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Dear Chump Lady, Is every cheater mentally ill?

Dear Chump Lady,

I have a question: In my case there is no question; the soon ex is a megalomaniac, socio-psycho-pathic compulsive liar. He lacks empathy and borders on sadism. No, no border. He’s a sadistic sick bastard and remains utterly unapologetic, and justifies, deflects or plain ass doesn’t care about who he hurts on the way. “Every guy” has 3,000 hits of live lesbian butt sex on his computer (you stupid bitch.) He is an alcoholic bully who barely hid his cocaine use…or his cheating near the end. When I found clues (baggies of coke, bitch’s britches) he either gaslighted or acted imperious and unaffected. I don’t know how he has time to work but he does — so he can miser away “HIS MONEY” and rage if anyone implies he’s less than generous. He’s a sparkle plenty Industry Turd which comes with its own dimension of narcissism. He is an augmented narcissist.

Anyway, the question: There’s a tendency in this consciously uncoupled culture to overuse the diagnosis of the week or toss about half assed concepts based loosely somewhere between Dr. Phil and the Urban Dictionary. When the psych told me I was suffering from P.T.S.D. it sounded so self-indulgent and trendy I was embarrassed. But as it turns out, true malignant narcissism and psychopathy are serious hazards that wreak havoc on those of us in its wake — whether the owners cheat or not. Not that cheating alone isn’t enough, but it seems like almost all of our cheaters here suffer some form of this?

I read a ridiculous article yesterday about “thriving after an affair.” The author’s Donna Reed approach to this abysmal prospect made me wonder: Is there any such an animal, just a normal guy who fucked up one night when he was drunk, say, who is not by definition narcissistic or sociopathic? Not that I’d stick around in any case but I wondered your thoughts about this. What about men who cheat and their poor wives don’t have a clue after 30 years? Maybe they cheated but don’t necessarily have a dual diagnosis? I guess it’s possible, but cheating–just like FORGIVING, Mz Thrive After The Affair–is a choice. There are undeniable traits of narcissism in cheaters but they couldn’t all be DSM diagnosable… could they??


Dear Sara,

Well, here’s my short answer — who knows? If it’s this fucked up:  3,000 hits of live lesbian butt sex on his computer… alcoholic bully… cocaine use… cheating… gaslighting… imperious… unaffected — don’t wait around for the diagnosis — get the hell AWAY from it.

What I like about Dr. George Simon’s books (in the Amazon box, chumps, if you haven’t already checked them out) is that he untangles this particular skein so well. He views it all through the lens of “character disorder.” And character is something that is built over time, and while I suppose it’s more malleable and influenceable than personality (which you’re born with), it’s a slow thing to change. I like looking at this problem in terms of character disorder because it focuses purely on the ACTIONS of the person — the way their character is being demonstrated. Versus the more nebulous idea that they may be this or that diagnosis (NPD, Borderline, Histrionic, etc.)

The problem with a diagnosis like “sex addict” for instance, is that by giving it the label of addiction or mental illness some chumps will excuse the behavior. Oh, I can’t hold him responsible for his actions — he’s a sex addict. Implied there is that his actions are not a matter of choice, or personal responsibility, but part of a larger syndrome that He Just Can’t Help. He’s under the sway of powerful FOO issues that compel him to do Bad Things.

And being chumpy, by God, it’s our job to help, right? We can’t let them down! In sickness and in health! We’ll just get him the proper diagnosis and the right sort of help, and this can be fixed. Chumps buy the cake speak sex addicts spew that really they’re very sorry and need help, so just hang with them (and don’t impose any consequences) while they work through this ugly patch. What kind of person walks away from a sick person who wants their help? A HORRIBLE person, that’s who! And so a chump stays stuck.

Now, a cheater gets a diagnosis like sociopath or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, yeah, there’s more a sense of Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter. But here’s the problem with that — so few of these freaks get diagnoses. Why? Because they don’t tend to stroll into shrink’s offices looking for help. (Perfect people don’t need help.) If they wind up there at all, it’s probably because some chump dragged them by their ear. If that happens, being manipulative bastards, they’ll use therapy as a way to pick up new terms to mind fuck you with, or they’ll work on snowing the therapist that their cheating and lying is all your problem, and you’re the one who’s really sick. Or equally at fault, take your pick. Sadly, from what I read here, that shit happens all too often. Shrinks don’t see through the disordered. (Again, Dr. Simon riffs on this topic quite a bit — you can read more at his blog.)

So that puts the chump who is faced with a freak in the position of doing the arm chair diagnosis. Gee it looks like a freak, it cheats like a freak, and it checks 12 items off on the Hare list. I think it’s a sociopath!

If you find yourself checking items off the Hare list and having A-ha! moments — dude, your relationship is over, okay? Get the fuck OUT. As I said above — don’t wait around for a diagnosis — RUN!

Now to the question — is there a mythical cheater who just has a one-night stand and is immediately very sorry? I’m sure it’s possible. As I’ve written here before, I think cheating is on a spectrum. And I do think it is culturally influenced. In some cultures, cheating is tolerated and not considered all that aberrant. (Well, only for men, of course.) And consider, plenty of awful things have been culturally sanctioned that we now find repellant — slavery, beating children, making fun of minorities, etc. Was everyone who hit their kid with a belt mentally ill? Every slave holder? Everyone who laughed at a minstrel show? No. They were part of a sick culture.

But even in times of sick culture, ours included — there are those who demonstrate empathy and those who do not. People whose heart goes out to the victims. Slavery had the Abolitionist movement. I imagine there must be mothers across time who felt if you hit my kid, I’ll take you OUT. And people who didn’t laugh at minstrel jokes. There are people who will always demonstrate character, even if it means swimming against the cultural tide, because they see the hurtful costs associated with certain accepted behaviors.

That’s why I think it’s important for chumps to speak up and say cheating is hurtful and wrong. Change the culture, chumps. This shit’s on YOU to influence.

But in every time, in every culture, there have been narcissists and sociopaths. And my opinion there is these people are wired this way and have been since time immortal. Some people used their lack of empathy and cool reserve to become field surgeons, and some use it to become murderous dictators, and some just burn witches. But these people have always existed. I think we’re kidding ourselves to say we’re all neurologically the same, and see the world in the same way. We don’t. There are predators and prey. Manipulators and chumps.

We have to judge people by their demonstrated character. Not their sparkle. Not the pretty words they use. But by how they treat us and how they treat others. Do they connect? Do they feel empathy? Do they put me or my children in harm’s way? Do they take responsibility for their actions?

When we know OUR boundaries, it doesn’t matter what manner of freak you’re dealing with — the one night stand drunk or the practiced serial cheater — if you know yourself, you know what you’ll tolerate or not tolerate. You see what IS, and not its “potential.” You’ll know your worth, and you won’t stick around for abuse.

At some level, I do think the labeled freaks, the sex addicts, the NPDs, the sociopaths — they can’t help it. Of course it’s a personal choice, and of course they’re responsible for their manipulations — but it’s not personal. They’d play ANYONE for a kibble. You looked like a good mark, but if it wasn’t you, it would be someone else. It’s just what they do. I think there is some freedom in realizing that. I’m quite certain my ex was 77 flavors of fucked up, disordered, crazy as a March hare. He deliberately conned me and hurt me. And he did it to women before me, and women after me. I don’t need to know what DSM flavor of crazy he is — that would be untangling the skein — I just know my life is so much better without him.

Is every cheater an NPD, who knows? I doubt it. But everyone who cheats has behaved narcissistically. Infidelity is based on entitlement. If you’re comfortable with entitlement, if it doesn’t nag at your conscience enough to make you change your behavior, if you can carry on a double life, and you can react to the discovery of years of infidelity with rage and blame-shifting — you’re a disordered, piece of shit.

That’s my diagnosis. And here’s my prescription — leave the cheater, gain a life.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • It is a human trait to want to have a name or a label for that which is unpleasant or dangerous. Labels give us a common terminology with which to discuss problems or problematic people. So we use them.

    But the fact remains that regardless of a nomenclature or lack thereof, something or someone presenting a clear and present danger to us must be dealt with on a behavioral basis. Our OWN behavior.

    You say, “to-MAY-to”; I say “to-MAH-to,” but that round, red, edible fruit still “Is what it is.” Its characteristics remain observable and provide us with experiences…experiences that are either desirable and beneficial….. or NOT.

    The overriding questions should be:

    1. Why and what is it within me that compels ME to continue to VOLUNTARILY tolerate abuse, pain, and assaults upon my being?

    2. How can I stop contributing to my own abuse?

    Because those are the things we CAN do something about.

    Rather than continuing to discuss the relative merits or accuracy of “to-MAY-to” versus “to-MAH-to” we must reach the place where we accept: The fruit is rotten, we cannot change that, but we sure as hell can change whether we continue to eat it.

  • My father was a serial cheater, narcissistic, and anti-social. He did everything he could to destroy my mother (after 33 years of marriage) but thankfully she had the support of friends and family and he did not succeed. And I think he was addicted to porn as well.

    In my case, I had the “exit affair cheater.” My STBX had been emotionally distant from me and my children for some time but never tried to communicate his needs or tell me that he wanted out. Instead, he met a woman online, then met her in real life, and then they both dumped their respective partners and hooked up. He basically let me have full custody of the children and he now sees them a handful of times a year. He wanted to have a child-free life again and live the life of a single man again (with a girlfriend).

    So yes, there are all kinds of cheaters but it all hurts the same. In my mom’s case, my father’s wrath and his intentions to hurt her and destroy her did damage to all of us. In my case, my STBX’s indifference and abandonment has hurt us as well…but I think the serial cheater probably causes more damage overall.

    • Your father sounds like my ex: serial cheating angry, wrathful asshole who tried to destroy me. He will not succeed.

      • I’m sorry, Nord!! It’s really hard going against this type of cheater because they are not content in just hurting by cheating, they have to do more damage.

        I hope you can kick his butt and get to a better place!!

        • I’m getting there. It’s been a tough couple of years but it’s coming together. He can keep trying to create drama and problems but I will not let him best me. He’s such an infant loser.

          • Nord, I have come to the conclusion and agree with CL, I don’t believe in diagnosing with psychological labels. I can diagnose all cheaters rather well with these three words. Asshole, Loser and Creep.

            That’s my diagnosis and keeps it simple, accurate and real for me.

            No matter what they do after you leave or they leave that doesn’t change what they are one iota. Different setting but still the same Asshole, Loser and Creep.

            He isn’t worth a moment of your time Nord. I know you rock and your posts always helped me in my finally reaching meh knowing you faced more than just leaving and you more than survived the tough road you faced with strength and humor!

            Thank you.

    • Nat–
      This is exactly the type of cheater I was married to. I’d label him as more of a passive-aggressive victim-mentality coward than a flaming narcissist. I do believe the two types are distinctive. Your description of your ex matches mine exactly. Mine found an ex hook-up of his on FB (or she found him). He is now more of a generous uncle than a father. He walked out and hates me now. Might have something to do with the truth shower I gave him on the way out.
      My ex had the exit affair with his “it was meant to be all along” true love, but Lord knows he tried to exit with a handful of other women before her, each of whom were his soul mate.
      Yes, it hurts. I now recognize that I was a fool for pursuing him in the first place, for settling for a man who never really cherished me in the first place. I forgive myself.

      I want to say that the author of this letter, Sara, is a gifted writer! I admire your way with words, Miss!

      I agree with CL–once the boundary has been crossed, just get out. If you want to figure it out, do so only to figure out what red flags you missed earlier along the way, so you don’t make the same mistake again. Do so only to try to identify the risk factors–the symptoms of the character-disordered. Figure out your boundaries, and shore them up, so that the next time you’re with someone who gives you a sick feeling, you’ll get out early and spare yourself a bigger pain.

      • Sounds exactly like my ex Sunshine. He finally left with the exit affair but there were many many many others before this one. Emotional/physical affairs even when I look back to before we were married, there was always some other woman around.

        My ex was very distant towards me and the kids for months if not years before he finally left. I remember saying to him after he hadn’t really been home for about 6 months, always off shooting, sailing, playing hockey, some girl (at this stage it was the blonde OW) when he had been home for about 3 days and said he was again heading off somewhere, how about you spend some time with your family… his response, I’ve got nothing in common with you or the kids.. well really you tosser, if you actually spent time with us maybe you would develop a relationship. I too settled for somebody who never cherished me, I gave, he took. I forgive myself for that too. For allowing that.

        I have set those big boundaries now. In all honesty, if they don’t match up or I don’t feel 100% right, I’m gone. It is amazing who actually stays and is willing to be your friend first before anything else.. these are the keepers. The ones who cherish you first and foremost as a person. Not just to see if they can get you in bed or sparkle you into a relationship.

        • Wow. Every time I come here I am reminded that yes, cheaters really are all the same.

          Your experience brings back memories. I remember a conversation with my WXH when I was still trying to control the situation and Salvage My Investment in the marriage. He had been for years, working nearly every weekend. He’d leave at 6am and return around 7pm, so seven days a week most weeks he’d be gone all day, and when he came home he’d either go directly to the gym and then plop in front of the TV all night or just plop in front of the TV all night.

          I knew that he actually did go to work (although, as a supervisor of outside technicians he often went to their locations, allowing him plenty of time/opportunity to go “missing” for stretches of time). So I asked him why he took weekend call so often when a. it wasn’t paid, just comp time that he could never use, and b. he volunteered for. His answer?

          Him: Well, what else am I going to do?
          Me: Well you can stay with me and we could do things together.
          Him: Like what else, we already do things together (lie). I’d rather just go to work.
          Me: So you’d rather work than be home, relaxing or hanging out with me?! (slightly upset)
          Him: I didn’t say that.
          Me: Well, why did you say you rather be at work? You don’t get paid more, so why?
          Him: I have things I have to get done there. I’d rather be at there to make sure things get done. There’s nothing to do here.
          Me: What?!!! (more upset) What THINGS?!
          Him: I just rather go to work on weekends if there’s an opportunity. (shrugs, starts walking away).

          At that point I realize the conversation is pointless and I let him walk away. The thing is we had no children, there were tons of things we could have done together. We could have had great carefree fun. But that’s not what he wanted. He wanted a wife to manage his life, while he did what ever he wanted, with whoever, whenever.

          In hindsight I now realize, this was how he maintained emotional distance and detachment from me. The always working, the obsessive TV watching, the sex withholding, the secrets and lies… It’s easier to use someone for your own selfish needs when you aren’t attached to them.

          I see this theme again and again, selfish people who really should never get married but do so anyway because they like to have a living crutch with which to lean…they take and take, but only give just enough to keep you hanging on.

          There is sooo much truth about truly listening to what a person says. They often reveal themselves quite plainly if you listen to what they actually say instead of what your “nice person” filter lets you hear.

          • Wow, what an amazing post ThatGirl. Seems we were married to the same guy 🙂

            Your insight is crystal clear – I really see perfect clarity in the part about emotional distance and attachment. My exH also “worked” 7 days a week; about 360 days a year. I felt (rightly so) that he wanted to be ANYWHERE but with me and our 2 kids. He truly spent about 10 minutes a day with them in the morning (if that); but considered himself a “great parent” – because in that 10 minutes he didn’t beat or molest them (he set the bar for parenting pretty darn low…). And when he walked away, and hasn’t seen them for six years now – I can see in hindsight it was because he never really felt anything for them at all. By his choosing.

            Yes, they never should have gotten married. And he would say that – and I’d express frustration with his awesome insight – since he didn’t figure it out until he’d been married 8 years or so with two little kids. Wouldn’t you know though, the insight evaporated, and asshole remarried in a blink of an eye. I pray they don’t reproduce and harm any more children. Thanks for your awesome post – really good stuff.

        • Oh Miss Sunshine and Jode. Thank you for your words. Powerful stuff, really helped me to understand the concept of “forgiving” me. Your stories are mine, I am working towards that forgiveness.

      • Thank you, Nat! The ex trampled on that, my writing. Sorry for repeating but he’s a damn screenwriter, and I don’t say that with pride–the opposite. I cannot believe what years of his degradation did to my self confidence. And the boundary issue is huge! It’s gotten so bad I have to pay to ask someone how to say “Please, not now” ?? And I had to ask him to repeat those three words because I could not retain them the first two times!
        We sure about recovering here? I do love you guys. Gals. All y’all;)

  • Chump Lady Right on. Don’t stop to diagnose. Just Get out. What about neglectful disrespectful children who want cheaters money and power? Art has passed onbut the memory lingers on in my bewildering off spring. Do i say there there you poor dears how awful you had just 1 parent me andi am 86 so just ignore me. No!After the memorial
    (my daughter asked me to postpone minor surgery until after the may 30 memorial
    where Art will probably get a posthumous charity award) they will hear the truth.
    Include me out!!Even now i want a life!!Muriel

  • Sara,
    I think my father and exH exemplify a large percentage of cheaters: lazy, passive, entitled, cowards. Both emotionally abandoned the family, did not tell the spouse what they wanted/needed, and then had affairs. Final step: blame spouse in some way for the cheating. (Physical abandonment also occurred, but it’s a longer story)

    Trust CL and the others:
    Cheaters fall on a spectrum
    Labels do not really matter (the kettle is black, you do not need to know how to manufacture cast iron to understand why)
    Compare actions and words

    • This. Mine is so nice. Funniest guy in the room. Everyone thought we had the nicest marriage. I only noticed the distance in retrospect. But never did he once mention he was feeling there was a problem in the relationship. But again, in retrospect, there were a few eyerolls that were the entire mode of communication of a problem. And now that he just up and left and is porking his shmoopie across town (in the same house as my children on 2 nights of the week), he is making no moves to divorce and presumably just waiting for me to do so. Because I guess visiting legal counsel to responsibly dissolve our marriage and family before engaging in an extramarital affair in front of our kids isn’t included in finding his happiness.

      • Hearing you on the nice guy thing. Nice is to appease others, to look good. Too bad they don’t understand that nice is not the same thing as kind. It’s not kind to subject your children to the drama that feeds him. Sorry you have to endure this. Hugs.

        • My ex is the king of Mr Nice Guy, Wonderful Father, Good Christian, All Around Great Guy. He plays the part well. Too bad that inside, where it really counts, he is a liar, a cheat and a con artist. But he fools a lot of people.

        • “…nice is not the same thing as kind.”

          And here you say something very powerful. As I adjust my “picker,” the three most important things are: kindness, honesty, and living with integrity. And if a person is kind–truly kind–the other two are likely to follow. The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

      • Yup, mine is/was super nice and funny. The one comment everyone made to me… I next thought X of all people would leave his kids.

        It killed me that I had to be the one to file, and find the lazy bum a suitable place to live, because he was too caught up with OW.

      • Mine was always the ‘nice guy’. Then he turned into such a jerk and everyone knew it so he had to build a whole new world. His family still won’t believe some of the shit he pulled and chalks it up to me being ‘crazy’. What the fuck ever. I’ve got his number, he knows it, it scares him, so he’s an asshole to me.

        • Nord, my ex is exactly the same way! Everyone thinks he is “such a good/nice guy” of course when I kept my mouth zipped when shit hit the fan, so the asshole made up bunch of stories about me, which is fine, they can all kiss my ass! but I hear the last OW have a big mouth so she has been yapping, ruining his reputation and of course he calls her a crazy douche bag/fat cow and he is having a hard time finding a new chump since she out him so badly lol! one pleasure and in a way revenge I get that he will never find anyone close to me in any way, not even in his wildest dreams and he knows it. 🙂

          • Its all about the image. My NPD wife is so NICE to all & was more worried about IF I told people that she cheated and how she would look after I caught her cheating, its all about her. Fuck me and the kids, its all about her image. Her mother did the same thing to her father and her mother is one of the BIGGEST NACRS I have ever met. She is good to my boys so i keep quiet but
            Yes I am a chump,,,, but its my duty (maybe a bad word I love being a daddy) as a father to protect honor LOVE and raise my kids not be a part time weekend daddy. They dont change and there is no cure for NPD. Sucks~~~~~~~

        • Mine was the nice guy too, great dad, we where the perfect couple…. but now I see that stbx distanced himself emotionally from me for at least 10 years. I was busy with kids and spakaling like crazy. He had become critical of me and I could never figure out where the apathy came from when I was sick with a cold or flu or just not feel well. He was making me feel guilty for beeing sick!! Now I know that he is the disturbed one.

          • Yep, we were the perfect couple and the centre of everything for friends and family. Turns out ex didn’t like our group of friends anymore and wanted a new set of playmates. Well, he got that and now spends time contacting our old friends, who don’t have time for him anymore. His new friends are all from a younger generation and through final OW. His family supports him but aren’t terribly keen on final OW, mainly because she’s young, dumb and needy.

            Oh well, his choices, his loss, his future. 🙂

        • Dear Nord,
          My jerk wad sounds so similar it is scary. He tried to be Mr Nice and Polite to the outside world but he has poor social skills most of the time because he really only cares about himself. Pretty much everyone who knew us saw through him though except our best friend and his parents. Our best friend was serial cheated upon by his wife and finally left her 5 years ago so you think he would be running like the wind from this dog turd who had treated him pretty poorly at times over the years. Instead my dog turd has really put on the sparkle charm and our friend FELL FOR IT! I had always been very close to this friend, particularly during his multi year crisis with his wife and I think dog turd is turning on the sparkle to try and make sure I never end up with this person. This so called “friend” had invited my daughter and I to travel to his place and come and visit for a weekend 2 months after Dday. The week before our planned trip he uninvited us and said that x was coming to do some collaborative research. OK – we all have been colleagues for 25 years so I understand and I play the chump and make excuses for “friend” (daughter’s godfather ) to my daughter. Then “friend” calls frantically Friday evening saying “he urgently needs to talk and to call any time – he has his cell phone with him.” So I call 7 times, leave voice messages, send email and don’t hear back. I get hold of him Sunday and he confessed that he had invited dog turd and OW for the weekend! I told him he was a thoughtless shit and that he just hurt me more than dog turd. So he went on the attack about how awful I am for “vilifying ” dog turd and “alienating” dog turd from his kid he loves soooo much (vomit). “Friend” bought dog turd’s shit hook line and sinker! This was after “friend ” had been so pissed at dog turf for how dog turd has treated him for the last 15 years. It was like he fell completely back into chump mode like he had with his x over and over. He became dog turd’s doormat again. I was flabbergasted. Anyway, clearly “friend” is not my friend. I tried to reconcile with “friend” a few weeks ago but same thing, x got wind we were speaking again and pit on sparkle and “friend” turned on me again. So, that person is now x-friend and he deserves my x.

          Dog turd’s parents are European so they don’t seem to think marital infidelity is a big deal and “I should be accepting that their precious son needs to find happiness”. They have completely rewritten our marriage too, the shits. If they only knew the truth what their sparkly turd son actually thought of them – tells everyone they are stupid, poor and uneducated (Total lie) – they wouldn’t be so supportive. I have always been ashamed how disrespectfully he has spoken of his parents over the years. I was an amazing DIL to them and after 25 years that is how they treated me – like a piece of garbage to be chucked. His mother actually told me “if I had been a better wife none of this would have happened”. Of course now he has transformed into the wonderful son who is seeking support from them because they are the only ones who will give it (in addition to friend above). Even his brother who he always felt close to thinks he is a jerk.

          Actually, I think I feel most betrayed by our former best friend since he was in the same boat and I was there for him. As I pointed out to him, if I had invited his x and her OM for a weekend 2 months out he would have been extraordinarily hurt and felt betrayed. That just made him angry.

          Here’s to getting rid of all turfs as they reveal themselves.

          • TKM,

            So very sorry that happened to you , but glad the ex-friend outed his own character before you got any closer to him and got hurt worse. Hugs – just another layer of betrayal. Here’s to finding new, better people for you and your daughter.

            And I hear you about the in-laws; my ex in laws are also European, and my ex FIL has cheated his whole marraige; my exH was such a mama’s boy that I thought he wouldn’t, since he saw what it did to his mother. I have virtually no contact with them, but it is similiar – exH also trashed them at every chance, and then ran back to his father (who he claimed to hate) and is now firmly in his daddy’s pocket. Oh, and after almost 40 years of being married, I just heard recently that exMIL caught exFIL with a very young stripper getting “serviced” in the front seat of his Mercedes…and she filed for divorce. Apple sure didn’t fall far from that crazy tree.

          • TKM, I am from Europe and believe me it has nothing to do with being European. It has everything to do with their family dynamic. The marital or non-marital infidelity is a VERY big deal and their reaction to it has nothing to do with being a European. If that was the case I would’ve been still with my cheater and not here on this blog.

  • “The problem with a diagnosis like “sex addict” for instance, is that by giving it the label of addiction or mental illness some chumps will excuse the behavior. Oh, I can’t hold him responsible for his actions — he’s a sex addict. Implied there is that his actions are not a matter of choice, or personal responsibility, but part of a larger syndrome that He Just Can’t Help. He’s under the sway of powerful FOO issues that compel him to do Bad Things”

    Right here, in sickness and in health, ooooh it makes me so mad when I look back. My stbx kept asking me to “help” me with his issue. These folks have a choice and he simply tooooo easy for him not to change. My stbx manipulated the “sickness and in health” vow to the end. I was really chumpy. I trusted and believed he was not cheating and even when I got the actual proof I tried to reconcile. I didn’t want to go ahead before God with the decision to divorce.

    It’s been one hell of a ride. Today I’m seeing things clearly and that includes seeing right through his bull. For one brief moment I started to question my faith and whether God cared or was there for me. I had difficulty praying and even reading my bible, but things started to change. STBX went deeper into his addictions/sin and has been spiraling. In my situation my stbx sees nothing wrong with his behaviors-drunkenness/porn/infidelity.

    I knew this guy and his family for years before we were married. His behavior/sin is generational. I had no idea it was so accepted in his family, expected. I believe as he got older he became more like his father – a conscious decision- and as he continued in his manipulation his conscious became seared. Even as we prod through the legalities he thinks I’ll get over it, like the women in his family.

    Sure there may be some chemical changes in the brain caused by the repetitive exposure to porn/drugs/adultery but these folks do have a choice. I know of too many hard core drug abuses that stopped cold turkey without any outside intervention. In my case my cheater got pleasure from manipulating me, and some sick power from lying. We tried counseling for briefly and I was dumbfounded as watched him manipulate the counselor by session 2. By session 3 he felt he got nothing from it and did not attend. Needless to say I schooled the counselor in session 3 and it became very apparent to her she had been played. Oh she wanted another shot at my cheater but alas he had accomplished what he sat out to do.

    They do suck. At one time I wondered how could someone go against common decency.. My cheater had a different standard and his job was to get me to change mine. Very calculated. They do understand what they are doing, they just don’t agree with normal folk. Trust that they suck and will never change!

      • YES! The disordered are mostly aware that what they are doing is hurtful or wrong according to normal people, but they simply don’t agree and they don’t care.

        • It’s like survivors of sexual abuse.

          Most, if not all, sexual abusers were abused themselves.

          BUT! It’s not a majority of people who survive abuse who become abusers.

          I hate to sound preachy here, but the Bible gets it right when it says,”In your anger, do not sin.” And I would apply that to pain or bitterness as well. Just because you have FOO, doesn’t mean you can foock others over.

  • CL nails it, don’t concern yourself with a diagnoses, that is not your problem. I could give a rats ass what problems my ex has. He refused to seek help and he hurt me badly. That’s all I need to know. People who care about me, and care about themselves; they do everything in their power to NOT hurt others and to take care of their own shit. Ex did go to therapy but only as a ploy to keep me in the marriage. Liars lie, even to their therapists. When my ex said he was going to kill himself I called his therapist. Ex response to that? “I can’t see her anymore because she talked to you, I can’t trust her”. What does that tell me? He was afraid his therapist would figure out he was lying to her. So pathetic.

    • My CH went to counseling with me the last time. That liar had everyone fooled. Even the counselor was “understanding”. Never again! This time the counseling is all for me. He can do as he pleases. He always does.

  • “I got hit in the head with a hammer! I’m bleeding! My skull is cracked!”

    “Oh my–were you hit by a Dewalt or a Lee Valley hammer–coz that makes a difference you know…”

    • I do not like to be an armchair psychologist/psychiatrist, but given the videos, and what you have said, I agree

  • Ugh, so I did look up the hare quiz on reading this morning. You know us chumps so well.

    So happy you are back! It was horrible with your computers down for me.

    I feel so much better, I feel stronger reading this today.

  • I agree. They may be entitled to be labelled with diagnoses, and frankly, sometimes it makes the Chump seem less crazy when the cheater can be verifiably labelled as some flavor of psychotic. Yet in the end it always comes down to behavior…as Dr. Simon, and CL always emphasize.

    It matters not if the cheater had a sucky FOO (who didn’t?), or other issues…how do they treat you? Is your life a burning building? If [answ=yes], get the hell out!

    I am reminded of the SLAA meetings my Ex briefly attended, at the behest of one therapist of his. (SLAA being sex and love addicts anonymous, got that?) They would tell one another, “You’re not a bad PERSON, you’ve just done BAD THINGS.”

    I would always say, “Well what in the seven hells (GOT ref!) defines a BAD PERSON? Is it not the commission of BAD THINGS? Or is it a matter of degree? Are we talking Godwin law here (i.e., Hitler ref.); Pol Pot level cruelty?; running down a 3 year old? Or is purposefully destroying your own family enough to brand you as a bad person?” He would always say that the group was not able to understand those kinds of philosophical nuances. I called bullshit. Still do.

    People who do bad things…are bad people. In other words, Cheaters Suck, trust it.

    I’ve taken to saying, “cheaters gonna cheat, liars gonna lie.”

      • There is no such thing as “bad” or “good”–this is black and white thinking.

        It was impulsive.
        It was coming from a place of unhealed brokenness.
        It was coming from a hole of loneliness.
        It was….etc.

        It’s all bullshit from the holes in the head of apologists.

        • Chump In the Sand,

          Just a thought as you sort through all the bullshit excuses and try so hard to find truth…

          I wanted to know what was true SO badly. And there were so very many lies, really twisted shit to sort through, that I was drowning. So my (awesome) therapist told me that “You will never know what was really true this side of heaven. So you can waste more time and energy on this, or let it go.” And I did.

          So now, six years later, all kinds of people and coincendence and circumstances have revealed “the truth” to me. Our whole marriage was a lie. He cheated every single day for ten years. He claimed to his family and OW’s that our daughter “wasn’t his”. He never told family and OW’s about our son. He stole over a million dollars from “investors”…and the list of truth goes on.

          And it revealed itself, over time. ExH had absolutely zero to do with revealing it – he continues to lie about everything. But here’s the blessing. If I had known even a scrap of that truth in the beginning, as my life and home were falling apart, it would have killed me. It would have been too much. God was merciful to me, and it came in little bits, over time, as I was able to handle it, and incorporate it into the reality that the man I’d loved never really existed. And now I can truly trust that he sucks – and I’m still standing.

          You will find the truth, in the right time. And it will set you free. And life will be good again. Hugs to you.

  • I personally don’t buy the sex addict BS along with “I don’t know why I did it”. They know what they are doing, they want to do it and they all know it’s wrong, why else would they go to all that trouble for the secret meetings to fuck, hiding the truth, lie through their teeth, gaslight the hell out of you, thus emotionally, mentally abusing you, cover their tracks so well. Can you imagine if we put the cheating under a mental disorder? When they get caught they would be simply saying, “but baby, I don’t know why I did it, I have a mental problem, I need help, please don’t leave me and help me recover from this” or some BS like that, BINGO!! just another justification/excuse for them to avoid responsibility, because poor fuckers have mental issues and can’t help themselves! To me they are simply entitled, selfish, characterless, who have no morals nor integrity human waste liars. My low-life ex, after many denials, gaslighting, endless lies, when he couldn’t no longer deny because I finally had proof also tried to tell me “I don’t know why I did it, I am stupid” this was just one of the many bull shit excuses he threw at me. My answer “yeah right Sherlock, why do you go to work every day, why do you lock your truck in a bad neighborhood? You know why, so by saying “I don’t know why I did it” it’s another way to try to avoid consequences of their CHOICES. They all are disgusting piece of shits! If someone cheated on you, lied to you, stole from you, don’t wait and dump their ass to the curb as fast as you all can, because they will do it again and again but will get better at covering their tracks. Don’t waste your time on a worthless human waste POS’s.

    We all know they have what it takes to wipe their lovers kisses off of their lips before kissing yours and can do it without batting an eye. Who in their right mind will want to stay with someone like this and hope they won’t do it again?

    Like CL says “leave the cheater, gain a life.”

    • nicolette14 .. I got “it is something that just happened”. He started to carry condoms which he hated to wear by the way. When they want something badly enough they will go to any length.

      • Maree, I got that too!! Yeah I guess he just slipped on a banana peel, slipped and accidently found himself between the whores legs, over and over you know and it just happened. You are right though, when they do want something badly they will go to any length, I am so glad we don’t have to deal with their lying asses and they are not our problem anymore. I have to tell you, it feels so good to be away from all that nightmare.

        • It is lovely not to have to deal with their lies and betrayal anymore. My only problem is that my 31 year old son sent me a text the other day blaming me for everything that has gone wrong. I asked him if he insulted his father as much as he did me. I never got a response. The sad part is, my son actually wanted to catch up before I went on my trip and then he let rip with the abuse. The damage that has been done is beyond repair. I know that in my heart now.

          • I agree Maree, its wonderful and peaceful. Your son in time may see the truth or the apple don’t fall far from the tree(his father). You know who you are, you are a good person and you did nothing wrong, if your son or whoever refuses to see the truth so be it, you know the truth. He seems very abusive towards you, his own mother and my guess is he learned that behavior from his dad, don’t let him or anyone ruin your trip or your life in any way anymore. You deserve so much better. I know it hurts, but if someone bringing you sadness, grief and ruins your happiness please don’t allow it anymore, do it like I did. I removed every person who was toxic to me from my life, even including family members. You will be so surprised after couple of months, my life is so much better and happier now and I am sure it will be the same for you. From now on do what makes you happy, content and start living for yourself. You just started in your journey, in time it will get much better I promise. Big hugs 🙂

      • lol Maree – ‘When they want something badly enough they will go to any length.”

        Surely you pun! 🙂

      • I also hate the “it just happened”. Bullshit. If I trip over my own feet, that “just happened”. Taking your holemate to a motel for sex, not so much.

        • Nat1 .. We are talking about 20 year old Vietnamese and Cambodian prostitutes and he is 62. He still had to be tested upon his return to Melbourne because he can’t resist kissing these girls. He is wearing that like a badge of honour. Makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.

    • Nicolette – as much as this strong-hit me in the gut about being true, your writing truly made me laugh out loud the first time today. I love your language. Your writing completes for me what is in my head and can’t get it out. Thanks for doing it for me and so well. Fucking lying-ass POS’s. With no remorse. yep.
      At the end of my 35 yr journey, I got – ‘You married the wrong guy”. uh, thanks.

      • Thank you SheChump! 🙂

        that’s right! they are all lying fuckers, POS scums! Fuck’em!….well, not literally! let the OW/OM fuck the garbage now, since we all got rid of the garbage! 😉

    • “We all know they have what it takes to wipe their lovers kisses off of their lips before kissing yours and can do it without batting an eye. Who in their right mind will want to stay with someone like this and hope they won’t do it again?”

      Woah Nicolette, you go girl!

  • I absolutely think there are guys who cheat who don’t have personality disorders, however, we don’t really hear about them that much because- THEIR WIVES AREN’T CHUMPS. Their wives have a sparkling sense of self and either make them atone with counseling or leave immediately. I do think there are marriages where one person cheats and the marriage is put back together but we don’t hear about it because they do it semi-quietly. Hey, isn’t that what we all tried to do? We all tried that. But we couldn’t because our spouse couldn’t atone- it wasn’t part of their nature. I’m learning that what happened to me, although I wouldn’t call it my “fault” is also a lot about my nature (we call it being a Chump here)- being too hopeful, unrealistic, somehow manically believing that a perfect house and a perfect dinner = a perfect marriage. Like, OMG, if I can just dry-brush this cellulite 10 minutes a day he might treat me better. WTF? I actually thought stuff like that. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet someone again, but it’s almost not important. It’s so much more important that I gain a better sense of self. I’m sure there are cheaters who are only one-timers, but it’s the serial, sick ones who seem to be able to smell a Chump from a mile away. Don’t kid yourself, they love us. We are generally pretty selfless people- that’s part of the Chump mentality. So there’s way more room for them and their needs.

    • “But we couldn’t because our spouse couldn’t atone- it wasn’t part of their nature.”

      Well said, Rose! Atonement, something that was big in the church we were married in. Who knew it wasn’t part of his nature all this time. What a big disappointment in our value system I thought we shared.

    • Couldn’t agree more Rose. I could care less if I meet anyone again. I am
      looking for a fantastic life for
      me with my daughter and pets (dogs, cat, and horses). My daughter will be off to college and her own life in a couple years so my main focus pursuing my career (finally my career will get too billing) and finding a nice small farm for me and the pets that’s daughter can come and visit. I also plan to get chickens because my x never allowed us to have them and I have always wanted some 🙂

    • Ugh, the perfect house, dinner, hidays and yeah, even the celulite brush. I relate. I actually worried that his ED that lead to a sexless marriage was a bigger cardiovascular problem. Used to beg him to get checked out because of his vague but disturbing complaints. Really dragged his feet on that one, now I know why. In the end when I had too much evidence that he put no effort into the sex problems, he just decided to tell me that I’m ugly. Oh. Bye bye 23 years.

    • Agreed Rose! My ex is a serial cheater and pathological liar. The long term damage these assholes cause is unbelievable!

  • In X’s pea brain, he didn’t cheat, he just found someone new who appreciates his well-crafted acting. Here’s my diagnosis:

    Symptoms: cowardly, lazy, self-important, controlling, thoughtless and entitled.
    Diagnosis: asshole.

  • My cheater has a triple diagnosis: NPD.

    It took me years to believe it. Not the love of my life! Sheesh.

  • This post hit home so much with me today. I just had an encounter with my STBX and I listened to him completely re-write the history of our marriage and certain events which occurred which “caused” him to cheat. And when I say “completely re-write” I mean that in none of the events that he described did he relate what actually happened. It is a re-telling events that, except for certain unchangeable information, he has completed fabricated in his head (if by head you mean completely useless appendage sitting atop his neck). He related these events as if I had not been present and had not been a participant as well, and therefore, had no knowledge of what actually had taken place.

    To paraphrase Dave Chappelle, I’m not saying he has a personality disorder, but he sure is dressed up in a suit that looks like one. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter except in terms of perhaps knowing the correct treatment for me in therapy. Beyond that, the pain and devastation is the same to me and my children whether he is just a run of the mill asshole or someone who merits a mental health diagnosis. You know that this person means you harm and does not wish you well so it is best to get away from them and associate with people who honor and nurture you.

    I am still recovering from that trip to hell and back which is why Flaming Turd from Satan’s Ass has always seemed a better description for my STBX than any mental health diagnosis could possibly provide.

    • The re-narration these jerks engage in is amazing. Not too long ago, I received an out-of-the-blue message from the EX I try to maintain as-little-as-humanly-possible-contact with (and I only do that because we have kids), in which I was lambasted for having thrown him “the worst birthday parties anyone has ever had.” (I suppose he was digging for new justifications for his behavior.)

      He also praised a fantastic party he had thrown me. Despite the fact I should know better, I still sat perplexed as I read the message. I couldn’t recall the fantastic party . . . I wondered if I had blanked it out somehow . . . I counted the years back . . . I finally realized that the “fantastic party” he claimed to have thrown for my milestone birthday would have occurred six months before we met. That’s why I didn’t remember it! It never existed. He lies in unbelievable ways (or at least they are unbelievable now–I spent far too long believing!)

      (Alternate and equally probable explanation–he did throw someone a fantastic milestone birthday party, but it wasn’t me.)

      And even if the parties I threw disappointed him (no evidence of that at the time), perhaps mentioning it prior to the next birthday would be a better way to manage the situation. I could have gotten him a pinata and a clown the next year–which would at least have been appropriate to his behavioral age and maybe he’d have been happier. I wouldn’t even have had to look very far to find a jackass for the pin-the-tail game.

    • Chump princess, before he left Andrew thought he might like to tell me all that I did wrong throughout our 18 year marriage, you know, all the stuff he’d never (had the balls) to say before. As he spoke I could say ” that wasn’t me, it was you”. So then he’d tell me something else and I could say, ” but that was you”. After sometime he gave up in disgust and told me I was confusing him. Perhaps he’d come to believe his rewrite, but very funny in hindsight.

    • “You know that this person means you harm and does not wish you well so it is best to get away from them and associate with people who honor and nurture you.”

      This is so true Princess. For me however I could not categorize, understand, or even believe my ex truly meant me and my children harm until I realized a bit of the nature of the underlying pathology. At least I know and accept that he is evil, though I may never truly surmount my stunned disbelief that this is the man I was married to for 25 years.

      • Kelly I am still stunned that I married an imposter. I kept waiting for that guy–who was it here that said was there up until and about “24 hours after” we married. In spite of all understanding, something in me still wants to untangle the skein, like maybe understanding will make me human again. It’s like a time warp; I’m gone but still grappling with the concept of the man I thought I knew years ago. I can’t see your post and forget why I started this…time to eat or sleep or one of those “self caring” things I have to wrap my brain around!

        • I know Sara. A woman on another site commented about this, saying she believed she would “go to (her) grave stunned” by what her husband did. That stuck with me because as smart as I am, as much as I’ve researched and read about sociopathy, as much as I know he is evil and sucks and simply does not care and likely never did, a part of my brain does not believe it, does not want to believe it, and cannot wrap itself around this concept. My counselor told me it is a form of cognitive dissonance and some kind of protective mechanism and that my disbelief on one level while knowing it is true is a post-traumatic-type reaction.

          • I believe that Kelly, I really do. It’s one of the reasons I asked about true mental illness. I do not diminish anyone’s pain here, there is no winner in betrayal, heartbreak or suffering. But these are the the things that haunt me. It defies logic, intelligence, good advice…it defies me, if that makes sense. I hope you and your friend find healing from the trauma, that stun-gun effect. I still jump when a door opens, I can’t believe this amount of wreckage possible from a relationship meant to be sacred. It is the gas lighting and cognitive dissonance that feels so completely overwhelming, like I am no longer present in my own body. I can’t do it alone, that’s for sure. Hearing your story helps me take one more breath. Thank you so much for posting.

  • Thank you CL and fellow chumps. I just read the Cheat-O-Meter which describes this so well. Clearly I have a lot to catch up on. I struggle with expression no end, write-delete-edit-trash-rewrite. I angsted over pressing Send, so finding your response is heartening. I was *not always this wimp!

    My question was not whether I should leave, if that was unclear. It’s the struggle to recover myself, but I guess it’s all the same…stop thinking about him? I’m having terrible fallout from seeing the guy last week and dreading more of the same as we (presumably) slouch toward finalizing the divorce. C.L. was right; I dragged him by his ear to therapy where the licensed professional drooled over him and he learned some new words to justify his abuse with. My lawyer will never get it and continues to suggest I talk to him, even when I remind him I left in bruises. He said “you could have just gotten a restraining order.” It’s crazy on crazy. Seeing him–especially sparkly looking–hurts. Talking to him is dangerous to my health.

    The personality disordered shmuck was serially exiting from the start, my head spun from the dissonance. He’d already constructed a Restraining Order against me: Don’t love her. Don’t fuck her. Fuck with her. Don’t let her love you. Lie like a mother fucker. Don’t give a shit. Torture with simmering rage, degrade, deny, deflect and neglect until she dies or leaves, whichever comes first. I did leave finally, and he only noticed because of the financial inconvenience.

    I’m at the end of the line with attorneys. It’s really true that the person with the most money gets the best help, and he has it. Both lawyers adore him. That. Part.

    I am yanked by the chain of my own foo fight. I wonder about this letting go, it seems fucking impossible! A couple of months before he hovered at the courtroom entrance so I had to pass him (where both of our lawyers stood) to get out. He literally tugged my shoulder and played like he was hugging me. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and his lawyer had just ripped me to shreds in the courtroom. He whispered that it was “nice to see me,” his lawyer smiled (aw, what a sweet guy), my lawyer said “well he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy” and I almost split in half, my biochemistry was so addled by the encounter. Then I got in the car, answered his call because I was so confused and he proceeded to verbally terrorize and threaten me until I hung up on him. That. No one can see?!

    I asked my therapist what to do if he tried to hug me again this last time, certain he wouldn’t but just in case. It was an extremely emotionally draining day,
    I felt like a runt-pig at an auction. Try to separate emotions, check. Sure–talk about self-worth. We stayed in separate rooms, attorneys ran from one to the other. His came in and said “well they hate each other so much (he shouldn’t have to abide by blah blah…).” I hated her saying that. I hate her. Is that okay? I couldn’t hate him even then. I have to hate him, I have to like me, how Oprah?!

    At the end of the day his young little brown nail-polished power lawyer walked into my old school sexist fart’s tiny office and announced that “he has something to say to her.” He popped his sparkly, handsome turd head over her’s and with god and everyone else looking on, asked if he could “have a hug?” Thank God I’d rehearsed! Verbatim, replete with hand gesture (STOP!) “Please..not now.” And he shrugged and said, “I tried!” *I looked like the asshole! That. Part. Of That disorder. Hard.

    Later the real deal, him texting that our marriage was not simply not worth his money (by now well hidden, no more forensic accountant $$.) No audience for that part, just me and my crazy. No audience for the real him ever, just the Handsome Successful Sparkly (best I’ll ever do implicit) Turd.

    Does my struggle for self worth all go back to Daddy Damage? The original I’ve therapized, raged and forgiven and ReDone decades over, to no avail? Sigh. I’m sad, sick and sucky serious today.

    Apologies for straying so far, many thanks for C.L., this site and all of you. A beacon of light!

    • Sara–I’m sure you actually looked like the rational one…seriously, who does that ?? (hugs act)…and believe me, everyone knew it was an act… I’ll bet anything you came off looking calm, mature, adult, and non-manipulative. Good for you!

      That said, how sucky! I’m so sorry.

      I found out after my divorce negotiations that my ex had re-hooked up with his former (i.e., pre-our marriage) GF–no wonder he suddenly got a spine eh? but lied by omission.

      These turds differ in their turdliness, but, they are *all* turds. (Oh, and just for shits and giggles, she’s still married…nice people, they deserve each other!)

      • shits and giggles…you all have the greatest phrases here! I just emailed my lawyer (in response to something he sent to the ex and his lawyer) that we don’t really say “irregardless” anymore. I icon smiled after, probably didn’t need to say that but “I couldn’t help myself.” All I have going for me is his “36 years of (sexist old school) experience” while the exes lawyer is like a mother panther protecting her cub. All ships have sailed though, and the ex will laugh his grammatically correct, cheating ass all the way to the bank…irregardless. Wish my attorney had been more on top of things but he has helped. It will never be fair but there’s no sense in paying more attys fees to find out how unfair. Time for this one to let go. I fuck up my tenses all of the time too, writing. And I’ll never get when to say I wish I “was” or I wish I “were.” Sighs, shits and giggles!

    • Oh Sara!

      Everyone thinks my STBX is just the NICEST person because that’s the part he plays on the public stage. He thinks he’s a good person. He made the mistake of asking me if I thought he was a bad person and I answered, “Yes.” He seemed surprised and then insulted. When he took exception to me saying he was a bad person, I calmly said, “If you didn’t want the truth, why did you ask me?”

      Believe me Sara, the reason why he looks like a nice guy is because you haven’t completely separated yourself from him and just started existing in your own head space. When you are away from him and not being manipulated by him, you can be your authentic self. As someone mentioned here a long time ago, you have to begin acting yourself into being. I usually vent with a good friend prior to any encounter I have to have with the STBX in order to rid myself of negative energy and emotion. Then, when I have to deal with him, I can APPEAR calm and self-assured. Your STBX does those things in order to take you off your game because that’s the ONLY WAY he can APPEAR not to be a rancid-ass lunatic. He feeds off of your discomfort. Treat him like the mad dog that he is – look him in his jaundiced eyes and just smile. Whatever he says, just smile and shake your head to indicate how pathetic you think he is, even if you are quivering like jelly on the inside. It will tick him off and throw him off.

      I’m sorry about your attorney and sorry you can’t get a better one that would be your advocate. What an asshole he is. We are all here for you to help you get through this. ((HUGS)).

      • Sara, we understand. NOBODY GETS IT. I got told the other day by my friend (who had clearly been discussing it with another friend): your problem, Patsy, is that you just can’t forgive.

        I was absolutely devastated, but it has given me a push to stop focussing on what he does and focus on what is good for me. I also really recommend adult children of alcoholics or al anon for a support group that DOES get deep pain, because it is free and you can go to as many meetings as you need, and the 12 step programme is geared to getting you to focus on yourself. Also Melanie Tonia Evans blog is very good. Of all the forums, CL and MTE are gold.

        How old are you, Sara? Is there anyone you can borrow $ off to get the forensic accountant?

        Thank God for the British system which nails men, sending them to jail if they are found to lie to court and hide money. And gives fair settlement.

        • Thank you Patsy, I love Melanie’s blog!! I thought I had everything (some things at least) in place but everything went to hell after I filed, including more foo betrayal. I’m wiped after a year and a half of battle, two moves, my stuff in storage now and and a criminal amount on both sides in attorney’s fees. It is an epic drama I won’t bore you with, but suffice to say I was told to give up-that I failed and should go on welfare. And that one would even finish the case at that point. I wish I could afford more forensic $$ but at this point it would all be consumed by the Divorce Attorney machine. I’m sure it’s much more humane in your country. You do get it–the things people say are just so very wrong sometimes. Thank you Maree!

        • Patsy, that “friend” who tells you “your problem is that you just cant forgive” doesn’t get it and will never get it, unless it happened to her and she felt what you felt and still what you’re going through. Screw them! If she is discussing that with someone else and in my opinion she cant be trusted either, so don’t tell her anything anymore. It was you who was betrayed not them, so who cares what they think you should do. I also got told that was my problem too, that I cant forgive, my answer I don’t want to forgive and I wont so bug off! Yes do focus on yourself, love yourself and start doing things that you loved doing before all this mess. The more time passes, better it gets believe me. Just stay away from the idiot!

          By the way I lived in Britain for couple of years before I moved here and you guys rock, along with my Australian and Canadian friends, not to mention of course my friends here now. Oh how I miss the fish and chips sometimes! heck I am craving it right now! 🙂

      • Chump Princess you’re awesome. I couldn’t have said anything better, I’m just afraid because I’ve become so isolated. I love your post! {{{CP}}}

      • Thank you CP. It’s uncanny how they do that. He took me shopping for clothes once. Once. But he acted so generous and big the saleswomen were giggling and flirting and commenting about how lucky I was. I’d spoken to one of the women before and she took me aside and said “*this is the guy you’ve been unhappy with? Him?!” Then we went home and didn’t speak for three days. But–we were in the market together once and another, older woman commented on how “perfect” he was to me. I somehow managed to tell her it was all an act and she said she knew just what I meant! The kindness of strangers. Oh I gotta get through the jelly!

    • Wow, Sara, I’m so sorry to hear about this horrendous mind fuck. Do you have kids with him? If not, that’s one good thing because you won’t have to ever see him again. There is an end to this. One of my best friends told me that after D Day and I couldn’t believe it at the time. But it really does. I promise you that because I’m living proof.

      You can always be a writer. You do an excellent job of expressing your thoughts. You are a very good writer, this from an old Literature teacher.

      I love CL and Chump Nation. We are here for you. We’ve all lived it.

      • yes, and at some point lawyers do you no damn good. I agree. If you have a qerbillion dollars to spend, maybe. But in my case the men always had the most money and may be best man with….money.

        I’ve been married twice and after bickering with divorce lawyers and seeing that they were the only ones to gain by these train wrecks. In the end BOTH times me and my X’s finally sat down and squared it all out ourselves. You’re only going to get what’s coming to you. The courts look at a few things but ultimately it’s left to us to do the negotiating. The first lawyer I got, after sucking thousands out of me….couldn’t bear to let a good thing go. She did our legal separation and then ambulance chased me for the next three years trying to get some more money out of me. By that time he and I had sat down and come to our own terms. She saw our divorce in the paper and had some intern dog me for months with phone calls to ‘see if she could help.’ Um, No.

        • Oh, the legal drama has been financially harrowing. My stuff is in storage, it spiraled out of control. I’ve moved twice while he hasn’t lifted a finger. The first crooks impoverished me, for a while I had no-one and I’m sliding into home on a wing and a prayer. And not a lot of hair.

      • Gio, it is that–a tremendous mind-fuck. Thank you for saying there’s an end to this, sometimes I really wonder. I just found an old college paper graded by two teachers. The woman loved it and the male said, as so many before and after have echoed, that I need to curb the “rambling.” 😉 So thank you for saying what you did. I have to tell my mind to shut up, close my eyes and press Send at some point. Perfectionism is lethal. I’m only now learning how to take up space on the planet in my very imperfect, rambling sort of way. Hugs to you!

    • You recover yourself by spending time on yourself, spending time on him is pointless. You don’t have to hate him to get pissed off at him if that’s any help. And sometimes you need to stop doing therapy and just do life. You can compartmentalize this shit out of your head for a time. Also, I found TM meditation helpful, any meditation is good. If your therapist is just you going in and talking for an hour then you may need a new one. Try CBT or EMDR if your therapy doesn’t seem to work.

      • I hate him, Datdam! And I love you hating him for me. It’s some kind of weird Stockholm response, triggered VERY strongly when I see him. I’m going to have to get through some more of that soon. It’s not that I can’t muster anger, it’s letting go of grief or something like that. It’s complicated, I’m sure you know!

        • Sara, hate away. All of us have been there and most are still there. Letting go of the grief is the hard part. You have been robbed of your dreams and your future or at least the one you thought you had. I wish I could make it easier for you.

          • Thank you Maree. Each time I think I couldn’t possibly find another bottomless pocket of grief I get caught off guard and start crying…anywhere. Everywhere. I stopped caring about crying and talking to myself in public.

    • Oh, Sara. I wish you had a better lawyer. If you can, look for one. Any lawyer who belittles your physical fears of abuse is wrong. My lawyer cost too much, but she was clear about physical protection. She demanded that I err on the side of being too careful rather than too trusting.

      Also, most cell phones can record (I almost always have mine taping when I am alone with my EX) or you can get an app that will record phone conversations. The recordings may not be legal evidence in your state (in mine they are), but you can play them for a lawyer or therapist to make sure he or she understands the Jekyll/Hyde nutcase you are dealing with.

      Best wishes. (I totally understand the “addled” part that leads to answering calls you shouldn’t or responding politely or freezing up at odd times–your description of the dissonance these people create is so spot on.) It will get better.

    • Precious Sara,

      Have you read any of the books that Chumplady recommends? One by William ‘Bill’ Eddy is one you MUST read right now——- “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing……” He also has a web-site, High Conflict Institute, which has all sorts of tools and info, both for you and for your attorney.

      If you have a way to download an e-book, that would be quickest way for you to get a copy. I have gotten several of his books from KOBO & downloaded them both on my laptop & my tablet.

      Hugs and love to you as you deal with the disordered!!!!

      Forge on, Friends……

      • Thank you Forge! I have not read them and very much want to. I am taking both of your suggestions I did come across the book about splitting but didn’t purchase, I will now.

        • Sara,

          Forgot to mention Mr. Eddy’s other books that will help you right now—–“High Conflict People in Legal Disputes”, “BIFF” & “It’s All YOUR Fault!”

          Be sure to check out his web-site to make use of some of the resources that he has written primarily for the lawyers & such. I believe there were links to other sites and info for those in the middle of these high-conflict cases. Plenty of free articles & info……I am sure there are other resources, but these are the ones I know of and the ones that Chumplady recommends. (for good reason!)

          (I had actually found Dr. Simon and Bill Eddy before I found Chumplady. So, when I found Chumplady & saw her recommended reading list included their books, I KNEW I was at the RIGHT place for healing!)

          What is beautiful about Mr. Eddy is that he is both a counselor and a lawyer! Excellent stuff!!

          Forge on, Sara…ForgeON!!!!

    • Sara, here’s my advice for what it’s worth: take someone else with you to all proceedings. That person can be male, female, old, young, supermodel hot or ordinary. It matters not. But that person needs to understand what you are experiencing and serve as your buffer. And it would be great if you STBX knows that person is in your corner. You can stand and chat together until the room clears or he/she can say, “Excuse me,” put an arm around you and steer you out. It’s a lot harder to bully you if you have someone with you. And practice saying nothing. Nothing at all. None of this behavior deserves a response. It’s just group misogynistic gaslighting. It happens to men, too, often in family court where the judge or magistrate is female and the presumption is that any man is a deadbeat who asks for support modification or verification of expenses when a spouse refuses to submit receipts. Once the divorce is final and you can get some real distance and you aren’t being re-injured, things will get better.

      • I honestly don’t have anyone right now. I’m embarrassed to admit, but the health issues have been so taxed by all of this. I really wish I could take someone. Can I buy you a ticket 😉

      • It *is exactly group gaslighting! Someone should write a book. I guess that was the premise of The Emperor’s New Clothes–must be a timeless phenomenon?

  • “At some level, I do think the labeled freaks, the sex addicts, the NPDs, the sociopaths — they can’t help it. Of course it’s a personal choice, and of course they’re responsible for their manipulations — but it’s not personal. They’d play ANYONE for a kibble. You looked like a good mark, but if it wasn’t you, it would be someone else. It’s just what they do. I think there is some freedom in realizing that.”

    Agreed, Chump Lady! I think this the corollary to the idea that it is not about the OM/OW. That helped me a lot to realize the problem resided in my cheating ex. As long as we are tied up thinking we have power in a powerless situation (i.e. to control a cheater and her/his choices), we are stuck. Recognizing that this is a matter where the cheater needs to face his/her own demons and not project on the faithful spouse helps release us, chumps, indeed!

  • They are crazy like foxes. My X and that situation was too weird to comprehend. He told me I was his second wife but after we were married I discovered I was his FIFTH! Gawd. When I found out about the other wives I was royally pissed but I wasn’t going to divorce him over it. He was (or acted like he was) madly in love with me and doted on me like you wouldn’t believe. Nothing was too good for me! My friends and family were So Impressed with this guy.
    He was madly, madly in love with me until he wasn’t. That took about 24 hours. He met Skank Woman and fell madly, madly in love with her. He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours. I’m not kidding. Who the hell does that? Someone who is incapable of bonding I would think.
    He was super generous in the divorce settlement and was gone, literally, overnight. There were no false reconciliations of that kind of mindfuckery.
    But wow. Just wow. It was the most painful experiences of my life. I lost a child and I thought that pain was a MOFO but the pain of him dumping me so unceremoniously continues to hurt to this day. I’m pretty much to Meh but I don’t know if you get over this stuff. At least I don’t know if I’ll get over it.

    • Gio, I lost a child and went through cancer but those events paled in comparison the being betrayed and abandoned by my husband. We have to be grateful we survived this ordeal. Not everyone does.

      • Thank you Lyn. I went through cancer too. Lymphatic. No, nothing in the world compared to the devastation of betrayal. Thank you for the kind words. If they ever have a Chump Festival in New Orleans I’m there. To meet all you wonderful people. I can’t wait.

        • Gio and Lyn, so sorry that you have also faced such serious illness. But I have had other kinds of loss and none compares to the betrayal.

        • The devastation of betrayal is worst than death, but with death you have a closure, with betrayal you don’t. That’s why it takes longer to come to terms with and to heal..

          PS: I will be there too 🙂

          • Sometimes I think closure is a nice idea, but not possible. Hopefully I will gain a life but I haven’t found closure in much of anything in my life. I go through phases and adjustments but not what I once thought of as closure. That could very well just be me.

            • Give some time Sara, everyone has a different time table when it comes to healing, whether its from betrayal, death or anything else. In your case its not done yet, but once you are done with this POS and once you go no contact, it will get better in time and the pain will lessen. I promise and big hugs to you from all of us. Don’t ever give up!

        • Thank you Gio and Lynn, I too went through cancer too, on my own just beginning just after Dday and let me tell you – it was a picnic compared to the trauma caused by my lying cheating piece of crap.

        • Did you both have the experience of being rejected and resented when you got cancer? That’s when my ex started his full on hate campaign. How date we be sick?!

      • Thank you for saying that Lyn. Nobody understands the unbelievable abuse that infidelity and emotional betrayal is, how painful it is.

  • Atonement, that is never going to happen. He said he is looking for a new church. What kind of church anywhere says adultery is ok? I have never heard of one.

    When men marry do they revert or something, somehow us cooking dinner and cleaning reminds them of their mom? So they find whores to have sex with?

    I am so ruined from this whole thing.

    • Tess, I so relate to your comment. My stbx was always pleased when I showed my domestic side – always a smile like I reminded him of his mother, like when I baked him his 3-tiered German Choc cake every b’day. And, so many other things.
      My first clue is when we took our first trip to Hawaii and took his folks, freshly married 30 some yrs ago; the first steps we took on the marvelous beach was…drum roll….with his mom. I was 20 steps behind him. duh me.
      And then, in a few strange words during his confessed affair, he basically said, I reminded him too much of his mom. I was ‘too pure to have sex’ with or some weird nonsense. So, (is this a compliment??) I was the Madonna and OW was the whore.
      Btw – I was a willing whore with my husband if he wudda cudda shudda let me be!
      Somebody, please tell me this couldn’t be logic?

      • I think he is full of shit and if by any chance not on this, and he indeed have a “Madonna complex” well it sucks to be his OW! Because as soon as she makes him a German Chocolate cake for his birthday then BAM!! he will be back on the prowl looking for a new whore! You see how that works 😉

      • OMG – a therapist said I had the same problem. He had met
        my dog turd several times and said I had become dog turds mommy in poser’s mind and well, you can’t fuck your mother so he found a slut instead. I can’t believe how I let him turn me into his mother over the years. I am SUCH a CHUMP!!!! So glad it is over !!!!

    • Don’t worry about his finding a church–he’ll spackle that turd all nice and sparkly so that people will eat it up. People are stupid.

      No Tess, I have come to the conclusion, through CL and my husband’s lies, that it truly IS about the Unified Theory of Cake. Oh sure, there are loads of ways to package it–loneliness, unmet needs, etc. but it really and truly is just that-CAKE.

      They want the family image and they want the excitement image. (note: BOTH are images). They don’t want either to leave.

      • Exactly, he wants the nice family image and the dide piece. His dide piece vould be any old hag, didn’t matter, no expectations for her other than a vagina.

      • Or they want to leave because they can’t do family and commitment but to make it someone else’s fault. That’s about cake, too, but cake that easy and free, not cake that requires painting the house or doing the laundry.

    • Hey Tess,

      He may find a church, but God is never fooled. He sees everything; knows the truth, and always is fair with His consequences. And “fair” for these cheaters…well, wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Please take comfort in that.

      I remember vividly feeling “ruined” – but you aren’t. You are stronger. You are wiser. You have waked to the edge of a very dark place, and will find the way to look into that blackness, turn on your heel, and walk away from it. You are NOT ruined. You ARE a survivor; a fighter; and a hero. Remind yourself of THAT truth. YOU decide how this ends – and you will triumph. That’s why my name here is “ReDefiningMe”. He called me an idiot, pathetic, disgusting, a joke. I was never any of that. HE WAS and HE IS. WE choose our path from now on. And it will be better and brighter.

      • Dear ReDeMe,

        Your words, your reminder, your illustration—-So eloquently stated!!

        Thank you so much for sharing those thoughts…..

        “……look into that blackness, turn on your heel, and walk away from it.” I am envisioning it in my mind and am going to use that mental vision to help me on my ‘healing journey’.

        Once again, Thanks!

        Forge on, ReDeMe / Forge on, Nation……

  • That stupid whore said he chose her, wtf. Talk about a power trip, ohhhhh I took the long marriage down I have the prowels of a night panther. OMG I saw his keyring, some keys with cat print.

    So ruined, I hate all this.

      • Tess, I’m going through the thinking of the OW too. I KNOW she sucks. You can too. Yes, you are going to see traces of her existence–there has to be some breathing body to carry the image of…whatever they choose to tell themselves and each other. Of course she has keys. Of course she lives in a home. Of course she eats food. She’s a walking piece of meat that has existence. You know what? She shits and may or may not wipe her ass afterwards. She farts, she burps, she gets skidmarks, she gets crusty snot up her nose. It’s all part of her existing.

        But existing doesn’t mean she’s a meaningful person. She can dole out word salads to make herself look “good”–but like all food pictures, she’s poisonous (did you know photos of milk are actually glue?).

    • Don’t do the “pick me” dance, even in your head. You feel ruined, right now. But you are clearly in the big cauldron of betrayal pain. Nothing sucks like this. I could barely function for the first month or two. Did you see what she said in an email or social media? Remember Lot’s wife–don’t look. I had to go “no contact” with social media for a long time because the OW (herself married) used Pinterest as a way to tell the world she was in looooovvve. (She is fond of adding extra letters to her words.) For a while all I could think of was “he kicked me to the curb for this???” But keep reading her. Read Dr. Simon. At some point, it will all click and you will realize–this is about two people who feel entitled to CAKE and don’t care what they do to you–like someone who would run over a dog in the road because they are in a hurry to get to WalMart.

    • Yippee for the whore who won a pile of dog shit!! Congratulations is a must for the home wrecking whore! PFTTTTTT that bitch is dreaming! your past is her future, everything he did to you he will eventually do it to her. Your garbage is her treasure, lets see how long it will take before she figures out where is that stench coming from?

      AND you are not ruined Tess! I know how you feel, we all do, but it will pass and your life will get much better, I promise, just wait and see. There is a big light end of this dark tunnel. That bitch did you a favor, it may not seem that way now but in time you will see you are better off without that characterless scum in your life! Big hugs!

  • The Simon books really really helped me to see my ex for what he is, through the behaviour he has consistently shown to me and the kids.

    But I recently read a book by a philosopher, Aaron James, called The Asshole Theory. James is more worried about the effect these people have on society as a whole, but he zeros right in on the core element: entitlement. And on why it BOTHERS us so much, and we spend so much energy trying to get the Asshole to UNDERSTAND; it’s because they do not recognize us as their moral equals, entitled to the same considerations and with the same rights and responsibilities as they have.

    And btw, Assholes don’t change.

    My ex is not a monster, not a child molester or murderer. He’s probably a Covert Narcissist, but the family therapist he saw with the kids either doesn’t agree with this or thinks that can be fixed in 5 months (HELLO????). He’s got FOO issues for sure, and probably a neurologically-determined low (but not non-existent) capacity for empathy. But most importantly, he’s an Asshole. God, I wish I had recognized this YEARS ago! I don’t want to be with an Asshole. I don’t want my kids watching me let him treat me the way he did! An Asshole, you just have to get AWAY from them!

    And it was figuring that out that helped me to let go of the last drops of hopium, stop spackling his behaviour towards the kids, and to get sssoooooo much closer to ‘meh’.

    • Wow! Thanks for putting the term “covert narcissist” out there. Never had heard of these folks before. I think my passive-aggressive “everyone just loooooves him” ex may be one of these.

      Hmm. Something to think about.

      • Well, ok, not that untangling the skein makes it better, but at least it helps me to resolve the self-doubt when people say that he seemed like such a nice, quiet guy–the soccer coach, the award-winner at work, but also the jerk who treated his own wife like crap and who avoided his own kids’ activities.

        • MissSunshine – classic behavior of that term: The shoemakers kids go barefoot. Such a front they put up. As they say, nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors.
          My dad ran a summer camp for kids and always came home bragging about what a great bunch of kids they all were. Not once did he think to include any of his own kids in that summer camp.
          Now, why am I suddenly bitter about him too. Well, it upset my mom a lot and he was having affairs I think. Loved him but I see him for what he was.
          Maybe I actually married my father! yikes.
          ooops, maybe this should be my next therapist appt.

          • Actually there is some truth in that SheChump. We women unconsciously tend to pick partners who resembles (not necessarily in looks) the main male role model, while growing up, who was in our lives. We may sense something wrong with them, but alas we may still end up with them, why? because its familiar and even though they maybe bad for us, the familiarity feels comfortable in a twisted way. Of course years later we realize that, unfortunately not in the beginning…

    • Hi, KarenE, I posted about the James book, below, before I had finished reading comments. Understanding the lack of “moral respect” for other really helps. That is an awesome addition to our picker skills. I went right from there to read Dr. Simon about “repentance,” which he describes as a long and difficult process–far afield from the “forgiveness” some people recommend to the person who is betrayed. Think about THAT–how repentance is for the person who did the harm and “forgiveness” put the responsibility on the person that got devastated. Heh. Blameshifting by the RIC on behalf of the assholes.

    • Dear KarenE,
      So well said. For me what was hardest was to stop spackling the poser for my daughter. I didn’t want her to think she had a dog turd for a father. My daughter and I are both much happier now that I have stopped the spackling. We both clearly see him for the narcissistic a-hole he is and are making no excuses for him.

  • Yes Karen…Some people are JUST assholes. No excuses, no diagnosis. Just plum fucking assholes.
    I’ve known more than my share.

  • Ah, this is a question I really struggle with! My ex-H is undoubtedly narcissistic, although a successful and functional member of society. He isn’t a serial cheater, wildly into weird porn or anything especially odd, he is just exceptionally selfish & totally unable to empathise. He married the OW he cheated on with me & they have been together for 11 years & married for 7.

    I have worked for and with a number of men & women who have had what I would call “exit affairs”. Again they don’t appear to be serial cheaters but have just lacked courage to leave first before having an affair. I also have a number of friends / acquaintances who have either been the victim of an affair or have even had affairs themselves.

    Very, very few of them are what I would categorise as mentally ill or even awful people.

    So, on the one had I want to think badly of all cheaters & regardless of the circumstances I know that they all should have had the decency to exit their first relationship before starting another. However, I know that they are not ALL rotten to the core or fundamentally sick people.

    • English Lady I agree with you. There are some who do have a ONS or a short term affair. Something shakes them, they realize their mistakes, repent, etc. For these type of people reconciliation can work if they so choose.

      Here at CL the cheaters seem to be serial cheaters, entitled, liars, blame shifters, manipulators etc. Its this type of serial cheat that does so much damage as they string along innocent victims in their wake. It’s calculated, its cold, its all about me and how long I can keep the game going. These type of cheaters love to play power games and waste your most precious commodity, time.

    • I think the proof that they lacked the decency to leave their relationships honorably demonstrates they lack decency at their cores. And the decent seeming people who betray and abuse their families rarely seem like rotten people to those on the outside watching them smile at work and saying/doing sparkly things. But that is because it’s in their best interests to be great at work, etc. That image is even more important to them once they have done something indecent. It’s image control which they depend upon to draw attention away from their broken fundamentals. I have found that very few of them aren’t awful upon closer inspection. I haven’t seen anyone who has cheated on a spouse and children who didn’t already have a core of unhealthy, ill mindsets before they did that.

      How people behave to the ones closest to them shows who they really are. What they do behind closed doors is truer than how they perform in public. Can they betray and lie to every coworker and destroy them each personally? No, because they don’t have the power to do that.

      It’s how someone treats the people one does have the greatest power with that shows who they are. If someone is in a position to hurt a child but they don’t choose to, that speaks volumes of their fundamentals as a person. If somebody else can hurt a child and does, and I’m not talking purely accidentally, but by making decisions that will hurt a child by natural consequence, that’s a different core person altogether. To me a cheater’s lack of basic human decency toward those who trust and depend upon him/her shows fundamental illness/character rottenness within.

    • I would only say about the others that you know who have had affairs that don’t seem crazy…you don’t live with them. Even the nuttiest person can maintain the appearance of normalcy at work if they are so motivated to do so.

      There are many here who lived with absolute malignant assholes, who to others, seemed so nice and normal.

      I am very inclined to think that someone who carries on an affair for any length of time, with all the lies big and small that are necessary, is quite fucked up and is probably not too fun to live with in other ways. Someone that skilled at lying and sneaking does not that good at it overnight, so I would take their “public persona” with a grain of salt.

    • My ex had an exit affair. This shocked our friends and family members–nobody, least of all me, would have ever predicted that he’d have done such a thing. I mean, he was so decent–came home every night, was unassuming and unpretentious, was a soccer coach when the kids were little, helped in the classroom, won awards at work. You’d have never known what utter disregard he had for me, his wife. That he refused to put my name on his bank account, for example, or would find any excuse to be alone when he had time off work–whether to take off on long hikes, bike rides, or naps. That he never cared to indulge me in anything I ever wanted to do, because he wasn’t interested. If we did anything together, it was what he wanted. He hated spending money on me, and that was ok with me, because I never felt I deserved to be spoiled, and, besides, I worked, too, albeit fewer hours, so I could take care of our kids and home. But, as he stated, it was my choice to work less, and therefore it meant that he had more money than I did, and that was that. He sulked on vacations, unless we went with other families, and even then he just hid it better. When I cooked a meal, he served himself first. If he loaded the dishwasher, he deserved much praise. I complimented my cooking, but never my mothering, quite deliberately and hurtfully. He withheld financial support when we were married, or made me feel like a failure for asking for help. He refused to buy me small things–a pair of sneakers, a used book, a box of tea. He didn’t care that I wanted to move to a nicer home and instead spent double our house payment on a “vacation home,” that he called “my getaway place.”
      And most hurfully, he regularly fell madly in love with various other women at work–they were usually blonde, and he “had so much in common with her.” He’d been trying to have exit affairs throughout our entire relationship–literally. The first was a classmate of ours. Nobody had a clue about how shitty he was to me, except perhaps his mother, because he complained endlessly about me to her, and then she would, in turn, lecture me about how to be a better mother, for example. (I could school her, it turns out, and she never likes to hear how great her grandkids are doing.) The ex didn’t show up to Open House, Back to School Night, Carnivals, music performances, soccer or lacrosse or basketball games, etc. His back hurt too much, or he needed to work out, or whatever. (His history provided adequate cover for conducting an affair, too.)

      So your only clue that he is “rotten to the core or fundamentally sick” is that he walked out on his family for a homewrecking troll, and discarded us like yesterday’s trash. That’s all the information you really need, of course. Because I can assure you that anyone who would do such a shitty thing is fundamentally sick, indeed. Instead of being perplexed, check your premises. Instead of believing the illusion that they are otherwise good people, use what you know to question what you think. Realize that you DON’T really know these people, after all, and understand that being married to someone who would do something like that was a big picnic–with a basketfull of shit sandwiches.

      • *He complimented my cooking, but never my mothering. (Of course, HE got something out of my cooking.)

  • Gio, I am so sorry. You, do get through it, but you never, completely, get over it. It truly does get easier, but it is something that is always going to be a part of you. Thank God, a smaller and smaller part of you, as all these good, understanding people here will agree.
    And, we each recover in our own time frame, don’t let anyone tell you what that is, because you are the only one who will know what that is for you and your situation.
    Good luck and keep reading CL :).

  • The last couple of days the news has been making a big deal of Don Streling’s (Owner of LA Clippers) comments to his 20-something year old “girlfriend” as the immorality of his apparent racism.

    The thing that has struck me the most about that coverage is that nobody is saying a thing about the fact that he is still married and has a 20-something-year-old girlfriend in the context of discussing the morality of his taped comments to that “girlfriend”.

    You would think that if pundits are going to discuss the morality of his behavior, the fact that he is still married and has a 20-something-year-old girlfriend when he’s like 80 years old, but nope. Doesn’t come up.

    • ok, bad grammar–need to read before hitting post–sorry–multi-tasking and watching tornado warnings and such 🙁

    • From what I understand. This little holemate is one in a long line of holemates for him, and he and his wife have been separated for a few years because of his behavior.

      It seems his holemate released the tapes as revenge for not protecting her from his wife’s lawsuit. Seems the wife doesn’t approve of him spending millions of marital money on his holemates, and she wanted this little opportunist to return the money/cars. The nerve of his wife wanting stop him from squandering all of their assets on whores!

  • In regard to the urge to diagnose or label, I found a book from Aaron James, a professor at UC-Irvine, no less, called “Assholes: A Theory.” I am not fond of tossing this word around; it always seemed sort of childish to me, but wht he has to say was very meaningful to me:

    “In interpersonal or cooperative relations, the asshole: (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people” (p. 5).

    He makes the point that “one of our basic moral responsibilities is to hear other people out,” to recognize them as people with a differing persective and to take serious their reasons for wanting to be treated differently. He characterizes this as a form of “moral respect…not simply for the person’s complaint but for the person making it.” He contrasts this moral respect with the attitude and behavior of the asshole: “The asshole is wholly immunized against the complaints of others. Whether or not the complaint is ultimately reasonable, the person is not registered, from the asshole’s point of view, as worthy of consideration” (pages 26-27).

    This was my experience in a few sentences, from the cheating itself (a “special advantage” if there ever was one, to the way he simply had no regard at all for what he did to me or what I said about his actions and the consequences he left me to face alone. I simply did not register with him. For months, I couldn’t understand how he could love me and then just stop. Now I get it. He’s not like me. “Love” for him is a feeling that comes and goes with his perceived advantages, while love for me is something I do. It’s emotion in action, funded by commitment not just to one person but to a way of life that is not just about myself. The tip-off, the sign, is that lack of moral respect. He simply doesn’t register other people or their needs and feelings or the impact of his own actions on them. He’s “immunized” to all that. James’s words are pretty much an ordinary version of the spectrum that Dr. Simon calls “character disorder.” Once the jackass moved away from his courtship behavior, I could recognize the sense of entitlement, although I kept thinking that what I was seeing was just a phase, an aberration. The real guy was the “nice guy.” But the tip-off is the fact that in every way, I didn’t register: he didn’t register my pain, my confusion, the crisis he left me with, or my existence. Once I had that idea of “moral respect,” I could recognize that he had shown that to me when he talked about other people–his mother, his siblings, the ex-wives, other women in his past, even his daughter. And once you know, you can’t “unknow.”

  • Those of you who found the Hare Psychopathy Test interesting may want to check out these two instruments. Keep in mind, though, that while indicative of traits, testing is not synonymous with assessment (only a part of it) and that a complete clinical evaluation is always best for suspected personality disorder.

    Manipulativeness (or how Machiavellian are you?):

    The Dark Triad:

  • “Dear Chump Lady, Is every cheater mentally ill?” I don’t know about mentally ill, but I’m willing to bet on the majority being character disordered. Perhaps I am biased though.

    The evil X proclaimed himself a sex addict and used his newly diagnosed “disease” (his word not mine) to excuse himself at every turn. It wasn’t his fault you see, he was “ill” and trying to “heal” himself the poor poppet.

    Backfired on him big time when he made an attempt to work step one, the moral inventory, which I discovered. It turned out to be a lengthy list of serious sexual offenses committed during the course of his adult life plus some other observations about his disturbed character including an admission that he is devoid of emotion. Except rage.

    I handed it straight to the police and now he is awaiting trial on eleven criminal charges.

    New diagnosis = psychopath.

  • Michael,
    I’m gonna be VERY BLUNT about this..
    You’re NOT HIS Friend..if You WERE, the Minute you started having ” Feelings” for his WIFE you shoulda STAYED AWAY from Her. It ALL starts with ” FEELINGS”.
    Your ” Friend ” Deserves a Better WIFE and ” Friend ” than the TWO of YOU.
    Your WIFE Deserves Better TOO.

    There are SOO Many People in this World..WHY THE HELL do People go OUT of Their WAY to Court the Girlfriends/Boyfriends, SPOUSES of Those They KNOW..Especially Their ” Friends” Even IF they are ” Behaving like ” Jerks ” ?? ?!

    BOTH of you Need to DEAL with YOUR SHIT…and Let HIM ** and Your Wife** Go on to a BETTER Life without BOTH of YOU

      • Hey Blooming!!

        How?! It’s like ‘they’ say: “Poo Happens!” No need to be sorry……

        So glad I’m not the only ‘crazy’ here!!
        Glad to know you are ‘normal’!
        Keep the awesome comments coming, no matter where you post them!

        Forge on, Blooming…..

        • I’m forever posting the wrong clutzily worded thing in the right place. My problem is I want to read every post and respond, but there is only so much I can manage from a telephone. And this tired brain and arthritic hand.

  • A little late to the comment party on this one –

    ExH and I went to two individual therapy sessions with a very talented, highly recommended therapist. I continued to see him after exH left, and now only check in once in a while, as needed. About a year after exH was gone, the therapist did tell me, with a deadly serious look on his face that I should “NEVER entertain the idea of reconciliation with exH, in any way.” And that I should fight to protect my children from contact with exH “at any cost”. Don’t know what exH said in those sessions, or what clues of mine resulted in that diagnosis, but I feel safe saying my exH is 31 flavors of batshit crazy. That’s a good enough diagnosis for me.

    My personal “clue” wasn’t his treatment of chumpy me though, it was how he treated our children, who he professed to love “more than life”. He spent very limited time with them; never spent “his” money on a single gift for them; never cared for them when they were sick; never inconvenienced himself in any way for them. And now, six years after leaving, he does not pay child support (never has); hasn’t spoken to them in years, and has never fought in any way for any type of visititation. He has also denied, very publically to friends, family, and anyone who will listen, that they are “not his”…and has claimed he “feels nothing for them”.

    All I can figure is that no child would ever be capable of generating that level of scorn, hurt, or disdain from any adult, let alone one who bears the title of “father”. So logically, there has to be something completely WRONG, F’ED UP, AND EMPTY in a person who could do that to a child. Plain and simple. He is evil. And evil will have no place in our lives. Not while I have breath in my body.

    • My ex has done the same, abandoned not only me but incredibly our 3 children, S25, D21, S14. He never asks me how even the 14 year old is doing, though ex left over 2 years ago and has not laid eyes on him since. Ex texts the children a couple times a year at most, sends cards on birthday and Christmas, and seems content with the status quo. A week before D-Day if I had been told this would happen, would never have believed it even for a moment.

      • Kelly,

        I wouldn’t have believed it then either; but looking back, I can see a few signs…it is just so inhuman – who would believe any parent could be so cold?

        I do take some comfort in the fact that maybe our children can heal more cleanly; yes, there will always be a deep scar, but not the constant re-opening of a wound, the way so many of our fellow chumps experience. Hoping that all our children will be wiser and stronger, and be able to see this type coming, and avoid them in their own lives.

  • Hey, CL… I hope you don’t mind me quoting a book that is somewhat about infidelity. I’m not going to explain it here, but I love what the author says about infatuation at the end of the passage. Her discussion here is about life as a nurse in a war zone during WWII (from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon):

    “Infatuation. It was common, among the nurses and the doctors, the nurses and the patients, among any gathering of people thrown for long periods into one another’s company.

    Some acted on it, and brief, intense affairs were frequent. If they were lucky [this part I personally disagree with since I do not condone cheating of any sort], the affair flamed out within a few months and nothing resulted from it. If they were not… well. Pregnancy, divorce, here and there the odd case of venereal disease. Dangerous thing, infatuation.

    I had felt it, several times, but had the good sense not to act on it. And as it always does, after a time the attraction had lessened, and the man lost his golden aura and resumed his usual place in my life, with no harm done to him, or to me, or to [my husband]…”

    Michael, please read that last paragraph over and over again until it sticks. You are seeing the very best of the object (and yes, she’s an object– you don’t know her like you know your wife; you only know what she chooses to show you or what you wish to see) of your affection. Over time, you will probably realize how much you could have destroyed your life if you chased after her, and you may even question why you were interested in her in the first place.

    Don’t blow up your life and your family’s life for a crush. Believe me, if this woman did pursue a relationship with you, you’d discover her failings and idiosyncrasies soon enough. Let her lose the “golden aura.” Work on your marriage or leave it before you think about involving anyone else.

    • MovingOn,
      Happened same way as Blooming’s misplaced post. (see above)

      Glad you posted that, though. That is an excellent piece.

      Forge on all…………………

  • Michael…you say ‘ She is everything and more I’ve been looking for in a lady and a lady she is. ‘ She is EVERYTHING you are ‘looking for’ in a lady?? Why are you looking? And if she has any kind of affair with you, a married man, believe me dude when I tell you she’s ‘no lady.’

    I have a childhood friend who has been in an emotional affair going on 10 years. Gawd, when I look at her I see an old lady who’s wasted 10 years of her life to a cake eater. But she believes him to be ‘the love of her life.’ Soulmate schmoopies. One little aside, he won’t leave his wife.
    What I’m getting at here is this shit looks so absurd and ridiculous to the outside world.
    Have an affair and you will break your wife’s heart and hurt your kids beyond compare. There’s no taking it back. It will haunt you for the rest of your life. Trust me. I’ve been on both sides of this fence. The karma bus just keeps showing up.

    You say she has three kids. What about them? Were you planning on just sliding into their lives the minute their father slides out? Counseling!!!!!

  • This is weird, is it in the air, coincidence or some sort of blog burgling?

    I don’t follow the blog but they send links: | Forward to a friend
    Weekly Community Update
    Monday, April 28, 2014

    “Can Our STBX’s Midlife Crisis Be Classified As A Mental Illness?”

    I think most of us go through MLC (midlife crisis), but we don’t seem to lose our minds. When I read these blogs and all of the insanity of our husband’s choices and behaviors, them changing completely, I can’t help but feel it’s exactly that – a mental illness. Can it be classified as a …

  • WTF is WRONG with my lawyer??! He got back from his vacation today, maybe he had a head injury? When he finally understood I’ve received not one penny from SFX he emailed the other atty that SBFX should deliver it to my house! I patiently explained today that it was not good for my health to interact with the guy, in spite of his public displays of blasphemous deceit. If I didn’t have to pursue lawyer #2 who took my retainer fee and simply disappeared off the end of the earth, if the case hadn’t been so awfully mishandled by the first atty–the skein we’ll never fully unfuck, if I had any choice–I’d get someone else. Last summer I called a lawyer–or some kind of organization– in dire need of help every day, collapsed in the apartment the first lawyer assured me the support would well cover. My husband was immediately ordered to pay an astonishing amount for attorney’s fees, I was shocked, naiive. Not only did he just decide not to send the support part to me, (entitled and enraged) by then I was in overwhelming debt to the same firm for their every super aggressive, failed and really very lame strategy. If they were asking me what to do? They’re a hightly respected firm but when you go on Yelp…wish I’d read before. I was in atrocious debt and an electrocuted state of survival fear until I finally found someone to get me the hell out of dodge, on so many levels. He’s helped, he has. But it’s…here I go…almost like he has Aspberger’s? I immediately emailed him back pleading that he tell him to deliver the check to his office, not TO MY FATHER’S house where I’ve tragically landed. No wonder I have Stockholm syndrome. That was where I learned to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
    He’d just ask how I screwed it up this time. It’s humiliating enough for the ass to know he “won”, I had to move in with my elderly father, but this lawyer is PISSING me off. I had to ask him not to get angry with me today. I’ve heard it’s not uncommon for us to wind up with narc lawyers when we’ve (I’ve) had a very narced up past. I’ve been beyond obsequious. He’s not a theif, and that’s critical. But telling him to deliver a check–late, if at all each month–here? Stop the madness!

      • Cookies are EXTREMELY important in the kinds of moments you’re dealing with, Sara! Also chocolate in any form, caramel, really good old cheese, or any other kind of comfort food. Be good to yourself, coddle yourself right now, you need it!

        Just wanted to ask whether you’ve had any contact w/services for abused women? They often have good support groups, so you don’t have to be so alone … (And you don’t have to have been physically abused.) I found the professionals there also so helpful, and not judgemental at all. Totally worked with where I was at, very empowering.

      • The guy let me dangle like a 51 year young ball sac for the last year and a half. He’s paid nothing in 3 months. They argued in court that it was my fault, I had no forensic acct, my attorney disappeared, they had nowhere to send the money! The one magic moment: judge looked straight at fuckstar and his yapping attorney and asked, “Why didn’t you just send the money to the petitioner?” Because he doesn’t want to. He cares not one whit that I have oh, a place to sleep. He is enraged that he has to pay anything, let alone borrow from “one of his pension plans.” I have no pension, no corporation, no huge, wealthy family of adoring codependents, no adoring fans, no show to pitch, no screenwriting brother/business partner hitched at the hip. Not asking for pity, just saying–is NOTHING EVER FAIR? EVER?! And I get scrambled looking at the guy, still. Who’s the disordered one here?

        Excuse my rantathon, I’m way overtired.

  • Oh Sara Sweetie! I wish I could be there to tuck you in and feed you corn flakes. Or share a glass of wine. I am SO SORRY to hear that you are going through this. I’ve had a divorce where the one with the most money (usually a man) wins. When I was divorcing a flaming dog turd his attorney took his case and didn’t ask for a dime down. My attorney wanted his fee UP FRONT. Because I’m a woman, you know, and not very dependable financially. I guess. With my 820 credit score. For sure the game is rigged, mostly against us.
    I don’t even pretend to have all the answers. But I do know that there is I promise.

    • Thank you Gio, I need corn flakes with my ice cream! So you know the score. It’s so hard to explain because most people, like me before I experienced it firsthand-really think it can’t get this bad. Not saying all divorces deconstruct as hellatiously as mine, but there really was “just no” whatever, whomever, place person agency or atty in this state willing to help for so long. The exhaustion and stress really does wear a person down. I can’t believe your husband’s atty didn’t make him pay upfront–unheard of in this city. Not only that? The first firm required payment and REPLENISHING the retainer every month. They started out all good, but two months into it I was looking at so many zeroes after the amount due I had to check if I’d miscounted. This atty does not demand replenishing the retainer, thank god. And what can I say? “You chose the firm, not his fault…” Isn’t the whole point of a mistake that you don’t know you’ve made one until you make it? And this was the Mother Of All Mistakes, next to marrying the guy. Thank you for the encouragement. Sometimes ya’ just need someone who gets it, someone who’s lived through it…with a credit score of 850! And some corn flakes 😉

    • Oh– what I wanted to say! There was a documentary out for a blink of an eye calked “Divorce Inc.” in movie theaters, narrated by Dr. Drew. It’s gut wrenching but eye opening, would help if they made it mandatory before we start the process. But that won’t happen- – because as you say, it’s rigged. If you can find it somewhere online it’s worth a look. What a mess!

  • And um, no. We won’t let you share a room with Tori Spelling. People like you and me have to have our nervous breakdowns on the job.

  • Please don’t judge, and read to the end. I had an affair because …. I don’t know It seemed like last resort . Instead of breaking my family and divorcing. I have kids my mom was a sociopath my dad left me and my hb is and was mentally and physically abusive . I never thought I had it in me to cheat . But he did something horrible that I really don’t want to get into but I couldn’t forgive him . I couldn’t leave him as I have 3 little kids stay home have a dysfunctional family that I rather stay w/ hb then them . Although my hb is a shitty hb is is an amazing father . Most of the time when he is not mentally manipulating the kids. I try to cut that anytime I see it Or hear it. He would have sex with me and talk about my friends how he wants to have sex with them . He would put on porn and watch and do to me what he wants to do to the screen and tell me I wish this was her she is hot and skinny her pussy is so wet and I would be in tears . My self esteem was gone . He would also say that he wanted to watch me have sex w/ other men which made me feel even more worthless . I wanted to feel loved and admired and beautiful . I met a man who made me feel all those things . He was married as well and I just did it . At first I felt plagued w/ guilt but then my hb would be abusive and it made it feel justified and even though I never intended on telling him was revenge . Everytime he slept with me I thought I don’t care what he was thinking I had this man who thought the world of me ( or at least he said) . I am sure this man I am trying to end the affair with is borderline personality narcissist . I tried to end several times . He let his guard down w/ me because I saw through all his bullshit , but he needed me for his ego and I needed him to avenge my hb . I finally woke up almost 2 yrs later and I’m
    Not oblivious to my affair partners bs I never was Inlove , i was just ok with being used and figured he was 2 as he is a true npd i knew this because i grew up around them. i figured i will bs feed his ego it was just one person using another. He insisted he never felt this way that all other affairs he felt nothing he used them didn’t care if they had bf or hb or sex with others but the thought of me being w/ my hb enrages him. That he can’t understand why I don’t care if he sleeps with his wife. That I am the only person who knows his secrets and fears , and he told me of his childhood I think I could almost pin point when he became numb . I wanted to fix him. I know this sounds crazy hell maybe I am the crazy one not for me for his wife and kids get him to feel and see and realize that the world does not owe him anything that we all hurt and that we are both being careless . Well that didn’t work . I cut things off for a week then I buckle I feel bad I give in . This last time I woke up . I see that even though my kids don’t know my hb does not this is crazy my attention is in fixing him . Making me run from my own real life problems . My thoughts are about this man who does not deserve me or my affection I’m w/ my family doing the things I am suppose to but I am just going threw the motions . It’s made my marriage even more unbearable and I get upset over silly things . I decided to do nc cold turkey nit even warn him , that way he won’t be able to make me feel bad or weasel his way in . I was texting my one friend who knows of my affair and just let it all out told my friend who this man really is and as I somehow texted my affair who I cut contact w/ a weak ago but he has been sending random texts .so he read all that and sent me a message to please call him . Now that I identified his true charchter to a friend I was so scared that if I didn’t call him although I have seen no temper or evil intent towards me …. That to his type this the worse thing u can do deface them and I’m caught . I don’t expect sympathy or understanding but I want to do right by my wrong I don’t want to hurt my family him . I just want to go back to what life was b4 all thus drama. My hb is trying I want to be in the moment . I know a lot about him that if he hurts me I have a lot of aminition towards him but I don’t want to hurt him honestly I just want it to end and now I called him he said he needs to talk but his wife is there w/ Inlaws he asked if he could text me but I don’t want to I don’t want to be sucked in constantly think what he will do . The craziest thing he has done is drive by my house . I can’t imagine he would risk his world he made his persona he made a good dr religious man hb crumbling only to have revenge on me . But i am scared and want to know what I should do . To end it so no one gets hurt . I kniw I was wrong I am living w/ that . Please any help

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