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Dear Chump Lady, I need to hear her say she was wrong

so_sorryDear Chump Lady,

For some reason I have an incredible need to be validated and vindicated as being “right” about things by my ex. I don’t want her back at all, but I really want her to come completely clean about all the bad things she has done and the lies she has told – basically to confess, for her to confirm and affirm that I was right about my suspicions and suppositions all along, and for her to feel bad about what she has done.

It’s the “not knowing” about what really happened about certain relationships that drives me crazy. I suspect many things, but can prove only few. And believe me, they are enough to make walking away the best decision. I have a high sense of “honor” about doing the right thing, even when I’ve done wrong. So I guess I’m projecting that onto her. Plus, since she did a total mind-%#@*/gaslight job on me, I just want to know I wasn’t crazy all along.

I know the problem with my desire for this is somewhere in my twisted mind and heart, but beyond that, I don’t know how to break free of what is presumably a totally unrealistic expectation.

Could you address this issue?

Thanks. And don’t take your foot off the neck of these liars and cheaters. Pain/pain avoidance is the only thing that motivates them.


Dear Palmer,

You just answered your own question there, Buck-o. “Pain/pain avoidance is the only thing that motivates them.”

Yep. Cheaters have a pathological need to avoid — responsibility, grown up life, feeling bad, feeling guilty, feeling frustrated, feeling anything less than deliriously entitled and exceptional. Given what you know about cheaters and your wife in particular, Palmer, do you really expect her to say she was wrong? Because, gosh, that’s kind of a bummer.

Much better if you’re just an asshole who she had to cheat on because… oh I don’t know… you watch those insipid “Storage Wars” TV shows. Or you didn’t trim your ear hair. Or she never liked your cousin Ronny.

Because you know, if you cornered her and asked her to “feel bad” about cheating on you, she’d have to give you some crazy blame-shifting excuses. And do you really want to stick your head in that blender?

Okay, I get it, that’s not the fantasy. In your imagination, she validates you. She dissolves into a puddle of moist, hanky-clutching remorse and answers all your questions. Yes I screwed him in our bed. On your birthday. I have multiple online identities, a drawer full of secret cellphones and assorted chargers, and a blonde wig I wear for incognito hook ups. Bobby? Oh yeah. Bobby too. And Jeremy and that guy who gave us an estimate on repaving the driveway, but I forgot his name. There were others.

Then she cries out in soul-piercing anguish, “And I am SO SORRY! I know I can never feel even a FRACTION of the pain I have inflicted on you! I am a terrible, terrible person unworthy of your forgiveness.” Sob. Sob. Sob.

And depending on your fantasy, you either turn on your heel and leave without a word. Or you magnanimously confer absolution of her sins, and then depart. And she’s crushed. And wrong. So, so Very Wrong. She’ll never get over it and she’ll spend the rest of her life trying to live with herself.


That doesn’t ever happen, Palmer. I’m sorry. You’re going to have to let that one go.

Why doesn’t it happen? Several reasons. Let’s start with the most obvious one first:

1) She’s not sorry. Sorry people act sorry. She’s not tripping all over herself to apologize because she doesn’t feel she has anything to apologize for. At some level she thinks you deserved this. (What did you think would happen when you didn’t trim your ear hair? Huh?) Your grief is this annoying background buzz that’s getting in the way of her fabulousness. She’s not going to bother herself with that.

Some of the freakier cheaters can fake remorse when they want something. But they cannot sustain it, nor can they describe it. (Ask “what exactly are you sorry about?” and watch them sputter to come up with the particulars.) Her lack of remorse is a sign that — yes, she’s perfectly capable of betraying you and not feeling one bit bad about it. She might care what other people think about it (she’s got a pocketful of justifications and self pity just in case), but you? Nope, she doesn’t care. It doesn’t hurt her to hurt you.

2) Even if she was sorry (and she’s not), narcissists need to save face. And they’ll do that at great personal cost to you. Character assassination? Bald-faced lies? Sure. If we’re having an epic battle of Who Is Right, they’re going for the jugular. It’s a dirty fight you won’t win. The best thing to do is trust your senses, know you’re right, and not engage. Walk away from this and live your life with integrity. The people who matter will get it. The one’s who don’t matter will be swayed by her spin, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

3) They get their sick jollies from knowing what you don’t know. Gives them shivers of delight, makes them feel powerful having this knowledge you want. Why would they hand over their power? Why would they make themselves vulnerable? Disordered people love to lie about stupid shit that doesn’t even matter. Why? Power. “I know the real truth about who ate the cookies, and I’m not telling!” Makes them feel superior. I know this Thing You Don’t Know.

I know that’s the dumbest thing ever. It’s like saying you’re the greatest boxer in the world when your opponent is blindfolded and handcuffed, but that’s the kind of pathetic validation they need. They’re better than you! Don’t forget it!

Why do you need the details? Because denying someone’s reality makes them stark raving bonkers. You want affirmation that these things really happened from the person who did them. But Palmer, listen to me, you’re never going to know all the details, and it doesn’t matter. Because she’s not in your life. You know enough to know that she sucks and she cannot be in your life. The rest is just the cherry on the shit sundae.

So why do you need to hear her apologies and explanations?

Bargaining stage of grief. You’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around who she really is, how little she cared, how much she got off on having a double life. And so the bargain your grief is trying to strike is, okay, she cheated and lied, but maybe, maybe she’s Really Sorry About That. So, she’s not a total waste as a human being. If she’s a total waste, then you have to accept that you invested in a truly dreadful, unredeemable person who doesn’t give a shit about you, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow. We’ve all been there, Palmer, some of us are still gulping.

If she wakes up and finds her conscience, first I’d be highly skeptical. What does she want? Next, remember it doesn’t matter. Your healing is not dependent on her confessions or remorse. These betrayals happened. They were real. You had to remove yourself from that painful situation. This can never be a “love” that is healthy for you. There is no explanation other than she did it because she could. Because her character allowed it. And people don’t get new characters overnight. If it happens at all, it happens over a long, painful period, when the boot of those consequences stays firmly planted on her neck.

Don’t waste your life waiting for that day. Trust that she sucks, Palmer. Trust that she sucks.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Palmer: going through the same thing; H’s affair is over but there is not one apology from his lips. Last weekend he “confessed” but it was all about him How hurt HE was how HE was played. I sat and listened because it may have been the only time he ever talked about it at great length but I quess I hoped (oh hiopium the drug of choice for chumps) at some point he would apologizes for all the hurt I had been put through in the last year and a 1/2 but nooo as you have probably read here they are narcissistic sociopaths

    • Janet, when I was in bogus reconciliation for 10 days (praise God it was so short) I had to ask for an apology. He never ever offered it up on his own. The best I got from him was, “I’m still thinking of how to say that I am sorry.” WTF is that?

      If your husband can’t even say he’s sorry (the simplest act that involves just pure words) he DAMN WELL IS NOT SORRY!!!!. I hope you find the courage to move forward and away from his abuse.

      • Wings, I got something similar during my (also thankfully) brief (false) reconciliation. Our marriage counselor told my ex that she had to look me in the eye and tell me that the ongoing affair was now done, over forever and beyond a doubt. Because I needed a “safe place to stand” while we tried to put our marriage back together, and I couldn’t do that if I thought she might still involved with another man.

        Any my crazy cheating ex wife just looked at the counselor and said, “I am completely committed to counseling and doing everything I can to make our marriage work, but I can’t say that my relationship with X is done because nobody knows know what the future holds.” Our counselor looked gob-smacked, like she hadn’t imagined in a million years THAT response. And after a few seconds of stunned silence, the counselor halted the counseling and said cheating ex needed to get her own counseling before we could make any progress in joint counseling. A few days later I discovered that the affair was ongoing and filed for divorce.

        All to say that, yes, so many of these cheaters won’t even enter the same zip code as “Sorry.” Won’t even mouth the words, much less act it out in their lives. They are emotional quadriplegics, unable to lift even a finger toward making things right.

        • Hmmmm nomar…..I think we know the same person (although mine was male)….joint counseling…..counselor says you can’t work on a marriage unless you are both rowing the boat…and in order for you to work on the marriage there can only be 2 people in the marriage in order for work to start….you neeed to get rid of your new “friends”………..EX response: I can’t they are my security blanket and since she won’t guarantee that this will work I can’t get rid of them………


          • “since she won’t guarantee that this will work I can’t get rid of them”

            Oh yes, I got that line as well. And it was indeed a facepalm moment. Along with her telling me in what she clearly thought was a moment of great insight, “You know why you should have confidence that I will never do this again? Because [affair partner number WTF-ever] is such a good person, and it hurts so much for me to cut him out of my life! [tears well in her eye at this point] I could never put myself through that pain again!”

            Uh, really? I should feel assured of your commitment because . . . you have such strong feelings for another man? Hm. Don’t think that’s the answer I was looking for. . . .

            It was a moment of insight for me, however. Showed me that her brain could really only look at things from HER point of view, what SHE wanted, what caused HER to feel pain.

            When it comes to the boat my ex is rowing? I think she’s the only person who is every really in it.

            • Oh I had this too. When x told me “you know I suffered a lot here too- just because I’m the one who chose it, doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from that choice. You act like you’re the only victim here.”

              Hahaha- dude, you are seriously cray-cray. A labotomy would not be too extreme to consider.

              • My ex also acted like a victim and sobbed for weeks, expecting me to comfort him.

              • Hahahahaha, more lines straight from the cheater’s handbook!

                Nomar and Knight…
                mine also wouldn’t get rid of the tramp “because what if we don’t work in the long run” and also “I am destroyed by all that is happening in this marriage. I am suffering too!!!!!”

                STFU. YOU CAUSED THIS.

                They seriously are all a special kind of stupid.

              • Well, I go back and forth on the the idea that my ex was stupid. I mean, it sure looks that way in retrospect. She created a situation that was clearly unsustainable, and it ended up costing her enormously in terms of her family, her standard of living, and most importantly her kibble supply. But then I think, based on the stupid and self-defeating decisions I made in that relationship in the preceding 22 years, all the barrels of spackle I dutifully applied, maybe she had reason to think I’d put up with this as well. That I’d do the pick me dance, fight over, eat The Biggest Shit Sandwich Ever Served Up. Maybe she wasn’t so much stupid as lulled into assuming things about how I’d behave that were only true . . . up to a point.

                But, oh, am I ever glad I finally reached that point.

              • Umm..THOSE Assholes will ALWAYS Be VICTIMS of their OWN Stupidity.

              • Ha! Ex used to shout at me ‘you just want to play the victim! But I hurt too!’. Erm, dude? I discovered multiple affairs, including a few with people I actually knew. I was a victim. And he’s a brainless twat. Still cannot believe I married him.

            • Every person a narcissist cheats with is a “good person”, a narcissist would never cheat with a bad person….that would reflect badly on the narcissist.

              Even if their affair rather drowned kittens for a hobby, the very fact the affair partner cheats with the narcissist makes them a good person.

              Narcissists only cheat with “good” people. Lol…

              • “the very fact the affair partner cheats with the narcissist makes them a good person”

                I think you’re dead on about this. Which makes sense when you realize that narcissists see other people as extensions (useful or useless) of themselves.

                I remember arguing with my STBX that her affair partner could not possible be a good person because he was cheating on his wife and kids and helping her cheat on her husband and her kids and this this one fact alone proved beyond all doubt that he was NOT a good person. She seemed truly baffled but this idea, and it almost visibly bounced off her skull the way a penny might bounce off a balloon (BOING!).

                Silly, cheating dum-dums.

              • My STBXH referred to her as a “quality person”. I don’t know too many quality people who fuck other people’s spouses. But, gee….maybe it’s just me. 🙂

              • “I think you’re dead on about this. Which makes sense when you realize that narcissists see other people as extensions (useful or useless) of themselves.”

                A week or two after Dday, ex insisted on taking a walk with me, where he endlessly rambled on blaming me for everything and totally mind-fucking me. But one thing he said had a ring of disordered truth — he said, “I need a woman who is an extension of me.” When I called him out on it, and said how messed up that was, he tried to back peddle, but those words are the truth. That is how the disordered see their partners. Nothing but an extension of THEM, not real people in their own right.

              • I love the penny off the balloon. Love it. nomar, we are brothers. Aaaaaannnnnddddd….wait for it…… STBX is a………..therapist. hahahaha…wtf. I heard all the same shit you guys are talking about. I always had one foot out the door with schmoopie. We even had a contract while working on our marriage that we would “close our exits.” Fucking A.

              • THAT isn’t True.
                Shit Rises to it’s OWN Level..outside of a Proper Relationship.

              • The OW was a so-called born again do-gooder, who was constantly praying for and preying upon people.She placed herself on higher moral ground than us plain old sinners. Before I discovered their affair, my husband would extol her moral virtues ad nauseum, I never bought it. She was married with little kids , but that didn’t stop either of them from fucking in her marital bed while her husband was at work. After their cover was blown, I was told they “bonded” over their shared fall from grace. I thought we had bonded over things like the births of our kids, supporting each other through the deaths of our parents, being there for each other during some fairly serious medical issues. Silly me.Literally everyone could see the manipulative whore she was except him. Why? Because that would make him a manipulative whore, too. He was never going to ackowledge that about himself, nor, given his nature, did I expect him to do so.

              • Apparently, when my late MiL called her cheating husband’s AP a “whore,” he told her that she was a God-fearing Christian woman. Apparently one who would sleep with married men, however. 😉

              • Agree with nomar- “the very fact the affair partner cheats with the narcissist makes them a good person” -absolutely spot on. Every single person ex cheated with was a ‘good person’ whom I would ‘like if I got to know them’. Yeah, I would love to meet the various women who knowingly and happily fucked my husband, keeping contact with him for years and years. Ex is delusional.

              • Louise, everything you said rang true for me. I’m going through a bit of a ‘back to the 80s’ thing in the slang department right now, so let me add: you are righteous!

                Bonding through a fall from grace? That’s the battle cry of cheaters everywhere, right there. hahahaha

            • OMG Nomar! She’s trying to sound noble…to herself!

              You know, there are things other than boats that float….like shit….

              • Quality people cheat with other quality people. Lol

                My ex cheated with losers. She didn’t see it that way, cause they told her she was special. Yep…while she cheated broke -de – broke losers were her soul mates.

                Now that I dumped her flat ass she went looking for big wallet and not no broke -de-broke big dick.

              • My STBXH referred to her as a “quality person”. I don’t know too many quality people who fuck other people’s spouses. But, gee….maybe it’s just me. 🙂

                Catlady, LOVE this. I heard this, too, about AP. “She’s a really good person.” Yeah? Since when did Mother Theresa become a poacher of other women’s men? Even now, a year later, I’m still livid over the fucking fakery of it all. If you’re gonna muscle in on somebody else’s relationship, then for F’s sake, at least do it honestly. Not all dressed up in false altruism and social media sound bites. I told X, “That chick wouldn’t help an old woman cross the street unless there was 20th Century Fox music playing in the background and somebody there to take her picture while she was doing it, followed by an immediate FB status update about what a hero she was.

                “But she’s a really good person.”

                Yeah, sure.

            • “[tears well in her eye at this point] ”

              I meant “eyes.” I was not married to a cyclops (she was a different kind of monster).

              • Catlady and FoolMeTwice, I agree, well said !
                I was told recently that the OW posts daily about what a great person, mother, gf she is. How everyone knows she lives her life through Christ.

                Roll my eyes too, what is it with these poachers, can they seriously say that with straight face?!

                My kids told me a year ago, that the people who post on social sights constantly, just prove they have no life, no happiness otherwise they’d be out living it.


            • “When it comes to the boat my ex is rowing? I think she’s the only person who is ever really in it.” THIS! My ex’s life revolved around HIM. His schooling, his job, his wants. The moment you begin to think otherwise these disordered fucks will make unilateral decisions that hurt you. My ex secretly solicited a job transfer 500 miles away and then presented it as a fait acompli stating he wasn’t happy with his job (at the time we had for the first time in our marriage relocated closer to both our families and the towns we had grown up in). Looking back I can see clearly that it’s harder to juggle lies when you may be under closer scrutiny. Palmer, Let her have her life. Let her have her loser. You need to know you are meant for bigger things.

          • There are No GUARENTEES in Life for Anybody…

            Funny, a Lying Sack of Shit talking about Guarentees…LOL.

    • They Apologize for how hurting You, just hurt THEM.. that THEY got their Cummuppence for hurting You.
      Their ” Apologies ” are ALWAYS About THEM feeling Sorry for THEMSELVES.

      BANK ON IT.

      • My ex left me a message of reconciliation that started with “you were right. Cindy hurt me just like you said she would” followed by some other tripe and then at the end he says “you don’t care…. I don’t even know why I called”. At any point in that message he could have shown some remorse for hurting me but oh nooooo that would be asking too much as it is All About Him. And this after four months of NC initiated by him, cause poor sausage “you just confuse me”. You know God does really look after us, we may have to suffer a lot of stuff but in the end this has been good for me cause now I am Free. And I’m working out all the shit left, slowly but surely.

        • Wow, was he 12? ‘You don’t care anyway’? That’s your cue to say ‘Oh no, darling, I care , I really do care! Let me take are of you! Let me show you how much I care!’ It’s such a bullshit, childish line. Yuck

          • Right. Someone commented that they were “married to a teenage girl trapped in a forty three year old man’s body”….that was me too. I have the urge to go out and buy him some glitter pens so he could write “I heart Cindy” on his notebook.

            • LOL! This made me remember a couple of cards from the OW to my ex I found shortly after dday. She gushed on and on about how wonderful he was, and how “special” their time together was, even though “it wasn’t often enough.” This chick was in her mid-30s, but she actually drew little hearts to dot her “i”s in the cards, like a junior high girl would do.

  • Palmer,
    even IF you got an apology you would second guess and try to unskein if she was REALLY sorry….

    A couple years after my split, my XH called me to apologize. He said all the right things. He knew he hadn’t treated me well and I had deserved better. He wanted me to know how sorry he was. Blah, blah blah. It was a cordial discussion, with me just stating that I had moved on and, ..thanks but I don’t want to discuss this further – he turned in an instant – literally hissed at me that I “would never be able to give him credit for changing” – essentially HOW DARE I not acknowledge his contriteness and bestow forgiveness upon him….

    • Sounds like he just wanted some kibbles from you, like your telling him that he’s not such a bad guy, that you forgive him, that it was all for the best, that you have things to apologize for, too, etc.

      • Marcie, if you ever needed proof positive that you did the right thing….yeah, that was IT!

        I’m sure he expected to open a dialogue, maybe get you to consider….uh, no. Good for you for not feeding his pathetic ego and letting him think for one second you would ever entertain taking him back!

      • I changed the script and he never forgave me for it. I put up with tremendous amount of shit and gaslighting for nearly 20 years and when I was finally done – I was done and held my ground – and I really believe that fact took the rug out from him because he lost control of the relationship –

        15 years after divorce and several years of very limited contact as our children are now college age – I will get a text out of the blue “Hi! Hope all’s going good. Haven’t talked to you for a while 🙂 ” and when I don’t reply, a few weeks later another text like , “you’ve always fucking thought you were better than me. Things change. I change. YOU never moved on.”

        And he’s had 2 more ex wives since me.

        • Silence makes them completely batshit crazy!

          get on that crazy train

          • Silence used to make me crazy but not any more. I have grown used to being completely ignored by my ex husband and 2 adult kids. Yesterday, I thought I would send a text to my 31 year old son just to say hello. He never responded which did not surprise me. I have met with a stone wall and have no idea why. When people do not speak to you, I cannot know what a supposed truly awful person I really am.

            • Maree, you have no idea what he has told your kids! I’ve been divorced nearly ten years, and my brand new daughter-in-law told me something ex said about my family and it floored me! Then I realized he’s STILL trying to save face and save his image! All you can do is keep on and hope the ex’s mask slips in front of the kids. Lucky for me, that happened before the divorce. I truly hope things work out for you.

              • Thank you echo. My kids already know that their sire has stolen money from his job and then lost said job and that he has also screwed 20 year old Asian prostitutes, that is his thing now. Our daughter is 35 and our son 31 and yet they will not speak to me. My ex husband is as cool as a cucumber and I am the emotional one. Maybe that is why they avoid me. Too much crying. However, the tears are just about all dried up. My kids have said some terrible things about me and to me and done something that I don’t think I will ever get over. My ex just sat their with his head down and never said boo. I am puzzled and sad but not nearly as much as I used to be.

              • Hugs to you, Maree. As a parent, I can’t even imagine how painful that must be. The ultimate double-whammy. I do agree with Echo, though: keep on, and the truth will ultimately shine through.

                One thing I’ve observed over the years is that people will get behind the craziest shit of all time if it’s presented in a rational way. Whereas the truth, accompanied by tears and real feelings, gets the Euuuccch reaction you’ve described. It makes me wonder what the real value of “normal” is, even when normal is absolute utter Crazy Town.

                I’m so glad we have this place to vent and find compassion among other hurting souls.

          • Hi Maree; What could happen is one of your children could be cheated on or be otherwise betrayed by someone they have a real investment in, and then they will understand!! Even though I consider myself emotionally savvy, I would have never understood this level of pain if I had not gone through it. The pain of loss is very, very hard, the pain of betrayal/loss with your most trusted person is HORRIFYING, especially when you are trying hard to believe them and they just keep lying! I truly hope that they will one day “get it!” (hopefully not through their own pain, but with the cheating statistics/narcissist count these days, I guess it happens to tons of us.

            • Good morning from Melbourne, Australia Regina. Sadly, both of my kids have their sire’s moral compass or should I say lack thereof, so therefore what he has done to me and our family unit does not seem to bother them because the 3 of them have formed a coalition against me and as they say, there is safety in numbers!!!. You know Regina, I stumbled across this site and I am so very glad I did. Reading what some women and men have gone through is absolutely gut wrenching and how someone can stoop so low as to hurt another person who loved them so much is beyond me, literally. The world of pain that is caused by betrayal is staggering and we don’t know it exists until it happens to us. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be sitting here at 2am in the morning chatting with another betrayed person. I am starting to think that us/we who are betrayed are the strong ones. It might not seem like it at the start but we most certainly are. My best to you.

              • “The world of pain that is caused by betrayal is staggering and we don’t know it exists until it happens to us. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be sitting here at 2am in the morning chatting with another betrayed person.”

                Maree, I never thought I’d be on a board like this, either, but I’m so so SO glad to have found Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I think CL said in her original post that denying someone’s reality makes them stark, raving mad. That’s the power of this group. It gives us our reality back, no matter how bad the reality may be. In understanding, “Yeah, I *did* see what I saw; I *did hear what I heard; that actually *did* all happen,” there are the seeds of strength. I personally don’t feel particularly strong at the moment. In fact, I feel like I’m regressing a bit as it all sinks in. I’ve been isolating more, drinking wine every night, reading stacks of self-help books and spending a lot of time with my online support groups and my IRL counselor/groups. I’ve turned down recent invitations to go out dancing because, hey, I don’t feel like dancing. And I’ve taken a two-month LOA from my orchestra, which has always been my one true outlet, just because it’s not making me joyful right now. It just feels like another obligation in an ocean of obligations, while I’m trying to keep my head afloat. Instead I’m going to use my rehearsal nights to go to another support group for a while.

                Yet at the same time that I’m withdrawing, I trust that this is a necessary part of the process and that I’ll pull out of it when I’m ready. Does that make any sense? Somehow I know that I just need to be *in it* at the moment, with all the angst and the yucky feelings and the collective experience of the Chump Nation. I need to hear other people’s stories, not because I’m wallowing (as one of my close friends implied recently), but rather because I need to reaffirm my reality as it has been. As much as I want to be positive and all “Hey, I’m okay,” I’m *not* okay, and I want to give myself permission to not be okay. That way, once I finally do get to *okay,* I’ll recognize it.

              • Hello FoolMeTwice. I fully understand the regressing and isolation. I locked myself away, quit my job and just shut the world out and wondered if living was worth the effort. It is part of the journey sadly. I took it one day at a time and cried, slept and just waded through the fog. The one thing I have learned if anything is that I never want to see or speak to my ex husband again but my door is open to my children, who were my life and still are. Can I just say to you, don’t drink the wine because it won’t change a thing. I never drank until my son was about 3 years old so that was 28 years ago and I was 34. I think along the way I started to self medicate which is a danger. I don’t drink any more and that is just because I don’t want to and it does not serve me any purpose. Drink loads of water, it is better for you and your kidneys!!! As for wallowing, your friend needs to pull their head in. Until you go through what we have been through, they do not have a clue. Keep coming back here for support and take it one day at a time. Trust me on that please. My very best to you.

    • Yep, I got this kind of apology too–albeit 24 hours after things imploded. And when I hadn’t responded by falling all over myself to thank him for the apology, accepting it with gratitude and agreeing that we should put everything behind us and never speak of it again, he was screaming at me 3 minutes later for being such a godless, evil, cold, bitch when he was a “good, Christian man” doing all the right things by apologizing.

      Apologies are just words. We sometimes find words comforting, but we need actions that match. When we imagine getting our apologies, we imagine them being matched by meaningful actions, and that is where the fantasy is almost certain to fall apart. For a narcissist, the apology is just a tool of manipulation, he/she will apologize if you’ll agree not to tell the kids, agree not to ask him to change his ways, agree that it was really your fault anyway, etc. You won ‘t get an apology that doesn’t have strings attached (or, more likely, barbed wire).

  • Yes, my friend, the true ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’ is the holy grail of all of this. My ex sent me a long, long heartfelt letter after five years, and never once in that long, heartfelt letter did he say I’m sorry. He had gone into therapy finally, and I figured out that his therapist told him that if he ever wanted to feel better after trashing his family and his 38 year marriage, he needed to at least acknowledge that he had done a crummy thing to his now ex (moi).

    He just couldn’t ever get there, but he did put down a ton of verbiage. He acknowledged what a good mother I was, and how good to support his big fat career for so many years, yada yada. But he never mentioned OW, or his long relationship with her, or the fact that he replaced me instantly with her and bullied our daughters into accepting her and the new paradigm. He may be wrong, but he is never in doubt and cannot ever get over or around that mindset. The tone of the letter actually turned into ‘poor me, I feel so bad’. Ugh. I acknowledged the letter, and told him that I did not want to respond b/c to do so would unleash emotions that I had spent 5 years healing from. He wanted us to be ‘cordial old friends’. We can be cordial, and certainly old, but never friends. The end.

    Don’t look for it, it won’t happen b/c she is who she is. And frankly, like my ex, is not really sorry.

    • When I found and read my ex’s journal that was full of what was REALLY going on in his life I woke him up at 2 am and told him I knew everything and if he wanted a divorce all he had to do was tell me. He burst into tears and choked out “I was trying to sort through my feelings, I heard writing it down could help. I guess I’m supposed to keep everything inside!!” So it was poor me, you were wrong to violate my personal space, which I guess is a whole lot worse than having an affair with the married mother of two who works for you.

  • Being honest with you means being honest with herself and I do not believe narcissists can ever be honest with themselves. Why not? Because that would mean they are flawed, just as we all are. Truly looking in the mirror is not something narcisists do well. So how can she ever tell you the truth when she is incapable of acknowledging it herself? When I was trying so hard to figure out the details of my partner’s affair (crazy-making, I can assure you), I kept asking him about things that just didn’t make sense. His response 100% of the time was, “I don’t remember.” Hell, by the time it was all over, I (and most of the general public) knew more about the affair than he claimed to! That basic lack of honesty and self-examination is just inherent in their nature. I offer this as an explanation and not an excuse for the dishonesty.

    • Louise, I heard the same stuff over and over again. So many, I don’t knows and I don’t remember. So much for transparency during false R. LOL

      I even asked if he was on drugs because his memory seemed so bad. Funny thing is though, he could remember to make sure I was not in the room or around when he was calling or texting her.

    • Oh Louise, I got that too, “I don’t remember, I don’t remember, I don’t remember.”

      Geez buddy, you were having affairs and group sex with family friends, sometimes in our home. You’d think some of it might stick in your mind.

      • That’s right up there with forgetting that they were married. Mine had that issue. He remembered the way home, but couldn’t remember why he wore that ring or the vows he made at the altar. He also couldn’t remember how the OW managed to get his new cell phone number … “You surely don’t think I gave it to her!!!” Ye-ah Whatever.

        • Mine couldn’t remember how he came to possess a card with the OW’s new address and phone number, despite the fact that it was in HIS handwriting! It just somehow magically appeared -not really, I found it hidden in a bunch of (wait for it) old family photos he kept in HIS closet.

      • mine forgot that he ever hooked up with a co-ed in a bar – went back to her dorm room – and after drinking and drugging with co-ed and roommate, had a threesome.

        Yeh, because when D-day hit the fan and I asked him for a list of everything – that little confessional tidbit surfaced from when we were first engaged.

        And, I apparently just “made it up to make him look bad”, when I reminded him of it a few years later.

    • Wow, once again, the “cheater playbook” quotes…

      In court last month, when confronted with my testimony about several abusive incidents – which included exH spitting on me and our six month old daughter because she’d had the audacity to wake him up; and him slamming my head into a car window while I was driving (with our daughter in the car) – his response was “I don’t really remember that…well, maybe one of those things, but no, I don’t remember doing that.”

      If I was accused of something I didn’t do, I would say, “HELL NO! I never did that!”

      But they “don’t remember”.

      I think by the look on the judge’s face, he’s taken “Translating Shit Creeps Say in Court 101” – and pretty much knew “I don’t remember” = Yep, I did it, but I’m Wonderful, so I can pretty much do whatever the fuck I want, and you’ll still think I’m AWESOME.”

        • What kind of sick piece of shit spits on an innocent baby?!!!!

      • RDM, I am so glad you are part of the Chump Nation instead of with someone who would spit on your precious baby or smash your equally-precious head into a car window. How are you and baby doing now?

    • Ugh that annoying “I don’t remember”. So, you don’t remember the times you screwed each other? Or the times you bought HER gifts, instead of me for any occasion? How about remembering that you’ve spent the last 3 years paying her bills while leaving the kids and I to struggle? And his stupid ass immoral friends knew and know ALL of the details, as they knew it was happening all along. Talk about the odd woman out..everyone knew about his affair..except me.

      • The old “I don’t remember that” routine. Why did I think my Cheater Turd was the only one with what I liked to call “selective remembering?”

        It was amazing to me that he could never remember so much of the foul shit that he said but could remember things that I said or did that never actually happened.

        • oh yeah…. that plus admitting to things, then “forgetting” them later. Alternately, making shit up, and then claiming it isn’t true “na na didn’t say it!”.

          cheesus they’re assholes!

          • Yep, I got I don’t remember/I’d rather not say or he would say something particularly nuts and then claim he had never said it. He does this with the kids now and they’re just sort of ‘what the fuck?’ and basically think he’ll lie about anything.

        • It is so healing to hear about our common experience with these shits “I don’t remember” routine. I also got this and his faulty memory— if you can call it that— of my words and actions. I always thought it was because he was hyper literal and really could not understand. Like he was on the spectrum or something. What a mind fucker. Mine would say he doesn’t remember and then when I reminded him say, Oh I thought it was blah blah (something not related to his AP). Lying turds who can’t remember should have their own island and have to deal only with themselves. Leave the rest of us alone. I have a 6 year old son with mine. God help us and my child.

      • It wasn’t till I came here that I realized how cheaters all work off the same play book ( do they hand it out at the local gas station or bar?). Even my kids have been victims of his “selective amnesia”, now it’s in overdrive to rewrite everything since had walked out.
        Ugh, I’m also dealing with long time mutual friends who knew all along, and applaud everything he’s done to me and the kids. Like him, they have this hatred and contempt for me , despite the fact that he cheated while I was battling cancer, he walked out, plotted and planned our divorce behind my back, hid cash and threw money at the (25years younger) OW, and I’M the “bad” one in their eyes?!?!

    • … SELECTIVE Amnesia..
      Mine was Worse Cause he had a ” Brain Injury” He could Always Blame for ” Forgetting” and for being a SHIT.. bONUS for That ARSEHOLE,…Never Call him on it..put Up with it Cause He’s ” Disabled “…Great for Soliciting Pity from Those Who don’t KNOW He’s a DEMON.

      • Mine “FORGOT” to mention.. He had SEVERAL Kids by All Different Women on his Dating Profile…LOL..which he Checked ” NO kids “.

    • Honestly, she’s done so many horendous things, if she really had to be honest with herself, I think she’d end up in the looney bin or off herself. She’s in complete denial about all the terrible stuff she’s done in her life. I think she’s headed for “Blanche DuBois-ville.”

      • There it is precisely! She and all narcissists create their own passion plays; they are heros in their own minds and will never honestly examine thier conduct or its consequences.

      • Palmer,
        Mine Actually Did ” Try” to take his Own life..YEARS before I Knew Him..and I THOUGHT ,well was LED to Believe By Him, it was because Life Dealt HIM a Hard Hand..
        Come to Find out The TRUTH about WHY..and What He DID to Himself, As Far as I’m Concerned is WORTHY of DEATH..Unfortunately, Now, the bastard Uses his ” Subsequent ” Brain Injury” due to lack of Oxygen from his Malfunctioning Brain ** fucked up Before the Hangman Incident** As an Excuse for Everything.. and gets a Free Ride Through Life on S.S.I. for his Selfishness and Lack of Responsibility, RUNNING..
        And He Still to This DAY Threatens Suicide ALL The Time to Illicit Sympathy and Pity and To Hoover..
        Last time He Pulled This Shit and Said It’d Be MY Fault..I Said, ” NO It’ll Be YOUR FAULT and That Shit is Between You and GOD, Doesn’t Have JACK to Do with Me.. I’m Only Responsible for what Happens in MY Life..You are Responsible for what Happens in Yours. ”
        Some May say I’m a Cold Bitch..That’s Fine..But I’m NOT a Victim…
        and By The Way..Fucker’s STILL Alive Nearly 4 Years Later…
        If It Weren’t for my Beautiful Daughter, I’d Say it’s a Shame the Fuck Up Can’t even KILL Himself Properly.

    • Loved this line Louise; “His response 100% of the time was, I don’t remember. Hell, by the time it was all over, I (and most of the general public) knew more about the affair than he claimed to! That basic lack of honesty and self-examination is just inherent in their nature.” LOL on how everyone else knew more than he did, and how true that the whole problem with these folks seems to be a lack of self examination and honesty even to themselves!! If you can’t be honest with yourself, Lord knows where you could end up. That is what would stop me (in addition to that it is just plain WRONG) if I were to consider cheating or any other “off the grid behavior” I would catch myself in the lies I was telling myself and know they were headed in the direction of a misdeed. (ie, I will just flirt, it will never turn into anything, it will only be once & not happen again, if no one knows, no one gets hurt, she said she just wants sex so I won’t have to worry about attachment, blah, blah, blah.) I could never believe that shit if I told it to myself! And after that, they have to rationalize what they are doing to you and run that through the “bullshit meter” like how do I know she never cheated on me? She is not giving me this level of attention, and I deserve it! She embarrassed me back in ’92, and I haven’t forgotten that! And every other litany of rationalizations known to mankind.
      My exH favorite was when I asked a specific question he would say “It never happened.” I knew at the time this is the kind of response that tries to close the door on any future questions on that topic. It did not happen, end of story. When the debacle with Lance Armstrong came up and the press went for historic lie quotes, one of his favorites was “It never happened.” It is kind of the response to end all responses. I told him I was on to it before Lance, and told him that was Lance’s way out of a press conference on his past use of PE drugs & he should watch him in action. He (Lance) also did the “I don’t remember” performance repeatedly.) This pretty much means (translation) you would not appreciate the answer, it would rip your guts out. We all know what is in our heads when we DON’T find out is worse, and at least any TRUTH you can deal with and move past. Like you don’t know “I don’t remember” means-more self protection for them at your expense is what that means! Mind fuckery at it’s finest!!

      • I agree that this and think this is super true for my ex: “…how true that the whole problem with these folks seems to be a lack of self examination and honesty even to themselves!!”

    • Mine just kept saying, “I don’t know.” Basic lack of honesty and self-examination. He swears he’ll never do it again, but claims he has no idea why he did it. Like he was kidnapped and blindfolded by his dick and suddenly woke up and was fucking the whore in my bed. Whoops! I hate when that happens!!

  • A confession with details would not make you feel a whole lot better because you can’t believe that anymore than you can believe what she’s told you before. She lies to you! You would still wonder what she hasn’t told you and what she’s lying about. I know how hard it is to feel like you don’t know what your own life has been about and that it was totally different than it appeared to be. Unfortunately, nothing she says is going to change that.

  • Palmer, they do not apologise. My STBX contacted me last Thursday, six months after he moved out, asking to discuss reconciliation. He told me that he was now willing to consider it because there had been a shift. How big of him!!! Of course I said no. But there was no apology in that email. He is looking for a place to live.

    Then yesterday he emailed saying that someone was going to come and pick up the lathe out of the garage. That hit me for some reason. I would never take him back, but for some crazy reason the lathe being sold really made everything final for me. There was something so calm and peaceful about it. It is over! On my way out to meet friends I quickly emailed him and asked, if he knew then what he knows now, would he have made the same decisions, yes or no. He replied, no. Again, no apology.

    In the end, I emailed back and said hopefully he had learned a lesson before marrying again (if he does marry again it will be his fourth marriage), and that all life lessons are good. I then wished him all the best in his new life, whatever that may look like.

    Don’t hope for an apology Palmer, it will never come. And if it does, it will be hollow and there is always a hidden agenda.

    CL, I think I’ve reached Meh. 🙂


  • ” If she’s a total waste, then you have to accept that you invested in a truly dreadful, unredeemable person who doesn’t give a shit about you, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow. ”

    This is the crux of the matter….. the real “shit sandwich” of the whole debacle…. the hardest hill to climb…and also a kind of inverse form of narcissism. (I couldn’t possibly have made a mistake of that magnitude! I just couldn’t have!)

    We climb that hill, too, by accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes in judging the character of others at various points in life. It is not a reflection on us as people of discernment…. unless we keep on dunking our head repeatedly into that bucket of slop expecting not to keep getting our hair dirty.

    • Well said, notyou, well said.

      It is the hardest of the shit sandwiches. That, actually, you don’t count and you never counted. And that we wasted all our time and our energy dancing around trying to ‘get them’ to in a pointless, futile power struggle we were ALWAYS going to lose. I wasted 22 years, what about you?

      Our hardest battle is to know that whatever they did and whoever they are, we do count. We count to ourselves, and to find other people who let us know that we are lovable and worthy.

    • Yup. Exactly right. This is it. So, so hard to accept. But once you can get over that mountain top you can start to heal.

  • This thread is perfect for where I’m at right now. I don’t want reconciliation, but I do want acknowledgement, ownership, validation. And I know I’m not going to get it. Older/Wiser, LOVE how you called the apology “the holy grail.” That’s just it, isn’t it? Couple years ago X was going through my books and decided to throw one into the recycling pile because he “didn’t think I needed it anymore.” WTFingF. I went berserk. I could handle someone getting into my wallet, hell even my underwear drawer, but do NOT touch my f-ing books. So when he saw how truly enraged I was–and it takes a LOT to get me to that point–he sort of huffily says, “Well, I apologize.” That made me even madder. See, my background is in linguistics, and this is called a performative. It’s announcing or describing an action rather than actually doing or feeling the action. Once I cooled down, I tried to explain it to him. Of course, I was over-analyzing as usual and couldn’t I just fucking take an apology already.

    The answer was no, I couldn’t. Because in the almost 4 years we were together, I never got one. Not a sincere one, anyway. And I never will.

    • Thank you FMT. I always wondered why those lame apologies my STBX gave bothered me so much. Now I know. They were performative apologies. Makes sense. One of the many mysteries solved. IF I ever get another one I will only smile and ignore it.

    • I find that another underhanded tactic these narcs use is to do the “backhanded apology” which made me almost pull my hair out with frustration! He would say “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry you think xxx” rather than “I’m sorry.” Why add the extra stuff in there? It makes the apology insincere, like you’re sorry for MY actions rather than YOUR actions of sleeping around behind my back!

      Another common one is “I’m sorry things turned out like this.” UGH!!

      • Oh my gosh, yes! My STBX is the king of, “I’m sorry you feel that way”

        Maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if you weren’t lying, cheating, abandoning, blame shifting, gas lighting, raging…

        • Akko and Helen, YES. The backhanded apology, which seems to be a Philips head screwdriver in the narcissist tool kit. “But I *said* I was sorry.”

          I don’t think they can ever really get the difference between ‘saying’ sorry and actually ‘being sorry.

        • “I’m sorry you feel that way” is one of many out of the playbook. It simply shows how detached they have become from us chumps. Their heart is somewhere else and they can’t be bothered.

      • Yeah Akko, I got, “I’m sorry for your mind-set”. THAT was NOT good enough! When I continued to be enraged because I so wanted validation for his actions and the hurt he caused (I just couldn’t get over it!) and had sent a rather nasty email. Then, followed up with, well, if you would just apologize and show some kind of remorse, regret, etc…(I know, asking for an apology is not the same but, better than nothing). He said he thought he’d already apologized but said he’d do it again, and it seemed like a heartfelt apology as in ‘I’m really sorry for what I put you through’. Well, that was damn good enough for me and I somehow got over my anger at that moment. No, I will not take that as a sign he wants to reconcile (no thanks) but he told me he had found God again and the people he has told, like his mom and close friends, he apparently has told them the truth. Saying something about The Truth Shall Set Him Free. OK, I’ll take that. He asked me for forgiveness and I said I was working on that but I refuse to think he needs to forgive ME for anything (as he implied so…errr…arrrgh and, as I told him, I didn’t do anything that needs forgiving. Anyway, it was the positive I needed to get over the anger and move on. I’m so ready. Not sure how much was sincere but it sounded like it. Maybe he is regretting his actions…

        • He is not regretting a thing. This is what they do, they know what you want to hear and they spin it just so. Making you believe that maybe, just maybe they have some remorse for annihilating you. But in the bitter end all they know is how to get some relief for their suffering. Some one here mentioned that they only show “remorse” when they are suffering, when they are tired of shooting themselves in the foot.

    • FoolMeTwice, thanks for explaining the performative.

      I got “I didn’t want this to happen.”

      • Northern, that has got to be one of the all-time lamest pseudo-apologies. Cheating is a choice, and if you don’t want something to happen, it doesn’t happen. The end.

        Can you even imagine using that line in any other context? Say you’re sitting in a restaurant after you finish eating a lunch you’ve ordered. “I didn’t want this tuna fish sandwich to happen.” Okay, well, why the hell did you order it then?

        • Thanks, FoolMeTwice, for the analogy. It really is a lame (non)apology….

  • Palmer, if it helps, sometimes we can find validation from others. Supportive family, friends, therapists – of course not everyone we talk to will turn out to be supportive, but those who are help alleviate the gaslighting. They of course won’t be able to satisfy your desire for details, but they will reassure you that what she did was wrong. And although I totally understand the desire for details, the truth is that you can’t unknown things – so the silver lining is that you are spared information that would just hurt you. You know what you need to know: she sucks, you had to free yourself, and you did.

    • Sometimes the surprisingly unsupportive friends re open all the wounds. I’m amazed – at forty-fuck-you-five – truly amazed at how few gems I’ve found in lifelong friends as i travel this road. But man am I grateful for those 3 or 4 gems who have propped me up and chiropractically adjusted and maneuvered my head out of my ass. And wiped my tears as they verbally slapped me across the face. Those are the people who deserve real estate in my head and my heart. But wtf? I really didn’t think this was the moment for the universe to teach me another life lesson lol. Find the gems and appreciate them and tell them how appreciated they are. Water that garden instead of hoping something grows out of that dried up (afraid of what I may type here).

    • Psyche – when I confronted my H after practically catching him red-handed, he immediately admitted Everything – well, certainly more than I was expecting. In the ensuing couple of weeks, more dribbled out. I would just ask a simple q and he’d pour out the details. Now I really wished I hadn’t heard a lot of that. I had no idea he’d react like THAT. It is absolutely haunting and I will live with it for the rest of my life. Maybe this was catharic for him but it sure wasn’t for me. We just can’t un-do what has been described and detailed. He said he felt giant relief after he told me. UGH – thanks.

  • “She’s not sorry. Sorry people act sorry.” THIS!
    My STBX has acknowledged that he is the one that torpedoed the marriage. Didn’t change *any* of his actions. They lie, & will do so to manipulate us who don’t think in their twisted way. I got a lot of “it doesn’t matter what I say, you don’t believe a word of it”. Well, he taught me well, I gave him my total trust in all things – until he showed himself repeatedly- to be untrustworthy. When a pathological liar tells you they’re a liar…believe them. LOTS & lots of talk, very little walk. We, as chumps, hold our breath, waiting to see if maybe this time, it will be different (kibble). It won’t. Trust that she sucks. Stop trying to unravel the skein – thank goodness for no-fault states – I don’t feel the need to find out & prove anything any more…because it doesn’t matter. Trust that she sucks.

    • I also got, “It doesn’t matter what I say because you’ll never trust me again.” Well, no shit Sherlock!

      • I always wonder if the shoe were on the other foot and I was the one who cheated on him if he would ever trust me again NO

    • I personally HATE the no-fault state..I’m not the one who decided to go out and find his “true love” and dump the family. So he has no repercussions for his actions, which sucks. The court will consider my request for alimony, though it’s tough to get in Iowa. I hope that the 26 years we’ve been together will mean something to the judge, along with the fact that he makes 3 times as much money as I do, and it will be a struggle for me to make ends meet without anything from him (other than child support).

      • I agree whole heartedly. You can sue anyone else ho breaks a contract but these fuctards abuse you so unabashedly and you end up in financial ruin and being a part time parent. It just isn’t right! Plus imagine making these arseholes accountable for their actions! Maybe they’d start feeling a leetle less entitled.

        • Sandy – I also hated the no-fault state I’m in. There seemed to be no accountability for the horror and the complete break-up of your lives because of these people, and I admit – I wanted some type of REVENGE. (I mean, I think these fuckjobs should be in prison!) Nope – not from the courts. So, there are other ways, subtle, of course, to do that – but in the end, it’s where the pocketbook is. I think a long-term marriage such as yours and mine (34 yrs), with him making 3 times as much, will definitely get you alimony, at least 25% of his income for life. I’m going straight for the balls-all-out approach on mine. No c/s to worry about. Anyway, silver lining I guess is we’re not getting all bloody with PI’s and searching for solid ugly evidence of the affair, and all that negative shit, that make for good movies. (on another note, can anyone tell my why we all ‘felt’ for Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction? That was a fuckjob on my head, the more I thought of it.)

          • I’m the chump but will pay the child support and have to deal with so many financial issues. I was also the “defendant” on the divorce papers that were submitted to the court. Some days I feel more like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

      • In MA the default guideline (by statute) is 1/3 the difference between the spouse with less and the spouse with more (absent child support.) For that wasn’t really enough to live on…so I got a post nup before I went for the full tilt divorce. I got 50% in the post nup, and a promise of 50 for the actual divorce, Of course, cheaters lie, so he changed his mind…but I still got 43%. Since I’m older than he is, it will last until I’m 80. And I still also get 1/2 of his Social Security (as will you). No fault sucks if you are a semi employed professional woman, or a sahm, that’s for sure.

        • ForVera – I’m surprised that a SAHM doesn’t get special consideration in alimony. I’ve been one for the past 17 yrs and it is working in my favor to get more than 25%.

    • “How do you know when I’m lying?”
      “When your lips are moving!”

      This is from a TV show conversation. Sums it all up quite nicely, I think…..

      Therefore, Palmer, since her lips would have to move to express an apology…….(see quote above!)

      (All my beloved Chumps——This post & comments has been a MAJOR boost for me on my healing journey! [& I am only about half-way through the comments!] Thank you from the bottom of my heart!)

      Forge on, all…….

  • Sorry, Palmer, it’s not going to happen. It’s what we all long for…
    I have a strong sense of personal responsibility. Cheaters do not.

    Looking back at my journal and email messages, at different times my ex did say “sorry” , “you did not deserve this” , “the root of things was my lack of honest communication” “that mantra [I said he was a lying, lazy, selfish, coward] does go through my head,” etc.

    But, no real apology. Each was said after my pushing things…. After the first two affairs, etc, no acknowledgement from him _first_. I had to push and delve (and was gaslighted ..)
    The third time he tried to leave and say no OW. Then said ok, I am in love with her, but we never had an affair. Uh, huh.

    Re-reading an old message I thought maybe he was acknowledging things and I need to let my anger go on this matter… But then he blamed daughter for the fact that son did not go to his wedding to the OW.
    Nope. No personal responsibility.
    They will never change.
    Ex told daughter, yes, there was another woman, but…. And then proceed to say the marriage was long over, he tried to reach me through my anger (another issue), but couldn’t, then realized he did not love me anymore…,,

    No, take a deep breath. It has taken me two years for it to not (most of the time) bother me anymore. In my case it helps that I have the quotes from daughter, which are more recent than his quotes to me.

    Hang in there.

  • Great post Chump Lady!
    I am past the “I need an apology.” I know it’s never coming. CL, You described my cheater to so well. She has a pocketful of justifications. She justified it all in her head before she went and fucked schmoopie artist boy. Hell, I don’t even know that!! I have no idea. BUT, I know enough to know it happened and I was gaslighted, lied to, manipulated and used. This post is the antithesis of yesterdays’s post. This is what dogshit looks like.

    Another important piece is that I was denied my reality. And I went fucking off. That’s when I took the gloves off and burned the reconciliation bridge forever. It was the last straw. Problem was I didn’t handle it well and she used it against me in the divorce and for her twisted narrative to justify to her friends (our friends) family. “See, he’s just a mean argumentative lawyer….what chance did I have?” I’m pissed at myself for those particular meltdowns.

    Water meets it’s own level. That means that I need to fix myself enough to put the spackle bucket away. I am in the process of forgiving myself for ignoring the clear signals that she was only out for herself. No reciprocity. None. I’ve tried to think….well…what did I gain from being with her? How did she support me? There were surface things, yes. But the answer is I have nothing from her but hard lessons on selfishness.

    Palmer, what you’re feeling is normal. I wanted it too. She didn’t give it and it’s only another affirmation that she sucks and I made the right decision to move on. Believe me, you don’t want anymore information. Go No Contact and stay there. It kept me from going even more crazy. You have all the information you need. Read some posts from other chumps; they have terrible stories they can tell from the information they have about their ex and AP’s. Ugh. No thanks.

    Hang in there. I’m not at meh or on the other side of forgiveness yet. But it’s no Tuesday either.

    • Read up on “fundamental attribution error”, thirtyfish. Many cheaters , instinctively ,use it in their arsenals to sway outside observers.
      I could see my XW trying to provoke me( woke me up to describe one of her partners’ physique after spending the night with him). I resisted, but they rely on your anger to paint you in a bad light to others.

      • Dude, I led with the chin on some of this stuff. It’s like this weird unconscious dance into a pit. I get triggered and then I’m the bad guy. This board recently saved me from the manipulative dance. I will check it out, thanks.

        More information for my recovery.

        By the way, I thought you’d be golfing.

    • My problem is the details that I DO know drive me absolutely batty. They replay over and over in my mind, and then of course I add my only narrative. I truly wish I didn’t know the little details that I’ve been able to discover, because when I think of them, I feel 100 times worse.

      • Sandy R,

        Don’t dig. Resist the urge. It’s a setback. Somewhere in the archives here there’s a post about rewiring our brains because this stuff is like an addiction. I have to open up a new pathway that’s focused on a new life that’s positive.

        Schmoopie artist boy is a all over the internet. Even video etc..,. Owns a local venue that is somewhat popular. I have imagined details and it’s like drinking poison. In the small hours it can run like a movie. Don’t do it. I had to be proactive in changing my thought life. It’s tough, but worth it. Hand in there…and hugs to you. Don’t treat yourself poorly. Move a muscle change a thought.

        I realized “Leave a Cheater Gain a Life” meant in my head, too.

          • Thank you for this, TF. I think you raise a great point, which is the added insult of public perception piled on top of the personal heartbreak and betrayal.

            • I know that she has lied to everyone. I was/am fairly well known in my professional community. She happened to be too, since are professions overlapped often. I have let the narrative go. I will tell if it’s a conversation that comes up. But, I am not out trying to repair any damage she’s done whether it be phantom or real.

              First, it takes too much energy from my daughter and a new life. Second, it keeps me stuck in the mire of toxicity. Third, people are going to believe what they want based on their on story and experience; it’s not my job to convince them. Fourth, the people I want in my life now, the folks I want to attract, are the ones who will walk away from her and know she’s full of shit intuitively, or based on their on experience with her. I know because some have told me as much. The others can hit the bricks.

              That being said, I make it sound easy, but it was not. I felt like my reputation was being sullied to say the least. And, I threatened to shout it from the rooftops publicly; and embarrass schmoopie too. (if they can be, which I doubt). I kept it to families and some friends. I told them all she is unapologetic and no amends has been made.

              I’ve gone on faith that I am trudging forward to a life that is better. I just needed some pruning along the edges. No apologies and lies to others to mask deep seated feelings of inferiority and emptiness are no longer allowed by those in my life. If I find it, I expel it without hesitation and with force. I’ve lost enough time already. Overall, my pruning is coming along and I’m shaping up nicely without some hollow apology. What could she possibly say? Nothing.

              • I meant “our” professions Cut me some slack…it’s Friday.

      • Sandy,

        Don’t continue to terrorize yourself by letting those thoughts continue! That was my first step toward starting to get better . . . every time I started thinking about the affair, the lies, the whore, I CONSCIOUSLY STOPPED THE THOUGHTS. Sometimes I would snap a rubberband that I kept on my wrist; sometimes I would just hold up a “Stop” sign in my head. I also made a list of things that I loved, and I when I had one of the thoughts, I would STOP it and then recite the “love list” to myself, over and over again. “My sweet dog Ginger; my mother; the breeze rustling the leaves on a cool summer night; swimming in the ocean; dancing to great music; lazing in a hammock; playing piano.” The thoughts will stop! You just have to decide that you WANT them to stop. You will get there. Chump Nation is behind you!!

  • Let’s talk forgiveness, shall we? Because people like to throw that word to blameshit, gaslight, whatever. There really are different forms of it.

    “Forgive and forget”–this works if the harm is truly forgettable–someone bumps into you, is late once for a lunch date (not repeatedly), that sort of thing.

    “Forgiveness and trustbuilding”–this is if you are planning to remain in a relationship with whomever has done something to hurt you in a way that is not forgettable–and there IS a range. The person who is late for your get-togethers on a repeated basis. Something painful in your family.

    This is where the person would say they’re remorseful, but would need to a) work to build your trust back, and b) respect boundaries that you set for your own well-being. So, if we take the example of the person who is consistently late, but says they’re sorry. You need to protect yourself from them, by saying,”I can only wait X minutes, and if you’re not there, I’ll have to go,”–and then do it. The other person would need to work on building your trust at the same time by showing up on time. Hopefully, if both of you work at it, you would have a better relationship by the end of it.

    “Forgive for your sake”–ok, this is the kind of forgiveness when the other person is not truly remorseful, and there is no reason for an ongoing relationship with them.

    This means there is NO ONGOING RELATIONSHIP! So, no big, deep discussions. No time, no emotional investment in this other person–from your side.

    But the forgiveness part–that`s when you lay down that nasty heavy baggage of wanting something FROM them–or wanting THEM to set it right–or you trying to manipulate or control them to fix it. That`s when you choose to let God, Jesus, the karma bus, the Wiccan threefold rule, whatever, take over instead of you.

    It has NOTHING to do with the other person, or even saying that what they did has any merit whatsoever.It`s not the same as the other 2 forms of forgiveness. For once, the other really gets to step out of the picture, and the focus on you for a change.

    And really, it IS for your sake–do you want to keep on carrying that anger, bitterness, hatred, hurt…is that going to be good for you to move on for yourself? It`s laying down the baggage to lighten the load on the journey to the state of …Meh.

    • I realize I wrote blameshit instead of blameshift, but then decided not to change it–it`s really the same……

    • Do you remember several years back..the lady that went to the hotel where her husband and the OW were screwing? She then proceeded to run him over and over in the parking lot. That’s not right..don’t misunderstand me. But most days I’d like to be the one driving that karma bus right over the H and the skank!

      • *appreciative snort*…but sadly, that would be very un-meh….however, if a freight plane’s doors malfunctioned and a bus accidently fell out, right through the motel ceilng, squishing both of them immediately, well, now, you couldn’t help but shrug your shoulders at THAT karma bus….

  • Thanks, CL. I think this is one of your best posts.

    I kept on waiting for an apology, thinking that, when XH got out of his “fog” and he truly realized how much pain he caused me, he would feel some genuine guilt/remorse. Even after I told XH that his betrayal was the most painful thing in my entire my life, he still kept on seeing OW (as I found out later).

    XH is the one who changed the beneficiary of his life insurance policy to his sister, and he still justifies it to me, saying that he did it “for the children,” as he thought I was acting “strangely” at the time. Funny, the only thing “strange” about my actions at that time is that I went NC except for necessary communications about the kids and finances.
    I still struggle with trying to understand with why he would/how he could do such thing behind my back.

    I don’t think that XH (and other cheaters) can allow themselves to be truly introspective and feel and admit true remorse, because otherwise their egos would explode. The same goes for XH’s parents and sister, who have sacrificed their entire lives for XH and continue to make him the center of their lives. I thought that they would apologize at some point for XH’s actions, but instead they have viciously attacked the character and reputation of, and fabricated false allegations about, me and my family. I think my ex-ILs just have too much invested in XH; to admit to others (and themselves) that XH is something other than some “golden child” would mean that their entire lives are meaningless. I think they have also been helping XH to hide money. In fact, according to XH, it was their idea that he change the beneficiary of his life insurance policy to his sister. As an aside, CL, could you do a post someday about ex in-laws?

    In any case, if a cheater does someday apologize, I think it would be more akin to regret (because of the effects on him), not remorse (because of the effects on you). It would be because of the negative consequences he has suffered from his own actions, which take time to come to fruition after the “sparkles” of the affair/fantasy wear off, and not because of the suffering you endured, which was probably greatest around D-day and which he was likely fully aware of then, but is (hopefully) almost gone by the time of this “apology.”

    Also, I just have to link to the “Big Apology” below. “WH finally realizes he has something to say to his now EX wife. But she’s always so critical.” It’s hilarious.

    • wow…that was hysterical!…Thanks for sharing!

      Palmer…Listen to what these people are saying…I had the unfortunate event of finding out my wife was also having an affair with our neighbor while in the affair that is causing our divorce eight months after she moved out to be with her third AP (how fucking confusing is that)…point is new information sets the whole thing in motion again…You have enough information to set yourself free, and in reality that is all you need. Keep on keeping on!

    • I DID get an apology. I got several apologies. I even got apologies from him on his knees. I got one each and EVERY time I caught him cheating with the same OW!!! They are just words if they are not meant or truly felt. I believe they were said for my cheaters benefit. He wanted to alleviate some of his quilt. He was sorry he was caught mostly. I too did not get an apology from my STBex-inlaws. Instead….I was threatened with a lawsuit!!! NOT MAKING THAT UP. (on a side note…..I too would love a thread on ex-in-laws or outlaws! LOL).

      Palmer, I also did receive several apologies (no excuses, just “I’m so sorry! I truly am”) after I asked him for a divorce and he left and got his own apartment. At the time, I thought perhaps those were somewhat meant. Again, I’m really not sure as the words began having no meaning for me after a while. But even if they WERE genuine apologies……it did not lessen my pain. Not one bit! In fact, it made me feel pitiful. Even more pitiful than I felt when I first found out. I felt like he was acknowledging the fact that he had had the POWER to hurt me. I didn’t want his pity and I certainly don’t like him thinking that he wrecked me!

      I know from the bottom of my soul that I am going to thrive in my new life without him. I am too strong for someone as weak and personality flawed as him to destroy me!!!! I chant …….SUCK IT FUCKTARD! in my head as often as I can.

      Screw the apology Palmer! Walk away and don’t look back.

    • Love that!! I swear I was told something very similar to “I am sorry for what ever I did that made you put too many kinds of cheese in the lasagna.” Out kitchen was a veritable mine field for me; my character was on trial with every dish.

    • Thanks for that, blue. I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt. Lately I’ve been in so much pain that it’s easy to forget there’s humour to be found in all of this, even if it’s the dark kind. Really grateful for the reminder.

    • ROTFLMRO!!!

      And tears of laughter…….

      Thanks for the link!!

      Just the kind of laughs us Chumps need!

  • This post is spot on and, it’s true, knowing that you will never get that apology (or, if you do, it will come so late you won’t care) is one of the hardest pills to swallow in all of this. Took me almost a full year to accept it. And sometimes I still do have that fantasy that he comes to the door in tears, feeling remorse. But, interestingly, when I do have it, I recognize that in the apology comes because his life is in the shitter, not because he’s really truly sorry.

    And he’s not sorry. In our last DDay#2 conversation, he told me he wasn’t, flat out. Told me everything that I did wrong in 10 years. In the days leading up to that, lots of texts telling me how sad HE was that I was moving out. He hard our split was for HIM. I remember at one point asking him “have you noticed you haven’t once asked me how I’m doing or how I’m feeling in all of this?” There was the loooooongest pause until finally he said “I think I have a pretty good idea” and then he launched right back into how his co-workers were “rallying” around him because he was so sad at work.

    They are a bunch of disordered, self-serving fucking wingnuts. You are well rid of this lunatic in your life. Does it suck to find out that they were wearing a mask around you hiding the crazy for all of those years. Of course. But the more distance you get from the situation, the more you will realize that you put up with way more than you should have.

  • Palmer, you said: ” I just want to know I wasn’t crazy all along.”

    I hear you! That’s how I felt, too. For years I had weird feelings that my wasband might be having inappropriate relationships with coworkers…I just wanted to know the truth, because at the time he denied all of it, right up until dday. The only reason he told me about the most recent OW was because he was packing his *bags* to *leave*. Kind of hard to hide that one.

    Anyhow, I’ve accepted that I’ll never know the details about those other hookups he had. Never. Even if would ask him, he wouldn’t tell the truth, or the whole truth. Heck, he probably can’t even remember all of his hookups. But I know what it feels like to be gaslighted, and I know I had those same gut feelings before, as right before dday. And my wasband displayed the same erratic behavior. Due to hindsight, I can read his behavior like an open book.

    I think the key is to trust yourself. Your instincts were right. You were right. Once you accept that, you won’t need her confirmation of the facts. You already know everything you need to know.

    • “I think the key is to trust yourself. Your instincts were right. You were right. Once you accept that, you won’t need her confirmation of the facts. You already know everything you need to know.”

      Perfect. The “truth” didn’t start appearing for me until about a year after exH left, and people started figuring out that he’d been lying to them too. Some told me things to clear their own consciences; one told because he was “afraid of God”; and some finally realized that he was gone and they had been genuinely afraid of him. And looking back, I’m so grateful that I DIDN’T have all that truth right in the beginning, because the sheer weight of his evil would have killed me.

      I will never know “all the truth” – most of us won’t. But I do know enough to know my instincts were right. And to know he was WRONG. And that’s enough.

    • This is exactly what I was going to post. If you felt it before – then you were right before. You don’t need to ‘know’, you already do!

      I had the same feeling I had with the last OW about another one of his co-workers (while I was pregnant). He will never admit to it; frankly, I’ve never even brought it up. I already know he was fucking her too. I know it in my heart. Trust in your instincts. The details only serve to hurt at this point!

    • Liningupducks, I agree that learning to trust your gut is key.

      The closest thing I ever got to an apology was when I told my ex he had hurt me very deeply and he said “I know.”

      • Yes…..The body, the ‘gut’, the instinct, does know!!!

        The cheaters give off so many bad vibes, it is actually quite easy for our ‘guts’ to pick up on the signals.

        But what happened for many of us is that, for what ever reason, we had become people who did not truly listen to our ‘gut’.

        All the years of dissonace & gaslighting caused many of us to ‘shut down’ that safety system or to spackle over it, duck tape over that ‘check engine light’, ignore it.

        When I would feel something was ‘off’ and I would mention something about it to cheaterpants, he would spew: “Well, you were wrong the last time you thought that and you are wrong again!!”

        So glad we have all begun to listen again!

        Forge on, Nation……

  • Palmer,

    From my own experience of having much of the same thoughts about why and how your wife could do this to you, I offer this advice: DON’T DO IT! First off, you’ll likely get some answer spun straight out of the mouths of your favorite politician, which will only anger you even more.

    Second, you may receive some insight into what she really thinks about you and you might believe them as truth. Her insights are clouded by whatever messed-up ideas she has had fed to her by the OM and probably by those she confides in and possibly even encouraged her to have her affair. After all, all those people have been hearing is that you’re the boring, weak, emotionally detached husband and the OM is so much better than you (which isn’t true, but that might be what she thinks). And because your emotions can cloud your judgement the LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO is have thoughts like my previous sentence creep into your head, because they will foul you up big time.

    Third, you did nothing to deserve this fate. None of us is perfect, and I know I’m far from perfect myself, but I hope you can take CL’s words to heart that THEY are the ones who suck, and not you.

  • Even if you got your apology, it would mean zero. Why? Because she’s a lying shit. You can’t believe a word that comes out of her mouth.

    I went through this too, wanting a heartfelt apology from my XH. I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like as I run the dialogue through my head, and each time, I’m just left empty. I’ll never get the apology I want because he just isn’t the man I thought he was.

    One time he said, “You didn’t deserve what I did to you.” That was the closest to genuine I got. But later, that statement was buried with his blame-shifting and justifications. He should have just left it at that and shut his mouth, but of course he couldn’t.

    Don’t waste any more brain power hoping for an apology. I wish I would win the lottery too, but that hasn’t happened yet either.

  • Palmer, you must trust that her affairs are like cockroaches (I choose to use the cockroach analogy rather than the dolphin analogy for obvious reasons.). If you see one, there are 20-fold more. That is the deal with these sociopathic freaks– whatever you think they MIGHT have done, they did, plus many many more. Your gut instincts, your intuition, was and is RIGHT. Accept what you know in your heart, and that she has done everything you suspected and more, and then let it go.

    Palmer, that HAS to be your closure….at least it was mine, and the only one I was going to get. You now have to work on putting it behind you. The POWER your need for acknowledgment gives to freaks like this is just another aphrodisiac to her, and a way to continue abusing you. Hold onto your anger if you need to, but ensure you never give her one more “sick jolly” or “shiver of delight” again. Fuck that shit.

    Your mind may never be able to fully accept that she is not human and has no soul; acknowledge that, and get away as fully and completely as possible, physically, financially and emotionally. You cannot dance with the devil and win, so stop dancing. This is all a sick game to her, never forget that.

  • And CL, I agree with Blue above, this may be (yet again) one of your BEST posts ever. Your way with words combined with your incredible insight is just amazing, comforting and uplifting all at once. Thank you. (I’d quote my favorite parts as I sometimes do but there are too many this time around).

  • I love you ChumpLady. I love you!!! You are my whisperer and enlightener. The more I look at the distortion field my cheater creates and lives in, the more I feel like I am looking at one of those 3D pictures where you need to squint to see the picture, my eyeballs are in pain that my head begins to hurt, but the harder I try, for the life of me, I just cannot see anything but dots 🙁 Then along comes chump lady and says – “oh look its a big sandwich and ice cream shaped out of dog shit – don’t look at this nasty pic – run away with me to a land called meh which has real ice cream”. I love you ChumpLady. I can see, I can see I can finally see!!! Yay. Thank you – see you in meh 😉

  • I agree with those who say a “confession” would be worthless because you can’t trust anything these people say.

    But if I were to play the genie-in-a-bottle game and imagine getting a confession/apology call from my cheating ex, I’d tell her, “Write down all the details of your cheating and allow me to provide it to a polygraph examiner, then sit down and take a lie detector test about whether that really is the truth and the whole truth. IF you pass the test, I will accept your apology.” I think the odds of any cheater accepting that proposal are about a chumptillion-to-one (meaning, it wouldn’t happen). As CL says, it’s too important to them to put things in the best light for them (even confessions) and it’s too delicious to hold on to at least some of the secrets (even if they give away half their secrets with each “confession,” they will be left with half each time).

    Plus, with my ex, I think there’s a chance that as a sociopath she could beat a lie detector test.

    • Nomar, have thought about “outing” her and using that threat and real possibility as leverage to make take a poly and answer any and all questions honestly. And if she didn’t, I’d blow her life up. But CL told me that many sociopaths can fool a lie-detector test. Still, I’d love to “put her to the test,” make her squirm, and if she lied, pull out my smart phone in her presence and send off an group email that would detonate areas of her life so it would all come down like an imploding building.

      • Ah, I love the fantasy…

        Palmer, we have other chumps here who have had their exes pass the polygraph despite lying, so I guess it’s not as satisfying if there is always going to be the niggle of doubt…

        • CIS,

          BTW, my other fantasy is hiring a bunch of Columbian drug cartel guys to kidnap the married guy she committed adultery with for five years, take him out to a rural area, read him his list of offences, strip him naked, stake him out on the ground spread eagle, cover his genitals in bacon grease and then turn a bunch of wild hogs loose on him. Male manhood — “It’s what’s for dinner!”

          Oh, and before they left, they each take a giant shit on him.

          If only…. Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and… 😉 jk

          • Oh, I forgot…then they call my X and his wife and tell them where they can find him. 🙂

            • Ah, the sweet solace of the revenge fantasy . . . and yours is straight out of Tarantino. Or that movie, Seven. The only glitch I can see is advertising “manhood” in the context of a married guy who cheated for 5 years. If that’s what’s for dinner, be a mighty skimpy meal. Just sayin. 🙂

  • Palmer, I got a hand written note. It was written to me and my daughter only he said he wrote it to me. It was full of a lot of excuses to himself for why he is continuing this sick way of thinking. One main one that is a real kicker “sometimes things just happen and you go with them” oh really, it just happens over a long period of time you decide to flirt, ask out, have sex, desert, yes that just happens.

    Mine can ask for money, then threaten to move money, be sounding kind, say he never wants to speak to me again…all in a matter of one minute.

    Believe me, you don’t want to even be talking to her, it will take you months to get back to where you worked so hard to be at today.

    • Mine told my then 16 year old daughter the same thing, sometimes things just happen. It’s what he didn’t tell her though!!! 3 different dating sites and searching for a way out for probably over 10 years. How would knowing this truth help? I truly don’t care enough to want to know anymore, better just to leave them to live with their truth.

    • I read a unicorn site where the guy TEXTED and apology to his wife…and she was touched.

    • I love the “it just happened” line. So, you were walking down the street one day and your vagina “happened” to fall onto his penis? My God are you ok? Do you need anything? Bad things happen to good people…..or is it good things happen to bad people in this case?

      • I also got the “it just happened” line and this is from a bloke who went to Vietnam and Cambodia with a supply of condoms. By the way, this is also a bloke who hated condoms!! Just happened … yeah right.

  • Palmer-

    I know it’s hard to hear right now but you’re wasting your time thinking she will come around and tell you the truth about anything or give you a sincere apology. My ex would tell me he was sorry but then qualify that apology with “I can’t take back what I did, I wish I could but I can’t”. Like I didn’t understand that he couldn’t unring that bell or unfuck that whore.

    I wanted him to be sorry for the hurt that he caused and to actively try to do something to fix that hurt. Instead he felt that “choosing me over the OW”, not sleeping with her anymore, not working with her anymore and not contacting her were his positive actions and I should’ve been happy with all of his effort. Lucky me right? He didn’t understand those weren’t actions they were just the price of admission after you sleep with someone that’s not your spouse and you want to stay married to the person that you betrayed.

    Plus let’s face it, sorry is just a word and the word of a lie and a cheat doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Their actions are what you need to pay attention to and their actions always paint a much better picture of what’s going on. My ex would say he was sorry but he wouldn’t do any of the work necessary to rebuild the trust he destroyed-that was potentially the only thing he could fix and he couldn’t be bothered.

    If your ex came back and apologized would you believe her? Would she show the actions of someone who was sincerely sorry? Since you’ve already kicked her to the curb, my guess is that is too much investment for a lazy, coward (sorry-me projecting my feelings about my ex but I think it applies to most) that won’t see a return on that investment.

    With regards to admitting the stuff she did wrong and telling the truth; well if you’ve already left her, the only thing that having that information will accomplish is bringing you a truckload of hurt. My ex only admitted to what I found on his crackberry with regards to his affair. After three years of spinning my wheels and getting no where I finally made the decision to ask for a divorce and before I ever moved out of the house he started setting up online dating profiles.

    I suspected this when I found his ring on the kitchen counter one morning. I thought that he was staging a “scene” about taking off his ring since I asked for a divorce. He didn’t know why it was there and my son told me later he found it in the dryer with his jeans. When I asked him about it he told me “it fell off while he was folding laundry”. Nothing was falling off his 235 lb frame without a crow bar. He started dating before I left, got serious with someone immediately after I moved out and then pretended to be all hurt when I did. I asked him flat out a few times and he kept lying to my face because I was still useful to him. Now he wonders why we’re not friends-total disordered wing-nut.

    It sounds to me like you’ve already trusted your gut which many of us chumps don’t do. Now that you’re away from her, do like CL says-trust that she sucks!

    • “Plus let’s face it, sorry is just a word and the word of a lie and a cheat doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot.”

      He was ALWAYS sorry. To the point of tears and yet would pull the same shit over and over and over again. He was”sorry” because he thought that would shut me up, he didm’t like conflict. But at the end he admitted he did stuff on purpose to piss me off. At first I felt like I needed to understand him, why he did this, why he wasted and made a mockery of my life. But his “sorry’s” were always meaningless.

  • The confession forgot to “quote” confession, it would only be self serving to her.

    Whats in it for her? That is how she sees talking to you.

    You have anything she wants? They only talk when you are holding some sort of sugar candy that is all sparkly and grabs their attention, like a SALE COME AND GET IT, GIVING AWAY ALL MY THINGS IN LIFE, COME AND GET EM

  • I agree that all of us would like some kind of apology. It would be sooo gratifying for our cheaters to fall on their knees and apologize from the depths of their souls.

    It’s not going to happen, though. For most of us, I bet we never had a sincere apology from our cheater the length of the relationship. Why? Because apologizing means that you have to acknowledge that you have a real flaw, that you did wrong.

    When I’m in an argument with someone who’s emotionally healthy, and we disagree, if I have lost my temper, I have to apologize for that. “I’m sorry for losing my temper. I should not have said X. That was a cheap shot and uncalled for.” I’ve said things like this, and it’s not fun. It involves an honest confrontation with myself, telling myself that I was wrong to say X, and then admitting I was wrong to the person I injured, even if that person was a jackass to begin with.

    Infidelity ups the ante considerably. To apologize truly, the cheater has to admit his or her actions were wrong, wrong, WRONG. “I’m sorry I broke our marriage vows, betrayed the trust you place in me, repeatedly lied to you, exposed you to STDs, and behaved hypocritically in front of the children. I took money that should have been used on the family to take OM/OW on a weekend getaway. I stole time away from the family I can never repay. I dishonored you, our family, and myself. I am deeply ashamed of my actions. ”

    Yep. Not going to happen.

    And that is why unicorns are so rarely seen.

    • Yes, kb. The ante has been uped! I so want to hear my NPD cheating husband give a full account of his actions and sincerely apologize. But I know you are right. It is highly unlikely. That part is so hard to take!
      Palmer, you expressed my thoughts well. I cried when I read your letter. Please know that you are not alone. You are truly a decent person who has been betrayed in the worst way.

  • My cheater never would and never will admit he cheated. Even though I’ve been NC, he’s continued to email, text, mail me stuff and show up to ring my doorbell. First he denied, added blame-shifting, then he just ignored it and jumped right to begging me to come back.

    ”If she’s a total waste, then you have to accept that you invested in a truly dreadful, unredeemable person who doesn’t give a shit about you, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.”

    Truth is, I don’t CARE about the details. I don’t care who, how many or how long. I finally knew enough to know I was out of there, and anything beyond that is just a mind fuck for me to chew on. I’m too busy being happy without him in my life.

    He IS sorry. He’s one sorry SOB, probably always will be. Wanting to hear him say he’s sorry? Well, that would be too much like me actually caring what he thinks or feels, and I do not. Not caring is the best way to shift the shit sandwich when you’re dealing with a narcissist. As long as you need to know details or need to hear an apology, it’s all about them. As soon as you don’t give a squat, it’s all about you and nothing at all about them. That is the biggest blow you can deal to a narc.

  • My ex-wife could not ever admit she was wrong…she could say “I’m sorry”…but it would be……I’m sorry I can’t be what you want me to be.

    I’m sorry for myself and I won’t change and I’m sorry you expect me to change….because I like doing whatever I want and I forgive myself.

    I eventfully, really listened to her garbled apologies….and it was eye opening….she really thinks this way…she really believes she’s making sense and oddly enough it does make sense if you’re a freaking idiot.

    My ex is fluent in bullshit…and has always talked out of her ass.

    A narcissist when speaking in bullshit is being authentic, I realized my ex was being truthful and showing me how shallow she was. I looked for depth in a puddle….hoping she was an ocean.

    Narcssists are not an ocean but a shallow puddle and they will drown you if you don’t step over the puddle and keep moving.

    • Pretty much ditto, P. F.
      Palmer– you may be able to get an apology, but so what? These people are liars. They lie. It’s what they do. If they weren’t compulsive liars, they couldn’t cheat on their loyal partners for days-weeks-months-years, with who know how many people, on line, off line, on the bus line, in the hotel, in the house, with a mouse, on a chair, in the air… (That Dr. Seuss really knew his stuff).

      Seriously, I got tons of “I’m sorry”; “I’m a monster” yadda yadda. Did it change his behavior? No. He actually copped to the power stuff that CL details above: it made him feel good to do bad things that I didn’t know about *that was the charge* — as much or more than the actual sex.

      You know how rape is about power and dominance, not sex? I’ve got news for you: cheating is about control and dominance (and insecurity and a ball of fucked up yarn), more than it is about the sex.

      As CL says, Remember that they Suck! Because, they do. You will get to a place where you know what you know, and you realize that they own the crazy, not you. And in the end, how many times they sent dirty picture, or boinked the pool boy, or whatever…just doesn’t matter. The cheater is a scumbag with no integrity, and you need to just drop the bag and walk away. Best of luck getting to Meh.

    • P.F.–“A narcissist when speaking in bullshit is being authentic….” This really says it all.

      • Narcissists are great actors. They’ve been playing a role most of their lives,

        I’m sure my ex-wife imagined herself as the leading actress in a film as she shed a few crocodile tears for the close up when she said “I’m sorry”.

        Narcissists are over the top drama queens and Kings. An “I’m Sorry” from them is an internal drama, the person they’ve cheated on is just a bit actor in their movie of a life time.

  • This post is so wonderful – and sums up so perfectly the reality of being chumped, and the pathetic state of the cheaters. They simply can’t and won’t apologize because they AREN’T sorry, and they are not capable of feeling and speaking truth.

    I will show this someday to my 11 year old daughter, who was 5 the last time she saw her “dad”. She’s doing great, but still has a considerable amount of justifiable anger and pain. She says her dad is a “loser” and she wants no contact…except maybe someday, she says. She says if she ever speaks to her dad again, she’ll go “when she’s grown, with her husband. And she’ll walk up to her dad’s door, and say, ‘I’m Jane. I’m your daughter.’ And then she’ll leave.” That tells me that she still wants to leave that door open – just a give him a chance to explain; to say he’s sorry; to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to tell her that it wasn’t her; that he cares or is sorry that when she was five he told her, “Daddy will see you in a week Princess…” and then never, ever came home again.

    But he never will. So I guess I’ll just have to hold her close, when and if she comes home from that meeting; when he says nothing, or lies, or blames her, or spins some line of bullshit – which she is AWESOME at detecting – hug her tight, and dry her tears, and then show her this line of comments, so she knows that this never, ever had anything to do with her.

    • I know someone who did this to her biological father– 20+ years after she last saw him as a child. He and his wife answered the door and she said, “do you know who I am?” And he said No! She turned and walked away.

      He did but was such a coward, he did that to her after all those years. His wife later wrote her a letter and apologized for his behavior I think.

      File under- they NEVER change.

  • Sometimes we get so stuck on what WE would do if WE were ever caught cheating. WE would feel SUPER SUPER SHITTY. WE would not be able to take the stress of hurting our partners, and–my God! The kids!! We would hate ourselves forever if we hurt the kids! The financial disaster we caused? We would feel such SHAME.

    But it was nomar, or maybe Arnold, or both of these guys who so eloquently pointed out (I’m sure Tracy has a whole column, too) that cheaters and APs DO NOT THINK LIKE normal people think! That’s how come they can cheat! Get it? So as we try to untangle the skein, the first mistake we make is in assuming they think like we think!! Well, they don’t! They’re fucked up in the head! They will always be running, running, running away from the truth. They will never become un-disordered. They will have more victims and create bigger messes, but they will never be who you wanted/hoped they would be.

    And, so, the best thing you can do is to heal those wounds by putting time, distance, and GOOD experiences between yourself and the one who caused you so much pain. Get the hell out of there and go NC as much as possible. It will hurt for a long time–maybe forever, but you WILL have other things in your life that will ease the acuity of it all. Someday it will not be all you think about.

    Trust Tracy–you got to trust that they suck. And act accordingly. Preferably away from them–far enough away to where they can’t hurt you again and again. And you must not be the fly on the windscreen, insisting that the truth not be the truth, because then you’re only hurting yourself.

    • When my dad tries to use logic to help me to deal w my STBX, I have to keep reminding him that “you ‘re not dealing with a normal person who uses logic & facts!” They have a narrative in their heads, & nothing, I mean NOTHING will dislodge that narrative. Mine is undiagnosed bipolar, who in his manic stage is a RAGING narc. This is where my skein gets tangled. This was not the man I married. He was not bipolar when I met & married him – so my fear is that my picker will forever be askew… Still new, still have lots of time to heal, but these are the thoughts that keep me up & night. There were flags of other issues I ignored, but this – this sense of entitlement that allowed him to justify his lying, drinking, drug use, cheating… came years after I married him. My fears of growing old alone because I don’t trust my ability to pick a quality man pique my anxiety. Thanks to Chump Nation, I am learning what to look for, & more importantly, what to avoid. I am a spackle champ – & need to have the bucket surgically removed…baby steps.

  • Waste of time seeking any sort of validation from somebody who has repeatedly demonstrated lack of empathy toward you.

    You won’t get to meh until you understand that in your bones, and if/when you figure it out, you’ll be too busy being happy they aren’t in your life to care about whether or not they might possibly validate you.

    You want your friends and close personal relationships to involve that kind of bonding/validation/vulnerability. If it was even possible to do that with your ex, you wouldn’t be here.

    Move on.

  • Palmer, I get it. I know from experience, however, that being “right” does not really change anything. It may offer temporary relief but it does not change the critical facts that are often really, really hard to accept. Looking for validation of your experiences from the very person who screwed you over is never a good idea. It is best to seek validation of your experiences here, among people whose stories are much the same. Hugs!

  • I completely understand your needing this….
    I often think the same….
    But then I remember the other time when he confessed. All it did was flood my mind with vivid images that I couldn’t erase.
    I am reliving the past infidelities again too….trying to piece together what I chose to not see, or how he gaslit me over and over again.
    This time around he confessed enough of his recent indiscretions and I still find myself filling my mind with vivid images of what he left out after I stopped him mid sentence, Remembering what his confessions did to me the last time 15 years ago.
    And I kept the fuckface around and rebuilt, and thought I/we had successfully done so.
    And then… year ago when he could no longer hold his double life together and the walls came crashing down around me again. Limp dick and all…..He confessed that he had been living a double life since one year after our marriage counseling and supposed new life, in a new house, that we built because we had to move so I could escape my not being able to handle living across the street from one of his affair partners. Who was also the mother to our children’s best friends and also “my friend.”
    We had three children and a host of other huge obstacles to leap over.
    I spent the next 15 years thinking I had the best husband and best friend in the world.
    We had worked so hard to make things right….
    This is what everyone else thought too…..
    I spend most days still playing that image over and over again in my head trying to find the cracks and see his indiscretions. The Man deserves an Oscar! One with it’s head lopped off…..he was that good.
    People still can’t understand or imagine the hell I am going through trying to straighten out my mind after this….I too often think that I would like an explanation, and an apology. Or just to see him gravel at my feet and beg.
    I personally would like to see him in a stockade and let everyone throw rotten tomatoes at him.
    But the reality is…..they are not capable of true remorse. They are the Hallmark of brokenness. And there AIN’T no fixing that….
    Or at least that is what my therapist tells me every single time I am in her office.
    When will I get it? When will any of us get it?
    I myself need daily reminders to see the reality in all of it.
    And still… is unbelievable to me.
    Why? Because I am not capable of the things he has done….and neither are you!
    We are good moral empathetic people who live our lives thinking about repercussions.
    We think before we act. Or at least are able to admit when we are wrong and try and make amends.
    It’s difficult at best. I am hoping that I will recover enough this time around to be able to someday have a healthy relationship with someone else. I wasted 30 long years with the bastard.
    But my trust is shattered right now.
    I wish you the best….I wish all of us the best…..

    • Happily, my heart breaks for you! Your ex is clearly a sociopath, how awful to have lived within his web of lies for so long. When you’re feeling bad about having believed in that web, just keep reminding yourself; you didn’t see it because that is not even close to how your head could ever, ever work. And you didn’t see it because our ex was really really good, truly excellent at being a sociopath (shiver).

      • Happily,

        Yours sounds like mine- including the Limp Dick! I actually think that may be a sign of disordered, but that’s another subject. I’m now fairly certain that there were many many indiscretions.

        Mine was diagnosed, and so I agree yours probably is too. And it’s not your fault. Wishing you fast healing- I’m only half way to meh, but it’s already a billion times better than the crazy.

        • Happily,

          I’m so sorry for everything that you’ve been through. It sounds like you have a wonderful therapist.

          Your words cut right to the heart of how I feel every day, and every time I feel lost and broken I’m going to come back to this post.

          I once told a woman, who’d given up on men, that said they were all useless, that I know there are amazing men out there, because my Dad was one, my friends are married to some, and my ex is NOT going to destroy my opinion on the opposite sex. My hope is that he is NOT the last man who “loves” me because I pray I get the chance to know what real love is. And I pray the same thing for you, for all of us on here I wish for the chance to know what real love is.

    • Wow! I am really sorry that you were with that “hallmark of brokenness” for so long happilyeverafter1959. I seriously don’t understand what is wrong with these people! Why is it so hard for them to just do the honest thing and ask for a divorce if they are unhappy? How is it easier to lead a double life for more than a decade than to just admit you’re not marriage material and move on?

      When my ex tried to explain to my youngest (adult) son why he had his affair he told him that the way he has always ended relationships was to start a new one before the old one was over. He did it with all his girlfriends of the past and that’s what he did with me. My son told me that it “left him slack jawed”. He said “I guess I could see him doing that when he was a teenager (we got married in our very early 20s) but to the woman he was married to for more than twenty years and had two kids with?” “What a coward”. I hadn’t thought of the ex as a coward up until the point my son referred to him as one. He’s right though, his father is a coward and so is every other cheater on the planet.

      I wish they were born with that birthmark! Your post makes me realize how right I was to ditch the false reconciliation. It took three years but I never could shake the feeling he would do it again. I don’t think these cowards are capable of anything more.

      Hang in there

      • Cheateessuck I totally agree your post.
        My stupid exh is 99.9% like your ex.
        When I first met my stupid exhusband 22 years ago, we spoke briefly about his last gf prior to myself. No big deal but it was weird how he just left her. But I thought he had ended his relationship respectfully. During our 20 years of marriage we moved constantly from place to place when he seemed to get itchy feet. Last time we didn’t move he just started an affair which devastated me but I moved out. Looking back I think this is who he is, a person who is not happy so he kept us all moving to find his happiness and the last move was not us physically but that he decided it was me that had to go.

        I now think in hindsight he did the same to me as his last gf all those years ago. And that as an honest, truthful person (chumpy me) I have come to the conclusion that he like your ex are cowards. They cannot do honesty and truthfulness and importantly have those REALLY difficult conversations, that true grown ups have. That they are spineless cowards with no backbone.
        I am working on my picker. I know my worth, which is mighty.
        Keep on rocking chump nation.

        • Sorry cheaterssuck not cheaterssuck.
          Need to learn to proofread.

      • To END something is To END it..THEN Begin Again..UUGHH.. what an ARSE !!!!!!

  • Palmer,

    This one is most definitely a losing battle. MC forced my x to write an apology- took him weeks, was very religious and deep and promising me the world (I wondered if he paid someone to do it!) and alas… He was still banging the whore anyway. Not so sorry.

    He also told me he failed, his fault, I didn’t deserve it- but it didn’t stop the whoring. Not so sorry.

    Just this week- in a sort of divorce mediation session with his therapist- I mentioned that I still want the truth. *His* own therapist looked at me and said- that’s really not realistic in his case so it’s probably in your best interest to learn to accept it so you don’t drive yourself crazy. If he wasn’t a liar, you wouldn’t be where you are right now. X said nothing in response. Not so sorry.

    Also, side note- over the holidays, after 3 years since DDay 1 and separated as long, he showed up at my house in tears (a sight of seen maybe 5x in the 15yrs I’ve known him) saying how it all finally hit him, he’s so so sorry and misses us. He couldn’t eat, lost weight, couldn’t sleep and he just wanted to spend some time with me. A month later I learn his ho-bag has a new Bf- did the bastard really come to me about his agony over that, and not agony over being a douchebag to me? The audacity is astounding. Not so fucking sorry.

    I just hope that ho-bag whored herself out while they were still doing the deed so he could experience the pain of psychopathic behavior. (And I’m not sorry for that one either)

  • I am so appreciative of this post today. If I didn’t have kids with the fucktard, I would absolutely never answer a text or call from him again. But alas, yesterday I had to since he was calling with the bi-weekly “reason” why his weekend with the children can’t happen. The desperation was palpable. Basically he wanted me to feel sorry for him for a variety of bullshit, lameass “reasons”…I got sucked in a little, felt a little sorry for him
    🙁 but ended the dialogue before I totally lost myself in it.
    ChumpLady is right: this shit is consuming….and your post today has helped me remember how pathetic he is … and that, any apology I would get would be as empty as he is.

    • To me, this is the most disgusting of all; that they hurt and betrayed us is bad enough, but that they continue to hurt their children is UNFATHOMABLE! A father who WANTS to see his kids will make it happen, no matter what. Asshole.

  • I did get my apology. About five years after my divorce, my (new and wonderful) hubby and my two kids (with X but hubby is raising as his own) were out to dinner at a restaurant. As we were leaving the restaurant, my cell phone rang. I saw it was X, and automatically handed the phone to my son so he could say good night to his dad as usual. A few seconds later, my son came up to me with a confused look on his face, and said Mama, it’s for you. I picked up the phone, my X was sobbing on the phone. He said, “I was calling for you, not the kids this time. I’m sorry for being such a terrible husband and worthless father and person.” more sobbing. I simply said, “Thank you.” More sobbing. Then I said, “You know, the kids still love you regardless.” More sobbing, then he hung up the phone suddenly and dropped off the face of the earth for about a week. For the next few months, he tried to see the kids more. He even started looking for a job so that he could possibly pay child support. But it didn’t last. Now he sees the children even less than he did before. He puts his wife’s (she’s the former OW) kids before his own. Words mean nothing to these folks. Their actions (or lack thereof) say it all.

    • Delta, your ex had a glimmer of reality, then slammed the door shut on that – yet again. Sometimes not hard to trust that they suck, because they keep showing us.

      Glad your kids have a stepfather who is there for them.

      • Hey, try this when your ex calls crying with remorse/crocodile tears/manipulations, etc etc. When they tell you how bad they feel, just say “well, I am sure you’ll get over it.” And hang up. And then you go on with your NC life. Never forget it’s all about THEM. Slam the door!

      • No, her ex didn’t have a glimmer of reality, he just wanted kibbles – he wanted some power over DeltaGirl65 and she didn’t give it to him so he gave up.

  • Palmer, a good friend of mine waited 5 years for her cheating, abandoning ex to apologize to her. Low and behold he came to the door one night and did just that, claiming that she didn’t deserve to be treated like that, etc. Guess what? It didn’t make her feel any better. The more she thought about what he said, the more she felt he was just manipulating her for something else he wanted.

  • Not much I can add to the wise words already written here. The truly disordered not only never feel sorry, they are actually incapable of feeling remorse or guilt. That is part of their disorder. They are lacking a conscience and thus lack empathy. Without those things, a person doesn’t really “get” that other people have feelings and are more than just useful appliances designed to serve the disordered person’s needs.

    Not only do the disordered never feel sorry, they will go to their graves blaming everyone else for their own misdeeds. That is also part of their disorder. They will rewrite history and lie to create the twisted version of “reality” that they want to believe and they really WILL BELIEVE IT.

    I hate to say it, Palmer, but your wife (and the cheating ex of every person here) not only does NOT feel sorry, but she really DOES blame you for everything, no matter how bad her behavior was. But she is irrelevant now. The only thing that matters is you. Your job is to accept that her infidelity had nothing to do with you (regardless that she blames you) and that her actions are her own, and are totally unimportant in your new, healthy life without a disordered cheater. This is hard to accept, I know. I spent a couple years agonizing over the very things you write about. Now I accept that I will never know the whole story, that my ex will never feel sorry or remorseful, that he will go to his grave blaming me and that I will get no apology. It sucks, but there it is.

    And really, what possible difference could a few words from a KNOWN liar, cheater, disordered freak mean? As yourself that, Palmer. What possible use would words from your ex wife be, really? She’s a liar and a cheater. For her type, words mean nothing anyway.

    • Oh, but they DO sometimes feel sorry – sorry that their own actions caused THEM any inconvenience or pain! (Of course, you pretty much forced them to do those things, or their FOO issues, or their sex addiction, it wasn’t their CHOICE in any way.) Sometimes they actually regret shooting themselves in the foot!

      Actual sorrow for causing somebody else pain, you know, that person they supposedly loved and vowed to care for no matter what? Those kids they created and said they loved so much? Nah.

      • Oh yes, the disordered absolutely do feel self pity and sorry for themselves. They are masters of that. In fact, one of the red flags you are dealing with a disordered person is when they start with the sob stories before they really know you well.

        A disordered person thinks the sun rises and sets around their own self-perceived glory. Should they be inconvenienced or troubled in any way, it’s like an earthquake throughout the world inside their heads. But they do NOT feel anything for other people, certainly not SORRY, which would involve the disordered taking some sort of personal responsibility for doing wrong.

  • Palmer – that is exactly want I wanted in the first months after our separation. I wanted to know all the whens and whos and whys and hows. I kept debating about sending a long email all about how I felt. Thank goodness I never actually wrote that email.

    Now I know it doesn’t matter. The point is my STBX cheated. Even if he did explain things to me or apologize, it would just be all lies and sparkle and spackle and crap.

    I am counting to days until I never have to speak to him ever again.

  • “It’s the “not knowing” about what really happened about certain relationships that drives me crazy.”
    Palmer, x would start to tell me details about OW and I would shut him down. I knew whatever he had to say had nothing to do with me and would only be him trying to justify her or himself or he was trying to twist the knife. I was not going to give him that satisfaction. Any information would only cause more hurt. Things were bad enough. You know enough to trust she sucks. I understand the wanting vindication but don’t think these types are capable. Still find myself thinking: wonder if he’s had to face reality as his daughter refuses to see him, maybe he’s had remorse for how he treated us but just yesterday in emailing about daughter have firm evidence that he is exact same person as when he left nearly three years ago. Not one iota of growth .

  • An apology from my stbx is something that I know will never come. At least not in this lifetime. Since dDay I have received several long drawn out emails where he takes jabs at me and blames even our son for his most recent affair. A lot of what he has written is about him and of all the things I did wrong in the marriage. He is an incredibly selfish manchild and he and his lying married gf are perfect for each other. Both have no idea how to tell the truth and live in fantasyland.I have gone no contact with my stbx and for me it is the best thing I have done. He and his married gf seem to get a thrill out of getting a reaction out of me. He sent me multiple e mails last week and when I did not respond tried calling several times. When I still did not respond sent me an angry text. I can’t wait to be rid of the POS

  • Holy shit chump lady your answer was so spot on I almost puked my lunch up. Palmer man I feel your pain I just wanted you ram her head through a brick wall. I know I should have thrown her out but I didn’t,, why ? I don’t think I couldnt live my life without saying goodnight to my baby boy and before you all kill me for stayin and puttin up with her lies and bullshit, it’s my choice it would kill me to be a weekend daddy and would hurt him. So I keep the peace play along he won’t be little for long. Thanks to all of you for this site and your stories and comments they do help. One day this will be but a memory a bad one and she will be fucktarding another poor fool. At least my eyes are wide open ! Thanks again all 🙂

    • Micheal, you’re in one of the hardest places you can be in right now. You are the only person who can decide when to leave. Just be sure to protect yourself financially and get things planned out beforehand. Be strategic. I was and it made all the difference in the world for my kids and I.

      • I understand & thank you. I guess I will never understand how you can give a person everything they ask for in life and it’s never good enough. Man the lies lies & more lies. How do they look at themselves in the mirror ? I know what I am up against and I am fighting for my boys . Thanks again Louise have a great weekend 🙂

  • Palmer, we were all raised that when you do something wrong you apologize. Not with some half-baked words that mean nothing, but straight from the heart. We didn’t apologize just to soothe the savage beast. We apologized because we all understand that words, followed by actions, mean something. These POS’s that we find ourselves hooked to, don’t know how to do that. They aren’t even drawn to do that. One must have a conscience in order to be sorry and they don’t possess one. We were all cheated on and most likely at one time wanted to hear the words “I’m sorry” because that is what we would do having hurt someone else so badly. But, having reached the same conclusion in our own time, we know it isn’t possible and, in the long run, wouldn’t change anything anyway. Who wants to stay in a one-sided relationship filled with mistrust, lies, cheating? The “I’m sorry” would just be hollow and another lie on top of many others. Be happy that you came out of it in one piece. Look in the mirror everyday and smile. Because you know that you are free of lies and cheating and that when you say something, you mean it. It’s not just lip service.

    • What a great post Lee Ann, thank you and everyone here. I’m not sure yet if I’ve come out in one piece, there are so many days that I feel so damaged that I will never heal. It’s not made easier by the fact that my ex and his AP parade around this fairly small town like they’re on top of the world. We were together 35 years, he started his affair with his employee ( a waitress 25 years younger) when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, his anger, hate and contempt for me that continued to grow during that time kept me in a state of denial, I was focused on trying to live (one of my faults apparently), that and not focusing solely on him and his needs at the time made him cheat. Just as I was starting to get better, he blindsided me with a long list of my faults, how I was the source of all his unhappiness, that he and his employees ( the OW) had hoped that I would die from the dancer so that he wouldn’t lose any money, and served me with divorce papers. He walked out never looking back.
      Trust me Palmer, when I say you don’t want to know details. When I learned of his affair months after he left, he stormed my house, and proceeded to go into great detail on how much better she was in EVERY way, I still don’t know why I sat there sobbing not saying anything while he took such pleasure in how he could tear me down even more. I was paralyzed. I did realize though, that as my parents, kids and friends had tried to tell me, he was NOT sorry, would never be sorry. In fact, he was very proud of all he’d done, how he did it, and that he agreed with his AP who tells him constantly how wonderful and perfect he is, and I deserved all that he’d done to me.

      Now on the days when I feel lost, when I wish I would see a fraction of remorse, I focus on my kids (who’ve cut off all contact with him , he verbally abused them too), my friends and family. And try to remember that he has no conscience, he’s not capable of honesty, honor or compassion. And I come here, where all of you give me hope for better days and a happier life.

      • His LACK of Remorse is Gonna get You THROUGH This…
        Make you HATE him Enough to NEVER EVER think of Him as ANYTHING but an ARSE..and Eventually THAT is gonna Be The Thing that Gets you to MEH…
        Your EGO has Taken a Bruising…It’ll Heal…just Seriously, Stop Worrying about the mere ” Opinion” of a Person you Cannot RESPECT because of WHAT he IS.
        Know YOUR Worth.

      • Wow Kathy! Just when I think I’ve read it all on this website and I think I’ve read the worst thing I can read about another human being, someone tops it. I’m so sorry that he put through that crap at all, let alone while you fighting for your life.

        And wishing you death from your cancer? I’m not particularly religious, but I have to believe that if there is an “ever after”, there is a special place in hell reserved for people like your ex. Words cannot adequately describe what a soul sucking, soulless monster he is.

        I am sincerely sorry you had to waste any of your precious life with him and so happy for you that you’ve broken free of such a low life scum.

        Hugs to you!

      • WOW Kathy!!!!!!!!
        Where is the Bastard?
        What I would do to him!
        What I want to do to mine, and yours tops the cake…..
        (( BIG HUGS ))

  • OH, CL – I so need to hear this stuff. Over and over. Because even when I feel like I’m moving on, some song will trigger me into imagining a do-over. I KNOW it’s never gonna happen. But that doesn’t stop me from WANTING it to happen. And it’s only through reading the wisdom of CL and the Nation that helps me stop wanting. Thank you thank you.

    I wish my life had turned out differently. And I’m trying to re-focus that energetic wishing into imagining a future that is much much brighter than that could have ever been.

  • CL, this is the best discussion ever today. Nation, you are smart, and wise, and kind…you are MIGHTY!!! Palmer, dude. Hope this helps. Every word out of our cheater’s mouths has been and always will be lies. They believe their own bullshit! Trusting that they suck, that they always will suck – the key is to trust THAT. It’s been proven over and over. Tracy says it best when she reminds us to focus on what WE are going to do with OUR lives, because it’s all we can control. Nothing will make what happened to us better, and our disordered cheaters will remain that. We can’t understand their ‘reality’ – truly, because it IS so fucked up. No more untangling that skein. Look for the truly genuine in your everyday life – the ones who walk the walk. And if you are genuine, honest, and loving yourself, it will follow…I had a friend tell me that I had to forgive myself for making a poor choice…and that’s an effort where I might see a result – not trying to control a sad, sick disordered person, whose problems are WAY bigger than anything we can affect in any way. Accepting our powerlessness there is really, really hard, because we tried for so long to change it, and look what good it did. Don’t throw your pearls before swine anymore – because there are so many good, giving, honest people waiting to know you, love, and value you. What a great post today, guys!!!

  • Palmer,
    You KNOW what you KNOW about her…She’s a Bitch whose ACTIONS Shattered You.
    How Many MORE don’t Matter. You will NEVER KNOW All of it…EVER.
    And She’ll NEVER Apologize for ALL of it..and Even Then She’d buy MORE Time in your HEAD. IS There REALLY any Set Amount of Apologies that will make Her Alright by You ??

    You KNOW You’re RIGHT.
    WALK AWAY PERMANANTLY..and for YOUR Peace of Mind, Let THAT BE Enough, cause you’ll NEVER Get More…Not from HER.

    My EX Could’ve Cried Every Drop of the Entire World’s Water, and It Wouldn’t Remove My hatred for Him… and that’s ONLY what I KNOW..Not What I Don’t..and with them, there”s ALWAYS More, and NASTIER.

    • Blooming, some of your comments are great, but I find them hard to read becasue of all the words in caps. I write with caps sometimes too, to emphasize certain words, but if you used fewer ones, it would be easier to read!

      • Hard Habit…
        Sorry, Karen….
        It All started with Emphasizing too. I’ll try and change.

  • I’m still looking for the sorry myself. It’s not coming. Plus now I went to get a pap on Wednesday and doc wanted to test me for STI’s. My doc suspects I have one. I told that to ex and he’s like- it’s not from me! I so want to run him over now. He’s the only guy I’ve slept with in 4 years! I have an almost 2 year old and I didn’t have a STD then. He says he doesn’t have one but my doc said sometimes males can get a false negative?! Great I say. I should have results today so I’m waiting by the phone. My ex keeps giving me gifts. Shit gifts! I just want this all to be over with. Why does this crap linger? I guess it’s what happens to sparkly turds when they have expire- They REEK!

    • It’s not Bad Enough They Cheat…If You Get An STD from Them, They’ll Basically Say YOU Cheated to get Infected. Projecting Their Sins on You, Much ?

      • Oh my ex went further than that, he said I must have had the STD for years and got it from one of the “skanky” guys I fucked before I met him, furthermore his OW was too good a person, she couldn’t have given it to him…yeah, it didn’t make any sense at all.

        • *sigh* We So have to remember Their opinions or spin don’t mean shit about what’s True.

    • Rain… It will end when you get the hell away from an asshole who denies giving you an STD… until then, you can expect more of the same. Big hugs my dear. I am very sorry you are going through this. You and your young child deserve much better that what you are getting.

    • about a month after miscarrying a pregnancy she desperately wanted, a good friend of mine comes home after work and finds this big over the top bouquet of roses on the table. And a letter from her husband that essentially said, “gee guess what honey? I’m really an asshole and I’m sorry. I was a bad boy while you were so focused on being pregnant and then miscarrying a baby you desperately wanted, and now you need to go to the doctor and have some tests run, because turns out that I caught some icky stuff that needed antibiotics. And, by the way. I desperately want to work things out together cuz I love you with all my heart. But I want you to hear it from me, that the skanky 20 year old that gave me cooties is pregnant. But, we can work it out… I know we have something special.”

      She tells me the smell of roses still makes her gag 20 years later.

      • OMG !!!!!!!!!
        THAT is SICK.
        Fucking Psycho-Narcs Seriously Think all they have to Do is Apologise and All their Unforgivable Shit, Vanishes..that they’re soo Great ** or you’re soo ” low rent” easily bought and stupid**, you’d put up with THAT kind of Horror for the “Honor” of Being with Them.They are seriously DISTORTED.
        What A Nightmare.

  • Ok, it’s not about cheating, but it’s a great video on blameshifting bullshit apologies…T’ranno (Toronto) style.

    • THIS. I will never forget the conversation after the last time I verified my ex lied to me, the relevant part is this.

      me: “you said you weren’t seeing her anymore”
      him: “I said I hadn’t seen her in a month, I did not say I wasn’t going to see her again”
      me: “fuck you”

      • Well, now, that’s straight to the point…

        Is “fucktardery” a word? Because it sounds like what he was trying to dish out…

  • My ex would partake in a TREMENDOUS amount of “perception management” as I coined it. He would break off all contact with everyone when he wasn’t doing well with his life, and he would only contact friends and family when he had good news to share. I’m guessing they were used to it, shrugging it off as “Oh, he just stinks at keeping in touch” This is one of the main behaviors he exhibited that made me realize he would never apologize – or if he did, it would never be sincere. He would never admit publicly or to other people that he was in the wrong in our separation.

    Even as recently as last week, I got a text from someone saying my ex was telling people we (WE!!?) made many mistakes and that’s why we separated, and how he wont’ take me back because I’m bad-mouthing him to other people. He’s so full of sh*t his eyes are brown!

    Of course I think a few of his family members knew what he was like. I became very close to his sister over the years (she was also the first person to say it would be best for ME if I left her brother, because staying would only be good for HIM), and when I told her all about the OW, she responded with nothing but kind words for me. At the end, she even said that her brother would never have told anyone about the OW and would’ve made me out to be a “crazy” and “paranoid” ex.

    • gotta love his sister. I remain quite close to one of my XH’s sisters – she knew what I went through. She loves her brother but always supported me because she wouldn’t spackle his shit.

      • yes, I’m still friends with my ex’s brother, he despises and fears ex. I don’t think he will ever get to meh, so we don’t discuss his brother much at all now.

      • Yes! It’s so strange how you find the best allies in the unlikeliest of places! She told me that the family had their hopes up when he started dating me (past girlfriends have been uneducated or the type to kind of drift through life, basically not the type of girl you bring home), but now they know he’s just the same old guy. I definitely think I would’ve had a much longer false reconciliation phase without her.

        I still maintain contact with the sister, but we don’t talk about the ex. Our conversations lately are all about her new baby and my current house hunt 🙂

        • Early on I contacted my favorite BIL – H’s younger brother. I met him the same time I met my H when they were in a boat and splashed me and g/f on a dock while waterskiing (yes, very romantic beginning at 20 yrs old). BIL and I will never forget the time we met. So, we go back a long way. He was the first guy I confided in as he had shared that he caught his own wife in 4 affairs during their marriage and was distraught at the time. So, it was a chump to chump convo and very positive. He knows my whole story and has no interest in seeing his brother any more, let alone if he brings the harlot (as he calls her) to their home town for a visit.. Yay, for SOME relatives.

  • “It’s not a lie if YOU believe it.” – George Costanza

    That my fellow chumps, is the essence of X.

    • OMG, that’s where my ex got that? from Seinfeld? srsly? He actually said to me that I told him “it’s not a lie if you believe it” and so he hadn’t lied. I was like WT flying fuck are you talking about ? and he just kept insisting that I had told him that shit. This was during the time when I was convinced he was having a psychotic delusional breakdown anyhow, but still – he was a big fan of that show, at least now I know where he picked up that piece of bullshit. I remember an email where he thanked the OW profusely for giving him the sexy “festivus” and I just gagged at that.

  • Most brilliant post ever! Chump Lady, as hard as it is to hear, you speak the truth. This site is awesome.

  • Well, I sort of got a half apology. Kind of. I think. Maybe. So there’s “hope” after all!!!
    (said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek)

    It was a few months after the divorce. From out of nowhere, I get an email from XH simply stating: “I am sorry for tearing apart our family. A reply is not needed.” In my residual chumpiness, it took me a few agonizing moments before I realized that this was far from the apology I had hoped for. Hell, I wasn’t even allowed to comment on it!

    As I always do with any correspondence, I filed the email and went on with my life. It was never brought up again and XH never backed up his words with his actions, so obviously, the non-apology was nothing more than babble. Sometimes I wonder where it came from though. Maybe he was working some 12-step program or something? Who knows…

    Sorry is as sorry DOES.

  • Palmer, it will never happen. You may get a version of what happened and in some weird way she will try to pin her bad behavior on what you did or did not do.

    If you do get her talk about it, be prepared for her desire for a Pity Party from you, ‘ cause you know, it’s so HARD being who she is.

    I am an optimist by nature, but these creeps are non-people. There is ZERO empathy from them on how they have shat upon your life, the abuse etc… She’s already clearly shown you where you stand in her life hierarchy.

    And beware of supposed remorse. NPD’s are 100% more worried about their image and how people perceive them, than actually owning their bad choices and resulting consequences.

    I’m sorry.

    • Holy shit the image !! That’s all she was worried about not me not the kids but how she looked with her own family and school yea she’s a teacher and needed a better connection me & the kids weren’t enough!!!!! Shit shit grrrrrrrrrrr her image !!

      • Image. It’s the only thing my cheater responded to. I threatened to out her and she freaked out. She’s a piece of work alright.

        • The optimist in me reminds me that I hold only HALF of the shit sandwich today. My spouse holds the other half to keep his image intact for now.

          I’m working on giving him the entire sandwich. 🙂 He’s pretty freaked out as well with his world getting rocked, the veil falling.

  • Thanks, Chump Lady. Will read comments over the weekend with interest. Seems like we hit upon a universal issue.

    One other quick question…

    A part of me really wants to “out” her, because no one really knows what a miscreant and nut-job she is. And she’s been getting away with murder for years.

    For instance, she’s a senior staffer for a very powerful government official in Washington. During the banking crisis that preceded the recession, when he was trying to keep the world economy from going down the tubes, she was getting banged on a regular basis in the backseat of a state law enforcement guy’s car in broad daylight in parks and cemetaries back at the state capital. This went on for four-five years. Talk about your risky behavior! She called it “exciting” and “passion.” I told her if love were food, she was eating out of a dumpster.

    Anyway, I’d love to at least clue her family in on all her abusive behavior, and maybe that cop’s wife. Whatayathink about that?

    Again, I just hate to see her get away with everything. Cold as it sounds, I want to make her pay.

    • Palmer , I too will be looking forward to CL’s reply to this.

      What affects me more, is the hate and contempt that I get from mutual friends and customers of his business towards me. It’s not always easy to avoid these people, and he cheated on me when I was battling cancer, the two of them told me they hoped that I would die so he wouldn’t have to give me any money in a divorce, he plotted and planned behind my back to divorce me, got that divorce, and it all worked according to his plans, yet…..I’m the hated and awful one?!?! I want to scream at times to those people “do you know what he did to me and the kids?”

      • Kathy, I relate to your story more than I wish I did. To you, and to anyone else who got chumped while battling a life-threatening illness, I wish peace and every possible happiness. Rest assured, there is a special rung in hell for cheaters like your (and my) X. Your post makes my heart ache. Big cyber hug speeding its way to you.

    • Are you divorced? If not, use it as leverage to get a settlement and get out. If you’re already out, YES tell the cop’s chump wife ASAP. I always say give someone the dignity of the truth.

      But let go of any thoughts of revenge — karma will bite her in the ass eventually. And I would guess her coworkers suspect something.

          • I learned revenge is an art form. The best revenge is to protect your best interest, even if that means letting the cheater get away with it in the short term.

            Blowing up their world, shock and awe, in the short term can be satisfying…..but soft power is usually the best long term outcome when you can negotiate with the threat of exposure in squiring the best divorce settlement on your behalf.

            Remember…these cheating, lying, narcissists are their own worst enemy. They will eventually screw themselves over without your assistance. It’s a sure thing

            Use your information to benefit you, you will thank yourself in the future.

    • Palmer, I totally get you. Like you, I could totally “out” my X. I have plenty of incriminating evidence on a flash drive that’s tucked away, which not only contains his indiscretions but also his IP address. Since our split, I’ve been publicly cast as the heartless abandoner. A simple click of the mouse would fix that in an instant.

      But it wouldn’t fix my pain. It wouldn’t take me one single step further toward my own higher ground. All it would do is keep his psychodrama front and centre, and frankly, I’m damn sick and tired of that. It’s not about turning the other cheek or being the better person; it’s more like, how much more air time does the Pillsbury Doughboy of ethics get to have at my expense? On a very basic level, outing him is another brand of kibbles. That’s how I’m framing it today, anyway. I don’t think you sound at all cold (she sure does), and I also don’t think she’s getting away with anything. I don’t think cheaters ever really do, at least not in the ways that matter in the end. Thanks for sharing your situation in a way that made me evaluate my own a lot more deeply. And happy weekend.

      • In the beginning I was all about “protecting” my STBX reputation. Now, I really don’t give a shit. I don’t mention all of the nasty business to just anyone and we share a child so I’m mindful of that. However, if I’m asked about the circumstances, I let them know he was an abusive cheater. I tell my truth and let the chips fall where they may.

        Some people have taken his “side” if you will and that too used to bug me but not so much now that I’m almost a year out. I think as time goes on most people start to figure out who has their shit together and who doesn’t. My ex keeps making lousy choices so it’s pretty clear he has some major issues. And I’m not in the business of fixing them or making them better – I got fired from that job. Thank goodness!

        • All I know is – not sure HOW this happened but, my stbx will never be welcome to show his face in this wonderful little town again. I spent too many years propping up his perfect image he so wanted and it took me – oh? about 5 wks to destroy it to everybody we know. Sorry, just couldn’t help myself. I have the best support system and I think he knows it. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have met 3/4 of the people we were mutual friends with. buh bye cheater. And, actually, I’m NOT sorry.

    • Palmer, this was the subject of a recent post by CL. It makes for great reading.My recollection is that views on the subject were varied . As someone who was publicly chumped, I was very open about what happened to the people who had a right to know and those who were supportive of my family. I avoided rubberneckers, whose numbers were truly baffling.

    • I outed my stbx and his married gf to her mother and husband. She is now threatening to sue me. Although she has been threatening to sue me since I first filed for divorce from the POS-for what I am not sure. I have multiple messages, love letters and naughty pics of those two backed up on my computer confirming what they deny “She is just my friend who is helping me through this.” Umm ok-guess I must have stupid stamped across my forehead. My attorney has the messages and pics too. Not useful for the divorce but will be useful for family court since he wants 50/50 custody. He states that his attorney informed him that he will pay less child support having our child with him more often.

  • Palmer,

    Being a disordered, selfish, self-absorbed cheater means never having to say you’re sorry. If you had been a better (fill in the blank) she would never have cheated dontcha know.

    Your Cheater has betrayed you in the worst way possible – how could you believe anything she said? Trust me – cheaters are only capable of providing half truths (which are lies) or whole lies.

    I used to want my Cheater Turd to apologize and throw himself on my mercy. I finally began to ask myself, if he did that, what would I do. When I realized that I wouldn’t believe him and at this point he has treated me so abominably it wouldn’t matter, I realized I didn’t need an apology I was never going to get in order to move forward.

    Palmer, you don’t need validation from a liar and a cheat. What would that be worth anyhow? Accept that your wife is not a good person and that she will never really be sorry for what she did to you. Be happy that you are a good person and surround yourself with other really good people. You deserve it.

  • I’d say tell the cop’s wife – but have proof or the cheating cop will deny it. I do worry that the cop might be otherwise abusive and getting away from an abusive cop is very hard. Be careful how you get the info to the wife.

    Your ex’s family is unlikely to believe you. My ex’s mother initially told me to boot her son and was supportive of me. All ex had to do was talk to his mother for a week or two and she was all on his side of the fence, even when his lies were obvious. Only you know if there’s any point in telling her family.

    On the crux of your letter, I hadn’t commented on that yet. I really think that even after we give up on our ex we want that validation to help us feel like we were not entirely fooled. We want to believe the person we invested so much in cared about us and is sad for us. We want to believe that they lost their shit, but deep down they are who we thought they were. Sadly, they are not who we thought they were. When a person sets out to deceive everyone, even themselves, it is pretty hard to spot the deception. Forgive yourself, if you are anything like me, that’s who you are most angry with – don’t be – honest people expect honesty.

  • I think I might get a tattoo that says “Trust that she sucks, Palmer. Trust that she sucks.”

  • I got the apologies, Palmer, and let me tell you – they disgusted me. The only way they helped me feel any better was by showing me yet again exactly who my ex was, is, and always will be, and that I was so right to leave and so right to never give in to his repeated feeble GINR reconciliation attempts. (This after DDay #2; I did all the fake reconciliation pretty much on my own after #1, 7 years previously.) And they made me feel even stupider for not seeing it sooner.

    My ex did everything people are describing here, starting with it all being about him; HE’s so unhappy now, He’s realized that ending the marriage wasn’t good for HIM, HE’s suffering because his kids don’t want to see him, don’t I have any compassion for HIM?

    When that didn’t work, he moved on to the extremely vague apology that doesn’t actually mean anything. ‘I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us.’ Then when I pressed for him to take responsibility, ‘It was stupid of me to do things that drove you away.’ That is as far as he could possibly go! NO actual taking of responsibility, no naming the cheating, no calling it the lying and betrayal and cruelty that it was. Absolutely no recognition of the hurt and harm it did me, and worse still, no recognition of the hurt and harm he did to our kids.

    And even those pathetic apologies came with the lying, still, and the blaming (everybody but him!), and the ‘how could you possibly expect me to do otherwise?’ Because cheating and lying and cowardice are just normal, don’t ya know? And threatening me very very convincingly was ‘not a big deal’, because he didn’t actually hurt me! And my speaking to him of why honesty is important just made him snort and say he felt like he was being lectured in church (and he despises religion in any form).

    And all this was while he was trying to convince me to reconcile! This was the VERY BEST he had to offer, this was the MOST he could come up with, because he was trying to win me back! So I can just imagine what he actually believes and thinks.

    Because at this point, I do not believe ANYTHING he says, it would be stupid of me to believe it! So even if he were a bit smarter and had come up with ‘better’ apologies and remorse, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it! He’s shown time and time again that he will do whatever it takes to avoid the slightest discomfort to himself, no matter what the cost to the women he supposedly loves (his previous girlfriend, his mother, me, and the OW (he’s tried to cheat on her with me), and bitterest of all, to his own children. And that he will turn around and stab people in the back as soon as it’s to his advantage – then try to win those same people back, if he sees that as being to his advantage.

    Most of this came out over 6 months ago, and it still makes me nauseous to think about it.

    Our kids (now 13 and 14) refuse to see him any more (one dinner a month, at the insistence of the family therapist he took them to). I’ve asked if there’s anything he can do to try to repair those relationships, if a real, detailed written apology, taking full responsibility for ALL the bad things he’s done to them and expressing remorse and regret might help. They laugh and say, ‘he would never do that, and if he did, we would never believe a word of it, because he’d be saying it just to get what HE wants, again.’

    I guess they’ve figured it out, the same way CL has.

    • In the end, they are pathalogical, a.k.a, “cray-cray.” I mean seriously demented. Behind it all is this craven cowardice, which is really a character-flaw, but still a choice. They “choose” to be cowards.

      Go look in the Bible about how demons act when they are exposed. They do all this bad stuff in the dark and the shadows, and when they are found out, they recoil like simpering whimps and little girls, and cry “victim.” “Weeping and gnashing of teeth,” all at the same time. Same MO with hard-wired cheaters.

      • YOU GOT It, Palmer…

        Everytime you’re Reminded at All of her….Tell that Bitch ” Devil. Get Thee BEHIND Me “…and Mean It.

  • Palmer, I went through the same thing. She denied doing anything wrong and she lied about what she did do to the point where I could not stand to look at her or even to be in the same room with her. Until she acknowledged what she did there could be no apology, so there was no forgiveness.
    All the screaming and arguing had no effect; it only made her dig in her heels, so I stopped. In fact, I stopped everything – cooking, laundry, taking care of her car. I opened a new checking account and took over paying the bills. I canceled credit cards. I joined a gym and started working out – at first to deal with the stress. She wanted to start a fight, I would not. I met with a lawyer, and started to prepare the list of assets to be split up in the divorce.
    She came to me and said that she wanted to work things out. I gave her the conditions under which that would happen – to include no further contact with her ass-wipe “soul mate”, that she needed to set up counseling, that there could be no more lies. She had a fit – but she had a choice.
    Palmer, your wife and mine made their choices. And actions have consequences.
    At some point I had to face certain facts:
    1. Whatever I thought I had was gone.
    2. Shit happens, this time it happened to me.
    3. Whatever future I have is dependent on what I do now.
    I’m not telling you that this will be easy; I’m telling you that it is going to be worth it.

    • “I’m not telling you that this will be easy; I’m telling you that it is going to be worth it.”

      I’d like to have this embroidered, framed and hung on my wall. Wise words!

  • So sorry to hear you are going through this Palmer, I remember this bargaining stage and how awful it was. Just know that it will pass. I felt like the only way I could get through was to know all the details and have a genuine apology. I made the even greater mistake of telling my cheater this. In doing so I kept myself stuck by giving the key to my recovery to the person who had just thrown me under the bus. Neither of these things were ever going to happen and he knew it, but it allowed him to control me and dangle those carrots in front of me. After the intervention of good friends and discovering this site I went no contact – the best choice I made. I stepped away from the mindfuckery and manipulation and had time to think about everything – who he was and how badly he had treated me. I tuned into Chump Lady and Chump Nation and tuned him out. It took a very long time to get to the stage of not wanting those details and answers and honestly now, I couldn’t care. Your post made me think about why I wanted them in the first place. At the time I told myself I wanted “closure” and I needed to know the truth to be able to move on. That was bullshit and I was lying to myself. I wanted to know how things had been broken so that I could try to fix them. If I knew all the details perhaps I could find an explanation, or come to terms with it in some way, or stop it happening again. I don’t think this was even necessarily happening on a conscious level, and if you had asked me then whether I would get back with him I would have said “hell no!”. I was disgusted with him and everything he had done, but couldn’t wrap my head around it. But honestly….it took a very long time for me to let go of the hope of us getting back together. The desire for the details left at the same time that my hope of reconciliation did….finally….like two unwelcome guests long after the party had ended. Once you realize it’s really over: the why, where and how don’t matter. Once you send a wrecked car to the dump it doesn’t matter how many tires are burst, how the wing-mirror got smashed or when the transmission gave up. You wouldn’t spend time at the dump trying to work that out. It’s an irrevocably damaged piece of shit that you need to get rid of. So is she Palmer. Let go.

    • Great analogy regarding the dump!

      Palmer I had a tough time with this too. I recall about one year after BD asking cheater if he was at least sorry for what he had done – blown up a 28 year marriage with two young adult children. His response? Why would I say I’m sorry if I am going to continue to do what I’m doing. I really wouldn’t be sorry.

      Truer words have never been spoken. Palmer, these cheaters are liars, so why put any value or worth in their words. And even if the cheaters managed to pull off a heartfelt apology, it rings hollow. Those words will not change anything and will not provide you with any comfort.

      Take the power back and don’t rely on anything from her to help you heal.

    • chumpnomore,

      “The desire for the details left at the same time that my hope of reconciliation did….finally….like two unwelcome guests long after the party had ended. Once you realize it’s really over: the why, where and how don’t matter. Once you send a wrecked car to the dump it doesn’t matter how many tires are burst, how the wing-mirror got smashed or when the transmission gave up. You wouldn’t spend time at the dump trying to work that out. It’s an irrevocably damaged piece of shit that you need to get rid of.”

      CLAP. CLAP. CLAP. CLAP. clapclapclapclapclap Standing ovation

    • Yes, here’s another standing ovation! Beautifully put, chumpnomore!

  • I sort of got an apology from my ex. Well, not really. A year or two ago, I got a text: “I’m sorry for blaming you for things.”

    Gosh, that sure made me feel better, NOT! Talk about a meaningless apology! I didn’t bother to reply.

  • Yeah, I waited and waited for an apology and when none came, I knew it must be from him.

  • You’re never going to get an apology or even an acknowledgement of the pain you suffered. It just ain’t in ’em to do it.

    I remember it so well…if only I could put together the right combination of words that would make him understand the destruction he caused. Of course he’d apologize. He loved me at one time. Surely he had to understand my need for an apology. If not an apology at least an explanation.

    But that was putting my values and morals onto him. You know, the morality of someone who doesn’t cheat, who doesn’t lie. One with ethics. One who takes their vows seriously. One who would never blow up a family. One who would work it to the nth before quitting. In other words, I was expecting him to react as a normal, loving, committed, kind, compassionate human being would. And therein lies the difference – they’re not.

    Besides, what value would an apology have from them? They’ve already proven they’re liars, cheats, manipulators and narcs. Talk is cheap. So are they.

    • Well said, Jasper.

      We mistakenly think that if we just “put it the right way”…if we could just make them “see”…they would do the right thing by us. But truth is, they can and always will find a reason and make an excuse for not doing the right thing. They don’t want to “see.” And it’s usually a blame-shift. Mine kept changing the “rules” for which she would engage in reconciliation. When those were met, she’d make up another reason not to participate or cooperate. Ususally, it was “my anger” that she would point to. Nevermind that my anger was totally based on what she was doing. It’s that “fundamental attribution error,” where something in me was more responsible for things than the circumstances she created.

  • LOL Chump Lady, I love this line: “The rest is just the cherry on the shit sundae.” I’m gonna embroider a pillow! 🙂

  • I kind of did get an apology from him but it meant absolutely nothing to me. He was still living with the skank so what was he sorry for? I never saw him cry one tear and I cried a million. I never saw any real remorse.
    He does make sure I have what I need and puts money in my bank account every month that he doesn’t need to do so maybe that’s his way of saying he’s sorry for blowing up my life. I don’t know.
    I had a dream about him last night. I caught him in a motel room all alone and he woke up and said ‘See? I’m not with anyone! You can trust me.’
    I caught him in a motel room with Skank Woman. Gawd, I wonder when this will end.

  • Palmer,

    I got the sorry and it didn’t make me feel any better. I think she meant it, but it didn’t make up for any of the hell she put me through.

    I encourage you to move on and not look for the apology. Think of it this way. You have learned to distrust everything that she says and you no longer believe anything she says so why would you trust that she means it when she apologizes? Better to carry on with your own life and not care about hers and what she thinks or feels.

  • Very good point BusyLivin, it is absurd to want an apology from someone we don’t believe & no longer trust! I guess there is a mind-numbing transition between who we thought we knew and who they really were/turned out to be. Welcome to the confusion, chaos and mind bending craziness of cheaters!

  • After one year I got a letter: “I’m sorry for hurting you”. Then he described the relationship he had discarded me for–it was “humiliating and controlling” and he was in therapy to learn how to be less self-destructive (will he ever learn to be less destructive to those around him?). He said he ‘regretted so much’ but that the thought of me still gave him joy. Dammit. He said had experienced my love as unconditional.
    Pretty eloquent indeed.
    However, this letter arrived one week after I had discovered yet another OW, and right around when I found Chump Lady. With the strength I found here, I never responded. A few weeks later he emailed that he had a dream where he was looking for me and when he found me I told him to get the fuck away from me.

    I hope I would say just that.

    Although I have yearned to confront him with betrayals I discovered after the fact, I do not respond. I have desired to hear his admissions, confirmations, his apology, the details, his regret…I guess I got more already than most chumps here. Yet, what you say is true, CL, for Palmer and for me, and I hope remembering this helps ease my rage and pain.

    CL said: ” Disordered people love to lie about stupid shit that doesn’t even matter. Why? Power. “I know the real truth about who ate the cookies, and I’m not telling!” Makes them feel superior. I know this Thing You Don’t Know.”

    And I only remembered today, after reading this, that he mentioned that he and a friend liked to go out at 3 in the morning and piss on a local memorial statue/ flagpole. They never got caught but I see now the glee he felt then was from ‘chumping’ the whole community.

    • Crushed, sounds like your ex is a bit like mine; he’s sorry NOW, because things haven’t turned out the way he thought they would, his fantasy world didn’t become reality. And by comparison, he’s realized you were a good partner to him, loving and caring.

      Wouldn’t it be nice to be with someone who valued you WITHOUT having to lose you first, to see your value? Someone who recognized you were loving and caring, WITHOUT having to experience a worse relationship for comparison? Wouldn’t it be nice to be with someone who actually was concerned if something they did hurt other people, not just themselves???

      Now that the OW has turned out to be not so fun, he’s come back looking for kibbles from you again. He`s hoping your love really was unconditional (which adult love cannot be), that despite the repeated betrayals and lies, you`ll feel sorry for him. He told you about that dream in the hope you’d say ‘oh, I wouldn’t tell you to fuck off! I would want to hear what you have to say ….’. Otherwise he would never have mentioned it to you.

      • lol – You think that’s what’s going on. I have no doubt you are being a “poor me” line. Thing is, what do you think OW was fed?

        Nothing has changed if he’s with an OW and feeding you this crap except that you are the target OW most likely.

  • Dear Chump Nation,

    Thank you for all the amazing comments. Going to keep reading them and other posts over and over, till the reality of these truths sinks in.

    A quick update…

    Early this morning I had a dream where in the end I was outside, sitting on the ground beside a beautiful woman whom I had just met. She was bare-chested and looked a lot like Demi Moore, but was very sweet, pure and loving. She was laying beside me, but there was nothing sexual about the situation.

    There was a hole in a wall next to me where this snake kept appearing. It was small and non-poisonous — but it was still a snake. And every time I pushed it away, it kept coming back to the face of the hole.

    After pushing the snake away unsuccessfully a number of times, the woman put her hand to my shoulder and touch it lovingly. She was looking at me, and in her eyes was this look of love, affirmation, support and deference, as if to assure me that she loved me, was for me and was on my side, etc.

    The next time I pushed the snake away, it did not return. When I woke up, I had this sweet bliss lingering in my heart and mind.

    Long story short, I think this is one of God’s small ways of telling me that there is someone loving out there for me. Her nakedness meant that she had nothing to hide and was comfortable with pure, clear intimacy and wasn’t afraid to be exposed and vulnerable. And when another loving love comes, it will push the snake (the X) away for good. It’s like the barbed-wire monkey mother analogy. We chose the wound-inflicting BW monkey, but there ARE real and loving monkey’s out there.

    Also, one other small revelation…about seeking revenge. If we blow up the offender’s life, it will feel good for a while. But in doing so, we give them the satisfaction of continuing to see themselves as a victim and to blame us. If we stand back and let them implode on their own, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves — or the next chump — but at least not us.

    Thanks again for your support.

  • They will never admit the truth, EVER! My ex lied and lied and manipulated so much even he couldn’t keep track of it and would repeat lies he already admitted to…

  • you have a better chance of winning the mega million dollar lottery than a cheater to admit to their cheating and telling you the truth!


    No Forgiveness for the Unrepentant.

    Especially when it comes to Uneducated SWINE expecting FORGIVENESS they are NOT " OWED" Because they haven't EARNED It…Not from Us Or GOD.

    • Thanks for posting that. I had been recently wondering about forgiveness and knowing I was not capable of forgiving my ex in the way that I was taught to forgive others… My ex has never actually apologized in any meaningful way and has said that he doesn’t think there was anything wrong at all about what he did.

      I was thinking the best I could do would be to not wish ill towards him and to try to let go of the whole thing, for my own benefit. To move forward with less weight and bitterness in my life. I don’t want to be bitter.

      But I can’t wish him well. I can’t forgive and I can’t forget. And I can’t make anything “right” between us (even in a very loose friendship sense). So it is a relief to see that verse. I feel better about my goal of not wishing ill on him and trying to keep any necessary logistical interactions cordial. That’s about all I can muster.

  • Palmer-
    Please believe everything these kind folks at Chump Nation are telling you…..You will not get an apology & if by do chance you get something that is a weak ass attempt at an apology it will just make you feel worse. My apology came via text message 3 months after DDay when I caught him at the asian hoooker palace. We had a huge blow-out fight and I told him where is your apology & he had the nerve to tell me that there hadn’t been time to apologize? WTF!!?? I told him that a REAL honest apology takes minutes and that he needed to look me in the eye & acknowledge the hurt & say sorry. I told him I knew I would probably be dead waiting for him to apologize. He didn’t apologize until the next day-he just kept saying I hear you, I hear you. The next day I get a generic, blanket text message saying I’m sorry for all the bad things I have said & done to hurt your feelings & heart. I promise I wont do it again. Please find it in your heart to forgive me. You are the only woman I ever wanted to have a child or family with. WTF!! Asshat!! He cant even look me in the eye…………Oh, and I’m supposed to feel lucky that I’m the only woman he wanted to have a kid with but just fuck every other woman & 19 year old hooker and who knows who else. Since finding CL I realize I will never get a REAL apology, explanation or know everything he has done behind my back. But I do realize that I want out & am planning my escape.

    Trust that she sucks Palmer-because all of these disordered fucktards do. The sensitivity chip is missing and their image to everyone around them (except you of course) is all that matters. But it could be used to your advantage later if you are trying to get something from them in the divorce.

    I was hung up on getting an apology from my soon to be X for the asian massage parlors (cough, cough *hookers*) porn addiction, secret 2nd phone, etc…..I could go on for days but Chump Nation has truly saved my life. I logged as current chump because I am temporarily stuck with my abominable turd from hell BUT not for long!!! I have taken great chump lady advice-I got a counselor, I am in the process of finding a job so that I can support myself & my beautiful 4 year old son….I have seen 5 attorneys so I know whats coming, I got a storage where I have been moving my stuff while the abominable turd is supposedly at work (I mean trolling craigslist or asian massage parlors) I have been selling my jewelry & handbags behind the turds back to raise money for an attorney-and put some money away. I am on a full action plan to get the hell away from this disfunctional fuckwit. Cant wait for the day when he is served divorce papers and we are driving away from him for good.

  • Current…
    I’m Soo Sorry, hon…((HUG)
    Keep your Head Up..and keep your Mind’seye on Where you’re Going…Not what you’re Going Through…
    He’s Not Worth your Pain..
    YOU are Worthy of your Freedom and Your Son Deserves a GOOD Example of what a MAN is… You NEVER HAD one of Those with him… My EX wasn’t Either.
    But BOTH of US Will find one once All this Is Well Behind Us.
    Keep The Faith…
    I’m Proud of You. The Bravery is in Facing what’s TRUE and the Strength is in The Leaving and the Repossession of Ourselves and the Life We Want and Deserve for Us and our Children.
    May GOD Bless You and Make Provisions for Your Departure out of That Fucktard’s Hell.

  • Thanks Blooming Rose-
    I really appreciate it. I hope that dear Palmer comes to accept as I have that wanting any show of emotion other than anger from these disordered freaks is useless and just gives them their kibbles. It took a few months for me to become unparalyzed and unstuck. The fog has lifted and I can clearly see him for the monster that he is. I have been in counseling to get myself together & strong for me & my son. As soon as I can land a decent job to support me & my munchkin I’m gonna hit the eject button and jettison the two of us out of turd hell. I wake up every morning knowing that I am once step closer to my new turd free life. It just sucks for the time being having to see/deal with the smug turd on a daily basis-he is in his own bubble of sparkly turd bliss. I know I can’t show my hand although so many times (like tonight) he was more of an ass than usual & I want to tell him I’m outta here fuckwit but alas, I come to CL to keep focus on the plan. Just a little longer as I have some good job leads for this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed

    • The plan is the priority, Current, you’ll get there SOON! Good luck w/the job hunt!

      • Current, the real mantra that gets you through this is:

        one day at a time.

        Just focus on what you have to do ON THAT DAY, and don’t outdrive your headlights. It is incredible how life comes together when you break it down to – just this day [I will do what I need to do].

        Take money out when you are shopping $50-$what you can get away with at a time, and stock up on high value things – cleaning products, washing powder. Best advice I got given.

  • My STBX wife did say she was sorry about “the whole situation”, never actually admitting that she had a boyfriend/affair. Right after saying sorry, she immediately launched into a lecture about how badly I had treated her after I found out. After all, she did not deserve being asked “why would you do this?” or “Didn’t you realize the consequences of what you were doing?”. Made her feel bad you know. She could not understand why I was so angry either. After all, the 21 years of our marriage weren’t so great for her and this was her fantasy. I calmly explained that its only a fantasy when it stays in your head. And advised her i could not discuss further, but if she wanted to, feel free to call my attorney and explain it to him.

  • I know this feeling of wanting to know, all too well. It sucks. And just about everyone you talk to about this will ask you, “WHY? Why do you feel you need to know?” They will tell you that you are just hurting yourself, and that you should let it go. And… they are right. You know all you need to know. I wanted to hear my STBX tell me the sordid details, and apologize profusely. I wanted him to profess, out loud, the many ways in which he took our relationship, and our family for granted. To prove to me that he was, (as he claimed) so very sorry. I told him that I wanted, and had right to the priviledge of learning all that it was that I was to ‘forgive’ him for, (And I was right. So are you. But it wont get you anything but regret for wasting your time and energy on someone who has proven all too well that they are not worthy of your time and energy.) What I learned was the true meaning of obfuscation, and mind fuckery. I learned that cheaters are nothing more than weak, pathetic shells of human beings, and that evil comes in a variety of flavors. You got burned by one. Your ‘investment’ failed, and that had nothing to do with you. Forgive yourself. I also learned to trust myself, and to value my good morality and character. It seems to be a rarity these days, but unlike unicorns, it does really exist! You know enough. And, it is enough. You deserve better. Hang in there, Palmer, and ‘Chump On’. You will find comfort and healing here at

  • I so, so relate to this. I also agree that it’s never going to happen. But FWIW, sometimes you do get the even bigger prize of having someone ELSE realize what a screwup this person is and treat them accordingly. Here’s an example of why that’s so important, and why you need to trust that they suck…

    One of my “failed investments” (not romantic–a married, alcoholic mentor in his sixties who thought dinner at his house while I asked for a law school recommendation was a good time to ask me how often I masturbated) went on to remarry someone even younger and chumpier than me (I was 26). At the time, I was too high-minded and let’s-all-be-friends (read: naive and chickenshit) to tell her how he’d treated me; basically, I was still part of his self-appointed PR machine. Confident of this, he even arranged a dinner among the three of us so I could give their union my stamp of approval and so he could pipe in a little I-still-love-you Pick Me music. (Blech, blech blech BLECH…) Later, while he was drunkenly browbeating the manager for a free meal and congratulating himself on being “persuasive,” she looked to me and whispered, “I don’t want people to think I caused a fuss.” (The alleged justification for the free meal was her feeling sick to her stomach.) I looked back and whispered, “It wasn’t you.” I wish I’d gone further and told her everything, even what little I was willing to believe myself.

    Oh, and the drunken “persuasion”? He came back pouting because they only agreed to comp *her* meal, not the extravagant fare he’d pushed me to order and then shamed me by complaining about money all evening. He declared the restaurant had lost one of their most loyal patrons. (I’m sure they were sorry to see him go.) Now I wish to God I’d paid my own tab and gotten the heck out of there. Instead I congratulated them on their upcoming nuptials and spent the next day writhing in restrained agony over an email I wouldn’t send explaining why he was a complete idiot. Lesson: Never accept food from narcissists.

    I’ve always felt anxious and humiliated for letting her go in blind like that–for specifically covering up what I felt and thought because I didn’t want to come across as vindictive, prudish, interfering, or jealous. I genuinely wanted to believe the let’s-be-friends myth and to clear my conscience of any leftover yuck from the sexual harassment. (I assumed it must have been at least partly my fault–an assumption he enthusiastically and oh-so-“persuasively” pushed when I finally confronted him, years later.) After I wised up and went NC, I still didn’t want to talk to her directly because I was afraid that she’d resent/pity/disbelieve me, tell him, he’d retaliate with a smear campaign (he LOVED to whine about his exes and always cast himself as the victim…”I had to voluntarily give up custody so she’d let me keep my antique book collection!”), etc.

    Now? They’re divorced. I’m so proud for her, and very, very happy that I don’t have to worry any more, based on his own stories and someone else’s willingness to believe them, about whether I was right to consider him a shithead. Though actually, rereading what I just wrote is kind of a good reality check. As in, did I really ever think this sack of shit was ever going to non-fauxpologize about anything? Because fauxpologize he did, complete with “obviously, at the time, no apology would have sufficed [you haughty, oversensitive, unforgiving little person],” once I finally stood up to him about the masturbation incident. And you know what? Everyone here is right: apologies from shitheads DO only make things worse, with the added danger of roping you back into their pathetic little head games. Those are the only reasons they’d ever issue them.

    Anyway, to all the other chumps out there: (1) Trust that they suck, and (2) Dump your motherfuckers. It’s not just about your own well-being, though obviously that ought to be enough. It’s also that you’ll make all the previous AND future chumps in these assholes’ lives very, very happy.

    And Palmer, next time you need validation: remember that you, by your actions, have just validated someone else.

  • I have been through very dam situation and finally have to forgive and forget and happy to be survived. No regrets at all.

  • Lost 5 years and lot of savings with empty pocket still am happy that she was bloody shit.