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Dear Chump Lady, Are these red flags?

Dear Chump Lady,

My question is to see if I’m about to get involved with a user and would be interested in what your experienced readers think. My new boyfriend and I are both mid-40s and both divorced twice, he has one child I have none.

Three months ago I met the most amazing man. He makes me feel beautiful and alive. He is fun, affectionate, witty, intelligent and strong character. Plus he’s very handsome and gentle, and I am in love with him. I’ve not met someone I feel so good around before. Okay, where’s the rub? Here are some characteristics I’m concerned about:

– I pay for 90% of the time we go out. I make 4x being an executive, he’s been underemployed for 2 years getting paid cash for manual work. The service industry career he was in for 15 years he was fired twice due to performance. That was only a small piece, in reality he drank too much while traveling for work weekly.

– 20 years ago he had two DWIs. He’s known in his former industry to drink too much. I’ve talked to him about it a few times. He seems to have been watching it, but not sure what he does when alone as he drinks beer while alone too. Who goes out to dinner and has 3 tall tap beers in an hour?

– His relationship with the child’s mother is tense. He’s shared she’s a whack job and drama filled. I can see some of that, however he is a poor communicator and doesn’t have clear boundaries so that contributes a lot too.

– His second wife, a breadwinner, packed up her clothes and left him 2 years ago. He still has some communication with her, probably guilt. She bought a house for them in his area before they were married and walked away from it.

– Well, he has been telling me since our second week of dating that I’m The One. He’s now asking me to move in with him. I would keep my house and my sister would live in it for a while, then eventually I would sell my house, then we would buy a house closer to the city together. He is very excited about me moving in.

– He can be extremely kind to me, being supportive through family struggles, my anxiety disorder (which has been treated for 20 years). We have a lot of fun together, laugh, talk deeply, etc. But if we have a disagreement, which has only happened 2-3 times, he becomes sharp, moody and basically shuts down. Rather than resolve, he wants the conversation over. He says some hurtful things, but never yells. I on the other hand like to discuss it out, which I know is different. Then I get the silent treatment the whole next day which leaves me very anxious. I get over disagreements easily regardless of who’s fault it is. He doesn’t think he’s to blame ever and doesn’t understand that how he treats me during/after a fight is more damaging than what we even fought about.

The question is, there’s something bugging me, like a pea under my mattress about this whole relationship. How can something so good have red flags? Such as drinking, underemployed, unbalanced relationship with ex, moodiness. Is it possibly true that it’s too good to be true? Or am I looking for problems that don’t exist because I’m afraid?

Thank you for your help in Minnesota.

Dear Minnesota,

That’s not a pea under your mattress — it’s a rhinoceros. Any ONE thing on that list would be a deal breaker. But SIX?

Let’s unpack these one by one, shall we?

– I pay for 90% of the time we go out. I make 4x being an executive, he’s been underemployed for 2 years getting paid cash for manual work. The service industry career he was in for 15 years he was fired twice due to performance. That was only a small piece, in reality he drank too much while traveling for work weekly.

You snuck two deal breakers into one bullet point. You pay 90 percent of the time AND he was fired twice for performance. It’s noble to think we’re evolved feminists who can out earn men and be secure in our romantic relationships. Or to be above such prejudices as to date someone from a different socio-economic background. That’s not what this is. This guy is a mooch. He might not be able to afford dinners out, so you know what — a guy with dignity doesn’t go out. He cooks for you. He takes you out less often so he can pay, or pays half of the time. He doesn’t sit back and enjoy you picking up the check dinner after dinner.

If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys dining out and finer things — you need a different class of boyfriend. You need a guy who’s got the same kind of disposable income you have.

The bigger issue here is that’s he’s THIS okay with taking. Healthy relationships are based on reciprocity. I’m not hearing what he’s doing to balance the trade deficit.

Here’s another thing you don’t have in common — how many times have YOU been fired for performance? Not downsized, but FIRED. Twice? Dude has work ethic problems AND he’s okay with you picking up the check. Red flag #1 — he’s a user.

– 20 years ago he had two DWIs. He’s known in his former industry to drink too much. I’ve talked to him about it a few times. He seems to have been watching it, but not sure what he does when alone as he drinks beer while alone too. Who goes out to dinner and has 3 tall tap beers in an hour?

Who does this? People who drink a lot. A guy who had two DWIs, I don’t care how long ago, is a guy who needs to be in AA. Failing that, he needs to be a guy who slowly sips one drink over the course of an hour or two. Not a guy who drinks alone or guzzles three beers in an hour. He’s a practiced drinker and he’s OKAY with that. Despite some painful criminal consequences years ago, he’s STILL okay with that. Red flag #2 — substance abuse. 

– His relationship with the child’s mother is tense. He’s shared she’s a whack job and drama filled. I can see some of that, however he is a poor communicator and doesn’t have clear boundaries so that contributes a lot too.

Did it ever occur to you that he might be the whack job and she’s got drama dealing with his drunk, user ass? You’ll concede he “contributes” to some of the issues, but did you ever think they’re not together because he’s not exactly responsible Daddy material? He’s underemployed and works under the table (read: child support enforcement can’t find him). Yeah, I’d be full of drama too if I had to co-parent with that guy. And he demonizes the woman raising his child. He might not like her, but he should respect that she’s doing the job he’s not doing. Red flag #3 — he’s demonizes his ex.

– His second wife, a breadwinner, packed up her clothes and left him 2 years ago. He still has some communication with her, probably guilt. She bought a house for them in his area before they were married and walked away from it.

If he doesn’t have a kid with his ex, there is NO reason for him to be in contact with her, unless he’s fishing for something. Women who pack up and leave suddenly, especially when they’re invested in real estate they purchased — they’re running away from something pretty fiercely. There’s a story there, Minnesota. What does he have to feel “guilty” about? And WTF “she bought a house for them“? SHE bought it? She was the breadwinner? Think maybe he’s looking for a new sucker? He has a track record of letting women do the grown-up things like pay bills and buy houses. It’s not a little phase he’s going through, it’s a history. Red flag #4 — he’s still talking to his ex. Red flag #5 — More history he’s a user.

– Well, he has been telling me since our second week of dating that I’m The One. He’s now asking me to move in with him. I would keep my house and my sister would live in it for a while, then eventually I would sell my house, then we would buy a house closer to the city together. He is very excited about me moving in.

Of course he is. He wants to seal the deal before you discover what a wing nut he is. Moving too soon is a classic sign of an abuser. And here’s a terrifically stupid thing you could do — move in with him, marry him, and THEN sell your house. Bingo, now that cash is a marital asset. Bet a guy who’s been through two divorces knows that. Don’t you know that? You’ve been through two divorces too. He already swindled one woman for a house, to me it appears you’re next. Which raises another question — if he can afford that house you’d be moving into, why can’t he afford dinner? Do you have any idea what this guy’s financial picture looks like?

Anyway, hell NO do you move in with someone after 3 months! It’s lovely to hear “you’re the ONE” — but consider that this is love bombing, and people who are careful with their hearts (and wallets) take things a LOT slower. Tell him you couldn’t possibly consider moving in with him until you’ve dated at least a year or two and he gives you a copy of his credit report. Something tells me that might dampen his ardor. Red flag #6 — he’s pressing too quickly for a commitment.

– He can be extremely kind to me, being supportive through family struggles, my anxiety disorder (which has been treated for 20 years). We have a lot of fun together, laugh, talk deeply, etc. But if we have a disagreement, which has only happened 2-3 times, he becomes sharp, moody and basically shuts down. Rather than resolve, he wants the conversation over. He says some hurtful things, but never yells. I on the other hand like to discuss it out, which I know is different. Then I get the silent treatment the whole next day which leaves me very anxious. I get over disagreements easily regardless of who’s fault it is. He doesn’t think he’s to blame ever and doesn’t understand that how he treats me during/after a fight is more damaging than what we even fought about.

AIGH! So many red flags, where to begin? He doesn’t think he’s to blame EVER? The silent treatment? Coldly says hurtful things? Best case scenario — this guy is really immature (in his 40s), worst case scenario — he’s a flaming personality disorder. Either way, this is a guy who needs to be dumped immediately. No one has time for that shit. He’s a middle aged man and after two divorces, he hasn’t learned how to communicate or get along with people without antagonizing them into fits. (Consider the mother of his child here.)

He’s got you walking on eggshells after THREE MONTHS. He’s sussing out your finances and living situation after THREE MONTHS. He’s grooming you, Minnesota, to see if you’ll be his chump.

Your letter isn’t about cheating (although if he’s a cheater too that wouldn’t surprise me), but I answered it because it’s about red flags and fixing your picker. Sweetie, you’ve had two divorces — me too — and here’s the thing — you’ve got a problem. Anyone reading this can see there are a bazillion red flags — our guts are screaming at us and we don’t even know you. But to you, these red flags are the size of a “pea under my mattress.” For some reason, you’ve learned to shut down your good sense when it comes to romance. You’re an accomplished woman, a good-earning executive — I know you have intelligence. You need to figure out in therapy why your warning system isn’t working, why the volume is set so low on your sirens. You’ve let this guy trample your boundaries, perhaps because you’re not putting up many of them, such as, “it’s your turn to buy dinner” or “it’s not okay with me when you give me the silent treatment.”

You’re not “looking for problems” — you’re IGNORING problems. The fact that you’d put it on yourself (I’m the problem here) is a problem.

Dating is when someone is supposed to be on their BEST BEHAVIOR. Dating is easy, it’s just food, fun, and fucking. It’s the honeymoon. When three months in is this fraught, it’s a terrible sign. This is as good as he GETS, and he’s not being at ALL good! The sparkles and love bombing feel awesome, I know — but you need to chase a different kind of high. Until you fix yourself, you’re going to be catnip to users like this guy. You need to shut his shit down after the first deal breaker.

How do you do that? You need to know what is and is not acceptable to you, and then you need the guts and the self worth to enforce those boundaries. Have faith that someone else is out there and have faith that you’ll be okay even if someone isn’t. Being alone is a million times better than being with a user/abuser.

And now I leave you with my obligatory, tangential, R&B youtube video — Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing.”

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.
You gotta have something/If you want to be me.
I’m not trying to be your hero
Cause that zero is too cold for me.

You’re something, Minnesota. Don’t date nothing.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Minnesota,

    You answered your own self and CL embellished upon it accurately.

    This man is at best immature and lacking in reciprocity and at worst has serious personality issues.

    Two words: DON’T SETTLE
    (You will live to regret it)

    And for Heaven’s sake do NOT mix up your property assets with this man!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I call these kinds of indicators “RED FLAGS THE SIZE OF FOOTBALL FIELDS.”
      Please pay attention to them.

          • My colleagues and I had a running joke that we could always tell when we’d corrected diagnosed or were working with a Borderline because…. when they leave your office you have the worst headache!” 😉

              • I am dead serious about the headaches! They come from sitting there watching someone try to gaslight you, and all the while adroitly avoiding ANY introspection. It is like moving Mt. Everest with a teaspoon to do therapy with them…draining and frustrating. You earn every penny you get.*

                In one of her posts a while back, CL talked about how her (also chumped) husband described these “eye aches” in conjunction with dealing with his serial cheating X.

                I am curious CL? Was the woman ever diagnosed as Borderline?

                *In defense of SOME Borderlines (typically not the ones who cheat..but even a few of those who do )….they DO get tired of being miserable in relationships all the time, get a CLUE that the common denominator is them, seek treatment, are medication compliant and DO the personality work (And, OMG is personality work long and hard–for both parties) and then make drastic strides toward a healthy psyche. Not much is impossible with a highly motivated client and a therapist who believes that people can change. Sadly, too many lack the insight or the motivation.

              • notyou, best guess my husband’s ex is a sociopath. She ticks the boxes on no adaptive anxiety, zero remorse, zero empathy, never apologizes, glib, superficially pleasant, intelligent but crap work ethic, icy superiority, total grandiosity. But the biggest indicator to me was she also defrauded two business partners — so the shady, grifter, user thing went beyond romantic relationships.

                My understanding of borderlines is that they fear abandonment and do a lot of drama — his ex was just a cool cucumber. Gig up, on to the next victim.

              • CL,

                I couldn’t find a place to reply right under you. But you may well be right about the sociopathy.

                My personal reaction to sociopaths, and Conduct Disordered children (who are nothing more than Jr. Sociopaths) is that the hair would rise slightly on the back of my neck…just like with any predator.

                They have to be outmaneuvered, too, in order to elicit the needed diagnostic information. Literally, you have to shift into,”professionally justified mind-fuck mode” with them to indirectly extract anything honest. They can be some clever creatures.

              • notyou, you are so right about the headaches. I would get a stiff neck first and it would escalate to headaches combined with that. I realized this was happening only when I was around him and when he was gaslighting me afterwards. Its so clear to me now, at the time I didn’t understand it.

        • THIS is GOLDEN….
          THANK YOU, Notyou.


          Nice to know I handled things Right, when I was fearful I was Handling things Wrong.

          This is Soo FREEING.

          THANK YOU Soo Much, Notyou.

          • Thank you, Rose,

            I assume you are speaking of the article I linked to.

            Indeed it is golden. One of the absolute BEST I have ever seen on the topics.

            I wish everyone here would take the time to read it. It’s long but very engagingly written and so applicable to the circumstances of contributors here regardless of gender.

            • “At his core, every Controller is monumentally self-centered. He is not just on an ego trip. He is on an expedition.”
              (Gotta love his phraseology!)

              Melton has these words of advice about therapists, too:

              “Before continuing on with this series, a word of caution about labeling people. The severely self-centered type of Controller just described is known to professional clinicians as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is the official “clinical diagnostic category” for such an individual.

              Other personality – disordered Controllers-Anti-Social, Borderline, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive – will be covered in latter parts of this series.

              But explaining a personality profile in a purely clinical manner can be like bodysurfing down a glacier. Professional clinicians might reach the foot of the glacier in one piece, but it’s not something to officially try, unless you’re licensed to the teeth.”


              AMEN, Roger. Preach it! Truly masterful Cluster B Manipulators can fool even veteran therapists. Happens everyday. I’ve seen it reported on here time and again.

              It happened to our “divorce counselor,’ and I called him on it. I can remember (in private session) looking at this competent Clinical Psychologist and saying in astonishment…. “He has fooled you, too, H****. He has fooled you, too…”

              • And one more word of advice about therapists dealing with adultery in a marriage. The Rogerian “Unconditional Positive Regard” approach to counseling a cheater, is like pissing in the face of a hurricane. USELESS and counter productive. Cheaters need the “David Clarke” approach if ANY insight at all is to be gained by the offender. Cheaters see those who practice Unconditional Positive Regard as stupid and weak-sisters.

              • I love this, not least because my cheater wife’s official job title (she’s an accountant) is “Controller”

              • notyou, yes! After the dust cleared, the therapist who was working with the ex and I (PhD in psych and dissertation on criminal sociopathy) finally told me apologetically that the ex is a full on sociopath. The therapist mentioned blithely in an earlier session that the ex seemed to have “more than the average number of sociopathic traits,” and then went on to defend him as a man who was working hard on our relationship. I should have known better when those words came out of the therapists mouth, but I didn’t pay attention. When the snake finally struck, the cat was out of the bag (pick your metaphor), then the clinician could see. He gave me over a year of free therapy to try to make up for his own oversight. What a nightmare. Glad it’s over.

              • I would like to make every therapist and every pastor read David Clarke’s books. They came to my life too late.
                My therapist (marriage counselor) was fooled too. When I found out about the affairs and told her she wrote both of us an email where she cited Bible verses about how the stbx had lied and committed adultery, but I had “murdered” because I was angry. She tried to avoid direct confrontation at any cost. Crazy. And the pastors did the same. Everyone shaking their head, saying “well, that’s not right”, but no one got on stbx’s face and confronted his lies, cheating and deceiving. No one had the guts.
                So stbx, after a year and a half of separation (long story of why I am not divorced yet), is the perfect picture of the Jesus cheater. He is in adultery with a formal girlfriend, he doesn’t know how many women he’s been with (I just found out that), he brings condoms to his vacation with my kids just in case (kids found out the box, girlfriend was not there). All these and more and he still has the nerve to say he is praying for me and he cites Bible verses, goes to church and says he is chosen by God. And God wants him to be happy. Jesus died for his sins, past, present and future.
                I want to throw up.

            • I was Speaking of the Article you Linked.

              Lengthly Yes, still, Worth Every Word.

              I Bookmarked it.

        • “At first, a Borderline male may appear shy, vulnerable or ‘ambivalently in need of care.’ This is the first clue: beware of men who feel like lost puppies. If you experience an urge to take him home and feed him, don’t— borderline men emotionally eat their women whole.”

          BING! BING! BING!

          Great find, Notyou! Thanks for sharing. It’s a very long article but it’s well worth the read.

        • I think I would like to adopt CL and Notyou. You both have made more sense in the last week than all the paid professionals and church do gooders I have ever met.

          I spent this afternoon reading Romeos Bleeding. And I now have a head ache. My head is spinning knowing that the things that have been going on since meeting my STBX are real and documented. The description of being in his company and having a knot in your stomach and not understanding why. I have felt like this for years and felt ashamed as thought there was something seriously wrong with me mentally. So I would withdraw from people incase they would think badly of me. I would struggle in social settings when out together as he would work the room as though he owned it (as if he was flirting) yet would rarely include me in a conversation he was having with others. Or he would go to the other extreme and be overtly affectionate in public wanting to kiss in front of people yet would withdraw when we got home. Our sister in law recently warned me to be careful as his behavior is now all centered around him. It is thought he is in some parallel universe. as long as his actions and the actions of those around him make him feel good that is all that matters even if those actions my result in the hurting of others. Their feelings are not of his concern. Notyou – in one of your posts you mentioned the “Angry Smile” I know this smile well it is the one that conveys the message of ” your mer existence in my presence is annoying the fact that you are speaking on a topic that has no relevance to me is now pissing me off. I saw this smile the day I told the STBX that I was pregnant with our third child, and his behavior since her arrival has just gotten worse over the years. I have recently learned he had his first affair when she was roughly one. I say roughly as he is unsure of the exact time frame or so he says. It is like I fell in love with a facade and now it has disintegrated and in its place is this cold, mean, self indulgent prick who I saw glimpses of over the years when pushed beyond braking point. and once I cracked and became this irrational mess and called him on it although I could never fully explain what “it” was, that cold person would withdraw back behind the facade and I would then get the loving facade that now presented as wounded and dejected by my hostility and what he has recently labeled as my violent tendencies.
          Seriously I am in a freaking big hole and can’t afford to drown for the sake of my kids.
          I would really appreciate any possible advise.
          I can no longer bear to be in the same room as him which makes things very difficult.

  • I am struck nearly speechless by this letter, one red flag after another.

    I don’t need to hear anything more than this: “Well, he has been telling me since our second week of dating that I’m The One.”

    I’d say RUN. But it sounds like you need to be careful HOW you get away from this guy. “She bought a house for them in his area before they were married and walked away from it.” Do you really think his ex walked away from her own house for no reason? People don’t give away their shit to their ex when they break up unless it’s the only way they CAN get away. And I have to wonder if this ex wants any communication with this guy, my bet is that he tracked her down and won’t leave her alone. I’m sure that will end once he’s got you firmly in his grasp. Tell you what, if you doubt this guy is awful, find out the name of the woman, call and ask her what happened. I’m sure it would be illuminating.

    You need to get away from this guy and spend some time with yourself figuring out why you think this is a great relationship. It is not. I highly recommend you read “Why Does He Do That” and “Gift of Fear”. Tracey is right on, he’s grooming you. All those “good” qualities will fade right away once he has a lock on you. RUN.

    • “…find out the name of the woman, call and ask her what happened. I’m sure it would be illuminating.”

      Yes, I bet it would. Although I guess you may hesitate to do this, since it would likely get back to him that you talked with her, and you don’t want to risk him getting mad at you. (His anger issues, another red flag!)

    • I agree. Minnesota, If you don’t want to ask, spend a few dollars that would normally go to feed his lazy ass at a nice restaurant and get a private investigator to look into him, especially this second marriage. Or see if you have some mutual connection–even a mutual FB friend–that you can ask, if you want to be more discreet. I think there is a lot of backstory here that you aren’t getting on marriage #2.

      If he’s not paying child support, that would explain the “drama” with the mother of the child, but NOT how he represents that relationship. You need to ask him a lot of direct questions about what happened in this relationahip and how he currently manages his responsibilities as a parent.

      You are the Queen of Spacklers. You don’t have nearly enough information about this guy. Let me tell you about the Jackass. His wife #1 was crazy! She lost her mind every time she talked to him. I saw a lot of legal papers relevant to their divorce and she cleaned his clock pro se, and lied all the way to do it. BUT–and this is a crucial but–that wasn’t the whole story. When he was gaslighting me in preparation for walking out on a bunch of financial and emotional commitments, with my money in his business account, I lost my mind every time I talked to him. It made me literally crazy to try to be rational in response to his altered version of reality. In effect, I had become on some level the equivalent of wife #1, and trust me, she and I are nothing alike. But dealing with him in his full “defense of narcissistic injury” mode or his “smirking asshole condescension” mode, once the love-bombing was over? I felt like I had lost my mind.

      I asked over and over about his wife #1. He never had any reasonable explanation for why she would just pack her stuff and move back to her parents’ house. About why she stopped coming home–not to cheat or step out on him, but to stay at her mother’s house. He had a very bad story about the honeymoon and how badly it went but no sadness over that. I won’t get into those details but, looking back–huge red flag. He had said that he didn’t want to go through with the marriage ceremony but by the time the vows were done, he was already working on smashing what they had. Poor girl. One of her friends told HIM that he ruined her life. And I just spackled over that until he went right up to the brink of living out his commitment and starting working me over emotionally, disengaging and eventually diving into an instant FB affair with a married woman–who is now crying her own tears, not that I feel a bit sorry for her cheating self.

      Right now I will bet you are desperate to hold on to this toxic jackass. If you aren’t ready to run, which is what you should do, I suggest you give him a test. Tell him you want to slow things down. Go 50-50 when you date. Tell him you want to meet his friends. Ask him about both divorces and child support. Are his parents living? His siblings? Make sure you meet them. Do you like them? How does he relate to them? Have a PI check his background. Get to know him on the most basic levels. My guess is that if you start to look at him closely, the spackle will fall off.

      And never, ever, sell your house for a man. If you both have homes, there is no need to do any selling until you are 2 or 3 years into a relationship and everything is wonderful. Until you run the numbers and it makes sense to sell or rent your home out. Until you know he is the real deal. Why does he need you for a roommate? My guess is: wife #2 took off with her paycheck and he wants $$$ for mortgage, rent, and taxes. You look like payday to him. You wrote to CL for a reason. Trust your instincts and put down the %$&*#@* spackle. And keep reading here. You will figure out just what’s at stake, unless you want to lose 20 pounds on the grief and trauma diet and a year or more of your life recovering from whatever this bad, bad man has in store for you.

      • I wouldn’t even bother getting a private investigator. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . you know the rest.

        • That’s a great point…if you feel like you need to get a PI at any point in the relationship, but especially early on, you might want to go ahead and get out. Use the money on yourself instead.

  • I have decided that my #1 thing I will look for in a guy is A GOOD RELATIONSHIP with his ex-wife (if he has one) because this says everything. Unless he has documentation to show me that she’s a drug dealer/prostitute/white slaver, he better be nice to her, fair to her, and pay his child support on time. Because worst case scenario, that’s how he’s treating me. Look at the Xs- worst case scenario- that’s you. Keep that front and center.

    Also, careers are more important to guys than to women (stereotype but largely true). Mooching isn’t the end of the world, but just make sure you’re ok with a moocher. An underemployed woman is not so unusual. An underemployed man with a history of being fired…um…you’re always going to be the breadwinner. So just make sure you like picking up the check. Cuz you ALWAYS WILL.

    • I don’t imagine that when my cheater wife and I are finally divorced that we’ll have a “good relationship”. I don’t think child support will come into play but if it does I’ll pay it on time, naturally. Being “fair” to her will be difficult, but I’ll do that too. “Nice to her”, though? That might just take me off your list.

      • “I don’t imagine that when my cheater wife and I are finally divorced that we’ll have a “good relationship””
        Same here, ANR. My STBX is such a selfish dick that I don’t think we’ll ever get along. He’s the one who had the affair/s, but he’s fighting some of the things I’d like in the divorce settlement. I hate him..and I don’t think we’ll ever be at a point where we have any sort of good relationship.

        • Yeah, my wife was the one who cheated, but recently delivered herself of the opinion that it would be “unfair” if I remained in the house (thus allowing our boys to live at least half the time in the only home they’ve ever known) because she “put so much effort into decorating it.”

          • And she doesn’t want to remain in the house — just would rather I not benefit from her efforts even if it means more stability for our sons.

          • “because she “put so much effort into decorating it.””
            You have got to be shitting me. Wow..these people really, REALLY love themselves, don’t they.

            • They do. And you know, I distinctly remember paying for most of that effort and doing a lot of the physical labour (she did some, but most of the rest was done by tradesmen)

      • Ditto.

        Show me somebody who has been chumped and has a “good relationship” with their ex (as opposed to not wanting anything at all to do with them and being glad it’s finally over or having a strictly business-like co-parenting relationship that doesn’t involve anything remotely like being buddies), and I’ll show you somebody who I’d never consider a second date with under any circumstances.

        Boundaries are important to me. People that don’t seem to have any tend to invite too much drama into their lives.

      • I agree, cheating counts, I should have added that. I do think though, that worst case scenario- their X is you. How they handle that is huge.

    • True! if he treats his ex wife like crap, then you’re next! Men like that have no respect for women because they their egos make them believe that women shouldn’t be respected. Believe me, I was married for 26 yrs to a man like that. Just wanted to be mean and spiteful to “put me in my place” to show me he had control. And I am the mother of his 3 children. This is the true character of a man.

    • Rose,

      Some Cluster Bs are smart and educated enough to play the mild, benign, “We just drifted apart” card, and are careful not to show any animosity toward the X. [ I am positive that my X has done just that with the fragile little widow that he recently started dating….after married Narc OW unceremoniously dumped HIM. I always chuckle about that. 😉 Such poetic justice!]

      ALWAYS watch what people DO (as opposed to what they say) and watch them over time, in multiple environments,and when they have various stressors on them. One huge red flag is a lack of willingness to resolve conflict in win-win ways…especially “denying and running” from the inevitable and normal conflicts that arise in close relationships.

      • Yeah, Rose, I actually see the good relationship with the ex as a red flag.

        Because I don’t believe the “we just drifted apart.” One thing I’ve seen is that many screwed-over spouses are well-fed on shit sandwiches, and they swallow them down, for the sake of harmony or to seem like a good person to everyone whose opinion really doesn’t matter much. If people can be such good friends, especially where children are involved, then why get a divorce??

        In my case, if the guy says he has a good relationship with the spouse, I think he’s keeping options open–even if she abandoned him. She’s going to be important and possibly disruptive, and I’m not really interested. I wonder about his boundaries and/or his truthiness.

        I’ve been wrong before. This is just what I’m thinking for now.

    • Rose, sorry to burst your bubble. But my stbx is proclaiming to the world that he is going to be “THE BEST EX-HUSBAD EVER”. Just another gigantic sign of his never-ending narcissism. Listen to me, I still have his credit card, he has been civil and sweet the few occasions we have talked since the separation. He tells EVERYONE that he still cares so much for me, it’s just that we had so many communication problems. That’s why we are getting a divorce after 20 years. He is buying me a new car. He wants to pay for my heath insurance all my life because he cares so much for me.
      Want to know the truth? During the last 18 months I found out he started cheating on me on year 6. He has slept with so many women he doesn’t even know many they have been, he was a master on living a double life without me or my kids or anyone knowing about it, he is cheating on the OW now. All of this, and he keeps saying our marriage failed for lack of communication… I say he forgot to communicate he couldn’t keep his pants on. Oh, of course, and he want us to be friends, for the kids, we should be friends and be civilized and evolved.
      My point is that if you met him, and you heard about how generous he has been with me, how calm and sweet he talks about me to others, etc, you would think he is a diamond and I must be a very disturbed woman if this treasure of a man had to leave me. All lies. All deception.
      This is so hard. How can one really trust again. I think I will hire a PI even if the guy seems perfect. Some cheaters are too good at their craft.

  • Minnesota…
    Dopamine and oxytocin are affecting your picker! I hope your smart enough to not mix alcohol and intercourse with a man you hardly know into the equation.

    Slow down…

      • Amen BRW !
        Full on NO CONTACT !

        Her Mr Right may have passed her by for the poor company she is keeping. She’s throwing away opportunities to make good first impressions.

        • If he Really IS Mr. Right…
          He’ll Show up at the RIGHT Time..
          Which Obviously Is NOT Right now for her…if she’s Still Stuck on THAT Shithead.

    • The hardest thing I ever had to do was walk away from an infatuation. Those brain chemicals hit me broadside and I could barely control myself. I didn’t even feel that way about the ex when we were first together, and fortunately for me we were married by then or I might have indulged myself in order to feel more of that euphoria.

      The thing is, Minnesota, it’s all in YOUR head, and it NEVER LASTS. You remember how you used to feel in regular everyday life? Well, you’re going to feel that way again, real soon, ONLY WORSE.

        • It’s really true — the guy didn’t even need to be the same town for me to experience the head trip. My head — MINE — was the source of the chemistry. Shoot, just putting on a John Denver album could have me sitting in reveries for hours. Nice while it lasted. Glad I didn’t ruin my career over it or anything…..

        • “You’re dating YOURSELF…HE’s Put in NOTHING. “

          That’s one smart daddy, Blooming Rose.

          • well… He was a Supreme Chump too with MY Mum…
            *shakes head* Sometimes I think this shit is Biological or Something.

            I’ve gotten ” Meaner” since then 😉

  • Minnesota, Chump Lady has this guy figured out and you already know what he is, that’s why your inner voice is nagging you. Respect yourself and stop justifying his big red flags.

    He is unhealthy and unsafe to be with on so many levels.

    Look out for yourself and run like hell from this guy.

  • Run, run, run as fast as you can.
    You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
    I ran from the baker and his wife too.
    You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

    The baker made a boy one day
    Who leapt from the oven ready to play.
    He and his wife were ready to eat
    The gingerbread man who had run down the street.

    Run, run, run as fast as you can,
    You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
    I ran from the baker and his wife too.
    You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

    Then came a pig and cow and hare
    Who joined in the chase around the square.
    They were all hungry and ready to eat,
    But that gingerbread man was too quick on his feet.

    Run, run, run as fast as you can,
    You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man
    I ran from the baker and his wife too
    You’ll never catch me, not any of you

    He came to a pond that blocked his path
    And gingerbread men don’t like to bath.
    Out jumped a fox who said, “hop on,
    I will take you safely across the pond.”

    Run, run, run as fast as you can.
    You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
    I ran from the baker and his wife too.
    You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

    He climbed up onto the fox’s back,
    Who licked his lips and wanted to snack.
    He climbed onto the fox’s head,
    Who loved the taste of gingerbread.

    Run, run, run as fast as you can.
    You’ll never catch me I’m the gingerbread man.
    He trusted the fox to help his plan
    And that was the end of the gingerbread man.

    Minnesota, sounds like you’ve escaped from a cow/pig/baker already, well your new boy is the fox. Don’t let him sucker you in with a some easy “sharing” and his ardour to be with you (as in you housing him & paying his bills). I can’t see anything in what you wrote where he proves his worth as a life partner. Just keep on running for now – he is not someone you should trust or share your life with.

  • Seriously though, don’t you have a headache from the alarm bells going off? Any more obvious and this jerk would be wearing a neon sign.

    Do yourself an enormous favor and back away slowly from this guy. Maybe then make an appointment with a therapist to get to the bottom of why you don’t trust your own intuition?

    If you are truly content with who you are you will never accept anything less than what you deserve. You deserve to be third time lucky.

  • Oh, lord – are you dating my ex?????

    Honey, those aren’t red flags, they are screaming neon signs, blinking furiously: “GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!!!”

    Walk. Away. Now. Don’t invest another second or another dollar.

    • “Oh, lord – are you dating my ex?????”
      That was my first thought, too MN Moved On!! As CL said, he may not be a cheater now, but my STBX has that exact same personality and he was a cheater who abandoned my daughter and I when we found out about his affair. Run lady, run!! Save yourself from heartbreak down the road! You deserve better!! Take it from those of us schooled in the art of chumpness..we know what we’re talking about!!

    • This man sounds my ex’s new wife. He married her less than a month after our divorce was final. It is her 4th marriage. Within 2 months they were moved into a big new house. Which according to land records, is solely in her name. She found her sucker!!

  • Yep. What she said. I had to go back and make sure that we’re talking about a relationship that’s 3 MONTHS OLD. The love bombing and future faking (as Natalie Lue calls it) was really jumping off the screen at me.

    I’d like to add a 4th to CL’s “3 F’s of dating”: Food, fun, fucking and…finding out. He’s showing you exactly who he is. This reads as an abusive user and I’m betting if you stick around longer you’ll find out even more. You don’t need a full on diagnosis of a personality disorder to get the hell away from an unhealthy person. The beautiful thing about having boundaries is being able to CHOOSE who you want in your life.

    Oh and…Great song! 🙂

    • Thanks Scotty — and you’re totally right about the fourth F finding out. I was just trying to make the point that it’s supposed to be light and easy in the beginning. Three months in should be a pleasure cruise, not an SOS call on a sinking ship.

      • For some reason, that new Godzilla movie trailer popped up in my mind along with one line from that movie.

        J oe Brody : “You have no idea what’s coming!”.

        Hey, that could be a cartoon. Chumpzilla … about ready to step all over Chump dreams

        Caption above: “You’re the One”.
        Caption below: “You have no idea what’s coming!”.

  • It’s so sad how we can on one hand see the big picture clearly enough to describe it, and yet have so much self-doubt as to need someone else to tell us “No, you are not fucking crazy, this shit is for REAL”.

    So sad that when somebody is remotely nice to us, we think we may owe them the universe in return, just to be reciprocal. It’s about what we’ve become accustomed to. Get accustomed to more! Treat yourself REALLY WELL by only associating with people who reciprocate!!!!

    Minnesota, the good news is that your picker is still working enough to feed you the information you need to make good decisions. You may need help believing in yourself again. If I had to guess, I imagine you’ve gotten beaten down by previous relationships.

    Speaking from experience here, not judging! (((hugs)))

    • Perfect post and great answer chumppalla….

      In the last few weeks, lots of our comments have shared the similarity that, over time, we chumps ignored “red flags” and our very correct instincts…for all sorts of reasons. Same result though in the end. We got hurt.

      Minnesota – I’m an exec type woman too – and come from a very hard-working blue collar background. I’m not a snob, and would have no issue with dating/marrying someone with a different financial situation than I have. But that is NOT the issue here – this guy is mooching, not communicating, and worst of all – he’s mean when you don’t agree with him.

      He will never get nicer – only meaner. And the love bombing? That’s not a red flag; it’s a tornado siren type warning. Please move on – and do it decisively.

      As CL said, “Have faith that someone else is out there and have faith that you’ll be okay even if someone isn’t. Being alone is a million times better than being with a user/abuser.

      • he’s mean when you don’t agree with him

        That is ugly,,,,,, no other words for it FUCKING UGLY . ^^^^

              • IS She RIGHT…or Is That Just what She TELLS Herself and Others ? 😉

              • It has been my experience that the people who spend the most time arguing about who is right and who is wrong in trivial matters are fucking nuts.

              • Gee, Michael. I’m always right. 😉 I was wrong once….back in 1978 when I thought I was wrong but I was actually right. 🙂

                Seriously there is nothing wrong with confidence (in an area where you know your stuff), but NEVER owning up to mistakes and offences is, as you imply pathological.

              • Only once ? In 1978 ? Hmm did you say you were sorry ? That word does not exsist in my world 😉 Ok tell me to stop my bitchin ! I’m done !

              • Yes, dear Michael, I have admitted to and apologized for being wrong many times and sometimes apologized when I was not really wrong. In intimate relationships boundaries can become blurred, and sometimes it is easier to keep the peace over trivial matters…although trivial IS a judgment call.

                My X was your garden variety passive-aggressive and “Momma’s Boy” with a sprinkling of narcissistic traits (we ALL have a few). He was demurely but deeply proud of his “people skills” (i.e. manipulative ability) but he usually applied those to achieve good outcomes in his professional setting…and I know enough about his business ethics and most of his life dealings to know that sociopathy does not apply to him. He was a stable and good provider. He helped out around the house…TOO MUCH. Matter of fact his nose was sweetly into every facet of my life. It was a kind of benign but smothering intrusiveness…nullifying in fact. He never did grasp the concept, “I’ve got this, but will call you ASAP if I get in over my head!” or, ” I don’t need you to fix this I just want to vent awhile, and then I’ll figure out a way to solve the problem.”

                He was not a total bad guy. Just dysfunctional in some areas….one of the most aggravating of which was inculcating a sense of entitlement in our daughters by unilaterally undermining my appropriate discipline from time to time AND flat out indulging them past what they needed or warranted…usually by pulling some unilateral stunt behind my back and allowing them charm him into being the “White Knight” to my limit- setting “Grinch Mom.” He always had to be the “Good Guy”…even at the expense of his most significant other.

                But I digress. I thought I could deal with the PA, and most of the time I could. Occasionally he’d push it too far and I’d call him out on it–very snarkily and sometimes with a few choice “CL” expletives!! Then I’d get the puppy dog (shame on you) treatment (mind you we may have discussed this particular recurring problem many times), feel like a verbally abusive asshole and apologize for reaming him out.

                Also his mother hated me and my autonomy (because she was an intrusive control freak). She undermined me for 33 years. She never outright “attacked me” in front of the men, but the assault was continuous and subtle… because she could not control me. I vividly remember her once privately giving me this unsolicited commentary, ” I tell you how to do things the RIGHT way, and you just smile politely and then go back down to your house and do it YOUR way.” [Controlling much?] She was also obviously jealous of little nice things he did like bringing me a cup of coffee in bed each morning (during the early years before kids and duties made mornings a little more hectic).

                So, yeah, I’ve apologized and admitted I was wrong about things that I was wrong about, and sometimes for things that (in reality) I was right about. That goes with the turf in marriage; but when it becomes so completely lopsided that one person is doing all the apologizing all the time? Something is badly wrong.

                Me being the total bad-guy in his mind occurred AFTER he had chosen (or given in to the LIMERANCE of) the affair. At that point he totally monstrified me (self-justification and blaming the victim) and then lied and tried to hide that shit from me (conflict avoidant in a situation that apocalyptic ramifications). His behavior was ALL, of course, total Bullshit, so I flatly refused to accept any blame for his adultery, and only 50% of blame for any REAL problems in the marriage.

                This was not what he wanted to hear! He was in marinating in ego kibbles, lust crazed dementia aka. limerance, and self-justification. The “Fiend from Hell” (Me) here had blown a gasket and had called him out on it, and wasn’t giving ground. He, being incredibly STUBBORN because due his ingrained PA, was (By God) never going to admit that he had no justification for acting like a SHIT of that magnitude..and (by God) he was NOT going to marriage counseling because the whole thing was MY fault. Besides…he had someone whispering in his ear and mirroring to him that he was perfect while I was the meanest bitch who ever lived.

                The rest is history. And, when it is history, you have to cut your losses and make new gains. “All the Kings horses and all the Kings’ men……”

              • Notyou, my cheater ex’s mother, from what I heard, used to go to his house when he was married to his ex-wife and arrange everything in their kitchen while his ex-wife was at work. Then when his ex-wife would come home she couldn’t find the dishes, glasses, silverware where she put them, then she will change it back to how it was, upset of course. Then his mother would do the same thing again later, telling his ex-wife “no, dishes don’t go there, it’s better where I put them, leave it there” now mind you, his mother didn’t live with them and his ex-wife had to put up with lot of shit and they all called her crazy, geez I wonder who drove her crazy! In my case when we were together for couple of years (didn’t know what a lying, cheating asshole he was! Thought he was broke ass but a good guy, the joke on me!!) we were at a 4th of July gathering/cookout, sitting by the pool, his mother, out of the blue looked at me and says, well you have 2 kids, he have 2 kids, you don’t need to have any children any more, make an appointment and need to have a hysterectomy! WHHHAAATTT! I was flabbergasted! I was speechless and mind you, I had just turned 37 at the time. This crazy bitch bugged me for months, every time she would see me, “you need to go get a hysterectomy, did you make an appointment yet?” I ignored her but boy she bugged the shit out of me. Hysterectomy is not a simple surgery, as I am sure you know, it’s a major and very painful surgery and it takes a long time to recover from it, not to mention what happens to a woman who have this surgery afterwards. My friend who had it had to use a lubricant, not only when she was having sex but all-the-time, during the day, because of the dryness and the pain she felt and she lost her libido after that, didn’t even want to have sex anymore…First of all if I didn’t want any kids(I was done anyways, had them when I was young) I could go on birth control or have my tubes tied, hey if she was that concerned maybe she should’ve told her son to have a fucking vasectomy, which can be done in an hour at a doctor’s office. I feel bad for you that you had to put up with that for so many years. Fucked up people, in all different flavors and variety, don’t you think?

              • Nicolette,

                You aren’t going to believe this but my XMIL suggested hysterectomy to me several times as a, ” blessing once you have had all the children you want.” She had had five children in eight years and needed a bladder suspension and rectocele repair but talked her Dr. into a full hysterectomy….basically because she was tired of having periods. With no ovaries, she was thrown into surgical menopause and had to start estrogen replacement therapy in her early thirties. She also took a mild tranquilizer for pretty much the rest of her life, too. But she swore up and down repeatedly that it was the best thing she ever did.

                My response to her was always the same. “If there is no compelling medical reason for that surgery… like cancer or fibroids, I’m not going to do it because all major surgeries are risky.” I didn’t tell her about all the women whose clitoral complex pelvic nerves were damaged and/or the loss of libido due to hormonal imbalances that could never be straightened out….effectively “neutering” them. I just chose to keep my counsel and keep my uterus and ovaries…which are still with me in the 66th year of my life. They are still disease free to the best of my knowledge. I do take HRT post menopause but it also consists of closely monitored progesterone and testosterone via an endocrinologist who is big on life extension.

                My XMIL superficially seems like the sweetest woman you could ever meet, until you discover all her subtle little PA maneuvers. She parentified and smothered the boy who eventually became my X. But in her defense, his Dad had come back from WWII with PTSD from which he never quite completely recovered (because he refused any treatment), and a lot of her maneuvering was to prevent him being agitated and frustrated by a house full of kids.

                NO dissent, no matter how respectfully and humbly submitted was EVER tolerated from a child in that household. And they were “shamed” if they tried. [In my home, children could express dissent if we did it respectfully. Sometimes we won our argument, and other times my parent told us, “Good you got that off your chest, but we are still going to do it our way this time.”]

                The kind of upbringing he had made my X an over compliant, parentified boy. He learned early to “negotiate” with adults by manipulation, charm, and PA behavior. To be fair about his dysfunctions, he never really had a childhood. Although he hides it well, X is truly is terrified of strong women. (And, my Father who raised me to be egalitarian and fearless has told me more than once, with pride, “You are stronger than truck load of goats!”) So, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I reached an age when I reminded him too much of his mother…with whom he is still enmeshed.

                X told me once that he had always been intimidated by my beauty, confidence, verbal skills, and all round competence…that he had overreached himself when I married him (And he did stampede me down the aisle only 6 months after we met.) I was gob smacked at such a confession. I had no clue and considered myself very fortunate to have found such a nice guy who had so many redeeming qualities.

                I agree with the prevailing sentiment on this board that there are never any good reasons for cheating, but I can understand how FOO issues (especially covert ones) can really screw up someone’s personality.

                I was incredibly hurt and angry at my X for several years, but resilience and the natural proclivity for “flight into heath” after trauma has done its work. I really don’t have much concern anymore about what he does, etc. I don’t hate him, I don’t love him. He is now a man I used to know and someone with whom on the rare occasion I must deal with regarding matters pertaining to our adult children and the grandchildren.

                And it is this concept of “you too can heal and let it go” that I try to convey to those here who are still hurting so badly. It is a kind of an interesting esoteric exercise to discuss and speculate about how our dysfunctional X’s became the way they did (probably because of my profession). But I am not just compelled to know anymore. My main concern in contributing here is to assure people that they can recover and have a more peaceful and rewarding life, if they don’t give up working on themselves.

              • Notyou, thank you, that is one of the most uplifting and encouraging posts I have read on here. These freaks come in all shapes and sizes, but in the end in my case, I do believe my ex was drawn to and yet terrified of me as a strong woman. When you said “Although he hides it well, X is truly is terrified of strong women”, I realized that is exactly my ex. He was quite passive aggressive, even mores at the end, and while professing to absolutely adore and respect me beyond measure, was covertly engaging in astonishing acts of betrayal. He did not love me as he claimed. He hated me and wanted to hurt me. It is water under the bridge for the most part now– I am doing better than ever in my profession, our three very beautiful and successful children do not speak to him (their strength and independence also repel him), and I am getting re-married next month. Meanwhile, ex apparently continues on free to mess around with his AP’s and in his own “consulting” business, fulfilling his life-long drive toward underachievement. He is always distantly polite the (very) few times we still must have e-mail contact over financial matters. He stays far far away from all of us in every way. His detachment and distance is palpable but no longer our concern. We have done amazingly well without him and he knows it. Life so oh-so peaceful and rewarding without the pathological lies, ambient abuse, and abject cowardice of some of these cheaters.

              • Wow notyou, that’s really messed up! Your XMIL told you that too? Wow just wow!

                Get this my cheater ex’s mother had an hysterectomy as well, so I am sure she suffered some kind of negative effects, because I have never met anyone who had an hysterectomy and didn’t have problems down the road. What pissed me off was, which I was thinking to myself “wtf is my womanly shit is her fucking business? Who the fuck she is to constantly not suggest, but “demand” that I get that done!” This woman was left by her husband for another woman, after their divorce she had sex with one of his (my ex’s) friend for a year and after him she was with some other guy for 2 years and then had an hysterectomy and since then she hasn’t had any sex, makes you think doesn’t it? Regardless, why she thought she could demand something like that from me in any case? I just didn’t get it or understood her motives.

                Yes I do agree with you, if we don’t give up on ourselves we will have a more peaceful life, look at me for example, I have never been happier being alone and being content as I am now in my whole life, yes some days I get soooo angry that he stole my right to make informed decisions with his lies, wasted my time, risked my health by having unprotected sex with skanks and financially used me, and it really helps me to talk about it, vent and share it with others here, it’s like therapy but better, and my anger is productive anger. You won’t believe the projects that I have done in my house, in my yard and even my mail lady rang my door one day, asking me who did I hire for the landscaping design, because she told her husband and they wanted to hire them for their landscaping and she was admiring it every time she drove by, I did all that on my own while cussing at the son of bitch lol! 

              • And, nicolette, the thing is… I truly believe the woman didn’t have malicious intentions on that count. She believed it had worked well for her and therefore should work well for me or any woman who had all the children she wanted. She gave this same advice to her own daughters, too. She just couldn’t get past her own worldview.

                Now, she was jealous of her son’s love for me, she felt like I didn’t deserve it because I wasn’t like her. This was not benign, but she couldn’t see that….again, she was wrapped up in her own worldview.

                And, hey, I hear you on the beautification projects outdoors. Over time I am landscaping the yard of my retirement cottage. I pass through and post on here from time to time, but spend most of each day engaged in healthy activities that occupy both mind and soul. The benefits of the peace that it brings benefit my family and friends. And, that is the best therapy.

              • Let me add my two cents to this discussion about boundaries and parents, or parents in law… maybe the psychologist here can decode some of this behavior for me. In my case, it’s always been my mother who took it upon herself to use her copy of my house key to let herself in and organize my house. She would do a major cleaning up, including vacuuming and laundry. Kind of like a housekeeper would, with the only difference being that I didn’t ask her to do any of the above. I was in my mid to late 20s when this started happening and I sort of “didn’t know any better” to know this wasn’t “normal”, let alone confront her. I took their shaming for me being a “cluttered person” (but not dirty!), and convinced myself that it was just a “nuisance” for me, and I should have accepted their lack of boundaries. Of course, I didn’t realize it was a violation of my privacy, although my intuition told me that “something didn’t feel right” about the situation. This went on for a couple of years until one day I had to change the locks for unrelated reasons and took it as an opp to not give them the key to my house. When I got into my 30s, I started to explore my mother’s behavior in therapy but before I could figure anything out, my ex’s cheating happened and took over my therapy sessions. I still wonder about my mother, though. Btw, she’s very defensive about any of this stuff when confronted. I hear things like “well, you should be grateful that we cleaned your house. Instead of saying thank you, you’re showing your ungratefulness…” WTF!!!
                These are my own parents!

              • heartbroken,

                With respect to the housecleaning thing? In my younger days I probably would have perceived some kind of implied criticism and got my ass on my shoulders; but as I got older (and if this was the worst thing she did), I’d have kept my $$ biz and intimate biz under lock and key, let her at it and then thank her….(long as she didn’t ruin any of the laundry ‘cuz then we’d have to talk about it). Some people ‘need to be needed’ and are intrusive with it; but if you can ….make it a win-win.

                True Story:

                Every time I ever announced I going on a diet, my PA XMIL had a habit of baking some monumentally fattening, gorgeous confection and bringing it to our house in short order. Eventually I noticed the pattern and started doing this: Whenever I had some shower or event to attend that required a fancy dessert on my part, I’d announce, “I’m going back on that diet again,” a few days before the event Like clock-work a dazzling delight would show up within 24-36 hours, and I’d take it to the event. Sooooo much easier to “use” people’s PA behaviors in a constructive way than to have tense confrontations that only make them become more self-righteous and stubborn. When you can’t lick ’em, use them on your team as best you can.

              • Ha! The best laugh I’ve had all week. That’s even better than win-win! Thanks Notyou.

              • There is a good book that I have read and re-read; it’s very helpful to me and maybe would be for some others? It is called “Children of the Self-Absorbed” by Nina Brown. It explains a lot.

              • Notyou, my cheater ex’s mother, from what I heard, used to go to his house when he was married to his ex-wife and arrange everything in their kitchen while his ex-wife was at work.

                ^^ That is fucking wacko sick shit. I would lose my mind if this happened, I loved my mom but who puts up with that shit omg crazy controlling bat shit and HE allowed it what a wuss mommas boy !

                you don’t need to have any children any more, make an appointment and need to have a hysterectomy!

                Yup I would have had to slap her for that one I am not a violent person but fuck that I would have slapped her silly. Who gives these dirt bags the right ?? !!! ?? ?!!!

              • Yes MichaelD, he is a wuss, cheating, lying wuss!

                Oh I had to bit my lip really hard when she said that to me and I looked away, but all I wanted to say to her was “who the fuck are you to demand something like that from me and tell me what I should do with MY body, my womanhood? Why don’t you tell your OWN son to get neutered if you are that worried? Shut the fuck up and go fuck yourself!” but I didn’t because of my upbringing…

                I feel I dodged a BIG bullet with him and his fucked up family!

              • Your Parts aren’t Important, Nic….

                HER Precious Little Son’s Jewels ,however, are GOLDEN…Don’tcha Know that ?!

              • ha ha ha! :))))))) true, true BloomingRoseinWinter!!! I guess I know that now 😉

                By the way, I found how your lowlife ex can call you and it shows different numbers on your caller ID, not his number. There is a phone card you can get online, liar card/ You buy minutes, call their 1-800 number first, then put in the number you want the recipient to see on their caller ID, then dial whoever you are calling. So when their phone rings they only see the number you want them to see on their caller ID, not your real number.

              • Those Things should be Fucking ILLEGAL !!!!

                Funny, ASSHOLE Can’t Afford CHILDSUPPORT… but Technology for Harrassment Purposes THAT..Yea..SURE He Can Throw $$ in For Stalking Purposes and Stupid Fucking Games.

                Bloody Hell !!!!!

                Thank you for the Information, Nic.

                Dumbshit bragged a LONG time Ago that He Called the House HE was IN From INSIDE the House Showing THEIR Number just to Wigg People Out…

                Talk about a Shoulda Known Better Back THEN, and Foreshadowing of What’s to Come to come for ME, moment there. ** Slaps Forehead**
                Such a ” Funny, Clever, Jokester, Prankster ” pulling a CONgame.

              • You’re very welcome!

                Yes I know but if he thinks he is getting away with his stalking, he is wrong. If he called their 1-800 number with his cell phone it will be in his cell phone logs, if he is using prepaid cell phone he wont have any cell phone logs, however he has to use a credit or debit card to pay for that card, so the company will have a record of it and all the calls he made, the fake numbers he put (which will be on your cell phone logs too) and the numbers he was calling. If there was a subpoena, the company has to turn over those records to the court in a stalking case. At least you know how he was doing it now.

                Yeah of course they have money for everything when it comes to them but not for anything else. Typical LOSER!

              • and as far as the slapping goes, I want to slap myself for being so stupid, not paying attention to red flags, his actions and listening to his empty lip service and for not dumping his ass right away! Every time I think about him, he literally makes my skin crawl now and I feel disgust.

              • ( Hug)
                Odds are you will NEVER put up with Abuse to THAT Extent EVER Again.

                No Need to Beat Yourself Up for what THEY Did Anymore.

                Forgive Yourself, Nic. It’s Time.

              • Thank you BloomingRoseinWinter.

                Oh trust me, my eyes are wide open now and yes, I will NEVER put up with any abuse from anyone ever again. I learned a big lesson.

                Hugs right back at you 🙂

              • If I didn’t Know ANY Better I’d SWEAR We Have the Same Woulda Been MotherinLaw.

                OverBearing Bitch Got “Offended” that I Told her NO, I Wasn’t Cutting My Hair I’ve Been Growing out For ELEVEN YEARS just cause She Thought I Should.

                If you Have Anything to remotely to Do with Her, even Just By mere ASSOCIATION, She Thinks She OWNS You…and Whatever is Yours.

              • “If you Have Anything to remotely to Do with Her, even Just By mere ASSOCIATION, She Thinks She OWNS You…and Whatever is Yours.”

                right there!! That’s her!! my ex’s mom is the same way, just because I dated her loser son she also tried to tell me how to fix my hair (among many other things) and she also thought she had a right to “my things”. Wow these people are seriously fucked up!

              • Notyou I was only kidding,,, most of us normal people have no problem saying we’re sorry when we fuck up,,,,,

              • I know you are only kidding, Michael. 😉 I am just compelled to be a story teller & instructor. Story telling worked well when I taught graduate students for awhile. Some habits never die…

      • Yes! The love-bombing is a huge sign!

        I have personal experience with this – my ex moved waaay too quickly and wanted to commit and get married and all that within weeks. It seemed quick to me, but I was flattered, right? I was special, right? He luuuurrrved me sooo much, right? Wrong. My ex has a bad case of Borderline Personality Disorder (with narcissism thrown in, like BOGO). Untreated borderlines are self-destructive, moody, mean and will drag you down the longer you are with them.

        • “Untreated borderlines are self-destructive, moody, mean and will drag you down the longer you are with them”….so true! I also moved in with someone a month after dating and I was flattered that he was so attached to me and never wanted to be alone…Later, a month later I discovered he was cheating on his wife but I let him stay and we got married 4 years later. Twenty years later, he did the same to me…it didn´t matter that there was much more to loose (home, children..) He was always mad , moody and mean. And mine didn´t even have the other red flags yours has (unemployed, alcohol, etc) !! So please, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!

          • The biggest red flag? Knowing for sure someone is a cheater and taking up with her/him anyway. (Of course his cheating was all his sorry wife’s fault…NOT.) Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

        • This! Mr. Control-Issues was an expert love-bomber. He was so intensely interested in me, my hobbies, my family — I was so surprised and flattered, and I just ate it up. My friends knew what a nightmare my previous bf had been, so they kept telling me “you deserve a good guy”, and that’s what this new guy seemed to be. So when Mr. Control-Issues suddenly gave me the silent treatment one day (I asked him not to tell a sexist joke in front of me) I was so confused. He was adamant that I was at fault. I ended up apologizing, and we moved on. But it became a pattern: any time I tried to set a boundary or stand up for something it was silent treatment time. Anytime I made plans, he kept “adjusting” them until they were unrecognizable. I bought him gifts and dinners, he made me a “coupon” for going earring shopping. It took me NINE months of this to finally break up for good. And when I did, I realized that all his ex-wife’s “crazy” behavior had to be from putting up with him for 22 years!

          • After living through a horrific narcissist experience and analyzing this breed for years now, I find myself mesmerized by the George Clooney engagement debacle now playing out in the media. Maybe I have him pegged all wrong, but from my perspective, this guy has “narcissist” written all over him. My actual first thought when I read about this lovely woman who he’s so completely love-bombing was “OMG – I hope she sees the light before it’s too late!” Time will tell.

  • Well said CL. No self respecting GENTLEMAN no matter how poor lets her pay 90 % of the time Christ if I did that my mother would turn over in her grave come back slap me in the face, and the booze puuuhhlease he is a drunk and needs AA,, all the signs are there trust me on that one I know about those things 😉 He is sucking suds like that is a sure sign & not 1 but 2 DUI’s is MORE than enough proof for me he needs recovery . Slacker is too gentle of a word for this guy. I could go on & on CL hit it on the head.
    All of this shit is not just red flags they are giant flashing neon signs telling you to run for your life. Good luck 🙂

  • Yes, your intuition is working, Minnesota. Listen to it! This guy’s behavior will get WORSE, not better, if you move in with him.

    Protect yourself, and listen to your instincts. The writing is on the wall with this guy. Those warm fuzzy feelings you get when you’re with him are fleeting and won’t hold up once his abusive behaviors (already evident!) start to bloom.

  • GREAT post, Tracy. Brilliant!!!!

    Agreed. Some inner voice is telling Minnesota to get a reality check, and thankfully, she came here, and she is going to get it, in spades….

    I would just be so sad to see you in a year or two, writing to ChumpLady about the mess you are in now because you married this guy, and your life is a wreck, and you’re broke and lost your house, etc etc., and how you should have paid attention to those red flags in the first place…

    This guy is a pro, Minnesota. I am shuddering. I mean…he doesn’t offer anything financially, he has baggage from past relationships, he is a practicing addict, and worse, he doesn’t value or respect you enough to have meaningful discussions when you disagree on something – and it’s only three months! Like I said – he’s a pro, and he’s found a new mark….he is looking for a new place to land… Girl, your gut is working. Listen to it!

  • Please dear God, leave this man yesterday! Sorry, but the man is looking for a meal ticket and you are it! After three months, you should be finding out what his favorite movie is, not where you are going to buy a house for him. The love bombing, the cold shoulder during routine arguments? Danger Will Robinson, you’re in the presence of a narcissist of epic proportions. And guess what, drinking three tall boys in an hour with a history of drunk driving and losing employment because of excessive drinking means he’s an alcoholic. Why do I say that? Because it is clear he cannot control his drinking, even when he is supposed to be on his “best behavior.” Don’t believe me? Ask his “drama” filled X; I bet she can really color between the lines for you. As English Lady says, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN away from this user (don’t even get me started on the paying 90% of the time).

  • Minnesota,

    GET OUT NOW !!!

    I’d Almost BET this Guy has MORE than Just the ONE kid you Know of.

    He’s TROUBLE.

    Get Out Before You Wind Up Stuck with Him Cause HE gets YOU Pregnant.

    Guys like That Don’t Change..They get WORSE.. Ask How I Know….

    If He’s like this After 3 Months…He’ll be a terror after 6 months. Forget the Nightmare of Being Stuck with that Jerk for 18 YEARS.
    Yep..I BET he Works UNDER THE TABLE.. Running from Child Support..and I’m Sure the Authorities are Catching Up with He’s Looking to Move in with You to HIDE from Them.

    If His EX with the Kid IS crazzy, I Can GUARENTEE You, HE did ALOT of the Contributing to That.
    Having a child By An Emotionally and Financially abusive Asshole who Takes ZERO Responsibility for his OWN Shit in his Forties IS Maddening..
    Again Ask Me How I Know…

  • Run! Run like the wind!

    If you were to tell him you wanted to slow things down and just be friends for now, it would be very interesting to see his reaction – extreme love-bombing? rage? disappearing act? My guess is he would create some combination of these things mixed with a healthy dose of drama/poor me to hook you in to feeling sorry for him – possibly with something that he will try to convince you is your fault. Or he will NEED you to bail him out of something.

    No, don’t waste time with this. Better to just RUN! Run for your life!

  • OH-MY-WORD!!!
    Minnesota, RUN!! run and don’t ever look back. You just described my serial cheating ex! He is using you, that 90% you are paying now, that will turn into 1000%, and he wants you to move in because before you know it, you will also be paying utilities, repairs, even the mortgage for that house, along with food bill. You will find yourself paying for everything, I MEAN EVERYTHING! then on top of you paying for everything, he will start spending the money you earn as well, while whatever he makes, you will never see a penny of it, he will find excuses, many of them to why he cant contribute. He is a USER! he is trying to seal the deal and I can assure you, this guy has no problem a woman paying for everything and he will also cheat on you, if he is not already, MARK my words! Mine declared the 3rd week I was the ONE! Don’t be stupid and walk away, he doesn’t love you, you are his meal ticket, the next chump. Listen to your gut feeling, its warning you, If you don’t walk away now I promise you, you will regret it…

    • Hell, He’ll Eventually Guilt HER into paying HIS Child Support….

      I Know of an ASSHOLE Related to My Family by Sperm , Who Did THIS Very Thing to ONE of his EX Wives… You’ll NOTICE the Key Word There.. E X .

      • ABSOLUTELY BloomingRoseinWinter! my POS ex wanted his kids to move into my house as well, and said “you know how much I will save if they lived here with us?” let me get this, I was paying all the bills(well after all it was my house, so my bills you know) and feeding his ugly fucking face while he contributed shit, and I guess I was supposed to pay and feed his swine kids as well! The key word “I” he said.. Fuck I couldn’t stand his kids 3 weeks on summer vacation, where they would completely destroy my home,(imagine hoarders) his then 19 year old son was screaming like a banshee playing x-box live ALL NIGHT, TV’s on, computer on, lights on, making a mess everywhere, spilling cans of soda on the carpets, my sofas, then walking in on it all night long, then sleeping all day. He was so useless, he couldn’t even make (he was just a lazy bum) 3 minute microwave macaroni and cheese lol. I got no rest, no sleep, the mess was unreal and the manwhore wouldn’t help with anything. His own family didn’t even want his kids for one fucking night, geez I wonder why? and I was supposed to put up with it daily? NOPE, I told him end of the 3 weeks they better be leaving or suitcases will be on my driveway. Before the next summer they came back, I threw the manwhore out, got all my carpets changed, bought new sofas and those kids never put a foot in my house again. My word, I cant not believe in the amount of shit that I put up with, which I am still shaking my head to today…oh his kids told their mom the first time they were at my place, how well off that I was and she told him that and wanted more child support and poor sausage was telling me this, so I said did you tell her your child support has nothing to do with me? I mean really???? Oh when his kids came over that summer, they were all dying to come to my house, (missed the good food and everything else) and they pulled every trick in the book, doing the pity play, poor poor babies, but Nicolette was done with all of it, cry me a fucking river! while I enjoy my beautiful, peaceful, clean home, they can mooch off of each other, live in a dump and fuck off! good luck finding another chump!

  • Need to deploy the Goodyear blimp over her house with the big flashing sign ” RUN MINNESOTA RUN !!!”

  • He’s been telling you you’re ‘The One” from the second week?

    That kind of hard sell is pretty typical if you ask everybody chumped here.

    That and the 2nd wife being “in touch” (and I presume they have no kids), job losses, DUIs, etc… Sorry to say it, but sounds like you won the crap lottery or something.

  • Just as my name says, I’ve been there, done that. Get out now while you still have your sanity, which, from the sounds of your letter, you are slowly losing because you are doubting your feelings.

    My XH gave me a ring 3 weeks into the relationship that he stated he had made specifically for me. If I would have been less flattered and more aware I would have asked, how could you make a ring after only knowing me for 3 weeks? But I was stupid and didn’t follow my instincts. A couple weeks after that we were engaged. He wasn’t working at the time so my stipulation to get married was that he had to get a job. He did. But guess who had the house? I did. He moved in. The house he had was his because he did a contract for deed because, wait for it … he had declared bankruptcy and couldn’t get a loan. He signed the contract back over to the original owner. He couldn’t get any credit cards and was embroiled in court proceedings from people who had invested in his now defunct business and they wanted their money back.

    His 1st exwife was constantly after him for child support and his daughters wanted nothing to do with him (and he with them although that wasn’t the story he told at the time. “Their mother won’t let me see them.”) Had I cooled his heels (and mine) I would have seen all of this. But he moved FAST to get me down the aisle before I had time to think. 8 months into the relationship we were married. He was an alcoholic with a DUI from 20 years earlier, but he never drank because I didn’t drink. He jumped from job to job.

    10 years and 3 known cheats later, we divorced and it was battle royale because everything I had coming into the marriage, became marital property when we sold my house to buy OUR house. Nice sentiment, but ended up costing me a lot.

    Run, don’t walk. Extricate yourself from this guy. Stop being flattered and thinking with your heart. Use that head God gave you. If you are feeling the pea under the mattress, get out. Don’t ignore your feelings. They are working their hardest to get you out of this situation. There will be someone else who is worth YOU. This guy isn’t him.

    • Never believe the story “my ex-wife won’t let me see the kids” without a lot of digging. Yes, there are some women who do that. However, it can be a lie told by a controlling jerk whose kids aren’t willing to see Dad any more.

      I’m certain that’s the story my ex tells. Hell, he probably believes it. The man signed a affidavit listing all the times he saw the kids and claiming that I prevented visitation during the divorce. I DIDN’T, but the truth doesn’t really matter to people like that.

      • You know, No GOOD Woman Keeps a GOOD Man AWAY from HIS Kids…as There’s no REASON for it.

        If She IS INDEED Keeping him’s Because HE’S TOXIC / DANGEROUS.

        Single Mothers get NO Breaks…
        Most Single Mums would WELCOME the Breaks with a SMILE and THANK YOU…If he WERE DECENT.

        He’s NOT.

  • Minnesota,

    Plenty of issues here. The drinking, lack of work ethic, and financial dependency especially. You are a means to an end for him, and I don’t he cares if the end involves you. It’s OK to dump someone and it’s OK to be dumped if it’s the right thing to do.

  • Let me say that I am proud of myself for seeing the red flags and for now being able to see the ones I missed with the cheater. It’s only too late if I didn’t learn the lessons. Maybe that means my picker is getting better, but as one of my dearest young friends (age 23) said last night, “Get your whole life in order first.” And Tracy, I am so glad you posted Minnesota’s letter and offered a brilliant analysis of the red flags.

    • Count me as another who is glad CL posted this letter. I have learned so much since I started visiting this site…so much accumulated experience, so much collective wisdom here.

  • Oh how I wish I had noticed the red flags with my STBX and got out before I moved 3 hours away from all my family and friends to be with his alcoholic-under/unemployed-serial cheating-ass.

    Take this chance now, when you are only 3 months in, and end it now.

    I used to feel sorry for my STBX because his ex-wife would not let him see his step-daughter. Now, I think that she was protecting her child from his drinking and narcissistic personality. She was no angel, but she was smart enough to get out and move on.

    He used me for my steady, good paying job and my wealthy parents (who bailed us out three times when he was unemployed). Even after we separated I ended up paying out the cable/internet/phone bill so I could get my name off the account. I also ended up with more debt because his credit rating was so crappy we could not transfer credit cards into his name.

    Just leave.

  • “The question is, there’s something bugging me, like a pea under my mattress about this whole relationship.”

    I would like to challenge you. Anytime you feel “something bugging you” — whether you have hard evidence to back it up or not — just act on it. Trust yourself and act on it.
    Even if you had NOT described a single “red flag” (ex: drinking, mooching, ass-hole-ish behavior during disagreements, etc.), this one fact , the fact that “something is bugging you, like a pea under your mattress,” should be enough for you to walk away from the relationship and never look back. That “something” is your intuition. PAY ATTENTION TO IT. EVEN IF NONE OF THE OUTSIDE FACTS ALIGN WITH IT. I, too, had a career as a high-earning, successful, busy executive. I, too, suffer from anxiety. I’ll bet that much of your anxiety comes from you ignoring your inner voice, your intuition. Often times in the business world we are trained to look at the facts and only make decisions about the facts. Intuition is not a respected force. But when you ignore your inner voice, your soul, your intuition, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t go away. It has to fight harder for you to see the truth you already know. That “something” has to become louder for you to hear it. But still, you ignore it. So it has to start popping up in your dreams. Occupying your organs and making you feel sick, uneasy. The truth is, “facts” can be manipulated, omitted, etc. to make a certain situation look good (or bad). The other person can skew the facts for their gain. And we can skew the facts ourselves to fit with our fairy tale dream. Do yourself a favor. Don’t use outside “facts” to dissuade yourself from trusting your gut. Just look at how you minimized and excused your boyfriends CLEARLY UNNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR — it shows me that you are pulling a number on yourself. He is not even really being that sneaky in your case. He is giving you the GIFT of showing you glimpses of who he REALLY is. But YOU are making up bullshit excuses for him and also blaming yourself. I used to do the same thing!!!!! Many of these users are much more “slick” than your guy and say all the right things, etc,. and save the “red flags” until long after you are stuck. So you have to learn to also trust your gut so that you can feel the “vibe” whether or not they are showing their true selves. Also, As CL says, the gift of TIME can be very revealing. Another revealing thing to observe is when life “tests” the person with disagreements or crises. Last, a true responsible partner will not mind if you want to take your time, maintain your independence, maintain your home, your bank accounts, etc. even if a pre-nup is needed. Minnesota, you already KNOW the truth. You don’t need Chump Lady or citizens of Chump Nation to tell it to you. Let yourself feel your truth inside of you. You don’t have to know every detail to back it up. Relax and live with your truth and the facts will emerge in time. Give yourself permission to act on your intuition, not just with this STBX but in all areas of your life. You will be amazed at your accuracy.

    • ” Often times in the business world we are trained to look at the facts and only make decisions about the facts. Intuition is not a respected force..”

      If you are looking at the facts objectively and dispassionately, most of the time your gut WILL be screaming….

  • Listen to CL, she is wise.
    Listen to your gut… It’s rumbling, or you would not have written the letter.

  • Minnesota, I think you may be having a close encounter with the scam artist formerly known as my husband, aka Mr. Crazy-maker Extraordinaire.

    I urge you to listen to the little voice within, whatever it was that prompted you to send a letter to the CL. See the flags, read the warnings. If you choose not to RUN (and I join the chorus oadvising you do so) then please protect yourself…financially, use birth control, guard your car keys, monitor your home and accounts so you don’t fall prey to a neat little phenomenon known as “domestic theft”. Read Melodie Beattie’s book “Co-Dependent No More”.

    If you’re still unsure about staying in this relationship, hit an Al-Anon meeting and listen to the experiences shared there, and the wisdom, which, as Helen Reddy would have said, is wisdom born of pain.

    Infidelity is awful. Infidelity combined with the chaos and pain caused by life with an addict/alcoholic/user is exponentially worse.

    • BTW – I don’t intend to sound like a competitor in the Pain Olympics. Everyone here has their own version of what is the worst. Just really want to underscore how difficult it is to live with someone who is active in their addiction/alcoholism. It is a Major League suck fest.

  • Minnesota, I would leave this guy in a heartbeat! Don’t fall for the illusion, we all see the red flags ChumpLady mentioned.

    I hope you can meet a decent guy later!

  • RUN! So much of what you’re saying sounds like my ex who is an alcoholic. They will lie thru their teeth to tell you what you want to hear. People don’t change. If he’s moody and non communicative now he’ll be that way after you are married. There’s a reason he doesn’t get along with his childs’ mother or his ex-wife, and of course they always blame the other person. My advice, RUN the other way as fast as you can!!!!!

  • I had lots of uneasy feelings about my exH too – but I was 31 and really wanted to get married and have a family…sigh. Recipe for a train wreck.

    Three other comments – try to ask him if he would ever be comfortable NOT drinking for a month. I love a glass of wine or a fun frozen drink, but if you told me “no alcohol” for a month, it wouldn’t be a big deal (I probably do that anyways without even realizing it). Watch his reaction. I was “single parent buddies” with a nice enough guy a few years ago, but he drank lots of craft beer. Never saw him drunk, but always had at least two beers in the few hours we’d be hanging out. So I asked him once what his life would be like without alchohol, and he said, very honestly, that he enjoyed drinking several beers every day, and that would not be an option. We remained friends, but that was a red flag for me, as I have dealt up close with an addict in the family.

    Also, you have time! Beware of moving too fast. My awesome therapist, when I first asked about dating, said a MINIMUM of one year before any moving in/engagement; especially for those of us with less-than-perfect pickers. Two years if it’s a long distance thing.

    Oh, and I’m friends now with a single dad; considering developing into more. He has a very low paying job after being down-sized 2 years ago. He still pays support every month for his daughter, and will not allow me to pay for anything. When I offered to pick up a tab once when we all went to lunch (our daughters are friends), he only agreed if I let him do a couple hours of handy-guy-fixing stuff around our house. That’s reciprocal (IMO) and that’s a decent sign if someone doesn’t have income, but isn’t a mooch by nature. Still being VERY careful, and so is he. I like that.

    • The only part of this I disagree with … don’t ask him to give up alcohol. Don’t ask him anything except to leave. You don’t need this grief in your life and anyone can give up anything for a month, even two, if the pay off is big enough. And, you as payoff, is big enough.

    • Just to clarify – I also believe Minnesota should run fast and far…but I was given that advice too, and certainly didn’t heed it (and ended up here) so…

      These tips were in the event Minnesota wasn’t quite ready to go, and still needed some convincing that the prince isn’t really charming. 🙂

      • We were all given that advice. My sister told me that “Prince Charming” was moving much too fast and that I should slow things down to see exactly who he was. Did I listen? Nooooo. But, I didn’t go looking for advice either. She gave it freely. I believe there to be hope for Minnesota because she is looking for someone to verify what she is feeling and every one of us is verifying that feeling for her. I just hope she chooses to listen because she still has that choice without losing her sanity or everything that she has worked so hard to have. Are you listening Minnesota??? We are all screaming at the top of our lungs. Do you hear us????

        • Yes, I’m listening. I’ve read these posts over and over. I am utterly speechless and in shock. It’s all resonating with me. I need to break it off and run away. I am in love with an illusion. So sad. It was all made up. He told me so many times “you’re the one” and “I’ve never loved anyone like this before”. I started to believe it too for how I felt about him.

          I didn’t sleep last night, layed there thinking and thinking trying to make sense of how this happened and what I didn’t see and what I should have seen. I know its impossible to make something rational out of irrational behavior. My brain hurts, my chest hurts and my stomach hurts. I feel drained of energy.

          I know I will miss him a lot, or the illusion, But I’m sure he’ll be on his way to another soon enough. He’s a cad.

          • You’ll miss the illusion, but that’s all it was. And it was only 3 months. You’ve got little sunk costs other than the fantasy you thought it was. Don’t stick around for REAL sunk costs, please. You’ll grieve and get over it — therapy will help. The real insight will come when you figure out why you invested so deeply in a guy who gave so little in return. (In actions, sounds like he talks a good game.)

            Focus on you, forget him. Just go cold turkey, IMO. Dump.

          • good and don’t back down. Do you know how many times I heard that “you are the one, I have never loved anyone like this before, I never felt like this for anyone before, you are my one and only, I never had this connection with anyone, I love you, I am crazy about you” and I can go on and on. This guy is a liar and a con artist, don’t pay attention to anything that he says, they are just words to suck you in. Listen to your gut feeling, listen to us. We all have been there. A real, good, decent man with integrity will not let a woman pick up the check and be so comfortable about it.

            The 2nd ex-wife he keeps in contact? well I bet he is probably having sex with her and you are the next sucker in training. The story he is feeding you about the 2nd one, it doesn’t even make sense, he told you she left because she didn’t want to be a stepmom, yet she helped him to raise the boy and yet she wants to make sure he’s doing alright and cares about his son, that’s why she calls, contradictions anyone?!?

            Of course you guys have fun, on “your dime”! but when its his turn to pay for anything he is a cheap motherfucker, think about it..he is frugal when the money comes out of his pocket but pretty easy with, eating out etc. when it’s your money.

            And here is a guy who told you “you are the one” on second week of dating, yet 4 weeks later, on your birthday he gets you nothing! and he didn’t even make an effort to see you on your birthday, BUT he bought something for his brother for his birthday, but not for the woman he so claims to love, “ for the one”..NOW is this the actions of a man who loves a woman? NOPE! if you truly were the one and if he truly loved you, he would’ve moved heaven and earth to be with you on your birthday and would’ve got some kind of gift, his love is in his words, which is crock of shit! You know what he REALLY loves? get to dine out and someone else paying the bill! My ex cheater loved me to death,(and he was also cheating) as long as I was footing up the bill for everything and when I stopped paying, those I love you’s, calling me nonstop came to a halt and only time I would hear him say those “I love you’s” when he wanted something, free food, sex etc. and I knew it. He still continued coming around, hoping and tried to sucker me back in, because he couldn’t find another chump to mooch off of and I am sure the sick bastard misses the days when he was eating at expensive restaurants, running up the tab like there was no tomorrow, plus not paying a dime for anything, including the food he ate at my house. He was living the good life and was loving it! When I stopped he started to steal stuff from my house when he came around, treated my home like free shopping center and played the poor misunderstood man so I will feel sorry for him, and he always played the poor, good, broke guy, in reality fuckface was making much more money than I was! That guy is just like my ex, as long as he gets others to pay he would be witty, sweet, funny, charming, loving! HE IS A USER!! And I am sure he has bigger plans, like suckering more money out of you, your house or whatever else you got! Consider yourself lucky it’s been only 3 months, not 3 years, not 10, not 20! Count your blessings!! Walk away and I know it will hurt but you need to go NO CONTACT! Because con artists like that are good at manipulating and make you second guess yourself.

            Introspection and distance provides invaluable clarity. In time you will realize you dodged a bullet!!

  • Run….run like the wind! Don’t even think about looking back……
    The Red flags are glaring, but I think you already knew that!

  • Oh. My. God. Is this email for real?? There are so many reasons to have already started running and screaming in the other direction from this asshole. And she’s only 3 months in?? These aren’t red flags — these are sirens going off! You know, the kind that they sound when tornadoes are thundering toward us. Just taking any one of these alone – completely apart from the others – is monumental. So much so that I don’t even know where to start commenting on what a freak this guy is.

    Look, we’ve all been chumped. That’s why we’re here. But as CL says, after two divorces already under your belt, at what point do you start to protect yourself and draw some very serious boundaries in relationships? I think we all get how charming these people are and how SPECIAL they make us feel – in the beginning when they’re casting their spells. But for God’s sake, please don’t fall in love with his illusion. Because that’s all it ever is – one giant mindfuck until he has total control and then the hell begins. Actually, the hell has already begun in this r/s. Love and kindness don’t EVER consist of blame-shifting and silent treatments.

    I’m so sorry that you find yourself in this confusion Minnesota but save yourself NOW, while your mind is still somewhat functioning. Three months will be a lot easier to recover from than three YEARS!

  • If this man isn’t Passive Aggressive then I don’t know PA behavior…and since I’ve been married to one for almost 30 yrs, TRUST ME, I KNOW passive aggressive behavior!
    Never being wrong, always blaming others for their trouble, sulkiness and silence for days after a disagreement, not holding down a job, ( have to say though, my H is a rare PA he actually likes to work…He uses it as an escape!) Charming in the beginning of the relationship, Mr. Nice Guy….Oh yes, this guy is a flaming PA!
    Run Minnesota….RUN!!!!!!
    They are not called the Crazymakers for nothing!! RUN hard and fast and DO NOT look back!!
    And then get yourself into counseling to figure out why you’d even give this guy a chance!!

  • OMG, Minnesota, you are exactly the sort of woman my ex is looking for. Someone he can dazzle with pretty words and sparkly glitter while he uses her for $$$$, all the while cheating and betraying her. I would almost guarantee that your boyfriend is cheating on you, because a guy who is that much of a loser and a user generally is also a cheater.

    PLEASE run from this guy before he pulls you in deeper. He is a mooch, a user, a loser and has some drinking problems to boot. I don’t care WHAT sort of pretty words he offers up to keep you in his web, he is PURE POISON. Although all the details are different, your letter reminded me so much of my ex. Run, Minnesota, run, and save yourself, because this guy is BAD NEWS.

  • If you have to ask by laying out a case, you know the answer. In this economy, some men who are under or unemployed are having difficulty dating, so I think it is acceptable to pay for some dates. The key here is “90 percent”. A relationship requires participation by both member who give and take. Ninety percent is a lot of taking.

    I went out with a man once who had a great motorcycle but a crazy ex-wife and a crazy ex-fiance. The one thing these crazy women had in common was him. Another was once married to a woman to whom he lovingly referred to as “Nurse Ratchet.” He was underemployed and wanted me to come over for dinner one night. . . As soon as he moved out his bipolar “ex-girlfriend”. He could not understand why I was not giving “us” a chance*. Just giving a flavor how crazy in some cases is projection.

    The “I love you” thing is ridiculous. You are not Tristan and Isolde. You are an adult executive. Use your boardroom reason and logic. Do you believe in love after two months? I don’t. I believe in sociopaths. See Love Fraud.

    *I never went out with him again and trust me, there was no hanky-panky over a crisp designer beer.

    • * Shudders*
      YEP… Look at the COMMON Factor there. HIM.

      We definitely Need to put in More Effort choosing a MATE than we Do Choosing our Mode of Transportation.

      • Although I soundly warded off Mr. Nurse Ratchet and subsequent ill-suited suitors, such as the alien who was living in a motel and told me I spent too much time with my dying cat, sadly, I met my husband a short-time later and we married not long after that.

        Two month of dating for “I love you”? I’ve heard that.

  • Dear Minnesota:

    RUN RUN RUN!!!!! You’ve answered your own questions. Never ignore your gut feelings.


  • OMG, Dr. ICBIAC, this sentence of yours stopped my heart for a moment:
    “I went out with a man once who had a great motorcycle but a crazy ex-wife and a crazy ex-fiance. The one thing these crazy women had in common was him.”

    Sounds like you dated my ex-faux-fiance (he actually faked buying an engagement ring, if you can believe it) in Matthews NC.

    Minnesota — I got similar red flags to yours and didn’t run soon enough. “Dodged Bullet” for my moniker is actually more wishful thinking than truth. “SurvivingtheBullet” would be more accurate. In a word, girlfriend: RUN! You know you need to, now do it!

  • good post, Tracy. There are quirks and annoying habits and there are RED flags. My ex always pointed out my endless sarcasm and penchant for expensive things (that Ive paid for myself, thank you), my dislike for his family, my parenting style. All tolerable and subject to compromise, me thinks. He, on the other hand, has the ability to fuck around and hire prostitutes without batting an eyelash, and that is a totally different animal.

    • If He’s Still Attached at the Umbilical Cord…You WILL Be Marrying his Family… NEVER to be Rid of Them..By Then Their Crazzzy has Already Infected You. Believe It.

      Thank your Lucky Stars to be Rid of Him.

      Not Liking his Family of Origin is a BIG Red Flag… Unless he of course is Smart Enough to Realize they’re Fucked in The Head and Went as No Contact as Possible BEFORE Getting with you.

      • BloomingRoseinWinter, I am thankful everyday that I didn’t marry the fucker and I am thankful everyday that I don’t have to deal with him nor his family anymore as well! Man I dodged a bullet!!!!!

  • Dear Minnesota:

    Everyone else has said run. CL has done an excellent analysis of why those are not just red flags, but rockets shooting off into the air.

    I have a different piece of advice: get into therapy for your picker.

    Back in my early 20s, long before STBX came into my life, I remember meeting a few people who were on Marriage #3. Unless they’d been in therapy, they ended up divorcing again. There’s lots of divorce out there. And while 30% of all divorces involve infidelity, 70% of the time there are other issues underlying the divorce. In other words, divorce happens. Everyone’s entitled to one free shot at marriage.

    If your second marriage doesn’t work out, then you need to work on yourself. Something in your psyche is influencing you to make bad decisions about your partner. You have to spend time working through that or you have a high risk of landing in a bad relationship a third time.

    This boyfriend sounds like the third time in a bad relationship. Get thee into therapy! Work on that picker!

    There will be someone out there for you, but right now, it’s time to focus on you. 🙂

        • I’ve been thinking the same thing. If Minnesota has had two divorces already…I wonder if this guy is similar in any way to the husbands….or what the dynamic was for YOU in all of these relationships…and you know, unless we examine ourselves and all that, we are doomed to repeat our past mistakes….

          I have to say, I relate to wishing I had heeded the red flags, my gut, and a million pieces of advice from well meaning friends…because I knew my ex was damaged goods right away. I thought it was a self esteem thing, that if I loved him enough, was loyal enough, stuck by him no matter how awful he behaved, he’d come around. That love would heal what was wrong with him. Over 30 years later, he is exactly the same person, who thinks he’s perfect the way he is – and our entire life and family together has been erased from his memory as he moved on to the final AP…so yeah. Heed the red flags. Nothing will change from what you are already experienced and what you are seeing. And he’s so full of himself, Minnesota, that he is telling you all this stuff about himself, without thinking that you will see these as cautionary tales! He’s not respecting that you are intelligent enough to figure this out…so he is already showing contempt for you. Ugh. Fix your picker, hon. You’re on your way!

  • Dear Minnesota,

    Please, I implore you, walk….no, RUN away!

    I’ve been through, and have the credit report to prove it, ‘this guy.’ Wonderful, sweet, kind, intelligent, great sense of humor, successful business owner, Ithought he was perfect for me–until I married him.

    Shortly after marrying, it became clearer and clearer that I was sold a bill of rotten goods. The successful business owner didn’t seem to have a lot of work, his income barely paid his business expenses, and he sure didn’t seem very keen on soliciting new clients and flat-out refused to consider getting a traditional job. Then there were the bills. Being the lazy jackass he was, he was more than content to let me manage the daily/monthly financials, which involved opening the bills as they came in. He had 3 or 4 credit cards, all maxxed out. A huge tax bill came from his ex-wife (that was his obligation to pay)…funny how he never mentioned his debt before we married, and I was too stupid and polite to ask. I paid all these off, mostly because I was worried that being married to him, his debt could put my assets at risk.

    Assets? Oh yeah, I had them. A nice house in a nice neighborhood, half paid off. A nice car, a savings account. I was duped into financing a very large ticket item because, as he said, “the bank is more likely to finance it in your name alone because you have a house and savings.” In addition, he constantly pushed me to refinance my house “to get a better interest rate” and add him as a cardholder on my American Express account. Thank god I didn’t do either.

    That’s just the money. He refused to do much of anything around the house. The only time he mowed the yard in 5 years was within the first couple of weeks, and only because the riding mower was a novelty. Anytime I asked for help, all I got was him saying my kids should have chores. They did already. He couldn’t even be bothered to carry his clean and folded clothes upstairs to put away.

    After 6 months, I knew without a doubt I’d done the stupidest thing I’d ever done. After another 2 1/2 years of trying to make it work, trying to be his momma, business manager, working nearly full-time in his business and carrying all the load of the house and yard work, I decided it was time to get rid of him before I had to sell or refinance my house just to keep paying for the lifestyle he thought he deserved. It took me another 2 years to get him out, because he refused to leave “unless I had him evicted.” He began to follow me around the house in scream-fests, he became a bully I was afraid might snap if I pushed him too far. I hid his guns and ammunition. Eventually, he did snap and got physical, and when the police arrived, he said HE was the one who was afraid I might get violent.

    Luckily for me, he had a moment of actual remorse and agreed to move out. Never mind that it was 3 weeks before Christmas, most of the communal money was in his company account and I only had a few hundred dollars to my name; I was glad to have him gone. He spent the next 9 months begging me to take him back, crying fake tears and telling me he was a changed man. When that didn’t work, he told me 2 weeks before our final divorce court date, he once again begged for me to take him back, and when I refused, he told me he was going to ask for half of my house. Only by bluffing and telling him I was going to sue for every dime I’d paid to get him out of pre-marital debt, that I’d sue for half his business and for 5 years of wages, did I get him to back down. Nonetheless, I was on the hook for every bill and loan taken out during our marriage because he’d so cleverly gotten me to put it all in my name.

    A few months later, the man who couldn’t live without me told me he was getting remarried. If ever there was a doubt that he was only looking for a sugar momma and someone else who would do all the hard work in life, when he told me, his exact words were: “She makes a good living, she could support both of us if needed, she owns her own condo, and her family is rich.”

    I’ve worked my ass off to get out of the financial mess he left me in, and have been pretty successful at it, but I’d never, ever wish that on anyone.

    Personally, in addition to running, I suggest you change your locks all your passwords and your phone number, because trust me, he’s a crook looking for a victim.

    • And if you don’t believe any of this and need proof positive that he’s scum, just tell him you want to see his credit report, you want a contract for financial equity when you move in, that your home’s proceeds will go into a trust in your name only, and you will both agree to live on a 50-50 basis–that is within the means that can be had by your matching his income, that your excess income will also go into your trust, which he has no rights to.

      Oh. And if him having a hissy fit doesn’t convince you, please don’t tell him you’re making out a new will naming him as a beneficiary or get a life insurance policy.

      • Champ, that’s one hell of a horror story. I wish all women could read it before they embark on a relationship. It might open some eyes.

        SO sorry this happened to you…

      • Belated thanks, all… fried my computer today (whoo-hoo, new computer!!), so haven’t had the chance to be online for several hours. Please let me reassure you that life is good these days. I own my own business now, work too many hours, but love what I do, and am excited to go to work every day.

        Besides learning a great lesson, the best thing I did was to let it go. I didn’t forget (or even forgive), but I have a “what’s done is done” attitude. Being angry will not change anything, and only drag me down. I find satisfaction in knowing I live a happier life than he is or ever will be.

    • my serial cheating POS ex kept pushing me for marriage, wanted me to put his name on my bank account, make him beneficiary to everything that I own, I have 2 kids, why the fuck would I put his name on anything?!?! and this was coming from a guy who couldn’t even buy a gallon of milk, contribute a penny to anything, because he was soooooo broke, his ex-wife and his kids were draining him financially every month, blah blah and I was stupid enough to pay for everything and feeding his ugly face everyday, BUT I wasn’t stupid enough to put his name on to anything, specially my bank account, otherwise fuckface would’ve been laughing all the way to the bank! Honestly, why would I put a mans name on my bank account when he couldn’t/wouldn’t contribute a penny to anything? So he can also drain my bank account and have spending money on top of everything? and he had a full time fucking job as in manager position, boy what a chump that I was! When I threw him out he and his family tried to tell me, it doesn’t matter who bought or paid for anything, after certain years everything is 50/50. HA! How convenient for the fuckers! He and his fucktard family actually thought they could take half of everything that I own, including my paid off house, which I put thousands of dollars in it and my expensive furnishings, all the way to my jewelry that I had before I even met the loser on top of all their free loading. Poor poor fuckers, their dreams were shattered!! SMH…

      • and my two cents?

        do not co-mingle inheritances….I am in a community property state, and bc my financial advisor put my inheritance in my name only when mom died, and I did not co-mingle it, I was able to leave the marriage without splitting that. Has made the difference on the way to the new life…

        Twenty five years ago we had to pay off the land contract on the house that he had bought with his first wife. When they split, he got the house, she got the kid, basically. We had to pay off the land contract, get traditional mortgage, etc. When it came time to sign the deed, he almost hesitated and tried to convince me and the attorney to have it be in his name only. Even during those love bombing years, I said, my name is on the note, but not on the deed? I don’t think so! And that came in real handy when we split – he actually told his lawyer it WAS in his name only, even after we sent them copy of the deed. Very delusional guy…he also thought he’d get the house because he bought it with first wife. Sheez. Kinda slow on the uptake….at any rate, even though I had to pay a third of the mortgage to get him off the deed, the house is mine, inheritance intact, and at 63 years old, he owns no home and is shacking up with the girlfriend. Pathetic.

        • Smart move Jerseygirl!

          Exactly, do not mingle inheritances and never put their name on anything they never helped/paid anything towards it, there are too many takers out there, who will lie through their teeth and even wait years just to get what you have.

  • RUN. Don’t bother testing him or giving him chances to improve or talking to his exes. You know what he is. A user.

    He’s in “love” with you because you are his soft place to land, his next benefactor. You are OF USE TO HIM.

    You mention that you do not have children. Ask yourself this. Do you want to be a mother to an over 40 year old, mean, passive aggressive, alcohol addicted child? Because if you move in with him, that’s what will happen. You will run yourself ragged supporting him emotionally and financially while cleaning up all the messes his drinking and poor communication with his ExW creates – and what will you get for your troubles? Nothing but resentment.


  • Here’s the worst red flag for me:
    “Well, he has been telling me since our second week of dating that I’m The One. He’s now asking me to move in with him. I would keep my house and my sister would live in it for a while, then eventually I would sell my house, then we would buy a house closer to the city together. He is very excited about me moving in.

    1). He’s been telling you since the SECOND WEEK of dating that you’re the one? Really?!
    NOBODY can determine that another person is THE ONE in the second week. If they can, they’re idiotic. And they are devious. This man has led a life that renders him incapable of earned these things on his own. I suspect he looks for women who can give him the life he feels he deserves because let’s face it, working as a alcoholic bartender (Service Industry so I’m guessing) who has a reputation as a drunk probably doesn’t have the credit score necessary to get his own crib. Surprise! You do.

    2). He wants you to move in and eventually sell your house and you’d get a place with him in the city together? You know why right? Because he can’t do it on his own. Of course he’s excited about you moving in . . . you pay 90% of everything right off the bat.

    3). Also, be careful of people who rip on their ex’s. This is a biggie for me. My X-husband always bad-mouthed his ex. Turns out, there’s nothing wrong with her, he was, and continues to be, the asshole

    4). “He doesn’t think he’s to blame ever and doesn’t understand that how he treats me during/after a fight is more damaging than what we even fought about.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, he understands PERFECTLY as to what he’s doing. This shit has worked for him before.

    I really, really hope you fire this idiot . . . STAT.

    • Once they are married and buy a house together, it becomes community property in most states and he gets half of it, no matter whose money pays for it. Sounds like this fellow knows his way around a scam or two.

  • *list of EGREGIOUS behaviors*

    “All of which PALES in comparison to the FACT that That Man has sailed away with My Ship!”

    (Tip o’ the hat to Captain Jack Sparrow for his uncanny ability to surmise & sum up any situation.)

    The crux of the matter, I think, is that the said *list of EGREGIOUS behaviors* pales in comparison to

    Your Heart is Your Ship.
    This Man had sailed away with it.

    In this game, HEARTS trump.
    MAKES me
    I feel. I felt.
    He made me feel.

    Your Heart, and everything attached to it tells you it that that feeling can’t be wrong.
    It is heady & powerful.
    And easily trumps all of those back-of-the-neck-hair-raising-fingers-icy-heart-pounding-shallow-breathing-panic-attack-inducing items on your List of Egregious Behaviors (that you know of).

    Your feelings are yours. Cherish them. Thank them. For they have shown you LIMERANCE.

    Limerance is the Spark, Sparkle, Silly Little Sister of Love. Constantly mistaken for LOVE.
    Don’t make that mistake.

    You’ve stayed too long at the fair.
    I think I hear your Mother calling you now. You really must go. It’s been lovely, yes. But, yes, no.
    Mother! Help me!

    Extrication. From quicksand. How?
    (Chump Lady, a little help here! We need a “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover” for chumps post!)

    The only unarguable point is your feelings. My feelings have changed. Check the “Emotional Weather Report” for a slow moving Cold Front. Or better yet, a BLUE NORTHER! They’re a Texas thing, but Minnesota, I suspect you already know a thing or two about how to handle a cold spell.
    Observe the signs. Dress accordingly.
    Exit on The Wind. Fare Well.


    PS: Find a truly private place. Read your letter to Chump Lady fully out loud. Notice what happens. Begins to happen.

    Sparkles tarnish.
    “Always Keep A Diamond In Your Mind”.

  • This letter from Minnesota almost sounds made up to me. I mean really? Could anyone really be so hungry for love that they’d think this guy was Prince Charming? It sounds like he has more baggage than the airport.
    Although the OW in the break up in my marriage was just as dumb. She knew my X three months and refinanced her house so she could pay off our debts. He turned into a giant drunk and cheats on her any chance he gets and she stays. He does however have a job.

    I just don’t get how someone could think so poorly of themselves that they think this is acceptable behavior. Talk about spackling! They will a drum of the stuff.

  • If you have to write to CL to get confirmation this guy is a wingnut, you’ve already answered your own question. Change your phone number and RUN from this loser. He may “act” nice, but his behavior says otherwise, as well as a million other warnings.

  • When you start out paying 90% of the time, you finish paying 100% of the time.

    It’s called a “Sugar Mama.”

    Which means he can’t afford you, Minnesota. Just like he couldn’t he afford his previous two “you’re the one’s.”

    RUN – to not walk – to the nearest exit. He’s looking for a lifestyle upgrade and has chosen YOU to finance it.

    Hear that sound?

    It’s wife #2 running away from her mortgage in order to get away from him. I’d be calling her, like – YESTERDAY – to find out what THAT was all about.

    Because most sane women don’t ruin their credit for kicks, Minnesota. There HAS to be a reason she left. Find out what it is, and you’ll know everything you need to know about this guy…

  • I am the Chump in Training from Minnesota who’s letter was published this morning. WOW. I am sitting here crying so hard I can barely type, but need to respond to all of you who are helping me see the light.

    – My #1 marriage was to a drunk and #2 left me for someone else. That was 15 years ago, so I guess I haven’t learned a lesson yet.
    – He says he pays his ex $650 for child support. But how do I know?
    – How hard is it to communicate what time he would be picking up or dropping off the boy?? I told him that’s not respectful and to at least text her. He won’t do it.
    – He told me when they were married he hated her but no one in his family ever got a divorced so he thought he was supposed to stick it out. He finally left when he couldn’t take her yelling and screaming anymore. (I can see some of it, but it takes two?)
    – It is odd he has conversation with # 2, but he hasn’t said anything negative about her other than she left and said she decided “she didn’t want to be a stepmother and live an hour north of the cities anymore”. Hmmm, she knew that 5 years prior when they married. Just odd again. I don’t know what they talk about, he said “they were close once”, well she WALKED out and left him with a big loss on the house. She bought a new house 2 months after leaving, she was never coming back. He told me they went to counseling to discuss their “disconnect” for a few months before divorcing. Odd again. I don’t know what to think or believe. And no I won’t contact her or #1, I won’t demean myself further. I did see some of the texts (yes I looked, demeaned myself) and they were pretty inert, like super surfacey, like why even bother. He thinks she feels guilty and just wants to make sure he’s doing alright and cares about his son “who she helped raise”. WTF, she left! HE refuses to tell her to stop contacting him, he will just not respond to her if she calls, since I had a “conniption” about all of it. Huh?
    – He met and started dating #2 not long after leaving #1, and the day the divorce was final he and soon to be #2 went to Jamaica. She bought a house in his area and she left it when she left. He said they lost their ass on it. I asked if there was a loan and who paid that off, he said “does it really matter? It was equity.”
    – I asked point blank about debt; no credit cards or loans. After he lost his ass on the house his parents bought the $175K house he’s in now, so no mortgage, just taxes. He didn’t have a job so there’s no way he could get a mortage he said.
    – I guess I decided to write the letter due to the time we had a disagreement and he refused to discuss it. Just kept saying “go to sleep” and refused to talk, it was 10pm! I was crying and he didn’t care. And then gave me the silent treatment the next day and kept saying “I’m just driving and listening to the radio” when I was so anxious about what was going on. He did say “well now you’ll know what happens when you disagree”. WTF, was he serious or just kidding? Who says that? He was punishing me and controlling the situation. OMG. I could just cry more.
    – He is educated. Worked in the food and beverage service industry. And yes, did some part time bartending. He has always been in sales and is always “selling”. When we go out to eat, yes on my dime, he always chats up the server or bartender and asks questions about their food services like he knows something, he hasn’t been able to get back in the industry for 2 years. And if he is that good of a sales guy, why can’t he get a job?? He sure is good at selling me.
    – He has been patient, kind and helpful to me. I have anxiety (take Lexapro) and he has been supportive of that. I am tall, attractive, educated, and go to church. He says I’m a great catch and very classy.
    – He is very handsome and dashing, witty, sweet, funny. I’ve never had so much fun, of course all on my dime.
    – Then at the same time he’s super frugal, saves $30 grocery shopping.
    – He’s strict with his son, since he says his mother doesn’t care about manners and responsibilities, which I can see. But sometimes I think he is a dick to the kid. However, whenever he has the child, He tries to come up with ways to entertain him versus giving him some chores. The poor child has no structure or duties. I have mentioned, he is open to what I say, but not sure how much. I don’t have children because I can’t have any, it wasn’t by choice.
    – I do see that I must have some self doubt or confidence issue to not see this crap earlier. So for all of you — I set up a therapist appointment this afternoon for the end of the week!! He must have seen this in me and has been preying on it.
    – One LAST thing that has stung. We were dating 6 weeks when my 45th birthday came up on a Thursday. No, he didn’t even try to switch nights seeing his son to see me (they both switch nights sometimes so no biggie to do that). No, he didn’t do anything for me on Friday when we got together. NO I didn’t get a card. NO I didn’t get flowers, but got them on Saturday when I said how hurt I was that a new BF wouldn’t do something for my birthday. Here’s his answer … wait for it … “I’m not big into birthdays, his or anyone else’s.” WTF WTF WTF. But he bought his brother a $30 sweatshirt for his birthday 2 weeks ago. I asked if he didn’t celebrate other ladies birthdays, he said “yep”.
    He got me flowers a couple weeks later again and I’ve not received anything else from him. Except a bottle of wine when they were on sale when he was getting a case of tall cans of Corona. He has made me dinner 3-4 times, a couple of those were simple.

    Just shoot me.
    Thank you all for your support and continued responses. I can’t be with this man, and will need all of you to keep kicking my ass so I stay true and not see him anymore. You all know how engaging and intoxicating this can be.

    Stupid in Minnesota

    • Wow. From your second letter, it’s even worse than I thought. And even more clear. You will NEVER be happy with this man. What he’s doing and saying is HORRIBLE. You’re not stupid, Minnesota, you’re just working up the nerve to do what you know you have to do. That’s why you wrote to CL in the first place. Which was very smart.

      • Agreed, and I especially find concern that he said you are a “classy lady and a great catch.” This means he is on a fishing expedition, with the ultimate goal of raising his social status. No man of the same social class as you would ever use that term. Minnesota, you are an intelligent, accomplished woman, and you deserve someone of the same caliber.

      • agreed. When my ex cheater pants said “you are a classy lady and a great catch.” I took that as a compliment unfortunately, not as a red flag because I was told that many times by others. However my ex later admitted towards the end, more likely it slipped, he said when he saw me at first ” You weren’t just beautiful, classy and very attractive, I could also tell you were very well off.” MF!

        • Now I’M crying!

          The part where he didn’t want to talk to you, turned his back on you? oh, man. I KNOW exactly how painful that is. It’s how my ex kept me in line…that is abuse, straight up. And MN, my ex was very handsome, too, and could/can turn on the old charisma when he wants to. It’s all manipulations. It’s a game to them. And you are easy pickins – or at least, he’s pulling out the stops.

          But I feel sooo sad for you. This IS way worse than your first letter, and it’s good to hear from you now after all the advice…it might take a minute to get disentangled, but go in that direction, rather than try to figure out how you can make it work. It just won’t, honey. He’s really not a very nice person, all in all. You’re trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness. Snap out of it! hugs OOOO

          • When they are hot and charming, they are manipulating you, when they are cold they are showing you their true colors, my 2 cents…

    • Dear NOT Stupid in Minnesota,

      He’s right about one thing–you ARE a great catch. You deserve better than this jackass. Dump him and make the appointment with a counselor.

    • Minnesota — I’m so glad you’re going to a therapist — just print out this letter and that ought to get the conversation started!

      Please dump this guy ASAP. You’re right, you can’t be with this man child (mooch child?) You just listed MORE red flags — you’re the “one” but he doesn’t remember your birthday? Gee, it’s really special to be the “one” in his world. Benefits include paying your own way and celebrating your birthday alone. Geez…

      And he’s already introduced his kid to you??? At 3 months??? Also sounds like wife #2 was the other woman, which may be why he’s still in touch — looking for her to play hypotenuse again in his triangle, or for all you know, you’re the hypotenuse in their triangle.

      Anyway, please listen to this chorus of chumps — this guy is BAD NEWS. You’re not losing anything by dumping him except a fantasy of what you though it Could Be. What it IS is fucked up.

      Go be good to yourself and work on that picker in therapy. Something tells me you need to unpack marriages 1 and 2 to losers. Good people exist, you just have to know that you’re worthy of them and not be afraid to set boundaries. Here’s some good practice — dump this creep. Change your number and BLOCK. Freaks like this tend to be persistent when they sense a chump is running away. Good meal tickets are hard to come by. No doubt he’ll be “selling” himself again soon.

      • Thank you so much CL!

        Oh yes, I met his 10 year old son after 2 weeks, and have seen him weekly since. I go up to his place on Thurs or Fri and stay until late Sunday afternoon. His son usually has one overnight in there.

        Get this, we go to his small church every Sunday. And he used to go by himself. He tells me how great and new it is for him to have a relationship where faith is involved. But we don’t really talk about it.

        Then after church we usually go out to brunch, the three of us, and you got it, I paid. I have to admit he most always thanked me for lunch, supper, etc. But there were a few times he would say “got your card” if I wasn’t fast enough.

        Now that I remembered the birthday, I’m sad. He did text happy birthday that morning! Woo hoo such effort. Gosh I was naive, it was all in my head.

    • He is a liar and he is a con artist. I don’t believe a word of his stories about either of his wives, about the house, about any of it. The only truth I see in him is his threat that “now you know what will happen” if you dare to disagree or displease him.

      He’s all sparkly and fun because he is a piece of shit covered in glitter. You obviously are starting to smell the stench, however, because your gut is telling you the truth.

      Get away and be careful. Guys like him have the potential to be dangerous.

    • OMG! The birthday story is EXACTLY like Mr. Control-Issues! The only thing he said on my birthday was, “I didn’t get you anything for your birthday”. This was after he talked on several occasions about the nice things he had done for his daughter in law and his co-worker for their birthdays. And after I had given him gifts and dinner for his birthday earlier in the same month…

      Run, Minnesota, Run! Save yourself from this controlling, abusive man! The only way is to go full No Contact for eternity, to prevent him from sucking you back in to his orbit.

    • Minnesota,
      I’m going to Address something that Might be Alittle Sensitive Here, and I’m Not Trying to Bring you Pain, just Perhaps Some Insight, Which I Admit,May Be Erroneous, still I’ll Broach it. Please Forgive me, Ahead of time, if I Offend You..As It’s soo Not my Intention.
      I was Lead to Believe since 16 I wouldn’t have Children, Because of Endometriosis.
      Since then I found myself Drawn to Sad, Wounded, Little PuppyDog Types of Guys..
      You know, just give Em Enough Love, They’ll Get Better types… ** They Don’t by the way **
      I Wound up with Somebody like The Guy You’re Describing Here, Except I Didn’t Know it At The Time. He was a LIAR.
      Anyway, By the Time I Realised What he REALLY Is, I Got Pregnant.
      I Haven’t Time nor Desire for THOSE Kinds of “Men” Anymore.

      Please Consider it May be the Latent ” Mommy Instinct” within You That Never Got Expressed in Actual Motherhood with you, Drawing THOSE Types of Men..

      Hon, If You NEED Someone to Love, and Someone who will APPRECIATE you Taking CARE of Them…. Perhaps Consider Adoption of a Child, or Become a Foster Parent or Adopt an Animal from a Pet Shelter. These will Be FAR More Rewarding and Worthwhile than That Fraudulent Asshole who’s Breaking Your Heart.

  • Minnesota – Run, run, RUN! Get out and go total no contact with this loser. CL and everyone else here speaks the truth. Please listen.

    And, when you’ve successfully blocked this asshole out of your life, get yourself into counselling ASAP to figure out why you let him in to begin with.

    You’re worth so much more and deserve so much better…but YOU need to see that and accept it as truth.

    And Minnesota, I’m going to go out on a limb here and address something you didn’t say in your letter. I’ve seen a lot of post-divorce, 40+ ladies willing to settle for just any boor who pays them a few compliments because they feel that time is running out for them. Don’t be afraid of being alone – it really isn’t the end of the world. Please don’t buy into the mind-set that you aren’t successful or complete until you’ve got a man by your side. Don’t sell yourself short just to have somebody to come home to.

    You deserve so much more out of life.

    Good luck.


    • I’m still working on feeling happier in my life, but one thing I’ve figured out since divorcing is that I cannot afford to settle for just anyone. I’ve already had my share of underemployed men ask me on dates. Because I have my children to care for, I refuse them all. Sorry to say, there are a lot of users out there, more than happy to get free food, lodging and wifi in exchange for “love.” This might sound heartless, but marriage should also be seen as a business decision. It’s bad business to take in an underemployed alcoholic who needs psychological help. If he isn’t in therapy and sending out his resume, he isn’t worth bothering with. Don’t listen to his excuses.

      • Jade – I hear you.

        I’m the same age as Minnesota, and have had the freeloaders too – one guy, after knowing me a week, asked if I’d be interested in getting married again so he could get on my health insurance. Seriously.

        How can a girl NOT swoon with the offer of such true romance? Blech.

  • This is so sad. I wonder if during her disagreements he claims she is “looking for problems.” Been there, done that (minus the financial/alcoholic aspects). Leave asap, Minnesota! Believe every word CL says.

    • Oh yes, whenever I question something it’s …. “Why are you looking for problems?”

      His language has been gradually changing too, more crass and crude. Of course he wasn’t like that in the beginning. He’ll actually say “when I did you earlier” in reference to sex. And yes the sex was amazing, except every third time it’s over in less than 2 minutes which started the last couple weeks. Oh he tells me how sexy and attractive I am all the time. It doesn’t do anything for me anymore because of how he treats me overall. I feel uncomfortable around him more and more; he has this hauty-like presence. I feel anxious. Thus why I’m here listening to all of you since this will be over.

      • I have been reading your post and aloof the comments.

        Run Minnesota run….like the wind.


      • Minnesota – You said: “I feel uncomfortable around him more and more; he has this hauty-like presence. I feel anxious. ”

        Big picture, this is worsening your anxiety, NOT helping it.

        On top of it all, he KNOWS this is a weak spot for you, and will definitely use it his advantage. Believe me, you don’t want to mingle your life with this man.

      • Hon, the TRUTH is in His REACTION…

        He’s HIDING Things He doesn’t want you to DISCOVER.
        And He’s Punishing YOU for that.
        There is Soo Much More Disturbing SHIT about that JERK than you will Ever Be fully Aware of…and The More you Find Out, The MORE ABUSIVE He’ll GET…

        Hon, Get Out of There.
        You Don’t Deserve his Abuse…
        And He Certainly Doesn’t Deserve a GOOD Woman with a Tender Heart Like Yours.

        Don’t Give Away the LOVE for YOURSELF for a Man Who Will Never LOVE YOU ** He’s Not Capable ***…

        If YOU Don’t have YOUR Back, Who will ?? (( H U G S ))
        We’re Here To Help You…But you’ve Gotta Do The WORK Yourself, hon.
        We Have Faith in You..You Can Get Him Outta Your Life. <3

      • Oh, man. That guy is bad news. I know it sucks to leave someone who has some good traits, but this guy just has a facade. I was told not to be picky, to be “nice,” that “relationships are work,” etc. You know what that does? It leads to people overfunctioning in relationships and settling for users. You are bending over backwards for him. Whatever sexist, ageist lies you have been fed by the media, chick magazines, or even people in your circle, he is perfectly capable of reciprocating everything. He just doesn’t want to.
        He literally has nothing to offer you except a few cheesy lines. He shouldn’t get pomp and circumstance every time he does something tiny while your larger gestures are par for the course. It’s a subset of spackling.

        The way you talked reminded me of how I doubted myself in verrrry bad situations. I had one ex accuse me of starting fights all the time. Whether I tried to swallow his shit sandwiches and bring them up later, bring them up as concerns right away, or explain how I felt hurt/disrespected didn’t matter. He was more concerned with being “right” and proving I was wrong, a lesser being, than caring about my feelings. I blamed myself way too much and had that gnawing feeling.

        Now I stand up for myself if someone feeds me shit. They sound disrespectful? Deny to see my point of view? They are out the door. I feel no remorse calling our their actions. I am alone, but I am happy. I would rather feel safe and loved by myself than settle for less in a relationship.

        I hope you can safely exit this relationship and find happiness in yourself. It’s much easier to find there, especially with the help of friends and therapy. If you have a fuzzy pet, spend time with him/her.

        Chump Nation just wants the best for you. You sound like you have a lot of love to give and deserve so much better.

  • Minnesota, I’m scared for you. Your letter to CL is spackling at its finest. Please take off your blinders and see this man for exactly who he is: a user, jerk, and just add on more character traits that you would put on the “cons” column if you have a pros and cons list. This is a no brainer to us that have zero emotional attachment to this man. It’s time to ask yourself – what is missing in your life and in your inner world that allows you to think that all these glaring red flags are okay? That being told you’re “the one” is enough for you to have zero boundaries? That being asked to move in after knowing each other for three months sounds romantic rather than for what it truly is (moocher needs to bring down his expenses fast). What is really missing within you?

    If you were really the one, tell him you need time to think about this and see what he does. Tell him you need some breathing space (like two months) and I have a feeling he will quickly find “the one, part 2 (or 3).” Personally, I won’t ask for time to think. I’d run like everyone has suggested.

  • Regarding the letter writer, I hope she hears all this great advice. I know I was getting the creeps reading about her man because that’s the type of man I am now leaving. He ruined me financially and before my body was cold he was with another woman. But how can you write a letter like that and not see the answers right there on the paper? The heart sees what the heart sees, I guess.

    This may not be the place, but I need to bring this up. I am a borderline woman and I feel they get a really horrible rap here. I’ve never ruined anyone. I’ve just always been in a relationship. At 56 years old, I am finally NOT in a relationship for the first time in about 4o years. I’m getting to know myself. I am tried of repeating my mistakes. (I don’t date, I marry.) When my husband kicked me out and replaced me, I wanted to stalk him and pound on his door, but I haven’t done any of that. I think what helped me is I finally met a man who is crazier than I am.

    It took a great deal of pain and loss for me to get to the place where I looked at my borderline diagnosis and think, “Ok, I have that. But from now on I refuse to behave as though I have that. The life it gives me is no longer acceptable to me.” I figured if an autistic person, for example, can learn that his behavior is sometimes unacceptable, and change the way they interact in the world, I can learn that too. And I am.

    I have truly changed, but naturally my way of thinking is often skewed. But please, people, don’t think all borderlines are evil. Some of us are just at the mercy of stinking thinking. It’s no picnic for us either!

    • Moving Liquid,

      This is a perfectly acceptable place and your points are well taken. Please have no reservations about being honest here with respect to how you feel. Most people are going to respect your courage, and may well be interested in your coping strengths.

      You are correct in that (of the Cluster B’s) Borderlines can improve significantly with treatment, and to believe that they are all alike does promote a bad rap. Same goes for PAs which though no longer called a Personality Disorder is still there and still a pervasive crippler of relationships.

      Please keep in mind that many people here have been deeply emotionally hurt by the most intense of the intensely symptomatic. My professional dealings have been with that same group…the most flamboyant and intense…cutters and other self-destructives. But this kind of behavior is definitely not applicable to all.

      Then, too, some people get diagnosed as Borderline when they really aren’t. There are lookalikes, and clusters of co-morbid conditions that can fool diagnosticians if an exhaustive work up is not done.

      For example Histrionic Personalities get confused with Borderlines. Some women who are ADHD get mislabeled as Borderline… in great part because their responses to the overwhelming demands of coping with the ADHD symptoms causes them to appear that way.

      Getting right down to it, there are women on this forum right now whose PTSD symptoms would cause some people who do not dig deep enough to believe (erroneously) that they are Borderline. Matter of fact, a substantial body of mental health professionals believe that Borderline Personality is simply another chronic form of PTSD.

      Mental health diagnoses seem to have popularity trends. For years every child who was squirmy and had problems paying attention was labeled ADHD based on a 15 minute session in a doctors office. We now know that there is a whole laundry list of lookalikes, including depression, learning disabilities, and various other neurological conditions that can mimic classic ADHD symptoms, and that a huge body of information should be accumulated to tease out the most accurate diagnosis.

      The buzzword for children now is Autism Spectrum. I have seen and appropriately re-diagnosed children as Mildly Mentally Disabled (retarded) who had been clearly misdiagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum because nobody had ever taken the time to give them an IQ test or Sensory Processing Inventories or other tests that help tease out the precise nature of the problem…..just some lazy psychologist flying by the seat of his pants or…even worse… some psychiatrist talking out his ass with no formal testing and extensive personal observation to back his opinion up…just parent report of symptoms and 15 minutes of in-office observation. This is NOT best practice!

      I am of the belief that Borderline has become a catchall diagnosis for females (usually at the hands of sloppy diagnosticians) when they don’t seem to fit anywhere else.. and that the disorder is underdiagnosed in males.

      But then I am also of the belief that the DSM-IV over-pathologizes females and under pathologizes males. [Am not familiar with the DSM-V because I retired a couple of years ago. Am going to make it a point to get a copy and read up on the changes, though.]

      If a psychologist is worth a damn, he does a whole hell of lot more qualitative and quantitative observations and gives a hell of lot more normed and standardized tests than psychiatrists and in addition to the self-reports and social and medical histories. I worked for some years as a school psychologist, and it is a completely illuminating experience….kind of like “Gorillas in the Mist”– without the fur. (joke) The best way to really “see” someone is when in his or her natural habitat and completely unaware of being observed, Makes for much better diagnostics than self-report or third-party report. Good psychiatrists retain a consulting psychologist to do a comprehensive workup and to collaborate on diagnosis. Most psychiatrists are kept so busy with the medical side of it that it is not economically feasible for them to do exhaustive psych work ups. Anyone’s mental health diagnosis is only as good the exhaustive and scrupulous methodology of the diagnostician.

      Hang with the forum, it may have its moments but a lot of support comes from the contributors.

      • A-mazing!, notyou. I really; really desperately needed to read this insight (from you.) Wish I had the time to explain why it’s so important for me, but I promise to do so later. Thank you, thank you. You wouldn’t happen to be on the east coast and planning to attend our June “Chump meeting? I’d love to pick your brain then.

        • I am fascinated with your knowledge, notyou. You could have heard my co-workers and me scream bloody murder when PA was removed from the manual. I do think it is the most rare of the PDs, but if you have ever lived, or worked, with one you never forget it. I worked in an office where the boss was PDed and all of us were so frightened over possible trouble that his behavior might have pulled us into that we kept copies of lots of sensitive material for years. Nobody could decide how he got promoted until we figured out the top dogs thought he might do less damage since the rest of the staff was completely dependable. No such luck. His PA screwed that office up and ran off the best of the bunch. After he retired we were all able to shred the papers. I know of one other person who had PA and would not take her medicine. She never did anything she was told so her illness got worse and she died young. Absolutely no reason for her death other than PA. Only two people I have ever met with this disorder but they both drove everybody around them crazy.
          Borderlines can be helped if they stick to therapy. Sadly, there seems to be very little change in Sociopaths and Narcissists.
          Minn, red flag is too mild a term. Does the cartoon aaaaoooogggggaaaaahhhhh ring a bell?
          Also, Chumps, if the cheater tells you that you are acting crazy…you are. That is exactly what grief looks like. Own it. Psychologists tell us that despair really can break our hearts. That is why we turn it into anger…something we can control.

          • Watcher,

            Just to clarify, PA= Passive Aggressive (personality). And PA behavior is rampant in this world to varying degrees. We ALL behave in a PA manner to some extent and in certain circumstances, as it literally can be a functional survival skill.

            It is when the PA behaviors become totally pervasive and are exercised as the default reaction to any kind of request, demand or pressure from others that PA traits become pathological. And actually these traits damage the PA more than others because they are seldom able to experience true intimacy by being vulnerable and reciprocal with intimate partners. When we have a lover who keeps us constantly frustrated as a result of PA behaviors we can eventually get worn out and leave. PAs don’t necessarily have generalized anti-social traits. Much of their stubborn is a defense mechanism in response to ambivalence about their dependency needs. PAs are like trying to nail jello to a tree. They used the emotional equivalent of “evade and escape,” to deal with overwhelming emotions. Yes, indeed, they can be manipulators who literally make you want to rip your hair out and or just beat them down because of their seeming penchant for duplicity and “fucking off.” But their externally projected malice level is not on scale with some of the other PDs. PAs behave that way as more of defense mechanism.

            Covert Aggressives are a horse of different color. They have anti-social traits and are described by Dr. Simon as having a character disorder if those traits are pervasive, life long, and cause emotional damage to those close to them. Covert Aggressives have agendas with respect to how YOU should behave, and are much more actively involved in strategic planning of how they are going to go about manipulating you. Their behavior is more of an aggression mechanism than a defense mechanism.

            Over the long term, PAs damage self more (bombed relationships when partner gets fed up and bolts), and CAs damage others more (even causing their victims to become passive aggressive as a defense mechanism again the covert aggression). Passive-Aggressives cause you to have this murderous urge to obliterate them when they are a chronic sandbagging obstructionist. Covert Aggressives will at times give you that same little instinctive twinge in the back of your mind that you get when closely exposed to any predator.

            That having been said:

            If you knew someone diagnosed with Passive Aggressive Personality who was also medicated, there had to have had a co-morbid condition, because there is no such thing as a pill for personality.

            I repeat: There are NO pills for personality.

            There may be pills for accompanying conditions like anxiety, depression etc. But one’s personality is a constant and relatively predictable pattern of either functional or dysfunctional coping skills. It consists of a basic temperament (nature) heavily shaped by learning (nurture). And learning encompasses every life experience one has ever had.

            This is why therapists refer to “personality work” as incredibly difficult and also concede that it yields mixed results.

            Fundamentally altering one’s personality is would have to be reborn and start over.

            HOWEVER, a certain amount of cognitive restructuring (therapy) pharmaceutically assisted for the co-morbid conditions, can help a person greatly minimize dysfunctional personality traits. [Besides we ALL have some dysfunctional personality traits. I’ve never seen a perfect human. Have any of you?]

            The least success mental health professionals have is with true sociopathy. In my experience and observations, TRUE Antisocial Personalities just don’t respond to anything but close supervision and fear of immediate and painful consequences–most specifically loss of personal freedom. Most people learn coping skills and also empathy from having experienced age appropriate, immediate and painful consequences (Think hot stove) but true sociopaths never seem to internalize the empathy part. There does not seem to be any generalization and transfer for them. Some FBI profilers have a nickname for these (especially serial killers). They call them “Devoids” because they seem to be so devoid of normal emotion and affect that they can only “feel” deeply and feel “alive” when they are close up participating in and observing the pain elicited in the torture and death throes of their victims. These are some scary SOBs, and most of the cheating spouses described on this forum (while exhibiting some antisocial traits or character flaws) are not in the same league or even the same world as this kind of deadly human predator.

            And, I’ll tell you something that I observed over years of working with children. The children who manifested extreme anti-social traits very often had an abnormally high physical pain threshold. Suggesting that there is some kind of neural hard-wiring and/or sensory processing anomaly that we don’t have an accurate grasp on yet. Many autistic children have this same sensory deficit with respect to pain and will exhibit self-abusing stereotypies (head banging or biting) without giving indication of discomfort. Theories abound abound, but we have no definitive answers to so many of these interesting questions.

            What we CAN do is take measured (and well thought out) steps to extricate ourselves permanently from chronic emotionally or physically abusive situations. We get professional support if we need that in order to take action. We do it without harming others (even the abuser); and, most importantly we lose the shame about tending to our own self-preservation needs.

            • Btw, PA has been added to the latest DSM, I believe. At the very least, it was proposed and discussed at length. On a personal note, my own therapist (clinical psychologist) hates DSM, says if it was up to psychiatrists, they would put a label on everyone.

              • In defense of “labels”? Without them there is often no insurance reimbursement, some people just don’t have the cash, and practitioners can only do so much pro bono.

                However, I agree with you about “labels.” If you have 2 experts, you can 2 different diagnostic “impressions. ” Examiner bias exists and we have to be scrupulous about avoiding it to the greatest extent possible.

                I have been known to hold off on diagnostic labels (in cases where I can) and said, simply, “Let’s identify the behaviors that are most troubling, work on them in prioritized order, and see what kind of progress is made before we jump to the conclusion that what we have here is “nutcase.” **Note that passive voice weaseling wording 😉 **

                I can also remember discussing cases with colleagues about kids who came in with a diagnosis of Psychosis: NOS or ADHD, when they were clearly Childhood Onset Bi-Polar, and had been prescribed medications to treat Bi-Polar. WTF? Then it hit us: These were poor children. Medicaid did not reimburse for Childhood Bi-Polar (because it is a controversial diagnosis), and the only way the physician could keep them in treatment was to ‘fudge” on the diagnosis.

                So many times things are not what they seem.

            • Thank you,
              I have not long joined this site. But I am so very glad for your insight.
              I took on board your comment about the adult Asperges concept my counselor had come up with and have read “the Manipulative Man”. WOW

              Thank you

              • Although All of this stuff is Interesting… Trying to Untangle the Skein Just Keeps You STUCK…Makes you feel as Though if you Don’t Pity Them and STAY Because They’re Fucked Up for Whatever Reason YOU’RE Being Cruel.
                That Guilt Crap Has Gotta Go..
                And They, if They Have Been Diagnosed have a Way of making YOU Feel Bad Cause you Left Them cause They’re ” sick” and it’s Not Their ” Fault “.

                Quite Frankly..if THEIR ” Sickness” Caused the Relationship to go Totally FUBAR, it’s not MY JOB to Stay Miserable with Them.
                Didn’t Cause It, Can’t Cure It….and It AIN’T MINE to COPE With.

                Put THEIR Baggage Down…Before YOU Wind up Crazzy too.
                The Multiplication of Dysfunction doesn’t do ANYONE Any Good, Except the Shrinks and Pharmaceutical Companies Wallets.

              • this struck a nerve with me because for my cheater it was actually MY diagnosed anxiety that apparently drove him to cheating. So I’m the one with the problem to be fixed, says he. Confusing.

              • heartbroken, YOUR problem did not cause HIM to cheat. End of story. As David Clarke says, “If he went out and robbed a bank today, would he be able to blame that on you, too?” Not Hardly!!

              • Rose you are correct. Call it whatever you like, but if it is abusive and hurts you, find a healthy way to stop it.

                It is totally possible to feel sorry for someone…from a distance. And you should feel NO guilt or shame about doing so.

                Which bring us to the crucial point: The most important “skein” to untangle is your own (and we ALL have our little knitting baskets. :-).

      • Thanks, Notyou, I appreciate your comments. In recent years I’ve really wanted to put aside the three “conditions” my psychiatrist labeled me with years ago and just accept I have challenges and to work on how to cope with them. The idea that PDs could all be a part of PTSD makes so much sense to me.

        As messed up as I am, I’m lucky that I rarely drink, which would make things worse, or do drugs. My family still loves me in spite of my bad decisions because I’ve mostly only hurt myself. Not only have I been a victim of this PTSD-type condition, I feel my life was made worse by my association with a psychiatrist who medicated me for over ten years and all I did was get worse, and fat.

        Yes, I’ve been a cutter. Many hospital stays. I’ve had promiscuous times of my life. I struggle with self esteem and being alone. But, after this horrendous break up with my husband cheater I have finally decided to take control of my life. The alternative is that I spend my remaining years in government housing, surrounded by other “crazy ladies” and living on SSD. I can’t do that. I refuse.

        For me, I now exercise a lot. Hard. And in seven months I’ve lost 67 pounds, with 50 more to go. I see a therapist. I’m on Wellbutrin and I’m not sure if it helps, but at least it doesn’t cause weight gain.

        At 56, I worry that I’ll never love again, or make love again, but still I have no choice but to continue this journey of health that I am on. Better late than never. I am realizing as each day passes that being alone would not be the worse thing to happen to me.

        Thanks again for your insight.

        • You’re welcome. It takes a ton of guts to make those kinds of changes.

          FYI, one of my former students went on to become a doctor with a double residency in neurology and psychiatry. She said they teach them now that exercise helps re-program your neurotransmitter system, and that she actually “prescribes” daily exercise to the most vigorous extent that the patient is capable and hounds them about it. Excessive fat acts a hormone, too, (Read up on it.) and can hamper proper endocrine system functioning and, thus, emotional functioning. You, go, girl. You are going to come out on top yet!

  • Honey, don’t call yourself stupid. You are not stupid….just trying to sort it all out.

    Why not try this?
    [Because if he is badly messed up, he will run from firm boundaries immediately if not sooner ;-)]

    ***If at any time in the following process he throws a fit, has an ugly protracted pout, or becomes condescending, snarky, or punishing by with holding of positive attention? You. Break. It. Off. Permanently. If he becomes stalky or inappropriately persistent, use legal means to make him understand that there is no future with you.***

    The setting of Boundary #1: Tell him you feel rushed by discussing long-term commitment so early in the relationship. That you are going to get some counseling for yourself , and that after you have worked out some things with an objective professional, then the two of you can look into dating again.

    [Then get a good counselor and start doing the “me” work. Discuss with your counselor the red flags in this relationship (sparing no details) as well as your past experiences in intimate relationships.]

    At this point he will do one of two things: Either move on or show willingness to work on it. If he indicates he’s willing to work move to…..

    The setting of Boundary #2: Tell him that he is perfectly welcome (but under no circumstances required) to participate in joint counseling with you to address some “red flags” that have come up for you in the relationship. HOWEVER, you will not attempt to discuss your frustrations with him one-on-one until the both of your have had successful conflict resolution skills training. Period. That it is never a bad thing for people to improve their conflict resolutions skills so that they can create win-win situations as opposed to win-lose situations, which are always indicative of serious control issues. And finally, any “going out” with each other will be kept “light and fun” with the two of you paying Dutch from now on.

    At this point he will do one of two things: Either move on or show willingness to work on it. If he indicates he’s willing to work move to…..

    The setting of Boundary #3: Clearly state that constructive behavior changes resulting from therapy will be demonstrated over a considerable length of time before long-term commitment is discussed again. Tell him there will be some explicit values clarification as part of any joint counseling, too.

    At this point he will do one of two things: Either move on or show willingness to work on it.

    If you set these boundaries do NOT deviate from them.
    He will attempt to test your resolve at every step he participates in.
    Limit testing is normal human behavior–even in abnormal people.

    Doing it this way serves many purposes. It buys you time to get yourself together, learn to detach enough to view his behavior more objectively than through the “Lense of Limerance”, build your own personal tolerance for ambiguity about your future (it is possible to enjoy people’s company on a limited basis without feeling compelled to marry them), learn more about the scope and intensity of his (and your own) behaviors, and whether or not you are valuable enough to him for him to learn reciprocity and good conflict resolution skills.

    Take your meds.
    Get professional support for exercising your “learning to live with uncertainty” mental muscle.
    Keep practicing until you see that not only can you handle ambiguity, but that fear won’t kill you…it just sometimes feels like it will.

    People can change, but it is hard as hell… even for motivated people. Odds are high (given your descriptors of some of his PA and Borderline-ish behaviors) that this may be an exercise in futility…at least for him. But if YOU are motivated, it will be a phenomenal confidence builder for you.

    Good luck to you, and don’t feel like you need to be shot.
    You don’t have to settle for anyone who cannot stop acting like an asshole.

  • My cheater X was charming and funny and sweet and thoughtful too Minnesota. He love bombed the hell out of me and we had this whirlwind romance and got married three months after we met. (Actually I knew of him for a couple of years before that) I had been single several years and all the attention was so flattering. I had NO idea at the time that this was his MO. He always goes after women who are successful and have homes. Because his credit was shit and he couldn’t get one on his own and I really don’t things like that mattered to him. He knew he could always con some woman into taking care of him. I still can’t wrap my brain around how he continues to do this as he’s getting a little long in the tooth. The ONLY reason he is still with OW is because he hasn’t found a new victim yet.

    As soon as we got married he started insisting that we sell my house and buy a different one because he ‘hated the neighborhood.’ Trying to make him happy I actually put my house up for sale. Thank god it didn’t sell. Nothing was EVER enough for him. If we had 5 grand in savings he spent 6 grand. We wouldn’t even have one thing paid off and he was lusting after the next. At one point he wanted a Harley Davidson and I put my foot down and said ‘no way.’ As soon as hooked up with OW he got one. She bought it for him. Jeeze, an endless supply of dumb women (me included) that got suckered into trying to make an unhappy guy happy. They are crippled inside.

    I now have a perfect credit score and money in the bank. What a soul suck it was being married to him. I would have stayed though but he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
    These people leave slime trails wherever they go.

  • Far out, I really wish I had a time machine and I could take this site back 20 years show it to my 22 year old self and scream
    READ AND RUN. often over the years I have questioned myself how did I come to be in this relationship, was I that desperate. I too a month after seeing my STBX got the “I believe your the one” although he used the God card that really sucked me in, with in a few months he convinced me to move into his parents home (into my own room as thats what good christians do of course) and some how from that point on I became his mothers chauffeur as she did not drive. It took two years for us to marry but in every way we acted as if we were prior to that day as we lived in the same house we just didn’t share a bed. And here is my biggest regret one night while out we paid for our own meals which were quite expensive, we were out for one of his friends birthdays, when the change came he commented that he will probably be short on money for petrol due to the meal and so I gave him my change, as he mockingly rejected it stupidly I insisted he take it and joked we should be married. He took that as a proposal and the next day insisted I do it properly including getting down on one knee as he claims that I had stolen his thunder. I look back over the past 20 years and to a point I think I must have been crazy to accept every thing that has gone on. The manipulation, the deference, the lack of respect, the dismissive behavior, and now I realize STBX is a classic underachiever with constant job changes, I found myself making a mental list of all the jobs my STBX has had since we married and to my working he has had roughly 20 different jobs in as many years. Some lasted no more than a day. But it is never his fault. Thank you to the person on this site that suggested reading “The Manipulative Man” This book has helped me to come to understand why the STBX has some major issues and I am not alone in thinking this. STBX is telling people that he has done everything possible to save his marriage (yet very few know the truth that the marriage has ended due to his confession of 8 years of adultery with his own gender) and they believe him when he says this because for years he has presented as the stable, lovable, charming up right husband. while I have been seen a crazy person. Yet on the flip side he treats me and our three children like crap but only when there is no one to bear witness. Is always crying poor and even cancelled our hospital cover after our 9 yr old was diagnosed with leukemia due to his not being able to afford it.
    So in conclusion of course he has done everything in he can to save his marriage, He’s confessed he’s said his prayers. He has agreed to counseling (with those in our church who are not processionals but are opinionated enough to believe they can help). He has cleared his conscience and all is good with the world.
    Interpretation – Marriage what about it. She knows the truth and she isn’t happy and I cant be bothered dealing with that as that just upsets me and I don’t like being made upset. My kids, well she can look after them and I can just borrow them on special occasions or when my FB status needs updating. I can find sex anywhere (not that anyone need to know about that because thats in my past) and living with my mum meets my other emotional needs because she understands that I’m special and I don’t want to discuss anything that may make me look at myself in a negative way because that makes me unhappy.
    His mother being our kids only grandmother did not once call to check that I and the kids where ok after her son arrived on her door with his bags. She didn’t even bother to come and see our daughter in hospital and she was in there initially for 5 weeks.

    But people say to me “your ok, you’ll get through this your strong.” And I am, on the out side but the inside is not that tough. And I have started to see the “your strong” tag as a curse. Time machine anyone?

  • I find this line particularly chilling: He did say “well now you’ll know what happens when you disagree”.

    This expression of dominance is only a taste of what will come later. He has told you clearly that disagreement is not allowed. You are being groomed and taught to be his subservient, voiceless, slave. You are expected to pay the tab, accommodate his availability, and follow his directions. There is nothing good in this.

    Even if this were the only red flag, it would be big and red for me. I have no idea if he is a cheater, but he shows ALL the signs of narcissism. You deserve better. Being alone is better. Being alone and unhappy is better. Having a narcissistic partner gets you all the pain of being alone and unhappy and makes any opportunities to pursue change, friendships, joy, and peace feel impossible.

      • “I find this line particularly chilling: He did say “well now you’ll know what happens when you disagree”.

        You don’t allow this to creep you out. You set boundaries about how you will be treated and don’t move off those boundaries. Controllers will either shape-up or ship-out. WIN-WIN for you.

        I am a spiritual person, and study the Bible. The Bible tells us 365 times, some variant of “Do not be afraid,” or, “Fear not.” The way I see it, if God has repeated that message so many times, He must want us to hear it and know that it is crucial to our spiritual well-being.

  • Minnesota –

    He did say “well now you’ll know what happens when you disagree”. WTF, was he serious or just kidding? Who says that? He was punishing me and controlling the situation. H

    There are a number of us chumps who were physcially abused – and this is exactly how is starts. Please protect yourself and run fast and run far. Nothing this man is saying is real, or genuine, or true. He is saying and doing only what he believes it will take to beat you down, take control of you, and bleed you dry.

    If I was estimating, my exH “took” well over $200K during our marraige in ridiculous cell phone bills; “gifts” (like for the OW); a brand new car every year; and trips by himself. He broke my heart, and the hearts of our children. He walked away after over 10 years without so much as a backward glance. These types have NO SOUL.

    Yes, they can be charming, good in bed; they say all the right things and make you feel alive. But they will drain you of your time, your money, your energy, your joy, and your peace of mind. You are special – you, just you. Spend time learning all the ways that you matter – that you can contribute. And once you’ve had time to focus on you, never think that you need a partner (especially this type of partner) to be a parent – adoption and foster parenting are wonderful ways to share all your love and your gifts with a child. Hugs to you.

  • Oh honey, what part of “I’m a fuck up” do you not understand from what this man is saying and doing?
    I don’t mean to be rude, but run, and run fast. Or stay and be wife/live-in number three, and come back here in a few months or a few years, when you can’t stand it any longer.

    Read the writing on the wall. It says HE’S A USER LOSER!

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