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Nice vs. Kind

haveanicedayThere was an interesting side discussion the other day on Chump Lady about the difference between niceness and kindness. Many people noted that their cheaters appeared to much of the world as “nice people,” but in point of fact, lacked kindness. (Sure, it’s an understatement to say that cheating is unkind.)

Now, I don’t want to diss niceness, after all I am from the Midwest and its our default setting, but a lot of being nice is simply impression management. See? I come in peace! You can trust me, I’m nice! Nice works if you’re in sales. That’s why (at least here in the U.S., any way) salespeople are always encouraged to compliment you or end each transaction with “Have a nice day!”

I enjoy the social lubrication of nice. I want a nice person to bag my groceries. But at the end of the day, I just want my groceries bagged, the attitude with which you do it is optional. If I just got nice and no bagged groceries, that would suck.

“That’s a beautiful sweater you’re wearing!”

“Um, thanks. Could you please bag my groceries?”

“Lovely weather we’re having!”

“Uh, sir? There’s a line forming. Is this one of those bag-it-yourself places? Did I choose the self-check line?”

“Have a nice day!”

This is the cognitive dissonance of cheater nice. It’s nice without the bagged groceries. It’s pleasantry without substance. It’s all cherry and no sundae. Frankly, it’s a mindfuck.

When someone is outwardly nice, but their actions are withholding, dismissive, oblivious — they’re disguising an agenda. Pay no attention to my failed obligations or implied hostilities. Press me about them and you’re a killjoy. But me? I’m nice. How can you be so unkind to the nice?

Done with enough manipulative panache, you can drive anyone crazy with “nice.” God, who is that jerk that nice person is married to? How can they be so pissed off all the time? Donald is so nice!

Contrast crazy “nice” with actual kindness. Kindness is the person who sees you and your broken bag of groceries and stops to help pick them up. They may not even be nice about it. They might grunt, or swear under their breath as they chase your rolling cans of tomatoes, but they go for it anyway. Kindness responds to distress. Kindness offers help without being asked. Kindness doesn’t even know you, but stopping and helping is the right thing to do, even if it’s inconvenient. Even if no one else is watching. Even if you’re a bastard about it. “Hey! You missed a can!”

Kindness isn’t impression management. It’s about empathy. You have to be somewhat selfless to be kind. Kindness responds to people in need. A kind word. An act of kindness. You have to be outwardly focused and connected to others to be kind. Any idiot can do nice. Sustaining it when things get hard is kindness.

I think chumps, like most people, are fooled by nice. We see it as a short-hand for kind — surely this nice person wouldn’t fuck me over? But nice is often just superficial and doesn’t translate to kindness. It’s not enough to act inoffensive — you have to actually not give offense to people and refrain from hurting them. And if you do offend? You have to care, not slather “nice” all over it.

You see this shit in reconciliation all the time. The cheater ups their game a bit. Sends flowers. Shares a few kibbles. But they can’t muster up much sorry. They don’t do remorse. They fail to read the books, or show up for the shrink appointment, or feel anything other beyond “Thank you for not divorcing me and taking my 401K.” It doesn’t deeply hurt them to have hurt their chump. But they can be nice. They can pick up the check. They can compliment your hair. And for some people, that’s enough. They’ll take the nice and find comfort in it.

Did you have a nice cheater? Would they still like to be your friend? Do a kindness to yourself and find some substantive people to hang with instead.

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  • Yes, my cheater still wants to be my friend. He’s fake nice, just as described, CL. He is driving me crazy with his niceness. Even wants to have weekly family dinners at my (used to be our) house. He didn’t even do that when we were married……ugh. I have found substantive people, true friends, and it has further opened my eyes to his fake niceness. Love your posts…was happy to see that there are lots more “chumps” like me who have dealt with these sociopaths and lived to tell the story.

    • Yup, my exH expected to “remain friends” since he loved me, just was not in love with me. When he told me all about OWife and her leaking amniotic fluid, I finally told him we are not friends, stop with the personal information (and ask your therapist if you do not understand why not….)

      • When my ex phoned me to let me know that he had filed for divorce, I was taken aback and commented that the circle will be broken forever. His comment was, “we can still be friends, we can still talk”, to which I responded “why”. He never answered and hung up.

        • These ” N I C E ” People Kill You INSIDE Behind Closed Doors..Sometimes in the Wide Open around APATHs…and then Ask if You Will Still Be Friends with them..
          The REAL Translation.. ” Are YOU REALLY as STUPID and GULLIBLE as I THINK you ARE..I THINK You’re STILL SOO DUMB YOU’D PUT UP WITH MY SHIT …For MY Sake”…. Cause you Know if You’re NOT..That Translates to being ” MEAN ” to Them… Especially to People who Don’t know what REALLY Happened ** NICE Guy Triangulates & Gaslights THEM too ** and still BUY into their ” Sweetness” Act cause they’ve Never SEEN these Arseholes in Action…and if they HAVE…” Well He’s ALWAYS Been DECENT and PERFECTLY NICE to ME “.—>> ** Doesn’t Matter one BIT to ME what He did to YOU **

        • Yea.. EXACTLY.. WHY Should we Be ” Friends” with them ???
          There’s No LOGICAL REASON at ALL. They AREN’T FRIENDS…They’re ENEMIES.

    • Me too. I haven’t disentangled yet: my emotions or our marriage. You are way further on the curve and I love to see it’s gotten better for you, because I’m not there yet. But this is helping along the way… thanks ChumpNation!

  • I think this a very good topic for chumps to think about. It is the superficial vs depth debate.

    I’m going to put my hand up and admit that I am a sucker for “nice”. I am hopelessly bad at seeing the guile behind the “nice”. I tend to think that people in shops wish me a “nice day” because in the brevity of our transaction they already like me & wish me well. I am that much of a sucker.

    I think most chumps may well be on the pleaser end of the spectrum. They want life to run smoothly and their default setting is nice – not superficial shop-assistant nice, but genuine nice, backed up with kindness & empathy. So chumps find it harder to believe that superficial niceness may actually just be a useful tool for some people, who have learnt that charm & superficial consideration (particularly when it costs them nothing) greases the pole of social interaction – and that is it.

    A good quote that I read a few years back about this is:
    “A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them– they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.” – Ranier Maria Rilke

    • Good quote and points, AEL. I wonder if Chump Lady has ever thought about writing this article about niceness and relate it to chump-iness?

      Too many counselors out there tell chumps to play nice when the truly kind thing to do is be tough. Cheaters like bullies need the medicine straight up and not one bit watered down! Thankfully, I had one good friend tell me as much as I was dealing with my cheater. That said, I wonder what Chump Lady thinks about transforming from a “nice” chump into warrior chump? Growing up “Minnesota nice” this was a difficult transformation for me 😉

    • “I’m going to put my hand up and admit that I am a sucker for “nice”. I am hopelessly bad at seeing the guile behind the “nice”. I tend to think that people in shops wish me a “nice day” because in the brevity of our transaction they already like me & wish me well. I am that much of a sucker.”

      I had a friend who was a bartender in college and she learned that she got much bigger tips when she flirted with the men who came in.

  • “This is the cognitive dissonance of cheater nice. It’s nice without the bagged groceries. It’s pleasantry without substance. It’s all cherry and no sundae. Frankly, it’s a mindfuck.”

    Exactly! My cheater-narc had moments of niceness, in our marriage. Moments. He would go get all of us ice cream shakes and we’d watch a movie. I soaked up all that niceness and tried to make it last the entire week. Within hours of this “nice lovebomb” he’d go right back to negativity, yelling at the kids, sexting his howorkers and shirking all family duties.

    But he’d brag to EVERYONE about how he’s such a great guy. He went and got us all ice cream, don’tcha know?

    • I’m a recent follower of your posts C L. My cheater sits with a reek of kindness but it’s the fake naugahide kindness. I too have tried to untangle the skein, but I push too hard for information and I’m stonewalled with ‘I don’t remember’ Aaargh! Smacks tray on own head repeatedly

      • I don’t remember=I’m lying and never intend to tell you the truth. I heard that phrase so many times I thought my head was going to explode. “When did you start fucking her? I don’t remember.” Yes, that was his actual response.

        • LOL – “I don’t remember” is one of the cheater “Top Ten”.

          When asked recently in court if he remembered smashing my head into the car window (while I was driving and our baby was in the car), cheater says, “I don’t remember that…”

          When I testified that he’d spit on me and our baby, he also stated, “I don’t remember…well, maybe I remember one of those things, but I don’t remember that either.”

          I can promise you that if somebody accused me of spitting on my child or assaulting my spouse, I sure as shit would say, “NEVER!” “No, I didn’t!” or some such denial of such a horrible accusation. No innocent person would ever say, “I don’t remember.”

        • Yeah, their memories are just TERRIBLE, poor things. That is, of course, for anything they did. Your tiniest faults and failings will be remembered for eternity Yes, at some point in the first few months of our 14 year relationship, I did finish off a bottle of iced tea at the movies; he had initially said he’d want some, then repeatedly refused any when I offered. Heard about that forever! Oh, and the time I insisted Orcas were whales, only to be proven wrong (they’re dolphins)? Never heard the end of that.

          But that conversation we had after his first affair? You know, the one that was the only thing that allowed me to not leave, when it became clear that he wasn’t going to do the real work of reconciliation? The one that went like this;

          Me: ‘I need to know this will never happen again. I need to know that you will never again get involved with another woman, even if you’re unhappy with me. You can leave, but you cannot cheat again, I need to know that you won’t.’
          Him: ‘I wouldn’t ever do that again!’
          Me: ‘Why not?’
          Him: ‘Because I love you!’ (And he did, in his twisted way, because I was doing the pick me dance and providing lots of kibbles again!)
          Me: ‘Not good enough, because you can stop loving me. I need to know that NO MATTER WHAT, even if you don’t love me anymore, even if you’re terribly unhappy, then we’ll split up, but that another woman will NEVER be an option again for you.’
          Him: ‘I would never do that again. Even if I’m unhappy, even if I don’t love you anymore, I will never get involved with another woman again.’

          7 years later, DDa #2. Several months later, when he’s trying to convince me to reconcile, I ask him about that promise to never cheat again.

          ‘What promise?’
          I quote the conversation to him.

          ‘I don’t remember that conversation.’

          And that’s because, as CL puts so eloquently: ‘It doesn’t deeply hurt them to have hurt their chump.’

          • Iced tea? Is the dude fucking high, or what? That’s the best he’s got?

            Oh for sure. Drinking the last of a cold beverage at the movies and cheating on your spouse are totally comparable. And if you’d known the truth about Orcas, I’m sure your X’s infidelity would never have happened.

            What an assclown!

              • So yes Orcas are in the dolphin subcategory delphinidae….but that is a sub category of whales which means all dolphins are whales. So actually you are both right…. Had to google that one for myself.
                Damn! Even your cheater has ME doubting myself!!

          • Oh yes my X could not remember anything about the affair! Not how it started or anything! He did remember why he lost the love in our relationship – an argument in Japan 4 years ago!! Well why the fuck did you not leave then? My d day was 2 months ago!

            Everyone also thinks my X is a nice guy! Hell I did too, that’s why I fell for him…he was so SWEET! And soooo SENSITIVE!! Only to himself and his own needs!! I supported him in his job to get on a sales trip to Mexico (I was 4 months pregnant at the time) and what did I get in return? Him fucking a colleague in Mexico that he continued to fuck when he got home, whilst starting another affair with another colleague! Every night were “work functions” where he engaged in fucking these whores and coming home innocently and jumping into bed with me? The level of deceit is unbelievable!! He used to make me spray his back with veet to remove his back hair before going out and being a chump I would oblige! I never in a million years believed he would fuck around on me and his children! I thought we were happy! He must of had a right laugh knowing that I was removing the hairs on his back so he could look good for his whores!

            My X like so many of us chumps felt entitled to fuck around as he had “lost the love” – well why didn’t you just fucking leave? He has no remorse and trying to take me for everything he can! He has cleared our bank account of all funds and I earn nothing at the moment as am on maternity leave. I cannot believe assholes like this exist…and under your nose!

            I just cannot wait to be at MEH and have gotten through all the pain that this has caused me and my two children. Life can be so cruel!

            Thank you CL and all my fellow chumps! I could not get through this haze without you all!!

            • Next, you have found the right place. When people close to me and far away tell me to be nice I pull out my ex’s HIV test (dated two years before my dday) and our family photo album. There is nothing like the TRUTH to remind me that the man I married was and continues to be TOXIC. He, like yours, has left nothing but destruction in his wake but hey “He’s a nice guy.” “Social lubrication” indeed. Hugs to those in the trenches.

          • KarenE, you are so right! I was shocked when my ex claimed he couldn’t remember things that were crystal clear to me. For instance, he was angry that I got pregnant with our second child, so he had a vasectomy soon after our child was born. When I brought that up years later he said “I wasn’t angry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

          • When dealing with cheaters treat them like Sterling, record everything so the conversation can be played back later.

        • Oh yeah Louise and Gateaux, ex recalled nothing, when he started fucking his AP’s, where they had sex, where they had group sex, whether they used protection, whether they told each other they loved each other, whether they fucked in our beds in our home, whether they fucked in our kids’ beds in our vacation home, on and on and on. When asked why he did it, same sort of answer: “There is no reason that would make sense now.” When asked what he planned in terms of telling me if I had not caught him: “I just thought we’d always be together.”

          Um….yeah…..after 25 years of marriage and 3 children…..thanks for that in depth analysis and detailed explanation.

          Bottom line, they will not give you closure, they will not tell the truth, they will not give you any understanding, they will not help you move on. If their lips are moving, they are lying. Trust THAT.

          • “When asked why he did it, same sort of answer: “There is no reason that would make sense now.”’

            Another rare moment of truthful CheaterSpeak. It wouldn’t make sense then or, in fact, ever.

        • THIS.
          I Don’t REMEMBER = Don’t MAKE Me TAKE RESPONSIBILITY / ANSWER for My SHITTY BEHAVIOR.

      • LUD – Those 4 sentences hit me like a lightening bolt. It’s probably the reason I stayed for 8 years. I mistook his niceness for kindness and it nearly drove me insane.

        GD- “I don’t remember” was the XH’s favorite line. Did you take out the trash? “I don’t remember.” Did you troll facebook for new cake? “I don’t remember” Did you skype the OW and jerk off with her? “I don’t remember.” These wingnuts are all cut from the same cloth, aren’t they?

        • Yes! Mine rocked the “I don’t remember” also. It was crazy-making. Even though we should have had shared memories, we didn’t, because there was so much he “didn’t remember”.

          It got to the point that I thought my ex might have a split personality. But no. He was just a narc.

          • My ex was also not good at remembering stuff. Only he didn’t use that as a recurring phrase. He would just not know what I was talking about when I mentioned stuff from the past, and I would have to remind him of the story, and he still would not remember the event after I recounted the whole thing for him. He did this while we were together, pre-OW. But after dday and him leaving, I realized that he must only remember what is useful to him in the present moment. Anything not useful to him was not stored/saved as a memory. After he left me, he suddenly couldn’t remember very basic stuff that related to our life together, and first I worried he he had something wrong with his brain. Then I realized that it was just that I had, almost overnight, become completely irrelevant to him, so he had dumped all non-useful information (about me!) to make space for his new life with the OW.

        • When he came to Counceling for 3 times(which my counceler predicted would happen if he did not want to work on the marriage) he gave her in front of me the bulshit story that he could not remember what atrackted us together and what we did when we dated!! Such a lier!!!

    • Ohhhhh..don’t bring up ice cream, lol! My STBX never took our kids for ice cream, EVER. But lo and behold, he has been taking the OW’s GRANDKIDS for ice cream all the time! Apparently they are afraid of him, so he tries to bribe them with ice cream. Small concern to some..however, the fact that he would never do that with us, but does it constantly with her and her spawn makes me vomit.

      • Sandy R, I think it speaks volumes that the OW’s grandkids are scared of your STBX. Kids are a lot smarter and savvier than many people give them credit for, and although they can be misled, I think they also often have a way of seeing through the veneer and getting to the core of things much faster than adults do. That intuitive sense of danger/badness is what Gavin de Becker calls “the gift of fear,” and it’s just that–A GIFT.

    • OMG Lining Up-
      U are preaching to the choir!!! we must have been married to the same guy!! They think their shit doesnt stink and the sun rises and sets on them!!! They can suck wind and choke on it!

    • I love the way you phrased this. My cheating X so did this too. Months now we’ve been broken up, and I realize more and more he wasn’t even that great at being nice, but his little “nice lovebomb” situations I would try so hard to hold on to. Ugh I hate how I really believed he was a genuine person who was just cranky sometimes, most of the time. I won’t be so blind next time.

  • My ex is the ultimate “nice guy.” He gives nice like it’s going out of style. He was so “nice” to our marriage counselor that the counselor told me he probably has a personality disorder, but he (the counselor) just can’t help liking him (the cheater). My damn marriage counselor must be a chump because he fell for the nice, too.

    • My family said that about my ex almost verbatim, “it’s hard to dislike him when he’s so friendly”…they got over it when I started letting them read the nasty text messages he would send me. Thank goodness for the text messages, they are like voice recorders for jerks like him that don’t think anyone else will see.

    • Elizabeth Lee, sounds like your counsellor may be a former chump; able to see and be attracted to the nice, but not taken in by it. That’s where I’d like to be. Seeing and liking the nice, but able to wait and see whether there’s any kindness underneath it!

      • With my NPD cheating wife she was so nice it was all about her fake image,,,, lets not forget her IMAGE !!!!! omg her friends prob said ” she is sooooooooo nice her husband prob deserved it !! “” Meh almost like it was a set up to shove it up my ass a little farther. Only 1 of her friends called her ass on the carpet and said wtf are you doing you have to honor your vows or get the fuck out. Man NPD is nasty some days I feel like I just dont have enough tools to fight the disorder and her sefish fuckedupness.
        thanks for letting me vent !

    • The counselor (for helping daughter traverse what was happening to her family) was taken in by the quiet, gentle “niceness” of x. I wanted counselor to tell him to stop pushing the ow and her four kids onto her (3 months after dday was bringing them to live with him, divorce not even filed yet). It felt like counselor was working for him only, trying to force daughter into square peg, express feelings but then just get along. It was a waste of time (and x’s money) and daughter never bought it (so proud of her)-fought it hard and idiot changed his plans. We did have to revisit it all a year later and for three months daughter was miserable going there twice a week because of the divorce settlement. So she kept fighting it for some more months and he didn’t force her to go, thinking she needed more time and would come around eventually. Became a teen in the meantime, now refuses, hehe. Won’t be a chump like her mother. 🙂

      • “Quiet, gentle “niceness” Yes! See I am hysterical and passionate and verbal. And he is “nice”. Quiet, gentle, nice. My arse! Quiet, sneaky and sullen more like. His new MIL congratulated them on their marriage last week. Congratulations to 2 lovely people. Yeah right. Lovely people don’t do what they did!

        • Nat 1 .. “Quiet, gentle “niceness” Yes! See I am hysterical and passionate and verbal. And he is “nice”. My arse! Quiet, sneaky and sullen more like”. You have just described my ex husband beautifully. They are brilliant actors.

  • Having a difficult morning due to this.

    Had MIL all weekend. Asshat knows I will not play couple, because we are NOT a couple. His good guy image is all important, especially to his mom, a two time chump herself.

    I was able to avoid much contact until I physically could not get away from him infront of his mom, infront of other people at a kids sport event. He is not kind. But he can present nice.

    Yesterday was particularly hard because I entertained MIL most of the day, with lips sealed.

    • ANC, how come you need to keep the secret?

      If he took advantage of the presence of others to touch you, knowing you’d not pull away, that is SO ABUSIVE!!!!!

      Sounds like you’re being too nice …

      • My FIL, cheater #2, died this past December. I’m being fucking empathetic to her new widowhood. She was very stand-by-your-man in the chump arena. All that shit placed out in front of Asshat and his siblings. Another bunch of stupid, selfish people.

        Asshat NEVER told me anything about this crap until 6 months ago. He KNEW that if he revealed that about his second dad, on top of having a certified NPD cheater bio dad, I probably would have slowed our dating waaaaay down. Instead I was love bombed for a long time.

        But coming back to this right now, this is something I will discuss with my BFF in IC tomorrow. I agree, I cannot keep his secrets. He has another brother that he must tell too. This one just found out 2 yrs ago what a cheating asshole his bio dad is too.

        SERENITY NOW!

    • I KNOW what THAT’s Like..You HAVE to Play ” Nice” Until you Can Get Yourself OUT.

      That Necessary Ploy Killed Me on the Inside, Till I Could get FREE. You’ve Gotta LET EM Think You’ve Submitted..that you’ve Been Conquered…THEN AFTER They Think They’ve got you Wrapped and let you Roam…You RUN for Your LIFE and NEVER GLANCE BACK… You’d Rather DIE than Go Back..Knowing With Them, you Were Dying Inside EVERYDAY Anyway.

      ANC…Just try and Breathe….Think of the FUTURE.

      • Fucker Lies to get you Stuck IN a SoulStealing, HeartMurdering Relationship..Don’t Feel Bad About ” Lying” to get yourself OUT, Safe.
        I Will NEVER APOLOGIZE for being KIND to MYSELF..Especially when I Had NOONE By My Side to give ME Strength.

  • Yep, mine can fake niceness like no one’s business. He’ll smile right to your face, help you if your car breaks down, etc…. But forgets to mention the slut he just fucked on the way home from work.

    • He was Fucking HER WHEN you Called To tell him You Broke Down 😉 Gotta Run and Be The Knight in Shining Armour so No One Suspects.

  • Oh, yes, he wanted to be my friend.
    His vision of divorce was that we’d still be friends, go on family vacations together, celebrate holidays together, but he could sleep with other women.

    • LOL, mine too. Said he’d love for us (him and OW) to hang out sometime. Um…..dude…YOU mugged me…..ain’t happening.

    • Same here. It is a fantasy post-divorce life that centers around them. What a rude awakening when their reality looks very different!

        • Mine too. I feel frustrated by it too. I feel like the bad guy because I don’t want to be friends. Such a mind game. It’s as if he can’t see the consequences of his actions. Now he can just blame it all on me that the divorce sucks. It’s because I won’t cooperate and be friends…. urg

          • Michelle, it’s not that he can’t SEE the consequences of his actions, it’s that he’s ENTITLED to not having any such consequences. And you’re not cooperating with his entitlement, you terrible person, you!

            Be firm, ‘not being friends’ is so important because it affirms that YOU do believe in consequences and responsibility, even if he doesn’t, and it has the added advantage of decreasing contact.

            • And if you have friends, family or church pressuring you, tell them to fuck off.

              “Forgiveness” does not have to equal friendship. And who needs a friend like those ex-cheaters?

          • Michelle.. Do NOT… I REPEAT…DO NOT FEEL BAD, EVER About Not Wanting to Be Friends with That PRICK.

        • Same here!!! My STBX is very upset b/c I am not on board with the Disney Divorce he wants. But of course, I am the bitch b/c I am not willing to do it “for the kids”. Sorry pal, I am not friends with people that stab me in the back.

    • Yeah, mine had some crazy idea that he’d come over, have dinner with me and the kids, drink some wine on the terrace and we’d talk for a few hours and then he’d go off to whomever he was seeing. And we’d eventually all be friends, once some time had passed. He’s an idiot and yes, he’s the proverbial ‘nice guy’ but he’s not kind by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Your ex and mine, twins again, Nord! Mine actually also figured he’d get a little nooky post dinner and wine on terrace, before going off to whomever …. Really, what planet are these people from???

        • I did dinner once, very early on. It was horrible and we ended up in a huge fight, which was apparently my fault because I asked him what exactly was going on. Bad me.

          • OMG-we are all seriously married to same disordered wingnut!

            We used to travel once a year to a different venue to see our home town football team play. (We used to have season tix but he gave them up the year he started banging his married co-worker). Anyway, we’d been to about half of the NFL stadiums before I asked for a divorce. On THE day of our divorce hearing, he told me he was “looking at Green Bay” for the away game this year; would I want to go?

            A month later he asked me out to celebrate our no-longer valid anniversary???!!!

            WTF is wrong with these deludinoids? Why do they honestly think they can treat someone with absolutely no respect, completely turn their entire lives upside down and then believe we’d still want to be friends with them?? I will NEVER understand it.

            It’s been over a month of no-contact and it’s been the most awesome month of my life!

            • cheatersuck, I confronted my ex about his second affair in mid-June (ever so gently, I am SUCH a chump!), and a week later told him to move out. Suggested the July long weekend would be a good chance for him to find a place and move, as I was taking the kids to my sister’s on the lake, as we have always done on that weekend.

              He said he thought he’d come to the lake with us!!!!!!

              After my stunned moment passed, I reminded him that my brother-in-law has guns, and that, in light of what was happening, might mistake the ex for a wild turkey, if he came with us. You know, it gets dark, the brother-in-law is a little drunk, and his eyesight isn’t what it used to be ….

              Deludinoids for sure!!

              Congrats on the month of NC – it does make SUCH a difference, eh?

              • “Congrats on the month of NC – it does make SUCH a difference, eh?”

                OMG, yes yes yes to NC. I’m just coming up on one month NC, and the peace and clarity is amazing.

              • Totally. I used to feel like I was coming unglued almost every day. The peace is amazing!

              • “I reminded him that my brother-in-law has guns, and that, in light of what was happening, might mistake the ex for a wild turkey, if he came with us.”

                ha ha ha ha haaaaaa!

                My H doesn’t want to lose his relationship with my brother. And because he is powerful in business, he probably won’t. :'(

      • Not Necessarily….. I’ve Had Those who did ” KIND ” Things… Then wanted me to give My SOUL to Them in RETURN.. ” I BOUGHT You Dinner, Don’t You DARE Be YOURSELF Round Me..You BEHAVE the way I WANT “…… SERIOUSLY.

        Fuck THEM.

        • Shit.. THIS Reminds me…
          I can Only Recall TWO..count em TWO Incidences My EX was EVER Really NICE to me ** whilst we were in the Same LOCATION.. ** We courted 3 months ONLINE before meeting **
          When he Proposed…
          and Once when we were at his Brother’s Wife’s Babyshower…
          He Grabbed me a plate of Food ** Being in Big Social Gatherings with people I Don’t know Well , makes me Very Aloof and nervous..Especially round THOSE Kinds of people..you know WASPS **..He was Being Very Tender..Fed me some Fruit Offa his Fork…Didn’t have the ” Fuck Me, Later ” Gaze Either. His Friggin MUM ROARS Rudely and Loudly ” SHE CAN FEED HERSELF !!! “…
          I Mean ANY Sign of Affection…Even Holding Someone’s HAND in Public Settings was ” Offensive” in that Family…. and there was an Undercurrent of almost Incestuous Jealousy underneath it…Made Me Sick..

          After We Were Totally Broken up..his Mum Called to ” Smooth” things over..
          Got into a Discussion about how ” If I Had EVER Acted THAT Way bringing My Boyfriend Around MY MOTHER ,She Woulda Slapped the TAR Outta Us. “.. She Said Hand Holding Was IMMATURE… I Said to her..” So ALL Those 80 Year old Couples,Married EONS Who Hold HANDS walking down the Street are Immature ? ! I Don’t Think So! ”
          I Told Her.. ” Did you ever Stop to Wonder if YOU Needed or Wanted Physical Affection, for YOURSELF.. or is it just what Your MUM Demanded, so You Pushed it Down and Now Make OTHERS Feel Bad about NEEDING It ”
          She Said that Kinda Behavior was ” Dirty” and led to Sinful Things. I Said ” Yea..Lil Kids that hold Eachother’s Hands Skipping Down the Street, Playing, are PERVERTED too, RIGHT ? ! “…NO RESPONSE FROM HER.

          I Told her ” Just Cause YOU Don’t NEED it or Find it Necessary for YOURSELF Doesn’t Mean I DON’T need it for MYSELF…and I’m NOT Apologizing for what I NEED to ANYONE ELSE because of their OWN Deficiences or LACK of Need for the SAME Things. ”

          Before I Left that Shithole I Relocated to for him… His Brother Asked us Out to Dinner…..Said he’d Pay for it…
          Soon as We Sat Down he Says ” I’m PAYING for This..No Lovey Dovey Shit with you Two, UNDERSTAND ? ! ” In Other Words I PAY for YOU..I OWN YOU and YOUR Behavior.

          Being Physically Affectionate breeds Bonding Chemicals…Namely Oxytocin.
          THOSE Fuckers Were killing Ours…Out of JEALOUSY.
          Sick Fucks..Makes Me WONDER how ANY of them had ANY Kids..EVER…
          Kinda gotta be Affectionate with Another to DO that ,Right ?!

          Think the Only Time they EVER Even TOUCHED Their Partners Was when Fucking . Unless of Course it was Kissing Family or Friends..Even people they Hardly KNEW on the cheek upon Meeting..but Heaven forbid you Kiss Your WIFE or FIANCE’ on the Cheek or hold Their Hand in Public…just SINFUL and INAPPROPRIATE.
          FUCKED UP WASP PEOPLE.

    • The most skilled manipulators use ‘actions’ as well as ‘words’. Which, of course, makes it that much harder to tease out the arrogant, entitled narcissist behind the facade.

      • I agree, TrailGirl, the skilled ones do some of the actions, too! (My ex wasn’t that skilled, though … I was just especially dumb and chumpy!)

        The difference for me is, is their kind behaviour quite consistent? Do they act kindly even when it costs them something or is not to their advantage? And od they act kindly even when angry or frustrated?

        • Kindly when angry or frustrated shows up as respectful, and able to hear the other person’s side as well. Doesn’t mean not expressing their anger, frustration or opinions.

  • My ex was also nice. He’s been referred to by others as “pleasant”. For the most part, he is. But like CL wrote, niceness is often just superficial.

    Having spent some time in abuse forums, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how ‘nice’ someone is; what matters is how r-e-s-p-e-c-t-f-u-l they are. And yes, one can demonstrate their respectfulness through their acts of kindness.

    Even when my ex confessed to his EA, he was being ‘nice’. Pleasant. But the context was riddles with tales of cheating, hypocrisy and lies. How ‘nice’ could that POSSIBLY be?

    G.

  • Thinking about this a bit more, surely it goes without saying that our exes must have some degree of superficial niceness – otherwise we wouldn’t have fallen for them. Unless you are very damaged yourself, you don’t actively seek a lying, cheating, selfish, immature bastard.

    I fell for a handsome, sporty, charming, ambitious, generous man. He is all of those things – but only when it suits him to be. His true self, is anxious, insecure, emotionally stunted, stunningly selfish, entitled and incapable of telling the truth. Unsurprisingly, he isn’t that keen on people seeing his true self, he wants them to see the charming, successful self.

    I’m still not sure how I would have broken open the carefully concealed core behind the façade. I was young when we met & there were very few tests to throw at him, as life was easy & successful. Even with hindsight, I don’t know how I could have been more astute with my picker!

    • English Lady,

      Sometimes the only way to learn this lesson is that hard way – these frauds are often gifted actors and VERY good at manipulating people who would never suspect the evil they live.

      My exH’s other women (the ones I know about) were a college (PhD) professor; a successful executive; and a nurse with a Master’s degree. The people he defrauded financially were also successful business people, doctors, and attorneys. None of us were/are stupid – but he knows how to prey on people who generally are trusting and decent. Your ex is likely no different.

      We can’t see what they are capable of, because we would never dream of doing what they do. Forgiving myself for picking him though has been one of the hardest parts of this. Hugs to you.

      • “We can’t see what they are capable of, because we would never dream of doing what they do. Forgiving myself for picking him though has been one of the hardest parts of this.”

        Agreed. I was 24 when I met my XH and I honestly didn’t know that people like him really existed. Forgiving myself has been tough. My intuition told me to run, but in true chump fashion I rationalized, spackled and listened to him instead of the alarms going off in my gut. And so now I keep going back to the same question…. How could I have not loved myself enough? Why didn’t I take care of myself before taking care of him? I try not to beat myself up but I gotta say it’s been tough.

        • I didn’t know people like him existed outside of soap operas. I thought nut jobs were contained to the world of General Hospital or Dynasty. Turns out the writers weren’t pulling this crap out of their bums – they were probably modelling it on real life.

        • Both Feet, I feel the same. My ex actually broke off our engagement because he thought he saw “someone else he might be interested in.” I was devastated. He came back several days later and begged me to take his ring back, said he just had cold feet, etc. Something in my gut made me hesitate…but then I took the ring back. I think back to that moment often and wonder why I didn’t listen to my gut.

          • Yes, mine did that as well…..broke the engagement. A former gf called to ‘congratulate’ him on the engagement. He broke our engagement and began seeing her. She dumped him. So 4 months later begged me to take him back. My father was less than amused, and as Dad was walking me down the aisle asked me if I was sure I wanted to marry him. Silly me. Of course I did. I was 21.

        • “We can’t see what they are capable of, because we would never dream of doing what they do. Forgiving myself for picking him though has been one of the hardest parts of this.”

          The other (societal) problem here is that many people just don’t want to believe how badly others can behave.

          For example, I saw some text messages from my fiance’s “just a friend ex” in which she discussed her health issues. So at the age of 29, she’s being asked to get checked for diabetes, cholesterol, being sent on to see a nephrologist (look it up)…. she just had to send a follow up text saying “well, at least it’s not cancer.”

          The timing of that text message is key. Just 4 weeks after my fiance ecnouraged me to get a mammogram and 2 weeks after he had his “clear the air dinner” with her in which it proven that he had shared some other intimacies about me and him with her.

          A friend of mine said, “I’m sure that was just a coincidence….. a lot of people believe having cancer is the worst health problem possible……”

          And of course, it’s sad that a 29 year old feels the need to compare her state of health with that of a 50 year old…….. as if she could ever come out ahead.

          • I had a scare with a mammogram and since my sister died of breast cancer early I was pretty concerned. I found an email from the OW to my X saying that ‘she sure hoped everything was okay with me.’ Like she gave two fucks about me. What a phoney POS.

      • Oh they L O V E Chumping INTELLIGENT People..There’s no ” Skill” or Challenge in Chumping Stupid People…Not NEARLY the RUSH.

      • “Sometimes the only way to learn this lesson is that hard way – these frauds are often gifted actors and VERY good at manipulating people who would never suspect the evil they live.”
        This 100%! My STBX was soooooo polite and nice to my family. “Yes ma’am” to my Mom; “Yes sir” to my Dad. And such a NICE guy to everyone in public. Like someone earlier mentioned..everyone most likely thought wow..how is this nice guy married to such a horrendous bitch? Yet he thought it was no problem to call me a fat bitch, a fucking whore, and any other names he could think of when things weren’t going his way. As I got nearer and nearer to finding out about the 3 year affair, the evil intensified. Then it was completely turned around on me. In all of the 26 years we have been together, every single time I’ve asked him if he was cheating, I got this: “What have I always told you? That’s the ONE thing I would never do to you! I don’t believe in that!” All the while he was cheating of course. So when I was close to discovering the truth, he turned it on me. Here’s what I got: “Why don’t you just go fuck your boyfriend?” “Fuck you fat bitch!” “Keep on giving me more..you’ve been looking up phone numbers on our cell phone bill, just keep on asking me you fucking bitch!” And then when he knew I was about an inch from discovery, he absolutely REFUSED to take my calls or answer my texts, again turning it on ME. I was the one cheating, not HIM. So much for Mr. Nice Guy, huh?

        • Wow, SandyR. Your X is a real piece of work!

          I’m sorry you had to go through all that, but I’m definitely *not* sorry he is out of your life. Good riddance, and may you find someone who can treat you and peak to you with respect! Goddamn.

        • I’ve got MAJOR issues with people who attack based on weight or appearance, or who lamely turn around and accuse *you* of what they know *they’re* guilty of. It’s like, you wanna come at me; fine. But that’s all you got? Seriously?? That’s all you got??

          Lame. Lame. LAME

          • I had gained weight married to cheaterpants but once he left me for OW I lost it all maybe I didn’t have to fix him five course meals every meal. OW got FAT and I mean way FAT. I thought that maybe he left me because I gained weight but that’s such bullshit. I can see clearly now.

      • “We can’t see what they are capable of, because we would never dream of doing what they do. Forgiving myself for picking him though has been one of the hardest parts of this.”

        I’ve been scrolling through comments here for awhile now, this brought tears to my eyes for some reason. It’s true.

    • Look, sometimes you just get suckered. Especially when you’re young and don’t have anything to compare this person/experience to. You have to forgive yourself and learn from it. All you can do going forward is know what your deal breakers are and enforce them. You won’t tolerate a lying, cheating, immature bastard again.

      I think every freak has hooks. Of course they do, otherwise no one would stick around and be abused. The hooks are real and seductive and powerful. We have to be more powerful.

      • Exactly this. I have often felt stupid for being in this situation. I was young and the only thing I had to compare him to was an emotionally abusive childhood with ‘nice’ adults. Codependency is rampant on both sides of my family and was forced on me at a young age. As a young girl, instead of getting the message to respect myself and others and to assert my boundaries of respect no matter who tries to break them for whatever reason, I was told damaging shit like, “Oh, he is going through a really rough time right now and he gets mad when he loses because he hates to lose, so he breaks people’s stuff and yells at everyone to cope with it. It’s just how he is. His father was mean to him so he doesn’t know how to be nice when he gets angry and disappointed. It’s your job to help make things better around here so you need to have a better attitude and be more understanding.”

        The art of spackling was a family tradition passed down through the centuries. In comparison with what I was raised with, my husband was a mild-mannered, poor little puppy whose father left and whose mother emotionally abandoned him early on. Poor thing had a small chewing habit but all he needed was love and a good home.

        He was a very playful and sweet puppy. Until he grew up and started taking bites out of everybody he lived with.

        I was bound to learn some of life’s fundamental lessons through cold, hard experience, as we all do. Funny though, how some of us choose not to destroy those around us in the process.

        • Hawk, I was like you. I grew up in a home with a father who was distant and emotionally absent–but very “nice,” and a mother who was at the far end of the narcissist spectrum. Both of my parents were respected and liked in the community and seen as idea parents. What I learned as a kid was to hope for those “nice” moments when my mother had enough kibbles and I prized those rare “nice” moments when my dad brought home a pizza or a little gift. So kindness was so rare that it has taken me most of my life to be able to receive it–though thank God I learned how to give it, which I credit to teachers, coaches, books and movies, and to my work as a teacher, which has and still is the most powerful force for refining my character. It’s very hard to have a great “picker” when our family experiences start us out with no actual reference for normal or kind. But we survived and it’s never to late to learn.

          • Yes, THIS! I think most of us were taught to accept far too much fucked up for our own good. This sounds like my story too. And my narc mother still asks how I could have allowed such a disordered man in my life. I don’t have the nerve to tell her the truth!

            • Their Shit SET YOU UP for your Disordered Asshole.

              I was Trying to Rid Myself of Dysfunction and Go No Contact with Certain Family Members when I Met ” Out of Towner ” Asshole.
              It was Their Shit I Was Getting Away From that Put Me in a Place of Vulnerability..I THOUGHT He was the Answer to my Prayers… He Was in Fact, My WORST Nightmare…Even WORSE than Them.. * Cringe*

          • LaJ, I owe a lot of my ability to be kind and rational to books, movies, some really great teachers, etc., too. And I was just remembering that in the thick of things when I was a teen, my father would literally bring home cake for us at the end of the week if his week had gone well. It was funny because he always liked pie better when I was younger, and to top it off several of us were talented chefs/bakers while growing up so there was no lack of desserts except for when finances were too tight to buy ingredients. But I should have guessed those kinds of people can’t resist going elsewhere for their danged ‘special’ cake!

            • ASSHOLE Has a Real Addiction to ICECREAM..Guess he Had Plenty of CAKE Already…Go Really WELL Together…
              UGH..I Wanna SCREAM.

        • Wow, Hawk, this provided me with an astounding insight about myself.

          The most important thing I learned growing up in an emotionally & physically abusive home was to be NICE, keep my head low and try not to upset anyone (my mother).

          I’ve sort of known it, but you’ve really brought it home for me that this learned survival behavior is probably one of the biggest reasons I didn’t see what I knew I saw. I ignored warning signs and doubted my very strong intuition when my gut said, “I think he’s cheating.” Accusing someone of something so heinous without absolute proof was unthinkable to me, when the truth is, my gut CAN be trusted, and I should have left many red flags ago.

          I’d made a lot of progress over the years learning the difference between NICE and doormat, learned how to draw boundaries (tossed my mother out of my life)…until it came to men I loved, and I was always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

          I was lucky that my first marriage (widowed) was to a wonderful man who honored, loved and respected me, so being nice was reciprocated. In hindsight, though, even that experience left me vulnerable, because I stupidly thought a man who claimed to love me would never dishonor me in such an ugly way.

    • An English Lady — that describes my ex-husband exactly. The facade vs. the true self that hides behind the mask. Not many have seen it, but I have. And I found a term for it, after much searching:

      Compensatory narcissism.

      He doesn’t fit the NPD diagnosis, but oh, does he ever fit compensatory narcissism. In terms of damage done, however, there’s no difference between the two.

    • EAL, I loved what you wrote.

      I seriously had no idea what I was taking on. I knew we were both fragile, but I thought we would grow together.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have that excuse. I was marrying what I knew. My parents were flaming narcs – both of them. Not having any needs and putting other people first was what this tigger knew best.
      I was warned not to marry him – by my therapist, who was concerned enough to break the bounds of professionality. She said: do not marry him, he will make you very unhappy.
      He has, but not forever I hope. The definition of co-dependency: trying to seek the source of self, outside of self.
      His behaviour does not determine my worth, and I will not be defined by him.

      • I Seriously Get that, Patsy..
        Big Hugs to you…and Your Inner Child…. You’re gonna have to be Mama Tiger to her till ” She’s ” Well Aware of what a Jewel of a Women she is…and Always Was..
        YOU’re IMPORTANT Too.
        Took me A long time to figure that out as well….
        and Believe Me, the NARCS don’t like Your Realisation…
        Then Again..Who Gives a FUCK what a Known NARC THINKS ?! It’s Always ONLY about THEM Anyways. They Only Leave You feeling Drained and Empty , Still asking for Yet MORE. They Should be Ashamed of Themselves.

  • My XH tried the “nice” thing, after I filed for divorce, by giving me flowers and dessert a few times–through my 9 yo son after he had dinner with him. My son would come home and say, “Mom, Daddy asked me to give these to you.” Also, last week when I saw XH in court, he complimented me on my bag and then later emailed me to say it was good to see me.

    I think being “nice” is more about impression management and trying to manipulate the other person into giving them what they want. How do child molesters groom their victims? They first try being “nice,” with gifts and sweet talk. (I tell my son to beware of strangers who are suddenly “nice” to them.) Kindness requires empathy, work and sacrifice. Initially, it might be hard to distinguish “nice” from “kindness,” but eventually time does tell.

    • “Initially, it might be hard to distinguish “nice” from “kindness,” but eventually time does tell.”

      I think this is important, blue. So many of us got involved with our cheater waaaaay too fast before ‘falling in love’. We didn’t take the TIME necessary to get to really know their character, and thought their ‘niceness’ ran deeper than it actually did.

      I know I won’t be making THAT mistake again any time soon…

      G.

      • This was totally my mistake, Gio, I allowed my ex to move things along way too fast in the beginning. And I thought that that amazing ‘ crazy in love’ ‘it feels so right’ infatuation feeling actually meant something about the relationship. Sigh. Now I can take my time, enjoy the infatuation, and keep my eyes open anyway. Not as easy to meet guys now as when I was younger, though!

          • Oh yeah, moving too fast was what it was all about. I moved fast too. I knew my X from work and was going through chemo for stage 4 lymphatic cancer. People from work came to help me at home and he was one of them. He was so wonderful to me I couldn’t believe it. He was living with his chump girlfriend at the time who was a falling down drunk so dontcha know ‘I saved him?’ He left her after he met me. I never felt good about that but she had a new guy moved in within two weeks so that eased my conscience. He mowed my lawn, fixed my POS lawnmower. Did everything for me! Came to my chemo treatments and held my hand. My sister was dying of cancer at the very same time and he helped me with that when she died. I honestly thought God sent him from heaven. He went to her funeral with me and helped host a big memorial for her at my house. He planted flowers and set up tables and bbq’d the burgers. I never felt so loved in my life. He certainly was nice. And seemed genuinely kind too. When my cancer went into remission from the treatment we decided to run off and get married and live happily ever after. Not. Then he met another sucker and sparkled all over the place for her and off they went into the sunset.

        • Yep, a very fast beginning and everything else moved very quickly. Big red flag to me now but then it felt like I was being swept off my feet by the love of my life. Turns out he was the love of his life. And still is.

        • My rules:

          2 years of dating before getting engaged

          1 year of dating before having sex

          If the words “if you loved me…” are used – run!

          • YES.

            I agree. The old fashioned ways were there for a reason.

            Nowadays I see whirlwind romance/dating/marriage as a HUGE red flag.

  • I was just having this discussion the other day with my sister. I was saying that my ex was polite but not nice. Your description explains it so much better. Thanks again!

    • I understand exactly what you’re saying. I describe it as follows: I mistook good manners for integrity. There’s a huge difference. He was great at helping to carry in the groceries and holding doors open for me. That does not a prince make.

      • We Keep Grasping at ” Lil Pieces of Proof” to See What We Want to See..The WHOLE Package..that Just Wasn’t There.

  • My ex also tries to be nice. I get “sorry to bother you” messages still to this day. The thing that drives me CRAZY is when this ‘niceness’ is presented to our kids. He doesn’t call them, doesn’t help financially with their activities…doesn’t do anything extra for them. However, he shows up to their dance competitions or their school assemblies like he actually cares. He has this big, stupid smile on his face and acts over the top. When there’s an opportunity for the world to see what a ‘great’ dad he is, he’s there. Forget the day to day though. My kids are little and don’t see through it yet…they think he’s ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ for that matter. I know the truth and it KILLS ME to watch this façade go on. Ugh.

    • Sick of Her Chump,

      Your post reminded me of two boys that were on my son’s hockey team. In the three years they played, their single mom brought them to every practice and game, suited them up (no small task), cheered for them, and was an overall AWESOME, tough mom. We had shared our stories at one point, and her exH had left her for her best friend when the boys were 1 and 2 years old; moved cross-country to be with the OW and didn’t pay C/S…pretty classic story for many of us.

      Last winter, we went to a tournament, and their dad showed up; the first time in THREE YEARS he’d ever been there. He was a charmer; made a big show out of helping the boys suit up; and made sure he was front and center for a photo when the one son won MVP at one game. I could see the mom’s face; she was totally classy, and just stayed in the back, smily sadly and looking uncomfortable. She and I had talked a little before that, so when I walked by, I whispered, “Nobody here is fooled. What a dick.” That made her laugh, and she told me later that almost every parent on the team had commented later about what a fool the exH had made of himself. Best of all? After the “dad” left, the boys when right back to their mom and gave her big hugs, and the one with the MVP trophy gave it to his mom. Truth will win. Count on it.

      • Thanks ReDefiningMe. Like your friend, I’m the one getting them to their classes 6 days a week; I’m the one helping with homework; I’m the one paying for costumes and competition fees, yet he’s there with his whole damn family for the actual ‘show’. It makes me sick that my kids don’t see what he’s all about, but I do know in time they will. He can play all ‘nice’ but people know different. The other parents of the kids know better, but it’s hard when your kids don’t. Thanks for the reminder that truth will win in the end. I needed to hear that today!

        • This makes me think how important it is to teach kids to differentiate “nice” from “kind.” That doesn’t have to happen with the Cheater Dad or Mom as the prime example. They will encounter neighbors, friends, teachers, people in books or movies that can trigger this discussion. One of my favorite books is Gavin De Becker’s “The Gift of Fear,” in which he argues that parents have to teach kids to make judgments about whom to trust, about peoples’ motives or intentions. Once a child can make the distinction between “nice” and “kind” with a school friend, it’s only a matter of time and maturity until they can make that distinction about the Cheating Parent.

          • LovedaJackass, I LOVE this! I will be having that kind of conversation with my kids for sure. I’ve always wondered how to teach my kids this stuff without mentioning their dad. Thank you!!!

            • Sick of, I have really worked w/my kids on getting them to look at people’s actions and behaviour and its consistency as well as their words, in situations w/schoolmates, friends, coaches, relatives etc. Funny how they eventually transferred that to their dad ….. Oh, is that the karma bus I hear?

        • Ugh. Showing up for the “show” and skipping all the work that leads up to it. Sounds about right…. Hopefully most people see that for what it is, or will realize it one day…

      • And it was so nice of you to let her know that you saw through the act. I imagine those few words of support meant a lot to her during a difficult day.

        I recall with great gratitude a few times when women I didn’t know reached out and said something kind to me during similar situations. Maybe I thought everyone would believe his charade (since I’d believed it for so long), and hearing that someone didn’t helped me take a deep breath and keep it together during those horrible scenes when he was performing narco-parent like an Oscar winner.

      • Sick of Her Chump….I’m in the same boat…..but I can tell you it is those little moments when your kids let you know that they truly see you the same way you see them…..those are the most humbling. I have had a couple of those moments in the last few weeks…..it made all those bitter pills that you swallow to stay classy worth it a million times over.

        • Thank you Bubbles. I’ve had a few moments like that with my youngest, and you’re absolutely right. My oldest seems torn though. She’s old enough to see through ME and she knows I can’t stand her father (despite my attempts to act otherwise). Makes me feel guilty that I’m not always as classy as I should be.

          • Thanks for this, Sick of HER Chump. Since DDay, I’ve heard an awful lot about ‘keeping it classy.’ Isn’t it funny how you can go through 50 years of your life barely hearing a term, but then suddenly, it’s like the top 10 vocabulary word on Family Feud. “Classy.”

            Huh. Well, from where I’m standing that feels like cheater shorthand for “shut up about what you know so I don’t look like the douche I am.” I can’t be classy right now, and I don’t know if I ever will be. It feels too synthetic, like I’m wearing opera gloves and denying my own reality. What I *can* be is authentic. And to me that’s a whole lot classier than trying to act like none of this ever happened. It did happen, and he’s a first-class assclown.

            • Thanks FoolMeTwice. I love your use of the word “authentic”. Now that I can relate too! I’m tired of being told to be ‘nice’ for the kids, or be the bigger person. While I believe that at times that may be ideal, there are other instances where I just can’t do it. Now when I’m having a bad day, or feeling guilty about how I feel, I will just remind myself that I am being me…and there’s nothing wrong with that!

              • You know what’s interesting? Those who gave me that advice to be classy, or to “be above it all” came from people closest to the cheater.

                Trust me when I say I have, for myself and my kids, tried to be mature about this. I have not name-called, belittled, or bad-mouthed stbx. I’ve done that for myself. And none of my friends have ever uttered any advice to me to act that way. They know me…and know that’s not my style. But the only people to give me that unsolicited advice were those closest to the cheater. Hmmm…..think they want a cover-up, spackle party? They make me sick. How about they tell their cheating family member to knock it off and be a real man? No, instead advise me to rise above it.

              • Chumpedtwice, everything you said resonated with me. My earlier comment sort of implies that, in my quest for authenticity, I’ve been off playing the Town Crier and alerting all and sundry to my X’s disingenuous behaviour. You know? Hear ye, hear ye! [He who shall not be named] chumped not just a dying woman, but the dying woman’s replacement!

                Nope. Not me. My lip is zipped, and not because I’m “nice” or “kind,” but rather because outing him does not get me one inch closer to my own higher ground. Of course I have considered the impact on my kids, and my remaining stepdaughter. How can I make their journey rougher than it already is, all in the name of truth? Truth at whose expense? But by the same token, I’m not doing the “stiff upper lip” thing. My kids see me going to therapy. They see me with my support groups. They hear me crying at night and they know I’m hurting. So, there’s the authenticity factor. As for the rest of it? They understand in the ways that are age-appropriate for now. In time, if they ask, I’ll tell them straight up. For now I heal, and while holding him accountable for his douchebaggery, I also look within so that I don’t wind up in Santayana’s historical time-warp.

                That might not be ‘class,’ but it sure as f is authentic. That’s all I can ever be in this life.

            • That’s What Pisses ME off… It’s Ordinarily in your Very NATURE to handle Things with Class and Grace…but THEY DO Things that…. Obliterate That for Just Long Enough for YOU to Question WHO That Person WAS ..I Mean..It’s like MALARIA.. and They’re Fucking Mosquitos.

            • Kind versus nice, authentic versus classy….I’m starting to see a pattern. Tell him you will be as classy as he was when he was when he was cheating on you.

          • No reason your daughter shouldn’t know you can’t stand her dad, as long as you’re not criticizing him to her or trying to undermine her relationship with him. You have good reasons to dislike him, and she should know the main reasons, too.

            Authentic is WAY better than classy! And it’s important to teach our kids that it’s not all about appearances, because the narcissistic parent will act like it is.

            • Yea, Well Those Assholes always Say You’re Underminding the Relationship the kids have with their Disordered parents BECAUSE you Told the Truth that MADE YOU Not ” Like Them”…
              It’s a No Friggin Win…

    • Yes, Sick of HER Chump, the others are right. The truth will win in the end. My kids were very small ( one week old infant son and 3-year-old daughter) when my X traded me in for the secretary almost 9 years ago. Same deal as your X. Never misses a ballet recital or baseball game or school awards ceremony. But to actually throw the ball with his son? To actually do homework with his kids? To actually take our daughter to ballet class? Hell no. But boy is he there with a bouquet of roses at the damn performance twice a year. He never misses a Valentines Day bringing them a toy and a box of chocolates. But to actually spend time with them and do “fatherly” things — nah. It was so very hard during the early years to watch how the children threw themselves at him. I learned early on that if the children detected resentment on my part it backfired on me. So without endorsing him or sugar coating him, I tried for a “on the kind side of neutral” approach. Without having to put energy into “defending” their dad, my kids slowly began to see him for who and what he really is. They began to realize with whom they felt safe and with whom they did not. On whom they could depend (or not). Oh sure, they still see him, but are less and less enamored with him. On their own, without my encouragement, they are becoming more and more detached. My prayer is that this is what will eventually happen for you and the other parents dealing with this problem.

      • Thanks Delta. Our stories sound so similar. I too am trying to remain ‘neutral’ as I can already see that my oldest daughter detects my resentment of her father. Unfortunately, this is making her hold things back from me, and that is something I don’t want to have happen. I need to figure out a way to not be so angry, and to stop focusing on them. If I put the focus back on my girls and I, I think that will be better. Thank you for reminding me that I need to be patient, and that my girls will eventually see their dad for what he’s worth.

    • I have an over the top fake dad when eyes are on me ex. I get so mad it sickens me. He acts all doting to our 21 month old in public but does nothing for him at home. It’s so weird. My son will see it someday. I just need to get away from all the fake ness. It makes my blood pressure boil.

    • Sick of HER, that is my ex to a tee. He couldn’t be bothered to check in when one of our kids are sick (oh, unless the child is due for visitation– he wouldn’t want the kid coming over and spreading germs to his schmoopie and her children). He doesn’t help finance anything outside of medical bills; every expenditure falls under child support as far as he’s concerned. He has never called them when they’re with me; he’s perfectly happy going an entire week without speaking to them. But when there comes a time for him to show up and play proud papa, oh my, he doesn’t miss those occasions! Now, he’s even more into those special events because he can trot out the Owife and show how they are being spectacular parents together!

      Mine isn’t really nice to me anymore; he quit that routine when I rebuffed his “let’s be friends” advances. Now, any email to me that goes beyond a single line is usually fraught with accusations and condescension; he’s pissed because I’ve seen who he really is and want nothing to do with him. However, he loves to play “nice” in public so that he can lie to himself about what a great dad he is by being there for those “photo opportunity” moments. My kids see through it a little bit, but they are still very young as well. It will be interesting to see how they feel about their dad when they’re teens.

      • Oh MovingOn, I swear we married the same guy! My youngest daughter had pneumonia and he never even called to see how she was doing. But when it’s his weekend, all the sudden he doesn’t want them coming over!!!! He goes WEEKS without calling them. It makes me sick. I can’t wait until all of our kids see through this shit!

  • Yes, THE ‘Nice’ act……So many of them do it so well.

    During my last few months in the same house with cheaterpants, my best friend, who knew I was planning my ‘escape’, would often ask if cheaterpants was being ‘nice’.

    I often replied something like this: “I can go to the store and be treated ‘nice’! I want cheaterpants to treat me special, treat me like his WIFE! He treats me ‘nice’ like he would treat the bank teller. Poo on ‘nice’!”

    And other clueless people would remark: “But he is being nice to you now!” (Only for the few minutes they were in our presence)

    SO STINKIN’ WHAT!!!

    ‘Nice’ just does not cut it when all the other pieces are missing. When the only thing other people see of the cheater is a few moments here and there, only see the ‘nice’, they are shocked & dismiss us chumps as ungrateful cads if we attempt to express how they really are once we are out of the public eye.

    CL, this line you wrote: “Done with enough manipulative panache, you can drive anyone crazy with “nice.” ‘God, who is that jerk that nice person is married to? How can they be so pissed off all the time? Donald is so nice!'”

    Yeah, exactly that!!! Even now, some people that only know us from casual contact have that response to our situation—-“How can she leave him?! He is SOOOOO nice!” (Of course, there are a few who know the real cheaterpants and they are amazed I have not killed him yet!!)

    I am sure you will get a lot of comments on this post. And that will be a good thing, as ‘nice’ is one of the things that keep us stuck—-the cheaters sometimes start treating us ‘nice’ again and we, at first, think they are finally undergoing an internal shift, a change at core level, into the person we thought they were.

    But, as all of us now know, it is all an act to keep the cake & kibble coming. Therefore, this conversation will help educate the newbies about the ‘nice act’ and remind the rest of us to not be fooled by it! So, Chump Nation, I am excited to read all of the insight on this point!

    Love all ya all!!

    Forge on…….

    • Brilliant, Forge On! For years, in my chumpiness, I really did think, when the narc ex was being ‘nice’, that THIS was the ‘real’ him, and that he just needed to UNDERSTAND how the not-niceness affected me and the kids, and understand how important the niceness was to our ‘shared’ goal of a happy couple and family. I thought he’d somehow ‘get it’. And I thought he actually gave a shit.

      Now that my eyes are open, I feel like such an idiot. All I needed was to use Occam’s razor on the potential explanations for his most consistent behaviours …..

  • oh, yeah–my ex is super nice…you’d think he was from Minnesota (for the non-US folks, that’s a thing…). But kind, um clearly not.

    We’ve been having escalating emails lately–although NC for quite a while, his impending move to CA and therefore disposal of the rest of our (formerly joint) household goods–like, do I want the washer? (yes–it’s new, mine sucks); the court ordered disposition of the retirement monies coming up on May 14th, when the divorce becomes final (yippee– my new anti-versary!); and daughter’s graduation etc. All those mean we have been in communication, alas.

    He’s just as full of shit as ever. I wrote to him last night and said I never wanted to talk to him again. He of course just wrote back with the rote “So sorry, you’re right.”. But it doesn’t mean a goddamned thing. Not a thing. He’s still a lying, cheating, child-hurting SOB.

    And the upshot of all this “conversation” is that my PTSD has flared. Yech. I can’t wait till he leaves.

    • Minnesotans are apparently to the US what Canadians are to the rest of the world.

      How do you get 50 drunk and rambunctious Canadians out of the swimming pool? You blow the whistle and say ‘everyone out of the pool’!

      • KarenE, that’s too funny! Here’s another one:

        “How many Canadians does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

        “One.”

        Born and raised in the Midwest (which is where I learned to swear like a truck driver), but been a proud Canuck for 15+ years. LOVE IT here.

  • Mine wanted to be friends as well. It was that nice thing described here. Ironically, she claimed to want to divorce out of authenticity but wanted to be friends as if nothing happened. I didn’t buy it. If we are doing truth, then I will truthfully not accept your cheating “friendship.” Friends don’t betray each other. They are kind…not just nice when it suites them.

  • This is SO true. My ex was nice. Engaging, even. Charming. But in hindsight, he was completely superficial. He’d do things like invite one of our friends to go with us to a sporting event where we had great (free) tickets, then hit them up to pay for our gas and food because he’d been “so nice” to invite them in the first place, and it was the least they could do. He was never kind, empathetic, or a good person. He was a serial cheat who admitted that he pursued and preyed on other men’s wives (all low income and vulnerable, at-rish women) because it made him feel “powerful” to steal them from their husbands and to deceive everyone around us. Yeah….he seemed nice, but he was not at all “kind”, which denotes having some sort of empathy/caring for the feelings of others.

      • Whenever They Put on the Display of Being PARTICULARLY ” Nice”.. THOSE are the Times when thy, In Actuality are being CRUELEST… it’s a Distraction Tactic.
        When they Are Being NICE… 2 Questions.. 1 ) What’d Ya DO ?! 2) Whattaya WANT ?!

  • I thought my now-ex was nice, quiet and easy-going but now realize he was actually boring, not particularly intelligent, terrified of any type of confrontation and emotionally withdrawn.

    When my older brother died at the age of 44 my ex became fed-up with my grieving and told me less than three months later that ‘I really should be over this by now.’

    • “I thought my now-ex was nice, quiet and easy-going but now realize he was actually boring, not particularly intelligent, terrified of any type of confrontation and emotionally withdrawn. ”

      We must have been married to twins!

        • Quadruplets. Someone recently pointed out to me that ex and his family were actually really boring. When I thought about it I realised they were correct. It was always other people who were doing the entertaining, while they sat back and bestowed their approval. Freaky people. Glad to be away from them.

    • I got that, too! Last year, my beloved aunt (closer to me than my own mom, who’s a total nutbar), died unexpectedly. Less than a month later, my X told me that I needed to “get over myself.” Yes, he actually said that. And this, from someone who had lost his spouse to cancer and was facing another terminal illness within the family. You’d think he of all people would be able to muster up a little compassion for someone else going through a loss! (NOT)

      Really sorry about your brother, KAI, especially at such a young age. ((hugs))

  • Mine is also nice and polite – especially when he wants something. But I don’t trust him for a moment, especially after S11 told me, “Dad said, ‘What happens at Dad’s stay at Dad’s.'”

    Who tells their 5th grader to keep secrets? To become a partner in collusion? A cheater, that’s who. Ridiculous!

      • My XN asked my then 14 yo son to lie to the OW, now wife. Told him to say that we were already divorced and living separately, if she asked. Thankfully, she didn’t. But I sure told her we only got divorced 3 weeks before they married after she told me that he was divorced when they met 7 months before. Not that the lies bother her. She’s more interested in what he can give her and only has to spread her legs to get it. Sounds more like a skanky business deal than a marriage to me but what do chumps know?

    • My STBXH told our 12 yr old daughter to NOT tell me that the OW was moving in, pregnant because “you mother would be mad.”
      Uh, yes. I was spitting mad when someone else told me the plan… Besides it being against the divorce agreement, the kids did not know she existed, and I was going to be gone for a extended overseas work trip; they would have no where to go when uncomfortable. As I told STBX, with that attempt, I can NEVER trust anything he says again.

      Dear daughter kept that secret for 6 months; no wonder she refused to go to the wedding 5 months later.

  • Yup, after hearing about the divorce, an acquaintance told me my exH was always very nice, but there was no depth. You never knew what he was thinking.

    • I have gotten that some comment repeatedly post D-Day, zyx, along with “we never understood why you were with him.” While I thought my ex was wonderful, apparently many others could see cracks in that sparkly veneer which allowed some of his creepiness to show through.

      • A few people have told me since dday that they had always thought my ex was “cold” and didn’t get why I was with someone who was so much less of a people person than I am. Maybe two or so people have said that. I think most people saw him as “nice.”

      • And I thought my ex was wonderful too. I just thought he was reserved with others but sweet to me. But one of the friends who said he was cold also said she didn’t think he spoke to me or interacted with me with respect either.

  • My STBX is the ultimate “nice guy.” When I met women he worked with, they would always tell me how lucky I am. He’s such a nice guy. Blah blah blah. He used to get cheap flowers near his office at lunch to bring home to me. Why did he pick them up at lunch? So the women at work would fawn over him all afternoon and tell him how lucky I was to have him. He ate that up with a spoon. I bought him gifts all the time, but didn’t bring an audience into it — I just wanted to make him happy. That’s the difference between “nice” and “kind” right there.

    And, for the record — I’m not particularly “nice.” I mean, I’m polite and treat others as I’d like to be treated, but I don’t go all out to show the world how magnanimous I am. I find that phony behavior off-putting, especially after all I’ve been through with Mr. Nice Guy. Just be genuine. Maybe it’s the Bostonian in me, but I’d rather have someone tell me to go to hell than smile while they stab me in the back.

  • Yeah, this was part of the reason I overstayed in my shitty marriage. ExWH was nice on the surface.

    Only one time near the end did he even raise his voice to me or act aggressive, and because he had never done so before I was so gobsmacked that I didn’t have the appropriate reaction.

    So except for that one time he was NICE, no matter what. Every time he would get caught lying or cheating, he would be NICE. I would be screaming and cursing and crying and he would just sit there and softly say he was sorry. Sometimes he would even work up a little water at the edge of his eyes. He would just sit there and wait quietly until hurricane ThatGirl wore herself out and then he would say sorry and promise to do better and/or beg that I be patient with him while he tried harder. Then, click, like a switch he would go back to watching TV or surfing the internet or what have you like nothing happened.

    He didn’t curse, or yell, or call me names…break things or other wise be an obvious asshole. I think if he did that I would have left sooner. But the NICE, it takes some of the steam out of your anger at their actions – the same anger you need to propel you forward. The disconnect between their demeanor and their actions is confusing and encourages you to give them another chance when they clearly don’t deserve it. I mean really, there is nothing NICE about lying and cheating, so the mixed message is just, well, another mindfuck.

    • ThatGirl, I had the same experience. I can count on ONE hand the time I heard my then-husband raise his voice or curse or be snappish during the entire 20 years we had known each other, 16 of which we were married. I agree, the disconnect is confusing and I would blame myself for being “too hard on the fellow.” In hindsight, I realize now I was way to easy on him. But, Karma is good. His OWife of 7 years is a non-medicated bipolar, hateful, raging bitch who has him by the balls. She tosses him to the curb (they live in her mother’s home) on a regular basis. She makes me look like an angel, then and now. I am extra nice to him for the kids sake. But the icing on my cake (don’t chumps get cake too?) is that she (the OWife) makes me look so damn good, both back then (during my marriage to the X) and now! I imagine her as my henchwoman and I just get to sit back and watch the show and look like the kindest, most together, calmest person EVER!

      • Just read the post below about Southernness. Maybe I should add that I am from and live in the Deep South. Maybe that is why I take such pleasure in my “kind” behavior toward my ex.

    • That Girl my stbx did that too after d-day. We did not fight, exchange mean words it was me trying to get across to him how he is hurting me and that I know that he still sees the other women!!! He would listen with eyes that had no emotion, stonewalling and not say anything!! I felt like I was reprimanding a little kid.
      On one occasion he was watching ” you tube videos” when I asked him that I needed to speak to him, he paused the video, I then pored my heart out to him and I was very upset! During this conversation there was no kindness , no sympathy or concern no hug or I am sorry!! After I was done he just turned around and finished watching the video like nothing happened and laughing about something funny he saw on the video.

  • In the US, this is especially true in the South.

    It’s a region, where “You’re an idiot” comes out as “Bless your heart”. I figure it all starts with the “Yes ma’ams and yessirs” in pre-school or something.

    Now don’t get me wrong, regionally… there are other areas competing for the title of manners-as-camoflage title. In California, “Have a nice day” could mean “fuck you” in the appropriate context (“I want to speak to your manager”, reply… “Can I help who’s next in line? Have a nice day, sir”).

    One thing I liked about New York and Boston is that people are more often direct. They could be helpful as people anywhere, but there was little time for pleasantries.

    But… I’ve lived in the South now for 10 years, and I have never lived anywhere in the U.S. where duplicity is cultivated to quite the extent it is here in terms of impression management as a cultural phenomena.

    • Actually, “bless your heart” means “fuck you”. “Isn’t she special?” means “what a bitch”or “I hate that fucking bitch”, and” my goodness” means “can you fucking believe that?” Having been born and raised in the South (and I say this with great love for the folks there), I can tell you that we are taught from an early age to be “nice” at any cost, which leads to alot of hypocritical behavior. The devil OW, who chased after my ex for years ,went out of her way to show off her Southern charm, right down to the exagerated Southern accent. A real” Southern belle”, by which I mean “what a fucking whore!”

    • Southerners are more duplicitious and engage in more image management than people from other regions?

      Umm…no…..that dog won’t hunt!
      (SouthernSpeak for “bullshit.”)

      To paraphrase a line from one of your own posts in yesterday’s thread: “Really, stereotyping isn’t very attractive. I’d work on that if I were you guys.”

      • I didn’t say Southerners are more duplicitous, etc. I said “Bless your heart” meaning anything but, said sweetly is rather an art form where I live. Which is central Texas, I have no idea how the rest of the South is, but I see some actual Southerners are weighing in on it.

        And sure, there are duplicitous, disingenuous people everywhere.

        I don’t think it’s wrong to observe that certain cultures convey insults differently than others do, however. What’s an observation and what’s a stereotype is debatable. Although if you want to say Detroiters are foul mouthed, and Midwesterners are self-effacing and Mennonites are conflict avoidant (all places/people I have some familiarity with), I wouldn’t object to the stereotypes.

        Texas is hot as hell though. The climate is unbearable. That’s not up for debate. “If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell”
        ― Philip Henry Sheridan

        • Tracy,

          This is the comment I was addressing, and I’m well aware that you neither made the comment nor jumped on the “Let’s bash Southerners” bandwagon.

          “But… I’ve lived in the South now for 10 years, and I have never lived anywhere in the U.S. where duplicity is cultivated to quite the extent it is here in terms of impression management as a cultural phenomena.”

          But I DO have a relevant query:

          Can you remember a single incidence on your blog when any other section of the country besides the “South” was singled out as having a higher incidence of implied moral deficit within its regional sub-culture?

          • Born and raised in the South and I love my Southern roots – and I can laugh (and sometimes cringe) at the funny/peculiar things we do! You know the sweet old Baptist lady, who would never cuss, but she sure would,”bless your heart.”

            Folks in the South do have a preoccupation with manners. We are raised to be polite and we are, but sometimes that veneer hides the personality of a pig’s ass. An example of being nice but not kind.

            Other regions certainly have their peculiarities and I’m sure I’ve read some Canada jokes here. I don’t think anyone is tryng to imply some moral deficit, just trying to use our own life experiences to get through some shitty times, or help someone else get to meh.

            • Yeah, it just is what it is. As a transplant who, incidentally, also lived in NY 10 years prior to moving into the South… it took some getting used to as well.

              Now… NY took a different kind of “getting used to it” at first. People were blunt and tended not to engage in idle chit-chat unless they really, really knew you, and even then… they still tended to be blunt (maybe it’s different in the Hamptons or in some enclaves of Westchester County or in Woodstock, but it’s a good generalization.

              Does this mean there are more assholes? I haven’t undertaken a formalized study, so I can’t tell you. I can tell you, however, you are more likely to get the finger if you are tail gating the guy ahead of you in NY (not so much in Boston where tailgating is required as far as I can tell. When driving in the Boston area at peak traffic on the interstate, your best bet is “don’t blink” because there’s no safe way to do that–lol).

              But… let’s say you want hire a general contractor to do some work, and you know nothing about this person. If you are in NY, and the guy is busy or doesn’t think your job is terribly important, there’s a very high chance he will just say that, and thus… you know up-front most of the time service will be terrible 🙂

              Here in the deep South, if you meet with a contractor, there’s a good chance they will end sentences with “yessir”, inquire about everything from your family, to pets, to information on your last vacation, thoughts on the weather, and then promise to begin work tomorrow at 8am, and then just not show up the following day, and when you call them to find out what happened (that’s right, they are not apt to call you with any bad news or excuses like that crappy NY plumber would, you have to call them), you will get a lot of “fixinto…” expressions that may never materialize as well. In my imagination, several wayward contractors who I’ve allegedly hired are meeting with others and going through that same song and dance and having long discussions about pets and have no time for work 🙂

              It is what it is. It’s like noting that Canadians say “I’m sorry” a lot… but are rarely apologizing when they do.

              You have to develop new language skills living in the South because… people are polite, chatty, and they emulate genuine concern quite often as a pattern of speech, but it doesn’t usually mean a darned thing.

              • EH.. ” Well Clutch My PEARLS “….
                Fuck that..I SAY what I Mean and Mean what I Say.

  • Ahhh … niceness vs kindness. My XH is nice in his emails until I call him on a lie or don’t agree with him. He was most nice when we were trying to reach a settlement in the divorce in the hopes that if he was nice enough, I wouldn’t take any more than what I was “entitled” to. Entitled to? I should have walked away with much more than I did. Unfortunately, I am the “nice” one who cares about the equity in the situation. Yeah … take me out and shoot me. At any rate, his niceness would suddenly disappear if I challenged him on anything. And kindness? Sure, he was filled with kindness if others were looking. “Look what I got her? Wasn’t that kind of me?” It got to the point where I hated receiving flowers or a gift because I knew it was just for show. Guess I should be happy that I, at least, got SOMETHING. But truly, these people are not capable of any real emotion …not love, not nice, not kind. That is how they are able to continue doing what they do. If they had emotion they would feel some sort of something for what they do to those of us they leave in their wake. But, for them, it is all show. Everything they do is for the outsider looking in. They do nothing without an agenda. One of the things that sticks in my mind was shortly after he requested the divorce because he just “wasn’t happy”, he said to me, “After the divorce is over, I’d really like to date you.” Mighty kind of him don’t you think?

    • “It got to the point where I hated receiving flowers or a gift because I knew it was just for show.”

      Yes, Lee Ann, and along with the above, I also hated to slow dance with him at a wedding or event, because he would look long and adoringly into my eyes and hold me like the most precious love of his life. I knew something was off even then, and certainly knew it was for show. I should’ve run off the dance floor and straight to a divorce lawyer!

      • Funny you should talk about slow dancing at weddings. While we were married my 2 sons, from a previous marriage, were each married and, of course, he made this HUGE show of paying for a myriad of things for them “out of the goodness of my heart”. We had to dance together at the receptions. I had to do this even though just before my oldest boy was married I had discovered that my wonderful, kind, loving husband had renewed his “romance” with a previous cheat. Shame on me for continuing the sham of a marriage at what should have been a joyous occasion for me but, instead, was a day filled with dread at the thought of the pretense of it all.

      • Yeah … good enough to date, not good enough to be married to. PS … it never happened. I don’t think the cheatress that he cheated with who he is currently living with would have appreciated that any more than I appreciated her cheating with him in the first place.

  • You hit the nail on the head!!!!
    My cheater was nice, friendly, life of a party, good looking. But kind? Empathy?
    Not so much!!! I tell my daughters now to to educate them to look deeper then NICE!!! And of course me too!!
    I am so glad I came across this site!!!helped me more that the therapist:-)

  • Hang in there NamedforVera-the punishment of breeding with a fucktard will never end, but distance DOES help.

    Mr Fab doesn’t even bother to try ‘nice’ any longer-once the ‘Nice Guy’ mask was off between us that was it. I ALMOST pity him: staying ‘in character’ must take a hell of a lot of energy, and DD now sees through it.

    That has made it all much simpler, in a way, and it has taught me a good lesson-chances are, if they are acting nice, they are not kind, as CL says. I think knowing that difference is a kind of protection, even if it is triggery. I ignored a Maoist parade worth of red flags, out of my own kindness. Now I am learning to be kind to myself.

    Chump Nation, you are my susbstantive friends! I have no job, living with FOO, I don’t know anyone around here, I am broke, DD is much better but still teenage, the black dog still turns up every day and I am knee-knocking shit-scared about the future. But here, I know that people are kind-and we don’t waste that kindness on cheaters. Or even niceness.

    Meh-x

    • I hear you Mehphista. I only work part time and am also living with FOO. I too feel scared about the future…don’t know how I’m ever going to make it or take care of my little girls on my own. All we can do is take it one day at a time. We didn’t know that our life could explode in a day, so we never know what tomorrow will bring. I find that coming back here every day helps relieve some of my stress…maybe not the unknown, but at least I know I’m not alone. Hugs to you as we struggle to pick up the pieces.

      • Thanks, CL and SickofHerChump,

        It is just a ride, as Saint Bill Hicks would put it.

        Hugs to you, too. We are doing right by our kids, little by little.

        Meh-x

    • I had no job, hadn’t worked in years and a few other factors that made my situation particularly difficult – 2.5 years later I’m slowly putting my life back together, have work that I don’t love but is paying the bills. I’m also taking on every single bit of extra work I can get my hands on. I’m tired, I’m scared and I’m not giving up. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And surround yourself with every single good KIND person you can get your hands on.

      • This is my future, starting in 2 mos when I leave with the kids. I haven’t worked in 17 years. Grabbing little contracts here and there, but it’s going to be hard. Standard of living is about to sink big time. I admire you Nord. While I’m filled with fear, I’m excited. Not what I envisioned at 45, but shit. H is supportive of my leaving the country, he views it as restitution for the damage he did. He has been scrambling to be the man he forgot to be in 2013, the dad and husband he had been for our whole marriage until he turned into a little boy who wanted what he wanted in the form of yuck. He’s free to join us if he wants to do the work it will take, but I will be starting over regardless. I’m embarrassed, humiliated and terrified, but there it is, it’s the hand I’ve been dealt.

        Interestingly, I volunteer at a soup kitchen and I ended up on the bus yesterday with one of the ‘customers’, a mentally ill man who gave me perspective and brought me to tears. He pointed to my iPhone and said how lucky I was to have something to keep me company. He asked about my kids, said i was so lucky, that his family was gone. He said my clothes were nice and neat. He said he lived in housing and had no tv or anything, and that if he could ever just have a portable DVD player or the like, he wouldn’t be so lonely all the time, he’d always have company. And my life sucks? I’m so grateful to all those crazies and druggies for what they teach me every time i see them. I get home, I curl up on my couch with an espresso, flip on the fireplace and binge watch Netflix as a Nic pity party. Boo fucking hoo. Someone needs to slap me frankly.

        We HAVE this, Nord, I may ask you to remind me though.

        • My standard of living has dropped, no doubt. But we like to call our new place ‘cosy’. It’s really hard to start over in middle age but just keep going, keep working, never give up. As far as your husband? Well, see what happens, but don’t put up with anything other than 100%.

          • Amen sister. I’m worth no less than 100%. And I’m confident I can give my kids and me 100%. His shit’s on him. Cosy rocks by the way.

          • Standard of living. I used to have one but let go of that with the narc. It hit hard when I saw how hard he was gonna fight. It’s still trickling in.

        • Nic, that poor guy, and what an incredible gift of perspective he gave you. Don’t be so hard on yourself, but yeah, it’s good to remember some people face far greater challenges every day.

          I remember when I got a PFA, (first one) I was a bucket of hysterics, trying not to cry in the waiting room at the courthouse. Went to the ladies room and there was a woman there, who’d been sitting with me in the waiting room. I’d been talking to her young son about Thomas the Tank Engine, passing time. (He was playing with some ancient kids train set there.) I’m a mess, and this woman who clearly has it a million times rougher than I did is giving me a pep talk like “don’t let the bastard get you down! You stay strong, girl!” It was very humbling and kind. Never forgot it.

    • With you Mephista! …so sorry my Ex is moving to your side of the continent… I’m sure the last thing CA needs is more fuckchuck cheaters. Alas. But I’ll bet a national distribution would show they are All the fuck over. (Gross me out).

      When I was in my late 20’s and my first marriage (also to an abusive narc, ding ding ding!) fell apart, I had noting, no one. My folks were still alive, so I crawled back home, tail between my legs. Never was I so glad of the shelter, and a place to regroup. ‘Course I had no kids then, thankfully.

      And then, I met the current fuckchuck… oh, well. To quote a popular band of my youth, “won’t get fooled again.”

      Mephista, you’ll be fine. Be glad you have a place to shelter, even if it sucks, it’s better than life with a fuckchuck, no? But, doubly hard with a kid, I have no doubt. We do what we must. Marchons!

      • Mephista, I hear you and you aren’t alone – take one day at a time. Yup, we are with you on the insecurity and terror, especially at 5.30am when you wake up… But please believe this chump when she tells you that the universe will send you opportunities and luck, take the luck of that day and work with it.
        I was 20 years SAHM and had this exaggerated belief that I was a pile of crap and working women were just so together. Things get sent to you, and slowly slowly they build into bigger stuff. Not easy, but trust in the goodness of the world xxx

  • What you’ve described is exactly the cognitive dissonance that had become so truly crazy-making in the 18 months before I finally left my X. I even felt guilty sometimes for being so unhappy, as all outward signs pointed toward a “nice” and “supportive” partner. But the whole thing felt so hollow, just someone going through the motions as though reading from cue cards. A year ago, we were away on ‘vacation’ (or as much of a vacation as can be had with a partner who is surgically attached to his iPhone and iPad, to facilitate 24/7 communication with his EAP), and I tried to talk to him about the disconnect. He said, “Love doesn’t conquer all. It just feels like something is missing.” If I could have that conversation again, I’d say, “What’s missing is YOU.” In retrospect, I see that he had already checked out of the relationship, and all that was left was the sort of bland courtesy of a roommate you get stuck with by chance, not choice.

    As for trying to explain the situation to mutual friends? Fuhgeddaboudit. They were (and still are) as suckered by the nice as I initially was, and it is a horrible, lonely experience to be smack-dab in the middle of a reality that nobody else can bear witness to. I’d say it was The Emperor’s New Clothes kind of a deal, except in that story, people KNEW but just didn’t SPEAK.

    Thank you so much for this post today, which I really needed. It really is uncanny how each topic seems to come up just when I’m working through that very issue. You rock, CL.

    • For what it’s worth, I’ve been through the same shit– being the only person to bear witness to the craziness behind the “Nice” facade, and I believe you.

      • Thank you, Lily Bart. I think that is one of the most valuable things we can ever give and receive in this life: bearing witness. It’s what makes this board such a Godsend for me now as I work through the aftermath of being chumped.

        • FoolMeTwice,

          Yes, it’s a lonely road sometimes, isn’t it? All you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and know your own integrity. Others will either come to see through his facade or be forever duped. Not much you can do about that.

          -Lily Bart

          • FMT – absoluteley. Nobody else sees it. If my friends gave an explanation? It would be exactly what CL wrote – why is he with HER? She is so angry/crazy and he is SO NICE. No wonder he had an affair….

            But don’t try and explain it to them, because it just makes you sound bitter and crazy.

  • I’ve figured that the opposite of “nice and sparkly” is kind – especially when nobody is looking. If I ever am blessed to meet a good man, I hope to find one who does sweet, small things for people, but doesn’t really want to be noticed for them…the type of man who starts and scrapes your car in the morning if it’s below zero (even when the neighbors aren’t watching), or gives you a hug after a bad day. I couldn’t care less about jewelry or money or flowers; kindness is worth far more. Although I tried every day to show my exH how much I loved him with the little things; a hot bath, a special dinner, notes in his lunch…my marraige was almost completely devoid of kindness – and I didn’t even realize it, with all the fancy “look at awesome MEEEEE” sparkly stuff.

    As my exH would tell you, “Everybody knows that RDM is LUCKY to be married to MEEEE; nobody can understand WHY I picked her.”

    You picked me because I was a f’ing chump. And I sure as hell am NOT one anymore. And someday, maybe some decent, real, KIND man will think that’s worth something. And I will treat him like a king, and he’ll deserve it.

    • I hear you RDM…My ex always had to make a big show out of his gifts. If it was our anniversary or valentines day or something else, he would send me a vermont teddy bear or an edible arrangement at work.Then he’d badger me all night about “what the other ladies at work thought of his gift”-vomit. I should’ve seen it as a sign.

      I’m a die hard Red Sox fan, brought up to hate the Yankees but one of the most touching things that I ever read about George Steinbrenner was this quote. He said: “I believe the good you do for others comes back to you,” he says. “But if you do something good for some person and more than two people know about it—you and the other person—then you didn’t do it for the right reason.” My ex never understood why I appreciated that quote so much.

      He also thought I should’ve been grateful that “he chose me” over the OW when I found out about his affair. Not quite douchebag…you chose me 27 years ago when you said “I do”. You don’t get bonus points for choosing me after you sleep with someone that’s not your wife!

  • I was raised to be suspicious of big shows of public niceness. As a teenager, when I told my parents how I wanted be a do-gooder and save the wales, homeless people, rainforests, etc., they would always tell me to first be nicer to my sisters, clean my room, help out around the house more. Yeah, whatever mom and dad. Where is the glory in that? Despite my parents excellent teaching, I still fell for a narc.

    It was the central driving force in my XH’s life to be popular and well-liked. He ran his business not so much for profit, but for kibbles. In our liberal college town, he positioned himself at the center of the green-sustainable-locally sourced-better than you- organic-slow food-politically correct- holy church of crunchy granola movement. He volunteered his time for every crunchy community activity, always claiming it was a business promotion.

    We had a big yard with all kinds of edibles growing in it (99% tended by me). I can’t count the number of times I was hoping to spend a little time together on the weekend, go hiking, or for a short walk in the neighborhood, or even sit together on our patio and have brunch together for 30 minutes. Sorry, river, that isn’t possible. Way too much “work” to do. Then, unbenounced to me, some 20-something hippy chick would pull up in our driveway in her Subaru Legacy and get a two hour “tour of the grounds.” If I dared to point out that he could not spare 20 minutes for me, but had hours to spend talking about herbs and berries with a virtual stranger, he would always have some oddball justification. “Her brother’s boss’s mother owns seven apartment buildings in town, river!! This is an important business contact!! Geeezzeee, river!” It was just more evidence of how I “never supported his business.” Very nice.

  • Great article, CL, you have again nailed it exactly–ex was “nice” and I confused that with kindness, sincerity and real love and a real connection. I grabbed at the nice, believed it, and refused to look underneath it.

    Your article made me think of the Corinthians verse that so many have read at their wedding, and which always seemed to me to be just a wee bit trite. But as I think about it now in light of your article, it really is beautiful.

    1 Corinthians 13 says: “Love is kind”…NOT “Love is ‘NICE'”!

  • Reminds me of Red from Into the Woods:

    “And I know things now, many valuable things that I hadn’t known before. Do not put your faith in a cape and a hood, they will not protect you they way that they should, and take extra care with strangers, even flowers have their dangers and though scary is exciting ‘nice’ is different than ‘good’.”

  • But this is where I get confused. My ex was “nice”, most definitely, but I also think he appeared “KIND” sometimes… TO OTHERS. So this post confuses me because it seems he shouldn’t be both. He was the type that would always go help someone else or volunteer to help (even if they didn’t ask, and yes, even people we may have hired to work on our house). So when you say above about helping someone even if inconvenient, that would still be him. He would help anyone over and above his (ex) wife (me) and children, even if it was a bad time. That would make him appear to be empathetic also (which I personally feel he lacks).

    So I am confused… was he really nice AND KIND? Yes, he would (at one time) send me flowers, ran back to a hotel to get me a sweater while at dinner (I did not ask, mind you, he volunteered), make me breakfast, etc — seemingly very nice things. But to me it was often him going through the motions with me, but I am not sure. So then why did he still appear to ALSO BE KIND to everyone else in helping them? (Although he made some comment once a long time ago about if you want something from people you have to do something for them AND would often tell the kids (when they asked for something) “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back).) I often felt he needed validated by other people… so does that then mean he is ALSO KIND or not? Or he just hates and cannot be kind to ME only?

    • And let me add on to something written above… my ex definitely seemed like a pleaser person (as written by An English Lady), but he was not the chump, I was.

      • I think the key is, would he do those things if no one was watching? My ex always wanted something in return for any act of “kindness”. The action was a seed planted for some future payoff. Maybe they were being groomed as a client. Maybe they will become part of his “he’s such a nice guy” alibi when the rumors start flying about his cheating.

        Once I discovered the OW at his apartment and all his duplicity unraveled, the ex really started putting on a show, especially when our son (13) was with him. And he’d talk and talk and talk about all the good things he’d done. How much money he’d given to some guy in church because he was having trouble meeting his child support obligations and could go to jail! How much time he’d spent removing carpet from the house the church was going to turn into a women’s shelter for abused women!

        Yeah, but if he was driving with me and some old lady’s grocery sack ripped open would he pull over and help? No, he’d LAUGH.

        In his face to face interactions with people, he’s ALL ulterior motive whether he himself is conscious of it or not.

    • My ex did some of this, too. He would go out of his way for neighbors and co-workers, but was mostly negative when at home, to me and the kids. His kindness was spotty, though….he would help someone out, but then the next time they asked, he would flake. He was inconsistent. But he definitely helped out other people more than his wife and kids. I think mind did that because he valued their opinions more than us, and also because it made him look like a hero to others.

    • Same thing here, AllaLie. A hero to total strangers, and practically a non-entity at home, except for superficial stuff that makes for great FB soundbites. This is what makes you feel like you’re living in Crazy Town, because other people just can’t conceive of how someone so seemingly selfless could actually be so abusive? I read something about altruistic narcissism, which I think describes my X to a tee.

  • Having a hard time with this today.
    I have been convincing myself for days that I’M the one missing out. The nice we shared for over 20 years felt real and I’ve been missing that.
    It makes me sad to know I was wrong. I don’t trust my thoughts or what I thought I knew.

    Several people here have said what I’ve been accused of. Being so difficult (bitchy) for not going along well with decisions that have been made FOR me.
    Gee, I wonder WHY I could be upset?

    I don’t like to be thought of negatively so I constantly struggle with what I say, how I say it and how I act.

    I hate that I was duped – more than once.
    For many months I thought we could be friends. i wanted it b/c he’s been part of my life for so long but I’ve come to realize that we can’t. I’m sure it confuses him but the truth is…I don’t have friends that treat me like this so why have a spouse – or former one – that does?
    Why do we let our spouse treat us so poorly but if if a friend did any of the things they did we’d drop them like a hot potato 🙂

    Still learning…

    • Never stop learning Edie. “The nice we shared for over 20 years felt real and I’ve been missing that. It makes me sad to know I was wrong. I don’t trust my thoughts or what I thought I knew” and “I hate that I was duped – more than once”. I would hazard a guess that these 2 lines of thought goes through all our minds of Chump Nation.
      I was married for 37 years and I can tell you that I know for me personally the sadness will never leave me and yet I know I don’t want him back or to ever see him or hear his voice again. I have to stop looking back because I know that I am missing what is in front of me and that could mean happiness and peace of mind. Oh how I long for these 2 things. We should all keep on learning. 🙂

      • Maree – you expressed my thoughts exactly. I don’t think I was that wrong in interpreting his nice and kind; he was both for 35 yrs. Really, he was. Then a switch just went off one day and there he went – no explanation. I will probably have a tough time going through our old photo albums for awhile but I have so many wonderful memories of a great man who did treat me well most of our married life. I long for that too. And, the conversations. But, I never ever want to see him again or hear his voice. Just hurts too much. Hang in there, Maree, and I’ll grab your line whenever you toss it to me.

  • I wrote a letter to my ex shortly after he disappeared and I still did not know exactly what was going on. I akin that week of my life to shell shock. I never sent the letter because assholes are not privy to my thoughts. In it, I described my perceptions of his character and how the things I admired were really facile.

    The one in particular I remember was delineating what I perceived was “brilliance” (public ivy alumnus, full ride to grad school where he quit for no reason, etc) and “clever”, which is shallow and cunning, knowing how to game a system or ace a standardized test.

    He was “nice” when he wanted to be and charming in a “lil’ ole nerdy me” kind of way. His favorite greeting was “howdy!” I watched him switch this on and off like a blinking sign, which sent chills through my body in the few interactions we had after he left. The facade was down and I knew exactly whom I was seeing.

  • This one really struck it for me today in the on-going ploy of EXH when he says “look how bad she is….she won’t be friends with me…” Ummm not for nothing, but if one of my “friends” had behaved the way that you had I would have walked away from them years ago….you…who had a much greater commitment to me treated me this way and you want to be friends?

    What color is the sky on your planet?

  • Such an important distinction, nice vs. kind. It makes me sick to hear people talk about what a “nice guy” my ex is. Yeah, he’ll move mountains for strangers, but wouldn’t lift a finger for his own family. And how does he top off all that “nice”? With this: “Eventhough we’re divorced, we’re still friends, right? Can we still have sex?” Fuck. Off.

    • Lynnette41, everyone and I mean everyone loves my ex husband. He is just so “nice”. Our 31 year old son who abuses me at the drop of a hat stated that his father is just “the loveliest guy”. I can’t take a trick. However, after we divorced he dropped by my apartment for dinner as we were still speaking at that stage and he actually stated that I could be his “F Buddy”. How do you think he went after that?

      • He actually used that term??? F Buddy?!?!?! PIG!!!! I have to ask, because I have this concern for my children. Have your adult children adopted any of your ex husbands abusive behavior in their own relationships? I’m worried that my daughters have learned to be chumps and that my son will grow up to be a narcissistic cheater.

        • Lynnette41, yes he actually used that term and this is Mr. Nice Guy!! My son is gay and is extremely abusive to me. I know he can be quite vicious at times and yet he was the most gentle, loveliest little boy growing up. How I wish for those days once more. My daughter who is 35 has completely cut me dead and hasn’t spoken to me since Mother’s day 4 years ago. She is thankfully in a good marriage of 4 years to a really decent chap (I wasn’t invited to the wedding even though I paid for half of it, you see she is like her father “a taker”). So, I suppose in response to your question, my son is direct and hits you between the eyes and my daughter is evasive like her father. She hides behind others and allows them to do her bidding. It seems I have made a real mess of it all.

          • Maree, I’m so sorry. We never want to think that our relationship with our children will suffer as a result of the cheater. The good news is, you have this site. It helps me every day.

          • Maree,
            I hate to hear that your kids are so toxic. I too have some toxic family members (not my kids, yet, thank goodness but you never know). Based on their treatment of you, it sounds like it is best for you that they have cut you out of their lives. I know it is still painful, after all, these are your own children, but you have enough going on trying to survive the aftermath of your marriage to their asshole father much less dealing with your adult kids terrible treatment of you. At least they are adults and you are not responsible for taking care of them. Please continue to reach out to this site. Also, I hope that in your “real life” you can begin to surround yourself with positive individuals. I have several of these “taker” relatives and I have found that the more distance between us the better my life is. One such person has cut herself out of my life (and my entire family’s lives) for the past year and guess what, I realized that I don’t even miss her. I found that my life is more peaceful without her in it. She recently tried to call, leaving a really sweet voice message asking about my kids and then segueing to her real goal, to get something out of me. I have fallen for that act before. This time I made the conscious decision not to call her back. So now I guess that means I am the one cutting a family member out of my life. But I feel healthier and safer as a result of my decision. Know, Maree, that you are worthy of loving and healthy relationships and if it is not possible with your children then, when you are ready, in time you can forge some meaningful relationships. Sending you a great big bear hug.

            • Thank you DeltaGirl65. My son tells me I am the toxic one. But as I have stated above he abuses me at the drop of a hat. The part that breaks my heart is that I no longer miss my kids company. I remember the day each of them came into the world and the exact time to the minute as if it were yesterday and the love that swells in my heart actually breaks my heart. Despite everything that has been done to me and said about me by both of them, they are the best things that have ever happened to me. So contradictory isn’t it?

              • Maree – your kids break my heart. I have a g/f going through a similar thing. Her h abused her emotionally and I think physically (at times) throughout their 40 yr marriage. He battered her self-esteem so low she couldn’t leave him, but she also wanted to keep the intact family no matter what. Our generation of ‘stand by your man’, I guess. Today, instead of doing the best for her precious 2 boys, they learned from their abusive father how to treat a woman. Both boys resent her, as she put up with her H put-down all those years. I think the cycle of abuse continues and that’s what your kids are feeling towards you, even though you gave them the beautiful gift of life, they learned how to treat others through your husband. I’m just guessing and don’t mean to say anything unkind. But, I do wonder that all this time my special friend spent nurturing the most special part of her life, her 2 boys – her H passed on some nasty traits. I hope your children see you someday for the vault of loving wisdom and the angel you have always been to them. Otherwise, I feel very sorry for them and their future partners. Please, keep your chin up, and as others have said, surround yourself with people who do appreciate your charms. We love you here!

              • SheChump, you have made me cry but happy tears. I can honestly say that finding this forum has been a blessing for me. If I am feeling down, the words of wisdom from the other Chumps somehow makes me feel stronger and here we can always have a good laugh as well. I am sure you understand what I mean.

    • Yea..Just what EVERY Ex Wife DREAMS of.. Divorcing a CHEATING Bastard..Only to Become his Fuckbuddy Later…with No Responsibilities on HIM At ALL.

      YEA..YOUR EX is a SPECIAL KINDA Stuck Up His OWN Arse Piece of SHIT.

      • Blooming, that’s exactly it! He avoids all responsibility like it’s the plague. Ofcourse, I don’t know why he’d want to have sex with me with he’s got his 2 twenty-somethings. POS cake eater.

        • Cause he needs to fuck them over Too..Icing..Cheating on Their Younger Arses with The ” OLD ” Ex Wife…Double Mindfucks, Insecurity Building, Self-Esteem Busting Nastiness for THEM too.
          He’s an ASSHOLE to EVERYONE… They just aren’t AWARE of it That’s All.
          Take COMFORT in that You KNOW, and therefore are FREE to WALK FREE.

  • UGH-THIS! It is so creepy that my stbx will smile in my face, be nice to me and is now trying to pay attention to our 4 year old son when I know deep down (and on a moments notice) that he is a very angry, mean, selfish, disordered ASSHOLE. When he shows his true face-it’s pretty awful. He actually fixed my bike last night so I could go riding with my son but then told our 4 year old that if I fell when I was out riding my bike that he would laugh….what a dick. I won’t stoop to his gutter-snipe level so I reminded my son that is not nice and mommy and “J” are kind loving people who don’t wish harm on anyone. Of course then he says he was only kidding. Yea right.

    It’s all so fake and yet he seems to believe that I am buying it. Whatever. He even tried to help with the dishes last night. WTF?! After 17 years he wants to help with the dishes NOW? He must have had a super jack-off porn session on his iphone before coming home (or massage parlor visit) and was feeling relaxed. Fucking loser

      • You mean how soon till I move out. My situation with this fuckwit is so bad it could qualify for Jerry. Springer! He won’t move out-he wants me to leave our 4 year old special needs son & the house with him. I do not currently have a job & I don’t have anyone/family to go to right now. BUT I am working VERY quickly to fix all of that. Until then we are stuck in the house with the asshat and he gets to play/act at being nice husband/father to everyone else. He REALLY sucks. One minute he is nice and the next he is beyond verbally nasty. He is not physically abusive so the attorney said I can’t have him forcibly removed and we are both on title to the property. I wake up every morning knowing that my nightmare will soon be over and that and my sweet 4 yr old. It is still so creepy & eerie to me to see his fake niceness…….especially when I know deep down that he really must hate me as much as I hate him

        • Oh Ya..if they aren’t PHYSICALLY Abusive, You’re Fucked about getting ” Backing”.
          *shakes head*
          They SERIOUSLY don’t GET that shit.

          • The verbal is just as bad as far as I’m concerned but Not in the eyes of the law. Ugh. So I have plan b in action setting up for our escape. It just sucks to have to deal with him on a daily basis for right now. It’s like dealing with a male Sybil who has a porn/sex addiction. Barf!!

  • Actually, while my EH was the epitome of NICE during our marriage, he was NOT nice after I filed for divorce. Ever since I revealed his cheating, lying rat bastard ass to the country club society in our small town, he is exploring new and more evil ways to torture me — all the while glad-handing and smiling and spending his way into favor with the upper crust. (He actually put a deposit on a fancy summer camp for our daughter because the camp marketing rep was married to the chairman of the board of the country club. Then he tried to bill me for my portion of the expenses! And my daughter didn’t even want to go!) I remind myself daily that people who buy his sugar-coated turd act are not people I want to be with anyway, but, boy, sometimes you feel so ALONE.

    PS I now realize the difference between “nice” and “kind.” I’m such a chump!

      • I did. Actually posed it in form of a question. As in, “WTF is THIS? I asked (our daughter) about it and she knows nothing about it. She told me she’s looking forward to (her usual cheapo non-country club church camp) so I don’t understand…..”

        He removed the charge from my bill. Now I’m after the dozen other charges (He told daughter she “could do any horse show she wanted, as many classes as she wanted, as long as she did the chores in his house.”) Then charged me 20% of the 1000’s she racked up going to horse shows in OH, TN….this is the other daughter BTW. She’s bought into the sugar coated turd.

    • HIndsight…my ex, since I kicked him out, went total rageaholic. It’s been pretty amazing to see, particularly when he has his ‘nice’ moments (he wants something and/or is about to lie). Basically, since I see him for exactly who he is he can’t be bothered to be nice to me anymore because there’s nothing in it for him. No kibbles, no me taking care of anything, nothing. So why bother being nice to me, right?

  • Yes I had a nice cheater, everyone thinks he is such a nice person. They have even contorted reality of his emotional blackmail into he cares about me that is why this is the way it is, he cares so much about me. I am quite a killjoy, I have heard “do you ever talk about anything else” and “not going to talk about it” and be hung up on.

    Sorry, wait not, yes I expect to talk about this since you did it and go ahead tell me all about it so I can understand and not have to think about it anymore. I know, this is not healthy for me, my mind goes there anyway. Not as much as it did, my mind is finally conforming to telling me, hey stop it, that is painful to think about do you really want to know details, isn’t it enough already, isn’t is bad enough already.

    Yes, we were the couple that everyone was shocked about, I kept his drinking so well hidden that the news of that stunned many also, they never knew, I know I didn’t really want everyone to know what was going on. And even with all this, he is so misunderstood, he always was so nice, and look you haven’t been thrown out on your ass onto the sidewalk with a cart you lazy sahm so don’t you see, he is nice, even though this is being forced on you?

    I asked him once, how would he feel if our daughters had this happen to them, and he said “I don’t know” guess he really can’t see the big picture.

    I want to wake up some day and not feel like I am in a circus.

    He is really nice, ask anyone. I am his crazy insane wife, it is no wonder he ran off, ask anyone.

    This whole thing has made me turn into someone I never was like before..:(

    • I could have written everything you just wrote.
      I’M the problem. I’M “crazy”/unreasonable.
      I also hid drinking. Thankfully he’s sober now. Good for everyone but no one sees him the way I have seen him. No one expected it from us.
      They don’t understand the deep pain they’ve caused. I’ve also asked “how would you feel if someone were treating our daughter the way you’re treating me? I assume it’s ok for her to be treated that way and you won’t mind b/c you’ve treated me poorly and continue to”
      No response. It never seems to sink in.

      I feel for you, Tess. I look back and wonder how I got here. I don’t recognize myself a lot of the time. They helped make us this way and then suddenly they don’t like us. Huh. Wonder how that happened? 😉

  • Hindsite2020 it sent chills in me reading your post. I remember the day I found out, he was like himself, and then right in front of me he turned into this alter person I had never seen before, and he has not switched back yet.

    He turned into this really angry man, spewing, yelling, and he has done some horrible things in slandering me, and talking about me and us all over the place, many people he told we were divorced, I was his ex, we were separated, we had an open marriage, I knew he was cheating was fine with it, on and on.

    It was all news to me, I had no idea he had a split personality and sammysatan was his new cover.

  • This is something I struggle with from time to time. XH is not just nice to others, he is kind too. His actions in our mariage were dreadful and selfish but he is kind and very helpfull to his family and his friends. He does it for the good reasons. It leaves me wondering why he would be so neglectful with me and why he never bothered to help me save our own marriage that he destroyed. I never understood it and I tought that I was mistaken for a long time about him because how could he act so differently with me? I was very comitted to be a good wife. I don’t know what I have done to deserve a different treatment than everybody else. I feel he took me for granted. I would always love him so he could “relax” in our relationship. He was kind to others, but he needed me to be kind to him all the time and at any cost.

    • “He does it for the good reasons.”

      Sight of him unseen, I’d challenge that assumption on your part. For these reasons: Those relationships do not require the kind of intimacy, connectedness and conflict resolution skills that marriage requires. Those others don’t have to live with him 24/7 and 365. With them he can “put on the good face” and it is enough maintain what (by comparison) are significantly more superficial relationships. Stop beating yourself up and weed out the belief that you were not “good enough.” Odds are that no wife will ever be quite good enough…which his OW or OWs will also discover in due time.

      [I can still remember the gasping fish face my X displayed when I said to him, ” Since when and in what world did I EVER become not good enough for you? Check your premises martyr-man because the last time I looked they have never awarded a “St Cheater” medal.”]

      • I suggest that being nice to others keeps him at some advantage over them; being unkind to you does that same thing. It’s not you. It’s him.

      • You are right, of course. It’s a lot harder to be in a marriage than to be helpful to friends and family from time to time. I never though of it that way, but it is true that both things requires different level of investment.

        Actually, I heard the “martyr” defense as well. His reasons were a bit confusing: I was so “perfect”, I could’nt understand him because I “never” made mistake and I was so “smart” etc, etc. I hated that argument above every thing else. Somehow it was my fault because I was a good wife I think… As Chumplady says: it’s a bit of a mindfuck! The underlying message was that since I was so “perfect”, I should stick with my marriage and deal with the problems myself. Well, I’m done with the pressure of perfection with the divorce!

  • Tess, we know your pain. Hang in there, sweetie, you are going through an intense grief that unmoors us all. Rage is part of grieving. And it makes the process even worse when you are misunderstood and misrepresented. You will eventually get through this and back to a self you recognize. Sending you many hugs!

  • Last Saturday morning I stopped at the Post Office to pick up some registered mail.
    The female postman asked if I was married to Mr. X. I kept my maiden name and we are not dviorced yet. And he lives 2 blocks from me. When I said yes, I knew what she was going to say…”He is such a nice guy!” Gawd, it ruined my Saturday. If only he could have been a good guy to me.

  • I’ll never forget the jerk asking a very attractive blonde if she wanted to share our umbrella across a walkway in the rain.
    Okay, I’d be an ass not to share shelter. She looked up at him with her vulnerable pretty face, nodded, and the two of them proceeded to take off in stride while I traipsed along like an annoying child, trying to get my share of the umbrella. He practically scraped it across my head to keep her covered and I yanked at him to get his attention. He angrily, audibly asked me, “WHAT?!” so she was sure to hear, for added humiliation. It was horrible. He was so very kind to that pretty woman. Bitch. I would have purposefully stood next to me if I was her. He had these kinda of micro affairs at every opportunity, very “kind” to the extras. If I’d said anything later he would have told me I was crazy. After a far more egregious public humiliation a friend said, “T-A-X-I.” As in, take one, home. What an idea, I couldn’t conceive of that level of self respect. I think– had I started from the get go taking taxis when he was a rude dick, with no further explanation– I’d be in much better shape now.

    • Sara, I like this phrasing: “micro affair.” That’s just what my X would do. You know, the whole ostentatious, almost unctuous attention to other women, or comments about other women, everywhere we went. At restaurants, at Costco, at the Safeway, even at fundraisers and the kids’ plays and concerts. But you can’t say anything or else you’re petty, insecure, jealous, or delusional. I told my friends it was like going out with one of those bobble-head dolls.

      And I hear you about the taxis. Trying to forgive myself for that now, but I took the most important cab ride of all when I left last fall. Never again, man. Just NEVER AGAIN.

      • “You know, the whole ostentatious, almost unctuous attention to other women, or comments about other women, everywhere we went. At restaurants, at Costco..” Yes!

      • Now I have a name for that bullshit- a micro-affair. My ex was always collecting female admirers, regaling them with tales of youthful adventure and brilliance, all the while letting me fend for myself. And I did, because I wanted to show him that I wasn’t dependent on him for, well, anything. Today? I am so damn grateful that he did that to me because I need him for nothing and that is exactly what I want from him!

        • My XH had a dozen female friends that he never talked about or introduced me too. After dday I found out who they were and funnily enough all attractive and a couple he had fucked and the rest trying to fuck! He would play the “nice guy” and listen to all their problems and give them advice. Especially advice on relationship issues! What a hero! As obviously he was so good at relationships!! One of the girls he was fucking he gave advice on how to break off a date she went on with another guy so she didn’t look like a dick! She lapped that up, her response “I couldn’t go out with him as my heart was somewhere else!” Oh and XH reason for never introducing me to his many female friends was that he thought I would get jealous? Oh nothing to be jealous of when your husband fucks and is trying to fuck his so called female friends! Nothing to feel insecure about there! There’s no way I could compete with all those kibbles!! Good fucking riddens, he did me a fucking favour in the end by getting lost!!

    • A kind and self-sacrificing gentleman would have insisted that the ladies take the umbrella and he’d fend for himself. A kind and clever gentleman would have escorted the two of you across one at a time.

      An attention-seeking assclown would have done exactly what he did. That display was NOT kindness motivated. It was ALL about him and the showing off!

    • Yikes! This is the kind of stuff that happened to me too. I remember going to an amusement park with our young son. My husband was there, along with his brother and a young, pretty girl his brother was dating at the time. My husband and his brother walked ahead of me, one either side of the young, pretty girl. I trailed along behind, holding the hand of our son. It made me feel like my son and I were an afterthought.

      Another time we went to Hawaii when my ex had a business trip. We arrived a couple of days early to enjoy the island, and I was so happy to finally get to spend some time alone with him (he traveled all the time). As soon as his attractive boss arrived that was the end of my good time. My ex walked with her the rest of the time, and left me to trail behind. When I tried to tell him how upset this made me in the hotel that night he just got mad at me. Trying to express my feelings about that kind of stuff was always met with stony silence, or disgust. After awhile I just stopped saying anything when I got upset. I stuffed it all down so deep over the years it’s a wonder I didn’t explode.

      • Sorry, Lyn. That totally sucks, but it’s how these guys (used in gender-neutral sense) so often roll. Somebody on here said a while back that DDay was a gift because it opened the door to authentic love–not this ‘afterthought’ shit. If you never found out, you’d just continue on thinking that was your baseline. Walking behind someone and feeling awful and extraneous. What a horrible thought!!! It’s like that scene from The Matrix, where Morpheus offers Neo either the red pill or the blue pill. Do you stay oblivious, or do you wake up to the reality, regardless of how painful that is?

        If I ever get in a relationship again (and right now I have my doubts), it’s going to be with someone who is proud to walk alongside me at all times, even if Angelina Jolie’s there and forgot her umbrella.

        • Me too FoolMeTwice! After Dday when I was living with a friend I wrote down the things I thought I deserved in a relationship. I wrote “a man who holds my hand in public and isn’t embarrassed.” Guess what? The man I’ve been dating holds my hand in public all the time! If he walks too fast and I ask him to slow down, he actually does! As he explained to me, “it doesn’t take that much effort to be nice to people.” For some reason my ex REFUSED to slow down when we were walking anywhere. My choice was to run to keep up with him, or lag behind. He was NOT going to slow down for anyone unless it was attractive women he wasn’t married to.

          • I so hated the lagging behind like a puppy dog with my shorter legs and him just going off not even looking behind. I never thought about it before the break-up but now I notice it if people watching and feel bad for the woman trying to keep up-figure they won’t last.

            • I’ve had this same experience. I’ve seen women struggling to keep up with arrogant jerks who only seem annoyed with this woman working her butt off to keep up with him. Sometimes I try to catch her eye to let her know that I see her, that she is real.

              How could someone treat another human being with such disdain? I guess I’m glad not to understand it.

      • Yea… Left TRAILING Behind them Like you’re Nothing…
        like A DOG Following Em Home..

        Yea.. BEEN There….Sick and Pregnant, without Keys to the Outside Door and No Remote for The Garage to just Walk Away from HIM and go Inside..On MY OWN.

        Fucking HUMILIATING…

        RATBastard Watched Me Get Sick in The Street, and Actually YELLED At me For Having Morning Sickness, Embarassed at me.. ” Somebody Might SEE You ** Yea..the Local Crackheads and Heroin Dealers Opinions of ME Mean ALOT **A COP Might think You’re DRUNK !! **… Not Are you OKAY…. Lemme Hold You Up .
        I Was Holding Onto a Utility Pole Trying NOT to PASS OUT.

        Fucker Left Me Walking Behind me AFTER Him…in BAD Neighborhood.
        I Stopped to get a Pop to Wash The Vomit Taste outta My Mouth..
        When I Finally Got to The Front of the Building He was Mocking me With a Friend..and Actually ASKED ME for a Drink of MY POP !!

        His Friend Asked Why I was Soo Pissed Off..and I Told him I Had Just got Done Puking in the Street, Cause I’m Pregnant…
        Dude Looks at ME , Whilst ASSHOLE is Standing Right There Listening and Asks ” Who’s The Father ”
        ASSHOLE says NOTHING.

        I DESPISE HIM.

          • Sara..the Asshole Was Already acting like I Wasn’t Preggo…didn’t tell ANYONE Himself… Also Accused ME Several Times of Cheating on HIM…NEVER DID…
            So all that Woulda Done, Even if JUST said in Spite, woulda Given him a LIE to Try and Act like I Didn’t Know for Certain HE was the Father, ** Also Known as ” SEE, I TOLD You She Was a cheating WHORE **
            Cause FACT is, There Was NO Possibility of ANYONE Else, Cause I’d Been 100% Faithful.

            the Final Part of that LIL Scene was The KICKER…
            After I Said _____________ was the Father…. His Friend Looks at ________________ and Says ” Jeeeeeeezzus Christ..ANOTHER ONE ?! You’ve gotta have The Most Active Sperm in the World…You Oughtta Be Sellin That Shit to the Sperm Bank and Make Some $$ “….

            Even Bigger…… Not Long after That….. ONE of his Babymamma’s Busts into The Apartment..Asshole ” Forgot” to Lock the Door…and She’s Got a Two Year Old Little Girl on Her Hip…… DIPSHIT Walks In a few Minutes Later…Takes ONE LOOK at THEM, Walks OUT Without Saying a WORD, Like the Fucking COWARD He IS…. and LEAVES ME to DEAL with That Shit…WEll..Yea..After His MUM was Called….. Gotta LOVE that LIL Phone Chain…
            I’m not Gonna Tell ya What Happened NEXT Cause It Makes Me Wanna KNOCK a Particular Person’s NOSE Through the Back of her Witless Skull. ** Hint, It Wasn’t the Other Babymomma…Cause Even Though I’d be The fIRST to Admit, she’s NASTY, I’m kinda Living Her Dilemma, Myself Now…Fucker’s like to PRETEND they just DON’T Exist and Never Think the TRUTH IS GONNA COME OUT… you Know..Just DENY It, IGNORE IT and it’ll ALL GO AWAY…
            and you Know..We DO..FAAAARRR AWAY from Their Sorry ARSES and THANK GOD those Pricks are Out of Our Lives. BLESSINGS in DISGUISE…Honestly..

            Eventually, The Thing that Made you Mourn HARDEST , is Gonna Eventually Be the Thing that Makes you Weep in Rejoicing… Just gotta Get some Distance and Perspective.

            Of Course..When you’re in the MIDDLE of It…. Their AUDACITY takes the Wind Outta You..You’re in Shock…You’re Thinking ” Who the FUCK are These ” PEOPLE ” …WHO The Fuck DOES and SAYS SHIT LIKE THAT ??!! AND After You just HELPED them Clean up a MESS that WASN’T YOURS.

            NEEDLESS to Say..I Left his Arse and his Toxic Family Behind when I was 3 months Pregnant.

            I’d Rather DIE Than Have her EVER Subjected to THEIR Shit.
            The Enormity of the Dysfunction is ASTOUNDING,Especially since they Painted themselves as Soo Very Classy and ” The Perfect, Morally Superior Family ”
            FRAUDS the WHOLE Lot.

        • I have never shared this story with anyone. When I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest son, my ex and I were eating at a restaurant and two women approached us. The first one knew a mutual friend, the second one was very drunk. Without having ever met me, the drunk one turned to my ex and asked,”Who’s the father?” Naturally, the ex started laughing and flirting. I was furious, but of course, it didn’t end there. She later followed him into the bathroom and gave him her phone number for “later.” Was he offended, did her express shock or disgust at her conduct? Of course not. Instead, he brought her note back to the table, showed it all around and bragged about the stud he was (in his mind). And I stayed with this fuckwad for another 27 years.WTF???

          • Louise and BloomingRose, I am blown away by your candour and your bravery.

            Thank you for opening up the doors on your emotional shit-show. It’s so hard to do, but holy cow, the gift you give is immeasurable.

            Thank you, and God bless you both.

            • Don’t Know if you’re Being Sarcastic or Not…

              Still It’s Humbling and BRAVE, Yes, to Speak of these things….

              Even STRONGER..We SURVIVED these Things.

              the Gift ?? I Dunno..Maybe you can Say ” At Least I Didn’t put up with THAT ?! ”

              *shrug*
              People have Worse Truths. I’m Sure.. and to THOSE…My LOVE and Heartfelt Condolences. I Know to Some ,Even Mine And Louise’s Pales in Comparison.
              Someone, Somewhere has it Worse than Me… It’s how I Stopped Feeling Sorry for Myself…and Compassion for Them.

              • I wasn’t being at all sarcastic, and I’m truly humbled by all the sharing that goes on here. For me it’s less about the story itself than the willingness to open the doors on personal pain. That’s what I find so inspiring and healing, because being chumped is a lonely and isolating feeling. Understanding that others have suffered, too, in a myriad of ways, allows me to grow and move forward. It’s not about comparison, which in some ways is another way to deflect individual pain, but rather about understanding we’re not alone.

                But hey, that’s just me.

          • Man…Louise…I’m Soo Sorry… ** HUGS*
            That’s the Thing About it Too…Your PREGNANCY is SUPPOSED to be a BEAUTIFUL Time..and these FUCKERS Turn it UGLY..you Can’t ENJOY it like you Should.
            He Shoulda Been Bragging UP on that Baby in your Belly with PRIDE … Not Letting Women Chat Him Up and Trying to Act like a ” Stud”…..

            As for The BITCH that Flirted with him… I HOPE She Got Some MAJOR KARMA BITES TO THE ARSE..I’m Talking EVERYTHING GONE…BUT the Hole.

    • O sHIT…. SARA..
      F U C K YOUR E X ..with a CHAINSAW Bathed in LEMON JUICE.
      THAT is JUST…….. UUURRRRGGGHHHH.

      WHAT an ASS !!!!!!!!!!

    • Sara – its called triangulation. I used to get triangulated with my own daughter. He would hold her hand whilst I trotted along behind.

    • Sara, “micro affairs” is a really great term. My ex has had those, only I didn’t think anything of it until after dday. After dday, someone told me that she had wondered about some photos she saw that my ex had taken of a woman once (who was not me) and she said she would have been really upset about that if it had been her husband… Now I have a term for what I now realize that was…a micro affair. I guess he was looking around at other women a little too attentively long before the OW…

  • It does seem like a collective unconscious thing here in Chump Nation — Chump Lady, again, you nail a issue, just as many of us are struggling with it. Thank you! I’m having a rough time the past few days, and struggling with the question of whether or not to give a dear cousin some “slow down and beware of getting chumped” advice after meeting her new fiancé this weekend. They stayed as my house guests while we attended a family wedding in my city. The fiancé seems perfect to my cousin and to everyone who’s met him so far, including her two grown children, but I picked up on some red flags, if not just about him, about the way she is giving too much, too soon, like I did in the past, and perhaps being chumped. By the third and last night they were here, enough small observations had triggered me inside subconsciously or something that I awoke in the middle of the night really pissed off and upset about their relationship, which was weird, since they are deep in the infatuation stage, head over heels in love, the perfect couple, soulmates, etc, and the whole weekend had been wonderfully “nice.” But I was sensing him as not completely “kind”, and maybe a narc, or at the least, my cousin as exhibiting some chumpy doormat behavior. Now, here’s the thing: my cousin is an angel (read also chump material), stunning (drop dead gorgeous and stops traffic at 55), and wealthy (inherited and wisely invested over the years). Both her parents are now dead, having lost her mother a couple years ago, whom she was caretaker for in the end. She’s close to her only brother, but his life is quite difficult and so he’s not much of a protector to her as he could be. She’s had two tragic marriages, the second one to a respected and successful lawyer who literally lost his mind/became a schizophrenic coke addict that she had to care take and support for the second half of their long marriage. Anyway, to try to cut it short, I got chumped right after my mom died and I was battling cancer alone, and inside, I wanted a family again, to replace what I had lost…in other words, was at one of the most vulnerable (and chump-prone) times of my life when I got into a relationship (and engagement) to a narc I thought I knew. I think what triggered me this weekend was sensing that my cousin is still also in a very vulnerable time in her own life, whether she realizes it or not, and she may need to slow her own engagement down and start assessing whether words and actions match with her fiancé. I can’t tell yet if he is a predator in disguise, don’t have enough to go on…I observed a disconnect there. I observed thoughtless and selfish actions underneath some of his “nice.” And I observed her more in terms of thoughtfulness and expense than he reciprocated. The man is not a pauper by any means (but I did observe some miserly traits that she spackles over). He’s a very charming, intelligent, worldly guy. Captain of private yachts, 52 and never been married before…Supposedly, she’s the one he’s been waiting for…Not sure I buy him…Some of his actions are very public and showy, like his proposal to her, and his constant videos, pictures, and mementoes of their every moment together during their long-distance courtship of daily phone calls and fairly frequent meetings when one or both of them can travel. For example, his surprise proposal was very public, in front of the church congregation she attends, where they met 6 months before (he was a guest of some friends of hers). It had lots of glowing words, but no engagement ring. Apparently, they had discussed, she wants to use her mom’s ring — but still, the guy shows up with nothing, not even a freaking flower, to surprise her with a token of his so called undying love? And it was her birthday this weekend…he arrived with no card or little gift token for her, nor did he pick any up over two days of shopping here…he arrived with no suit for the wedding, which we had to run around to find, even though he had time and ability to prepare beforehand. He bitched about the cost of a meal he insisted on himself, and even made us so late the day of the wedding that we missed the actual ceremony that my cousin of course had traveled to see and wanted to see, and we attended the reception only. In general, it seemed like the whole weekend really revolved around this man (which was partly my cousin’s own doing with her chumpy behavior), instead of a mutual give and take. I am worried she is making some of my own mistakes, I love her, and I want to encourage her to slow down, give time, and see if this person is a giver like her and therefore a good mate for her, or if he is a taker who will drain her emotionally and financially after marriage, and squander his own money away for himself. Similar to my ex-fiancé, he seems like the perfect guy, but since I’m not the one caught up in infatuation with him, it’s easier for me to see the potential warning signs she can’t see. I don’t think I’m projecting my own situation here. But I also don’t want to hurt my cousin by saying too much — or by saying nothing. Advice on how to broach the subject, Chump Lady and fellow chumps? Help?!

    • I don’t think you are projecting. This list of inconsiderate shit-shows has some Big Red Flags for selfishness and control freakiness. (That public proposal was a masterpiece of passive-aggressive manipulation.)

      She definitely needs to be clued in to slow down and watch closely. She also needs an iron-clad pre-nup if she goes ahead and marries. Her age alone is sufficient justification.

      Interesting Reading for ya:

      Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder [I think it is a character disorder.]

      Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a long-term (chronic) condition in which a person seems to actively comply with the desires and needs of others, but actually passively resists them. In the process, the person becomes increasingly hostile and angry.

      Psychiatrists no longer recognize this condition as an official diagnosis. However, the symptoms are problematic to many people and may be helped by professional attention.

      The causes are unknown, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors are probably responsible.

      People with this disorder resent responsibility and show it through their behaviors, rather than by openly expressing their feelings. They often use procrastination, inefficiency, and forgetfulness to avoid doing what they need to do or have been told by others to do.

      Some common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

      Acting sullen
      Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
      Being inefficient on purpose
      Blaming others
      Complaining
      Feeling resentment
      Having a fear of authority
      Having unexpressed anger or hostility
      Procrastinating
      Resisting other people’s suggestions

      A person with this disorder may appear to comply with another’s wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, they:

      Perform the requested action too late to be helpful
      Perform it in a way that is useless
      Sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words

      • Totally agree with notyou. This relationship sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. Personally, I think you do your cousin a tremendous favour by having the conversation now instead of after things blow up. We learned the hard way to trust our instincts. Hope your cousin can benefit from your wisdom! Good luck.

    • Dodged Bullet, the proposal sounds like an ambush. Making all of you miss the wedding–unconscionably selfish. The lack of a birthday gift–a huge red flag. The fact that much of their time has been spent apart–whoa. Who knows what his life is really like? So to my mind, you are likely reading this correctly. The question is whether you want to put your relationship with your cousin at risk by telling her. I might start with, “Some of what your friend did this week really upset me.” Don’t tell her what she should want or do, but rather that you didn’t like him. And why. And that you’ll support her no matter what, but please, please, get a pre-nup to protect herself financially. Wishing you and her good luck; may she also dodge a bullet.

    • Big.Red.Flag. 52 and never been married, waiting ‘for her to show up all these years. Right. No matter how swept up I felt I wouldn’t buy that one.
      When I was single some years ago I met a couple of ‘never married’s’ and soon figured out why they had never been married. I was on a dating site for awhile and skipped right over those guys.
      It sounds like she’s spackling for him. He orders a meal then complains about the cost? ‘Forgets her birthday, makes you miss the wedding…’ Yikes!! You at least owe it to her to talk about a prenuptial agreement.

  • OUTWARD Niceness Often Belies Undercover Cruelty with CONTEPT.
    I Mean seriously, WHO Lets an OBVIOUSLY MEAN ASSHOLE Dick them Over From the START.. NOBODY.
    Would you Get NEAR a SNARLING Dog, Foaming at the Mouth, Bearing his TEETH ??
    Hell NO You Wouldn’t. But a ” Nice” Dog, who Usually WAGS his Tail and is Soo ” Glad ” to See You..Yea..You MIGHT Even Trust It Around your Small Child…Until BAM..The FIRST TIME It Snaps and Disfigures your Child Forever.
    *sigh* I’m Often Grumpy These Days ** CAUSE OF the STRESS of the FALLOUT from a Psychopathic Prick, I Happened to have a Child With…Who in the BEGINNING Seemed soooo ” Nice” Albeit BROKEN and in Need of ” Understanding and Patience** but I am STILL KIND.
    ” Nice” People will Smile in your FACE and Stab you in the Friggin BACK behind cLOSED Doors, and When You’re Unconscious, Call the Paramedics and tell THEM ” GOD Bless You for taking CARE of the Damage ” THEY Did

    I Fucking HATE ” NICE ” People.
    FUCKER..BE YOURSELF…Hang out with OTHERS JUST LIKE YOU…Stay The Fuck AWAY from the REST of US… FEED on Your OWN.

  • My ex was always doing nice things for me. He never talked much, so I looked to his actions as his proof of loving me. He would get up early and defrost my car, turn on the heater so it was warm. He sometimes left flowers in the seat of my car when he was gone for long business trips. He did all kinds of housework like vacuuming, laundry, etc. After D-day I told him that I thought he loved me because of all those things. His answer was “I’ve always liked doing nice things, but it doesn’t mean I love you.”

    • “I’ve always liked doing nice things, but it doesn’t mean I love you.”

      Well, there you go. Reminds me of that movie with Rickie Gervais and Jennifer Garner, “The Invention of Lying.” Here, CL has to fire up the Universal Bullshit Translator. Just imagine if every cheater were that candid already!

    • Oh Lyn, how could you help but think he was anything but committed to you and loved you with kind, sweet touches like that… talk about cognitive dissonance when he eventually left. Looking back, I can’t claim my cheater performed any true acts of kindness and for him to act “nice” was even a stretch except when he was in public. During one confrontation, I told him that he lacked the milk of human kindness. I’d never encountered one such as he before. And as I mentioned above, it was hard to carry on a conversation with someone who was usually claiming, “I have nothing to say….” So I really blame myself for being a total spackling fool and hopium addict. But based on your ex’s above described behavior, I can imagine how you felt broad-sided by his betrayal.
      You sound like you have made great strides since D-Day.

      • SeeTheLight, I agree it was very confusing. I was totally confused by the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” reason he gave for leaving me. Looking back I see a lot more of the crappy things he did over the years that I just spackled over, or stuffed down. It wasn’t like talking through issues was ever an option.

  • First, let me reiterate what I said in a comment above: I was raised to appreciate “nice” because “kind” was never on the menu.

    The Jackass was the nicest man I have known in my adult life. For 30+ years, we were friends; he was consistently available if I called for advice or asked for help in one of his several impressive areas of expertise. He saved me a lot of money over the years, and was unfailing “nice” and supportive. Over the years, I asked him to help several young people who also needed advice in his area of expertise and he was always willing to give that time. We had enormous fun together, could talk about anything and liked a lot of the same things. When we moved beyond friendship, we lived together for nearly a year and got along wonderfully. We generally agreed about things and did not fight, which in retrospect seems like a bit of a red flag in regard to level of engagement on his part. He paid child support and a healthy settlement to his X–never missed a payment even when the court based the numbers on ridiculous levels of overtime. He was nice to my friends–which was a huge improvement over my ex-husband (not a cheater).

    What was different about him was that he was NOT nice to many other people–most notably his ex-wife, mother, his siblings, his bosses and co-workers. There were a number of times that I actually reached over and touched his arm when he was talking to his mother on the phone as if she was nothing but a nuisance. The screaming matches and court battles with his (diagnosed) narcissist ex were epic. He is brilliant in his profession but clashed with supervisors. He and his siblings are still locked in sibling rivalry over who is right, smartest, etc., with lots of overt and covert hostility.

    But he was nice to me–until he wasn’t. I remember vividly the first time he ever used the tone and words on me that he characteristically used on his mother. We were in that point in conflict for the first time over (wait for it) his level of commitment to a full, shared life together. Then the niceness fell away and it was clear that he was, as my best friend put it, “no longer in my corner.” We had agreed to postpone his officially moving into our joint home so he could help his parents, but that turned out to be just a way to get distance. And that distanced opened into a chasm once the OW appeared on the scene, and the whole thing unravelled in about 60 days. He never explained why he just stopped calling, texting or coming over–just said he needed time and “Why are you asking me if we are breaking up?” I was devastated, crushed by a financial burden and property responsibilities that we had taken on together. The best example was when my cat got suddenly sick, spent a week at the vet’s, and had to be put down with lymphoma. He sent a 2-line “nice” text you might send a distanct co-worker whose third cousin twice removed had passed. As CL said, it didn’t hurt him to hurt me. It didn’t hurt him at all. And he certainly did not care that I was hurt when my cat died (as I was struggling with his changed behavior) or when I was bleeding thousands of dollars to fix things that he could have fixed for me for the cost of materials. And no, he no longer wants to be “friends” because I had the nerve to accuse him of having a FB affair with his married OW. Which, of course, he was.

    So much of what I’ve read in peoples’ responses suggests that “nice” for these people is about what CL calls “impression management,” but it is selectively applied. In my case, the Cheater is nice to people he wants to like him or who are not in some power struggle with him. So, when we were friends and co-habitating on a temporary basis, he was “nice” because I could leave with the kibbles and we were more or less on an even basis. He was NOT nice to his mother, his ex, his bosses or his sibs because he often feels uncertain of his power position with and so he asserts his superiority by being arrogant, rude, and unkind. When we were on the cusp of actually making a life together, in a place where my name is on the deed, I shifted into the second group and even his pretense at “niceness” was half-hearted, like showing up on my birthday without a gift, taking me to a movie and dropping me off, probably to go home and text OW, whose husband and three kids probably limits her time for the EA.

    I hypothesize that “niceness” has to do not only with “impression management” and manipulation, but with what the Cheater thinks will keep him in a position of advantage over the person he is dealing with. It’s about relative POWER. In my case, the Cheater thinks it will hurt me to not be friends (as I Chumpily tried to do in the beginning) as I of course deserve to be hurt for calling out the cheating, and that he will not have to face awkward questions if he ends the friendship. That’s a two-fer for him. He will look for kibbles elsewhere because I have seen behind the mask and our paths aren’t likely to cross again. In other cases. the Cheater may want to re-charm the Chump (and thereby everyone else) because he is trying to maintain a position in the family and community or in his own selfish mind. So he is “nice” and wants the Disney Divorce.

  • Sorry that post was so long. But I wanted to get to the hypothesis, as while unraveling the skein is a waste, it is not a waste to understand human behavior in a healthier way. I think this issue is the key one as I build my new life: the first item on my list of what I am looking for in a partner is “kind.”

    • And a last thought: It helps to think about the opposite of each word. The opposite of “nice” is “not nice,” which can be neutral, but can also be rude or nasty. “Kind” means “Of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature. 2. Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable: a kind word. 3. Humane; considerate: kind to animals.” “Charitable,” rooted in “charity,” is the biblical word for love, “showing sympathy or understanding” means being in a respectful relationship, in which you know what the person needs or feels and (whether or not you agree) you “get” what the person’s position is. “Unkind” would be to do the opposite–to show a lack of sympathy or understand, to fail to be charitable or loving, to fail to be considerate or humane. If someone is not nice to you, your “feelings” might be hurt or you would think the person was rude. If someone is unkind, they fail to respect or recognize you as a person and may be indifferent to hurting you or actively doing so.

      Nice is optional, and perhaps a useful social tool. Kind is essential in intimate relationships. Too soon old, too late smart…

  • When I went NC with my STBX, he would text me all sorts of nice things. As I continued to ignore him or answer on my own time..I got “So now you’re too fucking good to talk to me? I thought we were better than this!” Yep…WE were better than this. I thought WE were both faithful and committed; but WE are supposed to be better than me not talking to him. Seriously??

  • Oh, and another thing. My new daughter-in-law doesn’t seem to enjoy coming to my house much for the holidays, but I heard she is telling people my ex is so nice. This upset me until I remembered that I once thought he was nice too. He’s good at fooling people when he wants/needs something from them.

  • My therapist says my ex could win an academy award for the sappy niceness he exudes when around other people. Has fooled everyone. If I could take out a billboard detailing his sick double life of Sunday after church jaunts with the hooker of the week I would
    feel so vindicated. Even after my college age daughter found out about his whoring around he sweet talked his way back into her good graces along with her clueless BF by
    providing them box seats to sporting events and all expense paid dinners at fine restaurants around town. I have been portrayed as the mean bitch to all his family and cohorts for years. Even started to believe it prior to D day six months ago. I agree with the difference between kindness and being nice. Kindness would have been exhibited by my ex staying home the night my Dad died in hospice and comforting me vs. going to a soccer game. Tons of examples where a piece of furniture would have gotten more compassion from him than given to me. He could only be nice when other people were watching. It’s a game to these sickos and I wasted 25yrs on a second rate actor.

    • “Kindness would have been exhibited by my ex staying home the night my Dad died in hospice and comforting me vs. going to a soccer game.”–No, honey, that would be DECENCY. Kindness would have been hold your hand and rub your feet every day while your father was in hospice, to visit your dad by himself, and to make sure you had everything you needed. Kindness would have been crying with you when your father died. Your ex couldn’t even muster basic human DECENCY.

  • I am negotiating my divorce settlement in the moment and my STBX husband is being ”nice” because he wants me to give up the shares of the company we have built together in exchange of the house, furniture, cars and other things. I have the full custody of the children and he doesn’t seems to care about being present and participating in raising them. Barely spend time with them, I have also to fight with him to them on vacation for me to have a little time off from time to time. My husband has no respect for me, he was not once, twice or three times a cheater and these are the ones that I know. I never cheated but I was broken, now that I am taking the steps I am filled with anger and sadness. He makes me feel bad that I am ”getting everything that you wanted”. He is being ”nice”.
    He even denied the infidelities and accused me of being a nuisance to the company’s activities to get me out. I was always proud of my work and did it from the heart for my family. I told my children because they asked many times why am I getting a divorce. I was very reluctant about it but changed my mind when my husband was lying about the reasons to them. I told them the truth in a very objective manner without any details since they are kids. My husband is asking me to sign a clause for defemation because he said I am putting the children against him. I cannot believe that after all this I still feel at his mercy 🙁 I can I move on and get over this man when you still have children in common??
    I am so drain and tired Chump, need some positive feedbacks here 🙁

    • Mary,
      He isn’t being nice, he is being manipulative…and probably greedy. Please take the good advice offered by “LovedaJackass.” Do not be stampeded into anything. He is accustomed to bullying you and getting his way. It needs to be stopped to the greatest extent possible immediately.

    • Stand strong, Mary! You can very politely decline to sign a ‘defamation clause’, or you can sign it and continue what you’re doing – it’s not defamation if it’s TRUE!!!!!!

      Consider asking friends or family to take your kids sometimes, to give you a break, or to come to your house and stay with them while you get away. Maybe not a whole vacation yet, if they’re young, but a weekend sometimes will do wonders for you! That way you don’t have to fight with him or depend on him, and the kids aren’t stuck w/someone who doesn’t want to take them (FUCKER!!!!!)

      I hope you have a very good lawyer, and keep reminding yourself how much better you’ll feel once the divorce negotiations are over and you don’t have to see/deal with this man any more!

    • Love Your Children..
      Pretend He’s DEAD *** In YOUR Head*, Unless it’s for Drop offs, Pick ups, and Important tasks Only having to do with THEM, He Doesn’t Exist for You.
      You don’t Stop the kids from having a relationship with him..but you Don’t spackle..and when they want to Brag up on good ol dad say ” That’s Nice ” and Change the Subject.
      Make the time with your Children magic… It FLIES..Before you Know it, They’ll All be thinkin you’re BOTH Lame and wanna hang out with their Friends More than Either of You.
      Cherish Them…Are They Not the BEST thing that came outta your Union ?

      as for Defammation… Don’t you Sign SHIT…not without the Law and YOUR Lawyer

    • Mary, get a good lawyer. It is hands down the best thing you can do at this point. You need someone who is smart, knows your rights, and is IN YOUR CORNER. You can damn well bet your ex is not – no matter how “nice” he’s playing.

    • Mary, do not sign any clause for defamation. You are just telling them the truth. Believe me, the kids will be better off for knowing it. You don’t have to bad mouth your ex, but saying that he broke your marriage contract to “forsake all others” is not defamation. I hope you have a good lawyer who can help you stand up to your ex. I know in the beginning I was so shell shocked I was still trying to be “helpful” and “cooperative” with my ex, but my lawyer told me the time had come to stop worrying about what was best for him and start fighting for what’s best for me.

  • Don’t agree to anything. You aren’t strong enough yet to know what you want. Defamation requires him to prove that you know that something is not true. That is–you can’t defame him if you believe that he cheated. So don’t worry about that–he is just maintaining his facade for the public and posterity.

    I would sign over nothing. Get a valuation of the business pronto that makes sense. It does not matter whether you helped or hurt the business in his view–put a dollar value on that and the house and any cash, stock, etc. Divide it “equitably,” which in the court’s eyes may be more than 50-50 your way if your are raising kids. It won’t help to have the house if you can’t pay. And make sure that you garnish his wages–a business is a fine way to hide income for child support purposes. Know what everything is worth, know what you can live with in terms of a settlement, and know what the state says you should be getting in support. You can always retain 50% of the business if you are willing to monitor the money coming and going and split the equity in other stuff.

    What he wants only matters insofar as that is his negotiating position. What do you want? And go no contact if he is wearing you down and wearing you out. For what this is worth. That’s how I did it when my ex-h (not a cheater) and I divorced.

  • Any parent who inveigles their kids into being part of deception, especially a deception of that nature, is not worthy of the title ‘parent.’

    Sickening.

    • I am a very good mother and worthy of being a parent. I raised and took care of my children (by the way they are not babies and are fully aware of the situation) and a family business for over 15 years. I was a devoted wife, not perfect (because no one is but I was genuine, my family and my marriage met the world to me.) I sacrificed my career (yes by choice) to support his dreams, his plans for the family. I do not regret it because i did it from my heart. Do not judge parents for the decisions they make, my kids asked me why, I told them in a very good manner without any details. They understood. What children need during a family crisis are balance, stability and emotional support and understanding. I am doing it and will keep on doing it.

  • I am sorry FoolmeTwice, too emotional about it, I always feel I have to defend myself even if I am the one eating the shit sandwiches 🙁 my apologies…

    • You’re having a bad day, and there is no one on this site who doesn’t understand. So no worries here. And the whole “defend yourself” point is why I say–go no contact until you are past getting hooked into his game. The best thing about the ordeals we go through with these dipshits is that we get to change our story and how we deal with the world and ourselves. Sending good thoughts.

      • What LaJ said, and no offense taken. This is emotional stuff we’re going through, and you don’t need to defend yourself here–it’s probably the one place where we don’t have to!

        FWIW, I think my comment got misfiled somehow. What I had actually been responding to was zyx321’s post about X roping their 12 year-old daughter into a 6-month secret. That truly is sickening.

        Mary, stay strong, with a big chump hug coming your way.

  • Mine was so nice that in the delivery room when my son was born he gave me ice chips and fawned over me so much the nurse praised him for being so good. I was working too hard on giving birth to say what I was thinking and it was this, “If you think he’s really like this you can have him”.

  • I am so grateful to have found this site when the only thing you can find online is how to reconcile with a spouse who has cheated. I have tried so many times to fix my marriage and got so ill, couldn’t take it anymore this is emotionally destructive. To read your stories gives me strength, courage and that there is a life after chaos. I found it really hard sometimes, it seems we have to take some responsibilities when a relationship brakes down (words from therapist) but i can’t, I can’t because i really tried my best, why should I take some responsibilities? Do you guys get that?

    • If he cheated, he broke the relationship. He broke his word. He broke your trust and your heart. And he broke the deal. Not you. Once you are through the worst of this pain and suffering, you can work on yourself because we can all be better. But right now, as CL says, the house is burning. Get out, save yourself and your kids, and trust that he sucks. Because HE CHEATED ON YOU, not the other way around.

      • And relationships aren’t cars; they don’t “break down.” They are living bonds between people that require both people to be all in. Think of it like a cord that connects you. He broke the relationship; he broke the cord. The frickin’ cord didn’t break itself. I hate it when people use passive language coonstruction or make the subject something inanimate (relationship) when someone (the Cheater) is actually doing the breaking.

    • Mary, I tried for over 20 years. Three OWs later, I am out and wished I had left a lot sooner. I “earned” my way out of my marriage. Like you, I did everything I possibly could, more than any sane person should have done. Your cheater does not deserve you. You deserve you to take care of yourself. Stay strong, we understand you completely and we are here for you.

    • One of the hardest things for me was when my counselor asked why I stayed in my marriage so long. I remember telling her that I wasn’t the only one who was surprised at my ex’s actions. I told her my son even said he thought his dad was a real “family man,” and that our friends cried and couldn’t believe it when they heard the news. I told her I wasn’t the only one who had the wool pulled over my eyes. I do think there was a lot of cognitive dissonance going on in my marriage, though. The “kind” things he did confused me and made me doubt my perception of his relationships with other women. I kept thinking that I was overly jealous, insecure, etc. I thought it was my problem more than his.

  • This was a great post! Ok, yes…so many similarities between these disordered people. Yes, I am a total chump for “nice”. I eat it up. I recognize that now. It took me about a good year to come to that point to recognize the mindfuck my STBX was dealing me. To this day, he wants to remain friends. In his own words we will always be “best friends”. Although I don’t care for friends that will lie and hurt you. I love the way you explained the difference between “nice” and “kind”. My STBX was always the life of the party. Always paying compliments but then when the doors would shut, he turn around and talk smack about those very same people he complimented. When it came down to acts of kindness he is a very “what’s in it for me” kind of person. Even though our divorce is just about final, he has still sent flowers on Valentine’s Day every year (he likes to say “I have never missed a Valentines Day) or send me a text with a dirty limerick (very strange and inappropriate). This year I left the Valentine’s Day flowers outside in the cold and don’t respond to his stupid, silly texts. When I don’t respond, he will then go on the attack and try to start an argument. I see it for what it is now, but it took me a little while to get here.
    So yes, my wingnut STBX still thinks we can be friends…but in reality this man doesn’t have a friend in the world. Why? To have a true friend….you have to “BE” a true friend and this guy has left behind bodies of those who put themselves out there to be his friend. My heart just aches for my kids, because he gives them the same superficial niceness but just isn’t there and they deserve so much better.

  • I think this post is so insightful. I’m actually quite lucky in the respect that my X doesn’t seem nice to most people. I think the only person he has fooled is possibly his lawyer, and she’s paid to be on his side. He’s actually very stiff and awkward in public, and then all of a sudden busts out with weird over-friendliness to try and compensate. Every night after he ate his home-cooked dinner, he would give me a list of things I did wrong and what food he didn’t like. I tried so many times to tell him how much this hurt my feelings and he said it wasn’t fair of me to not let him discuss his preferences. One of the best stories ever is when we went on our pre-baby “hospital tour” and we passed a couple looking in at their baby, who was in an incubator in the NICU. As we passed them he paused, looked in at the premie baby, turned to the parents and said “Small, hairy and expensive.” and then he walked away without another word. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!!!!!! But, now that we are in the court battle he sends these maniacally cheerful texts to me asking about our son and saying how much he misses him. He sends these lovely little texts asking after our precious son, but ignores me when I beg and beg for child support. He’s attempting to seem nice while I seem like an angry shrew who begs for money. I honestly believe the judge sees past this BS though.

    • Rose, I too had the clear advantage of having an ex who wasn’t nice, and people knew it. He saved the worst of his negativity, criticism and meanness for me and the kids, but everybody could see that he wasn’t a fun, interesting or nice person (good looking and smart, yes). So his cheating was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for everyone – all our family friends ditched him, all my family and most of his own, and he never did have more than one sort-of-friend of his own. Now I guess he’s still got that one friend (also an unrepentant cheater, I found out too late) and the OW.

      He knew, too, that he wasn’t very socially ‘smooth’. After some social events he’d ask me if he’d ‘been OK’. Only later did I notice that he only asked that when he HAD been OK; the times he was being an arrogant asshole ot or in front of others, he never asked!

      But now it makes me think; my friends and family must have SO wondered what I was doing with this guy!

  • I have posted various things above, but I want to thank you again CL for posting I this discussion, as this is for me one of the most difficult aspects of the end of my marriage.

    My exH was nice, and for most of the marriage, did all those expected, small things things that make you feel as if the relationship is decent.
    We jointly agreed on all wedding plans, and I consulted with ExH on all largish purchases, he changed diapers. He got up in the middle of the night for 3 months to feed the baby, while I pumped milk, since our son had latching issues. He would make meals from scratch, etc. , etc., etc.
    Both actions and words seemed to be in alignment.

    But in the end, he did was was EXPECTED.
    And upon reflection, many of those actions were not loving. They were done to limit interaction with me (such as the 3 hrs to prep dinners).
    Thank you for the kindness in helping me see the full picture of my marriage.

  • Nice is easy because it is simply acting. My ex was nice and also appeared kind in front of me. He morphed into something else behind my back to suit his needs. Now that my eyes are wide open and have no desire to spackle any relationship, I can spot unkindness a mile away. I believe anyone can pretend to have empathy but can’t keep it up in the long run because empathy comes from a deep place within. Narcs/shallow people wouldn’t know what that means. They can sympathize (be nice) and we sometimes confuse sympathy with empathy.

    Brene Brown says there is a huge difference between sympathy and empathy. When someone is in a dark hole and they shout, “It’s dark. I’m scared. I’m overwhelmed,” sympathy leans over the edge of the hole and feels sorry for you or tries to find a silver living. Or maybe throws down a book or a self-help cliche. Yet, empathy climbs down into the dark hole alongside the sufferer and says, “I know what it’s like down here. And you are not alone.”

    No way will a narc climb down the dark hole … it wouldn’t even occur to a narc to do so.

    • My ex told me he’d figured out how to get people at work to do anything he wanted. When I asked “what’s that?” He said “I just pretend to care.” I remember thinking that was such an odd statement. I said, “No, you REALLY need to care.” Little did I know he was just pretending to care for all those years with me too.

      • Lyn, isn’t it scary to find out what their real intentions are? It’s all about THEIR gain at someone else’s expense. It still blows my mind away how they think this is okay. To the very end, my ex didn’t want a divorce, even though he was already shacking up with the latest OW. He just could not imagine giving up cake.

        • They Already MOVED on WHY Can’t they Let YOU ?! One rule for YOU ,Another for THEM. HYPOCRITES.

      • Lyn, I totally get that. It’s the kind of offhand remark that in the moment makes you go, “Gee, that’s kind of weird,” but you shrug it off. Later, with hindsight, and having built/proven your case, you wonder why you missed such a huge sign. FACE PALM

        Re-reading Gavin deBecker and thinking The Gift of Fear should be required reading for all of us chumps.

        • You think. They’ve Soo Gotta be JOKING…Nobody’s REALLY like That…
          except, THEY are.

      • Chump Lady could include this as a whole new section: in addition to “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say,” we can have “Accidental Insights Cheaters Let Slip.” In the latter case, we don’t all get to hear these – or might only glimpse one in a lifetime, so it’s really helpful to stitch them all together and start getting a very clear picture of the shark behind the mask.

        • I need to get “The Gift of Fear.” So many people have mentioned that it’s an insightful book on this blog. I also liked “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us” by Rosenberg M.Ed. LCPC CADC.

    • “…it wouldn’t even occur to a narc to do so.” Yes. I saw someone do an act of kindness a few weeks back and it struck me and I realized that doing that act of kindness would have NEVER even occurred to my ex.

  • A lot of times serial killers are “the last person anyone would expect”. Their spouses don’t have any idea. They volunteer, they have jobs, they have kids… and they bury murdered prostitutes under their bedroom windows.

    They are very nice and NOT kind.

    Look up Vincent E. Brothers if you’re interested in that sort of thing. He was a cheater and when his wife decided to divorce him he decided that wasn’t allowed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypYHakjQBU

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32086189/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/t/mystery-lost-weekend/#.U2BoPMdBzoA

  • Can any Chumps help with the nice to the kids bit?
    He is currently out of work so staying at home. Suddenly he is doing all the things he was far too busy at work/fucking his team member to do: parents evenings, sports days, etc. I mean, I am glad he has found a better work/life balance and all of that, but where the hell has he been in the last 10 years when I went to sports matches, fundraisers, drinks parties etc etc etc, all on my own?
    And the kids are lapping it up (teens, S S D. They told me they felt sorry for him because he was depressed (which is why he cheated), that I am just too emotional and my middle son has withdrawn from me, not him.
    I am not the one who ble