” And, I mean a really genuine, “Sorry,” one where words can do no justice, so why bother?

    Really. Who gives these idiots 5 minutes of their time? Move on. Give not one shit about whether they’re comfortable without your “forgiveness.” Giving them ANY air time is more manipulation. Don’t you have real friends and other family members to spend time with? You know, all those people you really care about and who care about you and you wish there was more time every year to spend with them, but there isn’t, so you see them when you can and it’s always great? Then why are you exchanging any air with an idiot who abused you?

    Jesus.

  • Oh, yes, and I saw the Paula Broadwell thing. She is still an aggressively self-absorbed manipulator with no soul, despite all her God talk. What a fucking hypocrite, really.

    Wouldn’t trust her farther than I could throw her, and I don’t have her arms–not even close.

    But, there’s a sucker born every minute, and I’m sure there are people who think she cares about them who are willing to spend time with her, so good for her.

    What the fuck ever.

    Anyone who says, “I forgive myself” for hurting someone else elicits a derisive snort from me. I don’t give a shit about people like that. What the fuck does that even mean, “I forgive myself.” Navel-gazing jackasses.

    Boy, I’m on a roll today.

  • Didn’t these people already “forgive” themselves before they went ahead and did it? Also, I’m pretty sure it’s not too difficult for a self-centered person with no moral compass to forgive themselves.

    I kinda do love it though when they can’t see their own hypocrisy. It’s hilarious.

    • Totol hypocracy. The skank who had affir with my husband plasters inspirational slogans all over her Pinterest board about the importance if being kind. My favorite is one that says “be kind. No exceptions”. That whore was screwing a married father I three little kids. Does she think that is kind? All different shades I the same delusion on their part

      • my ex recently told me a story of how he was telling one of his employees how he was going to raise his boys to be gentlemen. She apparently actually said to him, “yeah, how are YOU going to be able to do THAT??” (awesome!) and he looks at me incredulously and asks, “do you think I’m not a gentleman??!”

      • My ex, a few months after dday, when things were very heated between us, posted shit on FB about ‘My mother always said I deserved to be happy’ or some such shit. And he’s right: his mother pretty much told him he was the most important person in the world and anything he did was perfect, so she unleashed this entitled asshole onto the world, having filled him with the sense that he could never do wrong and anyone who called him on his shit was the real problem, not him being as asshole. Thanks, MIL.

        • Oh yes Liberty, great idea, I have some wonderful things the OW said, once even to my daughter! Love to share those some time!

  • On HuffPost today: 10 reasons to forgive your ex.

    I like other parts of HuffPost, but I have to stop looking at the Divorce section headlines.

  • I haven’t heard the “I have forgiven myself” line yet but I’m sure it’s on its way. My street corner girl posts inspirational quotes everyday on FB about true inner beauty or loving yourself and I don’t know whether to laugh or scream ( I actually did both simultaneously recently and I’m sure I did not in any way resemble a sane person).

    I jumped the gun and forgave her within days of d-day, long before I realized how injured I was. It was like asking someone if they’re ok as they are hitting the ground. I then went on to beg her to forgive me for letting our marriage get to this point! She didn’t.

    Only later did I realize that, not only had she not asked for my forgiveness, she hadn’t even expressed any form of remorse and was in fact still seeing him. That’s when I realized I was alone in this. Yesterday she made a comment that she has to keep reminding herself that this is my fault or else she would feel really rotten (slightly exaggerated for clarity but true to the spirit of her comment) .

    • OMG HB, I’m so sorry. I know these are early days, but I sure hope you’ve lawyered up. That woman isn’t one bit remorseful — don’t stick around for more abuse. That’s what this is — if you hadn’t MADE her cheat, gosh, she might actually feel “rotten.” How fortunate she has been spared such unpleasantness. You feeling (not rotten) devastated — that doesn’t count much, huh? Because you brought it on yourself.

      All abusers say this shit. Every. Single. One.

      • I do have the exception there. My abuser admits that it is all his fault. He knows he fucked up. He has even apologized. Does it make a difference? Not really. I don’t trust a word he says, and I will never forgive him. He is not abusing me now, but it’s only because he wants to stay with the kids. In some ways it would be easier if he was more consistently a jackass.
        HB, your posts have been breaking my heart. I don’t think she cares that you forgave her. She’s doesn’t feel any need for your forgiveness. It probably meant a lot to you, but to her you were just pissing into the wind.

        • You’re right quicksilver. I actually dread her making a legitimate effort at reconciliation because I can’t look at her without feeling like I need a shower. In a lot of ways I think it is easier when there is no pretense of shame or remorse. Although it didn’t prevent me from pissing in the wind I know it helped me see it sooner. 😉

          Do you have any way to gauge his sincerity? In my case, I overheard some conversations early on that shattered any illusions I might have had.

          • He sincerely doesn’t want to lose his family, his security, his caretaker. He is sorry that I found out the truth. He is really very remorseful that he screwed up his life and is probably going to end up on the streets, or worse with a job(!). Oh he says he is sorry he hurt me, but he sure wasn’t sorry when he was doing those horrible things to me. For years, I wished that he would tell me he was sorry when he hurt me (he hardly ever did), and the first major sorry I lapped up like I was starving. And then I was blindsided when the abuse got worse. Now I know. Sorry means that you try not to hurt someone to begin with.

            • I thought you meant to type “… or worse WITHOUT a job.” I laughed out loud when I realized you really meant WITH a job. I’m amazed at how many deadbeat freeloaders have the audacity to bite the hand that feeds them.

              • Hey now HB, mine had a job..he had MANY jobs…some he just couldn’t keep, and some..well he said he was always working so he WAS…right?

            • mine sounds very similar to yours, only I was the one staying at home. He didn’t want to lose his family (or any money) AND he also didn’t want anyone to find out or even suspect. It was all about damage control. I believe he was somewhat sorry he hurt me. I wanted to try to save the marriage, but he wasn’t willing to do anything substantial to actually prove that he loved me, wanted to save the marriage, or that he was willing to take responsibility for his actions. You can’t pay attention to what they SAY, only what they DO. I asked him to do something real for me… fire the AP… and instead he thought he could buy me off with flowers and shit like that.

              In the end he just cared about himself. He is sorry he screwed up his life and I’m so tired of hearing HIM play the victim. Oh, but he has learned so much from this! Just ask him. And I love it when he says, “you don’t know what I would have been capable of!” Um, you weren’t capable of doing the one thing I asked you to do, so I’m pretty sure that sums it up.

            • If i may intereject here quicksilver you made a very KEY point…He was sorry he got CAUGHT……………… not for anything that he did to you…………….huge difference there when someone is looking for an apology……….I am sorry i hurt you is VERY different than….gee I am sorry i got caught…………….this is all way too familiar to me….i recognize your story……

    • You need to let her know you jumped to quickly and are taking it back. You are letting her off way to easy.

        • It’s okay HB I did some of the same. Like quicksilver said. “She’s doesn’t feel any need for your forgiveness”. Maybe someday she will but right now she doesn’t care about anything other than herself her AP and her image.

    • HearthBuilder, my experience was similar. In the “pick-me-dance” right after dday, I told him I would forgive him (and quickly) for cheating, and also asked for *his* forgiveness for anything I did to contribute to marraige problems. can you believe it? I like your analogy of asking someone if they’re okay before they hit the ground. I hadn’t fully absorbed the hurt & shock of the affair yet (since the affair was still on-going, how could I?). If I had fully absorbed it, I never would have done the pick-me-dance and certainly wouldn’t have asked him for forgiveness for whatever marital imperfections he believed I had. And similar to your cheater, mine wasn’t remoreseful and didn’t ask or want my forigiveness at all. He felt 100% entitled to cheating. What’s to forgive?

      • My ex never apologized, he blamed me for his cheating (and every other damn thing wrong with him), he actually told his brother that I was “evil” because I wouldn’t let him “keep his friend”. The icing was telling me his cheating had helped me…during the marriage counseling he insisted upon, they got me to buy into having responsibility for our relationship deteriorating. Yeah, they were right, I should have left back when I was thinking after 2 years with NO sex that I couldn’t live like this, then deciding I loved him enough to deal with his inability, so I stayed.

        BTW, was Mark Sanford at that prayer meeting too?

  • STBX never had a need to forgive himself – he never admitted he cheated. Sure, he was “involved” (his word) with other people during our marriage, and he actually told me he’s “sorry about what happened” (again his words – and he didn’t elaborate). But he NEVER flat-out said he cheated. Why should he forgive himself if he did nothing wrong?

    Oh, but he certainly wanted me to forgive him. I mean, I can’t very well be mad at someone I’ve forgiven, right? And if i’m not willing to forgive, well, I could AT LEAST take responsibility for “my part in what happened” (again, his words, spoken at me after he “apologized”).

    Whatever.

    But he and his actions didn’t just affect me. How can I forgive someone who tore apart the lives of my children? And anyway, why is that MY job? My God, I did more than enough for STBX in the time I’ve known him. Now I have to forgive him, too?

    No. I don’t think so.

  • Heard a radio show the other day driving home in which the host was lamenting the fact that shame has virtually disappeared in this day and age. I think that is certainly true in the case of most cheaters. Even when they are “outed” most aren’t really ashamed.

    If I were Broadwell, I would be so mortified I couldn’t show my face in public for years. In fact, I think I would probably make every effort to move far away from the community I lived in, and hope that no one recognized me in the new one. I would certainly be ashamed to face my children, who I’m sure have heard about mommy’s shenanigans in some way. Bet they were ashamed. What ever happened to the notion of not wanting to bring dishonor to the family?

    The radio host actually mentioned a couple of well known cheaters – Sanford and Weiner – and asked where was their shame, that they were already throwing themselves back in the public eye with just a weak mea culpa for the masses. As chumps, we know this public remorse is fake – does the general public not recognize it for what it is? Or do we as a culture just really not give a damn? Are there no longer generally agreed upon moral principles, or do we have just not have the collective stomach to shame people these days? Maybe a little shunning would be a good thing.

    • There is no shame in society, because “following your passions” and “don’t let anyone tell you no” are the new norms, far elevated above old fashioned, boring attributes like “do the right thing”, “Fulfill your obligations and responsibilities” “consider the good of others” or “put your family first.” It’s wildly celebrated when people do whatever they want, no matter who gets hurt, as long as they spout a lot of crap about accepting themselves, fulfilling themselves, following dreams or keeping a positive attitude and never saying never.

      I consider the “Law of Attraction” to be the utmost in narcissism and it’s extremely popular now. I actually bought a magazine recently called Law of Attraction. Read the editor’s intro and it stated that “You deserve to have whatever you want just because you want it.” Went on to talk about how you don’t need to earn or deserve anything, just wanting it means you should have it.

      Anyway, “shame” is nowhere in this new society, which is built on pure narcissism, hedonism and living for yourself in each moment with no thought of the future.

      • Amen, to that, Glad! I find it increasingly difficult to live in such a “me, me, me” society, and I think that parenting my kids in this climate will always be an uphill battle. I know they’re going to see other students cheating and benefiting from their plagiarism with good grades, entitlement run rampant with parents who buy their kids whatever they want and who allow their children to treat them like servants, and other narcissistic behaviors that are all about living in the moment and doing what feels good instead what is right. I hope that I will be a big enough and strong enough rock for them to cling to so that they grow up treating others well and not thinking of themselves first like their father has.

      • GladIt’sOver is correct. No shame. To many just shrug and say “I wasn’t happy”. Following your passions are one thing. To me what is missing is “Integrity” while doing so. Also keep ethics and morals in line too. Step over those boundaries and one should have shame. But as you mentioned we are dealing with Narcissists so what can you expect…. Found far to many Pinterest items on my wife’s computer with quotes that point to feeling entitled to do whatever she wanted to do. The one I didn’t see was “Life’s short, Act like a College student, Drink like a fish every weekend and screw your high school boyfriend while lying and screwing over your Husband of 19 yrs and your 3 children.” That one probably wouldn’t get many pins.

        • I agree with all of you. Mine watched TV every waking moment and must have been absorbing all the BS through his pores. Went on a HUGE self improvement/fitness kick including wrinkle cream for Gods sake. Ended up in a homeless shelter at night because I threw him out because he rubbed them in my face. I REALLY think he believed that he deserved, or as CL would say – he was ENTITLED to everything, even if I had to pay for it.
          I hate so much of what society has become. This site has actually made me feel that I’m entitled to stand up for my beliefs again, I’m getting more outspoken about it all the time. My “RL” team, 2 daughters, 1 sister are cheering me on from the sidelines at the top of thier lungs. I think it’s a really good example for my girls, and I Thank you ALL!

        • Ah Pinterest again. See my earlier reply. You have to love the unintentional comedy. In addition to the quotes about being kind (haha) the ow loves to pin quotes about love that belong on a 7th graders notebook written in pen.

          • Pearl I didn’t see your Pinterest reference before. Isn’t that something how they put more work into believing those Middle School quotes. How about looking up some pins for “Commitment”, “Marriage” etc you know, Real adult inspiration from the land of reality before believing those fantasy land quotes.

            Sorry I’m kinda pissy today. 14″ of snow fell today and I’m sick of it!

            • Bud please feel free to be pissy. I wish i could post the twat’s pinterest feed. We all could have a great laugh

              • Mine posted a quote on FB from a fitness sight that said “Commitment means doing what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” Seriously. Why would you post that? If you saw my earlier post about FB quotes, that was the one that made me laugh and scream at the same time.

  • Classic lines to me on this topic from my STBX:
    Within less than 8 weeks of d-day (which I think I have surmised means “Discovery Day”?) he is complaining that “I’ll have no part of a marriage where 2 years, 5 years, 10 years down the road you get to bring this shit up and throw it in my face! I won’t live like that!”
    “I don’t think you will ever forgive me because your ego is too big! ”
    “I’ve discussed our situation deeply with 2 women friends and while they both did say I was an asshole for [frequenting massage parlors and squandering 10’s of thousands of dollars and endangering the health and safety of my wife and children and living a lie every single day for 4 years of our marriage] they BOTH said that they could have gotten over it.”
    “I know you *think* you’re a Christian, but you’re not. So, you don’t really understand the concept of God’s forgiveness and what that means to me.”
    Wow! Writing this shit down is cathartic. Thank you so much for the forum CL.

    • So it’s all right for them to cheat, but not for us to bring it up? Why – because then they may possible be confronted with the inconvenient fact that what they did was wrong?

      About 2 months after dday my STBx got snippy with me, saying that he hated that I kept bringing up “what he did”. Now, at this point I thought we were in reconciliation, so I thought that maybe it would help things if I didn’t bring it up anymore. So I told him all right, I’ll NEVER bring up your affair again, if you cut off all contact with her (the OW) and NEVER see her again (he told me that he had, but he had “innocently” (because “nothing happened” – his words) started texting her again and deleted everything off his phone when I confronted him about it).

      He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “All right. I’ll never contact her again.”

      So as for the reconciliation…

      I found out later that only six days before his promise to cut off all contact, even though he hadn’t been doing anything wrong, he had sex with her. ON HER 20TH BIRTHDAY. WHEN I THOUGHT HE HAD AN ALL DAY MEETING SO I WAS BUSY FERRYING THE KIDS AROUND WITHOUT HIM. He had NEVER been out of contact with her. They were planning their next meeting (hook-up?) already.

      Cheaters will say anything so that they can cheat unencumbered. God forbid you hold up a mirror to their actions. That might make them feel bad. Not that they would stop cheating, …

        • Really: Sounds like he felt pretty entitled, if he kept having sex with her anyhow. My STBXH went through a similar charade. During the weeks when we were in marraige counseling, he continued to meet up with the OW, pretending that he was just going for walks around the neighborhood…..when really he was walking to a meeting place to be with her. Yep, that’s when I knew that reconciliation would not work becuase he had no desire to stop. I’m so glad I kept quite about my knowledge of his continued cheating. His meetups/texts kept going, and it really killed my love for him. Makes this whole divorce thing easier when I am not in danger of getting sucked back into loving him.

    • No, no! D-day means Denial day! As in sure, I believe you are “just friends” and “of course you were just talking in the bedroom” and “I know it was just phone sex”. I’m a dope.

  • Cheaters who parade themselves around in the public eye make me sick. Paula Broadwell, LeeAnn Rhimes, all of them…..disgusting.

    Ever since dday, I don’t want to listen to Rhimes anymore, and I don’t want to see Arnold Schwartzf*cker in movies any more. Or Hugh Grant. What’s more, I can’t watch movies/shows with Sandra Bullock or Heidi Klum or Halle Berry or other betrayed spouses, without hurting for them, too (their hearts are probably long-healed by now, for all I know, but I still can’t help but empathize for the pain they went through).

    Will these feelings ever end? It is pretty sad when I start to loathe actors who I used to love, and can’t watch some otherwise great movies. And it’s really inconvenient when I’m watching a show with someone and the plot includes cheating and I suddenly have to leave the room because I feel sick. Yep, that’s right, once the characters start to cheat, I can’t watch anymore, and that includes an awful lot of films/shows!

    Maybe I’m feeling this way because he is still my STBX and not just my ex, and custody has yet to be determined in the future, with much anxiety on my part. Maybe this will pass once the divorce is behind me and my kids are safely in my “primary custody”. I hope so. Sometimes I feel like I just came back from war and am shell-shocked all the time, with overwhelming emotions that no-one else can really relate to. Thank goodness for this blog where I feel like everyone here understands, in fact, I feel like many of us have been married to the same cheating/narc man.

    • To clarify, I should say the same cheating/narc man or woman, as cheating/NPD seems to trump gender.

      • DLU, I’ve been continuously shocked at how these themes wend their way through our little group (we the chumped) without much apparent regard for gender. All of these “Yes! That’s what I’m feeling!” moments bind us together – men and women.

  • “Forgive myself”. Yeah, that just about says it all. This new age, self centered bullshit where folks who commit heinous offenses profess to know about the healing power of forgiveness and how Jesus feels about them
    I submit that anyone who tells you he or she has forgiven him/herslf is a narcissist. I think anyone capable of saying that gives prime facie evidence that he /she is NPD.
    Paula Broadwell is a prime example of NPD. Even before all this came out about her, looking at her gave me the creeps. She is a bitch, a heartless bitch. A monster wrapped up in toning her arms and lying about her meager athletic and fitness accimplishments.

  • During MC, the therapist asked my lying, cheating husband if he could forgive me. For what? For having a negative opinion about his adultery? For me standing up for myself and not agreeing with his actions? For me being pissed off about what he had done? For putting my health and my kids health at risk? Forgive me???? I wasn’t the one who jeopardized the whole family for a married with two kids co worker. Yeah, MC didn’t work very well.

    On a side note – saw some Karma yesterday. The coworker my husband was seeing got busted for a dui on her birthday – almost twice the legal limit. It made the front page of the local paper along with her mug shot as she works in the jail. Smile and wave folks, smile and wave. 🙂

      • YAY! Know I said it before but at least 2 of my X’s lovely ladies are in jail, for drugs, and they had been fighting over him, and involving me. Love It! ;). Next?

        • The best part is that they are supposed to do an internal investigation into her employment. Their fuckfest started over two years ago and she was hired in almost two years ago. If it were me that fucked up, I would be shaking in my boots because the two of them rode around in the squad car and who knows what happened. I have a feeling that STBX will get brought into it as plenty of his coworkers are aware of what happened. I can’t even imagine having to sit in the jail cell where you work surrounded by your coworkers. LOL

          It did put a smile on my face (although I do feel sorry for her husband and kids) and I felt so lucky I went out and got some lotto tickets! I guess in the end, they both wanted attention and they are getting it. She is so great she made the front page! LOL

    • OMG that is one of the quackiest MC stories ever. If your cheating husband could forgive YOU? Seriously?

      Yeah, they need her over at the Hague and international war tribunals. Such compassion. Such perspective. Wow.

      • Yeah it was ridiculous. I look back at the relationship now and see that I had the lions share of the responsibilities and I was very content and happy with that. After all we were supposed to be a team working for the same goals. I busted my ass for my family and will continue to do so for my kids. Since we worked opposite shifts and he is a cop I always worried about him getting enough rest and carrying a gun. I put all my effort into the family and relationship and he did not. I thought to myself that yes I have not been so pleasant with him after dd but seriously? ??? He needs to forgive me? Maybe for handling everything for him for years. Maybe for putting him on that pedestal. Sure I was a raging bitch after I found out and I have no problem shooting my mouth off but fuck that. I did not put my family in harms way. I think the MC would get irritated with me because I would call him and the db out on stuff.

  • I recall when hubby (who is a divorce lawyer, btw) insisted that he didn’t think things would ever really work out until I totally forgave him, which to him meant that I would need to destroy the evidence of his affair that my private investigator had obtained. And if I would just agree to destroy the DVD footage, photos and their affidavits as to what they’d witnessed, THEN he’d know that I was serious about repairing the marriage.

    So glad I held on to every bit of that proof and far away from where he could ever reach it… right after D-Day #1, he was right back at it with dingbat OW, and kept at it for several weeks/months to follow.

    Sick, devious, ruthless little bastard he was.

    • The nerve BB! I think what really burns me about that is how it takes the “I won’t live under a microscope” thing to a whole new level. Here’s what YOU need to do to regain MY trust? That’s… I’m speechless.

      • HB, yeah – it’s pretty sick and twisted. So much of it is about them controlling their sparkle. They want others to see them in a sparkly light all of the time, but they don’t want to BE a good person — as that takes time, consistency, and EFFORT. They’re only concerned with *appearing* like a good person, and they will lie and deceive and take each and every shortcut to maintain the sparkle.

        Hell, his request for me to destroy the sparkle-busting evidence didn’t even require any effort from HIM! He wanted me to take the full responsibility to shine him back up again.

        So much of this trying to appear “sorry” is an attempt to gain sympathy sparkle. He said he was “sorry”, told his parents how committed he was to me, put on a lovely show for friends and acted like the doting hubby in public… all of it is just shallow, lazy attempts to make you think that they’re still pretty and sparkly.

        But once you put your foot down and make them aware that their sparkle is nothing but fool’s gold, watch how quickly they go away. Once they know they can no longer sparkle in front of you for any reason, they’ll run off in search of new & unsuspecting chumps.

    • Wow. Manipulative *AS WELL AS* dishonest and hurtful. He’s quite the trifecta, he is.

      Anytime the cheater is setting conditions for reconciliation, reconciliation is impossible.

    • Ah, the ol’ classic — the problem here isn’t what I *did* — the problem is your *anger* about it. The problem isn’t his cheating, it’s your inability to immediately forgive him!

  • Casey, I truly beleive that therapy/counseling is a made up profession, much like my own, law. It is full of bullshit artists who are not terribly bright, just like law.

    • Arnold it was a joke….. The MC would agree with me and my questions and the rational behind them but when thrown to the db (douche bag husband) all that ever came out was I don’t know. The MC never seemed to “push” db for anything. Yeah, so how is that supposed to help? I agree with you – lots of bullshit. I may not have been the perfect wife but I was a damn fine one. One who put my kids and husband first and revolved around everyone else’s lives which was my choice. But nothing I did warranted treatment like that. If he was unhappy, say so and leave with integrity. I just got so sick of hearing I don’t know. I even called the MC out on it too! Maybe independent woman are just scary.

      • Holy crap. You and I sat troughs the same therapy session and only uttered the words “I don’t know”. And ten would o meet his girlfriend or a date while I went home and cried with my three small kids.

        • I asked him to just talk about it and he wouldn’t. So then you would rather be “interrogated” with questions? … I don’t know….. lol.

          • I am so glad that I can laugh about it now (kind of). I wish i had a transcript but it was essentially the following:
            Husband: I don’t know if I want to be married.
            MC: can you please pinpoint what you mean
            husband; I don’t know
            MC: What is making you come to this conclusion now
            husband: i don’t know
            MC: what exactly is pearl doing to make you feel this way
            husband: I don’t know
            I am totally not making this up. I should have just wiped my booty with hundred dollar bills.

      • Oh wait…I have a wonderful one from MC…..
        Counselor: “your wife has asked you to make a decision. in order to work on the marriage you need to cut off all contact with these friends and focus on your marriage to see if it is repairable, will you do that?”
        FTDB: “That’s not fair that means she gets to control everything and dictate everything, I can’t give up my new friends (a.k.a. OW)…she is my security blanket?”
        Counselor: “OK so then you want a divorce because you are unwilling to do that in order to work on the marriage.”
        FTDB: “No I won’t do that…only if she gives me a guarantee that the marriage will work out if I give them up….since she won’t do that I can’t give up OW.”
        Counselor: OK then….I think you have your answer…….

        Man did I get an a$$-chewing in the parking lot after that session (so that of course there were no witnesses) telling me that that wasn’t fair what i had done to him to make him make that decision and how hard it was…….sorry Ummm you have been blaming me for EVERY decision that was made for the last 17 years and how i forced you to cheat multiple times.

        This was the start of my un-chumping…..

  • “I didn’t do anything wrong!” First words after showing my (now ex) the email proof of his affair. Repeated as a mantra on a regular basis – he didn’t have to forgive himself anything. Oh, and the email, he didn’t just delete it, he removed all the text and replaced it with a innocent “how ya doin” email…proceeded to blame me for paranoia over his “imaginary” affair.

    • Mine didn’t feel he did anything wrong either; in fact, he flaunted it to all of the important people in his life. He celebrated his “new found love”. I WAS as he said his “soul mate” and I’m guessing he told her the same story. Forgiveness from either party was the furthest thing from his mind and I am so glad because I already went through this once with him, and of course the cheater stays true to who they are…scum. Chumps seem to have hope and I am glad that he took that away so I could have a WAY BETTER LIFE without him 🙂 No more crying or worrying at night and wondering where he is and why he doesn’t want to spend time with the family or “where is all the money going?”

  • My dog (the world’s largest miniature schnauzer) forgave himself after stealing an expensive slab of salmon off the dining table.

    But then again, HE IS A DOG.

    • Had three miniature schnauzers growing up, nomar. Nice ratters.
      Our Golden ate a LBs of butter and a birthday cake off the counter, once.
      She would follow the garbage truck through the neigborhood and they wood throw her food, like chicken carcasses.
      One day, at age 8, she just lay down and had a massive coronary. Great dog, buit a voracious eater.
      Check out the video on youtube “Guilty dog”.

      • Our golden used to jump up on the kitchen counters and eat the cereal from the boxes by ripping the bags inside the boxes apart. One time he ate 2 dozen donuts and a coffee cake for my dad’s campaign breakfast to thank the volunteers who worked.

        Dog couldn’t have cared less. he had no shame.

  • I fucking hate Paula Broadwell and now i’m going to bed. Will weigh in further tomorrow but will say she’s a dumb twat.

    • She did those bullshit half pushups on John Stewart’s show. Even doing pushups , she cheated, as she was only going halfway down(all the way down on Petraus though, apparently).

  • if they ever feel bad about what they did its only momentary.(they do feel bad about being caught)lol
    all the rest is a bullshit game.

    a few yrs after the divorce my xw made a show of saying she was sorry for cheating.with tears no less.
    couple of years later she denied ever apologizing.and then denied cheating too.

    Its all bullshit.

  • This woman got her 15 minutes (or more) of fame, and that was what she was after. She didn’t care who she had to “take down” to get it. I think she had him targeted from the beginning. Not that he didn’t have a choice of course, but I think he got CHUMPED because he had something(s) huge to lose, and she had something to gain. Men today don’t seem to see that women are adept liars and cheaters as well, and DO NOT have their best interest in mind. (We are not talking Gidget and The Flying Nun here) I know Chumplady might not like this post, but I agree with everything she says about being Chumped & am grateful someone talks about cheating as abuse, that is EXACTLY what it is. Her no-nonsense style is refreshing after you find places talking about how YOU, the chump is/was to blame! Might as well add world hunger, the war in Afghanistan, and teenage pregnancy to the list of things I am responsible for while you are at it. We need someone to blame for that crap too, right??

  • After about two weeks of R, and while he was still sneaking around to see OW, mine famously said, “Why is it that God can forgive me but you can’t?”. This boy was never the brightest bulb…

  • To me, “I’ve forgiven myself, so why can’t you?” is just asshat speak for “I never gave a shit about you and I still don’t, so just shut the fuck up and get out of my face.”

    But this Broadwell thing is just another way of totally shirking all responsibility altogether. “Poor me.”

  • The day i finally got shut of my ex he told me that he and his tramp were “at peace with ourselves”. Hmmm. They even leapfrogged the forgiveness part. No need to forgive themselves when they did nothing wrong. Adultery, deceit and abusive cruelty are not character flaws you know. They are good qualities to be applauded and admired!

  • Forgive him for
    1, destroying my trust?
    2. Pulling the rug out from under my feet
    3. Lying to me
    4. being horribly mean to me many times over the 23 yrs we have been married?
    5. Being self centered?
    6. Committing adultery after yrs of accusing ME of cheating (so not true!)
    NO I don’t think so.
    Forgive myself for being such a chump. Sure I was just a kind and loving woman.

  • Should have added this. He won’t ask for or feel he needs to forgive himself because he is never wrong!

  • I can’t imagine in any sane world why I would ever forgive someone that completely decimated my life and the lives of my kids. In effect, the one person who promised to have my back “through sickness and health, for richer or poorer blah blah blah” shot me in the head point blank (I can be dramatic now). As for him forgiving himself? Well… that is what the OW is for and his new hobby, church.

    I never really hated the OW… my gauge for hate was always based on how I felt about my Mother. I used that gauge on Stbx, and it is pegged fairly high… but for the OW? Well…. I strongly dislike her… She’d better hope I never run into her in public… but my Stbx traded down (the whole Knight and Shining Armor scenario)… she is a 5’1″ hefty troll who has been divorced twice, has no kids and is cheating on her significant other with my Stbx, ummm, what’s to hate?! 😀

    • Ditto on the OM Brinn. I have high disregard for him but I really haven’t wasted any energy hating him. I know him fairly well and one of the reasons I had such a hard time believing this was happening was that I really thought my wife had better taste. He is a 3rd rate amateur bodybuilder so he does have a great physique; but, his face looks like someone grabbed him by the chin and forehead and squashed his features into too small of a space. On top of that he’s a total douchebag (I hope that’s a sufficiently offensive term, I’m really really rusty on offensive language)! He’s so full of himself and pretentious that, even after I knew in my heart there was someone else and he was the most likely candidate, I completely refused to believe my wife in whom’s judgement I have trusted all my worldly treasure (my girls) would pick him. Have some self-respect woman! Anyway… it sounds like a lot of wayward spouses trade down.

      I didn’t understand your comment about your mother. Did you have a bad relationship?

      • HB your wife’s OM made me flash back the SNL skit “How much You Bench”

        My wife definitely traded down her friends have told her so and she knows it. He has so many attributes that she has always told me she doesn’t like in a guy so I don’t get it at all just don’t get it. I guess when your drunk he must have looked taller. I just do not want this POS anywhere near my kids EVER. Quite honestly I think my 12 yr old (he’s a wrestler) could beat the shit out of him and put him in a world of hurt.

        • People do this to others not because the AP is so great, but because their self esteem is so low even a monkey with the right lines could land them. Just because they are pathetic toesn’t mean we have to take it personally! One empty ego finds another.

        • People do this to others not because the AP is so great, but because their self esteem is so low even a monkey with the right lines could land them. Just because they are pathetic doesn’t mean we have to take it personally! One empty ego finds another.

      • My STBXH traded down, too, but I hear that it’s common – most APs aren’t any more good looking than the BSs, they are just someone *new*, strange. New isn’t new for long, which is why many affairs fizzle after a few years, when real life responsibilities creep in and the cheaters see some “new greener grass” somewhere else.

        In my situation, I moved away from my STBXH, and now he is idealizing our relationship (really?! you mean the one you threw under the bus??! ) and wants to be together again. I’m sure he is getting all the tail he wants, from the OW or whomever, but since I am far away he is fantasizing our future together again. Well, no thanks, buddy, I’ve been down that road before.

      • yes… my Mother was an evangelical bible thumping uber conservative republican control freak who used corporal punishment feverishly. My life growing up was…. challenging. It took me many many years to understand her… but the damage had been done. When I was the only one left at her deathbed, I thought to myself…. “How incredibly sad, here she lay dying of cancer and the only person here with her doesn’t love her.”

        I’ve never felt hate for another person like I felt for my Mother. I made two promises to myself as a very very young child… 1. I would never treat any kids that I ever had the way she treated me and 2. I would never ever forget. Well…. I kept both those promises I made to myself. And there wasn’t a day that went by while she lived, that I didn’t thank my lucky stars that she and I shared NO DNA (I was adopted). I thought that my hate-o-meter was laid to rest when she was cremated… but lo’ and behold, I got to bring it out and dust it off when Stbx decided to morph into Mutant Ninja Asshole. 😉

        • Yikes! So sorry to hear that. Good for you on keeping your promises and always being the better person. I hope your hate-o-meter stays put away for a long long time. 🙂

      • Ummm….HB….we’re gonna have to assist you with the nasty language thing, you are clearly a really nice guy. :). I’m happy to help turn you to the dark side, here goes: in attempting to find words bad enough to describe my ex (I still haven’t come up with quite the right one yet but I’m getting close) I play the alphabet game. I find descriptive words that start with whatever letter I pick that day, and today’s my “d” day– I’ll lend you some, you can try these: dickhead, deranged, deviant, douchebag, dumbfuck, dipshit. Go with whatever word speaks to you at the moment.

        About the OW’s attractiveness in my ex’s case (and being that he’s a deranged deviant there are two OW with whom he had affairs and group sex), I am not being overly dramatic when I say they are actually sort of ugly and manly looking, and a lot of people thought these two women were themselves engaged in a lesbian relationship (tho one of them was married with children…. oh Fellow Chumps, don’t even try to unravel THESE skeins of fuckedupedness). The bottom line is everyone who knew my ex has looked at these women after the “affairs” were discovered and said “what the f*ck was he thinking???” The world may never know……

        • Oh Kelly… I seriously need to hang around with you. I haven’t laughed like this in a good while.

          • Ok in the interest of bad names. I have a term for mine…..FTDB which is short for fucktard douchebag

            • I changed the ex narc husband’s name in my cell phone to Fucking Liar Sociopath. On the rare occasions he contacts me, normally a text message boo hooing that he can’t be bothered to pay child support, it’s a good reminder of what he is.

              • GladIt’sOver – that is a brilliant idea! – I am going to change my STBXH name in my cell phone too. I love the thought that when he calls, and the new name shows up, that name will automatically brace me for the guaranteed bs I will have to listen to if I answer.
                Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Brinn; The woman who told my husband she would “do” him for a couple of drinks has a Jesus statue in her front lawn. I have had this happen to me with two business associates. The Jesus statue did not seem to jive with the future screwings I would endure. (Maybe they are forgiven before they even start due to religious lawn ornaments?) Now when I see a Jesus or Mary statue, I just order my vasoline in bulk size barrels. Thank goodness he is going to church so everyone will know what a great guy he is!

  • Forgive? Hmmmm, lemme think about that…

    ……………….still thinking…………………..

    Ok, so here is my take on that: Forgiveness is for ME. Not for the cheating rat I was married to. But you know what? That shit is easier said than done. Just when I think I’m over it…WHAM! my ex pops outta nowhere to put it all back in perspective. Nice.

    Have I forgiven him for all the crap he laid on me (and the crap he laid WITH) and made me believe? Mostly (it’s still a work in progress).

    Ok, so onward to the HE FORGAVE HIMSELF bit. I really think, like Paula what’s-her-name and Rielle Hunter, they feel entitled to have the affair. They rationalize that they really ‘deserved’ to do it. Now they got’ found out’, they will pay lip service to God, Family and Apple Pie and whatever else they deem necessary to try to pull the wool over our eyes. The funny part is, now that we are on to them, it is a fruitless exercise. However, in their self-absorbed rose colored view, they don’t notice it.

    My ex told me at first he didn’t deserve my forgiveness. Later, he said he knew I would never forgive him. It would have helped had he told me what the fuck was going on….but no, he was such a coward he didn’t even have the balls to tell me to my face what shenanigans he was up to.

    Honestly, I don’t think he even believed there was much to ‘forgive’. My feeling is that he wanted to manipulate ME into believing he was ‘sorry’ for being a ‘flawed man’. I think this because he wanted to set the stage for the divorce. After I had him served, he had the audacity to say he thought we could do our divorce ourselves and leave the ‘other lawyers’ out of it. Are you fucking kidding me? He WAS a lawyer and he wanted me to TRUST HIM after all the shit he did?

    Bottom line: I STILL don’t think he feels the need for forgiveness because in his mind, what he has done was acceptable. He made me out to be a Dragon lady and Shrew. Whatever.

  • I haven’t heard “I’ve forgiven myself.” But I have heard “You can’t accept the truth,” “You’re trying to paint me as a bad person” and “I’m trying to fix things from my past.”

    Give me a f*cking break.

    I can accept the truth that he cheated on me with a bunch of people and he’s pissed that I didn’t just sit and keep quiet about it.

    I’m not painting him as a bad person, I’m painting him as WHO HE ACTUALLY IS. A lying, self-absorbed cheater who did horrible things behind my back and abused me.

    And I really do not give a shit what he’s trying to “fix” in any time of his life.

    • Oh, I forgot to mention. He says all this to me, but then turns around and tells anyone who will listen that I’m a “compulsive liar that has a problem.”

      Yeah, okay dude. If you were really trying to fix anything in your past, you wouldn’t still be trying to cover it up. Clearly our definitions of “fixing” something are very different.

  • I haven’t heard ‘I forgive myself’, because that would imply admitting he did something that might require forgiveness. But I did keep hearing, about the 1st affair (after which he did very little to repair the relationship or the damage the affair had done – I was doing all the work and keeping it together), that ‘you never forgave me’.
    Well, ya know, where I come from, if someone would like to be forgiven, they do have to apologize and express some remorse and SHOW that they are working to repair the damage. Never did any of those things, so yeah, I never did forgive him, and therefore never started trusting him again. Didn’t get all paranoid or controlling about that distrust – I figured he was a big boy and perfectly capable of making his own decisions. But I kept my eyes wide open, gave him enough rope to hang himself … which of course, he did. I found out about the 2nd affair (years later) FAST, and kicked his ass to the curb FAST.

    Sigh. Live and learn.

  • maby at some point some of them really do feel bad for a period of time.(im sure they HATE that)

    so forgiving themselves Might be like winning the lottery.or getting out of jail free or buying a new car.

    they can all go fuck themselves

    all the better if they wallow in misery. il never have a drop of empathy for a cheater again

    • “they can all go fuck themselves”

      With you on that one Mark. I’ve been thinking lately that this phrase really sums it all up for me, and my thoughts on what all of our ex- asswipes should do.

  • I came here looking for support. Boy did I come to the wrong place. You people are unable to see past an act and look at the reasons. Your cheaters are better off without you.

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