Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Cheaters, You’re Not Entitled to Reconciliation

reconciliation_fogI know my message — “leave a cheater, gain a life” is not popular with cheaters. I mean, duh.

At times, I’m asked do I mean all cheaters? Shouldn’t I distinguish between the remorseful and the remorseless cheaters?

Remorseless? My answer is leave. Get the hell out. Remorseful? Your odds are long, consider the risks, and know that there is a cost in investing the time to see how long the remorse lasts.

But look, even if they are the most repentant cheater and tick every box for making amends — I’d say you’re still not obliged to honor a broken contract. You don’t owe a remorseful cheater reconciliation.

I believe the truly remorseful cheaters understand this. Because to do reconciliation right, it has to come from a place of humility. You have to acknowledge that YOU are the person broke the marriage vows and the chump owes you nothing. You broke it, and if the person you betrayed helps you fix it? That’s a GIFT. And that effort doesn’t come with guarantees. It’s conditional upon your behavior. You, the cheater, the responsible party, are going to have to do the heavy lifting for the foreseeable future.

Now, I could insert a tangent here about how difficult such a marriage would be, forever on probation, slowly earning back trust, giving up all the goodies of entitlement and facing the emotional ruin of the person you hurt. But if you were a remorseful cheater, you’d take that on — you begged for this chance and if you’re all in, I’m assuming you’d do the hard work for as long as it takes. (Including signing a post-nup.)

This is very hard, which is why there are so few remorseful cheaters who go the distance.

But what I see that is way more common, especially on infidelity forums with cheater members, is that self-described “remorseful” cheaters feel absolutely entitled to reconciliation. It’s an unquestioned given.

Why OF COURSE my chump is going to work with me on this. And by “work” I mean, delve into all their inadequacies that drove me to cheat on them. I mean, they have to own at least a few of them — their low sex drive, their incessant criticisms, their depression, their devotion to their children and neglect of me. Yes, what I did was “wrong” (see Caveats A through Z) — but you still have to stay married to me, of course. And if you don’t shape up, or your triggers just bug the ever-living shit out of me, I reserve the right to cheat on you again. Did I say cheat? I meant “employ a coping mechanism because I am broken.”

Do they admit that, or is it just an implied threat? Because that’s the way I read it. If cheaters don’t own the affairs 100 percent, then they’re blaming the chump for THEIR issues. They’re externalizing the fault. So, if the fault lies with someone else, and conditions are not kept favorable — well, hey! they might just cheat again! They can’t help what YOU do that makes them cheat!

So mind your Ps and Qs, chumps.

Marriage is only conditional for the chump. (Pick me dance, anyone?)  It’s assumed chumps will keep their commitment to the cheaters. It’s irrelevant that cheaters didn’t keep their commitments. You’re still bound by your honor! Cheaters deserve all the time they want — and you must forgive whatever lapses of no contact they have with the affair partner — they’re suffering a “fog.” These things take time. What’s your time worth anyway? You’re a chump.

These “remorseful” cheaters natter on about unconditional love. Don’t judge them, they’re still good people who did “bad” (see Caveats A through Z) things. What’s important here is that you recognize their inherent goodness. Unconditionally. It’s good because… well, they have some FINE QUALITIES other than cheating. Have you tried their homemade peach chutney? They are more than the sum of their fucking around. They’re people deserving of love and respect because they said so.

To me, these “remorseful” cheaters who assume reconciliation is their right and due fail to understand the gravity of the offense. And I’m unclear why they even want their chump back anyway. They paint quite an unattractive picture of their marriages, (the ones that compelled them to cheat). What are they trying to save? Plan B? Lack of financial consequences? The world’s good opinion of them? They seem rather on the fence about their chumps. Mostly, IMO, they seem aggrieved that their list of complaints about the marriages isn’t foremost on the Fix It list.

Now I’m not saying chumps shouldn’t work on their marriages and their issues when in reconciliation. One person can’t save a marriage by themselves, chump or cheater. Both people need to be invested, working to be their best selves. But it’s hard to have that zeal of working togetherness when someone just gutted you with betrayal. THAT is the crisis that needs addressing and it’s not some peripheral issue. It seems to me that in a lot of therapy the priorities get muddled, and the narrative “marriage issues made me cheat” is given legitimacy.

No, you had a marriage with issues, like any marriage, and the cheater just put a bullet through it. The cheater can’t then say “Well, the marriage was having difficulties, so I had to put a bullet through it” and then want the focus to be on the difficulties and not the bullet! The thing is now at near death. How on earth are you going to revive it if you don’t address the gunshot wound?

These “remorseful” cheaters IMO don’t want to put down their guns. They’d like to retain the high ground of True Victim Status, the superiority, and the entitlement thinking. Nothing screams entitlement more than putting a proverbial bullet through your marriage and expecting it to still serve you.

Help me here, I’m not seeing the “remorse.”

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My ex has decided we have to reconcile five years after separation. For four months, he wouldn’t listen to ‘No!” and even after finally hearing it properly (in front of a third party), he is doing his very best to make my life very hard indeed, with alternating bouts of rage and self-pity. I never did the pick me dance, once I found out about the cheating I was glad to end it, as he’d blown our marriage apart in more ways than one, and the cheating was simply my ‘excuse’ to be able to leave with a clear conscience (I’d spent years trying to protect my kids from him, putting up with emotional abuse, suicide attempts, alcohol abuse etc etc). I’d never given him ANY reason to think we’d ever try again, but he has such a low opinion of me that he thought I was his for the asking once he’d “grown up and changed”. His behaviour since he really HEARD my no has shown me that he has indeed not changed one iota, and that I made the right decision five years ago. Remorse is easy to fake, but when thwarted, the true nature of a narcissist comes out and makes itself known.

    • I wish their mirror image would bitchslap reality into them. Seriously. I can’t think of any marriage resuming after a 5 year “hiatus”.

      • I feel like doing the slapping myself! I just can’t believe he thinks I’d want to return to that hell on earth, where I walked on eggshells every day, making my kids stay in the car whenever we arrived home so I could check the house first in case he’d killed himself while I was at work. “Attempting suicide” was one of his manipulation tools. Freaking nutcase.

    • She’s getting a standing ovation from me! Had I been slapped upside the head with THIS after Dday – instead of all the reconciliation industry dreck – I’d be two years ahead of where I am now.

      Catering to my XH’s entitlement – i.e., walking around with a bullet in my chest while smiling and doing the “pick me” dance – was BEYOND ridiculous. I should have changed the locks, put his sh*t on the lawn, and filed for divorce.

      My life would be very different now if I had. Thanks, CL!

  • “Why OF COURSE my chump is going to work with me on this. And by “work” I mean, delve into all their inadequacies that drove me to cheat on them.” Isn’t it grand that after 5 months my ex saw “seen the Light” and asked me “back”. Of course, he did not mention that his schmoopi had gone back to her husband the week before. He broke it off with her cause he wanted his kids to see that he was making the effort (barf), asswipe got dumped, he told a friend of his who can’t keep a secret to save his life. “And if you don’t shape up, or your triggers just bug the ever-living shit out of me, I reserve the right to cheat on you again. Did I say cheat? I meant “employ a coping mechanism because I am broken.”” Of course, If we get back together We must get together and work on our issues……. The cheating happened before so I can only assume that I will once again have to work on MY issues while he feels sorry for himself if I EVER mention that he cheated, cause don’t ya know that EA’a are not cheating, HE needs friends. OMG I was a mega Chump.

  • Thanks for this post. Every Chump that thinks there is any credibility to getting back together with their cheater hour red this a few times. I choose to forgive the first infidelity. But this second one I walked. I wouldn’t ever dream of reconciliation for I know he couldn’t and wouldn’t put in the work deserving of our marriage vows. Don’t fool yourself that it could work out or that you can fantasize it working out. You may have invested a lot of years as I have but realistically, when the cheater crossed that line into infidelity he showed that he disrespected you and the marriage vows. You can’t get that back. I hope all chumps find their peace with this.Its very hard to go through and takes a lot of time to heal your soul but one day you will find your happiness and it won’t involve your cheating X.
    Blessings, your future is ahead of you, not looking back.

  • The thing that irks me is that I told the boys about the infidelity and therefore devalued chainsaw man. Because of my attitude the whole thing is a mess( blame shifting)

    The entitlement and the victim status are just shit us chumps have to put up with. We are not going to change it. The is no true remorse. There is this stage acting where they express remorse in words but not their actions. ( actions speak louder than words).

    It’s just easier and less risky to let go but that is a process and the cheater always thinks they have some god given right to be forgiven and carry on as if nothing happened.

    “You shit in the nest, you lie in it. I’m going to build a another( and better) nest.

    • Baci I got his crap too, how dare I tell our son the truth of what had happened, “he should only know about the pictures he saw”
      What do you think what he may imagine would be less of an issue that what actually happened. But of course it is all my fault that you have no relationship with our son, it couldn’t have anything to do with you.

      • They don’t take ownership nor responsibility for their own crappy behaviour.

        When I told our sons one of them knew all about it for over a year( at the age of 14) but was too scared to say anything or cause disruption. He later told me he told his mother but she said they were sham email and text from overseas.

        Fortunately my son has learnt the truth and can sort out the lies and truth with his own sense of judgement

        • Holy Shit Baci,
          My son was 14 also and had known for a year and was scared to say anything. So for the year leading up to d’Day son would stand up to his father in the hope he would man up in some way. instead of owing the problem STBX would blameshift the crap back onto our son by claiming he was acting that way because he had eaten Gluten (there is a known intolerance in the family but we have come to realize it is not as an issue as first thought)
          low life

          • Wow, Sammie D. I thought I’d heard it all, but gluten? Seriously? This one gets my vote for the Gwyneth Paltrow Macrobiotic Award for dumb-ass cheater blameshifting. Your son on the other hand deserves a REAL award, for being an outstanding human being.

    • I told my kids as well, mainly because it all came to light days before a family holiday and no one had a clue. Ex was furious, of course, and blames me for the mess it became, not his own actions.

      Whatever. More than two years later he stills wants to talk about it with the kids, still makes excuses, and still bothers me on a regular basis.

      He screwed up and he knows it.

      • Metaphorically, I often think how having an affair is like playing with fire. People who play with fire ought to know it can get out of control and burn things to the ground. The danger of playing with fire is exciting, but it sucks when it turns into a raging inferno and levels life as you knew it. That’s when the cheater turns to their partner and says “Look what you caused me to do!” They say this as their partner stands there in shock. After all, their partner has just escaped a burning building and doesn’t even comprehend what started the fire in the first place. They’re still trying to sort everything out. The cheater, however, has full awareness of how the fire started and they feel horribly guilty that it got out of control. The thing they most worry about is others accusing them of being an arsonist, so they point at their partner and say “it’s your fault.” It’s just beyond cruel.

    • When I serve him with divorce papers I am so telling my kids, not to mention his family and all the rest of my friends that I haven’t told.

      • THIS! Except it will be his family & our/his friends…… family & friends already know what a POS stbx is. I will have to figure out a tactful way to tell my 4 yr old though

      • Be careful. When you tell it sets off a thunder cracker like you have never experienced.

        When I wrote to chainsaw man’s father and told the truth,the whole truth, and nothing but the truth the ex exploded in uncontrollable rage. I never knew it was in her.
        At that moment there was no going back.

        I was so pleased to tell the truth. Often our side is not heard. We are painted as crazy and we can’t do anything about it

        • Thanks Baci-I know not to ever underestimate stbx. Someone on CL had previously said if you think the cheater is an asshole now-wait till you serve them with divorce paperwork and you will see a whole new level of asshole. I have had to call the sheriff on him before. So, when I file I will have a restraining order for no contact as well. Drop offs for visitation will be done at the local police department.

          His brother knows the whole truth-I don’t know if he told anyone else in his family & I don’t care. His family knows something is terribly wrong but I will not say a word until me & my son are safe. One of his best childhood friends has already dumped him over everything that has happened.

          I’m sure once his cheating, porn, & hooker addictions are exposed……his shame & rage are going to be epic BUT it’s his shit-not mine!!!!!

        • Yeah, I got the rage from the moment I said I knew about the Jackass’s FB “friendship” with his MOW, including a threat: “You’d better not go public with this.” He’s been enraged with me ever since…

        • I agree with Baci. Once I told people ex went nuts and hasn’t really calmed down since then. Why? Because in his mind I ruined his image by telling friends why we were divorcing. I wasn’t willing to go along with the nice story he had cooked up, which was along the lines of ‘we grew apart’ or some such nonsense. Once you tell they often go completely nuts, so be prepared.

          • Nord. Exactly right. They want to show the world this new relationship is real and genuine in every way and bring everyone on board.

            Truth is its a fucking mess created by them but we have to witness it and do the best for our children. Said it before but it’s like being in a Steven Spielberg movie the ones with two headed monsters bla bla bla

  • I told my X I was tired of putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. He didn’t get it, obviously.

  • I don’t think “the state of the marriage right before the affair” and “infidelity” should be in the same conversation. Even to say, the cheater is 100% responsible for the affair but both are responsible for the marriage. Both are true, but to talk about both, in relation to the fact that there was an affair, puts the blame on the betrayed party. Every marriage has issues. So fucking what. That has NOTHING to do with a person cheating. But it sounds good when you need to blame shift. And, truly, there are a ton of marriages that were good marriages EXCEPT for the fact that one of the spouses was cheating. IOW, no fighting, no lack of sex, nothing for a cheater to have a beef about. But, by God, you can bet everyone (cheater, their mother, assorted so-called friends) will come up with something, other than the truth (cheater is a fuck up), to attribute the cheating too. It’s sickening.

    • A-men. (And please take FOO issues off the table too. Show me anyone who had a perfect childhood; plenty had really crap ones–like me! and I’ve never cheated, and never would.)

      • Yes to this, namedforvera. My FOO didn’t turn me into a lying, cheating abusive asshole either. My STBX said that after all the shit HE did, he feels raped. Apparently the hookers and coworkers raped him repeatedly and he paid them big bucks and took them to dinner for doing it, all while bashing me at every opportunity.

        He is NOT a rape victim and it’s an insult and mockery to people who have been raped. What a stupid ass.

      • I told my cheater that there is absolutely nothing on his secret list of my faults/sins/whatever that warranted his actions. Nothing.

        Surely I have responsibility for stressors in the marriage–I am not perfect. IF he works on his shit piles, I could go into marriage counselling with him to work on them. But I’ve told him not to expect me to take responsibility for his actions EVER, whether in counselling or outside of it. So if he thinks he wants to blameSHIT on me to reconcile, we can just split up now.

        • Holy crapola. Sounds like all of the blame shift shit I was served. Asshat’s therapist said he is NOT. A sex addict, but he was using these terms to hide from being an entitled fuckhead.

          • Hmmmmm… addict or entitled fuckhead-I think my stbx is both!! Not that he will ever admit to either one. Which is why I know that he will never change & the marriage is done for good

        • Holy shit I hate my ex. Truthfully I don’t think sex addicts can be cured any more than sex offenders. But that’s just my opinion. Seriously, the amount of blameshifting makes me want to scream.

          • Kat-sex addiction is just like alcohol & drug addiction. It is a daily struggle for life. The success rate for overcoming the addiction is very low from any statistics I have seen. My cheater is a porn/sex addict who can’t even admit he has issues. Call me a bitch but even if my cheater was the remorseful unicorn I wouldn’t stay-he is a poor risk and I want a better life for me and my son.

            The blame shifting for this type of addiction is so effin ridiculous.

            • Yes, but I also think sex addiction is really part of a larger personality disorder. My ex wasn’t a good guy who struggled with a problem. He was a shit person who used me in other ways. And even if he was remorseful, I couldn’t deal with the fact that he was incapable of intimacy. Unfortunately the sex addict label sometimes gives the cheater too much sympathy. No, you’re not a bitch. That shit is not an excuse and it’s an absolute no win situation for the partner. You will never be able to expect the very things that define an intimate committed relationship.

              • Might as well keep around a rabid dog. Trust me, it will end better than trying to make a go of it with a sex addict.

      • My childhood, which I openly discussed as less than perfect, was amongst the reasons for ex cheating. He refuses to see his fucked up family as anything less than perfect. Meanwhile mine was normal crazy -his is crazy like him … underhanded, sneaky, manipulative. I appreciate my own family a lot more now

        • Everything is an excuse for their cheating: their FOOs, our FOOs, the weather. “I appreciate my own family a lot more now” Mine wasn’t a walk in the park either, Nord, but somehow we managed not to be cheats and liars and my family acknowledges right and wrong while STBX’s has the policy of, “it’s ok to do this or that just don’t get caught (his mother’s advice to him regarding alcohol),” and “all marriages have rough patches”. Lying, cheating, stealing family funds for whoredoms, and everything else he did weren’t rough patches. They were abuse.

        • “He refuses to see his fucked up family as anything less than perfect.”

          This pretty much sums up the narcissistic family. None of them see it. Denial and image management go hand in hand don’t they?

          ” I appreciate my own family a lot more now.”

          I’d bet you have forgiven them their honest mistakes and that it was very freeing for you.

          • Yes, his family is a great example of the narcissistic family. The big problem, as far as they saw it, was that I told people about what he did and some of the things they did. This was a terrible betrayal in their minds because it shattered the image they had of being perfect.

            And yes, I forgive my family for a lot more these days because we may not be perfect and we probably argue too much but we don’t lie, we aren’t sneaky and we don’t demand perfection from one another.

            • In my ex’s family everything is always fine. No matter what’s going on, everything’s fine. I don’t think two weeks had passed since my ex unexpectedly announced our marriage was over that my MIL was warning me they wanted me to be able to “move on.” I remember thinking, “hell, I’m still reeling from what just happened and trying to understand it, but they think it’s time for me to move on?” This was a woman who I’d thought of as a second mother for 36 years…and in two weeks she’s ready for me to “move on?”

              • “In my ex’s family everything is always fine. No matter what’s going on, everything’s fine. ”

                Wow, Lyn I did a double-take. I think our cheater-families are related….

                Everything was always fine on the surface with them. Then, older brother cheated, and that 30 + year marriage came apart. Mine became…strange. Then mine blew up. *Then* I learned that Daddy was a Sinister Minister (actually theology Prof & minister too) picking on Grad Students, choristers, and basically anyone he could fuck. The parents’ marriage was a big lie–which is why no-one could ever talk about anything substantive. They glossed over everything, b/c to get real would be way, way threatening.

                Then… I learned that Grandpa on Cheater’s Mom’s side was a real live bigamist (thank you, 1940 US Census release!). His actual wife, (Not MIL’s mother) divorced him for “cruelty” . Since she was French-Canadian Catholic, he really must have been a piece of work.

                All of which is to say that in this family, there were at least 3, if not more, generations of cheaters and liars. Just astounding. And the response from my (former) SIL–not the good one when the news broke about Ex and his shenanigans? “Oh, well, everybody makes mistakes.” This from a woman my age who has never had any intimate relationship, much less been married for more than two decades.

                But in all of their view, Ex was entitled to my reconciliation, because that’s how they roll. Disgusting. And I told them all to piss off, because they had no moral integrity whatsoever, especially the good Reverend Doctor.

              • Lyn,

                What your MIL was doing was putting you on notice that you would be expected to continue to (metaphorically) pole-vault the mountains of elephant shit in their living room as they have done all their lives.

                Yanno…the old,” If we AVOID looking at it, it does not exist and can’t affect our image,” mantra.

                When you see this avoidance mechanism for exactly what it is, his behavior makes perfect sense…does it not?

                Do we have the same MIL? 😉

              • Lynn,

                In my STBXWs family there is right, wrong, and ‘its family’. Basically whatever is so wrong that it can’t be fixed becomes ‘its family’. That means they have a pretty fucked up family.

              • Lyn, my ex MIL was similar. I thought of her as a second mother and she showed me that after more than two decades I was disposable. And yep, I was told repeatedly to move on. Well, I have moved on, left them all behind and they are still obsessing.

          • During my marriage, I thought ex’s large family was just like some Norman Rockwell dream. It was only after Dday that I started to realize that in reality, they are profoundly disordered. But they excel at portraying themselves as a wonderful, close, christian family, and they are obsessed with this image and with themselves.

            One of ex’s sisters said, “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever,” and that pretty much sums up his family.

            • Pretty much guts the Biblical concept of marriage as, “leaving and cleaving” now doesn’t it, Glad?

              Can you spell… e-n-m-e-s-h-m-e-d…?

              • Hahaha! Enmeshed perfectly describes ex and his family. Ex is a middle aged man who still desperately needs his parent’s approval. And they use this need of his to control him in a very subtle way. It drove me nuts for years and caused a lot of arguments between us and now I am so grateful I don’t have to deal with it anymore.

            • GIO , “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever” sounds like something my stbx’s sisters would say. The older sis knew about his most recent affair with his married gf and supported him. When he told her that we were getting divorced the sis replied “It’s about f****** time!” I would like to give that two faced witch a piece of my mind

              • Well, at least the two faced witch is honest. My ex inlaws were supportive and nice to my face but what was going on behind the scenes was something entirely different. I know that he’s family but they went above and beyond being supportive of him. They actively made things more difficult in many areas. They’re a sneaky bunch.

            • When I told my SA that he was married to his family (which consisted of a father and sister) and not me. His reply was, “What’s wrong with that?”.

              Ewwww. Yuck… yuck. There is something strange going on in them there parts…..

    • That’s why the relationships can’t be “fixed.” The cheater is entitled to cheat, in his or her view. They are (in the words of Aaron James) immunized from the complaints of the people they betrayed because of their entitlement. That’s why CL is right to say that reconciliation usually doesn’t work. The person who broke the relationship by breaking the major conditions for marriage–sexual and emotional fidelity, trust, and honesty–thinks that “fixing” what he or she broke is conditional on the betrayed spouse’s willingness to meet some arbitrary list of demands. If I really wanted to reconcile with a cheating spouse, I would have to work on that from my own separate house, having filed for divorce and with a settlement agreement arrived at. Then we would see what the cheater was willing to do. Not much, I would think.

    • So true. I often want to ask the cheater who feels compelled to include details of the state of the marriage, but adds that the affair is 100% her/his fault, why include that shit.
      Why not mention the score of the cubs game or add in a brief discussion about evolution or rhombus geometry?
      Also , that 50/50 deal about pre affair issues is crap. Think a cheater, with all his/her attendant character issues and poor communication skills just might have been the one causing the vast majority of all the marital problems?

      • “Think a cheater, with all his/her attendant character issues and poor communication skills just might have been the one causing the vast majority of all the marital problems?”

        Favorite Quote This Week. True Dat Arnold. True Dat.

  • Thank you for this, CL. If you’re not seeing remorse, it’s because–like so many other things in a relationship with a cheater (along with say, respect? compassion?)–it’s just a chimera.

    Your post reminded me of the great line Rhett Butler says to Scarlett O’Hara after she confesses all her crimes to him. He says something like, “You’re in the exact position of a thief who’s not at all sorry that he stole but is terribly, terribly sorry that he’s going to jail.” That about sums it up.

    Not long after D-Day, I sent my ex an email with links to all this research I’d done on sex addiction/porn addiction, etc. Total Amazon chump here, and after I found out what was on his hard drive, I put my overpriced graduate education to uses it was never intended for (did you know there’s a scholarly publication called The Journal of Sex Addiction and Compulsivity?). Anyway, he never responded to the email, but when I got home that day, he met me at the foot of the stairs with these Shrek cat eyes and said, “I cried today.” Stupid me, at the time I thought this was a big deal. He cried!

    That was as close as he ever got to acknowledging what happened. “I cried today.” The whole thing was about *his* pain, *his* tears. Not the cosmic emotional rug he pulled out from under me and the kids, one of whom was terminally ill at the time. Nope. It was simply that the jig was up. And if in fact he did cry that day, which is doubtful, it certainly wasn’t because of any anguish he had caused me. He was just a thief who was terribly, terribly sorry to be going to jail.

    • “I cried today”
      what do you want a medal of the chest to pin it on.

          • Lol. You guys rock! Sometimes I wish one of you could confront my ex and tell him what a sorry immoral piece of shit he is. Because by the time he got caught he’d surrounded himself with sycophantic morons who thought he was amazeballs so nobody said a damn thing.

            And if penis size is hereditary I really hope my son takes after my side of the family. For such a giant asshole he sure had a small penis.

    • Oh boy – ex told the kids at one point that
      ‘this is really hard on me. I have a hard time having any self-respect’. It was STILL all about him. Me? My pain? What the kids were going through? Never got a look in.

      • What the fuck does he have to respect himself for? He’s been thinking and acting like an assmaster.

        • Indeed and the few times I’ve seen him have shown that he is a weak little man who shrinks at the sight of me. I’ve got his number, he knows it, and he really doesn’t like it. Ha!

        • Add mine to the list of cheaters who whined about how hard it was on HIM. Yeah, I guess all that sneaky sex and lying and cake eating and threesomes and orgies were pretty tough.

        • I got “It’s hard being the bad guy all the time”. Uh, then STOP!!! Dick.

      • My ex recently told me in an e-mail; ‘I lost more than you did’ (referring to the fact the kids barely see him any more, he moved out of the house and the kids and I are still here, all our family and couple friends ditched him, as did some of HIS family ….).

        When I reminded him that he didn’t ‘lose’ any of that stuff, he threw it away, he was furious!

        Pooooooor sausage.

          • Don’t think he’s competing, just trying VERY VERY hard to get me to feel sorry for him. Hey, it worked for 14 years! He just hasn’t understood that it is not working any more, and never will again. He is definitely the ‘covert narcissist’ type, the poor-me, poor little victim type, it’s the only game he knows how to play. But I’ve walked off the field!

  • More words of wisdom CL. It’s true, reconciliation equals bleeding out, slowly and painfully. Affairs ARE like a bullet to the relationship, shot from behind too, so you don’t see it coming. Just like the cowards they are.

    • Now I’ve got that Bon Jovi song going through my head. “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame. You give love a bad name.”

      • I always thought he sang,”Shot through the heart, and you’re too lame”.

        Same difference, really…

  • I can’t get my head around the assumption that the chump will just stand by their commitment to a cheater no matter what and that a marriage vow is code for ‘ you do as expected and I will do as I please until I get caught and then I will invoke the marriage vows that are applicable to me getting what I want. I have been dealing with this assumption since D’day from cheater and his support staff ( the elders of the church (we) use to attend and the friends he has convinced that his infidelity is some by product of some bigger issue,- leaving them to fill in them selves that that bigger issue may be).
    I call Narcissism.
    I am grateful that my STBX confessed his infidelity as I finally have proof – his confession, because in my world to just end your marriage for no obvious reason would have been looked upon by others as demonic ( might I just add wanting an end to my marriage with a reason is still being seen by some this way too). And so once past the initial pain I resolved not to have him back and the response this gained from those around me was staggering.
    STBX – when told by a long term mutual friend that our marriage was over that I was done with him, ” No our marriage isn’t over, she just thinks it is”
    STBX -When I told him our marriage was over because if he thought after he confessed that our marriage had legs he had to be kidding, ” I have my issues to work through and you have your issues to work through, if you want this marriage to be over that is on you that is not my decision. But you will need to own it and tell our kids.”
    Church Minister – ” you have no right to say your marriage is over, you took a vow of covenant” Me” when can I say may marriage is over? Minister “when I tell you”

    No STBX I am a grown woman and I have had 20 years of your bull shit. You think that because over the years when I have had enough of your shit and stated I wanted out of our marriage and you played the passive aggressive turning it back on me as it couldn’t have anything to do with you. That it was my issue and if you spent an hour helping me to look within myself to find what was really the matter I would see I don’t really want out of our marriage it was all just in my head. And as a result the game would just continue because I would own it all and take one for the team. That I showed remorse as expected once I swallowed this shit, for projecting my issues on to you for becoming angry and blaming you for my lack of being able to ‘read you’ and how much you ‘care for’ and ‘love me’. It wasn’t your fault that you had work stress and were tired and therefore were unable to commit to any marital relations in the bedroom. It wasn’t your fault you had to get on the computer logging into who knows what web site because I had changed the channel to a program as morally bankrupt as Big bang theory. And the latest bit of tripe that you where unfaithful because you had an “unclean sexual spirit”. It was never your fault that our (me and 3 kids) entire world had to revolve around you even when you were not here. If you think because this has been the way of things in the past that it is going to continue, sorry but NO! Although your lack of remorse for your actions may be staggering. I am coming to realize it is not in your DNA, and that just like your infidelity I can not change the facts. Nor can I change the fact that your cheating is a side affect of some bigger problems. I just pray I can minimize any further damage to our kids.

    As many of you may have guessed I cannot say this to the STBX as any airing of my opinion on the matter of his cheating and lack of remorse is seen as my sin of unforgiveness towards him and my desire to be verbally violent and controlling.

    • Yes, my wife clearly expects me to own the breakup of the marriage. Makes me sick. My doctor (who has heard all of 10 minutes about this) had some good advice: “You need to figure out how to tell your children and do that yourself. If you don’t, your wife will make up a version that makes YOU look bad.”

      • ANR
        your Doctor is right, elders in my church did not want me to tell our our kids in order to minimize the damage, although STBX said he would take full responsibility for his action this in his mind did not mean being honest with our kids. And the version of events he gave friends in the beginning resulted in my having to pour a friend a stiff drink once she knew the truth as she had appointed herself on his information as the head of our reconciliation cheer squad. A position she quickly resigned once she knew the truth.

        • I had that happen with a couple of friends. They thought it was simply a matter of him having an affair. When I outlined the full extent of his serial cheating several people actually looked ill. They could not believe what he had gotten up to. That was when I realised just how bad it was. Prior to that I had been in some sort of denial.

          • This! Once I saw the look of horror on other peoples faces after telling them what stbx had been/is doing, it really drove home the gravity of the situation. There was no way to deny anything after that. Even one of stbx’s best friends from high school has completely walked away from him after all of this. His friend told me there was no way that he could be friends or be around someone who would do those things to their wife & child. He said stbx was a total stranger to him now-not the friend he remembered having in high school.

          • Some of our friends cried and had nightmares when they found out about my ex. That’s how much people had believed he was a good guy.

            • One woman literally turned her head, went white and had to grip the table. That’s when I really faced reality and ever since then I can only look at my ex as an abusive asshole.

            • Isn’t it amazing how wonderful the mindfucks can be to other people?

        • Isn’t it too bad that she didn’t understand that one affair breaks the vow? the trust? and that the betrayed spouse is entitled to make decisions in her or his best interest, even after “only” one affair? I’m grateful that my friends and my therapist were all of the “kick him to the curb” variety.

          • Yeah. I was willing to try reconciliation but, to quote my doc again (love that guy), “You can’t clap with one hand.”

      • Just refuse.

        Refuse to buy her bullshit. Refuse to wear her guilt. When she throws it at you, step aside and watch it fall on the floor. Step over it and move on. (Like she did to your heart.)

        You KNOW you’re not to blame–YOU were ALL IN. But she has made a habit of blaming you for everything, and, being a chump, my guess is that you’ve been very accommodating up to now. But now you know.

        I can totally see “Meh” from here. What it looks like is, instead of being appalled by their audacity, you just know that’s how they are, and you aren’t even phased by it–you just know they are broken and incapable of seeing things the way you do, of thinking like you do, of having the same feelings. Their world is distorted, but you are perfectly clear.

        Hang in there!

        • You’re right, Miss Sunshine, I have been very accommodating up to now, and she has made a habit of blaming me for everything. I’m still in the “being appalled by her audacity” phase, but I hope I’m getting to meh sooner rather than later. Thanks for the support!

              • Baci, Nord, ANR and all–Dontcha sometimes wish there was a sparkly attractive, I don’t know, island or something, where they would all go (for good) and leave us alone? Mine’s going to Southern California, to hook up with an old GF (both on the cheating rebound ha ha). I guess in the US that’s as close as it comes.

              • Vera, do you mean like the “island of misfit toys” except for people who can’t stop trying to fill the holes in their souls by filling the holes between their legs or between the legs of others?

                Nobody wants a “Charlie in the Box”.

              • namedforvera, it’s funny, mine just moved to southern CA. No girlfriend that I know of, yet, still says he wants to reconcile with me, but I’m really liking the distance.

              • Ugh. I’ve read your comments about that, and the stress on your boys. That would drive me right around the bend. Seriously, I would have a hard time not committing a terrible crime, except, you know–we’re the responsible parents! Some day we’ll be rewarded.

                (I have an old friend who went through this with a psycho-also-attorney-ex who hounded her for support and bullied the kids. She just kept it together and gave them a stable home. They’re grown, and doing OK. And they know the score. But that was a really, really rough 12+ years for her to navigate. Exhausting!)

      • I’ve know from the start that THAT would be my spouse’s MO: I’m such a good guy. I tried to make it work and she STILL dumped me. Pity me, I am the victim of a marriage to a cruel woman.

        This is why I demanded he tell his family with me present. No glossing over the enormity of his deceit as something like, well…we just grew apart and didn’t have the tools to address it. I KNOW that’s what he’d say, because he tried that on me!

        I will be the one to tell my kids the truth. They already know we are in MC. They have no idea about the serial cheating and chronic lieing. I revealed the communication issues to the kids with the sincere goal of trying to model better adult behavior.

    • Sammie, I don’t like to comment on other people’s religion, but that is one bullshit church. Glad you no longer attend it. There have to be churches you can find that don’t try to control you like that. If there aren’t, God is still there loving you, right in your own heart.

      • notyou,
        thanks for the suggested reading. WOW I thought it was just the church I was in that took the ‘lets not rock the boat routine’, while simultaneously demanding forgiveness for my cheating spouse and that I shoulder my share of the responsibility for his behavior. I remember running into my Minister the day our daughter was diagnosed with cancer (one month after D’Day) and he stopped to talk to me though the conversation was very demanding. He went on to advise me that I had to forgive my husband and quickly as failing to do so would leave me open to further sin. (I’m sorry I didn’t cheat). Not excusing my husbands action ( according to our minister they were only physical not intimate) I should own my portion of the issue, these things are never 100% one persons fault and I should forgive him even if it was a cold hearted decision. I would be the first to admit that at times in our marriage my husband would have been better off sleeping on the corner of the roof, but I also know that my husbands decision to cheat (with men and possibly women) were the result of his own choices. Like every other person on the planet he has free will and I am sure other issues. So it is hard to deal with these people who use God and the bible and their own view on the world as a way of keeping the victim (not that I consider myself to be one) in line for their own sake. Once I resolved in my heart that our marriage was over I had a real peace about the whole thing. But that peace has been shattered time and gain by members of our church who believe their agenda should supersede my resolve. They stand by the notion they can fix him (and he is playing along with this as he wants to be affirmed as the offended not the offender) and when done I should have him back no questions asked. But because I have left the church they are using my absence to bolster and justify their actions taken. They have even gone as far as to approach the Minister of the church I am now attending and demand he send me back to them as they believe I will only be able to resolve my issues by returning and work through the issues with them. According to one of the elders who’s job it was to involve herself in the restoration of my marriage but was unwilling to involve herself in my coming to terms with my daughters illness, part of my marital issue is I suffer from a spirit of rejection and until dealt with I will continue to draw rejection to me.
        What is it you say in the south ? Bless their hearts?

        • What a bunch of malarkey from those church “elders.” Here’s another saying we have in the South: “That’s enough to make me lose my religion.”
          Those elders sound like a bunch of “false prophets” to me. I mean really, having the nerve to go to your new church and telling the elders there to “send you back” ?????? WTF??????? Like you were a piece of property. Sammie, you have free will too — thank god for your free will and that you have brains to think for yourself and not be brainwashed by this mumbo jumbo. Thank God your free will is taking you far away from these controlling, invasive weirdos.

          • Thanks Deltagirl, ‘enough to make me loose my religion’. almost but not quite.

        • Wow again, Sammie D. That sounds more like a cult than a church. So sorry about your daughter, and sending you the biggest hugs I can.

        • Sammie – you are a mighty strong woman. The illness of your child occurring concurrently with D-day AND having your church family rejection. I don’t like to generalize about another’s religious views but this particular group seems to be controlling way outside the norm! Contacting your new minister to “send you back”? OMG – sounds almost cultish the degree of control.

          I’m not religious by my XH professes to have found God and Jesus and when he married a 21 year old after knowing her 5 days (he was 45), because “God told them to”…my 19 year old (at the time) son called BS and called his dad’s minister and said, “really? is this all ok by what you teach?” and the minister to his credit told my son, “NO, it’s not.”.

          • I’m sick of the victim being the one to blame. It’s just bullying to conform to the image.

          • IMHO, saying “God told me to…” is more in line with taking the Lord’s name in vain that saying “Jesus H. Christ impaled on a shit stick”.

            And that’s from a pastor’s wife.

        • I don’t have much experience with “Christian counselling” or churches that take such an active role in their members’ marriages, so I’ll ask people who do — do these people take the same approach when it’s the wife who’s the cheater? I just wonder how much of this has to do with male-supremacist thinking.

          • I’d say it depends on the church/counsellor. Some are male supremacists; others are spacklers.

          • Yes, it’s the same approach. Marriage is a lifetime commitment for both parties. Forgiveness is demanded by God for sins. “Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

            If you are with a believer, you are both to forgive and stay in the marriage, work it out and sin NO MORE. If a non-believer wants to stay in the marriage, the believer must also work toward this goal to show their faith in GOD to the non-believer so that they may come to know GOD through your faithfulness to Jesus’s teachings.

            BUT, Jesus wants peace in a family. If you cannot find peace with your spouse, significant other, etc… then leave. Forgive the transgressor and move on. Pray for them because they are so removed from their true purpose on this earth and that is to love.

        • And, to state the obvious, there is no way in hell the church can “fix” a man who cheats with other men — not of the desire to have sex with men, anyway. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that the cheating being “physical, but not intimate” puts your cheater in a worse light. He doesn’t have the capacity to really love, but is more than willing to use both you and the men he cheats with for what he can get out of them. Fuckers like this are a dime a dozen, and they aren’t poor souls in need of understanding and reconciliation, they’re selfish cowards in need of facing the consequences of their own choices.

          • My ex claimed that “the Holy Spirit” and his church cured him from having sex with other men. LOL, I guess they didn’t do a very good job, because when he loaned a computer to our son, I checked the history, and lo and behold! There was all sorts of gay stuff, hookup sites and such, in his search history.

      • Notyou, I read the article. It is awesome. My CH and I went through exactly the bad counseling described. That was 15 years ago. Here we are again. Same crap with one of the same skanks. I wish we would have had real biblical counsel. Either this latest round would have been prevented because my husband would have repented and changed or we would have divorced years ago. I wish…

    • I have heard people on the radio say more than once that adultery is Biblical grounds for divorce.

      I also remember that covenant marriage in Louisiana includes the ability to get a divorce for serious faults like adultery.

    • I hope you are NC with both this cheating asshole and his asshole supporters.

    • Um, that is ABUSE you are dealing with from the church. I don’t know your exact religion but I think the bible even allows for divorce in adultry situations. I can’t fathom a god who has use for those who oppress others (especially women) but there sure is a lot of it going on in the name of religion. The minister is as much of an asshole as your stbx imo.

      • WOW dumb Chump alert!
        Thank you to everyone for your comments. while pondering some of the comments today it hit me that I having willingly said to people that if I have to shoulder the responsibility of my marriage ending, that is ok. No nO No it is not ok. I even accepted those from my church spinning the shared responsibility angle as a means of being amicable. If STBX had willingly killed someone and used the issues in our marriage as the justification would I have to share the murder charge? NO
        Yet as previously said He put a bullet through our marriage by his actions. He cheated. His choice. result Marriage over.
        Thanks everyone

  • Yes, yes. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Reconcile and they’re blameshifting it all to you (“the marriage was horrible”…..ummm..I was there too, and that is news to me!), or else leave and they’re telling the kids that you were the one breaking up the family because you wouldn’t try! Ugggh.

  • So, if the fault lies with someone else, and conditions are not kept favorable — well, hey! they might just cheat again!

    I’ve spent a lot of time considering the “let’s blame for making me ‘vulnerable’ to cheating”, and I’ve come to the same conclusion: there is an implied condition or set of conditions which would make cheating an option again.

    It’s still on the table. Who wants to live that way? It’s a friggin’ partnership that may or may not include raising and providing for children and preparing them for adulthood.

    Would you have a business partner who says “I only embezzled money because the business wasn’t doing well, and I think we both share responsibility for how the business was being run”? You’d take that asshole to court, right?

    Why have a partner in a partnership even more intimate (and possibly more financially vulnerable) who is basically telling you that if you have a fight, they get depressed, they’re bored, the sex isn’t curling their toes lately, or you left your socks on the bathroom floor, so they cheated? They’re basically telling you it could happen again.

    • I forgot tags symbods are blanked out (html–sigh) there was supposed to be something like “Let’s blame [insert event or the marriage] for making me vulnerable to cheat”

    • “I only embezzled money because the business wasn’t doing well, and I think we both share responsibility for how the business was being run”?


      • It’s called having an external locus of control. Typically, children have that, and we grow up and internalize our locus of control.

        They’re like 3 year olds screeching “But he hit me back first!”

        • LMAO! My Miss 3 actually does this and now I’ve got the most awesome mental picture of the 32 yr old man-child wailing that at the top of his lungs!
          I’m keeping this in the vault for next court appearance. Whenever he opens his mouth to blame-shift and spin lies I’m just gonna picture this

        • CITS is right.

          There is even a sub-scale to measure appropriate development of “Locus of Control” on the best personality tests we use with children.

          I am not saying this to start another shit-storm on here…so. please. bear. with. me! (and think about this before ‘reacting’.) but Locus of Control is an issue for Chumps, too,…in a different way than with cheaters…but still a thorny issue in counseling.

          Chumps often have no clue (and sometimes aren’t inclined to get a clue) about just how much control over their own responses that they DO have. Helping them distinguish between REACTING and RESPONDING and to make calculated responses is one of the toughest hurdles.

          The single most difficult aspect of therapy (works the butt off the counselor the most) is overcoming client objection to making needed changes that the client has demonstrated in other ways that he or she is perfectly capable of making. (Fear of change, of having to face the possibility of unpredictable results.)

          Too often we are our own worst enemies. And, I’ve yet to see a client who didn’t initially get angry and defensive when we started exploring that particular path.

          …..Wish I had a dollar for every time I have told an adult, “You cannot get control of that child’s situation until you are FIRST in control of yourself!”

          • That’s a useful comment, notyou. When I think of the years I’ve spent reacting (usually submissively, or by withdrawing) to my wife’s verbal abuse rather than responding to it in a self-respecting way, it’s really obvious that, leave the marriage or not, I have a lot of changes to make in the way I relate to others.

            • “(usually submissively, or by withdrawing)”

              Yup, ANR, this is called being “conflict avoidant”.

              As children, we are taught (erroneously I might add) that anger is always a bad, bad, bad negative emotion and must be repressed at ALL costs.


              Anger is a survival mechanism and a normal human emotion that must be recognized for what it is, harnessed and put to constructive use. But if you have been SHAMED all your life for experiencing anger, you never acquire the skills to manage it…to be APPROPRIATELY assertive.

              Another of the biggest jobs in counseling is to help a client undo a lifetime of having been shamed for experiencing (let alone expressing) anger.

              Some parents are so insecure that they are unable to tolerate ANY dissent on the part of a child, no matter how respectfully submitted.

              All that situation does is produce a passive-aggressive child who learns to be a duplicitious manipulator with an internal jar full of rigorously counted beans (metaphorically speaking). At some point that jar turns into a festering boil that eventually erupts in angry behavior that is completely our of proportion to the antecedents…or more likely the PA just RUNS and keep on running (both physically and emotionally).

              Don’t kick me until you really ponder it, but this scenario actually is frequently the case with cheaters. The people most likely to engage in exit affairs and end up in divorce court are very frequently conflict-avoidant, PA people who (while appearing to be charming and totally under control all the time) have NO clue how to go about appropriately asserting themselves in intimate conflict situations.

              If you are a conflict avoidant chump, it results in a perpetual diet of shit-sandwiches.

              • ME!!!! OOOO-OOOOO that’s ME! The conflict avoidant chump!!!!!!! Is there a secret handshake for the club????

              • “If you are a conflict avoidant chump, it results in a perpetual diet of shit-sandwiches.”

                Yep. Trying to go cold turkey on the shit sandwiches.

              • Hey CITS?

                Now that you know about the club, you can learn the “secret handshake.”

                It has to do with lifting only your middle finger while waving your arm vigorously at your cheater.


              • OMG THANK YOU!!!! It’s the first laugh I had today!!!!!

                Hey, I’ll have y’all know I lost 20lb on the shit sandwich diet here…

          • “Chumps often have no clue (and sometimes aren’t inclined to get a clue) about just how much control over their own responses that they DO have. Helping them distinguish between REACTING and RESPONDING and to make calculated responses is one of the toughest hurdles. ”


            Personally, my best therapists have been the ones who have encouraged me to be empowered. I didn’t get angry at options they presented, I got grateful for the insight and more confident as I chose healthier for myself. The worst therapists were the ones who focused on trying to understand what he was going through, which basically encouraged me to maintain a reactive position. And I already had enough compassion for him, that was part of the problem, compassion for him at my expense. Ugh.

            • True, Hawk.

              A counselor can only effectively deal with the one who has presented self for help. In IC, the client’s progress should be the focus. The relevance of the other’s personality issues should be limited to the EXTERNAL behavior manifestations of the other and how the client can acquire the skills to deal with those external behaviors in a constructive manner.

              [One of the points I keep hammering home, though, is that Chumps very often voluntarily give away too much of their power (sometimes to the point of self-abuse) and then get REALLY pissed off at the counselor when that fact is pointed out to them. Once that breakthrough is made, though, the chump can make significant strides much faster than s/he previously believed.]


              • Not you, my counselor irritated me by correcting me when I said “I had to do” something in my marriage. She would always say “you chose” to do it. She said she corrected me because she wanted me to know that I DID have a choice, i just didn’t realize it at the time.

            • Being empowered and setting boundaries is in husband’s unsolicited opinion, what makes me a fucking bitch. Asking him to talk about issues is a sure sign I am hounding him.
              Today I finally told him that when he says these things to me I feel like hurting myself. He told me to “go ahead”. I am out of productive options. My lawyer advised me to wait until he got his inheritance before I pull the plug but that won’t be for weeks and I am not coping well with him in the house.

              • Linda, can you take a trip to visit friends/family? Or at least make sure you spend all day out on your own? Maybe sleep in a different room? It might be worth holding on if it’s really just weeks, but you have to find ways to relieve/reduce the stress.

              • What an evil man!

                I suggest you program numbers of people you can call when you feel like hurting yourself into your phone. Also, put in the number for a suicide hotline.

                Are there ways you can avoid him during the next few weeks without getting the divorce?

              • Linda,

                This is going to sound like me advising you to be manipulative. I am. Sometimes you must temporarily fight fire with fire (strategic duplicity) when survival is at stake.

                If you KNOW that you are irrevocably DONE with this man, never lose sight of the fact that he is NO LONGER your friend and take intelligent appropriate precautions. Stop giving him any sticks with which to beat you!

                Please take my advice and do not ever again tell your STBX that anything he does makes you feel like hurting yourself. Why? Because (1) it is not going to elicit empathy from him and (2) it will register as weakness somewhere in the recesses of his mind and will (even if unconsciously) solidify his resolve to stonewall you harder on some aspect of divorce negotiations.

                Do whatever it takes to have a ready support system (trusted people to whom you can reach out –even at 3 a.m) and get an emotional support transfusion when you feel like you are going to break. Have multiple trustees so that you don’t lean too hard on any one person. Best not to tell even these people about your long term divorce strategy either. Save all strategic plans for your lawyer which is the ONLY place you can be assured that your business won’t “travel.”

                As for coping with him in the house? (I take it he won’t go…) Constantly remind yourself that this situation is time limited. FINITE. That you can do almost anything in the short-term as long as you KNOW that there will be an end. Don’t engage him, don’t negotiate with him, don’t provoke him…i.e. don’t “hound” him.

                Take Psyche’s advice and manage time so that your proximity with him is as limited as humanly possible. Be as calm and collected as you can manage when around him.. even if you need temporary meds to manage the stress.

                If you are going to “manipulate,” DO IT RIGHT. Your attorney already knows how to do this.

                You might find this link interesting reading…

                Sun Tzu who wrote “The Art of War” clearly understood the principles of psychological warfare.

                (some excerpts)

                All warfare is based on deception.

                Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

                If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

                These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

        • “But he hit me back first!”

          Yes, yes.

          Reminds me of the cheaters who way they can’t entirely commit to reconciliation because they don’t think their chumps can fully forgive the cheating. A version of “I have to do this sh*tty thing to you because I think you are likely to do something I don’t want you to do [say, defend yourself] sometime in the future.”

          I don’t even think many kids would dare to say such a thing. If I’d have pulled that stunt with my parents I would have felt a belt laid across my rear end several times. With *verve*.

          • nomar,

            **verve*** hahahaha!

            I like the way Jeff Foxworthy puts it, “…whack him on the ass with a boat paddle..”

        • Chump in the Sand, that locus of control thing is really interesting. My ex told everyone that “he didn’t have a choice” and “I didn’t want for this to happen”…

  • The eight months I spent in bogus reconciliation with ex cheater had some good moments, but for the most part, were hellacious. Not only did he feel absolutely entitled to reconciliation, but he blamed me for moving out of our home and for the resulting financial problems. He was angry that I didn’t “get over it” in just a couple of weeks. He ramped up the emotional and verbal abuse to a new high during that reconciliation, and by the end, I cringed every time a text message from him dinged on my phone. In looking back, the manipulation, mind fuckery and con games were over-the-top. Plus, I’m sure he was still cheating.

    Giving a cheater a second chance is like handing them another bullet because they missed you the first time. You are almost guaranteed to be injured, and you might end up losing your life, at least in a metaphorical sense.

    • I hear you on the phone thing – I cringed every time mine rang, or I got a text *ding*, because most often he was saying something negative or some kind of mindfuckery. I also panicked when my phone was silent for too long, because it meant I hadn’t heard a text come through, and then I would have hell to pay for not replying soon enough, or not answering my damn phone. It’s not good to be afraid of your own phone. Sheesh. I’m so glad I’m not married to that particular man any longer.

    • Mine wasn’t aggressively abusive or insulting during limbo but oh gosh the NEEDINESS. Help me help me! Here I was broken from what he’d done, and he was still coming to me for help with his emotions and life problems. That was never going to work so I stopped him. But it just goes to show that if they come back after cheating they will try mindfucking you in one way or another. On the best day of limbo it was exhausting and I was already exhausted from living with him all those years.

  • “To me, these ‘remorseful’ cheaters who assume reconciliation is their right and due fail to understand the gravity of the offense.”

    To me, they are still a whole lot of entitled, is what they are. That attitude, that you owe them something, is just more of the same shit.

    RUN! Find your legs and RUN! You’re being gaslighted, and you can’t think clearly when (s)he is there in front of you making words that have always worked on you up to this point. Time to get the fuck away from it so you can think clearly–so you can HEAR THEM.

    This is advice I got early on from a dear friend–she’s my guru.

    Speaking of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (the “RIC,” for you newbies), last night, I got up the nerve to pull out my old phone and have a look at all the texts I sent to xH leading up to the divorce. I quit speaking to him after the divorce, pretty much entirely. I went full-on NC, bar one or two sentences (via e-mail, always) that were mandatory (asking for permission to take a minor child out of the country, then telling him to let me know when he’d decided, rather than taking the bait of his temper tantrum, and then for a late child support check.) I avoid him like an airborne disease–I stay FAR away. I cannot believe I was married to that scumbag coward.

    BUT, before the divorce, I was being tutored by the RIC–a very nice lady and her followers, but misguided, nonetheless, as far as I am concerned now. And so I tried in earnest to untangle the skein, which was helpful to me, in my opinion, as this was paired with a full-speed-ahead divorce, with him gone from the family home.

    What I regret, is that I attempted to untangle that skein with him as an audience. You see, I sent him multiple text messages letting him know that I was being patient with his MLC/depression, that I still loved him, that I knew how hard this must be for him. I really hoped that he’d emerge from the fog, a broken and remorseful man, desperate for my strength and love.

    Oh, fuck.

    I really, REALLY wish I’d kept that bullshit to myself. There was plenty that I did keep to myself–that’s where I did it right. For example, I wrote a long and impassioned e-mail to him about him, wherein I examined his childhood, all his abandonment issues, OW’s probably personality disorder, his ghastly mis-step, etc. And I would edit it constantly, until one day I grew tired of it. I really thought, back then, that it would be SO CLEVER of me to send it to him and to his mother–you know, so she could see my side, and HELP him.

    Oh, fuck.

    I am SO glad I never sent that.

    If you’re a newbie, and you’re still texting/e-mailing the cheater and his/her family, or, worse, the AP? STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF. You see, cheaters are entitled little shits, and they don’t care at ALL about you. So stop acting like they might, or that they should, or that you think you can make them. Because they don’t.

    Listen to the Chump Lady, when she says that words about reconciliation, made by the cheater, are just words, nearly all of the time.

    Cheaters are rarely ever insightful. They are belly-button gazers, for sure, but they lack any real ability to understand themselves, no matter how you try to explain it to them, and they sure as hell have shown you that they do not give a shit about you. They want what they want, and you are either a tool or you’re in the way, to a cheater.

    Don’t be a tool. And get out of the way. Don’t get between a cheater and karma. Let it happen. Let it go.

    That’s all I wanted to say.

    • LOL – yeah, silence is golden 🙂

      I have never met anybody who cheated who didn’t know exactly what they were doing, that it was socially not acceptable (Shhhh, can you keep a secret?), and who really gave that much of shit about how it impacted their spouse/whoever they were dating.

      They know what they are doing. I don’t know whether to be amused or saddened by the crap you read in infidelity forums. I can’t think of anything more ridiculously off-base than pretending cheating spouses don’t know what they are doing. They know.

      And don’t get me started on the manipulative crap some of those forums encourage betrayed spouses to do: sometimes they actually encourage you to play mind-games with somebody who basically–by their actions–is showing you that they don’t give a shit about you. How fucking stupid is that?

      Don’t play mind-games. Get the fuck out. Game over.

      • Oh, they’re well aware it’s socially unacceptable (or at least socially awkward), because they sure as fuck don’t want you telling anybody else, and certainly not people they want to like them

        • Yep, my stbx was mad because he said I was trying to make everyone hate him and that they haven’t gotten the chance to hear his side of the story. I was like, “what?!” I didn’t tell anybody to hate him, I just told them the truth and they made up their own minds how to feel. As far as his side, what does it matter? He’s the one who cheated. He admits it. What else is there to his side? He also thinks he is entitled to reconciliation.

          • RNE, maybe CL can give some insight here but is it a standard reaction from the remorseless cheater, to become defensive when they find you are willing to tell people the truth of the situation. STBX once stood over me in the kitchen and in a (don’t fuck with me attitude) told me I was to stop telling people outside the relm?( I assume he meant anyone outside of those he had told) what has happened or he would start telling people I was violent” I suggested he go right ahead. He considered anyone who knew the truth and was unhappy had been turned against him. I personally think anyone who knows the truth and is happy to act like this shit didn’t happen is is just as fucked up as you are possibly worse.

          • I’ve started talking and telling people and he’s quite concerned about who knows, and has asked me to tell him who I tell, so he’ll know what to expect, or more realistically, go and hide if he sees them before they see him.

            • My cheater has a business meeting today with someone who she doesn’t realize knows about her cheating. You have no obligation to share with your cheater who you’ve told. NONE.

      • “I have never met anybody who cheated who didn’t know exactly what they were doing, that it was socially not acceptable (Shhhh, can you keep a secret?), and who really gave that much of shit about how it impacted their spouse/whoever they were dating.” Exactly why reconciliation is a lie in the first place.

        This is the only site/forum that doesn’t leave me sick and depressed.

    • Said beautifully,

      Don’t give them ammunition (eg your thoughts, feelings, emotion, understanding. this is only fuel to them) give them nothing and then get out of the way. As it will soon become clear where the issues are.

      • That’s something else I credit CL for–not touching the skein of fuckupedness.

        Sure, there are times when I see through the BS and would love to educate him on how his pet addict is pulling the strings. But I shut the fuck up and let the therapist deal with it.

        His family is friendly with me, and wants to be supportive, but I ain’t opening up there either.

        Not my circus, not my monkeys.

    • Miss Sunshine,
      I recently ran across the one-page letter (my copy — I made a copy for myself to keep) that I handed to my x has he walked – er, slunk – out the door, bag in hand, of our 16-year-marriage (and one-week old son). Almost 9 years out, how I wish I had never given him that damn letter!!!!! I cringed as I read all the pathetic stuff I wrote: how I was going to change, how I took responsibility for all of his unhappiness, how I didn’t blame the OW for loving him — of COURSE she loved him how could she NOT love him because he is so WONDERFUL, begging him to give our children the chance to grow up in an intact family, etc etc etc. I burned my copy of the letter for fear my kids would find it one day after I’m gone. However, I did save the letter to him from the OW (that I found in a vehicle that I owned but he had driven at the time) about the big “O” he had given her that night and how she couldn’t wait to officially build a life with him. Let them find that in my papers after I am dead and gone.

      • Yuck. Sometimes (against reason) I root for the NSA having copies of everything. Let the record show what creeps these people are.

        Writing your feelings out to someone who hurt you is forgiveable and human. Playing games with someone else’s life is just despicable.

      • “…begging him to give our children the chance to grow up in an intact family…”

        That just broke my heart. I’m so very sorry. Your poor kids….

        I hate these fuckers.

        • This is the thing I struggled with too but then I realized that I don’t want my kid to see this dysfunctional marriage as how things are supposed to be. I don’t want him to act & be like his awful dad. I want him to grow up & see me happy. My son & I will be an intact family just the two of is

    • I Soo Get this….
      Got Mired in that CRAP too..
      For Alil While.
      No Amount of TALK EVER fixes that Shit…YOU just Feel Worse for Throwing Your Emotions into a Bottomless Pit with No EYES to Really See, or Worse Yet, Someone who GETS OFF on Your Pain cause it makes THEM Feel Important and Powerful.

      Call it Honest to GOD, FUBAR…And GET OUT.

    • Disordered-type cheaters LOVE getting those long emails or letters from their chumps outlining all the thoughtful ways the chump thinks the cheater can get better, or the ways the cheater hurt the chump or FOO issues or whatever bullshit. For the disordered, that is CAKE. They don’t give a shit about your pain, and they are entirely aware that what they did is wrong. They just DON’T CARE. But when you send them a letter like that, you are telling them that they still have a lot of power over you, and they LOVE THAT.

      No matter how hard it is, the best course with a disordered type is to walk away and never look back. Go NC. If you have kids together, then go as limited contact as possible. This is how you start to heal. They will never get better, and that is NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

  • Great article CL! Of course they’re entitled to reconciliation because they’re entitled; PERIOD!

    I did the bogus 3 plus years in reconciliation. (not including actually marrying the asshat to begin with).

    When I told him back in July that our reconciliation wasn’t going how I’d hoped, he started telling me about all the times I missed a spot during my humiliating pick me dance. Plus he didn’t always want to be thought of as the cheater and even told me “how awkward it was when a show about cheating even came on the tv”…boo fucking hoo.-Would you like some cheese with that whine?

    What did I learn from that discussion you ask? Primarily that he learned absolutely nothing the first time and I had clearly handed him the gun to take another shot at me. He was unhappy and so was I. Who had the nuts to do or say anything about it? That would be me which is a slight disadvantage since I was born without nuts. He was still the passive, aggressive coward he was on dday three years prior. All at once I could tell that there were more ddays in my future. Since he works in an industry that is made up mostly of men, I was probably looking at another 10 year sentence and being in my late 50s by the time the second or third one happened. Thanks, but no thanks!

    I guarantee that if I never brought it up, we’d still be married. Not because he loved me but because he is a coward and I was an asset. As a bonus he would still get to spend my paycheck, keep his retirement and not be inconvenienced.

    Well all of that has happened. Too bad; so sad! Well, not for me anyway.

  • No reconciliation without restitution. EVER.

    And they won’t. They want to hoover you in with “counseling” and “working on it together,” while they maintain the status quo, or get you to take on blame.

    Nope. Restitution first. Maybe restitution only–it’s YOUR right to decide. But don’t be a part of their rehab–that’s on them.

    If they mean it, they’ll find a way to show it without empty words, passive-aggressive actions, love-bombing, empty grand gestures, etc. They’ll figure it out, hat in hand.

    Otherwise, you’re just being useful to them.

    Who cares what THEY want, anyway?

    • Exactly. But then they’d have to give up the goodies of entitlement, and that’s so very hard.

      Which is why IMO the remorseful cheater is a unicorn.

  • Just out of curiosity I have wandered about the blogging world over the last few months and there are zillions (a slight exaggeration) of chumps still in reconciliation mode and getting no where. I finally wrote to one to come on over to Chumpville. These people are hanging onto dead marriages 2, 5 and, in one case, 10 years with no resolution. I cannot imaging what toll it is taking on their health. They desperately need you guys.

  • How do we create a nation with so many entitled, soulless narcissists and sociopaths? Well here are examples of some dominant contributing factors:

    Now how is something as ineffective as the RIC going to deal with the lack of a soul in the human “products” of the Entitlement Engendering Industrial Complex? It isn’t, and not much else is going to either. A fundamental cultural change will be required.

    • “A fundamental cultural change will be required.” A definite yes to this.

    • “A fundamental cultural change will be required.”

      Definitely yes to this.

  • HA HA HA! I love that picture! I’m a huge Charlie Brown fan, so that is the perfect example of what reconciliation with a cheater is as far as I’m concerned.

    • He didn’t reconcile with you because your pumpkin patch wasn’t sincere enough.

      • LOL!!!!

        Does that mean we’re all Sally being made to miss out on Halloween?

        • I don’t think Sally’s going there next year. We chumps have a choice, fall asleep in a pumpkin patch, shivering till morning, waiting for a unicorn or a reformed cheater or have treats and go to the party. The choice is ours.

          • Sally has been going to that same pumpkin patch every Halloween since I was a little kid.

            I think the best we can hope for is that we all learn from Sally’s mistakes 🙂

            • Yeh, you’re right. Every year same old thing ,Sally and Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch. Same thing with Charlie Brown trying to kick the football when Lucy pulls it away. Three chumps! Someone needs to get them reading chumplady!

              • Imagine–Charlie Brown kicks Lucy instead, Linus goes trick-or-treating with Snoopy, and Sally realizes she’s been following a fantasy with Linus and discovers she’s really gay, and goes out with Peppermint Patty.

                There. All neatly sewed up.

              • No wonder I love Charlie Brown. He really is the ultimate chump. Don’t forget Linus’s unrequited love for his teacher, Miss Othmar; Schroeder’s preference for Beethoven over Lucy; and even Snoopy ditching Charlie Brown briefly to return to his former owner, Lila. (Told you I really liked Charlie Brown.)

                Although Charles Schultz, to my knowledge, never called any of his characters chumps, he basically said as much about them when interviewed. Good thing he never had them grow up– several of them likely would have been cheated on!

                I’m glad that when my ex pulled the football away, I went home and never played with him again! 😀

  • I believe the truly remorseful cheaters understand this. Because to do reconciliation right, it has to come from a place of humility. You have to acknowledge that YOU are the person broke the marriage vows and the chump owes you nothing. You broke it, and if the person you betrayed helps you fix it? That’s a GIFT. And that effort doesn’t come with guarantees. It’s conditional upon your behavior. You, the cheater, the responsible party, are going to have to do the heavy lifting for the foreseeable future.

    6 months after the remorseful I get ” cant you move forward”. And I feel like nothing has changed its all about her. Yea like it never happened. Dont kill me today it was a long weekend 🙁

    • That is the cheater’s mantra-“Why can’t you just get over it?” My X always said, “I know you’ll never forgive me”, relieving himself of any responsibility to make amends. But he was right, I have never forgiven him and never will, because I reserve forgiveness for people who acknowledge that they have done something wrong My X is completely incapable of ever accepting responsibility for the pain he has inflicted, another common cheater characteristic.

    • Well said Micheal, reconciliation has to come from a place of humility!! I never saw any of that just alit of entitlement and no respect for me.

      • Humble or thankful are not a words I would use to describe my Narc wife. Sorry I am a bitter man today. I need a meeting or more rest this spring cold is kicking my ass.

        • Hope you feel better soon, MichaelD. I’ve been in this for about 6 months too and have heard repeatedly, “I have good character” (based on nearly six months of no cheating), “It’s a shame you don’t trust me” (WTF would I trust somebody who lied cheated and abused me for years based on semi decent behavior of less than six months? And, last night over the phone, “Somebody at church told me I’m being too hard on myself. I knew I would be too hard on myself.” Among other nuggets such as, “Well that hooker had a great body and her house was really clean but (I shouldn’t feel bad because) “she isn’t marriage material”. The most sincere sounding was, “I’m sorry I hurt you, I’m so sorry. I care about you.” Maybe that is true in his idea of caring, the level he can reach. To me though, if he actually cared he wouldn’t have done any of it in the first place. So then the alcohol comes up as the reason. But I don’t work on the skein anymore. It’s not mine to figure out or fix.

          Hang in there, MichaelD. I’m doing a bit better now that mine isn’t living with me. It was hard being constantly triggered or feeling anxious around him. That and how needy he is, even the sheer work of keeping my boundaries in place and healing when he was here was draining me. I was getting resentful and that’s not a bit healthy. If you can’t live separately then make sure to carve out space and time to just focus on you-who you are and what you want in life. Don’t center your thoughts and actions around her. You are special and important and her treating you poorly doesn’t change that, but being around it can really wear you down.

          • It was hard being constantly triggered or feeling anxious around him.


            even the sheer work of keeping my boundaries in place and healing when he was here was draining me. I was getting resentful and that’s not a bit healthy.

            And this,, yes the resentment omg sometimes its crushing. Prob the numb 1 thing that grabs me is the fucking resentment & to me if I dont deal with that daily & I really mean every day I will implode and poss relaspe.

            I hate getting sick I never get sick EVER , Hawk thank you for the kind words.

            Ok I am done being in my pity fucking party sorry all 🙂

  • It was her choice – so it’s her problem to fix. She needed to regain my trust, not the other way around. And whatever I did or did not do up until that point? She could have come to me at any time and said that she was unhappy; to at least give me the opportunity to make it right. She chose not to.
    I would not accept her apology until I heard her acknowledgement. And then it had to be a sincere apology, not a kinda/sorta weak-assed thing.
    Or she could leave. Frankly, I was fine with that. And I think that is important – she needed to understand that I was more than willing to walk away.
    Reconciliation is tough. Is it worse than divorce? I don’t know – all I can tell you is what I did and how it turned out for me. I still second guess it.
    A hard thing for me was to understand that my first marriage was over. Whatever I thought I had was gone, and I had to make a new marriage. And the second marriage is different. There are discussions of boundries, openness, trust – it’s more conditional than the first.

    • George, would you mind telling me a little about your timeline and process? I’m still with my husband 2.5 years later and he does seem to be doing the things that CL and others have advised to be a truly remorseful cheater. I’m still struggling to find my way on this path. Thanks.

      • You’re wondering when it will all end? When will you get back to normal?
        It never really ends. If your husband is sincere about regaining your trust you have a chance at building a new life, but it won’t ever be the same as it was before. To protect yourself you will set boundaries and conditions and will check up on him. I still sometimes can’t sleep and will go through my wife’s emails and my D-day was a lot longer than 2.5 years ago. With regaining trust comes forgiveness, but without it comes separation? I’m not sure that I am saying this right. You learn to make peace with it. But you will never look at them the same way, and you may never trust them 100%. I know I don’t.
        Just make sure that he understands that if he does anything like this again – you are done with him. And that you’ve given him a gift that most of the people writing on this website would not have.

  • My wife is ‘remorseful’, the other day while talking about her cheating mother she slipped and said ‘we all make mistakes’, and ‘in the end it all worked out for the best’… Ooops. Yea, not the answers I was hoping for. I reminded her that some mistakes are more decisions we make every day, and less of a mistake, and that it really didn’t work out since her mom cheated again and is on meds, her dad never recovered, she learned the lesson of how to gas light and blame shift… No damage at all, affairs can make good things happen! This got me questioning if she really gets it… She does tell me she doesn’t deserve a second change and all that stuff she probably read on the Internet that she should say.

    • R28 – “She does tell me she doesn’t deserve a second change and all that stuff she probably read on the Internet that she should say”

      Believe them when they tell you who they are. Seriously. My EX told me over and over that he was broken, that he didn’t deserve me, that I’d come to my senses and leave him.

      If she’s telling you she doesn’t deserve a second chance… Believe her.

      Big hugs and strength to you.

    • I reminded her that some mistakes are more decisions we make every day, and less of a mistake, and that it really didn’t work out since her mom cheated again and is on meds, her dad never recovered, she learned the lesson of how to gas light and blame shift… No damage at all, affairs can make good things happen! This got me questioning if she really gets it…

      I see you slipping into a parental role there: let me instruct you on the rules of compassionate behavior. Nice, if you are talking to a child who actually depends on you to some extent to learn the basic rules about human conduct and relationships Not something that should occur, IMO, in a partnership between consenting adults, though. It’s not your job to “enlighten” your partner.

      So yeah, I understand your worry that she doesn’t “get it”. But you’re still trying to educate a grown woman it sounds like 🙁

      • Is it trying to educate her, or just pointing out where her mother has gas lit her and vilified her father, while making excuses for her own horrible behavior and convincing her daughters that it was all for the best. I guess yea, I’m trying to educate her.

    • My ex, too, revealed himself in comments about other people’s cheating. DDay #1 was 8 years prior to #2, and after #1 I was all convinced we were doing OK!!! Reconciled!!! Really!! Just don’t pay any attention to me spackling like crazy over here!

      Anyway, over those years, the narc ex said, about a family friend who cheated on his wife;
      ‘of course he cheated, his wife isn’t very attractive’.
      And when that wife was outraged at the cheater continuing to lie to her, even once confronted with proof of the cheating;
      ‘of course he’s lying, he doesn’t want to lose his wife’. (Which he did, of course! and the OW too!)

      And about his own cheating-ass father, who has ALWAYS cheated, had a very unhappy (2nd) marriage and clearly stayed married because his wife always made more money than him, and they had several joint properties;
      ‘it’s normal that he would stay married, he wouldn’t want to lose so much, financially, by divorcing’.

      Hopefully now I’ve learned to watch people and listen to them, and believe them when they show who they are. Sigh.

  • I remember STBX saying to me a few years ago when I once commented that I was glad he had never chosen to leave me for someone else. That he had considered it at one point but had thought better of it. Oh gee lucky me.

    • We had had a discussion a couple of years back. I had said,”I hope if you feel like going elsewhere to give me the dignity of leaving me first.”

      Enter Trashley.

  • The longer I live the more I believe that infidelity should never ever be tolerated and that there is no hope for a sincere honest happy relationship once trust has been breached.

    My stomach actually churns when I think about chumps taking cheaters back. Back when I had stars in my eyes, I believed in drama and romance and all that fantasy stuff and that ‘twu wove’ would conquer all and triumph.

    Now I believe that being trustworthy and honest and dealing with issues as a mature adult, (i.e. not cheating or betraying), is the only way for a healthy relationship to survive.

    I hope I haven’t become too hard!

    • Someone mentioned in reply to my comment above that I was treating my wife like a child, not a mature adult by trying to educate her…. I think your comment sums up why, because when someone cheats they aren’t acting like a trustworthy adult, they are acting like an entitled teen ager.. so it seems natural to want to treat the individual that’s been acting like a selfish child, like a selfish child. They might need a refresher on why two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • LOL. A teenager might learn something and reflect back on what you’ve said, Maybe. It’s kind of expected for teenagers to be a little too self-focused.

        Teaching an adult (something they already know… at least they know the words) is a different prospect, in my limited experience. I understand the impulse, but it’s an effort to control something you can’t control: their behavior.

        My ex was fond of saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but… [insert escape clauses here]”. The smartest thing I could have done is stop arguing, and GTFO. It took a while to figure that out. I get it because I too have pissed in that particular wind.

      • R28, think about what you are saying here. Meditate on it a while.

      • “They might need a refresher on why two wrongs don’t make a right.”
        Dude . . . no. Nobody needs a refresher on doing the right thing.

        There’s no need to educate her. She’s a grown woman who made shit choices. Cheaters love to cling to their FOO issues, and us Chumps love to accept that because it makes it easier pin the blame on someone or something else. I.E., if my father wasn’t such a philanderer, I wouldn’t find it necessary to blow dudes at the park during my lunch hour. (Shout out to my X’s OW! Holla!)

        My point is, it doesn’t matter what mom and dad did, we are still responsible for our own actions. There’s not need to educate her on this point, either you have good character, or you don’t.

        Sorry you’re going through this . . .

        • Biggest lesson I learned from all this is Never excuse anyone else’s baggage. It’s all fine and dandy when you’re 20 but at some point we become real adults and no one should be able to use their foo issues or past relationships to dump their shit on you. It’s not that we don’t have baggage, it’s just that we don’t make someone else hold it. I think cheaters never learn how to deal and they basically go from relationship to relationship dumping all of it on the next person. We’re just interchangable bellhops to them. Seriously, my ex needs a dump truck for his shit.

          • Love this comment, Kat! Bellhops and dump trucks, indeed! Perfect extension of the analogy.

    • I think there’s a huge difference between being ‘hard’ and being WISE.

      From what you wrote, it seems like you’re exercising your new-founded WISDOM.

      Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • I hope I haven’t become too hard!

      No Tonya your not & I pray I haven’t made a stupid decision to stay.

      • Thanks Michael, I got out a few years ago now. For a while then I had half-heartedly entertained the idea of reconciliation but I was way too angry.

        There had been a previous infidelity which I forgave (fool me once and all that) but when the second one happened I was so angry I could barely function. I was a dormant volcano that erupted hot lava for months. Anger and tears. I have not had a serious relationship since and honestly I would never allow myself get that hurt or enraged again.

        As far as your decision I guess you do what you need to at any given time and maybe your decision is the right one for now for you. However, things change with time, kids grow up, our own needs change and maybe we become less able to take shit.

        I suppose it’s about your own sense of worth and you valuing yourself. Just be kind to yourself until you have it figured out.

  • My XH (of 15 years now!) will still out of the blue and several years of NC, text me with a rant, blaming me for tearing apart our family. What did I do to tear up the family? I broke the rules. Finally. After YEARS of DDays, threats, and reconciliations – one day I just saw the light. Like being in the zone of athletics – I just knew what I had to do and the skys parted and I felt calmness. And I filed for divorce and never, ever gave in to years’ of pleas to reconcile.

    To this day he will rant (via text) that I broke our family apart because I REFUSED to reconcile….. (never mind the alcoholism, myriad of affairs, and mountains of lies.lies.lies). Yes it is all my fault because I wouldn’t take him back.

          • sure but I’ve chose a long time ago to simply ignore him. I don’t engage I don’t answer. I don’t do much more than glance at the message the every 6-9 months or so I receive one. I don’t do anything anymore but hit delete. He stopped being worth even the simple effort of blocking my cell phone messages several years ago.

    • Wow Marcie. You are the heroine here. You didn’t break apart your family. Sure you left. But HE broke apart your family for years with the abuse, cheating, etc. You just accepted that it (the marriage, family) was broken apart and moved on. Glad you are on this site as a role model for the countless chumps out there. Show em’ how it’s done, girl.

    • It blows my mind that he still pulls such crazy shit 15 YEARS after divorce. That is scary. And yet, I’ve heard many similar stories about disordered ex’s that keep popping up, even after many years have gone by. Creepy.

  • My cheater is an addict.

    He IS doing the 12-step, the sponsor, the counselling, the rehab.

    He does not expect me to reconcile, but would like it if I did.

    We have a 7 year old. My thoughts are, I’ll do this ONCE. He’s got everything he needs to sort his shit out. He can take it and run, or he can get rope and hang himself. I will not base my decision to stay based on words, but on how he works the program over time ( I’m giving it a year from him starting to work on it). I am going to work out an exit plan in case relapse ever occurs. He is more likely to recover with me here, and I think it’s better for my child to have an intact family with a sober parent, than a split up one with a borderline parent.

    If he does not work the program, or relapses, I’m taking my child out of here. It’s better to have a split up family with the sane parent than living with 2 crazies.

    Honestly, though, the support for the victim is paltry at best, abusive at worst. I feel like shit. I’m on sick leave. Still. The shit sandwich buffet is brutal. I’m traumatized. My tongue has permanent teethmarks on it. Seriously, if I hadn’t bred with a fucktard, I would be out of here by now.

    • It gets better, Chump in the Sand. My shit sandwich buffet has been brutal, also, but thanks to Chump Nation (and some 12-step programs that help me deal with why I chose to ignore all the warning signs that he was an immature, shallow, entitled, irresponsible, alcoholic womanizer), it is definitely better. I was on the floor for the better part of A YEAR!! I couldn’t work, couldn’t leave the house, couldn’t get through an hour without breaking down and wishing for death. I have never felt such deep, all-encompassing pain. This kind of betrayal is no joke. Maybe try COSA or S-Anon, which are programs for the person who is in relationship with a sex/love addict. Or Al-Anon if the relationship is with an alcoholic. I am finding GREAT STRENGTH in those meetings, and there are a lot of phone meetings, so you can dial in whenever you need help. Also people here in Chump Nation (including, of course, the great Chump Lady) have helped me so much. Make sure you have that exit plan ready to go at a moment’s notice. Don’t take one more bite of that shit sandwich buffet!!

      • There are no COSAs or S-Anons in my city (or neighbouring ones). I’ve only last night gotten the number of another wife from SA with whom I can talk.

        Are you in reconciliation, or did you show him the door?

        Honestly, CL is awesome. It’s how I’m growing a spine, and refusing the bullshit–that’s important whether you’re leaving or in the early stages of reconciliation.

        • Al anon can be helpful for support of living with someone of any kind of addiction.

          My XH is an alcoholic that found sobriety when I walked out (then reconciled); he did remain sober for years until after we divorced. However, be cautious that cross addictions often replace the main addiction, and they’re not any more fun to deal with.

          It sounds like you’ve got your eyes open but remain ever vigilant. For me, I realized I’d spent many years believing that his behavior was the symptom of addiction, when ultimately the underlying cause of his behavior is a personality disorder – which can never be healed.

          • My boundaries chart includes switching addictions.

            I’m aware of the addict mind–it’s in my family too (not the sex part, though). I will not be present for martyrdom, bitch cookies or so on. He can sit alone in the room with them.

            I’m hoping if there’s other shit like a personality disorder, rehab will figure it out.

            • I hope you have a post-nup and a clearing articulated exit strategy, so you just have to execute the plan, if you need to. I am separated from an active alcoholic/addict; he’s not a cheater (so far as I know, although the events that precipitated my decision to end the marriage involved watching him “come on” to another woman AND the bride at a wedding in which the groom was a former student of mine. So who knows?) I just couldn’t do it any more.

              • We can’t have post-nups in our province. I checked with a reputable divorce lawyer.

                I have to create the exit strategy; I’ve earmarked money, and will add to it. But I need to work on the other parts.

                This site is also great at giving the reality check–always sorely needed.

    • “If he does not work the program, or relapses, I’m taking my child out of here. It’s better to have a split up family with the sane parent than living with 2 crazies.”

      Yes CIS a thousand times yes. the days will be long & the months short to him but if he sticks & stays the rewards are endless. Even if you dont stay & he still remains sober he will be a better father.
      My prayers & good vibes to you & your family.

  • “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” brilliant quote by C.S. Lewis

    Something the ex will never get.

    • I just can’t understand why someone that was betrayed would ever want to exchange vows with that same person again, that seems kind of crazy… Just a random thought. I can see R in cases where the people can work through it, but the ceremony, and vows.. .. and who would want to go? I know if I got an invite, I would laugh and probably not show up. Especially if I was at the first ‘wedding’… Perhaps it’s too soon for me to be able to comprehend that whole concept.

    • I remain in awe of the mind and soul of C.S. Lewis. His adult allegories are every bit as enriching as his children’s allegories.

  • Haven’t read the comments yet, but umm, hello?are we surprised here? It’s the lack of integrity and character that drove them to this place, and since it takes the same qualities to have a successful reconciliation, the odds are 100% against it. It’s basic math and statistics, n’est pas?

  • You are so right, CL. No cheater is entitled to reconciliation, especially the remorseless cheaters. The remorseful cheaters, on the other hand, as you said, will not feel or act entitled at all. One of the best ways to tell the difference, IMHO. Thanks for nailing it on the head once again, Chump Lady!

  • I think Chumps who aim for R (especially blindsided ones like me) are stuck on spackle mode-you didn’t want to acknowledge the process of being demeaned and discarded, and my six or so months of false R were made much much worse by the counselor we saw-I sacked him when I realized it was just another stage for Mr Fab to strut around on. I knew the relationship was toast, but the point of the therapy was to be able to coparent, which just ain’t happened. I just didn’t want to believe that the auntie-fucking, money-stealing, coke-snorting, life-stealing, jumped-up-sperm-donor-with-a-Napolen complex was the REAL guy, and had been all along.

    Any issues DD had were obviously my fault-like some other Chumps have mentioned here-she knew, on some level, and the false R was just another way to gaslight her. That is still ongoing, even though we are thousands of miles away now. At least the PTSD is now ‘just’ anxiety, but summer vacation, and a visit to Mr Fab for DD is looming, and the needle is starting to go into the red. Any Chumps out there with 14-15 year olds (that is, the age of legal choice) survived this? I could really do with a sign from further up the road to ‘Meh’-I just can’t be sure she trusts that he sucks, and will spackle her way through life, like I did.

    To any Chump contemplating that reconciliation route, save your time and money- the Reconciliation Industrial Complex is as insidious as the cosmetics industry, keeps the cheater center stage, and allows their remorseless to continue. As Dr Angelou says, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

    I can only hope DD can see that.

    love to all,


  • My ex-wife said that she “wasn’t going to beg, she wasn’t going to plead,” to get back in the marriage because she had “had sex with my son’s best friend’s dad” and that she had “got something wonderful out of it.” I think that she was actually surprised that I wasn’t happy for her and this new DISCOVERY she had found. What-the-WHAT?!?!

    I would just have to “move on and get over it” if I wanted to stay married to her because she was “sorry for the betrayal, but the reason she did this was because….” (insert any number of my issues here…I’m workaholic, an alcoholic, didn’t spend enough time at home, spent too much time at home, too controlling, too possessive, didn’t care enough, too serious all the time, worried about money too much, made her feel like a trophy wife, didn’t help out enough with house chores….blah-blah-blah…

    Made my choice pretty easy, divorce and move on for me.

    I recently finished DivorceCare and they described the first step of reconciliation as being able to be in the same room without wanting to kill the ex. I hope someday to get there for my kids but I am clearly not there now. I owe her nothing…

    • *shakes head* If you Can’t LIVE with Said ” Issues” , you LEAVE the Marriage for SAID Issues, call it Irreconcilable Diffs and have a FAIR and ” Nice” Divorce … You DON’T CHEAT.

  • Oh yeah, I heard the same thing from my STBX. She took “ownership” of what she did, but it was really my fault because I was not (fill in the blank as it changed daily). Oh and she did apologize “once” for what she did. In her words, Do you expect me to apologize every single day? She also said that if we are going to fix this marriage, I was going to have to change and she didn’t see how that would happen! Well, the only thing I am going to change once this is final will be the locks on the house.

    Also, she told me how she broke it off with the guy when I found out. Well, just another lie. Found out she has not only been in constant contact, but they have gone out together. Her reason when confronted? She just wanted to make sure he was okay. LOL.

    Thank you Chump Lady for exposing them for what they are.

    • ” In her words, Do you expect me to apologize every single day? She also said that if we are going to fix this marriage, I was going to have to change and she didn’t see how that would happen! ”

      I got almost those same exact words. These cheaters really do come from the same mold.

  • OMG, this is my situation! My STBXH still
    thinks I didn’t try hard enough to save the marriage. That I have issues, like over caring, being a codependent, that I didn’t want sex as much as he did, and “communication” issues (just for the record it’s hard to have deep meaningful conversations with a narcissist who stops a conversation dead in it’s tracks when it gets into uncomfortable territory!). Unfuckingbelieveable! He refuses to take 100% responsibility for his actions, couldn’t respect the only two requests I made of him, and when I finally kicked him out admitted he was fucking his whore all along but would still like to work out our marriage problems!!!!! AYFKM? The only marriage problem I have is him! So, thank you all for the reminder that he sucks, it’s his shit and, one day, very soon, I will be back to my fabulous self! He can have his whore, I’ll keep my dignity and self respect!

    • “one day, very soon, I will be back to my fabulous self! He can have his whore, I’ll keep my dignity and self respect!” Good for you, Duped!

  • “They’d like to retain the high ground of True Victim Status, the superiority, and the entitlement thinking. Nothing screams entitlement more than putting a proverbial bullet through your marriage and expecting it to still serve you.”
    My husband to a tee.
    Except, as in the marriage, I will have to do the heavy lifting during the divorce process and put the final “silver bullet” through the marriage.

  • CL,

    THIS Post is PERFECT.

    I’ve said ” They say True Love Forgives and Forgets All Wrongs, But I Say Common Sense Forbids It. ” With SAFE LOVE, You Needn’t Be Worried They’re Gonna Fuck Up in SUCH a way You’ll Never FULLY Recover from It.

    I Can Forgive him Leaving Socks and His Drawws on the Floor….
    Squeezing the Toothpaste from the Middle. Leaving Cut Onions ON the Counter…..

    CHEATING…NO, I’ll NEVER Fully Forgive or Forget…. I Know myself that Way.
    Trying to Live a Lie for A Person who Doesn’t Respect what’s TRUE will Drive your Heart to Ruin…and your HEALTH will Also Suffer.

  • Chumps…feel free to deconstruct any or all of these reasons.

    Some background on why I am here . My Dad cheated on my Mom. I understand why she stayed. Four little kids, no job , no education , no car, no one to help with those 4 kids IF she could get a low paying job at the Dime store or local grocery. That was 60 yrs ago. I understand THEN … I do not understand NOW .
    Also an acquaintance of mine learned 2 yrs ago that her 2nd “H” was having a 2.5 yr affair.She found a text from the OW .He admitted that, he also was on Ashley Madison, and had been on there 9 of their 10 yr marriage.
    She has a good job, and no kids. She was furious, not with him… but with the OW !
    “H” told her that the OW “just wouldn’t let him go”! I truly doubt the OW held a gun to his head when they were having sex in their home.
    He is 68, short, fat , bald…. I bet he just couldn’t shake free of the OW.
    I guess she has stayed for reason # 7. …. besides the former acquaintance has gotten “consolation prizes “.”H” has upgraded her leased Mercedes from a c300 (entry level) to a 550 class , and they are building a pool , which they fought over 5 yrs ago.”H” didn’t want it, “W” thought it would look good, even tho they don’t swim, have a lake home w/a pool.
    So she can be bought…. isn’t THAT the very definition of a whore ?

  • I Have to add, When the EX Tried to Pin Guilt On Me about what I ” HAD to do ” , That I Told him I Didn’t OWE him SHIT. He, However , Owed my Daughter ALOT.
    And that what He ” OWED ” Me, He Couldn’t EVER REPAY…That Shit is GONE FOREVER.

  • Even though my marriage was a bad one from the beginning and in the end I know I’ll be better off without him, I still wish that he had shown some remorse and wanted to reconcile simply for my ego.

    I am envious of women who at least get the chose to consider reconciliation or not, even while I wold not have chosen it, because to me infidelity is a deal breaker.

    I know. It sounds nuts. But that’s a broken brain after being demoralized.

    • That’s probably Grief talking, hopefully. It wouldn’t make things easier; I know that from experience. It actually makes moving on a little harder, in my experience.

      • Yes, grief and humiliation. I believe that it would be harder if I had to be strong and resist his attempts to get me back. I should be grateful! Still, I was rejected and that’s hard to forget. Sigh. Thanks for the response.

        • MovingLiquid, we were ALL rejected, even the ones who got the pleas to stay or the fake reconciliation attempts. My ex rejected ME, who I am, didn’t give a shit about me, my concerns or pain, and all this while attempting to convince me to reconcile.

          Those attempts were clearly, obviously 100% about HIM, and what possessions and services that I had provided that he wanted back. He did NOT love me, did NOT respect me, did NOT care about me, did NOT value ME. He valued the kibbles, and once he realized that there had been more kibbles here with me than there now are with the OW, wanted those back. His remorse was entirely about the consequences that hit HIM. He doesn’t regret anything he did, he regrets that he got caught and that bad things happened to him because of getting caught.

          I thought that his trying to come back would show that he actually, finally recognized MY value, recognized the value of the life we had, our family, our kids’ happiness. There would have been something healing in that. But …… none of that. It showed that he valued kibbles, and was missing his best supplier.

          • Yes, you’re right. We were all rejected. It’s what we do from then on that counts. Thanks.

    • I guess “seeing” remorse would be nice . . . but how could you believe it anyway? He’s a proven liar and cheater, what difference does it make that he didn’t beg you to allow him to sink his claws in you again, so you could continue a marriage that was bad from beginning to end?

      Think about that. It’s like being pissed off because you weren’t invited to a baby shower of a work friend, and then remembering you abhor baby showers.

      Don’t look for stuff to feel bad about. You’re free of a second asshole. Enjoy THAT! Enjoy your life and your freedom. Don’t let him “demoralize you”, he’s an anchor you should be glad to be rid of.

        • I know. I did it a little bit myself in the beginning, but then I had to really think about it and said, “Is it my ego out of whack, or am I really sad this dirt bag doesn’t want me anymore?”

          I concluded it was my ego because hey, we all feel the burn a little. But it means nothing. He’s scum. I don’t want scum. And I REALLY don’t want scum to want me. 😉

      • “It’s like being pissed off because you weren’t invited to a baby shower of a work friend, and then remembering you abhor baby showers.” Nice one, Rumblekitty.

        The only choice my STBX could have truly given me was whether I wanted to divorce him or not BEFORE he lied and cheated. Coming to me and dumping a pile of shit on my head and asking me to clean it up for him is really not a compliment.

        I know it feels like our exes chose other people over us but they really only choose themselves. Somebody (I think maybe it was Nord) on a previous post said that cheaters choose someone who will let them be irresponsible and entitled. It’s not about the other woman versus me. It’s about him and what he wants in the moment and yeah reconciliation was the business side of him coming out, hey, Hawk is a good thing in my life. She takes care of me and cleans up my messes. She’s pretty and looks after my children really well.

        People here are right that reconciliation isn’t about the chump. If I was that special to Sparkles he wouldn’t have turned on me and tried to impale me with his horn in the first place.

        Moving Liquid, I am sad for you that you were cheated on and abandoned. You didn’t deserve any of it.

        • You’re right! Also, in my case, my X KNEW I’d never get over it and just sort of cut his loses and bailed. He even said once, “You’re never going to get over what I did, I know you.”

          And you know what, he was right.

          Instead, he went with another cheater. I think in his warped mind, that will even the playing field for his other cheating escapades. She’ll find out there’s more out there than just her, and when she does, he’ll say, “Well what do you expect? You knew I was a cheater.” She’s a cheater too. She bought and paid for this upcoming ride.

          • Rumblekitty, I think my ex feels the same because he knew that I always felt infidelity was a deal breaker for me. Also he knew after what he did he’d never be able to hold his head up around my family, etc.

    • Moving Liquid,

      The grass always does seem greener from the other side. Unless it’s true reconciliation (which is so very rare) you are getting rejected either way. It’s just a matter of the bandaid coming off quickly or pulling out one hair out a time.

      At my age, I wish my ex asshat would’ve just chosen the OW over me because I’d be almost 4 years into our split instead of a mere 5 months. Either way it sucks.

      Sorry you feel bad.

      • My head agrees with what you said, about being better off having the bandaid come off quickly. My heart is rather stupid, however.

        I’m ashamed that I still yearn for a man who threw me away like yesterday’s garbage. Thankfully I stopped throwing myself at him once it sunk in that there had been another woman

    • I don’t think it’s nuts to feel that way, Moving Liquid. I can see why you feel cheated out of getting the chance to reconcile.

      As someone who was offered that chance though I have to reiterate the comments above. It’s another mindfuck where the focus is still on the cheater. You want it to be about you but it just isn’t and even the best ones have to be “coached” on empathy and respecting boundaries. The experience was draining as hell for me, and we get along on a friend level pretty well so you’d think we would have had something to work with. Sadly, honesty, respect, and trust are need for any relationship and those aren’t there anymore.

      I do think that maybe for a random drunken one night stand that’s immediately confessed that reconciliation might genuinely work, but for the majority of chumps I would say don’t go chasing unicorns. They make terrible pets.

      • “I would say don’t go chasing unicorns. They make terrible pets.”

        Hawk, you have me in stitches with all your great unicorn one-liners today!

      • Hawk, I’m not sure what’s worse, that he duped me or that I let him dupe me.

    • Moving liquid, I so understand your feelings, I also was stunned that I did not even get to do the pick-me dance. As soon as I caught ex, my previously “adoring” husband turned cold cool and calculating, and was simply gone. He never once asked me to reconsider or even showed any real concern with me or the children. He abandoned us as well as all of our belongings and even quite a bit of his clothing. He was instantly out buying new furniture and planning a new life with one of his AP’s.

      • Kelly, wow. Your husband and mine behaved the same way. Leaving me in a state of shock. It’s as though the person we thought they were died and this stranger took his place.

        • Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just tell people “he got bit by a vampire and I had to stake him through the heart”? Because the other suckitude about someone just doing the vanishing act is then when we tell people they look at us like we’re idiots for being with someone that crazy to begin with. As if we picked them off the shelves with a warning label on them rather then being completely and utterly snookered. When I explained to my OB doc why I needed to get two HIV tests spaced months apart during my pregnancy to make sure I wasn’t infected due to my ex being in involved in high risk sex groups her response was “Where did you find this guy?!?!”. Part of me wanted to answer that with …”Oh you know, at the POS cheater store.” Um no, he was a guy with a good education and reputation within his field and an amazing dad to two kids. So really, I wish I could tell her he caught the Cheaterpox, like it was a disease or something rather than his true character.

    • Moving Liquid- Being thrown away without the person looking back makes us feel as if we have NO value. There are probably very few instances in life where we’re ever vulnerable enough to experiance such a feeling. Unfortunately for us we just happened to have that vulnerability with our cheating exes. I understand what you’re saying. I don’t know how one comes to peace with this. I guess surround yourself with people who think you’re awesome. And before anyone gets all crazy and says our sense of self-value should be internal, I agree but sometimes we do need to be reminded of it. Cause we just got done being mindfucked into looking at a very warped reflection of ourselves from our exes. With my ex it’s the first time in my life I felt as if I had no value. Sure, I’ve been devalued before but never no-valued. Maybe it’s just another one of the many things we have to grieve. Hugs!

      • Kat, I always hate it when people throw that ‘self-value should be internal’ stuff around, or even worse, the ‘nobody can make you feel bad without your permission’ one. We are social animals, we ARE affected by the opinions of those closest to us and those we respect around us, and SO WE SHOULD BE! If I’m sitting here all valuing myself internally, but several people in my circle think I’m doing something terribly wrong, I NEED to be affected by that, it must make me stop and think and doubt myself! I may even conclude in the end that they’re wrong and I’m right, but only sociopaths truly don’t care what others think.

        So yeah, when the person who is supposed to know you the best and love you the most and be super committed to you throws you away like yesterday’s banana peel, it feels like crap, and makes us feel bad, like we have been completely devalued.

        We recover, but it hurts like hell.

        ‘I guess surround yourself with people who think you’re awesome.’ This was one of the biggest gifts I gave myself, to be able to recover from the mind-fuckery. I had been reinforcing my relationships with friends and family for years prior to DDay #2/end of marriage. Those relationships saved my sanity! And served very well to remind me that I’m perfect, but not all that hard to get along with, and I’m nice, and fun, and pretty smart, and HAVE VALUE. The narc ex couldn’t see it (and even in attempts at reconciliation only recognized my value as kibble supplier), but others can.

        • Oooh, Freud would love that slip! Meant to type ‘I’m NOT perfect’!!!! Or heck, maybe I am perfect, who knows????

          • A regular Mary Poppins, huh? “Practically perfect in every way!” 😉 I like it.

      • Kat, I think you’re right. It is just one more thing we have to grieve.

        • You know what I’ve learned? That decent people get it. They will look at you and without a doubt tell you that what happened to you was awful and not your fault. They don’t need to know anything about the situation other than that he left without a backwards glance. Semi-decent people or ignorant people will sometimes think there’s a situation that needs to be explained. Because they think no one would do such a thing without a reason. Sometimes I think us chumps get caught up in the need to explain. We worry about how such a thing looks to others. Non-decent or pd people won’t see a damn thing wrong with someone doing this unless it happens to them. Surround yourself with decent people. And if I will take one thing from the experience of being betrayed, broken and completely fucked over it’s to be one of those decent people. Because I think those people are rare.

          • Ya see, I don’t believe there’s something wrong with me, I just believe other people must believe there’s something wrong with me. I’m not sure if that’s an ego thing or a chump thing. Probably a few good therapy sessions either way.

            • I so relate to what you are sharing. It is hard to deal with the idea that someone may have a bad opinion of you especially when that opinion is based in someone else’s lies. The lies that have been told by STBX and his support staff to cover his shit must be astounding because many of those looking on are of the mind set that his actions are worth overlooking and Me and our three kids are not worth their time.

  • “One person can’t save a marriage by themselves.” That should be the mantra I lived by for 22yrs. If I could go back and add up the therapy costs I’ve incurred on an off trying to fix and figure out my ex all these years I would have some serious money saved. What a waste of time doing therapy trying to fix something and someone who had no vested interest in the marriage to begin with. I didn’t really realize this until D-day 9 months ago and now am going to therapy yet again trying to process the trauma of living with a serial cheating narc all these years and not knowing it. Meanwhile he’s off living guilt free while I’m in horrible pain from the abuse he caused all these years plus my sizeable therapy bills. My ex had no remorse and wanted me to “shape up” or else.
    His terms exclusively. Finally reached my breaking point in Dec. and divorce will be final soon. I’m still haunted by the abuse though. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone who acts so normal to the outside world could be so cruel and heartless to his wife and mother of his child. I’ve been told this part of the grieving process and hopefully one day the pain will subside.

  • Right after I agreed to bogus reconciliation with my ex, he started pressuring me to be on some reality TV show. Apparently, he had found some show that throws parties for people in various unusual situations, and according to ex, they were very eager to do an episode on us and our reconciliation. They were going to do an all-expenses-paid major renewal of vows and second wedding sort of thing. Keep in mind ex started pressuring me about this just a WEEK after the reconciliation began.

    I kept telling him that I didn’t want to be on any show, that we needed to work on the marriage privately, that I was still very uncertain about our future, and that my family didn’t even KNOW I was reconciling with him and I certainly wasn’t going to announce this by inviting them to some fancypants, over-the-top reality tv wedding renewal party.

    Anyway, he finally gave up bugging me about it, but was quite miffed I didn’t agree. Just another sign of his disconnect, entitled attitude, narcissism and general craziness. Thank God I didn’t go along with him on that one. How embarrassing it would be now.

    • Ah Glad, see, you see, you kept him from achieving his manifest destiny as a movie star.

  • God, did I need to read this and all of the comments.

    Boundary # 1 NC. Broken and kinda really like a DDay #2 . He was worried about her emotional health and wanted to share his progress. I called asshat out, but didn’t kick his ass out (fuck my poor choice).

    Boundary # 2 he has to tell his family WITH Me present, because there is a big difference between saying you had an affair and ” I’ve fucked co workers, sex workers, had profiles on adult friend finders and a long term affair with a married fat ass hag hiding behind Jesus for the PAST TEN YEARS. AND, BTW all of my fuckbuddies knew I was married and have kids.”.

    Boundary #3 You, asshat, threw the grenade into the marriage, so you, asshat, clean it the fuck up.

    Boundary # 4 NO. I will NOT pat your back and tell you are a good guy because your are in therapy. Work on your shit. I will work on my shit.

    Boundary # 5 You, asshat, living in this house does NOT mean I am reconciling. I am fully addressing all of my options.

    FACT: 5 months of your intensive IC does NOT erase what you ARE. Behavior Modification is good, especially in how you are becoming a better father to your kids, whom I have NOT told how you stole from them emotionally and financially for a DECADE.

    FACT: 5 months of MC does NOT provide a roadmap for me getting over it, forgiving you, altering my narrative about you, OR the big R.

    FACT: You, asshat, are unable to address ME as a PERSON. You know, like a human being. I realize To you I am an object- wife, mother, family…. NOT ANC, the individual. Yo, asshat…what’s my favorite color? Yeah, that’s right. You have no idea.

    My MIL, a two time chump, swears this marriage has “good bones”, aka don’t dump my son for being a whore who willfully blew up the marriage. Nope. These bones are calcium deficient and have already been broken under a mountain of lies and betrayals.

    • How about your MIL telling you it was all your fault since you’re too controlling? I kid you not.

  • Reconciliation is a chump trying to accept something that’s unacceptable.

    I can’t do it and stay honest with myself, no matter how contrite a cheater is.

      • In theory I disagree — I might be able to reconcile with a contrite cheater. But over here in the real world, I don’t see a contrite cheater; I just see a self-entitled, demanding, gaslighting cheater.

        • Ideally some could be contrite. Sparkles checked every box on the list and made his own of work he needed to do to fix things and make it up to me and the children. He asked me to tell him whatever I needed and wanted from him so he could do it.

          It’s hard to explain because it sounds good to people who haven’t received so much as an apology, but I could still feel there is a piece or pieces missing or broken in him. And it’s those missing pieces, like the level of empathy or something that he used to cheat in the first place and then continue to do so over time. It’s like no matter how genuinely sorry and remorseful he behaved I could sense the entitlement lurking in him. That’s not a beast reconciliation can kill which is why it doesn’t work in the long run.

          Like others here have said, he didn’t confess he was discovered and that says a lot about character and intention. Sparkles really wants to be seen as a good guy. He knows that cheating and lying are bad and by doing those things has shown he is bad. It bothers him because he is disappointed in himself on some level for tainting his good character and on some level for hurting me. He has stopped drinking, goes to church, is an active father and adoring husband on the outside. But intuitively I feel his entitlement is still there, dormant for now perhaps, but not dead. Maybe he is contrite, I can’t read his mind, but I am skeptical that someone who could be so horrible for so long could have a total character change in one night. Maybe my problem with reconciling is that he was just as convincing as the bad guy as he is as this good one. Creepy when I think on it.

          I always wish a real unicorn for people who want one, but I don’t believe in them anymore after almost six months of trying to.

          • Mine told me, but I wouldn’t call it “confession.” She told me in anger. I’m not entirely sure she didn’t tell me because the former AP was about to (long story).

          • Hawk, that’s because he didn’t suddenly develope a character. He’s managing a situation. And he will continue to do so until it’s no longer a situation and that’s when the backsliding happens.

            • Yes, Kat, that’s well-worded about him managing the situation.

              He made it sound so simple, like he just popped into a department store and exchanged his character for a new one. That’s really great if he’s now a wonderful person through and through.

              I am not waiting around to find out.

              • Btw Hawk, my response came out a little harsher than I meant it to. Tried to add a comment last night but my phone won’t post… (argh!).

                My ex was similar. He said all the right things for a minute but I just felt that lack of true sincerity. I sensed that nothing from then on was going to be in my best interest. I love your moniker by the way. Hawks have great vision so trust that.

                Lots of hugs!!

    • Personally I think reconciliation is necrophilia.

      My parents have reconciled twice though. Each of them had an affair 18 years apart. I stopped trying to figure that shit out. So it can be done. But don’t ask me if they’re happy or if they trust each other. I’d rather explain an HP Lovecraft creature.

  • 2 DAYS into reconciliation, I got ‘Get Over Yourself!!”

    That was it for me.

    • One thing I get from a lot of the comments here is just how friggin’ stupid a lot of your cheaters are. My wife has made very few comments that reveal her attitude — you can tell it more from what she doesn’t do and say, but that leaves a lot more space for hopium. Her mask has been slipping lately, though, as she starts to feel sorry for herself.

      • “Sorrier for herself,” I should say. She never doesn’t feel sorry for herself.

      • They are also horribly immature, and always making drama. The highest I’ve been able to regard them while spackling during limbo is that they are as annoying as hell, like ants or mice in the kitchen or something. Oh look, Sparkles the unicorn left piles of crap in the kitchen last night for me to clean up. Some kind of vermin or pestilence I think.

    • I got told I was into “victimology”. It literally took my breath away to have him wave all my complaints away with one statement. I backed the hell up and realized he is incapable of empathy, sympathy or even pity and I was pretty much on my own in the so called “relationship”. I started questioning his intelligence right there too.

      • Chumpalicious, so right to question his intelligence! Because that kind of comment is just DUMB if you’re trying to convince your spouse to give it another try! Maybe it’s a good thing he isn’t capable of being a better manipulator, but cheeeesh!

  • I think CL’s title–“Cheater, You’re Not Entitled to Reconciliation”– points to both the cause of the cheating and the reason reconciliation is likely to fail. Cheaters feel entitled to cheat, to betray their partners and children, to break vows, to keep secrets, to spend joint money on the OW or OM, to dump their responsibilities on the faithful spouse to free up time, to lie, to keep options for kibbles and cake open, etc.. I had read on the RIC sites about going NC to get the Jackass to “come out of the fog,” etc. and pondered that as a solution, although I knew (intellectually) I couldn’t/shouldn’t go back, once I knew about his MOW. But when I found Chump Lady, things that made no sense from the “it’s my fault” perspective started to make sense. I hadn’t changed. There was nothing “wrong” with me. We were having problems because the Jackass was gaslighting me, blame-shifting and cheating–because he felt entitled, superior to me. His behavior once he got involved with the MOW alternated between adolescent strutting and smirking (itself a sign of feeling superior) and haughty arrogance, in words (“I will not be questioned.” “That’s my friend, *****.” “I don’t have time to talk about this” ) and actions (breaking promises without explanation, dumping me off early on the night of my birthday so he could sext his Schmoopie). So: if someone is treating me as an inferior, as someone he does not respect or even like that much, as someone not worth keeping faith with, what about getting caught by his “seeming inferior” would suggest that his sense of entitlement would change? Aaron James, in his book “Assholes: A Theory,” says that this sense of entitlement “immunizes” what he calls “assholes” against the complaints of those they victimize. Nothing, then, will change. They are immune to our complaints.

    The only sign of a remorseful cheater would be a complete end of that sense of entitlement, a true revelation for the cheater that he or she is not only NOT superior or entitled, but in fact has put himself or herself in the one-down position in relation to the spouse because he or she broke the contract between them and must somehow repair things, earn trust back, and persuade the Chump to re-negotiate the contract. Instead, if you see cheaters on shows like Dr. Phil, there’s lots of talk from them about “when will this be over?” and “why can’t she/he just forgive me?” The first thing any chump has to “get” is what this sick sort of entitlement MEANS in a relationship, and pay attention to what the chump is actually entitled to as someone who has agreed to a contract: respect, fidelity, loyalty, kindness, honesty, support and love. That’s what Chumps have been giving out all along. And once there is a D-Day, the only “entitlement” that should matter is the Chump’s “entitlement” to these things–respect, fidelity, loyalty, kindness, honesty, support and love, financial fairness–as well as utter transparency about the cheater’s contacts and actions with others. But people who think they are entitled in the first place just don’t see other people as having needs, let alone being “entitled” to what my therapist calls “normal decent treatment.”

    • Liked the ” chose fidelity as a coping mechanism” jab, CL. That little vixen EI tosses a mean word salad, Grrrrrr ( loved that little ” Grrrrr ” deal she used.
      Such a little hot spitfire, that one, eh?)

      • Eh . . . not really. She’s pretty typical of cheater dumbasses I’ve met.

        Her “journey”, “coping mechanisms” and mindless chatter is reminiscent of garbage I’ve read at various other infidelity boards. The thing with these people, is they expect the world should understand why they behaved in such a dirt bag way, even though they’re really not a dirt bags. (Snicker). Her journey is “special.”

        Some of us manage to go through life without fucking strange. Amazingly, it is possible regardless of FOO issues. (Sad trombone).

  • Lyn on
    I had the exact same disturbing experience – 2 weeks after STBX ran off and abandoned my teenage daughter and myself my MIL was telling my daughter and myself to get over it and move on. I was stunned – how the hell did she know what was going on because I sure as shit didn’t and was still reeling from Dday. I had known this woman 25
    years and had been a great DIL. She threw me under the bus and had completely rewritten our marriage. She said the marriage failure was all my fault and ifnI had been a better wife he wouldn’t have had to cheat on me multiple times.

    What a POS!

    • Not too hard to figure out why he evolved as NPD, with a mom like that.

      • Yeah, you find out a lot about other people by how they react to the cheater and the betrayal.

        • I agree. You sure can. I get that divorce is uncomfortable for people. But seriously if he’d hit me his family/friends would be aghast. However, he can emotionally abuse me, manipulate me and threaten to take my child from me, but they support him? Hmmm…

  • Obviously, from all these terrific points, most of us are not likely to spend one more minute thinking of Reconciling. I have a friend trying to do that with her POS hooker-addicted husband and she is not really supportive of my choice to D. I think she’s completely nuts to have all that hopium for a serial cheater. So, this even plays out IRL. We’ve become distant.

    What I’d like to understand is how they are so willing and able to throw their entire hardworked-respect away. My H was a pillar in the community and everybody thought he was the most honorable man they’d ever met – the last guy to get sleezy with a slut. His wonderful father would be rolling in his grave and his Mother is completely shattered by her #1 sons deeds – indeed!) Yeah, I did get up on the soapbox at the annual town parade with my megaphone and told everybody all the sordid details. He’ll never show his face again in town, or his hometown either. Was her vagina that much more special to give up 59 yrs of building a great image? Guess so. Who ARE these people?

    • I love you SheChump! Wish I’d been at that town parade, holding you up on that soapbox. Absolutely rolling around laughing at that image!

      My in-laws have been great over the decades, but are remarkably silent and non-supportive since this marvellous revelation. People show you who they are if you let them and observe their behaviour properly. They mean little to me now, despite them being my parents by default for so long. Now they are just some people I know and who are nice to my kids. That’s okay.

    • How did you do it? Mass email or just telling people about it from the beginning?

    • you did not do that?! My ultimate respect for you. How did it feel afterward? Btw, I’m all about shaming cheaters, if I could find a good passive- aggressive way.

      • I want to find a way to shame the OW. She’s divorced and childless, so there’s no husband to tell, but there’s got to be a way to put her ass on blast also.

          She’s a

          Fantastic ways to do this. You may also find that other (chumps) may have already commented on there.

      • Monika – lol, no – I didn’t actually do it that way. I began phoning up everybody we knew, or emailing and told them all. Every.single.detail. We were involved in many local community groups doing good deeds by volunteering. Everybody thought he was the most decent man. I’m almost done my list and yes, all have been mortified that he could possibly do such a thing. Guess you could call it revenge (or trying to make my own karma happen) and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, as sad as it is for people to hear.

  • Mommy Chump – that is awful. I’m very sorry because if my MIL did that to me after knowing her 36 years, I’d be devastated. What a POS herself – guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    • Of course, it’s likely that they lying cheater is lying to his mother, as well, or else she is the one who created his entitlement perpsective.

      • When my STBX was eating cake, his mother went on vacation for 6 weeks and told him he could use her house for rendezvous with the OW! She had multiple affairs herself so I wasn’t even shocked.

  • HELL YEAH! That is the best truth I have read on the remorseful. I have a completely remorseful one, a genuinely “good guy” on every other count – “just” a fifteen month long fuckfest with a “friend” of mine! He gets it, he got it on D-day, and he has got it every day since – just gone five years. BUT. That does not mean I owe him reconciliation. That does not mean I am “healed.” That does not mean he did not break something precious in me, and us altogether. In order to try to stay together, he owes me. Every. Single. Day. And that is a fucking long time! Do you want to do that? Do you want to change from the most low maintenance woman into the most high, just because he decided it was okay to fuck a diseased whore? Why do I have to be that bitch? That is in no way who I was before this. I don’t want to have to rule the roost. I was/am(?) a chill chick before all of this crap. I just want back the amazing, fantastic relationship, full of love, passion and deep, deep trust that I had for 21 years before he derailed, dragging all the carriages with him (me, the kids, our finances, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah…) I want what is impossible to have, that died. I owe him nothing. And I still don’t know if I want this anymore. Some days it seems like a good idea, as we are the very best of friends, and he really is disgusted in himself, but other days I still feel like I am at the bottom of a rugby scrum.

    • horsesrcumin, you sound like a very strong young woman which you should be very proud of. Why would you say that you and your husband (ex?) are the very best of friends? A very best friend would not do to you what he has done. You would be his very best friend but it is not reciprocated.

  • horsesrcumin – I love your spirit – you’ve hit the nail on the head. I don’t want to become that person that I never was and I know to R would be having to change to the Marriage Police. No thanks. How soul-deadening. It IS dead. Yeah, I loved him with all my soul too. I’m not giving him anymore of my soul. He loused it up pretty good. I rather agree that they’ve already taken too much of us and shouldn’t be allowed to have anymore. I wish you luck in your future decisions.

  • My cheater blames me for his shit choices. He also likes to blame me for his drinking. I think if he could blame me for global warming, he’d do that too. It’s amazing the power I have!!

    I get tired of being blamed for something I had no clue was going on. Last time I checked I can’t mind-read or predict the future. Funny that. I can’t understand any therapist taking a position that BOTH couples need to explore what went wrong when ONE person cheats. Um, no. Cheaters cheat because they like it and they want to cheat. Then they get caught and they blame. It doesn’t take a PhD to figure that one out, but somehow we like to dress up a shitpie to look like a turkey breast.

    As for reconciliation? No thanks. My cheater was already in a new relationship before the ink was dry on our separation agreement anyway. But yeah, I did the “pick me” dance during a trial separation where he was solidly lied to my face and to the marital therapist that there was anybody else. He loved cake I guess.

    Even now, he blames me. Apparently when you divorce a cheater the blame for the marriage collapsing is 50/50. Really? How do you figure that? I was trying to save my marriage and he was off fucking someone else.

    Guess he sucks at fractions too.

  • Hey Nation……

    Beautiful conversation going on here….and ya wanna know WHY?!

    Did any of ‘all ya all’ realize that THIS IS TUESDAY?!?!?!?!

    Forge on, all, ForgeOn!!!!

    • This post reached a lot of power on a Tuesday and I’m glad.

      I’ve gone very limited contact with Sparkles now that he’s in another state and he’s showing signs of getting worried that his carrot supply is drying up. I don’t want to get sucked back in by talking with him too much (He really loves and misses me dontcha know!) but I’m trying to keep cool because I don’t want him to come back here or get mean before I get the legal stuff wrapped up. I’m not scared, just want this to go as smoothly as possible and his remorse is in my favor, as many here have pointed out.

      Walking a fine line right now.

  • Hawk/Nord

    Yes! This. The cheater picks someone who will let them be irresponsible and entitled. That’s Exactly who my X picked.
    I never got to do the Pick Me Dance either and after reading on CL I’m really glad I didn’t. The pain was a MF being thrown away by my ‘adoring and loving’ husband. He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours and never looked back. He would sneak into our home during the day while I was at work and remove his stuff. I remember coming home one day and his entire closet was cleared out. Nothing but empty hangers. I wanted to die.

    But I couldn’t imagine the agony of false reconciliation. I tried to do the Pick Me Dance but no one was watching. He was off on LaLa Island with his new schmoopie.

    • That is my story as well- I never got a chance to do the pick me dance. He announced he was leaving and jumped from my bed to the OW’s bed. I admit I tried to do a pick me dance for a couple months but he was not watching. Peter Pan was off in Neverland. I told him 1 month after he had left I had met with a divorce lawyer and wow did the shit hit the fan. He was pissed with me and has been in emotional and financial warfare mode since. I tried talking him into collaborative law – total failure as he wants complete control so he fired his collaborative lawyer and hired a crazy pit bull lawyer. I have been essentially NC for the past 8 months and complete NC for 3 months, since he switched to the pit bull. I only communicate with him via lawyer now. This seems to have enraged him even more but has made my life much better. STBX filed in court for divorce right after he fired collaborative lawyer. Strange thing was when I answered his complaint and filed a counter claim stating his reason for divorce – (I wanted adultery listed as reason but lawyer said to make everything go faster just give his reason of irreconcilable differences) he then files with the court I can’t claim that! He seems to be stalling at every turn. His mouth says he wants divorce and to wed whore but his actions are foot dragging. He is now claiming since he ran off and moved out to live with his whore he has no responsibility for our house. I am moving out of state next week with my daughter to my new job and life and he believes it is still my responsibility to pay for everything concerning the house including mortgage, property tax, insurance, maintenance etc. He lives 1/2 mile away but it is my job to do everything to sell the house too. He is a man child who believes he has no responsibility. Of course I helped create this sense of entitlement because I stupidly did everything from bill paying, to cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard, shopping, taxes, 100% of child care, organizing and packing for all trips. He had no responsibility other than doing his work. I also had a job.

      Since he ran off he rarely sees his teenage daughter – 3 hours in 2 months. I am sure he has a million excuses beginning with it’s all my fault. I am worried he is going to try and pull something with custody with her. He has already used the kid to try to control me.

      I can’t imagine how reconciliation could ever work. We refer to STBX as Humpty Dumpty. And we all know that Humpty couldn’t ever be put back together again. Also – no where in the nursery rhyme does it say Humpty is an egg :).