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Dear Chump Lady, Explain “poofing”

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m interested in getting your take on the phenomenon of “poofing.”

I was with the same man for 11 years. Lived together for 10. Engaged for 7. We were students and dirt poor, so we decided to hold off on our wedding until one of us had a solid job. We figured we’d waited so long, we might as well wait and do it the way we really wanted to without too much compromise. But we had many of the entanglements of married couples: joint accounts, insurance policies, furniture/household stuff, paying into a college fund in case we had children, pets, property, investments, etc. etc.

Fast forward to this past year and he finally got a high-paying job. We moved, found a place, began filling it with furniture, started talking about children…. and began planning the wedding. We booked a venue, I bought a dress, we ordered the flowers and invitations. Family bought plane tickets.

I got a job in his new office, but it didn’t start for a few months. In the meantime, I had an offer for a short-term contract out of state that would look great on my resume. We decided I should take it and that we could handle the separation. In fact, we thought it would give him a chance to really buckle down at his new job and work some overtime.

We did fine for the first few months. Talked everyday, saw each other during long weekends. In fact it was kind of fun to meet in new cities at hotel rooms, order in and catch up.

I knew he had made a new friend in his office and was spending some time with her on weekends going shopping and that sort of thing, but I had no reason to doubt him. But I started to notice that she was texting him late at night, and he began talking about her a lot when I’d see him. I’d talk to him about boundaries and that some of time he was spending with her seemed a little excessive. My family picked up on it, too, and my mother started warning me that I needed to tell him to stop talking to her. I’d defend him and say that he was allowed to have a friend (after all, I had male friends and he had nothing to worry about).

After awhile, I did start to notice that sometimes I would have trouble getting him on his phone. He didn’t immediately answer phone calls and texts late at night. I kept getting notices that he went over his coverage for our phone plan. When I’d get ahold of him, he’d be hysterically crying, telling me how hard it was for him to be alone. I was so trusting, I wasn’t putting two and two together. In fact, I felt sorry for him!

About two weeks before I was coming “home”, he started telling me he wanted a prenup. I told him he was crazy. After all of this time? Something didn’t add up. We couldn’t afford the lawyers anyway. Long story short, his arguments for the prenup were so bad, he had to come clean. He had been cheating on me for about two months. Started the relationship the weekend after we had signed the final contract for the wedding, in fact.

At first, he seemed like he was sorry. He insisted the woman didn’t mean anything to him. He broke it off with her. Went into therapy. He still wanted to get married. Offered to leave his job to come to me to “show his commitment.”

But after a few difficult conversations, he started shutting down. Started saying some things that were really hurtful about me and our relationship. Told me she was easier to talk to. Made it sound like he had harbored a lot of resentments. He even lashed out at me and said some really cruel things. Told me he didn’t want me moving back into our place if I came out there for the new job. I had to get a sublet and we’d see where our relationship goes. I also got the “I love you a lot, but…” speech.

To see this change in him was equal parts scary and, frankly, pathetic.

Once he started with his blaming and verbal abuse, I told him to tell his family to stop booking their flights for the wedding and to ship me my things. I stopped calling or texting. I’d get the occasional “I miss you” sad sap email or phone call from him. But soon enough, he just stopped calling or texting.

Finally, after a couple of weeks, I had to make a decision about the new job. We talked and he told me, basically, that he wanted out. And at first he tried to lie about it, but I got him to admit that he had continued to see her/sleep with her. I immediately told him I was going to quit the job. And I told him I didn’t want to see or hear from him for at least a couple of months.

Perhaps it was predictable, but I haven’t heard from him since. Not even on our would-be wedding day. Oh, but some woman I’d never met called me that day to ask me why we broke up and if I knew where he was because she kept texting him and he wasn’t responding. She was worried he was “with her.” I hung up on her and ignored her subsequent phone calls, texts and friend requests. I don’t know what’s going on out there now, but it reinforced for me that I did the right thing by walking away.

Oh and, yes, he’s lying to people about why we broke up. Mutual friends don’t buy it and have more or less sided with me. It doesn’t matter what he’s telling people at his new job.

I’ve been coming out of my fog, got a new place, new job, have been taking care of myself, seeing a therapist, continuing not to speak to him and moving on… but I guess I’m still perplexed that he could walk away after all of this time together. We honestly did have a nice and easy relationship all of these years. Supported and loved each other. Hardly ever fought. Shared the same hobbies and career interests. I thought for sure I would eventually hear from him. I thought maybe an apology to me, my family and our friends for walking out on us (he stopped talking to them, too) and sticking me with the non-refundable wedding bills? Or at least some attempt to smooth things over with me for the sake of his career? With the way he left me, there was no question I was going to let everyone know what he did. Why wouldn’t he at least try to make nice with me so I wouldn’t ruin his reputation?

Oh, and by the way, there have been some rumors circulating that this other woman may have had a baby. Seeing as he was so emphatic about being “free” when we broke up—I got a good chuckle out of that, if it’s true. Serves him right.

Anyway, I know I’m not the first person to be blindsided by a psychopath who “poofs.” In some ways it’s a blessing. It’s been much easier to move on without him as a presence in my life. At this point I wouldn’t want to hear from him. I’m sad that I’m not going to have the future that I had hoped for—but I’m also excited that I have this opportunity to start fresh. I anticipate that it might be hard to meet someone again at my age with the trust issues that I’ll probably have now, but I’d rather be alone than stuck to the person he turned out to be!

But, as I say, as a phenomenon of cheating, I wonder what you have to say about poofing.

— StayPuft

Dear StayPuft,

You wonder why you don’t hear from him? Because he owes you half a wedding hall, dress, and flight expenses, that’s why. I hope you at least got to pawn the engagement ring. He’s a coward who jilted you. The fact that you don’t hear from him is a GOOD thing. Keep that jerk out of your life. Being stiffed with the bill is galling. If you co-signed on these expenses, you could go to small claims court (up to $10,000), but I’m guessing you’re a chump and if you paid for these things solo, yeah, you’re probably fucked. But as the saying goes — some money is just too expensive. Trying to recoup your expenses would mean staying entangled with him, and that’s probably not worth your mental health.

I could look at your situation two ways. The first is he had an exit affair. He got cold feet about the wedding and created drama to blow up the relationship for him. He’s immature and gutless. The more cynical take on your relationship is that he may have cheated before and he was never as into you as you thought. The clue there is the fact that there appears to be more than one OW. (She knew who you were? She had your number?) Which means he was cheating on you, and the OW, with another OW. That’s generally not the MO of your first time cheater, IMO. That’s a guy who enjoys the smorgasbord.

The most telling part of this story is a seven-year engagement. What, was he deployed overseas fighting in a foreign land? Were you locked in a tower? Being a poor student is no excuse to not get married. The world is full of poor students having modest weddings. And you lived with him three entire years before he ever proposed! The guy just wasn’t that into you, SP. I’m so sorry. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a person worthy of love and commitment. It means you’re a person who will put up with someone’s lukewarm interest in you. You’re a chump. Work on that.

I once heard Bill Maher (a comedian famous for his disinterest in marriage) discuss men and commitment. He gave his women friends this advice — if you don’t have a commitment after 18 months, bail. Men, he said, know within a year if they truly want to marry you. Anything longer than 18 months is stringing you along.

Perhaps 18 months is a bit short, but in my experience, and every successful marriage I know of, that’s held true. There’s a window. If someone moves too fast, like moving in with you or proposing before 6 months, that’s a red flag. But if the romance continues for a couple years with no talk of commitment or Where This Is Headed, that’s a red flag too. People tend to do the things they want to do. If the guy wants to be married, he’ll seal the deal. A seven-year engagement sounds about as romantic as a UAW sit down strike. We’ll all just congregate on the picket line until management comes to it senses.

Sure, you can spackle and say it was careers and finances. But if a man truly loved you, he’d go to a courthouse and give you a pop-top lid for a ring. He wouldn’t wait for the monogramed cocktail napkins. Please re-examine your values if having the big country club wedding with the poofy white dress was more important than the commitment.

It just sounds like he sold you a bill of goods. He was happy to let you fantasize for years about your dream wedding. You thought you were Working Toward Something together. He, on the other hand, was just buying time.

What did all those years mean? You were of use to him, a good-enough relationship until he achieved the status and position he wanted in life. Enjoying that meant being free of his entanglements with you. An honest person would have had an honest conversation with you (like 9 years ago).

Poofing, on the other hand, is what narcissists do. They poof on their children. They poof on their creditors. They poof on their employers. They’re Very Special People who deserve Special Considerations. But they don’t poof until they’ve extracted some value from you. Career help. Raising their family. Taking care of the aging parents. Things get sticky when chumps have needs. When children become teenagers and cease to give kibbles. When bills come due and credit is no longer extended. When people demand accountability from them.

You wanted a wedding. He dragged it out as long as he could, and when gosh darn it, you were going to have that wedding — he poofed. I think your job situation is irrelevant. Convenient for fucking around, but beside the point. A loving relationship can stand a few months apart (with what sounds like frequent visits in between). The bigger issue IMO is that you wanted accountability from him. You wanted a commitment.

You can say, oh he wanted that too! But his actions say quite clearly that he did not. You had a seven-year engagement. You had flimsy excuses. You had fake remorse — he never ended his affair. Oh, and the offer to quit his job is one of those crazy things wing nuts do — I’ll make a dramatic gesture you will never take me up on!  His actions tell the story — he was checked out and not one bit sorry for cheating on you, or stringing you along. Sorry would be not just paying you back half, sorry would be paying for the ENTIRE loss, because this was HIS mistake.

Consider yourself fortunate you didn’t have a life with this man and it ended before the wedding. It’s sounds like you’re off to a great start and didn’t prolong the agony with more chumpiness. If you were a student 11 years ago — you’re YOUNG. Please don’t worry about never loving or trusting again. Learn from this and go have an awesome cheater-free existence. Make sure the next guy who loves you is congruent in word and deed. It’s okay to have needs, and it’s okay to bail honestly if they’re not met. No more seven-year engagements, SP. You deserve someone totally into you.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • The thing that really stood out to me was that they were putting savings into a college fund for kids they weren’t even sure they were going to have, but they couldn’t afford a wedding. Something doesn’t sound right there…

    • Agreed. It sounds like an idea he pitched in order to buy more time.

      “Married? Well, we can’t afford to get married. But because I believe in our future, let’s put money away for our future possible children.”

      • Yes, that is weird. I hope you can take the money from those mutual investments (college fund savings, etc.) to pay the bills for the cancelled wedding. Along with the sale of your engagement ring.

  • SP, this ‘being’, I hesitate to call him a man, because I have three sons, is very messed up. It was a godsend, you being offered a job, and going away for a while, so he could show you what he’s really made of! You dodged the bullet of marrying a self-absorbed playboy! I can’t stand these people who can’t be lonely for ten minutes, nope, they have to find someone quick, to fill your shoes.
    Breathe a sigh of relief, keep living your life with class, and maybe think about that large spackle bucket you used on Mr Poof, and how you can get rid of it! I do think you coped very well, considering what happened, so you were maybe too romantic, we’ve all been there.

  • I was with my NPD XH for 21 years, married for the final 8 years. It wasn’t exactly a long engagement, but a long period of relationship limbo.

    He left me in May 2012 for a woman he had known for 4 weeks. At the time, it was the only affair I knew of. Now that I am free of him for over a year, I have the mental strength and clarity to see that there must have been many, many more.

    StayPuft, look back over the years. Did he work late a lot? Travel for work? Change or cancel plans with you at the last minute? Did he make excuses for being absent that just didn’t quite add up? Did he stay “special friends” with old girl friends? When he went out drinking with the boys, was he so responsible that he “slept over at Mike’s”, etc. etc.

    In any case, I say good riddance. I am glad you are free of him now, and wish you strength and healing.

    • My husband left me for a female colleague he “fell in love with” during a work trip just under four weeks. It’s amazing how fast they can change.

    • I’m not sure StayPuft should look back over the years for more clues of other affairs. In my opinion it’s over and done with. She knows about one at least and he’s out of her life… looking back to try to find more lies, etc. won’t really help her at this point.

      • I just meant that it probably wasn’t “poofing.” If she looks back, he has likely been crappy all along, not that he just up and changed one day out of the blue. Unless I don’t understand what poofing is…

        In my case, all my post dday realizations of how crappy he actually was, how I was in denial, and how much I was always spackling, have really sped me along to meh.

  • As much as this sucks you got away before marriage, kids and an even more intertwined and complicated situation.

    You have my full sympathy, though. YOu nearly married a complete user loser. You will trust again and you will find love again. Work on yourself, make your life everything you want it to be and the rest will eventually fall into place, probably when you least expect it.

  • You have my sympathy, SP.

    That said, you dodged a bullet. I’m reminded of a friend of mine from when I was an undergrad. Her fiance jilted her not too long before their wedding. She was devastated. A few years later, she married the man she’s married to today. She now says that she’s so happy she didn’t marry the first guy because she’d never have met her husband. Three decades in, and they still adore each other.

    You deserve better than a guy who cheats on you.

  • CL- great advice as always
    StayPuft– I know it is a tough situation, but you can really count your lucky stars. I wish my cowardly exH had ‘fessed up during the multiple times when I tried to talk to him. I could have been single at 28, or even 35, rather than my early 40s.
    If I had to pick, I would say 35, so I would have my wonderful kids!

    Best to you.

    • You’ve got that ZYX!

      It simply would have been nicer to have gotten out of it in my 30s rather than my 40s.

      Having said that, my XH and I managed to buy property outright and build quite a tidy little business, and now I get half.

      So I think things do work out the way they’re supposed to.

      Only light I can’t see at the end of the tunnel is that special guy who’s not a cheater, who I can trust. But it’s early days.

      • CNM,
        That’s looking at the bright side!
        I know there is a special guy for me out there… Just don’t know how I will meet him as a single parent! I remain hopeful.

  • SP, there is nothing I can add to CL’s excellent advice and insight on your situation. I can only add that I am so glad you did not marry this immature cheater. It sounds like you are handling things perfectly, and you are strong and determined. It is best if you never hear from him again, because if you do, I guarantee he will be playing with your head in some way. Either doing the pity play or blame game that narcs like, or even worse, trying to wheedle you back in to play house if his current OW’s don’t work out. I suggest blocking his number.

    It takes a long time to get over the kind of emotional assault you were dealt. I’m like you in that I do not believe I will ever truly trust again, but I also know I will heal enough to have a decent relationship with a REAL man. Not the lying, immature, weak and pathetic creatures so often described here on Chump Lady.

  • I love my GF but neither of us wants to marry. We have both been cheated on by spouses. We lose $ SS benefits if we marry and we need the money.

    • I agree. Stay single. All men cheat, and women under 40 are cheating at the same rate as the men. It’s a goose gander mentlity.

      • I agree with you that if you want to stay single, then stay single if that’s really what makes you the happiest.

        But I’m sorry, but no. NOT all men cheat. Many of the members of this blog here are men who have been cheated on, but are not cheaters themselves. And I would bet that they would not like being painted with the same brush as a cheater just because they share the same sex organs. “All men cheat” is also a frequent excuse used by cheaters. You should probably not parrot that phrase here.

        • We’ve been getting a lot of trolls lately. This is like, what, the third one in the last few months? Where are they all coming from?

      • Actually, I read several studies that extended the age to 45 for women cheating as much or more than men.
        That said, I do know some good looking, well off folks who I doubt would cheat.

    • ‘Neither of you wants to marry’ are the magic words! Not one person thinking that it’s time, and normal, and would be so nice, and the other stalling.

      I live in QC, where people hardly ever get married (including my ex and I). But everyone knows what a long-term committed relationship looks like, and emotionally it IS a marriage. Everyone knows what cheating is – it’s not the ring that makes the difference.

      The real measure is – are they into you? Are they investing emotionally in the same way you do? Are they doing things to make you happy, just as you do for them? If marriage is important to you, are they up for that?

      • This is the key thing. It’s not whether or not you’re married to each other; it’s the committed nature of the relationship. I know more than one committed couple who have opted not to marry for some reason or another, but who are clearly committed to each other, and they have the entanglements of joint assets, mortgage, etc.

        I think that being in such a committed relationship, and then finding out that you’re with a cheater, is as much a betrayal as being married to one.

        Once marriage is on the table, though, if you have one person who really doesn’t want marriage while the other does, well, that’s a red flag. At that point, if you’re the one who wants marriage, then you need to cut bait and run. The other person is a) not that into you or b) has such deep philosophical objections to marriage that it illustrates the two of you have vastly different value systems. Please note that having a different set of values doesn’t make you more or less moral than the other person, but it’s helpful over the long haul if the couple share values.

  • At the end of an otherwise happy 11-year relationship, you loved him and wanted to marry him. He said “cruel things” and indeed, did a very cruel thing by having an affair. And stiffing you with the bills. Shows a lot about his ability to love when he can just throw 11 years down the tubes. Those 11 years meant a lot to you, and you had grown to love him. He wasn’t capable of this. He wasn’t capable of giving you basic human decency of a respectful break-up (if that’s what he wanted) by just telling you he wanted to break up.

    You deserve someone who will return your love. Who won’t “poof!” at the end of a decade together.

    CL’s right, I think this guy’s messed up.

    • I agree. The “test” or mantra I try to follow now, is; “it does not matter how much you love someone, if they don’t love you in return. And, actions speak louder than words”. Stay puft, you sound like an admirable lady. A healthy relationship can be yours. What you dodged, was unhealthy. I hope the pain fades, and that you find a healthy relationship in your own time.

  • I agree. You should have left if you were not married in about 18 months.

    Still as a man, i have to say, i don’t know any attractive high-wage earning men who don’t
    Cheat or who would turn down an easy attractive lay. The only men i know who don’t cheat are guys who are out of shape,ugly or low-wage earners. Also the guys who go out of their way to promise they won’t ever cheat on you are the worst. It means it is on their minds. So maybe if a lady maries a very ugly man who has a crummy job, then she may be assured the hubster will never cheat. But that’s only because he will have no opportunity to cheat. Now ugly and high-wage earner is still a huge risk,particularly if he promises he will never cheat. With that type, the first goodlooking hole that flirts with him will be his new affair partner. Also another risky guy to marry is guy who has been cheated on. His ego is so fragile that the first attractive hole that feeds his flagging ego will be his affair partner.

    So if you think you can’t forgive a cheater, then don’t get married or marry a very ugly guy with no cash to spare. Of course if you don’t mind being divorced two or three times then dump your cheater. But really make sure you marry a rich guy so you get a good divorce settlement.

    • YOu’re referring to women as ‘holes’? Sorry, but that’s really offensive. Also, I know plenty of good looking, successful men who don’t cheat. And women of the same stripe who don’t cheat. Your view in general are offensive.

      • I’m a man. I’ve never cheated. My male friends don’t cheat. We probably would, I guess , if we got that pay raise and had a makeover.

        • There have always been two kinds of women. Those have discovered they can use sex to get what they want and those that wouldn’t stoop so low.

          If you’re a man who has made the life transition from regular working stiff to a position of prominence and money, then all kinds of opportunities to cheat open up for you because you are now attractive to that first kind of woman. Looks are secondary as any of the weddings of cryptkeepers will testify to. (Rupert Murdoch, J. Howard Marshall) It’s just a matter of what the woman wants. A good roll in the hay, or hooks into your estate.

          In some ways, success is the worst thing that can happen to a man.

          • I agree there are women (and men) who will go after someone once they reach a certain level of financial success. But there are also people who have reached that level that won’t take the bait.

            • LOL. Bill Gates doesn’t need anybody to stroke his ego.

              Silly threadjack, really. I bet there is no correlation between infidelity and success.

              I have known too many losers who would screw anything that moved given a three minute window to think those hordes wouldn’t swamp out the gold diggers and the men who fall for them.

              • All depends on what they want. Sometimes it’s just as crass as a good screw to fill up the time. Or deal with subterranean Daddy issues.

                When my ex (Mr. PotatoHead) obtained some success and money, the switch flipped and he bought into the notion that he was now entitled and special. This isn’t an uncommon story here.

                I’ll get back to you about Bill Gates when he turns 80 and is still married to Melinda and no Schwarzenegger type children have come out of the woodwork.

      • Maybe not women. Men have holes too. So do blow-up dolls. And animals. And sometimes the walls of a public restroom stall.

    • I would reply at length but I’m typing on my phone, having dropped my dying Mac off at the apple store.

      Thewatcher4 you don’t speak for all men. Plenty of good men out there who don’t cheat, many of them on this site.

      My husband is a trial lawyer (good income), he’s got a fine head of hair, and he’s not ugly. He was chumped by a woman as ugly as homemade sin. She was an idiot, clearly. You’re theory is offensive.

        • I have a full head of hair, fit, tall, considered good looking as well as have a good income, own a home and no debt…the new woman in my life (she was chumped too) calls me “the complete package” and says that my cheating ex’s loss is her gain. Never cheated or came close in 25 year marriage. Ex “poofed” and left me for an unemployed fucktard who told her that she had pretty eyes.
          Great guys are out there…maybe some of us just aren’t sparkley enough to catch all the attention.
          Don’t EVER believe that cheating is inevitable. Lots of us are happy and fulfilled in living a drama-free monogamous life.

          • Ex “poofed” and left me for an unemployed fucktard who told her that she had pretty eyes

            Bonus stereotype points if her unemployed affair partner has a Harley 🙂

            • The watcher4, your views are disgusting and very derogatory towards men. Calling women “holes” is also nasty, derogatory and uncalled for. Whatever gender you are, the self hate is evident. Get a therapist and go troll somewhere else.

              • Have to agree with you DDW and others. Watcher4, seriously what you say makes no sense. You are a troll.

                Where is the correlation between success , physical appearance and cheating. What a load of crap. Get a life.

      • And at the same time, I’m married to a cerebral narcissist. By definition, they don’t care how they look, as long as they can continue to perceive themselves as wildly more intelligent and successful and entitled than any one else, and quietly act on those beliefs accordingly.

        Center-of-the-universe is the key concept here.

        Anyway, my soon to be ex, does just fine snagging 19 year old girls to screw, as long as he keeps the shoe shopping trips and first class flights coming, as witnessed by all the receipts I have compiled from these trips (for evidence in court if I need them).

        He’s fat, ugly, hairy, smelly, and has a belly hanging out, the size of Mt. Vesivius (one does truly wonder what I was thinking marrying this guy… If he’d been a supermodel he couldn’t have treated me any worse and at least would have been nice to look at).

        But it doesn’t matter. As soon as our business took off, his level and frequency of cheating increased, presumably because he had the cash to flash around to snag these opportunistic teenagers.

        Our business went from him in the home office alone jacking off to porn 3 or 4 times a day (as I found out after the fact… Nothing like being a sex addict also), to him leaving me in the office to work every Friday, while he met up with his “personal trainer” at a local hotel for some rumpy pumpy.

        So, no, it makes no difference if a guy is ugly, fat, old, good looking, whatever. It’s all about character and integrity.

        The only sad thing is how good narcs are at imitating character and integrity!

        CL… Can you please clone your husband for some of us girls out here? I’d like one like yours!

    • My husband is a low-wage earner (with huge ego bordering with arrogance and very offensive at times) who was spending money earned by me while cheating (so the divorced, single mother of two AP chump believed/believes he is a great catch who can give her a visa to the US). I am the better looking. I am the complete package as stated by him (and others) on numerous occasions. I don’t have a low self esteem, my kids, friends and paycheck prove it, and still he cheated and from what I can tell this wasn’t his first time. So, my point is, we cannot generalize and totally disregard the value of marriage…. and being a woman I agree with everyone else who finds this post is offensive

    • My husband is fucking gorgeous. He looks like a blonde Tom Hiddleston. He’s got a good job and makes decent money.

      He is the most loyal and committed person I’ve ever been with. It was my dickbag ex who cheated on me.

      Being cheated on or cheating has nothing to do with physical attractiveness. That’s like saying that ugly women deserve to be cheated on because they aren’t attractive enough or that ugly men will never cheat when you can take a trip over to Ashley Madison and find a bunch of men there that look like they have a pigs foot for a nose. A lot of the chump women (and men!) here have exes that are wallowing in their own self-created debt.

      You comments are extremely generalized and offensive, not to mention false.

    • The watcher4

      Most cheaters are personality disordered and they come in all sizes and income brackets. You sound like the poster child for Narcissism. The fact you are taking pleasure in rubbing your warped sense of grandiosity and lack of empathy is text book.

      You’re a joke and deep down inside you know this. You think you can speak on behalf of all men which shows your arrogance and ignorance.

      Thanks for the laugh.

    • I’m not going to waste my time taking a troll to task – just want to say that you exemplify the kind of person who doesn’t have anything to offer that is of lasting value. Good luck with that.

  • Look chumps do you really think bill gates dosn’t cheat. Chumps, he is too smart and well off to get caught.
    Also i did not say low wage owners don’t cheat, i said all men who have opportunity to lay an attractive woman will take the bait. Some men are stupid and get caught, most don’t. All but the biggest losers likely run into opportunity at some time. Trust me. They all eventually take the bait. As for lawyers, the trial lawyers are the worst offenders because women readilly throw open their legs for trial lawyers, even the ugly ones. They find the profession sexy. Hope that doesn’t offend. It is true.
    If you think some men have morals lol. That’s what everyone said about petraeus. He ran into an aggressive horny gal, and look what happen. He only got caught because he was in a high level security position.
    I don’t care if you take my advice or not,but if you don’t you will surely be cheated on. If you think your hubster won’t, then you are really vulnerable.
    Pardon the lack of proper capitlization, i am using a friend’s computer. Off to ski. Stay alert gals. Truly. But really, if you don’t want to get cheated on stay single or marry rich guys whom you can soak,when you can’t forgive them. All men will cheat, if preseted with attractive opportunity and a willing gal. The gals under 40 are the horniest,too.

    • Given your own generalizations, by your own logic, you are either a cheater yourself, you’re ugly and will take the bait at your first opportunity for an ego stroke, or you have money and will cheat anyway. One way or another, you’re a being a trolling jerk and you don’t belong here. You state your very narrow and self-incriminating opinions as fact and then give really terrible advice based on those shoddy opinions. You’re not giving any kind of helpful suggestions and you’re not revealing any kind of profound truth about men or marriage.

      It’s not some kind of unfaithful male nature that ruins marriages. It’s people like you that have no respect for it in the first place.

    • Oh, and FYI, I don’t find lawyers attractive. And CL’s current husband, y’know the one that hasn’t ever cheated on her, yeah. Lawyer. You gonna try and argue this bullshit with CL herself? Go ahead and try. She’s not afraid to bring him on here.

        • He’ll be back.

          It just pisses him off that there are women in the world who don’t find him and his bullshit super irresistible. His game is all about taking whatever he can get away with, and he thinks he can win by pushing chumps’ buttons. He’s a sad and lonely old man–like the rest of the cheaters, he is a pathetic little coward who trolls websites. How he challenges himself to be of strong character, eh? Oh, how admirable!

  • Know what, watcher?

    It’s true that young girls will try to snag these men.

    But it’s not true that all of them will “take the bait”.

    That’s a pretty cynical viewpoint.

    • Sounds like he’s gagging everyone by his own morals… Can you say projection? Looks like we got ourselves a Narc and a troll!

  • StayPuft, I am so sorry you are going through this but I want to tell you that you really did luck out getting someone who went poof on you. I do *not* believe in marriage unless you want children because the only point I see in the contract is to protect kids. I didn’t want kids, my ex convinced me to marry him after we’d lived together for 12 years due to his health issues. Within one year his emotional abuse escalated, then he was cheating and when I tried to divorce he got physically violent. He wanted marriage and his OW and I was evil for not agreeing. I can see clearly now, he felt once he had that piece of paper he could do whatever he wished and I was stuck with it. He fucked me over once he married me, he fucked me over badly in ways he could not have if we were living together but not married. The shit I went through would not have happened the way it did if I hadn’t married the bastard. I only wish he had poofed!

    Consider your ex’s poof a blessing, it really is. I agree with CL, best to let the money and the rest go. Take care of yourself and stay NC with that guy, be happy he didn’t marry you. (hugs)

    • Rich super model type here. So far, I’ve avoided the cheating holes.
      Maybe it’s just me( did I mention I also have the strength of ten men?)

        • True! But, seriously the 35-45 set is supposed to be the goriest, according to Michelle Langley, that ” Women’s Infidelity” site owner.
          In a nutshell, her theory is that testosterone levels begin to exceed estrogen levels at that age , cranking up sex drive in women.
          Combining that with women’ s having been taught that attraction equals love and these women start cheating their asses off.
          Not my view, necessarily but this is her theory.
          Anyone read her stuff?

          • Yes I’ve read a bit of it. I’m certain I got the reference off you Arnold on the CC forum before it went into a coma. Her views were at least a fresh point of view, especially for a male.

            The tired old……… “men cheat for sex, women cheat for love” …………attitude starts to wear thin after a while. She certainly throws a bucket of water on that tripe. I’m certain the ladies on this forum would be unlikely to agree with that line. I think CL covered men and their huge sex brain theory very well.

            My thoughts are people who cheat are psychologically fucked up arseholes who serve their own selfish needs. Male or female. No sex, status or physical attractiveness bias.

            Just my thoughts.

          • Darn it! I wasted my peak horny hole years staying faithful to my cheating ex! Now at 49, it’s all a downhill slide! 😉

  • CL, I was with my guy for years before we married. I don’t buy the theory that if you care you have to propose by a certain time. I would not take relationship advice from Maher who treated his girlfriends horribly.

    Remember, the couple here started as students. Students aren’t expecting to marry for the first few years.

    I’m willing to believe he was into her but with a few months apart and lots of overtime at a new job he started an affair and then the new relationship looked shinier and he was a fool.

    • I understand your points, (students too young to marry) but I still think 7 years is an engagement that is so long as to say — yeah, not really interested.

      Yeah, Maher is an avowed non-monogamous guy. But at least he’s honest about it.

  • CL –

    Ouch. This one struck pretty close to home. Was with my ex since I was 19… finally married him at 27. I mean, getting together so young I obviously wouldn’t have wanted to be married too early, but definitely toward the end I was literally bugging him to marry me. Which, yeah, you probably shouldn’t have to bug someone to marry you. But I bought into the whole he wants to be able to buy the ring and be done with dental school first excuse crap (on the plus side since he accumulated his student loans before we were married that wasn’t a marital asset :)). And then there was the fact that he flat out threatened to not marry me if I didn’t move to where he wanted us to go after he graduated. Which is how I ended up where I am currently living – because I was a dumb-ass who didn’t stand up for herself. Also, we were actually long distance (about a 2.5 hour drive) for two years after college and then when I was about to move up to live where he was (hmmm, sensing a pattern here) he basically freaked out on me then as well. Said he didn’t want to be the reason I moved somewhere… that I should just go there for me and my career or some shit like that, not just for him. Nice. Dumb-ass again, I was.

    So, yeah, I settled for crap from him. I have no excuse. I like to tell myself I was so young that I didn’t know any better. And by the time this stuff started happening I already couldn’t envision not being with him… he was my first love and at that point I’d been with him 4 years already (and at 23, 4 years is an eternity – it’s all relative). I wish he weren’t so passive and we would have actually gotten in a real fight and broken up… or something! I could have had a lot of fun in my 20’s, but instead I was chained to him. But I guess that was what I wanted at the time and I do have my kids now so I don’t regret anything. It’s been a long time coming, this lesson that I deserve more than he has to offer. At least I figured it out eventually.

    But yeah, it’s hard to look back at the red flags (serious red flags) where he did actually show me how he felt about me and I ignored them.

      • him or me? Nah, I guess I wasn’t weak and awful. Just lacking in self esteem or something. I really think since I had so little experience about relationships I didn’t know how one should or COULD look. This is why you should never marry your first love!

        It was never in my plan to marry my first love either… but we chumps just find something and hold on tight I guess. Or this chump did.

        • Him! He’s a passive shit and a bully. Guys like him love kibbles — they want you to dance for that “commitment.”

          When you’re young, you don’t have a lot to compare to. You tend to think, oh that’s the way it goes. Don’t beat yourself up.

    • I remember my ex saying something like that to me, about me doing things because I wanted to, not for him, yet the implication was that if I didn’t agree to whatever it was our relationship would be impacted. It didn’t really occur to me until I heard him say something similar about final OW and her decisions. They were ‘hers’ despite him wanting whatever it was. Completely passive and taking no responsibility for anything. HUGE red flag.

  • Hi, Everyone!

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice!

    I can add a couple of things to fill out the picture a bit.

    He did want to get married within a year or so– and often tried to convince me to elope. I held off for several reasons. A couple of them:

    We were in a masters program with no guarantee that we would end up in the same geographic area for our planned doctorates. I didn’t think it was a good idea for us to marry until we knew we would be together physically long term. After we both made compromises to make sure that did happen and we were close to each other for our doctoral work, it became a problem with finances. We had enough from our stipends to pay the rent, pay a little every month into the insurance and savings funds I mentioned for the future… But things like paying down his massive student loans (when there was technically no need to do so as long as he could continue to defer) or paying for a wedding took a back seat. We were also each taking courses, teaching, traveling for research and generally getting about 2 hrs of sleep a night for years. I personally had no interest in finding time in there to plan the damn thing.

    And I’m an only child. Go along with his elope idea and my parents would have KILLED me. Killed me dead.

    And I can honestly say I don’t think he cheated before this. We took almost all of our classes together (same field) and came home to work. We were often too busy to go out with friends, etc for plain fun. Most of the time if we went out, it was together with colleagues. And one we got to the exam and dissertation phases, we were home together all day.

    The only time we were apart was if he went home for the holidays with his brothers. And after the first year or so, he generally spent the holidays with my family anyway.

    But some other background: he broke off an engagment before he met me when he was in his early 20s. He never talked much about it. Frankly, that broken engagment was another reason I didn’t rush the wedding. I wanted to make sure he was in it for the long haul.

    He also had a looooooong family history of mental illness. Another reason for me to wait. I was afraid he’d crack up at some point given what had happened to his father and brothers in past (one was even institutionalized).

    So I totally appreciate that I could have been clumped by waiting so long to actually have the wedding. But in some ways, I’m not sure the “just not into you” narrative works. He tried to get me to elope again about two weeks before he started the affair. I said no. After he told me about the affair, he called me the next day and asked me if he should tell him family not to book flights for the wedding and if I needed more time to think about what I wanted to do. So he was still willing to go through with it and I was the one who said hell no. At that point he started freaking out at me and claiming he always knew I would leave him someday, etc.

    As for the money: he had put some money down on the venue and whatnot (about 4k) and my parents had helped with about 6k of it. I paid the rest. But the understanding was we would pay my parents back. So those are the bills he stuck me with. I talked to a lawyer who said it would cost more to go after him than what I could sue him for under the circumstances. So I dropped it. Also, he had promised to pay us all the full balance once he had the money…. So I guess hypothetically, he still could. I just think it’s unlikely.

    I hope this helps fill out the picture some.

    Thanks again, everyone!

    • Sounds like you were smart to wait for marriage. You had a bunch of red flags and at least his debt is his debt.

  • StayPuft,
    What is your best guess about the woman who called on your cancelled wedding day wondering if “he was with her”? I think that’s a material part of what on earth was actually going on with him when he called it quits with you.

  • StayPuft I never believed in long engagements, fancy weddings . There is no right time to make a permanent commitment, love is an act of faith. Of course I should not speak as I found this site after 23 yr marriage went all to hell over an old love he found on facebook. Yet I still believe in the above.
    and as for you Watcher 4 you are not worthy of a comment from me. Why feed your narristic ego

  • This makes me feel an even bigger Chump now, I had a 5 year pre-engagement, 7 year engagement and only got married after a near death hospital stay, the marriage lasted 4 years, even then I only ever received 2 wedding anniversary cards from him (he forgot) and don’t recall any celebrations to mark the occasion.

    Now I maybe feeling slightly sensitive having divorced him only 5mths ago but this week I finally have had to unpack all my belongings that I accumulated with him over our 16 year + relationship (they were in storage as I moved abroad) and it pisses me off to be told that because he never out a ring on my finger after 18mths then he was ‘never that into me’.

    The stark reality of having to archive boxes of love letters, cards, photos, all manner of wedding memories accumulated over many years in the knowledge that it was all kibbles really pisses me off. It seemed real enough to me, I am not too sure about the 18mth timeline for getting married either, money and careers can have an impact initially but I take the point that if you are engaged for a while (in my case (5+) 7 years) you may start wondering whether the procrastinating shitbag is ever going to make up his mind.

    Now I lived in a brand new house for (10) years which stayed a boring shade of magnolia cos that lazy gobshite couldn’t make up his mind, so I started to threaten to paint it myself in the end, red flags everywhere I suppose.

    Sorry, but this post has not made me feel any better, just reinforced the cruel reality of what I allowed myself to put up with. I doubt Staypuft would gain much comfort from narrowly escaping marrying her ex, all those years together should have to count for something – married or not. And I certainly won’t be getting too worried about going past the 18mth mark in any future relationship without a ring on my finger.

    I have probably got the wrong end of the stick CL but I will put that down to the unpacking, I have a lot of wasted years to make up for, may need to have a bonfire………..

    • I believe CL meant that if you WANT to get married and the SO is putting it off then there is a problem.

      I lived w/my ex for 12 years and he convinced me to marry him, 5 years later a divorce that cost me 10s of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and in investments that belonged to me. When I say it’s lucky she didn’t marry I mean it is financially and time wise better. The pain of breaking up a long term committed relationship is no different than a long term marriage except that it’s much harder (takes longer) to get away if you are married and it cost a helluva lot more.

      • Digbert, don’t know if it will help you or not. For a long time after my divorce I felt like I’d wasted so many years with the asshole. However, there were many years in the beginning when I was happy. I decided it didn’t matter if it was all a facade on his part, it really doesn’t matter if he was manipulating me and wearing a mask. Those times were good for ME so not all of those years were “wasted”. The last few years with the abuse and dragging out of the divorce, the intense therapy to overcome PTSD, these years feel stolen from me but I’ve come to acceptance that this is how my life has played out so far. It will get better again, it already is.

        • Yes, I agree DDW, just having one of those days, I will stop unpacking everything else for now must be affecting me more than I am convincing myself it is not, at least I have my Xmas tree up. I know I was happy (bloody ecstatic most days) until the last 2-3 years so I do need to give myself a reality check from time to time 🙂

      • Well put, DDW. That’s it exactly — if you want a formal commitment and this person makes noises about doing it, and then… does not? Red flag. It’s OKAY to want a commitment, and it’s OKAY to break up with someone who is not on the same page.

        Frankly, I wonder if he didn’t offer to elope so often because he KNEW SP was an only child whose parents wanted a formal ceremony and would never go for it. Kind of like his offer to quit his job. Making the gesture he knows she’ll never take him up on.

        • Not a bad theory.

          When he’d try to get me to do it– there was a sense that he knew it was futile. But, oddly, I also got the sense that he almost wanted the rejection. He’d always talk about how “difficult” he was and how he always thought I’d meet someone smarter, more attractive, “easier” to live with and leave him someday. When I’d say no to marriage, it was like he took it as confirmation that he was right about me not being committed or something.

          While I no longer have the energy to untangle his skein of FOO issues– I was always aware that there was some messed up stuff going on with him. He never processed things correctly, had bad social cues and that sort of thing. I had to spackle a lot in terms of his interactions with people outside of our core relationship. I was often embarrassed by how awkward and short tempered he was with others. Always sweet and loving at home– but sort of a nightmare to work with. I didn’t envy his coworkers, frankly.

          But this is all to say– there may have been a legitimate element of mental illness with him. The whole situation with me is probably just one expression of his general inability to deal with sh*t in his life.

  • I think if you date a student it involves a lot of spackle. It isn’t real life with real money and real decisions. You say to yourself “It will be different when we are working, he’s distracted because he has to study, he will be generous when he makes money”. It’s all a hope, not based on experience.

  • Ray of Sunshine: that is what I’m learning in therapy. The love was real and those years meant something… But it wasn’t real life. It was playing house.

    • It was real to you, SP. That’s all that matters in the end. You brought your A game. He did not.

      It’s a no win to try to reconstruct what about him was real, or what it meant to him. You’ll never know. I’m sorry, it’s a sucky place to be.

      • I’m definitely learning to let go of that.

        And I had to say that I am proud of how quickly I disengaged and refused to be sucked into his hostility and blaming. The couple of times he tried to play the “you did x, y, z to me” I would tell him “you know that isn’t true and I refuse to participate in you rewriting our history together” and he would stop. Even as we broke up it was pretty clear who was the normal, healthy one who had been a faithful and loving partner… and who was batshit crazy.

  • Preya: on that woman who called– I don’t know. She tried again the other day. She says she can’t believe what he did to me and is disgusted. She’s also disgusted that he has been flat out lying to everyone about what really happened between us because it’s like he is chumping them, too.

    • SP, beware the OW who want to be your friend. “I just can’t believe he did that to you!” In my experience, there’s usually a hidden agenda. She originally called you to ascertain his whereabouts, didn’t she? Oh no, he’s with HER, kinda thing? She’s untangling the skein of his fuckupedness and wants to enlist you.

  • “Poofing, on the other hand, is what narcissists do. They poof on their children. They poof on their creditors. They poof on their employers. They’re Very Special People who deserve Special Considerations. But they don’t poof until they’ve extracted some value from you”

    My ex husband of 10 years poofing on our marraige, kids, job and bills. Just left the country in 2008; quitting a great job and leaving the bills collectors to call me. Kids haven’t seen him since – I’ve only seen him once in court last month. It’s crazy how they can just walk away from so much history – but you will be MUCH better off in the long run. Many truths may also come out in time – once people see that your relationship is really over. Stay strong – the best years of your life are ahead of you.

  • While I try to avoid spending too much time on him– my IC agrees that he is NPD on some level– and it makes sense. He has also poofed on employers and responsibilities in the past and, watching it from the “inside”– it was incredibly odd to witness how coldly he did it. I also watched him turn on people he viewed as threats– and his rages were stunning and irrational. I think I’ve was on the receiving end of some of that at rage, too, once he realized that I no longer admired him. He turned into Mr. Hyde and for the first time in a decade treated me poorly (verbal abuse, etc).

    I was reading somewhere that sometimes NPD or personality disordered people can view those around them as props. They make the NPD feel safe and normal. But these people aren’t really capable of deep emotional connections. They are playing a role most of their life.

    As busy students In a bit of a bubble, I can see how it took one of us getting a “real” job with real bills and expectations to get him to finally show his true colors.

    When CL says he just wasn’t that into me, that’s how I read that. Not that he never loved me or was faking it all of these years. To me to say he’s just not that into me when he has a history of running out on people and a family full of crazies is too simplistic and follows a model that assumes normalcy to some extent. I think he loved me as much as he is capable of love.

    But I think that level of love is still pretty shallow. And when that came down to marriage, it was asking of him something that he just couldn’t do.

    Dependent people like that are scary! To be so dependent yet so able to walk away… What a way to live.

  • “…he loved me as much as he is capable of love…But I think that level of love is still pretty shallow.To be so dependent yet so able to walk away… What a way to live.”

    That’s an awesome insight!!! That helps so much. Mine poofed after 16 years together… not married but we lived together and raised my children together.

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