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Dear Chump Lady, He butt dialed me from the OW’s

Dear Chump Lady,

I left my fiancee after finding out he had an affair with a subordinate of his at work. I still haven’t gotten the whole story out of him (to this day, he still sticks by his story that they only “made out a little bit” even though there were nights where he wouldn’t come back home). Through a lot of emotional roller coasters these past 4 months, I feel like I really achieved “Meh.”

Then, last weekend, I get a text from him out of nowhere saying how much he misses me and how he regrets hurting me. When I didn’t respond, he sent me another text saying how I was all he could think about while he was at the hospital. When I didn’t respond to that, he sent another text saying how he’s all alone with no friends and no family in his life.

I caved. I started texting him, cautiously at first, keeping it short — asking why he was in the hospital. Eventually, the conversations turned friendly and nostalgic — back to the days when we we first met. I stupidly got my hopes up for the possibility of a friendship, then a couple hours without a response later, he butt-dials me from the OW’s apartment.

“All alone” my butt! Before I realized what was going on, I heard laughter and giggling, and what sounded like her saying “I love you.” Even though I don’t want him back, it was a harsh reality check that he is still the pathological liar I remember. I sent him one more text of “F*ck you” and he sent a flurry of texts back trying to do damage control.

He said they were “just friends” and that he doesn’t love her, he loves me. He said he was “all alone” because even when they were hanging out, he FELT alone. Yadda Yadda Yadda. I don’t know what happened, but about an hour later, he texted me saying the OW kicked him out of her apartment — that sounds like something a “girlfriend” does — not a “friend.”

Which led me to this thought: I felt like the OW. The girl he texts while he’s with his girlfriend, setting up a lunch date or dinner date. The girl he says “but I really love YOU” as he says “I love you” to his current girlfriend. The girl who causes the fights that end in him being thrown out.

Ugh… Please help me, CL. I need your sassy insight about what I should do. Is friendship really impossible?

-Shocked and Confused

Dear Shocked,

Well that depends on exactly how desperate you are for friends. Is it possible? Sure. And I could walk up 6th Street in Austin with $100 bills stuffed in my pockets buying hipsters tequila shots and have a lot of “friends” too. Alternatively, I could get a cardboard cutout figure of Stephen Fry and we could watch Downton Abbey together. More trifle, Stephen? Oh, don’t mind if I do, Tracy. Or I could tell all my deepest secrets to the green scum in my fish aquarium.

It really just boils down to your definition of friend.

Personally, I prefer not to befriend people who promise marriage to me and then fuck their co-workers. But I’m peculiar that way.

If you’d like a quality friendship with someone who cares for you and reciprocates your affections — aim higher. MUCH higher. You’re just a kibble dispenser to this idiot. He has shown you many times over exactly who he is, you’re just refusing to see it. You think there is something there to work with. I don’t know… is there? The philandering. The mindfuckery. The self pity. What exactly is there to miss? The way he looks in a starched shirt?

Have some deal breakers, Shocked. Raise the price on your friendship. Don’t be so easily bought, that all he has to do is pester you with some texts and you’re mush. Standards, woman! STANDARDS!

How’s this for a deal breaker — he CHEATED and he LIED. He abused your trust. If you reward this behavior with your friendship, you’re sending him the clear message that what he did to you Wasn’t That Bad. Which is exactly what he wants — a chump who will take him back and dispense kibbles again and again regardless of his behavior. When things get dicey, he’ll do his little sparkle schtick, and you’re right back in place.

What’s in it for YOU? Feeling like the OW, because unwittingly you ARE the OW? Do you feel special? He’ll fit you in between whatever other piece of tail he’s chasing that day. He’ll reward you with more drama and chaos and he’ll bust your heart into little pieces — because you’ll be expecting a pay off for your loyalty and friendship — and there won’t be one.

You’d get better results with the aquarium scum. So stop being confused and dump this loser for once and for all. When you feel weak, listen to this song by Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Don’t Take Everybody to Be Your Friend.” Repeat as necessary.

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.
  • Shocked, sorry for where you’re at. Your story is hot off the “press” but, unfortunately it’s the same old story. Your fiancee is just another stock standard cheating, narcissistic, cake eating, blame shifting, projecting personality dissordered (did I miss any?) creep like every other cheat. As CL says” trust that he sucks!”. Run and don’t look back.

  • No matter how many stories I read, it never ceases to amaze me that they really are ALL THE SAME.
    Trust that they suck. Know your worth. Define and enforce your boundaries. That’s all we can do.

    If anyone is interested in some Chump homework, I found the “The Human Magnet Syndrome” by Ross Rosenberg to be a worthwhile read.

    BTW – Killer song, CL. Great stuff.

  • I’m confused by your question. You make it sound like you want to be friends with him. Okay……but….then why are you upset when he is sleeping with someone else? If you just wanted to be friends with him, this wouldn’t bother you. Sounds to me like you want to be more than friends with him.

    Since he’s a liar and cheater, that’s not a good idea. He will just keep cheating and lying.

    So no, you can’t just be friends. Even if you could, why would you want to? He’s lied and cheated on you. Not good qualities in a friend.

    • Kids, boundaries, sigh. Growing up is hard 🙂 Learning your own limitations and developing the enlightened empathy required to understand more general human limitations doesn’t come easily or naturally to most of us.

      I envy young people who seem to instinctively ‘get things’ when it comes to reasonably healthy boundaries because that wasn’t my experience. My experience is that I was “smarter than everybody else” and that really meant I had to learn a lot of basic crap the hard way. Sometimes … I had to learn the hard way be repeatedly being stupid… because I was so smart 🙂

      • umm “by repeatedly being stupid”, “by” no “be”. Fitting that mistake is in that sentence 🙂

        • I think maybe young people today learned better boundaries than we did as they grew up, I don’t think it’s instinctual. That’s one of the reasons I love Captain Awkward, the commenters on her site are really awesome too. When I read there I keep wishing I’d had that site when I was in my twenties. I learn from it even now.

  • I’m very sorry Shocked that you are in this situation but on the other hand be very thankful that he’s shown his true colors. Please Shocked run away like the wind. He will give you a lifetime of heartache. He does not honour or respect you. He has no integrity. Do not trust anyone who has no integrity. He does not know what unconditional love is. Picture in your mind what kind of man you want to spend your life with and go forward. Do not pay any attention to this screw up that calls himself a man. Eventually your heart will heal and you will be so much more wiser as to what kind of friends you want to engage with.You deserve so much better.
    Blessings Shocked and Good Luck

  • Shocked, why would you want to be friends with this numpty? It reads like you are spending far too much time trying to work out his fucked up logic / situation. Don’t bother. Nothing in your story suggests he is being nice to you, sounds like he is just using you as the back up option if things go wrong with the OW.

    As for butt dialling – well, ex-H did this to me more times than I care to remember when he was with the OW. The most painful one was when they were in a restaurant & I listened to a long self-congratulatory conversation about how good they were at eating out!!!!!!! I kid you not. It seems slightly pathetic now but at the time, I was so livid. I was stuck at home with a baby & a special needs toddler & they were eating out (again, clearly) blowing sunshine up their own arses about how good they were at eating out because they did it so often. I think the red mist swam before my eyes for about a month.

    • That is horrible, English Lady, but also hilarious. Who isn’t good at eating out? Seems like all you have to do is go out, and then eat. Pretty ridiculous for them to be congratulating themselves on something so inane…

      • OMG, reminds me of an email from my ex’s OW telling him how manly he was and how exciting that he would choose such a special restaurant, one that was so out of her comfort range, and oh the food was so good, you manly white knight, swoon, soul mate, etc. and gag me….sigh…He took her to MY favorite restaurant, that was in fact awesome, I had taken him to it the week before because he begged me to do it…he was afraid to go by himself, or so he said. Seems obvious to me in retrospect that he got a big kick out of going there with me, then showing up the next week with another woman. So yeah, idiots congratulating themselves on how good they are at restaurants is a THING. It cracks me up now.

  • “Eventually, the conversations turned friendly and nostalgic — back to the days when we we first met. I stupidly got my hopes up for the possibility of a friendship, then a couple hours without a response later, he butt-dials me from the OW’s apartment.”

    I can’t even begin to put myself in the place of these freaks. Who the hell chooses to spend their FINITE God given time and energy being false to everyone they meet?!!!? What could possibly be the payoff for that?!!? SERIOUSLY?!!? WTF?!!?

    The more I see, the more I become convinced that these people are simply malfunctioning human beings. They are disordered. Period full stop. It does no good wasting time trying to understand them. The best one can do is recognize them for what they are and avoid them the same way you avoid venomous animals. Maybe they can be fixed. Maybe they can’t. But if they can they have to do it themselves because it is dangerous for anyone else to get involved with them.


    • Well, to be fair here, pretending you are going to be “friends” with a former romance who you are still hung up on involves a lot of deception–to yourself, and probably to that person and possibly others–too.

      Yep, he’s a player, and he played her, and the thing that most people are going to say is “Move along; nothing to see here”.

      The area of possible self improvement that I see (… or really “greater maturity”) is developing the character and integrity to be totally honest, starting with yourself and acknowledging your feelings, your limitations–which you may have to learn the hard way… apparently–, and the limitations of others… including people who fancy themselves smarter than you (players and such) right.

      And I say “Good luck with that”. I am 50, and I still manage to delude myself sometimes 🙂

      • “Player” (male or female) is a euphemism for dangerous disordered asshole. It’s like referring to cobras or a mambas as “wacky reptiles” — the description completely obfuscates the fact that they can KILL you if you get close enough to them.

        The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their true name.

        • I don’t think it’s a euphemism: it’s shorthand for “people who play mind games with others”. It implies that they are manipulative.

          Now, it IS strange that there is a segment of the population that seem to celebrate this kind of dysfunction as if it were some great accomplishment when all it is using others’ trust –possibly misplaced due to inexperience or poor coping mechanisms–to gain some perceived advantage over them.

          • ” It’s like referring to cobras or a mambas as “wacky reptiles” “. ~ Love this!

            I have never liked players. Ever. Even in my teens I would go out of my way to ignore them if they turned their shiny selves my direction.

            What pisses me the hell off is that my ex was the perfect player in sheep’s clothing. Single Dad who fought hard for 50/50 custody from his BPD ex. Bonus features include cooking, cleaning and delighting in helping his kids with crafts. Yep, I bought into Mr. Family man and ended up with that guy who manipulates and doesn’t care which hole or who it belongs to. I can at least make an allowance for wild behavior in a person’s early twenties. But c’mon, that’s just pathetic in your forties.

            Sorry, got on a rant about players.

            • Kat,

              Have you ever speculated that perhaps…just perhaps….his X was NOT BPD?….that perhaps she had been the victim of “crazy making” behavior? It happens yanno…

              • Nicolette14…they’re all the same asswipe. What makes me angry is that I have a really good radar for fucktards and PD’s in general. My intuition is usually spot on. The truth is that there was a spot where I would have walked away in any other relationship because my warning bells were ringing but I let my mom and my maternal instincts talk me into working through it because of his amazing kids.

                And secondly…..Notyou, his ex was so crazy it would have made anyone look better in comparison. That assessment is from my interactions with her. Oh my god, the boundary issues, damage to the kids and crazy public displays. It made me feel sorry for my ex and that was a huge chink in my normal armor. More than one psychology professional suggested bpd when hearing about her. I’ve no doubt that my ex WAS in a abusive marriage with his ex. I just didn’t realize he was an equal shit. They should have stayed together because the two of them are most definitely soulmates. Early on I read that one of the effed up dynamics that often works long term is the BPD woman and the Narc man. It describes my ex and his ex to a t. Sorry, it’s ridiculous to care about my ex’s ex. It’s just that she caused such drama for such a long time. I honestly don’t know why it still pisses me off. I’d like to bury that horse.

              • Of course I’m sure my ex will describe me as a crazy ex wife too. 😉 If he bothers to mention me or my son that is. He’s a moron and his poor me backstory is getting harder to believe as he leaves a trail of damage in his wake. I’d feel sorry for the woman he’s dating now except that her best friend used to be a mutual friend and this former mutual friend knows the whole story. If you get into a relationship with a man who has a reputation for cheating on his pregnant wife and she hasn’t even given birth to that kid yet? Yeah, you deserve to get slapped upside the head with whatever happens.

    • “Who the hell chooses to spend their FINITE God given time and energy being false to everyone they meet?!!!? What could possibly be the payoff for that?!!?”

      Brilliant question Alyosha, to which there is apparently no real answer, except to say these people exist, and we will never understand them.

  • “Friends don’t betray you. They don’t devastate your life for their own selfish whims. You know who does that? ASSHOLES.”

    I can’t remember if that gem is from CL or a commenter, but it definitely came from this site. Let it be your new mantra, Shocked.

  • Imagine being incapable of ever making a genuine connection with another human being. It must be a special kind of hell.

    • It would be hell for us, Alyosha, but for the narcs, it’s FINE, as long as the kibble supply stays steady. They really, really, really don’t care, and as hard as it is for caring people to wrap their minds around, that’s who they are.

    • …..for an emotionally stable person. For people with personality disorders, they are clueless. There is no hell. There is only “my needs” and “me” and “having my needs met”. Got that from the asshat I’m married to.

  • Shocked, the reason you keep getting taken in by this guy is that you’re compassionate and caring. He uses that against you, to manipulate you and get what he wants. I know, it’s so different than the way you think that’s it’s hard to imagine. You fall for it because your brain doesn’t work that way. You probably have a loving and trusting heart. You believe in people genuinely caring for each other, not just manipulating someone to get what you want. Run like hell from this guy and be grateful you didn’t get married to him. You won’t spend 36 years of your life with someone who isn’t really that into you, like I did. You won’t sacrifice who you are for the sake of someone who’s never going to be what you need. You are lucky. Take his number out of your phone, or block it, or whatever. You don’t need friends like this guy. He doesn’t have the capacity to be a true friend.

  • Oh, BTW, my favorite part of Muriel’s story yesterday was her advice on what to do when your spouse is caught cheating:

    “I am madly in love with you, and will never love anyone else. You are totally sexy, and marvelous in and out of bed. But I am not staying married to you. It will break my heart, but we are getting a DIVORCE.”

    In other words, you might love him, but love yourself more. Love yourself enough to protect yourself from people that hurt you. Don’t open yourself up for more pain. If he hurts you once, and you let him hurt you again, that’s on you.

    My mother grew up with abuse in her family. She watched her sister be destroyed by an abusive jerk who beat her. Her own father abandoned her family when she was born, leaving my grandmother with 5 children to raise during the depression. Mom taught me from a young age that I should never allow a man to hit me. She would say “if he hits you once, it’s his fault, but if he hits you twice, it’s your fault.” I still think that’s good advice, I just wish I’d realized emotional manipulation is a form of abuse too. I wish I’d loved myself enough to insist on being treated better than I was.

    • So translated; If he cheats on you once it’s his fault, if he cheats on you twice it’s your fault. No, I don’t care for that analogy, but in stark terms how many of us wish we had NOT forgiven our cheating spouses the first time around? Just like I wish I had not forgiven my abuser the first time around, he never hit me again – he didn’t have to. His intimidation, the rages, these were enough to keep me unbalanced. Physical abusers use emotional manipulation too, that’s how they keep you around after that first hit. Of course when I said divorce he escalated back to physical because the threats and rages and poor me crying jags stopped working.

  • So he whines and begs and preys on your sympathy (“but I’ve been in the hooossspital…no fammmilllyy…pooor meeeee”) to get you to connect with him while he is living with another woman and you are entertaining the idea of being “friends” with him? Run as fast as you can in the other direction from this POS! This reminds me of my Ex sending an email to me and our two boys just last week saying how very, very sorry he is that he can’t get a larger apartment so that they can come visit him because he has this huuugggee tax bill….oh woe is meee…I have to pay taxes…pooorrr meee! They are all the same. Every last one of them.

    • Yes to this. Every single comment these POS’s make is for their own benefit. Not only will they try to manipulate a situation (of their OWN making, of course) to elicit sympathy from a chump, they will readily co-opt another’s situation and use that to grab your attention, too.

      6 months after the divorce was final, my XH texted me to tell me that his sister got pregnant & he thought I’d like to know. (I’ve been NO CONTACT with him 100%. I’m still in touch with her, she’s been loyal and supportive of me ever since DDay #1, she’s got my number and can call me whenever she likes). When I didn’t respond to him, he texted again: “Nothing? Really? No reaction at all? It’s really sad that you can’t even be civil, BB. I’d like to think we can be friends.”
      When I spoke with her about it later and in private, she was VERY upset with her brother (once again) for blabbing, as she did not want it to get out – especially as she’d since miscarried. Without missing a beat, XH texts me again “just to let me know” about the miscarriage. These people have ZERO concept of boundaries, respect for one’s privacy, respect for other’s wishes or feelings… for him, it’s all just a way to get me to pay attention to him.

      Shocked, don’t take the bait — he mentions “hospital” only because he wants you to jump. My XH texted me before the holidays to tell his family hello (on his behalf) the next time I talk to them, because booo hoooo, his family’s cut him off, he can’t freeload off of them and Dingbat OW only earns minimum wage, they’re disappointed with him, he’s not allowed to bring dingbat OW to christmas, I’m not interested in being “friends” with him….woe is meeeee, poor widdle ol’ meeeee….

      Old chumpy me of the past would have jumped up and ask, “What? Why aren’t you in touch with your parents? What’s going on? ”
      Now I just DELETE it. IGNORE IT ALL. Block as much as you can.

    • The question is not who to trust, the real question should be “whom NOT to trust?” the answer; “the one who does a pity play”. From, Sociopath next door, read it and its sooooo true. poor me poor me, that was my ex.

  • “He butt dialed me from the OW’s.”

    This only makes sense since this guy’s been talking out of his a*s for a very long time.

    Run, don’t walk away from this loser, Shocked. He is not your friend. He does not know how to be a friend. When you find someone who does, you will be ASTOUNDED at the difference.

  • Shocked, your reaction makes me think you still see a glimmer of a Unicorn, trust that he sucks. Time to go full on No Contact. Block him on your phone and all your social media, take your head space back. Be thankful you didn’t marry that asshole! Jedi Hugs!

  • Disordered typically have several victims going at any one time:
    1. their primary chump
    2. their primary sidepiece
    3. a former sidepiece they are trying to re-ensnare
    4. a future sidepiece they are trying to charm into their web

    Shocked, sounds like he’s trying to make you a #3. Why on earth would you want to be that? He hasn’t changed. He’s still a lying, cheating POS. By the way, unless you have some sort of definitive proof that he was in the hospital, I’d consider that a lie as well. The disordered LOVE the pity-play for getting kibble.

    • Holy shit, Glad! I never really examined it past the OM but your list is actually true in my case.

      With my ex: (1) I was the primary chump; (2) the OM was her primary (‘soul mate’) side screw; (3) she was also in constant, flirty contact with one of her old boyfriends who lived in the area; and (4) I learned from some of her e-mails to her trashy friend that she had an additional “crush” (not the OM) that she was working on.

      Hahahaha. Wow!

      • WOW Glad… ex has all 4 of those and a few others…I’d love to see how the list continues down.

        That is a brilliant analysis

  • As the lovely Muriel put it, “Fire everyone except your loyal friends.” This guy clearly needs to be terminated.

  • Shocked and Confused,
    “Personally, I prefer not to befriend people who promise marriage to me and then fuck their co-workers.”

    OMG that was me lol! He kept trying to go further from being engaged to being married, but I just kept delaying it, because my gut feeling kept telling me something wasn’t right, just something off, even though he was one of the sweetest guy that I have ever met. He kept trying to assure me I was his one and only among many other bs but that gut feeling, listen to it.. I am glad I did and he kept saying there is nothing there for you to find, he was pretending to be a good guy all along and he was far from it! He is a monster! Even when he had proposed on his knees to me, he was still fucking that first married ho-worker. She had found about it and got all mad that he proposed to me(she forgot she was/is married) but he sweet talked her and she continued to fuck him.

    Shocked and Confused, be grateful you didn’t marry him, I have wasted almost 9 years on this asshole and I can never get back those years! This is just one betrayal you know of, believe me I am sure there are other OW’s and lies you don’t know about. Staying friends? HELL NO!! why would you even consider staying friends with someone who cheated, betrayed and lied to you? Real friends don’t stab you in the back, cut off contact, count your blessings and don’t ever look back, otherwise you will waste your time. If he already cheated on you before you were married, what do you think he will do if you got married to this loser??? Mine would text me saying “I love you and I miss you, I am dead inside without you.” etc why? because he is a lying low life and its just words! because the last OW had found he was still lurking after me and had a fight with him, he broke up with her, hoping he will get me back, now mind you, this was the last bitch who was giving me the evil looks and I didn’t know it at the time, because while crying remorse to me he was getting in her panties. I don’t know what he did to her, (he is an expert on gaslighting) she put on about 60 lbs. and looks like she had aged 10 years in one year. KARMA? even this fat cow didn’t want him back anymore, she was so pissed off he was still chasing me while having sex with her and couldn’t believe he was still after me, because he was bad mouthing me to her while we were together, geez what was he going to say, “she is great!”??? when he just wanted to get a side dish fuck? , the fat cow with 4 kids, who lives with her parents and works at a different job now because of him and he is not the type who would want to help, instead he is a deadbeat mooch. He is still looking to find someone else now and his standards going lower and lower because unlike me, she didn’t hold her tongue and she exposed him to everyone.

    like CL said, “Standards, woman! STANDARDS!”

    GET AWAY, RUN!!! fuck his friendship!!!

  • I’m sorry, but my friends don’t lie to me. They don’t set out to hurt my feelings. They don’t treat their other friends like shit. So I am uncertain as to why you would want somebody so common to even be affiliated with you? Something tells me you can do better.

  • Everyone else is right Shocked, don’t waste your time. He’s a cheating ex. Why would you want to be friends with that? I mean, really, think about it. Why?

    I noticed in the start of your letter you said that you’ve reached your “meh” after only four months past dumping a man you were going to marry. I wasn’t engaged to my ex, but it took me way longer than 4 months to reach Meh. Lemme tell you, trying to be friends with him and actually replying to his sappy messages is not Meh. It’s the opposite of Meh. It’s being sucked back in to his poison.

    Being at Meh means not even bothering with being friends with him. Not answering any of his messages even if he IS in the hospital because it’s not your job to take care of his ass anymore, his OW can do that. It means not having his number in your phone, being completely NC, and not caring about nostalgia and “friendliness.” When people ask about him, you’re just “He cheated on me. …So when’s lunch?” Meh is quite literally being “meh” about where he is, what he’s doing and who he’s fucking.

    He’s not with you anymore, so he can have sex with other people, but the problem is he’s going back to his old ways by pretty much trying to make YOU the OW now. Don’t let him do that. I don’t think he’ll just want to be friends. He wants you in his back pocket. That’s what he’s doing. He’s setting up his back-up plan. He hasn’t changed.

    And even if you did become friends, which really…don’t, could you live with yourself being friends with someone you know for a fact is dishonest and selfish and will continue to be dishonest and selfish and just hurt MORE people? Or, here’s a better question, DO YOU WANT TO SEND HIM THE MESSAGE THAT CHEATING ON YOU WAS NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL BY BEING FRIENDS WITH HIM?

    Seriously. Becoming friends with him after the fact is just going to make him feel like he’s been given a free pass because, hey, you’re all good now, right?

    Enforce the boundaries. Cheating on you was NOT okay and no, he doesn’t get to be your friend. He threw that away when he decided to lie to you and cheat. He doesn’t get to have cake or kibbles (no marriage with a fuck on the side for him) and he doesn’t even get to be your friend. That’s what happens when you are a cheating jerk. The end.

    Don’t give him a free pass and truly, truly get to your Meh.

  • Shocked:

    He smells like last week’s fish dinner. Ditch him; he’s toxic.

    It is natural that you, as a Chump, wish to see some Spark of Good in him. Unfortunately, that desire is what helps him manipulate you. This is the why cheaters are evil. They take that which is good in the faithful partner and twist it, using it against the faithful partner. This is true evil since it is a deliberate act.

    A couple posts ago, CL addressed Diane’s situation in Dear Chump Lady: Now that I’m done, he’s ill. You’re going through a variation of it. You cut off his kibble supply. Remember, he had two suppliers of kibble. You dropped him. He had only one.

    But he neeeeds more. Really.

    So poor, pathetic him. He was in. In hospital even. He’s all alone, poor sausage. And you–you don’t care. HOW COULD YOU NOT CARE???!!!

    You feel guilty. He’s soooo pathetic. And he says he’s remorseful. You start remembering that maybe, after all, he’s not so bad. Maybe you could be friends?

    That butt dial was your wake-up call. Trust that he sucks. GladItsOver is right; you’re Number 3 on his list, the ex he’s trying to re-ensnare, and he is getting extra special kibbles because yes, you are the OW to the relationship he’s now in. How delicious for him!

    Now, to me it sounds as if you feel fairly lonely too, which is how he started reeling you back in. You can work on that. Therapy helps, especially if you’ve had boyfriend issues in the past. The other thing is to get involved in some kind of organization or activity where you can meet with others and do something of value for yourself with others. Eventually you will meet someone who shares your values.

    Good luck!

  • Cheaters all do and say the same thing. There is even a book which pegs them dead on:
    “The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat”

    Listen to CL. Trust that he sucks.

    But most of all, trust that NOTHING you did or did not do caused him to make the decision to cheat and that NOTHING you may or may not do will change his personality or his coping mechanisms. Only HE can change himself; and cowards very seldom grow courage when others (like desperate OWs and dysfunctional family members) continue to enable cheaters to be emotional cowards.

    We know you are hurting badly. We truly do. Everyone here has been where you are now. Hard as it is to do you’ve got to cut him loose. If he wants REAL love and intimacy with one good woman more than he wants to be a liar and a cheat, he will do something about it. If he doesn’t, you do not need nor should you want him… because nothing in the relationship will ever change from how it is now.

    • Notyou,
      thank you so much for the link!! Yep that explains my shithead cheater ex perfectly and it also proves me once more, leaving the loser to eat my dust was the best decision I had ever made!! too bad I didn’t dump his worthless POS ass sooner.

    • Wow. The Making of a Cheater IS my STBXH. Even the family dynamics are similar; his father was a drunk and cheated, his mother was a thief and cheated, she even spent time in jail for embezzlement. They both openly cheated on each other in front of the kids and basically made excuses for themselves and their behavior and blamed the other. Finally, the mother left the state to be with her AP, and the kids didn’t reconnect with her till a few years later. The kids were in the middle of all of it, and all of those children, now adults, cheat like its a sport.

      Future X mother-in-law is the biggest pathological liar I’ve ever met, and STBXH adores her; kisses her ass actually. I always felt like he really tried too hard to get some kind of acknowledgement from her but it was never enough.

      I’m now watching from the outside, as STBXH’s current “relationship” is ramping up with the dramatics. OW comes from the same type of messed up environment and they are just beginning to tear each other apart. Oh well, I guess it’s on to the next host for them. I’m beginning to realize how lucky I am to be out of it.

      I would feel more sorry for them but the fact is, I came from a shitty family too, but I would never betray my husband as he did me. We are still responsible for our own actions regardless of our environment.

    • notyou–“The Making of a Cheater” covers a lot of my STBXH’s bases. Thanks for posting it!

  • One more thing to always remember (as my divorce attorney told me so succinctly).

    “This man is NOT your friend! Understand this clearly and behave accordingly.”

  • Shocked,

    Unfortunately, when it comes to a cheater’s behavior being “shocked and confused” is like being surprised that the fish likes water. I know you wanted this to end differently, I know you really believe in your heart he was sincere, I know you didn’t want to listen to your gut that was telling you otherwise. I’ve been there, done that for over 2 decades. The details didn’t matter but the outcomes were always the same. I ended up getting hurt all the time until I finally realized I can make choices that will no longer harm me. Please make those choices – go completely no contact. Friends? That’s a pipe dream with a cheater because as a “friend” they will still use you. The minute you believe that he has no power over you, you’re free because he truly has no power over you other than the one you give him.

    When I conferred with two conservative Catholic priests about my situation, they both (separately) told me to dump him and “please raise your standards next time.” It’s funny how others from the outside can see clearly what’s going on. Please listen to Tracy and everyone here. Run and live a life you deserve.

  • When we have a relationship with someone it is an investment. Especially a romantic relationship. We invest our time, love, trust and other resources. We buy in with the expectation that we’ll continue to get returns. When a committed relationship fails to yield this pay out I think some people naturally try to keep it from being a complete loss. (This it why a lot of us consider or try reconciliation.) Of course experience and stories from this site tell us that the best thing to do with a cheater is to cut losses and walk away because there is NOTHING positive that’s going to come from that. But if a person like Shocked and Confused either has the smallest doubt that there was definitive cheating (he still sticks by his story that they only “made out a little bit”) or that maybe the ex is somehow redeemable in whatever capacity there can be mistaken hope that somehow at least a little good will come from it, i.e. friends or whatever.

    For those that are in that limbo about what the cheater really did I wish they could take to heart the “Trust that they suck” mantra. Mine said that he was never physical with anyone. He never did admit to it. That the cheater crossed the line is the rule, not the exception. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and most likely he or she has completely burned down whatever you had together and as we often find out later has pissed and danced on top of it’s corpse. Cheating is not an isolated issue based on circumstances. It is a symptom of who they are all the time, character disordered. And there is nothing redeemable about that. It may suck but to walk away is the only way to stop the losses. This goes for “friendships” with them too. Better to invest in ourselves, our kids or people who deserve us.

    • Ahh… the I “wasn’t physical” with anyone ploy. That’s a grand one, they get to keep on thinking that they are “special” cause they never really had an affair until it gets “physical”. So the time spent cultivating their EA doesn’t count or take away from their marriage at all!!!! They do truly suck……

      • Oh, my ex was physical. With lots of someones. Hookup on business trip to Alaska? Check. Hookups with random strangers on Craigslist? Check. Hookups with girls on Fetlife, Adult Friend Finder and similar? Check check check. Eh, whatever. Personal opinion is that EA is just as painful and as much a betrayal though DeeL. I only had an inkling of what was going on when I packed up and left ex. Found out much of it later. The thing is I would have done the same thing for an EA because betrayal is betrayal and we all deserve a committed loyal partner. EA, PA, Porn Addiction…..Elephant [email protected]!&$….it’s all the same. Yep they suck.

  • Shocked,

    You’re going through the stage of overthinking. Most of us, if not all, have been through this. Thomas Merton said it best, “It is simply a reminder to stop thinking and start looking. Perhaps there is nothing to figure out after all: perhaps we only need to wake up.”

    • Uniquelyme – thank you, thank you, thank you! This quote is exactly what I needed today. I just need to wake up to myself, because he is never going to wake up to himself.

  • Shocked,
    Run!!!!!! Leave this a**wipe to find new “friends” that will be there for him.
    Just like notyou quoted “This man is not your friend! Understand and behave accordingly”!!!!!!!
    Read that link on the making of a cheater. It is so on the mark, it’s scary that they all follow that pattern. The lies and the blatant disrespect is just amazing!!! Why the heck I put up with it for so long is mind boggling.
    But they are the “gift” that keeps on giving. After months of NC he starts texting me and saying that he is so “depressed” because our kids won’t see him, they just text him. He needs my “advice” on how to fix this. My advice would be to jump in a lake, drown and save us all from the hell he has inflicted on us. But that would be giving him kibbles. So instead I did not answer at all, Silence Sucks…… To bad mf you had a good thing going but were to stupid to see it. Not my problem anymore. Thanks CL for this blog, it has done wonders for us chumps.

  • Shocked, this happens to a lot of us! My ex, too, wanted to ‘be friends’. But that was clearly for two selfish purposes; if I acted like his friend, it would tell him and people we know (most of whom no longer speak to him) that what he did was not so bad, he’s not such a bad person. And I could keep providing him with ego kibbles!! I could keep caring about how he was doing, keep providing a shoulder for the poor sausage to tell how hard his life is …. It was obvious that he continued to have ZERO interest in me as a person, I was only a source of kibbles to him, as I had been all along.

    Because we have kids together and I try to keep the ex calm, I just told my ex ‘we need to be polite and respectful, but I do not want to be your friend’. What I wanted to say was ‘my friends are honest people who actually care about me, so you don’t qualify!’

    Have better taste in friends, you deserve SO much more than this asshole can ever provide. And if he’s sick and in hospital, or alone and friendless? That is SO not your problem!!!! There are billions of people in the world who can go to hospital and it’s totally irrelevant to you; make him one of them! As a matter of fact, you should care MORE about a random stranger than you do about him – you DID care about him, and he threw that in the garbage and spat on it.

  • ‘To mourn a mischief that is past and gone. Is the next way to draw new mischief on.’

    I always wondered why it was SO important to my X that I LIKED him and he did just about everything to ensure I did. Although I really didn’t. He gave me half of his retirement and no judge in the country would have made him do that because we hadn’t been married that long. We worked at a college together and we did have to ‘get along’ on some level because I sat in meetings with him. (How weird) but we had to be professional. I know people wondered how I could be so civil to him. But I felt my job depended on it. It wasn’t like I could attack him and scratch his eyes out like I felt like sometimes. He’s moved on to be with OW and that’s just fine with me.
    I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before he cheats on and leaves her. I can’t say it didn’t bother me that she fucked my husband and ‘won’ him in her eyes. I’d like her to know what it feels like to get so unceremoniously dumped!! But then again, if I’m at MEH, who cares?

    I’d like to ask a couple of questions here. Do you tell your dates that you were cheated on? Is that something we share?

    And Chump Lady, this one is for you. Does your X know that you write this blog and how we’ve all had so much fun dissing his ass?

    • I wouldn’t tell a date I’d been cheated on. I’m very vague about the reasons my ex left with dates. I have a feeling that there are certain types out there who see you as an easy target for bad behaviour if they know you tolerated a cheater. However, I would tell someone I was proposing to have a relationship with once I knew more about them & knew I wanted them to know more about me.

      However, I’m no guru on such matters – others may have good reasons for why you should disclose.

      • No, don’t tell your dates that you have been cheated on. I made that HUGE mistake! There I was pouring my heart out, and he was listening so intently and was taking notes, like how my cheater XH was putting his OW’s phone numbers under a guys names so I wouldn’t suspect, so this one made sure he didn’t put his OW’s numbers, under a guys name on his contacts, he just memorized them, then he will go back and just delete that number after he would call them and leave rest of the calls that was made and received on his phone. He also was cheating with married women therefore they would keep his secret, the most were from work so they will make plans at work when and where to meet, so no phone calls needed, unless they didn’t work on that day. He wasn’t working on that day so he slipped with the second one(I am assuming that was the 2nd OW) he said he would go and get me flowers on valentines day and he made one out going call and in a hurry he forgot to delete that call, and some reason I had the urge to check his phone and when I asked him, who he had called, he said he was trying to call his brother, I said that’s not your brothers number, who’s number is it? and he said oh I thought that was his number (good one!), I don’t know who’s number that is. He called the same number 4 days later, this same number he had no idea who that belongs to, but deleted that call on his phone this time, by then I was suspicious and finally got a hold of the phone logs. Surprise surprise, he has been calling this number for almost 2 years, right after he was done with the first OW, never in his contact list, belong to a woman yet he still denied he had no idea who’s number it was and the number got disconnected right after that. Talk about gaslighting! All the time I have known him he had never called any of his family members by putting the numbers manually, he would just go on his contacts, scroll down then click on their name because he never memorized them. Its still mind boggling how he could just sit there and deny that he has no idea who’s number it is when he has been calling that same number for 2 fucking years and play stupid. Disgusting swine/loser! Now he can call and fuck whoever he likes because I don’t care, he is not my problem anymore and boy just the thought of him makes my skin crawl now!
        So no, don’t tell your date you have been cheated on, because you will pour your heart out and they will take notes for why you look for.

  • My XH FaceTime “pocket dialed” me last week while on a date. That’s in quotes because after reading all of these comments, I no longer believe it was an accident. It seems to be a common occurrence amongst these disordered cheats. He was very apologetic after – such an accident i am so sorry etc etc. It is just a strange coincidence that it happened shortly after I went completely NC. I’d not replied to his calls or texts for a bit but what used to always elicit a response from me was when he spoke about his professional achievements. The day before he texted me that he had received 3 awards. I ignored his texts as I figured one of the multiple decades-younger (born in same decade as his child) women could congratulate him instead of me. Then 24 hours later, thinking he is calling about the final settlement installment that was due the next day, i pick up the FaceTime call only to hear him on a date talking about the city I have moved to.

    This blog post and associated comments have helped cement the notion that they really don’t feel and this is all about getting more kibbles for them. He doesn’t miss me and our decade together – he misses my support and I’ve now realized it’s a common theme amongst the disordered.

    Thanks again CL and the CL community for your non-judgmental wisdom.

    • So true! I’ve been doing a lot of things lately to make myself better like working out and just taking care of myself in general. I’ve been out a few times that my Ex knew about and wanted to meet up sometime while I was out. I refused every time. As a result of me denying seeing him he started txtng me every time he’d be going out and be unavailable. Lol! I asked him if there was a reason he felt the need to tell me because I DON’T CARE what or WHO he is doing. By any chance is your Ex a cop? With all the rewards you said he’s received I thought maybe he is. Mine is and it’s so common for cops to be narcissists. My friends told me I’m not allowed to date any cops in the future. Lol! I have to agree.

  • Ugh! Sort of the same story here, but the only reason I’m trying to “remain friend-ish” is because we have a 6 year old son together and I’m trying to stretch out filing for divorce until we are married for 10 years (this coming Nov.) and in March I’m taking a family law class for 7 weeks to hopefully cut down on my legal fees (which I don’t want him to know about). But it is SOOO amazing how they all do the same thing. I can honestly say I’m not falling for the BS anymore, but I am however enjoying that the “man” who moved out in Aug. and had a “girlfriend” that he wouldn’t commit to saying was anything more than a friend, is now displaying jealousy and stress over me moving on and not crying for him at all. I’m now the semi-OW and it just proved how damaged he is and what an idiot the friend/girlfriend is. Something that made it hard to move on was being the one who got “left”. Now I truly see its not like that at all. I’m working out like mad and feeling good and every time he looks at me I can see he “wants” me and if I said “let’s hang out or even have sex” he would in a heartbeat. I will also admit that it feels pretty good knowing that’s the karma/my revenge on the dumb asshole he was fucking around with. I look forward to my life without him, but I also look forward to not caring about what happens to “them” aka MEH. Whatever it is called right now feels good even if it is fake because I’m moving on! Good luck to everyoneis your quest for MEH!!

  • I think there is a world of difference between genuinely wanting to be friends with your ex & playing the “friendship” card.

    My ex is a nightmare to deal but I have to deal with him, as we have two children together. I’m 11 years into the single parent game now & pretending to be “friends” with him is a far more successful strategy than straight on confrontation. If I am nice, pick my battles very carefully & give an outward show of “friendship” he is easier to handle. He is more obliging, less tight-fisted about maintenance and generally less of a category A arsehole.

    He likes to believe that he is a great Dad, that he is a generous non-resident parent and that all is rosy in the garden. When I call him on his total non-parenting & meanness, the gloves are off & he is in for the kill. I have to come at him with cunning & guile with a huge smile and what appears to be consideration for him, so that he doesn’t notice I’m coming at him.

    What I’ve realised is that he is so shallow & narcissistic that he can’t tell the difference between sincerity and pretence.

  • I am so blessed to have stumbled upon this website. Of all the websites I could’ve found while I was at a loss for what I should do, this one has helped me the most. I will still work towards achieving “MEH” but I am even more confident that it is within my grasp.

    Since this event happened, I got an e-mail from the OW (though I guess she’s currently his girlfriend? Who knows) telling me that they love each other, that she trusts him to come home every night even as he screws around with other people (that SHE first “APPROVES” of), and how her stealing him from me was one of her greatest achievements yet.

    Her e-mail goes on to become a little graphic, but it was the first time I actually laughed thinking about the affair. I thought of how “perfect” they are for each other and how desperate she sounded to convince me she was the “winner” in all this. It’s been a crazy, drama-filled week, but now I have no regrets about leaving my ex-fiancee.

    Thank you CL, and thank you to the CL community. I am not alone, and our better lives are just starting.

    • NoLongerConfused, count your blessings you didn’t marry the fucktard. I was with my ex-fiancé almost a decade and it turns out he had been cheating, lying from day one. I am glad you saw the light and kicked his ass to the curb! I wish I did that with the first sign but better late than never.

      Well yippee for the OW, she is so darn lucky that she won a pile of dog shit!! POS cheater who’s hers now, she is so lucky lol. You know what they say, best predictor of future behavior is the past behavior, he cheated on you with her, he will cheat on her, that’s what the future holds for her. In reality you are the REAL winner!! 🙂

      • Oh no! Well, I definitely agree with you on the “better late than never” comment! Honestly, though, if I was alone, I don’t think I would’ve ever seen the light. By chance, a co-worker noticed that I was distracted at work and asked me what’s been going on. I opened up and she shared a lot of stories with me – about her father who had a whole second family (and a daughter HER age!), about co-workers who were currently single (and happy) after divorcing their respective unfaithful/incompatible spouses. It’s scary to think that cheating is so common, but I’m glad to know that for every cheater, there’s a chump willing to lend a consoling shoulder!

        Who knows? They may work out lol! The OW herself was cheating on her husband of 7 years with this affair! (SHOCKING!) But what they do here on out has nothing to do with me anymore. I’m happy as long as I don’t have to take care of an ungrateful gaslighting PoS and can focus on myself for a change! 🙂

  • Amen! 7 years? well that should tell you right there, he had no intention of leaving you and she had no intention of leaving her husband, they just wanted cake. I hope you let her husband know she was cheating and if it wasn’t this OW it would’ve been someone else, because that’s who he is. Cheating POS!

    I feel the same way as you do, I am also very happy that I don’t have to take care of an serial cheating, pathological lying, freeloading leech and ungrateful gaslighting POS! I never knew life could be this good and better without toxic people. Honestly! Besides him, I also got rid of other toxic people out of my life as well and since then I feel full of life and joy, because I tell you, people like your ex and my ex can suck the joy and life out of you! I have never been so content and happier with my life like I am now and I count my blessings everyday for not marrying his ass!! Here is a song for you, enjoy it 🙂

    there are 2 more songs from him, one “its a beautiful day” and “haven’t met you yet” you should listen.

    Man I am feeling good 🙂

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