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Dear Chump Lady, I’m dating a ‘cheater apologist’

Hi Chump Lady,

I’m very confused whether I should keep dating my boyfriend or not. He’s still in mid-20s and very close to his mom. I’m in my late 20s and we’ve been dating for a year. He’s a very attentive and sweet guy, but about two months ago I found the other side of him that I considered a waving red flag.

I was invited to his mom’s birthday party and my boyfriend and I had a nice conversation. At some point it turned into a more serious one. He said he intend to “take it to the next step” sooner or later. I was happy and his parents gave us some advice and said that marriage is hard and it takes a lot of commitment to make it work. When I asked them what is the biggest challenge of their marriage, she admitted that it was the time when she had an affair. Before I knew the truth I’d never have thought of her as a cheater. From the outside she’s a smart independent woman with nice sense of humor, she’s also devotes her time to two charities.

She said that it was difficult time because she was the only one who supported the family while her husband had an addiction problem. Her affair partner was husband of her friend. They met from Craiglist and he invited her to his house and get to know his family, she later befriended his wife. She said that she was a “bitch of a wife,” but a great friend and mom. Apparently not great friend enough to stop her from fucking her husband for 1.5 years.

After the affair was uncovered, my boyfriend’s mom reconciled with her husband. But even before I knew this story, she never really looks happy with him. What makes it even more insane is the husband DIDN’T blame her one bit for her affair and said that it was 100% his fault! He’s a cheater enabler! They didn’t even bother for counseling

When I was alone with her, I approached her to gently dig more about her affair. She said that she’s sorry BUT her husband was absentee anyway and her “friend” was a crappy wife and that’s what made them do it. What surprised and disgusted me most was when she said that she’s sorry that her husband and his wife got hurt, but if she could turn back time she’d do it again because it was the happiest time of her life. WTF?? It’s like someone saying “I’m sorry you got burned, but if I could turn back time I’d light the fire again.” I don’t know whether she’s a sociopath or miserable or both.

She kept trashing his wife and mentioned how they (she and AP) were in love with each other. When I asked her to describe her bitchiness, she said that one time they had dinner party that her AP planned and his wife didn’t even lift a finger at all, she said that he did everything while his wife just sat on her ass. When I asked “not even to clean the table,” she later said his wife got a fractured wrist. She tried to demonized her.

I talked to my boyfriend and he knew about the details of her mom’s affair. He said that it’s okay because his father and the AP’s wife were such a bad spouse and not meeting those cheaters’s needs. When I said that what’s the point of having commitment and vows if the person is going to break it anyway? He said that no one is perfect and it’s a mistake. I was so perplexed that he was so relaxed about an affair AND supports it.

They have close relationship and I don’t want to compete with her. He never cheated (that I know of) but the fact that he’s a cheater apologist really bothers me. What should I do ?


non apologist

Dear non apologist,

Short answer? Dump him. He’s never cheated that you know of, but he has a great ready-made excuse to do it if he wants to. In his moral universe, all you have to do deserve getting cheated on is not “meet his needs.” So you better stay on your toes to keep him satisfied.

Of course with cheaters the “needs” are unstated. “I want an endless smorgasbord of pussy” is not the kind of unvarnished honesty that trips off their tongues. No, it’s shit like “You didn’t clear the dinner table with your broken wrist.”

Like all disordered people, they make up reality to fit their desires. That woman and her creepy Craigslist friend had to demonize their spouses to justify their affair. That’s pretty standard cheater operating procedure. But reality only bends so far. “You suck as a spouse” might alter perception to the point of an affair — I’m not clear how it alters it to the point that you’re inviting your chumps to dinner parties. Would you like your humiliation before or after the soup course? That’s just sick. There is cheating and then there is sociopathy.

I’m sorry your boyfriend’s father had addiction issues, but the last time I looked at the Al-Anon lit, there was nothing in there about supporting your spouse’s sobriety through Craigslist hook-ups. How does that work? Take another drink or I create a profile! These people are locked in some major dysfunction.

So yeah, do you see these people as future in-law material?

You build a life with someone, you’re having a very long conversation with them and that includes their family. When I go to my in-laws, my father-in-law holds court about obscure World War II battles and the public transportation system in Chicago circa 1945. And by the way, on the very slim chance you know anything about these topics, don’t try to get a word in.

When we visit my parents, my mother tries to dress everyone, including my husband. “Make sure you wear a pressed shirt. No, not THAT.” And if you meet with her approval, she’ll beam and say, “That looks smart.” And if you don’t meet with her approval? You attempt the wrong sort of casual sportswear? You won’t make that mistake again. Not unless you want a 72 year old woman dragging you by the ear to outfit you, so she can be seen with you, and do you just dress that way to ANTAGONIZE her?

Everyone’s family is crazy. There is crazy you can deal with, and then there is toxic crazy. When you’re young and you’re shopping life partners — find the benign crazy that fits your crazy. Don’t match for toxic crazy.

Non, you’ve got your head screwed on straight. You know Mrs. Future In-Law is a wing nut. But the problem isn’t really her. Wing nuts can be contained if you know they’re wing nuts. The problem is your boyfriend doesn’t know mom is a sicko. Of course, that’s a bitter pill to swallow, so he just goes along with the abusive narrative — Dad deserved it. Mrs. Broken Wrist deserved it too.

You say this guy is “very close” to his mom, and you don’t want to “compete” with her — that tells me he’s more than a little pickled in her dysfunction. It sounds like he was raised with some kind of emotional incestuousness — it’s you and me against your Bad Father. And when someone is raised to turn against people who love them? To punish them in secret when they’re displeased with them? Who defends such actions?

How can you ever feel safe with such a person? Please move on. You’re young. You dodged a bullet here.

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  • Dump him. Disordered parents produce disordered children. Family pathology is quite evident in this case, n’est pas?

    • Some disordered parents produce wonderful kids. But any kid who approves of his or her parents fuckupedness has got to be viewed with great concern. “Date for character” is the best dating rule around. People with good character disapprove of lying and cheating, even when the lying and cheating is by someone they love.

      • I respectfully disagree in regards to family pathology, Nomar. Minored in psych, read endless lit on the subject, consulted with CB therapists, and what I took away is basically this: given how fundamental family dynamic, history, DNA, is to our emotional development, it is the “core”, the base, the default place from which we operate from (like that basic fact we learned in psych 101 about being the product of our environment.) Hence, what may appear “normal” to the boyfriend referenced in this post, is indeed the only “normal” he knows. He’s a cheater apologist because somewhere in the core of his family’s value system, infidelity is viewed in very laxed terms. Now, the part that is important here is that as an adult it is UP to the individual to either subscribe to said value system OR reject it. This isn’t a simple process for most people since we’re all so interconnected with our “base.” In my opinion and from my life experience, it takes an intelligent, intellectually curious person to evolve in this area. Quite often, it is through the process of therapy that we can change our existing beliefs and perceptions. It’s a shift which does not occur overnight. It took me YEARS to acknowledge that passive-aggressiveness is a running theme in my family dynamic. I just did not know what to call it, especially as a child. It takes an emotionally developed person to recognize and tackle FOO issues, and sadly, for some, it never happens. In Other words, “they die being this way”,
        as my therapist says.
        Back to the post, the boyfriend’s foo issues aren’t very clearly defined but they’re definitely there. At best, I’d hope that the girlfriend would have enough cooperation from bf to explore this in therapy. To try to open his eyes to the fundamental flaws in his thinking: that infidelity is not to be taken lightly, to not minimize it, or justify it, or sweep it under the rug. The question is, does he see this belief system as something he could work on? If not, all bets are off that this relationship will be a healthy one.

        • Monika, and how many young men do you know who are prepared to do this hard emotional work?

          I made this mistake. I thought that with my love, and with enough discussion and explaining, I could ‘change’ him and we would grow together.

          Well, that was a very silly, patronising, controlling co-dependent thing to do, and it eventually burned my ass. And who needs to own that? I DO.

          I seriously hope this writer doesn’t even begin to try and go there.

          • Good question, Patsy. How many? My hunch is NOT many at all. It takes someone of extraordinary character to be able to cut the cord of dysfunction in their family’s history. The motivation should probably be the first hand knowledge about HOW it destroys children’s lives. Fortunately, there’s no history of infidelity in my family, so I cannot relate, but don’t some of those cheaters whine and cry about how they witnessed their parents’ destructive ways and vow no to follow the pattern? My cheater ex did. He told me both of his parents cheated on each other (I know I know, a gigantic red flag and yet at 23, I lacked the proper insight to know what it meant for me in the context of my relationship with him), and he never exused their actions (which naively made me think he’s “different”- ha ha.)

            Btw, typing on my iPad, while taking breaks from doing laundry, sorry for the run on sentences and poor sentence structure…
            I just get so excited over some of these topics.

          • Yes. Jesus, I married this guy at twenty five and by the time our forties rolled around he had imploded our life. I thought my love would fix the disordered messages my cheater got. It doesn’t work that way. No man in his twenties is going to do that work. And only twenty years later, if you are still with him, when you ditch his ass for the affair he has when you don’t meet his needs, MAYBE he’ll do the work, but he will most likely blame you – and blame you more if you try to pull him into therapy now. Because believe me, if you suggest it now, he may or may not go with it, but he won’t be choosing it, and you’ll get blamed for that shit too. Run. Run like hell.

        • Well, my kids have a horribly effed up mother, my serial cheating ex. Many chumps have similar stories. I can’t imagine you are saying no one should date these kids for this reason, but that seems to be the logical extension of your posts.

          My point is that a troubled family life might be a red flag, but best to watch a person’s actions. If they suggest the actions of their cheating parent are wrong but they love them nonetheless, I think that’s normal. If they adopt the cheater mentality that justified the cheating? Run.

          • Not exactly how I presented it but close and btw, I didn’t mean for it to sound offensive to you in any way. I have a child too. And do I worry that he will turn out like his father? It is certainly a passing thought for me since he’s still very young, but it’s a plausible scenario given NPD can also be genetic. As we often reference on here, it takes 1 sane parent to care for our children and I’m sure Nomar that you are doing adequate job given your ex is not (assuming.)
            I didn’t imply that no one should date our children but let’s not pretend they won’t have certain “issues” either. And again, I hope you won’t find this offensive either as it is not personal. It is a fear of mine, a real tangible fear. I’m very concerned about my child’s emotional development given his biological father is a narcissistic fucktard. Should I not be?

          • I see it as you and me and loads of others with a fucked up serial cheating ex are raising kids in this muck but at least our kids have one sane parent with solid values. When BOTH parents are buying into the toxicity therein lies the problem. So if you look at my ex both his parents were cheaters and they maintain to this day that ‘everyone cheats’ and that it’s perfectly normal and the only way to deal with unhappiness.

            If we look at the OP the mother blameshifts onto the dad and the dad accepts it, while the son/boyfriend goes along with the mother’s narrative of bad husband/horrible wife with broken hand who couldn’t keep her man happy – and the cheating mother still sees that period of time – where she befriended the betrayed spouse – as her ‘happiest time’.

            We’re working hard to teach our kids that this is NOT normal and we’re NOT buying into the narrative that it was somehow our fault. There is the difference. As far as my kids they don’t buy the koolaide at all and tell their father and other relatives on that side that they’re not buying it. But if you have someone who is buying into that kind of thinking you’ve got a big fat old red flag on your hands, one that will bite you hard in the ass at some point, usually when you’re at your lowest and thus are not ‘making’ your partner happy – because we all know that making our partner happy is more important than anything that is going on with us.

            • My heart breaks for all the innocent children whose parents were bona fida cheaters (not that there’s a lesser version but those apologists are the worst.) Ive said to ex he ruined his legacy by fucking around, his response was that his son will still love him no matter what and in time will forgive him. What the fuck?

        • fuck therepy and what you learned in class. i lived it for 14 years!!! i knew he did know or understand what a good family was. i KNEW that his childhood was fucked up beyond belief. i thought i could “FIX” him. i thought that he was better and he wanted the same thing i did out of life. i thought if i could show him what real love was all about that he would grow to love me back in return.

          14 years later, i found out i was wrong. his childhood is too ingrained in his thinking, his lackness in any kind of normality. i went thru hell and back trying to save my marriage and show him that me and his kids were worth it. in the end, he walked out and turned his back. we are nothing to him. all his family, his enablers are the same way. and he doesnt feel a thing for the woman who loved him with everything or his children

  • If you don’t dump him, you’ll end up sorry. Way too many red flags. Don’t be like so many people who write here about “ignoring red flags.” DON’T IGNORE RED FLAGS! Get out.

    • Sammie D, if only this site existed 40 years ago! It would have saved me what has been a lifetime of misery. I ignored the red flags and here I am today.

    • Yep. If she already feels like there is a potential competition with the mother…run, run, run.

      • I have competed with my MIL my entire marriage and now where does my STBX live?
        You got it, with his mother.
        She did not even care that he had not told her the truth about our separation. She was happy to accept any lie as long as it put me in the spot light as the bad person that was enough for her. Both MIL’s have cheated.
        Neither my STBX or my MIL phoned yesterday to speak to our daughter for her birthday.

        • Sammie D, as much as them not phoning your daughter hurts you because she is innocent, you are better off without both of them and so is your daughter. I hope your daughter had a wonderfully happy day. 🙂

  • Hum. This is tough. I’ll agree that the boyfriends attitude about cheating is alarming, but he didn’t cheat. He loves his parents and of course he will forgive them. The girlfriend has no idea what the family dynamic is/was and the justification of the mother cheating may very well be a coping mechanism for the boyfriend.

    As a complete non biased poster and having no vested interest in this relationship…. If I were to encounter this attitude on the first few dates, there would be no more future dates. The original poster knows him best. She is invested in him and the relationship, it’s up to her to decide how serious a red flag this is.

    Make no mistake, it is a HUGE, red flag.

  • Non Apologist:
    I am the future you if you marry this guy. His family: toxic crazy. My family: cray. I didn’t know the difference at the time – until he cheated and walked out.

    His mother, get this, cheated on his father – with his BROTHER and then married the brother. So his mother’s ex-husband is now her brother in law and her ex brother in law (best man at the first wedding) is now her husband. I naively thought that if I took my STBX out of his family dysfunction and showed him a loving more rational life that he could see his gifts, his great qualities, etc – instead of being screwed up like his family

    Oh…but silly me….because I didn’t realize it is in his DNA…his mother’s sociopathic behavior is also his, I did not see at first with my rose-colored blinders on and all. It took me all of 14 years, technically it took him 14 years to spell out to me how stupid I’ve been…he cheated because he “wanted to” and I thought at first that he didn’t know boundaries because his mother never showed him boundaries – but in truth – he didn’t (and nor does she) CARE about boundaries….he did it because he wanted to and that was good enough for him.

    Save yourself the aggravation -you are light years ahead of where I was at your age, your awareness is spot on, good for you!! Go with your gut, if you had the good sense to write in about this – you already know the answer. Best of luck to you!!

    • CC

      WOW, just wow. Glad you got out.

      I often wonder how these people can exist. It is as if they’re another species. I grew up with morals, values, learned respect and integrity. Finding others like this… Is a challenge.

      My dad told me at a young age, like 8 or 9 years old that you know you have morals if you do the right thing when nobody is watching.

      Who are these people? They blend in so well. It takes a detective mindset and a psychology degree to decode their real behavior and intent. This is why in have trust issues with people. It’s so hard to find the truth. I know I’ll find my match some day. She’s out there. We can’t give up, can we?

      • Scoops,
        I am a year out of the relationship and finally can see most of it from another perspective. I beat myself for not seeing it before – but the truth is and I think you kind of alluded to it, I couldn’t see it because being a sociopath is not part of me. I’ve experienced it before – but never knew it and truly never to this degree….so I thought I could “fix it” to a lesser degree. Oh….the wisdom I have achieved (thanks to time, distance and therapy).

        I may make different mistakes in any new relationships but never THIS same mistake again. An incredibly painful lesson but it surely wasn’t in vain.

        Thanks for your response. Best to You

    • CC, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Most of accept that our family is a bit nuts and while we love them anyway we also know they’re more or less harmless – and if they’re not we set our boundaries and know how to deal with them. Unfortunately we’re usually not schooled to spot toxic crazy, such as in my ex’s family. There were SO MANY weird things about ex’s family that should have been massive red flags to me but I thought they were normal crazy.

      Turns out they aren’t normal crazy. They are toxic crazy and I spend far too much time running interference as they try to infect another generation, i.e. my kids. But I won’t let them fill my kids with their special brand of poison and it drives them nuts.

  • You didn’t witness this family dynamic and think, hmm, this is fascinating. You had a gut reaction to it. THAT’S the key here. Better listen to your gut.

  • Dear Non-Apology:

    first of all, WELL DONE for spotting the, er, disconnects. You are more advanced and in tune than I was.

    Secondly, know beyond all doubt that you are looking at your future. Why? Because when schmoopie love wears of and the going gets hard, people resort to what they know: the coping skills taught them by their family.

    RUN. When I met my mother in law, I should have run. When she gets angry, she withdraws and does the silent treatment. She communicates major decisions by choosing a ‘special child’ to ‘tell a secret’ to.

    How could I possibly, seriously, be surprised when that turned up in my life? He was doing what he had been taught when I was triangulated with OW when he checked out. Every single one of that family have cheated, including saintly gentle mother. Every single one.


    • Triangulation is the biggest manipulation.

      Triangulation = Run.
      Cheating is Okay = Run.
      Silent Treatment = Run.
      Entitlement = Run.

  • PS ‘very close to Mom’ is a big red flag. That you say you don’t want to compete with her? Wow, you are a very perceptive young lady.

    Believe me you will compete with her. Run!

    • Believe it, Patsy. The Jackass’s last conversation with me was all about “he’s become Mom’s ‘go-to’ guy” even though he had just spent 2 years telling me that he was done being anyone’s “beck and call” guy. But he’s busy with his Mom’s pick-me dance with his brothers. Half a century and counting. And he talks to her like she’s dirt on his shoe most of the time. F***ing nuts.

  • First red flag to me was your boyfriend saying he would eventually take it to the next level. Ok, is he a knight, why is it up to him to take it to the next level? That tells me he is controlling. He will decide eventually to take it to the next level? Really? You are this lump that can’t think. Did you drool and say yes master when he said that?

    The other at the dinner, run. Just fucking run, do not look back.

    It was hard for me to read what came out of that bitches mouth, the fucking bitch.

    Don’t think about it, burn it from your mind, break up with him you don’t have to give a reason and burn the memory of him out of your mind.

    Do not stay in this get out now.

    Yes, my husband told the ow I was a bitch and crazy, let me tell you I appear that way after all this shit.

    Oh, being in love in an affair is an excuse to fuck around and turn everyone’s lives on their heads.

    So angry now, his mommy has twisted his mind. I would not be able to have a mother in law like that. She is a bitch to put it nicely.

    Who cares what he is, thank god you know, run.

    Just run. You can’t find much worse.

    Oh I bet she and he son had a nice talk about how you measure up, I can’t even think in my head how that bitch tore you apart.

    • Gosh, Beachi, don’t you realise that we ladies are supposed to sit around waiting, hoping, praying that some man scoops us up and makes ‘honest’ women of us? It’s our life’s dream to wait from a man to ‘take it to the next step’ because that’s why we were put on this earth, right? To fulfill our destiny by catering to our man!


    • True.. by saying he’s ready to take it to the next level, he’s really saying that he knows that’s what you want, and he’s doing a huge favor by considering it.

      You wouldn’t say no, to such a wonderful offer of the next level, and you should be honored to be granted such a gift. Don’t screw it up and not meet his every need, or you might find he’ll take it to the next level with another person… gift them the grace of his presence, while you suffer for not helping him clean the table.

      This guys mom sounds similar to my MIL. My wife cheated because her mom taught her these same lessons this guy is learning from his mom. If mom cheats, it’s dads fault for not being a perfect human being ever second of every day. Her mom taught her the same thing, grandma cheated and bragged about how happy it made her too.. These women are toxic, and love to pass down the cheating genes and methodologies, so future generations can enjoy the pleasures of screwing over the people that really love them for some pretend love on the side. To them, marriage is something that you do until you’re not happy, then you find someone to make you happy and sneak around with them for excitement.

      My MIL actually said to my wife, after I caught her cheating and kicked her out.. “I hope you learned your lesson”… This is a woman that married her OM, and cheated on him. I asked if the lesson was to not get caught, it screws things up.

  • Oh and if lets say you had married him and he eventually cheated, his mommy would have said something like this…

    ‘I tried to sway you from marrying her she just never fit in with us. And oh honey she let her body go to hell, it is no wonder you had to make yourself happy elsewhere’

    Or, do a twist with your education

    Or, do a twist with your family

    Or, oh do a twist with your mother

    Let me tell you your mother would have tore her a new asshole

    • Absolutely true. My ex MIL now comes out with all sorts of gems about me to my kids about why her little darling was so unhappy that he decided to date while married to me but neglected to tell me. She conveniently ignores the fact that he was cheating for years and was telling me how much he loved me right up until 30 minutes before I found out (and he was asleep that last 30 minutes).

      When people make excuses for other’s shit behaviour this is a big red flag. I could understand if the boyfriend in OP’s original letter had said it was a sad time but he’s happy his parents worked it out or something like that but that he whole-heartedly supports her choices and blames his dad is a very bad sign.

      My ex and his sibling always thought it was ‘cute’ that their parents started as an affair and guess what? They’ve all been involved in cheating, which the parents fully support. But they don’t like HEARING about cheating and they ALWAYS blame the betrayed. Should I have noticed this? Oh yes, I certainly should have.

  • I have two daughters, oh my god, smart as all get out. I would come unglued if they find guys with mothers like these. Plus I trigger all over the place from the whore I married.

    And, her husband having an addiction problem is no reason to cheat. Bet this is making him drink more.

    Entire thing dysfunctional, it was like a Jerry Springer dinner I think.

    • Funny how many of the betrayed hit the bottle or whatever during the time they were being gaslighted, cheated on, etc. Coping mechanism and/or a crutch to deal with denial, I think is often the case.

    • The “drink more” comment. When I hear that someone is using the ‘they drank’ excuse to cheat, if the betrayed spouse can blame the wayward for making them drink.

      “I cheat because you drink”

      “I drink because you’re a selfish ahole”

      See what I did there.. You want to blame me for your issues, I guess I’ll dump my issues onto you. Now nobody is accountable for themselves, we can all do whatever the hell we want and just blame other people! Yay.

      • I’m not suggesting cheaters drive anyone to drink, I’m simply saying that it seems a lot of people, in the run-up to dday, seem to hit the bottle harder than they normally would and this could be a coping mechanism of sorts. We are of course all responsible for our own actions and that is why, after dday, I took stock of how much I was drinking and changed my habits.

  • “Emotional Incest”. Yep.

    He’s not “forgiving” his mother—he’s said that “It was okay to cheat on Dad because Dad deserved it.” She modeled running away and living in fantasy land as a way to solve problems as opposed to COMMUNICATING and meeting them as a couple, head on…..or leaving the situation.

    He is saying that when times get tough, honey—I think it’s okay to do whatever I need to do in order to make myself feel better. He’s not threatening cheating, he’s saying there are no boundaries, as long as it makes you feel better about your situation.


    • Yep, I agree with Buttercup here, Non Apologist. You would be uniting with a ticking time bomb. Fidelity does not seem to be high on his value list by what you wrote. Is it high on yours? If so, you two are not compatible. Wish I would have paid attention to this differential at the start of my relationship with my now ex-wife.

    • ” He’s not threatening cheating, he’s saying there are no boundaries, as long as it makes you feel better about your situation.”

      Yep, this, absolutely.

      He is telling her who he is very clearly. Not only did he tell her, he showed her a full color living breathing example by letting her spend quality time with the mother he is oh so close to.

      She should run, run, run.

      His mom is a sociopathic bitch of the first order and he thinks her behavior is just peachy. That’s pretty much all she needs to know to run.

  • I never met any friends on craigslist and had affairs with their husbands and then became friends. Holy crap this is pretty intricate planning.

    Make friends with the wives of the whorehusbands after the affair, wow, both the cheaters can set up meeting by chance, wow, sickening, so over the top, I have heard it all now.

    Is she a black widow killer in the making? She is creepy.

    • A wake up moment!! My STBX stated he found his AP at a Meet Up. Happened to know her already, worked in the dog food store on the corner but coincidentally (cough “bullshit”) met her at a meet up about dogs.

      I knew it was BS (totally) but I didn’t realize it was a total cheater excuse accidentally meeting someone you already knew for a semi accidental (bs) affair

  • Ex’s father was a cheater. Ex’s mother was a cheater. They think cheating is fine. They think lying is fine. They see nothing wrong with dating during marriage if ‘you’re unhappy’.

    Guess what. Ex is a cheater who lied and dated while married. It just took me awhile to find out about it. Like nearly 20 years.

    He may be a great guy (ex was ‘nice’) but he’s got, like CL said, an attitude that gives him leeway to cheat any time he feels things aren’t quite going his way. I would run like hell, to be honest.

    • Oh, and all my in-laws say to this day (including to my children) that cheating is ok and sometimes you dont know you’re unhappy until you meet someone new. Yep, they say it all the time.

      • What. The. Effe. Is that! Sometimes you don’t know you’re unhappy until you meet someone new…….that’s a back pocket excuse if I’ve ever heard one.

        Well…sometimes that one person you think is the source of your unhappiness and then you meet someone new and eventually they’re the source of your unhappiness and then eventually….you never ever ever realize that it is “You” that is causing your own unhappiness.

        • Oh Geez, Nord. What a bunch of freaks.

          The one commonality is The Cheater. The unhappiness doesn’t stem from the job. Or the friends. Or the living location/status. Or the kids. Or the dog. Or the neighbors. Or the extended family that they don’t get along with (mysteriously). Or the spouse.

          It’s THEM. The unhappiness is from inside of them and they will never let it go—because it makes them unique. They are Special and Unappreciated and so very, very Misunderstood. Their unhappiness is carte blanche to do whatever it takes in order to assuage that unhappiness—now, YOU can’t do that, because you’re not Special. Like them.

          Their mother said so.

            • They also tell my children that I was unhappy but won’t admit it. And that it’s perfectly ok to look for someone new while you’re married if you’re not happy. My kids tell me this and my head wants to explode. Instead I talk to them about being honest, having character, not lying, treating others like you’d want to be treated, etc.

              Of course, the one thing they can’t really explain away is the fact that it turns out ex was cheating for years and years so I guess it took him at least a decade to figure out that he was unhappy, not just a dickhead who liked fresh vagina.

              • Nord, don’t you love that – “but Mum was unhappy too, she just won’t admit it!”

                When I got this line from one of my teenaged sons, I told him that of course I was unhappy given what had happened to me and to him. I also told him that as a grown-up and a parent it was my job to deal with my unhappiness, which I had done to the best of my ability and with the information I had, and that it was not his burden to carry.

                I detest the way these idiots turn every reasonable emotion and reaction on our part into an excuse for their actions. I think I better go run now.

              • I wonder if you could ever try their tactics on them?

                Hey, ex-MIL — I had to steal your purse because I wasn’t happy. I saw the cash in your wallet and I knew it would make me happy… When you see an opportunity to be happy — seize it!

              • And having integrity. Having your words, deeds and intentions match up. It takes a lot of nerve for these people to tell your kids that you were “unhappy but won’t admit it.” Nothing wrong with having kids read the marriage vows and find where it says “go out and date if you are unhappy.”

              • Nord, I was unhappy too while my wife was cheating on me. It’s easy to become unhappy when you’re partner is fulfilling someone elses needs and ignoring yours.. and since you’re not cheating, you don’t have someone on the side to make you feel satisfied. Being gas-lit and manipulated, lied to, tricked.. makes people unhappy.

          • Buttercup this is so true!

            I remember the day STBX told me he was leaving. At one point I asked him why and he looked at me so seriously and said pathetically, “I’m just looking for a little happiness!”

            OW has left him and he’s on his own in his tiny illegal rental apartment, driving his business into the ground so he doesn’t have to give me anything in the (slowly progressing) divorce, no contact with two of his kids and the oldest has not much respect for him either. He’s fat and unhealthy and has very few friends left, spends most of his non-working time sleeping and eating.

            Hope you are happier now, asshole.

      • “…sometimes you dont know you’re unhappy until you meet someone new.”

        I heard this one. Ugh. I still haven’t figured out it is is revisionist thinking of our marriage (he seemed completely happy to me) and/or a complete lack of self-reflection (which is also probably true). In any case, I am better off without someone like that.

      • Excellent, so they admit that the meeting someone new is what makes them unhappy with the previous person. It’s about time a stupid cheater slip-up and admit that the ‘unhappy’ comes AFTER they allow themselves to enter a new relationship.

        Here’s a news flash in-laws, if you’re married, you’re not supposed to be “meeting someone new” (dumbass….)

  • Adding my voice to the choir. My cheater ex had a very dysfunctional family. I wish I would have listened to my gut and had gotten out after I met his parents — but I, too, was naive and thought that since my family would love him as if he were actually a blood relative, that I could help him overcome his shit upbringing.

    Enmeshed mother-son relationships are the worst. You don’t want to get involved in that! The first time I met my (now-ex) MIL, I was a sweet, naive 20 year old doing everything I could to please her. She pulled me aside and said “I’m going to break the two of you up if it’s the last thing I do. I should be the only woman in his life.” This is how these wackos think.

    His affair partner was a clone of his mom. Just so sick. If the parents are majorly dysfunctional, it’s not worth the risk. You only get one life — don’t risk more years or decades when you could find happiness!!!

    • Agreed Amy. My STBX MIL was my BFF until one day she saw me as “the competition”…little did I know. Their enmeshed relationship is truly effed up and the only person that got hurt was me.

      Then again…I’m the only one healthy enough to hit bottom and bounce (slow bounce) back up…and them…well they’ll play this same sick game over and over again and not even see that the problem isn’t the world. The problem is them.

      • Ex is thoroughly enmeshed with his whole family, particularly with his mother. And she’s a sneaky, manipulative bitch. Kind of like final OW, so I think he may have found his perfect match – except ex MIL doesn’t like final OW, so it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out.

        • Two whackazoid narcissists duking it out and playing a cross-generation pick-me dance over a cheater….

          • Well, kind of 3 or 4 generation thing going on, as final OW is significantly younger than ex and ex MIL is quite old. They’re all narcs to varying degrees and the one who seems to be getting the worst of it is ex. I am very sad about this, of course.

    • OMG – I thought my exMIL was unique in her craziness! Yikes!

      When we found out we were expecting our first child, and that the baby was a girl, exH was really worried. He looks at me, and says, “Are you SURE you’re ok having a girl?” And he kept asking about this, until he finally admits, “My mom told me that NO woman wants a daughter, because she has to spend the rest of her life competing with her daughter for her husband’s love.” I thought the sick feeling in my stomach was preggers related….yep, ex MIL saw her own daughter as competition. Ick.

      Might also have had something to do with the fact that exFIL probably did molest his daughter, but that’s another post. These batshit crazy cheaters really aren’t unique.

  • Some people think good marriages are based on having the same interests. I think shared interests are nice, but really just icing on the cake. What is REALLY important is sharing the same values. And in this case, it sounds like your boyfriend is perfectly okay with cheating, as long as the spouse of the cheater “deserves it.” Is that a value you can live with? Is that a value you want modeled to future children? I would almost guarantee that your boyfriend is eventually going to become a cheater, because life is not a bed of roses, and sooner or later, he is going to feel some sort of disappointment with his eventual spouse. Mature people, people with good values, understand that you work through disappointments or problems. Immature people and cheaters just go out and fuck someone new, then claim it is their spouses fault for not being good enough.

    You are way too young, and also obviously way too smart, to sign on for this shit. Also, gotta say, it sounds like your boyfriend is a little too enmeshed with mommy, a red flag as well. Dump him. Otherwise, you’ll probably eventually be sending CL a letter saying he cheated on you.

    • Sharing the same values… Yes x 100. Also having the same definition of love.

      How many times have I seen a show where the person says. I love you but cheated…

      Um… Their definition of love doesn’t include fidelity. Their version of love doesn’t mean sacrifice, respect, compromise, work, and honesty. Their version of love is… “Hey you meet most of my needs and the rest I’ll get elsewhere. “

    • Yes to the shared values. I thought my ex had integrity, but I now see that he was lacking and that he believes things are situational (like Chump Lady clarified for me in that post she did on situational truth last fall). I now realize that there were clues that his values weren’t in alignment with mine, but I just didn’t realize it AND I did not realize how far-reaching some things would be, and how they extend to every part of a person’s life and decision-making process (ie. the Peter Pan syndrome). Next time around, I will be looking for someone who shares my values and does not take a situational approach to morality, values and integrity.

      • Ah, situational truths and temporary values. Those are deal breakers for sure.

        People like that can not be trusted. Reality and loyalty shifts depending on their moods and needs. There is never a promise of any kind that they won’t break.

    • This is SO true. You can overlook having diverse interests, but not having shared values should be an automatic deal breaker. You can’t love a person enough to have him/her adopt your moral code, and you sure as hell won’t be able to live with theirs.

    • Absolutely, Glad. This is really important. Okay, a non-cheating example, but an important marital one, anyway:

      I thought we shared the same financial values. We don’t. I am a saver, and he is a spender. I believe in gearing, his debt is consumption based. I am not above searching thrift stores and ebay, he buys boats, bikes and ferraris on loan.

      I was plain deluded to think we had a relationship.

    • GladIt’sOver, values are of particular interest to me since my d-day. I have to admit I never gave them much thought before, maybe I naively though we all had the same values. I was wrong, obviously, and if I had understood the importance of having the same values I never would have gone out with him once. I’d love for ChumpLady to do a post on values.

      • My problem was that my ex narc pretended to have the same values that I have. Imagine my surprise when I found out his values match up with the lady du jour. By then it was too late. That’s the problem with narcs, they are shifty changelings.

        • Ah, yes, shifty changelings. I think my ex did step up his game while he was with me. I think he was more involved with his family while we were together and perhaps had the most mature period of his life.

          But. It didn’t last… And I am thinking he has changed now that he is with the OW. Probably adopting her values now.

        • Mine too Echo. And he was so good at it that I think he believed it for a while. What’s confusing as hell is that I watched him live some of those values until I unmasked him. For instance, he loved his two kids from his previous marriage and fought super hard for shared custody. He has completely abandoned mine. Never asked for a picture etc. Even his ex wife said he would Never abandon a child of his. He’s also fighting to reduce child support to nothing but pays twice as much for his other kids even though their mom makes twice my income and only has them half time. I guess maybe it’s not just a case of situational ethics but those crap life skills. He only does the right thing if life is going ok financially. Classic narc though where he is making every movement about his image right now. If no one else is going to see it he’ll treat my kid and I like shit to the best of his ability but make sure everyone thinks he’s a victim. But believe you me, our supposed shared values are part of what attracted me to begin with.

  • NA, these are major red flags, and your gut is telling you something, which is why you wrote CL. Please listen to your gut.

    My XH was a self-described “momma’s boy” and admitted that his mother’s relationship with him was “pathological.” He was her only son, and, in her eyes, no girlfriend was ever good enough for him. The only woman who could properly take care of him was her. After we got married, XH insisted that his parents live with us, where his mother criticized my cleaning, cooking, not “taking care of him” enough, etc. She devoted her entire days to handwashing and ironing his shirts, cooking special meals for him, etc., but at the same time XH complained about her all the time, saying that he was obligated to take care of his parents. But then his sister would say to me that he “begged” them to stay with us because we needed their help for some reason. Looking back, I think XH loved the triangulation of me, him and his mother and loved that all the attention was on him even though he constantly complained about it.

    I think XH used the criticisms his mother and sister had of me to justify his affair. I think his mom wanted us to break up because I was somehow not a “good enough” wife for his son. When we first started dating, it seemed that XH was aware of the dysfunction in his family and would protect me from it, but, in the end, he betrayed me not only by badmouthing behind my back to his OW, but to his own family. I am so glad to be out of that dysfunction–and, in this sense, I’m grateful that I discovered XH’s affair and found a good reason to end the marriage–but I do feel sad and angry at times to see how much I was disrespectfully treated by my XH’s family.

  • Non apologist, well done! You were very smart to question your boyfriend about the cheating which occurred in his family. By writing to CL, I think you already knew the answer–that he isn’t worth any more of your time, given his lack of moral compass. As you continue to date, I hope you don’t stop asking questions.

  • In nature, red means danger. When red flags are flying, run away as fast as you can. (I didn’t and regret everything – I, too, am a chump.) There is a great book that you should add to the widget, Tracy. Maybe I missed it on here, but another book that is really helpful is Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle by Tina Swithin. She also has a blog called One Mom’s Battle. TW talks a lot about the red flags that she ignored. Don’t ignore the warning signs. The problem is that we have such a hard time finding decent men (and women) that we settle. Some of that has to do with our own insecurities and self worth issues. My MIL is a psycho and my Nex has an Oedipus complex among other issues. Get out while you can and definitely before marriage (or worse – kids).

    • Because my husband was 8 years younger than me, and because his mother had him when she was 18, we are not that far apart in age. She dyes her hair platinum blonde and wears four inch heels. She dressed him like a doll as a child and took him shopping everywhere with her. Dad soon lost interest in her and she in him. Now my STBX’s mother is also raising his children. He talks on the phone with his mother for literally hours a day. I’m glad to be out of that oedipus mess.

  • It’s hard for me to read this. The hairs on my neck are standing up and a shiver went down my spine. Takes me back nearly forty years, to the days when I was introduced to STBX’s highly dysfunctional family. Me, 17 years old, child of an alcoholic, I thought I could fix anything if I only tried hard enough, that love would get us through, that he knew better after watching his mother cheat on his father with a close family friend and work colleague, and his mother making him keep the secret.

    I should have seen the warning ten years ago when his brother told my sister in law on her birthday that he had been having an affair for the past three years with his lab technician and was leaving my sister in law with two kids and the house they just bought, big mortgage, too much for her to keep up on her own.

    I should have seen the warning five years ago when his sister kicked her husband out because he “wasn’t a real man” like her long-time, even more moneyed, married lover in California.

    NowI know that there was never really any love there at all in my marriage, just illusion and spackle and kibbles. His mother and the rest of his screwed up family are still his greatest cheerleaders, and once he left I was cut out of the family immediately to gather up the shattered bits of my life and try and piece them together. No utility for any of them any more, you see.

    I am so glad times have changed. Run, non apologist, run as fast as you can, make whatever excuses you need to to get out of this. In my experience, at least, the acorn never falls too far from the tree.

    • This is why I love this freaking blog!! Because I see me or him or a situation in almost every post, every reply…and I know I’m not alone. It’s effed up…

      But the reality is – in reading this – if one person’s story of betrayal and extreme dysfunction doesn’t get through to you – another person’s story will.

      Bravo to everyone that has braved this type of In-Law Cheaterville Island. It does bring crazy to a whole new level.

    • Same with me – SAME! He cheated (like his mother who they all act like is a saint) and I was cut out of a family I knew (never really felt a part of) for 14 years. I was one of the outsiders in the family and cut out in a blink of a frackin’ eye

      ….and I’ll never ever ever miss that MIL or STBXMIL as long as I live. She’s crackers

      • CC, I have learned so much from all our stories here. The worst part of being newly chumped for me was feeling so alone, like there was no one else out there who understood or who could understand. Because ToddlerBoi was so unique, don’t you know, so Special, and so Deserving, and so Unfulfilled……

        I surfed the RIC sites for a year until I finally found Chump Lady, and it saved my life. Suddenly I wasn’t alone, desperately trying to find a narrative for my story, find the truth. And here it was.

        Yeah, CC, my mother in law posed as a saint too. Passive aggressive as all hell, which is where her kids learned it from. “Where should we go for dinner?” “Oh, it doesn’t matter to me…” Then you go, everyone has what you think is a good time, only to drive home to the constant conversation about what was wrong with the food, the venue, the servers…

        I am so glad to be out of that particular snake pit. It hurt like hell the past three years, but I am beginning to realize how worth it this whole journey has been.

  • My X husband adores his mother. She’s also been in jail for embezzlement. My X and his siblings witnessed her and their father relentlessly cheat on each other the whole time they were growing up. She even enlisted the kids help in spying on her paramour. His family is like a pack of hyenas; Scavengers, selfish, and apologists all. I could tell you so many stories about how fucked up this family was, but I don’t want to get to specific over the internet. 😉 All I can say, these people were low rent, if you know what I mean.

    What I learned is you need to take a close look at the people your partner loves and calls family. My X in-laws treated my X husband as the prince of the family. In reality, he was no better than them.

    • Interesting Rumblekitty. Until I see something in writing the penny doesn’t drop, I am slow like that! My ex husband is an adopted only child and was the ‘king’ of the family. His mother worshipped the ground that my ex walked on, she hated his father (who was a closet gay), so she had affairs behind his back which my ex thought was fine because he treated his father like dirt. His father embezzled money just after my ex husband came to live with them and would you believe my ex embezzled money from his bank job and was caught 6 weeks before our son was born. So you are correct in your comments about looking at the people our partner loves. I am not sure if he really loved his mother but he was terrified of her and she had such a negative impact and hold on our marriage which caused many arguments. My ex, now that I reflect is and has always been a coward and still is to this day at 62 years of age. I waited for him to grow a spine but he hasn’t managed to do that yet and now his is planning a new life in Cambodia where he can screw as many young women young enough to be his great granddaughter as he wants because no Aussie girl will have a bar of him. He is one sick rat in my eyes. My only real sadness if for our 2 adult kids. They won’t have parents available to them now. They choose to not speak with me and when he is over in Asia they will at least have each other.

      • God. I’m such an idiot.

        My husband’s family is so messed up. The father set the son up. The son set the father up. The sister betrayed her mother and brother. It goes on and on. I know SO many secrets and I have a feeling I only know a little of what they’ve done.


    • Truly dysfunctional parents run a great pick-me dance. And the “winner” is often the most screwed up kid of all. My mother was so enmeshed with my brother he had no chance of a normal adult life. I was the cast-off child, which has its drawbacks (such as I have been too easily manipulated by “niceness”) but left me in a place where I didn’t want to repeat the past. That said, my picker has failed me over and over and I stay in bad relationships way too long, even with years of therapy. In fact, before D-Day, I used to “omit” certain facts in therapy sessions. Now–let it all hang out. But big family dysfunction is a big challenge in relationships, though not insurmountable if the couple shared the same values and ideas about love and family life and fidelity.

      • “But big family dysfunction is a big challenge in relationships, though not insurmountable if the couple shared the same values and ideas about love and family life and fidelity”. I like this quote.
        LaJ, My mum called the brother after me “Mr.Wonderful” from the moment he was born. I was the 2nd child and 2nd daughter and we have one younger brother after Mr.Wonderful. You can see where this is leading? Suffice to say I was never as good as my sister and was constantly told that, so I was a sitting duck for the attention my ex paid me. Too late but it will never be repeated.

        • Well, there you go. I’ll bet Mr. Wonderful has had some serious problems over the years with entitlement. Am I correct? I don’t have kids of my own but I am “second mom” to a bunch of athletes and they always ask me when they have my undivided attention whom I like best because I don’t play favorites. My answer is always the same: “I love you all equally. But you are my favorite because….” and then I fill in something special about that kid. Because the one I am talking to is the one who needs to hear it for some reason. To this day, a hundred of them think they are the “favorite.” And they’re all correct. As painful as it was not be your mom’s “Miss Wonderful,” you are better off because you didn’t grow up to be an entitled asshole, to put it bluntly. 🙂

          • LaJ, yes Mr.Wonderful has an ego like I have never seen and a sense of entitlement that is almost greedy with 2 marriages (his 2nd marriage was good and he never strayed but he strayed in his 1st marriage for the 2nd wife) and many affairs behind him. He is a master manipulator and interesting as it is, he is my ex husband’s best friend and they are both screwing young Asian women!! This is becoming a real problem for white middle aged (baby boomer) men in Australia. Asia is a gold mine for them when it comes to young and nubile females. Also, it took me 62 years but I know what a lovely person I am. I have morals, decency, empathy, kindness, strength of character and I will stop there. I have finally become Miss Wonderful even though I was all along without realising it! .;) 🙂

  • Oh my, the convenient demonizing of anyone who happens to contradict the narcissist’s self serving narrative is really something. If your boyfriend has swallowed this nonsense whole you should tread carefully and call out his parents to him.

    Before dumping him immediately, please state your case and see how he reacts…. who knows, he might be sane in spite of his parents. This is poisonous and infantile; a convenient way to take zero responsibility for selfish actions. (blood pressure is now rising)

    • Also be warned that in stating your case, and talking to him about it, you run the risk that he will tell you what you want to hear and not what he actually feels. He might hear you say the right thing, and echo it because it won’t cause conflict. Words are cheap.

      • Bingo.

        I noticed that he would let me talk and go on and on….and then a week later, I would hear the same words come out of his mouth as if he had just thought them up. He could pick out phrases and words that got the most mileage and repeat them as if they meant something.

        I learned not to react to this when I heard the same words I just used a week prior. Once he couldn’t get a rise, he stopped wanting to talk altogether. His imitating my feelings and words weren’t working.

        He couldn’t think of anything of his own, because he has nothing of his own.

  • Non, I have an adult son who longer speaks to his cheater dad and plans to keep it that way. We have had a lot of discussions about cheating and entitlement and he even knows about Chump Lady. Even prior to his knowing about his dad, he has told him how disgusted he was with cheaters. No excuses, nothing. It’s black and white. Your boyfriend is in the grey zone. Ask yourself if you can live with this. If you can’t, spare yourself years of pain and agony and look for someone who shares your values. Unfortunately, your kind and attentive boyfriend also believes cheating can be justified under certain circumstances. He is ONE and the same person. Your parents raised you well. Now, go and find a suitable partner who will value and cherish you for the rest of your life, and that life will have challenging moments. You’d want your partner to protect the relationship no matter how unhappy he is, and not to seek relief elsewhere.

  • There is a sweet little South African film called ‘Materiaal’ which is based on the Oriental Plaza material shops of Johannesburg.

    Anyway, Moosa falls in love with some girl, and tells his grumpy patriarchal father ‘but I love her’.
    Father snarls at him: ‘you don’t marry the girl, boy. You marry the family’.

    Finding out how like his mother my husband really was, that scene rocks me back in my seat. It is something oriental families know, and western families have forgotten. We MUST teach our children.

    • I love the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg!!! You just made me remember it!! Best curries ever (with hard boiled eggs stuck in them — I think this is a South African thing). And embroidered things and Indian textile shops! Of course I was there in 1989, so it’s probably changed a lot. But it was really magical!

      • Ethiopian food also does the hard boiled egg, oddly enough.

        Agree, though, that check out the family – but more importantly check out how your partner deals with them. I love my family but I know they, like every family, have their issues and weirdness. Doesn’t make me love them any less but I also know that they don’t run my life. Ex could only see his family as perfect – unless they were blowing less smoke than usual up his ass or he was moving towards a new target. Then the family came in for mild criticism – which was swiftly forgotten as the new target became less shiny. His family was always first and he could never stand up to them and tell them to back the fuck off. Red flag galore.

          • I’ve said that, in one form or another, several times to ex. As in ‘the next generation will not be the fuck ups you and your family are if I have anything to say about it’. He doesn’t like it but tough shit.

      • My Chinese MIL put hard boiled eggs in curry as well.

        That woman hated me, and I don’t miss her (she died a few years back, before I knew about the affairs).

        But she sure could cook!

  • Let me throw in another one liner into the mix of stupid shit those disordered fucktards say: “don’t be such a Puritan!” I kid you not. This gem came from the mouth of another cheater apologist I’ve met recently… friend of a friend. Needless to say, when opportunity came up to visit this person’s beautiful beach property and stay for a week free of charge, I declined. My friend was flabbergasted when I told her the reason behind my decline. Her response: “but that’s just his opinion.” Fine, I said. Don’t need the toxicity in my environment. Come to think of it, I should probably rethink her as a friend as well. Sigh. Cheater apologists- they’re everywhere.

        • You guys are funny. But let me tell you about the Puritans: one of the residents of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was executed for having sex with a turkey. It’s in the governor’s diary of the colony. My students love that story. And there was the neighboring colony of Merry Mount, which had a hedonistic street, including selling guns to the native population and dancing around the may pole. If you were a Puritan, cheating would get the death penalty. Lay a little history and literature on them. And a little Bible: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” And a little marriage vow refresher: “forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her [or him}.” Cheaterspeak requires wholesale revision of history and religion, evidently. And even a lot of literature, which may appear to glamorize cheating but often ends up with a dead cheater in the end.

    • I was called a Puritan multiple times by my ex. Not in regards to cheating, but in other situations where my values did not align with his.

      • N.L., Thank goodness your values did not align with his!

        Otherwise, you would have been one of those ‘dead cheaters’ LaJ mentioned!

        PS: I am drinking in the comments and the posts of the last several days. So much love, so much valuable insight, so many good reminders. Thanks, Nation!

    • Ha! I got the Puritan label too. My supportive family was deemed brittle and judgmental.

      Well, I might as well wear one of those Pilgrim hats with the buckle when I see my ex and cross my arms and sneer judgmentally. Oh, and I’ll add a finger wag and speak in 17th century English.

      • mine would call me “mrs perfect”. or we all cant be little miss perfect like you. not everyone has a perfect childhood like you. you think your better then everyone else because you are perfect

  • Chump Lady, your photo of Mr Chump framing your sales record, with roses and a candle on your return, just brought a tear to my eye!

    You lucky, lucky person you. I can’t imagine what that kind of support and championing feels like.

    Give him a hug from the Nation and tell him ‘thank you’ for modelling what real love looks like.

  • Nonapologist, you already know what you should do or you wouldn’t have written to Chump Lady, knowing as you do that she takes a dim view of cheater minimizing and demonizing those that the cheaters are betraying.

    As always, CL says it all and says it best. But let me add my take as to the problem of values. I refer to the cheater in my life as “the Jackass.” I’ve known him nearly 35 years and would have trusted him with anything, including my heart. He’s told me off and on for years that he loved me but never crossed the line into infidelity as one or both of us were in relationships for most of the last 30 years. We finally were both “available” and he started talking about “forever” and I was happy to go along. As the time came for things to be official and public (we were being discreet for all sorts of good reasons, so I thought), he started disengaging. Then one Saturday he called late at night with an excuse as to why he didn’t come over, and referenced a woman whose brother he had known in HS. The following week I heard, for the first time, that he didn’t need to be accountable to me for his time or his relationships or his actions. But of course that didn’t mean we were breaking up…Fast forward two months to finding his FB page with his one friend, the woman he had referenced several times. I knew this man for nearly 35 years. We were great friends. I thought we told each other everything. But I had no idea that once he met a woman who interested him, his real values popped out for me to see: He could dump me at the door on my birthday to go home and text his MOW. He could lie about pretty much everything. He could keep me dangling on a string by being distressed at the idea we were breaking up while telling me it was OK for me to text him but I shouldn’t be upset if he didn’t text back. This after a year of living together. In the Jackass’s case, he only has one “value”: What makes him feel good? So the question of how the two of you think about love, about fidelity and honesty, about family life, is primary. Should you move forward with this relationship, you should absolutely have a hard conversation about these things and really listen to what he says AND his demeanor when he says it. And do not marry him until you have your own transportation, a good job that you will keep after marriage, and $5,000-10,000 in saving of your own. Not his savings or joint savings–yours. Forget the big, fancy wedding. Make sure your future is assured, even if something would happen to him or he would end the marriage. And get a pre-nup that spells out what happens if he cheats and lays out custody of potential children. I am dead serious about this. If you feel he is not like his family and want to give him a chance, he should love you enough to protect you.

    As to the cheater/chump dinner party, that is abusive and disgusting beyond words. Having had a broken wrist, I will tell you that it is hard to comb your hair or brush you teeth (try it with one hand), let alone produce a dinner party for your husband’s craiglist ho and her chumped husband. That dinner tells you all you need to know about this woman; she and her partner enjoyed gaslighting and mindfucking and humiliating the people they had married. Rally Squirrel wrote this the other day: “I’ll never forget the almost self-congratulatory tone in my sister’s voice when she told me that she and her affair partner now have secret cell phones so they can stay in contact and keep the wife in the dark. It was almost as if my sister was delighted at how clever she could be.” This is vicious, cruel, mean behavior, designed to diminish and degrade the two people they had sworn to love and honor. I would end the relationship simply because I would not want this piece of utter human filth to be the grandmother of my children. And if you ever separated, she would have all kinds of unsupervised access to any children you would have because he’s mommy’s boy.

    You are a smart cookie. You can find a good man with a decent, if imperfect, family.

    • Me too:
      “But I had no idea that once he met a woman who interested him, his real values popped out for me to see…”

      and “…he only has one “value”: What makes him feel good?”

      Yep. I did not see how committed my exh was to putting his own desires/needs above everything else….even me.

      • How true that the only value of an immature person is “what makes me feel good.” The question is… how do you spot this ahead of time when you’re first caught up in the passion of a new romance and everything feels good? Tracy, I second the request for you to do a post on values. For those of us brave enough to jump into the dating ring again (not sure I’m one of them but I’m trying to hold on to hope), how do crappy values or non-values look in real life situations?

    • “That dinner tells you all you need to know about this woman; she and her partner enjoyed gaslighting and mindfucking and humiliating the people they had married. ”

      This makes me think of the time the married OW “soul mate” invited my ex, me and our son over for dinner with her, her husband and their two little boys. A nice evening dining, talking and playing board games, so I thought. I had no idea back then that she and my ex were already fucking each other in our van after their early morning workout class. Now I look back at the sheer delight the OW and my ex must have felt at that dinner. How they must have loved pulling such a fast one on their spouses and children sitting RIGHT THERE. It makes me sick.

      • This is the sort of disgusting behavior that leads me to think the point isn’t the sex (although it’s part of the whole cheater package}; it’s the power that cheaters get over their partners, including the power to fool them in such unnecessary ways. I get it that a cheater will hide hone calls and texts, will lie, will have bogus FB accounts in order to communicate with Schmoopie. But these bizarro social events exist only to heighten the excitement and risk for the cheaters; to allow them to act out their specialness and superiority in front of the audience that matters most, the people they are betraying; to sit in the same room and know that you know things your spouses don’t know. To make fools of them as part of your new love story. It’s on the same page, I think, as deciding to have cheater sex and inviting your spouses to observe it. There’s a voyeur aspect, laced with condescension: we will sit here and gaslight and mindfuck you, and you are too stupid to know what’s going on. And if you ever find out, you will remember this and know how much contempt we really have for you.

        • Yes yes and yes, and when the time comes to try to explain this shit, the cheater will still blame shift it. In my case, cheater was unsuccessfully trying to have me befriend one of the OWs. I heard about her and decided she wasn’t worthy of meeting (little I knew the fucking had already started months prior.) when confronted cheater said it was OWs idea to meet- she was abused as a child, lived with a raging druggie, had to become a stripper, had no money to feed her kids, basically blame shifted the entire thing. Second OW was also groomed to be my BFF, she was posing as a friend of the family who happened to need his professional services while her boyfriend lived in another state. What gives? They get off on this sick shit. It’s mental illness of sort.

        • “There’s a voyeur aspect, laced with condescension: we will sit here and gaslight and mindfuck you, and you are too stupid to know what’s going on. And if you ever find out, you will remember this and know how much contempt we really have for you.”

          This really hit me today. Of all the crap that I have endured over the past year, the absolute worst was when I was invited to go on date night with my H and his porn star about a week before DDay. H convinced me to buy dinner because poor porno pants was going through a divorce and she was poor. Waah! Then they got me drunk at da club and when they thought I wasn’t paying attention, she was sexy dancing with him from behind while I was in the front. A cheater sandwich! I still want to throw up in my mouth at the visual I happened to catch in the mirror. It epitomized what was going on in his fucked up head – “haha! I’ve got two of them dancing (literally and pick me) for me and one of them doesn’t know it! Yay me!” And yes, LAJ, every time I think of that night I realize what conniving, terrible, hateful people they were to include me in their trashiness in that way.

        • “There’s a voyeur aspect, laced with condescension: we will sit here and gaslight and mindfuck you, and you are too stupid to know what’s going on. And if you ever find out, you will remember this and know how much contempt we really have for you.”

          YES!!! To this day, years later, one of the things I have had the most trouble recovering from is realizing the extreme level of CONTEMPT and hatred my ex must have felt for me. Realizing how he must have been laughing inside at how easy it was to fool me, how gullible I was. He pulled a LOT of sick stunts like this one, I feel queasy in looking back.

  • Please, please end this relationship now. I wish I would have listened to my gut and my
    parents who told me that you marry not only the man but his family too. I didn’t know until a few months after I was married that my FIL was a serial cheater. Who would guess. My MIL knitted , did cross stitch and made homemade apple pies. They went to church every Sunday but I was always curious why they switched churches so frequently. My MIL said there was always someone who was interested in my FIL ( a joke because he was balding & unattractive ). Fast forward to her sharing with me when I was having some problems that my FIL had cheated when the kids were small and she couldn’t afford to leave. Now in their 70’s he is frequenting Las Vegas solo once a quarter while she is visiting Amish country. I always wondered why my husband said he didn’t want to be like his Dad. Unfortunately now he is like him but worse. A philandering sex addict cheater. He will be my ex in a few weeks and so will is screwed up family. Good riddance.

    • Yeah, me too. I’ve posted the gory details before, so I won’t again (it makes some folks eyes glaze over!)

      But I can tell you for certain that I wish I had known ahead of time that there were multiple generations of cheating in that family. And the toxic secrets! Jesus-on-a-jet-ski! (appropriate since it was a clergy family…)

      Just like Nord & others have said, you think your new person’s family crazy is like your own–for me, I actually thought they were less crazy b/c they kept up such a united front of lies…

      It seems to so often go back to that wonderful aphorism of Maya Angelou: “When somebody tells you who they are the first time, believe them.”

      I’d say this guy, and his family, have told you who they are. Believe it. Now run & save your life.

  • Before my husband and I were married he was speaking long distance to his mother (who raises his children). It was in another language, so I didn’t catch all of it, but it was horrible and he was screaming out of control at her. I could hear her shouting back. He told me what he said when he hung up. I said “Way to talk to the woman who is raising your children.”

    That shut him up, or at least it made him more careful what he told me because he didn’t want me calling him on his shit.

    I wish so much I hadn’t wasted time with someone who could behave like that to anyone, let alone their mother. And yes, all that rage eventually turned to me.

    • The Jackass was often rude and condescending to his mother. At the same time, he can’t wait to “prove” he’s the best son….

  • Why not talk some more about the issue with your boyfriend?

    People love their parents and want to see them as good. His dad has obviously agreed with his mom’s narrative that the affair was justified, so your boyfriend is even less likely to criticize her. Without saying that the affair was justified, if the husband was an addict and not getting help, he might feel that he had been an even worse husband and be willing to forgive an affair. I don’t fault them for that, although I think it’s nuts to say it’s okay to hurt some faithful wife because she wasn’t doing her share around the house.

    Anyhow, ask your boyfriend when a spouse becomes bad enough that an affair is justified? That might give you a picture of what being married to him would be like.

    I guess I wouldn’t dump someone just because they don’t want to attack their mother. The question is, do they think that you have to be a good wife if you want them to be faithful to you?

    • Nah.

      I wouldn’t have that discussion with him. That just clues him in that you disapprove and gives him a chance to “adjust” his approach to you. He will say things you want to hear.

      I say this only because I have BTDT and have the t-shirt. Those discussions only give them insight on how to lie to you better. Instead, take them at their word. Sometimes these freaks have tiny candid moments when the mask slips and they show or tell you plainly who they are. Don’t question or second guess what you saw or heard, take it at face value and act accordingly – Run.

      • When I met my ex, I had noticed that he would question me about everything–not interest about what I do or my family or my private life—no. He would question me about mundane, small things. What I eat, where do I purchase those things, what news channel do I watch.

        He would all of a sudden love the same food, have the same opinions (MAGIC!) as I do about politics and religion, show up at the same stores by “accident” since he, you know, ALWAYS went there before.

        Turns out? The politics he had prior to meeting me were polar opposite (and I mean, deathmatch opposites). Same with religion. Pretty much same with every single thing that he claimed he just LOVED to do—was complete and utter bullshit. It didn’t all come out at the same time, it was trickle truth–here and there, a friend would be astounded that my XH would all of a sudden show compassion for animals (I’m an animal lover)—when before he was all about killing them or ignoring them.

        And the STUFF. Nothing was ever enough. Not like he’s a hoarder—he just has to own anything that someone he “admires” owns. It’s a crazy thing to watch unfold. And everything is overkill. If someone he met had something—my XH would have to have the top of the line of that thing and he purchased 10 of them.

        “Why did you buy that? It was the most expensive and it’s not needed.”

        “Well, when I buy something, I buy the best.” Yeah. Well, when you don’t have that kind of income, how can you do that? OHHHHHHH yeah. You do it by marrying someone who makes 10x the income that you do, so that you can “Buy the best.”

        I’m not sure it’s situational truth or if it’s that they have no Inner Self. They are empty and they fill that void up with whatever it is about another person that will get them what they want.

        I told him once, after noticing this “copying” thing—that he’s pretty quick on the uptake.

        He said, “You have no idea.”

        • You are not alone “He would all of a sudden love the same food, have the same opinions (MAGIC!) as I do about politics and religion”

          Not all of a sudden, my ex listened and was in alignment with me, how does someone completely hide racism and mysoginistic shit for years.

          “That just clues him in that you disapprove and gives him a chance to “adjust” his approach to you. He will say things you want to hear.” And this,I had many heartfelt conversations with my ex before I committed. One of those was about whether he suffered from depression and told him I could not deal, so he lied. By the tome I realized this I was entangled and forgave. Warning Will Robinson! If someone lies to you on deal breakers, even if you don’t find out for years? Kick his sorry ass to the curb, save yourself.

  • Shared values are so important! Reading this reminded me of watching the movie “Presumed Innocent” with my ex on one of our first dates when I was in my early 20’s. I shared my anger over the protagonist having an affair. My cheating ex replied – “he was tempted”. I should have run out of the theater and never looked back!

    Turns out his father was a cheater too but stayed with his mother – mine chose the OW (she must have pick-me danced better) and I am slowly coming to the realization that they did me a favor!

  • Dear non-apologist,

    RUN, RUN, RUN LIKE THE WIND!!! Don’t ever look back at this man and think “What if….” This is The Universe HELPING you dodge a bullet.

    Honey, a red flag this big should never, ever, ever be ignored. Make no mistake – no amount of “discussing” this with your boyfriend is going to change the decades-old programming his parents have given him. He has already told you how he feels about the subject – for pete’s sake, listen and put some serious distance between you.

    I realize you’re nowhere near this level of commitment yet but there’s a reason for the saying “You’re not only marrying the man, but his family too.”

    Get out of this while you can.

  • So, with all this talk of cheaters taking after their parents, how do we decrease the likelihood that our children don’t either imitate the cheating behavior of their cheating parent or become chumps like us?

    Also, what if potential partners of our children unfairly make judgments about them because of the cheating behavior of their cheating parent, i.e., think that, if our child’s father cheated, then our child is more likely cheat, too?

    • I think what matters is how the children themselves see the parents’ behaviors. My father abused alcohol; I don’t drink as a result because I don’t want to go down that road. It’s possible that cheating and the subsequent devastation of the family would make the children less likely to cheat, especially if they see the Chump standing up and behaving with courage and integrity. Then, I think the childrens’ partner will make judgments based not on the cheating family but on how the children’s values were shaped by that experience. Kids are most likely to carry on those family patterns if the cheating is denied, minimized and swept under the rug and all that stuff goes underground in the family, rather than being surfaced and exposed for discussion.

      • Valid point however my cheater swore up and down he was not going to behave like his cheater parents… And look how that turned out. I do feel bad for what will become of kids of cheaters. They already think cheating is part of life, they shouldn’t have to know that.

  • One of the reasons I gave my Cheater a chance despite his dysfunctional family was because mine was EXTREME (as in both parents alcoholic & their parents alcoholics with cheating by grandfathers and my father too. My mother & grandmothers I don’t know, but who knows?) as I stated in previous post some time ago. I felt I had managed to be “normal” but not without extreme struggle & getting chumped, so why couldn’t someone else? We had shared values I thought, but as we know, people lie when it behooves them, and every Cheater has.a spouse /SO home mowing the lawn, baking brownies, fill in the blank….creating their secure point from which to cheat.

    I did not want to repeat what my parents did & saw nothing there to draw from. My Cheater did not have much of an emotional IQ, which became clear when the cheating was over & I heard the horrifying/groanworthy excuses. Sometimes I think we just give people too much credit. Plz writer of this, is it worth the 10, 20, 30 years of precious life to find out he has these same troubles? Go look some more like we wish we had.CL spot on as usual!

  • I didn’t read all of the comments above, but I imagine what I’m going to say has been repeated here already– so just to add on:


    My ex had a mother who was like this, and also had diagnosed mental health issues. I thought my ex was this brave, good man who saw his mother’s dysfunction and learned to be a better man and not repeat the cycles of abuse his parents had. Wrong! It took a decade, but he eventually did the exact same thing to me. And he doesn’t even see the irony!

    When he asked his mother what to do after DDay, she told him that no one in his family truly loves anyone else, so that he probably never really loved me. Geez. Thanks, Mom.

    While it is certainly the case that people don’t have to live out the destinies of their families (my own mother is actually proof of this and one of the reasons I assumed my ex was a good man), it is the case that their coping mechanisms will likely be on par with what they learned growing up. My mother is a lovely woman who endeavored to completely reverse the terrible things she experienced as a child– but she would even tell you being raised in an abusive household left her with coping skills in other areas. It may take awhile to see in someone like your boyfriend, but I bet they are there if you keep an eye out. Until now you may just not have had the kind of life experience and time together to see some of those bad coping skills and strange life philosophies comes out.

    I have a friend who is also like this: his father is his mother’s third husband. They married because she got pregnant with my friend. All of the other marriages ended in divorce because of infidelity. His parents are still together now, but live in different states and only see each other now and then (I suspect it’s an open marriage). Ironically, they are also therapists! Not surprisingly, as we’ve become adults, my friend has had no problem cheating on partners or being the “other man” in relationships. I have gone through periods when I have NCed him because of this as a friend… but no matter what you say to him, you’ll never convince him that his behavior is wrong… because it’s how he was taught the world works. It’s sad.

  • Hey guys, i’m a bit late here but i want to thank you for all of your comment.
    I’m 100% agree that not all kids from troubled parents will follow their footsteps, but children grows up by seeing the example that their parents set, they worship the grounds their parents walked on. That’s why i believe that only little amount of person (and an incredible one) who’s capable of looking back, analyzed and set themselves free from the attitude that they grew up with.
    It’s easy to see why he approves of cheating, his mother dotted (still dotting) on him and behave like a true sociopath, when she ended her affair she acted like a true victim and continued to live her life feeling remorseless plus his dad also blamed himself instead of her so he saw that cheating is completely justified and he defends her. If let’s say she was abusive to him and his dad possesed any kind of spine stronger than jello it’d be easier for him to see the err in her way

    About my bf, my instinct also keep telling me to run, not walk but keep running forest gump style. Maybe i’m too negative or think too much ahead but in my head i keep asking myself, this is the honeymoon period, what will he do when shit hits the fan ? What will he do when i get chronic sickness ? I’m a career girl, what will he do if i get too busy chasing pormotions ? What will happen if he gets bored after 15 year marks ? What will happen when i get older with stretch marks and some flirty younger girl bat her eyelashes at him ? So many questions

    After our talk about affair i started to always feel alarmed when he got close to other girl. I hate that i turned to be paranoid and from combing CL’s awesome blog i have no interest to be relationship police. What’s the point ? If he’s gonna cheat he will, he’ll probably ask his mom for some tips. One voice on my mind says “you’re overreacting, there’s no problem in your relationship so why would he cheat ?”, the other says “well he’s agree with cheating so hell yeah he’s capable of it”. It’s tricky to break up with him because so far aside from his opinion about cheating, he’s a great and very attentive to me. Last week when i got sick in the middle of business trips he sent me my favorite flowers and sweet care package to my hotel room. A lot of those attentive actions really are clouding my judgement

    • mine “played” the part for 14 years. he was loving, attentive, caring and yes, i got flowers too.

      but the thing is, he only did that for as long as i was willing to give and give and give. so i ask you, what will it take for your boyfriend to say you werent metting his needs and so he cheated on you? you will be surprised of the answer. hell we ALL were surprised at the reason the men we loved and trusted and believed would never do that to us actually did that to us.

      i used to tell myself over and over that i was over reacting. that i was looking for something and so of course i found something. i even toldmyself that it was MY FAULT. that i pushed him away somehow.

      looking back…

      • 0-PPS

        LOOKING BACK EVERY SINGLE TIME I TOLD MYSELF I WAS OVER REACTING THERE WAS ACTUALLY A RED FLAG GOING ON. something that didnt add up. to this day i cant tell you what because i never learned the truth and it ate me up from the inside. but i truly believed that i was over reacting.

        so what that he gives you flowers, what are you giving him now? as long as HE feels that HIS needs are met, he will preform as a nice guy. but you will never truly KNOW when he feels like HIS needs were not met and believe me, he will cheat on you to make certain HIS needs are met somehow.

        i bet EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US HERE ON THIS SITE will tell you all the “nice” and “good” things our SO did for us. i NEVER dreamed that mine would throw us away like garbage and not give us a second thought. even when i was thinking of divorce, i NEVER thought he would act this way, that he would walk out on his kids and put some MOW before his own children.

        let me tell you. it hurts like hell. you can make all the excuses you want for this guy, he is sweet, he is kind, he is helpful………….but at the time when you least expect it, it will happen. it is unavoidable. given his childhood lessons, it is all he knows.

        give your heart to someone that will appreciate it, and take care of it.

    • My ex was very attentive and considerate for years, and he love bombed at first. I think if he had said to you, ” my parents are messed up” and that he still loved them, that would be cool. That he buys the narrative his mother gave you is definitely not cool. Let’s say your Mom dies and you get depressed so you aren’t meeting his needs, will that be a reason to cheat?

      More importantly, right now, is he over the top amazing? Is he pushing for commitment? If you decide not to bail now, please give it another year before you move in or marry.

  • I TOTALLY get where you are coming from and you are right to be concerned. And i hope i give you something to think about cuz i know how hard it can be when you are in love and already invested a year worth of time to this relationship.

    Let me tell you my story.

    when i met my husband, he was working, had his own place. he didnt have a vehicle but was workin on one. All good things in my eyes. we started dating and bits and pieces came out about his family. i didnt know what all i know now but i wished i had dug deeper. he wasnt in contact with his family, talked about them and how much he loved them but they were not around. dad was dead, mom was living in another state. brother and sisters in another town. or in foster families. so i thought it was good. there were a couple of signs (big ones) but i choose not to pay attention, chalked it up to first date jitters and being nervous on my part so i guessed (spackled) that i didnt hear him right.

    his family was always a sore spot thoughout the 14 years we were together. they started popping out of the woodwork. asking for money here, a ride there, they cant pay their electricity every 3 months or so and it is about to be turned off, they have no food for their kids. funny they always had money for beer and drugs. we tried to help at first, but then we had 5 kids and were making a house payment. and they never changed. they were always in need for something all the time. my XH and i fought about his family many times. this one in jail again, that one got her kids taken away (all but 1 sister out of 4 has gotten their kids taken away, this one’s boyfriend beat her up, but she went back to him, that one got kicked out and needs a place to stay, sister moved to town and the same day we found her in the shower with some guy she just met that lived a few doors down, brother got divorced and started dating his wifes sister. Just craziness.

    All this time, i did not think my XH was like that. i always thought he was the good one out of the bunch, better then the others, a bleeding heart and they were using him because of it. he would always throw it in my face how we did things for my family. but my family is different. we dont divorce, we pay our bills, we dont ask for handouts unless we are desperate, when we did our plumbing or our metal roof, it was my family that dropped everything at a moments notice to help us. his family were all “busy”. even he would call my nephews first if his truck broke down because no matter what they were doing (bbq, working on their yards or houses, watching the game or even partying) they dropped what they were doing and would be right there.

    when my daughter past away in 2012, my family pitched in money, a little here and there (my dad has 14 bro and sisters so we are big) so much money that we did not have to pay a dime to bury her. his family didnt even call so much as sent a card with cash or flowers. he was impressed, he was overwhelmed and he told me that my family all gave a little and his gave nothing. i thought “now he finally gets it”

    but this year, this year i found out i was wrong in thinking he was better then them, that he was special and understood. 2013 summer, i dont know what happened, he started drinking more, staying out all night, not answering my calls or texts, lying and hiding things, not giving me money for bills, looking up dating sites and even tried to email one or two. set up a fake email account to do it (i am a computer technician i found out), looking at naked woman from your area. i tried and tried to talk to him, to find how what was wrong and how to fix it. and of course he blamed me for everything. twisted everything i said. at christmas 2013, i thought we straightened it out, he was acting “normal” i thought we fought the demon and won, and we would be alright. but now i know he was just making his exit plan, he had already pulled away from me and the children, probably already had the way he would leave planned out. on new’s years eve, he came home from work, tried to pick a fight with me but i was working on a cork floor all day and was super tired so i wasnt playing. (wasnt catching on to his hatefullness and wasnt reacting) so he told me he was going to the store for wd40 and never came home. all night i called and texted, he never answered. i decided i was not going to start a whole new year like this, so i packed his shit and at 5 am i was filling out the divorce packet i got 4 month previous. he came home at 7, got his stuff, and left. we went to the notary to sign the papers at 2.

    even then i still didnt believe. all thru january, i kept trying, i call but he was super hateful. being mean and hateful. i told him i couldnt pay a bill he told me that i shouldnt have spent all my money, i got him to talk face to face to me, got him to agree to marriage counselling, he flat out refused to go to AA (all my friends drink, what would that make me?) but then when i tried to call for arrangements, back was the hate and anger and mean and blaming. (i figure that he had his girl there during those times). on feb 9 i took him another box, all nice and folded like i did his first boxes. and he repayed me by taking his girlfriend to the pick up spot. made a show of the hickies on his neck, told me it was non of my business who he had in the truck, and then actually smirked when i stood there shellshocked, mouth hanging open and tears running down my face and i said, omg you have a girlfriend. (found out later, she is still married, and doesnt have custody of her kids, doesnt even live in the same town as her kids, doesnt see them, doesnt even go for their birthdays, she drinks with him thou, she goes to all his friends houses with him and apparently does all his thinking for him) i filed the divorce papers the next day. even then i was on the fence, not sure if i should do this to my/our children, thinking i was being rash. but then next 2 months cleared my concious (especially when his hood rat called the place where we rent movies to tell them off about a late movie, i was standing there and told them to call because i already told them not to rent to him. and she gave them my name. said she was me!! and i know he was sitting right beside her) among other things, like she thinks it is fun to call me after i text him to tell me HE IS HERS and GET OVER IT and SHE LOVES HIM oh and my favorites, she doesnt judge me, she respects me.

    my point is he turned out to be just like his crazy family. he turned his back and left. he went no contact, even when i tried to make arrangements about visitations with his sons. she would get mad (i asked him to met us at the park and she couldnt go with him) and then tell him to tell me something and he would (he doesnt need to be supervised to see his kids, and i dont need to watch his ever move, wtf we were at the park already and the boys asked if i would call him so he could push them on the marrygoround. ) he doesnt seem to care that by telling me the things she wants him to say might mess it up for him to see his kids. i mean it is my fault i dont let him see them. even thou it is always me calling him to come pick them up every other weekend. he cares more about what she says then what i say for sure. he is just like his messed up family.

    i agree with Chumplady, you need to leave this guy. he is already telling you that he doesnt think it is that big of a deal. and believe me when a guy tells you how he is (or what he thinks) then you better listen. you will find yourself with him cheating and giving you the excuse that you werent meeting his needs. it will not matter that you carried him, loved him, supported him, bailed him out, boost up his ego when he gets on his crying drunks, give him everythign and then some (for 14 years in my case) when it gets tough, he WILL NOT carry you for even a year. and then turn around and blame it all on you. (mine tells me i got boring after my daughter died, i never wanted to go anywhere, i didnt want to drink)

    be very aware that this will happen. he already has his excuse lined up. count your losses and find a better man. one that will give you what you are willing to give him.

    good luck

  • Rumor has it that two of my ex MIL’s children are from an affair she had with a married man. I have no proof, but this was told to me by a family member, and I believe it to be true. It’s too bad I got this information a decade too late.

    Cut your losses and dump him. Nothing good will come of this relationship. We don’t have mirror balls telling us your future, but rather we’ve lived it. Please run! Run away!

  • I wish I had written this letter before I married who turned out to be a cheater. My in-laws were toxic. People who slander others and generations of cheaters. I did not judge. I always found it strange that my former sister-in-law would tell me the intimate details of the humiliations her “dear friends were going through” being fired, being cheated on, kids making them miserable…I would listen politely (yuck). When I met a best friend of hers for the first time, who sister-in-law told me hated her job and was cheated on, I felt embarrassed. This was not something she would ever tell me, a stranger who does not know her. I said; “I have heard so much about you I feel like I know you better than I do” She said: “Me too” —-What they do to others they will do to you. No one gets an exception. Ask yourself: “how would I feel if they said this about me?” because they will. Good for you for writing and stay away. You will find much better people to have in your intimate life.

  • Actually that need for an endless smorgasbord of meooowww, was what did came off of my someday to be ex’s tongue…That and he wanted frequent sexual all nighters…. My Wayward spouse claimed that he cheated because I didn’t meet his needs..He made his needs so very unreasonable to begin with, and there was no pleasing him..
    People can be so obnoxious that pleasing them becomes a stressful job instead of a joy..
    If your boyfriend has this lax attitude on affairs, then expect him to be hard to live with and he will probably have one of his own soon..It seems to be in his DNA…

  • ‘you don’t marry the girl, boy. You marry the family.’

    Oh how I wish I had heard and internalized this profound truth 15 years ago. It would have saved so much misery.

    I would never tell anyone to break up with their partner but I will say this. You MUST get to know everything you can about your partner’s family — EVERYTHING — because that is what they consider normal. They will default to their family’s values when everything else fails.

    My ex wife’s father was a pastor who had multiple affairs with both men and women and physically abused his wife. Her mother physically abused my ex and her sister. Everyone in that family lied and told half truths and would do literally anything to avoid dealing with reality honestly. Trouble is …. although their were red flags, I didn’t know any of this until I had been married two years and had a one year old son.

    After my wife had her affairs, I was shocked at how quickly that family completely cut me off. I think it’s only natural to love the family of those you love. It hurt bad to find out they never really gave a crap about me.

    If the family’s values are not yours, pass. I cannot say this strongly enough. You will save a whole lot of heartache, wasted years and $$$$.

    • Alyosha

      You are so right!!! My ex wife’s family is full of cheaters. Her one brother cheated 3 times. Sister did it at least once. Other brother no one knows for sure but is suspected.

  • Non, you are wise to be worried. Far wiser than me. Please heed your own wisdom.

    I married someone whose parents both cheated on each other and then on subsequent spouses. His entire family is pretty much a financial mess. They view infidelity as a process that “just happens” and a power over which they “have no control”. I thought my ex-husband was different than his family in significant ways. In our 20 years together I had IMAGINED that he had evolved beyond what he learned in his family of origin. WRONG. At a crossroads he went his family’s familiar path. He is both a financial mess and a cheater. In truth he has evolved very little since I met him – I projected much of that evolution out of hope.

    Your boyfriend is showing you who he is; please be wiser than so many of us who learned the hard way, BELIEVE HIM. And trust your gut and your brain. Give your love to someone who believes in fidelity. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

  • Hi NA – I know I’m late to the party here but I just wanted to reinforce what others have said. I didn’t find out about the plethora of cheaters and abandoners in my xH’s family until we had been married for many years. In fact, everyone in his small family lives their lives based on how things work for them and only them. Thankfully I was not involved in producing an heir to that shit show circus of theirs.
    But looking back, I was young and dumb and even if I knew about all of this, I still would have married him. You are so much smarter than that – I think you’ll do the right thing.

  • I agree with leave him ASAP. The seed has been planted in his mind that infidelity is OK if they deserve it. He like most guys in their mid 20’s are not capable of that sort of deep thinking. Again I say most. I know I wasn’t. I believe the reason kids of cheaters are likely to cheat has a lot to do with not only the families attitude towards it but our world’s nonchalant attitude of adultery. I hope and pray my kids do not ever feel the way my ex cheating wife did when she wasn’t happy.

    I so wish the states where adultery is illegal and considered a felony would be enforced to the full extent of the law. As was stated on one of the earlier posts. Date for character and chalk this one up as a learning experience.

    Best of luck.

  • Non, Totally late comment but I’m so impressed with your perceptiveness and strong sense of self. At 23 I married into a family with a history of infidelity naively believing that because my XH saw the hurt it causes first-hand, he would never do the same. When he spoke of his father’s infidelity, I remember him saying to me “My dad left one controlling woman for an even more controlling woman.” RED FLAG. But my people-pleasing self took it as “Oh I better be careful about being too controlling”. Well then came 6 years of marriage and several serial cheating episodes later and one justification was that I apparently became “too controlling” when asking for support with everyday adult responsibilities. I wish I would’ve ran for the hills at 23!

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