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Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse?

naugahydeSo you’ve been chumped and you’re trying to decide if your cheater is truly sorry. Is it real remorse? Or is it genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse (GINR)? You know, sort of looks like the real thing, but upon closer inspection is a cheap fake. Here’s a handy check list to help you distinguish.

1. Humility. Cheating is about entitlement. Being truly sorry is about humility. That means the cheater doesn’t go first in anything for a loooong time. Their grievances about the marriage, for instance. Their “healing.” (Grieving the affair partner? Give me a fucking break.) Remorse is the cheater recognizing their place on the food chain — which is grovel level for as long as the chump needs it. That means a chump’s grief is not met with dismissive anger. That means there are no false equivalencies. (Well, you suck too!) True remorse is a deep awareness that infidelity broke a sacred trust, and you are not owed reconciliation.

2. Initiative. Real remorse books its own shrink appointments. Real remorse does the homework. Real remorse does not need to be cajoled, wheedled, or dragged by its ear. Real remorse buys the books and reads the books. GINR waits for you to do it, and then finds a very good reason to be too busy.

3. Honesty. You can’t cheat on someone without lying to them. Real remorse spits out the truth. All of the truth, and it doesn’t editorialize and say things like “she really needed me” or “he was just a friend.” Real remorse answers the same questions over and over and over again and gives truthful, consistent answers. (None of which is “I don’t know.”) If real remorse doesn’t know, real remorse does whatever it can to find out. Real remorse doesn’t balk at a polygraph. GINR thinks polygraphs are expensive and unreliable. Real remorse will do whatever it must to give you peace of mind even if real remorse thinks it’s pointless.

4. Patience. Real remorse understands that repairing a relationship after infidelity is a long haul with dubious prospects. GINR wants to you to “get over it” already because hey, it said it was sorry.

5. Ownership. See Humility. Real remorse wears the shame. Real remorse takes responsibility for the fallout. Real remorse is okay if you tell people, because you need the support. GINR wants you to protect its image. GINR blame shifts and says “we all brought issues to this marriage that led me to cheat.” GINR minimizes and obfuscates.

6. Recompense. Real remorse understands that reconciliation is a risky investment. GINR wants you to assume all that risk and how dare you ask for any assurances, because don’t you trust me? Real remorse puts its money where its mouth is with a post-nup with an infidelity clause. A completely useless document if the cheater never cheats again, which of course, only the cheater has control over. Real remorse pays your legal bill. Real remorse compensates you and your children for every dime spent on the affair(s). Real remorse recognizes that there are financial and time losses as real as the emotional ones. Time and heartbreak cannot be recompensed. Money can. Real remorse says, it’s the least I can do.

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  • Wow, my STBX did every single GINR that you mentioned. And not a single one of the real remorse signs. Thank you, CL, for confirming yet again that I am making the right choice not buying his BS.

    • Same here. About two weeks into the false R, he got pissed at me for being pissed that skank destroyed some of my furniture. So glad he’s gone.

  • I didn’t add this, but I hope it goes without saying, that real remorse isn’t continuing its affair. If they check off all the boxes and are still in contact (and or fucking) the AP? Yeah… that’s not what sorry looks like.

    • Mine kept screwing the OW….but it was okay because we were going to therapy, right? Plus, the OW was sorry, she “felt really bad” about it. lol!

      • Final OW felt really bad as well. The few others I got in touch with were just pissed I called them out on fucking my husband. Apparently this was not the right thing to do. For them.

        • You always crack me up, Tracy.

          Mine SAID that he wasn’t in contact (with the main one), but when I found her number in his cell phone, his answer was…

          “but Laurel, she’s dying.”

          (not soon enough) :[

          That’s no concern of yours dumbfuck, because YOU SAID, SEVERAL TIMES THAT you are no longer in contact with cookiecunt and the point is, ASSHOLE, you LIED to me. But that’s okay because your primary goal in life is to hurt me in ways that nobody can see but me.

          Geeezzz… if they could do all of those necessary steps towards forgiveness, (and its a great list!) they wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. They would’ve understood that WHEN we would find out that we would be absolutely devastated and traumatized to the nth degree… at least that’s what I thought, every time I felt an attraction to another man. all I could see in my mind, was the look of horror on my dear husband’s face and I COULD NOT DO THAT TO HIM! (this was before D-day #1 when afterwards, everything ran amok)

          Attraction to other people is to be expected and normal. Acting on it when one has taken a sacred vow not to, is not!

    • what if the affair continued because the BS didn’t fully open up (within a month) and give the love and affection the WS so desired before the A?

      • Well Then the ws should bitch the fuck up…be an adult and open their mouths for other things besides inappropriate behavior with whores and ask for what they need! And a month?!!! Are you Fucking kidding me?!! It takes YEARS to get healed from the affair IF it ends when caught. The best way to get the affection one desires is to give the affection their partner deserves.

      • Mine loved, loved, loved the “secret” email accounts, that he thought I was too stupid to find. Just because I don’t like computers doesn’t mean I don’t know my way around them….even after his OW in his most recent emotional affair stopped responding to his emails he still had to send them “for closure”. All this while we are in couples AND individual counselling, BtW…..trickle truth going on for 4 months. I gave him til
        December to sort out his shit. I am not hopeful. But even as batshit as this whole ride has made me, I am so prepared to go forward alone and embrace this beautiful world. Thanks, Chump Lady, and to all the poor saps out there who didn’t see the forest for the trees. It’s all good. Go get it.

  • I wish I had this site available to me the first time my ex cheated back in 2003. He showed none of these characteristics of remorse…not one…yet I still foolishly believed he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. I believed we were reconciled. But it always nagged at me that I got none of the above. I only got “I’m sorry you got hurt.” Fucking asshole. I live everyday with regret over not kicking his ass to the curb after this first time in 2003, only to wonder for 9 years if he was truly truly sorry and if he really truly was in love with me or just stayed because it was convenient. I settled for 9 years only to have him do it again last summer, causing me to finally do what he was too much of a wuss to do, file for divorce.

    • My heart hurts for you. I didn’t have this site when I was going through it either, but I only wasted a year. Still, that year, and the money and pain it costs me STILL bugs me.

      On the plus side… some people wonder subsequently “I wonder if I had stayed…”

      You know that you literally did everything you could, and it didnt work. So you can escape head held high with your eyes firmly in the future. Hopefully that’s some small consolation!

    • startingover71,
      For me, I wish I had had that checklist in 1999, and I could have seen ExH was not truly remorseful and did not really work to repair the damage.
      But I refuse to be upset with myself. On the one hand, yes, I could have been with someone who truly cared about it, and all my love would not have been wasted.
      But, I have two wonderful children, and an awesome job. None of which would have happened if ex and I had split all those years ago.

      I am a proud chump. Literally this week I turned the corner, and I have felt giddy all week. You will get there as well.

    • SO 71,

      Yes, the old, “I’m sorry I hurt you….

      [wait for it…. wait for it]

      But I had no choice.”

      Accompanied, of course, by a sniffle and a petulant stomping of a foot.

    • You sound very similar to me. I stayed with my cheater for ten years after I found him cheating the first time in 2003. I too wondered all those years if he was faithful. I found out the he wasn’t in 2012 when his nth mistress contacted me. She was the fiancé of his deceased best friend (who had died in 2011 in a helicopter crash). My exH met her at the funeral for the first time and the affair grew from that. She informed me of other women he had cheated on me with also. I can’t believe she wanted him after knowing all that! I filed. I regret those ten years I lost but I picked up the pieces, returned to grad school, and am much happier without his drama.

    • 2 years late to this post, but coulda/ shoulda/ woulda in 2003 too! Now it’s 2015 and filing, with 2 beautiful children and otherwise wasted years. But I needed time to mature to this place.

      • So glad to feel like I’m not alone. I too shoulda/woulda/coulda the first time I found out he cheated (that I knew of) in 2000. But with 3 little kids and not enough confidence, I stayed. Then 6 years ago found the list (yes he kept a list!) of names of all the women he had slept with, and it didn’t take much to conclude that almost 2 dozen had been one night stands while he was traveling for business since the first affair. And I still stayed! Did years of counseling, but there was never a consistent remorseful time period that gave me comfort that he had truly changed. If only I had been more affectionate, less critical, blah, blah, blah. There is a part of him that loves me and is generous and thoughtful. But I have finally realized that his entitled nature, grandiose attitude and alcohol abuse are ingrained features. Last fall’s discovery of the Ashley Madison and Seeking Arrangements accounts was the last straw. Divorce papers are filed, and while I am scared and sometimes lonely, I’m optimistic and trying to see opportunity in the future. Yes, I’m a chump, but I am so much stronger and empowered now. Staying connected to other strong women like yourself is key to moving forward. Thanks.

    • I bought into the crisis workshops and books and we reconciled within 8 months and remarried within 2 years of D-day. Took me years to rebuild trust. To feel comfortable in my skin. 14 years later. 14. I feel it in my gut and ask “are you talking to someone again?”. No no. And Christmas eve he decides he simply must “go wash his car”.. Really. Call log reveals FIVE phone calls between the coworkers that day and the days preceding always little short calls withing minutes of leaving work. I’m almost certain it was “only” an EA. (Bad enough). But to do this after training. After the loss of marriage and hard work of reconciliation. To have my suspicions as potential “flags” to remind him dismissed and to have him not only continue but to ramp up with AP meeting her at the gym (how cute) to work out? No. We’re done here. Cue repeat begging and pleading for forgiveness and another chance.

  • I want to leave a reply that doesn’t have emotion involved but reading all of this shit just pisses me off and makes me realize that my stbxw is GINR to the effing T. T! My sense of value is nill right now and I’m fucking tired of it. I want my life back!

  • Ditto, DuckLinerUpper, except never any (even fake) remorse. How did we all get duped by the same man?

  • Probably under the item of “Initiative” or “Ownership” is where they are the ones who go and get the STD tests and show you the results to save you the embarrassment.

    • Excellent point, Bud. I should’ve included that. Mine was HUGELY insulted at the request. Said in counseling that I was “punishing” him for asking.

    • Mine was confused as to why I was even concerned about STDs. It was something he hadn’t even thought about. He’s too “special” to get an STD, I guess. Well, he should have thought of it, since he was having unprotected sex with the OW….and who knows who all she had been fucking. Really, you can’t even use a condom?! I was the one to sit in the Dr’s office and have the STD tests (which were clean, thank goodness), but could have affected our unborn baby since I was pregnant at the time. He didn’t think of that, either.

      • Oh my gosh– mine too! He looked at me with this quizzical expression, like I had suddenly started speaking to him in a language that he didn’t know. At first, he brushed it off, like there was no way that a stranger he met on Ashley Madison could possibly have an STD! Then, when I got tested, I think he felt shamed into it (perhaps the only thing he felt shame about). That was actually one of the dealbreaker moments for me– he had so little respect for me (and for himself) that he didn’t bother to use a condom. That showed me right away how little I meant to him and how much our marriage needed to end.

        • Ah, yes, the no remorse, and STDs.
          For me, it was 1999, and I believed ExH when he said it was just an infatuation, not an affair. We went to therapy, and I got pregnant 8 months later.
          In hindsight, gee, why is the only time I ever had any yeast infections was that spring of the non-affair? He still does not know about the infections, but he did get an earful last spring when he finally admitted to affair #1… 13 years later… and I pointed out his darling little girl could have been born with birth defects because he never told me, and I did not get tested right away.
          Yes, I was a chump, and an idiot about my health. I got tested last summer after he finally admitted to affair #2 (although he still claims it was never physical… gee, I heard that one before!)

      • Mine actually told me “I date quality women, I can tell if they are likely to have a disease”.

        Really, he thought he was a great judge of character, not having any himself.

            • Most men also carry HPV but almost never have symptoms and there’s no reliable test for men. Think his skanky ho is going to tell him that she has it?

              I don’ thin’ so!

              • As in, “I want what I want when I want it. There are no consequences in my thinking.” Fantasies have no consequences–they are perfect.

              • Is that a cheater thing or a guy thing? I’ve always been terrified of STD, but xH never seemed to care.

                Actually this was a red flag when we were dating. He said his ex had had genital warts, but never informed me before we started seeing each other. That was a clue that he was a jerk, one I ignored.

                Fast forward to bomb-drop, and I found out he was sleeping with a slut–a soul mate slutty homewrecker, mind you, but a slut nonetheless–and with me, as well, with no concern whatsoever.

                He said it was impossible for her to have an STD. Fantasy objects don’t have STD’s!! I asked him WHY he believed that an attractive woman with lots of male friends hadn’t had sex in 10 years, until he, the Knight In Shining Perfection arrived on her FB page. He said, and I quote, “…[thinky–real hard thinky…] Because she’s so beautiful…that…she’s gotten used to fending off male attention.”

                Fucking idiot!

                Fortunately I’ve never tested positive for any STD’s, not even HPV.

                I was wondering if it’s more of a female concern to be infected. But after your replies, it makes me wonder–maybe it’s a cheater phenomenon.

              • Yep, thanks to his fucking around I had precancerous cells due to HPV and had the LEEP procedure. He was more concerned with his erection and “sensation” than my health. Apparently, that’s what one does to the “love of their life.”

                Shortly after he left, he had chlamydia.

            • Mine assured me that his mistress was very careful with her health. The implication being that she was a Kwality Person.

              He said she got tested for STDs every six months. He did not appear to think that was odd, that it could mean she had many sexual partners. He also failed to see why this didn’t sway me from insisting that he get tested. “Don’t worry” was his motto.

              Oh, okay. If you say so.

              There was a snafu with my herpes test. There are two types — IgM and IgG. The IgM is notoriously unreliable as a test for recent herpes exposure. (I didn’t know this until much later.) IgG is a reliable test, but it only shows long-term exposure. My IgM test came back that I might have been recently exposed to herpes. I had no symptoms.

              When I told my husband, and asked him to get tested as soon as possible, it actually took him a couple weeks. He was just so busy traveling, you see. And it’s not like you can get tested just ANYWHERE. Ass. That was weeks of me having to wait and worry. Just one more injury to add to the long list.

              He finally did get tested, and the results were negative.

              I had to wait 6 months to get tested again for long-term exposure. Then again at the 1-year mark. All negative, thank the heavens.

        • Mine said “she was a nice girl”. REALLY< a woman who knowingly hits on a married man with 2 kids, really nice!!!

      • Yes! Mine actually scoffed at my concern that he, and therefore I, may have contracted an STD or HIV/AIDS. After all, he had only just admitted that he had been having sex with two co-workers for over 15 years, sometimes including group sex with them, and that he NEVER ONCE used condoms. And these women, and as i learned the hard way presumably my ex, were certainly not the types to be “trinogomous” (is that the threesome version of monogamous??) with each other!!! But he looked at me as though it were a Tower of Babel moment, and my words were somehow unintelligible to him. He never even asked whether I got tested (I did, the next day, on my 52nd birthday), or what the results were (thankfully negative). He just slunk away.

  • ohhhh, THIS is perfect. This is the only “can this relationship be saved?” checklist that should ever be in any Chump’s hand, now and forevermore.
    If your Cheater’s not checking the right boxes on this list, then go ahead and rid yourself of the “what-ifs” and “for better and for worse” thoughts and grant yourself permission to protect yourself from abuse. It really is as simple as that.
    I think this list would help more Chumps reach this realization so much sooner, and avoid further months/ years of mind fuckery that is sure to come from sticking around the Cheater.

    And looking back, my XH did each and every single thing on the Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse list. And kept screwing the dingbat OW, of course.

    • “Can this relationship be saved?” Is the perfect intro to a chapter in CLs book. When u are in those beginning stages of hurt, u can’t SEE the false reconsiliation of the cheater. This is how CLs advice helps, we start seeing the truth., that they suck. If I had found CL first , and realized most Cheaters don’t feel bad for their actions, and come running home with their tail between their legs. (As the general public believes). They just want to take all your power, while they find away to keep their secret FUN going. It’s not FUN anymore when it’s out in the open, it’s just another relationship, not the fantasy.

  • This will be lengthy ~ sorry, guys…

    Let’s talk a little about Guilt and Shame. These two extremely unpleasant emotions are actually very useful responses in maintaining a civilized society. They are, to my way of thinking, like the pain receptors in our skin that tell us to pull our hand off the hot stove, already!

    Guilt is an interpersonal emotion: it is the awful feeling you get when you disappoint another person. And true, appropriate Guilt in the face of actual wrongdoing on our part can prompt us to a place were we actively seek out the person we have harmed so we can make some sort of restitution to them. Of course, the first part of that process is to acknowledge clearly *to them* that we recognize we have committed a harm against them (and against the relationship). We express remorse; and, if we are lucky we are allowed a chance to be forgiven and given another opportunity at being trustworthy. Anyone of us has had the “hat in our hand” moment ~ and even over relatively simple transgressions, knows that it is not fun. But the reward when we are accountable for what we have done wrong, and are given another chance, can be priceless. Guilt is the currency of that transaction.

    Shame is an internal emotion. It is the recognition to *ourselves* that we are flawed and that we have failed. It forces us to take stock of our own character (even if no one else is watching) and to improve upon it. Shame is the wretched feeling when a person asks “what is wrong with *me* that I would do such an awful thing?” Shame is, and can be, a bottomless pit, because (unlike Guilt) there is no one else there to give you peace. Shame, when deserved, should force you to a therapist, a clergyman, or to a trusted friend to help you get yourself together. Anyone who has climbed out of the hole of drug addiction or alcoholism knows what Shame is all about. It might be fair to say that for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, Shame and Guilt are the very emotions that saved their lives.

    They cannot be ignored.

    Now, some people (and we call them sociopaths), simply don’t feel these emotions. And we see with horrific clarity what happens when Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy have no Guilt or Shame for their behavior. This is why we need these two emotions. They what stand between society and the more base desires of every human soul.

    Most people (and I think most cheaters ~ even serial ones) are capable of feeling Guilt and Shame, but their tolerance for this type of unpleasant emotion is so very low as to be almost non-existent. Where the rest of us would simply feel lousy and work through it, they find the feelings brought on by Guilt and Shame simply unbearable. In my case, and I suspect in many of yours, when the cheater felt Guilt and Shame there was a compulsive need to put distance between themselves and those feelings. In my case, and I also suspect in many of yours, my Ex-Husband tried to give me his Guilt and Shame.

    And ~ because I was a Chump ~ I took them on as my own. That part ~ the handing over of your Guilt and Shame to a third party ~ *that’* the emotional abuse. My work since my divorce is to understand why in the world I ever took it in the first place. Why, when handed a parcel of rotting, maggot-infested feelings (that weren’t even mine) did I say, “okay, I’ll take this from you.” For me, the legal and emotional divorce is a way of giving all that back to my Ex-Husband ~ not unlike the act of returning those pesky personal items that you keep finding when you unpack boxes in your new home. “Here’s a box of old photos and your Guilt and Shame that I found while I was unpacking. Good luck with that…”

    My Ex ~ and perhaps many of yours ~ doesn’t want that stuff back. And I watch him with profound sadness as he tries to give his Guilt and Shame away to other innocent people: his parents, his sister, our common friends. So far, he hasn’t stooped so low as to try to give them to our children. But I’m keeping a firm lookout for that.

    And, with him, there is the rage that I gave these unpleasant feelings back to him. There is a barely concealed anger that I won’t hold them anymore: to him, that was my *JOB*. My refusal to be the vessel for his septic character is viewed by him as a hostile act on my part: because it forces him to cope with these feelings which could mar his current happiness.

    So, real Remorse to me is simply the act of taking back your Guilt and Shame and dealing with them like a grown up. If my Ex can ever find his way to do that, then he has a chance at redeeming his soul ~ for himself. My version of “meh” is to find the amount of space between our lives where I can honestly hope he eventually does that on his own.

    • Great post Jennifer.

      “Most people (and I think most cheaters ~ even serial ones) are capable of feeling Guilt and Shame, but their tolerance for this type of unpleasant emotion is so very low as to be almost non-existent. Where the rest of us would simply feel lousy and work through it, they find the feelings brought on by Guilt and Shame simply unbearable.”

      You couldn’t have put this in a better form.

      They cannot stand the concept that things going wrong in their lives are because of thier actions. You must share the blame. But if you listen carefully, they are really speaking to a mirror.

      I used to say what my ex (and my ex boss actually) used to do was “emotionally throw up on me”. You know the feeling when your nauseous that you cant stand? So much so that you try and make yourself throwup? Yeah, thats what they do. They dont like the bad feelings they have so they “projectile vomit” on you. The result: they feel better and you are left standing there with all of this nasty “emotional throw up” on your dress feeling awful asking yourself “what the hell did I do to deserve this”?

    • Thanks, Jennifer — this is so well put. I’ve been thinking about these concepts as they relate to my STBX, and I don’t think they are just related to the affair. His FOO seems to struggle a lot with shame — which is likely a function of growing up in an alcoholic household and with a mother who drilled the perspective that they weren’t as good as other people into their developing brains. I think the shame led to rage: rage that I somehow didn’t see or absolve his shame, rage that he didn’t like himself while I had sufficient self esteem, rage that he couldn’t stop doing things (e.g., porn addiction) that made him feel even more shame. I think some of the sexual acting out was a passive aggressive way of expressing that rage, which led to guilt, which led to more shame because he couldn’t absolve the guilt.

      I guess there is a reason the term “shame spiral” was coined…

      • Thanks, Jennifer. I feel, I got sick carrying other people BS. He used to come up to me the moment I woke up and tell me all the awful things that have happened. I asked him to stop doing this at this very sensitive moment otherwise I cannot shake it off for hours. So he waited for later…. Better, but not good. Then he claimed I am so “negative” and I believed him till I realized that it he who is always angry, complaining etc. and projecting this on me. He is still trying to do it to me.

        I’ve heard once that in an abusive relationship it’s impossible to reconcile unless you take care of the hidden shame and guilt held by the abuser (cheater). After they are abusive they feel shame and guilt, but cannot own them. Instead they feel threatened and uneasy. Not knowing how to process these emotions – other than denial they become angry with the person, who elicits these emotions – their victim. Feeling angry they feel validated to hurt again. It’s a vicious cycle and without a good therapist very hard to unravel.

        There is a process from Access to get rid of their vomit. When you feel an unpleasant emotion ask yourself a question: “Who does it belong to?” If it feels light it’s not yours so return it to the sender. You don’t even have to know where it came from.

    • Great post, Jennifer, and spot on. Your comments about the rage, which only came when I finally said ‘no, I will not accept the blame for this or for any of what you did’ is when he went bonkers. And he remains completely crazy to this day. Absolutely enraged.

    • Great post, Jennifer!

      Understanding about the guilt and shame actually made me MORE of a chump!!! Because I thought, fool that I was, that you could love a person enough and support them enough for them to be able to grow and learn to deal in a healthier way w/the guilt and shame. And I assumed that he actually did feel bad, but couldn’t apologize properly because he felt overwhelmed by the shame.

      But NO!! He doesn’t deal in a healthier way w/the guilt and shame, and he doesn’t apologize, because he shouldn’t have to! Because nobody’s ever made him face the consequences of his behaviour, and nor should they! Because he’s ENTITLED to not have to do those unpleasant things!

      A few years ago, after some really rotten behaviour on the ex’s part, it became obvious to me that he would make me, his supposedly beloved mother, and worst of all for me, his kids, suffer pretty much anything, rather than face any unpleasant feelings, rather than allow any touch of besmearing to his image, rather than taking responsibility for any of his own behaviour.

      It’s 100% selfishness, and it makes those brief moments of guilt and shame go away really, really fast. THAT is why nothing changes.

    • I am going through our shitty version of this right now. Your expressing it so eloquently has eased my mind – it’s so easy to want to accept blame, however pointless, to try and maintain peace, because a good partner wants nothing more than their partner’s happiness. I’m glad to see it for what it is – attempted manipulation – and kick it to the curb. Thanks again.

    • Great post. My husband doesn’t know this, but I am basically already out the door. It is likely that I will be having neck surgery (for herniated disks) in December, and I will need his help during my recovery. After that, I plan to file. We’ve been married for 20 years and have 2 kids. He has had 2 long term affairs (that I know of) over the last 14 years. It’s been 20 months since discovery, and 11 months since he actually ended his affair (according to him — but of course, I no longer nger believe anything he says.)

      He has handled the affair situation in the worst possible way – he has lied to me about everything until he gets caught, then admits the absolute minimum amount of information he can get away with. He has been in individual therapy for 18 months and we have been in couples therapy for 15 months, so he knows full well that it is his responsibility to set the truth on the table and that there can be no trust between us or healing of our relationship until he does. But he just…can’t.

      In the last 2 months, I’ve noticed a huge change in him. He has lost the attitude of entitlement, become appreciative and affectionate towards me, and expressed what appears to be true remorse for some of his behavior. Yet he still cannot manage to simply tell the truth about what he’s done over these past 14 years.

      Initially, he was so self-absorbed that he believed our marriage was indestructible. By that I mean he thought he could lie and cheat and put me through all kinds of trauma until HE was ready to give up his affair. And when HE decided he was done with his fantasy fun and all of the drama that goes with acting out a real-life version of Romeo and Juliet — when that became too exhausting and he wanted back into the security and stability of our marriage and family, it would just BE THERE, waiting for him. That *I* would just be there to pick up the pieces and forgive him and we would continue on as if nothing had happened. I find his narcissism to be astonishing. After 14 years of cheating and all the pain associated with the web of lies he told me (often while swearing up and down that he was telling the truth) over the past two years, it still never occurred to him that *I* might not want *him* anymore. So now he has started to tell me that he’s extremely nervous all the time because he realizes that he has relied on me for so much all these years. He is deathly afraid that I will leave him and he will have go through life alone. Of course I’ve said the obvious “What exactly did you think was going to happen to our marriage when you decided to cheat and then lie about it?” He said that he always assumed I would never find out. I told him to go marry his girlfriend — she must be pretty awesome since he sacrificed our marriage to be with her. He says that even though he thought he was in love with her, he never wanted to marry her “she’s not the kind of person you want to live with full-time — she’s too needy and doesn’t know how to take care of household business.” Wow, Just wow. How did I marry this guy and live with him for 20 years and never realize that all along he was a shallow narcissist?

      Note: forgive me. I intended to write about guilt and shame, but I ended up going in a completely different direction. My post doesn’t really belong in this thread.

  • My, my. For someone who grew up in an upper-middle-class environment and who continues to enjoy expensive taste, it sure is hilarious to see that he’s 100% Genuine Imitation Naugahyde. The only thing he did right, if you can call it that, are parts of number six, but I only think he did it because his parents expected him to do right by me. I have to wonder how much more he would have tried to screw me over if he wasn’t worried about their opinions.

    And as for the Owife? She’s 100% pleather. I hope that XWH enjoys it when the sheen and finish wear off of her.

  • My heart goes out to all those who had the mindfuck of infidelity followed up with the mindfuck of fake remorse. What a double-whammy of cruelty. Like having a limb blown off by a roadside bomb then having fake EMTs show up and pour salt in your wounds.

    In my case, my serial cheating ex never actually said she was sorry. Not that this stopped me from thinking that reconciliation was possible, but in hindsight it was a red flag big enough to lead the May Day Parade through downtown Beijing. So instead of the Naugahyde of fake remorse, I dealt with the cheap and weak particle board of IKEA (I Kan’t Even Apologize). Eventually I figured out that, like the Naugahyde recliner, she was best left at the curb.

    • Nomar,
      I hope to be where you are at and soon. I am constantly wrestling with my mind. Then I found this site and I keep re-reading posts. I want to change my heart and my mind so that I can stop blaming myself and realize that she is a GINR, IKEA POS. The fact I took her back the first time and cheapened my forgiveness by not doing any of the following above. I wanted to show compassion and unconditional love. BLECH. I need shake her off, and realize she SUCKS!

      • Hang in there, RCC. Painful as it is, I think it’s better to have tried a little too much, rather than a little not enough, to reconcile. Having tried too hard myself (albeit only for a couple of weeks), I can’t say I ever had any regrets about finally filing for divorce. I can look at my kids and know I did everything I could to save their original family. My first marriage only failed because I couldn’t control their POS mother, her lying, her cheating, her continued double life.

        You’ll get there. Time has amazing restorative powers (though the dosage sizes seem to be years rather than weeks). Also very helpful is nurturing a new life, with new friends, interests, and such. The new life grows and spreads and eventually crowds out the old shitty life.

      • Yes RC, we have to scrape them off our shoes, like pieces of doggie doo-doo stuck there. THEY SUCK. I have to keep remembering that when I feel sad at all the lost time. Thanks for the reminders guys, this site is the only thing that keeps me strong!!!!

  • You know how Voldemort in those first Harry Potter films what referred to as “He who shall remain nameless”?

    I have often thought than many cheating spouses should be referred to as “He/She Who Shall Remain Blameless/Shameless”.

    I know that the best my ex could ever come up with was “Well, I know two wrongs don’t make a right” when I pointed out that leaving my socks on the floor wasn’t really a good reason to cheat.

    LOL. Oh well, what can you do? Next.

    • I can top that. Me asking him to not leave his socks on the living room floor was one of the reasons he had to cheat!

      • Well, at least I’m not the only one that sometimes leaves their socks on the floor for hours 🙂

        To be fair, though, I have many faults, and I have heard them all listed repeatedly as a way to explain why I too was at fault for my ex’s cheating.

        Sometimes I snore, sometimes I leave my socks on the bathroom floor until noon, wrong hair cut, wrong kind of glasses, those sighs and ocassionally rolling eyes at her when trying to work and she insisted getting my attention while I was working so she could describe her latest dream to me which was obviously more important than fixing a sev 1 issue at work (and besides, who knew what I was working on was important, and I had only “can this wait until later?” 2 or 3 times), wrong clothes, wrong shoes and not enough of them (I’m a guy, and I have 1 pair of work shoes, 1-2 pairs of running shoes, and a couple pairs of boots–she had at least 80 pairs of different shoes, and so was obviously superior), I was not ‘spiritual’ enough (I think this is because I don’t believe in ghosts, recount my dreams daily , or believe I have super-natural powers), sometimes I drip coffee by the coffee pot when I pour coffee in the morning (and I don’t clean it up for hours!), and so on.

        I am obviously a flawed human. So you see, she had to cheat, but… it’s true “two wrongs don’t make a right” (this is how she would end listing my flaws as an explanation for cheating: “two wrongs don’t make a right”. How’s that for manipulative?).

        But… I am happy now, flaws and all. I still sometimes leave my socks on the bathroom floor until noon (sometimes I do it until later even), and I probably still snore sometimes, but the dogs don’t complain, and they snore too. I probably still don’t dress spiffy enough because I rarely wear suits, for example, since I work from home mostly. I tend to wear my running shoes all the time now, so I am probably worse (in her opinion) on the shoes front, and I still don’t believe in ghosts or psychics or believe I have supernatural powers, and I have little interest in discussing my dreams or anybody else’s on a daily basis.

        I am happily flawed. And I didn’t cheat, and I would have a hard time living with myself if I did that to somebody, and that’s probably a flaw too .

        I re-iterate: I am happily flawed. Life is good now 🙂

          • I’d have left a hamper in the bathroom for the socks. Good design means making things easier and more intuitive for the user. Other than that, who doesn’t snore on occasion, and many people dream of being able to wear running shoes to work.

            Also, for what it’s worth, both STBXH and OW believe in ghosts and dreams. OW is always texting STBXH about her prophetic dreams. STBXH eats that shit up.

            • My STBXH and his OW believe the radio talks to them :0

              They both listen to XM radio and are shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that they hear the same songs; and those songs are sending messages specifically to them…

              It took 36 years, but in serving him with D papers, I realized I am dodging a very janky bullet ????????????????

              He ran when I outed his affair, but picks up our eldest once a week. Last week he gave me a birthday card with the message, “I hope you find peace and happiness…”

              Of course, being a covert narcissist, those sentiments were not meant as kind wishes, but rather as his belief that HE has taken my peace and happiness along with the trailer full of man cave furnishings. Hah! Those arrived the minute you drove away with the large screen tv, couch, recliner and grill in a trailer like a Beverly Hillbilly, dude! ????????????

        • That was really sweet! We all need to accept ourselves, and be only with the ones who accept us too.
          I feel sorry for the shallow jerks that think they’re ‘better’ than everyone- they’re so flawed and they don’t even see it.

  • i finally knew I was in a false reconciliation of the naugahyde type when I looked at our bedside tables: about 10 ‘how to heal from an affair’ books on my side.

    And on his? The usual hunting fishing ones.

    But Chumpy me carried on, hoping against hope, despite my IC warning me he was a narcissist who would not change for me and would not change for the children; until I found an email to the OW. Sent the day before he (with prompting) told me how much he regretted his affair.

    It was at that moment only, gazing at her email address, that I said to myself ‘if you continue to stay with him, you will be actively and knowingly participating in your own abuse’.

    • Similar here — I got the book the therapist recommended — not her. I read the articles he recommended — not her. I check her browser history — one hit for an article called “Can I Have an Affair and Keep My Marriage Alive?” and … that’s it. In three months.

  • Thank you, CL – once again you have succinctly stated what I’ve been struggling to put into words. When my STBX was stumbling around reconciliation, I kept saying to him, “You can’t just say you’re sorry like I’m someone you bumped into on a bus,” and, “I need to see remorse — regret and remorse are two different things.” All I got was the classic, “Well, I said I was sorry. I don’t know what more you want from me.”

    I actually gave my cheater a checklist of actions to follow to illustrate his remorse (e.g., provide passwords to online accounts, be transparent about financial dealings). He failed on every account. I then told him that I needed the answer to two questions: (1) Why did you do it in the first place, and why did you start it up again for a period just weeks after I initially found out about the affair? and (2) How do I know that you truly choose me, and I’m not just your default option now that the AP broke it off? Crickets.

    However, just before he ran away from home for good (yes, actually ran away like a troubled teen while I was at an hour-long appointment), he leaned over to me one night and whispered in my ear, “I choose you.” It sounded completely hollow and fake. After he ran away I asked him why in the hell he would say that to me, then turn around a few days later and rent an apartment without my knowledge. His answer: “Well, you said you wanted to hear that.” ‘Nuff said.

    • I “choose you?”
      BFD !
      As if you were a “choice”, a go to option….he made his choice.
      To cheat on you !

  • how can I ask an Ask the Chump Lady question? I don’t want to hijack this thread but I have a question and I think having your input would be so helpful. I can’t find a button on the site where I can submit a question for consideration. But that might be because my head is swimming and I”m ready to go postal on my POS husband.

  • I never suffered through the remorse phase. Once X decided I was worthless, he never looked back. He lied, cheated and cowardly made me file for divorce. Then he re-wrote our 18-year marriage into one that would justify his behavior.

    Now that I am past the court’s judgment day, things look so much brighter. My only wish is that he would stop messing with our kid’s heads and treating them like a hobby. Just go and don’t let the screen door hit you on your big ass on the way out, X!

    • Hey ChutesandLadders, my ex did the same, once I caught him, I was “worthless” too. I refer to me and our kids as so much trash he just threw away. He left the house, never ONCE even pretended remorse, and did not look back. He tried to re-write our history but most people refused to believe him. He does not see our 3 kids, has not seen even the 13 year old since D-Day 15 months ago. So I guess in some ways I’m luckier than you since he is not even around to torment our kids, having abandoned them and all. And I guess you and I are luckier than the chumps who had to go through the false reconciliation torture routine, with the bitter ending pretty much pre-determined. But sometimes I wonder why he never showed even ONCE OUNCE of regret for the sudden end of our 25 year marriage during which he professed to absolutely love me madly until the very end. Sometimes I see articles like this one and think, “what a loser I must have been, I was not even kibbles enough to make him want to pretend to stay with me even briefly…..sigh…….

      • Trust me, false r is worse, because they are only using you as a stopgap. There is no dignity in being the booby prize until they go back to the OW. I was actually moving on and enjoying myself for the first time in about 8 months when he weaseled his way back into my life. Apparently he had her arrested for beating him up and destroying his house, and many of my furnishings as well, I was the logical choice of course. He again left, and the two of them are together again. I told him to enjoy his next broken nose, he told me to go fuck myself.

        Thing is, I won. He is an unemployed massive alcoholic. She is an unemployed alkie as well. They deserve each other. I actually hope they get married. Problem is, getting signed divorce papers back from him is next to impossible.

        • X shows up with presents for his kids, but like all shiny toys, the effect he is trying to achieve is short lived, and now all three kids question his motives. Yesterday, our twelve-year old came home with a refurbished laptop, and his older brother commented, “That’s the exact same one Dad gave me for my birthday. I wonder who is giving them to him?” It is tragic to hear cynicism coming out of my kids’ mouths, but after two years of having their father treat them like a hobby and then finding out Dad had his own piece of ass hobby on the side at work, I can’t blame them.

          And Jewel, I agree; better to be treated as discarded trash than to have your head be effed with over and over and over again. Once I realized I wasn’t worthless, it felt liberating to have his worthless carcass out of our home. And coincidentally, he is unemployed AGAIN, living with his bimbo. HA!

  • My STBX Never. Said. He. Was. Sorry. EVER! for Anything!

    Yet I apologized to him and the kids and family and friends all the time for things that didn’t even involve me. Over and over. Well I have kicked that habit and am learning to teach my youngest to kick it as well.

    My STBX just told me to “deal with it” when I found out about his affair.Like it was nothing. No reason to go to counseling, just keep living like it never happened. He could have his cake and eat it too. Completely pathetic. No regrets, no guilt, no shame.

    My karma dream is to tie him to a chair and gag him so he will be forced to listen to Everything I have to say and when I am finished he will get on his knees and beg forgiveness, to which I will reply F U !

    Happy Friday all!

  • No real remorse from my XH, either. He said he was, “An old man flattered by the attentions of a beautiful young woman.” So flattered, in fact, that he left me for her.

    The only real remorse he’s had is that his taxes are higher now that he’s single, and his daughters won’t have anything to do with him. Other than that, total pleather and naugahyde…

    • He gave away his family because he is “An old man flattered by the attentions of a beautiful young woman?” Wow. Makes us old men sound really stupid and powerless.

      So, according to him, women can stop earning college degrees and starting businesses and running for high office. If they want equality, or to take over the world for that matter, all they need to do is cat-call the old white farts currently in charge and it will all just be . . . handed over. Because, you know, we’re old. And we’re flattered.

      Red, your ex needs a Depends adult undergarment for his elderly brain.

      • Nomar – sadly, your assessment isn’t too far off in this case.

        XH is a biology professor and OW was an attractive grad student who set all the middle age geeks in the biology department into hormonal overdrive – like Halle Berry taking up up residence on “The Big Bang Theory.” She played it to maximum effect, and after sorting through her prospect pool, discovered that XH was more than willing to give her publication bylines in exchange for “playing doctor.”

        He moved her to his lab, made her his lab manager, and gave her the stipend increase that went with it. He also spent MONTHS researching her thesis topic, because he was not familiar with it and needed to be in order to be her adviser. I strongly suspect he also wrote a big chunk of her dissertation because honestly, she just not that smart or that great a writer – and no one does the kind of research XH did just to get a “feel” for the material. No, you do it to write a paper or a dissertation, not fyi. All the grad students OW started with finished their degrees in 4 years or less; she was 3 weeks away from the 7 year completion deadline when she defended. Any longer and she would have been asked to leave.

        What was in it for him? The thrill of competition. She was VERY popular in the department – one of the female profs told me OW had something like three profs and four grad students vying for her attention – and XH “won.” Step back. He’s the man. He’s still “got it.”

        That it cost him is wife and family is…what it is. He won. That’s all that mattered.

        These days, OW’s doing her post doc at a top university on the OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. Because nothing says, “I love you” like moving 3,000 miles away to put career before “true love.” It also gives her plenty of time and space to dazzle her way to the next step of her “career” and seduce more bylines, chapters, and who knows what out of the next old man, flattered by the attentions of a beautiful young woman…

        Are all men so easily hoodwinked? Of course not! But there are plenty who are – just read the headlines. That karma bus is going to have to hit her hard and back up over her a couple of times in order to extract full retribution.

        P.S. The grass isn’t greener – it grows where you water it. Had XH spent all that time helping me with MY career instead of OW’s with hers, our entire family would have benefited immensely. Smart man, stupid, hurtful choices….

        • Red, this story is making me so sad. What kind of personality can spend a life with you and NEVER EVEN BOND? Anyone know? Or is this just Narc 101?
          I’d really like to avoid being with another one of these fools!

          • Patty – I have NO idea why he didn’t bond. I thought we were “on the same page” for more than 20 years, but apparently, we weren’t even in the same library!

            Emotionally, he was EXTREMELY high maintenance. If I didn’t tell him EVERY DAY how smart, wonderful, and amazing he was, he pouted. We waited 11 years to have kids (to get him through grad school and post doc), but he left 100% of the parenting to me, and then became jealous by the amount of time and energy I spent on the children (because I had NO HELP).

            He grew up in a broken household where XFIL was a serial cheater and frequently gone, and XMIL was a basket case and frequently abusive (both physically and emotionally). XH often told me when we were dating that I was a “dream come true” – a beautiful girl from a stable family – everything he always wanted. Who knew he was lying? I certainly didn’t.

            These days, I’m much more cautious. If all a guy can talk about is himself, I’m GONE.

            XH used to say, “You want to know about ME? Wow! My favorite subject!” But he’d say it in such a charming manner, everyone would laugh, including me. He’s a Southern boy – just like his father – and charm (and BS!) runs in his veins.

            You have to watch what they say AND what they do; if they don’t align, go with what they DO. Then, go with your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is…

            • Interesting, thx. I think they do want our stability, sounds alot like me and X
              But maybe thats what they dont relate to in the end. I know mine just loved bringing in chaos! Drove me nutz!

              • Patty – he did enjoy the stability…for awhile. He used to say that unlike his mother, he knew what to expect from me and didn’t require his “flack” jacket (female linguistic attack conversation). If I got mad, he saw it coming.

                But after we had kids and he decided they took too much of my time, he also “brought the chaos,” as your did, in order to get my attention. As if I already didn’t have enough on my plate…

        • Red, it was interesting to hear your story and got me riled up again. You’d think college professors would “get it” that the old grad student infatuated with the professor is a cliche and a joke. How many movies have there been where it doesn’t end well? And how many sexual ethics talks has he heard from HR? But these type think they are so special, don’t they?
          My ex-NPD is also in academia and has spent his working life speaking about social justice and education. Who does he end up fucking? Young women from developing countries. Yep, tried to tell me he was actually helping them because they sent the money back to their villages. Hmm… I suggested buying them a goat or a sewing machine instead would have been more empowering, but he didn’t have a comment for that.
          Best of luck to you, Red. I like your strength.

          • Nwrain – I had another academic wife tell me that universities were one of the few “good old boy” institutions left where women willing dropped trou to get ahead.

            I remember XH coming home years ago after teaching his first full semester and telling me how one of his female students came to his office, closed the door, and told him she was willing to “do anything” to raise her grade. I was totally offended. He told me he told her no and sent her on her way, but that really should have been my first clue that this kind of nonsense went on. I assumed it was the exception rather than the rule – clearly I was naive.

            As for your ex and his students – unbelievable! Nothing like leaving your village, coming to America, and being seduced by your professor. Gives a whole new meaning to the term, “Ugly American.” Sheesh!

            As for my strength – thanks! I appreciate your comment. My D-day was five years ago, so I have a little time and distance under my belt, but I still have some lingering anger, which is why I’m here. Wish CL had been around then. I bought into the fog, standing, the “pick me” dance – everything – for TWO YEARS, and it left me a broken woman with little self esteem.

            Had I gone with my first instinct – throw his sh*t on the lawn and change the locks – there might have been some real remorse and a real reconciliation. Or not. Either way, he didn’t deserve 5 more minutes of my time while he was in the affair, let alone two more years. It took him getting out of my life to discover I’m just fine without him…

        • I’m in the academy, too. Red, the karma bus is coming for both your Ex and the OW. While your Ex may be untouchable, if he has enough grants coming in to avoid teaching, OW may have the nifty post-doc, but when she starts the tenure track stuff, her committee won’t necessarily consist entirely of old men flattered by the attentions of a beautiful woman. If the sequester restricts the flow of grant money to your Ex’s lab, then he’ll be at the mercy of the enemies he’s made and may end up teaching freshman, non-majors biology for the next few years. Joy!

          • My father was an academic.

            I think there are a preponderance of narcs roaming those corridors.

            One good thing about all of this, was it sent me back to college. I walked into the faculty – and got hit by that university smell I had totally forgotten about. Indescribable, a mixture of polish and paper. Even in another city and another province, it was the same smell.

  • When should one expect real remorse to begin? Is it an immediate “OMG what have I done” moment for the cheater, at which point they immediately get it and begin the process? (My preference) Or is it something that has to slowly sink in? If so, does the time between discovery and beginnings of remorse relate to whether it is real remorse or GINR?

    • FUBAR,

      This is my struggle also. I don’t think we can hope for this. IF you read earlier posts most cheaters feel that they are entitled to their actions. Shitty I know. When i accepted my stxw back the first time she refused to all the actions listed in the post by CL. We just have to keep our heads up. It’s a roller coaster.

    • I would say immediately upon discovery. I also think that almost never happens. Waiting for the “fog” to clear (see a couple posts back) is a fool’s errand. That’s giving them cake. You must begin by taking your power back. They cheat and they’re not acting one bit sorry? And I mean ACT, because most of them pay lip service to “sorry.” You throw them out. Don’t take that disrespect.

      When they see that oh, you mean it now, well, they may try to gin up some GINR. It’s pretty clear pretty quick how deep it is. They get very defensive when you push it, and that’s a bad sign.

      • That’s what I got…not one bit sorry – and altho’ I had to force him to move out it was obvious that he had been long gone for a long time…actually said to me that I didn’t love HIM, that I was just embarrassed because he was parading her around. The whole thing still defies reality to me

        • Yep, I was told I didn’t love him and that my ‘so-called pain’ was really about competition and winning. apparently he was one hell of a prize and after 20 years, kids and who knows how many life events it all boiled down to me winning. I tnever occurred to him that my family meant something to me, because it obviously meant nothing to him. He was a serial cheater. Now, of course, he’s ‘changed’.

        • Wow, Toni – “Embarrassed because he was parading her around?” HORRIFIED is more like it! And you “Don’t love him” because you won’t allow him to keep his girlfriend? Unbelievable!

          Kind of like my ex being mystified when I went ballistic after he bought a crappy little fishing canoe and painted “Triad” on the side. Really? I mean REALLY?

    • I love this thread! My counselor told me that some people only start to feel remorse after twenty years of hitting their own head against a prison cell wall.

      Unfortunately, that totally describes my ex. It is narcissism and sociopathic behavior to abuse and disregard.

      My ex was a professional. If he could find one person to enable him, he would continue living any lie. I did some research and found that sociopaths are vindictive if they are exposed. The one I married was.

      I paid a terrible price for knowledge. I lost everything. Now, he is duping a whole community of people… policemen, a principle, teachers, kid’s doctor, daycare, church leaders and laypeople, a city manager, married women, coworkers, etc.

  • When I busted her, my XW actually told me that she found “older, successful men irresistable”. Mind you, I’m 5 years older than her and was a partner in a pretty successful ad agency. So…that made me chopped liver, I guess.

    I reckon she felt that way right up to the point when I told her I was divorcing her – then the GINR started. I listened to that for about 8 weeks. Then, as we used to say in the Army, it was AMF. (Audios Mother F****er for you civilians).

  • I’m having such a bad week, I’ve been doing so well and then something happens because of his horrible choices and I feel like I’m back to square 1 – or Dday….long story short he was always wanting to BUY-SELL BUY-SELL something, and he hounded me and lectured me till I finally gave in and let him talk me into giving up a reliable car for a nicer older GINR Volvo that he bought me. Out of guilt I know now.
    Well that nicer older GINR Volvo ended up costing me about 5 Grand so far, and the minute I started having problems with it, about a month after getting it he washed his hands of it. And now it’s finally died and I had to pay to get it towed and I’M SO PISSED that I’m still paying for his arrogant mistakes and I need transportation!
    Bastard! I’ll be fine and figure something out at least he’s not around to bully me anymore. Thanks for letting me vent. It just makes me so mad for letting him talk down to me because he was so damn smart and telling me what to do all the time because he made me feel so stupid…AAARRRGGGHHHH!

    • Hang in there Toni. During my first marriage my ex was weirdly enthusiastic about us buying a very expensive RV, knowing that I would use it to go on camping trips without her to a location 500 miles away. Of course, I learned after D-day that she liked to use these opportunities when I was gone to hook up with her affair partners.

      So I got the RV in the divorce and got to make payments on that dumb thing for a couple of more years (and paid to store it, and insure it). And it was especially useless to me because I wholly lost my desire to go off camping once I divorced that toxic POS ex. The day I finally sold the hulking metal reminder of my old life was hugely liberating. Hope you will get there soon with your Volvo.

      • Thank you Nomar,
        Just getting it towed was a relief. Got it in the yard and crawled in bed with the cats. No matter how bad things get at least HE’S not in the yard! Looking forward to saying goodbye to it though!

  • The trick is to recognize when they aren’t actually DOING these things. My ex threw me a couple bones and slightly did a lot of the ones here. I was all set to write about how he was actually humble FOR HIM, and honest (other than probably lies of omission), decently patient (again, FOR HIM), when I realized all these qualifiers I was willing to make (even now!) are the problem. They had us so used to having low expectations for them, making excuses for them, that us desperate chumps will take anything they give us. Especially when we’re trying to save our marriages and patch our lives back together. A lot of times even if what they are giving isn’t up to par, it is more than we’re actually used to getting from them!

    Again a lot of it comes down to watching what they DO, not what they say. That’s where the ones listed above that my ex failed at become glaringly obvious. Namely initiative (but I would have never EVER expected him to do that anyway… like it would not have even entered my mind since I was so used to taking care of everything) and Recompense

    Recompense. I think that’s the hardest one to fake. You can’t just squeak by with a couple half ass comments on this one and get a pass.

    I didn’t even do anything as drastic as as for a post nup. But I did ask that he do something that kind of had a “high cost”. Not literally cost a lot, but it would have been a pain for him to do. Talk is cheap, and this one required actual action. A sacrifice on his part at work (fire his “awesome” assistant/AP and have to train a new one and figure out how to explain why she was leaving) to attempt to save his family, with no guarantee that it would work. And he wasn’t willing to do this. And that is what finally woke me up to who he actually was.

    • My therapist talks about low expectations and how people like my Ex will start out, early on in the relationship, pushing the boundaries a little bit. If you allow it or spackle then he’ll push a bit further. The longer the relationship, the lower the expectations end up. So when dday hit and he kept saying that he needed time and needed to think and needed space I was almost willing to do it. Almost. For about 9 hours (6 of which were spent sleeping). Then something happened inside of me and I just said ‘hell no’, saw a lawyer and started the process. I had already kicked him out but we hadn’t filed because he refused to sign divorce papers (he ‘wasn’t ready to do that’). Well, he signed eventually and my god it was hard to go through this because there was always this little hope inside of me that he would go back to being this man I loved. Then I realised that I loved a mirage and this man who I had spent 20 years with was a gross rutting pig who fucked around with impunity and while it was all wrapped up in a pretty package inside he was rotten to the core.

      And now I just sort of feel sorry that my kids have this asshat for a father.

      • Thank you Nord!
        “Then I realised that I loved a mirage and this man who I had spent 20 years with was a gross rutting pig who fucked around with impunity and while it was all wrapped up in a pretty package inside he was rotten to the core. ”

        Absolutely perfect description!
        I am going to memorize this and repeat it to myself everytime I waver.

      • “Then I realised that I loved a mirage and this man who I had spent 20 years with was a gross rutting pig who fucked around with impunity and while it was all wrapped up in a pretty package inside he was rotten to the core…And now I just sort of feel sorry that my kids have this asshat for a father.”

        Nord, YES THAT’S IT!

    • AE – my XH wouldn’t get rid of his “awesome” grad student, either. He told me she only had “three more years.” My God – 5 more MINUTES was untenable, let alone three more years! Why don’t they see that?

      If the situation was reversed, if you were having the affair, would HE be okay with you working with OM? Absolutely not! He’d probably do what Richard Gere did in “Unfaithful” – kill OM and hide the body. I know I toyed with the idea more than once…

      But there ARE some men out there who DO “walk the walk.” Here’s a controversial story out of Iowa, about a dentist firing his “best assistant” because he was becoming too attracted to her:

      Refreshing to know there ARE some men out there who put family before pleasure…

      • oh I know about that story! commented on it on the Huffington Post… because my ex actually is a dentist!

        All these people out there were accusing him of being sexist, etc. and I was like “Good for him! That’s exactly what he should do when boundaries are starting to be crossed and he wants to save his marriage more than he wants to have an affair!”

        • I disagree. Upholding her termination because of HIS issues is bullshit. He can’t control himself? Get help. Why should this woman lose employment because this idiot’s dick gets twitchy when she’s around? Is he the sort of man who can only ‘control’ himself if his employees are hideous looking? Sorry, the whole judgement is bullshit from start to finish.

          • I don’t know, from what I read in other articles it sounded like they were BOTH having inappropriate conversations and she was dressing inappropriately. Plus, as a private business owner he’s got a lot more leeway in who he employs and firing people, etc. It’s not a public company.

            I mean, I guess we can never really tell what actually went on, but there is no way I believe it was entirely one sided on his part. Yeah, I’m probably biased against some of the money-hungry young assistants out there, but oh well, what can you do?

            I’m not going to fault a guy who is actually willing to experience this public embarrassment to basically do the right thing for his family (Recompense! Ownership, etc.). Also, because he is a small business owner, it’s not like he could just up and quit and find another job. And, isn’t that one of the benefits of being your own boss? That you get to choose who you work with?

            • Professional people WILL lose business if the office decorum is too steamy.

              They also risk being turned into their controlling professional licensing boards.

              Plus, getting involved with a hottie throwing themselves at you risks a sexual harassment lawsuit if you try to end it.

              My ex was a professional and the OW was his Girl Friday. If I had found out about it before he moved out I would have jumped in the middle and fired her ass. (Glad I didn’t) He was not capable of unwinding anything. If he ever made an attempt (and I think he did at one point) I’m sure it just ended up in bed with a good session of make-up sex.

          • I’m with you Nord.
            He hired her because of her qualifications and I am sure the fact that she presents an attractive appearance, was a plus.
            I guess she needs to “ugly up” to keep a job. I think there is more to this story.
            I bet she refused him, so he fired her. I think we will be hearing more , the “real story” later.
            In the mean time, neighbors, teachers, family…. be certain to never look are asking for it !
            You “temptress”! A man just can’t help himself.

      • I think that dentist is the biggest asshole around. First off, he fired her because his wife said either to do that or get divorced, not out of some sort of twisted integrity of his own. Secondly, this guy was unable to control himself around a woman who had been his assistant for years? That’s his problem, not hers. So any man who finds a woman attractive is okay to just fire her, rather than learn to control his dick? How is that different from the Taliban insisting women must be covered from head to toe because otherwise men might have sexual temptation?

        I would be willing to bet mr dentist has done plenty of “probing” over the years and his wife pulled this major pick me dance. Any guy who is telling his assistant that his “pants are bulging” when she’s around is a harasser. As for the assistant dressing “inappropriately”, I don’t know what she was wearing, but I’ve never been in any dentist’s office where the assistants weren’t all wearing scrubs, not exactly sexy.

        Anyway, this story really angered me.

        • Well now I’m pretty angry. It’s not the pick me dance to freaking tell your husband to cut out the AP/potential AP from their life. The pick me dance is buying lingerie and trying to “win” them back.

          This is exactly what I wanted my ex to do, so you can see why it pisses me off that I guess you think it is “wrong” of this woman to have insisted on her being fired. And that it was wrong when he actually did it. Like I said earlier, it’s not like he could have just gone and found another job himself. In this case, he could have given her more time to find something, or whatever (like I, in my chumpdom was convinced to wait for a while for her to look for another job because “poor her”).

          You can’t honestly tell me you don’t think she was doing stuff as well?? Like she was totally innocent? His completely inappropriate/disgusting remark about her “infrequent sex life is like owning a ferrari and not taking it for a drive” implies that she was probably complaining to him about her lack of sex life at home. Sound innocent? She didn’t accuse him of sexual harrassment, did she? She tried for gender discrimination. Why the hell would she want to work there for this sleazeball anyway? Why didn’t she just leave on her own accord before? And yeah, I’m not saying the guy doesn’t sound like a sleazeball. But he is a sleazeball who from all appearances is at least attempting to save his marriage, and going through a whole bunch of shit to do it.

          BTW, assistants don’t have to wear scrubs… the boss sets the dress code and it can be anything. His pants bulging remark was also followed by a “then she can take it as a sign her clothes are too revealing”. Doesn’t sound like she was wearing scrubs to me…

          • I’m sorry I upset you. I think the wife is a chump though. If the wife has to resort to this drastic measure to keep him from cheating, what else does she do? Monitor his conversation with other women at parties? Ask him about everyone he talks to? Go through his pockets at night looking for signs of cheating? Look over his emails, his texts and his phone records?

            If you have to insist your husband fire an employee because his actions are inappropriate and you think he is going to fuck her, there is a huge problem. If the husband has allowed his actions to go so far that this drastic action is needed, HE has a problem. Once you’ve opened that Pandora’s box of mistrust and suspicion, it’s awfully hard to close it again.

            Yes, I think the wife was doing a form of pick me dance, though not exactly as CL defines it. But she has set herself up for a marriage based on constant need to monitor her husbands activities and she certainly does not trust him. Likely for good reason.

            I still say the husband is an asshole, likely a cheater and the wife is a chump. And it IS his responsibility to keep his dick in his pants. Maybe he’s doing this to save his marriage. Maybe. Or maybe he wants to avoid paying a ton of support/alimony/$$$$ and he will continue to eat cake with the next attractive woman he encounters. Who knows. CL is filled with stories of chumps who demanded their spouse get rid of the AP. We all know how most of those stories end.

            • Yeah, sorry, this is obviously a touchy subject for me.

              Of course the wife’s a chump. I’m a chump and I was a chump when I made the same insistence. (I guess I think of this as more of a dealbreaker than a pick me dance thing… but I guess it is essentially an ultimatum. So, maybe it’s just the pick me part with out the dance part)

              We know pretty much all of us try to save our marriages. And in this case, he’s actually doing what she requested. Do I think he has pure motives? No. I’m sure it’s about keeping his family together and probably even more so about keeping his money together (my husband didn’t want a divorce and I know it was 99% about keeping his money together). But he is at least willing to undergo this public embarrassment to do it which is a lot more than most of these guys.

              Yes, the fact that he said that stuff to the assistant (if that was all in fact that had even happened) does not bode well for his wife. I’m not even saying the fact that he was willing to bow to her wishes in any way guarantees something similar (or worse) won’t happen in the future.

              He is a sleazeball. But I don’t think the assistant was some pollyanna either. I guess this is where my sensitivity to this comes in. I was jerked around waiting to give his assistant time to find something else (which really shouldn’t be that hard to do since she was supposedly so good at her job and there were plenty of dental assistant job postings) like I was supposed to feel so sorry for HER, the AP. 6 months from start to finish of that bullshit I had to deal with… eventually resulting in paying her some cash and her quitting for all of 3 weeks before being hired back by my now ex. And yeah, I know it’s my ex’s fault. But she still fucking sucks. So, asking that I feel sorry for some other probable future mistress dental assistant losing her job… is asking way too much.

              • Exactly.

                I’m of the same profession as the ex. We worked together before I became a SAHM. I can’t count the number of times I had to corner him and tell him to quit being so “handsy” with the help. You know, just a touch on the arm during a conversation, a friendly arm around the shoulder if you’re having a bad day. I believed him when he said he was just being friendly — I turned it around and said “You don’t know how THEY could be taking it. Quit asking for trouble” Plus, it’s NOT VERY PROFESSIONAL.

                So, eventually, he put his arm around one that was of the right profession………

              • Believe me, I get it. Both of the married women my ex was fucking were personal trainers working with him. I knew them both quite well. And I have no doubt that they were just as eager to screw him as he was to do them. Heck, they had happy threesomes together before he started triangulating them like crazy against each other.

                And when we did the bogus reconciliation, my first condition was that he had to quit working in that exercise program (by then, one of the women had left and the other had become owner of the company). He DID quit, and you know what? Big deal, he still kept right on cheating and lying like always.

                Cheaters gonna cheat. Sometimes, as we read every single day here on CL, they pretend they’re gonna stop, but LOL! We know the truth! They just love the taste of that moist, delicious, finger-lickin’ good CAKE! It tastes almost as good as that sense of entitlement that leads them to cheat in the first place.

              • Glad and chumpalicious…

                Yeah this is why you gotta be with someone you can trust (is that possible after going through this stuff?). Because we can’t control or police their behavior all the time, even if we work with them all day! Nor should we have to!

                I don’t know why I insist on believing if he’d been willing to get rid of her it would have proved he was a unicorn. Like your hubby, glad, went through that hoop for you, but it didn’t mean anything or change anything. Sometimes I do acknowledge that it was good he wasn’t willing to do even that most basic request for me (at least I felt like it was basic). If he had done it and we’d actually had to work on reconciliation for real it would have actually made things even harder for me. I’m sure I would have ended up here eventually, but who knows how far down the line.

          • The ONLY way you can begin to reconcile is for the cheater to end the affair and end all contact with the OP. Period. If that means the cheater or the OP finding a new job, so be it.

            I DEMANDED that OW be removed for XH’s lab and that he stop being her mentor. He refused, saying, “I can’t do that, it would ruin her career, blah, blah, blah.”

            He put HER career before OUR marriage, her before me. That’s why we’re divorced, my girls are estranged from their father, and OW’s enjoying a cushy post doc at a prestigious university – because XH refused to do what the dentist is trying to do, put his marriage first.

            I’m sorry, but there are lots of dentists, and dental assistant positions are relatively easy to come by. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the woman, especially since she’s not a totally innocent bystander in all of this….

            • Yes. Aging lotharios are everywhere. If you don’t want to be bothered by them, quit being low hanging fruit. It’s that easy. They don’t actually want to have to WORK to make a conquest, or maintain a relationship for that matter.

              • Chumpalicious,

                Precisely! I’ve been hit on by dozens of married men over the years, both when I was single and married. My mother told me long ago to just send them back to their wives, and I have. It puts an end to it right away.

                Why that bit of goodwill didn’t protect MY marriage is still a mystery, but I’m beginning to suspect it’s because I have bigger fish to fry in this life, and XH was standing in the way. We’ll see…

            • mine refused to fire her not only to protect HER, but also because it would just be SO HARD on him to train someone else and she was just such a good assistant…. who knew if he could even find anyone else that good again?! Ugh, give me a break. Also, I know some of the reason was also that he couldn’t figure out a reason to tell people since it would have looked suspicious. Must cover his ass and protect his reputation after all.

              Sometimes at the beginning I used to think I would have preferred he left me for some woman he “fell in love” with. Because at least it would have proved he had feelings and would have actually been less insulting than him basically choosing her over his family because he didn’t want to have to teach someone new how to pass him instruments.

              • Yeah. Why can’t they ever have an affair with someone you could respect?

                Or like that Prince of England that gave up his right to the throne for love?

                You love her? Prove it! I actually said that.

                At least do it for the kids. They know you’re not interested in her for her brains…..

  • Heh, I got the “I’m sorry, I don’t want anything bad between us” garbage, but the minute the other woman’s name (or the names of the AP’s I found out about later) was mentioned, it turned into “I don’t know who that is. I don’t know what you’re talking about. How could you believe someone else and not me?”

    Then he goes off and tells everyone that he “just wants to make peace” and that I can’t let it go.

    It’s been 4 and a half frikkin’ years and still, every goddamn time I run into him in public it’s the same thing. The GINR. I would just like him to leave me the hell alone at this point. I’m not holding out hope for real remorse. But I would just love it for once, JUST ONCE, when I see him in public, he not try to talk to me.

    • Sounds like he’s projecting, Kara. You’re not letting him off the hook for his bad behavior, and HE can’t let it go. It’s really bothering him. He can lie to himself that he’s a good person, but he knows that you know better.

      Practice your “stink eye” look – of the “if looks could kill” variety – and give it to him next time he approaches. Maybe it will make him think twice about trying to plead his, “But I’m a great guy, really!” lost case.

      • I’ve moved on from stink eye to dead eye. When I see ex I glance at him, with blank face, he squirms and tries to give me a sad little boy look and I slowly look away, without ever letting an expression of any sort cross my face. I don’t even have to work at it. It just happened one day and it seems to leave him incredibly disconcerted.

        • Yes!! Looking right through them as if they were not even there drives them crazy! They will go through all sorts of contortions to find the right words/emotional level so that they can get some traction on what you are thinking. If you give them the stink eye, they know. They can’t stand NOT KNOWING (it’s a control thing — if they can get a rise out you, they’re controlling you, whether it’s positively or negatively)

          It’s also a great (if passive aggressive) way to be around him during court. I pretty much refused to sit in the same room with him, but our last child custody mediation had to be joint. He walked in, sat down and pounded the table with his demands. The mediator sucked in this huge breath at his audacity. I turned my head barely in his direction, allowed for a decent pause as said “no” with as little emotion as was possible. He said “Well, then there’s no point in me even being here” and he walked out!

          And that was that. I passionlessly looked at the mediator and said “See what I have had to deal with?”

          That was the beginning of ‘meh’ right there. Took a lot of self control though.

        • It leaves him disconcerted because you see him for what he is. A rutting pig. Love that line.

          Remember that horrible cult classic film “They live” with Roddy Piper. Where Roddy with the right sunglasses could see the horrible aliens underneath the beautiful facade???

          I’m thinking the alien is Mr. Nord!! an invasive species that must be disposed of, at lease in the fantasy realm.

      • Oh he’s definitely projecting. He wants everyone to think that I’m the bad person so he can get away with it looking like he just has another “crazy” ex.

        It’s not just with me that he did that. In my chumpdom, I didn’t see the red flags. He did it with friends too. He would only cop to what he thought would make him look good and then fill in the rest with his bullshit. He made plenty of innocent people look bad by flipping around the story or re-writing history so he could look like the better person. I should have figured he would do it to me too.

        But y’know. I’m wearing the chump-badge too.

        I’ve resorted to just not looking at him at all. Not acknowledging he is even there. It seems to work only sometimes. Unfortunately, he went to high school with a friend of mine, so (hooray…) he shows up at parties my friend throws. He’s been at the 4th of July celebrations for the last 2 years and a few other parties in between.

        I pretend he’s not there. I don’t look at him. When he’s near, I walk past him as if he were a stick in the ground or a horse turd. He doesn’t bother me or try to talk to me.

        But when he sees me in public (like at the local liquor store I used to work at) THAT is when he lets the GINR fly. I know exactly why he does that too. In a public store (be it a grocery store, a liquor store, wherever) it’s just him and me and he figures he can badger me. But when we’re at a party full of MY friends, he has to save face. He has to keep it down. There’s other people there who know the bullshit he pulled and will back me up. He can’t get away with it there. Plus, it’s kind of intimidating to him to try to approach me when my fiance is standing right there.

    • Or how about this:

      Next time he starts going on about how you can’t let it go, just tell him, “Why don’t you just leave me alone? I’m not the one who’s forgiveness you need. I’m not the one you have to live with”.

      And let him figure that out. 🙂

      • ooh. Good one. But my wasband goes to ‘group.’ (SLAA) Where they tell each other, “you’re not a bad person, you just did bad things.” I called bullshit… I said, “where’s the dividing line between being a person who does bad things, and a bad person? Do you have to be Pol Pot? Betrayal –A-OK, Murder or robbery , not? what’s the dividing line? Is abuse OK, and rape not OK –having been both raped and abused, I preferred rape. At least you know where you stand.” He was astonished. I pointed out that it was not too-terribly deep thinking that got me there. Just you know, actual thinking, as opposed to pretend-type thinking.

        As far as I am concerned, actions demonstrate character, and if you do bad actions-knowingly, intentionally (much less for kicks and thrills, as my, and I’m sure many other’s, parters did)–then ipso facto, it defines you as a bad person.

        You may decide you want no longer to be a bad person, and work toward changing that….in your future life. (Not with me!) But, if you betrayed your partner and your kids and your community and everyone who loved and trusted you by constructing a double life of deceit and betrayal, yeah, I think that qualifies for a “bad person award”–being in the Boston area, I guess that would be a “Whitey” (as in Bulger).

        So no, they aren’t good people who do bad things. They are bad people. And only rarely are they capable of of becoming better. Mostly, in my view, they can’t or won’t face what they did, they enjoy it too much, and refuse to change. Hence the fabulous 100% Hide of Nauga reconciliation non-efforts. (nice chair, btw.)

        “Trust that they suck,” in the words of our fearless leader.

        • namedforvera, you’ve put the words in my mouth! When I first realized how ‘difficult’ (read: entitled and negative) my ex was, I told myself he had a good heart anyway. After the first affair, I realized that was not the case. But I told myself he might lack empathy, probably Aspberger-ish, but at least he was a very honest person. So his adamant promise that there would never be another affair, no matter what, was worth something. (Not toooo much, even then, bc I’d already been betrayed once, hard to completely close one’s eyes after that.)

          Then when I discovered the second affair, and he just, in the immortal words of somebody here, ‘followed his dick out of his family’, I realized that when you keep doing perfectly avoidable things that hurt others, including your own children and your own mother, and when you express no remorse or regret for doing those things, and you take your negativity and anger out, consistently, on the people you supposedly care about the most, then, no, you’re not a good person who did some bad things. You’re a bad person, actually QUITE a bad person, an asshole actually. That’s who he IS. And he isn’t going to change.

          Sometimes when I see him, I still get a flash of the man I THOUGHT he was, but it’s easier and easier to remember that he sucks.

      • I have told him to leave me alone. He doesn’t listen.

        Thankfully, I don’t see him in public all that often. *whew* It’s just that when I do, he starts following me around with the fake remorse. I’ve told him to leave me alone six ways from Sunday. But nope. Every time.

        Good news is I’m about to move out of state. He’ll be thousands of miles away. No more dealing with his shit or unintentionally seeing him at the grocery store. Haha!

  • “But, if you betrayed your partner and your kids and your community and everyone who loved and trusted you by constructing a double life of deceit and betrayal, yeah, I think that qualifies for a “bad person award”

    Awesome, nfV! The are a lot of keepers in this thread!!

  • A very good post. During a previous administration, I believe that a Secy of Labor was criminally indicted and then found not guilty. He said after, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” I wonder where I go to get my dignity back. My husband is now living somewhere else, going to therapy. Wallowing in self pity. He is very self absorbed.
    Although he will not say it, I think that he has been a serial cheater, always looking for something better. Interviewing attorneys is tedious and I am an attorney. 30 years trying to take care of my family and being a good wife and working full time, so he really did not have any “sole provider” burden, but he still was looking for something better. It is hard for me to even look at him since he was so difficult to live with. As a chump, I thought it was me, if only I was thinner, a better housekeeper, etc. Now I know it was him. I put the family first and he put himself first. So, where do I go to get my dignity back, when he was the one who was the cheater? By the way, I am getting better!

    • In my opinion your dignity is in tact. You are just having a hard time seeing it. You put your family first, you tried to make things better that were probably fine to begin with, you did the work, you were in the family.

      He was none of those things. He was the trashmaker.

      I had the worst time in my life when I felt thrown on the trash heap. I was worthless and I was stupid. The worst part of it was I felt so stupid. And I’d always been proud of my intellect. Fast forward to the biggest con of my life and I felt stupid, how embarassing! How can this have happened to me? How was I so blind?

      When I opened my eyes I saw around me how many talented, giving, extremely intelligent, people were conned every day.

      It’s not a character flaw, it’s a skill set that gets you to the point you see you have it all! you just need to get it back in woring order.

    • that is what is so annoying about being a chump… how they wore us down over the years so that we thought something was wrong with us, that we somehow weren’t good enough. I’m not sure if some of it was the passive aggressive nature of my ex that made it really be successful… like he never openly criticized me (he was just the king of being disappointed) so I really did just think it was all my own idea that I sucked.

      • The classic ‘mindF***”. Here’s how mine showed his ‘disappointment’, and I was too blinded by sparkles to hear what he was saying:

        “My last girlriend (or the ones 10 years ago, or anyone in the past) was my real love. No one compares. She was the best, how could I have let that one go…… ”

        then what he did not say but was clearly implied ” you can try harder to be like that…. ”

        There were many variations of this ‘you aren’t good enough’ speech.
        What a losing battle. It took my about 18 months to see how I was manipulated once I sent him packing. So chumpy.

        I finally realized the only really good relationships this man ever had were in his past and future. They were never the ones in the now, because he would have had to deal with reality. The myth of his past and his future can keep him going forever.

        • Oh, and I forgot the best part….. the follow up. A couple of years later a friend told me he and the OW broke up because he couldn’t stop raving about what a great person I was, how wonderful, how could he have let me go???

          What a mental illness.

            • Ding, ding, ding, ding! RIGHT ANSWER!

              Life is a TOUGH teacher, as the saying goes. It gives the test first and the lesson later…

        • Early on in our relationship Ex tried to pull some crap about ‘that’s exactly what my ex gf used to do and it pisses me off’. I stood up to him and said ‘I’m not your ex gf so don’t compare me to her. If I’m doing something you don’t like you tell me based on what is happening between us’. He was quite surprised by that, actually, and when I look back I realise he didn’t push my boundaries for awhile after that. And then he started from a new angle. They will always find a way to get the best of you while ripping you to shreds.

          • I remember my STBX once told me what his X before did to him in bed and that he liked it! I still can’t believe he said that. Ugh

        • If i’d had the courtesy to die, I’d be a saint right now. My STBX is trying to go back to his early 20’s – no kids, no responsibilities, no worries about the future. His relationship with his girlfriend then was miserable – jealousy, drama, constant fighting. Now he remembers it as “passionate.” The OW not only looks like his former girlfriend, but acts like her too. Rewriting history.

          “The myth of his past and his future will keep him going forever.” That sums it up perfectly.

          • Me too. I got so sick of hearing about all the high school girls who were “crazy about him” or “She had such a crush on me.” He even drug out names from grade school. He still facebooks with them, emails, etc. Can’t get his mind out of the past.

      • I think of it as the ‘boiling frogs’ analogy…you know, if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, they’ll jump right out…’cause it’s boiling! But if you put a frog into a pot that’s full of cool water, and only slowly, slowly raise the temperature, they stay in there and boil right up. Or so they say. (I haven’t the heart to actually find out.)

        I know for myself, and I hear this in other folks’ stories here, that I’m like the slowly boiling frog– years ago I was super kick ass strong woman. Now, I find myself rebuilding, molecule by molecule. How in the hell did that happen to ME? Well, 25 years witha passive-aggressive abuser, who ended our relationship by lying, cheating, and saying the most godawful things to me…he actually said, : “I figured if I said those things to you, you would leave and I wouldn’t have to.” Of course, by then I was so far down I just spackled more furiously to try and figure out how I could be better…. not the right question, “why is he such an asshole?”

        That contant drip drip drip of undermining is very real, and it takes a terrible toll. I also think it makes it that much harder to pull away when you finally discover the extent of the betrayal–and of course, how many of us really ever do find out the whole scope? dunno about y’all, but I just assume there is more, and nastier, than I know about, and it will always be so. Best way is to just cut the cord and put it ALL behind me. His pathology.

        Time for me to recover.

        • Yes, that mirrors me as well. Passive agressive. He made me so miserable I was the one that had to break up (this is b4 awareness of OW), it was all on me to do the work. He was innocent, not the asshole. He’s just fine. It’s me that’s broken.

          Pathology is right. Behind you is good!!

        • yeah, they think they are so “good” because they never openly actually insult you. And yes, mine said he had his affair so “he could avoid hurting me”… you know, I guess avoid actually telling me all the ways I sucked. Wasn’t that nice of him??Just because they pull shit on you with a smile on their face, doesn’t mean they aren’t pulling shit. He does that with stuff with the kids now too. I’m getting better at ignoring it, or really just not even interacting with him enough for him to even get these opportunities anymore.

          I can’t even pinpoint exactly how he communicated his disappointment in me. He was really so good at being subtle about it. But yes, the house was never clean enough, meals never fancy enough, sex never frequent enough or with enough variety. His less successful attempts to undermine me were when he would tell me stories of his patients who never had to change a diaper, and blah blah blah. At least I could see through those and I would actually protest and say that’s nice for them. But I guess even those still made me feel shitty like I wasn’t doing as much as some other women out there. Like I’m this big meanie drag of a woman who expects too much from her man. When the reverse is what was actually happening.

          He also never had enough “stuff” for himself and that was insinuated to be my fault, because I would actually want furniture or things that we could both enjoy and that kept him from buying his 20 guitars or something. But I know he will never have enough, never really be satisfied or happy with what he has. The grass is always greener to these people.

        • I got the “just not up to par” sighs and snide remarks on a regular basis myself because apparently, I was a lousy maid/nanny/ATM.

          I felt inadequate for ages until someone pointed out post-divorce, “You’re not a bad maid/nanny/ATM, Red – your XH just didn’t make enough money. If he didn’t have the lifestyle he wanted, that’s HIS fault, not yours. Besides, if you do all the work and make all the money, what in the hell do you need HIM for?”

          Good point.

          My XH wanted a luxury lifestyle, but he also wanted to be a college professor. Teaching doesn’t pay well. So…it was MY job to provide that lifestyle? Because I didn’t get the memo. I also didn’t agree to it. And like most men, he had a big problem with me making more than him.

          So, let’s break this down:

          He wanted a luxury lifestyle
          But he chose a low paying career
          So he expected me to make up the difference
          Without ever making more than him

          There’s no way I could win this. Typical.

        • My therapist has used the boiled frog analogy a million times but it took awhile for me to get it. Now I get it and, like you, I’m rebuilding into that super strong and confident woman I used to be. I wonder why these assholes go for women like us? Is it some sort of challenge to bring us down? Or do they see all that we are and, like a vampire, want to suck all the life out of us and when we’re empty they simply toss the carcass away?

          Lucky for me I was depleted but not quite empty and I’m going to be fine. Not easy but I can see things are better and better.

          • Good questions–It’s like they need us (why I call mine baby-man), but they can’t stand that they need us. So they resent us. In my case, I got the full-court passive aggressive BS–a HUGE power play. Like this: If I never actually tell you what I want, then you never are good enough…therefore, you suck. (Put differently, I was supposed to be a mind reader…)

            And I tried, Lord, how I tried, to get him to tell me what he wanted out of life, marriage, work, you name it. He not only lied to me about it, he lied to his therapist. I mean, this guy had, at one point, 3 women propping him up: wife, mistress, therapist. He said, “but we were really happy then, right?”

            “We” I guess being his fantasy world. I was miserable (see boiled frogs-I was nearly cooked). I said, “but I kept saying how lonely I was” –which he denied. My daughter overheard us, and she backed me up. The shocked look on his face was priceless! Adult kid to the rescue. Thank you daughter!

            So no, with this type you simply cannot win. I think it became a challenge for him to bring me down. (And he had fun and got laid doing it. woo woo.) Even though I had self-confidence, clear moral boundaries, integrity (d’oh!), and a real sense of who I am and an interior life, he did not see it as a great thing to have a partner like that. Oh, no– it was bad bad bad. Because in his mind it was all about him–also: zero sum game. If I’m good, he’s bad. If I’m up, he’s down.

            Ironically, he’s the one with the highly profitable profession (at which he is very successful), great networks, terrific hobbies and all that shit. I actually looked up to him and thought he was great. In his twisted mind, he thought I looked down on him. He was such a liar, he thought every time I said something nice, I was lying, because that’s what he would do.

            But did he ever say, I don’t believe you? Why no, no he didn’t . Honesty is not on the program for these folks, at any level. Honesty scares them. Pathetic, really.

            • Vera – I don’t know why they all have such low self confidence and need others to prop them up. I guess they didn’t get enough love in their childhoods. They should have all gone into acting…

              • Red–
                mine was an actor! –and singer (see: hobbies). very good at it too. I think it helps with the convincing lying

            • Vera, you have that exactly right! I have often thought of my ex like a vampire. Smooth and sparkly on the outside, a cold blooded monster on the inside, feeding off of me and using me up. And he did this while secretly resenting me for my talent, success and sheer humanity. I see now that he was hoping to use me up, destroy me, and throw my empty carcass to the side while he moved on to his next victim, saying “see, she was not really that great, and by the way, that’s why I had to leave and find someone else.” Yes Nord, they are both attracted by our strength and confidence, but counter intuitively want to destroy those traits in us. They are truly evil people.

          • Nord – Vampires – LOL! Great analogy!

            Young, attractive, confident, going places – they want to hitch a ride on our A train. But they don’t want to see, hear about, or God forbid PAY for the maintenance, so when we inevitably run off the rails through years of wear, tear, and neglect, they find another train, toss us aside, and proclaim, “You’re not the woman I married.”

            Well, no sh*t, Sherlock!

            You know that great figure I used to have? 10 hours a week in the dance studio. That cute wardrobe? $500 a month in new clothes. That great, “Can do, nothings-gonna-stop-me” attitude? My parents cheering me every step of the way.

            Take that all away, bury me beneath diapers and bills, and replace “can do” with “is that it?” and what have you got? A shadow of my former self.

            These days, I’m still not the woman he married, but I’m miles away from the clingy, wimpy, co-dependent he divorced. Can’t wait to get back to my old self!

            • I think for my ex this was totally it; I was this smart, well-respected, pretty woman w/lots of friends and a great life. Other than good-looking, he had none of that (although he hid those facts well). I was also really active, got tons done, and had fun doing it.

              He wanted a woman like that! First off because it showed that he must be ‘good’, to get someone like that. Secondly because I could take care of so much! Raise the kids, probably 80% of the time and energy that takes, take care of 90% of household admin and 80% of the housework, work hard and make good money, AND support him through job challenges, further education while working full-time, etc.

              But OOOOOOOH how he resented all that! Hated that I knew more than him about most stuff (put me down about that constantly, made me feel like a snob and a fraud simultaneously if I provided some info he didn’t have (and didn’t bother to look for either), would completely ignore me any time I was particularly dressed-up or looking good, put down all my friends constantly, wasn’t interested in having the kind of fun I’d always had, but also didn’t want me to do it on my own …..

              So in the end he had to cheat, didn’t he? He couldn’t live up to me, could no longer keep me down (that nearly-boiled frog had finally jumped out of the pot), and I wasn’t providing that full kibble supply anymore (although even without much reciprocity I was still providing enough to keep any HEALTHY person happy!). Basically I forced him to do it! He had no choice! And then I wouldn’t take him back when his attempts at reconciliation were so OBVIOUSLY GINR. Pooooor sausage.

              • KarenE…you just wrote the story of my 10 years with my STBX. He was all sparkle and shine in the beginning but in the last two years it became a “competition” when he wasn’t recognized at work and felt it was more important to “prove himself” there rather than at home. When I started doing things I enjoyed, because he was emotionally checked out years ago, he was “lonely” and found a girl he supervises, 30 years his junior. I quickly came off of the pedestal and was told she is a “younger and happier version of you.” Uh…really??? RIDICULOUS!!! I have aired all of my dirty laundry, relevant to the demise of my marriage, to family and friends but everyone is puzzled that he wants to be done with our marriage for issues that can be resolved. It is easier for a NARC to run away than to look inside themselves and face their demons. He was a coward and I had to “pull the trigger” for our dissolution. Now he can tell everyone I FILED and it wasn’t him. Of course everyone knows about the affair and the “rest of the story.” I am so happy that this nightmare will be over within the next few months. He officially moved out today and I feel liberated and alive!

      • I know exactly what you mean. Nothing I did was every “quite right.” He was disappointed in every song I wrote, every meal I prepared, everything about me was just slightly sub par. I kept struggling, but nothing was ever really good enough.

    • Love it: ‘I put hte family first, he put himself first’. Isn’t it always that way? It has nothing to do with the way you look or anything else about you. My ex tried to give some sob story about how he always was doing things for everyone else and now he needed to do something for himself. Which was funny as fuck since he was screwing around for years, I did everything at home, and now he wanted to REALLY dump all the responsibility on me…every bit of it, bar supporting his kids.

      Well, now I do everything and I’m getting my work situation together so I’m even doing most of the support stuff. What does he have left? Two kids who are pretty ‘meh’ about him and a young gf who is quite the drama queen and whom his family tolerates but aren’t keen on.

      I win. 🙂

  • Love it when you spell it out for what it is. Would never believe anything he says after this. I was ignorant, but I am not stupid.

  • Did anyone else’s cheater say that you sucked because when they complained about work, or some other issue you offered solutions? Did any of them say that all they wanted was your sympathy instead? Like maybe they complained about their job so much you finally started saying they should change jobs but they refused to do that? Did they say they just wanted you to listen every single day to the same shit and tell them how that sucked and it was too bad? Mine did that in marriage counseling.

    Today I found this video and it’s exactly perfect:

    • Oh, yes. He hated his awesome job where he won excellence awards, his back hurt all day (but he refused to ask for ergonomic assistance at work and he laid around on the floor playing video games all day at home unless he was off fucking the slut). I asked the kids to be very thankful that their father was the type of guy who supported his family and got up to go to work every day even when he didn’t feel like it, and this angered him (probably made him feel trapped.) He started the process of getting licensed in another state where the slut lived, but then he realized how difficult it would be to give up his vacation accrual and seniority (uhhhhhhhhhhhh…no mention of the kids…). All the suggestions I made to help him were met with derision. Finally I told him that I couldn’t help him, he was a man and he needed to solve his own problems because I had a lot of responsibility of my own (my full-time job, raising the kids, looking after a house that he ignored because he was too busy screwing a home-wrecking whore.)

      Really, by the time bomb drop hit, I was so fed up with him.

      When he left he whined that “you wouldn’t help me. [Slut] is nice to me. She gives me all the time in the world.”

      Good riddance. What a spineless coward.

    • Mine said stuff like that from time to time and I finally said, quite early on in our relationship, that I could not spend every evening listening to him talking about the same client and how much that client sucked and how everyone he worked with sucked for the rest of my life. I also pointed out that I had a job and that there were things there that I wanted to discuss.

      Looking back, I assume this is why he wanted me to be a SAHM – no more me having work things to talk about. More focus on him. Although who knows and who cares at this point. It’s just an idle thought that I never considered before.

      • yeah, but god forbid you complain about something that happened during your day at home. At least in my case. If I ever dared to complain about something about the kids or something, I wasn’t “grateful” enough that I was able to stay home. I got neither sympathy nor solutions. I got one upsmanship. Him going “well at least you didn’t have to deal with this…” and go on about how much worse his day was.

        These people always have it worse than everybody else.

        • Grateful! Yep, I’m just not grateful enough, even to this day. Oh, and in the weeks and months after dray? When I was literally barely able to get out of bed, never mind do anything else? I was ‘negative’ and ‘unable to see the possibilities in life’…and apparenlty this was yet another reason why he was forced to cheat.

          What a mindfuck he was…not to me any longer, thankfully, but looking back I cannot believe the sheer balls he had to say some of that shit. Fuck him.

  • CL, It’s refreshing that real issues of real chumps can be diagnosed, explained, and with the appropriate post-break-up follow through. All chumps go through Hell, and their skin gets thicker because of narcissists, borderlines, etc…Eleven months have passed since my break-up, and subsequent “no contact.” My ex is with her new “chump” and she drove passed my house 2 weeks ago (I saw her). She even went as far last week to contact a friend of mine to try and show some flippant remorse…THEY DON’T STOP. The term “boundries” does not exist…Remorse? Forget about it.

    • Oh Edward,
      Mine was still living with me when I got an anon letter at work from another ratting on another! Then he drove the main (?) one around in my direct site line before/during and after me forcincing him out. We live on a small island and only threats of the law got him to stop – coming by calling -etc etc. Yep..boundaries don’t exist for them. But CL does and that’s what’s getting me through it!

      • Toni, and thought I was pitiful for being so confined with my pet snake. A small island? I can’t imagine. At least I can sneak away for a few hours once in a while a go to a whole other state. Sorry for your troubles.

  • Oh my ex has lots of remorse – just ask him, he’ll tell you. Even though I’m remarried and he has had two more ex wives – until I blocked him from just about every contact mechanism – he would, text, email or call me out of the blue every so often – TO APOLOGIZE. Years later he would just want to tell me that he realizes he treated me so badly and wants to apologize to me –

    sounds good and mature and insightful and all – until I would say, it’s history and not something I feel I need to discuss with him,…. and he would get pissed – OH SO PISSED because I just would.not.acknowledge.he – 10, 12, years later…. yeh – he’s sooooooo sorry, that he would blow up at me and call me a bitch (again more than a decade after divorce) because I’d politely just say I didn’t want to revisit it and moved on, and unless there’s something we needed to talk about regarding the kids, I really didn’t see any need to talk to each other….

    • Yes, nothing says I have changed and am genuinely remoresful like, “I am so sorry. LOVE ME. What you don’t? You F—ing B–ch!”.

      Shaking my head. More than a decade and you are still dealing with this person’s nonsense? I don’t think I could do that. I’d probably move.

      • Heh…I think part of Ex’s problem (his rage and anger towards me) is that it’s patently obvious that I don’t love him anymore and he just cannot deal with it. So he’s all ‘you bitch, how dare you call me out on my shit and make it clear to everyone that you think I’m an asshole! People cheat all the time! Why can’t you let it go!’. I have let it go but it doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s an asshole, still.

    • “Don’t it always seems as though you don’t what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…”

      Your ex sounds kind of stalker-ish, Marcie. It’s weird that he’s still wanting to contact you after all this time.

      • I’ve kinda given up trying to figure him out although as time moves on I realize that he has some serious disturbances. For quiet a while I thought it was us just not being compatible, being too young when married, etc, ….but I woke up when I left him and he’s repeated the same pattern with women that came after our divorce –

        It has been a long time, nearly 15 years, and I’m happily remarried. However, I saw ex for first time in several years last month due to our youngest child’s graduation – and it really seemed to trigger unresolved issues about my chumpdom. I hadn’t really ever talked about the drama, trauma, and mindfucking that I endured other than in bits and snippits with people – and I stumpled onto CL’s site – which seems to be a lot cheaper than therapy :).

        So here I am!

        Positively, I can say to anyone fresh into the awakening – that it really, really does get much better and easier and there are good people out there to enjoy life with.

    • Amazing, he’s still looking for kibbles from you! He wants that absolution, for you to say that he really is a good person who just did one little bad thing, and regrets it so much, why, that must make him an even BETTER person!

      Still all about him, eh? It’s impressive how they don’t change. Glad you can be all ‘meh’ on him, marcie!

  • Today I am leaving. After 25 years of chumpdom I see that there has not been one ounce of real remorse from this fucker. Right to the bitter end he does and says the things you write about here so precisely that I swear he uses this site for reference. The thing about naugahyde is that the exterior is very durable. It really pisses me off that he will never recognize what he’s done – he’ll be too busy shining up so he can gather kibbles. Reading all these posts has been overwhelming – that every cheater tells themselves the same lies makes me nauseous. I am hoping it subsides by morning so i can get my kids, myself and my stuff and get the fuck away from this pos.

    • Oh, NTB – my thoughts will be with you today. This is a HUGE decision, but until cheaters have an incentive to change, they don’t. I’m so sorry for your heartache.

      • And most won’t even when they have big incentives; that would require recognizing that their behaviour has consequences, and reducing their sense of entitlement. Ain’t gonna happen!

    • NTB – Such a huge day for you. I’m sending thoughts your way, hoping it goes as smoothly as possible. GO GO GO!!

      • NTB — this realization, seeing him clearly — and maybe for the first time in 25 years — is the start of better things for you and your kids. What you’re doing now is so hard. SO hard. Painful. Scary. But you will surprise yourself with your own strength. You’re doing this in part so that your children will have a healthy role model for how to treat themselves. You’re taking a stand for your own mental and emotional health.

        This site is loaded with strong folks, headed up by the incomparable Chump Lady. Keep drawing from the wisdom and the righteous anger here. Anger, at the stage you’re at now, is power. It’s like stepping onto an airboat, firing up the big fan, and leaving the infested swamp that is this cheater’s environment.

        We’re here to help you get to the other side. Keep safe, and go, girl!

    • NTB, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your post made me think of this quote attributed to Harriet Tubman, that I know Hillary Clinton used in a speech, and which I have loved ever since and which I think is apropos for you today:

      “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” ― Harriet Tubman

    • NTB, move toward your new life. You’re going to realize very soon that the hard work is past you — the way you have been living, without remorse or respect, was the suffering. What you are doing by leaving is ending that suffering. Don’t be afraid. Have faith. It takes a lot of bravery to leave. The rewards are great — congratulations on your new beginning!

    • ntb,
      I think you are VERY bright! You found your way here, and learned.,, and even harder plan to act on what you have learned! We are here for you. Please keep us posted as we have been there, are there, or will be. (((((((((HUGS))))))))))

  • thoughts with you today NTB – you may likely feel up/down/sideways for a while – but there’ll be a day in the near future when you realize that things are actually feel better w/o him.

  • Oh I needed to read this article tonight!!! My STBX cheated in 2010. Earlier this year I found he had access to the same woman’s facebook account and I found an email from her to him. My husband “just needed closure”. Fast forward to me kicking him out in June and immediately they were following each other on Twitter, etc. As soon as I called him on it, I was crazy and I didn’t know what I was talking about and then I logged onto Twitter and neither one of them was following the other, imagine that! I must have been crazy for sure! 🙂
    However, we have three young children….And I feel terrible about breaking up our family. We have been married for 18 years. But when I read this article and all the comments, it reminded me once again that it is impossible for him to change and be happy with his life as long as I am in it.

    • Hey Jodi, the problem isn’t he can’t be happy with his life so long as you are in it.

      YOU cannot be happy in a life where YOU are being disrespected and lied to. Don’t you feel one bit guilty about divorcing. YOU did not break up the family, HE did. That’s on him. It’s not your shame to wear.

    • CL is right on, jodi; he’ll likely never be happy anywhere w/anybody. You’re just the handy excuse right now.

      I felt terrible about breaking up the family, so after the first affair I spackled and tried to untangle the skein and did all that stuff. And the second affair came along 6 years later; I think all it really took was opportunity, he wanted cake bigtime.

      My kids, who are 12 and 13, are way more relaxed at home now, we have way more fun, and they have chosen to spend very little of their time w/their father – he was just too unpleasant to be around for too many years. And it’s a relief to let him do his own parenting, without me trying to encourage, instruct and bully him into being a decent father. I feel younger and lighter, and I’m enjoying my life a lot more!

      And their dad just keeps on showing that he’s still the entitled, self-centered, negative person he’s always been. Trust that they suck!

  • CL, this is the article I needed to read after the ex’s first affair. Don’t know how much I would have listened, I had that giant industrial-sized bucket of spackle and was high as a kit on hopium, but it would have made me think, and the info would have niggled at my brain ….

    Interesting that in my case, it wasn’t even the affairs that showed me who the ex really is – it was what he didn’t do, didn’t think of, didn’t care about in the aftermath.

    • I’m getting there myself, KarenE. My wife seems to be waiting for her cheating to blow over so things can get back to “normal” (her at the center of the marriage).

  • Big ol’ Pictures of my Weiner is so typical of NPD. Like all of them, he only admits to what he thinks others already know or what he’s been caught doing. When more dirty laundry comes floating out, he updates his story to include that, but you KNOW there is always more that is untold. He is a disgusting pig. He reminds me of my ex.

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  • I’ve been married for almost 20 years. Last year I found out my everything. My husband has done everything on this list toand continues to do so. But, I believed in him for 20 years and it was all lies. He took a polygraph after discoveries and says he will take one every year for the rest of his life. We contacted a lawyer about a post-nup and the lawyer said that we can do an agreement the spells out assets, but child support and alimony will be decided if we divorce by the court, that is how it works in our State. Still, we will do it. My husband has humbled himself before me, our children and those who know (whoever I want to tell). Our counselors all think he is a broken man, in terms of hitting rock bottom and finally understanding that holding onto self-pity, pain, anger at G-d over (well lots of things he is now working on) actually prevented him from giving, receiving and understanding the real meaning of love. He writes me love notes every morning. Calls and e-mails throughout the day. Calls from his office phone before coming home, so I can see that he actually left for the office and does other accountability measures that he has come up with. He now plans weekends away for us, date nights, shares his pride in me and our boys with others (something he NEVER did before discoveries). I so want for us to work and to believe his remorse is true. But, what if he is just a sociopath, because he is either really remorseful or he is so sociopathic that he can fake “real” remorse. How would I know? I don’t even trust my own instincts anymore.

    • Lily, time will tell! You have to keep watching what he DOES, not what he says, and not let him off the hook too fast. Rebuilding trust and love takes a long time, and if he’s a narcissist or sociopath, he will run out of patience. Hope he’s got a no-bullshit therapist.

      Also keep in mind, if his cheating was repeated or long-term, the likelihood the remorse won’t last is higher. It takes a special kind of mind to keep lying to people.

  • I have been searching for this article again, CL!

    I ran across it about two weeks ago, and it made me feel much better, because my cheater CONSISTENTLY expressed the GINR, and NONE of the real remorse.

    It’s a good wake-up call for those of us still intermittently addicted to Hopium, and what I need to read on days when I’m feeling down in the dumps about him.

    I have copied it into a word doc, printed it out, and am posting it on my wall. PERFECT. My mantra.

  • He still seems to be on the path of “real remorse” and I am watching his actions. Words continue to be backed by matching actions. I know there are no guarantees.

    I guess what I am really wondering, what I keep searching for here, is someone who had a WS do ALL of the signs of REAL REMORSE consistently and then ultimately failed. Honestly, I am hoping to not find such failures. But, the scared, untrusting part of me wants to know all the stories out there where such a failure occurred after REAL REMORSE was consistently given for a long period of time, for any period of time. I have not seen examples of that, so want to believe that is because there are no examples of that. But, I am afraid that might be wishful thinking. So, please folks, if you have such a story, please share it. Thanks all.

    • Lily, my H and I have now been in recovery for 1 year now. It has NOT been easy!!! The OW works at the same facility we both work at , and occasionally I see her, and the crushing pain hurts! My H has done everything CL suggested to show true remorse, and I have started to trust him slowly, but I still keep my eyes WIDE open! I read this site daily because it still heals me. CL is a brilliant writer, who I just knows how to put all the pain of infidelity into simple terms that help me sort out my confusion, not to mention reading others advice helps so much too.

      I’m beginning to feel some gushy, trusting love again for him. It scares me, because that’s the part of my heart that felt like it was dying aug 2012. I fear feeling that physical heart pain ever again! It’s like childbirth you never forget it’s pain, but it gets pushed back in your psyche.

      At first I kept trying to analyze Why? The truth is it wasn’t me, it is inside him. He has completely changed how he deals with women. He has safe barriers and doesn’t talk anything but work related with them. He comunicates with me better now, and I listen. His individual counseling really helped him, better than our couples counseling, because again it was his character flaw that he loved to help women with their personal problems( not looking for an affair, but that’s what opened him up to the affair). That is how he got his feelings of self esteem and self worth, not to mention the ego boost. I think that’s why so many men won’t leave their AP, because they find that self esteem and self worth falsely from her needs, and don’t want to give it up.

      I also want to say, neither of us decided to reconsile for our kids sake, it was for us as a couple and our future together.

  • By the way all, on the post-nup with infidelity clause, I wanted to let you know what my attorney told me. First, post-nups are not recognized in statute in our state, but that doesn’t mean they are not followed. Second, any lawyer with his grain in salt would argue my husband was coerced in order to not lose me and the children, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a successful argument, but it could be. Third, even if coercion is successfully argued, at the least the post-nup establishes that I am the primary care-giver of our children, that I am due compensatory maintenance for putting him through grad-school, that I am due indefinite maintenance having been married for 20 years and leaving my career to follow him to some pretty remote place for his career and that I am due transitional maintenance to find my own path. And, still, the thing could be enforced in full.

    • Lily, I have a postnup nowthanks to CL’s advice. It wasn’t the postnup itself, but the way my H ( without any reservations went to sign it), that helped me feel he was willing to do anything to get me back. It’s been a year since he signed and things are finally feeling like we are a loving couple again. I would not say reconsiliation is for very many people. It has been a very difficult journey, and he had to work really hard to help me with my anger and insecurity. He took individual counseling and learned about boundaries. I can’t say I will ever completely trust or forgive him, but he did the majority of the work, and I just tried to heal. Lily, if u ask your H to sign a post nup, and he without reservations goes straight to the attorney with u to sign it, he may be truely sorry. If your H gives u excuses why not to sign, or drags his feet, that to me is a RED FLAG! It was all My H’s work that allowed me to decide to try to reconsile. I was determined not to do any pick me dance. We didn’t stay together for the kids, it was because we liked and enjoyed each other, and it was worth trying to see if we could pull us back together .

  • Living My Life,

    My husband actually initiated getting the post-nup done and the polygraphs. He initiated, he arranged, he followed-through. My attorney was just the follow-up as we were told we each needed representation. Because he was the one to initiate it, any ambiguities will be in my favor, so I’m told. If things did not work out, my attorney wanted me to understand all the possible arguments. The post-nup and polygraph were huge steps that he took to help me feel safe. I do see him doing all of the steps, without hesitation, outlined by Chump Lady above. Like you, it is my husband’s efforts, work, words matching actions continuously without fail and listening, answering, love and support that has made me want to try. It sounds like we are in a similar situation and it is good to know there is someone else out there doing the same. xx

        • Hi TigerLily! Well, it’s been over 2 yrs since we reconciled. The first year was a giant climb uphill! I was soooo angry! The Genious of CL’s postnup, is you can be yourself! No pick me dance for me! He stood by all my anger and confusion, and keeps saying, we are going to have a great life, till “the end.”( death). I would not recommend reconsiliation to anyone, unless the cheater is truely remorseful, and ready for your anger. I am much better. As for Meh… I think that will be years from now. The OW is still lurking around the hospital, but we don’t go there on her days ( we go to other facilities). I have many spy friends that will alert me if they ever see anything. I doubt I will ever forgive him, but im trying to focus on our future. We have one more year before all the teens leave the home for college( we have 4, 2 already in college 2 to go). For all me friends and family going through this shit, I tell them read chump lady!! And get a postnup! If the cheater doesn’t go for it, don’t stay. It’s all about their hard work to earn your trust back. Love is always easy for we chimps to give, but when the trust is truely broken it MUST be earned be actions not words.

          • We sound like we are in a very similar place, LML! I’ve finally gotten to the point where I think I am forgiving myself for not seeing it. That was huge for me. The post-nup, as well as working through the nitty gritty details of how we would separate if I decide that is what I need to do, have been huge in not letting fear dictate my way forward. I agree, meh, will be years from now for me too. We are working on a site that is not as pro bury your head in the sand as some R sites, that does ascribe to CL’s ideas in this post, but where R is still on the table. There just doesn’t seem to be much out there for those in our boat. Keep in touch LML!

            • That was from me, TigerLIly. I tried to update my profile, but keep TigerLily as my name. I am still learning how to do all of this stuff. I would ask my middle schooler who is a coding, web design guru, but I really don’t want him involved in this particular site. Ugh!

              • LML, I think (???) if you click on my name above it should take you there. Not sure if it will be in line with what you are thinking or not. Just feeling our way through it all. I am to the point now where I know I need to look into myself to be whole and happy, though it doesn’t mean my husband can stop doing EVERYTHING possible to heal himself, to heal us and our family, and to help me heal. But, focusing on working on my self-esteem, faith in myself, my instincts and just learning to love myself for the person I am is where I am trying to focus now. I think regardless of whether I would become a divorced chump or a reconciling chump, this is work I need to do. Love to hear your thoughts!

              • I turn 50 this summer, and I have to say, I’m okay with it. I’ve been working on myself, as you,my entire teen and adult life, and now I’m happy with me as a person. I have many friends and family that I love and love my back. We will be empty nesters after next year, and our 4 kids really seem happy and are great young adults. In January, my stepdad( who rocks!), had 2 heart attacks in a month, since he takes care of my mom with dementia, Ive been trying to lighten his load by helping out with mom. About 6 yrs ago, I started exercising on a regular basis, that has been one of the best self helps I could do. As for my emotional health, I’m still angry at times, still insecure at times, but all in all, every month I feel more of it release. I don’t know about you, but during sex, I struggle with “not thinking “about the betrayal, which I don’t know how to get rid of except time. The best healing for us has been getting out of town. Since, the OW will always be in our town and work, it’s nice to go somewhere where I won’t fear running into her. CL is right about having to eat a lot of shit sandwiches, and I think when you reconsile, you just have to accept that you will always have to eat some .

              • So, sorry about your Stepdad and Mom. Sounds like your plate is quite full. Yeah, I think with the passage of time and consistency on his part, I am able to have less frequent bouts of going down the rabbit hole, as they say. I am turning 45. Our oldest is in middle school. So, quite some time before empty nesters. Think I’ve always wanted to people to like me. As much my husband was all about his ego, I see this “need to be liked” and “need to be needed” as also seeking some kind of external validation. So, we really are each learning to let go of ego (seeking external sources of validation) and build self-esteem (learn to validate ourselves from within), regardless of anything to do with the marriage. Thought I had come so far on that, speaking my mind, in a kind way, but without fear of what others might think. This whole incident on SI showed me just how much further I need to go. We don’t live anywhere near where any of the shit took place, I suppose that is a blessing. Need to get myself back to the gym big time. I know that would help me so much. I refused to take AD’s. Gym workouts would be do a great deal to help. Just kind of not gotten back into it since our last move. Need to “just do it.”

              • Do u work TigerLily? My job is what gives me self esteem. It gives me great self worth to do my best to help others. I have also found that if you try to just have a few true friends that know and accept you for who you are that’s all you need. My H and I have couple friends and individual friends that have been very supportive through the mess. The affair not only hurt us, but also our friends and family. They were more shocked than me that my H had an affair behind their back as well. I had the support of all his colleagues, when the A came out. If I had to endure it with people not on my side as some chumps on CL do, I dont think I’d be in reconsiliation. Everyone thought we were the best couple, full of love and happy kids. Even his family supported me. He knows he did wrong, and when the OW asked him if he wanted to have a “no strings attached affair,” he went for it. He didn’t think he would “fall in love” with her, he just wanted new sex. She left her husband and put pressure on him to leave, he kept lying to both of us until it came out. I actually called him out on it 4 times in the 16 mo affair, but I had no proof only instinct, and he denied it over and over again. If it wasn’t for CL, I would have never put my bootstraps on and got an attorney. He moved out got an apartment, and I went no contact and got the divorce decree signed by him. We were 2 weeks before the divorce was final, he signed the postnup and started individual counceling. I didn’t let him come home for over 3 months. She went ballistic, and threatened him, burned his cloths with cooking oil, threatened a law suit. He was freaked out that his twuuuuluuv was a bitch. So in retrospect it couldn’t have gone better for me. The individual counceling is what he needed more than anything. It has helped him see his flaws of needing that cake!! The truth is, it wasn’t me it was him, and that’s why I say he has to do the work and I just need to heal. But now you probably understand why I’m still angry, but as I said before, I am getting better .

              • LML,

                I am a SAHM, but went back to grad school and am working on my masters through an online program. It is through a respected brick-and-mortar school and will not indicate its online origins on the certificate, so that is the path for now. We move a lot for my husband’s job. Whether we stay married or not, his pension is worth too much to walk away from the job just yet. And, I must admit, we love the expat life in so many ways. I had a wonderful friend in our previous location, she was a real sounding board and support. She is now battling cancer and I just want to be there for her, though sadly it can only be virtually as we are thousands of miles from all of our old friends, I am making new friends, but moving again in a year. I think that adds a layer of rootlessness to it all.

                We are at if you want to chat and move away from this t/j. . .By the way, when we say reconcile 4 life, we don’t mean that we are reconciled for life. We just kept seeing folks saying they are living their “happily ever after” and/or “reconciled.” And, it just did not at all mesh with our view of it all, we wanted a site for folks that believe like us, reconciliation is NOT a job that can be finished and forgotten, it is not an accomplishment, but rather a commitment to way of life. Anyway. . .

                Sorry Tracy for the t/j. If you do not want me referencing another site, totally understand, feel free to erase this post!

                TL xx

  • Real remorse doesn’t say ‘I don’t know”?

    GINR says ‘I can’t remember’ (because I am entitled to my secrets, its none of your business, and You’re Not The Boss Of Me).

  • Unicorn found!

    Hello! I like your blog! really wish i knew about it with me past relationship, he was a sociopath . Checked off all the GINR boxes! Yet, is not the reason im here, thank god, im out of that relationship almost two years now and i too found my sanity and inner peace! its marvelous!! So, to the subject and to answer another post of yours “The Unlikelihood of Immediate Remorse”, i think i have found a unicorn.

    After my sociopath, i found a great guy. GREAT guy. Everything was perfect, not weirdly perfect, honestly perfect. With our ups and downs, but we always talk about things and get over them together. So this perfect guy, cheated on me. Told me immediantly. Is remorseful. Telling me i dont deserve him and i should really move on, yet wants to be with me, but knows he fucked up. First thing he said was “i need help”, professional help. When i suggested to go to a doctor together too, he agreed. He wants to do everything that is possible to earn my trust back. He takes full responsibility, doesnt even blame alcohol, although he knows i would understand. He answered all of my questoins as many times i asked, all honestly. Yes, no way of knowing 100% if they were true, but he confessed stuff that he hadnt to. He wanted me to know the whole truth . He feels useless and unworthy for me. He is the totally opposite of a GINR.

    I do believe him. It just happened, so im still deciding on what to do. I have to say, we are not married and our relationship is shy of a year, but i truely believe we have something good. I m thinking that im kinda lucky this happened this early, at least i will know. If he carries through his intentions and we do go to therapy i will really know him, either to leave him or stay. So if we manage to get through this, it will be an even better relationship. Oh and its a semi-long distance relationship. He has values, really hard to find, exept the cheating one, which is really easy to find 😀 . Im leaning towards trying to work it out. At least this way i wont be regretting it later that i didnt try. I dont need him, meaning, relationships are great, but not a sole purpose. I do love him though. I have a life, i can find other men. I have self confidence/esteem and in general im not the girl i used to be in my previous relationship. Also, we are in our 30s. I know that mistakes happen, i also have to add, i also did something bad to him, really early in the relationship. A drunk make-out with a guy. I cant even remember details. He forgave me. Im not wanting to forgive him because of that, i just know how it is to do something you had no intention to do. Also, i know how true remorse feels like on the other side .

    Anyways. I had to report the unicorn. Lets see if he really is one. I will try to update, as i too find his reaction 1 in a million. We are currently distanced for us to decide, so the update will take a while.

    • Unless you do the really hard work to address the cheating that happened, I would not stick around this guy. Remorse that sets in too quickly isn’t necessarily a good thing. I lived a similar situation to yours, I believed, I forgave and we eventually got married.

      Now 16 years later, I discovered that the she went back to cheating in the 8th year of our marriage and 6 affairs… Now I’m facing telling our five kids why I’m angry with their mother, and can’t stand having her around. Should\ve left her by the curb the first time she cheated.

  • Thank you CL for this blog. Plainly put, I was a serial cheater who ruined an angel. She invested everything in me… in a lie. She gave me everything she had for over 8 years, to her own detriment. I remorselessly smashed her dreams with my dangerous cheating and porn addiction. My selfishness denied her more children, a loving husband, a house, a real family, and a normal life. Through it all, she loved me, cared for me, stuck by me, gave me a beautiful child, and tried to hold our family together while I defiled our marriage with every chance I was given. My angel is not a chump. She is an angel who believes in Christ and is strong in her convictions. Divorce was not a word she kept in her vocabulary. It was not an option…Until now.

    ALL of you Sociopathic, Narcissistic, Selfish, ASSHOLE cheaters like me need to WAKE THE FUCK UP! We didn’t JUST cheat. It wasn’t “just a couple of texts”! She wasn’t “just a friend”! It wasn’t “just sex”! We ruined lives. We denied our loved ones of love, attention, affection, respect, honesty, security, self-esteem, family, dreams, goals, normal lives. My angel forsook all of her friends out of humiliation. She weathered harsh comments from everyone she knew. Therapists advised her to leave…She didn’t. Our Pastor advised her to leave…She didn’t. She stuck by my side until the bitter end. Through her relentless fighting to save me, us, and our marriage… I continued my cheating.

    I made a decision! Nobody put a gun to my head and said “Fuck this tramp”. I made a conscious decision to remorselessly destroy a family.

    From this day, until the day I die, I will exist only to honor my angel. She deserves better than the garbage I fed her for 8 years. Even if she moves on and remarries, I will continue to honor her. She deserves to be happy. She deserves to be honored and respected. SHE EARNED IT! I expect nothing from her. It is Father God’s job to forgive me. Not my angel’s. I am reformed in Christ and will stop at nothing to educate cheaters as to the depth of the damage we do in our cheating.


    • TrulyRemorseful,

      The biggest gift Angel can give herself is moving on. Pray for her to do just that if you want to honor her.

  • When I found out the truth of why I was getting a divorce (another woman), my Ex said, “You have to admit, our marriage was basically over.”

    Um, actually no, I didn’t.

  • I admit, he had me convinced at times. But reading this post, his actions fell under every GINR. It hurts so much that he was basically faking it, after over a decade of lies. I get it now, though. He doesn’t care. He just doesn’t. He wants me for convenience in childcare and ego kibbles. It’s killing him that I’m finally seeing this. Now I’m getting the raging, the anger that he dare had to give me passwords. The insistence that there must be something wrong with me, because I picked him; the annoyance that I won’t let the pain go so he can be free do be this ‘new, improved’ person. How dare I hold him back like this?
    What a jackass. Can’t wait to be completely free of his crazy.

  • Ok. Love this and your site, totally.

    I’m in a bit of a quandary over this though. So my cheater did all the real remorse stuff – all of it! And I still don’t feel he is remorseful! I hate him! He did all of it = even the poly!!! But he did too much and had to confess too much and I made him give me all the details = so I just hate him.

  • If you tell your partner your parameters from the beginning-you cheat and I’m gone-and you’re a person who does not give up your ability to be financially independent, a lot of the bs drama is alleviated. They cheat-you’re gone. No fight, no drama. Bye. Ladies-don’t ever become financially dependent on a man. my mother taught this to me at a young age-call it an escape route-I just call it practical smarts.

    • If you are dependent on a cheater financially and that is the reason you won’t leave his lying, deceitful ass, I have zero pity or sympathy for you. As the betrayed spouse you are holding on to loser that knows you won’t leave. The CHEATER has all the power. Put a sign outside your residence that says come and get them KIBBLES. You lost your life!!!

  • I would rate my cheater as having shown 50% remorse. He has admitted that his emotional affair was wrong and he knows he has hurt me, but still believes that since it was not physical that I should be able to “get over it” and forgive him. (But, he has not asked to be forgiven.)

    At the same time he says he does not want a divorce and wants to work on our marriage, he tells me he has feelings for this woman. (She is a co-worker.)

    Prior to finding out that he was talking and texting this woman hours each day, he became very mean and hateful towards me. He was this way for about a month when I confronted him as to why he was acting this way he was saying all kinds of horrible things about me and our life together. Such as, I do not find you attractive, I love you but I am not in love with you, I never want to be around you, life with you is just mediocore, we have no good memories from our life together, we don’t have the same interest (that was new to me), he has hated me for years, there have been times when he wished he could just walk away from me, etc…. The next day, I found out about the other woman. He has never told me that he was sorry or done anything to erase these statements from my head.

    At one point after discovery he was ok with getting a divorce and I really am not sure why he suddenly changed his mind. I am actually worried that he only wants to reconcile for money reasons and not because he really wants to be married to me. I also think that he is waiting to see what the OW will do. I told her husband about them and he has filed for divorce.

    I am on the fence about what to do here. He is still in the house and it really hurts me to know that if I send him away my kids will be hurt. They will be devastated as I am. I have always been one to say that my husband is not the cheating type but I have been so wrong. Why did he wait and do this after 19 years together?

    Any advice is welcome.

  • I thought of one other possible criteria for reconciliation, and I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if what I say is legally viable, but…

    7. HIPAA

    Have the cheater sign a HIPAA disclosure form authorizing his/her medical care and mental health providers to discuss medical and mental health conditions, treatments, pharmaceuticals etc with you. This way you can be more involved with any mental health treatments, and have insight into their medications, etc.

  • My cheater shows all the signs of genuine remorse, and really has turned his life around. But I am divorcing him anyway. If he continues on the path he’s on, he may make a decent partner for someone down the road.

    But there is no getting past that what he did to ME was unacceptable. He showed me what he is capable of, and I am not willing to risk ever being his chump again. I am starting over by myself, because I am the only one I trust any more.

    Like CL says, he can get healthy on his own time.

  • This needs to be a “must read” of anyone who has been cheated on. There is not a single word that does not ring true whether we want to accept it or not.

  • I love this! I sent it to my cheater, hoping he’d see the error of his ways. He responded thus: It’s all about vilifying, no solution apart from post nup contract. lazy chimp…

    and then: I read it twice. it tries to rest everything on a symptom never once looking at possible cause. waste of time and dangerous.

    I’m still his chump, but hopefully not for much longer 🙂

  • What if your cheater actually does all of this:

    1. Humility – admits what he did was wrong. Asks what I want and provides – for both the kids and I. This includes booking trips (for us, not himself) to take over household chores and shuffling the kids to activities after work – all things that used to be solely my responsibility.

    2. Initiative – sees a counselor weekly (books his own appointments). Is seeing a counselor that works from the trauma perspective (basically, that cheating/porn cause real trauma to the faithful spouse and that needs to be dealt with). Has been in counseling weekly since about two weeks after d-day eight months ago. Does assignments, reads books and tries to implement suggestions.

    3. Honesty – took a polygraph test and has agreed to take any other polygraph requested. Gave me passwords to all emails, codes to his phone, access to all accounts.

    4. Patience – understands that I need time. Has agreed to wait for my answer. Doesn’t run away when I bring up my frustration, my pain, my anger. Takes my emotional anger.

    5. Ownership – Openly admits the problem was all his. Told me that I could tell anyone. Called my mom and told her what he did and asked her to call me because I might need some support.

    6. Recompense – he was spending money on porn and visited a massage parlor. He admitted it (after d-day) and put ten times that amount in a bank account with only my name. Provided a post-nuptial agreement that gives alimony (something not provided in my state) and child support that totals about half of his salary. Most other assets also given to me. If we go ahead a divorce, asks that his infidelity be stated as the cause of the divorce.

    This is why I haven’t been able to file for divorce. He brought home papers because I told him I couldn’t do it (file). He asked me to please just give him more time to do better at “winning me back”. Should I give him a bit more time to see if he can sustain these actions long term? There has been no more use of porn, no acting out, and his counselor has let me know he will order a polygraph if he ever feels there might be something going on.

  • –” “get over it” already because hey, it said it was sorry.”–

    [About a month after I moved back in after our ‘agreement’ to reconcile subsequent to a long separation, I attempted to engage in a calm and hopefully mature conversation about her infidelity, because that’s how male spouses of adultresses are, in a responsible non-threatening manner, supposed to engage the cheating wife]

    Me: “I’m still having some issues with your affair and I’d like to talk about it.”
    She, dismissive, expressionless, standing over me: “Look, if I knew it would have hurt you so bad, I wouldn’t have done it. But I’m tired of saying I’m sorry, and I’m not going to keep apologizing. You claim to be a Christian. So you and I both know you’re obligated to forgive me or you won’t get saved. You’re just going to have to figure out a way to deal with this and find a way to get over it on your own.”
    Me: “I see.”

    I remember this as vividly as if it was 5 minutes ago. Exact words used by her. That was the first and only time she said she was sorry. There’ve been no more than 10 ‘sorries’ for various transgressions since then, each of them precisely as inauthentic as the first (8 or 9 of those sorries came 2 days ago after another crazy blame shifting discussion).

    Our oldest son (5th grader) was “acting out” and I was having nightmarish fears about what his actions would be as he grew older, so I decided I would “deal with” the extreme pain of her remorselessness in order to save him, along with his younger brother and year-old baby sister. [Of course, she said I was obligated to fix my son.]

    Every single day since has been excruciating. Like a white-hot spear twisting in my back. Likely additional affairs as I look back. Much much more.

    The lights came on for me about a month ago, after searching for questions to our 4 bazillionth crazy stupid argument led me to discovering more than half of all the official Cluster B criteria unambiguously lit up. Probably more if I knew the intricacies and subtleties of some of the other markers. Now everything has taken on a new, but darker, light. It seems clear that I’ve been the scapegoat for her brutalized childhood. She’s effectively triangulated the kids against me. I know they have great kindness and affection for me, but I can see in their eyes their confusion as to why I’ve been so unhappy and angst-ridden for as long as they’ve known me.

    Now I’m wondering if the baby girl was mine. That baby girl is now 19 years old. I vaguely remember the ‘math’ not seeming to work out on that pregnancy.

    I am so angry at my wife: the entitlement issue fits to a t. She not only felt entitled to her cheating, but by implication, she felt her behavior entitled her to disregard future decades worth of children not knowing what it’s like to have a happy father, the security of a loving set of parents who persevered over some hard times. So I’m preparing to pull the plug on this marriage (we also had another baby 8 years ago, but I’m pretty sure she’s mine), and I’m not going to mince words to my adult children. “Our” 19 year old will not be able to avoid the question as to her paternity. And now what I’ve always felt is now burned in my heart as truth: There is no such thing as a wife who loves her children and cheats on her husband. Your sins will always find you out.

    I’m so angry at my own spectacular failure. This hurts so bad.

    And the adulterous woman wipes her mouth and says “I have done no wrong.”

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