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Reconciliation and Entitlement

The Unicorn of ReconciliationAs anyone who reads here knows, I’m not hopeful about reconciliation after infidelity. It’s not that I don’t believe successful reconciliations are possible — it’s just that I’ve seen scant evidence of them. (I liken this to a unicorn, mythical creatures, rarely sighted, that I want to believe in.)

The biggest reason I am skeptical about reconciliation is entitlement.

It’s my entire premise of this blog.

People cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. That’s it. That’s my simple answer to the painful question of WHY? I don’t believe people cheat because they’re broken, or their FOO issues, or because of the staggering powers of Facebook crushes. I don’t believe people cheat because of mid-life crises, which descend on former church deacons like a toxic cloud of musk cologne. I don’t believe people cheat because of peri-menopause. I don’t believe people cheat because that hussy flung herself at him and wore down his defenses after his mother died. I don’t believe people cheat because monogamy is not an evolutionary imperative. I believe people cheat because they give themselves permission to cheat — and that’s a matter of character.

So when D-Day hits, it does rather beggar belief that this person is going to lead with humility. To do that, they’d have to call into question their entitlement. And let’s face it, entitlement feels awesome. Humility, not so much.

Entitlement, of course, only feels awesome if you can suppress empathy. (Truly disordered people cannot do empathy.) Entitlement is — all the cookies for me! Empathy is… well, maybe I should share my cookies. You look sad without a cookie. As much as I want all the cookies, I don’t know if I can enjoy my cookies knowing that you’re sad not having a cookie.

When people are caught cheating they do a lot of things to keep entitlement alive. They gaslight. Cookies? I don’t have cookies. They blame shift. It is Right and Proper that I have all the cookies, because you don’t know how to appreciate cookies. They mind fuck. I would give you a cookie, but I’m was thinking of your health. You can’t handle sugar. They obfuscate. Cookie? Define cookie.

As long as there is entitlement, there is no hope at reconciliation.

Once you realize that, everything else falls into place. Chumps tie themselves in knots on the transparency issue. She didn’t give me her passwords! He won’t close his Facebook account! How can I monitor this?

You don’t have to. The fact that they feel entitled to their privacy means this is a nonstarter. They feel entitled to not answer your questions. They feel entitled to keep working with the person. They feel entitled to keep their good opinion of the affair partner alive.

The biggest, most humungous entitlement I see after discovery is that cheaters feel entitled to reconciliation, period. They think they deserve all the time they want to come out of the “fog.” To answer your questions. To read a book, or schedule a shrink appointment. They feel grossly entitled to a chump’s patience.

Moreover, they feel entitled to all the marital perks they enjoyed before discovery of their affairs. Comfort and validation from the chump. Sex. Housework. Income.

Humility is much harder. Humility means that it’s not all about you. It means you manage your expectations of any reward. Humility accepts consequences and lets go of outcomes. Humility does not try to control the narrative or protect its image.

Humility is painful. It wrestles with shame. Humility recognizes that regaining trust is a long, slow process that may end, despite their best efforts. Humility works hard without pay. Humility is forthcoming. Humility doesn’t keep secrets.

Most chumps who desire reconciliation accept that transforming entitlement into humility is a process. And so, after being betrayed, wrestling with their own enormous grief, chumps accept yet MORE humility and eat shit sandwiches waiting for their cheaters to catch up on this humility thing.

That makes me mad. All the false starts and failures at no contact. Cheaters “grieving” the affair partner, staring blankly at questions and “not remembering.”

Chumps believe in humility, because they’re so good at it. They believe their cheaters will come around. They see displays of regret, tears, apologies and put a lot of stock in that. They stay the course, because they believe in the transformative powers of pain. Surely, this person will see how much they hurt me and will feel moved to fix this. Chumps also believe that the cheater’s own pain will make them connect the dots of action to consequence.

I’m still a chump, because I still believe those things. I do think people change. I don’t think everyone is a sociopath narcissist unable to feel empathy. But I think change is HARD and is a tremendous example of delayed gratification. So much work goes into lasting change and the rewards are not immediate. I do not believe this is an attractive course of action for most cheaters.

Why would someone prone to escapism — an affair — become someone capable of delayed gratification? The rewards of reconciliation are not immediate and they’re humbling. Why would someone high on entitlement choose the painful path of humility? Because there’s so much to lose! One’s family and finances and the respect of the children!

Cheaters don’t think they’re going to lose that. Why? Because you’re still there. Helping them with their homework, walking with them, holding their hand on this humility thing. Reconciliation itself, does not help cheaters with their entitlement issues. If anything, it hurts authentic progress because it doesn’t level meaningful consequences.

But they’ll be so grateful you gave them that chance! Yes, I want to believe that too. But how has that worked out for the many chumps here — refugees of failed reconciliations, some many years after the original affair? And even if cheaters do feel a true sense of gratitude for another chance — can they kill off entitlement thinking altogether?

Reformed cheaters can be like dry drunks. All the entitlement, without the sexual acting out. They may spend more of the marital assets, do less housework, not work a regular job. Why? Because they’re special. I think at some level they believe that you are fortunate to have the wonderfulness that is them. Is that better? Is that worth saving?

If you were a cheater examining your choices after DDay, what would be your most likely choice? Authentic reconciliation — shame and mortification, hard work of trust rebuilding without guaranteed reward, but you get to keep your marriage and family and finances intact. Eternal expressed gratitude to your chump for taking you back.

Or cake! The veneer of reconciliation, doing the bare minimum in terms of apologies and marriage counseling. No shame, no mortification (because the chump won’t tell anyone and will continue to protect your image). Marriage, family, and finances intact. And options remain open for current or future affairs.

Or escape! Follow the rainbow and start over with your sparkly affair partner. Okay, you lose the marriage, family, and half the finances, but you gain sparkles and there is some imaginary trading up. If you remain “friends” with your ex, you may be able to control the narrative or have another person to fuck once in awhile. The escape option also keeps cake alive.

Or divorce. No marriage, half time with family (if that), half the finances. Mortification, shame, no controlling the chump’s narrative. But a chance to start over with a clean slate and someone new.

The only two honest choices here are authentic reconciliation and divorce. The two hardest paths. If you’re a person with demonstrated poor character, which path do you think would be most tempting? If you’re prone to escapism and entitlement — how long do you think you can stay on a hard path without lapsing? Only one of these paths requires total humility — reconciliation. The other three let you keep most or all of your cookies.

See why I’m skeptical?

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “I believe people cheat because they give themselves permission to cheat — and that’s a matter of character.” Amen, sister! Well said! Spot on!

    • I am fascinated by this site. I am not a chump in the sense of an infidelity.. . Betrayal by inlaws has left me feeling chumped. Oddly, it is my MIL being chumped but she and many other fam members ignore my FIL having voyeuristic pic gathering fetishes whilst painting me as the “Grandparent Alienating” DIL from hell. All the gaslighting and obfuscating issues still apply. The traitorous entitlement bee in a person’s bonnet can reverberate outward and touch everyone within reach of the obvious character disordered’s touch. Anyway, I just trade the term “Cheater” for betrayer, backstabber, etc and all the collected defining of thoughts found on this site still applies. Thanks, Chump Lady. Great body of work.

      • Zeeoveritdil, I agree. All the principles found here can be applied to infidelity & betrayal
        of any kind, in any relationship.
        Like a contagious disease, one
        person can infect many.

    • Sadly this empathetic behavior toward serial cheating sociopaths is a lesson in futility. It’s scientifically impossible for them to have the breakthroughs you are describing in your false hope as a cheated upon husband, with 14 years invested.

      There is not a single case of a sociopath ever getting better, not one that I am aware of. The best therapists in the world have stated there is no cure or therapy for this, it may even be an actual brain disorder.

      Treating/marriage counseling in terms of the sociopath simply teaches them how to hide their disorder better, so they can manipulate people in a fashion where they will not get caught again. Serial cheaters care not for the people they harm: those people exist to be used. The only time the notion of caring affects their lives, is when they get caught. Then their aim becomes undoing the sanity of the victim, making them second guess their own observations into madness and the loss of a life they had worked for. The cruelty is unimaginable.

      And know this: as finding a mouse in your home, it is but a symptom, one of dozens you don’t see, as the serial cheater being caught, understand that there are volumes you as the victim will never know of because they will never tell you. You are their fool.

      In the end, the sociopath cheater would never consider the destruction of a another’s life a curse, they would only consider it an inconvenience, and even an achievement.

      Serial cheaters are predators that only seek the preservation of their pleasure and reputations as they willfully destroy the lives of others to meet their needs. Then as serial killers, they seek to hide the bodies so that they can perpetuate their lives in a cycle of self-serving destruction. In the end, they believe you got what you had coming, because somehow you did not meet their needs. When they get caught, they fleece you for 50% of your wealth. Maybe you commit suicide, so what, they walk away the winner with your insurance proceeds!

      Thank you Feminists/Esther Perel that claim this the right of today’s women in their own self-discovery. Serial cheating today is OK and sanctioned in our new environment of political correctness, despite your destruction as a man. If you are a white man, all the better.

      Being a good man in today’s world when married is a sign of weakness, today’s women want a strong man. Every time we as men acquiesce to our women, they view it as weakness. Then they cheat because you are weak, and when the alphas dump them after they are done with them, these whores come back to us for security. Not love or remorse. They only seek to use us again until they find the next alpha.

      Once anyone cheats, its done. They can never be trusted. Never waste a second on a proven cheater, they will most ALWAYS let you down. Suck it up, draw boundaries and move on. As a man with decades lost on loving and trusting cheaters, I am today broke and old because I thought goodness existed in the hearts of today’s modern women. Please learn from my mistake

      The days of love and trust are long behind us in today’s age. A man’s dedication to porn will make him rich in today’s world, simply by him never getting married and giving away 50% of his assets, often times, more than once. How sad is that…

      .

      • You wrote: “Being a good man in today’s world when married is a sign of weakness, today’s women want a strong man. Every time we as men acquiesce to our women, they view it as weakness. Then they cheat because you are weak, and when the alphas dump them after they are done with them, these whores come back to us for security. Not love or remorse. They only seek to use us again until they find the next alpha.”

        This resonates with my experience. My wife is having an EA (and possible PA) with a man she thought was strong. A business leader and wealthy. She admires the prestige and power he has. She’s told me all about it but won’t stop. His relationship pattern and their personalities indicate a short life for the coming PA. I’m moving out and on now after realizing she isn’t committed to me.

      • As someone who has been victimized by a BPD cheater, your words resound strongly for me, Chester. I don’t believe in “true love”anymore (except for a dog and his master), my having been the useful object she manipulated to build up her ego.
        “In the end, they believe you got what you had coming, because somehow you did not meet their needs.’—Man, you nailed it!
        BB

      • Chesterj, A sociopath (which is worse than a narcissist or other
        personality disordered people)
        has a seared conscience, as you have clearly described & cannot change.
        So true, a sociopath will steal, kill, destroy ~ whatever to win.
        Book, “The Sociopath Next Door” will confirm all you wrote.

  • Once again you hit the nail on the head, CL!

    I find your language creeping into my daily conversations when telling people about where I am right now (physically and social-status-wise) and I find they understand much more quickly than when I use the gabble-gabble of psychology.

    Thank you 🙂

  • I’ll be perfectly honest when I say my H is upset with himself because he cheated on me but (and this is good) it has suddenly become my fault; overnight I have turned into this awful hadrian he has been SO unhappy with for years. News to me. He was no bed of roses to live with either but I put him 1st as often as I could. I am seeing signs that the EA is winding down ( another story in itself poor baby) so this post is timely. For the longest time I was hoping that we could work things out but I think that unicorn has sadly disappeared.

    • My therapist laughed when I told her how Ex would say ‘we should have divorced 2, 4, 10 years ago’. She said it’s the same thing they all say…rewriting history and making like they’d been soooo unhappy for soooo long.

          • Chump Lady and everybody, my husband was sexually abused by his mother as a little boy. He was totally f…ed up and split by this. He is the gentle loving father of our children. I have been finally supported by malesurvivor.com and Mike Lews book Victims No Longer and AA. Suicide is many times the surprise result in later life of this the worst of abuse, secret by domination. One in 6 males. Also females more often. Finally we are free in our 70s after much hell and infidelity. God is with us. Thank you for beginning this search for meaning and not hiding feelings.

        • Same with me, he never said he was unhappy, although he said he’d fallen out of love with me years ago (he should have won academy award for acting, though). He said he looked some stuff up on the internet to fix our marriage and it didn’t work. I remember thinking “Why didn’t you just talk to me?”

          • Talk to you? You mean actually discuss any issues that may have arisen and should probably be addressed? You’re crazy!

          • Because than he might have to do something. If he “suffers in silence” than it is your fault for not noticing. Like the high school girl who tells her boyfriend she’s “fine” or when asking what’s bothering her replies “nothing”. Then she blows up when the hapless boyfriend has not magically done what she wants.

          • Because talking to you doesn’t come with ‘an exciting new c—t and an exciting new pair of t–ts’

            (yes, that is an actual quote)

          • same here my wife said she was unhappy for years but never talked to me and then blamed me for not being a good communicator. After she left with her boyfriend that she was cheating on me with

      • Ditto– my XWH actually told me that he thought about divorcing me over the HONEYMOON. Um… so why didn’t you? We were young, we would have had very few assets to split, had our own cars and an apartment with a month-to-month lease… I would have been upset, but I would have gotten over it and found someone else eventually. Rewriting the history, though, helps to justify the A. Your therapist is very wise, Nord.

        • Sounds familiar. My husband said he hasn’t been happy in our whole 15 year marriage. Wow, he must really be a glutton for punishment to suck it up for 15 years and have two kids together. Assholes.

          • Yep. My ex spent our entire 20 year marriage telling me I was his best friend, he was happy, would never want to divorce, blah blah blah. Once dday hit, that all changed overnight to how he’d always been miserable, never should have married me, we had nothing in common, divorce was the best option. By now, he probably tells people he contemplated suicide every day of our marriage.

        • Yes, but on the other hand he also said ‘we had 20 good years together but then it jsut crumbled’ (no mention of the many affairs I discovered contributing to said crumbling).

          • Shortly after Dday, now-ex said, “I have some good memories of our marriage, but now it’s just a business deal that’s over.”

            • Mine said my anger and disgust was ‘destroying all our wonderful memories’. This was said after I discovered quite a few affairs over the years, which naturally already destroyed quite a few memories.

              • Of course it was your anger and disgust “destroying all our wonderful memories.” His behavior had nothing whatsoever to do with the nastiness. It is so hard to behave like a human being with people like this.

            • The disrespect is unbelievable. You feel so devalued when they say things like this.
              It’s a business deal in their mind and that’s what makes them so screwed up.

          • yep! way for them to take ownership right? don’t wait for it, it will never happen.
            my question also, well if you were so unhappy, why didn’t you tell me, and we could have ended this long ago. Oh!! that’s right, then there would be no more cake and kibbles! lol

        • My XH in a spineless email 9 months after he fled to an apartment over a dollar store said that we should have divorced 5 years earlier because I would be farther along by now and it might not have been so hard for me. How thoughtful considering 5 years ago he wasn’t the ass he later morphed into.

      • They have to blame. They need justification.

        They see a better life with the younger woman or the wealthy older man and think they will be better off. They know what they are doing is wrong so they blame the marriage, anything but their own behaviour and choices

        • Well, final OW tells people that ‘Mr nord looked so unhappy at work and I just wanted to make him happy’. She achieved this by fucking him.

      • Ugh I am so happy I didn’t take the unhappy bullshit. “Honestly, I’ve been unhappy for a long time.. blah blah blah typical cheater response ya ya” and then I retorted back “OHHH you think I was happy? (Explained reasons why I was unhappy using his faults) But I always told you when I was unhappy even if it was on Christmas Eve! I didn’t CHEAT.” That shut him up. The ass hole never thought of me. It was always about him. These people are such scum. It’s like they missed a pivotal point in healthy human development. We are on another level chumps. We are intelligent human beings who have evolved past our animalistic instincts. It’s comforting to think that I am on a whole other playing field of intelligence compared to him.

    • They all say that. My cheating wife has also said “I’ve thought of Divorcing you before” of course this was all news to me. The Blameshifting is all part of their cake fest.

      • Yup, they all say that. Ex told me “I realize I was unhappy during Xmas 2009(!). Um… And I asked in March of 2010 if everything was ok between us and you said yes.”
        He also “had doubts” before getting married.
        Revisionist history, baby!

        • Oh yeah, they all say it. I got that too. “You’re just misconstruing what happened to make me look like a bad person. We broke up because I was unhappy.”

          He’s re-writing history and I was the one who “misconstrued” the events. Yah. …Sure.

        • I asked, a month or two before dday, if everything was ok as I sensed something off. He said everything was fine and since my focus was on some stuff going on with the kids, along with wall to wall visitors for more than 6 weeks, I didn’t pursue it further. After dday, me asking ‘only once’ if everything was ok, was one of the reasons he carried on with pursuing final OW and others. Apparentlly that ‘only once’ showed just how little I cared.

          Yep, this is the shit I have heard for over 18 months.

          • Wow are they ALL the same I mean seriously this is why I love this sight. You say to yourself “I know it wasn’t perfect but it was a marriage and if he thought I was a witch he should meet a real one.” Thanks everyone I feel less alone

          • Lovely how they like to rationalize it like that, ain’t it? CL is right. They just give themselves permission, and they need the tteeeeeeennniest of reasons to do so.

          • “Apparently that ‘only once’ showed just how little I cared.”

            And how many times did he inquire about YOUR needs during all this time? Probably ZERO. Which means – using his logic – that he cared less for you than you did for him.

            Of course they never see it that way…

            • My needs? Silly Red – my needs weren’t important! I was there to make sure he was ok and if I wasn’t up the job then someone else was! Enter final OW, who was not only up to the job but willing to do whatever it took to get that job permanently.

              • ….and the karmic “be careful what you wish for” fairy will be coming to visit Final OW, Nord…real soon. they’ll both get exactly what they deserve.

    • You could be telling my story. And this blog post breaks my heart bc it so perfectly defines my husband. It’s the whole entitled thing. He’s very sorry that what he did hurt me but he’s not sorry for what he did. Apparently he’s been unhappy for years and I’m some horrible wife. He recites a history I don’t recall. Yet he never bothered to tell me how unhappy he was. I guess it’s my fault for not being a mind reader.
      Im curious what’s happened to your marriage? I’m in denial that this could end in divorce but unless something drastic changes with him , I’m not sure what other option there is.
      Your comment was so similiar to my experience that I wanted to reach out.
      – Leslie

      • Me too, Leslie! My escapist narcissist x is a great re writer of history! saying I came to you to try to talk about things and you brushed me off. Really? funny how only HE recalls this! You know, what really steams my clams is when he constantly says
        I love you. My response is always, well I can’t wrap my head around how you
        can hurt me so many times, in so many ways, and still stand there and say I
        love you. I don’t know anyone who would do all of that to someone they claim to love.
        Someone please “enlighten” me!!

        • Sodone,

          Unfortunately, you’re still trying to figure him out. You’re getting tangled in the skein….and like CL says, he is HIGHLY INVESTED in you remaining so.

          If you’re asking yourself “How can you_____ if you love me?” You’ve just answered your own anguished question. He did it because he can, and you put up with it. You keep feeding him kibbles….whether it’s positive kibbles or negative kibbles…..it’s kibbles.

          No. Contact. Unless it’s about the kids or something else that the court has ordered you to do. Most of us here know, that once you set back from the crazy making, the gaslighting, the “I was fucking her, but thinking of and love you the whole time” and the “I TRIED to tell you, and it’s YOUR FAULT that you didn’t listen and I had to cheat to get your attention!”—–once you DISENGAGE, and I mean, stop asking him (or yourself) “HOW COULD YOU!” and look at his ACTIONS and not his WORDS—-you will see clearly.

          Serial cheating is, in my opinion, one of the worst—and someone here said it really, really well—

          You’re giving him additional bullets for his gun because he missed you the first time.

          The only question you need to ask yourself is, Is this what I want my marriage to be? Because if the answer is NO—he’s already shown you that he has no interest in giving you the marriage that you wanted.

          hugs to you.

          • Thanks for your response Buttercup! I totally agree, already know the answer. I have made
            my appointment with the lawyer and do not intend to miss it! the F tard still comes by, to pic up stuff (excuse) and always has shit to say. I’m still in the marital home, and he is in
            an apartment. I have already contacted a realestate agent to sell the house. 401k’s are down to equal and separate accounts are in place. Proud of myself of how much I have gotten accomplished without the lawyer yet. Tard keeps saying I threw him out, Re-writing history, I said sombody has to go. we have 5 dogs, and a daughter who will be graduate
            college in dec. he agreed on taking the apartment so she would have a home to come to. She witnessed alot of shit with the ea, and doesn’t want anything to do with him. oh, and not the first ea. should have fixed this shit 5 years ago. I was too busy back then searching for that lovely unicorn! LOL. eyes wide open, I just be still, quiet and listen.
            It is amazing what you hear! And yes, gotta get the skein untangled from my ankle. Working on it 🙂

              • Thanks buttercup:) I think the reason he is having the switch between love bombing,accusations, faulting, is he sees I am headed in a different direction- and it’s not
                towards him. Oh my goodness! someone would reject me??? The difficult part for me is
                i have no family other than my 2 girls, and his family is pretty much my family. They are very supportive of me, but as I have told my daughters, blood is thicker than water. At some point his parents are going to bring him back into their circle, and be sucked into his lies and cries for sympathy. Nothing I can do about that. If their feelings for me change, then that is on them.Oh and,I too, am very fortunate to have found you guys,
                Everyone on here has been my rock 🙂

    • Omg, right on. Same happened to me. As soon as OW became no longer as interested, he shifted to love bombing and drastic statements along the lines of “so this is your last chance to reconcile with me, because I won’t beg.” Ha ha. Sadly, his entitlement is so strong, after my ultimate rejection, he created 3 profiles on match.com, eharmony and tinder. As far as I know he’s now “dating a lot”, according to a mutual friend. Truly sorry he wasn’t.

    • Yep, This is how they deal with it. Rewrite history and make it your fault. Happened to me too. If I had only done… If I had only said…If I hadn’t.

      I didn’t make him cheat, didn’t lower him onto his girlfriend with a crane and force him to enter her. She pursued him, he took the bait and somehow it was all MY fault! Five years later it is the funniest thing I have ever heard! So many of my friends in the same situation got the same.

  • Yep. If anything, reconcilliation lowers the bar of possible consequences in the mind of somebody who is truly unreptentant. Been there, did that.

    • Oh, I don’t think there is ANY hope for reconciliation with the truly unrepentant. The options I outlined are for cheaters who do actually feel some remorse, but are faced with the hard choices of what to do next.

      Yeah, the disordered ones? (of whom there seem to be a lot of on this site) — abandon all hope. Just run the hell away. If they step over your sobbing body, make a Hot Pocket, and sleep soundly that night, you’re dealing with a wing nut. Nothing to be done. Can’t knit them empathy synapses.

      • Would you mind sharing this story? I’m just getting caught up on reading the older posts, that, by the way, should be recycled. Mine not only stepped over my body, he proceeded to cook himself a full meal, while I laid on the kitchen floor sobbing. He then sat down, ate his meal, and finally looked up to ask why I was still crying. Then he put the dishes in the sink, stepped over my body again, and left the kitchen to watch tv in another room. What a mental image.

        • Mine did just about the same, but while he watched TV, he also logged on to chat with his OW. WHILE I WAS SOBBING THERE in the same room, he proceeded to smile and flirt with her online for about 3 hours. He tried to explain later that he was just telling her that I knew, and that he needed a “friend” to help him during his difficult time. Um, what about being my friend, WHILE I WAS SOBBING THERE in the same room? I still think that was my major tactical error. I chose sadness and dispair as my main emotion, instead of anger. I should have kicked his ass out then and there, but I kept hoping he would see how hurt I was and, I don’t know, care.

          • This same thing happened to me. A month after I’d moved cities for him (800 miles away) and quit my job, I caught him talking to the woman he’d cheated on me with initially. I ended things over it, and as I laid there sobbing on our bed (in the apartment I had barely just moved into and we’d just finished furnishing) he texted the OW, not once comforting me or asking me how I was. Forget apologies, he didn’t even care I was destroyed over this.

            Was it dumb I forgave him and moved in the first place? Maybe. But who can imagine someone manufacturing feelings, allowing someone to give up a job and make that kind of sacrifice, for someone they don’t love at all in return?

  • Funny, I don’t usually catch your posts on the same day, but this one I did and it’s exactly what I needed to read. I feel worn out.
    My question though Chump Lady is this: are their men (or women) who spend a long long time preparing to cheat? Online profiles for example, but not making any contact.
    My miserable gaslighting husband has a history of online profiles but even though I GPSed him to death I could account for almost every minute of his day. If he has done anything it wasn’t an ongoing affair, a one timer or something. (Opportunity sex)
    Anyway, I’ve told him the online profiles have to stop and each time he continues. He whines saying they keep sending emails…but of course he doesn’t have to look at them or go to the site.
    What am I geting at?? Not sure, but once a cheat always a cheat…which is what I thought all along. I can’t wait for the day when I can leave or tell him to leave and not worry about ending up living on the street.

    • Cheaters often know they’re being GPSed. They leave their phones with tracking devices at the office and take their secret phone instead. They leave one car and get a ride. There’s lot of ways to fool the marriage police.

      Look, the purpose of dating profiles is to CHEAT. It sounds like this is a chronic thing and goes way beyond the plausibility stage of he was just exploring. Even if he never will hook up with them (doubtful), it’s HUGELY disrespectful to you. That’s either a deal breaker to you, or it isn’t.

      • Oh I agree with you Chump Lady….leaving the phone etc.
        And even if he hasn’t cheated, it’s still a deal breaker and he knows I feel that way but the bottom line is he doesn’t care.

        It’s just me getting my ducks in a row so I can leave, it’s no longer if, but when. Better yet, he should leave.

        • Yes he needs to leave. Oh he’ll belly ache about it. Tell him something like I I told my cheating wife. “Shitty choices get shitty consequences, She nodded her head and sheepishly said ok.

          My cheating wife wanted me to leave the house claiming it would be easier to take care of the kids. She’s home sooner from work (works in the small town we live in) has the summers off (she’s a teacher). Things is Our boys are old enough to take care of them selves most of the time. They are 12 and 15. Daughter is 18 and is going off to college this fall. I told her “I’m not leaving, you need to move out” even her friends told her that under the circumstances she should move out. She moves out Aug 1st.

          • Lucky you Bud. Mine won’t leave yet. IMO he just makes himself look like a bigger asshole for not leaving. For those that know what he has done to his family and continues to live in the basement seem to think even less of him. Good! His actions even after his affair speak volumes. I just hope everyone has the speakers turned up! Good luck to you. 🙂

            • Mine refused to leave “his property.” I found out about his affair, and he took that as permission to not even hide it anymore around me and our three sons. He used our home as a place to shower and change his clothes before heading out with his bimbo every night and weekend. It was the longest, most painful, most humiliating six months of my life.

              • Chutes…. 🙁 Mine too. Although he doesn’t know what’s coming down the pike–I took Tracy’s advice on “What NOT to do” and “Now that you’ve been Cheated on”—I am not tipping my hand….

                but boy. isn’t this a kick in the teeth? Policing (not so much anymore, but at first), detective work (gps, recording devices, monitors, PI, friends following him, fact checking stories)….and having to wake up to know he’s in the house….and going to be touching my daughter with his filthy smut covered hands, kissing my daughter with the same lips that have been….elsewhere….just the day before….

                It makes me sick to my stomach every single time I see his face. Every single time I think of every allowing him to touch me, that I EVER allowed him near me at all!

                And yeah….what’s coming in a close second to that is the absolute complete humiliation of how many people in this town KNOW. How many of my family and friends KNOW (some knew before I found out.)

                He walks around like nothing is wrong. If I were him, I would find the biggest rock and climb under it.

                That’s the difference, though, isn’t it. I have a sense of humility, decency and self respect. I would never have considered humiliating my daughter in this way—and she will be, because people are gossipy, cruel and thoughtless, particularly when STBXH is not well liked.

          • Bud,

            We have a very similiar situation. At the time, my STBXW asked me to move out of the house so we can start the dating process over again, and so I tried but then I realized HEY James! you weren’t the one who cheated. So I eventually got my senses back and kicked her out of the house and I had her remaining stuff packed up for her to pick up and leave. I said to myself, if you want to continue seeing the other married man, then hell, move in with him. She didn’t like that fact that I kicked her out nor liked the fact that I told her I wanted a divorce. I knew she was playing me like a fiddle and realized that I didn’t deserve this disrespect and told her to get out.

      • Yes. Once cheaters know they’re being watched, they can become clever. This is one reason why I think that this affair is STBX’s first. Either that or I have been so trusting that he’s never needed to cover his tracks before, and I can think of one other time when red light popped into my head.

        Anyway, after we received a note from a bank regarding a car loan application that was addressed to both of them, I managed to read STBX’s email about how he’d get a PO Box. If he’d been experienced at affairs, he’d have had one all lined up. That he had to get one now suggests that it just occurred to him that he needs to separate his women into compartments a bit better.

        Be suspicious of any new technology additions. For example, about 3 or 4 weeks ago, STBX announced that he was getting text for both our phones. Previously, he’d been too cheap to pay text charges, so I got an app for that. That he felt he needed to get text tells me that he was getting paranoid about his FB account (I’d not read it for ages), so was looking for a better, more secure way to communicate with OW.

        Janet, I can’t remember why you’re still with your STBX, but he knows that you know he’s cheating. My STBX doesn’t know. I’ve not confronted him at all. I’ve brought up stuff that I should notice (Me: “hey, Dick, why are you getting letters from the bank addressed to you and OW? Did you cosign a loan for her?”–Dick: “Oh no, kb, that was because she asked me to be a credit reference.”-). So he lies and thinks he’s clever because I appear to buy it.

        I had originally planned to stick it out a couple of more months, but given STBX’s financial recklessness, I am going to get out sooner than later.

          • kb, I’m stuck right now for financial reasons.
            He may think I suspect something, but he isn’t aware of how much I know and how much I have documented.
            I quickly realized that it was better to play dumb so he wouldn’t cover his tracks too much. At least until I’m ready for the final blow.
            Yea, once I realized things weren’t what I thought they were I started getting pretty good at recognizing the signposts. For ex….an upgrade in his phone from flip phone to smart phone.
            Reconciliation?? Nope, he and I both agreed that cheating or even giving the impression one was, was a deal breaker. So sometimes in my head I think well if he will stop putting his mother before me, or putting me further in debt and then I recall the way I felt when I found the first dating profile.

            BTW, Chump Lady, wouldn’t it be fun fun to just post all the profile names our cheaters have come up with?? Cue the evil laugh.

            Jane

    • Jane,
      Does it really matter if he’s met them in person or not? My wasband’s affairs were largely cyber. He would have skype sex as in mutual jerking off together on webcam and phone sex and just plain sexting instant messages which he kindly left open on MY laptop several years ago. Then, he lied about meeting them in person which I found out years later that he really did do. Then, there were the online confidantes. One is this cunt in Israel who was a former fuckbuddy when he was in his 20s.

      Honey, for the love of God… this is absolutely not meant in any way as a criticism (except that there’s no way to say it without it sounding like it), but what kind of a marriage is it that you have to GPS his every move just to make sure that you are safe? Please reread, CL’s post about trusting that he sucks.

      HESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKSHESUCKS!!!

      He just plain sucks. He knows how to fly under the radar. He can have a second phone and leave the other one at work, so that you think that he’s there and have the calls forwarded to the other cell phone. Or, he can get a blow job in his car… He can have a “meeting” in his office. He can go out to “lunch” or to the “doctor” He can go shopping or a zillion other ways he can pull the wool over your entire head. He gets off on this… because its part of the “fun,” pulling one over on the little (she-doesn’t-have-to-know) misses.

      And even if he’s not doing any of that…(extremely unlikely, in any case) he has fucking PROFILES on sex and “dating” sites. Oh, and they just “happen” to email him. Poor, poor dear, just can’t help himself from all those horny women just dying to have sex with the most wonderful HIM! Honey, he’s an internet predator and believe me when I tell you that you don’t know the half of it and you don’t want to, because cheaters are like icebergs. Whatever you see above the water, there’s an equal amount underneath the water that you can’t see. But, please save your soul and don’t go there.

      its an ugly, lifeless, very, very cold place to be.

      big hugs… and I totally get the monitoring thing, but it will eat away at your soul. Please make a plan to escape his craziness. I know how difficult it is to leave. It took me years… and yeah, it was because of $$$. Do you have parents that can help you? Even a loan? Do you have a way to support yourself. Keep moving forward and make a plan. There is help out there… a job or life coach. Colleges love to help older women get degrees. You can do this! Hang tough. Keep seeing yourself where you want to be.

      He is NOT going to change; he can’t. That is the reconciliation that we must embrace with our fucktards. big (((hugs)))

      • Thanks Laurel, all stuff I “know” but like any dysfunctional household….the abnormal becomes normal and the unacceptable becomes commonplace.

        Once I realized what was going on and started looking I found profiles from before we ever met, which was amazing because he used to travel all around, Bensalem, Pa, Helena, Montana, and more. And I have often wondered “what don’t I know about.”

        The funniest thing is this…he is starting back to college next month through Voc Rehab…..I KNOW he’ll be up to something, he won’t be able to contain himself.

        I do have a plan and am actually getting excited about planning and eventually starting a whole new life.

        Jane

        • This is so wonderful! You go girl! I know… I have a tendency to be annoyingly pedantic—lol but sometimes, I have to remind myself this stuff… or other people tell me what I already know, too. Its easier to see the issues in others because of course, an outsider is more objective and may also think of a different angle or something.

          And again, I think the monitoring thing is our need to get at the truth. Its our vindication that we so dearly crave that indeed, they suck, even when the rest of the world believes that this person is a wonderful human being. We did too and part of them is undoubtedly STILL wonderful. No one is all bad or all good, but………

      • Please do not use the “C” word, this is Avery bad trigger for me and a very degrading term that reduces a woman to a body part and says the part is disgusting.

        • Oh, it was me. I’m so sorry honey. I get triggered too by some things people say, but I will refrain from using that particular word here in the future. I will say that particular woman IS a disgusting excuse for a woman. xo

    • Jane the GPS thing it hinsight I should have known. I activated it NOT to check on him but because he hunts and drives a long road to work. Thought if he was hurt or in an accident and was off the road in a ditch I could find him. When I told him I did it he went ballistic was I checking on him?

      • yes, they go ballistic. They are cheaters and you are now on to him and that is very bad news for fuckaholics!

        • Yes, ex said many times “I have a right to my privacy”, the MC agreed with him, fuck the damn MCs….ours kept me in even after he gave me an STI

          • Also that MC, contacted me after the asshole (hereafter named Saddam, thanks Chump Nation), saying I owed her for her last session…I told her to contact Saddam since he was the one that wanted to see her and her advice to me nearly got me shot! I sent her my journal entry for the day of the gun, never heard from her again until last month – the asshole tried to connect with me on LinkedIn, WTF?!?!

        • fuckaholic!!!!!! That’s funny. Same here, mine went ballistic when she found the “find my iphone app” on her phone.

          The GPSing is a phase many of us chumps go through. It can’t be helped, it’s just one of the Pick Me moves we do.

          • My ex said he was very angry that I got into his personal stuff when I discovered his journal. I didn’t miss a beat and answered, “Oh yeah? Well I’m pretty angry you’re in love with another woman.” He didn’t have a come back for that.

            • Then he started saying all kinds of stuff to change the subject but I kept repeating “you’re in love with another woman” after everything he said. Same technique I used to use with my kids when they tried to deflect.

    • Yes.

      Mine did. five years, in fact. five years preparing (fantasizing) about a new life. Walter Mitty style, he was really leading a double life, one in his head, one with me. Guess who was doing all the work of parenting, running the household, trying to keep the marriage together…? Wondering why in the hell everything got so..quiet? why was I so lonely? I kept asking, and I got answers like, “I’m unhappy at work” (true). “I want to do more theater” (well, go ahead then…. turns out he had a major hard-on for his best friend’s wife who he was in a play with….); “I want to sing more” (“Ok, ditto”); I feel burdened by all the work around the house” (we had a 200+ year old house, and those are a life style, never less…. (OK, I said, let’s move).

      In the end, after he found his little psycho fuck buddy, it turned out that (a) he had been lying to my face all that time; (b) he blamed me for everything…including how his mother died, on the other side of the country (kid you not….) (c) when both of my brothers in law had affairs etc etc, it gave him ideas and made him “jealous”…they were getting some strange, even though he saw how it totally wrecked the families involved and destroyed my sister, and his sister in law.

      Also? we were in marriage counseling, and he he was lying to me and the MC–he started his affair DURING the MC sessions. nice touch, that.

      I could go on. But, the point is, this is a person who KNEW the consequences of his choices, and made them quite deliberately. It just took him five years of pretending, to work up to the real thing. He said, “I though if I was mean enough to you, you would leave and I wouldn’t have to be the one to do it.” Okey-dokey then. Called his bluff.

      • namedforvera
        Exactly. Because when I found his old dating profiles from before we had met, he had contacted them and used a credit card to upgrade his account (aren’t they stupid about that) and he hasn’t done that yet. Not that it matters….whether he’s cheating already or having a “prelude to a cheat.”

        And as you said, I’ve done and organized everything. Right down to his business, which several years ago was making a lot of money and required 24/7 scheduling at a moments notice. Even one of the men who worked for/with us and has been in that business for 30+ years said my husband couldn’t have worked those contracts without me.

        BUT….no more cake. The past 6 months I’ve stopped keeping track of all his doctors appointments, other important appointments (in fact he missed a very important one) and now that he is getting ready to start college he has to figure it all out. The other day he asked me something about applying and I said “You’re the one going to college, do you think I’m going to keep track of your classes and when your work is due?”

        Of course I realize that as my cake appeal fades he will be looking for a new babysitter.

        From the beginning he has threatened to leave every time he gets angry at me. At first I would become hysterical, but through repetition I have become stronger. The other day he tried to put me out of the car on a highway 15 miles from our home. I refused and he said he was leaving and I thought “Please do.” But he never does. Sometimes I think the only reason he doesn’t is because of how he will look to other people. Walking out on a handicapped woman will make the military hero look like a cad.

        I know I will lose my house and won’t be able to pay my bills but I don’t care anymore.

        The saddest part for me was when I realized that the relationship I was mourning wasn’t even real.

        Jane

    • LOL. You GPS him to death and still can not catch him at the deed. Sorry … it is not funny.

      1. Evidently on online cheating websites men outnumber women 10 to 1 at least. So it is a lot of work for a men. They complain about this ‘injustice’ on cheaters forums. /yeah they are such forums unfortunately/. So he may be lazy.

      2. He is not that attractive to the his target group.

      3. He is not a good communicator.

      4. Insecurity. Low self esteem.

      5. Guilt

      • Waitwaitwait…..A lazy, ugly, needy man who can’t express himself—and feels “guilty” that he’s fucking (or attempting to fuck) other women?

        Okaaaaaay. That’s kinda hard to grasp as to why she can’t nail him via GPS. Guilt, for one thing, would imply that narcissistic jerkoffs have a sense of empathy. They don’t.

        I agree with CL. He’s reading up on how to avoid GPS or he’s going places where he’s “supposed” to be going, leaving the car there and either getting into fuckbuddy’s car or meeting up in secluded parts of where he’s “supposed to be”.

        They do the whole “kernel of truth” thing where they go where they say they are going, but when they get there? They forget to mention the bj in the car when they “went for takeout” or the stop to the fuckbuddy’s house after dropping the kids off at school.

        I don’t think it’s laziness, Dave, I think it’s pathological. Any fuckbuddy will do, as long as their house is on the way to the grocery store or they are a member of the same club or they attend the same functions. It gives convenient cover, an appearance they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. It’s the essence of these pieces of shit, to abuse the trust of those around them.

      • Dave, you make a lot of good points.
        Not lazy in the true sense, but he does prefer women who pursue him. He will fall into something convenient.
        No he is not a good communicator via the computer.
        He is probably not attractive to his target group….younger women with big boobs…but to his age and older he is very attractive.
        On his online profiles, he doesn’t have a picture or a lot of write up, so his efforts are aimed at the casual hook up and since I can log in to all 15 sites he has going at the moment (that I know of) I know he hasn’t tried to communicate with any one.
        He thinks he is so sneaky….he never checks his email when I am close by and he waits until I am out of the house to check the dating sites.
        Guilt….never….he has no guilt about anything.
        Most dating/sex sites require money and we are so strapped and I take care of the bank account…his paychecks are direct deposit, he pays for 95% of everything he gets with the debit and they are not items he can return for cash…..gas, lunch etc. ….he hasn’t had a chance to put together enough money to pay or meet at a hotel.
        Plus if he gets large chunks of money….his other problem is the casino.
        He’s getting ready to start taking classes at the local college….I suspect from what I know of him and his past, this is when he will find a hook up.

  • CL,

    As always, a great comment.

    Chump Son here.

    I would like to add a couple of (what I hope will be) power phrases to the already great dictionary of term-empowerment that you are creating (“the humiliating dance of pick-me,” “ego-kibbles,” “cake-eating,” etc.)

    Dancing with the Disordered.

    The Victim-Morph.

    I’ll define the second one first.

    Chump Son’s experience is with an explosive, narcissist (though non-cheating) father and observing a cheating father/highly paid professional abandon his family. So, my comments reflect a classic pattern: narc father, chump spouse, kids in the middle. I am NOT/NOT saying that women can’t be narcs, but I simply have experience with this arrangement, which I think is a classic paradigm.

    Narc explosive father. Yells all night over some small thing like misplaced car keys. Wakes up the next day. Mom says: “Oh, your poor father….. His job is so hard. He worries so…..” Who is the victim? The kids — little people who just went through an irrational hurricane? The Mom — who, though she is making excuses (which is not noble), still had to go through the same hurricane? Nope. It’s Dad. Poor Dad. He has to work. He has to deal with lost car keys. Poor thing. It was just his primal scream night, I guess. Let’s feel sorry for him. (Ending of story: Dad actually retires early and comfortably at age 58 and spends the rest of his life at leisure complaining about his “hard life.”)

    Second Case. Highly paid physician has months-long affair beyond wife’s/kids’ backs. Gets caught. Claims that he suffered, that “there are two sides to the story,” that he is OCD and, as with all things, that he became obsessed with other person. Claims victim status. Morphs into victim. Does the victim-morph. “I hurt you, but really I’m the one that’s hurting…..” Transformation complete! Until he gets caught cheating again….. (Story ends well with a smart chump lawyered up who gets a very good settlement.)

    The victim morph is incredible. But narcs do it and do it well. “Gee, it must have been stressful for those SS Guards at concentration camps.” “Gee, it must have been tough to be a plantation owner and have to worry about slave revolts and keeping the big house painted.” “Gee, it must have been tough for those Japanese pilots over Pearl Harbor. Explosions just create so much glare! Hurts the eyes!”

    I give the hypothetical historical examples to show how silly this line of thinking is. But make no mistake, the narcs will trot out their victimhood. They’ll then embrace the chump and shed common tears. The tears are like librucant for reconciliation. Chumps beware! This is when the narcs are doing jujitsu on your capacity for empathy, something they have very little of.

    And this brings me to my second phrase, dancing with the disordered. Once the narc does the victim-morph, then the narc can extend the relationship. This elongates, amplifies the narc’s options. And entitled people like to have options! There is time to re-group, time to strategize, time to decide, time to enjoy the “pick-me” dance, and cake to be had.

    Now, everyone has to make their own choices, but I’d have to agree with CL. If you are dealing with a narc (and Wikipedia has a great run-down of characteristics), chances are that that person — once caught — will do anything to string you along. They want as little to change as possible. In fact, in the case of a cheating narc that I observed, I think the cheater wanted the marriage to continue, and he wanted the right to roar off into the night to his geisha. Entitlement. And maximum flexiblity. And no need to make a decision. Spouse continues on as child care provider/bookkeeper/family organizer. Side dish for sex. Narc in the happy middle, eating cake and avoiding commitment either way, neither committed to the affair partner nor to his marriage. Works just great.

    I think that in an arrangement like the above, you really set a bad example for the kids. Don’t think that, if you settle for a status quo based on a falsity, that it won’t play out in their lives.

    But I stray from my original point. So, here are my two contributions to CL’s language of empowerment for Chumps:

    -Don’t let them do the victim-morph.
    -Don’t dance with the disordered.

    CL, you are making me want to read up on Foucalt, discourses and memes. You are really on to something here with the terms you create. As I’ve said before, you take psychological terms (which can make things overly complex) and you add in some old fashioned morality and you create a terminology of chump liberation. Well done! Your terms help us see things in a different light. And really, nowadays, if someone is unhappy in marriage, there’s no excuse for not being up-front and getting out. It can be done. It’s just that certain folks don’t want to. There’s more fun in the intrigue, deceit and ego-kibble supply in stringing folks along…… The folks they should be protecting, either by coming home and being remorseful (a unicorn, but maybe possible) or by giving them the certainty of a transparent, honest, and clear-cut decision (time to move on).

    Chump Son

    • Awesome post, Chump Son. Yeah, the victim morph. During bogus reconciliation, my ex told me several times that our separation, during which he was cheating like crazy with his two OW married women, triangulating them off each other like crazy, was really HARD on him, and he CRIED so many nights about it all. Well, I had to stay living with him for five months after dday until I could afford to move out, and believe me, I never saw any signs of tears on his face.

      And yes, my ex apparently wanted me to stick around, even though he kept telling me how he never loved me. It was to his financial advantage to have me there, and made him look better. He would have much preferred to stay married and eat cake.

      • A lot of people I talk to assume that my wife’s behavior shows that she wants to leave but doesn’t have the guts to. I think Chump Son has a much better explanation — she gets benefits from staying and she both wants them and feels entitled to them, so she stays.

        • Yes. I have come to the conclusion that this is why STBXH stays. He doesn’t really want to go off with OW, and she significantly pressures him to divorce me so she can be Mrs. Dick. Initially, he told her that “these things take time.” Another time, he emailed her a picture of the Book of Mormon, saying that this showed his family’s shame, and that he’s destined to be like his father. So, he’s gaslighting her big time. She, on the other hand, would be crazy to dump him until after she bleeds him dry, which is crazy when you realize that while he makes well over the area average, it’s still chump change when compared to the rest of the country.

        • I know that’s why my husband wanted to stay.

          Even when I left him he still wanted to keep as many benefits from me as possible… why he wanted to be “friends”, etc.

      • Glad,

        Poor baby, your ex! Imagine the stress of balancing all those relationships? And having to come up with all those lies!!!

        NOT!

        One thing I have been thinking is that there is a certain desperation-narcissism that comes out in people. Folks who are not bonded with their spouses and kids, who don’t have any religious faith (and I’m not saying you have to be religious), who are not believers in an institution or a cause…. These folks often panic when they realize that they are not always going to be here. Instead of looking at their kids (or their Church, or their favorite cause/institution) and saying, “I’m contributing to something larger than myself….” they panic. They panic and figure that they have to have all the fun (cake) that they can get. These fools are desperation-narcissists. Sometimes it’s called the mid-life crisis (in men). And they throw themselves into some kind of crack-fantasy-affair…… So, I think there is a link to mortality here.

        Anyway, I’m glad you kicked the bum out! And I’m glad you liked the post.

    • My ex tried and continues to try to play the victim. A few months after dday, when I found out he had pulled a seriously horrific financial move on me (I had kicked him out) I called him as I left the bank and we got into a huge argument. You know what he said to me (or rather screamed)? ‘You just love to play the victim, Nord, but you’re not the victim. I’ve lost everything.’
      This from a man who screwed a host of women over the years, had online ‘confidants’, was seeing the final other woman while making plans to hook up with another fuck buddy….and poor him lost everything and it was just so, so terribly unfair.

      These people are freaking unbelievable.

      • Mine plays victim all the time. However I have to be careful not to fall into same trap. So many love and support us chumps its important not to become a victim although it feels like it when the exes seem to be living in Disneyland ( with the at most respect to Micky ). Their lives seem to be so good while we pick up the pieces.
        Any losses they incur are due to their behaviour and choices. Cheaters meet consequence!

        • Good point. While I definitely feel I was a victim of my ex I really do have great people around me who support me and love and are amazing. Him? Not so much. Friends for him are thing on the ground. I don’t have time to see everyone I want to see or who wants to see me.

          • it’s funny, we WERE the victims… and yet, we don’t ACT the victims. Sure, we come here and talk about stuff we’ve been through but none of us whine and act like victims. Like they all seem to do. It’s so hypocritical after what they put us through.

            • Actually, I was moaning pretty loudly about things for awhile, mainly because I was getting fucked on money and other things and I was PISSED. Then I took hold of the situation and started to fight back on the financial level and forgot about the emotional bullshit. And boy was he surprised – and furious. How dare I fight to have a decent standard of living after all those years of sacrifice! I am SUCH a bitch. 😉

              • I think being angry and complaining about what happened is not being a victim. Crying woe is me, I can’t do anything about it, I’m stuck in this situation my ex put me through and I’m never going to be able to pull myself out of it is more of the victim route. And maybe you did do that for a bit, but you definitely got over it from everything I’ve seen 🙂

                We acknowledge we were victims, we blame the piece of shit that did it to us, but we move on and make our lives better. Meanwhile, they are still off whining. Of course they always whined and played the victim I guess, so why should now be any different??

                Fuck these cheaters and their money. I swear that is the only other thing they truly love besides themselves.

              • Nord, I am in the middle of doing the same thing. I sacrificed, saved and lived frugally because I respected that he earned the money and let him decide what to spend the money on.
                He bought a $2000 Armani suite, Rolex, Porche, $30,000 in stereo equipment while I was shopping at bargain markets. I did not mind until I found 4 “receibos” for $10,000 each he was sending to OW’s bank account in Guatemala. Boy, did that ever make me feel chumpy.

                Haha, I’m studying the Family and Codes of Cali and going after the community property due to me. He is breach of marital fiduciary duty and in violation of at least 20 legal codes. Hired a razor sharp lawyer too.

                Either me and the kids get the money or OW gets it.

                Ready to fight.

                The money belongs to my kids.

            • Another Erica, I had a really hard time seeing a way out of things and I did whine quite a bit, at the beginning, with a lot of woe is me, about what seemed like an absolutely impossible situation. I won’t go into details but my lawyer, my therapist, every single person in any position to help me pretty much agreed I was in one of the worst situations they had ever heard of. Somehow, hearing them all validate that I was pretty much fucked made me get tougher and stronger and start to figure a way out. I’m still working my way out of it but that’s ok, I’m getting there. And yes, it really did come down to money for him – and his dad is exactly like this so I don’t know why I’m surprised.

    • My ex was raised by the explosive type narc and the excuse making mother. He ended his life exactly like that — quadruple bypass at 54, then sat around bitching for the rest of his life, while the long suffering wife had to go out and get a job. He never had it easier, as a matter of fact because she got on with the post office and way out earned him. (he and been a ranch foreman)

      I always figured that he was “faithful” because he never had enough money, power or position of make himself attractive to another woman. Not that he wasn’t entitled to a full sex life though — he basically fucked himself into the poor house (6 kids) and of course blamed that on his wife as well.

    • Great points Chump Son. I remember feeling so confused when my ex was playing the victim card, saying how hard it was for him to divorce me because I’d made him fall out of love with me years ago. I remember saying “what kind of person just falls out of love with someone?” to which he started sobbing even louder.

      • Lyn,

        I think you briefly confronted your ex with himself, with who he is. But these folks are VERY resilient. The cheater-dad-abandoner I know of was insistent with the ex he was abandoning in that he said, “I’m a good man.” Who needs to say that? If it’s true, it should be obvious. Behavior, not verbal assertions, define a person.

        I think you briefly held the mirror up to your ex, and maybe, for a moment, he felt something. But then later on his defenses came up again. Of course, it was all your fault. Of course he’s really wonderful, just tragically misunderstood, etc. etc.

        These narcs are also very grandiose. If they succeed, they are the greatest. If they fail, they are the biggest tragedy since “Hamlet.” Actually, they are neither. They are just regular people, and they can’t accept that. In any case, Lyn, I’m glad you are past all that! And thanks for the kind words.

      • or how about how you MADE him fall out of love with you?? and YEARS ago? How about you ended it then if any of that was actually true?

        There are many things in that statement to be confused about

        • Yes, the most confusing thing of all was the day he tenderly brought me into the living room, sat me on the couch, told me he had filed for divorce, but kept saying over and over that he cared about me. He even said he loved me but didn’t want to live with me any more. It just about made my head explode. LOL

  • Great post!

    I knew I had to get outta there when my husband was fiddling with my new tablet and the first thing I see when I turned it on, was his FAKE EMAIL PROGRAM. (well, one of them) It was called HORDE as in WHORE?

    trigger city. I felt myself imploding into a puddle of anguish. This wasn’t happening. no… pleeeeeeeeeease… I don’t need to have sex but pleeeeeeeeeeeeease just an inkling of respect? Its not possible. He has not one clue because of the all the reasons you so eloquently stated in your post.

    I told him to open it up, since he was so kind to infect that shit on my brand new tablet. (which BTW, I never opened up again and returned). He got extremely defensive and REFUSED because he had a RIGHT to his privacy. uh huh…

    In his mind there was no difference between me and one of his children. He claimed that he didn’t know how a husband was supposed to be. BULLFUCKINGSHIT!

    Oh, those cookies were rancid. I threw them out. You’re lucky I brought you any cookies at all! I didn’t think that you liked those cookies. (my favorite ones) I saw that you weren’t eating the cookies so I didn’t think that you’d mind. (I was savoring them). I don’t remember what happened to the cookies. Maybe one of the kids finished them. The cookie analogy goes on and on…

    correct answer. I’m a selfish, sadistic prick. Even though I knew that you absolutely love those cookies, it matters not to me, because ***I*** had a craving for those cookies and that gave me the right to take each and every last one of them.

    They don’t want to change. No, they want US to change. They want US to go back to being chumps. Don’t ask questions. Don’t investigate. Don’t disturb their privacy. And God forbid, don’t get angry… After all, I couldn’t help myself! yeeeesh… I can’t take this “abuse” (me flipping out over his many, many betrayals made me the abuser)

    INDEED!!!

    and be careful what you wish for shithead!

    • Oh THIS, yeah, my ex would tell me how wonderful the OW was and then accuse me of having “anger management” issues when it pissed me off…fuck you Saddam, I’m really glad I found out who you were before my life was over. Also I am Physically incapable of screaming but he would tell our MC I screamed at him all the time even after I got to the point where I did not react to his shit at all…liars lie

      • I’m certainly not incapable of screaming and yep, I screamed my bloody head off at him when the whole thing came to light. Can’t imagine what otehr reaction I could have had when discovering his multiple infidelities.

    • Ah yes, they really dislike that anger they trigger. Ex actually told one of the kids, when that poor kid was shattered beyond words and begging his father to sort himself out, ‘Why would I want this, everyone angry and no one being nice to me.’ He said similar to me and of course it was MY FAULT that the kids were upset about the breakdown of their family. If only I could just accept things and not make a big deal and not be upset then the kids would be just fine.

      Well, no. There was no way I was going to pretend that this was ok or that his fucking around for years was anything but a shitty, shitty thing to do to me and the kids and that that was the reason our family blew up.

      god, I write this and I’m suddenly pissed off again for the first time in a long time. What a fucking asshole.

      • Nord I feel the same. It’s all our fault and why can’t we move on and accept the new fuckbuddies.
        Well it so happens we don’t chose to have them in our lives. Now go away and leave us alone. It’s so bloody hard when kids are involved because we can’t cut the contact completely.
        We are not free. It’s like a prison sentence. The mental strength required is incredible.

        • Well, that’s the big injustice, isn’t it? We have these people in our llves, even if it’s on the edge, that we never chose to have in our lives. Our kids have these people in their lives that they never chose to have in their lives yet they’re supposed to deal with it and ‘get over it’ and accept the new fuck buddy with open arms, this person who caused them and the betrayed parent an enormous amount of pain. And where does that leave them? I can’t be ‘friends’ with the dumb cow who was sending my husband booty shots and actively trying to pry him away from his family (not that she probably had to try very hard). So where does that leave my kids? Be friends with someone their mother thinks is a dumb skanky bitch? I don’t say that to them but we’ve talked about this and I tell them that all I hope is that she is kind to them but no, I don’t think we’ll be friends ever.

          • When the ex’s Girl Friday was trying to ingratiate herself with my son (well before Dday) she put her cell phone number on his phone for him.

            I found it later, and entered it on my phone under HOMEWRECKING SLUT.

            All kids snoop, and I don’t have any password protection, so he eventually knew my feelings and I didn’t have to utter a peep.

              • I called her when she was trying to shove her way into my kids’ lives a couple of months after I kicked him out. I told her to back off and stop pushing them and then had a long talk with her. It was like talking to a teenager. She actually told me how the affair unfolded, etc. I was shocked at how childish she was and how naive. And then I realised that that was the attraction, as it was with most of the other affairs: young, naive, insecure, looking for sparkles and wanting excitement. Well, now she’s got it and she is in for a bumpy, bumpy ride. Couldn’t happen to a nicer slag.

      • Lots of these narc folk often will say to others, “Get over it,” “You’re over-sensitive.” As part of their entitlement, they think that others should simply adapt to their excesses, reshaping themselves like silly putty. What’s interesting is that if you criticize a narc, you will find that they, themselves, are EXTREMELY sensitive and often hold long grudges, rarely “getting over” an offense they have suffered.

        This is all part of the one-way street that is a relationship with a narcissist.

        • OMG yes. My ex NPD husband immediately started in on my need to “get over it”, “forgive him because he had already forgiven himself” and “not bring it up again” once I was stupid enough to fall for his con game “reconciliation.” He certainly never forgave me for any of my so-called wrongs, which were things like I didn’t go with him to his exercise class at 5:30 AM. I was a 100% devoted and faithful wife for 20 years, yet my not wanting to play board games often enough was apparently grounds for his infidelity.

        • David–yep. Long, long, long held grudges over a simple comment is my STBXHs MO. He can’t stand to be “laughed at”…he warned me about it early on….”never laugh AT me. It’s okay to laugh with me, as long as I don’t feel that you are making fun of me.” He was serious. (and yes. I laughed.)

          I’ve heard about things that I supposedly said 10 years ago–that were never mentioned at the time, but now are coming out as a defense for his shitty behavior. It really is like dealing with a child.

        • I can’t count the number of times my Ex told me and the kids to get over the blow up of our family. Our inability to immediately accept everything led to him exploding into outrageous rages that really did damage to the kids, particularly my older one. But god forbid any of us call him on his shit and you’d think we were the worst people in the world for trying to hold him accountable for his lies, his broken promises, his general asshole behaviour, both before and after dday.

          • Nord, Abby, Glad:

            The narcissist assumes an entitlement in the form of others’ plasticity. But the same person never forgets, rarely forgives, and often punishes disproportionately. It’s hard to figure how these folks think/calculate. In the case of my own father (writing as Chump Son), it never ceased to amaze me how he could criticize others but then react in such a hostile fashion to any form of criticism of himself. These folks really have one-way street burned into their brains. They honestly think that’s the way the world is supposed to be. And reciprocity is not part of the deal.

            Nord, sorry about the effects on your older child. I was the eldest son, too, and I got more blastings than I can remember for minor things. One thing I have observed is that kids in a relationship with a narc dad will fall into patterns. Often, the oldest becomes a kind of husband substitute/confidante for the mother who hangs in there/who is the perma-chump co-dependent, which is not good. In an alcoholic family (which, like a narcissistic family, is dysfunctional) sometimes the eldest becomes “the family hero,” i.e. the award-winning kid who tries to “fix” things by getting good grades, etc. I’ve noticed that frequently second children go no contact. Or minimal contact. This is almost the kid version of the NC that CL recommends. The second kids, I think, do better.

            In any case, Nord, hang in there with your oldest. Maybe get the oldest (female or male?) some counseling. Encourage the oldest to bond with some father figures who are healthy. It’s a tough thing to negotiate, but at least you are not validating dad’s rages. Had you stayed, you’d be validating his behavior. You are not. You are giving your kids a safe place and a different space for comparison.

            In any case, this notion of silly-putty-narc-entitlement is bullshit. Of course, we have the right to self-defense, to boundaries and appropriate borders, to uphold common expectations in relationships. At the very least, if the narc must move on, let her/him do so transparently and openly. Of course, they won’t do that, since the ultimate goal is not leaving the relationship, but positioning themselves to maximize their consumption of the stuff that CL has so appropriately named “cake.” They literally want to have their cake and eat it at the same time. Ugh. Such yucky people!

            • Nord, Abby, Glad:

              One more thing: I’m glad you guys found my comment useful. It certainly feels good for me to have my own instincts/feelings validated. Chump Son is 55 and still learning, in large measure thanks to this forum!

              • David, more than you know. The “surrogate” portion of your comment was something that I just couldn’t put my finger on in my own situation, yet there it is, plain as day when you pointed it out. This is the biggest thorn in my side, the thing that I can’t get around….STBXH was the “surrogate” husband to his mother (he is the oldest)—and now he is treating our daughter in some of the same ways. It’s disturbing and inappropriate–

                Is this a typical NPD thing?? I know I’ve been reading that they isolate victims with the “Me and You Against the World” tactic.

          • Mine told me “You must hate me, but I don’t hate you,” like he was so generous. I’m so glad he didn’t hate me for him getting involved in an affair with his married coworker. What a guy.

        • David, The ex actually said to me when we were dating, “I live on a one way street but it’s a very nice street.” Note, his house was not on a one way street! He was extremely generous and attentive at that point, but I got the gist. Now, I know a flaming red flag when I see/hear one!

          Also, even my mother commented that “For such a big guy he certainly has delicate little feelings, doesn’t he?” I was always trying to smooth something over and walking on eggshells. Arrgh! And, don’t get me started on the projection! While he was full-on courting another woman (as I know now), he would bring up some long ago perceived inappropriate interaction I supposedly had with another man THAT NEVER HAPPENED to deflect any current issue I may be trying to discuss. Truly crazy making.

    • yep! way for them to take ownership right? don’t wait for it, it will never happen.
      my question also, well if you were so unhappy, why didn’t you tell me, and we could have ended this long ago. Oh!! that’s right, then there would be no more cake and kibbles! lol

  • Wow. Thanks for the grand tour of the serial cheater’s mind, how he/she views marriage, cheating, reconciliation, cookies. The way in which you are able to explain such profound and often sad facts in such a funny and encouraging way never ceases to amaze me. The “I don’t believe” section stands out, for example. That paragraph could almost stand alone as a Recovering Chump’s Creed.

    This has to be one of the best columns yet at Chumplady, which is saying an awful lot.

  • Great post CL! I wish I would have read it a few years ago, but here it is for all chumps to see now. You speak the truth. Sometimes, however it is hard for us chumps to believe it.
    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us need to know. Printing this one out and putting it in my journal. Thank you!

  • Tracy – It’s taken me many moons and hours in a therapist’s office to finally figure this out. It was your response to my earlier letter about my gaslighting wife that finally flipped the switch. You’re absolutely correct of course, and thanks for your work.

  • I think this is one of your best posts yet, and that’s saying a lot, because they are all great.

    I foolishly “reconciled” with my diagnosed NPD monster of an ex. Even though he’d admitted to sex with hundreds of men, even though he admitted to two simultaneous affairs with married women, even though he quit his excellent job to become an unemployed actor (three years later, that’s still what he is).

    And all that bogus reconciliation did was wipe his crimes clean, in his mind. After all, if I was willing to take him back, then what he had done was obviously not that bad and all forgiven, right? So in his head, he was now completely innocent. But that turned the tables, making ME the bad guy for not being able to “get over” it immediately and forget it all ever happened. What kind of unsupportive, terrible person would not forgive a husband who had his entire slate wiped clean, and therefore hadn’t even done anything wrong? Why, obviously I was the abuser all along! I was the one who tore our family apart (he actually told me that several times). I was the awful person wasting our marital assets by moving out of the house and renting an apartment, even though I did so after he repeatedly told me he didn’t love me, had never loved me and was telling everyone the OW was his soulmate. I was the negative downer who refused to “support his dreams”, because “God had opened all the doors, and he would be a huge success within three months.”

    Once you reconcile, you give the disordered cheater carte blanche to cheat again, because all you have done in their head is wiped the slate clean, and let them know you are willing to accept abuse and come back for more. They will then turn the tables and BLAME YOU for everything, including the failure of the reconciliation, EVEN IF THEY WERE STILL CHEATING.

    My ex tells people now that he did everything to save our marriage, that it was a huge shock when I filed for divorce and that I was the one who lied and broke a deal to financially support him and work full time while he diddled his day away looking for acting gigs. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he claims I was the one who cheated, as well.

    Reconciliation is giving a bullet to the cheater, and asking them to fire point blank because they missed you the first time.

    • “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he claims I was the one who cheated, as well.”

      My aunt divorced her husband because he was an alcoholic. He claim it was because she cheated after she refused to take him back.

    • “Reconciliation is giving a bullet to the cheater, and asking them to fire point blank because they missed you the first time.”

      Wow. Well, said, GladIt’soOver. That’s going in my journal.
      I’m passed even trying reconciliation, but sometimes my mind goes to that “What if…?” place.

  • CL, you keep getting better.

    “As long as there is entitlement, there is no hope at reconciliation.”

    This is alchemy. This is why it’s so hard to turn a turd into gold.

  • everyday I get up and look forward to reading you. your like a sucker punch of reality which lets me deal with my life. I can stay on the ground holding my sore cheek or I can get up, come after you and give as good as I got. I realized I like fighting. standing around waiting to have him ( or anyone) to pick me doesn’t work for me anymore. thx

  • You’re my new favorite person, Tracy. I must have a really severe case of chumpiness not to have figured out that someone who, after she’s cheated on me and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a loan gone bad to the OM

    a) is reluctant to provide anything like transparency (and provides passwords only after having deleted relevant messages — she doesn’t know I know that)

    b) expects that the pre-disclosure financial arrangement (whereby I contribute roughly two thirds of the family income) will continue, including her right to complain about the revenue in any one month — the fact that many days I’m unable to concentrate on work due to depression so severe I’ve had sustained suicidal ideation notwithstanding

    c) feels free to rip me a new one over issues as crucial as my having lost a vacuum cleaner attachment or missed a turn-off

    d) withholds affection

    e) weasels out of marriage counselling

    f) tells me adultery-themed jokes and is surprised when I tell her that, in our present context, I don’t find them funny

    g) drops hints about what she’d like for her birthday

    probably has an overweaning sense of entitlement that won’t go away through MY efforts.

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

    • Ummmm, I think you do have a severe case of Chumpiness. But it’s a good thing! Just remembering from a previous CL post, once you get away from the Wicked Witch, your stock will trade high, on the dating market, that is. Hang in there! (Actually-get out)

      • You know one of the best parts of finding CL and the rest of you? I have no sisters and my mother was/is very similar to my wife (though without the cheating — I think) and thought for the longest time that some if not most of my wife’s behavior was “how women are”. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to find out that’s not true.

        • ANR, that ought to be a therapy nugget. Go read (in the Amazon box on the right) Why Is It Always About You? You need that book. People who wind up with narcissists are groomed for it. Healthier people don’t put up with this shit. It makes total sense that your radar didn’t go off because fucked up narc–i-ness feels NORMAL to you.

          It’s NOT normal. It’s TOXIC. Your wife sounds classic. Please see a lawyer.

          And let me know when you’re further down the road how it feels to be with a good, non-disordered person. It’s going to blow your freaking mind.

        • ANR
          ((((((((((( HUGS!))))))))))). I haven’t been posting much because I’m having some 2 steps back kind of problems right now – NO CONTACT THO’ just $ and I think a bit of depression/guilt ’cause he’s doing real bad, but I’ve sure been reading and I’m glad you’ve stuck around! Get rid of that bitch, lots of women can bake! XO

          • Toni, don’t you dare feel guilty about him “doing real bad.” He made BAD CHOICES which equal bad consequences. He’s not your problem! He’ll drag you down if you let him — and don’t you let him!

            You’re a good person who deserves ALL of your time and energy right now to heal. Stay strong. And good for you on the continued NC!

            • You’re spot on, CL. My therapist kept telling me, over and over again, when I had such a hard time not engaging, ‘He is spiralling down and no one knows how long it will take but if you let him cling to you in any way he will take you down with him. You need to let him sink on his own.’ I finally got it and that changed my life – he is on his own (with OW there to guide him) to keep trashing his life.

              • I can actually bake, but not (yet) pies or cake. Famous for my cookies, though. When I do bake my wife enjoys hanging about pointing out how she’d do it.

    • Take care of yourself ANR, I too went thru a time when “I want to die” came into my mind often, even when I was working and not thinking about ex. Therapist helped and after gun day I realized that I did not want to die, I wanted the pain to stop, so when I would get that thought I’d change it.

      • I went through a phase where I hoped I’d die because I really couldn’t see a way out of the incredible mess I was in. I*m still not out of it totally but I see a bit of light and I’m beyond the pain stage (most of the time) so those thoughts (as brief as they were) passed a long time ago and pretty quickly.

        But, you know, I was supposed to ‘get over it’ in a few weeks. As were the kids.

        • I think we all have those moments cause it would be so much easier, or of course our cheating spouses could die too and that would make life easier.

          • Actually, I want to live and live well. I always have.

            Now, if my STBX dropped dead in his tracks, had a fatal car accident, etc.–I’d be okay with that. However, I think he deserves to live with OW. She is a psychic vampire, and would bleed him dry. He would deserve it, too. So my fantasy is to win the lottery at a point where the split would be good for retirement, but not enough for early retirement. Then he can go off into the sunset with OW, who’ll spend the entire amount in a couple of years and leave his sorry ass high and dry while I live long and prosper.

        • I asked him at least twice a year if he was sure this was what he wanted (we weren’t married) He assured me every time for 13 YEARS!

          Then Dday, says he cheated from the beginning but I didn’t love HIM??? !!! Didn’t love him was just embarrassed by him flaunting his whore around town. She was homeless, but he sure as hell didn’t want to move into the shelter with her…thought he could just stay here and eat cake. They finally got a place but now they fight over drugs. If he doesn’t bring them home…out the door he goes….i just want him to go to jail so I don’t worry (Chump, I know) and at least I know where he’s at…he calls at odd hours (I don’t answer) and someone (didn’t answer) knocked lightly on my door the other night…he’s got me totally off balance…:(… And I was doing so well for a while there…

          I just wish he’d go to jail, before he DOES die… 🙁

          • Hey, Toni. You seem like such a caring person. I remember some of your first postings so you have a special place in my heart.

            I have similar feelings about my ex-NPD husband. Someday he’s going to be elderly and need extra care. Shit, I would have lovingly taken care of him and we would have had the money for extra hired care, but now he’s going to be old and lonely on his own. Somehow, after all he’s done, it still makes me sad for him.

            But that was his choice, which boggles my mind. He complained that I wasn’t romantic enough and I’d say couldn’t we just have a normal middle class kind of marriage where the initial infatuation mellowed into a deeper love. No. he’d say. Well, he buys that butterfly feeling and pretends it’s real intimacy.

            You take care, Toni!

            • Thank You nwrain,

              I remember you too of course and so appreciate your reply. I’m still here everyday but just going through a bad streak…financial, physical, etc. which I’m in no position to afford (Thanks to him) but I know the drill and am still much better off and know I will be much better off following the CL path.

              The main thing I’m having difficulty with is feeling I should “save” him, he’s into drugs pretty bad. But I CAN’T (me first, I’ve come too far) and I WON’T…and CL and Co. Is still my main support system! I’m watching this site grow and pray there will be a shift – somehow- some way, a return to some sort of not just awareness, but action on that awareness! The number of people here have grown so much and it puts a big smile on my face every day.

              Thanks Again,

              XO

            • Yep, I would have nursed Ex through whatever struck him – hell, I walked him through 20 years of life’s difficulties – but you know what? I don’t think he would have nursed me through jackshit. He has a young girl on his arm at the moment and I’m wondering what’s going to happen when the bloom is off his rose. He’s just hitting that stage where his youthful good looks are starting to turn into middle aged looks…a belly, bags under eyes, etc. He’s fighting it like crazy but you can’t stop that sort of thing. When real physical problems start, I’m curious to see how it all plays out.

              • Yes will be interesting how it all turns out. We will compare notes. Mine has just gone to a chainsaw conference at port Douglas. Just wanted to mrs chainsaw. You can do only much of that shit!!!

          • I heard that I didn’t love him as well but I refused to let him spout that bullshit. I did love him, very much, despite the ups and downs. And no way was he going to use that as an excuse for his cheating or shove that on the kids. I don’t love him now but at the time, yes I did still love him.

            • That’s the most painful part for me as a good and faithful wife. I was a GOOD fucking wife! I was literally the best wife I could be at the time with what I was given. Until d-day I loved him EXACTLY as much if not more than the day we got married. But according to him I stopped loving him and he fell out of love with me. Well nobody told me I was done with our relationship! He never said enough about what he needed, but somehow I was supposed to read his mind. When he did say the little bits he did it never meant much because it was never actual deal breaker shit he was talking about. And if someone was doing something to me that WAS a deal breaker I’d sure as shit tell them, this MUST change. Or it’s a deal breaker. I’m a scared little bunny that likes to avoid conflict but I could still SOMEHOW come up with a way to tell my truth if it was that big a deal to me. It still kills me that he told himself I didn’t love him. And I would want to try again in one second if I thought he wanted it too. I know. I’m a chump times a million but I’m still working my way through this only 9 weeks from d-day. Just call me Pollyanna the Unicorn Hunter.

      • I remember a middle of the night panic attack when I couldn’t stop thinking about all this shit and I was crying and freaking out and just wanted to be able to turn my brain off because I couldn’t make it stop thinking about it. I’d never felt my emotions and my thoughts be so out of my control before, it was scary. I’d been drinking with a good friend that night… after that night I decided drinking while going through this was not the best thing for me.

        But you know, it was my fault anyway. I probably shoulda just been able to “get over it” and was just overreacting 😉 kidding, I promise!

        • Yes, drinking feels good shortterm but in the end it seems to prolong the bullshit. I haven’t had more than a beer or glass of wine here and there for months and months. I’m remarkably healthy as a result and feeling very clearheaded.

  • Thank you. I think it’s a classic!

    This was the thing I couldn’t wrap my head around. It seemed he is willing and doing all the right things (not really) until he got “burnt out”. The problem was that he wanted reconciliation with his entitlement intact. Of course he doesn’t see it (and feels entitled to his entitlement). It’s like living with a 5 year old.

    – once I offered you a cookie and you didn’t like it , so I thought you don’t want any.
    (ignoring my requests at the same time).
    – I thought you don’t like cookies, you are beyond that.
    – being with me is such a huge cookie, that expecting anything else is a crazy gluttony. shame on you!

    • Well, it could be worse, I suppose.

      At least it isn’t “You’re too fat to eat a cookie. Now, go buy me some new pants because all mine are shrinking or something”. lol

    • Chimera — only happened twice, but I was just FLABBERGASTED. And her reaction was what seemed like honest confusion as to why I might not find them funny.

      • there is no “only” ;] (kind of my mantra)

        She’s actually telling the truth here. Crazy as it is and difficult for most of us to comprehend, she has not the ability to understand why telling jokes about adultery would be hurtful to you. MASSIVE personality incurable personality disorder. You can’t put back what was never there to begin with.

        • They don’t see the hurt. They’re oblivious to it.
          My ex parked chainsaw mans Volvo in her driveway for a week while he was away on business. What do you think the boys felt when they each stayed during the week. What did the Volvo represent to the boys. She may as well stuck a fuckin mannequin with a chainsaw in the driveway. So disrespectful and non caring. I think CL calls it entitlement

        • I disagree, as Dr. Simon (I think) says, it’s not that they don’t SEE they just DISAGREE.

          I think they are testing you to see what you will put up with. Maybe pushing your buttons (mine has always been an expert at that). Whatever that is making them do this, it’s not remorse. It’s more of that entitled bullshit.

          You want know what my ex did to me while in false reconciliation? I’d been monitoring the cell records and he knew this and one day a long like hour long phone call with her popped up. Which was kinda weird because they never really talked that long on the cell before. So, we got into it that night and he claimed he “was mad at me” that day about something, so he called her and told her to just not hang up the phone so that I would find it later and it would piss me off.

          Nice, huh? The actions of someone at all repentant?

          • I agree that they will still try to push buttons and do what they can to push your boundaries. Currently Ex is working hard to take the kids to things he knows I will not approve of. But you know what? Unless it’s dangerous I say nothing. I just ignore, ignore, ignore and it’s great because then he runs out of steam, his balloon gets popped.

      • ANR I understand your confusion when they don’t seem to understand basic human decency. My ex was confused about why seeing me or my son cry after D-day made him upset. He even told me he asked his counselor why he got upset. It was like he’d never experienced the feeling of empathy before.

      • Mine did this too. I started to think he was purposefully telling cheater jokes/stories just to push my buttons. Sick.

    • They are so arrogant. My cheating wife also made one that was uncomfortable. I had just got back from my annual physical and told her about my day where I got squeezed and probed etc.. Her response. “More action than you’ve had in awhile” She just laughed and said “I’m joking”

        • sadistic, actually, I fully understand the concept of pre-meditated murder. Oh, don’t worry, I would never do it, but I do understand why it happens.

        • Mine so couldn’t take my grief and anger, that he danced..danced! around the dining room pretending to fuck his whore, thrusting his hips. I will never, ever get that image out of my brain. Just the worst possible. ugh. what can you say? He was “pretending” to be angry at himself, btw. Yeah, right. and I’m Marie of Romania. Hey, that would make a great screen Nym….

        • The shit they say. SW on the day after Dday asked me if I could tell that she had lost 5lbs last week. I looked at her and said “it’s a little too soon for me to tell you how good your body looks after fucking another guy yesterday. I might need a little more time…..” She said I was mean. She needed more cake the next fing day!

      • Mine did that on a regular basis. “Poor stupid you” seemed to be his favorite joke.

        The worst one though, was when I came out of my first PAP …EVER…and he made jokes about the hospital staff gang-raping me.

        Even though I haven’t been with him for 4 1/2 years, I went in for my Essure (sterilization) appointment and when the doctor started inserting the speculum, my muscle-memory clinched and I started having a panic attack because I thought of that joke. All drugged up on pain killer, in the hospital room, getting this procedure done, my mind went straight there and I started freaking out on the table.

        Thanks ex, for that one…it was sure a laugh-riot.

    • Speaking of thoughtless…When X first started hanging with/banging our neighbor, he’d put her on the back of his motorcycle, and drive over to our two sons house they just rented a few blocks from here! He’d show up with her, and their reaction was like- jaws dropped. He was clueless. My middle son told me later ‘if Dad ever does that again, I swear I’ll punch her right in the face!’
      My sons are on my side, can you tell? I’m just so glad they’re not like him! Whew!

  • Nothing to do with the article, but this is just funny. My wife is a keen and talented cook and baker. She has the food processor going and I just popped my head out of the office. “Whatcha making? I asked. Her reply? “Cake.” ROFL!

  • Mine just came right out and said it, standing over our son who had crumpled in despair at being told by his father that there was a homewrecker, (reluctantly, because it would have been easier to say “Your mom and I are just splitting up, grew apart…”), coldly, “I deserve to be happy.”
    I have never met an uglier person in my life.
    Then he had the balls to say that *I* was entitled. And, being a chump, I considered that he might be right. But not any more. I pointed out that HE was the cheater, not I.

  • Cookies are only a dessert and shouldn’t be overindulged. Narc cookies are ego food and as such are not really nourishing. That’s why they are never enough and are addictive. The more you get the more you need. If your only sustenance are cookies you get sick, your ego is obese (narc), but inside you are starving. I always thought I was bread and butter or meat and potatoes kind of a person, but now I see he converted it to sugar and threw the rest away.
    Not only I was a cookie dispenser (kind of empowering position, well, sort of), but sometimes I suspect I WAS A COOKIE myself. An object.

  • Another thing. Early in the marriage he admitted (only to deny it almost immediately) to a ONS. I thought that it was remorse. Much, much later he mentioned he was bragging! He was PROUD of himself!
    Talk about entitlement.

  • “Reconciliation is giving a bullet to the cheater, and asking them to fire point blank because they missed you the first time.”

    ^
    This

  • I haven’t heard of very many successful reconciliations either, CL, but EVERY ONE involved the betrayed spouse (almost) immediately walking away. No cake, no entitlement, no “pick me” dance.

    One woman I read about discovered her husband was cheating in the morning, filed for divorce that afternoon, and had moved in with her sister by that night. Her husband was so shocked, he agreed to do ANYTHING to get her back. She didn’t move back – or withdrawal the divorce petition – until her very long list of conditions was met. They’ve been together ever since.

    One man discovered his wife was cheating and after a nasty confrontation, they agreed to reconcile. Two months later, he discovered she had just taken it underground. He was DONE. He changed the locks, filed for divorce, and went out on a date that same night. His wife went absolutely ballistic – she went to the restaurant where he was on his date and sobbing, begged him to take her back. Again, with a LONG list of conditions – and a new post nup specifying cheating was a deal breaker – they got back together.

    My first impulse when I discovered the affair was to pack my bags and leave. It’s what I said I would always do – but then I talked myself out of it. Chump.

    CL’s absolutely right – you CANNOT give them a chance to eat cake. Whether you want them back or not, you have to do the EXACT same thing: yank off your leg of the three-legged stool with no warning and let them crash and burn. It’s the ONLY way to strip them of the entitlement and make them face the consequences. Then, should they return to you a humbled mass of humility, then – only then – do you have something to work with.

    Hindsight’s always 20/20…

    • Interesting.

      My whole reconciliation battle has been an internal one. When I initially discovered the affair, I hit the internet, only to find the advice that confrontation was not the way to go, and given that my financial situation sucked at the time, I realized I needed extra options. I now have a much better job, though getting by on one salary will be tight–but with 50% of his retirement, I should be okay down the road.

      I thought about reconciliation, but there were two big issues there. First, I didn’t think that there’d be much hope of reconciliation unless he admitted the affair. I hoped he would gain remorse and confess. He hasn’t done so yet, so I’m sure that if I confronted him, he’d deny it and then offer reconciliation as a way of regaining cake and kibble. The second issue was what to do if he decided that we did need to divorce. I would not have been financially able to go it alone.

      I think that if I’d felt more financially secure, I’d have have yanked his chair out from under him.

      • That was my problem. I hadn’t worked at all in 7 or 8 years and before that it was part time for probably 6 years, so my career had been set aside in order to support his. Throw in a few other factors, such as geography and other things, and I was completely fucked and completely scared out of my mind. So instead of walking out and letting him piss into the wind, I tried for a couple of days. Then I kicked him out. then I tried, then I gave up. Then I tried one more time. Then I saw a lawyer.

        I was so scared and often still am but what pisses me off the most is the fact that I actually considered staying with him and did the pick me dance, on and off, two or three times too many. If my circumstances had been different I would have walked away without looking back, despite loving him. But then I realised that it was insane to still love someone who treated me so badly. I don’t love him anymore and he doesn’t piss me off very often anymore. I just think he’s an asshole who didn’t need to be so rotten about everything and make it all so ugly. But then again, he’s never had a good breakup, even when he was a teenager. Why? Because all his breakups happened due to cheating, I now know.

        • Spot on. I only recently discovered she cheated and set up the new relationship with her previous boyfreind. Can’t be alone.
          She has lost so many friends now in this latest affair. The cost has been significant but I don’t think she cares. She has destroyed all her options that if chainsaw man doesn’t work out she will be alone. She ate soooo much cake! – but now there is none.
          It’s all entitlement but what happens when they don’t get what they want. They blame everyone but themselves.
          I never would have thought I would be so deep in this. I don’t think she sees a councillor. She just gets on with it ,ignores the carnage and devotes every sleeping minute to the chainsaw man- going to get boring after a while

      • My finances were also sketchy then, which was one of the reasons I talked myself out of it. I was also in denial and COMPLETELY underestimated XH’s attachment to OW – I thought I could tell him to get rid of her and that would be that. WRONG.

        Looking back, my finances – and self esteem – were in MUCH better shape on DDay than they were when he walked out two years later. He was also more interested in saving the marriage early on than he was as time went by and I grew more and more desperate in the “pick me” dance. When you screw other people and your spouse knows it and STILL sticks around, it’s kind of pathetic and you lose respect for them.

        I still regret not following a wise piece of advice a mentor gave me when I was first married: “ALWAYS have money stashed away that your husband doesn’t know about so you can leave in a hurry if you have to.” I thought that didn’t apply to me, so didn’t bother. Again, WRONG.

        Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

        Things I would have done differently:

        *Had emergency funds
        *Left on Dday
        *NOT been a chump

        He/she who cares (or appears to care) THE LEAST about the relationship has the upper hand. I’d heard that many times over the years, but was in such shock initially that anything logical – or strategic – completely eluded me. All I could think of was getting things back to the way they were.

        But here’s what I’ve observed since:

        When Prince William broke up with Kate Middleton in April 2007, she didn’t stay home and cry. She started hitting the club scene in short skirts and flirting with lots of guys – all of which was reported in the press. They were back together 3 months later.

        When Maria Shriver discovered Arnold had fathered a child with her maid, she threw him out, stopped wearing her wedding ring, and filed for divorce. He’s been chasing and begging for forgiveness ever since.

        When Kristin Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson, he packed his bags and left. She begged his forgiveness and they reconciled a few months later. They’ve since broken up.

        Pattern: he/she who is willing to walk away has the upper hand.

        Cheaters aren’t really willing to walk away. That’s why they keep the affair a secret. If they truly didn’t care about their marriages, they wouldn’t try to hide the affair.

        “When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.”
        ― Sun Tzu, “The Art of War” (500 B.C.)

        • Red: I like what you wrote. I too wish now I had left when I first found out, but I was unwilling to throw away 23 years on what may have been a stupid move on his part. I think now he feels like he has the upper hand ( doesn’t know how well my ducks are lined up) but I could walk out tomorrow and he would be the one going hummad hummad hummad

        • I think the person who is willing to leave does have the upper hand. And maybe if, when I found out about the first affair, I had just turfed my ex’s butt out the door, he would have made more of an effort to actually repair. I would have had the upper hand.

          But I realized I want to be with someone who does not want the upper hand, and with whom I can also ignore the ‘who has the power’ question as irrelevant.

          I want a relationship with someone I don’t have to force into thinking about consequences, someone I don’t have to force into apologizing when they’re wrong. Someone who actually cares about me and my kids. Someone who does the right thing because it’s the right thing, and because they think about the effects of their behaviour on the people they care about – without anybody having any upper hands over them. Somebody who is able to think about what they actually want and value, BEFORE they make choices that cause them to lose those things, and who can act like they appreciate having those things, with no one holding anything over their heads.

          And realizing all this is what made it SOOOOOO easy to turn the ex down when he repeatedly talked to me about ‘what would have to happen for us to be able to get back together’, about 6 months after I found out about the second affair and did turf his ass out.

          • I agree with you 100% Karen. Someone who does the right thing, even when no one is looking? That’s the sort of relationship I THOUGHT I had.

            Hopefully I really will some day…

          • I agree. If I had walked away right off the bat, moved out, left him to pick up the pieces, and just said fuck off, he would have come running to me. But I wanted, I thought, to try and save the marriage, so tried to figure that out. At first. Then I turfed him and that was that.

            But at the end of the day, everything you say about wanting someone who doesn’t meed me to hold his hand to do the right thing is exactly how I feel. My ex is a loser, essentially, who really isn’t a very nice person at all.

    • Red

      My first impulse when I discovered the affair was to pack my bags and leave. It’s what I said I would always do – but then I talked myself out of it. Chump.

      Me too, but he would always convince me that I was crazy..paranoid, I so wished I’d believed my gut. Or that I had CL, and all of you years ago….

    • After reading CLs blogs while he was in his FOG state, i woke up! I went straight to a lawyer drew up a very weighted settlement on my part, and kicked him out. I went no contact, took my ring off, called my boss(who was his partner in our group), and decided to stay the course to get out! He was so devistated, and shocked! all of our friends were worried about me and gave me all the support. He talked to his best friend, who hardly knew me, but after they talked said, “you need to make things right and get your life back.” he begged me for me to try, so I emailed him CLs article about being truely sorry. He broke up with her(she went ballistic threatening all kinds of lawsuits), he started going to his own counciler, he signed a postnup(which included all the original divorse settlements plus 1/2 his Ira and 1/2 his salary for 6 yrs in alimony. He kept his apartment, we went on dates, he went to church, always blames himself and now he’s completely kind,and considerate to my pain. I still have a lot of inner conflict, but I’m trying to move forward with him. One thing I know from CL, if I can’t get over it, it will be all on his piss poor decision to have the affair. Thx CL for your dead on advice. If they are truely sorry, they will make all the effort, all the chump has to do is heal themselves no matter how long it takes.

      • What the heck kind of lawsuits could SHE bring? Breach of slut contract? I’m really curious! Crazy Skank!

      • GetMeOut – you go, girl!

        SEE?!

        Confidence, cojones, chutzpah – when you say, “You lying sack of sh*t! Get the hell out of my life!” they freak out and do ANYTHING to get back in your good graces – including getting rid of OP and eating crow.

        Or NOT.

        Either way, you know EXACTLY where you stand. No guessing, no snooping, no months (or YEARS) of the “pick me” dance. Just “cut to the chase” and get on with your life.

        As I said before, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda…”

      • Thank God for the postnup! Getmeout, you might really be a unicorn! Wishing you all the best. And if doesn’t turn out for the best, you protected yourself, and you demonstrated that you will enforce your boundaries. Well done!

        • CL your advice truely is spot on! I believe your book is going to be a great blessing for so many hurting chumps, as your blog is. Thankyou!

      • I’m posting here late, but want to add that my experience coincides with what Red talked about above and the discussion here about breaking things off with the cheater when the cheating is discovered.
        Kicking them out or leaving immediately calls them on their shit. They lose cake and it gives the chump space for clarity and healing, strengthening them and righting the power imbalance the cheater has created.
        I never did the pick me dance but kicked him out the same day. He has been showing humility and respect since, but I have not stopped the divorce because I don’t want to send the message that I’m cheating tolerant or accepting of abuse in the future.
        Whether or not a chump wants to reconcile, breaking up with a cheater needs to happen for all the reasons people here have mentioned. Just wanted to reiterate that with my own experience as an example.

  • Dearest CL,

    One sentence sums up the entire experience for me…

    “I think at some level they believe that you are fortunate to have the wonderfulness that is them.”

    Yep, bow down to his greatness, I should be humbled by his greatness … that was all I deserved…

  • Oh and mine ran off with the sparkly affair partner (now married… poor girl) … and now he is getting a hard dose of reality.

  • My stbx asked if I hated her yesterday……I replied yes sometimes. It felt good to get that out. In my chumpiness I apologized for it though…. After divorce we will still be seeing eachother because of the kids on a daily basis. What can I do to let go of her when I’ll still be seeing her? Seeing her for who she is would work but it tends to show on my face how pissed off and hurt I am.

    • Remember, it’s ok to look pissed off and hurt, because you actually have feelings. If she takes delight in your hurt/pissed face, well, that just is more evidence of her shittiness.

      Keep all interactions between you two to a minimum. Don’t let her seduce you into thinking she “feels” anything for you, because she doesn’t.

      Now, it’s just business.

      • Tell her (1) to the extent you think of her at all you feel sorry for her because you know from experience she has no character or integrity, and (2) your thoughts are busy creating your new life and making sure your kids recover from the betrayal trauma she inflicted on her own flesh and blood.

        That should do the trick.

      • It wont be daily sorry exaggeration on my part. I’m constantly thinking aboit what she has done and the fact thay she shows no remorse at all. Like now that we are getting a divorce everything will ne a sunshine and rainbows. I knoe in reality she’ll be happier knowinf she doesn’t have to hide her double life and that’s the only thing she cares about. Like me finding out was my fault and she couldn’t bare to hurt me any more. She sucks

        • She sucks. Trust that she sucks. You are free from a woman who is cold-hearted. I’m sorry for your kids, but you are free. We all worry that our ex’s are having nothing but sunshine and rainbows, but I don’t really believe cheaters are happy people.

          • “You are free from a woman who is cold-hearted.”

            I’m not free, not yet. My problem is that I see her and I still want to hold her fucking hand, I want to hug her, kiss her. It is driving me crazy. I the space she occupies in my head and heart to be free of her. I don’t know how to let go. I keep trying to think about all the awful shit she has done to me and hoping that it will help me but it doesn’t. I want her to feel my pain, my loneliness, my worthlessness.

            • RC you need to just keep focusing on yourself. I know, I know…it’s dead hard when you’re still reeling but every night look back on your day and find one thing, if that’s all you can, that made you smile or gave you some satisfaction during your day, even if it was a satisfying cup of coffee. Then, before you fall asleep, think of one thing the following day that you’ll do that will make you happy or smile. Keep doing this every night when you go to bed. Try to find more than one thing if you can. Just keep focusing on you. Don’t even focus on her by trying to go over lists of her shittiness. Focus on you, on the little things, on whatever it is that is actually good. You will find that there is a lot more good stuff than you realise in your life if you just take the time to look at it.

              Sounds all very trite but try it. A very wise lady told me to do this and it was quite the little lifesaver for me and my kids. I still do it.

            • Mate I sometimes feel the same way but then focus on all the negative shit she has done. It was abuse. Would you have the done the same to her. I don’t think so. It’s probably not inside you.

              Repeat: I AM GOING TO IGNORE YOU UNTIL YOU DOUBT YOUR OWN EXSISTENCE.

              Nord is spot on. Focus on yourself. Even just going for a walk. Find real purpose just for you.
              It is not easy. In fact it’s probably the biggest challenge you will face.
              You’re not Robinson Crusoe. We all go through it but trust me it diminishes over time.
              Remember you are in control of your choices. Chose to focus in your self.
              She isn’t worth it.

              • Exactly. People who treat you like crap and with no respect are not worth an ounce of your energy. If you keep focusing on yourself you’ll find that, little by little, she’ll take up less space in your thoughts. It won’t happen overnight and I can say from my own experience that even more than 18 months later I still think about this far too often but now my thoughts are no longer obsessive or ‘how in fuck can anyone act this way (at least not most of the time)’ and are instead more along the lines of ‘what a git, oh, look at the cute kitty, he’s a loser, hmmmm….I’m hungry’. You see? It will slowly ebb away, although I do think it never fully goes away. As Nora Ephron said, there reaches a day where you realise you’ve gone an entire 15 minutes where you haven’t thought about it.

              • Bacci, Nord,

                Thank you namely for confirming that I’m not going crazy and that I will get over this shit. I’m tired of her. Exhausted from the pinballs bouncing around in my head. My daughter confirmed that she is talk to OM 1 and OM 2. OM 1 was the one that I found out about and she ultimately lied about saying the text messages to him were from the first time we split up. I’m glad to know that my gut instincts are dead on and that she is in fact a bold face lying cheating whore. I have my kids this week and plan on having a great time with my son during his birthday.

                CL thank you for creating this space to confirm that we are not alone. It has been a huge huge help to my sanity.

            • I was feeling exactly that kind of thing, RCCola. But w/as little contact as possible, it dropped fast.

              Then it would suddenly pop back up, in the weirdest moments! And what finally really helped w/that was realizing that I wanted to hold the hand of the PERSON I THOUGHT HE WAS. I wanted to kiss THE HUSBAND I THOUGHT I HAD. I wanted to hug THE FATHER OF MY KIDS THAT I THOUGHT HE WAS.

              But he WASN’T and ISN’T that person, at all. Never actually was. I was longing for and missing and feeling like reaching out to the person I had convinced myself he was, or that I wanted him to be, not the one he really was.

              So I started to focus on both a) who he really, actually is, as his actions have repeatedly, consistently shown, and b) what I want in a relationship w/a man, what type of man I want to be with, what I am longing for in my life (all of which has nothing to do with him, it’s about me).

              Big shift once I got to that place. Took time, though.

              • Yep, what you miss doesn’t really exist…or disappeared long ago. I wish I had the father of my children home but the guy that fathered them isn’t a father much anymore and he’s an asshole to boot, so now, like you, I work on myself, my life, my kids and sometimes on what I want in a man.

              • Karen,

                Yes this is what I need to keep telling myself. That essentially the woman I married is dead. She is no longer that person and hasnt been for a long long time. I have had a great weekend and will have such an awesome week, with my two kiddos.

  • Love it.

    Andy also did the whole blame shift, re-defining shit.

    At one point, trying to argue that they were just two friends going out to dinner with a couple. But its not double-dating. Actually tells me, in the car, in front of our daughter, that he is going out with AP that night as we are driving for a family dinner at IHOP. And flips out because I go to pieces.

    Because, of course, how dare I expect my husband to actually keep those vows he made?

    Even the first MC called that bullshit.

    Insists when he does not talk to me for 6 to 8 days at a time, its not “silent treatment”; he just doesn’t have anything to say. My friends (then) seven year old nephew identified that as the silent treatment in less than 30 seconds.

    I have to think cheaters get off on the fucked-up-edness. Otherwise, they’d be honest, and not jerk their spouse around for months &or years, and file for divorce right away. So that they are genuinely available for the relationship they want, when it comes along in the future. Instead, they hold a spouse hostage for years at a time, demanding more and more recognition for less and less contribution.

    I don’t feel divorced, 14 months after the divorce is finalized. I feel like I came out of hostage situation. Stockholm syndrome isn’t entirely outside the realm of reasonable and accurate description.

    My psychologist originally described me as “brainwashed”. My father once commented that Andy wasn’t even treating me like a human being.

    Even today, there are times when I have to pull out his emails, just to convince myself I didn’t make this all this shit up.

    • They get off on it because they finally feel like they are controlling something. They can’t control their career or anything else in their life, they are disappointed by that, so it makes them feel better to think that there is this one thing that they can be in charge of. Not really thinking about whether it is at your expense, you are just collateral damage.

  • I have to think cheaters get off on the fucked-up-edness. Otherwise, they’d be honest, and not jerk their spouse around for months &or years, and file for divorce right away. So that they are genuinely available for the relationship they want, when it comes along in the future. Instead, they hold a spouse hostage for years at a time, demanding more and more recognition for less and less contribution.

    How true

    • Hah! And I was the one who felt guilty about it, too! I had this resentment that I felt badly about. Frankly, it was the affair that finally made everything click. It was my ticket out of fuckedupedness.

    • Janet, I think you have something when you mention how they get off on the fucked-up-edness of the affair.

      My STBX’s father had a long-term affair with another woman. He lived apart from his wife for over 20 years, visiting her on weekends, as he was working in the other city. He had been active in the affair from the mid 1980s until his wife died in the first decade of this century. He died 5 years afterwards.

      Once his wife died, he would have been free to marry the OW, his mistress and supposedly the love of his life (as he explained it to one son). Did he marry her? No. He waited until about the week before he died. There was military and state retirement involved. By waiting so long, he effectively screwed her out of all of that.

      Personally, I think he had a side-piece besides the OW.

      Yeah, he definitely got off on the fucked-up=edness.

    • Wow, I’m amazed so many people found that helpful.

      I should try riffing without forethought more often and see what comes of it. lol

      I’m glad it resonated for you.

    • Sure, we were both unhappy. Yes , our relationship was dysfunctional for oh, so many reasons. Absolutely, he expressed his unhappiness often, as did I. But the bottom line is that he fucking cheated. He decided that his entitlement to happiness trumped honesty, values and playing by the rules. I was acting like a child and so was he. I have a real hard time swallowing the idea that now I have to be the adult (like usual!) and let it go. Thanks, Chump Lady, for giving us this forum to rant and vent and hear other stories so we don’t go insane trying to swallow the bullshit of “Your anger only hurts you…” My anger finds its power in the wrongness he (and the whore) created.

      • You are going to get angry sometimes. Staying angry all the time, though, is a health risk. Some people I have had the misfortune of dealing with at points in my life seem addicted to anger (like they are using it to cope with just about everything because it feels empowering to them), so that’s probably the inspiration for a lot of the banalities you’ve heard: wrong medicine for the wrong disease.

        For most of us, though, anger is just motivating us to do something, and it doesn’t do any good to try to pretend to ourselves that we’re not angry at all, but the hard part is figuring out what the best thing to do is, and then doing that.

  • CL, amazing topic and post, this one really brought up a lot of feelings including anger in reading the posts of what everyone here has been through and the pain caused. This post is a great breakthrough post for someone who has recently experienced a D Day!!!

    Thankfully the day I saw a Casual Encounter Craigslist ad on his computer I knew there was no reconciliation and that it was over forever. Whatever good memories I thought I had were completely erased by that single event as it tied up all the red flags along the way of our relationship and made all the behavior that didn’t make sense before, crystal clear!

    It was like being hit with a physical BOMB! I will never forget that feeling and I knew I never wanted to feel that again.

    The future flashed before my eyes and I could see clearly the future unhappiness this relationship would bring to me. A 55yr old doing this and having done this the majority of his life would not be changing anytime soon and I saw him completely unravel over a period of about 3 months and as time went by it became worse never better.

    A liar and cheat can not cover up their dirty, mean, cruel, selfish deeds, it will surface one way or the other over time. You can only pretend you are someone else for so long. The real you will surface eventually. That reality has no light or goodness. It’s very dark, much like an empty black hole.

    They distract you as they distract themselves from having any bad feelings so you believe and get lost in the good feelings they bring and seem to feel. Then they can’t distract anymore and that is when you see who they really are. Shallow, parasitic, selfish, cruel, calculating, manipulative users without empathy. It’s really that simple!

    It’s the aftermath that is so difficult to deal with, the emotional roller coaster and inability to comprehend how someone could actually be so cruel,uncaring,abusive and really not give a shit or have any true remorse.

    But happily over time once you are able to understand that this is really who they are and has nothing to do with you it starts to get better. Removing them from your life is really the only answer. You suddenly feel such an immense sense of relief and happiness and about 20 pounds lighter, not to mention feeling safe once again. That’s a big one or was for me at least. The realization that he could no longer hurt me and that I was safe.

    It also gave me tremendous confidence and clarity in who I am and what is important to me in a future partner.

    The most ironic thing with these boys and girls is that they are just like bad seeds and because they are child like, they are harmless if confronted as they are weak from lack of any kind of character, yet they cause so much destruction.

      • Indeed it is and I realise that I haven’t felt that way in a very long time, which is what led to me feeling so scared for so long…and also so paralysed. But I know that I need to feel safe with ME before I can feel safe with someone else. Still working on that a bit.

    • The feeling safe is big for me too. That was one of the reasons I never felt tempted when the ex tried to bring on the unicorns at the end of last year. I realized that not only had it been a long time since I felt safe in his arms, but that, having seen who he really is and what he was capable of doing, I never would be able to feel safe and loved there again.

      If you can’t feel safe and loved in your partner’s arms, there really is no point, is there?

  • I need to share this one with you all of fucked up things Cheaters say……….

    This is what my complete asshole said when I told him, “I can’t do this, we have nothing and I can never trust you again nor will I ever fuck you again!” , the reply, “I didn’t see this coming” –

      • Oh yes. “The pit of despair!” When they realize that you’re not going to play the “real” pick me game. They don’t give a shit if you ignore them or make snide remarks or threaten divorce….they just want to make certain that there is that “possibility” of getting laid every so often!

        Mine got this look of sheer terror when I told him he had better forget ever touching me again. It was a shock at first, for me to see it….and then that slow, sickening realization that this was all….truly….about cake.

        I could be replaced by anybody, anywhere, anytime. It didn’t matter what shit he had to go through to get it, he just needed a secure supply.

        Nope….they don’t “see it coming”, Deborah. They never do.

        That, I think, is one of the major issues with people like us…we can see consequences. We can look into the long term and see the outcome of our choices.

        My STBXH lives in the moment or in the past. There is only immediate gratification for him….like a child. Ever ask a 6 year old what the future looks like? I’ll bet you might even get a more accurate answer from a 6 year old than one of these NPDs.

        Of course he didn’t see it coming, because you were supposed to “forgive and forget” or maybe just believe his lies and distortions so that he doesn’t even have to deal with your “forgiveness”.

        • Hi everyone, I’m pretty new so I guess I missed the definition of “MEH.” Can someone help me with this?…maybe “My emotional health?”

          • I like meh as an acronym! That’s great!

            Actually it’s a slang term the young people use these days meaning — whatever. Can’t get too excited about it.

            It’s about achieving the glorious state of indifference toward your ex.

    • Oh my gosh, Deborah! That is a good one! Unbelievably stupid.

      None so blind as he who would not see.

      My ex was attempting reconciliation. I pointed out that he had made some very clear choices (to get involved with another woman and to fuck around again and therefore to end our relationship and the kids’ intact family). He said ‘I didn’t make any choices’. Uh hum, right.

      Red is absolutely right – they never think they will get caught! If if they do, they then think that, because they’re entitled, everything will be OK anyway.

      Sigh.

    • While running today, I was trying to figure out Why do they keep us in the dark during an affair? My H said after I kicked him out and got my Power back, he had lost his Light without me. I guess I was his energy source to keep her happy. These entitled people can’t feed each other without us(their cake). So fellow chumps, please crawl out of the pit, find the sun, and recharge yourself. They keep taking your energy, love, kindness, joy, and your Smiles! Those smiles are for people who share a smile back, not just take yours. If they want u back, they will do whatever it takes to come back to u, make sure it includes a postnup(that’s your insurance policy) If not, free yourself from that parasite, they just keep sucking out your light.

  • Dear CL,

    You are awesome! I ofter wonder on the “reconciliation” websites how many have actually been cheated on. A lot of their advice assumes you’re dealing with an honest person. Not a cake-eater.

    With respect to the Church. I spoke with my Priest and he gave me solid advice. If she feels no remorse, then I can’t forgive her. It is acceptable to move onto divorce. I think devout Catholics can be more strict than the clergy when it comes to divorce.

    Socially there are the three “A”s when it comes to divorce. Abuse, Adultry, and Addiction. My wife got the hat trick.

    Thanks again!

  • Dear CL and fellow readers…

    Maybe you can all help me find clarity in my situation…I will start by saying I am the chump of all chumps and a huge hope junky. I will wrap my story up in nutshell as it’s way too long to give all the details. My husband is a sex addict and has slept with 50-60 women over the course of our 12 year marriage and 1 “almost affair” that was about to start up with a co-worker when I asked for a separation a year ago but fizzled because she didn’t want to be the “other woman” and she ended up getting another boyfriend. I asked my husband for a separation last September as I was having problems getting over his addiction. He supposedly had not “acted out” in a year prior to me asking for the separation but he had made no obvious changes to make me feel safe or help me heal from his past. I was hoping that once he moved out that he would do whatever it took to get back home. Instead he almost started a relationship with a co-worker and removed his phone from the tracking device and I found “selfie” pics of him and his hard penis…so I told him I was going to file for divorce and that is when he started going to therapy and SA meetings to figure out if he wanted to be with me. He then decided in March of this year that he did in fact want me and our marriage however it has been me that has not been sure this is what I want so I put myself out there dating wise and after seeing that what is available to date and missing my intact family I told him just last week that it’s time for us to figure out whether or not I can get past everything and to start marriage counseling and maybe go on a date once in awhile to see if I can get that feeling of desire back for him. So I forwarded him your link the other day and this was his response..
    “I know it says I should grovel and know my place but these sound so unhealthy. It is such an effort to put enough energy together to focus on work when I’m caught in these lows and right now I just want to sleep” I responded that he doesn’t allow me to speak about my anger because all I do is make him feel bad to which he replied “and that’s fine the old guy I am trying not to be any more would sit there and take it all. Swallow every bit of anger you dished out because I deserved it but if something is bugging me I need to start speaking out more”.
    We share a therapist and she says that he acted out because of his inability to speak up about things that bothered him and that it’s healthy for him to speak up about his feelings and that I need to not feel obligated to react to his feelings.
    I guess what I’m trying to decipher is he showing signs of someone who is truly sorry and is someone I should sit down in marriage counseling with and see if I can learn to trust him again and maybe I can be a unicorn? Or am I the chump of all chumps and I should just throw in the towel and let him go.
    (sorry if I posted this in the wrong spot, hijacked the post, or made it too long)

    • Um, “someone who is truly sorry”.

      Someone who is truly sorry “grovels”, and “knows his place”, and let’s you “speak about your anger”, and acknowledges that he “deserves your anger”.

      He is behaving as if he is entitled to have you put up with 12 years of this shit, and then keep you as the main course after he’s done with the side fucks — without any effort on his part to keep you.

      (Incidentally, he’s not done with the sidefucks.)

      He didn’t start screwing around because he “couldn’t speak out”. He started screwing around because he believed he was entitled to do so.

      What you are describing is extremely dehumanizing and psychologically abusive behavior. (Twisting the behaviors that accompany remorse to sound like a negative? ) God forbid he should actually be held accountable for the things he has actually done.

      At best, you should kick him to the curb. I don’t know if “sex” qualifies as an actual addiction in the same way that gambling or alcohol have biological components, but I do know that *any* addict is a bad bet. An addict who uses their “disease” as a justification for why they are not responsible for their actions is not someone you want to invest any more years into.

      (I say this as someone who’s father is an alcoholic, and is now almost 30 years sober, and still ridiculously happy married to my mother. People of character pull their shit together, deal with it, and own it. People without integrity blame other people for their actions. I’m not saying its easy; or fast; but people of integrity do not start out by saying they are not responsible for their actions.)

      If you don’t want to file for divorce, you don’t have to. You can file for a legal separation, and leave the ball in his court. If he wants to keep you, let him spend a year taking responsibility for his “disease” and for proving to you that its worth your while to let him *start* repairing trust. (Word of warning, make sure the terms of the separation are ones you could live with in a divorce — generally its a simple process of paying the fees & filing the paperwork to convert a separation into a divorce.)

      If he doesn’t take action to make you feel safe, or doesn’t take action to get his “disease” under control (and I suspect the two are inextricably linked), simply convert the separation to a divorce, and you are done with him.

      This gives him control over whether or not the two of you divorce (either he steps up, or he does not), while giving you control over your daily life (you can even include a restraining order in the separation, if you so desire).

      Personally, I think 12 years is above and beyond the call of “for better or worse” if someone refuses to do anything to seek treatment until you threaten to pull the plug.

      You mention a lot of questions about what he wants. Have you actually thought about what you want?

  • Thank you Blue eyes and bruises. I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my post. We have actually be separated for almost a year now and I had seen some positive changes in him and told him we should sit down with our therapists and find out once and for all if it’s even possible for me to get over the past. That is when I started searching this page to see if he demonstrates any traits that say he’s a changed man. I just feel like I have been stuck for so long and I’m ready to move on it one direction or another. He has taken my comment of lets sit down with the therapist as in we are back together and he keeps trying to have sex with me and I just don’t feel it and then I found he had checked my facebook messages from guy friends who have sent me messages. Some were flirtatious a bit but I had told him that I was going to date while we were separated so I have nothing to feel guilty about. However him checking up on me really rubs me the wrong way as in I feel like I am the one who was the cause of us being here in this place and I’m not. I confronted him about checking up on me but he played dumb which shows me that he still doesn’t know how to be truthful to me.
    You ask what I want…well in a nutshell I want to be happy. I want to be happy with my children and a complete family who loves each other. I want to continue to be able to stay home and take care of my family, but I have realized over the last year that I need to put my big girl panties on and realize that is not what I’m gonna get.

  • My STBXH feels so entitled to reconciliation that he told me yesterday that I am “living in la la land” and that I “need to get over it” (his sleeping with at least 2 different women that I know of, one of which has been an on-off thing for our entire 9 years together). He is truly a narcissist who is angry and pissed at me because he can’t stand the thought that I hold all the cards. In our state, we have a law where I can actually sue the OW (alienation of affection). I told him he could take the easy path or the rough one (where I sue his sweetie pie). It’s sad that I have to keep reminding him that HE was the one who caused all of this and now he must deal with the consequences.

    • YOU need to “get over it”? That’s funny! The answer to that would be, “Yes, I WILL get over it, right after I kick your ass out with NOTHING, you ass!”

      He’s a serial cheater with no remorse and the only language that they understand is brutal, real and very swift consequences. No threats. No whining. No reconciliation. No treats. No sex. No perks of marriage. NADA.

      Find a lawyer, a good one don’t stint on the cost, you’ll regret it later.
      Keep your plans to YOURSELF. You keep “reminding” him or telling him the consequences—he knows you’re not going to do anything real. He can do an end run around you. If you can’t do NO CONTACT, then do “as little talking as possible” until the papers are filed and he is gone.

      Do you have to have a separation of a certain amount of time before you can file? If so, get the lawyer on this with separation papers and kick his ass out the door RIGHT NOW. Get the clock running on this. It will also make it easier on YOU and any kids you may have to end his piggish bullying bullshit.

      Let him live out there on his own, maybe with his on and off schmoopie (she prolly doesn’t want him, if it’s been on and off and neither of them do anything concrete to be together). What is it that you are doing for him that he stays in this marriage despite two affairs that you know of (one LT)? Whatever that is—CUT IT OFF NOW.

      Stop talking to this idiot. Go to some of the websites that CL mentions and read the books, especially CL’s new one (which will help you through this MESS) and The Sociopath Next Door.

      You will see Mschump, that this guy isn’t original, he’s nothing new, he’s cliche and arrogant and HE is the one who lives in “la la land”. Sociopathic cheaters (which yours sounds like he is. anybody who can live a double life for 9 years is a loony toon fantasy land psycho) never believe that anyone is smarter than they are, that they will always get away with whatever they do, they try and make people feel sorry for them, they sponge off of other people and the LIE.

      You need to understand that anything and everything this guy says and has said, for the ENTIRE TIME you have been with him—is either an out and out lie, or a “variation” on the truth. It’s upsetting and will make the earth move under your feet….but as soon as you wrap your head around it, you will see clearly.

      Get a lawyer. Now. Get separated or get the divorce papers filed. Now. You will be healthier and happier for it.

      Let his long term schmoopie take care of him, if she wants to be in his life so badly. Or the other one. Or that other one. Or the one after all of them. Or the next. THIS IS WHO HE IS. Watch how fast and far he falls off of his fantasy high horse Mschump.

      It’s worth the price of the ticket (a lawyer and a divorce) to watch him get what’s coming to him.

      • Kwan Yin – Thank you so much for your reply. I should clarify that I have kicked him out (my D-Day was June 27 (not quite 2 months ago). He was here yesterday picking up our 5 year old daughter because I was allowing him to spend the afternoon with her. I have retained an attorney and have begun the divorce process in my state. I’m curious if you other chumps have had your cheater do this…after being caught, admitted the affairs, went to counseling on their own…and then expect the chump to forgive and forget immediately because the counselor told the cheater he did what he did because he’s depressed? That is the card my STBXH is playing…he cheated all these years because he has depression. To that I say, boo hoo.

        • Mschump, did you personally hear the counselor tell him that the reason he cheats is because he is depressed? If not, then this is yet another gaslighting attempt by a serial cheater to maintain cake. Does he keep you and others from talking, as in, comparing notes? They’ll do that to control the narrative.

          Depression doesn’t make someone cheat with multiple partners, go home, lie to your spouse’s face, enjoy the marital perks, spend resources, expose their partner to STIs and crazy APs, damage their children—

          Nothing he says is true, Mschump. I’m sure he’s sworn on his child’s life and his parent’s lives and all over the damn place that “I WOULD NEVER ______”. Well, he probably also said he would NEVER cheat, too, right?

          Read through from the beginning of CL. It’s long, I know. But the comments sections are pure gold—all of the absolutely insane gaslighting that goes on, how far these cheaters will go to protect their cake.

          IT’S ALL ABOUT CAKE. He’s not depressed. It’s not his mother’s fault. It’s not Your fault. It’s not his job or his lack of a job. It’s not his age. THIS IS WHO HE IS. He is TELLING YOU CLEARLY and you need to believe him. That’s the only true thing about him—-HE IS A SERIAL CHEATER whose only function is to secure cake.

          What is cake to him? I don’t know. Are you letting him stay in your house? Have unfettered access to you and your daughter? Does he have access to common financial resources? Are you giving him sex or sympathy or attention?

          This is yummy cake to these disordered jerks.

          HE CHEATED BECAUSE HE COULD. All of the dinners you sat across from him, he never mentioned how depressed he was or that he needs to find the cure by screwing other women behind your back?

          I’m sure you think that you’ve heard all of the “truth” from him, but never, ever fool yourself into thinking that he’ll tell you anything that either you don’t know already or it may benefit him in some way.

          I asked my cheater if his OW met my kids. NO, he said, I WOULD NEVER DO THAT. She not only met them, she has given them gifts that were IN MY HOUSE, right under my nose.

          The point is, they may SEEM that they care about things, but this is an act. It is pure sociopathy. They MIMIC normal people. He knows what you want or need to hear.

          STOP TALKING TO HIM, unless it is documented through email or recorded conversations. He will spin and twist and distort every single thing until you don’t know what’s real.

          Why are you doing this to yourself? He’s proven that he cannot be trusted—that he will use any excuse to do whatever it is he wants to do.

          He stole from you and your daughter. Time, money, attention. Because he’s depressed? Then he needs to get on medication, go through years of therapy—-all while being divorced from you—and at a later date, when he is healthy, YOU DECIDE whether you want him back in your life, after he’s proven himself.

          Another thing I failed to mention is that if you are in a fault state, as you said, adultery is grounds to him to lose everything. Custody, financial support, EVERYTHING.

          This guy didn’t think twice about carrying on behind your back for 9 years. Not with ONE, but TWO women that you know about. Why are you giving this crumb the time of day or any consideration whatsoever?

          That’s what lawyers are for—use yours. Set up rules (cheaters HATE rules). If he breaks them? Instantaneous consequences are leveled—not by you, but by the court. And judges don’t take kindly to the “I was depressed” defense. Because it’s bullshit.

          Mine didn’t do the depressed thing, he did the “mistakes were made, and you made your share that forced me to do what i did”. Again, BULLSHIT.

          I control me. YOU control YOU. He controls himself (until he’s not). HE CHOSE TO SCREW THOSE WOMEN AND LIE TO YOU AND ENDANGER YOUR HEALTH. Nothing more, nothing less.

        • Hey girl,

          Kwan Yin is hitting all the highlights, so I won’t repeat.

          What I will point out — as someone who’s lived with major clinical depression for more than half my life, I can unequivocally state it does not make you cheat. It does not make you do anything — except to do nothing (physical manifestation of the apathy some people experience).

          Depression doesn’t make you cheat; it doesn’t make you get married or divorced; it doesn’t reverse your moral compass, or invert your understanding of right and wrong.

          If he was genuinely depressed, it’s more likely he would not cheat, even if he wanted to and thought he was entitled to. So that justification is just that — a piece of bullshit justification.

          I seriously doubt any mental health professional with even a shred of professionalism would tell someone a “disease” alleviates any responsibility for someone’s own actions. Addictions are mental health illnesses (alcoholism, drugs, gambling, etc.), and no reputable therapist would tell someone they do not have to make amends and be accountable for their actions — just the opposite, accountability, to yourself and to others (when necessary) — is a huge part of treatment. It’s the same thing with any of the various mood disorders. Someone might spend the rent during a manic phase, but their therapist isn’t going to tell them to ignore how eviction notices impact their kids.

          He’s a clinical wingnut, trying to spout cheaterish at you to explain why you should pretend it never happened.

      • …oh, and I forgot to add, he also said to me, “I CHOSE YOU AND TO STAY HERE!” All because I caught him…he would never have admitted the affairs. And now he expects me to forgive and forget and heal along with him and his supposed depression.

        • Mschump, that’s called “give that man a bitch cookie”.

          “I chose you!” Wow. Lucky you, eh? YOU CHOSE ME WHEN WE SAID OUR VOWS, YOU ASS!

          • Did he just go to a couple counseling sessions, get verification that it was okay for him to cheat because he was in a bad place—and now it’s up to you to help him heal?

            To answer your question as to whether many chumps here have experienced this “depression defense”—YES. It is so cliche, that it is actually considered one of the traits of Malignant Narcissists and Sociopaths. “Make people feel sorry for them.” and “Their behavior is never their fault and is always out of their control”.

            You’re not a mental health professional, are you? Are you responsible for his getting better? Would you consider yourself to be responsible for him getting better if he was, say, a child molester or a drug addict or a murderer?

            You may think these examples are extreme, but they are not. What your husband did is in line with the thinking of each of these criminals. He STOLE from you and your daughter. Trust, time, money, attention. You will FOREVER have trust issues because of the damage this man has done. Your daughter may only be 5, but she is smarter than you think. They’re little sponges. They know.

            He placed you and your daughter in DIRECT DANGER for 9 years. Can you reconcile that with depression? He pushed you and your daughter in front of a speeding train because he was depressed? Each time he screwed that other woman—did he use protection? You will never know, because he will lie to you about that too. So, whenever you and he had sex, you were also exposed to each and every partner that this OW was with too. Do you trust HER to be careful with her partners?

            Have you been tested?

            This is just the tip of the iceberg, Mschump. There are probably things you don’t even want to think that he might have done. Read another newer post called “When your cheater is a sicko”—

            He can sit there and swear to God Almighty that he would “never” do certain things…..but this is the guy who pushed you and your daughter in front of a speeding train. It didn’t take him 9 years, 2 affairs and only after you caught him red handed did he admit it—-for him to realize he was “depressed”.

            This sounds like cheaterschtick. It’s probably the sob story that he gives to his OW to get them on the hook. Worked for them, maybe it’ll work on you too.

            Blue Eyes is right. Depression does not nullify your moral compass. It just doesn’t.

            Cheaterpants wants you to MOVE THE EFF ON so he can get back to the cake eating. If YOU will forgive and forget and hold his hand—-everyone else who may have found out what a douchebaq he is will have to back off too!

            Image Management 101 in the Cheater’s Handbook.

            Please tell me that you have clued your family and friends and anyone else (maybe his family too?) in on what he’s done. You need support. Do not listen to a word he says. Listen to people who care for you and love you.

            Get some therapy of your own, as well. Talking to a trained, reputable professional will clear your mind of Mr. Cheaterpant’s excuses.

            • Kwan and Blue Eyes–You are awesome. Thank you so much for your replies and advice. I did get tested and fortunately I’m clean. I am seeing a counselor and I’m going to start taking my 5 year old daughter to see my counselor starting this week. Thank you for sharing with me that the depression thing is just cheaterbullshit. You pegged him exactly…he mopes and acts all hurt to get attention. Although my D-day was less than 2 months ago, I have taken all of the steps you suggest (getting him out of the house, going to a lawyer, getting tested for STDs, etc.). My mistake so far has been to be so civil with him (not nice, just civil). The problem with this is that he is dragging things out. After reading both of your responses today, I have decided to call my lawyer tomorrow and go with the “nuclear option.” As I mentioned before, I live in a “fault” state where infidelity is considered a crime. I can even sue the OW if I want. So far I have played given him the luxury of the “easy path” on the divorce…splitting assets & debts, etc. I have put my foot down over custody and I insisted that I want full custody and the ability to claim my daughter as a dependent every year on taxes. He balked on that of course and I had to remind him that he created this situation. I need to talk to my lawyer about going ahead and pursing the fault divorce and serving him papers. Have either of you had a fault divorce? My lawyer said that it can drag out and go to trial and could cost a lot of money in the long run. But I have solid evidence that can’t be disputed (a recording of him admitting to the affairs–in my state this is admissable in court), as well as a testimony (our neighbor would testify that my husband admitted to the affairs). Again, I’ve been playing nice all along because I wanted to do what I thought would be easiest on my daughter, etc. But after his behavior yesterday, I’m through with being nice. I’ve got to get to this “meh” you all talk about on this site. Although I will say that my being angry has fueled me to get a lot done the past couple of weeks with the pending divorce.

              • Unfortunately, I live in a “no-fault” state.

                About the only positive to this is all of this happened before my family passes and I inherit. My ex knew my family had money — his opinion; most normal people would not consider it money so much as a reasonable retirement fund with a little bit left for the kids and grandkids after all the medical bills settle.

                If this had come up after I inherited, he could have tried to claim 50% ownership of anything purchased with those funds. (Don’t misunderstand, I hope all of my family members have another 15 years of good health.)

                Even though I live in a no-fault state, if you factor in that Andy decided he wanted a divorce right around the time our daughter was born — and just decided not to tell me — it took around 5 / 6 years all told.

                Now of course, he has to re-write history and explain how miserable he was — while I was skipping meals to make ends meet, and raising a newborn, and had the threat of cancer hanging over my head for several years — I was not trying hard “enough” (read, petting his ego enough).

                If I had lived in a fault state — I absolutely would have gone that route. That’s a personal thing for me, and it had very little to do with the OW, and a great deal to do with all the bullshit surrounding it, of which the infidelity was not even the largest issue (death threats, medical injuries, etc.).

                Andy lied to me so extensively about who he was, my therapist stated he essentially used my emotions to hold me down and rape me for a decade. Work history, religion, previous relationships, health. Who lies about their religion, right?!

                The state I live in required I sign a statement indicating I was 50% responsible for the break-down of the marriage–this was not optional, I had to sign it in order to file papers. I really feel as though the state forced me to lie under oath in order to get a divorce. It really does bother me. I guess that’s just more proof for Andy of what an “untrustworthy” person I am. (Incidentally, I work in a bank, and am bonded through the FBI, if that tells you anything about the level of background checks I’ve gone through over the years — yep, I ring all those untrustworthy bells.)

                Angry is good; angry is healthy; for you, angry is not unrealistic at this point in the process. Angry will keep you moving forward when he starts trying to manipulate.

                Meh is a process. I’m two years divorced, and a year ago I still would not say I was meh. I’m pretty much meh now — about the things that happened then — but Andy still pulls new shit on a semi-regular basis. Some of it I can just face-palm, put together my documentation, and metaphorically walk away. Other things, I still have to call a friend and rant for a while. (The joys of breeding with a fucktard.)

                Find a friend or two who are okay with letting you rant at them when you need to. It helps.

  • Sorry, I hit send before I finished my thought.

    What are you “winning” here, Mschump? I mean, do you feel “LUCKY” that he “chose” you?

    He didn’t admit the affairs until he was caught, isn’t that right? So, he was “deciding” between the three (that you know of) of you for the length of your entire marriage?

    You need to read CL’s response to “genuine remorse or naugahyde remorse”—where she goes over clearly the “I SAID I WAS SORRY, SO GET OVER IT!” Bullshit.

    You don’t have to do ANYTHING. Nothing. HE cheated, not you. You owe him NOTHING. Not reconciliation, not absolution, not forgiveness—you owe him absolutely nothing. He trashed that when he spoke his first lie and screwed his first affair partner and then came home and expected all the marital perks from you.

  • Kwan–you are right…I’m not winning anything here. I’ve tried to be civil with him and all it has done is put me on more rollercoaster rides. I have read the “Genuine remorse…” blog and most of the blogs on the site (just not all of the comments). I am so happy I found this site…hands down the best information and advice I could ever have hope to find!!!!!! Thank you!!! 🙂

  • He felt ‘entitled’ to my forgiveness. “You must forgive me!” And when I didn’t (or couldn’t because there was no genuine remorse or humility) “You are not capable of forgiveness!”

    You see how he did that? Yup, he made his failings, my problem. Lovely.

    “Reconciliation itself, does not help cheaters with their entitlement issues. If anything, it hurts authentic progress because it doesn’t level meaningful consequences.” Huzzah! I completely agree with this. There is a quote by the Dalai Lama about maintaining a strong response…here it is:

    “Sometimes, you may encounter situations that require strong countermeasures. I believe, however, that you can take a strong stand and even take strong countermeasures out of a feeling of compassion, or a sense of concern for the other, rather than out of anger. One of the reasons why there is a need to adopt a very strong countermeasure against someone is that if you let it pass – whatever the harm or the crime that is being perpetrated against you – then there is a danger of that persons habituating in a very negative way, which, in reality, will cause that individuals own downfall and is very destructive in the long run for the individual himself or herself. Therefore a strong countermeasure is necessary, but with this thought in mind, you can do it out of compassion and concern for that individual.”

  • Wow, thanks for scaring the hell out of me with a logical, reasoned analysis of these situations. I think I am going to throw up now.

  • This is one of the truest things I have ever read. Almost every paragraph made me stop to digest it.

    And yes, “chump” is the word I used to describe myself many, many times.

  • I guess this makes me a unicorn – rare. That’s OK, I will take that. I wonder what you make of a man, who while he likely felt entitled during the affair, suddenly decided to do the right thing and tell her. Not because he was coerced into telling her, but because he felt she needed to know the truth, deserved to make decisions fot herself based on truth, and told her under the complete assumption that in doing so he would be losing everything…and then did it anyway. I wonder what you make of the man who willingly attends therapy to better understand what led hi down that path, or the man who willingly participates in workshops and seminars helping other men to do the right thing. I wonder what you think of a man who has been humbled, who is grateful for a chance to reommit to his partner and family and who eternally regrets the poor choices that he has made. I am guessing you might consider him a chump-loving unicorn. I can see this site promotes walking away from a cheater, as per the tagline on the header, but I would challenge the notion that reconciled marriages don’t exist. I know plenty that do, and they aren’t having smoke blown up their asses either. http://www.rescuingmymarriage.com

    • I visited your blog, and there I read:

      “My husband’s mistress set her sights on him early, and he was a target. We are convinced that if it hadn’t been him, it would be some other high-earning professional in his office. She set her sights on him, knew what she wanted, and made it happen.”

      Lady, I feel very sorry for you, but you are a chump.

      I wish you well in your efforts towards ‘reconciliation’ as you see it. Time will tell. I hope you prove me wrong.

  • Thanks CL, this article is so helpful. Only a few months since DDay (the worst period of my life ever) have been watching cheater for signs of real remorse, not looking good so far. The whole entitlement thing / lack of empathy rings so true. I have already told myself that she will have to be prepared to do a load of work on herself such that she would not consider an affair as an acceptable way to deal with difficulties in the marriage. Was so confused before, being blinded by residual feelings of love for her but feel like the scales have fallen from my eyes now and I can come to a conclusion based on her actions and willingness to examine the way she see’s herself. When discussing this recently, she said “I wouldn’t want to come back to you and end up doing it again!” WTF??? Feeling much stronger though and will be ready to do whatever is required. Seeing others experiences really helps.

  • On another note, does anyone get very emotional PMS post- separation, and get uncontrollable, unexplainable urges to talk, call or text?… even though you would never ever ever go back!!! IRRATIONALITY AT ITS FINEST???…

  • Thank you chump lady. I really appreciate you explaning this in a way that was easy for me and my cheating wife to understand. We learnd sooooo freaking much from you we are forever greatful. Thank you thank you

  • The problem is also that even the genuinely humble, remorseful cheater (I have one of those very unicorns) cannot unfuck that goat. For five years post D-day (one affair in 25 years – I feel as sure as I can be without living his life, but hey, who the fuck really knows!) I thought and felt sure we’d ‘make it.’ He was gutted. Embarrassed. Sorry as hell. Prepared to do whatever made me feel safer and loved. But then I just couldn’t do it anymore five years in. I still felt devastated. Betrayed. Used. Stupid. Oh so fucking stupid. It feels bad to leave someone who is genuine. But he says it best, “you owe me absolutely nothing, horses. You were and are an amazing partner. I fucked it all up and can’t make it better. I’m sorry. So damn sorry.” And his actions have mirrored his words from day one. Complete transparency. Answered every question. Went to every (and booked a fair few) counselling appointments. I feel as heartbroken today, seven and a half years later as I did when his AP told me. Maybe more so wirh the shock and incredulity gone. He wishes so many things. Eg; telling me early on when he knew he was doing us both huge damage. Telling me himself after he finally ended it instead of trying to manage her crazy and failing. Not fucking doing it at all. Of course.

    This has been the fight of my life. To survive. To try to find joy and peace again. To thrive anyway. I just wish he’d been a total cunt ‘in recovery.’ You walk away from that shit far more easily. Bye Felicia.

  • Hahahaha, I remember when the mediator actually used your cookie analogy, only with the four loaves of banana bread on her desk that she baked that a.m. to tell me in so many words that she saw my ex as entitled. She said he wanted all of the loaves, because they were brown, and he thought he should have them all because his hair was brown…if she could see that in the span of 2 hours, then I have more confidence about going back to mediation because my ex lied about where he was moving..(an hour and a half away…) so he could have our kid in the middle of the school week.

  • All the people I have been comfortable to tell my situation to….have been people not willing to confront
    my partner (bi-sexual/gay/in-denial….who knows) about his actions. So while I’m working on my r’ship with him & learning much about myself & him, he….is not.

    The empathy thing…he has none for this, our situation. He likes to not acknowledge it. I’m slowly learning he probably never will

  • I reached a point of seeing stuff clearly.
    I gave 15 years of honesty, loyalty, trust and love.
    Then DDay came and everything I knew – or believed in- completely crushed.
    I gave another year of “ now he understands so we can start building our healthy future”. – but instead was chumped into “ pick me dance” with confusing and strange ( working on our improvements, learning to communicate, being patient and loving🤮) outcomes of a marriage Therapy….
    After a year expectations haven’t changed, it was on/ off mind fucking games ( it’s me, no actually it’s your fault because you are procrastinating a lot, not keeping laundry to my standards etc.) …. he was WILLING to eventually HELP me with dealing with PTSD symptoms BUT only IF : I was kind, sweet, nice, and my requests were up to his liking.
    I’m writing now and thinking about the craziness of that…
    After the last fight ( over his match.com account and my HURTFUL accusations- it was not created last year but two weeks before our engagement- and being upset by the news) I just went grey stone.
    He barely noticed.
    And of course he is so HURT and expect APOLOGY for calling him “ full of shit”
    Right.
    15 years filled with women, hook ups, lies, deception, sex deprivation ( on my part) , gaslighting, prostitutes, Craigslist’s, endangering my life and life of our children….
    All that while telling me about love and being offended when I question his understanding of love
    Easy, get over it, not a big deal.
    Calling him full of crap or not folding clothes, cleaning the kitchen on time is much worse offense.
    I just need to vent today…

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