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Dear Chump Lady, He says the cheating had ‘nothing to do with me’

Hello CL,

Have you ever encountered this? My husband says that the cheating had absolutely nothing to do with me. He says he always has loved and cared for me. To me this makes absolutely no sense! If you love and value someone, then wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to keep them? Not push them away?

I had emailed you before asking do you give a cheater who seems remorseful a chance to change? Your advice was amazing and you were spot on, what I knew was only the tip of the iceberg! There was a blow job here, a hand job there, never with the same woman, all one time encounters from strangers. It gets worse! He has paid for hand jobs a few times at Asian massage parlors. Never a long-term affair but lots of incidents of betrayal. I had been begging him to just tell me the truth about everything for months now; and of course when the confessions started I was devastated by what I heard. But on the other hand I was also thankful for the truth; it gave me just enough to finally say “enough is enough.” As painful as it is to leave this situation, it seems like it will kill me if I stay. I don’t think I could bear another confession and the anxiety, shock, disbelief and sadness that comes with it.

So as I wait for him to move out on the first of January, we still talk a lot and I get these explanations: “It had nothing to do with you” “I have always had a problem, I just thought I’d be able to control it,” “my self-esteem is fucked,” “I never wanted to be this guy, I wanted to be a good husband and father and I just failed, I fail at everything,” “I think I am self-destructive because I never learned to accept and love myself,” “You are a good person, you deserve better than me,” etc.

So what is this? Is this manipulation? Or is he actually trying to help me move on without a bruised self-esteem? I know you discuss the general patterns of behavior of the cheater. Is this a typical ploy to make me question my discussion to separate? Or his trying to actually make me feel sorry for him so I don’t tell our mutual friends the truth about why we are divorcing? You know, to protect his “good-guy” image he always wants people to see. I am a bit baffled and I know its a time suck to try to figure this out, but I am curious; how can someone possibly love and care but cheat? All people have some sort of issues, but EVERYONE weighs out reward and punishment before they make decisions, so I just don’t get it.


Dear Abbie,

No, not everyone weighs out rewards and punishments before they act. Disordered people don’t. They think they are the special exception to every rule. Rewards? Oh yeah, they can see those. Punishment? But they are more clever than you! How could they ever get caught? And they’re more deserving — so of course you won’t enforce any sort of punishment, because you are but a mere chump.

Okay, if really pressed into a corner, they’ll do the kabuki theater of “I’m sorry.” This is impression management. It’s not really an apology or a desire to change. How do I know? Because Abbie, your husband keeps cheating. He pays for sex. He likes it like that. His actions say so.

Let’s take apart his explanations for his behavior.

“It had nothing to do with you.”

Of course it did. He knew this would hurt you, which is why he kept it a secret. Could it be argued that his sexuality is rather impersonal? Any orifice will do? Okay, in that sense, “it had nothing to do with you” works. Yes. You are just one set of orifices he fucks. There are others. You’re all quite interchangeable, depending on his whims.

Or should we argue, that he jerks off with other women, but You’re The One He Really Loves? Bullshit. You thought you were in a monogamous marriage. He let you think that while he was buying sex from other women. He made a unilateral decision to do that. He also made a unilateral decision to pay for it with your resources. This is not loving. People who love us do not endanger our health and make unilateral decisions that affect our emotional and physical well-being. Or our finances. I’ve tackled the whole how can they love me while they’re cheating on me issue here.

“I have always had a problem, I just thought I’d be able to control it.”

Poor sausage. He has a problem. This is a play for pity. Don’t you feel sorry for him? Don’t you want to help? He thought he’d be able to “control it”? But — horrors! his sexuality is off the leash and Cannot Be Controlled! He tries mightily to rein it in, but it gets the better of him every time.

Seriously, Abbie. Do you think this is how men are? Sure, they have powerful sex drives — and they control them. Otherwise they’d be humping every pantleg like a German shepherd in heat. They’d be feeling up every co-worker, propositioning every rounded bottom that walks past. They’d all be rapists and sexual harassers — those people who have Problems Controling Their Sexual Urges.

Can you see those excuses in court? “Your honor, I didn’t really WANT to be a rapist, I just thought I could control it.” Or “It’s but a mere coincidence, Sir, that I sexually harassed my subordinate — a single mother who had a lot to lose by reporting me.” No, these assholes are predators — it’s the sex AND the power trip they’re after. It’s premeditated. They feel entitled to do it.

Am I saying your husband is a rapist? No, I’m saying he’s a schmuck. He operates from the same set of entitlement. It’s a power trip to pay for sex, naughty sex that your wife doesn’t know about. He can control his sexuality, just like any man. He chooses not to. He’s very premeditated about letting his dick wander — and he has his credit card ready.

“My self-esteem is fucked.”

So don’t tell anyone why you’re divorcing, okay? You wouldn’t want to be responsible for his fragile self esteem. Poor sausage.

“I never wanted to be this guy, I wanted to be a good husband and father and I just failed, I fail at everything.”

He gilded the lily on that one. “I fail at everything.” Really? Even making coffee — do you suck at that too? How about tying your shoes? Do you have any core competencies?

“My self esteem is fucked” and “I fail at everything” are your cues to bolster him. Yes, even as your world is falling apart, he would like you to tell him, oh Gosh, you’re not a failure! I see your shining potential! I know how much you want to be a decent husband, but it’s such a struggle for you! I will hold your hand. How do you like your kibbles? Scrambled, or over easy?

He’s directing the attention to himself. His self pity is about HIM. I hear nothing in there about how his CHOICES hurt YOU.

He never wanted to be that guy? He IS that guy. His choices made him that guy, so I’m going to assume he WANTS to be that guy. He’d like you to believe he’s a different guy, a guy who doesn’t like that guy, because then you’ll stick around and be of use. Yum, yum, cake. But I promise you, he likes that guy just fine. In fact, he takes that guy out to massage parlors and a few rounds of beer quite often. They’re very chummy, That Guy, and The Guy Who Doesn’t Want to Be That Guy. Besties, in fact.

“I think I am self-destructive because I never learned to accept and love myself.”


I think he loves himself just fine. He buys himself all the blow jobs he wants. It’s you he destroys. He accepts your love just fine —  and takes it for granted.

Saying he’s “self destructive” is another cue for you to save him. Poor man, he’s never known love! Won’t you show him your big, chumpy heart? Let your love envelop him and then, if you’re really good Abbie, and you try really, really hard, you’ll be able to FIX THIS!

Translated this reads — more kibbles please.

“You are a good person, you deserve better than me,”

Well, he got that one right. You do deserve better. But this isn’t how he intended this statement. Watch him get very ugly when you step out on that truth and find someone who does deserve you.

Again, this is self pity. He wants to trade on your goodness, to love his brokeness. Why? It gives him cart blanche to keep being broken. Oops, I got another hand job. But I’m really working on controlling myself!

He’s telling you who he is, (probably only a small fraction of the truth, I imagine), on the hope that you’ll stick around and try harder to “help” him.

Don’t. The game is rigged. He’s a manipulator. Start the New Year right — divorce this guy.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I heard the exact opposite from my ex. He told me the demise of our marriage was ALL my fault and had nothing to do with his sweet and beloved married coworker. After all, they had so much in common! All we ever had in common was the kids! In the end he didn’t mind devastating me to save himself.

    IMO what you heard is right — your husband does have a problem but you can’t fix it. Time to stop focusing on him and his problems and focus on healing yourself. Can you do that while you’re still in a relationship with him? Probably not.

    • Lol, I heard the exact opposites too! with some odd sprinkles of “I still love you.”

    • Same here, Lyn. I got a text that said “This has EVERYTHING to do with you” and I think that was his way of keeping me from telling anyone because I got a “please stop publicizing everything” text soon after.

      Divorce is his ass, Abbie. He sucks.

      • Yes, mine was sprinkling in a lot of “I love you but I don’t love you” in the midst of telling me it was all my fault. It was so confusing. In a later conversation on the phone he told me he was happy enough with me until he saw something better.

        I also told his Mom about his married coworker and he explained it away by telling her his coworker was just a friend, she was someone who really listened to him. It was hard for me to listen to him since he stopped talking to me around the time he got involved with her. LOL.

        • Ahh yes yes, I got a lot of the love you/don’t love you when we were separating. Later he said he was depressed but he “found things he liked about himself.” Uhh what the hell are you talking about?? His actions alone actually helped me get out faster than I might have.

          Funny how our exes were “so unhappy” yet they never told us. I can’t wait to file for divorce, hope to be able to do that very soon!

          • Yes, that’s what was so maddening. I begged him to talk to me but he usually shut me out. In the end it was my fault for not knowing what he wanted. The ultimate catch 22 with me being the loser every time. As CL says, you’re playing a game with a rigged hand and you’ll never win.

            • Lyn, I think we married the same person. Mine told me he have been unhappy for the last 5 years. I caused him to dislike himself enough that he no longer care about the way he look so he gained weight. I caused him to drink himself to death and that I was a horrible wife for not noticing it. Lastly, he is not cheating but he just need a friend during horrible time. Hmmmm….you give a friend a Prada wallet as a gift?

      • Lunachick
        I hope you kept telling your story….these idiots should be public knowledge. With that being said…..I only tell those who ask. I rarely hold anything back. I know it wasn’t me. People should know who he really is. If they chose to be bamboozled by them. Then so be it. Buyer beware!
        Maybe they should be sporting a Scarlet Letter…..
        Public Stockades etc…..

    • Lyn, I think the difference with the OP and your situation is probably that she hasn’t told the world what her cheater has done, and you have.

      Typical narcissist behavior.

      I found out about my cheater’s affair, and he “dumped her” and wanted to “reconcile the marriage”… Told me he told her he loved his wife, made excuses similar to the OP’s description…

      Until D-Day a year later. When I found out he wasn’t reconciling at all but was still cheating, I knew the only way I could get myself out was to “out” him. I had documented proof. I told everyone we knew. I ruined his reputation (hah)!

      It was at that point that mine did the exact opposite of what the OP described, as you note. Everything that he did was because of something I did. Let the blame shifting begin. It was all my fault. Everything. I was a terrible person. He was done with me.

      AND… We’re right back around to CL’s ego kibbles. While we were “reconciling” he had me doing the pick me dance. He had me convinced that, poor sausage, I had somehow hurt him so badly and needed to be a better wife… But not by blaming me, oh no, by blaming himself and making me come to the party.

      But soon as I “outed” him, I was no longer the beard he needed anymore. No more ego kibbles. And certainly no more faking looking like the happy married couple. Oh no! I was no more use to him, so now, it was all my fault. I was an evil person,and he wanted out because what kind of horrible,satanic person tells the world their husband has been fuckung around on them for 20 years, even if it is true! I was so evil to do that!

      My advice to the OP would therefore be to let the cat out of the bag and start telling people what her cheater did. His demeanor will change dramatically, once she isn’t being his beard anymore!

      One final comment here. Mine was also like the ones you describe, in that it could be any old random hole and was different every time. He’s incapable of the emotion it takes to have meaningful sex or build any sort of good relationship. But at the same time, needs lots of sex to calm his emptiness at this in capability, but it is truly masturbation with a live woman, and that is all.

      It’s called cerebral narcissism, people, and it’s a brand of cheater unlike any other. I suggest googling it.

      • “He’s incapable of the emotion it takes to have meaningful sex or build any sort of good relationship. But at the same time, needs lots of sex to calm his emptiness at this in capability, but it is truly masturbation with a live woman, and that is all.”

        You said it for me, Just Saying. Ex-NPD blamed me for what he said was wrong in the marriage–I allowed myself to half believe it and search for solutions when deep down I knew my disinterest was due to unresolved conflict, the many times he left the house instead of find a way to resolve an issue. He turned on his heal countless times and walked away from me–even at night in unfamiliar neighborhoods. I was left to find the way back to the hotel. He refused to listen to what would help my sexual response–that was a “nuclear attack.” During one reconciliation, after he’d left me for the umpteenth time, I sweetly said, “Now, can we talk about ways we can work our sexual relationship?” “I’m done. I’m not coming home.” he said and gave me the silent treatment on a return trip from the east coast. He dropped me off and drove away. Four days later, he was emailing me coyly pulling me back in.
        He somehow spent at least $200,000 dollars of inheritance and retirement accounts to fly his whores to Vietnam or London and stay in expensive hotels while telling me he ad work there, even sending me pictures of his trip, careful to not show any hint of what was really going on. While snooping and ruminating (easy way to make myself miserable-no more!) I found pictures on his Russian whore’s Facebook page on one of the trips. He had the gaul at the time to send me a photo of himself standing in a beautiful hotel lobby. She has the same one except she’s being photographed. He even brought home a butt-ugly tea set and insisted on displaying it in the living room.
        Once again, I’ve gotten off track. I’m going to look up cerebral narcissist now.

        • Couldn’t find the term cerebral narcissist on any sites that had some authority on NPD-no research reports, not even Psychology Today. I did find it on Sam Vankin’s site. I’ve watched some of his videos but his descriptions weren’t like my ex-NPD. Despite his claim to be a narcissist himself, I was skeptical of him. Then I saw the title of one of his articles, “Barack Obama is a Narcissist.” Whatever your political inclination, I think it would be difficult to find the five or seven characteristics in the DMSV to be labeled as a narcissist.

        • OMG nwrain!

          This is going to sound very selfish of ME… but thank you for sharing your story. I thought I was the only one whose husband was flying his whores all over the fricking globe, buying them all this shit! And then having the nerve to say it’s my fault!

          He complained a few months ago that we never have sex, so I had to know he was getting it somewhere. Funny. Why? I’m not getting it elsewhere. And besides, I was not the one withholding the sex. I was trying to communicate and figure out why it was happening… or rather not happening!

          Somehow it’s comforting to know I’m not the only chump who got chumped in this chumpity chumpity way! On the other hand, I wish we had both had partners who had some sort of respect and conscience, and didn’t do things like this to people.

          Mine’s attorney served my attorney with a letter today to the effect that I have been defaming him. a) I haven’t said anything that isn’t true and that I can’t back up with written proof from the horse’s mouth. b) He’s claiming I obtained information about him illegally. Thing is, I backed up his work computer when all this started happening because I was worried about our intellectual information going astray if there was an argument. Not my fault his personal info was on that computer, and I had every right to view it as a director of the company… I’m told at least some of it will be admissible in court… like all the bank payments to his whores. Hah!

          Any of you out there are in a similar situation, contact me privately and I’ll let you know the best way to back up the intellectual property for you business.

  • My cheater did a bit of both. Told the kids not to blame me and I recall her sister telling me that my cheater said I didn’t deserve this. but then when she speaks to me she I would get blamed.

    The most important statement I found in the post was “You are a good person, you deserve better than me,” I would focus on that and get out. He broke the marriage, You can’t fix it or him and shouldn’t feel responsible to do so.

  • CL is spot on. These cheaters are in their own world. They have their own zeitgeist or something. My husband gave me the EXACT same comments after I went through a series of D-Days. Being the caring, nurturing chump that I am, I tried to work through his betrayal and tried to heal HIM instead of myself. Please get checked for STDs! Your STBXH is glossing over his encounters as on-the-fly hand jobs or blow jobs but the sad truth is, he probably went way beyond that and because of his thrill-seeking, impulsiveness, he didn’t always use protection. My husband presented himself as a total germ-a-phobe. But guess what? Apparently hookers, escorts, maybe even a couple of gay guys, and bdsm types were the exception to his rule. Years later, even after getting multiple tests, those odd things that were multiplying in my groin since D-Day were not benign keratoses. And since he was my only sex partner (what a schmuck I was)…oh well! Don’t spend another minute trying to decode, demystify, or rehabilitate this turd.

    • Couldn’t find the term cerebral narcissist on any sites that had some authority on NPD-no research reports, not even Psychology Today. I did find it on Sam Vankin’s site. I’ve watched some of his videos but his descriptions weren’t like my ex-NPD. Despite his claim to be a narcissist himself, I was skeptical of him. Then I saw the title of one of his articles, “Barack Obama is a Narcissist.” Whatever your political inclination, I think it would be difficult to find the five or seven characteristics in the DMSV to be labeled as a narcissist.

  • My cheater said most all of these same things, after dday. Uncanny.

    Yes, focus on the “you deserve better” part and hear it for the truth that it is. My cheater texted me these words after dday, and it actually helped me to leave him. It was as if he was giving me permission to leave by stating the glaring truth that I did deserve better. I saved that text and looked at it often. It helped.

  • They may say, “You deserve better” but do they even mean it? If he really thought I deserved better, he would have fessed up sooner and not tried to have his cake, fighting the divorce, cheating and lying for years and years. Saying “You deserve better” implies a level of humility that is absent from my cheater. Their lie= Our Truth. We definitely deserve better; we DON’T deserve this schmuck! We chumps are the ones who are going to be trading up!

    • If he thought you deserved better, he would’ve been the man you deserve. Clearly he thinks you deserved shit.

      “You deserve better” is impression management. Faux humility.

      • GOD, you are good!

        “If he thought you deserved better, he would’ve been the man you deserve.”

        I never really thought of it like that, but you’re so right!

      • CL, can you write a post about Impression Management?

        I know what you’re saying when you say it, but mine was ALL about that, being the salesman that he is in his career.

        It would be nice to have some of this laid out in front of me, in the style of ego kibbles and pick me dances!

        My cheater’s latest lie is a fun one too! We run a business together. He has averaged $8k / month income in this business for the last 10 years.

        This past month he brought in $230.

        CLEARLY, he has moved his clients to another company, to try and make ours look as though it’s failing, so he can pay me out less for the company in the settlement.

        Of course, as the other director of the company, when I called him on it, and asked him to provide me with the details of the company he is now running his clients through and financial details on income taken, he called it “harassment” and threatened to use it against me in court or something! He called me “paranoid”, and how can I not believe him when he tells me he hasn’t moved his clients? Um…ok buddy, maybe because a) Numbers don’t lie and b) You’ve lied to me about 20 years of cheating… I’m thinking maybe that speaks to your character! Sheesh!

        Suffice to say that his “image management” isn’t working on me so well anymore!

  • Mr Fabulous is a bit of both. CL is bang on Abbie.

    Trust that they suck.

    And that we know how much.


  • “My self esteem is fucked” and “I fail at everything” are your cues to bolster him. Yes, even as your world is falling apart, he would like you to tell him, oh Gosh, you’re not a failure! I see your shining potential! I know how much you want to be a decent husband, but it’s such a struggle for you! I will hold your hand…. He never wanted to be that guy? He IS that guy. His choices made him that guy, so I’m going to assume he WANTS to be that guy.”

    Uncanny indeed. Exactly my exH. And I fell in line, told him how much I believed in who he COULD be…and I was so honored when he told me “You’ve loved me more and better than anyone (even the OW, I was so flattered…) in my life.” But he didn’t love me, or our kids. Not one bit. Not ever. He loved all the things I/we did FOR him and the respectable “cover” we provided.

    When the kids ask, I do tell them that their dad tried to love them; that he loved them as much as he was capable of, but now my 11 year old says, “But that’s crap. Because if you love someone, you don’t lie, you don’t choke them and spit on them, and you don’t leave them and not even call on their birthday.” I’m wishing that I’d had her clarity of mind – to see that words alone are bullsh**, and that it’s the actions that matter.

    • Yes, it’s the actions that matter. Talk is cheap. Actions tell the real truth.

      Abbie, one other thing: He says the cheating has nothing to do with you? BS. Actually, it has a lot to do with you. It hurts you, it affects you financially, it affects your sanity, your trust, etc. etc. It has everything to do with you. It’s your business. It’s your life.

    • I had to laugh at “You’ve loved me more and better than anyone (even the OW, I was so flattered…) in my life.” My ex also sobbed a lot and I felt very sorry for his fuckupness and wanted to help him fix it. I can remember telling him was a good person and a good father after he started crying and saying he was a bad person. Now I wish I’d have just agreed and said “you ARE a bad person.” LOL

      • I got a little bit of that as well. You’re a bad dad, are you? I wish now I’d said “What makes you say that?” and never stopped grilling. My God, I put a lot of band-aids on open sores that should have had a cautery iron applied to them.

      • We’re living in a parallel universe. There has to be a handbook somewhere, “What to say to your stupified, naive wife when caught”: “You’ve loved me more and better than anyone in my life.” It just oozes reciprocity of feelings, doesn’t it?
        My cheater spouted that line to me as the reason he gave his multiple affair partners at the time of initial D-Day. He was so needy for kibbles he had an OW in training and a Dominatrix-Submissive escort servicing his ego and whatever else, while I was home figuring out why he was so detached and always had a “headache.” When I found out, I confronted both his gal pals and told them they could have him. It certainly wasn’t the result of my ongoing pick me dance marathon that he spoke those trite words to me and them, but more likely his objects were getting wise to him, and he wanted to leave them with a parting shot. Or, maybe it was just him spouting another lie to get me off his back. Later, I found out he continued to contact them many months after it was supposedly all over.

        • My ex wrote to me that he had married me because he “felt that I would be a good wife, a good mother and would take excellent care of him and a home.” He added that he knew I “would never leave him.” He went on to say that I had indeed performed all those tasks most admirably, but he didn’t feel “enough passion” for me.

      • I told mine he has character disorder in the most matter of fact tone I could muster. He actually heard me because he said he plans to seek help. If he does, then he does himself and our child a favor. If he doesn’t, karma bus will keep coming back. Unhealthy people attract other unhealthy folks. Tit for tat. It’s really quite simple.

  • During a phone call, I was told “You are too good for me” and “Everyone is better than me, I’m in the gutter”.
    Clearly expecting me to contradict him and stroke his ego.
    I just calmly agreed with him and hung up.

    • Good for you, Verity297! They also talk about suicide. I know you are supposed to take talk of suicide seriously, so this was tough for me, but I didn’t bite on those comments either.

      • I like to throw the ball back in X’s court when he starts talking suicidal threats. I’ll say things like ‘you should really love yourself more than that’ or ‘would you really condemn your sons to a lifetime of explaining – my Dad killed himself?’
        I think they’re mostly fakers, hoping to get attention. If they’re really serious, what betrayed partner could stop them anyway? We couldn’t. The whole thing is just evil, just another way to reach out and hurt people.

      • I’ll share a piece of advice I have seen elsewhere for dealing with personality-disordered people who make suicide threats. (I haven’t had the opportunity to use this myself, so can’t vouch for it personally, but apparently others have had success):

        Call the police. Just hang up the phone on your ex, then immediately call the police. Tell them you are worried because X person at Y address has just told you he/she plans to commit suicide. The police will go to that address immediately.

        Apparently, what makes this advice work is that it’s a win-win. If the person is truly suicidal, you may have saved their life. If it was just a manipulative ploy, this is NOT the kind of attention they wanted, so you will have called their bluff and they won’t try it again.

        • Oh, yes. You’re right and that os good advice. X told me probably 5 times he was going to end his agony (the agony of a spoiled brat not getting their way?). He sounded pretty serious to me, and of course it freaked me out. The LAST time he did it I was two states away, so I did what you suggested, I made a call to the police, they said they’d go, and I went back to bed! It felt like progress to me, because I used to get all wrapped up on worrying.
          I didn’t know how he liked that until last week, when he tossed off a comment about ‘don’t send the cops to the house again’. Ha, I think he really disloked that ‘wrong’ kind of attention, and it is a deterrant, because he hasn’t tried that pity play again.

          • When my ex started talking suicide he would also beg me not to tell anyone because they might lock him away. Clearly, my ex knew he would never do such a thing. After a particularly graphic suicide threat I called his therapist and told her what he’d said. After his next appointment he told me he would have to find another therapist, he said: “I can’t trust her anymore because she talked to you”. I guess his therapist must have started questioning his stories about how I abuse him at that point….he did not get a new therapist, he just stopped going.

  • CL, I snorted my coffee through my nose on, “Poor sausage. He has a problem.” Thank you for the endorphins this morning. Love it!

  • Find him an exceptional sexual addiction counselor and kick him out immediately. Start moving on with your life without him. If he’s one of the rare individuals who can change, you will see that soon enough from the very, very minimal contact you have with him, either through your mutual children or the divorce process. You need counselling for trauma. Find an exceptional counselor, not some run-of-the-mill one. No one goes through such revelations of what their closest, intimate relationship really was without experiencing trauma. Take excellent care of yourself. You deserve the best.

    • Let him find his own counselor. I think her days of doing anything to ‘fix’ him should be well and truly done. Doing the work of finding someone for him just keeps her engaged and also lets him blame her when it’s ‘not a good fit’ or some similar kind of fuckery.

  • Another great post about those seemingly-universal excuses most (if not all) of us have received.

    I was told by my XW that “I didn’t meet her needs anymore” and that she “changed”. She also used the “You deserve better” line, at least she got that right. Turns out she probably married me hoping that I would “grow out” of what I was then (mainly being introverted and sometimes socially awkward – I am in science after all!), and become something more like what she really wanted (her sparkly, “perfect” OM).

    People do get married without trying to fundamentally change their spouses, right? I know I have my share of faults (we all do), but honestly, I’m too old to feel like I have to apologize for who and what I am anymore. There are plenty of people who like me and respect me (I do know that’s true, sometimes typing it makes it more tangible).

    • CW,

      How perfect, – “I know I have my share of faults (we all do), but honestly, I’m too old to feel like I have to apologize for who and what I am anymore.” Although it’s hard to believe that truth sometimes, after what we chumps have been through- type it again and again if it helps. I wrote once before about being told to make a list of the “Lies I tell Myself”. One of them is definitely that I needed to be “better” or “different” in order to be worthy of love. Totally a lie I bought into – the truth is that we are all flawed, but still worthy of a good, decent, honest partner. Hugs to you.

  • Abbie,
    CL (as usual) is on-target here. Please stay here, keep reading these posts and notice how similar all of our chump stories are. People who engage in this despicable behavior show similar patterns, use the same excuses, and they will drain the ever-loving-life out of anyone they can for as long as their chumpy-victims permit it to continue. Listen to Chump Lady, get strong, and start your plan to remove this parasite from your life.

    My XH “never stopped loving” me either, and his affair with dingbat-paralegal-OW and insane amounts of lying supposedly “had nothing to do with me” too. Just like yours, once he was caught with indisputable evidence – the cocky SOB then turned into a poor sausage. He cried crocodile tears, swore he’d do everything he could to save our marriage, did NOT want to lose me, said he needed help dealing with any and all of the following: his ADD / problems of “failing to appreciate the long-term consequences of his short-sighted choices” / needing “to be needed” / he’s a “one-man wrecking ball” / poor self-esteem / child of an alcoholic / co-dependency / wanting to please people (*except me, clearly*) / fear of rejection / fear of conflict (*snort* btw, he’s a divorce attorney) … blah, blah, blah. And Amazon Chump that I was, I set out to help him work on all of his problems – we’d get through this! We’d be stronger! Right?

    Please keep reminding yourself – his words are worthless. ACTIONS mean everything. This poor sausage routine will only last so long, too — I’m sure others will attest to this phenomenon: XH agreed to do counseling, but after a handful of sessions – he came up with all kinds of reasons to no longer go: “it’s too hard for me” / “I’m so busy” / “I don’t like talking about it” / “It had nothing to do with you” / “Why do we have to keep bringing this up?” / “I feel like I’m being punished” etc.

    Then comes the blame-shifting over to me: “You’re too successful” / “You’ve never failed at anything; I’ve had to re-start my career over and over…” / “I wish you had a drinking problem or something wrong with you” / “You could have left me when you found out the first time.”

    And my personal favorite: above all else, he needed PRIVACY. Now more than ever. “Who else knows about this?” “Who have you talked to?” “Why did you tell my parents? It’s not like they don’t find enough fault with me”, etc. And HOW DARE I intrude upon his “personal thoughts and space” with my silly requests for openness and honesty (translation: I found out he’d rented a secret apartment near his office, never fired dingbat-paralegal-OW, was telling his colleagues we’d separated months ago, OW posts about their dates on facebook occurring right after DDay, and of course – the affair NEVER ended.) Why, if I would just quit asking questions and just allow him to tell me what he wanted me to hear, then things would be fine. Riiiight.

    Chump Lady had an earlier post about this that resonated with me – think of his cheating and lying as throwing you down a flight of stairs. He says “I love you” and “this has nothing to do with you” but then he pulls the rug out from underneath you and kicks you down a flight of stairs. Again and again. In the face of these actions, these words clearly do NOT mean what you want them to mean.
    He isn’t like you or the rest of us Chumps: when we say “I love you,” we mean it and back that statement up with acts of kindness, support, effort, compassion and trustworthiness. When disordered people like him say these things and do NOT back it up with appropriate actions, it’s because they can get something out of you that benefits them and ONLY them. It is manipulative, sinister, cruel and selfish. You did not cause this. You can not make him be a better person. Do not try to make sense of him – his behavior doesn’t make sense to you because IT’S WRONG.

    You’re in good company here, Abbie. Things get so MUCH BETTER when you can remove the parasite. You can do this – you deserve SO MUCH MORE and you’re already in the right place to start.

    • Spot on. Experienced exactly the same format. Watch their actions and ignore their words.
      At the end of the day cheaters are just full of shit. They are bat shit crazy

      • Yep. This is the last holiday season with my cheater.

        He went out today, supposedly to go to his exercise class, but then spun by one of the winter farmer markets (waaaay out of his way–and why was he in that area?), and picked up a couple of things he thought I’d like. Translated, his actions mean that he has arranged to see OW, and to assuage his guilt and to give himself ego kibbles, he decided that a bunch of arugula and a cup of home-made salsa would offset the nice breakfast he’d taken OW to. I’ve learned that if he tries to do anything nice for me, he’s doing so because he is trying to even the score between the women in his life.

        That’s the first evidence of disordered thinking.

        The second evidence of disordered thinking is how he unloads the purchases. He flew into a rage because one of our indoor cats decided to take a run for outside. Why did the cat do that? Because STBX unloads his car and keeps the door to the garage open, even though we all know that that particular cat is a very curious cat and looooves to go through forbidden doors. Then, of course, it was my fault the cat bolted for freedom, since I was cleaning the house and didn’t drop what I was doing to take in his packages.

        The blame-shifting and the rage are probably the third and fourth rolled into one.

        I’m sure that he’ll tell me that I should have minded “my” own business with respect to the affair, since the affair has absolutely nothing to do with me whatsoever. 😛

    • If there was a “like” button I would click it a thousand times, BarristerBelle. I love your post. So much resonates for me and especially your advice to visualize what he did to me as pulling the rug out and throwing me down the stairs. Only upon me finding incontrovertible evidence of his cheating did he tell me he’d been miserably unhappy for such a very long time because I wasn’t paying enough attn to him… he wished he “could split himself in two so one of him could stay with me and one be with her” (I should have said, hand me the machete, I’ll do the splitting!).

      Five months after I kicked him to the curb that night, he was still saying he didn’t expect it to last with her, and to believe in ‘second chances,’ and that he had to keep his affair secret all those weeks because he was ‘afraid’ of me. A man who for 16 yrs had me under this thumb with his narc rages and dom sex, and who i supported financially $$$$ was ‘afraid’ of little ole doormat me? ya right. PS my narc is not an attorney but I am – even more ironic that I am such a chumpette because lawyers are supposted to be adversarial and tough.

  • This story made me remember my parents divorce nightmare. My parents were married 23 years and mom’s world crumbled around her when she found out my dad was a flagrant gay. He cheated on her all throughout their marriage with other married men that they where friends with. He cheated with 2 different “friends” that seemed to be part of our family, and eventually he started getting blow jobs and prostitutes at a park. He told her everything I believe to release his guilt only after he got caught. My parents were always the “perfect Christian couple.” Dad was a deacon in the church, he was always hugging and kissing on her. He said it wasn’t moms fault, he couldn’t help himself, blah blah blah. He didn’t want anyone to know, and wanted to stay married, because he didn’t want to face the truth . They’ve been divorced over 20 years now, but he hasn’t changed at all. He cheats on his gay partner now. It truely is all about them ! They are only sorry they got caught and have to face the lies they covered by their “perfect family.”

    • Your poor mom. I hope she found happiness with a straight man.

      There’s never been any doubt in my mind that if my ex ever admitted that he is gay and found himself a nice, male partner, he would still cheat every chance he got. That’s because, as you said, the cheating really has to do with the cheater’s sense of entitlement and need for excitement. The disordered do not get better no matter who they are with.

      My ex appears to be living a completely gay lifestyle now, but still claims he dates women and is straight. Pathetic.

      • My mom has a wonderful husband! I’ve always said the angels picked him out for her and all of us kids. She truely could be one of the examples of leave a cheater gain a life. It has always seemed so strange to me why cheaters live such a dangerous lifestyle and keep their families in the dark. Mom was scared to death she was going to get Aides(since it was so prevalent back then) but we (the family) were his cover. It is all about them.

        • Believe it or not I sat on a murder trail where a pastor who was secretly gay KILLED his pregnant wife. Everyone believed it was an accident that their cat jumped up and knocked a hair dryer into the water while she was taking a bath. Later everyone learned the truth when he moved to another state and joined a sex anonymous club. Apparently he decided to tell his leader the truth and was promptly turned in to the authorities!

  • First of all, if he claims he only bought hand jobs and blow jobs, better get yourself tested for all STDs. That’s because cheaters by definition are liars, and will only admit to what they think you already know or are about to find out. I would pretty much guarantee he got a lot more than hand jobs. Back years ago, when my ex first admitted to sex with other guys, he also insisted that he only did hand jobs. Well, believe me, that was a lie.

    Secondly, all his word salad is typical of disordered cheaters. Most of it is the pity play, the mark of a disordered person. They love getting others to feel sorry for them, that brings a lot of kibbles. While mostly blaming me for the failure of our marriage, my ex also occasionally said things like, “I was a total failure as a husband,” and “You deserve better,” and also claimed how he struggled against his “sex addiction,” but just couldn’t overcome it. The truth is, cheaters like my ex and your husband don’t WANT to “get over their sex addiction.” That’s because they like it just fine, and intend to continue with their actions. In reality, they see nothing wrong with cheating and sordid sex, because it excites them and they feel ENTITLED to cheat.

    Anyway, Abbie, you need to focus on yourself and getting away from that freak. Watch out, because the self pity turns into rage pretty quickly once they realize you aren’t going to supply kibbles anymore.

    • Mine also said “All I know is I must be a terrible husband.” At the time I felt he was saying that I treated him bad and pushed him into OW’s arms. It’s true I was upset a lot the last few years, but I knew something was wrong. I was very lonely while he spent most his time on business trips with her. I guess if I’d just understood I was in a secret contest and tried harder to win him back I’d have been lucky enough to keep him. LOL

      • “I guess if I’d just understood I was in a secret contest and tried harder to win him back I’d have been lucky enough to keep him. LOL”

        A mutual friend (no longer a friend of ex, but was back then) actually told me shortly after dday that ex had complained to her that his OW’s husband was desperately dancing to try and keep his wife, yet I wasn’t working hard enough to keep my ex. The level of entitlement and desire for cake in these freaks is beyond belief.

        Like you, Lyn, that is one contest I thank God to have lost. Although as it turned out, the OW apparently wised up and dumped my ex as well.

    • Yeah. Take what they admit to, and then multiple the number and severity by at least 3.

      And believe what they say. If he says “I’m a terrible husband” believe him and act accordingly.

  • My cheater ex told me during his apology/I regret everything/wish we were still married visit, “I’m an asshole.” To which I promptly replied, “yes, you are.”

    Abbie, don’t waste any more time trying to decipher the meaning of your husband’s words. It’s a complete waste of time. Instead, make your decisions based on your gut, what is good for you. I (over) stayed in the marriage for two decades because I never asked what I wanted. I was always watching out for the welfare of others – ex, child, family, society, etc. In the end, that was not smart because this is MY life to live and no one else’s. I suffered the most by not asking what I wanted. I’m not saying that our decisions should be self-centered but rather our personal self should be part of the decision making. It sounds quite clear to me you want out. The heck with what he says. You have a wonderful life ahead of you without a cheater; don’t spend it deciphering a disordered person.

    • “I’m an asshole.” To which I promptly replied, “yes, you are.”

      LOLOLOLOL!!! Uniquelyme, I said it before and I will say it again – I want to be you when I’m all grown up.

      • Chump Princess, you are too kind. Thank you. I think my ex is still in a state of shock how calm and self-assured I have been. I was a raving lunatic after his first two affairs. I even felt it was up to me to make him feel better about committing adultery. Sheez. So this sudden turn of events is really causing him to rethink his choices. He can knock himself out. I don’t really care what he thinks.

  • Oh how this story rings so close to home…..but add in what he tried to tell our grown girls to save his shiney cheating ass…..His words, “You’re Mom wouldn’t understand, I am helping drug addicted prostitutes off the streets. I am done with that lifestyle, I finally figured out that what I really want to do, is help people!” Does it get any better than that? Now that my therapist has me reading up on Psychopathy, I have learned so much. My Girls now see their father for what he truly is. A large pill to swallow. Out relationships are strained at best. We are slowly healing as a family. This is a second go round for me and him. I took him back 15 years ago. He swore he was a changed man. Psychopaths don’t change, they just get better at their act. They use manipulation such as poor self esteem etc…..Oh whoa is me…..poor baby. Keep coming back here to keep yourself reminded of why you need to let this SOB go. It hurts like a mofo to know that we are not top priority in what we thought was someone elses life. I am learning that not all people are liars and cheats. Hopefully one day I might find someone who really does appreciate me, and can be faithful. You will too! I am reading Almost a Psychopath right now. Good read. Helps me to see the things I missed. Now they are clear as day…..

    • “His words, “You’re Mom wouldn’t understand, I am helping drug addicted prostitutes off the streets. I am done with that lifestyle, I finally figured out that what I really want to do, is help people!” ”

      Ha! This must be in the playbook, Thirtyyearsandone. This was the version he tried to sell me:
      When I asked him how he, a self-professed life-long feminist/father of two lovely Ivy League educated daughters, could exploit vulnerable young women that way, he said they came from very poor families and were able to send money back to their villages (in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc) to help their families survive.
      Un-fucking-believable. I suggested he buy them a cow or some chickens to raise.

      Oh, and the ones he saw in Eastern European countries were paying their way through University by prostituting, but I wouldn’t understand because I don’t really know how it is. These women enjoyed their work.

      Please, just one more!
      While screaming at him that no wonder he used whores because he didn’t have to think about his partner’s needs at all, he told me that they will let you know if they are unhappy and what they want. He said it like he’d been scolded and was earnest to be a good boy the next time.

      That’s odd…he’d worked so hard for 15+ years to convince me I had a low libido and was the whole problem in the marriage but would refuse to listen about what might make it more enjoyable for me.

      I could go on and on!

      • OMG. nwrain, it’s amazing. My cheater is a self-professed feminist, liberal too. For all of our (unmarried) 16 years together he would never call me his “girlfriend,” because “you’re not a girl, you are a woman and my equal.” So he used the term “partner.” For 16 yrs though he trained me as his submissive in our sex life and I am getting therapy to understand why I did that… yes, a liberal who professed to treat women as equals but who actually thinks of them as whores, and called me every name in the book during sex. I dont want to violate any page guidelines but his preferred visualizations were c***, s*ut, slave, f*cktoy, hot teenager, and yes he even fantasized about rape while having sex with me.

    • Ex remains furious I told the kids the truth. No gory details but that he was unfaithful and taht was the cause of the divorce. They figured out soon enough that it wasn’t just final OW and it if naturally my fault that the kids are not dumb enough to be taken in by his bullshit.

      • Nord, it is your fault that your kids have two brain cells to rub together! He certainly didn’t contribute to their intelligence.

        • It’s one of my many gifts them. 😉 His is pain, distrust, disappointment and a few laughs here and there when he’s feeling sparkly.

  • Abbie, listen to CL on this one and having these deep convos with your ex this instant!! You are wasting your time and worse letting him in your head. My ex was the same, very caring and loving but always had several women on the side for most of the years we were together. If this is love its not the kind you want. His parting comments to you are only to save a little face and get some pity… Its all about him, all about the kibbles he might be able to squeeze out as he exits stage left. Dont fall for it… Hope he has moved out by now so you can go No Contact. His true colors wil come out then in all their glory.

  • Nothing tells a person to go to hell better than indifference. Fake it ’til you make it. Because each time you ask him for an explanation but his logic fallacies fail to make sense, a little part of his overstimulated ego is stroked. It sounds like he gets enough stroking as it is.

    • Very, very true. The longer I’ve been no contact the nuttier ex – and his family – get. It’s like they simply cannot believe I have completely washed my hands of them and their fabulous sparkliness. But I have and I will never turn back towards any of them.

      • I’m with you Nord. Totally wiped my hands of the lot of them. No contact is the only sane and fair thing we can do. It drives them nuts.
        It’s better for the kids too as they see no conflict directly. The kids obviously want the parents back to together.
        The kids eventually establish their own boundaries too

        • My kids have had to come to their own conclusions about the ex and the ex inlaws. They’ve asked why I don’t see them and I’m honest: they hurt me very deeply with how they handled this andI don’t want to be around people who hurt me.

          I know there is a school of thought that tells people in my shoes to suck it up and ‘do what’s right for the kids’ but I really believe that if I went along the that line of thinking and still saw my inlaws (as they would prefer, although on their terms, where I’d be some sort of third tier relegated distant relative after 20 years of extreme closeness) then I’d be telling my kids that when people treat you badly, when they hurt you deeply, you suck it up and still allow them in your life. You know, I’d be telling them and teaching them how to be a chump.

          Not going to happen. To be honest it’s been, as far as I can tell, pretty freeing for the kids for me to have stepped away. They now see the manipulations because I’m not there makingexcuses or ‘explaining’ some of the crazy my ex in laws bring to the table. My ex could have used some of that growing up because they’re half the reason he is the way he is.

          • Nice to see this post. I too was a devoted inlaw for 20 years, through thick and thin, but in many ways looking back, just an audience member grateful for being accepted by the family. Flash forward 23 years later, 18 months after day day and ex sis in law writes my a FOG inducing carefully worded, “hey can I be in your life for the kids” email. I have not responded. Meanwhile she tried to get her brother to shave off two hours my Christmas morning with my kids so she could see them instead. Also hangs with the OW, all warm and fuzzies since week 3. Really? No.

  • CL,

    Your response had me laughing out loud. I’ve never read anything more perfect and I’ve never seen a better dissection of cheater/narc speak and behavior.


    I have spent the better part of my adult life attempting to decipher the context and meaning behind the things disordered people say. It is a large energy suck and a complete waste of time. I will sum up for you what cheaters mean no matter what they’re saying – “I’m an entitled, selfish asshole who only cares about what I want, when I want it, how I’m going to get it and I intend to satisfy myself at all times and I don’t care how you feel about it or how it affects you or anyone else.” That’s it. Because no matter what bullshit is spewing forth from their lips, that is what their actions will tell you.

    When they say “I love you,” what they are really doing is pissing on your head and telling you it’s rain. I read a book that said over and over in every chapter, “Love is a behavior.” Cheating on you with anyone in any way is not loving behavior. Your husband is a predator – he stalks his prey at massage parlors and wherever else he wanders to facilitate his hook ups.

    You want to talk “Oh poor me, wah-wah, I was mistreated as a child, misunderstood and mistreated as an adult whiny-assed titty baby” performance? My STBX is without a doubt, the People’s Choice Academy Emmy Award winning best actor in that category. That’s how he hooked me. He didn’t remotely resemble the sociopaths and ne’er-do-wells with which I had customarily been involved – until he did – only worse. I am watching him indulge in the most underhanded, back-stabbing, I’m going to fuck you and not kiss you behavior out of plain sight, while pretending to be Mr. Conciliatory, Can’t We All Just Get Along, I Just Want to Be Happy person in the public eye. It is like watching Golum talk to himself in Lord of the Rings.

    Ignore everything your husband says. Look at what he has done and what he continues to do. He has shown you who he is – believe him.

  • Chump princess, i die reading that! Hilarious!! I wont need to come up with facebook posts for weeks after all the gems i can steal from that entry.

        • I like sharing too much. Let’s face it though – with the people we’re talking about – most of these posts write themselves.

  • I got alot of this.

    “I need you to be patient with me.” and “I’m trying!” and “I need you to help me be better.” and “I’m working on those things! I’m getting better!”

    Those always followed another instance of him getting caught breaking promises, lying, cheating or pilfering marital money. I spent seven years being “patient” and trying to “help” him be a better person. Then one day I said “fuck that” and divorced him.

    Guess what? The sad sausage is now so mad he went dark on me. Complete NC.

    I guess he didn’t love me so much after all and instead has just moved on now that I made it clear that using me was no long an option. But that’s just how the club of Users roll. Don’t let your H fool you into thinking he cares for you in the way you care for him and that with just a little touch of your love he will be the perfect husband.

    Divorce him Abbie – a neverending project makes a lousy husband.

    • ” – a neverending project makes a lousy husband.”

      There are no words for what a perfect saying that is. Oh! but if only someone had said that to me even 10 years ago and kept repeating it . . .

      Perfect ThatGirl, just perfect.

    • I agree with Chump Princess, ThatGirl. “A neverending project makes a lousy husband” sums up the last two decades of my life. So thrilled that’s in the past!

    • “A neverending project makes a lousy husband.”

      I would like that cross-stitched on white cotton and framed on my wall. 🙂

  • I got all of these, as well as suicide threats. He told me how fragile he was and that he was a coward. He told me that I should find a real man, and that he had nothing to live for anymore. I begged him not to hurt himself, and told him to go with whoever he wanted, but please not hurt himself. Vomit.

    One of the damaging things about this situation is that the manipulator takes what is beautiful–our love, loyalty, empathy, our ability to bond–and uses them as weapons against us. Our only way to save ourselves is to go no or minimal contact. We have to turn our back on these beautiful qualities when it comes to them. We must break the bond, cut off empathy, and allow our love and loyalty to turn to indifference. This is the opposite of everything we’ve ever been. It feels so wrong, so unnatural at first. It’s the only way to survive though. Assume everything they say or do is manipulation. I’ve been doing that for almost a year now, and sadly every time I’m proven right. After 23 years, the man I loved does not exist. All emotions are tools to him. All of your wonderful attributes are weaknesses to be exploited.

    Don’t be pulled in.

    • ” We must break the bond, cut off empathy, and allow our love and loyalty to turn to indifference. This is the opposite of everything we’ve ever been. It feels so wrong, so unnatural at first. It’s the only way to survive though.”

      SO true!

  • I think guys like this are worse than the ones who outright blame you. At least with the ones who blame you, you know where you stand and you know for sure that you should divorce them.

    But with assholes like this, oh god they string you on and on and on. They keep your heart all twisted up with guilt you shouldn’t be carrying and your mind questioning your own sanity. They want you constantly questioning if you should divorce or not, they want you feeling bad for the shit THEY did to you. They want you nursing their ego for eternity, until you have been bled dry and have nothing left for yourself. They turn you into walking husks. And they never, ever, ever stop cheating. They are never, ever really “working on it.” If they ever give anything to you, it’s teensy little bits of kibble scrap just to keep you hooked, but you will starve. Emotionally, physically, psychologically. You will die on the inside.

    And that’s when he will leave you. That’s when there will be no “I’ve always loved you/I care about you/It’s not you it’s me.” It’ll just be “I need to find myself/she understands me/you never supported me/I need adventure.” He’ll take everything from you and then still need more. So he’ll go find another person to bleed dry.

    Divorce him. Don’t feel guilty. It’s not your guilt to bear. It’s not your fault, it’s not your responsibility to baby him while he’s (not) fixing himself. Don’t think of it as ending your marriage, think of it as RESCUING YOURSELF.

    • Kara,

      This is the most thorough and succinct description of my entire relationship with my STBX to date (David’s post below captures some components, as well). I am always so overcome when I read a post that so eloquently articulates what I lived through.

      The best thing about actually SEEING it described is that you can examine it and own it and realize, “I don’t want that anymore ever again. I don’t want to feel that and I don’t want to be that.” It is a signpost on the road to Meh.

    • Since I wouldn’t listen to ex’s bullshit after a certain point he turned it on for the kids, one in particular. He would squeeze out a couple of tears, say he had no self-respect, felt so badly–the kid was worried to death ex was going to off himself. I seriously could have offed him myself after he piled that bullshit on a confused, scared, hurting kid. The level of selfishness displayed during that time nearly broke me because it nearly broke my kids.

      • The cheaters act as victims. Groceries turns the tears on. Poor her, had no option but to have an affair bla bla fucking bla! The boys now know when she’s lying. It’s actually not funny. It’s very sad

        • Yep, my ex still acts like a victim. He actually texted one of my kids recently, when all this stuff bubbled up between then again, that ‘that was a difficult time for all of us’, which nearly caused me to contact him. It wasn’t difficult for him as he was busy screwing around while I was home on full time duty with two devastated kids while falling completely apart myself. I really do believe, though, that he sees himself as a victim, particularly because I cruelly told the truth to people. I’m a big meanie that way.

    • Oh yes, and waste 19 years of your life that you’ll never ever ever get back. Imagine using that time for love, and laughter, and happiness and joy. Oh my God they suck, like fucking vampires!

  • Abbie,

    Image is very important to these people. So he is casting himself as someone tragic even though, as CL points out, he had the fun. He also had inclinations that he hid from you. If he wants to be pansexual and jump around, there are certainly plenty of ways he can do that. What he really wanted was the double benefits of: 1) a strong relationship and 2) the fun of playing around (and the excitement that comes from having both of those at the same time, also known was “cake,” in CL’s apt term).

    I agree with Preya, above. If he’s sincere (and I have my doubts), kick him out and let him fix himself. You can’t stay in a relationship with him because, as a Chump (read: nice person), you will wind up having your patience and kindness turned into a kind of baby food that enables his bad behavior. And it will continue. Sadly, too many of us Chumps fall into the pattern of being narc/NPD-maintainers. We are the clean-up brigade, the clean-up crew that tells the kids “Daddy didn’t mean it,” that tells ourselves “He did it/said it, but he didn’t really mean it….” We are like the wife who brews coffee for her alcholic husband so he can get through his hangover the next day and get to work. (Those gender roles could be reversed.) So, Abbie, help him break the cycle (if he really wants to, which I kind of doubt) by getting out.

    In the end, when you married, he hid large parts of himself from you that he should have revealed. Even if we believe him, it makes no sense to go down the isle gritting one’s teeth and fighting your own impulses. If you like open relationships, then find partners who share that and spare the rest the trouble! Abbie, if you stay with this situation, you will enable it. Likely, he’s just wrapping up the end of your relationship in a way that allows him to be a victim and not a cad. Either way, his problems are his to solve and you have your own life to live! Be a proud Chump and move on. Find someone who is honest about their needs and shares your concept of what a relationship should be.

    Chump Son

    • You got it, David. I gave up my job as an unpaid, unloved and abused crisis manager and now have my life back. Had I known it was going to be as joyful and peaceful as it is, I would have long given up on the old life.

      Take it from the chump Olympians on this site, LEAVE the disordered manipulator now. It will only get worse.

      • Uniquelyme,

        The idea of Chump as crisis manager is brilliant. The NPDs get to create the crises, and then we get to clean them up/tolerate them/come up with twisted explanations (“he’s just misunderstood….”) That’s a great observation.

            • It was 34 years of crisis after crisis with me batting clean up! Then the final crisis of him having cupcakes all over the country & me accepting that it was not my job anymore to be his crisis manager! They do thrive on creating chrises and chaos. We get too busy & overloaded to see the pattern until it is too late!

    • Caught an error in my post. I wrote:

      “Even if we believe him, it makes no sense to go down the isle gritting one’s teeth and fighting your own impulses.”

      I should have said: “Even if we believe him, it made no sense for him to have gone down the aisle (to have gotten married) gritting his teeth and fighting his own impulses.” He should have been honest with you about who he was before you married. So, time to open the bomb bay doors and drop this one……

      You deserve someone who shares you concept of what a relationship is, not someone who is chronically fighting themselves (so he says; again, I have my doubts about how much of a fight he really puts up to try and be monogamous). In any case, let him find his own way. Don’t feel sorry for him. Feel sorry for YOU for having been deceived and move on.

      • My STBXH finally admitted that when he married me there was the person I knew and the person he hid from me. He walked down that aisle, fake tears in his eyes, knowing he had already cheated numerous times and would again. I couldn’t believe he admitted it. And in the next breath tried to garner sympathy from me because – poor him – he’ll have to admit to any future partners moving forward that his first marriage broke up because he cheated. Still no aknowledgement from him of the damage he has done to me and our daughter.

        I honestly can’t imagine marrying someone and NOT sharing who you are/denying your true self. But there I go again, being chumpy.

        David – your explaination is spot on.

        • RJam,

          Sorry about that.

          I think a lot of these NPD types are very delusional as well as selfish and deceitful. They marry half-aspirationally, thinking their partner is so terrific that s/he will banish their bad side. At that early stage, they are stil idealizing their new mate. But soon reality intrudes on the infantile way they view things. Their un-confessed “needs” reassert themselves. And, after all, special people should neve be denied, right? Of course, their self-discovery (gack!) comes at others’ expense. Best to hit the road and let these folks find their own destiny……tawdry as it is.

          • David, this is a brilliant analysis and it nails it on the head with the idealization that they did with us. It helps address the anguished question we ask ourselves, how could they do this to us? I think you are right they “half aspirationally” expect that marrying a ‘sane’ stable person will fix them.

  • Mine said exactly the same thing – it wasn’t about me. He took it a step further: ‘Of course I knew it would hurt you if you found out’! – this was his defence! Also, the low self-esteem bleat – apparently, he couldn’t believe my constant words of admiration and adoration – because I was too nice!

    What a fuckwit!

  • Argh!!! Abbie, listen to this wisdom. My cheater sounds like yours. I am providing the kibble right now by remaining, doing the MC stuff. I suspect when I do leave, it’ll be his tool to victimize himself. These people suck and they suck the life out of you. Get your ducks in a row. Make the next 12 months about you. I’m right there with you.

  • When my STBXH and I split up, I told my mom I was his “beard”. Don’t know what that is? It’s a term for women who date/marry gay men, the insinuation being that the woman makes him more “manly”.

    No, my ex isn’t gay, but he is cuckoo for cocoa puffs and being married to nice, stable, reliable, sociable me gave him the appearance of normalcy. Your guy is trying to keep you around for that and that alone. He’s telling you it’s not going to change and you have to believe him.

    As long as you’re around, you validate his goodness to the world. Don’t be his beard.

    • And when you are no longer willing or able to be the beard he’ll replace you with a new one.

    • I didn’t know what “beard” meant but it applies to my situation too. My cheater is a self employed home remodeling contractor … translation: underemployed, “can’t work for anyone else” because of his belligerent pompous attitude, works minimal hours while for 16 yrs was fully supported by me, a successful attorney (though I earned it the hard way and still have law school loans). When he hooked up with me and my 3 kids it gave him instant respectability as the Family Man. I see that now. I provided cover for his disordered life… since d-day I’ve found evidence he may have diddled a 12 yr old girl in another state just b4 moving here (where he didn’t know a soul except a rich girl he met in that state, who he promptly dumped after he got here). He stayed in touch with his x GF all the years we were together (I contacted her online and we’ve talked). He def cheated on me b4 last year but I have no proof. And all the while I was telling my friends and family what a Great Guy he was… he never expected to get caught and kicked to the curb because he was so used to me being a total Chump, and yes, I see it now, a beard too.

      • Yep, told everyone what a great guy he was and from all appearances this was not hard to believe. But underneath he was a disordered asshole who was taking enormous risks with his cheating that damaged his career, his relationship with me, his relationship with his kids and did not make him look like the big swinging dick like he thought it did – instead it made him look like a pathetic loser who was chasing skirts all over the place – and enough people knew, it seems, for it to make him look like a juvenile fool. Before I went NC I was checking his emails (had the password) and he was still talking with much younger guys he had met thorugh his work about various hot babes in offices that they had nailed or would like to nail. It was like reading teenaged bullshit and it struck me: he never grew up. Middle aged and still giggling about banging chicks. And once it all came to light (or most of it, I suppose) I scared the fuck out of him because he couldn’t play the double life anymore.

        Now he’s got a young dumb OW who doesn’t believe any of it and thinks she’s super special and he’ll never do it to her. Hahahaaha…poor thing. i await the blow up that is sure to come.

      • If you found evidence that he “diddled a 12 year old girl” in another state, you need to call the POLICE in that town and report him for pedophilia. Hand the evidence over and let the state have it. This is beyond cheating — he’s a predator.

      • If he is molesting a 12 year old girl, I’d be very afraid for my kids, relatives, friends and any other child this man comes in contact with. He is a sick bastard. How many other k7ds has he molested. I agree get out and report his ass.

  • the sad, sick thing Abbie is that he STILL likely hasn’t told you EVERYTHING. Get tested. My XH gave me the same BS about “it’s not about you” – in a way he was right. Things weren’t about me. Nothing ever was about me. Ever. I was never a consideration when he made his choices and did who-knows-what with who-knows-who.

    He too swore he spilled the beans on all the things he’d done. Then when it would come up again he’d deny stuff. Like I would’ve imagined him telling me about screwing a co-worker in a car during lunch hour? Even when I so wanted things to work out I admitted to myself, that his admissions were sugarcoated – even as bad and heart breaking as they were.

    Go to your gynecologist or if you don’t want an insurance record – go to a clinic or Planned Parenthood and get tested for EVERYTHING. I made my appointment the day after I hear “the truth” and at least I could set my mind at ease about some things…..

  • One day after our son’s soccer game (which we watched from opposite ends of the field) my STBXH told me he was watching me during the game and thinking how I deserved someone better. The look on his face when I said “Yep, and I’m going to get it” was priceless.

    “you deserve better” is like they’re saying they don’t think you can find someone better than them – which is crap of course because 99% of the population is better than a cheater.

    Anytime the cheater or someone who hurts you makes it about themselves – it is about them – not you. That’s the ultimate red flag.

  • Abbie, everyone has been pretty clear, CL nailed it pretty well.

    What you have is a MARTYR MAN. He starts with the deflecting game, he ruthlessly (and falsely) puts himself down so that you won’t have the heart to be “mean” enough to pursue the matter any further. After all, can’t you see how much pain HE is in? Of course you can, now here you are comforting him because he hurt YOU…

    But wait, there’s more, he tells you his deep dark secrets and how broken he is, he couldn’t help it, he loves you! but he is broken, he tells you he is a monster. And there you are comforting him, assuring him he is not a bad person, not a monster. It hurts to see him like that, yes? AND, theres more! you are the only one that can fix him, he only feels safe with you, but he will give you up because he just isn’t good enough for you…can you forgive him and not hurt him any more? he’s already in so much pain, please help him. Funny how he doesn’t talk about your pain? If you really listen, he doesn’t really talk about you. Your pain is nothing compared to what he is suffering, you have been deflected by your love. He has you enmeshed, he’s already negated your pain and deflected you into a pattern, the one where you don’t matter – and it is a pattern. You take care of him, no one takes care of you, not even you. And you need to have your back, because he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised if during these long talks he tells you that he will always look out for you, don’t believe it.

  • Thank you so much CL and others for your honest, kind, and productive kick in the ass. I really appreciate it- it makes it all the more real reading it from people who’ve been through the same thing. Here I was all these years, thinking my cheater was unique and maybe he truly got it this time. HA!

    It’s very surreal, I can’t believe I am actually going through with ending it. It feels absolutely scary right now. But, after weighing out the options, it seems so much scarier staying with him, than being on my own. The growth I have been experiencing the last few weeks is insane. I never truly thought I would ever have the balls to actually end it. Maybe that was part of the problem too, he never truly thought I would end it either. I’m feeling really empowered right now. It feels damn good to finally say to myself “You will survive this and be better off.” I just need to shut-up that inner voice of fear that keeps creeping in. work in progress.

    I am on the verve of tears, trying to hold them back as I am in public (on my laptop in starbucks)- but I just feel overwhelmed by the kindness and support for the chumps on this site. I wish I had found this site years ago, when I was first going through this and really felt alone. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart!

    • I totally get the surreal feeling of it all. I went through that. You can’t believe he could be so cruel, you can’t believe he doesn’t care, you can’t believe he isn’t there with you when you most need him, you can’t believe nobody can see that you’re in so much pain, you can’t believe you’re doing something you heard of but never dreamed you’d ever have to do (get involved with the legal system), you can’t believe how hard and yet how easy it is simultaneously.

      But you put one foot in front of the other, because you know you must. You just do it–you have an attorney there to guide you. (Some attorneys suck, btw, and if your first one does, get a different one.)

      It is SO surreal! I still can’t believe the d-word (divorced) applies to me. I can’t believe, after a life of successfully avoiding scumbags, that it turns out I was married to one who let another one into our family.

      But it’s all true, and you have to listen to your head sometimes, and the part of your heart that is fighting for YOU and for all that is right.

      You might not believe how STRONG you are! And then you prove it to yourself and to anyone else who is watching. So much so that people might think what you’re going through is easy–but it’s not. Ask anyone here.

      I’m so glad you and everyone else here found this group. We together are awesome.

      Proud of you, sister!

      • I agree that no one understands the depth of pain of betrayal until they’ve experienced it themselves. I remember calling my sister to apologize for not being more understanding when it happened to her. I could so easily see that her husband was a scumbag but was amazed that every new revelation she heard from him set her on a new downward spiral. Now I understand what it’s like to live with a manipulator.

    • Abbie – this shit is scary, but most things that are worth it in the end, start out scary. You will deal with some crazy shit between here and the end of this drama… but in the end, you will be kick-ass (and will have kicked some ass). Keep coming here, for support and keep going. I can tell you (from the other side of divorce from my cheater) life is good.

      • Abbie,

        I agree with Stephanie and dani – this crap is surreal and scary. You have experienced a trauma and those feelings are part of that experience. It takes awhile to work through it. Some days will be better than others, but the further you move away from away it, your good days will begin to outnumber the bad. I am still on the roll coaster because I am still in the divorce process and I have had to accept that’s just the way it is for now. There will be sometimes a step backward for every two steps forward. The important thing is that all that love, kindness and understanding you have been giving that hell beast disguised as a husband, you should now focus on yourself. It is okay to have scary days, doubtful days, days where you long for what you believed you had, even days where you miss your life with your cheater. The important thing is that you just keep moving forward to your new and better life. I’m not even there yet but I know that wherever I’m headed it has to be better than the actual nightmare I was (unknowingly) living. If at the time I thought that was good, how much better will life be sans a lying, scheming, cheating, character-disordered, shit-covered beast from hell. I can only believe that it will be satisfyingly fabulous.

        We are all here to hold your hand and walk into the light with you. (((HUGS)))

        • Abbie,
          Congrats and keep moving forward. Onward and Upward is where you are headed! It’s all good in the end, even the bad it took to get there! Promise. You will never regret this decision as it never gets better with them, only crazier and worse and life is too short to waste it on someone who thinks that betrayal and risking your mental and physical health is not a problem!

          You have a chump army all around you and here for support. xo

        • The journey of getting out of cheatersville is best captured in the saying: fall down seven times, get up eight. And then one day you just stay up (meh). By then, the thought of being just in the same room with the cheater ex is just … gross.

        • CP, that is yet another of your posts that I find so true, and uplifting that it goes in my reading collection in my iphone. When I’m feeling down, or like I lost something irreplaceable by leaving the serial cheater, I can always go there and get powered up again!
          It’s very tough and confusing to your soul, to walk away from my life of 35 yrs, just to stop the pain of being used and lied to (and told that you’re loved!). But I keep telling myself- the first year is the hardest! At least my life is authentic now, and reflects my value system. Hopefully happiness and fun comes along later.

          • I’m glad you found it helpful PattyToo! A struggle is less daunting when it is shared – especially when it is shared with people who “get it.” 35 years is a really long time. Go easy on yourself. You are on your way. (((HUGS))).

    • Abby,
      You will do better than survive, you will thrive! I am in beginning phase as well, its scary for sure but keep moving forward. There is a man named Trent Shelton that posts inperational videos on FB that have gotten me through the dark days. Stay inspired and stay strong. One foot in front of the other my dear, and keep reading here on CL. So much to learn here, the truth will set u free ((Hugs))

  • Dear Abbie,
    I got the you deserve better line (which I find very condescending), as well as this is not your fault and had nothing to do with you (so true as he didn’t even think of me while lying and cheating behind my back).

    Here is the deal, I feel that the ones that do it this way with these soft, kind words are so far gone they really just don’t even care anymore whether you give them kibbles or not or whether you help them or not. They are getting their kibbles concurrently in many other places and have no want or need to ever change, so they leave the door slightly ajar in case you want to come back in and join the fun.

    There is not even one ounce of fight or anger in these words and it’s so passive and detached like they have long ago given up on being anything different.

    I realized that there was no way in hell he was ever going to change and I honestly didn’t care if he changed or not because the fact was he put my mental and physical health at risk without a care in the world. There is nothing more careless or cruel than doing that to another person let alone someone you claim to love, etc…. Then to be so nonchalant on top of it is really showing the lack of any care or concern. It’s a real I don’t give a fuck about you message as far as I see it.

    For 3 months after I left him he was triangulating me via other people I had introduced to him when he ran into them by being all dramatic and asking them how I was doing etc. and that he thought we could have worked it out. PLEAZZZZZZZZE, it’s all so phony and full of overacting.

    He kept emailing me and texting me and sometime I didn’t reply and sometimes I did. Finally I told him I wanted to have dinner to put a stop to this with no intention of getting back together. So he made a reservation at a restaurant we had tried to go to a couple of times when we were together but didn’t have a reservation those times and couldn’t get a table (how romantic). At that dinner he told me he had been seeing someone and that she really liked him and he was emotionally unavailable for her. Duh???? I laughed when he said that to me and said just as you were emotionally unavailable with me and everyone else in your life. He quickly said to me you were different, that is where I laughed again and shook my head in disbelief.

    He had also told me when we were together that he knew he shouldn’t have married his wife before they even got married, they were married for 20years before they got divorced 11 years ago!

    See the pattern? He is now about to turn 56, Jan. 16th is one year to the day that I walked away from that mess. I walked away knowing that any kind of future with this guy would have been a very bad one with NO HAPPY ENDING! (Pun intended). This made walking very easy for me.

    Of course after leaving the inability to really face all of the facts and truth was traumatizing because deep down I knew I was played and abused and taken advantage of and lied to and wasn’t ever loved or cared for and I was so angry that I allowed that to happen to myself. It took me a long time (about 8 months after a 1 year relationship) to really be able to absorb the reality that he just didn’t give 2 shits about me and never did just as he didn’t give two shits about his ex wife, his 2 children, his previous girlfriends, hookers, massage parlor hand job hookers, his craigslist casual encounters etc…. We are all one and the same to these leftovers (just body parts without souls or conscience).

    Now after processing everything and getting to meh I see that I really didn’t lose anything by losing him except my own self worth temporarily while I was with him. I cringe if I see him now and wonder what I ever saw in him or how I was ever with him in the first place. I saw and heard things I never saw or heard before and knew they were not right but couldn’t make any sense of them so stayed to see what would happen next or if he would straighten up and fly right. LOL, we all know what happened next on that road of Hopium! Things got bigger, badder and worse not better or clearer.

    All I can say is that you will one day get to a point where you are so happy to not have that in your life anymore and look at this as a stepping stone to becoming who you really are and to all out happiness with yourself and by yourself. You will no longer be interested in figuring out how he or she got this way or why they do what they do. It will be just enough to know it wasn’t love and that you can do better and will and that you deserve it without question or trouble.

    This New Years was one of the best I have had in a long time and I purposely spent it by myself and turned down a friends invite to go to dinner and listen to Jazz. I had a really great time cooking and relaxing at home all the while thinking I am so glad to not be with “him” anymore. It made me feel free of so many bad things that did happen and would have happened if I had stayed longer than I did. Last New Year’s with him was the worst one I ever had.

    It made me look forward to this coming year and being able to make it anything I wanted it to be. I also know that whoever I will be with next will be a massive trade up and I am very patient as I date knowing what I really want and that this time I will do the choosing and not allow myself to be chosen or to be bum rushed or pushed into a relationship I didn’t really want in the first place.

    The best part of all of this is that I still of course get scared and sometimes feel vulnerable but I am ok with that now and recognize it for what it is and know it is only a temporary feeling and I work through it and have been conquering fears all of this past year and gaining strength and momentum in my clarity of thought. I have been taking a step back when necessary and thinking things through more deeply and questioning why I feel a certain way before acting. I also am losing fear of making mistakes and taking more risks both socially and in business because I know I will learn and recover as I did from this horrible situation.

    I hope that my experience and thoughts and what I have learned from all of this has helped you and not confused you! I feel I am rambling, lol.

    Most importantly, CL and her posts and the comments from everyone here helped me tremendously as everyone has their own unique points of view and language to express their experiences. There is always something said here that hits home and is helpful in guiding you from the dark, grey, foggy waters of Shitville to the brighter, sunnier side of the street.

    Not saying it will ever be easy but damn it gets a whole lot lighter without carrying a big dead weight around your neck!

  • my take on it;
    there are givers and takers in the world. I am typically a giver. learning to be a bit more careful who I give to before they earn it. It’s a balance I am trying to learn because I don’t want to be different, I don’t want to be bitter.
    There are always going to be the ppl who are EXTREME in giving or taking from a relationship. My X candy coated his taking and made it look like giving, mental abuse of the highest order.
    I won’t let that define me.
    Perhaps you need to look at it like this, as much as he sucks, the person you thought you were married to, he wasn’t that guy, he is showing you who he is now. Gotta say he has more balls than my x bcz he wouldn’t then and still won’t today, admit any of it. Mine would deny it if I walked in on the act.
    Trust what he is telling you now and walk away knowing it wasn’t you. He at least gave you that much. He didn’t pull the blame you card. He didn’t lie, well, he did but sorta kinda came clean.
    Take it as him saying I don’t want to be with you. Much as it hurts, if he wanted to be with you, he wouldn’t have been with randoms. He needs the strange, let him go find it. You don’t have to be the reason or the problem, you just have to hold on to you and walk away.

  • CL,

    Another thought. I believe we Chumps suffer from what I would call a “complexity vulnerability.”

    What do I mean? Well, consider this, from Wikipedia:

    “Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor from William of Ockham (c. 1287 – 1347), and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in logic and problem-solving. It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”

    Basically, OR is a rule of thumb that says, if you are considering competing explanations for something that takes place, you should think hard and consider that the simplest explanation — the one with the least number of assumptions, with the least complexity — is likely the best one. Now, this is not a sure thing, but it’s generally considered a solid general tendency.

    When we consider Abbie’s situation or my own situation as Chump Son, we can see this at work. Growing up, my mother offered all kinds of explanations for my father’s behavior (mostly air raid siren screaming over small things, when he felt like it). It was his job, his unfulfilled potential, his tough life, etc. etc. Much complexity! Much history! Much to understand! And not much on the immediate reality, which was utterly unacceptable behavior (read a series of shit sandwiches) that his family had to eat. Similarly with Abbie and other Chumps who write in, there’s so much drama, so much complexity, so much of that famous skein (as you put it) that needs to be untangled…. CL’s Razor cuts through this. Bad behavior. Unacceptable. Likely behavior of a disordered person with deep problems and lacking in empathy. Answer? Separate. Get distance. Protect yourself. Run like hell!

    I think one sign that something is wrong in a relationship is if a Chump finds her/himself falling into the complexity trap, rationalizing another person’s behavior. Often we think more about others’ behavior (in terms of excusing it, setting the context, understanding the “root causes”) than do the perpetrators of that bad behavior! Than do the very authors of the awful things that get said/done to us!

    So, I offer this as another angle. If you find yourself getting too complex about things, “untangling the skein,” as CL so well put it, then you maybe ought to look to a simpler explanation. You are being played, and it’s not right. Stick up for yourself. Get distance and/or get out.

      • Thanks for the kind words.

        I think us Chumps tend to “complexify” relationships because we may not want to face hard truths. Some of the hard truths:

        1.S/He really doesn’t care all that much about me/us.

        2. Wow, I made a big mistake in believing X, Y, or Z about him/her. There were warning signs, but I missed them all. Wow. My picker/my judgement is really busted!

        3. I really have very little influence over him/her. I really can’t change any of this except the part that is me.

        4. Yikes! If all of the above is true, I’m facing a period of being alone, of swallowing hard truths, of some serious pain.

        And yet, if you go through the above and develop a more reality-based view of the world, I think you’ll be better off. But the Road to Meh has more than few bumps. Then again, anything worth the journey is going to involve some serious work!

    • Excellent, excellent post, David. IMHO, anytime you find yourself working to figure someone out, you are likely dealing with a disordered person. Normal people are reasonably straightforward. Something is wrong when you have to rationalize another person’s behavior, puzzle over their true intentions or struggle to decipher the true meaning behind their words.

  • David,
    You summed it up perfectly and all I want to add for the recovery from this is NO CONTACT or bare minimum for those going through a divorce or those who have children.

    NO CONTACT removes the emotion and sticks to the business of getting on with life. It’s the only way to start healing and the only thing that allows you to move on and not get foggy and emotional about the past, breaking all direct ties!

    • What if you still live together (will be another few months), and yes, we have children together. It seems almost impossible to be successful at NC. Another question, don’t laugh but then again, it is pretty comical what I have to endure on daily basis… What about when he grabs my ass and tries to get me interested in sex with him? I have given in to this a few times (yikes, I know it was a huge mistake but I believe I was going through the hysterical bonding for a few weeks there and right after DD), so what about when he tries to seduce me and when I decline, withdraws financial support like paying basic utility bills? It’s one or the other appearantly, and I just don’t know if I should “give in” for the sake of having heat in the house.

      • H-N, Don’t give in! He is just using you. I know!! It is so easy to fall. We desperately want affection from our husband. They know they can seduce you. You are lonely and hurt. But remind yourself what he is doing with his AP. CL had a great post on hysterical bonding and sex with your cheater. Go to the gym. Go for a run. Take care of yourself. Just avoid H. I’m going to play polo and pretend that the ball is his head!

  • Abbie, I love “You will survive this and be better off.” We will! It is getting through the process that is so hard. I hate the guilt trip H is trying to lay on. He is the one that left the marriage for an unstable needy employee half his age. H just told me that this is the worst time to get divorced because of the impact it will have on our 12 year old son. I told him (actually calm this time) that he knew what it would take to keep the marriage together. He isn’t willing to stop cheating and lying to save the marriage. This is on him. No, I am not perfect, but it is his choice to screw around. He said maybe he could just tell me when he was going to meet AP. See, no more lying! I told him he was crazy. I am NOT staying with someone who lies and cheats and is willing to hurt me. Time to get out. The kids will be ok. Yes, an intact family would have been better, but he killed any chance of that.

  • Hate, you will not be able to move on with him in your home. Sounds like you are settling back in for a second d day or maybe a third? Yeah, been there done that. The flirtations and sex lead up to reconcilliation and you settling for less than you deserve. If you cannot afford the home bills on your own then you will need to move out with family/friends. Yes, not appealing i know. But neither is living with a cheater. I have a child with my ex and NC works just fine. We communicate through email (logistics and child support only) and my family helps with drop offs so that i dont have to see him. You have no idea how great NC feels until you try it. Its like a dark cloud being lifted and suddenly you can see and think clearly again. Time to make those hard decisions my friend, you can do it!

  • Where do I begin? I must read website after website trying to figure out why my husband of 27+ years would do what he has done to me and our children. I was totally blindsided. I just happened to be driving his car while he was on a business trip when I found business cards for erotic massage parlours. I was shaking; I couldn’t even cry at first. That was on June 21, 2013. He was totally defensive at first; blamed me and told me that my sexual desire had diminished after a total hysterectomy 15 years ago. He lied at first saying it was nothing; just a “rub and tug” (which made me sick); but has maintained all he has received were handjobs (I say that’s all??, is he kidding me – that’s still paying for a sexual act and it’s disrepectful and I do not have one ounce of trust in this man anymore – I’m really not certain that’s all he ever paid for). He also lied about the amount of times. First it was he says it was only 3X; than when I pressed more, he says a 1/2 dozen times. Of course, I was suspicious and I went through cell phone bills which would only let me go back 18 mos and counted 30+ times that he had visited these places. I question if I could only have checked the last 18 mos, how long has he been unfaithful? He keeps telling me it was only those times (he must think I am really stupid and sometimes I really think I AM). BTW; he DID NOT live in a sexless marriage and has had more BJs than I care to count and obviously it was never enough. He knew intercourse was terribly painful for me and we were working on it. We had what I thought to be great oral sex and we did have intercourse albeit it was painful and therefore that was not pleasurable. If he did not have some type of sex every week, he treated me very coldly (but it was like that even before the hysterectomy – he definitely pouted). I find my husband a pretty controlling person and I am know seeing how manipulative & narcissistic he really is & I feel he really felt entitled to what he was doing. I consider myself a good communicator & listener while he is a horrible communicator & quite frankly not a very good listener. I still however, like talking to him because, at times, we can still make each other laugh; talking and laughing with the kids is great. (it’s different now because there’s an underlying tension because I am still so angry and sad) – I am so confused why I haven’t kicked this man out? But I think its because my children would be devastated; my parents (who love him) would die and so would his. People would never believe it!! We still live together, sleep in the same bed, but I refuse to have any relations with him. I have asked him, if he was so unhappy with his sex life, why didn’t he open his mouth to ask for a divorce or communicate his feelings; but instead it seemed to be easier for him to open his pants? He told me it was easier because I always made it seem like he always wanted sex (and yes, he has a very high sex drive) and he felt like he had to beg. I now doubt myself and say did I? I didn’t think I did that but, quite frankly, sometimes I didn’t want to have sex and would always give him some type of release. He spends a lot of time on porn sites (which I think is still disrespectful & I still think he’s cheating – but he’s not going to get anything from me – I am not sure I will ever have sex of any kind with him again. There are days he’ll say, would it help if I didn’t look at those sites and the next day he’ll say I’m being ridiculous for saying its disrespectful and it’s cheating! It’s a weird situation and there are so many days I wake up thinking it can’t possibly be true – is this really my life after 27+ years?? Everyone thinks he is just the best husband; while I know the absolute truth, but I maintain his cover for my kids. I have so many questions. He is in therapy, but I am not certain it is helping. I had surgery recently and he was right by my side, taking care of me – couldn’t do enough. He has cried and said he will work the rest of his life to get back what we once had. I really am not sure it’s possible. I cannot even think about sleeping or trusting a man who has cheated on me for over 2 years (possibly longer). I got home from the hospital after a 3 night stay and of course I check to see what he’s been up to while I was in the hospital and the very day I had my surgery and was so sick from the surgery and anesthesia; he goes home that night and visits 3 porn sites. Is that even normal?? I think that is so hurtful. I don’t get it. Maybe he has a sexual addiction (I’ve kind of always thought that). It’s somewhat therapeutic to type all I have been holding in since June 21, 2013. I know I need therapy, I know that because I have no one to talk to; God forbid his cover is blown. But again, I do not want to hurt my teenaged children. It’s a weird way to live; it’s so phony. The kids know nothing as we really never fight. We will discuss things, but never yell; however we sometimes have so much tension between us because I am so angry and hurt). I’ve read some posts where wives have written recovery takes a long time, but it can make your relationship stronger. Is that really possible; I’m not sure I want it because I don’t see ever trusting him again. Can we live together; keep up the facade (not as husband & wife but as co-parents until all the kids are in college)?

    • Dear Guest- this screams like SEX ADDICTION! Anyone with me?
      I’m sorry I’m snowing this site with my responses, I’m having a really rough day today sitting alone at the house with a sick child and can’t let go of my phone typing away….

      • That’s what i’ve thought too! But then I think is sexual addiction real, or is it just an excuse for poor behavior?? Sorry your child is sick; I know what that is like. Hope he/she is better real soon! Thanks for your response!

    • Dear guest, please tell someone and stop living in a secret hell with your cheater. Stop blaming yourself for not being able to “feed” all his needs. He is a sex addict. Would you stay with a heroin addict? Would you let your children be around that sickness? Your family is his perfect cover. Addicts are amazing liars. They will say anything to get their fix. He will only get worse, and bring you down with him. What good will your fake marriage be for your kids if their mommy is always living in such pain and insecurity.

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